I recently wrote a short story titled The Dragon and The Princess. There are a couple of reasons for this story but at the moment, they aren't important to this posting. The story is about twenty double spaced pages long in Word format. So, what I thought I would do is post a page or so every night on my little blog here and let everyone in on the story. I will try to be diligent about getting something up every night but sometimes "the best laid plans", as they say...
So, if you like the story as it unfolds just tune in every night until the end. It's as simple as that. I hope you enjoy the writing. Without further ado ...
The night is dark as pitch as no star shines from the heavens above to light this tower that has held me for so long. The colder months begin to slowly fade, the ancient bricks that form this turret that is my resting place hold the heat from the midday sun and help to keep me warm as day fades to cool nights. But the night is a demanding mistress still and the warmth escapes long before the dawn again comes to the world.
It is almost beyond my reckoning the length of forced servitude I have endured within these walls, to be set free to do their bidding at times of their choosing only to return again to mire my soul within. Free, they are not my equal by any measure yet their hold on me has truly been my undoing. It is a morbid life I lead, though one could hardly call it a life. Slavery. It is nothing more yet to call it so would be an insult to the vile term itself. I am a prisoner set free only to be called to return, which I must do of my own accord.
This castle, this Whitehall as it is named has been built upon the backs of those whose allegiance is tied to safety, nothing more. Yet to pretend the king offers anything more would be preposterous. His well-being is tied to the peasants who tend the lands and his armies offer them solace from outsiders who would surely rape their lands and burn their fields of toil. It is a cruel master whose payment would be nearly the same as those who they seek protection from.
The lands live forever and I have seen them slowly change before my downcast eyes. Meadows from my youth once rich and lush with wildflowers of uncounted hues now bring forth only golden grains that nourish the populace. Would it be that my time upon this earth would come to an end for I wish to no longer live within these constraints. Yet to leave my own treasure at the hands of the king is unthinkable. He has dwelled within Whitehall for a time that spans generations. His unnatural rule is of my own doing, unwittingly as it was, for my treasure is both my curse and the only reason I live on.
My ear pricks at the sound of hooves as they approach Whitehall down the cobbled path, stones laid uncounted years ago. A single rider I note, his passing swift, the bridge lowered well before his entry. I suspect his arrival was anticipated as not even a torch signaled his journey through the night airs. Would I have had the notion of sleep this night his arrival would surely have awakened me. My slumber is not what it used to be you understand. These walls squeeze close as I have no space to stretch my wings. Perhaps I shall hear of the tale he brings from the West Country.
The night slithers on and the dawn is just an hour off yet a soft glow emanates from the western hills where none should reside. As I crane my neck above the single opening in the ancient brick, pinpricks of flame begin to dot the horizon. It can only mean one thing; troops returning from the West Country. It is an unexpected journey as I have not heard tale of their arrival. I hear the jest in your thoughts; why should I, their prisoner be counseled of such matters? Ah, for I am dragon! Last in a line of mercenaries used by the kings of Whitehall against their enemies. Once our numbers filled the sky, Titans, but our petty differences and the growing swarm a men became our undoing. Yet I am not for hire as I reside captured in this hall, my freedom only to do the king’s bidding.
Would I have my freedom I could spy from above their number as they march back down the long road. More and more of their torches make their presence known as they become a sea of luminescence winding their way through the turns cut into the rolling hills, once green pastures now reduced to lanes of commerce. It is peculiar the Army of Whitehall marches at night. There must be a confidence residing within to leave the fences of the West Country unguarded. Yet their light grows with each footfall eastward, the points of light massing to reduce the shadows to ghostly specters and withdraw before their time.
Had I the notion I would extend myself to the night sky and watch their return, but the steel that binds me is my reminder that I have no voice of freedom. This chain I could snap with ease in the days of my youth, this peg driven deep into the mortar no more than a twig in a windstorm. Though my strength lessens as the years have passed it is my constant confinement that hinders my soul above all.
I look again to see the dancing lights as they parade down the causeway. Perhaps they number less than I had imagined. No more than a garrison now I would guess. Their absence would not be felt along the fences. Strange though it is that they march in the night airs. It is not their habit. Men are creatures of the light. They fear what they do not know, what they cannot see in the shadows. Alone they are timid. Their strength lies in numbers where they are a formidable opponent as my race failed to realize until it was too late.