A Dragon’s Warning

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Do not wake the sleeping princess.

Believe me when I say, she should remain at rest.

I did not know her before, but I know what they say.  She was once beloved in the kingdom, fair and gentle and kind.  They say her father taught her about his kingdom, and her mother raised her to know the ways of the court.  They say she and the prince would bicker as siblings do, but heaven help anyone who dared insult one in front of the other.  The pink roses that lined the walkways of the grounds were planted at her request, and it is said they nearly glowed with life whenever she passed by.

Do not wake the sleeping princess.

I guard the palace so she remains undisturbed.  I was there for the days it all unfolded.  I have been here for hundreds of years now, and I will remain for hundreds more.  They say much in the history books, and I can’t say how much of it all is true.  I only know what I was there to see.

Wild men came up from the south, with their beastly mounts and screaming war cries, spreading fear across the kingdom.  It was they that caused me to go to the palace, to see what could be done.  The prince lead their men to fight, I passed him along the way.  Most agree that he died a hero, and that is all they will agree on.

Illness took the king, taking first his mind and last his strength.  I appeared in time to protect the princess and the queen, and hold him down to be retained.  I never asked for an account of the horrors he’d made before I arrived, but people talk, and have for centuries.  Sometimes I think I know too much.

The night after the king died, the queen vanished from under my care, I have not seen her since nor do I believe any of the rumors I have heard.  Rumors are not worth my time, they do nothing but steal away energy.

The wild men continued to sweep through the kingdom, and I could only do so much to help as the princess tried to rule her crumbling kingdom with a broken heart.  They came for her, slowly but surely, and they took her.  I tore apart forest and mountain to find her, and only ashes remained of them after I took her back.

It was too late.  My greatest regret is that I had not been able to keep her from their grasp.  The light had been stolen from her eyes, the color drained from her skin.

The kingdom was lost, and they pushed us back until my wings were shredded and we were cornered into the palace.  There, they could come no closer, for there were towering walls and I had scales of gleaming armor and wildfire on my breath.

Darkness descended over the kingdom now given to savages.  It weighed heavily on my princess.  She grieved and shook and raged, pacing the empty halls until I saw a spark of her father’s madness in her eyes.

I could not bear to see her suffer, to see her waste away in these stone walls that had become a cage, and I would not let the madness take her.  Thus, I gave her the only gift I had left to offer.  I gave her deep and quiet sleep.

Her roses grew terrible thorns and twined together, climbing the walls until they’d swallowed them whole.  Their petals turned blood red and refused to shrivel when they fell, instead carpeting the grounds like rich velvet.  Cobwebs lace the halls.

Do not wake the sleeping princess, under penalty of my wrath.  She finally knows peace, and I will not let it be broken until she can wake to something better.  I have patience.  I will watch over her.  Someday she will awaken and start her healing.

Until then, let her rest.

 

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