Even from his height in the air he could hear the savage roars of another dragon in distress. Velomaw circled. Dragons were solitary creatures, they only tolerated each other’s presence for mating purposes, and even that was more or less combat that ended in procreation. Velomaw didn’t understand, they were dragons, they were wise, and yet when they were in the company of others of their kind they became no more as beasts.
Velomaw circled over the cave where a young, barely out of infancy, a small blue dragon, she hadn’t even gotten her full size yet, not much bigger than a large horse. She was more serpentine than Velomaw’s stocky form. Her neck was longer, her tail more like a whip. She lacked teeth, instead had a hard beak that could easily sever a man in half as easily as Velomaw could tear one with his own mouth.
She was being attacked by humans, they held ropes that ended in hooks, and heavy chains. They were trying to capture her alive, a wagon was already prepared to cart her where ever they were going to take her.
Velomaw shook his head as he continued to assess the situation. Dragons got wiser as they got older, infants were no more than mewling dogs, and the blue dragon was a child, barely capable of any forethought. She would just as likely attack him than accept his help. A dragon her age, all the humans had to do was dangle a virgin or a shiny bauble in front of her, and it was nearly the same as a carrot on a string. How did his kind manage to live to be old?
Velomaw folded his wings and dived. He would most likely regret this, but she was one of his kind, and humans… The world could handle a few less humans. Just before landing he spread his wings, wide, his descent nearly halted, and he sucked in a breath as the fire in his belly raged. The entrance was impressive, the humans were shouting. He had landed in front of the blue dragon, and she did as he expected, she bit him. He kicked backwards, the blow landing her in the neck and she flipped over onto her back.
Velomaw released his fire and soon the air was filled with the smell of melting metal and sizzling flesh. The humans couldn’t get away fast enough. Those that tried to run, Velomaw turned and smashed them with the barbed club on the end of this tail.
Then he saw the girl, huddling next to a cart. Not the girl he was seeking, but he could smell the virgin. The horses had all run away in fear. She was dirty and soaked from the winter rain.
”I will spare your life,” Velomaw began, bringing his head low to look at her. She cringed away from him, sniveling and sobbing. The blue dragon was back up on her feet again. Velomaw kicked at her again. This time she dodged the blow and raked her claws down his rump. The wounds were shallow and bled little, feeling more like a painful itch. ”You wait here.” He ordered the girl who nodded fearfully as Velomaw turned to deal with the blue dragon before she scratched him anymore.
She had claimed it at hers. Dragons liked caves, or mines. She had been sleeping when the singing and the scent had drawn her from the darkness of her slumber.
Want. Must have.
The serpentine blue dragon did have some conscious thought, nothing as complex as Velomaw, it would take many more generations of men to pass before she would stop reverting back or be overcome by beastly ways. Her world revolved around sleeping, her cave, gold and virgins, and defending herself from humans.
The blue dragon’s thought was too late, she’d been lured by the singing girl at the entrance of her cave. As soon as she’d left it, humans swarmed her. She had no fire, it would not come until she was older. They were trying to catch the hooks on the end of their ropes into her flesh then pull her over.
She didn’t know if this dragon was here to kill her, so she opened her mouth, and clamped down on his ankle. He kicked her, she fell onto her and with flapping wings and rocking, trying to keep her fragile wings from being injured, rolled to her feet. She tried to bite him again, he moved his backside away from her. He kicked at her a second time, and she flattened herself to the ground as the blow sailed over her head. She swung at his black scales, her small claws barely penetrating.
She roared at him. He seemed fixated on something but finally turned to face her. She looked up and readied herself for the assault that she knew was coming. Her only hope of defeating one as large as him was to get to his face and claw his eyes.
“STOP ATTACKING ME” Velomaw bellowed at her with his most authoritive and loud voice. Remnants of fire expelled from his shouting mouth, pouring over the little blue dragon. Dragons did not fear fire, for it burned within them. “What is your name?”
