Cut and Run Chapter 25
Part 2 of 2
Normally now, when I returned home through a Gateway, one or two Guards would be there to greet me. This time? There were about a half-dozen, all with their weapons ready, and more arriving as I stepped out.
“What’s wrong?” I demanded upon seeing them. After they’d ensured it was me, the Sergeant on watch informed me of a little surprise.
“Just a half an hour ago, someone dropped off a package.”
“What kind of package?” I asked, perplexed.
“It would be easier to simply show you.” She replied mysteriously. I kept me peace as we all stomped our way into my Cave. Eventually, we made our way into the kitchen, now main feed hall for the Guard. A few more of the guards were there, standing around a table looking down at something atop of it.
That something turned out to be a Wurm baby with a pair of soulful blue eyes, curled up inside a woven basket. I looked around and noted that no one seemed inclined to touch it, even though it just lay there weakly on the tabletop, crying out occasionally.
“What the fuck!?” I cried upon seeing the poor thing. The first thing I did was to go over and pick up the poor child. The guards parted as I spoke, allowing me access.
When I did pick it up, it immediately wrapped its tail around my arm and tried to snuggle close to me for my warmth.
As I looked down on it, I could tell that it was the most adorable little thing! She had the tiniest button nose, with just horn-nubs atop her head! It couldn’t have been more than a few hours since she shelled.
It then mewled at me once. With my Ki-sense, I immediately knew what it wanted: Food!
“Hey you fucking morons! This kid is hungry! None of you thought to feed her?” I sniffed at them loudly, as I began to rock the baby gently in my arms. It was then that I noticed a strange, yet familiar scent. As I bent down to sniff the baby, I noticed that Zomonti the Guard Captain, had arrived and was looking at me oddly.
“What?!” I demanded, raising my head. She didn’t answer at first, just kept shifting her eyes between me and the kid.
“Explain yourself! Where and when did you find this baby, and where is her mother? Get some food for her while you’re at it!”
“She was found near the edge of the reservoir, in your ‘stone-skipping’ spot, Sir.” Zomonti began to explain as the other guards began to hurry about to fulfill my orders.
“We had detected a number of gateways opening up at the same time around your Valley. As such we cautiously investigated them; with the impression that someone was attempting to distract us. We were right, but not in the way we expected.” She replied.
“How so?” I asked. Zomonti glanced at me.
“Frazziss and your family are safe.” She stated flatly. “Apparently, it was not an attempt to get us to leave them unguarded. Instead, the distractors were apparently meant to keep us from finding out exactly who,” Zomonti said indicating the still weakly mewling child in my arms, “had left this one behind.” It was then that one of the other guards arrived with food, so I reached out and grabbed a chicken leg.
I offered it to the baby, but she shied away from it.
“What the?” I exclaimed. “I know you’re hungry little one. Why won’t you eat?” I asked, all perplexed.
“One,” Zomonti piped up, giving me a half smile, “You don’t have a breast to give it suck. And two, you’d have to chew the meat first, in order to make it palatable to her.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right. Duhhh.” I replied, feeling like a fool. Therefore, I took a bite of the chicken and began to chew.
“Though you may wish to forgo that.” Zomonti suggested.
“What do you mean?” I tried to say through the mouthful of chicken, spitting part of it out. It came out more as a: ‘Wha ooh ooo eem?” She smiled, and then frowned.
“The infant has not imprinted. If you feed her, she will think that you’re her mother.” I stopped chewing at that bit of news, and looked down at the weakly squirming bundle of Wurm-joy.
‘So that’s why no one has fed her.’ I thought. ‘None of them is willing to take on such a responsibility.’ I swallowed my mouthful.
“Who the hell would do such a thing to their own newborn….?” I began to gripe, and then stopped. I stopped because that strangely familiar scent had wafted into my nose again.
This time I raised the child to my face and breathed in her scent more fully. She looked back at me with just the tiniest bit of trepidation. As I took it in, my eyes went wide in realization.
I knew exactly why she smelled so familiar. She smelled almost exactly as my Dad had!
