Dragon Scourge (Part 6)

Wooden Barrels, Barrel, Wine Barrel


Early the next morning, Wildred woke Connor and reiterated the plan and the agreement. He then sent the man home to tell his sister they were being hunted by dragons, and that they had to flee southwards. The Dragon Hunter then made his own way to the palace, and told the attendant that he needed to speak with the Viceroy with some urgency. The whole affair went much as planned, and with the business concluded the went to hurry Connor on his way.

In the meantime, Runny scouted the hills north of the late forest and found a suitable cave. He then scribbled some instructions in Dwarfish onto a small pieces of parchment and tied the notes onto the legs of two pigeons which he set loose. His labours done he made his way back to the smithy, and sized-up the resources available there. Noting some deficiencies he jotted down some additional orders and set off his last two pigeons.

“Saw the birds leaving,” Wilfred said as he entered the forge.

“Took all four of ’em,” Roundbottom said. “Found a good dragons’ lair though, and we had near ‘nough all we needed here.”

“My visit with the Viceroy went swimmingly,” Wilfred said. “Connor and Annabelle are heading south as we speak, and I am fairly sure we will not see them again.”

“Good, good,” the Dwarf said. “Always best to keep the amateurs at a distance for work like this.”

“I was an amateur when I met you,” Wilfred said with a chuckle.

“A right clever one,” Runny said, “and more true and canny than most human-folk.”

“Why thank you Sir Dwarf,” Wilfred said with a bow.

“None of that,” Runny said in a dismissive tone. “We got work to do.”

And work they did, they made a big show of making flimsy but rather spectacular looking harpoons and lances which they arranged outside the smithy for the benefit of any nosey bystanders. The real work, however, began two days later when three Dwarves arrived with a wagon-load of pyrotechnics. Later that same day a fourth Dwarf arrived with a pony-cart bearing a large barrel with Nordlandic writing on the side.

“Better cover that scribble-up” Runny instructed as three of the newcomers unloaded the barrel.

The following morning, a female Dwarf arrived with a cart loaded with six large glass jars packed in straw.

“Morning Mr. Wilfred,” the She-Dwarf said as she climbed down. “You seen Runny?”

“He’s in the forge,” the Dragon Hunter said with a smile. “How was the journey?”

“Bit rough, glad I bringed an extra jar. These folk need Dwarfs to be laying a road for them, as they have more holes than path I tell ya,” Plucky Roundbottom observed.

Just then Runny stepped from the smithy and embraced Plucky. “How’s me old-girl doing?”

“I don’t know about your old girl, but your gorgeous wife is fine,” she said giving him a thump on the chest.

“Glad to see you, My Lovely,” Runny said. He then turned his attention to Wilfred and said, “Looks like we have everything now. We should be ready to go after them there Dragons in the morrow,” he added for the benefit of two passers-by.


Dragon Scourge (Part 5)

Smithy, Anvil, Medieval Smithy

“Here is how I understand your story, and it is how I will recount it to the Viceroy: You and your brother-in-law, Brian were clearing dead wood when a wyer of dragons appeared and carried off your brother-in-law, and the pony. You stood your ground and the beasts circled you before a purple worm struck you with its tail, sending you flying. You landed in a stream, and thus moistened survived the airborne blast of the wyer. They departed northwards, and you were able after a time of recovery to make your way to the palace to report the encounter, and the loss of valuable woodland,” Wilfred summarised.

“Um,” Connor began.

“Just say yes,” the Dwarf instructed.

“Ah, yes.”

“Perfect,” the Dragon Hunter declared. “I, of course, under such circumstances, and with your newly acquired intellegence of the vindictive and unrelenting nature of dragons toward their quarry, recommend that you and your sister remove yourselves southwards, away from the last known heading of the beasts. I will use my position with the Viceroy to secure you and your sister’s pensions in full for such a journey, and I recommend that you leave as soon as I provide that purse for you. I don’t see that there will ever be a need for you or your kin to return to these parts, as some other details of your confession might under such an eventuality be recalled by me in the future. I assure you, however, that such revelations are safe with me, and Runny here, as long as you stick to the agreement.”

“I . . .” Connor said hesitantly.

“Agree, is the word you are looking for, Furster,” Roundbottom interjected.

“I . . . agree,” the forester said a little uneasily.

“Perfect,” Wilfred said again. “Let’s get you to sleep-off some ale, and we will get you and your sister packing in the morning.”

“And my pension?”

“No worries there, Lad,” Runny said. “We will get ya the silver in the morn.”

Soon the forester was snoring away.

“So, a meet’n with the palace folk?” Runny asked.

“I don’t see why not. Most of the village heard you warn the man, and I’m sure news of it has already reached the Viceroy’s ears. If I know his type, and I think I do, he will happily hedge his bets in case we fail to kill the dragons, by getting them to go southwards looking for Connor rather than staying in this realm.”

