The Dragon’s Gift

“The King has ordered your execution for the theft of his cattle,” the Knight announced pointing his sword at the Dragon. The rest of the party followed, readying their weapons, and muttering magical incantations.

The Dragon growled at the intruders in his lair.

“Is that so?” it asked showing row upon row of razor-sharp teeth. It snorted fire from its nostrils, clearing its nasal passage of fiery buildup. The group cowered behind a wall of ice conjured by their Wizard.

“Prepare to die, foul beast!” the Bard shouted from behind the ice wall. With a strum of his harp, the Song of Pacifying Beasts filled the sulfurous air assaulting the Dragon’s ears.

The Dragon spewed fire from his nose and mouth.

The cave shook.

The Dragon roared with laughter.

“Your Bard is quite a jester,” the Dragon bellowed. “I have not laughed as hard in centuries. For this, I shall spare your lives. Fill your pockets with gold to settle my debts to your King. Please take some gold for your troubles as well. It was a long trek to my lair. And for sparing my life, I will bestow upon you my greatest treasure,” the Dragon offered.

The Dragon slithered its neck to a basin and tears dripped from its eyes.

“To prove my undying loyalty to your King, please present his majesty with my tears. A single drop grants eternal life. Spread them among your people and be never afraid of the grave,” the Dragon commanded. The adventurers discussed the Dragon’s offer and concluded the King would be satisfied with the Dragon’s appeasement.

With pockets full of gold and flasks full of tears, the adventurers left the Dragon’s Lair and did as the Dragon said. It continued cackling as the adventurers descended the mountain and headed back to their kingdom.

One hundred years later, the Dragon awoke to the sound of horses and men climbing the mountain again. At the head of the charge were the adventurers and their King.

Upon entering the Dragon’s Lair, the King bent the knee to the mighty beast before him.

“Dragon, I plea for your generosity and request your wisdom in our time of great distress,” the King said.

“Please rise. A king bows to no one,” the Dragon thundered.

“Your gift of immortality left my kingdom in ruins. Millions starve. Plague has reduced thousands of men, women, and children to wraiths. Their screams of agony fill my kingdom like the wailing of banshees. Yet none perish! Please dragon, we beg for mercy!”

“My king, there is no need to beg. I am at your command!” the Dragon bellowed. Tears escaped the King’s eyes as relief overcame him.

The Dragon rose to its feet and roared into the distance. The fluttering of wings responded, and seven whelps appeared surrounding the dragon.

“The fire of our bellies shall cleanse this plague upon your Kingdom. And worry not, for my children and I have not supped in centuries.”

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