We Three Dragons: A Trio of Dragon Tales for the Holiday Season

We Three Dragons: A Trio of Dragon Tales for the Holiday Season

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Overview

We Three Dragons: A Trio of Dragon Tales for the Holiday Season by Ed Greenwood, James M. Ward, Jeff Grubb

A trio of dragon tales for the holiday season…

The Knight, Before Christmas
by Jeff Grubb
A family celebrates their midwinter holiday with the poetic telling of the tale a bold knight who confronts a dreaded dragon on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Dragon
by James M. Ward
The holiday chimes of a small town incite the wrath of nearby dragon who adds to his horde by preying on their bounty, only to later discover the true meaning of the holiday season when his horde is coveted by an even darker and rapacious denizen.

Wrathclaw's Wyrmtide, Or, The Secret of Treasure-Unlooked-For
by Ed Greenwood
A greedy old monster of a dragon reflects on wealth and mortality when confronting a mysterious and magical treasure that seems to reflect his own past. He comes to regret some of his decisions and desires, and in turn discovers a treasure far greater than gold, indeed, the legendary Treasure-Unlooked-For.







At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466800014
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 11/01/2005
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 242 KB

About the Author

Ed Greenwood is the award winning and bestselling creator of the Forgotten Realms and The Band of Four series. A librarian, Ed lives in the wilds of Ontario.

James Ward is the award winning game designer of Gamma World and bestselling author of The Pools Trilogy for TSR.

Jeff Grubb is the award winning game designer of the revised campaign setting for the Forgotten Realms and bestselling author of Magic--The Brothers War and many other TSR/WOTC novels as well as co-author with Ed Greenwood of CORMYR.


Ed Greenwood is the bestselling author of the Band of Four series and creator of the bestselling and award-winning Forgotten Realms role-playing campaign setting. He lives in the Ontario countryside.
James Ward is the award winning game designer of Gamma World and bestselling author of The Pools Trilogy for TSR.

Read an Excerpt



We Three Dragons

The Knight, Before Christmas
BY JEFF GRUBB
It had started snowing about midday, brief flurries that soon thickened and swirled into great heavy flakes, burying the outside world in white. Father stood there watching the landscape turn into a comforting pale blanket in the cloud-wrapped moonlight. Then he turned his attention back inside, to wife and family, and to the final preparations.
Father poked his head around the corner, "Ready, yet?" he asked.
"Just a moment," said Mother, warming the last of the snacks, "Everybody together?"
"The twins are already poking each other," said Father, "And the Princess is up in her chambers."
"Sulking," said Mother.
"She's a teenager," said Father, "That's what teenagers do."
"I cannot believe she wanted to go out tonight," said Mother, her face dropping into a frown. There had been words between mother and daughter earlier that evening.
"She's a teenager," said Father.
"She's your daughter," said Mother.
"Why is she MY daughter when she's like this?" said Father.
"Because when she's like this she's exactly like you," said Mother, regarding the caramelized bits of exploded corn on the tray sternly. "Now go fetch."
Another head-poke around the corner, "We're ready, Princess."
"Mrph," said the Princess, sprawled out on her bed, facedown, in a posture that embodied her righteous indignation.
"Come on. Family time," said Father.
The Princess raised her head, "It is SO unfair." "Probably," said Father, "But it's a tradition. We've done this since you were a child."
"But I'm NOT a child," she sniffed.
"Which makes it all the more important," said Father, "We love you, and want you to stay home tonight."
"Mrph," she said again, into her bed.
"It's something you'll be doing with your children when you're a parent," said Father.
"Mrph."
"Which is something you're going to be thinking about, sooner or later. There IS that cute boy, what's his name?" Father looked innocently at the ceiling.
"Daaaaaad!" came the indignant response. "Don't be gross!"
"And here I thought you were a grown-up," said Father, smiling. A flicker of a smile fanned across herface, inadvertent and quickly replaced with typical teenage insolence. "Come on, girl," said Father, "Up you go, Pumpkin."
The Princess grumbled herself upright, her shoulders slouched, "Mom's still mad?"
"She'll get over it," said Father, "Now scoot."
 

