5 supporters
reflections in riches

reflections in riches

Jan 15, 2022

Hot air puffed through slitted nostrils in a sleepy, slow gust. It rustled the gold coins nearby, but didn't disturb the pile the ancient beast was resting on. A rainbow of colours flashed across the magnificent scales that glittered in the reflection of all the valuables and gems scattered around. Safe and sound in its protected lair, the dragon slept easy.

What do dragons dream of? Of what more is in their life? Or something bigger, grander, and unachievable to such a stigmatized beast? Those questions would remain unanswered as an amber eye cracked open and surveyed its surroundings carefully, scanning the vast cave to locate the source of what had roused him from his slumber.

The grand tail swished, sending gold coins flying down the mound as the rough scales grazed them, ready to pounce on whomever dared to intrude his slumber.

A shadow had passed along the edge of the cave. Be it trick of the light or intruder, the dragon was awake and aware, watchful eyes scanning the perimeter carefully. Something resembling a faint hope rose in the pit of his belly; was it hope to rip open the innards of an annoying human or just the potential presence itself?

It had been years, long years since anyone last dared enter his den. His ears had grown dull of the silence, and only thanks to skeletons he even remembered what humans looked like. A passing thought ran through his mind - what if killing was unneeded? Surely, they came to slay him, but it’s not as if he gave much other choice. And so he remained alone.

There were piles upon piles turning into near hills and mountains of jewels and riches of all kinds. Glinting emeralds and adorned cups, antique and new; ripped from the heads of Kings, pulled from fingers of wives, hoarded upon burning castles to ash.

It was all his; his company and property in one, the one thing of which

s permanence he had no doubt. It brought an odd sense of comfort whenever he laid eyes upon the hoard or let the golden coins warm his belly. Surely it was better than a talking, conscious companion. His ears couldn’t grow tired of the jingle of the coins or clatter of gold. But what did a human voice really sound like? When not screaming in pain or proclaiming some illusory preemptive victory. He couldn’t help but wonder.

It appeared as if it had been only a trick of the light after all, as no further movement could be detected. Still, the dragon was on alert; would no one really be greedy enough to get even just pocketfuls of gold, to try to sneak past the guardian of the riches? Anticipation rose, unwelcome, and he tried to quell it along with the silly thought. A pocketful he could allow, it would be of interest to even converse with a thief of such bravery, or rather stupidity. He could remember human voices again.

As the dragon sat up from his slumber, about to open his snout, for once not to erupt a gust of flame, he realized there was no one. Trick of the light, sound, his own mind. Perhaps he wanted someone to come, to intrude his peace for it had gone on for too long. The magical beast laid his head back down on folded front legs, and sparks of fire came through his nose. Silly, silly thoughts. This was how things were supposed to be.

Of course no one was there. He was a dragon, and the skeletons laying at the entrance of the cave of knights and brave souls was warning enough now. It would be just him and his gold now, for who knows how many decades to come. Unless, of course, he went out to pillage and add to his hoard.

Yet after years and years of the same routine, he had grown tired of it. Sure, the amount of riches increased, which pleased him greatly, but the more he collected, the stronger was the unease that settled beneath his chest.

Just how much was enough? Was there such a thing as enough? Until he'd need a new cave to store it all? Until finally someone would slay him and claim the hoard collected throughout centuries?

Dragons were solitary creatures, yes, and he was fine with solitude. But beyond that, was collecting just following an instinct as animal as any other? With sudden clarity it struck him that one day his bones would lay upon this mountain of treasure, forgotten and picked clean by the waves of time.

Was the violence and rage harbored close to his heart related to the need, almost compulsion, to hoard and collect all things of value? In that case, just what instinct had told him what things were of value, because gold was... human.

Found in the earth, mined were jewels, crafted by human hand for human vanity. Was it hatred of that or similarity that drove him to this?

He shifted uncomfortably, suddenly feeling the edges and ridges beneath him despite the hardness of his scales. Was his purpose to really die on top a pile of human treasure that he claimed to be his?

The amber eyes closed again and a sigh was heard as he tried not to think on such silly matters and instead doze off. If only it hadn't been for that trick of light, making him think someone was here.

The cave itself was illuminated due to the small amount of light coming from the entrance bouncing off the jewels and gold, creating shimmering patterns upon the irregular ceiling of the cave. It was undoubtedly a beautiful place. Devoid of anyone to ever see it and live the tale. It stank of loneliness and greed.

Soon he managed to doze again, surrounded by warmth from inside and outside, alone in his beautiful cave of golden shimmers and reflections. Sleep was good, peaceful and light enough not to worry about someone sneaking up. Or rather, light enough not to let the potential thought cross his mind, making him aware of how empty his cave really was. Filled to the brim with riches, and vastly empty at the same time.

It still stank of loneliness, like a sharp unpleasant tang in the air, when he woke up.

Enjoy this post?

Buy Syou a coffee

More from Syou