Flash Fiction: A Snip of Smoke

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With this prompt I immediately thought of Garv from my story The Dragon’s Familiar. I had fun imagining the young wizard first meeting his master Bryndis. Who knows, perhaps this will actually make it into the book. Enjoy!


Surveying the giant eagle’s eyrie, Garv was confused. He was sure this was the bird’s nest. The mountainside hollow was littered with bones, feathers, and desiccated carcasses. But, all signs indicated the nest had recently been abandoned.

“Just my luck,” he muttered.

(Just my luck! A meal has come to me, but alas, I’m so full!) 

Pulling his hair back out of his face into a rough knot, Garv swiped at the sweat on his brow. Hands, dirty and raw from climbing, smeared earth across his face. The grime punctuated the exhaustion he felt. An onlooker would have mistaken him for a vagabond wandering the wilds. The young wizard was glad no one was there to see him.

But Garv wasn’t alone. 

“Why does everything I do fail?” he whined. 

(What is he attempting to do? Curious.)

Garv stomped about, kicking up dust and feathers. He plopped to the ground in a huff. Sitting cross-legged, he hunched over, picking at the dirt.

“Is it too much to ask? Can’t something go right for once? I just know I could have convinced the eagle to bond with me. It would have made for a fantastic familiar! That would show everyone.” Garv said to himself. 

(A familiar? He’s a wizard?)

Garv puffed angrily. 

“I can’t bear the ridicule! I didn’t ask to be the son of Hochein Leistung! Living up to his reputation is impossible! I’m not my father!”

(Hochein Leistung? The Arch Magnus? Dragon’s Bane?!)

Overcome with frustration, Garv sobbed. He didn’t fight the tears. The brief emotional release felt good. Calmer now, he contemplated what to do next. 

Something on the ground glimmered, catching Garv’s eye. Brushing feathers aside, he found a flat, iridescent, egg-shaped object. Holding it up to the light, he realized it was an enormous fish scale. 

“Look at the size of this! What kind of fish…?”

Garv’s stomach clenched as he broke into a cold sweat. Garv suddenly knew precisely why the eagle had abandoned its nest. The scale wasn’t from a fish. It had come from a dragon. 

Slowly getting to his feet, Garv quietly shouldered his pack and made to leave the eyrie.

“Leaving so soon, Wizard?”

Garv froze. He knew dragons could be invisible if they so wished. It had been watching him the whole time.

Just like a dragon. Sneaking and lurking about. I’m a hare caught in a snare! Oh, the treachery! 

Closing his eyes, Garv willed himself to turn around. 

The sight before him stole his breath away. All along the rim of the hollow above him lay a dragon. A bright aura of coppery light reflected from its scales.

A fire breather! Gods, help me!

The beast’s sprawling body rippled like a wave as it climbed down. Garv’s heart seized as he found himself face to face with the dragon. He was mesmerized by its violet, serpentine eyes. A snip of smoke wafted skyward from its snout.

“Are you truly the spawn of the Dragon Killer?”

Garv inwardly cursed his heritage.

“It’s a harsh legacy. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.”

Curious. Why do you say this?”

“I’ve found legendary men make poor fathers. He cares little for me or what I want. The Arch Magnus is only interested in molding me into something I’m not.”

“And what is that?”

“A replica,” Garv spat the words out. 

“You don’t want to be the most powerful wizard in the world?”

“No.”

“What do you want?”

Garv knew better than to lie to a dragon. 

“Under the circumstances, I was simply hoping to leave.”

The dragon quietly considered Garv’s request.

“I should eat you, but I’m not hungry. I should kill you, but why should I punish you for your father’s sins? Yet, I’m afraid I can’t let you go. I have my own reputation to consider.”

“I swear never to speak a word about this. The shame I’ll face, returning without a familiar, is a small price to pay for one’s life.”

Smoke billowed from both of the dragon’s nostrils, its eyes blazing brightly. Garv cringed, scrunching his eyes tight. He hoped his incineration would be instantaneous.

“Yes! Familiar! That’s better than killing you.”

The dragon roared and laughed. Garv peeped one eye open. 

“You will be my apprentice. I will train you to champion the dragons’ cause.”

“Sorry? What?”

“What better revenge? I’ll transform the Dragon Killer’s offspring into a mighty defender for all of dragonkind!”

“Wait. You want me to do what? I can’t do that!”

“Sure you can.”

“You want me to kill my father?” 

“Only if you want to.”

“Of course, I don’t want to kill my father!”

“That’s fine. You only need to convince the Arch Magnus to cease his campaign to eradicate dragons from the world.”

“You don’t understand. My father never listens to me about anything. Besides, I’m rather hopeless when it comes to magic. I’m not a very good wizard. I probably never will be!”

“Oh, I can sense formidable magic within you. It’s buried deep, but it’s there.”

Garv was dumbstruck.

“You do?”

“Yes.”

Coming to his senses, Garv pleaded again to be set free. His father had warned against the lies dragons told. 

“Please just let me go back to the guild. I promise to forget everything.”

“Not a chance. You might become as bad as your father, or even worse yet.”

“I won’t. I promise. I’m nothing like my father.”

“Yes, I sense that too. But, it can’t be helped. You’ll have to stay with me, so I can keep an eye on you.”

Panicking, Garv tried desperately to think of a way to dissuade the dragon from its plan. 

“Well, what if…what if…I become too powerful and too much like my father? I might kill you!”

“Oh, don’t worry. If that happens, I’ll eat you before your attitude and abilities get out of hand.”

“That’s not very reassuring.”


Word Count: 986

Written in response to the prompt: A Snip of Smoke

Check out all of the other great writing prompts at The Twiglets.

Thank you for inspiring me!

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