Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“What are doing?”
I step the lance down to standby and look round. There’s a Luminarian fledgling regarding me, eyes lit in glorious shades of orange.
“I’m clearing droppings from this rooftop, young edular.”
It waves stubby wings in disagreement.
“No such elevated, hu-u-man. My fam drular.”
A working class wyvernkin up here? Well I never.
“You’re a long way from the river cliffs, young drular.”
It shrugs.
“Hu-u-man Gaildor demanded I go forth, make progeny. My progenitor translated command as for me to travel far away.”
Commander Gaildor is prone to swearing at beings who irritate him. Luminarians do it by radical acts such as breathing or being within a couple of metres for more than a minute. Humans do it rarely, but enjoying relationships with any of the numerous kin he’s employed is a sure-fire way to achieve it.
In my case, it was his second cousin twice-removed – I think. It wasn’t clear. Got lost in the bellowing and frothing at the mouth.
“I too offended Gaildor. Therefore, this must be far enough.”
It nods and points to the lance.
“You are in disfavour, yet wield fire.”
Given their reverence for the many forms of fiery death available on this planet, now’s the time to get creative with bland facts.
“It’s lesser fire, young drular. For cleansing alone. Even so, it must be controlled.”
The ears go flat and tilt my way: sure sign of interest.
“Can drular do?”
“Yes. Attend me ”
It moves round to stand by my side.
“If the droppings are not cleared, the weight will crush the dwelling below.”
It nods.
“In the heartlands, the fams use such gifting to build famcaves.”
That’s not going to catch on with humans anytime soon.
“As offworlders, our elders have decreed we are not worthy.”
I turn the lance up to half power. The energy beam makes the atmosphere scream as it rips the flammables from it, giving itself a fiery aura.
“Such magnificence.”
Nothing I can say to that. I nod.
“Attend. This is half power. It will carve through dro-, giftings up to a metre thick. The danger is that this eager fire will cleave the roof of the human famcave below with greater ease ”
The wings droop.
“Such is the way of fire. Only deep waters will stifle it.”
My turn to nod.
“Does this wielding offset your disfavour?”
“The disfavour will pass with time. This allows me to earn chits in the meanwhile, so that I may pay my way.”
The beautiful eyes widen.
“My fam has no earner of chits. It would be a thing of wonder for their least drular to bring that.”
I pull out my tab, bring up my worksheet, add a ‘trainee’ option, then offer it.
“Then you will be a wonder, young drular.”
It reads the text, clawprints it, then grins at me.
“I be Viri of Fam Parfar.”
“Will of… Fam Jones.”
“To wielding, then, my mentor.”
Yes. To work it is.