Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 4: Healing
Part 4: Healing
Season 2: Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3
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On the morning of the fourth day after Ahm Kereb met Mik and Sura, the apprentices prepared breakfast in the kitchen while the little dragon watched from the warmth of the stove hearth. Most mornings, they would be chatting, laughing, touching as they worked, but now the only sounds were the clatter of cookware and what few words were necessary to do their work.
The little dragon watched them for a while, then wandered to the edge of the hearth. He stretched his neck toward the two and chittered.
“He wants sunlight.” Sura’s voice was toneless. She let the dragon hop into her hand.
Mik hesitated, but finally spoke. “Did — did you dream about the hawk last night?”
For the first time that morning, Sura looked at him. Her eyes grew wide, then she nodded and turned away. Mik thought about his dream:
Worry, worry at the wire along the bottom of the cage — snap! Crawl through. So cold here. But free now!
Fly! Welcome sunshine! So cold! So cold! Which way home? Sun so bright, so welcome, why does it not warm? Fly!
The cry of a familiar enemy — dive! turn! The hawk strikes, tears a wing but does not catch. Pain! Fall! Fluttering through scrub, so much higher than familiar, to grass whose color may provide a hiding place.
So cold. So cold. Will die here.
Creatures, rarely seen. Found. Warmth. Healing.
Mik joined Sura at the sunlit window as she let the dragon hop onto the sill. It stood facing the window, and stretched its good wing. Suddenly, it turned and began snapping at the cloth strip binding and protecting its injured wing.
“Maybe the wing’s healed,” said Mik. “I think we should take the bandage off and see.”
“Are you sure?” They both winced at the sharpness in Sura’s tone.
“Yes,” said Mik, eyes moist. “But I don’t want to fight about it.” He turned away.
“Mik, stop…” Sura caught his arm before he could take more than a step. “I don’t — I don’t want —” she pulled him to her, and they held each other for a long minute, the only sound an occasional sob. The dragon stopped worrying at the bandage to chirp at his humans.
At last, Mik sniffed. “The bread!” he gasped.
They rushed to the oven; Sura grabbed the thick pad and Mik jerked the door open. Sura snatched out the bread pan, turned it onto the cooling rack, and sighed. “Just a little brown. Not burnt.”
They looked at each other, then their laughter seemed to brighten the whole kitchen. The dragon chirped from the window as they embraced anew.
“I’ve been so worried about what’s going to happen to him,” she said, leading Mik back to the window. “But you’re right. Let’s see if it’s healed.”
Mik nodded and took out the pin holding the bandage. It slipped free, and the dragon slowly lifted the wing. Sunshine through the window made both wings translucent. There was a jagged scar, but the skin looked healed. The dragon spread both wings wide, less than the span of Sura’s hand; it seemed as if he were stretching.
“I don’t think I told you,” said Sura, “that was a marvelous idea you had with the splint.” She nodded at the splint: a sliver of wood on either side of the bone, with three tiny bronze clips keeping them in place.
“I’m just glad it worked,” said Mik, but he was grinning. The dragon turned and sniffed at the splint. “But I’m more glad we’re talking again.” He slipped an arm around her; she turned to him…
The dragon stared at the shiny clips, then nibbled at them. One by one, the clips dropped to the sill. With the third clip, the rest of the splint fell away as well. It stretched its wings again, then flapped up to the latch. A few quiet moments of tugging and pushing, and the window swung open. It slipped through.
A draft brought them back to the present. “The window!” They looked at each other wide-eyed, then flung it wide and caught a glimpse of the dragon disappearing into the trees, above their path to the river.
“Fly! Fly free!” Mik whispered.
“Do you think he’ll be all right?”
“I hope so.”
“It’s a long way home for him. Maybe we should go look. If he stays with us, we can take him when we go downriver and set him free at Queensport.”
Mik thought a moment, then nodded. “All right. We’ll go look. If we don’t find him, we’ll tell the mentor. I hope Kereb chases him all the way back East.”
Watching the trees above and around them, Mik and Sura made their way down the steep path as Mik paid out the knotted rope.
“It’s still too cold for him out here,” said Sura. “I hope we find him.”
“I just hope he’s all right,” said Mik. “If we could keep him warm away from —”
The rope went slack. Sura gasped and stumbled into Mik, whose footing was already slipping. They fell, sliding and rolling down the steep hill. Finally, scratched and sore, they came to a stop not far above the river.
“Are you all right?” Sura asked.
Mik nodded. “You?”
“Yes. What happened?”
“The rope broke.” Mik held up one end. “How did I hold on to this all that way?” He gave the rope a disgusted look and dropped it. “We’ll have to go to the landing to get back up —”
“You two are going nowhere.” Ahm Kereb slipped out from behind a tree, dagger in hand.