The rain poured from the musty sky, and through the gutters of the old, cracked city. Children were riding bicycles over trickle puddles, their parents not far behind chasing them and calling them to stay inside. The market men have covered their stands with old burlap to shield out the rain and thieves. The buildings are dirty, and mysterious green plants grow from the gutters before them. Only one building in the city seems only remotely bright, a shade of crimson red, and nasty graffiti splattered across the door, spreading the words...'Welcome to Hell.'

I sat in my warm, cushioned carriage as the people on the street gave me dirty looks. I looked at all their bony faces, and saw a young boy, not even 9, mutters the dirty words witch towards my way. I brushed it off my shoulder as I turned my head the other way, towards my councilman, Sir Vekat. He smiled gently at me, and rested his hand upon his chin, signaling that I should be patient. According to the looks I've been receiving, I think the town folk around already know that patience is a virtue that I do not have.

It was a Onesday afternoon, though it did not seem so, with the mist and rain being a barrier to keep away the glorious sun. I was approaching the gateway to the castle I would be attending the next few days, as a host and guest the same. My far handsome cousin, Master Douve (though he insists I do not call him that) would be preparing a glorious celebration for the season of Yule. It's silly really, how helpless he is, because for months he has had so much time to prepare, yet has accomplished nothing! I am to be his woman's touch, and hopefully, ....his date.

When we arrived at the gate, I stepped off, an elegant smile spread across my pale face, the corners of my mouth tilted up with delight to see my dear cousin again. As expected, he was waiting for me at the massive door, bowed in a polite yet adorable way. Oh, dread my wretched female thoughts! I yelled at myself beneath my breath as I approached his royalness at the door, Sir Vekat trailing close behind.

"I have been waiting for you, Miss Valenti, dear noble and cousin a great." He smiled, so gently.

"I am glad you arrived so safely, and I came to see you so that I could have the pleasure of leading you to your room." I flushed with delight, so handsome he is!

He lead up a grand stairway, so elegant and delicate, the carvings of a splashing sea as the handle, and towards the end a mermaid, combing her endless hair. The paintings on the wall were renewed since the last time I had been here, about 4 years ago. The grandest addition of the painting was a woman, in the attire of a dutchess, her ebony hair pinned up with tiny jewels. The round orbs of her eyes were enchanting as I looked on, feeling like I could gaze at them as long as that endless mermaid's flalling hair! I wonder who that woman is...

My thoughts were interrupted. "Valenti Vlorde, your chamber awaits you!" I stepped in, left foot first, and searched the room with my eyes. (They often say that stepping with your left foot first is a sign of a beauty!) "I hope you enjoy it. And from your window you may notice, the view is breath-taking. You can see the grand Dragon's Den from here." I laughed a bit and nudged him gently.

"You've always been one for faerie tales, Linkon. And I suppose little trolls dance 'round there at midnight?"

"Ahh Valenti, knowing you so well, I thought you would not care to believe. Hmm...but since you are going to be assisting me with the celebration, I suppose I could give thee your gift a few days advanced." He had a smirk on his face, and I am beginning to worry what he may be planning. He began to walk over to the mammoth window beside my bedside, and pulled something out from behind the drapery. So he had planned this all along.

"I would like to present you...", he extended his arms, "This." Lying in his hands, was what looked like a small, curved in blue box. I nervously reached towards it, until I heard from it a small coo. I drew my hand back as quick as lightning. What could that thing be?

"A dragon." His lips spelled out. "A young, toddler dragon. If you raise them from now, they will be your mate for life." I cringed in fear of what capabilities even a young dragon could do. When it is older, will it crave to hunt for large beasts or kill humans? Yet, at the same time I wondered if we could become dear friends, the little beast and I...

"But I have no idea what I would name it, Linkon!" I had to think of an excuse. I need more time to accept that this creature does in fact exist. I paused for a moment, because the tiny lizard-like creature tilted it's head upward, and looked me in the eye. He blinked his jewel-like blue eyes, a blue like the color of eternity. He shook his head repeatedly and tried inching over toward me, still purring that sweet little noise.

"Go ahead and hold him. I am sure inspiration for a name will come to you, for sure." I leaned in and carefully lifted the beast from his arms, and somehow, I then cradled it like a child in my own. My eyes were lured back to his, and thinking for a moment, it hit me.

"Mercurius. Like the blue-armored knight of legend. He will be my guardian, and my friend."