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TOPIC | Lore of the Island of Prufrock
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[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]Introduction[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- Introduction | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/Ssnjyqq.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/GqCYo3Z.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/MjhcEqa.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/0DjJJeq.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/gbzmCjn.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/gLKyC1J.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/C4p7R9l.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/V2CeOLQ.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/eQ6UJL0.png[/img][/center] Welcome to the island of Prufrock, home to a clan of librarians, scholars, craftsdragons, and spirits. The clan's territory in the Starfall Isles extends onto the mainland, notably the town of Lantern Port and the surrounding area. A tundra dragon named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463138]Emrys[/url] founded a library in a vast stone spire on the island of Prufrock. He was aided in the achievement of his dream by his mate, the guardian [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463139]Elyta[/url]. Many visiting scholars came to make use of the library, but the population of the island remained transient until an exiled ice coatl named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23384612]Eztli[/url] asked permission to found a coatl colony on Prufrock. Because of this, coatl dragons usually constitute a slight majority, though all breeds have at one time or another called the island home. The library spire near the island's center is the heart of the clan, both geographically and metaphorically. Most of the residents dwell in the cliffside lairs of Coatl Cove, though others live and work in Lantern Port on the mainland. The clan's territory includes a native grove of peach trees from whose blossoms the clan adopted their stylized symbol. This symbol is stamped on all of the clan's tomes and scrolls, and dragons with petaled hides are viewed as particularly auspicious. Due to the clan being located at a weak spot along the veil that divides the world of dragons from the spirit realm, the clan's dragons live and work alongside spirits, some of whom have manifested a physical form, taking on the shapes of dragons to better communicate with the island's denizens. [center][url=http://imgur.com/NN4Hniy][img]http://i.imgur.com/NN4Hniy.jpg[/img][/url][/center] [right]----------------------------- [i]Credits: Books by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=230661]Luminaries[/url] from [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/adopt/1840461]The Library[/url], map by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=4416]Skylark[/url][/i][/right]
RVFTX3e.png


Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png

Welcome to the island of Prufrock, home to a clan of librarians, scholars, craftsdragons, and spirits. The clan's territory in the Starfall Isles extends onto the mainland, notably the town of Lantern Port and the surrounding area.

A tundra dragon named Emrys founded a library in a vast stone spire on the island of Prufrock. He was aided in the achievement of his dream by his mate, the guardian Elyta. Many visiting scholars came to make use of the library, but the population of the island remained transient until an exiled ice coatl named Eztli asked permission to found a coatl colony on Prufrock. Because of this, coatl dragons usually constitute a slight majority, though all breeds have at one time or another called the island home.

The library spire near the island's center is the heart of the clan, both geographically and metaphorically. Most of the residents dwell in the cliffside lairs of Coatl Cove, though others live and work in Lantern Port on the mainland.

The clan's territory includes a native grove of peach trees from whose blossoms the clan adopted their stylized symbol. This symbol is stamped on all of the clan's tomes and scrolls, and dragons with petaled hides are viewed as particularly auspicious.

Due to the clan being located at a weak spot along the veil that divides the world of dragons from the spirit realm, the clan's dragons live and work alongside spirits, some of whom have manifested a physical form, taking on the shapes of dragons to better communicate with the island's denizens.


NN4Hniy.jpg




Credits: Books by Luminaries from The Library, map by Skylark
Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]The Island of Prufrock[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | The Island of Prufrock | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] The island known to its inhabitants as Prufrock is situated north of a region of the Starfall Isles that juts out into the sea. It is in the southern part of arcane territory close to the northernmost regions of the Southern Icefield. Though temperate much of the year, shifting arcane energies and proximity to the cold weather of the Frigid Floes, strong winds from the Windswept Plateau, and the occasional storm off the ocean make for erratic weather patterns. The southeast end of Prufrock is the island's highest point. The cliffs of Coatl Cove tower above the sea, sloping gently downhill toward the library spire at the island's center and dropping off steeply above Terrace Beach. Most of the residential lairs on the island are carved into the pink and grey striated stone of the cliff's side, protected from all but the strongest of storms by the cove. The rows of lairs honeycombing the cliffs can be accessed by a series of stairs, ramps, balconies, and walkways, but there are a handful that can only be reached by flying, and as the paths were created with the coatl majority in mind, some of the clan's largest and smallest residents have to use the byways creatively. The clan founder, Emrys, helped to sculpt the caves and terraces with geomancy. He also worked with other mages and craftsdragons to install water and sewage systems, electric lights generated by tidal power, and rudimentary heating through geothermal vents. Nearly all of the lairs have stout wooden doors and thick glass windows to better protect against the elements when the rare storm breaks through the cove's defenses. While a few dragons prefer to dwell near the tideline for ease of access to the water, most live higher up the cliffs. The lairs of the island's permanent residents vary greatly in size, content, and layout, but some small lairs with basic amenities have been set aside for the use of visitors. Tapestries and rugs are used to soften the stone walls and floors, and cushions and blankets provide bedding for dragons of all sizes. Most dragons bathe in the pools atop the cliff, but all lairs contain spigots and sinks. Due to the scholarly nature of the majority of the residents, nearly all residences boast a table that spends much time doubling as a desk and at least one bookshelf. Communal buildings, most of them constructed of stone with slate roofs, form a small village on top of the cliffs. One of the most prominent (and popular) is a dining hall attached to a large kitchen, where a chef prepares food for residents who desire to eat with others; those who keep odd hours or forget to eat at normal times can always access the pantries and cellars where the clan's stores of food are kept and prepare a meal or snack for themselves. A small copper-domed shrine containing statues of the deities and tiled mosaics sits near the dining hall. Another prominent building, the assembly hall, has enough space for nearly all of the clan's dragons to meet under its roof, though it's more commonly used by scholars working on projects too large for the library, pairs and groups of dragons engaged in games of strategy and chance, and planning meetings. The clan's administrators and leaders maintain offices there. Also on the clifftop is a guardhouse through which patrols of the island and Lantern Port are coordinated, which is next to two training arenas – one for warriors, and one for mages. Both training areas are pits delved into the cliff top. The mage arena has wards that are activated when anyone is practicing to help prevent stray spells or blasts of energy from escaping, while the warrior arena has a hatchling-sized guardrail around the perimeter to keep curious hatchlings (or clumsy scholars) from accidentally tumbling in. There is also a smaller indoor training arena for when the weather is inclement. Weapons, armor, and other protective gear, both magical and mundane, are kept in the guardhouse. A cluster of dwellings constructed for the moon spirits sits atop the side of the cliffs overlooking Terrace Beach. The moon spirit dwellings are round towers of gleaming white stone, built to their specifications by the draconic denizens of Prufrock. The towers are topped by conical roofs dotted with round skylights. The roofs are tiled, and each tile is stamped with a phase of the moon. A path leads down to the bathing and recreation pools on the side overlooking the ocean to the east. Bathhouses contain a few pools for those who prefer to bathe indoors as well as supplies of soap, towels, and cubbies to store belongings. The majority of the pools are out under the sky and stars. Though they vary vastly in shapes and sizes and temperatures, all of the pools are clean and clear, created and maintained through a combination of magic and mundane technology. Some of them overlook the sea, while others are secluded from the wind behind a strand of starwood trees. Lights are hung from these trees on dark nights to provide some illumination for nighttime bathers. [center][url=http://imgur.com/RVsu6EL][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVsu6EL.png[/img][/url][/center] A series of slopes and steps lead down from the communal buildings and the pools toward the library spire at the island's center. The pathways are paved with crushed oyster shells which reflect the light of the moon and stars and aid in navigation at night, and they wind their way past the clan's nesting grounds and a series of tranquil and functional gardens – some contain flowers or herbs, others simply gravel and stone, still others exquisite sculptures. Many visitors to the library enjoy taking the occasional break to stroll through these gardens. The path dead-ends at the library's main entrance, which opens into a twisting labyrinth of rooms housing an ever-expanding collection of scrolls and tomes. Next to the library is a heavily warded laboratory where alchemists and scientists can freely conduct experiments without fear of damaging either library materials or the clan's residents. Two paths lead westward from the library spire, though both are infrequently used by the island's dragons – one leads to Michelangelo's Cave, said to be the residence of ghosts, while the other curves south down gardened terraces toward Terrace Beach. Most dragons access the beach via the stairs carved into the cliffside that lead down from the lairs of Coatl Cove or through flight, but a few prefer the somewhat more gentle slopes of the path from the library. In addition to being the landing point for both the ferry that transports visitors and goods from Lantern Port and any visiting vessels, the beach is a popular spot for parties and celebrations when the weather is fair. A magically enforced stone cylinder provides a fire pit that can contain the wildest of magical bonfires, though it is often buried by the beach's shifting sands in between parties. A cluster of round tents on the beach between the dock and Michelangelo's Cave houses any visiting underworld spirits, and revelers make sure to stay well away from them unless the spirits themselves venture forth to join in. Another path leads north from the library through a large grove of peach trees, inhabited by peach tree spirits, and into a strand of starwood trees. The spirits allow the peaches to be harvested, leading to many delicious peach-flavored delicacies being consumed and exported by the clan, but though peaceful to stroll through, the starwood strand is too small to provide much in the way of bounty for hunters and foragers. Those activities generally take place in regions under the control of the clan on the mainland. Lazarus Rock off the west coast of the island is small and uninhabited by dragons, but it boasts picturesque peach trees and makes a nice spot for romantic picnics. It is also the location in the clan's territory where the boundary between the spirit and mortal realms is at its thinnest. There is a maze of tunnels beneath the island's surface which predates the clan, most of which is still being discovered and mapped. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Library Spire[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] [columns][center] [img]http://i.imgur.com/UC1TJnt.png[/img][/center][nextcol] [color=black][size=4]The heart of the island of Prufrock both physically and magically, the twisting pink spire that houses the library has absorbed much magic over its existence - the sort cast by dragons and spirits, the ambient arcane power of the Starfall Isles, and the eddying wisps that steal out from the weak spots in the veil that separates the world of dragons from the spirit realm. Emrys, with the assistance of various residents and visitors, has reinforced that magic. He etched an intricate magical circle in the stone under the spire's foundation that forms a baseline for all of the protective and defensive spells infused in the spire's structure. Magical security is present in every detail of the library's construction. All of the woods and metals used in the library's doors, desks, rafters, and shelves have magical properties and are inscribed with runes of preservation and conservation. Though most dragons enter through the elaborately carved and runed starwood door that forms the main entrance on the ground level, other dragons fly in through the windows that dot the spire's outer surface or gain access through underground tunnels. The tunnels extend outward from under the spire to various locations in the clan's territory, and like the spire itself, they long predate the clan's presence on the island. Library entrances are usually only guarded by light wards, but all can be quickly sealed in the event of an attack. Winding, curving corridors within the spire connect the various sections of the library. The walls of the corridors are interrupted by many nooks and crannies, some of which contain random collections of scrolls and texts, others spare shelves and bookends. Most nooks have been purposed as study areas with tables and cushions, well illuminated with mage lights in lanterns. Though the glow cast by the lights isn't pink, it appears rosy due to the hue of the stone walls.[/size][/color][/columns] Corridors twisting up from the underground archives and storage caverns eventually intersect with those that branch off the main entrance at ground level and lead upward until they broaden and give way to the reference library, a vast room filled with a maze of shelves housing books and tomes. Cubbyholes filled with scrolls and rolled maps line most of the walls. Stained glass windows are placed at intervals around the outer walls of the spire, though care was taken so that none of the materials fall within the sun's rays. Cushions made from sturdy yet comfortable materials and tables of varying shapes and sizes are arranged near the windows for the use of scholars conducting research. Though all parts of the library (and some areas outside of the library, such as the separate building housing the laboratory where dragons experiment with alchemy and science) contain some spell books, the most powerful of them are housed in their own library in the upper regions of the spire, protected by a heavily runed and warded door made of starwood. Within that library, the ceiling is tall, far higher than the corridor just outside the doorway, extending up into the stone of the spire and reinforced by wooden rafters. Mismatched shelves made of all types of woods and metals line the walls. Some are fitted with cabinet doors to further contain the texts; others are lined with chains or inscribed with runes similar to the ones on the door. The materials themselves are equally eclectic - some just piles of pages in a stack, some bound in leather or the hide of some unknown creature, some with cases encrusted with precious gems, some rolled and tied with spelled string, some bound shut by glued-on strips of runed paper. Some books have legs; others have wings, and several have eyes that blink at visitors out of the gloom. It is dimmer in this room than in most sections of the library, as some of the materials appear to be absorbing the light as fast as the mage lights create it. The vast chamber is never entirely silent - there is always a faint rustling sound and an even softer echo of moans and grunts. An observatory housing the majority of the astronomy texts as well as an elaborate and intricate telescope occupies the room at the peak of the spire. [right]----------------------------- [i]Credits: Map by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=4416]Skylark[/url], library spire by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=99586]Armistice[/url][/i][/right]
RVFTX3e.png


The island known to its inhabitants as Prufrock is situated north of a region of the Starfall Isles that juts out into the sea. It is in the southern part of arcane territory close to the northernmost regions of the Southern Icefield. Though temperate much of the year, shifting arcane energies and proximity to the cold weather of the Frigid Floes, strong winds from the Windswept Plateau, and the occasional storm off the ocean make for erratic weather patterns.

The southeast end of Prufrock is the island's highest point. The cliffs of Coatl Cove tower above the sea, sloping gently downhill toward the library spire at the island's center and dropping off steeply above Terrace Beach. Most of the residential lairs on the island are carved into the pink and grey striated stone of the cliff's side, protected from all but the strongest of storms by the cove. The rows of lairs honeycombing the cliffs can be accessed by a series of stairs, ramps, balconies, and walkways, but there are a handful that can only be reached by flying, and as the paths were created with the coatl majority in mind, some of the clan's largest and smallest residents have to use the byways creatively.

The clan founder, Emrys, helped to sculpt the caves and terraces with geomancy. He also worked with other mages and craftsdragons to install water and sewage systems, electric lights generated by tidal power, and rudimentary heating through geothermal vents. Nearly all of the lairs have stout wooden doors and thick glass windows to better protect against the elements when the rare storm breaks through the cove's defenses. While a few dragons prefer to dwell near the tideline for ease of access to the water, most live higher up the cliffs.

The lairs of the island's permanent residents vary greatly in size, content, and layout, but some small lairs with basic amenities have been set aside for the use of visitors. Tapestries and rugs are used to soften the stone walls and floors, and cushions and blankets provide bedding for dragons of all sizes. Most dragons bathe in the pools atop the cliff, but all lairs contain spigots and sinks. Due to the scholarly nature of the majority of the residents, nearly all residences boast a table that spends much time doubling as a desk and at least one bookshelf.

Communal buildings, most of them constructed of stone with slate roofs, form a small village on top of the cliffs. One of the most prominent (and popular) is a dining hall attached to a large kitchen, where a chef prepares food for residents who desire to eat with others; those who keep odd hours or forget to eat at normal times can always access the pantries and cellars where the clan's stores of food are kept and prepare a meal or snack for themselves. A small copper-domed shrine containing statues of the deities and tiled mosaics sits near the dining hall.

Another prominent building, the assembly hall, has enough space for nearly all of the clan's dragons to meet under its roof, though it's more commonly used by scholars working on projects too large for the library, pairs and groups of dragons engaged in games of strategy and chance, and planning meetings. The clan's administrators and leaders maintain offices there.

Also on the clifftop is a guardhouse through which patrols of the island and Lantern Port are coordinated, which is next to two training arenas – one for warriors, and one for mages. Both training areas are pits delved into the cliff top. The mage arena has wards that are activated when anyone is practicing to help prevent stray spells or blasts of energy from escaping, while the warrior arena has a hatchling-sized guardrail around the perimeter to keep curious hatchlings (or clumsy scholars) from accidentally tumbling in. There is also a smaller indoor training arena for when the weather is inclement. Weapons, armor, and other protective gear, both magical and mundane, are kept in the guardhouse.

A cluster of dwellings constructed for the moon spirits sits atop the side of the cliffs overlooking Terrace Beach. The moon spirit dwellings are round towers of gleaming white stone, built to their specifications by the draconic denizens of Prufrock. The towers are topped by conical roofs dotted with round skylights. The roofs are tiled, and each tile is stamped with a phase of the moon.

A path leads down to the bathing and recreation pools on the side overlooking the ocean to the east. Bathhouses contain a few pools for those who prefer to bathe indoors as well as supplies of soap, towels, and cubbies to store belongings. The majority of the pools are out under the sky and stars. Though they vary vastly in shapes and sizes and temperatures, all of the pools are clean and clear, created and maintained through a combination of magic and mundane technology. Some of them overlook the sea, while others are secluded from the wind behind a strand of starwood trees. Lights are hung from these trees on dark nights to provide some illumination for nighttime bathers.


RVsu6EL.png


A series of slopes and steps lead down from the communal buildings and the pools toward the library spire at the island's center. The pathways are paved with crushed oyster shells which reflect the light of the moon and stars and aid in navigation at night, and they wind their way past the clan's nesting grounds and a series of tranquil and functional gardens – some contain flowers or herbs, others simply gravel and stone, still others exquisite sculptures. Many visitors to the library enjoy taking the occasional break to stroll through these gardens.

The path dead-ends at the library's main entrance, which opens into a twisting labyrinth of rooms housing an ever-expanding collection of scrolls and tomes. Next to the library is a heavily warded laboratory where alchemists and scientists can freely conduct experiments without fear of damaging either library materials or the clan's residents.

Two paths lead westward from the library spire, though both are infrequently used by the island's dragons – one leads to Michelangelo's Cave, said to be the residence of ghosts, while the other curves south down gardened terraces toward Terrace Beach. Most dragons access the beach via the stairs carved into the cliffside that lead down from the lairs of Coatl Cove or through flight, but a few prefer the somewhat more gentle slopes of the path from the library.

In addition to being the landing point for both the ferry that transports visitors and goods from Lantern Port and any visiting vessels, the beach is a popular spot for parties and celebrations when the weather is fair. A magically enforced stone cylinder provides a fire pit that can contain the wildest of magical bonfires, though it is often buried by the beach's shifting sands in between parties.

A cluster of round tents on the beach between the dock and Michelangelo's Cave houses any visiting underworld spirits, and revelers make sure to stay well away from them unless the spirits themselves venture forth to join in.

Another path leads north from the library through a large grove of peach trees, inhabited by peach tree spirits, and into a strand of starwood trees. The spirits allow the peaches to be harvested, leading to many delicious peach-flavored delicacies being consumed and exported by the clan, but though peaceful to stroll through, the starwood strand is too small to provide much in the way of bounty for hunters and foragers. Those activities generally take place in regions under the control of the clan on the mainland.

Lazarus Rock off the west coast of the island is small and uninhabited by dragons, but it boasts picturesque peach trees and makes a nice spot for romantic picnics. It is also the location in the clan's territory where the boundary between the spirit and mortal realms is at its thinnest.

There is a maze of tunnels beneath the island's surface which predates the clan, most of which is still being discovered and mapped.



The Library Spire
UC1TJnt.png

The heart of the island of Prufrock both physically and magically, the twisting pink spire that houses the library has absorbed much magic over its existence - the sort cast by dragons and spirits, the ambient arcane power of the Starfall Isles, and the eddying wisps that steal out from the weak spots in the veil that separates the world of dragons from the spirit realm. Emrys, with the assistance of various residents and visitors, has reinforced that magic. He etched an intricate magical circle in the stone under the spire's foundation that forms a baseline for all of the protective and defensive spells infused in the spire's structure. Magical security is present in every detail of the library's construction. All of the woods and metals used in the library's doors, desks, rafters, and shelves have magical properties and are inscribed with runes of preservation and conservation. Though most dragons enter through the elaborately carved and runed starwood door that forms the main entrance on the ground level, other dragons fly in through the windows that dot the spire's outer surface or gain access through underground tunnels. The tunnels extend outward from under the spire to various locations in the clan's territory, and like the spire itself, they long predate the clan's presence on the island. Library entrances are usually only guarded by light wards, but all can be quickly sealed in the event of an attack.

Winding, curving corridors within the spire connect the various sections of the library. The walls of the corridors are interrupted by many nooks and crannies, some of which contain random collections of scrolls and texts, others spare shelves and bookends. Most nooks have been purposed as study areas with tables and cushions, well illuminated with mage lights in lanterns. Though the glow cast by the lights isn't pink, it appears rosy due to the hue of the stone walls.

Corridors twisting up from the underground archives and storage caverns eventually intersect with those that branch off the main entrance at ground level and lead upward until they broaden and give way to the reference library, a vast room filled with a maze of shelves housing books and tomes. Cubbyholes filled with scrolls and rolled maps line most of the walls. Stained glass windows are placed at intervals around the outer walls of the spire, though care was taken so that none of the materials fall within the sun's rays. Cushions made from sturdy yet comfortable materials and tables of varying shapes and sizes are arranged near the windows for the use of scholars conducting research.

Though all parts of the library (and some areas outside of the library, such as the separate building housing the laboratory where dragons experiment with alchemy and science) contain some spell books, the most powerful of them are housed in their own library in the upper regions of the spire, protected by a heavily runed and warded door made of starwood. Within that library, the ceiling is tall, far higher than the corridor just outside the doorway, extending up into the stone of the spire and reinforced by wooden rafters. Mismatched shelves made of all types of woods and metals line the walls. Some are fitted with cabinet doors to further contain the texts; others are lined with chains or inscribed with runes similar to the ones on the door. The materials themselves are equally eclectic - some just piles of pages in a stack, some bound in leather or the hide of some unknown creature, some with cases encrusted with precious gems, some rolled and tied with spelled string, some bound shut by glued-on strips of runed paper. Some books have legs; others have wings, and several have eyes that blink at visitors out of the gloom. It is dimmer in this room than in most sections of the library, as some of the materials appear to be absorbing the light as fast as the mage lights create it. The vast chamber is never entirely silent - there is always a faint rustling sound and an even softer echo of moans and grunts.

An observatory housing the majority of the astronomy texts as well as an elaborate and intricate telescope occupies the room at the peak of the spire.




Credits: Map by Skylark, library spire by Armistice
Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]Lantern Port[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | Lantern Port | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] In addition to the island of Prufrock, the clan has also laid claim to some territory on the mainland around the walled town of Lantern Port. On clear days, the island is readily visible across the channel of sea that separates it from the mainland, the tall library spire in the center prominent even from such a distance. The town's streets are overlaid with crushed oyster shells, and its walls and cluster of buildings are made of carefully cut stone and brick and intricately carved and runed starwood and other native woods. Bright banners and signs hang from many of the shop's entryways, and planters filled with flowering vegetation are aesthetically placed around the businesses. The port itself contains a dock for the ferry that makes frequent trips from the port to the island as well as a small harbor for ships. A lighthouse whose beam guides both sailing vessels and flying dragons is lit by magic, and the light changes color to communicate various messages and warnings. Records of both ships and dragons that arrive and depart are kept in the lighthouse and maintained by its keeper, [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=24754122]Evrain[/url]. Most of the dragons who work in Lantern Port reside in the lairs of Coatl Cove, but a few who either can't easily make the trip or else don't care to do so on a daily basis maintain apartments in town. Nearly all of the town's shops have apartments above or beside them. The Moonshadow Market, run by the tundra [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23943034]Nathaniel[/url], provides booths for residents and visitors to sell and trade their wares. Wooden poles hold a roof above the booths and stalls, most of which are occupied by artisans and craftsdragons during festivals or when there are many ships in port. Large swathes of canvas encircle the poles during the winter months or in times of bad weather, but usually the market is open to the sun and the sea breeze. The back of the market is arrayed like a general store. Some of the items for sale are in glass-fronted cases; others are displayed on tables and shelves. Most of the dragons eat communally on the island, but some prefer to barter for specialty foods from their homelands. Others come to market to buy materials not easily found in the Starfall Isles that they need for their experiments and crafts, and many seek gifts for friends, mates, and hatchlings. Nathaniel purchases much of the merchandise from traveling merchants or orders it in from elsewhere, then sells for a profit; other items for sale were made or acquired by the clan's dragons, who commissioned the merchant to sell them in their stead. Senbonzakura Smithy is primarily for the clan's resident blacksmith, though traveling craftsdragons sometimes persuade its master to allow them to make use of it. Tiresias Tavern offers fine dining and drink as well as rooms for rent, and Copper Coffee and its associated tea shop serve hot drinks and pastries to residents and visitors alike. Other dragons run shops and services along the port's main street: the Stitchery crafts and sells apparel, and nearby is Skah's Salon, where dragons can have their manes and fur trimmed and styled, their scales and horns polished, their claws filed, and their feathers and scales painted and dyed. A physician maintains office hours for patients, and there is usually at least one guard operating out of the guardhouse: the clan's warriors take turns patrolling the island and the territory on the mainland. Large warehouses store foodstuffs and other comestibles used by the port's businesses or else awaiting transport to the island, and several crafsdragons have converted open space within the warehouses into workshops. An herb garden containing several fruit trees runs behind the tavern, coffee shop, and physician's office. Lantern Port also boasts a park with an amphitheater for outdoor performances. [center][url=http://imgur.com/7N8foUV][img]http://i.imgur.com/7N8foUV.png[/img][/url][/center] [right]----------------------------- [i]Credits: Map by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=4416]Skylark[/url][/i][/right]
RVFTX3e.png


In addition to the island of Prufrock, the clan has also laid claim to some territory on the mainland around the walled town of Lantern Port. On clear days, the island is readily visible across the channel of sea that separates it from the mainland, the tall library spire in the center prominent even from such a distance. The town's streets are overlaid with crushed oyster shells, and its walls and cluster of buildings are made of carefully cut stone and brick and intricately carved and runed starwood and other native woods. Bright banners and signs hang from many of the shop's entryways, and planters filled with flowering vegetation are aesthetically placed around the businesses.

The port itself contains a dock for the ferry that makes frequent trips from the port to the island as well as a small harbor for ships. A lighthouse whose beam guides both sailing vessels and flying dragons is lit by magic, and the light changes color to communicate various messages and warnings. Records of both ships and dragons that arrive and depart are kept in the lighthouse and maintained by its keeper, Evrain. Most of the dragons who work in Lantern Port reside in the lairs of Coatl Cove, but a few who either can't easily make the trip or else don't care to do so on a daily basis maintain apartments in town. Nearly all of the town's shops have apartments above or beside them.

The Moonshadow Market, run by the tundra Nathaniel, provides booths for residents and visitors to sell and trade their wares. Wooden poles hold a roof above the booths and stalls, most of which are occupied by artisans and craftsdragons during festivals or when there are many ships in port. Large swathes of canvas encircle the poles during the winter months or in times of bad weather, but usually the market is open to the sun and the sea breeze.

The back of the market is arrayed like a general store. Some of the items for sale are in glass-fronted cases; others are displayed on tables and shelves. Most of the dragons eat communally on the island, but some prefer to barter for specialty foods from their homelands. Others come to market to buy materials not easily found in the Starfall Isles that they need for their experiments and crafts, and many seek gifts for friends, mates, and hatchlings. Nathaniel purchases much of the merchandise from traveling merchants or orders it in from elsewhere, then sells for a profit; other items for sale were made or acquired by the clan's dragons, who commissioned the merchant to sell them in their stead.

Senbonzakura Smithy is primarily for the clan's resident blacksmith, though traveling craftsdragons sometimes persuade its master to allow them to make use of it. Tiresias Tavern offers fine dining and drink as well as rooms for rent, and Copper Coffee and its associated tea shop serve hot drinks and pastries to residents and visitors alike. Other dragons run shops and services along the port's main street: the Stitchery crafts and sells apparel, and nearby is Skah's Salon, where dragons can have their manes and fur trimmed and styled, their scales and horns polished, their claws filed, and their feathers and scales painted and dyed. A physician maintains office hours for patients, and there is usually at least one guard operating out of the guardhouse: the clan's warriors take turns patrolling the island and the territory on the mainland. Large warehouses store foodstuffs and other comestibles used by the port's businesses or else awaiting transport to the island, and several crafsdragons have converted open space within the warehouses into workshops. An herb garden containing several fruit trees runs behind the tavern, coffee shop, and physician's office. Lantern Port also boasts a park with an amphitheater for outdoor performances.


