The Shaman's Curse (Dual Magics Book 1)

The Shaman's Curse (Dual Magics Book 1) by Meredith Mansfield Read Free Book Online

Book: The Shaman's Curse (Dual Magics Book 1) by Meredith Mansfield Read Free Book Online
Authors: Meredith Mansfield
the
smith craft, Vatar. The kind that would be a true tragedy to waste. How would
you like to stay in Caere as my apprentice?”
    Vatar choked on a bite of Aunt Castalia’s fresh-baked bread.
“Huh?” He looked across at his parents.
    Pa nodded.
    “It’s an opportunity you should really consider,” Mother
said. “Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
    Vatar blinked. Was this what they’d been talking about
behind his back? Almost, he wanted to shout “No!” But he didn’t. He remembered
the feel of working with the iron, a feeling of freedom as great as galloping
across the plains, in its own way. He thought of the things he’d seen smiths
make at the guildhall. He could learn to do that? But . . . “I thought
the Smiths’ Guild refused to allow a Dardani to train as a smith.” It was more
an attempt to delay than real curiosity.
    Uncle Lanark placed a hand on his shoulder. “Normally, that
would be true. The guild is very short-sighted. They want to keep the Dardani
coming back to us for every minor repair, rather than seeing the benefits of an
expanded trade. But that’s not the point. I don’t need the guild’s permission
to train my own sister’s son. That’s my right. In fact, it’s expected.”
    “The Dardani have been waiting for this opportunity for a
long time,” Pa said. “If you like the work, it would almost guarantee you a
position of honor in the tribe.”
    “Um . . . How long does this training usually take?” Vatar
asked.
    Uncle Lanark shrugged. “That depends a great deal on the aptitude
of the apprentice. The usual apprenticeship is two years. But it really depends
on how long it takes for you to learn to make a piece that proves your mastery
of the basics of the craft. Longer, of course, if you want to go on from there
to learn, say, to be a blade smith.”
    “Two years!” Vatar couldn’t imagine being away from his home
and family for that long. Or staying in this claustrophobic and confusing city
for that long, either.
    “It’ll go by much faster than you think,” Pa said. “And . .
. well, there’s this to consider, too. In that time, Maktaz’s anger at you is
bound to cool. Frankly, you’ll be much safer here for a while. And, if you come
back as the Dardani’s first and only smith, you’ll be in a much better position
to withstand anything Maktaz may try against you in the future.”
    For a moment, Vatar flashed on his nightmare vision of
Maktaz’s face on the front of the flash flood. Staying away from Maktaz for a
while might not be a bad idea, but . . . two whole years! A new thought struck
Vatar. “I wouldn’t be home for my manhood test this year or next. I’d have to
wait. I’d be the oldest one in the test.”
    “No, actually,” Uncle Lanark said. “The Smiths’ Guild boys
your age will go through our manhood rites at the end of summer. You could go right
along with them, the same way your father did.”
    Pa fingered the torc he still wore around his neck. “That’s
right.”
    “You’ll be healed enough by then,” Mother said.
    Vatar swallowed hard. “Can I . . . can I have a little time
to think about it?”
    “Of course,” Uncle Lanark said. “You can keep working with
me in the forge, if you like. To get a feel for what you’d be learning.”
    “We’ll be here for a while yet,” Mother said. “Take as much
time as you need.”
    “Hey,” Arcas said, pounding him on the back. “We’ll be
apprentices together. That’ll be good.”
    Uncle Lanark cleared his throat. “Actually, if Vatar accepts
and if it’s what you want, I’d thought of transferring your apprenticeship to
your Uncle Castan . I think you’d do very well as a
merchant. If that’s what you want, of course.”
    Arcas sat back as a grin slowly grew on his face. “Really?
Me, a merchant? You mean it?”
    Uncle Lanark nodded.
    “Wow!”
    Vatar turned to the other boy, a new suspicion growing in
his mind. “You don’t want to be a smith?

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