[identity profile] mirrani.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] fanficfocus
I had to rewrite this one because I lost the original, so it has taken me a while, but I'm getting there. This is a project that I started before Dragonheart 3 came out. Now that we're about to have a #4, and since I'm here and can share it, I'm going to start remaking my series. I know very few are familiar with the fandom, but give it a chance, especially if you love Dragons. The dragon this stuff is based off of is considered one of the top movie dragons of all time. :)


Title: Rose Among Thorns, Part 1 (PG)
Fandom: Dragonheart (noncanon)
Pairing: None
Timeframe: Taking place before the time of Drago. If you want years, the first movie takes place in the tenth century, the latter movies take place a few hundred years before that. I have no idea where my story fits numerically in all of this, but that's the general era you're aiming for, I suppose.
Content Warning: Contains non-sexual physical and verbal mistreatment consistent with forms of servitude.

Background for those unfamiliar with Dragonheart: The dragons of this fandom are peaceful. They are the ones who taught humans what they know of the world and for a long time lived beside humans (especially the Celts) in peace and understanding. Dragons come from the stars in the same since that religious people believe they exist because of God's will. They look to the constellation Draco as their heaven, where all dragons go after death, /if/ they have earned the right. In the more recent movies (3 and 4) this has been taken a little too literally for my taste, Drago /came/ from the stars. Not certain if this was the intended purpose of the original concept or not, Raffaella De Laurentiis is producer of all 4 movies, so I assume this was her idea from the start. These dragons fly because they are made of cosmic light. It is possible for them to open their chest, split their heart and share it with a human. Once that is done the human is bonded to the dragon for the life of the dragon, meaning that in order for the human to die, the dragon must die. They also share each others pains. Dragons in the first two movies, Dragonheart and A New Beginning, do /not/ require heart sharing in order to communicate, they talk, laugh, and show emotion just as a human would, all on their own. Drago is different, he is the focus of the most recent movies, The Sorcerer's Curse and Battle for the Heartfire, he requires heart bonding in order to talk in the human tongue the bond is also different, a little more psychic and magical as it grows. This is not true in Draco's time. There are inconsistencies between the first two movies and any others following the series. It is important to note that I write dragons as they began in the movie sequence, with Draco and Drake, not as telepathic beasts who are literally extra terrestrials, like Drago. (For those of you interested in actors: Sean Connery was the voice of Draco, Ben Kingsly was the original voice of Drago and Patrick Stewart will take over the role for the newest movie.)

For those wanting visual reference, there are no images of any of my characters, but you can get an idea from these:
Drago
Draco model
Draco and Bowen
Draco as a stone
Drake – a young dragon
Grifffin – a dragon from the Orient

Disclaimer: This stuff just floats around in my head. I don't have anything to do with the franchise and I'm just having fun here. I earn nothing other than the smiles of fans for doing this work.

The chill in the air did nothing to cool the heat that burned Róisín's cheek as she tore through the forest on wings of fear. Though she dodged as many trees as she could, there were a few whose long fingers reached out to cling to her dress. The fabric caught over and over again on the sharp sticks, ripping angrily before it was freed by the force of her run. She could hear shouts of rage flashing through the forest like lightning and all she wanted in this moment was to outrun the bolts before they hit her again. Dresses could be mended easier than arms or legs and if she stopped now, it was surely one of the latter that would take the most damage.

Twilight was at hand and the woods gradually darkened as she charged blindly ahead. There were many dangers in the forest, but Róisín had never thought much of them. Fear of being eaten by some wild animal was nothing compared to what she faced in her daily life, slaving away in the town market for the two adults who claimed to be family. There was not a soul among the people in the village that believed their claims to her were true, but no one had bothered to stand for her in her troubles, and so she had remained with the cruel couple who were keeping her as their slave.

Exhaustion began to drag her down, pulling her heart in all directions as fire burned in her empty lungs. If she didn't find a place to hide soon she would certainly drop where she stood. Somewhere in these woods was rumored to be an underground cave, filled with riches and treasure. There had always been tales told of this magical place where all of the wealth of the village had been kept, but no one had ever found it and many who went looking had never returned. She did not care about wealth, but a place to curl up and catch her breath without being discovered would be a welcome happenstance.

Suddenly her foot caught on a log and she tumbled to the ground, arms and legs flailing to try and break her fall. Her body rolled in the leafy debris among roots, stopping just short of the muddy part of a stream. Róisín looked up from where she had fallen and was struck with even more panic than before. She had, quite literally, stumbled upon a clearing. Certainly here in this open space she would be discovered without any trouble at all.

Her eyes darted around the open area that could easily hold several buildings from her village. Ignoring the mud and scrapes on her hands, she desperately stumbled to her feet, trying to find cover, but the only objects around were a large rock and the log she had stumbled over to get here.

