Anyone like dragon stories?

Dragon cave

Earlier this month I entered a short story writing contest over at Legends Undying. The contest theme was simply ‘Dragons’ and the maximum word count was 1,200 words. I found the 1,200 word count quite tricky to work to because it’s a bit more than flash fiction, but not really enough to work up as much of a story as I would have liked. I’ve also never written about dragons or anything like that before, but I enjoy challenging myself with different types of writing, so I gave it a go! If you’re thinking that this is all leading up to me saying I won, then you’re wrong. I didn’t. But it doesn’t matter, I really had such a lot of fun writing it! I wanted to post it on my site in the hope of getting some praise over here to make up for not winning over there, er, because I like to showcase different types of my writing on my blog.

Anyway, congratulations to the winners! If you’re a hardcore dragon fan, you might like to check out the winners’ stories over at Legends Undying. This was my (non-winning) entry…

The Motley-Goons

“The boldest man in all the land, shall be the one who gets my hand. A dragon’s tail is what I seek, this task is not for one who’s meek.”

Princess Ariana stood in her chambers and read the words from a scroll. When she had finished, she rolled it up and giggled. “Gosh, I’m terribly clever to have written this aren’t I? Don’t you think I’m terribly clever Rose?”

“Yes m’lady, terribly clever, and terribly beautiful. You really should be marrying a prince, not a commoner.”

“Rose! You are speaking out of turn.”

“Very sorry m’lady. It’s just that last week you said you were going to kiss all the frogs in the land and marry whichever one turned into a prince first. And the week before…”

“Well I decided princes are silly and weak. I want a brave and bold man for a husband, and that is what I shall have. This proclamation shall be made. Men will come from lands near and far, to take up the challenge, and bring me a dragon’s tail.”

“Yes m’lady. Of course. Only…”

“That’s enough Rose! Now tell me again how clever I am.”

“Yes m’lady. So terribly clever that I can hardly believe it. So incredibly clever that all the wisest men in all the lands in all of time…”

“That’s enough now Rose.”

“Yes m’lady.”

And so it was that on the tenth hour of the following day, the proclamation was made. It came to be known as ‘The Great Proclamation’, and men from lands near and far set out to take up the challenge.

Unbeknown to the royal household, a family of Motley-Goon dragons lived in a deep damp cave, not two days walk from the castle. As you probably know, Motley-Goon dragons are the most magical of all the dragons. Even more magical than the Magical Dragons of Ore, and infinitely more magical than the Spotted Lesser-Toed Dragons of Roon. It is true that the Spotted Lesser-Toed Dragons were once declared the most magical by a pompous knight who thought he knew everything about dragons, but it turned out he knew nothing. It all ended very unpleasantly and the less said about that the better.

This particular family of Motley-Goon dragons was a typical one; there was mother, father (who was quite handsome), father’s brother, father’s brother’s cousin (who was devilishly handsome), and his aunt twice removed. Father always said that if the aunt twice removed didn’t stop being so difficult she would be removed once more, and as every dragon knows, there is no worse fate than being thrice removed. Then there was egg. Egg would become son or daughter one day soon, but for now was just egg.

The magic of the Motley-Goon dragons can be mostly seen, or rather not seen, through their power of invisibility. You may doubt the existence of invisible dragons, and that is not surprising because if you were to see them you wouldn’t see them at all, and so you wouldn’t know whether to believe what you hadn’t seen in front of your very own eyes, or not. They are not invisible all the time of course, they can slip in and out of invisibility at will. There is no greater magic power amongst dragons than this, and if anyone, such as a pompous knight, or a Spotted Lesser-Toed Dragon, ever tells you otherwise, they are wrong.

Motley-Goons aren’t only magical, they are also normal, and can do all the normal dragon things, like breathing fire, and being slain. I’m only telling you this in case you were starting to think they weren’t proper dragons at all. Motley-Goon dragons aren’t able to turn fully invisible until they are one year and four days old. They do turn partly invisible; every part except their tail, which is handy for mother Motley-Goons. I don’t expect you will believe that any more than you believe in the existence of magical dragons at all, but you probably should be aware that Motley-Goon dragons don’t believe in you either.

