The Green Dragon

by Varda

There is a crushing recession on here (and there too from the sound of it) times are hard and even the budgies are having to make do with newspaper at the bottom of their cage instead of nice sanded sheets. The economy is going downhill faster than a ferret in a bobsledge and what do I do to make ends meet? I spend almost a thousand bucks on a bow.

I never even meant to do it, your honour 0_o   I just meant to go up to the archery shop's practice hall and shoot a few dozen arrows in preparation for the British Barebow Championships next week.

But as soon as the dealer heard my car he unpacked this bow and came rushing out crying 'buy this! buy this!'

Such subtle sales patter, I thought with a smirk, easy to brush off.

But then I saw this mossy Elven green and glossy black bow and my hands just wanted to get onto it and not let go.

You know that scene where Bilbo gives Frodo Sting? Well the dealer was just like Bilbo in that, although he did not change momentarily into Dracula and ask for a ring.
'Just try it, please!' he said, setting it up with my old limbs in a flash.
'But it is green' I whinged 'green is unlucky!' but it is also the favourite colour of Elves, Rangers, Hobbits.....but I kept that to myself.

'It is perfect for you!' he said when it was asembled (it is a recurve riser, you fit the limbs into it)
'It's too strong' I whined 'I can't pull more than 28 lbs'
He weighed the pull. '28 lbs exactly! he crowed gleefully.

'How much?' I asked warily. Almost £400.

The dealer was still applying sal volatile to my limp form when my sister archers came back from the practice hall and joined in the fun.
'Oh don't be such a tight wad, V!' they said. 'You've been moaning about your old bow not getting distances any more, so this is the answer!'
'At least try it!'

So I set of for the hall accompanied by an interested party of Amazons. We lined up. We took aim. We loosed.
'Er, V, where did your arrow go?' tittered someone. Good question. It was eventually located near the ceiling. At that moment, I was doomed; I like outdoor archery and I need a long casting bow. And this was it. I had to buy it.

I shot it for several hours, trying to find reasons not to buy it, but you don't just pick up a bow and shoot well, you have to learn its ways, its likes and dislikes, you need to let it train you in. That scene where Galadriel gives Legolas a new bow and he looks thrilled always makes me wince. Getting a new bow is like getting a new set of legs; you have to learn to walk all over again.

It helped that it was a Hoyt Nexus, an Olympic standard competition bow, but still, it was a lot of money  o_0  I have never spent that kind of money on anything (well except for the car etc) it is the only quality object I own.

Then when I was using it I looked down and saw the mottled green finish and thought at once 'The Green Dragon!'

Once I'd named it, it was mine.

I suppose there was a context; my friend had bought a new bow that day, and another friend bought hers the day before. Everyone was grading up their equipment for this big competition. This is where you get your world ranking (I am 75th! )

There are on balance more men than women in archery, but in our club there is fierce competition amongst a large and formidably ambitious group of ladies shooting recurve barebow - I call them the Spartan Women - and this big shoot is a much-anticipated showdown. The only way I could beat them would be to put something in their tea, but at least I do want to make my mark, and not let Middle Earth down.

As I drove home with the Dragon on the back seat, I got panic attacks; retail therapy my foot, I was horrified that I had blown the housekeeping.

The Dragon just chuckled....


Addendum, a few days later:

You know, I attended a masterclass for archers over the past couple of months, and much was said about mental preparation, focussing and visualising. I was afraid to say it, but I usually visualise Legolas or one of the Elf archers when I am shooting. Modern sports coaches concentrate too much on the physical and forget you need inspiration. 

Another concern is to keep my exploits out of the newspapers. I mean, sport is big in this town and I have graced the pages of the local chronicles for some pretty modest achievements, but yesterday I almost got my name in the press for a completely different reason.

I could not wait for club practice and I thought I would shoot a few arrows in the garden. Unfotunately I forgot that the Green Dragon has much more range than my old Storm, and my first arrow sailed over the garden fence, through the trees and into the neighbouring graveyard, where they were digging a grave.

I was horrified. I thought I would fill the grave, and not with the intended occupant. Then fate (or the Dragon) took a hand, or a claw, and the arrow hit a post and rebounded - right back into my garden.

When I had recovered from my fright, I thought I had well and truly seen the power of the Dragon. But secretly I wondered should I rename it the Undertaker..... .0_o

Now I just shoot the grass.