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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2000287
Rated: 13+ · Book · Family · #2000287
A human girl is adopted by a family of dragons.
PROLOGUE


Nine islands slowly rose in an ocean of clouds with the full moon falling behind its highest mountain. It was the end of the cool season. This brought the islands above the chilling clouds and into the warmth of the twin suns. Hovering among these high cloud tops, they remained unreachable by any mere human. Here, dragons of all shapes and sorts lived in peace; they called their island nation Mysteria.

Gargoyle stood on the top of that highest peak, waiting to greet the rising suns. Witnessing the birth of a new day was one of his few private pleasures. Despite having skin so dense that it literally comprised of stone, his great strength allowed him to fly with both speed and skill. Having a flat face with pointed ears and a curious mane like a male lion was atypical. Gargoyle carried the appearance of a human being. However, with an impressive ten foot wingspan, long curved horns, and a sickle clawed tail, he ruled the skies. The humans on Gaia, who had seen him, had a different name for him, Manticore. Gargoyle was amused by his odd likeness to a human mythological monster. It gave him an edge when dealing with them; his mere appearance inspired fear. As captain of the royal guard, it was his duty to patrol all nine islands. This was even more comical; there weren’t any credible threats to their nation for many centuries. “At last, the warm season has begun!” Joyous, he muttered. “The mist has almost completely evaporated; it looks to be a glorious day!”

Gargoyle watched the islands come into view; the suns’ warmth clearing away the mist from the clouds. Beyond them, far below, was the blue planet they called Gaia. The humans who ruled there were a strange lot to be certain. Very few possessed any magic and they communicated with an odd series of bizarre sounds through their mouths. Stranger still, they used a form of body language with facial expressions to enhance those sounds. Dragons talked through their minds, vocal communication was never necessary. Learning the human's language was not an easy feat.

“Such unfortunate, barbaric beings,” Shaking his head, he stated. “So young in their civilizations, they still have not learned to find strength in their own differences.”

Dragons saw the humans as creatures best to avoid and leave to their own devices. True, they had the ability to fly with their curious machines; a few could even fly as high as the islands. Only those who reached such heights never even noticed them. For that reason, Gargoyle did not see them as a threat; not a serious one anyway.

He started his patrol circling Alpha Island, the largest and center most of the nine. There, the king and queen lived in the palace with their family and aides. Carved entirely out of a massive mountain of solid rock, the palace took nearly a full century to construct. The ragged outer shell was molded along the ridgelines to resemble giant wings which encircled the five towers within. Reaching out from under the wings, two mammoth sized clasped fingers of iron barred entry. The highest tower curved at the top and held the stone head of a gigantic dragon. Together, they formed the likeness of Draco, the Dragons’ God of protection. With His jagged granite armored hide, mighty wings, fierce curved horns, and gleaming fangs, He was a force to be reckoned with. He stood guard over the palace, his red ruby eyes shinning towards the north.

The palace itself stood as a testament of dragon engineering. It was a tall, round tower with rounded spiraling ledges that held long spikes all along its length. The ledges bared the resemblance of Draco's long body with His spikes protecting the many wide doorways into the palace. The final three towers were meticulously molded into the shape of the heroic trio. Vertigo of wind, Inferno of fire, and Fathom of water; these were famous dragons from their mythology. While Draco stared solidly to the north, Inferno looked out to the East at the rising sun. Vertigo looked west to the on coming storms. Fathom, bearing two long necks and two heads, peered around each side of Draco to the south. Armed guards stood within these towers keeping a vigilant watch for any threats. The palace tower ended in a narrow pointed tip; Draco’s spear.

Gargoyle's ears perked up, an open mouthed smile forming on his face. The sickle like claw was tucked away in his club like tail as is swished back and forth in a slow motion. He was happy to see all was well around the palace and the acres of majestic forest land that surrounded it. He then continued on with his patrol. He dived down below Alpha Island, certain to avoid the volcanoes that gave the islands its lift and stability. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, he flew north to Beta Island, the second largest of the nine and his home. There, a large majority of the dragons lived in the shadow of the palace. Gargoyle remained in good spirits, gliding over the many rooftops and activity fields. He kept his oval eyes sharp for anything that seemed out of the ordinary. Again, he saw nothing unusual or out of place and circled back, moving northeast.

Delta Island was east of Alpha and was the center of the entire kingdom’s technology. Everything that dragons used in their daily lives was invented there. Gargoyle's ears moved back forward, up and down, trying to catch any alarming sounds. He locked his jaws in concentration, scanning the ground with scrutiny as he flew over the many workshops. Tensions rose high here; fights often broke out. Still, they were never so serious as to disturb the peace everyone enjoyed. Gargoyle was relieved to find all was calm for the moment and flew west to the next island.

Guardian Island was where dragons of age were taught how to fight with both their raw talent and weapons. All dragons were required to know how to fight but only a few were selected for the armed forces and few of those for the royal guard. Gargoyle flew over the training fields, casting a fearful shadow onto the younglings who all looked up at him. Most all knew of his reputation as a fierce fighter only one spit a small ball of fire at him in a show of his own might. A grin touched the corners of Gargoyle’s mouth, seeing the small burning projectile. A series of clicks echoed from his mouth in the form of a purr like laugh. A flick of his tail was all that was required to deflect the tiny fiery blast. Startled, the young dragon jumped aside; the fire ball barely missed him. His peers and instructors reacted with the same purr like laugh. "Practice, lad." Amused, Gargoyle called to the youngling. "You will become powerful in your own time."

