I woke up and opened my eyes. Yet again I realized what I was. A monster.
A mere week ago I was a normal guy, working for fair pay. I had a nice house, people liked me, and even the emperor knew that I was a good man. And now, I was one of the most feared and hated creatures in the whole world.
My body was as big as two large men standing one on top of the other. And all of it was covered in dark green scales. My neck alone was as long as a person was tall. had also grown a tail that was over twelve feet long.
Large talons had grown on my feet along with spines that had developed down my back. My enormous wings had a span of probably thirty feet when unfolded. I gained the ability to fly and breath fire at the expense of my human speech.
I looked around to see the cage I had been in for the last week. Made of solid steel. The only thing that could break it was a god. Even if I found a way to get out of it, I would have to find a way out of the chamber the cage itself was in. I would then have to fight all the guards as I found the way.
In short, getting out of here was impossible. Especially for one who has not actually been forced to walk in such an alien body as mine.
I stood up in the minuscule space I had and closed my eyes. Since my change all my senses had become ten times more powerful than they were before. My sense of smell had gotten better than anything else.
I sniffed the air and could tell someone was walking over. I opened my eyes and glanced at him.
It was one of the guards, walking over to the cage to stare at me. I was not sure if it was out of curiosity or of plain awe, but he continued to examine every part of my body. After a few more seconds he stopped and went back to his post.
A few minutes passed by and the general walked in with what looked to be an old mage, or at least some old guy that had lots of wisdom. They stopped a few feet away from the cage I was in and talked about something. Just out of reach of me hearing.
They looked up at me and then came over.
“Will he accept though,” I heard the general ask as they walked closer.
“I believe so,” the old man replied.
The general examined me like the other guard did. After a quick inspection he said, ”You understand me, do you not?”
I looked down at him. Unsure what to do since my ability to speak was lost.
“Well?” he demanded.
I nodded my head to show I did.
“Well,” he said, “We have a literate reptile then,” he said laughing.
I was in no mood to joke, and in no position to hurt him, so I only stared at the tiny man that made the sly remark.
“As you may know, Hurin,” saying my name with disgust, “The Empire is at war. And an asset like you would benefit us very much. So, your choice is, either stay here and wait until we kill you, like all dragons caught here, or help us win the war. Give me a nod if you accept.”
I gazed at him. He was using what had happened to me to help him win a war. All I would get out of it was me keeping my life. Or whatever I had left of one. I nodded and became aware that the rest of my life would be me being commanded by men like him to do what they wanted.
* * *
TWO WEEKS EARLIER
I walked down the dirt road that connected my house to the main town. A bow was in my right hand while several dead squirrels and rabbits were in the other.
The road that I had to walk everyday was around four miles long. This made were I lived out of the way from typical annoyances.
As I walked I glanced around at the trees that were on either side of me. Since the road was newer than the others I had great game almost year round. This meant that I did not have to go to the town more than once a week.
When I got to the town I entered the local butcher.
“What will you give me for these,” I asked setting the squirrels and rabbits on the counter.
Bauto looked down at the goods. He picked up one of the squirrels and examined it closely.
“Twelve,” he said flatly.
Only twelve coins? That was barely enough to pay for the arrows I used getting them.
“That’s it? Last week I got fifteen for half as much rabbit as I gave you now.”
“Well you’ve been giving me a lot of the same stuff,” he replied, “People want some higher quality meat, like deer. You certainly haven’t given me any of those in a good time.”
“They have moved out of this area. I would have to travel at least thirty miles just to be lucky to see one.”
“Well until I get some different meats, you’ll have to take what I give you.”
I took the few coins and walked outside.
After going to the usual stores and getting my supplies, I went down to the pub and picked up my supply of ale that should last until next time I came back to town.