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Strike the Dragon - The Tavern


Giving him the pendant, though tempting, seems too easy. Who’s to say he won’t eat your right there and then as you handed it over? Besides, you have almost nothing to your name and giving away the pendant seems an unnecessary loss. You need all the clues you can get. So, you back away, keeping your eyes on the dragon. He doesn’t seem to be advancing on you, in fact, he hasn’t left the mouth of his cave. His lanky body is curled around it as if trying to blend with the rock itself.

Peering through the dense forest you spot the sword sticking up from a tree stump. It gleams in a shaft of light that pierces the canopy of green above. Briefly, you consider running past the sword and as far away as you can. But in that moment the dragon lets out a huff of smoke that reminds you who he is. You would be proverbial toast.

You climb atop the stump, yank the sword out, almost fall to the ground, and hike back out to the beast. When he sees you he curls once more around the mouth of his home before coming to the ground and extending his wings.

“Your move.” He hisses, and if a dragon could grin, he just did. You swing the sword a few times, finding the balance. It’s nice, this sword. You would have to add it to your collection. Your collection? Hmm…memories begin to trickle back into your darkened mind and you grin back at the beast. You know your way around a sword. You pace in front of the beast, legs wide and feet sure, sword held with two hands at the hilt.

You strike, fast and with intention. The beast swings to block you, its mighty neck bunching and coiling, but too late. Your sword slices between one of his shimmering scales and its fleshy neck. You pop the hilt back toward yourself and a single scale breaks away cleanly. You look to the left to see claws swiping down and know that landing a fatal blow would mean death for the both of you. You decide retreat is best and in a single jump and roll you have the scale tucked under your arm, sword in one hand, feet running straight for the tree line.

You feel fire at your back, but you are agile and quick and serpentine through the trees until there is nothing but its roar in the distance. It does not follow. You don’t stop to wonder why. Instead, you laugh, you cry, you keep running.

Danger seems far off by the time you arrive at the tavern. It’s a welcome site, you don’t remember the last time you ate and ale doesn’t sound too bad either. Perhaps you can trade the pendant for some bread. You feel foolish, you are willing to trade the pendant for bread but not your life? You smirk down at the thing that has been bouncing off your chest for the last hour. It looks familiar, but not enough to dislodge a memory.

There’s a group of traders making their way into the thatched roof building. They laugh with each other, their camaraderie infectious. The last one to enter waits at the door, holding it open for you.

“‘Aye traveler.” His teeth are the teeth of a man who’s had a hard life. His eyes tell much the same story. “That’s a fancy pendant ye have there.”

You nod to him in wary thanks and enter the smoke-filled room. It’s small, a simple hearth, a bar, a few men strewn about. A barmaid swishes past you without so much as a look.

“Why don’t ye have a drink wit us?” The trader’s hand finds purchase on your shoulder as he steers you to a table where his companions have already begun nursing ales like fresh babes. They look up at you and begin to discuss.

“Ye look a wee lost there.”

“Looks mighty familiar, don’t ye think?”

“That fancy necklace don’t bode well for no one.”

“Or that sword…”

“What’s that under ye arm?”

You wish you had left the three items outside but decide that it’s best they know all that you do so they can, maybe, tell you where to go to recover your memories. You lay the sword, pendant and scale down on the table.

The men grow quiet and glance at each other before the big trader from the door grins his gap-toothed smile. “Ah, you need information, now don’t ye? How about this…” He comes so close to you, his smell makes you gag. “Come wit us, we’ll bring ye to the city, tell ye what’s what. Then we can talk about payment later. What do ye say?”

Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

Amanda Auler

May 2022

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