The exodus is upon us. Change is sweeping the globe, faster than we beings of fire and stone can keep up with. The air is no longer filled with dandelion down and spider silk for our wings to drift on. It is filled with choking noxious smog that clouds our eyes and spoils our translucent wings. We are beings of fire ourselves, true, but we do not put poison into our flame. These monstrosities of steel and ash do.
I have seen them; crawling along the ground, spreading every day into huddled masses of wood and steel and smoke. The humans flock to these areas, the grit burning their eyes and seeping into their lungs. I can see their dead and lifeless eyes from the air as they plod to these imprisoning cages, their wives and children by their sides. The rich sit apart, as always, seemingly uncaring that the poor are spinning their lives away in a prison of foundry fire.
Too many things are changing. The forests are receding. The humans are inventing new, deadlier, weapons that may even prove to be effective against our kind. There are better lands for us, hills as yet untarnished by the smoke. Hills that will be forever green and will see no sentient footstep aside for our own clawed talons. The elders are right. Our time here is finally over. We spared the humans out of mercy and they have spurned our gift of life. Let them destroy themselves. We will move on.
I want to see these beings one last time. I circle the town, scales glistening in the early morning sunlight, my wings yet untarnished by the smoke that is just now starting to pour out of the factories. A couple people see me; those that have not lost the ability to dream. Children run screaming to their parents, a couple beggars in the street shudder and cross themselves. The adults will be written off as insane, the children as having an overactive imagination. We are easily explained away in this day and age.
I long to dive, to burn and cleanse away the factory's evil. I want to make them see me through glistening ivory death and fire birthed of the raging inferno within my heart. It angers me to see this scar on the earth's surface. It angers all of us and so we leave. The younger ones whisper that this is the coward's way out, a human thing to do. The elders understand that the humans are too numerous, their weapons of steel and thunder too powerful. They can pierce dragon hide now, the rumors say. So the elders command that we leave and the exodus is to begin.
I hear a bugle cry from above me. I bank lazily, dipping one wing to the sun, another to the ground, and roll on my side. He comes from the sun, flaring his wings to match speed with me, light shining through the dew drop membrane. His scales are the color of a mountain stream, rich and clear, whispering of secrets and patterns in the swirling currents. My own are the purple of a sunset, deepening to a midnight blue and raven feathers.
We speak without words, circling the city, watching the humans below. He says that I need to let go, come with him to our new world, our new home. I do not reply, letting his words wash over me. He says our time is over. I reply that I have heard that too many times. That I am tired of watching time sweep past us while we remain as impassive as the mountains themselves. Have we not done enough to warrant a say in the future of this world? How dare the humans forget us? We stood by when they spent themselves in pointless wars, doing what we could to save them from themselves. It is we who were here first, we who allowed these beings to flourish and prosper. And now we are to move on without one last whisper? I exist! I am an ancient being of the stars and I soar here, utterly forgotten, ignored.
That is the curse of immortals.
He is right. I can feel his meaning beneath the words and with a soft keen I turn to him, crystal eyes meeting crystal eyes. To force our will upon this land we would have to unleash that primal fire deep within us. The earth would be consumed in the flames of our rage, blackened dirt weeping for the barren trees.
He turns his wings to the north, to the cold and to the shimmering curtains of light that will be our final gateway to a new world. I follow, singing a lament as I fly, my last gift to this world. The petals of the song join the wind and are borne far away through the sky to spread across the earth. I wonder if someday a child will hear the song and remember. The veil is before us. Dragon-kind are streaming from all across the globe, vanishing into the shifting lights. It is the last flight of the dragons. We are leaving this world.
It will be a glorious new home for us.
I turn to my companion and watch him leap into the veil and disappear with a last cry of joy. I rise into the air, my wings whirling around me. I let out a banshee shriek that tears the air and dive, straight into the multicolored aurora. We are gone. We have left.
Remember us. It is my last request.