Iva the Dragonfriend

Lujbjana dragon Bryan Pocius flickr.rev

Photo credit: Bryan Pocius (modified)

Long ago, Elvak was ruled by a tyrant, Cvetna Pavalashkan.  Pavalashkan filled his court with cruel toadies and vicious soldiers, keeping his people hungry and afraid.

One day, a peasant girl named Iva found a huge egg.  Pavalashkan claimed everything in Elvak as his.  But Iva imagined a beautiful bird inside, and yearned for it to fly free, far from Pavalashkan’s clutches.  So she kept it secret, caring for it until it hatched.

What emerged was no bird, but a dragon.  Iva named it Zuashk, and raised it, like her sheep.  Soon, though, Zuashk was too big to hide.

To Pavalashkan, anything he couldn’t control was his enemy.  He set a trap.  He captured Iva and dragged her to the tower, beside a poisoned cow for the dragon to eat.

Zuashk flew closer, toward the cow, but Iva wriggled off her gag and shouted a warning.  Zuashk swooped down and grabbed Iva from her captors.  When soldiers rained down arrows on them both, Zuashk turned and engulfed the tower in flames, killing Pavalashkan and all his soldiers.

The new, fair-hearted cvetna earned Iva’s loyalty, and Zuashk became Elvak’s protector.  And that is why, ever since, dragons have adorned our gates.

Word count: 200.  (Although see the additional material I’ve snuck in below.)  This one has a lot of weird names in it, sorry about that.  If you were from Layor, they would seem perfectly normal.

Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction flash challenge, hosted by our dedicated host, Al Forbes, who also provided the original photo prompt, below.  Click here to read the other stories, and to submit your own!

© A Mixed Bag 2011

Photo © Al Forbes, A Mixed Bag

Additional world notes, for anyone who’s interested

Some eight centuries after these events supposedly took place, Madhaq of Pavalbat wrote:

The story of Iva the Dragonfriend must be considered by any rational historian to be questionable.  The name Pavalashkan, for instance, translates directly to “evil giant” or “bad important man” and was commonly used to refer to the antagonist in children’s tales.  Although it is plausible that a cvetna be nicknamed Pavalshkan, no such person appears in any records of Elvak.  It is believable, if trite, that the heroine would name her dragon Zuashk, as that is the Bogedze word for dragon (literally, big lizard).  However, as I have argued in previous treatises, the persistent notion that dragons could breathe fire (much less ice bolts or lightning) has repeatedly been proven false by scholarship.  In this case, earlier versions of the story made no mention of fire for at least two centuries.  There is no credible evidence that these wild beasts were ever effectively tamed, much less by virtuous young women.  Furthermore, the notion that the dragon’s tears healed Iva’s arrow wound (found in many later versions) is a late addition to the dragon mythology, not appearing until long after the creatures became extinct.  I am comforted only in that this story never devolves into Iva riding the dragon, which anyone who has studied the skeletons of these creatures must admit would be physically impossible, despite the many paintings and sculptures laboring to illustrate such a scheme.

Editor’s note: Madhaq of Pavalbat made his fame making outrageous claims countering many of Layor’s most prized legends.  He remained undaunted in the face of almost universal criticism among his peers, who considered him a charlatan, but died in ignominy.  Later, Pyanni scholars resuscitated certain of his treatises, and he earned a commoners’ reputation as a wise man speaking up against ignorant leaders.  Ironically, given Madhaq’s field of study, several of the quotes and treatises he is most famous for have recently been found to be falsely attributed.

36 thoughts on “Iva the Dragonfriend

      • Time is too precious. I think a 200 word story (or 100 words for FF) should be just that. I almost never follow links, watch attached videos, or read preambles or postscripts on blogs. I rarely have enough time to read all the entries, so I think it is unfair to spend excess time on any single one.
        If I buy or borrow a book, I read it in its entirety, I choose to spend my time on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fairness is a reasonable answer, that makes sense. I rarely have time to read all the entries; it varies by week. Plus I’m involved in multiple challenges, and follow other people who don’t do the challenges, and some comments turn into big discussions (as you know, ha ha) and others don’t. If I tried to be fair in allocating my time evenly to all the blogs I read, I think I would go crazy!


    • I do like to see the bad guys get their just rewards. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the note, too — I’m always thinking about these extra bits, tying it all together, and am happy to share. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries at all Joy. I know people have reasons they can’t write, whether it be from illness, lack of time or lack of inspriration. For myself, it is taking a lot to get me inspired to write something. Maybe when I can handle things better, then the inspiration will return.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For me, the inspiration and time issues are related. If I have an instant inspiration of what to write, I can do it more quickly, but if I have to really struggle to figure out a story that fits with the picture (or to find an Eneana-friendly photo to use), then I run out of time. I hope you find your inspirational muse again soon. 🙂


  1. Loved the story and the notes to go with it. It’s all so detailed and real. You must have spent ages creating this great fantasy world of Eneana. I’m always amazed by ht various stories you create set in that world. This one did have a nice fairy tale ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes and no… I *have* spent ages creating Eneana, and yet the majority of the world building notes I’ve written over the last two decades never come up in these stories. Rather, the photo prompt gives me a new idea and –ta da!– new thing exists in Eneana. In the case of this story, I have gone back and forth in my notes about whether dragons really exist and if they do, what they’re like. I know that there are a lot of legends that exaggerate or are downright false. And I was careful to write this as a fairy tale, not as a real person’s account of events. So even *I* am not certain how much of this story is true, which I find very amusing. 😉 The scholar has come up in at least one other story (a longer one I’m trying to get published), and I think a second one too. But he’s not the most reliable narrator either… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s obvious from your short stories that Eneana is a part of you now. You adapt the prompts so well to fit your fantasy world and how great that all these new ideas add to your vision of Eneana. I think you now have many people on WP waiting for your book. I’m surprised you aren’t off doing NaNo again. I realise how hard it must be when you have full time job, and such a responsible one at that. Good luck with getting your story (longer) short story published.


      • I’m hoping to do NaNo in the fall, but I don’t know how it will be possible. It’s been a challenge just to get my Project 10K words in every month — I’ve missed quite a few this year, sad to say. Right now my focus is on revising and sending out short stories, but it’s hard to find the time I need every week. I’ll just keep plugging away, though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck with your short stories, Joy. I hope you manage to get most of them published. Having previously published works should bode very well for you when you eventually submit your novel.

        Liked by 1 person

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