I leaned back and then held that Wurm child at nearly my full arm’s length, so I could take her more fully in. When I did, I couldn’t help but notice that there was still a bit of umbilical cord hanging from her navel- she was so young. As I held her up and examined her, the wee tyke grabbed ahold of her twitchy little tail and began to suckle its tip.
Then it began to dawn on me that she had more than a passing resemblance to someone I’d seen before, someone in the mirror.
Initially I was skeptical about the thought that sprang forth at the sight of her facial features.
I did my level best to dismiss the fact that the kid did resemble me more than a little. Alas, my nose refused to let me off the hook. One prolonged scent/sniff later, I knew exactly whose child this was.
“Sis?” I whispered incredulously. She gurgled back at me around a mouthful of tail tip.
“We suspected as much.” Captain Zomonti nodded gravely as I looked nervously down at the child that I held. Zomonti then reached out and tried to take the Wurm from me. Something about the way she was so cold about it, irked me.
“What are you doing?” I sniped at her. She seemed perplexed when I asked.
“I was going to dispose of her.” She replied stiffly, slightly confused.
“Dispo,…!?” I stuttered, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?!” I demanded then. “This is a baby we’re talking about here!”
“My apologies.” She replied, backing up and bowing while looking at me strangely. “Such is the normal practice when an unregistered foundling is discovered.”
“Well that’s not gonna happen this time!” I replied with a rising anger, all outraged.
‘Now I understand why baby dragons always seem to end up in human orphanages!’ I realized. ‘It’s to save their lives!’ I growled, my body shaking with the indignation of it all. Then the implication of that child crossed my mind.
‘But what am I to do with this little one, it’s not like,..’ I began, and then I stopped and looked down at this cute bundle- who was still suckling hungrily at her tail tip. I could tell that she was famished.
I looked at her for a short while, her yellow eyes holding mine. Then, slowly an inspiration came to as I raised my head and looked off into the distance.
Into the direction of Pirin’s room.
‘Could this be it?’ I wondered idly as a plan began to form in my mind. I had to admit, it was a rather evil plan using a child this way. But by that point, I’d been getting desperate to try and find a way to save Pirin from her self-destructive ways.
After I looked back down at the wee tyke in my arms, I made my decision.
‘Forgive me.’ I silently asked the child, knowing that I damned well didn’t deserve it.
It was so easy to sneak that child into Pirin’s room. Looking her over, I noted that she still breathed. Barely.
‘Good’, I thought.
But it was hard, so damnably hard, to leave my newly found sister lying atop of Pirin’s bed next to her. Pirin didn’t so much as stir a muscle when I did, she was so deep into her despondency.
The little unnamed one clutched at me as I tried to let go of her. When I did finally manage it, my heart just about broke when she began to weep, all the while reaching out to me with her arms.
As I made my cowardly retreat, I refused to look back. I didn’t dare. If I had, I knew that my resolve would give out.
Once I had exited Pirin’s room, I sank to the floor just outside the entrance. Dimly I could hear the baby weakly crying out every now and again. Every time it did that, it was akin to a sledgehammer slamming onto my heart.
‘Pirin! Please come back!’ I thought desperately. After a short while of listening, I couldn’t take anymore. So, I went back to the kitchen and waited for Pirin’s maternal instinct to kick in.
And I waited for what seemed like an eternity. The guards there gave me food and drink. But I didn’t partake, I just stared at it unseeing.
And I waited, and waited some more. Waited for that selflessness I knew still remained within Pirin’s soul.
Until finally at last, I heard the guards stop their talking. After a second, I raised my head, and there she was. She had a haggard expression while holding the baby in her arms. I then stood up to face my punishment. Pirin looked at me accusingly from her position in the doorway.
“You…?” she demanded with a sniffle, looking down at the baby and back to me.
“Yes.” I replied quietly.
“WHY?!” she cried, tears starting to fall from her dark-circled eyes once more. I looked at her askance.
“Why?!” I replied, “Smell her!” I shot back. She then gave me a queer look.
