Home From The Sea: The Elemental Masters, Book Seven

BOOK: Home From The Sea: The Elemental Masters, Book Seven
11.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

NOVELS BY MERCEDES LACKEY

available from DAW Books:

THE NOVELS OF VALDEMAR
:

THE HERALDS OF VALDEMAR

ARROWS OF THE QUEEN

ARROW’S FLIGHT

ARROW’S FALL

THE LAST HERALD-MAGE

MAGIC’S PAWN

MAGIC’S PROMISE

MAGIC’S PRICE

THE MAGE WINDS

WINDS OF FATE

WINDS OF CHANGE

WINDS OF FURY

THE MAGE STORMS

STORM WARNING

STORM RISING

STORM BREAKING

VOWS AND HONOR

THE OATHBOUND

OATHBREAKERS

OATHBLOOD

THE COLLEGIUM CHRONICLES

FOUNDATION

INTRIGUES

CHANGES

REDOUBT
*

BY THE SWORD

BRIGHTLY BURNING

TAKE A THIEF

EXILE’S HONOR

EXILE’S VALOR

VALDEMAR ANTHOLOGIES
:

SWORD OF ICE

SUN IN GLORY

CROSSROADS

MOVING TARGETS

CHANGING THE WORLD

FINDING THE WAY

Written with LARRY DIXON:

THE MAGE WARS

THE BLACK GRYPHON

THE WHITE GRYPHON

THE SILVER GRYPHON

DARIAN’S TALE

OWLFLIGHT

OWLSIGHT

OWLKNIGHT

OTHER NOVELS:

GWENHWYFAR

THE BLACK SWAN

THE DRAGON JOUSTERS

JOUST

ALTA

SANCTUARY

AERIE

THE ELEMENTAL MASTERS

THE SERPENT’S SHADOW

THE GATES OF SLEEP

PHOENIX AND ASHES

THE WIZARD OF LONDON

RESERVED FOR THE CAT

UNNATURAL ISSUE

HOME FROM THE SEA

*
Coming Soon from DAW Books

And don’t miss:

THE VALDEMAR COMPANION

Edited by John Helfers and Denise Little

HOME FROM
THE SEA

The Elemental Masters
,

Book Seven

MERCEDES LACKEY

DAW BOOKS, INC
.

DONALD A. WOLLHEIM, FOUNDER

375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

ELIZABETH R. WOLLHEIM

SHEILA E. GILBERT

PUBLISHERS

www.dawbooks.com

Copyright © 2012 by Mercedes Lackey.

All Rights Reserved.

Jacket art by Jody A. Lee.

Jacket designed by G-Force Design.

DAW Book Collectors No. 1588.

DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Group (USA).

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.

All resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58859-8

First Printing, June 2012

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

To Occupy.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Profound thanks to Dr. Colin Dival of York University for invaluable information on the British rail system in the late 1800s. Not only did Dr. Dival make sure I actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about, he saved me from some very embarrassing errors!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

1

B
ETWEEN
the howling of the wind, the pounding of the rain on the roof, and the tumult of the ocean, Mari Prothero knew there was no point in listening for anything else. The damp, chill wind found a hundred little cracks and chinks to whistle through, and only near the fire was it at all warm. At least the wind wasn’t sending the smoke down the chimney instead of up.

This was the sort of day that the wives and daughters of fishermen dreaded. It had begun with a red sky, always a bad sign, but by the time the sun was up to give the warning of rough weather to come, Mari’s father Daffyd Prothero was already gone fishing. And not out in his little river coracle for salmon, no. Out in his bigger boat—still a coracle—out on the wide ocean, for herring. Whether meant for the river or the ocean, coracles were still unchancy boats, being little more than great round dishes made of wood and hide or canvas. Granted, the ocean coracles had sails, but still! You had to be a mad sailor as well as a fine one to take one on the ocean in the teeth of a storm.

Oh
, thought Mari Prothero, her heart full of anxiety,
and my da is both

She bent over the fire and stirred the coals, adding a little more sea-coal and a little more driftwood on top. Flames sprang up, blue and gold and green, colored by the salts in the wood and the coals.

By midmorning the threatening sky had made good on its promises, and there was a full-throated storm churning the ocean. The wind howled about the cottage walls on the hill above the beach and wailed about the chimney.

And had Daffyd Prothero come scudding in ahead of the storm?
Of course not. Because he’s mad
.

Mari’d had to latch the shutters tight on the seaward side, and even so, wind-driven driblets of rain crept over the sills whenever the rain drove hard against the windows. The drafty air inside smelled of the ocean and the storm, and not the lovely hot pie and bread she had baking.

She sat down again and picked up her work. She had her shawl wrapped tight about her, her flannel skirt and petticoat tucked in around her legs, so she was warm enough. Tucked into her chair at the hearth, if her da hadn’t been at sea, she’d have been content enough. Such a storm! The fire burned bright, and the lantern was near, and even so it was hard to see to mend the net in her hands. Not that her hands didn’t already know the work so well she probably could do it in the dark. She could knit in the dark, and had most of the winter, for there were always socks to knit as well as nets to mend. But net-mending required concentration and knitting didn’t, and she was trying not to think about her da off on the unforgiving sea.

By now, oh surely, even the salmon fishers were in off the river. But not her da; no, she knew him. He’d be out in the storm, stubborn as any donkey, pulling in fish where no other man could. And even when he had as much as the boat could carry, he still wouldn’t come home. First he’d be off to Criccieth to sell half of it, and on a day like today, he’d get the best prices, there being no one else fool enough to be on the water. Only then would he come home to sell in Clogwyn, perhaps to trade a few for a salmon or maybe a treat from the baker. Everyone wanted Daffyd Prothero’s herring; they were always the fattest, the tastiest.

A gust hammered the shutters and she flinched. A lash of rain battered it, sending a fine mist of droplets through tiny cracks in the wood. Oh, how she hated days like this one. It never mattered that he always came home unscathed, with herring or salmon or trout in his bucket, with whatever else he fancied they needed in a bag over his shoulder. It never mattered at all, because every time one of these storms blew up, someone generally did not come home, and Mari always dreaded the day it would be her da who didn’t.

Tears stung her eyes; she gulped them down past the lump in her throat. She sniffed, wiped her cold nose on her handkerchief, and ordered the tears to go away, telling herself that he was probably in Clogwyn by now. At that moment her nose told her to check on the pie in the oven. The Prothero cottage was superior to most—for they had an oven built into the side of the fireplace, unlike most of the Clogwyn cottagers, who had to make do with hearth-cooking or buying bread from the baker. That was not the only way in which the Prothero cottage differed; most made do with a pounded and limed earthen floor, but the Prothero cottage boasted a wooden floor, and today she was mortal glad of it, for an earthen floor would have been mud by now. She put down the net and string, wrapped rags around her hands and carefully pulled down the cast-iron handle of the little door at the side of the fireplace. The rabbit pie was not quite done yet; the rabbit was a trade from yesterday, and its skin was drying over a rafter in the loft. The bread was done, though, and she fetched it out with a bit of plank. It smelled divine. She hoped her da would be here in time to eat it warm.

BOOK: Home From The Sea: The Elemental Masters, Book Seven
11.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Other Man (West Coast Hotwifing) by Haynes, Jasmine, Skully, Jennifer
Elegy for a Broken Machine by Patrick Phillips
The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning by Taylor Larimore, Richard A. Ferri, Mel Lindauer, Laura F. Dogu, John C. Bogle
In the Dark by Marliss Melton