You Will Never Fight Alone

Submitted into Contest #153 in response to: Write a story about a character learning to stand up for themselves.... view prompt


Adventure Fantasy Lesbian

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Wading in the gore of a dead dragon’s skull, Danielle Longbow lifted her sword. The green glow of the blade was the only light. Her thigh, torn open during the fight, was haemorrhaging blood. A bone inside her left arm had fractured or broken. She was ready to pass out. The knight looked at the immortal, Obag Sleagh.

            Sleagh had been nothing but a voice in her head as she duelled the dragon. He was pristine in his leather and bone armour. His menacing smile showed razor sharp needle teeth. In the light of the sword he had enchanted for her, his skin was green. All she saw in his silver eyes was the glowing line of her blade.

            “Congratulations on your victory, little knight. You’ve done the impossible today. Let me heal you.” He waved a hand in the direction of her arm. All pain vanished as the bone snapped into place and grew together. Her thigh was brand new a moment later.

            Blood and brains sloshed around Danielle’s ankles. A portal appeared above the surface. Steps led to the red, dripping surface. Red flames wreathed the surface of the gateway. The knight saw her home.

            Hovering in the air above the blood, Obag gestured for her to go through. Sir longbow left the hellish world of Craspeur. She returned to the world of Eshrep, her home kingdom, Crann. Her boots, clean of any gore, creaked on floorboards.

            The portal closed after Obag Stepped through. He pointed to her empty armour stand on the wall. All her knightly uniform appeared on the stand. Her shield rested on its hooks.

            “I can’t leave you without some trophies from your victory. Traditionally sealgair hunters keep the skulls of their kills. Since the dragon’s skull would crush your city, a few of its scales will have to suffice. Did you read about their properties in the book?” Seven pearlescent scales appeared in the corner of the room. Each being three feet long, two wide and four inches thick, they filled the space.

            “I read everything in the book,” said Danielle.

            “Now it has new pages,” Obag said. He handed her the red tome. It weighed as much as her armour. “Keep it. Keep the enchantment, the book, the scales, and the blood.”

            “The blood?” Danielle asked. A huge glass jar appeared on the floor by the scales.

            “Did I not mention the magical properties of dragon’s blood?” Obag gave her a vicious grin. “You’ll need some more pages about it then.”

            The weight of the book in Danielle’s arms increased noticeably as the spine stretched and new pages appeared.

            “Last thing.” He held out a slab of metal. “The date and hour I will return to whatever Crann has become in a thousand years. You can tell your people; I am bound to offer them boons in return for the damnation of their home. They are not bound to accept them. Goodbye, little knight.”

            Obag Sleagh vanished.

            “Solasich,” Danielle said. Her sword stopped glowing. She unbolted the front door. Bright sunshine scorched the tiled rooftops of the granite towers. Fresh air filled her lungs. Closing her eyes for a moment she enjoyed the breeze of her own world, her home.

            Leonor Castle loomed on the horizon, peeking out over the rooftops. Queen Malin’s Tower on the southern corner of the castle, named after the reigning monarch’s mother, was the highest point in the city. Danielle hoped Lupita would be there in the room dedicated to the royal coven.

            People of Leonor were shocked to see her passing them in the street.

            “She’s alive,” said a smithy girl with cheeks blackened by soot.

            “Thank the gods. Sir Longbow isn’t dead.”

            Strangers knowing her name never felt normal for Danielle.

            Cobbles were a novelty again beneath her feet. The deadly curaduile trees between the buildings that only attacked enemies of Crann were a welcome sight. With a dumb smile of satisfaction across her face she followed the tight alleys to busy streets. At the castle gate she met a guard she vaguely recognised.

            “Alan?” She asked.

            “Adam,” he corrected her. “It’s good to see you sir. Many of us feared you were dead.”

            “What about you?” She asked him, smiling.

            With flushing cheeks, the young man shrugged. A wisp of a moustache and the first hints of stubble graced his face. “I hoped you would return, Sir Longbow, but I wasn’t sure. It’s been three months.” He looked at his sabatons. “You’d better see Miss Smith, and Queen Elspeth.” He turned. “SIR LONGBOW HAS RETURNED. OPEN THE GATE.”

            Chains clinked on the rolling wheel as the portcullis rose.

