Artwork by Reignnel
Delaying her search for her brother Zack, Gina traveled with the miller’s son B’frona and her newly-adopted dragon whelp Puff to the village of Rennou. Once the locals learned B’frona had been orphaned, they arranged (despite his protests) for B’frona’s adoption, as well.
Everyone agreed that B’frona should stay with the widow F’lenn, the kindly matron, and her daughter Sh’renn, the round-faced teenager who’d defended him.
Gina told the townspeople how she’d found the dragon’s egg in the Sacred Circle and kept the hatchling Puff from freezing under her big blue terrycloth robe. When they learned she was called J’nah, “he who fights,” the deal was sealed.
“This mighty warrior in her mysterious cape of ‘darey gloth,’” the Chief Elder proclaimed, “has come to abide with the humble people of Rennou!”
“Who thinks she is a queen!” B’frona growled under his breath.
They arrived at the largest structure in Rennou, the marketplace. Its massive free-standing roof was easily eight storeys tall. Inside were dozens of stalls with all kinds of goods and wares: shrennel, nectair and toogle, loupp oil, hand-made scarves from Holos, harps crafted from exquisite SurKellish rainbowwood, even tiny pixie-made earrings.
But the most prominent feature was the castle at the market’s center! It had huge double doors behind a stage-like porch, and everything—doors, windows, porch, overhanging gables and turrets—was covered in lavish carvings and paintings of dragons.
“What’s that?” Gina asked.
“The Dragon Manse!” the crowd replied in unison.
“So Puff will live there?”
“Yes! With you!”
“What? Wait, you actually expect me to live there? But I have to find my brother!”
As it turned out, no one had heard of a boy named Zack (they pronounced it “Zhec,” and giggled when they said it).
Soon the people began to chant, “Dragon song! Dragon song!” So Gina la-la’d the Oh-So-Soft toilet paper theme, and Puff began to “sing.” As his gravelly purr arose, the crowd dropped to the ground, just as the pixies had. But unlike the pixies, the people of Rennou wept with joy…and relief because the curse had finally been lifted. Because a dragon had come to Rennou, with a dragonmeer…
who would stay forever!
Why she should even notice, Gina didn’t know, but at just that moment she saw a large crow circling overhead.
Of course, I can’t stay, she told herself. Then she stroked her beautiful pet dragon, looked out over her sea of adoring fans, and glanced back at her own personal palace, and thought…
Well, not for too long anyway.
Thoughts: Have you ever experienced the seductive charm of being a celebrity?
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