Tilantous and The Nuisance of Moss (A legend of Afinlyn)

Fiction By Kassady // 3/16/2012

 “-And that... dear lad, is how you string a bow,” Tilantous the ranger said in his deep gentle voice, stepping away and handing the little boy the bow.  

The boy beamed excitedly down at the bow, way too big for him, “Wow!” he breathed.  

Tilantous patted his head and walked back over to his own bow. He slung it, and his quiver, over his shoulder, looking back to the people of the fortress of Hoan. Raising his hand in farewell, to the people he knew and loved so well, and started walking for thetall gates.  

“You can't prolong your stay just for a few more weeks, can you?” asked his best friend coming up to his side.  

“No,” Tilantous shook his head, “I have things to do, Worelond. Places to go, people to see... I'll be back!”  

“In another year or two,” Worelond grumbled, looking down at a stone in his path and kicking it in frustration. Worelond hated it when Tilantous would leave, especially when he couldn't come with him, “Why couldn't you have just been a farmer, here?”  

Tilantous turned a smile on his beloved friend, almost out of the large gates of the fortress, “You know I would have never been able to do that! I like adventure too much! Plus... I enjoy archery!”  

Worelond shrugged, his footsteps slowing at the gates looming over Tilantous and him.  “You could have been a hunter for the village!”  

Tilantous laughed, “Like I'd be content with that!”  

Worelond smiled ruefully along with him, “I know, you just had to go and be a big, famous ranger!”  

Tilantous smiled sympathetically at his upset friend, “Well... I'm not the only one! You are legend in Hoan for saving that martyr! You are the best combat knight of the fortress!” Tilantous gave his best friend a light and playful punch to his shoulder. “Keep the castle safe till I come back.”  

Worelond eyes raised up from the ground to meet Tilantous', he smiled in defeat, and retorted sarcastically back as tradition, “Like I can't without you!”  

“You can't,” Tilantous retorted back smiling broadly, remembering all the past times they had said those lines at that very gate. Tilantous nodded and turned, not looking back.  

***  

Tilantous walked into the quaint village of Moss, which lay a little outside of the forest of Hoan's border. Every time Tilantous walked into the town, a rush of awe would wash over him. He would usually dream about all the hero's and legends that had walked into this very village. Like Malva the Alphatier vanquisher, all of the Phorkson's, Aaron the Great, Laylo the lady knight, and now... him. He usually didn't like acknowledging his own popularity and fame. Already he was a legend of Afinlyn... a great ranger!  

As children played in the dirt streets, with a black dog, Tilantous was greeted by many friendly street merchants. Produce market families waved and called out his name. He waved back at them and called a friendly, “Hallo!” in his deep voice.  

“Tilantous! Tilantous!” cried a few girls and boys running up to him and starting to grab him.  

Tilantous laughed and patted them all on the heads, “Don't worry, you'll all get archery lessons!”  

They all squealed happily and a few ran off to tell their parents.  

Tilantous laughed, surprised by the large reception. All the times he had gone into Moss, he had never been received like this! This was more of the reaction he would get if he came back from a long journey to the fortress of Hoan. He wondered what he had done recently for them to act like this. “All's well?” he asked, still pleasantly puzzled, to the housekeepers daughter of The Flowered Blanket Inn, kept by generations upon generations of mothers and daughters.  

The rosy young woman looked up from sweeping to blush at Tilantous, she giggled, fleeing into the Inn.  

Tilantous sighed, this was one of the reactions he got from women all the time that annoyed him. He'd ask a question, they'd blush and giggle and run away, probably to gossip to their lady friends that the legend Tilantous talked to them.  

Right before he was going to walk into the Inn, the housekeeper came out. She was a plump, rosy woman who looked either in her late forties or early fifties. She had a homemade red and yellow shawl over her shoulders, that looked like it could be replaced. Her brown dress fell to her ankles, with a few strands of thread hanging down. Her hair was a dusty, mousy orange, pulled up in a bun in the back. But the way her hair was so curly, frizzy curls created a mane around her face, “Well Hello!” she said smiling kindly at him.  

Tilantous smiled gratefully, this was some one he could talk reasonably with, without her running off giggling. “What's all the fuss about?” he asked turning to see many happy eyes beaming at him.  

The housekeeper cocked her head, “Fuss? I don't see anything!”  

Tilantous nodded, “I mean... my reception?”  

She nodded her head with a large grin on her face, her round cheeks which were already pink going red, “Aw yes! They've been waiting for you! Everyone has!”  

“I don't understand!” Tilantous said puzzled, but the housekeeper's smile was too infectious, so he smiled with her, “What did I do?”  

“You've come to rescue us!” she said matter-of-factly.  

