A human baby girl is adopted by a family of dragons.
Nine islands slowly rose above 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 into the blessed warmth of the twin suns on their world, Gia. Hovering above the 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.|
On the top of that highest peak, the dragons called ‘Heaven’s Point’ a single figure stood waiting to greet the rising suns. His name was Gargoyle; a tall, muscular rock dragon who proudly served as the captain of the royal guard. Despite having skin so dense that it literally comprised of stone, his great strength and impressive ten foot wingspan allowed him to fly with both speed and skill. Possessing a flat face with rounded ears and a curious lion like mane was atypical; Gargoyle carried the appearance of a human. However, with his powerful wings, fierce curved horns, clawed hands, and sickle like tail, he was a force to be reckoned with. He drew in a cleansing breath, feeling the rays of the twin suns warming his body through his white robes. Witnessing the dawn of a new day always improved his morning outlook; the worries of yesterday were only a memory. He spoke to himself in a complex series of clicks, growls, purrs, and whines. It was their form of a vocal language. However, dragons saw vocal communication as sacred; only to be shared with one self or a loved one. They all spoke to each other telepathically. “The warm season has at last begun; the cold mist is already starting to evaporate.”
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 strange facial expressions to enhance the sounds. Those humans who had seen Gargoyle had given him a different name, Manticore. It somewhat bemused him to know that he had the likeness of one of their feared mythological monsters. It gave him an edge when dealing with them; his mere presence inspired fear. As captain of the royal guard, it was his duty to patrol all nine islands. This was even more comical to his mind; there weren’t any credible threats to their nation for many centuries.
He shook his head. “Such unfortunate, barbaric beings, so young in their civilizations, they still have not learned to find strength in their own differences.”
Dragons in general 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 paused, hearing the flapping of wings and looked out to see a young female unsteadily flying towards him with bat like wings. It was his teen year adopted daughter, Narita. Gargoyle and his life mate, Crystal adopted her shortly after her parents were forever lost to the sea in a great storm. Narita was a beautiful stone dragon with long silk blond hair tied into a single braid and an angelic face. She had deep green eyes, a cute button nose, and a warm smile. Her skin was very soft, moss like, but stone dense muscle lied underneath. Gargoyle smiled, watching her make a graceful though not perfect landing next to him. Her dress was a bit too short for his liking but it accented her hourglass figure very well.
“Good rise, Adfa.” Narita smiled shyly at her adopted father.
“Good rise, Adda.” Gargoyle embraced his daughter with both his arms and wings. “I am glad to see you able to fly this high without losing your breath.” He released her, smiling kindly. “You grow stronger by the season.”
Adfa and admo meant adopted father and adopted mother while adfa meant adopted daughter. It was a respectful greeting that gave tribute to the birth mother and father of an adopted child.
Narita was eager but also uncertain. “The day you had promised has come; to tell me the story of my birth family.” For as long as she could remember, her admo and adfa had told her that she would learn of her origins when she was old enough and strong enough to hear it.
Amused, Gargoyle chuckled. “You know that my morning duties must come first, Narita.” He was only lightly scolding as her pouts made her that much more adorable.
Narita pouted as Gargoyle had expected but she recovered quickly with a slight grin. “This is also the day you promised to take me on patrol with you, adfa.”
Gargoyle shook his head; a bemused look on his human like face. “You do grow stronger by the season. However, are you certain you can keep up with me, Narita?”
Narita nodded. “I have flown the patrol with Irec many times. He told me that I would make a fine royal guard.” She pouted. “That is, if I were male.”
Irec was a young cave dragon and Narita’s dear childhood friend. They had grown up together and he has proven his worth as a friend many times. He had asked Gargoyle for his permission to take Narita as his life mate but thus far, Gargoyle had refused due to their young age.
“The females protect our homes; they are just as fierce if not more so in the heat of battle.” Gargoyle’s words comforted Narita but she was still curious.
“Why do they not allow females on patrol, adfa?”
Gargoyle chuckled. “Because we only wish to drive intruders away, not kill them.”
Narita gave an insulted gasp and was about to protest the comment but Gargoyle interrupted. “I am starting my patrol. If you want to hear the story this season, you had best keep up with me.”
With a single motion of his wings, he was in the air and swiftly flying down the face of the mountain. Narita was quick to follow and the two were soon flying side by side over the islands.
