Pocket Dragons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chased by an evil wizard through time, one clan's way of hiding is by shrinking down to a smaller size. It is harder to defend themselves that way... that have to find someone to help them and
fast.

Submitted: January 25, 2018

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Submitted: January 25, 2018

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1.


 

The young dragon flew low over the lake. Her scales changing color with every ripple and nuance as she glided quietly across the glass like surface of the water. When she reached the forest on the other side she tipped slightly sideways to enter the trees and her coloring changed to match her surroundings.

The forest was young enough that the trees were spaced sufficiently apart for flying between. Her color changing talent made her nearly invisible as she sliced through the foliage and bounded from oak to oak. The slight breeze of her passing was the only clue she left behind.

Mirah was anxious to get to the Home Cavern before dark. She had dire news for the family. Her wings ached and her heart still beat erratically. She could not ever remember being so afraid. Why had she let her cousin talk her into such a reckless adventure? He always was a careless oaf, but no one deserved to die that way.

The forest floor reached its incline where the mountain began its climb. Here she would have to go on claw and limb until she found the opening to the cavern. It was not far now. The two rock slabs that hid the entrance were half way up the mountain, and hidden by ivy. Only dragons could see through the illusion Thalion, her Great-Grandfather had put on the rocks.

Mirah entered between the rock slabs and sighed in relief at the cool darkness that greeted her. She went quickly past the main entrance and down deeper where the rest of her clan would be gathered. There were only seven of them, including her hibernating Great-Grandfather, now that Balfyre was dead.

A chorus of overlapping voices greeted her from the main cavern.

Mir what’s wrong?”

Where’s Bal?”

Were you followed?”

You’re frightened, tell us what happened.”

No show us what happened.”

She curled into a ball on the floor and shivered. It finally became quiet. She looked up at the others as they studied her silently. Her father finally spoke to her in a gentle voice.

It is okay, Mir. Remember what happened. I will help the others see it. We need to know what transpired, and it is easier than telling it out loud.”

She nodded reluctantly. She did not want to think about it, but she definitely did not want to talk about it. Her father was the second one of two in the clan who held magic, like Great-Grandfather. He would be able to show the others her thoughts. She pulled her mind back to the early morning when Balfyre woke her from her sleep. The sights from her morning trip with her cousin, opened up in everyone’s mind as if they had been there with her:

Mir wake up!” Balfyre was excited. He found something beyond the forest. “I want to show it to you. Let’s go before anyone else wakes up. Come on sleepy head.”

What is it, I don’t want to get up, Bal. I am tired.”

You are becoming just like Great-Grandfather all you want to do is sleep. You are missing life. I promise it will be worth it. Come on, or I will take you by the tail and drag you out there.”

She believed his threat, and dragged herself from the cavern. The cold morning air chased the rest of the sleepiness from her. They were zig-zagging through the trees playfully soon enough and she forgot that he was supposed to be showing her something until they reached the other side of the lake and another forest. Suddenly Balfyre was telling her to be quiet and fly lower to the ground.

What is it?”

I found some abandoned human treasure in the clearing ahead yesterday.”

She stopped flying and dropped to the forest floor.

Balfyre,” she said. “You know we don’t go near humans. It is too dangerous.”

I told you,” he answered, “it is abandoned. I watched it all day yesterday from the trees and no one went near it. I couldn’t even smell anyone. It looks like it has been there for weeks. It is gold rock, Mir. It hasn’t been molded into anything useless with hard angles or had stupid pictures put on it. It is in its pure form still, just sitting there in a trunk on the ground in the clearing.”

And you don’t think that looks suspicious? Humans don’t leave things like that behind.”

Which is why we have to hurry before they come back.”

I don’t like it.”

It is okay. You just need to be my look out. I need an extra set of eyes to watch out for me in case the humans come back.”

They crawled through the trees the rest of the way until they reached the clearing. There, just as he had described was the large trunk. It was open, revealing the gold rocks to the sun. It sparkled in the light. Mir’s stomach lurched. She looked over at Balfyre, but he only looked greedily at the trunk.

It’s a trap, Balfyre. Don’t you feel it?” She touched his foreleg, but he shook her off.

You just want it for yourself.”

He looked around furtively once and then burst into the clearing. She tried to follow him to stop him, but an invisible wall of some sort suddenly place itself between her and the clearing. She couldn’t move. She pounded against the wall but could not budge it. Balfyre was beyond hearing. He reached the trunk and a net fell on him from the sky. The trunk disappeared.

Normally a net would not be a problem for a dragon, especially one such as Balfyre, but this one completely incapacitated him. It burned into his skin and pinned him to the ground as if it weighed as much as a mountain. Balfyre screamed and hissed in pain. He could not move.

Mirah decided to try and fly up over the wall in front of her and found she too was pinned to the forest floor. She tried to call out to Balfyre but her voice was gone. A tall man in gray appeared from the air next to Balfyre. Instinctively Mirah camouflaged herself.

