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“What were you thinking?” Ray snarled as he strode into the room. B’ton was almost sorry the healer had left; he didn’t have the energy to deal with the harper’s anger.

“I was thinking I’m a dragonrider,” he responded, trying to sound better than he felt. “Keeping the peace is one of my duties.”

One dragonrider!” Ray protested. “Against four miners, on their turf. It was a trap, B’ton, and you walked right into it.”

“And back out of it,” he pointed out.

Ray rolled his eyes and gestured at the bandages covering B’ton’s arm. “Only because Dieth had me call for reinforcements.”

B’ton sat straight up, eyes wide with shock. “Dieth called you?”

“Who’d you think got the other miners there so fast?”

B’ton sank back as he thought. “I… supposed he’d alerted another dragon.”

“Well he didn’t,” Ray said with a shrug. “I guess I was the least likely person to scare the miners or something, so he got me.”

B’ton wondered about that. Right now, Ray was very intimidating, even though B’ton knew he’d nothing to fear from his friend. “I didn’t know you could hear dragons,” he finally said.

“I can’t,” Ray replied, then gave B’ton a wry smile. “Didn’t think I could, at least. But he made himself heard just fine, believe me. Still have the headache to prove it.”

“There’s headache powder here,” B’ton offered. “More than I’m likely to need.”

“Nah, I should go. Let you rest. Just,” he paused. “Just don’t go doing anything so dim-glowed again. You had me worried.”

B’ton couldn’t promise that; they both knew it. But he gave a little smile and said, “I’ll try.”

After Ray left, B’ton sent a question to his bronze. Why Ray?

The reply he got was simple.

Ray puts you first.