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in any form or by any means.randomhouse.com Internal design by Mathematics Typeset in 12/15 pt Caslon Classico by Midland Typesetters. Australia Printed and bound by Griffin Press.com. Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at www. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry Author: Flanagan.randomhouse.blacksheep-uk. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity. 100 Pacific Highway. scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia.au First published by Random House Australia in 2006 This edition first published in 2009 Copyright © John Flanagan 2009 The moral right of the author has been asserted. North Sydney NSW 2060 www. 1944– Title: The sorcerer in the north / John Flanagan Edition: 2nd ed. 1944– Ranger’s apprentice bk. South Australia Random House Australia uses papers that are natural.com.) Series: Flanagan. The logging and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. John. electronic or mechanical.A Random House book Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd Level 3. Dewey number: A823. including internet search engines or retailers. Fantasy fiction. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 . Magic tricks – Juvenile fiction.4 Cover illustration by Jeremy Reston Cover design by www. 5 Target audience: For children Subjects: Heroes – Juvenile fiction. All rights reserved. Kidnapping – Juvenile fiction. recording. John. ISBN: 978 1 86471 908 6 (pbk. including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 ).au/offices. renewable and recyclable products and made from wood grown in sustainable forests.
Will’s eyes moved constantly. No part of this publication may be reproduced. but the years he had spent training and conditioning in a hard and unforgiving discipline would never allow such an indulgence. Here. The sky was clear blue. All rights reserved. as his head remained still. stored in a retrieval system. Again. electronic. transmitted in any form or by any means. driving the rain before them. to notice without being noticed. An observer might never notice this constant movement.One I n the north. mechanical. that was his training: to see without being seen. searching left to right. recording or otherwise. photocopying. and the sun was warm on his shoulders. in the south-eastern corner of the Kingdom. the only signs of approaching winter were the gentle puffs of steam that marked the breath of his two horses. would send the sea crashing against the shore. without the prior written permission of the publisher. right to left. He knew this part of -1- Copyright © John Flanagan 2009. causing white clouds of spray to burst high into the air. . he knew. He could almost have dozed off in the saddle. the early winter gales. almost painfully so. leaving Tug to pick his way along the road. close in and far ahead.
.’ he said quietly. The pack horse. The smile died on Will’s lips as his keen eyes saw something in the middle distance. shaking his mane and letting loose a rumbling neigh that Will felt in the barrel-like chest as much as heard. ‘I see it. But his eyes. probed urgently. just-commissioned Ranger was hardly going to be handed one of the Kingdom’s trouble spots. almost concealed by the long grass beside the road. And now. Nor was he the only one to sense something out of place. in the long grass to one side of the road.the Kingdom was relatively untroubled. as the majority of people might have done. -2Copyright © John Flanagan 2009. He would be content to find his feet here in this peaceful backwater. without the prior written permission of the publisher. His outward bearing gave no sign that he had noticed anything out of the ordinary. recording or otherwise. a brand new. ambling contentedly beside and behind them. mechanical. electronic. he was sure. After all. photocopying. He smiled idly at the thought. letting the horse know that the warning was registered. Tug quietened. The prospect of taking up his first solo posting was daunting enough without having to worry about invasion or insurrection. he appeared to slouch a little more in the saddle as he rode – seemingly disinterested in the world around him. though his ears were still pricked and alert. No part of this publication may be reproduced. Something had moved. All rights reserved. That was why he had been assigned to the Fief of Seacliff. Reassured by Will’s low voice. he thought he could see a trace of black and white – colours that were totally out of place in the fading greens and new russets of autumn. stored in a retrieval system. hidden in the deep shadow under the hood of his cloak. On the contrary. transmitted in any form or by any means. He didn’t stiffen in his seat or rise in the stirrups to look more closely. Tug’s ears twitched once and he tossed his head.
