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Aquamancer

The author of Pyromancer offers its spellbinding sequel.

Douglas Bright Glade, Journeyman Pyromancer, travels far into unknown lands to investigate rumors of an evil coven--and is taken prisoner by power-mad witches.

The rules state that a Master cannot aid a Journeyman--under any circumstances. So it's up to Douglas' wife-to-be, Myrn Manstar, an Apprentice Aquamancer, to save him.

Book 2 of the Mancer series

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Don Callander

Donald Bruce Callander
March 23, 1930 -- July 25, 2008

Don Callander was the best-selling author of the 'Mancer series and the Dragon Companion series. Don originally worked as a travel writer/photographer and graphic designer before retiring to start his writing.

Don was born in Minneapolis, brought up in Duluth, Minnesota, and graduated from high school there before enlisting in the U. S. Navy in 1947. After serving four years on active duty (including the Korean War) he transferred to the Naval Reserve where he served as a 'weekend warrior' for twenty additional years.

He settled in Washington, D.C., where he married, raised four children, and worked on the Washington Post newspaper and in National Headquarters of the American Automobile Association (40,000,000 members!) until his retirement in 1991.

During his retirement, Don lived in Florida and at the age of 62, began writing his bestselling fantasy books until he passed away in 2008.

Reviews

5 Stars

An interesting addition to this series with new twists makes for fun reading. I look forward to reading the next book.

Richard C. Barbee III


5 Stars Fun!

Fun on every page, and a light romp through fantasy. Advised for all ages and genders, as all are addressed.

Aubrey J. Barrus -- Rogue Angel reviews on Amazon



5 Stars. Terrific fun!

Number 2 in the 'mancer series. Aquamancer introduces new characters, along with the our original friends. Callander does an excellent job with his characters and handles his plots with humor and fun. You will find yourself searching for all the books in this series. Easy reading and relaxing!

Amazon Review


5 Stars. Excellent Book! A Must Read!

This is a great book. I have read all the 'mancer books and they are fantastically great. If you love fantasy you will love all of Don Callander's books.

Jasen Newton -- Amazon Reviewer



4.5 Stars

Douglas Brightglade is sent on a journeying as part of his training to become a master Pyromancer. He is expected to handle a difficult task without the aid of anyone senior to him, and the task he has been instructed to solve involves going to unknown lands to investigated an evil coven of black witches.

This is a wonderfully imaginative novel with some really fantastic characters. Douglas is a fine journeyman Pyromancer, eager to prove himself. I was immediately caught up in the story and I enjoyed the excitement as well as the humor. When it appears that Douglas has been captured by the evil coven, his fiancée, Myrn Manstar, an apprentice Aquamancer, sets out to help him. There is also a host of other wonderful supporting characters, such as Douglas’s familiar, a smart sea otter named Marbleheart. Another of my favorites is the Blue Teakettle, who always knows when a visitor will be arriving, and who sends meals magically all the way from Wizards’ High.

This is the second novel in the ‘Mancer Series, but it can be enjoyed all by itself. The prologue has a summary of the first novel so that the reader is fully caught up right from the start. I love the variety of characters which populate this novel. Of course there are wizards, faeries, dwarfs, sprites, and sea creatures. But there are also razors which strop themselves and then shave the wizard after the shaving brush has jumped “gleefully into Mug and whipped up a froth of fragrant lather.”

Douglas’s travels and adventures are exciting, filled with action, and Douglas certainly has to think fast and act with courage and daring if he is going to save Old Kingdom from the havoc and destruction which the Coven of Black Witches is wrecking. If he doesn’t stop them, they will move out into the rest of the world in their quest to gain unlimited power.

