Malik, the current Dragonkeeper, is at the beachfront ne-school late in the afternoon, for the final village meeting to confirm to the remaining villagers the plan for tomorrow. But first, he tells a very old and often told story to the ne-school aged children about how a young Zildamah, the dragon, warned and saved the villagers from the giant wave that devastated or destroyed so many of the other villages throughout the islands.
After the story and before the meeting is about to start, Aydn, Malik’s apprentice and the next Dragonkeeper, informs Malik that Jay, a nasty drunkard and an obnoxious bully, who has just delivered the last ingredient needed, has been badly injured in a bar, the Stagger Inn, owned and operated by the crippled Aydos, father to Aydn and a lifelong friend to Malik.
Butris, the village med-man, who despises Aydos, is furious about the situation he has been put in and accuses Aydos and Malik of gross negligence at the least and attempted murder at the worst. Malik pleads his innocence, states his case about his simple plan to subdue Jay with a sleeping potion, which was meant to keep him from causing any more chaos while he is at the village but seems to have gone horribly wrong. An uneasy truce is agreed upon between Butris and Aydos so that Malik can continue on with his work.
Malik makes his way to the dragon’s cave where a pained and distressed Zildamah awaits. Malik explains to Zildamah, again, that Zildamah is not dying, he is peeling. He has outgrown his old skin and it needs to be shed
Zildamah is surprised by this explanation, again, of what is causing him so much pain and discomfort. After a brief ‘examination’, Malik convinces a reluctant Zildamah, by promising a ‘big surprise’ afterwards, that Malik will fix the pain of peeling if Zildamah turns up at the beach at dawn tomorrow.
Later that evening, on the beach, Aydos ambushes Malik and confronts him with his misgivings about the way Malik has mixed some of the bizarre ingredients that he has gathered together. Malik says that it saves him a lot of time and that it doesn’t matter how they are mixed, the outcome is the same. Aydos is not so sure and is convinced that Malik has botched the process even before it starts and may well blow up Zildamah and will truly be ‘the last Dragonkeeper.”
The next day at dawn, feeling the little bit worse for wear, Malik, Aydn and the seventy-odd crew begin the day long process of skinning a live dragon.