7N8foUV.png




Credits: Map by Skylark
Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]The Spirit Realm[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | The Spirit Realm [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] On the other side of the veil that forms a division between the material and the spiritual lies the spirit realm, shaped by the imagination of beings with immense power: beings who both embody forces and concepts and who can control and manipulate them. There are four main divisions of spirits: heavens, underworld, sea, and earth. [columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/wkQXwW6.png[/img][nextcol]The spirits of the heavens include spirits of the celestial bodies and those of the air. They largely keep to their own spheres - the moon spirits have their queen, the sun spirits their king, and the wind spirits their quartet of regional authorities (north, south, east, and west). The storm spirits are too chaotic for leadership, as who is strongest among them is always changing, while the star spirits are quite remote, so they send ambassadors to other spirit groups so that they have some say in what happens in the spirit realm.[/columns] [columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/dhmHqu2.png[/img][nextcol]The spirits of the underworld encompass all that is under the earth - gems, metals, bones, and mysteries. The underworld is divided into territories governed by lords and ladies. It is said they used to have a king, but he was deposed, and there were endless battles to take his place until finally a stalemate was reached. Each lord and lady has power solely over their own domain, though there are occasional territory disputes that vastly alter the subterranean landscape.[/columns] [columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/8cdcqKO.png[/img][nextcol]The spirits of the sea include all types of water as well as all flora and fauna that dwell in water. They are ruled by an empress who holds court in the deeps, though the presence of water nearly everywhere ensures that she is always well informed.[/columns] [columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/HtV5fWk.png[/img][nextcol]The spirits of earth consist of the spirits of all types of terrains as well as of flora and fauna that dwell on land. Earth spirits are governed by a council with representatives from each type of earth spirit (one for each variety of plant, every animal, etc.).[/columns] There is a monarch over all of the spirit realm known as Imago who rules from his traveling dark castle. In the beginning, two spirits awoke and knew they were brothers, and also that they were the same and yet different. One spirit, who called himself Imago, began to shape the material around him, creating landscapes - the heavens, the underworld, the sea, and the earth - and spirits to inhabit them. The other, Speculo, was jealous of his brother. Unable to figure out the secrets of creation and unwilling to ask Imago for help, he trailed after him, warping and destroying that which his sibling had created. Finally Speculo decided that the only way that he would be the creator would be to kill his brother and absorb his powers. Imago narrowly won the fight, but he couldn't bring himself to kill his only sibling. Instead, he sealed him away, and now he rules alone, aided by a loyal servant named Cheshire who travels between many locations in the world of dragons and the spirit realm using mirrors. Each territory in the spirit realm is influenced and shaped by the most powerful spirit in it. Some spirits keep the appearance of their domains consistent for centuries; others change it on a whim every Sunday. All spirits who pay homage to or serve a stronger spirit will see that territory exactly as their liege intended since the leader's influence extends over their underlings. If a competing spirit came into another's territory, however, there would be a battle of wills, and subtle changes might appear in the landscape as one ruler tests another's strength, occasionally resulting in a dramatic change when one leader ousts another. While their innate magical abilities vary based on their type, all spirits have some skill at shapeshifting. Many have preferred forms in which they nearly always appear; others enjoy changing everything from their size to their coloring to their gender whenever they feel like it. Some aren't strong enough to pass through the veil into the mortal realm, and many of those who do either can't or won't manifest a physical form, which allows them to be seen by dragons. Only dragons with the sight can see spirits in their immaterial state and peer into the veil that separates the realms. The veil isn't the only border between the realms. The dreamscape is an ethereal plane that has tenuous boundaries with both the material and spirit realms, for both dragons and spirits dream. Most have only a fleeting acquaintance with the dreamscape confined to mystifying interludes mostly forgotten upon awaking, and few can physically enter it. All residents of the dreamscape consider themselves oneiromancers, but on rare occasions, a dragon or spirit will be born with such talents, including the ability to enter - and alter - the dreamscape. Powers such as that come at a grave cost, however, for while dreams can't physically hurt most dreamers, those with the power to alter dreams can in turn be altered by them, can even be killed by them. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Spirits on the Island of Prufrock[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] The island of Prufrock has often played host to spirit entities who have taken the form of dragons to better communicate with the island's draconic residents. Most have been distinguished guests, serving as ambassadors for their kind, though occasionally malevolent spirits have slipped through the clan's wards and have had to be dispatched by Hunters. Representatives of the island's peach tree spirits manifested after an unfortunate incident involving two coatl dragons who inadvertently destroyed a peach tree to create a magical staff. The dying spirit cursed them, and said curse had some interesting effects on the clan until peach tree spirits were summoned to help. After representatives of the peach tree spirits had established themselves in the clan, sea spirits from the surrounding waters showed up and demanded equal representation. The sea and tree spirits later suggested to mutual acquaintances that the island would make a wonderful meeting place for negotiations between Mahdis, the queen of the moon, and Lazarus, a lord of the underworld. Both of them brought members of their respective courts with them to the island. Another underworld spirit lord, Kherty, later visited the island in search of his rival Lazarus. Though the spirits became allies, friends, and even in some instances romantic partners to the clan's dragons, the presence of many powerful spirits on a small mortal island greatly strained the veil and visited calamities upon the clan. To avoid further catastrophe, the majority of the spirit ambassadors decided to depart, either crossing over the veil to return to their own domains in the spirit world or else flying off to explore other locations in the world of dragons. Most of the spirits remaining are only visible to dragons gifted with the sight. [right]----------------------------- [/right]
RVFTX3e.png


On the other side of the veil that forms a division between the material and the spiritual lies the spirit realm, shaped by the imagination of beings with immense power: beings who both embody forces and concepts and who can control and manipulate them.

There are four main divisions of spirits: heavens, underworld, sea, and earth.

wkQXwW6.png The spirits of the heavens include spirits of the celestial bodies and those of the air. They largely keep to their own spheres - the moon spirits have their queen, the sun spirits their king, and the wind spirits their quartet of regional authorities (north, south, east, and west). The storm spirits are too chaotic for leadership, as who is strongest among them is always changing, while the star spirits are quite remote, so they send ambassadors to other spirit groups so that they have some say in what happens in the spirit realm.

dhmHqu2.png The spirits of the underworld encompass all that is under the earth - gems, metals, bones, and mysteries. The underworld is divided into territories governed by lords and ladies. It is said they used to have a king, but he was deposed, and there were endless battles to take his place until finally a stalemate was reached. Each lord and lady has power solely over their own domain, though there are occasional territory disputes that vastly alter the subterranean landscape.

8cdcqKO.png The spirits of the sea include all types of water as well as all flora and fauna that dwell in water. They are ruled by an empress who holds court in the deeps, though the presence of water nearly everywhere ensures that she is always well informed.

HtV5fWk.png The spirits of earth consist of the spirits of all types of terrains as well as of flora and fauna that dwell on land. Earth spirits are governed by a council with representatives from each type of earth spirit (one for each variety of plant, every animal, etc.).


There is a monarch over all of the spirit realm known as Imago who rules from his traveling dark castle. In the beginning, two spirits awoke and knew they were brothers, and also that they were the same and yet different. One spirit, who called himself Imago, began to shape the material around him, creating landscapes - the heavens, the underworld, the sea, and the earth - and spirits to inhabit them. The other, Speculo, was jealous of his brother. Unable to figure out the secrets of creation and unwilling to ask Imago for help, he trailed after him, warping and destroying that which his sibling had created. Finally Speculo decided that the only way that he would be the creator would be to kill his brother and absorb his powers. Imago narrowly won the fight, but he couldn't bring himself to kill his only sibling. Instead, he sealed him away, and now he rules alone, aided by a loyal servant named Cheshire who travels between many locations in the world of dragons and the spirit realm using mirrors.

Each territory in the spirit realm is influenced and shaped by the most powerful spirit in it. Some spirits keep the appearance of their domains consistent for centuries; others change it on a whim every Sunday. All spirits who pay homage to or serve a stronger spirit will see that territory exactly as their liege intended since the leader's influence extends over their underlings. If a competing spirit came into another's territory, however, there would be a battle of wills, and subtle changes might appear in the landscape as one ruler tests another's strength, occasionally resulting in a dramatic change when one leader ousts another.

While their innate magical abilities vary based on their type, all spirits have some skill at shapeshifting. Many have preferred forms in which they nearly always appear; others enjoy changing everything from their size to their coloring to their gender whenever they feel like it. Some aren't strong enough to pass through the veil into the mortal realm, and many of those who do either can't or won't manifest a physical form, which allows them to be seen by dragons. Only dragons with the sight can see spirits in their immaterial state and peer into the veil that separates the realms.

The veil isn't the only border between the realms. The dreamscape is an ethereal plane that has tenuous boundaries with both the material and spirit realms, for both dragons and spirits dream. Most have only a fleeting acquaintance with the dreamscape confined to mystifying interludes mostly forgotten upon awaking, and few can physically enter it. All residents of the dreamscape consider themselves oneiromancers, but on rare occasions, a dragon or spirit will be born with such talents, including the ability to enter - and alter - the dreamscape. Powers such as that come at a grave cost, however, for while dreams can't physically hurt most dreamers, those with the power to alter dreams can in turn be altered by them, can even be killed by them.



Spirits on the Island of Prufrock

The island of Prufrock has often played host to spirit entities who have taken the form of dragons to better communicate with the island's draconic residents. Most have been distinguished guests, serving as ambassadors for their kind, though occasionally malevolent spirits have slipped through the clan's wards and have had to be dispatched by Hunters.

Representatives of the island's peach tree spirits manifested after an unfortunate incident involving two coatl dragons who inadvertently destroyed a peach tree to create a magical staff. The dying spirit cursed them, and said curse had some interesting effects on the clan until peach tree spirits were summoned to help.

After representatives of the peach tree spirits had established themselves in the clan, sea spirits from the surrounding waters showed up and demanded equal representation. The sea and tree spirits later suggested to mutual acquaintances that the island would make a wonderful meeting place for negotiations between Mahdis, the queen of the moon, and Lazarus, a lord of the underworld. Both of them brought members of their respective courts with them to the island. Another underworld spirit lord, Kherty, later visited the island in search of his rival Lazarus.

Though the spirits became allies, friends, and even in some instances romantic partners to the clan's dragons, the presence of many powerful spirits on a small mortal island greatly strained the veil and visited calamities upon the clan. To avoid further catastrophe, the majority of the spirit ambassadors decided to depart, either crossing over the veil to return to their own domains in the spirit world or else flying off to explore other locations in the world of dragons. Most of the spirits remaining are only visible to dragons gifted with the sight.



Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]Government, Rules, and Roles[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] Government, Rules, and Roles | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Clan Leaders[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] [center][columns][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23384612][img]http://i.imgur.com/khb1dEl.jpg[/img][/url][nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29710670][img]http://i.imgur.com/v18igmJ.jpg[/img][/url][nextcol][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=934437][img]http://i.imgur.com/3LChPSs.jpg[/img][/url][/columns][/center] The exiled ice coatl Eztli had faced discrimination against his breed during his youth and founded a coatl colony on the island in the hopes of creating a safe haven for coatl dragons outside of their native Ashfall Waste. Though the coatl mage and linguist had never intended to be a leader, the clan's founder, the tundra Emrys, was happy to hand over duties so that he could concentrate on his beloved library. As Eztli also served as the island's envoy and was frequently away from the clan recruiting new members or dealing with negotiations and threats, he was often stretched thin by his many responsibilities, so he was relieved when [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29710670]Shadowstar[/url], a prince from the Windswept Plateau, proposed a new system of government - one which included a third coatl named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=934437]Vespers[/url], who had been found sealed in the tunnels under the island and who had once ruled a clan on Prufrock long ago. Eztli, Shadowstar, and Vespers form a triumvirate which leads the clan. They consult each other on major decisions with additional input and advice obtained from the Council of Seven. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Council of Seven[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463138][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/234632/23463138p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=25197775][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/251978/25197775p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25949430][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/259495/25949430p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463139][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/234632/23463139p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25378070][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/253781/25378070p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=22479446][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/224795/22479446p.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=30597492][img]http://www1.flightrising.com/rendern/portraits/305975/30597492p.png[/img][/url][/center] [LIST=1] [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463138]Emrys[/url] from the Department of Library and Scholarship [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=25197775]Verso[/url] from the Department of the Arcane [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25949430]Yew[/url] from the Department of Arts, Crafts, and Resources [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463139]Elyta[/url] from the Department of Defense [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25378070]Sentis[/url] from the Department of Communications, Outreach, and Miscellany [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=22479446]Galin[/url] of the island's residents [*][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=30597492]Hollis[/url] of the businesses of Lantern Port [/LIST] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Rules[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] [LIST] [*]Room and board are "free" for visiting scholars and clan residents provided they allot a small amount of their time to community service - gathering and preparing food, performing repairs, cleaning the communal buildings, etc. Those who wish to devote the entirety of their time to their research or other pursuits, however, do pay a fee for the privilege of being excused from chores and duties. [*]All clan members, including spirits, must be treated with kindness and respect. Anyone who threatens the safety of the clan, however, will be dealt with swiftly. Dragons who intentionally harm others will be imprisoned or exiled; malevolent spirits will be sealed or banished. [*]Dragons are encouraged to participate in communal meal times so that they can share ideas and bond with other clan members (and to ensure that they aren't so engrossed in their studies that they forget to eat). [*]In the event of an emergency, the library is the last bastion of defense. All civilians are to barricade themselves within the spire, while all warriors are to report to Elyta for duty. [*]Anyone who damages or steals library materials, either accidentally or purposefully, may be banned from the library, either temporarily or permanently. Bans are enforced with magic. [*]Though picking peaches is permitted, the island's peach trees are not to be harmed in any way. The peach tree spirits reserve the right to punish any who intentionally damage one of their number. [*]A small tax is assessed on any goods sold in Lantern Port, though it can be paid in material items rather than treasure. Many captains who frequent the island know that the clan's dragons can be bribed with new books. [/LIST] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Roles[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] In a clan centered around a library, the [b]Department of Library and Scholarship[/b] is among the most influential. It is led by Head Librarian [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463138]Emrys[/url], who oversees the librarians, manages the materials, and aides visiting scholars. Roles within the library include reference, cataloging, acquisitions, repairs, and the maintenance of a space for hatchlings. Scholars in a variety of fields travel to make use of the library, living in Prufrock for days, months, or even years as they work on their research. While astronomy is always a popular field of study in the Starfall Isles, dragons specializing in everything from botany to dermatoglyphics have at one point in time resided on Prufrock. The clan's healers are also categorized in this department. While arcane magic dominates, the [b]Department of the Arcane[/b] includes all types of elemental (and other) magic - everything from alchemy to imbuing to exorcism. The clan's Hunters, due to the nature of their magical method of combat, belong both to this department and to the [b]Department of Defense[/b]...and as many mages contribute to the clan's defense, there is a great deal of overlap between the two departments. In addition to Hunters and martially-inclined mages, the Department of Defense also includes the clan's weapons experts and guards. Perhaps the largest and most varied department is the [b]Department of Arts, Crafts, and Resources[/b]. The clan boasts a plethora of talented craftsdragons, though the tailors, weavers, dyemakers, and designers of the Stitchery are probably the best known. Those who hunt, gather, grow, prepare, and trade or sell the clan's resources are also under the umbrella of this department, whether they are staffing the coffee shop, tending to the gardens and orchards, maintaining the clan's plumbing and electricity, or fishing in the sea. The [b]Department of Communications, Outreach, and Miscellany[/b] deals with the day-to-day operations of the clan - diplomatic relations with other clans throughout Sornieth, administrative tasks and paperwork, and shipping and customs. Messengers, scouts, envoys, consultants, and those who plan celebrations and trade in information are all members of this department. [right]----------------------------- [i]Credits: Coatl art by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=197140]DeltaFlare[/url][/i][/right]
RVFTX3e.png



The Clan Leaders

khb1dEl.jpg v18igmJ.jpg 3LChPSs.jpg


The exiled ice coatl Eztli had faced discrimination against his breed during his youth and founded a coatl colony on the island in the hopes of creating a safe haven for coatl dragons outside of their native Ashfall Waste. Though the coatl mage and linguist had never intended to be a leader, the clan's founder, the tundra Emrys, was happy to hand over duties so that he could concentrate on his beloved library. As Eztli also served as the island's envoy and was frequently away from the clan recruiting new members or dealing with negotiations and threats, he was often stretched thin by his many responsibilities, so he was relieved when Shadowstar, a prince from the Windswept Plateau, proposed a new system of government - one which included a third coatl named Vespers, who had been found sealed in the tunnels under the island and who had once ruled a clan on Prufrock long ago.

Eztli, Shadowstar, and Vespers form a triumvirate which leads the clan. They consult each other on major decisions with additional input and advice obtained from the Council of Seven.




The Council of Seven

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  1. Emrys from the Department of Library and Scholarship
  2. Verso from the Department of the Arcane
  3. Yew from the Department of Arts, Crafts, and Resources
  4. Elyta from the Department of Defense
  5. Sentis from the Department of Communications, Outreach, and Miscellany
  6. Galin of the island's residents
  7. Hollis of the businesses of Lantern Port




Rules

  • Room and board are "free" for visiting scholars and clan residents provided they allot a small amount of their time to community service - gathering and preparing food, performing repairs, cleaning the communal buildings, etc. Those who wish to devote the entirety of their time to their research or other pursuits, however, do pay a fee for the privilege of being excused from chores and duties.
  • All clan members, including spirits, must be treated with kindness and respect. Anyone who threatens the safety of the clan, however, will be dealt with swiftly. Dragons who intentionally harm others will be imprisoned or exiled; malevolent spirits will be sealed or banished.
  • Dragons are encouraged to participate in communal meal times so that they can share ideas and bond with other clan members (and to ensure that they aren't so engrossed in their studies that they forget to eat).
  • In the event of an emergency, the library is the last bastion of defense. All civilians are to barricade themselves within the spire, while all warriors are to report to Elyta for duty.
  • Anyone who damages or steals library materials, either accidentally or purposefully, may be banned from the library, either temporarily or permanently. Bans are enforced with magic.
  • Though picking peaches is permitted, the island's peach trees are not to be harmed in any way. The peach tree spirits reserve the right to punish any who intentionally damage one of their number.
  • A small tax is assessed on any goods sold in Lantern Port, though it can be paid in material items rather than treasure. Many captains who frequent the island know that the clan's dragons can be bribed with new books.




Roles


In a clan centered around a library, the Department of Library and Scholarship is among the most influential. It is led by Head Librarian Emrys, who oversees the librarians, manages the materials, and aides visiting scholars. Roles within the library include reference, cataloging, acquisitions, repairs, and the maintenance of a space for hatchlings. Scholars in a variety of fields travel to make use of the library, living in Prufrock for days, months, or even years as they work on their research. While astronomy is always a popular field of study in the Starfall Isles, dragons specializing in everything from botany to dermatoglyphics have at one point in time resided on Prufrock. The clan's healers are also categorized in this department.

While arcane magic dominates, the Department of the Arcane includes all types of elemental (and other) magic - everything from alchemy to imbuing to exorcism. The clan's Hunters, due to the nature of their magical method of combat, belong both to this department and to the Department of Defense...and as many mages contribute to the clan's defense, there is a great deal of overlap between the two departments. In addition to Hunters and martially-inclined mages, the Department of Defense also includes the clan's weapons experts and guards.

Perhaps the largest and most varied department is the Department of Arts, Crafts, and Resources. The clan boasts a plethora of talented craftsdragons, though the tailors, weavers, dyemakers, and designers of the Stitchery are probably the best known. Those who hunt, gather, grow, prepare, and trade or sell the clan's resources are also under the umbrella of this department, whether they are staffing the coffee shop, tending to the gardens and orchards, maintaining the clan's plumbing and electricity, or fishing in the sea.

The Department of Communications, Outreach, and Miscellany deals with the day-to-day operations of the clan - diplomatic relations with other clans throughout Sornieth, administrative tasks and paperwork, and shipping and customs. Messengers, scouts, envoys, consultants, and those who plan celebrations and trade in information are all members of this department.





Credits: Coatl art by DeltaFlare
Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]Family Trees and Clan Census[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | Family Trees and Clan Census [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Family Trees[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Clan founders [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=23463138]Emrys[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23463139]Elyta[/url]: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23463138][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/234632/23463138.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23463139][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/234632/23463139.png[/img][/url] [LIST] [*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=31111970]Avery[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=32843465]Cecil[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31111970][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/311120/31111970.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=32843465][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/328435/32843465.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandchildren: [indent][LIST] [*]Viola -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33810579]Revas[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=33810580]Kuratoro[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33810579][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338106/33810579.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33810580][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338106/33810580.png[/img][/url] [*]Marleigh -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33834093]Ash[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33834094]Cessa[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=33834095]Darkglow[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33834093][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338341/33834093.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33834094][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338341/33834094.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33834095][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338341/33834095.png[/img][/url] [/LIST][/indent] [*]Great-Grandchildren: Marleigh -> Cessa -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=38695938]Imith[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=38695939]Redrick[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=38695938][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/386960/38695938.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=38695939][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/386960/38695939.png[/img][/url] [*]Adopted Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=24754122]Evrain[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28884704]Splinter[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28884705]Legend[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31051478]Albus[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=24754122][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/247542/24754122.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28884704][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/288848/28884704.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=28884705][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/288848/28884705.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31051478][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/310515/31051478.png[/img][/url][/LIST] Clan leader [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=23384612]Eztli[/url]: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23384612][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/233847/23384612.png[/img][/url] [LIST] [*]Brother: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=24044666]Etsu[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=24044666][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/240447/24044666.png[/img][/url] [*]Niece: Etsu -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=26569248]Johnna[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=26569248][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/265693/26569248.png[/img][/url] [*]Great-Nephew: Etsu -> Johnna -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=31111934]Quercus[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31111934][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/311120/31111934.png[/img][/url] [/LIST] Clan leader [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=23384612]Eztli's[/url] mate [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23577876]Winternight[/url]: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23577876][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/235779/23577876.png[/img][/url] [LIST] [*]Brother: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=23577875]Ashes[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23577875][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/235779/23577875.png[/img][/url] [*]Nephew: [indent][LIST] [*]Ashes -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=24392808]Vellum[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=24392808][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/243929/24392808.png[/img][/url] [*]Sincaya -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=29592000]Cindermoon[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29592000][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/295921/29592000.png[/img][/url][/indent][/LIST] [LIST][*]Great-Nephew: Sincaya -> Cindermoon -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=30229720]Hazelmist[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=30229720][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/302298/30229720.png[/img][/url] [/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&id=181519&tab=dragon&did=25017667]Pence[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=181519&tab=dragon&did=25103609]Laylan[/url], former owners of the clan's coffee shop: [LIST][*]Child: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33432209]Aeris[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33432209][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/334323/33432209.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandchild: [indent][LIST] [*]Copper -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=35210747]Softblaze[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35210747][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/352108/35210747.png[/img][/url][/indent][/LIST] [center][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&tab=userpage&id=26035][img]http://i.imgur.com/Fvvjuks.png[/img][img]http://i.imgur.com/ou9kWRk.png[/img][/url][/center] Many residents of the island once lived in or around the clan of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&tab=userpage&id=26035]Oakrest[/url] in Dragonhome, a large enough number to form their own distinct group in the island's ranks. Several have proven indispensable in their service to their new clan: their stalwart nature and common sense were sorely needed on an island of scholars and dreamers. Acquaintance with the dragons of Oakrest led to friendships with far-flung family members in other clans, including [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=258000]Maserift[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=277794]Crownfire[/url], the [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=193878]Clan of the Crystal Toadstool[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=172145]Condor's Hollow[/url], and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=83663]Wild Orchard[/url], among others. More information about Oakrest: [LIST] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/baz/1766234]Oakrest Hatchery[/url] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2111068/1]Migrants from Oakrest discussion thread[/url] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2111068/263#post_27526430]Hatchery Lore Compilation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2111068/263#post_27526443]Part 2[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2111068/263#post_27526501]Part 3[/url] [/LIST] The descendants of former Oakrest residents [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=20331630]Brightwork[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&id=0&tab=dragon&did=20484847]Shula[/url]: [LIST] [*]Brightwork's half-brother: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=35210747]Softblaze[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35210747][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/352108/35210747.png[/img][/url] [*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25949430]Yew[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=26703576]Ember[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=25949430][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/259495/25949430.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=26703576][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/267036/26703576.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandchildren: [indent][LIST] [*]Eilif -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=32524332]Ena[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=32524332][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/325244/32524332.png[/img][/url] [*]Melchior -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33420960]Nari[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33420960][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/334210/33420960.png[/img][/url] [*]Equinox -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33810581]Solstice[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33810581][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/338106/33810581.png[/img][/url] [*]Sundance -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=34050491]Starweaver[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34050491][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/340505/34050491.png[/img][/url] [/LIST][/indent] [*]Great-Grandchild: [indent][LIST] [*]Rosie -> Miller -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=35866170]Alexi[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35866170][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/358662/35866170.png[/img][/url] [/LIST][/indent] [*]Great-Great-Grandchild: [indent][LIST] [*]Eilif -> Ena -> Ghalib -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=35080646]Amon[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35080646][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/350807/35080646.png[/img][/url] [/LIST][/indent] [*]Great-Great-Great-Grandchild: [indent][LIST] [*]Melchior -> Nari -> Mari-> Eliza -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=36591778]Alvin[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=36591778][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/365918/36591778.png[/img][/url] [/LIST][/indent][/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=26035&tab=dragon&did=160863]Bordeaux[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=26035&tab=dragon&did=160865]Chandra[/url]: [LIST][*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=32498270]Orewing[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=35797108]Fallowpen[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=32498270][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/324983/32498270.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35797108][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/357972/35797108.png[/img][/url] [/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=9317877]Ink[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=18388185]Paige[/url]: [LIST][*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=25197774]Bound[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=25197775]Verso[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=26303157]Sootshadow[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=29575392]Tome[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33595422]Dust[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=34919628]Chillflame[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=25197774][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/251978/25197774.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=25197775][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/251978/25197775.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=26303157][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/263032/26303157.png[/img][/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29575392][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/295754/29575392.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33595422][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/335955/33595422.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34919628][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/349197/34919628.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandson: Verso -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=39739356]Lathiel[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=39739356][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/397394/39739356.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandson: Tome -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=31111934]Quercus[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31111934][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/311120/31111934.png[/img][/url] [*]Niece: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34416082]Prue[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34416082][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/344161/34416082.png[/img][/url][/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=29475713]Radomir[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=18752261]Thorns[/url]: [LIST][*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=31880655]Henrick[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33142459]Herros[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=33794637]Keilus[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=31880655][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/318807/31880655.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33142459][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/331425/33142459.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33794637][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/337947/33794637.png[/img][/url] [/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=22790205]Riad[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=22785515]Adva[/url]: [LIST][*]Child: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25736987]Sift[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=25736987][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/257370/25736987.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandchildren: [indent][LIST][*]Sixten -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=32971631]Kvin[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=32971631][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/329717/32971631.png[/img][/url] [*]Adena -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33772232]Teva[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33772232][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/337723/33772232.png[/img][/url][/LIST][/indent] [/LIST] The descendants of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=7042479]Torch[/url] and [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=19073628]Setara[/url]: [LIST][*]Children: [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=33955999]Bram[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=34628326]Brock[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=35291730]Annabel[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=37707391]James[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=33955999][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/339560/33955999.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=34628326][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/346284/34628326.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=35291730][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/352918/35291730.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=37707391][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/377074/37707391.png[/img][/url] [*]Grandchildren: [indent][LIST][*]James -> [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=38695938]Imith[/url], [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=38695939]Redrick[/url] [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=38695938][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/386960/38695938.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=38695939][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/386960/38695939.png[/img][/url][/LIST][/indent] Though [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=22440087]Malu[/url] never resided in Oakrest, his granddaughter [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=25378070]Sentis[/url] was born there before migrating to Prufrock, and her mother [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=245141&did=23615392]Calamity[/url] (Malu's daughter) later left Oakrest after the death of her mate and joined them. Sentis's daughter [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=42456232]Xanthe[/url] also resides on Prufrock. [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=22440087][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/224401/22440087.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=23615392][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/236154/23615392.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=25378070][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/253781/25378070.png[/img][/url][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=42456232][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/avatars/424563/42456232.png[/img][/url][/LIST] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Clan Census[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Total number of clan residents: 112 Breed Statistics: [LIST] [*]Coatl: 39 [*]Skydancers: 15 [*]Pearlcatchers: 12 [*]Guardians: 10 [*]Tundras: 10 [*]Snappers: 7 [*]Imperials: 5 [*]Wildclaws: 5 [*]Bogsneaks: 3 [*]Spirals: 2 [*]Fae: 1 [*]Mirrors: 1 [*]Nocturnes: 1 [*]Ridgebacks: 1 [/LIST] [right]----------------------------- [i]Credits: Oakrest leaves by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=view&tab=userpage&id=26035]ixris[/url][/i][/right]
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Family Trees



Clan founders Emrys and Elyta:
23463138.png23463139.png



Clan leader Eztli:
23384612.png



Clan leader Eztli's mate Winternight:
23577876.png
  • Great-Nephew: Sincaya -> Cindermoon -> Hazelmist
    30229720.png



The descendants of Pence and Laylan, former owners of the clan's coffee shop:

Fvvjuks.pngou9kWRk.png

Many residents of the island once lived in or around the clan of Oakrest in Dragonhome, a large enough number to form their own distinct group in the island's ranks. Several have proven indispensable in their service to their new clan: their stalwart nature and common sense were sorely needed on an island of scholars and dreamers.

Acquaintance with the dragons of Oakrest led to friendships with far-flung family members in other clans, including Maserift, Crownfire, the Clan of the Crystal Toadstool, Condor's Hollow, and Wild Orchard, among others.

