Insubstantial as smoke

After Herculean attempts at allo-lactation, she gives up. Her mermaid ancestors have failed her. In the intervening days she has prevailed upon a highly skeptical she-goat to abide with her and the child to act as a wet nurse.

Gwendolyn the goat: lifesaver.

The failure of the experiment fills the dragoness with a nameless grief. It is irrational and contradictory to expect dragons to parent much less nurse, but this failure cuts her deeply. She is keenly aware of her scales, her reptilian heft, so much about her unmotherly.

She sits in the mouth of her cave and rakes her long talons into her scaly hide in a mindless show of hopelessness.

What are you doing?

Gwendolyn demands when she arrives to find the baby hungry and his mother a crumpled figure of despair.

The dragon chuffs. Turning away to hide her own blood and the gashes she has made in her skin.

Gwendolyn stomps her feet. You must get ahold of yourself! You have a baby now.

The she-goat curls up next to the hungry baby and nurses him.

Get up right now! She commands. Go clean yourself up. We have work to do.

The dragon reluctantly obeys.

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