Joe sat back in his saddle, he knew the dragon was in the area. Not just because the local town folk had told him so; there had been signs that he was getting closer, as he had travelled over the last three days. The local wildlife had been more skittish, huddling together more than they would elsewhere and there had been bare patches in the clearings where grass and wildflowers were struggling to regrow after some unknown event.
He heard a noise above him; looking up he could see the large shape of the dragon soaring overhead. The large wingspan held steadily as the dragon glided through the air. Its tail stretched out behind, long and straight, ending in a point like a spear. There was a twinkling of deep green black where the sun washed over its enormous scales. Joe could just make out the horse dangling from the large powerful claws.
He turned his horse to trot in the direction the dragon had flown in. They carefully made their way up into the foothills of the large mountain range that shadowed heavily over the countryside.
Joe snacked on a squirrel he had shot down with his crossbow, his aim had been true for once and he had not wasted any of his precious supply of bolts. He did not know where he would be able to get more if he ran out.
The second day of following the trail he saw the dragon overhead again, he guessed it was going out in search of another meal. He spent the day moving slowly though the sparse trees on the foothills, and he could feel the air getting colder as he moved higher.
The night’s prey for the dragon sounded to be someone’s cow, there was a distant moo coming from above.
After three days, moving higher above the tree line, he saw the cave entrance by chance alone; he could have searched the mountains for years and never found it. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a slightly different shade of rock. Had he had been walking even half a foot to either side, he might have never seen it.