Many creatures joined the clan. Some were pets, brought home by enthusiastic dragons who’d found them in neighboring territories. Others were sentients: travelers, ambassadors or simply free spirits who wanted to stay. Some select few had done battle against the dragons and been impressed by their prowess, and had elected willingly to go with them to serve them.
Others were merely unfortunate.
The naga had been sorely injured in a fight, and Argos had brought him to the lair slumped over his back, long tail dragging in the dirt. Aspasia had patched him back together, but had opined to the others that he would probably have preferred to die on the glittering sands of his home. The naga were not fond of dragons.
Gentle Iphigenia was the clan’s historian, singer, keeper of dreams and stories. She observed the naga’s slow struggle toward health with nothing but compassion, though she said little to him, for he would not be spoken to. He kept his painful silences, turning from those who tended him. The ignominy of defeat was nothing to the humiliation of captivity. That he was too battered to escape only made it worse.
But Iphigenia brought him food and wine, though the latter was difficult to come by. When guarding him, she did not sit in the cavern with him, but at its entrance… and she sang there, where he could hear without having to admit to it. One day she talked to all the sentient allies of the lair, and came back with clothes to replace the ones he’d lost in the battle.
And he watched her with eyes too guarded for her to read.
There came a day when she arrived with his food, and he surprised her by speaking.
“You have knots in your mane.”
She paused, then ducked her head. “I know.” She lifted a foot, flexed the elongated toes. “These are not so good for picking them out. I try.”
And in a voice so hoarse she hardly heard it, he said, “I could help.”
She sat across from him then, head dipped and eyes closed. She thought he wouldn’t… but then she felt the fingers on her neck, hesitant. They stroked through the hair, paused, then gently began to comb.
Iphigenia and her naga will reappear later! They are one of the first dragon-fluff bios that came to me.
Also, a button, because I have been bothered for one already.