The night had passed and Drulk, the grandfather, looked out from the dark Forge. The sun was rising. No sign of his son or grandson. He knew they were captives of the Dragon Lord and his beast Hirst. But somehow he knew in his bones that they would return…
Meanwhile, in the dungeons of the Dragon Lords castle, his son and grandson sat in the dark and damp. They were waiting to hear their fates.
Brerd was the old man’s son, his boy was called Srep. Neither of them had eaten or drunk since their capture.
‘Father will we die here?’ Said Srep.’ No, I don’t think so, son. I think the Dragon Lord wants strong slaves. But wait and see. I will try and free us if I can.’
Hours later and the sun had set. Two guards arrived and unlocked the barred door. Shackling the man and boy, they roughly pulled and dragged them out and up the stone stairs. Up and through tunnels and corridors, into the Great Hall.
Hirst lay stretched out on the rock surface at one side of the hall. Head lolling to one side. Eyes half closed.
In front of them, sitting on a throne, the Dragon Lord looked down on them.
Abruptley he said ‘what have you done to Hirst?’ ‘he is ill’. Brerd shook his head ‘he is poisoned, if you free my son, I will tell you how to save the dragon.’ At this the Lord shouted, ‘You poisoned him? How? Your son will die for this, not be freed. How dare you try to negotiate with me!’ Brerd shouted back, ‘then fight me. If you win you can make us slaves and gain the antedote. If I win we go free!’
He didn’t expect the Lord to agree to this so was shocked when a sword landed at his feet. ‘unshackle me, so I can fight’, ‘No’ came the harsh reply.
That is how Brerd the Iron master and blacksmith came to fight for his life against the Dragon Lord.
Heaving the heavy sword up he tried to parry the hefty blows from Lord. They rained down on him hard and fast. By luck more than judgement he remained upright. But like a tree trunk being practiced on, he remained mostly static, feeling the harsh crashes of sword against sword. He was being beaten down. His hands were slick with moisture and salty sweat dropped into his eyes. Still he fought on. Then a glancing blow caught his forehead and he toppled forward. The Lord stepped forward to take a final stabbing thrust at Brerd, but instead felt Brerds sword penetrate his chest. He sank to his knees and whispered ‘Hirst, kill them’. But his voice fell on dead ears. The Dragon had succumbed to the poison. It had been the ‘strong iron’ that the grandfather talked about. It was a mixture of iron filings and saltpetre. Something in that mix was death to dragons. Knowing this old knowledge, Brerd had taken a pouch of it with him when they went hunting. As he was snatched by the dragon he had thrown the pouch and contents into its mouth, where strong acid there dissolved it almost instantly. No antedote would save Hirst after that dose, it was just a matter of time.
Using the sword to cut through his sons bonds, Brerd freed Srep., ‘Come’ , he said, ‘ we must go back to see your grandfather and tell him the news. We will release the slaves as we go.’
Later that day, Drulk looked out of the door of the Forge again. Instead of seeing no-one, he caught sight of his son and grandson. ‘Thank the gods’ he shouted, as he walked to meet them.