Monday, 26 June 2017

The Beginning

Dominic Matte
The dragons, to their great shock, had been defeated. Soundly. Overwhelmingly. The dragons had been nearly exterminated.

The vermin - the lesser races - had called it the Great Betrayal. None of the dragons thought of it that way - none who mattered. They were reclaiming their birthright, one they had long given up in the name of peace and prosperity. The dragons were reminded of the way things used to be, before they agreed to share with and protect the weaker races. Cooperation bringing prosperity? Nonsense! A dragon had its home and its hoard within the empire, but in the old days, a dragon was an empire. Dragons took what they wanted and cared not for the pathetic two-legged beasts who scurried around on the ground, save only for what the vermin could provide to the dragon. If a dragon protected a city, it was not out of generosity or fellowship, but as a means to an end. In the old days, dragons were power. Kings trembled at their wingbeat and armies shattered at their whim. That was as it should be - the dragons had suffered alliances with the three empires for far too long. Acting as one, they razed the capitals to craters of ash in a firestorm of draconic rage the likes of which had never been seen. After centuries, the dragon lords were vindicated, and all was as it should be.

Or so Hydrargea had been told. Perched on the tip of a rocky spire among the remainder of dragonkind, she flexed her shining wings, the light playing over the damaged membranes like liquid metal. She had her doubts about all this. The dragons were all here, perched on the highest peak on the continent, ignorant of the freezing cold and piercing wind. Some were the most powerful of dragonkind: ancient, powerful dragons with the knowledge and experience a thousand years or more, triumphant over legions of dragonslayers. Others were young, weaker, less experienced; having survived the purge with cunning, luck, or stealth (which some called cowardice).

One short year ago, there had been thousands of dragons. Here, now, in an assembly of the entire continent's dragons, there were only a few dozen.