He did not look like the knights who normally hunted them, nor did he look like the wizards who sometimes accompanied the knights. He must be some kind of wizard she thought to appear out of the air like that. It must be he who is holding me here and who made this trap.

The wizard motioned with his hand and Balfyre was turned over on his side. A portion of the net burned away revealing Balfyre’s chest. He reached down into his boot pulling out a black dagger, which his promptly sank into Balfyre’s chest, cutting out his heart while he chanted something in a language Mirah did not recognize.

The gasps in the cavern echoed the stifled one she gave in the forest. She wanted to stop remembering, but gave them one last memory. The wizard turned back to the trees she was hiding in and began to devour her cousin’s heart as she watched. She felt sick all over again.

Slowly she backed away from the invisible wall, realizing that as long as she was not trying to go forward she was free to move. Either it was a fault in the trap, or the wizard did not want to kill her today. She continued to back away until she was completely free and then turned and fled.

And now here I am,” she said. “I am sure he did not follow me. Even if he did, he could not get past Great-Grandfather’s security measures. Only dragons can enter here.”

The sound of rock grating on rock came from the back of the cavern. Great-Grandfather himself was waking from his hibernation. He’d been asleep for so long he had actually taken the appearance and quality of some of the rock around him. The rest of the clan moved away from him startled and wary. It must be an occasion of some dire need to cause their greatest mage to awaken from his sleep.

Unfortunately, Mirah,” he said sounding somewhat like the rock itself, “that is not entirely true. Dragon kin, may also enter, and the spells may be fooled in other ways. For example a wizard who has just recently eaten the heart of a dragon who resides in the caverns may gain the knowledge and cavern rights for a short time afterward.

“It is a good thing that his parents are no longer with us to witness this. He will be missed.”

We’re doomed,” said her aunt. “Not to take away from the sadness of his passing.” She looked around at the others embarrassed at her seeming lack of concern. No one noticed. They were all looking at their leader.

We have some time to prepare,” said Thalion, their Great-Grandfather. “I am sure the gray wizard is after me anyway. He seeks power and immortality. He has gained a few hundred years by consuming Balfyre’s heart. He would become truly immortal if he finished things with me and controlled the rest of you. I will not let him.

I need an alternate vessel for my powers if things should get out of hand. Thurm and Quist”, Thalion called. Thurm was Mirah’s father. They were the only other two dragons in the clan that inherited the potential for Thalion’s magic. “Come stand on either side of me. I will prepare you for a possible transfer. If it should happen you will not know it. It will be blocked from your memory until the need arises for you to use the power. That way the gray wizard will not be able to find out where the power went.”

But what about you?” Mirah asked, her voice trembling. “What will happen to you if you give your powers away?”

I don’t know little one,” he answered. “I may or may not remain. It is of no consequence. I have lived my life and am ready to move on. Do not worry about me. I am not afraid. I will not leave you entirely no matter what happens. Now, we need to hurry.”

He put a clawed paw on each of the chosen dragons and closed his eyes. He began to hum low and his tail began to swish back and forth. Mirah became mesmerized by his tail. The noise from its movement became loud and bothersome. A slight noise from the out cavern caught her attention.

Mirah stop his tail from moving,” her mother whispered. “Someone is coming!”

Mirah pounced on Thalion’s tail, just above the thorny end and held it still with some effort. Everyone was still and quiet. Thalion’s entire body seemed to heat up and she felt the dust in the room stir. It tickled her nose until she sneezed.

Thalion removed his front claws and looked back at her bemused.

It is done. He is coming. I don’t want you to be alarmed, but in order to save us from him for now I must change us into another form and hide us. Do you trust me?”

Yes,” the six of them said in unison.

Hold still for me then. I promise this is only temporary. It will seem like only a moment to you as well.”

The cavern took on a warm rosy glow. The six dragons around him slowly shrank to large grasshopper size. There was an initial gasp but before they could even react Thalion changed them into metal. Some of them were silver, some pewter, and some of them were a gold alloy. Their eyes were tiny jewels. He picked them up in his claws and cradled them carefully.

There was a disturbance at the cavern entrance. The gray wizard stood there unable to enter. They stared at each other.

Hello Nicky,” Thalion said.

Nicolaus,” the wizard replied. “You were always so rude. You cannot escape me forever, Thalion. I will find you wherever or whenever you go. I have the time and the means.”

I look forward to seeing you again then.”

A door, dragon sized, opened next to Thalion in the air, made of light. Thalion stepped into it and was gone. Nicolaus controlled his temper for about five seconds and then threw a man sized tantrum, kicking the barrier that had kept him from his goal and swearing in three different languages. The barrier collapsed just as he started to hit it, causing him to fall forward onto his face, but the door Thalion went through was gone by then.


