“Oh yes! Thank you for giving me a dragon, Sadje!”
Blackthorn – Day of the Dragon
Dragons aren’t known for their clandestine nature. One roar alerts people to their presence within a mile radius as the reverberation shakes the grout from the walls. Worse, if they sneeze, everybody within 30 feet feels the singe of flames. Yes, if a dragon is nearby the whole population knows about him. Well, almost everybody.
Having had too many mugs of ale on what was a rollicking good night down the pub, I’d collapsed onto my bed in a drunken stupor.
Bang, bang, bang!
At first, I thought I was hearing the drunken ache in my brain hammering against my skull.
Bang, Bang, Bang!!
No, it was somebody bashing against the front door and it wasn’t even morning yet. “Go way!” I grumbled.
Bang, Bang, Bang!!!
“This must be something bad!” I staggered from my bed, felt the blanket catch my ankle and tumbled to the floor. “Well done, dung features!” I groaned as I climbed back to my feet.
Staggering down the stairs I threw open the door.
“Sir, Balanas! Thank the stars!”
“Err, what is it, Talvas?” I said recognising the chief watchman of the city. The terrified look on his features left me worried.
“Dragon! There’s a dragon on the library roof!” Talvas paled as a deep rumble shook the building.
I’d know that reverberation anywhere. “Yup, that’s a dragon.” I turned to go back inside.
“Please, you’re the only one who has ever defeated a dragon. You have to come and fight it,” Talvas begged, having clamped a hand on my bare shoulder.
“Fine!” I grabbed my leather scabbard from beside the door. “I’m old and a little drunk – but come on let’s go dance with a dragon,” I mumbled staggering towards the door without realising my scabbard was devoid of a sword.
“Sir, Balanas. I er …”
“Speak up, man. What’s wrong, now?”
“Er, I would go fighting dragons looking like that, sir.” Tapas replied blushing a bit. “You need a weapon and it might get a little warm around your privates.”
Another rumble rattled my windows.
I looked down at myself and chuckled. “Hehe, I suppose a little nudity might be a problem. Never know, maybe the Dragon will like what she sees and spare me a roasting.”
Talvas slapped me hard, “Excuse the brutality, but get serious, Golan. The Dragon’s going to destroy the city!”
I nodded and staggered through to the kitchen. I pulled on my blue raiment and shining silver-plate armour. Throwing a bucket of water over my head, I took my sword from the table and sheathed it. “Time to go to battle!” I said as I raised my tower shield and dented the ceiling.
The dragon was the fiercest of species — It was easily identified by the long black spikes extending from its spine. Those and the jet-black scales covering its body left no doubt — this was a Blackthorn.
There it was, on the domed roof of the library tower. Its leathery clawed wings gripped the roof and balcony of the corner building.
Even as I ran down the main street, I watched roof tiles crashing to the floor.
The dragon leaned forward and let rip with a mighty bellow. The whole street trembled, windows shattered and people screamed as they ran away.
My feet wanted to run with them, but no I was captain Golan Balanas. I hadn’t fought a dragon in thirty years, the citizens were relying on me. “Talvas get everyone back. I’ll handle the brute!”
“Yes, Sir!” Talvas saluted and peeled away from me.
All the buildings close to the dragon were ablaze.
I marched through the thick smoke keeping my eyes squarely on my scaly foe. Somehow, I had to get it down from the building. I couldn’t fight it on the roof.
Footsteps rushed in from my left. A company of archers took up a position with longbows. They let fly a barrage of deadly broadhead arrows.
The dragon threw back its evil reptilian head and turned the grey sky orange with a flaming pyre from its toothy jaws.
Twelve arrows bounced off the scales. The archers had inflicted nothing more than a tickling sensation.
“Archers, again maximum power!” yelled their captain.
“No! Just run!” I ordered but it was too late.
Every archer fired again.
The whole street burst into flames, The dragon turned the arrows to ash and the archers to smouldering charcoal statues.
“Damn you, dragon!” I bellowed as I walked out in front of the library.
The beast saw me, roared and unleashed another breath of liquid fire.
I ducked beneath my shield. Fire surrounded me in a heat rivalled only by a volcano. I felt my hair burning, my skin scorching and then darkness returned.
The dragon roared again as he watched me rise to my feet.
