Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's Dragon


Also known as: Goodboy Bindle Featherstone of Quirm

Errol is . . . not a Noble Dragon.

In the wide, weird, wonderful world of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, there are many dragons. Alas, most of them are rather pathetic excuses for dragonhood, and poor, dear, teary-eyed Errol is the most pathetic of all. Where the Noble Dragons are arrogant, powerful, graceful, winged monsters of majesty, Errol is a bit of a mess.

 But a very sweet mess, as you can see!

When we first meet him in my personal favorite Discworld novel, Guards! Guards!, Errol belongs to Lady Sybil Ramkin, founder of the Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons. Dragons, you see, are a popular pet among the upper crust in Ank-Morkpork city. Not the big Noble Dragons, of course. No, we're talking about their humbler cousins, the Swamp Dragons. Which, alas, are almost permanently sick. You see, they have the ability to rearrange their internal organs so that they can attempt to digest whatever food they take it into their heads to eat (basically, anything that's combustible). But it's a difficult biological process, and as a result, the poor dragons find themselves constantly ill.

Which means a lot of the poor things get abandoned when their owners find them too difficult to care for. So, they end up living coming to the Sunshine Sanctuary where their diets can be properly monitored. And thus was the case for poor Errol.

That is Goodboy Bindle Featherstone of Quirm that was. But fancy breeding and registration has not spared the unfortunate fellow from those ailments common to dragons. If anything, he was worse off than the rest of them because he was no ordinary swamp dragon! In fact, Lady Sybil, had never met a dragon quite like him . . . and declared him "a complete whittle," truth be told!

This did not stop Captain Vimes of the night watch from taking an interest. He brought him home to the guard house. For once in his life, poor Errol finds himself loved and accepted by those outcasts and misfits of society, the night watchmen!

But there is more to Errol than meets the eye! When need arises and a Noble Dragon threatens his beloved Lady Sibyl (virgin sacrifices are, after all, to be expected when a Noble Dragon comes to town), he reorganizes his own digestive system . . . into a supersonic jet engine!

Can you spot Errol in this picture?

But, if you want to see how that battle goes down, you'll have to read the brilliance that is Guards! Guards! for yourself.

In the meanwhile, be mindful those poor unfortunate creatures abandoned to sanctuaries and shelters who might just need a little love in their lives to make all the difference! Mightn't there be a shelter out there someplace where your Errol awaits?

Errol on a scale of 1-10

Evil:  0
No wickedness to be found in this sweet little mess of dragonishness.

Scariness: 3
Other than the fear that he might a) eat your fire irons or b) spontaneously combust, he's not a particularly frightening little guy.

Poison: 4
Well, he can be a bit . . . smelly.

Hoard: 0
No hoard. This poor fellow doesn't have much of anything save a need for understanding, a scratch under the chin and . . . well, maybe some more fire irons.

Cleverness: 5
Errol isn't exactly what you'd call a brain . . . but he may just have what it takes to save the day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From the Kitchen of Anne Elisabeth: My First Cookie Invention

I love to bake. Especially now that I am married and I can guarantee that whatever I bake will be eaten by a willing husband. But I usually depend upon a recipe.

I have gotten more daring with cooking. I'll vary up and experiment all over the place when it comes to meats and sauces, casseroles and stir fries, spices etc. But baking I have always considered a much more precise art (which it is), and I cling to my recipes for guidance (and after the fiasco of the lemon poppy seed cake as seen here, you may understand why).

This last weekend, however, I invented my very first cookie recipe:

An Anne Elisabeth Original:
Butter-crumble Almond Chocolate Drizzle Cookies

These were a valiant attempt to recreate my husband's childhood. Or at least, a small part of it. He told me that he particularly enjoyed Sunday school at one of the churches he attended as a little'un because they always served Almond-Chocolate Shortbread. I thought, "Hey, I can do that!"

Turns out I couldn't. These don't taste anything like what Rohan remembers from childhood Sunday school. Nevertheless, he has declared them "Inspired!" and they are his new favorite.

