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Shadows of the lost sun, p.1
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       Shadows of the Lost Sun, p.1

           Carrie Ryan
 
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Shadows of the Lost Sun


  Copyright

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  Copyright © 2017 by Carrie Ryan & John Parke Davis

  Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Todd Harris.

  Cover illustration copyright © 2017 by Todd Harris. Cover copyright © 2017 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  Little, Brown and Company

  Hachette Book Group

  1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

  Visit us at lb-kids.com

  First ebook edition: January 2017

  Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

  ISBN 978-0-316-24087-1

  E3-20161203-JV-PC

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Ship’s Log of the Streamrunner Enterprising Kraken,: a vessel of peculiar design and origin (privately owned)

  CHAPTER 1: A Lazy Day in the Sunshine

  CHAPTER 2: A Few Extra Hands

  CHAPTER 3: Our New Friend, What’s-Her-Name

  CHAPTER 4: This One’s a Scream

  CHAPTER 5: Into the Drink

  CHAPTER 6: Margaham’s Game

  CHAPTER 7: (Un)Friendly Competition

  CHAPTER 8: Meet the Family

  CHAPTER 9: No One Said the Game Was Fair

  CHAPTER 10: Not Who You Were Expecting

  CHAPTER 11: Game Over

  CHAPTER 12: Dream Shells

  CHAPTER 13: Weaving Darkness

  CHAPTER 14: The One Where You’re Falling

  CHAPTER 15: Try Wiggling It a Little

  CHAPTER 16: A Ribbon and Ink

  CHAPTER 17: The Gloom and the Glow

  CHAPTER 18: The Knot of the Coiled Rope

  CHAPTER 19: The Shell Altar

  CHAPTER 20: Song of the Sheshefesh

  CHAPTER 21: What Was Left Entangled

  CHAPTER 22: Ripples on the Ocean

  CHAPTER 23: The Rise Before the Fall

  CHAPTER 24: As in the Beginning…

  CHAPTER 25: Life’s Blood, Spilt

  CHAPTER 26: Making Things Whole

  CHAPTER 27: What Is Real and What Is Not

  CHAPTER 28: Things Get a Bit Sketchy

  CHAPTER 29: …So It Will End.

  CHAPTER 30: The Compass, Rose

  CHAPTER 31: The Man in Iron

  Epilogue

  Acknowledgments

  For Sam and Jake, who sat patiently by our side throughout.

  Our memories of you are woven through every word.

  Ship’s Log of the Streamrunner Enterprising Kraken,

  a vessel of peculiar design and origin (privately owned)

  Logkeeper: Coll, Ship’s Captain

  Crew List

  Ship’s Wizard Ardent

  Deckhand Remy

  Deckhand Marrill

  Quartermaster Naysayer ^and Stowaway Fin! —Marrill

  Wizard Annalessa

  Note: Ship’s wizard taking this loss very hard.

  ^Unreasonably Dangerous

  Cargo Manifest

  One (1) Bintheyr Map to Everywhere, with evil wizard Serth and Stream-destroying Lost Sun of Dzannin trapped inside

  One (1) orb filled with concentrated Stream water, capable of granting one wish, at the cost of unleashing an evil living fire and a tide that turns everything to iron

  One (1) Wiverwane, living memory of ancient wizards. Creepy-looking.

  Remarks

  Squidsday, 5th of Ambletide

  Clear skies, light breeze from SSW. Chased by Iron Ship down massive whirlpool into city outside of time called Monerva. Destroyed an out-of-control wish machine, stopped a living fire from conquering the Pirate Stream, evacuated city in wake of apocalyptic Iron Tide. Returned through whirlpool and arrived twelve and a half seconds after first entering. Day otherwise uneventful.

  Fetchday, 6th of Ambletide

  Partly cloudy with mild lizardrain, strong breeze from E. Set course today for the Ashen Flume, the first on list of destinations provided by Ship’s Wizard Ardent. Ship’s wizard convinced the apocalyptic Meressian Prophecy is still unfolding, and the metal-clad mariner known as the Master of the Iron Ship is key. Master now believed to be one of the Wizards of Meres, ship’s wizard’s old comrades. Kraken is to visit each of the remaining members to uncover his identity.

