Dragons, as you might know, are mysterious creatures. Many cultures have stories about dragons and dragonslayers. Many are thousands of years old. They range from ancient Greece to Japan, China, Russia, and even the Grimm Brothers. Throughout time, dragons have captured the imagination. These stories almost always pit the dragon as the enemy and the dragonslayer as the hero. Quite often, the dragonslayer is rescuing a princess that the dragon kidnapped for various reasons. Love is one of them. Dragonslayers often win the heart of the princess after the dragon has been slain.
Of course, stories and reality are two very different things.
Like in the stories, dragons live far from humanity, and interactions with humans rarely go well. They dwell in dark places, rarely going out to survey their land. This inability and often unwillingness to go out is why it is challenging to learn about them and get along. They are also known for unbounded greed and desire to cause massive destruction on the local populace from time to time.
However, not all are like that.
One dragon, in particular, is a mysterious dragon that lives in a small land and has few possessions. He only has simple desires that have seemed so far out of reach most of the dragon’s painfully long life. Unlike many dragons, he had no love for causing destruction. This dragon has gone out to view his lands more than most dragons, but it rarely goes well. So, he has spent many years holed up in his lair. It has been so long since he has ventured out to meet the populace; very few people in his lands even remember a dragon resides there.
Princesses are far more complex than any dragon and possibly more dangerous than all but the wildest dragon. They can be caring and warm, and many are aloof and cold. There are as many types as there are princesses. As with dragons, princesses have been in many stories for thousands of years. They are rarely cast as a villain of the story. This is for a good reason, of course, and why dragons are drawn to them.
It is also known that dragons are obsessed with princesses. Very much so that they often capture them and, for their protection, put them in a comfortable dungeon or tower and shower them with attention and love.
They do this out of deep caring and concern for them, but it is not often appreciated by the princesses or her court. The princess and her defenders mistake the dragon’s intention or value and will do anything, including hurting the dragon just to get away. If the dragon spent any time considering this, these actions again him are often justified. Once in a while, there is a princess that will fall in love with her dragon. But it is still not as simple as the dragon thinks. A dragon leads a simple life and forgets that life is not so simple. Her court and other defenders will still attack and hurt the dragon.
Not all of the dragonslayers have such noble intentions. Many of these hunters do it for sport and the thrill of tearing apart a dragon. They will attack with no provocation at all. They may even befriend the lonely beast and disguise themselves as princesses just to get close enough to hurt it. They might even profess to care for the dragon, even while inflicting unbearable pain on the wretched beast. After a few times, dragons learn to spot a dragon hunter dressed and acting like a princess or simply hide in their lair forever. Dragons that do not learn how to spot these insidious hunters do not survive long. True princesses, even the coldest and most cruel among them, will not do this. They are not hunters by nature.
By necessity, dragons have a hard outer layer. One that is scarred and damaged by the ebb and flow of life, as well as these malicious hunters. Sometimes, even the princess’s defenders if the dragon is lucky enough to find one. What may be surprising is that inside that almost impenetrable shell is a very fragile being.
Powerful and proud, to be sure, but very easily destroyed once the scales have been damaged enough. Dragonslayers know this fact and delight in it. Once past the outer shell, they are free to do as much damage as they please. They enjoy it greatly. Dragons are also quite resilient, so the term dragonslayer is almost a misnomer. As any dragon knows, these sadistic hunters prefer to leave the dragon alive for future hunters to have the fun of damaging him again.
Our mysterious dragon has faced many such hunters of dragons, and has been severely injured. His inner resolve to go on has not been totally diminished. This is why he has hidden in his lair for decades, but eventually, he wants to venture out for some adventures. Having learned that the land he was cursed to live in only has dragon hunters and no princesses, he ventured to lands beyond his sight.
There exists a princess that is almost a contradiction.
This princess is self-possessed, passionate, and fiery, yet warm and gentle. Far from helpless, but also has a deep desire to be cared for and loved. She is giving, kind, intelligent, and everything a princess should be. If the world was a fair place, she would have been the queen of her land long ago. Alas, Fate can be cruel. In truth, this princess is much like Cinderella without the mean stepmom and stepsisters. Overworked, unappreciated, and alone much of the time but still takes good care of the subjects of her kingdom.
His search quickly landed him in an often cold land that can be hard, and is sometimes cruel. Here, surrounded by cruelty and indifference, he finds our princess. Stoically living her life even though her subjects do not appreciate her, even though her value is beyond measure.
This rare creature very quickly piques the greedy interest of our dragon.
