The Laidly Wyrm

Did you know there's an English folk song about a knight kissing a dragon? Mature.

The black granite walls of the seaside keep couldn't keep him at bay. Sir Roderick, youngest knight of the Order of the Green Hen, had come to fight the dragon. The dragon's crimes were only those of scaring coastal farmers and carrying off several head of cattle, but to Roderick, this was an opportunity to distinguish himself.

Getting inside the keep was a challenge all its own, but high walls couldn't stop him. A rope tied to his sword, thrown like a spear through a small window, let him scramble up into the guard tower. From there, he picked his way through the wide corridors of the keep. His footsteps echoed against the steady roar of the waves as he sought a path to the courtyard.

Eventually, he found a set of double doors, bolted with a thick iron bar. Sunlight glared through the cracks from the other side. He took a moment to ready himself. He tucked his blonde hair back, slipped his helmet onto his head, and then placed one hand on the hilt of his sword. With the other, he threw back the bolt and pushed open the doors.

In the courtyard, the high walls cast shadows against the thick flagstones. In one corner, the floor had crumbled away entirely, leaving a hole straight down to the rolling sea below. And in the middle of the courtyard was the dragon.

Its powerful, sinuous body stretched out along the stones. It sat like a great regal cat, with its forelegs tucked under its chest and back legs extended. Its scales glistened in the sun; they were a shade of blue richer than a nobleman's coat. A pair of smooth horns curled from its forehead, first sweeping back, then arching forward again in a lazy, serpentine curve. Its yellow eyes fixed on Roderick. Lean muscle rolled beneath its scales as it rose to its feet.

The dragon's voice reverberated through the stone. "At last!" it rumbled. Roderick watched its teeth. They were not like daggers. Daggers were thin and meant for slicing. The dragon's teeth were stout and jagged and meant for tearing meat from limb and armor from knight.

Roderick had practised what he would say the whole way from the nearest town. "Remember the name Sir Roderick, dragon," he said. The tip of his sword traced a line straight to the dragon's head. "Because it's he who'll slay you."

"Wait," the dragon said. It held out a taloned claw as big as Roderick's rib cage. "You're here to slay me? You mean you don't know?"

Roderick kept his sword at the ready, but dropped his arm to a more comfortable position. "Know what?" he asked, expecting some draconic trick waiting in the wings.

"So you don't know." The dragon reared back to sat on its hind legs. It bowed its head and clasped its claws atop its breast. "I was once a fair maid, daughter to a noble man, until my stepmother cast me in the salt, salt sea and cursed me, saying:

'O lie you there dove Isabel

A lonely beast condemned to be

Till a man who's true and brave of heart

Shall climb the keep and then kiss thee.'"

By the time the dragon finished, it had nearly broken into song. While Roderick listened, he still stayed on guard. But with its claws clasped and its wings folded behind its shoulders, the dragon held a serene sadness in its bearing. He almost thought he could see a glimmer of a tear behind the jagged black ridges that rimmed its eyes like eyelashes.

Roderick looked closer at the dragon. He could make out the echoes of a maiden's body beneath the claws and scales. Her countenance held the weight of tragedy with a dignity no beast could match. After a few moments' pause, he sheathed his sword and knelt down on one knee.

"Then my lady—" he began.

The dragon winced and stuck out a claw. "Isabel. Please, just Isabel."

"Then Isabel, I shall be the one to free you." Roderick stood and strode up to her feet. Each of her talons was a big as a bull's horn. With a flourish of his surcoat, he bent down over one of the dragon's talons, and gave it a light kiss along the top.

Isabel cocked her head to one side to look down at him. She towered over him, some sixteen feet tall. He was like a small child before her.

"That won't work," she said.

Roderick wiped his lips on the back of his gauntlet, trying to rid them of the taste of sea spray.

"Why not? I kissed you," he said. A note of skepticism wormed its way into his voice.

"You kissed my foot. That's hardly a kiss. Here, do you want to come up or would you like me to come down?" she said, holding out one of her claws, palm outstretched.

Roderick took a half-step back and looked up at Isabel warily. She had earned his trust, but there was a difference between trust and climbing into a dragon's claw.

With a small snort of smoke, the dragon eased down onto all fours. Her head was larger than that of a horse. Up close, Roderick could see each shining cobalt scale and the bolts of green and yellow in her eyes. He also knew now just how large her teeth were..

