A Sudden Attack
The knight turned his head lazily, a messenger dressed in foreign clothes was shouting and moaning in the city Square just in front of the local bakery. “a dragon, a dragon!” he said, “a dragon has burned my village and my wife and children were consumed by him!”. A woman not a little disturbed approached him, “be silent you’re scaring the children” but the man continued “The horror! We lived on a quiet countryside and the dragon came from a dark cave in the west! He will consume everything before him! Hurry my father’s village will soon be under his throws!”, “oh such a far journey, there is not town west of us for 50 miles” the woman scoffed, but the man shouted on “the monster was headed west and 50 miles is like a small hike to him on his awful wings!”
A Time to Fight
Later the knight is busily at work and though he knows some great tragedy is likely going on in the world he ignores it. He is busy and comforts himself in the security of his city, in the foreignness of the tragedies. He will not be affected. Then suddenly he gets word that a shipment of goods he relies on has been crushed by the dragon, horses and cart and all. “this is not good” he thinks “for if they continued to do this, I will soon no be able to carry on my current mode of living, I may go hungry”. Another report comes in of a fight, his countryman was killed by the villain. “if my countryman is killed, then I might also be”. Suddenly the knight is energized and fearful “gather the troops!” he shouts “we shall go to battle with the evil fiend! Who has torched villages and murdered families! Who has even destroyed our own carts and countrymen!”
The troops approach the knight concerned about their livelihoods, the city’s trade is at risk and their lives are not safe should they leave the kingdom. The knight addresses them telling them of the horrors the dragon has done in foreign lands, of families trapped in its clutches. He tells them about how the dragon in its cruelty kills without purpose or reason. The men are filled with righteous indignation and yell “we will kill the dragon!” “we will rescue the men of those faraway lands!”
After setting out the troop meets caravan disturbed by the dragon they provide some food to them from their stock and ask where the dragon has gone.. “further west, toward the great western villages” they say. The soldiers are energized by helping the family, they are on a truly noble quest but some mock and say “don’t give them our food! We might need those extra provisions”
The Hidden Ugliness
In the height of facing the dragon there is a real feeling of nobleness, of goodness of the battle of how worthwhile the purpose is. They are fighting to prevent more murdered families to protect the innocent from this devouring beast that kills children and criminals alike. They are defending justice; it is they who are the crucial factor in if evil should reign Supreme. Yet after some time they weary and become tired, they mistreat the villagers they meet along the way even doing that which would be considered inhuman if they did so in their homeland. Even the noble knight turns a blind eye to the wicked acts of his men and even justifies it as needed if they are to accomplish the task. Yet, even as he justifies it he feels the loss of something precious in his own soul and longs that he did not “need” to accomplish things this way.
The knight finally faces the dragon in direct combat. His troops shoot arrows, the dragon dodges. The dragon lunges at him and the knight ducks. The dragon spits balls of flame and tar and the knight knocks the heavy fireballs away. In the heat of the battle the knight runs forward in a burst of energy “you foul beast, die for what you have done to so many people!” and the knight pierces the dragon’s heart.
The knight is on top of the world that night and celebrates with his men. Yet in the morning he feels a longing unsatisfied. It’s as if his whole quest was for naught despite good drink, heroism, friends and fans who long to know him he is suddenly unhappy. He longs to have not allowed them in their tiredness to mistreat people so wickedly. He sees that he only came to this place for the sake of his lost goods and fear of too much personal loss… His motivations from the start have been utterly selfish and he feels a ping of shame as he walks out the back door, gets on his horse and rides back to his home. The people may think he is great, but he sees it more clearly. Now disillusioned great knight and savior he is, who will save him?