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From Thy Fiery Lips

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From Thy Fiery Lips
Many centuries ago, there was a small village nestled comfortably in the corner of a valley. The village was neither wealthy nor poor, but as a whole, they were of the common class. The village had been founded after the last great ice age in the region and had been appropriately named Frostbitton. Frostbitton had a long history of boredom; nothing out of the ordinary ever happened.
Then one day, after the snow had melted and replenished the newly thawed streams, a dragon from a far-off realm traveled into the region. It took up residence in the monstrous mountain residing on the opposite end of the valley: Rocklin. To satisfy its hunger and lust for destruction, the dragon pillaged the fields and forests that kept Frostbitton alive. The villagers were terrified; they did not know how to react to such circumstances.
In their terror, the villagers came together to decide on what to do with the dragon. Various ideas were thrown around until there was a consensus: the dragon had to be slain. No one, however, was willing to risk their lives to protect the livelihood of Frostbitton. The wealthy and the common class, since they were the majority, decided they would be exempt from volunteering, and a quick tally of the poor was taken instead. There was only one who had not attended the meeting: Michael. Michael was an orphan of the age of twelve; with no family and no future, the village unanimously voted for him to be the martyr for Frostbitton.
Michael, scared to death, set forth on the long and treacherous journey across the valley and up Rocklin to where the dragon had created his lair. He had entered the den slowly, only to realize that the dragon had come back from his pillaging and trapped him in. The dragon stared hungrily at Michael, drooling over the boy’s shaking body. Michael collapsed into a pile knowing the end had come for him.
The dragon saw the boy’s fear and decided not to eat him. Instead, the dragon Michael a deal: Michael’s life would be spared if he would return to Frostbitton and tell the villagers that the dragon had vacated the area before he arrived. In return, the dragon would stay away from the village but remain living in his new lair.
Michael, recovering from his initial shock of the dragon, agreed and left, descending the steep slopes of Rocklin. On the journey home, Michael decided that the dragon would be none the wiser if he would exaggerate the story a little; he did not want to capitalize on the lies, but he did want to raise his standing among the villagers. He returned to Frostbitton and told how he, a boy from little means and poverty, had risen from the ashes to slay a powerful beast, a mighty dragon.
The villagers soaked in every word and were fully absorbed in his web of lies. Frostbitton made Michael an honored citizen. Celebrations, ceremonies, and parades were held to commemorate Michael’s bravery and strength. While he was not originally going to expound on the stories, Michael forgot about his original intentions.
Over the years following his return, Michael remained the town hero. Whenever there was a problem, Michael would arrive on the scene to recount his ever changing, epic tale and help supervise the situation. Michael quickly forgot about his reasoning and convinced himself that he deserved all of the honors he received. His once humble, timid characteristics were rapidly replaced by a loud, arrogant, and conceited personality that could not be quenched. The villagers did not mind his actions; they loved having someone to look up to, no matter what their leader’s needs were.
The dragon remained away from Frostbitton, just as he had promised, until one day there was a commotion that it could not ignore.

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In the town square, a large celebration has begun in honor of Michael. It has been twenty-five years since Michael had ‘humbly and courageously volunteered to set forth on a deathly mission to slay a monstrous and ferocious dragon.’ The entire village has gathered to listen to a reenactment of the horrific journey and slaying, and they have just returned from lunch, which was the intermission in the tale. Michael is starting at the part where he enters the dragon’s lair.

Village Leader: Now, dear villagers, let us sit back down in our places. Our lunch has nourished our bodies, and our fellowship has gladdened our hearts. Let us sit and get comfortable and listen to the rest of the courageous tale of brave Knight, Sir Michael. Look! Here he comes now!

(Michael comes through the crowd and steps onto the stage, pushing the village leader off.)

Crowd: Sir Michael is here! Hurrah for Knight!

Michael: Why, welcome fellow listeners! I’m so glad that you are ready to hear the rest of my tale, that of courage and triumph. No one else has had, has, or will ever have such a tale to tell in our generation or the next. I know you are all shaking in anticipation for the ending which you all have heard before, but you all look forward to hearing again. My tale, the best depiction of sacrifice and bravery, overshadows all of your lives. I came from poverty, and I volunteered to set forth and protect the rotten village known as Frostbitton. And…

Child: Dear one, I have a question…

Michael: What did you call me? Did you not hear the edict that was released several years back? Under the order, everyone, whether citizen or traveler or beast, is to address me as Knight or Sir Michael. Did you not ever hear of such a proclamation?

Child: Yes, Sir Michael. Whatever you command.

Michael: And besides for that, of what lineage are you? I do not see any older relatives around?

Child: I am but an orphan, the same lineage you once belonged, Sir Michael.

Michael: And have you not also heard of allowing elders to speak fully before interrupting their train of thought? But, because I am such a humble and passionate man, one that deals so well with the stricken and uneducated, I will allow you to ask your question.

Child: Well, Sir Michael, were you not forced to go on this journey you speak so fondly of?

