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Dragon's Eye by Jeremy Lee
SUMMARY: Man's greed and corruption twist promises of freedom and liberty into utter destruction for the dragons.
The serpents coiled and dived in the air. They were swimming in the air over the tangle of streets below, just skimming over the tiled roofs. The burning buildings below them were hardly worth their contempt but the scurrying people who occasionally attempted to mount a defense drew their ire. They snatched and bit as they flew low to the ground and the pitiful defenders of the city were left cowering beside the mutilated bodies of their compatriots. The stones of the buildings were tossed about as missiles, the fires blackened the streets, and catapults that had been the centerpiece of the city's defense lay in splinters.
One man stood watching the scene serenely; he stood on the crest of a hill overlooking the city with quiet amusement. He was almost chuckling to himself as he watched the people begging for their lives. His richly colored clothes were too fine and clean for the wild and he picked at them and smoothed them every few minutes. Lounging next to the man was a massive gray and blue dragon that watched its kin attack the city lazily. The dragon's eyes were golden and gave the look of all-seeing eyes. His teeth were as long as a man's arm. He turned his piercing eyes to the city with a desperately thoughtful look, something about the carnage bothered him. With every move the thick scales of the dragon clanked together with a sound of a full cavalry moving in unison. He was by far the largest of the serpents, more than a hundred feet in long, but showed no more passion to join the fight than he did in engaging the man next to him. When the great beast of a dragon sighed, a deep throbbing rumble that shook the ground, the man finally peeled his gaze away from the flaming city to look at his companion.
"Burning cities." The dragon bemoaned, "Any uneducated barbarian with a torch or hammer can destroy a city. You spoke of doing more Lyria, you spoke of changing the world. Now you use us as nothing more than an army of mercenaries to play with and do your bidding."
"You are no such thing, Kur. You are my allies." Lyria game the great dragon a reassuring pat of his hand along the massive jaw. "We will change the world, I promise you that, but to begin that change there are a great many things that we have to do. Some of them are unpleasant, that's true, but all of them are necessary to reach our greater goal."
Kur snorted and watched as his friends and family continued to torture and molest the city below them. A rising disgust was taking over the dragon's senses, he felt blinded by Lyria's bold promises of making the dragons an equal people. Kur had imagined himself to be the greatest leader in his people's history, he would be the one who guided them at last to liberty. Now all he could think of himself was that it would be he who turned the dragons into mercenaries. Kur sat ruminating moodily about his own fall from grace and never noticed the dangerous sidelong glances that Lyria started to shoot his way.
When the massacre was over Lyria strolled into the town, accepting the surrender of the mayor with disdain and looking up gleefully as the other dragons, who did not share Kur's worries, lined up like hunting dogs before him.