Mumbling, the King looked away from his knight and muttered, “I need you to save the dragon… from my princess.”

Sir Rian looked at the King blankly. “Is this a jest, your majesty?”

“I do not jest,” King Harold says, looming in his throne. He, all at once, deflates, burying his face in his hands. “Word has begun to spread of Maria’s…peculiar pastime. I was supposed to have a meeting with King John next week, discussing the possibility of his son marrying my daughter.” The King points to one of the scrolls littering the ground. “I just received that cancellation this morning.”

Sir Rian looks at the floor and winces. He recognizes the royal crests from a half dozen neighboring countries and surmises that this isn’t the first cancellation. 

“Oh dear,” Sir Rian says before he can stop himself. “Your majesty, the line of succession–”

“–will see Lord Calloway on the throne,” King Harold says, face still buries in his hands. He raises his head just enough so that Sir Rian can see the unhealthy bags under his eyes. “Unless my daughter, my dragon-enslaving daughter, can be brought around.”

If Lord Calloway sits on the throne, Sir Rian thinks, the people will set it on fire. Having just come back from patrolling the southern reaches of the kingdom, fending off pirates, that’s not a scenario he’s fond of. “Surely there’s some diversion you can offer her, your majesty? I hear the princess is rather fond of swordplay. A new tutor–”

“Good god, man,” King Harold says, “does no news reach our borders? Maria has already mastered swordplay. Then archery, then hand to hand, then some infernal thing called an ahlspiess. I didn’t even know what an ahlspiess was and my daughter used it to win last year’s knight’s tournament!”

“It’s a type of spear–”

“I know that now!” The King takes several deep, calming breaths.

Keep reading

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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