Lovers of fantasy, young and old alike, will truly enjoy this captivating novel.

completedreviews -- Long and Short Reviews
Excerpt

Chapter One

Leaving Home

Journeyman Wizard Douglas Brightglade, student of the arcane and ancient magical arts and sciences, colleague of Master Pyromancer Flarman Flowerstalk, fiancé of Appren­tice Aquamancer Myrn Manstar of Flowring Isle, friend of Dwarfs, Faeries, Dragons, Sea Creatures, Wraiths, and resi­dent of Wizards’ High in Valley of Dukedom, opened his eyes to bright winter sunshine coming through his unshuttered bedroom windows.

He stretched his arms wide and yawned, shook his close-cropped brown locks, rubbed his Sea blue eyes, and slid his bare feet out from under the counterpane.

In a furry flurry, Pert and Party, Wizards’ High’s resident female cats, jumped from the foot of his bed to the broad-planked floor and scurried to the window, mewing a greeting to Douglas and to the morning.

“Breakfast!” said the Journeyman, aloud to himself, “but a bath first. Then say good-bye and start my Journeying.”

“Journeymen,” said Bronze Owl, gliding through the open window with a tremendous clatter of metal wings to perch upon the bedstead, “are, by definition, travelers.”

“I know, I know!” cried Douglas, pulling on his trousers. This morning was the last of such homey comfort he could expect for many a day. He was off on a mission for the Fellowship of Wizards—at the moment consisting of him­self, Flarman Flowerstalk, and the Water Adept, Augurian of Waterand Island and Warm Seas—that very morning.

Bounding down the curving staircase, he found Blue Tea­kettle sputtering busily about her wide, slate-topped kitchen worktable, herding pots and pans across the range, spouting rapid-fire orders to Salt and Pepper, Butter Firkin and her Wooden Molds, and to Toast Rack on the open hearth. Douglas greeted them all with a cheery wave and an appreciative sniff as he went through the kitchen door to the washstand, just outside in the courtyard between the cottage and the underhill barns and workshop.

The white porcelain ewer was filled with hot water, which sent clouds of steam into the winter-cold air. A fresh bar of soap rested in a slotted wooden soap stand near to hand. Clean, fluffy towels hung on bars under the washstand. Douglas’s Razor, Shaving Brush and Mug, and brown leather Strop jumped into action at his appearance. Razor ran rapidly and smoothly up and down Strop, honing a keen edge for the young Wizard’s fuzzy whiskers, while Brush jumped gleefully into Mug and whipped up a froth of fragrant lather.

The Journeyman Wizard washed and shaved, combed and dried, prancing from foot to foot on the chilly slates. He could have made them warm as toast at a magic word, but preferred to feel the tingle and pleasant pain of the cold on his bare toes.

Across the wide courtyard, through the door of the Wiz­ard’s workshop came a rumbling fuss. Firemaster Flarman Flowerstalk was having trouble with some experiment or other. A cloud of purple smoke poured through the open transom above the workshop’s wide door, scattering the doves who were perched there arguing good-naturedly over the remnants of their breakfast.

The placid Ladies of the Byre paused to look back in bovine amusement. They were already on their way through the courtyard gate to the frost-whitened brookside meadow. Seven chickens paused a moment in their perpetual pecking, looked up in mild surprise, then went back to pursuing the last few insects of summer and spilled grains of wheat and barley in the cracks between the courtyard cobbles.

“Ding dang! Double fudge and saltwater taffy! Grumbles and mumbles,” came the Wizard’s deep roar. “Drat.”

Douglas grinned to himself. He quickly rinsed and carefully dried Razor before putting it in its leather traveling case along with Strop, rolled up tight, and Shaving Brush and a vial of fragrant, frothy liquid soap. He tied it all with an old leather thong.

“Flagpant! Cryptomagler! Oh, Graddishr.” Flarman’s vex­ation came flying from the workshop. The words seemed meaningless bluster... or perhaps they were enchantment words of some arcane spell Douglas had not yet learned. He indulged his large Bump of Curiosity by skipping across the courtyard to look in at the workshop’s open door.

