A wyvern considers his strategy.
Between 1948 and 1957, Vauxhall Motors of the UK produced a model they called the Wyvern. The name probably came from the Vauxhall badge which featured a creature often identified as a wyvern, although it was actually a griffin.
There are two reasons why I know this rather obscure information. Firstly and, perhaps most importantly, I was hatched in the same year that the Vauxhall Wyvern was released upon the unsuspecting motoring public. Add to that the fact that, as a wyvern myself, it is entirely to be expected that I have an interest in anything that aspires to the name of my species. Considering that the Vauxhall attempt to embody the originality and daring inherent in all wyverns failed so miserably, the model so christened being a particularly boring and unimaginative product of a company that was equally as devoid of innovation, you will understand my relief that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. The car should have been a Griffin, a far less noble beast than my kind.
I was too young at the time to wreak any kind of vengeance on the perpetrators of the sorry scheme and, even in 1957 when it went the way of all flesh, I was barely out of metaphorical diapers. By the time I was old enough to appreciate the wrong done to my lineage by the gross misidentification of the Vauxhall product, the event was a good fifty years in the past. It seemed better to let the matter rest, rather than to stir the memories of the humans that had long forgotten their pathetic attempt to create something equal to my magnificence.
Now that I am seventy-two years old and may be considered a fully grown, mature wyvern therefore, I have found time to reflect on the past and consider what may be done to ensure the continuing glory of the wyvern name. This has become quite pressing since my discovery that I am the last of the species. There are still a few dragons here and there, even one resident in the next valley from mine, but it seems the wyverns have died out, presumably from boredom induced by the truce with humans. Two thousand years is a long time to wait for action, after all.
My neighbour dragon, Erraghansic, tells me that there are only a few years of the truce left and the dragons are preparing a new offensive against the humans on the day the truce ends. It seems to me that would be the moment for me to emerge as the last stand of the wyverns, the avenger of all the wrongs done my kind over the millennia. And that is why I have been mulling over our history, looking for those events that deserve repayment of some kind, some dreadful betrayal or massacre that cries out for vengeance.
I will not deny there have been high points. To be chosen as the emblem of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Wessex is no small achievement and to be on the flag of the famed Owain Glyndwr is quite gratifying too. That fellow Wellington, the inventor of the boot, had two wyverns on his coat of arms, apparently. So we are not without honour in the chronicles of humans.
My problem lies in discovering some event that is worthy of the proper revenge I am intending. All my researches have produced nothing of note, although the dragons have a few instances that require evening of the score, I believe. The best I can come up with is this petty matter of Vauxhall and its laughable attempt at greatness in the naming of its 1948 model. It hardly seems worth the effort but beggars can’t be choosers.
I am finding it quite difficult to come up with a suitable act of revenge. The obvious thing would be to join up with the dragons in their projected campaign of burning their way through the ranks of the humans. This is not ideal for me, I think, since wyverns do not have the fiery breath of dragonkind, closely related though we may be. Wyverns’ saliva is poisonous to mankind so I could, at a pinch, spit at them and then stand aside while the poison took effect. But I dare say that wouldn’t happen until the main battle front had passed on. It would be somewhat embarrassing to be left on the sidelines, trying to be exultant over the dying throes of a few errant humans.
And besides, it’s hard to get angry enough for such a concerted effort with others. Since when does one get cross with one’s favourite foodstuff, after all? No, I need some form of vengeance a good deal more subtle and targeted specifically at the puny car manufacturer I have mentioned.
And that’s where it becomes really problematic. Vauxhall have recently become a part of the Peugeot empire, that enormous French concern that regularly swallows other manufacturers. Does this mean that I should be at war with the entire group or must I find a way to limit my attack to the two Vauxhall factories in Britain only? And then there are the dealers to consider, too. They deserve some sort of punishment for having assisted in the disgraceful mockery of wyvern grandeur. But there must be hundreds of them. It would be a major project to find them all and then mete out some suitably ghastly comeuppance.
Quite frankly, motivating that seems way beyond the capacity of my level of annoyance. I suppose I must stick with the factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port. At least then I should get the job done before ennui overtakes me and I wander off into some other project.
That was always our weakness, that we were likely to get bored with anything we attempted. It’s really no surprise that we all died with the inactivity forced upon us by the truce. Except me, of course, and that was only because I was an egg at the time. The decision to throw our lot in with the dragons was definitely a bad choice. And, come to think of it, that decides me to have nothing to do with the dragons’ assault on the humans. I’ll go my own way and, with a bit of luck, I might even emerge from it all intact. Then I truly will be the last of the wyverns and maybe the dragons too.
So this is going to be a lone raid against the Vauxhall factories. But how am I to make it clear that I’m extracting vengeance for the thoughtless naming of a model in the past? It’s extremely unlikely that any of the humans involved at the time will still be employed in the factories. Most of the employees today wouldn’t know of that silly decision of their predecessors, I think. What would I be achieving by the attack, in that case?
Some more thinking is required, it seems. In fact, I’m going to let the whole idea go. Far too late now to raise the matter and it would be sheer madness to risk my survival on such a fool’s errand. Clearly, my priority has to be my own continuing existence, last remaining representative of my species that I am.
There may even be a chance that I could enlist the assistance of the humans in such a matter. I recall mention of their protection of endangered species in some of my studies of history. There’s a strong possibility that I could persuade them to protect me, perhaps even to start a worldwide search for extant wyvern eggs.
Now that’s a much more attractive prospect. I read somewhere that there is only one phoenix alive at any one time, that each egg waits until it is needed before hatching in the flames. The wyverns could become a similarly exclusive creature, remarkable in their singularity upon the earth. And I would be the one that brought this whole scenario into being! Now that is something worth achieving.
But what if the dragons win in their war against the humans? Even if they don’t, the humans are unlikely to listen to my endangered animal plea while they are fighting a desperate battle against the dragons. I need to help them somehow if my plan is to succeed. Yes, it becomes imperative that the humans win. What advantage can I give them to ensure their victory?
Well, the best thing would be to warn them of the impending attack. It might be difficult to persuade them of the importance of my information, although my appearance as a creature they thought mythical should go some way to defeating their doubts. But if I can get them to believe me, that will give them a couple of years to prepare a suitable reception for the dragons.
This is a project I should begin as soon as possible. It may take some time to make them appreciate their danger. In fact, I should start today. A quick flight to the nearest town and I can be amongst them, spreading the word. Yes, that would be best.
What’s that war cry they shout when embarking on a great endeavour? Ah yes, that’s it. Geronimo! The last of the wyverns to the rescue!
Word Count: 1,547
Entry for The Lair’s Contest Number 48, May 2020