The Legend of Andrew Richert

~ Prologue ~

Once upon a time in the days of old

There lived a terrible beast

With scales and eyes of molten gold.

Along came a knight with a dragon crest.

Claiming he could defeat it and rescue the princess, so daring and bold.

But you don't need to hear me babble on

When you can hear the story from ink

So stop listening to this old song

And read of the story of Richert and Drake.

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A horse sat at the top of a hill. It was as black as night with a small white diamond on his forehead, a young man on top. He was tall and broad with arms of rippling muscle. He had short wavy brown hair and chocolate brown eyes with a roguish appearance. Lightly kicking the horse's sides, he sent the horse into a trot.

A large, stone gray castle sat in the small valley surrounded by a moat. Tugging on the reins, he pulled the horse to a stop a foot in front of the moat. He looked up at a shout.

"Who are you?" questioned the guard. He had on a blue tunic with a helmet covering his head, a spear gripped in one hand.

"I am sir Andrew Richert. I have come to talk to the king of this castle," he called up to the guard.

"What is it that you wish to talk of?" the guard threw back. Andrew smiled.

"I wish to talk about my reward," he replied. The guard frowned.

"Reward for what?"

"For defeating the dragon and saving his daughter," Andrew explained.

"Lower the bridge!" Andrew smirked as the bridge began to lower.

"That's more like it," he mutterd to himself as he made his way over the bridge.

"Follow me," the guard said as Andrew climbed off his horse He looked over at the teenager standing in front of him.

"Can you take my horse to the stables?" he asked. Nodding, the blonde-haired, brown-eyed boy took the offered reins and steered the black stallion towards the stables.

The guard cleared his throat, gaining Andrew's attention.

"Shall we," he questioned, motioning with his arms to the castle. Nodding, they made their way through the hay-covered courtyard. Andrew's eyes wandered as they walked.

There were several small cottages visible, chickens clucking as they bobbed past, pecking at the ground. He looked up as the large double doors groaned open. Their boots echoed off the stone floor as they made their way through the halls.

Another pair of doors stood in their way. Two guards stood on either side. As Andrew and the other guard walked up to the door, the two men grabbed the handles and pulled it open. Andrew passed through the doors, glancing at each guard.

Inside sat a large stone throne, a cushion sitting over the top of it. Jewels were inlaid in the armrests, glittering in the golden light of the candles from the chandelier and other candleholders. Sitting in the throne was a middle-aged man. He had a bushy brown beard and blue eyes. He smiled happily as soon as he saw them. Andrew's step slowed as he got a better look at the king. His eyes widened in realization.

"King Notlaw?" He smiled and nodded. Andrew's eyes widened even further.

"Then that means…" he trailed off. King Notlaw's smile faded to a grim line.

"I'm afraid so. My daughter, your friend, Elyria, has been kidnapped by the golden dragon. He lives in the mountain east of here. You will find him easily. I'm just sorry defeating him will not be the same. Are you sure about this?" he questioned.

Andrew smiled.

"Now more than ever," he agreed. "If I'm not back in two days, I have probably perished. Don't worry till then," he smiled. Turning, Andrew made his way back.

"Andrew," the king called out. Andrew paused at the doors, but didn't turn. "Be careful. And please. Bring my daughter back," he said gravely.

"I give you my word," he said before walking out.

----

Andrew thundered down a horse-trodden path, a sword held in a black sheathe around his waist, trimmed in gold with a dragon in a circle on either side in the middle. The pommel was tear shaped with a red stone in the middle. He wore black armor trimmed in gold with the same golden dragon on his sheath carved into the chest plate. Around his back was a black bow and a rope, a quiver held on the opposite side of his sword.

"We're almost there Shadow," he said, stroking his horse's neck. He let out a whinny as they ascended a small hill. Andrew pulled Shadow to a halt.

"I do believe we've found him," Andrew muttered as he stared at the mountain in front of him. Almost at the top there was something shining brightly.

"Why do they always have to be so high," he muttered before sending Shadow into a gallop.

----

"Augh! Let me go! My father will never give you his gold. Why do you even want it? You're made of gold!" Elyria screamed angrily as she struggled against the ropes that bound her to the stalagmite. She had golden hair and crystal blue eyes. The golden dragon sat on the opposite side, barbed tail swaying to and fro with quick angry snaps. He was beginning to get annoyed.

"If you don't stop talking this instant, so help me-" he was cut off by a sarcastic comment from Elyria

"You'll what? Barbecue me? If you want your gold that's not going to help," The dragon glared at her.

"You know, there are other castles with other, more quiet, princesses," he commented. "Then go kidnap them!" Elyria exploded, kicking at the air.

Elyria stopped when she heard a chuckle. The Dragon swung his great head over to the entrance, Elyria following his stare. Her eyes widened when she saw the knight.

"Andrew?" she questioned and tried to move forward. The knight smiled.

"The one and only," he replied. The dragon growled.

"Are you the messenger of the king?" Andrew blinked.

"No."

He barely finished the word before the dragon let loose a torrent of flames.

Andrew leapt out of the way, rolling when he hit the ground and then popping back up, appearing right beside Elyria. With a swing of his sword he sliced through the ropes. The dragon roared in anger. Immediately, he planted himself in between the two and their escape.

"I will not let you leave," he growled, smoke sizzling from his nose. Eyes widening, Andrew grabbed Elyria and threw them to the ground as a pillar of fire flew over their heads.

"Do you have a plan?" Elyria questioned as they stood and dove to the side, dodging another blast of flames.

