Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
He is called Alastrann.
They say he is enchanted, cursed.
They say Alastrann is being punished for disobeying the last High Wizard of Raggastaad.
They say lots of thing, mostly half forgotten stories of a time vanished beyond memory.
Delaney Watson had heard the stories, the cautionary tales, the unbelieved histories evolving into mere fables.
She also heard the dragon’s voice, at night, when the street lights silenced the day, the river stole from the shore, and Delaney walked through the shadowed, abandoned city streets.
His was a deep voice, an aged voice, remembering, patient, observing.
As a child Delaney had flown with dragons, in her dreams. She spent her childhood gathering stories about dragons from books, from family, from the brightly clothed strangers traveling through her small coastal town.
As she grew, Delaney discovered she could speak in a language understood by dragons, in her dreams, and understanding, she was spellbound by Alastrann’s deep voice, followed it to Raggastaad, found not a haven for dragons, but a very modern sprawling city.
The dragon, chained to the front of a tall building, seen by most as carved stone, felt the energy of his tormentor, the last High Wizard, stirring in a young kind heart.
And the girl, the girl, slender, untempered, unaware of her gifts, her ancestry, stood watching the gray dragon as he stretched, her heart aching to set him free.