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not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

On How He Came To Be A Man

by Jacie

October 17, 1171

“Mother, it hurts. I’ve never felt such pain,” Bev screamed as her mother dabbed at her sweated forehead with a dampened cloth.

“It is the pain given to women.”

“It is a pain inflicted by men. No wonder that bastard left to fight in the war. That is nothing compared to what I’d inflict on him if he were here.”

“Calm yourself, daughter. You will soon be a mother yourself. The young child you birth into this world depends on you for everything. You must care for the child and teach it well.”

“It’s coming forth, I can feel it!” cried Bev as she clutched at the bed linens, gritting her teeth as she sought to move the child along.

“It’s a boy! A beautiful boy,” her mother cried as she took the child and cleaned him. “When he is old enough, he will help on the farm.”

“If he turns out to be anything like his father, I’ll beat it out of him. The very first lesson this one will learn will be to respect women.”

“My child, his first lesson is to learn to suckle at your breast, so he will become big and strong and able to work hard. Here, take him.”

Bev reached for the baby, newly born and wrapped in a blanket. “He has big eyes.”

“Beautiful brown eyes.”

“His name shall be Christopher.”

August 1176

Each day Bev and her mother worked hard on the farm. As peasants, they did not own the land, but worked to grow grains and vegetables to eat and to sell, giving much of their profit to the land’s deeded owner.

Having no other option, Bev brought her young son to the field with her since the day after he was born. She couldn’t afford not to work. Surprisingly, her son began helping as soon as he could sit up. He’d crawl to a plant and quickly learned what to pick and how to pull weeds. Bev laughed at some of his efforts, as she wiped her dirty brow, but she found him to be good company and good help.

As soon as Bev birthed her second child, a girl named Molly, Chris took his duties as his mother’s helper with all seriousness. He took it upon himself to make sure Molly was entertained, cared for, dressed, fed and was quite determined to teach her all that he knew about the world.

March 1183

After Molly, came Kate. The girls helped out, but more around the house than in the field. They quickly took to cooking, cleaning and sewing, as those chores kept them from having to work such long hours in the fields. Christopher took it as his duty to work along side his mother from sunup until sundown without a complaint. She loved him, but felt badly that he had no childhood to speak of.

One afternoon, she turned to him. “Chris, it’s such a beautiful day. Would you do me a great favor?”

Pausing in his tilling of the soil, Chris looked at his mom with a smile. “Of course, Mother. If you’d like to take a break, I’m sure I can get the rest of the field done by myself.”

“No, my darling. The favor that I ask is that you take Molly and Kate for a walk to the lake. You children work much too hard.”

“If I don’t work, how will the food grow? How are we to eat?”

Walking over to her son, Bev brushed the dark locks from his forehead. “I’m sure we can manage even if you take an afternoon off now and then. I know you would not do this for yourself, but please, for your sisters. Take them to the lake and play like children are meant to. Please? For me?”

“You work harder than anyone. I wish you would take a day off.”

“I will promise you this, when you are a great success and I am too old to work in the fields, I will relax in the fine home you will one day own and we will laugh about how difficult life was when we were young.”

“You know you will always be welcome in my home, but know this, the promise I make to you is that when I am successful and wealthy, I will build you a fine home of your own to live in and I will visit you and Molly and Kate as often as I can. I want to care for you. You deserve to have someone take care of you.”

Gathering Chris into her arms, Bev held him tight. “I could not dream of a better son than you.”

“Then why are there tears in your eyes?”

“I wonder how I got so lucky to have you as my son.”

Chris smiled brightly. “I always thought I was the lucky one.”

April 1186

At his mother’s insistence, Chris continued escorting his sisters to the lake for an afternoon of fun, usually once a week, unless the fields needed his attention more than the girls. At first Chris would only watch his sisters play, but then Molly and Kate cajoled him into playing games of tag and hide and go seek with them. When the trio became too exhausted to play, they would flop down beneath a giant tree and Chris would tell his sisters tales of knights and dragons, of castles and princesses, of wizards and other magical things.

