Forgive me for neglecting you lately, my friend! These past few months, I have calculated the total wealth in my hoard. It’s beautiful, really; the grand work of my extensive years. The story behind each of my scars eventually fades from mind, the waxing and waning of the moon lose their meanings, but gold never changes. With every run of a paw through the heaps, I remind myself of old conquests, memories from times and places long gone. One of my more curious trophies, but breathtaking: A little bird in flight, so exquisitely wrought in gemstones and gold thread I am almost convinced I see its feathers fluttering in the breeze it rides. It is a spoil from a keep that I laid waste to, long ago, in anger over the death of my youngest hatchling. The humans had no cause to kill him on his first flight out of the nest. He hardly had talons, yet they brought down outside their walls...by the time I heard his cries, it was too late for anything but revenge.
It pains me to think of all the flights he never took, forever to be content with just the first spreading of his wings, like this bird I am entranced by. I look back on what I wrote to you, journal, on the day of his hatching, and I ache with all that could have been. He was my dearest, my firstborn. Now there is no one to inherit my hoard, and no one to clean my scales when I no longer can. We are both of us lost to time. My memory died with him, and his will with me.
The sparrows tell me of a young king, strong and bold, who hails from a kingdom nearby that I know well. I was sired there, as were my father and his father before him. He fought the demon beast that haunted his lands and bested him in bare-handed combat, the sparrows tell me, fluttering with other tales of his exploits and grandeur. They come to visit and bring me stories from the places I can no longer fly to. They tell their children of me, the green dragon who spits no flame, and their children come to visit as well. Through the years I’ve come to know them well. They are kind to me, but their time passes as quickly as their skipping heartbeats, and often parents blur with their children. Sometimes I close my eyes and simply listen when they come.
I would like to meet the king they tell me of, perhaps, one day. He sounds extraordinary for his kind.
What would my old love say now, if she could see me? I can no longer soar through the clouds, my bones too brittle and my wings too shaky to support me. I am confined, alone, to the nest we once shared, our combined riches dazzling when bathed in the sun’s kiss or the glow of the moonlight. Do you remember how happy we once were? I could write of nothing but her. Dozens of your pages are testament to my love, and dozens more to my mourning–but let me not add to their numbers. She would despair to see me so.
You have been with me so long, and I am sorry that some of your pages were lost, or wrinkled by rain. It pains me to leave you like this, without sanctuary or completion. The young king of my homeland (I wrote of him to you, once), I met him, wiser and not as spry, but unmistakably the great king I heard tales of what seems like days ago. My dearest friend, I think I am dying. He was valiant, a crimson flame that ignited the hearts of his men against me. From the moment I heard them coming, from the path through the mountains to the cliffside where I have made my home for time immeasurable, I knew my time was ending. My flames have sputtered in my throat for centuries now. I could not flee to the skies, my wings useless but for battering at his shield. His companies rallied behind him, buoyed by the vigor which flowed into them, their trust in his leadership unshakable. I did not disgrace myself, even when he struck the first wound...but I am so tired now, and the birds are here to sing their goodbyes.
I fear I cannot write much longer to you. I am glad that my last battle was with such a worthy opponent. I am content to leave my hoard in the hands of this mighty ruler and his good men, but I will hold that golden bird, and close my eyes to dream of the flights with my son I never had. But we will be together soon enough! Ah, Journal...my joys and sorrows I leave to you!