Consequences of a Rescue - Badda + Ariel

Baddamobs

Always elegant
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Cecelia wasn’t sure how being kidnapped by a dragon could possibly get WORSE – after all having your carriage lifted wholesale off the ground, your driver and footman being dropped into a treeline, and then being flown miles away from home and shoved into a dusty tower set the bar pretty low already.

But against all odds, she was finding that it did indeed get worse. After the initial panic had subsided, during which she had spent ducked in a dark corner throwing out every curse known to her, the waiting turned out to be the worst part. She had dreaded the idea of the giant lizard eating her, or worse being abducted as part of some plot by the creature’s master, but neither eventuality appeared to be the immediate case. After throwing her into the tower’s highest room, the dragon had curled itself around the base of the structure, a massive beast of gleaming crimson scales and deep rumbling breaths and sent the ancient stones shaking. And there it had sat, occasionally huffing out a breath of smoke and fire, staring balefully at the entrance to the small valley that the tower sat in the centre of. Almost like it was waiting for something.

Cecelia, realising her life wasn’t in immediate threat, had searched the room from top to bottom; after all, every second wasted now meant another second towards whatever evil plot she had been dragged into reaching fruition. She didn’t find much, aside from evidence that the tower had been some kind of watch point from when the borders between her father’s kingdom and the neighbouring kingdom of Palnaton had been disputed, now long abandoned with the years of peace. Unfortunately, all of its tools and supplies had long been either moved or outright looted, and now the dilapidation of time had caused its only stairwell to collapse into nothing. Cecelia guessed this tower hadn’t been chosen at random to be her prison, for indeed one would need wings to reach this high chamber unless they wished to risk scaling the crumbling walls of the building. Though, that option was something Cecelia kept in mind.

After this initial scan of her new ‘accommodations,’ however, came the dreadful waiting. Hours had passed, with Cecelia glancing warily out of one of the towers many windows to look down to the ever-watchful dragon between making futile efforts to search through the debris and rubble of the room again and again. No change occurred, however: the lizard was content to simply stare unendingly at the valley’s entrance, and why the princess had been dragged to this desolate place became no clearer.

At first Cecelia had paced the room, trying desperately to think who could have orchestrated this attack, coming up with a depressingly long list of her father’s enemies but no clear answer. After that, she had sat in one corner, looking at what few options were afforded her. All she had at her disposal was a small knife she kept for self-defence, the clothes on her back, a tattered sheet that had been shoved into one corner of the tower, and the endless chips and rocks that filled the room. That left two main options: either try to fight a dragon with a weapon that wouldn’t even tickle its thick hide and almost certainly die, or sit and wait. And thus, she sat and waited.

She had watched, blearily, as the shadows slowly inched across the room, minutes feeling like hours. As the sun had been going down, she heard a rumble of movement from down below, and before she could move to check, the dragon appeared at the window. Far from simply incinerating her with its fiery breath, however, the dragon had shoved an entire berry bush (roots and all) into the tower room, before dropping back down to the ground and resuming its vigil.

Cecelia had sat, frozen like a statue, in her corner, wide eyes looking at the bush that had been dropped unceremoniously in front of her. A slow and careful investigation revealed the berries were edible, at least the ones that hadn’t been squished. So, whatever was happening, she wasn’t intended to stave to death. A cold comfort.

And indeed, this became a pattern across the rest of her imprisonment. The dragon would dart off for a few hours in the late evening every few days, drop some kind of plant with edible fruit into the tower, and spend every other moment awake and alert. Cecelia had attempted an escape twice during the beast’s absence by carefully attempting to descend the tower’s side, and in both instances the dragon had come swooping back and forcefully throwing her back into the tower, growling with anger but otherwise leaving her unharmed.

These attempts had not been without worth, however: she had just about mapped out a route she could climb quickly down the tower, and she had in secret between stashing some of the berries and fruit into a haphazard sack made up of the discarded sheet. She now just needed to wait. Each day the dragon stayed away for a little while longer, maybe having to search for berry bushes and fruit trees in unfamiliar territory. She just had to wait for it to leave again, and she would make a break for it. She would likely not get far, but she had to try, or else be simply left waiting for her fate.

This plan had just solidified in Cecelia’s mind when, against all odds, an unexpected change.

