This is an idea I’ve been playing with. The dragon is a man who had been turned into a lizard, and is clever enough to make a living while he is a lizard. He uses smoke and shadows to appear bigger than he is and he successfully scares the villagers so they don’t bother him. The girl is not afraid of confrontation with a dragon and doesn’t fall for his tricks. The lizard needs someone’s help to exact revenge on the warlock who turned him into a lizard.
Life couldn’t get much worse. She was staked out in front of the dragon’s lair waiting to be burned to a crisp. She sighed and puffed her hair out of her eyes. The sun was rising over the mouth of the cave. If the blooming dragon didn’t turn up soon she’d be roasted alive by a different fire source. Her hair was red and her skin was white, rapidly turning pink. Getting a tan wasn’t part of her life. She squinted up at the hessian rope tying her to the stake. Maybe the sun would burn through the rope and she would be free? She puffed again, this time in exasperation. What had she done to get to this point in life?
A small, unobtrusive lizard watched from a rock nearby. His tongue flicked in and out and his eyes swivelled in his head. He could feel the warmth seeping into his cold scales. He would wait a while.
She’d never thought of herself as pretty. Who could ever like red hair and freckles? She’d been called names by the other children in the village since she was born. Her mother always said that having red hair was a gift and everyone was jealous of it. It didn’t feel like a gift when the other pretty blonde girls poured ink over her head. The boys pulled her hair and pushed her over. Her mother always gently washed her hair out and cleaned her clothes and said it was all part of growing up. It had taught her self-reliance from an early age if nothing else.
As she grew up her hair had darkened and her freckles had scattered prettily across her cheeks and boys stopped pushing her over and started arguing about who could carry her books home. They seemed to become tongue-tied in her presence. The girls of course, still hated her. But now it was for completely different reasons. Her self-reliance gave her an air of independence which seemed to fascinate and attract members of the opposite sex.
She hadn’t cared a snit for any of the village idiots as she called them, but as soon as the tall, dark stranger had ridden into town she had fallen. And fallen hard. And now look at her…
The lizard felt his joints un-thawing finally. He lifted one foot, then the other. He flicked his tongue and swished his tail. All seemed to be working. He rolled his eyes. The damsel was still staked out. At least she was pretty. And she wasn’t crying or tearing her hair out. She obviously had courage. Yes she might do. He needed a brave young lady to help him with his plan.