Tag Archives: Medieval

A Dragon’s Bargain

It’s the 15th and time for another tale. This month I’ve got a fantasy story for you with a knight and dragon. I’ve been fascinated by medieval lore for most of my life. Stories of Arthur and dragons have held a special place for me. This is not an Arthurian tale but I hope you find it entertaining. Let me know what you think in the comments below and feel free to share it with others that might like it. Thanks!


A Dragon’s Bargain

“Keep moving!” the knight shouted. Dragus listened and watched carefully. The knight in rough silver armor led a man in chains through the forest. Dragus was almost caught bathing but at the last minute he heard the chained man scream and that gave him the heads up he needed to hide. Now watching the pair trudge through the forest, he thought he recognized the chained man. His eyes narrowed as he stared, his nostrils grew large as he searched his scent.

Then the sensation overwhelmed him. Anger, fear, disgust all washed over him like a bath of evil. His eyes shot open. He knew the man. All dragons did. He was the Dragon-Slayer,  friend of man and bane of dragons. He was feared and hunted by dragons and now Dragus had him in his sights. Smoke swirled out of his nostrils, his anger stoking the flames within. Flexing his wings, he shot high in the air and with a great roar, Dragus swooped down ready to exact the furious vengeance of his race.

dragon-955348_960_720The dragon’s roar made both men look to the sky. Dragus bellowed loud. Fire belched forth from his mouth, trailing behind him. His giant leathery wings beat a rhythm of death in the air.

“By the gods! A dragon!” the knight holding the chains cried. The Dragon-Slayer tried to run but the chains held him back.

“Come on man, let me out of these bindings! He’ll kill us both!” the Dragon-Slayer said.

Dragus made a pass at them, breathing a line of fire in the forest alongside the men. The bright orange and red flames ignited the dried timber and soon a wall of flame trapped the men.

“Can you kill it Dragon-Slayer?” the knight said. He roar of the flames grew louder around them.

“Release me from these chains and I have a chance. Quickly! He’ll be coming back!”

Dragus circled above them, roaring and shooting long bursts of flame from his mouth. His chance at vengeance sent him in a frenzy.

“By the gods, kill it Dragon-Slayer. I release you!” the knight said. He unlocked the chains and thrust a sword in the hands of the Dragon-Slayer. Before he could turn away, the blade sliced through the air separating his head from his body.

“No man takes Aydan and lives,” the Dragon-Slayer said. The knight’s head rolled away from the force of the blow.

Dragus observed the men fighting and watched as the Dragon-Slayer betrayed the other man. The time was right. Alone with the Dragon-Slayer, he dropped from the sky intent on killing the bane of his kind.

A roar above made Aydan look up. Dragus breathed mighty flames towards the man. With his claws outstretched he exhaled a deep red flame but not far enough to injure the Dragon-Slayer. It was meant as cover so he could catch him in his long yellow talons.

His plan worked.

The Dragon-Slayer cowered from the flames and Dragus plucked him off the ground. The man screamed obscenities at the dragon. Dragus roared and spit flames in front of him. Aydan struggled but the talons kept him from moving.

Silver arrows pierced the dragon’s wings. Dragus cried out in pain. His wings smoked where the arrows struck. Volley after volley of the deadly silver arrows fly towards him from the forest below.

“Ha, that’s it dragon! That knight’s guard knows your weakness! Die dragon! Your head will look spectacular mounted on my wall.”

Dragus spun in the air. Arrows stung his large wings. When Aydan taunted him, Dragus clung tighter to his prey.

“That’s it dragon! Try and kill me! Use your energy on me while the arrows pierce your flesh!”

The arrows forced Dragus to the ground in a great crash. His claws were like a harness protecting Aydan who was freed from the talons when he struck the ground. Dragus roared as he tumbled across the forest floor striking trees with his tattered wings. He collapsed against a tall oak. Smoke rose from his nostrils. After a few moments, Aydan approached the wounded dragon with his sword at the ready. Dragus opened his eyes and pushed himself off the ground.

“I need you Dragon-Slayer,” Dragus said in a weak voice.

“Why would I help you?” Aydan said, “you do nothing but destroy our lands. You’re a menace that must be eliminated.”

Dragus collapsed on the ground unable to fly. Dark thick blood oozed from his pierced skin, smoking as it struck the ground around him. He tried raising his head to look at the Dragon-Slayer but was too weak to move.

“I need your help Slayer. I will die if you do nothing.”

“Precisely! That’s the point dragon. You will die. I am the last true Dragon-Slayer. My name is Aydan. You’ll go to the hell that spawned you knowing the great Aydan slew you.”

Dragus turned his head. “Aydan, you must save me. You cannot kill me.” The dragon coughed, small balls of flame shooting forth from his mouth and dissipating just as quickly.

“You’re mad dragon! I kill beasts like you, not save them. I have an entire hall of trophy heads of your kind. There’s a spot left for you.”

