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Challenge #01254-C159: Sworn to Love

Princess Marries Dragon to Knight -- Gallifreya

"Why, beast? Why must you plague my every waking day with your invasions to my fair land."

The dragon rumbled and stopped what it was doing with boulders. It seemed to... sag. "I'm... a plague?"

"Of course you're a plague! You burn the lands, you foul the water, and you steal the cattle of the hardworking peasants."

"Um," said the Princess Carillion. "That would be the warlords neighbours? I haven't observed this dragon doing very much at all."

"Silence! This foul beast has obviously swayed your weak will with some sort of glamour."

"...fine," said the dragon. "You see if I help you any more." And then it flew away.

Sir Neville the Fortuitous didn't wonder what that meant. He just rescued the Princess and received gold and some chattels that he immediately gave to the poor. Seeking true love obliged him to refuse the hand of any maiden he'd met only days before.

But it was that day that his luck changed. The armies he was sent against were no longer weakened by firestorms from the heavens. The dungeons were chill and dank. The wonders of nature more fierce. And there were no more magical campsites, with the firewood stocked and a pit already lit, and with a pig or some other beast already on the spit.

It wasn't very long before he fell on rough times. Then hard times. Then bad times.

He still pursued his quests, but the wear was beginning to show. He lost weight, and his health declined. Before too long, he became a ragged, scruffy, shadow of a man taking shelter under his horse from the squalling rain. He prayed to the Gods for forgiveness. He must have offended one of them, but he couldn't remember how, or which one.

Finally, when he called on the Goddess of Love, a shadow cut off all the rain.

"I'm sorry," said a low, deep voice. The voice of the dragon. "I know you said to leave you alone, but I couldn't watch you like this. Let me help?"

Even his horse was too tired to be scared of a beast the size of a house. And besides, the shelter of its wings were welcome relief from the storm.

Sir Neville watched in amazement as the dragon cut down and tore asunder a massive tree, dislodging and slaughtering several small, edible animals in the process. The magical campsites were the dragon's hidden work. He recognised the pattern of their making.

How many times had he thanked the gods for the campsites? How often had he warmed himself by flames lit from this dragon's fire? How often had he eaten food cooked by a dragon?

Since the first time he roused her from her den, and invoked the gods to keep her from doing harm.

Now that he could see her, she didn't look that great, either. Half-fed and not as shiny as she usually was. Remnants of her last shed still clung to her in ragged tatters.

She'd always seemed bigger when he confronted her.

"Why are you doing this?" he said.

Her voice was smaller than an ant. "...because i fell in love..."

*

It had been quite the experience for both of them. Dragons, too, could become attracted to noble and honourable men. And now that Sir Neville knew she was never hostile, they became something of a team.

The both of them wound up working for the Princess Carillion, who had seen it from the first moment she saw both of them, and allowed Redscale the dragon to finish the dam she had been building to protect the flatlands from so many floods.

And the sight of a dragon fighting the warlords was enough to quell their banditry and make them thoroughly investigate the benefits of farming.

With Redscale by his side, he was once again truly fortuitous. Especially when it came to realising that true love had found him.

Which lead to a ceremony held in a courtyard. Redscale could not wear a wedding gown, but she was decorated with flowers and pennants for the ceremony.

And the Princess Carillion gave them a mountain to make Redscale's lair, and a host of oxen as a bridal gift. Redscale had no dowry, but she had a knack for finding jewels.

And Princess Carillion whispered, "I tried to tell you," to the groom as he awaited his bride.

"I'm sorry," he whispered in return.

"Dearly beloved, lords, ladies, and welcome guests," began the Princess. "We are gathered here to witness a bond forged in true love..."

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