She picked up the obsidian shards, one in each hand, and then glanced over the incantation once more. Around her, motes of dust filtered through the light of the sunrise. Roosters crowed in the distance. Soon the rest of her family would be awake and she would have to wait another month for the conditions to be right. She had already wasted much of her window freaking out. Was she going to do this or not?
Once more, perhaps to buy herself time to make the mental leap, she looked over the horn-like bones she had spent months trading for. The pair of tapered fragments of what could have been volcanic glass were said to be tips from spines of Allathell, the Firewrym. They appeared to be the real deal, their graceful curves seamless and only marred by the jagged breaks which had separated them from their bases.
“Seriously, Thena, you can do this," she said under her breath. "You did always want to be a sorceress after all. They said you couldn't be, that you had no talent. The high council might have laughed at you in Prelate but, you're going to prove them wrong in the biggest way--right here, right now.”
The would-be magi was the eldest daughter of two farmers. She had a thickly strong body, built from years of manual labor. Her skin, already brown from her heritage, had been dyed an even darker shade from years in the field. Her short hair was bleached grey from the twin suns' sweltering summer light. In all, she looked to have seen far more than just twenty summers as the land and sky taxed her youth and vitality in exchange for a meager living.
Honestly, she could have left along time ago had she wanted to be a sell-sword. She was probably stronger than most men her age in the province. That, however, was not the life she wanted. She desired knowledge. She desired mysteries. She desired... power.
Removing the robe she had been wearing, she stepped naked into the chalk circle. Her burnt sepia skin was riddled with pink-brown scars from the many, many slight injuries which were part of being a field hand. Her modest bust jiggled against her arms as she held it back and turned to make sure the circle was correct.
Could she still feel a partner's lips on the soft skin of her breasts after this? Would anyone want to share a bed with her? What, in all truth, was she trading away with the small fragment of her humanity she was compelled to sacrifice for the spell? The answers eluded her as they had for the last nine months. At an impasse, the young woman finally made peace with this version of her going away. Who knew what would happen once the spell resolved.
Shifting her grip on the bones, she closed her eyes and said the words she had practiced for weeks. However, there was no sign that there was any effect. When she peeked, the circle was not glowing. She felt no different. It was possible that, even after weeks of preparation, she had still said them wrong. Worse yet, even with dragons' bone in her grasp to give her the boost she needed to cast the spell, was she really was too inept to perform it? Would she never be able to take up her place as a magi?
Hastily repeating the mystical phrase that would unlock the power stored within the relics, she felt a buzz against her calloused fingers this time. Before her eyes, square-shaped runes carved themselves into horns' curved surfaces. They spread from the tips, spiraling around and down to the jagged breaks. The sigils flickered orange like they were being illuminated by glowing coals held within.
Then, the markings spread to her hands.
The coiling lines of power felt like the grip of a strong pair of hands as shimmering black scales began to sprout from her skin here and there in sparse patches. Her thick fingers grew longer and pointed as they became more and more like talons. Her already toned forearms seemed to pulse towards even greater size and definition as the curling glyphs drew closer to her body. Sweat was beading on her brow and chest as the power of a dragon began to stir within her.
Without warning, there was a flash and the horns were consumed by flames as they ignited like primer logs made of sap. Power surged through her upper body, swelling her muscles even larger. Her draconian claws twitched, their points digging into the burning material. Like the charcoal they appeared to be, the horns crumbled in her grasp, their ashes spreading in a wind that was beginning to swirl around her ankles.
Black powder clung to her skin as it fell. Everywhere it touched, other shimmering scales began to sprout and then spread. Her body began to tremble as the tingle of magic stimulated her nerves and sank into her skin. She was sweating like after a hard day's work now. Ached the same way, too, although it seemed that there was more in store for her.
There was a sharp pain in her hips, then a feeling of swelling as new flesh began to push out from above her muscular butt. The growing weight seemed to slither over her skin, spreading the tickling growth of scales as it went. A tapered tip brushed the back of her thigh. A thin tail coiled around her knee. The weight of her new tail grew heavier as it thickened against her backside, but even after her new appendage had grown long enough to rest on the floor, the pull of its bulk was more and more insistent.
Suddenly compelled to press what remained of the bone to her temples, Thena moved her hands like she was a puppet being controlled. The feeling as broken ends brushed skin was not a sharp bite but, instead, a soft caress. The heat in her body rose higher, sweat pouring off her now even as more than half of her body was covered in glimmering obsidian. The wind caught fire, as embers began to circle around her in what was becoming a vortex.
A wriggling feeling gripped the sides of her head, the jagged points seeming to writhe against her. She could feel the spines taking root, forming new horns which curved to match her head. Their charred, tattered surfaces began repairing as they acted as a conduit between her body and the mystical energies around her. The air became thicker and yet more comforting as the feeling of Mana against her scales flared higher.
Mystical energies were flowing into her now, her mind becoming ever more connected to the world. She surged taller, growing past six-and-a-half feet in an instant. Then, she could feel her muscles throbbing. In cycles of pain and relief, everything about her seemed to get bigger, more charged with Arcane Magicks.
Then, the whirlwind of ash and flame died down and she fell to her knees. Looking over herself, she appeared to be wearing a skin-tight suit of ornate scalemail. She felt the slightest pang at the realization that her chest was smooth and flat. It was a feeling that dissipated as she sat back. From how big her ass felt against her heels and how wide her hips were against her elbows, she had a much more profound set of curves elsewhere.
Her face still felt human in that she had not grown a snout. The scales gave way to flesh along her jaw and hair line. Her ears had grown to a point, her hair was bright red as she pulled a lock down to look. Her new horns, the source of her amazing changes, curved back along the side of her head.
Staggering to her feet, her tail flicked around her ankles. She ran hands over her arms, chest, stomach, and butt, before letting out a satisfied sigh. She was every inch a half-dragon. All that remained was the question of had what she sought come to her?
She looked at a candle on her workbench. She had spent months trying to light it with a spell. Reaching out to it with her mind, bidding it to burn, she saw the wick begin to glow at once. With a hearty laugh, she swept her clawed hands over her form and robes appeared. Belting them closed, she tried to contain her excitement long enough to figure out what to do next. After all, the magic was hers now and there was so much she wanted to do with it... (1517)