In the icy winter night, the dragon circles high above the sleeping village. Her great leather wings beat the air. Her shiny-scaled body twists, the ridged tail curling and lifting to sweep the stars.
She tilts her head, emerald-green eyes scanning the forest below. She dips for a closer look, skimming the black ribbon of river which flows between banks of frosted trees before blending with the vast oceans.
The dragon rises, heavy, burdened with the weight of the treasure clutched against her soft belly.
Weariness settles in her bones. So many years of circling and watching, waiting to fulfil her destiny, to confer the treasure as was prophesied aeons past.
Three conditions are demanded:
First, the need of the receiver must be great.
Second, they must receive this best of gifts with humility.
Third, their talent must be equal to the gift bestowed.
The dragon flies along the ridge, one eye on the village nestled into its forested slope, the other on the dark waters stretching south.
Silvered waves caress the cliffs. Nothing else stirs.
Excepting – the rolling tears of the midnight-awake writer, sat at the great desk of carved oak for which worldwide fame has paid.
He stares into the blank maw of his computer screen.
Another wasted night. Another deadline missed.
The writer thinks of the sleeping pills on the table by his bed, beside the half-empty bottle of whiskey.
The dragon wheels a great circle in the starlit sky and comes to rest on the roof of the writer’s cottage. She stretches her long neck over the leaf-filled gutters and peers into the room where the writer stares into the maw of despair.
She breathes a fiery breath …
The writer brushes at the tears on his cheek and blinks at the screensaver which suddenly fills his screen.
A dragon, shiny-scaled, emerald-green eyes. And spilling through its talons, a glittering horde of goblets, crowns, rings and bracelets of gold and silver, all glowing with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and tangled in coils of creamy sea-pearls and jewel-rich chains.
The writer’s heart pulses hard at such beauty, and at the talent which has created it.
He shakes his head, humbled. Who is he to think he too can create such beauty?
He reaches out a finger to touch the screen.
A breath, soft and warm as a summer cloud, brushes his neck. The glittering hoard dissolves and the writer cries out.
The jewels re-form, tumbling, re-shaping into letters and words and a billow of thoughts and notions which surge from the screen to the writer’s whirling mind.
The writer’s cry turns to joy.
The dragon takes a last, lingering look at the hunched writer, pecking feverishly at his keyboard.
She lifts her head and gusts fire to warm the frosty stars. She lifts herself, lighter, treasureless, from the roof. Her long body curves, her tail flicks. She flies higher, silhouetted against the white winter moon.
The prophecy is fulfilled.