Another tale about saving the world :)
I opened my eyes and attempted to stretch in my cramped shelter. As I banged my wings and nose, I remembered where I was. Blinking wearily, I assessed the situation. It was time to come out of hiding and find my mistress and our brethren. I sighed, it had been quite fun as a rock, tumbling down streams; still, it was time to come out. My thousand years of waiting was over. I stretched out my long neck as far as I could in the confined space and attacked the hard shell of my protection. My front claws ripped at the tough surface, my back claws having already torn the membrane to shreds. I unfurled my wings, pushing against the sides and swung my tail back and forth in the limited space. At last I heard a satisfying crack and stopped, a current of gentle evening air working its way into my shelter. Gently now, I forced the crack wider, into a large hole that I squeezed through. I attempted to roar with triumph but only a loud squeak escaped my lips. I was still too young. I coughed once, twice, and tried again. A heart-chilling roar leapt up, out of my throat, echoing on the mighty mountains surrounding me, or at least it did in my imagination, what really came out was another embarrassing squeak. Blinking, I looked around me. Boy, had the landscape changed! Instead of the rolling hills and grassland my mother had whispered to me when I was just laid, there were towering mountains leading down into a valley with a vast river surrounded by forest. All different colours glowed at me in the evening sun as I spied the smoke furling upwards from the settlement on the opposite side of a lake that the river flowed through. I roared again and, forgetting myself, dived forwards, stretching my wings. My glory ended with a bang and a cloud of dust as I tumbled down the mountain, rocks falling with me. When the world finally stopped rotating, I shook myself. I started to walk forwards and stopped, my back left leg flooding with pain. Astonished, I looked back. A rock had pierced the scales in my thigh. I sighed and limped onwards. This wasn’t going to plan.
I brushed through the undergrowth, pushing the vivid colours aside, heading in a vague direction of the river. Stumbling, I leapt into a stream that had just appeared in front of me, feeling the healing sting of my leg. I drank fast before climbing back out and staring at my reflection, the bright scarlet eyes staring back at me and the glistening red scales reflecting a thousand images. My nose tentatively touched the hard tip on my reflected nose used for breaking the egg I had stayed in for a thousand years. My soon to be powerful bat-like wings extended and flapped once, raising ripples but not raising me. I sighed. This wasn’t going how I’d imagined at all. I sat down, watching my scaly legs follow suit in the water. Suddenly there was a dart of silver under the water. Automatically reacting, my head plunged into the shining water and snapped it up, chewing before I realised. It tasted nice, trout, my memory called it. Then I tasted the metallic taste of blood and for some reason felt badly about killing the poor creature. I felt an impulse to make a cairn, so I did, laying a broken scale that had fallen off my thigh under it. No blood had been spilt, just as well for when I looked around, I saw the special Lamai, more commonly known as Priest’s Blessing flowers. Suddenly, I heard a sound behind me and turned, hissing. A human girl appeared out of the silvery-white flowered bushes and stopped both in amazement and fear, her fiery red hair swinging wildly. I stopped hissing. Was this her? “Hello” she said, banishing her fear. I blinked. Humans usually had to be taught how to speak properly, instead of that horrible squawking that they use to communicate, no emotion in it. “Hello?” she asked again.
“Hello, human” I said, “Where did you learn to speak?”
“I was brought up speaking like this,” her fluid body gestures told me. This was really unlike last time. Last time, I had wandered into a village and almost everyone had run away screaming! The girl I was supposed to find had been petrified that I knew her name and it took me ages to get her to listen. Oh well. Maybe this would work out after all. “Arelia I presume?” I grinned.
Arelia gasped and her fear returned, it appeared it would not be as easy as i had presumed. Well the experience proved the limit of her knowledge but at least I didn’t have the added hassle of having to teach her to talk! “H…how did you know my name?” her movement stuttered. I sighed.
“Arelia. Lucky guess? Can you perhaps tell me about yourself?”
“Oh, ok,” she smiled, instantly trusting me, “well, I’m an orphan, I never knew my mother and father but Bruce says I must have know them at some point…”
“Bruce?” I interrupted
“Yes, Bruce, Bruce the hermit. I’ll take you to see him. Later. Please don’t interrupt again. Anyway, I was found in a clearing in the middle of a forest. Just me, alone. I was taken by Diego, he’s the leopard who found me, to see Horace, the wisest of the owls. He said that my name must be Arelia.” I nodded, that made sense “I was brought up by the animals, learning to speak like this. Then one day I got taken to see Bruce. He didn’t understand me at first and was highly unobservant of the gestures I was speaking with. Then he taught me the human language, it’s a bit boring really, all words and no actions. I really don’t get the point. Anyway, I’ve lived in the forest for my entire life and all the animals know me. This is my water source and no killings are allowed here – it’s a sanctuary” she finished off, taking a deep breath after her blabbering.
“I noticed” I muttered guiltily, wondering why she was talking so fast.
“Huh? What do you feel guilty about?” I quickly changed my expression, this girl was good, but at least she hadn’t seen the cairn. “Will you tell me about you now?” she asked eagerly.
“I am Alroth, and that is all you need to know…apart from the fact that…no, it is too early.” Geez, why did I say that? Oh well, at least it will keep her guessing! “Come, show me this wise owl!” I may even be able to teach him something…
Sighing, Arelia lead the way. As I followed at her heels I realised that really it should be the other way around. The last time, it was I that had found her and I had had to look longer so had grown more. “What are you anyway?” asked Arelia, startling me out of my thoughts.
“Dragon” I replied. I mean honestly! The cheek of some people! Ah well, she was still young.
Ok, now I was worried. How could she not know about Dragons!?! I was really lost for words. Instead I mumbled an excuse about telling her later. This had never ever happened before. My mind reeling, we trudged on. After an hour of silence and trekking through the forest, we stopped in front of a massive oak. “We’re here.” She whispered as a tweet came from above, accompanied by a hum as a humming bird swooped down and hovered above her head. “Hi Arelia! Come on up! I’ll get him,” it sang.
“Thanks Louisa” she chirped back. I groaned, brilliant, now I had to climb a tree. Sighing, I tested my wings again. Nope, there was no alternative. I snarled and leapt at the tree, digging my claws in, and started up after the human turned monkey. When we eventually got to the top, I was able to look out over the whole range of greens and blossoming pinks of the forest. I followed the eager Arelia into a hole concealed in the trunk. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw an elderly owl, presumably Horace, and Arelia with her arms around him. “Greetings, Dragon Alroth,” croaked Horace.
“Greetings, Horace, Dragon Guardian,” I replied in the same formal way before breaking out in a grin as Arelia took her arms from around Horace and sat there in astonishment. “Will you tell me what I’ve missed?” I enquired
“Yes, great evil has come to this land…”