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Thread: Dragon's Tide

  1. #1

    Default Dragon's Tide

    Dragon's Tide

    Rated PG-13 for some Minor Swearing, and violence.

    Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Action

    Status

    Completed
    Prologue

    In Progress
    Outline - Four Chapters Done
    Chapter 1 Draft - (0%)

    Updates: We'll see.

    Story: Catherine leads a rather solitary life with her mom in a small village that had once been destroyed in a recent war. However, her life turns into all sorts of weird when she finds a mysterious egg that gives her the best friend she could ever ask for- and the impossible task of preventing the end of the world while protecting a species that was once thought to be extinct.

    Chapters
    (Warning: Chapter Names may spoil bits of the story!)
        Spoiler:- Chapters:



    Prologue
        Spoiler:- Cover:

    “General!” A young troop clad in light armor ran with his sword in front of him in an attempt to ward off any enemy who stood in his way.

    “What is it?” The young troop panted and slowed down to a halt before a tall, muscular man with an elaborately decorated blade. The roar of battle surrounded the two men. Overlooking the battle was a large mountain that cast a shadow on the field. They had to make this discussion short- and keep their guards up. They were behind their own lines, but there was no telling if any of their enemies would manage to break through.

    “There have been reports of-“ The soldier’s sides were heaving as he fought for breath. He had run from the other side of the battle field to deliver this message.

    “Well? Spit it out!” The General grew impatient.

    “Strange creatures, sir!” He stabbed his sword into the ground to help support his weight. Anyone could see he was fighting to keep standing. “Creatures of all shapes, sizes-“ Another deep breath. Sweat dripped down his chin from under his helmet. “All of them- dark in color- yellow eyes.”

    “Nonsense!” The General muttered angrily. “No such creatures exist in this world.”

    “But sir-“ The troop’s two brown eyes bravely met those of his superiors. “I’ve seen them myself- they’re coming from behind the enemy’s line!” The General looked up past the battlefield. As preposterous as it sounded- if it where true, then it could spill disaster for their cause. “They are killing without discretion- both our and their forces are being diminished rapidly. At this rate, those… things- they will be the victors of this battle.”

    “How long ago where these things sighted?” The General took off his silver helmet so that he could get a better view of the situation. The field was bloodied with the bodies of not only his men- but those of their opponent.

    “An hour ago, Sir- maybe two.” He pulled out a feather that he had been keeping in his glove. “This came from one of them.” It was dark and twisted- not like any feather either of the men had ever seen. It’s black bristles were tipped with only the slightest hint of silver as they curved into a rather malicious looking point. At first glance, one would think the feather had the capability to slice not only the air- but flesh and bone as well.

    “Can you lead me to them?”

    The soldier looked up in shock. “Sir. I don’t think-“

    “Do it.” The General commanded. His bloodstained sword began to glow and slowly changed shape into a more cylindrical shape tipped with a strange sphere at the top. The sphere was a airy blue and glowed with a magical power.

    “As you command, sir!” The troop picked up his sword and gathered the strength to head back into the midst of the fray. Somehow, he knew that he would not be escaping this place alive.

    The two pushed their way through the disaster. Left and right lay dead and dying soldiers, horses, and other unfortunate beings that had been brought into the war. Those who were still standing had all but paused to stare at a growing black cloud that was heading their way.

    “What in heaven’s name-“ The General looked up in shock. Their opponents had been brutally crushed and defeated- but not by his own troops. Another black wave of creatures was seen on the ground finishing off whatever remained on the ground. By both and air these creatures struck. It would only be a few minutes before they reached the far side of the field where the remainder of his force lay wounded and vulnerable. “Tell everyone to run!”

    “Sir, what about you?”

    “That’s an order!” He clenched his staff tightly with one hand and raised it high into the air. The soldier nodded and turned to go. He would not survive to deliver the order.

    The General looked at the incoming wave of darkly colored creatures and slammed his staff into the ground. A powerful burst of wind thrust itself forward at the creatures, sending many of the flying ones to the ground and slowing down any on the earth. He pushed the wind forward until he could feel his hands shaking around his staff. His strength was quickly draining- but all he had to do was buy time. He must hold this army back.

    The chilling shrieks of the advancing cloud sent a shiver up the General’s spine. They were angry and thirsty for blood. His attempts to slow them down was working at least. The beasts struggled against the constant onslaught of the powerful gale that pushed them back. The General in his growing exhaustion, collapsed to his knees but held firmly onto his staff.

    As if things could not get any worse, the earth began to shake violently. “An earthquake?” He looked up at the mountain. “No…” If only it were just that. Plumes of smoke billowed up from the top of the mountain. The shrieking of the army grew even more shrill than before as if they welcomed the coming eruption. “Damn it!” Why was this all happening?

