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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2221119
The Lair Contest Entry May 2020 - 3rd Place
Minerva waited.

She wanted to stretch: spread her wings as far as they would go, stand up straight with spine uncurled, and her tail, especially that spot right near the tip that felt like it was being pinched, needed to be extended to its furthest reaches.

But she could not.

She has been encased in this marble tomb since the death of the Queen, her other. Together they acted as one, not exactly reading each others thoughts, but knowing without thought. A synchronous pair. Unfortunately humans don't last as long as dragons, but, they are reborn.

Now Minerva waits for the Queen's return. The Queen is her purpose and she is the Queen's power. Together they are a force mightier than the strongest army.

Eventually people wandered into the deep forest and found her. Finding they could not move the marble statue they built around it.

First it was a garden. Monks kept the garden. Minerva became their symbol, a symbol of strength and power. Flags flew with the likeness of the Wyvern. Visitors came, traveling vast distances, to see the marble dragon.

Some came just so that they could say they had, regaling friends and family with tales of the voyage and the wonder of the statue in the forest garden.

Others came to touch Minerva, hoping the great power that had created her would deign to grant them whatever small wish they asked of it. Most sought to be restored to good health. Others wished for a power of their own.

And then there were the artists. Carefully they mixed their pigments trying to get that exact shade of green that graced her curled tail, that brown a few shades lighter than the earth that adorned her exposed belly, or the pale gold of her eyes as they gazed upon the world. The artists were Minerva's favorite.

They drew and painted the wyvern that they saw, not necessarily the dragon that was. There were portraits of Minerva bursting through the dense forest, languidly resting amidst an abundance of flowers, glaring menacingly through an inferno, and even some of her surrounded by lesser creatures. Minerva enjoyed each and every insight into her mind's eye.

Eventually this time too passed, the garden forsaken and overgrown.

Soon enough more people came. This time they built a building around her, austere and cavernous. She did not like this place. There were no flowers, no trees, nor sky, nor wind. And she missed all of the forest animals. She even missed the rain. Now the humans used cloths to clean and polish her marbleness to a lovely sheen.

The people loved her and cared for her dutifully. Minerva felt a twinge of guilt at the happiness she felt when this time passed into the annals of history.

By and by the forest destroyed the building and reclaimed Minerva.

One day there came a thunderous noise, something large and cumbersome, lumbered toward the small clearing where Minerva stood. Animals scurried to safety. Birds flew off in the opposite direction. The ground trembled.

Suddenly a small child burst through the trees, stumbled over some building remnants and landed at Minerva's feet. She looked up at the green apparition that sprouted from the forest floor, her face pale, her eyes huge. A clash of metal sent the child scurrying under the statue. As she slid into that small space the girl grabbed a hold of Minerva's leg.

Minerva bellowed, her voice bringing silence to the forest. She stretched her wings as far as she could, relishing the feel of her muscles once more. She extended her tail, smacking it on the ground a few times to eliminate that wretched pinch. She raised herself to her full height on her thickly muscled legs, her spine cracking and popping as she went.

Ah, the joy!

That thunderous noise started her way once again. Minerva looked down at the tiny girl child, the Queen reborn, as she gaped at the statue come alive. Understanding slowly came upon the child.

A horrendous noise startled the two, bringing them back to the problem at hand.

"I am Azaya of Earlton, I carry an item of great importance to the Magician's Keep." She patted the pouch tied to her waist. "It is something they need to stop the Horde. Will you help me?"

Minerva has been bouncing from foot to foot during Queen Azaya's little speech. As soon as it was done she used her wings to scoop up the waif, plopped Azaya onto her back just behind her wings, and took off running. As soon as she felt the Queen settle into a safe position Minerva unfurled her wings and took to the air.

This time her bellow shook the forest floor, again and again she let loose as she floated along unable to contain her joy.

Minerva again has a purpose.
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