A new anthology that includes SIGNORINA’S DRAGON

Helloooo! I have a little story in the WRATH OF SWORDS AND MAGIC anthology, which is now available on Amazon here.  It’s a prequel to the DRAGONRIDERS OF FIORENZA series, with the events that take place directly after the first chapter of Assassin’s Blade. Long story short, Fia’s father was given a captured dragon after a failed attack on their city, and her father’s now going to try to tame the dragon. Read on! I have a whole sample below the pic!

Rosana, Fia’s old nurse, bustled inside and brought out an extra chair for Fia while Papa went out to tend to the captured dragon.

“Now watch,” Papa told Fia. “Watch how I bend this dragon to my will.”

Rosana dragged a chair to Fia, and had also brought a jug of wine and two old wooden cups that Fia used to drink out of when she was little. “Well,” the old nurse said philosophically, pouring Fia a drink, “settle in, child. This should be interesting.”

Papa spent the next couple of hours bending the dragon to his will by dodging its teeth and ducking its claws. Though he tried to make it allow him to ride, it would not let him approach him at all. Every time he tried, it snapped at him. Though the dragon was still chained and manacled, it was no longer muzzled as it had been when it was first captured, when it had been addled from its fall and unable to fight back.

After a little while, Papa further bent the dragon to his will by standing well out of its reach and swearing at it.

The whole time, Fia sat with Rosana in front of her house, watching the show while sipping wine and talking.

“So have you bent the dragon to your will yet?” Fia asked as Papa came back to them, hot and sweaty.

“Yes. There’s a method to it.” Papa picked up their wine jug, took a big drink straight from the bottle, and went back to bending a dragon to his will – which, at this point, consisted of him standing under a tree glaring balefully at it.

Fia and Rosana fell into conversation about the old days, and said hello to Messer Albizzi, who stopped by to give his wife a peck on the cheek and to drink a cup of wine before he and their son went back to work thatching roofs.

“What is your papa doing this time?” Messer Albizzi asked Fia in a low voice.

Fia looked up. Now her papa was trying to sneak up behind the dragon with a saddle, as if the dragon were some old horse he could trick.

“Don’t you know? He is clearly bending the dragon to his will,” Fia said.

Rosana’s husband watched Fia’s papa for a long moment.

“Hmm,” was all he finally said.

Papa tried to throw the saddle over the dragon’s back, but the dragon, not even bothering to stand up, grabbed the saddle in its teeth – her papa barely let go of the thing in time – and flung it away over the treetops.

Messer Albizzi groaned. “Oh, not again,” he said, and trudged off to find it.

“Try tempting the beast with a haunch of goat,” Rosana called to Fia’s papa.

“Pat it on the nose,” Fia added. “Dragons like it when you pat them on the nose.”

Papa merely shot them an exasperated look just before the dragon’s tail snaked in and knocked him off his feet. He landed with an oof! in the dust as the dragon looked on with satisfaction.

Rosana said, “Yes, your papa is most assuredly bending the dragon to his will,” and poured a little more wine into Fia’s wooden cup.

“I’m definitely learning a lot by watching this. As in, what not to do,” Fia said as they drank.

That evening her papa, who was quite worn out after having bent the dragon to his will, climbed on his horse to travel back home, joining an armed band of travelers that was going by.

“I’m allowing you to stay here, understand,” he told Fia as he leaned off the side of his horse.

“Oh, yes, certainly,” she agreed.

“Messer Albizzi will take care of the dragon while I’m away. You can watch, but remember that a dragon responds best to strong discipline. And you are not allowed to work directly with the dragon. Leave that to the men who know best. Do you understand?”

“Well, I certainly have no intention of bending the dragon to my will.”

“A wise choice,” Papa said, and he rode away.

****

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