Knights and Dragons Part Three

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Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here.

The sounds of shrieks and pain and anger filled the air. The battle had indeed come, and by the sound of it, it was ferocious.

The woman looked worriedly at the Wizard. He pointed to a stone staircase, gesturing for her to climb. They climbed the stairs and went through a thick wooden door into a parapet. The Wizard indicated that they were going to climb the spiral staircase, going up, ever up, until they reached the room that opened up onto the ramparts.

The woman would glance through the occasional window to the battle below. All she could see was men fighting men, horses galloping around and rearing up, and all she could hear were the cries of men and sounds of steel upon steel.

After a time, they reached a door that lead to the ramparts. The woman and the Wizard stopped to look out an accompanying window to look upon the carnage below. Down below and outside of the castle walls, the battle was coming to a peak. Men fighting men. Men screaming. Men burning. Men crawling away. Men dying.

“What is this?!” She exclaimed. “I see the knights below fighting, and yet I see not the Black Knight or any of his men?!”

“That is because there is no Black Knight, nor any men that are his. Those men did not come here for the Black Knight. They came here for the Dragon. Those men are fighting each other and fighting with themselves,” said the Wizard.

“The Dragon?! They came here for the Dragon?” She said.

“Of course they did my love, that is what is different this time. In the past, they came for the Black Knight, but today, today they come for the Dragon. I figured that out when I saw the flames and the bodies.”

“But is the Dragon here?” She queried, looking around through the window up at the sky and gazing out at the horizon.

“Of course not. Not yet anyways. But you know that.” The Wizard said as he gently poked her in the ribs.

“Stop it!” She giggled. “How is it that some of them are burning then?”

“They are setting themselves on fire. Watch and see.” The Wizard pointed to a couple of knights who were applying pitch to themselves. A moment later, another knight appeared with a burning torch, to which he touched it to an extended arm. The knight went up in flames almost immediately. The knight then ran about wildly, screaming and flayling his arms about him. His entire body engulfed in flames.

“The Dragon! The Dragon got me!” He shrieked. “You men must avenge me and slay that Dragon for he has smote me with his terrible fire!” And with that, the knight collapsed onto the battlefield and began rolling around. Other knights ran to his aide, with blankets in hand, throwing them on top of the burning knight, hoping to smother the flames.

Another knight was on his knees, screaming at the top of his lungs, “My Lady! I have been slain for you! And I gladly die for you! If only I had more lives to give, I would gladly give them!” And with that, the knight put the hilt of his sword into the ground, placed the tip onto his chest, and impaled himself upon it.

This scene played itself out over many times as the Wizard and the woman watched from above. Men setting themselves on fire, some having the flames extinguished before they met their fate, others not so fortunate. Men put their sword hilts into the ground and drove themselves down on top of them, committing suicide with the words, “M’Lady!” upon their dying lips. Men fighting each other, saying to one another, “Dragon! You have arrived! I will slay thee!” while clashing their swords against one another. Men being thrown from their frightened and rearing horses, some to be so unfortunate as to be trampled underfoot by their own steeds.

The Wizard and the woman watched as the battle raged on, but the Wizard grew tired. “It’s time, my dear. I’ll signal for you when it’s time for you to come. Until then, wait here.”

The Wizard then strode out onto the ramparts, listening to the fighting below. “This is where it always gets interesting,” he thought. “It doesn’t hurt, exactly, it just feels a little strange. And you would think that I would have gotten used to it after all of these years.”

The transformation began as he was thinking to himself. His feet and arms grew heavy. His face began to stretch and morph. He looked down at his arms and saw the scales pushing through his skin, the dark green almost black color, coming out. He pulled his cloak off of himself absently, tossing it away. “I won’t be needing that for awhile,” he thought. His weight began to increase as he began to elongate, his body getting heavy. After a moment, he could no longer walk on two legs and so he leaned forward and continued on all fours, his powerful, scaly forearms rippling with muscle.

Talons shot out from where his fingers had once been. Only a small amount of blood had been lost this time. The part that felt the most strange though, the part that he still hadn’t gotten used to, was the leathery wings that sprouted up out of his back. He glanced momentarily at them as he extended them to their full width and shook them, beating the air.

The Wizard who was now the Dragon, put his front legs, what had been his forearms onto the rampart and gazed out over the battlefield. None of the knights had seen his transformation, and none of them had seen him yet. None had even bothered to look up.