Gargoyle smiled to see his adopted daughter able to keep up with him; she was stronger than many females her age. He however sighed, seeing her eagerness to hear the long promised story. Where am I to begin?”
Narita smiled. “You start at the beginning.”
Gargoyle chuckled and pointed down. “Below Mysteria lies Gaia, the world of humans.”
Narita nodded. “They are a strange lot to be certain.” She held back a giggle. “Queen Epoxy calls them ‘imps’.”
Gargoyle smiled. “Yes, because they are impatient, impulsive, impractical, and impossible creatures.”
Narita sighed. “It’s a pity. They make such wondrous structures.”
“They are unfortunate, barbaric beings.” Gargoyle shook his head. “It is for the best that they are left alone and avoided if ever possible.”
Narita raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “Admo told me that very few humans possessed magic. We called them Wiccans but why is that so important?”
“The Wiccans, those who possess magic understand our mind talk and can reply in kind.” Gargoyle smiled. “Your mother was an emissary to these small groups of humans. Those who do not have magic will never understand us unless we speak their language.” He laughed. “That is if they stay around long enough to listen.”
He then pointed down. “Our patrol begins around Alpha Island, the largest and center most of the nine.” He grinned. “It is also where your story began.”
Narita raised an inquisitive eyebrow. “My story began at the royal palace?” An air of excitement began to form in her eyes. “Are you saying I am a princess?”
Gargoyle laughed. “Not quite. Your mother served the queen and opened dialog with the Wiccans after one saved the princess who is now Queen Epoxy. She had foolishly traveled to the lowlands of the humans.”
Narita’s eyes fell; she looked down towards Gaia. “Are you are telling me that humans killed my parents?”
Sadness filled her voice only Gargoyle gently gripped her hand before a single tear could fall. “No… a great storm over the sea isolated your parents. Only that is just the beginning of their long and glorious story. They continue to commit acts of great heroics that earned them a place among our mythology.” He smiled at her. “My life mate and I are greatly honored to raise you as our adopted daughter.”
Narita’s eyes danced with wonder and excitement. “They are still alive?! Please tell me the story!”
Gargoyle smiled, pointing down at the royal palace. “The palace was carved out of a massive mountain of solid rock; it took nearly a full century to construct.”
“Adfa…” Narita rolled her eyes. “You were going to tell me the story of my birth parents, remember?”
Gargoyle chuckled. “The story of dragon history is just as important as your family history, youngling.”
Narita sighed. “Yes adfa.”
“The ragged outer shell was molded along the ridgelines to resemble giant wings which encircle the five towers within which encircle the palace itself.” Gargoyle saw Narita’s eyes widen slightly; he had got her attention. He continued. “Reaching out from under the wings, you will notice two mammoth sized clasped fingers of iron that bar entry.”
“The highest tower curves at the top and holds the stone head of a gigantic dragon.” Narita raised a single eye brow. “Who is that supposed to be?”
Gargoyle smiled; pleased his daughter was showing an interest. “The outer shell and highest tower form the likeness of Draco, our God of protection. With His jagged granite armored hide, fierce curved horns, and gleaming fangs, He is a force to be reckoned with. He stands guard over the palace with his red ruby eyes shining towards the north.”
“What about the palace itself, adfa?” Narita was showing genuine interest but wondered where it all fit into the story of her birth parents.
“The palace itself stands as a testament of dragon engineering.” Gargoyle showed pride in his voice. “It was built much like a pyramid only rounded like a coiled snake with a tower rising from its center point.”
Narita looked at the tower rising from the pyramid like structure and smiled. “The tower has rounded spiraling ledges with spikes along its full length.” She turned back to Gargoyle. “It’s Draco’s tail, right?”
“That is correct Narita; very good.” Gargoyle circled the palace with Narita at his side as he continued. “The spikes protect the high entrances into the palace. The tower ends in a long sharp point which represents Draco’s spear.”
Narita was really getting into the lesson as she studied the palace and its surrounding towers. “I recognize the likeness of the final three towers.” She smiled. “They were meticulously molded into the shape of the heroic trio.”
