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TOPIC | Night of the Nocturne Theme: Trickster
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Claiming as I need to expand clan lore and wHY DO I HATE MYSELF
Claiming as I need to expand clan lore and wHY DO I HATE MYSELF
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[url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=30376052] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/303761/30376052_350.png[/img] [/url] Manasurge had been returning home to the Isles from the Academy in the Veridian Labyrinth, where she'd been studying for quite some time now, when she was intercepted by Shadowsong. The young Tundra had only heard whispers about her, but what little she knew worried her. There were those who said that her own clan, Clan Twinstar, had nearly fallen victim to the mimics many years ago, and that only with the legendary Nocturne's aid had the clan been saved. Still, she had never expected to actually meet Shadowsong herself. Hearing her speak of Thana, and how she had kidnapped a pair of hatchlings, made Manasurge worry greatly. It appeared she was about to find out just how much truth there was to the old tales. Quickly, she rushed home to the Focal Point, anxious to rally whatever aid she could. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=26650391] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/266504/26650391_350.png[/img] [/url] Her pleas largely fell on deaf ears, though. Most of the Clan seemed to have completely forgotten that horrible time, as if it had never happened. The few who did remember were reluctant to speak of it to the young Tundra, least of all the twins Harmony and Discord, who had been at the center of that whole mess. One dragon, however, froze in place when he heard the name Shadowsong. Sanguine remembered that name all too well. He, along with the now-exalted Twilight, had worked with the mighty Nocturne to defeat the mimic that had threatened Clan Twinstar all that time ago. Upon hearing that she needed help again, the Pearlcatcher knew he could not ignore this call and quickly set out to help Manasurge. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34683058] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/346831/34683058_350.png[/img] [/url] But they soon discovered that someone else had decided to tag along. Ricardo, the bard, couldn't help but overhear Manasurge and Sanguine talking, and had decided to follow them to see just what was up. By the time the two had discovered him following them, it was far too late to turn back. And perhaps he could help out- these were Singers they were looking for. Perhaps some music would aid in their quest? Together, the three dragons would have to delve deep into the dark, forgotten corners of Sornieth in search of Thana and the abducted hatchlings. Only time would tell if they would be able to find and rescue them in time...

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Manasurge had been returning home to the Isles from the Academy in the Veridian Labyrinth, where she'd been studying for quite some time now, when she was intercepted by Shadowsong. The young Tundra had only heard whispers about her, but what little she knew worried her. There were those who said that her own clan, Clan Twinstar, had nearly fallen victim to the mimics many years ago, and that only with the legendary Nocturne's aid had the clan been saved. Still, she had never expected to actually meet Shadowsong herself. Hearing her speak of Thana, and how she had kidnapped a pair of hatchlings, made Manasurge worry greatly. It appeared she was about to find out just how much truth there was to the old tales. Quickly, she rushed home to the Focal Point, anxious to rally whatever aid she could.


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Her pleas largely fell on deaf ears, though. Most of the Clan seemed to have completely forgotten that horrible time, as if it had never happened. The few who did remember were reluctant to speak of it to the young Tundra, least of all the twins Harmony and Discord, who had been at the center of that whole mess. One dragon, however, froze in place when he heard the name Shadowsong. Sanguine remembered that name all too well. He, along with the now-exalted Twilight, had worked with the mighty Nocturne to defeat the mimic that had threatened Clan Twinstar all that time ago. Upon hearing that she needed help again, the Pearlcatcher knew he could not ignore this call and quickly set out to help Manasurge.


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But they soon discovered that someone else had decided to tag along. Ricardo, the bard, couldn't help but overhear Manasurge and Sanguine talking, and had decided to follow them to see just what was up. By the time the two had discovered him following them, it was far too late to turn back. And perhaps he could help out- these were Singers they were looking for. Perhaps some music would aid in their quest?

Together, the three dragons would have to delve deep into the dark, forgotten corners of Sornieth in search of Thana and the abducted hatchlings. Only time would tell if they would be able to find and rescue them in time...
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[center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28837535] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/288376/28837535_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center][u][b]Acero[/b][/u][/center] [center]Acero would have to be my scholar. He's very adept with Nature magic and botany, making him a formidable foe, even if he is a Fae. His small stature also allows him to fit into places other dragons can't fit, and his sense of curiosity allows him not to fear what comes before him.[/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28321571] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/283216/28321571_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center] [u][b]Kirkman[/b][/u][/center] [center]Acero would bring along the mysterious and quiet Skydancer, Kirkman. His voice is hypnotic when he does decide to speak. The Skydancer is able to talk other dragons into or out of doing something, making him a prime contender to come along with Acero for this adventure. [/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28684857] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/286849/28684857_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center][u][b]Davis[/b][/u][/center] [center]Even though Acero and Kirkman would be perfectly fine journeying on their own, Davis insisted on coming with them. She is a member of the main Coliseum team, making her a strong warrior. She insisted that the two boys would have much less trouble in situations when claw-to-claw combat was needed if she came along.[/center] [b]These three dragons set off in search of the hatchlings and Thana, not knowing when of if they would return home to their families and friends.[/b]
Acero
Acero would have to be my scholar. He's very adept with Nature magic and botany, making him a formidable foe, even if he is a Fae. His small stature also allows him to fit into places other dragons can't fit, and his sense of curiosity allows him not to fear what comes before him.

Kirkman
Acero would bring along the mysterious and quiet Skydancer, Kirkman. His voice is hypnotic when he does decide to speak. The Skydancer is able to talk other dragons into or out of doing something, making him a prime contender to come along with Acero for this adventure.
Davis
Even though Acero and Kirkman would be perfectly fine journeying on their own, Davis insisted on coming with them. She is a member of the main Coliseum team, making her a strong warrior. She insisted that the two boys would have much less trouble in situations when claw-to-claw combat was needed if she came along.

These three dragons set off in search of the hatchlings and Thana, not knowing when of if they would return home to their families and friends.
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[center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=21127582] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/211276/21127582_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [b][center]Edyth - the """scholar"""[/center][/b] [center](why so catty? there are plenty of actual scholars in the clan of the Trench to pick from) (but that's not the sort of story we want to tell, is it?) The secret eater. If the clan had a spymaster, which it doesn't, it would be her. Of course she went looking for a mysterious source of hidden magic, and of course she managed (by the skin of her pointy teeth) to convince whatserface she only sought it out of academic curiosity. But what fun is there in leaving a problem unsolved, particularly one that lays the tools of it's resolution directly at her feet.[/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=14718016] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/147181/14718016_350.png[/img] [/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=14718015] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/147181/14718015_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [b][center]Martine and Mercutio[/center][/b] [center]A problem caused by Nocturne twins? Better throw more Nocturne twins at it.[/center] Mercutio could nominally be considered the head of clan diplomacy - he has a very particular set of skills. Charisma, mostly. A peculiar variant of the Nocturne tendency to mirror behavior, he finds himself able to relate to other souls easily, and make himself into someone they can relate to, in turn. (his offspring count might hint at exactly how good he[i] is[/i] at this) But don't mistake it for deception - that's Edyth's wheelhouse. Mercutio genuinely likes you, and wants to be your friend. Even you, Thana. Martine, his twin sister, far more of a wizard and a recluse than he. She's the one the other two will lean on, if god forbid this turns into a fight. She has none of her brother's patience, and keeps her kindness safely hidden at the center of a ball of thorns (though it is there, never fear). But more than that, she knows what a fight it is, to maintain your own identity, as a Nocturne, and a twin at that. The shadow her brother casts is so very long, and shining brightly enough to be seen beneath it is such hard work. It didn't take much, to convince the twins to follow Edyth on a wild chase to find a mysterious source of magic, and to help resolve conflicts borne of two generations of legendary Noc twins. Will they be successful? Ha [i]probably[/i], and be back before the next festival, too.

Edyth - the """scholar"""
(why so catty? there are plenty of actual scholars in the clan of the Trench to pick from) (but that's not the sort of story we want to tell, is it?) The secret eater. If the clan had a spymaster, which it doesn't, it would be her. Of course she went looking for a mysterious source of hidden magic, and of course she managed (by the skin of her pointy teeth) to convince whatserface she only sought it out of academic curiosity. But what fun is there in leaving a problem unsolved, particularly one that lays the tools of it's resolution directly at her feet.

Martine and Mercutio
A problem caused by Nocturne twins? Better throw more Nocturne twins at it.

Mercutio could nominally be considered the head of clan diplomacy - he has a very particular set of skills. Charisma, mostly. A peculiar variant of the Nocturne tendency to mirror behavior, he finds himself able to relate to other souls easily, and make himself into someone they can relate to, in turn.
(his offspring count might hint at exactly how good he is at this)
But don't mistake it for deception - that's Edyth's wheelhouse. Mercutio genuinely likes you, and wants to be your friend. Even you, Thana.

Martine, his twin sister, far more of a wizard and a recluse than he. She's the one the other two will lean on, if god forbid this turns into a fight. She has none of her brother's patience, and keeps her kindness safely hidden at the center of a ball of thorns (though it is there, never fear). But more than that, she knows what a fight it is, to maintain your own identity, as a Nocturne, and a twin at that. The shadow her brother casts is so very long, and shining brightly enough to be seen beneath it is such hard work.

It didn't take much, to convince the twins to follow Edyth on a wild chase to find a mysterious source of magic, and to help resolve conflicts borne of two generations of legendary Noc twins. Will they be successful? Ha probably, and be back before the next festival, too.
[url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=10380210] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/103803/10380210_350.png[/img] [/url] [b]Vilin:[/b] One of the Nocturne mages, apprentice to Moria. A smart girl as she quickly caught the eye of Moria who was not looking for an apprentice at the time but took her in as one anyway despite the younger Nocturne being smart she could see she still had more to learn. Vilin despite her being smart she is also hyper and quick. She could drive any one else insane but somehow fails to make Moria lose her mind. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=9278325] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/92784/9278325_350.png[/img] [/url] [b]Moria: [/b]The oldest Nocturne mage, she is very good friends with most of the mages in her clan. She is respected by most of the clan members, she keeps her eye out on her apprentice Vilin and troubled dragons such as Kaneki despite him being a little older than her. Some dragons consider her the mother of all dragons in this group since she acts motherly to all that come to her wounded or upset. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=16121885] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/161219/16121885_350.png[/img] [/url] [b]Nakuro:[/b] A dragon named after a character of mine, he is quite the quiet one in the group who flies wherever his leaves take him. Shadow gives him a lot of spying missions since he's very talented at it, but he's not weak when it comes to fighting too.

