Introduction

Table of Contents

“It’s a good thing you happened along just now, sir,” said the young man. He was dressed in blackened leather armor and rusted helmet. He was breathing heavy while straining to pull his long spear out of the small dragons body.
The man he was speaking to was wiping the broad blade of a heavy looking sword with some leaves. “How old do you think it is?” He motioned to the horse sized dragon lying in the grass.
“Maybe a year. I think it’s one of Cluatha’s. She laid a clutch about a year ago, at least nine, maybe more. This is the third that’s come to town since then.”
“I didn’t think the mother’s let the young ones stay around this long …”
“She had a fight with Riksherrah about three months ago. She’s been laying low ever since.”
“And Riksherrah?”
“Dead.”


“Mama, why are there dragons?” said the small girl as she lay down to sleep.
“There have always been dragons, little one.” said the mother distractedly as she tucked the girl in.
“But why?”
“I don’t truly know. The Scorpolites say that they are demons spawned to punish us for our sinful ways, but the Daemogi, who know about demons, say that they were created in a great magical apocalypse in the distant past. I think that they are here for the same reason that wolves and fish and trees are here – they just are.”
“They scare me, Mama.”
“They scare me, too, precious, but they ignore us as long as we don’t draw their attention too much.”
“Is that what happened to Greywood?”
“Yes. They hadn’t seen their dragon for many years. They let the town grow, expanded the fields, and even started building a road. And then he came back. Almost no one survived. And it’s a valuable lesson to us. We must stay humble or incur the dragon’s wrath. Now, go to sleep, child.”

Introduction

In the Shadow of Flame Harlequin_1998