“SMELL HER!” I thundered back at her once more and said no more.
Slowly, Pirin did as I bade her. She had someone take the baby, got some tissues and cleared her nose as best she could. Finally, she did and retook the baby, then sniffed it. She froze and did it again, this time with a perplexed look on her face. Then again.
I almost smiled when I saw her eyes widen as she drew her head back in realization and looked wonderingly at the child held in her arms.
“Alonzo?” she whispered hoarsely. She then looked at me. I nodded briskly, once. She looked back down at the baby and then touched a wondering paw to the Wurm’s face.
“Hello.” Pirin said wistfully, a hint of a sad smile creeping across her face as she began to stroke the Wurm’s teensy little head. It did my heart well to hear that baby-Wurm coo for the first time.
“You’re not quite,… the way I wanted,…one of Alonzo’s babies…” she whispered, holding that tyke close to her face.
“But you’ll do.” She sniffled and then lovingly kissed the baby on its forehead. At that point there wasn’t a dry eye in the joint- guards included. Then, Pirin stopped what she was doing, stood up straight and walked over to me. I thought right then that she came to thank me. Which in a way she did. But not the way I was expecting.
For as she came to a halt in front of me, she looked at me, frowned, and then kicked me square in the nuts.
Even though Dragon males carry their nuts inside for protection, it didn’t do me any good. Pirin knew where exactly mine were located. She had had plenty of time to examine them from before.
“Oof!” I replied as best I could, my eyes crossing, as my entire world unified with the tsunami of pain that emanated from my genitals. As I fell to the floor, I heard her voice from far far away.
“You asshole!” she growled.
After a bit, I was able to focus on a reply.
“Yes,…. I am.” I breathed and whimpered, “And you know what?” *gasp* I’d do it again,…. in a heartbeat.” *wheeze* “Just to save you.” I admitted, as I somehow managed to open my eyes and look back up at her. She and I looked back at each other for a moment and then she nodded once. She then went somewhere else.
After a while later, my pain subsided enough for me to get back up. When I did, I saw that Pirin had taken my food and drink, and was slowly eating it. Even better, she was feeding no small amount of it- to my newly found sister. I couldn’t help but smile.
‘They’re both gonna live.’ I thought cheerfully. I was so happy that I finally managed to get something done right.
“She’s going to need a name.” Pirin said to me after giving me a frown that lasted for only a second.
“Can’t you think of one?” I asked contritely.
“You’re the head of the house.” She stated flatly, as she transferred a bit of chewed up chicken to the baby, who eagerly began to gum it. “It’s traditional for the head of the house to choose the name.”
“I’ll have to think about it.” I replied, thinking of Dame Nizzyl.
Pounamu was the name that I decided upon, after I consulted with Dame Nizzyl. Why that name you may ask? Because, in the Dragon Language- it meant Treasured Gift.
Which I thought was appropriate. Pirin agreed, as did Frazziss as well, thankfully.
Pounamu turned out to be a gift in more than one way as well, for she inspired Frazziss to finally remove herself from the brooding chamber. She did that because Pirin felt the need to get her approval for getting a baby first. Which she rapidly received.
I guess there was something about the sight of a baby Wurm snoozing like a log on top of those warm sands, that melted Frazziss’ heart.
After that, Frazziss became more open and welcoming. She even became a good host to the dozens of Dragon Guards who were stomping, winging, or slithering all about our Cave and surrounding grounds. Luckily, all of them were more than happy to ‘help out’ when it came to taking care of the unexpected baby. Though I did my fair share too. She wasn’t heavy, she was my sister. (HAR!)
Oh, Pounamu! As small as she was, she still proved to be quite the handful. Despite her being not old enough to slither around on her own, she still had the Wurm strength and toughness that comes about with all of her specie of Dragon.
Which translated into my having to come up with some kind of crib that would contain her. She’d shred granite like it was cardboard. But we soon realized we had a different problem, Pounamu needed milk.
Then, as if answer to her needs, an unexpected surprise came about when my Mom showed up.