Normally he’d bring his head down to look closely at her, but she was feral still, he’d not bring his eyes within swiping distance of her. The urge to just bash her to a pulp was rising within him. She was of the Blue Dragonflight, haughty little things. Even her full size she’d be smaller than Velomaw, daintier, they were the favorite consorts of the Gold Dragonflight, the dragons who claimed rulership over the other Dragonflights. Velomaw had no desire to be ruled by anyone, even another dragon.
The Golds had this crazy notion that their purpose was to protect and guide humanity. Why would they protect a parasite? It was like making friends with your skin lice. The Blues supported the Golds, the Black Dragonflight, like Velomaw, but he didn’t consider himself a part of that either, were more likely to wipe out humanity than to save it. Velomaw just wanted to be left alone. He had his human, Ghoan, he had his cave. He was chasing after his virgin, Adanala, and now he’d been so foolish as to save a Blue from the humans.
She cowered as he bellowed expecting his next action to bite her, he could easily chew her to a pulp. She opened her eyes and looked up at him. He was just standing there, not attacking.
He should be hurting her, should be threatening her. She should be retreating into her cave. It was too small for him to follow her in.
Speaking. He was speaking to her.
She opened her mouth and squawk came out. She summoned everything from within herself, all her thoughts, all her feelings, all her memories. She bellowed with such force she trembled. It was like something popped within her body and a damn had burst in her mind.
The blue dragon looked up at the big black with wiser eyes. She opened her beak and this time words came out.
“I am Ceia, of the Blue Dragonflight,” her words were not has deep or bellowing as the black’s. “Who are you to disturb me?”
He watched as she struggled to answer him, but became slightly concerned when he watched her change suddenly. It was too soon for her to have answered him with such clarity and in such complex sentences. She should have simply given her name, if she could remember it.
He sat down, and cocked his head at her. Dragons were always self-aware, but usually not with such complexity at her age. Had he just forced this upon her or was he just at the right point at her development?
“I saved you from these humans.” He replied to her. “You could be a little more appreciative.” The fires he’d laid upon the ground were dying out in the rain. Velomaw took the chance to turn away from Ceia to see the virgin was running across the meadow towards the tree line. He sighed, his breath coming out as smoke.
“You wait here.” He commanded the blue, but that was silly. He was at her cave, she wouldn’t leave it unless it was an emergency, and dragons rarely had emergencies, well they did, Velomaw was chasing after kidnapped Adanala.
Velomaw didn’t bother to take to the air; his loping run easily overcame the running human who was staggering through the mud rather than actual running. Velomaw plucked her from the ground with a single hand; she was screaming and flailing at his grasp. It felt like fluttering against his scales. He was careful not to squeeze too hard. He returned at a three legged trot, the human clutched carefully to his chest.
What had come to her mind when she’d broken into lucidity was the knowledge of her ancestors. She knew about the Dragonflights, knew what her place was in them. She was proud Blue, the most beautiful of the Dragonflights. They had a dancer’s grace that the other flights lacked. This brute of a Black, they were the scoundrels of the flights. No better than human mercenaries. They enjoyed destruction, enjoyed killing, human or other dragons. Blacks were best on long leashes.
So why had this Black saved her?
She watched as he ran across the meadow, most likely to kill the escaping human. She inhaled, she could smell the virgin over the rain, but barely. Ceia was about to fly over to try to stop him, that was her virgin he was going to kill. Only… She watched as he picked her up, tenderly, like a brood mother handling her young. Ceia didn’t understand. Blacks killed, they destroyed, and they did not treat things tenderly.
“That is my virgin,” Ceia said to him as he neared. “You cannot have her. Give her to me.” Ceia held out her own clawed hand. She was a lot smaller than the big Black, whereas the black’s hand completely encircled the human, only her head and feet visible above and below the grasp, if Ceia picked her up, her hand would not completely encircle the human’s waist.
Gods save him from the haughtiness of the Blues.
He carefully placed the human on the ground in front of Ceia, bringing his wing up over the terrified girl to keep the rain off her.
“I will not harm you.” He said to the virgin. The girl gave the same mute nod that she had given him when he’d told her to wait by the cart. She was shivering either with cold or fear, most likely both. He gently breathed on her, just enough to see her soaked clothing flutter. Velomaw did not want to burn her, just warm her.
