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DragonWriter
December 22nd, 2012, 11:48 PM
(Chapter 2 is missing some background concluding the talk with Latha and Kaena, but I'm a bit stuck on that part...so this is the next day, after her 'dream'.)


Chapter 2
Iridessa

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Upon waking the next morning, Kaena momentarily forgot about what had transpired the night previous, and her waking mind simply dismissed it as a dream. Today was just another normal day with normal duties. Kaena promptly prepared for the day's work, though not with much enthusiasm. Work was not something she particularly liked or disliked, although she was grateful she didn't have to spend her day indoors learning how to cook and clean. Kaena grabbed her wicker basket and swung the small gate leading outdoors open. The sun shone brightly, lighting up the whole world with daylight. A new day had begun. Kaena breathed in the fresh spring air, grateful to be alive on such a glorious day. She swung her basket rhythmically and hummed a little tune, walking idly down the path. She had to finish weeding the garden, which Kaena did not find enjoyable but was unfortunately necessary. Kaena was determined to finish earlier than normal today. Her father had hinted at a possible trip to town, and Kaena did not want to miss such a rare treat.
Half of the day passed rather quickly, and by the time the sun was shining right over head, Kaena ached all over. She mopped the perspiration from her sweaty brow with a cloth, and took a deep breath. "I need a break! I don't care that Mother wanted it done by noon, I'm just wiped out!"
Kaena plopped down on the ground and took a long drink from her bottle. The water felt so chillingly good as it ran down her throat, and Kaena was tempted to splash it all over her. However, their drinking water supply was limited, so she had to resist the urge. But oh how good it would feel!
Kaena gazed lingeringly at the shining brook just a couple feet behind her. They might not have drinking water to spare, but they certainly had other water! Kaena peeled her shoes off and made a dash for the water's edge. Gingerly, as not to soak her clothes as well, she lowered her feet into the sparkling brook. She let out a soft sigh as the water cooled off her aching feet, but the relief that it brought simply made her want more. She pulled her dripping feet out, trying to resist the urge to plunge her whole body in. it was as if the brook was laughing, calling her. "Come in, come in. Play with me!"
Kaena shook her head as if to dispel the thought. Her mother would be furious if Kaena soaked her clothes. But the least she could do was cool her face off. Kaena quickly and deftly pinned her hair up before thrusting her hands into the water and splashing the water on her face. Ah, relief. Then Kaena noted something peculiar, something at the bottom of the water. The brook's bottom was normally lined with large smooth stones, but one in particular stood out to Kaena. Perhaps it was nothing, but between two sandy slabs was lodged a sparkling jet black stone. It seemed to not only reflect the blinding light of the sun, but something more. Well, the only was she was going to get it would be to plunge her face in. Kaena grinned. Her mother would be completely fine with that excuse! Kaena wasted no time in dunking her face into the water. She felt the water rush over her eyelids, and after a moment she opened them. The jet black stone sparkled before her eyes, reflecting her face like a glass mirror. Kaena resisted the urge to giggle at her own disheveled looks. Using one hand to steady herself on the bank, she quickly reached down with the other to grasp her prize. It was lodged tightly between the other stones, and for a moment Kaena though it wouldn't budge. Then, as if it had been slicked with oil, the stone eased from its place with little effort. Kaena was surprised but quickly pulled herself up, feeling droplets of water cling to her face. Kaena smiled as she rubbed her hand on the stone's smooth surface. Its coloring was like that of a midnight sky, neither black nor blue but reminiscent of a deep purple. it sparkled as if with its own light with a light so bright Kaena could hardly view it. She kept it down as she hurried under the shade of a large oak tree where she could safely view it without being blinded by the reflection of the sun. Kaena felt very intrigued by this unusual stone, and the mysteries that surrounded it. Kaena stroked the smooth surface idly. It was cool to the touch, even though the air around was rather warm. Although the surface was smooth, it did not feel like the weather-worn surface of the regular stones that covered the bottom of the brook. In her scrutiny she wasn’t being careful enough, however, and it slipped from her hands. Before she could stop it, the stone had rolled down the hill and knocked into a large boulder with a resounding thump. Kaena quickly ran down and retrieved her stone, worrying that something might have happened to damage the value.
Her worst fears were confirmed. A thin crack ran down the entire left side of the otherwise flawless stone. She silently berated herself for being so careless and fiddled with an idea for concealing the flaw when another crack appeared.
