Friday, February 17, 2012

#FridayFlash: Market (Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2 pt 2)

You asked for more, and I’m glad to oblige!



Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 2: At the Market

Part 1

Image source: Webweavers
The tiny dragon chittered at Mik and Sura from its place on the common room hearth, as its humans brought in their breakfast. As always, Bailar followed them with careful steps, using his staff to keep his balance. He sat as his apprentices set out dishes and covered pots. Finally, as Mik spooned eggs and sausages into their mentor’s bowl, Sura reached down.

“Are you ready for breakfast too?” she asked the dragon. It chirped and hopped into her palm, and let her carry it to the table. A pinned strip of cloth held its injured wing against its body. A week ago, Mik had set the tiny bone under Bailar’s instruction, as it lay in magical sleep, while Sura applied a healing ointment to the torn skin. By the next day, the dragon stopped worrying at the bandage. Sura set it between her plate and Mik’s, where it could steal a piece of egg or meat from either side.

“Mik,” said Bailar, “have you learned anything new from that book of dragon lore?”

“Yes sir. Lesser Dragons, like the Desert Dwarf, heal rapidly.” Mik winced at his tone; it sounded to him as if he were reciting a school lesson. “We should be able to unwrap the bandage in another week.”

“If only we could heal broken bones that quickly.” Bailar smirked and forked up a sausage. “His appetite seems to be improving.” As he spoke, the dragon crouched then struck like a snake, snatching a piece of egg from the edge of Sura’s plate. They all watched as it held the morsel in its tiny front claws and nibbled at it like a mouse. “Strikes like a hunter, eats at the ready like prey,” he said. “That suggests it can be both at any moment.”

“The chapter about Desert Dwarves was interesting,” said Mik. “They steal eggs from nests, and eat insects. Carrion, if they’re hungry enough.” The dragon paused to listen. “Hawks and sandcats will eat them. Easterners say they house the spirits of men who died in The Godforsaken.”

Bailar cocked an eye. “Odd.”

“Not women?” Sura gave Mik a gentle poke with her elbow, and the dragon chirped.

“I don’t know!” he sputtered. “I’m just repeating what the book said! Maybe women are smart enough to stay out of that place or something.”

Bailar laughed. “Always the diplomat, Mik!”


After breakfast, Bailar went to his chambers but soon returned. “If I read the banners across the river correctly,” he told his apprentices, “the barges brought in fruit. Oranges from the Archipelago, I hope. Go and see — Sura, you know what a fair price is. If you know of anything else we need, purchase it as well.”

A few minutes later, Mik and Sura made their careful way down the steep path to the river. Sura watched Mik below her, uncoiling the knotted rope they used for safety and help on the way back up. “I’m so glad you’re here now,” she said. “I used to have to pull the canoe upriver so I wouldn’t miss the landing! Two of us can just paddle across.”

“You just love me for my strength.” Mik grinned at Sura’s laughing protest. Reaching the bottom, he turned and braced himself; Sura whooped and let go the rope, jumping the last few feet into Mik’s arms. After a thorough kiss, long enough for neither of them, they pushed their canoe into the river and struck for the far shore.

Reaching Exidy, they left their canoe on the bank with other boats of folk from up- and down-river. After adjusting the blue sashes that marked them as Bailar’s apprentices, they made their way to the marketplace. “Oranges!” Sura whispered, nodding to her left where a merchant showed off his fruit. They walked on — pretending disinterest was all part of the game here, as it was in Lacota.

“What do we need first?”

“Pepper, if anyone has it and they’re not demanding an outrageous price. If not, we’ll just use your flameweed.” She nudged Mik, making him smile. “That was really helpful. We need cheese, too. At least that won’t be hard to find.”

There was no pepper; but they filled Mik’s pack with cheese from local farmers, then made their way back to the orange merchant. The price he offered Sura was reasonable, but they bargained for the sake of good form. Mik mostly watched the man, and the way the man watched Sura. He knew Sura looking bright and smiling would get them a better price, but he did not have to like it. The mentor’s words came to him, almost a whisper: Part of you considers her your mate. You will have feelings, and at your age they are strong feelings, but reason is what makes a sorcerer. What you are in private is one thing, but in public you are fellow apprentices above all else. He remembered Bailar’s sigh before that last sentence, and the embarrassment he felt. So he stood and watched, until they bumped fists to signify agreement. The man filled her pack and offered it to Mik, but Sura laughed and took it herself.

“You would not carry your fair lady’s burden?” The man gave Mik a mocking look.