Michael: (Agitated) What do you mean, you little child? What is this you speak of?

Child: Sir Michael, the records show it clearly: you were forced to go on your journey. You had no option. You came from poverty, as you say, but the village, in their fear, voted the smallest and most vulnerable child to go as a martyr to get rid of the dragon.

(Michael jumps down from the stage and stands face-to-face with the child.)

Michael: Are you drunk? Did you steal your parents’ stash of whiskey or their finest bottle of brandy? How dare you rely on common gossip and street talk to counter me, Sir Michael, the bravest man that has ever lived. Have you never listened to my accounts of what happened?

Child: Firstly, Knight, I am an orphan. Secondly, I have, Sir Michael, but the tale has changed slightly per every rendition I have heard. At one telling you state that the dragon was the size of town hall while in a different setting among higher nobility you go on to tell that it was larger than the peak of Rocklin. I think you have exaggerated your accounts.

Michael: How dare you question my accounts! I can tell no lie for I am a respected hero in Frostbitton, and I would not dare ruin the faithful trust of the villagers; they do not have many people to look up to anyway.

Child: Why don’t you just recap the tale to please me, then? If you have so little to worry about, why do you not just prove me wrong?

Michael: I will tell my marvelous, spectacular tale not to please you but to prove you wrong, and you will help me in the telling.

(Michael grabs the child by the scruff of his neck and throws him up on the stage.)

Child: You have no right even if you are considered to be a hero.

Michael: Considered? I am not considered a hero, I am a hero. And you shall have nothing more to say about it. You have no family that even cares about your welfare. Am I right, fellow neighbors and followers of Frostbitton?

Crowd: Yes, Knight! Prove your point! You know what is best for us, Sir Michael. You have led us without any trace of evilness!

(Michael rips off the child’s shirt and wraps it around the child’s head; Michael then stuffs it in the child’s mouth and ties it around the child’s head.)

Michael: Now see here, fellow villagers! I was just going to recount my tale, but since this orphaned child has humbly come forth to assist me, I will now begin a live-action account of my near-martyrdom of a journey!

Crowd: Yes, onward, Sir Michael!

Michael: I left off in my tale where I had just ascended Rocklin. I had been completely drained and exhausted. The journey would have been too much for any normal human, but I was born a great hero, full of adrenaline and pure strength. I did not wait but a second to enter the cave and attempt to locate the monstrous beast.
(Michael throws the child across the stage to the far right and faces the opposite way. The child, in agony from bruises and broken ribs, lays helpless.)
I strode confidently into the dragon’s keep, darting my eyes from side-to-side looking for the beast. I went to the very back of the cavern and was looking behind piles of stolen riches when I heard a mighty growl.
(Michael dramatically turns around, drawing his sword.)
I drew my sword and turned to see the mighty beast had entered with my back turned, a nasty maneuver, and had blocked me in, its large frame blocking not only the doorway but any walking room in the front half of the den. I stared, my courage shining like the rising sun, and the dragon stared right back, a tiny edge of fear visible in its eyes.
(Michael slowly starts to move across the stage, slowly approaching the child, still lying on the ground.)
I slowly started to advance, my footsteps letting off half-an-echo through the vast chamber. The dragon, ever so slight, moved his clawed paws back towards the entrance. It was obvious it was scared for its life because of my approach.
(Michael reached the child on the stage.)
And then, the dragon made the only move it could. It could either fly away and dread the day I would finally hunt it down or make a move that any coward would make.
(Michael picked up the child by the hair; the child whimpered.)
The stupid dragon dived straight towards me, smoke blowing from its snout. I could tell he was preparing a spew of fire, and I knew I only had but seconds to respond before he charcoaled me.
(Michael raises his sword with his right hand while still holding the child in his left.)
I raised my sword, hand at the ready. I noticed his cheeks bulge, his eyes light up, and his claws tense. I knew he was ready to wipe me clean off the Earth. Then, I made my move.
(Michael plunged his sword deep into the heart of the child. The child winced and then went limp.)
I took my blessed sword, and I threw it with a passion I knew I had straight into the wicked, black heart of the dreaded dragon. It tensed, the pain stinging through its body, its flames still held within the bowels of its stomach and the back of its throat.

Crowd: See there, you despicable child! How dare you undermine Sir Michael’s authority and judgment! Now you fully understand what the Knight did in his childhood!

Michael: Not quite, for that is not the end of my tale.
(Michael drops the unconscious child to the floor of the stage.)
The dragon did indeed fall to the floor of its blood-soaked lair, but it had not died. I lunged expertly to the side as the dragon released its built-up flames from its inner depths. The side of the cavern was lit with the melting of fine metals and minerals and jewels, a light show that was not even comparable to that of the stars.
(Michael raised his sword.)
I could not let the miserable beast suffer for I am a noble man, one who is honest and true. I had to completely kill the beast, for he had no good in its heart of stone. I cut out its heart, for the wild animals would have more use eating it than the gods salvaging it for another poor creature.
(Michael quickly went for the now dead carcass of the child with a full intent of savagely carving it to bits. But, a rock flew through the air, knocking the sword out of his hand.)
What? How dare you! Cursed is whoever threw that! Who threw that stone, that missile of injustice? For they have just as much right to be up here as this worthless child.

