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Copyright © 2011 J. Michael Radcliffe, Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the author, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. The events and characters in this story are fictional. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Corvinus Black was dying. He had used every curative potion and countercharm known and nothing worked. When he became bedridden, his daughter, Nisha, had used every spell she knew to try and stop the mysterious ailment that was stealing her father away from her. Nisha’s father, a powerful member of the Order of Black and leading contender for a spot on the High Council, had recently fallen seriously ill. The symptoms had started with a horrible, red rash covering his entire body within a few hours, leading her to first suspect that a rival wizard had sent in an Irk[1] to attack her father. After trying numerous healing spells however, she realized this was no ordinary curse. Instead of slowing the progression of the symptoms, her spells seemed to speed his decline. Within hours her once powerful father had been reduced to a state of feverish, incoherent ramblings, unable to recognize the one who had been the jewel of his life - his only daughter.

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