I don't even know what this is. We were supposed to use the style of one form (detective, for me) and the tropes of another (fantasy). It ended up being a mixture of ridiculous and stupid, but I enjoyed writing it. I kind of want to write more, actually. Also, I hope swearing is allowed on these blogs. Because there is some.
Swordsheath: a tale of Sir Albion and his sidekick Lady Gaewen
The dragon soared past the window, circled a couple of times, and came to rest on the rooftop outside Sir Albion’s window. He sharpened his sword thoughtfully as it yowled outside, butting its big silver-scaled head against the glass.
“In a minute, bird,” he said. He wasn’t much inclined to talk to dragons. It wasn’t his style. He didn’t think a guy could trust an oversized bird that breathed fire instead of talking back.
It was like the damn thing had heard him. It blew a couple of smoke rings before belching a short stream of flame.
“I could do better with my pipe,” Sir Albion told it severely. It gazed mournfully back at him. He sighed. He had a soft heart, despite all he’d gone through: being temporarily suspended from the King’s Counsel, crashing his horse ass-over-tail into the side of the barn, and worst of all, his wife Lady Gaewen leaving him and taking the kids. Apparently he drank too much. Sir Albion cast a bitter look at the casket of wine in the corner. Lady Gaewen didn’t know shit about him, he decided. She didn’t know shit about his life.
He stood up quickly, shoving his sword into the holster at his side. He was one of the best duellers in Gallcliff and had the scars to prove it, one a great silvery gash across the side of his face where the tip of a sword had grazed him, back when he’d been duelling Sir Ebbford for Lady Gaewen’s honour. He was lucky, he figured, to escape from years of hard duelling with only a couple of scars and a limp to show from it. His leg had hurt for years. It predicted when it was going to rain. Of course, his mental scars ran deeper.
Lady Gaewen had never had any honour to fight for, he reflected bitterly as he crossed to the window and stared at the dragon. It stared commiseratingly back at him, its eyes big like full moons, or maybe like fat circles of cheese. What use had it been trying to win Lady Gaewen’s hand? He hadn’t gained anything but a woman who was buttoned-up on the outside and a whore between the sheets. A fake. She was nothing but an ex-stableboy, abandoned at the castle at a young age by her parents so that she could learn to fight and ride like a man, and later to smile and acquiesce like a lady.
“She was never a lady,” he told the dragon.
The dragon was steaming up the window with its hot breath. Sir Albion was getting irate. He crossed to the cask of wine and helped himself to a glass, staring into its depths as he swirled it. The sweet amber liquid had helped him through many a long day sitting on his horse and staring into darkened camps, waiting for the dreaded talisman-smugglers to finally make a move. Those jerks had been on his ass for years.
The talismans, laced with ancient power, had been removed from the castle for a long time. Sir Albion could feel magic leaking from his fingertips every time he moved the wrong way. It pissed him off, and it pissed the king off, and it pissed everybody off, but no one seemed to know what to do about it. They watched the suspects they believed to be talisman smugglers but they were slippery: nothing ever stuck to them, they were always brand spanking clean.
Sometimes he wondered what he was doing wrong. Maybe he was being too hard on them. Maybe he should charm them – but while he had a lot of valuable attributes such as the ability to wield a shield at a jaunty yet casual angle, the know-how to kill and butcher a deer in twenty seconds, and an undeniable ability to woo the ladies, Sir Albion was not good at sweet-talking talisman smugglers. He lost his patience. He smacked them around and threatened them with his sword. Sometimes he cut them a little bit, but only when he lost his temper. That had been what had got him thrown out of the King’s Counsel, cutting prisoners with his sword. In his personal opinion, way too big a deal had been made out of that incident. It had only been a surface wound after all, and with some good old-fashioned cauterising the guy had stopped screaming after a couple of hours. Sir Albion’s record was clean, though – the king had kept it strictly under wraps. They were buddies, he’d said, buddies that went way back, but ‘Albion, I can’t trust you anymore. Keep that sword sheathed.’
As Lady Gaewen could attest to, Sir Albion couldn’t be trusted to keep his sword sheathed. He was working his way back, though. It was a tough life, being a maverick.
There was a knock at the door. “May I request the honour of my lord’s presence?”
I’ll make him sweat, Sir Albion thought, but didn’t. “You may.”
The kid entered, a sweet-faced kid who couldn’t have been more than twelve. “I was sent to say,” he began breathlessly, “that you should probably look out of the window.” The kid glanced at the window. “You should get the dragon to move first,” he added doubtfully. Sir Albion could swear the big dumb dragon was smiling. That thing had way too many teeth.
“Yes, thank you, I have the situation under my control,” said Sir Albion, meaning, “No shit, Sherlock.” The kid left and Sir Albion crossed to the window. He opened it. “Excuse me,” he said to the dragon, wishing that it’d move its fat ass out of the way so he could see what the hell was going on in the castle courtyard.
It let out a noise that sounded like a cat throwing up fishbones that he gathered meant agreement, and shifted obligingly to the left. Rooftiles shuddered beneath its large sharp claws and fell with almighty cracks to the stone courtyard below.
Jesus fucking Christ, Sir Albion said to himself. Fuck these big dumb dragons. He stuck his head out of the window, more driven by his keen sense of curiosity and drive to solve mysteries rather than anything the kid had said. A horse was gliding into the courtyard, a shining white horse that moved like a sleek jaguar. There was a tall slim figure astride the horse, body lit with bright silver armour, and as Sir Albion watched, the figure pulled off its helmet.
Long shining brown hair fell to the figure’s shoulders as she smiled with fierce joy at the people surrounding her. It was Lady Gaewen, and she was twirling a handful of talismans on velvet red ropes from one hand. Just before she was swept inside the castle by her adoring people, she winked up at Sir Albion, the shadow of her cleavage visible even from the height of his window. The dragon beat its wings happily, as if it was looking down her shirt too.
“That woman,” Sir Albion said to the dragon, with grudging admiration. He drained his wineglass, and began to get ready for the inevitable banquet. He had some making up to do.