The Council. The group with more authority to use against us than anything else. And they had banished me.
Perhaps it had been justified, I had publicly spoken against them, but they always said we were free to say as we wished. We were the only ones who had the power to change the council, they had said.
They hadn't given me any time to prepare after my banishment, they had simply flown me out somewhere far away, telling me there would be consequences if I returned.
I had never been a very good listener.
Of course, on the way back I had to avoid The Guild, as it had come to be known. One look at me, and they would be fighting each other to kill me and steal my skin. They were known only for being brutal, sneaky, dishonorable, and selling at ridiculous prices. Being the only sellers, however, had it's advantages.
I couldn't help but wonder if they had gotten my brother by now. He wasn't a lot older than I was, and my brother had been banished long before me. The reasons behind his exile were little known, and only those in the council knew of his actions leading up to it. They had told us to forget the event.
Like I said, though, I was never a good listener.
I had asked to know what my brother had done, citing my right as a relative of the accused to know why he had been punished. They said treason, he had commited a great crime against the people of our territory. Upon my prying, they would say no more. Enraged, I publicly denounced them, saying they had become corrupt, refusing to speak of the cause behind a punishment. They had me exiled, on account of treason.
My own banishment was the first clue to the cause of my brother's. It did not help me find him, though, which was why I was going back to a friend of mine. Naturally, he still lived back in what was once my home. Due to the nature of the Council, he probably didn't know yet that I was gone.
Heading back to the territory had proven a rather difficult task, and I had only reached the dense natural apple forest growing near one of the human towns.
As far as I knew, the apple forest had never been owned by one of the humans, instead being shared amongst the three closest towns. One of the towns had become greedy, hiring an earth mage to put a canyon between the trees and the other two towns.
The canyon remained, but bridges had been built allowing the towns access to the only natural food source within walking distance.
Stopping briefly, I reached up and picked one of the apples. Birds attempting to make the trees their homes fled at the sight of me. I chuckled before looking at the apple. It looked decent, no bruises, though it was unnaturally red. Magic had been used on the trees at some point during the growing season. I threw the apple into the nearby canyon, wiping my hand on the grass and looking for another apple. Unfortunately, they had all been affected by the plant magic.
Before I could begin to wonder who would eat magically affected apples, I saw one of the human children picking apples out of the high branches of one the trees that hung out over the edge of the cliffside.
He was too short for his job, struggling to reach an apple hidden amongst the leaves. His stark blonde hair stood out among the branches and leaves that were too green to be natural, similar to the apples, allowing me to see him very clearly as he stretched to pick the apple.
He had his tongue out in his great focus, and was propping one hand against a neighboring branch for balance. He glanced fleetingly at his feet to check their position before letting go of his support to reach higher for his prize.
The apple, it seemed, was quite content in the tree, as it took a great effort from the child to pull it free. Unfortuately, this threw the child from his balanced stance, heaving him off the branch and off the edge of the cliff below.
I reacted quickly, sprinting and leaping into the canyon and flapping my wings once to pick up speed and attempt to catch up to him. After a few more flaps and a couple missed grabs, I managed to grab the screaming child by the collar of his shirt. Opening my wings all the way to slow down, we hit the ground at a survivable, though less than gentle speed.
His screaming did not cease, even as I jumped off from the bottom of the cliff and flew back up to his apple tree. He ran out of air shortly after I put him on the ground, safely away from the edge.
I looked at him again after landing back on top of the cliffs, his expression frozen in a state of shock. His yellow eyes struck me as unusual, and the energy he gave off confirmed him as a mage. His specialty was unknown to me, however.
A leather vest hung loosely from his shoulders, his chest covered with a torn and faded bandage. Another bandage on his leg led into his pants, also leather, and uncolored like his shirt, a simple peasant's clothing. He did not wear any shoes, which struck me as odd. Human feet were soft, and any humans I had seen before had worn them.
He had a well-built body for such a young child, but it made sense that he would, climbing trees and picking apples all the time, as I could only assume he did to feed his family.
His face began to fall out of the shocked expression, and he moved his mouth, but no sound came out.
I laughed a little, only seeming to put him more on edge and confuse him. I had only learned a limited amount of English in my few years of life, given that we don't typically come into contact with humans, and when we do, they often try to kill us. "Don't eat the magic apples. Less taste."
As such was the case, I was not very eloquent, and came off as quite blunt to most humans I did meet.
"Y-you, you're..." he stuttered uncontrollably. Humans tended to be controlled by fear, which most of us assumed was why they tried to kill us all the time. A quick slap in the face with a wing seemed to clear his head up. "You're a dragon!" Brilliant.
"You're human. Point?" They never explained anything either, unless prompted, as if everything should be able to read their minds because of how great they were.
He seemed confused for a second, as if it was weird that I didn't know why it was important that I was a dragon. "Dragons are supposed to be evil. Why did you save me?"
"You fell. Did you want to die?"
Another thing about humans, they often believed without a doubt that everything they think about something is right under every circumstance. Hence, 'dragons are supposed to be evil,' despite the fact that he had most likely never even seen one until now, let alone talked to it long enough to know if it actually was 'evil'.
He put his shocked face on again, this one with more confusion, before saying "No, of course not. Why would you ask that?"
"Your species is the only known for suicide."
He seemed pensive after that statement. After a moment, he seemed to remember something, and said quickly, "You shouldn't be this close to a town! Someone might see you!" He tried to push me away, but I was noticably larger than him, and he was struggling.
"Why are you concerned?" I asked. "Dragons are supposed to be evil." I crossed my arms and stared intently at him, waiting to hear his response.
He became quite flustered after that. "Well, you did save me... so you can't all be... I guess." He blushed heavily before adding, "You should go before they see you. You seem valuable."
As it was, he was correct. Red scales were worth the most money, being the rarest. Though how such a young child knew something like that, I didn't know.
After realizing I may never meet another human that helped a dragon, I asked, "What's your name?"
"Jovis," he replied.
"Zethyr." Then I flew off.