Dragon Slayer

In hamlet nestled between two mountains and surrounded by lunch trees a man was seated in an inn eating breakfast; a cider filled to the brim by his plate. He was dressed in a plain cloth shirt, stained with blood and sweat. His beard had not been trimmed in a month’s time and filled his face, mostly concealing his otherwise fair features. His nose and ears were somewhat prominent but didn’t give him a grotesque look but instead a sharpness about him. His hair too had not been trimmed in some time and reached the top of his collar and rested there. His eyes were the distinguishing feature.

The innkeeper’s son, a boy of twelve who helped his father run their business and this morning fed their guest, was staring at the man from behind the bar. From the dimly lit room, the man’s eyes shone light sapphires; bright and blue. They transfixed the boy. His eyes were bright and seemed to project some great tale like the constellations that reminding folks of myths and legends. From his otherwise dark, bearded face, the man’s eyes were a purposeful light.

The boy watched the man eat from the safety and concealment of the bar. The guest arrived two days earlier on a large and powerful horse with significant equipment that only a soldier, a warrior, would carry. The lad spied, what appeared to be a full set of plated armor and all the accompanied equipment to wear it. The guest also had many weapons with him but the most intimidating of all was a long halberd with a curved massive blade at the tip. It was not a weapon the boy had seen before and he in fact had to ask his father what it was.

For his days at the inn, mysterious guest had hardly spoken to anyone, except to order food and drink. Indeed, as he ate his meal and drank his cider, the guest remained transfixed as though in a world removed from the physical. The strong, quiet guest had finished his cider and raised his stein to request another. The boy scrambled to collect the stein like a mouse grabbing a piece of cheese held by a cat, then scampered to the cellar to refill it.

When the boy returned with a full stein, he crept carefully toward the stranger. The guest noted the boy’s hesitation and turned to face him. When their eyes met the lad froze as if caught by a predator but the man smiled, showing bright white teeth and the intensity melted from his face and was replaced by kind softness.

“Do not be afraid, my son. I apologize if I made you nervous,” the warrior explained.

The boy smiled as he tilted his head to the side slight and grew a little red in the cheeks. “It’s ok, I wasn’t afraid,” he lied as he set down the stein but lingered at the table.

The warrior smiled. “Thank you for more cider. It is quite tasty.”

“My father makes it himself,” the lad beamed.

“Well thank him for me. He’s an artists to be sure.”

“Won’t you be here longer?”

The warrior leaned back, gripped the stein and drank deeply from it as he stared off once more, the warmth disappearing from his face and the stone cold lines returning. “I’m afraid not,” he replied.

The boy’s voice dropped to barely above a whisper, “Where are you going?”

The question snapped the man from his trance and he once again smiled. “I’m afraid I have something important to do.”

“Like a mission or an adventure? We get adventurers around here sometimes. They are usually looking for some sort of lost treasure or artifact but sometimes they are monster hunters. You seem like you’re more of a monster hunter.”

The warrior smiled widely at the boy. “You are very bright, young man. You’re right. You might consider me a monster hunter, though it is not a job I relish.”

“Do you hunt ogres or trolls?”


The word hit the boy in the stomach like a punch and stole the air from his lungs. He stammered, “Is there a dragon around here?”

“Indeed. Unfortunately there are many and often times they are much closer than we would like to believe.”

“But, you’re going to kill it, aren’t you?”

“Indeed. I will kill it.”

“But aren’t you afraid? Aren’t you scared it might hurt you, or kill you?”

“I’ve been hurt by them before,” the warrior explained, “But none have killed me. I am not afraid of death, only of living in fear.”

A long silence froze the boy in his shoes. The dragon slayer stared off once more before finishing his cider and standing. “Remember to thank your father for the cider,” he reminded as he held out far more coin than was required for the lodging and the meals. “I will return for some more when I have completed my task.”

“And if you don’t? Return I mean.”

“Then a dragon has at last got the best of me, but know that I died on my feet with courage and honor.”

The warrior turned and headed for the door. He opened it to leave, but faced the boy once more and smiled, “But do not worry. I have the advantage. The dragon wants to live and I’m prepared to die. I will see you soon, lad.”

The dragon slayer calmly walked into the morning sun and smiled. “Today is a lovely day to die,” he told himself.

Introducing the Last Dragon Slayer

In a hamlet far from any major city called Karlovice, a dozen men drank ale as they chatted about the harvest, about the weather and their families. The same scene was repeated most every night. This evening, a bard dressed in bright cloth clothes with long wavy hair and bright blue eyes pushed through the doors causing the conversations to pause and all eyes to study the stranger. The bard smiled and then strolled up to the bar where a round man with a thick beard stood eyes locked on the newcomer.

“Can I help you stranger?” the barkeep asked in a booming voice for all to hear.

“Mind if I play for your customers tonight?” the bard beamed.

“Not at all unless you’re expecting some coin for the effort.”

“Of course not my good man!” the bard announced in his singsong clear voice. “I am merely a traveler and enjoy performing. Perhaps an ale is worth my efforts?”

“Depends on how much we enjoy your efforts doesn’t it?”

“Naturally!” agreed the bard. “My name is Firestone and I’ll not disappoint, friend.”

The barkeep snorted. “Let us be the judge of that!” he challenged.

Firestone smiled and bowed low while snatching a wide brimmed hat from his head and waving it high above him before returning to his head with a wink and turning toward a corner of the keep cleared from tables save one.

The bard pulled a rucksack from his back and placed it gently on a chair by the corner table. He untied it and reach inside pulling from its mouth a lute made of wood no one there could recognize and strings that glowed in the lanter light. The instrument was inlaid with materials no one in the simple village had seen before and they exuded magical energy that the men in the keep could feel. Their eyes were drawn to the bard and his instrument and they waited for the notes to soothe their ears.

Firestone knew they wanted him to play but he enjoyed teasing them and he was intentionally slow as he sat on the table and carefully tuned his lute. No one spoke. All eyes were on the man silently begging for his performance. All eyes that is except the grey haired, grey bearded man in the opposite corner. He merely drank his ale and searched his stein for comfort when not sipping from it. Firestone glanced in his direction and grinned then strummed the first cord on his lute.

The group inhaled a breath of joy as the music began and at last they were getting what they wanted.

The bard began, “This is the Ode to the Last Dragon Slayer.” Then he played.

Have a seat and fill your flaggons
The world was once filled with dragons

They flew the skies and lived in caves
Sending many to early graves

Some breathed fire others poison
Melted some left others frozen

Came in many shapes and sizes
Most have met their own demises

The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall
The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall

They say that he went on a quest
But was defeated like the rest

Like so many held in bondage
Just another slave is hostage

Kept for years a dragon’s captive
By an ice drake cold and massive

In a frozen cave far away
He just waited for the right day

The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall
The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall

At last he knew his chance had come
To slay the beast the battle won

Sprung his cage no longer interred
He found an enchanted halberd

Stalked his captor found him sleeping
His eyes closed with frozen breathing

The weapon thrust deep in his hide
The battle raged the dragon died

The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall
The Dragon Slayer killed them all
Avenged the slain and freed the thrall

Firestone paused and the townsfolk cheered. The barkeep poured the bard an ale and brought it to him begging him to play more. Firestone agreed to continue but drank deeply from the stein first. As he did he gazed long in the direction of the old, grey-haired man in the corner. The old man squinted sharply at the bard hands gripping the stein tightly sore muscles tight and strained against his tunic. Firestone chuckled and then struck another chord to sing more praises of the last dragon slayer.