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Monday, June 18, 2012

#TuesdaySerial: On the Wide River #6 (Accidental Sorcerers Season 3)

And we come to the end…

Season 1 • Season 2
Season 3: Episode 1 • Episode 2 • Episode 3 • Episode 4 • Episode 5

Accidental Sorcerers
Season 3, Episode 6
On the Wide River

“So what happened?” asked Sura, as Bailar drank down the last cup of tea.

“Between us—with a little help from Cohodas, no doubt—we invoked the Principle of Closure and ended Storm Cloud’s spell. I stayed on a few more days, in hopes the road would dry out. But I grew uncomfortable under the adulation of Enzid and the folk he stirred, and feared retaliation by the former powers, so I bought passage with a north-going merchant. I have taken the river to Queensport ever since.” Bailar shook his head. “Do you understand now why I’m so leery of weather magic, Mik? It is Chaos magic, not Water magic. There are laws and principles that govern it like everything else, but there are too many of them for a mere human to understand, let alone control.”

Mik nodded. “So this Storm Cloud thought he could work weather magic?”

“Indeed. He was infamous at the Conclave. He believed that the inner mind—what folk call instinct—could grasp the principles of Chaos magic. Of course, no matter what weather he tried to call forth, it was always rain that answered him. With vigor. And in this case, the local deity magnified his usual results into a mighty curse. This too is a hazard of Chaos magic—the happenstance that a Power uses to bring down a curse is quite often its result.”

“Father,” said Sura, “why have you never told me this story before?”

Bailar smiled. “The last time we passed this way, you were daughter and attendant. Now you—and Mik—are apprentices, bonded after a fashion.” The youths blushed. “Mik, you spoke truer than you knew when you said there are other kinds of magic. It has been long observed that many sorcerers are the children of farmers. I myself am one. The ability to grow crops, often when all conditions are contrary, may well be a kind of magic. There are soothsayers, like our friend Aborsa—and enchanters, of course. But remember, most enchanters are not like Ahm Kereb. Witches are concerned with Nature and some of the edges of Chaos magic.

“Emotions are a sort of Chaos magic as well. That is why spells to manipulate emotions can go wrong in so many ways. And… and love, of course. So I tell you this story to warn you of several things.”

Mik gave a nervous laugh. “I think I understand.”

“Not completely. The Conclave is concerned about our dwindling numbers. As first-year apprentices, nothing should be said to you this year. But, as you grow older and your skills develop, there will be… pressures. The atmosphere at the Conclave is a reflection of those pressures.” Bailar looked through the walls, all the way to Queensport, thinking about a letter he had already received.


“As I said, nothing you need worry about this year.” Bailar paused. “Listen.”

“I don’t hear anything,” said Sura.

“The rain has stopped. On its own, of course.” The mentor smiled. “I think I’ve reminisced enough for one evening. You are dismissed for the day. Go enjoy what’s left of it. We have three more days, perhaps four, before we reach Queensport.”

Shafts of sunlight found their way through the overcast, splotching the rice fields across the river. Mik and Sura sat comfortably close together on Mik’s cloak, backs against the cabin wall. They shared a supper platter that Sura had made for them as they watched spots of sunlight blaze and fade on the farther shore.

“It’s so quiet,” said Sura.

“The crew got shore leave in Mosvil.” Mik grinned. “Most of the other passengers are in town too. I guess they’ll find something to do.”

“I’m glad Father didn’t take up Enzid on that offer.” Enzid had sent word, offering a suite for Bailar and his apprentices on very favorable terms, but Bailar politely declined. “It was nice, being off this barge for a while, but now? Everyone else is gone and we have it to ourselves.”

“I know what you mean.” Mik looked at Sura. “It doesn’t matter where I am. As long as I’m with you. I—I—”


Mik looked down. “I wonder what the mentor meant by pressures. At the Conclave, I mean.”

“Uh-huh. I’m sure he’ll tell us when we need to know.”

He shrugged and put his arms around her. “You’re right. There’s not much to look at out there, now. Maybe we should work on our… Chaos magic.”

Sura giggled and returned the embrace. The barge grew quiet in the deepening twilight.

Here ends Season 3.
Season 4, “At the Conclave,” is coming soon!


  1. Hey Larry. I'm still enjoying this. I like the gentle pace and the fact we've got time to get to know the characters and the world properly.

  2. And it ends just outside of the expository flashback. Interesting! Now we know more about the world, the MCs... but not what's going to happen with those pirates!

    I liked the explanation of how the different aspects of magic work -- it's consistent and sensible, which are good traits in a fantastic aspect of a story.

  3. I really enjoyed this as it walked us at a nice pace through the background and yet leaves us with the feeling that there is something exciting about to happen.


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