Saturday, June 4, 2011


Second Trial of a Dragon Knight
By Robert William Shmigelsky

Wearing the unadorned white robes of a knight who had yet to earn his wings, the dragon knight apprentice continued through the lush but sparsely arranged forest.

He was here, at the edge of paradise, at the deepest part of the Enchanted Forest, to complete the second trial in the way of becoming a true knight and earning his winged dragon boots.

His youthful expression, and inside, raked with nervousness, the dragon knight apprentice repeated again in his mind the task he was sent here to complete: find and glimpse Pegasus... ride him... then pluck out and retrieve one of his feathers.

The apprentice knew he would have to use what he had just learned from his first trial to find and catch a glimpse of this most magical creature. Utilizing what he had learned, he stopped, closed his eyes and dulled his other senses as he focused his mind and attempted to commune and listen to the near motionless low wind encompassed around him.

What kind of otherworldly whisper beckoned to him beneath its earthly façade?

Did it once more leave behind a trail of scents for the apprentice to follow, only for the trail to end mysteriously with noble Pegasus nowhere to be found?

Pegasus was an elusive creature at best. In a single bound, he could leap behind a narrow tree trunk and not appear on the other side. At its worst, the wind was enigmatic.

But following the lure of the wind the apprentice strode on through the forest. After meandering this way and that along the many forest paths crenelated by large mounds of moss, swathed with flowers and sprinkled with illusionist blossoms, the apprentice suddenly stopped; his eyes lit up before him. There before him, in an open glade, he glimpsed Pegasus.

Picturesque and appearing luminous with its long coat of hair, flowing white mane and pair of feathered angel-like wings, it stood calm and motionless and looked at him with two glistening gold eyes.

Having caught full sight of the creature, the apprentice knew the horse-god would not be able to leap away and disappear behind a tree trunk, the magic of this place temporally being dispelled.

To approach Pegasus, he looked him in the eye, approached slowly with hand outstretched before him. He strode carefully on, not a single thought etched in his mind. He neared Pegasus, who remained motionless.

Sure enough, perceiving him not to be a threat, Pegasus looked down and continued grazing.

Free to come beside it, the apprentice walked next to Pegasus, massaged his neck with the gentle caress of his hand as his gaze examined him with wondrous eyes.

Done admiring, not really planning ahead, he put his hand onto Pegasus' back, lifted himself up, swung his foot around and mounted Pegasus.

From his foot hitting the side of its chest, to both their surprises, the beast lit up and broke into a gallop, sending them both hurling forward before rising upwards into the sky. At first, the apprentice held on as tightly as his hands could wrap themselves around Pegasus' neck, but then he realized there was little to worry about. He was not falling. He was simply riding atop the world.

He straightened his back, outstretched his arms and shouted out against the howl and the whistling of the high wind, the swirling of it abreast his skin as the world below unfolded before him.

Along for the ride, giving him a taste of the skies, Pegasus swung back towards the forest and circled around it before descending and landing back in the glade.

Completely and undeniably satisfied, the soon-to-be dragon knight dismounted. He swung around and caressed the beast once more. In the language of dragons, he said "thank you" before looking down and gently plucking out from one of its wings a single white feather. Feeling only a twinge, Pegasus simply continued grazing.

The apprentice swung back around, looked up and raised then examined the feather with a wondrous glint in his eye. From a narrow gap in the forest canopy, a beam of light gently streamed down upon it, illuminating him in a wide radius of light. In his hand, was the item that would not only adorn his pair of mithril dragon boots and grant him the ability to soar like Pegasus but symbolize: he had passed the second trial in the way of becoming a dragon knight.

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Robert, a residential care aide, is unapologetic in his pursuit of excellent high fantasy. Robert has been writing fantasy for himself in his spare time for the last seven years, but has only recently begun writing for others. Besides reading and writing, some of his hobbies include computers and medieval and ancient history. He has a dry sense of humor, which he blames his stepfather for. Also, he has a habit of making history jokes no one but he understands.


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