It just so happened that three months and two days after ‘The Great Proclamation’ had been made, egg hatched and turned into son. On this very same day, a young woodcutter by the name of Richard was heading towards the Motley-Goon cave in search of a dragon’s tail for the princess whose hand he sought. As soon as he entered the cave, the dragons turned completely invisible, and son turned partly invisible. When Richard reached them, all he saw was a small dragon’s tail. He couldn’t believe his luck, and reached for the tail. As he grabbed it, it began to thrash around. “Gosh, I’ve got a lively one here!” He held it firmly and made his way out of the cave, wrestling with the wriggling tail. Of course the rest of the Motley-Goons weren’t going to just sit around being invisible while son was dragon-napped, so they leapt up and ran out of the cave in pursuit.

Although Richard could hear a frightening noise behind him, every time he turned around he could see nothing there, so he ran faster and faster until he finally reached the castle gates. “Princess Ariana!” he called, “I have come to claim you!” The princess heard the shouting and emerged with Rose.

“Who are you? And what is that horrible thing you are holding?” she asked.

“It’s a dragon’s tail, I’ve brought it for you, and now we can be married.”

Princess Ariana turned to Rose. “What on earth is he talking about Rose?”

“You remember m’lady, three months ago you said you would marry whoever brought you a dragon’s tail?”

“Did I?”

“Yes m’lady. That was the week before you announced that you would marry the first prince from a foreign land who built you a castle made out of gold.”

The princess laughed delightedly and clapped her hands. “I’m terribly clever to come up with all these ideas, aren’t I Rose?”

“Yes m’lady, terribly clever,” said Rose, turning to console a sad looking Richard.

For some reason, the Motley-Goons chose this as the ideal moment to become visible again, and instantly appeared. The princess was about to scream when she noticed how devilishly handsome father’s brother’s cousin was, and decided to twirl her hair with her finger instead, because that is what princesses do when they want to look charming. Father’s brother’s cousin was not immune her charms. “My dear princess,” he said. “It seems to me that what you really want is magical adventures. Be my bride, and I promise you that.”

The princess clapped and laughed.”Yes! Yes! I will indeed marry you, how terribly clever of me to think of marrying a dragon!”

And so they were wed and lived happily ever after. If you are worrying about Richard, there is really no need, he ended up marrying Rose and they too lived happily ever after. And as for the Motley-Goons, they went back to their cave, minus father’s brother’s cousin, and I can’t tell you whether they lived happily ever after yet because ever after is an awfully long time for a dragon.

The end.

photo credit: Katherine scribbles via photopin cc

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56 responses to “Anyone like dragon stories?

  1. You already know how much I love, love, love this story. You really should consider turning this into a children’s book… 🙂

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  2. I agree with Lorna

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  3. …ever after is an awfully long time for a dragon. That’s a lovely ending to your story! nicola http;//aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com

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  4. There’s nothing I like better than a dragon tale with a happy ending. Definitely turn it into a children’s book!

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    • Thank you! I was actually going to call the story ‘The Tale of the Dragon’s Tail’, but at the last minute I decided to check and there was another story with that name out there! So I knew calling it The Motley-Goons would be pretty safe seeing as I invented them!

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  5. Well I like this and think you should have received an honourable mention at the very least… not that I’m popping over to see who won etc… just don’t have the time to read stories of people I don’t follow… I liked it…

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  6. I think it’s a wonderful story, and would make a fantastic children’s book. My guess is you already know someone who could add the perfect illustrations for it! I add my voice to the others who say you should do a published version of this!

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  7. Charming story. I agree with one of the commenters story above…it would be a delightful children’s tale (or tail…or a dragon).

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  8. Just read first and second place and yours is better writing than both of them. You have some really excellent sentences, but I would encourage you to work on being consistent. Once you set a high standard, anything less becomes unacceptable to the reader. I don’t see this as a children’s story, but rather adult parody. If you go that route, you can add some more adult (not blue or dirty) humor. Also, your best writing surrounds the Princess and Rose and you need to balance that with establishing dragon characters that hold their own, too. All joy in writing. HF

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    • Thanks HF for the feedback, that’s really helpful. In fact you’re hinting more at what I was going for when I started writing it. I didn’t set out to write a children’s story as such, I thought it would be more of an adult’s humorous fairy tale, but then when I finished it, I thought it probably was a children’s one after all! I knew that some of what I’ve written would be appreciated more by adults than children, but then that’s often the case with modern kids’ stories isn’t it. I need to think about whether to go more childreny, or more adulty. Yes, you’re right that I didn’t really establish the dragon’s characters, not like the Princess’s and Rose’s. I felt restricted by the shortish word count, and I wanted to include the narrative chatty bits that I had, so what was missed was dragon character development!

