|Photo & words by Helen|
“The Wizard,” announced the Page.
“And drag…,” said the dragon as Magico pressed his hand tight against his pocket to muffle its voice.
King Boroff climbed down from his throne and toddled towards Magico. “Well, what have you discovered?”
“Sire.” Keeping his hand pressed hard against the door knocker concealed within his robe, he bowed. “I have ascertained some interesting facts in this book.”
Boroff stared at the Wizard. “What happened to your beard?” He looked at the scrappy remains that hung in ragged spikes from the Wizard’s chin.
“Oh this?” said Magico, trying to sound casual and lifting his hand to stroke what was once his best accessory. “A fashion change Sire. It’s all the rage now. I think they call it punk.”
“I did that.” The dragon stuck its head out of the hole. “If you like it, I could arrange to do the same for you. It would be no trouble, no trouble at all. I could become a fashion designer for the Kingsy here.”
“Who or what is that?” said Boroff pointing at the head protruding from the Wizard’s pocket.
“I’m his door knocker. Although I feel I should be more. Very nice to meet you Kingsy.” He huffed out a cloud of smoke that formed itself into a heart then melted into the atmosphere.
“Forgive me Sire. It’s not behaving as it should and it wanted to come. So I thought, why not?”
“Hmph,” said Boroff. “You’d better keep control of it if you know what’s good for you. Now tell me what you have found.”
“I say,” said the dragon.
Magico shoved a finger into its mouth, causing it to cough and splutter. Steamy tendrils of smoke curled out of his pocket and reached towards the roof. The dragon formed his eyes into thin slits and clamped down its teeth on the offending digit.
“Ow owww,” yelled the Wizard, wrenching his hand away shaking it. The dragon, pulled through the hole, still clamped on, was shaken up and down until he fell with a clang to the floor. Magico looked at his throbbing finger and glared at the knocker.
King Boroff looked down at the knocker lying at his feet. “Listen knocker, if you don’t keep silent I will separate your head from your…”
“Exactly,” said the dragon. “All I have is a head, more’s the pity.”
“I’ll send you to the furnace then, melt you down,” said Boroff trying not to be outdone by a door appendage. “How’d you like that?!” He crossed his arms and glowered at the dragon.
“Is that supposed to scare me? I am fire. If you don’t believe me, I’m quite happy to demonstrate.” The dragon puckered up its lips and made ready.
The King held up a hand. “Be quiet while I talk to your master.”
“Pfft. He’s not my master.”
Boroff, not wanting to look a fool and admit that the knocker might have got the better of him, stared at Magico.
“Sire, I do apologise.”
“Tell me what’s in the book.” Boroff ambled over to the table that was set away from the wall and to the side the window. “Bring it over it then.” He turned and walked to the oval opening, and leaned out to look once more at the threatening black clouds.
Magico picked up the knocker.
“Watch your tongue, unless you want us both executed,” he hissed.
The dragon smiled. Magico sighed as he moved towards the table and laid down the heavy tome. He placed the dragon to the side of the book and proceeded to open it at the page he had marked. He joined the King at the window.
“It tells Sire, that the Writer needs to be encouraged. It indicates that the Writer lives to create and if it’s not creating, it feels dead inside. Hence what it already has created, stagnates until it is no more.”
Boroff turned to face the Wizard. “I’ve never heard such poppy cock. Supposing I had to be encouraged, where would we be then? That’s what makes me a King. I know how to rule.”
A deep rumble rolled across the sky, and the inky clouds grew one more shade of black. Boroff glanced nervously over his shoulder.
“What is one suppose to do to encourage this Writer?”
“It likes Writing Prompts,” said the dragon.
“What’s that?” Boroff looked at the dragon then back at the Wizard.
“We’re not sure Sire, but if you look out the window, you’ll see a small shaft of light. That appeared when, ahem, my beard had its accident.”
“Oh for goodness sake. He means when I set fire to it. It seemed to like it, the Writer I mean.” The knocker tittered.
“The Writer better like something else. We can’t have you setting fire to things, just to cheer up the Writer. Whatever next!”
“Shame,” whispered the dragon.
“Sire, the Ancients apparently cured the Writer once with a Writing Prompt, but it doesn’t say exactly what it is.”
“I have a Scribe. Perhaps he will know. His job is writing. Page, fetch me my Scribe.”
The Page bowed and left the room.
Boroff and Magico stood together by the window gazing up at the sky while they waited for the Page to return. The dragon, easily bored, blew smoke rings into the air and then tried to wipe them out with a burst of fire, but succeeded in only igniting the tapestry that hung against the wall. He blew short puffs of air onto the flames, poo, poo, poo, poo, in an effort to put them out, but they just became a raging inferno.
The King and Wizard ignored him.
“Ahem, I say, you two.”
“What is it?” barked the King, without turning his head.
“Fire. The wall’s on fire!”
Boroff and Magico swung around to see the bright orange flames licking their way through the tapestry.
“Put it out, put it out,” said Boroff, waving his hands in the air.
“With what Sire?”
Magico’s eyes swept the room and caught sight of the King’s cloak draped across the back of his throne. He rushed, well rushed in his head, his feet and legs were more like a slow motion replay, grabbed the garment and returned.
The King, jumping up and down, was still yelling at the top of his voice, “Put it out!”
Magico swung the cloak again and again at the wall hanging till it too was burning nicely, and so was his hat.
“Look what you’ve done to my royal ermine! Off with his head!”
The Wizard, legs moving faster than they had for the last day, danced around furiously patting his hat.
“How about some water, that would do it.” The dragon sniggered, enjoying the floor show.
Both Magico and Boroff stopped leaping about and looked at the dragon. Something clunked down on the floor behind them. They turned around. There stood a huge bucket of water. The King and the Wizard looked at it, then at the dragon, then at the wall and together grabbed the pail and heaved its contents towards the tapestry. Water splashed over the fiery hanging and some splattered back onto Magico’s hat. The air filled with sizzling and fizzling as steam rose from the tattered remains on the wall and from the Wizard’s hat.
“Where did that come from?” said the King looking suspiciously at the door knocker.
“Don’t look at me. I only suggested the obvious.” The dragon felt extremely pleased with himself.
Boroff glared at the Wizard.
“I didn’t do it Sire.” Magico took off his hat to inspect the damage, but it was only singed around the edges. He placed it back on his head and hoped his head would remain on his shoulders.
From the window came a glow of bright light.
“Look Sire,” said Magico pointing towards it.
Together they approached the window, stuck their heads outside and looked up. The ominous clouds still hung in the sky, but the shaft of light had widened and glowed just a little brighter than before.
“What does this mean?” said Boroff pulling his head back in.
“Yes you dim wit, mean. What does it mean? And how did that bucket of water appear?”
“It had to be the Writer Sire. Who else could it be?”
“Is this what is called a Writing Prompt? Setting fire to my valuable wall hanging?”
“I don’t know Sire. But the Writer seemed to like it, just like when my beard caught fire.”
“I say, perhaps it’s me this Writer likes.” The dragon puffed out a cloud of smoke in the shape of a crown.
“Shut up!” said Magico and Boroff together.
The Page appeared at the door. “The Scribe Sire.”
“At last,” said Boroff. ‘Now we might just find out what this Writing Prompt is meant to be.”
To be continued....