This will be a repository for all of my short stories and things of that nature. First off is a little something I wrote for fun. CnC welcome and appreciated, will probably revise a few times. Enjoy~ Walk on Wind Adela had never spoken to a dragon before. She didn't know for sure that they could speak. But her father, Archduke Bartók, would allow her no guests, for she could not walk—Any attempt was met with searing pain—and thus he worried for her safety and shut her away. Her only companion through the years had been a lone wind dragon, enslaved to watch over her since her birth; and she would not spend her whole life in the mute stillness of her bedroom, trapped by her own frail body.One night, when her father and all the guards had gone to sleep and only she remained awake, Adela crawled out of bed and into her wheelchair. An advanced machine for the age, and one of the few luxuries she truly appreciated. With much effort she twisted and righted herself in the chair, and slowly rolled it towards the silky curtain on the opposite end of her room. Beyond that veil, on her balcony, a great silhouette stirred. She spied two dots of light, like gleaming emerals, peering at her through the veil.Adela would never forget the grim look on her father's face—the closest he ever came to fear—as he taught her of the dragons. Before their eyes, he'd said, all secrets are laid bare. Our intentions can never be hidden from them. Still, the reality of it startled her. The dragon's beady eyes bored into her, and she froze in place. A lump formed in her throat, and for a time the two sat in silence, eyes locked, one unable to speak and the other unwilling.Cʜɪʟᴅ. Yᴏᴜ ᴍᴏᴠᴇ sᴛʀᴀɴɢᴇʟʏ. The words did not pass through her ears, but rather pulsated in her mind. Her head set to pounding."...I cannot walk. I am ill."Mᴍ. The dragon paused but did not move, nor did it avert its gaze. Yᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴀғʀᴀɪᴅ."No," she lied, and tried her best to look like a proud noblewoman. "Only if you would harm me. And why would you?"Wʜʏ ɪɴᴅᴇᴇᴅ. The dragon's eyes flickered. Hᴜɴɢᴇʀ... Sᴘɪᴛᴇ... A brief pause. Fʀᴇᴇᴅᴏᴍ."Would you... permit me to ride on your back?" The words spilled forth before Adela could stop them. At this the dragon growled, rustling the curtains between them. Adela gripped the arms of her chair 'til her knuckles drained of color. What was she thinking? She may as well have asked to be torn to shreds. But when the dragon's voice came again, it was softer.Yᴏᴜ'ʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴀsᴋ ᴘᴇʀᴍɪssɪᴏɴ. At last it looked away. Iғ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ sᴇᴇɴ..."It's worth it." This time Adela felt the words coming and did not stop them. Another agonizing silence came between them, echoes lingering in her mind, and then the dragon's eyes glided from sight, and its silhouette began to shift. A second later it pushed through the curtains, making her jump, and came to rest beside her chair.Cʟɪᴍʙ.Adela stared blankly for a moment, unable to make sense of it all. Her stomach churned. She expected any moment now something horrible would happen, as if the instant she laid a hand on the dragon she'd be snapped up and eaten. A thunderous snort awoke her from her gruesome dream, and she edged towards the dragon's hide, groping for scales firm enough to grasp.Satisfied with her grip, she poured herself into her arms and pulled. A sharp spear of pain ripped through her legs immediately, and she stifled a groan. She wrinkled her face and pulled once more, this time coming out of the chair and onto the dragon. Her hands trembled and her breath came in short, haggard bursts, but still she climbed.Aʀᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ɪɴ ᴘᴀɪɴ?"I'm... fine," she grunted.Yᴏᴜ ʟɪᴇ.Fool, she scolded herself, reciting her father's teachings. Dragons only ask questions to uncover lies. At last she came to a resting point and collapsed, lying awkwardly at the nape of the dragon's neck. She took a moment to recover and breathe deeply before replying."I mean... that I'll manage."The dragon huffed. Dᴏɴ'ᴛ ғᴀʟʟ.At once it began to move, and Adela lurched sideways onto her shoulder. She struggled to right herself for a moment, before giving up and clinging tight to the dragon's collar. Her arms did not fit but more than halfway around; she imagined herself being knocked off as soon as they took flight, tumbling through the air like a rag doll.The balcony plummeted out of her peripheral vision. A rush of wind howled past her, blowing hair in her face, but