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planswalker
2011-07-28, 03:17 PM
I just wrote a children's bedtime story as part of the roleplaying of one of my characters in a game I just made, and wanted to know what others thought of it. Since the character thread is supposed to be private, I don't really want to link to it here.

The situation is that my character, a halfling dragonfire adept with green dragon heritage has a soft spot for children and in the course of investigating the disappearance of the missing kids, has come to befriend the one he believes to likely be the next one abducted. He's telling her this as a bedtime story.

"Once upon a time, there was a brave young princess. She lived in a castle with her father and mother, the king and queen. They were very happy together and had a lot of fun together. Each morning, the queen would sing with the princess and tell her all sorts of wonderful stories and the king would take her riding every day to feed songbirds and hunt wildflowers.

Then, one day, an ogre came and took her parents away, and her aunt and uncle came to take her away from her castle. Though they took care of the princess, they did not love her and had no time to play with her. They locked her away in her tower and never let her sing or ride out into the countryside to pick wildflowers. However, she was still happy because she met someone special in this new place: a friend.

He was an orphan boy who was apprenticed to the keep's smith, and he had to work very hard most of the day helping the blacksmith make armor and weapon's for her uncle's soldiers. However, in the evening, the smith gave him the evening off, and he'd spend his free time climbing the princess's tower to come play with her. The two had a lot of fun together, doing puzzles, playing at 'maids and dragons', and all sorts of other wonderful games.

However, one day her uncle came up to her room while the boy was over and saw them play together. He was furious and had the boy whipped, and forbade the princess from ever seeing him again. He dismissed the blacksmith and demanded that he take his apprentice far away to another land. The princess was all alone.

Without her friend, the princess was lonely and cried often, for her parents were gone and now her best friend was gone as well.

Then one day, a little green dragon came to her window and said, "Princess, if you will let me in, we will play together and have all sorts of fun adventures together. We will be the best of friends." Not sure what to do but remembering the manners her mother had taught her not to leave a guest waiting on her doorstep, or window sill in this case, so she let him in.

Now this dragon was very special. Although he was a green dragon, he was not mean to children and would never eat them. He also was small, much smaller than the other dragons. He was no bigger than the princess herself. The other dragons used to pick on him and call him names because he was so much smaller than them, and none of them wanted to be his friend. That was why the little green dragon ran away from them and found the princess. He had heard that princesses were kind and beautiful children who were always polite and never made fun of people for being small.

The two spend the whole afternoon playing together, and the princess taught the dragon how to do puzzles and play 'maids and dragons' which worked even better than with her father, for the little green dragon was a dragon. He taught her how to play dragon games like, 'catch the tail' and 'riddle the knight'. He was better at those games than the princess was but let her win most of them because he was a guest and she was his host, and it's rude for a guest to outdo his host.

The two played all day until the young princess had lost track of time and her uncle knocked on her door to tell her to go to bed. The two startled when the princess's uncle knocked on the door and the dragon gave a yelp of surprise.

This made the uncle very concerned, for princesses should not yelp when their uncles knocked on their doors to make sure they went to bed. He demanded to come in and find out what was wrong, and nothing the princess could say would convince him not to. She was very scared, for she and the dragon were friends now and she didn't want him to have to go away like the smith's apprentice did. The dragon reassured her that good princesses did not refuse to let their guardians in their rooms and that she should let her uncle in. "Do not worry about me, fair princess. Do as your uncle says."

The princess very sadly and very reluctantly went to the door and unbolted it to let her uncle in. As the door opened, he looked in and saw-"

Little Green pauses for dramatic effect.

yes, his name is Little Green.

Rizban
2011-07-29, 01:13 AM
Cute.filler

hustlertwo
2011-07-29, 01:29 AM
Pleasant and soothing, albeit with sinister undertones.

NikitaDarkstar
2011-07-29, 02:01 AM
Quite cute, it certainly has the fairytale feel to it, but you do have some repetitions here and there and some words you might just want to consider changing. (Like "hunting" for wildflowers, I'd go with "looking for" or something similar.) Or another part that jumped out at me was this: "The two played all day until the young princess had lost track of time and her uncle knocked on her door to tell her to go to bed. The two startled when the princess's uncle knocked on the door and the dragon gave a yelp of surprise." You already said someone knocked and who, you don't need to say it twice. ;)

But really, apart from needing a few minor touch-ups/edits here and there it's really a quite nice piece. :)

planswalker
2011-07-29, 07:18 AM
thanks!

the repetition, btw, was as a creative device, deliberate. Now, that piece is the roughest draft imaginable, I just typed it up in one sitting to try and give it the feel of the character was actually at the bedside of the child telling her the story as he made it up.

thanks for the feedback though! When I finish the other two parts of it, I might just clean it up and save it.

Monodominant
2011-07-29, 09:19 AM
If only your DM would be nicer and award XP for this!

But yea, its very nice! The little girl was very happy!

planswalker
2011-07-29, 09:26 AM
You did. 250 of it.

Monodominant
2011-07-29, 12:49 PM
Well keep it up and there are more where those came from ;)

planswalker
2011-08-02, 06:50 PM
part two:

"The princess very sadly and very reluctantly went to the door and unbolted it to let her uncle in. As the door opened, he looked in and saw-

Nothing but some toy blocks stacked into a castle. The little green dragon was nowhere to be seen.

"Now, princess, why did you make such a frightful sound when I knocked on your door? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, uncle, I had just lost track of the time and was startled when you knocked."

"Very well. Off to bed with you. It's time for all little princesses to be in their beds."

"Yes, uncle." she said quietly, for as much as she did not want to, the princess was raised far too politely to disobey her guardian. She climbed into bed and her uncle put out her lantern and left without so much as a goodnight kiss. She was scared, though, for she did not know where the little green dragon had disappeared to.

"Do not worry. I am still here." she heard a voice whisper in her ear and then poof! the dragon re-appeared right there in front of her! Like all dragons, the little green dragon was magical and could do magic tricks. One of his favorites was to turn invisible when he shouldn't be seen.

He gave her a big, wet dragon kiss goodnight and told her a bedtime story about about kings and knights and a great battle until the little girl fell asleep.

The two played together for weeks, soon becoming fast friends. The little green dragon would sleep under her bed at night and play with her when everyone else had no time for her, and whisper secrets to her that only dragons know, and she would tell him all about the things that princesses must know and tell her all her secrets. The two agreed to always be best friends.

However, when the princess spit in her palm and shook the dragon's palm in the unbreakable pact of best friends, this reminded her of the blacksmith's boy she used to play with, and the time when she made the same oath with him. She grew very sad at this and cried.

The little green dragon was very confused by this and said, "What's wrong, princess? Why are you sad? Do you not want to be my best friend in all the world?"

