Read Glasswrights' Journeyman Online

Authors: Mindy L Klasky

Glasswrights' Journeyman

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The Glasswrights' Journeyman
The Glasswright Series: Volume Three

Mindy L. Klasky

 

To Grandpa and Irene,

who have always supported me in school, in career(s), and in writing

 

 

 

 

Original Acknowledgments, 2002 Edition

 

The Glasswrights' Journeyman
would never have been completed without the help of many people: Richard Curtis (my agent) and Laura Anne Gilman (my editor) - who never failed to smooth the rough edges and provided me with excellent advice and support, Bruce Sundrud - who read too many drafts in too short a time without a single word of complaint, Bob Dickey and the rest of Arent Fox (especially the Library) - who could ruin anyone's preconceptions about what a “large law firm” is all about, Jane Johnson - who tolerated my scribbling notes for
Journeyman
(even at the bottom of the Pozzo di San Patrizio), Bob Wentworth - who hypnotized me over dinner at the Nam-Viet Restaurant and provided invaluable advice for the Speaking in this book, James Cummings and Keith Gabel - who provided me with factual information about the economics of players' troops, the Washington Area Writers Group and the Hatrack Tuesday night gang - who have provided support and good humor for lo these many years, and of course, my family (Mom and Dad and Ben and Lisa) - who have always, always listened.

 

 

 

 

Additional Acknowledgments, 2010 Edition

 

This ebook would not have happened without the love and support (and never-ending techno-patience!) of my husband, Mark.

I love keeping in touch with readers! Please stop by my website,
http://www.mindyklasky.com,
to learn more about me, my books, upcoming appearances, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Rani Trader looked through the panes of glass, grateful that the direction of the wind had shifted, that she was temporarily spared the stench of burned wood and melted stone from the city below her tower chamber. She ordered herself not to lean out the window, not to gaze into the palace courtyard and see the refugees who huddled in their makeshift tents. She drew a deep breath, fighting the urge to turn away, to close her eyes, to shut out all thoughts of the fire that had eaten its way through Moren.

No one knew how the blaze had started. There were rumors that it had begun in a tavern brawl, deep in the Soldiers' Quarter. Some said that it had sprung from an unattended fire in the Merchants' Quarter, at a sausage-maker's stall. Others said that it had begun in the Guildsmen's Quarter, or among the homeless, roving Touched.

Rani did not care how the fire had begun. She cared only that the newborn flames had been licked to full life by the spring-time winds. The blaze had fed on winter-dry wood, devouring entire streets of the city. Good people had died trying to protect their families, and fine trade goods had disappeared in smoke.

In the end, the fire was stopped only by an experimental engine created by Davin, one of King Halaravilli's retainers. That massive machine, intended for war, had saved some few Morenian lives, bringing down rows and rows of buildings with explosive charges, collapsing wood and mud and wattle so that the fire had nothing to consume, nowhere to go. Even Davin's creation might not have been sufficient,, if not for a furious spring storm that flooded the darkened and charred streets after three days of fire.

Moren was crippled, wounded almost to death. The city faced a new year and old terrors – starvation, freezing cold, madness. The Pilgrims' Bell tolled as refugees huddled in the palace courtyard, on the darkened flagstones of the old marketplace, in ramshackle doorways and unsafe structures. Children were sick, and the leeches who tended the survivors identified a new disease – firelung. The sickness was first brought on by breathing heated air or too much soot, but then it spread to others, to people who were exhausted and hopeless. Firelung killed if its victims did not receive rest and warmth and good, nourishing food. Often, it killed, even if the patients were cared for.

The only shred of grace from all the Thousand Gods, was that the cathedral had been spared. The cathedral and the Nobles' Quarter, and the palace compound. Moren had the tools to rebuild, if it dared.

Rani turned her head away and pulled the shutters closed, turning back to the tome on her whitewashed table. A JOURNEYMAN'S DUTY, she read. The letters were ornate, the parchment page ringed with fine illustrations of journeymen glasswrights going about their business of pouring glass, cutting shapes, crafting fine-drawn windows.

The book was the newest in her collection, given to her by Davin. The old man had carried it all the way to Rani's tower, breathing heavily from his exertion. He had pointed toward the heavy parchment at the beginning of the text, alerting her to the beautifully crafted pages. “Read it, girl. Read it, so that you can get on with your business.”

