Leaving the Nest

Every nerve tingled down her spine, sending her tail swishing back and forth in uncontrollable excitement. This was the day she’d spent the past months preparing for.

“She’s carrying a mirrored decorative pot. It’s enormous and looks incredibly fragile, I’m amazed it’s survived so far.” Her father’s human relayed the details of the girl climbing up the side of the mountain. He’d first spied her at the base of the mountain a few days earlier and had been reporting back on her painstakingly slow progression up the mountain.

The mirrored pot was one of Iris’s favorite pieces she’d collected for her treasure garden. When she started cultivating her treasure garden years ago, her father warned her away from anything that would be difficult to carry, but when she’d first set eyes on that pot, she knew that it was destined to be hers. It would be devastating if her human shattered or lost it, almost as bad as if it stayed in the garden forever. It was fitting that it would be the first piece of her hoard.

This was her first human. This object would be the first piece that she would use to start her own hoard… or if she failed, the human would be the first piece of her hoard.

Iris lashed her tail, hoping her father’s human would let her know how much longer it would be until her new human was here. The man took a hasty step back, clearing space between them just in time for her father to blow hot steam into her face. She gave one last twitch of her tail in irritation at being treated like a kit and then flopped to her belly, laying her head on her claws with a huff.

“I believe she will arrive within the day. I will prepare a meal for her arrival.” The human bowed slightly to Iris’s father then flicked her on the nose before leaving.

My first human, Iris squeaked at her father, thrumming with excitement.

I will miss having you underfoot, scamp. Her father’s voice was a low rumble that reverberated through the floor of the cavern.

Iris drooped for a moment. As exciting as it was to be able to leave and start her own life, her own hoard, she had never been away from her father’s nest for more than a few days. She wormed up to her father’s side and nestled under his wing. You could always visit.

Perhaps. He nudged her with his nose. Look alive, I feel your human’s presence fast approaching. He closed his eyes and relaxed into his hoard, pretending to sleep. She would be responsible for greeting the human on her own.

“Hello?” The tentative greeting echoed through the cavern. Iris squeaked out a return greeting, laying eyes on the girl and her mirrored pot. She felt herself tense up, she wanted to pounce on them and give them a proper welcome, but she squashed the urge. “Um,” the girl was clearly having difficulty deciding which dragon to address. “I think this is yours?”

Iris crept forward, staying in a low crouch to try and appear as small and non-threatening as possible. She swiftly extended a foreleg to accept the returned pot. The woman shrieked and dove away, dropping it. Iris lunged forward. The pot crashed to the ground, shattering into tiny, mirrored shards.

Daaaaaaad! Iris screeched at her father who was still pretending to slumber. She broke my treasure.

He opened an eye taking in the scene before him. Did you touch it?

No, it was pretty and I wanted it and she broke it.

Then she did not fulfill her quest and has not been released. Congratulations, scamp, you have your first human.

I don’t want a human, I wanted my pretty treasure. Iris’s wail filled the room.

Her father’s human came running in, summoned by the commotion, took one look at the scene and sighed. “Children.” Her father’s soft rumbling laugh filled the room. The human turned to the girl and held out a hand. “Come, I’ll explain what you can expect over dinner.”

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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