Breathing fire hurts. This is a fact rarely mentioned nowadays, but surely it’s not all that surprising that a two-foot wide, thirty-foot long column of white-hot flame blasting up your gullet and out between your jaws tends to sting just a little. We’re not really sure how it works, in the same way that we’re uncertain of the particular aerodynamics behind lifting a ten-tonne winged lizard into the air for any length of time. They’re just facts of our existence, and to be honest, we’re usually too busy terrorising townsfolk and sleeping on outrageously uncomfortable piles of gold to give it much thought.
My name is Arcalathon the Dread, and I am a dragon. As you can see, I have golden eyes, crimson scales, immaculately maintained razor-sharp claws and I am single, ladies, so hit me up at my bachelor pad on the peak of Mount Terror and I can promise you a date that’s… smoking hot.
Sorry, was that too obvious? I was never any good at this whole subtlety business. I mean honestly, why do I need to bother with riddles or masterplans to lure my prey to me? I’m a sodding dragon, for Christ’s sakes. I’ll just fly over to your house and rip your gizzards out.
Wait, hold on, why are you leaving? I was only joking, I’m not really going to rip… not even a kidney, I promise. I just want to talk. That’s all I want, please don’t make me have to… sigh…
I told you it hurts to do that. Consider it a warning shot. Please don’t make me do it again.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I gathered you all here today. I mean, it’s obvious why you turned up – that’ll be this crowd of tasty-looking children I have locked up in this here cage. Don’t ask me how I managed to sort out the locks with these massive dragon paws of mine. It was fiddly, I can tell you that.
So yes, I threatened to burn them alive if thirty of you didn’t show up. But that doesn’t make me a bad person, does it? I’m a dragon. Terror is in my nature. It’s who I am.
You like to say this is a free society, don’t you? That anyone can be themselves without fear of persecution? You’re proud of that, aren’t you?
This is me.
So why won’t you love me?