A story for the Dragon's Keep Contest.
|It was a sultry day in the garrison town of Metz in the year 1964.
Clinking his bell,a postman arrived. “ A letter for you, Sir.”
Antonio was sleeping in his two-room -flat,a tatty house with cheap, plastered walls , with colors peeling off them.
He woke up with twitching eyes and said with grogginess in his voice, “ A letter? What kind? Where from?”
It’s from Paris sent by Earl Charles himself.
“Oh my God!” answered Antonio with popping eyes.
With ample exuberance ,he tore the letter to read it’s contents.
“ Hello Antonio,
Hope this letter reaches you in the pink of your health. I came to know about your expertise in judo and karate and your recent wins in the intra-city tournaments. I chose you for your bravery and courage to battle the dangerous Draconea in the lair of a hilltop nearby. I know soldier, this might seem daunting to you but muster up young man . As a reward I will you not only give you the mere opportunity to take care of a dragon’s keep but also offer my only beautiful daughter Frances as your wife. If you die in any caser, I will bequeath half of my property to your family.
Antonio was a man of strong build,but the letter fell out of his squat fingers and dropped on the road. He was feeling tizzy ,and an unknown fear grappled him.
The postman quizzed, “ What’s the matter Sir? Is anything wrong? “
His answer was bleak.
He went home with a lot of answered questions perplexing his mind.
Receiving the letter, Mr. Garcio said ,"Buck up, young man. Don’t forget that you are the son of Mr. Garcio, a retired corporal who served the country and received an award for his profound perseverance in battle fields. Come on, my son, I have full faith in you. Don’t lose hope. Be confident and feel free to use your potent spells. After all, you are a Wiccan by birth.”
Antonio mustered up his courage and kissing his mom and dad a good-bye, said ,"Bless your son, Mother.” He took the calloused hands of his old mother in his and left for a risky and challenging mission, with his life at stake.
He boarded a high speed train travelling through the route that would take him to the king’s mansion directly. He knew the address before and landed in front of his huge castle within two hours. The watchman enquired about his details and kept him standing outside. After a while, he got the permission- to step inside.
He got dazed while he looked inside the royal palazzo. The whole room, large and spacious enough to cater his one thousand ministers, was coated in gold. The regal throne was too, and the earl placed his back gently against the gold,paisley cushion . Antonio was stunned at the over-abundance of luxury and stood still.
Earl said, “ Welcome to our empire, young man. I hope you have perused the letter and you must with utmost volition endeavor to deserve the desired reward. Now let me tell you the details. Recently in a dark cavern in that hilltop ,a dragon named Draconea has been found to reside there. I urge you to be it’s keep, and you will be handsomely paid, 50 francs a week. The Draconea is really furious and has been found to intrude vehemently. If often comes out of its lair and emits flames of fire that have scalded hundreds of my villagers. As their loyal count, it is my duty to serve my countrymen, and I delegate this duty to you. You must battle Draconea with all your might and kill it.” With this, a trumpet was blown to honor him.
Antonio said,"I’ll try my best Sir, but what if I lose and that mighty dragon slashes me?”
“ Fear not Antonio. Wish you the best of luck .”
Antonio passed a sleepless night in the small room offered by one of the king’s bearers. He almost ate nothing: only a glassful of milk and cornmeal.
A fierce, robust sun rose, with scorching sunrays filtering through the glassy windows of his room. It was already late and Antonio jumped out of the bed. He took a long ,brass bow and a scythe with him and ,headed toward the dreaded cave.
He heard loud groans from inside the cave as he approached nearby. Then Draconea emerged with it’s huge wings and wildly flapping his wings. Antonio did not flinch a bit but steadied his pace. He cornered himself at an angle and with a swift movement shot an arrow through his bow. Unfortunately, the arrow missed the target and landed in the mown, ground in front of Draconea. The dragon got enraged and started emitting fumes of fire. The flames were directed at Antonio ,but he chanted something almost inaudibly, and the fumes turned into colorlerss vapors. The dragon was now in a frenzy of unbridled rage. He had never met a man like this before. He now busted Antonio vehemently with his wings, constantly lashing at him. Antonio was covered with several gashes and, began to bleed profusely. Again he murmured and the blood coagulated. Draconea now pounced on him, and Antonio was beginning to collapse by this time. He was quite enfeebled by this time and sore from the gushy wounds. Antonio was going to succumb under the tremendous pressure of the grisly creature. Antonio was a man of strong determination and was not going to yield himself that easily. He mumbled again, this time thrice, and the dragon skidded away from him.