“Oh! My Maou!” she squealed delightedly when she got to hold the new addition. I was giddy when I saw that the two of them become instant friends. I don’t know which one made the other giggle more.
“She’s so adorable!” she stated as she snuffled her nose in Pounamu’s head scales. “Allen, I came as soon as I heard the news! Congratulations on your finding a sister!” she cheerily stated as she beamed down at the tyke. After a few seconds, she sighed with a longing look appearing on her face.
“Mom?” I asked after I saw it. She glanced over at me and replied.
“I’m not trying to bring anyone down, Allen. I was just wishing that I could’ve had one of Alonzo’s baby girls myself.” She sighed in remembrance of how many of his she’d lost. Pirin was about to say something then, but then my Mom interrupted her.
“But no matter!” She stated flatly, “The main thing is that you were lucky in obtaining her!” she beamed at Pirin. Which had the effect of relieving everyone there. “Is she drinking milk, yet?”
“Uhhhh, about that,…” Pirin began. “Could you in your abilities, help with my producing some? I can pay,…”
“Pay? Absolutely not!” My Mom laughed, waving Pirin’s protests aside. “She may not be mine, but I still consider her part of the family! I’ll cast a milk-drawing spell immediately!” she stated commandingly as she handed the baby back to Pirin, so as to retrieve her satchel.
Within the hour, Pou-Pou, as my Mom decided to start calling her, was suckling furiously at Pirin’s boobies. She was seemingly determined to make up for lost time. Pirin for her part was grinning all the while, with just the occasional wince when Pou-pou suckled a bit too vigorously.
I knew then, without my Ki-sense that Pirin would be Ok. After that, I snuck out of view and licked one of my claws and made a single air-mark. I was so relieved to accomplish that little bit.
A bit after that, my Mom took me aside to discuss Dad’s estate. Sadly, he hadn’t thought ahead of making out a will. But, since I was his heir, more or less, I was due to inherit his house and what all.
“There’s something I’d like to shoot by you Allen.” She asked as we sat down over a mug of tea.
“Fire away Mom, we’re all adults here.”
“I was musing over the status of Alonzo’s house. I was thinking that it would be best if you gave it to Pirin.” She stated somberly, with just a bit of nervousness. I leaned back to think about it. The more I thought about it, the more I liked that notion. I looked back at Mom and smiled. She seemed relieved at the sight.
“That, would be an excellent idea. After all, he and she were going to shack up anyways. Would you like me to approach her with the idea?” I asked. My mom shook her head and looked away with a tight smile. I couldn’t help but notice it.
“You already talked to her about it, haven’t you?” Mom didn’t reply verbally but she did drop her eyes for a second. “How did you know I wouldn’t say no?” I asked.
“Because you’re an honorable Man, err.. Dragon. Just the way I raised you to be.” That little statement of hers caused me to smile with a burning pride. Then I started asking her about what kind of situation Pirin would face.
Mom cautioned that Pirin really did still love me, but she wanted to go and raise Pou-pou in a place that was new. Yet, she wanted a place that didn’t have all of the memories that would’ve plagued Pirin here in the Cave. But she wanted to be someplace that was Alonzo’s.
Mom, for her part, needed to find a place to stay in the rather dreadfully expensive living situation of Modesto. She said that she’d move into a corner of Dad’s, now soon to be Pirin’s house and be able to lend a hand both with Pou-Pou’s care, and with paying Pirin rent. It was an arrangement all of us could live with.
However, I did wince over the notion of the repair expenses that would pile up. What with a wooden house that had a baby Wurm living in it? We’d be favored customers with the local Home Improver Store. But that, I decided, was a problem for another time.
Then the next night.
“Allen!” Frazziss whispered, as she tried to wake me from my lonely slumber atop our bedroom’s sandstone slab. I was still alone as she insisted that I stay outside and guard the entrance to the brooding chamber.
“Allen!” she whispered again, just as I began come to consciousness. “Wake up!” she said excitedly.
