Chapter 1 - New Life
One peaceful morning, equal to many others on Nend Ardhon. Except for the fact that on that day, Teera Calla and her husband, Sergge Calla, were in the Nursery, waiting to see for the very first time, their second child.
Next to them was their first son, Paullu Calla, distracted as always, reading a book. Completely absorbed by it, he failed to notice the excitement on their parent’s faces and because he kept on reading while following them since they left home early that morning, he didn’t quite grasp why and where they were.
In front of them, the gift the Goddess gave them was slowly moving.
- …||… Weird… Why is everything dark around me? At least it’s warm… Wait… I feel something hard right in front of me. Or down… or… all around? What is this thing? It’s smooth. Strange, I can almost…||…
A faint sound was heard.
- …||… Oops, I broke something! Wait a minute… If I put my finger in this and pull… Oh, I took a piece of it! I see light on the… small hole? What the…||…
Little by little, piece by piece, the light coming from that tiny hole was filling the space around as the hole enlarged. It was then that the small being realized where he was.
- …||… Wait a minute… Is this an egg? I was inside an egg? Why is there water around? The last thing I remember, I was piloting a transfer ship to Musca Borealis, carrying the junior team of Chess that was returning victorious from a tournament! No… I remember we got hit by something and I did a crash land on a moon. I… No, I am not bleeding now, but I remember I was bleeding a lot and their Teacher was thanking me for saving them and saying that I was going to be alright…||…
In front of the small being, Teera Calla made a huge smile and sent a mental message to her new-born.
- …||… Hello, Byia Calla, welcome to our life. May the Goddess bless you…||…
On the other side of the half-opened egg, the small being was looking at the terrifying image in front and shouting in a panic, inside her head.
- …||… A lizard! A big, blue, teethed lizard! What is this weird sound in my head? Wait… Why I have paws? Four of them with a membrane between the fingers... claws? I have rough skin on my body? I have a tail! A freaking tail!...||…
The panic and the surprise was so much that the small being fainted. Teera Calla tilted her big head sideways and looked at her husband:
- “I guess the effort of breaking out from her egg was too much. She needs to rest, but I think it’s safe to take her home.”
Sergge Calla touched with one index claw the pieces of the egg that were floating around him.
- “How do you know it’s a girl? I don’t smell anything in the water around us!”
Teera Calla carefully picked up the lower half of the egg where Byia Calla was fainted and placed her near her hard, big chest. She slapped Paullu Calla’s head with her tail and pointed to the pieces of egg that were floating into his direction, to make him collect them as a souvenir of that happy day. When she confirmed that every piece was on Paullu’s paws, she answered:
- “A mother always knows, my dear husband. Well, I also took a quick look at her bottom half and noticed the lack of a small appendix. Heheheh!”
- “Yeah, I thought it had something to do with your Healer job, but it was easier than some hidden Skill that you never told me about. Ok, I am going to warn the Nursery lady that we are leaving, and I will join you outside. Don’t forget our oldest one, he is reading again. I wonder what that book is about, to make him so mesmerized by it.”
Teera Calla took a glance and whispered:
- “Adventure book. I think it’s that last one you gave him, from that never-ending Adventure. How many books are there, after all?”
Sergge Calla answered while messing with the water around his son’s head.
- “I think there are six, and this is the last one. I heard that a lot of things are explained in there. That’s probably why he is like that, he has been waiting to read the end of the story, for the last sixty big moons. I knew that reading an Adventure about a pack of Surface Dragons would appeal to him, considering that things are always peaceful, in our Underwater World. Well, I mean, most of the times, but there are somethings that…”
Teera Calla grabbed the tail of Sergge and pulled him back, stopping him from leaving with that enigmatic sentence.
- “Wait right there… You promised me that you would step back from your Explorer job and settle for a desk job at the Guild as soon as the egg hatched. Now the egg is hatched, and you are already hitching for the open waters?”
Sergge scratched the top of his head and avoided Teera’s angry gaze.
- “I know what we agreed on, but you know me, I can’t sit tight when some strange situations keep on happening at the Guild, with members vanishing and some strange lights that appear on the sky above. Even the Surface Dragons are restless lately, and those guys fear nothing.”
Teera Calla hugged him to hide her tears that were quickly taken away by the water around them.
- “At least stay for a while, to see her grow. Five Tides at least, until she enters her first Tide of school. You know that’s crucial for her development, to have both parents always near her.”
Sergge kissed her left ear and whispered:
- “I can do that. I will patiently wait and suppress my urges for the open waters, rest assured. But when she enters school…”
Sergge swims away, pushed by his muscular limbs with membranes between his fingers and using his tail to make a whirlpool, messing the pages of Paullu’s book that raised his head, annoyed:
- “Careful, Dad, you almost… Oh, a baby! Why do you have… Oh, I see, it hatched today? Cool! It’s a… a girl… I have an annoying baby sister…”
That remark granted him a slap on his head by a strong tail.
- “Watch your language, boy! She is your dear baby sister that you will love and protect with your life if needed, did I make myself clear?”
Seeing his mother looking at him just a few centimetres from his nose and clicking her teeth like she usually did when she got angry, was more than enough to make the young Paullu nod his head immediately and apologise.
- “Of course, mother! I was just… surprised.”
- “Good, as long as you understand what is good for you. Come, let’s go home, your baby sister needs to rest.”
