The knights were all as mighty as the title can assume.
Each was charred and blackened from the gauntlet to the plume.
The ladies, each as lovely as the one that came before,
Each of them an archer, their aim and bravery sure.
The dragons, they were bloodhounds, monstrous and vile,
Salivating steam, and belching burning bile.
Here I will relay to you the fates of chosen three.
Listen well and learn from each’s destiny.
One knight, he was a-mounted, his chainmail all askew,
His face was hot and glistened like the early morning dew.
He spied a mighty maiden, leaned long against a boulder.
Her wild hair was dank with sweat and clung to face and shoulder.
“Friend!” he greeted, drawing near, “Why look you so dreary?”
“A dragon, my good sir,” said she, voice hoarse, eyes bleary.
The knight replied, “These dragons are a plague on our lands.
I, myself, am marked with burns on my face, my back, my hands.
“I’m a tapestry of scars of a frequent dragon’s scorn.
I wish that I could help you, but my duel has left me worn.”
“I understand your plight,” said she, “and wish that I could aid,
But I would be no use to thee, as low as I am laid.”
They bid each-other fortune, and shared a common groan.
But dragon slaying’s hard, you see, and each one had their own.
And so, they parted company, both battle-worn and grim.
One dragon gobbled her. Another gobbled him.
A second knight came marching, a known and mighty ward,
A dragon’s hide upon his back, its teeth set in his sword.
An Amazon he spied, clothed in her success.
A dragon’s flesh, her petticoat, its diamond scales her dress.
Ere either one could speak, a roar resounded near.
A dragon crawling closer, they two within its leer.
“Stand back, fair maiden!” cried the knight, “Don’t let your heart be faint!
For fortune has bequeathed you a dragon-slaying saint!”
His laughter resonated in his burly, puffed-up chest.
The lady stood up straight to flash the scales upon her breast.
“A maiden I am not! Behold the flesh of all my slain!
Be gone with you, I’m quite enough to fight my own campaign!”
“Madam, hear ye reason; I’m the stronger one!” said he.
“A brazen lie! I’ll prove it here! I need thee not!” said she.
So fervently they argued, to the fibers of their soul.
And whilst they fought apart, the dragon ate them whole.
Another knight came trotting on a valiant, barded steed,
With singed mail and blackened coat, but upright as a reed.
He, too, beheld a lady, bow in hand, devoid of fear.
She caught her breath behind a rock. The mounted knight came near.
“A dragon’s doing,” guessed the knight. “I recognize the scar.”
“A dragon, sir,” said she, “More vile than any beast by far.
I’m part of a collection, see, my family was the rest.
I know him well and he knows me, and neither one can best.”
“A villain!” cried the knight, a righteous fire in his core.
“Mighty warrior, pray permit me aid you in your war.
Ride with me, my lady, and this dragon shall be slain.”
“Ride on! Ride on!” cried she, “To the fire and the pain!”
The stallion charged, the warriors yelled, all drunk with bravery.
The dragon slithered forward from his mountain cavity.
With curving claws and snapping jaws, the hellish beast gave chase,
But stallion hooves are much too fast; his strength was all a waste.
The dragon fought barbarically with claw and flaming dart,
But the lady’s arrow struck his eye, and the knight cut out his heart.
They watched the dragon’s carcass fall upon the rocky hill.
Laughter gave them respite, then all was calm and still.
He shared what food he carried, she gave water from her gourd.
But scarcely had they caught their breath, when came a thunderous roar.
The knight said, “Lo! My oldest foe. I know him by his speech.
Keeps he always to the skies, my sword will never reach.”
The lady said, “He shall not find a refuge in the sky,
For you have seen yourself, good sir, how true my arrows fly.
Come then, march us thither, so that I may set my aim.
One dragon have we vanquished and your beast shall be the same!”
On they rode, the lady’s bow would pierce the dragon’s throat.
Further still, they rode, to see what others could be smote.
The dragons, much too strong for one, were beaten, then, by two.
Their tales were told through ages hence, and now you know a few.