Wind whistled through my ears and stung at my keen eyes. I was falling, right out of the sky; plummeting down towards unforgiving stone. The massive burning gray form collided with the island before me. With a sickening, bone cracking, earth shattering thud, dragon flesh collided with stone and burst into brilliant red and orange flame. This was going to be a bad fall.
I had taken many falls in my substantial life line. I'd seen seasons change, hundreds if not thousands of changes. From bitterly cold to colder still. Over and over again until even the drastic difference between day and night had blurred into one long endless nothing.
The fire and wind tore at the armor of scales protecting my serpentine body. My very breath was ripped mercilessly from my lungs, the waiting inferno consuming all available air. Still, I would survive this. But he would not. The boy tumbled from my back, the thin metal linking us together had splintered in the overwhelming heat. The trauma of our battle left him free falling without me. He flailed his thin limbs uselessly, unlike the great black leathery wings that slowed my decent. He was falling to his death.
I soared through the clean night air effortlessly. I glided toward the distant light, no brighter than a single candle from this distance. I was moving towards this obtrusive orange, disturbing the seamless cloak of blue sea and black night. The nearer I flew the more detail was unveiled, and the more it disturbed my night. Rough, un hewn rocks jutted out over the velvet sea healed nothing but chaos. I was a creature of the still and the dark, and I despised this. So many nights I had wasted, attacking the inconsequential settlement by the sea. I did not hate humans, but I was forced to carry out this despised duty. I had no other options and neither did they. It was all a game of survival and this was my part. I blasted a human structure and continued my assault. I did not need to wait for the fire to strike, I never missed. My lighting flashed over the burning scene, symbiotic with the night. "Night Fury!!" was the name the humans gave to me. I supposed it was fitting. I slung lower over bumbling humans, ready to take and leave this place and it's noise. Night would fade to day and then all would blur to dark. Something cracked, a distinct sound in the disarray. A whirling thing came towards me, and before I could begin to avoid the collision; I was falling. Fright gripped me as my limbs tangled in the whooshing thing, cording and capturing me. The cool night air I adored rushed past me, it's comfort now mutilated. it mocked me. No air left, I let myself slip into the true darkness, if only temporary.
I woke to a glint of light that thrust me forward into a garish world of sunlight. My body lay limp on the mockingly warm earth, but that had not woken me. A scrawny human standing meekly at my side, a thin shining blade held over his head. His eyes were closed, his tiny body shaking as he prepared to plunge his makeshift claw into my chest. My ever beating heart would at long last be still. He looked at me in the eye and raised his arms higher above his head. I sighed my last and resigned myself to the inevitable, to the predictable.
Endless nights and endless winters I had seen them to their finish. Seven different generations of humans I had conflicted with, even before they claimed this floating rock as their home. It was when thousands of black leathery wings and luminescent green eyes. My family was gone. I was the last of my kind. Child of night, fire, lightening and dark. Death had been waiting for me for a very long time. How strange that the great legacy of the Night Fury would end like this. By the hands and in the eyes of a child.
The end never came. Suddenly my bonds were gone. I could move and a powerful instinctive urge flashed through my body. I lunged aggressively. I was alive, this was the game, and I was going to survive. The boy lost his footing over the harsh earth, but still tried to scramble away from me. As if a human, with two good feet could escape me. The boy backed into a large stone and he was trapped. I was going to win. The boy looked up as my hulking frame blocked out the sun. My teeth bared, inches from his fragile neck. He closed his eyes, and resigned to death. He was not playing by the rules. Humans never gave up, even when face to face with death itself. Humans killed Dragons without remorse or regret. This boy was not playing by their rules. And neither would I. I was a Dragon, not a monster.
I was wrong. I am a monster. It was confirmed as blood, sickly familiar ran down my throat. Blood that I had never let be spilt before me. I was tasting it. I tucked the scrawny, frail body to my own, holding fast to my chest. He lost consciousness in the void created by our down ward spiral. The familiar darkness threatened to engulf me, trying to numb the awaiting pain. I fought it. My wings arced my wings around us, shielding the boy from impending death. Together we plummeted faster. I could have slowed our decent, spreading my wings would land me safely, not the boy. This was going to be a horrible fall. Through fire into stone and no way to stop. I was going to take the brunt of the blow, but I chose this. Together we collided with the unforgiving stone. My body went into shock, stiff and limp and numb, but still clutched around my boy.
I made this choice. I chose, step by step to become attached to this rather weak looking, pathetic human child. He was none of those things and he chose to trust me. The boy never did exactly as I predicted. He did not play by the rules of his people or of any sort of convention. He chose to trust me, to fly with me. At first I believed that I did not have a choice. Depend on the boy and fly, or be grounded and as good as dead. I was a Dragon. Having no choice was just an excuses, a weak one. I realized this when my boy faced the 'Monstrous Nightmare" alone without a weapon. I had a choice then. Let him face the beast alone, unarmed. He could easily be maimed or killed. Or to run to his air and make a spectacle of myself by defending my human. And face my own end, at the claw of the Nightmare, or the blade of the human. I made my choice then, and I would obtain it until the day my indestructible body burned in hell.
"Hiccup" I recognized my boy's human name and forced my eyes open. Ash covered the scene before me, like a mockery of the winter's snow. My numb locked body tingled with fear. My eyes were hazed, my hearing hardly functional. .... And I could not feel him. I could not feel his crumpled form cradled against myself. But I could smell the blood, I could feel it on my skin. Muscles, limbs, wings and even my tail were locked into place trying to keep one tiny bubble of safety in all this destruction and devastation. My large reptilian head flopped uselessly onto what was left of the stone. I was not sure if the devastation came from my surrounding or within my own heart. Suddenly something thudded against my chest. Slow, low, quick, muffled to the point my ears could not detect it. A heart beat, knew it instantly. Another heart beat. My boy was alive! I felt like dancing, the way he did after our flights. My boy was maimed but alive.
I vowed to myself I would help him walk again, as he had helped me to fly. Because we were more alike in ways no one else would understand. The only of our kind, separate from others. Crippled but still able to fly. Because we had become friends
Because we matched.