In spite of the shortness of their journey, Little Prytt kept a sharp ear tuned to the sounds coming from the forest. At any moment the ferocious crimson monster could careen out of the shaggy undergrowth or the bounteous, swaying treetops to terrorize them.
Fluttering, tumbling, darting and spiraling ahead of Simyn, Little Prytt danced upon the warming morning zephyr and sang a wordless song, attempting to lighten both their nervous spirits, and soon the broad clearing came into view.
It was a swaying ocean of tall grasses with feathery, seeded tops bristling in the breeze. Colourful flowers decorated the ocean of green and a bright, blue sky smiled overhead. Around its border stood the tall sentinels of the forest; raising their leafy heads hundreds of feet into the air, while at their feet stood gatherings of flowering wild rose bushes and fragrant honey-blossom shrubs. Here and there, rabbits contentedly grazed, pudgy woodchucks rambled, and lyrical birdsong filled the open spaces.
Prytt danced to their music; the accompaniment of the forest. She laughed, fluttering playfully around Simyn, but they both froze when a shadow fell across the ground. It was long and sharp-edged. So large in Prytt’s eyes, it should have blocked out the sun. She landed atop Simyn’s back and clung onto him, waiting for the beast to show himself. They were out in the open; defenseless now.
“If we stay in the light, we’ll be okay,” she whispered, reassuring herself as much as her friend. The shadow moved, it was smaller now as it moved along the forest floor, edging closer to them. Prytt peered into the darkened edge of the clearing, waiting for the light to settle so she could face her fears head on.
What she saw confused her, for it must have been a trick. Some powerful illusion meant to pull her in until there was no escape. Two unblinking green eyes stared back at her, with mirroring parts of fear and fascination. His lithe body held a golden sheen, the scales seeming to glow with the reflection of light off his autumn red wings. They spread now, as though in welcome, and they were shaped like the leaves of her favourite tree. He could have been carved from the bark, so beautiful and rich were his colours. It had to be an illusion she thought again. This was no giant monster sent to terrorize her humble home.
“No!” Simyn’s voice rumbled up to her when she fluttered closer.
She was suspended now, half in the light and half in the shadows, mesmerized by the creature before her. In response he spread those magnificent wings and flew up to meet her, giving them both room enough to retreat. The sunlight glinted at the edge of his wings, setting them on fire. It cast a glow so strong she could have sworn she felt heat.
“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered, in a musical voice that cast a spell on her. She blinked at him, so surprised she was rendered speechless. “My name is Dryyca. Dryyca the Dragon.” His voice was as smooth and soft as the purest honey, without an ounce of malice or threatening spite.
She stared at him in utter astonishment, realizing he wasn’t much larger than Simyn. “I thought,” she began, but words failed her. How could she tell him she’d been terrified of him only moments ago? Simyn, however, was not as reticent.
“You scared the living daylights out of us!” he said, his voice a low rumble. He had to raise his head to see the oddly unthreatening creature.
Dryyca backed away from the booming sound of his voice and darted into nearby shadow.
Prytt turned with crossed arms and looked down at her friend disapprovingly. “Simyn, you scared him!”
“He scared us first,” he replied in a low whine. Laughing at their silliness, Prytt darted after the small, leafy dragon and cooed gently into the shrubbery where he had taken refuge.
“Dryyca. Come out, Dryyca and play. We can dance upon the light of the day and sing in the sweet berry patch.”
His little face popped through the green shadows and he blinked at her with disbelief.
“Really? You’d play with me?” Prytt smiled and circled invitingly, even while Simyn shook his head and rumbled uncertainty.
“Of course. If we’d know who you truly are, we wouldn’t be afraid.” She laughed again, a musical sound. “But you’re a friendly monster!”
Dryyca laughed and fluttered out of the bushes. As he spun in circles around them the light caught his small frame and rebounded onto the forest floor. It stretched far and wide, the colour cast by the sun a deep and burning orange; beautiful now they knew him.
“You knew that would happen,” Simyn complained, shivering at the image despite himself, and then he chuckled. “It’s a kind of camouflage, isn’t it?”
“Not all in the forest are as friendly as you. It can be a lonely place,” Dryyca said, though he didn’t feel lonely now. He felt light and playful, and ready to dance. So on the sound of Simyn’s amusement, and the friendly encouragement from Prytt, he danced, high into the air and bathed in the glorious light he had once hidden from.
This Wonderful, Mythical story is the result of an entirely enjoyable collaboration with Melissa Barker-Simpson of: http://mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com . We had such a wonderful, relaxed time writing this story, not knowing where we would begin, what we would be writing about, or where the story would take us. We simply began with a picture and a few short paragraphs that I wrote to start us off. Each building upon the others creativity and inspiration, it was a pure delight every time I would get her return emails, excited to see what she had done with the story and the tale we were creating. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do, for it simply makes me smile. I look forward to working with Mel in the future on other stories. Thank You EVER SO, Mel!
Beautiful Original Artwork by M. Waters