He enjoyed telling wild tales of courageous knights and intense battles that made Molly giggle and made Kate hide her eyes behind her splayed fingers. “There in the midst of the heated battle, Sir Christopher’s horse fell to the ground and left him afoot facing uncountable enemy soldiers. He held his magical sword, a blessed gift from the Wizard Rastafin, in one hand and drew his dagger with the other.”

Cuddled onto Chris’ lap, Kate gasped loudly, then shuddered and squirmed even closer to her brother.

“And then what?” urged Molly, bouncing with excitement. “Sir Christopher stood amidst the approaching army and shouted as loud as thunder, ‘You can take my land and take my horse from between my legs, but you will never kill the spirit that is within me. Even if you cause my heart to stop beating, I will be the plague that comes to steal the breath from your lungs.’ The evil Lord Bartholomew stood and laughed most haughtily. ‘Thou speaks bravely, let us see how bravely you die!’”

“Oh, no! Sir Christopher can’t die!” begged Kate.

“Sir Christopher raised his sword to the sky and a thunderclap boomed above them. Lighting snaked down and touched the sword, bringing with it great powers. Sir Christopher spun about lopping off enemy heads all around him, watching them roll away as the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. Even as ground turned red, bathed in blood, hundreds of soldiers continued to approach him. The brave knight knew he couldn’t hack them all down. So he raised his sword again, hoping to invoke the great magic it held. He begged for it to spare his life and whisk him away from danger. At that moment, a dragon swooped down from the sky and...”

A sudden nearby thud caused all three of the children to jump. Just a few feet from them lay a young dragon, staring at them.

“And the dragon swooped down and saved Sir Christopher. ‘Climb on my back and we will soon be away from here.’ And the knight did as the dragon said and was saved to fight another day.”

“It can’t be that dragon,” insisted Molly, staring at it from behind Chris’ shoulder. “That one is far too little.”

For a full minute the three children stared at the dragon as it stared back at them with its brown eyes. The dragon was small, about the size of a large Shetland pony. Its body was green, darker nearest the spine and fading to lighter shades as it came down its sides, then ebbing into yellow hues across its belly. The dragon’s dorsal stripe was bright red and stood up in spiky waves as it ran from between its ears and down the back of the dragon’s neck to its shoulders.

Gently lifting Kate up, Chris set her on her feet, then scrambled to his own. Walking slowly, he approached the dragon cautiously, pausing when the dragon took in a deep breath and pulled its head back for a moment before releasing its breath. Raising his arms instinctively, Chris attempted to block the flames he thought were headed his way. As the dragon exhaled, all that came out was a grey puff of smoke. The dragon tried again, and belched another puff of smoke. As he gathered his breath and blew out his third try, a loud fart ripped from his hind end. Turning his head, he could only stare at his hind side and swish his tail to disperse the terrible odor.

“Dragon,” Chris said, standing boldly with arms crossed, “perhaps you should defend yourself with your hind end. The stench is far worse than your puff of smoke.”

“Well, I’m still learning.”

“And what was your lesson today? Falling from the sky?”

“I want to fly. My parents said my wings weren’t big enough to support my body for a long flight yet, but I thought I could do it. I wanted to try.”

“It seems you are more successful in falling than in flying.”

“I was doing fine until that hunter fired his arrow into me.”

Dropping his arms, Chris rushed closer to the dragon to inspect him. “Are you injured?”

“Yes, of course I’m injured. If I wasn’t hurt I would have eaten all three of you by now!” Again the dragon attempted to breathe fire, but only managed a puff of smoke.

“Let us help you,” offered Chris.

“Help me? Help me? Aren’t you afraid of me?” Pulling back his lips, the dragon bared his pointy teeth.

“I like dragons. I want to help you. Where are you injured?”

The dragon eyed Chris suspiciously.

