Waiting

I forgot about this one until I came across it on my computer tonight…not sure what inspired it….

     To the villagers, Lezo the baker was an eccentric mystery. He was quiet and kept to himself, living in a two-room thatched hut on the edge of town, with no one to care for but himself.  Apart from a gruesome scar that ran from below his ear to his collarbone, there was nothing at all remarkable about the way he looked. He spoke in a nasal baritone with no trace of an accent to give his origins away. He was tall and blond, with piercing gray eyes and looked as if he could have come from one of hundreds of regions that bordered the village. He was aloof and acted as though he would rather be somewhere else, but with all the riffraff that had passed through town in recent years, the villagers decided that having a slightly snobbish foreign man as their baker wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

            If they had known the truth about Lezo, about how he had obtained his scar, they would have treated him differently. Perhaps they would have tried to kill him. Lezo was a fallen dragon cast out from the Serpentine Realm, forced to live as one of the creatures he despised most.

            Humans. He could hardly bring himself to think the word. There had been a time when humans had known their rightful place in nature’s order. They had feared dragons and had offered virgin sacrifices to placate the mighty beasts. Then a young upstart named George had slain a dragon (either an old or sick one, Lezo assumed – that was the only way to account for it) and had almost been elevated to godhood. Shortly after that, in their newfound arrogance, the humans began to seek out dragons instead of cowering from them. Fierce battles raged and many dragons found themselves suddenly vulnerable, as even they were no match for armies of thousands of men. In a desperate attempt to preserve their kind, the Council of Elders convened and decided to call a truce with the humans. When their species had sufficiently repopulated, the dragons would once again rule the heavens, but until then, any dragon caught defiling humans would be punished.

            Most of his kind had accepted the wisdom of the Elders, but a small group of dragons devoted to preserving the hierarchy rebelled and Lezo had joined them. Eventually because of his ruthless cunning, he became their leader and committed the crime for which he’d been banished.

            One night while the humans were sleeping, Lezo struck, a scaled conflagration that reduced three homes to cinders in a single breath. Fourteen people died, including eight children. The Council called for a death sentence to be carried out – they would weaken his powers and attack when he couldn’t defend himself. Instead, an ancient dragon named Shakris stayed the talons of those who would tear him apart. She reasoned that Lezo should be made to understand the magnitude of his crime, and she sentenced him to live as a human. The pain of the transformation had been unbearable, and when Lezo had tried to fight off the shamans who had changed him, he’d received his scar.

            He couldn’t decide who he hated more, the humans who were so beneath him, or Shakris, who had forced this indignity upon him. Lezo’s anger fueled his passionate quest to return to his draconian form. He had a lifetime of memories that he carried with him and knew of the ancient secrets that gave his kind their power. All he could do now was pretend to be human while looking for the answers he sought. All he could do was pretend and wait…

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