Welcome to Story Time Saturday!
These are flash fiction stories. My word count goal is no more than 1,000 words each story. I’ll show you the prompt, the story, and a teaser graphic.
Here is this week’s:
“Of Thorns & Claws”
Once upon a time there was a kingdom where human and dragons mixed freely. Life was good for all who lived in the land. Dragons mingled amongst themselves never seeking human companionship. The humans remained in awe of their neighbors who had the ability to change their shape and form. War was never fought on their soil.
One day, the good King Lancast died leaving behind his son and only heir, Ridor. This red dragon was nothing like his father. Where the former dragon king was kind and benevolent, Ridor was intense and too determined. His father upheld the laws sanctioned between dragon and human. The son, however, believed his kind were the superior ones and deserved to rule the entire kingdom. He had no respect for the humans, and would do whatever necessary to get what he wanted.
On a distant mountain lived the human rulers. The Land of the Crimson Rose was led by King and Queen Warwick. Although they were good friends of King Lancast, the king and queen feared what would happen to their daughter, Christel, if they left the castle.
“You don’t have to worry about me. The castle is well guarded. Attend the funeral and pay your respects. If you don’t go, it might anger the dragon king’s son.”
“You are right,” the Queen said. “We don’t want to risk Prince Ridor’s anger.”
So, King and Queen Warwick gathered the groomsmen and traveled to the lair of King Lancast. Christel went about her normal duties—studying scriptures and practicing incantations from a grimoire she stumbled across.
The stench of brimstone greeted me as soon as I stepped across the threshold of the throne room. At the open window stood a figure dressed in dark green doublet, shirt and hose. My heart beat wildly in anticipation. I cleared my throat, and he turned around.
“It took you long enough, Christel.” A smile clung to his thin lips. Ridor Lancast, son of the dragon king, and the keeper of my heart.
“Well, it took your father long enough to die,” I tell him as I saunter across the stone floor. “How long before your coronation, my lord?”
Ridor curls his hand around my waist and pulls me close. “I’ve convinced Count Erin to move up the preparations. I told him leaving the kingdom without a king was unwise. Other dragons could swoop down and take over.”
“You, my love, are very wise indeed.” I drape my arms over his muscular, broad shoulders. “I can’t wait until we unite the kingdom and rule side by side.”
“Always by my side.” Ridor claimed my lips with his.
I fingered his dark locks and pressed my body, unashamedly, against Ridor’s. It wasn’t our first kiss, and definitely would not be our last. Unfortunately, locked in our embrace, we didn’t hear the angry footsteps crossing the paved floor.
“Take your hands off my daughter,” my father roared.
Ridor and I jumped apart.
“Christel, did this beast harm you?”
My gaze shifted from my father to Ridor. His head wagged from side to side. No. We have hidden our relationship and intent for far too long.
“Father, you might as well know.” I grasped Ridor’s hand. “Prince Ridor and I plan to be married.”
My father’s face turned a bright shade of red. Mother, who I hadn’t noticed till now, fainted in the doorway.
“Guards,” Father shouted.
The thunder of footsteps rushed to the throne room.
“Escort the dragon from these premises. If he doesn’t leave willingly, throw him in the dungeon.”
I stepped in front of Ridor. “No, Father. You can’t do this.”
A hand grasped my elbow. His breath fanned my cheek. “Stop, Christel. If I leave, you’ll leave with me.”
The head guard, Edward of York, pulled me away from Ridor. “Your Highness, where shall we take the princess?”
Father and Edward spoke about me as if I weren’t in the room.
“If she goes with you willingly, take her to her room.”
“And if not?” Edward asked.
“Take her to the tower.”
I yanked my arm from Edward’s grasp. “You will have to drag me from Ridor.”
My father shook his head, and gestured for the guards to move in. Ridor fought off the first few guards. He leaped onto the sill of the open window and unfurled his magnificent black wings.
“King Warwick, prepare for war!”
We stood, Father and I, side by side and watched Ridor fly into the distance. Tears ran down my face as his figure became a speck in the sky.
“Do you realize what you’ve done?”
I narrowed my eyes and glared at the king. “I fell in love. You turned this into a senseless war. When lives are lost, what excuse will you give the people? When mothers cry over their dead sons, will you tell them your actions were for the good of the kingdom?”
Father’s blue eyes turned cold. “What you fail to realize is a dragon can’t be trusted. You put your faith in a creature that doesn’t deserve it.”
“King Lancast was your friend!” I stomp my foot.
“To keep us safe,” Father blasted. “I never trusted him. We never let him in this castle. If he saw what was in this part of the kingdom, we would have been his slaves.”
“You’re wrong.” My hand went to my stomach. “Ridor loves me.”
Mother ran to my side and touched my arm. “What have you done, Christel?”
I held my chin high and pushed back my shoulders. “I am with child, Mother. Ridor and I want to unite the kingdom.”
“Edward,” Mother called to the guard.
“Yes, my Queen?”
“Take the princess to the tower. Summon my servant girl, Marie. Tell her to gather mandrake.”
“Mother, you can’t do this.”
“Oh, but I can. We shall not have any dragon children in this household.”
“This isn’t over,” I say to my parents. “You will not take my child from me nor my love for Ridor.”