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The Adventures of Rupert the Bold
The Elvish King
The Unlikely Tale of a Mousy Knight
A Faerie Romance
Joseph S. Ray
Once upon a time in the world of Somnii, the bells of the city rang frantically as Skalg, the mighty dragon, flew low over it. Smoke billowed from his nostrils. Fire erupted from his mouth. The city was set ablaze. This was not a rare sight in Somnii in those days. The Faerie Alliance of Charm tried its best to restore order to this world, but it was a difficult job. Ever since the culture of the dragon riders had fallen, the dragons had been free to rampage across Somnii, and rampage they did. All that they left in their wake was desolation, and Skalg was the worst wyrm of them all.
Skalg though was an old and ancient wyrm and was growing tired of all the ravaging and hoarding that dragons do. He wanted to enjoy sitting on his great treasure horde that he had collected. The first of his problems though was finding a good mountain or volcano in which to set up a new lair for his retirement. Flying about, he finally spotted one such mountain near the border between the Kingdom of Lithar and the Faerieland of Charm. It even had an already made cave within it. Nearby the mountain sat the small litharan city of Groburra, but Skalg barely cared about it for all the nondraconic races of Somnii were beneath his notice. It took quite a few trips to bring all of his golden horde to his new lair, and the people of Groburra saw it all.
The people became very nervous seeing the dragon moving in next door. After all, dragons are not exactly well known for being the sort of good neighbor that you can go over and borrow a cup of sugar from. They are much better known for being the type of neighbor that burns down the neighborhood. These sorts of neighbors are usually not considered to be good neighbors. So it was that the people of Groburra had a major dilemma, and like any good bureaucratic town, they instantly put together committees to discuss it. Fortunately for them, Arvid, King of the Elves and one of the mightiest Lords of the Faerie Alliance of Charm thought that dragon neighbors should be driven out of the neighborhood as quickly as possible, and he was therefore not very fond of committees. So it was that he at once dispatched a knight. Unfortunately, the knight he dispatched was quite the mousy sort of fellow.
The Mousy Knight
The Knight Dispatched
Sir Amund of the Elves stared up at the smoke rising out of the cave in the mountain that overshadowed the city and shook his head. Life was so unfair. He had spent a week in the city of Groburra, and he could see absolutely no way that he could kill the dragon without getting himself killed. He was not even sure why he had become a knight. It was probably out of fear of others criticizing him. He did not have the right sort of temperament for it at all. He was a nervous, shy, timid individual, who lacked all charisma whatsoever. In fact, one could even call him mousy, but he would never say that out loud about himself for fear of being criticized.
The simple fact of the matter was that his father had been a great and renowned knight. The sort of knight that all men want to be. He was a man’s man. The manliest of the manly. Never had this knight been timid, nervous, or shy. None would have ever described him as mousy for fear of being challenged to a duel by an expert swordsman. His son though had fallen quite far from the tree.
Walking slowly about the city of Groburra, Amund continued to ponder the unfairness of life. Just because his father was a great and valiant knight, he had been expected to be one. Finally, letting loose a long sigh, he turned and began to walk towards the mountain. If I’m going to die no matter what I do, he thought to himself, I might as well get it over with. Then I won’t have to be nervous about it anymore.
As he neared the gate though, he heard a small squeaky voice, coming from the direction of his foot, asking, “Are you Sir Amund, good sir?”
Looking down, Amund saw one of the foot tall mice of Animalis and leaped back with a scream. Mice scared him. Actually, spiders, snakes, lions, bears, tigers, and really everything scared him. Collecting himself, he looked again. The mouse was grey and wore a red cap upon its head. A short rapier like blade hung from a harness around its body. Around its shoulders there hung a cape. “I...am,” he stuttered as he looked down at the mouse.
The mouse doffed its cap and made a flourishing bow. “I am Sir Rupert, sometimes called the bold,” the mouse said as its nose twitched a bit. “King Arvid sent me here to assist you in your undertaking against yon dragon.” With those words, the mouse made a grand gesture towards the mountain.
“How is a mouse supposed to help me beat a big fire breathing dragon?” Amund asked.
“With skill, dexterity, and intelligence, of course,” Sir Rupert replied. “All of these are things that I have in great abundance.”
Amund look skeptically at the foot tall mouse. Then he slowly shook his head. “What have I got to lose,” he said with a sigh. “What do you advice?”
“That’s the spirit,” Rupert said as he gave a little punch with his paw to Amund’s ankle. “My first bit of advice is that we scout the area and observe our target.”
“And… how do… we...do… that?” Amund stuttered nervously as terrifying thoughts of being burned to a crisp by dragon fire filled his head.
“Well, if you would please follow me back to my mighty steed,” Rupert said with another bow, “I have something in my saddlebags that may just help us.”
