The prompt was "red." Apologies in advance ;-) this was written/typed "off the cuff."
Red as blood on roses,
the ruby sparkles yet.
Held in thorny golden crown,
the stone flames where it's set.
The dragon's tongue flicks in and out--
the knight dare not forget
his mind, his mission--
And the drake's most fiery threat.
Protect the poor and brickmade homes
Far and wide.
A quick sword prick might stop the blight
If placed in dragon's side.
The beast's scales glow like lava--
Heated deep within.
The knight stands still in wonder:
Can such beauty hide such sin?
But hesitancy can spell death
And our knight wishes to live on...
He draws his sword
the battle's nearly won.
With one quick thrust
the foul deed is done--
Bright ichor bursts
through flesh like sun.
The knight pulls off his helmet
Red hair spills all around.
No knight is this, but princess bold--
Protector of her towns.
When no man dared step forward
to wipe the threat away
She took up armor and weapons
to keep danger well at bay.
She lifts the crown from pedastal,
A lovely prize is this
Her work now well-rewarded
She crowns herself with bliss.
But what is this?
A change befalls our lovely red-haired lass!
Her eyes turn amber, and her skin--
burns and hardens beneath ash.
Her feminine form does twist
as her skeleton bends and writhes
In horror she feels the inevitable--
The beast that grows inside.
Through serpent's eyes she sees the fate awaiting her so soon...
The dragon that she slaughtered is freed from scaled cocoon.
A human corpse--the long lost king, her father on cavern floor.
She shrieks, but the sound turns on itself, becomes a dragon's roar.
The crown again does settle
upon pretty pedastal--
A grim temptation to the next
Who thinks Fate to forestall.
The new dragon settles on its hoarde,
Its eyes lose human soul.
From deep within a hunger rises
That sense cannot control.
And so the pattern changes,
But not the cycle--no.
Wherever man seeks balance
Will magic surely flow!
Eh, it was fun to write and that should matter at least ;-)