I was sitting in my home, just resting after a hunt. My home was an interesting natural cave, it had two entrances. One was through a underwater passage that came from the lake just outside. It made a nice pool of fresh water in the floor at the rear of the cave, so I could just swim out directly into the lake if I chose. The light coming from the lake made beautiful wavy patterns on the walls and ceiling of my cave. I always found that very calming and soothing. The other was from the outside that was in the pine forest. It was fairly secluded and i was never bothered by the humans that live close to my home. We have seen each other but have never exchanged any words. Just the simple acknowledgment of each others existence.
There was a wider area of the cave, where I slept and where I kept my possessions. I didn't have much of a hoard, as far as dragon hoards go. The rumors of dragons sleeping in piles of gold are vastly exaggerated, and I can't imagine it would be very comfortable. There wasn't much gold where I lived, so I mainly had some shiny things I'd collected; interesting rocks, some books, and the like. The only gold I had was a large gold nugget I'd stumbled across in a river a long time ago.
After resting a short while, I heard something near the above ground entrance. It sounded like humans. I moved nearer the entrance staying behind the wall so whoever was coming could not see me. I hear them talking softly but my keen hearing picks up their conversation anyway.
"Alright... lets see if its here." I hear a voice say.
"SHH! Be quiet. They have good hearing. We want to have the element of surprise here." another voice says.
So they think they can sneak up on me do they... I think to myself. I think ill surprise them.I smile and as quietly as I could go down to the pool of water and slip in.
I swim through the passage. Its about one hundred feet long and leads close to the bottom of the lake. I swim out of the passage and head towards the surface. My head breaks the still water and I make for shore getting out silently as I can and then walk to my other entrance.
As I approach the other entrence, I stay out of direct line of sight of anyone who hadn't gone around the first slight bend in the tunnel. I walk in and peer around the bend and see three human shapes about to enter the main cavern of my cave. They walk in and I slowly follow. I hear them begin to talk again.
"What the hell? Where is it? We saw it come back from a hunt."
"Well its not here now." The other replies
"Yes.. I can see that. But where did it go? It can't have got past us." the human says with a hint of fear in his voice.
"Well... you know what they say about dragons being magical. Maybe it somehow used magic and got out another way." says the human that, till now, remained silent. I chuckled. Magic, if only.
I walked quietly into the cavern, slowly drawing nearer to them, who were completely oblivious to me approaching. I lower my head and ask in a calm tone.
"You gentlemen lose something?"
They froze, not moving an inch, all three shivering from head to toe. Slowly, they turn their heads and look straight at me with a look of terror on their faces.
They flinch and stumble backwards, crawling on their hands and knees to the middle of the chamber. They looked like they were going to lose it at any moment.
"Can I help you three?" I ask.
One of them seemed to gain back his confidence and stood up. He looked to be fairly young with black hair. He was wearing leather padded armor and a hunting bow in his hand with a quiver of arrows on his back and a short sword at his waist.
"Yes, indeed you can..." He says.
The other, seeing his comrade take a stand also followed suit. This one was much older, maybe in his thirties with brown and gray hair. He carried a eight foot long spear in his right hand. Near him was another, noticeably older man, but with a sword that looked to be of high quality. He had gray hair.
"You can die!" the man with the spear shouted.
I saw the man with the bow prepare to shoot and I dodged the arrow when it came right for my head, I hadn't expected him to aim so well. I heard some cursing from him, as the man with the spear charged me yelling a battle cry. I was amazed at their bravery, to come against something like me, almost twenty five feet long, with little fear. But the man with the spear hesitated and was moved just a little bit too slowly. I slapped him and his spear aside with my claw. The spear broke, and the man went rolling to the side. I didn't think he'd be much of a problem anymore, but there was still the man with the bow and the sword.
I saw the archer aiming another shot, and I prepared to dodge, but I doubted he'd aim for my head again. I ducked as he released, and the arrow grazed my shoulder, removing a couple scales. By now the older man with the sword was coming for me. I was a bit worried, as he moved like he had far more experience than the other two. I turned as fast as I could and swung my tail around, hoping to hit him in the head. He saw it coming and brought his weapon up to block it. I altered my aim to hit his hands and I knocked the weapon from his grasp. He hit the ground and rolled before getting up again. I rushed past him to the young archer before he could get another shot at me.
I knocked him to the ground with my claws. I could have killed him outright, but I wanted to know why they had come. These were the same people who had lived on my land for years, and they never tried to attack before. I swatted the bow away from him and crushed it, and relieved him of his small sword, throwing it on my small hoard, adding it too my collection.
I heard a yell from behind and saw that the older man had picked up his sword and was coming from behind. I turned, and seeing no other option, I let lose a torrent of flame. I didn't aim directly at him, but at the ground directly before him. The flaming liquid burned hot and smoky as I fanned it with with my wings, he stopped his rush and stumbled backward, rubbing his eyes. I wasted no time, I walked though my own flames, stood above him and pinned him to the ground with a claw. He was terrified. I'm sure he thought he was going to die right there. Poor guy.
"Drop all your weapons or he dies!" I ordered the other two men. I looked to my side to see the young man who had wielded the bow creeping up behind me with a dagger, but he dropped it when he saw me looking at him.
"Don't kill my father!" He yelled desperately. I ignored him and looked to my other side, to the entrance of the cave, and see the man who had the spear trying to limp away.
"Get over here." I said. He stopped, hesitating. "Now."
He finally complied, and stood near the archer, who was now standing in front of me, trying to get close to his father.
I looked at the terrified man under my claw and said "Okay, now that you're all listening, I want to know why you attacked me. I've never done anything to you, your livestock, or any of your possessions. Why are you here?"
"We are here to kill you, dragon!" says the older man under my claw through grunts as he tried to pry himself out..
"Ahhem... dragoness actually, and yes, I kinda figured that. Now tell me, why?"
"Our medicine man told us he needed a fresh dragon corpse." said the archer.
"And why would he be in need of something like that?" I ask.
"To... to save my youngest daughter's life..." the older man under my claw replied sadly.
I was completely taken aback by this. I took my claw off the older man allowing him to stand. He brushed himself off looking at his sword on the floor. The man who had the spear and the young archer ran to his side making sure he was alright.
"What is wrong with your daughter? And what would this medicine man want a dragon carcass for?"
A saddened look came upon the trio. "She is ill. Some sort of disease is killing her. The medicine man told us he can make a cure but needs the fresh carcass of a dragon. There is some organ required for the cure." said the archer.
My heart stopped. These people came here to kill me to harvest some organ, which I knew wouldn't work as there is nothing in our bodies that can cure a disease, all to save this mans daughter. I suddenly remembered a time many years ago.
"Years ago, before your family moved here, before I lived here, my hatching had a rare disease. Dragons are very resistant to disease, but not immune to everything. My son wasted away before my eyes, and I could do nothing. I would give almost anything to prevent someone from going though that pain." I said, saddened by my memories.
"I sought out the wisest healers, both dragon and human, to learn medicine, to prevent it from happening to anyone else. There is no part of dragon's body that is of much use in curing anything but hunger. You would gain nothing from my death."
The man looked broken. "So there is no hope then?"
"I didn't say that. I only said that what your quack's advice is false." I said. "I learned medicine, and I've been high ranked healer among my people for almost forty years. How long has your 'medicine man' been practicing?"
"Not that long." replied the man. He still looked horribly sad, but then brightened slightly, I assume everything I'd just said was finally making sense. "You can help her, then?"
"Take me to her. I will do all I can." I said. I would not let someone else go though the pain of losing a child if I could prevent it. I wondered what my reaction would have been if the cure did require my life.