It wasn't every day that she felt the need to explore the palace. Most of the time the routine was the same. Wake up, grab a book or scroll from the Archive of Ages, find a spot to sit, then read until her soul mate found her. And he always did. It was a nice balance between doing what she loved, and playing with whom she adored. Sometimes he would be content to relax beside her, reading at a much slower pace than she did. But his company had always been welcome. Time would never change that. And change had been plentiful.
Ever since the war's end, and relative peace had been granted to the lands, change seemed to be in a surplus. It still surprised her, hundreds of years later, that the different kingdoms were constantly adapting to new challenges presented with each passing generation. However, she still felt accessional periods of sadness as she remembered those she had met, and lost before this time of prosperity.
As she walked the hallways, she nodded politely to the other entities of the palace; drakes, equines, canines, felines, alike. The diversity here was almost too much for her when she first began meeting them. They were all much older than her, but showed her the same respect as they showed her grandfather. She and her mate were some of the youngest by centuries, but they were viewed as something special, if not slightly suspect.
She arrived at the Chamber of Artifacts where many of the elders stashed their treasures for others to see, and study for later times. Immediately she spotted one of her own treasures out in a table in the center of the room, being studied by a good friend of her grandfather; a kirin. Despite being from the lands where equines were more common, her horns made her look more like an elk at first glance. That is until any individual saw the elegant figure of the mare supporting the decorated crown of antlers underneath. Reptilian scales covered her shoulders and underbelly, and ran up the back of her neck, creating a thicker armor for her. Her ears, deprived of fur, but covered in tiny scales that felt like velvet, flicked upon hearing her visitor. She looked up from her object of study, a scroll from the younger entity's travels to the past.
The kirin looked apologetic as if having been caught looking at something she should have asked for permission for in the first place. The white dragoness only smiled and waved a paw, letting her know it was ok. The two of them got along very well, and were more than inclined to share their knowledge of magical studies whenever they felt they had a breakthrough. The kirin bowed slightly as the dragoness left her to her reading.
The next several halls were empty, leaving the young entity to wonder if most of the elders were out experiencing the world for themselves simultaneously. Normally there were at least a couple dozen elders within the Chamber of Artifacts. It was here that her mate would sometimes find her, but then slink away as if unwanted, knowing full well that discussions with the elders could take more hours than there were in the day. Of course she did her best to make it up to him whenever she finished.
A blush made its way across her cheeks at that last thought, and a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she came to her own little private stash. For a moment she stood there, inspecting the items that still remained. With the exception of her personal scrolls, everything appeared to be in attendance. She often wondered why some of the elders found her and her artifacts so fascinating. Her grandfather had assured her that the older you got, the more interesting the younger generations became.
She lifted her paw and extended it towards her nearest belonging, a large piece of crystal, rough on one half, polished like a fine gem on the other. She concentrated, trying to connect with it, as it was the most "magical" object in her collection. Her brow furrowed as she struggled to lift it off its shelf. The crystal twitched. Once left. Once forward. Then lay still. She stood there panting heavily, suddenly feeling very drained of energy. The signs of a headache prodded against her temples, letting her know it would arrive soon. Sighing again, she walked over to the crystal and picked it up, sliding it against the pads on her talons. It was warm to the touch, but when she pressed it against her forehead, she could feel the coolness against her scales, like a soothing breath from someone blowing on her. The headache subsided as she placed the crystal back, thankful that she had made even a little bit of progress after nearly three lifetimes of nothing.
Remembering how long it had been, she turned towards the far wall, where a single beam of light shone down from the hole in the ceiling high above. The ray of light warmed the petals of the blue flowers that grew from a vine that scaled down the wall from the outside. Again, she reached out, and caressed flowers between her onyx talons. It was still hard to believe that these rare treasures were once thought extinct, overused by the dragons of old until a single outcast soul presented them as a gift to a city who did not want him, and in turn, saved her life. A smile graced her features and she leaned in to breathe in their scent. She was greeted by a rush of cool air, much like that she felt when interacting with the blue mist, and she felt a sense of relief wash over her.
As she stared at the flowers, smiling to herself, the light glinted off another object in a little cubbyhole nearby. Turning her head, she was surprised to have somewhat forgotten about its contents. Not to say that she tried, but time certainly had its way of making one grow distracted by other things. She picked up the two egg shells, their husks petrified into a brittle, stone-like state.
She had not realized that she was beginning to cry until her vision blurred and she closed her eyes to feel hot tears race down her grey-freckled cheeks. She understood now, no mother ever forgets her first clutch, or second, or third. In all her centuries of lifetimes, she had never had any offspring. But looking at the shells now, she could see them as easily as they day they had hatched. One boy, one girl, and a mate all her own. A family. And time had only seemed to fly even faster during those hundreds of years when they had all been alive. It had not been easy to see her children pass with age, but she was more than thankful to the celestials that they had not gone in a world of pain and turmoil.
She nuzzled the shells, once each, saying a silent prayer for her long lost little ones, before setting them back into the cubby hole. She and her mate would be ready again one day, maybe even soon. But there was no shortage of time for that to happen again. Tilting her head to the ceiling she smiled up at the hole and breathed in a deep breath. Despite this time of remembrance, she felt calm. And the calm lifted her sprits, while simultaneously lifting her wings. She hooked her wing barbs under her gold collar and tilted her head back to slide it over her horns and crest, letting the fabric of the crimson cape tickle her back. This was a trick her mate had spent many hours teaching her how to be flexible enough to perform, despite her physical build.
For a several minutes she held the collar and cape out in front of her, balanced perfectly on her wing spikes, letting the light from above bounce around the room. The emerald crystal dangling from the chain swayed and twisted around, glistening as if it had just been polished, though she rarely did so with any of her jewelry. The cape was old, but not hundreds of years, like the collar was. The edges were slightly frayed and several stains told stories across its red and gold-lined surface. She smiled as she remembered each one, the next playing more clearly than the last in her mind.
After setting the collar on its hanger, and letting the cape drape freely below it, she swung her tail about so that her tail spade was resting against her chest. She was about to move when she paused, and thought better of what she was doing. Lying down on the floor, he reached back with both front paws and unclipped the gauntlet around her tail. Being graceful was not a trait she was known for and she had fallen several times trying to remove the item while standing. Now that her tail was free, she waved it from side to side, no longer restricted by the stiff tail jewelry. She gave a little wiggle of her hips in an almost childish manner, relishing in the feeling of being free.
Lastly, she twisted her neck around in order to reach up and pull her ring off her left horn. Unlike the jewelry from her grandfather, this one piece had never changed or been altered in the centuries that had passed. Her mother, the one she had first remembered, always remained close to her heart, and this was her own way of never forgetting her first-remembered family.
Clasping the ring inside the gauntlet, she placed them onto their own individual shelf and let the pads of her paws trace over their markings. She let out another sigh as she remembered those she came from so many times before and turned to look at herself, now fully nude, in the crystal mirror embedded into the wall. It had been at a special request that the crystal mirror be transferred her after the passing of her first remembered father. She could picture him now, standing behind her, admiring her the way a father does when they see how grown up their daughter has become. She closed her eyes momentarily and whispered to herself in her mind.
I love you.