The dragoness clutched the child to her breast, wincing slightly as his teeth once again dug into her bare flesh, greedily suckling his meal from her. It had only been three days since she had accidentally brought the newborn back with her, but he already seemed acclimated to his new home. She held his head against her as he drank, eventually letting him pull himself away.
He had left another pair of shallow bite marks just above her areola, tiny trails of blood slowly leaking from the wounds. His pale lips had a light red tinge to them, informing her that he had been imbibing her blood for quite some time during his meal.
She took him by the waist, intent on chastising him, then stopped when his eyes moved up to meet hers.
His once rounded pupils had become thin and ovular in shape, resembling her own more than a typical human's. His eyes blinked a few times, their reddish color seeming to darken as he focused on other things.
"So... my blood made you like this?" She wondered aloud, knowing full well that the baby had no idea what she was saying.
His head tilted to the side, lips twisting into a gentle smile as he looked back up to her.
"Mm... mm... ma." He mumbled, looking up to her with wonder.
"Oh no, child... I'm not your mother..." She assured him.
His mouth began to shift in apparent discomfort, before he eventually settled for having his lips parted slightly. Concerned by this, she took his upper lip between her thumb and forefinger, pulling upwards so she could peer into his mouth.
His only teeth, his top front teeth, had both widened and thinned, the roots of his cuspids stretching out and rounding, while the lower portion slimming into sheer needlepoint tips. His budding teeth had become fangs, rather long ones at that. Looking into his lower mouth, she could see small puncture wounds along his gums.
"No wonder you've changed... your teeth gave my blood easy access to your own. I'll bet you'll get more like me until you stop drinking my milk... although it would be interesting to see just how much you change." She said quietly.
The little boy gave a giggle, then belched, his eyes alight with a genuine satisfaction.
"You like my milk, eh? Sorry that it's made with magic, child... Dragons like myself don't produce milk naturally... lucky you I remembered that human babies drink milk... even if feeding you is incredibly uncomfortable." She muttered.
Over the months following, she found it increasingly difficult to take her eyes off of the child. Every feeding seemed to change something about him, however insignificant. Around five months had passed before the changes seemingly stopped altogether, leaving the child no longer human, but decidedly less than a dragon.
His hair, for the most part, remained white as snow, but the roots of each strand were tinged with a dark maroon color that matched that of his foster mother. Where his hair would have grown downwards into sideburns later in life, a thick, rough patch of white scales now traced down his face, making a full U-shape at the tip of his chin.
His arms and legs had undergone the same change, the front of his legs and knees covered from hip to foot in white scales, along with the back of his arms and elbows. The most drastic change of all, however, was the formation of thin, horn-tipped wings that sprouted from his back after about four months. They were strong enough to lift him from the ground and could fold against his back when unneeded.
Despite the visible changes that his body had undergone, it seemed that the ones that were not readily visible were even more incredible. His body's strength had increased ten-fold, so much so that he was unconsciously crushing small rocks that he picked up from the cave floor. Furthermore, his intelligence had also gotten quite the boost from the Dragoness, his understanding of words and communication rivaling most adults despite him only being slightly over a year old.
In two years, there was rarely a moment that he wasn't engrossed in a book or some sort of scroll, asking the dragon about certain concepts and pressing her for explanation when her typically short descriptions did little to sate his hunger for understanding. After exhausting the rather large collection of reading material she had amassed, he moved on to the things that he had observed. At the age of about five years old, he approached her with questions about magic.
"Mother... what is magic?" Was his simple question to her.
"Well... firstly, I'm not your mother, I'm-"
"You raised me... so far at least, your actions have made you worthy of the term... you chose to rear me as your own, rather than haul me off to a town or city and leave me on a doorstep." He said.
"I suppose that's true... but I'm no mother... and my name is Rashae... I wouldn't be... opposed to you referring to me as your mother if you prefer it, however." She said, choosing her words carefully to hide her glee at the boy considering her his mother. She had grown increasingly fond of him in the years they had spent together, despite
"As for your question... magic is power... I'll tell you more, but you'll have to wait before I teach you anything about it... while I'm sure you're capable of using magic... I'm also sure that your body is far too underdeveloped to use it effectively... so ask again in a few years." She said quietly.
He did as she instructed, leaving the prospect of learning magic alone for about three years, instead turning his focus on improving his already impressive physical abilities. Despite him already being well beyond the capabilities that any normal human could possibly possess, he was still significantly weaker that Rashae, at least according to her. What she failed to mention was the fact that he'd probably be on par with her in her human form as he reached adolescence.
Still, three years came and went, with Rashae deigning to teach him more and more about physical combat. She was amazed at how quickly he learned, and at just how much he enjoyed it. He had become far more proficient at fighting than even she had expected, being capable of bringing her down on his own should she lose focus on him during their little sparring sessions.
The most memorable thing about his growth, to her, was their first practice actually fighting one another. She had instructed him to fight until she said to stop, in order for her to judge just how much stamina he had.
He fought her nonstop for nearly a week, not slowing nor relenting in his assault. He was a complete savage, attempting at every turn to debilitate her where possible. Be it trying to break bones, rend flesh, or even tear limbs. He had even managed to dislocate her shoulder near the end of the week, and prevented her from stopping to heal it by staying at her heels every moment until she finally demanded that he stop.
She had loved every moment of that week, her heart had seemed like it may burst at any second. She felt threatened. She felt alive.
And for the first time, she thought of the boy as her son.
At the ripe age of eight years old, he approached her once more with questions about magic. This time, she felt no reason to refuse him.
"Very well... most beings have magic of some description, it's part of the energy that makes up life in general. Magic as a tool is a representation of force of will. Humans, Beastmen, Demons, Elves... Dragons... all of them have the potential to use magic, but many lack the genuine understanding of how to direct their will in order to effectively use magic. I'll show you something basic."
She held her hand down, pointing it to her feet.
At her words, a small green circle burned itself into the ground around her, and her body began to glow with a light, green haze. She took a step forward, but moved a distance far greater than any single step should have take her, moving from the back of the cave to the mouth, then doing it again a few more times.
"Wow... that seems useful." Came the young boy's voice.
"Indeed it is... try it." She said.
He copied her motions, pointing his hand towards his feet.
To Rashae's surprise, the same green circle burned into being around his feet, and his body gained the same glow that hers had just held. With a dash, he shot forward straight past her to the mouth of the cave. He turned around, smiling at her with undeniable joy.
"My... you really do learn quickly, don't you?" She asked happily.
"I suppose... um... I think I've forgotten my name again." The boy said with a chuckle.
"Is that so? Perhaps I'll rename you so you can remember it." She said.
The comment itself was offhanded, but the boy seemed rather satisfied with her suggestion.
"Please do." He said with a smile.
"Wait... you actually want a new name? The name you have now is the only real reminder that you have of your human parents." She said.
He gave a shrug, pointing to the patches of scales running along his body.
"I'm like you... I'm more Dragon than human at this point... I'm more your son than theirs... and they didn't raise me." He said calmly, keeping his gaze locked on her own.
She gave a laugh, looking out to the mouth of the cave at the glittering sunset, then nodded her head.
"Dragon... Dragon, eh? Very well... a name then. I believe the woman screamed out the name Kain as I took you away. So... that makes you the Dragon-child, Kain. Well then... how about... Drakain?"