Dragon Skin I - Angela Paulsen - ebook

Dragon Skin I ebook

Angela Paulsen

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Opis

On Muraco, also called The World of The White Moon, the main mission of every young dragon is to find its protective stone which the dragon will carry on its forehead for his entire life. This gemstone strengthens the young dragon's personality and helps him to find its place in the dragon-world. How to find this stone is shown to each dragon by the Oracle named Adama. While Draco, a member of The Council of The Seven Stones, and his mate Stella chase the unscrupulous Charc who kidnapped their son Sparkle in order to use his protective stone for himself, the other five siblings try to find their gems.

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Liczba stron: 294

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Table of Contents

Prolog

Sandy

Draco

Stella

Stella, Bernadette and the Kids

Nero

Rocket

Sandy

Great Gathering

Charc

The Council of the Seven Stones

Charc

Charc, Sparkle and Diane

Too Early

Nero

Charc

Diane, Nero and Sparkle

Charc and Sandy

Draco

Diane and Nero, Charc and Sandy

Rubi

Silent Wings

Sparkle

Rocket

Charc

Draco

Rocket

Rubi

Nero and Diane

Draco and Rocket

Hakana

Charc

Sandy

Stella and Bernadette

Sandy

Stella

The Council of the Seven Stones

Stella

Hakana

Stella

Raiffa

Rocket

Gazalay

The Favored Few

Silent Wings

Bernadette

Rocket

Sandy

Nero

Sandy

Silent Wings

Sparkle

Hakana

Benishoson

Sparkle

Sandy and Charc

Benishoson

Nero

The Favored Few

Ikechi

Fire Ceremony

The Assembly

Farewell

Ressources

Prolog

SANDY

“My earliest childhood memory is my beautiful Mum. Her slender body had a striking light-orange coloration only disrupted by grey rhombs on her back running from her neck to the tip of her tail. She had kind maroon eyes which seemed almost lost in her triangular shaped head. The protective plates on her head also shimmered light-orange. At her jaw the dark-orange merged into grey and black. The color grew more intense the further it advanced to her dangerous three rows of spikes. When Mum was in danger or when she felt miserable, she could cock these spikes as well as her beard. It made her head look twice its original size. It was massive! Mum was able to devour an entire springbok in one go. Well, to be honest most of the time she ate plants or fruits but sometimes she also fancied meat. Our diet consisted mostly of protein as we still had to grow. That was the reason why our mother had been gone hunting so often. During those times we had to stay inside our cave and our Aunt Bernadette was taking care of us. Mum took off with few powerful strokes. Her mighty wings started above her forelegs and stretched all the way along her belly to her hind legs. Underneath her wings piercing spikes, looking like daggers, separated her upper belly from her lower belly. We kids didn’t have to be careful to get hurt, while we were fooling around, since she was able to put her spikes back. Enemies were less fortunate though. They had to fight against this means of defense. We watched our Mum longingly, when she circled above our den, before she was leaving to go hunting. Her tail was as long as her body which she gracefully lashed through the air. That was the moment when I felt really proud of my family.

We are dragons, fire-spitting, springbok-devouring dragons. I was so proud of my family and so impatient.

At that time, I was neither able to spit fire nor to fly. We already had tiny bones but they wouldn’t become wings before puberty, let alone placing springboks into my mouth.

To become as beautiful as my mum that was most important for me. Her beauty lies in her color that is why her name is Stella. Her body shines bright orange just like the sunset.

We all have names referring to different gemstones. That is what Aunt Bernadette had told me. We are predetermined to find our gem which will complete our body, our mind and our soul. Its characteristics supplement ours and therefore strengthen us. Our most important task is to look for this gemstone and to find it during our childhood. You might now mention that my mother’s name is not a name of a gemstone. That is true. But there is a stone called citrine. It represents the power of the life-giving sun due to its shade range from lemon-yellow to orange. Additionally, it supports individualism and self-confidence. And Mum had found her citrine, which wasn’t yellow but orange on a remote island. She had almost lost her life by doing so.”

