Dragons appear in mythologies around the world but with variations. A chinese dragon is quite different to a European one, not least in being a bringer of blessings rather than a deadly monster. And yet we don't have any difficulty in applying the word dragon to all of them and knowing what we mean.
A few years ago, I and three other authors decided to write dragon stories, we all came up with different types. Wench Mary Jo created a shape-shifting dragon in the European medieval tradition. Karen Harbaugh drew on her heritage for a Japanese dragon. Barbara Samuel used the magic of the south west United States. And I went over to fantasy land, as I love to do now and then.
I prefer the anthology cover, but this one captures Princess Rozlinda's princessness. She is, after all, the official SVP of Saragond -- Sacrificial Virgin Princess -- and has to keep up the style, and the protocol, and the virginity. She is so ready to cease being V, and she has just the man in mind. The captain of her KISA. (Knights In Shining Armor.)
Yes, my story plays with fairytale princesses, castles, knights and dragons.
So when a dragon finally appears, Rozlinda is all for sacrifice. Now. After all, it's just a bit of blood and she'll be free.
But things don't go entirely to plan. She ends up married not to her KISA, but to the dragon rider of Dorn.
She wasn't shouting at the man. She was shouting at the dragon, which had circled its long neck to point its huge, red, flaring nostrils right at her face. The point of a long tongue flickered in and out. No one could doubt that deep in its dragon-beast mind it was thinking, Yum, yum. More princess blood. It was even drooling, a viscous yellow and pink stuff.
The man wasn't controlling her anymore. She was clutching his arms for protection.
"Seesee, behave!" he said.
If a dragon could pout, this one did, but it moved its head away, circling it on the long, flexible neck as if inspecting king, knight, priest, and councilors. They all flinched back. Then it poked its head off the hill and breathed at the crowd below. Horses reared.
The head coiled back to be tucked on the beast's back, perhaps chastened, perhaps sulking. By the blood, the monster behaved like a poorly trained puppy.
"You see, wife, we must go. This is too difficult for her."
The Dornaan said something and then picked Rozlinda up. The dragon had already lowered its neck and he ran up it to a crest of horn at its shoulders, to place her sideways in a dip behind. She clutched the horn, looking down stunned at the equally stunned watchers. The Dornaan slid astride behind her and said, "Go."
The dragon leaped, beating its enormous wings and stirring a storm-like rumble. Rozlinda couldn't believe it could raise its mass, but then it soared like paper on a breeze. Below, Dragon’s Rock, father, knights, and all she'd ever known shrank smaller and smaller in her horrified vision.
When she saw her home, turrets shining in the sun, pennants bright and lively in a breeze, she burst into tears, sobbing against the velvety warmth of dragon bone.
If you haven't read Anne McAffrey's classic Dragonflight, do. It's a wonderful marriage of convenience story and begins the excellent Pern series.
Another riff on Dragons is His Majesty's Dragon, Temeraire in Britain, which puts an air force of dragons into the Napoleonic Wars.
Then there is Shana Abe's Drakon series, which puts shape-shifting dragons into 18th century England. Yum. The first is The Smoke Thief.
And to finish, I have a collection of dragon pictures, some of which are odd, and which I had to caption.
Do you have other dragon romances to suggest?