Marcus the Warrior Vs the Dragon.

Marcus edged his way deeper into the cave. The cave mouth had barely been big enough for two men to walk side by side but now the cavernous walls were lost to darkness. Marcus clutched tightly to his sword but even more to the flickering torch. He despised the dark, it made him feel venerable, it made him feel scared, but only cowards felt scared. Samuel was a coward, he was a reader who preferred to walk away from a battle rather than nobly defend his honour and so Marcus had always made sure that the weak little man knew his place. Marcus had never been a coward, he was a warrior. He had known it since he was a child. He had always been the fastest, strongest, the best fighter and the most handsome in his village. But he was a warrior trapped in a peaceful time, laboured by peace laden tasks. He was ensnared in a village void of worthy challenges for a man of his stature. Then finally it came, a trial commendable in the eyes of the village, one that could raise him enough to be given the village leaders daughters hand in marriage. Then not only would he have for his wife the most beautiful woman in the village, but he would also have the power and respect that comes with being the leaders son-in-law. He was merely to slay the beast that had darkened their sky and made its home in the caves to the west, and all the power and admiration would be his. All he had to do was destroy the dragon.

Cheers had guided his way to the cave. The sky had been clear, the sun hot and his whole village had joined him in walking to the entrance. All excited to watch their hero disappear in the depths of the cave. He wondered if they would be there when he returned. An image rose in his mind and he smiled. He pictured himself proudly striding out into the sunlight, cheers filling the air as he waves the dragons head high above his own. A low grumble dragged him from his daydream. Suddenly he was back in the dark, alone.

What was he doing here? Sure he was a good fighter. He could skillfully defeat any man in his small village. It was a sport for him to time how long it took him to disarm a challenger, but this was no mere man he was about to fight. This was no friendly fray with a code of conduct and honor. A life would be destroyed this day and Marcus was no longer sure of whose life it would be. He had never even seen a dragon before, never mind plunge a sword deep into it's hellish heart.

Solitary creatures of the mountains, the dragon makes it's home in the depths of caves. They are a rare breed, strong and wise, often living for hundreds of years. In days gone by the few dragons known by mankind were treated with reverence. Some saw them as mighty deities and made offerings of food and glittering jewels. Then a new religion came and spread and the dragons were no longer necessary. With nothing left for them in this new world of man they faded away, returning to their mountains where over the centuries they were lost to legend. Only the greedy nature of some men would not leave this legend undisturbed. With thoughts of a mythical dragons treasure they forced the creatures to leave the mountains and return to the world of men that they had left behind.

Fraya was an old dragon, angry at the humans for stealing the home and jewels that had belongs to her ancestors. She saw the danger of these two legged creatures; they were too many in number and too unforgiving in ideals. Yet to see this lone youth stumbling through her cave amused her. Fraya had lived for two hundred and twenty years. She was intelligent and quick and able to move in this dark with a silence and ease beyond this young mans consideration and he believed he could destroy her. No, the human did not seem confident of himself. She could hear his panicked heart revealing the fear as he hid behind his sword and flame. Why had he come? She had no more treasures. She had not attacked a member of his species. She had settled here for no more than five risings of the sun and here he was.

She looked down on him from high on her cave wall, her thick nails digging deep into the crevasses in the rock. Slowly she moved down and jumped noiselessly onto a slab of rock, still out of reach of the torches light. She growled.

Marcus swung round but saw nothing. He had heard the creature, it was here but where? He gripped tighter to his sword as he swung out at the darkness with his torch. His eyes fiercely searched the black for what they could not see. There came a scratching noise to his left, then it came again but to his right. Was there more than one? He quickly backed away to what he hoped was the nearest wall, nearly tripping in his haste. It was so dark. So much space. How could you fight something that you cannot see? Was it going to charge him? What if it was too fast?

He waited, staring into the dark but nothing more came forth. The only sound he now heard was his own harsh breathing, which seemed unnaturally loud to his ears. It felt as if the darkness was pressing in on him. The tension was unbearable.

