Our participants for this first Relay Test Event are (in order):
Mamie Willoughby Pound
Dani J. Caile
Pt. 1 Jordan Bell
One can never be too certain about the demeanor of DRAGONS. They appear silent, brooding, and destructive, but, it is said a dragon laughs. I have lived to see a hundred kings rise and fall. I have marked the passing of the ages in the tide-like ebb and flow of the mighty forests. They slowly spread across the surface-world only to be cut back, making room for the civilizations of man. Civilizations destined to fall to time and the sword, until once again the forest reclaims all. Yet, in all this time, never once have I heard a dragon laugh.
Having been released from service, exiled for an atrocity that I did not commit, I figured it was as good of a time as any. For the first time in my regrettably long life, I blessed the circumstances that made me a fool and not a knight; it may help me amuse a dragon. Before I left, I lurked to the back of the smithy; the armorer’s son had been a friend of mine since he was a small boy, and I thought he might help. I was not mistaken. He handed to me a package of food and a flagon of wine, and fitted over my head a creation of chainmail and leather designed to hide my SCARS.
Pt.3 Maureen Larter
As soon as I was ready, I turned to go. My friend touched my arm and I flinched. The welts from my latest punishments were still raw. “Go careful,” he said with concern. I nodded, unable to speak with the emotion that choked me. I knew I had to find some proof that I was innocent. Maybe finding a dragon and bringing it back would show them all that I was not the fool they thought I was. I shouldered my food package, walked toward the back door then hesitated. Oswald had been my only FRIEND through all my trials. Maybe… I kept walking and didn’t look back.
Pt.4 Neal Sajatovic
My home grew smaller behind me. A small tear formed from the thought of leaving my friend behind in search of a dragon. Soon the rolling hills gave way to dead trees and marshland. Creatures that I was unfamiliar with were making mating calls, or so I hoped they were mating calls. I decided to sit against a tree and rest my worn out legs. Something was different about the air here, heavy with the scent of death. I heard a familiar sound come from the sky and looked up to see a FALCON landing on a branch above me.
Pt. 5 Miranda Hawley
Never were the noble creatures that served the King given their dues. The great dragon, Hathore, the sleek falcon, Shadow, or the majestic steed, Luxor, all served His Majesty and his court. The King was one of CONQUEST, never ceasing in his attacks and bloodshed of the innocent. He took the maids of the fortresses he razed to the ground and used them. His fortress had a dungeon filled with such ladies; left in ruin. His squires and knights knew of their King’s shame and could not defeat his lust for blood or women.
Pt. 6 Richard Russell
Searching through my pack, I found a loaf of bread, broke off a piece and tossed to it the ground in front of the falcon. Exchanging glances, I nodded toward the FRESH morsel. Wasting no time, she descended upon it with relish. “Generosity is a key that opens doors; not conquest.” I murmured. Taking a bite for myself, I looked to the sky. “Shadow, I am in great need of locating a dragon. If you’ve seen any around …” my voice faded away as I resigned myself to the fact that dragons were hard to come by of late.
Pt. 7 Moira McArthur
The falcon flew high in the hills. Landing on a BROKEN rowan tree, its branches blackened by fresh fire. I ran to see, to check. Remains of a fire of bones and twigs. Something stirred to be remembered from the ancient sagas deep in my mind. St Peter’s Eve, when fires were lit to chase away dragons. I threw another piece of bread to the falcon. She turned towards the peaks, flying low to the ground. Searching every inch, Shadow suddenly screeched and dived towards a long crack in the rock. I waited below. She did not appear. I started to climb.
Pt. 8 Tannis Laidlaw
I ascended past the broken tree, chary about its SIGNIFICANCE. I found it difficult to believe I was in this mess. No Fool is ever a fool; our purpose is to convey by poetry or song what no other man can. I’ve had to be a clever Fool to survive with this king; I was depending upon cleverness now to find Hathore, a special dragon who can smell an abuser of women (before killing him) – the reason why the king banned all dragons. If I can return with Hathore, the king will quake in fear. Finally we all will hear a dragon laugh.
Pt. 9 Mamie Willoughby Pound
A slippery hand grasps my sword. One with the granite earth, I peer over. My breath is lost. There, between the cliffs of Black Mountain, lay a beast to rival all tales; fierce and scaled, ethereal. Its studded tail swishes. A crimson, slithering tongue prods RAZORED claws, freeing bones and flesh like an overgrown cat. My mind is crazed. Honor cannot be mine. I raise myself to run. But mine eyes, oh favored fate! One enormous glittered wing is broken and unmoving.
Pt.10 Dani J. Caile
Was this one weakness, one fact, perchance, my inch of opportunity, my path to destiny? Was this one flaw in the dragon’s mantle my chance to right the wrongs which my King hath done? With all the courage and experience of my many years in this one foolish life, I stood tall, sword erect, and called to the dragon.
“Hathore, if that may be your name! Hathore, dragon among dragons, skillful in smelling abusers of women, I call upon you today to hear me! Hear me, I COMMAND you!” The tongue, once slithering along its razored claws, halted, then disappeared.
Pt. 11 Eric Garrisson
The monster raised his head, just a little, and forced me to tilt my head back to meet his terrible gaze. Those inscrutable dark slits fixed on me, narrowing. The FEAR I thought I’d mastered swelled in my chest and froze my feet. I prayed the dragon didn’t notice me tremble. “Who are you to command me, little thing? I take commands from no one, and certainly not from a rat wielding a toothpick sword. No, I command you, little rat, to heed the words of Hathore and begone, or I shall dine on roast rat!” And yet, I stood my ground.
Pt. 12 K.A.DaVur
Hathore breathed deep, pulling air through the gills that lined his serpentine neck. It would be fire then? So be it. I never knew my father; he could have been the King himself. Fire, though, had been the sire of my life. I did not fear such. Hathore roared and the flames danced all around me. Still, I stood, and when they subsided the creature was looking at me, APPRAISING, stroking his long poisonous whiskers with one claw. “I find myself in need of SERVICE,” he grumbled, and shifted his mangled wing a bit, “and it seems you may be the one. If not,easily fixed.” And he turned and lumbered further into the cave. “Come along.” And so I found myself leaving one beast, and entering the service of another.
Pt. 13 Maureen Larter
I followed, keeping a goodly distance. My mind was racing. Hathore seemed to think I would be able to fix his wing. I was in service to a dragon! What was I to do? The tunnel finished in a large CAVERN, a den of safety for the great dragon. It was dark and forbidding. ‘I need LIGHT!” I said, surprising myself by my courage. The great body turned and fire flared. A feeble light glittered from an old lantern. In front of me Hathore fanned his wing toward me. It was bloody and inflamed at the joint. As I was appraising the wound, the light of the lantern flickered out.