He found it in a shell on the beach. It woke up at his touch, raising its fragile head and staring at him with wide, swirling eyes. The tiny creature was no larger than his thumb, with little gossamer wings. The historian held his hand out for the little thing and it climbed up into his palm, claws digging into his skin. He held back a wince.

“A small specimen,” he sad, holding the blue-scaled creature up to the light. “A prime example of the lesser dragon, nevertheless.” It chirped, curling its forked tail around his little finger. He smiled, and stroked its back. It spread its fan-like ears and continued to stare at him unblinkingly.

“Your cousins, the greater dragons, have abandoned you little ones so they may escape into space and orbit the sun,” he told it. It chirped again, lying down on his hand. “No,” he said. “No one else seems to care much, either. Will you keep me company, petite?”

It closed its eyes, curling up. He smiled, picking up the shell, and carefully placing it back in there. He always seemed to find a nicely coloured one to take home anyway.