• Never Learn

    At first, the task had seemed to him, something simple. Nothing more difficult than pulling weeds. But, that wasn’t so. Turns out that tracking down a dragon was more difficult than what he’d first thought. With a heavy sigh Galn sat down on a stump. Running his fingers through his graying hair, he thought again about what he had to do. Well, first he had to find the dragon. Then, he had to avoid becoming dinner. Once that was done, he had to ask nicely, very nicely in fact, if the beast could afford to give one scale to cure his son. “Why didn’t I let Myron do this?” he whispered leaning forward and staring at the ground. “Why?” He gave a short laugh. “I know why. I want to be the one to save my son. Not some stuck up guard. That’s why.” Wincing slightly, he stood and placed his hands on his lower back. With a loud snap, his back straightened and his face scrunched up in pain. He allowed a few moments to pass before he continued along down the path. The town healer had promised Galn that the tonic prescribed to him would make his back pain cease and give him back the limberness from his youth. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work, and he continued to hear the awful pops and cracks when he stood, and to feel sharp pains all along his back. At one point he doubled over as the pain forced him to stop, and stood propped against tree waiting for it to pass. Once it had, he stood once more. Now, he walked more slowly and was slightly hunched over. If he didn’t find the lair soon, he would have to turn back, and admit that he was not strong enough to save his only child.

    Three days passed and Galn’s back was severely hunched so that his shoulders all but covered his ears, and to make matters worse, he’d twisted his left ankle a while back. Thankfully for him, Lady Fortune decided to bestow upon him a small amount of good luck, and he found the dragon’s cave. With a sigh of relief and a quick thank you to the deity of luck, he limped forward. Standing at the entrance to the cave, he tried to see anything within the complete blackness inside, but couldn‘t. “Dragon! Are you in there?” He shouted. No response came, except for the echoes that mockingly repeated his words. Moving forward slowly, Galn began to regret not bringing a torch or some other form of light. He walked along with his hands outstretched and continued to try and see at least his hands. After what felt like hours of stumbling blind, his hands felt something other than air in front of them. Something, that was warm, scaly, and breathing. Frowning, he felt along it, stepping back only when it moved. As the thing moved, he could clearly hear the rustle of wings, and the sound of bones crunching under a heavy foot. A bright jet of black flame streamed in front of his face to light a torch on his left. When he saw what it was he‘d found, Galn dropped to his knees and bowed his head. For, standing there in front of him, was the dragon he’d been seeking. Lazily, it fixed its large, golden eyes on him. “S-sir dragon..” Galn began, but was interrupted. “That will be Madam dragon to you human.” it told him in a tone both stern and disdainful. Galn looked up and gulped. “Y-yes m-madam.” Nervously, he licked his lips and started over. “M-madam dragon, I, I have come to ask a favor of you.” The dragon smiled wickedly and closed its eyes halfway. “And what would this favor be?” Trembling, Galn stood. “Y-you see. I have a son at home, and.. And I would like one of your scales….” He trailed off when the dragon gave a low growl. Angrily, she stood, her black scales glittering in the torchlight, and her bared teeth gleaming. “I have had you pathetic creatures ask for my knowledge. I have had you ask for my eggs. I have had you ask for treasure I do not have.” Slowly, she moved forward forcing Galn to stumble backwards. “But none, and I mean NONE of you have ever been foolish enough to ask for one of my scales.” Sneering, the dragon leaned her head down so that her snout was next to Galn’s right ear. “Do you know how much one of my scales is worth scum?” Terrified, Galn barely managed to give a whispered ”No.” Nostrils flared she raised her head to look down on him. “No. Of COURSE YOU DON’T YOU PATHETIC CREATURE!!!!” the dragon bellowed. “My scales mean the difference between life and death. Scales only fall out when a new scale pushes the old one out. But of course, you don’t want an old scale. Now do you?” Galn only shook his head, as he was now past the point of terrified and thus had lost the ability to speak. “I should have guessed. You humans are happy with nothing. You want everything without giving anything in return!” Angrily, she shoved him down with her front foot and trapped him with her claws. “Can you deny it?!” Seeing a way out, Galn lied and nodded emphatically saying over and over again, “Yes. Yes I can.” The dragon snorted with disgust and picked him up and said, “You all lie too.” She then tossed him into her mouth, and after two chomps of her teeth, swallowed him.

    With a surprisingly gentle blow, Niala put out the torch she had ignited. Laying back down on her bed of bones, she proceeded to clean the human from between her teeth. Maybe if she could get them without the cloth they wore, she wouldn’t have to spend so much time pulling bits of silk, or cotton, or even burlap from between her fangs. Niala decided she would finish later, and with a heavy sigh she closed her eyes. “Humans never learn.” she murmured scornfully before going back to sleep.