Cirrus couldn't have intervened if they wanted to. By some miracle, their arms and legs still worked. They were, however, stuck in the trunk of a hundred year old pine. Sap dripped into their gears. Their mainspring slipped and stuck at odd intervals.
Golden flames, what I wouldn't give for an oil bath right now.
With a loud splut, they got their head unstuck and looked around. Argyros' was a dozen paces away, lost in the Frenzy. Her skin rippled and flared. Were they crazy, or was she starting to look like that big wasted?
Viz's huge wings filled their field of view as she sent another volley of frozen lances into the other creatures swarming into the clearing. She was incredible: a one-dragon blizzard, sweeping mutant after mutant aside with bursts of frigid magic that left clouds of snow in their wake.
By the time the buck started dragging Argyros' body to safety, they had just gotten their legs out and were working on their right arm. Housed in their dented and grass stained chest, they could feel the slack growing in their mainspring. Any more excitement and they'd unwind completely.
They braced at Viz's command and gritted their teeth as the tentacle tugged them out of the trunk. They didn't have time to check their injuries before she tucked all three of them against her chest. The familiar chill of her touch, like a frozen lake, poured through their brass plating. Out of the corner of their eye, they could just make out the deer and Argyros sliding into place further down. With a cool hiss, a bubble of nearly soundproof ice formed beneath them. Muscles bigger than Cirrus' entire body flexed, and, with a gear-crunching swing, they were in the air.
Craning their neck around, they could see the ground some hundred feet below, burned and blanketed in snow. Their mainspring slipped again, this time from the sheer thrill. It had been so long since they'd flown. Oh flames, how could they have been on the ground for so long? This was what they were made for. They were sorry about the dome. They would have have given anything to feel the wind on their face. They twisted their neck back up to try and catch Visenya's eyes. Their mainspring slipped just one more time.
Sure, they'd seen her fly before. The dragon flight drills had been all the rage when they first arrived at the Tower. They still liked to stop and watch whenever the familiar wedge formation swooped overhead. Ever since that night in the common area, though, they'd caught themselves sneaking glances out of the lecture hall windows and feeling vaguely disappointed when they didn't see anything. It was actually getting pretty annoying.
They opened their mouth to say something and were surprised when nothing came out. Trying again, they managed a sort of wet hiccup before they remembered their burst bellows. Their spirits fell momentarily, but then they saw Visenya's long, shining, unglamoured face peeking down to check on her passengers. It was upside-down, admittedly, but so were they, so it cancelled out.
By now, they could feel the last of their spring tension giving way. The world below them streaked into a white, green and red blur. The rhythm of Visenya's wingbeats became slowed and slurred. Through the fogging sheet of ice around them, they caught a glimpse of her eyes again, scanning something in the impressionistic landscape.
Can you read my mind? they thought, in a language no organic spoke, Do you know what it is you do to me?
Argyros' friend shifted against their feet, but it barely registered. All they cared about the was the sub-zero chill that cradled their limbs and kept them from noticing all the parts that they couldn't feel anymore. They shuddered. The sap had started to freeze their sprockets.
Will you look at me. Shivering. Quivering, like a broken clock, they were mouthing the words now, Can you picture the things I'm thinking of? I'm wondering about all the wonderful things you are.
Viz caught an updraft off a passing fireball and shot a dozen yards up. Her ice tentacles clutched at her passengers just a little bit tighter as she flipped into an aileron roll and started the descent. Cirrus' vision was tunneling, and Viz's face became one big, scaly silhouette.
You can fly. You belong in the sky.
The ground came careening towards them, and they felt their last ounce of tension tick away.
I could belong too...
Cirrus didn't feel it when they landed on the frosted grass; didn't see Argyros' face as she awoke to see their lifeless body; didn't hear the sound of Candel tumbling out of the woods, shouting after the prodigal students; didn't have to experience the horrible thing that happened next.