A Wheel to Rule Them All

A paladin delivers a writ of eviction to the Great Wyrm, Balmonon, a cheese connoisseur who refuses to vacate his lair.

Thaddeus Howze


“You’ll never know how far you can go, if you mind your manners, when storm winds blow.”

— a popular dragon aphorism

The paladin strode into the cavern, his back ached only slightly less than his feet. He had walked through the cave complex for over three days. The dragon scent led him to the central chamber and a blessed burst of fresher air, its origin unknown but welcome.

The great hall was visible glowing with patches of lichen shedding a steady light which became more visible the longer he stood still. It was only then did he realize how large the Dragon was.

And perhaps how long it had been here, for it glowed with the same light as the lichen in the hall. It was covered from crown to the tip of its tail.

The villagers had given him good directions. He sat for a second to gather himself up for their inevitable confrontation. He sat still taking out a huge hunk of cheese and bread from his pack. Stomach rumbling he proceeded to decimate both in equal measure, one, then the other in hungry bites.

“Is that Parenmal Fresna cheese I smell, sir knight?”

Straining to pull back the wrapper made with the stamp of the monks of Fresna, the knight, Saravana paused, taken aback by the knowledge. Unsure of where to begin, he remembered his master’s words: ‘Manners cost you nothing.’ “Yes, Great One, it is a cheese from the temple of Fresna. How do you come to recognize it?”

“A hobbit who professed of a cheese so wonderful that if he brought me a wheel, I would be inclined to spare his life and his village which had established a trade with the Monks of Fresna to their mutual benefits. I, of course, did not believe him.”

“I cannot believe this tale ends with a hobbit being eaten, since you know of the cheese and from this pleasant exchange, don’t seem to be the type to eat a creature after giving your word.”