by Gerald del Campo
In the land of Oz lived a great Wizard named Albert Creemshaw. He was loved by everyone, and became quite popular when he destroyed the Last Dragon in a great battle between the forces of oppression and the powers of Freedom.
When the villagers heard that the monster had been killed they rushed the mountain side where the Dragon had its nest and proceeded to break the eggs; thereby insuring the destruction of the creatures forever.
What they did not know, was that Albert had snuck one of the eggs out before the villagers got there. He cared for it in his Castle and through his great magical ability he was able to genetically alter the dragon fetus so that it would soon be the watcher of the people; a symbol of freedom and great strength. But he kept this a secret from the people because they were not ready yet for the trial which awaited them; they would just have ganged up and tried to kill the Little Dragon. He became a Hermit and loved the little creature.
One day the Wizard received a message from his God that he would have to move on, and release his body the way that a butterfly sheds its cocoon. So Albert called for the Council of The Sword and Shield, a ruling body of his most trusted students, and told them about the little dragon. At first they were repulsed by the idea of bringing up the offspring of the object of their misery; but the Magician persuaded them by telling them that the little dragon would soon be the symbol of freedom and strength: they swore by the Warrior Gods they would care for it.
The following evening, while the Full Moon shined on the peaceful waters of Oz, Albert and his God left forever.
Upon finding their Master dead, the Council released the information about the Little Dragon to the people of Oz. The people of Oz loved Albert as much as he loved them, and after they saw how fragile this poor orphaned creature was they decided amongst themselves that they would honor those raising the little dragon, for the dragon would represent all of the things Albert himself stood for.
Things went well, for a while. The favoritism displayed by the people of Oz towards the Priests and Priestesses that cared for the Dragon created turmoil: all of the sudden there were power struggles within the Council, its members were fighting over who would supervise the education of the Little Dragon, who would feed it, who would educate it. They set up rules specifically designed to make it impossible for others to reach the grades appropiate to caring for the Dragon so that only a few on top could reap the benefits associated with caring for the Little Dragon.
One would say: "I have risked my life and given all so that the little dragon could have food", and his ego was pleased. The other would say: "While you first despised the dragon I stood fast in my duty to care for it, for I have kept my word", and her ego was satisfied.
The people were so impressed by the "devotion and selflessness" of The Council that certain members were given gifts of silver, gold, spices, and women. Treated as Gods for their sense of duty.
Everyone at The Council became so preoccupied with the power struggle, and with keeping their peers in lower positions that they forgot about the little, fragile Dragon. When they finally gained their senses, and returned to the Castle where it was guarded they found it dead, starved from attention and sustenance. They then realized that empty, lost feeling Albert himself would have felt, if HE had killed the Last Dragon.