"No, no, it's not that, little green dragon." She said between sobs. "It's just that I made this promise to someone else once, and now he's gone and never coming back."

The little green dragon grew very concerned at this. "Well, that simply won't do. Who was he, and we'll set out tomorrow to find him. You made a promise, and princesses should always keep their promises."

"He was the blacksmith's apprentice at the caste, but he had to go when my father found out about him, for he was a commoner and my uncle said that commoners cannot play with princesses."

"Well, that's absolute rubbish. I'm just a common dragon myself, and I say your uncle is wrong. Tomorrow morning, you and I are going to find your friend, and I'll make him my rider, for then your uncle will have to let him play with us, for dragonriders are all knights and not commoners."

This pleased the princess, but she recalled her manners and said, "But, I cannot just run away. It would worry my aunt and uncle, and a princess is not supposed to make her guardians worry."

"Very true." the little green dragon said. "But princesses must also keep their promises, right?"

"Of course, silly." she said.

"Then it's simple. We will wait until your aunt and uncle are away and too busy to pay attention to you, and we will leave for the day. We'll be back home in time for supper, and they will never have to worry."

"That's wonderful!" The princess was very happy with this, for she dearly wanted her friend back, but she also wanted to be a good girl and do as princesses ought.

The two continued to play together for the next week, growing more and more excited about the adventure they had planned. The very next week, their chance came. Her uncle was gone to visit one of his vassals who wanted him to judge between himself and another of her uncle's vassals and would be gone for five days. Her aunt received a letter from her cousin telling her that the lord of a nearby castle was throwing a ball and she was invited. She told the princess that she would be leaving o go to a ball for the day and to be a good girl and not get into trouble while she was out of the castle and her uncle was gone.

The princess agreed and her aunt left. The two quickly left, having packed a lunch for three and plenty of snacks in an old backpack in the caste. The princess opened her window and the little green dragon flew out, and offered to let her ride on his back.

She wrote her aunt and uncle a quick note explaining that she was going out to find a dragonrider to be her friend and that she would be home in time for supper. She placed the note on her pillow and locked the door to her room so that the servants wouldn't disturb her and worry when she wasn't there.

She climbed on the dragon's back and the two took off!

Now, dragons are the fastest flying things in the world, and the little green dragon was one of the best fliers, and the two spent an hour just flying among the clouds, having fun chasing birds and diving through clouds.

Eventually, the little green dragon asked, "Where is the apprentice boy? Where did your uncle send him?"

The princess was slightly embarrassed at this. "I don't know." she said. "My uncle sent him away and didn't say where. But still, he is a smith's apprentice and there are only so many blacksmiths in the world and each one only has one apprentice, and you fly so very fast that it shouldn't take too long to look at them all."

The little green dragon was very proud of his flying, and agreed that this sounded like a good plan. The two flew from village to village all across the countryside, looking for her friend. Every village they went to had a blacksmith, and most had apprentices, but none of them were her special friend.

Finally, around lunchtime, one of the blacksmiths at a small village at the edge of a swamp said that he had seen a boy pas by here months ago who looked just like the princess's friend. He had walked into the swamp one day, and was never heard from again, for a terrible monster lived in the swamp, and no one who went in came out ever again. It is said that the terrible swamp monster eats them after cooking them in his giant pot.

The princess was nervous at this, but the dragon said, "How silly. Of course your friend is still alive. We didn't come all this way to give up." His words filled her with courage, and the two continued on.

Just as the two came to the edge of the swamp, the princess's tummy grumbled, for it had been hours since breakfast. The two stopped just before entering and ate lunch. While the two ate spicy sausages and cheese with bread and pears, the princess her a sad mewling sound and some angry barking. Concerned and wishing to help whoever was so sad, the princess followed the sound and found a kitten caught up in a tree with dogs circling it. The princess told the little green dragon about this, and the two contrived a way to save the kitten.

The little green dragon flew up high and roared, doing his best to sound like a great big dragon instead of a little one. "I am the Great Green Dragon of the Swamp!" he bellowed. "That cat is mine and you will leave it alone or I shall eat you!"

The dogs were not very smart as dogs go and the voice of a dragon scared them away, for they did not want to be eaten. While they ran away, the princess climbed the tree and carried the kitten down.

"Thank you for saving me from those dogs." said the kitten. "I am not just any old kitten but am Bast, prince of the cats. If you ever need my, only call out 'Bast, Bast, Bast! I need you!' and I shall come."

The kitten then springed away and disappeared before the princess could say anything more, for cats were vain creatures who did not think to let others speak before leaving them, and the prince of cats was the most vain of all. Still, the princess did not bear the cat a grudge, for it is rude to judge other people who were raised differently than you, and the princess was sure that being raised as a cat prince was different from a human girl.

The two continued on into the swamp. Inside the swamp, it was quiet. Far too quiet. Her castle back home was noisier than this place even when everyone was asleep, and the princess knew that this was not right, for swamps are supposed to have all sorts of animals and bugs in it chirping, croaking, buzzing, and growling.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by crying, and the princess and the little green dragon followed the sound to find out what was wrong. The followed a swamp-path until they came upon an old man, who was wailing and sobbing.

When she asked him what was wrong, the old man said, "I am sad because I am hungry and have not eaten in three days. I am a wizard and would normally use magic to get me out of this swamp I am lost in, but I am too hungry to do magic."

Feeling compassion for the old man, the princess shared the snacks she had brought along with him. The old man was very hungry and ate up all of her snacks before he was finished. "I thank you very much for your food, sweet princess. If you ever need my help, only call out 'Hotep, Hotep, Hotep, I need your help' and I shall come to you." With that, the man vanished into thin air.

Several hours later, the princess was beginning to get hungry once more, but the old man had eaten up all her food. She thought about calling the old man and demanding that he give her food to make up for what he had eaten, but she remembered that it was rude to ask someone for something back after you gave it to them, and she did not.

The two continued on for another hour, and the princess's tummy started complaining louder and louder. Just as she thought that she could bear it no more, the princess and the little green dragon came upon an old hut in the middle of the swamp. The two could smell that someone was cooking a stew inside, and the princess forgot her manners because she was so hungry and opened the door and said, "Please, would the kind person who lives in this house give me and my dragon a bowl of stew?"

Now, this hut was not just any old hut in the middle of the swamp, but was in fact the home of the terrible swamp troll. This swamp troll was not very smart but was very mean and very vain, the only thing in the whole world more vain than a cat, and cats were supposed to be vain while trolls are not. This troll liked to pretend to be a proper gentleman who has great manners, but it is impatient and will quickly forget them.

