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Dominion

De
312 pages
Molly grew up hearing the tales of Haviland Stout, her ancestor who discovered the dangerous magical spirits that inhabit the far corners of the world. Now, on the edge of the New World, in the British Dominion of Terra Nova, Molly and her family collect spirits aboard their airship, the Legerdemain.
But when Molly captures a spirit that can speak and claims to have been Haviland's friend, her entire life is upended. What if everything she knows about the spirits, and her own history, is a lie? In her hunt for the truth, Molly will have to challenge the most powerful company in Terra Nova and find the courage to reshape her world.
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Shane Arbuthnott DOMINION
Copyright ©2017Shane Arbuthnott
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Arbuthnott, Shane, author Dominion / Shane Arbuthnott.
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459811171 (hardback).—isbn 9781459811188 (pdf).— isbn 9781459811195(epub)
I. Title. ps8601.r363d64 2017jc813'.6 c20169044769 c20169044777
First published in the United States,2017 Library of Congress Control Number:2016949035
Summary: In this fantasy novel for middlegrade readers, Molly works with her family, collecting spirits on an airship. When she captures a spirit that can speak, she begins to think that everything she has been taught may be a lie.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover illustration by Peter Ferguson Design by Rachel Page Author photo by Erin Elizabeth Hoos Photography
orca book publishers www.orcabook.com
hîs book îs For my wîFe, Aexîs. You keep my course true and my sîp aoFt.
ACT ONE AIRBORNE
ONE
hey ad been casing te font for days, and Molly knew te engine was getting tired. Wile teLegerdemaînurtled troug te air, te engine’s rivets groaned, and from te aft vents Molly could ear a low cuffing like a orse ridden too ard. Perced atop te mainmast, te uge engine began to tremble wit exaustion, and te entire sip sook wit it. Molly scurried up te mast until se ung just beneat te metal curvature of te engine. Se ran er ands along its iron plates and rested er ceek against it. “Not muc farter,” se wispered. “You’re doing well. We’ve almost caugt up.” “Wat was tat, Moll?” a voice souted up from below. Se pulled erself away from te engine, oping no one ad seen er wispering to it. But er fater stared up at er from te deck, a dozen yards down. “Noting, Da!” se said. “he engine’s struggling, is all!”
3
S H A N E A R B U T H N O T T
He looked as tired as te engine, is air and beard wind-mussed. “Keep it running!” e said. “his one’s given us good case, but we’ll catc it witin te our!” “I know, Da. I mean, aye aye, Captain!” se said and ten clambered troug te rigging to te back of te engine, to get away from is watcful eyes. Back ere, wit te vents straigt above er, te engine’scuFF, cuFF, cuFFalmost blocked out te sound of te wind. “You eard im,” se wispered into te noisy vents. “Witin te our. his case is almost done.” Se didn’t tink it would ear er, but te bone-suddering tremors seemed to ease. “Kier! Drop starboard nets!” er fater’s voice boomed. “Aye aye!” anoter voice responded. Molly swung out to te rigt and looked down as er broter Kiernan scram-bled across te sip’s deck to te gunwale. He struggled momentarily wit a knot, and ten te nets were loosed— long wooden beams swiveling out from te ull, eavy cords trailing beneat tem. he metal filaments in te nets glim-mered in te brigt sky, dark against te wite clouds. Molly turned er eyes forward and was caugt by te view. Tey were racing troug te upper atmospere, noting between tem and te sun. heLegerdemaîn’s pale wooden keel dug a deep trenc in te clouds below. he sails on te fore and aft masts were furled for speed, letting te full force of te wind blow across te deck and across Molly were se ung from te engine. Se smiled as te boisterous winds cafed er ceeks and sent er air sailing out beind er. hey were making incredible speed: tired or not, te Legerdemaînwas in fine form.
