Chapter 0:



A very long time ago there was a dragon. She was very powerful and she had quite a lot of influence among the other dragons. The other dragons both feared and loved her to a fierce degree. The others looked to her for guidance, for purpose. They considered her their leader as there was no one else more fit. She loved them, they loved her. They relied on her, she protected them.

The dragons lived far deep in the mountains. They rarely ventured out of their lands. Further beyond the lands lived the human settlements and they were never kind. If they were ever caught off their lands they were hunted down, and they were killed. Their hides were used for armor. Their bones for weapons. As long as they stayed in the mountains they would be safe.

But the food was becoming scarce. Their hunting grounds were slowly becoming encroached by the humans, their prey was being hunted before them. Humans populated more and more of the lands that were meant just for them. They took the lands they hunted and lived on and set up their own villages, polluting their lands with their presence, eating their food, and cutting down their forests to make their homes. The dragons were forced further and further back. The young going hungry, and the elderly becoming sick. The idyllic lives they were living prior were quickly becoming bleak.

Tensions finally reached a head when one of her own children went to the humans to ask for their lands back. The child begged with them, told them their kind was dying without the animals they chased away, their living arrangements becoming cramped and uncomfortable. The child's pleas were only met with deafness from the humans. When it didn't return home, she became worried, ascending from the mountains to find her missing child. She reached the village and found her young being stripped for armor and she broke.

The humans took her lands, her prey, her friends, and now her own child. They took everything, she lost everything. It was their turn.

The village was lost to a sea of flames as she went rampant, ensuring nothing but ashes would be left in her wake. They pleaded with her to spare them, to spare their children, but she refused. Did they listen to her young as it begged for its life? As they all begged for their own? Did they spare her kind any second thoughts as they used their scales to line their armor or their bones to forge swords? Did they ever consider their own lives as their blood was spilled?

She left the village after she was certain everything was destroyed, a mixture of exhaustion and grief causing her body to shake. She mourned her young one, her cries loud and unrestrained. Her grieving was loud enough to mask the sounds of footsteps approaching her, a cold weight on her shoulder catching her attention. She turned, facing a tall man in scaled armor that reflected the flames of the village, a large sword gripped tightly in his fists. The man's face was obscured by a horned helmet- horns she knew belonged to one of her children.

She roared, mustering the final ounce of anger she could manage, she swung her larger body towards the helmeted stranger, claws lashing at him. The man was much quicker, much more precise in his movements as her attack missed, claws grinding against the flat of his sword. With each miss, she only grew sloppier in her attacks, exhaustion, and anger clouding her mind. She was solely focused on killing him as he had her children. Roars and the sound of metal gnashing against teeth and claws echoed through the small forest...until it silenced nearly as quickly as it had begun. She hadn't even felt the point of the sword impale her until her movements became sluggish until her body felt far too heavy to move on her own. She tried one final time to slash at him but her arm felt too heavy to lift- instead, her body slumped to the side with a soft thud. Her body felt so cold despite the warm pool of blood that was forming underneath her.

The man pulled his sword free from the dragon's body, wiping the blood off her scales. He felt no joy or pride in slaying her. At best he felt a small amount of pity for the creature. But for him, a job was a job and she'd be forgotten along with the rest of the village. The embers from the fires rose up into the sky, black specks against the sky. The remains of the homes were nothing but darkened, charred skeletons amidst the golden flames. He gave her body a final glance. Her chest rose shakily as she took her final breath. Her eyes caught his for a brief moment- eyes as bright and hate-filled as the fire.

Her eyelids felt heavy, her chest shaking as she struggled to keep breathing. She watched him as he turned his back to her, leaving her to her final moments as the fire crackled and popped, the air thick with ash. Yet she couldn't tear her gaze from him as he slowly disappeared into the forest. Her mind, however hazy and weak, still raged with the anger she felt. She'd find a way to avenge her children, she vowed silently. She would, no matter how long it took. She lulled herself into ease, repeating the ways she'd have her revenge on those who stole her peace.

Eventually, the dragon's breathing ceased. Rain began pouring down, washing away her blood and extinguishing the small village. Perhaps some god up above took pity on the poor dragon, weeping for the lives she lost, for her own life. Had she had a conscious thought she might've found that funny. If a god were able to take pity on her, they would've allowed her to continue to exist as her kin had.

If a god had pity...