Outview by Brandt Legg is a coming-of-age fantasy about a teenager named Nathan Ryder and his struggles learning modern-day psychic magic.
Nate has suffered for a year from paralyzing nightmares. In these night terrors he runs from enemies, but they always catch and kill him. He struggles to live a teen’s normal life with his best friends Kyle and Linh, but his father died four years ago and Nate feels responsible. The loss estranged him from his mother. Even worse, she sent his brother Dustin to a mental institution two years ago and she refuses to let Nate visit. Now the worsening nightmares have convinced Nate that he is going crazy like Dustin.
Kyle and Linh sneak him in to visit Dustin. They discover a lucid older brother who guides Nate to seek out their Aunt Rose and investigate their father’s death. Nate learns from Rose that his nightmares are the forerunners of exceptional psychic powers. His innocent Internet search about their father alerts a clandestine government agency. This agency, lead by an Agent Fitts, will stop at nothing to acquire Nate and his growing powers.
Outview is a dandy fantasy thriller. Woven throughout was an intricate and well-designed fantasy world of psychic powers and government shenanigans. Lita wished that she could just pick up a book, hold it closed between her palms, and absorb its knowledge the way Nate could.
The story’s ever-growing plot dangers made for an absorbing read. Brandt Legg used a deft hand in creating teens that were a pleasing blend of naïveté and intelligence. The story also had a nice balance of description and dialogue that kept things moving. Lita very much enjoyed the detailed descriptions of psychic magic, but some Gentle Readers might find them too lengthy for their tastes.
Outview is one of those excellent stories where Lita wanted to give it more than five stars. She cannot wait to read the sequel, Outin. Since Lita cannot absorb a book through her palms like Nate, she will read Outin from her Kindle the usual way.
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today’s chapter covers the Enchanters’ sacrifice in exchange for being the most powerful magicians in Sye.
The Enchanters had started as a small enclave of experimenters that distilled weak magical essence from plants and rainwater. They evolved into powerful mages that could see the future and cross Sye in five steps. They gained helpers along the way. The Merchant Guild formalized distribution networks for the Enchanters’ essence charms, and this reduced the attacks from the essence mad.
The Magic Guild became the business arm and handled many routine magical and mundane tasks. The Enchanters were then free to focus on essence-producing spells.
Establishing the five schools also brought powerful gains to the Enchanters. Each school specialized in two aspects of the Enchanter Discipline. The schools allowed them to train future Enchanters, plus educate secular magicians in general magic craft. By using the spells connecting the local Magic Guild to the sentient school, the Enchanters no longer gave essence directly to strangers.
Because of the overwhelming allure caused by essence kisses, the Enchanters became selective in the magicians they picked for their personal companions. Some secular magicians specialized in receiving essence kisses directly from Enchanters, and began the practice of Enchanters’ Consent. Enchanters called their favorite consents Essence Partners. The complete enthrallment of Enchanter kisses made exclusivity impossible. The conservative non-enthralled people of Sye considered the consents’ magical specialty wanton behavior, and the Enchanters lewd opportunists.
High magical essence levels not only improved the Enchanters’ ability to work spells, but also gave them robust health and attractive faces. Essence saturation was especially noticeable in the physical effect called Enchanter-Beautiful Eyes.
Not everything was a win. The Enchanters had to compromise. Once the Enchanters trained their bodies to produce magical essence, they had to shed the essence or suffer physical complications. How the early Enchanters concentrated magical essence changed the world of Sye forever. They now had exclusive control producing human-usable essence.
Many non-magicians chaffed at the personal nature of the essence kiss and the Enchanter Consent magical specialty. The recipient’s subjection to the Enchanter was an intolerable moral pitfall. This strife nearly toppled the Enchanters’ hard-won gains with purifying magical essence. The sentient Old Forest trees goaded the Enchanters into creating an equally strong magical counterpart to the Enchanter magical discipline, and that was the Church Magicians.
Although the Enchanters remained the sole source for magical essence, the Church became the moral compass for Sye’s people. The Church Priests’ spells lay the foundation for a network of churches, hospitals, and burial yards in the Enchanter School cities.