Gargoyle nodded and pointed to each tower as he named them. “Vertigo of wind, Inferno of fire, and Fathom of water; these are famous dragons from our ancient mythology. While Draco stares solidly to the north, the heroic dragons look to the south, east, and west. Armed guards stand within these towers keeping a vigilant watch for any threats.”
Narita suddenly frowned. “Adfa, what does this lesson have to do with my birth parents?”
Gargoyle turned to Narita smiling. “Your birth mother and father stand among those famous figures of mythology, my dear.”
Narita’s eyes grew wide as saucers; a gasp escaping her lips. “What?!”
Gargoyle descended with Narita following. He landed gracefully onto an even stone road and paused to help Narita. Her chest was heaving and the movement of her wings was becoming sluggish; she was losing her breath. With a slight chuckle, Gargoyle took her other hand and guided her onto her feet without much stumbling.
Narita bowed her head, her face blush with embarrassment. Tears swelled in her eyes which she dared not show. “I thought I could keep my breath. Please don’t deny me another season.”
Gargoyle smiled. “You need to work on your breathing.” He gently raised her chin so to face her. “We are at the first stop; you have some time to rest and gather your second wind.” He motioned to the stone road leading to the palace. “We walk from here.”
The stone path was a beautiful work of art. Every color of the rainbow glittered in the stones in elaborate patterns that resembled the waves of the ocean. Narita smiled; the walkways to and from the palace always had a peaceful effect on her when seen from above.
Gargoyle noticed her stare and stated, “The stones are made of crystal, fused at extreme temperatures. They are mined from the deserts of Gaia.”
Narita turned to him surprised as they walked. “Do we not have crystals here?” She raised a curious eyebrow. “Why are we so dependent upon the lowlands of humans?”
Gargoyle’s tone turned serious. “We are all connected, Narita. We depend upon them and they depend upon us though they are not yet aware of it. Like the crystals, we are all one people forged from many walks of life.”
The two stopped at a majestic fountain in a small courtyard where Gargoyle pointed out five stone dragons carved out of a single piece of crystal in the center of the fountain. The two on the top of the sculpture were sky dragons seemingly diving down towards the water. They were both holding the hands of two oceanic dragons. They were seemingly leaping from the water to greet the other two. Narita had always thought them to represent the unity between the two dragon types. The fifth dragon, off to the side, seemed to be watching the event. This fifth dragon was a strange type Narita did not recognize. There was a carving of a tiny human figure on top of its head, seemingly waving at the other four dragons.
Gargoyle smiled. “Narita, this courtyard is in tribute to a miracle that had happened in our recent history. The two winged dragons are your birth parents.”
Narita gazed at the statue in wonder. “Who are the ocean dwelling dragons then?”
Gargoyle chuckled. “They too are your birth parents. That is the miracle I mentioned and why they are not among us today.”
Narita turned to Gargoyle, a confused look on her face. “I do not understand. How did this happen?”
Gargoyle motioned to the statue of five dragons. “A young Wiccan girl rescued young princess Epoxy from the humans with a grand mechanical dragon forged from their magic. She returned the princess into the arms of the queen of Mysteria. The queen then promised the young Wiccan child the rite of the rebirth as a reward for her services.”
Narita was hanging on every word, captivated by the story. “What happened to my birth parents, adfa?”
Gargoyle sighed. “A powerful storm struck as the young Wiccan was ready to return to her people. Your birth parents bravely escorted the girl and her mechanical dragon back to the lowlands of Gia. There, they forged an alliance with the Wiccans of which we both reap great benefits from.” He frowned. “Sadly, the storm had worsened and your birth parents did not possess the strength to return to Mysteria and fell to the ocean.” He then smiled. That was when the miracle occurred. The Gods smiled upon your birth parents’ selfless deed and granted them the rebirth as oceanic dragons.”
Narita was impressed and awed. “That’s why we have such smooth trade with the seven oceanic kingdoms. My birth parents made it all possible.”
Gargoyle smiled proudly. “It is more than just that. They taught the oceanic dragons how to ‘fly’ through the waters, increasing their ability to defend themselves. As they retained their mental link with their flying dragon kin, they taught us how to ‘swim’ through the skies. It is through the combined styles that we all learned better ways to do many things.”
Narita gazed upon the statue, her eyes dancing with renewed pride. “My birth parents are heroes of Mythology…”
|Chapter||2||Adopting a Human||17.25k|