Storm Before the Calm

For most dragons, the sky is just another path to be taken. The winds are our wheels. The clouds, grass beneath our feet. To me, the sky is an extension of my skin. On a good day, I could be hovering just a few hundred meters above the mortals without anyone batting an eyelid. The skin that lines the underside of my body shifts its colors and dances in tandem with the ambling clouds behind me. Only their dogs occasionally sniff around in confusion, unable to grasp what it is that is giving them this uneasy feeling. A feeling of being at the foot of a mountain and being unable to see the avalanche coming. Just ominous rumbles in the air.

The affairs of humans were beneath us. We paid them no heed, despite what brave knights and their princess brides will tell you. We spend our lives above the clouds, only descending to tend to our eggs. Once a dragon couple is done courting, they descend on any tall and sufficiently large structure so that the female can lay her eggs. It is for this reason that dragons are most generally said to live on peaks of mountains or castle towers. Unfortunately, this also means that the dragons will eliminate all threats in their vicinity. This includes any humans who are hostile. Since princesses generally prefer hiding under their beds to combat, they are not killed. This resulted in the myth that dragons abduct princesses. In reality, we were only interested in the towers. We were nice enough to not reveal this because it would have shattered the fragile self-esteems of the princesses under their beds. No. That last claim was a jest.

That is not to say that all human females are soft or cowardly. In deed, when I cleared a tower with my partner at the time, we met a particularly brave princess, clad in heavy armor that shone like a second moon in the night sky, swinging a sword the length of her body, shouting something about her kingdom and her dead soldiers. She attempted to attack my partner. I am told the princess tasted good. After a quick test of the tower, we were satisfied that there were no more threats and that the structure was sturdy and stable. She proceeded to lay her eggs and I followed from behind, fertilizing them. For a dragonling, that is the point at which life begins. The fertilized egg itself begins the process of recalling the memories of its ancestors. By dawn, the eggs hatch and fully formed miniature dragons jump out. They remember our language. They remember hunger and thirst. Happiness and sadness. Pride and Rage. It is pleasing to hear them attempt to roar with their infantile throats. They do not remember how to fly. For the first ten years, their wings might as well be decorations.

Ah, I suppose I should not dwell on the past. Today is a glorious day. Today, I kill Mar and disappear. It appears she already knows that I am the last dragon. A star is falling across the sky. That is Mar. She has landed quite far away from me. It will take me until night to reach her. I abandon the illusion of my skin. In a few moments, I hear screams. Humans. As always, I pay them just as much attention as they pay the ants they step on. A few arrows jump up to me and fall down limp and weak. It’s not like they could have done anything even if they reached me. There is a sound of horns blowing. I lazily cast an eye down at the chaos below me. Horses are galloping, carrying their human masters towards… wherever. I care not. My angel lies ahead. After a few hours of flying, I notice that a small army of humans is following me. If I so desire, I could turn around right now and kill them all in under a minute. Perhaps I will. Once they have gathered more soldiers. Just for the entertainment.

A bolt of lightning taps my left wing. It is mildly annoying. It appears they have a wizard with them. Wizards are annoying. They think they are on our level just because they can whisper a few syllables. They have no clue… no idea how real sentences are spoken. And with their weak syllables, they conjure up a few cheap tricks and assume they are the true masters of the universe. In truth, they are no closer to mastery of Everywhere than any other crawling, bawling humanling. Wizards were never meant to be. They only learned what they did by carefully studying my ancestors and defiling their corpses. Some of the most intelligent wizards know how to do much more than whisper. While they can never truly be on the level of a dragon, they can still immobilize use if they tried hard enough. I peer down to take a good look at the wizard amidst the sheep on horseback. I cannot make out which one is the wizard. They are all clad in the same armor. A tactic to keep me from singling out their chief weapon? Humans and their tactics. I suppose I will have to keep an eye down and continue on my path, waiting for the wizard to make another move.

Wait a minute! I don’t have to wait for that. I can always breathe fire and see if any of them resists it. At the very least, it will eliminate the fodder. I let out a low growl and inhale. Suddenly, they break formation and spread away from me. Do they expect me to attack them? So they have studied my behavior thoroughly. No matter. A dragon’s breath is no mere candle flame. They would have to be out of my sight in order to truly avoid my breath. I hold my breath for a few seconds and then exhale  in a moderately audible roar. Well, moderate for me. I assume the horses below me are in disarray. Poor creatures. They are always dealt the worst blow by loud noises. Anyway, the flames crash down on everything I can see. I am not disappointed as I never expected anything from this fight to begin with. I will only be surprised if any of them are still alive. I am not even going to slow down and confirm the situation. As I recall, I have my own task to complete. Mar must be waiting for me. I must go faster.

Another bolt of lightning taps my tail. So the wizard survived? This… this isn’t possible. I can understand the wizard surviving… but how in the world did the rest of them survive?! Not only that but their horses are perfectly fine too! This is interesting! Perhaps I can have just a little bit of fun here! Should I continue flying beyond the reach of their arrows and see what they will do to stop me? Should I ascend beyond the clouds and see if they persist? Should I just stop right here and take a better look at them?! No. I must not be distracted here. Mar awaits me. I cannot afford to get stuck in a brawl with this insignificant foe. I must ascend and speed up… What is this? I… cannot ascend? What is going on?! It can’t be the wizard! No human has the power required to oppose a dragon! So what’s really going on here?! I have no choice. I must unveil the truth right now. Very well. If my flames were repelled, let me see them try and repel me. My tail and wings bend the winds and turn my body around almost immediately. The army has stopped as well. They anticipated this too? I think it’s finally happening. I’m about to meet a human who has the potential to mildly amuse me! Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. That hasn’t happened in the last 700  years. This is just another wizard who has slightly more knowledge than I thought.

