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TOPIC | [Lore] Circle of the Sun
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[center][img]http://i.imgur.com/lQmH4SU.png[/img][/center] [center][size=6][font=century gothic][b]Chapter Five: Training and Travels[/b][/size][/center] When Excursio and Incursio returned to the mesa with a group of new arrivals in tow, Pulchrior felt his spirits rise. He'd had every confidence that the young leaders would be able to recruit dragons to their cause, but it was pleasant to see that his faith in their abilities hadn't been misplaced. Kyril, Hanyi, and Baikal settled into everyday life around the mesa, quickly adapting the existing spaces to suit their own needs. They weren't an ideal work crew in some respects; Hanyi wanted to start constructing his lab, Baikal was fussy and disliked digging, and Kyril was too small to help with the most strenuous tasks. But they found a way to make it work, and within a few days Pulchrior stopped noticing his new clanmates' foibles and started noticing their contributions. Hanyi was a determined and industrious worker, in spite of his occasional grumbling. Baikal's relentless good humor kept the construction crew in good cheer. And Kyril had plenty of advice to offer to the young leaders, drawing on his past experiences as a member of a clan whenever they found themselves struggling. Excursio and Incursio had their first nest as well - a large clutch of four hatchlings. Two of them were sent to internships with the Stormcatcher in short order, where they would be trained as employees. One hatchling, a young dragon named Astrum, was sent for fostering in a distant Nature clan thanks to Hanyi's tenuous connections to home. And the oldest of the hatchlings, a gold-and-blue female named Auster, seemed content to stay with her birth clan for the time being. The young clan was growing, and Pulchrior watched its progress with a sense of pride. It was pleasant, to see the efforts of their labor bearing fruit. But a larger clan brought with it new challenges - first and foremost among them an increased need for resources. While the three of them alone had not been a strain on the resources of the Oasis and the surrounding desert, a larger clan was simply beyond the capacity of the ecosystem. Baikal and Hanyi were omnivorous and could subsist on anything, just as the resident Guardians did, but Kyril's particular diet of seafood posed a challenge in a desert lair. Something would have to be done eventually. Fortunately, Excursio seemed to be thinking along the same lines. "We have enough hands here that the three of us can be spared," she said one afternoon when she, Incursio, and Pulchrior were taking a break from construction. "Do you think it's time that we started seeing about opening some trade networks? We have some infrastructure in place, and the clan needs more resources." "That's true, but we don't have anything to trade," Incursio pointed out. "We could venture out into the desert to get more resources, but that'll mean running into beastclans. Harpies are tougher than they look," he said with a shudder. Pulchrior nodded. "Baikal told me about some fields he found east of here, closer to the coast. There are creatures there, but no beastclans are in residence. Gathering some resources from that area shouldn't be too difficult for us to handle." Of course, Pulchrior had spoken too soon. The denizens of the Training Fields were small, but what they lacked in size they made up for in speed and tenacity. "This is excessive," Pulchrior sighed as he watched Excursio attempt to swat her way free of a swarm of Emerald Webwings. The dark green birds had proven strangely resistant to Lightning magic, and as such were quite difficult to subdue. "I suppose we shall simply have to practice." And practice they did. When they weren't helping with the construction of the lair's central tower and outbuildings, Excursio, Incursio, and Pulchrior trained themselves in combat until they were a honed and experienced team. They moved on to more difficult venues against which they could test their mettle, bringing home resources for the burgeoning clan. But eventually, they ran up against the limits of their talents. The denizens of the Scorched Forest, a desolate landscape on the border between the Lightning and Fire territories, proved a match for them. Menaced by centaurs and stalked by gigantic centipedes, the fighters beat a hasty retreat, returning to the safety of the lair before anything dire could befall them. "I'd feel better," Excursio replied, eventually breaking the slightly awkward silence that had descended on their flight, "if there was a healer in our party. Scratches and bruises are one thing, but I don't want anyone taking potentially fatal risks against venom-tipped arrows." Pulchrior considered the problem thoughtfully. His leader was certainly correct about the benefits of healing spells, but there was just one problem. "We lack healers," Pulchrior pointed out, "and we also lack teachers. One of us could learn the art, but we would have to leave the clan in order to do so." A silence fell again. "I don't like the thought of being away for so long," Excursio said, her voice barely audible. "I know you could run the clan admirably in my absence, but I would worry." "I'm enough of a klutz that I'd have to heal myself as often as I'd have to heal any of you," Incursio said wryly. "Let's face it. Pulchrior, if you're willing to go, you'd be the best dragon to send." [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/DcwRoIt.png[/img][/center] And so Pulchrior found himself on the road again. Carrying a small knapsack filled with essential provisions, the black Guardian set out on a short trip southwest, to the nearby Lightning clan that Baikal had discovered on one of his wanderings. The Imperial's propensity to explore when he wasn't working on the lair or resting at the oasis was certainly handy for helping the clan get the lay of the land. The clan was a small one, located on the near side of the Carrion Canyon. Most of its residences seemed to be aboveground, although Pulchrior did catch sight of several burrows sunk into the earth. He landed and made sure to approach the clan in full view of any sentries who might be watching him. He was here for training, not to raid and ambush, and hopefully a clear demonstration of his friendliness would appease any doubtful residents who might object to a strange Guardian suddenly appearing in their midst. Sure enough, some unseen guard must have noticed his arrival, because within minutes a small group of dragons had come out to meet him. He was introduced to the clan leaders, Avarika and Dezrelle, as well as a healer by the name of [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=1049754]Goldstone[/url]. "I'm more of a biologist than a healer, really," said the red-toned Coatl, dipping his feathered head modestly. "Dragons think that healing is a kind of magic, but it's as much a science as it is anything else. I can teach you healing spells, but you'll be more effective if you learn how the parts of the body fit together." He led Pulchrior into a small tent. "This is where I treat my patients," he explained. "Once you've finished helping the gatherers with their morning chores, report here every morning and I'll teach you what I know. I hope you'll convey our best wishes to your leader when you return. It's been a while since we had neighbors." "I will," said Pulchrior, nodding to Goldstone before allowing his gaze to wander around the tent. There were several cots of differing sizes; most of them were empty, but the largest held [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=3458958]a sleeping black dragon[/url] as large as himself, although not as solidly built. He saw the long, sharp spines on her back and realized with a jolt that he was looking at a Ridgeback. "Is she a patient?" he said, tearing his gaze away from the dragon on the cot and returning his focus to Goldstone. "She doesn't look injured." "Not all injuries are of the body," the Coatl replied cryptically before turning away. "Let her rest - she needs it. Now, let me show you where I keep my supplies." The days at Clan Sparrowhawk, as Pulchrior came to know it, soon fell into a comfortable pattern. At sunrise, Pulchrior would meet the clan's gatherers and travel out to fetch resources for the rest of the lair's residents. Once his duties were finished, he returned to the tent for his healing lessons with Goldstone. He quickly grew in experience and skill, and before long he was helping his teacher with some of his patients, as well as biological experiments that had little to do with the medicine he needed to learn, but would undoubtedly be of interest to Hanyi when he was able to tell the scientist about them. All the while, the Ridgeback on the cot slept. Pulchrior's curiosity about her grew greater every day. Why did she sleep for so long? How had such a mighty dragon been injured in the first place? And when would she wake? One evening, Pulchrior was tending the supplies of healing herbs when a glimpse of movement caught his eye. He turned, and his breath caught in his chest when he saw that the Ridgeback's tail was moving. Goldstone was gone for the night - Pulchrior could go fetch him, but he was afraid to leave the Ridgeback alone. What if she needed medical attention and woke up in a tent all alone? Pulchrior approached her bedside cautiously. "Hello?" he said. "Are you awake?" The Ridgeback's eyes opened - they were the cyan of Lightning, like his own. "What happened?" she said in a voice that was rusty from disuse. "The village - did I fail?" "I don't know about a village," Pulchrior said, his eyes widening. "I'm a visiting student from another clan. Do you want me to get the healer? He might be able to tell you what happened to the village you're talking about." "Not yet," the Ridgeback sighed, letting her head fall back to the cot. "I was fighting a marauding beast before I ended up here. Since I have no memory of finishing the battle, I can only assume that I was rendered unconscious before I had managed to subdue it. The village must have been destroyed." "I'm sorry," said Pulchrior, slightly surprised by the empathy that he felt towards this mysterious stranger. "It sounds like it was quite the battle." "Oh, it was," said the Ridgeback, a glimmer of light coming back into her eyes. She struggled to roll over, and managed to push herself upright. "The village was on the outskirts of an old arena that the beastclans use for their war games. One of their creatures escaped, and was determined to ravage the countryside..." Pulchrior listened, enthralled, as the Ridgeback told him about how she'd been sent to kill the massive creature before it could threaten any of the beastclan or dragon villages in the area. It had been the latest in a string of successful mercenary jobs, which made her failure all the more galling. "But that's behind me now," she said, grimacing. "The dreams I had while I was sleeping - I can't do this for the glory anymore." "Fighting sounds like something you love," Pulchrior said. "You shouldn't have to give it up. Maybe if you find a different reason for fighting, you'll be able to move forward. Maybe you'd be happy with my home clan - our leader doesn't pry into the affairs of others. She won't care that you were a mercenary, and she won't ask you about your past unless she thinks you pose a danger to the clan." "That sounds like the best offer I can hope for," the Ridgeback said with a smile. "How long will you be staying here?" "Long enough to get trained in the healing arts - and until you recover enough to travel," Pulchrior replied. The thought of leaving such a fascinating dragon behind after she'd agreed to live with him wasn't one that he was willing to consider. The Ridgeback nodded. "I should probably sleep some more now, but it was nice talking to you. What's your name?" "I'm Pulchrior," he replied. "I'm Kidara. When I wake up again, I'll have someone send for you." Kidara lay back down and drifted off to sleep. Pulchrior hesitated, briefly torn between staying and leaving - what if the Ridgeback ended up back in the comatose state she'd been in when he arrived? But then he saw her tail twitch once, and he forced himself to relax. If she was moving, she was just sleeping. She'd be fine. It was several weeks before Kidara was strong enough to travel, but by the time they left Clan Sparrowhawk, Pulchrior was completely smitten. He'd never met a dragon like her before - a decorated combat veteran even though she was relatively young, and still determined to protect others after everything she'd been through. Her sharp tongue and quick wit were enough to keep Pulchrior on his toes, and she seemed to feel the same way about him. He had left his home clan to study medicine, not to find love. How fortunate for him that he'd been able to both. "Lead on," said Kidara on the day of their departure, looking sideways at Pulchrior with a smile. And so he did. [right][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/2#post_29364985]Previous Chapter[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/3#post_29615088]Next Chapter[/url][/right]
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Chapter Five: Training and Travels


