The Conservation of Magic
Book 1 of 3 in The Science of Magic Fantasy Series
What readers are saying about The Conservation of Magic!
“[Michael’s] love of what he does is blazingly apparent in the quality of his book”
“A Great and Engaging Read”
“A Nice Blend Of Folklore And Modern-Day Science” -Retired Techie
“A wonderfully written fantasy” -Ladyhawk
“A unique fantasy intertwined with the existing world” -T. Dibble
“Chock full of action and adventure” -jmede
“Loved this book! A different take on magic and it works.” -bstecklein
Fantasy adventure combining modern-day tech and elemental magic
Merrick discovers a world within our own, where energy, sound, and science meld to produce magic. As Merrick searches for the secrets to his true self, he befriends a sentient tree, unwraps the mystery of living stone at the heart of a modern technology company, and discovers an underground city in the Highlands of Scotland.
To save the world, he must master his craft, defeat his long-lost brother, and battle elemental dragons whose words alone may hold a fiery end to human existence.
The events in this story occur in a world where magic, technology, and nature mix seamlessly, but the book is written as an exciting adventure story where actions, no matter how magical, have very real consequences.
Note: This book was previously entitled "Redemption."
A Sample from The Conservation of Magic
[From the Communications Archives of Rune Corp:
Key Words: Creation Story, First Drayoom, Abred]
BEFORE THE WORLD was formed, only four dragons lived in the Manred—the stuff of creation from which all else would one day spring.
There was Terrada of the Earth, her sister, Sigela of the Fire, and their brothers, Lagu of the Water, and Araki of the Wind. They were dragons, but they were not of scale and tooth.
They were living embodiments of the very elements, and all were born from the cosmic womb. Because of this connection, they could speak to one another, but each dragon possessed its own distinct language, a reflection of the elemental powers they commanded.
Since before any of them could remember, the dragons had raged and battled for dominion over the Manred, but it had always ended in impasse, until one day Sigela brought her siblings together to put an end to their warring.
“We must create a being to decide this matter for us,” she said in syllables that roared and crackled like the hottest of flames.
“I will not make another living Dragon,” Lagu said. “There are already too many of us.”
“Our creature will exist only to choose whom among us will rule the others. It shall be made from equal parts of our magic and beholden to no single one of us.”
“I see the wisdom in this,” Terrada said in deep tones that shook the Manred surrounding them.
And before Terrada’s voice had faded, she created the sphere of the world and drew forth the form of a creature from the clay of the planet.
“This earth shall be its body.”
Sigela was next as she filled the center of the new world with flame and then imbued their creature with the spark of life.
“I give it the passion to live.”
Lagu poured himself across much of the planet, creating the oceans and the rivers and the lakes and filling their creation as well.
“This beast shall move and flow like the tides of the seas.”
Finally, Araki blew across the face of the world and made the winds, and these filled their creation with air.
“It will live and breathe as long as I move through its chest.”
And so it was that the first Drayoom, Abred, was born, naked and shivering, lying in the cold slime of the planet’s forming.
LAZY JAZZ NOTES trickled to the street from the open second-story window of the 520 Bar in Old Town, Alexandria. The Virginia rainstorm had mostly passed, and the streets were fresh and smelled of raw life. Distant flashes of silent lightning flickered above while Merrick and Mona strolled down the wet cobblestone sidewalk in the cool October evening.
Merrick had turned thirty only a few days ago, and his hair, although still sandy brown, was beginning to recede. And, if he was honest with himself, he’d been in better shape a year ago, when he’d still been in his twenties, and the trend was heading in the wrong direction. Too many pizzas gobbled down while glued to his gaming console.
Whereas he gave the impression of not caring about his appearance with his ill-fitting clothes and his drugstore-purchased glasses, the woman walking with him radiated style. Nothing about Mona appeared to be by accident, from her business-styled dark brunette hair to her designer jeans and imported shoes.
Together, they stepped off the curb to cross the street just as a peal of thunder cracked the night. Merrick flinched at the noise then twitched as the stone pendant under his bulky sweater burned like an ember searing his chest.
He fumbled with the hot stone through the wool of his sweater, but the heat left as suddenly as it had appeared. In an instant, the pendant was cold as stone again, and he released it to settle against his bare skin. The stone hanging around his neck was a mystery he would have to solve later.