  Personal note: Have decided to promote Remy to first mate, teach her to sail the Kraken. Impressed by her natural ability. Has all the makings of a great captain.

  Wickeday, 8th of Ambletide

  Ashy sky, ash wind carrying ashclouds from ashward. Arrived at Ashen Flume, found name to be appropriate. Ship’s wizard and Deckhand Marrill disembarked, returned unharmed. Landing party reports locating former Wizard of Meres Forthorn Forlorn—turned to iron.

  Locals reported major storm blew through just last night. Storm with red lightning. Master clearly survived Monerva and remains a threat. Spirits low.

  Settleday, 10th of Ambletide

  Crystalline seas, heavy breeze from top down. Course set for next destination on list of Wizards of Meres: The Great Game of Margaham, whatever that means. Decided to take a slightly meandering path. Lovely stretch of dreampuffs off starboard, and the sun is just right. After recent events, crew deserves a break.

  CHAPTER 1

  A Lazy Day in the Sunshine

  Hey, hold this,” Marrill said, passing her sketchbook to a deckhand.

  Through the waving stalks of giant dandelions, a lilting melody drifted over the Enterprising Kraken, wrapping Marrill in the arms of a lovely daydream. Karny lay belly up in her arms, exposing his soft tummy to the sunlight that wove through the great fluff balls leaning over them. Not far from her, Fin dozed against the railing, arms behind his head, feet kicked up against the side of the forecastle.

  On the quarterdeck, Coll let out a playful laugh. Remy guided the ship under his watchful eye, navigating it through green stems that sprouted straight up from the waters of the Pirate Stream. Marrill smiled at how happy her babysitter seemed, even though they were both so far away from home.

  “What a perfect day,” Marrill murmured.

  Even Ardent had come out of his cabin to enjoy the scene. It was good to see his grandfatherly smile again. Ever since they’d left Monerva, the wizard had taken on a haggard look, as if the cheer had drained right out of him. After their discovery of Forthorn Forlorn at the Ashen Flume, Marrill had half feared she might never see him smile again.

  “The Soporific Straits,” Ardent announced to a sailor behind him. “Or so I name this place. I daresay I have not passed this way before, but I will make a habit of doing it again in the future. Just lovely.” He reached out and stroked a hand across a puff ball, sending a cloud of fuzz dancing through the air.

  “It’s kind of hard to see through this stuff,” Remy said, but it was barely a complaint
. Coll was teaching her to navigate the ship by feel, after all, and the Ropebone Man and pirats made sure the leaning dandelions didn’t tangle with the rigging. The world was peaceful, soft, and pleasant. After everything they’d been through, traveling through the Soporific Straits was like getting a massage straight on the brain.

  Marrill knew that this was just a brief detour on their way to the Great Game of Margaham, that soon enough they would be facing untold dangers to unravel the secrets of the Master of the Iron Ship. But right now, the trip could take eternity, and she wouldn’t mind one bit.

  “I like your sketches,” the deckhand said. He held up the pad, showing a drawing of old ships resting on scarred rock in a barren desert. Marrill could barely muster the energy to look over. He was a small man, dark haired and olive skinned like Fin. She hadn’t seen him before. But then, the sailors were such an integral part of the ship, she barely noticed them at all.

  “Thanks,” she mumbled. Rumbly Karny purrs drifted up between her fingertips as she rubbed the ruff of his neck. “That used to be the harbor of the Salt Sand King, back before he burned his whole kingdom to ash. Those ships were his fleet. Can you believe it?”

  The deckhand nodded. “Oh, yes. I see his sigil on their hulls now,” he said, pointing to the symbol of a dragon beneath the waves of the Wish Machine, carefully drawn on the side of each vessel.

  The melody of the straits whispered softly in Marrill’s ears. “Yep,” she said with a yawn. “Did you know Fin was supposed to be part of his army?”