 

2.

Five Hundred Years Later

Sandra Hendrickson roamed aimlessly around Holy Island. Somehow she managed to get separated from her sister and brother-in-law. They invited her to England to stay with them for a month long oliday', She laughed at her sister at the time and told her it was called a vacation.

When in Britain, sis,” her sister had said smiling.

She had to admit, two weeks into her visit, it felt more like a holiday. It was strange being somewhere other than home. The moment she stepped off the plane she knew she was somewhere more ancient and aware than the place she had grown up. She could not explain it to her perplexed relations, so she’d given up trying and just relaxed into the feeling.

The world is the same age no matter where you go, Sandrin.” Her brother-in-law, Victor, insisted on calling her by her full given name.

But countries are not,” she countered.

The argument went in circles until she gave up, her hands in the air to show she conceded. She couldn’t shake the feeling, however, and thought about it even now as she walked down the cobbled back alley to the pre-arranged meeting place down in the city center. It was a little pastry shop. She thought about getting something to eat.

The thought of food left her mind, however, when she rounded the corner and saw a little curio shop next to the meeting place. Statues of dragons and knights filled the windows. There were ships and castles as well as books dealing with the history of the island. She could not resist.

She entered the brightly lit store and walked around looking at the various objects with interest. In the back she found someone next to a cash register putting small rings into a velvet lined box. They were all dragon shaped with jewels for eyes. The sunlight glinted off one of them and for a moment seemed to move. She stopped and stared, transfixed.

The employee working behind the counter looked up and smiled at her. He was an elderly gentlemen with wispy white hair, curly around the forehead, but short at the back. Tall and thin he sat on a stool bending over his work until he saw her.

Hi ya miss,” he greeted her. “Anything I can help with you with?”

Not really. I was just looking. I thought I might take a trinket back home with me.”

American?”

Guilty.”

Are you from California?”

No. No place popular or well known. I am from a small town in Utah.”

Right-o that’s better anyway. Big places are not all they are cracked up to be. There is all most always too much crime. Even here, where we get a lot of tourists, we have our problems. I just was showing our constables some evidence from a theft that happened just this morning.”

That's terrible. You mean those little dragon rings there?”

Yes. They come as a set. Someone came in this morning and asked to look at them. When I pulled them out, he grabbed the largest golden one and ran out of the shop. I screamed bloody murder, but he just kept on running, laughing like a mad man. The set is not worth much now.”

What do you mean? How is that possible? There are some beautiful pieces in there.”

The larger dragon pulled them together, see. He was the main focus of the set.” He pulled out an intricate gold chain. “The rings can all either be worn on fingers or even in some cases your ears, but they also attach to this chain with the main dragon being the center piece what holds the bracelet together. The bracelet won't work without him.”

Well that is too bad.”

It is. I hate the idea of breaking up the set to sell them separately. I have always thought of them as a family.”

Sandra smiled.

How much would you sell it for without the main dragon in it?”

Hmm, I really don't know if I should. What if he gets found and brought back by our police? I would be losing money.”

True, there is a slim chance. Did you get a good look at him? He could be in London by now, or anywhere really. You don't have to sell them to me if you don't want to.”

Well, there are still some rather nice pieces in it, as you said.”

They haggled for a bit over a price before settling on something that made both of them content. The slight man began to wrap it up for her when the light caught the smallest dragon again. It winked at her.

Wait,” she said. “Leave that one out for now. I think I will wear it.”

This little one?” He asked. He looked surprised at her.

Yes,” she said firmly, feeling no need to explain herself. People looked strangely at her too often as it was for her odd ideas.

Absolutely. Here you go, ready to wear.”

Thank you.”

No flower, thank you. Would you be interested in buying the last one if it is ever found?”

Sure, but how will you find me if that happens?”

Well lass, I am afraid you will have to trust me with your home address or phone number so I can get a hold of you in the unlikely event it happens.”

Sandra felt suddenly uncomfortable. She could not explain exactly why. She did not get the impression the man was untrustworthy. He seemed completely genuine, and innocent, but something was wrong. The small ring in her hand felt abruptly warm. She looked down at it in surprise. An idea occurred to her.

Do you have any business cards? I will call you in a couple of weeks and see if you have any updates.”

Of course. Why didn't I think of that?”

He handed one to her. The card read 'Holy Island's House of Curiosities, Everett Brown, Curator.’ It included an address and a phone number. She smiled, and thanked him. They concluded their transaction and she left to go and find her sister and brother-in-law. She found them sitting outside at a table with a table full of pastries already ordered.

There she is, Vic,” her sister said. “I told you she would find us.”

My faith in you never wavered Beverly,” he answered. “Where have you been, Sandrin?”

I have been right next door in that little Curiosities Shop for the last half an hour, actually,” Sandra answered.

Did you buy anything?” Her sister asked.

