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!


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