Kaena blinked. That crack had not been an accident, unless the stone was hollow inside. Curious, she waited to see what would happen next. The stone started to rock back and forth rhythmically, with a thin network of cracks developing along the whole surface. A small chink of the stone formed, and Kaena saw a blinking jet eye peek out at her. She gasped as she realized she was holding an egg! And not just any egg, if her suspicions were right.
The gap began to widen as tiny teeth and claws tried to scratch a way out. The baby seemed to give up hope on that area for the time being and tried poking a way out the top. Kaena watched as a tiny club-like projection appeared out of the newly made hole on top. It retreated back inside, and Kaena watched as more of the top was bashed off until a reasonable sized hole was made. A tiny head appeared out the opening, blinking large eyes at the intense sunlight. The egg rocked some more as the baby tried to worm its way out, resulting in the egg falling over. Kaena gasped, but the baby was okay. It began to bite at the sides of the opening, trying to enlarge it enough to squeeze through. Once it was a satisfactory size, the newborn emerged from the empty shell. It wavered a bit as it struggled to find a sense of balance, looking around curiously. The baby's tail thumped on the ground, still partway inside the egg. Once the creature was situated, it let out a soft squeak and turned its gaze up towards Kaena. The creature had an elongated body and shimmering purple scales that shone brilliantly in the sunlight, so there was no doubt as to its identity. The creature was a dragon.
Kaena lifted her hands up so they were level with her face, watching with curiosity to see what the mini dragon would do. "Dragons are dangerous!" was her mind’s first reaction. Kaena flinched. Somehow the thought had never crossed her mind that such an innocent-looking baby could be dangerous! She had heard many tragic tales about someone underestimated their enemy, except, what was she thinking? Only red, orange, and yellow dragons had even a possibility of breathing fire, and this dragon was purple, each individual scale sparkling like a polished amethyst. Those tiny claws could probably do only as much damage as her fingernails if that even, and the newborn could hardly do more than squeak. It was in no way dangerous to her physically, and unless the helplessness was an act, the dragon would be dependent on someone else for food, shelter and other necessities.
It was only about the size of a kitten—no, she was about the size of a kitten. Somehow Kaena had certainty that the little miracle was female. She stared in awe at the dragon, pushing aside any thoughts of it being dangerous. The little dragon wobbled forward to rub up against Kaena’s cheek affectionately. Her almond-shaped eyes met Kaena’s green gaze, and Kaena could feel a mental connection between them, much like the one she had established with Latha. One word flashed through Kaena’s mind as she held the newborn’s gaze: Iridessa. She was brilliantly iridescent, and Kaena wondered if that’s where the name had come from.
”Iridessa?” she asked, unsure what the dragon would think.
The little dragon expressed her pleasure through a soft squeak and rubbed up against Kaena's chin, making a purring noise not unlike a cat would. Kaena smiled and snuggled her tiny friend close to her chest. She slowly lowered her body to the ground, hands still securely holding Iridessa, who was peeking over the edge and squeaking softly to herself.
Kaena spread her legs out and set Iridessa down between them. She withdrew her hands and waited to see what her dragon would do. Iridessa responded with a squeal of surprise, whirling around as if she had lost something. Her gaze finally rested on Kaena, and only then did she relax. Stretching one small foot up, she gingerly placed it on Kaena’s leg, then looked up at her mistress to see the response. Kaena remained silent, so Iridessa proceeded to put her other foot on and pull herself up onto Kaena’s leg.
She looked confused and began to make soft clicking sounds. Kaena was pleasantly surprised at how much Iridessa trusted her. She reached down with her index finger and gingerly stroked the ridge between Iridessa’s eyes. Her dragon responded with a rumbling purr not unlike a cat might, and when Kaena stopped she pushed against the finger, begging for more.
Optimistic, Kaena began to stroke Iridessa’s side, feeling part of her soft underbelly. As she rubbed the dragon's pale belly, she felt a rumble from Iridessa, as if she was laughing. Kaena smiled. She felt like a mother caring for her baby as she gave Iridessa the affection she desired.
When Iridessa suddenly flipped back onto her feet again, Kaena wondered if she had offended the dragon. Instead, Iridessa sat down and began to mewl pitifully. She nosed Kaena’s finger, rubbing against it and giving it a slight nip. She then lowered her snout to Kaena’s pant leg and tried to nibble it. She did this with several other things until Kaena realized that her comrade was hungry.
Normally Iridessa’s mother would bring her food, and she would learn later on to catch it herself, but Kaena was Iridessa’s provider. Neither Kaena nor Iridessa knew what dragons ate, but what Iridessa knew was that she was hungry and as her foster mother Kaena was supposed to supply a food source. Kaena, however, was clueless as to what to feed Iridessa. She had heard that full grown dragons could eat livestock whole, but surely their babies couldn’t eat real meat! Iridessa’s tiny nip had felt like nothing more than a pinch, so what was soft enough that she could digest? Kaena would not be chewing up anything for Iridessa to eat like other animals did. Iridessa would just have to learn a different way.