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Vilin: One of the Nocturne mages, apprentice to Moria. A smart girl as she quickly caught the eye of Moria who was not looking for an apprentice at the time but took her in as one anyway despite the younger Nocturne being smart she could see she still had more to learn. Vilin despite her being smart she is also hyper and quick. She could drive any one else insane but somehow fails to make Moria lose her mind.


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Moria: The oldest Nocturne mage, she is very good friends with most of the mages in her clan. She is respected by most of the clan members, she keeps her eye out on her apprentice Vilin and troubled dragons such as Kaneki despite him being a little older than her. Some dragons consider her the mother of all dragons in this group since she acts motherly to all that come to her wounded or upset.


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Nakuro: A dragon named after a character of mine, he is quite the quiet one in the group who flies wherever his leaves take him. Shadow gives him a lot of spying missions since he's very talented at it, but he's not weak when it comes to fighting too.
[center] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=20620312] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/206204/20620312_350.png[/img] [/url] Damage notwithstanding, after a thorough check of every one of her snake companions, Nephtys whirled back to the Clan of the Hull. Shadowsong had instilled terror in the Spiral and it showed in every panicked loop. Still - the lure of knowledge was just as powerful. Nephtys would make sure to grab a pack of scrolls and fill her belly-bubble with plenty of ink. She had never been so thankful for trusting Yzmah's incredible brews. She rushed through the Hull like a whirlwind, snatching spare parchment with shouted promises to return the favor later and calling to the first two dragons that came to mind as suitable companions for such a dangerous journey... The last thing she called before rocketing back towards the site was a distant, "[i]And feed my snakes![/i]" [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=20757877] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/207579/20757877_350.png[/img] [/url] Nephtys' demeanor was clearly shaken, but what the Spiral managed to get out - between reassurances to her snakes, promises about parchment, and frustrated bemoanings of a lack of ink - intrigued Loquaesa. The shadow-snared pirate followed the Spiral curiously, all the way out into the forest. She was the smallest of the trio, very true - but she was the strongest. By what manner she was the strongest mattered not so much as being thus; so Loquaesa brandished her cutlass and gave chase. It was a matter that may well require weaponry and words, and Loquaesa was well versed in many kinds of both. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29251173] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/292512/29251173_350.png[/img] [/url] Vruthold had the impression of being a sort of afterthought to Nephtys' panicked rush through the Hull. The calm and steady Nocturne was not so quick with words as Loquaesa and Nephtys' words blew out in a mad rush, but at a nod from Loquaesa Vruthold gathered her battle gear and brought up the rear. She said nothing, rather like Loquaesa, though she heard Nephtys' excited rambling to her snakes up ahead. The Nocturne readied her magic and her potions, not really knowing what was going on but used to the constant vigilance of battle and raiding. Something was afoot and she would be prepared to face it. [/center]


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Damage notwithstanding, after a thorough check of every one of her snake companions, Nephtys whirled back to the Clan of the Hull. Shadowsong had instilled terror in the Spiral and it showed in every panicked loop. Still - the lure of knowledge was just as powerful. Nephtys would make sure to grab a pack of scrolls and fill her belly-bubble with plenty of ink. She had never been so thankful for trusting Yzmah's incredible brews. She rushed through the Hull like a whirlwind, snatching spare parchment with shouted promises to return the favor later and calling to the first two dragons that came to mind as suitable companions for such a dangerous journey... The last thing she called before rocketing back towards the site was a distant, "And feed my snakes!"


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Nephtys' demeanor was clearly shaken, but what the Spiral managed to get out - between reassurances to her snakes, promises about parchment, and frustrated bemoanings of a lack of ink - intrigued Loquaesa. The shadow-snared pirate followed the Spiral curiously, all the way out into the forest. She was the smallest of the trio, very true - but she was the strongest. By what manner she was the strongest mattered not so much as being thus; so Loquaesa brandished her cutlass and gave chase. It was a matter that may well require weaponry and words, and Loquaesa was well versed in many kinds of both.


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Vruthold had the impression of being a sort of afterthought to Nephtys' panicked rush through the Hull. The calm and steady Nocturne was not so quick with words as Loquaesa and Nephtys' words blew out in a mad rush, but at a nod from Loquaesa Vruthold gathered her battle gear and brought up the rear. She said nothing, rather like Loquaesa, though she heard Nephtys' excited rambling to her snakes up ahead. The Nocturne readied her magic and her potions, not really knowing what was going on but used to the constant vigilance of battle and raiding. Something was afoot and she would be prepared to face it.
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Claim.
Claim.
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[columns][size=4][i][u]The Scholar[/u][/i] Schuyler took a deep breath, let it out, quashing his automatic protest. After all, Shadowsong was right, his skills and instincts were exceptional. Not only did he have the advantage of being born and raised in the Starfall Isles, and the training of the Observatory, he had all the knowledge further gained from his transfer to the Sunbeam Ruins. And he knew exactly who to call on to back him up.[nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=14327349] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/143274/14327349_350.png[/img] [/url][/columns] [columns][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29367054] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/293671/29367054_350.png[/img] [/url][nextcol][size=4][i][u]Rajani: Ally #1[/u][/i] The shadow, the mimic - despite [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/drs/2066583/29#post_24735562]the irritant[/url] she could be, Rajani knew the pitfalls and traps of her nature. She would be a valuable ally for gaining the trust of Voidsong and Nightsong.[/columns] [columns][size=4][i][u]Ulysses: Ally #2[/u][/i] But she was no trained warrior, despite her mimicry of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=19555122]Tanit[/url]. Tapping the older Nocturne would be a bad idea, however, despite her prowess in battle. Schuyler chose Ulysses, her fearsome comrade-in-arms... who could perhaps be considered a bit of an imposter himself, having rejected his Skydancer heritage. He was a fighter, a seeker of challenges.[nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=18787299] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/187873/18787299_350.png[/img] [/url][/columns]
The Scholar

Schuyler took a deep breath, let it out, quashing his automatic protest. After all, Shadowsong was right, his skills and instincts were exceptional. Not only did he have the advantage of being born and raised in the Starfall Isles, and the training of the Observatory, he had all the knowledge further gained from his transfer to the Sunbeam Ruins. And he knew exactly who to call on to back him up.

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Rajani: Ally #1

The shadow, the mimic - despite the irritant she could be, Rajani knew the pitfalls and traps of her nature. She would be a valuable ally for gaining the trust of Voidsong and Nightsong.
Ulysses: Ally #2

But she was no trained warrior, despite her mimicry of Tanit. Tapping the older Nocturne would be a bad idea, however, despite her prowess in battle. Schuyler chose Ulysses, her fearsome comrade-in-arms... who could perhaps be considered a bit of an imposter himself, having rejected his Skydancer heritage. He was a fighter, a seeker of challenges.

