Shipwreck! Can a novice sorceress and brilliant cat save their otherwise doomed companions?
An outburst of her newly awakened, uncontrolled sorcery talent made twelve-year-old Dory a fugitive. Trouble, her indomitable cat, led her into a walled garden minutes ahead of the mob pursuing her. There they encountered Martin, a powerful sorcerer, who agreed to hide and teach her and used his arts to advance her age to that of a young woman.
Some weeks later, Martin permits her and Trouble to accompany two gem merchants on a trading voyage. Following a storm, their ship goes to the aid of a sinking vessel grossly overcrowded with young migrant workers. The rescue is a success, but Dory’s ship is seriously damaged and begins founderin. With no room in the lifeboats for all those now aboard, many are doomed. Only Dory’s untried power can save everyone – if it will rise for her and if she can control and wield it correctly.
She held Barnacle close. “She loves attention and care so much. We owe her a chance at the home we wanted to give her.”
The boat was ready. One after another, six boys boarded, moving quickly, as if they feared they might be recalled at the last moment.
Ruth stepped forward. She held out Barnacle. “Please. Would one of you take my little cat? I know Martian the Scholar will see to her...”
She gasped as the calico hissed furiously, scratched herself free, and leaped from the human’s arms.
The cat fixed her eyes on Dory. Please, Sorceress. No one has ever loved me before in all my twelve long years, and if I get into that boat, I could have another eight or more years still without a real Partner, living in the shadows as I always have, only it’ll be worse after losing all this. Let me stay with my Ruth. Please. -- A cat doesn’t beg often...
“Let her alone,” Dory commanded with an authority that froze everyone around her. “That cat has probably never known love or real caring before in her whole life. She won’t give it up now, not even to live.”
Tom the Mariner’s eyes misted. “Damn!”
Suddenly, he grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck and the old woman around the waist and deposited both of them in the lifeboat. Before anyone could recover from their surprise, he hefted Edgar in beside his wife. “Take care of the old girl.”
James swiftly swept up the pair’s forgotten survival packs and handed them into the boat. “Your baggage, Master Merchants,” he said smoothly.
“Here, take mine, too,” Dory added quickly. “Give it to Martin for me.”
Her mind touched Trouble’s. [i]Go with them, Baby. We know what’s going to be now. Tell Martin that-that I did try and that I’ll-die as bravely as I can.
I couldn’t face Martin and say that I abandoned my kitten to perish alone. -- You wouldn’t leave me in that well.
You can’t fight the ocean, my brave little Friend. You won’t be able to keep me afloat.
I’ll fight the ocean for a while, at least. As for the rest, you’ll have to keep yourself afloat, he responded with a shadow of his old spirit.
I’ll do what I can to help you, Baby. As long as I’m still alive, I’ll take care of you. [/i]