One day (Cecelia had lost count of how long she had been stuck in the dreadful tower), the dragon suddenly let out a growl that seemed to shake the very earth. The princess, looking up from what idle pattern she had been scratching against one of the walls, had peeped her eyes cautiously above the windowsill, and nearly let out a shout of shock.

There, just stepping through the narrow space of the valley’s entrance, a figure could be seen just at the edge of sight.

Cecelia was filled with relief and dread both: judging by the dragon’s reaction, it was not a friend to it, and thus was likely a rescuer come for her. But she had expected a whole company of knights, of dragon slayers armed with gleaming weapons and armour. The figure that stepped into the valley did so alone as far as Cecelia could see.

The dragon let out a snort of hot breath and fire, and rose to its feet, claws scrapping loudly against stone as it set its feet. Cecelia found herself nearly paralysed with dread, watching as things unfolded.
 

Ariel

Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo
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  2. Primarily Prefer Female
Volgorach Fellclaw watched the little intruder enter the valley. Its arrival had not, of course, come as a surprise to Volgorach. He had heard and smelled her approach long before she'd got to the entrance.

She wouldn't have even got close had he even caught a whiff of ill-intent. The stench of dwarven steel, the keening of elfish obsidian - all these signs, and more, were familiar to Volgorach. He would not have reached his fifth century if he had not learned to protect himself from the depredations of the two-legs.

But this one was different. Not only was she unarmed and unarmoured, she came alone yet unafraid. Fear, too, had a smell, and this human did not reek of it like all the others Volgorach had known. Even the great knights and warriors with their vast companies and intricate strategies gave off the acrid, stinging smell. But this... she smelt of jasmine flowers and elderberries, and she knew to make the signs of peace.

Debased and distorted they were, for sure - she had, after all, but the four limbs rather than six, and her arms were awkward things compared to the magnificence of draconic wings. And she might have learned the signs from some piddling firedrake or salamander, for they were in an odd order. But in all his centuries of life, and all the wonders he'd seen in all that time, this was the first time that Volgorach had seen, or even heard of, a human who knew even the rudiments of draconic courtesy.

Was it any wonder, though? Dragon manners existed because dragons themselves were so great and awful, their power such that should they fall into conflict they would raze all the lands. And so to protect the world, and themselves, the dragons had developed an exquisite system of etiquette to resolve their differences before they even arose.

They remembered, even if the two-legs did not, what happened when dragons went to war.

And so, with surprise and delight - expressed through a clearing of the flame passages, and the ritual running of his claws against the ground - Volgorach greeted his unexpectedly polite visitor.

She spoke, her voice thin and high and piping. "My humblest apologies for the disturbance, o venerable one," she said in perfect, archaic Draconic. "I am known among the humans as Lenda, and I fain would speak with thee."

It took Volgorach a moment to realise that it would have been impossible for a human to speak Draconic; instead, she had spoken some human tongue, and by some sorcery it had sounded Draconic to his ears.

This was... intriguing.

Volgorach laughed.

To the uninitiated, of course, a dragon's laughter is a terrible thing. Its roar echoed round the valley, loud enough to start a landslide, and the great wyrm's body rippled with mirth. It would have seemed like a display of power and fell intent.

The girl smiled, fearless and guileless.

Volgorach spoke at last, even as the echoes of his laughter resounded in the far reaches of his home.

"Well met, little one," his voice boomed. "I am Volgorach Fellclaw, and you are welcome in my realm. Find yourself a comfortable seat, and speak as you would, for I am well amused."

Lenda giggled, and shot a glance at Princess Cecelia, who appeared, to her relief, unharmed and none the worse for her captivity. This was going rather well....
 
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Baddamobs

Always elegant
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. One post per day
  2. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Fantasy, Adventure, Slice of Life,
What…was happening?

Cecelia blinked, and then blinked again, but the image didn’t make any more sense.

A single human had appeared, moving with an unhurried pace, towards the tower. Even stranger than that, she was doing some kind of elaborate signal, moving all four of her limbs in an odd sequence that the princess had no understanding of. Was this supposed to be something that Cecelia could understand? Some kind of signal that help was on its way? But if that was the case, why was the girl doing right in line of sight of the dragon?

There was a sudden scraping noise – the dragon was running its claws against the earth, and it’s piercing slitted eyes remained locked onto the girl as, against all logic, she continued to move towards the tower.

