When we last left our young heroes, they were concerned about someone — or something — coming aboard in the night…
Season 1 • Season 2
Season 3: Episode 1
Season 3, Episode 2
On the Wide River
Season 3, Episode 2
On the Wide River
“Nar!” the captain grimaced. “The crew woulda give the alarm by now!”
“We felt spells being cast, sir,” said Mik. “Your crew is likely asleep. We need to do something!”
The captain glared at Bailar. “If they felt magic,” said the sorcerer, “it was not my doing. Something’s afoot.”
“Fine, then. But if you two are prankin’, it will go badly for you both!”
“If we are,” said Mik, stepping forward, “I’ll take my punishment and Sura’s as well.”
Sura pulled him back. “You will not!”
Bailar smirked. The captain glared, then softened just a little and nodded. “Yar. Let it be as you say.” He slipped out, Bailar and the apprentices following.
They reached the first slumbering crewman. The captain hissed and cursed under his breath, trying to shake the man awake. Mik looked at Bailar, who nodded; Mik crouched on the other side. He touched the sleeping man, then looked at the captain. “This is a magical sleep,” he whispered. “I can feel it. Shaking him won’t help.”
“Well, can ya wake him?”
Mik nodded and, as he’d been taught, made unnecessary gestures and whispered a nonsense rhyme: “The sun is up, the cock is crowing! Time to wake and be a-going!” At once, the crewman’s eyes popped open. Seeing the captain, he gasped.
“Nar, it ain’t yer lazy bones this time,” the captain growled. “There’s devilment afoot. Let’s take this here sprout of a sorcerer and get yer pals a-movin’!”
“Sura and I will take the other side,” said Bailar. “Quietly now.”
One by one, they brought each crewman awake. They roused almost half the crew before the boarders became aware. At the first shout, Bailar brought the False Dawn and twelve angry crewmen set on four boarders. It was over in seconds, the boarders battered and cringing in the open hold.
A splash, and the captain turned. “More! Gettin’ away, they are!”
“Stay back!” Bailar shouted, stumbling to the bow and catching himself on the rail. In the light of his False Dawn, he saw a small boat and two shadowy men rowing for their lives. He clapped his hands and threw them over his head; a waterspout formed under the boat, lifting it and its terrified occupants onto the barge. Several of the crewmen subdued them.
Bailar touched each of them in turn. “How will you deal with these?” he asked the captain.
The captain looked at the boatload of near-stolen cargo and motioned to the crew to stow it away. “Next town with authority is Mosvil,” he said. “Turn ‘em over there, we will. Let the magistrate deal with them.”
“Very well,” said Bailar, “but this one —” he pointed to one of the two from the boat — “comes to Queensport with us. A rogue mage must face the Conclave.” Even in the dim light, Mik saw the young man — almost still a boy — turn pale.
“Well, then,” said the captain, “if ye’ll be responsible for him until we get there, I see no reason to say you nay. Eat our food, he will, but knowin’ he’ll get turned into a toad is payment enough!” He barked a laugh and turned away.
Bailar turned to Mik and Sura. “Fetch me a rope,” he said, “about —”
A tingle of magic cut his words short. They turned as the rogue mage twisted free of the crewmen and leaped over the side. Bailar and his apprentices ran to the railing, but saw only ripples. They watched for a long while, but he never surfaced in range of the light.
“Cursed us, he did!” one of the crewmen moaned, shaking his wrists. “Our hands won’t hold nothin’ no more!”
Bailar examined them. “Only for a few minutes,” he reassured them. “He benumbed you so he could get free. He’s not likely to be back, but all the same, we’ll join you on watch.”
A huge hand clapped Mik’s shoulder, nearly collapsing him. “Sprouts ya may be,” the captain grinned at the apprentices, “but proved your mettle this night, ya did. Without you and yer master, they might’ve left me with an empty barge! What would be a fair reward, think ya?”
“Thank you, sir,” said Sura, “but our mentor would not let us take a reward. But you can discuss it with him.”
Mik nodded. He was too embarrassed to ask for the only thing he really wanted: a few minutes alone with Sura.