This is something that I've been working on, you'll notice that the name sounds familiar. :) Here's the first chapter of latest WIP:
Flying With Broken Wings
Deep within the bowels of her cave, the red dragon lies in a heap among treasures which hold no meaning. What once was shiny has now dulled with age and had become either rusted or buried under a foot of dirt; souvenirs no longer held the strings to her memories or to her heart as they once had. Clenching her jaw from the pain, she raises her head and listens in the dark for any sound other than her own heartbeat, but the night is deathly quiet inside the cave.
Slowly, she shakes her head as if trying to clear it from the fear, pain, and loneliness which have shrouded her like a veil for so many years, and then the chains around her neck and ankles tighten and clank together as she struggles to rise from the floor. Nothing has changed and it would be easier to just remain on the floor and become one with the soil like the treasures had, but she knows that one day the wind will blow in her favor and she must survive until then.
Upon weak and trembling legs, she stumbles and then reels from the waves of pain and nausea that continuously try to keep her down. She waits momentarily for the cave to stop spinning and then presses onward; the thought of the sweet, cool night air gives her the strength to carry on. Counting the steps as she goes, she knows exactly how many it'll take to get her to the entrance, she's been counting them every night for fifty -six years. Seventy steps, give or take, depending on her condition each night. When she was little she could bound from the lowest part of the cave, up through the upper levels, and be out the entrance in a matter of minutes, but now it seemed to her as if it took half the night. The heavy chains encased in magic weighed her down considerably, but it was the lack of food and water, and the wounds that weakened her the most.
Thirty-seven, thirty-six, thirty-five, thirty-four.....each step more painful than the one before. Her sides heave for breath as she wills her legs forward, but she only stops once to snatch up a rat hiding within the skull of a goat. Twenty-six, twenty-five, twenty-four...now she was winding her way upward where the cave narrowed and her wings rubbed against the walls. Her legs protested with every step, but she knew that it would soon widen and once again the floor would level out. Eighteen, seventeen, sixteen...the sound of crickets signaled that the entrance was near and she could hear an owl screeching from somewhere outside the cave's walls. Not close enough yet to hear the small rill that ran down the side of the mountain into the Cahnor river, but soon now. And she pushed herself even harder. Ten, nine, eight...and there it was, she could hear it now. Four, three, two, one...with the last of her energy she burst out into the night until she felt the chains tauten--biting painfully into her neck. She collapses into the thick brush just a few feet beyond the entrance.
Her massive body appeared almost lifeless, only her chest and ribs shifted as the air moved in and out of her lungs for what must've been over an hour. Only when her limbs started to become stiff and her breathing was under control, did she stir once more. Painfully, she made her way to the rill; closing her eyes she shoved her jaws in the water's path and savored the taste and feel of it flowing over her tongue and down her throat. Her stomach grumbled at the fact that it was merely water, but her body soaked it up. She was seldom given water during the day.
Cocking her head to the side, she listens as something stirs beyond the bushes to the right of her. Slowly, she lowers her head and body, trying to make as little noise as possible--not an easy feat with the chains draping from her. Now crouching, and as still as the mountain itself, she waits.
The first scent to reach her made her recoil out of fear and hate, but then her muscles relaxed as the familiar smell of Ahshema reached her nostrils. But as the child got nearer another scent far overpowered the stench of human, and the dragon's stomach growled in response.
"Shoklam?" the girl called out. "Shoklam? Are you out? It's me, Ahshema!"
The dragon stood, letting her chains rattle loudly so that the girl could find her. As Ahshema moved towards her, it took all the will power she had not to rip the bag from the child's arms and thus frightening her or even injuring her--ironic that her captors were so fragile, and yet...so powerful.
"I brought you something," she said, laying the sack on the ground.
It was torturous watching the child fiddle with the knotted rope that held the bag closed. She thought she might eat the child if it took much longer. A deep growl rose up from her throat as she watched impatiently.
"Um...right. I'm sure you can manage that yourself," the girl said, taking a step back from the sack.
In one swift movement, the dragon's head swept down, her jaws scooped up the bag as her teeth clamped into it. With a quick shake, the contents spilled out upon the ground--the hindquarters of a pig and a hare. She dropped the torn sack and devoured the meat whole working it down her throat and then she tore the parts of the sack that had blood on them free and ate those as well. She looked back at the wide-eyed child.
"I'm s-sorry...th-that's all I have," the girl stuttered, backing up even further. "Are you still so terribly hungry, Shoklam?"
The dragon shook her head, but her stomach rumbled giving away her lie. Slowly, she turned from the girl and returned to the rill. She could hear the child quietly coming up behind her, but she paid her no heed.
"I have some Konocto root salve for your wounds, will you let me put it on?" she asked timidly. "That ogre got in an awful blow, the wound looks deep."
The dragon remained still as she deeply drank in the water. Sometimes she wished that she could talk to the child, she understood her, but the child did not have the gift to understand the dragon tongue.
"Shoklam, if it stings...it might sting...please don't eat me."
If the girl were able to understand, the red dragon would've told her that her name was Karashma Der Sojuin, born of Korack Der Sojuin and Shanabi Den Soujin, from the Eastern Realms of the Qwenndere Mountains, but for now--she supposed Shoklam would have to do.
A sketch of Ahshema a few years down the road...