The Beat of Distant Drums...
While the rumblings of war never sound good, these ominous reports are what were heard at Castle Bisset. It was been reported to me that sea serpents were massing on the shore and the word was that they were going to attack us as soon as possible.
"Well", said I, "That is impossible, sea serpents cannot venture this far inland. They need salt water to live." But upon investigation, I found that a master wizard had endowed the serpents with the ability to live without being in the ocean. And, perhaps their cousin, Nessie, a Lake Serpent, supposedly neutral, had helped them a bit??
Forthwith, I reported what I knew to King Paul. While he is a goodly and benevolent monarch, he knew precious little about the ways of war. He summoned the Lord Shinzu and told him to prepare for battle. Lord Shinzu called for Sir Jeffrey, the Chess Knight, Sir Ricky, and myself to ready our forces.
Lord Shinzu's troops were experts in hand weapons and in the martial arts. Queen Suzanna questioned if they could do battle against the gigantic sea serpents. He assured her that his troops would fare well against any foe.
Sir Jeffrey's troops consist of mainly horsemen and foot soldiers - the backbone of any army. There are masters at strategy and could be expected to do very well. Sir Ricky's troop of archers are well suited for castle defense as they are some of the best archers in England.
I, in addition to my own troops, was to summon aid from outside the walls of Castle Bisset. I sent out messengers and the call to arms was well heeded. Glymph the Elder and his sons caused quite a stir when they flew in, their proud formation visible to all, and landed inside the castle courtyard with roars of "Greetings, My Friend etc." coming from their firey mouths! Never in my life, was I so glad to see any arrivals or so proud to be called "Friend". Glymph the Younger, especially, looked to me as his buddy", strange as it may sound. And sad, as it has become, Gymph the Elder agreed to enlist as many English dragons as possible when I informed him that the sea serpents' motive was revenge in the killing of the one that had attacked him and his sons.
I questioned him about a mythical dragon called Puff who supposedly had magical powers. Glymph said the Puff did indeed exist, but I should not count on him. "He's a peace-loving dragon who'd rather play with little boys than fight. But, I will contact him. I believe he is in a cave near Honalee." IF only the neutral, peace-loving dragons would join the cause! Now was the time!...
Finally, after Bluuak had been assigned his post at the castle, and Glymph the Elder was being dispatched to England, I started to bid farewell, and offer Glymph my thanks, when Glymph the Younger spoke up, excitement apparent in his young voice, "I want to help! I think we're going to need all the help we can get. I can go to France and enlist the help of the French dragons as well!"
"Don't be silly," his father huffed. "French dragons would never help the English!"
"But, father, let me try! I know I can get them to help!" (Ah..The innocence and dreams of youth ... as I, myself, well, knew.)
In frustration, Glymph the Elder stared at his son. Finally he said, "Very well. But don't come back with just one or two. We need a fighting force to deal with the serpents."
Young Glymph rustled his wings, shook his mighty scales, as if his talons could rip crevices in the mountains. For all the world, he gave an inkling of the great and mighty dragon he would become, in time, mighty enough to conquer the Orient and bring back Chinese dragons and the like. My tears run freely ... had he been permitted to mature. But, fearlessly, he ruffled his mighty tail! With a roar of joy that unsettled many castle residents, Glymph took off to find the French dragons.
We watched him until he was out of sight and the Glymph turned to me. "Maybe that will keep him out of harms way until the fighting is over!' I nodded knowingly at the father's wisdom. But how little we knew of the heartache that awaited us.
I did not know know it at the time, but within the castle there were two other forces at work.
Ruthellyn, the Duchess de Barry, came to me and informed me that she had contacts in far places that would be willing to help our cause. I gave her a rather dubious look and told her we had less than a week before the serpents would be a full strength and then they would attack, if not before. She, being of fighting bloodlines, assured me her friends could get here in a matter of days. I told her to go ahead and contact them but if any showed up in time, they were to report to Lord Shinzu and would be under his command.
She proceeded to beg me to give some carrier pigeons magical speed of arrows so they could get her messages out as fast as possible. This I could do and so it was done. I did not realize just what kind of help she had in mind but I soon found out. I learned "NEVER underestimate the power of a woman"..especially an angry one!! And perchance more than one!!
The next day the first of them arrived at Castle Bisset. It was a gigantic dragon from Wales named Y dDraig Goch Ddyry Cychwyn; the Red Dragon of Cymru, who fought under his own flag and banner. In fact, ancient maps of his area read: "Here Be Dragons!" These Exist far into the future Because poor Englishmen, lost in the mountains between Olde England and Wales feared the dragons as most lost souls were never again seen." Y dDraid Goch was a powerful beast nearly as large as a sea serpent! I was impressed and wondered what other friends Ruthellyn had summoned. It did not take long to find out.
The next to arrive was Lady Aurelia, a castle resident who led a squadron of night flyers called The Flying Tigers of Grandma Vampires; at her command: "Resurrected out of their graves to do battle with us." It seems that Captain Aurelia was well-versed in the necessary dark arts and a cousin of Vlad Dracula. A Mysterious Lady, who name I cannot pronouce, accompanied them and had the power to give them the ability to fly in the sunlight. A drawing of her, the mystery lady, was provided by Lady Jocelyn, Minister of The Home Front.
They were followed by a delicate female called Charlotta, a close friend of Lady Ruthellyn's. She was riding a baby unicorn named Euneka and had brought Ruthellyn's pet purple unicorn, Eunice.
Emphatically, I had to inform them that unicorns were in no way suited for battle. They, and all other non- combatants, were to remain within the castle during the battle. I did not wish to needlessly lose gentle unicorns as they were rare creatures. Ruthellyn complained, she was castle scribe and historian and as such she was a war correspondent, but did as requested.
Shortly thereafter, I received this communication:
Note by Scribe: Same Lady Ruthellyn "Did as requested??? Not without the threat of Yellow Journalism. "The Castle Enquirer' and "Tattle Tails of The Beasts" shall be informed and saying we might be accused of Revisionist History!!!!
However, when her bluff was called, she huffed, puffed and remained in the castle, realizing this was not a democrcy ... yet. As she added. Hmmmph!
Nevertheless, Ruthellyn IS a patriot, not withstanding her journalistic bent. Though many an hour was spent, by her, mumblimg and begging the resident ghost, Pauline to spy; to no avail.
In the meantime, plans were well underway
for the actual battle. The combatants were at
the ready and, only a few reinforcements were