Writing Prompt: You’re a famous slayer of dragons and your exploits are known the world over. However secretly you’re a dragon soul in a human body and you’re just trying to get the body that was taken from you.
Six Kingdoms resided over the Burnt Seas of Greater Ysandyr, a land plagued by roaming deserts, dry to the bare bones ever since the fall of Atlan. What had once been a vast ocean of prosperity was now a World of necessary alliances between man and beast… but now these beasts were gaining in their influence, and their time was fast approaching.
In a World poisoned by drought it may surprise you to know that there were still shrines to the Old Gods of the Wetlands, hidden somewhere high in the peaks of Ysandyr’s tallest mountains. Akin with the clouds were towering statues of the Mermain, the Lady of the Lake, and of Atlan himself, each casting watchful gaze over the dusts of Ysandyr, awaiting a time when they might wake to rule again.
Marvels though they were, these shrines were slowly rotting, stone and marble alike crumbling to dust, to a mere powder of the beauty once held. Without worship the memory of Atlan was fading, and with it his shrines took to decay.
The court’s presenter was a thin nosed man who held himself with an air of interminable arrogance, “His Esteemed Majesty, High Lord of Byradyn, may I present to you Finn of the Outer Flame.” with a queer smile that bore no sign of a lip, the presenter gave a deep bow and retreated several steps from the throne.
Lord Byr (as his Majesty was most often referred to in the company of friends) sat upon a throne held some forty steps above the courtyard below. Both the arms and the back of the throne spread outward and upward to display the most magnificent of wings, spanning the full height and width of the throne’s risen stage. The throne itself seemed to be watching the courtyard from behind sullen eyes, a low purring sound emanating from the scaled head that formed Lord Byr’s seat.
The man himself was aged and heavy, greying hair slicked back against his soft and rounded skull. Two pinprick, darkened eyes leered at Finn from under thick and untamed brows. The man’s chins were spotted with week-old stubble, his fists and shins a patchwork of bruising. A silken gown was all the Lord Byr chose to wear, and when caught a drift in the breeze it left little to the imagination.
“You.” Lord Byr gestured with a finger for Finn to come forward, then said again, “You?”
“Yes, m’lord?” Finn gave a short bow, much to the scowling of the court’s presenter who had spent much time lecturing Finn on the etiquette of addressing His Majesty of Byradyn.
Fin was not particularly tall, nor was he particularly muscular, in fact the only aspects of his being that gave any sense of grandeur were the scaled shield strapped to his left forearm and the unnecessarily large sword sheathed upon his back (though Finn may have argued its size was absolutely necessary).
“You are the one they call Dragon’s Bane? Father of Flame? He who stands unburnt before the Sun?” the Lord Byr shook his head, and with it rolled the fat of his face, “I can scarcely believe such a thing to be true.”
“And yet it is true.” Finn presented his shield, then carefully drew the heavy blade upon his back, and what a blade it was. Fine teeth coated the sword’s sharpened edge, and a single vein of luminescent orange ran along the back. The hilt bore two small wings that curved around the wielders hands, and in the heart of the pommel shone a jewel of perfect black.
Out from the gardens of the courtyard half a dozen lingering guardsmen had appeared, each with a blade of their own, now circling Finn. The general rabble of the court had retreated to safety behind the thick embrace of carven pillars. Only Lord Byr seemed unaffected by Finn’s display, waving back his loyal guardsmen.
“This proves nothing.” Lord Byr said with a shrug, “A man may have as pretty a pr*ck between his legs as Our Heavenly Father intended, but that pr*ck alone does not grant him the sense to wield it well.” the Lord leaned forward in his throne, scratching at the stubble of his chin, “How many? And I do not wish for the number embellished by the literary fools of Ysandyr. One Bard might sing of how the Great Dragon Slayer has ended the lives of a thousand score, whilst another will tell tales of the Twelve Mighty Beast that met the taste of your blade. Which is it, then, twelve or twelve thousand?”
“Neither.” Finn settled his pale, reddish eyes upon the Lord Byr, “I have slain four such Dragon-kin.”
“Four!” the Lord Byr gave a laugh that rose from his belly and echoed out through the uneasy mouths of the court’s onlookers, “And how does one that has slain but four Dragon-kin earn the name Father of Flame?”
“I will not insult you by asking how many you might have slain,” Finn began, much to the grumbling protest of Lord Byr, “But I believe the name has risen for reasons other than my killing of the beasts.”
“Quite.” Lord Byr was chewing at his lip, “You would admit to the truth of such rumours?”
Finn nodded, a smile flickered over his face.
“Still… still…” Lord Byr shook his head in grave defiance, “I’m afraid I cannot believe such fanciful tales, and I will not, without evidence.” with visible effort the Lord Byr slid down from his throne, his heavy form dropping hard against the glazed tiles of the floor, “You claim to be Dragon’s Bane,” Lord Byr lifted his arms wide to the sky as behind him his throne began to shudder, “then let us see. Four is a quite unremarkable number, but five?”
The seat of Byr’s throne, that solemn looking Dragon’s skull, started to rise. A thin veil of smoke wafted out from the nostrils, and then the great wings began to beat. The rattling of chains resounded through the court, silver links entwined with a subtle magic restraining the mighty beast that was Lord Byr’s captive.
“Dragon Slayer,” the court’s presenter called from somewhere safe and unseen, “May I present to you Ragnarok, Elder of the Earth.”
A chill ran through Fin upon hearing the name; Ragnarok.
Perhaps this is it. He thought as he swept a leg behind him, raising his scaled shield high to the catch the fire that rained from the Elder Dragon’s jaws.
Perhaps this is me.
Copyright © K R Perry 2019