The priestess descended the stairs with a great smile upon her face, to
find Leanna preparing her breakfast and Jonathan practicing guitar by
“My breakfast is going to get cold,” Jonathan warned.
“Then maybe you should get the chord right, so you can eat,” Leanna
replied across the bar, applying a dollop of whipped cream to her
pancakes. She became lost in her work as she leaned into them, spreading
the whipped cream, adding more, and spreading it out until the sight of
the pancakes was gone.
“Can I talk to you, Leanna? Privately?” Trixi asked.
Leanna perked up from her task. “Sure. Everything alright?”
“Better than alright, actually,” Trixi smiled. She waited until she
could find the words. “We’re friends, right?”
Leanna smiled. “Of course.”
“I had a vision last night. Our Lord has shown me the path I must
walk. I think you are a big part of that,” Trixi explained.
Jonathan’s chord rang out across the bar. “Got it! Am I done now?”
“You’re going to have to wait. Girl talk,” Leanna replied. She put
her attention back to the priestess. “Don’t mind him. Go on.”
“I must bring Our Lord’s truth to the masses, and assemble a flock.
I’m going to lead them to the Magic City,” Trixi explained.
“Oh, that sounds great! Wait. It’s a trick, though, isn’t it?”
Trixi shook her head at Leanna in disbelief. “Of course it is.
That’s not the point. I need lots of people to preach to, and no one
gathers crowds like you.”
Leanna gave a suspicious glance as she chewed on a mouthful of whipped
cream-drowned pancakes. “So?”
“So, we can work together! You do your singing thing and when it’s
over, I preach,” Trixi said.
“What happens when you do the trick part, though? Isn’t everyone
going to be mad at me, too?” Leanna asked.
“No, that’s the best part! They won’t even be able to think about
you having any part in it because they’re going to be so mad they’ll
want to kill me!”
“You’ve already got Weevil trying to do that.”
Trixi dismissed her with a wave and a laugh. “He’s harmless. How
much trouble could one halfling be?”
Leanna sat back in her chair and mulled it over.
“C’mon,” Trixi goaded. “You set them up, I knock them down. What
do you say?”
Leanna shrugged. “It won’t hurt my reputation?”
“You’re a popular lady. I wouldn’t dream of it,” Trixi replied.
“But how do I know you’re not tricking me now?” Leanna asked,
getting in another bite of her pancakes.
Trixi rested her elbow on the table and extended a pinky. “Here.”
Leanna looked at Trixi, perplexed. The priestess motioned her head,
guiding her to return the gesture. Leanna did so, and Trixi entwined
their little fingers.
“This is a sacred promise among my people,” Trixi explained. “It
is blasphemy to break such a vow. I swear to Our Lord that I will not
harm your reputation, for it is you who will speed me along Our Lord’s
Leanna smiled. She liked secret handshakes. “Alright, deal. This
should be fun.”
Trixi bounced on her rear in the seat. “Oh, perfect! This is going to
be so great, Leanna!”
Excerpted from "The Singer and the Charlatan" by D.C. Fergerson. Copyright © 2016 by D.C. Fergerson. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.