Chronicles of Riss (Adventures in Sorcery, #2) by Jeanne Owens by Jeanne Owens - Read Online
Chronicles of Riss (Adventures in Sorcery, #2)
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Summary

Confronting evil sorcerers. Fighting monsters. Dueling metal golems. Searching for a sea monster. Hunting lost treasure. Finding a missing show dog. Competing in talent contests. Helping lost children. These are just some of the widely varied exploits that the young mercenary sorceress Marissa "Riss" Cobalt shares in this second Adventures in Sorcery book. Riss reveals how she ended up as a mercenary and chronicles some of the many adventures, ranging from fun to serious, that she's had prior to the events of Kismet and Tell.

Approx. 275 pages.

Published: Jeanne Owens on
ISBN: 9781507060308
List price: $2.99
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Chronicles of Riss (Adventures in Sorcery, #2) - Jeanne Owens

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Sorcerer

Chronicles of Riss:

Adventures In Sorcery

by Jeanne Owens

Adventure One: The Brawl at the Ball

––––––––

It's been about a year since I saved the world from the crazed God of Evil, Yangul, and for most of that time my dear friend, Arianna, has been nagging at me to share some of my earlier adventures - to chronicle them for posterity, she says. Which may be true, but I really think she wants it more for her own enjoyment. But at any rate, after thinking it over for a while, I finally relented and agreed to chronicle them for her. After all, her father is steward of the Elves, and I'm their long lost princess (something I still have trouble believing at times, despite all the evidence), so they probably deserve to have some record of me and my various exploits. Right?

As I think back on it now, I've come to realize just how many varied adventures I've had since I started making my way in the world just a few years ago. So I think I'll start off by sharing some of the more memorable ones, beginning with how I became a mercenary sorceress in the first place.

*              *              *              *

It was early afternoon when the ship pulled into the dock.  As the crew set about tying the ship down and getting cargo ready to unload, and passengers wandered about the deck, waiting to disembark, I stood at the railing and stared out at the big city before me with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. I had left my home at the tower of my dear foster father, the sorcerer Althor, only a mere month ago. Most of that time – about three weeks, give or take a few days - had been spent aboard this ship, The Ysalass, crossing the Incara Ocean. And now here I was, at the port city of Liston, on the other side of the world, ready to start a new life and to make a name for myself. How I was going to do that, I had no idea. But I was determined to find a way.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a young tow-headed sailor approach me warily.Um, Miss Marissa? he said tentatively, stopping a few feet away from me as he probably thought it was a safe distance.

I couldn’t help a wry smile. A few days after we’d set sail, some of the sailors had tried to get rather...familiar...with me. A toned-down Dagger Bolt spell followed by the threat of use of stronger magic quickly dismissed any such ideas from their heads, and word quickly spread amongst the crew and other passengers that they’d better not mess with the blue-haired sorceress. Heh. It seemed I was already becoming famous.

Yes, Jeen? I asked.

It’s safe for you to disembark now, Miss Marissa.

Ah. Thank you, Jeen.

He gave me a short bow, then left.

I hadn’t any possessions except the clothes I wore – a pair of sturdy, black-dyed cotton pants, a white cotton shirt, a slightly used pair of leather boots, and a little brown cloak - so I quickly made my way off the ship and into the city of Liston.

*              *              *              *

After pawning a few magical items from the magic pocket inside my cloak so I’d have some money (I’d spent all I had to book passage on The Ysalass and come here), I found a little tavern to have dinner in. I was just about to enjoy my first spoonful of the beef stew special when someone sat down at my table without a word. I set the spoon down and frowned across the table at the rude person.

He was middle-aged and ruggedly handsome with dark blond hair and a beard. His pale blue eyes held a troubled look that the frown on his face emphasized.

Yes? I asked tersely, my blue eyes narrowing threateningly. I didn’t like having my meal interrupted.

You’re Miss Marissa Cobalt, right? he said. The sorceress?

Yes. That’s me. How did you know?

"Well, I overheard the crew of The Ysalass talking about you, and thought you might be able to help me with a problem I’m having. I’ll even pay you for your trouble. Whatever price you name."

Really?! I said, my eyes now widening with the prospect of earning some money. It seemed I'd found a way to make a living that hadn’t occurred to me before. I could be a problem-solver for hire!

He nodded. Yes.

All right, then! So, what’s this problem you mentioned?

I'll explain. My name is Wulf Kaiyer. I work for Lord Tillager as an adviser.

Is that so? I said, my attention wavering as the aroma of my stew wafted up towards me.

Yes. Well, you see, he’s throwing a ball tonight, and a certain someone wasn’t invited, which is sure to make said person upset. I’m afraid he’ll crash the ball and do something rather...disastrous.