The scales around the lad's face turned a tint of red as his ears slowly folded back, showing his feeling of embarrassment. Still, he gave a laugh of his own. Gargoyle was pleased that he had not badly injured the lad's pride and continued on with his morning rounds. The other five islands of the nine had their own purposes but were not as crucial as the main four. Still, they were a part of his patrol path and he flew over them with a watchful eye for any danger or threat.

Gargoyle was just finishing his patrol when an unfamiliar roar reached his ears. He twirled around with a flick of his wings, bearing the sickle claw on his tail. With his ears back but open and teeth bared, he found himself facing a most unusual sight. Flying towards him was a mechanical dragon! There was no doubt in Gargoyle’s mind that the sight before him was a machine; it was too symmetrical to be a living being. Yet it flapped its bat like wings and flicked its double sickle clawed tail with such grace it seemed almost alive. She had odd but beautiful coloration with protruding crystal eyes and a long neck that turned back once or twice. Seeing no horns on its head, Gargoyle assumed the machine was made to resemble a female dragon. His curiosity was peaked; humans had never seen a real dragon to his knowledge.

From below, a more typical flying machine made an appearance; it spit tiny balls of fire at the mechanical creature. The ‘dragon’ turned its long neck in an almost nonchalant manner to look down at what was attacking her. The machine flew up along her full length; spitting its fire balls before circling back to continue its assault. Smoke and flames erupted from the nose of the ‘dragon’ before a sizable stream of fire spewed from it at the offending pursuer. The flying machine rolled out of the way then circled again. The ‘dragon’ danced gracefully around the clumsy flying machine as if to toy with it. Only Gargoyle’s trained eyes knew different; she was desperately trying to escape.

It was more his curiosity than any security threat that moved Gargoyle into action. The mechanical dragon was more than a machine; it was a work of art. Whoever created it had to have knowledge of dragons and advanced skills in mechanics. The only way he was going to get a closer look was to dispense with the pursuing flying machine. Once that was done, he could force the ‘dragon’ to land somewhere. Omega Island, the smallest of the nine was the safest choice; its only use was to send troubled youths to sort out their anger alone. At the present, it was completely deserted; the perfect place to confront this machine and her pilot.

With a roar of battle, Gargoyle flew towards the flying machine. Fear and surprise were clear on the pilot’s face as he screamed in fright. Gargoyle punched a gaping hole in the tail with a single blow of his sickle claw as he passed. The man struggled with the clumsy controls as his machine spiraled down towards the ocean below. Gargoyle dove in for another pass. He spewed out a red hot sludge of rocks and soil in a stream onto the thin metal wings. They melted away in seconds, forcing the flying machine to crash dive into the water. The pilot was not killed but he would have a long swim home.
Satisfied the flying machine was no longer a threat, Gargoyle turned to deal with the mechanical dragon. Only he was surprised to see her land on Omega Island. She did not land like any other human flying machine with its ridiculous air filled wheels; it had metal legs. The metallic wings flapped vigorously, slowing its descent as it gently touched down. Her head lowered to the ground and its eyes slid back, revealing the one pilot within. Gargoyle landed a few meters away and approached with caution. As he drew closer, he saw that the pilot was an elderly female. She was grasping her chest, breathing in an unnatural way; there was a large circle of blood there.

One of the fire shards from the flying machine must have made a lucky strike through the glass eye.
He stepped closer and found that the old woman was very pale, gasping for each breath as she stared wide eyed at him. She drew a long, labored breath and choked, “Please… Please take care of her."

The old woman then stopped breathing and fell limp. Gargoyle bowed his head, knowing that there was nothing he could have done to avoid her demise. She was too old for a human and too badly injured. Only he was puzzled by her last words. She begged him to take care of ‘her’ who was he supposed to take care of? Suddenly, a sound that resembled a battle cry reached his ears and he jumped back, raising his tail to be ready for anything. He searched for the source of the sound to find something in the second seat of the strange flying machine that he had never laid eyes upon before. It was a naked human baby!

Gargoyle found himself curiously mesmerized by this tiny being. She had fair skin, deep moon grey eyes, and a dim golden aura about her. It was magic; but an odd type he had never seen or sensed before. This tiny human girl was clearly different from any other of her kind. Turing to the deceased old woman, he was a witness to her glowing bright then vanishing into a cloud of sparking dust. The strange glowing cloud flowed from where she once was to the infant. Her glow become brighter for a moment then dimmed once again.

“Witchcraft… The old woman had magic.” Whispering, he mused. “That must be what allowed her to see the islands.” His stone like brows furrowed. “Only how did she know they existed and why was she running from her own kind?”

The tiny girl gave another wail, causing Gargoyle to turn back to her. He stared at her and she stared right back before she cooed, reaching her arms out at him, smiling. A small grin cracked upon Gargoyle’s face as he reached down to touch the little girl. She grabbed his finger and squeezed.
“Ow!” Gargoyle was very surprised by the strength of the tiny girl and pulled away to inspect his finger. There was no obvious damage but it was clear to him that this was no ordinary human.

“You are a strong one, you are.” Smiling at the baby, he said. “I will honor your mother’s last request and care for you.” He sighed. “I am not certain how Crystal will react when she sees you though.”

With that, Gargoyle gently lifted the human baby out of the machine and took to the air with it in his arms.

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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2000287