    A brave roar echoed above the General as a shadow crossed the landscape. With a start the man looked up in fear. “No!” The roar echoed again. “Bahari!” The mountain exploded, sending thousands of rocky chunks raining down upon the field. The General lost his focus and the powerful gale faded almost instantly. He gasped for breath and tried once again to summon the wind to drive back the army but found that he lacked the strength to do so again. “Bahari!” He cried out again.

    A layer of smoke and ash began to descend upon the battlefield when at last the rocks stopped hailing down from above. The vile army of creatures no longer had anything to slow them down and were now rushing in his direction. This was the end for him and all that followed him into battle. In his last moments, he looked up to see a painfully familiar shape rush forward at the incoming tide of darkness. “Why?” He collapsed onto the ground. “They’re… supposed to be extinct.”
    Last edited by PetuniaBubbles; 16th June 2012 at 8:41 AM.




  2. #2

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    Chapter One
    Just a Normal Morning

    My name is Catherine Dumont. I’m 16 years old- soon to be seventeen. I’m about five feet tall- which most people consider to be short. Just to clarify- five feet is a perfectly normal height- at least to me it is. I have short dark brown hair that goes down just below my chin. I’ve got green eyes and pretty normal facial features. I’m not the type of person who would stick out in a crowd- and no, it’s not because I’m supposedly short.

    I live in a nice small village that lives smack in the middle of some mountains and a decently sized forest. It’s called Rockmill- don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it. Most people haven’t unless they are from the area. Or if you live here, I guess. Over twelve years ago, before it was destroyed and rebuilt, Rockmill was a small mining town that produced several precious gems. It’s all dried up now, or so they say. I’ve been tempted to explore the mines, but though of getting crushed by tons of rock seems to be a good enough reason to stay away.

    I live on the edge of the village with my mom in a cozy little home. With just the two of us, we don’t really need so much space. I actually prefer smaller homes since I’d never know what to do with so much space. As to explain why it’s just the two of us- my dad died towards the end of the war. I can’t say I miss him since I was about two or three years old when it happened. I hardly even remember him, but mom does. She always has amazing things to say about him- about how he was a brave mage and a loving husband and all. I can tell that she really misses, so I try not to ask any questions about him.

    The war he died in though- it ended about twelve years ago. Even though it’s been so long since then, if you look around you can find scars of the war just about anywhere. Not only did thousands, including civilians, die in the span of the war- but many more were left without homes. Many cities, towns, and villages were destroyed- and most are still being rebuilt now. The stupid thing about it all? No one even remembers why the war started. The war had gone on for so long that it started before even my mom was born. I guess over time people just forgot why they were fighting against one another.

    I’ve heard quite a number of stories about how the was supposedly started. Most of them are silly and ridiculous, I’ll admit that. Some say it was over some magical relic that held the power to destroy the world. Silly, right? Another story says that a Legalian Knight- that’s the kingdom Rockmill is in- proposed to the princess of Abelalle, the Kingdom that we went to war with. They’re all stupid stories, really. If you ask me, it was probably some silly border dispute. As if either of the two kingdoms needed more land anyway.

    Well, I guess I’m getting a bit off topic here. I’ve never been good at introductions. Anyway, I’ve been living here in Rockmill for the last eleven years or so. Mom wanted to move somewhere quieter and more remote after dad never returned from the war. If you want quiet, isolated, and remote places- Rockmill is definitely a perfect fit. Too perfect, really. You’d be lucky not to die of complete boredom here. I’m serious when I saw I’m the only young person here (don’t tell my mom I said that, or I’ll probably be decapitated in my sleep later). Even the rocks here are more interesting than most of the folk that live here. I’m not just saying that- I really mean it!

    It was just another quiet and ordinary day here at Rockmill. I had just woken up in my room at about noon- don’t get the wrong idea or anything- I’m not lazy and such. I just prefer being up late into the night rather than getting up early in the morning. I can get more work done when everyone’s asleep since there is no one bothering me to do random crud every five minutes or trying to ask me if I think the weather is lovely or something like that.

    “Catherine?” I heard my mom knock on my bedroom door. “Wake up!” I can tell that my mom really didn’t approve of my nocturnal preferences, but as long as I god everything done that I was supposed to, she never complained.

    While I knew better than to ignore her, but I had a busy night working on a little project of mine and had stayed up way past the usual. I’m not sure how much sleep I had gotten, but it felt like only a few minutes. “Catherine Dumont- get up this moment!”

    “Coming!” A groaned back. I dislike being called by my full name. Don’t ask me why- I just don’t like it. I prefer being Cath to be honest. Well, it could have been worse- at least my mom didn’t name me after some random plant- like catnip- or something along those lines. Still, she only called me by my full name if she was upset.