“Excuse me!” He coughed. His voice was a deep, low, rumbling bass.

The fighting, burning, and dying continued as before.

“I said, excuse me!” He said even louder, his voice shaking the walls, and still nothing from the battlefield below.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!” He roared as he lifted his massive head to the sky and shot out a huge arcing stream of fire. It was red and orange with flecks of green. It was huge, it was brilliant, and it was deadly. The fires from the pitch below paled in comparison.

The fighting and shrieking below stopped at once, as if someone had turned off the volume. All heads turned towards the castle ramparts. A hush descended upon the knights. As a collective everyone had inhaled and were now waiting to release their breath.

“Look upon me you White Knights!” The Dragon roared. “And know this! I walk amongst you. I live amongst you. I know your tales, I’ve heard your secrets, and I know that you know not what you do! You men down there, claiming to fight me, you know nothing. None of you has ever seen a Dragon until this day, and none of you have ever fought one. I would know because the last time Man and Dragon actually fought was over four hundred years ago, and I was the one who fought a Man.”

“He was more of a Knight than any of you will ever be. He actually faced his fears and took me head on. If only you cowards below would dare to do the same. But no, you would rather die on your own swords then face true adversity. You would rather set yourselves and each other on fire and claim a fake victory to one another to bolster your own egos instead of actually facing me. You claim you came here to fight me for your Lady’s Honor. So here I am! Come and fight me! Take me on if you dare!”

Shrieks of horror and pure terror filled the battlefield below. Men grabbed up the reins of terrified mounts and beat a hasty retreat. Men dropped their swords and shields where they stood and began to run.

“Before you go, know this!” The Dragon called after them. He turned his head towards the parpet, and with a taloned claw, beckoned the woman to come to him. As she approached, he turned and faced his fleeing adversaries.

“All women yearn for and understand a Dragon!” He called out. “I do not take them against their wills, for they come to me willingly. You with your codes and your ideals, your women care nothing for these things. They want adventure, they want to feel, and they want to live! I see them for who and what they are, and they know me for what I am. They come to me willingly, gratefully.”

The woman placed her arms around the Dragon’s neck as he finished, “Look upon me you White Knights, look upon me and despair!” The Dragon then shot a jet of liquid fire at the retreating knights’ feet, further speeding up their retreat.

As the sound of the shrieks and cries of terror diminished and the smoke from the fire began to clear, one lone Knight stepped forward.

The Dragon and the woman looked down upon him with interest.

The Knight pulled his sword from his scabbard and then threw the blade onto the ground.

“What is this?” The Dragon grumbled aloud to himself.

The Knight then removed his helmet, looked at it for a moment, and then threw it aside.

“Will you teach me? Dragon? Will you teach me your ways and how to be like you? Will you make me into a Dragon like you were once made yourself?” The Knight asked.

“Oh, this is going to be interesting.” Chuckled the Dragon as he turned and looked down at his smiling woman.

The End

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Knights And Dragons Part Two

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Part 1 can be found here.

Dragons are real and they walk amongst us. Men think that they are either a figment of imagination, a fiction, or that they did actually exist at one point in history, but are now extinct. But they are neither. They do exist, and they do walk among us. – The Wizard.

“How do I know they are real? Because I have seen them. I’ve seen them walking among men. I’ve seen them in the shops and the bizarres. I’ve seen them serving wine to barons and kings and warlords. I even knew one that was a king of a kingdom, but that was a long time ago. I’ve seen them interacting with the children of the kingdom and I’ve seen one of them playing a lyre.”

“I’ve heard the knights telling their stories about how they have seen a dragon. I’ve heard them talk about riding deep into the woods or into some foreign countryside, and finding a dragon in his den, his lair. I’ve heard them regale each other with tales of battle with these dragons, and of course, the knight would always win. How else could he be telling his tale? Of course, it’s all a lie. There hasn’t been a genuine sighting of a dragon in over one hundred years. And the last time that man and dragon faced each other down in genuine combat has been over four hundred years ago. I know, because I witnessed it. I was there.”