"There. Now let's do this right," Isabel said. She leaned down toward Roderick, then gently tipped her snout up toward him. Her eyes slid shut and she waited, her rounded snout and thin lips only a foot from his face. Her nostrils flared slowly as she breathed.

Roderick tried to summon up his courage. Surely, this was no worse than kissing a very large dog, but that image didn't inspire him to confidence. Gingerly, Roderick leaned closer to the dragon's maw. He could smell the sulphur and smoke on her breath. He pulled his lips together and stole a quick peck against the dragon's lips. As soon as his lips had touched hers, he pulled back.

Isabel's eyelids were narrowed across her slit pupils.

"You call that a kiss?" she said.

"This isn't easy!" Roderick said. His cheeks were flushed and he gripped the hilt of his sword anxiously. "You're three times my size, and you're a monster."

Isabel's eyes began to glisten. A sound like creaking timbers groaned out from the depths of her throat. Her head sagged and the corners of her mouth began to tremble.

Roderick realized the danger of a distraught dragon. He reached out to stroke her muzzle and gave her his most charitable smile. "I'm sorry, I didn't meant that. Here, I'll try again, okay?"

Isabel sniffled and nodded, lifting a claw to dry her scales.

Roderick closed his eyes and imagined what Isabel would look like as a maiden. Pale-haired and fair-skinned, wearing a light and flowing gown that rippled in the sea breeze. His lips met Isabel's and he pressed against them, ignoring the firm scales and the strange, blocky shape of her snout. With all his willpower, he kissed Isabel like he would a charming maid, gently and lingering.

Roderick opened his eyes. Isabel's slit eyes peered down at him from the other end of her muzzle. The dragon was still crouched down before him, not a scale different than she was before. A purplish tint had crept onto her cheeks. A look of mild but not-unhappy confusion spread over her face.

"Maybe it has to be with tongue?" Isabel said.

That long, slithering thing? Roderick shuddered. "Isabel..." he began to say.

"Please!" Isabel said. She cupped her claws around him, holding him close to her face. Her breath, tinged with the occasional puff of smoke, ruffled his surcoat. "I'm so lonely here. You couldn't leave a bonny maid all on her own, could you?"

This was all too much for Roderick. But wasn't there a song about a knight who slept with a great beast, and in the morning woke next to a beautiful lady? Isabel was only asking for a kiss. If he broke the curse over her, maybe he'd get his own song, too. Though he couldn't think of many things that rhymed with Roderick...

"I'll do it," Roderick said.

Isabel smiled and a physical wave of dragon-warmth washed over him. He put his hands on Isabel's snout to steady himself. Then, with eyes closed, he kissed her. One of Isabel's claws rested against the back of his head.

Then her tongue invaded his mouth.

It was long and thin and tapered to a fine point. Roderick's first impulse was to pull back, but Isabel held him still. Her tongue explored his mouth like a curious serpent. Her head cocked to the side and a soft rumble rose from her throat. Roderick's eyes began to water.

At last, Isabel let go. Roderick stumbled backward and fell to the ground with a heavy clank of armor. The dragon reeled her head back. Her tongue slithered back between her lips. A purple blush graced her cheeks. She was still rumbling happily. Her chest rose and fell deeply, as if catching her breath.

Roderick pushed himself up onto his elbows and coughed. The aftertaste of dragon-fire was like vile liquor, and lingered on his tongue.

"Oh, you know what? I think I got the spell wrong," Isabel said. She rubbed her cheek with her claws. "It's not 'then kiss thee'. It's 'thrice kiss thee'. We have to do it two more times."

"Absolutely nmmph," Roderick said. The dragon's head dipped down and pinned him against the ground. Her foreclaws thudded against the stone on either side of his head. Roderick closed his lips and teeth tight, but her tongue wormed its way through both without slowing down. It coiled around his own tongue and probed down toward his throat. Above him, Isabel's lean body squirmed. Her tail lashed against the flagstones and twin trails of smoke rolled from her nostrils.

Roderick gasped for air once the dragon pulled back. What felt like tiny sparks trailed in and out of his hands and feet, while little flecks of color drifted in the corners of his eyes. Dizzy and disoriented, he hadn't even the strength to sit up.