    I walked out of my room to see my mom waiting for me impatiently. “Do you have any idea what time it is?”

    “I know, I know.” If she was upset- it was well past noon. My bad. “I’ll get going once I’ve changed.” I backed into my room and slipped into a pair of light, tattered, clothes and grabbed my bag off the small table next to my bed.

    I kept everything that I needed in one bag. If I didn’t, I would likely forget everything. I was always leaving stuff behind that I needed, so my mom decided that it would be a better idea to keep everything in one place. So far it seemed to be working. Inside the bag is some water, some bread (probably stale by now), basic first aid stuff, and a worn out knife that I used for hunting- or cutting my way through undergrowth. I liked to travel light, especially since I never really went out very far.

    Since it’s just me and my mom- since obviously we’re lacking a man in the house- I’m usually the one in charge of hunting and other physically demanding work. Every now and then, though, one of the neighbors would lend a hand, especially in the winter when everything gets more difficult due to the cold and snow. The pretty white stuff looks so inviting and fun when you first see it as a child- but I promise you, white and pure as it looks, snow is an evil substance sent by the most cruel forces in this world to freeze over anything you need- or to make you slip on your run home.

    Usually the first thing I did in the morning- or in today’s case, the afternoon- was to check up on some traps that I set out in the forest. I wish I could say that I was wonderful at getting game and such- but the truth is that the local stray cats were more successful hunters than I. It’s sad, but I envy those cats sometimes. They don’t need fancy tools or anything to kill- I’ve got the tools, but using them is the problem. I’m no good with a bow and arrow and seeing how terrible my hand-eye coordination is, anything that involves throwing is out of the question. Don’t even ask about how well those traps work.

    When I walked outside, no one was out and about in the village. Figures- they were probably inside enjoying their tea or something. At least that meant I could slip out into the forest without having to talk with anyone. Though, living at the edge of the village made it easy to get out to the forest without being noticed.

    Once I was there, I followed along the usual path that I took most days. There wasn’t really much to worry about here, on or off the path. The worst you could expect were a couple poisonous species of snakes, and those were easy enough to avoid seeing as they usually stood out from the rest of the forest. There were some fairly recent rumors about a griffon being sighted in the forest somewhere- but that was impossible. No griffons had ever been spotted under or above these trees before. They preferred more mountainous regions.

    The path zigzagged through the forest for many miles until it eventually intersected a much larger and often-used road that led to the city of Oldcrest. As the city’s name suggests- it’s old. It’s also one of the largest cities in the region- though, not the largest in Legelia. I’ve always wanted to visit it, but it was a long trip that my mom always said we couldn’t afford. That and we never had the time.

    Apparently, I was born there in Oldcrest way back during the war. I don’t remember it in the least. I don’t even remember moving to Rockmill. My mom doesn’t know this, but I have been secretly saving money to go to the city myself one of these days. It would help to know how much I would need. I’ll worry about that part later though. For now I decided to keep doing odd jobs for the people in Rockmill while I wait for an opportunity to go.

    I strayed off the path to look for where I had set the traps. When they came into sight I wasn’t exactly surprised to see that absolutely nothing had been caught. It was alright though- we never really ran out of food. A little variety never hurt though. That, and my mom’s cooking was legendary for being amongst the worst in the region. Almost any type of fresh meat did wonders for that, though.

    I checked over the traps for- well, I’m not really sure. For anything that looked like it may stop them from working properly? There were home-made (by myself, of course) wire snares that I had made using some wires that I had found near the mines. They were meant to catch small things like rabbits- and they sometimes did, actually. I think that was mostly dumb luck though- I won’t deny I have no idea how to make a proper trap.

    Due to let another failure at finding or catching any game, I decided to lurk around the forest for a while longer to look for wild berries or other edible plants. Almost anything would be preferred over my mom’s meals. That, and any excess berries would be mashed to a pulp and mixed with water to make a thin paint for me to use. I rather liked to draw and paint, but getting my hands on ink and paints wasn’t usually easy.

    Thankfully, with late spring here finding berries, fruit, roots, and other random plants was easy enough. I stuffed as much of it as I could into my bag, which would explain why my bag was almost always covered in fruit stains. Not all of it escaped my bag in one piece. Once I was satisfied with my load, I started to head back to the path. From there, it would be about an half-hours walk back to the village. I still had a few other chores to do, but nothing urgent, thankfully.

    This is where my normal morn- err, afternoon began to get a little weird while my life would just get a little more (and by a little- I mean a lot) exciting. I know they always say to be careful for what you wish for, but I’ve always wished for a more exciting life. Something filled with adventures, action, and real food! I know it’s always more glamorous in your head when you imagine in, but you never realize that part until you’ve passed that point of no return.

