Chapter 6: Chihuatlan's Tale
"As I speak, you will note that my manner of speech changes. I am not very familiar with this human dialect, and it takes a small amount of time to get the gist of it.
I come from a very old race. The shapeshifters are almost as old as the dragons. They are certainly older than the Children of Oberon. I am of the shapeshifter dragons, spawned of the union between the race of the traitor, Proteus, and the wingleader of the truedragon Gold clan so many centuries ago. I myself am of the Raptor clan of the shapeshifter dragons, and so spend most of my time in a utahraptor's form.
My clan has a tradition of the nameday ceremony, where those who would be adults in the eyes of their people go on their first solo hunt. I was to participate in this on the night of my capture.
I remember this event as if it were this very night. My clutchsisters bad gathered around me, grooming me and the other adult-candidates. I remember the proud look on my father's face and the sullen look on my egg-sister's muzzle, for she knew that I would rule the clan. I, Chihuatlan, not she.
The hunt was going well, and the hartebeest were lazy and stupid. I slew one of their old before the moon had fully risen over the plains of Kenya.
In my rejoicing, I had taken no precautions against being seen, for I was now an adult, fully capable of handling anything foolish enough to challenge me. I did not notice the group of humans sneaking up on me until I felt the sting of silver against my flesh.
I struggled, of course, but silver is the bane of the shifter, and all I could do was writhe in agony as my tail was immobilized by the device you just removed. Then my world went black as one of my assailants clubbed me on the side of the head. I knew no more.
When I awoke, it was to the smell of artificial existence. I was no longer in my native Africa, that was for sure, nor was I even in the same country. The awareness of the land was different, and it did not welcome me as Africa would have. All this I knew before my eyes opened.
When my eyes did open, the light almost blinded me. A single lightbulb glared directly above me, directing its rays squarely into my left eye, and I had been strapped onto a table in an otherwise dark room. I tested the strength of my bonds, but my limbs were slow to respond, and my muscles bured with a painful fire.
I smelled humans, and adrenalin rushed through my body, triggered by memories of my kidnapping. The humans stood over me, watching my struggle critically.
'The silver nitrate must be working.' one of them said, 'I gave her the injection five minutes ago.'
'Of course it's working, you fool!' a harsher voice snarled, ' 'shifters can't stand silver, especially not when it's inside them.'
Another voice, more nervous, broke into the conversation, 'The Doc told us to find him a raptor. A genuine raptor, not a shapeshifter! This isn't right! C'mon guys, there're dinos on 'Shan for Pete's sake!'
The owner of the second voice growled threateningly, silencing the other man, 'Shan is thousands of miles away and hard to find. We'll save more money this way. The Doc won't know the difference. The nitrate will wear off in a couple of days, but there won't be any way she can shift unless that shackle comes off.'
His voice was harder to hear now, and I realized that I was losing consciousness again. I surrendered to the darkness gratefully.
When I awoke, I was very uncomfortable, and everything was dark. I heard the sounds of another animal outside my immediate vicinity, and I was curious, if a bit scared. The sound of wings filled the air, and the presence left me to my prison.
I wasted no time wondering where I was, but flexed my muscles against the side of the box. It took me a while, but I finally broke free of it. I noticed that I was in a railroad car, and that there was a hole in the wall. I made my escape."
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