4
D O M I N I O N
Up aead, teir quarry sparked and sizzled, disap-pearing and reappearing against te blue of te sky. he Font. hey ad caugt sigt of it a week ago, an aeteric font of fair size sitting at te crossing of two wind currents. hey ad been drawing close wen te font drifted upward into te ig atmospere and sailed away on a fast easterly wind. Now, tree days later, tey ad almost caugt up. During te case, te font ad filled teir nets wit smaller spirits. heir old was already near bursting. But te font was growing. Molly knew wat tat meant: some-ting big was getting ready to come troug. Catcing te slower eigt- and nint-level spirits was easy, but if tey wanted to catc watever was about to come troug, tey would need to be rigt alongside te font wen it emerged. It would need to be in teir nets before it even knew tey were tere. he sip suddenly rocked, and te crew on te deck stumbled. Kiernan ung far over te gunwale, above open air, before catcing imself. “Engineer!” er fater’s voice roared. Molly winced; e only called er by title wen se’d done someting wrong. Se felt te mast below er fingers siv-ering as te engine juddered atop it. “I’m on it!” se cried. Se did a quick inventory. he plates and access atces along te starboard side of te engine looked fine. On te fore everyting was clear; te intake vents were wide, te engine drinking in air. On te port side se could see a few of te iron plates rattling; tose would ave to be patced to keep te engine’s spirit from breaking free, but loose plates didn’t explain te rocking. Se swung to te aft.
5
S H A N E A R B U T H N O T T
here it was. One of te aft vents was jammed, slats alf open. he air from te intakes would be backing up inside, coking te engine. Se clambered up te rigging and took old of one of te andles riveted to te engine’s sides. he engine sook fiercely, and se eard cries from below as teLegerdemaînswung sideways, deck boards groaning. Se looked down quickly to ceck tat te mast still eld strong to te deck; if it broke, te sip would plummet to te ground. Se reaced te jammed vent and ran er fingers over it. One of te long slats ad fractured, wedging anoter slat sut wit a metal fragment. Se pulled a screwdriver from er belt and eaved erself closer. he effluent from te vent wased over er, warm, tick and oxygen ric. Se took one deep breat of it, ten bent to er task. he wedged slat was beginning to bend now, te force of te air beind it buckling te metal. Molly levered it down wit er screwdriver, pulling at te metal fragment wit er arm awkwardly ooked troug a andle. he air from te vents pused against er. Wit a sove tat nearly unbal-anced er, Molly forced te slat down and yanked te frag-ment out. As soon as it was free, te vent flew open, blasting Molly wit warm air and knocking te screwdriver from er and. Se watced it fall astern. It ad a long way to fall before it it te ground. hat was a good screwdrîver, se tougt.Probaby can’t aford to repace ît wît one as nîce.Wit a curse se trew te piece of metal to join it. heLegerdemaînsteadied out and began picking up speed. Molly took a moment to scan te deck. hings were caotic
6
D O M I N I O N
but not panicked. No ands lost, ten. To be sure, se did a roll call of te Stouts on board: er fater—at te elm, correcting teLegerdemaîn’s eading; er broter Kiernan— trying to untangle a net wit one of te long fetc poles; er broter Rory—standing aft, a line wrapped around is and for safety. For a moment se found erself looking for er sister, Brigid. Se stopped as soon as se realized wat se was doing. Wit er adrenaline abating, er arms were beginning to ace. Se climbed down to te engineer’s loft—te round platform alfway up te mast—and sat down. Te broken vent ad slowed te case but not by too muc. he font was still only a sort way off teir bow, and wit te sip’s course evening out, tey were gaining again. It was a lively one, no doubt about it. Some of teaeteric fonts barely glimmered, almost as invisible as te air tat birted tem. his one sparked and spat like a ball of blue fire. he fonts fascinated er. Se remembered te first catc se ad really been part of, wen se was six and working as a deckand. hat font ad looked like a pulsing indigo orb tucked between teir nets, surging wit te colors of deep-blue evening and wite burning sunligt. In its depts tere ad been a sadow, like an open doorway, and se remembered straining to see deeper inside, leaning over te gunwale until se almost lost er balance. Fonts were capricious, dangerous. And se could stare at tem for ours. here was a large crackle from te font, and a loop of energy surged out from its surface to brus teir bow. he sip rocked. Molly got to er feet. “O no,” se muttered.
7