    For me- I was staring at that point. I should have just walked away, ignored what I just saw and go on with my day. On the ground, just a few feet off of the path, was an egg. It didn’t look like any other egg I’ve seen- but I knew it had to be an egg. What else could it be? A fairly large, perfectly smooth-surfaced white stone with blue-grey markings all over it? Right. That’s what it was. A pretty rock. That tiny part in my brain that had some logical sense in it was screaming at me to just leave it- but I was drawn to it. Somewhere deep within me, despite thinking for just a moment that I should eat it, I knew that I was meant to find this egg.




  3. #3

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    Chapter Two
    The Egg

    I stood there for what seemed like hours. Really, it was probably about five minutes, but I’ve got a pretty horrible sense of time. I don’t know why I just stared at it- I guess I was waiting for something to happen. Don’t ask me what- maybe the mother of this egg wanted to come out and attack me? Though, so far- this scene was pretty boring. Kind of like the rest of my life so far.

    I crouched down to get a closer look at the egg. There did not appear to be any damage to the shell, in fact, the shell looked pretty darn sturdy. My gaze lifted upwards towards the trees around me. It wasn’t uncommon for birds to push bad eggs out of their nests, but the lack of nests nearby told me that this probably was not the egg of your every day bird.

    As I looked around, my hand brushed over a nearby stick. Without much of a thought, I grabbed the leafless object and proceeded to poke the egg. No explosions. That was always a good sign. Another gentle prod and still nothing happened. Deeming it safe, I gently wrapped my hands around the surprisingly rough surface of the egg.

    When I lifted up the egg, I noticed that it was rather heavy for its size- maybe about the weight of a slightly larger rock. I was starting to think that the object I was now holding was indeed a rock. It looked like one- sort of, it was heavy, and it definitely felt like one as I rotated the rough object in my hand. Somehow though, I knew it was something important.

    One part of my brain wanted me to put the object down and wipe this all from the depths of my memory. Another part wanted to take the egg with me to see if it would hatch. A third part was wondering if this egg was edible. The last part was just calling my crazy- but I already knew that.

    I quickly grabbed my backpack with one hand while carefully balancing the egg in the other. With only one hand, it was a challenge opening up the bag since I usually make sure it’s secure enough so that nothing falls out. When it finally opened up, I cleared some space by squishing everything further in then placed the egg on top of the mess. Thinking back on that, it was probably a bad idea to shove the egg in a cramped space like that, but it looked sturdy enough.

    Heading back to Rockmill did not take long. It never does. No matter how far I wander from the town, it always seemed like a shorter trek back than I thought. Regardless, after my discovery, any other purpose for being out of town was quickly forgotten and I doubled my pace. By the time I arrived, I found my feet guiding me towards a run-down looking house at the edge of town- not far from my house.

    Going to that place seemed liked the best option at the time. Taking the egg home was well out of the question. My mom forbade any living being, aside from humans, from entering the house. I had once pestered her to adopt one of the many stray cats that roam the area, but she never bought into it. I even brought home the most adorable one I could find. I still wonder how she was able to resist the face of a wide-eyed fluffy kitten.

    I slowed to a halt outside of the beat-up building and knocked on the door a few times. “Hello?”

    I waited for a minute before tapping on the door again. “Come in.” The voice of an old man finally answered.

    The door creaked open with a gentle push from my hand. The inside of the house, despite the outward appearance, was well kept. Everything was neat and organized. Bookshelves lined every available space against the wall which gave the place the feel of a library. The biggest difference between this place and a library, though, was that this place felt much more welcoming.

    In the corner of the first room sat an old man reading a book at a desk. He wore long, dull blue, robes with glasses of the same color. He wasn’t quite bald, but you could tell his grey hair was beginning to thin out some. His short beard was also grey- with some white mixed in. Two blue eyes scanned the pages of the book he held in his hands. “Catherine?” He seemed mildly surprised as he looked up. “What brings you here?”

    “Well, I found something in the woods that I want you to take a look at.” Perhaps I should have said ‘good morning’- well, afternoon- but he did ask why I came!

    Sennet was the oldest person in Rockmill and has lived here for most of his life. After Rockmill’s destruction, he helped fight in the war using his abilities as a mage to aid Legalia fight off other mages. Rumor has it that he was quite the mage back in the day, but he has since retired from using magic, which is unfortunate because I have always wanted to see a mage in action.

    I pick up the egg from my bag and place it on the desk in front of Sennet. If there is anyone who knows what this egg is, it would be him. Even if he himself had no idea what was inside the egg, perhaps one of his many books could help?

    “That’s not something you see every day.” He lifts the egg and carefully examines it. “Where did you find this?”

    “In the woods- right off the path.”

    “No nest?” He asks.

