Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Dragon Story Continued By Stan Levine

Your heart pounds like a rabbit hopping inside your chest as the dragon studies you with his large snake like eyes. It almost looks like it's smiling as it smells your fear.
You concentrate on deep breathing, and after a while your heart returns to a normal resting rate, but your body still shivers.
Then the beast speaks. His voice is low and resounding.
A bit nervous are you? And where you should be little man. Look around you. What do you see young traveler?”
You look around, and see large rock walls, gothic arches that expand so high the ceilings hide behind a layer of darkness. Torches light up the space around you for about a hundred feet in all directions. The torches rest in holders that have been mounted on the rock walls. A wide open corridor about 20 feet wide expands away from a room. A pile of  bones, weapons, armor and gold rests 30 feet away from the dragon of who's hand still rests underneath you. You try to get up, but the hand pins you to the cold hard floor, bruising your butt.
You don't move unless I say so in this place. What do you see?”
I can't see much with your hand pinning me down.”
You little fool! I could swallow you whole!” The dragon snarls.
Normally I would have killed you by now, but because I can see that you have never killed anyone in your life, I have decided to wait and see if you can be of any use to me first.”
Please don't kill me!”
You shudder in your leather armor. Cold sweat drips down your brow. The dragon tells you about this dreadful place to which you have fallen. 
"It is all that remains of what was once a great kingdom, ruled by a just king that was well respected and liked by his majesty.
Being respected and liked was unheard of now days. People used to think of the common good in their speech and in their actions, but over the years invaders grew stronger and eventually over powered and killed off most of the good people of this land. 
The invaders were highly organized. Once a land was seized, the invaders would tax the towns people until they became bitter and poor. The tax money was said to be necessary in order for the king to provide security and he promised to provide a comfortable lifestyle for all who lived among his ruling hand. They never saw the day King Rasurfaght lived up to his creed.
The separation in classes become so distinct that before long everyone was either dirt poor or obscenely wealthy. The nobility would flaunt their gold knitted garments, and drink the finest of imported wines and ales in front of the poor who dressed in clothes that were two sizes too long, or torn around the knees and cuffs, and hand woven from rags. Contempt grew stronger every season among the peasant class, and a revolution seemed inevitable. The Nobels were advised not to leave their homes without protection, but all of there hired armed guards were not enough, because they lived a comfy life. The peasants had to fight among each other for survival everyday, while the highly paid guards spent most of their time drinking ale and eating freshly killed wild boar. If it wasn't for King Rasurfaght's powerful sorcerer, his kingdom would surely have fallen to a heap of rubble. Zihair was a sorcerer of dark magic who was loyal to King Rasurfaut
and his father before him. Zihair wasn't always a practitioner of the dark magic. He used to be loyal to the same ruler I served under many years ago. Several hundred years ago, before Adam, and his father Ben, we were loyal to King Joseph Rasurfaut, and he was the last of the just rulers of this land. Zihair was passionate about his craft, and only used it for good. Then his family was murdered before his very eyes by the invaders. His inner light grew dim, and his heart morned his losses. Out of that grief grew something ugly. He started studying dark magic from a spell book he took from a duel long ago.  When he was ready he had his revenge with an army of ghouls he conjured from the dead. The dark magic consumed him, and an insatiable lust for power and influence took hold of Zihair. It was him that organized his own secret army, who assassinated King Joseph by giving him a cursed magic potion to quicken his aging process. Ben was still a child on the brink of manhood. Zihair was able to use his dark magic to influence King Ben to turn the entire Nobility against the Peasant Class, but there is still hope. Before King Joseph died, he sensed a great evil among his kingdom. He sent a messenger to a land far beyond the forrest, across the great sea to deliver a dragon egg to a woman named Eilana. Eilana was his sister who was kidnaped by invaders when he was a child, but a falcon delivered a letter one day to inform King Joseph that she had broken free of her bonds. Eilana raised this dragon who stands before you now."
The dragon's tale is long and difficult to follow. You are not sure if you can trust this one, but if you show any sign of trickery it will be sure to put an end to you. You have to go along with the dragon's game for now.
A white flickering light shines from the corridor as Eilana approaches.
I see we have guests.”
Yes, he just dropped in, so to speak.”
I didn't realize dragons were capable of humor,” you dare to say.
The dragon gives you a sideways look and says “Call me Joe.”
It isn't long before the three of you have become close friends.
It is sad and immoral, what Zihair has done to the kingdom.” Eilana says looking to you for an answer.
Can't you just break into the castle and eat him?”
