Long, long ago(ca mid-90's), back when I first got into reading books in digital form, I came across one that started quite promisingly. Unfortunately I was easily distracted back then, and have no recollection of name or author. But I think the opening is curious enough to have a chance at recognition.

It features a female protagonist that serves as a mage's assistant, the position of apprentice reserved for males. this annoys her. finding upon reporting to work one day that she has been reduced to transport mule for something the mage need transported, she is none too pleased when, upon mishandling a scroll or similar, she finds herself rather better built for swordplay than spellcasting. I also believe the case in this particular instance was that she somehow learned that her master was dead, leaving her with nothing to do but make the delivery. If anyone can tell me the name of the book, I'd be ridiculously grateful.

  • When you come back, if the answer below is not the correct one, one helpful edit you can make is to specify when "Long, long ago" was for you. :) – FuzzyBoots Mar 23 '16 at 16:13
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    A talking mouth? Crazy! – Paul D. Waite Apr 13 '16 at 8:22
  • @Hans-OlavBråtun: The transformation happens within the first 12 pages in my copy. But yes. no frustration at being a "mere" apprentice, the only mention I've seen of gender is him chiding her for being concerned about the effect of material components on skin and hair, and there's no "pack mule" bit. Have you checked a copy of the book to see if it does fit? Because it does seem awfully close to me. All of the summary below is within those first 12 pages. – FuzzyBoots Apr 13 '16 at 10:33
  • listening to it now from audible, you were spot on, friend. guess I misread your suggestion, thinking you intended for the event to have happened late in the story. – Hans-Olav Bråtun Apr 13 '16 at 15:25

That sounds like the opening of Forgotten Realms novel Pool of Radiance by James Ward and Jane Cooper Hong, the first book of The Pools trilogy.

When Shal Bal of Cormyr's master, Ranthor, receives a message from his old friend and fellow mage, Denlor of Phlan, whose tower is under siege by hundreds of monsters, Ranthor rushes to aid him. Shortly, Shal receives a message from Ranthor via crystal ball, during which he warns 'beware the dragon of bronze' and is murdered by an unknown assailant. Shal inherits Ranthor's familiar, a white horse named Cerulean, and Ranthor's various magical items, including a staff of power and a ring of three wishes. However, along the way to the Moonsea, when she wishes she were able to lift a large pack, she is turned into a hulking, seven-foot-tall giant by the ring. In her rage, she wishes she were at Phlan, and is teleported there instantly.

Book Cover

Magic Mouth is an iconic D&D spell. Right after Ranthor speaks to her and the crystal ball is shattered:

"Open it only if you have reason to believe I will not return..."
It was Ranthor's voice once again, and this time Shal realized that he was not speaking to her himself. She remembered him telling her about Magic Mouth spells, which enabled wizards to leave messages in their own voices. What she was hearing, she knew, was from a spell he must have cast before he left. Something she had done, or something that happened, had triggered the voice.

She gets a few more messages instructing her on what to take and where to go from triggered Magic Mouth spells. Doing a quick text search on the book, it doesn't seem to come up again.

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