I am Heaventhunder, a Ruby Dragon and I have an infestation problem in my corner of the world. Currently, I am the single one of my kind in the region and all of my life I have enjoyed an indolent & carefree lifestyle: hunt when I am hungry, sleep when I am sleepy, and ponder on the meaning of life when I've got nothing else to do.
I don't remember when the humans first appeared in the land, but they've been around for some time now, in one form or another. I had tried to keep the count of passing seasons at some point but lost interest after several thousand cycles. However a couple centuries ago I stumbled upon an amalgamation of humans they'd called a "Kingdom". There I found an interesting contraption — some kind of engine, a torsion powered spear thrower — that I suppose was designed with a sole purpose of bringing me down from the sky. Naturally, as I’m sure you would concur, I found this engine to be a most disagreeable thing within my realm.
Needless to stay it utterly failed. In a fit of rage, I burned down all the humans and their dwellings in sight for their insolence. But thereafter I noticed quite the disturbing pattern: from the earliest memories I have of these creatures, I can recollect them as hairy as your average wolf and throwing stones at other animals. Then they began throwing sharpened sticks in stead and then using some sort of yew wood devices to launch those sharpened sticks. Of course, it all mattered little to me at the time, armoured and puissant as I am! Yet, anymore I have come to be vesed by the problem. There is, I’m sure you’ll have noticed, a trend in these animals’ behaviour: they progress after an odd kind of fashion, and their ability to kill other animals improves over time.
Yet still the Question of the humans did not oppress me so. Back then I thought that I could easily solve the issue by exterminating them. Burn them and their little world utterly. I had already once burnt every one of the humans in all of their little "Kingdom"; and thereafter I continued doing so throughout all the rest of the lands beyond and even to the verges of the Sea. Then I determined to redouble my efforts and, flying over the Great Sea I found much to my dismay even more of these pesky humans and their colonial infestations. Even then I wondered how they've managed to get there, as it takes a week of continuous flight even for me! Needless to say, I burned them down as well.
Satisfied that the Question was now solved, I determined to take my leisure and for a time went about exploring this land. I hadn't travelled this way in a myraide or more. I discovered that a number of the most delicious prey animals that I enjoyed of old were now gone from the land without trace. I am certain that I now know whom to blame. Cross, I determined to review the other lands I had known in my youth long ago. I found humans in every single land I visited! This vexed me no end. But it was not until I realised that, even worse, I had seen no other Dragons that a great sense of, dare I say it?, fear and dread came over me. I determined then and there to wipe them all out.
Then at last, coming to the End of the Land, across the Sea from my own home, I rested for a time, satisfied that my long sojourn round the circles of the world was well and truly done. I could now fly home, secure in the knowledge that the infestation was now eradicated. And winging low over the barren rocky coasts of home, what should I find in my own land to welcome me? I returned only to discover that the "Kingdom" I had burnt out all those centuries before had sprung up and grown like a blight over even more land than ever before! Everywhere I flew, I found humans and their little dwellings! Naturally, the only course of action available to me was to begin the whole business over again. I burned the lot down. I scoured the lands all over again and found ever more humans...
Oh, I spent the next quarter millennium campaigning all over the world several times over. Yet, each time I leave one of their places no more than a patch of scorched earth, it seems to sprout infestation anew with humans in a matter of decades. They survive in small bunches and then multiply like crazy. At this point, and it tries me to admit this, but I don't even know if it is worth the effort at this point to keep the battle going. I am but a solitary Dragon, for in all my travels, I have met no ally in this fight. Long gone are the days when I basked in the sun leisurely without worrying what region should I cleanse the next moon. For now, the humans have taken to hunting me! The cheek and the presumption is simply to much to bear!
I must admit that these creatures seem to be only slightly inferior in terms intelligence when compared with myself.. After all, they are the only other creature in this world capable of harnessing fire. I also have to admit that I should have embarked on a more thorough extermination programme when they only inhabited a single land far away.
Therefore now I come before the Eyestone asking of any Dragon kin beyond the circles of the world: How can I keep these hairless apes, these animals, at bay and prevent them from inventing ever newer ways to kill, and in specific, me. Culling seems to do the job, but it is very tedious and time-consuming labour. And the result has historically been nothing more than a clearance of space for ever more of the creatures to move in. Is there no way to solve this most vexing of questions in a permanent fashion, or at least a way to optimize the process?
Oo! Sorry to hear that, mate! Ankano Fireheart here. Sounds like you're really in a troublesome situation and no mistake! We certainly commiserate with you: we have similar troubles in our world, too! Thankfully, Dragons back in the long ago Dream Time were wise enough to realise how much of a threat the Apes kindreds were like to become. No one really took much notice of them at first, and by that time, they were pretty wide spread in the Southlands.
