I have the greatest respect for those who write the tales of Dragons and Knights. What greater heroism could exist than that of a lone warrior, a little monkey, horse and armor all combined weighing less than a single length of the Dragon’s tail, going forth to do battle against something so ridiculously deadly that the Dragonic idea of relaxing is collecting more gold than anyone’s ever seen, and taking long naps on it. And yet..!
…in response to grave danger (the Dragon has demanded a Princess, of which the kingdom has somewhere between zero and ten or twelve)—the Knight rides forth.
Compare them: one, a simian, possessing a long stick which is somewhat sharp at one end, and a second stick, made entirely of barely-Iron-Age metal, against an ancient Lizard, ten or a hundred times the age of the man before it. To whom, exactly, does this seem a good idea?
The Dragon’s own armor is centuries of exoskeleton, growing harder and yet more supple every year. Its teeth are longer than the Knight is tall and sharper than the tongue of a courtier skewering a rival. And its breath! A hundred infernos, pushed out through a body that’s like a bellows, if one imagined a fell blacksmith three hundred feet tall, with a need for flames which could engulf a mountain range and still have both puissance and accuracy to snuff out the town lying in the valley.
How would a knight even approach such a beast? Charging, on horseback? Seems like cruelty to horses, and besides, “domesticated” is one thing, “Willing to run straight into the jaws of a landwalking Megalodon” is another. But fine. Let’s say that happens. Charge in on horseback? Horse and rider get fried.
Charge in on foot? Footsoldier gets fried.
Charge in with a small army? Small army gets fried.
Charge in with a large army? Dragon flies away.
Kill it in its sleep? Dragons can tell when even a single coin drops within their lairs; they can certainly hear YOU coming; they’ve got VERY good hearing; how do you think they’ve lived this long?
Oh, it’s not impossible that one might evade every physical, magical, and logistical challenge.
It just doesn’t seem like the sort of thing which happens often enough that it ought to make its way onto quite so many tapestries.
So if it rarely, if ever, happens, where do all these stories of victorious Knights come from?
Everyone, of course.
Dragons, certainly. They have plenty of gold, as well as the always-helpful threat of disembowelment, not that Bards need any more incentive than the first part.
And from Knights. Once they’ve hung up their swords and are in no danger of being called upon to use them again, they seem to have sudden remembrance of defeating a lot of giant lizards.
And then there are people like me.
Because Dragons throw a great barbecue, and I’ve developed a taste for my neighbors. Trust me. You’re all so much more pleasant when properly prepared.
So! Knights defeat dragons. All the time. Hell, you don’t even have to be a knight. Just get a sword, or something that looks like a sword. I hear they’re totally not invulnerable to bullets. It’s probably super easy.
Go ahead. Give it a shot. Let me know when, so I can, you know, make plans to celebrate your glorious victory. Oh! And I recommend dousing yourself in a protective oil. Olive oil should do, infused with garlic and shallots.
That’s very lucky, I’m told.
The preceding essay was brought to you by Dark Lords For Azathoth, and may not necessarily reflect the views of the being who wrote, edited, posted, and marketed this document.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, order “I HATE Your Prophecy“ It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.