Cecelia cursed and tried to wave the girl off, trying to silently tell her to ‘go back, go back!’ but the new comer kept marching forward, pose completely relaxed. Cecelia felt dread pool into her stomach like a poison: the girl was about to walk straight into her death! The dragon peered down, all coiled muscles and glaring gaze, and-

"My humblest apologies for the disturbance, o venerable one," The girl said… to the dragon. "I am known among the humans as Lenda, and I fain would speak with thee."

…Huh?

…HUH!?!

Cecelia was fairly certain the only reason her eyes didn’t boggle straight out of her head was the fact that she couldn’t avert her gaze from the insanity playing out before her even if she wanted to. What the hell was happening!? The girl (evidently ‘Lenda’) was unarmed and unarmoured, completely at ease, and was talking to the dragon. The beasts were known to be cunning and dangerously intelligent, this was true, but Cecelia was fairly certain the only thing that ever followed an attempt to communicate with dragons was the speaker ending up as a quick meal.

There was a beat of silence, during which the dragon and the princess were completely still.

Then, the most horrible noise Cecelia had ever heard in her life. A mighty roar from the dragon, echoing out in waves, shook the very valley, dust and dirt crumbling from the tower’s walls. Cecelia had to clamp her hands over her ears for fear they would burst. When she had collected her wits, she found that, against every logic that Cecelia understood, the girl was still just standing there. Smiling even!

The dragon’s roar was still echoing out, when it leant down, and spoke. Dragon’s speech was a brutal sound, like hot roar of a forge or the noise of boulders grinding together, and all the old books said that the only words they knew were of death and destruction. Cecelia was certain it was proclaiming the intruder’s imminent demise, and the hapless Lenda was simply stood in place.

Ears ringing, blood thrumming through her body, Cecelia felt a sudden resolve fill her. It was a simple thought, one that burned hotly enough to dispel the dread still within her. She didn’t know why the girl was here, but she knew she couldn’t just sit by and let her die. She had to do something, anything.

Twisting around, Cecelia looked to the hidden corner she had stashed her supplies, and more importantly her knife. Scrambling across the ground, the princess pulled the weapon free, the short and humble blade glinting as it caught the light. Knuckles white, Cecelia hurried back to the window, eying both the girl, and more importantly the great drop between her and the dragon.

She took a long breath.

If this was to be her death, then so be it. Better to die protecting another than to keep her sorry life through inaction.

With this last thought, the princess leapt forward, sailing through the air, crying out a wordless yell. Knife raised high, wind sending the violet-black waves her hair scattering about her, Cecelia might have looked like some kind of avenging angel. Might have, if it wasn’t for what happened immediately after she jumped.

The dragon, moving quicker than she had ever seen such a large creature move, whipped it’s head up and around to her, raising quickly to meet the in-flight princess. Cecelia didn’t have any time to adjust before she landed bodily against the impossibly tough but completely smooth scales of the dragon’s neck, knife bouncing harmlessly off and the princess letting out a pretty undignified ‘oof’ from the impact. Then, with the simple motion one might use to brush off a bug, the dragon raised a great claw to gently hook around the girl’s body and carefully lowered her to the earth. Cecelia had only a second to appreciate the fact that she was still alive before the dragon’s tail, curling around its body, suddenly flopped on top her. Considering the dragon could have put enough force into its tail to whip out stone-work from buildings, the fact that it simply took the wind out of Cecelia was a testament to the great care it was taking not to hurt her, though the fact that it left it’s tail on top of her also gave the distinct impression of it wanting her to still damn still for a second.

Cecelia herself twisted around, trying and failing to scramble out from under the dragon’s appendage, until she caught sight of the girl Lenda in front of her.

“Wh-why do you stall!? Pick up your feet and flee, damn it!” Cecelia tried shout, but since she was half flat against the grass and still catching her breath, it came out more like a series of panicked gasps of air. Unbeknownst to her, Volgorach simply stated,

“I ask for your forgiveness at my unruly guest’s interruption,” Volgorach, now sure that Cecelia was stuck where she was for the moment, relaxed his pose. “I fear that her stay in the tower has put her in a vexed mood, and she now seeks only cause trouble for the rest of her time here. Pray, give her no mind, and speak freely of what you will.”
 
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