Creative Corner
Share your own art and stories, or ask for critique.
TOPIC | The Iron Pearl of Rinon [clanfic]
[center][size=5][b][u]The Iron Pearl of Rinon[/u][/b][/size] [i][size=4]Tales from Clan Mirage[/size][/i] [i]In an enclosed wing of a subterranean lair near the southern shore of the Ashfall Waste, a pearlcatcher works each day on her magnum opus - a neverending history of the clan she's bound herself to, the stories of each of its members and allies etched into countless pieces of metalworking, an Iron Pearl destined to outlive her and lay down the lore their future generations will treasure. Here are stirrings of dragons' hearts, lost to time if not for her art and craft - or so she would have it.[/center] [center][size=2][u]Author's Note[/u] An on-site place to stick clan fics so I can link to them nice and neat from dragon bios without the annoying outgoing link thing. Critique and requests welcome. [/size][/center] [quote="Table of Contents"][LIST=1] [*] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/1402278/1#post_10266844]Yesterday's Sky[/url] - [size=2]Reminiscing on the leader's past, and looking to a young clan's future.[/size] [*] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/1402278/1#post_10267085]Retrofit[/url] - [size=2]Robots.[/size] [*] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/1402278/1#post_10267218]Fifth Day[/url] - [size=2]The merchant considers allegiances and identity.[/size] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/1402278/1#post_10274121]Walk the Divide[/url] - [size=2]An egg is delivered.[/size] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/1402278/1#post_18478784]Turning Points[/url] - [size=2]Let's go.[/size] [/LIST][/quote]
The Iron Pearl of Rinon
Tales from Clan Mirage

In an enclosed wing of a subterranean lair near the southern shore of the Ashfall Waste, a pearlcatcher works each day on her magnum opus - a neverending history of the clan she's bound herself to, the stories of each of its members and allies etched into countless pieces of metalworking, an Iron Pearl destined to outlive her and lay down the lore their future generations will treasure. Here are stirrings of dragons' hearts, lost to time if not for her art and craft - or so she would have it.

Author's Note
An on-site place to stick clan fics so I can link to them nice and neat from dragon bios without the annoying outgoing link thing. Critique and requests welcome.