“The truth is, these men, these knights, wouldn’t know what to do with a dragon if they knew that they had actually encountered one. They definitely wouldn’t know how to fight one. But who am I to argue with them? They wouldn’t listen to me if I told them, and they wouldn’t believe me if they did deign to listen. And that’s okay, their stories are amusing to me, and besides a beautiful woman, there is nothing more that I like to do than have a good tale and a good laugh. I live for a good story, a good tale, and I love to laugh.”

“When did dragons come about? That I don’t know. Perhaps they have been around since the beginning. They’ve been around longer than I have, and I have been around for a very long time. I do know that some dragons are born, but they are extremely rare. Most are created. Neither is better or necessarily stronger or more powerful than the other.”

“What’s that? Why yes, most dragons are actually created. You didn’t know that did you? Of course you didn’t, but that’s because you are not a dragon, and until very recently, at least to your knowledge, you had never seen or met a dragon. I promise you, you have. You just didn’t know it at the time.”

“How are dragons created? That’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked. First, you have to have met a dragon, and know that they are a dragon. Dragons haven’t gone around flaunting their ‘dragon status’ as it were, in a very long time. Then you would have to ask the dragon if they would be willing to ‘re-create’ you in their image. Some might be flattered and honored at your request, and they might grant it. Most of the time though, they would likely refuse you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because being a dragon is a ‘curse,’ but more like most people couldn’t actually handle being a dragon. You definitely become an outsider to your community if you do, and if the knights knew that you existed and you were around, they would most likely come after you. That can be a huge headache.”

“But let’s say that you met a dragon, and you knew it was a dragon, and you asked to become a dragon, like him, and he accepted your request? He would transfer some of his ‘essence’ to you. It could be some of his blood, it could be a bite or a scratch. It could come from his saliva. Every dragon has a different way of transferring his ‘essence’ to you. No two dragons are really the same when it comes to that. After the transference is done, the dragon would take you under his wing, both metaphorically and literally and teach you what you need to know now that you are a dragon. He would tutor you in the ways of transformation, of flight, and of course, of fire. That tutoring could go on for years and years, or it could only take a few months to a year. That all depends on you, the new dragon, and your willingness to learn, and what experiences you have already brought to your transformation.”

“After that, you are free to do as you choose. You get to go on and live your life. You get to do what you want to do and have your adventures. You would most likely see and meet other dragons, because after all, like knows like. You would see them wherever they are and you would both smile and nod at each other, giving each other a wink. You might even make friends with some of the other dragons that are out there, and you would probably do things with them. There’s nothing more magnificent than watching a couple or a group of dragons doing things in tandem. It is truly a sight to behold.”

“There is more that I could tell you, but time is running short and I want to go. It’s time we get down to the castle and see what is afoot. Are you ready?”

“I’m ready,” she beamed. She was stunning. All dressed and ready to go, her radiant hair down over her shoulders, touching the swell of her breasts. Her clothing back on, she was truly beautiful.

“You look amazing my dear, but then again, you look better naked in my bed,” said the Wizard.

“You stop!” She blushed and punched him lightly on the shoulder as he put an arm around her waist and tickled the small of her back.

“Maybe we should stay here yet a little while longer,” he teased. “The knights aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and my appetite is back.”

“You’re incorrigible!” She said with false indignation, giggling and playfully slapping at the Wizard.

“Yes I am. And that is what you love about me.” He said as he lightly bit her ear. “But we’ve fooled around long enough, it’s time to go and see what there is to be seen.”

The Wizard pulled the woman close to him and uttered an incantation, just barely under his breath.

Moments later, they were standing in the courtyard of the castle that was in the valley below. The screams of combat could be heard from over the castle walls, the sounds of swords on shields and armor pierced the air; the din and cacophony was enormous. The battle had been joined.

To be continued…

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Knights and Dragons

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A distant sound of thunder woke the Wizard from his sleep. He sat up, stretched, yawned, and looked out the castle window. Dawn was just approaching. Clear skies, a purple hue on the horizon, no sign of rain.

The woman in his bed mumbled and frowned, she was stirring from her sleep.

“Sshh.” The Wizard said as he kissed his fingertip and touched her forehead. The woman sighed and eased back into her slumber, a smile on her face. He looked at her for a moment, her hair askew, accentuating and highlighting her face. She was young, she was beautiful, and for this moment in time, she was his. He traced her naked shoulders with his eyes, absorbing her every tiny detail. He followed the curve of her shoulder down to the swell of her breasts, hidden under the covers. She stirred slightly. He sighed softly to himself and lazily scratched his beard.

