Nearly a year passed after coming to live at the abbey. In that time, all of the friars had come to like him at some level. Some much more than others.
In all that time, he had never once set foot in the village, nor did any villager know of his existence. That all changed one day, as an older woman and her youngest son paid a visit to the abbey.
The woman wanted to have her son become a member of the order. When she knocked on the door, she was not greeted by the Prior or another member of the brotherhood. Instead she was greeted by the Dragon.
The old woman screamed and dragged her son with her all the way back to the village. When she got back, others noticed she was frightened and asked her what was wrong.
"A dragon!" she cried, "A giant, monstrous beast is living in the abbey!" "It was huge!" she said, "It had huge glowing eyes, and a hungry fire filled mouth! It would have eaten us for sure!" She continued to tell her tale of the creature, making it sound more and more scary.
The villagers would not have believed her and simply have thought she had gone mad as she had grown older, had her son not said he'd seen the dragon too. The villagers began to panic, worrying that the beast might try to steal their livestock, gold, or maybe even try to eat them!
Finally one of the villagers suggested they ban together and go after the beast. Some of the other villagers shouted in agreement and they headed off.
A small mob approached the abbey with pitch forks and whatever else they could find. The friars saw this and began to panic, but the Prior calmly opened the door as they got close.
Just as calmly, he asked them what they wanted. They demanded that they give them the Dragon. "That creature will destroy us all!" one cried, "Let us stop it before it's too late!"
"Why would he? He has been here almost a year and yet he has not harmed or stolen from anyone even once," the Prior retorted.
"HA!" one of them said, "How do we know you are not lying to us? Just because you are a holy man does not mean you are free of sin. Besides, what's to say the creature is not biding its time until it has found the perfect moment to strike?"
The Prior continued to try to convince them otherwise, but they would not budge. The Prior told them to wait and went back inside to tell the others what they wanted. "They cannot hurt him!" the Friar said standing next to the Dragon, "I won't let them!"
"I fear we may not have much of a choice. If we do not, then they will come in and attack him and most likely us aswell," the Prior said. Before the Friar could speak again, the Prior continued. "Do not worry though, they shall not harm him," he said, "I have a plan."
The villagers became impatient outside. "What is your answer?" one of them finally called, "If you do not answer, then we will attack."
"You were going to do that anyways," the Prior called from with in, "Do not worry, we have an answer for you. You can have him, but you'll have to break the door down to do so."
Almost immediately, they began slamming against the front doors of the abbey. They slammed against it harder and harder, and as they rushed at it for a final blow, the doors opened up and they tumbled through the entrance way.
There stood the Dragon and before they could get up, he began beating his powerful wings at them, sending them flying outward. Once they had gotten up again the dragon came outside and breathed fire at the ground, creating a line of tall, billowing flames separating them from the Dragon and the abbey.
The villagers dared not cross it, and once the Dragon let out a mighty roar, they went running back to the village.
The villagers did not try to attack the Dragon again after that, but they still neither trusted the Dragon nor did they like him. The spread nasty rumors about him and the friars in the abbey. They continued until one day, something terrible happened.
A griffon began attacking the village. It was brown and gold and had powerful wings and paws. It stole livestock and attacked the people. It could not be hurt by normal weopans, only by magic or beings of magic. So, the village went to the abbey practically pleading for the Dragon to help them. After how they had treated him, the Dragon did not agree to help.
Another few days past and the destruction only got worse. The Friar could not bare to see the villagers in such pain, even if some of them tried to hurt his friend. He decided to talk with the Dragon.
He begged him to help, but the Dragon responded by saying, "Why should I? They tried to kill me! They don't deserve my help."
"All they know about dragons has caused them to believe you are a monster," the Friar said, "I'm not saying what they tried to do was right but leaving them to die isn't right either. There are plenty of people in the village who weren't after you. Would you let them die?"
"No," the Dragon said with a sigh.
"Then please, help them," the Friar asked. After a little bit of silence, the Dragon agreed.
The griffon again attacked the next day. It flew high in the sky and rocketed downward at the marketplace when it saw a particularly tasty looking cow. Before it could attack, a blazing fire ball flew its way, causing it to squawk in a panic and veer off course. This alerted anyone in the market and sent them into hiding.
It crashed into a cart, and looked up to see where it came from. There it saw the Dragon flying in the sky. "I will not let you harm these people," he said, "leave now or suffer the consequences." It screeched angrily at him and took off into the air, rushing at him.
The Dragon dodged slightly, using the opportunity to grab they griffon and fling it in another direction. The griffon tumbled in the air and had to regain its balance, but once it did it saw the dragon charging at it.
The Dragon scratched at its side, leaving a cut. The griffon squawked again in pain and looked at its wound in surprise. It was confused on how it could have gotten hurt. Nothing could hurt it!
