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Title: A Fairy Tale or King Anthony gets a dragon slain and finds true love
By: Stacy L.A. Stronach
Notes: Written for the NCIS ficathon
"Well the knight he spends many hour behind the castle wall.
But the ending to my story dear, isn't what it seems at all.
For in neither bed of neither maid was he repaid for his glory.
But he slept all night with the King instead for this is a fairy story.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no, for this is a Fairy story."
(The Brobdingnagian Bards)
To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.
- Lee Iacocca
I looked up the song for the song lyric as I was intrigued by it. The entire song is what inspired this story.
***Once upon a time, in a land not so far away there lived a handsome, brave, and kind young King.
King Anthony ruled the Kingdom of Navalia, having inherited the throne when his father was killed in battle several years before. The King had never married, although he had dallied with his fair share of the Ladies of the Court (and not a few of the Lords). He was a handsome man, tall, muscular, with light brown hair and twinkling hazel eyes. The King would marry only for true love and then, as now, finding true love was not an easy task.
The King had two younger sisters, Princess Abigail and Princess Caitlyn and both of his sisters held important positions in his Court. Princess Caitlyn, beautiful as her brother was handsome had long brown hair and brown eyes. She was petite, but woe betide anyone who took her size for weakness. She had a great tactical mind and was the Lady High Commander of the warriors for the Kingdom. Princess Abigail was the Chief Alchemist and also a beauty, although not in the same manner as her sister. Abigail had deep blue eyes that shone often with humour; she wore her black hair in ponytails and kept her skin protected from the sun, thus giving her pale skin that contrasted with her dark hair. Both women were highly intelligent and were trusted advisors to their brother. The Court Magician was Lord Ducky of Mallard who looked after all things magical in Navalia.
And, so, for many years of King Anthony's reign, Navalia thrived as a peaceful Kingdom. Relations with the neighbouring Kingdoms of Hibernia and Celtia were friendly with minor disagreements resolved by King Anthony's great diplomacy. As has been said, Navalia was a peaceful kingdom, until....
"King Anthony! King Anthony! I apologise for interrupting but there is a messenger from Galatia bearing important news, Sire!" Timothy of Goldfishia, King's Secretary reported. He bowed then stood breathlessly beside the King's desk in the study. The younger man had run from the Great Hall to deliver his news.
"Show the messenger to the Great Hall, I'll receive him there, Timothy," King Anthony said calmly. He looked around his desk at his sisters and other advisors. "Lord Morrow, the Governor of Galatia, is not a man to send frivolous messages. I'd like you all to come with me."
Ten minutes later, the king sat on his throne in the Great Hall, watching as the messenger was brought before him. "What news do you bring us, man?" King Anthony asked.
The messenger bowed, pulling out the scroll from his pack. "Your Royal Highness, Lord Morrow of Galatia sends greetings to you and the Royal Court. He wishes to inform you that a large dragon has taken to terrorising the shores of Galatia. The beast walks upon land and swims in the water. Galatia has lost much in the way of trade and the fishing trade has been much affected by this. He suspects the Haswari Kingdom of conjuring the beast and is certain they mean to invade Navalia by way of Galatia. Lord Morrow requests immediate assistance from the King," the messenger finished, bowing again to the king.
"Thank you, messenger. Wait here for a reply," Anthony said. He turned to Princess Caitlyn. "What do you suggest, sister?"
"Lord Morrow has two units at his disposal; it's a good six hour ride to Galatia... " she paused, thinking. "We should send out two additional light units immediately, then raise the regular army to follow. Send out at least two warships, with two more on standby. Although it seems Galatia is the only target, being the easiest area of our coast from which to launch an assault, we should send out a unit each to the other coastal provinces, just in case. Hibernia and Celtia should also be made aware of the situation; we may need their assistance in future. We'll need the Messenger Corps to be ready to take messages back and forth quickly. I also suggest stepping up security here in the city," Princess Caitlyn said. "We need to call the War Council to session, however, I don't think there's any need to go on full alert, just yet. We need more information."
The king considered his sister's advice; then nodded his head in agreement. "I concur, sister," he said. Looking at the rest of his court gathered there, he asked, "Any other opinions or suggestions?"
The elder Ducky of Mallard, spoke quietly. "I'm sensing very Dark Magic involved with this dragon. However, the Princess Caitlyn's advice is sound, as always. Sire, I shall retire to my workshop and look into this further. Princess Abigail, your assistance would be greatly appreciated."
"Of course, Ducky, I shall be honoured to do so," she said.
Seeing as no others wished to comment, Anthony looked at Caitlyn. "Proceed with your plans and keep me informed." King Anthony turned his attention to Timothy and the messenger from Galatia. "Timothy, get me pen and parchment so I can compose a message for Lord Morrow," he demanded while the members of court left to attend to those matters that they needed to.
