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The Last Wizard - the Story of a Reluctant Hero Second Edition: The First Book of Terry Unger's Reluctant Hero Trilogy

The Last Wizard - the Story of a Reluctant Hero Second Edition: The First Book of Terry Unger's Reluctant Hero Trilogy

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The Last Wizard - the Story of a Reluctant Hero Second Edition: The First Book of Terry Unger's Reluctant Hero Trilogy

Longueur:
264 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jun 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781462024094
Format:
Livre

Description

Throughout all of this, the Catholic Church declared a ban on any form of contraception in South America, Mexico, Central America, and Africa. In these poor countries the Church felt it still had significant influence. This action only added to the already staggering population growth. People not killed off by disease died from starvation. The rise of the Christian Right, who were no more than fascists, added their considerable weight to the crisis.
This movement managed to influence the U.S. federal government, particularly the executive and judicial branches. Their influence had U.S. Presidents reject the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Accords, using the excuse that participating in them would hurt American business interests. In true Fascist tradition, the American military industrial complex and right wing Christian ideologues, were cozily in bed with each other. When the developing nations saw the United States pay no more than lip service to Kyoto and Bali, they followed suit.
Debt national, corporate, and personal was staggering. The Christian Right became deeply entrenched in government, the military, and business. But they needed Democrats and began to court them like a rich old geezer courts a Playboy centerfold. Payment rendered by the Democrats was the gutting of the Constitution and the repeal of Roe v. Wade. The Christian Right was very close to creating their ideal Christian Nation but took one huge misstep.
Nuclear missiles were shaken by their political puppets like a stick shaken by an armchair general scolding a poor ally. China and India, considered godless by the Right, were the targets of this saber rattling, even though they held most of this nations debt. When they had had enough, they called in the debt.
The United States went financially belly-up and because of the inter-connectedness of the global economy woven between nations, so did other countries. This worldwide governmental bankruptcy, combined with things previously mentioned, brought about total collapse. Governments capitulated and civil order became non-existent, ushering in The Age of Anarchy. The world, now more than ever, needed heroes.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jun 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781462024094
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Terry Unger is a student of history and the old lore that has been handed down to us from pre-Christian times. He has also studied many of the alterative religions of both the Pagan and Heathen varieties. From his studies and experience Terry Unger brings to the reader a rich and colorful world, a world very different from what the average person is familiar with. Terry lives in League City Texas and is currently working on several other writing projects.

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The Last Wizard - the Story of a Reluctant Hero Second Edition - Terry Unger

THE LAST

WIZARD

THE STORY OF A RELUCTANT HERO

The First Book of Terry Unger’s

Reluctant Hero Trilogy

SECOND EDITION

TERRY UNGER

iUniverse, Inc.

Bloomington

The Last Wizard - The Story of a Reluctant Hero Second Edition

The First Book of Terry Unger’s Reluctant Hero Trilogy

Copyright © 2011 by Terry Unger.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author and publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

iUniverse

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

www.iuniverse.com

1-800-Authors (1-800-288-4677)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2407-0 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2408-7 (dj)

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2409-4 (ebk)

Printed in the United States of America

iUniverse rev. date: 05/31/2011

For My Erik the Red, Wherever You Are… .

Contents

Introduction

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Epilogue

Glossary

Introduction

Wizard is just a book, a flight of fancy, a work of fiction. It is not intended to be prophetic. It does not represent the views of paganism or heathenry as a whole. This book contains adult themes and situations and should not be used as a children’s bedtime story or read by those who are not mentally or emotionally secure.

The characters do not represent any persons past or present; they are fictional. All of the characters are flawed with personal traits that we all can identify with. I have tried to depict humanity at its best and at its worst. Ordinary people, when faced with life-changing decisions, make choices, be it for good or ill. Heroes are not born but made. They are ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, who have chosen to make a stand for what they believe is right. You will meet heroes in the pages of this book, and may find some of them to be the most unlikely to wear that title. And, you will meet the scum of the earth.

History is used to flesh out the various concepts presented. For those who take issue with my interpretation of history, I remind you that this is a work of fiction. I have tried to remain as true to the Celtic and Germanic/Norse mythos as possible but I do admit that I have stretched a point or two for the sake of the story. I use the term, the Quickening to describe a series of events that occurred nearly simultaneously and that brought about the life-changing circumstances that the characters face.

I am aware that this work could create controversy among pagans, heathens, and Christians. However, if this controversy leads to a dialogue that brings better understanding and tolerance among people, that is a good thing.

