Myra had never had eggs of her own. The years seemed to slip by and there was always a new adventure to go on. Even though Baku had said it was fine if they never had nestlings, Myra had always seen herself with a family. So when the little human stumbled into her cave, crying and afraid, something stirred in her.
“Am I that ugly to behold, child that you cry?” she had said. She was in her dragon form and sure the child hadn’t expected to run into her. The little one looked up at her, stopping her cries to really look.
“No, you is so beautiful,” she said, struggling to pronounce the words. “Monsters…” she said sobbing as a roar could be heard in the distance and pointing outside. She whimpered and curled into a little ball. Myra felt it again-the stir. She decided right then, this little one would be hers. She reached down and picked up the little human as delicately as she would a bird’s egg and placed her deeper into the cave. She had furs and soft things spread around the floor and placed the human there.
“Wait here sweetling,” she said gently and went out to destroy whatever it was that brought fear into the child’s soul.
The hatchling was named Rose and as it turned out, she had an older brother who had gotten wounded trying to save her. Elias was his name and as the bold young man came to her cave, she decided he would be hers as well. She wondered what Baku would say when he returned and found the family had grown in his absence. She chuckled to herself.
That was months ago and since then, Myra wondered what beckoned her to take the leap. Rose’s cries stopped her thoughts. Myra had dug out new pockets in her tunnels just for her new children. She walked into Rose’s “room” and lifted the crying child out from her crib. She cooed at her.
“It’s okay sweetling, mama is here,” she said, the name still tasting foreign on her tongue. Rose had been having nightmares lately and Myra held her tight until she settled down. After a quick change, Myra gave Rose a kiss on her brow.
“There now, let’s get you fed. Do you want to check on Elias with me?” she asked. Rose adored her brother and any mention of the boy would cheer her right up. Myra headed up to what humans had called a “living room”. It was another cave entrance, shielded with magic so none could enter, but it allowed lots of natural light and air. Elias lied on a bed she’d made for him. As soon as she saw him, Rose squirmed until Myra would put her down.
“Elias! I awake now, good morning,” she said rushing over to the boy, tapping his face a bit too hard. Elias winced a little.
“Be gentle Rose, big brother is still hurt,” Myra warned, catching her little hand before she had the chance to hit him again. Elias laughed.
“Oof. Mkay gentle,” she said, petting his face this time.
“Good morning Rose. Good morning...mother,” Elias said a bit stiffly. Though Rose had readily claimed her as their mother, it seemed Elias was not so keen. She smiled.
“You don’t have to force yourself, child,” she petted his head gently. Rose started to climb onto the bed with him but Myra stopped her. The night they found each other, Rose had been chased by demons and found sanctuary in the cave. Elias, on the other hand, showed up bloodied with his eyes glazed over, demanding Rose’s whereabouts. When he found out Rose was safe and sound, his body gave out. Myra demanded bed rest while he healed. A few more weeks and he would be right as rain but too much movement would open his wounds.
“How about, you help me get Elias some food, would you like that?” she said rubbing noses with Rose before she had a chance to pout. She giggled instead and nuzzled against her.
“Mkay mama, I can help,” she said and the two went to look for food. Rose wanted to run around so Myra let her explore. She never realized how much energy hatchlings had. She wondered if Elias was like this too. Rose wanted to play tag so she ran with her for a bit but reminded her that they were out to find breakfast.
Rose led the way, bouncing and pointing out her favorite flowers. She picked a few wildflowers and brought them over to Myra, giggling as she did so. Myra thanked her and agreed they were the “beautifullest flowers ever.” She couldn’t sense any danger so when they reached a clearing, Myra let Rose play while she hunted rabbits. She got 2 for herself and 1 for Elias. It was by no means enough to fill her up, but she’d go hunting again when Rose was down for a nap. When she returned to the clearing, Rose was hard at work chasing butterflies in a circle. Myra smiled. This was her hatchling and if she could, she would make sure nothing else would happen to her or Elias. Nothing would ever hurt her children. It was her vow to the heavens for blessing her.
When Rose saw Myra, she waddled over to her as if she hadn’t seen her all day. She hugged her leg excitedly and Myra picked her up with her free hand and positioned Rose on her hip.