DRACO

Draco stretched out happily in the warm sun. This platform, perched high up on the cliff, was his favorite place. Right underneath his snout the precipice dropped down to staggering 500 dragon-lengths in depth. When he closed his eyes, he could hear the sound of crashing waves. The height of the white crests informed him about the approaching weather. Even though, it seemed as if he was relaxing, he felt rather restless. The next hurricane was long overdue. And his claws were full of tingling sensation. He longed to perform his favorite activity, which was apart from eating and lazing around, cyclone riding!

His eye, which was turned away from the ocean, was closed while the other one was observing the water. Even before he could see the hurricane he was able to smell it. The air wetted his nostrils. Thus, he opened the other eye and slowly raised himself. The golden-black horizon revealed what he so desperately wanted to see. A hurricane was finally approaching. Very soon he would tuck his wings firmly against his body. The wind would twist him upwards like a rocket. At the very top he would penetrate through the icy cold right into the eye of the hurricane where he would dive straight down into the depth. He would be able to do two or three of those rides. Then he would be so exhausted and hungry that he would have to look for a quiet cliff where he could relax before he felt refreshed enough to go hunting.

Real soon now! He sensed the crescendo of the waves, the intensification of the white crests. Yes, the air smelled like salt and fish. And then he finally saw it. A giant cyclone was darting at him. That would be great fun!

But what was that?! That couldn’t be true! Another dragon tried to fight, with opened wings, against the powerful storm. That wasn’t possible! The dragon would be smashed within seconds. Draco didn’t hesitate. He threw himself from his cliff and plunged straight down at a tearing pace towards the other dragon who had already lost its consciousness. The air rushed past his body. With his last strength he grasped the other dragon and pressed its wings with all of his might against his own body. He used the hurricane’s force which spiraled him counterclockwise upwards again. Never before had he noticed the bitter cold and the physical strain in such an extent. With his front claws he firmly clutched the other dragon’s limp body against his own.

“Hopefully it hasn’t died yet.”

When he reached the eye of the hurricane he dashed down and then out of the storm. He needed a flat dry spot in order to examine the powerless body. Due to his tremendous efforts his gem shimmered in every shade of emerald. This provided him with additional strength so that he could get them onto dry land. He could neither hear nor feel the dragon’s breath. Oh yes, there at the flank was a weak up and down. Thank God! But what was most surprising, it was a dragon-girl!

An attractive dragon-girl had been blown into his life.

He observed her more closely.

She was very young. Probably on her way looking for her gem. She had already got her dent from the Oracle. It was clearly to be seen on her forehead. But the gem wasn’t there yet.

It was about time that he got her something to eat if he wanted her to regain her strength. Then she would be able to continue her search to find her gem. He, Draco, would help her.

STELLA

Stella saw herself detached from her own body drifting into the void of space.

“Where am I? What has happened? Am I dead?”

Her memory was blurred. The only thing she could remember was flying to the south east in order to find the Oracle. Her sister, Bernadette, had described her the way. These instructions had been handing down from one dragon generation to the next. Her sister had also given her a rhyme which she was supposed to follow

In the east

wakens the sun and the beast

In the north

the sun leaves its brightest swarth

In the west

the sun and the beast will rest

In the south

you find only darkness and drouth

Stella had to look for a red rock called Adama’s Territory which was the center of a vast wasteland. The Oracle which was also called Adama, would give her further information where to find her gem. She enjoyed flying under the warming sun. She felt light as a feather and independent.

“What will the Oracle tell me? And above all how will it look like?”

She silently glided above the dense jungle. Then she rose higher until she broke through the clouds. These looked as if they were made of cotton-wool. They constantly changed their shape and their formation. Some of them piled up to tall sculptures. She was convinced she would have been able to walk on them. Lowering her altitude again she crossed first a fjord then wasteland. A few buffalos were startled by her sudden shadow hovering across the ground. There was no reason for them to be afraid as Stella wasn’t hungry.

