by Travis M. Riddle
School is out for the spring, and schoolteacher Theodore Saen is ready to spend the next few months relaxing with his family. But when the town’s resident white mage falls ill and several townspeople begin to show similar symptoms, they must call on a new mage. Aava has freshly graduated from the nearby mage academy when she is swiftly hired to deduce the cause of the unknown illness and craft a cure before the entire town is afflicted. Aiding her is an ex-mercenary named Ryckert who keeps to himself but has grown bored with retirement and is itching for a new investigation when a suspicious young man appears in the local pub the same night the sickness begins to spread.
On top of it all, whatever is causing the sickness seems to be attracting strange insectoid creatures from the surrounding woods, desecrating the bodies of the victims and tearing through anyone unlucky enough to cross their path. Theo, Aava, and Ryckert must come together to discover the cause of the illness and put a stop to it before there is nobody left alive in Balam.
Also by Travis M. Riddle:
Miles went to sleep tucked tightly in bed in his Austin apartment and woke up in the middle of a damp, dark forest in the kingdom of Rompu, a land being torn apart by a civil war between its king and queen.
Miles has few companions in this vast kingdom, which is filled with fantastical animals and flora yet sprinkled with familiar items like digital clocks and vinyl records. As he searches for a way to return home, he discovers that certain memories trigger magical abilities: he can shoot fireballs from his palms, heal with nothing but a touch, and more. But as he struggles to make sense of this new world, his thoughts are punctuated by painful memories of his sick grandmother, quarreling parents, and an icy school therapist.
When Miles learns that a monstrous entity flying through the countryside and killing for sport was summoned from a portal to another realm, he believes this creature is the key to learning how to open another rift and return home. Tracking down this beast and mastering his newfound magical abilities may be the only way for Miles to help save Rompu and get back to his family in Texas.
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