Note: 1st draft and unedited!
In a different time and place, a time and place that has long since been forgotten, there was a Prince, there was a Princess, and There Was A DRAGON! Who flew high in the sky with wings so wide that each one could shade a large cottage. The dawning sun cracked over the mountains behind him. The mountains that held his cave. Arkhas the Dragon flapped his wings, scouting for food and perhaps something to entertain him. He soared much further than usual, toward the marked lands. His dark red scales were easy to see, except when flying, because his light blue underbelly blended with the sky, hiding him from earthbound eyes.
He looked down on a line that cut through nature, a man-made road that joined two kingdoms. To his surprise, he saw a pair of horses and decided they would make a fine meal. He pulled in his wings and dove. Even though the horses galloped at near full-speed, Arkhas the Dragon had no troubled dropping his giant rear claws down on them, instantly stopping them mid gallop.
The human driving the carriage tumbled forward. The dragon knocked him away with his tail, content to ignore the second human, who began to clink a sword useless against his scales. He opened his jaws wide and one at a time, tossed the carcasses in. With a second flick of his tail he knocked the other human, a knight, thirty feet away.
Arkhas knew the carriage had people in it, but he wasn’t hungry for smelly humans, and treated the carriage with indifference.
A minute later Arkhas smiled, his stomach full of horse meat. He spread his wings about to take off and return to the air when a sound, shattered his indifference to the carriage. The sound was nothing more than the gasp of a young woman.
Now everyone knows that dragons have long been enamored by young women. The more beautiful, the more enamored the dragon becomes. Men, dragons eat without hesitation, but not women. The dragon’s eyes glistened with interest, and with one talon, it gripped the top of the carriage and lifted it to eye level.
With a single claw he opened the carriage and found two men and two women. He ripped the top of the carriage off, reached inside and grabbed the women, ignoring the men. With three mighty beats of his wings, the dragon rose into the sky, spurred on by the sound the screaming women, girls really. The young women had been too beautiful for Arkhas to pass up. He flapped his massive wings with excitement and headed straight home to high mountain cave.
Prince Garon woke early, expecting the arrival of Princess Alaina. He hadn’t seen her since she was thirteen, a little more than five years.
But his mother and The Council demanded he marry and who better than Alaina, his childhood friend from the neighboring land. He waited all morning. At noon, two knights arrived on foot without Princess Alaina.
He heard their shouts as they entered the castle. The one word that caused vibrations of fear to rise from his spine. The word that took his father and older brother from him five years ago.
Two days later, Prince Garon arrived with ten mounted knights at mouth of the mountain cave. The peasants who lived in the mountain’s shadow claimed a dragon dwelt in this cave.
The prince could smell the dragon. The peasants had spoken truly.
The prince nodded to his men, and they nodded back. Then one by one, they entered the cave.
Arkhas the Dragon smelled the sweat of body armor and heard the intruding footsteps. He grinned and flickered his tongue, causing both Princess Alaina and her maidservant to gasp in fear.
Despite explaining that he didn’t plan to eat them but to keep them as companions the remainder of this century, they still seemed to shiver in his presence. Strangely, his warming fire even made them shiver more.
Had he known one of the girl’s was Princess Alaina, he might have left her to avoid trouble. But then again, he had been bored lately. It seemed capturing a princess had cured his boredom. Some knights had come to play.
He slid through the tunnels to the massive cavern, where he chose to meet the knights. The cavern spanned the width of two large castles and was almost just as high. It gave him room to move. Room to fight.
Prince Garon and his men made their way through the dark cave until they came upon a massive cavern. The dragon stood at the far end, as if it had been waiting for them. The dragon held its head high, his chest puffed out, and his wings spread wide.
“Come, Prince!” the Dragon demanded. “Challege Arkhas and die.”
The knights marched into the cavern, unafraid.
The dragon took a deep breath and blew fire at the prince and his men. They each pulled their shields in front of them.
At first the dragon assumed their shield would melt and the men would die. But his eagle eyes recognized their shields. He had shed his scales just last year. His largest scales had been just shorter than the knights. They had gathered his scales for their shields. His dragon scales repelled fire, and didn’t heat up. The prince and the knights were unharmed. The dragon’s sapphire eyes glistened with pleasure.
These warriors might just give him a challenge. He didn’t hesitate, he leaped toward the Prince, hoping to crush the leader first. But two knights, one from each side, charged at the dragon fearlessly.
He swatted the first with his claw, knocking him thirty feet to the cavern wall, and the sound of his clanking armor shattered into echoes and spread throughout the cavern.
The other knight stabbed up at his thigh, sticking his sword under a scale.
The blade pierced his dragon skin.
The dragon kicked the knight away, sending him flipping backwards.
The Prince and the remaining knights dodged and attacked the dragon from all sides but they did their best to stay away from the dragon.
Long battle minutes passed. The prince knew that if they were going to survive, he’d have to do something drastic. Perhaps even give his own life.
He took a deep breath, raised his scale shield and charged directly toward the dragons gaping maw. Without fear of the dagger like teeth, Prince Garon leapt into the dragon’s mouth.
The dragon snapped its mouth shut, but a second later, the mouth opened. The tip of the prince’s sword had stabbed up into the dragon’s mouth, but only the tip. It had hit bone. The prince, still alive in the dragon’s mouth, couldn’t move the sword.
The knights stopped, watching in awe at their leader’s predicament.
The dragon seemed to hold perfectly still, as if unsure whether the sword would end its life.
The prince recognized the dragon’s confusion and hoped to trick the dragon.
“I’ll let you live if you release the princess and her maidservant, and let us leave in peace.”
Silence followed Prince Garon’s request. Long seconds passed. Then the dragon growled. It seemed that the dragon would refuse. Perhaps he knew the sword’s tip had embedded in bone.
“I agree,” Arkhas growled.
Prince Garon stepped yanked on his sword, hanging on it to get it to release and fell on the dragon’s tongue. The dragon coughed him out, turned, and scrambled out of the cavern. A minute later the dragon returned with Princess Alaina and her maidservant held together in one hand.
He set the women down.
“Be on your way,” the dragon roared and then disappeared again.
Princess Alaina recognized who once childhood friend. She rushed to her savior and wrapped her arms around him. With some trepidation, she kissed him.
Months later, Prince Garon and Princess Alaina stood on a stage in front the palace. They looked into each other’s eyes and each said, “I do.”