Long ago, before humans existed, this earth was a wild place filled with magic and wonder. There were great forests, covering all lands from north to south and west to east. There were strong rivers glittering silver, with quiet beginnings in the grand mountains, their snow-white peaks kissing the sky. And from little streams they carved their way through the lands like blue and silver veins turning into awesome streams like giant serpents. And these rivers found their endings in the giant waters beyond the mountains and hills. While the green lands were great and beautiful, the oceans were even greater and the mystery they held were unknown to earth and sky.
On land many fair creatures roamed the woods. There were bronze and purple unicorns grazing on the clearings of the forests. They were never hunted by any predator for they were the fastest animals on land. Great silver stags lived by the rivers and the lakes. They were always at war with the grey wolves living in glittering caves in the depths of the thick vegetation.
Cats in all shades of brown and grey hunted in the underwood for mice and rabbits. Sometimes, they climbed the trees and looked up into the sky where the birds flew, their favourite prey, which they hardly ever caught. The cats looked at them with their big yellow eyes. They saw green and brown sparrows flying quickly through the sky and elegant barn owls spying out mice on the forest ground below them. They saw proud falcons seeing further than anyone else and by the mountains lived the royal eagles, their feathers shining white and dark brown, their beaks as yellow as the sun.
The foxes of the forest were friends with the kind hedgehogs and they often sat by the rivers and sang songs together. The great stags would listen from time to time but always alert, fearing the attack of the wolves.
Life in the forest, above the trees and by the lakes and rivers was always exciting and all animals had their friends and foes and allies. But all of them had one thing in common. Sometimes a creature greater than everything alive would cast its shadow upon the forests, the lakes, and the rivers, heading for the mountains.
Every animal, whether foe or friend would hold their breath and look up into the heavens and behold the most beautiful creatures of the world. Their scales glittered like a rainbow after a thunderstorm in the sun. Their wings shook the trees. Their tails were longer than the largest tree trunks and their mighty heads never looked down but always ahead because why should the Kings and Queens of the world mind the business of the earth below. They had nothing to fear. They were dragons.
Whenever a dragon would fly above the land towards the mountains, the royal eagles and the silver stags themselves bowed their heads and prayed, they would not notice their bright feathers and their shimmering fur. And the royals of the sky indeed never looked upon them. Of course, it was an unnecessary fear because they all knew what dragons ate and it was no animal of the forest. However, seeing those mighty beasts fly above them, every time, the hearts of the animals were filled with fear and despair, knowing they were nothing, compared to the gods of the sky.
It was the falcons who told the story long ago, for their eyes could see further than anyone else’s, what dragons liked to eat. With their golden eyes they beheld the most gigantic hunts: When a dragon would fly from its mountain over the lands, the serpent of the sky would reach the never-ending waters, the oceans of the world. And then, folding their wings close to their bodies, they plunged into the sea, casting waves as high as hills. A moment later they would rise from the water again and a whale half the dragon’s size would fight, trapped in their jaws.
But it was a hopeless fight for who could withstand a dragon’s bite. Blood rained from the sky and the whales below in the ocean sang mournful songs of a brother or a sister lost. However, their pain lasted longer than the pain of the caught whale. The dragon’s teeth were lethal and with the first bite the whale would lose its strength and by the second bite its spirit was gone from the world. Then the dragon would land by the beach, eat the whale and leave nothing but red sand behind. Slowly, its belly full, the dragon would ascend into the air again and return to its mountain and rest there for months until it had to eat again.
But whenever a dragon plunged into the great waters, seeming invincible, in that moment, a dragon was most vulnerable as well. And the falcons have seen it, for their eyes see everything. And they tell another story of a mighty dragon mother and her daughter:
It was years ago when a proud female dragon lived in a grand cave inside the silver mountain. Her name was Rubafairah and she was a beautiful dragoness to behold. Her scales shimmered red like the sunset and her eyes were fiery gold. Her mighty horns shimmered as dark as blood. Her wings were of a lighter red, like the petals of roses in the sun. One could think that they were fragile, like flowers themselves, but every time she flew above the forest, her wings made the trees tremble to the core and the little squirrels, fearful to fall into the deep, had to claw at the branches to hold on. And when she rose into the sky, the royal eagles, the sparrows, the wise owls and the other birds knew better than to try to fly in this dragon made wind. When Rubafairah rose into the sky, the heavens belonged to her, and only her.
But she was not the only dragon and in time her shining scales attracted another dragon towards the forest and the silver mountain. He was green scaled like fresh leaves in spring. His mighty horns were of a darker shade, the colour of moss. He was just as big as Rubafairah and wherever she flew, he followed her, looking at her with his emerald shining eyes. And when he flew with her in the sky, his wings outstretched, the sun above made them shine light green, so light they almost glowed sunflower yellow. His name was Arnahayris, a king of dragons.
Every day they circled the mountain as if the colours green and red themselves chased each other beneath the blue sky. Then they would disappear into their cave and the entire mountain gleamed like embers, as if it was on fire from the inside. And one morning Arnahayris took off into the sky and Rubafairah stayed behind. She looked after him, not sad but satisfied, and then for the first time, she began to collect stones by the beach and was not seen for over a year.
It was a peaceful time for the birds and they took pleasure in flying through the quiet air every day. But one sunshiny morning they heard a call from the mountain. It was not Rubafairah and it could not be Arnahayris for he had left long ago. No, this was a new sound, a sound the animals of the forest had never heard before. Its tone was similar to the sound of hatchlings.