“His pack is already full!” Sura slung hers onto her back and took Mik’s arm. “I think we’re done.” She gave him a quick kiss to the cheek, making Mik smile as they walked away. The merchant’s smirk now looked forced, to Mik’s complete satisfaction.

As they left the market, they heard a strange voice behind them: “Excuse me,” it said. “You are the apprentice sorcerers?”

continued…

21 comments:

  1. This is quite charming! Curious to see where its going. It feels like it has the potential to be quite long, in an epic kind of way.

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  2. I think you've captured Mik's character well, with the up and down emotions of first love. And I like the way Sura teases him.

    Some nice world building too. Looking forward to more. =)

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  3. Morning!

    Peter, I don't know how long it will run… I do have another chapter written out, and know the setting of the next one (maybe two). But as I said last week, I need a story arc to get much farther than that.

    JohnX, thanks — I have a note "more of Sura's PoV, she's in this too." So far, it's been mostly about Mik; Sura needs her time in the sun (that doesn't involve getting dizzy dancing ;-).

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  4. Two nice quiet calm scenes, not too much different from your everyday "breakfast with the family and pet" and "a little shopping at the market” types. Except potentially for the last line, nothing really *important* seems to happen in this part and I think that's because the main plot has yet to be decided. Constructively, without tension irks and movement sprinkled into each scene, the story can flatten quickly regardless of how intricate your fantasy world. But that’s always the challenge (joy and madness) of writing a story from scratch ;-).

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  5. The interaction between the characters is excellent. And your description of the dragon eating is cute and spot on, meaning I can see it quite clearly in my mind's eye. Good one!

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  6. The little dragon remains cute, and your entertainment in writing the story shines through.

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  7. Rachel, I agree that on its own this scene doesn't do much. But it does set some things up for later parts. It's a balancing act — if I dumped the entire story into one blog post, it would be more than a little huge.

    Eric, thanks. Things must be rough for a tiny predator. ;-)

    JohnW, good to hear!

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  8. Larry, I understand, of course. I like your descriptions and see the potential for a couple good subplots in this second part, but the inkling of a main plot is still a mystery. That will make it all the more interesting to see where this adventure with the cute mini dragon ends up. Staying tuned.

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  9. I'm looking forward to seeing where this will lead. The relationship here is interesting.

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  10. Nooooo, they've been spotted!

    And I still want that dragon.

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  11. This is well done, you formed a complete little story within the series and explained the characters well.

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  12. You've captured a beautiful sense of young love in this segment. I agree with the others, I want a little toy Dragon too.

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  13. This is a delightful story, you are developing the two characters very well and creating an interesting world.

    Well done! I look forward to the next episode. ^__^

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  14. A slower pace but it develops the characters and their flirtatious and burgeoning relationship. Bring on more, please.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  15. With so many of us now wanting one, it will be a terrible disappointment if the tiny dragon ends up attacking its benefactors.

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  16. Still digging this world! And shopping in fantasy/sci fi worlds is always fun. Like everyone, I want a small dragon, too.

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  17. A nice gentle read that keeps the interest throughout. I do like this tiny dragon, and I know I already said it before, but I still think it's going to be an impish one.

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  18. Loved the breakfast scene, the little dragon was so cute snatching the food like that.

    I wonder about the newcomer's intentions. Look forward to finding out.

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  19. I like the banter and playful tone of the two apprentices with each other in the marketplace, and of course the tiny dragon!

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  20. No prob, Rachel. I'm really glad you're here to keep me honest! ;-)

    Tony, I think it's safe to say they have many adventures ahead of them!

    Icy, it's too bad Lesser Dragons don't breathe fire… he could light their candles.

    Thanks, Shen. The first part links back to the original story of how they met.

    Aiden, thanks… they're a lot of fun to spy on (so to speak!).

    Thanks Helen! As Mik found out from the start, being a 'prentice sorcerer has its hazards. Fortunately, there are benefits (but not *that* kind). :-)

    Adam, the next part will be ready by Friday!

    Tim, I think it's only people that bite the hand that feeds them!

    Glad you're enjoying it, Aaron — I hope it holds up!

    Steve, before he can do anything impish, he's going to have to get out of that bandage…

    Thanks Craig — next week will tell!

    Ganymeder, thanks much… here's hoping the rest is as enjoyable!

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  21. That is a great premise..to set the extraordinary in a very ordinary setting..Love the dragon..though have you seen the size of its claws, I suspect it's going to get a helluva lot bigger..and who knows what hell will be unleashed from your wonderful imagination then Larry!

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