"Beyond" by Chris Tilton

Save the Dragons Campaign

The Last

By Clarence Negretti

Written with permission from Buffydk and Clarence's family, as a memorial to Clarence

Pain, incredible searing pain, lanced through her head! Another one gone! Another of her breed dead from the horrible cold that permeated their world and settled deep into her body. Her long neck writhed and she emitted a low groan. Forced into wakefulness by that horrible feeling of loss that had occurred all too often lately.

Nearly a hundred years had passed since the advancing cold had forced her into a sleep that was at once welcome yet troubled. Welcome, because she could forget while she slept. Troubling in the fact that the cold still endured and she was powerless to do anything about it. Her thoughts went back to the days when she and her kind were the rulers of all the surrounding countryside. Images of the fat cattle they fed on were in her mind as well as all the adventurous days of her long, long life.

And oh! The incredible flights! Rising from the ledges in front of their caves. Strong wings forcing them up, up to meet the sun! Glorious long flights. Swooping and darting through the air in ritual passes that were of another age. And the mating...oh, what glorious times! Gone now. Nothing but memories. The eternal had forced her and her kind deep into the hearts of their mountains. There to sleep and die.

Again, pain lanced through her body. And then, nothing. Gone was the feeling in her head. That consciousness of unity that all of her breed had shared since she was hatched! Alone! The last of her kind! A long keening cry escaped from her. The end of life as she knew it and she knew with great certainty the end of her life as well.

She launched herself upwards with a mighty thrust of her weakening legs and her wings bit into the frigid air. Higher and higher she struggled with the last remaining efforts of her once all-powerful body. Her wings faltered now, beating feebly at the thinning air. Her eyes closed, her wings folded themselves around her body, and she fell. Visions of time gone by filled her head as she plummeted to the rocks below.

She struck. A flash of pain and then nothing. The cold keening wind slowly covered the body of the last dragon with an eternal blanket of white.

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