“Please? I want to help before it’s too late. Before the hunter catches up to you.”

Turning his head, the dragon sniffed the air. “I think I frightened them away. They hit me there, in my leg.” Using his snout, the dragon pointed to his thigh, where the shaft of an arrow stuck out from a bloody hole.

“Molly, take Kate and run back to the house. Gather some food, a pail and some bandages and bring them back as quickly as you can. If mother asks, just tell her we found a wounded stranger in need of help.”

After the girls left, Chris drew out his dagger and approached the dragon’s leg. “I must make the wound larger to get the head of the arrow out. It will cause you pain. I am sorry, but there is no way around that.”

The dragon looked sad, but nodded his approval.

Chris tried to work quickly, wanting to cause as little pain as possible, but also desperate to complete the task before the girls returned. “It’s not in too deeply, I think. You should heal quickly.”

“That is good, I suppose.”

“There, it’s out.” Chris brought the remains of the bloody arrow forward for the dragon to inspect.

The dragon sniffed at. “Take it away from me.”

Chris walked it down to the lake and threw the arrow as far as he could. Returning to his new friend, Chris sat nearby and reached out to touch the dragon’s scaly skin. “I thought you would be cold, like a fish or a toad, but you are warm to the touch.”

“Dragons do not live in the waters like fish or toads. And where do you think the fire comes from? Our bellies are ablaze with fires that burn.”

Chris laughed loudly as he poked the dragon’s belly. “Your belly seems to be full of smoke and smelly flatulence.”

“There’s plenty of fire, I just haven’t learned how to blow it forth quite yet.”

“So, dragon, do you have a name? Or should I just call you dragon?”

“I am called Joey.”

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Joey the dragon. My name is Chris and my sisters are Molly and Kate.”

Joey turned his head, listening intently. “I hear the footsteps of humans approaching.”

“It must be Kate and Molly.”

“There are three who approach.”

Chris moved in front of Joey, dagger drawn, fully prepared to defend him if necessary. “Who approaches?” he called.

“Chris? Where is this wounded man you are helping?”

Chris swallowed hard as he saw his mother approach. “I didn’t say it was a man. I said there was a wounded stranger in need.”

“A dragon?”

“His name is Joey. He’s hurt. He needs our help.”

Bev smiled. She loved that Chris’ heart was as big as the sky. “Where is he wounded?”

“He had an arrow in his leg. Right there. I took it out, but he still bleeds. And I’ll bet he’s hungry and thirsty. Are you?” he asked, turning his attention to Joey.

The dragon nodded and tried to stand, but his injured leg gave out.

“Molly, would you and Kate take the pail to the lake and fill it with water, please?”

As the girls set out on their task, Bev moved closer to inspect the wound. “You’re not bringing him home. It would be far too dangerous.”

“Mother, please? He needs looking after.”

“He’s a dragon.”

“He’s young. He can’t even breathe out fire yet. And when he learns, he can light the cooking fire. He’ll be a huge help!”

“He’ll eat more meat in a week than we can afford in a year. And the neighbors would be out to see him dead. He’d be blamed for everything from missing livestock to failing crops to the plague.”

“I have my own family,” Joey insisted. “Two parents, a brother and a sister. We have a cave high in the mountains.”

As Bev bandaged Joey’s wounds, she shook her head. “Unless they can come get you and carry you home, you won’t be going anywhere for a while. Not until this leg heals a bit.”

“Then he’ll need a place to stay while he heals.”

“Why not fix up the little hollow over there by the lake?”

“Sure. I’ll have to come check on him every day. Maybe twice a day. At least.”

Chris and his family watched as Joey ate a whole quail and two loaves of bread, food that would have fed their entire family for three days.

“I’ll make sure he gets settled,” promised Chris. “You should all head home before it gets too dark. I’ll stay here tonight and make sure Joey is all right.”

“What if he eats you?” wondered Kate as she stared at Joey with wide eyes.

