On Ordeal: Roshaun ke Nelaid
Once upon a time there was a Prince who wanted just one thing: to be a wizard…
Only child of the union of two great wizardly lines of the planet Wellakh, heir to a position and lifestyle considered equivalent to royalty by the people of his half-ravaged world, Roshaun ke Nelaid lives what most Wellakhit would mistake for a life of unfettered pleasure and privilege, moving apparently casually through the corridors of power and instantly being given whatever he desires.
But the one thing he wants most is the one thing not all his family’s wealth and influence can give him. What he longs for more than anything (well, almost anything) is something it’s beginning to look as if he can never have.
In the wake of an unexpectedly terrifying day in his family life, Rho discovers that he’s wrong. Without warning he’s offered the Avowal — the Wellakhit version of the Wizard’s Oath — and sent on his Challenge halfway across the Galaxy to a place that has terrified and fascinated him since his closely-guarded childhood…
The Rirhait fixed its gaze on him. It was a progressive business, this—one eye turning its regard to him, and then the next, and the next, and the next…
Rho had no trouble holding still for this performance, partly due to its uniqueness, and partly because he was after all a prince and used to having a lot of eyes on him. What he was not prepared for was — when those eyes were all trained on him — to see every one of them sequentially rolled at him and shifted away in an expression of exquisite ennui.
When the eyes were all pointed in every direction that was not toward Rho, “And?” the being said.
Rho opened his mouth and closed it again, having absolutely no idea where to go from here. “Uh,” he said. Then he rolled his own eyes, for he could just hear his royal father saying, Truly, my Prince? Grunts? Shall we have it noised about that mere surprise can reduce the Sunlord-to-Be to take refuge in grunting?
Rho’s frustration tipped him over the edge, and he threw any further thoughts of caution to the five airts. “Excellent gentlebeing,” he said, drawing himself up tall, “perhaps a misunderstanding is in progress. Be it known to you that I am Roshaun ke Nelaid am Seriv am Teliuyve am Meseph am Veliz am Teriaunst am det Nuiiliat det Wellakhit, Son of the Sun Lord, Beloved of the Sun Lord, firstborn of the Sister of the Sun, Prince and Ruler in Waiting to the Wellakhit lands, and Guarantor of Wellakh.”
The Rirhait kept tapping away at the data input. Finally it paused, swung exactly one eye in his direction, and said:
“How lovely for you.”
…But he soon discovers that being dissed by aliens is the least of his problems. Shortly Rho is elbow-deep in his first true wizardry, uncertain whether all his young life’s training in a stellar simulator is going to be enough to keep him and his new team from sudden death in starfire. Yet even this challenge isn’t as deadly as the one that awaits him in the form of what seems the backblow from a casual good deed…
On Ordeal: Roshaun ke Nelaid is a 45,000-work canonical work in the Young Wizards universe. It is also the first of three tales of the wizardly Ordeals of major characters in the series — each one unique (as is every Ordeal), each one revealing something unique about the person who undergoes it and comes out on the other side of the experience in possession of that singular gift that can be conferred only by the Powers that Be: wizardry.