“I reckon you’re right there,” the Dwarf said. “I will send a message to the lads in the morrow while you is seeing the Viceroy feller.”


Old Fashioned Fun


“It’s a beautiful day. You kids get out of the house, and get some fresh air,” Mum called up the stairs.

Chloe (13), Aiden (11), and Scott (10) made there way to the back garden.

“What do we do now?” Scott asked.

“We could kick the ball about,” Aiden suggested. Then again that was his answer to most things.

“No, Mum would kill us is we knock over the fuchsias again,” Chloe objected. “Lets lie down in the grass and see what we can see in the clouds,” she suggested.

“I guess,” Aiden agreed hesitantly.

After about five munutes pondering the passing formations, Chloe said, “I see a wolf.”

“Where?” Scott asked.

“In the middle, see its mouth is open towards the right.”

“I thought that was a dragon,” Scott replied.

“What do you think, Aiden,” his sister prompted.

“I see water vapour,” Aiden replied. “Let’s go play Nintendo.”

“Good idea,” Scott replied, and the trio made their way back inside.


Photo Challenge #375

Dragon Scourge (Part 4)

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“I think we should take this conversation somewhere a bit more private,” Wilfred said.  He then turned to the barkeeper and asked if he might provide lodging for them and their ale-sodden friend.

“Gentlemen, with no disrespect,” the barman replied, “I would rather he not be staying here overnight with the dragons and all.  If you know what I mean.”

“Of course,” Wilfred replied.  “Quite understandable.  Do you have any suggestions?”

“There is a disused forge just down the lane,” the barman replied.

“Sounds just the ticket,” Runny said. 

They placed a full gold piece on the table, and aided Connor from the premises.

On finding the smithy, the trio entered and Runny lit a fire.

“I can’t be knowing if you know who’s I am,” Runny said at last, “but I has seen the Hanon dragon up close and am here to tell the tale, and your tale is a bit mothy I thinks, too many holes.”

“Runny does the lore speak of any purple dragons?” Wilfred asked well knowing the answer.

“Not to any of my recollecting, and I is a bit of lore-Dwarf, I am.”

“Hmm, this is an intriguing impasse,” Wilfred said.  “So, about your dragons.”

“There were five of them, by the Spirits!” Connor pleaded.

“What if for discussion sake, we say that anything that is said here will not leave the forge.  Let us further say that I have the Viceroy’s ear,” Wilfred offered.

“I, I umm,” the forester began, but the right words were escaping his grasp.

“By my reckoning, there seems to be a wizard miss’n from your story,” Runny said accusingly.

“Wiz . . .” the man trailed off.

“Aye, a wizard.”

“I didn’t see a wizard,” the man protested.

“What did you see then?” Wilfred asked sympathetically.  “Let’s start again at the beginning.”

“Um, Brian, Daisy and me were clearing dead wood, as I said.  And we found an old wolf pit.  There was some shiny things down there so I lowered Brian down, and he found a skeleton and some silver coins.  As he dug around he found a staff with a big crystal in the end, and we thought that the crystal might be worth some money.  So I helped Brian climb out, and he started to try to pry the crystal off the staff.  Next thing I know I was flying through the air and landed in a stream some hundred length away, and all around me was blazing.  There was no sign of Brian or Daisy.  It took me a while before I could pull myself upright, and there was just melted rock where Brian had been.”

“Now there be a better story,” the Dwarf observed.

“So, what did you do next?” Wilfred asked.

“I had a good cry, and wondered what the Viceroy was going to say about the forest, then I started worrying for Annabelle.  Then the idea of a dragon hit me, but by the time I got back to the village the number had grown to four, and five by the time I got to the palace.  Oh, Spirits, what am I going to do,” the man sobbed.


Dragon Scourge (Part 3)

Forest Fire, Brand, Fire, Conflagration

“Me and Brian, that’s my sister’s husband, was cutting out some dead wood, you see, and there was a sudden roar ‘bove us, and there was a dragon as clear as day. Well, Brian, Spirits rest him, hoped up on the pony we had with us and tried to do a runner, and two of the big beasts swooped down and carried him off,” Connor the forester explained.

“Two dragons carried off one man?” Wilfred queried.

“Um, one took Brian and the other Daisy, that’s the pony,” Connor said after a pause.

“Then what?” Runny asked, sliding another ale in front of the increasingly inebriated forester.

“Well, I ah, I ah took my axe and waved it at the nearest dragon, and it took a step backwards.”

“Indeed?” Wilfred muttered in a reflective tone.

