Friday, December 16, 2011

Day One Hundred: Conversing in the cold

I'm told that I'm now in Castle Jeffmas. It was officially renamed for the upcoming holiday. Shows how tired I've been this week, I don't even know the name of the castle - I just wander around on my shifts like a zombie. I bet so many damn thieves have gotten past me.

But, hey, today was more interesting, 'cause I finally had a decent conversation on top of the tower. Wasn't a GOOD conversation, from what I learned, but it was more interesting than watching a dragon sleep for hours and hours, only to wake up and eat my snacks.

So. Was on the tower. About three hours in. Door's locked, as usual, and I had to pee, so I did what I've done the last two nights - ever since I learned that the dragon doesn't mind me so much, y'know - and went off the edge of the tower. I like to think I'm getting one of those smarmy royal guards right in the head.

Yesterday, this went fine. Tonight, though, I got caught, 'cause The Baron came through the door in mid-stream.

"Hello!" he said behind me. "Ah, I see the castle's worst guard is still at top form."

And, well, what could I do? I flustered, sure, but I finished. Damage was already done. Laced myself and spun around to stand at attention. "Sir! Um! Uh! My lord! My lord, right? I'm, ah, I'm, ah…"

He laughed. "Get away from that ledge, Dragomir, before you fall to your death. That would be most unfortunate, given that this big fellow seems to have taken a liking to you."

The dragon. Who else? I walked over to The Baron, admiring his nice, furry clothes. (The captain caught me getting all dressed up, so I got in trouble. I was really bloody cold in my normal outfit last night.) "Um. Yeah. He's… he's not so bad. Doesn't do much."

"Indeed not!" The Baron patted the dragon's foot. "King Jeffrey won't allow him much freedom to roam, either - it turns out those wings of his are useless. I think his majesty is tired of the beast already. Such a shame, he cost a lot of money."

I couldn't help it, diary. I had to ask, after seeing all those scars. "Uh, if, you, uh, don't mind my asking, how did the king… y'know…"

The Baron laughed. "Get a dragon? Excellent question." He paused. "I'm not entirely sure. I don't have the king's full confidence, you know - he has other advisors. I imagine Driscol the Count or Lady Evangelina helped him. From what I've heard, however, the dragon's a purchase from Imperium hunter-trappers. They're experts, you know."

I knew. I grew up on the border. We saw Imperium hunters in the area quite often, even if they didn't dare come near my village. I also knew that The Baron was underestimating his importance to the king - he's always near either Jeffrey or Logan - but I guess that's a political thing. Don't get me started there. I was happy just to get an answer.

The Baron walked to the edge, not at all afraid of the dragon, even patting it a few times and saying that 'Apocalyptor' has settled nicely. I guess that's its name. Sounds like something the king would invent - he's really flashy. Not sure I like it, but…

"What, uh, brings you up here tonight, m'lord?" I asked, 'cause the silence got kinda awkward after a while.

"Oh, nothing. I just like the view. I like visiting this old boy, as well." The Baron grinned and pulled a cigarette from his coat. "Don't tell Queen Daena. She wouldn't approve. Anything that sets her son on a path towards corruption doesn't agree with her stomach, gods preserve her."

Couldn't blame her. I wouldn't wanna see my daughter smoking. Which brought me to something I'd wanted to ask for days:

"Why is Eve getting married to the prince?"

I'll give The Baron credit, he didn't try to sugarcoat. He looked me right in the eye and explained: "Lord Knight Eve is essential to the defence of this kingdom. We've never had a stronger warrior, and I doubt we ever will. The marriage will ensure that she remains here… and, perhaps, result in a line of similarly powerful kings and queens in the future." He laughed. "King Jeffrey loves the idea of his grandson being able to smash a catapult with his bare hands."

Didn't know what to say to that, other than stammering for a minute. I must've looked like an idiot.

The Baron was sympathetic, though, and he patted me on the shoulder. "We all do our duty, Dragomir. Yours is to let go of your daughter. And don't worry - I'll make sure you're amply compensated."

I didn't realize little girls were worth money. It sounds so… skeevy.

The Baron finished his cigarette, told me I'd be back here again next week because I was so good with the dragon, wished me a good night, and left. I spent the rest of the evening in thought, so it went by fast.

Yeesh. Five more days here? I have to screw up somehow and get relieved of duty or the cold's gonna start claiming body parts.

I'll be a yeti by the end of next week,

Dragomir the Popsicle

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