The griffon snapped out of its train of thought as the Dragon sent a couple of fireballs its way, catching its tail and some of its feathers. This frightened the griffon. Not wanting to take any more chances with this strange creature that could harm it, the griffon flew off.
The Dragon landed on the ground, and everyone came out of hiding. Some looked fearful, others just stared. The Dragon half expected them to try and attack him again, but instead they started cheering.
They had a celebration for the Dragon. Several asked him for forgiveness, though not all of them. Some were still a bit sceptic, but stayed quiet. It didn't matter to the Dragon though. He was happy that the villagers had accepted him and went back home to the abbey with a smile.
It was a cool autumn evening and the sun had almost disappeared beyond the horizon. The Friar and the Dragon were walking back from a trip to the village, when the Dragon noticed the Friar seemed a bit jumpy. Anytime he heard a sudden noise, he would look around wildly to see what made the sound.
Finally the Dragon asked him what the matter was. "I don't like being in these dark woods," he admitted.
This made the Dragon laugh. "You're afraid of the dark? That's ridiculous!" he said, "What are a couple of shadows going to do to you?"
"It is not!" the Friar said indignantly, "Darkness is dangerous. Evil spirits come out at night!"
"There are no such things as evil spirits," the Dragon said.
"Yes there are!" the Friar argued, "Even if you're right, there are still other dangers out there like wolves, thieves, or even monsters!"
"Well if any of them try to get you," the Dragon said, "I'll be sure to chase them off."
Several nights later the Friar was working in the study room while the Dragon was resting near by. It had been an unusually humid day, with puffy clouds hanging low in the sky.
Unsurprisingly, rain started up. The Dragon heard the drops of rain hitting the roof but the Friar was too absorbed in translating Latin scripts to notice.
Soon the rain became heavier. As he heard this, the Dragon became a little more nervous. Then he heard a distant rumble and began to panic.
The rumbling began to get closer, and each time it made him more and more on edge. Each one made him feel like he wanted to run as far away as possible.
The Friar was oblivious to this happening, and the Dragon was slightly glad. He didn't want the Friar to see him so panicked, but if he tried to leave the room, the Friar might notice him.
Finally, one rumble of thunder was loud enough to catch the Friar's attention. He turned around in surprise and finally noticed how heavily it was raining. He smiled to himself slightly, but it faded when he saw the Dragon.
His quills were puffed out and he was shaking slightly. "Are you alright?" the Friar asked him. The Dragon nodded, but there was a sudden flash of lightning and rumble of thunder that caused the flying reptile to bolt out of the room.
The Friar headed after him and began searching for his friend. He found him in the basement and saw him cowering. He looked at the poor dragon with confusion. "Are sure you're alright? You look like you've seen a ghost!" the Friar said.
The Dragon didn't respond so the Friar had to figure it out on his own. He thought for a second before coming to a conclusion. "You're afraid of thunder," he said.
"Not thunder...lightning..." the Dragon said. The Friar smiled in amusement but with one look from the Dragon, he quickly wiped it off his face. "It's not funny," the Dragon said, "Lightning is terrifying to most dragons. If you get struck by lightning while flying, you could lose consciousness and fall hundreds of feet to the ground!"
"But you're inside," the Friar said trying to comfort his friend, "Lightning can't get to you here. Plus there are many tall trees surrounding us that would keep it from striking our home."
"I know..." the Dragon said, "but that doesn't seem to help."
"What does help then?" the Friar asked.
"Being underground like this," the Dragon said simply.
"I guess that's why you always disappear during a storm..." the Friar said, "You must get terribly lonely though...How about I get my things and keep you company down here?"
The Dragon smiled at that. "Thank you," he said. As the Friar turned to leave, he spoke up again. "I'm sorry," he said, "about laughing at you a few days ago. I really shouldn't have."
The Friar smiled. "It's alright," he said, "I guess I was being a bit irrational when you think about it, but everyone has an odd fear of something or another. It's just a part of life I guess." With that he headed upstairs to grab his things and help his friend weather out the storm.
One summer day, the Friar and the Dragon were in the village market. The two walked along looking at all the fresh produce and other goods. Meanwhile, a tax collector had come to town. Every month he would come to collect taxes from the people and give them to a lord who owned the land the people lived on.
His name was Lord Roric. He was very greedy, and he made the people pay very high taxes. The tax collector who worked under him charged even more so he could make a profit.
The Friar and Dragon came across the tax collector threatening the local taylor for more money. The man pleaded with the tax collector to let him go, but he refused to do so until he payed him. This made the Dragon angry, and before anyone could say anything, he chased after the tax collector.
