The heat in the woman's voice had Stanza flinching, grip on the wall tightening. Her claws dug into the hard rock face and the crack of stone echoed eerily through the space. Stanza hadn't planned this far ahead, drunk on the possibility of finally taking control of something in her life instead of being pulled this way and that by insane desires she had no ability to fight.
She'd had only the vaguest notion about what the calling spell could do to the person on the other end. What had she hoped to do when she found her andzkin? Perhaps she'd had a plan before, but it was gone now, chased out by the crackling white wall of anxiety.
"Ou-ou-out of a window?" Stanza gasped out. That wasn't good, especially considering the lack of wings on the being who would be her rider.
She pulled herself forward, balancing on her third and fourth legs to get a closer look at the person standing below her. She angled her torso so her head tilted sideways to peer carefully with one bright blue eye. One eyelid opened, even, to allow more light to filter in to slitted pupils. Nervous about being so exposed, she wrapped her tail around the nearest anchored structure (a bit of rock protruding enough for one or two loops around). The cracks were growing it seemed, and the ledge was in danger of crumbling.
She didn't appear to be injured in excess. However, she was drowning in dark fabric that hid most of her body from view. More to the point, Stanza was not particularly well-versed in human anatomy. She didn't know what was a simple cut and what needed medical attention and what was fatal. What she did know about injuries came from books, daring adventure novels typically, and they were all over the spectrum about whether something was dangerous or not.
Her lower wings twitched nervously, folding into her side.
"I'm, I mean, I- I never pretend," Stanza protested weakly. "I'm no good at it."
She knew that the bipedal creatures who called this place home rarely left voluntarily. People dedicated their lives to this institution, often out of duty. Sometimes, it was because they felt they had no other choice.
"I was scared!" the teleios blurted. "You don't know–all the packing and the unpacking and the pacing and shivering and, and, and the other dragons! I was so scared I couldn't breathe and I scratched up my scales. It was like a storm that just wouldn't break! I had to do something!"
She gasped for air. The rock face was crumbling under her grabbing fingers and she had to launch herself into the air to avoid a nasty tumble. Extending her first set of wings and the left lower wing and adjusting with the twisting of her tail, she executed a tight curling loop over her rider. She spiraled down, legs and membranes stretched fully to slow her descent.
If there was one thing Stanza could truly say she loved, it was flying. It came without the guilt of stealing and hoarding literature. It was something she was born to do, quite literally. The teleios scrabbled along the ground, belly rasping on the stone, in a loose arc around the woman. She kept her distance despite the pull of the spell, fear and adrenaline pulling magical compulsion to a standstill.
"You don't think I like it, do you? They, they call us here every twelve years and we wait to see if our lives will change forever," Stanza rasped. "I don't like change! I never have, and I had to sit through that every time wondering if I would have to leave my st-stuff behind." The dragon glanced at the ledge where stacks of bags were visible. "I wanted to be the one in control for once! I'm never in control."
"I'm sorry," Stanza managed after a quiet moment. "I didn't think–I didn't want to hurt you. I'm just so scared."
The last word was little more than a hiss. Blue eyes regarded the small humanoid fearfully. Realistically, the teleios was stronger and faster than her. If she allowed herself to be touched, she could leap away and never be touched again. But there was no room for logic when panic set in. Logic was a hazy recollection at the best of times for a dragon that acted on instinct, whether she wanted to or not, most of the time.
She couldn't move anymore. She lay against the cold stone, legs bent and wings folded, trembling. She would have to allow the woman to touch her if she wanted the pull to end. As long as she didn't move, it would be fine, said her hindbrain. Awkwardly, Stanza shuffled a little closer to the girl. She didn't know whether the compulsions she was fighting were natural or magical anymore, but she had to go one way or the other and this was easiest.
A little wiggle, a little closer.