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Where It Began

"It was on this one particular day that everything changed..."

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It was strange really, how it began. So totally unexpected. Hmm... let me explain from the beginning.

It was a normal day. My role as the village blacksmith kept me firmly in the background. I had been doing this kind of work all my life. When I was young, I started as a simple villager, running errands, selling fruit and vegetables, just blending in really. But it was the Smithy that really attracted me, so I learned how to do it. I watched, helped out when I had the chance, and so, when they needed someone else for the job, I took the opportunity. Nobody asked me to, I just did. After all, there were no qualifications back then. I looked the part, tall, strong and shaved head, and nobody asked. They were happy, I was happy.

However, I digress.

It was on this one particular day that everything changed. As usual, I was working at the forge. Horseshoes, if my memory serves me.

Gradually, I became aware of shouting. Yes, I know, that was not particularly unusual around here, but something was different.

I stopped hammering for a moment to listen. There was one man in particular who was making the most noise, yelling at the top of his voice.

“What do you mean, he's not here? He's got to be here! There is no time to lose!”

The yelling was coming from a smallish man who seemed to be very red-faced. His anger was palpable. He was obviously in a position of authority.

“If we don't finish it today, it's all over. It's the end!”

Suddenly, he seemed to see me for the first time and stopped. He stared at me, then pointed.

“Him! He can do it! Get him a horse and some chain mail!”

Now it was my turn to stare whilst... well... nobody moved!

He pointed directly at me.

“You! Here! Now!”

I looked to my left and then my right, there was nobody else anywhere near.

“Me?” I mouthed, putting my finger to my chest.

The little man looked like he was about to explode.

“Yes!” he yelled, “Of course you. There's no one else over there is there?”

I walked to him, getting a little worried as to what this man wanted me to do.

“Can you ride a horse?”

I nodded.

“Yes, Sir. But why?”

“Why?” he echoed my question, and then again but louder. “Why?”

I thought it prudent not to repeat the question so waited for his rage to settle.

“Because I need a Knight to fight the dragon, obviously!” he hissed. “For whatever reason, he has decided not to appear. Drunk again, probably.” He paused before continuing in a quieter, more thoughtful way. “Or high as a kite, more likely, on some exotic plant or another.”

Suddenly, he turned to face the three men who were nearby.

“Are you still here? Get him some chain mail, now!” he screamed.

They all jumped visibly and, without further ado, ran off into the village.

As we waited for their return, The man said very little. Every now and then he would cast his eyes skywards and sigh or tut. Sometimes he tapped his foot impatiently.

The wait was interminable but probably no more than thirty minutes had passed until their return. They brought with them, not just chain mail but also a full suit of armour, with a sword and a club!

Together, we went into the nearest hut where I donned all the equipment they had brought.

“Can you use a sword?”

“Never tried,” was the best I could offer.

The man rubbed his chin.

“Well, just make it look good,” was all he said.

Outside, a groom had arrived, leading a sleek, black Friesian horse. It was already fitted with armour.

I bit my tongue. I had said that I could ride a horse. That wasn't a lie, I could ride a horse, but I had never ridden one weighted down with a full suit of armour or such a powerful-looking beast as this.

I was too far in to back out now, though. I didn't dare to upset the angry little man any more than he already was, and so I climbed the wooden steps that had been placed beside the horse and swung my leg over the saddle.

I was actually rather surprised. The saddle supported my bulk quite comfortably, and the horse barely flinched.

Then it was time. The dragon was waiting. All I had to do was slay it.

I concentrated hard as the village disappeared behind me. I rode slowly, aware of the men following on foot. All eyes were focused on me.

When I saw it, I was awestruck. The creature was huge! I wasn't sure what to expect, after all, I had never seen a dragon before. I had heard of them, of course. I had even seen a drawing of one, but, in the flesh...

It was lying in the field, seemingly asleep, but as I approached, one eyelid slowly opened, revealing an orange, apparently glowing eye. For a moment, I sat and looked at its majestic beauty.

A wisp of smoke rose lazily from the beast's nostrils as it slowly raised its head. Without a moment to lose, I dug my heels into my steed's flanks and urged it forward as I drew the heavy sword from its scabbard.

With a roar, a stream of flame blasted towards me, the heat intense on my back as it passed over.

Immediately, I slipped from the saddle and jumped to the ground. At least, I hoped that was how it appeared. In actual fact, I had lost my grip and fallen off.

Fortunately, the armour had absorbed much of the impact and I was able to quickly regain my footing.

Once again, flames belched forth from the dragon's nostrils, and once again, they passed over me. I stood firm as the creature struck out, its mouth open, its huge sharp teeth ready to tear me apart. As its head lunged downwards, I raised the sword vertically above my head and closed my eyes. The gleaming blade pierced the dragon's throat, severing its windpipe. With a pitiful cry of anguish, the beast fell dead.

“Cut!”

The voice came from behind me.

“And that's a wrap!”

The small man with the big voice, the director, was all smiles now. He walked purposefully directly to me and grabbed my hand, shaking it wildly.

“That was fantastic, Son. You have saved the film!”

And so you see. I was just an extra back then. The film was on such a tight budget that had it not been finished that day, there was no money left. The backers would have pulled out and the whole thing would have been scrapped.

As for me? Well, I went on to star in many more films and... Oh wait, you didn't think that...? Oh, you did?

Well, not everything is always as it seems.

Published 
Written by AnnaMayZing
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