“Good day, Sir Taric.” King Rudolf greeted. Taric bowed in respect, though this was difficult a difficult task to perform while dressed in his knightly armor.
“Your majesty.” Taric replied.
“I have for you a quest worthy of a true knight. A bloodthirsty dragon has begun to terrorize this grand city of Bellopolis. It has set fire to the southwestern portion of Bellopolis and despite their noblest efforts, the firemen could not extinguish the fire without being set ablaze themselves by the dragon. Will you vanquish the dragon for your city?”
“Very well. As I said before, you can find him in the southwestern part of the city. Be assured that if you return with the head of the dragon, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Now go.” Taric rose and left the presence of the king. He mounted his steed with the utmost of confidence.
“Onward, Arthur!” he proclaimed. The horse took flight leaving only a dust cloud behind. Soon the sun was overshadowed by the sheer might of the dragon. It was at least fifty times larger than Taric and eight times as large as the buildings which it wreaked its havoc upon. With a terrible roar it descended upon Taric, knocking him off of Arthur. The dragon attempted this maneuver a second time, but Taric had raised his sword and plunged it deep into the flesh of its foot. It rose again into the sky, with Taric’s sword still lodged in its foot. A plume of orange burst through the sky and singed Taric’s face.
“This beast is mightier than I had expected.” Taric stated to himself. “Darkness is foreboding unless I act quickly.” He remounted Arthur and waited for the next fireball. When it came, he leaped off of the horse. Poor Arthur was cooked to perfection. The dragon dropped next to Taric. Nervously, Taric picked up Arthur’s carcass and laid it before the dragon. Cautiously it inspected the offering. Finally, it consumed Arthur in one gulp. While the dragon savored its meal, Taric climbed up its back. He clung onto its neck as it took off. Taric lead it to a pasture in which a herd of sheep was known to graze. In moments the herd was extinct. Taric took part in a marvelous feast that night which was augmented by a warming fire to last him through the cold night.
When daylight struck Taric rode further into the Bellopolis. Taric plundered the city, finding all of the gold that King Rudolf had described. The two were meet by the King’s Guard who stood trembling before him. Feebly, the archers on the pillars of the castle raised their arrows and fired into the sky, missing low. The dragon, or as Taric had begun to call it, Artholemew, easily eliminated the archers with a breath of fire and lowered to get the swordsmen into range. Reinforcements arrived from the army and steadied their catapults. Heavy rocks soared into the sky and damaged Artholemew’s wing. He crashed to the ground but quickly recuperated. Though his gold scattered upon the ground, Taric, protected by his armor and the cushion of the dragon, was unharmed. Artholemew scolded the army with fire, but the flame began to grow rapidly weaker. Seeing that they were being surrounded, Taric searched for his sword, but could not find it. He recollected that he had previously stuck it in Artholemew’s foot. He retrieved his weapon, but found that the wound left by the sword was discolored. He wiped the blood off of the sword and discovered a deposit of rust near its point. Fire ceased to flow from Artholemew’s mouth. He made some weak attempts at clawing at the army, but it was to no avail. Artholemew’s legs gave out and he died shortly thereafter. The swords men pounced on him and promptly severed his head. King Rudolf came out of the castle and faced Taric.
“Lay down your weapon and kneel before your superior.” King Rudolf commanded. Taric complied. “I commend the cunningness of your strategy. You fooled the dragon long enough for it to die of blood poisoning and even sacrificed your steed for my kingdom. However, I’m not sure whether the city is indebted to you or you are indebted to the city. Your tactics have decimated another quarter of my city and cost me some of my best archers. With that being considered, pick up enough gold from the ground to buy a new horse and then take a handful more. This shall serve as your reward and as your punishment.” Taric bent over and collected some gold from the ground. “Farewell, sire.” Taric said. As he walked past the remnants of the city wall, he looked back longingly at the gold lying on the ground. All of it and more could have been his for the taking. He returned to his home village of Abdulaquar and cried himself to sleep.
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