About a year after they established the Church Magician discipline, the Enchanters learned a terrible truth. The privilege of producing magical essence in their bodies, and being the most powerful magicians in Sye, had a dear result for both the male and female Enchanters. They were no longer able to conceive. Even intimacies with fertile non-Enchanter partners failed to create children. On the other hand, magic workers following the Church Magician discipline could produce families.
Some Enchanters abandoned the discipline. They returned their Uslar Rings and stopped eating Old Forest tree essence. Of these, only half were able to procreate a year later. Subsequent essence-free years improved their ability to have children. But some retired Enchanters never regained the ability to produce families.
Sye magicians called this Enchanter infertility the Greatest Sorrow.
Many promising candidates did not become Enchanters because of this reason. For the ones that did choose the Enchanter discipline, the schools and other Enchanters became their home and family.
Next time: Sye’s Magic Today
Find out more about the books in the Enchanters of Sye world:
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today we learn about deadly consequences for non-Enchanters.
In the early days of the Enchanter Schools, the Magic and Merchant Guild workers had free access to the school’s grounds. The schools’ early foundation spells did not differentiate between the Enchanters and the other school residents. The schools pulled essence from everyone on site and the non-Enchanters fell ill. The weakest died from magical deprivation.
Many non-Enchanters fled the schools to protect themselves. To stop the crisis, the Grandmasters talked with the sentient schools and devised powerful charms that would identify the bearer as an Enchanter. The schools fashioned the charms into beautiful gems. The schools produced seven gem colors: Earthe (brown or deep green), Mer (aqua or blue), Aer (clear), and Fyre (scarlet or amber).
Pool of Light
The Old Forest School created a place called the Pool of Light and placed the stones at the bottom.
Magician Uslar was the first candidate to enter the pool and take a gem. Later Enchanters named the gems Uslar Stones. For convenience, the schools set the gems into intricate rings that Enchanters wear on the middle finger of the left hand. The Uslar Ring gives the Enchanter access to the school’s essence reservoir. The beautiful gems sparkle during spell casting, and they identify the wearer as an Enchanter.
The plan worked. All Enchanters claimed a gem from the Pool of Light and experienced a heightened connection to the schools. The essence drain on non-Enchanters stopped.
After the Uslar Stones emerged, the Old Forest School closed access to the essence-producing trees, making it exclusive to the Enchanters wearing Uslar Stones.
Shutting away the Enchanters had serious repercussions for those not living in the schools. Even those who were not essence mad now relied on magical essence for their wellbeing. Many people disliked the wanton affection and enthrallment that come from sharing essence kisses.
The Enchanters’ concentrated magic needed balancing. Sye itself righted matters, but with great pain to the Enchanters.
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today we read how the early Enchanters used desperate measures to protect themselves.
To shelter themselves from the frequent and savage attacks of the essence mad, the Enchanters journeyed to five far-flung areas of Sye and established five schools.
The ten enclave Enchanters saturated the foundation stones with protection spells. They designed self-sustaining protections. For all the school’s residents, the school drew off essence to power the spells. The excess essence went into a reservoir.
To fix the impersonal nature of a school’s essence collection, the Enchanters adjusted the foundation spells and gave the schools female personalities. To the Enchanters’ surprise, their efforts made the schools sentient creatures.
Also to protect themselves from exposure to the essence mad, the Enchanters used their most powerful combined magic and linked the five schools. They could travel between the schools using just five steps instead of taking days on horseback.
After establishing the five schools, two of the original Enchanters went to each school and took up permanent residence. They took the title of Grandmaster.
Much work remained locally at the schools. The Grandmasters divided the Enchanters’ Magical Discipline among the schools and established each site with two magical specialties. They contracted with the local Merchant Guild representatives and had them take over distributing the essence charms out of each school. This created a buffer between the delicate Enchanters and the forceful tactics of the essence mad.
Magic Worker Guild
After setting up a better essence charm distribution network with the Merchant Guild, the Grandmaster Enchanters next hired mages and trained them in the mundane aspects of magic craft. These mages cast dispensary spells and connected them to the schools’ foundation spells. The mages crafted charms with much lower essence levels, and then coordinated with the Merchant Guild to vend the amulets.
