- Age: 15
- Species: Human
- Weapons: Nine fiercely loyal fire lizards
- Special Attack: Dragonfire
- Brave and assertive
- Those fire lizards
- She's a musician, not a fighter
- Age: Late 20s
- Species: Human
- Weapons: Revolver, myriad magical weapons
- Special Attack: Thaumaturgy
- A thorough magical inventory (rings, amulets, staff, coat, etc)
- Substantial magical brute strength
- Any number of firearms
- His magic has a tendency to interfere with technology
- His magic isn't especially refined
By Keith Rice
“Oh, come on. Seriously?” I thought. I mean, this was getting ridiculous.
So, for a quick recap, I’m stuck in the Nevernever – never a fun predicament. Get it, Nevernever/never? I’ll be here all week, folks, tip your waiter. Ok, so I’m stuck in the Nevernever and first it was a spaceship. As in a literal, straight-out-of-whatever-series-beginning-with-“Star” tickles your particular fancy. And now, dragons. Honest to god dragons. They’re small, though. Smaller than I would have expected, but this is still not good. On top of that, there’s a girl with them, tall-ish and lanky. Normally, I’d peg her as human, but this is the Nevernever, and not exactly a high traffic area for humans. Odds are if she is human and here, she ain’t friendly.
I know this is the Nevernever and you should always be prepared yada, yada, yada. But I was not expecting dragons. Mainly because I only know of two and one of those is dead (as far as I know). I certainly wasn’t expecting a pack of them hanging with some girl. I’ve dealt with my fair share of crazy: zombie dinosaurs, unusually large billy goats, the occasional troll. That’s what I do; it’s on my business card. But dragons are a whole different ballgame. And in case it wasn’t clear, I do mean dragons, plural. By my count, there are nine of these things milling about. Or maybe grazing? Do dragons graze? Yeah, this is gonna be fun.
Alright, I can get through this. Quick inventory – I’ve got my shield bracelet, my duster is more or less intact, and there’s my staff and blasting rod. We’ll just ignore the fact that I’m basically spent, I’m on the verge of collapse, and I’m occasionally coughing up blood. Just another day at the office for Harry Dresden. Thankfully they haven’t noticed me yet. Odds are I’m going to get one shot at this. Deep breath, Harry – nope, that hurts. Shallow breath, Harry. And with what little remaining strength I have, I jump from behind the rock I’ve been cowering behind and pour as much as will I can muster into the blasting rod: “Fuego!”
A jet of fire bursts from the rod. The girl screams and the dragons scatter, some into the air and the others skittering off in various directions on the ground. I get my shield up just in time – the two dragons that took to the air hit with a full blast. I stagger back and the shield holds, but just barely. I can feel the heat beating its way through and my duster is starting to smoke. I’ve got get those things out of the air. Need to time this just right. The girl was calling the others to her. Alright, here we go. I threw myself sideways and brought my staff up: “Forzare!” Everything I had left was in that one. If it wasn’t enough, I was finished. The gust of force crashed against the dragons and the girl like a wave. That’s the thing: I’ve never been much on subtlety, but I pack a mean punch. I crashed to ground and felt the searing pain in my chest – may have just cracked a rib or two – and I could taste the acid tang of blood in my mouth. I was really getting tired of that taste.
My vision was doubly, but I still saw the girl and her dragons scattering like ninepins. They weren’t down for the count, though. Disoriented, but not down. Shit. The girl was already pushing up, she was swaying and her legs looked unsteady, but she was on her feet nonetheless. “Beauty, Rocky, Diver, to me!” She yelled. Jesus, she sounded like a kid.
I planted my staff and struggled up, leaning heavily against it for support. If I was going out, I was going to do it on my feet. I had one last trick up my sleeve, though. I hated to break it out, it was always a last resort. She was starting to give a command, I could see it in the way she was tensing up. I locked her eyes with her. That’s never an easy thing for a wizard. It’s a soulgaze – a literal view into another’s soul and that’s not something you ever forget, but it should buy me moment to catch whatever breath I have left.
She is human. And shy. There’s music there as well. More importantly, she’s not an enemy. She’s lost and this is not her world. Way to go, Harry. The girl drops to her knees, a gasp on her lips. The dragons – she calls them firelizards, I think – circle around her. Alright, need to let her know I screwed up and she’s safe. I put the blasting rod in my duster, lay my staff down and lift my hands to hopefully let I know I mean her no harm – not an easy thing given that I just blasted her with flames and a pretty wicked gust of wind. “Listen, I’m Harry. I’m sorry I attacked you. This is not a safe place and dragons aren’t generally friendly in this neck of the woods. I think I can help get you home, though. How’s that sound?”
She looks at me, and I can see the fear in her eyes, but some trust there as well. On the plus side, she hasn’t screamed or anything, and those dragons haven’t fried me. Yet. I’ll call that a win for now.