Table of Contents wrote:
  1. Yesterday's Sky - Reminiscing on the leader's past, and looking to a young clan's future.
  2. Retrofit - Robots.
  3. Fifth Day - The merchant considers allegiances and identity.
  4. Walk the Divide - An egg is delivered.
  5. Turning Points - Let's go.
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png
[quote=Chapter Summary][center][size=4][b][u]Yesterday's Sky[/u][/b][/size=4] The close of Earth’s holiday is an opportunity to think back on where you came from, and living in the realm of the Flamecaller is an opportunity to think forward on where you intend to go. Naia reflects on her mother, Pestel reflects on Naia, and Morrigan gives the clan’s lorekeeper a hard time. 914 words. [size=2][u]Author Note[/u] Written just after Rockbreaker's Ceremony 2014 to kick off my clanfics and establish some characterization, history, and general tone.[/size][/center][/quote] Samsyvald was no great believer in the care and protection of hatchlings. Naia’s first memory of her is this; her own body small and moist and clumsy, clinging to leathery skin as muscle churned beneath it. She was a day old, and her mother’s back was vast beneath her still-soft claws; vast as the world outside the shell, vast as the sky that stretched endless over them both. Her baptism that day was by the same wind that still lives in her blood and her bones. She remembers Samsyvald warm beneath, and the rushing air piercing cold above, and how the cold still clung to her after they’d landed. She remembers her mother’s beak closing over her hard but delicate, carrying her into the lair, remembers how her wing ached from being pressed twisted against her side, remembers the disappointment when she was set down in her bed of grass and the warmth of her mother’s breath vanished. Her second and third memories of her mother, and most of the rest, are less personal. Lysluum was Samsyvald’s second daughter, and a mirror, and in that she lived up to the expectations better than Naia ever could hope to. But summer came and went, and Lysluum was an acolyte at the Cloudsong, and Naia remained perched on a back that no longer seemed as broad as the sky. —— Pestel barely remembers Samsyvald. What he does remember is how, on the day she died, he and Naia twined in a braid fit to match any spirals’ coupling, and he drifted in and out of sleep with a heartbeat fluttering against his skin. They were mates, once, briefly. But Naia - all Eleven bless her, and her ferocity, and everything else she is beneath the cunning and the passion - turned out to be a [i]terrible[/i] mother, and the decision to leave well enough alone didn’t even need to be spoken. The rest of the time they’re something that Naia doesn’t have the spare time to name, and that sits just fine with Pestel. There are a lot of things that are hard to name, that prefer to go nameless. The Dunhoof have a word for that. [i]Inscrutable[/i] might cut it. It occurs to him when he thinks about Naia that she hasn’t changed much in the years and years they’ve known one another. That’s strange. The both of them, they’re fairly old when he thinks about it. Older than Lucky, older than Cai, older even than Florabelle, wherever she is, and she had been mate to Naia’s own father. He’s seen them change, but Naia, Naia stays constant, cold but hot enough to convince him that aligning with Fire was a fitting choice. They still make a braid sometimes, twisting together to sleep when the leader’s vulnerabilities drift too close to the surface and she needs to meditate on herself. He worries sometimes. —— [i]What drives a dragon to apostasy? For we of the draconic kinds, the element of our eyes is not a place of birth, but an indelible essence, the language in which our flesh was written and the purpose which our lives serve. But for these beings, what meaning is there in deserting the god of one’s birth? I shall relate to you, o you who read, many tales of apostasy. And perhaps you, o reader, shall see the truth concealed within, and understand better than I a great mystery of the draconic condition…[/i] —— [i]“The most pretentious drivel I’ve ever read!”[/i] Rinon sniffed and brought the rail closer to her nose, hindclaws tapping a restless rhythm against her pearl where it lay tucked under her belly. Not to be ignored, the black guardian reared and slammed her forefeet against the wall. The whole room shuddered and rang out with the blow, metal reverberating fiercely. [i]“Drivel!”[/i] she roared again. “Don’t you have anything better to do?!” “Do [i]you?[/i]” Rinon muttered. Morrigan’s scowl had the sheer presence of a room full of bears; it made her mane itch and her wings feel achy, but showing weakness would only encourage her. The guardian dropped her head low to the ground, eyes narrowing. She sniffed. “I’m at [i]work[/i],” Rinon continued, determined to be preoccupied. “Mirage isn’t to be disturbed when he’s at work, and neither am I, he [i]said[/i] so-” “That’s Lucky.” The pearlcatcher stopped, baffled, not certain for a moment whether that was meant to be a name or an adjective. Oh - but there, on the finished side of the rail just above her claw, the script wound about an engraving of an imperial, horns reaching spidery into the sky. “…Yes, it is.” Morrigan grinned razory teeth. “Draw [i]me[/i].” No. “Go away, Morrigan.” No, it’d ruin the composition - sooner or later she’d get to a part that called for it, but oh, why was she still here, why was she looming, why was she [i]lying down?[/i] “You’re sitting on my works,” she breathed, ears pinned back. “You should draw me,” Morrigan rumbled back in as close to a whisper as she ever came, sounding gleeful. Something like despair bloomed cool in Rinon’s chest. —— [i]There is a saying, popular West of here, about history. The Windsinger’s children are not known in particular for record-keeping, but they do have a close, unique, and rather profound relationship with the idea of the passage of time, which may best be summed up in their own words: “The wise dragon’s wings recall the shape of yesterday’s sky, embrace today’s, and have faith they will know tomorrow’s.”[/i]
Chapter Summary wrote:
Yesterday's Sky

The close of Earth’s holiday is an opportunity to think back on where you came from, and living in the realm of the Flamecaller is an opportunity to think forward on where you intend to go. Naia reflects on her mother, Pestel reflects on Naia, and Morrigan gives the clan’s lorekeeper a hard time. 914 words.

Author Note
Written just after Rockbreaker's Ceremony 2014 to kick off my clanfics and establish some characterization, history, and general tone.

Samsyvald was no great believer in the care and protection of hatchlings. Naia’s first memory of her is this; her own body small and moist and clumsy, clinging to leathery skin as muscle churned beneath it. She was a day old, and her mother’s back was vast beneath her still-soft claws; vast as the world outside the shell, vast as the sky that stretched endless over them both.

Her baptism that day was by the same wind that still lives in her blood and her bones. She remembers Samsyvald warm beneath, and the rushing air piercing cold above, and how the cold still clung to her after they’d landed. She remembers her mother’s beak closing over her hard but delicate, carrying her into the lair, remembers how her wing ached from being pressed twisted against her side, remembers the disappointment when she was set down in her bed of grass and the warmth of her mother’s breath vanished.

Her second and third memories of her mother, and most of the rest, are less personal. Lysluum was Samsyvald’s second daughter, and a mirror, and in that she lived up to the expectations better than Naia ever could hope to. But summer came and went, and Lysluum was an acolyte at the Cloudsong, and Naia remained perched on a back that no longer seemed as broad as the sky.

——

Pestel barely remembers Samsyvald. What he does remember is how, on the day she died, he and Naia twined in a braid fit to match any spirals’ coupling, and he drifted in and out of sleep with a heartbeat fluttering against his skin.

