Name:  Dahlia

Type:  Dawn Stalker

Birthdate:  Born on May 1 in Zandadorian year of 3350 during Calvin the Collector’s Reign

Current Age:  850

Status:  Enslaved by King Omri

Residence:  Lives in the Dragon Quarters below the castle in the capital city of Japheth

Personality:  Shallow, Vain, Selfish

Favorite Food:  Kudzu (because it grows in abundance and she has to do no work to hunt it)

Biggest Fear:  Being sent on a mission at feeding time rather than being able to stare at her reflection in the lake and feast on kudzu; she fears her beauty will diminish if she can’t admire herself daily

Unique Fact:  She lost her ability to breathe acid after becoming ill and almost dying at age 721

Here is an excerpt of her first appearance in The Dragon Collector:

“Prepare the way for Dahlia the Dawn Stalker and Viviana the twelfth queen, mother of the thirteenth son!”

The twelfth queen?  Javan coughed to cover his surprise.  How many queens were there?  Were all thirteen sons hers?  Or did some of them belong to some of the other queens?  Javan was thoroughly confused and wished learning the hierarchy of the royal family had been part of his training.

He was about to ask Astor for a quick lesson when the castle gates opened once again.  The crowd gasped and pushed back to form an even wider walkway than the one they formed for Esmeralda, allowing Javan to easily see the white-scaled Dawn Stalker from where he stood.  Standing atop the dragon and holding its reigns was a dark-skinned woman with a long black braid draped over her right shoulder.  She wore a flowing purple gown, jeweled necklaces and a diamond-studded golden crown.

She slowly guided the dragon forward, soaking in the reverence of the bowing crowd as she proceeded.  The dragon kept her nose stuck in the air just like the queen.  Javan wasn’t sure if that was because the dragon was a snob or because that’s how the queen forced Dahlia to walk by the way she held the reigns of the halter.  Then he heard the dragon’s thoughts.

That’s right, people.  Back away and feast your eyes on my magnificence.   I know I’m beautiful now, but I’m even more stunning when my scales change colors.  Dahlia stuck her nose even higher in the air and walked a little slower.  But at least I do get to enjoy the admiration without wanting to eat everyone.

Javan could practically feel the dragon’s arrogance the closer she walked to him.  As self-absorbed as she was, Javan wondered how she functioned without a mirror to stare at herself in wherever she went.

When the queen reached the stage, she turned the dragon around to face the gates.  That’s when Javan noticed Dahlia’s tail ended in a ragged stump rather than its naturally thin point.  He felt a stab of sympathy for the vain dragon and wondered what it was like to be marked as a slave who was stripped of all free will.