Friday, February 24, 2012

#FridayFlash: A Lost Owner (Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2 pt 3)

And now things pick up a little…



Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 3: A Lost Owner

Part 1 • Part 2

Image source: Webweavers
They turned. The speaker’s manner of dress was as odd as his speech — he wore robes of light grey, travel-worn, and a large-brimmed hat. A dagger was sheathed at his side, a common sight among outlanders. He crossed his arms, hands to his shoulders, and nodded his head. Mik took the gesture to be a sort of bow.

“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.”

continued…

17 comments:

  1. At first I thought this speaker was going to be a cameo appearance from Gandalf! How do you properly heal a dragon?

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  2. I suspected there would be trouble in bringing this mini dragon home. Will the dragon now turn into a prince (from the Godforsaken) and court Sura to the further dismay of Mik? Will Mik be forced to joust the metamorphized Dragon-Prince to claim Sura's honor? Or is there some other fate in store for our Accidental Sorcerers, I wonder. Laced with much more intrigue, hints of conflicts, and better paced, the story takes shape. Nicely done.

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  3. It was all going so well..it was only a wee harmless dragon..what could it possibly do to hurt us? There are cunning plot devices at work here Larry! Good one.. and "Blade of God" made me laugh..modest isn't he?

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  4. I like the comparison and contrast in the opening of Mik an easterner who both take offense. Blade of God is an ominous name and should lead to some fun complications.

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  5. Evening, all!

    John, it occurred to me that the description might fit Gandalf as well. I should mention his beard is short & dark instead of grey and long. How do you properly heal a dragon? Keep him from hurting himself and let his high metabolism do the work?

    Tony, I don't! Of course, it's an article of faith among citizens that Easterners are dishonest. Yup, there are regional prejudices.

    Thanks, Rachel! I'd hate to joust someone that small, not much of a target there. ;-)

    Tom, yes, our mysterious stranger is certainly "modest"! Thanks much…

    Aidan, stay tuned for complications!

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  6. I'm with Tony Don't trust him!

    I love the direction this is going in! ^_^

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  7. I really like the pace of this story Larry, it has such an easy gentle flow to it, along with the odd hint at possible dangers, and the dialogue and character interaction are excellent.

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  8. The story is developing very nicely.

    I like the interactions between Mik, Sura and their master. They have a good bond.

    Just one typo that I spotted: "But I think he name"

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  9. Thanks, Helen! I don't trust him, believe me!

    Steve, I'm really glad to hear that — dialogue and character interaction are things I've tried to work on. Pacing too. Thanks!

    Craig, thanks for the typo catch & the rest. I've enjoyed writing these guys and there's more to come (about 4 chapters the size of this story so far). Still need to find the arc to go much further!

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  10. Something about the name Ahm Kereb made me expect his cousin Berek Mha to show up. The joys of fantasy names, I expect. ;)

    But God-Knife or Blade of God has real resonance, I like it.

    I've come across the idea of binding souls to weapons before, but combined with the tiny dragon possibly being a soul lost in the desert and you've got a really nice set-up here.

    I always think it's interesting to play off sentimentality (the dragon's cute, protect it!) against reason (legal ownership of the dragon). At this point we don't really know if Ahm's a bad guy.

    Enjoying this a lot so far. =)

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  11. Intrigued as to what will happen next!

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  12. I don't know how I missed the last two stories. I enjoyed the ice dragon series and I'm glad you're doing something with these characters again. I'll have to go back to get the rest of the story.

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  13. JohnX, maybe I'll introduce you to Cei Wynn and his brother Cei Wautt some day!

    Stay tuned, Crafty, more to come this Friday.

    Thanks Danni, glad you're enjoying it. Are you going to show it to Monster?

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  14. Oh no, he can't have that dragon - I've got dibs on it!

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  15. LOL, Icy — I think Mik and Sura would have something to say about that!

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  16. Hmm. I agree with comments that I automatically distrust the stranger but have no reason to.

    Funny how that works. I too like that you're taking your time with this. I also hope the two young lovers get through all this ok. I'm such a sap!

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Comments are welcome, and they don't have to be complimentary. I delete spam on sight, but that's pretty much it for moderation. Long off-topic rants or unconstructive flamage are also candidates for deletion but I haven’t seen any of that so far.

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