Beginning have doubts about this assignment. Half his kingdom,
all well & good; hand of daughter in marriage, yes alright
maybe; but haven’t actually seen hand, or any other
portion, and kingdom bit down-in-dumps, charred & decrepit.
Peasants smelly, grimy, rude. Am wondering if get choose which
half kingdom (expect not, and fair bet half without castle), and
if half inclusive peasants.
still well marked. Bloody horse went under too-low overhanging
branch, new armour now prominent dent on left side. Hurts when
turn suddenly. When stopped for lunch (streamside v. reminiscent
of yesterday’s spot), tried beating breastplate back into shape
with rock, only managed make worse. Still, maybe gives
impression actually having been combat before. If viewed poor
light. By poorly-sighted person. From considerable distance.
Asked peasant directions. Think laughed behind hands at start
but answered respectfully enough otherwise. Dragon basically
ahead and to right, in distance, follow trail smoke, can’t miss,
best luck. Proceed, make good time. Almost have another
overhanging-branch incident, but avoid last second.
armour showing rust after only four days? Market dealer assured
get several years before tarnish developed. Am wondering,
though, if better shelled out extra for fully-welded, tailored
model, not just off-rack soldered OSFA. Still, only need for one
encounter, touch wood. Don’t see point all added expense just
for one afternoon.
Finally, just curiosity, took sword out scabbard first time. Had
not realised at time purchase ‘vorpal’ means small,
round-tipped, best suited pâté. Explains unusual scabbard shape,
but suddenly even more unsure whole dragon business.
make camp streamside lunch spot. Nice place, like where stopped
two days ago. Hope this bit included half kingdom. If ever get
that point. Otherwise, might request ashes scattered here. If
anyone able retrieve them.
evening trying find horse. (Must remember tether properly this
Didn’t sleep well again. Dreamed being chased by dragon, trying
defend self with teaspoon. Awoke pools sweat throughout armour.
Might see about sleeping out of suit tonight. Preparedness all
very well, but there limits.
about reshaping sword-tip, bashing with rocks. No bloody good.
Least sword seems well-forged, sturdy. Made for many
applications pâté, suppose. Maybe can try throw down dragon’s
throat, might choke. (Yeah, right. Maybe squadron flying pigs
turn up, just when arrive dragon’s lair, take out dragon for
stay this spot another day, make sure well-rested. Need be in
peak condition. (Horse, too. Must find horse again, remember
tether properly this time. Double knot.) Dragon not going
anywhere, after all, hoard to guard, plenty peasants pick off.
take up sketching, pass time, while getting peak condition. No
point rushing things.
Sketching not going well, charcoal not my medium. Should
probably move on. Smoke horizon looks darker today, maybe most
recent peasant went down wrong way. Feeling bit guilty at delay.
Wonder can retrace steps market, see about purchase better
sword. Check purse. Not an option. Really should get going
again. After lunch.
Difficulty getting armour on this afternoon, seems have shrunk.
Finally get horse untied. (Must remember tether properly next
time. Slip knot.) Make good time, find nice streamside spot
camp. Am feeling more positive than have for days, decide good
be back on quest.
Who’s afraid dragons?
Find track leading off ring road. Terrain now looking rockier,
singed. Feeling apprehensive again. Would stop, but nothing
worth sketching here. Best keep going.
BLOODY HELL! Am expected take out that?!!?? With
glorified butter knife?!!?? Size those teeth!! Length
those claws!!! Lucky could find rock hide behind.
about horse. Still, can’t have felt anything. Much.
kingdom nowhere near enough. Hand better be pretty bloody
slightest bit inadequate.
Have sighted lair, suppose dragon off marauding again. Now need
develop plan attack.
No bloody feasible plan attack possible. Like trying take on
flying castle with spatula. Bloody futile. Suicidal. Delusional.
Would retreat, but dragon knows here now, would pick off soon as
crawled out hiding-spot. Getting tired earthworm and slug diet.
Will just attack tomorrow, hope for best. No point putting off
Will just attack tomorrow, hope for best. No point putting off
Slept terribly, awoke nauseous. Not good idea vomit armour.
Spend afternoon decontaminating as best could, but suspect still
bit niffy. Can’t helped.
WOOOHOOO!!! HAVE SLAIN DRAGON!!! FEEL BLOODY AMAZING!!!
like this. Dragon strafed hiding-spot on morning peasant run.
Clambered out, unseen, after flown over, ran. Reached lair.