More information about Oakrest:

The descendants of former Oakrest residents Brightwork and Shula:
  • Brightwork's half-brother: Softblaze
    35210747.png
  • Children: Yew, Ember
    25949430.png26703576.png
  • Grandchildren:
  • Great-Grandchild:
    • Rosie -> Miller -> Alexi
      35866170.png
  • Great-Great-Grandchild:
    • Eilif -> Ena -> Ghalib -> Amon
      35080646.png
  • Great-Great-Great-Grandchild:
    • Melchior -> Nari -> Mari-> Eliza -> Alvin
      36591778.png

The descendants of Bordeaux and Chandra:
The descendants of Ink and Paige:

The descendants of Radomir and Thorns:

The descendants of Riad and Adva:

The descendants of Torch and Setara:
  • Children: Bram, Brock, Annabel, James
    33955999.png34628326.png35291730.png37707391.png
  • Grandchildren:

    Though Malu never resided in Oakrest, his granddaughter Sentis was born there before migrating to Prufrock, and her mother Calamity (Malu's daughter) later left Oakrest after the death of her mate and joined them. Sentis's daughter Xanthe also resides on Prufrock.
    22440087.png23615392.png25378070.png42456232.png



Clan Census


Total number of clan residents: 112

Breed Statistics:
  • Coatl: 39
  • Skydancers: 15
  • Pearlcatchers: 12
  • Guardians: 10
  • Tundras: 10
  • Snappers: 7
  • Imperials: 5
  • Wildclaws: 5
  • Bogsneaks: 3
  • Spirals: 2
  • Fae: 1
  • Mirrors: 1
  • Nocturnes: 1
  • Ridgebacks: 1




Credits: Oakrest leaves by ixris
Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]Research and Speculation[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] Research and Speculation | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] The island is home to many scholars, scientists, and mages who are curious about the world around them. These dragons are constantly collaborating and researching, using the island's resources and the connections they've made to develop theories and perform experiments. Many enjoy combining magic and technology; others are constantly trying to fuse elements of the immaterial spirit world with the material plane. Several of the clan's mages study magic outside of their innate elemental type, though they cast it with a flavor that is reminiscent of their native element. (The clan's founder, an arcane tundra named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=245141&tab=dragon&did=23463138]Emrys[/url], practices geomancy, or earth magic. He can easily shape the island's stone thanks to it being in arcane territory and because of the many spells that have bound the island - and the library spire in particular - to his very being.) Other dragons have unusual magical abilities due to the influence, or interference, of spirits. Only dragons born with the sight can see immaterial spirits, and they have to undergo extensive training to interact with them, whether to aid them or to inflict damage upon them. Several of the clan's dragons are working on developing a spell or object that would allow others to see spirits who haven't manifested a material form, as they think this would save many lives in the event of an attack; however, they currently have little to show for their efforts. The clan's mages have had more success in enchanting objects such as doorways and items of apparel to protect against spirits and other unseen threats. Runes are most commonly used to inscribe spells, though other symbols and languages are frequently experimented with as the clan's dragons strive to advance their arcane knowledge. The librarians who serve the clan's eager minds are always on the lookout for more tomes and scrolls about magic and other topics - anything from Sornieth's history to the dietary habits of maren. Here are some favorite volumes they often recommend to researchers: [LIST] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2139644]Magic in the World of Sornieth[/url] by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=4416]Skylark[/url] [*][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2132671/1]Two Types of Magic[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2255864#post_2255864]Arcane Acumen[/url] by [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=userpage&id=63130]Zuron[/url] [/LIST] [right]----------------------------- [/right]
RVFTX3e.png


The island is home to many scholars, scientists, and mages who are curious about the world around them. These dragons are constantly collaborating and researching, using the island's resources and the connections they've made to develop theories and perform experiments. Many enjoy combining magic and technology; others are constantly trying to fuse elements of the immaterial spirit world with the material plane. Several of the clan's mages study magic outside of their innate elemental type, though they cast it with a flavor that is reminiscent of their native element. (The clan's founder, an arcane tundra named Emrys, practices geomancy, or earth magic. He can easily shape the island's stone thanks to it being in arcane territory and because of the many spells that have bound the island - and the library spire in particular - to his very being.)

Other dragons have unusual magical abilities due to the influence, or interference, of spirits. Only dragons born with the sight can see immaterial spirits, and they have to undergo extensive training to interact with them, whether to aid them or to inflict damage upon them. Several of the clan's dragons are working on developing a spell or object that would allow others to see spirits who haven't manifested a material form, as they think this would save many lives in the event of an attack; however, they currently have little to show for their efforts.

The clan's mages have had more success in enchanting objects such as doorways and items of apparel to protect against spirits and other unseen threats. Runes are most commonly used to inscribe spells, though other symbols and languages are frequently experimented with as the clan's dragons strive to advance their arcane knowledge.

The librarians who serve the clan's eager minds are always on the lookout for more tomes and scrolls about magic and other topics - anything from Sornieth's history to the dietary habits of maren. Here are some favorite volumes they often recommend to researchers:





Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]History Part 1[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | History Part 1 | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Prehistory[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] In the early days of dragonkind, there was much of Sornieth that remained uncharted. Vespers' parents, a light dragon and a nature dragon who were royal envoys from distant courts, were among the many explorers dedicated to mapping the entirety of the continent and learning each region's peculiarities and resources. They headed an expedition to the Starfall Isles, and it was on one of these islands, one dominated by a large stone spire that jutted up from its center, that Vespers emerged from his egg. The expedition remained on the island so long that a clan sprang up around it, for the explorers found much of interest there and lingered for quite some time. Everything from fluctuations in arcane energies to the timing of the tides was dutifully recorded; all the stars in the sky overhead were charted, and each species of animal and plant life encountered was cataloged. An earth dragon, skilled at geomancy, made an extensive tunnel system under the island extending under the sea to the mainland, intent on studying both the geological structure of the surrounding area and providing the budding clan with locations for travel, storage, and a refuge in the event of storms or raids. As the explorers were joined by settlers, more interest was taken in building a sustainable, fortifiable residence and base of operations. There were some native edible life forms, but it was Vespers' mother who discovered that peach trees grew particularly well in the island's climate and planted several on both the larger island and a smaller rock nearby, using her nature magic to nurture them. They soon flourished, providing them with both a delectable delicacy and a unique resource with which they could barter for supplies. Imbued with the surrounding arcane energies as he incubated in his egg, Vespers became a prodigious mage well before reaching adulthood. Though far away from any court, his nobly-born parents trained him in royal graces; more importantly in their eyes, they instilled in him their love of exploration. Vespers inherited his father's scholastic curiosity and his mother's fascination with all living things, but his greatest interest lay in exploring the boundaries of magic, in harnessing arcane energies to go beyond what other dragons had yet attempted. His parents finally finished their survey of the island and the surrounding territory and departed to explore other realms. Vespers, however, elected to remain behind, to take charge of the clan that had formed around his parents' expedition and strengthen their settlement. He made copies of the notes compiled by his parents and the other explorers, storing them safely in a small room under the spire, and added to them his own extensive research on arcane magic. Vespers didn't mind being interrupted in his research by the tasks of ruling his growing clan; he enjoyed interacting with others, each of them sharing their discoveries and inspiring new ideas. Word of his magical experiments spread, and soon other mages flocked to the island. Chief among them was another coatl, the first dragon Vespers had met who could be said to rival him in magical prowess. They grew increasingly interested in each other, first intellectually as they collaborated together on magical projects, then physically. Vespers introduced his new mate as the co-ruler of the clan, and he had never been happier. He soon learned that his mate was not all he seemed, however. Vespers enjoyed radical experimentation, but he disdained anything that was unethical, and he began to have second thoughts about some of his mate's methods. Finally he happened upon his mate performing experiments on some of the clan's dragons against their will. Aghast, he gave him an ultimatum - change his behavior, or else leave the island. His mate promised to reform, and after that all seemed to be well. Vespers was just about to fully forgive his mate and put the matter behind him when his mate sent for him to look at a magical room he had created deep in the tunnels. Curious, he made the descent, going down into a rarely used section of the tunnels until he came across his mate's creation. His mate bade him to enter the room so that he could exhibit its magical abilities; Vespers was apprehensive, but his mate pouted about not being trusted, so he finally gave in. He hadn't been able to see into the room due to an illusion that concealed its entrance, but once inside, he gasped in horror, for within the small stone room were the bodies of several of the clan's dragons - dragons who had been helping his mate with his newest project. He whirled to face his betrayer, only to discover that he was sealed within the room. He summoned the full extent of his magical power, only to find that it wouldn't come to him. The room was a perfect trap for a mage, as no magic could be used within it. His mate laughed at his dismay, then gleefully explained the room's many properties. Anything within that room was immune to physical change - Vespers ought to be thanking him, for while he remained in that room - which would be forever, unless some powerful mage undid the spell and let him out - he would never age, nor would he need to eat or drink. The bodies in the room with him would never decay, and nor would he. Vespers could yell all he liked, but he was far beneath the island in a little used section of the tunnels, and he was hidden behind an illusion befuddling all the senses created by one of the island's two most powerful mages - now the most powerful one, given that his rival was out of the way. In the unlikely event that a dragon chanced down that side tunnel, they wouldn't even know that Vespers was there. His mate then left him with nothing but sorrow and regret and the dead for companions. He arranged his fallen clanmates as respectfully as he could, given the small space and his inability to see - he couldn't summon a mage light, and the only natural light trickled down from a tiny hole that led to the surface, far, far overhead. Though "freed" from the need to consume sustenance, he discovered he still desired food and drink, still felt hunger and thirst. Sometimes when it rained, a tiny amount of water made its way down into his cavern, and he licked it eagerly from the walls. It was difficult to keep track of time, but he did his best, scratching tallies on the room's surfaces every time he thought a day had passed, wondering what was happening to his clan, wanting desperately to be able to contact them and warn them about his treacherous mate. Though his stomach clenched for want of something to fill it, far worse was his desire for light, for intellectual stimulation, for the return of his magic, and most of all, for companionship. He had run out of space on the walls and floor to mark with tallies when a burst of mage light seared his eyes. When they finally adjusted, he found his former mate staring madly at him through the magical barrier, blood dripping from several wounds on his body. There was no more clan, he told Vespers, no one on the island but the two of them - all were dead and gone, and soon he would be too, and Vespers would be all alone forever, and no one would ever find him. Vespers wanted to cry out, to beg him to reconsider, but his voice hadn't been used in years and was muted in horror; he discovered, to his own disgust, that he still felt love for the one he had called mate, that he hated to see him suffer and die, and his heart broke as his former love gave one last mad laugh and collapsed right outside the barrier, the mage light dying with him. Now that there was no hope and nothing left for him to live for, Vespers considered taking his own life, but he found that he couldn't inflict enough damage on himself without the stasis magic on the room kicking in and healing him back to the physical state he was in when he entered his prison. Resigning himself to his fate, he did what he could to keep his sanity, holding close to memories of love and life and light, whispering facts and spells to himself in the darkness. He slept as much as he could, though his dreams were always uneasy, full of strange landscapes and unfamiliar faces. He sometimes wondered if he dreamed what was happening in the world above him, or if, rather, his mind was finally cracking. Centuries passed, and though dragons came and went from the island's surface, stopping for peaches or temporary shelter before moving on, none of them knew that a dragon was imprisoned far beneath them. The tunnels fell into disuse and disrepair, hidden for ages until the island once again boasted a sizable settlement and a young earth coatl, a bold and curious explorer in the same vein as Vespers' parents, rediscovered the tunnels and dedicated himself to mapping and repairing them... [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Founding[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Emrys hatched from an egg of unknown origins. Though fond of his birth clan, he found himself to be more inquisitive than the other tundra dragons in his adopted family, who were bemused by his scholarly pursuits and downright confused when he developed a talent for geomancy after studying it in a text despite not being an earth dragon. He eventually decided to leave and found his own clan where other dragons could freely pursue their theories and dreams and build a shared library of research and lore. Excited to recruit new clan members, Emrys claimed an island called Prufrock with a peach grove and a vast stone spire for his own, then created an intricate maze of tunnels in the spire with his earth magic and stocked it with all of the books and scrolls he could scavenge. Unfortunately, most of the dragons who first visited the clan declined to stay for long - they either found the Starfall Isles too strange or else lacked an interest in the pursuit of knowledge. Emrys had built his library, but he didn't know how to promote it to other dragons in Sornieth or how to organize the basic necessities a growing clan needed. Only Elyta, the guardian dragon who was the first to join him, remained by his side, taking charge of the clan's defense and working to obtain resources and organize supplies. She did her best to manage all of the practicalities her "nose in a book" mate usually forgot, though the job was too big for one dragon, and many prospective members left due to the disorganization. It wasn't until an exiled ice coatl named Eztli approached them with the idea of building a coatl colony that the clan grew. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Coatl Colony[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Eztli was born in the Southern Icefield in a region of allied clans known collectively as Sevenbranch, ruled by a famed tundra wizard known as Pentius. Coatl were considered an oddity there and looked down on, for their breed was native to the land of fire, and many dragons thought that they had no place in the icefields...and their predilection for using their native tongue instead of traditional draconic only increased suspicion. Perhaps as a result, his parents were quite religious in their devotion to the Icewarden - almost overly so in an attempt to prove their loyalty to their current homeland. They heavily encouraged Eztli and his siblings to train to enter the Icewarden's service, but Ez had other ideas. He felt that the rift between the coatl and the other dragons could be solved through better communication, so he spent his time in study with a tundra linguist named Cousat, learning from his teacher how his form and appendages could best imitate the body language of other dragon breeds. His parents and many of the other dragons considered his "hobby" ridiculous, but Ez persevered in his studies until an instructor from the Sevenbranch School of Magic came to test the dragons in his clan for possible recruits and found, much to everyone's surprise, that the young coatl possessed a preponderance of ice magic. He received a letter shortly thereafter admitting him to the school, so he packed his meager belongings and flew to the capital. Ez was the only coatl in the school. Even lacking ears, he could still pick up on the derogatory murmuring of other students, and he could tell his roommate, the beautiful ice-colored spiral Galin, was less than pleased to have been paired with someone so unpopular. Ez put everything he had learned about linguistics into use, doing his best to appease his fellow students and teachers, but though he excelled in his studies, he failed to make any friends in the school. Craving the comfort of his own kind, he spent much of his time after school in the city's coatl quarter, helping out in a coatl-owned restaurant and bringing books for the coatl Ixtli to read, as she was too afraid to venture into the city's library after being bullied by some dragons sarcastically wondering aloud if coatl dragons could even read basic draconic. He had his own experiences with bullies as well, the worst being when a fellow student, a wildclaw who was annoyed that Ez was always at the top of their class, challenged him to a duel. Ez didn't want to get in trouble for fighting and refused; the wildclaw threw a rock at him to provoke him, and it hit Ez in his right eye. The wildclaw and his friends fled after that, as they hadn't intended serious injury and were afraid of being expelled. Ez managed to make it to the school physician's office, but the pearlcatcher in charge told him that she was unfamiliar with coatl physiology, so she gave him some bandages and sent him back to his room. Galin returned to their shared room only to find Ez attempting to bandage his own injured eye. Ez tried to hide the extent of the injury from his roommate, but for once the spiral wasn't ignoring him and instead became outraged on Ez's behalf. He helped Ez with his bandages, though as neither of them knew much about healing as they had not yet begun their training in healing magic, Ez lost his sight in that eye and bore a permanent scar. It was Galin who purchased goggles for him to wear to hide the scar, and this and other gestures blossomed into a firm friendship. Though being beautiful, talented, and from a prominent family had guaranteed a place for Galin in the school and ensured his popularity – something he didn't want to lose at any cost – the way he and others had treated Ez gnawed on his conscience, so he elected to kill two birds with one stone by trying to make Ez popular and roping the coatl into the school's up and coming. It was strange for Ez to see his status at the school change nearly overnight just by being in Galin's company. Though initially he thought the spiral superficial, he came to learn that there were complications in Galin's life that made him the way he was, pressures from his family to succeed in the capital at all costs, and he in turn was supportive of Galin in all of his endeavors, lending his magic and his communication skills to assist his friend. The most talented student in each class was always given the opportunity to interview with the Wizard. Eztli was the top student, but he asked the head of the school to share that honor with his friend Galin, so both of them were permitted an interview with Pentius. Though Ez was full of ideas about how interbreed relationships could improve, Pentius reacted with fear when he saw him due to a bad experience he had had with the last coatl who had been a student at the school - as a result of an accident involving the coatl, Pentius had been scarred by fire. The Wizard had been unaware that a coatl had been admitted to the school and told Ez he had no place in Sevenbranch unless he submitted himself to having his magic bound. Not wanted to lose his magic or his liberty, Ez instead elected to leave and invited Galin to come with him. Galin, however, decided to stay and work for the Wizard due to his family's expectations and his own ambitions to exceed all of his siblings and prove himself a worthy heir. Ez traveled to the land of dreams, the Starfall Isles, and chanced upon the island of Prufrock, where he met Emrys and Elyta struggling to build a fledgling clan. They gave him permission to found a coatl colony on the island – a place where displaced coatl could live and learn together, where knowledge was plentiful and dreams were encouraged and, most importantly, where coatl would not be looked down on. He traveled frequently as an envoy to other clans throughout the flights, setting up trade agreements and recruiting talented coatl and other dragons to join the colony on the island of Prufrock. Emrys was thrilled that the coatl found scholars to make use of the library, while Elyta was glad whenever Ez managed to bring back some "useful" members (those who could hunt and craft and fight). The tundra founder was impressed with the coatl's efforts, and he finally asked Ez to assume the mantle of leadership. Emrys figured the coatl majority would understand one of their fellows better, and he was more than content to spend less time trying to figure out how to manage a clan and more time with his books. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Winternight[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Though Eztli mainly traveled to recruit coatls, he occasionally brought other dragons back with him to the clan, some of them because he had little choice in the matter. Winternight was one of those dragons. Winternight was born into a clan in the Foxfire Bramble, a land of darkness and thorns. He was shyer and more timid than others in the clan; he couldn't stop himself from being bluntly honest even if a white lie would have suited the situation better, and he had little interest in games or competition, preferring to sew quietly in a corner while others engaged in sport. His clan members tolerated him because he provided them with beautiful clothing. When out collecting the materials he needed for his craft, Winternight was ambushed by a pack of mirror dragons, who stole his pearl from him and told him that if he wanted it back he'd have to do whatever they said. Too ashamed to return to his clan, where he would be outcast anyway without his pearl, he submitted to the various cruelties they gained entertainment from inflicting on him. They forced him to sew for them but half the time would tear up his creations, declaring them not good enough. Winternight was often made to accompany the mirrors when they traveled to other clans to gamble in games of chance, where they enjoyed demeaning him in front of an audience. On one such excursion, one of the opposing gamblers was a coatl who was visiting a shadow clan to recruit members for his coatl colony in the Starfall Isles. To the horror of Winternight, the mirror dragons decided to gamble using his pearl as collateral. To the horror of the mirror dragons, the coatl ended up winning. They were rather unamused to lose their servant and toy, and the coatl was bemused to have suddenly gained a pearlcatcher. Realizing the situation was about to turn hostile, the coatl, Ez, gifted the mirror dragons the set of bracelets that he had been gambling with as thanks for the game, then picked up the pearl and gestured for Winternight to leave with him. After reaching the outskirts of the shadow clan's territory, Ez returned his pearl to him, assuming the pearlcatcher would then return to his home clan, but Winternight insisted that since Ez had won him, he had to serve the coatl somehow. Though Ez protested that he despised the very idea of servitude and needed no repayment, the injured and emaciated pearlcatcher trailed after him as the coatl made his way back to his home in the Starfall Isles, where the clan's physicians tended the deep wounds on his hindquarters which had been inflicted by thorns and the mirrors' claws and Citalli used her knowledge of dragon psychology to attempt to reverse some of the damage the mirrors had inflicted mentally and emotionally. Ez remained by his side the entire time, allowing him space in his lair while he recuperated. By the time Winternight was healed enough to return home, he realized he didn't want to - he wanted to remain with Ez, not out of any obligation but because he had fallen in love with him. He also enjoyed the creative and scholarly atmosphere of the clan and finally felt inspired to take up sewing again. He was one of the founders of the Stitchery, an apparel shop in Lantern Port. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Curse of the Peach Tree Spirit[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Though all of Ez's recruits had an impact on the growing clan, there were two who drastically changed its history. The drab coatl Sombra was considered unlucky by others of his breed in his home clan even though he blended well into the shadows of his native Tangled Wood. Bullied because of his coloring and the eye spots on his wings others in his clan considered creepy, he hid from his tormentors in the shadows. He came to love the shadows, and they embraced him in turn, to the point where he could control them and even travel through them, though he found the practice draining. One day a lightning coatl named Xo visited the Tangled Wood. Like him, she had eye spots on her wings, and like him, she had tremendous magical power. She had crafted a ring that allowed her to control her powers better and concocted an idea to create a similar object for him. Xo had heard tales of the immense magical powers of peach trees and suggested that they research how to turn one into a magical staff. Both of them had heard Ez's recruitment speech about the coatl colony in the Starfall Isles, and, as it contained both an extensive library and a peach grove, they decided to travel there. They were readily admitted to the colony and commenced their research right away, though they told no one what they were planning - they weren't sure how the other dragons in the clan would perceive their goal. Their search for information consumed them until finally they found it - a crumbling text that gave concise instructions on making a magical staff out of a peach tree. The anonymous author claimed that the more ancient the tree, the more powerful the staff. There was a scribbled warning at the bottom, but the coatl pair gave it no heed. Instead, they innocuously inquired as to which tree on the island was the oldest and learned that it was not in fact on the island of Prufrock but instead on the much smaller island close by it, Lazarus Rock. Sombra and Xo flew there, made their preparations, and commenced their spells under the light of the stars. After a full night of spellcasting, the ancient tree gave a shudder, then folded in on itself, its roots and branches braiding together and shrinking until it formed a staff. All seemed to have gone as planned. Sombra reached out to grab the staff, but as soon as he touched it, a rain of black petals fell all around the two coatl dragons. The trees of the Starfall Isles had long been subject to the arcane whims of its atmosphere, which had allowed a spirit to cross the veil and intertwine its identity with the physical tree. That spirit was highly displeased that its life, such as it was, had been destroyed for the mere sake of a little boost to a single dragon's arcane abilities. Though it did not speak with words, they understood its meaning well enough - it was using what remained of its essence to curse them. When the petals had finally swirled away on the wind, Sombra was left holding a blackened staff, and on the ground in front of him was a coatl hatchling - a female with shadowy petals imprinted on her scales, a dark version of the tree's pink blossoms. Terrified, the two dragons flew off the rock away from the hatchling. When they got back to the island of Prufrock, Sombra was startled to see he was still holding the staff - he could have sworn that he had dropped it. He attempted to leave it in the peach grove, then returned to his lair with Xo, but when he arrived in his lair, the staff was propped up against the wall. It followed him wherever he went, appearing wherever he was, so he started carrying it with him so that the other coatl wouldn't get suspicious. He didn't dare to use the staff he had worked so hard to make, though. It didn't even feel magical - just a stick with no power. He shuddered every time he looked at the blackened wood and recalled the shadowy petals eddying around them. A few days passed. Sombra had finally gotten used to the constant presence of the staff in his life, and he had almost forgotten about the hatchling when he entered his lair and found her sitting in the middle of the room next to a male who was almost identical to her. He wanted to flee the island to get away from the hatchlings, but Xo stopped him. She insisted that they raise them to atone for their crime against the peach tree. Her theory was that somehow the two coatl hatchlings were the peach tree - or part of its essence, anyway. She figured that one of them was the tree itself while the other was the power that should have gone into the staff. He reluctantly agreed to help care for them, so he and Xo raised Tzila and Tavor as their own hatchlings, telling the others in the clan that they had been sent to them by distant relations. As Sombra continued to distance himself from the situation (save for his growing obsession with the staff), Xo looked into it more deeply, spending most of her days researching in the library to find a way to reverse the curse...especially once the side effects began. The eye spots on her wings faded, and a butterfly pattern traced its way across their surface. A few of the clan's coatl also saw similar changes affect their wings, and many began to develop the outline of petals on their hides. Several dragons in the clan thought it an auspicious sign, given that a stylized peach blossom was the clan's symbol, but a visiting fortuneteller read the runes and saw otherwise - it was the sign of a curse, not a blessing. She insisted that the affected coatl dragons be quarantined, even though she herself was among their number, but various physicians examined them and swore that they were in perfect health. While the clan debated, Xo finally found the spell she had sought - a way to summon spirits - and cast it, attempting to summon another peach tree spirit to ask how its former brethren could be appeased. Her spell was so powerful that it shattered her magic ring, and it brought not one spirit but two - the peach tree spirits Taohua and Taozhi. Though frightened by the apparition of more spirits than she had anticipated, Xo rallied and submitted her apology to them on the behalf of herself and Sombra for what they had inadvertently done to one of their fellows. She begged forgiveness for their hubris and folly and asked if they might lift the curse and do something for Tavor and Tzila. Though initially made angry by her actions, first in daring to summon them and secondly in hearing what she and Sombra had done to their friend, they realized that this mistake could be repeated again to the detriment of both the dragons and the spirits of the island of Prufrock, so they agreed to interfere this time - on the condition that some spirits be allowed to manifest in the island's physical dimension for the time being to serve as ambassadors for their kind. Xo gladly accepted, though she requested that Tavor and Tzila not be told about their origins. The spirits were unhappy at the thought of deception, but they agreed. Xo took the spirits to Eztli, who was delighted to open diplomatic relations with the island's spirit inhabitants and agreed to do whatever he could to protect the peach trees of the island. The spirits then visited Tavor and Tzila while they were sleeping and purified the curse of the vengeful spirit from them. The residual energy formed itself into two coatl who were reflections of Tavor and Tzila, only light in color instead of dark. Like Tavor and Tzila, Hugh and Blush had no notion of their supernatural origins, and Xo raised them as normal coatl. After representatives of the peach tree spirits had established themselves in the clan on the island of Prufrock, sea spirits from the surrounding waters emerged to demand equal representation. Like their earth spirit brethren, they manifested as dragons to better relate to the residents of the island whenever they came ashore to converse with the clan. They were not the last of the spirits to visit the island, however. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Moon and the Underworld[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Long ago, two spirits from different realms met by chance, fell in love, and ran away to Sornieth to live as dragons, knowing that neither partner would be welcome in each's respective home. One was the royal vizier and intended consort of Mahdis, the queen of the moon; the other was the second in command to Lazarus, a lord of the underworld. Both were distraught by the loss of their most loyal companion and blamed the other party for this perceived casualty, and there had been an increase in enmity between the two realms ever since - a feud that had been damaging all of the relations in the spirit realm due to the immense power of the spirits involved. Taozhi, a peach tree spirit who had loose alliances with the moon spirits, and Adrik, a sea spirit whose people were supporters of the underworld, had both witnessed their respective domains suffer the effects of this conflict and desired to bring the two parties together to air their grievances. The trick was finding neutral ground unaligned with either realm. After both groups of spirits developed a relationship with the dragons on the island of Prufrock, they decided that this isle in the mortal realm would make an ideal place for negotiations. Emrys was wary of his island being overrun by powerful spirits and was hesitant to accept, but Eztli disliked the thought of such a conflict perpetuating through the ages. Wanting to heal the rift, Ez allowed the monarchs and their courts to dwell among the clan's dragons and played the role of mediator as they worked through their issues. Though much of his time was spent arbitrating between the moon spirits and the underworld spirits, Eztli was still responsible for conducting negotiations with other clans. While in the nearby clan of Starvale arranging a trade agreement, he learned that his old home of Sevenbranch was holding an ambassador of theirs, the imperial Princess Liliya, hostage. Because he was familiar with the territory, he elected to travel with Starvale's Prince Liev and assist him in rescuing her. Ez was dismayed to find that his old schoolmate Galin was the one guarding the tower where their princess was being held. The friends reluctantly squared off, but Ez maintained the edge that had made him the first in their class, and he was able to keep Galin distracted while Liev sneaked into the tower. However, Liev discovered that the princess was already making use of the distraction to rescue herself and two other dragons who had been imprisoned with her - a pair of skydancers called Midnight and Sun, who had been detained by Pentius due to a prophecy and the Wizard's fear of fire: [indent][i]When the midnight sun shows its face in the sky And drakes in its guise walk the earth Ice will burn when the coatl returns Once more to the land of his birth. Heavens and underworld torn asunder Await the midnight sun For its coming alone can heal the rift And reunite as one – Spirit and dragon, heavens and earth, Fire and ice and arcane; But unless the coatl is quick with his tongue, All will fall to the tongue of the sun's flame.[/i][/indent] After hearing the prophecy and talking more with Midnight and Sun, Ez realized that they were reincarnations of the spirits who had inadvertently caused the conflict between the moon and the underworld. After hearing the story that Ez related, the two skydancers finally pieced together their fleeting memories of their previous lives. After escaping their respective monarchs and eloping, they had lived in disguise in the Tangled Wood. Though they managed to hide for years and even had a daughter together, at long last hunters from the underworld found them. They gave their lives to buy time for their child to escape. Due to the magic they had worked to bind themselves together, they were reincarnated around the same time - though they had never anticipated that their spirit souls would be trapped in the mortal bodies they had once assumed as disguise. Their material forms muted their memories of their spirit lives until Ez's recounting of events on Prufrock reawakened their knowledge of who they were and what they had done. Liliya insisted on going to confront Pentius; to Ez's surprise, Galin agreed with her, saying that it was time that someone finally stood up to the Wizard. Realizing that their role was far larger than they had imagined, Midnight and Sun agreed to accompany them. Together, they traveled to the capital and gained an audience with Pentius. When the Wizard learned the true identities of Midnight and Sun, he declared that he would imprison them once again and ransom them to their monarchs. Sun panicked, and his magic, already unstable due to his spirit soul resting uneasily in a mortal body, flared wildly, setting the entire palace aflame. Ez and Galin wove their ice magic together to shield the others, but it was Ez's words that eventually got through to Sun and quieted his outburst. His promise to convince Mahdis and Lazarus to let the two reincarnated lovers live together in peace made the flames subside, and once they returned to the island of Prufrock, he made good on his word. The two lovers even reunited with their daughter, who had become the consort of the sea spirit Adrik. Ez expected all of the spirits to return to their own realms upon the resolution of their conflict; however, several of them insisted that representatives were needed in the mortal realm and elected to remain. [right]----------------------------- [/right]
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Prehistory

In the early days of dragonkind, there was much of Sornieth that remained uncharted. Vespers' parents, a light dragon and a nature dragon who were royal envoys from distant courts, were among the many explorers dedicated to mapping the entirety of the continent and learning each region's peculiarities and resources. They headed an expedition to the Starfall Isles, and it was on one of these islands, one dominated by a large stone spire that jutted up from its center, that Vespers emerged from his egg.