Pyromancer Flarman Flowerstalk stood on a tall, three-legged stepladder, furiously wielding a broom with one hand and a feather duster with the other. Clouds of bright dust swirled about him in a shaft of sunlight slanting through the transom. He sneezed explosively.

“Oh, Graddish! Kerplunkt! Oh, Darnnatr,” he growled, attacking four years’ accumulation of cobwebs and the con­densates of thousands of smoky alchemical procedures.

“What in World are you doing, Magister?” asked Douglas, laughing aloud in spite of himself at the sight.

“Spring cleaning!” replied the Wizard, giving in to a powerful sneeze. He floated gently down from the ladder top. “Cobwebs and dust balls, trash under the table, soot over the mantel, ashes beneath the grate! Once I had an Apprentice I could order to do this sort of thing but now I’m all alone and have to do it for myself, despite the fact that I am by far the oldest, most powerful, most highly respected Pyromancer in ... in ... Valley, anyway.”

“I could help you,” said Douglas, knowing this beloved blusterer very well, “or we could go in to break our fast and you could finish all this spring cleaning later—say next spring—although it should have been done months ago.”

Things had been happening too fast and furiously ever since the Wizard and his Journeyman had gone off to subdue the Ice King, who had threatened to freeze World and enslave its various peoples. Flarman had been captured and taken to an Ice Palace on a glacier far to the north while Douglas had been lost at Sea, been rescued by a giant Sea Tortoise named Oval, and had fallen in love. Housekeeping had fallen by the wayside.

Along with a powerful Water Adept and a host of Faerie warriors, Dwarfs, Near Immortals, Sprites, Sea creatures and birds, fishermen and sailors, they had over­come wicked Frigeon in a great Sea Battle, destroyed his dire enchantments—along with his Ice Palace—and res­cued the Ice King’s captives, including Douglas’s own father.

Like all momentous events, the Battle of Sea had been followed by a great many important things to be done, like the marvelous Homecoming Party at Wizards’ High late the last summer. Now, Douglas hoped, things were getting back to normal—whatever normal was for a Journeyman Pyromancer.

“I choose breaking my fast anytime,” chuckled the old Fire Wizard, throwing the broom and the duster into the farthest corner of the workshop, where they got together to continue the cleaning without supervision. “And if this cleaning didn’t get done last spring, what makes you think I’ll do it next spring? No, I’ll do it after breakfast. After you leave, that is.”

This last he said with a touch of sadness, for Douglas’s new journey promised to be a long, dangerous one. Flarman had once been content to be a solitary practitioner of Fire Magic, almost a hermit, but that was before Douglas had come to be his Apprentice. Soon they had grown to be the fastest of friends, boon companions.

There had been nothing but company since they had helped put an end to the wickednesses of the Ice King.

“This is the first time in months and months we’ve had the place to ourselves for a few days,” observed young Douglas as they ate griddle cakes with fresh-churned butter and maple syrup, flipped high and hot from Blue Kettle’s cast Iron Griddle. “The Homecoming Party and the visitors since we returned to the High...”

“...and a Wedding scheduled for the next Midwinter’s Day after this one,” added Bronze Owl, who never hungered nor ate, being solid cast metal. He was the guardian of the front door to the cottage, and Douglas’s wise teacher in all matters of animal and fairy worlds. He came to the breakfast table just for the conversation.

“And a Wedding, which is a tremendously long way off! Does anyone miss Myrn as much as I do?” wondered Douglas, wistfully. He stared mournfully at his latest forkful of pancake, then popped it into his mouth and sighed at the same time.

“Hardly!” laughed Flarman, spearing his own fourth, fifth, and sixth of the fluffy, golden brown pecan pancakes from Griddle. “But then, none of the rest of us plan to marry the lass.”

“Perhaps not,” said Owl, “but the place seems emptier without Myrn Manstar blithely about and around. She brings her own kind of sunshine, doesn’t she?”