“That’s right, so, I shouted and it took to wing. The three them flew about circling me, but I held my ground, and then a fourth one knocked me over from behind with its tail, and I rolled down a gully into a stream, just as the flying ones burst fire on my forest. It burned the whole place down and even melted the rocks. It was something terrifying, but I climbed behind a boulder and since I were damp from landing in the stream, i didn’t burn much. Well, they must of thought they got me, because they all flew away north. And I came out, a bit singed, but still here as you see.”

“Then, what did you do?” Wilfred asked, beckoning the man to drink.

“Well I looked about for any signs of Daisy, and Brian, but only found some charred bones, Spirits have mercy. I had a wee bit of a sad moment, and thought about poor Annabelle, that’s my sister, and how she was going to make it without a husband, and then I started wondering if I were even going to have a job, the forest being gone and all.”

“Yes, a very troubling situation,” Wilfred said. “But, at least, as you say, you are still here.”

“How is your sister?” Runny asked.

“She is mourning, as you would expect, but the Viceroy is giving her an allowance as Brian died for the realm.”

“And you?” Runny followed.

“I’ve been given a pension too,” Connor said looking down into his tankard.

“Just, what colour were these dragons, by the way?” Wilfred asked.

“Um, they were red, except for the one that knocked me over. It was purple.”

“Purple, indeed?” Wilfred mused aloud.

“Not, many of them there purples about,” Runny said giving a sly wink to the storyteller.

“Now, you say that Brian tried to ride away,” Wildred said more as a question than a statement.

“That’s right. He jumped up on Daisy and took off.”

“Leavin’ you behind. Some brother that is,” the Dwarf reflected.

“Well, he had a family to care for,” the forester said defensively.

“Aren’t you family as well?” Wildred asked.

“Yes, but . . .”

“But it must have made you feel betrayed.”

“Not at all, he was looking after my little sister,” Connor snapped.

“I apologise,” Wilfred said, “but at least your account has made sure she is provided for. Not to mention your pension as well.”

“What are you driving at?”

“We’ve been to the place,” the Drawf said. “Seems the burning is kind of from the ground up, not the air down. How might that be hap’nin?”

“Um, maybe, the one on the ground started it,” Connor countered.

“But you said it was the flying ones,” Wilfred observed. “Let’s try this again shall we, after another drink.”


Dragon Scourge (Part 2)

Stream Blinding Lights (Dancing In A Medieval Tavern Style) by Dynasty  Uchiha | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Runny entered the Dancing Ferret and gave the tavern the once over.  It was like any of the hundreds of provincial ale houses he had seen before with the rough planked floor and host of labouring folk at the end of a day’s work. 

Runny quickly noticed the gathering of locals surrounding a brawny man in a green tunic who was regaling them with some tale.  The onlookers were fastened to his every word. 

“I reckon we found our furster,” Runny said to Wilfred when the latter entered.

“Well, I will leave you to do your thing,” the Dragon Hunter said before taking a seat at a corner table.

The Dwarf made his way to the throng and listened in intently, occasionally nodding or tapping his thick fingers on his chin. 

As the man finished his story and was bought another drink by an admirer, Runny abruptly said, “You must be one er the bravest fellers I ever laid my eyes on, I will right reckon that.”

The crowd turned and stared at the Dwarf.

“Well it is a rightly known fact, that a dragon once it had got the scent of you won’t stop hunt’n for you till it got ya.  And you says you got five, or were that six, on your trail.  If it were me, mind, I’d be a hiding away somewhere.  Let me buy an ale for such a bold feller.”

With that several of the gathered villagers slowly distanced themselves from the forester.  A few indeed remembered previous engagements and quickly departed the Ferret altogether.

With the crowd dispersed Runny pulled up a stool and sat down.  Wilfred then made his way to the table.

“You must be a brave fellow indeed,” Wilfred said quietly.  “As you don’t seem worried in the slightest by my friend’s revelation.”

“Well I . . .  I . . . I did see off four dragons,” the man said trying to compose himself.

“Four now,” Runny reflected.  “And here I were think’n you said six but a moment ago.” 

“Um, there were six, but I only had to deal with four of them,” the man replied, satisfied with his answer.

“Well then, let us buy you an ale for each,” Wilfred said, “I would love to hear even more about your encounter while we drink.”

Wilfred then turned to the barkeeper of the now nearly empty establishment. 

“A bottle of wine, and some bread and cheese for me and the Dwarf, and four ales for my friend here. Thank you.”

Then turning back to the flustered forester, he said, “Now, about those dragons.”


Dragon Scourge: Dragon Hunter Revisited

“This was a forest?” Wilfred asked.

“A rather lush one,” the Viceroy said.

“And you say it was five dragons?”

“That is what the forester reported,” the official replied.

“Hmm, it doesn’t look like dragon work,” the Dragon Hunter said with a sceptical tone.

“Well, we heard what you did in Hanon and knew that you were our only hope.”