Places mentioned in the book like Lake George and its surrounding areas, and the Finger Lakes, are very real. Here in the United States we still have many places to see and visit that are beautiful. Every one of these great vistas should have a sign that reads, Don’t muck this up! Keep it for our grandchildren’s grandchildren! Enjoy!!!

Terry Unger

Prologue

This book, The Last Wizard—The Story of a Reluctant Hero was met with good reviews. However, many folks asked me why I did not have a bridge from the modern to the post-modern world I storied in Wizard. The answer is simple. My editor at the time argued, rather strenuously, that I drop the prologue because it read like a history book and gave away the contents. Looking back, I feel this was a mistake-not the editor’s mistake but mine for going along with it. The reader needs to know the origins of something, not just the end result. Therefore I present here the omitted prologue.

It finally happened. This It in, later history would be referred to as The Quickening. This was not just a failed environment but a variety of unrelated issues that combined to bring about planetary change… .

The polar ice caps melted sooner than expected, creating massive coastal flooding. This caused many people to move inland. The loss of the polar caps pushed land temperatures up an average of six degrees in most areas. In the northern hemisphere the increased temperature reduced snow and rainfall. The lack of water worldwide caused general sanitation to break down. Humanity, with its false sense of scientific superiority, had declared bacterial infection defeated decades before.

But those tiny life forms had just adapted and when the temperature rose, came back with a vengeance. New strains of cholera, measles, small pox, influenza, diphtheria, and plague killed untold millions before a treatment to defeat them was found.

Oil became black gold. Demand increased while supply decreased, bringing about sky-rocketing fuel prices. For many years people had heard how government would create energy independence but to no avail. In an effort to supplement fuel supply, government turned to the production of ethanol as a quick fix.

As a result, basic grains never made it to grocery stores let alone family tables. In effect, western nations put people’s groceries into their SUVs via ethanol. Governments were aware of this, but for reasons not fully understood, food production did not increase although the capacity was there. Some at the time had speculated it was a combination of climate change, less growing space due to population increase, and just plain greed.

And bees, necessary in the process of pollination, were dying off by the millions with no satisfactory explanation. Before the ethanol rage, western nations produced grain foodstuffs with large surpluses. This surplus went to feed hungry people in third world countries. Bu now this surplus went into ethanol, creating even greater world hunger. Food shortages, combined with fresh drinking water shortages, brought about mass riots that eventually hobbled many governments.

Throughout all of this, the Catholic Church declared a ban on any form of contraception in South America, Mexico, Central America, and Africa. In these poor countries the Church felt it still had significant influence. This action only added to the already staggering population growth. People not killed off by disease died from starvation. The rise of the Christian Right, who were no more than fascists, added their considerable weight to the crisis.

This movement managed to influence the U.S. federal government, particularly the executive and judicial branches. Their influence had U.S. Presidents reject the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Accords, using the excuse that participating in them would hurt American business interests. In true Fascist tradition, the American military industrial complex and right wing Christian ideologues, were cozily in bed with each other. When the developing nations saw the United States pay no more than lip service to Kyoto and Bali, they followed suit.

Debt-national, corporate, and personal—was staggering. The Christian Right became deeply entrenched in government, the military, and business. But they needed Democrats and began to court them like a rich old geezer courts a Playboy centerfold. Payment rendered by the Democrats was the gutting of the Constitution and the repeal of Roe v. Wade. The Christian Right was very close to creating their ideal Christian Nation but took one huge misstep.

Nuclear missiles were shaken by their political puppets like a stick shaken by an armchair general scolding a poor ally. China and India, considered godless by the Right, were the targets of this saber rattling, even though they held most of this nation’s debt. When they had had enough, they called in the debt.

The United States went financially belly-up and because of the inter-connectedness of the global economy woven between nations, so did other countries. This worldwide governmental bankruptcy, combined with things previously mentioned, brought about total collapse. Governments capitulated and civil order became non-existent, ushering in The Age of Anarchy. The world, now more than ever, needed heroes… .

Chapter One

The hunter crouched on the forest floor, surrounded by the abundant mountain laurels. Soon, he knew, the buck would bring his females and bed down for the night; he would wait for them. As he clutched his bow and quiver of arrows, he took mental inventory of his needs. He needed the meat, and the bones for new arrow heads. The hide could be used for many things. That animal’s death would not be in vain. He would honor its unwilling sacrifice just as the Old Ways dictated. The Old Ways were what had kept him alive, but they also brought with them pain from the past. As he held the bow in his hand, he remembered his Opa telling him the story about the family Patriarch.

