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D.T - Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 1

The newest and last protagonist of the book is here.

Volgathe Apprentice: Chapter 1

Volga sat quietly in the small study, pouring over the contents of the heavy bound leather book. He had been reading it slowly over the months, learning its great wealth of knowledge on magic. Most the magic he knew he learned from his master but for some of the more ancient and powerful magic's he was told to thoroughly read through some of the selected books in the library. It was hard work learning from those books and he was still years away from mastering the spells, but Volga was excited all the same.

With some awesome new spells up his sleeves, he might be able to impress some girls, make friends, whatever he wanted. "OH Twisted Hells and All that is Evil, It's Back!" A loud series of shouting roared through the house and completely interrupted Volga's train of thought.

Exasperated he closed the book with a loud thud and said to himself, "And this why I don't know any cute girls."

Master Finuer popped his head in the doorway and said, "You don't know any cute girls because you don't go out and talk to them!"

Volga rubbed two of his fingers between his eyes, somehow not surprised at his master's sudden appearance and inhuman hearing, and asked, "What dare I ask is the problem this time?"

"The tower my boy, the tower.," Finuer exclaimed. "Outside you must see for yourself." The wiry old man then rushed out the doors without further explanation. Volga, with little choice, followed.

Outside Finuer was pointing off in the distance, far out north. "There do you see it?" Finuer asked as soon as Volga came out.

Not sure what he was supposed to be looking for Volga shook his head. Finuer then said, "Are you blind boy, the tower! Out in the distance that dark tower reaching above the clouds."

Now that his master pointed it out Volga did notice the dark tower that just yesterday had not been there before. They were so far away that Volga's gaze just passed it by without a second thought; now though he couldn't look away from it.

"What is that thing?" he asked.

"That is what I have been spending all my life preparing for," Finuer said. A group of women passed the two by on their way from their morning errands and Finuer retorted, "Well most my life anyways."

Finuer then went inside, absent minded of any other thoughts as he went straight up to the library; and for the first time in many years he shut the library door and locked it. Volga tried knocking on the door to see if his master needed anything, food, water, blankets. But there was never an answer and as far as Volga could tell Finuer remained in the library until late into the night.

By the time his master came out Volga was half asleep, waiting outside the door in case he was needed. When he finally came out, he said nothing though and crawled into bed; not even bothering to cover himself with the blankets. Volga sighed and wrapped his master up carefully with the blankets then went onto bed himself.

The next morning Volga slept in: expecting his master to do the same. When he woke, his stomach was growling and demanding food be his first priority. So Volga went to the small kitchen and began preparing the morning meal for him and Finuer. When the food was ready and set out on the plates on their small dining table Volga shouted from the bottom of the stairs, "Master Fin, breakfast is ready; it's sausage and oatmeal."

There was no response, so Volga expected him to be still asleep. He went upstairs and knocked on the door when there was no immediate response Volga opened it and stepped inside. He found Finuer sleeping in his bed, silent as the grave.

"Master Finuer breakfast is ready, it's time to get up," Volga said. No answer so he repeated himself, but this time louder; still no answer. Finuer remained in his bed, eyes closed, unmoving and not even the light sound of snoring.

Volga rubbed his thumb and index finger between his eyes, this wasn't the first time Finuer would try pulling this prank on him. He clapped Finuer's shoulder saying, "Alright come on this joke is older than you and I’m not falling for it."

No answer still. Volga waited and scratched his messy brown hair. Then he began to move on calling out to him, "Well I guess I will just have to eat the rest of the pie after breakfast. Quite a shame too I know raspberry is your favorite."

Volga then waited just outside the door out of sight, Finuer knew if he didn't get up then his pie really would be eaten by Volga. After all when Finuer tried the same trick a few years ago, Volga went straight for the dessert and Finuer had missed out on the last slice. Since then he was careful not to allow his determination for pranks to give Volga a perfect opportunity to eat their dessert.

But something was wrong this time, Finuer wasn't rushing out of his bed to stop Volga, he wasn't even up as far as Volga could tell. Now genuinely concerned Volga rushed back into the room to check on him. "Master Finuer?"

Once more no response. He went to his bedside and started shaking him. "Finuer, come on this isn't funny. Fin!" he cried out.

Like a bolt of lightning, Finuer sprang up in his bed, "Cadberry-creme boy what is it!?"

Volga fell on his butt startled but was smiling all the same. "You scared me, master, you were not waking up and I was worried," Volga said.

