Is it better to have unopposable power or is it better to be born responsible and strive to gain power? In my seven hundred years of existence, I have not observed a single living being who had both power and an equal amount of control over it. I doubt I will ever find the answers to my question. I only have sixty five years of my life left ahead of me… as was the fate of all of my kind before me. All dragons live for seven hundred and sixty five years. Unless they starve to death or fall in battle or fly too close to the sun.
Power and pride were the only things that mattered to them. All the great dragons of legend died in battle or starved themselves to death. Flying too close to the sun was a last resort if you were close to the end of your natural life span and were too weak of body and mind to seek battle or starvation. One might wonder why death by starvation was considered noble by a race of creatures born of, from and for destruction. In order to explain that, I will have to take you back to the time when angels and demons roamed the lands of our plane.
The entirety of existence is encapsulated into one sentient being. Everything that exists is a part of this being. An organ of this being. Thus, anything and everything exists, every event that occurs, regardless of the moral viewpoint, is in accordance and acceptance of this being. It would be incorrect to assume that this being is omnipotent or omnipresent. This being could no more influence my actions than I could reach down my own throat and pull out my own lungs. Further, it is not that this being is present everywhere. It is just that this being equates to the concept of “everywhere”. And that is the name for this being in my language. Everywhere.
Just as we embody the physical organs of Everywhere, there are certain beings who embody certain abstract characteristics of Everywhere. Emotions, thoughts and so on. These beings are angels and demons. Some of the more prominent angels include The Happiness of Everywhere, The Faith of Everywhere and The Pleasure of Everywhere. Demons include The Wrath of Everywhere, The Despair of Everywhere and The Hunger of Everywhere. None of them represented good or evil. For Everywhere is one single entity. In order to say something is good or evil, you need two sides. So, in truth, none of them deserved to be called angels or demons. They reflected this truth. Both sides suffer from happiness and they can both inflict pain if they so desire.
Both sides possessed incredible powers, capable of snuffing out stars and tearing through the very fabric of existence itself. The classification into “angels” and “demons” was based on how they were perceived by the majority of those mortals who beheld them. Of course, being the petty, superficial creatures that they were, the mortals usually jumped to classification based on appearance. As a result, it is extremely rare to find an ugly angel or a beautiful demon. I seem to be implying that I am not mortal since I am referring to mortals as “them” instead of “us”. That is simply my pride as a dragon. An empty pride. I have nothing to be proud of, being the last of my kind, having lived so long, staring into the terrible face of death by natural causes.
There were no dragons for a long time since the beginning of recorded history and an even longer time before. The angel, The Existential Dread of Everywhere, was unique. She did not like her angelic name. To be honest, she did not like anything about herself. She was the weakest of her race. She embodied Everywhere’s wish for non-existence. As a result, she held a deep, infinite hatred for everything in existence. Including herself. She rejected her angelic appearance by clipping off her own wings every time they grew. She rejected her duty to regulate existential dread among mortals. She rejected her angelic name and went by the mortal name of Mar.
Mar’s hatred for the eternity of existence drove her insane with contradiction. And so, she did something painfully ironic. She brought something into existence. Dragons. Her intention was to end trillions of years of existence in a rebelliously minuscule seven hundred and sixty five years. And so, the weakest of the angels ended up bringing about the destruction of all of Everywhere’s thoughts, emotions and other abstract properties. It is said that my ancestors really did slaughter all of those long-lived celestial beings in seven hundred and sixty five years. Only Mar was left alive. She was the last remaining proof of Everywhere’s existence. Without her, the mortals would eventually forget the meaning of Everywhere and lose the ability to gaze at Everywhere. They would be confined to the cage built by the limitations of their senses.
It was at this moment, when Mar felt a sense of purpose and the shadow of happiness for the first time, that the true treachery of the nature of our existence was revealed. While Mar was going through the painful process of creating us, a demon had tainted us with his essence. The Survival of Everywhere. Thus, we, who were born to destroy and embrace the impending non-existence that awaited us, were also bound to lust for survival. Mar’s original, pure plan had been dismantled. After we killed her, we were supposed to fade away into bliss. But my ancestors refused to fade away. They refused to kill her. In retaliation, Mar took away their immortality, cursing them to have a life that lasted exactly as long as it had taken them to almost carry out their duty. She said we would be reborn as lesser creatures if we forsook the opportunity at non-existence she was giving us. It was not a bad plan. If all the dragons died and were reborn as lesser creatures, at the very least, there would be no dragons left to remind her of her failure.
When Mar saw the first dragon offspring, she was filled with shame and rage. She realized that it was not possible to end our existence. And so, she wept for fifty years until her eyes were as barren and dry as the great sand seas. Then, she wiped her face with her hands and remembered that it was by her own hands that her greatest shame was brought upon her. She flew into a rage and repeatedly ripped apart her own arms until she could use them no more. My ancestors watched all of this and were greatly ashamed of their inability to fulfill their purpose. They deeply desired to give Mar what she needed. And so they spoke a promise. That we would honor Mar and defy the despicable demon who had cursed us. That we would do all we could to destroy ourselves.
Those of my ancestors with the strongest wills starved themselves to death. They were the original Sage Dragons. The others fought among themselves, falling in deadly battle until only the weak and cowardly remained. However, they too followed in the footsteps of their elders. And thus, over millennia, the incredible power of the dragons dwindled to a drop in the ocean. But it would take longer still for our numbers to dwindle. Once dragons reached 100 years of age, they would be consumed by the lust for survival and compelled to fornicate. Further still, the parents were not psychologically able to abandon their children for the first 50 years of their growth. And so the cycle continued. In deed, the most honorable death for a dragon was to die of starvation or in battle, between the ages of 50 and 100. It meant the dragon had not fallen to the whim of survival. Killing an infant dragon or either of its parents is frowned upon and has only occurred once in recorded history. This is so because their state of mind during infancy or parenthood is one that craves survival. As such, they cannot be expected to conform to the essence of Mar and hence, are not expected to consent to a sentence of non-existence.
We watch our children proudly as they grow, reveling as they slowly remember the history of our elders and recall their true purpose, rejoicing in the blissful truth that one day, they too will cease to exist. And once our children recall the complete truth, at the age of 50, they abandon us so that we may be free of the compulsion of the Survival of Everywhere. So that we may all seek non-existence as equals. This recollection of past events through the collective memories of our ancestors is what preserves our final duty. Our final promise. For through this recollection, we retain our most precious knowledge, our most precious sword. The secret knowledge pertaining to the destruction of angels and demons.
And that was our final promise to Mar:
When all dragons lie dead, but one.
The final duty of the last dragon.
To kill Mar and then there shall be none.
I suppose that is my purpose. I am the last dragon. Once I find her and destroy her, she will never have to cry again. She will never have to feel pain again. She will never have to tear at her own wings again. At last, Mar’s tears have been answered. With sixty five years to spare. Everything is going much better than originally planned. What could possibly go wrong…?