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[center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=37935042] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/379351/37935042_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center][u]The Scholar[/u]: Saraswati, the youngest of the three sisters and the one devoted to knowledge and research. Saraswati is still young, but it is clear that the black imperial harbours a vast wisdom that far exceeds her few years. Where this knowledge comes from is unknown even to her and at times she does not quite understand it. Her connection to history and the world of Sornieth suggests that there is more to her than what meets the eye.[/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=11296010] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/112961/11296010_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center][u]The first ally[/u]: Parvati, the gentle and kind healer of minds cares for the well-being of everyone around her and of the three sisters she is the best liked. She has none of the nervous and chatty disposition of her race, but moves slowly and gracefully and whispers quiet words of comfort in the ears of the troubled.[/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=10036016] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/100361/10036016_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [center][u]The second ally[/u]: Lakshmi is the oldest of the three and a very skilled negotiator and diplomat. Lakshmi usually is the one that speaks for the three and her word weighs heavily in the clan as well. Her counsel nearly always leads to peaceful and friendly relationships to other clans, but Lakshmi is also the one that will fight with all her might should negotiations turn unfruitful.[/center] [br] ----- ----- [b][i]Part 1: [/i][/b] The wings on Saraswati's back ached as she slowly descended towards the lair. Not only because of the rough treatment bestowed on them by the fabled nocturne, but also because of the strain from the long flight from the Tangled Wood, completed in almost half the usual time it took to fly the distance. The black imperial panted and when her feet finally touched ground she nearly fell over from exhaustion. "Sawi!?" A red-and-golden spiral came flying towards her with, for a spiral, uncharacteristically calm movements despite her obvious alarm. When she reached the larger imperial female, she gently wrapped her long body around her neck. "Sawi, is something wrong?" her gentle voice murmured in Saraswati's ear. "You seem upset." Saraswati exhaled deeply, feeling her heartbeats and breaths slow down a little as if the mere proximity to the spiral gave her a moment's respite from the fear that had gripped her with the dark nocturne's words. She flicked her ears back and lowered her head a little. "Parvati, where is Lakshmi?" she enquired "I bring grave news for the both of you." "You trouble me Sawi" The spiral's body caressed her neck as she moved upwards to rest her small head on top of Saraswati's. "Lakshmi was called by the leaders, but she should be on her way back now. Tell me sister, what grave news do you bring?" "Yes do tell us." The voice from behind nearly made Saraswati jump in fright, even if she recognized it. Lakshmi landed beside her, beating her wings a few times before neatly folding them over her back and turning her head to look Saraswati over. "Sister, you look terrible and your wings are scratched. What happened to you?" The little spiral lifted her head and turned it to look closer on her sister's wings, and a low, worried murmur escaped her as she realized how many scratches and rips they were covered in. Saraswati quickly folded them over her back, there was not time for that now. "Sisters, I found her! The nocturne, Shadowsong, I found her in the Tangled Woods. Or rather, she found me..." "That cannot be!" Lakshmi's crest fell down and she craned her neck as she stared at the black imperial beside her. "You found a clan that everyone but a few dragons scattered across Sornieth has forgotten completely? It is simply impossible!" "It is not." A brief hint of pride crept up in the imperial's voice for a moment, but it faded away again as she turned to meet the golden skydancer's gaze. "You know it is not sister, you are one of the few that remember yourself. Their magic is strong, but it seems not quite strong enough." "Not strong enough?" asked the red spiral, slowly releasing her grip on Saraswati's neck to float in the air between the two others. "Is something the matter." Saraswati pulled another deep breath, feeling the anxiety and fear from earlier returning the moment the spiral's body lost contact with her scales. But it was not quite as overpowering anymore, and her mind was clear now. She knew what they had to do. "They need our help..." [br] ----- ----- [b][i]Part 2:[/i][/b] The three allies worked quickly. Almost as soon as Saraswati had finished her explanation, they decided to split and fly far and wide over Sornieth to visit all the other dragons Saraswati had identified. The dragons that [i]remembered[/i]. Those that could do something, that could help them look for Thana and the hatchlings, or at least be warned to be wary of imposters and mimics. None of them gave a second thought to the danger of their mission; they knew they had to do this for the sake of the world they knew. And sisters, even though not sisters by nest but by bond only, do not desert each other in such a situation. Or at least they should not desert each other. Saraswati could not help but feel a stab of pain in her own chest when she remembered the tone, the hidden despair, in Shadowsong's voice as she talked of her sister's betrayal. How it must have hurt the black nocturne to be stabbed in the back like that. But in spite of their efforts, only a very small number of dragons agreed to help them at all, most of the ones they talked to were too afraid or outright refused to believe that the clan of singers existed at all. And they found no trace of the rogue singer or the two hatchlings. How could they find such a creature that did not want to be found, when it was mere chance that they had stumbled upon the sister? Saraswati tried to keep her good hopes up, but doubt kept trying to worm itself into her heart and make her give up. What if Shadowsong had been wrong? What if she was not capable of finding Thana at all? It was a a disheartening expedition. Saraswati returned slowly from Dragonhome, her weary eyes scanning the ground underneath her as she flew, but more out of habit than actual hope of finding anything. There had been nothing. They had searched, and talked to everyone she could remember talking to about the singer clan, but there was nothing to be found. No traces, no hear-says, in some cases not even the faint memories that had been there the last time she visited. She felt empty, too tired to even try keeping her faith up anymore. Whatever Shadowsong had seen in her must have been a mistake, she had failed. With a big sigh, she slowly circled down from the sky to land in the rocky clearing where she and her sisters had decided to meet up again after this last effort. She arrived first, there was no trace of her sisters in the clearing. Folding her wings over her back, Saraswati settled down into the grass to wait for the other two when something tugged at her mind. Something familiar. She raised her head from her paws and looked around, but apart from a slight breeze slowly moving the branches of the tall trees surrounding her resting place, nothing moved. She narrowed her eyes and tried to penetrate the darkness further into the undergrowth, but it seemed impossible. It seemed almost unnaturally dark, as if it was shrouded with some kind of magic... All her senses on alert now, Saraswati silently rose to her feet again and moved forward, surprisingly quiet for such a large creature. She hesitantly stepped into the dusk under the trees, staring into the unbudging darkness ahead of her. Could it be...? She moved forward again, perking her ears to hear even the slightest sound. There was nothing. Not even the sound of moving branches. Saraswati's heart began pounding when she looked down and noticed a small, inconspicuous plant pulsating with a strange magic to the left of her. It was the same plant as before, and yet... it was not. There was something off with the magic, something just slightly different. As she looked to her right, she saw another plant. And another. They were all around, pulsating quietly with the strongest magic she had felt. [i]Thana![/i] [br] ----- ----- [b][i]Part 3:[/i][/b] The darkness surrounded Saraswati completely as she pressed on, past the magic plants. She could barely see her own feet and had to feel her way through the dense undergrowth, making all her progress painstakingly slow. Branches brushed against her sides, thorns dug into her wings and rots tripped her feet all the time, as if the very forest itself wanted her gone. Perhaps it did. She had heard of dragons that had that sort of connection with trees and Shadowsong had certainly had a great deal of control over the plant armour she had been wearing. "Saraswati! Sister!" Saraswati stopped, trying to turn her head back to look, but the darkness concealed the one who called until the little spiral actually bumped into her forehead. Parvati shook her head and blinked several times. "I am sorry. It is so dark in here and I got worried something had happened to you when I saw your tracks leading here. You have not met Lakshmi yet?" "No." Saraswati sighed. "I have not seen her. Perhaps we should wait for her too." Parvati rolled thoughtfully in the air, then let her body sink down on Saraswati's neck, resting on top of her mane as she used to. "We should," she agreed. "And yet... Sister, you can feel it too, can you not? Despite the dark magic surrounding this place, something is near. I fear that if we wait too long, something might happen to the little ones." Saraswati nodded slowly, turning her head forwards again. It was still pitch black around her, but she she [i]could[/i] sense something a bit ahead. It might be wrong, but so far her senses had not deceived her. And Parvati sensed it too. And if Parvati could find her by following her tracks, so could Lakshmi when she arrived. Perhaps something was keeping the skydancer up. "Perhaps you are right," she mumbled. "I don't know what we'll do if Thana shows up, so let's be careful." A twig snapped loudly under her paw as she took a step forward and she winced. "As careful as we can..." she amended, teasing a quiet chuckle from Parvati. They continued as silently as they could, Parvati safely nestled on Saraswati's head and gently guiding her back on track when she lost her bearings. It didn't take very long until they suddenly stepped out in a brilliant, silvery moonlight shining down on a small forest lake hidden among the trees. The surface of the lake was completely still, like the surface of a mirror, and a light mist drifted from the surface. And on the far side, huddled under the branches of a flowering bush, sat two dark hatchlings with glowing markings along their bodies, just like the ones on Shadowsong's dark scales. Parvati slowly unfurled her long body from Saraswati's mane and flew a bit closer without taking her eyes from the two. They watched her warily and hissed in alarm as she approached, backing a little. Parvati immediately stopped. Floating in the air, she slowly turned her head back to Saraswati. "Perhaps it is best you try to talk to them, sister," she suggested. "You look similar to them, perhaps they find you more familiar and easier to trust." A bit surprised by the suggestion, because who could better calm a frightened hatchling than Parvati, Saraswati lowered her head towards the ground and took a few steps closer. "Do not fear, little ones" she cooed. "We are not here to harm you, we are here to take you back home where you belong." Tiny heads turned to her and two pairs of eyes watched her warily. The hatchlings did not move, but the blue one lowered her head and sniffed the air as if to smell their intentions. The little male pressed against his sister's side, shivering. "Come!" Saraswati called again, shuffling a bit closer again without lifting her feet from the ground. "We..." "So my sister's lackeys found me after all." Saraswati yelped and spun around, quickly backing up against the two hatchlings. The nocturne who had spoken came crawling out of the darkness under the trees, stretching her blood-red body and tensing her wings as she stepped into the moonlight. She looked at Saraswati and her nostrils flared slightly. "What a pitiful rescue party, mindlessly following the orders of my traitorous sister like the dim slaves you are. Well, I suppose I should give you one opportunity to see how deceived you have been." Saraswati's felt nearly crippled with fear as the nocturne drew closer and she had to tuck her wings to keep them from trembling. This one was far too strong for her to fight. She did not possess that kind of magic, nor the combat skills to take this creature down. To buy time, she quickly blurted: "Why did you attack your sister and steal the hatchlings?" Thana stopped, tilted her head for a moment, then threw it back and roared with laughter. "Is that what she told you? That I attacked her?" She shook her wings and the laughter turned into a growl instead. "Yes, I hurt her, I admit that. I had too, to stop her - my own [i]sister![/i] - from killing me! I had to hurt her to protect myself and the small ones, though every swipe I took against her ripped into me as well. She betrayed me, attacked me for no reason and tried to kill me and the small ones. You have been duped, stupid little scholar. My dear sister is far from the shining saviour you believe her to be." Saraswati's head spun. The urgency and the hurt in Shadowsong's voice as she told about what happened, had all that been an act? Had she been fooled by a clever imposter, a puppet to the mimics that tried to cause havoc on their world? Had Shadowsong been exactly what she blamed Thana for; a rogue singer? No, it could not be. It simply could not be! This had to be another trick by the red nocturne, a way to deceive her. And yet... what proof did she have, except one word against the other, from two dragons she did not know? How could she know who the real trickster was? Seeking aid, she looked at Parvati. But the little spiral was hanging almost motionless in the air, only her wings working to keep her afloat, staring at something behind Saraswati. "Oh," Thana said dryly, with a hint of amusement in her voice. "Looks like we've got company..." [br] ----- ----- [b][i]Part 4: [/i][/b] Saraswati spun around, but was almost knocked over by a golden flash diving at her. Lakshmi's sharp claws was extended like deadly daggers and Saraswati instinctively ducked, trying to escape them. But no painful blow came, instead she was hit by Lakshmi's flank as the skydancer turned sharply and snatched something from the air beside Saraswati instead. There was a brief shriek and then the terrible, sickening sound of breaking bones. "Lakshmi!" The skydancer scrambled to her feet, her chest soiled with blood and the broken body of the spiral hanging limply from her jaws. Saraswati backed, staring at her. "Well done!" Thana commented in the same dry, amused voice as before, "You are the perceptive one." "Quiet!" Lakshmi spat out the body and let it fall to the grass. She moved forward and Saraswati moved away again, unable to stop staring at the dark stain on her chest. Her mind had stopped functioning, she just could not comprehend what was happening. It could not be Parvati there in the grass with a broken neck, ambushed by her own sister. Her own... "It [i]is[/i] not Parvati." Lakshmi growled, as if she could read Saraswati's mind. "It was an imposter, mimicking our sister and looking for a chance to strike you. Saraswati, take the hatchlings and leave. We'll ward Thana off for as long as we can." "We?" Saraswati croaked. Lakshmi shot a glance at the sky and when Saraswati followed her gaze she noticed some other dark figures approaching, fast. "I managed to persuade them to aid us." Lakshmi gave her a gentle push towards the younglings, manoeuvred herself in between her imperial sister and the red nocturne and conjured a shield just in time to stop a shimmering projectile from hitting them. "[i]Fools[/i]!" Thana roared and Lakshmi's shield shivered under another attack. "You doom those hatchlings to a life of servitude and mindless slavery!" "Go!" Lakshmi pushed Saraswati out of her paralysis and placed one of the hatchlings in her paws. "Find the real Parvati, if she is still alive. And find Shadowsong. The others are not particularly strong, we won't be able to hold her off for an eternity. Hurry!" Saraswati nodded, gently lifted the second hatchling by the scruff of his neck and unfolded her wings. She rose almost vertically, beating her large, leathery wings hard and clutching the two small nocturnes to her chest. She dared not look down on what happened below her in the clearing as she made a sharp turn towards the Sunbeam Ruins and flew as fast as her wings could carry her, hoping she had put her trust on the right dragon and not the trickster. F I N [br] ----- ----- (If you managed to get all the way down here, I applaud your stamina and resolve.)
The Scholar:
Saraswati, the youngest of the three sisters and the one devoted to knowledge and research. Saraswati is still young, but it is clear that the black imperial harbours a vast wisdom that far exceeds her few years. Where this knowledge comes from is unknown even to her and at times she does not quite understand it. Her connection to history and the world of Sornieth suggests that there is more to her than what meets the eye.