Finuer tossed over his blankets and got out of bed. "I ain't rolling over in my grave just yet boy," Finuer said. "Now go make breakfast I'm starving."

Volga followed his master downstairs and said, "It's already made and laid out on the table."

The two sat down at the table and began to eat. Halfway through the meal Volga asked, "So what are we planning today? That tower off in the distance is mysterious, anything you can tell me about it? Maybe I can impress some cute girls with how much I know of it." Volga was trying to move away from that mornings' scare and onto something more intriguing. But what came next was just as gloomy.

Finuer put his fork and knife down at the questions and stared blankly at his plate, still half full of food. "I'm getting old boy," Finuer said. "I was beginning to worry I would not live to see this day, but now that it's come I'm partially dreading I had.

Volga started losing his appetite as well and put down his silverware and asked, "What do you mean 'this day'? Is it something to do with that weird tower in the distance?"

Finuer pushed his plate away from him and stood up. "Finish your breakfast then clean up. After that I will need you to go to the market and pick me up some items. I will have a list ready for you within the hour." He then said nothing more and went back up stairs. Volga listened as the faint echo of footsteps above led to the library and the door shut afterwards.

"Don't worry about me Volga, my mind has finally disappeared in my old age," Volga said to himself, trying to mimic his master.

With his access to the library cut off Volga couldn't study so he decided that after breakfast he would begin cleaning up the house. After the dishes were washed and dried all that was needed was some dusting and sweeping up the floors. It was simple work but it was time consuming and his master didn't call on him until hours later when he was starting to get hungry for lunch.

Finuer called him into the library and Volga was stunned at how it looked after the short time his master had been locking himself in there. Before where there were lines of neatly ordered bookshelves, with each book standing properly in its place, were piles of books scattered all through the small library. Papers thrown to the fray of the mess, and books so old they looked like they would at any moment crumble to dust, lay carelessly on top the lone table.

For the moment Volga had been standing in the doorway with his mouth gapping but he found his voice and asked, "What the hell happened in here?"

"Huh?" Finuer responded.

"You've been in here less than two days, and look at the place it's a mess!"

Finuer glanced around the room and said, "Yes you will have a lot to clean up when I'm done but never mind that now."

Volga rubbed his fingers between his eyes (As he did often when he was very irritated) and said, "Of course you would make me clean this up."

"Why do you think I have an apprentice? You're like a maid who cooks and cleans and only requires boarding, and some of my food," Finuer replied.

"And here I thought it was because you liked me, but glad to know the truth after all these years," Volga said.

Finuer smirked and said, "Anyways we will worry about this later for now I need you to go to the market and pick me up some very specific items." Finuer then turned and walked carelessly on top of the scattered books among the floor to get to the table. He carefully went through the mess of papers until finding the one he was looking for and holding it up exclaiming, "Ha-hah, found it!"

He returned to Volga handed him the paper and said, "These items may be very, difficult to find unless you are cunning about how you ask for them... That or strong arm the shop owner into getting it for you. On the back of the list is which shops have which items, but do not draw attention to yourself from the town guard. Most these items are, well not strictly speaking legal to sell or be in possession of. So act discreetly."

Volga glanced at the list handed to him then Finuer grabbed him by the shoulders and looked him straight in the eye and said, "Now listen carefully Volga, you must obtain every item on the list before you return. The full moon is fast approaching and time is running out." He then handed him a small purse full of gold coins. "Tell the shopkeepers that I sent you for the items, and pay whatever they ask, no haggling with the price. If they tell you they don't sell that sort of item there be insistent and offer them three gold pieces if they will, 'double check their stocks'.

"Now try to hold off on that offer for as long as you can and if they take the gold then check their stocks and still say they don't have what you need then cover their mouth with your hand and cast the blood echo spell on them. You got it?"

Volga shook his head and said, "I don't like that spell master, the pain it causes is worse than death. I mean do I need to resort to such extremes?"

Finuer let go of Volga and glanced away briefly then said, "I don't like it either boy and let's hope that it doesn't come to that at all, but if it does you must not hesitate to use it; show them you're serious. You need only a few seconds at a time with it and shouldn't need more than two castings. Remember it's a last resort spell in this situation, they do have what is on that list and tell them, that you know they do; that oughta rattle their cage enough to go get it."

"Alright," Volga said. "When do you need me to go?"

"Right now, and if you get hungry while you're out, grab something to eat with what's left in that purse, anything you want that you can afford okay?"

Volga looked back down at the coin purse then said, "I'm not sure if that's very generous of you, or if I'm going to have like two coppers left when I finish this list."

