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The Wizard and The Warrior
As I lay me down to sleep,
I looked and, lo, my eyes did see:
A vision, bright and beautiful,
A softly changing dream.
I felt my body float away
It left the night and saw the day.
I drifted toward another realm,
Another time, another world.
A voice rang out as loud as life,
Yet quiet as a whisper.
I did not know of he who spoke,
But waited as I listened.
This is what the voice did say:
Two men stood in an imaginary circle that only they recognized.
The grass around them would soon cry out in agony as the men’s blood fell.
It would be burned into this land’s memory for many ages to come.
Heedless of the many consequences, they would battle.
The one who stood on the northern end of the hill was a master of all manner of blades and skilled in unarmed combat.
He had knives hidden all about his body whose use he could employ at any moment.
He was young, quick, and agile.
The other man, old and withered, knew the secrets of many ages.
He had sold himself to evil so that in return it would give him its knowledge.
He was not fast or strong, but his power was unearthly, unnatural.
He slowly, painfully examined his foe.
I was then drawn away from that place, and looked, and I beheld a creature of unsurpassed beauty.
She was inhumanly tall, but as slender as a flower-laden sapling in May. Her face was as soft and white as silk; her hair and dress were the same. She actually glowed with health and life. Beyond her pure whiteness was a warm and light pink. She seemed to me the sentient embodiment of a cherry tree in full blossom after a calm spring shower.
This lovely vision lay alone in a dungeon, collapsed upon the egregiously bright, plush bed that seemed to mock her by its very presence. It contrasted with the surrounding darkness and filth too much to be reasonable. She had been crying, but neglect on the part of her captor had kept her from enough sustenance to continue. She lay face-first in the fluffy blankets, heaving and gasping unevenly.
It infuriated me to see such beauty confined in any prison, plush or otherwise.
Dull, dark, wet, and smelling of mildew and death- the room itself shouldn’t have been used for a rat, much less any person, good or bad.
Then of course there was the bed: big and gaudy and fake and fat and so full of vanity that it was the exact opposite of the girl. She was real and good; the bed was cheap and tawdry.
Though I understood now who she was and what why she was in this place, I allowed the voice to fill in the details. What it said confirmed my suspicions.
As you had assumed, this woman is the object of the battle that I showed you before.
As you also had suspected, she is not human.
She is a member of another race whose name is secret to other mortals.
Humanity has had to name them, and as such there are numerous titles they have been given.
Most words used to describe them have meant things similar to, “Beautiful”, “Lovely”, and “Majestic.”
The old one, in his self-obsession brought about by constant submersion in darkness and all things arcane,
Decided that she should be his wife, and spirited her away to his dungeon until she would love him.
The young man had been an apprentice to the elder, and turned on him when he found his cruelty.
The younger had attempted, in foolish passion, to free the girl from the vile grasp of the wizard by deceit.
The sorcerer caught him and tried to kill him, but he escaped and vowed to free her one day.
The old villain knew that the man was strong and determined, but also foolish and hasty.
He challenged him to a duel for her hand.
He planned to commit an unspeakable treachery by summoning a dragon to devour the lad in the thick of the fight.
The warrior accepted the challenge, as the wizard had known he would.
Now all had been revealed to me. I wished that I could interfere, warn that poor foolish boy of his impending doom. I helplessly watched as they began the fight.
One thing that I must reveal before this parable is continued:
The wizard is an obvious embodiment of evil,
But the warrior is prey to a different sort of wickedness:
The hand of God is not for either of these men.
The wizard worships devils and sorcery; the warrior worships his own strength and self.
I suddenly became confused; they young man charged at the old, but he responded by simply turning around and pulling out a book. He looked back at the boy and his eyes rolled back. His voice boomed out, rough and unnatural, with an ancient incantation. The ground around them started to turn yellow, then it brown, then black, and then it burst into flames around them both.
The wizard was not hurt by his flames, but the warrior suddenly fell and began to scream.
The sorcerer smiled, he thought that it would be over before his secret would have to be revealed.
Then, to both of our surprise, he painfully pulled himself up. He lowered his head and raised his blade.
He ran, no, sprinted, through the flames and leaped onto the cruel man. I saw the blade be driven into the wizard’s stomach and he fell.
That awful monster fell.
The warrior kicked the vile, kneeling body and it collapsed.
The flames died immediately.
He swiftly removed the magician’s head as a precaution. What scared me was the smile on that severed face; he looked pleased, even amused. It was then that I remembered what the voice had told me of the dragon.
Perhaps the magic still applied after his death, or maybe his death triggered it. Whatever the cause, I knew that as the young warrior turned, and with a spring in his step, began to walk back to the tower to free his love, that he would never reach her.
Then I realized my mistake: it wouldn’t be a dragon after all! The head was being rejoined to the body and sparks of electricity began to pull it up. The process of this unholy resurrection was silent, and the youth never could have guessed what was happening. The evil wizard flew through the air, straight towards his victim’s head. Now he held a knife.
The young man realized what was happening and turned, hoping to be able to avoid the attack.
He grabbed the blade and it pierced his hand through, but he was kept from death.
They began to grapple; the old one had been empowered by demons and had the upper hand. He forced the youth to his knees and held the blade up. I viewed the obvious pleasure on his face that he would be able to see the warrior’s pained expression as he died.
Suddenly a beast, so massive that its wings turned the sky over that fateful field into darkness, appeared above them. It screeched, shaking the earth to the core. I swear it looked straight at me knowingly and smirked.
I think that dragon smirked, as if to say,”I see you, now see me!”
At first the sorcerer was made even giddier than before, but when he turned and beheld the creature, his jaw fell and his eyes widened. He dropped the knife.
The warrior couldn’t escape; he was so paralyzed by fear as to be made stupid and weak.
Neither human moved.
I saw that foolish, vain young warrior close his eyes and fall onto his back.
I saw that wretched old man of evil, the wizard, collapse and scream.
Then I saw the dragon swoop down and grab them both.
He squeezed them to the bursting point, and then flew off, circling around me twice before disappearing into nothingness.
It was over.
I was stunned.
Why had the dragon killed the wizard and the warrior?
The field slowly faded from view, and within minutes I had returned to the blackness of slumber.
The voice returned once more:
Your confusion is to be expected.
Let me clarify what you just saw.
The lesson might be summed up like this:
Neither magic and hatred, nor pride and strength,
Can have any effect against a wild dragon big enough to eat the summoned dragon.