The first ally:
Parvati, the gentle and kind healer of minds cares for the well-being of everyone around her and of the three sisters she is the best liked. She has none of the nervous and chatty disposition of her race, but moves slowly and gracefully and whispers quiet words of comfort in the ears of the troubled.

The second ally:
Lakshmi is the oldest of the three and a very skilled negotiator and diplomat. Lakshmi usually is the one that speaks for the three and her word weighs heavily in the clan as well. Her counsel nearly always leads to peaceful and friendly relationships to other clans, but Lakshmi is also the one that will fight with all her might should negotiations turn unfruitful.



Part 1:

The wings on Saraswati's back ached as she slowly descended towards the lair. Not only because of the rough treatment bestowed on them by the fabled nocturne, but also because of the strain from the long flight from the Tangled Wood, completed in almost half the usual time it took to fly the distance. The black imperial panted and when her feet finally touched ground she nearly fell over from exhaustion.

"Sawi!?" A red-and-golden spiral came flying towards her with, for a spiral, uncharacteristically calm movements despite her obvious alarm. When she reached the larger imperial female, she gently wrapped her long body around her neck. "Sawi, is something wrong?" her gentle voice murmured in Saraswati's ear. "You seem upset."

Saraswati exhaled deeply, feeling her heartbeats and breaths slow down a little as if the mere proximity to the spiral gave her a moment's respite from the fear that had gripped her with the dark nocturne's words. She flicked her ears back and lowered her head a little.

"Parvati, where is Lakshmi?" she enquired "I bring grave news for the both of you."

"You trouble me Sawi" The spiral's body caressed her neck as she moved upwards to rest her small head on top of Saraswati's. "Lakshmi was called by the leaders, but she should be on her way back now. Tell me sister, what grave news do you bring?"

"Yes do tell us." The voice from behind nearly made Saraswati jump in fright, even if she recognized it. Lakshmi landed beside her, beating her wings a few times before neatly folding them over her back and turning her head to look Saraswati over. "Sister, you look terrible and your wings are scratched. What happened to you?"

The little spiral lifted her head and turned it to look closer on her sister's wings, and a low, worried murmur escaped her as she realized how many scratches and rips they were covered in. Saraswati quickly folded them over her back, there was not time for that now.

"Sisters, I found her! The nocturne, Shadowsong, I found her in the Tangled Woods. Or rather, she found me..."

"That cannot be!" Lakshmi's crest fell down and she craned her neck as she stared at the black imperial beside her. "You found a clan that everyone but a few dragons scattered across Sornieth has forgotten completely? It is simply impossible!"

"It is not." A brief hint of pride crept up in the imperial's voice for a moment, but it faded away again as she turned to meet the golden skydancer's gaze. "You know it is not sister, you are one of the few that remember yourself. Their magic is strong, but it seems not quite strong enough."

"Not strong enough?" asked the red spiral, slowly releasing her grip on Saraswati's neck to float in the air between the two others. "Is something the matter."

Saraswati pulled another deep breath, feeling the anxiety and fear from earlier returning the moment the spiral's body lost contact with her scales. But it was not quite as overpowering anymore, and her mind was clear now. She knew what they had to do.

"They need our help..."



Part 2:

The three allies worked quickly. Almost as soon as Saraswati had finished her explanation, they decided to split and fly far and wide over Sornieth to visit all the other dragons Saraswati had identified. The dragons that remembered. Those that could do something, that could help them look for Thana and the hatchlings, or at least be warned to be wary of imposters and mimics. None of them gave a second thought to the danger of their mission; they knew they had to do this for the sake of the world they knew. And sisters, even though not sisters by nest but by bond only, do not desert each other in such a situation. Or at least they should not desert each other. Saraswati could not help but feel a stab of pain in her own chest when she remembered the tone, the hidden despair, in Shadowsong's voice as she talked of her sister's betrayal. How it must have hurt the black nocturne to be stabbed in the back like that.

But in spite of their efforts, only a very small number of dragons agreed to help them at all, most of the ones they talked to were too afraid or outright refused to believe that the clan of singers existed at all. And they found no trace of the rogue singer or the two hatchlings. How could they find such a creature that did not want to be found, when it was mere chance that they had stumbled upon the sister? Saraswati tried to keep her good hopes up, but doubt kept trying to worm itself into her heart and make her give up. What if Shadowsong had been wrong? What if she was not capable of finding Thana at all? It was a a disheartening expedition.

Saraswati returned slowly from Dragonhome, her weary eyes scanning the ground underneath her as she flew, but more out of habit than actual hope of finding anything. There had been nothing. They had searched, and talked to everyone she could remember talking to about the singer clan, but there was nothing to be found. No traces, no hear-says, in some cases not even the faint memories that had been there the last time she visited. She felt empty, too tired to even try keeping her faith up anymore. Whatever Shadowsong had seen in her must have been a mistake, she had failed. With a big sigh, she slowly circled down from the sky to land in the rocky clearing where she and her sisters had decided to meet up again after this last effort.

She arrived first, there was no trace of her sisters in the clearing. Folding her wings over her back, Saraswati settled down into the grass to wait for the other two when something tugged at her mind. Something familiar. She raised her head from her paws and looked around, but apart from a slight breeze slowly moving the branches of the tall trees surrounding her resting place, nothing moved. She narrowed her eyes and tried to penetrate the darkness further into the undergrowth, but it seemed impossible. It seemed almost unnaturally dark, as if it was shrouded with some kind of magic...

All her senses on alert now, Saraswati silently rose to her feet again and moved forward, surprisingly quiet for such a large creature. She hesitantly stepped into the dusk under the trees, staring into the unbudging darkness ahead of her. Could it be...? She moved forward again, perking her ears to hear even the slightest sound. There was nothing. Not even the sound of moving branches. Saraswati's heart began pounding when she looked down and noticed a small, inconspicuous plant pulsating with a strange magic to the left of her. It was the same plant as before, and yet... it was not. There was something off with the magic, something just slightly different. As she looked to her right, she saw another plant. And another. They were all around, pulsating quietly with the strongest magic she had felt.

Thana!



Part 3:

The darkness surrounded Saraswati completely as she pressed on, past the magic plants. She could barely see her own feet and had to feel her way through the dense undergrowth, making all her progress painstakingly slow. Branches brushed against her sides, thorns dug into her wings and rots tripped her feet all the time, as if the very forest itself wanted her gone. Perhaps it did. She had heard of dragons that had that sort of connection with trees and Shadowsong had certainly had a great deal of control over the plant armour she had been wearing.

"Saraswati! Sister!"

Saraswati stopped, trying to turn her head back to look, but the darkness concealed the one who called until the little spiral actually bumped into her forehead. Parvati shook her head and blinked several times.

"I am sorry. It is so dark in here and I got worried something had happened to you when I saw your tracks leading here. You have not met Lakshmi yet?"

"No." Saraswati sighed. "I have not seen her. Perhaps we should wait for her too."

Parvati rolled thoughtfully in the air, then let her body sink down on Saraswati's neck, resting on top of her mane as she used to.

"We should," she agreed. "And yet... Sister, you can feel it too, can you not? Despite the dark magic surrounding this place, something is near. I fear that if we wait too long, something might happen to the little ones."

Saraswati nodded slowly, turning her head forwards again. It was still pitch black around her, but she she could sense something a bit ahead. It might be wrong, but so far her senses had not deceived her. And Parvati sensed it too. And if Parvati could find her by following her tracks, so could Lakshmi when she arrived. Perhaps something was keeping the skydancer up.

"Perhaps you are right," she mumbled. "I don't know what we'll do if Thana shows up, so let's be careful." A twig snapped loudly under her paw as she took a step forward and she winced. "As careful as we can..." she amended, teasing a quiet chuckle from Parvati.

They continued as silently as they could, Parvati safely nestled on Saraswati's head and gently guiding her back on track when she lost her bearings. It didn't take very long until they suddenly stepped out in a brilliant, silvery moonlight shining down on a small forest lake hidden among the trees. The surface of the lake was completely still, like the surface of a mirror, and a light mist drifted from the surface. And on the far side, huddled under the branches of a flowering bush, sat two dark hatchlings with glowing markings along their bodies, just like the ones on Shadowsong's dark scales.

Parvati slowly unfurled her long body from Saraswati's mane and flew a bit closer without taking her eyes from the two. They watched her warily and hissed in alarm as she approached, backing a little. Parvati immediately stopped. Floating in the air, she slowly turned her head back to Saraswati.

"Perhaps it is best you try to talk to them, sister," she suggested. "You look similar to them, perhaps they find you more familiar and easier to trust."

A bit surprised by the suggestion, because who could better calm a frightened hatchling than Parvati, Saraswati lowered her head towards the ground and took a few steps closer.

"Do not fear, little ones" she cooed. "We are not here to harm you, we are here to take you back home where you belong."

Tiny heads turned to her and two pairs of eyes watched her warily. The hatchlings did not move, but the blue one lowered her head and sniffed the air as if to smell their intentions. The little male pressed against his sister's side, shivering.

"Come!" Saraswati called again, shuffling a bit closer again without lifting her feet from the ground. "We..."

"So my sister's lackeys found me after all."

Saraswati yelped and spun around, quickly backing up against the two hatchlings. The nocturne who had spoken came crawling out of the darkness under the trees, stretching her blood-red body and tensing her wings as she stepped into the moonlight. She looked at Saraswati and her nostrils flared slightly.

"What a pitiful rescue party, mindlessly following the orders of my traitorous sister like the dim slaves you are. Well, I suppose I should give you one opportunity to see how deceived you have been."

Saraswati's felt nearly crippled with fear as the nocturne drew closer and she had to tuck her wings to keep them from trembling. This one was far too strong for her to fight. She did not possess that kind of magic, nor the combat skills to take this creature down. To buy time, she quickly blurted:

"Why did you attack your sister and steal the hatchlings?"

Thana stopped, tilted her head for a moment, then threw it back and roared with laughter.

"Is that what she told you? That I attacked her?" She shook her wings and the laughter turned into a growl instead. "Yes, I hurt her, I admit that. I had too, to stop her - my own sister! - from killing me! I had to hurt her to protect myself and the small ones, though every swipe I took against her ripped into me as well. She betrayed me, attacked me for no reason and tried to kill me and the small ones. You have been duped, stupid little scholar. My dear sister is far from the shining saviour you believe her to be."

