The Shell of Time

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I was woken by Sanna's song in my head, the happy drums, saxophone and violin disturbing my warm cocoon of sleep.

"Sorry to wake you, Sūrya." Sanna's voice purred, I felt his big arms lift me up from the sand.

I moaned, and hid my face in his bare chest. "Too early for music." I muttered.

He chuckled. "You can return to Kanasu soon, I promise."

I opened my eyes a bit to see Sanna place me on Nisvārtha's back. Once Sanna let me go I laid on Nisvārtha's neck, wrapping my arms around him and pillowing my head on his soft mane.

"Kanasu?" I mumbled as a question.

Kanasu is the dream world, Kendra. Nisvārtha said softly. Close your eyes and hold tightly, you will be there soon.

I did as he said and let the winds rush around me as he took off. I didn't notice how he was more gentle than before, or how he had spoken so kindly. I could only hear his song as it lulled me back to sleep.

* * * *

When I woke again it was lighter, the sun had risen and lit the semi-cloudy sky into a patchwork of blue and grey. I moved the slightest bit and groaned in pain. My whole body was sore: My back, my thighs, my arms, and my shoulders ached. I knew it would be bad, but I had hoped it would have been less horrible since I drank Suruli's stupid medicine.

I hate you so much right now. I moaned at Nisvārtha.

I beg your pardon?

Everything hurts, I whined, not caring that I sounded childish. And it's your fault, Shade.

He laughed. I know how you feel. I can promise the pain will pass in a day or so.

It better. I grumbled and began to stretch out.

Once I had stretched what I could, I found that the pain wasn't that bad, I would be fine by tomorrow. I laid against Nisvārtha's neck and relaxed. He was flying smoothly beneath me, and as I watched his ears twitch and his head bob in flight, I thought of something to say.

How old are you, Shade?

His ears twitched. In the spring I turned five-hundred and fifty. Why do you ask?

All of you look so young, but are so much older, I answered. I'm trying to figure it out.

Would you like me to explain the aging process of dragons? he asked.

I frowned at looked at the drake, he was acting weird. Being nice....not a trait I would apply to Nisvārtha Shade.

Are you feeling alright? I asked.

His head turned to give me an odd look. Yes, of course. Why?

I shook my head. Nevermind. He turned his head forward again.

I would like to know about the aging process, though, I added as an afterthought.

As you wish, he said. I suppose I must start at the beginning, each dragon life begins the day they hatch or, in the case of wyverns, are born.

Wyverns don't come from an egg? I asked.

No, the birth process of wyverns is similar to mammals. The mother will remain unshifted for a period of nine moons, carrying the child as it develops in her womb, then give birth to an unshifted baby with no teeth and a thirst for milk.

That sounds just like a human pregnancy. I said, then frowned. You said wyverns are born without teeth, do you mean that the other types have teeth at birth?

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