“I’d groan with agony,” said Douglas, “except it isn’t becoming for a Journeyman Wizard to display such emo­tion.”

“Ha!” snorted Flarman. “Bawl your head off if you like! No one will notice!”

“But even you must admit that Wizards’ High just isn’t the same without pretty Myrn,” said the Owl, “or is it my imagination?”

“Not at all!” said Flarman. “Myrn Manstar, soon to be Brightglade, is already a part of me and mine, I’m happy to say. Has she written us this week yet, m’boy?”

Douglas pulled a carefully rolled piece of parchment from his left sleeve—he had long ago taken to carrying important things in the deep, wide sleeves of his Wizard’s robe, as did his Master—and held it out to Flarman.

“No, no!” said the Wizard, shaking his head vigorously. “Read the parts you want us to share. I know all about lovers’ letters.”

Douglas was a bit startled at his revelation. He’d never imagined Flarman as a love-struck youngster.

“Come to think of it, I don’t see why not,” he said, although Flarman thought he referred to reading the letter aloud.

Douglas read (in part):

“‘My Dearest Douglas,

I have a few moments now to write, between day’s work and night’s sleep, both of which I anticipate with much joy, as they bring me closer to the things I am most eager forand I hardly need tell you what those are! The lessons are hard but fascinating, and my Master says I am learning them well, and fast!

“‘All goes smoothly for a Flowring Isle lass whose ambitions a scant year ago were simply to own and sail her very own fishing smack, get married, and have at least four or five sons and daughters to be pearl fishers after her.

“‘At the moment I am just beginning to learn the making of tea. Yes, this is a very important aspect of Aquamancy, my Master tells me. The powers of prognostication come, he says, from the water. The tea leaves are only a catalyst. I actually managed, yesterday, to predict the exact hour of our daily rain­storm…no great feat when you know it comes each afternoon at the same hour.

“‘But I don’t want to spend these precious few minutes with you talking shop. Suffice to say, I brew and pour very good teas, which would surprise my good mother!

“‘Living on Waterand is luxury compared to life on Flowring, although I often wish I were home, sailing on Father’s boat or diving for pearls, as I did before I met a certain young Fire Wizard, whom I miss even more than sailing…

“‘Augurian just knocked on my door to tell me that the Mail Porpoise is about to leave for the Mainland, and can carry this letter to you although not as quickly as our old friend Deka, but the good Wraith is very busy these days. So I’ll close. My Master says to say that he is well and very busy, or he would bring me by for one of Blue Teakettle’s wonderful dinners.

“‘As for me, if I had time I would pine for your touch and your smile…and Flarman’s and Owl’s and everyone’s there at the High. As it is, I must close and send with this all my love, husband-to-be! Write to me soon!

“I am, then, yours... entirely! Myrn’”

“I’ll be with Augurian in a week or so,” murmured the Wizard. “Have you answered her letter?”

“I’ve written a short note only, telling her about my departure and reminding that I will probably not be able to write regularly for some time,” said Douglas, handing him another piece of parchment. “I expect you will keep her informed, too?”

“As well as you keep me informed. She’d rather have it direct from you, of course. You can perhaps find some messengers where you’re going, to carry your letters to her—and to Augurian and me on Waterand, too. And there is always Deka the Wraith.”

This friend, an ephemeral interdimensional Emanation, could carry written or memorized messages great distances in a wink.

“I’ll save Deka for emergencies, as when I can’t stand being alone any more,” the Journeyman said softly, pushing away from the table. “It’s time I started.”

His farewells at the big double front door were affectionate but brief. Flarman shook his hand, then gave him a loving great bear hug. Bronze Owl clapped his brazen wings together so hard nobody could hear for a moment. Blue Teakettle stayed in the kitchen and scolded Scouring Pad for doing a perfect job on Griddle. She dribbled hot tears on Stove, making a rather mournful sizzle.

