He took a moment to gather his bearing and to meditate on that which he was about to undertake. He’d chosen this time of day carefully; with few exceptions, dragons were nocturnal hunters. He could catch the beast off guard, but getting to the soft, vulnerable underbelly would be tricky at best. Stone hard scales covered the rest of the dragon.
As Caleb stood in meditation, Midnight nudged his shoulder. He looked the war horse in the eye – no small feat considering the stallion’s size – and stared for a moment. The paladin nodded and stroked the creature’s long black mane. Midnight might well have asked what he was waiting on.
In truth, he’d rather not be here at all. Though his fear was strong, his real reservations lay with the conviction of his heart. To kill a creature simply because it acted in the way God created it somehow seemed wrong. Despite his hesitation, he must obey his King’s orders.
The armored champion withdrew his sword slowly to prevent the sound of ringing steel from waking the sleeping dragon. He vertically placed the two handed, double edged blade down into the ground, beside a mangled skeleton partly covered by rusted armor. Gripping the wire wrapped handle, he kneeled to the ground, letting only the blade’s tip sink into the soil.
As he always did before each battle, Caleb prayed. Of course he did this on a daily basis, but he’d learned the power of prayer long ago. One could never pray too much. He removed his helmet and let his long, black hair fall where it may. With his brown eyes closed and his head bowed, he whispered his petitions.
“As you’ve kept me in the past, dear Father, so I know you will in the future. The dragon before me will be the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. Give me strength, courage and protection. Please, help me safeguard my country.”
What is it that you wear?
The paladin faltered in his talk with God. He instantly recognized the feminine voice speaking to him as his guardian angel, Kyria. He felt humbled when the words drifted through his mind. The question was obviously rhetorical, but he answered with little hesitancy.
“I wear the Armor of God,” the champion whispered, “for it is consecrated.”
In his mind’s eye, Caleb saw the image of Kyria. Beautiful white wings, long golden hair and a spotless robe adorned her angelic figure. She was so exquisite that he couldn’t begin to imagine the greater splendor of the Almighty, Himself.
And has the armor ever failed you? she asked.
“No guardian, it hasn’t.”
Then you have protection, she stated. Are you not here, kneeling before a dragon’s lair?
The warrior answered, “I am here.”
Then you have courage, Kyria commented. Do your muscles trouble you in carrying your sword and shield?
The paladin shook his head. “Nay guardian, they are but a light burden.”
Then you have strength, she said. What is it that you lack?
He considered the question a moment. He soon realized the answer. “Guidance, guardian Kyria. The protection of my kingdom is the task appointed to me. Yet I am here today as David was before Goliath. Instruct me and I will follow God’s will.”
Do you wish to slay the dragon as those before you have tried to do?
That was another difficult question, no doubt about it. He attempted to dodge the query in his reply. “What I wish is of no consequence. I can do only that which my King has ordered.”
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