Isabel's tongue dangled from her mouth as she hissed to herself, cheeks flushed bright violet. She spoke quietly, not to him but to heself, saying, "Oh, good knight, you're so strong. Another kiss? As you wish, my lord..."

Roderick grunted in distress as her lips met his again. She pried his jaw open and sunk into the kiss. Her tongue slithered into his mouth while her hot breath washed over his face. The dragon-fire in her chest had been stoked into a blaze, and with her scales pressed against him, the heat seeped right through his armor.

The tingling in Roderick's extremities grew more intense. The heat inside his suit of armor mounted. Sweat beaded along his brow. A hot pressure rose up inside his chest; unable to escape through his throat, it pressed outward against his ribs. He grunted and squirmed and scrabbled at the ground, but he was pinned tight beneath Isabel's body as his chest swelled.

His armor was a steel vice clamped around his body. The tendons in his arms tightened, forcing his fingers to curl. The overlapping steel plates along the backs of his gauntlets bent and rippled. The chainmail underneath glistened. A patina of green blossomed across the steel, followed by talons bursting from the tips of his gauntlets. As his hands surged out into a dragon's claws, his armor became a dragon's scales. Thick emerald plates stretched across the backs of his palms and each ring in his chainmail melted into a new shining scale.

His oversized claws scraped at the ground. His eyes were wide in panic, but Isabel's eyes were closed. Her pleasant rumbling drowned out Roderick's muffled cries. The heat inside of him roiled and twisted with nowhere to vent. The straps of his breastplate dug in against his burgeoning chest.

With a happy sigh, Isabel popped free of the kiss. Suddenly, nothing was keeping the flame back.

Roderick's spine arched. The bones of his neck stretched long and limber. A gout of fire burst from his throat, curling up into the air above him. Panting, he stared at the wisps of smoke drifting up toward the sky. The dry, ashen vapors stung his sinuses and wrinkled his nose.

Above him, the blue-scaled dragon was deeply flushed along her cheeks and underbelly. Her eyes gazed off into the distance and eager smoke puffed from her nostrils. "Ah, your lance...!" she rumbled to herself, lost in her own fantasy and unaware of Roderick squirming beneath her.

His boots bulged around the outlines of savage talons. Green seeped into the steel as it stretched. Then, in a sudden burst, his new claws ripped free. The joints in his legs stretched and shifted, elongating his feet, putting all the weight on top of his new talons. Scales poured up his legs. His shining green hide wrapped around his sleek, powerful calves and his mighty draconic thighs.

The growth surged up his arms in fits and starts, bringing with it lean, powerful muscle. Armor melted into fine dragon-scale to fit his lithe, growing limbs.

He peeled his lips back and clenched his jaw. His teeth bulged out into jagged dragon-teeth one by one, starting from the back and alternating sides. They crowded together on his human jaw, until eight teeth in. Crunching and snapping, his face popped forward with enough force to make his helmet clank against the stone. Up above him, the bridge of his nose stretched forward until it came to a narrow, pointed snout. His green nostrils wiggled at the end of his muzzle. His long tongue hung uselessly over the side of his mouth, too long and unwieldy to use.

"Ithabel!" he lisped, hearing the new rumble of his voice. His neck grew longer by the minute. His helmet had become part of his scales, spawning a pair of curled, ram-like horns. His vision blurred; his eyes split down the center, turned a piercing silver. Small crests of black rimmed the corners of his eyes.

Roderick's long neck was fully scaled. His breastplate bowed out around his beastlike chest, melting into thick, armored underbelly scales. Roderick had a sense that something was wrong.

Many things were wrong right now, but even if he accepted the fact that he was becoming a dragon, something was wrong. It was something in his head, in his chest, in the pit of his stomach. Something more was happening than just becoming a dragon.

At last, Isabel looked down at Roderick, but instead of the shock he expected to see, a wide grin spread across her face. "Sir knight, how big and handsome you've grown," she purred, planting her claws on top of his arms to hold him down. To Roderick's long, pointed ears, Isabel sounded less like a fearsome beast and more like an eager maid.

Something flexed against his back, pressing against the stone as if searching for a place to break free. His shoulders twisted forward, instinctively making room. A pair of wings burst from his back, unfurling and creaking as the freshly-grown joints flexed. They shuddered out to his full wingspan before giving an experimental flap.

