I don't know what to make of this…
The Knight's Guide to Saving a DragonEdit
Alabastair hadn't planned to end the day in a dungeon when he woke up that morning, but sometimes these things just happen.
It all started when he'd flown to a village to steal some sheep. It wasn't his fault, he didn't even like the little fluffballs, but all the wild animals that hadn't been killed by the hordes of Goblins that were overrunning the region had been hunted by Centaurs or Humans for sport. The Dragons had been left with no choice but to steal livestock to feed. And the irony was, the Humans weren't even aware that they were responsible for the Dragons stealing their sheep! Failing to put two and two together, they had absolutely no idea why Dragon raids had increased, while they slowly emptied the forest of every sort of game from bears to yeren. Hmph, snorted Alabastair, typical. Short-sighted little pests. Alabastair could remember a time when Dragons ruled the whole world. Their Huorn allies had guarded the forests and the Gnomish ancestors of the Humans and associated races ruled underground. Of course, that was long, long ago, long before the War of Earth and Sky that had seen the gods themselves fall. Few were old enough to remember this event, but Alabastair could recall the war as if it had happened yesterday, as much as he tried to forget it. Nostalgia won't fill your stomach, said a voice in his head, and he knew this was true. And so he swooped down to the farms as farmers scattered and their scarecrow constructs hid in the cornstalk.
While Alabastair stocked his larder and caused widespread panic, Princess Morrigaine had a problem. Though she was next in line to rulership of the small but prosperous kingdom of Stratosia, her younger brother, Prince Hamish III, had been chosen for coronation when King Hamish II had decided to step down. Obviously, for the sake of women's rights everywhere, she had to do something. Something devious and possibly quite evil. But what? Reclining in her spacious chambers, she pondered this dilemma. On her left shoulder sat a crow named Babd, and on the right sat a raven named Macha. Both were well-trained and very intelligent, answering to the princess and her alone. Soon, a clanging came at the door. "Enter," she whispered into Babd's ear, and the crow flew to the door and landed on the handle. The man had to open on his own, which would serve to enforce the fact that Morrigaine was higher in status than him and would not deign to open the door herself. It was a good strategy, even if she did say so herself, unless her idiot brother or dotering father were visiting. As it was, neither Hamish II nor III were arriving. Instead, it was Finnegan, one of her messengers. "Come," she said, as Babd swept past the rabbit-like little man towards it's master. Finnegan ducked as the bird whipped past his face and made an involuntary cry of fear before he choked it down. Finnegan was a fool who was far from brave enough to question the orders of the princess. On the other hand, that made him ideal for Morrigaine's ambitions. Finnegan made his way towards the princess' throne slowly. "My lady," he began, "I-I have a-a… er, s-s-some bad ne-ne-" "Spit. It. Out." growled an intolerant Morrigaine. "Y-yes, madame," stuttered a frightened Finnegan, "it's a dr-dragon." The last word came out as little more than a squeak. "Come again?" "A dra-dragon. It's attacking the vi-village in the va-valley, over th-the hi-hi-hill." Morrigaine's face lit up as the gears turned in her head and an idea began to form. "A dragon? How large?" "H-h-h-HUGE!" Finnegan exclaimed, his arms stretched outwards to emphasize the point. "Interesting," muttered Morrigaine, "veery interesting…"
As Alibastair finished off the last sheep and prepared to fly back to his lair, he heard a peculiar sound. It sounded almost like a clap of thunder, but smaller. He then heard a swooping noise, and suddenly the world was shrouded in shadow. Alibastair felt a material draping over his body and suddenly he was being pulled to Earth. He let loose a blast of fire, but it was ineffective. The material was obviously fireproof, and he only succeeded in temporarily blinding himself with sparks. Nor could his claws cut through it, despite his frantic thrashing. Telling himself to think logically, he reached out into the arcana, trying to break free with magic, but the material resonated with elemental magic that effectively blocked arcane energy. It had to be fine mithril, one of the strongest and rarest metals in the world. This meant two things. One, his captor was extremely rich and/or powerful. Two, he wouldn't be getting out of this net until all 666 Underworlds froze over. But he could certainly try. He strained against the bonds that held him with all his might.
Morrigaine stood before the captive, thrashing dragon with a degree of satisfaction. Beside her stood Aratek, one of the most powerful wizards in the kingdom and a firm supporter of the princess. "How powerful, do you think?" Morrigaine inquired. Aratek closed his eyes. "I can feel his aura, even through the net. He's barely contained." As if to prove the point, a loud crackling sound echoed around them and the net began to glow and simmer. Morrigaine strode up to the dragon. "Be careful!" Aratek yelled, "the mithril alone could-" "I'll ask you for advice when it's needed, not a second before." Babd and Macha hovered protectively near their master, ready to assist her if need be. As a Stratosian princess, Morrigaine had been instructed in simple magical spells, her favourite of which was one affectionately known as Pa, Stratosian for "pow." The name was self-explanatory. With a cry of exertion, Morrigaine stunned Alibastair, knocking him unconscious. She grinned wickedly. It had taken the finest mithril in Stratosia to put him in this position, and nothing less could wound or hold him. A dragon of this strength would be useful. Very useful.
The quest had begun with a "friendly" game of poker.