Saraswati's head spun. The urgency and the hurt in Shadowsong's voice as she told about what happened, had all that been an act? Had she been fooled by a clever imposter, a puppet to the mimics that tried to cause havoc on their world? Had Shadowsong been exactly what she blamed Thana for; a rogue singer? No, it could not be. It simply could not be! This had to be another trick by the red nocturne, a way to deceive her. And yet... what proof did she have, except one word against the other, from two dragons she did not know? How could she know who the real trickster was? Seeking aid, she looked at Parvati. But the little spiral was hanging almost motionless in the air, only her wings working to keep her afloat, staring at something behind Saraswati.

"Oh," Thana said dryly, with a hint of amusement in her voice. "Looks like we've got company..."



Part 4:

Saraswati spun around, but was almost knocked over by a golden flash diving at her. Lakshmi's sharp claws was extended like deadly daggers and Saraswati instinctively ducked, trying to escape them. But no painful blow came, instead she was hit by Lakshmi's flank as the skydancer turned sharply and snatched something from the air beside Saraswati instead. There was a brief shriek and then the terrible, sickening sound of breaking bones.

"Lakshmi!"

The skydancer scrambled to her feet, her chest soiled with blood and the broken body of the spiral hanging limply from her jaws. Saraswati backed, staring at her.

"Well done!" Thana commented in the same dry, amused voice as before, "You are the perceptive one."

"Quiet!" Lakshmi spat out the body and let it fall to the grass. She moved forward and Saraswati moved away again, unable to stop staring at the dark stain on her chest. Her mind had stopped functioning, she just could not comprehend what was happening. It could not be Parvati there in the grass with a broken neck, ambushed by her own sister. Her own...

"It is not Parvati." Lakshmi growled, as if she could read Saraswati's mind. "It was an imposter, mimicking our sister and looking for a chance to strike you. Saraswati, take the hatchlings and leave. We'll ward Thana off for as long as we can."

"We?" Saraswati croaked.

Lakshmi shot a glance at the sky and when Saraswati followed her gaze she noticed some other dark figures approaching, fast.

"I managed to persuade them to aid us." Lakshmi gave her a gentle push towards the younglings, manoeuvred herself in between her imperial sister and the red nocturne and conjured a shield just in time to stop a shimmering projectile from hitting them.

"Fools!" Thana roared and Lakshmi's shield shivered under another attack. "You doom those hatchlings to a life of servitude and mindless slavery!"

"Go!" Lakshmi pushed Saraswati out of her paralysis and placed one of the hatchlings in her paws. "Find the real Parvati, if she is still alive. And find Shadowsong. The others are not particularly strong, we won't be able to hold her off for an eternity. Hurry!"

Saraswati nodded, gently lifted the second hatchling by the scruff of his neck and unfolded her wings. She rose almost vertically, beating her large, leathery wings hard and clutching the two small nocturnes to her chest. She dared not look down on what happened below her in the clearing as she made a sharp turn towards the Sunbeam Ruins and flew as fast as her wings could carry her, hoping she had put her trust on the right dragon and not the trickster.

