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Three Word Thursday #47

This is the story for the words I missed Thursday.  I know they were supposed to be up Friday and I am sorry, but we had two deaths in the family, both of them computers. The Mac laptop I have been using is lost in a perpetual loop, and my desktop apparently expired while at sea.  I am using the tiny Notebook that Thom gifted me with.  I have my full sized monitor and key board plugged into it and it is working well.  I had to rewrite this story today.  It came out longer than it was the first time, but I think it is better, too.

Welcome to Three Word Thursday #47. Please join us in our weekly romp as we try to rescue lost and forgotten words from the dusty halls of antiquity. If you enjoy reading my story, leave a comment then click on the names of the other players and go see how they used these bygone words. You’ll be entertained (and possibly educated) all at once.

The Words:

  • eructate, v. — belch
  • noctambule, v. sleepwalk
  • coxcomb, n. a conceited, foolish dandy; pretentious

The story in full.

A quick recap:

When last we saw our heroes Evaard & Chevall were erasing their back trail and trying to lead the Mage Warriors astray; Fencil was about to remove a nasty thorn from the inside of his thigh; and Vernal had left the cave to search for firewood.


Vernal was happy to leave Fencil behind for two reasons. The boy was injured and the rest would do him good. But more urgently, when Vernal found the willow tree camp, he knew his father’s tales about the lands of Honalee weren’t all fantasy like his mother claimed, which meant the cave filled with dragon treasure could very well exist. Vernal hastened up the ravine.

Vernal had no intention of being greedy. He wished to take only one ruby or one gold coin. He wanted only enough so that his mother and baby sister would be well provided for. He and his brother were capable of taking care of themselves. But if he took two coins perhaps his mother and sister would be well enough off that his sister could draw the attention of a Knight. Better to wed a Knight and live in the castle then to marry a farmer or one of the king’s serfs.

And why shouldn’t he and his brother each have a coin to tuck away in case times ever got bad? Maybe two coins even. That was it. He would take six coins. Two for his mother, two for himself, and two for his brother. But shouldn’t his sister have a coin of her own as well? Yes. Two coins for his sister. Eight. He would take eight gold coins.

By now Vernal was practically running. The ravine was drawing to a wedge. The rocky walls were steep and towered on either side of him. When the walls were no more than four arm spans across, he would look for the hidden entrance to the cave.

Vernal skirted a landslide, jumped a fallen tree truck, and rounded a curve in the trail. Suddenly the ravine walls loomed overhead. A dense canopy of brush at the top blocked the sun. In the gloaming evening, the ravine seemed far too dark and small. Fear trembled in Vernal’s stomach.

Vernal scrambled back over the tree trunk and flattened himself on the ground. He pressed his face into the dirt and peered beneath the trunk, trying to make out the trail ahead. The ground quaked beneath him. A noxious smell burned his nose and lungs. A shrub to the left of the trail crumpled, flattened beneath the foot of a huge golden dragon.

Trembling, Vernal held his breath. He wanted to bolt to his feet and run. Had the dragon sensed him? Vernal couldn’t see the beast’s head, only that one, massive foot. Judging by its size and shape, that foot was attached to the dragon’s left, rear leg. If that was it’s hind leg, where was the front of the beast?

Slowly, holding his breath, Vernal eased from his stomach to his side and looked toward the sky. Two glowing red dragon eyes peered down at him. The beast was so close, Vernal could see shimmers of red in the intricate golden scales covering the dragon’s snout. Its ivory teeth were startlingly white — and sharp.

Vernal couldn’t move. He knew he was about to die. For years he had dreamed of battling dragons, then the truce had come and he dreamed of someday befriending a dragon. Not once had he dreamed of being eaten by a dragon.

The huge neck arched. The dragon’s maw opened wide. Vernal caught a glimpse of it’s forked tongue and massive molars. I’m going to die, he thought, as a rumble issued from the creature’s gullet. The dragon reared up. Blue and yellow flames roiled from its mouth and flared toward the sky. The dragon whimpered and the air filled with noxious fumes. Vernal gagged.

The dragon swung it’s head down and glared at Vernal. “Human,” a resonate voice boomed in Vernal’s thoughts. “Dare you violate the King’s lair?”

“N-n-not on purpose,” Vernal managed to stammer.

The dragon snorted. Smoke curled from its nostrils. “Enjoying a little noctambule, were you?” It queried drily.


“Don’t lie.” The dragon raised its right front claw. Vernal stared at the six inch long, razor sharp talons. “I can smell a lie. You came to steal treasure, yes?”

Vernal nodded.

“And have you determined that that was a bad idea?”

Again Vernal nodded. The dragon lowered its forearm ever so slightly and Vernal scooted away and sat up. Another wave of noxious air enveloped him. The dragon reared its head and shot golden flames into the sky as its gullet rumbled. Vernal used the creature’s distraction to scoot even further the away.

The dragon pinned him in place, caging his torso within it’s right forepaw. Talons pierced the ground on either side of Vernal’s head and either side of his hips. “Puny human,” the dragon voice rumbled in his head. “You live because I let you live. Be still or I may choose otherwise.”

Vernal quaked in fear, his teeth chattering. “I-I d-don’t want to d-die.”

The dragon surprised him by answering, “I don’t want to kill you. I ate three mage warriors today and they have upset my digestion something fierce.”

Vernal realized the dragon’s eructations were signs of dyspepsia. He decided not to ponder long on the source of noxious fumes that enveloped him from time-to-time. Who knew how sensitive a dragon might be about such things?

A rumble issued from the dragon’s chest an its great maw opened. Vernal braced himself for a death strike that never came. He opened his eyes and looked up. The dragon was laughing.

“I can read your mind,” the dragon explained. “You are an entertaining little coxcomb. Perhaps I shall keep you for a pet.”


The 3WT #48 words will be:

Got it? Good! In that case: Your story is due on: March 25th, 2010


  1. Note to all 3WT players, my next week’s episode of this story is already written and scheduled to post. You can play with certainty that 3WT will be here next Thursday even if, for some reason, I am too busy.

  2. I need to get into that habit, of writing them up and scheduling them so I don’t have to worry about last-minute things.

    Meanwhile, poor Vernal! at the end there he’s reminding me of poor Wesley and the Dread Pirate Roberts: “Good work Wesley, sleep well, tomorrow I shall probably kill you”. LOL What a mess this is!
    .-= Susan at Stony River´s last blog ..Friday Flash 55: Oopsie =-.

    1. Susan — I was in that habit until the last time I got really sick just before we left Hawaii. Since then I have been living by the skin of my teeth. I am currently one week ahead and if my schedule doesn’t change (it’s written in water so I never hold my breath), I should be able to tuck another episode away before next Thursday so I always stay a week ahead.

  3. this is exceptionally well written. one can feel vernal’s dilemma and his inner struggle. doing (or trying to) the wrong thing for a good cause still doesn’t make it good and i hope the boy learns a valuable lesson from the dragon 🙂
    .-= polona´s last blog ..welcome spring =-.

  4. Hmmm I’m feeling a bit sorry for Vernal. Being a Dragon’s pet? I dunno about that. Well written. And be still my heart, you scheduled your post already? ‘Bout time 🙂 LOL

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