So this is just a little piece that came about after I went to the ‘Essex Author’s Day’ back in March, that was part of the Essex Book Festival going on that month – one of the workshops that I attended, entitled ‘Develop Your Writing’, was headed by a Literature professor at my old university (I graduated in 2008 with my English Lit degree – nearly 10 years ago!!), and the aim was to provide us with several prompts and ideas to write something themed around dragons – and we heard some examples from students as well. I didn’t follow any of the given prompts specifically, per say, but while there on the day I was suddenly inspired to write about a somewhat grumpy dragon setting the record straight to humankind about what dragons were really like. I carried on with it and polished it up a little once I returned home, and then just kind of left it sitting for a while, until I was suddenly inspired to unearth it and finish it properly today. And here it is…I am going to try and get in the habit of posting bits of writing that aren’t just the weekly poetry prompts (or the monthly challenges), so I hope you enjoy this one. It may become something more in the future, perhaps a short story of some kind? Watch this space, anyway…
Letter from a Dragon
I have dropped this letter from the skies to your surface world, in the hope that one of you down there will read my words and grant me your attention, and consider the proposal that I am about to offer to you. Yes, this is a dragon writing this letter. Surprised? I thought perhaps you would be. But we are more than capable of the ability of writing and speech. I suspect you’d clap eyes on a fearsome beast like me and think, well he can’t have much of a brain in that scaly little head of his, can he? Typical human assumption. One of the many I find quite offensive, if the truth be told.
You may also assume that I care not for any sort of companionship either, and that I am quite happy to fly solitary in those vast, empty skies. But let me set the record straight and tell you this – it does, in fact get awfully lonely and tedious, being a dragon. Here I am, alone, perched on this cursed mountaintop, high above where you mortals tread. Although I can only see you as tiny dots from up here (my rapidly declining eyesight is most likely to blame as well as the altitude, as we dragons do live for an awfully long time, as you know – sadly the burdens of old age apply to us as well, they just present themselves a lot more slowly!), I can still see the way that you judge me, letting your preconceived notions of our scaly race cloud your perception of us. I daren’t venture down there because of this. As soon as your eyes clap sight on me even daring to descend into your villages, into the bustle of your town squares, I know that you’ll run away screaming, before I’ve breathed even one small flicker of fire! Did you never stop to think that maybe, just maybe, that my intentions are peaceful and I may just be seeking some companionship in this cold and narrow-minded world?
Indeed, as you humans seem to be more occupied in preserving your own selfish interests than any of the other races and creatures around you, the majority of you may be unaware that we dragons are slowly dying out, and extinction may be only a matter of time; I myself have lost my entire family, the last survivor of a noble and renowned clan among dragon-kind. A great catastrophe struck us, and any survivors will have been scattered across the great expanse of the world – I have seen no other of my kind since that fateful day, and some nights I stare at the stars and ponder if I am indeed the only one left. Having lost so much, and witnessed and bore first-hand the unbearable pain and suffering that the ravages of war and destruction can cause, I assure you that I have no interest whatsoever in burning your fleshly race to cinders, nor do I desire eating any of you whole, as you so frequently seem to believe. Heavens, no. We quite happily survive (well, we did) on insects and vegetation, thank you very much, not like you beasts who will quite happily fatten up and then kill your livestock, gnashing away at your precious meat that had no opportunity to defend itself before you so callously decided you wanted on your dinner-plate. And you have the nerve to call me the monster! You know nothing about me. You just jump to your deluded conclusions, as is the human nature, apparently.
(Ahem!) Apologies for the harshness of my tongue – I perhaps got a little carried away there. But yes to the matter at hand- all I wish to do is form an alliance with your kind, more borne out of loneliness than anything else, I will admit. Yes, I have feelings just like you do, and above all the desire to not be alone. I see you down there, the ones who have coupled up together, chosen your lifelong mates, and I find myself becoming misty-eyed for my dear, departed Zyawyia – she was a beautiful beast indeed; scales that shimmered like emeralds, eyes full of fire yet rippling with kindness; and beautiful within, as well – her heart so pure and caring, always putting others before herself – attributes I suspect you would not immediately imagine a dragon to have, but I can assure you she was all of those things. And now she is gone, as are the children born to us both, taken far too young. So what is left for a dragon to do? Simply sit up here and wait, looking out in the distance in the vain hope that other survivors may suddenly appear in the sky one day, although as each day passes I increasingly lose hope.
All, therefore, I want is to make myself useful and find a purpose in life again. I could be a protector of your modest little village, ready to defend you from the truly terrifying and fearsome beasts out there (and I can assure you there are many, some that your kind are likely to have not even of heard of) – perhaps even the ones who decimated my own home and took everything I ever cared about away from me – their name being one that I cannot bring myself to speak out loud – but believe me, you’ll know when they are coming. And without a beast like me to fight back for you, you can be assured that you wold not have even the faintest hope. You’d be dead in seconds. Gone. Your entire community and pitiful little lives that you take for granted each and every day obliterated in an instant. All because of your narrow-minded preconceptions about me and your unwillingness to take the time to even listen to me. The human race, consumed by its own selfishness and foolishness. I’d almost call it poetic if it wasn’t so pathetic.
So I implore you – read my words and consider the alliance I am offering you. I would protect you all without question, always watching, waiting, for the day they may choose to strike. I will be your guardian and overseer, asking for nothing in return except a sense of purpose, which I lost long ago. That is more precious to me than any gold or jewels (apparently that is another stereotype that you’ve created, the obscene fetish and hoarding of shiny things! Where in heaven’s name are you getting these ideas from? It’s offensive!)
…Well, I shall admit that I did compare my departed beloved’s scales to ‘shimmering emeralds’, but still! I can assure you that I possess no such treasures, nor do I have the desire to seek any out and steal them for myself. All I truly desire is your acceptance, and the feeling of purpose in my life again. I have nothing else. Would you deny your own kind these precious things, if they had lost everything else in their life? I would assume not. So I implore you – please give this cantankerous old dragon a chance, while he still has time left. I do not wish to squander my remaining years flying aimlessly in my grief and despair. If you see me, call out my name, and make it mean something again – shout the name of ‘Zyalon’, and I promise I shall take heed, and serve you without question. Do it, before it is too late for all of you.
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