A Skirmish with a Dragon

A Dragon

    “I fear it’s true my lad.”
    “What father? That a dragon really lives around here.”
     “Yes Fredric just the other day the neighbor says a green thing started a huge fire. The people are asking the king to send out an army to kill the dragon.”
     “Father do you think there is a chance that I will be able to go?”
     “I see no reason why you couldn’t. You’re a knight you’re young. The king will want young men to chase the dragon.”
     A fortnight later the king spotted the dragon. He called together all the knights that wanted to go. Fredric, and his two friends Paul and Hank joined the army looking for glory.
     “Well what do you think of this whole thing?” asked Paul. “I don’t know it’s very strange that a dragon should just appear.”
     “Hey you two.” the addresser was a knight of some thirty years. ”I’ve got news that I’m sure you’ll like tomorrow we start off on our dangerous mission so it would be a good idea to start saying your goodbyes.”
     Hank and Paul ran off to find Fredric. He was talking to the smithy.
     “Fredric tomorrow we’re departing so it would be a good to start getting ready and I don’t think ridding a horse is a good idea”
     “I’m sure it wouldn’t be smart the horses would panic and run away. Well I’ll be off to say my goodbyes and make sure my sword is good and sharp. Bye.”
    The three lads parted to say their goodbyes. Fredric ran all the way home to tell his father the news and to prepare.
    “Father tomorrow we march the dragon has recently been seen just a few miles away. Our leaders seem sure of victory but nobody will listen to my idea that riding horses will do no good. I’m sure that any horse will run at the sight of a fire-breathing dragon. I need to get my haversack and fill it with food.”
    “Well my boy I hope you shall succeed and I quite agree that horses will do no good. Here is some money, which I am sure you will need if you should become separated from your band. Also here is a Spanish dagger with a very good temper and extremely sharp. It will be of great value if you are at close quarters with the dragon and can’t use your sword.”
     “Thank you father it shall be of great value to me.”
     At eight o’clock the next day the band started with people from far and wide cheering them off. The knights were in good spirits and knew if they killed the dragon there would be a large reward for them, and they would be national heroes. At the first burned field they came to they spread out to look for dragon tracks.
     Fredric convinced Paul, and Hank to look for signs of the dragon in the forest. It took but little time to see marks from the dragon leading to the forest. Fredric, Paul, and Hank all set off at a run and were assured that they were on the right trail. Fredric called to the rest of the knights who quickly came. “ Fredric I think that your idea to look in the woods was a very good idea it definitely saved us some time if nothing else.” said Hank.
     The knights on horses rode ahead to scout and see if they could find the dragon. After a short while the main body saw horses galloping back towards them they drew their swords and hurried on thinking that the dragon must have been spotted. After a short run they found the six knights who rode ahead Fredric asked them what happened to your horses?
     “They rode perfectly fine till we got here I thought I heard a roar and asked the others but they all said they had heard nothing so we rode on till the horses threw us and ran away. Have you seen them?”
     “Yes sir we did they came charging past us. We thought you must have been attacked.”
     “Well we weren’t though we may be soon.”
     The men all drew their swords and proceeded on cautiously onward, ready to attack at the slightest sound of a dragon. However before long they come to a huge clearing where a small half burned town was. As they came walking up some of the town’s people came out to see them.
     After much yelling and shouting Fredric found out that earlier that day the dragon had come through and set fire to the town. Fredric figured that the dragon must have set the town on fire when the six knights horses ran away.
     They received orders to stop there for the night.
     Paul, Hank, and Fredric after eating decided to walk around the town. They took off their armor so as not to attract as much attention. Fredric thought that if they could talk to a single person they could make more sense of what had happened. Upon reaching the town square they split with the intention of meeting in an hour at the same place.
     As Fredric set off he decided to walk through the still standing part of town to inquire about the dragon. After walking for a while and not meeting anybody he decided to go off the main path to look for somebody. Still though he saw no one as he was nearing the outskirts of the town he heard a loud terror stricken scream. He whipped out his dagger and ran toward the scream as he got closer he thought he saw a wolf, and as he got closer he found out it was a wolf attacking somebody. As soon as he was close enough he kicked the wolf with all his might. The wolf lunged at Fredric. He threw his left arm over his throat knowing that the wolf would try to bite his throat to kill him. He started to stab the wolf with his dagger as he did so blood gushed out of the wolf’s wounds getting all over Fredric’s clothes. When he finally killed the wolf it was with much difficulty he drew himself up he walked over to the girl who had fainted and pulled her into a sitting position. Then he knocked on the door for help but nobody answered so he struggled to get to the next door but nobody answered there either. He decided the only thing to do was to go back to where the girl was lying and wait for Paul and Hank to come and look for him. By this time the wolf’s blood on his clothes was getting cold and stiff he though about starting a fire but quickly gave up when he couldn’t find any wood.