When Excursio and Incursio returned to the mesa with a group of new arrivals in tow, Pulchrior felt his spirits rise. He'd had every confidence that the young leaders would be able to recruit dragons to their cause, but it was pleasant to see that his faith in their abilities hadn't been misplaced.

Kyril, Hanyi, and Baikal settled into everyday life around the mesa, quickly adapting the existing spaces to suit their own needs. They weren't an ideal work crew in some respects; Hanyi wanted to start constructing his lab, Baikal was fussy and disliked digging, and Kyril was too small to help with the most strenuous tasks. But they found a way to make it work, and within a few days Pulchrior stopped noticing his new clanmates' foibles and started noticing their contributions. Hanyi was a determined and industrious worker, in spite of his occasional grumbling. Baikal's relentless good humor kept the construction crew in good cheer. And Kyril had plenty of advice to offer to the young leaders, drawing on his past experiences as a member of a clan whenever they found themselves struggling.

Excursio and Incursio had their first nest as well - a large clutch of four hatchlings. Two of them were sent to internships with the Stormcatcher in short order, where they would be trained as employees. One hatchling, a young dragon named Astrum, was sent for fostering in a distant Nature clan thanks to Hanyi's tenuous connections to home. And the oldest of the hatchlings, a gold-and-blue female named Auster, seemed content to stay with her birth clan for the time being.

The young clan was growing, and Pulchrior watched its progress with a sense of pride. It was pleasant, to see the efforts of their labor bearing fruit. But a larger clan brought with it new challenges - first and foremost among them an increased need for resources.

While the three of them alone had not been a strain on the resources of the Oasis and the surrounding desert, a larger clan was simply beyond the capacity of the ecosystem. Baikal and Hanyi were omnivorous and could subsist on anything, just as the resident Guardians did, but Kyril's particular diet of seafood posed a challenge in a desert lair. Something would have to be done eventually.

Fortunately, Excursio seemed to be thinking along the same lines. "We have enough hands here that the three of us can be spared," she said one afternoon when she, Incursio, and Pulchrior were taking a break from construction. "Do you think it's time that we started seeing about opening some trade networks? We have some infrastructure in place, and the clan needs more resources."

"That's true, but we don't have anything to trade," Incursio pointed out. "We could venture out into the desert to get more resources, but that'll mean running into beastclans. Harpies are tougher than they look," he said with a shudder.

Pulchrior nodded. "Baikal told me about some fields he found east of here, closer to the coast. There are creatures there, but no beastclans are in residence. Gathering some resources from that area shouldn't be too difficult for us to handle."

Of course, Pulchrior had spoken too soon. The denizens of the Training Fields were small, but what they lacked in size they made up for in speed and tenacity. "This is excessive," Pulchrior sighed as he watched Excursio attempt to swat her way free of a swarm of Emerald Webwings. The dark green birds had proven strangely resistant to Lightning magic, and as such were quite difficult to subdue. "I suppose we shall simply have to practice."

And practice they did. When they weren't helping with the construction of the lair's central tower and outbuildings, Excursio, Incursio, and Pulchrior trained themselves in combat until they were a honed and experienced team. They moved on to more difficult venues against which they could test their mettle, bringing home resources for the burgeoning clan.

But eventually, they ran up against the limits of their talents. The denizens of the Scorched Forest, a desolate landscape on the border between the Lightning and Fire territories, proved a match for them. Menaced by centaurs and stalked by gigantic centipedes, the fighters beat a hasty retreat, returning to the safety of the lair before anything dire could befall them.

"I'd feel better," Excursio replied, eventually breaking the slightly awkward silence that had descended on their flight, "if there was a healer in our party. Scratches and bruises are one thing, but I don't want anyone taking potentially fatal risks against venom-tipped arrows."

Pulchrior considered the problem thoughtfully. His leader was certainly correct about the benefits of healing spells, but there was just one problem. "We lack healers," Pulchrior pointed out, "and we also lack teachers. One of us could learn the art, but we would have to leave the clan in order to do so."

A silence fell again. "I don't like the thought of being away for so long," Excursio said, her voice barely audible. "I know you could run the clan admirably in my absence, but I would worry."

"I'm enough of a klutz that I'd have to heal myself as often as I'd have to heal any of you," Incursio said wryly. "Let's face it. Pulchrior, if you're willing to go, you'd be the best dragon to send."

DcwRoIt.png

And so Pulchrior found himself on the road again. Carrying a small knapsack filled with essential provisions, the black Guardian set out on a short trip southwest, to the nearby Lightning clan that Baikal had discovered on one of his wanderings. The Imperial's propensity to explore when he wasn't working on the lair or resting at the oasis was certainly handy for helping the clan get the lay of the land.

The clan was a small one, located on the near side of the Carrion Canyon. Most of its residences seemed to be aboveground, although Pulchrior did catch sight of several burrows sunk into the earth. He landed and made sure to approach the clan in full view of any sentries who might be watching him. He was here for training, not to raid and ambush, and hopefully a clear demonstration of his friendliness would appease any doubtful residents who might object to a strange Guardian suddenly appearing in their midst.

Sure enough, some unseen guard must have noticed his arrival, because within minutes a small group of dragons had come out to meet him. He was introduced to the clan leaders, Avarika and Dezrelle, as well as a healer by the name of Goldstone. "I'm more of a biologist than a healer, really," said the red-toned Coatl, dipping his feathered head modestly. "Dragons think that healing is a kind of magic, but it's as much a science as it is anything else. I can teach you healing spells, but you'll be more effective if you learn how the parts of the body fit together."

He led Pulchrior into a small tent. "This is where I treat my patients," he explained. "Once you've finished helping the gatherers with their morning chores, report here every morning and I'll teach you what I know. I hope you'll convey our best wishes to your leader when you return. It's been a while since we had neighbors."

"I will," said Pulchrior, nodding to Goldstone before allowing his gaze to wander around the tent. There were several cots of differing sizes; most of them were empty, but the largest held a sleeping black dragon as large as himself, although not as solidly built. He saw the long, sharp spines on her back and realized with a jolt that he was looking at a Ridgeback. "Is she a patient?" he said, tearing his gaze away from the dragon on the cot and returning his focus to Goldstone. "She doesn't look injured."

"Not all injuries are of the body," the Coatl replied cryptically before turning away. "Let her rest - she needs it. Now, let me show you where I keep my supplies."

The days at Clan Sparrowhawk, as Pulchrior came to know it, soon fell into a comfortable pattern. At sunrise, Pulchrior would meet the clan's gatherers and travel out to fetch resources for the rest of the lair's residents. Once his duties were finished, he returned to the tent for his healing lessons with Goldstone. He quickly grew in experience and skill, and before long he was helping his teacher with some of his patients, as well as biological experiments that had little to do with the medicine he needed to learn, but would undoubtedly be of interest to Hanyi when he was able to tell the scientist about them.

