For centuries, Dagwood and his family had flown over the countryside, burning, and pillaging every village in their path.
His father, Felonias, was the most feared dragon in the realm, and taught Dagwood and his siblings the ways of their ancestors. Each dragon was empowered with their own special gift.
Firestorm, the eldest, could create blue flames that would incinerate anything it came in contact with. Tempest, the only female of the dragon siblings, held the power of the wind. Her wings would create hurricane-force winds that no structure or creature could stand against. Then there was Dagwood, the youngest.
Dagwood had the power of the sun. By gazing into the sky, his eyes would harness the sun’s rays and transfer that solar power into a blinding flash which was released through each of the scales covering his body. He would blind and disorient their foes while his family swooped in and finished them off.
Dagwood’s mother, Delilah, did not wish to participate in these raids. She much preferred waiting in their lair beneath Mount Dormer. She opposed their violent lifestyle, though she feared her mate too much to protest her feelings. Instead, she chose to stay silent and ignore the actions of her family.
Dagwood was more like his mother. He would much rather use his powers to bring light to darkened places, allowing a chance for new life to grow. It saddened him each time his father and siblings destroyed every living thing that stood in their way, but like his mother, Dagwood chose to remain silent.
For hundreds of years, they scoured the lands in search of treasures the humans were hiding. Like most dragons, Dagwood’s family obsessed over gold and jewelry. Beneath their lair was a vast cavern filled to the ceiling with all they had hoarded over the years.
No force seemed powerful enough to stop these mighty beasts, until one day, out of the darkness, came a brave warrior attired in a shiny gold suit of armor. He wielded a sword also forged in gold.
When Felonias caught sight of these wonderful treasures, he felt the need to possess them. Gathering his children, Felonias ordered them all to the sky. The warrior leapt from his white steed and by slapping it on its hind quarters, he sent it away.
With nowhere to run or hide, the man stood at the base of Mount Dormer, his sword raised and ready to fight. Firestorm was the first to attack. He dove down upon his victim. His belly lit up with blue light which traveled up through his throat, then finally, as Firestorm opened his mouth, the flames shot forward toward the ground below.
The man reached for something behind his back and swung it forward. As the flames reached this brave knight, the entire area emanated blue light. Feeling proud of his accomplishment, Firestorm flew back up into he air to join his family.
As the flames cleared, and they gazed back down, they were all astonished to see that the man still lived. Upon his left arm, he held a large shield. After closer examination, the dragons realized that the shield was in fact, a dragon’s scale, impervious to flames.
Felonias, after recognizing the scale, looked down at his underbelly near his right leg. There sat the one spot on his body which was unprotected. The scale this man carried, was one that a man from two decades before managed to remove during an up-close battle with the dragon king.
Angered by his own mistake, Felonias struck the man with his powerful tail, sending him plummeting to his death over a cliff. The scale was also lost that day among the trees below, and despite his efforts to locate it, Felonias was never successful. Seeing it once again brought back terrible memories for him.
While Felonias was lost in his past thoughts, he felt a sharp pain pierce his underbelly. The man, seizing his opportunity, had launched a spear dipped in a powerful poison into the exposed body of the mighty giant.
Within seconds, the poison had taken affect. His children watched in horror as the father they both feared and idolized, shrieked in pain before falling perilously to his death on the rocky mountain peaks below.
Dagwood flew off in fear and hid away in the lair with his mother, while Firestorm and Tempest grew angrier. Knowing what was coming next, the man pushed a lever down on the outer calf of each leg. Long spikes protruded out from his boots and he stomped them heavily into the hard ground beneath his feet.
With his dragon-scale shield at the ready, the man watched as tempest began her descent. As she hovered fifty feet above the ground, Tempest began flapping her massive wings heavily causing dust to fly, trees to topple, and animals to run in fear. Much to her dismay, the warrior was unwavered.
Once again, Firestorm attacked, this time hitting the man with all he had. The attempt failed, and left Firestorm weakened, requiring him time to regenerate more fire. This usually took several minutes, so the knight wasted no time in going on the offense.
As Firestorm flew past, hoping to use his brute strength the crush the man, the warrior swung the shield around to his back, stepped out of the dragon’s path, then, using his golden sword, he pierced the mighty beast’s tail and pulled himself up.
As they became airborne, Firestorm tried repeatedly to shake the tiny human off, but to no avail. The warrior held on strong and refused to yield. They raced through the sky and breakneck speed, diving, climbing, and looping, yet he held on.
Firestorm could feel the sword slowly tearing away at his flesh, and he attempted to swing his tail towards his mouth so he could try and bite him off. Each attempt failed. The man was too quick. He had never faced a foe like this and was unsure what else to do.
Firestorm flew in the direction of his sister, hoping she could help remove this tiny pest from his tail. As they neared, Tempest began to flap her wings. The man drove his sword in deeper. Unable to resist the pain, Firestorm tried once more to use his powerful jaws to remove the man from his tail.
As he turned his head, however, the wind from Tempest’s wings had thrown him off course, and the two dragons collided in mid-air, knocking the wind out of tempest, literally. The winged beasts fell to the ground with the knight still hanging on.
With the earth quickly approaching, the man pulled the sword from the dragon’s tail and launched himself into some nearby trees. The ground shook as the two giants impacted with the hard granite.
Realizing that he did not have long before the dragons regained consciousness, the warrior lowered himself from the tree and removed a satchel from his waist. He laid his sword blade upon a rock and poured the contents along both sides of the blade.
He then ran as quickly as he could to the spot where the dragons fell, and mounting each of them, he pierced his golden sword beneath the scales and sent poison rushing through their veins.
