Tyrant Trouble (Mudflat Magic)

Tyrant Trouble (Mudflat Magic) by Phoebe Matthews

Book: Tyrant Trouble (Mudflat Magic) by Phoebe Matthews Read Free Book Online
Authors: Phoebe Matthews
moon and seven days past the Longest
Day, nineteen years ago. Tell me what I may expect of him, you who know
everything.”
    So
the little beggar hadn't lied to me about his age. Yeah, he looked nineteen but
sometimes he acted more like nine. With no time to draw Tarvik's chart or place
the planets within it, all I knew was that his birth sun was in the
constellation of Leo which is also ruled by the sun, a glaring place at
midafternoon. The placement seemed familiar. Oh, I thought, the moon in my own
birth chart was at almost the same degree.
    Maybe
I never remember where I put the car keys, but I have an exceptional memory of
the approximate placement of the slower planets for many years past. The
placement of the sun or moon or planets in a constellation depends on the day
of birth. The placement of the House cusps depends on the hour. Knowing the
minute is even better, but not too dependable in our society where approximate
birth times are the norm on records.
    Ah.
If I remembered correctly, Saturn was in Scorpio in Tarvik's birth chart and
from there it did a rotten aspect on his sun.
    I
said, “His constellation is Leo, the second fire constellation. He must journey
through shadows alone.”
    And
he won't like that, I thought, because a Leo is a person who likes company.
    “What
is a constellation?”
    “A
pattern of stars in the sky.”
    “Draw
it for me.”
    Okay.
Right. Sure. And how do I do that? I had no idea how this man reacted to
questions and was trying to think of what to say when Tarvik moved past his
father's chair and held out his hand to me. I almost reached out because wow,
did I ever need a hand to hold, and then I saw that he held something that
looked like a bit of charcoal.
    So
much for dignity. If taking a pebble out of my shoe was not allowed, was it
okay to draw on the floor and what other choice did I have? Should I draw a
lion? Or should I draw the star formation? I made a quick guess that people who
lived so far from electric lights probably had more first hand knowledge of the
night sky than I did and so I drew the pattern of the stars on the stone floor.
    Kovat
stared at the scattered dots.
    “That's
the Warrior,” he said.
    A
sword-carrying, hand-holding warrior, yes, that was Tarvik.
    I
also should have guessed that these people would have their own names for the
constellations. If I lived through tonight, I would have to drag Nance out into
the courtyard to identify the constellations and planets for me and tell me her
names for them.
    “You
speak like the magicians, girl. Empty words of many meanings or none at all.”
    “I
don't know your history, so I don't know the direction of Tarvik's journey.
Give me time to place more of the stars in his chart, maybe learn more about
your country, and then I can tell you about your son's future.”
    Kovat
rose slowly from his chair and stepped down from the platform. It was the first
time I had seen him standing. He was the same height and nearly the same build
as Tarvik but with bulkier muscles and a thicker body. Even his hands were the
same square shape. Scars covered his bare limbs and one arm was oddly bent, as
though it had been badly broken and poorly healed. Had he once been a handsome
boy and what had he done with his life to fill his face and form with so much
distortion?
    The
smell of his unwashed body so close to me was a bummer. His eyes, on a level
with mine, stared intently. I tried not to let a muscle twitch to give away my
thoughts. One thick jeweled hand rose and reached toward my face, then dropped,
and I saw in his face a darting memory.
    “She
drew me back from death,” he said.
    The
Daughter? I'd kind of guessed she must have had some medicine in her backpack.
What would a camper carry? Maybe she had a prescription with her for herself,
probably antibiotics, and she made a lucky guess? Because she sure wouldn't
have been Doctors Without Borders, hiking with a complete doctor's bag, not on
the Olympic

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