I thought, since this is the first time I have invented my own cookie recipe, that I would share it with all of you! If you make, let me know how it turns out.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

3 cups flour
6 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

For chocolate glaze:
16 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
2-3 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

First, combine your flour, sugar, and salt. With two forks, cut in your room temperature butter until it looks like corn meal. (Basically, I cut until it looks about right, and then cut a little bit more! It's important that all of your flour is coated with butter so that it will bind properly.)

When you've finished cutting in the butter, mix your egg yolks and ice water in a small bowl. Add to your flour/butter mixture and stir until dough forms a ball.

Press your dough into your bar pan. (I don't actually own a bar pan, so I put wax paper on a cookie sheet and used that instead.) Press flat. (Too get it as flat as I wanted, I put a sheet of wax paper over the dough and rolled it out with my rolling pin. Didn't flour the pin or the dough because you don't want to add more flour at this point.)

Once your dough is nice and flat, press the almonds down on the surface until they stick properly.

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes until dough is golden brown around the edges. (I have a gas oven which heats up very fast, so keep that in mind. If you have electric, you might need to let it go a bit longer.) Let cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, melt chocolate and 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, stirring until smooth. Start with two tablespoons. If your chocolate starts to look "grainy," add the third. (I used 8 oz. Ghirardelli bittersweet baking bars, but realized it wasn't enough and added another 8 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate morsels I had on hand. The result was very yummy.)

Pour chocolate over cooled cookie bars. Let set for at least fifteen minutes before cutting. Chocolate will still be VERY gooey at this point! Wait until chocolate hardens before serving. I cut them into little squares and then refrigerated them for a couple of hours.

I liked them particularly well cold, but they are awesome at room temperature as well. Too rich while the chocolate is still hot, I thought.

Another variation I plan to try will be substituting craisins for the almonds and maybe adding a dash of cranberry juice to the chocolate mix!

Let me know if you end up trying this recipe! This is our current favorite cookie recipe, and I hope you'll enjoy it too!

Name-Drawing Giveaway!

Heya, friends! If you would like to enter a name-drawing giveaway for free copies of either HEARTLESS or  VEILED ROSE, head on over to my facebook page, like it, and leave a comment under the "WHOO HOO! 401 likes!" status.

It means a chance at more free books, so you know . . . why not? :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Dragon


Also called Thalattē in Hellanistic Babylonian,
or "Ummu-Hubur who formed all things"

Tiamat is not actually known for certain to be a dragon as such. She considered a "chaos monster" or a primordial goddess of the ocean from ancient Babylonian texts. The Enûma Eliš, the Babylonian epic of creation, lists her as the mother of gods and goddesses as well as the mother of dragons and serpents. But she's not necessarily a dragon herself, though later Babylonian art depicts her as such:

She is most famous for her battle with another Babylonian god, Marduk. Marduk, the god of thunderbolts, determined to establish himself as the head of the pantheon of gods, killed Kingu, whom Tiamat had put in charge of the Tablets of Destiny. Infuriated, Tiamat, who had loved Kingu, went to battle against Marduk. And she lost.

Marduk took the dead body of Tiamat, and from her ribs, crafted heavens, turned her weeping eyes into the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and spread her tail across the sky to form the Milky Way:

It is interesting to note that this story of Marduk and Tiamat is not one that deals with ethics or morality. Neither Marduk nor Tiamat is considered good or bad. Though Tiamat is an agent of destruction, she is not considered wicked. As the author of British Dragons says:

"The issues involved (in the Enûma Eliš) are not ethical, but cosmic; these myths are concerned with the creative process that shaped the universe and restored order after a threat of chaos, or of grave deficiences in the natural order" (p. 24).

The story of Tiamat and Marduk has had a profound effect on dragon lore. We see it reiterated in many dragon-slayer tales, particularly the "storm god fighting the sea serpent" aspect. Tiamat, as a goddess of primordial oceans, is often depicted as a sea serpent. The tale is retold in the form of Thor (another thunder god) battling Jörmungandr (another sea serpent). Also Zeus (yet another thunder god) battling Typhon (a many-headed dragon) is similar to the tale.

So whether or not Tiamat was intended from the beginning to be a dragon, she has effected dragon mythology throughout the ages!

