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04 August 2009 @ 12:37 am
Adventures: 01  
In Which Ewan and Odin meet "Arman and Baqir" Instead of "Arman and the Princess"


            The two brothers stood silently for a moment at the mouth of the cave.
            “Ewan,” the younger brother began.
            “Yes, Odin?” the older brother replied.
            “Let’s go home!” he suddenly blurted, turning to look up at Ewan with wide, worried eyes. “There are plenty of other princesses out that there that we can save! Ones that don’t involve a dragon.” Odin reached into the pouch at his side, pulling out a small booklet and flipping through a few of the pages. “How about Liv Nielson? It says here that she’s guarded by a tribe of miniature gnomes… Surely that would be a better one…?
            Ewan didn’t answer at first. His own gaze was focused on the darkness inside of the cave, looking for the faint puff of smoke that let them know the dragon was resting. “No, Odin,” he said after a lights sigh. “I have taken up the task of rescuing Princess Valencia. What kind of prince would I be if I did not even want to challenge a dragon to rescue my lady?” The charming smile crossed his face as he drew his sword. “Now then, Odin! Let our first quest be an epic one!”
            Odin watched as his older brother strode confidently towards the cave, naked sword flashing in the bright morning sun. With a sigh of his own, he replaced the small book into his pouch and drew his own sword. “Of course! I’m right behind you!” He loved his brother dearly—respected him and looked up to him. But having to fight a dragon was a level above his devotion. Still, Odin knew that his brother was relying on his support and would not dream of letting him down.
            The Van der Akker brothers crossed into the cave, the sulfurous smell of the dragon’s breath overwhelming them. It was dark inside, the light from outside making the gloom even worse.
            His gaze jumping back and forth as he lead the way, Ewan covered his nose and mouth with his free hand. “Show yourself, dragon! I am here to challenge you in order to rescue the fair Valencia Holst!”
            There was a deep rumble from farther back that shook the ground on which they walked, a wave of dust and smoke billowing quickly after it. “Who is it that dares to disturb the great Arman?” a gruff voice called. There was a faint flicker of light on one of the walls with the words.
            “I am Crowned Prince Ewan Van der Akker, and my brother is Odin Van der Akker. We are the sons of the great King Rupert Van der Akker, here on a quest to rescue the Princess Valencia from your foul clutches!” the young man announced bravely, still covering his mouth.
            The voice laughed, this time a wave of heat surging forward through the cave. The light on the wall brought with it disjointed shadows. “Foolish humans! Many have tried, and all have died before even getting a chance to look at the wench they are trying to save—what makes you think that you are any different?”
            “We are the Van der Akker brothers!” Odin shouted, frowning despite himself. “We shall not fail on our chosen quests!”
            Ewan put a hand on his shoulder, giving his brother a smile when their eyes met. As if coming to a silent agreement, the two sheathed their swords and started forward at a brisk pace.
            When they reached the grand cavern, they were greeted by a burst of flames. The brothers dove behind a large boulder, wincing as the hot fire licked around the corners in an attempt to reach them.
            “So you decided to come forward anyways?” the great dragon growled, sounding slightly amused. “Should you be well-done or still burning when I decide to eat you?”
            Trying to steady his trembling, Odin gripped the hilt of his sword. His older brother reached out a hand to stop him, however, silently shaking his head.
            “Oh great… Aroma—” Ewan began in a grandiose tone, faltering for a moment when he realized he couldn’t remember the dragon’s name.
            The beast gave an indignant snort and muttered something under his breath. “Arman,” he corrected in a huff. And what is it, Van der Snack?”
            The brothers frowned at each other, thinking the comeback was a rather childish jab at their name. “We wish only to speak with you—we do not want to fight you…”
            “Well, I wouldn’t want to fight me either so I can’t blame you on that point. However, I can’t guarantee I won’t get hungry and wish to indulge in a snack. Come on out—I promise I won’t burn you to a crisp.”
            There was a rather frustrated sound coming from further back in the cave as the two brothers hesitantly crept around the boulder and rose to their full height. Ewan had on a rather brave and dashing expression, which Odin tried to copy.
            In a voice that was very much not like the threatening tone prior, the dragon suddenly sputtered out, “Well—a changeling!” His dark, molten-gold eyes were trained on the younger brother. Ignoring a sputtered “H-Hey!!” from somewhere in the shadows, the great dragon’s head swooped in to get a better look. “I haven’t seen one of your kind in hundreds of years, boy,” he said, his voice a little prissier than should have been proper for a creature of his size.
            Odin stuttered out a few syllables, his feet carrying him back a few paces as Ewan stepped protectively in front of him.
          “Who was it that was talking before?” he demanded, a little frustrated. “Is there another dragon in this cave?”
            “Just me, boy!” the original voice snapped back as the dragon pulled his head away and glared down at the brothers. His tongue flicked out from between his gleaming teeth, carrying spurts of flame with the movement.
            “Ewan! There is someone by Armona’s tail!”Odin said in an excited whisper, pointing out a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette.
            The older brother studied the figure for a moment, his expression wavering between surprise, confusion, and excitement. He kept his eyes on the shadow as he spoke. “Oh great Armitha--!”
            “It’s Arman—are you even trying to remember my name?!” The silhouette didn’t move, but the dragon huffed angrily and blew a cloud of smoke down at the two of them.
            “My apologies, Armano.”
            The dragon sighed and didn’t even bother trying this time.
            “I was just curious as to who that figure is beside you.
            Arman looked at Ewan for a long time, tilting his head from side to side and occasionally licking the air with his tongue in thought. “Why, it’s the princess you came to rescue!” The prissy, not-very-masculine voice was back. “Princess Valencia, please come foreward so the little princelings can see what they won.”
            With a growl, the silhouette stepped into the light and became—
            “Ewan!” Odin gasped in shock. “Princess Valencia is a—uhh well… rather masculine.”
            The man that stepped forward let out another low growl, much like a large dog. He snatched the cap off of his head and threw it to the ground. “You stupid dragon! Couldn’t you just eat them for once?!”
            Arman made a show of studying one finely shaped talon. “Oh, Baqir, you know that humans give me an uneasy stomach.”
            It suddenly occurred to the Van der Akker brothers that the two of them had been playing ventriloquist and-puppet—only on a much grander scale.
            “Oohhh…!” Odin muttered, sinking down into a squat on the ground. “I told you, Ewan! I told you this wasn’t a good idea! Look at your princess! She’s a… middle-aged man!”
            The man, who was dressed in rather out-dated woman’s clothing, whipped around and snarled at the boy on the ground. “My name is Baqir—my mistress asked me to wait here with this failure of a dragon. I suppose you’ll be wanting to see the real Princess Valencia?” He sneered.
            Ewan nodded energetically. “Oh, yes, please, that would be very lovely. And you would take us to her?”
            Baqir’s lip twitched briefly before his face took on a very un-interested expression. “I don’t see why not. I was getting tired of this game anyways.” He jerked his head towards the exit, pulling off the rest of the woman’s clothes as he walked past the brothers.
            Ewan and Odin exchanged glances before hurrying after the man.

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