Now, when the princess opened the door, the troll was very angry, for it did not like people being rude, even though it was not very polite in turn. "Well, what have we here? A rude little girl who just barges into people's homes and demand our food? That won't do at all, oh no no no."

Ashamed at having forgotten her manners, the princess was ashamed and said, "I am sorry, good sir. It is just that I am desperately hungry, and your stew smelled so very good, that I thought surely a noble and generous person made it."

This swelled up the troll's vanity, for it liked compliments. "Well" it said, "You were rude, and you owe me for that, but you also were polite, and I owe it to you to be polite in turn. How about this, we each ask each other three questions, and the one who is more right will decide what we do. If I am, you will cook and clean for me until I have forgiven you for breaking into my home. If you are, then I shall give you and your dragon all the soup you can eat and send you on your way back home."

The princess was not too sure about this, but she had been rude, and the troll proposed a game and it would only be even more rude to refuse, so she accepted. The troll gave a wicked smile and said, "Very well, but here are the rules: your dragon must not help you, for dragons are far too cunning and that would be cheating. To make sure of this, I will bind his mouth shut and tie him up in the corner. You then will ask any question you want, but you can only ask about me. I will then ask you a question about you, and we will each do this three times. The one who answers more questions correctly will be the winner."

The princess did not like the sound of this game at all, but she had already said she would play, and princesses always keep their word. The little green dragon allowed the troll to tie him up and bind his mouth, and then the troll did something very wicked! He threw the little green dragon into his giant pot! Now, all dragons are resistant to heat, and the little green dragon was a strong swimmer, but while he was tied up he couldn't get out and it was all he culd do to not drown.

"That's not fair! You never said you would do that!" the princess said.

"I never said I wouldn't, did I?. Now, play the game. It's your turn."

"Are you going to use a rule you forgot to tell me again?" the princess asked, not meaning to start the game but only learn all the rules.

"That is your first question. And of course I'm not. I've told you all the important rules, and none of the others will come up. My turn. Where are your parents?"

"I do not know. An ogre took them away." she said.

"Wrong answer! You cannot say "I don't know!" That isn't an answer." it said, grinning wickedly in triumph. "That's one for me and none for you."

The princess was not sure about this, but she did not say anything, for it was not proper to argue about the rules of a game while one played it.

"Very well. Allow me to think a moment." the princess said. Now, our princess was a clever little girl who thought through things when she wasn't being surprised and tricked by a troll. She gathered her wits and asked her second question. "Are you going to lie to me?" she asked.

"Of course not! What was your grandmother's favorite food as a child?" he asked, thinking that the princess could not possibly know that, since he did not respect his grandmother enough to know hers.

"That's easy. It was blackberry pie." the princess said, for her grandmother's favorite food had always been blackberry pie. The troll could see that she was telling the truth, and grew very upset.

"You cheated! This time, I get to ask my question first!" The princess could not see how she had, but she let the troll go first anyways, for it was polite to let another go first the next time if you got to go first the last two times.

"What, uh, what is your brother's name?" it asked, not really prepared to ask his third question yet.

The princess decided that saying that she didn't have a brother would not work, but since that was the truth, she said, "I do not have a brother. I am an only child."

The troll grinned in triumph. "I win! you can't say, "I don't have one", that doesn't answer the question!"

The princess almost cried at this, for the troll had cheated to win. But then she said. "Wait a moment, good sir troll. I cannot beat you, yes, but the game isn't over yet. I get one more question."

The troll enjoyed gloating, and decided that it couldn't hurt to let her ask a question. "Very well, what is your question?"

This stopped the princess, for she did not actually know what to ask. She thought about it for a long moment, and said-"

Little Green paused.

planswalker
2011-08-03, 02:20 PM
and the finale:

As she was standing there, the horrid swamp troll having tied up her friend the little green dragon and put him in his soup pot, the princess was trying to decide what question she could ask to save her friend and escape from here.

Then she realized what it is she should do. She was a clever girl, but she did not know what to ask, for even if she won this question, he still had two correct and she only one. That would never work.

No, instead she did something no one would expect, she called out "Bast, Bast, Bast! I need your help." and, just like that, the prince of cats was there. She whispered to him and told him about all the troll had done, how he had cheated and made up rules as he went along and everything he had done.

Now, the prince of cats was a very clever kitten, and he did not like the swamp troll one bit, for the troll would catch and eat cats if it could. The cat whispered to the little girl "Ask him what his worst fear is." for the cat, like all cats, does not care what the rules of the game are, but thought that getting the troll to say his worst fear would allow the prince of cats to learn the thing that all cats do care about: getting revenge.

The princess said to the troll, "What is your greatest fear?"

When she asked this, the troll was furious, saying "That is not fair! You cannot get help asking your question! That's the most important rule!"

"But I thought you said that you had told me all the important rules?"

The troll realized that it was stuck, for if he now had only one correct answer, meaning he had to answer this question to win.

"Fine, I lied on the first answer, but that doesn't matter! You still can't ask that question! You have to ask another!"

"But, if you lied, then your second answer is also not good. Doesn't that mean I have a correct answer and you don't?"

The troll stared at the princess for a long moment, absolutely furious. He did not like it that the princess had outwitted him, and it made him angry. In his fury, he blurted out the truth by accident. "Bright colors in clothes scare me!" he said, and the princess heard the ring of truth to it. And indeed it was true, for as a small troll-cub, his mother had been killed by a wizard in bright blue and yellow robes, and he has been scared of brightly colored clothes ever since.

"Then I guess we are tied and I do not get the soup and you won't force me to cook and clean for you. Now untie the dragon and let us leave."

"NO!" he roared, furious. "I did not win, but I did not lose either. You will stay here and I will eat you and your dragon and make my slave-boy bury your bones!"

At this, the princess grew very frightened, for she did not want her or her dragon to be eaten. In fear, she called out "Hotep, Hotep, Hotep! I need your help!"

In a flash of bright green smoke, the wizard appeared, dressed in a bright green robe with red runes all over it. "What can I do for you, little princess?" the kindly wizard asked.

At the sight of a wizard in bright robes, the troll grew scared and retreated to the corner of his hut.

"A troll has trapped my friend in his cook pot and won't let us leave. He said he would eat me!"

"Well, we certainly can't have that, can we? Young princesses and little green dragons are not for eating, even for great horrid swamp trolls." The wizard turned to the troll. "What's the matter with you now, you great horrid monster? What's so scary."

"He's afraid of bright clothes." the prince of cats said, with a miscevious glint in his eyes, as all cats have when they have caught their prey and are playing with their food.

"Well now, if the troll is afraid of bright clothes, and we're all his guests right now, what should a guest do if their host is afraid of something?" the wizard asked.

The princess recalled her manners and said, "Well, we should help him not be afraid anymore, right?"

