For a long time, I’ve always enjoyed creating stories. Even back in my youth, I vividly remember hopping on my bicycle and heading into the neighborhood for a spot behind a hill with a small notebook to jot my thought down. While I’ve long since lost those ramblings, that practice of secluding myself away to take craft a narrative is still a strong desire for me. However, instead of sitting on the back of a hill, these days, I’ll look for inspiration everywhere, including DeviantArt.

While I don’t remember when I stumbled onto Portal of Sanctuary, I still vividly remember the scene that instantly popped into my mind. The highly rough idea for the story was:

A Hunter steps through a portal to find Leodar and Tiatha. He instantly demands their surrender, but Tiatha has other ideas in mind, specifically tied to a spell her father used once before.

Even though I never mentioned the relationship in Tumultuous Beginning, that’s only because Thobin doesn’t have children yet. However, that’s a storyline that I’m hoping to explore someday. So keep an eye out for more stories revolving around that mysterious mage. Meanwhile, get ready to see what Thobin’s children are up to, having stepped into their powers.

Portal of Sanctuary

“Hello sister,” Leodar said, sitting down beside Tiatha. “Have you been providing extra lessons for some of your students?”

With a sigh, she laid the book on her chest as she leaned away from him. “Do you object to my giving certain pupils extra attention?”

“No,” Leodar said, folding his arms across his chest. “I’m simply surprised he’s willing to take on the extra burden.”

Haughty laughter bubbled out of her lips as she tossed the book onto the table. “Humiliation is a wonderful motivator.”

As Leodar’s lips twitched, blue illumination flared from the bookshelf. Tiatha’s chair skittered across the floor as she pointed at the swelling light. “Didn’t you tell me that your teachers were incapable of creating portals?”

“They can’t.”

Tiatha inched closer to the expanding opening while a pale golden light wrapped around her fingers. “Then who’s forcing their way into your school?”

“I don’t know.” Leodar shook his head as blue electricity crackled across his shoulders. “Especially considering that it’s not common knowledge.”

With a silent explosion, the light imploded into a swirling vortex as a lean man wielding a spear stepped through the maelstrom. When he stopped moving, his gaze swept across the library, stopping when he found Leodar and Tiatha. His lips curled into a predatory smile as he thumped the weapon against the ground as if driving in a nail.

“We have a Hunter,” Tiatha said, crossing her arms as she leaned against a bookshelf. “Would you like the first strike?”

“I’m surprised you haven’t dealt with him yet,” Leodar said, stepping between his sister and the intruder. “However, I’d be willing to lead our rebuttal.”

“It would appear that I have located a couple of rogues.” The intruder’s spear leapt into the air, whirling over his head. “The council will smile upon me for collecting a pair of criminals.”

“Counting your prizes is useless if you’re not alive to collect them.” Leodar shook his head as he thrust a slender finger toward the invader. “Why don’t you Hunters ever learn from your mistakes?”

Haughty laughter rebounded off the bookshelves while a bolt of electricity lanced from the whirling spear. As it raced across the room, Leodar spun out of its path, letting it collide with the stone floor behind him. While debris flew about the room, a pair of bolts erupted from Leodar’s fingertip, racing toward the hunter.

The Hunter’s wild grin intensified as his whirling spear dipped and crashed into the energy, absorbing them. With another twirl, the Hunter slammed his weapon against the back of his arm as he stepped forward. More teeth emerged through the Hunter’s smile as he rolled his shoulders. “Rogues such as you cannot stand against the power given me by the council.”

“You would think they’d learn.” Tiatha shook her head as she pushed off the bookcase, vanishing before taking her second step.

The Hunter twirled the staff around, slamming it into the stone floor. “Just because your companion can make herself unseen doesn’t mean she’ll be able to hide from me. No one can elude us forever.”

“My sister isn’t cowardly enough to flee.” Leodar’s back straightened as he dusted his stomach. “While I don’t know what she’s planning, I’m certain that whatever she does, you’ll regret your choices.”

“My brother couldn’t have said it any better.” Tiatha slammed her glowing hand against the man’s back. Instantly, his body spasmed, and the spear fell. When the hunter’s back arched, the weapon clattered off the hard stone. With a predatory smile plastered across Tiatha’s face, she leaned to speak into the Hunter’s ear. “While you might be the best the council has access to currently. My brother and I were trained by the most skilled wizard who ever live.”

“We all claim that!”

Tiatha stepped around the Hunter, ensuring that her fingers never lifted off his body. “Thobin Derunadel trained us personally.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Unfortunately for you,” Leodar said, dusting off his shoulder, “while my sister will obscure reality occasionally, this isn’t one of those times.”

The Hunter’s body quivered as a cry rang out. “What are you doing to me?”

“That’s a fair question.” Leodar brushed his nose as he walked forward. “Tiatha, what did you ensnare him with?”

The lithe woman sauntered around the Hunter, tracing his body with a fingernail. “Without my alteration, you would’ve been lost in time for a millennium, unaware of your fate.” She looked at her brother and offered him a knowing wink. “Personally, I think this eases some of the terror.”

“You’ve altered that spell? Didn’t father say altering something like that was foolish?”

A motherly smile spread across Tiatha’s face as she turned back to the Hunter, running her fingernail up his chest. “He did. However, that claim compelled me to learn how to master it. The ultimate result of losing ten centuries is the same. However, with my alteration, I get to have a brief conversation with you before your exile.”

“That’s not possible.”

“I do not require your acceptance.” Tiatha’s fingernail pressed against the Hunter’s cheek as she leaned forward. “Your fate was sealed the moment you created that portal. When you’re released from this spell, you will enter a strange world. And you will find yourself unable to cast a spell to defend yourself.”

“You’re lying!”

She chuckled into the Hunter’s ear as blood swelled under her fingernail. “Your lack of understanding dooms you into the unknown.”

As blood trickled down the Hunter’s chest, his lips contorted into a snarl. “I’ll hunt you down.”

Tiatha straightened her back as the golden light enveloped the invader. “I’ll have died of old age long before you’re released from this spell. Goodbye, my ignorant friend.”

Once the light vanished, Leodar stepped beside his sister, rubbing his chin. “When did you perfect that alteration?”

“During my time in the forest.” Tiatha spun around, plucking her book off the table, and stalked toward the exit. “I had plenty of time to craft that change and others.”