  “Is that right?”

  “Turns out.” Marrill nodded. That was something else they’d discovered in Monerva. Fin’s origins. Why he was so forgettable. “Way back when, the Salt Sand King wished for an unbeatable army and spies who could never be seen. And Fin’s people were the spies. Isn’t that cool?”

  “It sure is,” the deckhand said. “Wonder where they are now.”

  Marrill shrugged. “No idea. The Salt Sand King was trapped in Monerva and never actually saw them. But now that old Salty is out of the picture, we’re totally going to help Fin find his family.”

  She looked over at Fin. He snored ever so slightly, tossing his head in the sunshine. Of course, it would be kind of tricky convincing the crew to help find Fin’s people; no one but her even remembered him for more than a few minutes. And with the Master of the Iron Ship out there, Ardent was pretty determined to visit the other Wizards of Meres. But she would make sure they found Fin’s mom. No matter what.

  It was one of the main reasons she’d stayed on the Stream. She couldn’t leave him here alone, to be forgotten again.

  Marrill sighed as the wind trailed through her hair, dandelion puffs tickling her cheeks as they drifted past. Thinking about Fin’s mom reminded her of her own. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to grow up without her parents. And that reminded her of the other reason she’d stayed on the Stream. Back home in her own world, her mom was sick. There had to be something, in all the magic of the Pirate Stream, that could help her.

  Fortunately, Marrill still had time to find it. Her mom and dad were still in Boston. They wouldn’t be missing her yet. And even if it took a little longer, even if they figured out she was gone again, showing up with the magic to make her mom better would make it all worth it.

  Besides, Monerva had shown her that time could be flexible. Maybe she would find a way to go back home before she’d even left.

  She closed her eyes and let the melody wash over her, smiling at the sound of Fin’s snores. The sun speckled her skin, and the breeze was cool on her cheeks. Just yesterday, it had all been overwhelming: finding Fin’s people; curing her mom; knowing that the Master was still out there, playing his role in the Meressian Prophecy to bring about the end of the Stream.

  But in the peace of the Soporific Straits, that all seemed doable somehow. Just new adventures to have, new quests to embark on. The worst was behind them. No more living fires. No more Iron Tide chasing them through whirlpools. No more Serth spouting dark prophecies and turning people into weeping slaves.

  “You know what would be a good idea?” one of the sailors whispered in her ear. “We should all go check on something. Something inside.”

  Marrill’s drowsy mind couldn’t tell if she was sleeping or awake. She felt like she needed to check on something… but she couldn’t even tell where the thought had come from. She grasped for the first thing that came to mind. “The Map to Everywhere?”

  “Sure,” the voice whispered. “The Map to Everywhere… You really should check on it… now.”

  Marrill sat up with a start, looking around. Right behind her, a sailor was strolling away, joining a few others walking the deck, securing the ropes. She shook her head, realizing she’d been dozing.

  A thought occurred to her, still clinging from the dream. “Hey, Ardent,” she called, lowering Karny to the ground. The cat gave her a withering glare with his one good eye and slunk over to plop down in a sun patch. “I just had the strangest thought—maybe we should check the Map?”

  Ardent turned away from some poor sailor he’d caught in a lecture and raised an eyebrow. He seemed to roll the thought around in his head. “Odd you mention it. I was just thinking there was something I needed to check on.…”

  “Me too,” Coll added from the quarterdeck. “Remy and I were just talking about it with…” He looked around.

  Remy looked around the other way, mimicking the motion. “Someone,” she finished.

  “Most peculiar,” Ardent said. “Well, if we all had the same thought… hmm… it has been a while since we checked on the Map. Perhaps we best follow our joint intuition.” He spun, lazily kicking aside the hem of his purple robe, and ambled toward his cabin at the rear of the ship. Marrill rose to follow, leaving Fin to snooze in comfort for the time being.