     It wasn’t until a few hours later that he saw a light in the distance. He called as loud as he could for help and with a shout the person the person carrying a torch came running towards him. The figure was soon joined by another figure. In a few moments Paul and Hank were both at his side they quickly gathered a few pieces of wood and started a small fire. Hank started knocking on the doors to get somebody to help them out but still nobody answered. He ran back to tell them the bad news and said he would run and get the doctor that was traveling with them. A few minutes after Hank left the girl started to move around and started to talk gibberish. Fredric tried talking to here but she didn’t respond so they just waited for the doctor to get there. When Fredric saw the light in the distance he promptly fainted.
     When the doctor arrived he looked at Fredric first he soon decided he fainted from loss of blood. As to the girl he though she fainted from shock. He told Paul to go back to the camp and get some help to carry Fredric and the girl back.
     The doctor looked at Fredric’s wounds as best he could in the faint light. What he thought was strange, was there was lots of blood and it didn’t look as if Fredric could have lost that much blood. However it was a different matter for the girl it looked as though the wolf did a pretty good job of ripping up her throat. Once Paul was back with six other guys to carry Fredric and the peasant girl. The doctor ran off back to his tent to get ready for the arrival of two patients. He had to start a fire and start boiling water he also got out his bandages. When the men brought the patients in the doctor took of Fredric’s shirt and discovered that he was only scratched up on his chest. His arm however was badly torn and mangled. The doctor started to clean the wound and then bandaged it up. When the doctor looked at the girls wounds they were much more severe and needed a lot of attention. He was skeptical about her recovery. He worked all night to clean her wounds and then made broth for both of them.
     When morning broke the next day the doctor sent out some men to the village to see if they could find the girl’s parents. Once they got to the village Paul led them to where the fight had taken place. Once there they knocked on the door a crying woman opened it. Paul told her that her daughter was in the army camp and had been attacked by the wolf that was still lying dead by the door and that they could come see her. The woman called her husband and son’s and they followed Paul to the doctor’s tent.
     When they arrived the peasant girl, Susan, was sound asleep. The doctor told them that her condition was pretty serious and that she couldn’t be moved for now because the movement might start her bleeding again. When the parents of Susan asked how she had been saved all they were told that Fredric had attacked the wolf and killed it. When they asked to see Fredric the doctor told them they could but he might be sleeping and if he was they couldn’t wake him. As they walked in Fredric said hi and asked how the girl’s condition was. The doctor said she was doing as well as could be expected and could be moved in a few days to her home. Susan’s parents thanked Fredric for his heroic deed. He colored and said that anyone would have done it they disagreed and said only a very brave person would ever attack a wolf that big armed with just a short dagger.
    Fredric was tired so Susan’s parents left so he could sleep.
     As Susan’s parents left, they asked the doctor if he knew a good way for them to show their gratitude though not rich they were well off and could give him a handsome gift. The doctor told them Fredric didn’t want a horse because the dragon would scare it away. He didn’t need money.
     Susan’s parents were left to themselves to find out a suitable gift for him. They went around in the camp and talked to Fredric’s friends and tried to find out what he would want. Paul said that he might want a crossbow but he wasn’t sure. Hank said that Fredric had always admired Philip’s crossbow. (Philip was the leader of the band.) Susan’s parents decided to get a crossbow for Fredric.
     A fortnight passed before Susan’s parents came back and when they did it was to take Susan home. Fredric was up and about but only a little bit. Susan’s father asked if he could see Fredric. The doctor said there was nothing stopping him if he could find Fredric. He just told the men that Susan was going home the word circulated quickly and Fredric came running up panting heavily a few minutes later. The doctor scolded him “I told you not to exert yourself and here you are gasping for breath.” Fredric said he was sorry and ran over to Susan and said goodbye to her and her parents. Her father presented the crossbow to him. Fredric was elated and thanked him heartily saying he had always wanted a crossbow.
     A fortnight later the doctor said that Fredric was healed enough for them to get on the move again.

