Charlotte

The Lost Dragon

A great, sandy-gold dragon walked through the pine forest. Sun beams fell from the sky catching on his scales in dappled patterns. The dragon’s name was Garin, a name that in dragon tongue meant “Stone.” His back was a tangled mass of thin scars made by cracking whips for he had once been a slave to humans. He had gone from one master to the next, but had never stopped fighting, had never stopped believing that he was meant to be free. Finally, after 70 years, one master had recognized the untamable fire in his eye - the will to someday be free - he had seen it and had understood it. He had let him go. But that had been thirty years before; he had been living alone in the pine forest ever since. The seventy years he spent as a slave changed him, making him stronger then he had ever dreamed.

Garin closed his eyes and breathed in, tasting the fresh scents in the air. But then he paused. He tasted blood in the air, dragon’s blood. His head snapped up, listening, he could hear nothing. He lifted his nose and took in a deep breath, smelling the blood, pin-pointing its location. Once he discerned the source, he slowly followed it, keeping his head down. He knew that an injured dragon may not be friendly, but curiosity got the better of him. Besides, if the dragon attacked him he could just fight it off.
Keeping his head down, he followed the scent of blood until he reached a small clearing where a large stone jutted out of the earth. On the stone lay a dragon as black as night. It had two pairs of wings, the first at its shoulder blades, the second and smaller pair at its flank. Garin approached, slowly, cautiously, then paused. Dragon’s sizes ranged from as tall as a pine tree to as small as a human arm, but this small dragon was not full grown. In fact, it looked like a fledgling, barely old enough to fly. Garin lifted his muzzle and smelled the air, the dragon smelled male. Garin walked over to the stone and stared at the black dragon. The young dragon was bathed in blood. Claw marks streaked across his body. Dragon claw marks. The black dragon stared forward, barely breathing. Garin watched him for a moment then gently pushed his head under the limp body and let the young dragon slide down his neck. He turned and carried the black dragon away to his home.

Garin gently laid the dragon down on the large stone he used for a bed and stepped back. He stared at the bleeding dragon for a moment, then turned, opened his great wings and took off to search for healing herbs. When he returned, he put the plants in the pool of water at the back of his cave, stepped back and blew dark red fire at the pool causing the water to boil. He returned to the young dragon. “My name is Garin,” he said, “I found you in the woods.” He lifted his claw and gently felt the blood stained limbs, finding the back-left leg to be broken. Garin poured the herbal mixture on the wounds then bandaged them, putting the young dragon’s leg in a splint. “I need to hunt.” he said gently. “You and I need to eat.” Then he left.

Months passed, Garin caring for the black dragon, re-dressing his wounds, feeding him. The wounds and leg healed, leaving only scars. The dragon, however, said nothing. Sometimes Garin would see him silently crying, and at night he would twitch and call out in his sleep. Whomever the black dragon was, he had seen things no one should. Almost every day, Garin went to the stone in the woods where he had found him, but there was never anyone waiting for him, no one looking for the lost dragon. Garin took to calling the young dragon Rugin which meant “silent” in dragon tongue. Six months after finding him, Garin flew into the cave carrying a deer for breakfast. He put it down and Rugin walked over, looked at the deer, then up at Garin. A brief smile crossed over his over muzzle, then it faded as quickly as it had appeared. Garin found himself smiling back, something that hadn’t happened for nearly 70 years.

As time passed, Garin found that he enjoyed Rugin’s company. He found himself smiling more and more often. One day, after about a year, he turned to Rugin and said, “I have to go hunt Rugin, look after yourself,” as he said every day, but Rugin flung himself at Garin, nearly pushing him over. He stared at him, his blue eyes filling with tears, and shook his head vigorously, the message clear. Garin smiled and lowered his head. “All right,” he whispered, “I will stay.” Rugin looked at him, a smile appearing over his tear streaked face. “Thank you,” he whispered. Rugin spoke more over the next months, but his words were few and far in between. Garin learned hints and pieces of his story - his father had left before he had been hatched, he had once had a sister and a brother - but Garin never asked why he had found him on that stone. Garin found himself telling Rugin his own story, how he had been born a slave, how he had once loved, how he had never stopped fighting.

Finally, one day Rugin looked at him and spoke, telling him his story. He had grown up without a father, and when he was 20, his mother left to find a large stone to teach her children to fly. His older brother made the first attempt, he had leaped off the stone and glided roughly down. Then his older sister had climbed up and was preparing to jump when a horrible roar echoed across the sky. His mother had looked up, a blanket of fear covering her face. She had turned to her children and said, “hide in the small cave you play in and don’t come out!” Rugin and his siblings had run inside the cave, each of them too terrified to ask why. Then their mother crouched down and spread out her wings, growling, preparing to fight, although the entrance to the cave was far bigger than she. The sound of flapping wings reached Rugin’s ears, it grew louder and louder until the source of the flapping was seen as a huge, gray dragon flew into the cave. He glared at their mother and growled, “You know why I’m here. Give me the location of the Queen’s egg and I will let you go.” Their mother had snarled. “Never,” she said, then lunged at him even though the dragon was twice her size. Blood soon stained the stone floor. Cries of both Rugin’s mother and the strange dragon echoed throughout the cave. His mother, however, was no match for the dragon and soon lay on the floor, unmoving. Rugin sat, frozen. His brother and sister burst from their hiding place and attacked the dragon, meeting the same fate as their mother. Rugin stared at them in horror, an anger taking over him, blinding him. He charged out of his hiding place, attacking the gray dragon. Everything after that was a blur. He remembered killing the gray dragon, feeling the cold, dead bodies of his sibling, then lying next to his dying mother. Then he flew away. He flew until his weak wings collapsed, falling out of the sky, landing on the stone. He had lain there for hours, bleeding, crying, before Garin found him.

The black dragon looked at Garin. “Thank you,” he said, “for everything. And my name is Korosomb.” Garin smiled, “Korosomb. That means ‘Night’ in human, you know. Korosomb, I had been living alone for thirty years, until you came. And now I can’t imagine life without you.” Korosomb smiled, “Are you sure you know what you’re asking?” he said. “I can be a
pain sometimes.” Garin nodded, “Please stay with me. I might not be your father, but I can be your friend.” Korosomb’s smile widened, “I have been waiting for you to ask me that for the last few years.” He paused. “And you’re the only father I’ve ever known.”