This story was inspired by Eric J Krause’s Writing prompt #92: “A tiny dragon, no bigger than a hummingbird, befriends you.”
This story is more or less a sequel to Accidental Sorcerers, but is intended to stand on its own.
Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 1: Dragon Rider
Part 1: Dragon Rider
“I’m all right,” she said. “I just got dizzy.”
“Where did you see that dance?”
“A troupe from the Northern Reach came downriver last summer. They danced and played music in town. Some of the women did this dance, but they had long ribbons that wrapped around them as they turned. I don’t know how they did it without falling down!”
Mik smiled. “Are you sure you’re all right?” She nodded. “Good.” He embraced her, she embraced him, and nothing more was said for several minutes.
At last, Sura nudged him. “We can’t be too long,” she whispered. “We need to gather the herbs.”
Mik sighed, but knew she was right. He stood and helped her to her feet, although she needed no help, and they began walking. “What are we looking for again? I was only half-paying attention.” The woods were quiet; patches of snow stood in shaded places and there was still a nip in the air.
“You need to focus.”
“I know. But it was hard, thinking about coming out here with you, all by ourselves!”
Sura laughed and produced the list. “We probably won’t find all of them right away, but these are the ones we need.”
“Kingsalve? That’s a healing plant, right?”
“It has magical properties, too.”
“Oh. Right. I’ve been studying herbs so much, it all runs together after a while.”
Sura took his hand. “I guess the mentor wanted you to be ready for spring. The first plants to come up in spring are the strongest —”
“I remember: because they have the powers of all four elements.”
“See?” She squeezed his hand. “You remember some of it, anyway.”
“Isn’t that flameweed?” Mik pointed at a patch of bright red, off to one side. “We called it ‘poor man’s pepper’ at home, but everybody uses it in spring until the traders come. It’s coming up a little early this year.”
“You can use it for pepper?” Sura grinned. “That’s good to know. We’re almost out of pepper too. I had to stretch our supply, because we only bought enough for two. But it’s coming up at the normal time.”
“Then spring comes a little earlier here than in Lacota.” Mik crouched in front of the bright red plants. “You let it dry in a sunny window, then you can crumble it up and use it like pepper. How much do you need?”
“Fill a pouch. Our list has it too. Flameweed is good for fire magic.”
“I — hey!” Mik flinched, and Sura heard a chittering. He spoke softly. “Sura… come see this. But slow.”
Sura knelt next to her fellow apprentice and first love, and gasped. Something that looked like a tiny dragon poked its head over the flameweed, chittering and hissing at them. Its head and long neck were as red as the plants, but its body and wings were streaked with gold. Its underbelly, what they could see of it, was the blue of the sky.
“What is it?” she whispered.
“I don’t know. But I think it’s hurt.” Mik stretched a careful hand toward the creature, ready to jerk away. The thing stood its ground, chittering again. “It’s okay. We won’t hurt you.” He laid his hand, palm down, in front of it. “We just want to see you.”
It sniffed, cheeped, and climbed aboard. Mik winced at the pricking of tiny, sharp claws, but let it get a secure perch before lifting his hand slowly.
“It looks just like a dragon!” Sura breathed. “But it’s so tiny!”
“Is it a dragon?”
“I don’t know. The only dragon I’ve ever seen was the ice dragon that you rode here.” Sura laughed at the memory. “But the mentor will know.”
“It’s hurt, all right.” Mik smiled as it spread its wings, revealing a body no larger than his thumb; one of its wings was twisted and torn. “Maybe it can sit on my shoulder while we find the rest of the herbs.”
Perhaps understanding, it clambered up Mik’s sleeve to his shoulder. It nestled against Mik’s neck, and he snorted. “That tickles!”
“Yes,” said Bailar, exchanging wary looks with the tiny creature on Mik’s shoulder. “It’s a dragon, all right. A Desert Dwarf, if my memory serves. I’ve never heard of one coming this far west, or north. Let alone at this time of year.”
“Where do they come from?”
“A vast desert in the east, called the Ahm a’droog by the natives of the region. That translates rather literally to ‘The Godforsaken.’ How it survived in this cold, or how it was hurt? That I don’t know.”
“Can we help it, then?”
“Certainly, Mik. But know this: dragons have their own agenda. It likely befriended you because you were there in its extremity. Yet it is never wrong to aid a creature that offers no violence.” His mentor smiled. “I named you Mik Dragonrider, since you came seeking my aid on the back of an ice dragon. But now, your name has a double meaning — you yourself have a dragon rider.”
Bailar turned away, and Sura took Mik’s hand. “Come inside now,” said the mentor. “It needs warmth above all else. It will likely sleep by — or perhaps in — the fireplace until it’s healed.”