Chris patted Joey’s shoulder. “I keep telling you, dragons are wonderful creatures. They are loyal and true. You’ll see. When Joey gets bigger, he’ll repay our kindness a hundred times over.”

After the girls left, Chris helped Joey to the small hollow space in the hill just above the lake. It was rocky, but not truly big enough to be called a cave. It barely large enough for the pair to curl up in, but it was enough to block out the wind that blew and was comfortable enough once Chris lined it with the quilts his mother brought to him. Chris pressed his head against the dragon’s neck, then felt the dragon’s chest.

“I feel a beating heart.”

“I should hope so. I’d hardly be speaking to you if it wasn’t beating.”

“Some people say that dragons have no hearts.”

“Some dragons say that people have no hearts.”

Continuing his exploration, Chris felt the dragon’s wide, yellow belly. “I thought your stomach would be hard like armor, able to withstand the blows of sword and arrow, but it’s all soft and warm.”

Joey reached around with his forearm and placed his front foot onto Chris’ belly. “I’ve heard that humans are warm and soft all over. And quite tasty, too.”

“No, that’s not true at all,” insisted Chris. “Humans are tough and chewy and annoyingly full of bones.”

With a heavy sigh, Joey settled his head and held Chris close to his chest. “Then I suppose you’re of more use to me to keep me warm than to fill my belly.”

“Quite definitely. I am still small, hardly a midnight snack for you, but I can keep you warm and entertained for days and days while you heal.”

Eventually Chris dared to twine his fingers with the gold chain around Joey’s neck.

“It is a gift from my parents,” offered Joey. “There are dwarves who mine gold in the mountains where we live and my parents had them make this for me for my birthday one year. It is my favorite thing I’ve ever been given.”

Lifting the pendent into his palm, Chris studied it. The shape was odd and it bore the letter ‘S’. “Why an ‘S’? Why not a ‘J’ for Joey?”

“Since I was little, my parents would tell me stories of the great dragon. He is called the Super Dragon. That’s where the ‘S’ comes from. He is my idol.”

“What’s so special about him? Is he a dragon King or something?”

“No! Silly human. I can hardly believe that you haven’t heard of him. His true name is Clareck ‘Ent. His name is known far and wide. He can fly higher and faster than any other dragon that ever lived. His skin is like armor. It can withstand any weapon made by man, any tooth or claw of any animal. He could rule the world if he wanted to, but his only wish is to help those in need. So he flies around the world saving the weak and helpless. It matters not to him if they are dragon, human or any other that walks the earth or flies in the skies.”

“There was once this great Knight, Sir Christopher. He once helped out a dragon, then the dragon came back and saved his life in battle. More than once, too!”

“Perhaps it was Clareck ‘Ent.”


May 1186

Chris stayed with Joey during the nights for over a month, sharing their favorite stories. He still worked hard on the farm, but spent as much time as he could running and swimming with Joey. He told his mother and sisters it was to help Joey’s leg get better, but in truth, he enjoyed their developing friendship.

It took a few days for Chris to get used to seeing Joey gulp down fish as they swam or gobble down birds and hares as they ran in the fields. It seemed that Joey’s appetite was insatiable, but they both knew there was no way Chris’ family could possible keep the dragon fed, so wild game it was. Chris soon learned that Joey’s meal of choice was geese. After that it became part of their games for Chris to point out any edible beast he saw and for Joey to hunt it down and ravenously devour it.

Another game the dragon enjoyed was climbing out of the lake first after their swims, then stealing Chris’ clothing left on the bank and to run off with it clutched in his mouth. Passers by must have thought to disbelieve their eyes at seeing a naked youth, arms flailing, chasing after a young dragon.

After the evening stories had been told, the pair became comfortable at sleeping together, their limbs and Joey’s tail often intertwined. Since the dragon was as interested in learning about Chris’ body as Chris was in learning about his, the boy soon took to sleeping without his clothes. One night Joey reached out to Chris’ chest.

