Una mccormack – the king’s dragon (doctor who book)

Name: The King’s Dragon
Writer: Una McCormack
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory

For Matthew, of course

‘Woe for that man who in harmand hatred hales his soul to fiery embraces; nor favor nor change awaits he ever.’
From Beowulf translated by Francis B. Gummere

They came only at night. They crept around the dark
Places, the hidden places, the poor and lonely
It was said in the city that you could tell when
They approached. First your skin began to prickle
And then a sickening cold fear lodged itself in your
Belly which rose and rose, up and up – until you
Could not speak and you could not breathe, and
The lamp that you were carrying couldn’t bear it
Any longer and went out – phoomph! And then the
Shadows grew thick and dark, and you could no
Longer see round the bend in the alley or the curve in
The road. You could not see the peril that was
Lurking ahead, but it was there. And it lingered.
That’s what was said. But when you asked the
Tale-bearer if he or she had seen these things
Themselves, ‘Not I!’ was the answer. But a cousin, or a
Cousin’s friend, had heard the tale from someone
Else: ‘A reputable source, mind you! My cousin is not
One for telling tales!’ And you would shake your head
Politely and reply, ‘No, no! Of course!’ But privately you
Would dismiss the story (again) and return to your
Business. For business was booming these days in
Geath. All was well now that the city had its new
Young king.
Still, you might think, as you locked the doors, front
And back, and you sealed up the windows, it was
Strange how empty the streets became after dusk. It was
Strange, too, how we all bolted our doors and our

these days.
And each night, someone scurrying down a
Narrow alley or across a deserted plaza, on some
Business that sadly could not wait till themorning, would
Fancy that they could see shadows moving ahead,
Moving without any wind behind them, this summer
Being a hot one.
And some people – the most fanciful, surely, and the
Least trustworthy – would add a little colour to their tale.
(For the best of us cannot resist a little colour.) There
Was a strange noise, they said, like the growl of a wild
Beast – and some would swear that on the wall of the
Passage curving ahead, they
Had seen the long shadow of a hand, or a claw,
Stretching out.
And the funny thing was, they would say, that
This hand had too many fingers…

I don’t know why I assumed an alien planet
Would be in the future,’ Amy said, ‘but I did. Flying
Cars. Rockets.’
‘Food in pills,’ Rory said.
‘Food in pills, yes. But it’s not like that at all. It’s
‘Olde worlde?’ Rory offered.
‘Olde worlde,’ Amy agreed. ‘But not retro.’
They were standing by the side of the road – an
Olde-worlde road, without flagstones and with mud.
A few metres ahead of them, the Doctor stood with one
Thumb stuck out, his face screwed up in
Concentration. He was staring at a horse and cart
That, for the past five minutes, had been making
Steady progress down the track towards them. The
Driver’s attention, however, was focused no further
Forwards than the ears of his horse.
‘If I’m being honest,’ Rory said, ‘I didn’t expect
Horses. Is there any particular reason to expect
Horses? On an alien planet, I mean? Or have I
Missed something?’
Amy gave it a couple of moments’ thought. ‘I don’t
Think you’ve missed anything.’
The front of the cart was now almost level with the

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Una mccormack – the king’s dragon (doctor who book)