Auruna grew rapidly in those early days, as I knew she would. The afternoon she put on her first coat of scales I could hold her in the palm of my hand, but by the end of the week she stretched, nose-to-tail-tip, from the crook of my elbow to the end of my middle finger, wings hanging down half again her length.
As she grew the metal she had laid on cracked and pulled apart, much as a parched stream bed might do in the river. It must have itched terribly, but she never scratched at it- only took endless gold dust baths to fill in the gaps that exposed her tender pink hide. I began mixing in actual flakes of gold, to see how that would affect her habits. She seemed to appreciate the larger bits, and began hunting out the part of the pile where they lay most densely.
Gradually the growth began to slow, about the same time that the gold shimmer of her skin began to look less like skin, and more like scales. By that point she was a month old, and about the length of a wolf, not counting her tail. She was more than large enough to attract attention, and I decided the time had come to change her nesting material.