    “Nothing- just the egg. There wasn’t anything to suggest that it’s parents were nearby.”

    “This egg was probably abandoned then.” He concluded.

    “So it’s dead?”

    “No, I believe it’s still alive.” How did he know this? How could he tell? I didn’t question it though- Sennet was usually right. I could count the times he had been wrong about something on one hand.

    I look up at Sennet, who was now standing up and heading into another room. He returned about two minutes later holding a basket with some small cloths in it. The basket was just like the ones you would use to hold bread in and cover it up so it stays warm.

    “If it isn’t dead, then why abandon it?” Wasn’t there some sort of maternal instinct that drove most mothers to risk everything to protect their young?

    Sennet gingerly places the egg in the basket and folds the cloth over it. I could still see the egg’s rough surface from a small gap in the makeshift nest. “Either the parents were unable to care for it and put their own survival first- or they’re dead.”

    I can’t help but feel sorry for whatever is in there. Abandoned in the woods to die before getting the opportunity to live. “What do you think is in there?” I finally ask. The question had been burning in my head for a while but I was hoping that Sennet would answer it without me asking beforehand.

    “I can’t say for sure- but it’s similar in size to a Griffon egg.” Sennet said doubtfully. Griffons were creatures that were half cat and half bird- most commonly represented by the mix of a lion and an eagle, but they came in far more variations than one could imagine. I had never seen one before, but I did know that they were trainable and were often used in place of guard dogs by wealthier families. The idea of raising one was exciting- even if I knew absolutely nothing on Griffon care.

    There was only one big problem with my whole fantasy. My mom. If my mom was against me having a pet cat- even the most adorable innocent one I could find- what would she say to a Griffon- a big one at that! I look at Sennet. He is searching through a shelf of books for something.

    “Sennet?”

    “What is it?”

    I’m not entirely sure what response to expect from him, so I just say it. “Would it be possible for me to leave the egg here? You seem to have a better idea on what to do than I do- that and my mom-“

    “Don’t you worry about it.” Sennet laughed. “I understand- anyway, I’m just as curious about this egg as you are.”

    “Great!” I don’t think I have been this excited since the time some friend of my mom’s offered me a ride on his horse when I was little.

    I say bye to Sennet and rush home to finish whatever chores there are left to do. My luck promises me at least a few more hours of work before I can do what I want for the day. My mom doesn’t comment on how late I came home though, which is a relief. I don’t want her asking questions. The less she knows about the egg, the better.

    By the time I had finished, the sun had begun to set. Part of me was trying to force my body to go back to Sennet’s house and check on the egg, but it was a bit late for that. Anyway, what were the chances of the egg hatching tonight? Scratch that- with my luck, it was definitely likely, but I tried not to worry about that.

    I wake up the next morning with the egg in my mind. Yes- I woke up in the morning. I probably should do this more often seeing how the surprise was so great that it left my mom completely speechless. From the look on her face, you’d think that the world was about to end. It probably would not take her too long to figure out that something was going on- but she was kind enough not to poke her nose into things- probably because I finished all of my chores in record time.

    Days like this make me thankful that Rockmill is such a small town. Racing around to do errands and chores rarely takes long since almost everything is so close together here. I still wish there were more things to do- fun things. Immediately after the last of my errands, I stopped by Sennet’s home and knocked on the door a few times.

    “Come in!” As a stepped in my eyes immediately began to scan the room for the basket which I assumed still had the egg. Sure enough, I spotted the basket in a patch of sunlight let in from a nearby window. Something was wrong with the picture though. Was that a ball of black fluff in the basket?

    “Sennet?”

    “Yes?” He called from the other room. I poke the fluff with one finger. A sleepy head whips up from the basket in response and I’m faced with two lazy yellow eyes.

    “There’s a cat guarding the egg.” The feline makes no attempt to bite my fingers or hand off as I stroke its silky black fur.

    Sennet walks in and looks at the cat. Based on the look on his face, the cat isn’t his. “Back already?” The black furball lets out an innocent mew as he approaches. “This pest is always finding a way inside when she’s not wreaking havoc in the mint patch outside.” I can’t help but laugh- the cat did smell minty!

    “Does she have a name?”

    “Mint.” I laugh again. Obviously Sennet won’t do anything to the black cat except complain about her presence. She’s done no harm and looks remarkably comfortable sharing the basket with the egg. From what I can tell based on her small size, she’s not quite a kitten, but not quite an adult.

    “Well, at least she’s keeping the egg warm!” I point out.

    “As long as she doesn’t lead those other strays in here.” Rockmill has a healthy population of cats. Most of them are pretty friendly and are welcomed by the neighbors since they help keep the numbers of mice and rats in check.