All the while, the Ridgeback on the cot slept. Pulchrior's curiosity about her grew greater every day. Why did she sleep for so long? How had such a mighty dragon been injured in the first place? And when would she wake?

One evening, Pulchrior was tending the supplies of healing herbs when a glimpse of movement caught his eye. He turned, and his breath caught in his chest when he saw that the Ridgeback's tail was moving. Goldstone was gone for the night - Pulchrior could go fetch him, but he was afraid to leave the Ridgeback alone. What if she needed medical attention and woke up in a tent all alone?

Pulchrior approached her bedside cautiously. "Hello?" he said. "Are you awake?"

The Ridgeback's eyes opened - they were the cyan of Lightning, like his own. "What happened?" she said in a voice that was rusty from disuse. "The village - did I fail?"

"I don't know about a village," Pulchrior said, his eyes widening. "I'm a visiting student from another clan. Do you want me to get the healer? He might be able to tell you what happened to the village you're talking about."

"Not yet," the Ridgeback sighed, letting her head fall back to the cot. "I was fighting a marauding beast before I ended up here. Since I have no memory of finishing the battle, I can only assume that I was rendered unconscious before I had managed to subdue it. The village must have been destroyed."

"I'm sorry," said Pulchrior, slightly surprised by the empathy that he felt towards this mysterious stranger. "It sounds like it was quite the battle."

"Oh, it was," said the Ridgeback, a glimmer of light coming back into her eyes. She struggled to roll over, and managed to push herself upright. "The village was on the outskirts of an old arena that the beastclans use for their war games. One of their creatures escaped, and was determined to ravage the countryside..."

Pulchrior listened, enthralled, as the Ridgeback told him about how she'd been sent to kill the massive creature before it could threaten any of the beastclan or dragon villages in the area. It had been the latest in a string of successful mercenary jobs, which made her failure all the more galling. "But that's behind me now," she said, grimacing. "The dreams I had while I was sleeping - I can't do this for the glory anymore."

"Fighting sounds like something you love," Pulchrior said. "You shouldn't have to give it up. Maybe if you find a different reason for fighting, you'll be able to move forward. Maybe you'd be happy with my home clan - our leader doesn't pry into the affairs of others. She won't care that you were a mercenary, and she won't ask you about your past unless she thinks you pose a danger to the clan."

"That sounds like the best offer I can hope for," the Ridgeback said with a smile. "How long will you be staying here?"

"Long enough to get trained in the healing arts - and until you recover enough to travel," Pulchrior replied. The thought of leaving such a fascinating dragon behind after she'd agreed to live with him wasn't one that he was willing to consider.

The Ridgeback nodded. "I should probably sleep some more now, but it was nice talking to you. What's your name?"

"I'm Pulchrior," he replied.

"I'm Kidara. When I wake up again, I'll have someone send for you."

Kidara lay back down and drifted off to sleep. Pulchrior hesitated, briefly torn between staying and leaving - what if the Ridgeback ended up back in the comatose state she'd been in when he arrived? But then he saw her tail twitch once, and he forced himself to relax. If she was moving, she was just sleeping. She'd be fine.

It was several weeks before Kidara was strong enough to travel, but by the time they left Clan Sparrowhawk, Pulchrior was completely smitten. He'd never met a dragon like her before - a decorated combat veteran even though she was relatively young, and still determined to protect others after everything she'd been through. Her sharp tongue and quick wit were enough to keep Pulchrior on his toes, and she seemed to feel the same way about him.

He had left his home clan to study medicine, not to find love. How fortunate for him that he'd been able to both.

"Lead on," said Kidara on the day of their departure, looking sideways at Pulchrior with a smile.

And so he did.


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@ZenithNadir

Apologies if you didn't want folks posting in your forum; if you want me to delete my comment I most certainly can!


I was delighted to finish one chapter only to realize there was already another posted! The addition of linking dragons via their description was a pleasant addition and really helped me define clanmates immediately.

Certainly a charming story so far! I really adore the companionship of the group and watching as everyone learns together. (: You write wonderfully and add just the right amount of conversation to details on the surrounding and dragons reactions to keep it interesting and give a good picture of what's going on.

Pulchrior's reaction to Kidara is absolutely precious by the way. I'm hoping to hear more on her history and how their relationship goes further on!
@ZenithNadir

Apologies if you didn't want folks posting in your forum; if you want me to delete my comment I most certainly can!


I was delighted to finish one chapter only to realize there was already another posted! The addition of linking dragons via their description was a pleasant addition and really helped me define clanmates immediately.

Certainly a charming story so far! I really adore the companionship of the group and watching as everyone learns together. (: You write wonderfully and add just the right amount of conversation to details on the surrounding and dragons reactions to keep it interesting and give a good picture of what's going on.

Pulchrior's reaction to Kidara is absolutely precious by the way. I'm hoping to hear more on her history and how their relationship goes further on!
aaXOuEp.png :3- Please call me Royal!:3
:3- she/her pronouns:3
:3- FR +2:3
:3- item shop:3
:3- wishlist:3
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@RoyalSorceress Thanks for the comment! I actually live for feedback on my writing XD posting in this thread is fine! I actually updated the first post this morning to make sure people knew they could post here.

I'm really glad there's a good balance between dialogue and setting here. Adding enough detail without making the entries waaaay too long is the hardest part of writing clan lore for me; it's a much broader setting than my other projects. I might write another chapter tonight! I can't focus well enough to tackle my fanfiction projects when I'm sleepy, but I can write clan lore just fine!
@RoyalSorceress Thanks for the comment! I actually live for feedback on my writing XD posting in this thread is fine! I actually updated the first post this morning to make sure people knew they could post here.

