I gasped, trying to catch my breath as tear after helpless tear streamed down my face. Gregoryk was in the same condition, helpless laughter echoed all round the cavern as he told me tale after tale of the hapless Knights who had turned up at his Cave entrance trying to prove themselves the bravest and the best.
Stories which he told with a quick wit and sly mischievous humour, giving me such a vivid mind picture of the events that my sense of the ridiculous was tickled again and again. IN the end I cried out for mercy ‘Oh Please, Gregoryk, please no more, I can’t breathe at all well and my eyes are so red and watery, in fact I think there’s a lash caught in my eye’ He sobered up straight away and was all concern… ‘Here take this gold mirror and see if it helps you and I think there’s a lace hankie around somewhere’ …. a comment which sent me into peals of laughter again as I thought on who might have left such a trophy, mayhap Sir Prenderghast, who left in such a hurry after Greg threatened to roast him, fully tinned, for supper. This Knight had tried to magic his way into Greg’s cave and have away with all the treasure before Greg even opened his eyes, little knowing Magic would not work against the wily Old Red Dragon. Greg had feigned sleep and gave the Knight the shock of his life, by opening one of his large eyes and saying ‘Boo’ … Which had been enough to startle said Knight who, from the aroma issuing forth, had soiled his armour quite badly before he jet propelled himself from sight never to be seen again, leaving only a monogrammed lace handkerchief to show he’d ever graced Gregoryks cave at all.
As he leaned over helpfully holding the mirror to the light, we both heard the scandalised tones of Fyrespike, “Unhand that Lady, Gregoryk or you’ll have me to answer too” He appeared out of the blue with a deadly and fierce expression on his face, clutching his Red Pipe, already fully lit and sending smoke trails enough to fill the Cavern, making us all cough in confusion. Trouble was the bold statement sent Gregoryk and myself into hysterics again and laughter once more echoed round the cavern, loud helpless laughter which wiped the expression of anger from Fyrespikes face, and changed it to one of utter shock and disbelief. “Whatever is going on here?” he said finally “Aren’t you in mortal danger Lady Pen?” and again I found myself having to wipe my eyes and clear my vision enough to answer him. “I’m totally fine Fyrespike, your Father In Law has been entertaining me with tales of bygone days, and then you suddenly appear outraged and asking him to unhand the Lady which just set us off once more” He looked slightly mollified and started to grin himself, then sobered saying “I am so sorry, Lady Pen, to put you in this position, my magic spell was interrupted by … unforeseen circumstances” On hearing this Gregoryk added his own two-penn’orth, muttering “My daughter more like” … and Fyrespike puffed at his pipe not answering but looking a bit glummer. Gregoryk seemed loth to add any more, so I tried my best to put Fyrespikes mind at rest “It’s OK my friend, honestly, and it turned out well really. I’ve now made the acquaintance of another Magic Dragon and had the time of my life. We’ve even swapped addresses for some future holidays together.” I added mischievously. At this Fyrespike laughed in relief and settled himself to sit next to the two of us, slyly glancing at his Father in Law and asking if he’d told the one about the Sir Fortesque and his merry band of Cowards? Which set off Gregoryk once again, happily telling of a tale which this time ended with the whole band of Knights being skewered, barbequed and eaten for supper. Not a happy ending for humankind but a score for the wily Dragon. Kill or be killed was being underlined for me, and I rather absentmindedly played with the jewels scattered about as I wondered how Kalaseru would react when she heard her plan had totally backfired…
I didn’t have long to wait for my answer, … I truly didn’t… as she appeared
right there and then, seeming a bit redder than usual and gasping out hot breaths of steam my way, which made my face flame in response and my hair bush out and curl horribly. As I quickly leapt to my feet both Fyrespike and Gregoryk shouted out her name in unison, but her attention wasn’t on me for once, only on the two Eggs held carefully in her large front claws “Fyrespike, I need your help” she pleaded “ we have to keep our children safe. The Dragon Hunters have had the audacity to invade our Cave.” At which his eyes whirled dangerously in response and he looked to be in a killing mood, but wise Gregoryk was more level-headed and sent a quick warning look to Fyrespike. “You’re safe here, my Daughter, please calm down and we’ll look after you and your two fine eggs, there’s space enough and you know the most comfortable places” Her harsh breathing levelled out in response as her fear for her Eggs diminished and she finally acknowledged her father, smiling warmly at him. “My gratitude, Oh Father of mine” giving a respectful bow of her head “I apologise for not calling on you for such a long while” and I heard such love and respect in her gruff voice that it made me smile in response. She of course noticed and her unwanted attention turned my way. “Ah Lady Pen, how have you enjoyed your visit?” I in turn didn’t know if she was interested or just poking fun, but I answered sincerely “I’ve had the time of my life Kalaseru, your father is a gracious host and a very fine raconteur” She smiled and nodded, finally turning her gaze from my still reddened face framed in it’s now fuzzy hairstyle, and passed the Eggs ever so carefully to Fyrespike, who’d been busily preparing a warm corner of the gigantic cave into a nest for their future offspring. She settled them to her own satisfaction and then started to croon slightly, a wonderful and surprisingly melodious sound to hear… totally content, away from danger and surrounded by her male retinue. I on the other hand felt rather like a spare part, hastily dropping the handful of jewels I’d been absently holding in my hand, hoping no-one had noticed. Fyrespike sent a smile my way, he’d settled himself comfortably near his mate, totally forgetting his rage at the mention of the Hunters now that she and their future children were safe. He was once again calmly puffing away at his pipe, and the warm affectionate look he sent my way made me feel as one of the Clan, just as if he’d read my thoughts he nodded, saying “You are Lady Pen, and welcome … always”
Life was good, life was sweet and I was surrounded by three Dragons, plus two Dragons in the making. Could it get any better? I think not dear reader, I think not…
Lady P © 2011