recording or otherwise. Perhaps there were men hiding in the shadows. Even more reassuring was the fact that Tug was sending no further signals. Robbers. It was only a faint movement but there was no wind to cause it – as the hanging clouds of steam from the horses’ breath clearly showed. he saw nothing behind them either. electronic. not a Ranger-trained horse like Tug. without the prior written permission of the publisher. stored in a retrieval system. his eyes scanned left and right again. The movement in the grass was barely thirty metres away by now. Quickly. He touched Tug with his knee and the horse stopped. They carried them ready for instant use. photocopying. His heart was beating slightly faster than normal. ready to charge out while his attention was distracted by whatever it was that was lying in the grass at the road’s edge. transmitted in any form or by any means. who knew? He saw nothing in the trees and. Will shrugged his shoulders slightly.showed no interest. Had there been men in the trees. No part of this publication may be reproduced. All rights reserved. The long grass shivered once more. He realised that his total attention had become focused on the long grass beside the road. outlaws. reaching out to the treeline some forty metres back from the road on either side. They may want you to see that so you miss something else. as he casually turned to adjust the pack horse’s lead rein. mercenaries. Always. Rangers didn’t travel with their bows slung across their shoulders. ensuring that his quiver was clear. the small horse would have been giving him constant warning. But it was a transport animal pure and simple. His massive longbow lay across his knees. mechanical. . ready strung. He recalled Halt’s teaching: Don’t concentrate on the obvious. the pack horse continuing a few paces before it followed -3Copyright © John Flanagan 2009.
-4Copyright © John Flanagan 2009. All rights reserved. His ears flicked back and forth and he snorted uncertainly. transmitted in any form or by any means. trained to be rock steady in case his master had to shoot. he knew. the sound he had heard had been one of pain. No part of this publication may be reproduced. A low whimpering sound: the sound of a dog in pain. they’d know that a Ranger could draw. ‘Who’s there?’ he called. lying in wait to attack? He discarded the idea almost as soon as it formed in his mind. A wild dog. the arrow nocked and ready. possibly in response to his voice. ‘Show yourself. without the prior written permission of the publisher. Besides. mechanical. The longbow.’ Will called.’ And then he heard it. Now he was facing a possible ambush by an unknown enemy.suit. recording or otherwise. photocopying. He came to a decision.’ The stray thought crossed his mind that only a few moments ago he had been daydreaming about this being a peaceful backwater. ‘Show yourself or I’ll send an arrow in your direction. He didn’t draw back yet.’ he called. the small shaggy horse and the distinctive grey and green mottled cloak would identify him as a Ranger to any observer. perhaps. raising the bow slightly. A dog? Will thought. ‘Last chance. . No answer. stored in a retrieval system. A wild dog wouldn’t have made any sound to warn him. fire and hit his mark before they had gone two paces. Tug stood still. electronic. His right hand went unerringly to the quiver. ‘You in the black and white. Tug heard it too. He shrugged back the hood so that his head was bare. selected an arrow and laid it on the bowstring in less than a second. not a snarl or a warning growl of anger. If there were anyone skulking in the grass. It had been a whimper. Show yourself.
Will knelt beside the wounded dog lying in the grass. without the prior written permission of the publisher. transmitted in any form or by any means. Tug snorted again. It was filled with pain. apparently exhausted. Eight. -5Copyright © John Flanagan 2009. mechanical. In moments of uncertainty like this. stretching from behind the right shoulder back to the rear haunch. bleeding gash in its side. he removed his left foot from the stirrup. Tug preferred to have Will safely in the saddle. All rights reserved. he saw something else in the black and white: the matted brown of dried blood and the rich red of fresh blood. ‘What is it. Five . crossed his right leg over the saddle pommel and dropped lightly to the ground. No part of this publication may be reproduced. The whimper came again and finally Will saw clearly what it was that had stopped them. As the animal moved. he could see the black and white clearly now through the dry grass. ‘It’s all right. he remained at all times facing the direction of possible danger. Dismounting in that fashion. . electronic. then whimpered again as Will touched it gently. as he was closer. Then. bow at the ready. setting the bow aside. He turned and gave the ‘safe’ hand signal to Tug. .In one fluid movement. more fresh blood welled out of the wound. recording or otherwise. Had the need arisen. stored in a retrieval system. boy?’ he said gently. and walked quietly forward. with both hands free to shoot. Will could see one eye as the dog lay. photocopying. he could have loosed his first shot as soon as his feet touched the ground. on its side. Ten metres. and the horse responded by trotting forward to join him. And now. where the little horse’s quick reflexes and nimble feet could take him quickly out of danger. The dog turned its head at the sound of the voice. . his eyes running over the long.’ Will told the horse briefly.
