The Wiz Biz

The Wiz Biz by Rick Cook Read Free Book Online

Book: The Wiz Biz by Rick Cook Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rick Cook
shaking. At last Moira threw the cloak back and sat up. Reluctantly, Wiz followed suit.
    “Was that thing looking for us?” he breathed at last.
    “Very likely,” Moira said, scanning the skies warily.
    “Are there more of them?”
    “Dragons are usually solitary creatures and one so big would need a large hunting territory.”
    She frowned. “Still, I do not know of any like that who live nearby. Wild dragons make ill neighbors. It may be the one from the southern lake or it might be one of the ones who lair in the hills to the east. If it is coursing this far afield there may be others.”
    “Wonderful,” Wiz muttered.
    Moira sighed shakily. “I dislike playing hideabout with dragons, but we should be safe enough if we stay under the trees and are careful about crossing open spaces.”
    “Sounds good to me.”
    “There is risk, of course,” Moira continued, half to herself. “The forested ways are not always the most free of magic. Besides, with the forest close around us we will not have as much warning of the approach of others.”
    “Trolls, wolves, evil men and others who do the League’s work.”
    “Great,” Wiz said.
    Moira missed the irony entirely. “Not great, but our best chance, I think.” She folded the cloak. “Now come. Quickly.”


    “Well?” Atros demanded.
    “The searchers are out as you commanded, Master,” said the new Master of the Sea of Scrying. “But so far nothing.”
    “With all the magic of the League you cannot find two insignificant mortals?” Atros rumbled.
    The Master, only hours in his post, licked his lips and tried not to look past Atros’s shoulder at the place where a newly flayed skin hung, still oozing blood, on the stone wall of the chamber. The skin of a very fat man.
    “It is not easy Master. Bal-Simba—cursed be his name!—has been casting confusion spells, muddying the trail at the beginning. The Council’s Watchers are on the alert and we cannot penetrate too deeply nor see too clearly.” He paused. “We do know he has not taken the Wizard’s Way.”
    Atros rubbed his chin. Walking the Wizard’s Way was the preferred method of travel for those who had the magical skill to use it. But it was also easy to detect anyone upon it Perhaps this strange wizard preferred stealth to speed.
    “And those already in the North,” he asked, “behind the Watchers’ shield of spells?”
    “Our best servants are creatures of the dark. On Mid-Summer’s Day their power is at its weakest. Our dragon allies and our others seek as best they can, but there is so much magic upon the land that it is hard to scan.” He gestured into the Sea of Scrying. Atros looked and saw sparks and patches of magic everywhere.
    “Someone mighty enough to be worth the risk of a wizard like Patrius must leave a track even through that,” the giant magician objected.
    The newly made black robe lowered his head. “We have found no sign, Master.”
    Atros bit his lip thoughtfully. It was possible for a magician to hide his presence through cloaking spells, but such spells usually betrayed that something was being hidden. Either the League’s servants were unusually inept or this magician from beyond the World was extremely powerful. Someone that powerful might indeed tip the balance against the League.
    Unless . . .
    “Is there sign of aught unusual in the cities of the North?”
    “Nothing, Master, save what you know. Nothing unusual anywhere in the North’s territories.”
    “Then perhaps he whom we seek is not within the North’s territories,” Atros said suddenly. “Patrius performed his Great Summoning on the Fringe of the Wild Wood? Then search the Fringe most carefully. And extend your search into the Wild Wood itself.”
    “Thy Will, Master,” said the Watcher. “But there is no sign of anything unusual on the Fringe. Besides, it will mean weakening our search of the North’s lands.”
    “If he was in the North’s lands we would have some

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