Vici

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Story

"Vici" is a short story included in "The Dragon Book". Taking place in Ancient Rome, it details the events of the first dragon hatchling bonded to a human.

Synopsis

Marcus Antonius, a young Roman, is found to be guilty of unpaid debts reaching 250 talents, as well as the murder of another man. However, his family plead mercy for him, meaning that instead of being executed, he will be sent to slay a dragon that has been plaguing Northern Italy. If he succeeds in killing it; an unlikely feat, he will be cleared of all charges.

Accompanied by several guards to make sure he doesn't flee, Anthony is led to the ravine that is the dragon's lair, armed with a spear and shield, and forced into its depths. Reaching the bottom, and the dragon, Anthony prepares to face his fate, and abandons his shield; inadvertantly distracting the dragon and allowing Anthony to see that it is in fact badly injured. Seeing his chance, Anthony attacks the dragon's wound with his spear, and it quickly perishes. Antony triumphantly returns to the surface, and recruits the guards in helping him gather the dragon's hoard; now his. One item that is recovered in the cave is a large dragon egg.

Anthony refuses to have the egg destroyed, seeing it as a sellable item, and returns home to indulge in parties made more extravagant by the dragon's treasure. One night, Anthony awakens to discover the dragon egg has hatched, and the hatchling can speak Latin. Anthony names the hatchling Vincitatus before realising the dragon is female, and over the next few weeks, Anthony takes pleasure in knowing that everybody now fears him for harnessing this creature.

Eventually, Anthony recieves word that he will not be permitted to keep Vincitatus in the city, and that he is to be sent to join the fighting in Gaul. When the soldiers who arrive to escort him and Vincitatus suggest killing her instead, Vincitatus rescues Anthony and takes flight, heading for Gaul, stopping several times to raid farms along the way.

Vincitatus and Anthony soon reach Gaul, where a battle is already raging. Vincitatus dives into the Gaulish ranks; annihilating many. However, as she leaps into the air to resume flight, Anthony falls off her back, and is forced to fight for his life until Vincitatus realises he is missing, and returns to rescue him.

After the battle, Anthony is approached by the leader of the Roman Army; Caius Julius Caesar, who tells Anthony of his plan to send him and Vincitatus into battles in the future, but with archers on her back.

Characters

(Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Hades, Dis, Juno, Hecate, Saturn)

Trivia

  • At one point, the date is given as being some time in August. At this time in Roman history, the month "August" would have been known as "Sextilis", meaning "Sixth Month". The month was renamed August in 8 BC, to commemorate Emperor Augustus' triumph over Queen Cleopatra.

Deviations From History

External Links

[Vici Text|http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/new-fiction/vici/]

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