The Dragon’s Venom

It had taken ten long years for me to reach this moment. I was old, far too old for this task, but I had sworn an oath that day. The dragon’s venom seeped through my veins, the curse I brought upon my family. Had I not failed my task in the first place they might still be here, smiling, the dragon long dead and rotted into the earth.

I look up at my age old foe with steely determination. The dragon seemed calm, bored even, but I didn’t care. I had spent the past ten years honing my skills for this very moment. I was a Dragon Hunter, I would be triumphant.

The dragon lunged at me, snapping at my head with needle-like fangs – the same needle-like fangs that envenomed me and my family ten years ago. I flattened myself and rolled under the beast’s gaping maw. All I knew of dragons fled my mind. Taking my sword in hand I plunged it into the soft tissue of the beast’ throat. A rookie mistake. All Dragon Hunters know that a dragon is armoured from head to toe, they have no outer weakness. The sword was knocked from my hands by the sheer force of my own attack. I stumbled, my shoulders jarred and I found myself on my knees.

The dragon reared its scaly head and seemed to grin down at me, sneering at my futility. But then it knew I wasn’t a fighter; I was a mummer by trade. Ten years training does not make a man a fighter; it just makes him a man who can fight. I grasped the hilt of my blade, the blade her father had passed on to me. I could not fail. The dragon swiped at me with a huge paw and I could not move. Pain wracked my body and the venom tore at my heart. I collapsed to one knee, clutching at my chest in a futile attempt to stop the pain. I hit the ground, hard. I couldn’t feel my legs. It was almost time. I had to end it before it was too late, but it already was.. The dragon’s paw stopped above me and its scaly skin scratched against my body as it picked me up, poking holes in my leather breastplate. What a waste.

I was placed into the dragon’s mouth. I still clutched the sword in my hand, but I no longer had the strength to use it. Elona, my beloved, forgive me. The beast clamped it jaws hard.

The dragon gave a puzzled grunt. It gave a great cough, spewing blood onto me from its insides. I too, coughed and spat blood. It was impossible to breath for both myself and the dragon. Oh Elona forgive me. Had I known sooner you would still be alive, you and my sons. I should have known all along. I was the dragon and the dragon was me.

Together, we gave one final gasping breath and let the cold hands of death envelop us.

© Jessica Wiles, 2013

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