“What!?” Tilantous choked out, surprised, “What's wrong? What happened? Rescue from what?”  

She chuckled and patted his cheek, “Come inside and have a drink, I'll tell you everything!”  

Tilantous followed the woman inside, and was warmly and excitedly greeted by all the men and women inside. All the local men wanted to shake his hand and all the local women—married and unmarried-- wanted to hug him and kiss his cheek.  

“Come,” tugged the housekeeper, pulling him to a bar stool, pushing a man off.  

“I'm dreadfully sorry,” Tilantous apologized to the used-to-be occupant of the stool. But the man just smiled and apologized to him.  

“Sit!” the housekeeper demanded smiling at him.  

Tilantous sat in confusion and looked around at the many pares of eyes on him all at once, “So are you going to explain?”  

The housekeeper nodded from behind the bar, pouring warm beer into a large mug, “In a moment!”  

Tilantous sighed impatiently and allowed her to place the beer mug in front of him and then a saucer of bread, cheese and pickled corn.  

“Eat!” the Housekeeper demanded again smiling at him, putting her hands on her wide and round hips, “And I'll tell you what's up.”  

Tilantous sighed in relief and started eating the bread, looking up at the housekeeper expectantly.  

“After I serve this customer,” she said and walked away, pouring a mug of beer as she bustled off.  

Tilantous sighed again, this time in exasperation and disappointment. He took a sip of his warm beer and he could feel the warmth go down into his stomach, it made him a bit sick, but the taste was particularly delicious, “Do you know what the Zitz is going on?” he asked a man beside him at the bar. 

He shrugged staring starry-eyed at Tilantous, “No clue... I'm just a passing traveler.”  

“Oh...” Tilantous sighed, “What's your name?” 

“Jasc Ghiliganson...” he said thumping his chest in greeting.  

Tilantous thumped his chest back, “I'm Tilan-”  

“I know,” Jasc cut him off, taking a gulp of beer from his mug, “Honored to meet a legend!”  

Tilantous smiled grimly, this conversation was going nowhere, Jasc couldn't even give him any information, and he did not like things that had no meaning or that lacked significance to his situations.  

The housekeeper came back, her face bright red, “Alright!” she declared and went behind the bar. Her face turned stern all of a sudden and she leaned in, “A stranger has been coming to Moss recently... every other fortnight he spends a week in Moss and reeks havoc, everywhere!”  

Tilantous leaned closer in, his thick eyebrows knitting together, “What kind of havoc?”  

“All kinds! Storms and fires follow him wherever he goes! He owns an infant dragon as well, and feeds it with our horses and livestock! We can't handle it much longer! We can't keep building our town back up again and again,” she said with a note of panic in her voice, she looked nervously around the Inn, “We didn't know what to do! Until we heard you were coming to help us! You will help us... won't you?”  

Tilantous thought for a moment, he knew he was suppose to be at the Castle of Den to see the King in a fortnight from when he left the Fortress of Hoan, .. but this was much more important than running some unimportant errand to some archery match the King was bound to send him to. “I'd like to help you,” he said in a low voice, putting a hand on her hand, “But I can't be here long! When is he due?”  

“Why, two days from today! That's why we were so joyous when you came Sir... we hoped...” she trailed off, eying him hopefully.  

Tilantous sighed deeply through his nose, rubbing his stubbly chin, “I know I should say that 'I'm seriously sorry but I have to leave'... but I can't... I'll help, but no promises!”  

The housekeeper shrieked and yelled with joy and exclaimed to the whole Inn, “HE'LL SAVE US!”  

“YAY!” called all of the voices, even the travelers called out, though they didn't know what to. The locals got up and started dancing and hooting. 

Tilantous rubbed his head, “Housekeeper... I'd like a room... please.”  

“Right away! Right away!” said the housekeeper cheerfully, bustling over to him, grabbing his arm and pulling him up some wooden steps. She stopped outside of one of the doors and grabbed the large hoop of keys from her built. “Oh thank you, sir! Most grateful to your service sir! Oh you are an angel sir!”  

“Not quite... just... a noble person,” he said rubbing his temples, his head aching from all the noise and everything that had happened, “Or just an Ufzach!”  

“Oh no, sir, not at all! Only a wise man would face danger!” the housekeeper said, opening the door wide and beginning to fuss over little things.  

“On the contrary,” Tilantous said sitting down on the bed, “You have it reversed, only the fool would face danger, while the wise would sit and ponder on how to defeat danger, without becoming endangered himself.”  

“To true, to true!” said the housekeeper, beginning to light a fire in the corner fireplace, “Well... there's still enough time to see which one you are in the end!”  

Tilantous smiled and got up, kneeling down next to the housekeeper. He grabbed the flint from her hands gingerly. She opened her mouth to protest but Tilantous had already created a spark and the kindle began to burn bright orange.  

