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.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Dragon's maid - Part IX

As you may know, I’ve been running a continuing fairytale story on my blog. What? You missed some of it? In that case, you can backtrack, should you feel the desire to do so:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Part VIII

Or you can go with my synopsis: 
Fenrick, a lowly farmer, answers the call of a neighboring kingdom to slay a dragon to gain title and land. However, he falls in love with the princess, Telanja, only to discover that the dragon has hidden his soul in her, and so cannot be killed unless she is.  After a fierce battle, everyone thinks the dragon is dead, and Fenrick is rewarded, but the creature lives on. To save face, and the kingdom, Fenrick must go monthly and wound the creature to keep it from recovering, but after a year the couple needs a new tactic, so Fenrick goes on a quest to find one….

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Fenrick rode for days, his heart heavy and his hopes dashed. However, he didn’t head straight home as he’d intended, but instead he turned himself to the pursuit of others who might be able to help him. And so he battled through bogs, climbed high mountains, and solved dangerous riddles to meet with the wisest of the wise.  His efforts were futile, however, as they all had the same answer for him: kill the princess and thus kill the dragon.

And so it was late autumn when Fenrick resignedly turned his horse for home.  An early snowfall slowed him down, and a wailing storm all but halted him for over a week. By the time he made it back to familiar territory, midwinter had settled over the land.

But midwinter wasn’t the only thing.  The first hint Fenrick had that something was wrong came in the form of a burned out farmstead.  He sheltered in the ruins of the barn that night, and wondered vaguely to himself what had happened to it. not that fires were an unusual occurrence, only a tragic one.

When the sun rose the next morning, he loaded up and leaded out, only to discover another burned out farm only a mile down the road. And then there was another, and another, and by the time he reached the castle gates a terrible fear had engulfed him. He could think of only one thing that could have wrought so much fiery destruction.

Fenrick was admitted through the gates immediately, and surrounded by clamoring townspeople. Their shouted words ran over one another like too many footprints, but the meaning behind them was clear: The dragon was back.

Fenrick didn’t have time to say more than “Eh, what?” before guards arrived and escorted him to the King. The large man was clearly distraught and he paced in small circles before his throne and wringing his hands. His head snapped up as his son in law drew close, and he snapped angrily, “Where have you been?”

“Erm,” Fenrick began uncertainly. He’d been very vague when telling his servants and men at arms where he was going, and even more so when held mentioned his trip to the King. How could he tell them the truth, after all? “I was-“

“Never mind!” The king swished his sentence away with the wave of a hand. “While you’ve been gone things have happened - terrible, terrible things! There’s a dragon!”

Beads of sweat popped out on Fenrick’s forehead. “A dragon?” he asked with a feigned innocence. “Really? I wondered when I saw-“

“yes!” The king bellowed. “A dragon, my boy! Another bloody dragon! Can you believe it? How is it that our kingdom could come to be plagued twice by such fearsome beasts?”

Fenrick swallowed hard. He was certain that the king knew, but he refused to own up to it yet. “I don’t know, your majesty. It really is quite phenomenal-“

“Our riches!” the king shouted, and stamped his foot. “It’s because of our riches that these loathsome creatures keep coming! Everyone knows that dragon’s horde gold, and so they think they can take ours, well they can’t! This is going to end, and you, my boy, will be the one to end it!” The king turned a serious gaze on him. “You’ve defeated one, my lad, and so shall you defeat the other!”

Fenrick managed a watery smile that was only somewhat convincing. Luckily for him, the King was far too self absorbed and sure of his own importance to notice, or even contemplate that he could have been swindled before. It was with some small difficulty that Fenrick managed to talk the king into letting him return home first to rest and ready himself.

He rode his horse as fast as he could, though the poor beast was as weary as he was.  As he raced for his own castle, he berated himself again and again. He’d stayed gone too long and there’d been no one to keep the dragon injured! No one to keep the monster from healing and resuming his attack!  By blood and thunder, that beast had to die, though how it was to be done, Fenrick still didn’t know.

He reached his home, but instead of being greeted by his beautiful wife, it was her teary eyed maid.  The woman clutched his arm and threw herself to her knees in the snow, sobbing. “My lord! She’s gone! The lady is gone!”

“Gone?” he demanded, his eyes wide with horror as he imagined a thousand horrible fates. “Where has she gone to?”

“I’m sorry my lord,” the lady wailed. “I tried to stop her, but she snuck away in the night! I’ve failed! I’ve failed! My life is forfeit! I-“

“Yes, yes,” Fenrick snapped impatiently. “It’s your fault. Now, where has she gone?”

The woman took a shuddering breath and sobbed out, “She went to kill the dragon, my lord. I heard her talking to your son, telling him that he must be good and understand that his mother-“

Horror seized Fenrick, such as he had never known, and he grabbed the woman by the shoulders and shook her violently, all the while shouting, “When? When did she go? How long ago?”

“It - it’s been a fortnight, if it’s been a day, my lord,” the unhappy maid cried. “I’m sorry. I’m-“

Fenrick went berserk. In a rage, he threw her from him and left her in the snow where she landed. He ran back to his horse, and flung the luggage to the ground, then filled with a blinding terror, he spurred the animal forward and towards the dragon’s lair.



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TO BE CONTINUED

The story should be finished next week, or the week after at the latest. It will depend on how yackety everyone is. God knows they all feel the need to talk and talk and talk and…..


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