  Inside, the wizard’s cabin was a wreck. Boxes lay on their sides, one of them oozing a bulbous pink substance. A scary-looking nightmare shield hung crooked over the bed, which was itself heaped with random debris. Nearly every surface was piled with open books and old scrolls filled with Ardent’s florid writing.

  She picked up the book nearest her, glancing idly at the spine. “Riddles in the Dark,” she read. Her eyes skipped to the subtitle. “On Magical Games and Playing to Incinerate.”

  “Oh, not literally incinerate,” Ardent offered as his fingers entered the combination to a lock only he could see. “Usually. Regardless, all valuable knowledge we will need if we are to best Margaham at his game. Which is, of course, the only way to have a meaningful conversation with the crazy—ah, here we are!”

  Ardent turned to them, slapping the Map to Everywhere onto the center of the table. It still surprised Marrill how ordinary the thing could look—just a scrap of old parchment with curling corners. And yet, it held tremendous power. The Map could lead you anywhere you needed to go. And with its Key, you could use it to find anything on the Pirate Stream.

  But the Map was more than that. It was a prison created by the Dzane, the first wizards. They made it to hold the Lost Sun of Dzannin, the mythical Star of Destruction, prophesied to destroy the entire Pirate Stream. And now Serth, the Meressian Oracle who’d spoken that Prophecy, was trapped inside it as well.

  The last time she’d seen the Map in Monerva, it had been blank. But now lines of ink flowed across its surface, tracing together into the scrawled shape of a bird.

  “Rose!” Marrill breathed.

  The Compass Rose of the Map to Everywhere flapped to life, beating her scrawled wings as if trying to claw her way off the page. Her beak opened in a soundless screech, filling Marrill with dread.

  “Is that… normal?” Remy asked.

  Ardent shook his head. “No.… She’s trying to warn us of something.” He bent over the parchment.

  “I don’t like this,” Coll said. “I don’t like any of this. Something isn’t right.”

  Marrill gulped. She could feel it, too. Something was off. A memory tickled the back of h
er mind but danced away when she tried to grab it. “Do you think it’s the Meressian Prophecy?”

  Ardent arched an owl-like eyebrow at her. “All the more reason for us to hurry to reach Margaham. Because if it is, something very significant is about to hap—”

  Just then, Fin flew into the room at a full run, chest heaving, eyes wide. “We’ve been boarded!”

  “Nice of you to announce it,” Coll growled, advancing with one hand on his dagger.

  Fin shook his head furiously. “Not by me. I’m with Marrill.”

  Marrill sighed, nodding to reassure the others. As forgettable as Fin was, Coll tried to throw him in the brig at least twice a day. “He’s with us,” she reminded the captain. “Fin, what’s going on?”

  “Shhhh!” he hissed. “Look!” He slammed his body up against the side of the doorframe, peeking out at the deck beyond. “They’re everywhere!”

  As one, they all joined him at the doorway. But as Marrill scanned the deck, she didn’t see any invaders. Just sailors, pulling ropes and securing lines.

  “Are you all right, young man?” Ardent asked. “There doesn’t seem to be anyone out there.”

  Remy nodded in agreement. Over her shoulder, Coll snorted derisively. Marrill touched Fin lightly on the arm, wondering if perhaps he’d just woken from a bad dream.

  But Fin looked at them like they were crazy. “What about all those people?” he whispered, pointing from one crewman to the next.

  Marrill’s brow furrowed. Now that she was forced to focus on them, now that Fin specifically pointed them out, the sailors were all behaving quite oddly. They weren’t hauling ropes, she realized, so much as tying them to one another in a tangle. Instead of raising and trimming the sails, they’d lowered them. Several clustered together, whispering and motioning toward the cabin. One leaned off the bowsprit, waving a shiny mirror to catch the light.

  Signaling to someone, Marrill realized.

  Remy leaned in beside her. “What’s going on with the deck… hands…?” She trailed off.

  Fin caught Marrill’s eye. Coll twitched with fear-tinged anger. Ardent stroked his beard furiously. Marrill gulped and dared to say what they were all thinking:

 
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