Yeah,” Sandra answered. She showed her the ring she was wearing, reluctant to bring out the entire set.

That is pretty, may I try it on?”

The ring seemed to tighten on her finger. Sandra tried to pull it off but it would not budge.

My fingers seemed to have swollen, it won't come off.”

If you don't want me to wear it just say so, sis.”

It's not that. Try and take it off yourself.”

Sandra extended her hand and showed her the ring. Beverly hesitated only for a moment until she tried to take the ring off for herself. She gave it a strong tug, but again it did not move. Sandra gasped, was she imagining things or did it seem as though the ring tightened its hold even more?

I am sorry,” her sister exclaimed, pulling back. “I hope I did not hurt you. You're right it is fairly stuck on. You must have put it on the wrong finger. We'll have to put some lotion on it later.”

It slipped right on like it belonged there,” Sandra shook her head. “It feels more like my finger has swollen up.”

It could be. Do you feel like eating?”

The subject was dropped. The three of them ate in silence for a moment until Sandra could not stand the quiet anymore. She started talking about the sights she'd seen on the island and asking her brother-in-law questions about the history of the place. Nothing made him so animated as the history of his beloved country. He was a history professor and it was his passion. She loved to hear him talk.

They finished their meal and left the Island for the day. That night, back in her sister's comfortable flat in York, Sandra slept fitfully. Her dreams were dark, filled with hazy dreams of a man dressed in gray. He was after her and she could not figure out why.

'I will keep you safe,' came a sleepy voice inside her head.

She felt a small sting on the tip of her ear, and groggily wondered if her sister had bed bugs. A small giggle resounded inside her mind. She fell into a deeper sleep and did not wake until morning.

Breakfast in the Davidson home was an affair to remember. It was a production. They considered it the most important meal of the day and took it very seriously. Tea, toast, an assortment of eggs and meat. Sandra could barely eat lunch after a breakfast like this. She was starting to get used to them, however. She was distracted and out of sorts the morning after their Holy Island visit. She piled her plate high with ham and eggs and buttered two pieces of toast without noticing what she was doing.

Hungry this morning Sandrin?” Victor smiled.

Hmm,” she answered.

Did you sleep well?” Beverly asked, looking closely at her. “I see you finally got your new ring off. How is your finger?”

Sandra looked down at her finger in surprise. She did not remember taking it off. She felt a tugging sensation at her ear. Her hand shot up to her ear in surprise. The little dragon was snugly wrapped around the side of her earlobe.

Oh, yeah,” Sandra said. “It came off. It was supposed to work on my ear as well, and I wanted to see how it looked. I will have to find some kind of matching stud for the other side.”

'Nice save Sandra.' Sandra heard in her ear.

'What? Am I imagining things? Who are you?”

Let me see,” Her sister said.

Sandra showed her. This time her sister did not seem interested in trying to take it to try it on.

It looks nice on your ear. I like it that way.”

Thank you.”

'Wow, it worked.'

'What are you talking about?'

'When you sister tried to take me last time. I kept sending her thoughts while she was touching me... 'You don't want me', that kind of thing. She didn't seem like she wanted to try me on this time did she?'

'How is it that my ring is talking to me in the first place? In the second place it could just a coincidence she didn't seem interested.'

'I am not just a ring, and I don't believe in coincidences.'

Are you alright sis?” Beverly suddenly said.

Yes, fine. Why do you ask?”

You seem really distracted. You also seem to be having some kind of internal debate with yourself. I could be imaging things, but have this look on your face. It is the same look that Victor gets when he is preparing a speech for one of his classes and he is rehearsing it over and over in his mind. You know the look.”

We both do. I see him smiling. I really am fine. I think yesterday just wore me out. I did not sleep very well is all?”

I am sorry. Maybe we should stay home today. We can start our tour of the Lake District tomorrow.”

No I am fine. I go home soon. I don't want to miss out on anything. I can sleep in the car if necessary.”

The next interesting conversation was with her new 'friend'. She did not quite believe she was real, for it was a girl. She went to her room to get ready to leave for the next few days, because one did not tour the Lake District in one day, and the small dragon demanded she bring the rest of the set.

'What?' Sandra said. 'That is not practical. The box is too large, and I am certainly not going to wear them. Wait are they alive too?'

'They are waiting to come back to life, yes. We need Grandfather to be found. That bad man took him. I don't know why I woke up, unless Grandfather woke me by accident as he was being stolen. Maybe I was the closest one to him in that horrid box. Either way, it is not safe for you to leave them behind. They are my family and that man could come back for them.'

'I cannot believe this happening. This is a bad dream. I am still sleeping.'

Sandra closed her eyes for several minutes. It did not help, because of course she was awake.

'Please, Sandra.'

'Okay, but I am not taking the box. They will have to travel in my purse.'

'Perfectly acceptable.'

