Knick the Knight

Submitted into Contest #89 in response to: Start your story with a character taking a leap of faith.... view prompt

5 comments

Adventure Bedtime Fantasy

“Knick the Knight eyed the bottomless chasm ahead of him, aware that certain death lay at the bottom,” Knick spoke to himself as he rocked back and forth, armour clinking and clunking as he moved, preparing for the leap of faith through darkness. “He could hardly see the other side, but he knew it was the only way. He geared up, and…” Knick ran full tilt and leapt through the air, flying over the two foot fissure. Despite the short hop, Knick stumbled on the landing, tweaking his bad knee, but quickly composed himself and raised both arms in the air. “He sticks the landing!” Knick circled slowly, ignoring the pain in his knee as he waved and smiled at the cheering crowd he imagined. 

“The hoard of treasure awaits, but so does the vicious dragon,” Knick spoke as he slowly limped through the dark tunnel, each foot slowly reaching into the darkness to find sure footing. He lowered his voice to a whisper as he timidly stepped into a large cavern filled with what looked like dunes of sand. “Knick the Knight... on the verge of gaining honour and riches … steps into the dragon’s lair… ba-da-da-duh...” He murmured a catchy hero tune and unsheathed his blade. Light filled the space from a source beyond his view around the craggy walls. As his eyes adjusted he saw the dunes were not of sand, but of coins. Millions of small, golden coins piled high above and around Knick in heaps and piles. Jewels of sparkling colours sprinkled throughout the mounds, twinkling as if calling out their worth, begging to be taken. 

Knick’s eyes widened as he walked around the slippery mess of coins, circling the area all while humming his theme song. He passed another mound of gold and beheld the massive form of the dreaded dragon. The beast was the size of four horses at best, his flank raising slowly in deep slumbering breaths. “He approaches the beast, sword held high, ready to attack,” Knick whispered then continued humming, eyes never leaving the slumbering beast. The dragon almost blended into the coins with its yellow-gold scales, but there was a muted feel to the scales. As if they haven’t reflected sunlight in ages. 

“He steps towards the vile villain, sword grasped tightly, ready to pierce the dragon in it’s one weakness,” Knick’s voice slowly rose from a whisper to a conversational volume. “Through its eye-”

“Through my eye!” The dragon suddenly spoke, its head shooting into the air causing Knick to squeal loudly and trip over his feet, losing his sword in the clumsy fall. The dragon gazed down over Knick, “Why would you stab me in my eye? What a terrible thing to do!” 

“How did you know I was here?” Knick asked while trying to hide his trembling as he rose to his feet. 

“You can’t be serious…” Knick looked confused. “Well you can’t exactly sing a theme song as you try to sneak up on someone. Especially a creature with exceptional hearing. I heard you before your leap of faith,” the dragon said mockingly. “There are no chasms in this mountain.”

“I find humming soothing,” he defended himself as he picked up his sword. “It’s not easy doing this all alone! Besides, it worked just fine when I took down your massive guardian.”

The dragon tilted his head, “Guardian? What guardian?”

“The giant spider-”

“Spider!” The dragon leapt several feet in the air and stomped around looking around his feet. “Where? Where are the spiders?”

This time it was Knick who paused to stare at the dragon in disbelief. “You are afraid of spiders?” But the dragon was still circling his little nest of a bed. “There aren’t any spiders here. I killed this huge one on my way into your lair. I thought it was a guardian sent by you.”

“Of course not!” Huffed the dragon as he settled back down, though his eyes kept darting around the ground. “Filthy things,” he said as he gave a small shudder. “How big was this spider you fought?” The dragon eyed Knick skeptically.

“Oh it was at least the size of a dog!” Knick said as he held his hands two feet apart. “I had just overcome this savage, thorned shrubbery that almost took my sword… and my life…” Knick continued to recount his trek in a theatrical tone as the dragon nodded along and added “Oh yes,” and, “Oh, I’m sure” and then, “How dreadful,” with a few nods and eye rolls in there.

“... and then I found myself here and since you are awake and ... alive, I suppose I am ready for your riddles.” Knick stood up tall with his hands on his waist, ready for another challenge.

“What riddles?” The dragon stopped picking at his claws to look at Knick.

“You know? The riddles that you challenge me to solve and if I get all correct I get your hoard of treasure,” Knick gestured to the mounds of gold, “... Those riddles.” Knick’s chest deflated at the blank look the dragon gave him. Then the dragon threw back his massive head and roared in booming laughter that bounced off the cavern walls and echoed throughout the massive chamber creating a cacophony of laughing beasts.  

“You think,” the dragon managed to get out between chortles, “you think… I would just give you all of this? I would just hand over a kingdom’s worth of treasure…” the dragon was gasping for breath as another bout of laughter hit him. “Just because you answer some riddles that I already know the answers to?” The dragon huffed as he composed himself once more. “Honestly you knights are becoming worse and worse, expecting things to just be handed over to you.” He gave a small chuckle. “Just for some riddles,” he muttered and shook his head. “Ridiculous.”

Knick had composed himself from the indignant response and raised his sword towards the beast and said proudly, “Then I shall vanquish you! You foul-smelling beast! Then I shall take these riches to the king!”

