Monday, 3 January 2011

The Eissen - A Dragon story

Here is the dragon I finished for November the other day. It almost took me as long to write the story, as it wanted to be very complicated! The dragon is based on an early medieval dragon from the Dover Dragon book. The story is completely out of my head.

The Eissen
(from the ancient manuscript in the library of the Realm)

Word began to arise from the South. A great and terrible Beast had come ashore near the Farm Lands. His thrashings had destroyed many fields of barley and, more crucially, several fields of newly ripened wheat.

Riders were sent to the King with reports of the damage.

A council was called.
Simon, the page, was waiting at the sideboard in the Council Chambers, ready for a look or gesture which meant another flagon needed filling another dish of sweetmeats or nuts was nearing the bottom. He was all agog at the honour of the task which had fallen to him. All because Huur had landed heavily on his arm, breaking it when they were climbing the trellis to listen in on the news from the riders.

Lost in his memories of the thrashing he'd just escaped, he nearly missed the next command directed at him.

"Don't stand there with mouth open!" Hissed the Steward. "Find Tsitra, the Brush, boy! Find her fast! We must get a likeness of this beast. And then we can better prepare to fight him."

Simon dashed off to the Artist's rooms. "Come quickly!" He breathed. "The Council needs your service."

Tsitra gathered her roll of brushes, basket of paints and a few scrolls. She hurried after Simon.

The next hour went like lightning as the King, the Council and Simon, too, watched Tsitra sketch and rework her sketches as the Riders repeated their description of the beast. She asked them questions and listened carefully as they conferred and replied and agreed on shapes and details.

She unrolled the brushes, turning the image towards her. She set to work with a bit of blue here and a bit of purple there and a touch of gold throughout. She soon had completed the likeness.

Tsitra slowly turned the image, first towards the King, and then to each member of the Council in turn. There were murmers and mutterings. Simon strained to get a look.

And then when at last the Councillor nearest Simon was shown the likeness, it was Simon's turn to cry out!

"The Eissen!"

He quickly put his hand to his mouth! But the King had heard.

"Speak, boy! What causes such a reaction from you? Was that a Name you uttered? Have you knowledge of such a beast?"

Trembling, Simon bowed to the king and answered. "Yes, my Lord. There was such a Beast drawn in ink upon the arm of my Gransir."

"Where is your Gransir? Was he not a seaman? Has he spoken to you of the Beast?"

"I have not seen him, Sire, since I came to the Palace, for he is an old man. But when I was not yet breeched, he often told me stories of Eissen the Beast from the Cold and North where small mountains of ice sail through the waters as ships do. The Beast used to cavort and play amongst the ice in the manner of dolphins in the warmer waters." He hesitated, but at a nod, carried on.

"Sir, he never spoke a bad word of the Beast, instead, he said the Beast always brought them luck! That's why he had Her image - he always spoke of the Beast as Her - that's why he had Her image inked upon his arm."

The King, who was known for his wisdom, leaned back and looked thoughtful. Soon, he spoke. " We shall ride to this Gransir of yours and get his advice. But somehow I think The Eissen, as you Name her, is not as dangerous as we supposed. But rather, is in Danger herself."

"Steward, send messengers at once to the South with word not to harm the Beastie..."

"But our crops!"Someone exclaimed, stopping when the King held up his hand.

He turned back to the Steward and continued. "Tell the Governor of the Fields to gather all the buckets he can and make a brigade between the Beast and the Sea. Fill the buckets with water to splash upon the Beast."

Quiet murmering spread through the Council Chambers.

The King spoke again. "Send another messenger to the Governor of the Quays. Tell him to bring boxes of his freshest fish to place before the Beast. The fish will be paid for from the King's treasury."


And this is how Simon (and Simon's Gransir) became involved with the wonderful Adventure of Rescue of The Eissen*, who had been carried far to the South by a freak storm.

Many days and long nights were to come before She was at last cavorting amongst the small ice mountains which float in the Seas of the North. But always and even at last The Eissen brought them luck.

And the damage that had been done at the start in Her Days of Confusion became of no consequence; for by some strange magic the fields around those damaged produced threefold that year. And for years to come, the crops later grown in the ruined fields produced the best tasting and finest wheat and barley anyone had ever thought to harvest.

*The writings of the Rescue of The Eissen can be found in the records of the Journeyings of the Kings of the Realm.

And there we are! you never know what is in your head til you let it fall down your arm into your pencil. Or into your keyboard. or even into the needle of your sewing machine!

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