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 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.”
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?”
“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.