The Wizard slowly got out of bed and threw on his cloak. The sound of thunder still echoed in the valley below and reverberated off of the mountains. “Time to see what this is all about,” he thought.

He left the bed chambers quietly, padding across the stone floor into his private study. The Orb of All Seeing sat waiting on its pedestal, gleaming in the first rays of the morning sun. The Wizard walked up to the Orb and gently ran his fingers over it. Gently caressing it, touching its smooth shape. “Much like that woman’s face,” he thought. A smirk played upon his lips.

“Show me.” He said. The Orb of All Seeing lit up, coming to life. Swirls of color danced inside the sphere, lightning played upon its surface. Dazzling flashes of light bathed the Wizard, engulfing him. He bent forward, closer to the Orb, scanning the pictures that flashed before his eyes. Seeking.

No, not that one. No, not that one either. “Ah, there.” The swirls and colors solidified into an image. “That’s the one.” The Orb slowed and stopped, showing the Wizard what he wanted to see. Many miles below, deep down in the valley, sat a castle. A black flag hoisted high and waving proudly from its highest parapet. Outside the castle walls, the moat surrounded the castle, a deterrent for those who would try to invade it; the drawbridge was up.

On the other side of the moat, the riders were approaching. This was the sound of the thunder. “They are coming out in force this time,” chuckled the Wizard. From where he gazed, the thunder was dull, mute. But down there, it must have been deafening. “Quite impressive,” he thought. “They are truly serious.”

In front of the castle the riders stopped. Sunlight reflected off of their polished armor, dazzling to the eye. Over two hundred men sat upon horse, their war cries filling the air. As one, they all raised razor sharp swords and incredibly strong lances to the sky. Their colorful shields gripped and ready for battle. It was truly a sight to behold.

The castle remained quietly defiant. No archers on the ramparts. No lowering of the drawbridge to meet the knights in battle. No sound of trumpets or drums calling for battle. Not a soul stirred.

The Wizard concentrated intently, focusing on the men on horseback. He could see some of their faces now. Helms up, eyes flashing. They were angry. Defiant.

“We know you have her in there! Bring her out! Give the maiden back to us, you vile bastard!” One of them cried. Cheers and shouts of agreement accompanied him.

“It’s the same as last time,” the Wizard thought. “Always the same. It’s sad, really. Almost pathetic. Predictable.” A maiden would disappear from the neighboring kingdom, and inevitably, the knights would show up to this particular castle, demanding her back. The end results were always the same too, the Wizard had seen this scene play out many times before. And yet, something was different this time. There was an energy about this particular scene that the Wizard hadn’t felt in a very long time. Something was going to happen this time, something different. That excited him. “Perhaps I need to go down there and take a closer look,” he thought.

“What’s going on? What are you doing?” The woman stood in the doorway to his study, draped in a bearskin blanket. She was rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She was beautiful standing there, yawning.

“Nothing much to concern yourself with, my dear. But if you must know, the knights are down at the castle again, wanting their maiden back.” He smirked as he said this.

“Another maiden is missing? When did this happen? Do you have any idea of who it is?” She asked.

“Of course I know who the maiden is. She went missing last night. The maiden they are looking for is you.” The Wizard pointed at her and laughed.

“Me?! The maiden? They are looking for me?!” She asked, perplexed.

“Of course, darling. And I’m sure they think you were taken against your will. All maidens are taken against their wills, didn’t you know that? And taken by none other than the Black Knight, no less.” The Wizard smiled.

“That’s not what happened!” She protested.

“Of course not my love, but try telling them that.” He pointed to the knights in the Orb. “Lord knows what would happen if they ever thought that you went willingly, enthusiastically even.”

She rolled her eyes and breathed a sigh of exasperation.

“Go get dressed. I want to go down there and get a closer look,” the Wizard said. “Something big is about to go down, something different, and I want to be there and see what happens. I want you to come with me and bear witness.”

The woman turned and went back to the bed chambers to put on her clothes. The blanket hung low off her back, showing her skin, the curve of her spine. The Wizard watched for a moment in admiration. He then went back to studying the images in the Orb. “Oh yes, something big is about to go down. I can feel it,” he thought.

To be continued….

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