“Thank you, Dragon. It was a little chilly down here!” I yelled despite the smoke issuing from my body.
The beast shifted its position, tearing masonry and stone columns from the building.
Rubble smashed to the ground all around me. Then I saw the tail racing towards me like a spiky boulder.
Dropping my shield, I jumped onto the remains of a column and vaulted into the air. Forty pounds of armour weighed me down as the tail shot beneath me. Swinging my sword, I felt it slice deep between the scales of the appendage. My fingers buckled as the sword was torn from my hands. I crashed back to the ground and watched my weapon fly across the street and disappear through a smoking window.
The dragon screamed, threw open its enormous wings and took flight.
“Oh, shit!” I uttered as the enormous beast circled through the smoky skies.
Bellowing, it went into a dive like the reptilian version of the peregrine falcon. Worse it arched straight at me.
It roared —one hundred feet away.
It flexed its immense talons — fifty feet away.
It’s opened its fiery jaws — ten feet away.
I dived toward and beneath it. Hitting the ground hard, I covered my head. My back exploded in pain as its rear talons raked deep grooves in my armour.
The dragon bellowed furiously as it lanced back into the air. Blinded by the desire to kill me, it’d moved too late.
I covered my head as the beast crashed straight into the upper floor of a burning building and vanished into the fire. A balcony and two windows disappeared in an explosion of rubble. Flames exploded into the air as the side of the building collapsed.
“Golan!” yelled Talvas. “You did it! Are you okay?”
“Run, you fool!” I yelled as I staggered to my feet. “It won’t be dead yet!”
“What?” Talvas looked stunned. “But you drove it —”
His voice was drowned out by the most monstrous roar. The remains of the building collapsed and the dragon launched itself into the air. Its enormous wings fanning the flames beneath into a frenzy.
“Now, will you run?” I yelled as I sprinted across the road. Jumping through a window belching smoke, I snatched my sword from beneath a table boiling with fire.
Leaping outside again, I rolled away from a vicious swipe of talons.
The dragon towered over me, desperate to slice me into ribbons. It snorted and growled as it slashed chunks of masonry and flagstones into the air around me.
Always moving, never stopping, I blocked and avoided life-ending slashes of those eviscerating claws. Every time they struck my sword, I felt the muscles of my arms fraying under immense pressure. Chunks of metal flew from my blade as my sword began to bend. If this didn’t end soon, I’d be dead before I had a chance to slay the dragon.
The dragon had me right where it wanted me. It was the reptilian cat and I was the mouse it was toying with.
Just as death came for me, my sword caught beneath its talons. The impact threw me into the air. magnificent forces tried to fling me away, but I kept hold of the hilt and swung myself onto the dragon’s arm.
It bellowed in bloodlust and took flight.
I screamed as the city dropped away beneath me. “No!” I sucked in a breath of smoky air and coughed as the dragon writhed against me.
It shook its mighty arm trying to shake me free.
Seeing the edge of the wing, flapping toward me, I freed my sword and jumped. My stomach registered a moment of freefall and then pain as the wing struck my sternum. The impact would have broken my ribs had it not been for my armour.
The dragon dip through the air, barrel-rolled, and raced back into the clouds again.
Through gritted teeth, I hung on for dear life. Stabbing with my sword, I dragged myself along the wing as he continued to lance through the sky at impossible speeds.
The dragon plunged toward the earth.
My vision turned orange as we ploughed through the flames of the burning city. The air was filled with smoke and screams. I planted my feet and jumped, not off the Dragon, but towards his head.
For a moment, I thought I’d made it unscathed. Then the spike pierced my right bicep as I grabbed onto the dragon’s neck. A scream of pain tore from my throat. At least being impaled, stopped me from falling.
The dragon kicked off a building and flew above the city once more.
I raised my sword with my good arm and drove it deep into the beast’s neck, stopping only when the ricasso caught in the scales.
The dragon was dead before it struck the ground.
I braced for impact as we hit with a mighty crack. The spike was dislodged from my flesh and armour as I was sent barrelling through the debris of our city. Next, I knew I was in the hospital looking like a bandage and overcooked hog roast. At least I’d live.
In the days that followed, I would be hailed a hero. The Blackthorn was carved in stone and mounted upon the roof of the building it once rested upon as it destroyed our city.
The day the dragon came was the day nobody would ever forget.
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!