“I’m not going behind that hill,” said Princess Olgreth.
It was actually a beautiful hill, covered in wildflowers. Well, except for the menacing growling emanating from the other side…and the ankle deep mud at the base here…why is farmland always so dirty?
“But Wartsworth is there,” explained Fiddleson for the millionth time. “It’s not even his fault. Remember? Wartsworth? Ambassador from Kiln? You invited him here at the behest of your father our Lord and King?”
Talk about repulsive. If she’d just wipe the grease off her mouth or something it would make this whole situation more palatable.
“My father had nothing to do with it,” explained Olgreth, in-between bites of the breakfast sausage she insisted on waving about as if to make her point clearer. “I want to negotiate the mining treaty, because yes, I want one billion in coin. My father claims monetary gain isn’t worth the risk of political instability up north blah blah blah so he has no interest in it, it’s all me.”
“Ah, my lady, you’re getting meat juice all over your royal blouse. And as fond as I am of economic gain and what I assume would be the promise of a handsome bribe to keep my mouth shut, we simply must get to this poor fellow, because otherwise he’ll die. As in dead.”
Good gracious this woman needs to at least wipe yesterday’s morning meal off her face. The sausage chucks are starting to mix with Tuesday’s porridge. And how is she not 300 pounds?
“Whatever, go get Gladney and make him do it.”
Oh. Of course, get the insufferably heralded knight champion of greater Scarmia to do the dirty work. Nope. Takes too long. By then Wartsworth would be roasted alive. Was that even possible? What an absurd phrase.
“Your highness,” pleaded Fiddleson. “There is not time. It’s happening now. Please, cast aside your fear and…”
“You think I’m afraid?” boomed Olgreth as she splattered Fiddleson with sausage drippings and shook her vile, lukewarm breakfast in his face. “I can slay a dragon, I’ve done it before.”
Why does she insist on that crazy story? And why on earth does she wear that puffy pink dress and those heels all the time?
“Ah, your highness,” ventured Fiddleson. “I don’t think that night…counts.”
Olgreth drew so close Fiddleson swore he could feel her unkept girl whiskers brushing his face…and that sausage breath…positively revolting.
“Everyone says I was drunk, and you know what, so what? I was. Gladney was a mess, that man can’t handle champagne. Puked all over the Royal Scribe. But I was fine. And I took down that beast.”
“Princess Olgreth,” explained Fiddleson. “You murdered Lord Tythe’s gigantic beast of a dog. It was no dragon. His name was Boffin, and if I recall, Tythe was quite upset. His only friend, really. That man’s such a boor, I almost feel sorry for him.”
“Dragon or dog makes no difference,” said Princess Olgreth. “He was mean, and almost ate that child last May, remember? If I want to call him a dragon, he’s a dragon.”
The woman is clearly delusional. “Very well Princess Olgreth,” relented Fiddleson. “Can’t you summon your rage, ah, I mean courage, and take advantage of the real, confirmed dragon likely currently swallowing what remains of Wartsworth? I think I can hear him screaming.”
“I told you, I don’t care to do it,” huffed Olgreth haughtily.
“Your Highness, if you slay this monster, not only will you further secure your wealth, but you’ll be also a hero, really the champion, of Scarmia. Arguably entitled to Gladney’s vast estate. There’s never been a Princess and Champion wrapped into one package, as far as I can remember. Especially one so…demure.”
Ah, the pause. Are her beady eyes actually considering this? If anything, this sloppy nightmare was ambitious.
“You know what Fiddleson? You’re useful after all. Did you bring my rapier?”
“Your full compliment of weapons, my lady,” said Fiddleson, proffering the sinister device from his horse’s saddlebags. “But consider the sword. The pink one you favor – don’t you think a rapier is a tad…underpowered?”
“Not if you know how to use it Filddleson. I’ll be back in twelve minutes.”
Olgreth snatched the wicked looking, yet garishly bejeweled rapier and stalked north around the muddy base of the hill.
She’s not even bothering to hike her dress up? Oh, it’s already covered in stains around the hemline from last weeks boar roast…doesn’t matter.
Olgreth disappeared around the base of the grassy hill, footfalls disappearing into silence except for the wind rustling the knee-high grass blades, and the occasional grunt – or was that a chewing noise – emanating from what could only be the dreadful beast.
Dragons were stuff of legend, until they started showing up in droves five summers ago and eating anything unfortunate enough to stumble by. That was one of the myths – that dragons flew first of all, or at least ranged around pillaging farmsteads and eating all the inhabitants, livestock or human. But it turns out dragons are incredibly lazy scavengers, not bent on moving more than a field or two away from wherever they plop down. Which is why they always hold up near bodies of water with either a farm or preferably a well-used road nearby. So they can drink, then snack on whatever happens by.
That fool Wartsworth was probably following Pian Way in the middle of the night to frequent Tolslia and one of its brothels. That dump is positively swimming in the things…
A piercing yet annoying scream of rage…hard to tell if that’s Olgreth or the dragon – same for what sounded…like copious belching? Although that did just sound like steel on steel now didn’t it? Or maybe steel on claw? No fire breathing roars of course. While dragon’s did emanate smoke, it turns out there’s no fire, it’s just a part of their digestion where the chemicals in their belies great this opaque gas as they digest pigs, rodents, deer, hapless couriers, hopefully princess…
Olgreth came clomping back around the corner with a very distraught and extremely disheveled Ambassador from Kiln in tow, looking nothing worse for wear, although it’s hard to tell as she always looks like hell. Maybe the dragon fled at the thought of listening to her complain.
“That dragon was an idiot,” yelled Olgreth once she got within earshot. “Lord Tythe’s dog put up more of a fight. I just threw the piled the breakfast sausages at him and when he came to gulp them down I jumped on his head and drove the rapier through his eye right into his brain. Done and done.”
“You had more breakfast sausages?” asked Fiddleson.
“Yah, like a whole rasher.”
“Apparently she keeps them somewhere up her skirts,” said Wartsworth, who looked like he was in shock. “I’ve never seen so many sausages on one woman.”
“I come prepared, like all those fit to rule,” said Olgreth. “Oh, and you’re welcome. Fiddleson, I expect you to break the news to Gladney, and put-up flyers in the town square, shops, the theatre, the glassworks, everywhere, announcing my feat.”
“Yes, princess, of course,” said Fiddleson. Oh heavens, Princess, Champion Olgreth. Some folks you just don’t want in charge, and this is one of them.
“Yes, my lady?”
“Let’s stop my Mhick’s butchery just inside the east gate. I need some more sausages.”
“Yes, my lady.”