Septimus Heap 6: DARKE – The Prologue

SEPTIMUS HEAP

Book Six

DARKE

Prologue
Banished

It is a Darke and stormy night.

Black clouds hang low over the Castle, shrouding the golden pyramid at the top of the Wizard Tower in a dim mist. In the houses far below, people stir uneasily in their sleep as the rumble of thunder enters their dreams and sends nightmares tumbling from the sky.

Like a giant lightning conductor, the Wizard Tower rears high above the Castle rooftops, Magykal purple and indigo lights playing around its iridescent silver sheen. Inside the Tower the duty Storm Wizard prowls the dimly lit Great Hall, checking the StormScreen and keeping an eye on the UnStable window, which has a tendency to panic in a storm. The duty Storm Wizard is a little on edge. Magyk is not usually affected by a storm, but all Wizards know about the Great Lightning Strike of Long Ago, which briefly drained the Wizard Tower of its Magyk and left the rooms of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard badly scorched. No one wants that to happen again— particularly the duty Storm Wizard.

At the top of the Wizard Tower in her as yet unscorched four-poster bed, Marcia Overstrand groans as a familiar nightmare flickers through her sleep. A loud craaaack of lightning splits open the cloud above the Tower and zips harmlessly to earth down the duty Storm Wizard’s hastily conjured Conductor. Marcia sits bolt upright, dark curly hair awry, trapped in her nightmare. Suddenly her green eyes open wide with surprise as a purple ghost shoots through the wall and skids to a halt beside the bed.

“Alther!” gasps Marcia. “What are you doing?”

The tall ghost with long white hair tied back in a ponytail is wearing bloodstained ExtraOrdinary Wizard robes. He looks flustered.

“I really hate it when that happens,” he gasps. “Got Passed Through. By lightning.”

“I’m very sorry, Alther,” Marcia replies grumpily, “but I don’t see why you had to come and wake me up just to tell me that. You may not need to sleep anymore, but I certainly do. Anyway, it serves you right for being out in a storm. Can’t think why you want to do that—argh!”

Another craaaack of lightning illuminates the purple glass of Marcia’s bedroom window and makes Alther appear almost transparent.

“I wasn’t out there for the fun of it, Marcia, believe me,” says Alther, equally grumpily. “I was coming to see you. As you requested.”

“As I requested?” says Marcia blearily. She is still half in her nightmare about Dungeon Number One—a nightmare that always comes when a storm is playing around the top of the Wizard Tower.

“You requested—ordered would be a better way of putting it—that I track down Tertius Fume and tell you when I had found him,” says Alther.

Marcia is suddenly wide-awake. “Ah,” she says.

“Ah, indeed, Marcia.”

“So you have found him?”

The ghost looks pleased with himself. “Yup,” he says.

“Where?”

“Where do you think?”

Marcia throws back the bed covers, slips out of bed and pulls on her thick woolen gown—it is cold at the top of the Wizard Tower when the wind blows. “Oh, for goodness sake, Alther,” she snaps, as she pushes her feet into the purple rabbit slippers that Septimus gave her for her birthday, “I wouldn’t ask if I knew, would I?”

“He’s in Dungeon Number One,” Alther says quietly.

Marcia sits down on the bed rather suddenly. “Oh,” she says, her nightmare replaying itself at double speed. “Bother.”

Ten minutes later, two purple-clothed figures can be seen scurrying along Wizard Way. They are both trying to keep out of the needle-sharp rain that sweeps up the Way, Passing Through the leading figure and soaking the one close behind. Suddenly the first figure dives down a small alleyway, closely followed by the second. The alleyway is dark and smelly but at least it is sheltered from the near-horizontal rain.

“Are you sure it’s down here?” asks Marcia, glancing behind. She doesn’t like alleyways.

Alther slows his pace and drops back to walk beside Marcia. “You forget,” he says with a smile, “that not so very long ago, I came down here quite often.”

Marcia shudders. She knows that it was Alther’s faithful visits that kept her alive in Dungeon Number One.

