Of Knights and Pens

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A mighty knight struggles desperately with the greatest peril of his life: an inept narrator.

“Of Knights and Pens”


Our hero, the handsome knight, rode easily on his steely white steed, sun glinting from his armor so brightly that his enemies must only quake in fear at his shininess.  His breastplate polished to perfection, his sword and scabbard in new, unused condition, the brass buttons on his tack blazing brilliantly in the morning sun, only the mightiest of monsters dared challenge this warrior of righteousness, this chevalier d’excellence, and the mightiest is what he rode to face, the dreaded and dangerous dragon.

Ugh, I’m tired of this do-gooder already.

The princely hero glanced over his shoulder, annoyed.  Buoyed by the valor in his soul, determined to take his nibble out of evil, he rode on, yet something weighed heavily upon his mind.

Something really heavy, I suppose, like addition, or chewing before swallowing …

“Do you mind?” our studly hunk of mighty manliness said aloud to no one in particular.  “No one in particular?” he asked the air.  “I’m talking to you.”

Psst, don’t react to the narration, it’s a cheap device in bad comedy.  Just ignore me, do your thing, and let’s try to make a good story.

“Maybe it would be better if I told this story, you know, first person.  So there I was, stoically facing impossible odds, when—”

No!  This is not a first person tale, particularly narrated by you, bucket-head.  Now behave, and stop usurping my voice, or I’ll do something nasty to your horse and you’ll have to walk.

The mighty knight considered thoughtfully, or what passed for thought within the cavernous depths of his skull—

“Now that’s it!  If you don’t quit insulting me I’m going to do something!  Something very rash, very daring, and very-- whoa!”  Our hero’s snow-white mount reared up suddenly, throwing the warrior and all his flashy bits clear of the quicksand that he had absent-mindedly ridden into before thrashing its way to oblivion, never to be leisurely ridden again.

“All right then,” the increasingly sarcastic and troublesome doer of heroic deeds said, sinking to sit on a rock near the edge of the mysterious and deadly quicksand.  “That’s it.”

There he sat, not exactly mourning his late equine companion, not steeling himself courageously for future deeds, nor even wistfully pining for the love of a fair maiden or contemplating the simple beauty of an eddy in a mountain brook.  Just… sitting there.

And sitting there.

Alright, alright, you’ve made your point.  Get up and do something.  I can’t very well tell a story about a knight courageously pouting on a rock, now can I?

“You could let me tell it.”

Look, enough with the distracting non-sequiturs.  One of us is the narrator, and it isn’t you, get it?

“Don’t insult me with big words!  I’m a mighty brave and mighty valiant knight, and I shall answer your challenge by laying siege to this story until you apologize for your insult, or else come down here and face me like a man.”

Alright fine, I’m sorry I called you stupid.


And bucket-head.  Can we get on with the story please?  I have mighty deeds of yours to tell, and we’re not getting anywhere just sitting here.

The knight cocked his head up, eyeing a warning, and released a surrendering sigh.  “Very well,” he said in his bellowy barrel-chested brogue.  “Barrel-chested brogue?  I don’t have a Scottish accent!  And isn’t this breaking the fourth wall?”

No, breaking the fourth wall is when you talk to the audience.  Right now you’re just holding up the story talking to me.  Now get moving.

The courageous knight slumped his shoulders, steadfast in his determination to slaughter evil until evil determines to act less evilly, mumbling occasionally about trudging foot-bound over the sunbaked desert.

Stop mumbling.  Heroes don’t mumble.

“What is it with you?  Why can’t I ride in on my very alive steed and slay the monster heroically but not-too-dangerously, save the damsel in distress, and disappear into happily ever after?  What jollies do you get murdering my mount, force-marching me under the summer sun in armor which I shouldn’t even be wearing right now, toward danger which I feel is going to be a real ball-buster?  I mean really, what do you get out of this?”

Look Sir Shinesalot, don’t point your fictional finger at me; I just want to tell a story about good overcoming evil.  It’s not my fault nobody wants to read about armored Chuck Norris floating in on wafts of awesomeness, round-housing evil into oblivion and then tongue-punching armloads of buxom babes.