They were mates, once, briefly. But Naia - all Eleven bless her, and her ferocity, and everything else she is beneath the cunning and the passion - turned out to be a terrible mother, and the decision to leave well enough alone didn’t even need to be spoken. The rest of the time they’re something that Naia doesn’t have the spare time to name, and that sits just fine with Pestel. There are a lot of things that are hard to name, that prefer to go nameless. The Dunhoof have a word for that. Inscrutable might cut it.

It occurs to him when he thinks about Naia that she hasn’t changed much in the years and years they’ve known one another. That’s strange. The both of them, they’re fairly old when he thinks about it. Older than Lucky, older than Cai, older even than Florabelle, wherever she is, and she had been mate to Naia’s own father. He’s seen them change, but Naia, Naia stays constant, cold but hot enough to convince him that aligning with Fire was a fitting choice. They still make a braid sometimes, twisting together to sleep when the leader’s vulnerabilities drift too close to the surface and she needs to meditate on herself.

He worries sometimes.

——

What drives a dragon to apostasy?

For we of the draconic kinds, the element of our eyes is not a place of birth, but an indelible essence, the language in which our flesh was written and the purpose which our lives serve. But for these beings, what meaning is there in deserting the god of one’s birth?

I shall relate to you, o you who read, many tales of apostasy. And perhaps you, o reader, shall see the truth concealed within, and understand better than I a great mystery of the draconic condition…


——

“The most pretentious drivel I’ve ever read!”

Rinon sniffed and brought the rail closer to her nose, hindclaws tapping a restless rhythm against her pearl where it lay tucked under her belly.

Not to be ignored, the black guardian reared and slammed her forefeet against the wall. The whole room shuddered and rang out with the blow, metal reverberating fiercely. “Drivel!” she roared again. “Don’t you have anything better to do?!”

“Do you?” Rinon muttered. Morrigan’s scowl had the sheer presence of a room full of bears; it made her mane itch and her wings feel achy, but showing weakness would only encourage her.

The guardian dropped her head low to the ground, eyes narrowing. She sniffed.

“I’m at work,” Rinon continued, determined to be preoccupied. “Mirage isn’t to be disturbed when he’s at work, and neither am I, he said so-”

“That’s Lucky.”

The pearlcatcher stopped, baffled, not certain for a moment whether that was meant to be a name or an adjective. Oh - but there, on the finished side of the rail just above her claw, the script wound about an engraving of an imperial, horns reaching spidery into the sky. “…Yes, it is.”

Morrigan grinned razory teeth. “Draw me.”

No. “Go away, Morrigan.” No, it’d ruin the composition - sooner or later she’d get to a part that called for it, but oh, why was she still here, why was she looming, why was she lying down?

“You’re sitting on my works,” she breathed, ears pinned back.

“You should draw me,” Morrigan rumbled back in as close to a whisper as she ever came, sounding gleeful.

Something like despair bloomed cool in Rinon’s chest.

——

There is a saying, popular West of here, about history. The Windsinger’s children are not known in particular for record-keeping, but they do have a close, unique, and rather profound relationship with the idea of the passage of time, which may best be summed up in their own words:

“The wise dragon’s wings recall the shape of yesterday’s sky, embrace today’s, and have faith they will know tomorrow’s.”
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png
[quote=Chapter Summary][center][b][u][size=4]Retrofit[/size][/u][/b] The Lightning and Plague Flights go to war. The Ashfall Waste is caught between them. Clan Mirage profits, after some mishaps. 347 words. [size=2][u]Author Note[/u] Written for the LvP Plague raffle door prize entry. Prompt: "What would you/your clan do if you came across a Lightning Golem?" Answer: robot cleaning maid, or something like that. Faes totally speak in Courier.[/size][/center][/quote] The machine ticked and whirred where it lay, shuddering with the motion of cogs knocked loose and one leg pawing futilely at the air. “I found it in the orchard!” Morrigan snarled around a twitching limb. The wires hanging from it sparked and spat blue light, and her audience leaned back as one. “It was stomping around-” “-destroying [i]my trees[/i],” Elowen rumbled, shaking in a cold fury. Naia regarded both Guardians and the mangled heap of golem between them impassively. Most of the clan had formed a tight, curious circle around the scene of the carnage, a disturbance that Elowen would never allow in her nursery under normal circumstances. A brown Pearlcatcher cleared her throat. “The Lightning Flight is known for creating these beings. The steam drudges of the Great Furnace, actually, were adapted from captured golems. Ours are completely mechanical, of course-” [font=courier]“they’re in a scrap with the plague mam,”[/font] Pestel interjected. Flick, flick. Joking lightly, but giving true information. [font=courier]“windword is that her babes set loose little raggedboned beasties and i guess his honored of the thunder isn’t keen to be shown up.”[/font] A full-body laughing ripple. “And what do [i]my trees[/i] have to do with any of that!?” She needed to cut this short and issue orders before Elowen could take matters into her own claws, Naia decided. The rest of the spectators were growing restless, too - Arc had crept forward with wide, fascinated eyes to pick at the golem’s carcass with the tip of his beak, and the two Spirals and their tagalong who were peering over Sargrum’s back were no doubt concocting plans for a daring raid on Lightning territory already. She raised her wings in an authoritative fan, and the wind rose in a circle, ruffling fins and manes all around the ring and silencing each dragon. Each pair of eyes lifted to her small but commanding form. She thought. They waited. [font=courier]“…give it to mirage,”[/font] she stated finally. [i]Steam drudges,[/i] Rinon had said? Their leader-in-name was a metalworker born and bred; surely he could make this nuisance into something useful.
Chapter Summary wrote:
Retrofit

