It’s true what the elves say about a dragon’s sense of smell, and black dragons are no different. What was different was what one particular black dragon thought about the smell of one particular elf. That is to say, most dragons believed that the smell of an elf meant dinner at best, and at worst a creature to despise and rend asunder.
Z’Lé thought the same for most of his life, to some extent. At the same time, he assumed that the elves hated dragonkind. Yet why should they? What had happened between Jenh and the dragons was so long ago… That was the first thing he started thinking when he first smelled her.
It was springtime when the family came up to the mountains. ZLé had been hunting near the old house near the house, and their voices frightened away the boar that he had planned on feasting upon. Instead of chasing it, he climbed down the rocks and crept between the trees to see who had arrived, making sure that he remained unseen. At first, he had no idea of knowing who they were. They had a carriage pulled up in front of the house, which was half as large as a mansion and built from the finest wood that had been growing in the forest in the age when it had been constructed.
It wasn’t until he heard the elves addressing one another that he understood who the family was. They had come from the capital city, and were vacationing to welcome the spring to Onsira. They had several servants with them, helping them move their trunks to their rooms.
One of them wandered off, frolicking past several trees and into the meadow near where he crouched. She wore a dress the color of the sky, but it wasn’t her appearance that made him watch her; it was her smell. It was something sweet, like all the flowers of springtime blooming at once, but also as warm as the summer. She was pure and untouched, as though even her innocence had a scent.
His golden eyes watched her as she pranced through the meadow to collect flowers. She was happier than he had ever known someone could be, singing as she bent over to pick every color of the rainbow from that field. He first thought was how badly he wanted to go out there and pick them for her, and then hold her in his hands as she thanked him. He forced himself not to, knowing how she would have screamed; to her, dragons were betrayers who menaced the elves, and black ones were rumored to be the most evil of them all.
If only he could convince her otherwise, he thought to himself. He has Zeah, after all; the power of Jenh, not the god of evil. There had to be a way to make her understand that the dragons were not the terrible monsters that the Onsiran elves made them out to be. Z’Lé swore to himself that from that day on, he would work to show the elves that he was not a monster. If not all of them, at least her.
He had not felt such longing within him for many years, and now it was an elf who awakened desire within him. She was everything that was good in the kingdom, her smell told him. She had been raised in kindness and wisdom, and in the Temple of Jenh, if the aroma of incense lingering on her skin meant anything. She was everything that a princess was supposed to be, and Z’lé wanted nothing more than to be her prince, the difference in their races be damned. He would find a way to love her, not matter what the cost.