Sir Airthen

By: Azazel

Listen well kids, and I shall tell you the story of sir Airthen. The most holy knight the world has seen; the glorious defender of faith. But listen well, because I am going to tell you the true story, not some fantasies of the church. I can tell you this, because I knew him. He was my “friend”.

Ahhh… You might wonder how I could know the brave hero, and that’s just natural, since he lived over a thousand years ago. You don’t have to believe me, but I say this; I did too, but the difference between Airthen and me is that I’m alive.

Anyway, we knew each other pretty well, havin’ grown up together like that. We lived in a castle in a land that doesn’t exist anymore. Nor does the castle. I’ve been to it. It’s not so much left of it. Crows are nesting in the throne room; rats are creeping in the former king’s bedroom. Owls have taken over the tower, where I studied under my master.

Airthen and I were brothers, but not in blood. We were the best of friends, and we were so close to each other. At the age of seven, we got separated; I went to study, and Airthen became a knight of the church. My studies aren’t that important, but Airthen’s are. He was always dreaming of becoming a knight, saving young ladies and all that. The church took all his dreaming away, and the only thing left was his faith. But the church twisted that too, so he believed in God now, rather than in the future, or in dreaming or whatever.

When I was 29, I went out into the world. By the time I did that, I had lost contact with Airthen a long time ago; he was on some divine mission to the south, I think. Out into the world. I wandered a long time, and then I heard about the church offering a reward if a brave person would be so kind as to slay a foul beast in the mountains. I thought about it for a while, and decided that I would go and at least have a look at the beast. So I did. But it was when I came to a small mountain village the really huge surprise hit me; right in the face it did too! Airthen was there. He had come to kill the beast. So, after I’ve bought myself a cup of wine and some bread (Airthen didn’t drink anything with alcohol in it, so he drank only water), he told me of his life since the separation.

After a while we decided to fight the beast together, two is more than one, we thought. Up in the mountains we went, and eventually we found the beast’s cave; and it was a dragon that was the beast. When we entered (very carefully, I might add), we saw it lying there, sleeping. So Airthen stepped forward, and raised his sword. And just when he was about to let the sword fall, the dragon said:

- A very unwise decision, foe. Now you die.

(Actually, it didn’t speak like that, it was much more formally, but it’s not important right now).

The dragon snapped it’s head back, and suddenly a burst of fire erupted from its mouth. The stone under Airthen began to melt, but he was unharmed. He stood there, bathed in fire, and said, slowly, coldly:

- Thou hast killed a servant of the uttermost holy church. Die, foul beast!

(Airthen behaved very odd right then, most of the time; he spoke like any normal man did)

And Airthen, still burning, walked slowly, slowly towards the dragon, and the dragon spewed fire once again, and the stone melted even more, and began to flow freely, but Airthen was unharmed. And he raised his sword high into the air, and let it fall on the dragon’s head. And the dragon couldn’t evade the attack, and was hit in its right eye. The sword was raised once again, and one could see blood glinting in the fire, blood and steel. The sword fell, and this time, it hit the neck of the dragon, but alas; the dragon’s thick scales saved it, and the sword only did a tiny little scratch. The dragon was enraged, furious, and heaved itself up on its feet. Then it did sweep with its front leg. The leg hit Airthen squarely in the chest, and his armour was buckled, and he flew into the stones that made up the cave. He landed, unconscious, on the floor. All the time, I had been watching in mute disbelief, my mouth hanging open. And now the dragon turned its remaining eye towards me, a look of hatred upon it. It spewed fire, and not so nimbly did I evade it, but it did hit my hand. Then I heard the creature moving slowly towards me. I heard it saying:

- Now you die, weak human!

I looked up, and saw the dragon raising its head for the final attack. It opened its jaws, and lunged for me. Then did Airthen once again save me, he attacked the dragon furiously, stabbing, cutting at the dragon. The dragon became so surprised by the attack that it did recoil, and I could rise again. I looked at Airthen. He was bleeding from a wound in the head, and his left arm looked like it had been broken. He couldn’t raise his shield when the dragon attacked. I dived for cover, and saw, as in ultra rapid, Airthen swiftly stepping out of the way of the attack, turning around, and thrusting with all his might his sword deep into the chest of the dragon. The beast fell hard on the ground, and the mountain itself rumbled. I looked towards Airthen, but couldn’t find him. Then I saw him… He was lying half covered by the dragon’s body, and he couldn’t get up, because of the weight.

- Help me! He screamed at me, sounding almost afraid.

As I did, the earth rumbled, and small rocks fell from the roof of the cave. As he got up, I got a stone in the head, and fell forwards. The last thing I saw was the red, red blood of the dragon.

I woke up about a week later, lying in a comfortable bed in a small house. Airthen explained everything for me; how he had dragged me out of the cave, and how he had carried me to this village. Right then, I didn’t notice it, but the wounds on my hand were gone, except for a scar on one of the fingers. It’s all very odd, but that scar keeps hurting, all the time. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

I had many adventures with Airthen. In the end, he became a hero. I never did, but then again, I don’t want to be famous.

How he died? Oh, that’s a long story, but in short:

We had been searching for the book of the lost dreams for some months, and suddenly we find it. But it’s guarded by a demon. So, Airthen stepped in, brave as he is, and offered to fight the demon. When he did, I snatched the book and ran. Airthen died, I read the book, and left it in a mausoleum. No, it’s not there anymore. I had to move it.

Anyways. Now you know a bit more about Airthen. And yes, I did tell you that I would tell you the true story. It’s not over yet, kids. Airthen and I wandered this continent for several years. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about when he…

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