The air was warm, and the bugs were singing with the approach of dusk. The countryside was full of the richness of late summer, and the streets of the royal city were filled with the hum of cheerful conversation. It was the sort of evening King Ari and his dragon Gyr loved the most, for it was the best weather for flying.
Indeed, that is where both their hearts and minds were as they sat in the dark and damp of the kings hall, and listened to the newest idea of their youngest adviser.
“So, what do you think?” the adviser asked, looking up at the two with a smile full of zeal and excitement.
King Ari cleared his throat, and cupped his chin as though in deep thought. Gyr, who knew his friend well, laughed. ( A dragon’s laugh is more of a cough, but it is understood all the same.) The truth was, neither of them had heard a word of it.
The adviser frowned, and said, “I know it is a bit ambitious, but I believe our people are ready! Why, we have never been more ready. In fact, I would say we are overdue by several hundred years!”
Gyr, who had been gazing at the fading daylight outside, turned and looked at the adviser. “Andrew, you speak of your industrial revolution?” he said as much as asked, his gentle voice marked by a note of disapproval.
“Weren’t you listening at all?” Andrew asked, balling his hands in frustration.
Gyr turned and looked back out the window, the last light of evening softening his features. “Andrew,” he said, “Look outside. The air is fresh, the water is clean, the food is good. You live without sickness. Your children grow well. Your old age well. What more do you desire?”
“But we could be so much more! King Ari, you grew up on the stories, just like I. You know how we humans used to live in the old world. Why, we were as powerful as dragons! More so, even.”
Gyr sighed, and wrinkled his nose. He nudged his friend, “Ari, let this madman dream. The light is nearly gone, we should go flying.”
Ari smiled, and rubbed Gyrs neck affectionately. “There is nothing wrong with dreams,” he said, “I too have dreamed of a day where I could walk into this hall, snap my fingers, and fill it with heat and light.”
“But I can do that!” Gyr said, uncurling himself from around the throne. He walked over to the great fireplace and lit a roaring fire in the time it takes one to sneeze.
He looked pointedly at Andrew. “Andrew, we dragons are your power. What army dare threaten you?” He turned and looked at Ari, “and we are your light, and your warmth. Are we not? To threaten our world, for these reasons, is frivolous.”
“Why does the thought of our power threaten you dragon?” Andrew asked, lip curled, “Is it because you are afraid of losing control of us?”
Gyr slapped the floor with his tail. “Andrew, the only loss of control I fear, is that of your own.”
“So what then? Do you, a dragon younger than our king, consider us children?!” Andrew walked over and stabbed his finger at King Ari, looking at Gyr, “Do you consider him a child? Do you consider him unable to control himself?”
Gyr hung his head, and held his arm. For a moment he looked like a lost child, then, regaining himself, Gyr said, “Not all men are as Ari.”
Then, he walked over to his dear friend, laid down next to him, and rested his head across Ari’s lap. He sighed, and said, “If all men were as you, I would not fear this, but because they are not, I do.”
Andrew scoffed, “You only worship him because he raised you.”
“Think what you like!” Gyr snarled.
“Enough!” said Ari, so forcefully it echoed.
Gyr lifted his head, and looked at his friend. Ari patted his nose reassuringly.
“I’ll have you know that Gyr raised me as much as I raised him," he said, his voice full of pride and love, "If I know anything, Gyr does not admit to fear easily. If he is worried, then we should be worried too.” He paused, letting his words sink in. “However, for your sake, I will mention this at the festival of gathering next spring. If the mages agree that the time is right, so be it.”
“But!” Andrew started.
King Ari held up his hand. "How about I bring you along, so that you can make your argument to them in person?”
Andrew seemed placated, but his eye twitched as though a bug crawled across his face. He turned to go, but before he did, he asked, “Tell me again why a human king needs the permission of dragons?”