The Twin began to walk out across the valley alone so she could think, being careful to go in the opposite direction of Tokas. She had a favorite spot where a lot of blue flowers grew and that was where she went most often. One day she realized that the littlest dragonlet had crept into her pocket and come with her. It crawled over into her lap. Without meaning to, she began to grieve for her Parsnip, her dear Burly lover Parsnip, and she began to weep, because not only was he dead, but she herself had killed him. She wept and the little dragon lapped up her tears. The more tears she consumed, the more she began to turn from red to blue.
This happened several days in a row and the little dragon was now as blue as the flowers, but it didn’t seem to hurt her. In fact, now that she didn’t have to compete for blood, she seemed to do a lot better. And the Twin was so charmed by this comforting that she began to be consoled. So she could think again.
“A virus is code,” she thought. “Withering is a virus of vulnerability. Its code says not to defend, to surrender, to give up. Rabies is a virus of attack, its code says rage, rage, never give up, attack! It might be that rabies can cure Withering because of some part of its code.” She went back and told Tokas this. Then she sat down to study her glass reader.
The raven tapped on the black window that didn’t look outside. There were pictures. They showed the Mayor’s son and he was Withering. The Mayor was saying they needed dragon’s blood NOW. The little red dragons could fly by this time and they circled around the room, trying to understand what they were looking at, because they were frightened. Tokas and his raven tried to reassure them, that they would be protected even if they had to leave the safe house, but they didn’t believe him. Why would they?
The Twin said, “I will go and explain to the Mayor. Maybe he’ll let me bring the boy here. I can take some medicines that might help.”
Tokas didn’t want her to go but it was the sensible thing to do. She put on her cloak, looked down at the brooch that clasped it, amber set in silver, and had an idea. There was a sharp pin on the back. “Bring your own cloak brooch, Tokas! We will mingle our blood and that way our twinness will become one. We will have that no matter what else happens.” So they did that and the little blue dragonlet flew in between them just as their blood mingled and she lapped it up.
The Twin set off, her cloak blowing in the stiff wind that had sprung up. She believed that the blue dragonlet had stayed with the others where Tokas and the Raven would protect them. She went over the Notch with no problem and walked into town It was a little difficult to find the Mayor when people saw her amber eyes. They thought the Mayor had enough trouble with his son dying and all.
She had a hard time explaining to the Mayor and his wife and the nurse and the doctor that she was an herbalist and that she had come from Tokas and that if they could just keep the son alive a little longer, they might be able to develop a cure after all. But the people just had a hard time believing the Twin.
Finally she got to the boy’s bedside. He had IV lines going into him and catheter lines coming out of him. He was very pale and didn’t want to open his eyes. She spoke to him softly. Just then the little blue dragon crawled out of her pocket where she had been all along. The boy’s eyes flew open. He had never seen a dragon. They had all been eliminated from this side of the rampart.
Before the Twin could do anything, the dragon yanked out the boy’s IV needle and stabbed herself with it. Her blood was as blue as she was and she smeared it onto the boy’s lips. He licked it off in a reflex. But he didn’t become blue. Rather his cheeks began to flush pink and he laughed. That is, he laughed until he realized that the little dragon had emptied itself and was now limp, exhausted.
The Twin took from her pouch of medicines a little amber bottle and began to drip it into the dragonlet’s mouth. The doctor picked up the bottle and took a whiff to see what it was. “Why, it’s whisky!” he exclaimed.
“Dragon blood is mostly alcohol,” the Twin informed him. “You should never drink it.” But it revived her blue dragon. In a while the creature was well enough that she could take it in her arms and walk it home through the notch. By the next day it was flying again. The Mayor’s son had been cured, but it was impossible to tell whether the blood of the dragon had mutated because of the grief-laden tears or whether it had been the reuniting of the Twin blood that had made rage and vulnerability into one curative transformed thing.
Tokas never went back to the other side. He built a second small house. At first it had a kind of pigeon cote on top for the dragonlets, but they were soon fully grown and chose roosts in the cliffs until they flew away to look for mates. The Raven missed them and went about moping for a while. “GROK.”
But the blue dragonlet, which never got all that big, stayed in the stone house with the Twin, and slept behind the Twin’s knees, curled up like a cat on her mother’s dragonhide which clinked and jingled a little when it was moved, because dragon scales are metallic. The Twin isolated the curative molecular substance in her blood and sent Raven with the formula over to the other side so they could cure all Withering.
In the end, Tokas and the Twin named the little blue dragon “Isabella.” But only one other person besides this writer knows that.