I'm really glad there's a good balance between dialogue and setting here. Adding enough detail without making the entries waaaay too long is the hardest part of writing clan lore for me; it's a much broader setting than my other projects. I might write another chapter tonight! I can't focus well enough to tackle my fanfiction projects when I'm sleepy, but I can write clan lore just fine!
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[center][img]http://imgur.com/vZKj21F.png[/img][/center] [center][size=6][font=century gothic][b]Chapter Six: Wandering Hearts[/b][/size][/center] It wasn't that Incursio was happy to have Pulchrior gone. On the contrary, he missed the solemn black Guardian. Between their long evening conversations and the companionable way they worked together, both on construction projects and in the field gathering resources, he'd grown used to Pulchrior's company. But there was still a tiny, jealous part of him that couldn't help but notice that Pulchrior was competition. He knew Excursio truly cared for him, but whenever he compared himself to the urbane, self-assured black dragon, he wasn't sure how he'd ever been able to come out ahead in her eyes. So even though he missed Pulchrior, he was still guiltily relieved at the respite from his own anxiety. In the meantime, he had other matters to distract him. Auster had grown into a fine young Guardian in her own right, and a part of Incursio expected her to leave in search of her Charge any day now. The fact that she'd chosen to stick around had nothing to do with reluctance or fear; she just wasn't in any particular hurry, and Incursio didn't feel the need to rush her. In good time, she'd be on her way. But she was a beauty, and Incursio supposed he shouldn't have been surprised when the courters began to appear. Most of them were passerby, just as curious about the new clan as they were about the leaders' daughter, but [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=3058388]one orange-and-blue male[/url] was more persistent than most. His name was Vastatio, and his Charge was to be a leaf on the wind, traveling far and wide while he mapped every land he flew over. "That doesn't mean I don't want a home, though," the Guardian said anxiously when he made his petition to Excursio and Incursio. "Even though I'm a wanderer, I still want a place to call my own. I can feed myself, and you might have need of my maps one day - I'd be happy to share." "We aren't in the business of turning dragons away," Excursio said, and Vastatio visibly relaxed. "But I saw the way you were looking at my daughter. Are you sure it's just a home you're looking for?" Vastatio dropped his gaze to the floor and mumbled something that Incursio couldn't hear. "Speak up," Excursio chided. "There's no cause for shame." Vastatio looked up. "I said, I only want her if she'll have me." Incursio glanced at Excursio, and they both nodded. "Then welcome," Incursio said. "And may your wandering bring you everything you search for." Vastatio's initial nervousness abated quickly, and after his first few days with the clan his naturally buoyant personality began to shine through. An irrepressible optimist, his cheer and good humor were only bolstered when Auster agreed to become his mate. They had a clutch of hatchlings together, all of whom went on to find their Charges at an early age. But change was a part of life, and in time even Auster left the clan to seek her Charge. Vastatio didn't go with her. Incursio worried to see the younger Guardian so still and quiet in the wake of Auster's departure. "I thought she'd stay," he confessed when Incursio prompted him about his melancholy. "I feel so foolish. I should know better than anyone that sometimes finding yourself means wandering, and that sometimes it's something you have to do alone. But I would have gone with her if she wanted me to." Incursio didn't know what to say, so instead of speaking he draped his wing gently over the younger male. "You know, I could use a new gathering partner for a while," he said. "Do you know of any exciting new hunting grounds off to the west?" Vastatio brightened slightly. "Come to think of it, I do know a few good places. Let's go - a chance to stretch my wings will probably do me good." [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/DcwRoIt.png[/img][/center] Auster wasn't the only dragon to depart from the clan during Pulchrior's absence. Kyril, to his shock, received an envoy from a distant flight in the Southern Icefield, hoping to arrange a mating between himself and one of their females. "Perhaps it's the custom in these far-off lands," he said, his crest fluttering in agitation as he stared at the message. He looked up at Excursio. "I don't know what to do. For once it seems I need [i]your[/i] advice." "Is it the notion of an arranged mating that you find objectionable?" Excursio asked. Kyril shook his head. "Then why are you worried?" "I suppose... it's simply a long way from home. Coatls aren't meant for the cold," Kyril explained. "I don't like being scared, but I am." "You'd be going far from home, it's true," Incursio said slowly, "but it would just be for a little while. And you'll learn so much by going away. It might be a good opportunity for you to make some alliances, since they already think highly of you." Kyril's ruffled feathers gradually smoothed themselves down. "You're right," he said slowly. "Then I've made up my mind. I'll go to the Southern Icefield and meet this potential ally." "I can take you there if you're worried about making the flight!" Vastatio offered. "And when you're ready to come back, I can take you on the return journey. It'll be a great reason for me to go a long way from home - please let me help!" Kyril took the Guardian up on his offer, which relieved Incursio. He wasn't sure how good Coatls were at distance-flying, but Vastatio was an experienced traveler and would take good care of the older male. He was also glad to see Vastatio so excited about traveling again. The Guardian seemed to have regained the zest for life that he'd lost in the wake of his first heartbreak. The two dragons departed that night and were gone for just under a month. When they returned, Incursio's jaw dropped in shock. Vastatio's appearance had greatly changed - at some point, he'd developed dark markings that rippled across his body and wings. "That's what I said when I saw my reflection in the ocean," Vastatio said, smiling self-consciously. "I'm not sure why they appeared, but the dragons at the Southern Icefield said they'd never seen anything like them. I think they're hoping to get some hatchlings of [i]mine[/i] next time," he said, seeming a bit awed at the prospect before shaking himself. "But I'm forgetting myself - look at who we brought back with us! Kyril, is she awake?" "She is now," said the Coatl wryly. He climbed out of Vastatio's transport basket and fluttered awkwardly to the ground, clutching a [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=3173307]white and purple Imperial hatchling[/url] in his arms. "This is my daughter Khostrior," he said. "There were three in the clutch - two of them are staying in the Southern Icefield, but this one came home with me. She looks just like her mother," he said with a trace of fondness. Incursio sniffed the little Imperial, who didn't seem particularly bothered at being nose-to-nose with a dragon many times her size. "She's adorable. Definitely a worthy addition to the clan." Vastatio's rippled markings were a sensation among the dragons of the clan, and before long he had his fair share of suitors from nearby lairs. Bewildered but pleased by the attention, he ended up fathering several clutches of his own, and his eyes nearly fell out of his head when he learned that his hatchlings were being adopted for [i]actual dowries[/i]. "I'm glad that clans want my kids, but I have no idea what to do with this," he confessed to Excursio and Incursio one day, after yet another shipment of fine fabrics arrived at the lair. "I'm a wanderer. I can't keep all this stuff. Can you just... take it? And maybe use it to trade with the next time dragons come through here with things for sale?" Incursio's brows rose. "You don't want any of it?" he asked. "Not even a few pieces of apparel to call your own?" "Maybe some jewelry that matches my belly scales, if you ever see any," Vastatio said, shrugging bashfully. "But as for the rest of it, you can have the lot. I'm glad I'm in a position to give back this time, instead of always being the one to receive." Regardless of how and why the goods were obtained, they proved a boon for the burgeoning clan. Other Lightning clans were eager to trade for the new materials, providing access to their own machines and research in return for supplies. Now that they had a stone-cutter, digging the great access tunnel became a much easier prospect. When Pulchrior returned with a strange Ridgeback in tow, Incursio greeted them both warmly. It was a season of good luck, and if love was in the air for them all, so much the better. [right][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/3#post_29370708]Previous Chapter[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/3#post_29790852]Next Chapter[/url][/right]
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Chapter Six: Wandering Hearts

It wasn't that Incursio was happy to have Pulchrior gone. On the contrary, he missed the solemn black Guardian. Between their long evening conversations and the companionable way they worked together, both on construction projects and in the field gathering resources, he'd grown used to Pulchrior's company.

But there was still a tiny, jealous part of him that couldn't help but notice that Pulchrior was competition. He knew Excursio truly cared for him, but whenever he compared himself to the urbane, self-assured black dragon, he wasn't sure how he'd ever been able to come out ahead in her eyes.

So even though he missed Pulchrior, he was still guiltily relieved at the respite from his own anxiety. In the meantime, he had other matters to distract him.

Auster had grown into a fine young Guardian in her own right, and a part of Incursio expected her to leave in search of her Charge any day now. The fact that she'd chosen to stick around had nothing to do with reluctance or fear; she just wasn't in any particular hurry, and Incursio didn't feel the need to rush her. In good time, she'd be on her way.

But she was a beauty, and Incursio supposed he shouldn't have been surprised when the courters began to appear. Most of them were passerby, just as curious about the new clan as they were about the leaders' daughter, but one orange-and-blue male was more persistent than most. His name was Vastatio, and his Charge was to be a leaf on the wind, traveling far and wide while he mapped every land he flew over.

"That doesn't mean I don't want a home, though," the Guardian said anxiously when he made his petition to Excursio and Incursio. "Even though I'm a wanderer, I still want a place to call my own. I can feed myself, and you might have need of my maps one day - I'd be happy to share."

"We aren't in the business of turning dragons away," Excursio said, and Vastatio visibly relaxed. "But I saw the way you were looking at my daughter. Are you sure it's just a home you're looking for?"

Vastatio dropped his gaze to the floor and mumbled something that Incursio couldn't hear. "Speak up," Excursio chided. "There's no cause for shame."

Vastatio looked up. "I said, I only want her if she'll have me."

Incursio glanced at Excursio, and they both nodded. "Then welcome," Incursio said. "And may your wandering bring you everything you search for."

Vastatio's initial nervousness abated quickly, and after his first few days with the clan his naturally buoyant personality began to shine through. An irrepressible optimist, his cheer and good humor were only bolstered when Auster agreed to become his mate. They had a clutch of hatchlings together, all of whom went on to find their Charges at an early age.

But change was a part of life, and in time even Auster left the clan to seek her Charge. Vastatio didn't go with her.

Incursio worried to see the younger Guardian so still and quiet in the wake of Auster's departure. "I thought she'd stay," he confessed when Incursio prompted him about his melancholy. "I feel so foolish. I should know better than anyone that sometimes finding yourself means wandering, and that sometimes it's something you have to do alone. But I would have gone with her if she wanted me to."

Incursio didn't know what to say, so instead of speaking he draped his wing gently over the younger male. "You know, I could use a new gathering partner for a while," he said. "Do you know of any exciting new hunting grounds off to the west?"

Vastatio brightened slightly. "Come to think of it, I do know a few good places. Let's go - a chance to stretch my wings will probably do me good."

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Auster wasn't the only dragon to depart from the clan during Pulchrior's absence. Kyril, to his shock, received an envoy from a distant flight in the Southern Icefield, hoping to arrange a mating between himself and one of their females.

"Perhaps it's the custom in these far-off lands," he said, his crest fluttering in agitation as he stared at the message. He looked up at Excursio. "I don't know what to do. For once it seems I need your advice."

"Is it the notion of an arranged mating that you find objectionable?" Excursio asked. Kyril shook his head. "Then why are you worried?"

"I suppose... it's simply a long way from home. Coatls aren't meant for the cold," Kyril explained. "I don't like being scared, but I am."

"You'd be going far from home, it's true," Incursio said slowly, "but it would just be for a little while. And you'll learn so much by going away. It might be a good opportunity for you to make some alliances, since they already think highly of you."

Kyril's ruffled feathers gradually smoothed themselves down. "You're right," he said slowly. "Then I've made up my mind. I'll go to the Southern Icefield and meet this potential ally."

"I can take you there if you're worried about making the flight!" Vastatio offered. "And when you're ready to come back, I can take you on the return journey. It'll be a great reason for me to go a long way from home - please let me help!"

Kyril took the Guardian up on his offer, which relieved Incursio. He wasn't sure how good Coatls were at distance-flying, but Vastatio was an experienced traveler and would take good care of the older male. He was also glad to see Vastatio so excited about traveling again. The Guardian seemed to have regained the zest for life that he'd lost in the wake of his first heartbreak.

