A teaser segment of the story:

The Celtic Dragon
by Robert Nailor

She basked in the afternoon sun, her emerald and blue scales glistening with each breath she took. The nap had been pleasant.

"I can smell you, human," she said, not bothering to open her eyes. "You are human."

"Be ye a genuine dragon?" the cowering man said from between the large rocks that he had hoped would hide him. "You look more like a giant serpent."

"I am Lilith," she said, lifting her head into the air while coiling her body and surveying the ethereal glen. "I am a dragon and you've avoided my question. Are you human? Is this Earth?"

"Be ye daft," the little man said. "O'course this be Earth." He stepped defiantly from behind the stones. "Where else would this be?"

Lilith flared her eyes. "For one so diminutive, you take certain liberties." She stared down at the small shape. "What should I do with the likes of you?" Something niggled at her memory; something was wrong.

"Don't dragons usually have wings?" the man said. He stood there with legs spread apart and hands on hips. "But you have no wings, and where be the flaming breath and smoke?"

She slowly eased herself back to view her body. She didn't see any wings except a set of miniature flaps that were a token of her once giant, beautiful wings. Yes, they were gone and the sulfurous taste she normally had was missing. She had to get more information.

"Not all dragons have wings," she lied softly and swayed hypnotically while moving to the man's left. "You say this is Earth. Where?"

"This be Ireland," he replied. "And I now be of the Tuatha de Danann."

"Tuatha de Danann," she repeated, thinking. "You're a leprechaun?" she said and stared at him searchingly. This place had a dream like quality with no point of time reference for her. It wasn't an Ireland that she had in her recollection. She had to put the facts together and remember how she had gotten here. Memory wasn't her forte, along with a list of other faults.

"Dragon Lilith," the man said. "I realize now that ye be only a'visiting."

"Hush, wee one," she said and eased down to face the little man. "You say this is Ireland. Let me think."

She stalled for time. Memories of an ocean and a large sailing vessel came to her. She remembered wrecking havoc on the ship and watching the men aboard it jump into the sea. Then she decided to visit her brother who had resolved to finally have it out with some knight named George. She was tired when she had entered the time continuum.

That was it. She had fallen asleep in the time continuum, that unique device that allowed dragons to move through space and time. By applying the proper mental processes on time spatial fluctuations and flying, she could go anywhere. While asleep, she had obviously fallen through a portal. Now all she had to do was figure which doorway portal, where she was in time and make the proper mental adjustments to leave and continue her travel.

She kept breaking the dragon's number one rule. 'Know where you are in time.' Over time she had gotten extremely good at conning the time from those she met when she got lost.

Lilith didn't want to break dragon rules, but she was young, extremely absent minded, and very clumsy.

As if that was a cue, her head fell to the ground in front of the man to prove her clumsiness.

"Be ye truly a dragon?" he again asked. "Dragons be graceful."

"Insolent fool," Lilith said angrily and raised her head once more into the air to blast the man with fire. Her body twisted in frustration due her inability to torch the puny being before her. "You seem to have a great depth of knowledge regarding dragons," she said. "What else do you know?"

"Lilith," the man said gently. "Can ye shape shift?"

"Of course," she replied. "All dragons can. What would you like me to become?"

"Appear human," he said.

"Why would I want to take on the appearance of such a common creature?" Lilith hesitated then shifted shape to become a young, raven haired lass with emerald colored eyes.

"Ye be beautiful, Lilith," the man said.

"Thank you," she replied. "And what is your name?"

"I be called Colin," he said and lifted her hand to his lips. "Your human beauty is exceeded only by your dragon loveliness."

"Can you tell me the date and time?" she asked. The man was now less irksome, in fact, Lilith thought, perhaps, handsome.

"Nay, m'lady," Colin replied. "There be no such things like time here. This is the place of fantasy, time neither is nor was. There is no past, no future, only now. This world can only be touched by the real world and then, time only exists for those of that world. I be in your debt for all eternity."

Lilith looked about attempting to understand what Colin had said. The hills, trees, everything was beautiful.

"And, why, foretell, are you in debt to me," Lilith asked. "Especially if there is no time?"

"Not all is as it appears, ye not be the only one to shape shift," Colin said and changed appearance before her.

An attractive blue and silver scaled, miniature winged dragon now was coiled before her.

"Are you truly a dragon?" Lilith asked Colin. "You said you were a leprechaun."

Colin's head reared into the air. "I, too, be a dragon, Lilith. And, nay, I said 'I now be of'. My apologies for deceit, but a dragon I be. And it was my dragon curiosity that brought me here. I was in the continuum and when the worlds touched, I became curious of its strangeness within the continuum and wandered in through the portal to this fantasy world. I've been locked, stranded here," Colin said. "I also lost my beautiful wings. And fiery breath," he added.

"But, Colin," Lilith said. "Surely we could escape from this place." She looked about again. "If we wanted to," she added.

"With no time to calculate with, one can't make the mental adjustments to travel," he replied. "And when the real world touches, we still can't cross over; I've tried. When I find someone I can speak with, I attempt to ascertain the time, but to no avail. There is only now. And beauty."

"Then I will join you," Lilith said and shifted shape into that of a dragon.

"And we will exist together," he said, looping and coiling about her.

"Forever," she replied, twining within his coils, to match him head to head.

The End