Wren Journeymage

Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith Read Free Book Online

Book: Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sherwood Smith
Tags: Fantasy
being a village on the coast of Fil Gaen south of Hroth Harbor.
    Just after noon, they lugged their new gear up the hill, Wren’s old knapsack so stuffed the seams were ready to pop. Once again they joined the newbie line.
    A young clerk came out from the back and moved to the portion of the counter where the newbies stood in line. Before she could speak, she was pushed aside by that same long-faced clerk with the sour expression. He seemed to be looking right at Wren when he said in a loud voice, “No lists today for newbies.”
    “What?” said the other clerk, her surprise echoed all the way down the line.
    “Orders from the Harbormaster,” the scowler said. “You, prentice, go help keep track of guild inspections. The rest of you.” He glared at the line. “Come back on the morrow. Noon.” He retreated behind the counter, leaving them standing there.
    The newbies looked at each other, but no one had any answers. Still, they asked variations on No ships, none at all?
    Patka said with a shrug, “Kind of strange, but season’s just opened. Not much traffic in the harbor yet.”
    Wren, glancing out at that forest of masts, wondered what ‘busy’ would be like.
    “That’s it for today,” yelled Patka’s older brother Thad, who had already been on a cruise, but chose to line up with the newbies so he could stay with his siblings. “Let’s have some fun!”
    “We don’t have any coin, except enough for a bed and sup tonight,” their younger brother, Danal, pointed out. He was thirteen. “We won’t be shippin’ out tonight. And look up, it’s cloudin’ up, gonna come on rain.”
    “No fun, sleepin’ in rain, if we spend everything we got,” Thad muttered.
    The group stood in a circle, looking dejected.
    Then the tall redhead smacked his tiranthe. The steel strings rang sweetly. “Shall I try to earn a few coins? Maybe there’s some inn with no singer already hired.”
    “Aw, Lambin, there’s singers everywhere.” Thad sighed.
    “I happen to know a few storytelling spells,” Wren offered.
    Everyone looked her way. Patka frowned, and her brothers looked askance.
    “Is something wrong?” Wren asked.
    Patka shrugged. “Sorry. Doin’ spells for players isn’t being a mage, after all. I hate mages.”
    Wren’s mouth dropped open. “What’s wrong with mages? Did one do something nasty to you?” She thought of Andreus of Senna Lirwan.
    “No.” All three shook their heads. “It’s what they don’t do, see?” Thad said.
    “Like, if they know so much magic, why not make everybody rich and comfortable, not just themselves?” Patka declared.
    “Our dad says, there’s nothing worse than nobles and mages. We do all the work and they get all the fun.” Danal grinned, and Wren wondered if Danal liked the idea of getting all the fun.
    He didn’t seem too bothered, but Patka flushed with anger, and declared, “Me, I don’t blame nobles as much. They can’t help being born what they are, same as us being born into a sailing family. But mages, they’re said to come from everywhere, but you don’t hear of ‘em going off to learn, then coming back home and using their magical spells to put everyone at home into a fancy castle, all nice and rich.”
    Wren let her breath out in a slow trickle. There were so many wrong things here she didn’t even know where to begin. Or even if she should.
    So save it for later , she thought. Just solve the problem we’re facing right now . “I do player spells at my auntie’s inn,” Wren said. “On rainy nights.”
    All three faces cleared in relief. “Entertaining,” Thad said. “Oh, well, that’s different.”
    “That’s an honest living, doin’ spells for players,” Patka said.
    Danal smacked his hands and rubbed them. “And I know just the place we can go and use music and spells to earn some coin.” He nudged Thad. “You remember. We saw it yesterday?”
    His brother jerked his thumb behind them, and they ran off in a pack.
    No wonder

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