His magic had never failed him before, and a boy was dead. Edan pushed past the haze of magic exhaustion culminating in horror. The storm shook the galley even as steam rose from eight points on the ship where he’d placed his runes. The lightning strike had dazed many even as it blew off the crow’s nest. A strike of that strength should have shattered the main mast if not the entire ship. The magic pulsing through his sigils and his medallion had enabled Edan to keep both ship and mast whole, but he could do nothing for the small boy in the crow’s nest. Edan stumbled to the side of the ship. A storm rough wave slapped over the deck, and he had to cling hard to a line to stop himself going over the edge.
“Get out of the way, landborn!” the sailor’s cry was half torn away by the furious wind of the late summer storm.
“Michael was in the crow’s nest!” Edan hollered back. The boy loved to climb away from the men and women and nap in the sun. The summer storm had rolled in too fast, and Edan had not had time to retrieve the boy through the high winds. Michael’s magic may have protected him from the blast of lightning, but he was lost overboard.
“Deep Lady guard him,” the woman called back. The sailor’s hair was tied back in traditional Kin braids, and her face was set with the Kin’s pragmatic rule. She could spare no sympathy for weakness culled by a storm. Cole pulled his way along the ropes to Edan’s side.
“Was Michael-he made it to the cabin, right?” The lanky teen hadn’t grown into his build yet. His brown hair was plastered against his skull and his brown eyes were tight with worry. Edan shook his head trying to force his muzzled mind to work. Michael was overboard. If Edan had something of the boy’s clothes and a treated rope he might be able to send it after the body. Edan gazed out over the dark water almost indistinguishable from the bruised sky and tried to make his magic twitch. He was spent, and he had no treated rope nor a scrap of Michael’s clothes.
“Go to the cabin, keep watch over Akira.” Edan was suddenly glad the girl had worked herself to exhaustion earlier that day. “I’m going to watch for-I’m going to watch. I may see him yet.” Edan couldn’t read Cole’s expression and any muttered words were lost to the wind. Edan clung to the line and watched the water, but he knew as he’d known the second lightning touched the mast. His student was gone.
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