by L. Andrew Little © 2001

Drago glared at the armored upstart. Who was this little man, he wondered, to dictate to the Lord of Dragonkind? This King George with his metal skin was still fleshy and weak beneath. Drago was the serpent through and through; high-flying, fire breathing, and possessed of a razor-sharp, forked tongue.

Still, after a pitched battles the ravaged forces of both sides strewn across the field. For days it had raged. Heroes had been born and cowards and fools had been exposed on both sides. Resources had been depleted. Banners had been trampled under booted and clawed feet only to be raised again. From the carnage a new legend would be written and a new era would begin. It galled Drago that it would not be his legend, his era.

Drago stood there defeated, with his last loyal lieutenants. Their heads and tails were lowered and their wings were splayed out on the ground. In the body language of dragons it was a clear sign of submission, but in his offer of surrender Drago had picked his words carefully and his tone had been defiant. The new king had surely noticed.

George had brought his best remaining warriors with him. They were battle hardened and still girded for war. Nevertheless, so near at hand they looked small to Drago. He was sure he could defeat them with a strike now. Dragoís wings closed with a snap, the mighty tail slashed across the scorched earth, and as he raised his head there was a renewed gleam in his eyes.

Even before the Dragonking spoke his lieutenantsí faces lit up at the realization that the struggle would continue. "Actually," the serpentís voice boomed, "I think weíll press on until there can be no doubt."

King George, never a glib man, was particularly slow in answering. "My brother, Sir Jeb, assures me we have this thing won."

Drago snorted, "Your brother is not the final arbiter of these events."

King George pursed his lips and regarded the dragon with the squint that was to become so well known. As the dragonís lungs filled, sounding like a great bellows, George and his men raised shields and drew swords.

"All right boys," the disputed king said, "Itís time to get snippy."

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