“You have nipples,” declared the dragon.

“All humans do.”

“Do the males suckle the babes along side the females?”

“No! Of course not.”

“Then what good are they?”

“I don’t know. It’s just how we are made. Dragons don’t have nipples?”

“Only the females.”

“Ah, now I know how to tell them apart.”

Without asking for permission, Joey lashed out his tongue, running it across Chris’ nipples, delighted when Chris’ cock became erect as a result. “That is quite interesting,” said Joey before trying it again.

“Stop that,” yelled Chris, batting away the wet tongue and rolling over.

“Why? Does it hurt?”


“Then why can’t I?”


“Because why?” Extending one forearm, Joey rolled his friend onto his back and stared at the hardened cock for a few moments before deciding that looked like fun to lick, too.



“Go to sleep!” demanded Chris as he rolled over, hiding his nakedness beneath a quilt.

Joey was soon intrigued by strange sounds and movements coming from underneath the quilt, so he slowly crept near and wriggled his head beneath the quilt to watch. Resting his head on Chris’ hip, he focused on the quick stroking movement of Chris' hand and the soft moans coming forth from Chris' mouth. Joey found himself salivating as a new hunger was born within him. More than ever, he wanted to taste Chris, to feel every essence of his being, from the heat of his skin to the beating of his heart. He knew then that he would be forever bound to this man, at least in some way.

A few days later Joey’s leg was feeling well enough for him to fly a little and land without too much pain. “Climb on my back,” he offered.

Chris warily approached his friend, placing his hands onto Joey’s back and leaping aboard. “Hold onto my chain and I will show you how fun it is to soar through the skies.”

June 1186

One morning they were playing in the field beside the lake, when two large dragons flew over their heads, then circled back. “Those are my parents,” Joey said. “It’s time for me to go home.”

Chris’ heart sank as he gave Joey a huge hug around the neck. “I will never ever forget you.”

“I will look for you,” Joey promised. “Perhaps one day I will be able to repay your kindness.”


Shading his eyes with his hand, Chris watched as Joey and his parents flew away, waving when he saw Joey glance back one last time. He kept staring into the sky long after his friend had disappeared from his view.

March 1189

When his sisters grew older, Chris left his home to join the army. His first years were spent in training. As he learned to fight, he worked at various tasks: assisting Knights as a Page; cleaning and repairing weapons and armor; cooking for the men who actually went to the battlefields; and other odd tasks. Not only did he need to learn and develop the skills to fight in battles, but he also had to earn the money to outfit himself.

His first purchase was a sword. It wasn’t pretty and it was a little heavier than he would have liked, but it was also strong and sturdy. His next purchase was a few pieces of chain mail. His favorite purchase was a metal shield made at his request. It was comfortable and sturdy, but not too large. With its round shape, it was easy to maneuver and could also be used as a weapon itself. On the shield was the likeness of a dragon blowing out a puff of smoke. It wasn’t quite the same color or shape as Joey, but Chris supposed it was close enough. At any rate, it was a much admired thing of beauty.

As a soldier he made a few pieces of gold that he could take home to his mother, telling her to save it away until there was enough to purchase a bit of land of their own. He fought hard and made few friends as the ones he made were soon lost to battle as often as not. His focus was only to earn gold to care for his family.

August 1199

Over the years, fallen soldiers were replaced by younger ones and Chris rose through the infantry ranks, eventually leading a squadron. During one particularly heated battle, Chris saw his friend Kevin fighting nearby with his own squad. As Chris put an end to his opponent’s life, he turned to see how Kevin and his squad were holding up. It looked to him that Kevin was shouting something to him, but he couldn’t hear above the din of the fighting. Following Kevin’s hand gestures, Chris finally saw what he was yelling about.