The expedition remained on the island so long that a clan sprang up around it, for the explorers found much of interest there and lingered for quite some time. Everything from fluctuations in arcane energies to the timing of the tides was dutifully recorded; all the stars in the sky overhead were charted, and each species of animal and plant life encountered was cataloged. An earth dragon, skilled at geomancy, made an extensive tunnel system under the island extending under the sea to the mainland, intent on studying both the geological structure of the surrounding area and providing the budding clan with locations for travel, storage, and a refuge in the event of storms or raids.

As the explorers were joined by settlers, more interest was taken in building a sustainable, fortifiable residence and base of operations. There were some native edible life forms, but it was Vespers' mother who discovered that peach trees grew particularly well in the island's climate and planted several on both the larger island and a smaller rock nearby, using her nature magic to nurture them. They soon flourished, providing them with both a delectable delicacy and a unique resource with which they could barter for supplies.

Imbued with the surrounding arcane energies as he incubated in his egg, Vespers became a prodigious mage well before reaching adulthood. Though far away from any court, his nobly-born parents trained him in royal graces; more importantly in their eyes, they instilled in him their love of exploration. Vespers inherited his father's scholastic curiosity and his mother's fascination with all living things, but his greatest interest lay in exploring the boundaries of magic, in harnessing arcane energies to go beyond what other dragons had yet attempted.

His parents finally finished their survey of the island and the surrounding territory and departed to explore other realms. Vespers, however, elected to remain behind, to take charge of the clan that had formed around his parents' expedition and strengthen their settlement. He made copies of the notes compiled by his parents and the other explorers, storing them safely in a small room under the spire, and added to them his own extensive research on arcane magic. Vespers didn't mind being interrupted in his research by the tasks of ruling his growing clan; he enjoyed interacting with others, each of them sharing their discoveries and inspiring new ideas.

Word of his magical experiments spread, and soon other mages flocked to the island. Chief among them was another coatl, the first dragon Vespers had met who could be said to rival him in magical prowess. They grew increasingly interested in each other, first intellectually as they collaborated together on magical projects, then physically. Vespers introduced his new mate as the co-ruler of the clan, and he had never been happier.

He soon learned that his mate was not all he seemed, however. Vespers enjoyed radical experimentation, but he disdained anything that was unethical, and he began to have second thoughts about some of his mate's methods. Finally he happened upon his mate performing experiments on some of the clan's dragons against their will. Aghast, he gave him an ultimatum - change his behavior, or else leave the island.

His mate promised to reform, and after that all seemed to be well. Vespers was just about to fully forgive his mate and put the matter behind him when his mate sent for him to look at a magical room he had created deep in the tunnels. Curious, he made the descent, going down into a rarely used section of the tunnels until he came across his mate's creation. His mate bade him to enter the room so that he could exhibit its magical abilities; Vespers was apprehensive, but his mate pouted about not being trusted, so he finally gave in.

He hadn't been able to see into the room due to an illusion that concealed its entrance, but once inside, he gasped in horror, for within the small stone room were the bodies of several of the clan's dragons - dragons who had been helping his mate with his newest project. He whirled to face his betrayer, only to discover that he was sealed within the room. He summoned the full extent of his magical power, only to find that it wouldn't come to him. The room was a perfect trap for a mage, as no magic could be used within it. His mate laughed at his dismay, then gleefully explained the room's many properties. Anything within that room was immune to physical change - Vespers ought to be thanking him, for while he remained in that room - which would be forever, unless some powerful mage undid the spell and let him out - he would never age, nor would he need to eat or drink. The bodies in the room with him would never decay, and nor would he. Vespers could yell all he liked, but he was far beneath the island in a little used section of the tunnels, and he was hidden behind an illusion befuddling all the senses created by one of the island's two most powerful mages - now the most powerful one, given that his rival was out of the way. In the unlikely event that a dragon chanced down that side tunnel, they wouldn't even know that Vespers was there.

His mate then left him with nothing but sorrow and regret and the dead for companions. He arranged his fallen clanmates as respectfully as he could, given the small space and his inability to see - he couldn't summon a mage light, and the only natural light trickled down from a tiny hole that led to the surface, far, far overhead. Though "freed" from the need to consume sustenance, he discovered he still desired food and drink, still felt hunger and thirst. Sometimes when it rained, a tiny amount of water made its way down into his cavern, and he licked it eagerly from the walls. It was difficult to keep track of time, but he did his best, scratching tallies on the room's surfaces every time he thought a day had passed, wondering what was happening to his clan, wanting desperately to be able to contact them and warn them about his treacherous mate. Though his stomach clenched for want of something to fill it, far worse was his desire for light, for intellectual stimulation, for the return of his magic, and most of all, for companionship.

He had run out of space on the walls and floor to mark with tallies when a burst of mage light seared his eyes. When they finally adjusted, he found his former mate staring madly at him through the magical barrier, blood dripping from several wounds on his body. There was no more clan, he told Vespers, no one on the island but the two of them - all were dead and gone, and soon he would be too, and Vespers would be all alone forever, and no one would ever find him. Vespers wanted to cry out, to beg him to reconsider, but his voice hadn't been used in years and was muted in horror; he discovered, to his own disgust, that he still felt love for the one he had called mate, that he hated to see him suffer and die, and his heart broke as his former love gave one last mad laugh and collapsed right outside the barrier, the mage light dying with him.

Now that there was no hope and nothing left for him to live for, Vespers considered taking his own life, but he found that he couldn't inflict enough damage on himself without the stasis magic on the room kicking in and healing him back to the physical state he was in when he entered his prison. Resigning himself to his fate, he did what he could to keep his sanity, holding close to memories of love and life and light, whispering facts and spells to himself in the darkness. He slept as much as he could, though his dreams were always uneasy, full of strange landscapes and unfamiliar faces. He sometimes wondered if he dreamed what was happening in the world above him, or if, rather, his mind was finally cracking.

Centuries passed, and though dragons came and went from the island's surface, stopping for peaches or temporary shelter before moving on, none of them knew that a dragon was imprisoned far beneath them. The tunnels fell into disuse and disrepair, hidden for ages until the island once again boasted a sizable settlement and a young earth coatl, a bold and curious explorer in the same vein as Vespers' parents, rediscovered the tunnels and dedicated himself to mapping and repairing them...



The Founding

Emrys hatched from an egg of unknown origins. Though fond of his birth clan, he found himself to be more inquisitive than the other tundra dragons in his adopted family, who were bemused by his scholarly pursuits and downright confused when he developed a talent for geomancy after studying it in a text despite not being an earth dragon. He eventually decided to leave and found his own clan where other dragons could freely pursue their theories and dreams and build a shared library of research and lore.

Excited to recruit new clan members, Emrys claimed an island called Prufrock with a peach grove and a vast stone spire for his own, then created an intricate maze of tunnels in the spire with his earth magic and stocked it with all of the books and scrolls he could scavenge. Unfortunately, most of the dragons who first visited the clan declined to stay for long - they either found the Starfall Isles too strange or else lacked an interest in the pursuit of knowledge. Emrys had built his library, but he didn't know how to promote it to other dragons in Sornieth or how to organize the basic necessities a growing clan needed. Only Elyta, the guardian dragon who was the first to join him, remained by his side, taking charge of the clan's defense and working to obtain resources and organize supplies. She did her best to manage all of the practicalities her "nose in a book" mate usually forgot, though the job was too big for one dragon, and many prospective members left due to the disorganization. It wasn't until an exiled ice coatl named Eztli approached them with the idea of building a coatl colony that the clan grew.



The Coatl Colony

Eztli was born in the Southern Icefield in a region of allied clans known collectively as Sevenbranch, ruled by a famed tundra wizard known as Pentius. Coatl were considered an oddity there and looked down on, for their breed was native to the land of fire, and many dragons thought that they had no place in the icefields...and their predilection for using their native tongue instead of traditional draconic only increased suspicion. Perhaps as a result, his parents were quite religious in their devotion to the Icewarden - almost overly so in an attempt to prove their loyalty to their current homeland. They heavily encouraged Eztli and his siblings to train to enter the Icewarden's service, but Ez had other ideas.

He felt that the rift between the coatl and the other dragons could be solved through better communication, so he spent his time in study with a tundra linguist named Cousat, learning from his teacher how his form and appendages could best imitate the body language of other dragon breeds. His parents and many of the other dragons considered his "hobby" ridiculous, but Ez persevered in his studies until an instructor from the Sevenbranch School of Magic came to test the dragons in his clan for possible recruits and found, much to everyone's surprise, that the young coatl possessed a preponderance of ice magic. He received a letter shortly thereafter admitting him to the school, so he packed his meager belongings and flew to the capital.

Ez was the only coatl in the school. Even lacking ears, he could still pick up on the derogatory murmuring of other students, and he could tell his roommate, the beautiful ice-colored spiral Galin, was less than pleased to have been paired with someone so unpopular. Ez put everything he had learned about linguistics into use, doing his best to appease his fellow students and teachers, but though he excelled in his studies, he failed to make any friends in the school. Craving the comfort of his own kind, he spent much of his time after school in the city's coatl quarter, helping out in a coatl-owned restaurant and bringing books for the coatl Ixtli to read, as she was too afraid to venture into the city's library after being bullied by some dragons sarcastically wondering aloud if coatl dragons could even read basic draconic.

He had his own experiences with bullies as well, the worst being when a fellow student, a wildclaw who was annoyed that Ez was always at the top of their class, challenged him to a duel. Ez didn't want to get in trouble for fighting and refused; the wildclaw threw a rock at him to provoke him, and it hit Ez in his right eye. The wildclaw and his friends fled after that, as they hadn't intended serious injury and were afraid of being expelled. Ez managed to make it to the school physician's office, but the pearlcatcher in charge told him that she was unfamiliar with coatl physiology, so she gave him some bandages and sent him back to his room. Galin returned to their shared room only to find Ez attempting to bandage his own injured eye. Ez tried to hide the extent of the injury from his roommate, but for once the spiral wasn't ignoring him and instead became outraged on Ez's behalf. He helped Ez with his bandages, though as neither of them knew much about healing as they had not yet begun their training in healing magic, Ez lost his sight in that eye and bore a permanent scar.

It was Galin who purchased goggles for him to wear to hide the scar, and this and other gestures blossomed into a firm friendship. Though being beautiful, talented, and from a prominent family had guaranteed a place for Galin in the school and ensured his popularity – something he didn't want to lose at any cost – the way he and others had treated Ez gnawed on his conscience, so he elected to kill two birds with one stone by trying to make Ez popular and roping the coatl into the school's up and coming. It was strange for Ez to see his status at the school change nearly overnight just by being in Galin's company. Though initially he thought the spiral superficial, he came to learn that there were complications in Galin's life that made him the way he was, pressures from his family to succeed in the capital at all costs, and he in turn was supportive of Galin in all of his endeavors, lending his magic and his communication skills to assist his friend.

The most talented student in each class was always given the opportunity to interview with the Wizard. Eztli was the top student, but he asked the head of the school to share that honor with his friend Galin, so both of them were permitted an interview with Pentius. Though Ez was full of ideas about how interbreed relationships could improve, Pentius reacted with fear when he saw him due to a bad experience he had had with the last coatl who had been a student at the school - as a result of an accident involving the coatl, Pentius had been scarred by fire. The Wizard had been unaware that a coatl had been admitted to the school and told Ez he had no place in Sevenbranch unless he submitted himself to having his magic bound. Not wanted to lose his magic or his liberty, Ez instead elected to leave and invited Galin to come with him. Galin, however, decided to stay and work for the Wizard due to his family's expectations and his own ambitions to exceed all of his siblings and prove himself a worthy heir.

Ez traveled to the land of dreams, the Starfall Isles, and chanced upon the island of Prufrock, where he met Emrys and Elyta struggling to build a fledgling clan. They gave him permission to found a coatl colony on the island – a place where displaced coatl could live and learn together, where knowledge was plentiful and dreams were encouraged and, most importantly, where coatl would not be looked down on. He traveled frequently as an envoy to other clans throughout the flights, setting up trade agreements and recruiting talented coatl and other dragons to join the colony on the island of Prufrock. Emrys was thrilled that the coatl found scholars to make use of the library, while Elyta was glad whenever Ez managed to bring back some "useful" members (those who could hunt and craft and fight). The tundra founder was impressed with the coatl's efforts, and he finally asked Ez to assume the mantle of leadership. Emrys figured the coatl majority would understand one of their fellows better, and he was more than content to spend less time trying to figure out how to manage a clan and more time with his books.



Winternight

Though Eztli mainly traveled to recruit coatls, he occasionally brought other dragons back with him to the clan, some of them because he had little choice in the matter. Winternight was one of those dragons.

Winternight was born into a clan in the Foxfire Bramble, a land of darkness and thorns. He was shyer and more timid than others in the clan; he couldn't stop himself from being bluntly honest even if a white lie would have suited the situation better, and he had little interest in games or competition, preferring to sew quietly in a corner while others engaged in sport. His clan members tolerated him because he provided them with beautiful clothing.

When out collecting the materials he needed for his craft, Winternight was ambushed by a pack of mirror dragons, who stole his pearl from him and told him that if he wanted it back he'd have to do whatever they said. Too ashamed to return to his clan, where he would be outcast anyway without his pearl, he submitted to the various cruelties they gained entertainment from inflicting on him. They forced him to sew for them but half the time would tear up his creations, declaring them not good enough.

Winternight was often made to accompany the mirrors when they traveled to other clans to gamble in games of chance, where they enjoyed demeaning him in front of an audience. On one such excursion, one of the opposing gamblers was a coatl who was visiting a shadow clan to recruit members for his coatl colony in the Starfall Isles. To the horror of Winternight, the mirror dragons decided to gamble using his pearl as collateral. To the horror of the mirror dragons, the coatl ended up winning. They were rather unamused to lose their servant and toy, and the coatl was bemused to have suddenly gained a pearlcatcher. Realizing the situation was about to turn hostile, the coatl, Ez, gifted the mirror dragons the set of bracelets that he had been gambling with as thanks for the game, then picked up the pearl and gestured for Winternight to leave with him.

After reaching the outskirts of the shadow clan's territory, Ez returned his pearl to him, assuming the pearlcatcher would then return to his home clan, but Winternight insisted that since Ez had won him, he had to serve the coatl somehow. Though Ez protested that he despised the very idea of servitude and needed no repayment, the injured and emaciated pearlcatcher trailed after him as the coatl made his way back to his home in the Starfall Isles, where the clan's physicians tended the deep wounds on his hindquarters which had been inflicted by thorns and the mirrors' claws and Citalli used her knowledge of dragon psychology to attempt to reverse some of the damage the mirrors had inflicted mentally and emotionally. Ez remained by his side the entire time, allowing him space in his lair while he recuperated.

By the time Winternight was healed enough to return home, he realized he didn't want to - he wanted to remain with Ez, not out of any obligation but because he had fallen in love with him. He also enjoyed the creative and scholarly atmosphere of the clan and finally felt inspired to take up sewing again. He was one of the founders of the Stitchery, an apparel shop in Lantern Port.



The Curse of the Peach Tree Spirit

Though all of Ez's recruits had an impact on the growing clan, there were two who drastically changed its history.

The drab coatl Sombra was considered unlucky by others of his breed in his home clan even though he blended well into the shadows of his native Tangled Wood. Bullied because of his coloring and the eye spots on his wings others in his clan considered creepy, he hid from his tormentors in the shadows. He came to love the shadows, and they embraced him in turn, to the point where he could control them and even travel through them, though he found the practice draining.

One day a lightning coatl named Xo visited the Tangled Wood. Like him, she had eye spots on her wings, and like him, she had tremendous magical power. She had crafted a ring that allowed her to control her powers better and concocted an idea to create a similar object for him. Xo had heard tales of the immense magical powers of peach trees and suggested that they research how to turn one into a magical staff. Both of them had heard Ez's recruitment speech about the coatl colony in the Starfall Isles, and, as it contained both an extensive library and a peach grove, they decided to travel there.

They were readily admitted to the colony and commenced their research right away, though they told no one what they were planning - they weren't sure how the other dragons in the clan would perceive their goal. Their search for information consumed them until finally they found it - a crumbling text that gave concise instructions on making a magical staff out of a peach tree. The anonymous author claimed that the more ancient the tree, the more powerful the staff. There was a scribbled warning at the bottom, but the coatl pair gave it no heed. Instead, they innocuously inquired as to which tree on the island was the oldest and learned that it was not in fact on the island of Prufrock but instead on the much smaller island close by it, Lazarus Rock. Sombra and Xo flew there, made their preparations, and commenced their spells under the light of the stars.

After a full night of spellcasting, the ancient tree gave a shudder, then folded in on itself, its roots and branches braiding together and shrinking until it formed a staff. All seemed to have gone as planned. Sombra reached out to grab the staff, but as soon as he touched it, a rain of black petals fell all around the two coatl dragons. The trees of the Starfall Isles had long been subject to the arcane whims of its atmosphere, which had allowed a spirit to cross the veil and intertwine its identity with the physical tree. That spirit was highly displeased that its life, such as it was, had been destroyed for the mere sake of a little boost to a single dragon's arcane abilities. Though it did not speak with words, they understood its meaning well enough - it was using what remained of its essence to curse them.

When the petals had finally swirled away on the wind, Sombra was left holding a blackened staff, and on the ground in front of him was a coatl hatchling - a female with shadowy petals imprinted on her scales, a dark version of the tree's pink blossoms. Terrified, the two dragons flew off the rock away from the hatchling. When they got back to the island of Prufrock, Sombra was startled to see he was still holding the staff - he could have sworn that he had dropped it. He attempted to leave it in the peach grove, then returned to his lair with Xo, but when he arrived in his lair, the staff was propped up against the wall. It followed him wherever he went, appearing wherever he was, so he started carrying it with him so that the other coatl wouldn't get suspicious. He didn't dare to use the staff he had worked so hard to make, though. It didn't even feel magical - just a stick with no power. He shuddered every time he looked at the blackened wood and recalled the shadowy petals eddying around them.

A few days passed. Sombra had finally gotten used to the constant presence of the staff in his life, and he had almost forgotten about the hatchling when he entered his lair and found her sitting in the middle of the room next to a male who was almost identical to her. He wanted to flee the island to get away from the hatchlings, but Xo stopped him. She insisted that they raise them to atone for their crime against the peach tree. Her theory was that somehow the two coatl hatchlings were the peach tree - or part of its essence, anyway. She figured that one of them was the tree itself while the other was the power that should have gone into the staff. He reluctantly agreed to help care for them, so he and Xo raised Tzila and Tavor as their own hatchlings, telling the others in the clan that they had been sent to them by distant relations.

As Sombra continued to distance himself from the situation (save for his growing obsession with the staff), Xo looked into it more deeply, spending most of her days researching in the library to find a way to reverse the curse...especially once the side effects began. The eye spots on her wings faded, and a butterfly pattern traced its way across their surface. A few of the clan's coatl also saw similar changes affect their wings, and many began to develop the outline of petals on their hides. Several dragons in the clan thought it an auspicious sign, given that a stylized peach blossom was the clan's symbol, but a visiting fortuneteller read the runes and saw otherwise - it was the sign of a curse, not a blessing. She insisted that the affected coatl dragons be quarantined, even though she herself was among their number, but various physicians examined them and swore that they were in perfect health.

While the clan debated, Xo finally found the spell she had sought - a way to summon spirits - and cast it, attempting to summon another peach tree spirit to ask how its former brethren could be appeased. Her spell was so powerful that it shattered her magic ring, and it brought not one spirit but two - the peach tree spirits Taohua and Taozhi. Though frightened by the apparition of more spirits than she had anticipated, Xo rallied and submitted her apology to them on the behalf of herself and Sombra for what they had inadvertently done to one of their fellows. She begged forgiveness for their hubris and folly and asked if they might lift the curse and do something for Tavor and Tzila. Though initially made angry by her actions, first in daring to summon them and secondly in hearing what she and Sombra had done to their friend, they realized that this mistake could be repeated again to the detriment of both the dragons and the spirits of the island of Prufrock, so they agreed to interfere this time - on the condition that some spirits be allowed to manifest in the island's physical dimension for the time being to serve as ambassadors for their kind. Xo gladly accepted, though she requested that Tavor and Tzila not be told about their origins. The spirits were unhappy at the thought of deception, but they agreed.

Xo took the spirits to Eztli, who was delighted to open diplomatic relations with the island's spirit inhabitants and agreed to do whatever he could to protect the peach trees of the island. The spirits then visited Tavor and Tzila while they were sleeping and purified the curse of the vengeful spirit from them. The residual energy formed itself into two coatl who were reflections of Tavor and Tzila, only light in color instead of dark. Like Tavor and Tzila, Hugh and Blush had no notion of their supernatural origins, and Xo raised them as normal coatl.

After representatives of the peach tree spirits had established themselves in the clan on the island of Prufrock, sea spirits from the surrounding waters emerged to demand equal representation. Like their earth spirit brethren, they manifested as dragons to better relate to the residents of the island whenever they came ashore to converse with the clan. They were not the last of the spirits to visit the island, however.



The Moon and the Underworld

Long ago, two spirits from different realms met by chance, fell in love, and ran away to Sornieth to live as dragons, knowing that neither partner would be welcome in each's respective home. One was the royal vizier and intended consort of Mahdis, the queen of the moon; the other was the second in command to Lazarus, a lord of the underworld. Both were distraught by the loss of their most loyal companion and blamed the other party for this perceived casualty, and there had been an increase in enmity between the two realms ever since - a feud that had been damaging all of the relations in the spirit realm due to the immense power of the spirits involved.

Taozhi, a peach tree spirit who had loose alliances with the moon spirits, and Adrik, a sea spirit whose people were supporters of the underworld, had both witnessed their respective domains suffer the effects of this conflict and desired to bring the two parties together to air their grievances. The trick was finding neutral ground unaligned with either realm. After both groups of spirits developed a relationship with the dragons on the island of Prufrock, they decided that this isle in the mortal realm would make an ideal place for negotiations. Emrys was wary of his island being overrun by powerful spirits and was hesitant to accept, but Eztli disliked the thought of such a conflict perpetuating through the ages. Wanting to heal the rift, Ez allowed the monarchs and their courts to dwell among the clan's dragons and played the role of mediator as they worked through their issues.

Though much of his time was spent arbitrating between the moon spirits and the underworld spirits, Eztli was still responsible for conducting negotiations with other clans. While in the nearby clan of Starvale arranging a trade agreement, he learned that his old home of Sevenbranch was holding an ambassador of theirs, the imperial Princess Liliya, hostage. Because he was familiar with the territory, he elected to travel with Starvale's Prince Liev and assist him in rescuing her. Ez was dismayed to find that his old schoolmate Galin was the one guarding the tower where their princess was being held. The friends reluctantly squared off, but Ez maintained the edge that had made him the first in their class, and he was able to keep Galin distracted while Liev sneaked into the tower. However, Liev discovered that the princess was already making use of the distraction to rescue herself and two other dragons who had been imprisoned with her - a pair of skydancers called Midnight and Sun, who had been detained by Pentius due to a prophecy and the Wizard's fear of fire:

When the midnight sun shows its face in the sky
And drakes in its guise walk the earth
Ice will burn when the coatl returns
Once more to the land of his birth.

Heavens and underworld torn asunder
Await the midnight sun
For its coming alone can heal the rift
And reunite as one –

Spirit and dragon, heavens and earth,
Fire and ice and arcane;
But unless the coatl is quick with his tongue,
All will fall to the tongue of the sun's flame.


After hearing the prophecy and talking more with Midnight and Sun, Ez realized that they were reincarnations of the spirits who had inadvertently caused the conflict between the moon and the underworld. After hearing the story that Ez related, the two skydancers finally pieced together their fleeting memories of their previous lives. After escaping their respective monarchs and eloping, they had lived in disguise in the Tangled Wood. Though they managed to hide for years and even had a daughter together, at long last hunters from the underworld found them. They gave their lives to buy time for their child to escape. Due to the magic they had worked to bind themselves together, they were reincarnated around the same time - though they had never anticipated that their spirit souls would be trapped in the mortal bodies they had once assumed as disguise. Their material forms muted their memories of their spirit lives until Ez's recounting of events on Prufrock reawakened their knowledge of who they were and what they had done.

Liliya insisted on going to confront Pentius; to Ez's surprise, Galin agreed with her, saying that it was time that someone finally stood up to the Wizard. Realizing that their role was far larger than they had imagined, Midnight and Sun agreed to accompany them. Together, they traveled to the capital and gained an audience with Pentius. When the Wizard learned the true identities of Midnight and Sun, he declared that he would imprison them once again and ransom them to their monarchs. Sun panicked, and his magic, already unstable due to his spirit soul resting uneasily in a mortal body, flared wildly, setting the entire palace aflame.

Ez and Galin wove their ice magic together to shield the others, but it was Ez's words that eventually got through to Sun and quieted his outburst. His promise to convince Mahdis and Lazarus to let the two reincarnated lovers live together in peace made the flames subside, and once they returned to the island of Prufrock, he made good on his word. The two lovers even reunited with their daughter, who had become the consort of the sea spirit Adrik. Ez expected all of the spirits to return to their own realms upon the resolution of their conflict; however, several of them insisted that representatives were needed in the mortal realm and elected to remain.