            Three months, Danielle thought, surely not.

Soldiers who knew her nodded to the knight wordlessly and whispered as she walked past them.

            “She’s alive.”

            The iron clad doors of the keep had a new oak design across them. The still air inside the castle had the familiar sent of oil torches.

            Fourteen flights of stairs stole the Danielle’s momentum. First jogging, she ended panting up the last stairs to the peak of Queen Malin’s Tower. Beakers and ingredients sat atop beleaguered shelves. Books filled every shelf and spilled over into stacks on tables. Sulphurous fumes and intrigue filled the air.

            Dressed in the rich green velvet robes of the royal coven, dozens of faces looked at her.

            “Lupita?” Danielle asked, still wheezing from her ascent.

            “Danielle?” Lupita’s voice was muffled by the many bodies between them.

            After wading through the crowd, the two embraced.

            “I was afraid I’d never see you again,” said the knight.

            “So was I,” said the witch. “Where were you? You vanished.”

            “With the creature that was trying to get us to summon its god’s wrath upon Crann. We made a deal that I would kill five monsters of its choosing if it left the kingdom alone for a thousand years.”

            “Five monsters?” One witch asked, a red haired girl Danielle had never seen before. The robes hung long past her hands. The hood was doing its best to hide her face even though she had it down.

            Sir Longbow nodded. “The herald took me to its home world, Craspeur.” She was aware of the cynical expressions aimed at her as she talked. It was a ridiculous story, as the truth often is.

            He enchanted my sword before I killed the dragon. Danielle saw sceptical faces scoff. Some of them were laughing at her. “Solasich,” she said, pulling an inch of the sword from the scabbard.

            Everyone around her gasped.

            “What on Eshrep?” Asked many of the witches and warlocks.

            “As I said, I wasn’t on Eshrep. I was on Craspeur. Now I’m back I want to see the queen. I can’t continue to be the first port of call when there are monsters.” She looked into Lupita’s deep brown eyes. “I’m sick of facing down death, alone, wondering if I’ll ever see you again. I’m only alive because the herald healed me up after two of the fights.”

            Lupita’s ebony hand took hers and held it tight. “Let’s see if Queen Elspeth will grant us an audience.” As always, Lupita’s contralto voice soothed and aroused Danielle in equal measure.

            Getting through a coven curious about her magic sword was akin to swimming upstream. Down a flight of stairs, Lupita stopped Danielle for their first kill in weeks.

            “Please don’t ever leave me again,” said the witch.

            “I’ll try,” the knight said. “All he needed was one person to say the words and it would have been the end of us all.”

In the throne room, Queen Elspeth was surrounded by her advisers. Lady Paulina Castel and her son, Lord Fabian Castel of Serpent’s Crook, smiled when they saw Danielle. Paulina wore a silken dress of grey and blue. Fabian wore his shining armour beneath a resplendent Crann Oak tabard. His eye was the first to stray to the glow coming from Danielle’s sheath.

            “Sir Longbow. You’re alive.” Queen Elspeth’s shock rang in every high note of the words.

            “If not for miracles, I wouldn’t be, my queen. That is why I’m here. If I could talk to you?” She bowed as Lupita had already. The knight’s eyes strayed to the intricate gold dress with a high ruff that fanned out at the back.

            The queen looked at Fabian, Paulina, and the witches in their robes. Other knights stood by, by the queen’s side but out of her way. A curaduile avatar stood next to them. Curaduile were the magic trees of Crann. They used the avatars to communicate with the people.

            “We can resume this discussion later, I’m sure. I’m curious to know where Sir Danielle has been. Tell us your story. Have we to thank you for ending the nightmare that blighted the city?” By that the queen referred to the sleepless nights the people of Leonor had spent as three bodies hovered in the sky.

            “I met the creature that was plaguing us, my queen. As the cenaga had warned me, it was a herald who trades miracles to anyone willing to doom their kingdom. Anyone writing the runes that appeared in the sky would have summoned the wrath of a hateful god. The herald of that god already had a wretch willing to kill us all to save her life. I challenged him that I could kill any five monsters of his choosing. In return he had to spare us for a thousand years.”

            “Why not forever?” Queen Elspeth asked. Her brown eyebrows rose.

