Chapter XXXVIII – Battling the Dragon!

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I’m doomed. A large dragon is swooping down on me. And I’m on my back, having just missed killing a small dragon. With only moments left in my life, I take my sword in both hands and thrust upward. If I’m going to die, I want to at least give the thing a serious wound.

This is how Tollon imagined things would play out. (St. George killing the dragon, by Bernat Martorelli (died 1492))

The dragon comes crashing into me like a sack of bricks. My sword and my arms go right into its throat. It clamps its jaws down on my arms, and I realize I’m going to lose both hands before I die.

And then it twitches and collapses on me. The light goes out of its eyes. I look at the angle of its head and my sword, and realize it’s gone straight through the roof of the creature’s mouth and into its brain. And that damp stuff that’s flowing down my arms and onto my chin and neck is a combination of dragon saliva, dragon blood, and dragon brain.

I’m alive. The dragon is dead. I’ve killed it! Oh, it may just have broken several of my ribs. And I think both my arms are bleeding from wounds inflicted by its teeth. And I’m barely able to breathe, with the thing on top of me. But I’m alive! I’m going to live.

And then I hear another ear-splitting cry, and remember the little dragon. I’ve just killed its mother. (Or father. I’m not in a good position to tell just at the moment). Once it gets over the loss, I don’t think it’s going to like me.

There’s a spell that gives one the strength of a dozen men. I know it well, and I can do it even here and now. So I invoke it, pull my arms out of the dragon’s mouth, and with my arms and my body push the carcass off of me..

The spell isn’t working all that well. It feels more like I have the strength of maybe five men. Perhaps being crushed and badly injured by a dragon sets a lower standard.

I stand up. I feel strong. I also hurt badly in my chest, both arms, and my left leg.

And there is the little dragon, looking at me. If I were going to anthropomorphize, I’d say it looked just like a guy who’s been dumped for his best friend. I realize my sword is still stuck in the big dragon’s mouth. I wonder if I can reach it before the little dragon decides to attack me.

The answer is “no.”

The dragon charges me, knocking me off my feet. For the second time, I find myself underneath a dragon. This one wants to bite my head off. I grab it by its jaws and try to pull them apart. My fingers are bleeding from the sharp teeth. I take a blast of fire directly in the face, saved only by the spells I cast before entering the cave. The thing’s jaws weaken just after the fireball, and I pull as hard as I can. I hear bones snapping. With a horrific scream, the dragon falls off of me. It shrieks repeatedly, thrashing around. One of its talons rips the left side of my body. I roll away.

We both lie there on the floor. The dragon has a broken jaw thanks to the strength of five men. I have . . . I’ve stopped counting my injuries. I just lie there and cry. I hurt. It’s so unfair there were two dragons! Damn Sarton! Damn all dragons!

The sound of the dragon thrashing reminds me I’m still in danger. I stagger up, limp over to the corpse of the big dragon, and yank the sword out of its mouth. It’s ornamented in blood and brains.

I limp over to the thrashing dragon. It sees me, and makes a mewling sound. It is frightened of me. And it is gathering up another blast of fire. Wonder how that will work with a broken jaw?

I don’t care to find out. I take three steps and plunge my blade deep into the dragon’s belly. There’s a small explosion as the creature’s abdomen splits apart, and flames come out. I don’t care. I pull out the sword, take another two steps, and serve this one like its parent, straight through the mouth into the brain. This is one dragon that is never going to hurt anyone ever again.

I mean to pull out the sword, but I fall to my knees instead. I have the strength of ten men. I don’t care. I’m so tired. I hear someone calling my name. I need to get up. I think I get up. I don’t care.

Darkness.

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