He let out a mighty roar and charged at him. When the tax collector saw him, his eyes went wide with fear and he dropped the bag of taxes as he ran away as fast as he could. The people cheered happily and reclaimed their hard earned money.
Lord Roric on the other hand, was not so happy. When the tax collector came back empty handed, he demanded to know what had happened.
"It was a dragon, sir!" he said, "One of the friars of the near by abbey had a dragon come after me and I lost the money trying to get away!"
"That isn't an excuse!" he shouted at him, "If you had been able to run all the way back here you could have carried what you had with you as well you idiot! Get out of my sight!" Then he thought for a second. "A dragon though....and one that seems tamed by its owner..." he thought, "If I were to have that as my steed, I would be seen as the most powerful man in all the lands!" He smiled as he got an idea.
The next day, Roric approached the abbey with guards. One of the friars answered the door and he ordered him to bring him and his men to the Prior so that he may speak with him.
"The other day one of your friars' pet stopped my tax collector from doing his job," he said to him, "not only has this greatly upset me, but it made me realize just how overly generous I've been to you." "I let you and local parson get away with less taxes because of your religious stature, but I've changed my mind," he said, "I want as much from you as anyone else, AND I want you to pay me every last coin I let you off the hook from in months past!"
"Surely you're joking," the Prior said, "we barely have enough to feed everyone as is and you expect us to pay more?"
"It's either that or all of you will be throw in my dungeon to rot. It's your choice," Lord Roric said with a grin.
"Surely we can make a deal," the Prior said, "Is there anything we can offer you instead?"
Lord Roric pretended to think for a second. "Well there is one thing..." he said, "I will forget all of this....if you give me that dragon you have." The Prior couldn't answer him. Instead he brought Roric to the Friar to tell him what he wanted.
"Absolutely not!" the Friar said standing in front of the Dragon protectively, "He's my friend! He's not some animal to be auctioned off!"
"Then you shall be arrested and thrown in the dungeon," he said. The Dragon growled at him but fell silent again when he saw the knights taking out their swords.
"I don't care!" the Friar said, "He's no one's property! Isn't there some other way to settle this?"
Lord Roric scowled at the Friar. He didn't want to arrest them all. If he did, the Dragon might have time to escape, and even the dumbest animal would know to run from a man with a sword. "Very well," he said, "I shall make you a deal. If you can vest me in a jousting competition, I will forget all about the taxes and let you keep your beast." The Dragon glared at him after that last sentence. "But if I win..." he continued, "that dragon is my sole property and you will STILL have to pay me what you owe!"
"But...I've never even ridden a horse!" the Friar said.
"It's the joust, saying goodbye to your pet, or imprisonment in which I could still take the dragon as my own," he said smiling.
The Friar had no choice but to accept. The Lord then had him and the Dragon brought to his castle. "Since I am a fair man," Lord Roric said, "I will give you two days to practice, but if you try to leave during that time, it is an automatic forfeit on your part and I get to claim my winnings." After that he ordered that until the contest was over, the Dragon must stay inside a metal cage, just to be sure.
During the two days, Roric did keep up his end of the deal. The Friar had access to all of the jousting equipment and a trainer to teach him how to ride. He even allowed him to look through his stocks to find armor, though it was nearly impossible to find some that was small enough or light enough for him. The first day, his attempts to ride were less than ideal. He had trouble staying on the horse for the first hour and then even more difficulty getting it to go where he wanted it to.
It was a bit humiliating to fall off but he kept practicing. He couldn't let his friend taken away for whatever reason the royal wanted him for. What ever it was couldn't be good seeing how treated him currently. The cage the Dragon was in was just barely big enough for him to sit comfortably and a door (that was currently locked) that he had to be squeezed through.
With that thought in mind he worked harder, practicing his accuracy on targets. By the end of the second day he had improved greatly since he began. He went to bed tired that evening. He hoped and prayed he was good enough to save his friend.
The next morning, a crowd had gathered to watch. The Dragon's cage had even been moved so that he could watch. Before the match, the Friar approached the Dragon's cage. "You alright?" he asked.
"Well, besides being stuck in a tiny cage for a few days, I'm fine!" The Dragon said jokingly.
"Sorry..." the Friar said, "I'm going to get you out of this. I promise."
"What do you have to be sorry for? It's not your fault," he replied. Suddenly the starting trumpets sounded. "I guess that's your cue to go," the Dragon said, "Good luck. I'll be rooting for you."
"Thanks," the Friar said with a smile before walking away. The smile faded as he turned away from his friend. "I'm going to need it..." he said to himself.
The Friar was seated on his horse from the end of the arena opposite of Roric. They faced each other, divided by a bar that ran through the center of the sandy area. A trumpet sounded and the two headed towards each other.
