Free Fiction Thursday – A Most Romantic Dragon

Good morning, everyone! How’s Thursday treating you so far?

Before we get to this week’s story, I’d like to take a minute to congratulate Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the prestigious Willamette Writers organization. I can’t think of two people who deserve an award like this more than Kris and Dean. Like the countless numbers of writers they’ve taught and assisted throughout the years, I owe my writing career to them. Don’t get me wrong — I was a writer before I met them. But thanks to all the invaluable things they’ve taught me and continue to teach me, not to mention their friendship, I’m not only a better writer, I’m a professional writer. Thank you, guys! And a great big ol’ WooHoo!!! from this neck of the woods!

So you might be asking yourself, what exactly do I get from Kris and Dean and their wonderful workshops (which I can’t recommend highly enough)? Well, this week’s story, for one thing. I wrote “A Most Romantic Dragon”  in response to an assignment at this year’s anthology workshop. I hope you enjoy the further adventures of Mordived, the unserious dragon, as he finds unexpected love.

A Most Romantic Dragon

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art Copyright 10-12-10 © julien Tromeur

When love came to Mordived the dragon, it came as all things did—in a most unconventional way.

He hadn’t expected to fall in love, you see.  Quite content to live in the land ruled by his elder brother Gilgamule, Mordived spent his days soaring over his brother’s land while he perfected his patented “my wing’s broken” tuck-and-roll, first with his right wing and then his left, all the while keeping an eye out for errant knights determined to slay his more conventional brother.  When Mordived got hungry, as he often did while practicing the aerial portion of his slapstick routine, he chased wild pigs through the woods or goats up the craggy side of a mountain.  Mordived left the peasants’ sheep and cattle alone.  Not only did he think it rude to roast meat that didn’t belong to him, the wooly coats of the sheep scratched his throat going down and cattle gave him indigestion.

On one such afternoon flight, Mordived caught sight of something quite unexpected—a dragon who wasn’t his brother.

Mordived was so surprised he nearly failed to untuck his tucked right wing, which would have led to a nasty encounter with a rather tall and pointy pine tree.  While Mordived didn’t mind taking the occasional pratfall—it was, after all, his desire to make virgins laugh rather than eat them that made Mordived the black sheep, so to speak, of his family—a pratfall took timing and preparation, and Mordived was decidedly unprepared.

He was equally unprepared to discover that the unexpected dragon was a girl.

Mordived’s entire experience with dragons of the female persuasion was limited to the family he’d left behind when he moved in with his brother.  Mordived’s mother had never quite known what to make of her unconventional son.  While she laughed—politely, of course; little puffs of smoke barely escaped her nostrils—at his early attempts at humor, she also frightened him.  Perhaps it was her prized collection of knights’ helmets, complete with the skulls of the unfortunate knights still inside, that made Mordived so nervous.  It didn’t help that whenever he got into trouble, she would stare pointedly at those helmets and tap the prodigious claws of one foot, as if to say, “Don’t try my patience too much, strange child of mine.”

His younger sisters had been of no use at all in teaching Mordived how to act around girls.  They simply called him “Strange Child” and tried to breathe fire at him.  Mostly they just set fire to the tree roots that dangled from the ceiling of their cave, for which Mordived took the blame.  Such was the lot in life for an unconventional dragon with five bratty little sisters.

But this new dragon wasn’t like any of his sisters.  She was long of tail and delicate of wing, with a fine ridge of emerald green spines along her back and the largest golden eyes Mordived had ever seen.  One look, and he was smitten.

(read the rest of the story here)

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Free Fiction Thursday – A Most Unserious Dragon

Happy Worldcon Thursday, Internets!

I have a goal for this year’s Worldcon — to have fun. To talk to people, visit with my friends, make new friends, but overall, just to have fun. This week’s story is about a dragon who wants to have fun, too, even though such things are frowned upon in dragon land. I hope you enjoy the story of Mordived, a Most Unserious dragon.

A Most Unserious Dragon

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

Cover art Copyright 10-19-10 © julien Tromeur

Cover Design by Thunder Valley Press

 

Dragons, or so Mordived’s father told him often and most sternly, were very serious creatures.

“Our birthright is to rule the land,” Mordived’s father said, his chest puffed out proudly and little wisps of steam escaping his nostrils.  “Ruling is serious business.  Men believe they rule the kingdoms, but true power belongs to the dragons.  Slaying knights is our duty, and eating virgins our reward for such serious business.”

“But I don’t want to slay knights and eat virgins,” Mordived said.

Even eating cattle gave Mordived indigestion.  He could only imagine what eating an entire virgin would do to his digestive system.  As for knights, all that shiny silver armor gave him headaches.

Mordived’s father stomped his foot so hard that the ground trembled and the walls of their cave shook.  Little rocks and frightened bats tumbled from the ceiling, the bats fluttering back deeper into the cave and the rocks pelting Mordived and his father on their wings.  His father didn’t seem to notice.

Undaunted, Mordived said, “I want to be a comedian.  Not a fighter.”  Nor an eater of virgins.  Mordived would much rather make the virgins laugh.

Mordived’s father reared back his head, drew in a great breath, and let loose with a stream of fire that toasted what few tree roots dared to grow through the ceiling of their cave.

“Enough!” Mordived’s father roared when the fire burned itself out.  “No son of mine will ever be anything but a serious dragon!”

Mordived slunk away, not wanting to be mistaken for a tree root.

His older brother was a most serious dragon.  Gilgamule had slain numerous lesser knights, although he had not yet eaten his first virgin.  Gilgamule was nearly half the size of their father, with a fine crest of spikes down the ridge of his back and a nice purple hue to his streams of fire.  He would be leaving soon to go rule his own kingdom far from the land ruled by their father, for such was the way of serious dragons.

Mordived didn’t want his older brother to leave.  While Gilgamule might be a serious dragon, he was also someone Mordived could talk to.

“What’s wrong with not wanting to slay people?” Mordived asked his older brother.  “But rather, wanting to make them laugh?”

“Why not make them laugh while you slay them?” Gilgamule replied.  “It would certainly make their deaths more enjoyable.”

Mordived wondered sometimes if his older brother truly understood the concept of comedy.

(read the rest of the story here)