I found myself in a secluded village during my life's journey, pondering the progression of my life and lamenting over its state of perceived futility and fragility. An old man in the town in which I was staying told me an interesting tale. He told me that there was a mighty drake that soared through the skies on certain evenings and that he was indescribably beautiful and old. Furthermore, if one were able to kill the drake, that person would inherit the drake's immortality.
As I had been of late much concerned with my own mortality and age, I decided to await the drake on the appointed nights with a magical weapon in hand. This spear had been forged by the local armorsmith, a man of legendary weaponry, and blessed by a powerful local shaman. Eager to have the matter of my trial against the drake over as quickly as possible, I paid these local experts to prepare these items for me. Wealth I had, eternity I did not.
After some nights of failure to spot the drake, waiting impatiently on sparse wind-bitten steppes, I finally caught sight of my prey. He was indeed beyond any words I know and likely beyond any that exist in the tongues of man. Nonetheless, I can say that he gracefully wound across the whole sky, back and forth, too quick to fully interpret his moves yet too slow to be unawed at their magnificence. He cast color about in all directions, lingering longest where he had last wound and coiled his titan form across the welkin.
He suddenly yet purposefully turned back towards me as though he was aware of his challenger but wished to display his grandeur before approaching in his regal fashion. This all after he wound ahead for what appeared many miles, though speed and distance were hard to judge, owing to his massive size and aforementioned timeless motions.
Picking up speed, he appeared to instantaneously grow many sizes larger, though I quickly realized this was because he was charging at me. As his tremendous bulk struck the ground I managed to leap and perchance land upon his body, clining barely with my extremities. Though the force with which he seemed to strike the ground was shattering, if he left any marks upon that virgin though spartan land, I did not see them and could not find any later. It was as though his force was concentrated only upon me and my mission, that we existed in a realm beyond that around us.
I managed to find projections and undulations to grip and maneuver about his body, though the wind as we rushed over the landscape was fierce and though his light was blinding against the ever-dark backdrop of the clear night sky. Once I had adequate purchase, I looked about for a weak spot from which the drake might be dispatched. I was raised my magical weapon as I looked, ready to attack at a moment's notice.
Then I lowered my weapon as my actions and their consequences seeped into my head like a gentle breeze against a fog bank. I could not bring myself to injure this creature, though it was quite doubtful I could at all, even marring his hide to claim some victory over his might would be fleeting. This besides, neither satisfaction, however great, nor life, however long, could compare with the pleasure of knowing such a beautiful creature existed untainted and untamed. I might live forever, but the drake's beauty would be lost forever to people the world over. I could not be so selfish nor could I feel fufilled were I to injure the drake.
He seemed to sense this change and wrapped me in light and warmth til I was blinded. It was as though I floated in a cloud on the sun. Then I saw a dark opening in the light and approached it, knowing intuitively that it led to the reality I had left when I first began battle with the drake. Though it was most comforting here, I realized that I must leave this place. Though it was serene it was also void of all other things. I needed to bring the lesson of the drake to the peoples of the world, something I could not do from deep in its bowels. I hesitated for only a moment to draw a deep breath, then I plunged into the darkness of the surrounding night.
I emerged upon a high hilltop near where my evening began, weapon alongside me. I looked up in time to see the drake sailing over a nearby mountain range. Though I cannot be sure if it was the wind in my ears, I fancy I heard some roar of acknowledgement from the drake as he departed. I made my way back to town feeling like a man reborn.
The next day I encountered the old man who had told me about the drake. He had a large smile and held up his hand to silence me before I had opportunity to tell my tale. He said, "Tell others what you have learned and live by it yourself. For no man can live forever in seclusion nor should he live to steal beauty. Beauty will come to him in its own time and a man's life is his own eternity for the universe is made only of his own perceptions and thus is born and dies with him." I then thought I heard a faint stirring of the wind like the voice of the drake and turned to look. Seeing nothing I turned back to the old man who had vanished. I returned to my life and home and lived happily by these lessons and the many that followed in their wake.
*Content copyright The Samnambulist, 2013*