F I N



(If you managed to get all the way down here, I applaud your stamina and resolve.)
(Central European time, +9h on FR time)
lighth5.png
[url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35301585] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/350/353016/35301585_350.png[/img] [/url] Calamity fluttered his eyelids, leaning in so close to the flustered Spiral he could taste the anxiety on the youngster’s breath. “You’re cute, you know that?” The Spiral let out a cross between an infatuated whimper and an agreeable grunt, his eyes locked on Calamity’s and his brain too melted to make actual words. Calamity swiped as much treasure and gems from the merchant’s table as he could possibly hide before bumping his head against the Spiral’s, drawing a soft gasp from him. Calamity swirled around, running his tail along the merchant’s jawline. “I’ll see you around then, hmm?” Calamity sauntered off, letting his brazen mood bleed into his stride, his hips swishing and accentuating the flitter of his tail feathers. He could feel the Spiral’s gaze burning on his backside, the poor dragon’s mouth probably still hanging half open in shock and amazement. A sly grin spread across Calamity’s face, the melodic jingling in his pockets just loud enough for him to hear how his day had went. He trotted down the path he knew lead back to home, eyeing the gate leaving the town as he approached. Closing his eyes, he let his paws take him directly into the path of an oncoming Skydancer, smashing into her and feigning a decent fall. Predictably, she also fell, spilling some treasure onto the ground. “Oh, I’m so sorry!!” Hastily getting back to his feet, he swept the treasure near him into a pile, swiping a few between his toes. She watched his actions with a wary eye as she picked up the treasure near her, much less easily tricked as the Spiral Calamity had wooed moments before. Slipping the treasure he’d snagged backwards, where he stepped on the coins to hide them, he quickly pushed the pile at his feet towards her.“Here you go, again, I apologize for bumping into you! Gah, I wasn’t looking where I was going again, and now I’ve wasted [i]your[/i] time, and-” She brushed off his rambling with a brusque shake of her head. He could feel the eyes of curious passersby, some staring at him, others at her, as well as the tension mounting in her that spurred her to end this encounter. “It’s fine, happens to the best of us.” Her eyes held less suspicion as before, though her gruff voice left no room for more chatter. She shouldered past, the briskness in her step suggesting she had places to be. Calamity sat in the dust momentarily, pocketing his gains while pretending to dust himself off. He trotted off again, very aware of the wary gazes of other travellers watching him in case he strayed into their paths too. He trotted along the edge of the path, almost brushing the plants bordering the road. Avoiding eye contact with the other travellers, he hastened his pace. He wanted as much time as possible to pickpocket his clanmates too, after all. In not much time at all, the dragons thinned out, leaving just Calamity on the path. He dropped down into a slow walk, his pants softening as he walked. Something caught his attention in his peripheral vision and he turned his head to look at it. It softly glowed in the bushes, then winked out. He stuck his head into the bush, intrigue making his heart pound with anticipation. He blinked. Rocks. They were rocks. Butt-shaped ones, too, which was interesting, but still rocks. He scanned around, squinting into the deepening shadows for what else could be glowing. He looked back at the rocks which, as if on cue, glowed softly. He sighed, then stepped his upper half into the bushes too. Glowing rocks weren’t terribly uncommon, but these ones seemed special, magical, even. His gut feeling told him there was something about these rocks, and who was his brain to argue with his gut feeling? At the very least, they could fetch a solid price on the market. Digging his claws into the dirt under the rocks, he churned the earth in hopes there might be more beneath the surface. He found nothing but… roots? Oh. [i]Oh[/i]. These were…. Plants. He pursed his lips, his stream of thoughts looking for ways these plants could be profitable. Who really wanted to eat a butt, though? They could still pass as rocks, though.. Right? So preoccupied with his thoughts, Calamity almost didn’t notice the void that approached him, slithering along the edges of shadows in a way that didn’t register with his eyes. Yet, somehow, he saw it, just like he’d seen the glow, only in reverse, where it was the absence of vision that caught his attention. He let out a strangled cry, stumbling backwards away from the butt plants, but the void lunged forward and grabbed him by the foreleg. It dragged him deeper into the bushes, getting little resistance from his struggling. His life flashed before his eyes, final, desperate thoughts jolting through his skull. [i]I never pickpocketed everyone in the clan, and now I’ll never get the chance too. God, and I never told Autumn how ridiculous her little ‘cult’ is. Now she’ll live on thinking she’s done good by her life. And the Nocturnes, I never managed to get all of them to catapult themselves into the lake copying my movements, what a-[/i] The void dragging Calamity stopped pulling him deeper into the forest, his body skittering to a halt at the mouth of a den tunnelled under some tree roots. Pain arced up his leg, shearing into his wing and stabbing into his chest cavity. He cried out, writhing in the dirt. “I will ask you once, and only once, imposter. Where. Is. Thana?” A raspy voice seemingly coming from everywhere at once rattled his skull as the pain tapered out. Panting, Calamity searched his surroundings for the source. “I'm a [i]what[/i] now? And who’s Thana?” Pain seared up his wing again, and Calamity groveled in the dirt. “Don't play dumb, [i]you found our magic[/i]. Only dragons of my clan or mimics and imposters can, and since you're not of my clan you must be one or the other. [i]We made sure Sorneith forgot about us[/i].” Calamity wheezed as the pain faded again so he could answer. The remnants of the dark magic still echoed in his bones, a foreign feeling grasping at his chest and wings. “I didn't find you, all I did was look into the bush for whatever I’d seen glowing in the corner of my eye, please stop hurtingmeIdon’tknowwhoyouareand-” A stab of pain silenced him for a moment, but he held his muscles locked in a grimace in preparation for more. He found his eyes on an area of shadow that seemed more void than shadow, which his eyes seemed to register as different from shadows. He only hoped he was now staring at his attacker and not just staring at a random place. “You… you saw the living stones [i]glowing[/i]?” Calamity nodded enthusiastically. “But… that’s not possible?” Calamity shrugged unhelpfully. “Well, I think it has something to do with my element. Anytime any shadow dragons in my clan are slipping around in the shadows, I can see them clear as day.” He gestured to his eyes. “I'm from the light flight, you see. Maybe that’s related to why I could see your butt plants?” His attacker scoffed, perhaps at his description of the plants. “They do not looks like [i]butts[/i]. They look like rocks.” An awkward pause permeated the air momentarily before the being continued. “If you’re of the light flight… hmm. Tell me, can you pick me out of the shadows?” Calamity held his gaze upon the void, self-doubt tainting his previous surety. “Um, I think?” He felt the being hum thoughtfully, before a ripple in the void drew a gasp from him. The darkness in front of him melted away to reveal dark vines intertwining in some sort of armor over a crouching dragon. The female Nocturne panted, grunting before turning her dark eyes on him. “I am Shadowsong.” He could feel her eyes boring into his own, curiosity masked as hostility. “I can see the sincerity in your eyes, and sincerity is an Imposter’s weakness.” Calamity’s eyes raked over the wounds dotting the Nocturne’s hide. The awkward pause following her words pulled his eyes back onto hers. She struggled to sit up, brow creased in deep thought. “I suppose… I must ask for your assistance. I was attacked by my own sister, Thana. I have reason to believe she’s being controlled by Mimics. Worse, she has the only two Singer hatchlings born since my own hatching with her, Voidsong and Nightsong.” Calamity’s head swum a little bit. “Wait… so you’re asking me to go up against the dragon that did this to you?” Shadowsong nodded. Calamity’s mouth went dry. “There’s n-no way! I’m not a fighter, I steal things! I’m a, uh, thief!” Shadowsong shook her head, a mirthless laugh racking her torso. “You’re my only hope right now, I can’t fight her in this state. I’m sure you have some friends who can fight, right?” She gave him a weak smile. “Besides, if you let her off doing whatever she pleases, I doubt you’ll be able to safely pickpocket dragons anymore, so all you profits will disappear up into thin air.” “What? How would [i]that[/i] happen??” “Have you seen what dragons fitted for combat are like if you knock into them? You’d better have quick feet if you don’t want to be thrown down.” Calamity’s nose wrinkled, and he reflected on the time he tried to steal from Gabriel. The massive Ridgeback, fresh out of the Coliseum, had slammed him into the dirt before hissing what he would do if he ever caught Calamity trying to pickpocket him again. He was one of 4 dragons Calamity refused to steal from, solely out of regard for his own safety. Calamity nodded haltingly. “Yeah, I see your point.” His feathers flared out. “But I still don’t think I’m qualified to try this! I may not look like it, but I’m soft! Like a, uh… roast chicken!” Shadowsong stared him down, the desperate look in her eyes wearing him down. “Ok, ok, I’ll do it.” His breast feathers fluffed up, anguish already weighing down on his chest. “I can’t guarantee anything, though.” Shadowsong nodded, resigned to this decision. “Hurry, please. Oh yes, and if you see just the hatchlings, keep a wary eye on your surroundings, Thana or the mimics will be somewhere nearby.” Calamity bobbed his head numbly, stumbling backwards through the bush and fell on his butt onto the path. Scrambling to his feet, he bolted back for camp. ----------------------------- [columns][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35548185] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/355482/35548185.png[/img] [/url] Saffron[nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35722994] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/357230/35722994.png[/img] [/url] Jess[nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=37215195] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/372152/37215195.png[/img] [/url] Breeze[nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28625014] [img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/286251/28625014.png[/img] [/url] Evewern[nextcol][img]http://flightrising.com/images/cms/familiar/15282.png[/img] Ensorcelled Volume[/columns] “I’m sorry, you [i]what[/i] now?” Saffron gave Calamity a strange look. Behind her, Jess crowed in delight, chasing after a frantically fluttering Ensorcelled Volume. Breeze sat on the sidelines, their eyes trained on Jess. "I got jumped by a Nocturne on my way home, and I agreed to help her? And now I need the help of some strong fighters, so that’s why I’m here.” Saffron chuckled, a bemused expression making its way onto her face. “Aw, I’m flattered. However, if you need a truly strong fighter, you should probably get Gabriel, or Silver and Candal. They’ve been fighting a lot longer than I have.” Breeze cut in before Calamity had a chance to respond. “They’re all on guard duty. There’s been a large amount of attacks on clans recently, so they’re all busy.” They went back to watching Jess wrestled the tome. Its wings paddled uselessly in the air as Jess tried to pry it open. “Well, I need some dragons to help me who are strong and aren’t weak to those of the Shadow flight.” Calamity wiggled on his feet, his nerves wriggling into his legs. Saffron tossed her head and grinned. “I can help you, and I’m sure Jess would like to stretch her claws regardless of what’s going on.” Her golden eyes glimmered with excitement, and Calamity could feel some of the worry fade. He’d seen both spar before, they were miles above what he could do. “Gotcha!” Jess pinned the book down triumphantly, turning the first page. “Three hundred ways to prepare li- ew!” She sprang up, disgust scrawling across her features. “Liver?! Yuck!!” The book started to take flight again, to which Jess seemed even more repulsed by. “Oh no you don’t!!” She pounced on it, chewing on the corner. “You were probably a plant once, therefore you are more nutritionally adequate than your contents!!” “JESS!!” Jess’ head shot up to look in the direction of the voice. Evewern dashed out of the forest, skidding to a halt in front of the attentive Pearlcatcher. A light scratch on her side leaked drops of red onto the snow. “We need your help guarding the clan, a large horde of Mimics are attacking.” She eyed the other three dragons. “Get in camp, we want to have to guard the smallest area possible.” Jess nodded, sprinting after Evewern’s retreating form. Breeze meandered up to Saffron and Calamity, their interest in the book gone with Jess. The Ensorcelled Volume flew back towards camp, presumably heading back to the safety of the clan’s hoard. “This sounds like an interesting trip. I’ll join too.” Calamity wilted a little bit, his gaze on the lean Pearlcatcher. Saffron quickly responded. “Absolutely not. You have no training with fighting, you’ll only be a liability.” They jerked their head towards Calamity. “He has the same amount of training as I do, he’s just as much as a liability as I am. I’m not weak to the shadow flight, either.” Saffron’s mouth flopped open and shut for a moment, before she groaned and shut her eyes painfully. “Saffron, they shouldn’t be coming! They’re just a kid!” Calamity flared his feathered mane in irritation. “What can I say, Calamity? They’re not wrong.” Saffron shrugged. “You can say they shouldn’t be risking themself to help me.” Breeze’s tail flickered in annoyance. “I’m right here, you know. I’m also technically an adult, and either way you shouldn’t be running things by Saffron as if she has any jurisdiction on what I do.” “Oooh, [i]edgy[/i].” Saffron turned to Calamity, rolling her eyes. “Well, would you prefer a two-dragon or three-dragon team? If this Nocturne gave you the right information, we really need to hurry and find this dragon, and I doubt we will be able to get in and out of camp without being corralled in by the guards.” Calamity stared at the ground for a moment. “I guess I prefer three dragons.” He didn’t have to look up to see a rare smile break across Breeze’s face upon hearing his hushed answer. “But please, for the love of the Icewarden, be careful.” ----------------- Purple eyes bored into Calamity, the fury he saw in them unmatched by any being he’d ever faced before. “So, my sister sent a body in her place. How [i]dignified[/i].” Thana snarled, crouching lower towards the ground. “Can’t even face me herself, huh? Instead, she sent three pathetic excuses for dragons to try and take me on.” Calamity’s stomach simmered with anger, but its twisting and wrenching made him unable to feel anything other than utterly sick. Breeze, surprisingly, had been the first to spot the hatchlings. Huddled in the bush, they trembled upon Breeze’s approach. Calamity couldn’t warn them fast enough. The mimics had leapt out, striking in a surprise attack that knocked them out cold. He didn’t even have a chance to make sure they were alright before he became fully involved in a tango with a mimic where a single wrong step could spell out his undoing. Then, Thana herself descended upon them. Saffron was her first target; the wildclaw outclassed Calamity in all aspects, easily, but it became increasingly clear that Thana was not an opponent Saffron would be able to best on her own. She may have held the upper hand in speed, but Thana was putting out more damage. With each strike traded, Saffron became slower and less precise, her technique giving way to desperation. And now, Calamity faced down Thana, her ghoulish mimics grinning eerily at him from behind her. Shadowsong was wrong. Thana wasn’t being controlled by the mimics, she was allied with them. And now, she was just playing with him. “It’s almost cute how you keep trying to evade me.” Calamity stumbled backwards, listing heavily to one side. She copied his motion, a smirk spreading across her face as she prowled closer. “Come on, I heard you talk before. Charm me, smooth-talker.” Calamity’s mind swam, regrets and curses racing through his head. Why hadn’t he seen Thana’s presence, or rather lack thereof, before she’d attacked them? Why hadn’t he insisted on Jess, or even Gabriel, coming with them instead?? None of this would have happened if he’d been more selective and cautious, or if he’d waited for the attack on camp to cease and then go, or if- Calamity stumbled backwards, pain stabbing up his leg. He cried out, almost falling on his other side. He barely caught himself, before watching Thana make a less exaggerated version of the move. A thought shot through his brain, momentarily wiping away his fears and doubts. He swallowed as memories flashed through his brain, building up to a small, maybe feasible plan. Delilah falling into the lake, Cream unintentionally jumping out of a tree, Liandrin crashing into a rock- all the Nocturnes in his clan, Nocturned into fools of themselves due to Calamity’s motions. He crouched down, quickly ruminating on the possible negatives of this plan. None popped to mind, so he hopped to his right, exaggerating the leap and landing. Thana mimicked the motion almost exactly, and Calamity couldn’t help but let out a desperate laugh. All he could see was Cream’s indignant face when her feet left the branch, the horror on Delilah’s when she hit the water, the shaken wheeze forced out of Liandrin’s lungs when he smashed into the boulder. There was a pond to Thana’s right, several meters away, and the gears in his head began to turn. It was a fair number of meters away, she would almost certainly realize what was going on, but would she recognize in time? He brushed the thought out of his mind; doubting his only option wasn’t going to help him now. Hopping three times to the right, he gave Thana his best snarl. She snarled back, instinctively copying him without an issue. Two more hops, and a look of realization started to dawn on her face. “Wait, what are you-” She was cut off by another hop that her body threw her into, the words in her mouth boiling into a snarl. She was fighting the urge, he could see it in her face, but her muscles pulled her into an almost mirror image of Calamity’s movements. Even injured, he drew upon the fluidity of his everyday motions, gliding into each lurch that brought Thana closer to the pond, and Thana’s body was dragged through similar, more halting motions. It was enough, though. Calamity could see a tree in his peripheral on the banks of the pond, and prayed to whatever deity would listen that this jump would be enough before launching himself with all his strength sideways into the tree. The air was knocked out of him, and he gasped like a dying fish, ironically, on the edge of the pond. Thana, however, had no such misfortune; her flight was unimpeded, and she touched down into the pond like a rock into the ocean. Wheezing loudly, Calamity rolled to his belly, standing up on shaking legs. He turned to deal with the two mimics, only to see Saffron had regained consciousness. She drained the energy out of one of the mimics, simultaneously using it as a shield against the other mimic while balancing where she couldn’t be swiped off. The mimic soon collapsed, Saffron springboarding off of it to smash the other one down before she began draining that one too. A splash jerked Calamity’s attention back to the pond. Thana’s head was resurfaced, and she screeched in a way that throttled Calamity’s heart into his throat. She dragged herself half out of the water before a pink surge engulfed her, and she froze in place, muscles locked. Calamity turned his head to see Breeze back on their feet, drawing on arcane energies to attack Thana. “How many times are we gonna have to teach you this lesson, old Noc?” The two hatchlings huddled behind Breeze, their eyes wide with fear. “I’m not old,” groaned Thana before her eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted. Calamity stared at Thana’s limp form, half in, half out of the water. He looked around at Saffron and Breeze, then back to Thana, then back to them. “How… how did this just happen?” Saffron shrugged, wincing as she rolled her shoulders and stretched some stiff wounds. “I can handle a mimic or two on my own, it was just Thana I couldn’t take on. How did [i]you[/i] get her in the pond, anyway?” Calamity laughed weakly, an action that jostled his aching ribs and side. “I’ll tell you later, but first I think we have somewhere to bring these hatchlings.” Breeze grunted loudly as they dropped back into a sit. “If you think I’m walking all the way back home today, you are Mistaken.” “You could fly too, y’know.” “That’s an even worse option, have a terrible day.” They slid down, laying stretched-out on the cool, earthy ground. “No one’s coming to ‘rescue’ us, so we’re going to have to walk back.” Saffron’s voice had a sharp edge to it, but the exasperation disappeared as she looked at the hatchlings. “We have to bring these hatchlings back to their auntie, now don’t we?” Calamity shuffled towards her, motioning for Breeze to follow. They groaned, venting their displeasure for the four dragons to hear, before haltingly standing back up. “This was an awful trip, why couldn’t you have picked something less… hurty?” Calamity shrugged his shoulders, padding tiredly down the path. “This trip literally dragged me into the woods begging to be taken, I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.” Breeze protested. “You could have said no!” “And what? Ignore the pleas of an injured dragon? I couldn’t do that!” Saffron raised an eyebrow. “You, do something like this, with no other motivation than ‘it was the right thing to do?’ Yeah, I doubt it. You have some monetary gain to this, don’t you.” Calamity laughed again, ending in a cough. “I don’t necessarily gain anything from this, but since I did this I won’t be losing any, so-” The two dragons started to complain to him, but did nothing to wipe the grin off his face. Soon, these hatchlings would be back in Shadowsong’s care, and his aches and pains would be nothing but a memory, and he’d be able to going back to doing what he loved: being a [b]trickster[/b].