Antonio now gleaned his pluck and shot an arrow though the dragon’s chest. This time the arrow bored a hole in his chest and dark blood trickled from it. Draconea got furious this time, and the behemoth creature placed Antonio on his wings and,began to sway, swerve and careen wildly. Antonio felt dizzied and was almost going to fall. He was on the brink of death now, but being a man of steel,he did not lose his presence of mind and, tightly embraced the neck of the dragon now. He brought forward a napkin from his pocket and, bedaubed the blood that had oozed out from the dragon. He cast a spell,and with all his strength, he threw the napkin, and, it landed on the lush field in front of them. All on a sudden, an onslaught of arrows out of nowhere, began to pierce the disastrous creature. The dragon could not fight the innumerable arrows piercing his flesh, and they cut long slits everywhere and slashed him. The dragon now began to lose his power and began to emit strong fire again, but his attempts fizzled out. They were extinguished immediately. The horrific fray finally terminated when Draconea succumbed to death. Antonio smeared his blood with another napkin and put that in his pocket. He then chuckled, emerging victorious from the battlefield.
It was almost noon, and the sun was a fiery ball now: emanating rays that almost torched his skin. With bold steps, Antonio stepped toward the palace. The news had reached like a wildfire by now and ,he was greeted with a thundering applause. The king was extremely pleased and arranged a lovely feast at night ,to laud his incredible success. The villagers, from children to the elderly, greeted him.
A felicitous party was arranged in Paris. Antonio goggled at the lengthy, chocolate filled gateau presented to him with his name engraved on it in bold. All the villagers were invited, and a soothing jazz was played by the musicians. The couples held their hands together and danced with mirth. Everyone was given a sumptuous dinner of pot-au-feu, suckling pig, and a delicious, fruit brandy made from Mirabelle plums. The scrumptious food was extremely palatable ,and all and sundry, smacked their lips.
Antonio wondered whether he could get a glimpse of Frances and imagined what she would be like. He went to bed with sprightliness and was soon in a deep slumber. In his dream he saw an exquisitely pretty woman smiling at him and holding his hands.
Morning kissed the sky with its soft, mellow sunbeams. It was a pleasant morning and Antonio rose early. He caught a glimpse of the rosy-pink sky , resplendent with its glory. He savored the beautiful portrait that Nature presented to him. He was startled when the bearer said,” You are being summoned by the Count now.
He has a few words with you.” Antonio heard this words, a thrill swept through his body.
‘Listen my words carefully Antonio.” Earl Charles boomed.
“ Yes, my Lord.”
“ I will now fulfill the vow that I pledged before.”
Antonio understood what he was going to say, and his heart pulsed with excitement.
“ I offer you my only daughter Frances to you. You have saved our countrymen, but you must promise me that you will never cause her any suffering. You will have stay here and serve me. You can go back to your home sometimes and will have to return here again.”
“ Okay, my Lord. I will do everything as per your order.”
“ Can I get a look of her?” Antonio shied.
“ Of course you can. Go there . Harold, show him her room.”
The bearer ushered him to her room. The room was locked from inside.
“ May I enter?” Antonio tapped gently on the door.
“ Yes , please come in.” A sweet, female voice answered.
Antonio entered and saw the woman of impeccable pulchritude. Her flawless beauty would even outpower Aphrodite. With long, black tresses , butter-milk skin and lovely, dark eyes she looked at him with embarrassment flushing her cheeks. Antonio became a Cupid for her instantly and bowing before her asked,” Will you marry me, Mademoiselle?”
‘Yes, I will.” Frances smiled.
This will be a short-story fantasy contest of no more than 5000 words.
Your story must contain a dragon.
A young villager must obtain a royal appointment as Dragon Keeper, failure would be disastrous. Write a story that includes a challenge or a quest the young person must do to get the appointment. It matters not whether it is a young man or a young lady.