“Eh, whut?” I replied wearily, trying to blink the sleep from my eyes. “Whassamatta Takana? Is there something wrong?” I mumbled, all confused from the latest weird dream I’d been going through.
“Takana? Who’s Takana?” Frazziss asked with a frown, now that it was her turn to be all confused.
“Oh,.. she’s a, I mean to say,…uhhhh,…nevermind! What’s up?” I replied, shaking the thoughts of my last dream from my head. That dream was definitely a strange one.
In it, I’d been experiencing what it was like taking a Shoggoth to wife after her recovery from some illness. She’d been a medical doc of all things. Which was definitely out of left field, since I didn’t feel the least bit of attraction to Mitzi the Shoggoth Doc.
“Allen! It’s time!” Frazziss said excitedly, practically quivering as she spoke.
“Time?” I asked, confused once more. I looked around the room for a non-existent clock to see what time it was.
“Allen!” Frazziss rasped as she took ahold of my shoulder and forcefully shook me. “Our Babies! They’re shelling!” THAT, got my attention!
“What?!” I exclaimed, “How do you know?” I demanded as I started to get excited.
“They’re chirping!” she stated then and waited expectantly. As if this explained everything. I just sat there and blinked stupidly at her for a bit more.
Then it hit me!
‘Chirping! That’s what baby Drags are supposed do when they start trying to knock their way out of their shells!’ I recalled.
‘My babies are about to be born!’ I realized excitedly, but I was also scared, deeply scared. Numbly I allowed Frazziss to lead me by the paw back to the brooding chamber.
There, I was (finally!) allowed to get with touching distance of my two kids. Frazziss picked one up and presented it to me. I leaned closer and cocked a scaly ear. Sure enough, I could hear the little tyke within, make a chirruping sound every now and again.
It made me smile.
“Come on out little one! We’re ready for you!” I encouraged. With that, came another curious sound.
The sound of a tiny little fist- pounding on the inside of a shell. I heard it knock a couple of times, pause for a few seconds and then the pounding began again. Looking up, I could see Frazziss’ eyes dancing over the rim of the egg. Her eyes were dancing with delight, as she heard the kid too.
It was in that moment, that the pounding started once more, and it resulted in the faintest of sounds- of something cracking. Both Frazziss and I looked down, and sure enough- a small crack had appeared on the shell’s exterior!
“I’d better get Dame Nizzyl woken up, she’ll want to be here!” I decided suddenly. Frazziss agreed as she nodded her head excitedly. She then plopped herself down with both eggs in her lap.
The entire joint was soon in an uproar as news spread. Every one there was anxious to attend the shelling. After all, it’s not every day that a baby Dragon shells.
Within a short while we were all there in attendance. I was sitting astride from Frazziss, facing her atop of the warm brooding sands. Looking up from the eggs, I beheld Frazziss, I’d never seen her quite so happy before.
Well, at least not since I’d agreed to become her Incubus that is.
Pirin was there too, ready to help out with a stack of towels and a bowl of clean water. Mom was in attendance for ‘just in case’, as was Dame Nizzyl- she was there to witness and record whatever name that Frazziss and I decided to name our children, once they were free of their shells- of course.
Oh naturally, she and I had discussed what names to choose many, many times. And yes, we argued something fierce about it. But in the end, Frazziss and I had at the last minute, came to an agreement- she would pick the name of our son, and I would pick the name of our daughter. It was a choice that I felt we could both live with. Particularly after she made sure, DAMNED sure, I hadn’t chosen a ‘punny’ one for our daughter.
‘Damn it! She knows me too well.’ I thought then with a wry grin. Looking up, I could see that she was reading my thoughts, if that annoyed frown on her face be any indication.
Off behind us both, beyond the brooding chamber walls I could hear the sound of the Dragon guard, impatiently shuffling about waiting for any news.
At the entrance door to the chamber stood two of the Guards. Captain Zomonti and her lieutenant, Getunth (a Wyvern). I knew that they took their jobs seriously, even though they kept looking enviously down at the pair of eggs between Frazziss and I.