“I will do what I can, but it’s not going to come cheap,” Wilfred said.

“Whatever it takes,” the Viceroy said.

“What do you think, Runny?” Wilfred said to his associate.

“Well, to tell the truth, it ain’t got the dragon feel to it. But, if the furster say it be dragons, who am I to say counterwise,” the Dwarf replied.

“We will take the job,” Wildred announced, “. . . and it being five or more beasts, we will do it based on there being five.”

The Viceroy and his retinue then departed back to the palace.

“What do you really think?” Wilfred asked.

“Well, not that I’s seen a reality dragon, but this don’t look like the lore. Looks more Wizardish to my eyes,” Runny Roundbottom said scratching his beard.

“I was thinking the same,” Wilfred said with some relief that the Dwarf agreed with him.

“We need to have a tongue-wag with that furster,” Runny said.

“Should I get the Viceroy to send for him?” Wilfred asked.

“No no. That would only get him to spout his same story again. I were thinking just chancing on him at the tavern and loose him up with some ale, then see what he can tell uz,” Runny said tapping the side of his nose.

“Ale it is,” Wilfred said. “Let’s hope there is a Wizard behind this. I don’t fancy facing ‘reality’ dragons.”


Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #127

The Quiet One

Stew, Soup, Vegetables, Stew, Stew, Stew

Some said his name was Erns, and others that it was Orin. No one actually knew, nor did they ask him. But, day after day, he sat in the same seat in the tavern as life went on around him.

Now, don’t get the wrong impression. This was not some dark, brooding, hooded character sitting in a shadowed corner. He was actually a man of average proportions that sat at a central table with his back to the bar, and facing the door. He wore no armour, nor did he carry any visible weaponry.

Each day he would watch and listen to the interactions of others while never getting involved. He would have a glass of red wine, and eat a plate of stew everyday except Thirday and Fifthday when he would have cold mutton and mashed turnips. He would then nurse a tankard of ale until an hour before the bell. He would get up, tap a coin on the table, nod to the serving wench and leave.

Ernest, as that was his name, would walk silently home and light the lamp on the table next his bed. He would then remove his boots and sit before the waiting parchment and spin tales based upon his eavesdropping of the night. His yarns were known throughout the realm, though all imagined him to be some scholar in a lofty tower, or a noble in a stately home recounting his own past glories. Ernest was, however, the son of a waggoner He was asimple author: the observer of life, and the weaver of other’s saccounts into intricate stories that spoke to all. Ernest might have been quiet, but his message was heard by all.


Sunday Writing Prompt, July 18/21 – The Quiet One

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Cat, Alley, Street, Stray, Animal

A single bell tolled from the tower. It’s rhythm was slow and melancholy, giving the abandoned streets an even eerier feel.

“Who’s ringing the bell?” Andryn asked absent-mindedly.

“Beats me,” replied Bryn.

The two troopers continued up the cobbled road past piles of detritus. Here and there were splatters of blood, and much of the masonry was scarred by missle strikes, and some doors still were punctuated by arrows.

“I wonder where the bodies are?” Andryn mused aloud as he switched the reins of his trailing horse to his other hand.

“I was wondering that too,” Bryn replied. “There doesn’t seem to be any in the street, and there was no evidence of graves on our way into town. Maybe everyone survived.”

“Or they are all in a heap somewhere,” his friend retorted.

“Maybe we shoud be check that bell out,” Bryn suggested.

“The sergeant said wait for the column,” Andryn reminded him.

Just then Bryn caught a glimpse of quick movement out of the corner of his eye and drew his sword by reflex. A cat then shot out of the alleyway and clammered over a wooden fence.

“Nervey?” Andryn asked.

“No, just cautious. There is something not quite right about this place.”

“The horses don’t seem bothered,” Andryn observed. “That’s always a good sign.”

The pair soon arrived at the town square and discovered what seemed to be a make shift barricade. It too was abandoned.

“What do we do now?” Andryn asked.

“Wait, I guess,” his mate replied.

The two tethered their mounts and sat against the barricade. Andryn handed his comrade a couple of hard biscuits and a lump of cheese, and they ate as the sun declined westwards.

“Crappy last meal,” Bryn said with a smile, nudging his friend with an elbow.

Andryn gazed at the setting sun, and then down the road where the column should arrive from. “Crappy indeed,” he replied without any mirth, and placed his sword across his lap.



Stone Bridge, Fog, Mystical, Old Bridge, Fantasy

There it was, the promise of sanctuary. If he could just get across the bridge he would be home free. But could he make the last hundred yards in his present state? Were there any of the Count’s minions lying in wait? There was only one way to find out, and Cullen pulled tight the belt that held the splint to his broken leg and drew his sword. It was all or nothing now. All that mattered in life was the bridge.


FOWC with Fandango — Bridge