“Luke! Nyx! Where friends go?” Fizzle calls out.
Crimson dragonfly wings move in a blur as the drite flits between branches and peers inside tree hollows. All is quiet in the forest of Visindor. The tiny red dragon hovers, grumbling.
“What happen to friends? Fizzle only nap for five minutes.” The drite’s voice squeaks louder and higher. “Sari! Delvin! Fizzle no know where you go!”
In his fear, the little drite zooms forward. He darts between two tree trunks and doesn’t notice that they are actually standing stones. Eldritch runes flare as he passes between them.
Suddenly the dense forest is gone. Fizzle soars out over a wide sandy beach and stops, confused. “Where Fizzle go?”
The miniature dragon hovers in a frightened circle. A huge outcrop of dark rocks sprawls across the sand. Seagulls wheel and cry, penetrating the slow breath of ocean waves.
“Fizzle want friends,” he pipes, distraught. “Timoran! Luke!”
Just as quickly, he falls silent. The rocks in the pile are turning over, and a long neck curls up from the sand. The dragon’s hide is smooth and dark as sharkskin, and its eyes are two silvery slits. Sharp fins and rise from its back in jagged rows.
“I think you must be lost, little one.” For such a scary beast, its telepathic voice is surprisingly gentle.
“Not little!” the drite squeaks indignantly. “Fizzle right size. Maybe a little chubby. Ate many apples for dinner.”
“If you say so.” There is humor in the other dragon’s mind.
“Who you?” Fizzle’s irritation slips away like the sand trickling off his new friend’s hide.
“Tetheus is my name. I’m a sea dragon. And you are Fizzle. You are lost and wanting your friends.”
“How Teth… Tet… big dragon know that?” impressed
“You said most of it out loud,” the other dragon responded. “Your accent is odd, but I find that we dragons can always understand each other.”
Fizzle darts to another rock nearby. After a suspicious glance, he determined that it is only a rock and settles, folding his dragonfly wings behind him.
“What this place? Fizzle not know how get here.”
“We are on Shoredance Island. It is the domain of dragonkind.”
“Dragonkind have domain?”
Tetheus inclines his head. “Only dragons are allowed on Shoredance Island. If your friends are human, it is just as well they aren’t here. I’d have to throw them out.”
“Why friends not allowed? They good friends. Strong and brave.”
“Some are, it’s true. Some are not. Shoredance is our nesting place. We hatch and raise our families here. ” A tinge of anger sharpens the sea dragon’s thoughts. “There are those humans who think we dragons would make good pets. They steal eggs, and raise the young like animals.”
“That bad!” Fizzle buzzes his wings to empasize his anger.
Tetheus rumbles with stern agreement. “That’s why no humans are allowed here. Anyway, they have the rest of Aerde to run amok.”
Fizzle looks up and down the shore, seeing gray-green waves and more sea dragons lounging in the distance. His wings sag, and when he looks up again his eyes glitter with emotion.
“Fizzle feel sorry. Big dragon have no friends. Everyone need friends.”
A soft chuckle came to Fizzle’s mind. “I didn’t say we have no friends. There are a few humans we can rely on. Especially the witches.”
“What witch?” Fizzle leaps into the air and spins in a circle.
“Easy, little one. I don’t know about the witches in your land, but here we can trust them. Ordinary humans fear their magic and try to kill them. If we discover a witch in trouble, we help her. Recently my friend Sembre and I rescued a young girl whose power was just emerging.”
“She sound like Fizzle friends. Fizzle save friends all time.” Fizzle brags. “My friends brave and kind. Heroes. Fizzle help them stop bad darkness from old.”
As he speaks, he circles, scanning the unknown island. Strange vegetation is dotted with many boulders.
“What about you, little friend? I’ve never seen a dragon like you before.”
“Fizzle a drite. Fizzle guardian of Visindor Forest. Now now, though. Fizzle give home to cousin. This way Fizzle can help friends.” Concern flickers in his ruby eyes. “Friends still lost. Fizzle need find them.”
“Then let’s get you back there. I noticed a surge of power just now. It could have been a portal.”
Tetheus’s silver eyes sweep the rocks and brush. A distant voice echoes, “Where did you go, Fizzle? He was here a few minutes ago.”
Fizzle brightens, zooming around eagerly. “Luke! Where you hiding?”
“Ah, there it is.”
A few steps carry the sea dragon to a rock outcrop where two stones lean against each other. The gap between them is very dark, even on a bright and sunny day. From the shadows, a crackling explosion echoes, and familiar voices cry alarm.
“That Nyx! She good at fire. Sound like battle,” Fizzle exclaims.
“Go on,” the larger dragon urges. “Your friends need you.”
Fizzle gazes up long enough to say, “Tetheus is hero, too.” On buzzing wings, he darts into the shadowed area and vanishes.
“Farewell, little friend. Perhaps we will meet again one day.”
* * *
Tetheus and his human friend, Sembre, appear in “The Dragon Stones,” one of the tales in Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, by Lucy D. Ford.
Aunt Ursula’s Atlas
On a high shelf, in a hidden library,
There is a book of unknown wonders.
Open its pages. Explore mysterious lands.
See for yourself what lies within
Aunt Ursula’s Atlas.
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Lucy D. Ford has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. Her first sale, a children’s poem, was in 2000. She has since sold poetry and short stories to magazines such as Boys’ Life, Cricket, Spider, and Ladybug. Her middle-grade fantasy, Masters of Air & Fire, is available from Sky Warrior Books.
My Web Site: http://www.debyfredericks.com
My blog: wyrmflight.wordpress.com