Hellooooooo lovely people. It is July, it… is not the thirteenth… sorry about that… David Lloyd is going to be at Armageddon too, the weapons policy has been revised and I am allowed to bring my lightsaber after all, the Rebel Legion have been laughing at my cloak for a week straight but finally decided it is okay, and basically in general this is a good day. And the prompt is Cake and Dragons. I have no idea what I was thinking. Possibly I wasn’t thinking. Possibly I was watching Eureka, which is good, or Stand By Me, which is okay, or I may have been giving Arrow one last chance for Merlyn’s sake because there’s nobody else worthwhile on there anymore. Whatever, I said I’d do Cake and Dragons, so here goes some fairly unoriginal nonsense, but you might enjoy it.
Oh, and just before we start – it’s pronounced as Corey like Haim and Feldman, not Corrie like Ten Boom. Quite important.
Once upon a very long time ago, there lived a princess, who for the sake of argument we shall call Corie. She lived in a moderately warm castle, with all the usual accoutrements: battlements, a portcullis, a large clay oven in which the castle baker baked and on which the castle knights honed their swords, and a useful moat full of electric eels. In a nearby cave full of ancient treasure lived a dragoness (unfortunately misnamed Julian). Although her dragonishness made her somewhat unpopular in the kingdom, Julian was an entirely respectable dragon, blue underneath with green scales on top, and Corie was very fond of her and her weyr of young dragonets. She was a single mother, because her husband had taken off to annoy some dwarves east of the mountains shortly after the dragonets hatched.
Corie’s father was not fond of Julian, because she had been installed in the kingdom by the last king but three (dragons are notoriously long-lived) to deter invaders from crossing the borders. As there hadn’t been any invaders in the last few decades, the king was beginning to make the usual noises of an incompetent administrator, to the effect that he really couldn’t see what the kingdom was doing supporting a dragon who didn’t directly bring in any revenue and ate three sheep a week and had to take Tuesday afternoons off to pick up the dragonets from aerobatics practice.
The king was not a particularly clever or forward-thinking person, and did not understand that just because something is not of value to you right now, that is not enough reason to get rid of it. This is particularly true if having the item improves one’s prestige among one’s peers and subjects, and thus attracts the things that do bring one direct revenue.
Corie was a more forward-thinking person than the king, and saw that although there had been no invaders in her own lifetime, there might be in future, and then a family of dragons of various ages would be very useful. And so Corie visited Julian in her cave every second Saturday, to help with math homework (the eldest dragonet was studying toward his A Levels, where A is for Atmospheric) and brought marshmallows for the dragonets, and plum pudding soaked in brandy or Cherries Jubilee for Julian, who appreciated a good flambé dessert. Corie would sit on the rug – because humans seem to prefer softer surfaces – and the dragonets clustered around her on the piles of treasure – which was all second-hand, thrifted, or borrowed from Julian’s parents, because not all dragons can afford new furniture like Smaug with his fancy bachelor lifestyle – purring like young steam engines. It was all very cozy, because although dragons generally keep their fire inside, they are unusually warm to be around, and their caves, however large, drafty, and high in the snowy mountains, are snug year-round.
Around the time Corie was turning twelve, in the middle of winter, one of the knights in the castle was honing his sword on the clay oven, much as usual, and some other knights were practicing with glaves nearby, also much as usual, when the king’s favorite dog – a Brussels Griffon, not a corgi, you’re thinking of the wrong monarch – dashed across the yard. In their haste to avoid stepping on it, the knights stumbled back upon the oven, and one of the glaves (which are very heavy) fell straight through the roof of the oven, cracking it and the firepit underneath it irreparably and ruining Corie’s birthday cake. The baker’s assistant who minded the oven threw up his hands in disgust, flung his apron on the ground, and quit on the spot.