The two dragons departed that night and were gone for just under a month. When they returned, Incursio's jaw dropped in shock. Vastatio's appearance had greatly changed - at some point, he'd developed dark markings that rippled across his body and wings. "That's what I said when I saw my reflection in the ocean," Vastatio said, smiling self-consciously. "I'm not sure why they appeared, but the dragons at the Southern Icefield said they'd never seen anything like them. I think they're hoping to get some hatchlings of mine next time," he said, seeming a bit awed at the prospect before shaking himself. "But I'm forgetting myself - look at who we brought back with us! Kyril, is she awake?"

"She is now," said the Coatl wryly. He climbed out of Vastatio's transport basket and fluttered awkwardly to the ground, clutching a white and purple Imperial hatchling in his arms. "This is my daughter Khostrior," he said. "There were three in the clutch - two of them are staying in the Southern Icefield, but this one came home with me. She looks just like her mother," he said with a trace of fondness.

Incursio sniffed the little Imperial, who didn't seem particularly bothered at being nose-to-nose with a dragon many times her size. "She's adorable. Definitely a worthy addition to the clan."

Vastatio's rippled markings were a sensation among the dragons of the clan, and before long he had his fair share of suitors from nearby lairs. Bewildered but pleased by the attention, he ended up fathering several clutches of his own, and his eyes nearly fell out of his head when he learned that his hatchlings were being adopted for actual dowries. "I'm glad that clans want my kids, but I have no idea what to do with this," he confessed to Excursio and Incursio one day, after yet another shipment of fine fabrics arrived at the lair. "I'm a wanderer. I can't keep all this stuff. Can you just... take it? And maybe use it to trade with the next time dragons come through here with things for sale?"

Incursio's brows rose. "You don't want any of it?" he asked. "Not even a few pieces of apparel to call your own?"

"Maybe some jewelry that matches my belly scales, if you ever see any," Vastatio said, shrugging bashfully. "But as for the rest of it, you can have the lot. I'm glad I'm in a position to give back this time, instead of always being the one to receive."

Regardless of how and why the goods were obtained, they proved a boon for the burgeoning clan. Other Lightning clans were eager to trade for the new materials, providing access to their own machines and research in return for supplies. Now that they had a stone-cutter, digging the great access tunnel became a much easier prospect.

When Pulchrior returned with a strange Ridgeback in tow, Incursio greeted them both warmly. It was a season of good luck, and if love was in the air for them all, so much the better.



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@ZenithNadir

Great chapter as always. I felt a little sorry for when Auster left without Vastatio but hey, that's the life of a Guardian dragon I suppose. Adding in the little time skips really helped in figuring out how long Pulchior had been gone as I had been trying to figure that out >.<

I love how you're starting at the very beginning of your clan's history (for the life of me I can't remember every dragon I thought would be a perma) and working your way to present day. I don't think I'd be able to do that haha. Can't wait for the chapters to get caught up with current events.
@ZenithNadir

Great chapter as always. I felt a little sorry for when Auster left without Vastatio but hey, that's the life of a Guardian dragon I suppose. Adding in the little time skips really helped in figuring out how long Pulchior had been gone as I had been trying to figure that out >.<

I love how you're starting at the very beginning of your clan's history (for the life of me I can't remember every dragon I thought would be a perma) and working your way to present day. I don't think I'd be able to do that haha. Can't wait for the chapters to get caught up with current events.
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@demonslayr62 I just realized that I never responded to this kind comment D: Whoops! Auster is the prettiest hatchling my progens have ever had; a part of me wishes I had kept her, but I didn't! Vastatio nearly left the clan to serve the Stormcatcher alongside her - he was a triple Basic Guardian when I got him. But he was so bright and colorful that I couldn't do it, and he became a perma instead! Ripple and Current were the first genes released since the beginning of the site, and when he got them his kids were worth a fortune for a while. His offspring made me my first million, I'm not even joking!

I don't remember every "perma" I've ever had, but I'm working as many long-gone dragons into my lore as I can! A lot of the dragons in the update I'm currently writing are dragons who are no longer with me. Gradually I'm getting closer to the present day XD Here's hoping I catch up!
@demonslayr62 I just realized that I never responded to this kind comment D: Whoops! Auster is the prettiest hatchling my progens have ever had; a part of me wishes I had kept her, but I didn't! Vastatio nearly left the clan to serve the Stormcatcher alongside her - he was a triple Basic Guardian when I got him. But he was so bright and colorful that I couldn't do it, and he became a perma instead! Ripple and Current were the first genes released since the beginning of the site, and when he got them his kids were worth a fortune for a while. His offspring made me my first million, I'm not even joking!