The housekeeper smiled and patted his shoulder in gratitude, leaving the room.  

Tilantous sighed and went over to the bed, laying down and getting a good nights sleep, undaunted by nightmares or the noise from the downstairs pub.  

A loud deep thunk, thunk, thunk at the door made him jolt awake.   

Tilantous jumped out of bed, pulling on his boots and slung his bow and quiver over his shoulder, in a heartbeat. He flung the door open, his hair sticking up in odd angles from sleep. 

Jasc Ghiliganson stood in front of him, looking uneasy and a bit surprised, “Hello” he thumped his chest in greeting.  

Tilantous sighed in relief and slumped in the doorway, “Hel...lo...” he breathed his panicked feelings making him a bit weak.  

“Sorry...” Jasc said uncertainly, “I just... I just wanted to say that... I want to help you... save, you know, the town.”  

Tilantous rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and nodded, “Sounds great... thank you,” he turned, but then Jasc's words actually registered in his mind, “Wait, no!” he cried turning back to Jasc.  

Jasc squared his jaw, he had expected this answer and it satisfied him to know he was right, “Yes... I'm helping! Whether you like it or not!”  

“You can't,” Tilantous said sternly.  

“Are you going to stop me?” Jasc challenged.  

“Yes!” Tilantous exclaimed, angry at the mans ignorance.  

“Then you'll have to physically stop me! You'll have to chain me, or better yet, break my limbs!” Jasc said proudly.  

Tilantous shook his head with a sigh of exasperation, “Look Ghiliganson, I can't have you getting in my line of focus! Your going to have to find somewhere else to be a hero!”  

“And let you take all the glory, that's likely!” Jasc exclaimed angrily, “Look, I want to help, I don't want to get under your feet! Together, we can conquer this guy!”  

Tilantous opened his mouth to argue but a brilliant plan popped into his head, “Well... if your willing-”  

“Most! Most willing. I'll do anything to help!” Jasc said pleadingly.  

Tilantous was thoughtful for a moment and then motioned for Jasc to come in.  

Jasc sat on the unmade bed and looked around wistfully, “I wish I had a room this big!”  

“It gets drafty,” Tilantous said, more to make Jasc feel better than anything else, “Now... Let's plot.”  

“Plot... Now that's something I do well,” Jasc said smiling deviously, “So... how is this going to work?” 

Tilantous sat down next to Jasc on the bed and rubbed his chin thoughtfully, little pieces of a plan working together in his mind to create a whole. “So... what I have so far is this... you distract him, while I shoot from above. Do you have any combat skills?”  

Jasc shrugged, “A little.”  

Tilantous slapped his knees and got up walking over to the door, “Well, lets see what you've got!”

Jasc followed him out of the Inn and into a large field, where Tilantous picked up two long sticks, throwing Jasc one and keeping the other for himself. “Common! Come at me!”  

Jasc frowned, wondering if Tilantous was serious,“Really?”  

“Really,” Tilantous agreed, standing in an armed position. He wasn't the best at fencing or sword play, but he knew a few moves and he guessed that if Jasc knew what he was doing, it would be a sufficient amount of knowledge to make sure Jasc was ready.  

Jasc shrugged and swung at Tilantous' stomach. Tilantous reflected the cut and sent his own to Jasc's head. Jasc reflected Tilantous' stick. Tilantous lunged out faster this time, to test him. Jasc was agile and reflected all of Tilantous' blows, and had sent a few himself. They spared for a good five minutes until Tilantous got too fast and knocked Jasc out by a swing of the stick to his head.  

As Jasc came back into consciousness Tilantous planned different strategies in his head. This was not going to be as easy as he first thought. Then also came honor, he didn't just want to kill the villain without him knowing that he was out to get him. It was just something he disagreed to do. He was not an assassin, ruthless and cruel, he was an archer, brave and noble.  

“Ugh!” Jasc woke up rubbed the side of his head, where a small purple bump was beginning to rise, “Ow!”  

“I am truly, and deeply sorry my friend,” Tilantous said in his deep gentle voice, “I was swinging way too hard!”  

Jasc sat up, his back supported by a maple tree, “Uh... It's alright! We were sparing anyway! How did I do?”  

Tilantous sat back on his heels, his eyes squinting at Jasc's face, “Your... alright. But not ready to take on an expert. I'm no expert in sword play... and neither are you.”  

Jasc nodded solemnly, “Yeah... I guess so... Well, what are we going to do?”  

Tilantous sighed and sat next to Jasc underneath the tree,“We're going to plan and see what we come up with.”

***  

It had been a quiet night and silent as well, the whole next morning everyone hid and got off the streets. No one wanted to risk their lives to see what would happen between their enemy and Tilantous. The travelers just stood around the Inn bar, hoping that all the rumors were not true. Several had actually evacuated the town itself. 

