The Alchemist’s Apprentice

apprentice alchemistIn The Sultanate of Sind the paths of the Sultan’s Court and the Thieves Guild rarely cross. When the Vizier’s youngest daughter shows sign of being an Alchemist, her parents have a hard choice. Do they send her away, to be raised by her Mother’s mountain clan or do they let her stay  in a city that believe magic attracts agents of chaos.  If they let her stay, they will have to convince the alchemist in the docks, and the Thieves Guild that rules the docks, that teaching their daughter will be worth the risk.

Release date: June 1st.

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Mahin stared at the glass jars standing on the table. They were filled with dried leaves, flowers and slivers of barks. She rubbed her aching back, wishing her mother was there to ask for advice. But mother was home in the cooler Jakarian mountains, not in the hot and stifling capital of Sind.

Mahin pushed away the homesickness that welled up. She loved Jafar, and he doted on her but sometimes she wondered if she would ever fit in at the Sultan’s court. Cherry bark, some mentha and lemon should do the trick, she decided. The sound of footsteps made her turn around. She smiled when she saw Sherezade. Sherezade gave her a curious look.

What are you doing, mother?”

I am making a tisane to ease my back ache.”

Sherezade’s eyes lit up. “ Let me help you, Mother.”

Mahin considered her daughter’s request, but she couldn’t see anything wrong in teaching her daughter some basic herblore.

Mahin nodded. “ You can help me pick the herbs for the tisane.”

Sherezade walked over and looked at the table, a frown on her face.

Which herbs do you think I should pick?” Mahin knew she was indulging Sherezade, but this was such a small indulgence.

 “ I think… this one. And that one. And maybe this one too.”

Mahin raised an eyebrow when she saw the jars standing in front of Sherezade. Mentha, Chamomille and Valerian? She wouldn’t have picked those herbs, but picked the ones that she knew were safe. Mahin looked at her daughter.

Sherezade, how did you know which herbs to select?”

Sherezade looked uncomfortable.“ They were the herbs that glowed the most.”

Mahin felt like she had been transported back in time, to when she was a girl insisting her cousin’s fiance was bad, and her mother wanted to know why. She had explained that there was a dark cloud around him. Mahin opened her mouth. Before she could ask Sherezade more questions, Diman looked inside

Sherezade! Come out and play.”

Coming!” Sherezade called. All thoughts about the herbs gone, her daughter ran toward her sister.

Mahin wished she could forgot as easily. She slowly walked over the window and sank down at the bench. She looked outside at the children playing in the sunny garden. Servants were supervising. Oh, Ashdi. What shall I do? If she had been in her childhood home in the Jakarian mountains, she would have been so proud over the fact that her daughter was a budding herbalist. Except she wasn’t home, she was in the lowlands. Unlike the clans of the Jakarian mountains who embraced magic, the lowlanders believed magic attracted agents of chaos.

Would her daughter be shunned by her peers? It was likely. Mahin wiped away the tears that welled up. She hated the thought of her daughter being shunned for something that she couldn’t help. Mahin stood. Jafar should be back from court by now. He had told her that the afternoon court was shortened due to the heatwave.

Mahin wiped her forehead and walked towards the door. If I hadn’t been pregnant, I would have taken the children and spent the summer in the mountains.

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