Read an Excerpt
Of all the beasts in the Bestiary, the dragon is the most fascinadng. Perhaps because it is- or has become over time and literature the most human in its nature and characteristics. Dragons attract us with their beauty and grace, fascinate us with their magic, lure us with promises of fabulous wealth, illgotten booty, free for the taking, with nary a guilty thought or qualm of conscience, for, after all, we are ridding the world of evil.
Sometime around 1983, when I first started working as a book editor for TSR, Inc., producers of the Dungeons & Dragons® role-playing games, the marketing department conducted a survey. They asked the players what the company could do to rnake the garne modules better.
The answer The dungeons are fine. We want more dragons.
One would think battling dragons every Saturday would lose its thrill, but, being a "gamer" myself, I can assure you that nothing causes the heart of a player to quicken, the eye to brighten, than to discover a gigantic clawed footprint in the path or to hear the peasant relate in panicked tones how, "Yon great winged beast done lifted me daughter clean in the air and made off wit' her!"
We know that at least half the party won't survive the encounter, but the knowledge of treasure, of battle with a worthy and cunning foe, draws us on.
Yet, after the hard-fought battle, with a foe worthy of our steel, who among the party doesn't feel a pang of regret when the glorious creature falls from the air, mortally wounded. And as we sneak off, like thieves with the treasure, we talk in hushed, almost reverent tones, of the monster we slew, and we feel-deep inside-ashamed, unworthy.
We know we have felled something greater, more wondrous than ourselves.
In this volume I have collected some of my very favorite dragon stories, by some of the best-known authors in the science fiction and fantasy felds. Some, I'm sure, you will come to as old favorites, as interesting and exciting to read again as they were the first time. In others, you will find new and entertaining adventures.
Just exacdy the sort of book to take along while posting guard on the king's treasure caravan. You are reading, enthralled, when suddenly from the sky above, you hear the creak and flap of huge leathery wings....
(c) 1994 by Margaret Weis
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