Tilantous sat on the bar stool next to Jasc, both slowly drinking beer, waiting for the danger to come.  

The housekeeper and her husband stayed around in the bar, their children safely hidden in the cellar. The last time the housekeeper had hid from the evil person, she had been threatened and half the Inn was scorched and burnt to ashes.  

Jasc looked up from his mug, “So... who is it exactly?”  

The housekeeper shrugged, working feverishly to clean a mug, her breath was coming out quickly and sharply and she looked absolutely terrified, “I don't know!” she said shortly, her eyes skipping around the room in fright, “He never says!”  

“And it is a he?” Tilantous asked, exchanging a glance with Jasc.  

The housekeeper nodded, “He has a beard made of fire and his eyebrows practically hide his whole face!”  

Jasc shook his head with a disbelieving smile, “Ha! Impossible!”  

Tilantous raised an eyebrow at Jasc, “Nothing is impossible Jasc... I once met a wizard, who always had a fire burning on the bald spot of his head.  

Jasc still didn't believe any of it. But all of a sudden his incredulous face transformed into one of pure horror as a noise from outside touched their ears.  

The housekeeper squealed in fright and fell behind the bar to hide instinctively.   

Tilantous turned and listened, waiting patiently for the man to come in. There was a resounding crash and BOOM from outside and Tilantous could hear a scream.   

The travelers in the bar quickly and in great fright, all rushed up the stairs of the Inn. Many different doors slammed shut soon after.  

BOOM the sound came again. THA-THUNK went another, stranger noise. The sound of laughter echoed around town for a moment and then with a large crash, the window to the Inn shattered.  

Out of the glass walked a medium built, five foot six inches, man. His beard was not made of fire, actually, he didn't have a beard at all. His eyebrows were large and bushy, but nothing as exaggerated as the housekeeper had said.   

As the man looked about the room with a regal air, Tilantous tugged on Jasc and whispered to him to turn around like they hadn't noticed the villains entrance.   

“Well... Well... Well...” said a whiny voice from behind them. Footsteps from heals accommodated these words, as he walked closer to the bar.  

Tilantous remained seated, not turning around. Jasc was hesitant but followed Tilantous' lead.  

The thunks on the wooden floor drew closer, till the man was sitting next to Tilantous with his elbow nonchalantly on the bar, “Good morrow, gentleman!” said the whiny voice cheerfully, not at all threatening in anyway.  

There was a crash, and the glass on the floor made crackling noices as something large stepped in through the window. The sound of a large tongue flickering in and out, reminded Tilantous of snake as he turned politely to the man beside him, “Good morrow.” He was surprised by the mans behavior and greeting, it made him confident of himself, and also surprised at how the villagers could be frightened.  

“It's a pleasure to see some sort of life form lives in this God forsaken town! I don't get why they keep building it back up,” he said smiling brightly and looking back and forth between the two men. He was young, and lively and his voice did not portray the hostility his words did.  

“Hmm... well, I like the town,” Tilantous said pleasantly, taking a sip from his beer, understanding now why no one liked him.  

The man nodded his head with a thoughtful smile, “Housekeeper!” he snapped and leaned over the bar to look down at her, “Loose something?”  

“No... No... No... No... everythings... I mean... No... I... just...” she stammered standing up slowly.  

“I'd like my usual... I hope you remember it,” he said smiling at her, but this time, his smile reflected more than just politeness. It had a dangerous edge to it.   

The housekeeper nodded and bustled around, preparing his drink.  

He sighed pleasantly and turned back around to Tilantous and Jasc, “So, your new comers to this town?”  

“Kind of,” Tilantous answered shortly. 

“Yes,” Jasc said confidently.  

“Isn't it dismal?” he asked slumping for emphasis on his stool, “So boring, and the people are so dull!”  

“They might be more welcoming if you didn't walk around with a dragon and destroy things,” Tilantous said conversationally, finally taking a glance at the serpent behind him.  

It was red and filled the whole bar behind them. It's body looked like a worm's with legs. Its head was like a lizard's. Its eyes were red rimmed with intense black pupils. But instead of anything fierce or dangerous in it's eyes, its eyes actually portrayed a kind of curiosity and playfulness. It reminded Tilantous of its master, playful, but dangerous.  

The man nodded, “Well... I really am doing them a favor- Housekeeper! Where is my drink?” he snapped at the woman and then turned back around to Tilantous and Jasc with a smile, “I'm collapsing the buildings for them! So they can build, better, bigger ones! But they haven't,” he sighed, “They are stubborn about keeping it exactly the way it is... Ungrateful isn't it?”  