A few hours later, Amund found himself standing near the entrance of the dragon’s lair. He could not believe that the mouse had talked him into coming all the way up the mountain. A cloak with a hood now hung from his shoulder, and when the hood was up, he was obscured from all eyes. “Remind me,” he said, “why don’t I just go in and stab the dragon while I’m invisible.”
“Don’t be silly,” Rupert said. “First, it would be a very unknightly thing to do as it shows no boldness or courage on your part. Second, dragons emit a anti-magic field. It would immediately unravel the spells woven into your cloak, and then you would get roasted.”
“Right,” Amund stuttered with a nervous shake of his head.. “Why... can’t things… just be easy... for once?”
For the next few days, they observed Skalg, and they saw how the dragon would go down to a mountain stream every day and drink from it. “I believe,” Rupert said with a laugh, “that I have the beginnings of a cunning and audaciously bold plan. To begin with, we will need to dig a pit.”
So it was that two days later, Amund found himself in the unenviable position of standing on the opposite side of the mountain stream from which Skalg drank on a daily basis. His trembling hand rested on the hilt of his blade, but for some strange reason he felt utterly exposed as he stood there alone. Actually, now that I think about it that probably was not all that strange. After all, he was about to confront a big old dragon known for its destructive capabilities. Suddenly, Rupert came dashing up his leg and sat down on Amund’s shoulder. “So,” Rupert said with a smile and a twitch of his nose, “are you ready to taunt a great big dangerous dragon into trying to kill you?”
“Not… really,” Amund stuttered.
“You really need to get over that stuttering,” Rupert said with a frown. “It really isn’t holding up the knightly image. Are you nervous?”
“A.. li…little bit,” Amund stuttered in reply
“The risks to you are minimum, lad,” Rupert said with a smile. “After today, you shall be known as Sir Amund the Dragon-Slayer. Just try to remember one thing for me if you survive.”
“If I survive?” Amund blurted out nervously.
“There is always a chance of dying in any knightly enterprise,” Rupert replied.
“What do you want me to remember?” Amund asked with a nervous laugh.
“Remember that a knight should use his wits as well as his sword arm,” Rupert said.
Suddenly, the ground itself shook. Rupert leaped off of Amund’s shoulder and bowed his head. “You truly make excellent dragon bait,” he said with a smile. “Now, remember to taunt it.” Then he darted into some nearby brush.
Skalg came down the path to the mountain stream. He stopped for a moment and stared at Amund. “Who are you?” he said in a hissing voice. “And why are you here?”
At that moment for the first time in his life, Amund felt rage rise up in him. He was tired of being afraid. He was tired of people walking all over him because of his timidity. It all made him angry. In truth, he became far too angry to be frightened. “I am Amund,” Amund replied without stuttering, “and I heard there was a great wyrm in this mountain. Thus, I came to see how magnificent it truly was.”
“I see,” Skalg, feeling a bit flattered, replied, “and what do you see?”
“Nothing so impressive,” Amund replied, “just some tired old wyrm.”
“Tired old wyrm!” Skalg bellowed in response. “I was ravaging lands and leaving desolation in my wake before you were even born, whelp.”
“And you are a tired old wyrm, who can’t breath fire anymore, I bet,” Amund replied.
“You dare to insult the mighty Skalg?” Skalg snarled.
“You probably find it hard to chew meat,” Amund continued.
“How dare you.”
“Really, I couldn’t see anyone ever being afraid of you,” Amund said as his anger began to wear off, and he realized just what he was doing.
Skalg let out a roar and darted across the mountain stream. Amund leaped back in terror. Unfortunately for the old dragon, this is exactly what Rupert had planned to occur. For on the other side of the stream, a pit had been dug. Skalg let out another furious roar as he fell into the pit. Sharpened spikes, which Amund had made and placed, pierced Skalg’s flesh, and the dragon was no more. Rupert came dancing out of the brush. “Remind... me,” Amund stuttered with a shake of his head, “why could… couldn’t we... put the sp… spike filled pit... on the other side of... the stre… stream so that he would have fallen into it when he has coming down to get his drink.”
“It wouldn’t have been knightly,” Rupert replied.
“Remind me,” Amund said again, “how was what we did knightly?”
“You slew a dragon,” Rupert replied. “It is one of the knightliest acts of them all.”
“We dropped it into a spike filled pit,” Amund responded.
“No, you bravely tricked it into falling into a pit full of spikes, which you yourself made,” Rupert said. “Just because we are knights doesn’t mean we have to be idiots, lad. Now, I believe that we should return to the town and tell them the dragon is dead. You will undoubtedly receive a hero’s welcome.”
Amund slowly shook his head as they walked back down to Groburra. There Amund was hailed as Amund the Dragon-Slayer. He was instantly called upon to give a speech, but feeling a little nervous, he threw up and then fled.
© 2014 Joseph Ray