The wizard grinned, "Yes indeed. You are a wise princess. And what is the best way to help someone not be afraid?"

The princess stopped and thought about it. "Well, my mother used to say that the best way to not be afraid of something was to face it and get to know it."

"Indeed. Should we help the troll get to know his fears better and face them so he won't be so afraid."

"It's the polite thing to do." the prince of cats said, for like all cats, they were very polite when it suited them to be.

The wizard cast a spell on the troll, and poof! The troll was wearing a bright pink dress with lots of lace! When the troll realized what happened to him, he ran off screaming and trying to rip the dress off of himself. However, this was a magic dress and the troll would be able to take it off only when he became not afraid. He tore through the house and ran off screaming into the swamp.

They say that in the swamp still today, on a clear night, you can still hear the horrble swamp troll squishing around in the swamp screaming and tearing off his pink dress.

The wizard helped the princess empty out the soup pot and untie the dragon, who was very grateful for being freed. The princess, the dragon, the wizard, and the prince of cats all sat around laughing about the troll who was afraid of dresses for a long time and the sun set on them without them realizing what had happened.

As it did, a very dirty and thin boy come down from upstairs, sleepy and said, "Where is the troll?"

As soon as he spoke, the princess grew even happier, for she knew that voice! It was her friend, the apprentice to the blacksmith!

"Oh, I found you! she said, and hugged him, not caring how dirty he was.

The boy had spent so long as the troll's house slave that he had forgotten almost all of his past life, but there is magic in the hug of a true friend who has not seen you in a long time. As the princess hugged him, he began to remember his childhood, and by the time she had finished her biggest and longest hug ever, he remembered everything.

"Princess! you found me!" he said, rejoicing.

The princess was very happy to have him recognize her, but she was a polite girl and would not take all the credit when the other people helped her out. "It was not just me, though. My new friend the little green dragon helped me find you, and I would have never been able to find you if he hadn't taken me flying all over the land." The little green dragon bowed his head at this and added, "We are both the princess's friends, so I hope we can be friends too."

The former blacksmith's apprentice bowed his head in return and said, "We are of course friends."

The princess continued, "And the dragon and I would have ended up being eaten by the horrible troll if the prince of cats hadn't helped me figure out what question to ask the troll."

"I was only returning the favor." the prince of cats said with false modesty, for like all cats, he absolutely loved attention and praise.

"But it was the wizard who saved us. He put the troll in a magic pink dress and made it run away scared!" She said, and everyone had a good laugh at that.

After another hour of everyone telling each other stories and making each other laugh, the wizard said, "Well, I think the five of us are now friends, but princess, don't you need to go home? Won't your guardians miss you?"

It was at that time that the princess realized how late it was and that she had broken her promise to her aunt and uncle to be back by sunset. "Oh no! I was supposed to be back by sunset! I'm late and now I'll be in big trouble when I get back." She looked around at her new friends. "But I don't want to go back! All I have at home is a big stupid castle and only one friend, and the little green dragon has to hide himself from my uncle. Why can't we all stay here in the swamp and have fun and go on adventures together?" Despite being very polite and mature for a little girl, the princess did not want to have to say goodbye to all her friends so soon and to have to keep hiding the dragon.

The wizard, being the adult in the group, though knew that young girls could not just grow up in swamps, and especially not princesses who would eventually become queens and rule the whole kingdom. However, he was also a kind man and knew that it was also important for the princess to have friends. One also shouldn't separate young girls from their friends. "Well, princess, you have duties that you have to go back to. You can't simply live out here in the swamps. What will you eat? Where will you go when it gets cold in winter and this drafty house freezes? What will you do if you get sick and need medicine?"

The princess hadn't thought of any of this and grew very sad. "I know, but I just don't want to have to say goodbye to all of you."

It was the prince of cats who came up with the solution. "Then we just simply won't. I am the prince of cats, and like all cats, I go where I will. I'm sure your castle has plenty of rats for me to hunt, and every castle is a friend to us cats for that. I will return with you."

The little green dragon said, "And the smith's apprentice is going to become my dragonrider, remember? And as a knight, your uncle will have to let him stay, for it is good luck for a castle to have a dragonrider live there. And I won't have to hide anymore, for a dragon with a rider is of course a friend to the castle he lives at."

The wizard then said, "And I will come with you and explain to your parents what happened and ask them if they could use a court mage. Every good castle has a wizard in it to help protect it from evil."

As she realized that going home didn't mean having to say goodby, the princess was very happy indeed. "Then I can go home!" she said happily.

"Yes, but we have two children and a young dragon here, don't we? It is probably well past your bedtime, and the swamp is no place for young people at night. Let us sleep tonight in the swamp hut, and tomorrow we shall all go back to the castle together."

The five each turned in for the night. The princess slept in the troll's big bed after it was thoroughly cleaned, for it is not proper to make a lady sleep on the floor when there is a bed. The apprentice and the wizard shared the downstairs room floor, for men could do that kind of thing. The dragon slept on the roof, for he enjoyed the open air, and the prince of cats stalked off into the night to hunt, for like all cats he napped all day long and hunted at night.

The next morning, the five of them packed food for a day of travel from the troll's larder and set out to return to the castle. Unlike yesterday when the princess and the dragon were flying over the countryside alone, they had to walk, for they could not all fit on the dragon's back.

It took them all day to get to the castle, and the five spent that time telling each other stories and singing songs, stopping for lunch and supper on the road, where the wizard entertained them with some of his tricks and the dragon showed them his flying acrobatics.

When they at last returned to the castle, everything was in an uproar. When the princess' aunt had come home yesterday evening and the princess was missing, she had panicked and sent out the whole castle to search for her. When no one could find her in all the castle, she sent a rider who had ridden through the night and told her uncle, who had immediately left the two lords to solve their own problems and had come home as fast as he could to look for her. Everyone had been searching the countryside since dawn, desperate to find her.

One of the servants spotted the five approaching and word was sent to the princess's aunt and uncle who rushed out to greet her and tell her that they loved her. She apologized to them for running of and staying away so long, and introduced them to each of her friends in turn.

They accepted the apprentice as a young dragonrider-in-training along with the dragon, welcomed another cat in the castle, and invited the wizard to become the court magician. They also promised the princess that they would not ignore her anymore and would make sure that they were a family and she would never be lonely again.

The new dragonrider and dragon soon began training on how to be a great knight and a noble dragon, the prince of cats hunted rats and fathered many kittens, as all cats long to do, and the wizard gave the princess's uncle wise advice and always had time for the princess. Her aunt and uncle even took time out of their days to play with their niece and would tell her stories at night.

Together, the Five Friends had many adventures together and had all sorts of fun at the castle and the surrounding countryside."
"And they all lived happily ever after." Little green said with a wink.