Even though all this, it was still rough going for Frazziss and I. As I’m sure it was for the Dragon Guard too. They didn’t know, that I knew they had a betting pool going, as all military folk are wont to do- about when the kids would hatch, and who would be the first to do so.
I looked down with a paternal pride at the sight of my two kid’s eggs. They were well along in their shelling by then, as in the last hour more and more cracks were appearing from on their respective shells. I smiled as admired the rounded-scales shell of my daughter, and the pointed-scales shell of my son. They seemed to be both in a competition- eager to come out first.
Then the big moment came as my son’s eggs cracked open first. A large piece jumped a bit, and then it fell off the main. This elicited a sharp intake of breath from everyone present, myself included.
Barely had that piece hit the floor than it was snatched up by Pirin. She then cleaned and placed it into a waiting ceremonial bowl I had made up recently.
Apparently, it is traditional for a Dragon-family to catch and keep the newborn’s eggshell pieces. Rather like the way a human mother will keep her baby’s dried umbilical cord.
It was rather shadowy in the chamber, so I couldn’t see much. But I could just make out the tiniest little head slowly moving about as it breathed in its first breath of outside air. Everyone there then blew out a long slow breath directed at him.
This, apparently, was done by way of thanks to the First Dragon, as a way to both thank her for life, and to share our own life-breath to the new one. All heads turned when there was another soft crack as my daughter’s shell broke open too. Her piece wasn’t as big, but both she and it received the same treatment as her brother’s.
Then all heads shifted their respective attention back to my son’s egg, as he made a mighty effort and split his shell apart in two, freeing himself! It was official, my son had shelled first!
Off in my peripheral vision, I saw Lieutenant Getunth frown fiercely and hand something over to a grinning Captain Zomonti. It didn’t take a Spell-surgeon to figure out what that was all about.
I then did my duty and gently took ahold of my squirming son, then lifted him up from his confining shell. I then held him aloft before me for all to see! This was partially to inspect him, and partially for Pirin to clean him. Ooh’s and Aaah’s were the order of the moment as we all admired him.
Oh, he was such a glorious sight! He had the tiniest little nubs of wings poking out of his scaled back, with just a hint of horns on his head! Looking him over as he molded himself into my paws, I couldn’t detect so much as a single flaw.
Looking down, just in front of the stub of his tail, I saw two little dangly bits where his peni would be. It was right then in that moment I knew that he was mine- definitely!
Then, I received another confirmation of such, as I brought him close to me, so as to take a good look at him. All up close and personal. Unfortunately, there was one little detail about newborn whelps I didn’t know about: what they did upon shelling.
For when I pulled him close, he gurgled a bit and looked at me with a sly grin on his mug. I beamed with pride as he opened his mouth as if to make a wide yawn…..And it was right then, that he puked all over my face.
Bazooka-barfed you could say.
It wasn’t just baby spit, oh no! It was the accumulated vernix and other nasty stuffs that he’d swallowed during his development in his shell.
Thankfully, I didn’t let go of him as a round of tittering and laughter broke out then, all at my expense. When I opened my eyes to take him in. Pirin and my Mom had already started cleaning me up, I couldn’t help but notice that the little blighter was giggling, almost as if he was delighted that he’d done me a dirty.
‘Oh yeah. You’re mine all right!’ I happily decided right then as a triumphant toothless grin broke out on his face. ‘Oh, you’re gonna be a handful, aren’t you?’ I predicted.
Then the moment came as Dame Nizzyl caught my eye. Reminding me of my duty to name him.
“I welcome you, Oh little one,” I solemnly began reciting the Ancient Words of Greeting. “to the House of Karrakthel. From here and henceforth you will be known by the name of,…“ I halted and waited for Frazziss to tell me her choice of names.
She then moved from her spot and leaned close to me. Hesitating for only a second, she then spoke one word into my scaly ear.
I stopped and blinked for several seconds. I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard!
“Wait, what?!” I asked, as I turned to her with a bizarre look on my face. “Say that again!” Frazziss wouldn’t meet my eyes, but she did indeed lean over and said that word again.