            “I tried to bargain for that end, your highness. A thousand years was as long as I could have him spare us, for a number of monsters that seemed possible to slay. He conjured a portal of blood and fire to the world he called Craspeur. First, I fought a heinous creature he called a lesser chatter-jaw.

            Then I fought one of the people he came from. They had all white skin, teeth like needles and mirrored eyes.

            Third I faced a flesh-eating plant called a fuilreum. The thing drew me into a pool of digestive juices. I almost drowned.

            Next, I fought a greater chatter-jaw. It had four mouths the size of my front door. It flew on four wings like a bat. It had tentacles like an octopus but covered in vicious teeth. I killed it by going in through one of its mouths and cutting it apart from the inside.

            I did something similar to a dragon. The herald enchanted my sword to glow for my fight against the dragon.” Danielle lifted her sword up and held the sheath across two palms.

            “Did you say dragon?” Queen Elspeth asked.

            “Yes, your majesty.” Twice, she thought.

            The queen made a high-pitched sound which might have been disbelief or simply astonishment. “What is it you wished to say to me, Sir Longbow?” Leaning forward on the throne, the queen had her ring covered fingers pressed together. Her palms met. The queen’s chin rested on her thumbs, nose touching her index fingers.

            “I want to create a force of warriors trained to fight monsters my queen. I want to teach them what I know and for the unit to research other monsters so that the kingdom is ready no matter what comes at us next. I want others to stand at my side when I face inhuman beasts. I want successors if I fall in battle. I don’t wish to be the only one people look to when there are creatures to slay.”

            “It’s an excellent idea,” said the queen.

            “It is?” Danielle, stood, dumbstruck.

            “What you’ve said makes perfect sense. Relying on one warrior or even a handful is unwise. If anything happened to you, we would lose our greatest asset against monsters. We would lose the confidence of the people. Some day we will need to fight monsters in more than one place at once. Training a force to respond to multiple threats is something I’ve considered. Shoring up our border defences was always foremost in mind. Now is a perfect time for your plan. What would you call this unit?” Queen Elspeth had her brownish-green eyes trained on Danielle’s.

            Sir Longbow’s light brown eyes stared at the floor. “Honestly, my queen, I hadn’t thought that far.”

            “Take your time, perhaps consult Lupita and Carl. I suggest a hundred recruits to begin with. Whittle them down to the best. They will be under your command. It will be your responsibility to see that they are fit for the task of slaying monsters. If you choose to train alongside other forces, I suggest training with Lord Castel’s elite soldiers.”

            Lord Fabian bowed and smiled as he rose, boyish charm in every tooth, every whisker of stubble on his chin.

            “Training by Lord Fabian Castel’s side again would be wonderful. I’ll have the printers create posters for recruitment immediately.” Danielle bowed deeply to the queen.

            In the light Queen Elspeth’s eyes were copper on the turn from golden to greenish blue. A flicker of a smile in shadow crossed the monarch’s face before she turned back to her advisors. “Where were we?”

By the end of the day Danielle had her posters.

            Sir Danielle Longbow seeks brave hearts to fight monsters. Present yourself to the royal commissioner.

            By the end of the week, she had her recruits.

Among the recruits were hungry townsfolk out of work, eager for the pay. Some were knights and soldiers she’d fought with before. Some were friends. One was her daughter.

            “Nettle. What are you doing here?”

            “You’re raising an army to fight monsters. Of course I’m here.” Nettle had grown in the time Danielle had been away. Almost as tall as her adoptive mother, she stood shoulder to shoulder with the tallest men and women. Instead of having her hair short like Sir Longbow, Nettle kept it tied up in a bun and hidden beneath a hat. Her brown eyes had the same shine as the day they had met while Leonor burned.

            “You didn’t think you could stop us, did you?” Asked Anne Hyland, a close friend of Danielle’s from previous misadventures. They’d met during the same battle in the flaming streets where Nettle had been looking for her dead mother.

            “I’ll admit I had to turn down the proposal of a farmer to give him dozens of babies for his hand in marriage to come today. He was a good-looking lad. I was looking forward to a few months of trying,” the lecherous gleam in the woman’s eyes was a flame that drew many men to her. “Before telling him that I can’t have children anymore.”

