Many Nights. Many Worlds. The Myriadu.

Camber of Power Serial

Episode 12: Chamber of Power

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Chamber of Power

Out on the pier, a chill borne of water and wind cut across my cheeks. The Gloriad, a two-mast wooden ship, was berthed at the end of the pier. Captain Mintin, his long wool coat buffeting in the breeze, stood at the top of the ramp, enjoying my predicament.

“One o’ my horses tis worth a dozen first class passages on ta Gloriad.” He patted the railing in reverence.

I wanted to argue about his usage of ‘first class’ as nothing about the ship resembled first in anything. Sturdy, sure. Adequate, sure. First? No. Keeping my tongue in check, I said, “But I’m not asking to buy one. Just to convert my passage, ah first class passage fee to your usual rental and return fee.” I kicked myself for not asking the boy what the usual fee was.

“Why would you need t’ change, hmm?” He strode down the ramp. “Could it be your friend here,” he gestured toward Steffan standing beside me, “can’t afford her first class passage? That you intend t’ double up on one o’ my horses, straining him so much he’ll be useless for days?”

I tilted my head at him. “You know very well I have my own horse, as a berth for him was included in my fee.”

He stared intently at Steffan before returning his attention to me. He’d stopped on the ramp just far enough up so he would look down on me. “True. I think we can come t’ terms. Given the short notice, I think an extra two silvers would be enough.”

Steffan coughed, and the color left her face.

I knew he’d be greedy. I just didn’t know how much. And we didn’t have time to argue. Too much. “I’ll give you half that and spare you having to deal with me riding my horse on your deck the next two weeks.”

His eyes narrowed. Then he relaxed into a smile. “That’ll be fine.” He held out his hand.

I plopped a silver into his palm, noticing how light my coin purse was getting. Once I got back to Lanthe, I’d need to visit my benefactor.

“Boy!”

A long-haired, scruffy boy of about eight ran down the ramp. “Sir!” He said as he nearly slid off the end.

“Run ahead t’ the stables and tell them t’ get a horse ready for Miss Keenglay. See you get back before seven, boy. We won’t wait for you!”

“Aye!” The boy disappeared down the pier, dodging crates, barrels and men.

The captain went back up the ramp, yelling at his sailors as he went.

The clock rang six thirty.

“Let’s hope the stable boy has that horse ready.” I said and pushed Steffan ahead of me. We ran, doing the same dodging dance down the pier as the boy, then through the busy streets to the stable. Steffan got there ahead of me and was already mounting a beautiful brown horse with wide eyes when a burly man, at least a foot taller than me, blocked my path.

“You must be the boss,” I said.

He grunted.

I gave him his two gulls, which he examined carefully, then stepped aside into the barn. The stable boy peered out of the doorway at me and I smiled, placing the coin I promised him on top of the post where he’d tied up Spiri. He nodded and smiled back before the boss grabbed his shoulder and dragged him farther inside. I hoped he’d be the one to find the coin. If there’d been more time, I’d have magicked it so only he could pick it up. As it was, all that was left of Steffan was a cloud of dust.

I caressed Spiri, calming him down after Steffan’s flurry of energy. He was a sensitive like me. Oh, he looked like a normal horse—a gorgeous black horse with a silver-white mane—but he wasn’t. That was one of my most closely guarded secrets.

A drizzle started to fall and I shook with a chill. “Time to go, Spiri. Let’s hope it’s much warmer on the road south.”

He neighed in agreement, then charged after Steffan.

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