Deep within Guardian Mountain, Gran Bryl rested her massive bulk upon the comforting ledge of warm grey-rock that was her favorite spot. A single beam of sunlight shone down into the huge cavern, from what was left of the crater at the top of the long dormant volcano.
Gran Bryl stretched out her long, plated neck and tail, glistening almost emerald in the light. She lay full-length, able to reach from one end of the shelf she rested upon to the other.
None of the other Guardians can boast such size, she thought with a tiny prick of pride.
A most unseemly thought for the Gran Eldress to be entertaining, she thought, exhaling sharply through delicate nostrils.
She didn’t really care. She was finally warm and almost comfortable, the constant pain in her hips and legs only a dull, throbbing ache.
The crater, hovering far overhead, was smaller now than it had been when the mountain breathed fire. A jungle-like growth of thick vegetation had closed off the opening until what remained was just large enough for Gran Bryl to stick her head and shoulders out of if she had had the inclination to fly up there and do so.
Today, the crater opening suited her desire for warmth as the sun poured in to ease her. She lay stretched out, translucent green scales tipped with deepest red and along her sides, a golden yellow, gleaming in the sunlight.
Gran Bryl's great body needed warming now in a way she hadn’t when she was younger. Her inner fires had dampened over the years and she often felt cold.
Much like this old fire mountain, she thought.
Tension and cold had been her constant companions, ever since she sent out her last egg with her beloved Contracted, Brylen. Her egg rested now, tended and cared for.
Yet fragile, so very fragile, she thought.
The slanted column of sunlight poured in, making a stunning display of light within the darkened crystalline interior of the cavern, moving slowly across the cavern sparkling off the ridges and striations of crystal created eons past.
A tiny flier zipped past her head to land lightly upon her hip. His doubled pairs of wings whirred iridescent in the shaft of sunlight penetrating the cavern. Another joined him, a female, and then many more. Hundreds of pairs of wings fluttered as they ranged over her spine and legs. Tiny blue and green hands gently caressed her.
Gran Bryl sighed contentedly, and closed her eyes, the constant ache easing. She thought loving gratitude to her small friends, visualizing them surrounded in a cloud of heart light.
Unseen by her, her attendants stopped, each one lifting a delicate face as if to the sun. Pearlescent wings stilled upon slender backs clothed in delicate, woven fabrics. Slanted, brilliant green eyes closed, sharp chins raised, each one smiling, tiny chests lifting, breathing deeply.
Then her helpers busily resumed their attentions to Gran Bryl’s nether regions.
In time, some flitted out of the cavern and others settled to sleep, heads wreathed in clouds of grass green hair, curling tiny bodies into where Gran Bryl’s massive hind leg lay across her abdomen.
Gran Bryl let them rest, as she rested. She was so tired.
The warm hours together passed and gradually tension built up in her spine. She shifted gently so as not to disturb the tiny sleepers. The tension, cold and pain returning and increasing as she once again thought of her egg.
Her egg, the hatchling who was to tip the balance. If she survived.
She must survive, thought Gran Bryl. I will have no more eggs.
Gran Bryl’s huge form shuddered as she thought of how easily things could go wrong. Tiny fliers startled upward fluttering above her.
My apologies, friends. She thought to her helpers.
Her attendants bowed their heads to her, tiny hands crossed on their chests, and whirred out of the cavern.
Ah, One. It’s a wonder that any of us survive to reach Guardian Mountain, she thought.
Then shaking her head she prayed. Forgive me, My One. I am old and tired and allowing my fear to fly.
Gran Bryl lay her head, shaped much like an elegant runner, (though she would never agree to such a comparison), upon her forearms, yellowing claws curled under.
The sunlight doesn’t warm as it used to, she thought irritably. I must have the plant speakers reorient some of the vegetation at the opening. It really is getting quite overgrown.
Enough now, Bryl, she reprimanded.
Gran Bryl heaved her front quarters up. She lifted her head, eyelids closing over round-pupiled gold eyes, and settled herself as comfortably upright as possible. She leaned back onto her haunches into where the sunlight poured down from above and warmed the rock beneath her. She rested gleaming, scaled forepaws on the ground in front, claws clicking softly upon rock, and curled her long tail about her. Her slender neck curved upward as she tucked her head and muzzle down into her chest.
The sun-warmed air, rich and moist from the overgrowth of vegetation, filled her deeply as she took in great draughts. She allowed thoughts and irritation to drift away.
Clearing her mind, she prepared herself to walk the Pathways of the One.
©Holly Hildreth 2019
StoryTime Read Aloud