The trainers said she would probably die. If a young Dragon didn’t kill and eat within hours of hatching they had a very slim chance of living another day. About 10% of all Dragons were lost that way. Some were just hatched too sick or weak to kill and it was considered a natural way to keep the blood lines strong. Alyce refused to accept that her Cariad would die. She’d never felt as much love for any living thing once Cariad had touched her mind.
Alyce fetched one of the fat little pigs that were bred just for the little Dragons. The pigs were almost blind and far too fat to run or resist a Dragons sharp beak. Alyce took the knife from her boot and cut the pig’s throat holding it out to Cariad and pushing all her love and hungry thoughts to the front of her mind.
In her clumsiness and hunger the little dragon lurched forward, the smell of blood filling all her senses. Before she knew what was happening it bit off Alyce’s little finger clean at the knuckle. Alyce could only look in disbelief at what had been her finger and Cariad, unaware, ripped the pig apart. Then the pain hit in waves growing stronger until Alyce could only gasp for breath. She had never known such pain and ran from the pen holding her injured hand, the blood running warm and sticky down her arm and falling to the sands from her elbow.
The little Dragon didn’t understand what was happening. Only the desperate, painful thoughts that reached her from Alyce. All the other Dragons in their pens began a low moan that rose in volume in sympathy with the baby’s anguish.
Her tears had left dirty streaks all over Alyce’s face and with her breath coming in short gasps she ran to the healer. The woman was used to such injuries in a fishing village and held a cloth tight to Alyce’s finger staunching the blood until the tar was hot. She held her finger to the steaming bowl to coat the stump of her finger in the tar to seal and cauterise the wound. Alyce’s howls became even louder and the deep moaning of the Dragons affected everyone in the village.
Little more than a child herself it was far too much for the girl to bear physically or emotionally. The healer quickly gave her a sleeping spell to calm her thoughts before all the other Dragons took to flight.
Cariad soon calmed once Alyce was deep in sleep. Her belly full of pig it wasn’t long before she joined her and slowly peace returned to the pens but not before scaring every trainer within miles. Their first day together would be a memorable one