Voyage of the Fox Rider

Voyage of the Fox Rider by Dennis L. McKiernan Read Free Book Online

Book: Voyage of the Fox Rider by Dennis L. McKiernan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dennis L. McKiernan
Tags: Science-Fiction, Fantasy
smiled and took her hands and squeezed them gently. “I must go.”
    Drienne kissed him on the cheek and released him, and Alamar turned and headed for the stairs, a bit of a spring in his step. And among the stacks Jinnarin swung aboard Rux, and the fox made his way through the shadows and reached the landing just as the elder started down. Urging Rux forward, Jinnarin followed the Mage. Yet ere they had gone halfway down, from behind, the Pysk heard a gasp. Jinnarin turned and glanced back, and at the head of the stairs stood Drienne, her eyes wide in wonderment. Jinnarin smiled and waved, then gathered darkness unto herself and urged Rux forward, the shadow-wrapped fox darting down in the gloom.

    “Nothing? You discovered nothing?” They stood in the dimness beyond all the buildings, Jinnarin looking at the Mage in consternation.
    “Right,” snapped Alamar, irritated.
    “But you said that this was the finest library—”
    “I said that it was
one
of the finest,” grated the Mage.
    “Don’t quibble!” flared Jinnarin.
    “I’m not quibbling!” shouted Alamar.
    Silence fell between them. Then in a more subdued tone Alamar said, “We may
never
discover where lies a pale green sea or a crystal castle or where sails a black ship. Did I not say that dream visions are often not what they seem? And, after all, it
is
nought but a stupid
dream
—”
    “Sending!” gritted Jinnarin.
    Alamar sighed.
    Neither uttered aught for a while, then Jinnarin said, “Let us not argue, Alamar. Instead, what can we do now? Where can we go and who can we see to find a clue, a lead? Who knows about ships and seas and islands—?”
    “Sailors!” declared Alamar. “Ships’ captains. Navigators. Cartographers. Mariners all.”
    “All right then,” said Jinnarin, “let us go see these—these mariners. But if they know not, then who shall we ask?”
    Alamar stood in silence a moment, twisting the bracelet on his wrist. At last he said, “Well, my tiny Pysk, if they know not, then will we seek the Children of the Sea.”

    Jinnarin and Rux waited, shadow in shadow, while nearby the River Kairn thundered down into the waters of the Weston Ocean, the river at last coming to the lip of the headland to plunge a hundred feet or more to the brine below. Across a narrow street stood the Sloppy Pig, a cliff-edge tavern frequented by apprentice and mariner both, or so Alamar had said. The Mage himself was inside hoisting a tankard or two, speaking with members of ships’ crews, captains and sailors alike. The Pig was the third such public house that Alamar had visited on the bluffs above the docks, having previously called upon the Dropped Anchor and the Foaming Wake.
    Jinnarin was just beginning to suspect that Alamar had forgotten her when the Mage lurched out the door.
“Pysk, Pysk,”
he loudly hissed. “
Psst!
Where are you, Jinner—Jinn—Pysk?”
    Reeling across the street, his eyes searching, the Mage stumbled among the bushes of the riverside grounds, one hand held high, a blue light glowing from his fingertips.
“Pysk—!”
    “Hush, Alamar!” snapped Jinnarin. “And put out that light!”
    “Oh
there
you are, Jin-Jin. I was beginning to think—”
    “Alamar, you are drunk!”
    The Mage drew himself up in indignation and thickly protested, “Me? Drunk? Why, I’ll have you know—”
    “Alamar, I said put out that light.”
    Alamar bleared at his glowing hand, muttered a few words, and watched in amazement as it grew brighter. He muttered more words. Nothing happened. Finally he stuffed his hand into his cloak, wrapping cloth about it. “Never mind the cursed light. We’ve got to hurry. I’ve booked us passage on a ship. We’re bound for Arbalin tonight.”
    “Ship? Arbalin? Tonight? Why?”
    Alamar took his hand from the cloak and looked at it. It still glowed. He wrapped it up again. “Because, Jin-Jin, that’s where we’ll find Aravan, him and his Elvenship. If
anyone
knows where lies the pale green

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