The dragon struggled pushing himself up and fell back to the ground. Smoke puffed from his nostrils

“Aydan!” he said, his voice booming despite his weakened condition. “You must save me! It is in your best interest to do so. When I die,” Dragus said. He coughed and wheezed, life clinging like a stubborn tick.

“My best interest?” Aydan laughed. “Dragon, that’s not the craftiest line I’ve ever heard from your kind. Go and die. Our lands need a reprieve from your destruction.”

“My life spares you from damnation Aydan. As long as I live, you will not taste the sting of a sinners death.” His eyes closed and his chest heaved. The energy of speaking exhausting him.

“Die already dragon! I tire of your chatter,” Aydan said.

Dragus opened his eyes and turned his head, the effort straining him. “Insolent fool. You know it’s true. Your dreams of death. The wailing and torture. That’s no dream, it’s your future if I die.” The dragon closed his eyes inhaling deeply. “The black pit, the never ending suffering awaits. Your actions against my kind have condemned you.” He inhaled again and lay motionless. For a moment Aydan thought he was dead. The dragon let out a long breath, groaning in pain. “Search yourself Aydan. The truth is as I speak. And if I die, nothing prevents you from it.”

Aydan wrinkled his brow. The dreams the dragon spoke of haunted him for months. Most nights he wished for rest but was cursed by the horrific images.

“How do you know this dragon?”

Dragus inhaled before speaking. “I am the gate. Through me you enter obliteration or paradise. If I die your choice it made and can never be undone.” The dragon wheezed. Aydan could see how much pain the dragon was in. “But if I live, if you share just a drop of your blood with me, I can escort you to paradise. But hurry Slayer, my life flickers.” The dragon lay motionless on the ground, his blood boiling under him, smoke rising up all around.

Ayden hesitated. “What if your words are false? How do I know you’re true?” Dragus coughed, his body losing strength with every passing moment.

“The dreams Slayer. Search yourself,” Dragus said, his voice now a low rumble.

With his dagger, Aydan sliced his arm drawing blood. The bloody dagger was thrust towards the dragon’s mouth and he dropped some of his blood on his tongue. When he did a bright flash consumed the dragon, blinding Aydan. When the light winked out, the dragon sat before Aydan full of life.

“Thank you Slayer,” Dragus said. His voice was deeper than before without a hint of weakness. Aydan held his sword in front of him.

“I saved you. I expect you’ll keep your word dragon! We have a bargain.”

Dragus sniffed the air. The scent of the archers nowhere to be found. He and Aydan were alone. He exhaled dark gray smoke from his nostrils. “Aydan, a dragon keeps its word. Always.”

Large heavy wings unfolded behind Dragus. He rose in the air, snorting smoke and fire.

Aydan howled when the flames engulfed him. Scorched flesh sizzled in the intense heat. Dragus roared his victory, the sound echoing throughout the forest. Aydan fell to the ground in a blackened heap of ash. Dead.

Dragus shot upwards, circling around the charred body. “The only trophy we need! The arrogant Slayer no longer a threat. And his paradise of wailing awaits. With the Slayers blood running through my veins, never can man slay dragon again. Never!” Dragus snatched the smoking body and flew fast across the forest, free and alive. The rest of the horde would soon share in the victory and dragon-kind would once again rule the land.

dragonbanner


If you like this story, you might find my book (Almost) Average Anthology perfect for you. It’s a collection of 16 flash fiction stories that span horror, scifi, and fantasy. You can get it now for just .99 or the paperback for $5.99. Click here to find out more: (Almost) Average Anthology: tales of adventure, loss, and oddity

The Gem and the Hide

It’s time for another short story and this month is a fun fantasy piece I wrote a while back. I’m determined to one day write a longer novel length Medieval/fantasy piece but until then, I’ll keep writing these.

Read on for my latest story and feel free to leave a comment, like the story below, or share it with others. I do appreciate all the support!


The Gem and the Hide

Gerald approached the cave with his heart beating loudly in his chest.  Lady Ygraine needed the gems from deep within the cave at the wizard Shonar’s request in order for her kingdom to be free of the dark Lord Mormet.  As her champion, Gerald took his quest seriously.  He was Lady Ygraine’s only hope.  He’d not fail her now.

Lighting a torch, Gerald wiped his brow and stepped inside.

He wound his way through endless tunnels, following the map given to him by Lady Ygraine.  He found the sparkling green and blue gems, encrusted in the surrounding walls.  Reaching out to pry a strikingly bright green gem from the cave’s wall, the room started spinning.  The floor disappeared from under him and he fell for a long time only to land safely on soft ground.

Gerald found himself surrounded by thousands of blinking lights, twinkling their song at him.  He shielded his eyes from the visual onslaught.

“What pray tell are ye that flashes this infernal device!  Yield.  I yield!” he shouted to the lights.  A strange series of clicking sounds enveloped him.  With a flash, everything turned bright white then all stopped.

He felt solid ground underneath and stood.  He couldn’t see a thing.

