RAVENNA WOKE WITH a start. The world around her was dark and muted, with swirls of shadows crawling across the walls. Faint streams of moonlight seeped through the clouded window, scarcely illuminating the hostel. Her gaze flickered around as her eyes adjusted to the dark. A mound appeared beneath the crumpled sheets atop the bed. Dark hair fanned out across the single pillow, almost swallowing it whole. The dragon's face was hidden –either turned away from her or covered by the patchwork quilt. A peaceful atmosphere encompassed the space around the dragon's sleeping form, yet it didn't quite reach Ravenna's side of the room.
She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and then reopened them. A hazy sensation flowed through her and she vaguely became aware of her immediate surroundings. Heavy fabric bunched around her waist. Her neck ached, head resting against the back of the rigid chair she was sprawled out upon.
A nervous sensation twisted in her gut as her fingers started to twitch.
Ravenna's jaw clenched. She tried to sit upward. That strange feeling in her stomach spread, grasping hold of her muscles, and she was immediately rendered motionless. Her mouth opened yet no words escaped. Panic blazed through her. Her gaze anxiously darted around, searching for something, grasping for anything that could help her. Her fingers twitched again. A strangled noise sounded somewhere around her head.
She looked upward, into a pair of red eyes set deep within a shadowed face. Then she blinked, and the eyes vanished...
A burst of sunlight hit Ravenna's face, illuminating the veiny insides of her eyelids. Her face twisted with a grimace as the light grew brighter and blinded her. A soft groan escaped. She lifted her hands, absently rubbing at her eyes.
The dazed sleepiness dissipated. Her hands paused and lowered. She stared at them, confused, and wiggled her fingers. Memories flashed across her mind's eye. Of the shadowed creature standing over her, and the blood red eyes. Her heart skipped a beat. "I can move again," she whispered.
"Indeed you can."
Ravenna's hands dropped to her lap. Her lips pressed into a frown as she looked up. The dragon stood in front of the table, pale hands covered in muck. He didn't look at her. Instead, his gaze seemed focused on a collection of roots and weeds. One hand pressed flat against a book, his finger pointed at the end of a sentence. His free hand hesitated over a miniature cauldron, a weird looking weed with plum colored leaves pinched between his fingertips. He squinted at the book and then dropped the weed into the cauldron.
A sharply pitched scream burst from the weed as it fell. The mixture within the cauldron appeared to move. It reached up and caught the weed, bubbling different shades of blue. As the weed was engulfed, its tiny screams faded away and the mixture started to boil.
The dragon leaned back and observed the cauldron, eyes narrowed. Ravenna eased out of her chair, draping the blanket over the back. "What is that?" she asked as she crept closer, arms folded across her midsection.
"A potion," the dragon answered.
Ravenna waited for an elaboration. When it didn't come, she let out a sigh of annoyance and moved even closer. The bubbly blue mixture now swirled with violets. Puffs of navy colored smoke curled within the air, reeking of rotten eggs. Her nose curled with disgust and her gaze dropped to the open spell book. The pages lay open, stained with age and dust, revealing a spell for healing. Beside it listed a lengthy spell for protection.
"What is this for?" she asked quietly. The blood red eyes tainted her thoughts once again. She shivered.
"You are not to mess with these spells," came his sharp response. His head turned away from her. "These are very powerful spells. Not for beginners."
The dragon moved forward and shut the book. He plucked it from the table and stashed it away, hidden within an overflowing bookcase. He turned back to look at her, unnaturally dark eyes calculating. Ravenna squared her shoulders, bracing herself as his gaze traveled over her body.
A few moments passed of purse silence. Then his gaze returned to the cauldron. "Your dress is torn," he said.
She blinked and glanced down. Shock bristled through her. Her fingertips pinched the fabric and tugged slightly. The garment was shredded, several strips dangling almost to the floor. Layer after layer of frayed fabric and tears. Beneath the cloth, small streaks of skin were exposed, revealing gashes. Dried blood stained the edges of the cloth and her skin.
Movement dragged her attention back toward the dragon. He stepped away from her, closer to the table, and fiddled with the potion. He poked at the mixture with a wooden spoon, stirring it slightly. The mixture sighed and the bubbles fizzled out. She watched, still shocked, as he dipped the spoon back into the cauldron, scooping a mound of the mixture out. The potion had thickened and turned a bluish lavender. He scraped the potion from the spoon and squeezed it in his hands.
"I was attacked," Ravenna announced, anxiety twisting through her. Her words sounded so far away. Her mind traveled back, to her dream. To the creature. She pulled at her dress again, peeling it away from her skin. She examined her wounds. It didn't hurt much. The scratches weren't very deep. It seemed that her dress took the brunt of the attack.
The dragon stepped forward. His free hand reached out and grasped her tattered dress. With a swift movement, the material tore further, revealing more skin.
Immediately, her hand shot out. Her fingers curled tight around his wrist. "Just what do you think you are you doing?" she demanded, as ice started to crawl up his forearm.
His gaze flickered upward and narrowed. "Helping you. Would you prefer that your wounds fester?"
Her lips wrinkled. She watched reluctantly as his hand wrenched free of hers. The ice on his skin fractured and rained to the ground in multiple shards. He tore away the majority of her dress, ignoring as Ravenna shifted uncomfortably. He tore at the putty-like potion in his hands and pressed pieces of it against her wounds. It stung sharp, and then faded into an icy sensation.
When he was finished, the dragon kept his eyes averted and stepped back. He gestured toward the bed, where a folded garment sat atop the quilt. "There is a wash bucket in the cupboard. I must go gather more herbs. You can wash up and change while I'm gone."
Ravenna's stomach twisted with anxiety as the dragon started toward the door. She grasped her tattered dress, attempting to shield herself. Her gaze skirted around the room, half-expecting the shadowed creature to appear. She opened her mouth to say something, to stop him. She didn't want to be alone.
The door slammed shut. She watched through the window as the dragon walked through the foliage, until finally the forest consumed him.
Not 100% sure how I feel about this chapter right now. Especially the ending. I may come back through and edit this part at some point in the distant future. For now, it's something ;-;
Thank you all for being so patient with me! Your feedback is so greatly appreciated! Once this darn semester ends, I'll be able to start updating more frequently again. <3
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[wattys 2018 shortlisted] Humans see her as a dangerous threat -a witch that must be executed. With the uncontrollable ability to form ice at her fingertips, Ravenna is forced into hiding amongst the humans, stealing to survive. That is, until she h...