The Lightning and Plague Flights go to war. The Ashfall Waste is caught between them. Clan Mirage profits, after some mishaps. 347 words.

Author Note
Written for the LvP Plague raffle door prize entry. Prompt: "What would you/your clan do if you came across a Lightning Golem?" Answer: robot cleaning maid, or something like that.

Faes totally speak in Courier.

The machine ticked and whirred where it lay, shuddering with the motion of cogs knocked loose and one leg pawing futilely at the air.

“I found it in the orchard!” Morrigan snarled around a twitching limb. The wires hanging from it sparked and spat blue light, and her audience leaned back as one. “It was stomping around-”

“-destroying my trees,” Elowen rumbled, shaking in a cold fury.

Naia regarded both Guardians and the mangled heap of golem between them impassively. Most of the clan had formed a tight, curious circle around the scene of the carnage, a disturbance that Elowen would never allow in her nursery under normal circumstances.

A brown Pearlcatcher cleared her throat. “The Lightning Flight is known for creating these beings. The steam drudges of the Great Furnace, actually, were adapted from captured golems. Ours are completely mechanical, of course-”

“they’re in a scrap with the plague mam,” Pestel interjected. Flick, flick. Joking lightly, but giving true information. “windword is that her babes set loose little raggedboned beasties and i guess his honored of the thunder isn’t keen to be shown up.” A full-body laughing ripple.

“And what do my trees have to do with any of that!?”

She needed to cut this short and issue orders before Elowen could take matters into her own claws, Naia decided. The rest of the spectators were growing restless, too - Arc had crept forward with wide, fascinated eyes to pick at the golem’s carcass with the tip of his beak, and the two Spirals and their tagalong who were peering over Sargrum’s back were no doubt concocting plans for a daring raid on Lightning territory already.

She raised her wings in an authoritative fan, and the wind rose in a circle, ruffling fins and manes all around the ring and silencing each dragon. Each pair of eyes lifted to her small but commanding form.

She thought. They waited.

“…give it to mirage,” she stated finally. Steam drudges, Rinon had said? Their leader-in-name was a metalworker born and bred; surely he could make this nuisance into something useful.
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png
[quote=Chapter Summary][center][b][u][size=4]Fifth Day[/size][/u][/b] Pestel’s allegiances do not lie, but flutter. He reminds himself of this quite regularly. 300 words. [size=2][u]Author Note[/u] Written for the OCDA Mistral Jamboree apparel contest, as the bio portion of Pestel's entry. (He won first place!)[/size][/center][/quote] On the fifth day of every week, a kite lifts into the sky above the Black Bellows and begins to move north - towed by a single fae, and carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo, a miracle of Wind Flight engineering in motion. Some would call it odd, for a spindly fae with blood-red eyes and a roost in the Ashfall to cling so strongly to the Windsinger’s emblem. But Pestel was hatched in the high steppes, and the shout and swoop and jubilant clamor of the Cloudsong is to him as water to a fish, the market reaches of the floating city his playground. His buzzing voice rests at a high, chipper register, and he dons a jaunty cap and paints clouds on his wings to match, to charm the buyers, to coax smiles from hatchlings and gold coins across the counter. On the sixth day of every week, he packs up his own wares and goes to browse others, passing fragrant walls of Labyrinthine flowers and strings of pearls from the Sea, furs from the far south and sleek alloy instruments from the far east. Each breath is nostalgia, and he lives what he loves; the cosmopolitan thrum of a crossroads, a place defined not by its borders but the lack of them, where the wind swells under every wing. Here, he thinks, his eyes could be a delicate green, and he could play at stirring the breeze. On the seventh day of every week, Pestel sits in the Pith watching the glow of lava shift across black stone walls, and in flicks and murmurs, carries stories home. Over Naia’s impassive gaze, a rune in the shape of a cirrus cloud and the color of her eyes pulses softly . On the first day, he begins counting down from five.
Chapter Summary wrote:
Fifth Day

Pestel’s allegiances do not lie, but flutter. He reminds himself of this quite regularly. 300 words.