recording or otherwise. The dog was weak. It had lost a lot of blood. ‘It should be all right for a dog. he realised. photocopying. ‘It works for people. The dog tried to raise its head but he gently held it down. And it had bled a lot. mechanical. he realised. That. electronic. All rights reserved. Will rose and moved to his saddle bags. so that the ears were black. as if a cowl had been placed over it. stored in a retrieval system. without the prior written permission of the publisher. satisfied now that the dog represented no threat.’ he said. The gash in the dog’s side didn’t appear to be too deep and the chances were that the ribcage had protected the dog’s vital organs. touching its head softly. The fur around the wound was matted with blood and he cleaned it as best he could with water from his canteen. Perhaps too much. But it was fearfully long and the widegaping edges were even.It was a border shepherd. Will shrugged and gestured to the medical kit. with a pure white ruff at the throat and chest and a white tip to the bushy tail. Tug eyed him curiously. Then he opened a small container and carefully smeared the paste it contained along the edges of the wound. The body was black. transmitted in any form or by any means. ‘Now let’s take a look at what they’ve done to you. .’ He returned to the injured animal. The legs were white and the black fur repeated again at the dog’s head. one of the sheep dogs bred in the northern border region. crooning encouraging words to it as he opened the medical pack with his free hand. and known for their intelligence and loyalty. untying the medical kit that all Rangers carried. while a white blaze ran up the muzzle and between the eyes.’ he said. would be the biggest problem. No part of this publication may be reproduced. boy. as if they had been cut by a blade. The -6Copyright © John Flanagan 2009.
after an initial flinching reaction. Fresh blood still seeped from the gash and he knew he would have to close it. -7Copyright © John Flanagan 2009.’ he told the bitch. so he used it liberally. She lay with her head on the ground. No part of this publication may be reproduced. she lay still and allowed him to continue. lay still. But there seemed to be no pain and. . The painkiller was working well and his ministrations seemed to be causing no problem for the dog. The border shepherd. It was a female. feeling the softness of the thick fur. with the thick fur of the dog and the awkward position of the wound. ‘Might as well get on with it while the salve’s still working. All rights reserved. Occasionally. however. Will rested one hand gently on the black and white head. he saw that he had misnamed the dog by calling it ‘boy’. recording or otherwise. Will sat back on his haunches. she whimpered again. but one eye swivelled round to watch him as he worked. Bandaging was hardly practical. then began wiping the wound with a herbal preparation that would prevent infection setting in and help the wound heal. mechanical. The wound seemed to be effectively closed. head to one side as he surveyed the cleaned wound. transmitted in any form or by any means.salve was a painkiller that would numb the wound so that he could clean it and bandage it without causing more pain to the dog. stored in a retrieval system. sensing that he was helping. photocopying. but it was obvious that the dog would be unable to walk. But not in pain. He shrugged. without the prior written permission of the publisher. The sound was more a sound of gratitude. realising that he would have to stitch it. electronic. As he worked. He allowed a few minutes for the salve to take effect. Finished. The shepherd obviously felt the sensation of the needle as he quickly put in a dozen stitches of fine silk thread and drew the lips of the wound together.
She moved her head slightly to lick his hand. recording or otherwise. as he turned back to Tug. The salve was effective but it didn’t last long and he knew the wound would be hurting again soon. ‘Good girl.’ he said softly. mischievous look. All rights reserved. Why? the horse’s action seemed to ask. then held her peace as he lifted her into position in the space he had prepared. He noted with interest that she had eyes of two different colours. scratching the ears gently. The small movement seemed to exhaust her. he realised that the little horse was eyeing him curiously. photocopying. comfortable nest in which the dog could lie – with enough space for her to move a little but snug enough to hold her securely in place. . he slid his arms under the warm body and gently lifted her.’ he said. It gave her a raffish. There were two long satchels. talking all the time in a low crooning voice. electronic. as he moved her. The dog whimpered once. the brown one. Crossing back to where she lay. on either side of the pack saddle. They left a depression between them and he found a spare cloak and several blankets to line the space until he had a soft. he could see that the right eye was blue. he had seen only the left eye.’ The dog lay obediently as he moved to the pack horse and began rearranging its load. he thought. Now. mechanical. he fondled her head. Tug shook his head and snorted. -8Copyright © John Flanagan 2009. ‘We’ve got a dog.’ he told her. holding books and personal effects.‘Stay here. Then. Till this moment. without the prior written permission of the publisher. even in her current low condition. stored in a retrieval system. ‘Stay. Again. as the dog lay on her side. No part of this publication may be reproduced. transmitted in any form or by any means.
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