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There weren't always dragons in the valley.

Written after the fantasy challenge with the same sentence.

By LefsaPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
There weren't always dragons in the valley.
Photo by Sebastian Bjune on Unsplash

There weren’t always dragons in the valley.

But we are here now. Driven from our homes in a distant land by an enemy who coveted our history. They came, killing us if they caught us, enchanted by our scales. Not that the scales would do them any good. Dragon scales only work if the dragon gives them away willingly. No dragons gave away their scales to the invaders who killed them. They took our art, our buildings, our homes, and pretended they were there first. We tried to fight back, so I’ve been told, but they were too strong. They had one of the few things that truly frightens a dragon. Unicorn blood. Weapons dipped in unicorn blood would strike a dragon down in one blow. It’s our poison. Against it we have no antidote, and so we fled.

Taking to the skies at first, we searched for a place to rest and regroup. To count how many we had lost. But we realized that flying gave the enemy an easy path to follow. They wanted more, more dragon scales, and who knows what else. So the survivors walked. Walking meant leaving less of a trail, but the more clever of the invaders still knew how to track us, and so more of us were picked off. There were those encountered on our long walk who pitied us, and who taught us ways to hide our trail, and ourselves. To them we will be forever grateful. They saved what little of our kind was left.

It took a long time, but eventually the enemy gave up hunting us. Maybe they thought there were none left, that they had succeeded in exterminating us. Maybe they gave up, so far from their conquered cities, and returned to enjoy the riches they took from us. Who knows. Who cares? They stopped looking for us and we began to feel a small flicker of hope that we could preserve what was left of our people.

And so we searched for a new home. Mindful of the reason we were homeless, we looked for places that did not have inhabitants, or that did not have some significant, spiritual, historical, or other meaning to the denizens nearby. Some of us argued that we should just find a place and take it, same as how our home was taken. But their words were quickly drowned out by the wise and compassionate. Violence begets violence. We do not hold with violence. Perhaps that’s why it was so easy for them to take everything away from us. But that’s in the past.

A meeting was held and an agreement reached. The remaining dragons would split into smaller groups, each searching for a home. If one was found, scouts would be sent to find the other groups and bring them back. For a year, two, three, too many, really, no home was found. We dragons began to forget what it was like to have a permanent home, the youngest of us barely remembered a time before The Great Wandering. Some wondered if this was to be our new reality, nomadic, never settling in one place. We lost yet more of our number to old age, sickness, injury, and previously unknown dangers.

Finally, scouts were sent out. A group had found a valley; it was time for us to go home. Dragons trickled in, slowly. The valley was a boon, gifted to us by a mysterious benefactor. The dragons who found it would not say why or how, only that it was as payment to a debt. Some elders worried. Debts had a way of coming back, some loophole or small thing found that negated the payment. But the first group assured everyone that the benefactor had no intention of reneging on their payment. The debt was paid, the valley was ours. And so we began the long task of rebuilding our homes and our culture.

I remember The Time of Building. See that house over there? I fell and broke my left wing helping build the roof. That was one of the first homes built. Our elders lived there while more homes were built. It was quite crowded. And you know the east well, I’m sure. That was the second well we dug. I had been a naughty little dragon then, playing tricks on my elders, and as punishment, I was lowered into the well to dig it deeper. We dragons do not like enclosed spaces like that. To this day I avoid that well.

What’s that? Oh, you want to know about the Music Tower? Well, that was quite the festival, when we finished that. The first few years we were here, our main concern was building homes, wells, fields and farms. We had no time to focus on the finer things such as art, music, culture. When we finally built the Music Tower, we felt that we had finally begun to live again, not just survive. That mosaic you see in the courtyard before the Tower? That was designed by the eldest dragon then, just before she passed. In the Time Before, she had been a skilled stoneworker, and it is a blessing that she was one of the survivors. She taught me much of art and beauty, lessons I needed after The Great Wandering.

And now, children, for children you are, when I think that I have seen all of you grow from egg to dragon, it is time to celebrate. As the eldest dragon here, it is my duty to light the Torch of Knowledge, and for you to light a candle from that Torch, to take to your homes. For just as I have passed that flame on to you, so have I passed my knowledge on to you. We celebrate 400 years of peace and prosperity here in our valley, and ask for many more to come. We honor the mysterious benefactor who, so many centuries ago, saw a bedraggled group of dragons and gave them a home. We honor the many, many dragons that were lost to the invaders, those Humans, and hope that they have found peace in the hereafter, and know that we live on. Go now, my children, take the Flame of Knowledge to your homes, and celebrate being here, being alive. Go!


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  • James david2 years ago


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