I don't remember every "perma" I've ever had, but I'm working as many long-gone dragons into my lore as I can! A lot of the dragons in the update I'm currently writing are dragons who are no longer with me. Gradually I'm getting closer to the present day XD Here's hoping I catch up!
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[center][img]http://imgur.com/8T4zkjd.png[/img][/center] [center][size=6][font=century gothic][b]Chapter Seven: New Spaces, New Faces[/b][/size][/center] The arrival of the great stone-cutters couldn't have come at a better time for Excursio's burgeoning clan. The access tunnel had grown too deep to make hand excavation feasible; it took more work to lift the rubble to the surface and discard it than it did to dig the tunnel. The masonry machines took care of most of the labor, and while they required some training to operate and needed continuous refueling, they certainly made life easier. When the machinery first arrived, the tunnel into the mesa was three times as deep as Excursio was long. Within three days, they had managed to double that depth and were beginning to cut sideways into the mesa, hollowing out underground burrows and living spaces under the careful supervision of the visiting engineers. Fortunately, the stone of the mesa was strong and capable of withstanding great stress; there was little chance that the ceiling and tunnels would collapse, even if they sustained heavy damage, and magical reinforcement was always a possibility in the future. Of course, the lair's design wasn't without its drawbacks, as Excursio found out when she nearly collided with Incursio on her flight out of the tunnel. "That was too close," Incursio said, shaking his head in dismay. "What if we'd crashed into each other?" "You're right," Excursio said, grimacing. "It won't do. These tunnels will be heavily trafficked - we need to minimize the possibility of midair collisions. We can't have dragons dodging each other as they fly up and down." "What about a second tunnel?" Hanyi suggested from his workstation. "One shaft for ascending flights, one shaft for descending flights, with passages between them where dragons can turn around. With the stone-cutters, it shouldn't take too long to build a second tunnel." Excursio's brows rose. "That's a good idea. We'll need to expand the building that shelters the tunnels, or they'll flood again, but it would solve the traffic problems." So the focus of expansion shifted yet again. The stone-cutters dug the second access tunnel and supplied the raw stone blocks needed for construction of other buildings, which the dragons on the surface shifted into place. "This structure has the potential to become quite large, with time," Pulchrior said, panting slightly as he heaved a stone into place atop the growing wall. Kidara agreed with him, and she decided to tell the leaders as much. "In the larger clans I visited, structures like this were common. They're called keeps, because they keep the dragons inside them sheltered from harm. Usually they're part of a castle, but you don't need to have a castle in order to have a keep." Excursio was impressed, both with Kidara's knowledge of larger clans and with the name she had suggested. It sounded more important than a simple rain-guarding structure, and perhaps over time it could become so. "How tall were these... keeps?" she asked. "Could they be seen from far away?" "Some of them could," Kidara replied. "We'd have to come up with a way to keep lightning away from the tallest towers, but it was always easy for us to orient ourselves when we were returning from a job." Excursio left her conversation with Kidara after several more minutes of inquiry, a smile slowly spreading across her face. After confirming that her plan would not, in fact, compromise the structural integrity of the building or the mesa tunnels below, she called the clan around her and announced that the protective shell around the tunnels had a new name - the Keep. "Work on the tunnels will continue, but the Keep has promise," she said. "As a large structure, it provides a strong and imposing line of defense for the burrows below. And as a tall structure, it will be able to be seen for many miles." "If you build it, they will come," said Pulchrior in satisfaction, echoing the words he'd first spoken when he joined the clan. "I must say, the view at the top of that tower will be quite something. I, for one, am interested to see how this plays out." [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/DcwRoIt.png[/img][/center] The Keep, as it turned out, was an exceptionally visible structure. In fact, it was tall enough that only a few days after construction began on the tower at its east corner, strange dragons began to take notice. "We'd been traveling for days before we saw your tower in the distance!" said a [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=3323212]blue-and-gray Coatl[/url] cheerfully, glancing over to where his white and green mate lay napping. "I'm Atzintli, and my mate there is Nepantla. She's a bit worn out from the sun, but once she's slept off the worst of the sun she's a fine singer! I mostly dabble in engineering myself - it's a bit of a rough haul, being an Arcane dragon in a Lightning dragon's world, but I make do," he said, all in one breath, before looking up at Excursio and Incursio earnestly. "I must say, this is quite a fine place you have here. Do you really have burrows underground?" Atzintli and Nepantla weren't the only new arrivals. A pair of stately black Imperials, named Corvid and Shanoa, arrived and quickly took up positions in the guard alongside Pulchrior and Kidara. A [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4733634]fourth Coatl[/url], a quiet but stately blue and gold dragon clad in gleaming armor, seemed to gravitate toward the clan for wont of having anywhere better to go, haunting the Keep like a glittering ghost. Even a pair of Tundras arrived, against all odds; the male of the pair, [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4543786]Kairos[/url], had heard of the growing clan on the mesa and followed a caravan until he saw the Keep rising in the distance. "It seemed like the place to be," the Tundra said, and his mate Chronos was no more forthcoming. They were quiet but industrious residents, and were among the first to claim a space among the new underground burrows, relieved to have some shelter from the desert sun. "Okay, so this might have worked out a bit better than I planned," Excursio said to Incursio a bit gloomily, one night when they were alone. "I know I wanted to share the view on the mesa with [i]everyone[/i], but it's a bit crowded now, don't you think?" Incursio nodded. "It's definitely louder. But the way I see it, that's not a bad thing," he pointed out. "Every dragon who arrives is going to bring something new to the clan. They have their own gifts to contribute, and that will make us strong." It was a good point. Excursio nodded slowly. "You're right. I suppose I'm just being a grump," she admitted. "Change doesn't come easy to me all the time, and there are times when I do miss the days when it was just you and me." "So do I," Incursio said, giving his partner a playful nudge. "But if you ever want to get away from it all, we can always train." "Tomorrow I might take you up on that," Excursio said. "I had to keep Atzintli from getting tangled in the machinery again today - he's a handful. But at the end of the day, we're getting what we wanted, even if it does seem to be happening all at once." She tilted her head thoughtfully, remembering something that had slipped her mind earlier in the day. "We need to talk to those stonecutters-for-hire about expanding the burrows on this level," she said. "All these new arrivals are filling up space; we'll have to keep digging deeper at this rate." Incursio's lips twitched, and if Excursio didn't know better, she'd swear the other Guardian was trying not to laugh. [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/DcwRoIt.png[/img][/center] The next morning, Excursio's resolve to extend a claw to all who crossed her path met with its first real test. She was startled out of sleep by the sound of the watchdragon's horn, reverberating through the burrows until she could have sworn that dust fell from the ceiling. Disentangling herself from Incursio, she flew to the surface, shaking the sleepiness out of her eyes as she traveled. "Who sounded the horn?" she said, looking around the interior of the Keep. This early in the morning, the stone-walled space was dark, and she was having trouble getting her bearings. "I did," said a quiet, sibilant voice from the direction of the tower stairs. Excursio turned around and saw, to her surprise, that it was the blue-and-gold Coatl who'd taken to lurking in the Keep not long after he arrived. "You sounded the horn? Why?" "I'm the watchdragon now," the Coatl said, and Excursio's brows rose - she hadn't appointed any particular dragon to the position. Apparently there had been no need. "The watchdragon is supposed to sound the horn in an emergency." "Is there an emergency?" Excursio said. "A pair of dragons is approaching from the south," the Coatl said. "They come with ill intent. You must decide how to meet them, and I wanted to give you time." This was by far the longest speech that Excursio had heard from the reclusive dragon. "You did the right thing," Excursio said, suddenly struck by the realization that she didn't know the blue-and-gold Coatl's name. This seemed like a considerable oversight. "How do you know the newcomers have ill intent? And what do they intend to do?" "I don't know what their desires are - only that they don't align with yours," the Coatl said. "And as for how I know, I'm afraid I simply... know." The Coatl retreated up the stairs to the top of the Keep, and Excursio's mind whirled. She needed to act decisively, but she didn't want to be hasty. Dealing with a pair of potentially-dangerous dragons was different from fending off a Harpy incursion, or chasing a Serthis hunting party away from the oasis. She needed to be certain her decision was the right one. "That certainly was something," said Incursio's voice behind her, and Excursio breathed a sigh of relief. He must have followed her out of the burrow in time to catch the tail end of the Coatl's strange speech. "What should we do now?" "Let's go outside," Excursio said. "If dragons really are coming, I want to see them for myself before we decide what to do." When the two of them looked out over the desert, Excursio immediately saw what the Coatl had been trying to warn them about. A pair of red dragons was approaching in the distance, flying low over the sand and using their coloration, combined with the faint daylight, to conceal themselves. The Coatl on the tower must have had prodigious eyesight to have noticed them at such a distance. "They're definitely making an effort to conceal their approach," said Incursio, echoing his partner's thoughts. "I don't like it." "Get Pulchrior and Kidara," Excursio said, her eyes riveted on the approaching dragons. Based on their wingspan, long necks and tails, and sheer size, she was willing to bet that they were Imperials. "And bring Corvid and Shanoa if you can find them. If they want to join us, we can show them a good welcome, but if they do have ill intent, I think a display of superior force is in order." Incursio rounded up the requested dragons in short order, and Excursio quickly briefed them on the situation. "If they are friendly, tell them they're welcome," she said. "But if they intend to attack us, make it clear that we're more than capable of defending ourselves." "Understood," said Pulchrior with a nod. He spread his wings, and the other dragons followed suit; privately, Excursio felt a little thrill at how intimidating they all looked, with their matching black wingspans darkening the sky. It was pure coincidence that their colors worked so well together, but the effect was undoubtedly striking. Excursio watched the advance party as they leaped from the mesa, fanning out into a formation of wide black wings. "We'll give them a head start, but I want to lay eyes on these newcomers for myself, especially if they want to attack us. We need to make it clear that we'll stand for nothing of the sort." It was probably unnecessary, but the potential threat to her Charge was making Excursio itch to strike out in defense. She couldn't simply sit by. Incursio glanced at her, then nodded. He could probably tell what she was thinking, but fortunately he didn't seem like he was going to argue. They took off several minutes later, just as the four black dragons were beginning to draw level with the red interlopers. For a minute, the six dragons simply faced each other - Excursio thought she could hear Pulchrior's voice calling a greeting across the sand, but she was too far away to catch the words - but then, to her alarm, one of the red Imperials attacked. [i]Absolutely not.[/i] Excursio's chest swelled with rage that these intruders in her territory would dare to attack her dragons, and she surged ahead, ignoring Incursio's call of alarm. Wings beating furiously, she raced toward the fighting. Realistically, she knew that her dragons didn't need her assistance - there were four of them against the two rogues, and all of them were skilled fighters - but that didn't mean she could permit herself to do nothing. She barrelled into the thick of the fighting just as one of the Imperials managed to land a glancing blow to Pulchrior's side. With a furious roar, she threw herself down on top of the red dragon, using her momentum and superior weight to force the Imperial to the ground. The [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=3212692]red Imperial[/url] shrieked in rage and tried to fight back, managing to land several strikes as she was forced down to earth. Excursio barely even noticed the pain of the scratches, and the stinging only added fuel to her anger. She and the red dragon slammed into the sand with a boom that rattled the ground below them, and Excursio took advantage of her foe's stunned state to pin her neck to the ground with one foot. The red dragon glared back up at her, baleful orange eyes smoldering with an anger that would sooner see the world in ashes than relinquish its grip. Excursio bared her teeth at the mad look in the Imperial's eye - it was dangerous - "Excursio, [i]STOP!"[/i] Her partner's voice rang out over the desert, bringing Excursio back to herself with a shock. She stared down at the Imperial she was pinning beneath her, still growling faintly, and suddenly felt ill as she glimpsed a truth about her own name and nature that she'd never noticed before. [i]Excursio[/i] meant a leader, one who struck out first and blazed a trail for others to follow - but it also meant one who [i]struck[/i] first, who led the attack without stopping to consider its consequences. Without her Charge to give her purpose, and her allies to temper her impulsiveness, she suspected that she and the furious dragon pinned to the desert sands wouldn't be all that different from one another. Ashamed, she released her grip on the Imperial and stepped back. Fortunately, the red dragon didn't make any move to rise; Excursio hadn't entirely mastered her anger, and the impulse to attack her again would have been strong. The other dragons landed one after another, her four black dragons followed by Incursio and the other red Imperial. Now that she was thinking more clearly, Excursio noticed that the dragon she had pinned was a female, and slightly larger than the second Imperial, who was male. Better to study the newcomers than to meet Incursio's eyes. She could sense his own anger, controlled but roiling under the surface all the same. He wouldn't contradict her with an audience, but she suspected that once they were alone, he would have a few choice things to say. "We're sorry," the male newcomer said almost immediately upon landing. "We've had a rough time of it, and we heard that there was a small trading clan in these parts. We were going to raid your supplies and be on our way. It was never our intention to start a fight." "Be that as it may, your companion attacked first," Incursio said, glancing toward the red female. Her growling had subsided to a faint rumble, but the fevered look hadn't left her eyes. The black dragons looked notably wary of her, but now that the worst of her rage was clearing, Excursio found she couldn't feel any real fear of the mad dragon. The shock of intuitive understanding had passed, but the lingering empathy remained. "I know," the red Imperial said, nodding. "I'm Huijin, and she's Shaohui. Our previous clan was destroyed - I was only there for the end of things, but Shaohui lived there her whole life. She's been through a deeper hell than I." Excursio took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You can return with us." All seven of the other dragons' heads whipped around and stared at her with varying degrees of surprise. "We aren't in the business of driving away refugees to starve in the desert," she said, feeling especially conscious of Incursio's attention on her. "Make no mistake - if you [i]or[/i] Shaohui should prove a danger to my clan, we will drive you out. But until that day comes, you can shelter with us. All who are willing to become part of a whole are welcome on the mesa, no matter what or where you come from." The sense of relief emanating from both Huijin and Incursio was palpable. "Then I think it would be best if we joined you, at least for a time," the red Imperial said. "It's understandable if you don't trust us, and I don't want Shaohui or myself to make trouble for you. But I think a meal and a safe place to sleep will do us a world of good. We won't steal your supplies, of course," he added as an afterthought, scuffing his feet through the sand with a shamefaced expression. "I was sure we wouldn't be welcomed anywhere after the luck we've had, and I was worried about keeping us alive until we made it out of the desert." Excursio nodded slowly. "I understand. As long as it doesn't happen again, neither of you will have anything to fear from us." Huijin and Shaohui departed with the four black dragons flying around them in formation, and Excursio and Incursio were left alone. "I shouldn't have done that," Excursio said, forcing herself to meet her partner's gaze. "It was the right course of action, but I took things too far. Thank you for stopping me." The anger faded from Incursio's expression, and was gradually replaced by sadness. "I understand," Incursio said quietly, "and that's the worst part. I don't [i]want[/i] to understand, but I do. The clan, the mesa, and all of us - we're your Charge, and of course you have to protect us from threats. But the reverse is just as true for me." Excursio stared at her partner. "I don't understand." "I didn't realize it until I saw you charge into the fray without me, but you're my Charge too," Incursio said, and Excursio's jaw dropped. "My Charge is [i]you[/i] - not to protect you, thank the ancients, because you can do that just fine on your own, but to make sure you're the best leader you can be, and to stand by your side. But I can't do that if you don't let me." Excursio nodded slowly. "I think I get it. I'm sorry. I can't promise that it will never happen again," she said, thinking back to how [i]right[/i] it had felt to give into rage and drive Shaohui to the desert floor. That wasn't a side of her that would ever go away. The best she could hope for would be to temper her more destructive impulses with compassion and empathy - and, of course, listen to the council of the dragons she trusted. "But if I do strike out ahead, I won't leave you behind, not again." "That's all I can ask," Incursio said, and to her relief, Excursio saw a glimmer of good humor begin to creep back into her partner's expression. "Now, I think that's enough brawling for today, don't you? The sun's barely up and you're already covered in scratches. Kyril is going to have a field day when he sees you." Excursio looked down at her scratches, and her brows rose when she saw that they were still bleeding sluggishly. "I didn't notice," she said, feeling embarrassed. "Yes, let's get me seen to. And then we can help our newest arrivals settle in. Who knew that rapid expansion had the potential to be so exciting?" [right][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/3#post_29615088]Previous Chapter[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/4#post_29806098]Next Chapter[/url][/right] @Asgeirr @Divinos @RoyalSorceress @TheDeathseer @TheTigersDen @demonslayr62
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Chapter Seven: New Spaces, New Faces