"Isabel," he said, lisp gone. His tongue rested comfortably in his mouth as long as he didn't think about how long or flexible it was. "Something's wrong." His voice sounded much like Isabel's now, deep and rumbling, but soft to a dragon's ears. In size and build, he was near Isabel's equal, though his hide had thicker, sharper plates of scales than Isabel's smooth coat.

The lithe blue dragon put her claws atop Roderick's chest. Even with her weight against him, he could breathe easily. The scales were converging on his waist. A new tail sprouted from the base of his spine. It hit the ground with a heavy smack, then lashed back and forth beneath him.

Isabel's claws kneaded Roderick's scales. "There's nothing wrong," she said. "Dragon or human, I don't care. I'm tired of being lonely."

Any protest was cut off by Isabel's kiss. Their draconic snouts meshed in a way they hadn't before. Her mouth fit against his, his tongue twined around hers, and she easily sunk deeper into the kiss. The fire within her chest only made the fire in Roderick's burn brighter.

The scales closed over Roderick's groin, turning the last of his armor into dragon-hide. With one firm jerk, his body drew his manhood up inside of him, leaving nothing but a small cleft in his scales. He had barely registered the feeling of being so tightly packed when a new sensation struck. It was as if all the muscles from his thighs to his waist were clenching at once.

Still trapped in the kiss, he could do nothing but squirm and jerk and buck his hips as muscle ground against muscle. His warm, tender flesh drew up tighter inside of him. Another clench, another pull. The tight, swollen feeling he associated with being aroused spread outward, seeming to fill up his whole crotch. Another clench, another pull. His stomach churned. Organs were pushed aside. A bead of fluid rolled from the bottom of his cleft scales and dripped onto the granite flagstones beneath him.

The final clench came and Roderick's tail beat the ground. His feet clawed at the stone and his slit eyes rolled back in his skull. A wave of heat and dizziness crashed over him and a gout of flame shot from his mouth into Isabel's. Twin plumes of smoke rolled up from her snout and she growled happily. Roderick fell limp underneath her, his whole lower abdomen throbbing in the afterglow. A small spurt of hot fluid trickled down his green scales.

Or, rightly, her green scales.

Isabel pulled back from the kiss with a sharp glint in her eyes. "I've been very lonely," she said. Her tongue flicked through the air as if tasting it. Her claws trailed down Roderick's smooth belly. "And now I've finally got a handsome dragon, right where I want him."

Her fingers dipped into Roderick's cleft. Her grin slipped from her face. Roderick squirmed against the ground and lashed her tail against the floor and growled pitifully. Words had left her sometime in the midst of losing her manhood; getting fingered now left her a smoking, gasping mess on the floor.

Isabel drew her claws back and scowling at the draconic fluids running down her talons. "Stupid damned curse. I wanted a man," she grumbled.

Roderick's head still spun with foreign thoughts of eggs and large dragons with rumbling voices and long, thick horns. Her limbs were less nimble than a human's, but by twisting her lithe back, she was able to sink her claws into the cracked flagstones. She tried her hardest not to think about what made male dragons handsome as she hauled her strange, shapely body out from underneath Isabel.

A warm jolt shuddered through her spine. Isabel had grabbed Roderick by the underside of the base of her tail. As she now learned, dragons were very sensitive there. Huffing and squirming, Roderick panted tiny tongues of fire. The green dragon glanced anxiously up at her blue counterpart.

"I can make do with you," Isabel said. Her other hand grasped Roderick by her knee, holding her in place with her legs spread. Isabel's tongue darted across her lips.

---

Sir Robin of the Order of the Green Hen stood outside the tavern, staring down the coast at the seaside keep a few miles distant. Sir Henry, also of the Order of the Green Hen, had his head cocked to one side to listen. A bit of fire flickered in the air above the keep, and moments later, a screeching roar met their ears.

"Poor lad," Sir Henry said, then looked down at his mead. His mug wasn't as full as he liked it to be.

"Fool lad. I expect that dragon's going to eat him up," Sir Robin said.

Sir Henry shook his head. "It's been carrying on for hours. Roderick might be a fool, but he's persistent."

"There's no holding out against a hungry dragon," Sir Robin said.

Sir Henry nodded solemnly and lifted his mug. "Good luck, boy."

December 9, 2016