- Age: 15
- Species: Irish wolfhound
- Weapons: Teeth, Intelligence
- Special Attack: A swift bite to the hamstring
- Human intelligence
- Can smell the undead
- Susceptible to control by deities who govern animals
- Ultimately mortal
- Age: 1-2 years
- Species: Dragon
- Weapons: Fire-breathing, Giant claws and teeth
- Special Attack: Dracarys
- Scales provide some armor
- Resilient, but not invulnerable – a well-placed spear can do a lot of damage
By Leanna Renee Hieber
Drogon returned to consciousness slowly. His body was all strain and pain. He was curled up, a pool of black scales curving in an elegant circle, his tail coiled over the ruby scales running down his back. He used to sleep like this, curled up near Mother, when he was much smaller. A pang coursed through him, snout to tip of tail, melancholy coursing along the red of his spines.
A forest. He was in a forest clearing, at the edge of a cliff, his black, onyx form against a dark, slate rock. The last thing he remembered was that he’d fallen after being bitten with poison. The Jhereg must have gotten quite a burn. There were charred scales all around him, but no carcass, so the little thing had gotten away with a burn while he’d gotten away with a bite. Any venom had entirely worn off by now and Drogon liked to think he wouldn’t be crossed again.
There was a sound from the other side of the clearing. A paw on the ground. A slight whine; a sort of questioning noise.
He turned his head, blinking his crimson eyes and focused on a new creature before him. A dog. A big dog. Wiry, grey hair. Huge, really. Irish wolfhound? Drogon wondered where he had landed when he was just trying to find his way back… he didn’t want another fight. He gritted his fangs and awaited a growl, but no warning sound came from the dog, instead, the hound opened its jaw in a wide, panting grin.
A talking dog, even? Of course. He’d encountered a Kraken, a Unicorn, a Jhereg and so of course, why not a talking dog? He wasn’t sure if the creature was exactly talking or if the time spent in these other worlds had expanded Drogon’s senses and he was hearing things he wouldn’t otherwise hear. Drogon lifted his head higher. What did this enormous dog want?
Drogon snorted, steam billowing from black nostrils. There was a rumbling growl but it wasn’t from his throat. It was from his stomach. The dog, an expressive fellow, opened his mouth wider as if in disbelief.
“That’s quite a tummy growl!” The dog exclaimed. “I’m Oberon, by the way, Oberon SquirrelBane and I am about to tell you something very important.”
Drogon tilted his head to the side.
“You can share my sausage!” the dog declared, as if he were pronouncing a royal decree. “Seems like you’ve had a really bad day, and nothing makes a day better than sausage!”
The dog crossed the clearing, dragging over a long line of linked sausage and dropped it before Drogon. “My Druid keeps me in lots of sausage, it’s a thing between us, like, what would you call it… currency.”
Drogon’s stomach rumbled again like thunder and in a few inelegant gulps, Drogon made the sausage disappear. He had to admit. That was damned good sausage. He hoped he wasn’t supposed to have left any.
“Whoa!” The wolfhound seemed impressed by the act. “Sausage makes everything better!” Oberon agreed. “Usually my Druid and me, we eat the sausage then take a nap but in this case you did the nap first.”
Drogon opened his mouth. Perhaps it could have been seen as a smile. As much as a dragon could.
At this, the wolf hound’s eyes flashed with a playful delight, his tail wagging to and fro. Drogon could feel something shifting in him. A certain kind of mischief, and before he knew it his own scaled tail was whipping to and fro. The dog barked, jumped forward playfully, and suddenly picked up a stick in his great jowls. Bounding forward, Oberon tossed the stick towards Drogon and impulsively Drogon reached out with his long neck, lightning quick and caught the stick in his mouth. What on earth had gotten into him? Was the incarnate Black Dread having fun?
Drogon winged the stick. The dog barked and bounded after it, returning it, eyes bright and glittering. Back and forth a few rounds, the creatures bounced and bounded, grunted and snorted, tossed and fetched.
“This is so spiffy!” Oberon exclaimed with a yip. “I’m playing with a dragon! It’s, like, as great as a snack!”
Drogon winged the long stick across the clearing. The hound leaped after it, getting a bit too close to where the clearing ended and the sky began. All of a sudden, with a squeal and a yelp, Oberon disappeared. Rocks along the cliff’s edge must have slid and he had fallen. There was a yowl on the wind.
Drogon didn’t hesitate. He spread his wings and flew into action. The dog was flailing mid-air about a meter down. Drogon dove and then spread his wings wide, swooping under the hound’s body and as he fell against the dragon’s back, Drogon lifted his wings high on either side to keep the creature from sliding or tumbling off. The creature immediately righted himself and adjusted his balance, an intelligent move, hooking his jaw along the ridge of Drogon’s spine to hang on. In a moment, they were back down on the green grass of the clearing.
“That was amazing!” the dog howled, jumping off Drogon’s back and running a circle around him. “That was worth all the snacks in the world! Thank you, Dragon! My Druid will be so grateful. I don’t even think the Tea that extends my life could have saved me from a cliff fall. You’re a hero!”
Drogon snorted. The steam from out his nostrils smelled like sausage.
“Do you get to go back to your person?” the dog asked? “Your person must be missing you. I bet you’re super important.”
Drogon bowed his head. He glanced at the sky. It was brightening. Nearly dawn. Perhaps, nearly home…
“Get there safe,” the dog bid earnestly.
Drogon nodded his head forward, as if the dog should go too, he’d be missed, surely. No one kept a hound immortal who didn’t need them very much. It’s a general rule not to kill the dog- that much was clear. Drogon reached out a claw, curved it downward so it wasn’t point-first, and gave the dog’s snout a boop.
The dragon then returned his face to the sky and leaped up, rocketing into the air. Oberon howled encouragement. Drogon offered a belch of fire over his shoulder, billowing behind him like a comet, a firework of farewell.
He hoped he was heading in the right direction. If anything, the nature of his bond to the Mother of Dragons had grown exponentially more powerful, perhaps for the distance, perhaps for having been thrust into other wordsmiths’ worlds and meeting their formidable beings.
As the bards and the wordsmiths have led us here, regaling us from tale to tale, creature to creature, world to world, I ask you, who of these great and clever beasts do you care for the most? Not who is best in battle. Not who is more fearsome or more terrible. The question here is who holds your heart? That too is a match worth playing.