The housekeeper placed the mug in front of the man with shaking hands and then backed away quickly to be consoled by her husband in the corner.  

“I think you should leave the town,” Tilantous said, his deep voice dangerously low.  

The man raised an eyebrow at him, “Why would I do that?”  

Tilantous leaned in closer and said, his face frightening in countenance,“Because if you keep on destroying this town, you'll have me to answer to.”  

“Ooh, I'm so scared!” the man laughed and mocked, shaking his hands in the air in pretend surrender.  

Jasc jumped off his stool angrily, “How dare you!” he was drawing the new sword at his hip when Tilantous stopped him with one large and strong arm.  

“No,” Tilantous turned back to the man, “You have an hour to get out of this town and never come back again... if you do not leave... I. Will. Kill. You.” He articulated carefully and slowly, even Jasc was intimidated.   

The man scowled and took a sip of his drink, “Well, well, well.... I'd like to see you try.”  

“Yeah, I'd like to see you try,” Jasc butted in angrily, glaring at the man fiercely.  

Tilantous looked over his shoulder at Jasc, who he was still holding back with one arm, “Excuse me?” he asked puzzled.  

Jasc shared a very quick glance with Tilantous and then turned his attention back to the man, “You know you can't fight,” he said, directed his words to Tilantous, “I'm the swordsmen here!” 

Tilantous nodded in recognition. He nodded grimly, hoping that he looked upset to the man.   

The man looked from Jasc to Tilantous and back again, “I'm confused, whose going to try to kill me?”  

“I am!” Jasc said, pushing away Tilantous' arm and got up into the mans face, “Prepare yourself, snake!” he spat and turned dramatically to the stairs.  

Tilantous backed up, keeping an eye on the man. “One hour!” Tilantous nodded warningly to the man and turned himself. “You have brilliant timing Ghiliganson!” Tilantous exclaimed with a huge smile on his face when they walked into Tilantous' room.  

Jasc nodded in appreciation, “Thank you! I thought it was a good time! Why did you hold me back the first time?”  

Tilantous frowned, “I couldn't let your cockiness kill you right away, could I? His dragon was right there, and would have killed you on the spot!”  

Jasc nodded, “Well then... thank you!”  

An hour later, Jasc and Tilantous walked out of their room, armed and geared. Jasc with a sword and shield, and Tilantous with his long bow, arrows and throwing knife collection.  

Jasc clanked down the stairs, the chain-male they had found a little too big for him. “I still think you should have the breast plat!”   

Tilantous shook his head, “A metal breast plate won't protect me from fire, it will only get in my way!”  

“Did you ever think it would get in my way too?” Jasc asked, stiffly moving to the door of the bar.  

“Yes, it will get in the way of you and his sword! Lighten up!” Tilantous told him.  

Jasc gave him a steely glare. “I'm about to fight a master swordsmen and your telling me to lighten up? Lighten up yourself!” he snapped and went out into the square of the town.  

Across the town square, the man and his dragon were standing. The man had a bright excited smile on his face, like a child’s. The dragon's head kept twitching like a chicken, cocking this way and that, its eyes lit up with that same kind of excitement.  

Jasc shook his head and muttered under his breath to Tilantous, “It must be true what they say about 'pets looking like their owners'! They look identical!”  

Tilantous smiled grimly, “To true.”  

The man spotted them and stepped forward, suited up in shining metal armor, “Well, hello! I see you've respected the date... very good!”  

“Hello, sir!” Tilantous called out gravely.   

Beside Tilantous, Jasc took a deep breath that shook in anxiety, “Hello, snake,” he muttered under his breath to himself.  

The man stepped forward to them, leaving his serpent grooming itself behind him. “My hands are shaking in anticipation! I haven't had a good fight till... was it... yesterday?”  

Jasc swallowed, his throat beginning to dry up, “You still can leave and never come back?” he said hopefully.  

The man smiled and shook his head, “And miss this opportunity? Nah!” he grinned, loping over, with an idiotic look on his face.  

Tilantous and Jasc shared looks with each other and then looked back around to the man, “I'd watch your back,” Tilantous said frowning deeply, giving the man a threatening glare, “this time.”  

The man patted Tilantous' shoulder with a pleasant smile, “I'll keep that in mind.”   

“Sorry,” Jasc spoke up in a dangerously smooth voice. One look at him and you could tell he was trying to hold back all his anger, “What's your name sir? So when I kill you, I can at least have a legendary title.”  

The man's smile twitched slightly, but he just cocked his head and smiled broader, “Well... I wouldn't get that cock-”  

“What's. Your. Name.” Jasc hissed threateningly, baring his teeth in impatience. Tilantous glanced nervously between them, hoping that Jasc wouldn't ruin their plan.   

