Just For Fun 36

Here’s a very short one, before I head off to an all-day gaming event.

Q: At Dragon University, what do the students say when a lecture goes on for too long?

A: This is really draggin’ on!

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.


Long ago, in the Scottish borderlands, a dreadful wyvern made its lair on the side of Linton Hill. This creature would hunt at dawn and dusk. It wasn’t a picky eater — men, beasts and crops all found their way into its gullet. The villagers fought back, but no weapon could pierce its armored scales.

In desperation, a messenger went to the castle of the local laird, John (or perhaps William) de Somerville. De Somerville was famed as a warrior, reckless and fierce. In this case, however, caution seemed to temper his actions. First, he went to all the villages around Linton Hill, gathering tales and advice. Then he found a vantage to watch the creature in action.

De Somerville observed that the wyvern had an exceptionally large maw. It would snap up and swallow anything in its path. However, when it encountered an obstacle too large to be devoured, it would momentarily freeze with its mouth open. In this, the laird saw his chance.

He went to the nearest blacksmith and directed the man to create an unusual weapon. It was a great spear, but with a wheel on the front. He then stuck a chunk of peat on the tip, covered it with tar, and set it alight. Next followed several days of practice getting his war horse used to having a flaming object in front of it.

When he was ready, De Somerville rode out at dawn. Just as the wyvern emerged from its lair, he lit the spear and confronted the beast on horseback. As ever, the wyvern charged with its mouth open to snatch up a meal. But it had never encountered a person on horseback before. It froze, mouth gaping.

Unfortunately for the dragon, De Somerville did not halt his charge. He ran his burning spear straight into the wyvern’s throat. The monster shrieked and thrashed. Dying, it retreated to its lair, which collapsed upon it. De Somerville was knighted and named Baron of Linton. His family crest depicted a wyvern perched atop a wheel.

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.


“Dragon” radishes. Photo by Deby Fredericks, 2018.

Last time I shared a photo of a dragonfly from my garden. This time I have a more delicious dragon to share.

These are “Dragon” radishes, a favorite variety of mine. They grow fast, like all radishes, with that nice peppery burn.

My previous plantings didn’t do well. Either maggots infested them or the neighborhood cats dug up the soil before they sprouted. This year was the charm. They are great in salads. Definitely worth the wait!

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

A Fallen Dragon


Remains of a Blue Eyed Darner dragonfly. Photo by Deby Fredericks, June 12, 2018.

I am both happy and sad to share today’s discovery with you. What is it? The remains of a dragonfly, found in my back yard.

The reason I’m happy is that I had at least one dragonfly in my garden. I garden as close to chemical-free as possible, which means there is always the possibility of an insect attack. Finding a predator bug is always good news.

If I’m right, this was a Blue-Eyed Darner, Rhionaeschna multicolor. It’s one of the more common dragonflies in the western U. S. and usually the first species to appear in spring. From the vivid coloration, it was a male. Females have a more drab appearance.

I’m sad that it’s dead, because dragonflies are simply amazing. It saddens me to pick up the frail shell of what should be a lively, fierce flyer. We have had chilly temperatures overnight for the past few days. I suspect this is what brought him down.

Still, I’m glad to know my garden was home to a ferocious dragon — at least for a little while.

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.





Dragonfang is the sword of a Marvel superhero known as the Valkyrie. I first recall this character as part of supergroup called The Defenders, in comics I read during the 1980s. The spirit of a Norse valkyrie, Brunhilde — yes, from Wagner’s operas — possessed an ordinary woman, Barbara Norriss, and struggled to fit into her mundane life while also battling evil as the Valkyrie.

Dragonfang was an extraordinary weapon, forged in the same foundry as Thor’s famous hammer, Mjolnir. Dragonfang, however, was quite distinct. Among its extraordinary features: a) it could never be destroyed, b) it could absorb magical attacks, and c) it could disrupt magical barriers.

According to Asgardian lore, Dragonfang could only be held and used by one of the fabled valkyries. Occasionally, other mighty women such as the goddesses Sif have been able to wield this blade.

As with many comic book items, Dragonfang’s origins are somewhat muddled. Initially, it was stated that the Ancient One, mentor of Dr. Strange, had Dragonfang in his keeping along with many other relics. The blade had been created from an actual dragon fang by one of the Ancient One’s predecessors. When the Valkyrie had to give up her magic sword, Dr. Strange offered her Dragonfang as a replacement.

However, in the Valkyrie’s movie debut, Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Thor refers to the weapon as “a dragonfang,” implying that each valkyrie had her own personal Dragonfang. Seeing the weapon, Thor knows at once that this unnamed woman must be an Asgardian in hiding.

The Valkyrie was never one of Marvel’s most successful characters, in large part because she was little more than a girl version of Thor. (This was long before anyone dreamed of actually letting a woman carry Mjolnir, as Jane Foster did in the remarkable Thor comic books between 2015 and 2018). At least she got to ride around on a winged horse rather than being dragged through the skies by her hammer!

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

With a name as evocative as “Dragon’s Breath,” perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that people have applied it to a variety of products. Not only does Dragon’s Breath ammunition turn your shotgun into a flame thrower. Not only does Dragon’s Breath dessert make you breathe steam like the proverbial dragon.

You can also drink Dragon’s Breath beer. You can take a street drug called Dragon’s Breath or Devil’s Breath that allegedly makes you act like a zombie. (Why would you want to do that? Maybe it’s better not to know.)

In a more peaceful vein, you can plant Dragon’s Breath peppers. I’ll bet they’re spicy-hot! Or there’s Dragon’s Breath celosia, with a plume-like flower in shades of red, pink and orange. I wouldn’t mind that one.

Then again, there’s also a gemstone called Dragon’s breath. It’s a type of fire opal mined only in Mexico.

Yeah, sign me up for that last one!

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

Earlier this year, I posted on a specialty dessert called Dragon’s Breath. Now I find the name is shared with a type of ammunition. These are 12-gauge shotgun shells loaded with magnesium pellets rather than the standard lead or other metal. When fired, these shells cause a remarkable, though short-lived, blast of flame!

Advertisements claim that the flame is at least 100 feet/30 meters and possibly up to 3 times that length. (This is an advertisement, bear in mind, not a scientifically documented study.) They say it can substitute for a road flare or even a flame thrower (!) should you ever have need of one. Ads also suggest that Dragon’s Breath shells would be perfect for home defense. Very intimidating, you see.

Well, I’m sure it would be… However, since magnesium flame can burn at over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, there would be a great risk of destroying the home you were trying to save. Not to mention the chance of gruesome injuries to anyone in the flame’s path, whether or not they were invading the home.

Am I the only one who thinks this would be insanely dangerous?

Apparently not. These shells are illegal in three U. S. states (Illinois, Florida and California) and have to be treated as a hazardous material where they are legal. There is also some debate whether these shells should be regulated under the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. My guess is that Dragon’s Breath is useful chiefly for the entertainment value of the spectacular flame.

There’s lots more dragony fun in my book, Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Look for it at Amazon or Draft2Digital.