There weren't always dragons in the Valley, but they had to keep the mines safe somehow. Centuries of precious metal in its raw form tempted thieves, and threatened wars; especially with it as vulnerable sitting in the bedrock. Ripe for the picking with nothing but roped chains and signs warning those who dared to enter. Rather than it being just plain dangerous without the proper mining gear, it was an easy access point that could tear civilizations apart.
So, what was the next best point of action? Dragons. Trained to let the miners pass to work as they did, and yet just wild enough to scare any curious dunce.
It worked too. It had been years since the last group of mindless thieves tried their hands at picking away the bedrock to reach the gold lying just beneath. The cries from the dragons shook the ground, rattled windows, and shorted the lights. The citizens of the three cities were wise to keep to themselves, never curious if they roared on wild instinct, or at any intruders who dared to be brave - or ridiculous - enough.
It had been many years, and yet the concerns ruminated every day on if the three dragons would even be enough.
The three cities came to be centuries prior, each resource found underground and built upon to further use for civilization. In their purest forms: gold, silver, and brass to which the cities were built: Aurum, Argentum, and Aestor. In the beginning, the three cities lived in a harmonious period. They traded amongst themselves and built each other from the ground up. Aestor, the City of Brass, would have lamposts of shining gold, courtesy of Aurum the Gilded City. And Argentum, the Silver City, would have brass accenting the signs hanging from each business, a nod to Aestor. As the years progressed, as generations died and were born, these peaceful times were forgotten. And just like every civilization that becomes obsessed with greed, blinded by its own selfish nature; it became every man for themselves.
In that, the mines - with these valuable resources - became effortless targets. Could Argentum pose any threat if they did not have silver? Would Aurum cater to the poverty-stricken city if Aestor managed to snatch a bit extra of their gold? Neither city planned to find out if their paranoid-induced scenarios would eventually come to be. Each of the city's councils coming together to agree on one thing for the first time in generations. To guard the entrances of the mines. And what better than with the nearly extinct species of dragons?
It was another day of unbearable heat. The brass tubed and delicately wired imitation of trees and vegetation lacked movement in the breeze that barely cooled the dry air. Their peculiar emerald glass leaves catching any ray of sunlight that peeked from the clouds above. Clouds that teased of rain, but didn't dare waste a drop on the impoverished city below. No matter, the tendency for the water to be acidic was more often than not. Many wished it rather not rain to avoid any more buildings eroding and collapsing. The ominous pink splotches a warning of corrosion, leaving many to flee their properties in fear of its eventual give.
And although the city never shone anymore, never glowed, never sparkled in the rising sun, as it did in the beginning. The buildings never sang with a homely chorus while the streets never laughed with unabashed joy. However, the city still had a charm that the other two could never reflect. Vast and towering structures jutted towards the sky where airships traveled to and fro. Where balloons dared to venture to great heights, observing the brass city below.
Warm, if anything the color of the brass city was welcoming and mellow. One could even mistaken the city for that of the Gilded. The metal able to craft such trinkets of delicate nature; feeling as if an ornate pocket watch would fall apart in one's grasp if they held it a tad too tight. Much like Aurum who dawned every weapon, article of clothing, and piece of decor in intricate patterns to show they took pride in their resource. For a while, Aestor was also pleased to be compared. But time diminishes everything, even the qualities that once made every Aestorian pleased with their city.
Now, now the clock in the city's center always seems to be a few minutes short - its ugly mint green-tinted arms taking each shift and turn with strain. The steam train that rounded the city's four districts screeching a tad louder with each hesitant stop and chug forward. Signs that hung from shops almost unreadable now with their cracked and flaking type.
It grew to be an undesired city, a broken city. A place where morals shattered and values scoffed at.
Aestor became a city of thieves and vagrants. The reasoning behind the winged beasts just beyond the city's walls.
She stood in her usual spot, hands on her hips as she peered over the wall of the city to the valley. The spot on the roof she tended to dig her heels into was worn, a small divot giving her away to all the years spent in that spot. The valley beyond had a haze of fog over it, giving it a melancholy and harrowing appearance. She could only imagine what lie beyond the basin of overgrown fields and scattered trees - or what was left of the vegetation anyway. Monsters, her mother would tell her when she was younger. Monsters to never become curious about.
A crooked smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she turned her body just slightly, eyes still on the valley. "I think this will be the year, Miyra."
Such confidence, and yet the woman sitting behind her, Miyra, still rolled her eyes at the remark. The blur of color in front of Miyra shifted from side to side in its spot, the color she's come to associate with her best friend.
"And what makes you say that?"
The color moved again as if it turned towards her and Miyra could practically hear the grin only spreading wider. "Lottie?" She shifted her tone, just knowing what the other thief was going to suggest. Ready to scold.
Lottie tilted her head at the seated thief, wondering how the pile of wood she was perched on was comfortable. Regardless, she strolled forward to take the empty spot next to her, arm snaking around Miyra's shoulders to lean closer.
She lowered her voice to a soft hush as if every ear in the vicinity could possibly hear her. "Because this year - this year - my curiosity is finally going to get the best of me."
About the Creator
Young, living - thriving? Writing every emotion, idea, or dream that intrigues me enough to put into a long string of words for others to absorb - in the hopes that someone relates, understands, and appreciates.