Black Flame, the older Wizard’s Familiar, came and rubbed against the Journeyman’s legs, purring loudly, and his two wives jumped to Douglas’s shoulders and tickled his ears with their whiskers.

The Ladies of the Byre mooed farewell from the meadow, turning their heads together in the direction of the cottage. In the thatched roof above, the Mouse family cheered and waved bits of red flannel to their friend and provider of bits of cheese and soda crackers on cold winter nights.

Douglas quickly said his farewells to one and all, then strode off down the cottage walk, through a rickety wooden gate, down to the River Road, and on to the bridge. He paused to wave once again to the rather forlorn group on the door-stoop of the Wizards’ cottage.

Flarman would love to go along. Douglas thought to himself as he crossed Crooked Brook. And I’m surprised that Bronze Owl didn’t decide to come along, too. Black Flame would never leave Flarman, of course, but he wishes he were on the road again, I’m sure.

He stopped to say good-bye to Precious and Lilac, the High’s nearest neighbors. They were winter-pruning their apple trees. This elderly couple were like fond grandparents to the young Pyromancer.

“Is the Lady Myrn in good spirits and health?” asked Lilac. She was already at work sewing Myrn’s wedding gown. “She must be beside herself, being so far away from you.”

“As we would be, if we were separated,” said her husband, smiling fondly at her. “Take a pocketful of these late-autumn keepers with you, my boy. Nothing like apples to keep you in good health...An apple a day keeps the bedbugs away...Or something like that,” he added, quite seriously. “Keeping bedbugs under control is important for travelers, I should think.”

“Old Man,” his wife gently chided, digging a sharp elbow into his ribs, “what do you know of traveling? You’ve never been farther than the Oak ‘n’ Bucket in Trunkety!”

“I did, too, travel in me youth,” protested Precious. “Before I got good sense and married you, that is.”

“I wish I had time to listen to your travel stories,” said Douglas with genuine regret, for the old man was a very good tale spinner and well worth the listening. “But I want to be down at least to Farango Waters by nightfall.”

“To visit your Lady Mother and your father,” Lilac said, nodding in approval.

“That’s my plan, but I must start now to get there before dark.”

“Go on, then,” said she, drawing him into her arms and giving him a warm kiss on each cheek. Precious started to shake his hand but turned the handshake into a grandfatherly hug, instead.

“Go in good health, and don’t forget to eat those apples each day,” called the orchardman after him.

****

With the warm feeling that comes from being loved, Douglas walked briskly down the southern bank of Crooked Brook, past the high-arcing Victory Fountain in midstream, installed by the Water Adept, Augurian, to commemorate the defeat of Frigeon. He recrossed Crooked Brook at Trunkety Bridge, following the Trunkety Road into the center of Val­ley’s largest—and only—town.

On the broad, oak-shaded Green, he looked in first at the Oak ‘n’ Bucket but found no one there except the red-cheeked Innkeeper, who was busy sweeping out the debris of the night before: pipe dottles and chestnut shells and occasionally a broken glass. Douglas loved the tobaccoey, winey, beery smell of the taproom, but he didn’t linger longer than to tell the Innkeeper that he was on his way and to send any messages he might receive on to the High.

Crossing the Green, he met the town’s Schoolmaster amid a chattering, leaping, laughing, excited crowd of Valley youngsters. They clustered about him like a swarm of happy honeybees, all dressed in their very best, faces scrubbed to a shine and hands scoured spotless.

“Hello, Frackett!” greeted Douglas. “Good morning, chil­dren!”

“On your way again?” said the onetime Wizard. “A Jour­neyman must journey, they say. Well I remember ...”

“We’re on our way to visit Wizards’ High!” interrupted several of the children, forestalling one distraction, as children do, by creating another.