She had already travelled for several sunrises when her eye was suddenly caught by a shape in the distance. It looked like a lost egg of a tremendous bird. Stella headed for it then perched on its summit. It was completely flat as it was exposed to wind and weather.

“But where is the Oracle?”

“I am here, Stella.”

Stella turned around. A gigantic dragon, with golden scales and a diamond, had appeared out of nowhere.

“You don’t have to be afraid. My name is Adama, the Invincible. I am the Oracle.

And I am going to explain you the way to your gemstone.”

“Good evening Adama,” Stella’s heart pounded wildly.

“Listen very carefully, Stella and then you will be able to find your protective stone.

In the east

wakens the sun and the beast

In the south

the sun leaves its brightest drouth

In the west

the sun and the beast will rest

In the north

you find only the darkest swarth.

Your gem shines like the sun, it’ll provide you with pure energy and it’ll boost your self-confidence and your love of adventure. You still have to look for food on dry land since your way will lead you across the ocean far to the north west. Use all your senses. Feel and listen to your body. It will be able to guide you. Pay attention to the wind and to the white horses. On the Island of Breaker you will find your gem.”

Adama detached a scale from her chest with her golden claws.

“Close your eyes, Stella.”

The Oracle pressed the tip of the scale between Stella’s eyes. Stella felt a tingling sensation.

“Your body is prepared to take up your gem.”

The air shimmered and Adama had disappeared.

Stella summarized what she had heard. Firstly, she had to eat, then she had to fly across the ocean to the north west in order to find the Island of Breaker.

She took off. The buffalos and springboks were less fortunate this time. When Stella had enough to eat she turned towards the north and set off. It took her a few sunrises until she reached the ocean. She had never seen such a huge area covered only by water. Although she had been brought up on Raiffa’s Finger, a peninsula where her mother lived. She raised her wings and started her journey across the sea. Stella had been on her way for quite some time and more and more often she thought that her strengths were about to leave her.

When this happened, she raised herself up above the clouds where she glided effortlessly on top of an air stream.

“But when will I finally arrive? My body doesn’t tell me anything.”

Stella pierced through the clouds again. And all she saw was water, water, water.

“Is this never going to end?”

Suddenly she felt a tremendous blast of wind. When Stella looked down onto the water surface, she noticed that the white crests had become higher and denser.

“What did the Oracle say? I am supposed to pay attention to the wind and the white horses. Yes, but how?”

Panic-stricken she looked backwards. She saw a raging tornado arising behind her without realizing the danger. The hurricane was approaching at an incredible speed. The fierce winds shook her whole body. The noise was unbearable and scared her to death. When it caught her, she tried to escape with all her strength. But it was in vain. That was the moment when she passed out.

When Stella regained consciousness, she found herself lying on solid ground. A shiny green dragon man was looking at her anxiously. His belly was a light turquoise merging into dark turquoise which ended at his long piercing belly-spikes. Back and belly were separated by a lush green that bended into emerald green. His eyes were also emerald. But they could change its color according to his mood.

“Are you ok?” He asked. His voice was like a tolling of a great bell.

“I am Draco. That was rather foolish of you to fly into the tornado.”

“But I didn’t do that on purpose. I was just swept away.”

That’s what Draco had already assumed.

Many had already lost their lives while crossing the ocean. Lack of knowledge carelessness and inflated self-esteem were often the cause. He would make sure that she??? Yes, what was her name by the way? That she would arrive safe and sound at her destination.

“I am Draco. And what’s your name?”

“My name is Stella. And I am starving.”

“Well, then you stay here Stella. You take a rest while I am getting us something nice to eat.”

Before Stella was able to respond he had already taken off.

She looked after him for a brief moment and then fell into a restful sleep.

Draco returned shortly after she had woken up. He held a silvery limp thing in his mouth which he put right in front of Stella.

“Try it.”

“What is it?” she looked highly skeptical.

“That’s fish. Don’t tell me you have never seen a fish before?”

“No, I haven’t.”

