There is a root to selfishness.
It’s a knowledge. A knowing. When you reach out and push away, or grab at, or break. Looking at something and thinking to yourself “I want that” or “I want that away from me” or “I want to destroy that” and for no other reason than simply because you want to. Selfishness is being fully in the know about what you’re doing. Yes, you might deny it to yourself, but you know.
That’s selfishness. True and unfiltered selfishness, cut down to its root.
Knowing what you’re doing is wrong, and doing it anyway.
Knowing that getting what you want will hurt someone, put them at a disadvantage.
And doing anyway.
That’s why I can’t forgive them. Ignorant as some may be, they’re not all that way.
Some of them know.
Magic is not endless. It is not a waterfall that flows and flows and flows. You can’t sit at the well of magic for forever and guzzle as much as your belly can fill.
That said, it should also be noted:
It isn’t finite either. Not really.
It isn’t so much that magic is limited, but that it needs time to regenerate.
You have to give it time to grow. As if it were a plant, or an animal to be farmed.
You had to give magic time to heal itself.
Every ounce of magic takes from the big portion. Every time you use a spell to bring a small flame into the room, or cook your meal, or take your groceries up the walkway, you steal a little bit of magic. A tiny nibble on the edge of the giant cake.
What happens if we’re all using it for small things? Irresponsibly, or with abandon? What happens then?
What happens if all the world is nibbling constantly? Never letting up?
Never giving it time to heal?
I’ll tell you:
Magic starts to run out.
That’s the answer.
When you get down to it, that’s just how it is.
That’s why, for so long, we kept it to ourselves. No one understood magic like magical beings, magical beasts. We knew how much to take, and how often. The balancing scales were built within our bodies, our minds, our souls. We understood the responsibility it is. How we must use it wisely, and accordingly.
And, with just us in the know, it was fine. It worked well. Everything was well-balanced, excellently maintained. Our bodies taking only what we needed. The base of our beings fueled, and nothing more. Never eating selfishly of that gift. Never taking portions without allowing it time to heal. With just us mythicals, it was fine.
Until some moron let the humans in the know.
The fool upset the balance of everything. With just that small, simple act, he ruined it all.
He’s ruined us.
The humans, and their knowledge…
It’s destroying us.
Dragons and griffons and satyrs and trolls. Werewolves and vampires and unicorns and harpies.
It’s destroying all of us.
And so much more.
Traditionally, my kind have protected humanity. Stood with them. Towered over them, watchfully soaring in the skies. Keeping the peace, making the other mythicals see reason.
When they sought to destroy, we stood with the humans. When the humans feared the dragons, we assured them peace could be held. When both sides get angry, or wary, or afraid, we pull them through it.
Steadfast watchers. Peacekeepers. Life bringers.
That’s what my people were.
But no more.
Not for me, and not for my brothers. A revolution has swept us up, taken us by surprise. The revelation that mankind has not been responsible with what we’ve given them. That they intend to devour all the magic until there is nothing left.
Until they are the only ones left.
Magic is an air, a form of hydration for us mythicals. We don’t us it every minute of every day. Rather, we use it to sustain us. Small quantities that disburse in our lungs, in our heartbeats. In every roar, or step, or exhale, there is a bit of magic flowing in and out of us. Bits that we need. That we have to have.
Or we die.
That is why I cannot stand before them any longer. Why I cannot allow them to continue living like this.
Why I will not protect them.
Some are not in the know. I understand that.
But, if they were in the know…
If they understood what they were doing…
Would they actually stop?
After speaking with their leaders—those that have been deemed their representatives—I don’t believe so. It would cost them the simple things—their comforts—in order to allow us to sustain ourselves. To cut themselves off from magic, they would have to sacrifice so much. And their leaders made it clear to me:
They have no intention of doing that.
I’ve been alive for thousands of years and, incredibly, it was only in that moment that I saw it. That I finally understood.
Humans are selfish creatures.
And, with my people dropping from the sky, I can ignore their greed no longer.
They must be stopped.
The dragons soar overhead, fire raining from their mouths. Dribbling onto the earth below as they plow forward with their rage. The harpies shriek as they descend from the skies, claws digging into the flesh of man. Werewolves howl brightly as they tear through homes, ripping and eating and killing, indulging in their forbidden desires that they previously abandoned.
It’s a horror show. It truly is.
Watching my mythical brethren overthrow humanity. Hearing man’s screams, the peoples’ cries. It’s harrowing. Watching the death of an era. The birth of anger, the fulfillment of malice.
Wings tucked against my sides, beak closed, hawk eyes zooming in and out to focus on the havoc. Where I would previously step in, use wisdom, strive for understanding, I instead stand silently on the cliff top.
I do nothing.
Nothing but watch.
Perhaps it’s disgraceful for griffons to ignore the calls of the needy. To ignore the calls of the people crying for help. Dying by the hands and claws and breaths of my mythical brothers.
I ignore them anyway.
Perhaps I should do something. It feels… wrong, somehow, to hear their cries and sit in the sky. To hear them scream and yell and begin their counterattack, while I sit aloof. Not taking part.
I sit aloof anyway.
And, perhaps I am being hypocritical. Sitting here, watching the magical beasts kill them. Watch the mythical beasts try to stamp humanity out.
Is that not, in fact, what we, ourselves, are trying to avoid?
Isn’t it my job to keep either of us from dying out?
Isn’t it selfish of me to allow us to travel this road?
The king of the griffons? The overseer of peace? The king of contentment?
Perhaps it is selfish of me. To be so blood born. To think so humanly.
An eye for an eye is a man’s saying. Creatures of flesh and blood. Creatures made from carnal desire crave such horrid justice. Such a backwards way of righting wrongs.
Creatures of magic and might…
…we ought to be better than that.
Perhaps, in the end, when push comes to shove…
In the end, I think we’re all selfish enough to want to survive.
And I’m still not entirely sure if that’s wrong.