The First Dragon by Herb Kauderer

In ancient days the wizard Aderyn sequestered himself
in a stone keep on the side of Cadair Idris
determined to make a new kind of creature, one greater
than the clumsy golems of the mainland conjurers
more controllable than the creatures called up by warlocks
from the underworld, and the otherworlds,
more versatile than the automatons of the tinkers,
a creature as diverse as mankind.

And so he gathered resources, mystical tools,
and tomes of knowledge in foreign tongues,
and worked, solitary and lonely.
For years he researched, experimented, built and destroyed,
perfecting a serpent with legs and brain enough
to suit his needs, but failing to bring the beast to life.
He would not admit to himself that thing which he knew
was the missing essence.

Finally, after seven years, he made a very small life
no bigger than a chipmunk, and to his conjuration he added
a generous helping of his own blood,
and the tiny grey beast lived.
His process was proven to work,
but his quest was not yet a success
for this tiny legged grey serpent was no powerful servant,
and so he disassembled it for supplies.

For weeks Aderyn wrote the details of his process.
Succeeding would be a hollow victory if no one ever knew
who had created what he now named dragon.
And then he went to work making a new and grand version
of his dragon, boiling down large vats of essences
and conjuring up the forms and power of his
next magic. And when all was done but for the final catalyst
he opened his veins and poured his entire life’s blood
into the web of transformation
sacrificing his own essence that his dream might live.

But what arose from the web was not grey,
and was not just a legged serpent of generous brain.

A gigantic winged beast of red screamed into existence,
winged because the essence of Aderyn and his very name
were flight. Red for the blood sacrifice of conjuration.
Screaming for his voice had been lost
in the many years of silent loneliness.

Aderyn reborn, flapped his wings, stretched his legs and claws
and flew, flew into the sky above Cadair Idris, flew into legend
as the one his people called Y Ddraig Goch, the red dragon of Wales.

Centuries passed before other wizards found Aderyn’s keep
and the chronicles of his research, but Y Ddraig Goch,
his land’s champion,
was undeniable proof that dragons could be created
and the search was on to recover the knowledge.

And for his part, that portion of Aderyn that lived on
within the dragon remembered
that part of the dream was for others to know
his victory of creation
and so he did not interfere
in the quests of wizards to discover his notes.
He marked the progress of the searching questers
as they neared his keep.

He knew that the dragons they would make
might not be like him. Few dragons would be so noble as he,
as few wizards would willingly make
the necessary blood sacrifice
with their own blood.
He knew that he could stop them
without great cost to himself.

But he also knew that he had been lonely a long time.
Let the age of dragons begin, he decided.
This was my dream.

The First Dragon by Herb Kauderer 1

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