Draco tore a bit out of the fish.

“Try it, it is really delicious.”

He gave her a chunk of which Stella bit off a small piece. She chewed it very slowly.

“It’s not too bad.”

“See!” Draco’s face broke into a broad grin.

Then they devoured the fish hungrily until nothing was left.

“What are you up to now?” Draco looked at her expectantly.

“I will set off again to find my gem. The Oracle told me to search for it on the Island of Breaker.”

“I know the Island of Breaker! It is only a few sunrises away. It is a small island with a rugged coastline. You barely see its cliffs when the tide is high. The waves, coming from the ocean, break right here. Therefore, the name. Inside these cliffs there are a few caves. At high tide they are completely filled with water. But at low tide you can get inside. I have already explored a few of them. But I have never found a gem.”

“What is high tide? What is low tide? You are talking in riddles.”

“I’ve forgotten you were brought up on dry land and not yet been to the sea. Tide is the rise and fall of the sea. It happens twice a sunrise caused by the attraction of the Warming, the White Moon and Muraco itself.”

Stella glanced at him completely puzzled.

“I can tell, I have to come with you.”

“Do you think that is allowed?” Stella gaped in astonishment.

“Sure. Why not?”

They started their journey flying to the north east, the shining green and the glittering orange dragon.

Stella and Draco reached the island at low tide. It was surrounded by steep cliffs.

Some of them were taller than others, some were jagged others flat. At low tide it was possible to see the rocks covered with seaweeds and shells. They perched on the beach in the south of the island.

“I think, first we should have a look around.

As I said, I’ve never seen any gemstones here. But maybe it is different this time as we specifically search for them. Maybe we should go different ways. Would you like to turn to the left or to the right?”

“I’ll turn right,” decided Stella.

After walking on the beach for quite some time she noticed a cave which had been hollowed by the water. It led deep inside the cliff. She went a long way down. Driven by curiosity she advanced even further and didn’t notice the rising water. And it rose blazing fast. Her back was already covered by the water when she suddenly got caught up in the maelstrom.

“Not again!” Stella thought frantically.

“This time I won’t black out!”

She pressed her wings very tightly against her body and closed her nostrils. With her first and second lids she had just covered her eyes when she got carried away by the torrent. She had almost run out of breath when the torrent weakened. She was able to lift her head out of the water. Still snorting she had a look around. She was swimming in a black lake. Above her she saw a dome shining in a bright lemon-yellow. At a closer look she noticed that it was covered with countless gemstones.

“I’ve found my gems!”

Now it was time to find the right one for her.

She examined the rock face and the ground with a searching gaze. Suddenly she saw it. In the middle of the wall was the perfect gem for her. Lemon-yellow right size perfect for her drop-shaped dent.

Stella flew right up there to scratch it out with her claws.

“That obviously doesn’t work.”

Stella thought for a moment, then she made up her mind. She would try to detach it by shooting a jet of fire at it. It was a rather difficult task as she had to spit fire just in the right intensity and at the same time, she mustn’t drop the gem. Finally, she was successful. She held her protective stone in her claw! Due to the heat of the fire it wasn’t lemon-yellow anymore but shimmered in all possible ways of orange.

Stella placed it into the dent on her head.

She felt a tingling sensation running through her body.

“I’ve found my gem! Now I am grown-up.

But how will I get out of here again?”

Stella considered various possibilities.

Should she try to find the same way back?

How long would that take? Maybe the torrent would return. While pondering she was staring at her feet.

“My feet. I can see my feet.”

The tide was slowly falling and it revealed several underwater passages. She headed towards the brightest one even though the water level was still a bit higher up here.

She would need some patience.

“How much time has gone by? Draco will definitely be worried by now.”

Stella followed the winding path. Behind the next curve it led upwards. At this point the water had already completely disappeared. At the next bend she was able to look into a deep crater and from above the sun shined brightly.

“Hooray!”

