he’s had her hands on my balls for too long, but I don’t hate her for it.  I recognize the power she has over me, and it’s only what I give her.  Besides, I leave this place tomorrow and head back to Crag City.  If my family will take me back-”
      Another image flashed through his mind, of the deed that had got him banished, the first major spell of an immature mage gone horribly wrong.  He shuddered, even after a decade of trying to forget it, though the black scar on the palm of his right hand was a constant reminder.  In practiced desperation, he forced away those thoughts, and continued his musings.
      “If my family will take me back, I’m of the nobility again.  Regardless, I’m a wizard too.  I can earn plenty of money and attract or arrange a good replacement for her.”   He thought of the legendary hundered houses of “Comfort” from his birth city, where for a price almost any fantasy could be indulged.  Well, he would see what the road brings, his concerns were getting the flowers and himself down the cliff safely.
      He looked over the edge of the plataeu. Tall upon this height, one could see the endless islets and shoals of the plain of mists and crags stretch out into the mists and possibly even into other realms.  Now the figures of Ayeesha and even her dragon were dwarfed, though they could easily see him heft the bag triumphantly.
      Woodbead plucked some pebbles from the loose soil and tossed them over the cliff edge to test the wind.  The direction of the pebbles showed that the wind was still blowing rather slowly on this calm day.  He pulled a helio attachment out of a box and unfolded and adjusted it.  Calculating in his head the weight of the bag and the wind, he attached the device to the bag and threw it just right off the cliff.  The helio unsprung and started twirling rapidly, slowing the bag’s descent just enough to gurantee that the fall did not crush any flowers.  It beat hauling the thing downhill.  Fourtunately, he had been almost right on where he estimated the bag would land, for it landed in the sand just at the foot of the grass around the plataeu.  Ayeesha made no run to get it, not wishing to touch the Dragonsbane pollen.
      Unclimacticly, the red wizard climbed back down the cliff.  Although he had to glance over his shoulder a couple of times, without the bulk of the sack it was nowhere near as hard as he thought it might be.  He then got the sack, filled it with water, then emptied it quickly by opening a seam at the bottom.  The Plain of Mists and Crags frequently had violent rainstorms, so most well-made sacks were both water resistant and had a way of easily draining them.
      Ayeesha was excited as he got within ten paces of her, and set the sack down in the sand.  Her dragon was tensed, but relaxed as he backed away.  She patted the dragon on it’s head then got down to get the sack, quickly re-mounting her dragon.  After attaching the sack to the side, she withdrew a hardened seed husk to examine.
      “Thank you, Woodbead!  You’ve made me, and a lot of other women happy!  I’ll be able to sell some of my potions a lot cheaper and I’ll give you credit if you want.  That will make you popular, though I do hope you come back.”
      She gave a loving, tender look to Woodbead as she held the closed seedbud.  The sorceror kept his polite manner, but knew that look meant that he had a chance with her tonight, well worth that dirty hard climb.  As she played her wiles, and the red wizard tried to keep his eyes above her breasts, neither noticed the flower.
      Perhaps the soaking of water triggered it, but the bud started to squeeze.  It then cracked open to four sections, much like a hardened orange.  In between the sections, was a sole seed from a Dragonsbane plant, trapped on the flower when it had sealed.  Seeds from a plant that took forty years to sprout could certainly stand a few months inside another flower’s bud.
      It was as if time had stopped, for both Woodbead and Ayeesha looked in stunned horror.  The seed was untouched, though the fluff above it was crushed, so it fell faster than it drifted, and was sucked into the dragon’s left nostril.
Uh OH!
      As time had seemed to stop for that one, horrible moment, it made up for it the next instant.  At once, the dragon screamed and roared in a bizzare rage.  With a strength that was great, even for one of it’s kind it burst forward and into the air.  Woodbead was knocked hard into the sand by the sheer kinetic force of the rush.  Ayeesha was still in the saddle, and thus caught along for the ride.
      If this had been a lair, the dragon would likely have been dead by smashing into cave walls or from mutilation by stalagtites on the way out.  This, however, was an open aired plain with lots of room for a flying creature.  As he righted himself, Woodbead saw that Ayeesha had nearly lost her grip, but was hanging on for dear life from the saddle straps.
      The Dragon’s roar turned into a screech.  The screech pierced the air, and Woodbead had to cover his ears though the Dragon was half a kilometer away.  The screech grew, then seemed to fade away.  With a lashing motion, the dragon turned his head and what seemed a rush of vibrating air shot out from it’s mouth.  This shattered the tops of several islets, sending trees and rubble into the sea below.  Then, the dragon shot out of sight.
      As fast as this occurred, Woodbead was too stunned to react.  He worried about the dragon dashing to its death, Ayeesha with it.  Even if she escaped, and found an islet, he might never find her as fast as her dragon could move.  He noticed her spyglass had come loose, so he picked it from the sand and looked off into the distance.
      From a little to the right of where the dragon disappeared, the mists turned luminous, then brighter.  The dragon was using it’s flame now, and heading back!  This would send many sensible persons to a panicked flight, but somehow Woodbead’s mind told him that he wasn’t in the flames way yet.
Fire! Fire! Fire!     Indeed, the dragon shot over that plataeu where he had just climbed.  As it passed, it vomited a firey acid that spread all over the grass and rock.  So much for that patch of Dragonsbane.   Woodbead kept a watch with the spyglass and saw that Ayeesha was still holding on, but not out of desperation, she was trying to reach in the saddle bags.
      Adjusting for the dragon’s erratic movements, he caught sight of the dragon’s head.  This truly chilled him, for as the dragon again went out of sight, he caught it’s eye and a gaze of enraged hatred, much like earlier when he had said the word “Dragonsbane!”.  The gaze was directed at him.
      As the dragon was now vomiting fire carelessly, he could tell where it was going and that it was turning for another attack, now likely at him.  His first impulse was to take his blowgun from his boat, so as to jump in the water and hide, breathing through it.  However, he found himself hesitant.
      “I can hide, I certainly can’t take on that dragon, what do I do?”  the red wizard thought, “If I hide, Ayeesha will likely die.  I don’t want her to die, I like her, but how?”

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