Chapter 1

Evelyn Lionheart woke up to the sound of screaming. Baby George Lionheart needed his second feed of the night. On her way to her son's nursery, she stopped to check on her niece, Connie. Connie was currently the only universal in the Society. Evelyn pushed the door open. It creaked loudly. This was unusual. The door only creaked when the window was open. She walked into the room. Connie's bed was empty.

Connie and Col walked hand in hand up to the top of the moorland, followed closely by Col's Pegasus, Skylark. They were meeting Connie's dragon companion, Argand, up on the moors. Col, on Skylark, planned to take Connie, on Argand, for a midnight fly above the sea of Hescombe. This was their first proper "date" and they were both looking forward to it immensely. They reached the top and met Argand.

"Ready?" Col gave Connie a leg up onto the great golden dragon's back.

"Always!" Connie replied as she revved up her steed and took flight after Col.

The night seemed to go on forever as the sea did. They saw Hescombe fade and die as they rose. The wind blew Connie's hair into her face. She brushed it away. This was the beat night of her life and she wanted it to last until the end of time.

"Connie Lionheart!" The look on Evelyn's face was enough to sour milk. "What the hell do you think you're doing out at this time of night?" Connie and Col had just landed on the headland when Connie's aunt came marching out of Shaker Row in her pyjamas with a wailing George on her hip.

"I…it was my fault, Evelyn, I… well, we…" Col tailed off and stared at the ground. Connie barged past him and her aunt and ran back to Shaker Row, her head in her hands.

"I'll go and…" Col made for the front door, but Evelyn stuck out her arm.

"You've done enough." She gave him a hard shove. "Go home."

Connie lay face down on her bed, weeping piteously into her pillow. Somebody knocked softly on her bedroom door.

"Col?" She sat up expectantly.

"No, honey, it's only me." Mack's soft Scottish tones floated through the door. Connie sighed, face planted the pillow once more and said, "Go away." Her words were muffled by the pillow, but Mack got the idea and left. A fresh flood of tears spilled over and she cried herself to sleep.