Stella jumped into the crater and spiraled herself up into the air. She didn’t stop until she had reached the upper outmost edge of the crater. She was right in the middle of the island surrounded by the blue brilliance of the sea.

“And again, the ocean. It is about time to find Draco and to finally get home.”

She returned to the spot where they had parted. She found Draco pacing restlessly up and down the beach.

“Stella where have you been? I’ve been looking for you all over the place.”

After looking at her more attentively he gasped, “Sincere thanks to Adama, you have found your gem!”

“And you are so beautiful!” he thought to himself.

“Yes, and now it is time to settle down.”

“But before you do that, I will show you our wonderful world.”

Draco’s favorite cliff was their first destination. They spent a few sunrises there.

Draco showed her how to interpret the waves according to the wind, how to fish and to enjoy the prey. Later on, they skimmed across the southern part of the island before they reached an estuary which they traversed. Finally, they arrived at the shore of a huge continent called the Northern Continent. An impenetrable rain forest stretched to the north as well as to the south. They perched on a sandy bank by the sea. Draco caught some fish to which Stella had gotten used to by now.

Then they continued their journey. They moved to the west. The scenery varied from humid and tropical jungles to wasteland and arid deserts.

“Well, I really should be on my way to find my new habitat,”

Stella became restless. Draco, who had always preferred to be on his own, didn’t want to admit that he felt so happy and content as if after molting. He didn’t want to let her go at all. When they both looked at each other, Draco’s emerald changed its color from its usual dark green to turquoise. Then it gleamed like the lagoon where he had been born. Stella’s gem blazed in any orange shade.

“I just want to show you the Assembly Place. After that we will look together for your new home. And then I’ll leave you alone.”

They had been traveling about thirty sunsets when Draco pointed downwards.

“We are about to arrive at the Assembly Place.”

The Green Canopy had thinned out. The savanna extended in all directions surrounded by mountains in the far distance. This was the place where The Great Gathering took place. Every 200 rotations all dragons came together for this event. Every dragon was delighted to meet relatives, acquaintances and friends, most of whom hadn’t seen each other for a very long time. Draco had chosen this place to perform his dragon-dance. He was nodding his head and circling around Stella when he cocked his beard.

“What will she do? Will she cock her beard as well? Will she nod her head? Or will she raise her right claw to signal her agreement?” he pondered.

They were facing one another. Draco raised his head and cocked his beard for the last time. Stella lifted her right claw in order to indicate her submission. After this mating ritual the copulation could begin.

They stayed two more sunrises in the clearing. When they were leaving the place, Stella noticed another dragon circling in the far distance above the mountains. It alighted on a cliff which looked like a dragon’s head.

“Do dragons live in this area?”

“Not that I know of.”

They didn’t pay any further attention to it.

Draco still wanted to show Stella the Ten Thousand Islands of the Rising Sun located in the western ocean. But Stella became more and more impatient. She finally wanted to find a home of her own.

Therefore, they took off flying to the south.

On their way they decided to visit Stella’s mother, Raiffa.

But after that Stella finally wanted to find the place where she could settle down.

They reached the peninsula called Raiffa’s Finger shortly before sunset.

Bernadette, her sister, was lying next to the cave.

“Hello Bernie, what are you doing at Mum’s? I thought you had found yourself a home a long time ago. By the way this is Draco. He has saved my life. And he has also helped me to find my gem.”

Her enthusiasm deterred her from noticing her sister’s reserved behavior. Then her mother emerged from the mouth of her den. She was a turquoise and sand-colored dragon with a jagged coral on her forehead. Everything about her was tubby.

A tubby head with friendly tubby eyes.

Tubby cheeks arched over her spikes so, these were barely to see. She had a tubby belly and tubby thighs. She needed her tail as a counterbalance, so she wouldn’t tilt forwards. Her wings, however, seemed rather small. Due to her body structure flying caused her great difficulties. She tried avoiding it whenever possible. But she was a kind-hearted dragon. She treaded everybody with the same motherly love and care. Whether they liked it or not.

