The old wizard sneezed again, which was followed by a small storm of chicken feathers filling the room. "The year is nearly over and I have two colds to go!" to which the dragon just sighed and said "Humans!"
In bustles Solitaire, the Lady of 3moons Castle, with a bottle of nasty looking liquid medicine you can smell across the room before she even uncorks it in one hand, and a huge wooden spoon in the other. She takes one look at Irwin, removes his singed hat, puts her hand on his forehead, and orders him into his bed.
"I'm going to have to take away that devil's invention of a television if you keep watching commercials!" she says in a motherly tone of voice. "I declare! You always get sick when you watch it!"
"I do not!" mumbled the Wizard as the lady took advantage of his open mouth and wedged a huge spoonfull of what must have been foul-tasting liquid into his mouth. She then turned to the you and the dragon, who had scooted promptly out of m'lady's way the moment she entered the room, and said "Either of you feeling ill?"
Aganon assured her that dragons never succumb to human ailments and you assure her (no matter how you really feel) that you are quite well indeed and very pleased to make her acquaintance at last. You explain that the dragon has told you some of the history of the castle and its occupants, but you would like to hear more of it from her, please.
She curtseys in her old-fashioned floor length gown which is laced up the front so tight you wonder how she can breathe, adjusts her shawl on her shoulders, and says, "My pleasure! There are lots of stories to tell. But first I must see to Irwin here." and she resumes tending to the wizard who is still making a face from swallowing the medicine.
Aganon turns and says in a hushed voice to you, "Whatever you do, never sneeze in the Castle! M'Lady was once a caregiver in a house of illness. You call them hospitals, I believe." He sighs softly and continues "I think it was to make up for the loss of her family to the plague hundreds of years ago."
"Ag, you know I don't blame you for saving me when the rest of those living in the Castle were taken." the lady said softly while resting a cool hand on the Wizard's forehead. "If you could have saved them as well, I know you would have done so."
The dragon responded with a nod of his head and a faraway look in his eye as if remembering those days so long ago.
"Now," said the lady in her caregiver voice, "Where is the blanket that I crocheted for you?" The Wizard looked confused for a moment and then his eyes twinkled and he waved his hand. A beautiful hand made blanket appeared hovering precisely over the bed and then settled softly around him, tucking itself up neatly to his chin.
"I do wish you would store things in drawers or closets, Irwin." the lady chuckled as she tucked the blanket tighter around him. "I do," coughed the Wizard, "I just call things when I need them rather than hunting for them." The lady smiled at this and turned to you and Aganon. "He needs his rest," she said softly, gesturing toward the door to the room.
The doorway couldn't possibly allow the dragon to exit, so he taps a claw on the wall next to him and a suitable sized door opens up. You decide to go with Aganon and as you turn to follow the dragon you hear the Wizard say to the lady, "Here, see this?" Turning back for a moment while the tail of the dragon starts to disappear into the exit, you see Irwin pointing out a frayed place in the blanket to the lady. She smiles at him and says she'll mend it for him another day, but for now he should rest beneath the love she stitched into the blanket.
The Wizard begins to nod off mumbling something about learning to crochet, and the lady responds by patting his shoulder. She turns and follows you into the doorway in the wall. "I'll go with you, for if you try to follow Aganon you'll end up on a precipice and have to jump down."
Solitaire picked up a lit candle just inside the doorway of the secret passage (no doubt left by the thoughtful dragon), and glanced back at the now snoring Irwin. "Rest well, old fellow." she called softly and the door swung closed behind you.
She picked up her long flowing skirts in one hand, deftly holding the candle so that it lit the floor with the other. As the two of you began your descent through the passageways she commented almost to herself, "Handmade things are a lot like friends. If you study them too closely, you will see all their flaws."
She then turned and looked directly at you and continued, "Let that be your lesson for today. Friends are hand made." She paused for a moment and then added, "You must stand back a bit to see all that they are, to see all the love that was stitched into them over time, and then you will see all their beauty and not just their flaws."
A gust of wind from nowhere extinguishes the candle in the lady's hand. She takes hold of your hand and assures you she knows the way.