They were domesticated dragons, not accustomed to the fighting pits. The behaviour of the Tritarian command, in consideration of the best way to get rid of this little band of unfortunates, influenced the bloodlust that happened next. She heard the shrieks, sounds more terrible than one could imagine, that came from the beasts, and it had a curious effect upon her. It was the kind of cruelty that summoned up old memories, and her head throbbed as if it lacked the proper amount of oxygen. She hunkered head down, hood up, militant tactic movements that led her closer, remaining stealth within this hoard of penal colony spectators. The creatures were huddled together in the pit, blistered skin, torn limbs, dead eyes. She could not tear away from the sight, even as the heavy echoing of steps diminished around her. Someone grabbed her shoulder, but her vision was blurred and her emotions electrified. She swung around, knife in hand. The blade’s impact was the stomach of the guard who’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The knife fell with a clatter to the floor. She had never killed anyone before, but oddly didn’t feel a distaste for it.
There was movement in the pit among the dead. A wounded misshapened wing, brittle and blood crusted, rose above the carnage. She jumped into the pit and tried to move what felt like hot embers, each dragon carcass added a new scorch to her hands, burned through her clothes to her skin. It’s rubber-like flesh twisted around her to pull itself free.
“Young fighter, pull. Pull hard,” she said, teeth gritted, legs trembling as she held her ground.
They had remained unseen as she crept, slowed by the weight of the injured creature, through a series of passages that led to a stone staircase and into the tower. Once there, her pale blue eyes settled into the red of the dragon’s, and she spoke to it in a reverent tone.
“My name is Selena. I am the youngest land born and the last of my kinship. In my tenderest years, I witnessed my mother and sisters murdered. It was something which I was too young to avenge but old enough to hold locked in memory. I’m telling you this because an understanding must be forged between us. I think you understand such loss.”
It sniffed and blew smoke at her. She sensed the strength of its personality and did not know which way this night would end. Selena leaned against the glass stained with the spirits of the dead and felt it’s claws retract as it stroked her leg.
When the landscape shaded to the color of old bruises, they departed. Her smile bloomed. She had been hardened by circumstances but not entirely to stone. Selena had kept one piece of her heart free. The meteor dust swirled around them in the incessant wind, dispersing their tracks. They had adopted each other, this dragon who could not fly and the penal colony girl.
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