Ten trusty knights led by Arthur Pendragon, crouching behind
a wall of iron shields, advanced upon the beast that had suddenly
appearedamidst lowering storm cloudsto terrorise
the people of Camelot with its lethal claws and its breath of
Merlin, scrambling from smouldering tree to blasted stump,
stayed as close to the men as he dared, his eyes fixed upon
the dragons smoking mouth.
Arthur shouted a curt command and, with Sir Bors on his left
and Sir Ector on his right, he darted forward at the apex of
a three-pronged attack, alternately thrusting his lance upwards
and ducking beneath his shield, manoeuvring himself closer and
closer to the beasts vulnerable breast.
The dragon dodged its tormentorsAs a man avoids a
wasp, thought Merlinrearing up on its hind legs and
flapping its great, clawed wings.
The boy darted forward.
One of the knightsSir Borscaught by a beat of the
leathery wings, was thrown on his back and, part-winded, had
scarcely time to lift his shield before it was scorched by a
blast of fire.
But Arthur was getting closer. Thrust, duck. Thrust...
His lance hit homeonly to shatter on the dragons
Merlin flexed his fingers and, raising his hand, pronounced
the ancient words of power, his voice soft, but clear. He felt
the magic well up inside him; felt it gather behind his eyes
and leave him in a flash; saw it materialise as a blade of flame
that pierced the sky with a sudden crack, carving a vast
circle above the dragon.
Someone, meanwhile, had thrown Arthur a torch and, scooping
it up, he rolled beneath the creatures belly and crouched
over Bors, using the flame to hold back the beasts raking
Merlin pushed his hand forward, uttering a spell that sucked
the air from around the dragons body and sent it rushinglike
a whirlwindthrough the magical gateway.
The dragon vanished just as the blade of fire, completing its
second circuit, sealed the rent, and flickered out.
But the knights had seen something that Merlin, in his relief,
My Lord! cried one.
Sire! cried another.
Arthur? muttered Merlin, looking about him. Oh,
no. Where is Arthur?
This story was written before it was revealed
that Merlin was a Dragon Lord.