The man ran for cover in the trees and watched as the dragons awakened at the unbearable pain that now filled their bodies. Firestorm launched flames blindly from his mouth and engulfed his sister in a fiery pyre. The two screamed out in pain until death finally left them silent.
The knight found the passage that led into the lair and crept cautiously, knowing that at least one dragon still remained. When he reached the cavern, Dagwood’s mother sat perched upon the mountain of gold and jewels. Regardless of her passive lifestyle, she was ready to defend her last remaining child.
As the knight entered, Delilah breathed a warning of red flames in his direction. The man shielded himself from the flames and was left unscathed. Then, to his surprise, he heard the dragon speak in his native tongue.
“Please, mighty warrior, leave my child be, and end my life instead. I do not wish to harm you, but I will if you attempt to hurt my boy!”
The man stood stunned before the beast. Never in all the tales that he had heard growing up, had he been told that dragons could speak. He wished not to slay this one, but converse with it instead. He thought of the centuries of knowledge that they must have to share.
Responding back, the knight asked, “How am I to know that what you speak is the truth? If I let down my defenses, how can I be sure that you will not attack?”
Delilah introduced herself and Dagwood. They offered to answer any questions that the man may have, but in return required to know his purpose for being there.
The man laid down his sword and shield and slowly approached Delilah and Dagwood. He kneeled down before them in a gesture of good faith and respect, then introduced himself as Sir Winston of Galleywood Castle. He was the last remaining knight. The rest had been slain during attacks on the kingdom.
He told them that what he sought was not revenge, but a chance to return some of the riches that had been stolen from the castle during the attack. The villagers who survived had nothing left and were slowly dying. The King wanted to use some of the treasure to feed his people and help rebuild the kingdom.
Dagwood spoke up and suggested that they share their wealth with the villagers. He said that they should give back what his father and siblings had taken from the people. Delilah looked with pride upon her son and then turned to Sir Winston.
“We will agree to share the treasure,” she began, “but only on the promise that you leave my son and I in peace.”
Sir Winston agreed happily to their terms. He then wondered how he was going to transport the gold and jewels to his king. Dagwood spoke up once again with a suggestion, and Sir Winston agreed.
Less than an hour later, two large shadows hovered above the kingdom of Galleywood. Villagers ran in panic seeking shelter. Suddenly, out of the trees rode a white stallion, and upon its back sat Sir Winston.
The villagers cheered as he approached, though they stayed hidden among the darkened nooks of what remained of their town. Sir Winston yelled out as he rode through the village, “Fear not, my friends. There is no danger to fear here today.” Still unsure, the villagers remained hidden from the dragons that flew above.
Sir Winston rode to the steps of the toppled castle and ran inside the remains. He called for an immediate audience with King James. Moments later, King James entered what was left of the throne room wearing a tattered robe and a bent crown. That was all that remained of his royal treasure.
“What news do you bring?” the king asked.
“My Lord, firstly, I want you to know that the two dragons who circle the kingdom as we speak, mean you no harm. They are not the ones who murdered and pillaged our lands. The ones responsible have perished by my hand, and will not bother us ever again.”
The king looked upon his knight with doubt in his eyes. He had never heard of a friendly dragon before. It was a ridiculous notion to believe such a thing.
Sir Winston continued. “Secondly, these dragons have agreed to return the gold and jewelry to all the kingdoms who have fallen at the fate of their kin. With your permission, I would like to introduce you to them.”
“Introduce me?” King James bellowed. “How can you introduce me to beasts? How do you expect me to communicate with them exactly?”
“Please let me show you,” Sir Winston replied. “You will be amazed as I was.”
King James agreed reluctantly to the meeting, and Sir Winston signalled for the dragons to approach.
Dagwood was the first to land, followed by his mother. The people of Galleywood gathered near at the sight of these two dragons at the edge of the village. They hid behind boulders, toppled homes, and in the shadows as they watched Sir Winston coax his fearful king toward the dragons.
When they were twenty feet away, King James began to turn around out of fear, but Delilah spoke.
“Please do not fear us, mighty king. I am Delilah, Queen of Mount Dormer, and this is my son, Dagwood.”
Recognizing Dagwood from the attack on his kingdom, the king’s eyes lit up with fear again. Sensing the king’s fear, Dagwood chose to speak as well.
“King James, I want to apologize for the actions of my father and my siblings. I wanted no part in their lust for gold and destruction. My father was evil, as were my sister and brother, but my mother and I only wish to help you in exchange for your promise to let us live our lives in peace.”
King James appeared to relax. He spotted the sincerity in the eyes of the dragons, and he moved in closer. Following his lead, the villagers also began to appear from their hiding places and gathered around the unexpected guests.
Dagwood reached out his mighty talons and laid a large sack upon the ground at the king’s feet. Delilah did the same. Using his sword, Sir Winston tore open the sacks to reveal more treasures than the kingdom had lost during the attack.
“I hope this will help you rebuild your kingdom better than ever,” Dagwood said.
King James thanked Delilah and Dagwood profusely. Dagwood had one more request for the king. He asked the king to send out riders to all the villages within the realm and inform them of what had transpired there, and tell them that they will each be receiving gold and jewelry as well in the coming days, so they need not fear if they see dragons above.
Dagwood and Delilah kept their promise and as the word spread, they were welcomed openly to each village and kingdom that they visited.
As the kingdoms began to rebuild, Dagwood and his mother kept the realm safe from anyone who tried to disturb the peacefulness and joy that now filled the land, and on days when clouds blocked the sun, Dagwood would fly above the clouds and absorb the sunrays then fill the realm with his brilliant light.
From that day forth, the kingdom of Galleywood and all the surrounding kingdoms lived a happy existence thanks to their winged friends, and with what remained of the dragon’s treasure, they held onto it in case one of the kingdoms fell on hard times in the future.