“Juniper…This….This…. Is a bad idea…”
“Why do you say that?”
A young fae and a novice wizard stood outside of a tavern. Shouting and laughing and glass smashing rumbled the stony building. Candle light spilled into the dirt road through a crack in the door. A burly patron wobbled out, a stein of ale in his mits.
Cecil quivered behind her. An exasperated sigh huffed out her lungs. Wings tilting downwards. “Oh come on. We have to find this Brutus guy. He knows about the dragon.” Chin raised, she dragged her friend into the seedy establishment. “Brave adventurers fear no danger.” She reminded proudly to her nervous companion.
Busty barmaids hustled around the room. Brawny men and women clinked glasses, toasting to successful quests. A heated game of darts was being played in the corner.
Look for the man with serpent tattoo. That’s what Ramona had told them. In him, you will find the answers you seek. Over by the roaring fireplace, a chiseled dwarf. A winged serpent painted on his bicep. Smoke from his pipe billowed into the air. A Warhammer strapped to his back.
“Are you Brutus?”
“Whose asking?” His voice gruff and disinterested.
“Me, obviously. Or are you blind?”
He scoffed, eyeing the fae girl. “Haven’t seen a fairy around these parts in a long while.”
“Good. Now you have. My friend and I are looking for information, about the Dragon of the South.” Juniper plucked the rolled up scroll from Cecil’s hands and unfurled the map for the dwarf.
He stiffled a laugh and shook his head, dismissing them with another puff of his pipe. “Fly away, little moth, Or you’ll – ” The tip of her gleaming rapier appeared inches from his face. Incoherent words stammered out of Cecil’s mouth. Juniper’s scowl never wavered. A growl gargled in his throat. Everything in the bar halted to a stop. Then, impish cackle broke the silence.
Perched on a table, a scrawny man strummed a lute, shoulders bouncing in giddy giggles. Pointed ears and eyes like lost emeralds. Opal white hair tied into a pony tail. The dwarf jabbed his thumb in the bard’s direction. The elf bowed his head, holding his instrument in his arms, ready to play a tune.
“Brutus P. Capatrius the Second, at your service.” With a dramatic wave of his hand, he beckoned the barmaid over. “Some cups of apple cider for the youngins.” A sly grin smeared on his lips. “You two are awfully adorable.”
“Miss Ramona, our mentor, sent us. To find the exact location of the dragon. A-And she also said…-”
“That we were lovers? In our youth, of course. Though I suppose it’s not a story for children.” He gestured for them to sit. “Sit, Sit, little dears.”
“Wait,” Juniper’s head shook in disbelief. Wings aflutter, she hovered off the ground, drawing closer to Brutus. “You’ve fought a dragon?”
“Definetly not. I simply sang it a lullaby.” He grinned, beaming in his mirth. “But I have seen the nasty bugger.” His fingers stroked the strings once. “I wouldn’t go chasing him if I were you.” He warned in a sing song tone.
“We must collect….” Cecil tossed Juniper an uneasy glance. “something from the dragon’s lair, for one of Ramona’s spells.”
“And what Ramona wants, Ramona gets, no?” He snickered, gingerly taking the map. This dragon was notorious for being difficult to find. Lots of tunnels and caverns, he explained. The two children drank cider as he told his tale of the dragon of the south. With a feather quill, Brutus marked a point on the map with a circle. “This… Something…. That you two are searching for better be worth it.”
“We can handle it.” Sticking her nose up in the air, she grabbed her companion’s hand. After giving their thanks to the carefree bard, the two adventurers scurried outside.
Cecil hugged his stomach, letting out panicked breaths. “I can’t believe we survived.”
Lifting off the ground, Juniper swooped the wizard up underneath his arms and carried him through the night sky. “Now all we have to do is find that dragon egg.”