Chapter 2: The Dragon

High in the mountains where the snow never melts, deep inside the stone heart of the peaks was a dragon’s cave. Once the home of a family of dragons and their collected hoard of gold, it was now empty of its gold, and a single dragon slept curled against the wall. He growled fitfully in his sleep, smoke escaping his nostrils. He had returned of his cave a few days before to find it empty, his family gone. The smoldering skeleton of a horse and rider had told the tale. Men. The young dragon had barely escaped, his mother forcing him out of the nest they had shared, telling him to go, blasting him with dragonfire. The Dragon had gone, and when he had returned, his family and their gathered gold had disappeared. 

Waking from a nightmare the Dragon blew a stream of Fire towards the entrance to the cave. The flames sparkled in the air for a moment, glinting off of the crystals imbedded in the ceiling. The dragon vowed that no one would ever get this cave, and that he would avenge his family. giving up his resting place, the young Dragon stood at the entrance to the cave. He looked down into the valleys on either side of the mountain, trying to decide which way to go. 

He chose to go south, picking the direction so the wind would aid him. He took off, his leathery wings stretching out on either side, not quite reaching the entrances sides. He leapt of the ledge, circling the peak once to gather the wind beneath him and away he glided. He soared like an eagle to the horizon, searching for the tell tale wood smoke that always followed the Men. 

He flew for days, pausing only to sleep and catch the stray deer that ventured out of the forests below. Always the scent of smoke led him. Eventually he came to a fortress, with walls hewn from stone. He landed in a copse of trees just out of sight, he had found the Men. Cultivated fields stretched between the trees and the walls, tended to by the same menfolk creatures that lived in the fortress, but the Dragon’s quarrel wasn't with the farming ones. The ones in the fortress had the daggers and the gold. They also wore metal scales to protect them from the daggers, though it did little to help protect from dragonfire. He knew from hunting with his parents that the gold was often kept in the centers of these grand towers. Fighting without his parents would not be easy. The Dragon curled his tail around himself, laying down to sleep, and think of a plan. 

Shrieking birds woke the dragon before dawn, the first rays of light just filtering through the low fog that had gathered in the night. The Dragon huffed, silencing the birds and swirling the mist around them. His plan was a simple one, surprise and ambush. He would take as many out as he could. The gold was not the goal, but taking the riches from the Men would make them pay for his family. One way or another, he would make them pay. Raising his wings, the Dragon flew through the mist, skimming the cold ground all the way up to the walls where he made a sharp upward turn, blasting a rain of fire on the sleepy Men on the top of the wall. The men wore the metal scales, dull in the early morning light. They held long daggers on sticks in their claws, and attached to their sides were longer daggers. The Dragon knew that the side daggers could be pulled away from the Men's sides as another defense. He blew fire along the wall. The Men running, scattering like sheep during a raid. He tried to scorch the lot of them. Fire glinted off of the metal scales the Men wore, glowing in the Dragons eyes. The early morning sun had yet to rise, but the light and heat from the dragons fire seared the air, evaporating the most and lighting up the inner courtyard. The Dragon tried but he was not fast enough to scorch all of the Men on the wall. He saw one, his scales blackened with smoke, his long dagger lost, run into a small tower beside the wall. In a moment, the sound of brass bells rang over the countryside. The yelling began then and the Dragon knew it was only a matter of time before the Men would rally against him. He could not finish the fight on his own. With a great flap of his wings, the dragon rose high above the fortress. He saw the men gathering below in rows, pointing flying daggers at him. The dragon climbed higher to be out of the daggers’ reach. At a word from the leading Man, the daggers flew at the Dragon, and although he dodged and swerved, some daggers tore through his wings. Now struggling to stay aloft the Dragon dove to the east, to a large forest. The mist had started to dissipate, the Dragon struggled to find cover in the trees, crashing through the branches only a mile into the forest. Unable to fly the dragon ran, not caring about the undergrowth, his torn wings dragging behind him. He ran until he could no longer, before collapsing somewhere in the middle of the trees.

The End

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