The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Here Be Dragons

While the Desolation of Smaug looks primed to do some serious bank this holiday season, there are other dragons preparing to cash in during the next few weeks. They’re kinder than Smaug, gentler. But they’re also more insidious, with a grasp that reaches further. And too many of us are walking right into their lairs, hoping they’ll save us.

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When gold is so scarce, the smart money looks to those who hoard the stuff for answers. After all, if the great dragons are squatting on glittering troves, surely they know how the rest of us can get a few coins to rub together, right? Hell, if we get a little closer to them, convince them to let us into their aeries and subterranean tunnels, maybe they’ll let us take a few coins for our trouble. Sure, we’ll have to do a little work for them – you know, clean the mites out of those hard to reach scales, maybe polish the jewels, offer up the occasional sacrifice to keep them sated. A full dragon is a happy dragon, amirite?

For a lot of us, that’s gonna work out just fine. The lairs are cozy and they let us scrape up enough leftover loot to keep our families fed and the wolves from the door. Sure, it’s only table scraps when compared to the literal mountains of gold they bask atop, but you’ll probably get enough to squeak by each month. Who cares how much gold the dragons have, as long as you got your share, yeah?

Okay, it does kinda suck donkey balls if you can’t get into the lair. I mean, the dragons aren’t just going to hand out coins to the huddled masses, dig? Work for your allowance, fleshy monkey man, or you can starve out there with the rest of the peasants who didn’t get on the dragon train in time.

There’s a fix for that, though. If all you shivering bastards out in the cold would just work harder to help expand the lair, bring in some new gold to add to the trove, maybe round up some more sheep and send ’em on in, then there’d be room for you in here, too. The dragons are big, but the only way the rest of you can get a spot in the lair is if you make that thing big enough to free up some extra space. Once the dragons get their cut, then there’ll be more for the rest of us. Makes sense. That’s what the dragons say.

Right, right. We all know dragons are temperamental pricks, there’s no denying that. You heard about Bob, right? Twenty years of cleaning dragon turds out of the gold and one day, poof, Axalarong the Sumptuous burped and now Bob’s a man-shaped matchstick. And you really do not want to be hanging around if one of them starts looking for a midnight snack. Just steer clear of the head and you’ll be fine, trust me. It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be. You just gotta weigh the risks and the rewards.

You have seen what they do to the countryside when they get peckish, right?

Let’s focus on keeping them fat and happy.

It’s better for us all that way.




About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.