A Tale as Old as Time

A dragon, a knight and a maiden: a tale as old as time… or so you thought.

Author: Kai Delmas

Kai Delmas loves creating worlds and magic systems. He reads slush for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and writes some drabbles in between.

Narrator: Hannah Knight

Hannah Knight is a full-time homemaker and new entrant to the world of audio narration.

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Emra wrapped her arms around the great tome she carried. She had traveled far and was excited to get to work but when she reached the entrance to the cave she was surprised to find a knight before her.

He was on his knees, shield before him, head cast down, leaning on the pommel of his sword. Mumbled words reached Emra’s ears, though his back was turned to her.

“Ahem!” She ventured to make contact.

The knight continued to mumble.

“AHEM!” Emra tried anew.

This time the knight startled and quickly drew his sword with the shield by his side. He was sweating heavily even though the air was quite crisp for early spring.

“Oh, excuse me, Madam. You surprised me, that’s all.” He lowered his sword and smiled with embarrassment.

“You didn’t think I was the dragon, did you?” Emra chuckled.

“No, of course not. That would be silly.” The knight gulped and glanced at the entrance to the cave. More sweat gathered on his young, beardless face.

Emra looked him up and down once more and sighed.

“What is it you seek?”

“Excuse me?” The knight tilted his head, eyes not comprehending.

“Is it glory you want? Riches? Women? Whatever you think you will achieve by going into that cave I can promise you, you won’t get it. What awaits you in there is only certain death. Brutal but swift. And no one will tell tales of you. For you will only be one knight of many who failed.”

The knight visibly quaked in his armor. He remained stunned, blinking at her, words failing him. Then he sheathed his blade and the last bit of strength he was holding on to left his body as his pauldrons slumped and he turned to leave.

“Thank you, Madam. I might have done a deed of great folly if not for you.”

Emra nodded and watched the sad hunk of steel slink back into the forest from where she had come. She hoped her words weren’t too harsh even though they had been true.

Emra straightened her back, dusted off her dress and started onward when a voice called from behind.

“Umm, Madam?” The knight poked his head out from the leaves.

“Yes, good Sir.”

“What is it you plan on doing here?”

“Well, I’m going to talk to the dragon, of course.”

“But didn’t you say it would kill me?”

“Yes, I did. For you would have gone in there to slay it, while I want no more than to talk with it. Now, leave me be. I have business to attend to.”

“Shouldn’t I maybe go in there with you. As protection I mean. Just in case.”

Emra stifled a laugh, for she thought she could already hear the rattling of his armor but he was a sweet lad. A good knight in the making. She was glad he didn’t go in there to let himself be killed.

“You are brave for offering but it is unnecessary. I will be fine. This is not my first talk with a dragon.”

The knight’s eyes widened and before he spoke another word Emra strode on into the cave.

The dragon’s heat came at her like a wave and it only became hotter as she went deeper into the tunnel that would lead her to her mark.

As she entered the great cavern Emra’s breath caught in her throat. Seeing a dragon’s hoard for the first time was one of the most captivating things she had ever known.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” the dragon rasped.

Emra couldn’t see the dragon yet but she knew her manners.

“I’m glad to have been expected. Have you heard good things about me?”

“Only the best.” the dragon sniffed loudly in the dark. “You’re alone but I smell another.”

“Oh, I do apologize.” Emra pointed toward the cave entrance. “There was a young knight outside, ready to come slay you. I persuaded him to rethink his folly. He won’t be bothering you anytime soon.”

“Wonderful!” The dragon emerged from the dark, great claws crashing down upon his golden hoard, bringing goblets and coins to tumble and clang across the ground. “I do tire of these silly would-be heroes. It is much better to relax in peace. I do consider myself to be retired after all.”

“Ah, ah. Don’t skip ahead. I’ll pretend I heard nothing about retirement or the sort. I like to begin my tales where it makes the most sense.”

“And where, pray tell, is that?”

“At the beginning.”

The dragon chuckled as Evra made her way to a comfortable spot for her to sit down. She opened her great tome— fresh, not a blot of ink on any page so far.

“Here is perfect.” Evra readied her quill and smiled up at the great dragon, it’s eyes focused on her. “Now, tell me your tale.”