A Hero and an Outlaw

When a smuggler is drafted into the Helenes Royal Military, he is dragged into a war much greater than himself - inded, much greater than the entirety of the human race. With immortals on the field of battle, will the Kingdom of Helena prevail over the barbaric orcs of the land of Kiev, or will humans be annihilated by the will of one spurned deity?

"Dragon!" A shout from atop the city wall rang through the marketplace, causing the townsfolk to freeze for a moment before fleeing in terror. Soon the city's alarm bells began tolling, and there was a frantic commotion as the townspeople entered any building which might provide protection from the attacking monster and the city guardsmen prepared to do battle with the dragon. Soldiers dressed in grey jackets and armed with needle-fire rifles took positions along the walls, taking aim at the approaching dragon as orders were shouted out. Soldiers also entered the tunnels within the walls, no doubt manning the ballistae which lined the perimeter of the city. The massive bolts fired by the machines were attached to lengths of rope, in preparation for just such an enemy as this.

Among all this hurrying about, one man strolled through the marketplace, seemingly carefree. The man wore a black coat, grey pants, long black leather boots, a pair of leather gloves and a tricorne hat. His face was mostly obscured by a thick, grizzly brown beard. He seemed quite content to go about his business, even as the guards called out for him to find cover.

As the dragon neared the city walls, five ballista bolts were fired into its torso simultaneously, the lengths of rope being tightened in order to hold the beast in place as the rifleman fired volleys at it. After a few moments of struggling and one volley of fire from the riflemen, the dragon's fiery breath burned the ropes and severed them, freeing the beast once more. The dragon flew over the nearest guard tower, swooping down and snatching up a soldier before tossing him to the ground in the middle of the market, like a toy. The man in the market hastened over to the body and took the deceased soldier's rifle. Soon, the dragon landed in the marketplace, crushing a market stall underfoot as it did so. The creature was massive - each talon was the length of a grown man's leg - and its scales were as black as night.

Readying his newly-acquired weapon, the man shouted, "Oi, you there!" The dragon raised its head, searching for the source of the new sound. "Yeah, you big ugly brimstone-belcher, I'm talking to you!" At this, the dragon snorted and brought its farm-sized head down to meet eyes with its newest challenger. The man raised his rifle, fired one shot into the beast's torso, cycled the bolt, and fired another shot, which dug into the dragon's underbelly. The dragon roared in fury and spat flames into the air. The man pulled the bolt back on his rifle again in order to fire another shot, but was met with a metallic snap. The needle of the rifle, the firing needle, had broken. The weapon was useless. The dragon puffed a cloud of smoke from its nostrils as the man lowered the rifle to the ground. For one moment, it appeared the beast would be victorious. Then, in a flash of movement, the man drew a large pistol from within his coat and fired one deadly shot into the dragon's eye, which was still lowered to consider its target. After standing bolt-upright for a moment, the dragon issued one last, ear-splitting shriek, then collapsed to the ground, raising a cloud of dust and further destroying the market stalls.

Upon seeing the dragon fall, the soldiers cheered and a group of them, under the orders of their commander, approached the man. They commanded him to follow them; the commander would like a word.


"So," the commander said, gripping the back of his chair, "who are you?" The man had blond hair and brown eyes, and wore a friendly expression on his face.

"That's simple," Elias responded, hoping to evade the inconvenient question. "I'm the man who killed a dragon."

"An impressive feat indeed," the commander said, nodding in acknowledgement of the accomplishment. "Had you not come along, friend, it would not have been unexpected if all of Helena's Triumph were razed to the ground. For this, I thank you." Elias smiled in appreciation of this praise. "However, I still find myself curious as to your identity. How can I thank such a hero as yourself if I haven't so much as a name to go by? Please, at least tell me your name."

Elias' dark blue eyes gazed through his unkempt brown hair and locked with the commander's brown eyes, and he said, "My name is Elias Hale." The commander's eyes widened in recognition of this name, and Elias confirmed the man's fears by continuing, "I am a smuggler."

The End

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