Trifecta’s writing challenge challenges you to write a piece between 0 and 333 words, with the third definition of the word they give each week. This week was:
1 : skill in planning, making, or executing : dexterity2 a : an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter’s craft> <the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>b plural: articles made by craftspeople <a store selling crafts> <a crafts fair>
This piece is stand-alone, or can be read as a kind of prequel to Castle, Stormed. The artwork is by my sister, the talented Doodle. Click the image to go to her DeviantART. It’s a free-hand pencil sketch, and, not to sound too cocky, but she drew it for me. I requested an unimpressed goat. It totally makes sense.
It took hardly any of his craft to get the map. Its previous owner understood so little of what it meant, this scrap of parchment with the name of a long-forgotten kingdom, that by the time he’d been through, the woman had been glad to part with it in return for a song and a smile.
He’d have called it not enough of a challenge, but he tried to avoid setting himself up for failure. The most complicated part was dosing the goats just right, so that they didn’t die on the way to the castle. It was a little-known fact that dragons didn’t eat things they hadn’t killed themselves. His father had wanted him to go into medicine, had taught Monroe all he knew of herbs. He suspected the old man would not have considered this a worthwhile use of that knowledge.
The toughest part was hanging by his fingers, over the edge of the bridge. He hadn’t really considered what would happen if the dragon didn’t take the bait soon enough, not until his fingers were going numb, his arms and back aching as he hung. Hanging over a dry moat full of rusty and broken pieces of armor shook his confidence in the plan.
He’d done it, though. The dragon slept soundly less than an hour after he’d crossed the moat, and he padded through the empty castle, hopping confidently over the piece of the dragon’s tail that blocked the inner yard.
The highest room, in the tallest tower, he thought, mentally mapping out his best route through the maze of corridors. I’m going to be rich.
His legs soon joined his arms in aching, as the stairs spiraled up and up. Even with his goal so close, he stopped at the top landing to catch his breath.
His grin faded as he stepped forward. He may have been clever in defeating the dragon, but it appeared he wasn’t the only one to get past. She seemed surprised to see him too.