This is a response to dragon-inspiration‘s Wednesday Writing Prompt: “What’s your definition of ‘dragon’?”
This started off with an idea of two people discussing dragons, whether they were good or bad and aspects to both sides of them. Then it turned into this. XD
There was quite the commotion in the town square. The two men had almost come to blows. Fortunately, the town priest had just arrived to resolve the dispute. The carpenter had sent his son to fetch the priest when he saw the conversation getting heated.
“It’s just a baby! It has done no wrong!” came one shout.
“Father, we should kill it before it grows into the monster that its kind are destined to be!” called the other.
“Silence.” One soft-spoken word and the all the chatter and shouts of those assembled were overcome by attentive silence. All eyes turned to the priest. The robed man stood in silence, looking at the yellow creature hiding between the traveller’s legs.
After the silence of an eternity, the priest looked to the smith. “What are its offences?”
“It is a monster! The world should be cleansed of these demons!”
“They are no-” The priest silenced the traveller with a wave of his hand.
“You have not answered my question.”
“Its kin took the lives of my wife and son!”
“What offence has this particular individual caused?” The ever-patient priest reiterated.
“So do you!” called the traveller.
“Do not speak out of turn,” the priest ordered with an air of authority that none could oppose. He then turned back to the smith. “You would lay the charges of the many upon the one?”
The priest then looked to the traveller and asked, “What say thee to defend this creature? Their… reputation is aptly attributed.”
“Father, she also has not harmed a single undeserving person. While Milenth is young, she is as – if not more – intelligent as any of us. She understands what we say.” At this, a momentary murmur spread across the crowd.
“She? Can she speak?” The priest looked at the hatchling again before asking sceptically, “What do you define as ‘deserving’?”
“No. I don’t know whether this is due to her age, or if dragons, in general, can’t speak. Uh… not everyone on our travels has been as… reasonable… as you folk. We have been attacked on sight before. While we always did try to get away without anyone getting hurt, sometimes it was unavoidable.”
“I see. How long have you had this pet?”
“Companion. She’s not a pet. If anything, I could soon be her pet – if you judged by intellect. I have raised her from an egg. Her mother had been eating local livestock and attacking the tax collectors’ caravans. Thus, the local Duke hired a Slayer to rid the town of the ‘menace’. As his pay, the knight would get to keep whatever hoard that the dragon had accumulated – with a portion being taxed. It turned out that there was almost no gold. The dragon had been guarding a clutch of eggs.”
“What happened to all the gold it stole?” piped a voice from the crowd.
“I am unsure, but I think the dragon may have eaten it. I am beginning to suspect that these hoards, that dragons are renowned for having, actually serve practical a purpose to the dragons.”
“How did you get the egg?” The priest asked.
“I was getting to that. Lacking treasure as payment, the Slayer offered to sell the eggs to the highest bidder. Obviously, the Duke offered a small fortune for the chance to see if his chefs could prepare a feast that would greatly increase his renown amongst the local lords. But I still offered everything I had to save at least one of the eggs. Though it was nothing compared to the sum the duke was offering, the knight saw this, and gave me one of the eggs as a gift. And that is how I came into possession of Milenth’s egg.”
“An intriguing tale. Do you have any proof to support it? How come you left your hometown?”
“I left my hometown because of the Duke. He was furious and wanted the egg. One of my friends, who was a servant in the estate, told me that I best leave before the Slayer does. The townsfolk themselves probably wouldn’t have stood for me raising a dragon either. I have since been a travelling merchant. Aside from Milenth here, and my cart over there, I have no proof. You will have to choose to believe me or not.”
The priest pondered what he had been told. He then bent down, looking to Milenth. “Come here,” he said gently. The hatchling gave a cautious squeak and crept forward. Once the dragon had reached his outstretched hands, the priest gently lifted her – giving a slight groan due to her weight – and held her to his chest. They locked eyes.
“These are the eyes of an intelligent being,” decreed the priest. He held the dragon high for the crowd to see. Those looking close enough worried that he might drop the heavy creature, but he didn’t. “Just as any of you have the capacity to choose to be Godly people or sinners, this creature can choose between right and wrong. Dragons do not know our laws and society, nor care for our particular concept of ownership. This is why they steal our livestock, take our gold. They do not care that it is ours. Do we not also have human warmongers that threaten to take our livelihoods?” The priest paused, allowing the murmur to die down. He set the dragon down, and it immediately fled to between the traveller’s legs.
“This town shall offer a home to both this traveller and his dragon. If we teach her correctly as she grows – teach her how to understand our society, and the gifts of God – we may gain a powerful ally, rather than an evil foe.”
The crowd fell silent for a few seconds, but then a cheer broke out. It seemed that even the smith might be rethinking his stance.
The priest turned to the traveller. “You may stay in the Church until you find lodging sufficient for your needs.”
At a loss for words, all the traveller could say was, “Thank you.”