The Friar managed to hit Roric in the chest and his lance splintered. Roric on the other hand forgot how small of a person the friar was, and just barely missed hitting his helmet. The crowd cheered and the Friar was awarded one point.
Roric frowned in humiliation at the fact he missed his opponent. "No more fooling around..." he decided. The next round started just like the one before. This time when the horses rushed at each other, Roric's lance hit the plate over the the Friar's stomach, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to let his lance droop.
He wobbled on his mount but stayed on the saddle. The crowd cheered again and Roric was awarded a point, but he still frowned. He intended to knock the Friar off his mount and end it right then and there. Now the score was tied though. If the Friar managed to hit his helmet or Roric himself were to miss again while the Friar hit his chest, the Friar would win. He had to do something to make sure that didn't happen.
He continued to think about this for a second. Then he got an idea. If the Friar's saddle was less than secure, he would surely fall off.
While the horses were being prepped and the two riders' armor was being adjusted, Roric had a squire sneak back into the tent where the Friars horse was being kept and cut the saddle harness a little more than half way. He squire snuck away before anyone came back.
The Dragon saw it though. He was a little ways away from it but could still see inside. He saw a squire who certainly wasn't the one helping the Friar mess with the saddle. This made him angry, but before he could warn the Friar, he had mounted the horse and headed off.
The Dragon banged against the door of his cage, trying to get out and stop his friend. Thankfully, the lock was not made of the same durable metal and broke after a bit of heating and a few powerful slams.
Some guards noticed what had happened and rushed at him. He simply swept some of them away with his powerful tail and blew the rest back with his wings. He ran to the arena, but it was already too late.
The horses rushed at each other, and as the Friar's horse ran, the torn leather strap began to tear more and more. Just as he was about to hit Lord Roric, it snapped, causing him to have to lower his lance and shield to grip the horse's mane to keep from slipping off.
In that second, Roric was able to hit an exposed part of his side and he went flying. He landed on his arm with a crack that only the Dragon was able to hear above the roar of the crowd. He tumbled acrossed the ground but didn't get up. Roric was awarded three more points and declared the winner.
The Dragon ran to his best friend, who was now lying injured in the sand. Some gaurds saw this and ran to grab their sword to be ready if he attacked. The Dragon rolled the Friar over, who was thankfully awake, but gripping his arm in pain.
"Are you alright? Is your arm alright? Are you bleeding?" the Dragon frantically asked him as he helped him up and looked him over.
The Friar shook his head. "I'm not bleeding, but I think my arm's broken," he said. "I'm sorry..." the Friar continued, "I lost...I couldn't keep my promise...."
"You don't need to apologize," the Dragon said giving him a gentle hug.
"Speaking of which..." a voice said. They turned to see Lord Roric dismounting his horse. "I believe you need to hand over that dragon," he said, "and I'll be expecting the money from your little community with in five days."
The Dragon growled as he looked at Lord Roric. His eyes practically glowed with anger. Smoke billowed from his flaring nostrils as his quills puffed out. "You cheating little goblin!" he spat, "How DARE you hurt him! How dare you hurt my best friend!"
The Dragon ran at the lord who was now backing away. The crowd of people had run away as this began to happen. Guards tried to stop him but he was practically swatting them away with his massive hands or shaking them off like flies.
After bucking a few more guards off with ease he caught up to Roric. The scared man picked up a broken lance to defend himself but the Dragon had burnt the broken wooden weapon to a crisp no more than a second after he raised it in defense. The Dragon swiped at the chest plate, tearing it off the set of armor and then pinned the royal down by the area of exposed chainmail.
Fire curled from the Dragon's gaping mouth. As Roric saw this loom above him, he began to beg. "Please spare me! I'll do anything you want just don't hurt me! Please!" he cried. While the Dragon was deaf to his pleas, the Friar was not.
"Stop!" he cried. The Dragon closed his mouth and looked at the Friar in confusion. "Violence isn't the answer," he said as he walked up to him, "especially seeing as he said he's willing to do anything!" A slightly mischievous grin had found its way on to the Friar's face.
"Fine," Roric said, "What do you want?"
"First, you are not taking my friend as your slave or whatever you intended to use him for, nor are you going to impose that new tax," the Friar said, "Second, you're going to have someone give me medical attention and give my friend a better place to stay during that time."
"Very well," Roric said.
"I'm not done yet," the Friar said, "Lastly, I want you to cut the taxes you've already imposed on the regular people."
"What?!" Lord Roric said, "You must be joking! I'll never-" He cut himself off as the Dragon glared at him and growled. "Very well!" he said. The Dragon then let him up and he dusted himself off.
A few days later the two were ready to head .back to the village. The Friar waved goodbye with his good arm as they left the castle. "Goodbye, your lordship!" he called over his shoulder, "It was a pleasure to negotiate with you!" The two then flew off back home.