"Umm…" Elyria's head snapped to him as they jumped behind a large stone.

"Umm'! What does that mean?" she exclaimed as the rock began to melt away.

"I'm working on it," he said as they quickly stood, running to another rock.

"Well hurry uhhh-ahhhh," she let out a scream as the ground fell out from under them.

Andrew grabbed Elyria around the waist and glanced around as she wrapped her legs around his waist. A ledge caught his attention. Pulling out his sword, he slammed it into the rock, planning to veer them toward it. He was surprised to find that the blade actually bit into the cliff. The farther they went, the softer it became. They began to slow as the sword sliced farther into the rock.

Just before the hilt hit the ground, they came to a stop. Andrew let out a sigh of relief. Glancing down, he was surprised to see a bubbling mass of lava about a 100 feet away.

"Well, that was close," he commented, smiling at Elyria. She stared at him with wide furious eyes.

"Close! Is that all you can say? We nearly died!" she yelled angrily. Andrew smiled.

"I see you still have that bad temper of yours." She gasped and opened her mouth to retort but a loud roar caught their attention.

Looking up, they found the golden dragon diving towards them, chest swelling and smoke billowing, anger evident in his cold gold eyes.

"Uh-oh," Andrew muttered.

"What now?" Elyria questioned sarcastically.

"Get my rope and bow." Andrew said as he watched the dragon swing farther down towards them. Reaching over Andrew, Elyria grabbed the bow and rope. Pulling it over his head she paused.

"How am I supposed to do this?" she questioned. One arm was holding the sword and the other was holding her. "Well I suppose I could drop you," he muttered, glancing down. Elyria gasped and punched him in the arm.

"Joking, joking. Why don't you push them as far down my arm as you can? Then just grab me tighter around the neck and then you can pull it off the rest of the way. Don't accidentally choke me," he added, smiling.

"It might not be accidentally," she muttered but did as he said. The rope and bow hung around his wrist now. Tightening her grip around Andrew's neck, she reached behind her and grabbed the two items.

"Now what?" she questioned.

"Swing the rope around your shoulder and pull an arrow out of the quiver on my waist," he explained. Shifting her legs, she opened the quiver and pulled out one of the arrows. Andrew glanced up. The dragon was still flying towards them. How far had they fallen?

"Tie one end of the rope around the end of the arrow," he explained. Finding the end, Elyria knotted the rope around the arrow, making sure it would stay. Tying the other end around her waist she set the rope in her lap.

"Don't drop me," she said as she carefully removed her arm from around his neck. Tightening her legs around his waist, Elyria raised the bow, knocking the arrow.

"Aim for the edge of the cliff," Andrew explained. Elyria spared a glare at him.

"I know," she muttered angrily.

"He's getting closer," Andrew muttered.

"I know," she growled. As she steadied her hand, the dragon took a deep breath.

"Now!" Andrew yelled. Elyria released the arrow, letting it fly through the air. Making sure she didn't get in the way of the rope, she grabbed Andrew from under the arms to ensure he didn't slip from her grip.

The arrow slammed into the ceiling above the cliff, jerking Elyria and Andrew up. The dragon let out a gasp, a cloud of smoke covering his vision. Andrew swung towards the dragon and struck with his sword, cutting half of his thin, vulnerable wing away. The dragon let out a loud roar of pain as he began to fall towards the pool of lava.

Andrew watched as the dragon hit the lava, turning the liquid fire to a pool of molten gold in an instant.

"Andrew!"

His head shot up at the sudden cry from Elyria. He looked up and found the cliff coming up. Gripping his bloody sword, he waited until their ascent began to slow before slamming it into the stone.

"Yank-"

"I know!" Elyria yelled in his ear as she gave the rope a small yank. The arrow came loose and fell to her hands. Placing it in the bow, she aimed for the ceiling that hung above the ground. Letting it go, she gripped Andrew around the neck. Once again they were yanked up. As they flew through the air, Elyria smiled.

"Thank you," she muttered. Andrew smiled.

"No problem. It's nothing new," he explained. Frowning, Elyria looked up at him. "What do you mean? Do you slay dragons for a living" she questioned. He smiled.

"No. I don't have time for that," he said. Her brows furrowed.

"Why not," she asked as they grabbed a hold of the edge of the cliff. Grunting, Andrew pulled himself up before helping Elyria.

"Because saving you is a full time job," he replied, smiling. Elyria gasped. That day, Andrew learned how hard Elyria really could punch.

----

"Job well done Sir Andrew Richert. I bestow upon you my daughter's hand in marriage," King Notlaw said, smiling. Andrew did a double take and Elyria's eyes widened.

"What?" they yelled at the same time. King Notlaw frowned.

"Didn't you know that was the reward for saving my daughter?" he questioned. Andrew stared at him dumbfounded. He shook his head.

"Well it's the least I can do after you defeated the dragon. And that's quite a nasty bruise you have there on your cheek," he commented, looking at the black and blue cheek.

Elyria stifled a giggle as Andrew glared at her.

"Yes, quite painful," he muttered.

"So, will you accept my offer?" he questioned. Andrew looked thoughtful.

"I have a better idea," he muttered, mind wandering back to the pool of gold.

----

After 2 more years of dragon slaying, Andrew returned to the kingdom, taking Elyria's hand in marriage. On the mountain cliff where the golden dragon once rested stood a golden statue of a young knight and a heroic female, a dragon carved into both of their chest plates. The people never ran out of gold and never fell under the spell of poor with King Richert ruling, Queen Elyria always by his side be it war of battle, or war of money.

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