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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Dragon's Maid - Part XI - Conclusion

As you may know, I have been running a fairytale for the last two months or more. It was only supposed to be a two blog entry; something akin to a Hans Christian Anderson story, but instead it went longer. This is the final installment. I say installment, though really there are two ending here. There is the original ending I intended from the very beginning, and then a second version that could also work. If you’ve read any of my other writing, you will know which one I like better.

Here are past installments, in case you missed them:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Part VIII
Part IX
Part X


Or you can try my synopsis: Fenrick, a farm boy, heeds the call of a neighboring kingdom and agrees to slay their dragon for reward of land and title. Inadvertently, he falls in love with the princess Telanja, and when he goes to slay the dragon discovers that the creature has hidden his soul inside of her, so that to kill the beast he must kill her. unable to do so, he leaves the dragon wounded and marries the princess, though everyone else believes the animal dead. Fenrick knows he can’t leave things that way forever, so he goes on a quest to find a way around killing his wife, but finds no solution. He is gone so long that when he returns the dragon has healed and is attacking the kingdom again. He finds out hat his wife, Telanja, has gone to confront the dragon, and so he sets off quickly and engages it in a hopeless battle….

****************

And so Fenrick fought the dragon. He slashed at the creature until they both bled freely and were near exhaustion. Fenrick dropped back and fell to one knee, leaning heavily on his sword, and the dragon lay, bloated and immobilized, its angry eyes gleaming with inner fire. “You can’t kill me,” the dragon snarled. “You know that, you foolish farm boy.”

“Maybe not,” he agreed. “But I can make you suffer the way you’ve made her suffer.”

The dragon snorted with contempt. “Such a thing is inconceivable, for you will never have the power over me that I have had over her. You forget I know her every thought, her every dream, and I have been the center of them all, poisoning her every moment, just as her father has poisoned mine!”

The implication filled Fenrick with a renewed fury, and he leapt to his feet and charged, heedless of the consequences. As he attacked, the dragon gave a horrifying cry. Fenrick’s sword pierced him, and he thrashed wildly, breathing great plumes of fire and smoke, and throwing Fenrick across the cavern so that he smashed into the wall. He slid down and lay on the floor, nearly insensible, and the last thing he noticed was the light from the dragon dimming.

When he opened his eyes the first thing he was aware of was pain and darkness. The disorientation slowly ebbed away and left him with a clear memory; a memory of the dragon’s screams. He slowly crawled to his feet and felt his way blindly towards where the beast had been. His seeking hands found cold scales, and he realized with a jolt that the cursed thing was really, finally dead. For good or ill, the nightmare was finally over.

CHOOSE YOUR ENDING:

MY ENDING:

Fenrick stumbled from the cave, and raised his arm to block the bright sunlight that burned his eyes. He lurched forward, looking for his bride, but found only her hand maiden; the same he had berated and left in the snow only a short time ago. She stood at the cliff edge, folded in on herself and shaking with some terrible emotion.

Fenrick gazed at her for a moment, in bewilderment, and then drew close, calling to her, “What are you doing?”

At the sound of his voice, the maid turned her tear streaked face to him. “She’s gone, my lord. She - she…” the woman broke into sobs, but Fenrick understood the meaning.

“No.” The one word held all the meaning in the world for him, and he started forward, only to stop again. “How? Where?”

“She threw herself over the edge,” the maid answered. “She said she must. She said… she said…” the maid lost herself to tears again, but it didn’t matter because Fenrick wasn’t listening anymore.

He peered over the edge of the cliff to the jagged rocks below where Telanja lay like a broken doll. The ocean waves roared against the stone, and it when the tide rose it would claim her body, dragging her away to the bottomless depths.

His knees buckled and he dropped to the ground, uncomprehending. In a daze, he lifted his heavy sword and stared dully at the sullied blade. The dragon’s bright orange blood stained it and scorched it. he remembered the day he’d set out from his small farm; the day he’d told his mother goodbye and gone to seek a better life, optimistic that he could do anything with his sword and his skills, and now… Now all of his efforts, all of his battles with the dragon, everything had been in vain. At the very end, the dragon got the one thing that he wanted. He wanted the life of the king’s child to avenge the life of his own dead offspring, killed at the hands of the king in his youth. And he had it, at last.

But the dragon had wrought his revenge on the wrong person. Telanja was dead, but it wasn’t the king who was left crippled by the grief and emptiness, it was Fenrick. Truly, he wondered whether the King would even care. Somehow, he doubted it.

But, while the king would go on living in his castle, surrounded by his willful stupidity and his sycophantic subjects, Fenrick would be left trapped in a hell of remorse and emptiness. It was a future that he’d rather do without. So, wordlessly, he raised his soiled sword and, with a single cry, ran himself through.

Neither the hand maid, the dragon’s horde of gold or Fenrick’s sword were ever recovered, and it was supposed ever after in the Kingdom that Telanja had followed Fenrick to his battle. When the young warrior succumb to his injuries, after having slain the dragon, Telanja, overcome with grief, had thrown herself over the ledge to the rocks below. The King gave the lovers a lavish funeral and buried them under a granite monument, but the local peasants swore that, sometimes, at night you could see a young woman standing on the rocks below, while a warrior wailed from the cliffs above, eternally separated, even in death.
OR

THE POPULAR ENDING:

Fenrick stumbled from the cave, and raised his arm to block the bright sunlight that burned his eyes. He lurched forward, and fell into the waiting arms of his wife.

“Telanja,” he murmured, uncertainly. “The dragon he’s-“

She nodded her head, her face lit by a smile. “Yes, he’s dead.”

“But how? Everyone I talked to said that he couldn’t be killed, not unless you…” he swallowed hard.

“Unless he released me,” she said quietly and then she sighed. “I won’t lie to you, Fenrick, I left the dragon’s cave with every intention of throwing myself over the cliff and ending this, but, at the last moment, as I started to jump, the dragon perceived my intentions and severed our bond.”

“But, if you started to jump…” Fenrick shook his head, trying desperately to understand.

“I caught her by the ankle,” came a voice, and the wounded warrior looked up to see Telanja’s hand maid standing just behind her; the same aid he’d left lying in the snow only an hour ago.

Telanja nodded and rushed to explain, “She arrived just as I escaped the cave, and knew what I meant to do. Of course, she tried to stop me, but luckily the dragon didn’t think she’d succeed. But, when I tried to jump, she latched on, and it was only providence that kept us both from tumbling over and to the rocks below.”

It took Fenrick more than a day to fully comprehend the situation, and even longer for the realization to sink in that the dragon was really, truly gone. When he did, it was as though a heavy weight was lifted and left him feeling light enough to float away.

The king held a feast in Fenrick’s honor; the hero who had slain not one, but two dragons in the name of the kingdom. It left the young hero uncertain whether the king was truly as stupid as he pretended, or had he, perhaps, known all along and trusted that in the end they’d solve it? It was a question that would never be answered, and in later generations the truth to the story was forever forgotten, told only by woven tapestries that decorated the halls of what had been Fenrick’s castle.

**********
THE END


I may someday edit this puppy and post it on my website as a short story. It’s roughly 11,000 words as is, now.

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