“Mama, I’m hungry, can we eat now?” she asked. Myra told her not yet but a series of “how about now,” “is it ready now,” “is it time now mama?” ensued. Myra laughed and kissed Rose’s little cheek.
“We can eat after the rabbit is cooked. Can you be my little helper today?” she asked. They were nearly back to the cave. Rose’s eyes lit up and she was happy to be a helper as if it was the first time she’d ever helped. Myra always found that amusing. Myra remembered to pick a few apples on her way back as well. Rose was very fond of mashed apple and Elias had said he normally fed her softer foods or milk. Myra didn’t like the idea of them drinking cow’s milk. Since she could not produce her own, she had acquired some dragon’s milk from Haela and infused her own magic in it.
When they returned, Rose demanded to see Elias so she set her down to play alongside him while she gathered spices for the rabbits.
Myra had picked up the art of cooking from a human village when she first left home a few hundred years ago. She found that she loved it and crafted herself a kitchen in her cave. While she prepped everything, she could hear Rose giggling. Elias was using his good hand to hold one of Rose’s stuffed toys and making voices for it. Myra got a few spices from one cabinet and some herbs from another. She was going to roast it. She would need a stick though she had no use for making a fire. More giggling and then a crash and then an “uh oh” could be heard from around the corner.
“What happened?” she called.
“Um...nothing mama,” Rose called back. Myra sighed and put down everything.
“Not nothing. Tell the truth Rose, you know better,” Elias whispered.
“Um...not nothing. Something,” Rose called again as Myra came back. Elias had sat up all the way and Rose stood by a jar she had knocked from a shelf. The contents spilled all over the floor and the jar destroyed.
“Um...not nothing,” she repeated again, looking up with a worried look. Myra bit her lip. On one hand, that powder had been expensive. It would need to be replaced and it would be a 10-day journey to Barda to do so. On another hand, she was glad Rose was unharmed. On yet another, should she say something about the lying? Should she say something to Elias for getting up? Though it was obvious he did so in case he needed to jump to Rose’s rescue. Rose started to cry, fearful she’d gotten in trouble and Elias winced as the smell of his blood filled the room. His wound had opened up as predicted. Myra took a deep breath. She could do this.
“Rose it is okay, mama is not angry. I need to help Elias first, can you sit with Bunny quietly for a little bit?” she cooed, petting Rose gently on the head and handing her a stuffed rabbit-Rose’s most prized possession. Rose nodded and sniffled a little before heading over to some furs on the floor to sit.
She went to Elias and lifted his shirt. The blood had seeped through the bandages.
“Do not move,” she said before heading off for fresh bandages, salve and some towels. She gave him something to drink and had him lay down. She would have to restitch him. She cleaned him off and put a little mixture around his wound. It would numb the area a little before she set to task. He winced but tried to keep quiet as he noted Rose’s wide eyes watching him. He breathed through his teeth and Myra talked to him.
“I’m sorry little love, I’m nearly done,” she said as she pulled the stitches together. When she was done, she applied salve on him and rewrapped him. She had considered cauterizing him to save him some time to heal but she doubted he could take the pain or that Rose could handle the sight. She wiped his brow with a fresh cloth and petted his head gently.
“There we go. All done,” she said and helped him lay comfortably. She laid a blanket on him.
“Thank you…” he said. She smiled and headed over to Rose, who was still a bit shaken. She hugged her close.
“I sorry, I didn’t mean to break it,” she sniffled.
“It’s okay sweetling, mama is not mad about the jar. There is no need to lie. Mama will never be upset when you tell the truth. I want you to be safe. You understand?” she said, trying to sound firm at the end. Rose nodded and dried her eyes. She mentioned she was hungry again and Myra remembered the rabbit. She looked at the powder on the floor and decided that could wait and instead took Rose with her to the kitchen. She sat her in a little chair and gave her a bottle of milk to drink while she cooked.
When the food was nearly done, Rose needed another change and Myra headed off to take care of that, making note that Elias had dozed off. By the time they had broken their fast, it was already mid-morning.
She fed Rose and helped Elias eat as well and by the time Rose was down for her nap, Myra decided she’d much rather sleep then hunt. She slept in her dragon form and curled up amongst her soft furs, wondering if motherhood would always be this exciting.