Authors: Sandra Waugh
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2014 by Sandra Waugh
Jacket art copyright © 2014 by Marcela Bolivar
Map copyright © 2014 by Rhys Davies
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lark Rising / Sandra Waugh—1st ed.
p. cm.—(Guardians of Tarnec; book 1)
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Lark sets out on a journey to help her village fight off monsters called Troths and learns she is the Guardian of Life, fated to recover a powerful amulet from the Breeders of Chaos.
ISBN 978-0-449-81748-3 (trade)—ISBN 978-0-449-81749-0 (lib. bdg.)—
ISBN 978-0-449-81750-6 (ebook)
[1. Fantasy.] I. Title.
PZ7.W351Lar 2014 [Fic]—dc23 2012040107
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my husband, my love, my everyday hero
Circle of Balance, chosen of White;
Power of hand renders dark into light
Sun in earth proves her worth
And rises the Lark, set free by Sight
THE HAWK BROUGHT the first of the signs.
I would not have paid attention to him, as creatures of leg and wing often follow me. But this young male lit upon the fence as I pulled at the roots of a ghisane. Ghisane and hawk are unwilling neighbors. If it dares, a dormouse can find protection beneath its branches, as a hawk will not come near. And yet this hawk flew to the fence, nearly brushing the leaves of the hated bush, and sat watching me. I had to pause in my work and regard him sternly, saying, “If you stay too long, young harrier, I will not finish my task.” And so he stayed but a moment before taking flight, yet not without leaving me the message he carried. As he left the fence, a small thing fell from his grip and fluttered into my lap. I picked it up: the feather from a lark.
My grandmother’s voice was loud enough to carry across the field. Turning, I could see her standing by the herb shed, another bundle of something or other weighting her arms. “Come, Lark. Leave that!”
And so I left the ugly ghisane half ripped, and crossed the shorn grass. Rileg, the sheep hound, heaved up on his three legs to follow.
“Grandmama, I should not leave the bush undone. It will reach its roots farther and double by the evening,” I warned as I neared.
“Then be quick with this meadsweet. The buds must be pulled immediately upon cutting.” She gave over the enormous bundle into my arms. “Put the leaves in the green pot and any flowers in the blue, but bring the buds in your apron to the press. We must squeeze them before that cloud passes the sun.” She pointed to the single white dab in the bright sky. “Hurry, then. What’s that in your hand?”
I opened my fist to show her the feather. I did not tell her how it came to me. She looked at it for a moment, and then at me. “A third one?” she asked.
I shrugged a little hard.
Grandmama gave her half smile, the knowing one. “Hurry, then,” she repeated, and stumped away on stiff limbs.
“Three is not so many,” I said to Rileg as he joined me to sit in the shade of the herb shed. My hands made light work of the meadsweet. Poor Grandmama. Her gnarled fingers would no longer work the small tasks; Evie and I were required for those.
Yet she had no less energy, and so put her leftover stamina into creating more oils, balms, and medicines from the variety of herbs we grew. No one could enter the village of Merith’s marketplace without a stop at our booth. It smelled sweet and warm and healing all in one breath. Even Krem Poss had ceased selling his herbs at market and let us pay to harvest his lavender for our own concoctions. “More profit thisaway,” he’d said with a shake of his bald head. “You’ve powerful magic, you ladies.”
Magic it was not, though a little might do no harm. Hard work was the way of getting things done, and, Grandmama would scoff, Master Poss had little enthusiasm for
. But magic is always the easy interpretation for things. And besides, since I had the Sight, and my grandmother and cousin were Healers, it was a natural expectation that our abilities included making spells.
Three is not so many
. One feather I’d found under a stone the morning before when I was weeding through the mugwort. I happily showed it to Grandmama, for it is a blessing to find one’s namesake. The second was threaded into a lilac, brown against the green. Grandmama saw me working it out of the branches that afternoon. This third one I’d not willingly discuss, though. Grandmama would rightly see it as portentous, for things that came in threes were always of note. But that this feather was brought by the hawk meant something more: