Smoke fills the stage. The lights dim. Fear sinks down across the amphitheater, rooting the audience to their seats. A Presence closes in from the back of the stage.
A menacing copper glow seeps in from the darkness. It is a light felt as well as seen. The unmistakable glow of Smaug!
The mountainous dragon’s eyes glow red with malice as he surveys the assembled lords and ladies, heroes and henchmen from distant lands. “So this is what men do to pass their time? Engage in idle praise of each other, as if any of your deeds could rival that of Smaug, Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities!” He shifts his massive red and gold body so that his gem encrusted belly hits the lights. The dazzle from the diamonds and rubies shines forth so bright, most gathered are forced to cover their eyes.
One sharp-eyed fellow dressed in Lincoln green, however, catches a glimpse of a single spot as bare as a snail out of its shell. “Every worm has his weak spot,” he thinks to himself as he adjusts his feathered cap.
Smaug shifts to hide his carapace once more and lets forth a low chuckle that sounds something like bubbling lava. “Why, a well placed spout of flame would devour the lot of you, you’re all so packed in nice and tight…But I have other plans, other purposes in mind, and lucky for you wasting my flame on pathetic fools is not one of them.” Here his lids drop down to slits and some terrible purpose flickers behind his hypnotic gaze.
“First, a few formalities. Presumably you are all here to witness the presentation of the grandest silmaril of them all, the silmaril for the Most Magnificent Dragon! Not that any other dragon could compare to me, but here are the ones you seem to think are remotely worthy enough for such an honor.
“The nominees for 2017 are…”
He produces an envelope he had tucked under one of his enormous bat-like wings. The envelope is the size of a small horse with paper an inch thick, but he slices it open like a dried leaf with a single, razor sharp talon.
“Kazul from Dealing with Dragons. I’m told she did not even have the temerity to eat a princess when one showed up on her doorstep.” Smaug shakes his head.
“Death-in-Life from Tales of Goldstone Wood. A curious name. Perhaps simply “Death” would have been more fitting.
“Makaidos from Dragons in Our Midst. They say this one was actually killed, but no doubt he was just pretending. No self respecting dragon would actually allow himself to be slain!
“Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. What?! A dragon with no teeth? And the size of a puppy? Clearly this one has no chance…
“Saphira from Eragon. A dragon who actually allowed herself to be ridden! Preposterous!”
Puffs of smoke shoot from Smaug’s sneering nostrils. “Well, it should be obvious who will win,” he says derisively.
“And the winner is…” Smaug’s eyes go wide as he scans the giant sheet of paper. “No! It cannot be…It’s, it’s…Toothless!” he hisses.
Dragons will be dragons
A terrier-sized, winged lizard zips in from off stage and lands before Smaug. The little fellow flaps his garden green wings mischievously and takes several bows as a chorus of “Ooos” and “Ahhs” flutters across the crowd.
“T-t-thank you,” he stutters in broken Dragonese.
“WAYDAGO, TOOTHLESS!” shouts someone from the upper balcony with a distinctly northern accent. This is followed by, “He saved our whole village!” and a few Viking war cries.
Smaug, beside himself with disgust, flares his nostrils threateningly.
A small giant child, only about eight feet tall, appears from stage right. He is dressed rather smartly for a giant, with only two of his buttons mismatched. He wheels out a great, draped cart which is almost as tall as he is. Without words or fanfare, he pulls off the black silk cloth.
There, perched on a crystal pedestal, stands a three foot diameter jewel to put all other jewels to shame. Red as the dawn, it radiates with the effulgence of unveiled starlight. It’s beauty is so great, it makes even the intimidating bulk of Smaug seem small and of little consequence. All who look upon it are caught up for a moment, as if walking in a dream. Some of those dreams are noble, as if they had received a vision of undying lands from before the breaking of the world, others are clouded by dark ponderings, an evil purpose stirring in their hearts.
Smaug’s eyes glitter with desire.
“The Arkenstone is nothing compared to this…” Smaug mutters under his breath.
“F-f-for me?” Toothless chirps. “So shiny!”
The diminutive dragon perches himself on top of the massive gem, dwarfed by the sheer size of it.
Smaug snaps to himself and eyes Toothless slyly. “Such a large treasure for such a small dragon. Perhaps you will not mind if I assist you in carrying it off stage. Just a short distance and then we can make the proper arrangements for dealing with this…burden.”
Toothless cocks his head curiously at Smaug, clearly taken with the idea. And such is the power of dragon talk, that to everyone in the audience, Smaug’s suggestion seems perfectly reasonable as well. To almost everyone, anyway.
As Smaug reaches for the priceless jewel, a feather-capped man with a smartly trimmed beard let’s fly the arrow he had knocked in his bow for just such an occasion. It clatters harmlessly off Smaug’s curved talon, but it serves it’s purpose. Smaug’s pulls his claw back and his head whips around to face the audience.
“Who dares attack Smaug the Unassailable!?” roars the dragon.
And though indeed many in the audience quail and cower at the bellowing cry, the man who shot the arrow leaps into the aisle.
“Tis I, the merriest among men, the Sheriff’s last friend, and Lionheart’s defender!” says the rather dashing figure in Lincoln green.
Smaug bares his rows of sword-like teeth. “Your riddles will not save you, archer. But I would have your name ere I kill you.”
“And you sure would if you came to my forest, but for now, it is enough to know, that I am he who has espied your weak spot and my next barb shall not stray. I only miss when I want to,” he says with a wink. “If you do not leave the gem be, my second shaft will not be as much to your liking.”
Thunder rumbles inside Smaug’s cavernous belly and he shifts his serpentine body so that his armored back faces the audience. His claws dig into the stage and he appears ready to launch himself at this fool-hearted man, but something within the dragon’s distant memory clouds his mind and gives him pause. Perhaps it is only a dream he had once, but something within his cunning mind tells him not to trust his chances with a grim-faced archer like the one before him.
“Very well, bowman. Let the firefly have his trinket. There will always be another silmaril…next year.” And with a devious smile as only a dragon can make, Smaug slithers off stage. “Next year…” comes a wicked rumbling from the dark, invisible recesses.
Toothless shrugs and, after doing a few flips for the audience, flutters after the giant child as he wheels off the small dragon’s “shiny” prize.
The rest of the winners
I hope you enjoyed this little dramatic presentation of the 2017 Award for Most Magnificent Dragon. Seriously, what were we thinking asking a dragon to actually give something away!? But somehow we managed it. A special thank you to Robin Hood, our unsung hero, for helping this year’s awards go off more or less as planned. Heroes do have a knack for showing up just when you need them, don’t they?
If you are interested in who won the other nine silmarils in this year’s awards, click on the links below:
- Wisest Counselor
- Least Competent Henchman
- Silver Tongue
- Most Epic Hero
- Strangest Character
- Most Epic Heroine
- Most Mischievous Imp
- Most Loyal Friend
- Most Nefarious Villain
Though these grand awards on July 29th, the anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings, we celebrated with some wonderful Tolkien and Fantasy-themed posts, including my review of The Lord of the Rings book.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these awards as much as I have!
Lissenen ar’ maska’lalaith tenna’ lye omentuva (Sweet water and light laughter till next we meet).