Ssnjyqq.pngGqCYo3Z.pngMjhcEqa.png0DjJJeq.pnggbzmCjn.pnggLKyC1J.pngC4p7R9l.pngV2CeOLQ.pngeQ6UJL0.png ICOy8Af.png
[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]History Part 2[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | History Part 2 [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110858]History Part 3[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] For as long as he could remember, a plague imperial named Jin consistently dreamed of a dark castle. Unable to get the foreboding yet oddly alluring image out of his mind, he sought out his clan's ritualist, who recalled a prophecy she had heard her teacher mention in her youth: [indent][i]In a time of dry rains and frozen flames, the eleven will gather, the dark castle will appear, and what was forgotten will rise.[/i][/indent] She told Jin that her teacher had written some tomes attempting to interpret the prophecy. The ritualist was uncertain where those texts had ended up, but she recalled his theory that the eleven came from all of the flights, one from each flight. Deciding that the time of the prophecy was at hand, Jin left his home in the plague region of Wyrmwound to seek the other ten dragons and find any and all texts that would tell them more about the prophecy and the mysterious dark castle. Guided by dreams and instinct, Jin finally gathered the other members, whom he dubbed Quaesitors of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum - the seekers of the dark castle and the warriors who would either fight to conquer it or to defend it, depending on whatever the mysterious castle ended up being. Jin learned during his travels that the texts he sought had been acquired by a tundra in the Starfall Isles, so the eleven Quaesitors came to Emrys on the island of Prufrock and asked to make use of the library in search of information regarding the prophecy. They did locate the tomes Jin's ritualist had mentioned, but they soon turned to many of the library's other volumes, searching for any information about the prophecy and the mysterious dark castle. Though several of the Quaesitors became momentarily distracted by romance and family, all of them continued to research the prophecy, and though at first the eleven dragons were hopeful, they ended up finding few textual clues in the library's vast hoard. It wasn't until spirits came in numbers to the island that the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. The denizens of the spirit realm divide themselves into four quarters – the spirits of the heavens, the spirits of the underworld, the spirits of the sea, and the spirits of the earth. Though each has their own hierarchies and classifications and governments, there was one spirit who reigned over them all, the monarch Imago, who ruled from his towering dark castle that moved constantly throughout the spirit realm. Neither castle nor monarch had been seen for many ages, however, though the spirits had a prophecy regarding the return of their leader and his domain: [indent][i]Imago and the castle in the image in reverse – Peach planted, grown, and eaten is the key. With key and guide the four quarters and dragons will traverse To fight and to retrieve our destiny.[/i][/indent] Unbeknownst to any spirit, as members of the four quarters were rarely in the same place at the same time, each division had their own piece of the solution entrusted to them by Cheshire, the servant of Imago, a mysterious spirit who travels through mirrors, images, and reflections: [list][*]On the order of Imago as conveyed by Cheshire, many earth spirits, among them the prominent peach tree spirit Taozhi, had combined their magic to grow an enormous peach tree, the wood of which was used in the construction of the castle door. [*]Mahdis, the queen of the moon and one of the major spirits of the heavens, was presented with a painting of a landscape as a coronation gift by Cheshire in the name of their monarch. It depicted an odd pastoral scene in which rain fell upon fields aflame. The frame of the painting was made from the same wood as the castle door. [*]The Empress of the sea spirits was similarly gifted a beautiful mirror, framed by wood from the same peach tree. She in turn gave it to one of her loyal servants, the sea spirit Adrik, who was sent to serve as an envoy on Prufrock. [*]Cheshire gave the underworld spirit lord Lazarus a seed pit from the peach tree and requested that he plant it in the mortal realm. Lazarus interred the pit on what became known as Lazarus Rock near the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles.[/list] When spirits from each of the four quarters converged on the island of Prufrock for negotiations, Ashes, the Shadow Quaesitor, happened to notice the painting hanging in the guest residence of Mahdis and thought it might represent the "dry rains and frozen flames" mentioned in the prophecy. To explore this potential clue, the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum requested a meeting with representatives of the spirits, and both spirits and dragons were astonished to learn that each group had its own prophecy regarding the dark castle. Neither knew quite how the two prophecies fit together, though Lazarus suggested a solution to one line – the peach tree he had planted long ago on Lazarus Rock should surely have borne the fruit that would be the key, so the eleven dragons and four spirits flew out to Lazarus Rock. There they surprised the clan leader Eztli and his mate Winternight, who were on Lazarus Rock for a picnic and some time alone together. Ez had been so busy with his role of mediator between both the spirits and the island's dragons that he had begged a day off. Winternight was still a bit hungry after their picnic and in the mood for something sweet, so he plucked the single peach growing from the largest tree on the island and bit into it. Exclaiming over its exquisite taste, he tempted Ez into sharing it with him. By the time the Obsucurum Castrum Bellatorum and the spirits arrived on Lazarus Rock, the couple had eaten the entire peach. Winternight was horrified by what he had inadvertently done, especially as his brother Ashes was one of the Quaesitors, and both he and Ez were extremely apologetic. Ashes was quite frustrated by his brother's "foolish" actions and berated him, though he was shushed by the order's other members who knew the pair had meant no harm. Ez asked them to explain exactly what it was they had done, and so the twin prophecies were related and the various pieces owned by the spirits brought forth and passed around. When Ez was holding the painting and Winternight was holding the mirror, they happened to align so that the painting was reflected in the mirror's surface, and those who were looking over Ez's shoulder started to see a dark castle in the painting's reversed image. Blinking in wonderment and rubbing their eyes, they also saw something moving toward them in the reflection. Winternight nearly dropped the mirror when a spirit in the form of a mirror dragon emerged from it. (It was especially frightening to Winternight, as he still harbored a terror of mirror dragons from being held captive by a pack of them.) The spirits recognized him, at least – Cheshire, the servant of Imago, a being skilled at traveling through mirrors and images. He told the assembly that at the request of his monarch he had hidden the dark castle in the reflection of an image for the protection of both the spirit realm and the entire world, for Imago was in the midst of a ferocious battle with an eldritch being from beyond the stars who had crept into a pocket dimension and was struggling to gain a foothold in Sornieth. The dragons all shuddered, for they had all grown up on tales of the Shade, though the spirits were unfamiliar with the stories and spent some time debating over whether or not their monarch's adversary was one and the same with the ancient enemy of the dragon deities. Cheshire finally silenced them, reminding them that it didn't matter one way or the other – they were all in grave danger regardless. Imago had hidden himself and the eldritch being and the castle that contained their battle away from the world, but in the event that he didn't triumph, he provided a safeguard to allow others to enter the dimension and defeat the enemy before it could encroach on the rest of Sornieth. When Ashes complained that they couldn't get in anyway because his brother and a coatl had eaten the key, Cheshire chuckled and said that consuming the key was necessary to activate it, though he hadn't anticipated the role being shared between two dragons. Because they had eaten the peach, Ez and Winternight were now a part of the prophecy and had to accompany the others as they entered the reflected dimension that contained the dark castle. Several of the spirits, in particular the bodyguards of Queen Mahdis, wanted to accompany their leaders, but Cheshire refused, stating that only those involved in the prophecy – the eleven members of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum, the keys Eztli and Winternight, and one spirit from each quarter (Queen Mahdis of the heavenly spirits, Lord Lazarus of the underworld spirits, Taozhi of the earth spirits, and Adrik of the sea spirits) – were permitted to travel the path to the castle. They flew back to the island of Prufrock, where Ez left instructions with Emrys on what should happen in the case he failed to return, then positioned the painting so it was fully reflected in the mirror and followed Cheshire into it, passing through the mirror's surface as if through mist into an oddly warped landscape where hail pelted down upon a land steaming with dry ice that seeped up through crevices, shrouding the land in a fog that twisted like flames. They proceeded cautiously across the hostile countryside, keeping close to their guide as Cheshire led them closer to the towering castle which rose like a dark shadow out of the pale, wispy tendrils surrounding it. None of those present could say afterward how long they traversed the plains at the foot of the castle, never seeming to get any closer to their destination, but suddenly it loomed over their heads and they found themselves facing a massive set of doors carved from peach wood. On Cheshire's instructions, Ez and Winternight set themselves on either side and pushed. At their touch, a fine crack appeared down the middle and the doors swung inward, admitting them to the dark castle. The inside was nothing like any castle they had ever seen. There was finery present, yes – silks and valuable metals and precious jewels and beauteous art – but all was ripped and rent and torn, victims of a violent conflict that had raged throughout the confines of the castle. Though upon their entry the castle was deathly silent save for their hushed voices and muffled footsteps, as they proceeded further into the entryway they could hear sounds of a distant battle. Racing toward it, they finally found the object of their search – the monarch Imago, in the shape of an imperial dragon, battling a formless entity of absolute darkness. Without a word passing between them, the eleven dragons of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum moved as one, leaping into the fray and biting and clawing any bit of the eldritch being they could reach, using elemental spells to enhance their blows. The spirits also rushed to aid their monarch, positioning themselves in four corners around the opponents and attacking the darkness with magic. Ez likewise did what he could to aid the others with his magic – sometimes attacking, sometimes healing, leaning on Winternight for support as he tried to keep up with spirits and entities far more powerful than he was. With the aid of the others, Imago was finally able to subdue his enemy, though his castle was destroyed in the process, the walls crashing down as he dealt the final blow. With a powerful slash, he split the eldritch being in two, then summoned darksteel rings to latch on each nebulous being's four corners, reciting a final spell to bind their power and restrict their form. The two halves were still for a moment before their shapes slithered and twisted in on themselves, rippling as they adjusted into the shape of a coatl, one male, one female. The two beings looked upon their new form in confusion and wonderment. It seemed the sealing spell had done its work too well. They had no memory of a long battle or from whence they came or even their own identity. With the destruction of the castle, the strange landscape around them melted away until the group found themselves standing on Lazarus Rock in the mortal realm. Though the spirits were quite pleased with the return of their missing monarch, the dragons of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment and foreboding. Did the wording of their prophecy refer to the rise of the spirits whose existence had been forgotten by dragons, or the rise of the Shade? The order remained on the island of Prufrock for a time, keeping watch over the eldritch beings to see if they were harmless innocents or if they were merely pretending, waiting to test their bonds and break free to wreak destruction on the world. Imago decided to reside on the island as well for much the same reason. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Barrier Breach[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Though Ez had optimistically (and admittedly naively) welcomed the spirits with open arms, the clan's exorcists were always worried about the consequence of so many spirits residing on the island, not to mention the effect of extensive traffic through the veil dividing the realms. They occasionally had minor incursions of malevolent spirits, but they always handled it themselves...until they day of the Barrier Breach. The island of Prufrock was inundated with hostile spirits, forcing residents (both dragons and spirits) to fight for their lives, barricade themselves in the library, or flee for the mainland. Ez was saddened and humbled by the experience. Though there were thankfully few deaths, there were many injuries, and a large number of both dragons and spirits made up their minds to leave the island. The Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum decided that the battle had been their last together and officially disbanded; only Winternight's brother, Ashes, elected to remain on Prufrock, and the rest dispersed. Several of the spirits also decided to take their leave, some in the hopes that the presence of fewer spirits on the island would help stabilize the veil, others in eagerness to explore more of the mortal realm. To Ez's surprise, both Queen Mahdis and Lord Lazarus elected to remain as representatives, and though the Queen dutifully sent some of her courtiers away, she was most displeased when Lord Lazarus retained his entire retinue, unaware that he did so because he suspected the breach had been caused by his rival Kherty. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Snow Queen[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Ez toiled long and hard after the Barrier Breach, working to recruit mercenaries to bolster the defense of the clan and researching new spells to apply to the veil. Once the veil and the clan had somewhat stabilized, several friends insisted he take a much-needed vacation. Both his friend Galin and his brother Etsu wanted to return to Sevenbranch in the Southern Icefield to visit family and friends during the celebration of the Crystalline Gala and encouraged Ez and his mate Winternight to join them, especially since Winter had never seen the icefields. Finally convinced by the combination of his mate's, brother's, and friend's pleas, he joined them and his brother's extended family and made the journey back to the land of his birth. They first stopped to visit the clan where both Ez and Etsu had been born, but it was a melancholy return home for Ez, as both of his parents had long since left to devote themselves to the service of the Icewarden, and most of the dragons he had once known had also moved on. He brightened up once they reached the capital, however, as he was eager to show Winternight the school where he and Galin had learned both magic and many life lessons. To his relief, though discrimination against coatl was not entirely eradicated - he theorized that it would take several generations for it to fully disperse - they were treated with far more kindness and fairness than would have been possible when the Wizard Pentius ruled Sevenbranch. It was clear that his young regent was doing much to reverse the harm her predecessor had caused his realm. Galin, a noble from a large family of spirals, permitted them to stay in the townhouse his family maintained in the capital while they visited the street fairs and celebrations of the Crystalline Gala. The Gala's revelry seemed more subdued than he remembered from his youth, however, and Ez felt something was off long before finally realizing what it was - there were no hatchlings running in the streets, playing games at the fairs and begging their parents for treats. Ez was trying to figure out how to politely broach the subject with their hosts when Winternight, unused to the chilly climate, caught a cold. Thankfully a physician maintained an office near Galin's townhouse, and Ez and Winter dropped in to obtain some medicine. The physician, a shadow skydancer named Cindermoon, seemed oddly familiar to Winternight, and after a brief discussion, they learned that he was the son of one of Winter's siblings. They had another surprise when Cindermoon's hatchling son Hazelmist limped in to assist his father in mixing the herbs. Ez remarked that he was the only hatchling he had seen in the capital, and Cindermoon heaved a sigh and explained why. The region of Sevenbranch had experienced a series of severe snowstorms, the fiercest and most devastating seen in years. The regent governing Sevenbranch was desperate, and she finally discovered an old spell and used it to summon a spirit known as the Snow Queen. The powerful snow spirit offered to quiet the storms in exchange for access to the libraries in the Sevenbranch School of Magic. The regent agreed, and the Snow Queen calmed the weather, but when the regent brought her bargain to the school's governing council, they were enraged at her audacity. They said the Snow Queen must have sent the storms herself so that they would be forced to call upon her aid and, in exchange, take down the wards that kept powerful spirits like her out of their school. They refused to honor their end of the deal. Angered at being cheated, the Snow Queen allowed Puer to steal away all of the hatchlings in the capital of Sevenbranch. An ice hatchling who had run away from home because he didn't want to grow up, he had been taken in by the Snow Queen and gifted with eternal youth. He dwelt in the spirit realm and longed for more playmates, so he came in the night and sang a song that only hatchlings could hear, leading them out of their beds and into the streets, then finally through a crack in a cliff face that led into the spirit realm. Only Cindermoon's son Hazelmist was spared, because he had a prosthetic limb and could not walk fast enough to keep up with the others, so the crack was closed by the time he got there. Though Ez was loath to interrupt his vacation with Winternight and his family and friends and had, truth be told, guiltily enjoyed being away from the politics and power plays of the spirits on the island of Prufrock, he didn't think he could live with himself unless he at least offered his aid. Thanks to his alumni status and his previous interactions with the ruling dragons of Sevenbranch, Ez was able to gain an audience. Due to his extensive experience with spirits and his skill with delicate negotiations, the regent and the school's council asked him to enter the spirit realm and barter for the release of the hatchlings. The school's councilors conceded to grant the Snow Queen limited access to their materials - she would be permitted to request that a few items at a time be brought to a guarded location off-campus for her to study. Thinking of his interactions with other powerful spirit entities such as Queen Mahdis and Lord Lazarus, Ez privately doubted this would be enough to assuage her pride, but he acquiesced to their request and resolved to try for the sake of the hatchlings. His fellow travelers from Prufrock offered to go with him, but Ez couldn't stand the thought of anything happening to his mate or his relations, and the spirit realm was always dangerous and unpredictable even in the best of circumstances, so he asked them to allow him to go alone. Galin especially pressed the issue, as like Ez, he was a powerful ice mage, but Ez had to laugh at the thought of even the two of them together trying to threaten an entity like the Snow Queen with her own element. Instead, he asked Galin to watch over Winter and his family and went alone to the cliff face into which the hatchlings had disappeared. Though he hated doing so after the devastation such a breach had caused on his island, he could see no other way to enter the spirit realm, so he used a spell that Lazarus had begrudgingly taught him in exchange for allowing the extra underworld spirits to remain on Prufrock and forced open a gateway between the realms to enter the Snow Queen's domain. In some ways, her territory within the spirit realm greatly resembled the iciest parts of the Southern Icefield - barren, cold, yet breathtakingly beautiful in its stark simplicity. In the distance he spied a palace, and bundling himself against the frigid winds with his magic and new robes he had purchased during the festival, he made his way toward it. As was typical in the spirit realm, it was difficult to tell how much time had passed, or how much distance he had traversed, but at long last he arrived before the walls. They were guarded by animated ice sculpted in fantastic shapes - some were a bit like the animals or beastclans he knew, but others were entirely unfamiliar. The sculptures did not (or would not) speak to Ez, but when he spoke to them, explaining his purpose there and infusing his words with a little magic, they allowed him to pass, and he entered the palace. The lighting inside resembled the aurora that often displayed in the winter sky and flickered in sconces set along walls made of giant ice blocks. The palace was immensely cold and immensely quiet, though after he had progressed down a long, seemingly uninhabited hallway, he finally heard the faint echo of hatchling laughter. It was difficult to pinpoint, for the halls echoed to such an extent that Ez suspected that sound was magically thrown here and there to confuse the listener, but he was finally able to locate the source - a coatl hatchling who was hovering above dozens of other hatchlings in the center of a vast frozen lake that took up the majority of a courtyard within the palace. Some of the hatchlings were giggling along with their captor and attempting to skate around on the ice; most, however, were huddled together in a shivering, miserable mass. Ez could sense their fading energy, even from a distance - their small mortal bodies would not survive much longer in the spirit realm. The coatl hatchling darted and danced through the air with an ease that belied his underdeveloped wings. He exuded a powerful, youthful, energetic and whimsical magic, unbound by reason or responsibility; he had long since ceased to be a dragon and was now a spirit, eternally young, never to change or develop or grow. Ez was startled to note that, save for the patterns on his hide, the hatchling looked much as he had when he was young, having the exact same coloration. "I'm here to treat with the Snow Queen," he called out to the hatchling spirit. "Would you please lead me to where she is in this vast palace?" The little coatl fluttered over until he hovered right in front of Ez's goggles. "I'm no servant," he scoffed, flicking the lenses of the goggles with his tiny claws. "See your own way to her, if you can." "Why don't we make a game of it?" said Ez, trying to put himself in the eternal hatchling's position, to remember what he had once been like, what he had enjoyed in his youth. "Let's see which of us can find her first and convince her to come back here." "What do I get when I win?" asked the boastful spirit. Ez thought quickly. "I'll permit you through the wards around my island so that you can play with the hatchlings there," he said. The spirit didn't seem malicious, only childish and lonely. Better he find playmates in the realm of dragons than spirit them away to a realm none of them could survive in for long, at least without becoming spirits themselves. The small spirit thought for a quick moment. "Done," he said impulsively, and sped off too fast to follow. Instead, Ez went over to the hatchlings and explained to them that he was there on behalf of their parents and was working to bring them home. While he was conversing with the hatchlings and doing his best to reassure them, he felt a gust of subzero wind ruffle the feathers in his wings and heard the little coatl's triumphant crow, and he turned to greet the Snow Queen. She resembled a graceful skydancer the color and texture of unbroken ice with wings like snowfields, but there was nothing delicate about her. She was angular, sharp, and hard, and her magic was as harsh and unforgiving as the winds whipping without mercy across the frozen surface of the lake. "I see you are a dragon aligned with ice," she said, her voice like a rumbling avalanche, "and that your life has been intertwined with spirits before this, for their presence lingers in your aura. It is clear that those who lead Sevenbranch have sent you to treat with me. Have they seen their folly in denying me my rightful payment and relented?" "They have, your majesty," said Ez, bowing his head in respectful deference. "Though because dismantling their wards entirely would allow any spirit - including your rivals - to enter the school and the library, they beg for a concession and ask that they bring any materials that you wish to study to a location outside the school." "I have no rivals," she snapped quickly - almost too quickly to be believable. "It is foolishness to keep knowledge locked away, to hoard wisdom and dole it out only to those deemed worthy of it. I would enter the library as an equal, or else the hatchlings will remain here with Puer." "That is something I do not have the authority to grant," Ez said, then continued quickly before she could retaliate. "I do have something additional to offer you, however." He took a deep breath, and though he wasn't overly religious, offered a quick prayer to any of the dragon deities who might be listening. He also hoped beyond hope that head librarian Emrys wouldn't kill him. "I lead a clan on the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles, and at the center of our island is a massive library spire containing, if I may boast, a collection that rivals that of the Sevenbranch School of Magic. I was a student there, so my analysis is not mere conjecture. It is possible you have heard of the negotiations taking place on the island between delegations of moon spirits and underworld spirits. Our clan is used to hosting spirits, though we are also warded heavily against them, as the presence of so many powerful spirits on our island strains the boundaries between our realms. If you would promise to take great care when entering and exiting the veil when visiting our island so as not to disturb the delicate balance we strive so hard to maintain - and as you are such a powerful entity, this is something I must insist upon for the safety of all who live on the island - and if you would swear to bring neither harm nor inclement weather to our home, then I would see to it that the wards are adjusted to permit you to visit our library." The queen tilted her head and regarded Ez for a frightfully long amount of time before, finally, she nodded. Ez barely managed to hide his sigh of relief. "I will accept that as an alternative compromise, as in this way I will be getting more than the original bargain - access to the materials of Sevenbranch, though not the library itself, as well as to the library on Prufrock. Bid farewell to your little friends, Puer - they will be returning to their mortal homes." "But what if they don't want to grow up?" cried Puer. "What if they want to play with me forever?" A few of the hatchlings looked up, interested, for growing up sounded awfully dull and tedious. "But if they don't grow up, they can never reach their true potential - never learn what they're truly passionate about, never create anything with permanence, never find a mate to love them always or have hatchlings of their own. There are challenges in growing up, certainly, but the responsibilities of adulthood are a privilege, not a curse," said Ez, hoping to use his diplomatic skills to persuade all of the hatchlings to return with him. He knew how tempting it was to avoid anything unpleasant, to run away from duties, but he also knew that if such things aren't faced, nothing of value is ever accomplished. Puer protested, but when the Snow Queen opened a rift in the wall of her palace that showed the capital of Sevenbranch on the other side, every single hatchling poured through and raced to return to their parents and caretakers. With a word of thanks to the Snow Queen and a promise to honor the vows he had made to both her and Puer, he followed the hatchlings and returned to his own loved ones. Thankfully the queen had been kind and returned them to a time shortly after Ez had entered the spirit realm, so none of them had missed many of the festivities. At the end of the Gala, Ez returned to his island with some new arrivals in tow - Winter's relatives, Cindermoon and Hazelmist, and Puer, who was already demanding that Ez prove his word by providing him with new playmates. Emrys and the exorcists sighed at having to work around yet another spirit, but since Ez had promised (and promises to powerful spirits could not be lightly broken), they made adjustments to the magical wards protecting the island and the library to allow the Snow Queen through. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Arrival of Shadowstar[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] One line of a royal family had long ruled over a vast territory in the Zephyr Steppes, the kingdom of Zenobia. The family, mostly skydancers, had founded and expanded the kingdom in the peaceful, fertile grasslands and given it their name. During the darkest time of the year, a shooting star was seen over their lands, falling toward the earth. A servant of the monarch followed to where it landed. When he arrived at the place he had calculated according to its trajectory, he found not the remnants of a star but a glowing egg, abandoned in the shadows. He brought it back to his queen, who was tending her own nest at the time. Inspired by newfound feelings of motherhood, she hatched the orphaned egg and raised it with her own brood of princes and princesses. Though beautiful in his own way, the purplish coatl was an odd duckling in a family of green, white, and blue skydancers. He was given the name Shadowstar due to how and where he was found: in the shadows at the site where a star fell to earth. When he began to show signs of prodigious magical abilities, rumors spread that perhaps he was the dying star's reincarnation. Shadowstar wasn't a Zenobian by blood, but he was raised as one of their princes, presented at court and highly educated in politics and protocol and proper procedures, in history and geography and the customs of the various breeds and flights. Due to his natural magical skill, he was also heavily tutored in magic. His eyes showed his innate alliance to the shadow flight despite his birth in wind territory, and his magic proved strongest in that element, though he was always able to create light in the deepest of shadows. Though coddled and protected by the insularity of the court, even at a young age he could detect the chords of unrest disrupting the harmony of the kingdom. The royal family of Zenobia had many branches, and not all were aligned with the queen; many disliked her tundra mate, who was considered too "common" and not of a regal enough lineage, and they didn't wish for rule to pass to his offspring, tainted by association, some of them tundras themselves. When he approached his adoptive mother with rumors he had overheard, she quieted his fears, reassuring him that the other sides of the family would come around and be more accepting, and even if they weren't, there was too much opposition between them for them to ever unite and prove a true threat. However, the queen was wrong. Her opponents secretly ironed out their differences and allied under a treaty, quietly building their forces. Finally they struck, their leader taking the throne during a coup which saw the deaths of the queen and of most of the members of her branch of the Zenobian family. Shadowstar, still very young, saw many of his family members murdered before a loyalist smuggled him out. He was hidden within a traveling group of dancers and courtesans who remained allies of the royal family. For a time he was nearly comatose with despair, but finally the troupe leader revealed to him that he wasn't the only survivor of the massacre in the palace: his youngest sister had lived, and Zenobian loyalists were rallying around her in the hopes of taking back the throne. His spirits recovered along with his hope, and he threw himself into training, desperate to do whatever he could to help his sister regain the throne and reinstate their mother's policies, to overthrow the cruelties of their distant uncle's reign. From the troupe leader, he learned the arts of dance, espionage, and war. His body was highly trained, and he was willing to use it in any way necessary to further their cause. Though he was technically in hiding due to his affiliation with the former queen, he performed in public with the other dancers without fear, for he was heavily disguised with costume and paint and illusion, barely distinguishable as male, much less as the hatchling prince he once had been. After many long years of smuggling and secrecy, of intrigue and war, the loyalists finally succeeded against the other branches of the Zenobian family, and Shadowstar's sister was instated on the throne. For a time he remained at her side, helping her to reverse the damage inflicted by her uncle and the civil war, but he soon realized that he wasn't really needed any longer. He had played his part, regained the throne through perseverance and sacrifice, but the throne wasn't for him, and his sister had other advisors. He had spent most of his life traveling with the troupe, and he ached to set out once again. After much deliberation, he finally bade farewell to his homeland, taking with him only the wildclaw Kouta, who had first been a companion and fellow rebel in the troupe and had later become his mate. Perhaps it was due to the stories he had heard about the finding of his egg, but he had always been secretly fascinated by stars and longed to visit the Starfall Isles, to view and study the glowing dance of the night sky. To this end, he found himself in the immense library on the island of Prufrock, studying texts both magical and mundane and spending nights in the observatory at the spire's peak, peering up at the stars through a telescope. He was astonished to find that the island's residents included spirits, among them star spirits. Shadowstar felt an odd kinship with them, especially those who had taken the form of skydancers, as he had been raised among that breed. Though he enjoyed the island and the majority of its inhabitants, and he even grew to feel at home there more deeply than he ever had on the Zephyr Steppes, he became increasingly irritated over the clan's government, or, more accurately, the lack of it. It wasn't as if the system was byzantine or cruel - more that it barely existed. The clan's nominal leader, Eztli, was absent half the time due to his role as an envoy, and no one seemed willing to step up when he was away to make decisions, leading to delays and squabbles over what should be done. To one who was raised as a prince and who had shed blood and dignity to regain a good government, the situation on Prufrock was an abomination, and he finally found that he could no longer remain silent about it, especially after Vespers was unearthed and began to relate tales of the time when Prufrock was under his rule. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The New Government and New Threats[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Though Ez remained outwardly confident and optimistic, the Barrier Breach and other tests of his authority made him doubt his ability to successfully lead his clan on his own. A solution finally presented itself when the former prince Shadowstar came to the clan and Vespers, another prince and the leader of a long-ago clan on the island, was found sealed away deep in the tunnels under the island. An earth coatl named Sootshadow (called Shadow) was exploring a side tunnel when one of the imbued charms his exorcist sister made him wear alerted him to a magical anomaly in the wall, near the skeletal remains of what once may have been a coatl. Though not the strongest or most talented mage in the clan, Shadow excelled at puzzles, and after a careful study of the patterns of magic that lay over that section of the tunnel, he was able to dispel the enchantment's cornerstones so that the rest of it unraveled, revealing what had been hidden by the barrier as it slowly dissolved and dispersed, wisps of ancient magic crumbling into arcane dust. Vespers was once again blinded by the sudden onset of mage light and stunned by the return of his magic, and he heard an exclamation of dismay and felt someone touch him, groping for a pulse. The other smelled like a coatl, and for an instant he feared it might be his mate, but when his vision cleared, he saw that the eyes staring at him were brown, and they were filled with concern rather than madness. The days that followed were an assault to his long-denied senses - of lights and colors, smells and tastes, of interactions that he had craved but had been denied to him for centuries. He was examined by physicians and mages and questioned extensively and invasively about how he had come to be sealed in the tunnels. Vespers found it hard to speak of his former clanmates, and he could not even bring himself to utter the name of the mate who had so badly betrayed them all, but he related what he could - just a faint outline at first, though he gradually filled it in as he learned more about the strange world in which he found himself and slowly, tentatively began to place just the smallest amount of trust in his new companions. As he regained his bearings, his old curiosity about magic and the world reasserted itself, and he reversed the roles and became the questioner, demanding information in exchange for his stories, asking endlessly about what he had missed while he had been trapped underground. He was thrilled to see that there were some parts of island that still conformed to his memories, and he was especially glad that his mother's peach trees continued to thrive, though he was astonished to learn that they were inhabited by sentient (and occasionally vengeful) spirits. Some of the advances and discoveries that had been made delighted him; others horrified him, and he viewed the current state of the island's clan with growing unrest. The situation there was tenuous and unstable - it wouldn't take much for the whole structure to crumble. He had overlooked weaknesses that had destroyed the island before, and since he miraculously had been given a second chance, he wasn't about to let it fall again under his watch. He soon found that another newcomer to the clan, a fellow former prince named Shadowstar, shared his unease. To their surprise, they found that the current clan leader, Eztli, had his own doubts about his ability to effectively govern the island and the surrounding territories and was willing to try anything to prevent another tragedy like the Barrier Breach. It was Shadowstar who created the form of the clan's new government with himself, Eztli, and Vespers as co-leaders, each a member of a triumvirate, along with the newly-formed Council of Seven containing representatives from each of the island's departments and constituents. Ez was relieved that he now had others with whom he could share the burden of leadership, though he hoped he was making the right choice for the good of the clan he had worked so hard to build and defend. [right]----------------------------- [/right]
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The Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum

For as long as he could remember, a plague imperial named Jin consistently dreamed of a dark castle. Unable to get the foreboding yet oddly alluring image out of his mind, he sought out his clan's ritualist, who recalled a prophecy she had heard her teacher mention in her youth:

In a time of dry rains and frozen flames, the eleven will gather, the dark castle will appear, and what was forgotten will rise.