    Sennet goes back to the other room to continue whatever it was that he was doing before I arrived. I sat there for ages and kept an eye on the black fluff and the egg. I know it’s crazy, but I really did expect it to hatch at any moment- or at least move a little bit.

    Some time later, Sennet walked in to find me sitting in the desk chair bored out of my mind. I hadn’t even noticed that he walked in until he said something. “You know, you’re more than welcome to grab a book to pass the time. It could be a long while before we find out what’s in that egg.”

    I stared at him like he was crazy. Did he really suggest for me to read a book? If anything, reading a book would only add to my eternal boredom- or so I thought.

    After he left, my eyes began to wander over the titles of several of the nearest books. They couldn’t all be snooze-inducing boring stacks of paper, could they? Even if they were- sitting here doing nothing but stare at an egg probably was just as bad.

    I pick up a book titled ‘Northern Mythology’ and open the cover. Illustrations of several odd looking animals greet me in the first few pages. Most of the creatures- all of which I assume are mythological, based on the title, were white or light in color with thick fur or hair. Maybe this would not be so bad after all.

    I ended up returning home after reading about a third of the book- which was actually a collection of myths originating from various northern areas. Up until this point, I had always associated books with bland descriptive facts about some boring guy who started a farm or something.

    Visiting Sennet after chores- in the morning- became a routine. Mint would lay in the basket with the egg while I read a book or worked on some random sketch. Sennet usually stayed in another room working on some project of his, but he never told me what exactly. Usually, I would stay there for most of the day, quietly killing away the time while hoping that the very next moment would be the moment that the egg would hatch. I would leave most days around sunset with a friendly farewell to Sennet and the cat which he claimed was not his.

    This routine continued on for about three more weeks with very few interruptions. It had become so normal that Mint sometimes waited for me outside in the morning before sneaking in through a window that always seemed to be slightly open and settling in the basket next to the egg.

    At the end of that third week, I was sitting at the desk making a sketch of Mint sleeping in the basket. She was usually so still that it was easy to sketch the scene, but this time she suddenly jumped out of the basket with her back arched and every individual strand of fur sticking on edge. She stared at the egg with wide unblinking eyes.

    The egg was hatching!




  4. #4

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    Chapter Three
    The Hatchling

    “Sennet!” I call out in excitement. “It’s hatching! Hurry!” The egg was wobbling around in the basket as whatever was inside tried to force its way out. The sound of what might have been claws scraping against the egg shell was faint but steadily becoming more frequent.

    Mint, still puffed up with her fur in all directions and her back arched shot me a quizzical look that said ‘You never told me that thing would move!’ I briefly wondered if Mint might try to kill whatever was about to hatch, but based on her current reaction, I figured she would probably stare at it and keep her distance until she was more familiar with. Anyway, the small black cat had never shown any aggressive tendency or predatory instinct to anything except mice.

    When Sennet finally stepped in the small black cat darted away and hid a safely behind Sennet’s legs where she could watch what was happening but not get involved. “What should we do?”

    “Just wait." He responded calmly. How could he be so calm?

    “So we’re not going to help it or anything?” Whatever was inside was having a difficult time breaking through the shell. A hammer would have easily remedied that problem.

    “It’ll come out when it’s ready.” Sennet assured me though from the sound of it, whatever was in there was more than ready to escape from the round grey object that it had been trapped in for the past who knows how long. I then remembered the weight of the egg. Was it possible that the shell was really thick? If so, the poor thing was going to have quite the struggle to escape.

    After about twenty minutes the first cracks began to faintly appear over the surface of the egg. The lines grew deeper as they spread along the shell until at last the first bit of shell gave way. The hole was small, but the progress seemed to energize the hatchling inside.

    When the first bit of the creature showed- what resembled a beak- I began to realize something. Whatever that was could not possibly be a Griffon- or any sort of bird at that. What I saw only resembled a beak- but it was not one. The shape matched- but the texture certainly did not.

    I glanced over at Sennet to see his expression. If anything, he seemed lost in though. Did he know what it was? I was about to ask him when another chunk of shell caved in. There was now a good sized hole in the egg.

    Apparently, the hatchling thought that the opening was now big enough to squeeze through. A small reptile-like head squeeze through the hole. The creature wiggled and squirmed as it struggled to climb out. I soon saw why it had been a difficult task. “Are those… wings?”

    A winged lizard-thing was having a little trouble squeezing its bat-like wings through the opening. It took the little lizard a few minutes to realize that all it had to do was fold them tightly against his sides. Out tumbled the rest of the reptile soon after. “Sennet- what is that?”

    He went up to the basket and reached in to examine the hatchling only to received a quick and playful nip. When he pulled back his hand I could tell that the little nibble had not been very hard at all. “This is going to sound crazy- but I’m pretty sure that it is a dragon.”