“Preposterous!” Huffed the dragon as he settled further into his nest of coins, not in the least bit worried about the weapon. 

“You don’t think I could take you? I have been training for decades for this very moment!” Knick got into a fighting stance but stayed where he was.

“No, I mean preposterous that I smell. I have actually bathed in the past day. Though I doubt you could say the same,” the dragon waved a claw in front of his snout. “Besides, what were you intending to do once you’ve brutally slain me, eh? Carry out all this gold in your many hidden pockets?” He chuckled, eyeing the knight’s armour. “What’s your armour for anyway?”

“Protection, obviously.” Knick gestured to his plated armour. 

“From what, exactly? My teeth and claws will pierce that easily, and against my flames-  it’ll only make you cook faster, albeit more evenly, inside all that metal.” 

Knick swallowed audibly then gave a smirk, “At least I’m not afraid of spiders!”   

“Humpf,” the dragon huffed indignantly, giving off a puff of black smoke through his nostrils. “Well, you seem a little old to still be a knight. You’re what? 50?”

Knick stood up straighter, “I am 45, not that it matters! Age only comes with wisdom!” 

“And a bad knee,” joked the dragon. “You know it’s not disgraceful to hang up your sword. If you’ve truly spent all your life training for knighthood, perhaps it’s time for a change. Before it’s too late and you can’t even walk. Go out and have an adventure! A safe adventure. Get married, ha! There’s an adventure. Have children to raise and pass on your wisd-... to pass on your sword.”

“What about you? You’re older than me, obviously." The dragon snorted at that. "What are you doing here?” Knick had sheathed his sword and started pacing. 

“I like shinies,” replied the dragon sheepishly. Then he cleared his throat and said seriously, “I was tasked with guarding this trove many eons ago. The legends of the dragon-guarded treasure is …” the dragon faded off and sighed deeply. “Perhaps I am in need of a change as well.”

“And get married?” Asked Knick jokingly.

The dragon gave a roar of laughter at that. “That might be too much of an adventure for me.” The dragon eyed Knick in his armour. “Why are you a knight?”

“I’ve always been a knight,” Knick answered and sat down heavily on a small pile of coins. “It’s my whole life. My identity. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t a knight.”

“Well, what do you enjoy doing?” The dragon asked patiently.

The knight sat there on the mound of gold and questioned his passions in life. “I love to garden,” he admitted. “Watching the little flowers grow, and being responsible for their care. It feels so rewarding.”

The dragon looked skeptical of the knight taking on the responsibility of living things but didn’t question him.

“I mean, I’ve only managed to grow some flowers on purpose a few years back. But … maybe I can learn?” He asked looking up to the golden eyes before him. 

The dragon gave a knowing, and rather toothy, smile and sighed as he stood up. “Gardening sounds like a great path for you. It might take some work. Starting a new career path at your age, or any age really, can seem daunting. Overwhelming even. It can feel like a real leap of faith. Unlike that leap you took to reach this cavern.”

The knight smiled and flushed. “Come,” said the dragon as he turned and walked towards, what Knick realized, was a massive cave mouth just around the corner from where they were sitting. 

“There’s a door to this place?” The knight asked incredulously.

“It’s how most knights come in to challenge me for the treasure,” chuckled the dragon.

They walked slowly towards the mouth of the mountain, the stalactites forming teeth waiting to devour the next knight to dare enter the lair. “What about you,” asked Knick. “What are you going to do?”

“I plan to retire,” said the dragon as he shuffled along the dirty ground, now clear of coins. “I have been guarding this trove for decades, perhaps centuries now. The thing about holding onto your treasures too tightly, is you get rather lonely. These coins and jewels were nice for a while, but I think I shall fly north to the mountains to find others of my kind.” 

“That sounds peaceful. Easier than trying to start a new job path. Growing plants sounded great at first, but I am not sure I can handle the change.”

“If you plant your roots in the idea of change and learn how to absorb the nutrients of knowledge and experience, then I know you will grow into something worthwhile.”

The knight turned, dumbfounded, towards the dragon and gestured down to his body, “I dunno… I think I’ve grown as much as I will.”

The beast gave another rumbling roar of laughter as the dragon and knight walked out of the cave together, ready to face change. 

April 16, 2021 15:16

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5 comments

Kanika G
01:21 Apr 23, 2021

This is a great story. I really enjoyed the humor - it was well done. I like how you've incorporated leap of faith both literally and figuratively. Knick the knight. Nice touch. Very well done!

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Alyson Ackman
16:12 Apr 27, 2021

Thank you so much! I thought I should try something different with the humour. I am glad you liked it.

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Kanika G
06:12 Apr 28, 2021

It was a good story. Very creative!

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Sam Ackman
00:43 Apr 19, 2021

This is so cute!! Love the characters. Very comical :). I was interested in knowing more of what the area was at the start (sunny, windy, outside, grassy, etc). Very enjoyable read though!

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Alyson Ackman
15:24 Apr 20, 2021

Thanks! I think I had the image in my head then never got into describing the area until after he got into the cavern. Wish I had more time/brain power to really edit these better. Thanks Sam :)

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