Drawful the Awful is the ongoing series/novel in progress following the pursuits of the dragon, Drawful, who is awful at being a dragon, and his “kidnapee” the Princess Brooke. The full series can be found here.
Chauncey was staggering from the music festival being held in the main square of the kingdom of Hubrista. His little detour was well served until his father’s funds arrived the following day for the multi-day festival another kingdom over.
For now, he had a comfortable room at an inn on the city’s main boulevard, and was happy to be out of the armor his father had outfitted him in. In his more comfortable tunic and pantaloons he had made a good night of energetic dancing, mild debauch, and general bacchanal. He was only mildly disappointed to be returning to his room at the inn alone, but when he recognized his father’s insignia on the pair of soldiers waiting on him outside the inn, he was glad to be caught in less of a compromising state than the one he was already in.
“Hail!” Chauncey called, hoping his voice didn’t lilt with all the drink he had consumed.
One of the soldiers saluted smartly, the other Chauncey realized was a woman, rolled her eyes and waved at the Prince. “Sir,” she greeted sleepily, “we’re glad we found you. Your father sent us to aid you on your quest for the Blade of the Unbidden.”
Chauncey froze in the cobbled street. That damned dragon, he thought. Now he’d end up on some wild goose chase for a blade that didn’t exist or incur his father’s ire.
“We have spent the evening as you have, by gathering intel from locals of the region,” the male informed.
Chauncey swallowed hard. “Oh, did you?” His voice cracked and he admonished himself internally for it.
The female soldier spoke up. “Yes, you demonstrated good intuition coming south to Hubrista. The Dragon who holds the blade we need, Fallon of the Terrible Fire and Much Meanness, lives in a gorge further south of Alabaster from here.”
Chauncey was paralyzed, unsure who this other dragon was supposed to be, but even with such a mouthful of a name, it didn’t sound friendly- quite the contrary.
“Sir, I understand you may be tired, but we think it wise to set out now so that we may have day light to traverse the bogs come dawn’s light in just a few hours. From there we could reach the gorge before even midday if the trek through the swamp is a smooth one.”
Chauncey regarded the officious and stiff soldier who had not lowered his hand from his salute even after all this time. The female soldier seemed to notice Chauncey’s confusion at her counterpart’s stiffness, and suggested: “tell him he can remain at ease.”
“At ease, soldier.” The soldier lowered his hand and spread his feet apart, looking in no way relaxed, but certainly less off puttingly militaristic.
Chauncey couldn’t necessarily claim to be ready for sleep. He mused that he had just been thinking of post dance festival activities he’d have enjoyed staying up to do. He checked with his soldiers. “Do you at least have coffee in your supplies?”
They concurred and Chauncey took a deep breath and set off to the stable for his horse. “Well, I’ll need it in the morning. Come on, let’s get this over with.”
With resignation that he’d best just run the motions and get it over with, he set out into the night with the retinue his father had assigned him.