Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: Her Grandfather's Sword
By Caitlynn Lowe
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It was true; no one left in the village would even consider attacking the dragon that had killed two dozen of their fittest men. Yet it had to be stopped. So without thinking, Catherine had taken her late grandfather's sword and left to face the dragon herself.
A faint smile passed over her lips at the thought of her grandfather. He had been a legend, and Catherine was in awe at holding his sword in her quivering hands. Having been known as much for his kindness as for his bravery, her grandfather managed to create a legacy for himself that survived past his own life.
There had been a problem, however; he had no sons, nor did he have any grandsons. There had been no one to pass his sword down to upon his death, and so it remained locked away and neglected. That is, until the night that Catherine left to fight the dragon. She knew her courage would fail her many times, and so she had taken the sword to strengthen her resolve. So far it had worked perfectly, but now, as she stood just before the dragon's lair, she began to wonder if even it would be enough.
Just then, Catherine's eye caught sight of the inscription on the sword. It read, A Cruce Salus, or, Salvation comes from the Cross. Slowly she traced over the words with her trembling fingers, soaking them in. She needed strength; now she knew where to get it from.
"Lord," she began to pray, "my God and my one True Hope, please, please give me the inner-strength to do this. Though I may be weak in body, with Your help may I be strong in spirit. Help me, Jesus. Help me to do this."
Though several tears escaped from Catherine's eyes as she finished her short prayer, she had said it with such trust that immediately her heart was encouraged and her feet began to move once more. Slowly, cautiously, she walked around the bend leading to the dragon's lair. Then she saw it: the Beast, the terror of the night, with its hideous, crooked claws, midnight-black horns, and bright, blood-red scales. Worst of all, it saw her too...and it was standing right in front of her!
The dragon let out a thunderous roar and unleashed a storm of flames at Catherine. Her heart raced as she leapt quickly off her feet and away from the flames, landing on her right side and injuring the arm in which she held the sword. It slid out of her hand and before she could reach for it again, the dragon attacked once more. She dodged as quickly as she could, but this time the Beast's flames grazed her legs and she let out a cry of pain as she fell to the ground. The sword was now completely out of her grasp, resting on ground dangerously beyond the dragon, but her life in this world would be lost without it. She was already so weak, but God had filled her heart with strength.
"Lord," she pleaded, "please let the inner-strength You’ve granted be enough." With those words on her tongue she made one final dash and leapt towards the sword, grabbing for it with all her might. As the dragon turned to face her, it would bare its chest for only a brief moment; Catherine knew that would be her one last chance. She watched intently for the opening, and when at last she saw it she gathered all the strength she had and thrust the sword towards the Beast's heart. Her eyes widened and her spirit rose when she saw the dragon die and fall to the ground.
Catherine removed her grandfather's sword from the dragon's heart, looking upon it with awe as she realized the debt of gratitude she owed, not to it, but to God for providing her with the inner-strength she needed.
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