The Dragon of Two Hearts Book II
The wild dragon, Scorch, has devastated the lands surrounding the kingdom of Gladur Nock. He demands a steady tribute, which impoverishes the common folk and imposes upon them a mood of fear, desperation and want. The errant knight Michael hears of their distress and armed with his knowledge of dragons, travels to offer his support. On his way, he falls in with a community of townspeople living in the forest. They have sought refuge in the woods, but live in constant fear of discovery. They claim to be escaping not only the destruction of the dragon, but also the oppressive rule of the king of Gladur Nock. The knight realizes that the situation was far more complicated than he had first thought.
Continuing on his journey, the knight is ambushed and taken prisoner by a troupe of mercenaries capturing men like himself traveling cross country. He is bound with the others and delivered to the dungeons of Gladur Nock. The dungeons are a training camp where the men are sorted out by their ability to fight. Soon, due to his skill at arms, Michael is sent to the Warrior Compound where only the best are trained. Princess Aina, a warrior maiden, oversees their training. He discovers that they are being prepared to go and face the dragon in single combat. In a rare visit, the king exhorts the warriors to be brave and bring him back the dragon’s heart. Due to his exceptional skills, Michael is soon chosen as the next King’s Champion to go face Scorch. Michael is guest of honor at a banquet, but is disgusted at how the nobility feast and place wagers on how long he will last before the dragon eats him. While awaiting his appointed day, Michael is in the care and guidance of the princess. He discovers that Aina is equally repulsed by how lightly the king and the aristocracy take each knight’s sacrifice of his life. Her sympathies lie with the oppressed common folk who go hungry while the privileged classes feast. Aina takes Michael with her repeatedly on her outings to dole out grain to the hungry. Although Michael had at first viewed her as an adversary, he now sees that Aina is his one true ally.
Michael rides off to battle with Scorch. When they meet and take their measure of one another, Michael discovers that his ability to understand Star’s speech allows him to also communicate with Scorch. The dragon is surprised and intrigued to find a human being able to speak with him. The two engage in a duel of the words where the knight attempts to reform the wild dragon from his destructive ways. Scorch spurns Michael’s efforts, and in the end they do battle with one another.
With the skills he had learned from Star, Michael is able to befuddle Scorch’s efforts to quickly make an end of him. But Star had always impressed on his young apprentice that in battle, the dragon will always, eventually come out on top. Overwhelmed by exhaustion, Michael succumbs. In true dragon fashion, Scorch does not kill his opponent outright, but drags him back to his hoard where he will slowly squeeze the life out of him.
Lying beneath the dragon’s crushing weight, broken and defeated, Michael reflects on his life and his teachings. Could it be that all dragons carry the same secret, yet elusive, opening to their hearts, available only to the knight at the moment of defeat and imminent death? In a final gesture of farewell to life, Michael connects his heart to that of the disgusting beast that has defeated him.
At that moment of union, a transformation occurs, and the dragon is awakened as if from a slumbering nightmare. The dragon Scorch is none other than Michael’s own beloved Star, distorted by exposure to the greed, violence and cruelty of the king and his court. Michael gesture has returned him to his peaceful state. Full of remorse for the destruction he has caused, Star sets about healing he countryside, and offers to counsel Michael how to depose the wicked king, without putting himself in danger of returning to his wild nature through exposure to violence.
Aina and Michael gather to themselves men at arms from the encampment in the forest. They lay a trap for the king who has pursued him with an army in order to put an end to the rebellious forces and rumors of the knight who claims to have tamed the dragon. Michael and his forces are vastly outnumbered, but reinforcements from Nogardia suddenly arrive, led by none other than Aga and Michael’s childhood friend, Colin. The king is routed and defeated. Aina is joyfully received by her people to free them from their oppressors. Michael’s own noble past is revealed, and a royal wedding is planned. Star willingly places himself in Michael’s care to bring blessings to the kingdom he had devastated as Scorch.
Books - The Dragon of Two Hearts Book II