Dragon Mage

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Chapter 2 - The Gold Dragon

“Wizard, I need your help.”

Sara looked at the woman standing in her doorway. She was tall and shapely, with golden hair that fell in luxurious waves well past her hips. The fact that her dark green, silk gown was torn and bloody did nothing to detract from her impossible beauty. But it was her eyes on which Sara focused. Like pools of molten gold, they glittered even in the dim light of the torch-lit entryway. Now she understood why the woman would not enter the castle without a personal invitation. Sara took a step back and bowed her head. “How may I be of service to one of the mighty dragonkind?”

The woman raised a single golden eyebrow before she continued. “Another Mage has taken my mate. I need your help to retrieve him.”

Sara’s eyes widened in surprise. “Please, come in,” she said. After she closed the door she asked, “How did a Mage capture a Gold Dragon?”

“We were traveling in this form and were ambushed. He cast a spell on my mate and tried to cast one on me but I managed to deflect the spell and escape. He sent Warriors to hunt me. I killed them all. The last I let live until he told me where they had taken my mate.”

Sara shuddered a bit at the thought of what the dragon had done to the Warrior before he died. Then she shook her head. “Any Mage powerful enough to do what this one did is not going to tell his hired thugs his plans. It’s a trap. He’ll be expecting you.”

The dragon nodded slowly. “As I suspected.”

“Where have they taken your mate?” Sara asked.

“To a castle in Canravar,” the dragon replied.

Sara’s heart sank, “Do you know who the Mage is?” she asked, fearing she already knew the answer.

“Sarkanavis Melnasins.”

Sara’s stomach knotted. The Red Mage. The most powerful Magician on Ranwar. This would be no easy task to be sure. She took a breath and set her jaw. “All right then. I need to prepare. I don’t know how long it will take me. Would you like to clean up and change while you wait?”

The dragon looked at Sara curiously. “I thought this form might be more suited to subterfuge.”

Sara opened her mouth, then blushed. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I meant, would you like to change the clothes you are wearing?”

The dragon looked down at her clothing and shrugged. “I suppose these would attract unwanted attention. I will create new ones after I bathe.”

“I will show you to one of my guest rooms,” Sara said.

Sara brought her to the best guest suite and put several servants at her disposal. Before she left, Sara said to the dragon, “I am curious. You said that you were able to avoid the effects of the Red Mage’s spell. How did you do that when your mate could not?”

“I sensed the spell before it had a chance to overtake me,” the dragon replied. “I was able to shield myself from its effects.”

“Then you are a Mage,” Sara said.

“In part, yes,” the dragon replied.

Sara nodded. “That is a good thing. You may be able to help me.”

The dragon smiled. “My skills are no match for yours, Wizard Nadran.”

Sara looked at her in surprise. For a dragon to admit a human’s superiority in anything was unheard of. “You honor me,” she said with a bow.

The dragon inclined her head. “You have always treated my kind with great respect, Wizard Nadran. It is only right that I reciprocate.”

Sara smiled and said, “Please call me Sara.”

“And I am Orlaithe,” she replied.

“Orlaithe,” Sara repeated. “A beautiful name. If you need anything, just ask one of the servants and they will get it for you. I am going to go to my lab to prepare. You are welcome to join me there whenever you wish.”

“Thank you, Sara,” Orlaithe said.

Sara was about to turn away, but she turned back her expression somber. “Do you think he’s still alive?”

Orlaithe nodded. “He lives still, although I do not know for how long. In human form Laisrean is of little value to the Mage. He will get more blood from my mate’s dragon form,” a look of disgust crossed her face, “as well as his scales and teeth. Magician Melnasins will try to force Laisrean to transform to his true nature before he kills him. That has not happened—yet.” Pain flickered in her golden eyes. “I would know if he were dead.”

Sara nodded. “I will work as quickly as I can.”

Back in her lab, Sara pulled various books off shelves, including the writings she had amassed on dragonkind. As she began her preparations, her gaze fell on the spell she had just finished writing after three days of intensive work. The information she had gotten from the writings of Laplutious had given her the key to combining the elements of air and fire. She sighed with regret. She had planned to test the spell later that day. Now she had no idea when she would get back to it. A chill crawled up her spine. She couldn’t think of any way to confront the Red Mage and survive. She bowed her head and blinked back tears. She didn’t want to die. Her life was just getting interesting again. She gasped. “Damn it,” she murmured. Yadoshuri was supposed to come tomorrow. Sara got a piece of parchment and a quill.

Yadoshuri,

I regret that I must ask you to wait yet a little longer. I must help save a Gold Dragon from the Red Mage. I hope with all my heart that I will see you again.

Yours,

Sara

Sara read the note over. There was so much more she wanted to say, but there was no more time. She folded it, put her seal on it and went over to Calinus. She quickly explained what was going on with the Gold Dragon. Before he could get over his shock, she handed him the note. “I need you to take this to the Great Library and give it to a Sage named Yadoshuri.”

Calinus tilted his head. “Yadoshuri? I do not know that name. I was sure I knew all the Sages at the library.”

Sara shrugged and shook her head impatiently. “Perhaps he’s new. I really don’t know. I was supposed to meet him here tomorrow and I need to tell him I will not be here.”

Calinus knew when it was time to let go of a subject. “I will go now, then come back to help you prepare.”

“Thank you,” Sara said. She watched him leave. Yadoshuri would be so disappointed. She wondered if he would want to come after all. She shook her head. Now was not the time to dwell on such things. She went back to her books and started to read.

She was reading through her tome of Dragonkind when Orlaithe came in. Sara looked up from the book and said, “You are bonded to Laisrean, are you not?”

Orlaithe looked puzzled. “Of course.”

“I may be able to find him more quickly if I can use your blood in a seeking spell,” Sara said.

The dragon stiffened and took several steps back. “I cannot do that. I cannot allow any human to take my blood. Moreover, I already know he is in Canravar.”

“Yes,” Sara replied, trying to keep her voice from sounding impatient, “but, once we get into the castle, he could be in any one of Two hundred rooms. This spell would eliminate the need for a lengthy search. I am only asking for a small amount of blood, just for this one spell.”

Orlaithe shook her head, “I am sorry. You must find another way.”

Sara took a deep breath and clamped her mouth shut. She closed the book and said quietly, “As you wish.” She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. She knew she could get into the castle, but the time it took to find Orlaithe’s mate could prove fatal to both of them.

The door to the lab opened and Calinus came in. “Were you able to find him?” she asked.

Calinus nodded. “Oh yes. Actually, he found me not long after I asked for him. Interesting fellow. He seemed quite concerned about you. He asked me to give you this.” He pulled a piece of folded, sealed parchment from a pocket in his robes and handed it to Sara.

When she saw the seal, Sara noted with some surprise that Yadoshuri’s seal bore the same rune as the door to the scroll room. “Strange,” she murmured. She broke the seal and read:

Sara,

I am content to wait as long a necessary. I only ask that you take care. And remember this—the Red Mage knows nothing of your current research. I will see you again soon. I remain,

Ever Yours,

Yadoshuri

Sara unexpectedly found herself blinking away tears. She turned away from curious eyes. “Thank you, Calinus,” she said softly. She tucked the note inside a pocket in her robes. Her gaze once again fell upon the spell on which she had been working. Could it be possible that Yadoshuri meant for her to use that spell against the Red Mage? It would be a huge risk since she had not yet tested it. It might also be her only hope of getting out alive.


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