- Age: 30s
- Species: Human
- Weapons: Arcane magical knowledge, charms and spells
- Special Attack: Spellcasting
- Is a powerful wizard
- Perceptive, observant, and clever
- Unafraid to take action
- Arrogant & proud
- Has a tendency to act before thinking
- 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
By Tina Connolly
It came to pass that after Ged did slay half the sons of the Dragon of Pendor, that is called Yevaud, and come to terms with the great worm himself, that his ship did put in at another harbor, all rocky and desolate, and there he saw yet more of the beasts.
Now these dragons were small, and they were more beautiful than the bat-worms of Pendor. In number there were nine, and they flickered around the coast in jeweled colors: gold and bronze and blue and green.
And then his heart did sink, for he had made a vow to tame all the dragons that might threaten the Ninety Isles, and yet here were more than any had ever told him of, and more than had been Named in the great lists of names he had studied with the Master Namer.
Perhaps he might swiftly destroy these jewel-worms just as he had done the sons of Yevaud, he thought, and he stepped from his boat to the rocks, sharp eyes scanning the bluffs.
He saw then that the dragons were not alone.
A tall girl with wind-waving brown hair stood high on the rocks, garbed in the loose shift of any coastal villager. Now Ged did not know what manner of a girl this might be, whether master of the dragons or servant, so he readied his staff and waited to see what he could learn.
She watched him with the same tense readiness, and she did not seem inclined to speak either.
The small gold dragon settled on her shoulder, wrapping its tail around her neck. The others hovered over her wind-tossed hair. But the two bronze-hued dragons were more inquisitive; they neared the place where he stood, and one of them swooped through his hair, its claw snagging the hood of his cloak. It tried to shake itself free, tugging at Ged’s clothes.
The otak in the pocket of his cloak trembled in fear and Ged reflexively raised his staff.
That set the village girl into action.
“Rocky!” she called, and that foreign word was clearly the name of one of the jeweled beasts. “Diver! To me!” The little fire-worms winked out of sight, the bronze one free of his cloak at last. They reappeared around the girl, which was most startling to Ged.
Ged held onto his staff for comfort, and he called, “Rocky,” but the beast did not return to him.
Then Ged was afraid, because it seemed that this girl had powers he did not, to summon dragons by names that were not their True Names.
And he was also afraid, because the dragons were winking in and out like the shadow that chased him that had come from that boundary between death and life.
It seemed as though a beast that had that power would be a thing of neither world, a thing between, a thing that might destroy anything at all.
Then Ged’s heart was full, for he could tell from the girl’s unguarded countenance that she did not wish him ill. Yet he had promised unto those of the Ninety Isles that he would keep them safe from all dragons, not just the nine he had previously known of, but yet again this second nine.
He climbed the rocky bluffs with the help of his good staff, the otak scrambling out of his pocket and up beside him.
The girl backed away from him, down to a sandy outcropping where shells of these beasts lay scattered around.
More of them, he thought, and his eyes grew wide and his heart quite cold.
The little wormlings were hissing now, circling the girl, some spitting fire at him.
But all manner of beasts may react to protect the ones they love, and yet again his hand was stayed by compassion.
The jewel-worms spat and dove around him, and the otak returned to his pocket to huddle there, which decided him.
Ged raised his staff, for even if he did not know their true names by which they might be bound, he yet knew a variety of spells to protect his people from these tiny creatures.
“Stop!” shouted the girl, although Ged did not know in what language she spoke, and could not guess what the syllables meant. “Leave them alone! They won’t hurt you.”
Then Ged laid charms on the nine that would keep them from attacking his people. These spells he quickly wove, and he put his will into them so he would not hurt the girl or the creatures, but that they would not cause his people harm, either.
One by one they disappeared, all but the gold fire-worm, who flew straight past him so he must turn to look at her whirling emerald eyes. She chirruped politely at the otak, now peeping from his pocket, and then she disappeared too.
When Ged turned around the girl was gone, and the rocky coast was clear. The containment charms he had laid on the tiny dragons would keep them confined to this land—whatever it was. They would not leave to trouble the people of the Ninety Isles.
And yet he was heartsore, for his wizard’s intuition spoke to him, and suggested that things would only grow worse from here. That far more dangerous battles and dreadful foes lay in wait.
Ged stepped back into his boat, summoned a fine fresh wind, and set off again.
He did not hear the reedy sound of a handmade pipe, tune-curling around the rocky island.