“I have my own virgin, she was stolen from me.” Velomaw said quietly, knowing that a human was directly in front of his mouth. “I will give you the best advice anyone will ever give you,” Velomaw began to Ceia. “You let this virgin go back to her family. You give her good gifts. Health, happiness, wealth of the earth. Kindness to her will be protection for you.” He pointed a claw at Ceia. “Always keep a human.”
His breath as he spoke had nearly dried the virgin, she was looking at him with wide innocent eyes. They were watery, like she was about to cry.
Dragons did not have facial expressions. They could not raise or lower their brows, or smile or frown. Without these expressions Ceia still managed to look incredulous at the big Black who still hadn’t given his name. He was being kind to a human, to a virgin that belong to another dragon. She watched as he sheltered her from the rain, warmed her with his breath.
Had his egg tumbled from the nest?
His actions were against everything she knew about the Black Dragonflight. A proper Black would’ve beaten her to a pulp, would’ve ate the virgin, and all the while laughing. Ceia found herself equally intrigued and afraid of the Black’s actions.
“I will return her to her village,” Ceia replied reluctantly. Dragons didn’t eat virgins, well… most dragons didn’t eat virgins. Blacks and Reds would eat them, Reds were about as incorrigible as Blacks, but not quite as bad. Reds could be… controlled. They equally sought destruction and praise by their fellow dragons. Stroke a Red’s ego, and you had a loyal guard dog. Blacks on the other hand would eat the hand that petted them.
Most dragons were lured to virgins, and kept them as playthings. Making them sing or dance for their amusement. Some dragons forgot that humans needed food or water, and the virgins simply died of thirst or hunger or exhaustion.
How precious was his virgin to the Black that he was chasing across the countryside after her?
Ceia was certain that the Black’s virgin had been rescued, not ‘stolen.’ However listening to him talk about keeping a human.
Did this Black have a feeling and beating heart in his chest?
Velomaw wasn’t exactly a trusting dragon. He trusted Blues a lot less than Golds. The vanity of the Blues gyrated on his nerves. He supposed that was the Black in him.
“No,” Velomaw replied. “I will take her to her village.” He didn’t trust Ceia to do as she said. Then again he doubted that Ceia trusted him either.
“My village is gone… sir,” the virgin whimpered not knowing how to address the dragons who were discussing her fate. She’d been taught all along, dragons were just giant mindless beasts, coveting gold and virgins and that they would kill mercilessly over them. The massive black one was being kind to her, keeping the rain off her and warming her with his breath. He stank of brimstone, but she could tolerate it for the heat.
Velomaw tilted his head to look down at the virgin. He looked from her to Ceia. “Your wing, Ceia, shelter her.” Velomaw ordered of the blue dragon.
Velomaw shrank down, assuming his human form. He had hoped that speaking to one who looked as her kind, she might not be so frightened. Then again, Velomaw, wasn’t exactly a kindly looking human. He pulled the black cloak from his shoulders and the girl shrank away from him, but allowed him to cover her with the heavy wool.
Ceia was now larger than him, and she could snap his head off with her beak, but this was Velomaw showing trust in the Blue. She could try to bite him, but the hand scythes still dangled from his hips. Ceia was not old enough to turn herself human. Then again she wasn’t supposed to be old enough to be talking either.
She immediately was going to rebuke him. No. She would take the virgin back to her village. The Black Dragonflight were not to be trusted, no matter how at odds this big Black was acting. However it was the virgin that spoke and Ceia tilted her head, almost at the same time and in the same gesture as the big male. She had to admit that all dragons shared some of the same… attributes.
He ordered her, and Ceia caught herself doing as he commanded. As she brought up her much smaller blue wing, his retreated from over the virgin and the black adorned his human form. Ceia was slightly jealous, she did not have the strength to do so yet.
“Well how do you suppose to take her to her village like that?” Ceia asked haughtily from above his head. He wore a mask, and she noticed the weapons on his hips, they were made to look like hand scythes but they in truth looked more like dragon claws, on hinged handles.