Alther has stopped beside a blackened, brick-built cone that looks like one of the many disused lock-ups that can still be seen scattered around the Castle. Somewhat unwillingly, Marcia joins the ghost; her mouth is dry and she feels sick. This is where her nightmare always begins.

Lost in her thoughts, Marcia waits for Alther to unlock the small iron door, which is pockmarked with rust. The ghost gives her a quizzical look. “No can do, Marcia,” he says.

“Huh?”

“Wish I could,” says Alther wistfully, “but, unfortunately, you are going to have to open the door.”

Marcia comes to her senses. “Sorry, Alther.” She takes out the Universal Castle Key from her ExtraOrdinary Wizard belt. Only three of these keys were ever made, and Marcia has two of them: one of her own in her capacity as ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and one that she is keeping safe for Jenna Heap until the day she becomes Queen. The third is lost.

Making an effort to steady her hand, Marcia pushes the slim iron key into the lock and turns it. The door swings open with a creak that at once takes her back to a terrifying snowy night when a phalanx of guards threw her through the door and sent her tumbling into the darkness.

A foul smell of rotting meat and burned pumpkin tumbles out into the alleyway, and a trio of curious local cats screech and head for home. Marcia wishes she could do the same. Nervously she fingers the lapis lazuli amulet—the symbol and source of her power as ExtraOrdinary Wizard—that she wears around her neck and, to her relief, it is still there—unlike the last time she passed through the door.

Marcia’s courage returns. “Right Alther,” she says. “Let’s get him.”

Alther grins, relieved to see Marcia back in form. “Follow me,” he says.

Dungeon Number One is a deep, dark chimney with a long ladder attached to the inside of the top half. The bottom half is ladder-free, lined with a thick layer of bones and slime. Alther’s purple floating form drifts down the ladder but Marcia steps carefully—very carefully—down each rung, chanting an UnHarm Spell under her breath, with a Begird and Preserve in readiness for both her and Alther—for even ghosts are not immune to the Darke Vortices that swirl around the base of Dungeon Number One.

Slowly, slowly, the figures descend into the thick gloom and stench of the dungeon. They are going much farther down than Marcia expected. Alther had assured her that their quarry was “only lurking around the top, Marcia. Nothing to worry about.”

But Marcia is worried. She begins to fear a trap. “Where is he?” she hisses.

A deep, hollow laugh answers her question, and Marcia very nearly lets go of the ladder.

“There he is!” says Alther. “Look, down there.” He points into the narrow depths and, far below, Marcia sees the goatlike face of Tertius Fume leering up at them, an eerie green glowing in the darkness. “You can see him, you can do the Banish from here,” says Alther, lapsing into tutor mode with his ex-pupil. “The chimney will concentrate it.”

“I know,” says Marcia tetchily. “Please be quiet, Alther.” She begins to chant the words that all ghosts dread—the words that will Banish them to the Darke Halls forever.

“I, Marcia Overstrand . . .”

The greenish figure of Tertius Fume begins to rise up the chimney toward them. “I am warning you, Marcia Overstrand—stop that Banish now.” His harsh voice echoes around them.

Tertius Fume gives Marcia the creeps, but she is not deflected. She carries on with the chant, which must last for precisely one minute and be completed without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Marcia knows that the slightest falter means she must begin again.

Tertius Fume knows this too. He continues his approach, walking up the side of the wall like a spider, hurling insults, counter chants and bizarre fragments of songs at Marcia to try to put her off.

But Marcia will not be deflected. Doggedly she continues, blanking out the ghost. But as she embarks upon the closing lines of the Banish—”your time above this earth is done, you’ll see no more the sky, the sun”—out of the corner of her eye, Marcia sees the ghost of Tertius Fume drawing ever closer. A stab of worry shoots through her—what is he doing? Marcia reaches the very last line. The ghost is inches away from her and Alther. He looks up, excited—almost exultant.

Marcia ends the chant with the dreaded words, “By the power of Magyk, to the Darke Halls, I you . . .”