Mm-hm? I said around a spoonful of stew. My food was getting cold, and I wanted to enjoy it while I could, so I ate while he explained. Wulf didn’t even seem to notice.

So, Miss Marissa, he continued, this is where you come in. I’d like you to go to the ball and make sure that this person doesn’t cause any mayhem.

I swallowed another spoonful of stew and looked him in the eyes.  Sounds interesting. Who is this ‘certain someone’ you’re so worried about, anyway?

He goes by the name of Diablerio. He claims to be a sorcerer of great power.

Diablerio? Never heard of him. I take it from his name that he uses his ‘great power’ not for good. And he probably dresses the part, too.

That is correct.

So I shouldn’t have any trouble identifying him if he shows up. All right, then. You've got a deal.

Great! Uh, how much will you charge for this, Miss Marissa?

Oh! Uh.... I thought for a minute. I had no idea what to charge. I’d never been hired like this before, after all. Um, how about thirty gold pieces?

Wulf’s eyes widened, but whether it was because he found the price too high or too low, I had no idea. Sounds fair, Miss Marissa, he said. You’ll be paid at the end.

Fine.

I’ll arrange for a gown to be provided for you, so you’ll have something appropriate to wear. Come to the castle about half past six, so you can get ready. The ball is to start at seven o’clock.

Thank you. I’ll be there.

*              *              *              *

––––––––

True to my word, I arrived at the castle exactly at half past six o’clock that evening. I barely had time to glance at my surroundings as I was promptly escorted inside by the guards at the door, and the doorman who greeted me inside the foyer quickly escorted me to the nearest bedroom, where a handmaiden proceeded to dress me for the ball in a lovely red velvet gown and to put my long blue hair up in a bun, leaving a few strands hanging down the back in curls. Then I was hastily conducted down the hallway to the ballroom, arriving just as a distant clock chimed the hour.

Music had already begun playing from the orchestra platform at the back of the huge and elegantly decorated ballroom when I walked through the doors. As the doors closed behind me, I gazed in awe at the fine, brightly colored draperies hanging along the walls and the crystal chandeliers that lit the room. I had never seen such finery before. The assembled guests all danced gleefully to the jovial music, their outfits a rainbow of colors. As fun as the dancing appeared to be, however, I found myself instantly drawn to the buffet table set aside out of the way of the dance floor because I’d not had any dinner yet. I stood beside the table and watched the dancers as I munched on toasted bread and slices cheese and sipped a glass of red wine.

Half an hour into the party, I felt my hair stand on end a little, warning me of the presence of strong magic. Then the doors suddenly slammed open. The wine in my glass threatened to slosh out as I started at the sudden noise. The orchestra stopped playing and the dancers halted. All eyes turned to the entrance.

In the doorway stood a tall, broad man in a black sorcerer’s robe. He looked to be about thirty years of age or so. He had long, dark-brown hair and a jagged scar down his right cheek. The frown of anger on his face would make even a Demon cringe in fear. The magical power emanating from him made my hair stand on end even more.

I knew instantly who he had to be: the Diablerio character that Wulf had mentioned. This was the guy I'd been hired to stop from causing chaos at the party. I gulped. It seemed I had my work cut out for me. Perhaps I should have asked for more than 30 gold pieces?

How dare I not be invited to this party? he bellowed loudly, making everyone in the room quail in fear.

A man in his late fifties, with salt-and-pepper hair and wearing clothes of royal purple, stepped forward. I assumed he was the Lord Tillager that Wulf said he worked for. You were not invited, he said, standing and facing the man proudly and defiantly, because you were not wanted. This was to be a joyous occasion, and we did not want your nefarious presence to ruin it.

Nefarious? Diablerio said, his dark eyes blazing with hatred. Nefarious? I’ll show you nefarious, you worthless weaklings! With that, Diablerio raised his hands toward the crowd and began chanting a spell.

It was time I went to work.

Hold it right there, Diablerio! I called out as I set my glass of wine down and stepped away from the buffet table.

Huh? was the collective reply from the crowd as everyone turned to me with looks of surprise on their faces, including Diablerio.

I had even surprised myself, because I didn’t even have a plan yet. Somehow, I had to take charge of the situation I had created. So...

What gives you the right to go around terrorizing these innocent people? I asked as I walked towards him with what I hoped was a purposeful gait.

And just who are you, young lady? he asked as he eyed me appraisingly. And what makes you think you can order me around?

I am Marissa Cobalt, sorceress supreme, I said, putting as much bravado as I could into my reply. I stopped in front of him and crossed my arms as I looked up at him with, hopefully, a look of disdain. And I make it my business to put a stop to evil whenever and wherever I come across it. And you, sir, are evil.

He had the gall to laugh right in my face.

