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night fell and they made camp. comfortably arranged around the fire, built more for light and comfort than actual heat, they exchanged stories or jokes or glances or whispers or kisses, and eventually, snores.
one stood watch.
awake for six days straight, he'd finally started volunteering for nightwatch just for something to do while the others slept. he was perched in the tree they'd built their fire under, which combined with the full moon and ocean of stars gave him a good view over an empty field.
there was a sound in the distance. he looked, waited a moment. there was a similar sound, followed by a sort of thud.
he jumped down, stopped long enough to awaken one of the others, and began running. the grass, shining with dew, reflected back the pale moonlight at his face. the field glowed dully as he ran.
he was coming up on a hill when he heard more noise, coming from the other side. as he sprinted up it's smooth slope, he realized it peaked, then dropped off as a steep cliff. from the top, he looked down.
a woman with a sword was fighting a dragon.
the woman had hair that reached her knees, a flaming auburn waterfall of motion that was nothing short of mesmerizing as she twirled and ran around the beast. she was bleeding, and her motions seems a bit stunted; she was on the losing end of the battle, but refused to leave.
the sword was too big for her, and she didn't seem to know how to use it. it had a faint glow to it that was more yellow than the moon's reflection he saw everywhere else.
the dragon was about forty feet long and didn't appear to be much for moving. judging from the lay of the area, it probably lived here. the dragon was not bleeding; while it looked a little irritated, it certainly didn't look threatened.
he watched the battle quietly until the sword was knocked flying from her hands up towards the hill, to land stuck and quivering about halfway up it's height. she looked at it, then at the dragon, who smiled and began slowly moving in for the kill.
he, meanwhile, slid down the side of the cliff, yanking out the blade along the way. it was warm, and lighter than it looked. when he reached the bottom, he sprinted towards the beast, going straight past her without looking. its head was lowered to the ground as he ran, and as he approached it opened its' jaws to strike.
too slow. the mouth opened as he reached it, swinging upwards to put a gash across the nose and lips. as the head came up to roar in surprise, he kept running beneath it, cutting upwards at the exposed neck as he went.
the head dropped again, but he had simply to jump aside before the neck crushed him to the ground; as the head came around to meet a claw with him in the middle, he leaped up onto the neck to continue the attack.
immediately the dragon came upright, and he had to grab onto the long hair on the neck to keep from being thrown off. even as it swung, he climbed his way to the head, where with a composed sort of flourish he buried the blade up to the hilt in the base of the dragon's skull.
it dropped, jerked, and went still.
he slid off the side and met the woman as she approached.
"oh my god," she began.
"i know," he said, "you'll never get those stains out of your clothes"