The man looked calmly into the close up, dangerous face of Jasc, without a smile, “Holloway,” he said in soft voice. He cleared his throat and said, tilting his face farther from Jasc's, “Holloway! And you are sir?”  

The knot in Tilantous' stomach loosened.  

Jasc smiled, finally glad to have the upper hand in the conversation for once, “Jasc Ghiliganson... pleasure... to kill you.” 

Holloway sneered for the first time they had seen him, “You are insolent Ghiliganson!”  

“You are annoying Holloway!” Jasc spat back grinning confidently.   

Tilantous' lips twitched in a smile as well, but he knew now that this couldn't go on. He pulled Jasc out of Holloway's face, and gave him a stern look. Jasc looked back in defiance, but really, it was all for show.  

Holloway shook himself slightly and turned to Tilantous, “And who might you be... hunter? Yeoman? Ranger?” he asked looking at the bow and arrows slung across Tilantous' back.  

Tilantous had hoped not to say his name until the very end, and he certainly knew it would be a treacherous time to tell now. The whole timing would go off, “You shouldn't worry about my name, more like my aim.”  

Jasc looked at him incredulously and whispered, rolling his eyes, “Cheesy!”  

Tilantous rolled his own eyes, he hadn't meant to rhyme, and now that he had, he could tell how mediocre it sounded.  

Holloway laughed, “Well, I wish you the best of luck. This is the finest, strongest, thickest metal in the land. Nothing can pierce through this armor!” He beat his armored chest with his armored fist and it made a loud clacking sound.   

Tilantous smiled ruefully, he had already found a weak spot, very easy to shoot through, “Oh, it's not you who should be worried about my aim,” he corrected, shaking his head like he hadn't meant to say that to Holloway, “It should be your dragon!”  

“Ah... after my dragon aye?” Holloway asked, his smile definitely gone now. “We'll see about that!” He drew his sword in a flash, but Jasc was just as quick.   

Jasc reflected the upper-hand blow to his neck and side stepped to his right, “Last chance.... leave, or die!”  

Holloway disengaged himself from Jasc's blade and took another expert cut to Jasc's side. That cut and several others were blocked and parried.   

Tilantous stepped away from the two sparing men and looked at the curious dragon, who seemed to have taken an interest in the fight. Tilantous eased his bow off his shoulder, stringing it and knocking an arrow to it. He aimed and shot at the soft belly of the dragon.  

The dragon yelled out in pain and backed up, looking around in confusion, wondering what had hurt him. His eyes spun around to catch the split second glimmer of the arrow tip catching the sun, and then there was another pain in its leg. It yowled and hissed, lunging forward towards Tilantous.  

Tilantous turned and fled, he had already picked a perfect place to slay the dragon, without having buildings coming down around him. The dragon sped after him, his eyes squinted in rage. Tilantous suddenly realized that the dragon didn't have any wings. “That's what was missing!” Tilantous muttered to himself, looking behind him quickly to make sure the serpent was still following. It thundered after him, his body swinging back and forth just like a lizard. The dragon opened its mouth and Tilantous ducked behind a stone building. As he hid he could feel the stones around him heat up, and the sound of a large fire. The heat around him started to crumble the rocks. “Stop, stop, stop,” Tilantous prayed in a whisper, preparing himself for a sprint.   

The dragon stopped and smacked its jaws together, blood beginning to trickle from its lips and mouth. His arrow wounds were also beginning to bleed, weakening him slowly.  

Tilantous sprinted out of his hiding place, sending a faster than lightening shoot at the softer chest of the dragon. He then ran as fast as he could to the lone, abandoned tower at the end of the town.  

The dragon howled yet again, the near range shot plunging deep into the left side of it's chest. The hard iron of the arrow digging through the light, soft layer of scales and into his skin. It was not a killing shot, but it definitely wounded the dragon a great deal. It hissed and lunged forward, limping and bleeding.   

Tilantous climbed up the stone steps of the tower and climbed as fast and as agile as he could. Breathing sharply through his nose and breathing shakily through his mouth. He could hear the white stone of the tower crackle and crumple with the weight of the dragon scaling the wall behind him. The dragon's talons clinked and slid across the stone. It jarred Tilantous' teeth, it was almost the exact sound of nails on a chalkboard.  

The snaking tongue slithered and spat behind him.  

Tilantous' heart pounded in his ribcage as he ran out unto the very top of the tower, where he planned to strike the dragon in the heart. He waited for a moment and knocked an arrow, waiting.  

The dragon slid up unto the top, hissing and spitting, its mouth dripping with its own blood. It howled when it saw Tilantous with his bow and reared up on it's back legs to knock Tilantous to the ground.  

