Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 3: A Lost Owner
Part 3: A Lost Owner
Part 1 • Part 2
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“Yes sir,” said Mik. “Our mentor is the local sorcerer.”
“Ah, good. Your fellow townsfolk spoke true, then.” He spoke directly to Mik, seeming to ignore Sura altogether, which Mik found odd but agreeable. “I have lost something, a valuable possession, and I need aid in finding it.”
Mik’s mind leaped to an obvious conclusion, but did his best not to show it. “May I ask what, sir?”
The outlander smiled. “You are obviously honest and trustworthy, but I would speak to your master if I may. I mean no offense.”
“I take none,” Mik lied. “Our mentor lives across the river. Any boat for hire knows the landing.”
“Forgive me, but can you not take me in your craft?”
Mik shook his head. “It’s only a canoe. We have enough room for ourselves and our packs, and our mentor forbids us to separate when in town. I mean no offense.”
“I take none. It will be as you say. Please be kind enough to tell him I am coming?”
“Of course… who shall I say?”
“Ah. I am called Ahm Kereb. Please do not let me delay you further.” Ahm Kereb turned and walked away.
Mik and Sura said nothing as they returned to their canoe and paddled across the river. It was only as they pulled themselves up the bluff by the knotted rope that they felt comfortable enough to speak.
“Was that an Easterner?” Mik asked, puffing as he climbed behind Sura.
“I think so. That name sounds familiar.”
“The Ahm part. It’s in the name of that desert. The one where our dragon came from.”
“You think he’s looking for it?”
“I’m sure of it. He’s a strange one — he didn’t even look at you.”
“You noticed that?”
“That, and the way the orange merchant did look at you.”
Sura stopped a moment to laugh. “Jealous?”
Mik puffed, delaying his reply. “A little. Maybe.”
“You should be jealous — I got a better price for these oranges than you could have!”
Mik laughed. “Well, I’m not as pretty as you!”
“But you’re mine. And I’m yours. That’s what’s important.”
And Mik found that reason and emotion could sometimes agree.
“To be honest,” said Bailar, watching the river from his chambers, “this answers one question as it raises two more. The dragon arrived here, so far from home, because it was brought here. But why? And how did it escape?”
“I don’t think how it got away matters so much,” said Sura.
“So are we going to give him the dragon?” Mik looked ready to protest.
“Not right away. I am not convinced that his intentions are honest.” Bailar turned away from the window. “I do not remember the Eastern tongue well. But I think the name he gave you means something like God-Knife. The old saw holds: If your deeds would bring you shame, do them by another name.” The sorcerer looked out the window again. “Melton is crossing the river, with a passenger. So there may be letters coming. Mik, go and greet our guests. Give Melton his due, and invite him in — he will need to wait to carry his passenger back. Sura, I suggest you move your little friend to the kitchen fire. Then bring tea to the common room.”
Ahm Kereb stepped outside, accompanied by Bailar and Sura, where Melton and Mik stood exchanging pleasant gossip. “I must return tomorrow,” he told Melton. “Will you be available to convey me?”
“Maybe,” said Melton, “but any boatman for hire can bring you. I come only to take or deliver correspondence.”
“Watch for a banner, Melton,” said Bailar. “There may be a letter for you to take tomorrow.”
Melton nodded and turned, waving at Ahm Kereb to follow. They took the longer path, down to the wide landing where Mik dispelled the ice dragon last winter. Bailar and his apprentices watched them from the stoop until they disappeared around the first bend.
“Come,” said Bailar. “Let us pour some more tea and discuss this.”
Even wrapped around a hot mug of tea, Mik’s hands felt numb. “Indeed, he seeks the dragon,” said Bailar. “He claims it is a gift for a notable in the Northern Reach, a token of friendship. I suggested that if such a creature escaped, it would quickly perish in this climate. He claims the power of divination, and says it is still alive and near the river. That strikes me as odd: a spell of finding is a simple thing, relative to divination. There are some very specialized disciplines…” Bailar trailed off, staring through them. “Mik, what was it you said about the dragons this morning? Something about spirits.”
“Oh. People believe they house the spirits of people who die in the The Godforsaken. Is that important?”
“It may be. Now one of those specialized disciplines is enchantment, enhancing weapons and other items with magic. It was long the practice of Eastern enchanters, that the power of their weapons came from the spirit they bound to the blade.” Bailar grimaced. “Such a weapon is powerful indeed, but a willful spirit can cause great mischief for one who wields that weapon. Thus, the practice fell out of favor centuries ago and was then outlawed. But some are willing to risk the hazards, and others are willing to risk provisioning them. And he calls himself ‘Blade of God’ — an appropriate title for one with such a practice.”
“What can we do?” Sura asked, looking as worried as Mik.
“If the dragon heals soon, we may be able to put him off. If not… I don’t know.”