Name:  Mertzer

Type:  Dusk Stalker

Birthdate:  Born on August 12 in Zandadorian year of 3533 during Lancert the Destroyer’s Reign

Current Age:  667

Status:  Wild Dragon

Residence:  Lives free in Dusk Stalker Territory in southeast Zandador

Personality:  Self-reliant, wise, confident, compassionate, loyal to the core

Favorite Foods:  Gorzelles and strawberries

Biggest Fear:  The ocean (the sight of the water and the sound of the waves paralyzes him)

Unique Fact:  He is the last wild Dusk Stalker in the Land of Zandador

Mertzer is the fourth dragon to appear in The Dragon Collector.  The following is an excerpt from the book that highlights his appearance.

Javan flew in a slow circle around Astor while staring at the ground, trying to see what the old man saw.  Finally, a streak of blue caught his eye.

The blue streak turned out to be the dragon’s tail.  As the dragon inched out from under the trees, Javan saw that the streak extended across Mertzer’s back, over his head, between his green ears, down his short snout and ended at his two black nostrils.  Horizontal streaks of green and pink scales colored the sides of his sleek, twelve-foot long body.  Patches of purple and blue scales dotted his otherwise white legs.

“Aw, he’s a pretty dragon,” Javan said.

“He’s deadly,” Astor snapped back.  “He moves with incredible speed; you don’t know he’s coming until he’s already gone.  By then it’s too late:  he breathes poison on his prey as he passes.  The poison sinks into the skin, rushes through the bloodstream and strangles the heart.  Death takes moments.  Once his prey is dead, he comes back and takes his time eating his kills.”

Javan gulped.  This dragon wasn’t as friendly and gentle as he looked.  “No more gawking at the pretty dragon.  Got it.”

“When he’s not in hunting mode, he can be a sensitive, caring creature.”  Astor lost some of the sternness in his voice.  “The Dusk Stalker is the one with the strongest emotional connection with his Collector.  All the Stalkers are loyal to their Collectors, but the loyalty of the Dusk Stalker is unmatched by the rest.”

“I could use a loyal companion.”

“You must also know that he has an irrational fear of water.  He’ll only drink from streams, never lakes, and he won’t go near the ocean.”

“Why is that?”

“I can’t explain it.  That’s why I said it was an irrational fear.”  Astor put his finger to his lips to silence Javan.  “Watch.  He’s ready to attack.”

Javan looked down in time to see a bluish green blur dart to the snake, down the hill to the raxens, up the hill to the gorzelles and back across the valley to his starting point.  It couldn’t have taken him more than a minute to cover the tricky terrain and what had to be a total distance of more than a mile.

“His attack is over,” Astor said.  “Now he’ll wait for his prey to die.”

All seven of the raxens were laying in a motionless heap in the valley.  One of the gorzelles had dropped to the ground while the other two ran away.  As for the snake, it was still coiled.  Javan knew, however, that it had been poisoned.  Mertzer was confidently walking towards it, ready to make it the first part of his meal. his.delega