Second Gift by azi (critique requested)

The little pine marten's treehouse was quite a few hours out of the City, and Nadra couldn't help but feel he didn't really like taking visitors that often. Still, the route was nice, and starting just after sunrise meant she arrived with plenty of the day left to spare. All that walking hadn't dulled her purpose for coming here in the first place, though it did give her lots of time to think deeply about it.

The tree dominated a clearing, with a crunchy green and brown grass underneath that never saw quite enough light. The tall trunk was covered with magical engravings of many different kinds; it was made tough, and unnaturally large, and still living and growing despite the network of tunnels carved inside. It was both beautiful and intimidating in equal measure, though the cute golden dragon had been here once before; so many months had passed since then, when she first entered the great forests that bordered the ancient land of Fairy.

Nall was already awake, and the small creature clambered down towards Nadra with a lazy grace, resting on one of the tree's lower boughs to greet her warmly. The culture shock of the ancient City was difficult enough for her to handle day-to-day, but out here the pace of life seemed quite alien, the marten prone to long silences where the dragon could have easily mistaken him for any simple creature if she didn't know better.

"I remember when you first came here," he eventually said, once those feral eyes had come back her way and his ears had stopped trying to track some far-off noise in the wilderness. "You and your handsome dragon friend, Kiryk. Well, you weren't dragons back then. No, that was me. I came down for you both, furry and tall and two-legged, and I let my paws and tail go wandering. I touched and smoothed and sculpted and I made you what you wanted to be, deep inside. You liked the smooth and golden scales, but you really loved the touch on your paws, and making your horns, your shiny tail, and your long stretchy wings… of course you remember?"
Nadra flustered as he spoke; the marten was being so deliberate, words with a hint of magic that pulled flashbacks into her mind. Once she had been human, but that felt like so long ago now. Nall had seen to that with ease and a giddy, juvenile excitement, bringing out the dragon in her. That golden tail straightened, and she nibbled on her claws tensely.
"Y-yes, I do. Um, that is why I came back, actually, I wanted to ask you for another favour. Well, maybe the last one I would ask. Something to tease that silly mind you have." Delicately, trailing off at the end, she spoke of her thoughts and the marten listened.

By the end she had drawn his attention, and his interest; those green eyes twinkled with mischief, and so did her own. Nall didn't keep his moods to himself out here, and she could feel his curiosity bubbling inside her, freely shared in a way she couldn't tune out. It was so weird being out here in the wilds! Somehow he was so passive, and yet spontaneously intimate like that. That's why she felt he would grant her request, where magicians of the City might have thought her a bit strange.

"He's on his way here now! You're sure you want that? Really super sure? I can't guarantee I'll be able to undo it. Well, maybe I could but it'd take so long, I'm not a creature of leisure you know. You'll be stuck, little miss dragon, and maybe by the time I'm done working out what to do there won't be much of you left to-"
"Eee! Stop, I get it," said Nadra, who at this point had fallen back and was sitting on the ground, a bit trembly as the marten's intensity took her by surprise, her pale green eyes flickering with a bit of embarrassment. "I- I'm already feeling good about it, you don't need to share so much."
"Oh! Sorry," said Nall, grinning and showing teeth. "It's just a habit."

The marten wandered down the tree and clambered up the dragon's tail, feeling quite light and soft as he sat around her shoulders like a scarf, his own fluffy tail hanging down her back. A cool nose pressed against the nubs of her ears as he spoke quietly to her.
"Okay, he can't see me now. Just be close, give him a hug or something and I'll do the rest. I guess now we won't meet again for a while, but it's been fun!"
Nadra swallowed a breath and settled her nerves. Gosh, he did make it sound so final, didn't he? She stood up from the floor and dusted off the grass which had followed her, and that's when Kiryk stepped into the clearing.

The male dragon was taller than she, blue and green with fins everywhere; his ears, the top and bottom of his tail, elbows and knees as well. Clusters of dark spots were scattered over his body, and he didn't wear any clothing. Kiryk was a water dragon, and as humans he and Nadra had both come to the land of Fairy together. There was a lot of room in this world for strange fates to find them, and indeed if it hadn't been Nall who found them first it may have been someone else with a much more devious demeanour.

"Why are we meeting here? It's so far to come, it'll feel longer getting back," he said. Nadra smiled, and drew up close, her wings buffeting his as her arms clung tightly.
"I thought we should go see this place again, and it's nice and quiet as well…"
Kiryk hadn't seen Nall on her, for to him the marten was invisible. Nor could he feel the little mustelid stir and move onto his head, settling around his shoulders, whispering into his ears. The golden dragon did see all this, very curious what he was up to.