Tilantous got underneath the dragons two front legs and shot upward. His arrow hit the dragon where the heart was, but bounced off. “Zitz!” Tilantous cursed and quickly dove out of the way as the dragon lunged back down.   

Tilantous could feel the sharp teeth snap at his skin, he could feel the tooth scraping the side of his leg, but it did nothing else. Tilantous took a sharp intake of breath through his teeth, and looked down and the deep gouge on his leg, luckily, it wasn't bad.   

The dragon lunged forward again, but without the same energy as before, as the loss of blood began to drain him.  

“Not so terrifying as your master led you on to think, are you?” Tilantous said breathlessly, ignoring his leg injury, already knocking another arrow to the string.   

The dragon yelled out in frustration, sitting down and beginning to scratch at the arrow still sticking out of its chest. It howled in frustration, as the arrow dug even deeper.  

“Here,” Tilantous sighed, limping forward. 

The dragon hissed, opening its mouth just a jar threateningly.  

Tilantous held out his hands, placing his bow on the stone floor, “Here,” he said softly again, wondering how this pity could take over him. He grabbed the arrow gently, and pulled it out.  

The dragon howled in pain, letting out a stream of blue fire up into the air. It's talons dug into the stone as he clenched in pain, which only made the blood from the dragons chest stream out faster.  

“Stop!” Tilantous yelled out at it. But it was too late.  

The dragon collapsed unto the stone roof, breathing raggedly. Tilantous sighed in pity, taking his dagger. He knew it would be for the best if he just killed the dragon, especially after all its pain “Here,” he whispered and stabbed his dagger into the dragons heart.   

It let out its last howl and then lay cold and silent.   

Tilantous sighed and feebly wiped the blood off his hands, “Ick!” he muttered, and took out a handkerchief an admirer had given him.   

Now that the howling of the dragon wasn't shaking the town, the distant sound of swords clashing could be heard.  

Tilantous wrapped his leg in cloth quickly and then sprinted off to finish Holloway before he could finish off Jasc. Going through the streets with his bow in hand and his quiver slung over his shoulder, Tilantous stopped when he caught sight of the two dueling men.   

Jasc's whole left sleeve was drenched in blood and so was his right pant leg. His face had a few scratchs, but nothing terrible. Tilantous looked at all the fatal areas, but he couldn't see any wounds or blood around his neck or chest, so Jasc was good.  

Holloway's right shoulder was bleeding and right hip was splattering the ground with red blood. He definitely wasn't as wounded as Jasc, but the fight between them seemed to have worn him down. His strikes and cuts were timed off, and were weak. His style was beginning to get sloppy. While Jasc seemed to be the most focused and skilled of the two, blocking and striking quickly.  

“Ho!” Tilantous called out to them both, pulling back the string of his bow, with an arrow knocked for Holloway's abdomen where the mettal was thin.  

Holloway turned surprised, only to see the arrow, then he didn't see the arrow anymore, but he could feel a sharp pain in his stomach. He fell to his knees. Looking down, he didn't just see an arrow, but also a sword blade.   

Jasc and Tilantous had pierced him at the same time.  

Tilantous jogged forward and retrieved his arrow roughly from the body, “I told you to watch your back Holloway.”  

Jasc grinned, looming over Holloway, “Whose smiling now huh?”  

Holloway was so confused, he could hardly think. He had pain in his stomach, but he could also feel himself falling away, “Who... Who are you?” he asked Tilantous.  

Tilantous smiled, “Tilantous.”  

Holloway's eyes widened, “ You! You! You killed me?!”   

Tilantous shrugged, “We both did,” he turned a smile on Jasc, “Bye now! May Zitz burn you for eternity!”  

Holloway wanted to slap them both, but he couldn't feel anything, and he slipped away.  

Jasc stood up straight, looking down at the dead villain, “Well! That was... fun!”  

Tilantous raised his eyebrow at Jasc and smiled, “Fun? No! It was a nuisance, now I'm going to be late for his majesty the king!”  

Jasc laughed and pulled out his sword, wiping the blade with a piece of cloth, “Well... I had fun! Though, my arms are killing me!”  

Tilantous looked at the bleeding arm and back to the pale face of Jasc, “Literally!”  

They laughed and went back to the Inn to clean up.  

***  

Tilantous walked into the throne room, his leg still irritating him from the fight he had with a dragon on his way up.   

In his footsteps followed his new friend and partner Jasc Ghiliganson, who had fought beside him against the dragons owner.   

“Ah, Tilantous!” called out the king from the large dais across the long shining thrown room.  

Tilantous sighed and faked a smile, this was the part where he'd bow his head, but he didn't feel like doing so. He walked with a slight limp over to the dais and bowed his head then, “Your majesty.”  

Jasc came up from behind Tilantous and knelt on one knee, “Your majesty!”  

