She was part of him now.
Even three years after the fact, that thought crept into his mind. He missed his dragon companion dearly. Though the stories of the gods offered some semblance of comfort, he knew in his heart that he would never see Nanto again. She had been destroyed during that ritual, that transmutation. Not a shred of her body could be found. Three years ago, her very being -- or at least part of it -- was absorbed into Merle. He was unwittingly made into a Therianthrope -- he was as much a dragon now as he was a person. At least, that was what Aphel had told him after what had happened dawned on them.
He had also said something that had struck him as odd at the time.Two cannot share what was originally meant to be one. He remembered exactly what they were doing when he had said that -- it was months prior to the transmutation, they were sitting around a campfire and they were drinking some of his tea. If what he had said was true, was the inverse also true? It had been eating away at his inside. Could he have possible also absorbed part of that other dragon, as Nanto had? Was he someday going to go crazy, as she did, and do something awful?
Luckily for Nanto, he had been there to keep her under control and usher to to Aphel. But he worried every time he went into his dragon form that something would go wrong and he would awaken the darkness that surely existed within him -- he had dreams of eating his family, destroying villages, burning them all to the ground.
Still, that didn't stop him from enjoying the many benefits of being a dragon.
Flying was one of the big ones. He loved flying. It was as exhilarating as it had been riding on Nanto's back. Perhaps it was a bit more lonely, now. Watching the bright orb of light bounce back at him from the lakewaters below, though -- it was beautiful. Bringing his wings in, he began a divebomb straight for the water. How exactly had she done it? How did she glide so effortlessly inches above the surface of the lake? He had yet to master the finer arts of flying... But practice made perfect, right?
He flew straight down toward the water. Quickly unfurling his wings, they caught the wind and he curved with the force, gliding above the water. He watched the light waves of the lake glisten as he zoomed over them, his maw curled into a bright grin. He had done it! He was gliding above the water!
He lowered his claws carefully, dipping them into the water as he sped along. However, he wasn't paying much attention and soon he felt cold water on his elbows, then his belly; and then he was slowing down. Not by much at first. Sure, he skipped on the water a couple of bounces, but he was just barely able to close his nostrils and eyes when he splashed not quite gracefully into the water. Fur completely soaked, he began to vainly attempt to doggy paddle.
What were once perfect tools for gliding and mastering the thermal winds now proved quite cumbersome as he thrashed around trying to figure out how exactly he was going to use this body to swim. He wasn't paying attention to any onlookers -- though he was sure there were some fishermen out on their boats, he wasn't that close to any farms. After all, dragons were enemies still, right? Right.
He made his way to the water, looking more like a dog than a graceful, powerful creature. Having to expend so much energy swimming, he crawled up on shore, spat out no less than three gallons of water from his maw before collapsing on the warm sands, panting heavily. His wings lay on the ground pathetically.
And he smelled like wet dog. Gross.