Without warning, something moved among the leaves behind her and Róisín spun to see what it was, but found nothing. The life in the forest seemed to still and her body shivered with some unknown desire to flee again, to move as quickly as she could in any direction, even in the one she had come from.

“You are being hunted?” A deep, disembodied voice filled the air around her. It was rumbling and soft, both a whisper like a breeze and a crackle of dry fire. The question reverberated in her chest and heart, thrumming with the strength of an immense noise, though there was nothing and no one to be seen.

She stood motionless, terrified, only her head moved in a nod as she tried desperately to catch her breath.

Another shift in the leaves, this time to her side, near the rock. She turned to catch whatever sight she could of this stranger in the woods, but the movement stopped as suddenly as it started. “Quickly.” The voice insisted. “They're coming. Close your eyes and move to the rock. Curl up tightly against it. I can make certain they don't see you, but if you open your eyes, this will not work. I can protect you only as long as you trust me to do so. Do I have your word?”

Róisín was unsure of what to do next. Were the very trees trying to talk to her? Without a response, the voice rumbled again, hushed and angry. “Your word?” It seemed as desperate as she felt and she gasped a faint acceptance, then did exactly as she had been told.

The rock was curved in so many places that it was easy to find a way to curl into the warmth of it. Obviously the surface had been heated by the sun in the midday, for it felt like touching the body of some living thing. She found the sensation strange, but soothing.

Tucking her knees close to her chest, she pressed her body into the stone as hard as she could manage, wrapping her arms tightly around her legs and hiding her face in her elbow to be certain that even if her eyes did open, she could see nothing. After a moment there came a swish of air and she forced herself to remain absolutely still. A darkness thicker than pitch surrounded her and she tried to take long breaths as the shouts of the villagers approached through the trees. They were stupidly calling her name as if she would come happily bounding back like a lost pet.

It wasn't long before she could make out the actual words spoken by the woman who claimed to be her mother, “Come on, lovely! Róisín! You've mistakes to mend!” The language of her “father” took longer to decipher clearly and was not always the cleanest of words. This was a typical state for him, especially when he had been drinking, which was what he did any time he was awake.

There was another man with them, someone from the village whose voice she recognized, though she couldn't put a face to it. His words came to her ear suddenly and directly at her side, though they were muffled, as if being spoken through some thick object. “She always comes back. This is a waste of time. So a few vegetables are missing. Punishment later, I think. It'll be dark soon and we don't want to be caught in these woods when the stars are out.”

“Sorcery tales don't scare me,” bellowed her father. “There's nothing in these woods but wood. Rotten and stinking, but wood all the same.” The sound that followed his words implied he was kicking around in the debris as if he could dig Róisín up with his foot.

“People who stay here after dark never return,” the woman reminded him. “Maybe Henwas is right. Punishment can wait. The cowering dog always returns to the hand that feeds it.”

“Ach,” mumbled the villager, “Why bother if the thief is only going to cause more trouble? Good riddance, I say. You'll find another, Car.”

A rumbling seemed to come from the earth then, and the sound of a blade slipping in and out of its sheath echoed among the trees. Suddenly every noise but the trickle of the water was still. The silence filled the girls' heart.

The silence did not last. The man they called Henwas almost immediately bellowed in what sounded like an overabundance of fear and desperation, “Well then... That's proof enough to me. She isn't here.” Róisín could hear footsteps rapidly retreating into the forest and assumed the coward was running for his life.

“Come, Car.” The woman insisted. It sounded as if someone were being pulled along in the leaves, kicking and swearing. Róisín imagined her “mother” having to drag him by the arm or tunic to make him leave.

“You listen here, girl!” The shout came from her father before it was suddenly muffled and turned into incoherent swearing and finally, “Leave me, woman! I can walk on my own!”

It was a long time before the snapping of broken twigs and the crunching of fallen leaves had gone silent, signaling that the people chasing her had finally moved on. A minute or two later, the woods were again filled with the sounds of birds and other animals that lived by the stream. The world around her lightened and there was a gentle breeze of warmth. “Open your eyes and leave the rock. You are safe.”

She rose slowly and blinked her eyes at the peaceful scene. “They're gone?”

“Yes.”

Róisín tried not to be obvious about looking around the clearing, but she was honestly curious. There was not a spare shadow or form that she could see anywhere in the open space, or as far into the woods as her sight could reach. “Who are you? /Where/ are you?”

“Nearby... You wouldn't know my name. None do.”

“Are you... a magician?”

There was a thoughtful pause before the answer came. “I suppose /you/ would think of me that way, but no.”

Another silence came while Róisín searched the clearing, taking a step here or there, deciding that it wouldn't hurt to look around. The voice seemed always to be coming from around the large rock that had protected her, but she could find no evidence of a man, no matter how many times she searched. Unable to stand the confusion she felt, she finally asked, “Can I not thank my savior?”

