Thunder rolled just beyond the fine stonework of Lena’s window. She dropped her comb, dashing to peer out into the light of day. Her silky hair fell around her frame as she leaned from the open window of the tower, searching; hoping. It had been a full year since anyone had dared face Ribone the Dragon. Maybe this time a brave knight would outwit him; maybe this time she would be free at last.
The remaining structures of the deserted castle made it difficult to follow the ongoing battle at the entrance. Every so often, Lena witnessed gusts of fire scorch the walls of the courtyard below. This hero had made it further than the others. There was hope yet!
The ground shook as Ribone’s massive form tore through the castle, showering bits of the wall into the courtyard. If the brute wasn’t careful, he would wind up freeing Lena, himself.
A small form, clad in armor, dashed into the center of the courtyard. He obviously did not know in which tower to find her, and with Ribone stomping after him, he certainly wouldn’t notice Lena waving her kerchief from the South Tower.
Ribone roared, spewing flames into the afternoon sky. Lena wasn’t impressed. She’d seen him do this too many times to count.
The dragon gathered a large chunk of the fallen wall and hurled it at the knight as if it weighed nothing more than a bag of barley.
“Flee ye fool,” Lena said.
But it was too late. Her unsuccessful hero was crushed by the weight of the stone.
Sickened, Lena returned to her vanity. She plucked the discarded comb from the floor, silently mourning another death.
A thump at the window told her Ribone had returned to her chambers.
“Ye are most unwelcome.” Lena didn’t bother look up from her work of brushing knots from her honey-colored hair.
“But we have yet to finish our game.” Having transformed back into the bright-eyed young man, Ribone motioned to the abandoned game of chess by the hearth. “I was winning, and ye know it.”
“I care not,” Lena said, nose in the air to better illustrate her disdain. In the reflection of the looking glass she saw him shrug.
“Very well, ye sore loser.” Ribone bounded lightly onto the window sill once more, prepared to leave.
“Wait!” Dropping her comb again, Lena approached the young man, her gait slow and dramatic. “Perhaps this day ye shall decide to spend the evening with me?”
Ribone studied her, crouched on the ledge. His blue eyes searched the delicate lines of her face. Lena smiled, running her hands along the front of his leather jerkin.
“How long have I known ye? Five years?”
“Try fifty.” He snorted.
Lena hummed a breath, sadness touching her features. “Has it been so long?”
Suspicion was clear in Ribone’s gaze.
“We need not live such lonely lives,” she whispered, her lips brushing the shell of his ear. “Do ye not agree?”
A rumble suddenly vibrated from the dragon’s chest.
He dared laugh at her!
“Never give up with yer pitiless seductions, ye old hag, I beg of ye,” he chuckled. “For otherwise, the boredom of keeping the land safe from yer wicked mind would be the death of me.”
Angered by his words, Lena shoved him from the window. Ribone’s laugh ricocheted off the surrounding stone structures throughout his descent. A moment later, a massive dragon swooped by Lena’s window, casting a shadow over her chambers. He roared on his way to the front gates. A roar of laughter, no doubt.
Lena sat once more at the vanity, gazing at her deceptive reflection of breathtaking beauty.
One of these days an ignorant knight would slay Ribone and save her. She knew this, for she had cast the lots that morning. Very soon, Lena would be reunited with her Prince of Evil, wreaking havoc across the land. What was but a few more days, weeks, months?
Smiling at her reflection, Lena retrieved her comb to continue her work, humming a merry tune all the while.