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George and the Dragon

By P Chadwick All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

In dark days when the knights of old are all but a distant whisper in the fading winds, a terrible scourge lingers across the kingdom, a poison from which all life is drawn. Offered as a sacrifice to a menacing dragon, Lady Amma’s fate appears to be written. Yet stronger souls will prevail and Lady Amma has no intention of such a death. Aided by a faithful neighbour, Lady Amma sets out on a quest to render the powers of evil redundant and rid the world of the very being that vow to destroy her and all she holds true.

Prologue

The last of the day’s rays cast long shadows onto the field of wild barley and the crops whispered as they were stirred by the gentle breeze. It would be normal, perhaps, to see a gull circling in the cool azure sky, or glimpse a flock of sheep casually cropping at the tough, salty grass that grew close to the cliff’s edge. But the day was still, silent, devoid of creatures and the air hanging over the place was heavy like a portent.

A sound penetrated the stifling stillness, just on the edge of hearing, and the casual listener might lean in, head cocked on one side, in an effort to make it out.

The stalks waved in perpetual tumult and suddenly a figure came crashing through the field, leaving plant stems bent and broken in her wake and the sound, a dry frenzied gasp, came to the fore.

A shadow pursued the whimpering figure, passing fleetly over the land like a low-lying cloud, and the crops sizzled and singed in its wake.

The girl ran, her skirts clasped in pumping fists, her breast straining against whalebone and velvet as she desperately searched for any cover.

She crested a rise and a scant coppice was revealed, squatting on the cliff top. The fleeing girl picked up her pace, veil flying out behind her as she gained on the safety of the trees.

She was laughing, giggling in a childish voice, her mind gone, reason departed for if she were in better possession of her faculties she might have realised that the thorny bushes and gnarled trunks held no sanctuary from the creature that pursued her.

There came a roar from above, a cry of pure rage as the beast watched its prey go to ground and then, suddenly, inexplicably, the world was full of fire.

Forced onwards, the girl ran, gasping, groaning, screaming, her eyes focussed on the only thing that mattered, the cliffs ahead and the ocean below, her deliverance from this fate.

She ran, as fast as she possibly could, as the shadow descended, engulfing her in darkness, and the dry, mammoth beating of wings roared in her ears.

Her feet left the ground and she plunged through the air, the race over, her effort rewarded and she laughed as the jagged rocks and the crashing ocean rushed to greet her, and she reached out her arms to embrace them like old friends.

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