Someone had to be blamed for the accident, because ruining ovens is not something one should aspire to do deliberately, and the knights could not blame the Griffon, because the little snot was the king’s favorite, so they concocted a story about one of Julian’s dragonets flying past and startling them into falling all over the oven. Naturally, the king believed this load of nonsense, and decided to get rid of Julian and her family. Because none of his knights would go within a mile of Julian’s cave, he sent away for a famed dragon-hunting knight from Greece, to remove the dragon and bring back the treasure from her cave. When the knight arrived, an unpleasant chap with an irritable horse, bristling with knives and swords and spears and other weaponry, the king sort of waved him in the general direction of the mountain in which Julian’s cave was included. Fortunately, there were dozens of caves in the mountain, and Julian and the dragonets were keeping extraordinarily quiet and smokefree, so the knight stomped back to the castle in high dudgeon, having searched five caves and found nothing.
The king was in a foul mood by this point, because although the oven had been replaced, the oven-minder had not, and nobody else, including the baker, knew how to get the fire hot enough to bake really decent cakes. As a result, the entire castle was living on cabin bread, which keeps particularly well but tastes particularly bad. And none of the castle fireplaces had been lit in a month of Sundays, and he had to go around with three pairs of socks on, and gloves, and a beanie Corie had knitted for him, which was not regal at all. When the knight returned without so much as a dragon’s scale or a penny-piece, the king, in even higher dudgeon, demanded that he go and deal with the dragon immediately if not sooner, and suggested to him that Corie, who everyone knew went off on her own, might be able to help find the dragon. Much as Corie wept and implored and swore that Julian was a very useful dragon and someday, when the world was less peaceful, would prove to be an extremely useful dragon, the king held firm. No dragons.
Corie flounced off up the mountain with the grumpy knight stomping along behind her in his metal-plated boots, and promptly darted up one path, down another, and through a ravine. Eventually, she lost him entirely in a cave full of iron pyrite that he thought looked very promising, and dashed back to Julian’s cave. As mentioned, Julian was a particularly flying sort of dragon, and when Corie explained her plan, Julian picked her up carefully in a scaly fore-paw, and whistled the dragonets out of their bedcaves, and soared cheerfully off toward the castle. When they arrived, with much flapping of wings and sliding about in the muddy yard, the knights dashed as one man into the keep and locked the door.
Julian paid them no mind, but gently set Corie down, so that she could run as fast as her silken skirts would allow to the baker’s pantry, where the dry ingredients for a cake had been standing mixed in a large bowl in the forlorn hope that a new fire-minder would be found. Corie added the eggs – which she cracked on one of the dragonets’ spikes to avoid getting shell in the mixture – and the milk and oil, and stirred furiously fast, and poured the cake batter into a pan. The instant she slid the pan into the oven, Julian puffed a little puff of white-hot dragon fire into the firepit, and kept gently blowing for the next ten minutes or so, until the cake was perfectly cooked. The youngest dragonet scooped the cake out of the oven – dragons have heat-proof paws – and the whole family and Corie went and knocked on the door of the keep, to show the king that the weeks and weeks of cabin bread were officially over, Corie could have her birthday cake after all, and dragons were exceedingly useful and charming to have around, besides being the first-ever smokeless space-heaters, who could also light the castle fires if desired.
And now when the king is planning a feast, or wants to find out what is going on out at sea, he calls Julian. And the bakeries all over the kingdom compete for the services of the younger dragons as fire-minders, so that the kingdom is famed for its magnificent bread-based baked goods. And the local invaders know that there is not one dragon, not two dragons, but a whole family of dragons, a wyvern who married the eldest dragonet, and a host of small wyvons (the hybrid form), living in various parts of the kingdom and that attacking it is a very bad idea. Even though there would definitely be cake for tea in a cozy hall.
So yeah. I write stupid osik when I’m happy, apparently.
EDIT: Whoops, Rosalie forgot next month’s prompt. Next month is August, which is still winter here. We shall talk about either the falling of the rain or a river of dreams, upon which you may place whatever construction you please, though I do thoroughly recommend the songs linked as jumping-off points. Write about a raindrop. Write about a town built on a river. Do a songfic. Do alternative lyrics. Do something completely unrelated with just a glancing reference to some form of the topic. Write whatever comes to mind while you’re listening to the song. Up to you.
Thanks for reading.