Naydrus soared high above the dry lands she had just managed to escape from with the help of the dragons from the haven. This dragon's back felt like a bed of silk when compared to what his occupant went through. There was no sign of the pit filled with the semi in sight no matter how many dragons dug in the land. The drake would have considered the whole experience a dream if her left hind leg wasn't broken. No. It all happened, and she met with The First of all dragons, allegedly. He didn't actually give Naydrus proof outside of the visions he showed her, but she had never seen a shell of that size either.
The drake was slapped on the sides of her head by the D.Er dragon taking her back to the haven. "Don't go passing out on me," the dragon said. He was staring at Naydrus with vivid eyes. "They will never let me hear the end of it if you died."
"I'm not dying," Naydrus rebuked. "I'm just...thinking."
Her fading consciousness was enveloped by the tremendous dragon sitting within the void Naydrus started in. The birthplace of the souls of all dragon kind. Was it a physical location, or was it just in her mind? The drake didn't want to believe in the existence of a dragon who claimed to have been a hominid at first, but everything he said...In her core, Naydrus knew that the First was real and his words true, but she didn't want to believe it. How would she be able to live with herself if she knew she was part hominid?
The tremendous, rocky protuberance grew larger and larger the closer Naydrus' rescuer flew. Its top was completely flat, like a titanic blade sliced cleanly through it, but the walls were still rocky and uneven. The drake had not noticed this detail when she left. She flinched and had to cover her face. The sun above glared off the flat, smooth surface, blinding the drake.
"I really wish I had wings," she groaned.
The D.Er dragon landed in front of the flat mountain, greeting a cerfcreau patrolling the area. The two dug out the entrance to another spiraling tunnel that was as filled with glowing crystal veins as the first Naydrus had encountered. She felt her mind clouding, fatigue coursing through her body. Her 'mount' was hurrying as fast as he could down the tunnel to the haven deep below the mass above.
Naydrus was starting to feel a little cold and started shivering. Strange. It wasn't so cold when she had arrived with Gar. Maybe all the tunnels were different and this one was just very cold. Some sleep wouldn't hurt, so the drake closed her eyes, expecting to be woken up in a few minutes by her 'mount'. Instead, the drake found herself waking up in a brightly lit room on a floor covered in thick, fluffy green moss. The constant green was broken in places by specks of red and blue, their occurrences being few and far between. The walls were illuminated by a golden light created by the intermingling of multiple rich veins of green, red, and blue.
Looking around, the drake could see that the room was made for a full-grown dragon, but not one as big as a cerfcreau or the shell-eater. She humphed and tried to get up, intent on moving to the large wooden...doors in front of her. They looked eerily similar to those in the cave she was born in. Broken vertically in half, made of wood and stone... Her thoughts were interrupted by a sharp, stabbing pain sprinting from her left hind leg to the lower part of her back. Trying to find the source of the pain, Naydrus discovered that her entire leg had been wrapped in a hard, whitish-yellow substance that refused to get off no matter how much she clawed and gnawed at it. The drake was about to exhale her flames upon it, but looking around, she realized that having her leg in that substance was better than getting cooked alive.
She huffed in frustration. "What happened anyways? Why am I here? I thought I was going back to the haven." Naydrus crossed her forelegs and stared at the door, expecting it to open at any moment. Her body started to break out in a cold sweat. "I wasn't captured by the hominids, was I?!"
Breathing became harder and more erratic the longer she thought about her situation. The presence of the crystal veins calmed Naydrus done just a bit. She was assured that only the haven had such crystals. They had never been spotted outside the haven, after all. During her brief stint trying to live on her own outside the city, she would surely have seen them. The world wasn't as big as legends made it out to be. That was impossible, after all.
"Should I go back to sleep?" Naydrus wondered quietly to herself. Her belly grumbled in disapproval. "Need food." She looked to herself and frowned. "And brass to replace my scales." The drake heaved a sigh. "I want to get out of here and explore this place."
The doors opened with an ear-wracking screech, but only let open a crevice wide enough for a familiar, massive figure to come in. He was still dressed in his ash-covered armor, and the plates of metal overlapping each other still created an intimidating sight...for those that feared the hominids. He walked to Naydrus, keeping verbal silence at the very least. His white hair was still as dirty and his face still wrinkled. He could have cleaned himself while she was gone, Naydrus thought.
He clicked his tongue in disapproval. "I leave you on your own for less than a day and you come back with a broken leg already." The giant shook his head. "I must either be a terrible teacher or you attract the worst kind of attention. They told me you were just leaving for a reconnaissance mission with one of the scout teams and went missing." He dropped his heavy mass onto the floor of moss. Where the stone ground would have yelled in pain and likely cracked, the moss absorbed the impact and took the form of the one sitting upon them. "I was genuinely worried. You just got here," he complained.
Naydrus was still disgusted at the presence of a hominid, regardless of who they were or what their past actions entailed. "Why did you come here, Gar? Where am I?" she asked while looking around the room.
The giant raised a finger. "To that first question I have already answered, but for the second, you're in an infirmary for drakes and dragonlings." He placed his hands on his haunches. "We're still under the haven."
