Here’s a true short story, (not a part of a serial), as a response to a challenge. For sake of preserving the story, I’ll say no more. –Enjoy
Rescue of the Damsel
Jamie rode into the courtyard, surveying the damages. Heavy boulders littered the gardens and the western towers lay collapsed and broken. Hercule, Jamie’s trusted steed, snorted his disapproval. “Don’t worry boy, we’ll get Robin back. The fiend couldn’t have gotten far.”
The servants worked to remove the rubble, stealing passing glances at Jamie’s armor. It had been a gift from the Queen, in honor of tireless service.
Today, the mission was personal.
Snapping the reigns, Jamie rallied Hercule to a sprint and they pushed into the great forest, following the heavy footprints of the Ogre Garuk-Saa. Dangerous Creatures watched as they tore down the wide path. Garuk-Saa had no subtlety. Twisted branches and scattered leaves went all the way to his lair, a gaping cave in the hillside.
Jamie leapt from Hercule and drew the long sword, Bronwyn.
The stink of rotten meat and feces filled the air, the familiar stink of ogre. Jamie raised a calming hand to Hercule and entered tenuously.
Off key humming rebounded against the cave walls. Garuk-Saa loomed over a bubbling cooking pot, four times the size of a bathtub. He held a deer over the odd mixture and lopped chunks off of it the way one would add carrot to stew.
Jamie flattened against the wall to avoid discovery.
Garuk-Saa hummed happily, snapping off a hind leg of the deer and threw the rest in haphazardly. He used the leg as a stirring stick, sloppily splashing blobs of the thick green slop on the ground. It hissed against the stone.
Withdrawing the stirring leg, revealed the meat seared off down to the bone. He shrugged, tossed the remnant of the leg in. “Need more salt.”
Jamie’s stomach churned. The idea that Robin could already be in the soup brought pangs of guilt, but Garuk-Saa made way to the back of his cave to break off a big brick of raw cave salt from the wall, a familiar voice filled the cave.
“You won’t get away with this,” Robin said. “My darling Jaime will save me.”
“Save?” Garuk-Saa said. “Garuk only want dinner guest. We eat food. Sing. Then Garuk kill. Make more soup.”
Robin struggled against the bindings. “The smell is more likely to kill me first.”
Jamie let out a sigh of relief; Robin hadn’t been new to the Damsel act.
Garuk wandered back to the cauldron, tossed his salt chunk into it causing an explosive fizzle. Thick green smoke poured out, filling the cave. Jamie used the cover to charge forward, moving between Garuk-Saa and Robin and brandished Bronwyn. “Face me, monster. Your dinner plans are cancelled.”
“Jamie, it’s about time,” Heavy chains shackled Robin to the wall, with a thick burlap sack pinched at the neck. Golden hair spilled from the bottom, falling on Robin’s shoulders and chest.
Garuk-Saa turned, glaring down at the knight. “No soup for you.” He roared and snatched a spiked club from a pile of loot and lunged with an overhead swat.
Jamie dodged, thrusting Bronwyn to pierce the ogre’s fat belly. With a practiced flick, thick black blood spilled onto the floor. Garuk-Saa ignored the wound, swinging from the ground.
Jamie ducked, giving the ogre a matching wound on the other side.
“Too slow, too fat.” Jamie said, chuckling. “Time to shape you up.”
Garuk-Saa wound up for a swing, cleaving the air with crushing force. Robin flinched, letting out a shrill scream. The galeforce alone tore the tassel from Jamie’s helm and knocked the knight to the floor.
“Jamie! Are you alright?” Robin said, struggling against the bonds.
Garuk-Saa raised his club and brought it down for a killing blow. Jamie rolled away and stood, brandishing Bronwyn. “Fine, you’ll be free shortly, my love.”
“Good, this cave air is terrible for my hair.”
Garuk-Saa struggled to life his club, the spikes snagged into the stone. With a mighty yank, the club split into two useless scraps. “Garuk no need club. Garuk break wimpy-knight in two.”
Jamie chuckled. “So witty. Did you come up with that on your own? Or do you have someone else write your material.”
Garuk-Saa grinned, showing rows of yellow teeth. “Garuk come up with by self, cuz Garuk is C-A-T smart.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” Jamie said. “Did you make the cave yourself?”
“No stupid. You no make caves. You find cave.”
“And did you know your cave is falling apart?” Jamie gestured with Bronwyn to a high point in the cave. “You have a falling apart rock right there.”
“What? Me do?” Garuk-Saa looked up at the jutting stone just above him. “Garuk just get rid of it. Me show you how strong and smart me is.”
The ogre placed a hand on the rock, ripping it free. A shower of stoned and pebbles peppered him. Jamie dashed forward and swiped the ring of keys on his belt, deftly dodging the rocks and left Garuk-Saa to be buried by stone.
Turning to Robin, Jamie quickly unlocked the chains and gently removed the burlap sack, revealing Robin’s well sculpted face.
He grinned at Jamie, batting his eyelashes shyly. “My hero.”
Jamie chuckled and pulled him close, fleeing the crumbling cave.
Garuk let out a mighty roar, but was muffled soon after by tons of stone.
Hercule whinnied in approval as Jamie helped Robin mount up.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you, love,” Robin said. “Don’t you get tired of saving me all the time?”
“Never,” Jamie said, rolling a shoulder. “I do wish you’d show more common sense at times. Not much you can do if you’re taken hostage from a siege on the castle, but most of the time it’s your fault. Picking flowers un attended in goblin territory?”
“They were pretty,” Robin said. “My escorts always trample them.”
“And the run in with the demonic shape shifter, taking the form of a unicorn?”
“Oh come on. Unicorns are never bad.”
Robin sighed. “They also only appear for pure maidens, which you are not. Then there was the time you wore your sparkling golden cummerbund… right next to the lair of a dragon.”
“I do look good in that cummerbund though. How was I supposed to know it was a dragon’s lair?”
“The piles of ashen bones perhaps?” Jamie said, lifting the helmet’s visor and pulling it away in one motion. She shook her red, shoulder length hair loose and mewled over her ruined tassle.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make you a new one, love.”
Lady Jamie hung her helmet on the saddlebag and hopped onto Hercule. Sir Robin laced his fingers across her stomach and rested his head against her endearingly. “Love you, sweetie.”
Jamie gnashed the reigns urging Hercule forward. “Love you, too. Let’s go home.”