The Great One had served his country with honor and distinction during the Second World War. Because he was of Germanic heritage, he was recruited by the United States government and served in some clandestine situations. He held the rank of Captain, but acted more like a spy. GreatOpa was dropped into hostile areas by forward cavalry units. Dressed in civilian clothes and able to speak the native tongue, he easily blended with the locals, and obtained much needed information for the Allied High Command. But his luck ran out on a warm autumn day in 1944.

GreatOpa was captured by the Nazi SS and was sentenced to hang as a spy. Somehow, he escaped his captors and was found in the forest by an old woman. He had been badly beaten, but the old woman managed to get him back to her cottage and nursed him back to health. As he grew stronger, GreatOpa was amazed by that cunning old woman. He had relatives in south eastern Pennsylvania who practiced the Braucherei Tradition, which was thought to have come from the Germanic countries in the 1660s. The Braucherei Tradition was all about healing the body and soul. This old one, he thought, had to be, of Braucherei descent, of a branch that still lived in the forests of Europe. As he grew stronger, GreatOpa asked the old woman many questions which she willingly answered. During that time spent together, they formed a bond that would never end, even at death. The old woman taught her new student many things that he would carry into his future. When the day came that the Allies pushed through the forest, GreatOpa had to rejoin his unit but not before the old woman prophesized: his name and issue would one day be great and a blessing to many people. Puzzled, he questioned her. She then told him in a hushed voice that events were in motion; he did not need to know the details.

Within a short time after GreatOpa had left his nurse and teacher, the local populace heard stories of an old woman in the forest who had aided a Nazi. With enraged mob mentality, they hanged her as a Nazi collaborator, but her body disappeared and was never found. Legend had it that with her last breath, she vanished. The locals did not discuss that event. To them, it was witchcraft at work. They had no idea that it was an Allied soldier that she had aided.

As luck would have it, GreatOpa became a part of the military occupational government. With the rank of Major, he was given the task of rooting out suspected war criminals and bringing them to justice. He travels had brought him back to that familiar forest where he discovered the fate of his beloved nurse and teacher. It was almost too much for him to bear. He never found her murderers, but fingers pointed to a local pastor who liked to boast of how his ancestors hunted witches in the Middle Ages.

With hard work, GreatOpa was able to salvage most of her written notes on potions and incantations, along with her silver Pentacle necklace. That information would prove to be invaluable to him and his family in the future. The mob had not been concerned about her personal effects, just her life. GreatOpa could not search further for her murderers. He could not act on hearsay evidence; his superiors would not allow it. Besides, he had an appointment in southern France.

The road was still full of craters from artillery and aircraft bombardment. GreatOpa made slow progress and was forced to spend the night at a roadside inn. Her English was very poor and his French was even worse. But—love surmounted all barriers and GreatOpa took Celia the innkeeper as his wife. When his tour of duty was complete, the Great One, Max Muller, brought his French-born wife to the United States. One year later Celia bore him a son and insisted that the boy be named Max. GreatOpa remembered the old woman’s prophecy. Was his new-born son to be a part of his old teacher’s words? He did not know the answer to that question, but only that the name Max was the right one for his son.

GreatOpa had vivid memories of his teacher and the stories that she told him. When he thought about those things, he wanted to experience them for himself. Celia never questioned her husband about the part he had played in the war, but Max talked frequently about the old woman and the sadness he felt concerning her death. When Max was filled with melancholy, Celia knew that he was thinking of her. Celia was not a jealous woman but had serious concerns about her husband’s welfare. Her man loved the mountains and forests. If she could find a way to comfort her husband, she would do it without any reservation. Before they had left France, Celia had sold the inn to some American investors and received a handsome profit. If that small windfall, she thought, would bring a measure of happiness to her husband, she would spend every penny. A few months later, she had the opportunity and jumped on it.

The Muller family took leave of the family apothecary business and vacationed for the first time in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. As Max walked into the tree line, memories of the old woman flooded him. Max had a strange feeling that he belonged there. Little Max played on the forest floor, his giggling and cooing accented by the woodland chorus of birds. Celia was ever alert to her family’s mood and saw what her money should do. The next day the Mullers went to the county land office and bought twelve acres of mountain top woodland. From their mountain top, they could see Lake George in the distance. Celia saw the passion on her husband Max’s face. She thought that the land purchase had changed the course of her family’s history; she had no idea how much that purchase would affect human history in the future.