The king raised an eyebrow, “Finally Tilantous! I thought you'd never hire a servant, thank God you have! There is no reason to carry all your things yourself!”  

Tilantous shook his head and looked down to where Jasc still knelt, he kicked him slightly and he stood up, “Oh he's not my servant, your majesty. This is Jasc Ghiliganson, a good friend and a noble man! He helped me defeat a nuisance on the way up.”  

“Ah...” the king said smiling brightly, looking Jasc up and down, “So you've come to be a knight? Good, good! Now, talking about nuisances-”  

“Don't worry,” Tilantous said calmly, glancing around the thrown room, “I always beat Shae's best archer.”  

“No, no!” the king exclaimed shaking his head, “They are a nuisance, but I was talking about this new villain who keeps on destroying the town of Moss for fun!”   

Tilantous and Jasc shared a smile with each other.  

“He keeps on setting things on fire with his young dragon and the people are complaining all the time! I can't stand it! Tilantous, you have to do something!” He took a sip of his wine and sighed, shaking his head.  

Tilantous bowed his head, “Already done, sire. Is there anything else you would like me to do?”  

The king gaped incredulously at him, “Wait! You... you defeated him... yourself? Dragon and all?”  

Tilantous nodded and waved his hand at Jasc, “I took care of the dragon, my friend here finished off Holloway.”  

“Holloway?” the king asked, baffled.  

“The villain of course,” Jasc said as if this was obvious, he was grinning broadly.  

The king shook his head and smiled, “I... I... Well... thank you gentlemen!”  

Tilantous waved his hand dismissively.  “No 'thanks' necessary, your majesty! Now... about that archery match?”  

The End.

 

 

 

Comments

Ok, I thought this story was

Ok, I thought this story was good. What I'm about to give you is kindly meant constructive criticism.

So, I've read a lot of your stories, and I find the storylines good. But for me, they are difficult to read because of the severe overuse of exclamation points. I use a lot of those (!), but in stories, I try to keep them at the minimum. This is because exclamation points tend to make dialogue extremely cheesy. A lot of the dialogue in this story and others seemed cheesy, but I believe that if you took off the exclamation points in everything (and I mean everything-check it out and see what you think) it would really add to the realism and depth in the story. Because if you think about it, normal people don't talk like that. If your dialogue is strong enough, you won't need exclamation points to portray anger, excitement, nervousness, etc. The words will be enough to display your meaning.

A tip I learned from a program called Writing Strands is that you are only allowed to use one exclamation point a year (I use waaaay, waaaayyy more than that though, lol). But that certainly enlightened me on the proper use of exclamation points.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, the reader's imagination can fill in the parts where the character seems to be yelling, excited, etc.

Good job though! I hope I didn't seem harsh or anything, but I seriously think that your stories would be improved with less exclamation points.

E | Sat, 03/17/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

 I agree with Erin. There

 I agree with Erin. There were a few typos as well (such as "to" instead of "too"), but the exclamation points stood out to me. I also had some trouble following because of the spacing, but that wasn't your fault. :)

Anna | Tue, 03/20/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Thank you *fingers shaking in torture over the exclaimation key*

Thanks guy, I totally agree. I use WAY too many exclaimation points. It's a terrible habit. LOL! I knew the dialoge was cheesy, hehehe! But the exclaimation points have to go.

I know Anna! I hate how this spaces the things so far apart, I'll try to fix that! My Word Document makes it look so perfect *sigh* oh well! Ha!

Thanks for pointing that out, that is a hard grammar issue, but definitely important!

You weren't harsh at all, I found it very, very constructive and well put. Over-Exclaimation-point(ing) is one of my weaknesses!

Thanks so much!

Write on!

Kassady | Tue, 03/20/2012

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

Hey Kassady, neat story.

I wanted to let you know I just took the liberty of editting out those extra spaces for you.  It's a bit of extra work, but in the future after you post your story from Word, you can go back through and edit out all the extra spaces.
 

You may also want to watch your useage of apostrophes... be careful not to use them in plurals, and always in possessives and contractions.  Except, of course, for "its".  When "its" is possessive (belonging to "it") you don't want an apostrophe.  When "it's" is a contraction (it is = it's), then you do use and apostrophe.
 

Other than that, great stuff!

James | Tue, 03/20/2012

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

I'm going to read this soon....

I'm going to read this soon but wanted to say: ONE EXCLIMATION POINT A YEAR? Gah! I would die. LOL! I just used two in this post! hehe. Three. Okay, I'm going to stop, now.

Madeline | Wed, 03/21/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

@ Homey: I know, right????

@ Homey: I know, right???? I couldn't do it. I can't even count how many I use a year, lol. But the point was not to use too many in stories. :)

E | Thu, 03/22/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

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