She had no memory of anything before the Wood.
No, that wasn't quite true. She had a few distant memories... the warmth of a mother, the chill of a winter wind, the rumble of the deities. But there was a curious blankness in her mind about how she might have been separated from that world...and how she had landed in the Tangled Wood. The shadows were no place for a young dragon, certainly one not accustomed to them and thrust in unawares.
At first, she had cried. Keened out for her guardians, for her home clan leaders, for anyone who might hear. Had she been left here? Brought here to be eaten by Earthshaker-knew-what hid in these trees? Had this been intentional? No, she couldn't believe that. Couldn't allow herself to believe that. This had to be a terrible mistake, and soon someone would come for her.
Many sunrises came and went before that hope started to dim.
Then she wondered if there had ever been a home clan. Had she imagined the distant memories of another place? No, that didn't seem true either. But why would a clan simply abandon a hatchling in the woods? True, perhaps she was a bit past being half in the egg, and she was not truly one of the dragonlets who scattered around. But...to be left like this, without a word? Without an explanation? In a strange place, she knew nothing about?
No. Something had gone wrong.
But she'd had to fight for her place in the woods, and it had not come without its share of scars. While she waited for the savior she was certain was never coming, she scratched out a place for herself, to lick her wounds...and wait. And wait. And wait. And wonder if there were others out there, looking for her and worrying, wondering themselves what had happened to their star-speckled baby, and hoping she would come home.
She realized she could not remember her name. She couldn't even think of what one might have been.
She'd lost track of how many days it had been now. It felt like it had been forever, but still, she didn't feel she'd grown enough to compensate for how much she'd needed to [i]grow[/i]. But it was little things which were keeping her safe now, tricks she had learned. The dark amethyst of her hide hid her in the shadows, and even with the spots of light around her, the green of her wings could nestle into brush and bracken to hide until she was a ghost of a dragon who might have once been there. It had saved her life more than a few times, and she was glad of it. The beastclans did not take well to this dragonlet being in their woods, no matter how small and relatively harmless she seemed to be. There were wounds to nurse and fitful nights of sleep to fight for.
Could she make a life of it out here? Was there a way out, where she could find a new life? ...Who would she be in that new life? Could she find her way back to where she'd been before? She wasn't sure. She didn't know if she wanted to.
She wondered what another dragon might look like. Shapes in her mind tried to coalesce into others: some blocky, others covered in fur, others small and dainty with wings like sunlight on the water...others like her, and some large and ominous, with manes that flowed with the wind when they flew. She'd lost all of their names along with hers.
She shifted, hissed as pain jolted through her from the last encounter with...whatever it was she'd fought. It was too often, too many, too much to remember. She rested her head on the ground and closed her eyes, hoping that this pain would fade quickly, and the wound heal similarly.
The rustle of the grass gave away the newcomer. These were not steps she knew.
She waited until she was certain they were coming to her before she opened her eyes and chanced a look--and instantly she began backing away, trying to ignore the jolts of pain lancing through her. [i]Another dragon. A big one, right here and she didn't know other dragons--[/i] But he was backing away too now, keeping his eyes on her, careful and unsure.
He didn't look like he fit in here either. Could he be lost like her? Young like her? His skin...it had the stars in it like she did. His wings were giant canopies of early dawn mornings, etched with deep blue scrollwork, but...something seemed familiar about him, more than just the purple stars of his body.
He made himself as small as he could and crept to her, only moving when she stilled, until he was nearly close enough to touch, and with a tilt of his head, seemed to indicate that he could take her with him.
[i]Take her...with him. Away.[/i]
Any fear she might have felt melted away at a chance for the pain to fade and not have to return. A chance to live among other dragons, and not have to be alone. A chance for a new name, to replace the one she'd lost so long ago.
His name was Andromeda, a name that invoked stars and galaxies and the wideness of everything. The clan dubbed her Nebula, an offshoot from his. She loved it. She loved him.
It was perfect.
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