Sadly, that effect did make its way into cartoon world:

Oh dear, yes. She has been immortalized forever as a many-headed dragon queen pitted against six spunky teens and pre-teens in the Dungeons andDragons TV series.

("I liked that one!" my husband says. "We are no longer speaking," says I.)

Poor Tiamat. How are the mighty fallen!

Tiamat on a scale of 1-10

Evil:  0
She is a dreadfully scary primordial goddess of chaos and destruction . . . but, as stated above, the old Babylonian myth is not concerned with morality, but considers its deities to be above such things. Ultimately, she is no more evil than a hurricane.

Scariness: 10
Um, she's a primordial goddess of chaos and destruction! She doesn't have to be evil to be terrifying!

Poison: 1
I can find no reference to her being poisonous.

Hoard: 8
She possesses the Tablets of Destiny, which I think count as a pretty decent hoard, all in all.

Cleverness: 5
Will give her a flat five here. I'm not going to say she isn't clever. But hurricanes aren't respected for their cleverness, and neither is she.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do You Believe It?

One of the biggest pitfalls I think every fiction author faces is that of writing what they don't truly believe.

I see it happen all the time. I struggle with the issue regularly. After all, we are just trying to tell a "fun story," aren't we? We certainly don't want to come across as moralizing or legalistic! I know I don't, and I know I struggle with falling into that trap.

But there's a flip-side to every coin. How often, for the sake of "just telling a story," do we find ourselves writing things that don't reflect our actual beliefs?

Here's a classic example of what I'm talking about: How often do we say (both in secular and Christian fiction) that it's the inside of a person that counts, not the superficial exterior? Pretty often. But how often is that what we actually write?

While there are exceptions to the rule, almost every romance novel I have read depends on the extraordinary hotness of the heroine and the incredible muscle-tone of the hero to create the romance. To create the tension. Even to define the character. (Can he even be a hero without toned abs? Can she be an interesting character without a stunning figure and violet eyes?) We write them as super-models, movie stars, demigods, and yet we expect people to believe that it's the inside that counts.

Oh, I've heard people say that "attraction matters" and that's why they spend so much time describing the hotness of their various characters in order to create a "realistic" romance. Now, I'm not going to argue that point! Absolutely, attraction matters. I think my husband is adorable, and I enjoy his good looks!

But is he a movie star? Does he look like (Insert Your Favorite Romantic Lead: here)? He is very attractive to me, but was it body-builder muscle tone that drew me to him?


It all comes down to writing what you believe. And what most people believe is that attraction is important, but that attraction can stem from a lot of sources and is highly subjective. After all, plain people are just as capable of passionate romance as the superstars! Don't you think it's possible a man might be romantic even if he has skinny shoulders and is a bit soft around the middle? Can't a girl with crooked teeth and a bit of weight on her be someone's dream come true?

I don't write romance books, so this has not been an issue for me at this point. (The heroine of my last novel is a goblin. So yeah. We kind of have to love who she is and not what she looks like.) But I have found myself running into other situations where I could write what I don't believe for the sake of easy storytelling.

Best personal example: I once outlined and planned out in detail a novel in which the main character earned forgiveness by a noble act. I planned to have this character, who was pretty messed up, atone for his own sin.

But I don't believe that.

I don’t believe that a good deed cancels out a bad deed. I don't believe in karma, and I don't believe that if we do something wrong, we can then do something right to make it all better. Some wounds we inflict cannot be fixed, no matter how many "good deeds" we might do to make up for it. Forgiveness is not something that can be earned by our merit. Forgiveness is something that must be offered without our deserving it. Forgiveness is an act of ultimate grace.

So I scrapped that story idea, and wrote what I truly believed. I wrote a story in which the hero strives to fix his mistakes but realizes that he cannot. It was a harder story to write. And it was a true story that reflected what I believed.

But I could have just as easily written my fun adventure story, let my hero earn his own forgiveness, and said, "Hey! I'm not trying to mean anything here! It's just a fun story!"

