Only Fools Complain
Dealing with a Dragon
I did take a moment to assure that the wagon kept moving. Instead of happily returning a wave to my ladies, I shouted for them to go seeing the dragon take to the air. One conversation I never had was with my king who had a dragon. The creature would fly over Thiminy, but knew better than to gain food from the valley. I usually saw it when it flew out into the desert. Reports from people arriving into my land would speak of the great yellow dragon attacking military and groups of slavers, but somehow distinguishing between those up to no good and those simply trying to get between places. I often wanted to speak to King Terish about the necessities of keeping a dragon, but had never been able to socialize with him on such a level. All I could presently do was move to prepare for dealing with the mighty beast trusting in what I did know.
No one that I knew actually used a dragon as a mount. Even King Terish rode a centaur instead of a dragon. The mighty reptile he kept guarded his treasure, and I heard direct reports from the generals in charge of paying us troops that King Terish had enough wealth to keep an army of dragons happy. There were stories of him riding the great beast, but whatever arrangement had been made it did not include being a regular mount.
I thus considered exactly what was the purpose of this dragon. If it was a mount, the feeding and maintaining would surely have someone wanting to prove their expense. That would mean the dragon would directly enter combat and make my concern immediate and non-complicated. The other option was that the dragon and monarch would have some type of arrangement. That would possibly make the dragon not a troublesome figure, although I did not like leaving the town facing the odds of their opponents having a dragon when they did not.
Thiminy was a kingdom in a valley on the edge of a mountain range. There were thus solid lengths of wood or rocks to use as cover and means of support. I looked around to see pleasant countryside sectioned off into farming plots. I cursed wondering how those in this kingdom went about fighting a dragon.
Soldiers rushed up with the lieutenant in charge of them asking me, “What are you doing?”
I felt some concern in seeing a mighty reptile not gain height, but start a low pass coming toward me as I stated the obvious considering it a substantial answer to the question. “That’s a dragon!”
“I assume that what you are doing has some relation with that being a dragon.”
As a major, I out-ranked the lieutenant, so suddenly took command of the troops. I had them spread out so as not to give the dragon a way of wiping out his opponents with one blast of whatever breath it used. I chose the largest soldiers to help me secure my grapnel informing them that the first objective was to ground the dragon. The lieutenant heard my commands, then spoke his own agreement by assuring me that he would have soldiers able to provide support should the monster be brought out of the air.
I spoke of differences in my homeland and the terrain around me to the soldiers trying to help me secure the grapnel. They asked about the ability of the bolt I had for the crossbow to pierced the scaly skin of the monster. I answered them by instructing that fighting a dragon was a series of moments that had to work together to keep us with the authority while the great reptile tried to figure out how best to respond. The soldiers spoke of where the dragon possibly came from, and who would be riding it, as they worked with me to give my plan the best chance of working.
I was told the possible name of the rider of the dragon, and that was indeed what I heard as the dragon glided among us. “I am Sir Deporry of the kingdom of Peranty. Don’t know what you men are doing, but –“
His problem was that I did not care what he said, and it seemed that the soldiers were not willing to subject themselves to his authority either. Arrows and quarrels flew even as I also aimed and released my own shaft. The dragon reacted to the assault by flapping its wings for height. I and the soldiers with me had already assumed a certain problem, so we all jumped to grab the grapnel and the rope it was attached to as the bolt holding the other end sank among some scales of the great reptile.
Dragons were powerful creatures, but even they had limits. It was already carrying a rider. When laden with a number of additional men, even with it flapping its wings the dragon descended instead of going up into the air.
As we came down to where our feet could touch the ground, those holding the grapnel let go to send it around a leg. Now having a secure cord between the body of the beast and a lower appendage, a number of us that managed to hang on now had something on which we could apply our strength. As some soldiers grabbed the leg and used the appendage as support for their feet, I climbed to gain the body of the dragon.
Lancers charged as the monster came down this time. Without the steady use of one leg, the great beast came down turned giving the long shafts clear opportunities to pierce into the body of the winged reptile. I climbed the scales to put me on top of the dragon even as the rider dropped demanding the troops to stop their attack.
Before the monster could breathe its foul substance, I raced over the saddle to have my sword sink into its neck. Other soldiers also rushed to assure further attacks upon the dragon. Faster than I had actually expected, the great beast died.
The one that had been riding it loudly asked, “Do you know what you did?”
“Yes,” I answered, “let you know how much we did not like being in that shell.”
“Well, I can understand that, but this goes beyond you. You should have listened to me.”
I looked to the lieutenant to command, “You listen to him. However know that we did defeat the shell, and that dragon. Only fools complain, but we instead did something about our situation. You don’t have anything to fear.”