Kaena looked around her surroundings and overturned a small rock near her. Her search was rewarded. Several nasty-looking creepy-crawlies emerged from their hiding place. Iridessa’s interest was piqued, and she wandered over to one of the smaller looking bugs, eying it curiously. When it moved towards her, Iridessa squealed and ran towards the safety of Kaena’s hands.
Kaena sighed. Although she was not scared of bugs, neither was she particularly fond of them. When given the choice, she preferred to leave them alone, and had secretly hoped Iridessa might have shown a bit more courage than that.
Wondering to herself why baby dragons had to choose bugs for their diet, she picked up the small rock were the bugs had come from, dropping it on her target quickly. Kaena shuddered as she heard the sickening splat, and lifted up the rock up quickly, tossing it to the side to avoid touching any more of it than she had to.
Iridessa, curiosity once again aroused, ventured over to the remains of the bug and sat patiently on her haunches, waiting for it to make a move. When nothing happened, she lowered her snout to sniff it. She began to lick the food with a tiny pink tongue until it was gone. Once finished, she looked up at Kaena expectantly.
“More?” Kaena asked.
Iridessa squeaked; Kaena sighed. Reluctantly she killed another bug with the rock, waiting as Iridessa leisurely licked up the remains. Kaena tried to get Iridessa to attack one of the bugs once, but the dragon responded by cowering in fear next to Kaena’s side.
Kaena tried several times to train Iridessa to hunt her own food, but gave up when she realized her dragon was just too small to hunt yet. Instead, she stood up to try and find her basket. Iridessa squealed so frantically though that Kaena was forced to abandon her mission. She picked up her tiny charge and held her close to her face. Iridessa looked so cute, even with wide eyes and trembling knees. Kaena murmured soft words to the frightened dragon, who finally relaxed and began to hum contentedly. Kaena realized then just how dependent the dragon would be on someone else. If she let Iridessa go on her own, she would probably die, either from lack of care or a spiteful human.
Kaena could never allow something like that to happen to a defenseless creature, no matter how prejudiced other people were! Kaena had an iron will when she set her mind to something, and right then and there she whispered fiercely to her new companion, “No matter what anyone else thinks, I won’t ever abandon you to fend for yourself! I will care for you and protect you in every way I can, my little Iridessa!”
Iridessa responded by opening her mouth wide and yawning, unmoved by Kaena’s fervent speech. She curled up in Kaena's hands and promptly went to sleep.
"Great, now what?"
Kaena gently moved her hands, stopping to see if the dragon would stir from her slumber. She didn't. Kaena moved sleeping Iridessa into her basket on top of an old cloth, and quickly and quietly finished weeding the garden. When she was done, it was time for her to go inside. Kaena peeked inside to make sure Iridessa was still sound asleep before covering her with a blanket and making her way back inside, careful not to jostle her charge. She quietly ascended to her room and shut the door, trying not to attract attention. Placing the basket on her bed, she reluctantly left to eat. Kaena knew her parents would not approve of her new friend, no matter what she said, so Iridessa had to remain a secret. Throughout dinner Kaena tried to act normal, but secretly wondered what was going on in her room, and if her family would find out. After she had eaten, Kaena went into her room and opened her bag. To her dismay, Iridessa was not inside!
Kaena called out with her mind. Iridessa! Where are you?
A muffled squeak from under her bed answered her call. Kaena ducked down and looked under her bed. A small purple shape was cuddled up in her wool sweater.
Kaena laughed. “So that’s where my sweater went.”
A comical sight met her eyes. The little purple dragon had gotten entangled in Kaena’s lost sweater, and her head was sticking out of one of the sleeves. She stared at Kaena with a pitiful mewl not much different from a kitten’s. Kaena let out a breath of relief as she rescued the trapped Iridessa from the sweater.
She held the little dragon in her cupped hands, starting to scold her for running off. But the frightened look in Iridessa’s eyes told Kaena that her petite charge needed to be comforted, not chastised. She coddled Iridessa, murmuring words of comfort into her small mind. The baby dragon let out a tiny yawn, and curled up in Kaena’s hands to go back to sleep. Kaena guessed that even just such a short struggle had quickly tired the miniscule dragon out again. She slowly lifted and deposited the sleeping dragon next to her pillow and carefully crawled in alongside so she would not disturb Iridessa. Before Kaena closed her eyes, she looked at Iridessa one last time. Satisfied that her dragon was truly asleep, Kaena let her mind drift off as she sank into a restful slumber.