My eyes narrowed and I growled. How dare you laugh at me! I yelled, and hit him with an uppercut punch to the jaw that sent him staggering back.

Diablerio stared at me in shock as he rubbed his jaw, and the crowd behind me cheered.

Heh heh heh, he said with a small smile on his face as he stepped towards me. It seems you’re stronger than you look, little girl. I like that. And I like your spunk. Dance with me.

My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. Eh? I said, quite taken aback.

Diablerio grabbed my hand and dragged me out onto the dance floor. The guests at the ball made way for us by standing back against the walls. Diablerio motioned to the orchestra, and music began playing. He then led us in a dance across the floor.

I’ve long wanted to meet someone who could match my personality, Diablerio said softly into my ear as we danced.

Oh? I managed to say through my shock.

Yes. And here she finally is. And she’s beautiful. And she’s a sorceress as well.

Oh, do you mean me?

Of course I mean you!  I have a proposition for you.

Uh-oh! I thought. What kind of proposition?

Actually, it’s more of a proposal. Marry me. Then we can pool our power together and rule Liston, and eventually the world!

I swallowed hard. But...but I’m only fourteen!

I don’t care.

But I do! I’m not ready to get married yet! I brought our dance to a halt and looked him hard in the eyes. And I definitely would not marry a power-hungry lunatic like you!

Diablerio growled and pushed me away. The orchestra stopped playing. So be it, miss ‘sorceress supreme’! Let’s see just how good you really are!

He jumped back and launched a Lightning Arrow at me. I quickly raised a Magus Barrier around me.

You’ll have to do better than that! I said as the Arrow dispersed across the magic shield harmlessly. Then I quickly cast a spell of my own. Flame Darts! I called out, and little spurts of flame flew from my fingers toward Diablerio.

The darts struck Diablerio’s own magic shield. Ha ha ha! Nice try! Fireball!

A ball of flame flew directly at me, and I quickly raised another shield. The ball of fire struck it and dispersed.

Not too bad, I said with a wry grin. But see if you can block this with a shield! I quickly chanted, then dropped to my knees and placed a hand palm-down on the ground. Ground Split! I called out. The ground shook, and a huge crack formed and quickly spread out in Diablerio’s direction from beneath my hand.

Diablerio stared in wide-eyed shock at the crack heading towards him. How...how could someone as young as you master such a difficult spell? he asked. Then the crack reached him. He lost his footing and fell in, his cry echoing up out of the deep crevasse. Then it closed up without a trace.

I stood up and wiped my hands clean. Serves you right for angering me and trying to take advantage of me, I said to the spot where Diablerio had stood.

I turned to face the crowd, which was now staring at me in awe. As I walked towards them, they shied away from me, leaving me a clear path to the door.

I walked out of the ballroom and down the hall, where I met Wulf Kaiyer. He held a small leather bag in his hand.

Ah, Miss Marissa! There you are! he said when he saw me.

Hello, Master Wulf, I said. Diablerio has been taken care of. He won't be causing any more trouble.

Good, good. Well, here’s your payment, Miss Marissa. He handed me the leather bag. Thirty gold pieces, as agreed. You may return to the bedroom and change back into your clothes now.

Thank you.

*              *              *              *

Once I had changed back into my own clothes, I was escorted out of the castle. As I walked back down the street, looking for an inn to stay at overnight, I came across a few citizens walking towards me from the other end of the street. Why they were outside at night, I didn’t know. They were probably heading for a tavern or something. They gave me a curious look when they saw me, then quickly headed off across the street. My keen hearing picked up a couple of hurried phrases from them as they scurried away: Look, it’s her! and Keep away from her! Don’t make her mad!

Well, well. It seems I’m developing a bit of a reputation already, I thought with a wry smile as I watched them run. Now, where’s that inn?

I continued on down the street.

Adventure Two: Return of the Would-be Lover

––––––––

It was mid-morning in the small town of Dyre, located just south of Liston. I was walking along the somewhat busy dirt road in the middle of town, minding my own business as I looked for a nice place to have lunch while also being avoided by the townsfolk on the street, when from out of nowhere there came a cry. At the same time, my hair stood on end, warning me of the presence of strong magic.

There you are! a deep masculine voice called out from somewhere behind me. I've finally found you, Marissa Cobalt!

The voice was familiar. All too familiar. It was a voice that for the past week I had happily thought I would never hear again. A shiver went down my spine when I heard it and I stopped dead in my tracks. The townsfolk around me hurried off, and shop owners on both sides of the street for a whole block suddenly closed up shop, locking doors and slamming shutters closed.

No way, I muttered under my breath. No way! It can’t be him. He’s dead. I know it. I killed him myself!

I slowly turned around. Stepping out of a nearby alley was a tall, broad man in his thirties, with