The soldiers saluted me. I waved back before turning to walk away. The knight probably looked to the soldiers, but I heard him yell to me.
“You, Major, where are you going?”
I heard the troops laugh when I loudly answered, “To my wives!”
I was glad that I could not see the wagon. It would not have surprised me to find my wives looking out over the fields. That thought caused me to stop and examine the land around me. The fields were not in bad shape. I was no farmer, but with my family being bakers I had been taught some things about crops. I accepted that most farmers did not live within the city. Still, the majority of the common workers were in the city because they needed the basic services and security of the civilized area. I stopped to look at the armies and wondered if the soldiers had been put to work helping the limited farmers prevent the crops from going bad. I however reminded myself that my job was just to bring my wives home, so turned from the fields to find the wagon carrying my ladies.
Remembering the direction my youngest wife pointed, I saw a path through the fields that led into an opening through the trees. Not feeling that my wives would have the horses run once beyond the threat of the dragon, I did not start running. I did keep up a fast pace so as to prevent myself from being involved in some other situation with the armies and Nemurk. Once past the fields and into the trees, I however slowed down wondering just how far my wives had traveled.
Seeing the wagon surrounded by troops, I drew my sword while again picking up my pace only to hear Aden shout, “My lord –“
“Your lord?” a man’s voice interjected.
My distinguished wife kept on speaking. “Please do not worry about these men.” After sheathing my sword, although still advancing, I heard her say, “This man before me is the husband of my oldest sister, General Chalarsh.”
Aden was not a wife that I would challenge, but my actions probably stated such as I studied the mounted men. The colors were the pale and dark green I was told her home barony claimed. None of the men had their weapons out. I thus did not challenge them, but approached the wagon to ask directions.
“Okay, Aden, so why are they here?”
The man before her spoke in the manner of a youth, although his bearded face gave me the impression he was rather old. “Hold it. First, how did you gain Aden as your wife?”
“I complained,” I answered. “Thus, if you keep flapping your jaws you might end up with a second wife as well.”
Aden said, “It is an interesting story – well, to hear his side of the story it is quite entertaining. My side of the story is just one more tale of the way I have been mistreated by the nobles of Nemurk.”
“Listen, before we begin telling stories, can we get to a camp or someplace to rest? I know that you said your home was about a week away, Aden, but I really do not mind visiting.”
She turned to her brother-in-law to say, “Yes, Chalarsh, what are you doing here?”
He answered, “Supporting your father; what do you think.” I guess realizing that he was about to have to tell a story of his own, he added, “Come on. Might as well let him hear the stories as well.”
Mersidda asked as I climbed into the bed of the wagon, “Are you hurt, my lord?”
I moved to kiss both of my wives as I said, “I am thinking to claim grievous wounds just to get the attention from the two of you I feel I deserve after killing a dragon.”
Aden whispered to me, “I have never, and will never, deny you, my lord. Still, at the moment please see this situation through.”
“This is your family, Aden, so I will allow you to handle things.”
General Chalarsh asked, “I don’t know how well your father is going to treat this man.”
I had not seen Aden get mad. She however turned from me to stand in the front of the wagon and lecture her brother-in-law. I had heard about the actions of her previous husband, but I learned more about her life with him upon hearing how she was commanded to act upon visits to her family even with them having received letters about how she was treated by her previous husband and his family. I did not know what to say about the praise she spoke of me, so stayed quiet and found General Chalarsh to also not speak in return to Aden.
We were traveling through a break in the trees along a route that I did not think was an actual road, although the sounds of the horses and wagon did not prevent us hearing another voice causing all to stop. “I heard what you said, Aden. I also saw the man bring about the death of that dragon.”
Men showed signs of respect as a man in rather good clothes rode up. He had the eyes, and a similar bearing as my more mature wife. She did attempt a curtsey from the front of the wagon, but offered no more indication of respect before speaking.
“I am going away, Father, but I am glad to see you.”
“No, Aden, as this is a much more complicated situation than you probably realize.”
I had to say, “Especially since one player in this situation thinks he can have Aden as his wife.”
Aden said, “Father, this is Major Berair of Thiminy. I was given to him in matrimony along with Lady Mersidda here.”
Her father proved that he was paying attention to things as he spoke to another. “Tamesa, I remember you serving my daughter on previous visits. It is good to see you again.” Seeing her rise from her place in the bed of the wagon and perform as full of a curtsey as possible, he asked, “What is your opinion of my daughter’s new life?”
“I am hearing her laugh again, Baron Behammir. I believe that Lord Berair is establishing a much better home than Therlik ever did.”
“Well, Berair, I watched as you defeated that dragon. Quite impressive. What you have done to gain the support of my youngest daughter however impresses me more. Come on, Son. I want to hear your stories.”
Berair has to adjust to family that knows nothing about him.