Wizards never forgave Ned for not being one of them. They didn’t exactly come out and say his life was expendable, but they didn’t have to. He figured it out fast enough when they conscripted him into their long-running war the second he was old enough to fight. Isolated, different, he puzzled out how his brand of magic worked on his own.
Fleeing the tide of doom wiping out humanity, Amanda and her family escape to a remote corner of California, where they eke out a hardscrabble existence. With her parents at each other’s throats and her brother mysteriously gone, Amanda encounters malevolent power beyond her wildest imaginings. Captured by the Undead, she’s about to join their ranks when Ned shows up.
Defying a direct order from his wizard battle lord, Ned dives into the fray. He might not know Amanda, but it doesn’t matter. She’s in trouble and needs his magic.
It’s good enough for him.
I'm basically a mountaineer at heart. I remember many hours at my desk where my body may have been stuck inside four walls, but my soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. There's a timeless element to the mountains. They feel like old friends as I visit them, and visit them again. There's nothing like standing on a remote pass where I've been before and seeing that the vista is unchanged. Or on an equally remote peak. Mountains are the bones of the world. They'll prevail long after all of us are dust. It feels honest and humbling to share space with them. I hope I'm blessed with many more years to wander the local landscape. The memories are incomparable. They warm me and help me believe there will be something left for our children and their children after them.