“I must leave this cursed cave before anything more vile and hideous befalls me,” he said out loud.  He reached around with his hands in the blinding whiteness but found no walls nor gems which to hold.  He looked around searching for anything to get him back outside.

Nothing.

He walked straight ahead, arms outstretched, searching for a wall or any surface with which to guide himself.

He stepped on a soft, squishy substance and stopped.  Bending down, he nudged the viscous material.  It was warm to the touch and gave just the slightest.  Surprised, Gerald stood up and continued his cautious walk forward.

Ferocious hot air fueled by enormous flames whooshed past him, singeing his beard.

“By the gods, what hell am I in?” he said.

“You my pretty, you are in my home.  My sanctuary.  You are an intruder.”

“Who’s there?” Gerald called out to the voice.  Thin tendrils of smoke whisped from his mustache and eyebrows.  He patted them down, hoping to extinguish whatever small flame caused it.

“I do not answer to mortals of the fifth realm.  You are in my home, you answer to me.”

The voice was harsh, raspy, and male.

“I am Gerald of the Moors, champion of Lady Ygraine, the keeper of the Valley.  I kneel to no one!” he replied.

The voice cackled.  “Then why did you yield so quickly…champion?”  Gerald bent his head low.

“That’s what I thought.  You are nothing.  You are in my home Gerald.  Why do you bother me in the seventh realm.  You don’t belong here.”

“I’m on a quest to retrieve the jewels in this cave.  My lady needs them to save her kingdom.  Will you help me?”

Another loud, long laugh from the voice.  “I told you Gerald, you don’t belong here.  You are much to far from home now.  You are my champion now.  You do what I want.”

Gerald’s heart sank low.  His beloved Ygraine, the only Lady he’d ever truly loved was lost to him.  All he had was this formless voice to command him.

The voice spoke out again.  “If you do my bidding, I might be kind enough to send you back to your dimension.  Fail me, and your soul is mine.  Forever!”

Gerald wrung his hands, thinking over the proposal.

“Spirit, my life is yours to command.  I give to you all I am, only so I may return to my Lady Ygraine,” Gerald replied.  A soft cackle answered him.

“You will bring me the hide of a boar.  It needs be white in color and red of eye.  Bring it back within a fortnight and your realm I will send you.  Now go!”

Before Gerald could reply, the scene shifted again like a veil removed from his eyes.  He stood in an old forest full of large trees unfamiliar to him.  He spun around searching for the cave.  Light twinkled from a knot in the nearest tree.  He stepped towards it.

“I said go!  Come back when you have the hide or your soul is mine,” a voice said to him from the twinkling knot.  Gerald marked the tree with his sword and took off in search of his quarry.

After seven days of fruitless searching, Gerald lost hope.  He saw no boar.  And a white one would be even harder to find.  Late that afternoon as he sat under a tall tree enjoying the comforts of the shade, he spotted it.

Across from him about fifty paces away was the beast.  It was larger than any man and whiter than snow.  It snorted and rooted in the dirt, covering its snout with brown and black.

Gerald’s eyes lit up.  Hope burst through his veins.  He crouched low and made his way towards the boar as silent as possible.  When he was within ten paces, he drew his sword and lunged.  The beast jerked its head up at the sound but it was too late.  Gerald thrust his blade deep within its heart, killing it.  He skinned it and hurried back to the knot in the tree.

A brilliant light shone from the knot and Gerald again found himself inside the white nothingness though this time holding the hide of the slain boar.

“I have your treasure, now grant my request as promised,” Gerald said to the nothingness.  Silence.  “Spirit, listen!  I have your bounty, now grant me my boon!”  To his right, Gerald heard the soft familiar cackle.

“So, you’ve slain the beast, eh?  My what a diligent knight you are.  Well, a promise is a promise.”

The hide disappeared and Gerald fell once again into a deep void until he landed on hard ground.  He pushed himself off the ground and recognized the cave instantly.  He reached out, grabbed a green and blue gem, and ran out as fast as he could.

Upon his return to the castle, Lady Ygraine marveled at his success.

“You’ve been gone so long!  I feared Lord Mormet would gain the kingdom.  You truly are my hero!”  She kissed him, causing his face to turn a pinkish color.

“Well, you have done a wonderful thing here Gerald.  Fortunately for you and the kingdom, Lord Mormet could not attain the sacred hide from the seventh realm,” Lady Ygraine said.

Gerald’s face lost all color.  He spun around to face the wizard Shonar.

“What sorcery are you about Shonar?  Tell me!” Gerald shouted.  Shonar shrugged.

“Nothing.  But luckily for you, Lord Mormet didn’t get that hide.  If he had, these gems would have no power.  This kingdom would be under his rule and we’d be helpless to stop him,” Shonar replied.

“But how do you know?” Gerald asked.

Shonar waved a hand in the air.  “Wizards know much Gerald, it’s what we do.”

Shonar turned to walk away and Gerald swore he heard a familiar soft cackle as the wizard strode down the walkway, a faint glow surrounding his body.