The Shell of Time

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Precisely. All other dragons are hatched from eggs with strong shells, to break out the hatchling uses its teeth.

I thought about that for a bit. Interesting.

May I continue? he asked, and I could almost hear him rolling his eyes.

Please do. I didn't want to ruin whatever good mood he was in, so I kept polite.

The hatchling grows for twenty-five years, the growth being quick for the first decade and then slowing until they reach fledgling age. The hatchling's gift begins presenting at around the twenty-first year, but by the twenty-fifth year their body is ready to shift.

I nodded. That makes sense. Weird stuff started happening when I turned twenty-one.

That was your gift surfacing. Now your body has stopped the aging and will remain frozen so your body can adjust to shifting and using your gift.

My mouth dropped open in shock. What? I'm stuck as a twenty-five year old forever?

No. Had you let me finish I would have explained that the aging restarts after a century.

Oh.

He chuckled. When the aging restarts the dragon is considered an adult, but the aging is now much slower, adding roughly a year of age every fifty years.

I did the math in my head. So....physically you're about....thirty-three?

Roughly.

I sighed. This is all so weird. I can't believe I hatched from an egg! I mean....that's not normal.

Considering you are not human, I imagine normalcy was hard to come by. Nisvārtha countered.

I huffed, Fair point. But still, imagine living one place all your life and then being dragged into a completely different world. It's gonna take a long time for me to get used to this place, since it's apparently impossible for me to go home.

Nisvārtha was quiet for a long time. It wasn't until the sun was at its zenith that he spoke again.

Kendra.... He hesitated, as if he was unsure of what he wanted to ask.

Yes? I prodded.

How....um....how did you get to Avondale?

I froze in place, my heartbeat picking up as I remembered the cold, horrible gold.

I thought you didn't believe me. I growled. I thought I was a liar and an impulsive child.

I felt his body flinch beneath me and heard him sigh. I apologize for that, my behavior was uncalled for.

I was temporarily at a loss for words as he continued. If you do choose to share your experience, I promise to withhold judgement until you finish.

I swallowed hard as the memory attacked my mind. It wasn't a pleasant experience. I murmured quietly, glad that I had kept my voice steady as my body started to tremble.

Ah, Nisvārtha thought for a moment. If it was really bad then you should definitely tell someone. Perhaps not myself. Sanna would be a good person to tell, very understanding.

I blinked the tears from my eyes. It's not that I don't want to explain, it's that I don't know how. The words to describe it aren't there.

Hmm....normally I would not suggest this, but your Tale hādu is uniquely strong for your age. You might be able to do it.

What are you talking about?

He sighed, Experienced dragons who have been using Tale hādu for enough years, can send images or even memories through the connection.

I thought about that for a while. I did want to talk about it....but sharing the memory sounded extremely personal. I didn't know if I was ready to share my experience like that.

I looked down at my trembling hands. Soon this memory was going to trigger panic attacks. If that does happen, someone will need to know what is going on? My first thought was to tell Sanna, but I had no clue how he would handle it. Most likely he would try to comfort me, which is nice and I will probably need comforting after I talk about it, but afterwards he would coddle me, and McLanes aren't to be coddled. I need someone to know who will be able to discuss it with me. Not give me sympathy or pity, but help me come to terms with it like an adult.

That only left one person to tell.

I sighed. Alright....I'll try it.

Nisvārtha's ears twitched in surprise. If you are not comfortable—

I'm not, I said, cutting him off. But you're right, I need to tell someone or I'm gonna have a bloody panic attack.

Nisvārtha began to descend, positioning his wings so that we turned in a gentle spiral downward.

What are you doing? I asked.

Everyone is ready for a break. Besides, for this kind of Tale hādu you need to be touching the recipient. Once we get on the ground I will have Sanna—

No, I interrupted him again. Not Sanna.

Then who?

I rolled my eyes.  You, of course. Daft Lizard.

Why would you want to share this with me?

I have my reasons, most of which you don't need to know, but the simplest answer is you asked to know. The only one to ask.

Nisvārtha didn't reply as we made our descent.

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