On The Move Again

     After being stopped for a month they had no idea which way to go to find the dragon; but they set off going the same way they had been going before Fredric got attacked. They looked out for signs of the dragon but they were spread out. A broken tree here, some foot prints there, and a few scratches, not enough evidence to point them in the right direction. They just kept going, following the slight trail.
     Fredric practiced all he could with his crossbow to become an expert. Soon he was better than Philip, and he was pretty good. Fredric was so good that he could shoot a candle flame out from 150 feet away. Fredric often let Paul and Hank use his crossbow occasionally so they could operate it and hit a target about 100 feet away about 5 times out of 8 shots.
     After traveling for several weeks Philip decided they should split into two groups and travel a few miles apart to look for the dragon. The idea was dejected by most of the knights saying that it would be too dangerous and that they would get separated too easily. So they stayed in a large group.
    They marched for a few days until somebody sighted the dragon. It was huge, bigger than imagined Philip decided to press on as fast as they could go, and engage the dragon. When the dragon saw them it started to run the other way but turned around after a little bit. The knights stopped for a moment but quickly rushed on attack the dragon. The dragon didn’t hesitate he breathed fire and nearly killed some of the knights. The knights surrounded the dragon and attacked from all sides but the front. The scales were nearly hard as steel. The men’s swords wouldn’t pierce through the scales. Fredric after trying to stab his sword between the scales he drew his dagger and started stabbing the dragon between his scales. Soon the other knights were doing the same thing and it seamed as if for a moment they would kill the dragon but the dragon spread it’s wings and though it couldn’t fly it scared the knights off and started to run away. The knights quickly regrouped and set off at a run chasing the dragon.
     After running for a few hours only a few men were still in a group, Fredric, Paul, and Hank included. They were slowly getting father away from the dragon as they rounded a bend Fredric called a halt. He pointed out a band of enemy knights who had rushed out of some bushes and started attacking the dragon. They quickly turned around and started back hoping they hadn’t been seen as they slowly trudged along they came across the first of many dead knights that were theirs. At one of the knights they stopped Fredric wanted to see if he could find out why he had died. As Fredric was turning the body over a arrow whizzed over head he jumped up and whipped out his sword “stay in a group and stand with you back to the group we can beat these scoundrels off.” he was right they could and did.
     After a short battle they were victorious and started off again but not on the rode they went in the woods and saw more than enough groups of soldiers to make them get worried.
     As night fell they stopped to camp and discus the predicament they had gotten into.
      “Well I think we should hide during the day and move during the night and try to get to friendly territory.”  
     “Good idea but what way do we need to go?”   
     “Um I don’t know I got all mixed up from running after the dragon. Well should we keep all this armor it really weighs us down?”
     “I think if we take off the arm pieces and leg pieces we would still have enough protection.”
       The men did as directed and then started a small fire to cook some food. Even though they used dry wood it somehow made a lot of smoke so once they were done eating they put the fire out and quickly set off. Their party had shrunk from a band of fifty earlier that day to a small number of seven with two of them wounded very severely. As they marched silently through the woods the two wounded men kept losing strength until both had died. Fredric wanted too burry them but there was no way to dig a hole so they covered the bodies with debris and hurried on.
     The small band stopped after traveling a few miles to sleep for the night. Fredric had the first watch but fell asleep soon after the others fell asleep
    In the morning they all woke felling refreshed and nobody noticed that Fredric hadn’t watched. They made a small fire and cooked up their remaining food. After eating they tried to get their bearing straight but all they could do is go north or south by using the moss that grew on the trees as a compass. They decided to south in hopes of coming back to the town they had camped in when Fredric had gotten hurt. They knew it would take a while to get there so they had to find food that day.
     They crept along carefully so as not to scare any game they might come across. Fredric had his crossbow ready to shoot whatever they might find. As they were going along Fredric felt like he was being followed so he leaned up against a tree and slowly pointed his crossbow back when he had heard a rustling in the bushes. When he saw a shinning bit in the bush he took carefully aim and fired. A moment later he heard a slight ting and a yell his companions quickly came running to see who yelled as they approached the bush with swords drawn they came across a man in armor they pulled his helmet off and cut his head off. They took his food sack and moneybag then hurried on.
     After living in the woods a month and another one of the small party dying they came to a town but as they entered they discovered it was not a friendly town they had gone the wrong direction and would have to turn around and go back. However Paul suggested that they buy four horses and ride back. They had enough money so they decided to do that. Paul went into town and bought the horses and some food then left town and met his companions on the rode. He told them that he had heard that the dragon had been found by somebody and it was dead. then they quickly mounted and were off. The horses were good and could easily go triple the amount that they had gone prior. They brought with them food and some more arrows for Fredric’s crossbow.
