Authors: T. A. Barron
Do not underestimate Basil!
The colliding dragons shrieked, while bones cracked and scales splintered. When all the clouds of ash finally cleared, Lo Valdearg lay sprawled upon the body of his leader. Moaning in pain, he rolled off and slammed to the ground. The orange dragon, whose back had been broken, never moved again.
Confused, distraught, and thoroughly frightened, the other dragons scattered in all directions. They leaped into the air and flew away as fast as they could, not daring to look back, lest the bold green dragon decide to pursue them.
At the scene of the battle, Basilgarrad surveyed the remains of the attackers. Just beyond the crushed corpse, Lo Valdearg, unable to fly, crawled away in anguish. After watching him for a few seconds, Basilgarrad delivered the most humiliating blow of all: He simply turned away.
Swinging around to face Merlin—who, along with Hallia and Krystallus, gazed at him with grateful admiration—the green dragon narrowed his eyes. With gusto, he declared, “Let that be a warning to anybody who dares to call me a pet.”
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First published in the United States of America as
Merlin’s Dragon: Doomraga’s Revenge
Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2009
by Puffin Books,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2011
Patricia Lee Gauch, Editor
Text copyright © Thomas A. Barron, 2009
Map of Fincayra copyright © Ian Schoenherr, 1996
Map of Avalon copyright © Thomas A. Barron, 2003
All rights reserved
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE PHILOMEL BOOKS EDITION AS FOLLOWS: Barron, T. A. Merlin’s dragon. Book two: Doomraga’s revenge / by T. A. Barron.
Summary: The dragon Basil, now grown mighty in strength, size, and courage, addresses and seeks the cause of a new series of crises that threaten the stability of Avalon, while his friend Merlin is distracted by problems with his son, Krystallus.
ISBN : 978-0-399-25212-9 (hc)
[1. Dragons—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Fathers and sons—Fiction. 4. Fantasy.]
II. Title: Doomraga’s revenge.
PZ7.B27567 Mer 2009 [Fic]—dc22 2008055872
Puffin Books ISBN 978-0-14-241925-0
Design by Semadar Megged
Text set in ITC Galliard
Printed in the United States of America
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out , or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
Dedicated to the five little dragons
with big spirits
who shared our home
Having been very small, I can truthfully tell you that size doesn’t matter at all.
Except when it does.
The wrathful roar exploded—so forcefully it toppled a grove of ironwood trees, emptied a flowing river, and blew an entire waterfall sideways. Fierce winds slammed into the pinnacles high above Lavadon Lake, breaking off towers of rock that plunged over the cliffs encircling the lake, hitting the water with tumultuous splashes. Not that those splashes could be heard, however. The roar filled the air, overwhelming every other sound.
When, at last, the roar faded away, another sound remained. Higher and thinner it was, yet every bit as arresting—a frenzied chorus of shrieks.
The shrieks of children about to die.
Atop those sheer cliffs huddled a band of young dwarves. Like all their kind in Fireroot, curly red hair hovered over their heads like fluffy clouds. Yet their typical expressions of mischief and playfulness had given way to something else. Terror.
No adult dwarves stood by to protect them. All those who had tried, their mothers with sharp eyes and powerful hands and their fathers with brawny arms and thick beards, now lay in the dirt, their lifeless bodies smashed or shredded or incinerated. Not far away, glaring at the children, was the monster who had done this: Fireroot’s most ferocious dragon.
“Tell me!” he commanded, scraping the ground with his murderous claws, slicing boulders as easily as a knife would cut a melon.
Lo Valdearg was the name he had chosen, hoping to link himself to Valdearg, the most dangerous dragon of ancient lore who had terrorized Merlin’s isle of Fincayra. Although he’d only recently started causing havoc in Fireroot, the mere sound of this dragon’s name, like his roar, made people quake in fear. As did the sight of his gigantic form, which was impossibly large, covered with scarlet scales that shielded his head, neck, chest, tail, and wings.
“Tell me!” he repeated, lifting his gargantuan head high above the cowering dwarves. To them, his massive face loomed as huge as a hillside. But this hillside had fiery red eyes and a vast mouth with rows of pinnacle-sharp teeth. Not to mention the ability to breathe fire hot enough to melt any stone.
Steaming hot air blew down on them from his cavernous nostrils, making the children shriek louder and forcing them to move back to the very edge of the cliff. They stood there, some of them holding hands and others covering their eyes, while the youngest children sat on the ground and wailed. Meanwhile, Lo Valdearg’s ragged black beard, sprouting from the tip of his chin, slapped the air as he shook his massive head. From the beard fell drops of fresh blood, as well as a few remains of his latest victims—a severed arm here, an empty boot there.
“Tell me!” he demanded again, his voice rising to a roar.
“Never,” cried an older girl, still clutching her father’s charred ax. She raised the heavy ax as high as she could before her arms couldn’t hold it any longer. As the double-edged blade slammed back to the ground, she spat, “We’ll never tell you where to find the flaming jewels.”
“Our people discovered them!” yelled a boy at her side.
“They belong to dwarves,” called another. “Not dragons!”
Lo Valdearg’s eyes glowed like molten lava. A ferocious rumble gathered in his chest, while his eyes seemed to burst into flames. “They will soon belong to me, you stubborn little insects.”