    My heart stopped. “A… dragon?” I looked over Sennet’s shoulder to get a better look. “You mean those giant fire-breathing reptiles in those mythology books I found?” He nodded. “I kinda thought they were um, well- bigger!”

    The little hatchling was easily smaller than Mint, who was already small for a cat. It was maybe about a foot in length from nose to tail. His wings, which I assume were not fully developed, were about eight inches tip to tip- or I think. It was kind of hard to tell since they were not fully spread out but rather laid in a relaxed position at his sides.

    “He’ll grow.”

    “He?” Sennet tapped the tip of the little Dragon’s snout. There was a tiny horn growing there in addition to the two towards the back of his head on either side. If the mythology book had any credibility, and I was more than willing to doubt so, the little horn on his nose indicated that he was male.

    “So this little guy could grow big enough to eat us all one day. Fun.”

    Sennet laughed at this. “Possibly- but I don’t think he’ll be eating anyone.” He looks at the hatchling. The little lizard is clearly exhausted from fighting his way out of the egg. I can see why- the egg’s shell is at least half an inch thick. I felt less guilty about shoving the egg in my bag without considering how that could have broken the shell.

    The dragon looks nothing like what the books had described. They always portrayed dragons as enormous muscular reptiles, usually green or red in color, with a ferocious temper and a taste for anything that breathes.

    This hatchling was a pale blue- almost grey in color. Darker broad stripes lined his spine, not too different from that of a tiger. A row of tiny spines raced down his back, each one connected with a light pale-blue webbing in between. His muzzle was covered in the same dark color and made it look like he had just dipped it in a pot of ink or something. The webbing of his wings were the same color- except with darker spots scattered about- most of which were near the base of the wing-fingers. At the end of his tail was what looked liked fins on either side that could be folded against his tail.

    “So this guy is supposed to be some sort of mythical beast?”

    “I’d say his species is nearly extinct, not mythical.”

    “Why’s that?”

    “He’s right in front of us, isn’t he?” Good point. “I think that it is likely that humans or some other creature may have hunted them to near extinction so long ago that they have been forgotten. The few memories that may have survived probably became thought of as legends or myths as time went on.”

    “I guess that makes sense.” Hatchling rolled onto his back as he dozed off. His plate-scales on his belly were silver and slightly reflective. One wing was stretched to one side while the other just lay limp, “What should we do with him?” Whether or not we knew it, an unspoken partnership had formed between the two of us since I arrived with the egg.”

    “I say we keep him!”

    Was that even possible? “You don’t think he’ll become too wild or crazy?” Taming a Griffon was one thing- I knew it could be done since it has been done… but a dragon?

    “Only one way to find out!” Sennet’s optimism was oddly encouraging. Even Mint seemed to think the little Dragon was not going to be a threat. She jumped onto the desk and looked in the basket. She was clearly determined not to lose her basket to a little lizard that had come out of nowhere. Without a second thought she flopped down into the basket on top of the dragon.

    “Mint!” I would have been upset had it not been for her innocent face and the fact that the hatchling immediately squirmed out from under her. He was now wide awake. Getting smushed by black fluffy would do that I suppose. He then scrambled to get on top of the furry black mountain, though Mint did not seem to mind.

    “Well?” Sennet looked at me expectantly.

    “Well, what?”

    “If we’re going to raise him, we should at least give him a name.”

    “Why me? I’m not good at this sort of thing!”

    “You like to draw and paint- you’re more creative than I am.”

    I knew better than to argue. I would not have won if I tried. “Fine. Any ideas though?” I say after a brief moment of thought. Coming up was names was not something I was good at.

    “You haven’t even tried yet.” The dragon yawned, revealing rows of tiny sharp teeth.

    “Fine.” The little lizard then looked up at me for the first time. His almond shaped eyes were a striking deep blue. Looking into them took me back to a time in my childhood when my mom took me to visit family in a town not too far from the beach. The ocean had the same deep hue as I gazed out from the tide pools where I had been allowed to play.

    “Tide.” I decide.

    “Hrr?” He titled his head. Did he maybe understand that we had just given him a name?”

    “I think he likes it.” Sennet smiled. If he did understand us, he made no complaint of his new name.

    Slowly, I reached out to the Dragon with my hands. When I was sure he wouldn’t bite or claw my hand into millions of tiny bits, I gently folded his wings down and lifted him up. Tide did not protest, but he was more than a little bit confused. After allowing me to carry him with his legs and tail dangling down for a bit, he slithered through my grasp and clambered up my arm.

    “Hey!” Before I knew what hit me, Tide was on my shoulder enjoying the not-so-great view it offered. He must have decided he was bored because he then proceeded to bite my hair.

