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Exhausted, I retired to my room to try and get a little sleep but at about 9 a.m. the alarm was sounded by the guards in the watch towers. The sea serpents had been spotted approaching the castle.

In the courtyard, Puff, Marlene and the rest of the peace envoy approached the gatehouse and requested that the drawbridge be lowered. Word came to me of this request and I went to them. Since they were quite confident that they had drawn up a worthy plan to avoid. I was somewhat reassured, but told them to wait until we could see what the serpent envoy looked like.

It seemed like an aeon, but actualy was not long, before the lookouts reported a lone serpent approaching the castle gate. Puff, gallantly, flew to the top of the gatehouse and then back to me. "It is Merga! The leader of the sea serpents! I had not thought he would conduct the negotiations! We must be alert for trickery. Possibly the good ladies should remain within the castle walls."

I agreed that this might be the best course of action. But when we presented it to Marlene and the ladies they raised such a turmoil that King Paul instructed me to allow them outside, but only to the end of the drawbridge. This was agreed upon and the drawbridge was lowered.

When the conference began, it presented and odd sight; it was almost a surrealistic scene. A giant, black sea serpent, an immense, green dragon, and five ladies all facing each other in a circle. My wife was on the outskirts! Despite my orders to remain in chambers!! So much for a dragon and his wife!

In desparation, I tried to hear what was going on with my dragon-hearing, but a magic force had been set up around the participants so that no sound could get in nor out. The negotiations went on all day and into the night, stopping only for meals. Once I was tempted to send out a large helping of sardines and Coke but Lady Laura vetoed that idea before it got off the ground. I glowered at my fair lady, but was forced to look down at her knowing glance. I, the serpent slayer, am but common clay to be molded in the hands of my love. I could not even bring myself to ask her about any pre-battle toasts the ladies may have made. Her withering eyes would have destroyed me. Yea, the same loving eyes, have the ability to slay a dragon. Thus the negotiations dragged on and on ...

Meanwhile, more and more sea serpents arrrived but all stayed well away from the Castle. Sir Jeffrey calculated their final number at just under two thousand. I had not known so many serpents existed in the world. However, Sir Jeffrey assured me that this was just a small fraction of what existed. He theorized that this was the maximum amount that even the evil Leslie could protect out of the sea with even his great magic.

It was some time around 4 a.m. when a guard awoke me. Most of the castle residents were asleep in the great hall but he was careful to wake only me. "Your Grace, I feel that things are not going well. You had better have a look for yourself."

Indeed, as I peered over the castle wall the talks appeared to be heated at the negotiation site. Merga and Puff were face to face and both seemed agitated. Suddenly, a burst of sound came forth as the magic sound barrier evaporated. Angrily, Merga was shouting, "There can never be peace between the sea world and the land world as long as one dragon or one dragon ally lives!"

With that he stormed away from the castle, leaving Puff and the ladies retreating back across the lowered drawbridge.

Following this scene, Marlene and Puff came directly to me. By this time, the whole castle was awake and King Paul was by my side. "We have failed. His demands for peace were extreme and non-negotiable. He wanted your life, Sir Joseph, for the life you took on the beach. It made no matter that Merga did not know the sea serpent you killed - he came looking for a fight!"

The alarm was sounded by the watchtower guards and preparations were made for battle. Puff flew off to warn Glymph the Elder and the Red Dragon of Cymru.

By daylight, all were gathered with the walls of Castle Bisset and things were quite hectic. All the warrior dragons were gathered about a mile to the east of the castle. The only notable exception was Glymph the Younger. For better or worse, he had not been heard from since he left for France to rally the French Dragons. I suspect that Glymph the Elder was secretly pleased that his son was so far from the scene of the upcoming battle.

Inevitably, the first sign of hostilities came just after dawn. A column of sea serpents, two abreast, approached Castle Bisset. Rather than a charge it was more of a march. All eyes were on them as the approached the moat which surounded Castle Bisset. We expected them to swim in either direction but we were mistaken. Cleverly, the first ones reached the moat and slipped quietly into the water and settled to the bottom. The next settled on top of them and soon many of the serpents were dead; crushed by the weight of others on top of them. With a sickening feeling, we soon realized that they were building a bridge of dead serpents.

Orders were given for boiling oil to be brought to the castle wall. Just as the serpents had finished their flesh bridge and started to scale the castle walls, I gave the order to dump a cauldron of oil. I had never heard a sea serpent scream before and the sound was chilling. Rather that a high piched scream, it was more of a loud, deep rumble. The serpents which were not killed outright retreated with a speed that did not seem possible for their size. I, then ordered torches to be dropped on the serpent flesh bridge. The oil ignited and soon the smell of burning flesh filled the castle.

Worriedly, we watched as the sea serpents regrouped. They, then, went into a nearby forest and for over two hours we could hear the noise to trees falling and the sounds of construction. Then we saw them! Alas! Four great towers were being pushed out of the trees. At first we wondered why they would build seige towers, because of the moat, they could not get close enough to be of any effect. They stopped at the edge of the forest and there we got a clear view of the towers. These were trebuchets! Giant sling shots capable or hurling boulders large enough to break down the castle walls!

The trebuchets were spread out and positioned at intervals ... and then the serpents advanced towards Castle Bisset, many of the carrying boulders. On guard, I sent word that the mirror signal should be given for the dragons to advance in force. However, the runner soon returned to report that the dragons were already engaged!

Thusly, I shape shifted into a dragon and flew up to observe for myself. What I saw shocked me. While some of the serpents worked in the forest, the rest launched a sneak attack on the massed dragons. It was not going well. Several dragons lay dead or dying. Two serpents appearded to be dead but the rest were engaged in combat.

It was then that the dastardly serpents launched their attack with the trebuchets. Stones flew at, into, and over the castle walls. Obviously, some damage was inflicted but it was minor and widespread. However, If they decided to concentrate on the castle walls, they would not stand long.

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