Aerunda, The Dead

Waking up is always disappointing at first – until you remember the quest you were on the day before and the adventures yet to be had! And so it was this morning, the 16th of November, 1135. Except that this morning turned around particularly fast as memories of dragon fighting rushed into my head!

I was standing boldly in front of my charges, determined to protect them despite all odds. As the Red Dragon took to the air, I alone dared stare back defiantly and fight valiantly. As I quickly think of Helga to bring me strength, I launch my sword like a hawk diving for its unknowing prey (but opposite because hawks dive down from the sky and I threw my sword up to the sky, from the ground). The dragon, like the field mouse with an uncanny sense of timing, coincidentally turned at the precisely right moment and evaded my fierce attack. Unarmed yet undeterred, I begin to regroup when the dragon catches us on our heels and singes us with its fiery breath. Seeing my compatriots charred and me without my trusted BASTARD SWORD, for the protection of all, we retreat from the dragon and teleport.

What fantastic dreams! Of course we are back in Willard’s mansion (I haven’t met Willard yet, which seems a bit odd for a host, but Mabel has been exceedingly kind and accommodating to us, which I guess does make up for the shortage of hospitality from the host). There were eggs and bacon being made by nobody, which is strange. I know that Edmund is behind this and I know that it is magic. I don’t want to ask him how he does it though, as everyone seems to think it so normal that it would be a little stupid to ask, maybe. There is lots of magic at The Elium, but the cooks still make the breakfast. And Linnfard still peels the potatoes.

To break the silence (actually, I’m not sure it was silent but I wanted to ask), I asked when we would be going back to fight the dragon again. Everyone seemed surprised that I asked and Jon sneered and laughed at me. Abby makes a crack about how far it would be to walk and I think of Amy. I would walk if Amy and I were going together. I wouldn’t care if it took an eternity.

I was asked a few questions that I don’t quite understand, as it is quite evident to me why we needed go back. There is but one path in life and whenever evil should cross it, that evil must be vanquished. Also I left my BASTARD SWORD there, and it’s actually not mine and so I really should return to find it.

Edmund suggests that I read up on Dragons, so I am prepared to protect everyone when we go back, and he gives me a book titled ‘Dragons’ for this purpose. He also gives me a short sword to use until I get my BASTARD SWORD back. Jon told me that it used to be his, which is cool, because Jon is a good fighter. I think sometimes that fighters leave a little of themselves in all of their weapons and that in using great fighters’ weapons we are able to channel a little of their excellence. Somebody will be pretty lucky if they find my BASTARD SWORD.

I began to leaf through the book that Edmund gave me, being extra careful because he told me I would start pooping in my pants if any of the pages were damaged. Though this threat does seem silly, Edmund is a little strange and I don’t quite trust him. Also, he sometimes smells like he pooped his pants, so I don’t know what is happening. I will be careful with the book. The pages are very fine and have not been printed on a press. All of the pages have been written by hand and compiled into this great volume. They are obviously from different times and have been collected over many years. I don’t understand some of the pages at all, as they seem to have been written in strange languages.

Mabel entered the kitchen where we all are, after returning from town. She had gone to pick up some staples as the house was unprepared for our arrival. We had not been expected so soon. I think that Jon and Abby and Edmund tend to drop in unexpected to many places. Though she is very kind and would never say anything, I don’t think Mabel likes the surprise of their arrivals as much as I do, when they arrive at the Elium. Mabel is a little puzzled as she enters, and concerned. She says that there was a strange, exotic woman outside who told her to tell those inside (us, apparently and probably) had a sword that belonged to her. Mabel’s description of this woman led us all to think that it was the human form of the dragon we’d fought only the day before, as unbelievable as that was to all of us. I would never have thought that a dragon would be so bold as to challenge us in such a way. Maybe dragons are as brave as paladins. Anyway, I thought “HA! If anyone has anyone else’s sword, then she had mine (if it was in fact the dragon) and she would give me back my BASTARD SWORD or suffer the consequences of crossing LINNFARD THE PALADIN” I’m still working on what kind of Paladin I will be as I am unsure whether it would be better to be Linnfard the Great, or the Kind, or the Brave. I like the sound of Linnfard the Legendary most, but I’ll need a few more Legends.

