They exist all around us. They come in the dead of night, hunting for virgins to feast on. They attack in broad daylight, burning villages to the ground. Their wingbeats level houses. Their breath chars crops. The claws rend even stone. These fearsome beasts are a great evil in our world today.
There are some, a brave few, who would dare face these beasts: Dragonslayers. I, Lucius, who have attended the prestigious Northumbrian Academy of Dragonslaying, will now put forth my methods for defense against the scourge.
FIRST: Know your enemy! Dragons come in many shapes and sizes. Sneaky nighttime ones, who creep in and kill with a whisper. Gargantuan sun-blotters, that bring everything crashing and burning down to oblivion. The common everyday sizes, which are nevertheless just as dangerous. Unless you know what sort of dragon you’re facing, you will be unable to defeat it. This takes practice and well-honed perception. Next time you find yourself facing a dragon, don’t run right away–study it and learn what it is, and what weaknesses it has, before retreating to prepare for battle.
SECOND: Know thyself. Without knowledge of yourself and your own capabilities, you will find your attempts at victory will rarely succeed. If you take on more than you can bear, you will be crushed; less, and your skills will never grow, never become sufficient for the slaying of the most dangerous dragons.
THIRD: Choose the correct weapon. A spear isn’t suitable for all dragons. Some must be dealt with up close, others, from afar. Sometimes you may have to hide, and attack from the shadows with a subtle knife. Knowing your enemy will show you what weapons would be suitable to defeat it; knowing yourself will show you what weapons you are capable of bearing. With knowledge will come victory.
FOURTH: Know when to quit, but never give up. Some dragons cannot be beaten at all; others, not until you’ve gained strength. It is pointless to keep hacking uselessly at a dragon until you die of exhaustion. You must know your limits, and you must recognize when you would be better served by retreating then by advancing. Retreat does not mean defeat. Even “quitting” is not always defeat. Leaving the dragon alone while you learn a new technique to slay it is acceptable. So is acknowledging the dragon’s superior might and moving on. “Giving up” is only this: quitting before everything has been tried, when there is still some chance, no matter how slight, of victory.
FIFTH: Don’t do it alone. Pray for help and guidance–divine assistance is always welcome. Bring other Dragonslayers, but only those you can trust. Trust will come through battle, and it is inevitable that friends will abandon you. But those that remain are those truly worthy of standing with you against the dragons. Do not turn them aside to seek personal glory. What good is glory when you are rotting in the grave?
With these basic principles, and a simple guidebook (Antony’s Dragonguide being an excellent choice), any prospective Dragonslayer should be able to find success. Take heart, all you oppressed! For there is a light approaching.