He soon began to wonder if he had heard anything at all and suddenly felt a fool for being so scared. He was here to kill the dragon not to cower against a wall. He was a brave warrior protecting his fellow villagers. The dragon was no more than an animal. A lizard skulking from the light. He smiled to himself. It was hiding wasn't it? So the animal was not completely dumb. He could kill this thing. He just needed it to come out into the light, to reveal itself and as soon as it made that mistake it was dead. He had to force the creature to show itself. He stepped forward once again filled with confidence and that was when the dragon came into view.

Fraya normally kept herself low to the ground, her muscular arms flat against the rock beneath her. Yet today specially for this arrogant human, she lifted herself up, a thick set neck stretching so as to allow her to glare into the eyes of the creature she was soon to kill. That was how she liked to approach opponents in her more youthful days. It was in the eyes that a persons being could be found. Fraya had not looked into the eyes of a human before and she found his flaky brown orbs so strange compared to the oval slits found within her own kind.

She moved slowly. The flickering light from the torch reflected against Fraya's cold skin making the dark red scales shimmer as she walked. To Marcus she looked like giant red lizard, except for two large leathery wings that unfolded from her back and stretched high into the cave like the wings of an eagle about to enter flight. Then there was also the head which looked more like it belonged to wolf with its long snout covered in a jigsaw of scales. Scales that continued onto a large forehead where two slender, pointed ears leaned back, curving around her head so that they were barely visible.

She stopped a swords stretch from him and lifted her upper lip to reveal her many sharp, interlocking teeth. The rhythm of his heart had grown so much faster and though the expression of shock on his face; the wide eyes and slack jaw, all suggested to her that he dearly wished to be far away rather than about to enter combat with a dragon, she still was cautious. This single human may not have looked much but he had few options and if Fraya wasn't careful she could end up injured.

In the distance the low roar of an underground river was all that could be heard. Even the insects that scuttled along the roof and between the rocks stopped to watch the display. Suddenly Fraya breathed out and the torch Marcus held flickered and died. The dragon took a step back so as to ensure she was in no danger of a blind swing of the sword before her eyes had adjusted to the change in light. A strange thud and clang echoed around the cave. Fraya looked into the dark and for an instant the man seemed to have disappeared. On the floor where he had once stood, there was a strange dark heap. She moved closer and understood. The mound on the floor was the young man. He had fainted. The dragon stood and glanced around her as though someone might be watching. She had not expected this, never before had she had her prey faint and she had no clue as to how to react. She couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Fainting was not an action befitting a warrior. The man looked peaceful now. He was clearly happier when unaware of the dragon looming above him. The thought of a trap had occurred to her but his sword had skidded out of reach, its hilt facing away and his arms limply lay out in an L shape away from his body.

She poked the sleeping figure with the back of her claw, then gently lowered her head and picked up young Marcus so that he hung out of each side of her mouth. It felt wrong to attack someone in this condition and if she left him here he would only end up hurting himself. So, carefully trying not to bite down too hard, she made her way through the cave.

Marcus didn't open his eyes straight away, he wanted to sleep just a little longer but he didn't feel comfy enough. It felt as though he was on some form of ledge with his legs and upper body dangling either side, except the center of the ledge was soft and warm and wet, whilst the edges were sharp spikes. Then there was also a roof of these spikes gently pressing down on his stomach. He also seemed to be moving. What was going on? He opened his eyes only to find it was as though they were still closed as all he saw was black. Frantically his arms searched the dark, only to touch the cold, scaly skin of the dragons head. Suddenly he became aware of the sound of breathing, the soft movement of the tongue beneath his back and the sharpness of the teeth. He realized exactly were he was. He was in the dragons mouth! Its saliva wetting the shirt on his back as he was carried. The full horror of his predicament hit him with a force that made him feel sick and dizzy. His last though before he once again blacked out was of how wrong everything had gone.

Okay, I am having some trouble on how to end it, but I will try to finish it soon.