"Yes, Sire, right away!" Timothy said, running off to fulfil the request.
Three months later
Navalia War Council Room
King Anthony was the last one into the War Room. He looked at war ministers from the ten provinces of Navalia and the other members of the Council. The others at the table stood, waiting until their King was seated.
Settling into his chair at the head of the table, King Anthony spoke. "Let's get right to business. Princess Caitlyn, report please."
"The news is not good, brother," she said quietly. "We've lost 165 warriors to the beast; one warship was sunk, with only a few casualties and two other warships have sustained major damage and are being refitted. Our sea operations have gone from attacking the monster to patrolling and trying to keep the fisherman and trade ships safe from attack. It seems to be working but sea traffic is being adversely affected. Our land attacks have had no more success than our sea attacks," she reported, sighing. "I've been working with the provincial war ministers to try and come up with some sort of strategy. We've tried some of Ducky's suggestions but there seems to be a very strong magic protecting the dragon."
Anthony nodded and then turned his attention to Ducky. "Court Magician, what can you tell me?"
Ducky pushed his glasses up, sighing before he spoke. "As Princess Caitlyn said, there is a very strong, very Dark Magic protecting the beast. Princess Abigail and I have been working hard to try and break through it, but our attempts have been for naught. I do now know that it is the Warlord Ari of Haswari who is behind this attempt; what I do not know, and what is so frustrating is that I cannot determine the source of his magic. I have a couple theories but it will take time to find out the truth. I am sorry I have not been able to do more, my King."
"I know you're doing the best you can, Ducky. I have faith in you," Anthony said. He looked around the table at the serious faces of the War Council members. "I don't have to tell you how serious this situation is. While the dragon has stayed in the Galatian area, that may change and quickly. I'm open to suggestions," he said.
Before the members of the Council could respond, the heavy oak door to the room swung open, hard enough that it hit the wall, making a loud thud. A man strode into the room. He looked to be in his early fifties, his mostly grey hair cut in a short and severe style, his ice blue eyes cool and serious.
The King stood. "Who dares to interrupt the War Council of Navalia?" he demanded.
The older man walked over and knelt before Anthony in a show of fealty. Once he stood again, he spoke. "I am Sir Jethro Gibbs, Lord Knight of the House of Bourbon." At his revelation of identity, there were several indrawn gasps of breaths from the Councillors. Gibbs ignored them. "I am here to aid Navalia in its fight against Ari of Haswari and the dragon. I have dealt with Ari and his evil before. In order to kill the dragon, it must be slain by having the head cut off by a member of a Royal Family. I am offering myself for this undertaking."
Anthony eyed him with suspicion. "Your reputation is hardly one of man willing to give of himself for another country. Why do you offer to aid us?"
"Ari killed my parents, siblings, wife and children many years ago before taking the Kingdom of Bourbon. I wish to avenge them. And, a word of advice, King Anthony; do not believe everything you hear," Gibbs said, his voice low.
"I have to discuss this with my council, Sir Gibbs. Please wait outside."
Immediately that Gibbs was out of the room, several people started speaking at once and no one could be understood. Anthony slammed his hand on the table, getting their attention. "Quiet! You will each have a turn to speak," he said.
"Brother, may I speak?" Princess Caitlyn asked. At he nod of assent, she continued. "Everything I have heard of that man is bad. He has turned his back on allies, has committed treason, why he was even disowned by his own father before his death. We should not trust him!"
The Councillor from Galatia spoke next. "I agree with the Princess. Gibbs is a loose cannon, there's no telling what he'll do; I've heard he does not keep his word!" Other Councillors nodded their agreement.
"Your Highness," Ducky said quietly. Once he had the King's attention, he continued. "I have known Jethro for many years and as he told you, one cannot believe everything one hears. While I have not seen him for almost a decade, I will stand by him. He is one of the most honourable men I have had chance to meet in my many years. He is trustworthy and if he gives you his word, you can rely on it. Sometimes, to solve the big problems, one has to do what is unpopular."
Princess Abigail spoke next. "I have only just met Sir Gibbs but I feel that he can be trusted."
The King sat silently for many minutes considering what he had just heard. Abigail's instincts when it came to judging other people were excellent, her skill at it as great as Caitlyn's tactical abilities. Ducky was not one to be easily fooled, either. His own instincts were telling him that Gibbs was indeed trustworthy, and even if he were fighting for his own reasons, would the results not be the same? "I have decided to accept Sir Gibbs' offer of help. Nothing we have done has helped. I have also decided I will accompany him. If he fails, then I will take up the task and kill the beast."
The Council, knowing that once the King had made up his mind there would be no going back, silently accepted his decision.
"Bring Gibbs back in," he commanded.
