(( My prompt this week was ‘race’. I have a few different races in my stories- elves, humans, dwarves, dragons, gracxul and lucaja. The lucaja race borders between being animals and sentient beings, with some further towards one side or the other. So I thought it would be fun to write from the POV of a lucaja who wouldn’t recognize himself in a mirror. Furthermore, I decided to write a story to go along with a couple of stories I’ve written already, so consider this part one. Here are the links to part 2 and part 3. EDIT: Oops, and part 4 😉 ))
Tolek sat on the perch above his master’s cave. He was trained to guard. Sit. Stay. Watch. He was good. He understood, not like the others who had trouble learning. Another scream came from within. His master’s training was sought out by many of the dragons who owned lucaja. Many poorly behaved lucaja were sent to his master’s lair for reformative training. The latest was a scrawny runt who knew how to talk back to the masters. Tolek knew few words, but even he knew enough not to speak to the masters unless specifically asked to. Tolek was sure that made him smarter than even the lucaja who could speak more.
His master rarely had a talking lucaja in his lair. Tolek hoped it would not affect how many treats he would get. The master would sometimes sit with him, and teach him new words to say. Then he would go through the old words and give Tolek a berry for each one he remembered. He only spoke when asked to, not like the stupid one his master was with now. He heard muffled words. It was not his master’s voice, nor the gracxul who helped him train. Then there was a crack of a whip, and another scream followed by more words. They sounded like angry words. Tolek winced as his master’s voice boomed throughout his lair. The gracxul yelled as well. The whip cracked. He heard it again and again until there was silence. He did not peek to see what was happening inside. He was told to guard. He was good.
Minutes later, the gracxul exited the lair. He looked up to Tolek with a sneer. “Tolek, your master requests you inside.”
Tolek took a moment to decipher what the gracxul had said. ‘Inside’ was a word he knew, and he knew his name. The gracxul wanted him to come inside. He hopped off his perch and glided down to the entrance with his wings spread. The gracxul had already returned inside by the time he landed. He hurried to catch up, running on all fours with his wings tucked down until he was just behind the lumbering wingless dragon.
His master tossed some cloth scraps on the floor as the gracxul and Tolek entered the chamber. “Tolek, bandage him.”
Tolek knew what to do. He hurried to the scraps and picked them up. He took them to the lucaja who was left lying on the floor, and quickly inspected his wounds. He must have angered the master greatly. His long black hair was matted with blood from his shoulders and back. The whip had cut through his wings in more than one spot. His tail had some deep whip marks as well. Tolek could not remember one who had been so severely beaten as this. He was lucky the dragon had not given up and eaten him instead! He wrapped pieces of cloth around the deepest wounds first, and finished with the less severe wounds. He placed the remaining scraps aside in a neat pile.
His master dropped some rope next. “Tolek, tie his hands and feet.”
Tolek hurried to the rope while at the same time trying to decipher the command. He picked it up, hesitating only briefly as he sorted out the words, then hurrying back to the lucaja on the floor to carry out his master’s wishes. When he was done, he looked up expectantly.
“Good Tolek.” A berry dropped from his master’s clawed fingers.
Tolek rushed for it. The other lucaja was tied, but certainly he would fight for a treat. Tolek picked up his berry from the dirt with his clawed hand and popped it in his mouth. He turned to regard the other lucaja, but he hadn’t moved, not even for a berry.
His master’s voice echoed in the chamber, “Another treat?”
Tolek turned and looked up at him excitedly. He wanted to say yes. He knew the word, but his master had not told him to speak.
“Tolek stay. Guard. Another treat later.”
The gracxul looked at the larger dragon.
“What is it?”
The gracxul shuffled nervously on his four feet. “You trust this lucaja to watch him while we’re gone?”
The dragon nodded. “Tolek is one of my most obedient lucaja. When I tell him to guard, he will guard. Our trainee will not be allowed to leave.”
The gracxul replied, “Good, let’s go see if there’s a place in the pit for this one to spend the night before removing his wings tomorrow.”
Tolek did not understand all of the words, but he knew his master spoke proudly of him. He would stay. He would guard. He watched as his master left the lair with the gracxul.