Tag Archives: fantasy

A Cloud of Dragons

A Cloud of Dragons

© 2018 CC-BY-SA Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox)

Before mounting his dragon, D’tan clasped arms with D’lar, his second in command – and oldest friend – as they have since their cadet days. As he vaults into his saddle, he can’t help noticing that his men are afraid. He stands in his stirrups and calls out, “Dragonriders! I know we have never faced a threat this large, but we can’t allow these invaders to destroy our homes. Our people depend on us, so let’s GO!” Spurred by their cheering riders, the dragons lept into the air, the buzzing of their wings creating a deafening drone as the sunlight sparkled off their shimmering multi-hued hides.

The Dragonriders form up into ranks in the air, half of them, lead by D’tan, ready to charge the larger invader, while D’lar organizes the rest. D’tan catches the eye of his dearest friend, both smiling to hide their fear and reassure their men – and each other. Shouting as one, they lead the charge.

John and his teenage son, Robert, were hiking though the woods when they heard a swift-moving creek off to the left, and veered off the trail to refill their canteens, having no idea what lay in store for them. Approaching the creek, they are startled by a sudden intense buzzing from the tall grass running along it, and even more so by the dark cloud rising up directly ahead of them. John turns to Robert, “I’ve never seen dragonflies swarm like that.” Then surprise turns to fear as the cloud races towards them.

As the Dragonriders swoop in at their faces, the hikers at first cover their faces with their arms, then stumble slowly back away from the creek, flailing their arms blindly in hopes of getting a few lucky hits on their aggressors.

At first the Riders are jubilant as they drive back the invaders while deftly avoiding the flurry of giant hands. Then catastrophe strikes: D’lar is just a split second too slow, and a collision with the back of Robert’s hand sends him crashing to earth.

D’tan screams in anguish. “Enough! To arms!” The two forces reorganize, giving the hikers a brief moment of respite, as half of them draw their bows, and the other half their long spears – mere toothpicks from the perspective of the humans. Attacking anew, the Dragonriders are merciless as they repeatedly pierce the hapless hikers with their weapons, the spearmen darting in and out as the archers provide cover.

“I didn’t know they could sting”, Robert managed to gasp out, trying to avoid falling as he scrambled backwards with increasing panic. “They can’t”, was all his dad could reply before a spear punctured his lip. Giving up, he grabs Robert’s shoulder as he turns, and they both flee. Let the damn dragonflies have their water.

The Dragonriders cheer as the humans flee, but D’tan’s only thought is of his fallen friend as he slowly circles down, loneliness and grief drowning out the excitement felt by his men.

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Rebirth of a Monster

Here, at long last, is the flash fiction version of the origin of probably the most beloved of all of my recurring NPCs, Manny the ogre chef. In the present day he’s a pacifistic tavern-keeper who is well-renowned for his kitchen prowess. But he wasn’t always so friendly…


As the sun rises over the Mountains of Ayel, the remains of the village of Woodston continue to smolder. Among the ruins, five ogres feast upon the villagers they roasted in the flames of their own homes. As one of them raises a leg to his slathering jaws, liquid fat dripping from the leg to the ground and tusks ready to tear off a mouthful, he is suddenly overcome with revulsion and nausea.

Lowering the now revolting hunk of meat from his mouth, Manny looks around, confused, yet clear-headed for the first time in his life. “Why you not eat?” asks one of his warband, using his tusks to rip a large chunk of meat from a child’s charred torso. Then he adds, spraying bits of manflesh through the intervening space, “this meat good.”

After taking a moment to spit out some errant bits of flesh that were caught in his teeth, Manny finally replies: “The smell makes me sick.”

His companions’ faces cycle through expressions of confusion, shock, disbelief, and finally horror. “We help!” one yells as he pounces. They grab Manny, pin his arms and legs to the ground, and attempt to beat out of him whatever evil spirit has possessed him. Since nothing like this has ever happened in all of ogre history, their simple minds cannot fathom any other possible explanation for Manny’s behavior.

As blow after blow rains down upon him, Manny revels in the pain as a respite from the nauseating smell of roast villager that permeates the air. Finally, just before he surrenders to welcome oblivion, the blows stop as one of the ogres picks up the discarded leg and offers it to Manny with a grunt. He turns up his generous nose at the proffered morsel, and with a final punch to the nose, embraces blessed unconsciousness.

When he finally regains consciousness, night has fallen, the embers are cold, and he is all alone – except for the squad of rangers stealthily emerging from the woods on southern edge of town, their bows drawn, and their steps silent. As he sits up, head spinning and stomach churning, Manny’s brain is so rattled that he doesn’t notice the silent approach of impending death. His nose eventually draws his attention downward, where he sees the fateful roast leg of hapless villager. Sneering at it in disgust, he flings it away, then lumbers to his feet. Seeing this, the astonished rangers melt back into the woods and vanish.

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Rebirth of a Monster by Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.