Flash Fiction Friday Story: The White Dragon of the Forest

Ice Dragon by Aerin Kayne via www.deviantart.com

Ice Dragon by Aerin Kayne via www.deviantart.com

Michael crept through the oak forest, trying not to rustle the leaves littering the ground. He swore under his breath as a branch hit his breast plate with a loud thwang. The dragon was sure to hear that. Michael’s heart thudded in his chest.

He didn’t understand why King Eglebert sent him on this quest. He was the youngest and least experienced knight in the kingdom. But the King had heard of a white dragon in the southern part of the kingdom and had sent Michael to investigate.

The knight stopped to listen to a rumble. The sky was a clear blue dotted with puffy white clouds, so it wasn’t thunder. Dry-mouthed, his head turned to the left at another rumble. Following the sound he came to a hillside, a cave mouth halfway up. Lying in plain view was the white dragon. Eyes closed, a wisp of smoke curled up from a nostril as the sun reflected in silver sparks off of the scaled hide. Michael could see the beast’s sides move in slow rhythm, the dragon slept.

A quick survey revealed no good way to get up to the ledge where the dragon lay, not without a lot of noise. He drifted back into the woods and hid in a thicket where he could think about what to do next while he watched the dragon. At dusk, the dragon woke and stretched. Michael’s mouth went dry. The creature was at least fifteen feet tall; its wing span wider than the dragon was tall. A yawn revealed rows of sharp teeth. How was he going to fight that?

The dragon gave a few practice flaps of its wings then took off, sinking below the ledge then on the next beat, rose into the air. Michael cringed as the creature flew overhead but it didn’t come back. With a sigh of relief he hurried forward. While the dragon was gone, he could climb to the lair and lie in wait.

After three hours Michael rested at the top, arms and legs shaking with the effort. He took a sip of water and dug out a piece of jerky to eat. The smell coming from the cave was dank and rotten, like the midden behind the castle. It wasn’t a place he wanted to go into without a torch but the half moon was just coming up over the horizon. Shortly it should provide enough light to move a little way into the cave.

He stood after a final sip of water to wash down the jerky. The top of the cave mouth was about a foot above his head. The dragon must crawl inside, he thought. If I’m quiet, I can attack the creature as soon as its head is inside the cave, before it can bring its claws to bear. He took a step inside, his nose wrinkling against the reek. The moon wasn’t any help yet, Michael couldn’t see a thing. He moved to the left and felt for the cave wall, shuffling his feet so he wouldn’t trip. The side of the cave was ten steps from the edge of the cave mouth. He could just make out the opening, slightly less black than the surrounding space. He settled against the rock, sword drawn and leaned against the wall where he could grab it fast. Michael waited for the dragon’s return.

The sound of wind woke him. The moon shone through the opening, lighting the area just inside the cave. A shadow passed by the opening, then, with a rustle like shaken leather, the moonlight was blotted out. Michael picked up his sword and prepared to strike the reptile’s head.

Over the sound of his heart racing, he could hear the creature sniff, then sniff again. Drat, he thought. It can smell me. He gripped his sword tighter. Michael had hoped to take the dragon unaware, now that wasn’t going to happen.

“Man, I can smell you.”

Michael froze. Surprise washed over him, then confusion. Dragons could speak?

“I know you are in my cave, Man. Come out.”

“So you can eat me, Lizard?”

The dragon’s laugh sounded like boulders falling. “I will not eat you, Man. Come out.”

“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” Michael panted softly with fear.

“How do I know you won’t kill me as soon as you’re outside?” The shadow moved and the moonlight returned. “Come out. I’ve moved away.”

Michael took a step forward, then two, into the moonlight just inside the cave. “Do you have a name, Dragon?”

“My name is Tiamat, Man. What is yours?”

Michael dared to step to the cave mouth. He could tell from the sound the dragon had moved back. “I’m Michael, Knight to King Eglebert.” He stepped outside, sword raised.

“Greetings, Michael, Knight to King Eglebert. Why do you lurk inside my home?”

“My King sent me to investigate rumors of a dragon.”

The dragon bowed. “I’m searching for a place to have my babies.”

Michael cringed. Multiple dragons in the land? “My king would rather you nested in some other kingdom.”

Tiamat laughed again. “Did your king send you to kill me?”

“Not specifically.”

“Then take my word, fair knight, back to your king. I will not attack people or cattle nor lay waste to your towns or farms if I am not attacked and allowed to raise my brood in peace.”

Michael nodded. The king may like to have such an ally if the neighboring kingdom decided once again to attack. “I will relay your message, Tiamat.” He sheathed his sword. “Good night.”

“Good night, Michael the Knight.”

Michael climbed down the way he came. At the palace, the King thought over the dragon’s offer and agreed with Michael that the dragon could be a good ally. He gave permission for the dragon to remain where she was. Two generations of kings later, she and her brood helped fight off the invading armies of their neighboring country.


The End

996 Words

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