King of the Mountain

I wasn’t scared. You’d expect to be, that’s for sure, when you stare down an enormous glacier spirit, but as we stood before one another in the swirling snow and gripping ice, I remember feeling only tranquility. The quest had been worth it. The spirit had heard my call, and responded silently.

I said nothing. It only had to look at me to see my need – a winter dragon had settled in the valley some weeks past, and with two strong forces working in unison, the ice had swallowed our village, jammed our streams and wells, buried our lingering winter crops. Skin and bone, I was, trembling like a reed with each howl of mountain breath.

Pink eyes drifted from me, to the barely visible rooftops below. It stared. And stared. And stared. After what seemed like a season of waiting, it met my gaze again, nodded once, and turned away.

The next day, the mountain shook the snow from its slopes and crushed the sleeping plains to the south of our village, leaving only swathes of woodland for miles around. With no clear space in which to hunt, the dragon left peacefully, moving higher into the cold north.

And when summer came, the field was awash with the brightest, tallest, richest flowers anyone had ever seen, shimmering like amethysts in the high noon sun.

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