Author Note
Written for the OCDA Mistral Jamboree apparel contest, as the bio portion of Pestel's entry. (He won first place!)

On the fifth day of every week, a kite lifts into the sky above the Black Bellows and begins to move north - towed by a single fae, and carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo, a miracle of Wind Flight engineering in motion.

Some would call it odd, for a spindly fae with blood-red eyes and a roost in the Ashfall to cling so strongly to the Windsinger’s emblem. But Pestel was hatched in the high steppes, and the shout and swoop and jubilant clamor of the Cloudsong is to him as water to a fish, the market reaches of the floating city his playground. His buzzing voice rests at a high, chipper register, and he dons a jaunty cap and paints clouds on his wings to match, to charm the buyers, to coax smiles from hatchlings and gold coins across the counter.

On the sixth day of every week, he packs up his own wares and goes to browse others, passing fragrant walls of Labyrinthine flowers and strings of pearls from the Sea, furs from the far south and sleek alloy instruments from the far east. Each breath is nostalgia, and he lives what he loves; the cosmopolitan thrum of a crossroads, a place defined not by its borders but the lack of them, where the wind swells under every wing. Here, he thinks, his eyes could be a delicate green, and he could play at stirring the breeze.

On the seventh day of every week, Pestel sits in the Pith watching the glow of lava shift across black stone walls, and in flicks and murmurs, carries stories home. Over Naia’s impassive gaze, a rune in the shape of a cirrus cloud and the color of her eyes pulses softly .