The arrival of the great stone-cutters couldn't have come at a better time for Excursio's burgeoning clan. The access tunnel had grown too deep to make hand excavation feasible; it took more work to lift the rubble to the surface and discard it than it did to dig the tunnel. The masonry machines took care of most of the labor, and while they required some training to operate and needed continuous refueling, they certainly made life easier.

When the machinery first arrived, the tunnel into the mesa was three times as deep as Excursio was long. Within three days, they had managed to double that depth and were beginning to cut sideways into the mesa, hollowing out underground burrows and living spaces under the careful supervision of the visiting engineers. Fortunately, the stone of the mesa was strong and capable of withstanding great stress; there was little chance that the ceiling and tunnels would collapse, even if they sustained heavy damage, and magical reinforcement was always a possibility in the future.

Of course, the lair's design wasn't without its drawbacks, as Excursio found out when she nearly collided with Incursio on her flight out of the tunnel.

"That was too close," Incursio said, shaking his head in dismay. "What if we'd crashed into each other?"

"You're right," Excursio said, grimacing. "It won't do. These tunnels will be heavily trafficked - we need to minimize the possibility of midair collisions. We can't have dragons dodging each other as they fly up and down."

"What about a second tunnel?" Hanyi suggested from his workstation. "One shaft for ascending flights, one shaft for descending flights, with passages between them where dragons can turn around. With the stone-cutters, it shouldn't take too long to build a second tunnel."

Excursio's brows rose. "That's a good idea. We'll need to expand the building that shelters the tunnels, or they'll flood again, but it would solve the traffic problems."

So the focus of expansion shifted yet again. The stone-cutters dug the second access tunnel and supplied the raw stone blocks needed for construction of other buildings, which the dragons on the surface shifted into place. "This structure has the potential to become quite large, with time," Pulchrior said, panting slightly as he heaved a stone into place atop the growing wall.

Kidara agreed with him, and she decided to tell the leaders as much. "In the larger clans I visited, structures like this were common. They're called keeps, because they keep the dragons inside them sheltered from harm. Usually they're part of a castle, but you don't need to have a castle in order to have a keep."

Excursio was impressed, both with Kidara's knowledge of larger clans and with the name she had suggested. It sounded more important than a simple rain-guarding structure, and perhaps over time it could become so. "How tall were these... keeps?" she asked. "Could they be seen from far away?"

"Some of them could," Kidara replied. "We'd have to come up with a way to keep lightning away from the tallest towers, but it was always easy for us to orient ourselves when we were returning from a job."

Excursio left her conversation with Kidara after several more minutes of inquiry, a smile slowly spreading across her face. After confirming that her plan would not, in fact, compromise the structural integrity of the building or the mesa tunnels below, she called the clan around her and announced that the protective shell around the tunnels had a new name - the Keep. "Work on the tunnels will continue, but the Keep has promise," she said. "As a large structure, it provides a strong and imposing line of defense for the burrows below. And as a tall structure, it will be able to be seen for many miles."

"If you build it, they will come," said Pulchrior in satisfaction, echoing the words he'd first spoken when he joined the clan. "I must say, the view at the top of that tower will be quite something. I, for one, am interested to see how this plays out."

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The Keep, as it turned out, was an exceptionally visible structure. In fact, it was tall enough that only a few days after construction began on the tower at its east corner, strange dragons began to take notice.

"We'd been traveling for days before we saw your tower in the distance!" said a blue-and-gray Coatl cheerfully, glancing over to where his white and green mate lay napping. "I'm Atzintli, and my mate there is Nepantla. She's a bit worn out from the sun, but once she's slept off the worst of the sun she's a fine singer! I mostly dabble in engineering myself - it's a bit of a rough haul, being an Arcane dragon in a Lightning dragon's world, but I make do," he said, all in one breath, before looking up at Excursio and Incursio earnestly. "I must say, this is quite a fine place you have here. Do you really have burrows underground?"

Atzintli and Nepantla weren't the only new arrivals. A pair of stately black Imperials, named Corvid and Shanoa, arrived and quickly took up positions in the guard alongside Pulchrior and Kidara. A fourth Coatl, a quiet but stately blue and gold dragon clad in gleaming armor, seemed to gravitate toward the clan for wont of having anywhere better to go, haunting the Keep like a glittering ghost. Even a pair of Tundras arrived, against all odds; the male of the pair, Kairos, had heard of the growing clan on the mesa and followed a caravan until he saw the Keep rising in the distance. "It seemed like the place to be," the Tundra said, and his mate Chronos was no more forthcoming. They were quiet but industrious residents, and were among the first to claim a space among the new underground burrows, relieved to have some shelter from the desert sun.

"Okay, so this might have worked out a bit better than I planned," Excursio said to Incursio a bit gloomily, one night when they were alone. "I know I wanted to share the view on the mesa with everyone, but it's a bit crowded now, don't you think?"

Incursio nodded. "It's definitely louder. But the way I see it, that's not a bad thing," he pointed out. "Every dragon who arrives is going to bring something new to the clan. They have their own gifts to contribute, and that will make us strong."

It was a good point. Excursio nodded slowly. "You're right. I suppose I'm just being a grump," she admitted. "Change doesn't come easy to me all the time, and there are times when I do miss the days when it was just you and me."