The problem is, stories often take on a message or meaning whether you intend it or not. And we Christian writers have to be SO careful that when we are writing, we are reflecting what we hold true. That we are bathing every project in prayer, seeking God's glory and not our own. Yes, we are just telling a "good story," and it is meant for entertainment. But as soon as you take the label "Christian," your writing comes under a much closer scrutiny.

Let me finish by saying that I don't believe every book written by a Christian needs to have a "good Christian moral" tagged onto it. I think every book needs to have something to say, or it's only so much babble. But what you are trying to say doesn't need to be summarized in a little moral message, and not every little twist of your tale needs to have some deep, allegorical significance.

At its heart, however, a novel must reveal what an author believes, be that author Christian or non-Christian. Fiction is about entertainment, yes. But it's also about communication. What are you communicating through your work?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Dragon


Vollys is the creation of notable children's book writer Gail Carson Levine, a character in her second novel, The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

I decided that after quite a lot of the Older Dragons it was time to write up a blog on one of my favorite dragons of recent history! Vollys is, in my opinion, one of the best dragons ever to find her way into children's lit.

The funny thing about this story is that Ms. Levine never intended to write it. After the success of her first novel, Ella Enchanted (a Newberry Honor Book), she intended to write a retelling of the classic fairy tale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." But as she worked on it, she number of princesses dwindled away until she was left with Meryl and Addie, two very different young woman, devoted sisters, whom she pitted against an entire kingdom of monsters. Not quite the same as magical dances!

Vollys is Levine's most successful literary creation. She is a raiding, pillaging dragon, completely sentient and completely convinced of her own right to take whatever she wants whenever she wants it. In a way, she's a very human character. A human broken down to the rawest, most depraved essentials. A human that is only just human, and therefore the most monstrous kind.

The princesses' nursemaid lists for them some of the many atrocities Vollys has committed upon the people of Bamarre: "farms burned, livestock eaten on the spot, families carried off, knights roasted in their armor, castles plundered. And all the humans--dead, or never seen again." (p. 56)

There were at least three known dragons living in Bamarre at the time of this story: Kih, Jafe, and Vollys. Princess Addie (for reasons I will not give away here) finds herself obliged to seek out one of these three and convince her to tell her a great secret. Before she goes, Rhys the sorcerer explains to her about dragons:

"They are solitary. They dislike other dragons and hate all other cratures. Yet they're lonely and they enjoy conversation. It's why they spin out the deaths of their human victims. If you're captured, you must keep the dragon entertained." (p. 123)

That's right. Vollys the dragon likes to capture herself a likely-looking human upon occasion. She tries to "make them last," rather like a good chocolate truffle that you don't chew but simply let melt slowly in your mouth. But her attention is difficult to keep, and when she grows bored . . . that's it!

"Believe me," says Vollys, "when I say I want you to stay a long  time with me. I am sad when I am alone. My unhappiest hours are after I have destroyed a guest. I have never forgotten any of you. I have remembered my first guest for over seven hundred years. He had a short life breathing the air, but a long life in memory." (p. 153)

Vollys is deliciously creepy!

But she's also . . . interesting. Beautiful. Enchanting.

I do hate to give a good story away, however! So let me leave you there and encourage you to pick up The Two Princesses of Bamarre, my favorite of Gail Carson Levine's delightful children's books.

I hear rumor that there's a movie being made. But it is no more than a breath of rumor.

Vollys on a scale of 1-10

Evil:  9
She is dreadfully evil. But she also does have a small inkling of goodness in that she feels genuine fondness for her guests. It's a fondness prey to her ever-changing whims, however . . .

Scariness: 9
I found her quite delightfully scary!

Poison: 1
I don't remember and can find no reference to her being poisonous. She certainly has a hot, searing fire, though!

Hoard: 9
Vollys is described with quite a magnificent hoard full of many delightful curiosities. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read about her!

Cleverness: 9
Wickedly clever. Fascinating, in fact!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Dragon


Original name: Fuchur, der Glücksdrache
Also called: Falcor

Falkor is the loveable luckdragon from Michael Ende's strange and beautiful The Neverending Story. He is a denizen of Phantásien (or Fantastica as it is translated into English), and he is just as strange and beautiful as the story in which he dwells.