On the first day, he begins counting down from five.
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png
[quote=Chapter Summary][center][b][u][size=4]Walk the Divide[/size][/u][/b] Viper found something. Then, he delivered it to its rightful keepers. 1346 words. [size=2][u]Author Note[/u] Lore regarding a hatchling bought from Etherium, with an accompanying (preceding?) illustration.[/size][/center][/quote] [center][img]http://41.media.tumblr.com/e206467b4c5fb32a177b3b13c519177e/tumblr_nm5qa3NMOR1u2ehrao1_500.png[/img][/center] The sea’s roar wasn’t all that different from the ominous rumble of lava - the quality of it was harsher, speaking more to endless, restless motion, but as Viper picked his way along the cliff descent, he felt the same great rumble rising up against him, as though out of the throat of a vast living thing. At the edges of pits and crevasses, the heat was always there, rising and bearing the voice of the magma with it. Here, it was cold that accompanied the snarling, stinging flecks of sea spray biting at his hide. He wrapped his wings around himself tighter, pressed his fins to his neck, found purchase in the next foothold to slink forward. Viper was a dragon of the land, and he didn’t trust this place where the sea lay in waiting, nor the vicious air currents that tumbled back and forth over the cliffs. That was the idea, he supposed. No dragon needed to guard the gate when you had the elements in raw form doing all the work. The first time he’d visited the Black Bellows, he’d had to follow at that skydancer’s wingtips, and he’d hardly passed the first tunnel before he felt himself lifted up and whisked along. The entrance had spat him out into the central chamber, and he’d nearly crashed when prompted to land, so dizzied was he by the journey. Mirrors weren’t built to fly like that. And they weren’t built to fly a cliff like this, either. Lucky for him and what he carried that they [i]were[/i] built to [i]climb[/i] it. The egg rested delicate between his jaws, a hair’s breadth from destruction. Right then and there, they were alike like that, see. And when he’d first found it, eyes drawn by its Arcane glow, wasn’t it the same? Moss and flowers in a ring in the stark black dust, creation and destruction on a knife’s edge. From there, it traveled this cliff, gliding along the line between fire and water. And he’d bring it to rest in a place on the brink, a sanctuary for dragons denied sanctuary. He could have taken it to Naia, but something about that struck him wrong. Viper had looked at this egg, and though he’d never say it - he wasn’t a superstitious dragon - he’d thought he’d felt it looking back. It had stared at him, unafraid. He liked the Black Bellows. He liked its dragons. But he sensed that dragons there sank into…into a sort of quilted shape, haphazardness stitched up into harmony by Naia’s placid gaze. Too much safety. Too much surety. No place for a mystery of an egg that already knew danger and thought to look it in the eye. This last stretch would be the most hazardous, with the tide high and the path into the Ashencove flooded. Viper paused. The motion of the waves surged back and forth - he crouched, tensed, leaped and hit the water. Salt rushed into his jaws around the shape of the egg, and he threw his head back, straining to hold it above water. He’d timed it wrong - the water pulled him back not unlike the winds of the Bellows, swallowing him, then seized his body and flung him forward again, towards rock - Viper opened his wings and flapped wildly, flailing, until his claws found sand and with a desperate jump and scrabble he dragged himself out of the deeps and onto the shore inside the cave, collapsing onto his belly and shuddering, spitting water around the egg and wheezing out of the sides of his beak. How long he lay there, he couldn’t tell. Long enough for him to stop shaking and feel cold and numb instead, and for the light from the egg to burn itself into his eyes, such that when he finally let it roll onto the sandy ground and looked up, his greater eyes blinked uselessly into the darkness and his lesser eyes weren’t much better. He heard them before he saw them, in fact. A vague warbling - vague to him, at least - hardly audible above the roll of waves outside. Viper shook himself and stood, limbs still quivering slightly, letting the egg rest against his foretalons. “Evening,” he rasped into the darkness. “Don’t know about good.” No response. As he blinked, the darkness began to resolve itself; heat signatures first, the warm shapes of Fire-born dragons appearing as firm pulses in a field of cool depth. The third one came into view along with the bauble he carried, red speck of light and dull speck of fae body heat guttering near the top of the cavern, perched like his namesake. Mirrors were easy conversations. A greeting, a little walk around one another and a sniff, and you’d be off to share a kill. Coatls weren’t usually hard, either. These ones, though, the haunts of the Ashencove, Viper had suspected them to be prickly sorts. He couldn’t blame them. He reached down and took up the egg between his jaws again, muzzling himself. He knew he struck an imposing figure, with broad, scarred shoulders and stout wings. But to be carrying an egg in your mouth was an unthreatening kind of way to be, so long as it wasn’t the egg of the poor dragon you faced. And carefully, as though accepting the cue, the coatls slunk forward, ash-pale feathers pasted against their hides, eyes bright like coals and fixed unblinking on Viper. [i]“What is that?” “What are you doing here?”[/i] He couldn’t answer around the egg. Viper strode forward to meet them, letting them break around him like a wave rippling around a rock, slipping past his flanks and reappearing in front of him. He wasn’t superstitious, but the color of their plumage aside, he could see how the pair could be called eerie. They moved like…snakes, or like smoke, seeming to ripple even when he was sure they stood still. And the fear in their eyes - that was fear, he was certain of it - was nestled just beyond a spark-brightness, like a mirror’s hunger, the whittled-down savagery of a hunter compelled to be so by their own need. They shuffled forward and tasted the air, tongues nearly flicking against the end of Viper’s snout, then shrank back. The paler one warbled again. [i]“Whose egg is that?”[/i] That was as good a cue as any to set the thing down, he thought. So he did, and nudged it with his nose - it rolled a trail through the dark sand and came to rest before the pair, still glowing violet, arcane sparks detaching from it and flickering up through the air. “Yours.” They both stared at him. Viper flicked his tail and started to turn. It should explain itself. The dragons here were eerie and peculiar, but they weren’t evil, and he wasn’t stupid. They would care for it, if he left it here. [i]“Wait.”[/i] “I’ve got a hunt to get back to.” He turned his head and looked back over his wing, though, gave them a grin that was all teeth. He saw their eyes fixed on him, expressions blank but no doubt frozen in shock, and he saw the ghastly little fae drop from the ceiling to inspect the egg himself. “Don’t you worry, it’s a tough one.” He was forced to pause to consider how to confront the way out, which broke the smoothness of his exit a little. But they didn’t speak up again, and they didn’t come after him, and when Viper gave one last glance over his shoulder he saw the three outcasts huddled around the egg and staring at it like it might disappear before their eyes. He saw little flowers winding out around them, too, frail little signs of life blooming in the night beneath specters of bone and ash. He wasn’t superstitious, but that seemed a good sign. He carried it with him through the tide and up the cliff, from the silver-black night of the seaside to the stained-orange night of the volcanic inland, crossing the divides as he went.
Chapter Summary wrote:
Walk the Divide

Viper found something. Then, he delivered it to its rightful keepers. 1346 words.

Author Note
Lore regarding a hatchling bought from Etherium, with an accompanying (preceding?) illustration.
tumblr_nm5qa3NMOR1u2ehrao1_500.png


The sea’s roar wasn’t all that different from the ominous rumble of lava - the quality of it was harsher, speaking more to endless, restless motion, but as Viper picked his way along the cliff descent, he felt the same great rumble rising up against him, as though out of the throat of a vast living thing. At the edges of pits and crevasses, the heat was always there, rising and bearing the voice of the magma with it. Here, it was cold that accompanied the snarling, stinging flecks of sea spray biting at his hide.

