The story of The Wizard’s Foundling
Aleshmorel scowled as he trudged along the mountain path, reflecting on the events of the previous week’s Wizards’ Council. Normally he would use a telepathic return spell instead of walking the long journey home, but he needed the time to think. The other wizards did not respect him. Being the youngest wizard ever to sit on the Council should earn him a measure of esteem, but they all thought him too callow to share any useful perspectives.
As he plodded along with his eyes to the ground, he began to hear a commotion ahead. Far up the trail, he could see some sort of scuffle. He translocated himself behind a large tree not far from the scene so he could see, and nearly soiled his robes. It was a group of four half-grown dragons, harassing and jeering at another dragon who was much smaller than them.
Fortunately for Aleshmorel, the dragons were much too busy to notice his presence, but he readied another translocation spell just in case. His dissertation at the Wizards’ Academy had been in dragon lore, and he understood much of their language. Soon he puzzled out that the little dragon was a sibling of the others, and they were taunting him because he could not fly or breathe fire. Aleshmorel noticed that the youngling’s wings were too stunted to be able to lift him, despite his small stature. He had heard of a disturbing practice among dragonkind to exterminate the younglings which were deformed somehow, considered not worthy of their noble blood. And now the larger dragons were getting bored with the taunting; they were beginning to do violence in earnest.
Terrible hisses and snarls emitted from the runt dragon. He had no chance against four others, even if he had matched them in size. The wizard himself was the youngest of three brothers, and could sympathize with the youngling’s plight (although his own siblings had never tried to murder him). He wanted to help, but what could he do against a mob of dragons?
On a sudden inspiration, he levitated the runt, to the startled amazement of the others. Before they could react, he cast an illusion spell that sent a mighty roaring flame streaking from the little dragon’s mouth toward his tormenters. Confounded and alarmed by this unexpected retribution, they fled into the nearby hills.
Aleshmorel gently released his levitation spell and stepped out from behind the tree. The youngling was hurt and badly frightened, and he hissed warningly at the approaching wizard. Hoping his accent was understandable, Aleshmorel spoke as clearly as he could in dragon-tongue. “Easy, little one. I want to help.”
The little dragon flinched in surprise, but continued to hiss and rattle his tiny wings. The wizard smiled, conjured a living flame in the palm of his hand, and said, “I can teach you many things.”
* ~~ one year later ~~ *
Every day he practices the flame spell that Aleshmorel taught him, and every day the flame grows a little stronger. He can almost feel his wings growing, too. Someday he might be able to fly on his own, but for now he experiments with the levitation spell, and pretends he’s really flying.
He had offered to go with the wizard to the annual Council. That would teach them to respect him — none of the other wizards had ever befriended a dragon before. He could tell Aleshmorel was tempted to take him up on the offer, but instead he promised to send for the dragon if he felt the need, and asked him to guard the tower. Of course that meant he had free rein of all the shiny things in the tower… but he was careful. Besides, this would give him time to practice his disembodied voice spell so he could surprise the wizard when he returned home.