By the time they sent out the call it was too late.
Bruce let out a mighty neigh, “Those who died from the dragon’s fire were lucky, there was a huge famine, coupled with a bad winter. To their credit the second kingdom rallied aid. Queen Mestlin herself rode Netal over the passes to protect the supply train. Netal later told me she could see bursts of flame over the villages but there was nothing they could do. The dragon appeared to be baiting them, he would light the fires in the village and then, just as Netal rose to the first cloud she would see him diving on the train from high in the mountains. The train lost three wagons before everyone caught on. It broke her heart but the Queen could not risk leaving the train even for a moment. Even so, with the dragon circling they had to double back again and again. Winter had begun in earnest by the time the train reached the first of the villages and for many, it was too late. Then word reached the Queen that her cousin, who for many years had plotted against her, was now taking advantage of her absence and advancing her army towards the capital. The Queen had no choice but to leave at once, and the people despaired.
And with perfect timing, now that the people were desperate and alone, Nestor arrived, like a god entering his temple, his armour shining like the sun, his sword cruel and long. Some even say the steed he rode had Pegasi blood in his veins ... but that is preposterous!” Bruce shook his head hard and gave a loud neigh. “He rode into the capital, killed the dragon in a short but spectacular battle, and set up shop. The people insisted, ... insisted he take the throne. And that’s when the real trouble started.”
“Oh.” Eileen grimaced, “How much worse could it be?”
“Much worse. Nestor implemented, for the people’s safety, a curfew, and his own men, who appeared like magic from the hills, patrolled the streets of the capital, to ‘search the sky for dragons’. At first they were all hailed as heros, although those cowards had faced far less than the people had in a week. Then disappearances began. Whole families, in the night. They were said to be eaten by dragons, though no sign of one has been seen since. People all through the kingdom, whomever were left, were catalogued and numbered, many were sent to live in different, safer, regions. Beautiful women and boys were sent to the capital for safe keeping but were never seen by their families again.
In the midst of all this the time came for the Pegasi bonding. Although Nestor was king the council of fairies greatly feared his ambition. Coupled with the power of the pegasi he would be a terrible force. He could rule the world.”
Eileen’s throat tightened, “this is the man who has my daughter?”
Bruce turned his head and looked her firmly in the eye, “Yes. And if he has me our world will fall.”