The Lake District was everything Sandra ever imagined it would be. She was thrilled by every sight and smell. They thoroughly enjoyed the week they spent going through the area. It was hard to go back to York, as much as she loved the city her sister lived in.

The only small distractions were the occasional comments by her new companion. She finally learned her new companion's name and was able to call her Mirah, instead of small one. Mirah kept exclaiming that she was familiar with the area and had flown over that lake before. She wondered over the fact that there seemed to be less trees than before and pointed out the occasional historical detail about the area, which Sandra did not dare compare with Victor's knowledge of the place for fear she would be made a laughing stock.

They stayed in two different hotels. Three days in Keswick and three days near Ullswater. As much walking and exploring as they managed to pack into their days, it was still not enough. The recent flooding couldn't even take away from the beauty; the park was stunning and well worth the time they spent there. Sandra sighed, but was satisfied in the end.

Except for a few frightening sightings of a couple of different men wearing gray jackets her days were perfect. Both she and Mirah reacted violently to them.

'Why, Mirah,' she finally asked, 'why am I suddenly having an emotional reaction to the sight of the color gray? I never had this problem before.'

'It is your connection to me. You must have figured out by now that the man who stole Great-Grandfather was wearing gray. There is an evil wizard after all of us who favors the color gray. He has been chasing through time for hundreds of years, but he has not found us until possibly now. I am afraid the man who stole great-grandfather is the very same wizard.'

'Huh.' Sandra did not know what to say to that. She was barely accepting the fact that she was communicating with a metal dragon that hung out on her earlobe. She was not sure how much further she could stretch herself. On the other hand. Once stretched... why not.

'Yes, exactly why not.' Mirah agreed. She was able to not only hear her thoughts, but follow her inner most thought processes.

Sandra felt like she should feel slightly violated and demand some privacy, but it was almost like talking to herself. Mirah was an extension not an intrusion. She felt a warm glow of acceptance and understanding at the thought.

Not long after her Lake District tour she found it was time to return to America. It was both difficult and somehow time to leave. She parted ways with her family tearfully. England was home to her now as well and always would be. It was a strange intense feeling for having been there for so short a time, and she instantly associated with her connection to Mirah. She felt a distant assent to the thought from the miniature dragon who was suddenly facing her own sorrow at parting from Beverly and Victor.

Apparentlythelinkgoesbothways,Sandra.’ Mirah said softly.

Isee.’ Sandra confirmed.

Sis,” Beverly said. “You have to make this an annual trip. You know that, right?”

I agree,” said the usually stoic Victor.

I would really like that,” Sandra said. “I love it here and I really miss you now that you have moved so far away. I understand better why you did, of course, not just Victor, but everything.”

And, of course now that mom and dad are both gone, it is easier for you to get away. It has been five years now. Is it easier for you? I am finding it somewhat easier.”

I am alright, sis. I am glad you have Victor.”

She gave Victor a hug. The only way you could give him a hug was to sneak up on him. Surprise hugs had to be quick and completely unexpected. He accepted it with grace. They left her in the airport at Heathrow with her own jumbled thoughts and worries.

She performed one small task before she left the country. From the airport she called Everett Brown. She looked at the small card in her hand as the number rang and rang. No one answered and it never went to an answering machine.

'What kind of business has no answering machine?'

'Maybe he forgot to turn it on?'

'Maybe.' Sandra was unconvinced. 'Are you sure your family will be secure in my purse for this trip? My bags will be searched and they could be found or even confiscated.'

Sandra imagined for her what airport security was like and why.

Mirah assured her the family hiding safely in her purse would not be a problem for airport security or customs. She was convinced that while her father and uncle were asleep she must have been given some kind of gift for positive thinking that could somehow affect those around them as needed. Sandra hoped so and was determined to add her positive thoughts to Mirah's efforts. She did not want to get stuck in an airport search of any kind anywhere in either country.

Surprisingly the flight went off without a hitch. Sandra slept almost the entire way, as a nearly unexplained fatigue came over her. She woke up long enough to catch her lay over flight in St. Louis and then the next thing she knew she was landing in Salt Lake City. Home. Well, almost home. She had another two hour drive to make. But she felt strange being back in Utah. Suddenly everything was so brown.

3.

Two months later, Sandra settled into being home. The Desert Mountains of her small town were not as green as England but she still loved them. Mirah was enchanted. Mountains were all she needed, and these were huge. She loved the rocks and caves and strangely formed trees. Everything smelled wonderful to her.

She began to move in front of Sandra. The pewter consistency of Mirah's skin suddenly seemed to be in color only. In time she began to show another talent. She could change her color at will to blend in with her background, just like a chameleon. She would hide herself on the rare occasion that Sandra had company.

