Long ago, within the alternate realms lived a dragon. This majestic creature could not fly and yet the sky called towards her as if it were her destiny. She spent her days in a cave not too far from a village that often cared for her and fed her. In exchange she protected them from bandits and other such threats. One day she was talking with her favorite visitor, a young girl who came by with offerings, along with her mother. “How fare thee today oh sweet child?”, she said. This girl of merely six years was not afraid and quickly answered, “I fare much better thanks to those herbs you pointed out not long ago”. “Then your sickness has faded away, I am glad”, a mild grin adorned the great dragon’s face. She was pleased for she loved these people greatly. They provided for her throughout many years. In return she had seen many generations pass by.

One day, before the sun had set on the horizon the girl arrived at the dragon’s cave. The little girl was curious about the dragon and wanted to investigate and perhaps converse with the dragon for hours, as she had done before, sometimes garnering the anger of her mother. This time was different though. When the girl approached she noticed an intense sadness had overcome the dragon. “Why do you cry, oh mighty dragon?”, her concern flowed through her words as she considered this creature to be a close friend. “My dear, you might not understand but I will tell you nonetheless. You see, for many years I have protected this village and its people. It brings me great joy to be able to see them flourish. They bring me gifts of jewels and the most delicious fresh meat. Yet, as time has passed, a growing feeling has invaded my mind. The sky calls to me and I fear I will never be able to answer. This brings me great sadness for the sky is a freedom I have not tasted yet”, each word carried great sorrow as the dragon spoke. The child was interested in the dragon’s well being, if they lost her there would be no one to protect the village, or so it was believed.

The following weeks were difficult. A war broke out between two kingdoms and the dragon had a hard time moving to defend different parts of the village. Although there were many wounded, the village was fairly safe. Soldiers came by and offered many riches, but the people refused as did the dragon for she would protect only this village.

For years upon years ever since she hatched, the dragon was told that she could not fly. That her wings had not developed. As time passed that friendly child became a woman. She became the dragon’s caretaker and one day asked the dragon, “Why do you not fly away?”. The dragon was surprised, but answered, “I cannot, I have no wings with which to fly. They did not develop”. The woman was perplexed and then she noticed. A pair of chains, colored like the scales of the dragon, clasped the wings together. “You were deceived, much as I, in believing that my people need protection. They have grown complacent, dependent even, on your protection. My own children are gone, my dear dragon. They learned the truth and left without thinking about it twice. Not even the thought of leaving their mother behind could change them, for I am as guilty as those who have kept you here”. Again, all the dragon felt was confusion. For so much time she had accepted the fact that she had not grown wings.

The following night the woman had snuck inside the village leader’s home, stole a set of rusted keys and quickly made her way to the dragon’s cave. “By this morning you will be free to answer the call”, she told the dragon as she released the chains that bound her wings. A new feeling coursed through the dragon’s body. The chains had numbed her wings but they were fully developed. Before she could take flight she asked the woman, “Will you join me? I believe your actions deserve a reward”. Before the woman could answer a number of villagers arrived. They pleaded with the dragon not to leave, they said they would be vulnerable. “You have grown to depend on me too much. I fear this may be the end of the village but perhaps this end should have come much sooner. You robbed me of my freedom, nay, my very dreams. The sky calls to me and I must heed it”, she turned to the woman, “This is your last chance, perhaps we could go meet your children”. The woman nodded in agreement and they left. Meanwhile the villagers murmured among themselves. Some said that the dragon was ungrateful, others that she was not to be welcome there again. The angered people tore down the cave with hammers and pickaxes. They took all the treasures, which were mostly intact and returned them to the village. As they did this the dragon soared into the sky. Each beat of the wings came naturally to her even though she had been chained for so long. The woman on her back mentioned that her children had gone off to live north. The dragon turned in that direction and disappeared in the horizon.


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