The dragon, pretending to be human, very sheepishly introduces himself to the lovely princess. He is expecting to be damaged, or worse, ignored. After all, this is the first time in a very long time since he has searched for his princess. He was afraid he would not be able to spot a hunter in disguise.
They get to know each other and find friendship very quickly, which blossoms into love soon after. The dragon is frightened to be exposed as what he is, but still shows her all of the damage and hurt that dragon hunters have caused. Instead of being horrified, the princess embraces the dragon for what he is. It turns out the dragon is very poor at pretending to be human. She can see straight through him and is not repulsed. It only feeds the love and trust that the dragon has for her.
There is greed buried inside the dragon, but it is tempered by his simple wants and shy nature. She brought it out to the surface, but by doing so, he inadvertently exposed areas under his mighty armor. Our gorgeous princess has brought out the greed, aggression, and fire that dragons are known for. With the armor exposed and weakened, he is often hurt, but the wonderful princess never hurts him.
Over time, the princess realized she was paying too much attention to the dragon when she has royal duties she can not neglect. The dragon understood. Being a cautious and reasonable dragon, he missed her very much but obeyed her wishes. This caused damage to the now fully exposed dragon. The princess had unknowingly stripped the dragon of his armor. Given her kind and gentle nature, she always found time for her dragon. By this time, she owns the heart and soul of the dragon, such that it is.
This seemed to frighten the princess, and she disappeared, without warning for quite a while, almost mortally wounding the dragon. He did survive, but the damage done by previous hunters has left the fear of such an event happening again. This fear is almost all-consuming, despite the dragon knowing that the princess has royal duties and loves him more than such a kind, but wretched beast deserves.
He is significantly older than the beautiful princess. Decades in his lair have made it challenging to navigate the already treacherous waters of loving a princess.
After some time passed, plans were made to meet outside each other’s lands but were quickly discarded and put on hold. Fate is a cruel beast and was especially cruel to the beautiful princess. It devastated both the princess and the dragon. They were able to lean on each other for support, and she made it through it with such inspiring strength. These plans are not shelved forever, and not even Fate can beat the resolve and love that the dragon has for his princess.
The dragon is madly in love with the princess.
His thoughts are consumed by her words, voice, and image. Her inner beauty outshines her blinding exterior. While she has exposed damaged flesh, she has healed many wounds that the dragon had thought were permanent. She also reminded him that he is a dragon that should not spend his existence in his lair alone. The dragon, in return, loves her dearly and will help her with anything, will do anything to protect her and make her feel loved, valued, and safe. Keeping princesses safe is one thing all dragons are known for, and our intrepid dragon is no exception.
He has not yet stolen her to his lair but desires that more than anything. Surprisingly, this princess has expressed the desire to be the prisoner of this dragon to the dragon’s delight and shock. Despite the beastly appearance of the dragon and his awkward nature, he seems to have won the heart of the princess.
Each day, the dragon wakes up more in love with the princess. This is true on days where he is hurting and very unsure of her intentions. The dragon knows that these feelings are not due to her words, actions or inactions, but simply old wounds that are difficult to fully heal. The love never leaves his heart. Sometimes, the dragon has doubts about its future, but it is only doubts sown in the wounds caused by hunters from his past. He will speak of marriage and eternity together with the princess, and she responds positively. The next day, he will think that maybe she no longer feels that way. The lovely princess has so much patience for her dragon. It brings tears to his eyes.
The dragon believes that meeting and spending time together in his lair will cure many of these wounds that cause him much hurt and tears through his mind. This belief is founded on the fact that he is healed by just her words. This princess is skilled in healing sicknesses and wounds of all kinds.
A truly remarkable princess!
This belief will be soon tested. She has agreed to grace his lair with her presence to find out if she wishes to be his prisoner. The term prisoner does not exactly fit here.
Being a cautious and reasonable dragon, he knows that previous dragons have failed because they stole their princesses in the night and thought that they could control her. How could someone control such a strong girl? She is meant to be a partner of the dragon.
He is hopeful that he will be successful where others have failed because it is the princess’s desires that matter. Perhaps the dragon will not be slain for keeping his princess happy and secure.
Fate has tried several times to make the dragon fail, which would banish him to his lair forever. Cruelly, Fate has attacked our wonderful and gorgeous princess more often than the dragon in an attempt to stop them. The princess’s fiery and determined demeanor pushes Fate back every time.
Our princess is strong and brave.
This story is far from over. How it will end is unknown. Despite obstacles in the way and Fate trying her hardest to intervene, the ending will almost assuredly be a happy one. Many paths lead to happiness and only one dark path. As much as Fate enjoys tormenting the dragon, she can be defeated.
To be continued…