April 25, 2018

V is for Varslan

  Varslan appeared in the doorway of Venn’s room, bouncing on his toes in excitement and calling over his shoulder to his teacher, “Please, Venn, can we go around town with Svarnil and Kurit?  It would be very good for my education.”
  “Very well,” the bard replied.
  Varslan came running outside, Venn following after him.
  “First let me show you the dove-cote,” said Svarnil, and the three elves led the drake along the wooded path to the center of Tanoeb.
  Varslan looked thrilled to be in the company of a dragon.  He swaggered along like a prince, and when they reached the scribe’s dove-cote, he made the introductions himself while Svarnil and Thimberil embraced.
  “You are the dove-mistress now?” cried Svarnil with a smile.
  “Indeed I am.  Calain retired on his birthday.”
  “And Segrid.  He must be two years old now?”
  “Yes, and talking all day long.  He’s usually with me, but…” Thimberil glanced anxiously at Kurit, “He’s with my mother today.  I did not trust him running loose just now.”
  By now Varslan had taken it upon himself to explain the messenger doves to the dragon, and as their attention turned to the dove-mistress, Svarnil changed the subject.
  “When I come back after this is all over we can have a proper talk,” Svarnil said, “But I suppose Kurit and I had better continue our tour.  I want to show him the whole town.”
  “The whole town!” Thimberil laughed, “You speak as if that’s a lot to show!  But all your travels still haven’t taught you to scorn our little village.”
  “Oh no!  I wouldn’t trade Tanoeb for all the cities of the Otherworld!”  Svarnil turned to Kurit and added wryly, “Thimberil is right, though.  You’ll have seen all there is to see by noon.”
  “Well, come on, Kurit!” cried Varslan, “Let’s go next to Soren’s.  He’s the carpenter.”
  “Varslan,” Venn said quietly, “You are with Svarnil and Kurit, but you are here at their sufferance.  You are not the one to tell them where to go.”
  Varslan drooped a bit, and Svarnil said, “Soren’s is as good a place as any to see next.”
They walked across the central clearing, all the elves averting their eyes hastily from the dragon when he turned toward them.
  Varslan, brows furrowed in deep thought, suddenly blurted, “If I can speak with Kurit, does that not make me a dragonlord?”
  “Nay,” Kurit retorted harshly, a puff of black smoke escaping with the force of the word.  “If thou turnest thy arrow from the rabbit, is the rabbit thy equal?  A dragonlord is one whom a dragon does not kill because that is a person whom he recognizes as a peer, and, unlike mere people, a dragon will never stoop to murder an equal.  Thou, elfspawn, art no dragon’s equal.  Thy insignificant life is safe with me because I have said I will harm no elves as long as our truce holds.  But do not presume on that safety.  I am no tame beast.”
  “No, sir!” squeaked the boy quickly, and shifted himself to the other side of Venn.

        Varslan (and a bonus V, Venn) from A Threatening of Dragons, fifth book in a high fantasy series for middle school-or-so through adult (excerpt from Chapter 8: Tanoeb).  More information here, or “Look inside” at Amazon.

[Picture: Elvish boy’s tunic, design for modding The Sims, by penguiny7 (Image from modthesims).]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter V.

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