Green Rider

Green Rider by Kristen Britain Read Free Book Online

Book: Green Rider by Kristen Britain Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristen Britain
Tags: Speculative Fiction
earthly is rather limited. One day, you too, may see."
    Karigan shook her head in disbelief. Here she was, in this incredible manor house, with two old, eccentric ladies who could communicate with ghosts. Either they were cracked, or they were seers, or some other sort of magic was at work. "Who are you?" she asked. "And what are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere?"
    Miss Bayberry rapped the handle of her cane on the little table. Scones and cookies bounced, and teacups clattered. "Bunch! Did we forget introductions? Did we?"
    An expression of horror swept across Bunch's plump features, and she covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh, Bay. In our haste to please, we forgot. It has been so long since anyone has visited. Can you forgive us, child, for forgetting this one basic propriety?"
    Karigan stared dumbly.
    The ladies must have perceived her reaction as forgiveness, for they both released sighs of genuine relief.
    "Well, then," Miss Bayberry said, "let us introduce ourselves properly. We are the Berry sisters. I am Bay and this is my sister Bunch."
    "Our dear father, the late Professor Berry, gave us names that made us sound like some of the local vegetation," Bunch said with a chuckle. "Terms of endearment, really. They are but nicknames."
    "We were born," Miss Bayberry said, "with the names Isabelle—"
    "And Penelope," Bunch finished. "Though we rarely use our true names."
    "We loved our father a great deal. It was he who built this house in the midst of the Green Cloak's wilds. He said it was the only way to absorb the power of nature and bring to the wilderness an element of civilization. What, with no towns nearby, and the unpredictability of living near the northern border, it was not an easy life, especially for our mother. Child, there wasn't even a road back then."
    Miss Bunchberry smoothed a crease out of her linen napkin. "When our father built Seven Chimneys, he sought to provide Mother a respectable estate. He spared no expense for her, and even brought along the entire household staff from our original home in Selium."
    "Selium," Karigan said. "That's where I began my journey."
    "Are you a scholar?" Miss Bayberry asked.
    Karigan frowned. "No." She hadn't been much of anything at Selium.
    "Ah, well. Our father was. He was a master of many disciplines—so many that he just wore a white uniform with a master's knot. None of the single disciplines have white uniforms, you know, and Father was the only one to wear it. Soon he studied disciplines that were no longer taught… or approved of."
    Miss Bunch leaned forward. "The arcane arts," she whispered.
    A tremor ran up Karigan's spine. Magic was a topic to be shunned by most Sacoridians.
    "Who is telling the story?" Miss Bayberry demanded.
    Miss Bunchberry pouted.
    "Don't interrupt again." Miss Bayberry cast her sister a severe expression, then cleared her throat and continued. "Father started to study the arcane arts. He spent years poring over old books and scrolls in the archives, first to learn the history of magic, then to learn its application. The latter made the Guardian of Selium nervous. You see, after those incursions made by Mornhavon the Black, who used such terrible powers during the Long War, people have been phobic of magic, as if using it would restore Mornhavon, or someone like him, to power.
    "The Guardian finally demanded that Father either stop trying to awaken magic, or leave the city. As you may have concluded, Father chose to leave the school."
    Karigan was incredulous. First ghosts, now magic. These two old ladies must be daft. Her hands shook a little as she set her empty teacup on the table before her.
    "Was… was your father successful?" she asked. "At awakening magic, I mean…"
    "Yes and no," Miss Bayberry said. "He had no natural talent. Either you are born with innate talent, or you can possess a device which provides or augments powers. Mornhavon the Black had natural powers, but he augmented them with a device called the

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