"Well, little Princess," murmured Sarah, "I
always knew you were special, but I never dreamed you were our own
Princess." The baby's dark violet eyes met Sarah's gaze and she looked
solemnly at Sarah as if to say, Well, now you know.
Sarah gently laid Jenna back in her baby basket. Her head was
spinning and her hands shook as she poured herself another cup of tea. She found
it hard to believe all that she had heard. The Queen was dead. And Alther too.
Their Jenna was the heir to the Castle. The Princess. What was happening?
Sarah spent the rest of the afternoon torn between gazing at
Jenna, Princess Jenna, and worrying about what would happen if anyone
found out where she was. Where was Silas when she needed him?
Silas was enjoying a day's fishing with the boys.
There was a small sandy beach in the bend of the river just
along from The Ramblings. Silas was showing Nicko and Jo-Jo, the two youngest
boys, how to tie their jam jars onto the end of a pole and dip them in the
water. Jo-Jo had already caught three tiddlers, but Nicko kept dropping his and
was getting upset.
Silas picked Nicko up and took him over to see Erik and Edd, the
five-year-old twins. Erik was daydreaming happily and dangling his foot in the
warm, clear water. Fred was poking at something under a stone with a stick. It
was a huge water beetle. Nicko wailed and clung on tightly around Silas' neck.
Sam, who was nearly seven, was a serious fisherman. He had been
given a proper fishing rod for his last birthday, and there were two small
silver fish laid out on a rock beside him. He was about to reel in another.
Nicko squealed with excitement.
"Take him away, Dad. He'll frighten the fish," Sam
Silas tiptoed off with Nicko and went to sit beside his oldest
son, Simon. Simon had a fishing rod in one hand and a book in the other. It was
Simon's ambition to be the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and he was busy reading all
of Silas's old magic books. This one, Silas noticed, was called The
Silas expected all his boys to be some kind of Wizard; it was in
the family. Silas's aunt was a renowned White Witch and both Silas's father
and uncle had been Shape-Shifters, which was a very specialized branch, and one
that Silas hoped his boys would avoid, for successful Shape-Shifters became
increasingly unstable as they grew older, sometimes unable to hold their own
shape for more than a few minutes at a time. Silas's father had eventually
disappeared into the Forest as a tree, but no one knew which one. It was one of
the reasons why Silas enjoyed his walks through the Forest. He would often
address a remark to an untidy-looking tree in the hope that it might be his
Sarah Heap came from a Warlock and Wizard family. As a girl,
Sarah had studied herbs and healing with Galen, the Physik Woman in the Forest,
which was where she had met Silas one day. Silas had been out looking for his
father. He was lost and unhappy and Sarah took him back with her to see Galen.
Galen had helped Silas to understand that his father, as a Shape-Shifter, would
have chosen his final destination as a tree many years ago and would now be
truly happy. And Silas too, for the first time in his life, realized he felt
truly happy sitting next to Sarah by the Physik Woman's fire.
When Sarah understood all she could about herbs and healing, she
had said a fond good-bye to Galen and joined Silas in his room in The Ramblings.
And there they had stayed ever since, squeezing in more and more children while
Silas happily gave up his Apprenticeship and worked as a jobbing Ordinary Wizard
to pay the bills. Sarah made herb tinctures at the kitchen table if she had a
spare momentwhich did not often happen.
That evening, as Silas and the boys made their way up the beach
steps to go back to The Ramblings, a large and menacing Custodian Guard dressed
in black from head to toe barred their way.
From Magyk: Septimus Heap Book 1 by Angie Sage. Copyright Angie
Sage 2005. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the
publisher, Harper Collins. No part of this book maybe reproduced without
written permission from the publisher.
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