the first warning

Lavish purple and orange tapestries draped from the corners of the room and matched the richly appointed cape and sash of the ruler.  Knights in full dress armor, with matching sashes, stood at the ready on either side of the throne.  The King’s seat had been inlaid with exquisite care in the design of the ruling family’s coat of arms from finely worked gold and silver.  The light streaming from the high windows, adorned with stained-glass and nestled below the domed ceiling, glimmered against the precious metals.

The sorceress took in the scene with a glance and immediately understood it was all for show, it was all to promote the idea of wealth.  The King held his position because he had the resources to maintain power and control.  With a knowing smile, hidden beneath the cowl of her flowing robes, she stepped through the portal she had created to stand directly in front of the throne.

With a quick word in the language of magic the King’s guards fell asleep and crumbled to the ground.  An intact of breathe behind her, followed by a hush from the gossiping audience of the rulers court, was all she allowed before turning her considerable powers on the remainder of the room with a swirl of her right arm.  The king, though his instincts were still good despite his age, was unable to clear his scabbard before she had stopped his movements and pushed him back into his thrown with a flick of her left wrist.

“What is the meaning of this?”  He stammered, the rage at her audacity covering his fear of her sudden arrival and obvious skill in her craft.  “Who are you?  What do you want?”

“You have a legend in your kingdom, do you not,” the sorceress stalled, her head rolling to the right side as she gazed upon the king, “of a great dragon that lives in the hills and steals wicked children from their beds?”

His face flushed as he attempted to stand and strained uselessly against the spell that held him to his throne.  Gasping for air, his eyes burning with hatred, the king halted his attempts to break free and allowed his body to settle back into the elaborate chair.  “Who are you?”  He repeated his question.

“Who I am does not matter.  I’m just a messenger.  I’m just a harbinger of what is to come.  I will leave in a few moments and it is likely you will never see me again, unless you do not heed my advice, and trust me when I say, you do not want to see me again.”  She hissed her words at him and enjoyed watching him shrink further into the throne as the magical pressure applied to his chest increased.  “Do you have that legend, or not?”

“We do.  We do have that legend, yes.  It has been around for so long no one alive remembers how it started.  The origins of the story are no longer passed through the generations along with it.  What does…”

The sorceress cut him off, “The dragon is real, and it has sent me to tell you that it is tired of being only a legend.  It will be visiting you shortly and you must pay it the proper homage or face the consequences.  Bow before it, lavish it with gifts and promises of more to come, and it will let you keep your kingdom.  Fail to impress upon it that you will be loyal to it and the beast will tear your kingdom out from under you.”

She stepped back into her portal but let her final words carry through to the king before disappearing entirely, “And take any wrong steps before it arrives and I will know and I will return.  Your death at my hands will be much slower than it would be at the claws or fangs of the dragon.”

Her final view, before closing the portal, showed the King’s face had gone ashen.  Her words, and her delivery, had made him understand the message.  She had done her part and was free to return to her studies until the dragon called upon her again.

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