Once upon a time.
That’s what they say. Once upon a time. That and Happily Ever After.
Clearly, they don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.
It’s not Once Upon a Time, it’s every bloody month, regular as clockwork. It’s not Happily Ever After, it’s wailing and lamenting and finger pointing. It’s not a FairyTale, it’s an example of arrogance gone wrong, and everyone blaming the wrong person for it.
But perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Thalarexsztyamnosarcx, but you can call me Rex. I’m a dragon and, if I do say so myself, a damned nice one. I keep to myself mostly. I live in my cave. I sleep alot. I go out occasionally to hunt for deer or the random bear. I leave my neighbors alone. I’m not into that whole ‘virgin sacrifice’ thing some of my cousins seem to go for. Frankly, I’m a damned good neighbor.
But that doesn’t stop them. Once a month, more or less, some damned fool has to go and ‘prove’ himself. He armors up that metal shell you humans love so much, has a dozen guys hoist him onto the back of some poor horse, and up the winding trail to my cave he rides. The pennants streaming and snapping from his lance must look all manner of romantic from the nice, safe view atop the castle ramparts, but neither pennants nor lance nor armor do him a spit of good once he gets here.
My cave twists and turns before it comes to my sleeping hollow, so he can’t get up a good charge on that horse of his. He has to dismount and creep in, if you can call someone clanging about like he’s got an entire tinker’s wagon full of pots strapped to his hips ‘creeping.’ And then there is that armor he’s so proud of. “Guaranteed to turn the sharpest sword, the stoutest cudgel,” I imagine the salesman told him. As if that was going to help. Hello? I’m a DRAGON, for crying out loud. I don’t use swords and I don’t use cudgels. I don’t use arrows, and I don’t use maces. I don’t use hammers and I don’t use pikes.
I use fire.
And do you know what metal armor doesn’t really do squat to protect you against? That’s right, fire.
The flames, they get inside the joints, through the slots in his visor. They get inside and light his padded arming doublet ablaze. They heat up the gleaming metal of the armor until it is red hot, and he couldn’t remove it even if he were still coherent enough. And, of course, he has to breathe so there’s nothing to stop the smoke.
In the end, he winds up like the rest of them: a smelly, glowing ball of charred flesh encased in a rough oval of melted metal slag. It’s such a waste.
I can’t even eat the damned thing without having to peel it first.