Sure, you think you know the story of the fearsome red dragon, Dragonia. How it terrorized the village of Skendrick until a brave band of heroes answered the noble villagers' call for aid. How nothing could stop those courageous souls from facing down the dragon. How they emerged victorious and laden with treasure.
But, even in a world filled with epic adventures and tales of derring-do, where dragons, goblins, and unlicensed prestidigitators run amok, legendary heroes don't always know what they're doing. Sometimes they're clueless. Sometimes beleaguered townsfolk are more hapless than helpless. And orcs? They're not always assholes, and sometimes they don't actually want to eat your children.
Heloise the Bard, Erithea's most renowned storyteller (at least, to hear her tell it), is here to set the record straight. See, it turns out adventuring isn't easy, and true heroism is as rare as an articulate villager.
Having spent decades propagating this particular myth (which, incidentally, she wrote), she's finally able to tell the real story—for which she just so happened to have a front-row seat.
Welcome to Erithea. I hope you brought a change of undergarments—things are going to get messy.
THE PART ABOUT THE DRAGON WAS (MOSTLY) TRUE, Sean Gibson's hilarious first entry in the Heloise the Bard Series, is out TUESDAY, December 15th! Pre-order your copy now:
A CLASSIC BEGINNING...
Few indeed know the paralyzing terror of a mighty dragon’s roar or the skin-blistering heat of its fiery breath. Few, I say, for most who do experience such things know them for but the briefest instant before they are consumed by flame, burned beyond all hope of recognition, their hopes and dreams turned to smoke and ash.
Such was the horrible fate of many who called the village of Skendrick home on the fateful day when the great red dragon Dragonia first painted the evening sky red and orange with searing gouts of fire, raining death upon men, women, and children without distinction or hesitation, the tallest and smallest alike unable to withstand the dragon’s terrible fury.
One small girl huddled in the corner of her family’s home, a wooden structure made from loose planks held together by crooked nails and covered with tarpaulin, shivering and shaking with fear. She clapped her hands over her ears as she tried in vain to silence the screams and wails of agony that knifed through the air and pierced her heart. Her mother must surely be among them, for the woman had gone to the market that morning, and the girl knew that the dragon would strike there first, at the heart of the village. On market day, half of the villagers gathered in the town square to trade goods and gossip—a teeming mass of conveniently clustered humanity that would make an irresistible target for an insatiable wyrm.
The girl cried and prayed, beseeching aid from gods she had never believed in but turned to now in desperation, hoping against hope that divine intervention might spare her life and, somehow, someway, bring back those who had died so horribly.
Her prayers went unheard, or at least unanswered, for it was only moments later that her own ramshackle dwelling was engulfed in flames, and the girl, clutching her most beloved doll, wailed in agony as slithering tongues of fire kissed her feet and proceeded to consume her, leaving nothing behind but a bleached pile of bones and the ashy corpse of a blond doll.
The dragon left some alive that day—it would never kill them all, not when it wanted survivors to spread the word far and wide of what had happened, how the town had burned, how the people had suffered, and how no one could resist its awesome fury. For then, perhaps, the encroachment into its territory would cease, the disturbances to its slumber would end, and it could sleep, finally, in peace.
The great wyrm wheeled and turned overhead, leaving the smoking crater of the village behind as it flew north to its lair. The raging beast had no doubt that some foolhardy adventurers would soon come calling in the hope of righting this terrible wrong, but it would be ready.
Those brave souls would die in agony just as the villagers of Skendrick had died that day for daring to defy it and for the simple crime of living too close to the home of an angry dragon.
...IS NOT HOW IT ACTUALLY WENT DOWN
Being in the business of barding, one must not be bothered by blurting bull...excrement (though
one should occasionally curb one’s love of cursing).
I mean, it’s our job. Every once in a while, though, the truth turns out to be far more interesting than the tales bards tell in taverns; it’s just rare that bards actually know the truth behind the songs they sing, and so the ale-swilling public misses out on some truly epic—or, at least, epically weird—stories.
Hi, my name’s Heloise. I am, if not the most well-known bard in Erithea (yet), arguably the most talented, and unarguably the cleverest. I also wouldn’t quibble if you suggested that I’m the most beautiful, but that’s just because I’m very agreeable (and beautiful). I’m no stranger to telling a tall tale or two. However, it just so happens that I know the truth about what happened that fateful day in Skendrick when the dragon attacked and the shocking events that followed, and let me tell you: the tavern version, even though it’s superbly written and exquisitely melodious, isn’t half as entertaining as the truth.
Because I’m an ethereally gorgeous (not my words, mind you—that’s how noted seer Llendarlin Wayfender once described me, and even though he’s blind, he’s a venerated font of knowledge, so who am I to argue?), half-elf, I may not look it, but I’m approaching one hundred and forty years of age. Over the years, I’ve had more than a few adventures. Decades ago, I was sworn to secrecy regarding the true story of the great and terrible “Dragonia,” but recent developments have released me from that promise, and so I can finally tell the tale.
I’ll warn you up-front, though—those of you who think you know the story will scarcely believe the truth. You’ll be shocked, stunned, surprised, and staggered. The faint of heart should stop reading right now, close the book, and proceed to the nearest public garden or quiet pub to watch butterflies or enjoy a hoppy pint. Or maybe both.
For those who have the stomach—and I realize I’m mixing my metaphors here because it’s entirely possible to have a weak heart and a strong stomach, in which case I leave you to make the decision whether to proceed at your own peril or, at least, after consultation with the nearest physician, witch doctor, or oracle—however, you’ll enjoy a tale the likes of which has never been told before and is unlikely to be told again. Well, not until I get paid to write another book, anyway, or at least booked into the pub nearest you.
So read on, brave souls...adventure awaits. And shenanigans. There will definitely be shenanigans.