Sandra was fortunate to be able to work from her home, with only infrequent visits to Provo for meetings and face to face visits with clients and her boss. She did copy editing and computer work for a publishing company. It was not exactly what she wanted to do with her life but she was content. It bordered on her passion. Getting a glimpse was sometimes enough.

She and Mirah started to find a routine, but she could tell that Mirah was not truly happy. She would spend a lot of time in the cabinet where Sandra made a cozy little nest for her family. Positive thinking was not working on bringing them to life. She changed her focus from the whole family to just her father.

She was convinced her father was the one who held her great-grandfather's magic anyway. If she could wake him up he could wake up the rest of them and then maybe he could help to find great-grandfather as well. Surprisingly the change in tactics worked. On the third month, her father woke up.

Thurm looked around in confusion but settled down when he spotted Mirah. They seemed to communicate silently while Sandra watched, fascinated. Thurm's skin was golden and his eyes were emeralds. He bowed his head once in Sandra's direction, but then he turned and curled his body around a smaller silver version of Mirah.

'That is my mother Opal.' Mirah explained. 'Father says he feels no magic inside of him, so either great-grandfather did not have time to complete the magic transfer, or my uncle is holding the deposit.'

Her shoulders and wings sagged. She was obviously tired from her efforts with her father.

'You need to rest, Mirah. Don't try again for a while. You are wasting away. Rebuild your strength and we can try again. My goodness you have made me tired just watching you.”

In fact, Sandra abruptly did not know whether she wanted to warm up last night's left overs and eat them all, or sleep for a week. She was all of a sudden glad she was ahead on the Drummond account.

'You're right of course. I am not happy about it, but I will wait. I just keep having this feeling that we don't have the time to wait. Something is coming, and we are not ready for it.'

'I hope you are not right about that. I do not like the sound of it.'

Mirah was right though, in the worse possible way, which is exactly how things like this work out. It started with a phone call from England.

Sandra Hendrickson?”

Yes. May I ask who is calling?”

This is Everett Brown from the Holy Island House of Curiosities. Do you remember me?”

Of course I do, Mr. Brown. I tried calling you before I left England, but there was no answer at your phone. Have you heard anything more about the final piece to my set? Wait, how did you get my phone number?”

Well that is a long horrible story, but I will try to make it short and to the point, Miss. You probably tried to call me soon after my poor little shop was vandalized I am afraid my phone was out of working order for a while. You see someone broke in and tore things up a bit a few weeks after you left me. It took a while to sort things out and put things back in order.”

That is awful, I am so sorry, Mr. Brown.”

Please, call me Everett, Miss Hendrickson. Yes, it was terrible. The police had to help me go through all of my inventory to assist me in determining if anything more was taken and what was lost due to the vandalism. We discovered after a days of detective work, that the only missing your credit card receipt.”

Oh, dear.”

I am so sorry. I hope you have not found any fraudulent charges or identity theft type of things showing up on your end. I have been worried sick.”

No I have not. What took you so long to get a hold of me?”

Well I had no information to go by. My computer was destroyed in the vandalism. I sent it to the only expert I know and they finally were able to salvage most of my information from the hard drive for me. I was able to find the duplicate credit card information there and I was able to call the credit card company after that. I had to have the police do most of the talking of course to convince them I needed to contact to you and give you warning about your stolen information.”

I appreciate this Mr. … I mean Everett. I will call and cancel my credit card I guess. Why didn't they call me?”

They offered, even though there had not been any suspicious transactions yet. I felt, however, it was my responsibility because it happened at my shop. I hope I have contacted you in time. I wish I was calling with good news. The police think it might very likely be the same man who took the dragon from me in the first place. I am just having rotten luck.”

I doubt he will bother you again. I have a feeling that whatever he wants has moved with me.”

You had better be careful then, Miss.”

You have given me enough warning. I will be fine. I have some tricks up my sleeve he will not be expecting. Thank you again.”

You are welcome. Farewell.”

Goodbye.”

She hung up the phone and sat thinking to herself. She was stunned and frightened. Eventually she felt a nudge inside her mind.

'I heard. It is alright, Sandra. Even if he finds us, we will be ready now.'

'Do you think it is this wizard you were telling me about?'

'Let's just prepare for the possibility that it is.'

'I am still going to cancel my credit card.'

'I don't blame you. I have been inside your head long enough now to understand some of the ways of this world. Everyone must feel so insecure all of the time.'

'I don't, I just believe in being careful.'

'I need to wake up Quist. My uncle may have the magic we are looking for.'

'Mirah, I agree, but you are still too tired. I think you should at least wait until tomorrow.'

'I don't like it, but I will wait.'

4.

The next day Sandra sat with Mirah as she concentrated on her uncle. She felt the flow of positive energy flow to the small silver dragon with ruby eyes. Sandra knew when the metal changed to skin and he turned to a living dragon. He blinked his eyes once, twice, three times at them. He was less confused than Thurm had been, but he still communicated silently with Mirah, ending with an expressive shrug of his shoulders. He nodded at Sandra again, as Thurm had done and joined his brother.

