Kobolds are dragons. Well, technically speaking, dragons were kobolds.

(Technically correct is the best kind of correct.)

Nobody knows this. Dragons do, but it seems strange to think of a dragon as a “somebody.” That’s like calling a mountain a thing. I mean, it is—technically correct, hella? I read what you wrote five fucking seconds ago—a thing, but it doesn’t sound right to say so. Your buddy Uffie is a somebody, a dragon is the closest thing to a living force of nature.

Each dragon knows that it was once a kobold shitheel. A very special kobold shitheel, but one nonetheless. Dragons also know that this is about the most embarrassing thing imaginable. (Dragons are creatures of towering pride, from which follows that they can also be a vessel of towering embarrassment.) Dragons are very, very invested in making sure that no one else will ever know this.

See, kobolds are kobolds, little mining lizardmen (NOT DOGFACED, NOT PIGFACED LIKE ORCS, THAT IS A DIFFERENT POST) that love to poison you nest-destroyers with vented gases from their underground smelters. There are a lot of them, like mice in your house. For every one you see there are two hundred lurking and watching you sleep. And kobolds are communal. But every once in a while one wanders off. Deeper than the rest. You know it it is one of those ones because somewhere along the way you find the pick, dropped casually like a chicken bone.

The Rapture got that one. And he just headed down and kept going.

Most of them get eaten. Or strangled in the dark by a gnome. Or incorporated into some nameless thing, most valuable for its organic matter. Or down a shaft or buried in rockfall or swept away in a black no-air-just-rock-above current or whatever. The million-and-one ways you die deep below and no one ever knows or would give a shit if they did know.

But of that one who walked away from the smelters and the one of those who actually survived, that one will just shimmy into a narrow squeeze and fall asleep. They stay asleep, and grow. Something of a desire for the wealth below and some atavistic awakening of blood and an anger at having been given the pathetic life of a kobold makes for a powerful upwelling of potential, and that kobold, the millionth of a millionth, will become more lizardlike, grow, age in that millennial slumber and dream of avarice and lofting high up in the updrafts and breathe, breathe out what destroys lesser beings.

That one, that one will become a dragon, and some forever-from-now hence future day will burst free of the earth and reign.

But they never forget that for some few years, they were a fucking kobold.

People think that dragons want nothing more than treasure and obeisance. But higher than that, it wants nothing more than for you to never, ever know that it was once a fucking kobold. It will kill you and everyone you’ve ever spoken to and anyone they have ever might have spoken to. You hear people tell stories of empires laid waste by dragonfire for having forsaken the gods or mobilized an army to destroy a dragon, but likely as not, it was really because someone penned some loonie natural history of dragons and hit too close to the truth and better to be gone a kingdom than have mere men mentioning that a dragon was once a kobold.


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