Baylor went off to the other side of the small village telling his son not to stray far and as the young dragon stood wondering how something could be so heartless, a tiny whimper caught his ear. Instantly alert, his muscles tightened with adrenaline, ready to fight or flee. It came from his right in the direction of a partially burned hut. Creeping up slowly, silently, Daelyn moved aside the broken debris and charred wood, revealing the body of young, female Chimarian. She was undeniably dead, but the sound came from beneath her. Moving the body aside, Daelon jumped back with a loud snort of surprise, almost tripping over his long tail. It was a very young child swaddled in a thick, fur wrap. Untouched but for a little dirt on its face, the child chortled with delight at the sight of the young dragon’s face.
“Father!” He yelled loudly, knowing he shouldn’t have, but not being able to help himself.
Baylor heard his son’s alarmed cry and ran swiftly to where he last saw him, ready to do battle. He found Daelyn standing perfectly still, staring at something in the ruins of a destroyed hut. Following his son’s gaze, he also snorted with surprise at the tiny child lying on the ground smiling up at them.
“Father! It’s a child!” Daelyn exclaimed, his eyes wide with shock.
Indeed it was a child, Baylor observed and very much alive. He watched as the baby held out its tiny arms to Daelyn.
“Father, what’s it doing?” Daelyn asked, “Why is it doing that?”
“I think you’ve just been chosen, son,” Baylor chuckled, “look at it smile at you!”
“Chosen? For what?” Daelon asked, confused.
“A big brother perhaps?” Baylor explained, “Whatever the case, we have to bring it back to your mother, she’ll know what to do with it.”
“Who’s going to carry it?” Daelyn asked, afraid of the answer.
“I think you’ve already been elected, son,” Baylor said, smiling at the young dragon. His shocked look reminded of him of another incident when Daelyn was just born. When Saphira asked him to hold his son, all he could picture was himself crushing the tiny bundle of dragon and adamantly refused.
“Trust me on this, Baylor,” Saphira said assured him, “He’s not as fragile as he looks.”
“I’ll drop him!” He attempted again to bow out of it.
“No, you won’t do that either,” she argued gently, “Now take your son.”
He remembered how it felt to have that small bundle placed in his arms for the first time. First the fear of harming him, then the wonder of him, so tiny and beautiful. He remembered the fierce protectiveness he felt rushing through his body as he vowed to protect his son with his life.
“We need to look for something to carry it with while we fly, Daelyn,” his father said,
“Look around for a big enough piece of cloth that might be made into a sling.”
“How about what is already around the Chimarian woman?” Daelon suggested, stepping closer. As he did, the baby cooed and smiled happily at him, laughing out loud with happiness.
“Father, why is it making such noises?” Daelyn observed, “and why doesn’t it have any teeth?”
“I think it’s laughing, if I’m correct,” Baylor told him, “humans turn their mouths up when their happy and down when they’re upset about something. That sound is laughter.”
Daelyn felt a strange stirring in his heart as the baby’s unwavering gaze fell on him. It had eyes the color of the sea on a stormy day. Green irises flecked with gold and rimmed with black, they stared at him without fear. Humans usually scattered noisily when they spotted a dragon, but this one had no fear, only curiosity. Using tooth and claw, he undid the sling around child’s dead mother, careful not to disturb the body too much. Lifting the child off the ground with his teeth, he was startled by its squeal of delight and almost dropped it.
“Careful, Daelyn, humans are a fragile lot,” his father warned, “Truthfully, I cannot for the life of me understand how they still exist! Do you have a secure grip? Hold it for a minute so I can check on something before we go. Just put the sling around your neck so your arms are free.”
Daelon did what he was told, finding it easier instead of holding the sling in his mouth, terrified he would crush it. As he watched, his father put his huge head to the ground, carefully taking in each scent. When he came to a Atranoch’s footprint, he breathed in deeply through his nose. Because a dragon’s sense of smell is powerful, he was able to detect and eliminate those scents which he didn’t need. What he was looking for was a scent of a different soil other than what was around him. He sniffed several footprints until finally, he found what he was looking for. The slight smell of salt. Unlike the Chimarian’s footprints which smelled of rich, loamy earth, in the Atranoch’s prints Baylor detected the smell of the sea. The murderous creatures were living by the Sargonian Sea. Satisfied at his find, he was ready to return to the caves.
“Father, don’t forget about the meat for mother,” Daelyn reminded him, “She’s probably famished.”
Nodding, Baylor flapped his leathery wings, running a few steps to get air born. Saphira would indeed be hungry, but after seeing the bundle they were bringing home, she’d probably be more than hungry, he thought. He wondered if she would be angry or if her motherly instincts would surpass her anger. He hoped the latter, his heart already taken by the fearless tiny human. He dreaded telling the elders for he knew they would object to having a human among them. But the worst news was the location of the
Atranoch. They were up to something, to be so close.
Following his father in flight, Daelyn was unaccustomed to the extra weight, even as tiny as a baby. He was positive it would start crying once air born, but it stayed true to its sunny nature despite its unfortunate start in life. Daelyn wondered if it were a male or a female. The whole flight home the infant stared in wonder the flying dragon, reaching up with a tiny hand to touch the glimmering scales on Daelyn’s neck, cooing and babbling humans sounds. He thought the sounds the baby made were strangely appealing, making him feel happy inside. He wondered what human babies ate, guessing they weren’t much different from any other mammal when they’re born. Mother’s milk. Nearing the caves, Daelyn and Baylor stopped flapping and put their wings out like umbrellas, catching the wind underneath and slowly floating down onto the stony, flat surface of the cave’s entrance. Baylor gestured for his son to stay put so he could prepare, and bribe with food, Saphira about the baby. Oddly nervous, wondering why he cared if she denied the child entrance or not, he took a deep a breath and went inside.
‘Baylor! You’re back!” she exclaimed at his entrance. Right away she knew something was wrong and assumed something happened to Daelyn. “Baylor, what’s wrong? Where’s Daelyn? If he’s hurt or dead, I’ll never forgive you.”
“Of course he’s not hurt!” Baylor said irritably, “I certainly know to keep our son out of harms way! First, the bad news. The Atranoch are hiding out in the caves of the Sargonian Sea.”
Baylor saw his mate’s eyes widen slightly, then narrow with hatred.
“Why are they back, Baylor? Why now?” she asked, “We banished them!”
© 2016, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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