NikitaDarkstar
2011-08-03, 03:39 PM
Oh it's getting good, but you might want to edit one tiny bit. the troll said he'd put the dragon in the corner, so technically he said he wouldn't. Unless you plan on using it against the troll it might be best to leave out the corner bit. Other than that it's getting good. :D

planswalker
2011-08-03, 03:52 PM
thanks for the feedback!

If I ever decide to go back and clean it up, I'll keep that in mind.

Omeganaut
2011-08-03, 09:33 PM
That is a nice story, but the contest with the troll could probably be more folksy. Also, the Princess could claim that she did in fact get more right answers than the troll since she has no brother and so did not answer the third question wrongly, and her parents were taken away by an ogre, so she answered the first question correctly. Although maybe she would need Bast to explain that in a way the troll could not dispute.

The dragonrider bit seems to come from nowhere. Maybe introducing the concept earlier, like having one living in her parent's castle.

The beginning could use some dialogue between the Princess and her relatives or her young friend.

However, it is a nice story, and I think you should keep it around somewhere.

planswalker
2011-08-03, 09:42 PM
thanks for the feedback! Like I said earlier, a lot of the roughness comes from having written each part out in a single sitting and not having even proofread the bit before posting it, as it was originally written for an IC thread for a character of mine and wanted to have it feel like the story really was told to a child at bedtime as the character made it up on the spot.

I do, though, have vague plans to edit this in the future and smooth out all the rough edges. probably after I finish my summer classes and get a break before fall...

planswalker
2012-02-28, 09:01 AM
I just wrote a children's bedtime story as part of the roleplaying of one of my characters in a game I just made, and wanted to know what others thought of it. Since the character thread is supposed to be private, I don't really want to link to it here.

The situation is that my character, a halfling dragonfire adept with green dragon heritage has a soft spot for children and in the course of investigating the disappearance of the missing kids, has come to befriend the one he believes to likely be the next one abducted. He's telling her this as a bedtime story.

"Once upon a time, there was a brave young princess. She lived in a castle with her father and mother, the king and queen. They were very happy together and had a lot of fun together. Each morning, the queen would sing with the princess and tell her all sorts of wonderful stories and the king would take her riding every day to feed songbirds and hunt wildflowers.

Then, one day, an ogre came and took her parents away, and her aunt and uncle came to take her away from her castle. Though they took care of the princess, they did not love her and had no time to play with her. They locked her away in her tower and never let her sing or ride out into the countryside to pick wildflowers. However, she was still happy because she met someone special in this new place: a friend.

He was an orphan boy who was apprenticed to the keep's smith, and he had to work very hard most of the day helping the blacksmith make armor and weapon's for her uncle's soldiers. However, in the evening, the smith gave him the evening off, and he'd spend his free time climbing the princess's tower to come play with her. The two had a lot of fun together, doing puzzles, playing at 'maids and dragons', and all sorts of other wonderful games.

However, one day her uncle came up to her room while the boy was over and saw them play together. He was furious and had the boy whipped, and forbade the princess from ever seeing him again. He dismissed the blacksmith and demanded that he take his apprentice far away to another land. The princess was all alone.

Without her friend, the princess was lonely and cried often, for her parents were gone and now her best friend was gone as well.

Then one day, a little green dragon came to her window and said, "Princess, if you will let me in, we will play together and have all sorts of fun adventures together. We will be the best of friends." Not sure what to do but remembering the manners her mother had taught her not to leave a guest waiting on her doorstep, or window sill in this case, so she let him in.

Now this dragon was very special. Although he was a green dragon, he was not mean to children and would never eat them. He also was small, much smaller than the other dragons. He was no bigger than the princess herself. The other dragons used to pick on him and call him names because he was so much smaller than them, and none of them wanted to be his friend. That was why the little green dragon ran away from them and found the princess. He had heard that princesses were kind and beautiful children who were always polite and never made fun of people for being small.

The two spend the whole afternoon playing together, and the princess taught the dragon how to do puzzles and play 'maids and dragons' which worked even better than with her father, for the little green dragon was a dragon. He taught her how to play dragon games like, 'catch the tail' and 'riddle the knight'. He was better at those games than the princess was but let her win most of them because he was a guest and she was his host, and it's rude for a guest to outdo his host.

The two played all day until the young princess had lost track of time and her uncle knocked on her door to tell her to go to bed. The two startled when the princess's uncle knocked on the door and the dragon gave a yelp of surprise.

This made the uncle very concerned, for princesses should not yelp when their uncles knocked on their doors to make sure they went to bed. He demanded to come in and find out what was wrong, and nothing the princess could say would convince him not to. She was very scared, for she and the dragon were friends now and she didn't want him to have to go away like the smith's apprentice did. The dragon reassured her that good princesses did not refuse to let their guardians in their rooms and that she should let her uncle in. "Do not worry about me, fair princess. Do as your uncle says."

The princess very sadly and very reluctantly went to the door and unbolted it to let her uncle in. As the door opened, he looked in and saw-"

Little Green pauses for dramatic effect.

part two:

"The princess very sadly and very reluctantly went to the door and unbolted it to let her uncle in. As the door opened, he looked in and saw-

Nothing but some toy blocks stacked into a castle. The little green dragon was nowhere to be seen.

"Now, princess, why did you make such a frightful sound when I knocked on your door? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, uncle, I had just lost track of the time and was startled when you knocked."

"Very well. Off to bed with you. It's time for all little princesses to be in their beds."

"Yes, uncle." she said quietly, for as much as she did not want to, the princess was raised far too politely to disobey her guardian. She climbed into bed and her uncle put out her lantern and left without so much as a goodnight kiss. She was scared, though, for she did not know where the little green dragon had disappeared to.

"Do not worry. I am still here." she heard a voice whisper in her ear and then poof! the dragon re-appeared right there in front of her! Like all dragons, the little green dragon was magical and could do magic tricks. One of his favorites was to turn invisible when he shouldn't be seen.

He gave her a big, wet dragon kiss goodnight and told her a bedtime story about about kings and knights and a great battle until the little girl fell asleep.

The two played together for weeks, soon becoming fast friends. The little green dragon would sleep under her bed at night and play with her when everyone else had no time for her, and whisper secrets to her that only dragons know, and she would tell him all about the things that princesses must know and tell her all her secrets. The two agreed to always be best friends.

However, when the princess spit in her palm and shook the dragon's palm in the unbreakable pact of best friends, this reminded her of the blacksmith's boy she used to play with, and the time when she made the same oath with him. She grew very sad at this and cried.

The little green dragon was very confused by this and said, "What's wrong, princess? Why are you sad? Do you not want to be my best friend in all the world?"