     They rode quiet quickly the first day and made sure they got far away from the town and looked for a good spot to camp for the night because it needed to be big to hide the horses. When they found a good spot they dismounted and led the horses into the woods then started a fire to cook up some mush and find some food for their horses.
     The night passed quietly. The young men kept watch all night and saw some knights heading for the town.
     In the morning Fredric snuck out onto the path to look for people leaving or going to the town. He didn’t see anybody so they mounted their horses and rode towards home. They ate in the saddle and complained that the food wasn’t as good as what they normally ate even when they were on the march. They rode as quick as the horses would go and got off at time to give the horses a break and stretch their legs. When a stag ran across the rode Fredric hurried his horse on and loaded his crossbow he got a shot at the stag and brought it down then he dragged it to the rode were the others were waiting and they cut it up and started a fire to roast up some venison. When it was finished they ate as much as they could and proclaimed that is was the best food they had eaten for a long time. Some of the meat they left on the fire to dry it so they could eat it later it got a little burnt but that could always be cut of if they wanted. They didn’t bother to put out the fire because it was in the middle of the path and it had undoubtedly attracted some attention and some of the meat was left and maybe they would want to eat it. They got on their horses and galloped away.
     They rode all the way back to the town they had found burnt up. When they got there most of the houses were built again. Fredric went to the house that the girl he had rescued lived. They were cordially received and told that the house was at their disposal. Susan was elated to see him she led Fredric to her room and said he could sleep there. He declined saying that he would rather sleep with his friends downstairs in front of the fireplace.
     After eating a large meal Susan’s father asked where the rest of the band was. Fredric related the whole story to him, starting from when they left the town, and finishing at the point where they rode up to the town. It was now getting late and Fredric and his companions were getting tired so Susan and her mother hastened to get some blankets for them. They spread them out in front of the fire and lay down and were soon sound asleep.
     Fredric woke at the crack of dawn to find Susan’s mother in the kitchen preparing breakfast. He quietly walked in and asked her if Susan was up yet. When he found out that she was outside feeding the chickens he hurried out to help her and ask her some questions.
     “Hello Susan I want to thank you for your kindness and telling me I could sleep in your room but if I would have where would you have slept? not in front of the fireplace I hope, that would be no place for any girl to sleep.”
     “No I would have slept in the loft of the barn it’s cozy there and nobody would bother me other than that crazy rooster that always crows so early in the morning. Well the chickens are fed let’s go in and eat.”
     The breakfast was good and everybody liked it, but once they were done eating Fredric said they must be on their way. After hearty thanks and goodbyes they mounted their horses and rode towards home. The guard of the gate met them.
     “Halt, hey aren’t you guys the ones who went on that expedition looking for the dragon?”
    “Yes we are but unfortunately all the other persons have been killed we only have survived.”
     “Well did you kill the dragon?”
     “We don’t know we chased it into enemy territory and they attacked us and killed all persons but us.”
     “Well I will notify the city officials.”
     Soon the guard returned with a message for them to present themselves in an hour at the church to tell them what happened on the trip. They went to Fredric’s house because he was the only one who lived in that city. Fredric’s father was surprised to see him. He had his servants prepare a feast but Fredric said they could only stay an hour because they had to go to the church to tell their tale. Fredric invited his father to come and listen. He accepted the proposition and promised to be there. Then they eat quickly so they could get to the church on time.
     When Fredric and his friends walked in they were surprised to see the whole church filled with people Fredric walked to the front and began the narration being as humble as he could and he skipped the whole part about the wolf. Once he was done the city council decided to send a message to the king requesting that they attack their enemy for their fiendish scheme.  They asked Fredric to write them a report to send to the king reporting the trip and requesting that war be declared on the enemy.
     Fredric went to his father’s house and started to write the report he this time mentioned that he had fought the wolf and that he led the survivors to safety. He also made sure to mention how the enemy attacked them so ruthlessly when they were already attacking a dragon. Once he finished writing his report he returned to the council and gave them the paper. He told them it was the same thing he had told them and that they could send it off right away so the king would get it sooner and decided to declare war or not.  Well he did decide to and in the war Fredric proved himself a great leader they won the war and when peace was declared Fredric found his sweetheart Susan and after a few months they were wed. Their marriage was a good one and they both lived long lives and had lots of children whom they loved to tell the story of the dragon and of Fredric’s bravery.

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