Saturday, November 23, 2013

Prompt: Dragon chains

Darien held the baby dragon tenderly cupped in his hands. He blew warm breath over it, and its transparent blue wings fluttered open in response.

“It’s so tiny,” he marveled, studying its delicate head, slender neck, and tiny claws rasping against his palms. He blew another warm breath in its face, and it yawned, revealing needle-sharp teeth. Then it promptly fell over, fast asleep.

“Can I carry it with me?” He looked up hopefully. His Da looked over his shoulder from where he was threading dragon chains. He had five other newly hatched dragons in warmed goblets. He picked up each one, deftly threaded a slender length of gold chain through its nostrils, then tucked it back in its warm goblet, where it quickly settled down, indignity forgotten.

“You know it has to stay in here where it’s warm enough,” he said to Darien. “Here, bring it over. Do you want to thread it?”

Darien brought the tiny blue dragon over to the work bench which ran the length of the room. He examined the other hatchlings, red, gold, green, brown, and teal. He looked back at the blue, then up at his Da. “Do we have to? Maybe if I took good care of it—”

“No,” his Da sound firmly. He’d seen too many dragons grown out of control. “We have to. Would you want him to be killed when he’s grown?” He put his hands on Darien’s shoulders. “The chains don’t hurt them, kinder. But they’re enough to keep them under control. Now, do you want to thread it, or shall I?”

Darien clutched the blue closer to his chest for a moment, then set it on the counter. He’d watched his Da since he was old enough to climb up on a stepstool. He’d threaded the wooden dragons that Uncle Peyt carved for him a thousand times, so he took a deep breath and picked up a length of gold chain. A quick pinch around the dragon’s neck, a push and a tug on the chain…

“Well done!” Da said warmly. The blue sneezed and shook its head, and Darien wrapped his hands around it, pulling it back to the warmth of his chest.

“It’s all right,” he crooned. “All done now, and you can forget about it.”

The dragon shook its head, twirling the chain ends around his neck. Da picked up the ends and tied them in a loose knot behind its neck. “There ye go, little one. Safe as houses. Now, how about some cod liver oil?”

Darien wrinkled his nose, but the dragon perked up, as if it already understood. “Good boy,” he said. You can have mine whenever Ma gives it to me!”

Da laughed and poured a thick spoonful. The dragon reached out its pink curled tongue, then eagerly lapped up its treat, chain already forgotten.

Dogs in house

Time writing:
30 minutes, interrupted

October word count:


  1. Prompt: Dragon chains

    The tiny dragons ran across the sand, leaving behind undulating tracks. I knelt, touching my hand to the slight indentations. It was not these, but their much, much larger cousins after which I quested. My backpack held a coil of dragon chain, the light silvery metal seemingly far too fragile to hold a mouse, much less a dragon. But they were meant to be the only thing, in fact, which could.

    I was going on hearsay, of course. No one had captured a wild dragon in decades in these parts – if they ever had. Rumour had it that they caught them regularly in south, and that is from where the chains had come. I hoped I was not falling to prey to some charlatan’s ruse. It had taken most of my savings to date to secure the chains.

    I stood. But I needed a dragon. A tiny roar came from behind the next dune. I crept forward to watch a miniature stand-off: my dragons had met another group. Both sides postured and spouted tiny flames. They all froze. I froze, too, sensing they knew something I did not.

    The ground beneath me seemed to shake before I heard the sound. A low rumble grew to defeaning proportions: a full-size dragon’s call. I reached into my bag and pulled out the chains.

    Time writing: ~15min

    1. Nice world building! And good characterization. I like this one...