"No, no, it's not that, little green dragon." She said between sobs. "It's just that I made this promise to someone else once, and now he's gone and never coming back."

The little green dragon grew very concerned at this. "Well, that simply won't do. Who was he, and we'll set out tomorrow to find him. You made a promise, and princesses should always keep their promises."

"He was the blacksmith's apprentice at the caste, but he had to go when my father found out about him, for he was a commoner and my uncle said that commoners cannot play with princesses."

"Well, that's absolute rubbish. I'm just a common dragon myself, and I say your uncle is wrong. Tomorrow morning, you and I are going to find your friend, and I'll make him my rider, for then your uncle will have to let him play with us, for dragonriders are all knights and not commoners."

This pleased the princess, but she recalled her manners and said, "But, I cannot just run away. It would worry my aunt and uncle, and a princess is not supposed to make her guardians worry."

"Very true." the little green dragon said. "But princesses must also keep their promises, right?"

"Of course, silly." she said.

"Then it's simple. We will wait until your aunt and uncle are away and too busy to pay attention to you, and we will leave for the day. We'll be back home in time for supper, and they will never have to worry."

"That's wonderful!" The princess was very happy with this, for she dearly wanted her friend back, but she also wanted to be a good girl and do as princesses ought.

The two continued to play together for the next week, growing more and more excited about the adventure they had planned. The very next week, their chance came. Her uncle was gone to visit one of his vassals who wanted him to judge between himself and another of her uncle's vassals and would be gone for five days. Her aunt received a letter from her cousin telling her that the lord of a nearby castle was throwing a ball and she was invited. She told the princess that she would be leaving o go to a ball for the day and to be a good girl and not get into trouble while she was out of the castle and her uncle was gone.

The princess agreed and her aunt left. The two quickly left, having packed a lunch for three and plenty of snacks in an old backpack in the caste. The princess opened her window and the little green dragon flew out, and offered to let her ride on his back.

She wrote her aunt and uncle a quick note explaining that she was going out to find a dragonrider to be her friend and that she would be home in time for supper. She placed the note on her pillow and locked the door to her room so that the servants wouldn't disturb her and worry when she wasn't there.

She climbed on the dragon's back and the two took off!

Now, dragons are the fastest flying things in the world, and the little green dragon was one of the best fliers, and the two spent an hour just flying among the clouds, having fun chasing birds and diving through clouds.

Eventually, the little green dragon asked, "Where is the apprentice boy? Where did your uncle send him?"

The princess was slightly embarrassed at this. "I don't know." she said. "My uncle sent him away and didn't say where. But still, he is a smith's apprentice and there are only so many blacksmiths in the world and each one only has one apprentice, and you fly so very fast that it shouldn't take too long to look at them all."

The little green dragon was very proud of his flying, and agreed that this sounded like a good plan. The two flew from village to village all across the countryside, looking for her friend. Every village they went to had a blacksmith, and most had apprentices, but none of them were her special friend.

Finally, around lunchtime, one of the blacksmiths at a small village at the edge of a swamp said that he had seen a boy pas by here months ago who looked just like the princess's friend. He had walked into the swamp one day, and was never heard from again, for a terrible monster lived in the swamp, and no one who went in came out ever again. It is said that the terrible swamp monster eats them after cooking them in his giant pot.

The princess was nervous at this, but the dragon said, "How silly. Of course your friend is still alive. We didn't come all this way to give up." His words filled her with courage, and the two continued on.

Just as the two came to the edge of the swamp, the princess's tummy grumbled, for it had been hours since breakfast. The two stopped just before entering and ate lunch. While the two ate spicy sausages and cheese with bread and pears, the princess her a sad mewling sound and some angry barking. Concerned and wishing to help whoever was so sad, the princess followed the sound and found a kitten caught up in a tree with dogs circling it. The princess told the little green dragon about this, and the two contrived a way to save the kitten.

The little green dragon flew up high and roared, doing his best to sound like a great big dragon instead of a little one. "I am the Great Green Dragon of the Swamp!" he bellowed. "That cat is mine and you will leave it alone or I shall eat you!"

The dogs were not very smart as dogs go and the voice of a dragon scared them away, for they did not want to be eaten. While they ran away, the princess climbed the tree and carried the kitten down.

"Thank you for saving me from those dogs." said the kitten. "I am not just any old kitten but am Bast, prince of the cats. If you ever need my, only call out 'Bast, Bast, Bast! I need you!' and I shall come."

The kitten then springed away and disappeared before the princess could say anything more, for cats were vain creatures who did not think to let others speak before leaving them, and the prince of cats was the most vain of all. Still, the princess did not bear the cat a grudge, for it is rude to judge other people who were raised differently than you, and the princess was sure that being raised as a cat prince was different from a human girl.

The two continued on into the swamp. Inside the swamp, it was quiet. Far too quiet. Her castle back home was noisier than this place even when everyone was asleep, and the princess knew that this was not right, for swamps are supposed to have all sorts of animals and bugs in it chirping, croaking, buzzing, and growling.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by crying, and the princess and the little green dragon followed the sound to find out what was wrong. The followed a swamp-path until they came upon an old man, who was wailing and sobbing.

When she asked him what was wrong, the old man said, "I am sad because I am hungry and have not eaten in three days. I am a wizard and would normally use magic to get me out of this swamp I am lost in, but I am too hungry to do magic."

Feeling compassion for the old man, the princess shared the snacks she had brought along with him. The old man was very hungry and ate up all of her snacks before he was finished. "I thank you very much for your food, sweet princess. If you ever need my help, only call out 'Hotep, Hotep, Hotep, I need your help' and I shall come to you." With that, the man vanished into thin air.

Several hours later, the princess was beginning to get hungry once more, but the old man had eaten up all her food. She thought about calling the old man and demanding that he give her food to make up for what he had eaten, but she remembered that it was rude to ask someone for something back after you gave it to them, and she did not.

The two continued on for another hour, and the princess's tummy started complaining louder and louder. Just as she thought that she could bear it no more, the princess and the little green dragon came upon an old hut in the middle of the swamp. The two could smell that someone was cooking a stew inside, and the princess forgot her manners because she was so hungry and opened the door and said, "Please, would the kind person who lives in this house give me and my dragon a bowl of stew?"

Now, this hut was not just any old hut in the middle of the swamp, but was in fact the home of the terrible swamp troll. This swamp troll was not very smart but was very mean and very vain, the only thing in the whole world more vain than a cat, and cats were supposed to be vain while trolls are not. This troll liked to pretend to be a proper gentleman who has great manners, but it is impatient and will quickly forget them.

