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The Curse of the Ice Dragon

George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in over 50 magazines and anthologies including Galaxy's Edge, Factor Four, Grievous Angel, Best Vegan SFF, and The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF. He lives in Athens, Greece, and when he's not writing he is, among other things, an actor, a civil engineer, a husband and a father. He wishes he could write more, read more, travel more, play more computer games, and spend more time with cats. Story comments: This was a Weekend Warrior story, one of my personal favorites. I was thinking about the avatars we choose, and how different from us they look, and then how different we ourselves would be if we could choose who are, and we could shape our bodies like avatars. But in the end of the day, would we be able to change our true nature - or do we even have one?
Every night, I dream of the castle in the snow.
Every night I'm a princess, trapped inside the castle tower. Princes from all across the land set out to rescue me from my evil dragon guardian.
Many perish along the journey. Some fall off the summits of Mount Agarnathia as they brave the mountain passes during a winter storm; others are devoured by the evil hags of Demonwood Forest while the blood moon shines upon their corpses and smiles; still others are slaughtered without mercy by the cruel armies that the Ogre King set upon them; or they fall prey to their own greed, or ignorance, or envy, as they sail on the deceptively calm waters of Lake Judgment.
But still they come to set me free, and they are so many that some of them manage to reach the Frozen Wastelands, and a few even pass through the Caves of Doom and the ever-hungry undead who guard them, and fewer still make it past the nameless malicious entity that dwells inside the Glacier of the Deadly Eye.
Those who come through are the bravest of the brave. They are innocent young knights or battle-hardened generals; they are the valiant and the cunning, the resourceful and the wise. And when they reach the castle, the dragon slays them all and piles up their heads in pyramids.
He slays them all, except the one I love. My handsome fair-haired prince, the one with the careless air and the crooked smile. He sees through all the dragon's traps. He bursts through the dragon's defenses like an arrow through a smoke screen. In the end, the evil dragon himself thunders out of the castle gates to face my prince in single combat. The dragon is a hundred feet tall, his scales are deadly spikes and his every breath is an ice storm unleashed. My beloved doesn't stand a chance against the humongous brutish monster.
But the dragon has forgotten about me, and I'm not a cowardly maiden or a helpless damsel in distress. I make a sturdy rope of my own long dark hair, I climb down the castle tower, I pick up a sword from one of my would-be-saviors' corpses, and I fight the dragon alongside my prince.
The foe may be colossal, and vicious, and cruel beyond measure; but we fight on the wings of love, and we manage to defeat the evil dragon together.
My prince takes my hand, as I take his. We kiss. Out there in the snow we undress, and we lie down, and we make love. It's like the world is born anew, in holy fire. The ice melts, and the snow goes away, and we lie in each other's arms on a lovely green field.
Then dawn breaks, and the dragon stirs--and then he stands. And the world is bathed in blood.
Every night I dream of being a princess.
It was not my fault that I was born in a dragon's body.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018


George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in over 50 magazines and anthologies including Galaxy's Edge, Factor Four, Grievous Angel, Best Vegan SFF, and The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF. He lives in Athens, Greece, and when he's not writing he is, among other things, an actor, a civil engineer, a husband and a father. He wishes he could write more, read more, travel more, play more computer games, and spend more time with cats. Story comments: This was a Weekend Warrior story, one of my personal favorites. I was thinking about the avatars we choose, and how different from us they look, and then how different we ourselves would be if we could choose who are, and we could shape our bodies like avatars. But in the end of the day, would we be able to change our true nature - or do we even have one?

- George Nikolopoulos

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