Elder Than Thou

Rikiyi and Achrai, two pensive dragons who meet every few years to ponder the world and their own histories, are faced with the mystery of the end of the dragon race, and the peculiar actions of the quaint human species.

A long, long time ago, 14566 years to be exact, there were 2 dragons.  Neither of their names are pronounceable by humans, but the closes approximation would be Rikiya and Achrai.

Rikiya was a rather old dragon, there weren't many older.  He was about 11,000 years old.  He was somewhat recluse, even by dragon standards, and had a pensive disposition, even by dragon standards.  He did occasionally complain, usually about the air smelling "off".  It never smelt off to Achrai.

Achrai was only about 3,500 years old.  He was also old, by some standards.  There weren't many dragons older than 4,000 years.  Achrai himself had only met two, one of whom had not even reached 5,000, and the other was Rikiya.

Rikiya often stayed in his cave.  When he did come outside, it was usually only to talk to Achrai, and was not usually more than 50 or so yards out of the cave.  Rikiya and Achrai were both thoughtful creatures, but in different ways.  Rikiya remained in his cave, solemn, damp, and dark, thinking things over like soaking a tea bag in a cup of tea.  Though, tea did not exist back then.  Achrai would fly around, taking in the sights, keeping his senses fresh when thinking.  They were both good thinkers, but both tended to disagree.  Dragons, however, were not conflictual creatures, not within their own species at least.

One day, Achrai was flying to Rikiya's cave.  It was one of the days when Rikiya was already outside of his cave, either of his own will, or in anticipation of Achrai's arrival.  Rikiya was good at predicting.

Achrai landed next to Rikiya, bringing up dust and sand.  They were in a white desert.  Rikiya was half in his cave, facing out from it.  The sun was nearly setting, just to the left of where the cave pointed out.  Achrai was to Rikiya's right, and a little in front, facing Rikiya at an angle slightly obtuse of 90 degrees.  Achrai was standing, or what a dragon would call standing.  His back legs were down and his front arms held his front up in a proud pose.  Rikiya was lying down, chin on hand.  He continued facing the sun as he talked.

"When I was younger", Rikiya began, "the sun set directly in front of the cave.  Before that, it was to the right slightly, my father had always complained of it bugging him, being slightly off of perfect.  He couldn't see beauty in imperfection, you see."

Achrai was interested.  He had these talks to learn about Rikiya as much as he had them to ponder with him.  Rikiya was very old, and had many interesting things to say.  Though, Achrai had trouble believing that the sun could change the position it set in.

Dragon talk had very long pauses, dragons thought a lot before speaking.

Achrai spoke, "I was observing the human species this last year.  They are peculiar creatures.  I found one settlement in a forest, of about 20, it had carved holes in the trees, they kept their young in the holes."

After a pause, Rikiya spoke, "Peculiar, yes...".  "Keep an eye on that settlement."

"I shall", said Achrai, "But only for a little while, if nothing comes of it within a century, I will look elsewhere."

Rikiya sighed.
"Time is shorter than it was when I was young."

"Could it be that your age, being more centuries than most, means a century seems less than it used to?" Achrai asked.

"No", Rikiya said, lifting up his head, but still facing out from the cave.  "It is quite the opposite.  100 years is more.  Dragons don't live to my age any more.  I feel so old, but my Elder died at over twice my current age."

"He had you quite late then." said Achrai.

"Yes, yes, quiet late." said Rikiya.  "His body was quite a feast."

"It is odd to think, that your Elder had you late, yet over 11 times the age my own generation would be expected to produce offspring."

"Numbers cause my mind to ache, Achrai."

Rikiya turned to look at Achrai, his eyes watering slightly, making them gleam.
"Achrai, it is getting dark." he said.

Achrai acknowledged this, with a slight smile, not one human eyes would understand.  He flew away lightly in the wind, as Rikiya watched the way his wings moved in the air like waves, his left wing more strained than his right.  Achrai had not divulged what had caused this damage.  Rikiya's left wing was also damaged, and he had also not revealed the cause to Achrai.  It was almost perfect, perfection out of imperfection, it was beautiful.

Soon, Achrai had returned, carrying a multitude of pineapples with each limb.  He fed them to Rikiya, smeared others over his body, they lay together throughout the night, damaged wing covering damaged wing.

The End

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