Fears – Dragons Next Door – for the Giraffe Call

For kelkyag‘s prompt.

Dragons Next Door Verse. DND has a landing page – here (or on LJ)

Yes, I do have an idea what an erbiss looks like.

Commenters: 7

Juniper was surprised, when she came to visit Baby Smith one Saturday morning, to find the Smith house in what her mother would call an uproar, although nobody was roaring, and, indeed, there wasn’t even any shouting.

But there was a lot of tail-jerking, and Jimmy’s scales were the wrong color, and the lanky erbiss that they had instead of a dog wouldn’t stop whining. (Dogs, Cxaidin had told her, both could not be trained to deal comfortably with dragons and did not have the suitable skill set. Juniper was still trying to figure that one out, but the erbiss, in the meantime, was adorable, clever, and liked having its fur brushed.)

Both the adults were too upset to tell her what was going on, and Baby and Cthannie were snuffling and making little acid-burbles, so Juniper coaxed Tay-tay, the erbiss, over into the sun where Jimmy was trying to pretend nothing was going wrong, and started brushing Tay-tay. She’d figured out this trick recently with her own older brother; sometimes if she sat quietly doing something normal, sometimes Jin would calm down long enough to talk to her.

(To be fair, she’d figured out Jin was doing it to her, first. But it worked both ways!)

The erbiss had calmed down into the rumble-happy noise that wasn’t really a purr by the time Jimmy said something – but Jimmy’s scales had settled into a nice purple, too. “Cxaidin and Tay-tay caught a poacher last night,” the juvenile dragon muttered.

“A poacher?” Juniper had heard that word in a cartoon, but she didn’t know what it meant. Nothing to do with eggs, she was pretty sure.

“A hunter, a dragon-hunter. He was going after the kids.” Jimmy set its head woefully on its paws and looked at her. “They’re scary,” it admitted very very quietly. “One almost got me when I was a hatchling.” It tilted its head and, under the jaw, Juniper could see where the scales were solid white in a circle, like the scar she had on her knee in reverse. “I don’t want my parents to know I’m scared.”

“It’s all right.” Juniper hugged Jimmy’s long neck. “I won’t tell them.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/150942.html. You can comment here or there.

22 thoughts on “Fears – Dragons Next Door – for the Giraffe Call

  1. Oho! Smart Juniper, to not just spot the trick but to realize she can use it too. So where do we sign up to go and glare at the poacher?

        • …i was recently having a discussion about cultural shaming… it was in context of a culture that did not have ‘no’ or boundaries otherwise for children…not sure it’d work outside of that very insular culture however…

            • well, this is just going based on this woman’s glowing opinion of the tribe’s ways, based methinks on a paper written by an anthropologist studying them [but possibly more than one paper, its unclear], so take with much salt, but the example she gave was of a mother trying to chop vegetables for dinner prep, and the anthro saw a toddler take the knife from the woman and begin playing with it. the woman did not tell her no, or take it away, just waited until the child was done playing, and had a later dinner. the woman i was speaking to said that this enabled the child to learn what the knife was, how one used it, and become more familiar with it at an early age…and just in general the children were given no rules and not told no, were taught by example and group shaming/laughter/mocking when they did something that was really not okay…she told me the name of the tribe but i do not remember what it was, sorry.

    • Yes, I really like that line, too. Juniper has some good social skills! And poor Jimmy! That must be a pretty traumatic childhood memory. (Obnoxious drunken teenager needed a few more sympathy points, but … ouch!) Just how common is dragon-hatchling-poaching, with at least two attempts on the three kids in this family? And this one in the city… The parenthetical note about dogs needs to be capitalized, and the period should be inside the close-paren.

      • Never been very clear on parenthetical punctuation. But the cap was because I moved it. Hrrrm…. I don’t think very likely, but the ‘burbs have to be tempting.

        • If the whole sentence is inside the parentheses, the end punctuation is, too. If the parenthetical note is at the end of a longer sentence, the end punctuation goes outside of the close-paren. Dragon kids in the ‘burbs are much easier to get to than dragon kids in a remote cave somewhere (no idea if that’s applicable to dragons in this ‘verse), but there are also a lot more potential witnesses around …

      • Also wonder on the reasons. Is there an anti-dragon group? Or worryingly is there enough of a market for dragon-meat to support poaching operations? Or a believe (true or not) that there are magical or medical uses for various dragon parts?

        • We’ve been told that dragon eggshell is useful (magically is my impression), and it’s not clear if there exist alternate ingredients to replace it. I would be surprised if no other parts of dragons (or humans or ogres or …) were useful. That said, I also wouldn’t be surprised by dragon-haters, or by dragon meat being a delicacy to someone.

  2. I love seeing the interaction between Jimmy and Juniper, as well as the erbiss, especially as Juniper is using a trick that she’d use on her brother. It’s really touching to see and I like the hugging at the end.

  3. Okay, and these dragons live next door to a family of magic users who don’t do “White Ops”. Juniper is very fond of Baby. If the poacher hasn’t been eaten or handed over to the authorities, did he/she/it consider what problems it might have if it upsets this neighbourhood?

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