They did not see our divinity.  It was beyond them, a thing that they could not grasp or understand.  They had seen us bleed one too many times, had seen us fall, had heard our mournful keens ringing out across the clouded moon.  And so, in our grief, sorrow, and pain they had learned.  They knew we were flesh and blood, able to be wounded, even killed by enough people and enough skill.  And enough luck.  Our bones had been found in the lonesome places of the world, our shattered wings carried home and examined.  We killed our own, we fought, we ranged far and wide like animals.  And so that was what they dubbed us.

            If I had a mirror I would hold it out in front of them.  A gleaming shard of truth that could reveal to them that they were no different than us.  They spread across this earth much faster than we did, erecting houses of wood and then buildings of stone to form massive cities.  Because we were solitary, did that make us lesser beings?  They fought each other in massive pitched battles, the scream of horses and the groan of the dying filling the air.  Because we fight only those doomed to die, are we brutes?  They held elaborate burial rituals, casting their dead deep under the earth and arraying their bodies in black to show grief for the now-gone.  Because we let our firery hearts consume our fallen, did that make us animals?

            In their minds, we had no similarities.  We were scaled things of muscle, sinew, and delicate membrane wings, not human with hair and eyes and exposed skin.  Our ways were alien, incomprehensible, and therefore we were delegated to what could be understood: animal.  As I have said; they did not see our divinity.  We are immortal, us dragons, and with that immortality comes the wisdom of ages and the power to wield dreams as they would wield a sword.  We do not conform to the realities of this world, we conform to our own inner power.

            As all dragons are, I am a proud and haughty immortal.  I know the taste of star shine and the touch of a moth's breath.  I am a goddess, if they would see it.  I can breath life into anything, and with a twist of the eye I can breath death from that same ivory-laden mouth.  Have the humans tamed the fire that conquers the phoenix again and again?  No, they have not.  Only I, an immortal, a divine race destined to forever rule the skies.

            Perhaps if they understood what I was they would not have challenged me so.  They would dare not challenge their own gods and goddesses, yet they dared attempt to slay me.  They came, when the sun was high, with a blessing and venom-coated poles.  I did not fear the venom, dragonsbane was a myth that the humans were fools to believe.  I did fear the iron barbs that resided on the edge of those poles, and the tipped arrows that were carried in quivers on every man.  But the fear was not enough to cause me to flee.  Everyone must die at some time, and I for one would not let them see a goddess run.

            I covered myself with my wings as they loosed the arrows, letting my thin membrane take the blow, the arrows piercing the skin like crimson raindrops, but traveled no further.  My wings could heal and I could fly with the power of a dream.  But should those arrows pierce a joint, an eye, then I would feel true pain.  Soon they quit the bow, realizing how ineffective it was.  They rushed me then, wielding the long poles of steel and wood.  I breathed fire down upon them, watching it consume a number of their group, the scorching heat mingling with the agonized screams.  Divine wrath from a divine being.

            I caught up another with one clawed hand, tearing the pole from his grasp and sending him flying across the landscape to smash into a tree trunk.  He fell and did not move.  Then I felt something glance across my hide and I spun, snapping the pole that had scraped along my ribcage in two and seizing the human up in my jaws.  Pray to your gods, mortal, they cannot interfere with I.  I shook my head like a cat would to break a mouse's spine, and let go just at the apex of my movement.  I did not see what became of him for my attention was immediately swung back to the remaining would-be dragon slayers.

            "Do you run?" I whispered, "Or do you dare to fight on?"

            "It speaks," one of them gasped.

            I stalked closer, sliding along the ground, my mouth twisted into a savage smile.

            "I am not beast, I am not mindless animal.  I am immortal, divine, and I shall be your death."

            Two of them broke and ran.  I leapt, crushing the two that stayed underfoot when I landed, their cries abruptly silenced.  I loped behind the remaining two, laughing as I did, toying with them, fueling their blind panic as they crashed through the forest.  Let them lead me then, lead me home.  They forget too easily what it means to challenge a goddess.  Their objects of adoration were too forgiving, too insubstantial, for them to know what wrath and rage were.  I would teach them.  I would show them what the gods and goddesses of before time were truly like.

            The forest cleared before me and I snaked out into the clearing to stare down at a small outpost, stone walls bearing bright banners in the blinding sunlight.  I smiled and half-flew to land in front of the two fleeing humans.  The cried out in terror and one brandished his pole.  I snatched it from his hands but did not discard it like the others.  Instead, I gripped it with both paws and reared up on my hind-legs, jabbing forwards and impaling the human.  The other I batted away with my tail to lie in a broken heap.  The human on the pole writhed for a moment, then fell still.  I rose into the air, still clutching the pole and the slain man.  I flew over the keep amidst shouts of terror and a couple desperate orders to restore calm.  At the direct center of the keep I dropped the human to let him land in the courtyard below.  Cries of horror and rage echoed up to me and I ignored them, gathering altitude.  And then I dove.

            I slammed into the highest tower of the outpost, curling my wings about me and letting my scaled hide take the impact of the blow.  I felt the force of it jar my bones but the stone crushed, crumpled, and fell.  I clung to the remains of the falling tower, spreading my wings once more and balancing myself on the disintegrating structure.  Pewter and stone rained down below me, crashing to the ground in a deafening clamor.  I cried out to the heavens, a shriek of triumph and warning.  And as I rose into the sky, I unleashed my primal fire once more, so that the keep burned even as I soared away into the distance.  Worship your gods of stone and gold humans.  I am a true goddess.