21/02/2016 10:11

The latest prompt at Blackship Books/ F3 is to write a story based on the opening sentence of the 5th paragraph of page 40 of the book you're currently reading. I'm reading 'A Wizard of Earthsea' by Ursula K Le Guin, which I heartily recommend! I've cheated a little by choosing the 3rd paragraph but the 4th and 5th refer to Ged, who is the main character of the book. I've taken the opportunity to indulge in a little fanfiction, including the cardinal rule of fanficcing, which is to break some of the rules of the world you're writing about. I hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: By the way, I do not own the IP for Earthsea, Nemmerle or the Doorkeeper. They are the property of the wonderful Ursula K Le Guin and I in no way wish to profit from her work. The story and the character 'Dragon' are mine, however.


I stood before the little wooden door in the great wall of the School and trembled a little. It was hard to believe that I was actually here, actually asking for entrance. But here I was.

Let me first say that you will find no record of me in any of the annals of the School for Wizards on Roke, for I am a thing that should not be. I am a female wizard. My mother was a powerful witch, perhaps the most powerful of her kind. I have never met my father but when I pressed her my mother would tell me he was a dragon. And so I adopted the name 'Dragon' for my every day name.

It has served me well.

Perhaps you have heard of the great wizard Ged of whom songs and legends love to tell. He was a mere babe in arms when I first came to Roke, young, alone, lost. And dangerous. For I am a thing that should not be.

But back to the day when I first stood before the little wooden door with half of my mind screaming at me to turn and run away, and the other half filled with all the things I would say to anyone who challenged my right to be there.

The second half won and I knocked on the door. The doorkeeper opened it and looked me up and down. “What do you want?” he asked sharply.

I held out the letter I had brought from my master. “I want to learn all that you can teach me,” I replied.

And he laughed. He laughed and laughed until the tears ran down his face. I stood and scowled at him until at length he regained control of himself. “Ah, that was a good joke, maid-child,” he said. “Now, you have had your fun. Be on your way.”

“I am here to learn,” I repeated. “I have a letter here from my master, Aspion.”

A rather wary look came into his eye at that. “I remember Aspion,” he said. “A rogue and a vagabond, that one. Last I heard, he was making a living doing conjuring tricks with a travelling circus. Telling me that he is your 'master' does not strengthen your argument, maid-child.”

“Nevertheless, he is my master and has taught me these two years. Will you not at least read his letter?”

Reluctantly, he took the sheet of paper from me, looking at it as if it were a snake that might bite him. It crossed my mind to transform it into a snake, for that was one of the first spells of transforming that I ever learned. I resisted the urge, however. I did want to get into the School and this man was my only way in.

He read the letter carefully and then stood pondering it for what seemed an age. “Well?” I asked, “Are you going to let me in or not?”

The doorkeeper answered, “Say your name.”

I gave him my sweetest smile. “My true name is Landia.”

He sniffed but stood aside and let me enter. I stepped through the little wooden door into the School and he closed it behind me. Looking back, I saw that it was framed in ivory, made from a dragon's tooth I guessed, and was made of polished horn. The daylight shone dimly through it.

Then he led me through corridors and passages until we came to a courtyard that was open to the sky. It was partly paved but a fountain played on a grassy area. And there were trees and sunlight. It was a restful place. The doorkeeper left and I waited alone. After a while, I became aware that I was being watched. Looking up, I saw the Warden of the School, the Archmage Nemmerle.

I stepped eagerly forward but he put up his hand to stop me. “Come no closer, maid-child. It goes against all of my instincts to have you here, you must know this. You are a thing that should not be. We have nothing to teach you, here.”

All of the clever arguments that I had rehearsed on my way here died away on my lips. For he was right. A female wizard is an impossibility, an abomination. Their training methods were all for mages and mages are male. How could they possibly train me?

But the how was their problem, not mine. My problem was the power that coursed through me, that threatened to flare out, harming those around me, even those I loved. Without their help, I might very well become a true abomination, a twisted, evil thing without heart or remorse. Without a soul.

I took a deep breath to steady myself. I did not physically move, but I placed my awareness a foot or so closer to the Archmage, making him gasp and shrink back a little.

“Archmage, you are right. I am a thing that should not be, yet I am. My master, Aspion, recognised the power that lies within me and has trained me in its use and control as far as he could. He warned me that his name would not grant me your love any more – perhaps even less – than what I am. Yet he can do no more for me.

“He senses something dark within me, something darker even than the very fact of my existing at all. It is something beyond his power to overcome, if it should break out. I have come to you for your help in managing this thing, this power. If you cannot help me, then you may find yourselves required to not merely destroy me but unmake me.”

The Archmage stared at me, horror and pity at war in his eyes. “You have spoken truly, maid-child,” he said. “I too sense this power and I have no name for it. I do not know what good we can do for you but we will do our best.”

And so, I became the only female wizard to ever train at the School on Roke. I made them all uncomfortable, the apprentices, the sorcerers, even the Masters. Perhaps especially the Masters for when was the last time any of them had seen a woman? Not that my looks were much of a distraction. My own mother would have struggled to call me 'pretty'! Just the fact of my being female was enough.

They taught me as much and as quickly as they could, just so as to be rid of me. The Masters gave me individual lessons before and after normal hours. Luckily for them, and for me, I could also learn quickly. The boys largely ignored me. The School on Roke does not prepare them for any meaningful interaction with women and they knew that I out-matched them in power.

I worked hard, keeping to my own room except when everyone else was abed. My room was right below the roof and I could climb out of my window to walk along the slates. I caused a little mischief up there, now and then. Nothing serious but enough to stop other apprentices from breaking School rules up there.

On the night of the Long Dance, I joined in the revels with everyone from the School and the town of Thwill. Somehow, I managed to miss my way back to the School and ended up spending the night in a doorway. The Archmage sent out a search party but I managed to evade them. I emerged from my room and convinced them that they had somehow missed my sleeping presence in the dark.

And there were other things I did that are not worthy of noting, here.

After a mere two years I was ready. I met the doorkeeper once more and told him his name without having to ask. He chuckled to himself as he opened the door made of horn to let me out into the world once more.

I paused on the threshold. “I know why you laughed at me when I first came,” I said to him, “but why do you laugh now?”

“I didn't have to let you in, you know?” he replied. “I am the Master Doorkeeper. I choose who enters here. You interested me, a student of Aspion of all people! I wanted to see you shake the old place up a little. And you did not disappoint me.”

And then we both laughed and I stepped out into the bright day, ready for my next adventure.


Author's note: I personally believe that fanfiction is the highest honour that one writer can bestow upon another. I would be very happy to one day find my own characters living adventures penned by someone else. I also urge anyone unfamiliar with the Earthsea books to look them up immediately!

Comments for Dragon

Want More of Dragon Now!

Date: 28/02/2016 | By: Joyce Juzwik

Rose, I really enjoyed this. What an incredible world you present here, and your character, Dragon, is one I need to see more of. The way she is spoken to initially is condescending, as if to shame her, and yet she stands firm with her request to be trained.

Against their better judgment perhaps, they take her in. I believe it was not only due to her persistence, but it's as if they could sense the significance of the power she possesses. Now that her training is complete, I would like to know where she plans on going and what her 'next adventure' will be.

I was not familiar with the Wizard of Earthsea story, but I definitely intend to look into it. I also will look forward to your continuing the story of Dragon.

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