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The Knight, the Lady and the Dragon

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Written by   266
2 months ago

I had made a promise to her. The woman that had protected me back when I was a hatchling. The woman that protected me from her husband. The woman who raised me.

She had hidden me under her robes back then, as I shivered in fear and the cold. When my mother lay slain at the hands of her husband, she had used her magic to stifle my mewling, to heat my scales as my mother once did.

"You won't die by our hand." She had whispered to me.

She took me in. She had brazenly brought me to her castle, to her room. And she hid me in her closet, feeding me raw meat from the kitchens, fired muttons and burnt fowls. She was a sorceress, and required absurd ingredients for her spells and concoctions. No one batted an eye.

Dragons were changelings by nature. She knew this. And when she fell pregnant only to have the horrifying injustice of a late term miscarriage, despite all her grief and sorrow and pain, she devised a plan to bring me to light. To better my life. To free me, in a sense.

No longer would I be hidden.

I would instead be the daughter that never was.

But I could not be the daughter forever. I could not be limited to this form that was not my own permanently.

So, my mother gifted me her tower. A grand tower of an arcane build, made for mages and by mages like her. She was a sorceress, after all.

In my childhood she would bring me there, and inside the deceptively large tower, I would be allowed to transform into my natural skin and stretch my wings, be myself.

And my mother would tell me stories of the dragons. Of my origins. Of why certain people like her husband would seek to eradicate my kind. Of our power, and the threat of it.

It often sent me into a depressive spiral, knowing that the man who thought himself my father would likely kill me without a second look if he ever found out what I was. I grew distant. I went from tolerating the man who killed my real mother to avoiding him outright.

But I could not do so for long.

For despite the strange magic my adopted mother possessed, she could not use it to rid herself of a strange ailment that took hold of her.

And as she died, she made me promise I would continue perpetuating our lie. To keep living my double life. To hide the truth from my father.

I hated her for making that her dying wish.

With her gone, I had little reason to continue living in the wretched castle. I had little reason to perpetuate the lie. I would rather just leave one day without any notice and live out my days in the tower as a dragon.

But that, realistically, would not do. That tower belonged to the princess, after all. Word that a dragon took residence in such a place would irk the wrath of the king.

No.

I had to perpetuate the lie for now. And without my mother to escort me to the tower, I had to use my changeling powers to disguise myself as a knight of the castle, free to leave and enter the premises when I wanted.

It was also form free from a royal standing. I could truly do what I wished. It was no longer a boring thing, being a human. As a princess there were limits to where I could go, how I could act, how I could be. I had obligations.

But as a knight, I could run errands, be yelled at, be a part of a group of others who valued me as a comrade. It was a social aspect I sorely lacked now that I lost my confidant. Being a knight made my heart less hollow. But there were still times when even that was not enough.

And in those times, I would leave the castle. Whenever I wanted time for myself to mourn my mother or free myself off the shackles of this human form, I would leave on horseback to the tower. And inside it, I would turn into the dragon and scream and rage and run amok.

It was inevitable that the farmers in the nearby fields would notice the noises. And there were a few occasions where I unwisely took to the sky, something my mother bade me not to do.

The news spread like wildfire. The queen's tower was now home to a fearsome dragon.

And the king was not happy.

It had been a while since I had seen him. After my mother's passing, we had grown even more distant. He probably thought I kept myself to my room, leaving only to eat or walk the gardens. I only did the latter since the gardens could be seen from his study. So on the moments he might look out, he might see me, and would not grow too suspicious or too lonely.

But he had summoned for me.

Not for the princess, but the knight.

It was surreal, to put on a different kind of act with this man. I had spent so long pretending to be one thing, I thought it would be easy to pretend to be another thing.

But seeing the darkness around his eyes, the puffiness, the tiredness.

This was not the man that killed my real mother years ago.

I shifted uncomfortably, the joints in the plates I wore clinking in the lingering silence as he studied me.

"My men tell me you're new. But at the same time you've bested most of them in combat." The king stated.

"My father was a blacksmith. I picked up some swordfighting from him. He was..."

"I do not care what your father was. I care about you."

Those words felt like a stab to the chest. And I almost gasped.

I tried to collect myself, but the surreal hilarity of the whole situation would not escape me.

"The dragon that has taken my wife's tower. Or rather, my daughter's tower. I am planning to send some of my best men there." The king continued.

Of course.

"But that plan can wait." The king said, his voice quiet.

My eyes, that were avoiding his out of respect of his station, rose to meet them as he said this.

"My wife... She... She was the best of us. I... I cannot do her memory wrong. That's why I called you here. She believed... She believed we could reason with them, the dragons. That we need not hunt them. I would not tell my more loyal staff what I am telling you now. They had been with me too long and would try to change my mind. That's why I'm telling you, a stranger. A stranger, yet a knight who is sworn to follow my word. So, would you? Would you follow my word?" The king asked.

I blinked under my helmet.

"Of course, my liege. Your word is my command." I said, steeling my voice.

"Good, good. You will go there tonight. Alone. And you will speak to the dragon." The king paused, searching my eyes for a reaction, for fear or balking, and continued when I remained quiet.

"You will tell it, kindly, to leave the tower. You will tell it that the tower belonged to a woman who fought for the protection of dragons. And that the king humbly requests that the tower not to be damaged more than it already has. That the king would pay any price for it to leave, and that he does not want any pain nor bloodshed." The king concluded.

I stood there, shaken at the words.

"Did you get that, brave knight? Or do you think it unwise or unbecoming to beseech a beast this way?" The king asked, wearily.

"No, my liege. Not at all. This is... Most wise. This will prevent any bloodshed." I said, looking at the man in a new light.

He had changed. Her death had not only changed me. It had changed him as well. And I was too wrapped up in my own sorrow, in my own loss of a confidant that I had not even given the man a chance.

"Well, keep this quiet. I wish you the best. You're dismissed." He said.

That night, I knocked on his door.

I may be a dragon.

"Daughter!" He exclaimed as he saw me.

But I was still her daughter.

"There is something you should know." I said, my heart pounding. It seemed silly to want his approval. I could raze him and his castle to the ground and leave if I so chose.

But that was not me. That was not the way to do this. For my mother's sake, I had to try. Try to make this work. Try to see if my father would accept me. He was changed, but this would be quite the development.

I stared into his tired but hopeful eyes as he smiled uncontrollably at me, his only daughter, and told him the truth.t.e.r.e.n.r.d.e.t.y.s.d.t.e.t.d.s.t.e.d.e.d.."—"d.e.o.s.g.t.e.y.y.n.o.k.h.s.d.o.g.n.h.r.r.g.t.t.f.l.y.s.n.e.e.e.d. word is my command." I said, steeling my voice.

"Good, good. You will go there tonight

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Written by   266
2 months ago
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Comments

Her death wish was just like a punishment, living as a dragon in a castle is just like incarceration which you did not like. I believe her which to make you remain there is beyond ordinary

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