The eight-point buck led his three does into the tall grass to bed down for the night. The hunter saw that the last doe struggled to keep up with the others; she was lame. It was only right that he follow the way of nature and cull the lame one from the small herd. Max fitted an arrow to his bow string, pulled back and released. The arrow struck true, a clean kill through the heart. The buck and his two healthy does ran off without a pause to look back. Max moved slowly toward his fresh kill, and thought about how his GreatOpa’s bow was magical; he never missed. That had been true for all the Muller men who had used the bow before him. He assumed that his GreatOpa and Momma Celia enchanted the bow; he was sure of it. Of all the tales that were told around the family fire pit, those stories of how the old woman had given knowledge to GreatOpa were most vivid in his mind. And the Grimoire that GreatOpa had brought from France was full of spell-craft and incantations for various purposes.

The final breath of the doe had expired long before Max reached her side. When on his knees, he thanked the animal for its life and praised the gods for the sustenance it would provide him. Max then slowly but methodically, since what he was doing was a ritual, gutted the deer and left the internal organs on the forest floor as food for other animals. He slung the carcass over his shoulders and began the walk back to the family home.

She watched as Max left with his kill, as she had done so many times before. For years she had stalked him, like a huntress her prey. On that day she saw something in his facial expression that she had seen before. He was remembering again, she knew, about how his parents had died. That was not a concern for her, at least not yet. Too much sympathy, at the wrong time, could spoil the Plan. She had studied Max since he was a boy. She was an expert on not only Max Muller III, but the entire Muller clan. She knew his GreatOpa. She was the old woman, the one whose body was never found. Her longing had gone unfulfilled for millennia. That mortal man, Max Muller, would satisfy her cravings in many ways.

*     *     *

Nona had left her small but well-appointed room in the Vatican for evening prayer. As a novice religious, she considered herself lucky. Born into obscure poverty in northern Italy, she had gained the attention of the local bishop. He saw in Nona certain abilities, and sent her to Rome for religious training. Nona literally had grown up in the Vatican, which became the center of the world and culture after the Quickening. When all the active pieces in the Quickening had come together, modern civilization had no more to give to humanity and fell apart. The Age of Technology, the final part of the Industrial Age, came to a screeching halt. Many things that Nona never saw, except in the Vatican museum-like computers, video games, and cell phones-were of a past that was alien to her and her generation. However, she and her classmates had access to things like telephones and radios; it was just those inventions that mankind had become too dependent on that no longer existed.

One day, Nona saw a hand held calculator in one of the museums and asked the curator why and how it was used. He politely told her that it was used so that people did not have to use their brains. She was not sure what the curator meant by that. Nona was aware of her good fortune, but felt deep within her that it was her just due. She was well educated for the time, when most of the population could barely read. The Age of Technology, combined with politics, had dumbed down education. Many people became dependent on computers, to do their thinking for them. Young men and women graduated from high school and did not know how to make the correct change when a purchase was made without some kind of computer to do the calculation. The science of mathematics, down to basic arithmetic, was lost. Literary skills were defeated by the ease of the Internet. In and of itself not a bad thing, the Internet provided easy ways to copy an essay or term paper. And those ways were used. Many plagiarized works were put in front of unknowing instructors. When the abundant energy used to electrify those marvels dried up, computers ceased to exist. Generations became lost without their video games, cell phones, text messaging, Internet access, and e-mail. Young people did not know how to socially interact with others without those props. That sudden loss of life style put more people on the streets. Nona had overheard stories told by traveling Dominicans of how half the world’s population perished after the Quickening.

The failure of the Age of Technology and civil governments fed the fear that created the rise of anarchy. It had become every man for himself. Anarchy was responsible for genocide. People who had not been killed by the environmental health crises that were a direct outgrowth of failed technology were done in by the Anarchists. The Roman Church filled the gap created by the vacated civil governments. The clergy stepped in, just as they had done after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Constantine, his predecessors and his successors, could not have conceived of a global conquest of this scale. The New Romans, Nona knew, maintained some of that old technology to be used against dissenters. But why would anyone, she thought, want to go against the Roman Church? The Church gave the believers security, food, clothing, and shelter. That was what Nona was taught to believe.

Nona did not care if the general populace never took advantage of those opportunities. She had, and had done so willingly. In one year she would take her final vows and become a vested Child of Rome, a member of a new religious Order. She would have two functions: one, to teach some sense to the rising tide of pagans, and second, to report any suspicious activity that could be deemed a threat to Rome. Nona was to be a Questioner. In her current position, she was the personal assistant and mistress of the

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