 

By the time the Princess stomped down to the main room, the twins had progressed past the poking-each-other-stage and needed to be separated. They now sat on either side of Mother, grabbing for the caramelized corn and making faces at each other.
Father sighed and settled himself down by the hearth, and reached for the old book on the shelf. It was ironbound, and the pages were weathered with age, but the dark ink still shone brightly, as if laid down that morning. Father remembered when the words were first laid down, and sighed.
The Princess slumped down next to him, and consciously did not look at Mother. Princess made a point of not reaching for the snacks.
Father grumbled his throat clear and said: "Each year, at Yuletide, at Christmas, on these short days and long nights, we gather together as a family." He shot a look at his eldest daughter, "And we read the story. It's a family tradition, and an important one. My father read this to me when I was a child, and I read it to you, and you will read it to your children, I hope."
The twins settled, the Princess let out a sigh and looked up at him.
Father thumbed open the great tome, and it fell naturally open to the chosen page. His voice rumbled deeply as he read aloud:

The Knight, Before Christmas
 

'Twas the Knight, before Christmas, who came to the vale The snow-flurries dusting his blood-colored mail, A razor-sharp broadsword was hung at his belt, He had come to the vale for a dragon-wyrm's pelt.
 

The villagers, nestled, afraid in their towns, Greatly feared the old dragons who lived past the downs, They hired a warrior renowned for his sword, To dispatch a foul dragon and recover its hoard.
 

He walked unafraid, his blade in its sheath, Crossing the downs and the snow-covered heath, "Twas winter, he reasoned, and could therefore surmise That he'd take the wyrm napping, perchance by surprise
 

When over his head there arose a great thunder, He turned up his head to regard it in wonder,For descending upon him from out of the clouds Was a great winged shape, both flaming and loud.
 

Its reptilian wings, all rippling and tight Flashed through the air of the snow-covered night Pennants of fire trailed back from its jaws, And moonlight gleamed coldly on needle-sharp claws.
 

From cloud-height the dragon plunged down to the ground, And slammed the snow hard with a punishing sound. It let out a bellow that respect soon commanded And made sure beyond doubt that a dragon had landed.
 

The Knight with a flourish then drew out his blade, And made no attempt to flee or evade, He would not retreat, nor show fear in the least, Instead he strode forward to challenge the beast.
 

The great creature hunched down and let out a wail, And lashed over its head with a flick of its tail The wrist of the Knight was the dragon's true mark. And the warrior's sword spun off to the dark.
 

The Knight moved at once, but the dragon was faster, Placing itself 'tween both the sword and its master, The warrior thought he would have no living choiceWhen to his wondering ears came the dragon's deep voice.
 

"Do not fear for your safety, I want you alive For one dead knight brings out a dozen more live. For while there is no fight from which I will balk, For this evening, instead, let us sit down and talk."
 

The Knight was confused, and let out a shout "My mission, oh wyrm, of this have no doubt, I have made it my quest, should I triumph or fail, To defeat the vile dragons who threaten this vale."
 

The wyrm gaped its jaws, from within came a glow, And flames made a pool of a hillock of snow, It looked at the knight with a deep golden eye. And in its deep voice, it made its reply.
 

"Oh mortal, oh man-thing, oh troublesome child Oh mammal, oh insect, oh humanoid wild, Can you not see? Are you truly so dense? That I am this valley's first line of defense."
 

"Look about you and see just what lacks in the land? There are no wyverns, no griffons, nor other beasts grand. No wolves at the door, nor bears at the gate No other beasts lurking and lying in wait"
"While other vales struggle for mutton and fleece, It is here that your dragon-wyrm maintains all the peace. We cull the herd, true, of the weak and the ill, But we do not despoil, but just take our fill."
 

"I could slay you, no doubt, but that would just be a waste. For you're just a young man, and I don't like your taste. So instead of making you into a meal, Perhaps you would be more intrigued by a deal."
 

"What you think of plunder, I think of as food, I hunt for my needs, and for those of my brood. I need gold for my bed, all piled in a heap, And tomes to help lull my young hatchlings to sleep."
 