'I don't understand it,' Mirah said. 'Quist claims to not feel any magic inside of him either. Great-grandfather must not have been able to finish the transfer. We may be doomed. I don't know what to do.'

Sandra watched Mirah, comprehension dawning on her slowly. She shook her head in wonder at her new friend. How was she going to break the news to her?

'No, Sandra. Don't even think such an absurd thing.'

'You know it is the only logical explanation, Mirah. How else could you have brought your father and uncle back to living flesh from the metal they were before? Positive thinking only goes so far. They did not set off the metal detector in the airport. You have to be using magic.'

Mirah swung around to look at her relatives, who joined them. She looked back and forth between her father and her uncle.

'Mirah, what are they saying? Can you help me hear them?'

Mirah shrugged her shoulders.

Of course she can,” came a deeper voice. “You are right about my daughter of course, she needs to admit it to herself and embrace it. I am not sure how it happened. Great-grandfather touched only Quist and myself when he was preparing for the transfer.”

Maybe he did a transfer before he touched us without us knowing.” Came another male voice. “She was always taking naps so she could talk to him while he hibernated. They are very close.”

You are correct, Quist, but I still think we would have noticed. I felt his power as he prepared us for the transfer.”

So did I.”

I touched him,” Mirah said.

What!” both males said, apparently shocked.

I did not think it would matter. His tail was swishing and making an awful clatter. We heard the wizard coming and mom said to grab his tail to stop the noise, so I did. He was touching both of you with his forearms and concentrating on you, so why would my touching his tail make a difference?”

Nothing if it was not meant to be,” said Thurm.

But if it was meant to be and you were the true chosen vessel, then his magic would find its way to you. You made it easier by touching him.”

But through his tail?”

Oh Mirah,” her father laughed. “That is where a dragon stores his excess magic.”

Interesting,” Sandra said when the silence finally stretched to where she felt she could join the conversation.

Maybe he only gave me his excess magic then. That could mean he still has most of his magic. He can still fight to save us.”

Let us all hope he does not have any magic left,” Thurm said.

Why?” Sandra asked.

If the gray wizard really does have him, he will have control over him. He can use his magic to control all of us as well. If he can control the clan through great-grandfather's magic he will have not only immortality, but the power to take over the world. You better hope and pray that does not come to pass.”

You cannot be serious.”

He is completely serious,” Quist answered. “We are the last dragon clan alive in the world. Great-grandfather was, even in our time one of the most powerful dragons alive. His power is concentrated when it is channeled through his clan. Now it appears there are three within his clan who have the capabilities or potential for magic and one of them has fulfilled its promise already. That will compound great-grandfather's power one hundred fold if not a thousand fold if he still has it.”

Well that is not good,” Sandra said.

Understated, but true,” Thurm said.

What must we do to prepare?”

Teach Mirah how to use her gift, and to hide it. Teach you how to do the same. You are her foundation, and her focus. You help her to channel her magic as much as the clan does if not more right now,” Quist added.

How is that possible?” Sandra stuttered.

She chose you, just as great-grandfather chose her. You are connected to each other. And then there is your name.”

My name?”

Sandrin,” Thurm piped in. “It is 'protector of humanity', in the old language.”

What about dragons? Are they included in that pool of humanity?”

Of course,” Thurm said.

I don't know what to say.”

There is nothing to say,” Mirah said. “There is no time. We accept what things are and start preparing.”

Great-Grandfather chose well,” Quist said.

Should I wake the others?”

No,” Thurm said. “We should not provide any more targets for the wizard than is necessary.”

Right,” Sandra said. “Let's get busy then.”

5.

They had in all, six extra days to prepare for the coming of the wizard. It was fall in the mountains. The trees were all vibrant reds and yellows. The air was crisp and clear. When the air changed, they knew he had arrived. It went from crisp to bitter. Everything became sharp and hazy all at once.

The group looked at each other and without a word passing between them, each knew he was in the town. Sandra packed a backpack and felt the two male dragons nestle comfortably in her hair like hair-clips. Mirah claimed her spot on her ear lobe. They hid the rest of the clan in a spot in Sandra's home. If they could not defeat the wizard it would matter little if the rest were found.

Sandra left her car at her house and hiked up into the mountain behind her home. The homes on Arlington Avenue all backed onto the mountainside. She took the side hill trail up and over into the canyon on the other side. The sun was high in the sky by time they reached the bottom of the valley. They realized, about half way down the path into the other side that they were making their way towards the wizard, not away from him, but that was how they hoped it would work out for them.

Sandra was strangely calm. Mirah hummed in her ear. She did not know whether her strength was coming from Mirah, or if she was just numb from fear and making herself believe she was calm. Whatever the case, she was going to use it to her advantage.

