Chapter 0:

Cletus the Dragon Slayer

Cletus Dragon Chimera

It was a hot summer day in Drakona City, Drakona. It has been three years since Cletus became a knight under king Firmei. For a special celebration, the king planned an audience for his knight. It would start in a few hours. Cletus was all too excited for it. He even got up early today to enjoy the castle grounds before he festivities. On his way, he met his childhood friend, Noelle.

"Hey, Noelle. You're here too?"

"Well, look who is excited today. What's bringing you here?" 

"Just enjoying the peace and quiet of the scenery before my audience with Firmei."

"I'm honestly still surprised how you can call the king by his first name like that."

"Just a thing between him and me." Cletus said nonchalantly.

As a knight, Cletus often had contact with king Firmei. This was to the point that they considered each other friends in his eyes.

"I still do not get it, though." Noelle said. "Why would the king have an audience planned for you when you only have been his knight for three years?"

"Beats me." Cletus said. "I guess I'll just have to attend and find out."

"He really is secretive about it. Is he not?"

"Knowing him, I think it has to do with something major. Only a select few people are invited as well. Mainly ministers and advisors."

The two kept talking on their way to the inner palace. Cletus said goodbye to Noelle and entered. He was immediately greeted by a guard.

"Sir Cletus, I suppose you came for your audience with his majesty?" The guard asked.

"Yes." Cletus answered.

"Then follow me, sir."

Cletus followed the guard through the all too familiar palace halls to the throne room. Taking another look at the many paintings of the royal dynasty.

"The throne room?" Cletus asked. "I guess he really didn't invite that many people."
He waited in front of the door as the guard entered the throne room to announce Cletus' arrival. As the doors opened, he walked in, getting approved looks from ministers, advisors and bishops. On the other side of the room, King Firmei sat on his wooden throne, looking down on everyone. Next to him stood a man in a dark cloak with a staff holding a magic gem. The king stood up from his throne and walked down to Cletus. Everyone in the room bowed down to him.

"Welcome, gentlemen." He said. "Welcome to a special occasion, as this is the day our beloved Drakona will rise from the ashes and restore it's glory. Too long have we suffered from poverty and famine. Too many times have we lost wars. Too little have we been taken seriously by other kingdoms, as they refused to trade with us and used us like a puppet for their own amusement." He gestured to the cloaked wizard next to his throne. "My trusted wizard Soskarei has given us his magic to achieve the next step in a never-ending arms race."

The wizard handed him a sheeved sword. He took it, drew it, and held it in front of him. Cletus could have a good look at it from his position. The sword had a golden crossguard and pommel imbedded with gemstones. The long blade was clearly steel, but the pattern suggested a dragon's breath. Firmei looked at Cletus, and gestured him to stand up and come to him. The king continued:

"As you may already have noticed, this is anything but an ordinary sword. This is the first sword, and the first weapon in history, to be able to slice through a dragon's scale. With this, whoever wields it, will be able to kill a dragon, and therefore be an unstoppable force in any battle he got himself in. And this is where you come in, Cletus Timsson. You, as our finest knight, who survived more battles than any knight in our recorded history, and who killed most enemy knights than any other, you will have the honour of being the knight this sword belongs to. You will play a great role in restoring Drakona's honour."

He put the sword back in the sheeve and handed it to Cletus. Cletus bowed once more and stepped back. 

"It's an honour." Cletus said.

"I knew you would say that." King Firmei said. "Everyone else is dismissed. I am sure Cletus still has some questions."

As everyone else left the throneroom, Cletus started asking questions:

"How is this sword actually going bring prosperity to our kingdom?" He started.

"It is simple" Firmei walked back to his throne. "He who can kill a dragon can kill anything. As you're the first man to slay a dragon, you will show the other kingdom what our magic is capable of. With a weapon like that, everyone will have to take us seriously. You are the only knight who never backed down from fighting, so I knew you would be our best candidate to wield this sword."

"And why a sword exactly? Why not an arrow or a spear?"

"You shoot an arrow, but then you have to retrieve it. We only managed to enchant one sword now, and it took a long time to cast the enchantment, and it won't be any simpler in the future. So if you have one arrow, the time you take to retrieve it leaves you vulnerable. A spear is not ideal either, as you can go deep, but when slaying a dragon, only the sharp head is enchanted. So it will take care to remove it. You don't have that with a sword."

"I guess that makes sense." Cletus said. "But why should it be able to kill a dragon? Practically everyone knows dragons only attack when they are especially angered."

"Good question. The fact that the chances of a dragon attacking are not zero means it could always happen. And despite teh small chance, the damage would be enormous. Plus, again, the fact that Drakona is the first kingdom to be able to kill a dragon gives us a better position in warfare and international relationships, as other kingdoms might want to consult us with dragon attacks."

A guard stormed into the throne room to interrupt the two.

"Your majesty, it's bad news!" the guard said.

"What is so important?" Firmei turned to him.

"A dragon is on it's way to this castle. We might only have an hour."

"I think this might be a good time to put this sword to the test." Cletus grabbed on his new sword. 

Cletus headed to the armory to get his armor. After 20 minutes, he was ready to go. He stepped on his horse to head to the outer wall, where Firmei waited for him.

"Good luck Cletus." the king said. "This is going to be our first step in the rise of Drakona."

Cletus nodded as the gates opened. He rode his horse outside to the open field around the castle. He waited for half an hour before hearing a roar like a volcanic eruption. As birds came flying into the sky in masses. It was shortly after that a dragon revealed itself. It was a giant, green creature walking on fours with wings the size of sails, long hair from the head to the end of it's neck and nine horns sticking out of it's head. It was not long for Cletus to observe as the dragon started to charge to the castle. Cletus commanded his horse to charge as well and he rode on his way to slay the dragon. It was not long until the dragon noticed him, despite him looking like a mouse to him.

"Get out of my way, human." The dragon roared. "You don't want to even try to fight me."

But Cletus kept on charging towards him, surprising the dragon. The dragon threw a flamebreath at him, which Cletus managed to dodge. He drew his sword and rode past de dragon's head. For a brief moment, the two locked eyes, as Cletus jumped at the dragon's neck and sliced it clean, cutting off the dragon's head. Silence filled the area once more, and Cletus breathed a sigh of relief. From now on, he could say he was the first person to ever kill a dragon. Smoke signals went into the air from the castle towers to pass on the news that Cletus won.

"I actually did it." He said to himself. He looked at his horse and started petting her nose. "But I could never have done it without you."

The horse looked past Cletus and he looked in the same direction. On the other side of the gap between the dragon's head and body stood a man in a dark cloak. He had little time to register the man as both Cletus and the dragon started glowing a bright light. Cletus closed his eyes to not get blinded. All of a sudden, He started feeling immense pain everywhere in his body. It was amost as if things started growing out of his head and back. It was so intense, he passed out, not registering anything happening to him afterward.

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