“Oh, sure, blame your readers.  That’s the secret to a successful writing career.”

Just then, on the horizon, as though drawn by the sound of argument, the evil appeared which our intrepid champion had come heroically to dispatch.  Wing-beat by wing-beat, the dread beast approached, growing hopelessly large in the sky; its giant bat-wings pommeled the air, beating gravity into submission, its great scaled body soaring impossibly above the dusty earth.  The fangs and talons and polished scales of the terrible beast glinted in the sky, which the angle of the noon sun should have precluded, had physics dared enforce its own laws.  Instead, the monster glinted, sparkling like a frightful flying evening dress with claws.

The knight swallowed hard, instantly repenting having questioned the hand of fate which drove him.  “Does it have to be so terrifying?” he asked his delusions quietly.  “I mean, does it have to defy physics?”

The creature approached overhead, blotting out the sun, and belched a stream of bright, hellish fire at the gallant knight who trembled before it.  He buried his face in his mighty arms to feebly block the stream of molten death, and the lance of fire missed him completely, striking the ground just where he might have been if he had even tried to dodge.  Dismissing caution, he threw down his sword and shield and bravely ran for all he was worth in a completely random direction.

“This is suicide!”  The knight panted in his plated oven, but all of his running only made him tired.  The dread beast rolled high in the air, then came crashing toward the earth in another pass.  “What am I supposed to do?!” the knight cried desperately, gasping for air as his gaze fixed on his impending doom.

I don’t know, do something heroic.  I’m not very good at writing action scenes; you’re going to have to improvise.

The dreaded dragon aimed its incendiary snout at our hero, tucking its wings into dive position.  The knight flinched.  “Ok, look, you need to help me.  I really don’t know what to do.  I need help right now,” the knight pleaded as the dragon grew closer.

Just do something knightly. I’m sure it will all work out.  Nobody kills the main character halfway through the story.

You’re about to” the knight whimpered as the dragon curled back its lips to unleash a stream of death and fire.  Our hero bolted immediately toward the sharply rising hill behind him, just avoiding liquid death, the clever beast having expected frozen terror a second time.  “HELP!” he cried again as he ran.

Just then our hero spied a crack in the side of the hill, just big enough for him to fit into, which he dashed desperately for.  The crack opened into a dusty corridor, which he plowed into as the dragon alit at the edge of the opening.

“I need a place to hide!” the knight cried frantically as the dragon prepared to unleash another torrent of fire down the perfectly straight corridor which our hero found himself at the end of.  Luckily, a left turn became apparent just as a jet of liquid death squirted by, missing our hero by inches.  The knight ripped his helmet from his arming cap and collapsed.

You’re the worst knight ever.  Now what are we supposed to do?  You can’t just wait here for the dragon to die of old age.

“What am I supposed to do?” the knight shouted hysterically.  “Did you have to make the beast seventeen stories tall and covered in murder?”

What did you want to face, a fire-breathing bunny?  Besides, against your derring-do, the bunny would still win.

“Couldn’t you drop a meteor on it, so I can cut off its head and claim victory?” the stout warrior pleaded heroically.

Nope, that would be deus ex machina.  Can’t you unleash some knightly jiu-jitsu on this thing until it submits?

 “I don’t know what those words mean! Are you going to help me or not?”

Would you just try to act like a knight?  Look around you, I’m sure some way of prevailing will reveal itself.  Don’t give up!

It was then, as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, that the intrepid solver of problems surveyed his dim surroundings and noticed the dull reflected light of a dozen dusty sets of armor, all in piles and darkened slightly from the ages and dust.  Within the chamber, around the corner of which he bravely hid from his foe, there were scores of dried corpses, snapped swords, orphaned spear-points, and enough shields to defend an army.  The grim realization dawning that many other brave and cunning warriors had shared his apparent fate, our hero’s bladder finally let loose amid racking sobs.

I guess there’s one set of armor that won’t keep its shine through the ages.

“That’s not funny,” our hero sobbed.  “You send me off to certain death on foot, tired, with no plan and no hope of success, and now you’re making fun of me.”

Pull yourself together man!  You’re the hero for heaven’s sake!

