The Dragon and the Sorceress
By Steven F. Boettcher
The dragon was tired. He had spent the last two centuries away from his home, only to find a human village in its place and a half a dozen knights in relatively shining armor ready to slay him. The red dragon with enormous bat-like wings, a long sleek neck and equally long tail and burning red eyes, shook his head in disbelief. Look at my land. My home, he thought to himself, ruined!
Now the knights, with golden swords and sliver spears in hand, were ready to kill him. The dragon said to himself, and I was hoping to rest a decade or two. This is annoying.
Hark! Demon dragon, called the knight with the pillage of feathers flowing from his helmet (signifying his rank above the other knights) as he was sitting upon his white steed. This is no longer your land. The King claims it under his kingdom! You, worm, are hereby trespassing! Under the Kings command, trespassing is punishable by death!
The dragon replied, This is my land and it has been mine since before time. I do not recognize your king or his laws. And I say that it is you humans who are the trespassers on my land. But I am a reasonable sort, he said while he lifted his head and thrust his chest out in pride. I do not wish to fight or kill anyone, but I can not tolerate the littering of my land with your buildings and trash. I will give you one cycle of the sun to relocate beyond my land and I will never trouble you again.
The dragon lowered his neck and peered at the knight-captain returning the knights stare with his burning gaze. Tell your king that if you do not leave my land then I will have to unleash my fury on your king and all of his subjects! With that, the dragon turned and flapped his massive wings and flew off over the mountains to the west.
When the king received the news of the dragon's threat, he was furious.
"Why, who is that monster and what right has he to threaten me and my kingdom?" he said rhetorically.
"Ahem," said Mysterious, the king's advisor and resident sorceress, "If I may, your Majesty. You see, the drake has a legitimate claim to the land. Upon news that a dragon was seen in the hills a few weeks ago, I started looking for some information about dragons, being that dragons have all but disappeared from the lands. I personally have never seen a living dragon and was quite curious to learn of the local legends.
"So, I did a little research," she continued. "You see, the drake in question, from the descriptions I have received, is none other than Serphentine. He was one of the great drakes of lore. He allied himself with humans during the long forgotten Dragon Wars against the Overlord. He was one of the few survivors. That was many millennia ago. Since then, dragons have been quite rare, my lord."
"According to the texts of Ancient Times, Serphentine, was master of the land that was called the "Valley of Dreams", right in the same valley where the village of Prestineville now lies. These texts state that most clearly; that Serphentine was living there long before humans ever settled in these parts. So you see..."
The king cut her off, "I don't care what the Ancient Texts say! In fact, I want them destroyed!"
"But your majesty," began the sorceress, but se was cut off immediately.
"There is no buts!" said the king. "These texts are blasphemous. I have always been ruler of these lands, and I want the scribes to write down the true history of MY KINGDOM!"
"But, but your majesty, you can't possibly do that," when she said that, she knew that she stepped way out of line."
"You tell me? The King! what I can and can't do," he said sarcastically. "I am the KING. King of all kings and I can do whatever I want. NOW!"
With that the king's two squires jumped up and said, "By your command, oh great one." and they searched throughout the kingdom for any ancient scrolls that made reference to the land, its history, and to the dragon. They had these texts burned in great bonfires within the courtyard of the castle, so that the king could delight in his power.
At the same time, the king had his scribes create new and fantastical histories for the past millennium, which had the king as lord of all. The king loved reading the new histories and he couldn't help but to embellish the already exaggerated tales with new ideas, especially when it came to tales of great strength and magic as well as his personal conquest. (Those stories he was especially proud of.)
All the while, Mysterious had all but relinquished her post as king's advisor. Yes, she was always by his side, but she never really advised him much anymore, except for what wine he should have with his meals. During that time, she brooded over what will happen when the dragon finally returns. She knew that the dragon was a being of magic, like herself, but of greater strength. She didn't know what to do.
As the dragon claimed, he returned and wasn't a bit surprised to see that nothing had changed. The six knights waited for his return, for they, unlike the king who had spent his year creating more outlandish tales and never thinking once about the dragon, had not forgotten and have been preparing for this confrontation ever since.
The captain of the knights, again on his gallant white steed and sword in hand, said "Hark! mighty demon of the netherworld. You are again trespassing on the King's land. I trust you haven't forgotten the penalty of this deed."
"I have not, little man in shining armor, said Serphentine, with little enthusiasm. "Since you didn't heed my warning, I guess I must destroy you, that puny village, and your play king." The dragon raised his head high and opened his wings while standing on his hind legs. He hoped that his enormous size would be enough to scare the humans away, since he really didn't want to hurt the humans who were once his allies. But if he must, he must, if only to reclaim his land.
The brave knights did not turn back or cower under the dragon, but a few thought about it. They raised their swords and were ready for battle.
The puff of purple smoke appeared
between the knights and the dragon. When the smoke vanished, there stood Mysterious,
I don't agree with the king, I cannot allow you to destroy my people. So I must stand with my people. O mighty one, as you may undoubted know about your last encounter here in these lands, I tried to advise the king about your claims. I had read through the Ancient Texts, but the king didn't want any of it so he had all the ancients texts in the land destroyed and new ones written to glorify himself. Anyway, since only I had read those texts in centuries, only I know the truths of what they held."
At that, the dragon eyed the sorceress closely. "What was she holding back, " he thought to himself. Then he searched his memory and eyed the sorceress even more closely. He was looking for a sign of what the woman had found.
"Yes, Serphentine, I know your secrets and the secrets of all the dragons. I know how to defeat you!"
Serphentime jerked his head back. "Secrets of the dragons?" he thought. "What secret," he said to himself as he tried to recall any secret. "Could there really be some secret way to kill dragons. Well, there are so few of us now, maybe she does know something," he thought.
"Very well, witch," he said with venom in his words. "What is your deal?"
"It's quite simple, since only I know the secret. I will keep it to myself. In return, you will not return to this land until this king is dead. Don't worry, he has yet to sire any heirs and I will make sure he never will. And when he finally passes to the great beyond, you will succeed to the thrown and you will rule this kingdom and coexist with us humans as you once did many millennia ago."
"And what of you, sorceress?" the dragon asked.
"I will be around to make sure you keep your word for I have learned a great deal of the secrets of the dragons and their longevity."
Without a word, the dragon gave Mysterious a nod and turned and flew away.
Mysterious let out a sigh of relief and thought, "I didn't think that bluff would work. The only thing I found in the texts that was useful was how gullible dragons could be."