“Hello Mum. This is Draco. We are looking for a home for me. We won’t stay for too long.”

Bernadette signaled Stella that she wanted to talk to her alone for just a short moment.

“How dare you bring a dragon man to Mum’s cave?” she asked sharply. “And even worse; you want to show him your home where you are going to live with your hatchlings? I can tell, you are about to lay eggs.”

“Bernie, this will be the father of my hatchlings. Are you crazy?”

“In any case I am going to come with you.

And I am going to look after you and your young.”

“Although, I don’t think that this is necessary I am looking forward to living with you in the future,” Stella acknowledged softly.

Draco stood apart from the three ladies.

He only had eyes for Stella.

“You know what I don’t understand? Your mother lives on a peninsula surrounded by water and she has difficulties flying. Why has she never been hunting in the ocean?”

“Well, she mentioned once that she had had a traumatic experience in the ocean a long time ago when she was still young and slim. Since that day nobody has ever been able to get her back into the water.

In the beginning she claimed that she couldn’t dive properly. That is the reason why she taught us to go hunting by ourselves at a rather early stage.

Bernadette and I are land animals and we eat what we can find on dryland.”

After a few sunrises all three of them left Stella’s mother. They were on their way to find a home for Stella and her hatchlings.

Time pressed. Her flanks were already bulged due to the eggs. There were six of them. They headed towards the south-east and crossed the Hakan Desert. After some time of straying they reached a prairie at the northern edge of the Uplands.

“I think this is perfect. All we have to do is to find a suitable den.”

That wasn’t a problem for them. They found a hollow which led far into a mountain. The soil inside was nice and sandy. The peaks nearby had flat ledges and dead trees were scattered everywhere. This would be a wonderful adventure playground for the young. They had found Stella’s new home. But parting from Draco made Stella rather sad.

“We will see each other very soon, my dear.

As soon as the young have hatched, I will come and visit you.”

Bernadette looked at him suspiciously but didn’t say anything.

STELLA, BERNADETTE AND THE KIDS

It didn’t take long and Stella started to dig a hole inside the den. She examined the consistence of the sand, verified the temperature and the humidity. She closed the hole again and dug another one where she then deposited her eggs. She buried these, neatly arranged, in the sand.

Exhausted, she lay down next to them.

From now on she would watch over these eggs day and night with only very few interruptions. Bernadette, her caring sister, brought her food and looked after her.

Stella seldom left the cave or went hunting.

During these rare times Bernadette guarded the eggs, as both of them were afraid of enemies. And then the miracle happened. A tiny dragonhead appeared peering curiously out of the egg.

“Bernadette, you are an aunt!”

Little by little six hatchlings emerged from their eggs. All of them had a big triangular head with the wide eyes, a slim body and four skinny legs. What were supposed to become dragon-claws one day, still looked like feet with five long toes. Their thin tails were almost three times as long as their bodies. These were the only characteristics which they had in common.

Sandy, sand-colored with remarkable blue eyes was the first who emerged from her egg.

Followed by Rubi, maroon colored with brown eyes.

Nero, the black fur bundle with an orange belly was the next.

Rocket, with his grey close-banded scales was rather inconspicuous. He emerged from his egg a bit later.

Sparkle, the exact opposite of Nero, had white short fur and blue eyes. He was the last but one to hatch.

Silent Wings took her time. She didn’t follow her siblings until the next sunrise.

Time went on. The wild little hatchlings grew up. Stella and Bernadette were busy keeping them under control and feeding them. In the beginning the two sisters had to go hunting for all of them and get their food into the cave. Every one had their own particular needs and wishes. But when Stella saw her off-spring sitting next to each other or behind one another on a mountain ledge overlooking the scenery, she felt very proud. This was the best time for Bernie and herself. The most relaxing time for them, on the other hand, was right before sunset when the hatchlings wanted to listen to a dragon story. One of their favorite stories was about Berhane and Erwaen.