she dared not lift her hand to clear it. All she saw was the dragon's leathery hide undulating as it flew, obscured by fuzzy beige curls. It pushed higher and higher, pressing against her and sending waves of fire through the nerves of her legs. Her grip tightened, eyes squinted shut, and she bit her lip.After what seemed like a numb, burning eternity, a lightness came over her. She loosened her grip and opened her eyes—It seemed they had leveled out, as the dragon now bobbed gently and the wind, though still loud, brushed past her rather than at her. Tentatively she brought her hand up and swiped away her hair. She tasted salt and wiped her lip; several droplets of blood streamed away from her.Adela had expected to have trouble breathing, but instead found the air clear, crisp, and plentiful. The breeze through her hair soothed her. Even her legs felt better under the steady seesaw of the dragon's back. Slowly, almost beyond reckoning, the pain melted away."This... This is incredible," she said, smiling. "I feel so renewed."Yᴏᴜ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴛᴏ ɪᴛ ᴡᴇʟʟ, came the dragon's voice. Qᴜɪᴛᴇ ᴡᴇʟʟ. Tʜᴇ sᴇᴇᴅ ᴏғ ᴀ Sʏʟᴘʜ, ᴘᴇʀʜᴀᴘs."Is this what it's like for you all the time?" She did not expect an answer, nor did she wait for one—but one came anyway.Nᴏ.Her expression sobered, and she mumbled an apology. When was the last time it had flown freely? Before she was born, most likely. Guardsmen of the lame were as good as lame themselves. Suddenly a strange thought occurred to her, and after a moment's hesitation she spoke."What is your name?"There came no answer for several seconds, and she wondered if her last question had offended it. She frowned, rested her head against its neck and stroked it."I'm sorry. You've... been stuck on the ground. With me. All this time."Eᴄᴋɪ."Sorry?"Mʏ ɴᴀᴍᴇ. Iᴛ's Eᴄᴋɪ. After a moment Adela couldn't help but smile. A warm, brilliant smile that she wished it could see."Ecki. A lovely name." She wrapped her arms as far around as they could go and embraced her first friend. "Thank you, Ecki."Adela lost track of time as Ecki flew her through the clouds—but when they began their descent and her father's manor came into view, it seemed all too soon. How many times could she get away with this? How much of her life would she spend wishing she had wings of her own?They landed with a faint whush. Ecki coiled its head around to her, and she shuffled off onto it, and from there into her chair. She leaned back and sighed, looking up at the night sky and already longing to be back in it. Her heart had sunk some time ago and didn't seem to be coming up anytime soon.Sᴀᴛɪsғɪᴇᴅ? The word awoke her from her gloom. She thought for a moment before answering."I wouldn't say that."She shoved against the wheels, turning towards her bed. Then she stopped for a moment and stared blankly into the dark of the room, deep in thought. What bound Ecki to her? She'd overheard her father speak of it before. If only she could remember..."Ecki..." She turned towards it once more. "You are bound by my father's word, are you not?" It shook its head in response.I ᴀᴍ ʙᴏᴜɴᴅ ʙʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀᴅ ᴏғ Bᴀʀᴛóᴋ. Yᴏᴜʀ ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ.Not her father. Just Bartók. Which meant that her word would break the binding as readily as his would. Of course he would never expect her to make use of it; he never took her seriously. But in that moment her mind was made."Then I release you from your duress." Ecki stared blankly at her, at a loss for words. She repeated herself, "I release you. You needn't stand sentry over me any longer." At this it composed itself and spoke.Yᴏᴜʀ ғᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴄʀᴏss."You let me taste freedom," she said without missing a beat. "Surely I can endure a bit of crossness for you."Again, silence fell between them. Adela shut her eyes as her heart thumped madly in her chest. Images swelled behind her eyelids of the Archduke's furor as he called all the guards to attention, the clomp-clomp-clomp of heavy boots scrambling over marble floors. When she opened her eyes again, Ecki had not moved. She opened her mouth to speak, but it beat her to it.Wʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ɢɪᴠᴇ ɪs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ᴀ ᴛᴀsᴛᴇ. I ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇ ɪɴᴅᴇʙᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʏᴏᴜ."...You mean..."Ecki leaned forward, reaching its head out to her once more.Lᴇᴛ ᴜs ʙᴏᴛʜ ʙᴇ ғʀᴇᴇ.