Paullu mumbled while swimming:
- “She was resting for all this time inside her egg, she needs to rest even more? At least sleeping she doesn’t make noise…”
That mumbling granted him another slap from his mother’s tail because he kept on forgetting that a Healer had better hearing than the average Water-Dragon.
Paullu was the first to enter their home, and went straight to the top floor, where the rooms were located. He quickly opened the door to his sister’s room by placing his right front paw over it and the door slided to the left, disappearing inside the door frame. Paullu gently placed the pieces of the egg of his baby sister on a small cavity of the wall that he prepared weeks ago, protected by a transparent shield that opened as soon as he whispered the command word. That shield was his father’s work, and he knew very well that even if the World exploded or the water dried up, it would forever protect the pieces of the egg. Paullu patiently waited for his parents to arrive, and as soon as his mother entered the room, he rushed to the small stand where a cushion of soft plants was waiting.
Teera Calla carefully picked up the tiny and fragile Byia, no bigger than Teera’s right palm, and placed her right in the middle of that cushion of plants, that was going to be Byia’s crib for the next six Big Moons. By then, Byia would be too big for that crib and she would move to the small bed of plants on the right wall, covered with soft and colourful plants.
Female Water Dragons liked to live surrounded by colour, preferably by live plants, and Teera was no exception. Their entire house was a garden, with the plants covering every wall, floor and ceiling, and some special ones were used as containers, stands or closets.
Sergge and Paullu were more pragmatic. The fewer plants in a room, the better, but Sergge had to adapt over the years to Teera’s exquisite taste in decoration, or his married life would be too hard for him.
Paullu’s room was completely naked of any plant, because he kept it like that, and not even a small fungus was allowed to grow in there. Every wall had small niches that he made himself, filled with books and games. Teera gave up on trying to persuade him to put some plants in there, ever since he was only three Tides-old, and made him responsible for cleaning it. The little Paullu agreed because that would mean his room would be his refugee, away from all the plants inside the house. Not that he disliked plants, but he preferred the open space and the cleanness of a room with smooth walls.
Paullu frowned at the sight on his sister’s room. Plants everywhere, putting calming smells in the water and moving as the water changed directions, caused by his parents’ movements. Sergge was looking at the little baby, and Teera placed the bottom half of the egg in the cavity where Paullu put the egg pieces, and rushed to the kitchen downstairs, to prepare the baby’s first food.
Sergge was looking at the baby, smiling. Paullu approached and he too, stood by his father’s side, watching the baby sleeping. Then, Byia slowly moved and Sergge sent a mental message to his wife:
- “…||… She is waking, hurry up, or you are going to miss this!...||…
Teera came as fast as lightning, carrying a tray with four small bowls with different types of smashed algae and a small spoon. She approached the crib, pushing the other two to the back, to not scare the little baby.
Byia Calla slowly opened her eyes and tried to focus her vision.
- “…||… Now that was a weird dream! I thought I was some sort of a… Lizard! The big blue teethed Lizard is back! It wasn’t a dream! What the heck is going on around here?...||…
Teera took advantage of Byia’s confusion to put a spoon of algae from the first bowl on Byia’s mouth, only to see the little baby spiting it. She tried with the second bowl, but it was also spat. The third one stayed longer on Byia’s mouth because that mix was chewier, and the little baby had more trouble to spit it out. Teera frowned and tried the fourth mix, that was spat directly to her face.
On the other side of the spoon, Byia was getting angrier at each food.
- “…||… Take that away from me! It’s disgusting! I am not a bird to eat something like that! Blargh, the taste is horrible!...||…
Teera cleaned her face with the left paw and frowned.
- “You are going to eat this, little one, that’s for sure. I will let you get used to the taste and I will try again in a few moments. For now, let me glue your egg completely, you will thank me a few Tides from now.”
Teera gave the tray to Sergge and she went to the cavity where the egg was placed, next to the small pieces. Before the dumbfounded look of Byia, Teera carefully grabbed one piece and put it on its place on the egg. Teera concentrated and her right paw began to shine in a faint white light.
- “This one is here… ’càradh’… and this… ’càradh’. I think this one is here… ’càradh’. What else?”
Byia was watching in amazement the big blue Lizard repairing the egg from where Byia came, piece by piece.
- …||…No way! That Lizard is using Magic? It must be, the pieces are connecting to the egg, without a trace of being broken before! This is… impossible!...||…”
When Teera finished, the egg was complete, and she smiled after whispering the command to activate the protective shield. She then turned to Byia again and spoke, without Byia understanding anything of that strange language she was hearing.
- “If you don’t eat your food in the easy way, let’s try the hard away, shall we?”
Teera showed her right palm to Byia, and a light ball appeared that turned into some sort of light funnel. Byia opened wide her eyes because she knew immediately what was about to happen. For as much as she fought, she was unable to keep her mouth closed. Teera carefully opened Byia’s jaw and placed the funnel on her mouth. Sergge gave his wife the first bowl and Teera poured it to the funnel, gently speaking to her little angry baby.
- “You must eat, little one, you need food to grow strong and powerful.”
Byia tried to escape, but it was no use. She was forced to eat all the disgustful food of the first bowl. When Teera took out the funnel and made it to disappear, Byia stared at Teera’s empty paw, freaking out. The chock of being born as a Dragon, having Dragons for parents, Magic being used right in front of her that was used to repair an egg and to make her eat, all that was too much for Byia’s mind to handle. She fainted again, and her mind made a block over her previous memories as a form of protection, because everything that was now happening around her, was too unbearable for the former Human pilot from the planet Musca Borealis.