Dragon Masters:

The arena rumbled in response to the massive crowds feet pummeling the stands carved into the rock of the bowl surrounding it. As the first gate rose, a large horned lizard lunged forward. It's neck was surrounded by a large spiked collar, its spine protected by a prickly spiked harness. It's rows of tiny teeth snapped this way and that as unable to reach the stands it tried to get loose any way it could. The chains held it fast. The second gate opened and a resigned winged dragon dragged itself forward. It was faded blue in the sunlight, it's scales patchy with age and scarred from constant battles. It's wings dragged in the sand, looking almost too weak to walk but it shot a look of contempt at the lizard when the arena announcer jeered, riling the crowd to further heights of excitement.

"See the great Dragon Master! Watch him fall before the might of the Empire that he once swore to serve and BETRAYED!! Justice to the strong! Justice to the Strong!"

The dragon sighed as a long lance poked him from behind. From the gated area, a tiny figure bolted forward with a sword and shield. This caused the crowd to go into convulsions of laughter. But of course only a MAN could use such things. That they offered them to a cowardly dragon was a joke.

The dragon stared at the boy who ran toward him in surprise.
"What are you doing here boy? get out! That lizard is very dangerous!"
The boy staggered the last few steps with the sword that was almost as big as he and began attaching the shield to the dragons forearm.

"I begged...I begged them to let me do this...so I could help."

The dragon was shocked as he felt the wing binders that kept his wings from reaching upward release for the first time in years. The flesh they were attached to stretched and the dragon rumbled in pain.

"It's going to hurt, but you must use your wings and fly! You must get away!"

The dragon hazarded a quick look at the boy. He saw huge blue eyes staring out of a shrunken face. the boy began backing away. There was no way to attach the sword. The dragon would not use it anyway. The Empire expected this dragon to die like the rest, wingbound, claws removed, and defenseless.

"Remember... you promised!"

The dragon Master turned toward the lizard just as the chains were released and the lizard, seeking a free meal, shrieked in anticipatory triumph.
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