At the foot of the hill were a group of enemy soldiers who had isolated and trapped a Knight and his steed. As Chris began running to assist, the enemy soldiers had grasped the white horse’s reins and pulled it to the ground, toppling the rider. Pulling out his sword and defending with his shield, Chris rushed in amongst them, fighting with all the strength he could muster.

Knowing that only nobility were allowed to ride white horses into battle, Chris maneuvered himself between the Knight and his aggressors. They were down to four against him, after he had delivered death blows to two of them. As a sword grazed his leg, leaving a laceration on his right shin, and another spiking his left shoulder, Chris felt that he may be at the end of his own days.

Just then another Knight arrived, riding through the enemy soldiers, scattering them like dandelion seeds in the wind. As the Knight wheeled his horse around, Chris was able to run atop a boulder and flip over the head of one soldier, avoiding his sword and positioning himself to strike down another foe. The Knight atop the horse managed one kill and a serious wound to another, whom Chris was then able to kill. The final enemy soldier was frightened away.

Down on his knees and breathing heavily, Chris looked up at the Knight and asked, “Are you going to go after him, or shall I, Sir?”

“Neither. Let him go back to his troops and tell them that one Knight and one infantry soldier killed off all of his comrades.”

Chris nodded and used his sword against the ground to lift himself to his feet. “By the time he gets back to camp, we will have become twenty men from whom he barely escaped.”

The Knight chucked as he dismounted. “That is likely true. Nonetheless, he himself will know the truth and will fear facing us on the battlefield again. His comrades will feel his fear.”

The pair walked back to where the first Knight lay. A rope bound his wrists. The second Knight removed his own helmet then that of the fallen Knight and slashed through the rope. “Lance? Lance? Can you hear me?”

Blinking his eyes open, Lance looked up at his friend. “Justin? Water. I need water. Please. I thirst.”

“Yes, my Prince.”

Chris moved closer as Justin ran back to his own horse to retrieve the water. “Prince Lansten?”


“Don’t move. Let me see if you are injured.”

Justin quickly returned with the water and held up Lance’s head so he could drink.

Lance removed his gauntlet and reached for Justin’s hand. “Tell my parents and my sister that I love them with all my heart.”

“You will tell them yourself when we return to the castle.”

“The battle continues and I am injured.”

“Thanks to this soldier you were saved from capture. You are not injured badly. Probably only bruised from falling off your horse. I’ll help you up and take you home.”

“What is your name, soldier?” Lance asked as Justin helped him to stand.


“Chris, you must accompany us to the castle and I shall have your wounds tended to. I cannot say how happy I am that you were near. You fight like a Tasmanian Devil. I owe my life to you and to repay you, I shall have you Knighted by my father, King James.”

Chris bowed as he replied, “As you wish, Sire.”

The corners of Lance’s mouth slowly turned into a smile. “You must be a farm boy.”

October 1199

Once he was Knighted, Chris was given a horse and had the opportunity to have a Page to assist him. He took the horse, but preferred caring for it himself. If the need arose, he could always borrow Jesse or Trace, Lance and Justin’s Pages.

Lance and Justin quickly became his closest friends, along with the apprentice Wizard, JC. The four spent long hours together drinking in taverns and telling their tales. Chris not only regaled them with tales of the great Knight, Sir Christopher, but also stories of the Super Dragon, Clareck ‘Ent.

June 6, 1202

Prince Lance had Chris assigned to his own troop of Knights and they fought side by side on many battles. Lance grew to trust Chris on the battlefield and never tired of his tales at the tavern. He found Chris’ ideas to be sound advice and Chris soon found himself considered part of Lance’s innermost circle, which included fellow Knight Justin and the Wizard JC.

On the morning of June 6, 1202, they rose early, watching the morning sunlight glow above the grey fog. Still, they warmed themselves over a small fire as they waited for the heat from the sun to touch the earth.

“It looks to be the beginnings of a beautiful day,” noted Lance, blowing on his balled hand, intent on warming his fingers.

