This is the first in a series of short fantasy stories that I am writing for this website in particular. Enjoy!
I sat at the table enjoying a piece of chicken, when my mother came flying in. Being seventeen, I was not so easily surprised and stayed calm. “Mother, what is wrong?” – “The guards have captured your brother for they know he is a Stormsoldier! You must rescue him!” Now I was surprised. You see, my brother is twenty, and indeed, he is a Stormsoldier. But Stormsoldier or not, he needed rescuing, and that surprised me. It’s not like he is prone to being captured. Besides, the guards are not exactly bright, especially when it comes to tying knots and watching prisoners. Except for that one soldier, Freyjr Nightcloak, and he might or might not be with the guards. “I shall rescue him, Mother.” and off to my room I went to get a few things. I was already wearing favorite belted dress, so all that was still needed was my desert hood and a pair of boots. Jewelry is definitely not good for spying, rescuing, and the like. In the last moment, I remembered my sword, an iron sword, a perfect choice for sneaking and rescuing. Mother said to me, “Freja, if you ever need aid, shout these three words: Ran, Miir, and Taah.” And then I hugged her, and the adventure began.
I arrived at the keep at around noon, and there in the courtyard were the guards, standing around my tied-up brother Ralof. And of course, Freyjr was there. I crouched low, crawled under a wagon and then through a ditch. But at that moment, a strange noise that made my blood freeze rang through the sky. The guards ignored the noise and started to drag Ralof towards the prison. Then the noise rang out again, louder and closer this time. Just as the guard was nearing the door with Ralof, a big black dragon, yes, a big black dragon with red eyes, landed on the tower and released a firestorm upon the whole town.
Chaos broke out. Houses caught fire and were consumed in an instant while frightened townspeople, soldiers and animals were running everywhere. Fear gripped the guards, and in the confusion, I managed to get close to Ralof and cut his bonds. We ran, hand in hand, when five soldiers stepped in our way. Drawing my sword, I pushed Ralof back and rushed forward. The first I stabbed behind his leg, and he fell down, unable to walk. The second got a dent in the head from the flat of my sword. I planted a kick in the third’s face. The last two ran off. I turned to Ralof, only to see him with a horrified look on his face, pointing in the direction the guards ran. A duel was taking place between Freyjr and the dragon, and the dragon was winning. Freyjr’s black furs were tattered around his shoulders, his shield was cast away in splinters, and his armor all but broken. His sword shook in his hand, and his red-gold beard was streaked with blood. That made me angry. I liked him. And I liked him too much to let him be killed by a silly old dragon, red eyes or no. Then came the last straw. The worm opened his mouth and Freyjr was blown back by a firestorm, and lay motionless.
Livid with anger, I pushed Ralof away and gave him a look that said “Get out of here with Mother and the animals!”. Then I stepped in front of the dragon. He looked surprised, but only for three seconds. Then he smiled, a slow, evil smile. Everything around me faded, there was only that evil smile, and my sword.
Since my childhood, fighting had been an important part of my life. It started when I was three and Ralof six, and the court magician taught Mother how to enchant training dummies to act like fighting opponents. Daddy called Ralof “Little Bear” and me “Little Wolf”. I started with a dagger as well as bow and arrow, progressed to small sword, then two longer swords, until I found my favorite, the iron sword which I now held, blade glinting in the light.
The dragon uttered three words: “Wo kos hi?”, which translates to “Who are you?”. Yes, I know: Don’t ever talk to dragons. But despite better knowledge, I answered in my own tongue, “I am Freja, daughter of Bjorn and Sigrid. Who are you to dare and burn my village?” The dragon did not answer, but lunged at me. Running at him also, I remembered the words my mother told me to say if I needed aid. In one word, I shouted “Ranmiirtaah!”. Immediately the dragon stopped in his tracks, as what seemed to be vines made of green light shot from my hands and spread across the stones and into the woods. After a few minutes, soft growling issued from behind me. I slowly turned to find a giant brown bear directly behind me. Hoping it would not attack me, I faced the dragon again, and saw a ring of bears slowly closing in on the dragon. A small one was trying to get Freyjr onto its back. It succeeded just as the bears started attacking the dragon.
Trying to get in on the fight, I found that the bears wouldn’t let me. And then I looked at my hands. They seemed to be covered in fire, but it did not hurt. I held out my hand, closed my eyes, and concentrated on burning the dragon. Soon a yelp told me that the dragon was hurt: Its tail was on fire! It yelped again and took off into the sky, shouting “I will be back for you, Freja Dragonbane!”. Finally, my last name began to make sense to me.
When the dragon had disappeared, I left the courtyard of the keep, the bears following me. There were Ralof and my mother, who was talking to a frightened hay cart driver: “…and take this message to Bjorn the Alchemist.” I ran to Mother, gave her a hug, and the three of us set out to find our new home.
Next: Dragon Magic: Wisdom of the Dragons
Soon to come!