As Marcia reaches the very last word, Tertius Fume stretches his hand up to Alther and Merges with his big toe. Alther recoils from the touch but is too late.

Banish!

Suddenly Marcia is alone in the chimney of Dungeon Number One. Her nightmare has come true. “Alther!” she screams. “Alther, where are you?”

There is no reply. Alther is Banished.

***

Thirsty for more? Download the Magyk Special Edition e-book featuring an exclusive excerpt: Prologue & Chapters 1&2 from Book Six, Darke! Go here for AmazonKindle, here for Nook and here for Kobo. The offer has ended (it was limited time!).



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Categories: angie sage, book 6, books, Darke | Tags: , , , | 60 Comments

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60 thoughts on “Septimus Heap 6: DARKE – The Prologue

  1. Bryony and her Mum Angie!

    Ahh!!! Oh my gosh!!!
    This is sooooo amazing, I now can’t wait (well, even more)! Whats going to happen… Poor Alther 😦

  2. Sarah

    omg now i really want the book!!!! i seriously cant wait any longer:( i want to know what happens next!! poor Alther

  3. ariel

    yay a sneak peak! and it was so good!!! are we going to get more chapters to preview like with Syren?

    • Not now. When the book is out, there will be some more chapters on the HarperCollins Official website. There will be a link on the blog too. 🙂

  4. niah

    That is going to be soooooooooooo coooooooool!!!!
    I cant wait. I almost stop breathing of exiting 🙂 .

  5. L.V.Yara

    i cant breath really, i want the book now!!! is incredible, my book-intint says that the book will be incredible!!!!

  6. liz

    how much longer
    i cant wait any more. i’m dieing here

  7. ThomasAzocarNevin

    So good Angie, I really cant wait!

    I have a question for you though, you might not answer, and I respect that- I mean, you must get questions like these almost all the time. Anyway! My question is: Which Septimus Heap book was the hardest for you to come up with, including Darke? 🙂

    Thanks, I would appreciate it if you replied.

    • Angie Sage

      hello Thomas,

      They have all been quite tricky really – the easiest one was Flyte. I think number 7 will take some thinking about…

  8. Beatrice

    AHHH! I can’t wait until the book comes out!!! the prologue sounds sooo mysterious…

  9. hannah :)

    Oh my Gosh!!!
    I am so excited for Darke now i have read this!!!
    Darke is going to be amazing!! 🙂

  10. eric

    THis is so COOL I’m so glad she did this

  11. Bryony and her Mum Angie!

    I’ve got the first three chapters on my ipod, they’re sooooo cool!!! 🙂

    • Anny

      How did you get that? please i really want to know

      • Bryony and her Mum Angie!

        I don’t think its on the kindle store any more, it was only on there for a few weeks 😥

      • Bryony :)

        I’n afraid that I don’t think they’re on the kindle store any more, I think it was for a limited time 😦

  12. diana

    OMG! That is sooo freakin’ awesome! I have to read it! It is pure Angie Sage genius!!!!!!!! =D

  13. syrahxoxo

    AGREEING WITH EVERYONE!!! It will be awesome!!!

  14. Sherry

    A little predictable ’cause of the synposis, but still AMAZING!!! Can’t wait for the book! Only 2 months until it is out!!!

  15. Sherry

    Wonder if Simon and Lucy would get married… And if Jakey would find out about it ’cause I think he has a crush on her…

  16. Sherry

    Oh…Well,an extra month is okay,not too bad considering October for the UK…

  17. Aurelia

    Oh. My. God.

  18. Jeff

    OH. MY. GOSH. CANNOT. WAIT. NEED!

  19. OMG i cant belive its the sixth book allready i just started flyte i have like 4 more to go it better be awesome

  20. Jerri

    It makes me wish I had an ereader of some sort. I tried to get a “something” to let me read them on my PC and couldn’t make it work.

    Cry!!!

    Jerri

  21. jennarockstheworld:)

    wow that is sosososo good !!!!! I am so exited for the book to come out!!!

  22. Madi

    AH cliffhanger! Oh you clever writer you just made me want to read more and more. AH! Cannot wait for autumn !

