Enjoy this book?
Stay in contact with Steve and be the first to know about his new books.
- Title: Wizards in the West: Water Wizards
- Ages: 9-12
- Price: $2.99 USD
- Author: Steve Hanson
- Publication Date: 09/30/13
Michael thought he was the only non-magical person in town, until a stranger arrives. He learns he’s not only a wizard, but that he must save the West from Governor Blake.
Centuries ago during the Wars of the Elements, the water wizards came so close to destroying the sun, earth and wind wizards that their existence became a legend. Now the bored ranch hand, Michael Venn, thought he was the only non-magical person in town because he couldn’t cast the most basic of spells–until he received an urgent message from a strange rider. He learned he’s not only a powerful sun wizard, but that it’s up to him to defend the West from the terrifying Governor Blake.
How will a fourteen-year-old and a rag-tag bunch of outlaws put a stop to the governor’s evil empire?
This is the first book of the “Wizards In The West” series and is recommended for children and young adults who love wizard books. Ages 9-12. 10 chapters. 15k words.
It was an hour before dawn when Sena sneaked from the bedroom where she had been kept captive for a year. She grabbed her pointy Stetson and white cape from under the bed but left the spurs because they would make too much noise. She adorned her waist-length, chestnut hair with the hat and felt like a normal eighteen-year-old for once. A rare smile flickered on her slender lips. She had spent most of her time in isolation dreaming of how to defeat her captor, Governor Augustine Blake. She was happy to finally be executing her plan, even though she knew she would be caught.
Sneaking around the mansion wasn’t tough. The mansion was run like a factory, and the guard routes were extremely consistent. She had every route memorized and often crept to the kitchen for a midnight snack or to the library for a book.
After the first guard passed her room, she tiptoed to the edge of the hallway, where she waited for six seconds. Then she quietly ran down the stairs. Her petite outline snaked through the mansion, out the back entrance, and finally to the stable. While “living” in the governor’s mansion, she had mastered precision and learned how to keep track of time in her head, just like the guards did.
She undid a safety pin from her skirt and used it to pick the simple padlock on the stable door. There wasn’t much security around the stables, as any wizard with half a brain would steal a broom, not a horse.
Everything went as smoothly as Sena had hoped. She just prayed that she was putting her trust in the right wizard. Most people who visited the mansion were too corrupt or afraid of crossing Blake to help her, and the few who weren’t never left alive. As far as she knew, Sena was the only prisoner Blake had kept alive.
Sena mounted a horse and headed to the large hawthorn tree at the edge of the property. Her horse’s hooves stirred up clouds of dust as it cantered. The cool air of the California desert was a nice reprieve from the stuffy, hot air of her room. The horse whinnied. A dark shadow of a man on a broom removed his invisibility charm. His wand glistened in the moonlight as he raised it to her throat. “The first time we met, what flower did you have behind your ear?” a polite British voice asked.
“It was winter, and there were no flowers,” Sena answered.
He lowered his wand and left the shadows. Artie was tall, thin, refined, and in his thirties. His pale skin was a stark contrast to the licorice-colored handlebar moustache adorning his upper lip. He wore light tan boots with a faint red fringe on the top, shiny golden spurs, and the traditional pointy hat. But his sophisticated accent was the biggest clue that he was a recent transplant to the desert from England.
Sena handed Artie a letter. “Take this to Burt LaRoy in Aridale. Governor Blake has begun his conquest into the West, just like Burt feared. Rally the outlaws along the way, and for goodness’ sake I need my wand,” Sena said briskly as she stared into his brown eyes to make sure he understood. He stared back into her fiery green eyes.
“Yes, ma’am,” Artie replied. He disappeared again as he flew to the mountains. Sena mounted her horse and headed the other way. The only way to keep Artie alive was to hide him from Governor Blake. Her sole purpose in escaping was to create a momentary distraction for Artie.
As Sena rode through the dark, she felt free. She pretended she was back in San Marron, where she was from. In San Marron she would have gotten whistles and hollers from the nearby ranch hands, which was quite different from living in Blake’s Mansion. No wizard dared to look at her because she was bad news. When she was seventeen, she had rallied San Marron against Blake’s governorship. It was the only town in California to vote overwhelmingly against him. At seventeen and a half, she disappeared and had been in his mansion since.
Despite the sense of freedom she felt while riding the horse, Sena also felt worried. Blake never made the same mistake twice. If Artie failed, there would be no second chance—Burt would have to be ready for Blake’s onslaught without any help or warning. She prayed her trust was in the right place.
The pine fence around the mansion was too high to jump without magic, so Sena built up speed as she headed to the main gate so she could gallop at full speed past the guards. She heard shouting and yelling as she whipped past them but didn’t bother to turn around. It would be protocol to chase her and alert the other guards, so she knew the race was on.
An occasional moo peppered the air from the ranch across the road. The cows either knew what was happening and hoped to alert Blake or were exasperated that she had woken them. Brooms flew behind her, and a cactus to her side crackled as it was hit with a freezing spell. It wasn’t fair that she couldn’t fight back. She swerved suddenly to keep the chase interesting.
Sena whipped the reins. She had to make it to the ridge to make it look like a convincing escape attempt. There was another sudden crackle. Sena’s horse turned to ice, and she flew face-first into the sand. Small rocks tore at her olive skin, her glistening teeth were caked with gritty soil, and her straight, modest nose had a fresh gash. Blake’s guards surrounded her by the time she sat up. She kicked sand at them as she put up her hands.
Seconds later Blake arrived on his broom. His dark, menacing outline was a black hole in the sky, surrounded by stars. His wand was delicately perched between his first and second fingers. A spell from Blake’s wand dragged a ranking officer behind him. “I believe you know my head of security,” Blake coldly stated.
“My men caught her before she made it to the ridge,” he nervously pleaded to Blake.
“Extinguo corpis,” Blake declared, and the officer’s limp body fell to the ground. Sena burst into tears and reached for the officer. She didn’t want anyone to die because of her, even if it was one of Blake’s officers.
“Seal the property, scan for protective charms, and search for anything she may have dropped,” Blake commanded.