A chuckle filled the air, then went still. “I believe you just have.” After a pause the deep voice softened in what sounded like concern. “But you are hurt. Wash in the stream.”

Róisín glanced at her hands, it looked as if she had been juggling knives and missing the handle, catching only the blade instead. “I must have cut them when I fell.”

“Go to the stream, child.” Insisted the voice gently. “Wash your hands until they are completely clean, then use the knitbone on them.”

This was a foreign thing to her, she glanced around numbly, but couldn't find any bones. “I-”

“The plant with the long green leaves and purple flowers that look like bells.”

Róisín noticed some right away and nodded. “Yes. I see.” She went to the stream first, dipping her hands into the ice cold water. She hadn't realized how badly she was hurting until the water rushed over the wounds, making them burn before the frigid temperature numbed the pain. She found a sliver of wood stuck into her palm and pulled it out carefully.

While she worked, the voice asked softly, “Do you mind if I ask... Who were you running from?”

The girl sighed, squatting awkwardly at the side of the stream, trying not to fall in as she washed. “They say they are my parents, but I know they aren't. My real parents were traveling with me when I was just old enough to remember things.”

“What happened to them?”

“I don't really know, but sometimes I can see parts of it in my dreams. Men rode up and fought with my father. They hit my mother and she fell on the ground, but she didn't get up. There was noise like at the blacksmith's and then I was up in the air and arms were holding me against something hard, but I couldn't see. I kept crying for Mama and Papa, but they didn't answer me. Then I was on a horse and taken into a village somewhere a long time down the road.”

“I'm sorry, I truly am.” The voice did seem full of sympathy and sorrow. She could believe him, she thought.

Róisín shrugged. “This life here is all that I know, really.”

“But it isn't,” the air around her rumbled softly in reply. “You remember some of what happened, if only in your dreams. You must remember something about your parents or where you were before you traveled?”

“I do remember the sea,” Róisín answered with a smile. She didn't ever think she had been there, but when others mentioned large sailing ships or great waves pounding the beach in a storm, she could imagine exactly the pictures to go with those things. She assumed that meant it was a memory.

“Close your eyes again,” said the air. “Tell me what you see when someone talks about the ocean. Does it have a smell? Something you feel? I'd like to know.”

Róisín wasn't certain about this, but she tried anyway. Putting her hands in the water again to cool, she carefully shut her eyes to the stream and tried to see what her mind was telling her about ships and the shore. “There is the sound of the water at night, like a breeze that stops and starts over and over again. And I taste salt in the air.”

After a pause, there was encouragement. “Go on... Can you see your parents?”

“My father had light eyes and my mother... had brown hair that turned to fire in the sun.” She laughed, feeling the emotions of moments past come over her. “I used to run in the fields and the workers would let me hide behind them so I could vanish from my father and make him find me. It was a game we played. Mama would watch and laugh every time I got away. Then Papa would catch me up in his arms and hold me high over his head. He always wanted me to fly home, like I was a bird.”

“That sounds lovely.” There was a longing in those words that the girl could not place.

Róisín opened her eyes and took her hands from the water. Standing up, she moved to where the purple flower plant was and looked at it.

“Crush the leaves in your hands and rub them on the cuts.”

She nodded and did as she was told. “There is nothing to make me happy here. I'm glad I can't remember what it was like before. I would always long for it otherwise. I'm not sad talking about it with you, though. Here... I feel different.” Róisín could not explain her need to divulge this truth to an invisible stranger. Was she hoping he would whisk her away? She wasn't sure.

“Well,” answered the voice thoughtfully, “You could continue have that peace in this grove, if you wanted. I have missed having company and you should use these plants several more times in order to make your cuts heal properly.”

“But the bone plants belong to you...”

The voice chuckled. “Knitbone is what they are called by your people, and they belong to the woods, just as I do. They grew so that others could use them this way. I have no need for them, so you can use the leaves as you want, as long as you promise to let some grow for another year.”

Róisín scowled at the woods. “Of course I would leave some to grow. I'm scratched, not dying from some serious wound.” She felt a giggle escape her at the ridiculous image of being so covered in green leaf mush that she could no longer move her fingers.

“I would welcome your company,” the voice said warmly.

“Then I will come back when I can,” she answered, smiling at nothing in particular, just in case he was out there and could see her. “I must go. They will be expecting me and I have work for tomorrow if I expect to be fed.”

There was a grumble of sorts from behind the rock. It startled her into moving away from the clearing faster than she would have thought polite. “I'll come back when I can,” she called as she started her run. “Thank you!”

As the girl dashed away, the rock slowly changed shape, part of its form lifting into the air. Smooth bumps became spikes like horns and the gray color turned into deep browns, blacks, and gold of scales. Yellow-brown eyes blinked, and a kind, animal-like face now looked sadly after her as she fled. “Thank /you/,” it said before letting out a breathy sigh and looking skyward, waiting to catch the glimpse of the first stars of the night.

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