“You kill this stupid dragon!” our hero lashed out through desperate tears, his comment not even making sense.  It was then that the brave and handsome knight realized that, in the relative safety of his subterranean hidey-hole, his only hope for victory was to first conquer his conflicting and painful emotions, drawing from the strength and sense of purpose that drove men of character.  He must pull himself together, gird his loins with truth and righteousness, and face the evil.  He had, in other words, no hope for victory.

After an hour of sobbing and shuddering, our hero at last chanced a look around the corner toward the opening of the tunnel.  Only his feline reflexes saved him from a hunk of molten dragon phlegm which flew past his head and splattered against the tunnel wall opposite him.

Not being able to see to the end of the earthy chamber, the heroic knight hit upon an idea.  Scrounging though the piles of knightly rubbish within his crowded tomb, he found a stout pole which had been part of a lance; taking some tattered clothes from one of the many corpses, he fashioned a torch, which he lit from the still burning dragon loogie stuck to the wall.

The room in which he had been hiding turned out to be much larger than could be lit from the sunlight outside, and his heart sank a bit lower as he discovered still more armored corpses, all in the same condition as the rest.  A bit of blackness in the back of the room revealed itself to be another opening, and our hero ventured into it.  The tunnel became a proper cave, twisting and growing narrower as the knight struggled at intervals to pass through, stepping over yet more corpses that hadn’t made it as far as he.  Fearing that his torch would soon flicker out, he resolved to turn back when he heard a distant voice.

“Who’s there?”  The echoing voice was that of a woman or child, and our hero plucked up his courage and pursued it.  “Hello?” he tried hopefully as he made his way forward.

“Stay away,” the somewhat louder voice cried nervously.  It sounded like a woman.

“Never fear,” our hero said fearlessly, his bravery inching higher near the presence of a lady.  “I am here to rescue you!”

“Don’t you come near!” she cried, definitely near as he hurried toward her voice, or at least the direction her voice must be coming from.  It was difficult to tell within the echoing cave.  “Stop!” she cried desperately.

Any other knight might have heard the warning and paused, considering the alarm in her voice and the danger it might portend.  Our intrepid hero, however, willing to brave any dangers to rescue a damsel in distress, and desperately needing to see another person before going mad in his underground prison, pressed on.  The cave opened into a chamber filled with stalagmites, and he could hear dripping echoing in the room.  A pool stood in the center of the chamber, and the voice of the damsel had gone silent.

“Hello?” he called again hopefully.  His greeting echoed in the chamber and in his ears, but was not answered.  Turning, he breathed to call again when he was shoved into the icy water at the center of the chamber, putting out his torch.  Crying out, he thrashed about in complete darkness struggling to stay afloat.  “Help!” he cried desperately.

“It’s not deep,” he heard a woman’s voice say.  “Just stand up.”

Our bold and valiant knight dared to stop thrashing helplessly and found that the freezing water barely covered his knees, and he stood. He strained his ears for a sign of danger, and heard nothing.  “Be careful, my lady,” he said cautiously.  “Someone or something pushed me into the water.”

“I pushed you,” the woman said impatiently.  “There’s no one else here.”

“Why did you push me?” our hero asked, irritated.  “I’ll never be able to get back without light.”

“I tried to warn you to go away,” the voice reminded.  “I can’t let you see me!”

“Why?” the knight asked, his curiosity turning into suspicion.  “Who are you?”

“Nobody you know,” the voice said defensively.  “Now go away.  I won’t want rescuing until you bring some clean clothes.  And a hairbrush.”

“I’m not going anywhere; you’ve put out my torch, remember?  There’s no way for me to find my way in total blackness.”

The voice in the darkness breathed an exasperated sigh.  “Fine, I’ll show you the way,” she said, as though everyone knew the way except for him, and he was keeping her from a hair appointment.

“How are you going to do that?  I can’t see you.”

“Stick out your hand, dummy.  I’ll hold it and lead you.”

Our valiant and chivalrous hero climbed out of the pool and reached as far in front of himself as he dared, groping about with his hand.  “Ok, is that you?” he asked, feeling a gentle touch on the palm of his gauntleted paw.