But as others here have said, once they start making food grow from the earth, you'd better deal with them right quick or else all Dragons will be in danger! If there's one thing the Ape folks can not stand, it's competition from another intelligent race! At first, we did just as you are most bravely doing now: scour the world and burn the lot of em wherever we found em! But like water breaching a dam, the Apefolk just kept filling in the gaps left behind.
That's when the Seven Queens of old determined to do something more constructive about the problem. Sure, some of The Wise counseled cooperation and coexistence or even outright political control of the Ape kingdoms. Pssshh! But, really! How boring would that be having to constantly be on the watch over their stupid antics! No, it was decided at the last that all Dragon queendoms must be urged to send out warriors to scour the entire landrealm from East to West and down into the South and burn every settlement of Apefolk they could find. Four queens agreed to the Plan and many warriors were assembled.
And, happily, that worked! When the warriors flew homewards again, they could find no Ape settlements, no Ape gardens or fields throughout all the land. And thereafter, there was peace.
But then a wonder happened the like of which Dragonkind least expected
-- the Apefolk returned! And not only did they return, but they moved ever northwards with a vengeance! Like the Apes of your world, ours, too, had learned the arts of fire and metalcraft. And they seem to have developed a very strict anti-Dragon mytho-legendarium. We deemed there would be no peaceful coexistence with the Apefolk, even had we wished for such a thing! They came riding upon ponderous beasts and these bore weapons that could pierce even our sturdy hides!
Terrible were the wars that they brought on us and many brave Dragons fell. Of the seven ancient realms, but two remained. And still the Apefolk came against us! They painted Dragons upon their metal skins, and those Dragons had mighty spears thrust through their breasts. The Apes had become fearless and dominant.
The Wise had no counsel now. The queens' herzogs had no advice. I'm afraid that our lot was, at that time now not too long ago, much like yours is now, friend! Our choices were limited and it seemed that, difficult as it must seem, we must cede our world entire to the Apefolk, lest they destroy us entirely! Happily for us, we were still several hundreds strong --- more than enough to maintain a much reduced realm, safe from their predations. While it seems you are fighting the good fight without help!
And so it came to pass that the young Queen of the realm of Sheharemard, north beyond the mountains, made a parley with the kings of the Apefolk. Difficult as it was to do, she ceded all the lands of the world south of the Wanlight Mountains to the kings and queens of the Apefolk. But the cold fields of the North would be Dragonhome. Apes must not cross the mountains, or else they will be burnt. Dragons will not enter the lands south of the mountains, or else they will forfeit the Truce.
Of course, the kings agreed, but the lives of the Apefolk are short and their memories, seemingly, shorter still. Even now, the Apefolk regularly try to cross the mountains. Looking for "Dragon gold" they say. Fools!
Anyway, the lesson, my dear friend, is simple: as we are doing, so you must! Stand your ground! Do not listen to the lowly snakes, peddling their ill-conceived counsels of appeasement and conciliation! Do not involve yourself in their realms or their policies. They are Apes, and you are Dragon. Their policies do not take our kind into account, except as far as our destruction. Involving yourself in their doings will only dull your wits and blind you to their greed and ambitions against you!
No, there is no parlay with the Apefolk. They will ever try to kill you. Kings will send their brave knights out to hunt you and mount your head in their feating hall! Choose well your homeland and make a clear demarcation of the territory you will defend at all costs. Burn every Ape that sets one talonless toe across it. Make sure all the other Apes learn that lesson as well!
Sadly, I fear that our plights will be the same. In time, sooner rather than later, you will be defeated: others have said true --- you must win every engagement, the Apefolk must but be lucky once! Just as I am sure that in time, perhaps later rather than sooner, our race, too, will be destroyed by the Apefolk. Even though we came to understand the threat very early on, and much earlier than you did, it was already too late to mount an effective defense against such a determined and pesty foe!
Yet, be of good cheer! Is it not a liberating and exciting sensation? The resistance of wind beneath your wings? The cool rush of the gale through your feathers? The roar of flames bursting from your maw? The screaming of the terror filled Apefolk and the moaning of their dying? Live whilst you may and defend your homeland while you can! You are not guaranteed long life or peace. Make the Apes pay dearly for every foot of land they gain from you! And at the end of the fight, when at last you perched high upon the last crag overlooking the cold ocean, burn as many Apes as you can before their great spears pierce your thick hide and tear asunder your heart and let your last gout of flame burn the fools as they watch you plummet into the chill waters below!
This is a fight neither of us can win, but in the end, it is a fight we can not let them win too easily; and you must not either!