BNN: Sudiva Enshrined
Sudiva Enshrined by Jhym, won third place in Sudiva Fan Fiction Contest:
Sudiva stopped in her endless pacing and shivered in the darkness.
She had heard... something. A distant, keening, fitful wail, almost as though a puff of smoke had extinguished the last of the embers remaining from a conflagration that had almost destroyed the world. She raised an eye ridge in thought, unconsciously mimicking the bipeds that had interrupted her solitary torment for centuries.
"Perhaps, change has come?" She let the thought percolate through her brain, until it found one tiny, unnoticed shred of Hope. She touched the thought carefully, pulling at it as a fledgling would at his newly born wings. "I..."
Whispers surrounded her. The Shadows had held her for so long, had kept her from so much. She carefully folded her wings and settled down to ponder these thoughts. After the thousands of attempts at breaking her bonds, after the painful offers of help from the bipeds only to crash in disappointment, after the solitary darkness of yearning for something... something.... all she felt now was absence. Absence that wouldn't turn into yearning or longing. It had been so long she didn't know what was missing, and didn't know what to do. A nearby stalactite dripped onto its matching stalagmite, causing her to automatically count it.
Dragonkin were solitary in their nature. Other more social creatures would have gone mad in the centuries of mind-numbing absence and repetition. But Dragons, True Dragons, could resist the ease of madness. It served no purpose, it gained nothing and lost too much. Their pride would not allow them to succumb. And so, a Dragonkin could abide. However, they are not unaffected by the driving sameness of imprisonment, the constant absence of outside life or the loss of the touch of the air and sun upon their skin as they flew.
She shifted slightly on the cool cave floor, murmuring.
"It has been long since they have appeared." She nodded.
"Perhaps the bipeds have defeated...." She stopped, perplexed. She only knew them as the Shadows now, but there were names in the far past. Long moments passed as her thoughts wrapped around each other, the tiny shred of Hope gradually blowing into an ember.
Blinking, she raised herself up and stretched her limbs. She had found it simpler and less painful to squash the flames of Hope early, now should be no exception.
She stepped lightly through the cavern towards the distant exit, waiting for the signs of her shackles to begin. The soul shaking cold that would turn into pain and finally freezing, deadly agony. Each step, she tensed in anticipation only to relax. Her steps slowly began to increase in speed, in strength, as she forged her way to the entrance. Suddenly she was through and into another cavern, and another. Faster and faster she raced, her great heart beating faster than it had in many years, muffled roars of excitement escaping from her throat as gazers, headless and harpies raced to get out of her way.
With a great roar of triumph, she burst out of the final cavern and out into the light of a bright morning, frighting a flock of ravens into flight. Standing clear of the sheltering rock she let forth a huge bellow of flame into the sky.
"Freeee!!!" she called into the wood and sky. She laughed at a doe as it raced from the scene. Then, in unfettered delight, unfurled her wings and launched herself crookedly into the sky. Scraping various trees, she veered over the landscape until her muscles once again remembered how to move. Up she flew, straining with all her might to touch the sky, to feel the sun upon her carapace, to taste the cool rain bunched within the morning clouds. Higher, until she felt the snap of cold of the upper atmosphere. Momentarily fearful, she dropped, until the sun touched her wings again. She laughed at a normal, physical cold, something she could now relish.
After hours of flight, Sudiva settled to the ground and picked up some deer, her appetite suddenly larger than ever. After finishing the herd, she settled contentedly in a clearing, the midday sun warming her through. She napped, a luxury she barely remembered sharing....
"Under a warm sun Sudiva relaxed with Ferrude, idly touching his chest plates with her claw. He opened an eye, laughing, and pulled her close in a slow embrace of passion that took her breath away...
... in the coolness of the night sky, they flew together, twisting and diving, touching and embracing in silvery laughter... Ferrude draping her in the cloak of his wings as...
... a rumbling gentle laughter... random images...
warmth of a cave, Ferrude bringing food since he knew she couldn't hunt... why was that... It is time, my love..."
Startled, she raised herself and looked around the clearing.
"Time? Ferrude?" Her features anguished in thought as she tried to remember. The Absence made itself known, she dropped to the ground, shrieking. "Lost.. I've lost... I...!!!"
Rising again, she concentrated, her eyes wide in panic.
"What have I lost... WHO have I lost?!!?" she moaned. "I... I need to go HOME."
Concentrating, she closed her eyes and thought of the word, turning slowly until a mental tug pointed her in a direction. Lifting herself into the air, she allowed herself to mindlessly fly northwards until coming to a high range, softly dropping to a ledge that opened into a large cave. Inside she haltingly stared at the disused trappings of Dragonkin. Shaking, she touched shredded books, various furniture pieces, beds of fine straw, a hearth shaped from the natural stone. The glint of a small golden chest caught her eye as she shifted some items.
Her claws touched its lock in some automatic way and it opened. Her eyes beheld a gentle golden cloth, which her claw shifted carefully to show several golden/reddish shards of what appeared to be an egg. Tears blurred her vision as she vainly tried to remember....