Friday, May 31, 2019

Serialization: "The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice" by Roberta Downing: Chapter Seven

The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice
Novel by Roberta Downing
Cover artwork designed by Jerry Langdon

Chapter Seven

RavenDance and Bell traveled north from Draconos for two weeks until they finally reached the town of Ashwood. This is where they will board the ship that will take them across the treacherous sea to the Arcane Island.
“We will rest here for the rest of the day and leave at first light” he said. “For now I think it’s best if we get ourselves rooms at the inn and get some lunch.”
They headed into poor quarter because it would be a much shorter trip through town to get to the docks for morning. As they were walking to the inn there was a young boy who was street busking. He had such a beautiful voice and he played well enough given the tattered mandolin he had.
Bell waited until he was done with the song and she dropped some coins in his hat. He was handsome under all that dirt on his face.
“Hi. I’m Bell. You have wonderful voice” she said.
“Hello Miss. I’m Jake.” He said.
“Where’s your master bard”
“Oh I’m not a bard Miss. I’m just a street busker trying to make coins to help my mom pay the rent.”
She took out a handkerchief and wiped his face clean. She straightened up his doublet and combed his chestnut hair.
“An entertainer should always look his best” and she smiled.
“I try my best Miss.
She told Jake she would be right back. She went to her horse and she pulled out one of her bard bags she had been carrying with her since she left Singerville. She took out her mandolin and walked back over to the young busker. She tuned the mandolin. Jake’s eyes were wide at the sight of it.
“Here, try playing this for a few songs. I bet this will help you.”
Jake stood up, bowed deeply to the young girl and began to apply his trade. RavenDance was intently watching his apprentice and jotting down notes in a book.
The now handsome young street busker was playing exceptionally better with a higher quality instrument. He seemed to have even more pride in himself and it showed in his performance.
“Thank you Miss Bell. I earned quite a bit more with this” Jake said.
“Jake, if you had the means, what is it you would want to do?”
“I want to be a bard. I want to entertain people, I want to make people happy and I want to be famous so my family never has to go without ever again.”
Growing up in Singerville surrounded by bards of all types Bell knew this boy was special. She knew he had what it takes to become a bard. She excuses herself for a minute and went to get the rest of her bardic satchels. She sat them down beside her and pulled out a quill, a dram of ink and a piece of parchment paper. She penned a letter to the head mistress of the Singer Bardic Academy recommending Jake stating he has what it takes to make the academy proud. She signed the paper
“Jake can you read”
“A little bit.”
She read the letter to him. Then she showed him her signature. It was signed Bell Singer.
Jake was quiet for a few minutes. She could tell that he was actually thinking.
“Singer. As in The Singers of the bardic academy” he asked.
“Yes Jake. One in the same. My aunt Mandolin is the head mistress in Singertown. I wrote this letter for you to go and give it to her so you can get enrolled as a bardic student. I have some things for you. Now some of the items you won’t be able to use as they are dresses and skirts so you can sell them if you like or use them for comedy skits and the like.”
She took out her identification papers and the shadow scale that was given to her by Darklyn and then handed him her money pouch. She leaned in and told him how much was in the pouch. His eyes almost popped out of his head.
“Now purchase yourself a horse and ride with haste and make sure you give them this letter. I wish you all the luck in the world Jake.”
“I…I…I don’t know how to thank you Bell.”
“Just go and become the most famous bard of them all!”
Bell grabbed the reigns from her master and they headed to the inn. In the morning they boarded the ship for the island.

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