Accidental Sorceress (Hardstorm Saga Book 2)

Accidental Sorceress (Hardstorm Saga Book 2) by Dana Marton Read Free Book Online

Book: Accidental Sorceress (Hardstorm Saga Book 2) by Dana Marton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dana Marton
fathers handed down to their sons.
    His dark mane was shaggy now from the wind, like any warrior’s, not like a proper lord’s who had concubines to comb it. The siege had sewn silver threads through that once ebony hair. His face unshaven, with his scars, he might yet pass for the type of soldier who would hire himself out as a guard for a dangerous journey.
    “Where do the other warlords think you have gone?” I asked as I combed my hair into order with my fingers, then drew my healer’s veil from under my tunic and wrapped the length of yellow satin tightly around my head.
    “They think we are journeying to your Shahala lands to assess the damage and loss of life. And to negotiate the purchase of oil, in case of another siege.”
    During the siege of Karamur, we had poured burning oil from the top of the walls on the attacking enemy below. Nary a drop was to be found now in the city, not even in the High Lord’s palace.
    Batumar glanced to the sky. “Only Lord Samtis knows the truth. I left him in charge of protecting Karamur in my absence.”
    I wanted to ask more, but Batumar led the way around an outcropping that reached into the sea, and here the waves were too loud for us to talk. Each step required our full attention, so we struggled forward in silence for a while.
    No ships bobbed on the water along the shore, nor farther out at sea, but as we rounded the outcropping, a hidden cove did appear as Batumar had predicted. And there, in calmer waters, sat a quick little sloop, along with a much larger merchant schooner, seabirds circling around their red sails. Both ships were manned, both looking ready to cast off.
    I stared, feeling as if I had walked into a children’s tale. “Pirate ships both.”
    “Merchant ships do not visit pirate coves, if they can help it. Rorin be blessed, we are not late.”
    I shared Batumar’s relief, but not without some trepidation mixed in. Will they take us? Why would they? Why not slay us here? Or take us into slavery?
    Now that I could see the pirates with my own eyes, they suddenly seemed frighteningly real and our plan poorly thought out once again. But despite my misgivings, I hurried behind Batumar, even as I struggled to hold my cloak closed so the wind wouldn’t whip it around me and tug me off-balance, watching my footing on the rocks that were slippery from sea spray.
    I could see how Barren Cove earned its name. Nothing but rocks, not a blade of grass, not a single spot of green.
    Once we reached closer, I understood why pirates would choose this particular cove. Beyond a quiet spot to repair storm damage, the far end of the cove also provided fresh water from a stream that trickled forth from among the rocks.
    Four men were filling a row of oak barrels. They wore snug, black wool pants and shirts, their long hair tied back with colorful rags. Curved swords hung from their wide belts, an assortment of daggers stuck in the back. As those men paid no mind to us, I turned my attention back to the ships.
    Only a handful of men worked aboard the sloop, but the merchant schooner was better manned. Dozens of swarthy men hurried with their duties on and around it. I took in the two tall mainmast s and a shorter foremast , the red sails marked with symbols and patterns of faraway lands I did not recognize.
    Some of the crew were making last-minute repairs, others prepared the schooner to set sail, and yet others were rolling water barrels—lids nailed down—up the plank that connected the ship to shore.
    The pirates regarded us with sideways glances, keeping track of our progress, but as a single warrior and a woman presented no threat, they did not interrupt their preparations.
    Batumar strode to the merchant schooner as boldly as if he were an expected guest, his stride strong and sure, yet not the regal stride of a High Lord. His gait and posture transformed into that of an ordinary foot soldier. He ignored the pirates coming and going and eyed the tallest man on

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