Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I

Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I by Mark Tuson Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I by Mark Tuson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Tuson
a spell on the floor to reduce its friction against the shoes of the men who were carrying him, but without his hands being able to move freely he found it impossible to gain any traction in his hand movements: what was more, he hadn’t ever succeeded in performing magic without a tool. He tried turning and slipping out of their grip, but they were still too strong for him.
    They carried him to what looked like a courtroom, and chained him into a stand. He looked around and saw a few faces he recognized. The Steward went to a great desk at the top of the room and sat behind it, apparently in the seat of judgment. There was what may have been a witness stand, at which Caroline was stood, calmly waiting.
    Everyone settled into their apparent places, and the room fell silent.
    The Steward banged the butt of his wand on the desk before him, producing a sound like a gunshot with no echo whatsoever.
    ‘Hereby do I call these proceedings to their open. I, Edwin Harrison, preside as Steward of the Guild of Magicians, to judge the matter at hand with the wisdom with which I have been trusted.’
    How very formal.
    ‘Who stands to accuse?’
    Caroline spoke. ‘I, Caroline Sharples, stand to try the accused for taking the knowledge of magic from the Guild of Magicians, without payment.’
    Peter was confused and angry and scared. ‘I did no such…’ he started to shout but suddenly found his vocal cords weren’t catching.
    The Steward looked impassively at Peter. ‘You will speak only to answer direct questions, Mr Rutherford,’ he said.
    Peter closed his mouth. He supposed that if he had been given these opportunities to learn, he may be expected to pay in some way, at some point. Unless this was some sort of demented tradition in the Guild.
    Caroline continued. ‘The accused has attended lectures given by myself and a small number of other members of the Guild of Magicians, and has had unrestricted access to our main library for three years. He has taken our knowledge, both offered and not offered, without earning it in any way other than finding ways to absorb it into his own mind.’
    The Steward nodded, and slowly turned to Peter. ‘Mr Rutherford. What have you to say on the matter?’
    Peter found his voice was there again, as though it hadn’t been removed at any point. ‘Caroline, Steward.’ He nodded at each of them in turn, in acknowledgement, and then spoke, taking great care not to allow any more anger into his voice: if this was a trial of whatever nature, he must accept that formality and at least attempt to play along with it.
    ‘I have accepted what had appeared to be a gift; the hospitality of the Guild and the knowledge imparted to me. I had no idea that I was expected to pay, or what nature of payment I might be expected to render.’ There were murmurs among the people there, though Peter couldn’t quite be sure whether they were in agreement or not.
    When the murmurs ceased, the Steward spoke again. ‘Do you, therefore, accept the charge of taking our knowledge, both when bidden to and not?’
    What kind of question was that? ‘I do.’
    ‘Do you accept that you will be called upon to pay your debt to us?’
    ‘I do.’
    The Steward stood up and raised his wand. ‘In that case, I offer you, on behalf of the Guild of Magicians, a choice between two options. You will either leave the Guild of Magicians forever, and be reintroduced to your former life, whereupon you will find that magic no longer works for you, or you will allow yourself to be subject to a trial of survival, whereby you will need to use magic in order to not die.
    ‘If you choose the latter, you will find yourself in a place where you need to create all the things you need to keep yourself alive yourself, using your learned magical skills. You will be alone, with no members of the Guild of Magicians to defend or assist you. You will be given no tools other than a knife. And if you survive, you will be subject to active service in

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