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Calamity fluttered his eyelids, leaning in so close to the flustered Spiral he could taste the anxiety on the youngster’s breath. “You’re cute, you know that?” The Spiral let out a cross between an infatuated whimper and an agreeable grunt, his eyes locked on Calamity’s and his brain too melted to make actual words. Calamity swiped as much treasure and gems from the merchant’s table as he could possibly hide before bumping his head against the Spiral’s, drawing a soft gasp from him. Calamity swirled around, running his tail along the merchant’s jawline. “I’ll see you around then, hmm?” Calamity sauntered off, letting his brazen mood bleed into his stride, his hips swishing and accentuating the flitter of his tail feathers. He could feel the Spiral’s gaze burning on his backside, the poor dragon’s mouth probably still hanging half open in shock and amazement. A sly grin spread across Calamity’s face, the melodic jingling in his pockets just loud enough for him to hear how his day had went. He trotted down the path he knew lead back to home, eyeing the gate leaving the town as he approached. Closing his eyes, he let his paws take him directly into the path of an oncoming Skydancer, smashing into her and feigning a decent fall. Predictably, she also fell, spilling some treasure onto the ground. “Oh, I’m so sorry!!” Hastily getting back to his feet, he swept the treasure near him into a pile, swiping a few between his toes. She watched his actions with a wary eye as she picked up the treasure near her, much less easily tricked as the Spiral Calamity had wooed moments before. Slipping the treasure he’d snagged backwards, where he stepped on the coins to hide them, he quickly pushed the pile at his feet towards her.“Here you go, again, I apologize for bumping into you! Gah, I wasn’t looking where I was going again, and now I’ve wasted your time, and-” She brushed off his rambling with a brusque shake of her head. He could feel the eyes of curious passersby, some staring at him, others at her, as well as the tension mounting in her that spurred her to end this encounter.

“It’s fine, happens to the best of us.” Her eyes held less suspicion as before, though her gruff voice left no room for more chatter. She shouldered past, the briskness in her step suggesting she had places to be. Calamity sat in the dust momentarily, pocketing his gains while pretending to dust himself off. He trotted off again, very aware of the wary gazes of other travellers watching him in case he strayed into their paths too. He trotted along the edge of the path, almost brushing the plants bordering the road. Avoiding eye contact with the other travellers, he hastened his pace. He wanted as much time as possible to pickpocket his clanmates too, after all. In not much time at all, the dragons thinned out, leaving just Calamity on the path. He dropped down into a slow walk, his pants softening as he walked. Something caught his attention in his peripheral vision and he turned his head to look at it. It softly glowed in the bushes, then winked out. He stuck his head into the bush, intrigue making his heart pound with anticipation. He blinked. Rocks. They were rocks. Butt-shaped ones, too, which was interesting, but still rocks. He scanned around, squinting into the deepening shadows for what else could be glowing. He looked back at the rocks which, as if on cue, glowed softly. He sighed, then stepped his upper half into the bushes too. Glowing rocks weren’t terribly uncommon, but these ones seemed special, magical, even. His gut feeling told him there was something about these rocks, and who was his brain to argue with his gut feeling? At the very least, they could fetch a solid price on the market. Digging his claws into the dirt under the rocks, he churned the earth in hopes there might be more beneath the surface. He found nothing but… roots? Oh. Oh. These were…. Plants. He pursed his lips, his stream of thoughts looking for ways these plants could be profitable. Who really wanted to eat a butt, though? They could still pass as rocks, though.. Right? So preoccupied with his thoughts, Calamity almost didn’t notice the void that approached him, slithering along the edges of shadows in a way that didn’t register with his eyes. Yet, somehow, he saw it, just like he’d seen the glow, only in reverse, where it was the absence of vision that caught his attention. He let out a strangled cry, stumbling backwards away from the butt plants, but the void lunged forward and grabbed him by the foreleg. It dragged him deeper into the bushes, getting little resistance from his struggling. His life flashed before his eyes, final, desperate thoughts jolting through his skull. I never pickpocketed everyone in the clan, and now I’ll never get the chance too. God, and I never told Autumn how ridiculous her little ‘cult’ is. Now she’ll live on thinking she’s done good by her life. And the Nocturnes, I never managed to get all of them to catapult themselves into the lake copying my movements, what a- The void dragging Calamity stopped pulling him deeper into the forest, his body skittering to a halt at the mouth of a den tunnelled under some tree roots. Pain arced up his leg, shearing into his wing and stabbing into his chest cavity. He cried out, writhing in the dirt.

“I will ask you once, and only once, imposter. Where. Is. Thana?” A raspy voice seemingly coming from everywhere at once rattled his skull as the pain tapered out. Panting, Calamity searched his surroundings for the source.

“I'm a what now? And who’s Thana?” Pain seared up his wing again, and Calamity groveled in the dirt.

“Don't play dumb, you found our magic. Only dragons of my clan or mimics and imposters can, and since you're not of my clan you must be one or the other. We made sure Sorneith forgot about us.” Calamity wheezed as the pain faded again so he could answer. The remnants of the dark magic still echoed in his bones, a foreign feeling grasping at his chest and wings.

“I didn't find you, all I did was look into the bush for whatever I’d seen glowing in the corner of my eye, please stop hurtingmeIdon’tknowwhoyouareand-” A stab of pain silenced him for a moment, but he held his muscles locked in a grimace in preparation for more. He found his eyes on an area of shadow that seemed more void than shadow, which his eyes seemed to register as different from shadows. He only hoped he was now staring at his attacker and not just staring at a random place.

“You… you saw the living stones glowing?” Calamity nodded enthusiastically. “But… that’s not possible?” Calamity shrugged unhelpfully.

“Well, I think it has something to do with my element. Anytime any shadow dragons in my clan are slipping around in the shadows, I can see them clear as day.” He gestured to his eyes. “I'm from the light flight, you see. Maybe that’s related to why I could see your butt plants?” His attacker scoffed, perhaps at his description of the plants.

“They do not looks like butts. They look like rocks.” An awkward pause permeated the air momentarily before the being continued. “If you’re of the light flight… hmm. Tell me, can you pick me out of the shadows?” Calamity held his gaze upon the void, self-doubt tainting his previous surety.

“Um, I think?” He felt the being hum thoughtfully, before a ripple in the void drew a gasp from him. The darkness in front of him melted away to reveal dark vines intertwining in some sort of armor over a crouching dragon. The female Nocturne panted, grunting before turning her dark eyes on him.

“I am Shadowsong.” He could feel her eyes boring into his own, curiosity masked as hostility. “I can see the sincerity in your eyes, and sincerity is an Imposter’s weakness.” Calamity’s eyes raked over the wounds dotting the Nocturne’s hide. The awkward pause following her words pulled his eyes back onto hers. She struggled to sit up, brow creased in deep thought. “I suppose… I must ask for your assistance. I was attacked by my own sister, Thana. I have reason to believe she’s being controlled by Mimics. Worse, she has the only two Singer hatchlings born since my own hatching with her, Voidsong and Nightsong.” Calamity’s head swum a little bit.

“Wait… so you’re asking me to go up against the dragon that did this to you?” Shadowsong nodded. Calamity’s mouth went dry. “There’s n-no way! I’m not a fighter, I steal things! I’m a, uh, thief!” Shadowsong shook her head, a mirthless laugh racking her torso.

“You’re my only hope right now, I can’t fight her in this state. I’m sure you have some friends who can fight, right?” She gave him a weak smile. “Besides, if you let her off doing whatever she pleases, I doubt you’ll be able to safely pickpocket dragons anymore, so all you profits will disappear up into thin air.”

“What? How would that happen??”

“Have you seen what dragons fitted for combat are like if you knock into them? You’d better have quick feet if you don’t want to be thrown down.” Calamity’s nose wrinkled, and he reflected on the time he tried to steal from Gabriel. The massive Ridgeback, fresh out of the Coliseum, had slammed him into the dirt before hissing what he would do if he ever caught Calamity trying to pickpocket him again. He was one of 4 dragons Calamity refused to steal from, solely out of regard for his own safety. Calamity nodded haltingly.

“Yeah, I see your point.” His feathers flared out. “But I still don’t think I’m qualified to try this! I may not look like it, but I’m soft! Like a, uh… roast chicken!” Shadowsong stared him down, the desperate look in her eyes wearing him down. “Ok, ok, I’ll do it.” His breast feathers fluffed up, anguish already weighing down on his chest. “I can’t guarantee anything, though.” Shadowsong nodded, resigned to this decision.

“Hurry, please. Oh yes, and if you see just the hatchlings, keep a wary eye on your surroundings, Thana or the mimics will be somewhere nearby.” Calamity bobbed his head numbly, stumbling backwards through the bush and fell on his butt onto the path. Scrambling to his feet, he bolted back for camp.


