Accidental Sorcerers #4
Other Kinds of Magic
Other Kinds of Magic
Mik looked at the sorcerer, leaning slightly against the doorway, waiting. “Well?” he said at last. “What do I need to do?”
Bailar smiled. “You yourself have told me the answer.” He held up a placating hand. “I do not speak in riddles to confuse or torment you, young dragonrider. I want you to come to the understanding on your own, if you can. Thinking is a blessing and a curse, but to those with the bent to magic it is survival. So think about what you did to awaken the dragon, and consider the Principle of Closure.”
Mik nodded and stared at the fire, feeling the gazes of the sorcerer and his apprentice upon him. “I used my blood to awaken the dragon…” He grew silent for a moment, thinking about the dragon demanding to be dispelled, then seeing those faint pinkish spots as he mounted — he shook himself and jumped up, whirling to face them. “I know!”
They stepped outside into the swirling snow, and the dragon raised its head. You now know how to dispel me?
“Yes. Will you meet us at the river, below this place?”
I will wait for you there, and the dragon leaped over the edge of the bluff. Bailar led Mik and Sura along a path, seen only by the lack of trees in the way, down the bluff to the river.
As they went, Mik noticed Sura hugging herself and making fff fff noises. He wondered for a moment why the sorcerer had not provided them with warmth or rapid transport down the bluff, then remembered Principle of Necessity. “Here,” he said, taking off his cloak and wrapping it around Sura’s shoulders.
“Don’t you need it?”
“It helped when I was on the dragon, but my jacket is enough for walking. You need this more than I do.”
She took his arm, and took her time letting go, warming Mik more than the cloak. “Thank you.” He grinned as they followed Bailar side by side. It was a slow walk; Bailar kept to one side of the path, probing the snow ahead with his staff and holding trees or sturdy limbs as if he feared a fall. “His balance isn’t good,” she whispered, nodding ahead to her mentor.
The dragon had not curled up to await them; it instead had stomped out a wide flat area and stood waiting. If it were human, Mik thought, I’d think it was nervous. Or eager. “You’ll want to be on the river ice, right?” he said aloud. “Will you return to the size you were when I awakened you?”
Yes. And yes. But the dragon curled up, becoming a mound of snow on the flat… then emerged, its original size, from the bottom of the mound. It tested the edge of the river ice then lay on it, stretching on its side, appearing satisfied. The big pink spots were now seven small red spots, Mik’s blood.
Mik made his careful way to the edge, then removed his gloves. “And… thank you for your help.”
Dispelling me is thanks enough, it said, as Mik placed his hands over the red spots. But hold to your humility and gratitude. They will serve you well.
He nodded, feeling his hands grow numb, then gently wiped the melted snow away. And with Mik’s blood removed, the dragon sank into the river ice, becoming a pattern of bones once again.
“Well done, young dragonrider,” Bailar smiled as Mik rubbed his hands together than jammed them inside his jacket. He noticed Sura nodding as well, and their approval warmed him.
Yet he remembered his manners. “Thank you, sir.” He snatched his gloves out of the snow and put them on again.
“You traveled a long way, and now you have dispelled your transport. Did you give any thought to how you would return home?”
Mik nodded. “I did what I had to. I suppose I shall find a room in Exidy until spring. One where they will let me work for my bread and board.”
“You have no apprenticeship to consider?”
“No, sir. In Lacota — my town — I would have been chosen at the equinox.”
“Well, then. There is no law that says I cannot have two apprentices, and you have proven yourself worthy. Sorcerers are becoming rare in these ‘enlightened’ times, and sometimes the world still has need of us. We can send word to your family, perhaps visit them when time and weather permit. What say you?”
Bailar let fly a snowy owl, carrying Mik’s message and request for the cake recipe, then they all retreated to the warmth of the parlor. Sura stood in front of the fire, Mik’s cloak spread wide to catch and trap the heat, as Mik finished warming his hands on a full teacup. But the walk up the bluff had kept them near warm enough, and Sura soon shed the cloak and sat on a bench.
“Your training starts in the morning, Mik Dragonrider,” said Bailar. “I will enter your name in the records tonight. Get some sleep, you’ll be up early tomorrow.”
“Yes, sir,” but Bailar had already left. Mik watched Sura watch the fire, then pulled a bench next to hers and sat.
“What will it be like?” he asked her.
“Like school. You’ll be studying, and practicing, and… well, you’ll see.”
Mik laughed. “Was it really just this morning? Robi said next month, we’d be done with school forever.”
“Oh — she and her boyfriend are my best friends. She was there when I awakened the dragon. Piet wouldn’t believe us, until he saw it himself.”
They laughed, then looked at each other. Her eyes shone in the firelight… or was it firelight? Without thinking, Mik reached out and put an arm around her. Sura slid against him, and they watched the fire together.
“I was right.”
Mik grinned. “There are other kinds of magic.”
THE END (or not… move on to Season 2!)