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  9. That was a hoot! And I think there might be a longer story here. Do write it.

    BTW: Even though Spotted Lesser-Toed Dragons might not be as magical and the Motley Goons, they do make better pets. Just so ya know.

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  10. I like good dragon stories, Vanessa, and this is a good dragon ‘tale’ indeed. Worthy of being a children’s book indeed!

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  11. That was a fun read! I hope you do decide to go further with it. I also liked the banter between the princess and Rose- reminded me of Queen Elizabeth and Nursie from the Blackadder series!

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  12. Absolutely a winner in my book. This is delightful. I love your description of the dragon family and the thrice removed aunt. I didn’t know you are so versed on all things dragons. But, why does that not surprise me.

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  13. Oh, and who did the drawing? You? Charming.

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    • Oh gosh no, I WISH I could draw like that, but my drawing skills leave a lot to be desired! It was just a picture I found on the internet that gave free use of the image as long as they are credited in the post, which they are.

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  14. I loved it! It so reminded me of my days as a child. My grandmother had given me a book full of children’s stories. They were magical tales from far away lands. Each day I would pick one of the stories to read before going to sleep. When I was done, I would put a check mark next to the title in the Table of Contents. This story would have been perfect in that book.

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  15. My favorite short stories involve narcissistic princesses, invisible dragons, and cross-breeding. Your story has all three. How could it not win?

    Loved it, Vanessa!

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  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. So de-LIGHT-ful! I can’t understand why this was by-passed. As soon as I started reading, the story grabbed me and when the end came…what? over already? This is a GOOD story, Vanessa. Where else can you enter it?

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    • Ahhh, thank you so much. I’m not sure if I can enter it anywhere else now because most competitions want entries that haven’t been published on the web or anything. It would be fun to expand it a bit though and do something with it, we’ll see, we all have lots of plans for what we COULD do don’t we, hehe.

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  17. What a wonderful imagination you have, Vanessa. I loved it. Really well done. I love the family of dragons you created. I probably thought the strength was the relationship between Rose and the princess.

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  18. I love this story! It had me laughing out loud almost all the way through! (Just perfect as I write this, as I see that giggly image of you below, Vanessa!)

    Lorna’s idea to make this into a little children’s book sounds like great fun. I know my girls would love to hear it read to them. Or, even read it themselves. 😉

    It’s funny, that we were discussing not long ago (on the Limebirds site, I think) the older conventions of writing, like asides to the reader. They read just marvellously, here, drawing the reader in to the world of the dragons and haughty princesses.

    Contest shmontest, this was a true delight to read. So glad you made the effort, and decided to share it with us, here. 😀

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    • Thank you, how nice to hear it make you laugh! Yes, I actually commented on that Limebird post a couple of weeks ago that I had recently written a short story with asides to the reader in it, it’s not something I would usually do, but I felt it was appropriate here because it was an old-fashioned kind of story!

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  19. Really a lovely read…kids would love it too.

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  20. What a GREAT story!!! I loved your descriptions and the intricate sentences, i.e.: “You may doubt the existence of invisible dragons, and that is not surprising because if you were to see them you wouldn’t see them at all, and so you wouldn’t know whether to believe what you hadn’t seen in front of your very own eyes, or not.” So much fun to read!!

    I agree with all the comments, you should expand and publish 🙂 Great job!

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  21. A really great story. And as I work with children, teaching them creative writing, I would love to read it to them to show them all the different elements and mechanics. Fairy tales are great tools for teaching writing to begin with, but because everyone knows those stories, after a while it feels tired. This would be a fresh angle.

    Let me know when it’s published so I can buy it and use it as a teaching tool! 😉 No pressure here, of course, my fellow LB.

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  22. Hee hee hee, dragons are pretty cool, aren’t they? 🙂

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  23. Got freaked out when I saw a dragon on my google bar today after reading your story a few days ago… But it’s only St David’s day, nothing untoward.

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  24. Excellent story full of magical twists and a perfect fairy tale ending! Should’ve won! We hate to sound like a broken record Vanessa. But you really should turn this into a childrens book. It’s that good! And we can’t agree more. We’ve entered several of our shorties into various contests. Although we’ve never won anything. We like to think that it helps us with our writing. Always growing.

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    • Thanks very much. I don’t think mine was quite the style that fitted in with the others in the contest, but never mind, I’m inspired to have a go at more of this type of thing now! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment 🙂

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