"Well you won't know if you don't get a move on." Finuer said.

Volga quickly changed out of his clothes and into finer ones and wrapped himself up in his cloak to look a little more subtle. He fastened the small hook on the purse to his belt and pulled over his shoulder the single strap courier bag, placing the list inside it.

"I will be back as soon as I can," Volga said as he headed for the stairs.

"Burn that list when you get everything," Finuer called out to him.

Outside the day was sunny, with a few clouds drifting along. The faint smell of the approaching spring drifted along with the gentle wind breeze. Volga didn't get out too much but on days like today he was happy to be outside, and when he saw Janice Kate his day brightened ever more.

He smiled at her but she rudely turned away from, partially in disgust, and continued on her way. He frowned a little but was used to this sort of thing by now. After all by normal definitions he was unattractive: pasty skin, messy brown hair, slender and even a few inches short for his age.

It was not like he could help how he looked, he didn't even own a mirror so grooming was next to impossible. If only the girls would look past his appearance and give him a chance he could show them he was a good mate. He may not have had much muscle but he was a powerful magister and he knew it. Unfortunately girls were only impressed with the puffed out chests and biceps as big as their heads.

Even so, looking at pretty girls cheered Volga up and took his mind off his troubles. Which today that's something he needed most, but he had a task to do so he picked up his pace and continued on to the town market.

The first shop he had to visit was the spice shop. Volga always wondered how a spice shop could be doing so well but seeing how three of the items he needed were at that one shop, he was starting to understand their business capitol. The small little spice shop had no one in it at the time and the little man behind the counter was reading his book, without a care in the world.

Volga went up to the counter and doubled a look around the shop before pulling out the list. He then held it up to the clerks face and said, "I need the first three items on this list."

The clerk pulled his book down just under his eyes swiftly read through the items and then raised the book back up in front of his face and said, "Sorry no sell that here."

"Would you go check the back for me please, master Finuer would be very upset if it were not here."

Without looking away from his book the clerk said, "I no know this, 'Finuer'. And this is a simple spice shop, we only sell spices and keep reserve stocks in the back." The man then tapped his middle and index finger on the counter three times. He kept repeating this for a moment then stopped and went back to the full attention of his book.

Volga stood there awkwardly for a long minute when he realized what the tapping meant. He then went into the coin purse, pulled out three gold coins and placed them on the counter. He slid them forward and said, "I insist that you check the back for me."

The clerk then casually placed the open book over the coins and in a swift movement folded the book up with the coins in it and got off his stool. He then went into the back and returned several minutes later with a small box. Putting the box on the counter he said, "Your special delivery has come on Mr. apprentice, that will be nine gold."

Volga then opened the package to make sure everything was there. It was and he pulled out nine more gold coins mumbling to himself, "More like an arm and a leg," and handed the clerk the gold. He then put the package into his bag and threw up his hood as he left the shop.

As he headed for the next shop he said quietly to himself, "I hope the others are not this tough."

When he got to the next shop and, led with saying who sent him, acquiring the items was much easier than the first one. Only the third clerk required another bribe but since there were people in the shop she took Volga to the back to inspect the items personally before taking the payment. Only one shop was left now and Volga still had half the coin purse full of gold coins, but his courier bag was nearly full.

Of course the last shop would be the most eerie: shrunken heads hanging from the ceiling, weird moss growing on the walls with vines overlapping them. The shelves were colored a swamp grey and had various sized and shaped bottles lining them, each filled with some different colored luminescent liquid.

It was simple magic to take distilled water and change its appearance and aroma to give it a sense of wonder and power and place it in a bottle and sell it. But as Volga gently brushed his fingertips across the bottles he felt the power concealed inside; these were the real deal.

Though real not all the bottles were dangerous, most were relatively harmless in their quantity; as far as Volga could tell. But no doubt the stronger potions laid hidden in the back somewhere, and for the specific potion his master had sent him to retrieve this shop would be the most likely to carry it at all.

The shop was empty (no surprise there) so this place should go smooth as well. Volga approached the counter and showed the lanky man behind it the last item on his list. "Master Finuer sent me here to retrieve this specific item," Volga said.

The clerk stared at the list then went to say something but Volga, seeing that look of denial that he had on a few of the other clerks, spoke up first. "I'm sure if you check in the back you will find exactly what I'm looking for."

The lanky clerk squinted his half dead eyes at Volga then tapped two of his fingers on the counter in a simple rhythm of three taps before a pause. Another bribe was needed before the man would go get what he asked for. Volga went into the purse pulled out three gold coins and the man continued tapping his fingers on the counter.

