The Dragon's Apprentice
(working title)

by Kimra

Part One


It was odd, that much she knew.

The atmosphere was thick with immobility. Had she been able to move she would have meet the languid resistance like a spoon moving through thick honey. Even the tiny breaths of air she managed seemed unable to stir feelings of movement. Her heart beat distantly, a rhythm she could count with minutes, not seconds.

Thin lines of sweat slid down from her belly to her waist, pooling into droplets and dripping onto the material below her. Similar sweat beaded on her forehead mingling with her matted hair, trickling down her calves, slipping between her fingers onto her palms. The hot air melting her skin into the soft sheet's above and below her.

"Your awake?" Something jolted her foot fiercely, jarring her body, making her aware of her injuries. She went to cry but her throat was dry. Opening heavy eyelids she searched out the hard voiced speaker. A sharp metallic sound shot through the room, and light flooded across her features, blinding her with glare. She blinked. She could see the outline of a dark figure, looming over her from the shadows. "Good." Something heavy thumped to the floor near her feet, she was too tired to blink in response. "Put those on." Heavy feet took him from the room, his solid form never leaving the shadows.

She tried to follow his progress but her neck, like the rest of her, was unwilling to move. Her breathing was still shallow, the injuries she had suddenly become aware of, throbbed and pinched at her mercilessly, her small fingers clutched at the sheet below her in response to the pain. Her curled knuckles made her cry out in shock as new pain lashed its way up her arm to the base of her skull. Blinking tears out of her unfocused eyes she relaxed her hand removing pressure from the pain. Her heavy lids slid shut without invitation and sleep captivated her once more.


She wasn't sure how long she slept. All she knew as she woke to a chill settling in the air was that she was bleeding. Carefully curling her finger, bunching the sheet below her in her weak grip she drew herself into a sitting position, the sheet above her slipping away. Her head spun from the motion, her body recoiling from the pain that shot through her. With weary eyes she looked down at her lap, staring into the open wound that spanned her flat belly. She touched at the wound cautiously and more pain shot up her body to assault the top of her spine.

She glanced over her body; self-assessing whatever damage had been done. Her knuckles where raw and grazed, her left elbow and palm were the same, the wrist hurting too little to be broken. Her back, burnt when the soft wind that played through the open door bit into wounds she could not see. Her thigh felt numb, carefully she withdrew the white sheet still pooled in her lap, and looked it over. Her left thigh had thick gorges across it and was grazed around the edges. She looked on. A long cut lined her right leg, from her knee down to an ankle that was swollen and bruised. She attempted to move it and found herself crying out involuntarily.

Noise through the door echoed her cry and she bit down into the tender flesh of her lower lip counting breaths as they where drawn in and released. The heavy footfalls of the shadow, who ever he was, taunted her until there was once again silence. She swallowed and her tongue darted out to wet cracked lips.

Looking back at her ankle she realised something that, had she not be overcome with drowsiness, she would have noticed immediately. She was naked. Light brown eyes widened in shock, her hands moving fast to cover herself, despite the weariness' in her bones. One arm covered her breasts, the other hand grasping the disregarded sheet and pulling it to cover her length. What had been shallow breaths where immediately rapid and uneven. Her eyes locked on the open door, half expecting someone to be watching her, but she found herself strangely alone.

Her body trembled with implications and fear. She checked her body again, more carefully, feeling with her fingers, looking with her eyes, and drawing all other senses to the operation. Every few seconds her eyes would flick to the open door, then across the shadows, as if expecting someone to have crept in while she wasn't looking. A small pile of neatly folded clothes rested by her feet but they got none of her attention.

It was some time of testing for tenderness and pain across her body that she was fully aware of her damages. Her left check had a graze to match that of her thigh, palm and elbow. Her ear had a clean cut through the upper lobe. There were small cuts on her right leg, to match the large one, her back left shoulder was grazed and there was a cut at the back of the right hand side of her waist. But beyond that there where only small, insignificant bruises.

When she was certain that was the extent of her damages she slumped against the floor, piling the sheet beneath her as a makeshift pillow. Her eyes threatened to close again, but her shyness won over weariness. She moved herself as gently as she could to the neatly folded clothes, jarring her ankle and leaning on her wrist out of weariness not forgetfulness.

With shaking hands she pulled the clothes on. A silk black skirt that stopped above her knees, and much to her relief sat below her belly wound on her hips. The shirt felt extremely light in her grip, it was a blood red with flecks of black flickering against it. She pulled it on cringing in anticipation of the pain but it's weight barely brushed her wounds. Her breath released into relaxation now that she was clothed, her body trembling from exhaustion. She felt her eyes closing, and supported her weight back to the stone floor, forgetting about the sheets resting by her side.


Light flickered against her heavy eyelids drawing her back into the world of the waking. She gave little resistance to the lights beckoning and opened her eyes. The numbing feeling of pain assaulted her immediately and she recalled falling asleep. Pushing herself into a sitting position again she couldn't stop the tears from trickling down her checks. Then with equal care, making sure she didn't put weight on her right ankle she used the wall to help her stand.

Apart from the forgotten sheets, and the ornate door the room was empty. She considered the door for a moment, recalled it was where the man had gone and turned to the window. Leaning against the sill she stared into the mist that was slowly breaking away at the new suns request. Cold air filtered through her throat, her wide tired eyes skipping the visible scenery until the sun was shinning directly into them.

Scratching the back of her neck, wincing at the discovery of a bruise that hadn't been formed the night before she turned to the door. Then with tentative steps she approached it. It still lay open, threatening intrusion and offering no comfort. Her bare feet pressed against the smooth stone floor as she limped into the next room. She didn't stumble once, even the few times she put weight on the wrong foot. Her breaths where shallow and fast, her eyes skimming the shadows of the new room as she entered it. They stoped when they came into focus on a dark figure sitting on a single lounge watching her door.

His light blue eyes raked her form, but there was no sexual interest in his expression, just curiosity. His large fingers tapped mindlessly at the crystal glass in his hand. His left foot tapping to the same rhythm. His expression did not change, but he rose from his seat and approached her, his movements smooth and casual.

He stopped close to her and reached out, she felt metal fix around her throat. Her left hand jumped up to brush the metal in curious surprise and he took her right hand clipping metal to it as well. She jerked her hand back from him stunned and stared at the piece of jewellery he had just put on her. It was shaped like a dragon, twined around and between her fingers, it's tail wrapping about her palm, but when she flexed her fingers she realised she had complete freedom of movement still.

"What's your name?" His hard voice jerked her into complete awareness. Her eyes widened as she stared at him, her mind searching for the answer and the answer disturbed her.

"I-" She blinked twice, hoping that small action would change the answer but found quickly it hadn't. "I don't know." She whispered, feeling forlorn and misplaced.

He was not surprised or affected by her response.

He reached once more for her neck. She heard the clinking sound of chain but was too confused by the absence of her name to respond to the noise. When he drew her soft hand into his calloused ones she looked down and saw a gold chain being fed through a small loop in the jewellery.

"You'll need a name." Was all he said as he locked the chain in place. Realisation dawned on her. But it was too late.