Tempering A Dragon

Tempering A Dragon


SJ Wilke


Fiction, Fantasy

Publish Date

September 13, 2020

Short Description

Tempura is a legend. A mighty warrior who has conquered the enemy on the battlefield while riding her mighty dragon. Except, it’s all lies. Tempura is just a teenager. She has never been on a battlefield and never killed anyone. Yet, she is a critical player in a war between man and dragon, and she must choose the side of the dragons. She must pretend to be a war hero. She believes she is a Dragon Master, but she soon learns she is a master of nothing until another Dragon Master, almost dead, arrives on her doorstep high in the mountains. With him, she comes to realize that they are not in control. The best she can do is learn from him and the dragons, to find herself and discover what she really is.


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Every dragon in the huge cavern raised their head, staring in the direction of the Great Door.

“Who is insane enough to be traveling in this weather?” Tempura said, dropping the harness she was mending.

No one answered her. All of the dragon chatter around her had ended abruptly. She knew the dragons had excellent hearing and had heard something. All of them had heard it.

“The wind is close to one hundred miles an hour, and the temperature is hovering at minus forty,” she said, repeating the weather report she had heard earlier.

Rider one, said a couple of dragons in dragonspeak at the same time.

Tempura knew this meant a single dragon and its rider had landed in the courtyard.

“Insane,” she said.

She rose and instantly broken into a jog. A dragon out in this cold needed to get in fast. She jogged up the ramp toward the Great Door.

“Damn rider. How dare you take your dragon out in this weather? I’m hurrying for the sake of the dragon, not you.”

She reached the double innerdoor first. Before she opened thedoor, she grabbed a thick fur coat from the racks.

“It’s insane just to open the Great Door without a coat.”

She pulled on the coat, then pulled out a fur hat from a pocket and pulled it down over her head. Wisps of her brown hair had escaped her pony tail. She drew a finger across her forehead to move the hairs out of her eyes.

As fast as she could, she pushed openthe inner door and slipped through. The quickershe was,the less heat was lost and the fewer cold drafts allowed in.

“Damn, its cold.”

She hastily buttoned the coat while she hurried up the ramp. It curved around, almost doubling back on itself. Her fingers were already going numb with cold when she put on her gloves.

“I bet it’s as cold between the two doors as it is outside.”

She could feel the cold pass through her light tan pants. They would hardly protect her from the cold unless she kept moving. She was glad she always wore her fur-lined boots.

Tempura reached the lever that controlled the door mechanism. She reached up and pulled down hard. The wheels turned, pulling open the two halves of the Great Door. In an instant, she saw a huff of dragon breath swirled in through the opening. A dragon nose already pushed in at the doors, helping the pulleys from working so hard. The doors were heavy, consisting of double wood slabs that were two feet thick. The doors were constructed not to keep a dragon in, but to keep out the bitter cold of winter.

“Get in here quick,” Tempura said, although she needn’t have.

The rider was pulled through the doorby his dragon who was in an obvious hurry to get inside.

“Tail,” she said, barely able to breath with the cold.

Her voice seemed lost in the wind.

The dragon’s tail rapidly cleared the threshold, and she pushed up the lever to close the doors. The rush of wind subsided, however, the air was still frigid. No one moved until the doors were firmly closed.

“This way,” Tempura said, leading the way toward the inner doors.

She walked fast, just as eager to reach the warmth as she knew the dragon would be.

“Warmer down below.”

She swung open both inner doors to allow the dragon to pass. However, the dragon and his rider had only came so far down the ramp. She thought the dragon looked a little too timid.

“Warmer down below,” she said again, wondering why the rider just stood there, holding the rope attached to his dragon.

“I need my dragon tended to,” the man said, still encased in his heavy flying coat.

His hat and scarf covered his face. He took a few steps toward her.

“Yes, I know. Send him on down,” Tempura said with an impatient wave of her hand.

“I want to make sure he gets chained,” the man said.

Tempura glared, feeling anger well up in her.

“We don’t chain dragons here. You think a dragon’s going to want to escape out there?”

She pointed toward the Great Door.

The rider’s eyes followed her gesture, but he didn’t move any further down the ramp.

Was the man crazy?

Tempura stomped over to him and grabbed his rope away. She thought the rope was a joke. Did the man really think he could control his dragon with a rope? This dragon could haul him around with ease.

“Go on down,” she said to the dragon, tossing the loose end of the rope.

It snagged on the dragon’s harness. The dragon flinched at the touch of the rope. Tempura could see the conflict in his eyes. He was eyeing his rider and then her, looking very unsure what to do. She knew she would win the battle. The dragon looked to her for encouragement. She waved her hand, urging him to go. That was all he needed, and he moved down into the cavern.

Tempura turned her gaze to the man and impatiently waved for him to go. She almost stuckhim whenshe did so. Finally, the man moved, passing through the doors, allowing her to close them, although the doors just missed him sincehe wasn’t moving as fast as she calculated. She almost wished she had. Besides, the other dragons weren’t going to be pleased with so much cold air sweeping down from the doors or the loss of heat. However, she heard no complaints. The other dragons were unusually silent. She felt some concern. Silence meant something was wrong.

“If you want a warming bath, keep on going toward your left. Jak is there, and he’ll take off your harness,” Tempura said, removing her coat.

She turned her back on the man while she hung up the coat on the rack by the doors. The gloves were stuffed into one pocket while the hat was stuffed in another, so all she had to do next time was grab the coat. That was the easiest and most efficient way of doing it which guaranteed you had everything one needed to stay warm. She frowned. It was annoying that she was the only one who did this. She always found herself double checking. The cold weather was too severe to be without them.

“A bath?” the rider said.

Tempura couldn’t see his features sincehe had yet to remove his face covering, but his voice hada tone of puzzlement.

“I was talking to the dragon. You can keep going straight. You’ll find the door to the Great Room. Just go up the steps and ask for who you are here for,” Tempura said, dismissing him and following the dragon.

The dragon had taken her guidanceand washeading toward the bath. His feathers, which had been frosted white,were now showing theblues and greens of a juvenile. She figured he was probably five to seven years old. He was old enough for a rider, but inexperienced about traveling in this type of weather. The dragon should have refused his rider.

The dragon paused and rumbled his name.


At least the dragon knew his manners and knew to announce himself to the most senior dragon. The senior dragon was Nona. Sheacknowledged him by saying his name back to him.


Both dragons were using a normal voice. Because no other dragon was talking, Tempura felt the vibration of their voices echo in the cavern. She glanced back at the man, but saw no response. She knew the man couldn’t hear his dragon, but she should have guessed this by how he thought he could control his dragon by holding onto a rope.

Ferrari bowed his head toward Nona, then continued on.

“Ferrari,” Tempura said in response to Nona’s rumble.

“Yes, his name is Ferrari,” the man said.

Tempura felt annoyed. The man wasn’t going to the Great Room like he should, but instead was following her.

“How did you know?” he said.

She spun around, stopping to face him.

“He announced himself to Nona. All dragons are required to announce themselves to the matriarch.”

Tempura knew he wouldn’t believe her. That was the biggest problem with most people. They couldn’t hear the dragons.

The man finally removed his face covering. He was a massive man with a thick black beard. While he shoved his face c