The Wizard Heir
shattered, bits of glass glittering in the
sunlight as they fell into the harbor.
    “I'll go to the Roses,” Seph said.
“They'll give me the training I need.”
    Leicester extended his hand and spoke a charm.
Something slammed into Seph, like a missile from a compressed air weapon, and
he was down on his back on the floor, unable to move.
    Leicester spoke from above him. “We call that a subduen
charm.”
    Seph said nothing.
    “Given the current political situation, I can't
risk your alerting the Roses to what's going on here. They would murder us
all.” Leicester paused. Seph still didn't respond. “I'll let you up
when you can control yourself.”
    Seph lay there a moment, breathing hard, then said,
“Okay.” Leicester muttered a few Latinesque words and Seph was able
to sit up and drag himself to his feet. “So you're going to hold me
prisoner here.”
    Leicester twisted the ring on his right hand.
“Write a letter, Joseph, if you must, and we will mail it. And carefully consider
the choice before you. If you don't learn to manage your power, it will destroy
you. I will not waste time on anyone who is unwilling to commit to our cause
and submit to my leadership. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Until
you complete the ceremony, nothing happens.”
    “There are plenty of lawyers in the world. If
Denis Houghton committed me without a proper evaluation, I'll sue both your
asses.” Seph stalked out, slamming the door and clattering down the
stairs.
    When he was sure the boy had gone. Gregory Leicester
picked up the phone and pressed an extension. “Joseph McCauley may attempt
to call off-property,” he said. “See that he's unsuccessful.” He
thought a moment, then added, “Meet me in my office in ten minutes. All of
you.” When he replaced the receiver in its cradle, he was smiling again.
    He walked to the window. It was a beautiful autumn
day. The sun glinted off the waves in the harbor, and the trees on the point
were all in high color, the reds and golds that brought the tourists out. He
sighed, flexing his hands. He must find the time to go sailing again before the
weather turned.
    Joseph was incredibly powerful. As soon as Leicester
had reviewed the boy's carefully worded recommendations, he'd known. He had an
instinct, after all these years. But he'd been overeager. He'd tried to move
too fast, and the boy had balked. He should have laid the groundwork, should
have softened him up before he asked him to commit.
    Still, Leicester thought he could be managed,
untrained as he was. Right now he was more angry than frightened. But that
would change. Leicester would break him, he would rein in that wild power and
put it to use. He closed his eyes, and his breath came a little faster.
    It would have been easier if McCauley were younger. Twelve
was ideal, but sixteen would work. He'd never known his system to fail, save
once. Last year, he'd accepted an older student who had received some training
elsewhere. It had been a mistake. The boy was still at the Havens, but perhaps
not for much longer.
    There was a knock at the door. “Come!”
Leicester said. The alumni filed in, fifteen of them, all talented wizards. But
none so powerful as Joseph McCauley. Leicester surveyed them, sorting through
his mental notes. Being linked to them, he knew more about them than they ever
suspected.
    Warren Barber hated serving anyone. That, and the fact
that he was the most powerful of this lot, made him dangerous. But his cruelty
and his lack of a moral compass made him useful.
    Bruce Hays loved having power over others. He would
serve, if in turn, others served him.
    Aaron Hanlon was smooth and articulate, a master of
mind magic. Kenyon King was reasonably powerful, physically strong, and skilled
at covert operations. John Hughes was invaluable as a systems expert. They were
the core.
    Wayne Eggars had accepted his role as physician.
Ashton Rice and Elliott Richardson would serve, if reluctantly. They

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