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Saffron

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Jess

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Breeze

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Evewern
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Ensorcelled Volume

“I’m sorry, you what now?” Saffron gave Calamity a strange look. Behind her, Jess crowed in delight, chasing after a frantically fluttering Ensorcelled Volume. Breeze sat on the sidelines, their eyes trained on Jess.

"I got jumped by a Nocturne on my way home, and I agreed to help her? And now I need the help of some strong fighters, so that’s why I’m here.” Saffron chuckled, a bemused expression making its way onto her face.

“Aw, I’m flattered. However, if you need a truly strong fighter, you should probably get Gabriel, or Silver and Candal. They’ve been fighting a lot longer than I have.”

Breeze cut in before Calamity had a chance to respond. “They’re all on guard duty. There’s been a large amount of attacks on clans recently, so they’re all busy.” They went back to watching Jess wrestled the tome. Its wings paddled uselessly in the air as Jess tried to pry it open.

“Well, I need some dragons to help me who are strong and aren’t weak to those of the Shadow flight.” Calamity wiggled on his feet, his nerves wriggling into his legs.

Saffron tossed her head and grinned. “I can help you, and I’m sure Jess would like to stretch her claws regardless of what’s going on.” Her golden eyes glimmered with excitement, and Calamity could feel some of the worry fade. He’d seen both spar before, they were miles above what he could do.

“Gotcha!” Jess pinned the book down triumphantly, turning the first page. “Three hundred ways to prepare li- ew!” She sprang up, disgust scrawling across her features. “Liver?! Yuck!!” The book started to take flight again, to which Jess seemed even more repulsed by. “Oh no you don’t!!” She pounced on it, chewing on the corner. “You were probably a plant once, therefore you are more nutritionally adequate than your contents!!”

“JESS!!” Jess’ head shot up to look in the direction of the voice. Evewern dashed out of the forest, skidding to a halt in front of the attentive Pearlcatcher. A light scratch on her side leaked drops of red onto the snow. “We need your help guarding the clan, a large horde of Mimics are attacking.” She eyed the other three dragons. “Get in camp, we want to have to guard the smallest area possible.” Jess nodded, sprinting after Evewern’s retreating form. Breeze meandered up to Saffron and Calamity, their interest in the book gone with Jess. The Ensorcelled Volume flew back towards camp, presumably heading back to the safety of the clan’s hoard.

“This sounds like an interesting trip. I’ll join too.” Calamity wilted a little bit, his gaze on the lean Pearlcatcher.

Saffron quickly responded. “Absolutely not. You have no training with fighting, you’ll only be a liability.”

They jerked their head towards Calamity. “He has the same amount of training as I do, he’s just as much as a liability as I am. I’m not weak to the shadow flight, either.”

Saffron’s mouth flopped open and shut for a moment, before she groaned and shut her eyes painfully. “Saffron, they shouldn’t be coming! They’re just a kid!” Calamity flared his feathered mane in irritation.

“What can I say, Calamity? They’re not wrong.” Saffron shrugged.

“You can say they shouldn’t be risking themself to help me.”

Breeze’s tail flickered in annoyance. “I’m right here, you know. I’m also technically an adult, and either way you shouldn’t be running things by Saffron as if she has any jurisdiction on what I do.”

“Oooh, edgy.” Saffron turned to Calamity, rolling her eyes. “Well, would you prefer a two-dragon or three-dragon team? If this Nocturne gave you the right information, we really need to hurry and find this dragon, and I doubt we will be able to get in and out of camp without being corralled in by the guards.”

Calamity stared at the ground for a moment. “I guess I prefer three dragons.” He didn’t have to look up to see a rare smile break across Breeze’s face upon hearing his hushed answer. “But please, for the love of the Icewarden, be careful.”


Purple eyes bored into Calamity, the fury he saw in them unmatched by any being he’d ever faced before. “So, my sister sent a body in her place. How dignified.” Thana snarled, crouching lower towards the ground. “Can’t even face me herself, huh? Instead, she sent three pathetic excuses for dragons to try and take me on.” Calamity’s stomach simmered with anger, but its twisting and wrenching made him unable to feel anything other than utterly sick.

Breeze, surprisingly, had been the first to spot the hatchlings. Huddled in the bush, they trembled upon Breeze’s approach. Calamity couldn’t warn them fast enough. The mimics had leapt out, striking in a surprise attack that knocked them out cold. He didn’t even have a chance to make sure they were alright before he became fully involved in a tango with a mimic where a single wrong step could spell out his undoing. Then, Thana herself descended upon them.

Saffron was her first target; the wildclaw outclassed Calamity in all aspects, easily, but it became increasingly clear that Thana was not an opponent Saffron would be able to best on her own. She may have held the upper hand in speed, but Thana was putting out more damage. With each strike traded, Saffron became slower and less precise, her technique giving way to desperation. And now, Calamity faced down Thana, her ghoulish mimics grinning eerily at him from behind her.

Shadowsong was wrong. Thana wasn’t being controlled by the mimics, she was allied with them. And now, she was just playing with him.

“It’s almost cute how you keep trying to evade me.” Calamity stumbled backwards, listing heavily to one side. She copied his motion, a smirk spreading across her face as she prowled closer. “Come on, I heard you talk before. Charm me, smooth-talker.” Calamity’s mind swam, regrets and curses racing through his head. Why hadn’t he seen Thana’s presence, or rather lack thereof, before she’d attacked them? Why hadn’t he insisted on Jess, or even Gabriel, coming with them instead?? None of this would have happened if he’d been more selective and cautious, or if he’d waited for the attack on camp to cease and then go, or if-

Calamity stumbled backwards, pain stabbing up his leg. He cried out, almost falling on his other side. He barely caught himself, before watching Thana make a less exaggerated version of the move. A thought shot through his brain, momentarily wiping away his fears and doubts. He swallowed as memories flashed through his brain, building up to a small, maybe feasible plan. Delilah falling into the lake, Cream unintentionally jumping out of a tree, Liandrin crashing into a rock- all the Nocturnes in his clan, Nocturned into fools of themselves due to Calamity’s motions. He crouched down, quickly ruminating on the possible negatives of this plan. None popped to mind, so he hopped to his right, exaggerating the leap and landing. Thana mimicked the motion almost exactly, and Calamity couldn’t help but let out a desperate laugh. All he could see was Cream’s indignant face when her feet left the branch, the horror on Delilah’s when she hit the water, the shaken wheeze forced out of Liandrin’s lungs when he smashed into the boulder. There was a pond to Thana’s right, several meters away, and the gears in his head began to turn. It was a fair number of meters away, she would almost certainly realize what was going on, but would she recognize in time? He brushed the thought out of his mind; doubting his only option wasn’t going to help him now.

Hopping three times to the right, he gave Thana his best snarl. She snarled back, instinctively copying him without an issue. Two more hops, and a look of realization started to dawn on her face. “Wait, what are you-” She was cut off by another hop that her body threw her into, the words in her mouth boiling into a snarl. She was fighting the urge, he could see it in her face, but her muscles pulled her into an almost mirror image of Calamity’s movements. Even injured, he drew upon the fluidity of his everyday motions, gliding into each lurch that brought Thana closer to the pond, and Thana’s body was dragged through similar, more halting motions. It was enough, though. Calamity could see a tree in his peripheral on the banks of the pond, and prayed to whatever deity would listen that this jump would be enough before launching himself with all his strength sideways into the tree. The air was knocked out of him, and he gasped like a dying fish, ironically, on the edge of the pond. Thana, however, had no such misfortune; her flight was unimpeded, and she touched down into the pond like a rock into the ocean. Wheezing loudly, Calamity rolled to his belly, standing up on shaking legs. He turned to deal with the two mimics, only to see Saffron had regained consciousness. She drained the energy out of one of the mimics, simultaneously using it as a shield against the other mimic while balancing where she couldn’t be swiped off. The mimic soon collapsed, Saffron springboarding off of it to smash the other one down before she began draining that one too. A splash jerked Calamity’s attention back to the pond. Thana’s head was resurfaced, and she screeched in a way that throttled Calamity’s heart into his throat. She dragged herself half out of the water before a pink surge engulfed her, and she froze in place, muscles locked. Calamity turned his head to see Breeze back on their feet, drawing on arcane energies to attack Thana.

“How many times are we gonna have to teach you this lesson, old Noc?” The two hatchlings huddled behind Breeze, their eyes wide with fear.

“I’m not old,” groaned Thana before her eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted.

Calamity stared at Thana’s limp form, half in, half out of the water. He looked around at Saffron and Breeze, then back to Thana, then back to them. “How… how did this just happen?”

Saffron shrugged, wincing as she rolled her shoulders and stretched some stiff wounds. “I can handle a mimic or two on my own, it was just Thana I couldn’t take on. How did you get her in the pond, anyway?”

Calamity laughed weakly, an action that jostled his aching ribs and side. “I’ll tell you later, but first I think we have somewhere to bring these hatchlings.”

Breeze grunted loudly as they dropped back into a sit. “If you think I’m walking all the way back home today, you are Mistaken.”

“You could fly too, y’know.”

“That’s an even worse option, have a terrible day.” They slid down, laying stretched-out on the cool, earthy ground.

“No one’s coming to ‘rescue’ us, so we’re going to have to walk back.” Saffron’s voice had a sharp edge to it, but the exasperation disappeared as she looked at the hatchlings. “We have to bring these hatchlings back to their auntie, now don’t we?” Calamity shuffled towards her, motioning for Breeze to follow. They groaned, venting their displeasure for the four dragons to hear, before haltingly standing back up.

“This was an awful trip, why couldn’t you have picked something less… hurty?”

Calamity shrugged his shoulders, padding tiredly down the path. “This trip literally dragged me into the woods begging to be taken, I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.”

Breeze protested. “You could have said no!”

“And what? Ignore the pleas of an injured dragon? I couldn’t do that!”

Saffron raised an eyebrow. “You, do something like this, with no other motivation than ‘it was the right thing to do?’ Yeah, I doubt it. You have some monetary gain to this, don’t you.”

Calamity laughed again, ending in a cough. “I don’t necessarily gain anything from this, but since I did this I won’t be losing any, so-” The two dragons started to complain to him, but did nothing to wipe the grin off his face. Soon, these hatchlings would be back in Shadowsong’s care, and his aches and pains would be nothing but a memory, and he’d be able to going back to doing what he loved: being a trickster.
liking trigonometry? that's a sin. calculus too? there should be limits on that.
they/them pronouns please
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please visit my boi
[d/dx [x^n] = n*x^(n-1)] up
guys im really digging this year's FRC game,,,,

cries in calculus
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