He wrapped his wings around himself tighter, pressed his fins to his neck, found purchase in the next foothold to slink forward. Viper was a dragon of the land, and he didn’t trust this place where the sea lay in waiting, nor the vicious air currents that tumbled back and forth over the cliffs. That was the idea, he supposed. No dragon needed to guard the gate when you had the elements in raw form doing all the work. The first time he’d visited the Black Bellows, he’d had to follow at that skydancer’s wingtips, and he’d hardly passed the first tunnel before he felt himself lifted up and whisked along. The entrance had spat him out into the central chamber, and he’d nearly crashed when prompted to land, so dizzied was he by the journey. Mirrors weren’t built to fly like that.

And they weren’t built to fly a cliff like this, either. Lucky for him and what he carried that they were built to climb it.

The egg rested delicate between his jaws, a hair’s breadth from destruction. Right then and there, they were alike like that, see. And when he’d first found it, eyes drawn by its Arcane glow, wasn’t it the same? Moss and flowers in a ring in the stark black dust, creation and destruction on a knife’s edge. From there, it traveled this cliff, gliding along the line between fire and water. And he’d bring it to rest in a place on the brink, a sanctuary for dragons denied sanctuary. He could have taken it to Naia, but something about that struck him wrong. Viper had looked at this egg, and though he’d never say it - he wasn’t a superstitious dragon - he’d thought he’d felt it looking back. It had stared at him, unafraid.

He liked the Black Bellows. He liked its dragons. But he sensed that dragons there sank into…into a sort of quilted shape, haphazardness stitched up into harmony by Naia’s placid gaze. Too much safety. Too much surety. No place for a mystery of an egg that already knew danger and thought to look it in the eye.

This last stretch would be the most hazardous, with the tide high and the path into the Ashencove flooded. Viper paused. The motion of the waves surged back and forth - he crouched, tensed, leaped and hit the water. Salt rushed into his jaws around the shape of the egg, and he threw his head back, straining to hold it above water. He’d timed it wrong - the water pulled him back not unlike the winds of the Bellows, swallowing him, then seized his body and flung him forward again, towards rock - Viper opened his wings and flapped wildly, flailing, until his claws found sand and with a desperate jump and scrabble he dragged himself out of the deeps and onto the shore inside the cave, collapsing onto his belly and shuddering, spitting water around the egg and wheezing out of the sides of his beak.

How long he lay there, he couldn’t tell. Long enough for him to stop shaking and feel cold and numb instead, and for the light from the egg to burn itself into his eyes, such that when he finally let it roll onto the sandy ground and looked up, his greater eyes blinked uselessly into the darkness and his lesser eyes weren’t much better.

He heard them before he saw them, in fact. A vague warbling - vague to him, at least - hardly audible above the roll of waves outside. Viper shook himself and stood, limbs still quivering slightly, letting the egg rest against his foretalons.

“Evening,” he rasped into the darkness. “Don’t know about good.”

No response. As he blinked, the darkness began to resolve itself; heat signatures first, the warm shapes of Fire-born dragons appearing as firm pulses in a field of cool depth. The third one came into view along with the bauble he carried, red speck of light and dull speck of fae body heat guttering near the top of the cavern, perched like his namesake.

Mirrors were easy conversations. A greeting, a little walk around one another and a sniff, and you’d be off to share a kill. Coatls weren’t usually hard, either. These ones, though, the haunts of the Ashencove, Viper had suspected them to be prickly sorts. He couldn’t blame them.

He reached down and took up the egg between his jaws again, muzzling himself. He knew he struck an imposing figure, with broad, scarred shoulders and stout wings. But to be carrying an egg in your mouth was an unthreatening kind of way to be, so long as it wasn’t the egg of the poor dragon you faced.

And carefully, as though accepting the cue, the coatls slunk forward, ash-pale feathers pasted against their hides, eyes bright like coals and fixed unblinking on Viper.

“What is that?”

“What are you doing here?”


He couldn’t answer around the egg. Viper strode forward to meet them, letting them break around him like a wave rippling around a rock, slipping past his flanks and reappearing in front of him. He wasn’t superstitious, but the color of their plumage aside, he could see how the pair could be called eerie. They moved like…snakes, or like smoke, seeming to ripple even when he was sure they stood still. And the fear in their eyes - that was fear, he was certain of it - was nestled just beyond a spark-brightness, like a mirror’s hunger, the whittled-down savagery of a hunter compelled to be so by their own need.

They shuffled forward and tasted the air, tongues nearly flicking against the end of Viper’s snout, then shrank back. The paler one warbled again.

“Whose egg is that?”

That was as good a cue as any to set the thing down, he thought. So he did, and nudged it with his nose - it rolled a trail through the dark sand and came to rest before the pair, still glowing violet, arcane sparks detaching from it and flickering up through the air.

“Yours.”

They both stared at him.