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” I demanded after she finished. She nodded, and then she spoke aloud.
“It was your father’s dying request.” She replied, looking at me nervously. “It’s what I promised him.” She replied unhappily. I looked back at her for the longest bit, doing my best to ignore the quizzical looks that everyone gave Frazziss and I there then. I smiled back at her, which got her to smile back hesitantly.
‘Damn Dad, even now you continue to surprise me!’ I thought as I turned my attention back to my baby son, and began the ritual once more.
“I welcome you oh little one,” I intoned solemnly, “to the House of Karrakthel. From here and henceforth, you will be known by the name of,…“ I paused and took in a breath for drama’s sake.
“Smaug.” I stated loudly and clearly. Oh, that caused a ruckus then I can tell you! There was a loud gasp from everyone else present, and then pandemonium!
Dame Nizzyl jerked in surprise so hard, that her glasses flew off. The guards gaped for a second, and then started laughing their tails off, till they were doubled over in their mirth. Then everyone else was too.
Me? I did my best to ignore the reactions of everyone, keeping my attention focused solely on my boy. (My Boy!). Thankfully, Frazziss was composed enough to take my son Smaug, (HAR! HAR! HAR!) out of my hands and give him an opportunity to start suckling away at one of her tits. Which he did with gusto! He was a hungry little rugrat then I could tell you.
‘Thanks Dad!’ I thought, sending off into the aether my amusement at his guile.
But I wasn’t done. As Pirin grinningly began collecting my son’s shell pieces and putting them all into his ceremonial bowl, I then turned my attention back down to my waiting daughter. She’d been busy during the ruckus, enough to the point that when I finally peered down at her, was when she cracked her shell apart. Naturally, I and everyone else there who was composed enough to do so, blew our breaths to her too.
She was slower than her brother in emerging from her shell, but she managed it at last. The strange thing was, not once did she open her eyes. Or, at least not until I’d reached down and picked her up. She started blinking languidly then, looking as if she were half-asleep.
Carefully I held her up and looked her over, as Pirin worked to clean her. Oh, she was perfect in her own adorable way! She had the most beautiful set of purplish scales dotting her tiny body, and the chubbiest little tail that insisted on curling around one of my fingers!
I tensed in preparation, when she yawned. Thankfully, she didn’t upchuck like her older brother. (Whew!).
“I welcome you oh little one,” I began, and then I stopped. For that was when she fully opened her eyes, and LOOKED at me with a knowledge that was unbefitting one so young and innocent.
In that timeless moment, I knew those eyes, I’d seen them before nearly a year ago. They were the eyes of my first daughter, Serilda, from my first wife, the one had been born without a brain. The last time I’d seen her, or her avatar, was just before I ended my ordeal through the Seventh Path.
Now here she was looking back at me! My sight became blurry as a load of tears began to flow in response. They were tears of happiness, and tears of humility. For in that moment, I realized that I had been given that most rare of rarest chances.
For I was about to be a Father to my little girl for the very first time.
All the pain, all of the anguish, all of the fuck-ups I’d committed on the way to this point. They had all been worth it. Now, because I’d chosen to hold on just for one more day, I had been rewarded as few can.
“Hello!” I began, “It’s good to see you!” I said, and then quietly whispered “Once more.”
She cocked her head and then….she blinked. When she opened her eyes that knowingness had passed, leaving me with the sight of a baby Dragon-girl, peering back at me with an innocent awe.
Frazziss poked at me then, to get me back on track. I did a double take and sighed, giving her a lopsided smile as way of explanation. I turned my attention back to my newly born daughter.
“I welcome you oh little one,” I intoned solemnly, “to the House of Karrakthel. From here and henceforth, you will be known by the name of,…“ I hesitated for a second. My original choice of name seemed somehow,….I don’t know,…inappropriate then.
Then the right name came to me in a flash.
“Urmat.” I stated, “Which means eternal.” Urmat then gurgled and rewarded me with a smile that stole my heart away forever.