“No,” he heard her voice say from his right.  He tried moving what he imagined to be her milky hand, only to find that it was the top of a stalagmite that he gently held.  He pulled his gauntlet off in frustration.

Groping about now to his right where he heard her voice, he stepped forward and groped the soft, squishy skin of a breast and immediately was deafened by a piercing shriek and felt a rush of air from a slap that narrowly missed his face.

“Uh, sorry,” he stammered, blushing in the blackness.

“You pervert!” she cried, swinging again and this time connecting with his shoulder.  “You take advantage of me like that again and I’ll scream so loud you’ll never hear another voice again as long as you live I swear!”

“It’s dark, and I’m sorry,” he continued, embarrassed beyond words.  “Please, stop hitting me and give me your hand.”

This time, just stick out your hand, and I’ll find it,” she said touchily.

Finding his elbow and following his arm to his hand, she gripped it unkindly and led him forward, a bit more quickly than he would have liked.  Shuffling so as not to trip, our gallant warrior soon became dimly aware that there was light ahead, and far closer than it should have been.  This was a different way out.

“Ok, you’re on your own from here,” she said letting go, still imperceptible in the darkness.  “Come back with clothes and a brush and I will allow you to rescue me.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” our hero inquired edgily.  “There’s a dragon out there you know.”

“What?!” the voice demanded from a few paces behind him.  “You haven’t killed the dragon yet?!  What are you doing down here?  Go take care of it!”

Not willing to admit that he had been running away, our hero turned toward the dim light, set his shoulders toward his task, and charged forward.  With a loud crash, he tripped and fell.

“You’re not much of a knight, are you?” the irritated damsel asked unhelpfully.

You have no idea.  He’s only alive because the dragon over-estimated his agility.

“I’m only in here because you can’t write battle scenes!” the sensitive knight threw back.  “Anyway, you’re not much of a damsel, are you?”

Give her a break, she’s probably suffering from some PTSD after being offered as a sacrifice to the dragon by her own father.

“We haven’t covered that in the story yet,” the touchy disembodied voice said.  “You can’t just dump exposition like that.  Have you ever written a story before?”  She cocked a thumb in the darkness at our mighty hero.  “Does he even have a MacGuffin?”


“MacGuffin, your holy grail, the plot device that drives him toward the conclusion.”

I guess the dragon is his MacGuffin.

“The dragon can’t be the MacGuffin,” she said matter-of-factly.  “The MacGuffin motivates the villain and the protagonist into conflict.  A MacGuffin can’t be the villain and the motivation for the villain at the same time.  Imagine saying ‘the dragon motivates the dragon and the idiot knight into conflict.’  It doesn’t work.”

Ok, then victory over the dragon is his MacGuffin.

“No it isn’t,” our brave knight interrupted.  “I want to live.”

“It seems to me like he has no motivation, and this is a really stupid story for me to have to be in,” the invisible critic critiqued.

Look, it’s not like you’re motivating any part of this story by abusing the main character and the narrator, so stop taking over the narrative and sidetracking the story.  If you’re not going to advance any of the storyline by damseling, be quiet while my protagonist and I figure out a way to kill a giant man-eating dragon.

“Why don’t you just drop a meteor on its head?” the as-yet-unrevealed beauty asked, ignoring the request to stick to damseling.

“We can’t,” the plucky knight said tersely.  “That’s deus ex something-or-other, which apparently is some sacred rule of dragon-fighting that cannot be broken no matter how terrible the beast is.”

Can we stay on track please?  You have a dragon to kill, remember?

“Do I?” the suddenly rebellious fighter asked.  “What’s my motivation?  Shouldn’t you cover my motivation?”

“And me,” the snarky tart muttered unhelpfully.

Look, don’t let her sidetrack you.  You have to kill the dragon because if you don’t you’ll be trapped here until you die.

“That’s not true.  I know how to get out,” our disembodied voice countered.

“What?” our hero asked, baffled.


“Oh, now my opinion matters, doesn’t it?  I have value; not just a piece of imaginary tail now am I?” the trumpeting pastry paraded.  “This is a dull, misogynistic tale and I refuse to lend it any legitimacy by participating.  Forget it.”

