Writing Prompt: You are a messenger who delivers letters between two lovers; A princess who lives in a castle protected by countless dragons, and a brave knight. Every week, you must traverse over steep mountains, crocodile infested swamps, and raging battlefields to deliver the letters between the two lovers.
“Is she beautiful?”
“Yes, sire,” I replied, wondering how I got caught up in this mess. “She has golden hair and is quite comely.”
“Does she truly need rescuing?”
“Yes, sire.” I sighed. “She is being held captive by Strom.” I was referring to the dragon who had over the past few years raided the human settlements along the river Throngold, and now spent most of his time perched atop the Castle Black where Lady White was being held.
“Then send her a final message, my trusted messenger, that I shall come to rescue her!” The armor suited figure handed me a scroll, tied with a ribbon.
“Very good, sire,” I replied to the knight.
It had been months since I first got involved in this stupid business. I mean, I was happy at first; two gold pieces from the King to carry messages between the princess and a brave knight who were to marry in an arranged marriage? Sure, why not. That was enough money to feed my family for a year.
Then I learned she was held at Castle Black, he at the frontier village of Carth, and me having to go back and forth, back and forth. If I’d known I’d make this trip so often that I’d start making friends along the journey, I would have stayed home and tended crops.
Hopping across the last large rock that carried me by the sleeping crocodiles, I grabbed a couple of eggs from an unprotected crocodile nest. I noted the last time I passed by here that the mother had been killed by a passing dragon.
At the foot of Castle Black, I shouted upwards, “Hey, Strom!”
“Bob!” the dragon roared. “What tasty treat have you brought me this time?”
“Crocodile eggs.” I tossed them up as high as I could in the air. Before they reached the apex of their flight, Strom had hopped off his perch, flown down, and grabbed the eggs in his mouth. The wooshing of the air as he flew just a few feet above me almost knocked me off my feet.
“Wow, that’s great, Strom!”
“Thank you,” Strom replied, a quick dragon-like curtsy.
I entered the castle, and started climbing the stairs. The first few times I climbed up the two hundred feet I was absolutely exhausted, but now circling around the stairs was just monotonous.
At the top of the stairs were two guards. One called himself “Sir” John, but I grew up with him, and I knew he was no knight. Just an oaf with a sword.
“How’s the kids?”
“Haven’t seen them in months. You?”
“Fat and happy. One’s been spending time with a girl he met in the village. Thanks for telling me about her family.”
“No problem. Hey, can you let me in to see the princess?”
“You know I shouldn’t do it.”
“John,” I replied, “look: it’s just a job.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.” John opened the door for me. His friend (whose name escapes me) ignored the exchange and continued looking forward as if nothing happened. I think he was just glad for the work, and didn’t want to mess the gig up by actually doing anything.
I made the return trip with the Princess’ reply. On the way I promised Strom I’d try to grab a baby crocodile from the swamp, but at the very least I’d grab some of the larger fruits that grew in the thorny shrubs there. (Strom had quite the sweet tooth.) Through the battlefield; I knew a safe path and besides, I helped set up the general’s rather average looking daughter with John’s son back at the castle, so he helped me pass. I found an inn at the top of the steep mountain, and made sure I grabbed some herbs at the base of the path before I started the ascent; the inn-keeper’s wife used the herbs to help flavor the stews there, and that helped attract customers.
The trolls under the bridge at the river Thongold were just best ignored.
I found the knight a couple of days past the bridge, riding around in circles impressing the local villagers with his shiny suit of armor. “Sire, I have a message for you from the princess.”
I handed it to him, and he untied the message and read it. I already knew the contents. The journey was a long one.
“It is time to ride to battle and save the Princess!”
“Yes, sire,” I sighed.
“Now I shall ride past the River Thongold, through the treacherous mountain pass!”
“I shall brave the impassable swamps of Coden, through the fields of Cardoff, and towards the Castle Black!” the knight announced to no-one.
“You forgot the battle being fought at Blithe.” I rolled my eyes.
“Then I shall overcome the Dragon Strom, climb the tower, overcome the guards and rescue the comely Princess, my love!”
“Strom likes crocodile eggs and pabble fruits.”
“Did you say something, messenger?”
“Nah, I guess not.”
“And so now I shall ride towards my love and overcome the impassable barriers on my path and towards her salvation!”
“Hey, do you want my help? I know the way through…”
“Begone, messenger! This is a journey suited only for the strong!”
I watched as the brave knight rode into the distance.