Accidental Sorcerers, Season 2
Part 5: Rescue (Conclusion)
Part 5: Rescue (Conclusion)
Season 2: Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4
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Mik tried to push Sura behind him. “I took the dragon. Leave her alone.” His voice shook only a little. Reason over emotion, he thought.
“We both took him!” Sura pushed Mik’s arm up and stood with him. She was already thinking, just a little time. Focus.
“Oh, you will die for that, boy. But not right away. Soul for soul. You shall come with me, and stand in for the dragon as the sacrifice.” He nodded at Sura. “And she will come too. Her safety will guarantee your cooperation —”
Something darted through the trees and struck Ahm Kereb’s ear, hissing and biting. Kereb yowled, dropping his dagger and slapping at his head.
Sura clutched Mik’s hand. “Don’t let go!” she rasped, and everything took on a second edge as she pulled him into the shade of a large tree. By the strangeness of his sight, Mik knew she had concealed them. They would be nearly invisible unless they strayed into the patchy sunlight, or if he let go. “Do something!” she hissed. “I can only hold one spell!”
“Where are you?” Kereb hissed, snapping his head back and forth, flinging blood from his torn ear. “Your simple spells… I will find you!” He took up his dagger and swung it around him in wide arcs, moving ever closer.
Something I won’t have to hold, Mik thought. He closed his eyes and reached out, finding Ahm Kereb’s mind. A simple adjustment.
Kereb stopped and gave a mighty yawn. “No,” he said, swinging his dagger in a slow loop. “No. I cannot…” he stumbled on the uneven ground and went to one knee. “Ah. No.” He yawned again, tried to stand, then fell snoring to the cold leaves.
“What did you do?” Sura whispered.
“I adjusted his clock. His body suddenly thought he’d had no sleep for a week.” Mik glared at their sleeping assailant. “The mentor taught me the spell he used to put the dragon to sleep —”
“Mik! The dragon! It attacked him! Where did it go?”
“See if you can find him.” Mik picked up the rope. “I’ll see to Kereb. Look,” he said, showing Sura the broken rope. “He cut it partway, next to a knot, so we wouldn’t see it.” He took Kereb’s dagger, cut off a length, and got to work.
As Mik finished tying Ahm Kereb — elbows, wrists, ankles, then all three together — Sura shrieked. “Mik! He — he —” Mik rushed to her side, finding what he feared: the crumpled and twisted body of their dragon. “Oh, Mik.” Sura buried her head in his shoulder, as he lifted the lifeless heap. “He gave himself to save us.” She wept, and Mik wept with her.
Reeve Tanber and five guardsmen answered Bailar’s distress signal, rowing a skiff straight across the river as if the current were nothing. They debarked to find the sorcerer with his two apprentices, standing over a canoe containing a bound and sleeping man.
Bailar looked as angry as any of them had ever seen. “An attempt on my own life, I could forgive,” he growled. “But this coward wished to avenge himself on two children instead. I will tell you what I know, but you will want Aborsa to confirm.” Aborsa was the town soothsayer, an honest man who had the power to discern truth. “I charge him with plotting to murder my apprentices, and with rogue enchantments.” Bailar told their story as Tanber took down the particulars.
“And theft,” said the reeve. “We had a complaint this morning about a stolen skiff. We’ll likely find it upriver. Rogue magic is your purview, sorcerer, but he’ll hang for the rest.”
“Eh, he tangled wit’ the wrong sprouts, he did,” said one of the guardsmen in a Low Speech accent, and laughed. “Well, he won’t be a bother, snoozin’ the day away, he is.”
“Oh,” said Mik. “I need to close the spell.” He waved his hands, as Bailar had taught him to do in front of folk, as he reversed his adjustment. Ahm Kereb’s eyes snapped open; he cursed and strained against his bonds.
The guardsman put his short spear to Kereb’s chest. “‘Ere now, they’s no sort of words to use in front of sprouts,” he growled. Kereb stared at the spear point and hissed something in his own language.
To their surprise, the guardsman reversed his spear and jabbed Ahm Kereb in the belly with the butt end, making him gasp and wheeze. “Yar. An ill-mannered brute are ya, sayin’ such things about a girl-sprout. Now you stay quiet. Curse the hangman all ya like, ya can.” Two other guardsmen lifted Kereb from the canoe and deposited him in the skiff.
“You know the Eastern tongue?” Bailar asked.
The guardsman grinned and tapped his ear. “Have an ear for languages, I do,” he said. “A fine skill for when foreigners grace our jail!”
“The three of you must tell your side to Aborsa,” said Tanber. “The prisoner will tell his side, and the magistrate will do the rest. We’ll be off now, no need to keep you from your work.” Tanber waved the guardsmen to the skiff, and they rowed away.
“Here,” said Sura, pointing at a patch of ground in front of their home. “The sun always shines here. It’ll be warm for him.”
“As good a choice as any,” said Bailar. Mik nodded, and began digging. They buried their little friend with tears and gratitude.
And Heaven welcomed home a long-lost soul: a warrior, fallen in battle at last.
THE END (but wait, there’s more… Season 3!)