Chris eyed the horizon. “I can’t imagine calling a day beautiful when the land will be soaked red with blood in a matter of hours.”

Standing tall in the morning light, Justin’s eyes sparkled, along with his smile. “As long as it is the enemies’ blood and not ours, it is a thing of beauty to me.”

“You incorrigible infant,” chided Chris playfully, drawing his sword and taking a step toward Justin.

The young Knight backed away, then turned to run as he drew his own sword.

Lance smiled as he watched Chris chase after Justin. The pair faced each other, playfully sword-fighting. “If you injure each other before battle, I’ll have both of your heads!”

After a breakfast of bread, cheese, milk and a bit of leftover stew consumed by the Knights, the troops were rallied together to march to the battlefields. Foot soldiers left first. Being the most expendable, they were to fight on the front lines. As the other soldiers left, the Knights readied their horses and dressed in their armor. Chris watched the faces of the marching solders, remembering when he was within their ranks. When his eyes met those of his old friend, Kevin, he nodded to the man and prayed they would both live to drink together again.

By the time the Knights arrived at the battlefield, the fighting was already well under way. Lance directed them to line up together until he gave the command to move forward. Horses stomped at the ground, chomping on their bits in anticipation of the coming charge.

When the command came, the horses burst forward with an explosion of speed, galloping full force toward the fighting soldiers before them. Chris’ horse was older and well trained. He made no attempt to control the horse and rarely bothered to hold onto the reins once the charge was under way. Instead, he focused on his sword and shield. His ears rang with the steady hoof beats of scores of horses racing into battle. The sound was soon complemented with the clanging sound of metal on metal as sword met sword and sword met shield, soon followed by the cries of wounded men.

Chris was managing well through the battle until his horse reared, striking at nearby foot soldiers. As the horse stood on his hind legs, protecting Chris with his body, a barrage of arrows caught him beneath the armored saddle. The great horse fell, taking Chris to the ground with him and pinning him down by the leg. With the breath knocked from his lungs and swarmed by enemy foot soldiers, Chris closed his eyes and said a prayer.

He waited for a death blow that never came. The sound of the battle played on in his ears, but his sight was blocked, even when he finally opened his eyes. All he could see was the neck of his downed horse and the sky above. Yet he heard screams of soldiers and assumed his fellow Knights had rallied forth to save him from certain death. Unable to free himself, he closed his eyes and swallowed, wishing he could reach his wineskin.

Then he felt something on his chest. A foot. The body of the horse that pinned him was rolled away, lifting the weight off his leg. When something tugged at his helmet, he reached to removed it, then looked up to see if it was friend or foe that had found him.

“Are you dead?” asked a familiar voice.

“Joey?” Reaching up, Chris cupped the dragon’s jaw, unable to believe his eyes. The dragon was bigger than Chris remembered, now the size of a horse. “Joey, is that really you? I haven’t seen you in so long, I’d begun to believe you were a childhood fantasy.”

“I have seen you. I have watched you and followed you. I wanted to reach out to you, but my parents said men and dragons do not mix. I wanted to be there if you ever needed me.”

“I have always needed you. Now more than ever.”

“Climb onto my back and I will save you, just as the mighty dragon of your tales saved the valiant Sir Christopher.”

Smiling, Chris reached up, grasping at Joey’s golden necklace. “It is a tale I told long before it ever happened.”

All eyes of those on the battlefield were drawn to the dragon as he lifted off the ground, carrying Sir Chris into the sky. At Chris’ direction, he swooped down, frightening those on the ground. Reeling back his head, he unleashed breaths of flame, scorching the enemy soldiers as they fled.

As the remainder of the enemy retreated or lay dying in the field, Prince Lance and his Knights claimed victory. Chris had Joey land near the Prince.

“I thought the stories you told of dragons saving Knights were just more of your tall tales told to pass time at the tavern. Now I see it is true, that you do claim a dragon as a friend. Is this the dragon you call Joey?”

