This was taking forever. It was already early afternoon, and they still hadn’t relocated their dragon. Amara honestly wasn’t sure how Lovie wasn’t completely exhausted yet. Not only did the mare have to carry her rider, but she was also wearing some fairly heavy armor herself. It moved well with the mare’s body, but it must be beginning to chafe by now. Amarea knew her armor certainly was, and she was wearing much more leather than her horse. The woman fiddled a little with the arrows in her quiver while she allowed the mare to make her way through the woods. Amarea wasn’t the most attentive rider, and Lovie seemed to know where she was going, so the woman tended to drift off as she rode. A bad habit she was yelled at for repeatedly at home. But Lovie always took good care of her, and it didn’t seem to hurt anyone. Until she got smacked in the face by a tree branch, that is.
“Hey!” Amarea exclaimed, preparing to scold her mare for being so careless as to walk under a low branch. But she quickly realized the purpose for the rude awakening. The trees around them had become more green than brown, with moss covering their massive trunks and vines hanging from their branches. And the ground had turned from a firm, stony dirt to a soft clay that coated Lovie’s legs, belly and tail. The mare sunk into the ground with every step she took, and was taking more care with her footing than she usually would have. In front of them, there appeared to be a vast pool of water, dirty and silty, that spread before them with no real discernable edges. Trees grew in the middle of the pool, tall and ancient, and strange movements within the water gave the impression of creatures moving around beneath the surface.
Great, a swamp. Stinky, smelly, difficult to traverse, and irritating in every possible way. Amarea was beginning to question Lovie’s judgement when she saw movement through the trees. Something big was shifting around in the pool, and Amarea had a sinking feeling it wasn’t feeling friendly. She felt the same urge to run far away that she had felt every other time they had come across the dragon, but her brave steed wasn’t having any of that nonsense. The mare continued her approach, and soon the pair was within sight of the young dragoness.
This time she was ready for them. She stood in the water, legs spread in a defensive posture, wings extended, and a deep anger in her eyes. Or was that fear? Regardless, the dragoness looked ready to eliminate the threat, and Amarea swallowed hard. She felt she couldn’t back out now, for fear of the dragoness chasing her. So she readied her bow and nocked an arrow. As she was preparing to draw, the dragon opened her mouth and let out an earth shaking roar. A wave of darkness rushed over the swamp and briefly enveloped the horse and rider. For a split second, Amarea couldn’t see anything whatsoever. Her sudden blindness was terrifying, causing her to drop her bow and arrow. When the blackness passed, Amarea saw her bow laying on the ground, out of her reach, and no longer at her disposal. Shit. She thought about dismounting to retrieve the long distance weapon, but quickly dismissed the idea. She wasn’t really very good at mounting Lovie from the ground unassisted, and she saw no nearby stumps or fallen logs to assist her. Point being, she’d never be able to get back on. She would just have to do this with her sword.
Lovie was rocked back onto her hind end during all of this, and was threatening to rear. Not out of fright, though. Lovie didn’t seem particularly intimidated by this dragon, but her excitement over the prospect of this conflict and her anger at the dragon for scaring her human so had combined so the mare simply couldn’t stand still. She stayed silent, but her fidgeting was beginning to unseat Amarea, so the woman drew her sword, picked up her reins, and threw her heels into the mare’s sides. As Lovie surged forward, Amarea couldn’t help but call out a challenge to the dragon, who was still baring her fangs and roaring at them.
As Amarea and Lovie approached, the dragon stepped back into the shadows of a nearby tree and just… disappeared. Amarea pulled Lovie to a halt, confused. Then, out of the corner of her eyes, she saw a flash of purple scales, and ducked down just as a large tail whooshed over her head. Lovie jumped to the side, and Amarea saw that the dragoness had somehow gotten behind them. She swung her sword, and the dragoness easily evade, then disappeared again.
This fighting went on for what seemed like ages, with Lovie narrowly avoiding blows to herself and her rider, and Amarea being mostly unable to land a blow of her own. Eventually, a lucky swing of her sword caught the dragon on her shoulder, though it barely scratched the thick hide. The dragoness’s next attack was a bit quicker than Lovie could avoid, and the horse found her flank being scraped and torn by the beast’s sharp horns. She grunted in pain and stumbled a bit, but this was the only indication that the mare gave of being injured. Amarea, on the other hand, felt her concern grow for the mare. The mud and churning water around the battling creatures was turning red with her horse’s blood, and Amarea felt a rage she couldn’t quite explain. How dare this dragon harm Lovie! Amarea dropped her reins, using only her legs to control the mare, and grabbed one of the arrows from the quiver that was still attached to the saddle. She might not have a bow anymore, but that didn’t dull the point of this arrow. When the dragoness dodged her next sword swing, Amarea reached out and plunged the arrow deep into the dragon’s shoulder, near her wing.
The next sound the dragon made caused the woman’s blood to run cold. It was the scream of a severely injured animal. And now Amarea noticed the fear in the beast’s eyes. She saw the pain that resided there, and she almost regretted her actions. But then she glanced down and saw the bloody water, now with the dragon’s silver blood floating on the red waves, and she was reminded of Lovie’s injury. He felt the anger return, and she was ready to swing her sword once more, now looking to kill this beast, but the dragon had disappeared. Using the shadows to gain some distance from the enraged rider, the dragoness was spreading her wings once again. But there was a hitch in her right wing, surely caused by the arrow embedded so close to the joint. As the beast lifted off the ground, she did so a bit lopsided, and she wavered unsteadily in the air. She rose slowly, painfully, panting with the effort. As the dragon flew off, Amarea set her mouth in a hard line. After moving Lovie around a bit to see how much her injury troubled her, and discovering, once again, the resiliency of the mare’s breed, Amarea directed the mare to follow the injured dragon. She wasn’t traveling very quickly through the air now, and Amarea felt certain she would be easy to follow.
