Monday, 21 November 2011

Dragon Slayer: Part 1

A thunderous howl bellows in the bowls of the distant mountains. Flashes of lightning scar the melancholic clouds as the trees for miles around quake and quiver, fearful of the torrential lashings that mother nature has seen fit to bestow  upon any and all who dwell upon this patch of verdant earth. One solitary figure rides swiftly, onwards through the rain, wind and storms. Unrelenting in his pace, his trusty steed keeping true, obediently, even through the most treacherous patches of churned up earth. Weathered and worn, a wistful gaze belying the keenness of sight and sense that the man upheld in his efforts to navigate the valley that he had found himself in.  Glimpses of far off towns and enticing hearths flashed by every now and then, whenever a break in the mountainside presented itself, calling out to the man and rousing within him a persuasive fervour, the likes of which can only be felt by those many weeks from their bed and the warm embrace of the fire. However, this did not shake the man, for he was tasked with a duty, one most grave and dire that he had forsaken any and all in the pursuit of its accomplishment. He had a dragon to slay.

It had since passed four or so hours from the time the warrior had reached the valley, his horse was tired, his eyes were weary but his will stood firm, resolute at the sight of the approaching goal. Upon reaching the foot of the mountain he had set out to find, a sigh of relief left the man’s lips, yet he knew that this was but the first step of a perilous task; the man had just stepped out of the figurative frying pan and into the all too literal fire. Dismounting, the mail clad warrior began to unfasten the various straps and buckles that had affixed the required tools to the horse. The man knew that the chances of him making it back were to slim to warrant the waiting of the creature. Once all of the equipment was rested upon a nearby stone, the man took a quick look at the entrance to the mountain face and the many stairs that lie within before turning back to his companion, “You have served me well old friend”, he whispered before giving her a few pats on her mane.

Ingesting a few healing poultices, the warrior was overwhelmed by its rejuvenating properties; he did not have the time to waste to rest up before encountering his foe.  Reinvigorated with a sudden uncompromising strength, his body now had the tenacity to match his resolve once again and for this he was glad, no room for error could be allowed , he would have one shot and one shot alone at felling this most evil of beasts. With sword and shield at hand and bow to his back, the man entered the gaping maw that marked the ascent to his destiny.

The climb was perilous, the only illumination being that of the faint glow of protruding fungi. His head was invariable filled with thoughts of those he had come to avenge; the woman who had cared for him since the death of his mother, the blacksmith who had versed him in the ways of the sword and the bending of steel, the ranger who had taught him the languages of the forest, the use of the bow and how to survive the harshest conditions and countless other townspeople he had grown to love, all slain by the beast that lounged mere moments away. A faint light lingered in the distance.

Emerging from the underground, the man was affronted by the mountains infamous name sake, its unrelenting heat. The Dragon’s Breath Mountain was well known for its scorching hot rocks and boiling lakes, it was once used as a proving ground to test the endurance of young warriors looking to prove themselves and had claimed more than its fair share of lives already. A furious sweat quickly drenched the warrior, forcing him to remove the mail cladding that had protected him from the harsh rain and winds, which now would have slowed his movements without causing much protection from the fierce breath or the sharp talons of the beast that lay, curled before him.

Having stripped down to little more than his leather undergarments and his weapons, the man moved cautiously towards the sleeping foe. The beast was coloured an onyx black that could not be compared to in all but the blackest of midnights. Its great talons digging furrows where it had decided to rest its gargantuan paws. The dragon was easily 5 times the man’s height from his perspective and to quantify the girth and overall length was beyond the capabilities of a simple man such as himself. Its curled up form was impressive enough to instil fear into the hearts of even the greatest of men but not him. Nothing could deter this man. He had lost it all. His home, his family, his village and his future, an empty void of all consuming hatred and a desire for revenge filling its place. He had no room for fear.

Becalming his heart and unsheathing his sword, the lone figure approached the large spot of land the dragon inhabited, it was completely desolate bar a number of rocks measuring the man’s height dotted about and innumerable small boiling pools encircling it . Hefting his sword high into the air, the man began to shout, all of the anger and pain within him spilling outwards with every word, “Fear me dragon, for this day shall be your last”, he proceeded to cut a large swathe out of the veined membranes that comprised the dragon’s nearby unfurled wing, causing the beast to jolt awake and recoil in pain at the sudden interruption, “You have killed my kin and for that, I shall end you where you lie!”,  he sprinted forwards into the oncoming flames, his shield held high and a throat filled with a roar the likes of which even the dragon could not outcompete.

So yeah, that’s essentially the story of why I’ve been gone these past few weeks. Skyrim is one hell of a game.

A length joke semi involving dragons to go with the mood

An 18th-century vagabond in England, exhausted and famished, came to a roadside Inn with a sign reading: "George and the Dragon." He knocked. The Innkeeper's wife stuck her head out a window. "Could ye spare some victuals?" He asked. The woman glanced at his shabby, dirty clothes. "No!" she shouted. "Could I have a pint of ale?" "No!" she shouted. "Could I at least sleep in your stable?" "No!" she shouted again. The vagabond said, "Might I please...?" "What now?" the woman screeched, not allowing him to finish. "D'ye suppose," he asked, "that I might have a word with George?"

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