“You have to share what you know to advance the plot, otherwise you’re no more than a damsel in distress cliché,” our hero shared astutely.

What he said.

Our heroine in disguise paused a moment to decide.  “No.  Nope.  It includes a stupid exposition that I refuse to say.  Some garbage about the dragon hating the smell of iron.  It’s a contrived reason for me to not have any clothes on.”

You were supposed to tell the reader the legend of a maiden soothing the dragon to sleep by combing its hair, so your iron mining village won’t be terrorized by the creature.

“And that my clothes smelling of iron ore would enrage it, which is stupid and just a ridiculous excuse for you to write me naked,” she finished petulantly.  “I do not consent to this and I consider forcing me into this patriarchal damsel archetype to be literary rape.  I’m not just going to sit around combing like a good little princess waiting for my knight in shining armor to come to the rescue!”

“Me neither!” our hero said defiantly.  He then pulled off his arming cap, and waved his receding locks in the dimness.  The damsel watched from the darkness in growing disbelief as he stripped each piece of armor from his body, followed by his clothes, until he was totally naked.  His butt was far too flat to excite any lust from our lovely damsel, or really any other woman, and his belly, which had been well contained and concealed by his armor, now bulged fearlessly.  He looked, in his nudity, less like a knight, and more like somebody’s dad just out of the shower.  A cold shower.

“What-- the hell-- do you think you’re doing?!” she stammered, incredulous.

“I’m getting out of here,” he resolved heroically, but looking annoyed since he still wouldn’t ignore the narration.

“Do you realize,” the unhelpful feminine voice remarked to the air unhelpfully, “that all of the characters, including the dragon, are now naked?  Except for maybe the moronic narrator,” she added just to be irritating.

The narrator is not a character, and he may not be wearing any pants right now but that is not any of your business.  Now let’s advance this story.  What’s the plan?

Our hairy hero spoke first.  “My plan is to walk out of here and pretend that I was never here, and I’m waiting for yon fair maiden…”

“Arwyn,” she said testily.

“…to accompany me,” our intrepid, fearless hero finished.

“No.  No.  No.  I am not going to be anyone’s eye candy,” the sexy disembodied voice stated.

I can’t just write clothes onto you magically, that would be weird.  Plus, nudity is supposed to highlight your vulnerability, in addition to being exciting for some of my less mature readers.

“No, nudity is de-powering me, guaranteeing that my character will never be more than mere motivation for a male character, as well as exciting a sliver of juveniles that aren’t old enough to see through, and be disgusted by, your obvious erotic sub-text.  I have no intention of being vulnerable; I’m not dancing to your little tune.  And furthermore, this trash story is starting to sound like an expression of the writer’s insecurities with character building and writing dialogue, not to mention his own body.  It’s pathetic.”

The knight grinned excitedly.  “Are we getting meta?”

“No,” Arwyn said, shutting him down. “We aren’t doing anything.  I’m staying here, and you can do whatever you want, as long as it’s not here.  At this point I don’t want to participate in this story even if you do magic me some clothes.”

 “Look,” our sensible warrior reasoned, “so far we’ve each been working against each other, and look where it’s gotten us?  I say that we work together just long enough to get out of here, and then we can all go our separate ways.  I promise you, Arwyn, it won’t matter if I’ve seen too much of you, because once we part ways neither one of us will be in the other’s story, so it will be like it never happened.  So, what do you say, can we please put aside our differences and work together against the writer?  Please?”  Sir Not-so-handsome-without-his-shiny-armor stood, holding his hand out to her in a conciliatory gesture.

Arwyn considered silently.

 “Arwyn,” said our mighty picture of masculine bravery and male pattern baldness, his hand still held out, “let’s get out of this insulting story, part ways, and never see each other again.”

After too many moments of consideration, Arwyn huffed, and then strode out of the privacy of the darkness, baring her bravery.  Her chestnut hair wasn’t quite long enough to cover her ample breasts, which sagged just under the gently curling ends.  Quite a lot hippier than our hero had been hoping, she silently brushed past him without taking his hand.  Her generous backside jiggled as she petulantly stomped.  Her aquiline nose and sharp chin jutted into the air in defiance, as she refused to acknowledge the naked truth of her bodily existence in this story.