Gibbs came back into the room, and Anthony stood. "Sir Gibbs, the Kingdom of Navalia gratefully accepts your offer of help. I will be going with you, when do we leave?"
Gibbs quirked an eyebrow in surprise but said nothing beyond, "We should leave tomorrow, Sire."
"Very good. Page, show Sir Gibbs to a guest suite, then make sure we are provisioned for our journey," King Anthony said. He turned his attention back to the people at the table. "Council is dismissed." All but his sisters and Ducky left the room.
"Anthony, I do not think this is a good idea," Caitlyn said angrily. "But if you insist on going, then I am going with you!"
"No, you are not. I need you to stay and coordinate things, Caitlyn. Besides, you're next in line for the throne and both of us cannot be put in peril. Ducky, I'd like you to come with us."
Caitlyn sighed, knowing her brother was right...but she didn't have to like it.
"Of course, Sire," Ducky replied.
"I want to go with you, Anthony, please."
"Abigail, I really don't..."
"Look, I can help Ducky and I'll just follow if you don't let me go," she said, stubbornly crossing her arms.
"Fine. I suggest we all get some rest now," Anthony said, smiling at his youngest sister.
The king retired to his chambers fully intending to go to bed so he would be well rested for the trip upon the morrow. Once in bed, he found his thoughts were racing, there was so much going on. He hated what had happened, hated that any of his subjects had been lost to this monster. Tossing and turning, Anthony wondered if he was right to have placed the saving of his kingdom in the hands of man like Gibbs. Rolling over once more, he sighed and climbed out of bed. He put on his green silk robe and walked out onto his balcony.
Anthony closed his eyes and took several deep, slow breaths. Opening his eyes, he looked out over the city, the light of the nearly full moon providing illumination. As he leaned over the railing, he found his thoughts turning once again to Gibbs. When Gibbs had first looked at him, Anthony had felt...something, a connection of some sort and he wondered what it was. Perhaps it was attraction, for Sir Gibbs was certainly a handsome man, but Anthony thought it was more than that. He snorted as the word "love" floated through his head. Of course, he'd heard of love at first sight, but he was more level headed than that, wasn't he? Gods above, surely he wasn't going feeble minded, thinking of love. It was attraction, nothing more. He dearly hoped that he was right in letting Gibbs take on this quest.
Sighing in frustration, Anthony went into his chambers and rang for his manservant; while he didn't like to drink so late at night, he felt he needed a beer right now, maybe it would help him sleep.
The Royal Stables of Navalia
The next morning
Gibbs walked into the stables, surprised to see that the king was there ahead of him. "You're an early riser," he said.
Anthony laughed. "Well, most mornings I do sleep later. However, given the peril my kingdom is in...I did not sleep well. Besides the sooner we get there, the sooner we can vanquish the beast," he said, turning back to supervise the stable boy saddling his horse.
Gibbs saddled his own mount, not having a manservant to do it for him. A few minutes later, he heard commotion out in the courtyard. Peering around the stall, he saw that Ducky and the young Princess Abigail had arrived. He smiled, while he hadn't seen the old magician in what seemed a dog's age, Ducky seemed unchanged from their last meeting.
The Royal entourage was ready to leave within half an hour. Anthony used a minimal guard; truth be known if he'd had his way, there wouldn't have been a guard. Sometimes, being King had its disadvantages. As they travelled, Anthony entered into conversation with Gibbs, telling him stories of battles fought, won, and lost in the various regions they went through. He also knew the history of the regions and the people that lived within them.
Gibbs had a love of history and was a bit surprised at how well King Anthony knew the history and people of his country. He had known many monarchs who cared little for what went on beyond the gates of the castle. "You know very much about your country, Sire."
Anthony looked at him, surprised. "Of course I do. How can a man rule his country if he doesn't know it? That was one thing my father impressed upon me deeply," he grinned. "Fortunately, I'm very interested in history."
Gibbs laughed and he found himself drawn to the younger man. King Anthony was a handsome man but beyond that he was intelligent and seemed to truly care for the people he ruled. "Yes, my father was the same. He made sure I knew all there was to know about Bourbon and our people." A sad look crossed his face. His kingdom had been lost to him many years ago...but still, he missed it.
"If it's not too painful a topic, would you tell me about Bourbon? I'm afraid I do not know much of it, other than the basic history...and what happened with Haswari."
Gibbs tilted his head to the side and then nodded. "I would be honoured to tell you of my country."
A few hours later, the entourage arrived at the base camp on the shores of the Galatian Sea. Word spread quickly through the camp that King Anthony was here and soon there was a great gathering of soldiers.
"Tobias!" Anthony greeted the General who was in charge of operations.
General Tobias bowed to the king. "Your Majesty," he said, leading Anthony, Gibbs, Ducky and Abigail into his tent headquarters.