It's not that simple. Zihair is a powerful dark sorcerer. He hides during the day in his cave several levels below the castle's thrown room. He only comes out at night to feed and walk about with his invisibility spell.”
We could still track his foot prints”
Yes, but if he caught you in the act, he would pull you in with his attraction spell and slit your throat with his silver dagger.”
That's a risk we're going to have to take. Someone is going to have to take it to restore sanity to this land.”
You are far too inexperienced to handle such a mission, but I admire your ambition. Tell you what,” the dragon speaks on. “Down that corridor, there is a door.” Eilana hands you a key from around her neck and says “take this key to open the door. There will be hundreds of stairs that will take you deep underground to a place in this dungeon where monsters of unspeakable peril await you. If you can slay these monsters, and bring back to us their bounty you will have proven yourself worthy as a soldier fit for such a battle against the evil sorcerer Zihair.”
Fine,” you say confidently. “I'll do it!”
Good luck my friend,” The dragon says.
Here,” Eilana motions. “Take this potion of healing. It will help you on your way. I hope to see you again,” Eilana says and kisses you on the cheek.
Your eyes sparkle as you find Eilana very attractive in her white gown, and full figured shapely body. More than her body, something about her personality; a loving warmth draws you in. You vow to defeat any opponent you meet down that hell hole, for you now you have two motivations: To prove that you are a worthy fighter to Joe, the dragon, and to woo the heart of the fair princess Eilane.
You wave good bye to your friends just before you set on your adventure down the corridor, past the door, to the perilious dungeons below!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Dragon Story by Stan Levine

You have spent your youth in the protection of these castle walls. Everything has been provided for you until now. Today, you are faced with a challenge. Where will you go, and what will you do with the rest of your life as a man? Your cat watches you with worry in her pretty blue eyes as you head for the huge iron gates with only enough water for a days travel, a light weight shield and a short sword. As you walk through town people brush past you without acknowledging your existence. The people of this town hold you in contempt, for inside your body flows the royal blood of those who have oppressed them into submission. Sweat flies off the brow of an iron worker as his powerful arm wields a hammer down over an anvil. A boy not that much younger than yourself struggles to haul his master in a chariot full of food that he will never taste. His back gives out, and he collapses in the street, and a bearded man in robes steps off, and kicks the boy in the rib cage. The boy recoils in pain and screams to the gods for help, but they do not answer. An archer is given the signal, and death is delivered to the poor soul from the sky by arrow.
For the first time in your life, you are seeing the real world, outside your sheltered home. You want to return to safety, but if you run now, you will never know what great adventures await before you. If you run now, you will die an old inexperienced man with a sea of regrets. You push on with your leather boots, and an old gypsy eyes you with an evil grin, as if plotting your demise in order to get her brittle old hands on your boots and your gold.
Soon you reach the outskirts of the town and you see large redwood trees all around you. It is said by travelers who have visited the castle over the years that strange creatures live in the darkness of these woods. The horizon is a light orange color indicating that there is only two more hours of daylight at best. It looks like you're going to have to find a cave, or some sort of shelter for the night, or risk being murdered by the thieves that rome about the road at night.
The shadows grow longer each minute, and you can't seem to shake off the feeling that eyes are studying you from every shadow of every rock and tree. Now the sky is dark blue and the first of the stars reveal themselves upon the curtain of night that steadily sweeps overhead. The road becomes hard to see. As your eyes become accustom to the moon light, you gather enough information you see the shadow of a strange looking man in the distance. You stop and double take with a reaction of terror in your body as you realize that you just saw the shiny yellow eyes of an orc before you just twenty odd feet away. It stands there waiting to see what you will do. You can't think. Terror fills your blood, and you are now running as fast as your legs will carry you into the darkness of the woods. The orc screams out a war cry that bounces off the trees, causing several flocks of sparrows to flee to the sky.
Twigs scrape against your body, but your leather armor saves your skin from spilling a trail of blood behind you. The orc is a skilled hunter with an insatiable thirst for royal blood. It can smell your leather as the razor sharp twigs of foliage shave off bread sized crumbs from your armor. The orc is on your trail. Other creatures of the night can be heard stirring from the darkness of the tree tops as you run closer to your destiny. Suddenly the ground gives way from under your foot, and you feel yourself falling. A hot wind rushes past your ears as you continue to fall deep into the earth. You can't tell where the ground is, and you kick and flail your arm about, hoping to find something that can save you from being crushed by whatever awaits below. A soft fleshy surface rushes up from underneath you, and a bright hot light of flame blazes above your head. Slowly unfolding yourself from your fetal position, your head raises, and your eyes meet face to face with a yellowish green dragon!