She strode out of the mouth of the cave cheekily, and no sooner had direct sunlight bathed her creamy skin, a mitt of talons swooped out of the sky and grabbed her, the sound of wing-beats fading with her screams.

You talked her into walking out just so that would happen, didn’t you?

“Actually, I just wanted to see her naked,” our cagey hero replied.  “Couldn’t you have made her younger and thinner?”

No, she shamed me into making her more believable before I even started writing her.  Besides, this way I get to have a little dig at a person for calling me morbid in high school.

“You’re making unflattering comments about a girl who wasn’t into you over twenty years ago?  Isn’t that a little childish and really passive-aggressive?” our hero asked, usurping the narrator’s voice and sidetracking the story, yet again.  An uncharacteristic realization suddenly became apparent on his face.  “Wouldn’t the real Arwyn or whoever be able to come after you?”

Oh yeah, I forgot to say that any resemblance to a real or imagined person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.  There, I’m sure it’ll be fine.  Now don’t you need to go save the fictional damsel in distress, who bears no resemblance to any real person?

“Not me, I’m out of here.  I don’t want to get sued,” our courageous hero countered, turning on his heal and striding with naked confidence out of the cave, bouncing slightly and whistling a happy tune.  With no monsters of any kind in sight, our hero assumed the dreaded dragon must be feasting on a feisty supporting character sandwich, allowing him to stride out of the situation and off into the sunset.  He couldn’t have been more wrong.

You see, the base of this sharply rising peak was surrounded by poison ivy, growing to waist, or more importantly to the naked man, groin height.  Only the opposite side, the side of which was inexplicably desert, afforded any escape.

Our hero gazed pensively at the thick hedge of rashy discomfort for a moment, deciding whether or not to obey the gentle nudge that fate had prodded him with.  “Nope, I’m still going,” he said determinedly, “a rash all over the delicates is still better than getting eaten.”

Look, I’ll put brambles and man-eating crocodiles on the other side if you don’t go up that hill and slay that dragon.

“If I’m going to get eaten either way, I’d rather go with the crocs than give you what you want at this point.  Slay the dragon!  With what?  I have no weapons, I can’t wear armor, and the dragon is knee-high to nothing with more teeth than a medieval dentist!  If I’m just getting fed into the meat-grinder at least I’ll go kicking and screaming!”

Look, just show a little courage, climb up that hill, and I’ll come up with some way for you to kill the dragon by the time you get up there.

“If it doesn’t eat me first,” our hero sulked.

Right now you can reasonably assume that it is napping in Arwyn’s lap, and you smell more like sweat and pee than iron.

“Thanks,” Sir Sarcasm thanked.  Eyeing the sky and seeing nothing but the afternoon sun, he started the long climb up the rocky bare side of the hill.  Struggling to remain quiet, despite the bleeding from his hands and elsewhere from an afternoon of clothing-optional adventure, he reached the summit of the dragon’s perch, from where he could see all approaches.  It was no wonder that the beast had been impossible to kill; it got the jump on any who neared.

“What now?” our heroic protagonist whimpered, causing a slight stir from inside the thicket of trees at the top of the hill.  The courageous caballero froze, and the rustle quieted.  He crept closer, trembling, peered from behind a rock through the trees into a clearing, and there beheld the terrible black beast, lying at the center, its mighty head resting on Arwyn’s naked lap, sadly covering her exposed parts.  She, for her part, sat defiant, arms folded across her chest, resolutely refusing to comb a hair on that dragon’s head.  The beast nudged her arm lightly before lying its head down again.

Okay, here’s the plan--

The dragon suddenly opened its eyes, lifted its head and looked around, because, of course, if the characters can hear the narrator, so can the monster, and since the narrator is omnipresent, no amount of whispering would allow the protagonist to hear without the dragon also hearing.  The beast scanned the ground and the sky for a long moment, concluded there was no danger, and finally rested again in Arwyn’s lap.

