Prequel to The Blue Sword, this is the coming of age story of Lady Aerin the Dragon Slayer. Aerin is the king's only child, and grows up with a lot of hangups. She's kind of klutzy and she's the only one around with red hair and her jealous cousin gives her a hard time and tells her she's the daughter of a witch. Since her mom's dead and her dad's the quiet type, Aerin doesn't know much about her mother and feels insecure about herself. She reads a lot and finds a nonspecific recepie for fire-resistant ointment and spends a great deal of time mixing up bogus batches until she eventually discovers the right combination that produces the desired effect. She keeps her discovery a secret and decides to see if it works against the local dog-sized dragons. Thus she begins dragon slaying, wearing makeshift armor and riding her father's old war horse. The ultimate challenge arises when a really huge dragon flies into town and wipes out a village. None of the king's men can help the villagers since they're on their way to prevent a war, so Aerin grabs her gear and goes off the kill the dragon. The dragon is huge and terrible beyond her worst nightmares and though she nearly gets turned into a crispy critter, she manages to kill it. Back home her injuries seem to heal, but she's still dying and would have, but a mage comes to her in a dream and calls her to him. She rides off into the boonies and finds the mage and is healed. Then she goes off on another quest to find her long lost uncle, who just so happens to be the one who caused her mother's death, not to mention he has the magic crown that was went missing eons back. She kicks his butt and get home just in time to help slaugther the invading northerners.
This report prepared by sayruh