The blue dragon couldn't hear what the marten was saying, but his body seemed to react to it. It was a coolness through his chest and arms, like ice; it was strong and persistent and it began to build and swell inside him. Nadra held on, and Kiryk held tighter as Nall kept up his whispers, invisible marten beginning his magical mischief. The dragon was growing, chest and arms and legs as well; thoughts were twirling and changing and he couldn't stop the magic from having its way with him.

Nadra was pinned underneath Kiryk as the water-dragon grew broader and longer, words overtaken by growls and gruff speech to sound much more feral. Claws scraped at the floor, digging up the soil underneath; arms grew wider and paws swelled up, more like feet. He still had his thoughts as they were, but he felt so much more powerful and ferocious. Not just a bipedal dragon, he was becoming a great and monstrous beast! Large ears could faintly hear the ocean calling to him, far away to the north beyond anywhere he'd ever seen. He had enjoyed being part dragon, but the feeling he had now was something special.

Nall had finished talking to that ear, and now he shuffled around on Kiryk's broad shoulders to address the other. Giant paws cradled Nadra underneath before lifting her up into the air; delicate, caring paws held her gently as the curious feral muzzle sniffed and explored her with a tongue. The dragons were certainly friends; being feral hadn't changed the blue's thoughts on that. Each word from Nall inspired an idea, a thought that might not have occurred to Kiryk naturally, but here in the forest as a grown ocean dragon it felt like the right thing to do.

Nadra shivered as she was laid down upon that huge, blue tail, with its fin close to her face and her legs and arms hugging it. Suddenly Nall was on her back and in her mind; the creature's words a nonsense litany of speech and song and whispers that she felt more than she heard. Her skin felt cool and light, and that tail became translucent and shiny like water. Slowly she started to sink into it; arms and legs first, then her nose and her body followed. The golden dragon was pressed deeply by Kiryk's paws, kneading and helping her to sink down into his tail. With the extra presence it grew longer, and Nadra felt herself stretched tightly, filling the tail from base to tip with herself, stretched and contorted in strange ways that made her tingle all over.

Blue scales, dark blue stripes and dots spread up her body. Her snout grew longer as she spread through the tail right to its thin tip, and she could feel her arms and legs become less and less defined. A wave of sensation swept over her as Kiryk moved his tail, and she felt every bit of that as though it was her. It was hard to distinguish between him and her, because as the minutes passed and their colours faded together there was no longer any difference; Nadra simply was his tail. What had been nose and face, tongue and body, wings and limbs; now it was just a smooth, blue tail. She was trembly and giddy with excitement, and that showed as Kiryk's tail wouldn't stop moving; it wiggled, and slid, and twitched with a life of its own.

The large feral dragon lifted her and looked at what he could see of Nadra, as the dragon inside his tail slowly disappeared into his hide's pattern of spots and stripes and colours. Hopefully she was okay in there, though she had definitely seemed so! And here Kiryk had thought this was just a fun little fantasy she had, but to see it made real was so exciting in itself. A firm paw stroked down his tail to the tip, and it sympathetically wiggled of its own accord.

"She's always been your tail," whispered a Nall, though Kiryk couldn't see him he heard the words and they felt true. "In her mind, anyway. Just needed to make it real! And you, I've seen you up there in what they call civilisation, but actually you'd rather be an ocean creature and answer to nobody. Mmm, call it my second gift to you both. Off you go now."
Kiryk answered him emphatically, but what it turned into was a roar that sent birds out of the trees. Wings ached for flight, and the giant dragon took his opportunity to beat them, clambering into the air. Trees bent under the pressure of wind, except for Nall's anyway, and then the dragon and his tail were aloft! The scent of water drew him north, so he went.

Behind him drifted his tail, smooth and sleek and finned and swaying through the air. Sometimes it had a life of its own, but often it was happy just being a part of Kiryk, feeling the dragon's pulse and his movements - and sometimes, if it tried hard, it could share his feelings as well. Detached in thought, but warm and intimate and deeply content; the tail was exactly where it wanted to be.

Second Gift (critique requested)


8 October 2016 at 12:09:03 MDT

A weekend commission for schmen and kirydos!
Nadra pays a visit to Nall, she has a particular wish for him which the mischievous marten is ever so happy to help with...

It's not something I get to see very much, but I do like a bit of tail transformation; it made me very happy to take this one on. :D As an extra bonus there's also a giant dragon, and Nall being his strangely intimate feral self. Comments welcome!

(Also on FA: )