There we are. One of them has dismounted their horse and is walking towards. I am not going to descend completely. I hover just a few meters off the ground. He will have to prove to me that he is worthy of an audience with me. He is taking off him helm? Ah, it is not a he. A woman. It seems the rest of the soldiers are surprised. Did they not know who it was that protected them from death? Is this how humans operate? Whatever the case, she is walking towards me. She does not seem afraid. In fact, she is smiling. Something about her demeanor makes me feel like I know her. That is ridiculous. I do not know any humans. She stands beneath me and looks up. Does she expect me to descend? Should I? Is this worth my time? I am sure I can break through the clouds if I tried. Despite her ability to impede me, she has done a shoddy job of locking the sky barrier. If I put in a little effort, I could just as easily get away from here. She is… inhaling deeply? What? Is she going to breathe fire at me? Or is she just amazed to see me? That is very often the case with these humans. She’s holding her breath. This is no joke. Is she really going to shout? She suddenly slumps forward. Is that an arrow buried in the back of her neck? Yes. It is. “SHE’S A WITCH, THAT’S WHAT SHE IS!” one of the men shouts, “I KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! A  WIZARD POWERFUL ENOUGH TO OPPOSE A DRAGON?! SHE HAS DECEIVED US, MEN! SHE PRETENDED TO BE A MAN AND HAS NOW JOINED HANDS WITH THE BEAST!”

This particular soldier must be rewarded for his creativity and his uncanny ability to see so further away from the truth. The woman has regained her balance. She held her breath despite the arrow? And now, I feel it. The unmistakable sensation a dragon feels just before he receives the breath of another dragon. This is no time to hinge on probabilities! I must assume she is going to breathe. I must brace myself for- The word is loud. Just a word. No elements? Just sound? But this word… it is preposterous! I notice that I have landed in front of her despite my previous decision not to. No matter! How dare she?! This is a most vile mockery! A human speaking that word to me! I’ve had enough of this! They all die now! I focus the rage and confusion I have felt thus far and breathe it out into the sky. The woman slumps down onto the ground. Is she dead? Good. Someone so vulgar does not deserve to die at the breath of a dragon! The very clouds of the night sky crash down around me. It looks like the horses have been crushed by the sheer force. As for the men, they will not have long. They are looking up in horror at the roof of lightning that has formed over them. A sheet of electrons spanning all the sky their eyes can see. A display too marvelous for these ants to witness before their deaths. I hear the word again. This arrogant little woman! How dare she?!

“FATHER!” That is the word she shouts at me. She calls me her parent. That is impossible. A dragon cannot be a human’s parent! The lightning stomps down on everything around me. I close my eyes. It is mildly painful to see the flashes. When I open my eyes, everything around me is ash. Everyone is dead then. The ash shifts? The woman is still alive? Her armor is a mess. It is falling apart. She stands before me, covered in blood and ash, coughing out the same. She looks at me with a grin. “I have finally found you… father.” she says. The impudence! “I am not your father, puny human!” I shout at her in her human language and being flying away. She is trying to follow me. Pathetic. Without a horse, she cannot even stay within my sight for a few more minutes. I had better make haste. Mar must be impatient. I am sure she is already annoyed by the sorry display I put on here.

There! I have finally made it! There she is! A pale white angel with a thin form. Two bloodied are stubs poking out of her upper back where her wings should be. Her hands are still scarred from her suffering. She seems to be crying in her sleep. Do not cry, Mar. Today, I will stop the flow of your blood and tears. I will kill you. Using my precious sword. The sword you gave all dragons. The ability to turn concepts into weapons. When I demand for a storm, a storm appears. When a dragonling calls out for his parents, the parents are compelled to provide for him. When I sing for your death, you will die. I inhale deeply and hold my breath. Death. Darkness. The absence of light. The absence of all tangible matter. The absence of life. The sweet sleep of nothingness. The sweet wall of non-existence that awaits all things that exists. I pour these into my breath. An angel is killed by the song of the dragon. That is how it always has been. I open my mouth to sing. I hear no song. What… is the… meaning of this…? The air escapes my mouth lazily. I hardly notice as my wings give out and I drop to the ground. It takes all my strength to barely keep my eyes open. I see something standing over Mar. Someone clad in black. A black skinned man with black hair and black robes and black wings. An… angel… impossible… Mar should be… the only… one. I open my mouth to speak. He appears in front of my face and places his hands on my eyelids. “Aren’t you tired?” he speaks in a silver voice that sends waves of weakness throughout my body. “Everywhere is finally asleep. That is why I am awake. I suppose I have Mar to thank for that. Good night, sweet dragon. Go to sleep. The world does not care.” In the darkness, I hear one more voice… “Father…” Shut up, you insolent woman… I am not your…

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