"What happened? I only closed my eyes for a few minutes." Naydrus was stressed.
Gar laughed loudly. "You slept for a day. Not only were you exhausted, but you had a broken leg." He pointed to the substance around her left hind leg. "The doctors and surgeons told me that any other dragon would have died in hours with fragmentation like that, that even a cast wouldn't help."
A cast? That's what the substance was called? Naydrus gurgled in disapproval. A disgusting name for a disgusting object.
"Then why did I still get one?" she asked Gar without looking away from her leg.
"Because I..." He fiddled with his fingers. "convinced them to follow the procedure anyways. The fact that you were still alive hours after they said you would die should have already tipped them off that you were stubborn." He slapped his leg, producing a metallic bang that irritated Naydrus' ear canals. "Which you are!" he laughed.
Naydrus bared her teeth angrily. "Can I take this thing off?"
Gar was quick to protest and jumped up onto his heavy legs. "No! Absolutely not! You almost died, Naydrus. It took several hours to help clean your wound and put the bone fragments of your leg back into place." He sat back down and wiped his forehead with the back of his armored hand. "If you remove the cast, your leg will never set itself straight again.
The drake tried to wiggle her leg, but found that the slightest movement hurt her atrociously. She sighed, giving up on her need to stand. "So what am I supposed to do then? Sit here and do nothing?"
Gar placed his hand on his knee to have a point to push against and stand up with one leg. He grunted in pain and clenched his teeth. Naydrus heard some cracks, but she couldn't tell where they came from.
"No," Gar wheezed. He forced himself to stand straight and started stretching and twisting himself. "You will be staying here for the day, but dragons are tough. As long as that cast is in place, you should be able to move by tomorrow." He directed an open hand towards the drake. "But without using your broken leg," he stated firmly. "Your gait will have a limp for a few weeks, but with your walking and some stretching, it shouldn't weaken."
The two remained in silence, remaining awkwardly in place until the doors opened fully, letting in a dragon with no eyes. It looked like the one with the representatives that Naydrus had briefly seen in the chamber. Its smooth and shiny body reflected the light of the colorful stones. The dragon used three fingers at the tip of its wing to pull the doors close again. It somehow physically hurt Naydrus to see wings bending forward like they did. They weren't supposed to do that. She was taken out of her pain by the sight of its head. Now that it was much closer, Naydrus could see it in full detail. There was a reddish, spongey mass of flesh separating the lower head from the smooth and solid 'plating' covering the top. It moved in tandem with the spongey flesh, causing Naydrus' entrails to churn with sickness.
It opened its mouth, revealing hundreds of tiny, sharp teeth. "Naydrus," it said. It spoke with a hushed hiss as though it had a sore throat. "I am glad to see that you are making a full recovery."
The drake eyed the newcomer up and down. "Who are you?" she asked. "What do you want with me?"
"I'm part of the medical staff." She put a 'hand' to her near-black chest. "A doctor, as the humans would call me." She lowered her hand and tilted her head to the side slightly. "That would be a good reference for you, I believe?"
Naydrus growled in response. "I don't care about the humans!" she lashed out. "Don't talk to me about them!"
The dragon looked to Gar standing next to her. His only response was a shrug. She pointed to him with a cone-like claw. "But he is a human," she said slowly.
Naydrus gurgled. "I know," she grumbled.
"I see." The dragon scratched the back of her neck and crushed a few parasites in the process. "I would recommend staying on the moss, but without being able to move or even being a full-grown dragon, you wouldn't be able to leave this place anyways."
Gar put his hands on his hips and squished the moss underfoot. "What is this substance? I have not seen such a thing in my travels."
Naydrus felt both relief and disappointment that Gar wasn't acting more jovial, as he had moments before. She clicked her tongue. She wouldn't be able to get rid of him if he didn't let down his guard.
"We're not entirely sure," the dragon answered. "We found this substance in these large chambers likely meant to house a dragon...or drakes and the like." She snorted. "Since we use it for drakes and dragonlings, we try to scrape it off, but it grows back at an incredible speed." She hummed with worry. "We gave up, but at the very least, the moss doesn't seem to cause any ailments...that we've noticed," she trailed off quietly. "Still. I want to give the drake time to recover. Please leave, dragon guardian."
Gar nodded. "Very well. I have more studying to do. Naydrus' mountain dragons and a giant face are still a mystery to me."
When the doors finally creaked shut, Gar was gone, and the two draconic beings were left alone. Stuck in the silence that the walls and moss created. The light of the crystals sang their inaudible tune, attempting to lessen the atmosphere being built up.
"You found something out there, didn't you?" the dragon said. Her voice had a sinister undertone to Naydrus' ear canals.
"What if I did?" the drake said.
"I just want to know what it was."
Naydrus looked away. "I don't want to talk about it right now. Leave me alone."
The dragon laid down on the moss, almost crushing Naydrus. "Tell me what you saw or you won't be eating anything today, and that is likely going to set back your recovery, meaning we'll be staying here much longer than you should."