Placing a caring hand against Joey’s shoulder, Chris nodded. “Yes, this is Joey, my friend and protector.”

“And a great fighter on the battlefield. I have seen nothing like the scattering of men when he came down to protect you after you fell.”

“He has done the same for me,” began Joey. “He has saved my life from those who would have stolen it from me.”

“We shall have a great banquet at the castle. A feast of wild deer, boar and hare to celebrate this victory. I shall be honored if you would dine with us,” offered Lance.

Joey flew, carrying Chris back to the castle, while the other Knights rode their horses. As they waited for the others, Chris had Joey land in a quiet field near the road, where they lay together staring up at the sky and reminiscing about old times. Chris reached for Joey’s ear, fingering the diamond earring that was pierced through it. Another gift from Joey’s parents, made by dwarves. When the other soldiers finally approached the field, they found the pair chasing each other around playfully.

Returning to the castle, the Knights met in their banquet room, pouring wine into chalices to toast their victory. Prince Lance had ordered the cooks to prepare a meal and sent for his Wizard, JC.

After glasses were raised and toasts were made, Prince Lance turned to Joey. “You have saved one of the greatest of our Knights and one of my very best friends. I shall reward you with whatever you ask for. Think about it and tell me what is your greatest wish and I shall grant it.”

All eyes turned to the dragon as he thought about Prince Lance’s offer. After a few minutes, he asked softly, “May I have a word with your Wizard?”

“Certainly! If it is a spell you wish cast, JC will be happy to do it, with my blessing.”

Chris watched as Joey followed JC toward a flight of stone steps heading upward. Joey turned back, his eyes meeting with Chris’ for a few moments before he continued following the Wizard. Prince Lance then motioned for Chris to sit beside him.

“That field where Joey brought you to, where you landed. That seems to be a favorite place of yours.”

“Yes, Prince. It is lovely and has that charming brook.”

“It would be a fine place to build a house and a small garden.”

“Aye, that it would,” agreed Chris as he emptied his glass.

“It happens to be mine. That field with the charming brook.”

Chris nodded his understanding as he waved down a servant carrying more wine.

“Chris, you have become a great friend to me and I wish to reward you. The field is yours. I know you want a place to settle your mother and your sisters. You speak of them so often, I feel that I know them already. I would be honored if you would settle them on that land.”

“Prince, that is a great gift. The greatest gift. I thank you with all my soul.” Leaping from his chair, Chris wrapped his arms around Lance. “It is perfect and I know they will love it.”

“Then tomorrow you shall take a wagon and two servants to retrieve your family. They will stay here in the castle as my guests while their home is built.”

“I can never repay you for your kindness.”

“You already have, my friend. Many times over, in battle and in the tavern. Just in being there to protect me and in being there as my friend and advisor.”

Long before the Joey and JC returned, the Knights were enjoying the feast laid before them. Musicians played lively tunes and women of the court danced with the Knights between eating and drinking.

As the pair came down the stone stairway, JC came into view first, smiling as he entered the banquet room. Chris started for him, looking for a dragon, only to see a man following the Wizard. Studying the man, he saw a golden necklace with a oddly shaped pendant bearing an “S”, a diamond earring pierced through the man’s left earlobe, and his eyes, the brown eyes of the man that stared into his own were somehow strangely familiar.

“Joey?” Chris asked.

Stepping forward, Joey embraced Chris, then lifted him up, spinning him around. When he set Chris back onto the floor, Joey kissed him deeply, slipping his tongue into Chris’ mouth. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long, long time,” he said.

“You’ve given up being a dragon?”

“It is the only way I can be with you always as I’ve yearned for. If you will have me.”

“I will have you!” promised Chris, hugging Joey effusively. “Can you still do the breathing out fire thing? Because that would be truly amazing!”

Moving his lips against Chris’ ear, Joey whispered softly, “No, I don’t think so, but I’m sure the other end works just fine.”


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