Alanya stood on the hillside watching the destruction in the valley below. She drew her red cloak close around her body and shivered in the damp twilight. She drew a deep breath and turned to face the dragon.
Imposing, large and red she sat on the hillside next to Alanya huffing warm tendrils of smoke into the cooling evening air.
“What can we do?” She asked her old friend.
Melancor huffed again, this time with the distinct tone of disdain.
“What can we do?” She responded, her deep voice rumbling over the hillside.
“We must find a way to put an end to this war!” Alanya responded, speaking in the ancient dragon tongue. “My people have lost their way. Dragons and humans no longer speak the same language, no longer share the same stories and legends, they no longer understand each other.”
Melancor nodded her head in agreement. “But how Dragon Flame?” she addressed her by the name the elders had called her many years ago when she had been a child. When she had been valued for her ability to speak to dragons.
War had broken out months ago, human warriors hunting dragons to their lairs and killing them in their sleep, breaking unhatched eggs, murdering the young! Dragons making raids on villages full of innocent people, those having nothing to do with the warriors. Both humans and dragons were dying at alarming rates. The dragon population was in danger of becoming extinct. Truth be told, so was the human population.
Alanya had grown up a privileged child, a princess as it were. Yet privilege was not what she was taught. She learned at her mother’s knee that a leader is not there to indulge their own whims and desires but to toil tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of the people they serve. The people were her responsibility. All of these deaths were on her head now. It was her job to put an end to this.
It didn’t help that she was the last human to speak to the ancient dragon tongue, just as Melancor was the last dragon to speak any human tongue. They both had tried to speak sense, tried to avert the war but to no avail. The young among both species had no memory of the shared past, no belief in the ancient tales of the past. The dragon population was already in decline, leading many humans to disbelieve in their very existence. Until they didn’t.
Once fear had taken root, the course was set. Now that there had been atrocities committed on both sides, each side felt justified in their rampages. Alanya feared that this was the end.
“Take the younglings,” she advised the old dragon, “take them and hide. Fly far away across the mountains and find a place where they can grow in secret.”
“They should not have to hide!” Malancor roared.
Alanya shuddered but stood firm. She knew that her old friend was right, but what other choice was there? The dragons, that had once been their friends, their allies, their companions, were now their enemies and she saw no way to repair that. All she could do now was find a way to minimize the damage.
“You know I’m right. Go and I’ll made it my life’s mission to convince humans that dragons never existed. In a generation they will be nothing more than myth.”
If she could get the dragons to retreat, she could save what was left of her people. If the dragons left, Melancor could save what was left of hers. If people stopped believing in the dragons again, then none would go looking for them. Both species could live in peace.
In the end, Melancor saw the sense of it, just as Alanya knew she would.
Alanya walked through the smoking desolates ruins of the last village of her people. There were a handful of people left. Wounded warriors, women, children, a few elders. She blinked back her tears as as her mind raced with plans for rebuilding. Rebuilding and rewriting human history.
In the distance she heard a great dragon roar. The last of the great ones. She lifted her head and watched as the last of the dragons flew out of sight.