Harold poked his head into the woods and looked around. The smoke was thicker between the trees but luckily he was a dragon and the smoke didn’t bother him very much. He could barely hear the sounds of the man and woman’s voice, and he knew that meant they were getting further away. He walked, slowly at first, into the woods and wove between the trees. After what seemed like an hour of weaving between the trees, Harold’s head poked through the woods to a clearing.
Harold saw a lone tall tower that was over three adult dragons tall and two dragons wide. Harold looked up and saw a woman backed up against the parapet yelling at someone he couldn’t see. He knew in order to be able to help her, he would have to fly, but he wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea. He roared at the woman, not trying to be threatening, but to show he was there. The woman turned around and the shock on her face told him that maybe letting her know he was there wasn’t the best idea.
She stepped backwards, disappearing from his view. He rose himself in the air to get a better view. The woods all the way around the tower was smoking and licks of flame could be seen on some of the trees. The woman began screaming as the he looked down at her. The man had his arms wrapped around her, and was trying to drag her to the opening in the floor of the landing. Harold was too far away to hear her, but he could see she was struggling to get away.
His heart felt that he should help the woman, but with his lame leg he feared he would cause more harm than good. The dragon puffed out a plume of smoke from his nostrils and circled around the tower. Harold’s shadow swept across the tower as the man looked up at him. The man pulled a shiny sword from his leather hilt and swung it wildly in the air, only holding the woman with one arm. The woman tried to get away, but the bright armor that wrapped the man’s arms held her in place.
Harold knew his fire could easily disable the man, but he also knew that it would harm the woman as well. He could think of no other way than to land on the tower to disable the man without harming the woman. Harold swooped down to the top of the tower, but as he drew near enough to count the stones he opened his wings full spread as the wind caught hold and he stopped, inches away from the floor. The wind from his dive followed him and blew the man down as he lost his grip on the woman. The woman quickly got up and ran, screaming to the floor of the tower. The man raised himself to one knee and spit blood at the dragon. The man’s word had no meaning to Harold, but the feeling he got from the previous village was the same. The man called Harold a “foul beast” and Harold didn’t like the feeling the man gave off when picking up his shiny sword. Harold noticed the man was in shiny armor and the armor, to him, would be a great treasure.
Harold placed his good get down on the rim of the tower’s edge and dug his claws into the stone. Harold landed with ease as the armor held his gaze. He realized that he had landed and roared in excitement, letting off giant streams of fire in the air. He did it! He finally landed without falling or collapsing! The shiny armored man slashed his sword at him just as he looked back towards him. The sword barely missed Harold’s chest and that frightened Harold. He knew that unless the man was beaten, he would be injured or worse.
Harold flapped his wings as hard as he could to lift himself in the air again. The man stumbled backwards and almost fell off the tower. Seeing the man almost tumble gave Harold an idea. Harold got as close as he could to the man and pushed his wings down as fast as he could. The wind from under Harold’s wings pushed against the man and he fell from the tower.
Harold flew high in the sky as the man fell to the earth. Harold watched the man land as the man’s helmet rolled off his head. The man didn’t move and Harold knew he was dead. Harold hadn’t known the man would die, and seeing him lifeless caused his heart pain. He slowly let himself fall to the ground, and landed with ease on his good leg, digging his claws into the ground for support. The dragon sniffed at the man intensively. He was the cause of this man’s death, and he would remember the man by scent. This defeat wasn’t a win for Harold, it was a loss. The woman came walking slowly out of the tower’s staircase, and had a frightening look on her face.
Harold could read the woman very well. Her thoughts were saddened like his with the loss of the man, but she was also happy to be free of him. She didn’t speak, but slowly crept away from him. A tear formed in Harold’s eyes as he watched the woman go. She was in a yellow dress, with shinies lined down her arms. A tear fell from his eye and splash on the man’s armor. The woman stopped as she saw this and spoke to him.
