Genre: Science Fantasy
The Grabrian dragon stretched on her gate, exhausted from her night’s work defending the city. Steam rose from nostrils big as Merre’s fists as she slumbered, her gray scales gleaming in the early morning light. Merre sidled from foot to aching foot, trying not to mind her proximity.
If the dragon woke, she might pluck Merre out of crowded Landin Square and devour him -- and be well within her rights to do so, for he was wardless. His nerves roared at him to run. Instead he dug in, gripped his toes along the edge of a cobblestone. Easy enough to feel through the soles of his charity slippers.
Seventy Landiners queued before Merre, if that. He might just get his spoonful of pudding before all the luck got fished out.
Up on stage, at the start of the line, the king’s cook Birtwick stirred a kettle large enough to squeeze in six of Merre and the Cat besides. The Cat, who had once belonged to Sorek, inasmuch as a cat ever belonged to anyone, crouched, saucer-eyed, on Merre’s shoulder. She dug her claws deep into his vest and lashed her tail in furious disapproval as the dragon turned her head in sleep, blasting hot carrion breath on Merre. The stench choked him, water springing to his eyes as he fought for breath. In his mind he heard Sorek screaming.
Merre pinched himself hard on the meat of his arm and looked away before the memory could uncoil. Not now.