Narlesha Part 2

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Narlesha the Dragonslayer

Part Two

Catch up on the story so far with the previous chapter.

"Narlesha was confident, but knew that there was still much work ahead. She started by scouting the lands surrounding Vigoyorr's lair. She discovered a way by which to approach, and stealthily crept closer and closer to the lair. It was in a high valley amidst very craggy peaks; she found a cleft that gave access to it. Even though she never glimpsed Vigoyorr himself, the stench of the lair gave away its location.

"The stench was in fact something she was specifically seeking out! As dragons do, Vigoyorr relieved himself a good distance away from his lair, the dung forming a huge midden. The stench of dragon dung is almost humanly intolerable, and Narlesha needed several days to get used to it; over this time she crept closer and closer, until finally she was able to rush to the midden and shovel a good deal of it into a bag, and then she ran away with it as fast as she could. She hid the bag of dragon dung away in a forest in one of the lower valleys, and recuperated for a few days, delighting in breathing fresh air again.

"But she was not yet ready to enter the lair. She had still not seen a glimpse of Vigoyorr, and she needed to know what she was up against. She had to lure the dragon from his lair by some means, without yet exposing herself to danger. For this, her father's wealth came in handy. For a considerable sum of money, she bought some valuables of gold and precious jewels. Of these she now had to prepare a treasure that would attract the dragon, but it needed to be done right, so as to attract him at the right time, neither too soon nor too late, and without endangering anyone, and also without making Vigoyorr suspicious. She contracted a rider and horse from a nearby farm, and had the treasure put in a great chest. She instructed the rider to travel along a particular road, and then to deliberately lose the treasure while fording a river, allowing the chest to crack open and the treasure to fall and lie exposed on the bottom of the stream, there to sparkle in the shallow water. The rider of course would then flee the scene; it was too late. The danger was too great that, before he might retrieve the treasure from the river, the dragon would show up… he had to pretend to fear so, even though the very goal was for the dragon to come.

"Narlesha herself was in the vicinity, and waiting for exactly that to happen. She had chosen a spot some distance away where she yet had a good view, and concealed herself. She only needed to wait a couple of hours. Dragons sense treasure much like I do with my divining gem; the treasure glittering in the clear mountain water was an irresistible lure. Vigoyorr arrived like a hurricane, his wings like storm clouds, and alighted his vast bulk beside the river while Narlesha watched, trembling and dreading that she might be perceived. But Vigoyorr's attention was all occupied by the treasure.

"She watched him as he inspected the precious golden objects and gems. He flung the broken chest aside; next, he tenderly picked out every piece from the river, using his great claws like dexterous fingers. Each piece he put in his mouth, his throat distending below his jaws. So Narlesha saw for the first time how dragons actually carry the treasure they steal. But more importantly, she saw just how the nigh impregnable armour plates on Vigoyorr's underside fit together. Around each plate there was a region of elastic skin, this making it possible for the throat to distend as he gulped up more and more of the treasure. These joints in between the armour plates would certainly constitute spots of weakness! But in the undistended condition of the dragon's throat and belly, the plates fit snugly together; she would need expert aim to slip the tip of her blade into one of these joints. Still she observed. She noted the way the dragon moved, how the plates shifted, and how, briefly, gaps would open and present momentary points of vulnerability.

"Still Vigoyorr suspected nothing. He finally had the entire treasure in his mouth, his throat pouch bulging out. He sniffed the road on both sides of the stream, perhaps wondering if he might still pursue and make a snack of the horse and rider. But by this time they would both have been very far away, which he would realize. No, he would much rather just go straight home and add his new precious treasure to his hoard. He leapt into the sky and flew back to his lair."

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