Dragon Slayer

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(excerpt…)

“Recruits prepare to meet your Dragons ….” screamed Freeda Westwind, tracker, survivor, and Commanding Officer of the newly created Dragon Slayer School.

“Just who the hell does that bitch think she is? I could whup her ass anytime, any place.”

“What was that squeak?” screamed a Drill Instructor pointing at the recruit. “Commander, we have at least one in this group.”

“Assemble this motley excuse for recruits around the pit, and place that piece of guano in the center. Don’t start without me,” she said with a nasty grin spreading across her face.

Every class is the same, some jackass has to prove he has balls, or machismo, or whatever the hell they call it these days. Zeki wasn’t kidding, this is going to be a rough assignment. Freeda made her way into the locker rooms and changed out of her dress blues into exercise khakis before heading to the pit. The drill Instructors had arranged their recruits around the pit, demanding absolute silence as they waited.

Standing in the center was her latest challenger. A brute of a young man, one that was accustomed to brawls and not familiar with defeat. Bare-chested, he had refused the offered khaki muscle shirt. Tattoos adorned his arms, but one drew her attention; an incomplete Dragon Slayer tat.

“A wannabe,” she said sarcastically. “You know the rules, no Dragon Slayers tats allowed until you earn them, especially that one.”

“My dad was a Dragon Slayer. I wear it in honour of him. Not like you, you bitch.”

Freeda slowly removed her outer tunic and her khaki T-shirt. Standing before the recruit dressed in just her sports bra she heard gasps as her back was revealed. “What’s your name kid?” she asked.

“Steven Frostmourne. My dad was Romeo Tango Charlie 27-1.”

“He was a good man, too bad he didn’t teach his son some manners and respect. Now you mentioned something about whupping this ass? Lets make it interesting, you win you get to keep that cheap knockoff on your arm. I win it comes off, tonight, and doesn’t go back on until you earn it. Sound fair?”

Before Steven answered the Senior Drill Instructor stepped forward and inspected the combatants. “Rules are simple, first one to knock their opponent out of the pit or unconscious wins. Be warned recruit that people have died in this pit. Are you prepared to face that?” Frostmourne gulped before nodding.

“On my mark, commence. I hope you realize what you have got yourself into son. Last chance to walk away. No?” The Senior Drill Instructor shrugged his shoulder

“Ma’am?” He asked, she just nodded her head.

“Begin!” The senior Drill Instructor quickly stepping out of the way.

Freeda watched Steven warily as he searched for an opening, then suddenly charged. She slipped to one side and hit him hard in the center of his back, knocking the air from his lungs and driving him face first into the dirt. Sputtering he fought to fills his lungs as he slowly regained his feet, his face filled with surprise as she just stood there patiently waiting for him to rise. They could hear the recruits screaming at him to back out, before it was too late, but he didn’t react.

Changing his tactics Steven’s approach became more wary as he tested her defences. Frustration growing on his face, every attack was rebuffed, every feint easily countered. In desperation he attacked once again, knowing his strength was slipping away. He landed a solid blow on her shoulder causing Freeda to stagger and pressed his attack.

Freeda landed two solid blows, one to his chest, the other to the side of his head. Slowly he fell to his knees, landing face first in the dirt.

“Any other challengers?” The pit was silent, no one dared utter a sound. “I didn’t think so.” Deliberately she made sure everyone saw her back. In the gap created by the straps was a cobalt blue dragon clutching an olive branch. Etched below it in blood red were the words:

‘Dragon Slayers died that I might live
I will NEVER forget their sacrifice.’

“Tell him what you saw, that he didn’t. Tell him about the tat and what it says. Any of you attempt to have one of these put on your body and I will personally carve it off with a knife. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?”

“Yes Ma’am,” boomed the recruits answer.

Freeda replace her T-shirt and her tunic. “Someone get this piece of garbage out of my pit!”.

“You heard the Commander. Everyone back to your duties, except his classmates. You get to carry him to the infirmary,” ordered a Drill Instructor. It was time they learned where the infirmary was, they were going to get real acquainted with it.

The Senior Drill Instructor walked beside her as she left the area. “You know one of these days that little stunt of yours is going to backfire.”

“Until then it is still an excellent teaching tool,” she replied groaning in pain as she massaged her shoulder. “Things have changed. They are nothing like when we started. Our battles are becoming more technical, training is done here in the school, instead of in actual missions.”

“I hope we are not producing a group of wimps, machines, people who can’t think for themselves” said the Drill Instructor seriously.

“You will need to be hard on then John, really hard. We can’t afford to create new Dragon Slayers that are not prepared for what lies ahead. Our clients won’t like it. This program would never survive it.”

“True, we have quite the challenge ahead of us. I have rosters to fill out, and a mound of paperwork ahead of me. Good night Commander.” The Drill Instructor saluting Freeda, entering the building.

Groaning in pain Freeda returned the salute and stood outside of the new headquarters building lost in thought. What have I got myself into?

####

“Steven, you’re one lucky bastard that she didn’t kill you,” said one of his classmates.

He shook his head. “Who the hell is she? Even my old man never hit that hard.” His shoulder, covered with a clean gauze reeked of burnt flesh and caused immense pain. “That bitch, she actually had it done.”

“Be glad she didn’t use a knife to carve it off. You were one lucky lad, I have seen her kill a man with her bare hands,” said a medical staff members approaching Frostmourne’s bed. “Go fetch the rest of your squad, It is time you knew the real history of what a Dragon Slayer is about.”

“And who are you to tell us about a Dragon Slayer?” demanded Steven.

“Kid it is going to be a rough sixteen weeks, if you last that long.”

When the remainder of the squad had gathered he began. “My designation is Foxtrot 1-1, my name isn’t important. I am here on rotation to teach other Medics what they need to know about keeping their Slayers alive. This story really starts with the death of a good friend.”

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