Kindle looked over her shoulder at her reflection in the mirror that Findar had conjured up after Kindle had “woken up” from her vision. She could barely recognise herself.
*It’s quite a transformation* Cirrus spoke directly to her thoughts.
As a sword it would have been difficult otherwise.
*You look like a fine FairyKnight, Kindle.*
Deltia was the Dragon that had bonded to Kindle when she had placed the armlet given to her by Findar, the wizard, as a gift from the Fairy Queen. The past few days were a blur to Kindle, and her transformation was no less amazing. Kindle had been petite, even by Fairy standards, with almond shaped eyes, a typical hourglass figure, and delicate wings. Now, her soft features had been given a few more angles. Her face a bit more leonine. Her eyes had a feral quality, not to mention her irises were now cat-like. The Knife Respers had ripped her wings from her, but after joining with Deltia the Dragon, she had new wings that were much stronger, and suggestive of a dragon’s wings with sharp tips.
Overall, Kindle was very happy with her new look. She had always tried to fight against the stereotype of a weakling fairy, trying to become a legitimate warrior to defend her people, and to fight for the laws of Chivalry and Honor. Her parents had laughed when she talked about becoming a Knight. She closed her eyes tightly and pressed her chin tightly to her throat. They were dead now. Victims of a raid by the Respers. Looking for her.
Startled, she turned to the source of the call. Kael looked down at her, hands on his hips and a wry smile on his face. The smile turned to a frown of concern.
“You’re bleeding” he said.
“Oh!” Kindle cried and looked at her hands.
The nails of her fingers had grown sharp and strong, and had cut into her palms when she remembered her parents.
“You’re going to have to get used to your new abilities, Kindle.” Kael said, “You’re life may depend on it.” He reached for a silk handkerchief and handed it to her.
“This is all so strange, Kael. It’s like I’m a different person.”
Kael nodded. “Though you’re still way too serious and full of yourself. Seems like that hasn’t changed.”
Caught off guard, Kindle grabbed a pillow on the bed she sat on and tossed it at Kael.
“Ow! Your aim is improving too!” he said, failing to duck in time.
“You’re impossible, Kael.”
“I know” he smiled.
The cabin they were in was not very large, yet still seemed to be filled with all manner of strange items and hopeless clutter. It was the home of Findar, a great Mage that had been the goal of Kindle’s quest. Kindle stretched her arms, fluttering her new wings. The wounds on her hands were already healed. She made a mental note to ask Deltia about that.
*I’ve been waiting a long time to fly again, Kindle. Shall we?* Deltia urged.
“Where are you? Are you a ghost? Or are you inside me?” Kindle said out loud.
*The bracelet conveyed both my spirit and my essence. There is no me or you, only us together now. * Deltia responded patiently.
“Will I lose myself? ”
*No, little fairy. I’m more like lost memories you are only recalling now.*
Kindle decided to leave things at that for the moment. Especially since Kael was staring at her strangely.
“Talking to your dragon friend? ” He asked.
Kindle nodded. With a huge grin she leapt into the air, expecting to launch up with her wings, but something was wrong.
Kael jumped up with surprising speed and caught her before she hit the floor. “Whoa there dragon girl. Your wings were only born yesterday. You’re going to have to build up your strength”
Kindle let out an exasperated sigh. Every advance lately seemed hindered by some new setback.
“And I’m afraid,” said a new voice ” that your time for recovery is going to be short.”
Kael and Kindle turned to see Findar enter the cottage. Carefully, Kael put Kindle back on the makeshift bed she had been sitting in. Kindle buzzed her wings in irritation.
“You seem to be recovering well, Kindle.” Findar said kindly.
“You are going to have plenty of opportunities to learn about your new abilities. Starting today.”
“What do you mean old man?” Kael asked.
He had been teasing Findar about his apparent age, even though he knew Findar was likely more fit than he looked. Kael used his ability to get people off balance and diffuse tense situations. Findar glanced at Kael and rolled his eyes.
“How you managed to graduate from the Mage Academy is beyond me, Kael. You really should show proper respect for your elders.” he said lightly, returning Kael’s barb.
His eyes smiled and he winked at Kindle.The Mage sat down in a handmade wooden chair and took in a deep breath.
“Kindle, I know you’ve been through quite a bit. However, I must say you are a resilient one. Many Fairies rejected the bonding, or would go mad because of an incompatibility with their dragon. You seem to be holding up well.”
Kindle nodded somewhat shakily. Had she known how risky it really was to bond with a Dragon, she might have had second thoughts.
“How long before I can fly again?” she pushed off from the bed and began pacing back and forth in front of Kael and Findar.
“You can fly now, only you need to retrain your own reflexes. Your center of gravity is different now, your strength is much greater, and you’ll be happy to know that your wings are virtually indestructible now. There is an enchantment associated with the armlet that extends all around you. It’s as if you were armored in Dragon scales.”
Deltia whispered, *There’s much more to it than that, Kindle. Things you cannot share with anyone else. But, little Fairy, you’re going to have to find them out on your own. *
“Fat lot of help you are, then.” Kindle said.
Then realized when Findar’s eyes widened that she had said that out loud. “I wasn’t talking to - that is - I was listening to - ” Kindle began.
“Dont worry Kindle. We understand. Eventually you’ll realize you don’t need to say things out loud to talk to your Dragon”
“And until then, ” said Kael, “folks will just have to believe you are funny in the head.” He made a circular motion with his finger around his right ear. Kindle managed to score a direct hit on Kael’s face with the pillow that she seemed to find very quickly.
“It’s time to be serious now.” said Findar.
Kindle stopped pacing and turned to Findar. “Kindle, I have a job, of sorts, for you. Something only you can do.”
“What would that be? Cleaning up your cottage here?” she asked archly as she gestured to the astounding mess of bottles, old boxes, books, and other seemingly random things strewn about.
“Kael seems to be rubbing off on you, Kindle.” he smiled.
“No, actually there is a small village near here that sent someone to seek my help just a few days ago. I was at a loss to know what to do about their problem, but you seem to be perfectly suited for the job. The village is called RavenBriar, and they have recently been victims of a large animal. Some villagers have disappeared, others have been found grievously wounded in the forest ranting about a bear with glowing eyes. While I may be a Mage, I’m not very good at fighting, and I was afraid I might not be able to help these people. ” his voice trailed off.
Kindle frowned. This was just the sort of thing she had been training for with the Knight Council. The Code was a set of guidelines and rules that determined what a Knight could and could not do. It was the difference between a “true” Knight and a common hired sword.
“If you think helping these people is important, Findar, then so do I. I’ll do it. What exactly is it you want me to do?” She raised an eyebrow at the Mage.
“You’re going to have to hunt down and kill this bear, little Fairy Knight.”