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by Margaret Weis
p.31 People were in a good mood at the start of the faire. Merchants anticipated fat profits. The common folk anticipated some fun to brighten their drab lives. The nobility anticipated intrigue, shopping, and gossip. And so, while tehre was much confusion during the setup of booths and tents, jostling and collisions were taken in good humor. Strangers pitched in to help when a wheel fell off a wagon. The traveling actors, busy erecting a stage at one end of the field, enlivened the work with the music of tambour and drum.
The mood would change by faire’s end. Exhaustion, disappointment, pickpockets, and hangovers would take their toll on the fairegoer’s good nature. But for now, every man was every other man’s brother. The merriment was contagious and Ven felt himself swept up in the excitement and gaiety.
p.85 “If it was up to me,” said Gunderson in a savage undertone, his single eye glittering, “I’d run you through the gut and let you die by inches, just like you’re doing to them.”
“If it was up to me,” Draconas replied, “I’d let you.”
p.101-102 Sighing, Marcus dug both hands into the clay and scooped out a large, dripping mass.
“Now what?” he demanded.
“Form it into a ball. Think about how the clay feels in your hand, how it looks and smells. Feel the tiny granules that make it rough and notice how those contrast with the slippery, smooth texture. Feel the warmth of the sun-warmed water and the coldness of the clay that has been lying beneath it. See the tiny, broken shells of the little creatures that once lived in it. Smell the wet smell, the earth smell, the fish smell, all mingled together.”
“This is more fun than I thought,” announced Marcus, with a small boy’s enjoyment of playing in the dirt.
He molded and shaped enthusiastically, slapping the clay and laughing gleefully when he splashed water all over Draconas. Marcus made a ball, smooth and round. Then he made a duck, modeling it after a real duck paddling among the reeds. The finished product looked like no duck Draconas had ever seen, but he praised it to the skies.
p.141 With agonizing slowness, the sun descended from chimney to rooftop, languished behind the buildings for an eon, then, finally, sank into a puddle of its own radiance and was extinguished.
p.282-283 The Parliament of Dragons had spent months crafting crafting the spell that transformed Draconas--a red-gold dragon--into Draconas--a human. Among the categories of dragon magic, the spell was known as a supreme illusion, one of the take. The spell was so complex that more than one dragon was required to cast it. Humans who viewed the illusion of Draconas must not only believe in their minds that he was human, they had to believe it in their hearts and in their souls. He had to smell human, feel human, bleed human blood. He had to be human in all ways, manners, and degrees. The only way the illusion could be broken was by a single human tear.
If a human tear touched Draconas’s illusory skin, the human who shed that tear would have the power to see Draconas for what he was. The Parliament had attached this “rider” to the spell not for the sake of the humans, but as a warning to the walker-dragon. Draconas must never allow himself to become emotionally involved with humans. In other words, he must never permit a human to cry on his shoulder.
Lacking the resources to cast a supreme illusion, Grald and Maristara had been forced to steal the bodies of humans, usurp those bodies and, by means of perverted magic, take the human bodies for their own. This had certain advantages. A human--even one possessed of dragon magic--who looked at them would see only another human. No sign of the dragon. The body-snatching had one major disadvantage. The illusion spell used by Draconas allowed him to glide easily from one human form to another, thus ensuring that in most circumstances he could escape from a dangerous or compromising situation. Grald and Maristara could leave their human bodies, but only to change back into their dragon forms. As Draconas had himself witnessed, the process took a long time to complete and left the dragon vulnerable, like a butterfly struggling to escape from its cocoon; finally emerging, but with its wings wet and crumpled.