Saul Karza, wizard of the Empire, has been given a quest by the Empress herself: to find and slay a mythical noble dragon, said to be near invulnerable. Instead of leading a large band of soldiers, archers and spell casters, he sets out with two immigrant dock workers and a homeless dwarf.
When a young John Lambton skips church to go fishing, he catches something unnatural. Fearful of his father's reaction to both skipping church and bringing such a foul creature to the house - he it throws in the well. Years later, after fighting in the Crusades, John returns home to an unpleasant surprise.