We first meet Falkor in dire straits, caught in the web of a monstrous spider who is creepy enough to give the famous Shelob a run for her money: Ygramul the Many.

But Falkor is not giving up without a fight! He battles the giant spider . . . but whenever he bites her, his jaws close upon a void! It is then we discover that Ygramul is no mere giant spider . . . she is made up of innumerable blue insects that swarm to take different shapes, including that of the giant spider! Thus her title, "the Many."

Falkor is no ordinary dragon himself. As the author says, "Luckdragons are among the strangest animals in Fantastica. They bear no resemblance to ordinary dragons, which look like loathsome snakes and live in deep caves, diffusing a noxious stench and guarding some real or imaginary treasure" (p. 64).

Falkor, instead, is a creature of "air, warmth, and pure joy." He has a luxuriant mane, a pearly, pink-and-white body, vicious fangs, and ruby-red eyes. He flies without the need of wings, because he is light as a cloud! They swim through the air, and they sing in golden, bell-like voices, a song that makes the hearer glad to remember to their dying day.

A more lion-like take on the luckdragon.

Surely, there was never a more beautiful or unusual dragon than Falkor. He is also a brave fighter and a loyal companion! When the brave Atreyu helps him to escape Ygramul, he joins the boy warrior on his quest to save the Childlike Empress. And, because he's a luckdragon, he's handy to have around! Though Ygramul fills both him and Atreyu with her dreadful poison--a poison that will kill them within an hour--Falkor is unconcerned.

"Every poison has its antidote," he says. "Everything will turn out all right. You'll see." (p. 72)

And, of course, he's right. But I won't give that part away!

Hmmm, not quite as accurate. Where are his scales?

Falkor is one of the best-remembered and best-loved aspects of Michael Ende's novel. And if you haven't read the book, possibly you have seen Falkor as he is represented in movies (there called Falcor). I was never a huge fan of the movie myself, but how can you not like the enormous, scale-covered, huggable puppy that is Falcor?

"I dare you not to hug me!"

Definitely not a figure of magnificence and pure joy as Ende envisioned . . . but huggable, right?

Falkor on a scale of 1-10

Evil:  0
Not evil at all! He's really quite loveable, whether in puppy or non-puppy form.

Scariness: 6
In the book, he's quite fierce when you first meet him. And I imagine his enemies would find him frightening! (But not in puppy form.)

Poison: 0
Luckdragons jut aren't poisonous.

Hoard: 0
Nope, no hoard for this fellow!

Cleverness: 7
He's clever enough, but gets by mostly on luck, which doesn't take a great deal of cleverness.

Friday, November 4, 2011

RT Book Reviews Best Inspirational Novels 2011 Nominees

I just found out that Veiled Rose is a nominee for the Romantic Times Best Inspirational Novel 2011! Here's the announcement (as stolen from my friend Jill Eileen Smith's blog).

Dear Book Lovers,

2011 WAS ANOTHER great year for readers. So many fabulous books were published! We reviewed more than 250 books in each issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS—more than 3,000 titles for the entire year. Our ace reviewers and have scoured 12 months’ worth of reviews to compile the best of the best for the annual RT BOOK Career Achievement and Reviewers’ Choice Awards. For the Reviewers’ Choice nominees, our star team selected only those novels that deeply resonated with them. The Career Achievement nominees have continuously crafted superior books throughout their careers in each category.

Winners will be announced in the May issue of RT, just prior to our 29th annual Booklovers Convention in Chicago, April 11 -April 15, 2012. Winners will be honored at a ceremony on April 13, and awards will be presented to the authors in attendance. We hope you will be there to celebrate with your favorites!

So excited! Many thanks to those responsible for Veiled Rose's nomination!

For those of you curious, I'm including a list of all the Inspirational nominees according to category.

Inspirational Romance

Julie Klassen
Bethany House (Jan.)

Gilbert Morris
Barbour (Feb.)

Jill Eileen Smith
Revell (Mar.)

Linda Windsor
David C. Cook (Jun.)

Kathleen Y’Barbo
WaterBrook (Jun.)

