This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dragon's Maid - Part IV

In case you’ve missed it, here is:

Part I
Part II
Part III

If you wanna take a chance with my synopsis then here it is: Fenrick, a farm boy, sets out to slay the dragon that plagues a neighboring kingdom in order to gain both land and title. Once in the kingdom, he meets Telanja, and they fall in love.  She tried to dissuade him from his quest, but he will have none of it, so she promises to marry him should he return. The next morning an old man leads him to the dragon’s cave and gives him a grim lecture, that leaves Fenrick uneasy….

The cave was broad and tall; many stories tall, like some kind of natural cathedral. Long stalactites dripped down, but the actual ceiling was lost to darkness.


A strange thought occurred to Fenrick; he had no torch, so what was illuminating the cave? But he had his answer when he rounded a corner and found the terrible dragon laying on his stereotypical pile of glittering gold. The dragon’s scales gleamed like firelight and light seemed to emanate from them, flickering and throwing long, twisted shadows on the stone walls.

 The dragon made a low noise in his throat that rumbled through the cave like thunder. Fenrick gripped his sword tightly and locked his shaking knees. The beat was far larger than he’d expected, and his eyes - those green golden eyes seemed to see right through him and pierce his very soul. Fear lanced his heart and rendered him immobile so that suddenly a land and title didn’t seem so very important.

Except that if he was defeated, he’d have nothing to offer Telanja.  

“So,” the dragon said suddenly. “You are the newest hero?” he gave a hollow laugh and moved one of his arms towards a large pile of bones and discarded armor in the corner. “I have no need for another to add to my collection. Turn around and go back to your village, farm boy.”

Fenrick had no idea how the dragon knew his humble origin, but those words were enough to steal his resolve. He was more than just some lowly born, bumbling farm boy.  And once he’d slaughtered this creature, the world would have no choice but to agree.

With a fierce cry, Fenrick set upon the dragon, his sword flashing. The dragon, though fast, was taken by surprise, and the sword nicked his underbelly as he dodged. The cut was small, but he’d drawn first blood, and just then that counted for everything to our would-be hero.

The dragon roared in fury and knocked Fenrick to the ground. Before he could stand, the creature let loose with a blast of fire, but Fenrick raised the shield in time to deflect most of it. And then, he was on his feet again, his attack renewed.

And so the battle went; Fenrick slashing and hacking, the dragon roaring and sputtering flames. To give Fenrick his due, he was handy with a sword. In fact, of the heroes the dragon had faced thus far, he was certainly the superior. The dragon bled more than once, and from multiple wounds, until Fenrick was covered in the hot, sticky orange stuff. It burned him where it touched him, so that his skin swelled up into blisters, but still he fought on. He had to win and return to the lady waiting for him in the garden.

He could never say how long the battle lasted. It might have been hours or days as far as Fenrick was concerned. But, at last, he struck what would be the deciding blow - not to the dragon, but instead to the mighty stone stalactite that hung suspended above them. With a crack and a shudder, it fell, piercing the dragon clear through and pinning him to the cave floor.

Blood spread from the creature in a boiling, hissing pool of molten orange. The light from his scales flickered and waned, but then was renewed, only to wane again. The dragon coughed and a small flame flickered out fo his mouth, but he was too weak to even make a decent fireball. Fenrick stood back watching and waiting, so tired that he could barely stand and had to lean upon his sword, gripping it in his blistered hand. But he could last a little longer, for surely the monster would expire any moment.

But he didn’t. Finally, the dragon gave a dry, hollow laugh. “And so you lose, farm boy.”

Fenrick blinked at the massive animal. “Excuse me? Lose? Perhaps my senses have been addled, but it seems to me that you’re the one who is mortally injured.”

“Mortally?” the dragon repeated with a wheeze. “Wounded, yes, but mortally no. Do you imagine that a dragon is so easy to kill? There’s something you didn’t count on, young hero, and that is our magic.”

“Magic?” Fenrick repeated mockingly. “Do not try to fool me. There is no such thing as magic.”

“Ah, but there is.” The dragon coughed again and tried to draw his wounded bulk up, only to fail and land back where he’d been. “Do you think I would not have my life protected? That all dragons would not have their lives protected?”

Fenrick rolled his eyes impatiently. What energy he had was fast deserting him; he was wounded in more than one place himself, and he suspected that some of his ribs were even broken.  He didn’t have time for this, or he’d collapse and join the dragon in death. “Since you refuse to die as you are, I can only assume that the great rock missed your heart.” He mustered all of his strength and forced his feet to take him to the great beast.

The dragon gave another wheezing laugh. “It will do you no good, farm boy. Not unless you kill her in whom my soul resides.”

Fenrick paused for a moment, and took the opportunity to lean on his sword again and gasp for breath. “What?”

“You are as ignorant as you look.” The dragon sniffed disdainfully. “The dragon’s maid, farm boy. So long as she lives I cannot be killed, no matter what efforts you make. You may slash, burn, chop and hack. Yes, I will be wounded, but rest assured that I will, in time, heal fully, and be back to wreak my vengeance upon your pitiful kingdom.”

“You’re saying that you’ve hidden your soul in a maid and that, in order to slay you, I must slay her?” Fenrick asked.  He started to scoff, but then he remembered the old man’s words at the entrance.  “face yourself and the deed you must do”.  What could be more vile, more hideous than to kill a -

“And here she is now,” the dragon said suddenly, his amusement almost a tangible object. “For you see, farm boy, she must come when I call her. Do you think you can kill her?”

Fenrick closed his eyes and leaned heavily on his sword. Over his ragged breathing he could just hear the soft, faltering footsteps of what was undoubtedly a woman.  As she drew closer, he told himself that he must do this; he must kill her not only for his own future, but for the Kingdom as well.  Though it was a deed that might put his very soul in jeopardy of hell’s fires, it was a deed that must be done. That was what the old man had been trying to tell him; this was the part of the ordeal that would take all of his strength.  If he allowed her to live; an innocent used by the cunning monster, then the dragon would live, and he would go on slaying and killing until there was nothing left for him to kill.

The steps stopped, very near to him, and Fenrick murmured softly, “Either thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead, for both cannot live.” Then, with a final prayer for forgiveness, he spun around. A cry rang from his lips and his sword slashed through the air towards the cloaked, hooded form before him. 

Then, she dropped her hood.

And with a strangled cry of horror, Fenrick came to a sudden, horrified halt and hero and sword both crumpled to the ground with an agonized cry.

“I’m sorry,” Telanja whispered, tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

The dragon only laughed.


More next week

In the mean time, please enjoy the segment I like to call “Random Things from My Hard Drives”, in this case it’s a ….

Hubby and I are sitting in lawn chairs in the side yard, staring at a tree and waiting for the lizard - who is hiding in the tree - to come back out. Of course, while we’re there. Every neighbor in the apartment building has to come outside to stare and then go back inside….


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