Checked out hoard, not as fabulously wealthy as been led expect.
Knew didn’t have much time, looked new spot hide in. Nowhere
decent. Looked also better weapon, sword fallen hero maybe?
Didn’t find, but did see quite striking gold coronet, encrusted
many gems. Fits quite well. Admired self jewel-bordered mirror,
rakish angle, could grow accustomed. Dragon returned while
investigating large bejewelled pendant. Understandably
pissed-off, to say least. Retreated corner and attempted bargain
for life. Negotiations heated (shoulder still singed) but
managed strike deal, take turns riddles. If answer wrong, dragon
eats. If dragon not guess answer, dragon eats. Not mad keen,
admittedly, but best manage circumstances.
tricked dragon: “what four legs, two wheels, flies”, but heard
before. Dragon’s riddle tough, “Hero better served raw, or baked
in armour?” Decide don’t know answer, put cunning plan into
effect. Pull sword from scabbard, rush headlong at fiery brute
shouting “Now die, worm!”. Dragon snorts derisively – think
right word – and lifts paw ready strike. Then—
bloody believe. Stranger just walks up, just now, as
writing last bit down. First think peasant, but bit better
dressed average peasant, washed recently. Don’t know where
appeared from. Minstrel, apparently, or so says. Supposed known
far wide, but never heard of him. Anyway, offering
three-quarters bigger kingdom across mountain range, option more
attractive hand, if sign him exclusive rights dragon-slaying
details, use in new ballad. Said need think about, give answer
Where all come from? This morning, travelling merchant, trading
for X Calibre swordsmiths, offering new sword, horse spare
shoes, full set ox knives, all permission use likeness on
tapestry, sword displayed prominently. Point out not actually
use X Calibre sword slay dragon, but apparently doesn’t
matter. Said think about.
minstrel, this time already written ballad my exploits, gave
quick run-through. Sound reverberated helmet horribly. Same
story, exclusive rights. This offer smaller kingdom,
three-storey castle, permanent materials, ocean view. Again,
said think about.
wishes to record story, fully illuminated, as inspirational
tract on parchment.
collector, asked have close look hoard, make assessment.
Adventurer, wants me sign up three-dragon deal, all transport,
victuals, generous provision made rain delay and difficulty
finding dragons. Own armour a must.
Sculptor, asks permission carve likeness with foot resting on
head slain dragon, plan place in centre local town square,
between tavern and stocks.
damsel, claims princess, wants know if interested matrimony.
(Thought princesses washed more often, must say.)
children, said playing ball here last month, kicked into lair,
wonder if come in poke around to find. Also friend Eowulf or
pieces thereof, if still recognisable.
Not sure which smells worse, decomposing dragon or horde
Scales fallen from eyes (suspect design flaw with helmet). Call
meeting with assembled parties, announce have made decision. Not
interested selling exclusive rights to slaying story. Will
reveal all details to all assembled. Rushed dragon, drew sword
(actually, drew sword before rushed dragon, otherwise not here
now), rolled at crucial moment, struck fatal blow into dragon’s
heart, dragon died, end story. Hand assuredly guided by fate,
destiny, forces greater than ourselves, whatever. Very lucky
still alive, obviously. Don’t feel heroic, but honoured on hand
for beast’s demise. Humbled.
truth, some details omitted, don’t wish disillusion all &
sundry. Crucial moment tripped, not rolled; nearly broke bloody
neck. Looked up in time see dragon pounce headlong, closed eyes,
whimpered, took final breath. Final breath unexpectedly long
time. Looked up again, dragon impaled rusty lance left sticking
up from middle hoard. Remember earlier thinking someone hurt
self on that. Dragon brought down not bravery or swordsmanship
but own poor housekeeping. Lesson us all?)
assembled allowed in lair, five minutes’ max, permitted carry
out all can hold, as long take piece dragon meat. No returns, no
refunds, no exchanges. No loitering, or show blade slew dragon,
if get drift. Just want left peace after that. Can’t bothered
half kingdom, daughter’s hand, all other nonsense. Ridiculous
from throng, seem think some sort acclamation required. Seem
want shower me with gifts. Unhappy this. Eventually concede
small extent. Place request for:
Back on ring road. Camp nice streamside spot, lose new horse.
(Must remember tether properly. Reef knot.) Realise forgot
request something spread pâté on, but too late now. Spend
afternoon looking good spot sketch, stumble huge plant in
clearing. Thick trunk, colossal leaves, bright green. Looks like
what’s at top?