Forged

I hope you enjoy this short story as much as I have.  The writer is simply known as Thad:

“He didn’t breathe the fire, he became it. It crackled along his surface unseen until something sparked in him and he would ignite, waves of red orange licking his skin and setting their blazing, destructive force loose on everything he touched like a monstrous, sadistic Midas. He grew so familiar to lungfuls of ash that he forgot what the air tasted like without it. Truly, he was a thing built to be bad.

Even so, he yearned for a closeness that wouldn’t end in catastrophe. To touch something that he couldn’t burn to cinders. For all his incendiary heat, he still longed to feel warmth. But dragons are dangerous. Dragons are beasts. Dragons are death-bringers and as such were never meant to be good. And so he wept, his tears acid that sizzled where they fell, for even his sorrow was designed to destroy.

He didn’t notice at first that a voice was calling to him. Not until he felt the unfamiliar but brief touch on his shoulder. There before him was a creature unlike any he had seen, smooth and solid, a lovely figure that looked to be carved from the darkest stone of the earth. He recoiled, not from fear that this unexpected presence meant him harm, as he could see by the sweet, sad look on its face that it did not, but rather from fear that once again the damaging nearness of his flame would surely wreak destruction on this kind and strange thing.

The voice was soft and deep, and it spoke with a knowing that struck the dragon to the core, though the words themselves were simple. It told him he was meant for goodness, he had only to grasp it. The dragon shook his head, flickers of fire snapping in the air around him, rejecting such a painful and impossible thought. He burned everything he touched. How could any good come from a destroyer of life? But the stone simply waited in silence, regarding him with calm, dark eyes.

If the stone had declared this unimaginable goodness to have been a gift from some deity, the dragon could have growled and let the flames engulf this hapless ambassador, for he had seen enough to know that even if such a thing existed, he was not of its making. But the stone said nothing, simply watching as the dragon pondered. And when no answer came to him, finally he asked where this supposed goodness could be found.

Still the stone said nothing, but simply opened its dark, smooth arms, and carefully wrapped the dragon in a quiet embrace. Unused to such gestures and terrified of destroying this puzzling creature, the dragon panicked, his skin blazing into an unintentional inferno in his distress, eyes squeezed shut as the thought resounded in his mind like a scalding brand “This is why I could never be good!”

He scrambled to break the hold of those solid arms, but they would not release him. The earth beneath his feet scorched and smoldered, for dragons were never meant to remain in any place for very long, but try as he might he could not open his dreaded wings or claw his way free. As he struggled, the stone seemed to melt against him until it had thoroughly encased him.

The realization was sudden and yet soft, and he ceased his struggle, flickers of fire escaping from his mouth as it opened in a gasp, taking in a lungful of clean, pure air. His body shone in a way quite apart from his usual blaze of the fire that became him, now coated with glistening scales of iron.

The fire that so often consumed the dragon no longer flared from his skin, contained by his new, unexpected armor. For the first time in his life, he knew the fire within him could be controlled.

For the first time in his life, he knew that goodness was within his reach.”

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