“How do we know that we can trust this old crone?” The Fairy Queen said, her voice harsh in the silence. “Who can speak for what she says? What do we know of her truly?”
Ataneq pushed his way out of the crowd. “Your Majesty,” he bowed. “I am the adlet that Baba Yaga spoke of earlier. I do not know if all she posits is correct, but I, for one, can testify that as a wanderer from a far land, I have found my space in this kingdom of yours for the past fifty years.”
“But we know nothing of you either,” the Queen said.
“And so we are in a bind,” Alexei mumbled to himself. “Unless -” His face brightened as he raised his voice. “There is one, my Queen, who is eldest of all and who exists in all legends. The eldest of the dragons.”
“The Great Wyrm! But who would call him? Who would dare raise him from his slumber?” the Fairy Queen asked.
“The ancient enemy,” Darrick whispered under his breath, even as Baba Yaga’s face blanched. “The great evil whose blood even the earth rejects.”
“Wisest and most dangerous,” the Elven King added.
“So will none call him to council?” The Queen looked expectantly at the gathered creatures. Soft murmurs arose, each shaking their heads.
Then a tremor shook the ground where they stood. Great terror fell upon the fairy creatures, and they scrambled away or took to flight as they could, as the ground rumbled and trembled and grumbled. Heat arose in waves, and a strong wind blew. With the great beat of huge wings, a large scaled creature landed in front of the silver throne, scoring the ground where his talons touched.
“Above the four winds I was flying, and I heard my name. Who of you puny little creatures dared call upon the Great Wyrm?” His voice was like deep gravel.
“We do not call you with impunity, Eldest,” the Fairy Queen said, drawing herself up as regally as she could. Beside the great creature, she was like a doll of ice, fragile, breakable. “This old crone speaks of the end of our days, and we would seek to find the truth of it.”
The dragon turned a liquid gold eye on Baba Yaga. “Our days will always come to an end, and yet we are reborn with each new telling. Which end do you refer to, Mother Rus?”
“The end of all ends, o Dragon. When they tell our stories no more.”
The dragon laughed. “My story has been retold for six thousand years, from when I was the serpent who deceived Eve until now, when I am the great Smaug who hoards the gold as the King under the Mountain. Why would I worry about my end?” He grinned at the Elven King. “Ask our dear elves who have taken on a whole new life in this generation.”
“But when our stories end, o Dragon, where will you reside? Even if your story is told to perpetuity, without us, you are nothing.”
The dragon fell silent. “Pah, it is none of my business,” he finally said, stretching wide his wings and flying away in a rush of wind.
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The Latin word draco, as in the constellation, Draco, comes directly from Greek δράκων, (drákōn, gazer). The word for dragon in Germanic mythology and its descendants is worm(Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr), meaning snake or serpent. In Old English, wyrm means "serpent", and draca means "dragon". Finnish lohikäärmedirectly translated means "salmon-snake", but the word lohi- was originally louhi- meaning crags or rocks, a "mountain snake". The prefix lohi- in lohikäärme is also thought to derive from the ancient Norse word lógi, meaning "fire", as in Finnish mythology there are also references to "tulikäärme" meaning fire-snake, or fire-serpent.
In the modern period, the European dragon is typically depicted as a huge, fire-breathing, scaly, horned, lizard-like creature; the creature also has leathery, bat-like wings, four legs, and a long, muscular prehensile tail. Some depictions show dragons with feathered wings, crests, fiery manes, ivoryspikes running down its spine, and various exotic decorations.
Though a winged creature, the dragon is generally to be found in its underground lair, a cave that identifies it as an ancient creature of earth. Possibly, the dragons of European and Mid-Eastern mythology stem from the cult of snakes found in religions throughout the world.