Abby about to slay Aerunda, The Red Dragon using her Vorpal Blade. Illustration by Linnfard.

As dumbfounded as we all were at the possibility that the dragon had followed us (how? WHY?) Any consideration afforded to a misunderstanding quickly disappeared as the windows of the kitchen exploded inwards in a fiery blast. The kitchen torched, Mabel hurt and the sight of a great red dragon in the yard put all of us into action. Edmund ran off with the Dragon book to figure something out, Abby quickly gathered Mabel and got her to safety in the cellar and Jon hid as I assumed a flanking position to attack the offending dragon. The dragon’s tail whipped into the kitchen, breaking open the wall and splintering the table. Not one to miss an opportunity, I hastily slashed at the tail with my short sword. The sword does not seem to have Jon’s quickness as I would have hoped, but rather it is a slow and cumbersome weapon that did not strike as my BASTARD SWORD would have. The sword, despite the deft hands wielding it, did nothing. Undeterred, I attack again as the dragon’s tail swings through the kitchen walls. Saying a quick word to Helga as I swing again, I find that my Goddess is also no match for the sluggish weapon. In my vulnerable position I am unceremoniously thrown back against one of the remaining kitchen walls by the force of the dragon’s tail. Winded and delayed for a moment, I see Jon (but only barely see him) flash out of the hallway onto the dragon’s tail stabbing into it’s tail while flipping through the air, slashing the dragon again before he flies back into cover. Another dragon appears! Or something like a dragon but with a lot of heads. Though before I am able to attack this new foe, Jon yells out that “the Hydra is Edmund!” Though confused, I have learned to trust Jon and Abby and know that Edmund is with us for better or worse. Assuming that this multi-headed creature is the Hydra Jon speaks of, I stay my sword. It probably would have stayed even if I’d tried to strike, leaden as it is. Before a moment passes, Abby speeds out of the cellar along side the flanked and exposed dragon striking once! Twice! And then cutting its head off! Triumphant again! This is the stuff of legends!

I walked up to the top of the dragon’s back to survey the scene. There were a great many onlookers, as the dragon had destroyed part of the wall surrounding Willard’s Manse, and dragons generally seem to draw people’s attention. City guards were beginning to congregate outside the gates to Willard’s, and also in the holes that the dragon had made in the walls. A great many curious onlookers had gathered and the city guards had been notified of the kafuffle. Knowing that they would regret asserting themselves, the guards and the onlookers kept their distance but seemed to find it more and more difficult to reign in their curiosity.

Edmund morphs back into himself, and goes back inside. Abby walks to the city guards and requests, emphatically, that they establish a perimeter around the property and disperse the crowds. She would have to offer compensation before they got their act in order. There were a great many things that needed to be done, and done quickly. We needed to get a mason to repair the damage to the house. It was not particularly stable and safe at the moment. Edmund told me that we will have a suit of armor made out of the scales for me, and what a suit that would be! I am certainly excited, as I imagine Amy will be very impressed.

Edmund came back from inside and told us that we needed to keep the head and the heart, in addition to the scales. He set me upon cutting into the dragon to get the heart. I feel quite honored to be given this task, as the dragon’s heart seems like it will be very important. Abby helps me as we begin to take the scales off of the dragon. Remarkably, red gems are embedded in the scales. We remove these gems as we de-scale the beast. I think they might be really valuable, and are being collected by the invisible people that Edmund has summoned.

As we all go about our own responsibilities, trying to get this dragon taken care of, Mabel returns. She had gone to track down the architect who had built Willard’s manse and had been accosted by ruffians in the street and robbed of her jewels. Another affront to decency! I cannot stand for this and will fight another day to bring this world into Helga’s light.