"What I offer is simple, I offer your life, In exchange you reduce all my trouble and strife, A gift, freely given, offered once now each year, And you'll find that your humans have nothing to fear."
 

"From this evening forward, let all fears decrease, You come seeking war, and I offer you peace. Should you think this is just too much to ask, Then go fetch your blade, and we'll finish this task."
The Knight thought for a moment about what was just said, Spared by the wyrm when in truth he'd be dead, With that the Knight saw the good dragon's intent, And with a shrug of the shoulders, he gave his assent.
 

With that the great dragon broke out in a grin, "You have chosen a battle both sides can now win". And with that the great wyrm laid a claw by its jowl, And rose from from the heath with an ear-splitting howl.
 

The Knight watched it leave, and returned to the town, And spoke of his talk on the snow-covered down. And told them it would take but a gift to prevail, O'er the Protector-Dragon that sheltered the vale.
 

From that day to this, on the year's longest night, That dragon meets warrior, but not for a fight. For it's all very simple when you deal with a dragon, Instead of a blade, bring a gift-laden wagon.
Father closed the book and let out a sigh. The twins were already half-asleep, leaning against Mother's legs, the caramel corn gone, their fires banked. Mother rose and shepherded the pair to their bedroom, ignoring their timid, sleepy complaints.
The Princess's eyes were at half-mast as well. Father stood and held out a hand. She pulled herself up on it, then leaned against him as he took her back upstairs.
"Thank you," she said.
"For what?" said Father.
"For reading it," said the Princess, "I love that story." She stifled a deep yawn.
"It's a family tradition."
"I'm sorry I'm such a ... ." she let her voice trail off.
"Teenager?" suggested Father. She just shook her head, but didn't finish.
"Tell mom I'm sorry," she said.
"She knows," he replied.
"I really want to go with you," she said.
"Not this year. And not next, either. But soon you'll be old enough."
He kissed her on the forehead, and she tumbled back into her bed, almost asleep before she hit.
"G'night, Daddy," she mumbled.
"Good night, Pumpkin," he said.
"Lvyu," she murmured, and with that she was fast asleep.
 

 

Mother was at the front entrance, staring out into the valley. A thick carpet of snow spread over the low hills, and more was coming down.
"Cold night," she said.
Father made a noncommittal noise, then said, "She says she's sorry."
Mother let out a deep sigh, and sparks flickered. "I cannot believe her, sometimes. She's much too young to go with you."
"She knows, she knows," said Father, "But she won't be a child forever."
"She is a child, NOW," said Mother, and then paused for a moment, "More importantly, she is MY child."
Father hugged her, "So NOW she's your daughter." "She's always my daughter," Mother said with a soft smile, "Even when she's as bull-headed as her father."
They watched out in the snow. On the ridge beyond the downs, there was a sudden flare of light--a bonfire being lit.
"They're here," said Mother, "About time."
Father let out a deep sigh, and the entranceway was bathed in russet flame. The soft light picked out Mother's scales, and danced along her claws.
"Two wagons," he said, scanning the ridge, "Must have been a good year."
"You're surprised?" said Mother.
"Only that they realized it," said Father, "I'll be back in a jiff."
"Careful."
"Always."
"Love you." She snuggled against him.
"Merry Christmas, my love," said Father, and launched himself from the entrance, his great reptilian wings churning the snows in a crazy dance behind him.
The flight was short, but one needed to make the proper appearance. Father banked in front of the cloud-wrappedmoon so that his shadow fell across the human warrior and his wagons. He knew the warrior would look up and be surprised.
Then Father roared and dived, reversing his wings at the last moment and sending up a spray of snow as he landed. The warrior held his ground, and that made Father smile as well. The warrior believed in maintaining proper appearances as well.
"Merry Christmas, oh mortal," said Father, the steam pouring from his scaled nostrils, concealing a sharp-toothed smile. "I see this will be a good night."
Copyright © 2005 by Bill Fawcett and Associates

What People are Saying About This

Margaret Weis

"The tales of these three dragon-masters are definitely a holiday season treat.

From the Publisher

“The tales of these three dragon-masters are definitely a holiday season treat.”—Margaret Weis, author of Master of Dragons

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