The Many Lives and Times of Sam Saturday: Dragon Slayer

April 7, 2007

Sir Samuel was not a hero. He was not a savior, nor champion, nor knight.

He was an exterminator.

Dragon and man had shared the same world for millennia, along with many and sundry other races. The dragons were ancient and powerful – but mankind was beneath their notice, for the most part. They stayed away from the developing kingdoms of man. They were bestial and alien at the same time, both gorgeous and terrifying to behold, and they lived in the wilds where they were free to roam, and claim any prey they desired.

In the lesser parts of the world, on the edge of civilizations, that was where Samuel hunted. Small villages and towns, primitive tribes and natives – these were the ones who had to live in fear of the great beasts. They rejoiced at his coming, but he did not kill the dragons for them.

He killed them for himself.

None could say exactly what drove the man. Perhaps it was the challenge of taking down such mighty foes, and laying claim to being the strongest one their was. He certainly became adept at the hunt, and each and every trick to felling these mightiest of foes. He knew their weak spots and their strengths. He knew when to attack and when to flee, and where to strike to cripple their wings and deprive them of flight. He knew how to lay the craftiest traps, and how to bring their caves down upon them, burying them with their mounds of treasure for all eternity.

He knew what poisons to feed the maidens the villagers brought forth as sacrifice – slow-acting enough to give no sign of unhealthiness, but powerful enough to inevitably kill whatever beast consumed the innocent.

Samuel did not slay the beasts from a sense of duty. He would use each and every tool at his disposal if so needed. Indeed, he had as little use for humanity as the dragons themselves.

It might be that he fought because it was the only life he knew, and whatever reason had originally driven him was lost in years of routine. None knew his past or origin – merely that he had walked the land for two-score years. Always hunting. Always on the track of his next victim.

Perhaps he merely enjoyed ending their lives. His fifty-odd years was a drop in the lifetime of a dragon, but with every year that passed he diminished their number. They were proud and solitary creatures – they would not band together against a single mortal man. Each one would remain confident that, should he come for them, he would meet his end.

And so they fell, day by day, at the hands of Sir Samuel Saturday. Each one rendered the world a little bit darker, and ever so slightly less magical. And from those who saw him fight, they say the only time he showed any emotion was in the moment of the kill, and as the fires of each dragon’s heart sputtered, and died… then he would smile, his eyes gleaming at having taking a thing of beauty from the world, and shattered it upon the ground.

And the people would cheer his name and celebrate their freedom.

And the dragon slayer would travel on.

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