After everyone was seated, Anthony looked to Tobias. "So, General, report," he said.
"We've had no skirmishes with the beast in the last three days. Currently the monster is out at sea, it seems to be hiding; I have sentries posted to watch for it. As soon as it surfaces, we will know, Sire. We've made no headway in getting rid of it," Tobias said quietly.
Anthony nodded. "Thank you. You and your men have done an admirable job. Gibbs and I will take on the beast at the first possible moment," Anthony explained. "But now, I must go address the brave men and women who are fighting for our country. Gentlemen," he said as he stood to leave the tent.
It was almost three days later when the beast finally came ashore again. During that time, King Anthony and Sir Gibbs spent much time together in conversation; discussing how they'd fight the beast as well as other topics.
"Your Majesty!" a young voice exclaimed from outside Anthony's tent.
The page flew through the flaps of the tent, stopping and bowing to Anthony before continuing. "The dragon is almost to shore, Sir!"
"Thank you, tell the general we'll be going down to the shore," Anthony ordered. The page immediately turned and left the tent.
"Looks like it's show time," Gibbs said, standing and putting his gear on with the king following suit.
The two men made their way quickly to the edge of the beach, where they could see the large, scaly green beast climbing out of the water.
Anthony and Jethro waited until the beast was completely on the land, it would be less agile then, before making their way slowly onto the beach. They had worked out a plan the night before and now they implemented it.
Jethro walked down the right side of the dragon, Anthony the left. The beast paid neither man any notice until Jethro struck its hindquarter with his sword. Before the beast could fully turn to his direction, Anthony attacked from the other side. They kept up the attack, until the dragon had so many wounds with so much blood being lost that it lowered it's head onto the beach.
"NOW!" shouted Gibbs. He and Anthony ran to near the beast's head. Then, their swords whistled through the air, slicing side by side through the thinnest part of the dragon's long neck. As soon as the head was detached and fell to the beach the dragon's body turned to dust, revealing the decapitated body of Ari of Haswari lying on the beach.
Gibbs frowned and bent down to touch the body, when he heard Ducky calling to them to not do anything with it. He turned as Ducky came up to the scene.
"Don't touch it Jethro, he may be poisoned or worse. I'll take care of things. You and King Anthony go celebrate your victory," Ducky said before turning to take care of Ari's remains.
"So Ari is really dead?" he asked the magician.
"Yes, and I'll make sure he stays that way," Ducky replied.
Anthony pulled on Gibbs' arm. "Let's go, Jethro, we have a grateful kingdom to greet," he said, smiling.
"Of course, your Majesty," Gibbs grinned in reply.
King Anthony's Castle
Four days later
The celebration feast at the castle was well under way, now that the king, Gibbs and the others had returned safely after slaying the dragon.
Halfway through the evening, King Anthony approached Jethro. "You have helped us slay the horrible beast. Thank you, Sir Gibbs," he said, shaking his hand. "As a reward, you may take your pleasure with either of my sisters..." he paused, seeing an almost predatory gleam come into Jethro's eyes. Anthony _had_ asked his sisters' permission before offering the reward, they both seemed attracted to the older man.
Anthony's thoughts were cut off when Gibbs, glancing at the courtiers around them, leant forward, almost pressing his lips in a kiss to the king's ear. "The reward I ask for is you, my King. It's your pleasure I want to take...or give as the case may be." Moving his head back, Jethro grinned as he watched the smile spread across Anthony's face, his hazel eyes bright.
The king nodded. "Then you shall have what you have asked for, Jethro. When the feast is over...?"
"That will be fine. However, I need to rest, so I shall see you later, Sire?"
"You can count on it," Anthony said, smiling and watching the older man leave the room. Perhaps the celebrating wouldn't go on so long tonight...
As soon as Gibbs was out of the room, Abigail and Caitlyn made their way to their brother's side. "So, who did he choose, me or Cait?" Abigail asked.
Anthony grinned, rather slyly. "Neither, he wanted something better."
"What could be better than one of us?" pouted Caitlyn.
"Me," was all he said, before turning and following Gibbs out of the room. "Damn it!" he heard Caitlyn say as Abigail laughed and he heard the tinkling of coin exchanging hands. Anthony wondered if Caitlyn would ever learn not to bet against their sister. After a few steps he turned around. "I know it's not good form for the king to leave early, but damn it, I AM the king...who's got someone waiting for him. You ladies will wrap things up for me, I trust?"
Abigail gave him two thumbs up. "You bet we will, Anthony. Now, don't have too much fun, brother dear," she said, winking at him. "Oh, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" she called after him.
Anthony laughed, feeling happier than he had in a long while as he climbed the stairs to his chambers...and to his love.
Of course, this being a fairy tale, the two men loved each other deeply, were wed within the year, and lived... happily ever after.