Gothur loves Hinfane, but she’s away, and he doesn’t know when she’s coming back.
And the snow-dragon is causing trouble again - burning the wood-pile, attacking travellers, stealing crops, haunting the edges of town.
As if that wasn’t enough, he is troubled by another kind of monster entirely. A fire-breathing, eagle-winged, taloned creature, with the golden fur and body and tail of a lion.
A gryphon has come to the north.
A story of snow-dragons, elves, griffins, mages, partisans, and tavern-keepers, this is not the 'coming-of-age' story typical in fantasy, but is really many stories from a fantasy world in one: the story of a mature married couple, separated by the necessities of life, a family of gryphons struggling with the requirements of the law of gryphons, an unfortunate elf mage, a snow-dragon, and a rebel against the evil Empire of elves that threatens freedom and possibility the very existence of humanity.
'The Snow-Dragon and the Taverner; is the prequel to Robert Denethon's 'A Feather on the Breath of Ellulianaen', the first book in the Gryphonomicon Gryphon/Dragon Histories series.
---An Excerpt from Part One, Gothur's Tale---
Snow-dragons are a right royal pain, thought Gothur to himself as he put another stump on the chopping-block and split it with his axe. For the third time this month he had been forced to recreate the wood-pile from scratch. The damned snow-dragon had torched it, then eaten the coal and the ash, and Gothur was completely sick of chopping wood that he shouldn’t have to chop.
And Hinfane was away. Who knew whether she would come back to this icy hell, now that she was in the city? He was older than her, and he wouldn’t blame her if she found someone else. He redoubled his chopping, attacking the wood so savagely that he even surprised himself.
That damned snow-dragon.
Like all dragons, snow-dragons are not able to breathe fire unless they have recently consumed coal and ash. They have a particular organ called the firebladder, that enables this marvel of alchemy, and it meant that nothing flammable was safe from the damned dragon.
Nothing except the tavern and the cottages, he supposed - snow-dragons are not nearly so large as dragonis terrosaurus, the dragon found in the warmer parts of the world - and the snow-dragon that tormented them was too weak and cowardly to show his scaly face too close to the tavern, where men might attack him with swords and pitchforks and spears. No, that damned snow-dragon would do sneaky things, like burning the woodpile, or eating the few crops Gothur had been able to grow in spring. Or he would torment lonely travellers, so that travellers coming up the mountain had to travel in twos or threes to avoid the nasty creature.
They had found not a few bodies up in the mountains, charred remains lying on the ground.