Huddled together in the cave, all six of the young hatchlings waited expectantly to hear Aunt Bernie’s story about their ancestors, ears eagerly pricked. Only Nero kept his distance from the others as he often did. But he was still close enough to hear the story.

“Aunt Bernie how long does it take you?

We are waiting for you,”

Sparkle could hardly wait.

“I am coming.”

Bernadette made herself comfortable next to the hatchlings and started to tell the story.

“This old tale was handed down to us by our mother. Our mother had heard the story from her mother, our great grandmother, and so on.

Many hundred thousand rotations ago the dragons lived very peacefully next to each other in a remote world. But then one sunrise, two powerful dragon men got into a quarrel about a specific territory. The problem got even worse because of a beautiful dragon lady that lived in this very territory.”

“Are you saying that two dragon men got into a quarrel because of a female dragon?”

Rocket just couldn’t hold back his outrage.

Bernadette giggled to herself, “Yes Rocket, that can happen, even here.”

A murmur of amusement rose and then quickly ebbed away again, as everybody wanted to hear how the story would continue.

“Well, in any case this quarrel got out of control and in the end, every dragon family was affected all over that world. It was a really brutal war. The most powerful dragons robbed the gemstones of the weak dragons. And that gave them even more power. The weak ones died miserably. Our ancestors Berhane, known as The Shining Light and Erwaen known as The Wise, were so disappointed in their fellows of their nation that they decided to leave that world and to find another place to live. They were able to hover through space and to find shortcuts between the different universes. Finally, they alighted on this planet. The Shining Light and The Wise are the ancestors of each and every one of us in this world that live on mainland. Our gemstones had been brought to this planet by them. Originally these gems had belonged to their former world. Due to the radioactive radiation from space, the stones’ efficiency and intensity had been both significantly reinforced. The first and only daughter was Adama, the Oracle.

Her unique character is due to the fact that her egg was already in her mother’s womb when her parents were travelling through the galaxies. Her characteristic features had been influenced by the uncountable and various radiations.

“Wow, she must be pretty old,” remarked Nero, puzzled.

“Yes. And she will become even older,”

explained Bernadette.

“And you have to know that only once every 100 000 rotations a dragon hatches that is able to fly through space. And water-dragons hatch only once every ten thousand rotations.”

The siblings got very excited about all this.

That hadn’t been Bernadette’s intention at all.

“How can you tell that one is a water-dragon?”

“Am I a water-dragon? I’m already webbed,”

Nero stared at his webs in astonishment.

Bernadette was struggling to answer all these questions. To stop the discussion, she promised to continue the story at the next sunset.

But when the offspring dashed in different directions which often was the case, Stella and Bernadette had a hard time. The young were always chasing after something that had moved even if it was only a sibling’s tail. Their thin legs carried them blazing fast. The two grown-ups had their difficulties keeping them under control.

The girls played being mothers. They dug holes, measured temperature and humidity, buried eggs and kept an eye on them. They looked for small egg-shaped stones which they would put in the prepared holes. Then they turned around, having their backs to the eggs, and with their forelegs they covered these with sand.

With their rear legs they shoveled the hole up completely. The clutch of eggs was watched very carefully by them.

The boys’ games were harder and rougher.

They pretended to look for gems, to fight imaginary foes, to defeat the enemy by turning the opponent onto its back and to discover the whole continent which meant to explore the surroundings.

From early on Stella noticed some hostilities between Sandy and Silent Wings.

Especially Sandy always demanded to have the things their sibling were just playing with. She also always wanted to be the most beautiful one. Stella tried not to pay too much attention to it.

The little dragons were on fire when Stella and Bernadette announced that it was time for them to learn how to fly. One morning they took their young to practice take-off and landing. Unfortunately Rocket had to walk with Bernadette as he still hadn’t learned how to lift his body into the air.

They looked for a cliff which offered an ideal runway for every dragon. This was a rather difficult task as every one of them had a different approach how to take off.

Their approaches were as diversified as their appearance and their character.

Stella showed them how to run downhill, to unfold their wings, and how to drift leisurely through the air.