Hunted Chapter Thirty-Three


She tried to warn them. They wouldn’t listen.

As a child, Terrin of Xell barely escaped a spirit from the Dark Forest. She knows better than to rely on magic. But with her schoolmate Chris accused of a magical crime he didn’t commit, she couldn’t let him face banishment alone.

So Terrin gets caught up in Chris’s quest to recover an ancient relic, with only magic to guide them. Naturally, everything goes wrong.

What lurks in the shadows, hunting Terrin and her friends? Or did the magic itself turn against them?

Hunted: The Riddled Stone Book Two is being serialized freely on this website at the pace of one chapter per week. You can buy the full novel at my publisher’s store or in ebook or paperback format at your favorite online retailer.


Click here to read from Chapter One. Or go back to the very beginning in Banished: The Riddled Stone Book One.

Chapter 33


“For the last time, no,” Trill said. She sent a glaring glance over her shoulder at him, then continued to read her book.

With little else to do around the manor, she spent most of her afternoons in the mage room, watching Eric practice. But today, he had been continually pausing to pester her about learning magic.

Across the room, Eric muttered over a stone cupped in his hands.

“From stone to wood. From rock to wood. From stone to wood. From rock to wood.”

Finally Trill’s curiosity got the best of her.

“Won’t the spell wear off?”

“No, once the properties of an object are changed, they stay changed. Once the magic from the casting fades, someone would have to cast another spell to change it back.”

“I see. What about before the magic fades?”

“They could reverse the spell. It would take more control than casting a new spell, but in other ways it would be easier.”

There was a slight change in his tone that made Trill glance at him again. He was watching her with an amused smile.

“What?” she said.

“Nothing. I just thought you didn’t want to learn magic, that’s all.”

Trill stared at him. He continued to smile back.

She let out a long sigh.

“I don’t. I was just curious.”

“Mhm,” he said, turning back to his rock and taking up the chant again.

When his magic continued to fail for several minutes, he finally joined her at the small table, pouring himself a glass of water from the ever-present pitcher. Trill stared at the book without really seeing the words. She could feel him watching her, but she refused to meet his gaze.

Finally Eric spoke. “Why not? You obviously don’t have anything against the use of magic, or you wouldn’t be here. So why don’t you want to learn?”

She leaned back and looked at him, turning her answer over in her mind.

“I guess,” she finally said, “I don’t want to learn something that I’ll never use.”

“You don’t know that.”

“When would I use it?” she challenged, leaning forward a bit.

“You could have used it with the bear. Or for fun.”

“For fun? I don’t want to learn magic just to use ‘for fun.’”

“What would make it different from any other hobby? Like your gardening. You’d just be nurturing a talent you already have.”


She paused. He had a point. A small one.


“Because I don’t want to use something like magic for a hobby. Especially not when a war is coming on. If there’s a war, the king could use a good magician like your father. Or you. But does even the king know? Are you going to tell him?”

Eric was silent, his eyes lowered to the table, where his fingers traced its grain.

Trill watched him, letting the silence thicken till it was a heavy blanket that pushed down on her, making it hard to breathe. Finally he glanced up.

“I don’t know what we’ll say. That is up to my father.”

“Well, I don’t want to have a talent like that, only to hide it from those I could help.”

“Why should you hide it? Surely not just because my father chooses to do so? He has no control over you.”

“My father hates magic. He barely tolerates its use for common wards. Even if I did learn magic — even if I tried to offer my services to the king — my father wouldn’t let me. He’d be horrified with me. So I’d rather not learn.”

“So instead of having a talent and not using it, you’re just going to deny ever having it?”


Trill dropped her book, and despite the fact that it was mere inches from the table, its clunk sounded like thunder to her. She met his eyes and held them for a minute.

Then she sighed. “That’s not it.”

“I think it is.”

The blanket of silence returned.

After several minutes, Eric tried again.

“All I want to say is that maybe you should give it a chance. Learn to use your talent, and then at that point you can decide what to do with it. Would that really be so bad? Besides, if you wanted to use your magic for the king, would you really let your father stop you?”

Trill shifted her gaze to stare over his shoulder, tears of frustration and confusion welling in her eyes. Her eyelids slid shut as she breathed deeply, forcing herself to clear her muddled mind and think.

Then she met his eyes.

“You said earlier that reversing a spell took more control, but was easier. What does that mean?”

A grin cut Eric’s face from ear to ear, and he quickly launched into an explanation. “There are two main aspects to a magician’s ability: their skill at controlling and focusing the magic, but also how much power they have available. To reverse the spell, you’d just be dispersing the magic, so you wouldn’t be expending much power.

“Some people are natural at control, others have lots of power. You seem to have a good bit of both. Which is good, because if you have control but not power, you might learn quickly, but you can’t exactly learn more power, just how to conserve what you have. But if you have power, but no control, then you’re like me, and even simple spells take effort. In that case…”

Trill couldn’t help but smile at his eagerness. He may struggle with spells, she thought, but he’s not a half bad teacher.

Read chapter thirty-four…

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Gaskins
Published by Tabletop Academy Press.
Cover and layout copyright © 2016 by Tabletop Academy Press
Cover Photo Credits: “Girl with bow” by Yeko Photo Studio via and “Forest, untagged” by Lukasz Szmigiel via

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.


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