A Mage Of None Magic (Book 1)

A Mage Of None Magic (Book 1) by A. Christopher Drown Read Free Book Online

Book: A Mage Of None Magic (Book 1) by A. Christopher Drown Read Free Book Online
Authors: A. Christopher Drown
residence for the Board of Elders, and in theory the Lord Elder ruled both the Board and the Tower with supremacy. Even so, only a fool would fail to recognize that many had enough interest in his goings-on to risk being caught and punished for eavesdropping. Meeting in seclusion with Thaucian— in his personal chambers, for example—would have been more practical and private, but also would have quickly caught the attention of anyone even idly mindful of his affairs. Convening in the relative open of the audience chamber was less provocative.
    “A matter of some importance has come to light, Magistrate,” the Lord Elder said.
    Ennalen stopped just short of the top of the dais, and the world stopped dead under Ennalen’s feet.
    “One that requires your care and expertise,” he continued. “Conclude what open matters you have with due haste and discretion, then pass along your remaining casework to Chief Magistrate Tamias for others to tend. Afterward, you are excused from your regular duties at the Ministry.”
    Ennalen mustered her best indifference, even as her mind reeled.
    “Of course,” she replied.
    Of all the details to which she had tended regarding her plans, being directly charged with an assignment by the Lord Elder was the one thing over which she had no control, which obviously meant it would be the very thing to happen. A major undertaking now under Thaucian’s scrutiny would set her back weeks, perhaps months. Whatever the task, she would have to find a way to beg off without rousing suspicion. Unless, of course, the coming assignment was evidence of an already-present suspicion on their part.
    Don’t be absurd , she told herself. They did not, could not know.
    “Now, now,” the old man comforted with a shushing motion, clearly having sensed her vexation. “We think you’ll find this request quite… compelling.”
    “Yes,” Denuis added. “We can discuss it at length in my chambers. You’ll join me for breakfast in the morning.”
    Ennalen gave a pleasant smile. “Certainly.”
    “Thank you for coming, Magistrate,” Thaucian said. “You are dismissed.”
    Being beckoned by any of her so-called superiors rankled Ennalen, but at the very least the Lord Elder kept audiences short and succinct. She bowed, turned, and took care that her steps back down the dais and to the door were unhurried.
    Outside, the fresh, chilled air cooled her face and neck and went a long way toward easing her agitation. A private conversation with Denuis would permit greater latitude and candor, and it would— she hoped—help her find purchase should the chasm now cracking open beneath her wish to swallow her whole.

    Clumped at the northeastern tip of Aithiq, the coastal village of Glensdyl turned out to be little more than a haphazard circle of dreary, sagging structures, and nothing at all like what Niel had hoped. He held his disappointment at bay as best as he could by reminding himself he hadn’t made the trip for luxury’s sake, and that within a couple of days he’d be back aboard a ship bound for Lyrria and the College.
    His side of Glensdyl’s main street appeared much the same as the opposite—grey wooden storefronts thrown together, many with portions looking recently and repeatedly patched. Niel stepped onto the gap-planked sidewalk skirting a shabby row of shops, each displaying a signboard more tawdry than the one before.
    In the doorway to his right leaned an overly busty, overly red-haired woman whose frayed, slitted dress revealed a deliberately immodest amount of thigh.
    “Hello, lovely one,” she said in a light, dry voice.
    “Hello,” he replied, then squinted away toward the street.
    “You should come inside and relax for a bit,” she purred.
    Niel shook his head. “Thank you, but I’ve got—”
    The woman closed the distance between them with surprising quickness and clasped his arm with both of hers. “A drink, then. We could get to

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