Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

The Truant’s Tale

by Rudi Dornemann

“You walked away,” said the tracker, putting his big boots and skinny ankles up on the desk. “Broke your apprentice contract with just months to go.”

“Yep,” said Eyve Aerial. “So?”

“So, I want to know why. So does the Central Square Sorceress. She says you were her best student.”

“What’s it matter? You found me. You’re going to take me back.”

He waved his hand like a leaf fluttering down. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”

She figured this was some game he was playing; she wasn’t sure she had the patience to see what it was.

“I’m good at knowing why people do what they do. That tells me what they’re going to do next.” He stared at something on the toe of his shoe. “With you, I never figured out why, so your what-nexts never made sense. So it took six months instead of six days to catch you.”

“Time flies,” said Eyve Aerial, “You know, tempus fugit…”

A year later, she came back. The timeslip spell had faded enough that he’d stood up. Another three months, he’d reached the door. He blinked his eyes slowly as sunset; he probably wouldn’t understand her if she spoke and she hadn’t found an answer yet anyway.

Another year, and Eyve Aerial, returned to the scaffolding-palace that was the Central Square Sorceress’ headquarters, made amends, did her penance, and resumed her journeywomanship.

The tracker showed up one morning, trailing cobwebs as he strode across the creaking plywood.

“Maybe you don’t know why you left anymore than I do,” he said, the drawl in his voice showing he was still a bit behind time. “Maybe that’s why you came back. To figure it out.”

“I knew exactly why,” she said. “When I figured out that the nightmares were premonitions, that I was supposed to become some grand metropolitan wizardess who did all kinds of good things, but couldn’t stop this one last, huge evil thing from happening.”

“So why risk resuming your studies?” he said. “What’s different?”

“You,” said Eyve Aerial. “If I’m going to be powerful enough to do the things I’ve seen, I should be able to keep myself from getting into impossible situations, unless some part of me wants to fail.” She tossed the tracker a gold coin. “I’m hiring you to spot that part of me, to know why it wants to destroy everything before it does.”

Eyve Aerial’s appeared a few times before, in The Courier’s Tale, The Apprentice’s Tale, and The Sorceress’s Tale.

Be Sociable, Share!

3 Responses to “The Truant’s Tale”

  1. Luc Reid Says:

    February 12th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    It seems like we’re embarking on a serial here. Is that true? We’ll see more of this world soon?

  2. Rudi Says:

    February 13th, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Actually, this is about the 3rd or 4th in the series — I should go back and put in links to the others to make them easier to find.
    And yes, there will be more of Eyve Ariel…

  3. Rudi Says:

    February 13th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Linkage added!