She told Jin that her teacher had written some tomes attempting to interpret the prophecy. The ritualist was uncertain where those texts had ended up, but she recalled his theory that the eleven came from all of the flights, one from each flight. Deciding that the time of the prophecy was at hand, Jin left his home in the plague region of Wyrmwound to seek the other ten dragons and find any and all texts that would tell them more about the prophecy and the mysterious dark castle. Guided by dreams and instinct, Jin finally gathered the other members, whom he dubbed Quaesitors of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum - the seekers of the dark castle and the warriors who would either fight to conquer it or to defend it, depending on whatever the mysterious castle ended up being.

Jin learned during his travels that the texts he sought had been acquired by a tundra in the Starfall Isles, so the eleven Quaesitors came to Emrys on the island of Prufrock and asked to make use of the library in search of information regarding the prophecy. They did locate the tomes Jin's ritualist had mentioned, but they soon turned to many of the library's other volumes, searching for any information about the prophecy and the mysterious dark castle. Though several of the Quaesitors became momentarily distracted by romance and family, all of them continued to research the prophecy, and though at first the eleven dragons were hopeful, they ended up finding few textual clues in the library's vast hoard. It wasn't until spirits came in numbers to the island that the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

The denizens of the spirit realm divide themselves into four quarters – the spirits of the heavens, the spirits of the underworld, the spirits of the sea, and the spirits of the earth. Though each has their own hierarchies and classifications and governments, there was one spirit who reigned over them all, the monarch Imago, who ruled from his towering dark castle that moved constantly throughout the spirit realm. Neither castle nor monarch had been seen for many ages, however, though the spirits had a prophecy regarding the return of their leader and his domain:

Imago and the castle in the image in reverse –
Peach planted, grown, and eaten is the key.
With key and guide the four quarters and dragons will traverse
To fight and to retrieve our destiny.

Unbeknownst to any spirit, as members of the four quarters were rarely in the same place at the same time, each division had their own piece of the solution entrusted to them by Cheshire, the servant of Imago, a mysterious spirit who travels through mirrors, images, and reflections:
  • On the order of Imago as conveyed by Cheshire, many earth spirits, among them the prominent peach tree spirit Taozhi, had combined their magic to grow an enormous peach tree, the wood of which was used in the construction of the castle door.
  • Mahdis, the queen of the moon and one of the major spirits of the heavens, was presented with a painting of a landscape as a coronation gift by Cheshire in the name of their monarch. It depicted an odd pastoral scene in which rain fell upon fields aflame. The frame of the painting was made from the same wood as the castle door.
  • The Empress of the sea spirits was similarly gifted a beautiful mirror, framed by wood from the same peach tree. She in turn gave it to one of her loyal servants, the sea spirit Adrik, who was sent to serve as an envoy on Prufrock.
  • Cheshire gave the underworld spirit lord Lazarus a seed pit from the peach tree and requested that he plant it in the mortal realm. Lazarus interred the pit on what became known as Lazarus Rock near the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles.

When spirits from each of the four quarters converged on the island of Prufrock for negotiations, Ashes, the Shadow Quaesitor, happened to notice the painting hanging in the guest residence of Mahdis and thought it might represent the "dry rains and frozen flames" mentioned in the prophecy. To explore this potential clue, the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum requested a meeting with representatives of the spirits, and both spirits and dragons were astonished to learn that each group had its own prophecy regarding the dark castle. Neither knew quite how the two prophecies fit together, though Lazarus suggested a solution to one line – the peach tree he had planted long ago on Lazarus Rock should surely have borne the fruit that would be the key, so the eleven dragons and four spirits flew out to Lazarus Rock.

There they surprised the clan leader Eztli and his mate Winternight, who were on Lazarus Rock for a picnic and some time alone together. Ez had been so busy with his role of mediator between both the spirits and the island's dragons that he had begged a day off. Winternight was still a bit hungry after their picnic and in the mood for something sweet, so he plucked the single peach growing from the largest tree on the island and bit into it. Exclaiming over its exquisite taste, he tempted Ez into sharing it with him. By the time the Obsucurum Castrum Bellatorum and the spirits arrived on Lazarus Rock, the couple had eaten the entire peach.

Winternight was horrified by what he had inadvertently done, especially as his brother Ashes was one of the Quaesitors, and both he and Ez were extremely apologetic. Ashes was quite frustrated by his brother's "foolish" actions and berated him, though he was shushed by the order's other members who knew the pair had meant no harm. Ez asked them to explain exactly what it was they had done, and so the twin prophecies were related and the various pieces owned by the spirits brought forth and passed around. When Ez was holding the painting and Winternight was holding the mirror, they happened to align so that the painting was reflected in the mirror's surface, and those who were looking over Ez's shoulder started to see a dark castle in the painting's reversed image.

Blinking in wonderment and rubbing their eyes, they also saw something moving toward them in the reflection. Winternight nearly dropped the mirror when a spirit in the form of a mirror dragon emerged from it. (It was especially frightening to Winternight, as he still harbored a terror of mirror dragons from being held captive by a pack of them.) The spirits recognized him, at least – Cheshire, the servant of Imago, a being skilled at traveling through mirrors and images. He told the assembly that at the request of his monarch he had hidden the dark castle in the reflection of an image for the protection of both the spirit realm and the entire world, for Imago was in the midst of a ferocious battle with an eldritch being from beyond the stars who had crept into a pocket dimension and was struggling to gain a foothold in Sornieth. The dragons all shuddered, for they had all grown up on tales of the Shade, though the spirits were unfamiliar with the stories and spent some time debating over whether or not their monarch's adversary was one and the same with the ancient enemy of the dragon deities.

Cheshire finally silenced them, reminding them that it didn't matter one way or the other – they were all in grave danger regardless. Imago had hidden himself and the eldritch being and the castle that contained their battle away from the world, but in the event that he didn't triumph, he provided a safeguard to allow others to enter the dimension and defeat the enemy before it could encroach on the rest of Sornieth. When Ashes complained that they couldn't get in anyway because his brother and a coatl had eaten the key, Cheshire chuckled and said that consuming the key was necessary to activate it, though he hadn't anticipated the role being shared between two dragons. Because they had eaten the peach, Ez and Winternight were now a part of the prophecy and had to accompany the others as they entered the reflected dimension that contained the dark castle. Several of the spirits, in particular the bodyguards of Queen Mahdis, wanted to accompany their leaders, but Cheshire refused, stating that only those involved in the prophecy – the eleven members of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum, the keys Eztli and Winternight, and one spirit from each quarter (Queen Mahdis of the heavenly spirits, Lord Lazarus of the underworld spirits, Taozhi of the earth spirits, and Adrik of the sea spirits) – were permitted to travel the path to the castle. They flew back to the island of Prufrock, where Ez left instructions with Emrys on what should happen in the case he failed to return, then positioned the painting so it was fully reflected in the mirror and followed Cheshire into it, passing through the mirror's surface as if through mist into an oddly warped landscape where hail pelted down upon a land steaming with dry ice that seeped up through crevices, shrouding the land in a fog that twisted like flames. They proceeded cautiously across the hostile countryside, keeping close to their guide as Cheshire led them closer to the towering castle which rose like a dark shadow out of the pale, wispy tendrils surrounding it.

None of those present could say afterward how long they traversed the plains at the foot of the castle, never seeming to get any closer to their destination, but suddenly it loomed over their heads and they found themselves facing a massive set of doors carved from peach wood. On Cheshire's instructions, Ez and Winternight set themselves on either side and pushed. At their touch, a fine crack appeared down the middle and the doors swung inward, admitting them to the dark castle.

The inside was nothing like any castle they had ever seen. There was finery present, yes – silks and valuable metals and precious jewels and beauteous art – but all was ripped and rent and torn, victims of a violent conflict that had raged throughout the confines of the castle. Though upon their entry the castle was deathly silent save for their hushed voices and muffled footsteps, as they proceeded further into the entryway they could hear sounds of a distant battle. Racing toward it, they finally found the object of their search – the monarch Imago, in the shape of an imperial dragon, battling a formless entity of absolute darkness.

Without a word passing between them, the eleven dragons of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum moved as one, leaping into the fray and biting and clawing any bit of the eldritch being they could reach, using elemental spells to enhance their blows. The spirits also rushed to aid their monarch, positioning themselves in four corners around the opponents and attacking the darkness with magic. Ez likewise did what he could to aid the others with his magic – sometimes attacking, sometimes healing, leaning on Winternight for support as he tried to keep up with spirits and entities far more powerful than he was.

With the aid of the others, Imago was finally able to subdue his enemy, though his castle was destroyed in the process, the walls crashing down as he dealt the final blow. With a powerful slash, he split the eldritch being in two, then summoned darksteel rings to latch on each nebulous being's four corners, reciting a final spell to bind their power and restrict their form. The two halves were still for a moment before their shapes slithered and twisted in on themselves, rippling as they adjusted into the shape of a coatl, one male, one female. The two beings looked upon their new form in confusion and wonderment. It seemed the sealing spell had done its work too well. They had no memory of a long battle or from whence they came or even their own identity.

With the destruction of the castle, the strange landscape around them melted away until the group found themselves standing on Lazarus Rock in the mortal realm. Though the spirits were quite pleased with the return of their missing monarch, the dragons of the Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment and foreboding. Did the wording of their prophecy refer to the rise of the spirits whose existence had been forgotten by dragons, or the rise of the Shade? The order remained on the island of Prufrock for a time, keeping watch over the eldritch beings to see if they were harmless innocents or if they were merely pretending, waiting to test their bonds and break free to wreak destruction on the world. Imago decided to reside on the island as well for much the same reason.



The Barrier Breach

Though Ez had optimistically (and admittedly naively) welcomed the spirits with open arms, the clan's exorcists were always worried about the consequence of so many spirits residing on the island, not to mention the effect of extensive traffic through the veil dividing the realms. They occasionally had minor incursions of malevolent spirits, but they always handled it themselves...until they day of the Barrier Breach. The island of Prufrock was inundated with hostile spirits, forcing residents (both dragons and spirits) to fight for their lives, barricade themselves in the library, or flee for the mainland. Ez was saddened and humbled by the experience. Though there were thankfully few deaths, there were many injuries, and a large number of both dragons and spirits made up their minds to leave the island.

The Obscurum Castrum Bellatorum decided that the battle had been their last together and officially disbanded; only Winternight's brother, Ashes, elected to remain on Prufrock, and the rest dispersed. Several of the spirits also decided to take their leave, some in the hopes that the presence of fewer spirits on the island would help stabilize the veil, others in eagerness to explore more of the mortal realm. To Ez's surprise, both Queen Mahdis and Lord Lazarus elected to remain as representatives, and though the Queen dutifully sent some of her courtiers away, she was most displeased when Lord Lazarus retained his entire retinue, unaware that he did so because he suspected the breach had been caused by his rival Kherty.



The Snow Queen

Ez toiled long and hard after the Barrier Breach, working to recruit mercenaries to bolster the defense of the clan and researching new spells to apply to the veil. Once the veil and the clan had somewhat stabilized, several friends insisted he take a much-needed vacation. Both his friend Galin and his brother Etsu wanted to return to Sevenbranch in the Southern Icefield to visit family and friends during the celebration of the Crystalline Gala and encouraged Ez and his mate Winternight to join them, especially since Winter had never seen the icefields. Finally convinced by the combination of his mate's, brother's, and friend's pleas, he joined them and his brother's extended family and made the journey back to the land of his birth.

They first stopped to visit the clan where both Ez and Etsu had been born, but it was a melancholy return home for Ez, as both of his parents had long since left to devote themselves to the service of the Icewarden, and most of the dragons he had once known had also moved on. He brightened up once they reached the capital, however, as he was eager to show Winternight the school where he and Galin had learned both magic and many life lessons. To his relief, though discrimination against coatl was not entirely eradicated - he theorized that it would take several generations for it to fully disperse - they were treated with far more kindness and fairness than would have been possible when the Wizard Pentius ruled Sevenbranch. It was clear that his young regent was doing much to reverse the harm her predecessor had caused his realm. Galin, a noble from a large family of spirals, permitted them to stay in the townhouse his family maintained in the capital while they visited the street fairs and celebrations of the Crystalline Gala.

The Gala's revelry seemed more subdued than he remembered from his youth, however, and Ez felt something was off long before finally realizing what it was - there were no hatchlings running in the streets, playing games at the fairs and begging their parents for treats. Ez was trying to figure out how to politely broach the subject with their hosts when Winternight, unused to the chilly climate, caught a cold. Thankfully a physician maintained an office near Galin's townhouse, and Ez and Winter dropped in to obtain some medicine. The physician, a shadow skydancer named Cindermoon, seemed oddly familiar to Winternight, and after a brief discussion, they learned that he was the son of one of Winter's siblings. They had another surprise when Cindermoon's hatchling son Hazelmist limped in to assist his father in mixing the herbs. Ez remarked that he was the only hatchling he had seen in the capital, and Cindermoon heaved a sigh and explained why. The region of Sevenbranch had experienced a series of severe snowstorms, the fiercest and most devastating seen in years. The regent governing Sevenbranch was desperate, and she finally discovered an old spell and used it to summon a spirit known as the Snow Queen. The powerful snow spirit offered to quiet the storms in exchange for access to the libraries in the Sevenbranch School of Magic. The regent agreed, and the Snow Queen calmed the weather, but when the regent brought her bargain to the school's governing council, they were enraged at her audacity. They said the Snow Queen must have sent the storms herself so that they would be forced to call upon her aid and, in exchange, take down the wards that kept powerful spirits like her out of their school. They refused to honor their end of the deal.

Angered at being cheated, the Snow Queen allowed Puer to steal away all of the hatchlings in the capital of Sevenbranch. An ice hatchling who had run away from home because he didn't want to grow up, he had been taken in by the Snow Queen and gifted with eternal youth. He dwelt in the spirit realm and longed for more playmates, so he came in the night and sang a song that only hatchlings could hear, leading them out of their beds and into the streets, then finally through a crack in a cliff face that led into the spirit realm. Only Cindermoon's son Hazelmist was spared, because he had a prosthetic limb and could not walk fast enough to keep up with the others, so the crack was closed by the time he got there.

Though Ez was loath to interrupt his vacation with Winternight and his family and friends and had, truth be told, guiltily enjoyed being away from the politics and power plays of the spirits on the island of Prufrock, he didn't think he could live with himself unless he at least offered his aid. Thanks to his alumni status and his previous interactions with the ruling dragons of Sevenbranch, Ez was able to gain an audience. Due to his extensive experience with spirits and his skill with delicate negotiations, the regent and the school's council asked him to enter the spirit realm and barter for the release of the hatchlings. The school's councilors conceded to grant the Snow Queen limited access to their materials - she would be permitted to request that a few items at a time be brought to a guarded location off-campus for her to study. Thinking of his interactions with other powerful spirit entities such as Queen Mahdis and Lord Lazarus, Ez privately doubted this would be enough to assuage her pride, but he acquiesced to their request and resolved to try for the sake of the hatchlings.

His fellow travelers from Prufrock offered to go with him, but Ez couldn't stand the thought of anything happening to his mate or his relations, and the spirit realm was always dangerous and unpredictable even in the best of circumstances, so he asked them to allow him to go alone. Galin especially pressed the issue, as like Ez, he was a powerful ice mage, but Ez had to laugh at the thought of even the two of them together trying to threaten an entity like the Snow Queen with her own element. Instead, he asked Galin to watch over Winter and his family and went alone to the cliff face into which the hatchlings had disappeared. Though he hated doing so after the devastation such a breach had caused on his island, he could see no other way to enter the spirit realm, so he used a spell that Lazarus had begrudgingly taught him in exchange for allowing the extra underworld spirits to remain on Prufrock and forced open a gateway between the realms to enter the Snow Queen's domain.

In some ways, her territory within the spirit realm greatly resembled the iciest parts of the Southern Icefield - barren, cold, yet breathtakingly beautiful in its stark simplicity. In the distance he spied a palace, and bundling himself against the frigid winds with his magic and new robes he had purchased during the festival, he made his way toward it. As was typical in the spirit realm, it was difficult to tell how much time had passed, or how much distance he had traversed, but at long last he arrived before the walls. They were guarded by animated ice sculpted in fantastic shapes - some were a bit like the animals or beastclans he knew, but others were entirely unfamiliar. The sculptures did not (or would not) speak to Ez, but when he spoke to them, explaining his purpose there and infusing his words with a little magic, they allowed him to pass, and he entered the palace. The lighting inside resembled the aurora that often displayed in the winter sky and flickered in sconces set along walls made of giant ice blocks. The palace was immensely cold and immensely quiet, though after he had progressed down a long, seemingly uninhabited hallway, he finally heard the faint echo of hatchling laughter. It was difficult to pinpoint, for the halls echoed to such an extent that Ez suspected that sound was magically thrown here and there to confuse the listener, but he was finally able to locate the source - a coatl hatchling who was hovering above dozens of other hatchlings in the center of a vast frozen lake that took up the majority of a courtyard within the palace. Some of the hatchlings were giggling along with their captor and attempting to skate around on the ice; most, however, were huddled together in a shivering, miserable mass. Ez could sense their fading energy, even from a distance - their small mortal bodies would not survive much longer in the spirit realm.

The coatl hatchling darted and danced through the air with an ease that belied his underdeveloped wings. He exuded a powerful, youthful, energetic and whimsical magic, unbound by reason or responsibility; he had long since ceased to be a dragon and was now a spirit, eternally young, never to change or develop or grow. Ez was startled to note that, save for the patterns on his hide, the hatchling looked much as he had when he was young, having the exact same coloration. "I'm here to treat with the Snow Queen," he called out to the hatchling spirit. "Would you please lead me to where she is in this vast palace?"

The little coatl fluttered over until he hovered right in front of Ez's goggles. "I'm no servant," he scoffed, flicking the lenses of the goggles with his tiny claws. "See your own way to her, if you can."

"Why don't we make a game of it?" said Ez, trying to put himself in the eternal hatchling's position, to remember what he had once been like, what he had enjoyed in his youth. "Let's see which of us can find her first and convince her to come back here."

"What do I get when I win?" asked the boastful spirit.

Ez thought quickly. "I'll permit you through the wards around my island so that you can play with the hatchlings there," he said. The spirit didn't seem malicious, only childish and lonely. Better he find playmates in the realm of dragons than spirit them away to a realm none of them could survive in for long, at least without becoming spirits themselves.

The small spirit thought for a quick moment. "Done," he said impulsively, and sped off too fast to follow. Instead, Ez went over to the hatchlings and explained to them that he was there on behalf of their parents and was working to bring them home.

While he was conversing with the hatchlings and doing his best to reassure them, he felt a gust of subzero wind ruffle the feathers in his wings and heard the little coatl's triumphant crow, and he turned to greet the Snow Queen.

She resembled a graceful skydancer the color and texture of unbroken ice with wings like snowfields, but there was nothing delicate about her. She was angular, sharp, and hard, and her magic was as harsh and unforgiving as the winds whipping without mercy across the frozen surface of the lake. "I see you are a dragon aligned with ice," she said, her voice like a rumbling avalanche, "and that your life has been intertwined with spirits before this, for their presence lingers in your aura. It is clear that those who lead Sevenbranch have sent you to treat with me. Have they seen their folly in denying me my rightful payment and relented?"

"They have, your majesty," said Ez, bowing his head in respectful deference. "Though because dismantling their wards entirely would allow any spirit - including your rivals - to enter the school and the library, they beg for a concession and ask that they bring any materials that you wish to study to a location outside the school."

"I have no rivals," she snapped quickly - almost too quickly to be believable. "It is foolishness to keep knowledge locked away, to hoard wisdom and dole it out only to those deemed worthy of it. I would enter the library as an equal, or else the hatchlings will remain here with Puer."

"That is something I do not have the authority to grant," Ez said, then continued quickly before she could retaliate. "I do have something additional to offer you, however." He took a deep breath, and though he wasn't overly religious, offered a quick prayer to any of the dragon deities who might be listening. He also hoped beyond hope that head librarian Emrys wouldn't kill him. "I lead a clan on the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles, and at the center of our island is a massive library spire containing, if I may boast, a collection that rivals that of the Sevenbranch School of Magic. I was a student there, so my analysis is not mere conjecture. It is possible you have heard of the negotiations taking place on the island between delegations of moon spirits and underworld spirits. Our clan is used to hosting spirits, though we are also warded heavily against them, as the presence of so many powerful spirits on our island strains the boundaries between our realms. If you would promise to take great care when entering and exiting the veil when visiting our island so as not to disturb the delicate balance we strive so hard to maintain - and as you are such a powerful entity, this is something I must insist upon for the safety of all who live on the island - and if you would swear to bring neither harm nor inclement weather to our home, then I would see to it that the wards are adjusted to permit you to visit our library."

The queen tilted her head and regarded Ez for a frightfully long amount of time before, finally, she nodded. Ez barely managed to hide his sigh of relief. "I will accept that as an alternative compromise, as in this way I will be getting more than the original bargain - access to the materials of Sevenbranch, though not the library itself, as well as to the library on Prufrock. Bid farewell to your little friends, Puer - they will be returning to their mortal homes."

"But what if they don't want to grow up?" cried Puer. "What if they want to play with me forever?" A few of the hatchlings looked up, interested, for growing up sounded awfully dull and tedious.

"But if they don't grow up, they can never reach their true potential - never learn what they're truly passionate about, never create anything with permanence, never find a mate to love them always or have hatchlings of their own. There are challenges in growing up, certainly, but the responsibilities of adulthood are a privilege, not a curse," said Ez, hoping to use his diplomatic skills to persuade all of the hatchlings to return with him. He knew how tempting it was to avoid anything unpleasant, to run away from duties, but he also knew that if such things aren't faced, nothing of value is ever accomplished.

Puer protested, but when the Snow Queen opened a rift in the wall of her palace that showed the capital of Sevenbranch on the other side, every single hatchling poured through and raced to return to their parents and caretakers. With a word of thanks to the Snow Queen and a promise to honor the vows he had made to both her and Puer, he followed the hatchlings and returned to his own loved ones. Thankfully the queen had been kind and returned them to a time shortly after Ez had entered the spirit realm, so none of them had missed many of the festivities.

At the end of the Gala, Ez returned to his island with some new arrivals in tow - Winter's relatives, Cindermoon and Hazelmist, and Puer, who was already demanding that Ez prove his word by providing him with new playmates. Emrys and the exorcists sighed at having to work around yet another spirit, but since Ez had promised (and promises to powerful spirits could not be lightly broken), they made adjustments to the magical wards protecting the island and the library to allow the Snow Queen through.



The Arrival of Shadowstar

One line of a royal family had long ruled over a vast territory in the Zephyr Steppes, the kingdom of Zenobia. The family, mostly skydancers, had founded and expanded the kingdom in the peaceful, fertile grasslands and given it their name.

During the darkest time of the year, a shooting star was seen over their lands, falling toward the earth. A servant of the monarch followed to where it landed. When he arrived at the place he had calculated according to its trajectory, he found not the remnants of a star but a glowing egg, abandoned in the shadows. He brought it back to his queen, who was tending her own nest at the time. Inspired by newfound feelings of motherhood, she hatched the orphaned egg and raised it with her own brood of princes and princesses.

Though beautiful in his own way, the purplish coatl was an odd duckling in a family of green, white, and blue skydancers. He was given the name Shadowstar due to how and where he was found: in the shadows at the site where a star fell to earth. When he began to show signs of prodigious magical abilities, rumors spread that perhaps he was the dying star's reincarnation.

Shadowstar wasn't a Zenobian by blood, but he was raised as one of their princes, presented at court and highly educated in politics and protocol and proper procedures, in history and geography and the customs of the various breeds and flights. Due to his natural magical skill, he was also heavily tutored in magic. His eyes showed his innate alliance to the shadow flight despite his birth in wind territory, and his magic proved strongest in that element, though he was always able to create light in the deepest of shadows.

Though coddled and protected by the insularity of the court, even at a young age he could detect the chords of unrest disrupting the harmony of the kingdom. The royal family of Zenobia had many branches, and not all were aligned with the queen; many disliked her tundra mate, who was considered too "common" and not of a regal enough lineage, and they didn't wish for rule to pass to his offspring, tainted by association, some of them tundras themselves. When he approached his adoptive mother with rumors he had overheard, she quieted his fears, reassuring him that the other sides of the family would come around and be more accepting, and even if they weren't, there was too much opposition between them for them to ever unite and prove a true threat.

However, the queen was wrong. Her opponents secretly ironed out their differences and allied under a treaty, quietly building their forces. Finally they struck, their leader taking the throne during a coup which saw the deaths of the queen and of most of the members of her branch of the Zenobian family. Shadowstar, still very young, saw many of his family members murdered before a loyalist smuggled him out.

He was hidden within a traveling group of dancers and courtesans who remained allies of the royal family. For a time he was nearly comatose with despair, but finally the troupe leader revealed to him that he wasn't the only survivor of the massacre in the palace: his youngest sister had lived, and Zenobian loyalists were rallying around her in the hopes of taking back the throne.

His spirits recovered along with his hope, and he threw himself into training, desperate to do whatever he could to help his sister regain the throne and reinstate their mother's policies, to overthrow the cruelties of their distant uncle's reign. From the troupe leader, he learned the arts of dance, espionage, and war. His body was highly trained, and he was willing to use it in any way necessary to further their cause. Though he was technically in hiding due to his affiliation with the former queen, he performed in public with the other dancers without fear, for he was heavily disguised with costume and paint and illusion, barely distinguishable as male, much less as the hatchling prince he once had been.

After many long years of smuggling and secrecy, of intrigue and war, the loyalists finally succeeded against the other branches of the Zenobian family, and Shadowstar's sister was instated on the throne. For a time he remained at her side, helping her to reverse the damage inflicted by her uncle and the civil war, but he soon realized that he wasn't really needed any longer. He had played his part, regained the throne through perseverance and sacrifice, but the throne wasn't for him, and his sister had other advisors. He had spent most of his life traveling with the troupe, and he ached to set out once again. After much deliberation, he finally bade farewell to his homeland, taking with him only the wildclaw Kouta, who had first been a companion and fellow rebel in the troupe and had later become his mate.

Perhaps it was due to the stories he had heard about the finding of his egg, but he had always been secretly fascinated by stars and longed to visit the Starfall Isles, to view and study the glowing dance of the night sky. To this end, he found himself in the immense library on the island of Prufrock, studying texts both magical and mundane and spending nights in the observatory at the spire's peak, peering up at the stars through a telescope. He was astonished to find that the island's residents included spirits, among them star spirits. Shadowstar felt an odd kinship with them, especially those who had taken the form of skydancers, as he had been raised among that breed.

Though he enjoyed the island and the majority of its inhabitants, and he even grew to feel at home there more deeply than he ever had on the Zephyr Steppes, he became increasingly irritated over the clan's government, or, more accurately, the lack of it. It wasn't as if the system was byzantine or cruel - more that it barely existed. The clan's nominal leader, Eztli, was absent half the time due to his role as an envoy, and no one seemed willing to step up when he was away to make decisions, leading to delays and squabbles over what should be done. To one who was raised as a prince and who had shed blood and dignity to regain a good government, the situation on Prufrock was an abomination, and he finally found that he could no longer remain silent about it, especially after Vespers was unearthed and began to relate tales of the time when Prufrock was under his rule.



The New Government and New Threats

Though Ez remained outwardly confident and optimistic, the Barrier Breach and other tests of his authority made him doubt his ability to successfully lead his clan on his own. A solution finally presented itself when the former prince Shadowstar came to the clan and Vespers, another prince and the leader of a long-ago clan on the island, was found sealed away deep in the tunnels under the island. An earth coatl named Sootshadow (called Shadow) was exploring a side tunnel when one of the imbued charms his exorcist sister made him wear alerted him to a magical anomaly in the wall, near the skeletal remains of what once may have been a coatl. Though not the strongest or most talented mage in the clan, Shadow excelled at puzzles, and after a careful study of the patterns of magic that lay over that section of the tunnel, he was able to dispel the enchantment's cornerstones so that the rest of it unraveled, revealing what had been hidden by the barrier as it slowly dissolved and dispersed, wisps of ancient magic crumbling into arcane dust.

Vespers was once again blinded by the sudden onset of mage light and stunned by the return of his magic, and he heard an exclamation of dismay and felt someone touch him, groping for a pulse. The other smelled like a coatl, and for an instant he feared it might be his mate, but when his vision cleared, he saw that the eyes staring at him were brown, and they were filled with concern rather than madness.