Viper flicked his tail and started to turn. It should explain itself. The dragons here were eerie and peculiar, but they weren’t evil, and he wasn’t stupid. They would care for it, if he left it here.

“Wait.”

“I’ve got a hunt to get back to.” He turned his head and looked back over his wing, though, gave them a grin that was all teeth. He saw their eyes fixed on him, expressions blank but no doubt frozen in shock, and he saw the ghastly little fae drop from the ceiling to inspect the egg himself. “Don’t you worry, it’s a tough one.”

He was forced to pause to consider how to confront the way out, which broke the smoothness of his exit a little. But they didn’t speak up again, and they didn’t come after him, and when Viper gave one last glance over his shoulder he saw the three outcasts huddled around the egg and staring at it like it might disappear before their eyes. He saw little flowers winding out around them, too, frail little signs of life blooming in the night beneath specters of bone and ash.

He wasn’t superstitious, but that seemed a good sign. He carried it with him through the tide and up the cliff, from the silver-black night of the seaside to the stained-orange night of the volcanic inland, crossing the divides as he went.
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png
[quote=Chapter Summary][center][b][u][size=4]Turning Points[/size][/u][/b] Time to hit the road. 280 words. [size=2][u]Author Note[/u] TIME TO REHAUL EVERYTHING. Got rid of a bunch of dragons, but they still exist in background lore; Florry and Crow are now a traveling party. Florry hit the age where you realize your parents are people and Crow is trying really really hard not to be a wreck.[/size][/center][/quote] “Crow, what are you [i]wearing?[/i]” The fae wrung his talons together, little huffs and stuttery breaths catching the edge of his hood. His fins flicked - sideways, in the direction of the tideway, outward. Indicating, in his way, [i]They came from outside[/i], or [i]Viper brought them[/i]. Even Florry’s shocked question seemed quiet, hushed by the privacy that had crept in to cocoon them. Soft moss flickered low on the cavern walls, cool and damp and smelling of magic, its flowers leaning in dutifully to shelter their secrets. “[font=courier]so i can go,[/font]” Crow managed, wings hunching defensively. He jabbed his neck out, gesturing again, at Florry this time, and Florry lifted his chin in surprise. “[font=courier]because. i am.[/font]” There was no argument to make. If there was, Florry had never been one to make them. [i]Ruling[/i] was nothing he intended. He leaned forward, wings spreading as if to cup his caretaker in an embrace. It was so strange, as he grew, how Crow could be solid one moment and glasslike the next. If it had been like this before, he had taken it for granted in his youth. So much was like that. Was that a universal experience? “There’s danger out there,” he cautioned. “[font=courier]i know,[/font]” Crow answered, and for another dragon’s voice he might have snapped it. Florry felt very stupid all at once. There were whole realms to Crow he had never thought to ask about, a gulf between them that could only be filled pebble by pebble. But that was what this whole plan was about, wasn’t it? He bent, and pressed his chin to the top of Crow’s hood. Crow twitched, then eased. “Then we leave tomorrow.”
Chapter Summary wrote:
Turning Points

Time to hit the road. 280 words.

Author Note
TIME TO REHAUL EVERYTHING. Got rid of a bunch of dragons, but they still exist in background lore; Florry and Crow are now a traveling party. Florry hit the age where you realize your parents are people and Crow is trying really really hard not to be a wreck.

“Crow, what are you wearing?

The fae wrung his talons together, little huffs and stuttery breaths catching the edge of his hood. His fins flicked - sideways, in the direction of the tideway, outward. Indicating, in his way, They came from outside, or Viper brought them.

Even Florry’s shocked question seemed quiet, hushed by the privacy that had crept in to cocoon them. Soft moss flickered low on the cavern walls, cool and damp and smelling of magic, its flowers leaning in dutifully to shelter their secrets.

so i can go,” Crow managed, wings hunching defensively. He jabbed his neck out, gesturing again, at Florry this time, and Florry lifted his chin in surprise. “because. i am.

There was no argument to make. If there was, Florry had never been one to make them. Ruling was nothing he intended.

He leaned forward, wings spreading as if to cup his caretaker in an embrace. It was so strange, as he grew, how Crow could be solid one moment and glasslike the next. If it had been like this before, he had taken it for granted in his youth. So much was like that. Was that a universal experience?

“There’s danger out there,” he cautioned.

i know,” Crow answered, and for another dragon’s voice he might have snapped it. Florry felt very stupid all at once. There were whole realms to Crow he had never thought to ask about, a gulf between them that could only be filled pebble by pebble.

But that was what this whole plan was about, wasn’t it?

He bent, and pressed his chin to the top of Crow’s hood. Crow twitched, then eased.

“Then we leave tomorrow.”
iiJfkW7.pngHYKufkZ.png8H57y7U.png