    “I’ll get him.” Sennet reached over and pried the lizard off of my shoulder. The little dragon immediately began to twist around in order to escape from Sennet. Once free, he plopped down onto the desk, his claws clicking against the wooden surface.

    “It seems he likes you more.” Sennet laughed, examining his hands for any scratches.

    “You don’t know that.” I stroked Tide’s back, relieved to find that the spines could be flattened. That was one less thing to worry about being stabbed with.

    “Watch.” He moved his hand closer to Tide. Within moments the hatchling went fleeing for cover. I could see a little head poking up with a playful glint in his eyes.

    “Okay, well- maybe just a little.” Sennet laughed. He did not seem to mind. It did look like Tide was just trying to play.

    “Catherine!” I look out the window and am instantly reminded that I’m late for dinner. Not that I mind- when my mom makes dinner, skipping is completely understandable. My mom doesn’t see it that way though. The sun had begun to set quite some time ago but I had been so distracted by Tide that I failed to notice the light creeping away. There were a few knocks on the door. “Catherine, I know you’re in there!” Oh, heavens. Why now?

    I turned my back against the desk to block anyone from getting a glimpse of the hatchling and watched in horror as Sennet went to open the door. “What are you doing?” Couldn’t we just pretend that no one was home and stay silent until she left.

    “Good evening, Ma’am.” Sennet politely greeted my mom.

    “Is Catherine here?”

    “Most days, yes.” All she had to do was look over his shoulder. It’s a good thing I inherited my height from her.

    “What has she been up to lately?” Of course she would try to pry information from Sennet. I was just hoping he would keep quiet about Tide.

    “She’s been coming by to read some of my books every day.” I took the hint and grabbed the nearest book to me and opened it up, pretending to read. The idea of jumping out the window almost came up, but getting Tide out with me without injuring him might have been tricky seeing how tiny he was. It wouldn’t take much to accidentally crush him.

    “Catherine- reading?” And she was shocked at me waking up early every morning. “Sennet, the world isn’t due to end anytime soon.”

    “Don’t believe me?” Sennet stepped aside to let her in the house.

    “Oh hey mom!” I try to act as if I didn’t realize how late it was.

    “You were supposed to be home over an hour ago.” She says, clearly annoyed.

    “Really?” I act surprised. “Sorry! I was distracted with this book here- it’s quite-“

    “The book is upside down.”

    “Crap.” I didn’t say that because my mom was right- whoops- but because I could feel tiny claws climbing up the back of my shirt. “It’s more interesting that way?” I try to regain ground.

    “Nice try. What are you really up to?” I look at Sennet for help as the claws make it further up. “Well?”

    “I like Sennet’s cat?” Knowing that Tide was behind me- and would remain so unless he jumped- I stepped aside to allow my mom to see Mint who was still dozing away in the basket.

    My mom scowled. “I told you, under no circumstances are we going to get a pet.” I didn’t even suggest anything like that! “Not a cat, dog, bird, or-“ Tide was now on my shoulder.

    “Dragon?” I smiled. Sennet is trying to keep himself from laughing.

    “Catherine-“

    “Oh, come on mom- he’s friendly!”

    “Fine.”

    “I promise he won’t destroy- wait, what did you say?”

    “Fine.”

    “What?” I guess it was my mom’s turn to surprise me. That, or this was all some sort of cruel joke.

    “You can take care of him.” She shot Sennet a look I couldn’t interpret. Had he already spoken with her about the egg, or was there something the two of them knew that I wasn’t aware of?

    “You’re okay with having a pet that could grow up into a giant fire-breathing lizard with wings and the strength to kill and eat us all- but not a cat?” I probably should have shut up by now rather than say things that could have possibly swayed her to change her mind, but I really wanted to know what she was thinking. I mean really- dragons are okay, but not cats?

    “Hold old is?”

    “An hour? Maybe less?”

    “Then he knows nothing but you two-“

    “three.” I point at Mint. My mom smiles.

    “Teach him right from wrong while he’s young and he won’t try eating anyone when he’s older.” Tide looked up at my mom with curious eyes. “The difference between him and the cats is that the cats have their families, so we’ll give him one.” She sees my shocked look. “Really, Catherine? I’m not as heartless as you may think I am.”

    “I couldn’t tell.” I’m about to give her a huge hug when I remember the scaly creature on my shoulder.

    “One more thing.”

    “Yes?” There must be a catch to all of this. Nothing good can come without having some sort of string attached.

    “He needs a name.”

    “Any ideas?” I don’t want to make her feel as if she’s missed out on the naming already, which she already did- but telling her that was not necessary.

    “Drake?”

    “Really, mom?” I laughed.

    “How about Tide?” Sennet offered, trying to keep a straight face through this.

    “ I like that!” My mom smiled.

    “Very well then- his name is Tide!”




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