An hour later, Penn leads Morgan back into the room. After she had told them her story- the real story- they had called in a sorcerer who had confirmed it was the truth. Now she is going into another meeting with the High Council. But this time, she’s not a prisoner. She’s an honored guest. If this is how they treat guests, it’s not impressive.
This time, the throne is occupied. The one Morgan decides must be the king booms out, “Morgan of Kensing, we have decided that your Blodt is indeed our former High Sorcerer. He sent you here for a reason. We have determined that the purpose must be the dragons.”
“The… the dragons?” Morgan stammered. She had been staring at the king’s ornate crown. It was golden, inlaid with precious gems, and if she wasn’t mistaken, a dragon’s scale.
“Yes, the dragons. Did he tell you the secret of how to eliminate them for good?”
“Yes, for good. Dragons are the bane of our very existence. They eat our sheep, burn our villages, kill our people. Dragons will be our destruction if we do not eliminate them.” He nods in a self-satisfied way as if no one could dispute this. But Morgan is can.
“How can they destroy you if they’re chained up in those tiny pens?” She blurts before she can stop herself.
Another man, one who hasn’t spoken yet, shouts, “They are dragons! Dragons are dragons. You can never know.”
Morgan shuts her mouth firmly, but can’t stop the doubts rising in her about these people- and about the so-called ferocity of the dragons.
The meeting drags on and on. But finally, the council reaches a verdict. “To defeat the dragons,” a tall sorcerer begins, “You must collect the High Sorcerer. To do that, you must fix the mirror. It, however, will not work without the last dragon. You shall find the missing piece.”
“Do you know where it is?”
“Yes. The Dragon Mirror- your mirror- was an important part of the dragons’ legacy. The last piece was lost in a battle. The dragons have it. You must speak to them, convince them you will use it to free them, and then go the High Sorcerer. He will know what to do.”
Penn interrupts. “You’re asking her to lie to a dragon? It can’t be done!”
“This girl found the High Sorcerer and the Dragon Mirror and you think she can’t lie to a dragon?”
That was the end of the conversation. Morgan was led out of the room by guards and given food and a set of rags they called clothes. “We need to convince them you escaped from the jail.”
Then, they took her back to the Valley.
The only ones who came with her were Penn and a weedy man who was her escort. On the way down, they coached her on what to say.
“I escaped from the prison-”
“It was dreadful-”
“I saved a dragon’s egg-”
“No, no, the Dragon Mirror-”
But eventually they made it down. Penn stopps at a blank stretch of rock. He stretches one hand through it and holds the other one out. “Goodbye, Morgan. May you be safe from the claws forever.” She takes his hand, steps through the cliff, and looked around.
Morgan’s first thought is how huge the dragons were. Her second is that Penn’s goodbye had been a blessing to keep you safe from them. The third is how useless it would be when she was dead.
Even though she was terrified, Morgan steps forward towards the creatures. After all, it’s her only way home. Her feet direct her closer and closer to the smallest dragon there is. It was only four feet long- absolutely minescule compared to most.
As Morgan closes the last few feet between it and herself, she clutches the mirror to her chest like a shield. The Dragon Mirror, the thing that had started this whole mess.
When the dragon lifts its head, the only thing keeping Morgan moving is the fact that she can’t think. It waits until she’s within an arm’s length to move any more. Then it opens its mouth. “Are you going to hurt me?” The dragon squeaks.
Morgan stares at it. The dragon is talking. To her. But she finds her voice. “N-no,” She stammers.
“Oh. The last one did,” the little dragon replies, visibly relaxed. Then a huge thing whips around and hits Morgan, hard. It scoops up the baby and pulls it protectively towards its’ stomach. Once it’s sure that the little one is okay, it turns on Morgan.
“What are you doing?” The large dragon hisses dangerously.
“I-I was…” She trails off, all of the excuses Penn and the tutor had given her disappearing from her mind. “I-I… I’m lost.” Morgan says truthfully. “I’m lost and I need to get home.”
“Well, I’m sure you don’t belong here. Get out! The only reason you’re alive is that Scale likes you. Leave!”
“I need your help.”
“And I would help you why?” Smoke is trailing from the dragon’s nostrils.
The answer tumbles out before Morgan can stop it. “I can help you.” Then she cowers as the dragon laughs: loudly, threateningly, mockingly.
“A no-wing? Help a dragon? I’ll eat Scale before that happens!”
Morgan notices other dragons drawing in closer. For the feast? Or maybe to hear what she has to say? But then she realizes it’s neither. It’s the mirror in her arms. “I have the Dragon Mirror. I could give it back to you.” Her voice sounds bold and strong. She seems unafraid.
She’s actually terrified, but it doesn’t show at all.
Scale’s mother stops laughing. “The Dragon Mirror,” she hisses, almost reverently. “But how?” Morgan tells her story to the dragons, the terrible, threatening dragons, because it’s her best chance of survival. As she relates it, though, she starts realizing what her true feelings are. That those people, who want her to get the High Sorcerer so they can start killing off the dragons, are wrong. More importantly, that she’ll never do it. She will never help them harm the dragons.
By the time she finishes the story, most of the dragons have figured it out, too. They’re starting to trust her- even Scale’s mother, who called herself Ember. “So you won’t harm us. But how do you expect to help us? If you give us the Mirror, you’re stuck here forever.”
“I-I… don’t know, Ember.”
“You must go home. We can hold our own,” replied Ember in a surprisingly gentle voice. “After all, we are ferocious dragons!” The others laugh again. But this time with humor, not mocking her.
“I can’t go home. I have to help you. The Mirror won’t work, anyways,” Morgan says, showing them the gap in the frame. The dragons gasp, and begin to speak to each other. But in a different language, one full of hissing and growls. Then Ember speaks.
“Go home. You cannot help us,” she says, nodding to Scale. Scale steps forward and coughs something up- the missing dragon! Morgan grabs it and fits it in. Nothing happens.
“What’s the matter?” She’s panicking now. If it doesn’t work… But Ember leans forward and breathes on it. Her hot, fiery breath fuses the carving to the others, and the mirror pulls Morgan towards itself. This time, as she leaves, there’s voices shouting goodbye.
Morgan materializes back in Blodt’s shop, clutching the mirror. As she comes back to her senses, she knows what happens next. She’s going back soon. She’s going to help the dragons.