Thursday, May 11, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday: The Silent Dragon

I used a random title generator this week to give me the title, and I knew it needed to go along with a couple of other stories I've written about the Dragon Emissary. If you wish, you can check out One Dragon at a Time and The Second Dragon before you read today's installment. It's just under 1000 words.

The Silent Dragon (A Dragon Emissary story)

Calla gazed at the parchment in her hand, her mind working overtime. She had fished the packet from a secret compartment in the back wall of her semi-secret workroom. Someone had wanted it to be found only by the right people.

And no wonder. It contained a secret that changed a great deal, if not everything, about her job. Calla was the 23rd Dragon Emissary of the Kingdom of Battorn, and she had taken over the job rather abruptly when her father’s skills had proven unequal to the task.

That was how most of the Emissaries got the job. None retired to warmer climes, and very few had lived to fully train their successors.

Calla read the document again. It told her something she needed to know, but it did not tell her how she was going to manage the issue of this attack by the dragon WindDancer. If it was in fact WindDancer who had done it. That was one thing she had learned from the piles of books and scrolls she had read before stumbling on the key to the secret parchment: dragons lied. Especially they lied about who did what, and they liked getting each other in trouble. The dragon SkySoarer had made the accusation, and that made it at least as likely that she had burned the border farm as that WindDancer had.

All this was making Calla’s head ache. She had to be a detective as well as a diplomat and a warrior, and she was beginning to wish she’d had an older brother to inherit the job. Failing that, she wish she possessed the gift of seeing the truth, as she suspected the first Dragon Emissary had. It was an inheritable gift, but only cropped up occasionally.

Calla, alas, had no magic of any sort, let alone that most useful of Gifts. Her first dragon had nearly killed her, in part because he lied and she couldn’t see it. She meant to be better prepared for the second dragon. If she couldn’t see lies, she could at least assume that the dragons were lying.

All of that was secondary to the difficult terrain she had to negotiate at home, thanks to what she had just learned. The parchment had contained a royal lineage…which showed that King Kor himself had dragon blood. No wonder Battorn, unlike the other kingdoms that surrounded the dragon lands, maintained a Emissary rather than just sending in a lot of knights to slay wayward dragons.

Take this WindDancer. Not only did she need to figure out if he had really done the crime, but she needed to know if he was, in fact, the king’s uncle, or third cousin twice removed, or what. And how did dragon blood enter the royal line, anyway. Surely humans and dragons couldn’t…well, how did it? There must have been wizardry involved somewhere. Probably a dragon had been turned into a human at some point.

More complications.

Calla leaned back in her chair, stuffed the last sausage roll in her mouth, and thought about what to do. After thinking a long time (she might have napped part of that time. She hadn’t slept in two nights, and there was the matter of her first Dragon Emissary job, which had involved fighting her way out), Calla got up. With immense care, she restored the parchment to its wrappings and placed the whole thing back in the hole in the wall. She re-set the booby-traps, and sealed the stone back in place with her congealed porridge, which shared many of the properties of mortar.

Now to go do the job for which she’d spent her life training.


WindDancer looked down his nose—a nose that allowed for a great deal of looking down—at the puny human who insisted he owed damages to the border farmer.

“Who says that I, WindDancer of the dragon clan Whrrr, have done this thing?”

“So says Sky Soarer of your people, and so I have determined from my own investigations. King Kor of Battorn has issued the order that you must pay the damages.”

“And you will enforce this order?” There was a subtle emphasis on “you” that set Calla’s teeth on edge.

“I am the Dragon Emissary. I will enforce the order, by the authority invested in me by your kinsman, King Kor.” The words out, Calla held her breath. She had said aloud what had remained unspoken for generations. Depending on how WindDancer reacted, she might have achieved nothing, or laid the seeds for the destruction of the kingdom—or opened the door to a new relationship with the dragons.

If she had guessed wrong, the first part of the kingdom to be destroyed would be Calla, the Dragon Emissary. The rest would follow. She met the dragon’s gaze and did not blink.

WindDancer blinked. Several times, rapidly. Then he said, “Kinsman?” Recovering himself, he said arrogantly, “Kor is a human. That makes him no kinsman of mine.”

“That’s where you might be wrong,” Calla said. “It’s about time you dragons admitted that there are limits to your knowledge—and your power.”

“My power is certainly enough to squash you like a bug,” WindDancer pointed out.

“Ah, but what might my power do to you if you do that?” Calla spoke with more confidence than she felt, but it worked. The dragon stopped posturing and studied her in a new way.

“Perhaps we should discuss this.”

“Perhaps we should,” Calla agreed. She had a feeling King Kor wouldn’t like it, but that was his problem. She had already decided where her duty lay. Calla would do what was needed to maintain the peace with the dragons. With a bit of luck, and a few lies, she might even be able to put an end to all the raids.

That would be a task worthy of her title.

“Come. I’ll buy you a drink.”


©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


  1. This needs to be a book, 800 pgs or so. I'd buy it.

    1. Thanks! Not sure I'll ever make anything run to 800 pages, but I do suspect that my assorted dragon-related fantasies need to come together into a single world and become a book.


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