Read Stranded Mage Online

Authors: D.W. Jackson

Tags: #good, #magic, #cheap, #wizard, #swords, #dark, #thad, #death, #medevil, #war

Stranded Mage

Stranded Mage
This book is dedicated to all my beta readers and fans that have helped make this series what it is.


Stranded Mage
Copyright © D.W. Jackson 2014
Smashwords Edition


Names, characters, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual event, organizations, or persons, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.


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The ship swayed lightly as the wind filled its sails, pushing it along the desired path. A light, gray fog drifted up from the water, surrounding the Rose Runner, making it appear as if it was gliding through the clouds. Suddenly a violent wave struck the ship forcing Thad to grab hold of the railing, lest he find himself sprawled upon the deck. It had been his first time at sea but he was thoroughly enjoying himself. The sailors were a suspicious lot and prone to superstition, but Thad had found them to be to his liking.

An unshaven sailor in stained and well-worn clothing approached him from the shroud of the fog. “You might want to get below mate. The sea looks as if it’s going to fight with us a bit.”

“I thought I would get to enjoy a nice sunrise this morning, but it looks like it is going to be a bleak day,” Thad said, pulling the hood of his cloak back, exposing his light blonde hair and fair skin to the brisk morning air.

“Not going to be seeing much in the way of sunshine today mate. Cold air is moving in from the west, we’ll be lucky if we don’t see a storm,” the sailor replied as he looked up at the overcast sky. “Better get below deck, you’ll only be in the way if it starts to get hairy.”

“Understood,” Thad said, sighing heavily. He had escaped to the deck for more than sunshine. Brianna had not taken well to sea life and the constant moodiness that came along with her empty stomach had begun to wear on him. Thad reached into his pocket, his thin fingers rubbing over the silver ring he had purchased back at port. He had bought it on impulse for Brianna but had not found a good time to give it to her. She was an emotional sort for a dwarf. Thad was sure she would want to show her appreciation, and being kissed by a dwarf who had spent most the day with her head in a bucket didn’t enthuse him.

Another large wave hit the ship, knocking Thad off balance and slamming his shoulder hard into the small door in front of him. Groaning slightly, Thad wrenched open the portal and headed below deck.

The Rose Runner was a decent sized merchant ship with ample rooms for passengers. Like most ships the insides were sparse, but Thad found the simple beauty of the wood to be intriguing. Stretching out his hand Thad let his fingers glide over the polished wood, which was so smooth that it felt like glass to his touch.

Within moments Thad found himself standing in front of the door to his and Brianna’s room. He could hear the moaning from the other side and knew that Brianna was awake again and not enjoying the extra battering of the excited seas.

“Where have ya been?” Brianna asked quietly, her face showing her annoyance.

Thad shrugged helplessly. “On deck,” he replied. “I was enjoying the brisk morning air with hopes of seeing the sun rise over the water. It is a very lovely sight. You should watch it one morning with me.”

“I will pass,” Brianna said, her face turning slightly pale. “Humans, I never understood yer desire ta be on tha water. Isn’t good old solid ground good ‘nuf fer ya?”

Thad tried with little success to hold in his mirth as he looked at Brianna. She was a dwarf, and in his eyes a beautiful one with her shoulder length blond hair and her deep grey eyes, but she was a dwarf none the less and it seemed their race had an aversion to being over large bodies of water.

Knowing that nothing he could say would better her mood, Thad decided his best course would to remain silent. Quietly, Thad crawled into his hammock, a strange bed made of ropes that swung freely from the beams in his room. His first few tries to enter the hammock had been no doubt humorous, but now that he had gotten used to it, he found it extremely comfortable. On more than one occasion he had tried to get Brianna to enjoy it with him but she had adamantly refused, preferring to stay propped up in the corner of the room.

It is not like any of your other companions are faring much better,
a voice inside his head declared teasingly.
The other dwarf is in just as bad of shape as your lady, and the rock hound lies on the floor whining.

Thad looked over to his staff. Ever since it had learned it could speak with him it had hardly left him alone. Most of the time his staff tried its best to antagonize him over the smallest detail. Today though, it seemed apprehensive, almost worried about his companions. It was true Crusher, his stout dwarven friend, had taken to the water with even less grace than Brianna. He had stayed in his room the past few days with Avalanche nearby, who was no more enjoying the trip than the dwarf. Arianna, a nadirie who looked much like a small child, seemed to have as little trouble on water as she did on land. Thankfully the small sprite had taken it up upon herself to care for his two companions.

Closing his eyes Thad once again thought of his home and what might be awaiting him there. The sailors had rumors aplenty of the trouble Farlan was facing but few seemed to have any real knowledge. From most accounts, Princess Maria had rebelled against her mother and had rousted the nobles to her cause, in an effort to take over the throne.