These early mages established the Magic Worker Guild to tend all but the essence-generating Enchanter spells. The Grandmasters selected willing candidates from the Magic Workers Guild and began training Enchanter candidates at the schools. While these developments stabilized the Enchanters’ work and made essence available for the rest of Sye’s people, the schools still had some fatal flaws.
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today we read about the pleasures and dangers of essence kisses.
The original Enchanters used their bodies to transform unpalatable tree magic into essence that non-Enchanter magicians could use. They produced potent charms to distribute magical essence. But charms were not the Enchanters’ preference. The best way for an Enchanter to disperse essence was through direct contact, namely an essence kiss. Although kisses were a lovely way to share essence with intimates, the savagery of the essence mad made the kiss impractical.
In an effort to decrease the madness, the Enchanters produced new charms containing diluted essence. And they faced other problems with the Enchanters’ Magical Discipline.
The ten mages’ magical power increased many fold, but they grew weaker in other surprising areas. They also struggled to protect themselves from weather extremes and the aggressive actions of the essence mad.
Matters finally became a crisis. After an especially savage attack that maimed and nearly killed an Enchanter, the ten enclave magicians took drastic measures to protect themselves.
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today we read about essence madness.
The ten enclave magicians learned from the sentient Old Forest how to prepare and consume the rich magical essence. According to the Old Forest’s instructions, they consumed tree essence five times a day for twenty-five days.
The essence glut irrevocably changed the mages’ bodies, their lives, and Sye. Their health became robust. Skin blemishes, stature, weight, and physical endurance improved significantly. The magical essence made them physically attractive, especially their eyes. Memory, the ability to learn complex spells, and the intuitiveness to construct elaborate magical mechanisms blossomed. Their intelligence and literacy also increased.
The Enchanters’ bodies transformed the unpalatable tree magic into magical essence that non-Enchanter magicians could readily use. The ten magicians named their emerging craft the Enchanters’ Magical Discipline.
They created charms to store and deliver their essence. The ten Enchanters distributed hundreds of these charms to travelers who carried them to far-away towns. Some Enchanters left the enclave and established homes in the larger towns where they spread rich magical essence to anyone who wanted to taste its enchantment.
But there was a dangerous downside.
The onslaught of palatable essence was too much for some non-Enchanters to bear. These unfortunate ones lost their wits and developed an unquenchable lust for the magic. They coveted the essence charms. When the charms’ magic went dry, the mad sought the traveling Enchanters and attacked them to get magical essence from the source.
Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret. Today we read the first chapter and discover how Enchantment came to the Sye world.
Before Enchanters came, Sye’s plants and animals shared their world’s weak and scattered magic.
Early magicians with an interest in improving their spell craft formed a community. They cultivated the plants with the highest concentration of magic and ate the leaves. The magicians became ill from the plant’s raw magic. Many of them left the enclave, but the few that remained experimented with the flora.
Certain spells and physical preparation made the plants palatable for most, but the puny levels had little effect on the magicians’ magical abilities. More mages abandoned the effort until only five men and five women remained: Surat, Cha, Kesdin, Beel, Sahn, Ree, Narkin, Lika, Cinton, and Durme.
The Magical Chaos Theory
As Sye magicians have learned since then, the Magical Chaos Theory seeks order from the mess of random enchantment.
The turning point for the discouraged magicians came when the trees in the Old Forest in the eastern interior of Sye awoke because of the Magical Chaos Theory. What is now known as the Enchanter’s Ten originated from the ten enclave magicians. They also defined the Enchanter’s Two power number. Its enchantments manifest in the duality between male and female, plus the pairing of mind (causa) and body (soma).
Magical Essence Appears
These early magicians cultivated spells to communicate with the magically sentient trees. In a mutually beneficial exchange, the trees shed magic-rich bark and leaves. The ten mages then followed the trees’ instructions and transformed this enchanted tree detritus into chewy sticks sweetened with wood sap. They called it magical essence, and the ten could eat the concoction without falling ill.
The Old Forest’s impact on the ten magicians’ magical abilities was profound. Sye’s magic would never again be scattered and weak.
After twenty and five days of eating tree essence, the ten enclave magicians became Sye’s first Enchanters. The Old Forest gave them vast magical power, but unexpected weaknesses threatened to destroy their hard-won enchantments.