© 2012 Rachel Hartman
t is perectly normal—human, even—to want moral supportduring a dicult audition. I couldn’t have taken my ather. I he’d had any inkling that I wished to become the assistant to thecourt composer, he’d have tried to stop me, and auditions are ar-duous enough without climbing out my bedroom window rst.My hal siblings would have told Papa, and I had no riends toask. So i I wanted a sympathetic ace in the crowd, my only choice was my music teacher, the dragon Orma.
He’s better than nothing
, I told mysel, but that was debatable.He’d spent years in human shape, but inside he was still a dragon:an unemotional, hyperrational being who, hard as he tried, couldnot quite master manners or understand why blurting out criti-cisms during my fute perormance was utterly unhelpul. By thenal day o auditions, I regretted having brought him.As we climbed Castle Hill that balmy autumn aternoon,