“Please, no. You mustn’t.”
The Knight looked down at her, his mirrored visor completely blocking any chance of seeing his reaction. Ez stood in the doorway, using her own body as a blockade, as if she were anything more than a fly to be swatted out of the way.
He stepped closer and dropped his hand to the pommel of his sword.
“Out of the way, my lady.”
The door had barely begun to close when Ez found herself sprawled on the floor. The knight strode in, drawing his sword. Ez froze on the ground.
“I am the Lord’s daughter. You will hang for this!”
He stepped closer, flipping up his visor and placing the blade against her throat.
“The King sent me to slay a dragon. Rescuing you,” he said, with such condescension Ez wondered if he’d even given her wellbeing a single thought, “is merely a courtesy to the lord of this land. The payment for such nobility is often the betrothal of said lady.” He sneered and Ez shivered.
He withdrew his blade but didn’t put it away. They were in the antechamber, only the howling wind to keep them company. For nearly two seasons Ez had lived here, devoid of human contact, but not completely alone. The villagers had talked. Gossiped. And soon the Lord grew wise and learnt the horrible truth.
“Where is the beast?” the Knight asked. “Where does he hide?”
Ez sniffled. She hated appearing weak. Her father had been adamant she learn the ways of being a lady, but her late mother had instilled in her a sense of purpose and duty, beyond weaving and knitting for her husband-to-be. And now she lay on the cold stone staring up at a monster.
“Please. Don’t kill him.”
Ez had woken one day, to a noon-sun, and found her handmaidens absent. Along with the kitchen staff. The young gaffers. Even the guardsmen had vanished. But soon she had found she was not alone.
“I can promise you only it will have a swift death,” the Knight said, grinning at his words.
Ez smiled. A small act of defiance against her fear. It had taken many weeks for her to pluck up the courage to plunge into the darkest depths of the castle on the brightest of days. The beast had been howling. It’s moans had grown over the days, until she could no longer bare to hear it’s agonised wailing.
Ez sat up, brushing off her hands.
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
The dragon, for that was the only thing she could think to describe it, was two heads taller than any man she’d seen. It’s scaled skin and yellowed eyes were unlike anything in God’s kingdom. But her eyes had been drawn to the injured beast’s leg. Blood that glowed like verdant grass dripped from an open wound. Marks showed where the wound had begun to heal before tearing open again. No wonder it had howled for so long.
Ez had not shied away. She had gone to the beast. She had helped it. Nursed it and fed it until it began to follow her around, learning her ways and she it’s. And as the autumnal leaves had given way to the first snow of winter, it had undertaken more duties. Fetching wood, hunting for game, something it seemed rather adept at.
Not a word had been uttered between them. But as the beast stood before her, it’s presence dwarfing the knight, she felt like their bond was complete.
Prompt originally posted by Kra_gl_e on reddit and received 2 upvotes.