The Sorcerer's Companion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tale from beyond the shadows.

Submitted: April 04, 2017

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Submitted: April 04, 2017

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Thinking back now at the curious combination of events that occurred that fateful day, he still could not decide whether he had been blessed or cursed. Either way, it was then, as it remained, beyond his control. The fickle wheel of fortune had set him on a path that was far less travelled than most, but then again everyone must bow to their fate. It was peculiar in a way, he could remember that day as if it were only yesterday. Yet the intervening years, of which there were too many to count, appeared to meld into one another in a swirling kaleidoscope of half remembered memories and experiences. As far as he could remember he would have scarcely been twelve summers old at the time, with little hope of seeing another summer. Yet here he stood over a hundred summers later looking back at the boy he once had been, a boy who had suddenly been snatched from a mundane world and dragged into a world too strange for other mere mortals to ever comprehend. He had crossed seas and continents to see things that ragged boy would never have even dreamed of.

That day had started out like so many before it, at least those days since he had become an orphan. He woke cold and hungry with the smell of horse manure in his nostrils; he had spent the night in the stable where the soldiers kept their horses. He had woken to the sound of his heart pounding in his chest, voices from nearby heralded the arrival of the soldiers to feed the horses. It would mean a certain end for him if they found him here; they would run him through with a sword without blinking. A good horse was worth the life of a hundred orphans like him, he would be branded a horse thief and his body would hang on display to discourage others. Two soldiers entered the gloomy interior of the stables carrying fodder; they laughed and talked in their guttural language that he could not understand. The clanking of the sword hilts against their breast plates brought a fresh wave of terror in the pit of his stomach. Loud words and raucous laughter spooked one of the horses; it was a stroke of divine intervention for the boy. Both men became preoccupied with calming the frightened animal; he took the opportunity to slip silently behind them and made good his getaway.

The market place was a hive of activity by the time he reached it, the sight of the food products on display caused renewed hunger pangs in his belly. However anytime he came anywhere near the stalls, the stony faced merchants eyed him with open antagonism. He made his way to the wall of a building, here he crouched in the shade and waited for an opportunity to steal something to eat. It was shortly after this that fate showed her hand, the tall man with the turban and silk robes stood out in the crowd like a beacon. His clothes and sallow skin marked him out as being from another place, but what interested the boy most was the leather pouch he wore on his belt. The stranger drifted among the market stalls, stopping every now and then to purchase something or other. He paid for his purchases in coin taken from that leather pouch; he shadowed the stranger waiting for his chance. Begging was forbidden in the market area, anyone caught doing so would be severely punished. He would wait until the man with the turban left the area, and then he would follow him and plead for charity. The strange finally moved towards the archway that led away from the market, he followed closely behind.

Up close now he could see that pouch bulged with coin, his heart skipped a beat when he saw the small gold coin sticking through a rip in the pouch. The stranger turned down a dark alleyway and he followed, the sun did not reach in here and he lost sight of his quarry. The metallic sound of something hitting the cobble stones stopped him in his tracks. The coin has fallen was his first thought, he fell to his knees and groped in the gloom. His thin fingers closed around the coin and his heart soared, it was then the strong hand gripped his hair and yanked him to his feet. The voice was strangely accented as it hissed the word “Thief”, he had been paying for that indiscretion ever since. That small gold coin had condemned him to a life as the sorcerer’s companion, the things he had been forced to witness and partake in over the long years, would cause many a stout heart to stop beating. The sorcerer had long since passed away, but he was cursed to carry on until he found a replacement. Perhaps I will go to the market today, he thought. Things have changed but there is never a shortage of hungry orphans.

 


© Copyright 2017 Patrick G Moloney. All rights reserved.

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