“Have you a spare moment to listen?”, the gruff voice said impatiently. It took me aback for a minute, even had my head swivelling this way and that, but there was no-one about. Then suddenly, just in front of my office desk, a large figure began to form. It was a Green Dragon, and clasped in his right front claw was a small red pipe, a smoking pipe at that, which to my mind was not quite the norm. He went on “Have you perhaps the knowledge of the nearest Dragon Lair?”…I stared open-mouthed, and finally answered “ You know, this is a no smoking area… and to be honest I have no idea where the lair could be…Have you tried asking in reception?” whilst thinking “Now that’d give Imogen something to do other than polishing her nails!!”
He coughed, a large throaty cough, and a small spurt of bright yellowy/orange flame shot from his mouth, which gave me rather a jolt as I wasn’t sure if the desk was fireproof, but I carried on regardless… “and I’m sure it’s against office policy to be shooting flames about.” He begged pardon, and stared at me rather slyly, then lumbered over to my side of the desk. I had a thought to back away slightly, but this was my office and no-one, especially a Dragon, was scaring me. So I looked up and met his eyes, a rather long way to look up, but I managed it without blinking, and saw to my surprise that his eyes were rather sad-looking. Before I could stop myself I asked “Is everything ok? Maybe I can help in some other way?” and his sharp teeth suddenly appeared in a smile, I hoped it was a smile, which seemed to change his appearance from totally overpowering to just about friendly. “Now that you ask, I think you could do me a favour, but you have to know the consequences before you answer my question.” ..I gulped as I was still staring at his teeth, and what a fine set of sharply point attributes they were, then at his claws which were still clutching his red pipe, now unlit as no smoke was issuing forth at all. “Consequences?” I echoed..”What ever do you mean?”
He shifted position slightly and following my gaze to his pipe, he said “Oh dear, I wasn’t concentrating'” before I could object, he’d relit the pipe by spurting a small length of flame, and wispy smoke curled it's merry way to the ceiling once more., “Now, that’s a handy talent“ I thought, as he took a quick pull at the stem and blew small designs with the smoke, at first a simple circle, then a flying bird, then finally a three-masted ship in full sail appeared in mid-air. Whilst I gasped at it’s intricate beauty, I was totally unaware of his gaze, his smile and finally the fact that we were both on the deck of the ship, with the sapphire blue expanse of the open seas before us. “What on Earth" I spluttered, whilst totally overcome with heady excitement, I was conscious of his gaze again and knew what I had to ask.. “You said something about a Question?”.. “Ah yes, so I did, “ he growled slightly, almost menacingly, “Do you wish for a different Life, Lady?, Do you wish for adventure and more? Think on, you must answer true.” I opened my mouth to answer, but thoughts were swirling round my brain, each one as stupid as the last, “What about the balance sheets, what about the error in the figures, What about my job, what about ... nothing, what about adventure?” and I finally found my voice and croaked “ I do” which sounded like a marriage vow, so I added quickly, “Yes I do wish that”
“Then let it be so,” He waved his pipe in a circle and muttered a few softly spoken indistinguishable words.. and the smoky form of the ship gained substance until there were firm wooden planks beneath my feet. “I..I..don’t even know your name” were the only words which came to mind. He coughed on his pipe, spluttered whilst roaring “WHAT? don’t you know that’s bad form. You must never ask my name. I will proffer it should I so wish, but no Dragon will ever give his true name, lest he be caught and overpowered by a spell. You may call me Fyrespike, “
‘Twas thus I met Fyrespike, and when I wish adventure, I only have to breathe his name. I still have no knowledge of his true Dragon name, but maybe one day he’ll trust me enough to share.….
but for now you must excuse me, these accounts won’t do themselves …take care fellow travellers…