Edras has grown accustomed to his life alone on the mountain, hunting and foraging and selling animal skins in the nearby town. When Dragon falls from the sky, almost dying, Edras chooses to take him in and nurse him back to health. What blossoms is a friendship, and more. So when Dragon tells Edras of the real reason he was flying over the mountain, Edras fears another loss in a long line of many.
The next morning, they went to the place behind the copse, the flat grass where Dragon had fallen. Dragon looked about, a grimace at his lips, and Edras wondered if he were changing his mind. But Dragon flattened his ears back, crouched, and leapt upward.
Dragon leapt like a hare but his wings flapped like a giant bat. The horns made Edras think of the lynx he sometimes saw—and had once caught, and made a fine sale of the pelt—their ears stuck up with little points at the ends. Dragon flew high enough that Edras could appreciate the entirety of his body at a single glance. Like the lanner falcons and imperial eagles he’d seen, but so much grander, with such nobility.
And Edras’s belly and chest burned.
Dragon swooped back down, so fast that Edras rolled onto the grass to avoid being hit. Dragon pulled up in time, and stood before Edras, wings fanned out, his chest puffed up. He was smiling so happily, Edras could only copy him.
“You are pleased?” Edras asked.
“Oh yes. Oh yes.”
Dragon leapt again, and this time, rose so high that he seemed in Edras’s eyes the size of a bird. Edras had seen eagles fly, but none had looked as majestic as Dragon did now.
Dragon was gone for three hours. Edras took the time to clean the cave, tidy it, wash bowls, things he hadn’t done since Dragon’s arrival. When these were done, he sat and stared around the cave. It was emptier without Dragon, hollow sounding when he coughed. He left the cave for a while, and went and sat on the rock ledge where Dragon had fallen and taken flight again. Would Dragon return? Farewells were customary for humans—what about Dragons?
It was the thick movement of air above him that alerted Edras. He looked up, and smiled. Dragon sailed downwards, his shadow blocking the sun for a moment, and he landed on the grass behind Edras.
“That was…” Dragon searched for the words, but he shook his head.
“You are speechless. A rare thing.”
Dragon smirked, and approached Edras, flopping down beside him the way dogs often did with their masters. Only Edras was not Dragon’s master. This creature beside him was beholden to no one.
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