James & the Dragon-
What would you do if you were adopted by a dragon? When ten-year-old orphan James nearly drowns in a bog, he finds himself rescued by Farloft, a centuries-old dragon with a glittering collection of treasures and an even richer collection of stories. But, dragons and boys are not meant to live together – or are they? When Laval – a wizard harboring a secret hatred for Farloft finds out about James, he sees his chance for revenge.
About this author-
Theresa has worked as restaurant hostess, zoo keeper, dog groomer, professional make-up artist, dispatcher, jeweler, bookstore owner, legal assistant, retail manager, marketing coordinator and print shop supervisor among other things. She used to say, “The only thing I haven’t done is go to jail and be a nun.” A few years ago she did make-up for a documentary in the state penitentiary. At this stage of her life, she feels it is more likely she will be a renowned author then become a nun. She hopes you all follow her on her quest to fulfill that dream.
Farloft, the dragon, had been living in this region for centuries. Once a friend of man, over the years he had become shunned. Now he lived quietly in his mountain top retreat - an observer rather than a participant in the lives of humans.
Farloft sat on his rocky perch above the entrance to his lair, his piercing golden eyes following the approaching wizard.
The cold morning air had no effect on a dragon for he felt neither hot nor cold. His observation of Laval began early this morning. He first caught sight of the wizard through the fog on the valley floor as he emerged from the forest below out onto the plain. The human would need another hour or so to wind his way up the path to the cave.
Farloft flexed his iridescent green wings in the morning sun that caressed the mountain top - his wing span as large as any sail on the ships at sea. His massive claws bit at the stone of the ledge to keep him from involuntarily taking flight. He wanted to hunt this morning, but with the wizard's pending arrival his stomach would have to wait.
Farloft's last experience with Laval was a most unpleasant memory. The dragon did not intend to leave his lair unguarded. He gave only a momentary thought to flying down to meet the wizard, than thought better of it.
Best to sit and wait.
Best he let the wizard come to him.
Best to be on your own ground when dealing with someone that could not be trusted.
- THE WIZARD -
Laval rode steadily on in the bitter cold. Only an escaped lock of his long, raven black hair and his crooked nose could be seen from the depths of his crimson colored robes. He was a man on a mission.
The King always kept a ‘master wizard,’ as his father and his grandfather before him. No one could remember how Laval came to be at court or how long he had been there. It was as if the kingdom had never been without his powerful magic. The wizard was the King’s most trusted advisor. His magic struck fear in those that were his enemies, and awe in those few that were his friends.
The road took Laval through the sparse countryside. Nothing had grown well this past year, not crops or children. The young and the elderly had been the first to die of the plague. The villagers had been hardest hit. The King had closed the castle to visitors at the first sign of plague and therefore kept the ruling class free of the disease. But, beyond the walls of the castle, the land and its people were barren and cold.
As Laval approached yet another village he noticed the vacant, hungry look of the people as they peered out their doors or looked up from what duties could not be ignored that brought them out in the bitter cold. He heard the sound of the mucus filled coughs that accompanied those that were bound to die from this horrible plague. He reflexively pulled his cowl up higher from around his neck to over his mouth and nose. No sense taking chances. There were thatched roof houses in this village with no signs of life – no smoke from the chimneys – no coughing – only silence.
Laval steadily urged his mount forward. A peasant rose up from nowhere and grabbed his leg above the leather of his boot.
“Somethin’ for the children? A crust of bread?” he begged, as he walked beside the wizard’s steed.
Laval knew better than to give into the man. If he gave to this poor wretch, he would be mobbed by all who saw he had anything to give. He pushed the man away with his booted foot, almost knocking him to the ground even though the push had been light. The man was that weak.
“I have nothing to give.” He spurred his horse and rode on through the village at a trot.
Laval looked back. He could remember when that place had been full of laughing children with round faces. Now there were only the sights and sounds of death. This past spring and summer during the long months that the plague ravaged the land, he had worked all his considerable magic to stop the spread of the disease. But, it was no use. The people continued to die.
Laval’s mission was to obtain a portion of the wing from Farloft the dragon. Combining the magic within that wing with his own considerable wizard's magic, he was sure he could create a potion that would stop the ravaging disease. Dragon’s wings were known for their healing power.
Even with Laval’s considerable skills, it had taken over a week to locate the dragon’s lair. The last time he had seen the dragon was years ago when he was wizard to the former King. Dragon and wizard had exchanged heated words over an error of judgment on Laval’s part, he was sure Farloft would remember. Dragons had excellent memories. That past transgression would make it difficult to convince the dragon to give up the needed portion of his wing.
Laval rode on for the rest of the day. He fought his way through the dense forest at the edge of the kingdom and emerged below the western ridge where the dragon’s lair perched on the highest peak. It would take him another hour, a least, to reach Farloft. The wizard pulled his heavy robe tighter around his lean frame. He hunched lower in his saddle against the bitter wind through the valley he must cross to the mountain heights.
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