The days that followed were an assault to his long-denied senses - of lights and colors, smells and tastes, of interactions that he had craved but had been denied to him for centuries. He was examined by physicians and mages and questioned extensively and invasively about how he had come to be sealed in the tunnels. Vespers found it hard to speak of his former clanmates, and he could not even bring himself to utter the name of the mate who had so badly betrayed them all, but he related what he could - just a faint outline at first, though he gradually filled it in as he learned more about the strange world in which he found himself and slowly, tentatively began to place just the smallest amount of trust in his new companions. As he regained his bearings, his old curiosity about magic and the world reasserted itself, and he reversed the roles and became the questioner, demanding information in exchange for his stories, asking endlessly about what he had missed while he had been trapped underground.

He was thrilled to see that there were some parts of island that still conformed to his memories, and he was especially glad that his mother's peach trees continued to thrive, though he was astonished to learn that they were inhabited by sentient (and occasionally vengeful) spirits. Some of the advances and discoveries that had been made delighted him; others horrified him, and he viewed the current state of the island's clan with growing unrest. The situation there was tenuous and unstable - it wouldn't take much for the whole structure to crumble. He had overlooked weaknesses that had destroyed the island before, and since he miraculously had been given a second chance, he wasn't about to let it fall again under his watch.

He soon found that another newcomer to the clan, a fellow former prince named Shadowstar, shared his unease. To their surprise, they found that the current clan leader, Eztli, had his own doubts about his ability to effectively govern the island and the surrounding territories and was willing to try anything to prevent another tragedy like the Barrier Breach. It was Shadowstar who created the form of the clan's new government with himself, Eztli, and Vespers as co-leaders, each a member of a triumvirate, along with the newly-formed Council of Seven containing representatives from each of the island's departments and constituents. Ez was relieved that he now had others with whom he could share the burden of leadership, though he hoped he was making the right choice for the good of the clan he had worked so hard to build and defend.




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[columns][img]http://i.imgur.com/RVFTX3e.png[/img][nextcol][center]------------------------- [font=Papyrus][size=7][b]History Part 3[/b][/size][/font] ------------------------- [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_2140589]Introduction[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110842]The Island of Prufrock[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110843]Lantern Port[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110844]The Spirit Realm[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110846]Government, Rules, and Roles[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110848]Family Trees and Clan Census[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110850]Research and Speculation[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110853]History Part 1[/url] | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589#post_26110856]History Part 2[/url] History Part 3 | [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2140589/2#post_26110859]History Part 4[/url][/center][/columns] [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]The Battle Against Speculo[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Iason was born in a small clan which scraped out a living in a canyon in the heart of the Shifting Expanse. He never knew his father, gone long before he hatched, but he never much minded not having a paternal figure - he respected choice above all else, even if the result of that choice hurt him personally, and if his father chose to leave, well, he couldn't do anything about it anyway. His mother saddled him with a rather (in his opinion) pretentious name - she thought it heroic. He thought it too long and told everyone to call him Ace. Freedom-loving and laconic, he got by as best he could, trying his hand at different trades, learning the odd magical trick here or there. He was especially gifted in magic involving his native element, though as he liked to joke, there wasn't much use in a skill for calling lightning in a place positively sizzling with it - like trying to sell sand in a desert. Instead, he worked odd jobs and gambled. Ace loved playing games, especially card games, though he seemed cursed with bad luck and rarely won. Sometimes he barely scraped by, but the more he played, the faster he began to accrue massive gambling debts. Soon he owed vast amounts of treasure to some rather shady (and scary) ridgebacks in the prominent Lusio family. Ace heard rumors of an old cache of riches buried by settlers in the canyon long ago, and he decided to find it and use the funds to pay off his debts. It took hours of pouring over crumbling maps, quite a bit of exploring, and some nearly deadly encounters with beastclans before he finally found the right spot. The chest he unearthed didn't contain any coins, gems, or other precious materials, though. Instead, it held an old, crumbling book with a small, cracked mirror embedded on the cover and three scrolls - one sealed with the symbol of fire, the second with the symbol of ice, and the third with the symbol of lightning. He couldn't unroll the first two, but at his touch, the seal broke on the lightning scroll, and it opened to reveal a very long, very complicated sealing spell of sorts. At least, that's what he figured it was, based on the words he caught as he scanned it briefly before setting it aside. The book he opened with more care, given its condition, and he read through some of it. Blah, blah, bad evil spirit, blah, blah, sealed away by brother, blah, blah, countermeasures for resealing. Not very interesting reading, and not anything that would serve to repay his debts. Unless...now, there was a thought. He recalled a coatl who had passed through the canyon a while back seeking to recruit coatl for a colony of his in the Starfall Isles on an island that supposedly had a ginormous library. Maybe they'd pay a lot of treasure for an old book like this. If nothing else, maybe they'd take pity on a coatl in distress and give him sanctuary from the debt collectors. Gathering up the book and the scrolls, he left the desert behind, winging his way across Sornieth toward the Starfall Isles. He did his best to avoid highly populated clans, as the Lusio family had likely dispatched messengers to deliver wanted posters bearing his likeness. Making camp in some ruins on the shores of the Blacksand Annex one evening, he was startled to hear harp music accompanying the most melancholy song he had ever heard drifting through the mist. He wasn't a superstitious sort and had never really believed in ghosts, but all the same, his feathers stood on end until he came nose to nose with the singer and realized the other coatl was flesh and blood (and rather attractive at that). The harpist, Aleksandr, was startled to see anyone else in the ruins - all the nearby clans considered the territory that ought to have been his homeland haunted and avoided it. He was admittedly distracted during Alek's relating of his (and the area's) history because the other coatl was just so [i]handsome[/i] in that kilt. Being around the fire dragon was making Ace feel rather warm (though maybe it was just the climate...or perhaps it had been way too long since he'd had much interaction with other dragons due to kind of sort of being in hiding), but he gathered himself when Alek asked him why he was camping in the ruins. Hoping to impress the good-looking coatl, he spun a tale of how he was traveling to the Starfall Isles so that a rare book could be archived there. He didn't think mentioning the gambling debts or being hunted by collectors would make him appear very attractive, so he left that part out. Alek remembered the coatl Ace spoke of - Eztli of the island of Prufrock. The envoy had also stopped in the Clan of the Blue Flame, where Alek was raised, and though Alek had been interested in visiting the island, he was unwilling to leave the ruins that were all he had left of his people. Curious about the text and the scrolls, Alek asked to see them, so Ace carefully unwrapped them. The fire coatl touched the fire scroll first, and just as the lightning scroll had when Ace laid his claws on it, the seal broke and the scroll opened. It, too, contained a spell of sealing, though the element of this enchantment was fire rather than lightning. The book was of greater fascination to Alek, and Ace watched with consternation as the fire coatl flipped the delicate pages rapidly, eyes moving back and forth as he tore through the text. Reaching the end, he slammed it shut with barely contained fury, then told Ace in a choked voice that he had found out what - no, [i]who[/i] - had destroyed his people. The tome that Ace had failed to read told the story of the origins of the spirit realm. In the beginning, two spirits awoke and knew they were brothers, and also that they were the same and yet different. One spirit, who called himself Imago, began to shape the material around him, creating landscapes - the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the underworld - and spirits to inhabit them. The other, Speculo, was jealous of his brother. Unable to figure out the secrets of creation and unwilling to ask Imago for help, he trailed after him, warping and destroying that which his sibling had created. Finally Speculo decided that the only way that [i]he[/i] would be the creator would be to kill his brother and absorb his powers. Imago narrowly won the fight, but he couldn't bring himself to kill his only sibling. Instead, he sealed him away. Knowing that the seals on his brother would weaken if he himself was weakened, he created three scrolls that could be used to seal him away once again if Speculo broke loose. Not trusting this task to spirits - his brother had too easily corrupted many of those - he designed the spells and the seals for dragons, coding them to the elements of fire, ice, and lightning - the three elements he used in combination to both defeat his sibling and create his prison. He had then tasked his loyal servant, Cheshire, to take the scrolls into the realm of dragons and hide them; the magic on them would ensure that they would be found if and when Speculo ever escaped. The tome then went on to describe exactly what Imago's errant sibling would do if freed - he would go hunting throughout the spirit and mortal realms, appearing out of mists and reflections to absorb the life and magic of spirits and dragons alike, leaving nothing but destruction in his wake. It finished with the warning that when Speculo absorbed enough power, he would once again challenge his brother...and this time, he would win if he wasn't sealed away once again. Alek was convinced that this Speculo had broken free and that it was he who was responsible for the destruction of Dur'yn. For once, he looked the part of a fiercely passionate fire dragon, for he was enraged at the thought of this spirit causing further devastation and swore that he would use the fire scroll to help seal him away again. He begged Ace to be the one to use the lightning scroll. Ace privately doubted the story was real or that they'd ever even find this spirit if it was, so he easily agreed, and the next morning, Alek was flying by his side as they traveled to the Starfall Isles. The fire coatl had initially wanted to divert their path to find an ice dragon so that they could then concentrate on locating Speculo himself, but Ace, desperately wanting the coin for bringing the book to the library on Prufrock, argued that surely the library would have texts that would help them find the evil spirit. And anyway, wasn't that goggle-wearing coatl envoy an ice dragon? They did encounter other ice dragons as they winged their way to arcane territory, but though they handed several the scroll, it opened for none of them. Alek theorized that the dragon had to have a certain level of power in their native element for the scroll to recognize them as a potential wielder. Ace had never thought of himself as particularly powerful, but now that he was outside of the Shifting Expanse (and doing his best to show off around Alek), he realized that his lightning magic was shockingly (heh) useful. It seemed maybe he was part of some weird destined thing, but well, if he was, he had [i]chosen[/i] that path - chosen to be with Alek, at any rate, and if that meant playing a role in something that might very well get him killed, well...Alek was worth it. Ace had done his best to steer them away from highly populated clans, but when they reached Lantern Port across from the island of Prufrock, there was a dreaded wanted poster with his likeness drawn on it, a (pitiably low, in his opinion) amount listed as a bounty. Though he tried to rip it down, Alek spotted it and questioned him, and he was forced to confess his gambling debts and the real reason for his journey to the library on Prufrock. He knew that Alek would have abandoned him on the spot if the fire coatl hadn't needed him to wield the lightning scroll, and though he had often been saddened by his lover's melancholy air, he discovered he greatly preferred melancholy to mad. Though Alek was barely speaking to him, they nevertheless completed their journey, finally reaching the library spire on the island of Prufrock and presenting the tome to the envoy Eztli. They never expected Ez to have actually [i]met[/i] Imago during a previous adventure, nor that he knew why it was that Imago had been weakened - trapped in his dark castle, fighting an eldritch being from beyond the stars, it was no wonder that he couldn't keep up the strength needed to maintain his brother's seal. Ez even related that, until recently, Imago had lived for a time on the island, though he had left after so many spirits dwelling in so small a space had completely destabilized the veil between the two realms. After hearing all that, Ace wasn't too surprised when the ice scroll opened at Ez's touch. As the seal on the remaining scroll cracked, a dark shape appeared in the minuscule mirror on the cover of the tome, resolving and solidifying into a spirit in the shape of a mirror dragon. Introducing himself as Cheshire, the servant of Imago, he promised to lead the three coatl to Speculo's location so that they could once again seal Imago's brother away and prevent further tragedies like the one that had befallen Alek's people - not to mention avoid the terrifying possibility of Speculo taking over the entire spirit realm. After they practiced reciting the spell on the scrolls several times, Cheshire led them through a mirror and into some tunnels in the heart of the spirit realm. There they met with Imago, who had taken the appearance of a massive imperial. He promised to fight and distract his brother while the coatl read off the spells. Much to the surprise of the three coatl, Imago's brother had taken the form of a dark pearlcatcher, much smaller than his sibling but no less formidable. He lashed out at his brother, and their blows shook the tunnel walls around them as the coatl struggled to recite the words on the scrolls. Despite Imago's best efforts, Speculo - with the increased power he had obtained from annihilating clans such as Alek's - was besting him, and one of the attacks he threw at his brother went wild, flying straight at Alek. Unthinking, Ace lunged at Alek, pushing him aside as the dark magic sizzled through him instead. He could feel his lightning magic attempting to burn it out, but most of his own power was absorbed in the scroll's spell, and he struggled to read it to the end in spite of his injury. For a time, Ez had to read on alone as his companions regained their positions, but finally all three completed their section of the spell, and Speculo was hit with a powerful blast of the combined forces of three elements. Debilitated by being simultaneously burned, frozen, and electrocuted, Speculo was felled, and Imago worked quickly to reshape their attack into a prison that would once again seal away his brother, protecting the world from his jealous wrath. Ace barely remembered Cheshire escorting them back into the mortal realm through yet another mirror. He spent a long time recovering, and when he finally woke, he discovered that his feathers had been blackened permanently by their contact with Speculo's dark magic. He also discovered that while he'd been unconscious, Alek had negotiated for the clan to pay off his gambling debts in return for the services they'd rendered - the whole saving the world bit, Ace figured. It seemed his lover had forgiven him, or at least wasn't [i]quite[/i] so mad at him any more. At any rate, Alek agreed to stay with him on the island of Prufrock, where Ace is once again doing odd jobs - mostly maintaining the clan's electrical lines. Alek has forbidden him from gambling, but he still gets to enjoy games - so long as he doesn't bet anything on the outcome. Ez meanwhile was relieved that yet another threat from the spirit realm had been averted. He wondered if the recent rise in frequency in the attacks of the malevolent spirits (and, especially, the Barrier Breach) had been caused by Speculo before he was sealed or if, perhaps, there might be another powerful being pulling strings behind the scenes. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]An Assault on the Nesting Grounds[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] The spirits and dragons dwelling on the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles had reached an uneasy truce. The thin veil separating the island from the spirit realm had been shored up and patched, and while many spirit ambassadors manifested physical forms and dwelt among the island's dragons, passage through the veil was limited and strictly supervised in the hopes of keeping the boundary between the realms stable. It had been a long time since the last attack on the clan by malevolent spirits, and that, combined with several days of unseasonably balmy weather in the winter months, contributed to an atmosphere of relief and festivity. During this period of calm, two couples decided to make nests on the grounds near the island's heart, each nest resulting in two eggs. The nesting grounds were situated among gardens whose flowers had been tricked into blooming early by the warm weather, and the watchful parents enjoyed strolling through the blossoms as they awaited the birth of their offspring. The first pair, clan founder and head librarian Emrys and his mate, the warrior Elyta, had raised many hatchlings together, though all had since left the clan to seek their charge, to enter the service of the deities, or to find more materials for their research. They had recently adopted several stray hatchlings, however, which had rekindled their desire to have hatchlings of their own. The second pair, bestiary compiler Tome and carpenter Johnna, kept watch over their first nest, both nervous at the thought of being parents but eagerly anticipating meeting their offspring and seeing which parent they took after, what personalities they developed. The winter winds returned on the day the eggs hatched, specks of snow whipping about the dragons huddled around the nesting grounds. Emrys was attending to the library's magical wards, and Jo was in her workshop finishing a commission, but Tome and Elyta stood watch, shivering in the unexpected chill. Tome's father-in-law, the genealogist Etsu, kept vigil with them, awaiting the newest additions to his family tree. Wards and warning systems had been placed throughout the island, but somehow a malevolent earth spirit slipped through and made its way to the nesting grounds, intent on disrupting the lineages of the clan's founder Emrys and its leader Eztli, Etsu's older brother. The spirit, shaped like a shadowy, spotted beast of prey, crept up on the nests just as a crack appeared in one of Tome and Jo's eggs. Tome, raised in Oakrest by mothers who had trained him to combat such beings, was quick to spot the threat, though thanks to a battle with a similar spirit when he was younger, he had lost the use of his left leg and was no longer able to fight. He shouted a warning to Elyta - the guardian was in charge of the clan's martial defense and had fended off far greater foes - but the spirit hadn't manifested a physical form, and she lacked the ability to see it. She blindly struck out, aided by Tome's directions, frantic to keep the peril away from the hatching eggs. Etsu looked on helplessly, as the scholar could neither see the spirit nor fight it. He tried to stand in between the spirit and the nests, but he had no way of knowing from which direction the spirit would come. As the crack broadened and a small snout stuck out, the spirit slipped between Elyta's outstretched claws and darted into the newly hatched wildclaw, eager to escape the relentless onslaught of blows and set on possessing the young, impressionable dragon. Tome watched in dismay as the spirit merged with his daughter; he limped over, resolved to do everything in his power to drive it out, but he was stopped by the sudden appearance of his elder siblings, the exorcists Bound and Verso. They had been on the mainland in Lantern Port, purchasing beeswax candles from a traveling merchant for use in their rituals, when they detected a breach in the wards. The siblings flew back to the island, arriving just in time to see the spirit fly into their niece. Cracks had meanwhile appeared in the shells of the three other eggs, and the dragons hastily moved the emerging hatchlings into vacant nests while the exorcists sealed off the area surrounding the newborn wildclaw as they attempted to drive the spirit out of her. Much to their horror, they soon realized that the spirit had merged so tightly with her that the only methods they knew to employ to separate them would result in her death. Emrys had arrived by that time, the wards having alerted him that something was amiss, and he helped the exorcists place runes on the wildclaw to seal away the spirit and to protect the hatchling's psyche from it - since they couldn't separate the two, they did what they could to segregate the spirit within the wildclaw's form and ward her against its influences. They also placed protective runes on the other hatchlings - the wildclaw's coatl brother, and the two sons of Emrys and Elyta. A day that should have been happy and joyous had been ruined, though the parents did what they could to turn their sorrow into hope as they gave the hatchlings their runes and their names. The wildclaw Ayla and her brother Quercus were both named after the oak tree - an emblem of strength as well as the symbol of Tome's childhood home and his mate Jo's favorite wood. The guardian Avery and the tundra Evin were likewise given names that meant "wise counselor" and "young warrior" in the hopes that they would grow strongly and live up to their names. The protective runes and promising names appeared to do little to help, however. Ayla was never sure if her thoughts were her own rather than the spirit's, and she seemed to possess both a spiritual sight and a physical strength that exceeded that of most dragons. She studied under her exorcist aunt and uncle, learning about spirits in the hopes of recognizing the spirit's influence on her, and she kept a diary to try to decipher which parts of her were really [i]her[/i]. Her sibling and her nestmates had not been attacked directly, but they still suffered the effects of the spirit's assault. Her brother Quercus was plagued by seizures, while the guardian Avery was dismayed when his tundra brother grew bigger than he; the clan's physician diagnosed him with dwarfism, and while it was possible that both of their conditions could have been inherited, the parents were far more eager to blame the spirit, whose foul aura had surrounded the nesting grounds as the hatchlings broke free of their eggs. Evin was the only one who appeared unscathed, though this affected him in its own way - the others could bond over the ways the attack had marked them, and the adults showered them with attention, but he was expected to be the strong one, the "normal" one, as he was the only one without a condition or special needs. Ayla and Evin eventually left the island to forge their own paths - Ayla to the homeland of her father in search of her legendary grandmothers in the hopes that they could do what her aunt and uncle could not and remove the spirit from her, and Evin, who had trained as a warrior with his mother since his guardian brother was unable, to test his strength in the Windswept Plateau. Avery thought he would leave to go on his search, but he discovered that his charge had been next to him all along: Quercus. He regrets that he can't protect him from the seizures that are the coatl's most constant threat. Despite their disabilities, the two of them took over the operation of the ferry that runs between the island and Lantern Port. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]Deepsea and Darkshine[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Deepsea isn't quite sure how old he is. He was told a [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=4416&tab=dragon&did=15675]golden fae[/url] had brought him into the Shifting Expanse and left him to be raised there when he was but a hatchling, but he doesn't quite remember. He remained a hatchling longer than most, his childhood seemingly endless during the protracted time it took him to grow and mature, though his mind developed long before his body finally caught up with it. He was influenced by the lightning dragons who bustled about him and readily adopted their work ethic, but though raised in lightning territory, he had been born a light dragon of the Sunbeam Ruins. As such, he preferred the written word and the path of academic scholarship to the cogs and gears and currents that occupied the practical minds of his clanmates. Observing his interest, they were quick to turn over any books and scrolls the clan acquired through trade into his keeping, save for the instruction manuals they used to operate their complex machinery. Though his curious mind loved all subjects of study, he found himself most drawn to history. As he read the tales of Sornieth's past, he experienced sudden flashes of déjà vu, as if he had actually been present at some of these events. The feeling grew worse when he read about the Shade. He had always had vivid dreams, and he sometimes even experienced vaguely premonitory visions about what was to come in the future, but never before had he had such nightmares, ones which even invaded his waking hours on occasion. In his dreams he was a [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2056631#post_24241694]fae[/url] - small, insignificant, tinier than the gigantic tomes he read in a sunlit study. Like the coatl, the fae read of the Shade and was filled with loathing at this threat, this abomination. He would depart and fight it, he declared, but at that point the visions grew fuzzy - either Deepsea had drifted into mostly dreamless slumber, or the fae in his dream had. They started again with resentment over a long, accidental sleep and lost time, a departure from the Sunbeam Ruins to further study ways to fight the Shade. All that time, though, the Shade studied the fae, observing his bitterness over his small stature and missing years, and dream-being Deepsea watched in horror as it used that dissatisfaction as an avenue to possess the fae. In spite of all of the studying the fae had done, all of the magical precautions he had taken, the Shade rooted itself deep within him. The next part was always muddled, no matter how often Deepsea was forced to relive the dreams night after night, but he knew there was a horrific [url=http://skylark-rising.tumblr.com/post/149572870741/a-day-of-reckoning]battle[/url] that took place involving a fae who shone with golden light, a battle that was followed by immense pain that bubbled flesh and melted bone, a terrible blankness, and an end to the visions. Though he feared the dreams, he longed to know what happened next, what became of the fae, as much as he dreaded what further visions might tell him. Deepsea considered that perhaps the dreams had taken root in his subconscious as a combination of the stories he had read and the tale his clan had told him of the fae who had brought him there - the fae who had wrapped him up and not allowed him to see her face. The visions could be pure fantasy. They could be warnings of a terrifying future. Or, a far worse prospect, they could be memories - either his own or another's, he wasn't certain. The only thing he was sure of was that he didn't want them to be true. He [i]never[/i] wanted them to come true. If the visions came from the past, well, Deepsea would learn from them. If they were of the future, at least he was forewarned, and he would prepare himself. His studies took on a new purpose as he trained both his magic and his body to fight the Shade's darkness. As during his readings, some of the spells and techniques gave him a feeling of déjà vu - especially when he studied runic circles, though it could have been residual remnants from the dreams, which continued to plague him. Finally one of his instructors showed him how to excise the visions from his own personal dreamscape, to remove them entirely from his mind and seal them away within the pages of a heavily runed book. Deepsea felt instant relief as soon as the dreams ceased, though a small part of him still wonders if he would have finally seen the end of the story had he allowed them to continue - if he might have finally uncovered the truth. As Deepsea immersed himself in learning how to combat the Shade, he also gained knowledge of other threats facing Sornieth. Blessed - or cursed - with the sight, he could easily see ghosts and spirits, and he could also see the veil which separated their world from the realm of dragons. He learned that not all spirits were malevolent, but prolonged interactions between spirits and dragons tended to end poorly for one or both parties due to inevitably conflicting goals. Much about the spirits remained alien to Deepsea even as his studies intensified, but there were many elements that were familiar. They, too, had an enemy in their stories similar to the Shade, an eldritch being from beyond the stars that had once been locked in combat with their monarch. After much time had passed and he had finally reached his full length and wingspan, Deepsea considered himself ready to venture out into the world, to find places where the Shade had taken root or the veil that divided the realm of dragons from the world of spirits was frayed or torn. Not wanting to give advanced warning to his enemies, he posed as a traveling librarian, lending and trading books and scrolls out of his seemingly infinite hoard, pulled from the spelled bag he carried. The one book he never allowed anyone to borrow was the tome in which his visions were sealed away. Meandering in this way throughout Sornieth, his magical senses, highly attuned to dark influences thanks to his studies, brought him to many clans suffering the effects of Shade-possessed brethren or the attacks of malevolent spirits. Once he identified the threat, he worked subtly to restore order, using counsel, physical force, or purifying light magic in the form of runic circles, depending on the situation. One of the toughest challenges Deepsea faced early in his travels came from a clan in the Shifting Expanse not far from his own. Its location coincided with an especially weak spot in the veil, and long ago several powerful spirits had slipped through and assumed the form of dragons, then taken over the clan, warping the memories and minds of the dragons who resisted until the clan's dragons couldn't remember or conceive of a time when the spirits did not rule them. They were conditioned to blindly follow their leaders' orders - and given that the leaders were spirits and had very different morals and ways of looking at the world than dragons, the orders were contradictory, nonsensical, and byzantine. The lightning dragons constructed elaborate buildings that had no place in a desert and were of no use to their clan, though the spirits used them for strange rituals. Despite their ill treatment, the dragons were quite defensive of their way of life (which they considered completely normal) and of their leaders, and Deepsea was hard pressed to find a way to break their hold over the clan. The imperial Darkshine served as his host and guide during his time in the clan, and much as he came to admire - even love - the eccentric imperial the longer he remained by his side, the more he despaired of convincing even him that the clanmembers were being held captive by alien beings who cared little for their well-being and craved only power. He hated manipulating others against their will, but he could see no other way given that their will had been taken away by the spirits long ago, so Deepsea worked a complicated enchantment and breathed runed smoke onto Darkshine. As the spell twined its way around the imperial's hide, the spirits' control over Darkshine's mind was broken, and he gazed around in horror at the clan he had thought he had known and loved. His thoughts clear for the first time in his life, he was quick to rally to Deepsea's cause, and he helped the coatl destroy the spirits and rescue his clan from their clutches. Though Deepsea expected the imperial to remain with his clan afterward and help them rebuild, Darkshine elected to travel with Deepsea - he declared that he owed the coatl a debt and has followed him ever since. Deepsea recalled from his visions of the fae the hatred he'd felt at being small - a feeling he'd had more than once due to his prolonged time as a hatchling. Though Darkshine entirely dwarfed him, he didn't feel insignificant next to the imperial. He felt loved. Deepsea and Darkshine did much of their work on their own, but sometimes they needed another dragon or three. They had originally hired the nocturne Echo as a mercenary to assist them with a job, and while his mimicking behavior was a tad annoying, it was also rather amusing, and his skills were certainly useful - there were times when having a third dragon on hand to complete a formation around a foe was extremely advantageous, so they didn't mind much when he decided to continue traveling with them, even after the initial contract had expired. While in the Viridian Labyrinth defeating a cult that had allied itself with the Shade, the trio heard tell of a clan on an island in the Starfall Isles who, like Darkshine's clan, dwelt along a weak place in the veil and hosted spirits manifested as dragons. They made their usual approach, appearing on the island of Prufrock and announcing themselves as traveling librarians, eager to swap and share tomes with the island's famed library. The three were quick to strike a deal with head librarian Emrys to use the island as a base as they ventured out to other area clans to exchange books, assisted greatly by Em's former acquaintance with Echo - they had been childhood friends. Unbeknownst to Emrys and the clan's leaders, the trio secretly investigated the veil and the clan's spirits to assess their intent and their potential threat. Though they realized that these spirits weren't the same sort as the ones who had terrorized Darkshine's former clan and that in some ways the spirits were beneficial to the clan's dragons, they came to the conclusion that the situation on the island was unsustainable, the danger too great. [center]------------------------- [size=5][font=papyrus][b]"Evacuate"[/b][/font][/size] -------------------------[/center] Clan founder Emrys and his mate Elyta had been hesitant to nest again, given that a spirit attack had occurred during the hatching of their last nest, but they were reassured that security on the nesting grounds had been tripled. They hatched a nest on an auspicious day - the anniversary of the clan's founding. Much to their relief, there were no attacks, and their hatchlings seemed relatively healthy and as normal as was usual for their offspring...that is, until one of them, a tundra they had named Cecil, spoke his first word: "Evacuate." He never said another word after that to explain or clarify. His parents and the clan's mages assumed he had seen a powerful vision of the future, but whatever terror he had foreseen had not only robbed him of his voice: it had stolen his sight as well. Other dragons in the clan who had magical means of foresight attempted to glean the future to no avail. They couldn't see the threat that had so scarred the little tundra. In fact, the future of the clan was so clouded that they couldn't make out anything at all, just a sense of ominous foreboding. Not even Calamity, their strongest seer, could determine what Cecil might have foreseen. The clan's leaders and council members engaged in endless debates. Some argued against taking the word of a hatchling seriously, especially as the other seers hadn't warned of any coming dangers. Others sent out scouts to try to discern any threat that might be making its way toward the clan - armies of beastclans, perhaps, or a band of dragons traveling by land or sea, determined to take over their territory. Most, however, knew that the biggest hazard to the clan was its proximity to the Spirit Realm. Lazarus, lord of the underworld, was quick to assume that his fellow underworld lord Kherty was up to no good - that he would be the cause of whatever tragedy had been foreseen to befall the island of Prufrock. Knowing that his old rival had only taken an interest in the clan because Lazarus himself had spent so much time there, he made an unexpected announcement in the hopes of disrupting Kherty's undoubtedly nefarious plans: he and his underworld court were leaving Prufrock. Lazarus and the clan leaders negotiated with the other spirits who had manifested as dragons on the island, and in the end, most of them were convinced. The time had come for them to leave in the hopes that the presence of fewer spirits would change the course of the clan's destiny and avert whatever disaster might be on its way. Many spirits simply crossed back into the spirit realm through the veil. Others, Kherty and his court among them, flew out into the world of dragons, seeking to explore the material plane. Kherty may have been outmaneuvered this time, but he and Lazarus were immortal - they would settle their rivalry at another time, in another place. The clan leaders - Eztli, Shadowstar, and Vespers - called all of the clan's members together in the assembly hall and presented them with the warning that Cecil had issued, then gave them a choice: they could stay and risk whatever dangers and challenges lay ahead, or they could relocate, seeking safety and peace elsewhere. Many refused to move - some had friends or family who were staying and wanted to remain by their side and protect them, while others were determined to defend their home with their last breath from any peril or else were just too stubborn to leave. Most, though - especially couples who still hoped to have more hatchlings - realized it would be safest for them to find homes elsewhere. Some made preparations to move out right away, though others lingered, tying up loose ends and fulfilling duties and promises before departing. Those who remained steeled themselves. They didn't know what was coming, but they were determined to protect the place they called home. [right]----------------------------- [/right]
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The Battle Against Speculo

Iason was born in a small clan which scraped out a living in a canyon in the heart of the Shifting Expanse. He never knew his father, gone long before he hatched, but he never much minded not having a paternal figure - he respected choice above all else, even if the result of that choice hurt him personally, and if his father chose to leave, well, he couldn't do anything about it anyway. His mother saddled him with a rather (in his opinion) pretentious name - she thought it heroic. He thought it too long and told everyone to call him Ace.

