A/N: Alondra, the Princess, Princess Calida, Her highness and any other name I come up with, are the same person. : )
Quiz quiz! What does Sfrothi stand for?
Kissing Toads – Dragon Talk. -Part one
Princess Calida sprang up indignantly.
"You surprise me Sir. Wensel. Do you not know me? Have you forgotten my ways?" she said haughtily. Then a weak Robin appeared ready to save his lady's honor.
"And with your pardon, her highness wasn't alone, I was here." He said sitting up just waken from his swoon. But Alondra was looking at all sides, definitely, something was wrong; her proud look changed to one of fear. She looked at the knight again, then at Wensel who hadn't lost his smirk.
"Oh," she uttered her eyes widening with fear, she recoiled to a tree like a cornered puppy; treason was on the air. The knight hadn't moved since Wensel had taken his sword from his neck. But watching her shrink in fear made up his mind. He took a deep breath and drew his sword.
"To me! To me the king's loyal men! Long live King Sebastian!" he yelled fiercely. Like ten men and five maids ran to him, brandishing their weapons. Alondra watched disturbed as the group divided itself in two. Her heart hurt as she saw her maids and stable boys ran for the opposite group. Her own trusted steward, her close friend...
"Let's finish with the traitors! Kill them all!" The knight shouted. She quickly stopped his sword with her own shouting.
"No! We cannot save a kingdom by killing them all!" she then gave a shrill whistle and a shadow fell on the group then a burst of fire set the twilight into light again.
"Ye loyal climb with me! Let the traitors be destroyed by themselves!" She screamed as she mounted Sfrothi who had just landed. Some scrambled unto his back, some held on to his tail or paws. With the cry: "Death for the tyrants!" the traitors began to chase them. But with a burst of flame, the huge dragon flapped his great wings and rose above the tree tops getting a last glimpse of the setting sun. He turned to the north and plunged right into a storm. The heavy clouds clung to them, and some lighting shone now and then. Some five minutes later, the storm started.
"Sfrothi!" she yelled above the thunder claps,
"It's not safe to fly anymore! Let's find a refuge!"
The dragon nodded and flew down below the clouds, looking keenly at the mountain side. He made a wide circle and swooped down on a bare top, solid rock without a single tree. A small cave opened before them.
"That's the best I could find in a hurry." He said letting them all down. The 17 people crowded in the small cave. The heavy rain wasn't getting in, but when the wind changed, the ones on the entrance got wet. But that wasn't much problem for them. Sfrothi lay on the entrance and they leaned against his warm side. The knight took his place beside him and shifted his position so many times, that Sfrothi couldn't sleep. So he nudged him and started to chat, in his lower voice. (And he had practiced that ability, Calida disliked the noise so, and he wanted to please her. Most dragons are noisy.)
"So, how old are you?" he asked perceiving his restlessness and trying to help him out. (Again, most dragons are very brute, but not all dragons are raised by a Princess.) The knight opened one eye.
"Just curious. Are you married?"
"What happened? Are you a widower?"
"That's ok. That was five years ago." There was a long silence.
"Did you have any kids?"
"Yes... we had a little girl but both…"
Sfrothi bit his forked tongue for asking the wrong question.
"Sorry again. Who do you work for? Are you rich?" as the only male present that was related to the princess (according to himself); he took the role of protecting father and older brother, and questioned all men surrounding the princess.
The knight sighted.
"I work for a lord; he's given me a baron-ship for wages, but I don't like him much."
"Why, is he cruel?
"Well, yes, kind of, but I couldn't leave him, you see, he's my…relative."
"You said couldn't."
"I just changed my mind, I can't stand his abuses."
"Did he beat you?"
"Nah, he couldn't beat me, but he did beat all the servants, maids too; Flop almost died before I bought him. Speaking of Flop, where is he? I'm sure he was with us..."
"He's there, yonder, with the Robin kid. Cook came with us, and she is very instructed in curing. So you left that lord. Were you fighting for or against the king in that battle you come from?"
"For the king, of curse. But as a wandering knight, not with the army."
"Oh. Um, are you courting anyone?"
"Don't you want to marry again?"
"No, I only wanted to marry the one I love; she's gone. There's no one on earth like her, I suppose I'm doomed to single hood."
"But, have you tried? Met ladies?"
"Not really, since Lisa died, I have been... busy. I haven't been out except for battles. I missed her every time I..." the knight paused for a long time. All the eavesdroppers fell asleep, even Sfrothy started to nod. After a good 15 minutes did the knight restarted.
"I met Lisa on a tournament. She was with her family on the benches of a balcony. Sir Waycroft was her cousin, and he was jousting with the rest of us; a very good spear, as I recall. The games started. She had a gay banner, which she waived as she cheered her cousin, but it wasn't the banner that caught my attention, it was her face, her smile. The way her countenance changed according to the scores the judges gave. I was so distracted I nearly lost. We were getting ready for the last charge. We had divided onto two teams, and Waycroft was on the opposing team. His team lined shined in the sun, the helmets that still had feathers flew proudly, and the horses neighed but didn't bolt a step so good was the rider's control. The trumpet sounded and we started. I lowered my spear and aimed straight for the cousin's chest. As we were running the man beside me threw a dagger. Now, in normal tournaments, it is legal to throw daggers, with dulled edges, of course. But on that particular match, the town was gathering money for a healing house, so, the daggers were prohibited. You should have seen her face when she saw it...
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