  23. Anny

    I have a question: Someone says they have the first 3 on their iPod touch: HOW DO YOU GET THE CHAPTERS ON YOUR IPOD? I really want to know ’cause I have an iPod.

  24. Anny

    One more thing… the link didn’t load! I was so upset! I mean, none of the links led to the special edition with Darke preview. I even google searched it and nope, none of the links leading to the Darke preview worked. Help! I want to buy the ebook!
    😦

  25. cerys luvz

    AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Gimme the book now now now!!!!!!!!!!

  26. niah

    Whem is going to be out in Slovenia?
    I was waiting long time for Queste… but now its out with Syren almost in the same time!

  27. Sounds awesome! I am so going to reveiw this series on my blog. Check it out! fictionfanaticbookreviews.blogspot.com

  28. Sherry

    Oh…I want it SOOOOOOOOOO bad!!!

  29. TitiS.

    OMG ! I want it now !!! Anybody knows when it is going to be released in France ?

  30. noah

    amazing

  31. Where are those three chapters available? Not on those three links? Is there some alternate way to get them?

  32. Rosie, Fantasy Writer To Be

    Oh my gosh. I can officially say that I have a major obsession with these books. I own every one, including The Magykal Papers, and have read them all many times.
    Dear Angie Sage, 
    I doubt that you will comment back on this, but I want you to know that I consider you to be a great inspiration in my writing. I love to write about fantasy and magic and everything like that. Septimus Heap has been a major influence on my writng since I read the books. I love how you write from everyone’s point of view. (Even the shield bug’s, in Magyk.) Thank you for being a great author!

    P.S. To anyone who reads this, ignore the time it says I posted it. I don’t know why my computer’s clock is weird.

  33. What happens to syrah syara?

  34. does she wake up? Do her and septimus get together eventually?

  35. justi3333

    This’s amazing!! I realy can’t wait!! I hope that this book will be released soon 🙂 It’s EXTRA!!

  36. isaac

    Hi, I’m a Spanish guy and I would like to know if you plan to arrive here the magykal papers of Septimus.
    please reply :^)

  37. Liah

    I had a dream about this book! And by the way (you might already know this) in Syren before the story starts where it says [Also by Angie Sage], it has DARKE as the 5th book. I was really confused but it’s all good now! Can’t wait! I’m going to try not to read the prologue because I think I wouldn’t be able to wait any longer if I knew even a bit of the story already… Too late!

  38. OMIGOSH! I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THIS BOOK IS OUT!!! I love the Septimus Heap series and i can’t wait for Darke. Hey Angie! I have a question for you… um what book are you going to stop on the Septimus Heap series? Because when I finished reading Syren, I was kind of sad that that book was the last book of the series…. so I was really happy when I found out Darke is coming out! Just wondering… I would appreciate it is you replied! 🙂

  39. OMG u know MAGYK the movie? wen the auditions come… im gunna try out 4 jenna or marica… but mostly jenna… sigh. theres SO many people trying out 4 jenna, and i don’t think i will get in even tho im 12 and i have black hair and my personality is very much like jenna… oh well… i will try my best… 😥

  40. oh poor alther I can’t wait for the darke please put some sneak peak on Jenna and please put some romance parts in the book I mean for Jenna

  41. Frida

    I come from Sweden and I love the books!
    In my school, there’s only the 4 first books, I’d like to read the other ones, because they are all amazing.

    When you start reading, you can’t stop.

  42. SmallOne

    I love these books! Does anyone know the release date for the US? I would really appreciate it. By the way I also love Warriors. My favorite character in the Septimus Heap series is Beetle. He is awesome.

    Jayfeather forever!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Graystripe rulz!!!!!!

    🙂

  43. Christy

    Omigosh!!! 😦 This is so sad poor alther!! I hope he gets back and I hope this isnt the last book! These are such AMAZING books!

  44. I LUV THE WARRIORS SERIES TOO!!!!!!!! 🙂

  45. hi, that’s a precise line. There is both mistakes but the primary is here.

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