The Magic of The Dragon and Scholar Saga by H.L. Burke

In my never-ending quest to see how fantasy authors integrate magic into their stories, I gladly volunteered for H.L. Burke’s blog tour and offered her a spot here on The Vaetra Files. Heidi came through with a fun treat. She presents information about her magic system from the perspective of one Sir Martin Mathewson, a scholar from her story world. I hope you enjoy it!

Heidi is touring her book Dragon’s Curse, the first book of her “The Dragon and the Scholar” series. Be sure to check out the Amazon gift card and paperback edition giveaway after you finish reading her guest post.

~ Daniel

Sir Martin and Magic Warding

by H.L. Burke

Sir Martin Mathewson is a talented, ambitious young scholar at the Academy of Magic and Sciences. While Martin is not a knight in the traditional sense, tradition dictates those who receive an Academy posting be given an honorary title. Martin is not a magic wielder, simply a man of great wit and intelligence who knows his books back to front. He also maintains healthy skepticism for the archaic practices of “folk” or “Wild Magic” which, in his mind, consist mainly of smoke, mirrors, and superstition. 

Martin’s speciality is magic warding, providing protection from and cures for malevolent spells. Widely recognized as the leading expert on the subject, Martin has written multiple papers and even a book on the practice. The following is the preface to his masterwork, Magic Warding: A Scholar’s Handbook.

The first question I’m usually asked upon explaining my focus as a scholar is if, in these calmer times, my services are still needed. Many believe that the days of curses and enchantments has long since passed, disappearing into the pages of  history. And while it is true, these occurrences are rarer than they were prior to the Wars of Wild Magic and the founding of the Academy, I can assure you from personal experience, these threats are still real and as deadly as ever.

In centuries past, Wild Magic held the Continent within its chaotic grasp. Non-magical folk suffered at the hands of its wielders, Fey and Human alike. Fey rulers, such as the capricious Idriss (known for turning her former lovers into animals) or the otherwise unnamed “Sorceress of the Sands” (who once invoked a five year drought for the sake of a bet) kept sane, non-magical folk in a constant state of distress and danger.

When rivalries between these magic wielders broke out into all out war, several early human monarchs declared enough to be enough. Forming an alliance of kingdoms and led by the first of my order, Nico the Scholar, the humans drove the Fey forces into either extinction or hiding.

True Wild Magic is now rare and easily regulated. Those humans who show promise with such abilities are welcome into the Academy where they can harness their inclinations for good. Those few who choose to go rogue are, for the most part, harmless crackpots, content to set up shop and sell watered down love potions for meager coin.

With such placid conditions on the Continent, I do understand the misconception that magic warding is a dated practice. There are, however, those in our midst who, from natural gifting or traces of blood from a Fey ancestor, can grasp powers beyond that of normal man. While the majority of these choose to enter the Academy and use their strengths for the good of mankind, occasionally a greedy or power hungry individual seeks to use their gifts towards nefarious ends. And even Academy scholars have been led by desperation or morbid curiosity to try their hand at forbidden arts  ranging from the annoying (bee charming) to the despicable (necromancy).

This is why, while the need for such arts as magic warding may be less than it was in the days of our forefathers, allowing such knowledge to pass away altogether would be foolish. This is why I have made it my goal to spread the craft of magic warding to all Academy students.

Some are intimidated by those of magical ability. I cannot tell you how many times a student has expressed doubt that they can compete with those considered to be “gifted.” My answer is always the same: being a scholar, a true scholar, is less about magical ability and more about work ethic and intelligence. Those who depend upon magical ability to get through their Academy classes generally lack both of these traits and should be tolerated but  not envied.

In this book, I endeavor to explain how acts of Wild Magic can be countered, and even prevented, by counterspells, potions, and enchantments, all of which can be employed by anyone willing to take the time and effort to learn them.

Dragon’s Curse,
book one in The Dragon and the Scholar Saga

Dragon's Curse coverOn her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

Dragon’s Curse is available on

About H. L. Burke

P1040013Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

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