Volga glared at him but the man said, "Twelve coins fer what you asking."

He then went back into the purse and pulled out twelve additional coins to cover the bribe and the potion cost. He put them on the counter and the man, after inspecting them, tossed them into a small sack and put it under the counter and said, "Thanks for yer business, now get out."

"And what about my potion?" Volga demanded.

"I told you we don't sell that sort of thing here, now move along before I get town guard."

Volga turned away and walked slowly to the door. He stopped before it and with a wave of his hand put a veil over it and locked the door. He then went back to the counter and said, "Last chance to get my potion before things get ugly."

The clerk didn't flinch at all and said, "I told you we don't sell that sorta thing here, not in the front, nor in the back."

Volga shook his head and said, "You should have saved yourself the pain." Then he grabbed the man by his shirt and pulled him forward. He quickly placed one hand over his mouth and then moved the other to grab the mains wrist as he flailed it. Then Volga concentrated on his spell and the clerk's eyes became blood red and he stopped moving all together, only thing he could do was muffle a scream of agony through Volga's hand. After a few seconds the spell stopped and Volga pulled his hand away from the man's mouth allowing him to gasp for air.

"Now then shall we go to the back or do you wanna do that again?" Volga asked.

The man struggling to get back to his senses looked up at Volga and said, "Eat shit you little cun-"

Volga quickly covered his mouth back up again and recast the spell. Holding it for another 3 seconds before releasing the man. This time, after he could speak again, the man said, "Alright, alright, follow me to the back."

Volga went around the counter to the back and followed him down to a hidden cellar. The whole cellar was a stockpile of highly illegal potions and other materials or ingredients outlawed in Dorgal. Way in the back was a rectangle shaped jar with a liquid of swirling pinks and reds swirling endlessly inside.

The man pulled the rectangle jar off the shelf and handed it over to Volga. Volga put it careful in his bag, which barley fit it, and looked to the man and said, "If you get stupid enough to go to the guards after this then remember, I'm still an apprentice, worst they will do is lock me up for a few years. But I will sell you out in a heartbeat and this cellar of yours, all this stuff is worth a lifetime in the dungeon."

Volga then went into his coin purse and pulled out two more gold coins and placed them on the shelf and said, "Or we can let bygones be bygones and neither of us have to deal with the council." Then Volga walked out of the cellar and lifted the veil on the door of the main shop before leaving.

Outside the day was still beautiful and the market area was bustling with life and good smiles. But even on days like today carrying a bag full of highly illegal contents, which Volga was not entirely sure what they would be used for in combination, through the most crowded part of town is very stressful. And after the trouble of getting the last item Volga lost any appetite he had and didn't care that he had enough money left over to get himself even the finest of meals; he just wanted to return to the house in one piece.

He kept his hood up and head down as he swiftly walked out of the market area in a rush and took the shortest path back to the house. As soon as he was home and the door was shut behind him Volga carefully put down the bag, pulled out the list, and with a small flame set the paper on fire and blew the ashes into the fire place.

"My god boy you look like you seen a ghost, or a whole town of em." Finuer said as he descended the stairs. "Did you get everything?"

Volga grabbed the bag and carried it to Finuer and said, "Yeah I got everything, and you know shopping at the black market for a couple items at a time, not too bad. But getting this entire bag full of illegal crap in one afternoon, it's ridiculous. You know if the guards had caught me with this stuff then I'd be thrown in the dungeons until I'm as old or least as crazy as you!"

Finuer smirked and said, "If you get to be as old as me and are not crazy, then something is very wrong with you." He then walked over to the bag and checked its contents, making sure everything he needed was there. Satisfied he picked it up and asked, "Anyone give you any trouble when asking for this stuff?"

"Just the last shop, the lanky guy in the potion shop." Volga said. "Tried taking the bribe and the money for the potion without giving me the potion at all. I had to use the blood echo spell on him, more than once."

"That was a smart move, Treth is notorious in the black market for trying to scam people from getting their potions after paying him. Not like anyone can go to the guard and tell them what happened without screwing themselves over too."

Volga scoffed and said, "I hate that spell, why did you ever have me learn it?"

"To test you."

"Test me?"

Finuer then said nothing more and went back upstairs, he hollered down to Volga, "I'm going to be in here for a while so no disturbances until I come out."

Volga was then left to wonder what his master was up to in there. But he knew that with those ingredients whatever it was it couldn't be good.

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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