Dragon Unearthed by Ishabelle Torry

Chapter 2

Kai

The sweet smell of rich nectar permeates my nostrils, confusing my senses and lulling me from a deep sleep. It’s a heady mix of wild flowers and fruit. I sniff deeply, and the confirmation of exactly what that musk means sends my body into overdrive. I don’t understand it; it shouldn’t be possible. I know without a doubt there are no Drakkonian females on the planet, only male members of my crew, who have long since scattered across the globe. Yet there is no mistaking that particular scent. The honeyed fragrance of the Nocktam. Sweat coats my body, its moist sheen raising to the surface of my skin. It itches and burns at the same time. Only one thing can soothe the scorching sensations of the Nocktam.

My mate.

I can sense her closeness, smell her musk, but cannot see. Was she beautiful? Did it really matter? The Nocktam had chosen, and she was meant to be mine. It’s dark, so very dark where I hide behind carefully placed boulders, meant to keep me from human sight while I hibernate. I can hear her speaking, but her words make no sense to me. But I can differentiate the very drastic change in language since the last time I’d heard a human voice. There’s more syntax, heavy pronunciation effort, and a mixture of high and low sounds. It’s almost as soothing as a lullaby when she speaks.

My thoughts wander back to her appearance. It was clear an evolution had occurred based on the language, but what of physical appearance? Did she sport the short and stout stature of the peoples my crew and I had encountered upon our crash landing? Wild hair, rigid brow? Dark complexion? The urge to seek her out is overwhelming and tries to take over all rational thought. I want to reveal myself, but know I must not. At least not in my current form. The last time I’d allowed the humans of this world to see my creature form, they’d cowered in fear and then hunted my kind ruthlessly for centuries, claiming the life of several of my crewman. The survivors were forced to take to the skies in search of isolation and shelter, away from the callous predators below. I’ve pretty much maintained my creature form since as a method of protection. Try as I might to blame them for their ferocity, I was the invader to their world, and they were merely defending their home.

Another voice calls out unexpectedly, and my cramped muscles flex. It bears the tone of a greeting. “Hell-oh…” But my mate, my woman, isn’t receptive. I can tell by the sound of her response. She’s angry. I silently curse the inability to comprehend the words exchanged. When she lets out a frustrated scream, it’s all I can do to remain hidden in the shadows. A growl reverberates deep in my chest, and I can’t contain it.

It spills from me, rumbling forth as my ire rises, and I can’t stop it. My mate’s pitch rises as she continues to yell at the other male. I can feel the veins in my neck pulsing; my flanges stand up on end as my breathing becomes agitated. I need to remain calm before I hyperventilate from too much oxygen, or worse, reveal my location.

The tension in the air is ripe with hormones and emotion. Another man enters. Unlike man number one, I don’t get a bad vibe from him, but his scent is perplexing. Familiar, yet foreign at the same time, though I can’t quite place it as of now. His presence almost seems to soothe my mate. A bite of jealousy nibbles at me, but I force it down and focus. The altercation seems to be winding down, but even as Man One leaves, I cannot stop the low rumble emanating from my throat.

It’s only moments later that my mate and Man Two leave, too. No doubt spooked by my constant growling. The desire to chase after her is overwhelming. My body’s need to claim is strong, almost stronger than my willpower. But I remain…at least for now. I have to prepare myself to claim my mate, the one soul I will spend the next tens of thousands of years with at my side. But first, I need to figure out a way to communicate. If only I could…

Wait…the communique implant! I had removed it ages ago, assuming I would never need to use it again. The peoples of this planet were uncivilized, unforgiving, and I believed hundreds of thousands of years away from any hint of social advancement. Apparently, I had been wrong…or I had slept far longer than I’d anticipated. Either way, I need it now, and send a silent prayer to the All Mother of the universe it still functions. I can’t help but feel excitement over the prospect of interacting with my mate…with anyone for that matter. Perhaps the peoples of this world had finally progressed enough that I could come out of hiding and become a member of their society? After all, the Drakkonian race had also been primitive and savage in the beginning of our evolution.

I eagerly shift into my humanoid form. Weak and wobbly legs barely support my weight, and I have to concentrate on my every movement. It’s been so long since I have walked on two legs, that I fear I may have forgotten how. One step, two step…three step… “OOMPH!”

I land on my buttocks with a shout. The thin layer of skin my humanoid form provides offers no protection in comparison to my thick, scaly creature flesh. A long sigh escapes me. If I intend to meet my mate anytime soon, it appears I have to learn how to walk all over again.