A slight blush colored his cheeks as Mona stopped walking and looked up at him. Her face showed concern for his well-being but also suspicion that her boyfriend might have suddenly lost his mind.
“It was just a chill,” Merrick said with a shrug.
Mona raised an eyebrow, and the two of them continued on their way.
When another thunderclap erupted, this time farther in the distance, he flinched again.
“What’s with you, tonight?” she said.
He glanced at her, then let out a laugh he immediately knew sounded fake.
“I thought the storm was over already.”
Mona sighed and pulled him along as they passed an antique store that was dark—closed for the evening. He glanced at his reflection in the store’s floor-to-ceiling windows and groaned as he tried to suck in the beginnings of a middle-aged gut.
“We can stop inside somewhere,” she said, “if you want to wait until the storm has passed.”
He turned away from his reflection and looked into her light gray eyes. A burst of wind ruffled her blouse. Her faded jeans and her red silk blouse were just tight enough to show off her compact but shapely figure. She had taken care to look good tonight as usual, whereas he had dressed for comfort.
“We can keep walking,” he said. “It’s a nice evening. Other than all the lightning, of course.”
This time, he made her laugh.
But he wanted to do more than that.
He wanted to tell her how he felt—to speak in the language of relationships that she wanted to hear. He wanted to tell her how he had never dated anyone as good for him as she was—that being with her made sense and that he didn’t want to be without her. If he’d been better at communicating, he might have figured a way to tell her all of that, but he wasn’t ready to tell her that he loved her yet, and so he kept quiet.
He shook his head and laughed uncomfortably.
Mona stopped walking and released his hand.
“Out with it. Is it something to do with us?”
He took a deep breath, filled with the scent of wet leaves, and looked up at the fading orange sky.
She lightly grabbed his sweater sleeve and pulled him down to her until their faces were only inches apart.
He shut his eyes.
Being so physically close to people, even Mona, made him uncomfortable, like he was being inspected—like she could see through the disguise he put on for others and read his thoughts or possibly catch a glimpse of his true self—the same monster he sometimes saw when he looked in the mirror.
When he opened his eyes again, Mona had backed away, standing with her arms crossed and her lips pursed. She wasn’t going to take another step until they had the discussion she’d been wanting.
The two stood motionless, locked in a face-off that he knew he had no chance of winning. A young couple swerved by them as if they were concrete statues set permanently in the sidewalk.
Merrick tried to stay focused on Mona, but he couldn’t help but watch as the happy couple walked away from them, arm-in-arm, laughing and smiling, sneaking a kiss. There was no way they were in love as much as they seemed. It didn’t happen that way in real life.
Forcing a break to their stalemate, Merrick took Mona’s hand and led her down an older, empty side street, away from the main boulevard. She half resisted before reluctantly following his lead. As they continued along the cobblestone, the lampposts suddenly went dark, as another crack of lightning sounded, and they were left in the darkness of night, each other illuminated only by the moon.
Mona stopped again and forced a smile that did little to cover her frustration, but her voice remained level and calm.
“I’m not sure what’s going on up there in that head of yours, Merrick, but I’m not going to beg you. You have to open up to me. I love you, but I have my limits.”
“I like you more than anyone I’ve ever dated before,” he said, “and I want to share with you…some of the things I’ve been feeling lately, but…”
She stared up at him. The breeze tussled her hair as she waited in silence. The word like was not the one she’d wanted to hear, and he knew it.
He opened his mouth to speak again, but before he could say a word, a beefy hand shot out from behind him and clamped down hard over his mouth. A large man dragged Merrick down a narrow side alley, while another man pulled Mona along behind him by the back of her hair.
Merrick flailed his arms and tried to get loose, but his attacker spun him around and pushed him hard into the brick wall. The back of his head made a wet smacking noise when it hit.
The other man pinned Mona against his chest with one hand and covered her mouth with the other.
When Merrick saw Mona’s eyes go wide with fright, he redoubled his struggle, but a fist slammed into his stomach so hard that his feet lost contact with the ground and he couldn’t breathe. He fell to the cobblestoned street on his knees, sucking at the air.