And then the animals, watching the mountain with curiosity, saw Rubafairah rise into the sky for the first time in over a year. But she was not alone. She was followed by a smaller dragon, not even half her size but the size of a small hill. It was her hatchling, a beautiful dragon, her scales shining purple like flowers of the forest. Her wings, flapping quicker through the air, not as strong as her mother’s, shone purple and red like the setting sun on the horizon. But her eyes were her father’s, emerald, with specks of purple, her own colour. And her name was Beyafrey, the next generation of the kings and queens of the sky.
Together, they flew in circles over the forest and with every day, Beyafrey followed her mother with more certainty through the air. And soon they would venture towards the sea where Beyafrey would land on the beach and watch her mother catch whales. Then they would feast on the whales by the beach and in the evening fly back together to their mountain.
And after a while when Rubafairah would plunge into the blue waters her daughter would follow her just like she had followed her into the air. Rubafairah would rise from the water with a whale, and seconds later, Beyafrey joined her with a smaller whale between her jaws. When they flew back to their mountain the animals could see how Beyafrey grew with every day and her wings finally shook the trees and the squirrels had to hold on to the branches, afraid to fall off.
But one morning the unimaginable happened. A day, the falcons would never forget, for they had seen it with their own all-seeing eyes and they would tell the story to every creature of the forest.
A slight wind had come from the sea, small waves broke by the beach but nothing a dragon had not mastered before, for what could some wind and waves do to a dragon? Without a problem Rubafairah the Red and Beyafrey the Purple ascended into the sky. Beyafrey’s horns were now half as long as her mother’s and shone in a dark shade of purple, almost dark red. The two dragons flew side by side and circled the sea where they could make out whales beneath the surface. Rubafairah folded her wings along her body, let herself drop like a leave, elegantly caught in the wind, and she plunged into the sea, a lethal monster.
Beyafrey wanted to follow her mother but she spotted a strange shadow in the blue waters beneath the whales. She had never seen it before. She hesitated and circled the ocean beneath her, waves breaking on its surface. She knew something was wrong and called for her mother. It was a roar that made the sand on the nearby beach vibrate. And then her mother broke through the surface without a whale between her jaws. Terror was within her red eyes and in fear Beyafrey rose higher into the air. Her mother tried to break through the water, tried to reach the heavens, her home and realm. But something held her back. And Beyafrey and the falcons by the beach saw what Rubafairah was fighting against. Arms, long and brown, larger than trunks of trees, shot out of the water and embraced the red dragon, fighting on the surface. But they were not ordinary arms, they were slimy tentacles Beyafrey and her mother had seen before. They looked like the one’s of little octopi who slithered among the wet rocks by the beach. But these ones were huge and Rubafairah, the Red Queen was at their mercy.
Beyafrey could see that the whales had fled the scene as well. Whatever this was, they feared it more than the dragons from the sky. Rubafairah looked at her daughter with sorrow and sadness but also anger. She could not believe how a creature from the deep dared to challenge her. Rubafairah shot red flames at the massive tentacles but they did not catch fire and soon she was too weak to breathe fire, her gigantic jaws filled up with ocean water.
Beyafrey circled the battle of fire and water and rained purple flames upon the monstrous creature of the deep. But she was a young dragon and her fire was not as hot as her mother’s fire and did no harm to the slimy arms. The red dragon bit into one of the giant tentacles but it was no use. It held on tight to her. With her red claws and her giant jaws, she enwrapped herself within the monster of the deep. Her long red tail whipped around, her ruby body twisting in death’s embrace. The only thing Rubafairah could hope for now was the poison within her teeth that might kill the ocean creature. They were entangled like lovers and Beyafrey called for her mother, a pleading call, a loving call but she sunk into the deep, red and brown, a Queen of the Sky, Mistress of Fire and a King of the Deep, Master of the Blue.
And then the surface beneath the purple daughter fell quiet and the wind was filled with the smell of copper, a storm was coming. Keeping a great distance between herself and the sea, Beyafrey flew towards the beach, and landed in the soft sand, calling out to the sea, hoping for her mother to return.
But only the storm answered the purple dragon’s call with lightning and rumbling thunder. The falcons, who had seen it all, landed on the tree branches by the beach. They too called for their Red Queen and made compassionate screeches, comforting her daughter, alone by the shores of the sea. They did not want to leave her alone and the purple dragon was glad for their presence.
The storm raged on throughout the night. It was a bitter wind and cold rain fell on the scales of the dragon. She could have flown back to her warm cave within the mountain, where she could have waited out the storm. But she did not dare leave the beach hoping her mother might have survived the battle in the deep.
And with the return of the sun in the east, the clouds broke up and the storm was gone. But something had washed up on the beach, something the falcons and the purple dragon had never seen before: There by the beach laid the result of the battle of the giants. Not so mighty looking anymore, like rotting tree trunks, there was the monster of the deep with its eight tentacles lying lifeless, seagulls already picking on its jelly- like brown body. The poison of the dragon must have ended it. And there, next to the grotesque creature laid her beautiful mother, a Ruby red Queen, as the sunrays of the morning shone upon her dead body with kindness one last time.
She glittered in all shades red and the carcass of the sea monster next to her simply looked like dirt washed up on the beach. A battle for life, a battle of giants, resulted in destruction of both, but the beauty of a dragon would still succeed in death. No seagull dared land on the red dragon for they knew that she was their Queen.
Beyafrey mourned her mother all day long and all animals of the forest came to pay their respects and bowed their heads to their new Queen, the Purple Queen. They all came, the silver stags, the bronze and purple unicorns, the foxes and hedgehogs, the grey wolves, the cats, rabbits and squirrels and mice. No one was hunting or fighting today. They all arrived in peace, witnessing the death of the red wonder that was their Queen, and the nightmare that ended her life in the deep.
And from this day forth, the falcons would carry the story throughout the lands. And the animals would remember the body of their fallen Queen and her story, how no one could harm a dragon but the monsters of the deep.