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Kitana
December 28th, 2012, 03:01 AM
Hiya I'd like to start off first by saying that I really enjoyed reading this. That said I did see a couple of things and really they may be rather nit-picky, if so forgive me.

First I'll start off with this:

However, their drinking water supply was limited, so she had to resist the urge. But oh how good it would feel!
Kaena gazed lingeringly at the shining brook just a couple feet behind her. They might not have drinking water to spare, but they certainly had other water!

This here had me slightly confused. Why is their drinking water limited if they have a brook nearby? Can they not sterilize the water there or is it not drinkable for a reason? I'm sorry if it's nitpick-ish but I felt it worth mentioning as it took me off the flow of the story a bit.

Next:

Kaena moved sleeping Iridessa into her basket on top of an old cloth, and quickly and quietly finished weeding the garden. When she was done, it was time for her to go inside. Kaena peeked inside to make sure Iridessa was still sound asleep before covering her with a blanket and making her way back inside, careful not to jostle her charge. She quietly ascended to her room and shut the door, trying not to attract attention. Placing the basket on her bed, she reluctantly left to eat. Kaena knew her parents would not approve of her new friend, no matter what she said, so Iridessa had to remain a secret. Throughout dinner Kaena tried to act normal, but secretly wondered what was going on in her room, and if her family would find out. After she had eaten, Kaena went into her room and opened her bag.

Another very small nitpick-ish mistake I found was where you referred to the Basket as a Bag instead. I thought perhaps I missed something where you may of transferred the dragon to a bag but didn't find anything. So I thought it just must be a mistake you may of missed in editing.


But those really are the only things that really stood out for me. Other wise I think this is very well written so far and the way you detailed things was great, I was really able to imagine Kaena and Iridessa interacting as if I was actually watching it. I hope this helps in any way for you. And thank you for sharing this I'm definitely interested in reading more of what will happen with these two.

DragonWriter
December 29th, 2012, 03:11 AM
Well, they probably could sterilize the water if they wanted to...but Elisse just doesn't like them drinking water from the brook, because who knows what could be in it! (even if they sterilized it) Maybe I should change that though it if interrupts the flow
Oops :P I had it as bag originally, and then decided basket would be better, but I didn't change the second one I guess :P
I didn't think that was too nitpicky; thanks for pointing it out, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story :)

Etherus
January 1st, 2013, 03:57 AM
I often suffer the same problem but I think you try to hard to stuff too many words in the passage without adding anything to the imagery. For instance just consider the first sentence.

Upon waking the next morning, Kaena momentarily forgot about what had transpired the night previous, and her waking mind simply dismissed it as a dream.

1. You make two attempts to express the time that this taking place. First you mention "the next morning" then later in the same sentence you say "the previous night".
2. Then you talk about "her waking mind" and add in the same sentence it was a "as a dream". Dreams as I think of them take place in the mind and are most often remembered as one awakes.

Can I suggest a better sentence, with less words that expresses everything you want to say might have been:

Upon waking, Kaena forgot what had transpired (the previous evening) and simply dismissed it as a dream.

The bracket is if you really need to indicate the time of day it is. Does that say what you had in mind?

The next couple of sentences.

Today was just another normal day with normal duties. Kaena promptly prepared for the day's work, though not with much enthusiasm. Work was not something she particularly liked or disliked, although she was grateful she didn't have to spend her day indoors learning how to cook and clean.

The first sentence conveys almost the same idea as the second and first part of the third even. If she is not enthusiastic then she might not do this "promptly" as indicated. Cooking and cleaning would be thought of by the reader as indoor jobs anyway.

She prepared for the days chores without much enthusiasm grateful she didn't have to spend her day learning how to cook and clean.

and so on....

Etherus
January 1st, 2013, 04:38 AM
The other thing I should have added to the above was I didn't get a very good picture of where she was or what her settings were about. Instead of packing the sentences with cotton wool as I mentioned, you might have described the garden or the kitchen and even the room she woke up in. What was on the walls, what did she notice, what did she hear, what did she feel, what did she do to prepare for the days chores. Create for me a mental picture of her environment.