Inspirational Novel

Ann H. Gabhart
Revell (Feb.)

Liz Curtis Higgs
WaterBrook (Mar.)

Neta Jackson
Thomas Nelson (Mar.)

Jenny B. Jones
Thomas Nelson (Oct.)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Bethany House (Jul.)

Alison Strobel
Zondervan (Mar.)

Dan Walsh
Revell (Sep.)

Inspirational Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Lisa Harris
Zondervan (Mar.)

Erin Healy
Thomas Nelson (Oct.)

Richard Mabry
Abingdon (Apr.)

James Rubart
B&H (Jan.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Dress Up

So we dressed up for Halloween. Can you guess who we were?

This one kind of clinches it:

Did you guess?

So I am not generally a huge fan of mustaches. But I'm not going to lie, my husband looked adorable in that Clark Cable-style mustache! I'm such an old-movie buff, and he looked like some dashing combination of Ronald Coleman, Errol Flynn, and David Niven . . . except better than all three!

So did you dress up for Halloween? If so, who (or what) did you dress as?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday's Dragon


Sometimes associated with: Ladon, Tiamat, and other minor dragons.

Draco is one of the oldest dragons (or assortment of dragons) known to man. He is also one of the very oldest constellations,and has boasted varying importance throughout the history of the world. He is associated with several different dragons in mythology.

In Greek mythology, Draco is one of several dragons. He could be Ladon, the many-headed serpent dragon who guarded Hera's golden apples.

(This is Arthur Rackham's vision of Ladon. Remember him, famous for his portraits of Fafnir?)

Or Draco might be might be the dragon slain by the Greek hero, Cadmus. Cadmus, after sewing the dragon's teeth which grew into soldiers (hmmm, we've seen that story before!) went on to found the city of Thebes. After all, one can't found a city without a certain amount of proper dragon-slaying first, rigth?

(Another multi-headed dragon here! The Hydra had cousins.)

And there are some who say that Draco is a dragon fought by the goddess Minerva, the remains of whom she tossed up into the sky.

Minerva the goddess:

Oops, I mean:

But Draco's story might possibly go farther back still! The Sumerians and Babylonians of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley--we're talking more than 5,000 years ago, people!--had a legend for the constellation as well. Their Draco was a female dragon called Tiamat who existed at the very beginning of creation before earth and sky were separated.

She too was thrown into the sky and bolted to a star around which her constellation spins. And now, as Draco, she is the guardian of the stars:

"They have decorated the night sky for thousands of years and none of them disappeared. Why? Because god Marduk put on the sky an eternally awakened dragon, who guards them . . ." (Enuma Elish)

The star that bolts Draco in place, we assume, was one the early Chaldeans named Thuban, which is found in the body of Draco. In ancient times, the heavens revolved around Thuban, and it was considered the pole star. Even the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza contained an enormous shaft that pointed directly to Thuban. Proving just how important Draco as a constellation was to the ancient peoples of the world!

It is speculated that, due to the affects of axial precession, Thuban will be the pole star again by the year 21000!

Draco has had a profound effect on dragon mythology throughout the ages. In modern literature, we still see stories cropping up about him. For instance, in the movie Dragonheart, the Draco constellation is considered something of a "dragon heaven," where good dragons go when they die.

(This is what heaven looks like to dragons. Now you know.)

But this image cannot compare with the gorgeous imagery provided by the true Draco. Look at this nebula Draco sports!

(The Catseye Nebula found in Draco)

All legends and mythologies aside, this is one dragon who cannot help but declare the glory of God!

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour fourth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."
(Psalm 19: 1-4)

Draco on a scale of 1-10

Evil:  1
In some of the legends, such as Cadmus's dragon, he is pretty scary. But in most of the stories, he is merely performing his required duty. So not evil. As a constellation, he is outright helpful!

Scariness: 6
Probably "scary" isn't so much the right word as awe-inspiring.

Poison: 0
This dragon isn't poisonous at all.

Hoard: 10
This this dragon is the guardian of the stars. I don't think you could find a more fabulous treasure trove!

Cleverness: 8
He's a pretty clever dragon to have served as a pole star throughout ancient history.