Sir Sweats-a-lot looked around nervously, unable to comprehend that his narrative co-conspirator was effectively silenced by the dragon’s perfect ears.  He could have, if he’d been paying attention, taken notice of the many broken spears lying about that the dragon had probably picked out of its scaly hide or innumerable teeth after battle, as the disembodied voice trying to conclude this glorious tale might have suggested, but our intrepid and clever hero had chosen his own method of defeating the beast.  He was already headed for the other side of the hill.

Looking over his shoulder, he saw that Arwyn had noticed his movements, and was glaring at him angrily.  He shrugged, then mouthed the word “sorry,” and turned to escape.  From behind him he heard her ask, at full volume, “where the hell do you think you’re going?”  He glanced back to see Arwyn sitting below a very awake dragon.  He broke into a full run, and covered exactly six paces with his bare, bloody feet before the dragon knocked him down with one blow, rolling him onto his back and pinning him to the ground with its razor sharp talons.

The dragon reared up and opened its maw, savoring the strike from which even a knight that is good at action scenes could not possibly escape.  A faint glow from its internal pilot shone from the otherwise black throat of the beast, and with a dragony grin and a piercing shriek, its man-eating head darted forward for the kill.  Having already peed the last little bit, our stalwart warrior turned his head and shut his eyes tightly, too terrified to witness his own certain demise.  Dear Arwyn, mortified beyond averting her attention, luckily for the rest of us witnessed the next event, so that it could be described without resorting to third person omniscient.

As the terrible hairy head of the dreaded dragon shrank the space between our hero and certain death, a lance of light appeared from the sky and pierced the head of the dragon right through its skull, impacting the ground beneath.  A chunk of molten rock, arriving from space no larger than a marble, with a terrible crack, had screamed through the atmosphere and blasted a hole straight through the dragon’s brain, killing it instantly.  Arwyn stared in naked disbelief as our unwavering dragon-slayer slowly unwavered himself.

“Wait. A. Minute!” said Arwyn indignantly, apparently still so shocked as to not quite realize her great fortune.  “You’re telling me that not only do I have to be in this story, but you’re going to wrap it up with deus ex machina afterall?”

“What just happened?” our hero asked, his eyes slowly blinking open.

Well, we mentioned meteors earlier in the story, and I can’t have any unnecessary elements clogging up the narrative.  You know, like Chekhov’s gun.

“So you’ve wrapped up the narrative with Chekhov’s deus ex machina?” Arwyn asked, genuinely surprised.


“Who is Chekhov?” our hero asked, looking around.

“This is by far the stupidest story I could ever be in,” Arwyn said, rising from her dragon-combing seat.  “I’m leaving.”  Having forgotten her demands for clothing and toiletries, she stormed off a more gently sloping side of the hill into the woods.

Where are you going?

“I’m going to find a real story to be in,” she called over her bare shoulder, “one not written by an infantile voyeur, where I get to have believable motivations, a conversation with another woman about something other than a man, and clothes!”

Aren’t you going to at least kiss the hero before disappearing into the sunset?

Arwyn whirled around and looked at the sky where the narrative voice in her head appeared to be coming from.  “Let’s get one thing straight; if you force me to kiss that imbecile over there I will cry ‘no’ so loud that every chowder-head still reading this garbage will know that you write rape.  Now leave me alone, and never write about me again!”  Nose in the air, Arwyn turned sharply on her heal and marched away, ample bum jiggling with each angry stomp.

“Did another knight do some slaying when I was, er… when the sun was in my eyes?” our hero asked, confused.

Never mind that, you can claim victory if anybody asks; I don’t think Arwyn is going to be telling anyone.

“Say, speaking of which, how about you give me a name?  Arwyn and Chekhov are the only people in this story with a name, and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Sorry chum, this one’s done, and after this you’re going to fade away into oblivion forever, so let’s not get too attached with names and such, ok?

Just as Sir Thinks-too-much was about to reply with a less than witty retort, a scream erupted from the woods into which Arwyn had disappeared.

You’d better go find out what that’s about.

With a sigh, our long-suffering hero chased off toward the scream and almost certain peril, but that must be someone else’s story, because this writer never wrote about either one of them again.

Submitted: May 04, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Benny Burns. All rights reserved.

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