Crowd: We did not throw it. The child deserved what he got.

(The wind starts to howl, blowing and swirling around the villagers and the stage. The sky darkens.)

Village Leader: Look to the sky! Is it a feathered animal of flight? Is it some unknown, alien contraption that comes from the future? No, it is a non-super creature! It is a dragon!

(The dragon, which Michael was spared by, lands upon the stage. The dragon is the size of a house.)

Dragon: I have lived for multiple centuries in a variety of lands; I have flown across many villages and observed many strange phenomenons. But, never in my lifetime, have I ever experienced such cruelty and hate.

Michael: What do you think you are, monstrous beast, to come and interrupt me, the savior of this village? Do you not even know who I am? I am a dragon slayer, and I am full of courage and strength!

Dragon: I know who you are, you waste of human flesh! You are the poor, unfortunate child I spared many years ago in my lair. I had come back from a hunt, a very unsuccessful one at that, to discover in my den a trembling child scared out of his wits. I was starving, and I could have easily swallowed you whole, but I saw the fear in your eyes and in your movements, and when you fell over in a heap, I could not bear the fact of killing an innocent being. I let you live, in hopes of giving you a new look on life, a renewed hope, and letting me live in peace for the remainder of my days. But, I was only wishfully thinking. How could I even think that a mere human could have a change of heart?

Michael: A mere human? Do you really think I am nothing but a poor beggar, someone from the common class? I am a hero! I have kept Frostbitton alive through the years, and you, a mere dragon, have no right to come into my realm and annoy me with your white lies! Beware, or I will carve you next!

Dragon: You dare to try to threaten me with your petty myths and attacks? I know exactly who you are. You are Michael, a mere poverty-stricken human being who has risen to an unfounded fame. You really think you have powers to rid the world of a human just because you have lied your way to wealth?

Michael: My name is Knight or Sir Michael, and you are not allowed to call me any other name. Now, do you really think you can come into my realm and take over?

Dragon: Are you possessed? Do you not remember your beginnings? Do you not remember what I did for you?

(Michael raises his already drawn sword.)

Michael: Be gone, monstrous brute! You have no place here!

Crowd: Spear him through the heart, Sir Michael! You are Knight, slayer of dragons! Kill this brother of the beast you slayed!

Dragon: You really have this poor village brainwashed, do you not? How could they follow such a conceited, stupid master?

Michael: En guarde!

(Michael runs forth, straight for the heart of the dragon. The dragon lifs his claws and knocks his sword away.)

Dragon: If you really think you must prove a point, let me curve it.

(The dragon tears off Michael’s limbs: arms and legs. The crowd runs screaming.)

Michael: (In a painful tone) How dare you embarrass me in front of my followers! You have lips from hell, lips that spit sulfurous fumes and balls of fire!

Dragon: And still you spout off puffed-up lies? I am not the one with the poisoned prophecies; your own fiery lips are what have filled the air with the smoky remains of charred hopes and dreams. No matter how oblivious you are, I will keep my promise for the betterment of this poor village. I will leave and return to my lair and not torture the realm you think is yours, but I will not relieve you of your painful life; I will leave you here to live out your days in misery.

(The dragon lets Michael fall onto the battered stage and flies away, its heart filled with sadness.)
(Michael lays helpless on the stage. He cries for the villagers, but they do not come back to the town square.)

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Michael lived out the rest of his days in remorse for his doings. He brought upon Frostbitton disaster, for when the dragon came, he destroyed the entire town square and the buildings surrounding it. All supplies and possibilities of commerce were completely ruined. The villagers shunned Michael, for their eyes were opened to his lies, and took away his wealth. Michael wandered the streets for the rest of his days, which was difficult since he did not have any limbs. He slithered like a snake throughout Frostbitton drinking out of water spouts and eating garbage out of trash cans.
The day Michael died, many years later, he paid for his deceit and trickery. A mountain lion, who had wandered down from the peaks of Rocklin to escape the wrath of the dragon, came upon the city and ravaged the villagers. Several were killed, and the mountain lion remained for several days continuing its havoc. Michael, in a last attempt at clearing his name, climbed to the top of the town hall, which had been rebuilt after the dragon had destroyed the town square, on his belly and flung himself upon the mountain lion. The mountain lion died from the impact, but Michael was killed not from the fall, but from a spear that was thrown by a villager. The villager was the friend of the child who had been killed by the hand of Michael during his ‘live action presentation.’
Michael’s name was never returned to its former glory; the history books were forever imprinted with the true account of his journey. As for the child, his name was forever memorialized in Frostbitton; his friend, who had not been aiming for the mountain lion, made sure of it. Forever after Michael’s death, Frostbitton returned to its boring, dull ways, and its history was never changed as drastically again.



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