The sun hadn’t breached the horizon when the port came alive. The clock tower had just rung five and it would be dark for at least another half hour.
I was dressed and ready to go as I had decided against sleep. Sometimes I dream traveled, often not even remembering the next day until something reminded me. This close to the chamber still, I hadn’t dared take the chance I’d dream and travel back there to whatever lay in wait.
My stomach growled as the scent of fresh bread breached the window from the kitchens down below. I stood and stretched before wrapping up the few things I’d taken out to keep myself busy during the night. My pen, ink and a small sketchbook. I’d draw when I needed to keep my mind busy. At least when there weren’t any good books about. Kenuport Inn’s library had turned out to be much thinner than most places I’d visited. Though that was to be expected so far out. I had hoped there’d be a local book, something I couldn’t find anywhere else.
Apparently, literary pursuits were not appreciated in the fishing town.
I swung my pack over my shoulder, checked to make sure my staff was secured in my belt, then made my way to the inn’s foyer. The stable boy ran through the doors and stopped short when he saw me. I paid him to have Spiri ready for me outside by six and he rushed off. I hated traveling by ship with Spiri, as she would be kept down below for too long. Most captains refused to let me bring her on deck. I wondered then if I should change plans and ride after all.
The idea of going by ship was it would get me far away from the chamber faster. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but something made me uneasy about the choice.
My stomach growled again.
I wandered down to the bakery. Four loaves of pacizi bread, dried apricots—imported from a town just to the south—some cheese and two sweet rolls filled my pouch. It was enough for the journey across to Isig, but would also last if we rode to Yiat instead.
Why am I thinking about riding instead?
I didn’t like indecision. In anyone. But especially me. I was leaning toward changing plans. I just couldn’t tell if it was because of my own intuition, or something else pressing on my mind.
That something else I’d been trying not to think about.
Across the street, I picked up a couple of slabs of salted beef and fish. Definitely road food and not ocean travel food. I guess I’d decided.
Back at the inn, I sat on a chair in the foyer and nibbled on bread and cheese as I waited for Steffan to show up, not entirely sure that she would. Whatever mission Harry had planned for her, maybe she’d already done it just by keeping me busy the night before.
The tower hadn’t struck seven yet when she popped out of a door looking exactly the same as the night before, except for a small travel bag slung across her chest. I did a quick scan of her and noticed the bag was enchanted. It looked small, but could probably hold much more. It could have had a different enchantment, but I figured that was the only way her hilarious suit would fit into that bag. Enchanted garb like that was too expensive to leave behind.
“Do you have a horse?” I asked her.
Not surprising. “Can you ride?”
“Are we going to ride over the ocean?”
Her sarcasm belied her nervousness. She shifted her feet back and forth and kept looking at the door.
“Change of plans. We’re riding to Yiat instead.”
“Great. I’d ask if we could eat first, but I’d like to leave before I die.”
“We won’t get far with you walking.”
“I’ll run the hell away from here if I have to.” Her eyes narrowed.
I’d have to be careful. She clearly liked to hold grudges.
The stable boy ran in. “Your ride’s ready, Miss. She’s a buty!”
“That she is.” I glanced at Steffan, then at the boy. “Is there any merchant or caravan leaving this morning?”
“None. They come and go ev’ry third day. That’d be on the morrow.” He stood up straight, saying the words confidently.
I’d bet he wouldn’t always be a stable boy. If I were the betting type.
“What about horses for hire, then? Are there any we can take as far as Yiat?”
He stared determinedly at a spot on the wall, then replied, “Might be, Miss. Captain Mintin boards horses here for land travelers he brings ‘cross the ocean.”
“Captain of the Gloriad?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”
I pulled out another small coin. “Can you get one of them ready while I go convince him to let me trade my passage for a horse?”
He frowned again and shook his head.
“I’ll pay you a full gull to do it, whether or not he agrees.”
His eyes lit up, then he shook his head again. “Traveler rides need to be set up ‘head ‘o time through the boss. If he sees me doin’ it without him tellin—”
“I understand, but we’re in a bind for time. Here,” I handed over two gulls, “give these to the boss and tell him I’ll give him two more whether the Captain agrees or not—for his trouble.”
His face screwed up.
“And don’t mention that I’ll be paying you, too. That’s just between us.” I winked.
A smile returned to his face, and he darted out the door.
“Come on,” I said to Steffan, “let’s see if I can negotiate with the Captain fast enough to get you out of here in time.”
- Episode 1: Chamber of Power
- Episode 2: Chamber of Power
- Episode 3: Chamber of Power
- Episode 4: Chamber of Power
- Episode 5: Chamber of Power
- Episode 6: Chamber of Power
- Episode 7: Chamber of Power
- Episode 8: Chamber of Power
- Episode 9: Chamber of Power
- Episode 10: Chamber of Power
- Episode 11: Chamber of Power
- Episode 12: Chamber of Power