Freedom-loving and laconic, he got by as best he could, trying his hand at different trades, learning the odd magical trick here or there. He was especially gifted in magic involving his native element, though as he liked to joke, there wasn't much use in a skill for calling lightning in a place positively sizzling with it - like trying to sell sand in a desert. Instead, he worked odd jobs and gambled. Ace loved playing games, especially card games, though he seemed cursed with bad luck and rarely won. Sometimes he barely scraped by, but the more he played, the faster he began to accrue massive gambling debts.

Soon he owed vast amounts of treasure to some rather shady (and scary) ridgebacks in the prominent Lusio family. Ace heard rumors of an old cache of riches buried by settlers in the canyon long ago, and he decided to find it and use the funds to pay off his debts. It took hours of pouring over crumbling maps, quite a bit of exploring, and some nearly deadly encounters with beastclans before he finally found the right spot. The chest he unearthed didn't contain any coins, gems, or other precious materials, though. Instead, it held an old, crumbling book with a small, cracked mirror embedded on the cover and three scrolls - one sealed with the symbol of fire, the second with the symbol of ice, and the third with the symbol of lightning. He couldn't unroll the first two, but at his touch, the seal broke on the lightning scroll, and it opened to reveal a very long, very complicated sealing spell of sorts. At least, that's what he figured it was, based on the words he caught as he scanned it briefly before setting it aside.

The book he opened with more care, given its condition, and he read through some of it. Blah, blah, bad evil spirit, blah, blah, sealed away by brother, blah, blah, countermeasures for resealing. Not very interesting reading, and not anything that would serve to repay his debts. Unless...now, there was a thought. He recalled a coatl who had passed through the canyon a while back seeking to recruit coatl for a colony of his in the Starfall Isles on an island that supposedly had a ginormous library. Maybe they'd pay a lot of treasure for an old book like this. If nothing else, maybe they'd take pity on a coatl in distress and give him sanctuary from the debt collectors.

Gathering up the book and the scrolls, he left the desert behind, winging his way across Sornieth toward the Starfall Isles. He did his best to avoid highly populated clans, as the Lusio family had likely dispatched messengers to deliver wanted posters bearing his likeness. Making camp in some ruins on the shores of the Blacksand Annex one evening, he was startled to hear harp music accompanying the most melancholy song he had ever heard drifting through the mist. He wasn't a superstitious sort and had never really believed in ghosts, but all the same, his feathers stood on end until he came nose to nose with the singer and realized the other coatl was flesh and blood (and rather attractive at that). The harpist, Aleksandr, was startled to see anyone else in the ruins - all the nearby clans considered the territory that ought to have been his homeland haunted and avoided it.

He was admittedly distracted during Alek's relating of his (and the area's) history because the other coatl was just so handsome in that kilt. Being around the fire dragon was making Ace feel rather warm (though maybe it was just the climate...or perhaps it had been way too long since he'd had much interaction with other dragons due to kind of sort of being in hiding), but he gathered himself when Alek asked him why he was camping in the ruins. Hoping to impress the good-looking coatl, he spun a tale of how he was traveling to the Starfall Isles so that a rare book could be archived there. He didn't think mentioning the gambling debts or being hunted by collectors would make him appear very attractive, so he left that part out.

Alek remembered the coatl Ace spoke of - Eztli of the island of Prufrock. The envoy had also stopped in the Clan of the Blue Flame, where Alek was raised, and though Alek had been interested in visiting the island, he was unwilling to leave the ruins that were all he had left of his people. Curious about the text and the scrolls, Alek asked to see them, so Ace carefully unwrapped them. The fire coatl touched the fire scroll first, and just as the lightning scroll had when Ace laid his claws on it, the seal broke and the scroll opened. It, too, contained a spell of sealing, though the element of this enchantment was fire rather than lightning. The book was of greater fascination to Alek, and Ace watched with consternation as the fire coatl flipped the delicate pages rapidly, eyes moving back and forth as he tore through the text. Reaching the end, he slammed it shut with barely contained fury, then told Ace in a choked voice that he had found out what - no, who - had destroyed his people.

The tome that Ace had failed to read told the story of the origins of the spirit realm. In the beginning, two spirits awoke and knew they were brothers, and also that they were the same and yet different. One spirit, who called himself Imago, began to shape the material around him, creating landscapes - the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the underworld - and spirits to inhabit them. The other, Speculo, was jealous of his brother. Unable to figure out the secrets of creation and unwilling to ask Imago for help, he trailed after him, warping and destroying that which his sibling had created. Finally Speculo decided that the only way that he would be the creator would be to kill his brother and absorb his powers. Imago narrowly won the fight, but he couldn't bring himself to kill his only sibling. Instead, he sealed him away. Knowing that the seals on his brother would weaken if he himself was weakened, he created three scrolls that could be used to seal him away once again if Speculo broke loose. Not trusting this task to spirits - his brother had too easily corrupted many of those - he designed the spells and the seals for dragons, coding them to the elements of fire, ice, and lightning - the three elements he used in combination to both defeat his sibling and create his prison. He had then tasked his loyal servant, Cheshire, to take the scrolls into the realm of dragons and hide them; the magic on them would ensure that they would be found if and when Speculo ever escaped.

The tome then went on to describe exactly what Imago's errant sibling would do if freed - he would go hunting throughout the spirit and mortal realms, appearing out of mists and reflections to absorb the life and magic of spirits and dragons alike, leaving nothing but destruction in his wake. It finished with the warning that when Speculo absorbed enough power, he would once again challenge his brother...and this time, he would win if he wasn't sealed away once again.

Alek was convinced that this Speculo had broken free and that it was he who was responsible for the destruction of Dur'yn. For once, he looked the part of a fiercely passionate fire dragon, for he was enraged at the thought of this spirit causing further devastation and swore that he would use the fire scroll to help seal him away again. He begged Ace to be the one to use the lightning scroll. Ace privately doubted the story was real or that they'd ever even find this spirit if it was, so he easily agreed, and the next morning, Alek was flying by his side as they traveled to the Starfall Isles.

The fire coatl had initially wanted to divert their path to find an ice dragon so that they could then concentrate on locating Speculo himself, but Ace, desperately wanting the coin for bringing the book to the library on Prufrock, argued that surely the library would have texts that would help them find the evil spirit. And anyway, wasn't that goggle-wearing coatl envoy an ice dragon? They did encounter other ice dragons as they winged their way to arcane territory, but though they handed several the scroll, it opened for none of them. Alek theorized that the dragon had to have a certain level of power in their native element for the scroll to recognize them as a potential wielder. Ace had never thought of himself as particularly powerful, but now that he was outside of the Shifting Expanse (and doing his best to show off around Alek), he realized that his lightning magic was shockingly (heh) useful. It seemed maybe he was part of some weird destined thing, but well, if he was, he had chosen that path - chosen to be with Alek, at any rate, and if that meant playing a role in something that might very well get him killed, well...Alek was worth it.

Ace had done his best to steer them away from highly populated clans, but when they reached Lantern Port across from the island of Prufrock, there was a dreaded wanted poster with his likeness drawn on it, a (pitiably low, in his opinion) amount listed as a bounty. Though he tried to rip it down, Alek spotted it and questioned him, and he was forced to confess his gambling debts and the real reason for his journey to the library on Prufrock. He knew that Alek would have abandoned him on the spot if the fire coatl hadn't needed him to wield the lightning scroll, and though he had often been saddened by his lover's melancholy air, he discovered he greatly preferred melancholy to mad. Though Alek was barely speaking to him, they nevertheless completed their journey, finally reaching the library spire on the island of Prufrock and presenting the tome to the envoy Eztli.

They never expected Ez to have actually met Imago during a previous adventure, nor that he knew why it was that Imago had been weakened - trapped in his dark castle, fighting an eldritch being from beyond the stars, it was no wonder that he couldn't keep up the strength needed to maintain his brother's seal. Ez even related that, until recently, Imago had lived for a time on the island, though he had left after so many spirits dwelling in so small a space had completely destabilized the veil between the two realms. After hearing all that, Ace wasn't too surprised when the ice scroll opened at Ez's touch.

As the seal on the remaining scroll cracked, a dark shape appeared in the minuscule mirror on the cover of the tome, resolving and solidifying into a spirit in the shape of a mirror dragon. Introducing himself as Cheshire, the servant of Imago, he promised to lead the three coatl to Speculo's location so that they could once again seal Imago's brother away and prevent further tragedies like the one that had befallen Alek's people - not to mention avoid the terrifying possibility of Speculo taking over the entire spirit realm.

After they practiced reciting the spell on the scrolls several times, Cheshire led them through a mirror and into some tunnels in the heart of the spirit realm. There they met with Imago, who had taken the appearance of a massive imperial. He promised to fight and distract his brother while the coatl read off the spells.

Much to the surprise of the three coatl, Imago's brother had taken the form of a dark pearlcatcher, much smaller than his sibling but no less formidable. He lashed out at his brother, and their blows shook the tunnel walls around them as the coatl struggled to recite the words on the scrolls. Despite Imago's best efforts, Speculo - with the increased power he had obtained from annihilating clans such as Alek's - was besting him, and one of the attacks he threw at his brother went wild, flying straight at Alek. Unthinking, Ace lunged at Alek, pushing him aside as the dark magic sizzled through him instead. He could feel his lightning magic attempting to burn it out, but most of his own power was absorbed in the scroll's spell, and he struggled to read it to the end in spite of his injury. For a time, Ez had to read on alone as his companions regained their positions, but finally all three completed their section of the spell, and Speculo was hit with a powerful blast of the combined forces of three elements. Debilitated by being simultaneously burned, frozen, and electrocuted, Speculo was felled, and Imago worked quickly to reshape their attack into a prison that would once again seal away his brother, protecting the world from his jealous wrath.

Ace barely remembered Cheshire escorting them back into the mortal realm through yet another mirror. He spent a long time recovering, and when he finally woke, he discovered that his feathers had been blackened permanently by their contact with Speculo's dark magic. He also discovered that while he'd been unconscious, Alek had negotiated for the clan to pay off his gambling debts in return for the services they'd rendered - the whole saving the world bit, Ace figured. It seemed his lover had forgiven him, or at least wasn't quite so mad at him any more. At any rate, Alek agreed to stay with him on the island of Prufrock, where Ace is once again doing odd jobs - mostly maintaining the clan's electrical lines. Alek has forbidden him from gambling, but he still gets to enjoy games - so long as he doesn't bet anything on the outcome.

Ez meanwhile was relieved that yet another threat from the spirit realm had been averted. He wondered if the recent rise in frequency in the attacks of the malevolent spirits (and, especially, the Barrier Breach) had been caused by Speculo before he was sealed or if, perhaps, there might be another powerful being pulling strings behind the scenes.



An Assault on the Nesting Grounds

The spirits and dragons dwelling on the island of Prufrock in the Starfall Isles had reached an uneasy truce. The thin veil separating the island from the spirit realm had been shored up and patched, and while many spirit ambassadors manifested physical forms and dwelt among the island's dragons, passage through the veil was limited and strictly supervised in the hopes of keeping the boundary between the realms stable.

It had been a long time since the last attack on the clan by malevolent spirits, and that, combined with several days of unseasonably balmy weather in the winter months, contributed to an atmosphere of relief and festivity. During this period of calm, two couples decided to make nests on the grounds near the island's heart, each nest resulting in two eggs. The nesting grounds were situated among gardens whose flowers had been tricked into blooming early by the warm weather, and the watchful parents enjoyed strolling through the blossoms as they awaited the birth of their offspring. The first pair, clan founder and head librarian Emrys and his mate, the warrior Elyta, had raised many hatchlings together, though all had since left the clan to seek their charge, to enter the service of the deities, or to find more materials for their research. They had recently adopted several stray hatchlings, however, which had rekindled their desire to have hatchlings of their own. The second pair, bestiary compiler Tome and carpenter Johnna, kept watch over their first nest, both nervous at the thought of being parents but eagerly anticipating meeting their offspring and seeing which parent they took after, what personalities they developed.

The winter winds returned on the day the eggs hatched, specks of snow whipping about the dragons huddled around the nesting grounds. Emrys was attending to the library's magical wards, and Jo was in her workshop finishing a commission, but Tome and Elyta stood watch, shivering in the unexpected chill. Tome's father-in-law, the genealogist Etsu, kept vigil with them, awaiting the newest additions to his family tree.

Wards and warning systems had been placed throughout the island, but somehow a malevolent earth spirit slipped through and made its way to the nesting grounds, intent on disrupting the lineages of the clan's founder Emrys and its leader Eztli, Etsu's older brother. The spirit, shaped like a shadowy, spotted beast of prey, crept up on the nests just as a crack appeared in one of Tome and Jo's eggs. Tome, raised in Oakrest by mothers who had trained him to combat such beings, was quick to spot the threat, though thanks to a battle with a similar spirit when he was younger, he had lost the use of his left leg and was no longer able to fight. He shouted a warning to Elyta - the guardian was in charge of the clan's martial defense and had fended off far greater foes - but the spirit hadn't manifested a physical form, and she lacked the ability to see it. She blindly struck out, aided by Tome's directions, frantic to keep the peril away from the hatching eggs. Etsu looked on helplessly, as the scholar could neither see the spirit nor fight it. He tried to stand in between the spirit and the nests, but he had no way of knowing from which direction the spirit would come.

As the crack broadened and a small snout stuck out, the spirit slipped between Elyta's outstretched claws and darted into the newly hatched wildclaw, eager to escape the relentless onslaught of blows and set on possessing the young, impressionable dragon. Tome watched in dismay as the spirit merged with his daughter; he limped over, resolved to do everything in his power to drive it out, but he was stopped by the sudden appearance of his elder siblings, the exorcists Bound and Verso. They had been on the mainland in Lantern Port, purchasing beeswax candles from a traveling merchant for use in their rituals, when they detected a breach in the wards. The siblings flew back to the island, arriving just in time to see the spirit fly into their niece. Cracks had meanwhile appeared in the shells of the three other eggs, and the dragons hastily moved the emerging hatchlings into vacant nests while the exorcists sealed off the area surrounding the newborn wildclaw as they attempted to drive the spirit out of her. Much to their horror, they soon realized that the spirit had merged so tightly with her that the only methods they knew to employ to separate them would result in her death.

Emrys had arrived by that time, the wards having alerted him that something was amiss, and he helped the exorcists place runes on the wildclaw to seal away the spirit and to protect the hatchling's psyche from it - since they couldn't separate the two, they did what they could to segregate the spirit within the wildclaw's form and ward her against its influences. They also placed protective runes on the other hatchlings - the wildclaw's coatl brother, and the two sons of Emrys and Elyta. A day that should have been happy and joyous had been ruined, though the parents did what they could to turn their sorrow into hope as they gave the hatchlings their runes and their names. The wildclaw Ayla and her brother Quercus were both named after the oak tree - an emblem of strength as well as the symbol of Tome's childhood home and his mate Jo's favorite wood. The guardian Avery and the tundra Evin were likewise given names that meant "wise counselor" and "young warrior" in the hopes that they would grow strongly and live up to their names.

The protective runes and promising names appeared to do little to help, however. Ayla was never sure if her thoughts were her own rather than the spirit's, and she seemed to possess both a spiritual sight and a physical strength that exceeded that of most dragons. She studied under her exorcist aunt and uncle, learning about spirits in the hopes of recognizing the spirit's influence on her, and she kept a diary to try to decipher which parts of her were really her. Her sibling and her nestmates had not been attacked directly, but they still suffered the effects of the spirit's assault. Her brother Quercus was plagued by seizures, while the guardian Avery was dismayed when his tundra brother grew bigger than he; the clan's physician diagnosed him with dwarfism, and while it was possible that both of their conditions could have been inherited, the parents were far more eager to blame the spirit, whose foul aura had surrounded the nesting grounds as the hatchlings broke free of their eggs. Evin was the only one who appeared unscathed, though this affected him in its own way - the others could bond over the ways the attack had marked them, and the adults showered them with attention, but he was expected to be the strong one, the "normal" one, as he was the only one without a condition or special needs. Ayla and Evin eventually left the island to forge their own paths - Ayla to the homeland of her father in search of her legendary grandmothers in the hopes that they could do what her aunt and uncle could not and remove the spirit from her, and Evin, who had trained as a warrior with his mother since his guardian brother was unable, to test his strength in the Windswept Plateau. Avery thought he would leave to go on his search, but he discovered that his charge had been next to him all along: Quercus. He regrets that he can't protect him from the seizures that are the coatl's most constant threat. Despite their disabilities, the two of them took over the operation of the ferry that runs between the island and Lantern Port.




Deepsea and Darkshine

Deepsea isn't quite sure how old he is. He was told a golden fae had brought him into the Shifting Expanse and left him to be raised there when he was but a hatchling, but he doesn't quite remember. He remained a hatchling longer than most, his childhood seemingly endless during the protracted time it took him to grow and mature, though his mind developed long before his body finally caught up with it. He was influenced by the lightning dragons who bustled about him and readily adopted their work ethic, but though raised in lightning territory, he had been born a light dragon of the Sunbeam Ruins. As such, he preferred the written word and the path of academic scholarship to the cogs and gears and currents that occupied the practical minds of his clanmates. Observing his interest, they were quick to turn over any books and scrolls the clan acquired through trade into his keeping, save for the instruction manuals they used to operate their complex machinery.

Though his curious mind loved all subjects of study, he found himself most drawn to history. As he read the tales of Sornieth's past, he experienced sudden flashes of déjà vu, as if he had actually been present at some of these events. The feeling grew worse when he read about the Shade. He had always had vivid dreams, and he sometimes even experienced vaguely premonitory visions about what was to come in the future, but never before had he had such nightmares, ones which even invaded his waking hours on occasion.

In his dreams he was a fae - small, insignificant, tinier than the gigantic tomes he read in a sunlit study. Like the coatl, the fae read of the Shade and was filled with loathing at this threat, this abomination. He would depart and fight it, he declared, but at that point the visions grew fuzzy - either Deepsea had drifted into mostly dreamless slumber, or the fae in his dream had. They started again with resentment over a long, accidental sleep and lost time, a departure from the Sunbeam Ruins to further study ways to fight the Shade. All that time, though, the Shade studied the fae, observing his bitterness over his small stature and missing years, and dream-being Deepsea watched in horror as it used that dissatisfaction as an avenue to possess the fae. In spite of all of the studying the fae had done, all of the magical precautions he had taken, the Shade rooted itself deep within him. The next part was always muddled, no matter how often Deepsea was forced to relive the dreams night after night, but he knew there was a horrific battle that took place involving a fae who shone with golden light, a battle that was followed by immense pain that bubbled flesh and melted bone, a terrible blankness, and an end to the visions. Though he feared the dreams, he longed to know what happened next, what became of the fae, as much as he dreaded what further visions might tell him.

Deepsea considered that perhaps the dreams had taken root in his subconscious as a combination of the stories he had read and the tale his clan had told him of the fae who had brought him there - the fae who had wrapped him up and not allowed him to see her face. The visions could be pure fantasy. They could be warnings of a terrifying future. Or, a far worse prospect, they could be memories - either his own or another's, he wasn't certain. The only thing he was sure of was that he didn't want them to be true. He never wanted them to come true.

If the visions came from the past, well, Deepsea would learn from them. If they were of the future, at least he was forewarned, and he would prepare himself. His studies took on a new purpose as he trained both his magic and his body to fight the Shade's darkness. As during his readings, some of the spells and techniques gave him a feeling of déjà vu - especially when he studied runic circles, though it could have been residual remnants from the dreams, which continued to plague him. Finally one of his instructors showed him how to excise the visions from his own personal dreamscape, to remove them entirely from his mind and seal them away within the pages of a heavily runed book. Deepsea felt instant relief as soon as the dreams ceased, though a small part of him still wonders if he would have finally seen the end of the story had he allowed them to continue - if he might have finally uncovered the truth.

As Deepsea immersed himself in learning how to combat the Shade, he also gained knowledge of other threats facing Sornieth. Blessed - or cursed - with the sight, he could easily see ghosts and spirits, and he could also see the veil which separated their world from the realm of dragons. He learned that not all spirits were malevolent, but prolonged interactions between spirits and dragons tended to end poorly for one or both parties due to inevitably conflicting goals. Much about the spirits remained alien to Deepsea even as his studies intensified, but there were many elements that were familiar. They, too, had an enemy in their stories similar to the Shade, an eldritch being from beyond the stars that had once been locked in combat with their monarch.

After much time had passed and he had finally reached his full length and wingspan, Deepsea considered himself ready to venture out into the world, to find places where the Shade had taken root or the veil that divided the realm of dragons from the world of spirits was frayed or torn. Not wanting to give advanced warning to his enemies, he posed as a traveling librarian, lending and trading books and scrolls out of his seemingly infinite hoard, pulled from the spelled bag he carried. The one book he never allowed anyone to borrow was the tome in which his visions were sealed away. Meandering in this way throughout Sornieth, his magical senses, highly attuned to dark influences thanks to his studies, brought him to many clans suffering the effects of Shade-possessed brethren or the attacks of malevolent spirits. Once he identified the threat, he worked subtly to restore order, using counsel, physical force, or purifying light magic in the form of runic circles, depending on the situation.

One of the toughest challenges Deepsea faced early in his travels came from a clan in the Shifting Expanse not far from his own. Its location coincided with an especially weak spot in the veil, and long ago several powerful spirits had slipped through and assumed the form of dragons, then taken over the clan, warping the memories and minds of the dragons who resisted until the clan's dragons couldn't remember or conceive of a time when the spirits did not rule them. They were conditioned to blindly follow their leaders' orders - and given that the leaders were spirits and had very different morals and ways of looking at the world than dragons, the orders were contradictory, nonsensical, and byzantine. The lightning dragons constructed elaborate buildings that had no place in a desert and were of no use to their clan, though the spirits used them for strange rituals.

Despite their ill treatment, the dragons were quite defensive of their way of life (which they considered completely normal) and of their leaders, and Deepsea was hard pressed to find a way to break their hold over the clan. The imperial Darkshine served as his host and guide during his time in the clan, and much as he came to admire - even love - the eccentric imperial the longer he remained by his side, the more he despaired of convincing even him that the clanmembers were being held captive by alien beings who cared little for their well-being and craved only power. He hated manipulating others against their will, but he could see no other way given that their will had been taken away by the spirits long ago, so Deepsea worked a complicated enchantment and breathed runed smoke onto Darkshine. As the spell twined its way around the imperial's hide, the spirits' control over Darkshine's mind was broken, and he gazed around in horror at the clan he had thought he had known and loved. His thoughts clear for the first time in his life, he was quick to rally to Deepsea's cause, and he helped the coatl destroy the spirits and rescue his clan from their clutches. Though Deepsea expected the imperial to remain with his clan afterward and help them rebuild, Darkshine elected to travel with Deepsea - he declared that he owed the coatl a debt and has followed him ever since. Deepsea recalled from his visions of the fae the hatred he'd felt at being small - a feeling he'd had more than once due to his prolonged time as a hatchling. Though Darkshine entirely dwarfed him, he didn't feel insignificant next to the imperial. He felt loved.

Deepsea and Darkshine did much of their work on their own, but sometimes they needed another dragon or three. They had originally hired the nocturne Echo as a mercenary to assist them with a job, and while his mimicking behavior was a tad annoying, it was also rather amusing, and his skills were certainly useful - there were times when having a third dragon on hand to complete a formation around a foe was extremely advantageous, so they didn't mind much when he decided to continue traveling with them, even after the initial contract had expired.

While in the Viridian Labyrinth defeating a cult that had allied itself with the Shade, the trio heard tell of a clan on an island in the Starfall Isles who, like Darkshine's clan, dwelt along a weak place in the veil and hosted spirits manifested as dragons. They made their usual approach, appearing on the island of Prufrock and announcing themselves as traveling librarians, eager to swap and share tomes with the island's famed library. The three were quick to strike a deal with head librarian Emrys to use the island as a base as they ventured out to other area clans to exchange books, assisted greatly by Em's former acquaintance with Echo - they had been childhood friends. Unbeknownst to Emrys and the clan's leaders, the trio secretly investigated the veil and the clan's spirits to assess their intent and their potential threat. Though they realized that these spirits weren't the same sort as the ones who had terrorized Darkshine's former clan and that in some ways the spirits were beneficial to the clan's dragons, they came to the conclusion that the situation on the island was unsustainable, the danger too great.



"Evacuate"

Clan founder Emrys and his mate Elyta had been hesitant to nest again, given that a spirit attack had occurred during the hatching of their last nest, but they were reassured that security on the nesting grounds had been tripled. They hatched a nest on an auspicious day - the anniversary of the clan's founding. Much to their relief, there were no attacks, and their hatchlings seemed relatively healthy and as normal as was usual for their offspring...that is, until one of them, a tundra they had named Cecil, spoke his first word:

"Evacuate."

He never said another word after that to explain or clarify. His parents and the clan's mages assumed he had seen a powerful vision of the future, but whatever terror he had foreseen had not only robbed him of his voice: it had stolen his sight as well.

Other dragons in the clan who had magical means of foresight attempted to glean the future to no avail. They couldn't see the threat that had so scarred the little tundra. In fact, the future of the clan was so clouded that they couldn't make out anything at all, just a sense of ominous foreboding. Not even Calamity, their strongest seer, could determine what Cecil might have foreseen.

The clan's leaders and council members engaged in endless debates. Some argued against taking the word of a hatchling seriously, especially as the other seers hadn't warned of any coming dangers. Others sent out scouts to try to discern any threat that might be making its way toward the clan - armies of beastclans, perhaps, or a band of dragons traveling by land or sea, determined to take over their territory. Most, however, knew that the biggest hazard to the clan was its proximity to the Spirit Realm.

Lazarus, lord of the underworld, was quick to assume that his fellow underworld lord Kherty was up to no good - that he would be the cause of whatever tragedy had been foreseen to befall the island of Prufrock. Knowing that his old rival had only taken an interest in the clan because Lazarus himself had spent so much time there, he made an unexpected announcement in the hopes of disrupting Kherty's undoubtedly nefarious plans: he and his underworld court were leaving Prufrock. Lazarus and the clan leaders negotiated with the other spirits who had manifested as dragons on the island, and in the end, most of them were convinced. The time had come for them to leave in the hopes that the presence of fewer spirits would change the course of the clan's destiny and avert whatever disaster might be on its way. Many spirits simply crossed back into the spirit realm through the veil. Others, Kherty and his court among them, flew out into the world of dragons, seeking to explore the material plane. Kherty may have been outmaneuvered this time, but he and Lazarus were immortal - they would settle their rivalry at another time, in another place.

The clan leaders - Eztli, Shadowstar, and Vespers - called all of the clan's members together in the assembly hall and presented them with the warning that Cecil had issued, then gave them a choice: they could stay and risk whatever dangers and challenges lay ahead, or they could relocate, seeking safety and peace elsewhere. Many refused to move - some had friends or family who were staying and wanted to remain by their side and protect them, while others were determined to defend their home with their last breath from any peril or else were just too stubborn to leave. Most, though - especially couples who still hoped to have more hatchlings - realized it would be safest for them to find homes elsewhere. Some made preparations to move out right away, though others lingered, tying up loose ends and fulfilling duties and promises before departing.

Those who remained steeled themselves. They didn't know what was coming, but they were determined to protect the place they called home.



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