Sage instantly went into panic mode at the sight of the dragon. Past experiences with dragons made her weary of this one. Even more nerve wrecking was the unclad man who stood in the dragon's place after it had disappeared.  Heat rose up into her cheeks. She was careful not to look anywhere below his neck. 

The man-dragon was culture shock for Galvenston's people. They knew little of the beasts and legends that existed beyond the gates of the Empire. Sage examined this man's face. His eyes were wide in alarm.  His beard was stark black against his bare skin. Her fear dissolved into pity for the bewildered man. She paid no mind to the awkward prolonged silence as she studied him. Was he a lycan? A shapeshifter? Baron cleared his throat, reminding her that it was impolite to gawk.  Her throat had gone dry. "Who are you?" She whispered. The man shot her a curious look. He knelt down to pick up a memento from the abandoned shack. It was a cast iron pot. "I am Lord." He whispered placing the pot upon his head.

The drunks ate this up and roared with laughter. Sage looked to Baron for advice. Baron offered the confused man, his tunic. He stepped into the tunic shoving it down upon his waist like a gladiator. The men stopped laughing long enough to study the curious man. 

Sage wasn't great at consoling people, but in the last month she had gained experience. She took the man- creature's hand gently. "I am the Empress, commander of Galvenston. You are welcome to stay... Lord."

He gave me a puzzled look, " My name is Saffron." He said slowly. The men began to howl like hyenas at Saffron's confusion.

"Saffron." Sage repeated. She held up the man's arm. "You will all silence yourselves. This is Saffron and he is far braver than the lot of you! We shall acknowledge his bravery." She announced proudly, before dropping his limp arm. The men grew quiet for a moment.

"Nay! Let's provoke him into a beast and cook up that dragon meat for dinner!" The bitter old man she came to know as Lei Shan, suggested.

"No!" She shouted. Were her people really that bad off that they would resort to borderline cannibalism? "Don't you understand this man is a symbol of hope! We may win this war yet." She said, though she wasn't sure if she believed it herself. Sage glanced up at the man wearing with the pot on his head. He would need some work....

The End

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