top of page
  • Chaitanya Kirtikar

A Knight’s Last Night

The fire rose in a crackling blaze, an orange glow illuminating the depths of the morose woods. The last dredges of moonlight soaked the earth in their soft luminescence. A forlorn group sat on the damp forest floor, warming their icy fingers with the warmth of a newborn fire. Each one shared the same gaunt, mindless despondency, as sleep gradually creeped up to them; catching them unawares.


“Ranier, how much longer are we going to continue like this?”, a voice murmured from the back; breaking the silence. “My daughter has a fever.”, another called, desperation heightening their pitch.


A white haired man stirred, his deep brown eyes squinting, trying to regain the facility of sight they had long since lost. “I have no help to offer. Irendel is still quite a way away; we have no choice but to move on; Baloryx is still on our trail.”


A tired upheaval rose as people voiced their dissatisfaction. “That man must step down as headman. He's grown old enough.” “The night is bitterly cold, we would be warm at home if it weren't for him.” “ Baloryx can go ahead and eat the old bat for all I care.” The disgruntled crowd continued; the shimmering anger of days finally overflowing into the night.


“Why do you never answer them Ranier? They keep saying things like that.” A voice whispered to Ranier’s right. He swivelled his head, scratching the scar that streaked through his eyebrow like a silvery serpent on his wrinkled skin. “They are not wrong to be angry with me, Mirah. The situation is not one where understanding can prevail. I can’t expect them to continue skipping meals and walking through a dark forest all day.”


“They could try. They just want someone to blame. How is it your fault that some sadistic dragon decided to cook half the country for his breakfast.”


Ranier sighed. His brow furrowed as he leaned his head back and gazed at the stars he could only imagine were glittering in the sky. He muttered, “I was a young knight once.” His words were addressed to no one, just floating in the air as memories of a time long past stirred in his mind. “I was a young knight once.”, he repeated.


“Did you get to carry a sword?” asked Mirah, curiosity mingled with fascination, an innocence rarely heard of in her voice.


His mouth twitched into a wry smile. “Of course I did. A beautiful one. Forged it myself. Double edged, with a long handle set with an iridescent sapphire. It was one of a kind.”


“It sounds amazing. Do you still have it?”


“No.” His hand rose to his silvery scar again, rubbing it with growing vigour. “A bard once told us about a fabled mountain far north of Irendel. Farther into the wild than any map dared to show. A dragon had built its lair there. Centuries ago; before our ancestors had stepped foot on this land, when the elves of Finandor still roamed these forests. A dragon responsible for the death of those elves. A dragon larger than any ever beheld by man, one with a hoard richer than the gold in the mines of all the dwarves to ever live; whose plundered riches were strewn in the caverns deep inside the mountain.” He shook his head, a darkness slowly creeping across his face.


“It was believed to be just another myth. A new Holy Grail everyone wanted to find. An exciting new quest to dream about. Until someone found it.”


“Elora of Irendel.”


“Aye. He found it. Brought back a hunk of its fleshy claw and bags of gold to prove it too. Except he never killed it.”


“Was the dragon Baloryx?”


“No no, Baloryx came much later. This was his mother.”


“His mother???”


“Yes. She cooked half the country for her breakfast.”


“What happened to her?”


“We killed her of course.”


“You are a terrible bard sometimes Ranier.”


“Why?”


“That has to be the most colourless way of telling someone you slayed a dragon”




“Well, all was doomed the moment she arrived. Our arrows were mere sticks, our cannons shot pebbles and our swords were just needles poking at her hide. All hope was lost and all who were left had lost hope. That was when Elora forged his redemption. A sword made of the claw of the dragon itself; sharp enough to split solid rock with a single slash. The remaining knights ambushed the valley the dragon had nested in; cloaked with armour made of the dragon's hide, and Elora crept under the beast's belly even as it spat fire at us and drove the sword into its heart. It died in screams of agony, crushing Elora to death as it was buried in rubble.”


An ambience of awe permeated the air. “That was definitely much better.”


Ranier chuckled. “Baloryx hatched under the rubble, next to his mothers decaying carcass. We never even knew he existed, the broken egg shells were all we needed for hope.”


“So now he wants revenge.”


“Yes….”



“Why do the villagers still blame you though?”


“They blame all the knights. If it wasn’t for us, this would never have begun in the first place.


“But you helped save their lives.”


“......after almost having somewhat contributed to the very thing that put their lives on the line in the first place.”


Mirah sat in silence, contemplating on all she had heard. Scattered rays of dawn were just peeking at the edge of the horizon. She watched the villagers, in their silent sleep; then turned to look back at Ranier. His eyes were fixed on the rising sun, as the light of life shone in his eyes for one last time, reflecting the colour of the flames that had masqueraded as sunlight as the dark figure of death swooped upon the villagers, engulfing them in a curtain of flames.



13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Monotony

Comentários


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page