Well, here it is- my Tolkien FF debut. Hope you guys enjoy! Please note that this is technically an AU, as it is inconsistent with the written history. :) It is the tale of Smaug's takeover of Erebor- eventually it will be two or three chapters long. Thanks for reading; R&R!
Thanks to the best beta reader ever, Sauron Gorthaur!
The snapdragons bloomed at the base of the mountain. "How fitting," I thought, "Snapdragons for a snappish dragon!" Indeed, my teeth have left many marks on the wings and tails of the other young wyrms. The greater dragons, those with their magnificent, shining horns fully grown in, told stories of the Mountain and its heaps of glittering treasure. They growled low of gleaming dragon-skin armor and ivory dragon horn and dragon tooth ornaments- our ancestors' remains!
It had once been ours. Erebor the nesting place. Green and pure of Men, the mountain sheltered ridged eggs and jeweled walls. The very oldest dragons had breathed and burned the jewels from the new caverns, melting back the walls to find the shining gems. As they fell from the walls, our soft bellies became encrusted and protected.
Yet the Elves had not had their clashes and were deeply ignorant of the existence of the glorious Wyrms. The Stone People were the first to know of us. Before their weak mouths could form words, before their pale hands built hammers and cities, the Stone People knew of the dragons. We reveled in their primitive, ingrained fear, but they were amusing to the wyrms of old and they were left mostly alive. They left the Dwarves, as the Stone People learned to call themselves when they developed speech, and coiled their great bodies through the skies to the towns of Men. Men were the preferred flesh, not tough like the Dwarves.
The dragons underestimated the newly established Dwarven civilizations. We believed that no being could unseat us from the Mountain and our fearsome majesty. But Erebor was sacked by thousands of Dwarves from all over our world and theirs; the mighty Wyrms were driven away or slaughtered. The new eggs in the nests under the Mountain were destroyed, and the Stone People set up a city under the Mountain. Even the oldest dragons cannot remember the Great Flight. When the strongest dragons could no longer fly from the lost Mountain, they settled deep in the grey peaks that they saw beneath their claws. Eventually, Men tried to spoil Flight Rest, but they fled when the great dragons of that age poured forth, those wyrms who are no longer great this day, but lie as bleached bones and shattered teeth. Even the Necromancer, feared among Men, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, goblins, and Wizards alike, set the border of his territory a fair distance from the edge of the Dragons' nests. The oldest dragons, the storytellers and mentors who can no longer hunt for themselves, vaguely remember the arrival of the Necromancer.
Old Thiel was telling some of the gentler wyrmlings of the devastation of Erebor when Karr and I attacked. Since our hatching days, Karr and I have competed against each other- we strove to defeat the other in hunting, wyrm lore, and especially ferocity. I drew blood on his armored tail with my needle teeth. "Weak scales for one so proud!" I jeered the insult at him, angering my opponent further. He screamed and snarled out a billowing scarlet flame lest I escape from him uninjured. However, I somersaulted away from him and his fire caught on the tip of a wyrmling's tail. She shrieked with pain- her hide was not yet tough and smooth with scales, but the soft skin of a baby. The fire, writhing in the day's fine breeze, crawled up the sapphire leather. Flapping her burning baby's wings, the young one was consumed by that which the rest of us manipulated in order to consume. Karr was horrified at his deed, and I too was ashamed of the terrible act I had participated in. Old Thiel lifted his majestic emerald snout to the overcast skies and roared the mourning call of the Wyrmfolk. Others of the matured dragons soared to the caves to see what had happened and to grieve over the charred remains of the blue youngling. Thiel, after the mourning call was made and carried on by other dragons, swept Karr and me along with his great tail. We were forced to the den of the Wyrmking.
"Both of you shall depart from Flight Rest, never to return," the Wyrmking rumbled, "Karr the Fierce, you shall be banished to the lands of the Necromancer in the west, for the direct death of the hatchling." Karr groveled at the Wyrmking's claws, sniveling and growling pitifully for mercy. Noble Wyrmking stood firm. "Both of you are beginning to receive your horns; you are able to safely leave Flight Rest." Karr shoved me one last time as he flapped from the one home both of us had known, but as I leaned against the craggy wall, I scraped my tail against the stone floor and tripped Karr. He left disgraced.