“Yes, the Wizard Flarman has kindly invited us to spend the afternoon with him,” said Frackett. He was no longer the morose, low-bent, and lonely old man Douglas first had met many months before. Frackett had spent two centuries as an outlooker in the wilderness of Landsend, far to the northeast, marking the comings, goings, and nefarious doings of Frigeon on his glacier. With the fall of Frigeon, he had returned to civilization and a happier, more sociable life, as Trunkety’s Schoolmaster.

“Well, now, little friends,” Douglas said to the class, “you’ll truly love every minute at Wizards’ High, I know, but take my best advice and don’t put your fingers or noses into places where they don’t belong. Some things at the High are extremely dangerous, if you don’t know what they are!”

“We won’t, we promise!” cried the children, and they trooped off after Schoolmaster Frackett while Douglas strolled into Dicksey’s Store to purchase a few last items to bring to his mother.

Dicksey himself, looking plump and prosperous once again after the severe trials of Dead Winter and Dry Summer, was waiting upon two Trunkety housewives. He nodded to the newcomer and the ladies curtsied gracefully with broad smiles and a few words of affectionate teasing, mostly concerning the year-off midwinter wedding.

“We’re getting ready already,” said one. “Embroidering and sewing, preserving jams and jellies, and pickling and planning the banquets. We can hardly wait!”

“Nor can I,” agreed the Journeyman Wizard, much to their delight. Douglas was a complete favorite with everyone in Valley, but especially the housewives and farm wives. As Apprentice he had done all of the shopping for Wizard’s High at the Trunkety Tuesday Market and he knew them all well by name and reputation.

The ladies wandered off to examine some of the many wondrous new goods Dicksey had on sale. Increased ease and safety of travel on Dukedom’s highroads since the end of the war had returned prosperity to Valley. The proprietor bustled about collecting the baking chocolate, sewing needles, and silk thread that Douglas’s mother required.

“And next week, please, send a sturdy, reliable boy up to the High to get Blue Teakettle’s shopping list,” Douglas reminded him. “Left to himself, Flarman would forget to buy food when he’s hard at work.”

Dicksey made a note of it on his slate and shortly saw the young Wizard off at his door.

“Fair journeying!” Dicksey called after Douglas. The housewives came to add their farewells. Squire Frenstil, just arrived on horseback from his farm outside town, stopped to say hello and good-bye.

“Sure you don’t want to borrow a mount?” he asked.

“No, but many, many thanks,” said Douglas. “I’ll be going by packet from Perthside to Westongue and it would be much too long before you got your horse back.”

“Ye must enjoy tramping in winter,” observed the gentle­man farmer, who had once been the Master of Horse of the late Thorowood Duke, sire of the present Duke, Thornwood. “Well, I don’t blame you! If I were younger, I’d beg to go along with ye.”

“And you’d be welcome,” said Douglas.

He waved and set out again, determined not to be delayed further by the many friends who seemed to have made it a point to be along his road just by accident this morning.

****

Three thousand miles or so to the east and south, on Waterand Island in Warm Seas, Apprentice Aquamancer Myrn Manstar prepared for bed in her pleasant tower-top apartment above the magnificent Palace of Augurian.

Myrn was a slim, raven-haired young lady. She had sparkling hazel-green eyes and the strong, self-confident movements of an experienced sailor, which she most cer­tainly was.

After rereading Douglas’s latest letter her thoughts were of Douglas and his journey.

Journeying was a very important part of a Journeyman’s training for Mastery—in any craft, she knew. Someday soon, she hoped, she would be setting out alone on a journey of her own, leading to promotion to Journeyman Water Adept in Augurian’s footsteps.

She imagined Douglas striding along the road from Trunkety to Perthside, in the bright winter afternoon, whistling cheerfully as he went. She knew instinctively that he would stop to say good-bye to Precious and Lilac, and to look in at the Oak ‘n’ Bucket and Dicksey’s store before he took to the road.

“Douglas, take care!” she said aloud as she plumped her pillow and composed herself for sleep. “You’re going farther away than ever now.”