Dragon young, from new eggs to growing spawnlings, are always protected by dragons.
They always say never to threaten the egg of a dragon because not only will the parent retaliate, but other dragons will as well. It’s part of their lineage, it’s part of who they are. They’re defensive, protective, and territorial, and all instincts that translate into their hordes, the protective instincts particularly, translated to their young. That didn’t stop ‘brave’ knights from going forth and slaughtering wild dragons, of course, spilling royal blood from long lines of dragon clans despite no trouble among the local humans, but it meant they lasted longer than they would have if they had been purely solitary creatures. Despite their protective nature, dragons could be tricked, overpowered, beaten, and killed by blades soaked in their own blood by humans who hadn’t a thought of sympathy or compassion.
Such as it was, the numbers of dragons dwindled for years and years until the last dragon lay hidden in a cave, guarding one golden egg when she had previously guarded endless treasures with her mate.
She laid curled up, the egg resting on her side, glistening with silver and blue scales, wings with metal tips sheathed. She would light a life to keep her scales and egg warm, but she was scared that humans would see the fire and send another knight. The life of a dragon is a lonely one and one filled with dangers, so she simply huddled into herself and let the egg settle against her, soaking in the heat she managed to generate. Hopefully the chill won’t hurt the baby dragon inside.
Long since past were the days the dragons rules the lands, she thought, and it likely will never come again, but she longs for the days where she and her mate would guard their hoard and attend the biannual meet of the dragons. She watched the numbers fade from two dozen to twenty to fifteen to twelve to eight to five to three until it was just her and her mate.
She remembers going to the meeting grounds and waiting, but no one else showed. She knew what had happened, but both she and her mate had waited. That was their mistake. Humans had spotted them flying back, and less than a month later, their cave was being looted and she barely escaped with her own life and her egg, her mate buying the time she needed to get away.
Now she alone represented the dragons and their past. She hopes the stories etched into her scales would teach her young spawnling the stories of their past, she hoped that they may be able to bring back the era of the dragon, but she was more realistic than that. All that mattered now was that she and her egg survived. She hoped her spawnling had their fathers brilliant red and white scales.
She watched the rain fall outside the empty cave and sighed. It all seemed so hopeless. There were no more dragons, hardly any dragon sympathizers, and she had nowhere to go. She was exhausted, and mourning and-
She paused in her line of thought, hearing a small crack coming from her side, where the egg was and she glanced up at it, seeing a thin fracture in the gold of it. Maybe there was hope, after all, she thinks and waits to welcome her young one to the world, as broken as it may be.
(Riley is in the creative writing class at Freeman. Her assignment was to make a story out of one of the ceramists’ pieces. Read more on the back page of the newest addition of The Commentator.)