Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Niles the Hero, written a long, long time ago.

Niles looked up from his breakfast of blackened salmon and gazed out the entrance to his cave. It was a nice cave, as caves go, with more than a dozen caverns and a lovely view of the valley below with an especially clear view of the village nestled within the valley. The villagers were panicking again, simply because some king from far away had kidnapped their beloved princess for the seventeenth time. Niles sighed, puffing a cloud of black smoke from his nostrils. Once he’d finished his meal, he rose and ambled over to the rather large mirror on the wall. He carefully picked his teeth with a delicately sharpened claw and pondered what to do that day, and whether he should polish his scales again, which would be the third time that week. With a snort that flung soot all over the mirror, the dragon shook his head and decided that he was sick of being bored, and that he wouldn’t polish his scales.

Once more he gazed across the valley. Shouts and other irritating noises wafted up to his ears.

“That’s it!” he roared, annoyed. He would rescue the stupid princess and put an end to this horrid racket. He tidied the dirt pile he slept on, generally cleaned up a bit, and gave his ruby scales a quick buffing for appearances sake. At last, he was ready to go. As he flew over the town everyone scurried about, terrified, and just generally panicked some more. Niles rolled his eyes. “Idiots,” he grumbled.
After an hour or so of flying, a beautiful, lamenting ballad belted by a sweet voice drifted up from a castle and pierced his eardrums. He covered his ears and began his descent. Landing on the roof above the room the singing came from, he braced himself and blindly reached into the room below. The singing had stopped at last, only to be replaced by a series of even more piercing shrieks and screams that echoed in poor Niles’ head. At last, after being whacked with chairs, kicked, poked with various and assorted objects, and generally berated, his scaly claw found the princess and dragged her out the window. His large obsidian eyes beheld the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. As he began to state his mission, all speech on his part ended with an abrupt roar or startled pain.

“You bit me!” He hollered.

“Put me down!” The princess screeched, after disgustedly wiping her mouth on her sleeve, as she wriggled defiantly.

Shocked, Niles looked at her. “Don’t you want to be rescued?”

“Yes, but…” She began to cry. A small trickle of mucus slithered out of her dainty nose. “A dragon was not my ideal hero. You are too big and smelly. You’re awful. Now leave.”

“Hmph. Well, I am taking you home whether you like it or not.” With that, he threw her on his back between his wings and took off. The following hour or so it took to get back to the village was the worst he could recall. The spoiled young woman on his back lifted his scales and poked him with hairpins, she pinched his wings, and she kicked, screamed and thrashed about as much as she could without falling off more than once (it cost Niles the remainder of his patience when he had to dive to catch her). At last Niles arrived back at his cave to get something for his headache. Meanwhile, the princess continued to scream and be as obnoxious as one could be. Immediately after he’d taken some aspirin, Niles made a very important life-or-death decision. He grinned toothily to himself and hummed a little dragon tune to drown out the villagers and the incessant cacophony the princess insisted upon making.

That night, Niles the Ruby Dragon sat down to a fine meal of roast donkey, with pickled cats for garnish, and a delicately toasted princess à la mode for dessert.

The moral of this story is this: Heroes are entitled to do what they will with whomever they rescue, even if that includes eating them for dessert. 

Creative Commons License
Niles the Hero by Tena Kolakowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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