Now, when the princess opened the door, the troll was very angry, for it did not like people being rude, even though it was not very polite in turn. "Well, what have we here? A rude little girl who just barges into people's homes and demand our food? That won't do at all, oh no no no."

Ashamed at having forgotten her manners, the princess was ashamed and said, "I am sorry, good sir. It is just that I am desperately hungry, and your stew smelled so very good, that I thought surely a noble and generous person made it."

This swelled up the troll's vanity, for it liked compliments. "Well" it said, "You were rude, and you owe me for that, but you also were polite, and I owe it to you to be polite in turn. How about this, we each ask each other three questions, and the one who is more right will decide what we do. If I am, you will cook and clean for me until I have forgiven you for breaking into my home. If you are, then I shall give you and your dragon all the soup you can eat and send you on your way back home."

The princess was not too sure about this, but she had been rude, and the troll proposed a game and it would only be even more rude to refuse, so she accepted. The troll gave a wicked smile and said, "Very well, but here are the rules: your dragon must not help you, for dragons are far too cunning and that would be cheating. To make sure of this, I will bind his mouth shut and tie him up in the corner. You then will ask any question you want, but you can only ask about me. I will then ask you a question about you, and we will each do this three times. The one who answers more questions correctly will be the winner."

The princess did not like the sound of this game at all, but she had already said she would play, and princesses always keep their word. The little green dragon allowed the troll to tie him up and bind his mouth, and then the troll did something very wicked! He threw the little green dragon into his giant pot! Now, all dragons are resistant to heat, and the little green dragon was a strong swimmer, but while he was tied up he couldn't get out and it was all he culd do to not drown.

"That's not fair! You never said you would do that!" the princess said.

"I never said I wouldn't, did I?. Now, play the game. It's your turn."

"Are you going to use a rule you forgot to tell me again?" the princess asked, not meaning to start the game but only learn all the rules.

"That is your first question. And of course I'm not. I've told you all the important rules, and none of the others will come up. My turn. Where are your parents?"

"I do not know. An ogre took them away." she said.

"Wrong answer! You cannot say "I don't know!" That isn't an answer." it said, grinning wickedly in triumph. "That's one for me and none for you."

The princess was not sure about this, but she did not say anything, for it was not proper to argue about the rules of a game while one played it.

"Very well. Allow me to think a moment." the princess said. Now, our princess was a clever little girl who thought through things when she wasn't being surprised and tricked by a troll. She gathered her wits and asked her second question. "Are you going to lie to me?" she asked.

"Of course not! What was your grandmother's favorite food as a child?" he asked, thinking that the princess could not possibly know that, since he did not respect his grandmother enough to know hers.

"That's easy. It was blackberry pie." the princess said, for her grandmother's favorite food had always been blackberry pie. The troll could see that she was telling the truth, and grew very upset.

"You cheated! This time, I get to ask my question first!" The princess could not see how she had, but she let the troll go first anyways, for it was polite to let another go first the next time if you got to go first the last two times.

"What, uh, what is your brother's name?" it asked, not really prepared to ask his third question yet.

The princess decided that saying that she didn't have a brother would not work, but since that was the truth, she said, "I do not have a brother. I am an only child."

The troll grinned in triumph. "I win! you can't say, "I don't have one", that doesn't answer the question!"

The princess almost cried at this, for the troll had cheated to win. But then she said. "Wait a moment, good sir troll. I cannot beat you, yes, but the game isn't over yet. I get one more question."

The troll enjoyed gloating, and decided that it couldn't hurt to let her ask a question. "Very well, what is your question?"

This stopped the princess, for she did not actually know what to ask. She thought about it for a long moment, and said-"

Little Green paused.

and the finale:

As she was standing there, the horrid swamp troll having tied up her friend the little green dragon and put him in his soup pot, the princess was trying to decide what question she could ask to save her friend and escape from here.

Then she realized what it is she should do. She was a clever girl, but she did not know what to ask, for even if she won this question, he still had two correct and she only one. That would never work.

No, instead she did something no one would expect, she called out "Bast, Bast, Bast! I need your help." and, just like that, the prince of cats was there. She whispered to him and told him about all the troll had done, how he had cheated and made up rules as he went along and everything he had done.

Now, the prince of cats was a very clever kitten, and he did not like the swamp troll one bit, for the troll would catch and eat cats if it could. The cat whispered to the little girl "Ask him what his worst fear is." for the cat, like all cats, does not care what the rules of the game are, but thought that getting the troll to say his worst fear would allow the prince of cats to learn the thing that all cats do care about: getting revenge.

The princess said to the troll, "What is your greatest fear?"

When she asked this, the troll was furious, saying "That is not fair! You cannot get help asking your question! That's the most important rule!"

"But I thought you said that you had told me all the important rules?"

The troll realized that it was stuck, for if he now had only one correct answer, meaning he had to answer this question to win.

"Fine, I lied on the first answer, but that doesn't matter! You still can't ask that question! You have to ask another!"

"But, if you lied, then your second answer is also not good. Doesn't that mean I have a correct answer and you don't?"

The troll stared at the princess for a long moment, absolutely furious. He did not like it that the princess had outwitted him, and it made him angry. In his fury, he blurted out the truth by accident. "Bright colors in clothes scare me!" he said, and the princess heard the ring of truth to it. And indeed it was true, for as a small troll-cub, his mother had been killed by a wizard in bright blue and yellow robes, and he has been scared of brightly colored clothes ever since.

"Then I guess we are tied and I do not get the soup and you won't force me to cook and clean for you. Now untie the dragon and let us leave."

"NO!" he roared, furious. "I did not win, but I did not lose either. You will stay here and I will eat you and your dragon and make my slave-boy bury your bones!"

At this, the princess grew very frightened, for she did not want her or her dragon to be eaten. In fear, she called out "Hotep, Hotep, Hotep! I need your help!"

In a flash of bright green smoke, the wizard appeared, dressed in a bright green robe with red runes all over it. "What can I do for you, little princess?" the kindly wizard asked.

At the sight of a wizard in bright robes, the troll grew scared and retreated to the corner of his hut.

"A troll has trapped my friend in his cook pot and won't let us leave. He said he would eat me!"

"Well, we certainly can't have that, can we? Young princesses and little green dragons are not for eating, even for great horrid swamp trolls." The wizard turned to the troll. "What's the matter with you now, you great horrid monster? What's so scary."

"He's afraid of bright clothes." the prince of cats said, with a miscevious glint in his eyes, as all cats have when they have caught their prey and are playing with their food.

"Well now, if the troll is afraid of bright clothes, and we're all his guests right now, what should a guest do if their host is afraid of something?" the wizard asked.

The princess recalled her manners and said, "Well, we should help him not be afraid anymore, right?"