At the bottom of the path there was a small grove of trees. They entered it silently. The light filtered down through the colored leaves, leaving swaying patterns of light on the forest floor. In the middle of the grove stood the man in gray from Sandra’s dreams. He spread his arms in welcome and smiled at her.

Greetings, Sandra,” he said. “I am so glad you came.”

There was no real point in running,” Sandra answered him. “You would just keep coming after me. It is time to end this Nick.”

Nicolaus,” he growled. “How is it you know my name?”

A little bird told me.”

Ha! Some of the dragons in your set have actually woken up!”

Sandra only smiled. She took off her back pack and set it down by her leg. He stared at it greedily.

I can sense the three that breathe now that I concentrate. They are on your body somewhere even now.”

She ignored him.

What have you done with Thalion?”

Right to the point? Fine with me. He is useless. He has never woken up, which tells me that you hold the one who has the magic I am here to take.”

Your assumptions will get you nothing but disappointment, wizard.”

A slight movement started in his shirt pocket. He jumped, startled and looked down at his chest. A small golden dragon emerged, head first. The dragon stretched and then tried to leap from the pocket. Nicolaus was a second too fast, he caught him by the tail.

No you don’t,” he said. “You are mine.”

I am no one’s, Nicky,” the dragon answered clearly for all to hear, “least of all yours. What do you think you are going to do with me?”

Don’t act stupid with me. You know I am going to use you to get the magic I have been chasing for five hundred years. Either you have it, or one of the other three have it. As the elder of the clan you can control the others and if I control you they will do as I say.”

Sandra felt Mirah’s panic at her ear.

'Can he do it?' Sandra asked.

I don’t know,’ Mirah answered, ‘but if he can we will lose everything. This calls for a change of plan. Sorry, Sandra. This might sting a little.’

Sandra felt a small bite at her ear lobe, followed by a warm rush flooding her body. Understanding overwhelmed her.

'Are you sure?’

Yes. You can do this. Father, uncle are you ready?’

Yes, let’s go.’ They answered.

You cannot possibly be serious,” Thalion started to say.

Mirah, Thurm and Quist flew out of their hiding places all at once. Thalion became silent at the sight of them. Mirah dipped herself in flight in a quiet response to his mental probe.

Nicolaus smiled openly at the sight of them.

See, Thalion,” he said. “They know they are defeated. They offer themselves up to save you. Which of you holds the magic?”

The three dragons landed on the forest floor before him and looked up wordlessly. Sandra took two steps towards them and stopped. Nicolaus looked at her questioningly. It was apparent he forgotten she was even there.

Let Thalion go, Nicolaus. None of these dragons have the power of speech right now. They communicate with me through telepathy and I will not tell you what they say unless you put their great-grandfather down with them.”

If this is some kind of trick it will not work.”

What kind of trick would they dare play? As you said they know they are defeated. They just want to say good-bye. What is it you are after anyway? Immortality? Do you want more power? What is worth five hundred years of hunting? You seem to have everything anyway.”

You could not possibly understand. Immortality is just a start. I have only a hundred more years in me. I will start aging soon, I can feel it. If I am truly immortal I can chase the power and own the world if I want. It will all be mine.”

Sandra shrugged her shoulders.

Oh. If it is immortality you want I can give you that.”

She reached over and squeezed his hand. His eyes became large and dark with outrage and surprise. He yanked his hand out of her grip but it was too late. She smiled warmly at him and quickly took Thalion from his other hand, which had gone limp, then gathered up the other dragons from the ground.

You have the magic,” he whispered. “How?”

A quick transfer while you were making threats,” she said simply, but he could no longer hear.

A small pewter statue lay on the forest floor with pearl eyes. Sandra picked it up and studied it. The dragons were all on her shoulders looking down at the wizard in her hand.

Will he wake up?” Mirah asked out loud.

Not unless someone wakes him up, like you did for me,” Thalion said.

I am not going to do it,” Sandra said. “How do I go about giving these powers back to the rightful owner? I don’t relish the idea of biting anyone.”

I think I like the idea of keeping them where they are for now,” said Thalion. “My family will be staying this size I am afraid. This new world is not ready for dragons as we once were.”

I have to agree with you there.” Sandra said. “Where will you live?”

Thalion looked around him. He caught Mirah watching him and laughed.

Mirah seems to be very fond of your back yard. It will large enough for our clan if you don’t mind. We can venture into this canyon from time to time to hunt if we feel the need to stretch our wings. I hope that is not putting you out in anyway?

It would be a good thing to stay close to our clan’s power source in case we have need of it again. You may encounter problems holding it, or have questions about using it. There may even come the day when we need to transfer it back. It would be good to be close then also.”

I like that idea. Let’s go back home then and see the rest of our clan then. They need to be brought out of their sleep as well.” Sandra said feeling all at once complete and content.


 


 


 



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