[word count: 1245]
That was exhausting. I've set the goal to get one of these entries out each week, and I was lazy this past week, so i only really had Lovie sketch out before yesterday afternoon. So i finished the drawing yesterday, and wrote that whole thing today. I'm very tired now. If only I had this much motivation to start working on my halloween costume...
Anyway, that's honestly all I have to say about this. This wasn't my original vision for this piece, but I honestly like this better. Coulda angled my dragon's head better, but whatever. Too late now. Oh, and I forgot to add reins. Whoops.
Lovie and Amarea (c) me
Ref: fav.me/d69909z (c)
First (and previous): fav.me/dbofie4
Amarea was about ready to draw her sword and start hacking at the foliage out of frustration when Lovie pricked her ears and slowed her step. The woman immediately stilled her hand and tried to breathe quietly as she listened intently to the forest around her, but heard nothing. She doubted that Lovie was reacting to nothing, but she couldn’t discern the disturbance the mare sensed. She gave Lovie a squeeze to urge her forward, resting her hands on the pommel to give Lovie her head. The mare stepped softly but confidently forward, her ears focused on whatever noise she was tracking. It occurred to Amarea that the mare might have discovered one of the larger dragons that she was so set on chasing, and was debating whether or not to pick up the reins and take control when the trees began to thin. The woman stood up in her stirrups to get a better look, and almost fell forward when Lovie started down a slope. It wasn’t terribly steep, but it was steep enough to cause the mare to shift her weight backward, freeing up her forehand and maintaining her balance. Amarea sat back down and leaned back as well, allowing the mare to find her own path, and feeling a bit sheepish for nearly toppling down the hill.
It didn’t take the pair long to reach the bottom of the slope, which, upon further inspection, appeared to be the side of a valley. Amarea could now also hear the sounds that had alerted Lovie, and her anxiety only grew. They were similar to the sounds a horse made rolling on the ground. Soft, pleasant grunting and groaning accenting a rumble as dirt was crushed under massive weight. Amarea gulped and wished she could back out, once again, but the embarrassment of returning to the ranch without anything to show for her efforts was shadowed only by the shame she would feel around Lovie, who was acting supremely confident in this danger. Trying to channel her horse, the woman took a breath to steady herself. But she didn’t have long to calm herself, because their quarry came into view through the trees just then.
Lovie had in fact led her to the purple dragon, who was not a small as Amarea had originally thought. Frankly, the dark dragon was larger than many draft horses she had seen, though by no means was it the monster that the other dragons from the beach had been. The…female? Yes, this was a female, she thought. The dragoness was standing now, clearly finished bathing in the dirt behind her, and Amarea could see that she was more of a roan pattern than a solid color, going from black point to a lavender on her back, similar to Lovie’s stone fur. She had intricate marking around her eyes, ankles and tail, too small for Amarea to really make out. Her wings were beautiful. They were bat wings, not bird wings, but the flesh that spanned the distance between the flesh covered bones was clear. The woman could see the details of the hills and rocks beyond the young dragoness through them, though they did dull the colors a little. Her front feet were almost hand-like, while her rear feet resembled paws. She was a beautiful specimen of her kind, and Amarea almost felt bad for what was about to happen. She was ready to stop Lovie behind some bushes to observe the creature further, but the mare had her own ideas. She didn’t hesitate at the bushes, but rather pushed through them, making quite a bit of noise. The dragon turned her delicately shaped head and bared her fangs at the horse and rider. Lovie, in return, paused to paw the ground, squaring her feet a bit as she did so. Amarea sat in terror and awe as the creature extended her wings and lashed her tail. It didn’t occur to her to draw a weapon until the dragon began to turn. Then she fumbled to grab her bow and draw an arrow. She was not particularly good with the bow, but it was a long distance weapon, and Amarea certainly wanted to keep some distance. But by the time she was ready to fire, the dragoness had flapped her wings and lifted off the ground. She rose rapidly, directly into the light of the blinding sun. Amarea loosed her arrow despite the fact that she couldn’t quite see her target, hoping that perhaps it would hit the beast. She didn’t get a chance to find out, as the dragon was soaring away and Lovie was all but ready to run away after her. The woman slung her bow over her shoulder and picked up the reins she had dropped in her effort ot wound the beast. Not quite sure she wanted to, but distinctly aware that Lovie might rear up and throw her if she didn’t, Amarea heeled the mare forward to give chase.
[word count: 831]
Well, this was fun. I didn't mean for the two entries to have roughly the same pose, that's just sort of how the refs played out. I will try to be a bit more diverse in the coming entries. Oh, and those weapons didn't come out of nowhere, I just didn't really realize that Amarea would need weapons until after the image was done.
Once again, Lovie disagrees with Amarea's understandable show of cowardice and basically ignores her rider's tentative aids. And the first good look at our dragon turned outm uch better than I thought it would. The size of her is the only thing I'm truly unhappy with. She should be larger than that, at least 5 or 6 hands taller than Lovie. Hopefully, future prompts will reflect that.
Tried my hand at shadows. It's supposedto be around 10am here, so they're more blobby that anything else. And I suck at backgrounds, but I'm pretty decent at boulders, so I threw a few of those in there for visual interest.
Anyway, gotta study for classes and work on the next image. My goal is to have it out by Saturday, we'll see how well that works out.
Characters and Art (c) me
Ref: fav.me/d94vsh0 (c)