Musings of Royalty
Written by Brian Youngjoon Williams, former English teacher and University of Washington graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. Brian is a content writer and game writer and editor.
She writhed in pain. I find no joy in watching her, even though she is pretty enough by any standards. I do find it weary that they always assume a white dress is required. The white always gets dirty with dirt and blood. Not that I care, mind you. In the end only the quality matters. I closed my eyes and settle down in my cave, darkness hiding my bulk from my next meal. I’m too tired to be bothered at the moment.
They say I prefer highborn and that is true, but a maiden is a maiden. All else just tastes…sullied. High born ladies tend to run to promiscuity at an earlier age. Whether or not that’s an attempt to hold me off or a castle full of sows that cannot wait to begin breeding I do not know.
The funny thing is the knights who come and attempt to pacify me, as if I am some sort of creature to be reasoned with or defeated through valor. It amuses me. Year after year knights ride up to rescue fair maidens and I get a free celebratory meal. A deal worthy of a king. They typically appear if there’s a noble blooded creature tied up outside, as if noble blood is somehow more pure. They all taste the same to me. Towards the end it’s the peasants girls I’m more inclined to pity. They don’t blubber and cry at the end. They tend to go quiet and accept the fate that has been doled out to them.
This one wasn’t crying. Yet, anyway. She’d only been tied up for a few minutes. I’m not sure why they gave her to me. Usually it’s appeasement for ignoring their flocks and villagers. The king uses me as a last line of defense, sending a highborn noble as payment when I kill off bandits or invading armies. Only reason I’m still here, really. Give humans too much grief and even the most cowed peasant will charge into a ball of fire. It’s not hard to kill them but eventually you’ll get some hero who specializes in killing beings like me.
“Hello?” She spoke. Interesting. Most merely screamed till their throats bled.
“Is there anyone there?” I slit open one eye. I can see her, standing now. Her arms are still hobbled above her, fixed to the chain that has held countless numbers of my meals. She’s tall but thin, too thin. A shame that this one would hardly serve for more than a snack. It has been ages since a proper meal. My kind can survive on precious little. It depends on what you want to be. A lizard who hordes gold eats metals of all kinds, little more than a scavenger that is too lazy to find food.
Royal dragons now, we subsist on human sacrifices. Every human sacrifices many times in a day. Ask any peasant toiling in the field or a king presiding over a treaty. Ask them what they sacrifice for. The peasant sacrifices his time and energy to provide for his family, the king sacrifices his pride and family for the sake of his country. I ask for human sacrifice for action or my lack of action.
The difference between me and humans is that humans sacrifice. I do not.
“Do you know where you are?” I ask the girl. She recoils at the lack of sound, hair splashing around her face and she searches for me. Primitive humans, depending on their ears to communicate.
“Where are you?” She cries. Humans, always failing to answer even the simplest of questions.
“I ask again, do you know where you are?” Comprehension settled on her. Her head bowed first, then her shoulders shagged. The rest of her posture quickly fell, dominoes of visible despair quietly settling into acceptance.
“I do.” Her voice barely passes her lips.
“Why were you placed here?” She looks up, an almost cliché spark of defiance in her eyes.
“My stepmother fears that my father, a duke, favors me above her own children. She told him I was chosen by fate to be sacrificed.” The voice is clear, echoing against the shattered bones and rocks, shaking up the pure souls that haunt them.
Picture: She's not in chains, but it still helps with the visual.
“What is the sacrifice for?”
“I am here to be eaten by you.” She says it with no malice. She accepts.
“But for no purpose. A debt that leaves me in the hands of humans till it is repaid. I am not a servant. I am Royal.” I can feel the fire within me begin to leak out between my teeth. I cannot see my own eyes but I feel the blood rushing through my head, changing the color from gold to ruby. The girl, the maiden, stood. Her blond hair fell over part of her face, obscuring her eyes.
“I can tell you the price of my death.”
“You do not die. You are the sacrifice humans deem necessary for me to act.” They never understand. The king does, or perhaps did. A king knows he must give up his family for his country. Sometimes in marriage, sometimes for me.
“I am a sacrifice?”
“Yes, a sacrifice for me to decide whether to fulfill my function. I am the Royal dragon, above the king, below the lowest peasant.” She looks at me bemusedly. I see in her eyes that she is a smart one. Perhaps her stepmother was not wrong to destroy her before she could be a true threat.
“Then…the reason I am being sacrificed is this: the wife of Duke Copeland, Duchess Aleshia Copeland, must perish before she can harm my father and the rest of the kingdom.” The girl says this in that same clear voice. I cherish it.
“The agreement is made.” I emerge from the cave. She doesn’t scream, doesn’t weep. She just looks at me as I approach.
About the author:
Brian Youngjoon Williams lives in Washington state, outside of Seattle. He is a creative writer, content writer, game writer and editor, a former English instructor and a graduate from University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing.
For another amazing story from Brian Williams, please read Playmates, a wonderful story of a girl exploring the forest.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Musings of Royalty
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