The wizard grinned, "Yes indeed. You are a wise princess. And what is the best way to help someone not be afraid?"

The princess stopped and thought about it. "Well, my mother used to say that the best way to not be afraid of something was to face it and get to know it."

"Indeed. Should we help the troll get to know his fears better and face them so he won't be so afraid."

"It's the polite thing to do." the prince of cats said, for like all cats, they were very polite when it suited them to be.

The wizard cast a spell on the troll, and poof! The troll was wearing a bright pink dress with lots of lace! When the troll realized what happened to him, he ran off screaming and trying to rip the dress off of himself. However, this was a magic dress and the troll would be able to take it off only when he became not afraid. He tore through the house and ran off screaming into the swamp.

They say that in the swamp still today, on a clear night, you can still hear the horrble swamp troll squishing around in the swamp screaming and tearing off his pink dress.

The wizard helped the princess empty out the soup pot and untie the dragon, who was very grateful for being freed. The princess, the dragon, the wizard, and the prince of cats all sat around laughing about the troll who was afraid of dresses for a long time and the sun set on them without them realizing what had happened.

As it did, a very dirty and thin boy come down from upstairs, sleepy and said, "Where is the troll?"

As soon as he spoke, the princess grew even happier, for she knew that voice! It was her friend, the apprentice to the blacksmith!

"Oh, I found you! she said, and hugged him, not caring how dirty he was.

The boy had spent so long as the troll's house slave that he had forgotten almost all of his past life, but there is magic in the hug of a true friend who has not seen you in a long time. As the princess hugged him, he began to remember his childhood, and by the time she had finished her biggest and longest hug ever, he remembered everything.

"Princess! you found me!" he said, rejoicing.

The princess was very happy to have him recognize her, but she was a polite girl and would not take all the credit when the other people helped her out. "It was not just me, though. My new friend the little green dragon helped me find you, and I would have never been able to find you if he hadn't taken me flying all over the land." The little green dragon bowed his head at this and added, "We are both the princess's friends, so I hope we can be friends too."

The former blacksmith's apprentice bowed his head in return and said, "We are of course friends."

The princess continued, "And the dragon and I would have ended up being eaten by the horrible troll if the prince of cats hadn't helped me figure out what question to ask the troll."

"I was only returning the favor." the prince of cats said with false modesty, for like all cats, he absolutely loved attention and praise.

"But it was the wizard who saved us. He put the troll in a magic pink dress and made it run away scared!" She said, and everyone had a good laugh at that.

After another hour of everyone telling each other stories and making each other laugh, the wizard said, "Well, I think the five of us are now friends, but princess, don't you need to go home? Won't your guardians miss you?"

It was at that time that the princess realized how late it was and that she had broken her promise to her aunt and uncle to be back by sunset. "Oh no! I was supposed to be back by sunset! I'm late and now I'll be in big trouble when I get back." She looked around at her new friends. "But I don't want to go back! All I have at home is a big stupid castle and only one friend, and the little green dragon has to hide himself from my uncle. Why can't we all stay here in the swamp and have fun and go on adventures together?" Despite being very polite and mature for a little girl, the princess did not want to have to say goodbye to all her friends so soon and to have to keep hiding the dragon.

The wizard, being the adult in the group, though knew that young girls could not just grow up in swamps, and especially not princesses who would eventually become queens and rule the whole kingdom. However, he was also a kind man and knew that it was also important for the princess to have friends. One also shouldn't separate young girls from their friends. "Well, princess, you have duties that you have to go back to. You can't simply live out here in the swamps. What will you eat? Where will you go when it gets cold in winter and this drafty house freezes? What will you do if you get sick and need medicine?"

The princess hadn't thought of any of this and grew very sad. "I know, but I just don't want to have to say goodbye to all of you."

It was the prince of cats who came up with the solution. "Then we just simply won't. I am the prince of cats, and like all cats, I go where I will. I'm sure your castle has plenty of rats for me to hunt, and every castle is a friend to us cats for that. I will return with you."

The little green dragon said, "And the smith's apprentice is going to become my dragonrider, remember? And as a knight, your uncle will have to let him stay, for it is good luck for a castle to have a dragonrider live there. And I won't have to hide anymore, for a dragon with a rider is of course a friend to the castle he lives at."

The wizard then said, "And I will come with you and explain to your parents what happened and ask them if they could use a court mage. Every good castle has a wizard in it to help protect it from evil."

As she realized that going home didn't mean having to say goodby, the princess was very happy indeed. "Then I can go home!" she said happily.

"Yes, but we have two children and a young dragon here, don't we? It is probably well past your bedtime, and the swamp is no place for young people at night. Let us sleep tonight in the swamp hut, and tomorrow we shall all go back to the castle together."

The five each turned in for the night. The princess slept in the troll's big bed after it was thoroughly cleaned, for it is not proper to make a lady sleep on the floor when there is a bed. The apprentice and the wizard shared the downstairs room floor, for men could do that kind of thing. The dragon slept on the roof, for he enjoyed the open air, and the prince of cats stalked off into the night to hunt, for like all cats he napped all day long and hunted at night.

The next morning, the five of them packed food for a day of travel from the troll's larder and set out to return to the castle. Unlike yesterday when the princess and the dragon were flying over the countryside alone, they had to walk, for they could not all fit on the dragon's back.

It took them all day to get to the castle, and the five spent that time telling each other stories and singing songs, stopping for lunch and supper on the road, where the wizard entertained them with some of his tricks and the dragon showed them his flying acrobatics.

When they at last returned to the castle, everything was in an uproar. When the princess' aunt had come home yesterday evening and the princess was missing, she had panicked and sent out the whole castle to search for her. When no one could find her in all the castle, she sent a rider who had ridden through the night and told her uncle, who had immediately left the two lords to solve their own problems and had come home as fast as he could to look for her. Everyone had been searching the countryside since dawn, desperate to find her.

One of the servants spotted the five approaching and word was sent to the princess's aunt and uncle who rushed out to greet her and tell her that they loved her. She apologized to them for running of and staying away so long, and introduced them to each of her friends in turn.

They accepted the apprentice as a young dragonrider-in-training along with the dragon, welcomed another cat in the castle, and invited the wizard to become the court magician. They also promised the princess that they would not ignore her anymore and would make sure that they were a family and she would never be lonely again.

The new dragonrider and dragon soon began training on how to be a great knight and a noble dragon, the prince of cats hunted rats and fathered many kittens, as all cats long to do, and the wizard gave the princess's uncle wise advice and always had time for the princess. Her aunt and uncle even took time out of their days to play with their niece and would tell her stories at night.

Together, the Five Friends had many adventures together and had all sorts of fun at the castle and the surrounding countryside."
"And they all lived happily ever after." Little green said with a wink.