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  • Rhyan Aneev

Here be Dragons

He was dying. He knew that. He had lived exceptionally long, even for one of his kind, and he could pass on in peace knowing that he had ensured their survival. His kind had always been feared and hated by the Humans. Then again, Humans feared and hated anything that was different from them.

The Dragons were no exception.

The Dragons were some of the most striking of all the magical creatures - Great horned beasts armored in iridescent scales of every color, with wings that could take them higher in the sky than any other species. They were the largest of all the magical creatures as well, surpassing even creatures like the Yeti and the Roc. But it was their size, beauty and power that led the Humans to both fear and covet them.

Humans have hunted Dragons for centuries, as Humans have hunted every other magical creature; for wealth, for glory, for the sheer pleasure that they found in it. It is interesting to note that Humans are the only species to find gratification in killing; all other species do so out of necessity, not pleasure. Humans have known of Magical creatures for centuries; the Dragon, the Phoenix, the Unicorn, the Pegasus, the Roc, the Thunderbird, the Yeti and many, many more. They have regarded these creatures with fear, with avarice, with superstition, and, sometimes, with reverence. He had fought them for years, watching his kind dwindle, watching his friends and family die, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the Humans, as a bull is overwhelmed by ants. Some of them had believed that other creatures could live in harmony with Humans. Once, when he was young and foolhardy, he had believed that himself. Now, embittered by experience, he believed otherwise.

The Canines and the Cattle too must have thought that they could live in amity with the Humans, respected as equals. But Humans do not think that way. They can never think of another kind as their equals. If they cannot enslave a species, they will destroy it utterly. He realized that unless the Dragons were in a place where no Human could reach, none of them would be safe. And so, he set out to find such a place.

For ten years he searched the whole world for such a place. In the search, he had adventures too numerous to recount. No less than three times he was nearly caught by the Humans, but all times he narrowly escaped. He encountered all the crooks of the sky: the Djinn, the Cockatrices and the Harpies, but he never found a place that met his needs. If there was a secluded valley or island that he liked, there were always huts drifting smoke into the sky or ships on the horizon, and of course, he knew what that meant. All the other Dragons begged him to stop his foolhardy quest. They now numbered only in the dozens, and the loss of even one Dragon would impact them greatly. But he was always obstinate. “One more year,” he always said. “Let me try for one more year.”

He flew to Madagascar, to Newfoundland, to the Alps, to the Andaman Islands, even to Antarctica, where he almost froze to death. Following a rumor he had heard from a Hippogriff, he flew to the Himalayas, the highest mountains, in search for a thunder of Dragons, but there he only found one very old, half-starved Dragon who told him that there too, the Humans came. Despondent, he told the old Dragon of his search and decided to give up. “There is no place that the Humans cannot find,” he said. “There is no place where Dragons can live in peace.”

“Don’t give up,” said the old Dragon. “I am the last of my thunder, and we used to number in the thousands. The Humans killed all of us except me. Don’t let that happen to your thunder. Don’t give up.”

When he set out that year, he went west, and was soon caught in a terrible storm while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. He sensed that it was no ordinary storm, but a magical one, and, flying around it, he soon found a causeway that only a magical creature could use, and made his way to the epicenter of the storm, where he expected to find an island. What he found instead was a continent.

The continent was magic, with several different ecosystems which were perfect not only for Dragons, but also for every other kind of magical creature – mountains for the Phoenixes and the Yetis, desserts for the Rocs and the Djinn, plains for the Centaurs and Unicorns, lagoons for the Sea Serpents and many, many more. And at the heart of the new continent he found a verdant green valley dotted with caves that would be perfect for the Dragons. His heart swelled with pleasure as he realized that he had found his goal. With all haste he flew back to his thunder, which was having a meeting with all the magical creatures in the world. Now this is not as hard as one might imagine, for all the magical creatures in the world numbered only in the hundreds, and a secluded valley in Scotland could house them all. He flew without stopping across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the valley while the meeting was still beginning.

‘Listen to me!” he roared. “There is a place where we can all live peacefully, a place which the Humans will never find. Follow me, and I will lead you there, and we can all live without ever having to see another human again!”

Most of them laughed at him. They were not willing to give up their homes to follow a madman’s dream. A few even tried to attack him, but he was bigger and stronger than any of them, and they were taught better manners, quickly and painfully. A small group decided to go with him, mostly young and idealistic beings who still dreamed of living in peace. Those who stayed behind called them mad.

But when the magical creatures who had followed him met the others in the next meeting, they spread the word, and more and more magical creatures arrived on the continent. Soon, all the remaining magical creatures in the world vanished to the new continent, and the Humans became convinced that they had never existed in the first place. To this day, no human has ever set foot on that continent.

He lived for centuries more, and watched all magical beings grow in power and numbers. He died a legend, surrounded by his children, and his children’s children, and his children’s children’s children, happy in the thought that he had ensured the future of his kind.

The mythical dragons

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