Sci fi/Fantasy image byRichard Patton
The first time I saw him, he was cozied up near Ol’ King Cole (my name for the King Dragon of Meteor Crater), way down inside that big hole in the ground the King loves so much. I couldn’t get close enough to see his features, except that he looked old... very old. It was obvious the two beasts had history together. I thought they looked like two old men who’d known one another all their lives, now visiting and sharing memories of glory days long gone.
It was about five months later when I saw him next, in flight, near the base of the San Francisco Peaks. His wing stroke was strong, but slow and wobbly- a sure sign of advancing age. Then I got lucky. Hiking the mountains soon after, I spotted him poised on a nearby outcropping. I followed the rituals in approaching him and he seemed to respect my efforts. I stopped about twelve feet away. I know, I know- not too bright. But he gave a guttural purr that I took to be a good sign. I couldn’t believe it, but for the next several minutes he let me sketch his profile. It was just me, the pines, and one heckuva big dragon! I’m surprised my pants stayed dry. I got the sense he was proud to be admired so carefully, and I wondered just how few times this must have occurred throughout his long life. With a sudden grunt of satisfaction, he flew away.
The result is one of my favorite field sketches yet. I tried to reproduce it here in Photoshop. You can see why I chose his name. I’m afraid I haven’t done justice to the beauty of his interlaced horns. They shone golden under the sun. His incredible nobility took my breath away. And the look of ancient wisdom in his old eyes will stay with me all my life. Old Jagtooth. Northern Arizonan Tricrowned Dragon, at least 500 years old. Faded black markings of unknown origin on beard. Some details emphasized for identification purposes.
“Tricrowned Dragon” and all characters © 2005 Richard H. Patton
Published More than a year ago
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