Now Wyrmking addressed me. I found it quite dishonorable that the only time the majestic king ever spoke to me was to banish me from his territory. "Smaug the Golden, for provoking Karr to his wretched act, you will also leave Flight Rest forever." I refused to whine like my nemesis. "You will go to the south and the east, even as Karr went to the west. You will leave Dragon territories and find a place to settle. Now go!" Wyrmking snapped his great teeth a fang-length from my snout and a puff of smoke escaped his golden muzzle. My throat tightened, and I let out a rasping cough. Still, I left Flight Rest dignified.
Flapping my crimson wings, I soared through the falling-leaf-time air, over coiling dragon-tail rivers and dark, inviting forests. Small Men towns dotted the flat landscape, and I took a few soft humans for each for my meals, supplemented with animals from the forests that were always nearby. Each night I let my transparent eyelid slide over the golden orb- it was bad form to close my main, scaly eyelid- and curled my great scarlet body into a small hill; I slept fitfully each night without a sturdy cave to dwell in.
As I flew on, the plains grew dead- barren and brown. Only a thin blue-grey river trailed through the land, terminating in a lake. A single human had set up a small hut near the Lake, but I was not hungry. One Man would never amount to any sort of threat against me. Focusing on the glorious sight ahead, I totally ignored the creature. Looming on the near horizon- a mountain. The Mountain. The fields nearby were well-kept. Surprisingly clean for the stone-dwellers' territory. Some younger dwarves were playing in the shadow of Erebor, but none of the Stone People had yet sighted my gleaming scales. I wheeled about in my flight and concealed myself in a forest not too far from the Mountain.
The Stone People had grown fat and lazy. True, their hammers still rang out on their anvils, molding the gold and jewels under the Mountain- I could hear the jarring noises, but they thought too highly of themselves. They did not even bother to post guards at the gate to the Mountain. I allowed a line of smoke to drift to the sky in my anger at the Stone People. They may have been formidable once, but they had let themselves fall from power. They were naught but glorified smiths. I could retake the Mountain- I could take it for my home, avenge my ancestors, and live for a long- very long- time with plenty of deep-dwelling dwarves and nearby Men to feast upon. I could exact the perfect revenge.
From my perch, Erebor's gates seemed to open wide, beckoning me to the mountain my elders have so long talked about in anger and loss. I was young and strong- the best fighter among all the wyrmlings at Flight Rest. Was I too young? My horns, while they have grown in pale as ivory to almost the length of my fangs, were not the magnificent examples that the ancient wyrms sport. Older dragons were driven away from Erebor when the Stone People rose.
No matter, I could easily win the Mountain. The dwarves had grown to think that they were undefeatable, as the dragons of yore once had. Always, it seemed to me, this path of thought leads to devastation and downfall. I drew one of my exquisite claws along my horn thoughtfully. I could take Erebor back.
Lying awake that night, I watched and listened for dwarves. No voices reached my scaly ears and nothing, save a family of mountain hares which I immediately snapped up, came into my line of vision. The anvils rang and thrumming voices sang, but no dwarf spoke of the red dragon. Deep in my reptilian heart, their ignorance made me glad. They would know and fear the name of Smaug soon enough. They would not know what hit them when I avenged my ancestors, who were slain for their hides or driven away from their home.
The morning light brought with it an increase of Dwarvish work-noises and an insatiable desire for revenge. I burst from my haze of sleep and unfurled my blood-red wings. Today the Mountain would fall. I roared and the very ground shook with my anger.
The snapdragons bloomed at the base of the mountain. How fitting.
Well, yes, a bit of a cliffhanger. Next chapter will hopefully be much better. Thanks for reading- hope you enjoyed, so R&R! Constructive critiscism appreciated (praise, too). Flames will be given to Smaug to roast the flamer with.