            Nettle blushed, half knowing what Anne meant. Miss Hyland brushed shoulder length locks behind her ears. “Do I have to cut my hair? I’ve been getting more attention since I grew it out. Either men don’t mind a bit of grey, or I’m just that irresistible.”

            “You didn’t change a bit while I was gone,” said Sir Longbow. “Thank goodness.”

            “I just get better with age, like wine.” Anne winked to a young man who looked as if he hadn’t eaten in days. “You’ll have to feed some of these scraps up a bit before you set them to work. They’re all skin and bone. I’d snap them like kindling. Maybe that should be your test.” If not her eyes than Anne’s smile, knowing and devilish, was her draw.

            “You’re all here to fight monsters. Am I right?” More than a hundred volunteers cheered as she looked at them. All of them wore the armour provided by the city to the people for defence against invaders.

            “One thing I want you to know before I tell you how to kill monsters, I’ve fought is that there may be exceptions.” Danielle waved her hand to shadows behind the stage. Behind her two figures in their own Crann uniforms crossed the stage of the arena.

            “This is my friend, Badru Quacey.” She put a hand on the spindly man’s shoulder. His curly ginger hair brushed her hand. “He’s a loup garou. That means he can turn into a creature like a wolf.” She felt the atmosphere cool from summer to winter in the eyes of the crowd. “As I said, Badru is my friend. He helped me fight other monsters while we brought guns from Sliabh. He is a loup garou. He is not a monster.”

            Danielle took a moment to look at the would-be soldiers of her army. “There is a difference. I want you all to soak that up now

            Catherine.” She looked at the woman in the blackened silver bird mask. The assassin removed the mask to show the crowd her yellow eyes. Men and woman gasped. More than the hatred there had been for Badru, there was fear. “Catherine Harper has done more than most for this kingdom. She was attacked by a harpy. She almost became one.”

            Catherine put her mask back on and left the stage without another word. Everyone watched her depart. “You may meet loup garous. You might fight harpies. Don’t lose your humanity. Don’t turn on anyone who can be saved.

            I will teach you how to fight monsters. I will also teach you how to save the people you love, and yourselves.” Danielle cracked her knuckles. “I’m doing all of this because I’m tired of fighting monsters alone. I promise you. You will never fight alone.”

July 08, 2022 14:19

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14:46 Dec 10, 2022

Maybe just one more. Im on a roll. Its a good ifea for her not to have to do it on her own. Having an army will help a lot.


Graham Kinross
01:11 Dec 11, 2022

Thank you for reading so many of my stories. I can’t thank you enough. Having an army, like the witchers made sense because she always has to do it alone against bigger and bigger monsters. Stories always have to up the scale so having an army seemed like the best way to accomplish that.


13:39 Dec 12, 2022

I’ll get to that soon i guess.


Graham Kinross
22:30 Dec 12, 2022

I think you’re nearly there.


09:44 Dec 14, 2022

I did. Prefer when she was on her own.


Graham Kinross
13:39 Dec 14, 2022

You might get more of that soon.


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Graham Kinross
23:27 Jul 15, 2022

The next chapter is uploaded to reedsy now. If you want to read it, use the link below. Thank you.


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Pauline Milner
12:23 Jul 14, 2022

Wow. I just lost myself in this story. You are surely a talented writer. Please continue this tale of awesome fantasy.


Graham Kinross
12:26 Jul 14, 2022

Thank you, that’s very kind. The story started with the chapter below if you’re interested in reading more and knowing where it started.


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BA Eubank
14:58 Jul 11, 2022

Very vivid imagery. I definitely can see this in novel form or even a series. Your story makes the reader wanting more.


Graham Kinross
15:02 Jul 11, 2022

Thanks, it all started with this story a while ago.


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Aoi Yamato
01:18 Jul 14, 2023

good story.


Graham Kinross
05:27 Jul 14, 2023

Thank you.


Aoi Yamato
03:26 Jul 18, 2023



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Sean Sorce
17:02 Jul 10, 2022

Again: another fantastic fantasy based short story! I want to read more of this! Is this all part of a fantasy book you're working on? If so, what's the book called and where do I find it? Can't wait to read more of this already. Great job, Graham. You've done it again. Don't be shy to check out my work too of course. Glad I'm following this awesome content.


Graham Kinross
23:28 Jul 15, 2022

Thanks Sean. It’s all just here but the next chapter is up.


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