She had bridled at his acerbic tone, but she had long ago mastered swallowing her retorts to the old inventor. Instead, she had brought a lamp closer, and she had made out the words on the page: A JOURNEYMAN'S DUTY. A Journeyman Glasswright shall exhibit all the Skills learned in his Apprenticeship. He shall show Knowledge in pouring Glass. He shall show Knowledge in cutting Glass. He shall show Knowledge in setting Glass. He shall show Leadership in teaching Apprentices. He shall show Obedience in following Masters. He shall contribute one fourth Share of all his worldly Goods to his King. Only then shall a Glasswright be recognized as Journeyman by his Guild and all the world.”

Rani had read the text so many times that she had memorized the words, inuring herself to the longing that swelled in her chest. She had once been part of a complete guild – apprentices, journeymen, masters – all working toward a common goal. Now, she was the only glasswright in all of Morenia. She must prove to herself that she was ready to advance, that she was ready to stake claim to the title of journeyman. She must prove that she was ready to step forward in her bid to rebuild the glasswrights' guild.

After all, no other glasswrights were likely to trust their fates to Morenia. Not after the proud kingdom's own guild had been destroyed. Not after its guildhall was torn down, stone by painful stone. Not after its own masters and journeymen and apprentices had been executed or maimed, the supposedly lucky ones traveling far from Morenia with only scars and butchered hands to show for their devotion. If Rani were to rebuild the glasswrights' guild, she would have to start on her own, vanquishing the nightmares of the past.

And so, even after the fire, Rani began each day by reading the book's exhortation, as if the words alone would make her succeed in the face of Moren's calamity. That morning, she had set herself to work on a new window, a window illustrating the disaster of the fire. She was still trying to determine a strategy for cutting the pieces – long tongues of red and yellow and orange, streamers of color to commemorate the flames that had changed forever the world that she had known. She would immortalize Moren's destruction in glass, exorcise the memories from her own mind, and cement her claim to the title of journeyman. …

She still did not have the skill to cut the long, flowing pieces. Instead, she would work on tinting the glass, creating the yellow and orange from clear glass and silver stain. She needed to determine the proper amount of gum arabic for the caustic mixture. She grunted slightly as she reached for a lead-embossed book, the first treasure that Davin had given her. That treatise held almost everything she wanted to know about glasswork, almost everything that she had taught herself in the three years since she had returned from Amanthia.

From Amanthia, where she had been kidnapped and forced into an army of children, children who were sold as slaves to further their dark king's evil goals. Rani had liberated that army, and she had contributed to the defeat of the evil King Sin Hazar. She had learned much on her journey to Amanthia, much about the dark power of loyalty and devotion and love.

Rani set the new book on the table, carefully bringing her lamp near and ignoring the slight tremble in her fingers. She was too aware of the power of fire. Before she could huddle over the pages of tight-written script,, the door to the tower chamber crashed open. “Mair!” Rani exclaimed. “Where have you been?”

The Touched girl grimaced. “Tending the children. Six more cases of firelung. All Touched.” The disease was spreading, working its greatest damage among the people of Moren who had the least. Rani read Mair's concern in her friend's creased brow. Mair may have come to live in the palace, but her heart was still in the streets, with the children she had raised, with the troop she had led. With a visible effort, Mair set aside her worries, asking Rani, “What have you been up to, that you look so surprised at my coming here?”

“I was reading Davin's newest treatise, about advancement to journeyman.”

“Books.” Mair snorted as she glanced at the volumes on the high table. Rani knew that her Touched friend was able to read; Mair had mastered her letters at the same time that the girl was learning how to survive in the City streets. Reading and writing were tools that helped a Touched girl thrive, let her read the text of royal proclamations, let her draft markers for loans.

Mair had harnessed her skills well, Rani thought, managing a troop of children with all the aplomb of a general. The Touched leader had consistently directed her followers with a combination of maternal love and mercenary zeal – skills that were sometimes wasted in the constraints of King Halaravilli's court. Mair said, “There are more important things than books.”

“Certainly there are, Mair,” Rani sighed. “There are funeral pyres for all the victims who were not consumed outright by the fire. There is food to distribute. There are blankets to give out. But I can't be down there all the time. I can't watch over the damage all the time.”

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