Thad had not seen Maria in years but what he remembered of her made the story seem impossible. He did not know what was going on but he was sure there was much more to it than what lay on the surface. The news of a rebellion troubled him, but he tried to push the thoughts aside, knowing there was nothing he could do until he was back on Farlan soil.

Sighing, Thad looked out the small round window of his room, as he lightly rocked back and forth. They had been on the ship for a handful of days but already were nearing their destination. Only one more stop to one of islands west of Farlan and then they would be no more than a few sunrises from his home.

Are you going to seek out the little princess so you two may play house or maybe the queen so you can play war?
His staff asked sarcastically.

His staff had made it abundantly clear that it was wholeheartedly against returning to Farlan. Thad understood why, and part of him felt the same way, but he felt as if he had to return. He had never really confronted his situation there. He had simply denied it or agreed with it. A part of him wanted to come to terms with what his life had been and who he had become. Thad was not sure if he would stay in Farlan, he just knew he needed to return, even if just for a short time.

A rap on the door pulled Thad from his musings. “Master Torin,” a voice called loudly from the other side. “The captain was wondering if you would care to join her in her quarters for the morning meal.”

Thad looked over at Brianna who silently waved him off. Normally she was a jealous sort, who would glare daggers at him if he let his eyes so much as fall on the shadow of another woman. In her current state though, the only thing on her mind was keeping the contents of her stomach where it should be.

“Tell the captain I will arrive shortly,” Thad answered back.

Swinging down awkwardly from the hammock Thad buckled on his sword and retrieved his staff from its spot in the corner of the room. Thad had grown to like the sailors and the captain, but he still didn’t fully trust them. Wherever he went he could feel their eyes on the gems that decorated his staff, so he seldom left his quarters without it in his care.

The captain’s quarters were the closest to the bow of the ship and not far from his, so the walk was a short one. Outside the captain’s door the first mate, a tall and muscular man, his head and face clean shaven, with piercing green eyes waited for him. “Master Torin, glad to see you could make it.”

“Oren, I see you will be joining us again,” Thad replied warmly. “Pray tell me this is not going to turn into another session of dice in an attempt to further relieve me of what little gold I have left in my purse.”

The large man laughed heartily as he opened the door. “You misunderstand, Young Master. My dear captain only wishes to help lighten your heavy burden so that you may travel more swiftly along your journey.”

The captain’s quarters were far beyond the elegance one would expect to find at sea and would easily rival what one would find at the estate of a lesser noble.

Among a forest of cushions sat the captain. She was easily in her mid-thirties but she still had the glow of youth about her. Thad had found the captain intriguing since he first had met her. Unlike most women he had met she wore her light brown hair so short it didn’t even cover the nape of her neck and her almond eyes seemed deep and inviting.

“Master Torin,” the captain hummed as her eyes scrutinized him. “I am glad you accepted my offer. Those wanting to travel are rare these days and even rarer are those who have interesting tales for my ears.”

Thad sighed inwardly. The captain had taken a liking to him and often tried to pry bits of information from him, especially when it came to his staff or the sapphire that had taken the place of his left eye. Thad had tried his best to deflect her questions but she was a persistent foe and a very cunning one. Thad was not sure how much she had garnered from their conversations but he was sure that it was much more than he wanted her to know.

You should just tell her it’s none of her business and leave it at that. I have said it once and I will most likely say it until you take your last breath. You are too soft when it comes to women.

Thad shot a harsh glare towards his staff even though he knew it couldn’t see him, or at least he was relatively sure that it couldn’t. Turning his attention back to the captain Thad inclined his head slightly, “It is always a pleasure to be in your company Captain.”

“Then have a seat young man and dine with me,” the captain said with a hint of laughter in her voice.

Accepting her offer, Thad took a seat on one of the larger velvet cushions at the table. There was food aplenty of almost every kind one would wish to have in the early morning. Thad was particularly fond of a jam spread that the captain had introduced him to. It was light and richly flavored, with only the barest hint of sweetness.

Little was said between the three while they were eating. Thad hoped that after the meal he would be able to retire back to his own accommodations, but as soon as the plates of food were cleared they were replaced by a large copper bowl and three six sided dice.

“What did you bring with you today for a wager my Young Lord?”

Thad knew that he had little chance of leaving without first playing the game. They had played a handful of times and Thad had always lost his fair share. Even though he lost he still walked away with more gold than he started with, due to the fact he had always used some of his smaller gems to bet with. Fishing through one of the larger pouches on his side Thad pulled out a ruby that was slightly larger than his thumb. He had run out of all the smaller gems that served him little purpose and was now having to use some that he had wished to save for future enchantments. He could use his gold, but Thad was reluctant since once they hit land gold would come in much more useful than the gems would be.

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