“No need to shed a tear dear dragon. The man was a cruel one and has held me captive for many years. The knight that lies before you was to be my husband by the king’s decree. However, when my father died his decree died with him. This knight refused my denial of his courtship and took me away to this tower, far away from my castle,” the princess said to Harold.
Harold didn’t know how to communicate to her, but he understood every word she said to him. It was as if, by magic, he could now understand their language as they do. He tried to respond to her through tongue, but only let out a noise unrecognizable to even him. Instead, he pushed his thoughts outward in hopes she would be able to catch them like dragons did with each other.
The princess’ eyes widened with understanding. Harold knew she understood him, and pushed more thoughts out to her. He sent her his pain for the fallen knight, his excitement about his ability to land without falling, and his admiration for her courage. The princess had a determined look on her face, but Harold didn’t understand. He voiced his concern to her about it.
She laughed heartily and said, “I guess only you have the magic to send thoughts!”
Harold smiled at the warmth he felt when she laughed. Harold asked her how far away her castle was from here, and she had a hard time explaining it to him.
“I can show you if we were to fly, but from the ground I cannot know where to go,” she said to him.
Harold thought about this and told her to climb on his back, but to hold tightly because of his leg.
She nodded and slowly climbed up his good leg and sat on his back. His spine was just narrow enough for her to sit on him like a horse. He told her to watch her legs near his wings, as they could push her off without him noticing. She scooted closer to his neck and wrapped her arms around it. Harold smiled again as he lifted himself into the air.
The princess let out a scream in excitement and told Harold where to go. Harold flew until the sun was setting against the ocean before her castle and village came into view. She asked him to land on the castle, but to depart just as quickly so the knights and villagers wouldn’t hurt him. He was concerned about this, but followed her directions.
As he landed, she told him to come back in two days, and to land in the same spot. She would have a surprise for him, and promised him no harm would befall him. He agreed as he landed. She dismounted and yelled at the men at the tower to not shoot their arrows. Harold flew to a nearby beach and laid down to rest. His wings weren’t used to so much flying and as soon as he landed, he fell fast asleep.
Harold woke up to the smell of a cooked hog. Harold opened his eyes and saw a feast of three cooked hogs laid out on wooden planks. Harold looked around but saw no one. He smelled the cooked pig and quickly devoured it. He hadn’t eaten since he left the nesting grounds but didn’t realize how hungry he had been. After he filled his belly he fell back asleep. When he woke up he found the sun was lower in the sky, as if it were a new morning. Harold had slept for an entire day, and he stood up feeling good.
He rose himself off the beach and flew to the castle again. The castle seemed closer than it was the last time he flew. As he landed on the castle’s tower, he noticed his landings were getting better each time. He stretched out his wings and saw that he could wrap them around the the tower with ease. The princess came out of the castle and greeted Harold. She had men carrying a large pile of gold and jewels in an over-flowing chest.
Harold loved seeing all the shinies, and the princess expressed that the tower she was rescued from has been named Dragon’s Tier and has since been protected by her magicians where Harold could horde his gold for as long as he wishes, and none could come to steal it. She then offered the gold to Harold as a reward for bringing her to safety, and has outlawed the killing of dragons for as long as she ruled the kingdom.
Harold was extremely happy and asked the princess to have someone deliver the gold and jewels to his new home. He expressed his gratitude by blowing streams of fire above him and quickly lifted himself off the tower. He flew to the nesting grounds to tell his accomplishments and to prove that even a lame dragon has a place in the world.
By the time Harold landed in the nesting grounds, it was nearly dark. The nesters looked at him in awe.
“That can’t be Harold” one of the nesters said to another.
“It has to be, look at his leg!” the other replied.
Harold told his story and as he walked closer to the nesters, he realized he had to look down at them. He hadn’t realized he had grown! He flew himself to the dragon council and explained what happened, and told them of the new outlawing of harming dragons. They were all amazed and offered him a seat at the council, but he refused.
“You didn’t believe in a lame dragon until he proved himself worthy, you’ve yet to prove your worth to me. Earn your keep and help dragons by teaching them to be helpful,” Harold said to them before flying off to live at Dragon’s Tier.