"So do I," Incursio said, giving his partner a playful nudge. "But if you ever want to get away from it all, we can always train."

"Tomorrow I might take you up on that," Excursio said. "I had to keep Atzintli from getting tangled in the machinery again today - he's a handful. But at the end of the day, we're getting what we wanted, even if it does seem to be happening all at once." She tilted her head thoughtfully, remembering something that had slipped her mind earlier in the day. "We need to talk to those stonecutters-for-hire about expanding the burrows on this level," she said. "All these new arrivals are filling up space; we'll have to keep digging deeper at this rate."

Incursio's lips twitched, and if Excursio didn't know better, she'd swear the other Guardian was trying not to laugh.

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The next morning, Excursio's resolve to extend a claw to all who crossed her path met with its first real test.

She was startled out of sleep by the sound of the watchdragon's horn, reverberating through the burrows until she could have sworn that dust fell from the ceiling. Disentangling herself from Incursio, she flew to the surface, shaking the sleepiness out of her eyes as she traveled. "Who sounded the horn?" she said, looking around the interior of the Keep. This early in the morning, the stone-walled space was dark, and she was having trouble getting her bearings.

"I did," said a quiet, sibilant voice from the direction of the tower stairs.

Excursio turned around and saw, to her surprise, that it was the blue-and-gold Coatl who'd taken to lurking in the Keep not long after he arrived. "You sounded the horn? Why?"

"I'm the watchdragon now," the Coatl said, and Excursio's brows rose - she hadn't appointed any particular dragon to the position. Apparently there had been no need. "The watchdragon is supposed to sound the horn in an emergency."

"Is there an emergency?" Excursio said.

"A pair of dragons is approaching from the south," the Coatl said. "They come with ill intent. You must decide how to meet them, and I wanted to give you time."

This was by far the longest speech that Excursio had heard from the reclusive dragon. "You did the right thing," Excursio said, suddenly struck by the realization that she didn't know the blue-and-gold Coatl's name. This seemed like a considerable oversight. "How do you know the newcomers have ill intent? And what do they intend to do?"

"I don't know what their desires are - only that they don't align with yours," the Coatl said. "And as for how I know, I'm afraid I simply... know."

The Coatl retreated up the stairs to the top of the Keep, and Excursio's mind whirled. She needed to act decisively, but she didn't want to be hasty. Dealing with a pair of potentially-dangerous dragons was different from fending off a Harpy incursion, or chasing a Serthis hunting party away from the oasis. She needed to be certain her decision was the right one.

"That certainly was something," said Incursio's voice behind her, and Excursio breathed a sigh of relief. He must have followed her out of the burrow in time to catch the tail end of the Coatl's strange speech. "What should we do now?"

"Let's go outside," Excursio said. "If dragons really are coming, I want to see them for myself before we decide what to do."

When the two of them looked out over the desert, Excursio immediately saw what the Coatl had been trying to warn them about. A pair of red dragons was approaching in the distance, flying low over the sand and using their coloration, combined with the faint daylight, to conceal themselves. The Coatl on the tower must have had prodigious eyesight to have noticed them at such a distance. "They're definitely making an effort to conceal their approach," said Incursio, echoing his partner's thoughts. "I don't like it."

"Get Pulchrior and Kidara," Excursio said, her eyes riveted on the approaching dragons. Based on their wingspan, long necks and tails, and sheer size, she was willing to bet that they were Imperials. "And bring Corvid and Shanoa if you can find them. If they want to join us, we can show them a good welcome, but if they do have ill intent, I think a display of superior force is in order."

Incursio rounded up the requested dragons in short order, and Excursio quickly briefed them on the situation. "If they are friendly, tell them they're welcome," she said. "But if they intend to attack us, make it clear that we're more than capable of defending ourselves."

"Understood," said Pulchrior with a nod. He spread his wings, and the other dragons followed suit; privately, Excursio felt a little thrill at how intimidating they all looked, with their matching black wingspans darkening the sky. It was pure coincidence that their colors worked so well together, but the effect was undoubtedly striking.

Excursio watched the advance party as they leaped from the mesa, fanning out into a formation of wide black wings. "We'll give them a head start, but I want to lay eyes on these newcomers for myself, especially if they want to attack us. We need to make it clear that we'll stand for nothing of the sort." It was probably unnecessary, but the potential threat to her Charge was making Excursio itch to strike out in defense. She couldn't simply sit by.

Incursio glanced at her, then nodded. He could probably tell what she was thinking, but fortunately he didn't seem like he was going to argue.

They took off several minutes later, just as the four black dragons were beginning to draw level with the red interlopers. For a minute, the six dragons simply faced each other - Excursio thought she could hear Pulchrior's voice calling a greeting across the sand, but she was too far away to catch the words - but then, to her alarm, one of the red Imperials attacked.

Absolutely not. Excursio's chest swelled with rage that these intruders in her territory would dare to attack her dragons, and she surged ahead, ignoring Incursio's call of alarm. Wings beating furiously, she raced toward the fighting. Realistically, she knew that her dragons didn't need her assistance - there were four of them against the two rogues, and all of them were skilled fighters - but that didn't mean she could permit herself to do nothing.

She barrelled into the thick of the fighting just as one of the Imperials managed to land a glancing blow to Pulchrior's side. With a furious roar, she threw herself down on top of the red dragon, using her momentum and superior weight to force the Imperial to the ground.

The red Imperial shrieked in rage and tried to fight back, managing to land several strikes as she was forced down to earth. Excursio barely even noticed the pain of the scratches, and the stinging only added fuel to her anger. She and the red dragon slammed into the sand with a boom that rattled the ground below them, and Excursio took advantage of her foe's stunned state to pin her neck to the ground with one foot.

The red dragon glared back up at her, baleful orange eyes smoldering with an anger that would sooner see the world in ashes than relinquish its grip. Excursio bared her teeth at the mad look in the Imperial's eye - it was dangerous -

"Excursio, STOP!"

Her partner's voice rang out over the desert, bringing Excursio back to herself with a shock. She stared down at the Imperial she was pinning beneath her, still growling faintly, and suddenly felt ill as she glimpsed a truth about her own name and nature that she'd never noticed before. Excursio meant a leader, one who struck out first and blazed a trail for others to follow - but it also meant one who struck first, who led the attack without stopping to consider its consequences.

Without her Charge to give her purpose, and her allies to temper her impulsiveness, she suspected that she and the furious dragon pinned to the desert sands wouldn't be all that different from one another.

Ashamed, she released her grip on the Imperial and stepped back. Fortunately, the red dragon didn't make any move to rise; Excursio hadn't entirely mastered her anger, and the impulse to attack her again would have been strong.

The other dragons landed one after another, her four black dragons followed by Incursio and the other red Imperial. Now that she was thinking more clearly, Excursio noticed that the dragon she had pinned was a female, and slightly larger than the second Imperial, who was male.

Better to study the newcomers than to meet Incursio's eyes. She could sense his own anger, controlled but roiling under the surface all the same. He wouldn't contradict her with an audience, but she suspected that once they were alone, he would have a few choice things to say.

"We're sorry," the male newcomer said almost immediately upon landing. "We've had a rough time of it, and we heard that there was a small trading clan in these parts. We were going to raid your supplies and be on our way. It was never our intention to start a fight."

"Be that as it may, your companion attacked first," Incursio said, glancing toward the red female. Her growling had subsided to a faint rumble, but the fevered look hadn't left her eyes. The black dragons looked notably wary of her, but now that the worst of her rage was clearing, Excursio found she couldn't feel any real fear of the mad dragon. The shock of intuitive understanding had passed, but the lingering empathy remained.

"I know," the red Imperial said, nodding. "I'm Huijin, and she's Shaohui. Our previous clan was destroyed - I was only there for the end of things, but Shaohui lived there her whole life. She's been through a deeper hell than I."

Excursio took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You can return with us."

All seven of the other dragons' heads whipped around and stared at her with varying degrees of surprise. "We aren't in the business of driving away refugees to starve in the desert," she said, feeling especially conscious of Incursio's attention on her. "Make no mistake - if you or Shaohui should prove a danger to my clan, we will drive you out. But until that day comes, you can shelter with us. All who are willing to become part of a whole are welcome on the mesa, no matter what or where you come from."

The sense of relief emanating from both Huijin and Incursio was palpable. "Then I think it would be best if we joined you, at least for a time," the red Imperial said. "It's understandable if you don't trust us, and I don't want Shaohui or myself to make trouble for you. But I think a meal and a safe place to sleep will do us a world of good. We won't steal your supplies, of course," he added as an afterthought, scuffing his feet through the sand with a shamefaced expression. "I was sure we wouldn't be welcomed anywhere after the luck we've had, and I was worried about keeping us alive until we made it out of the desert."

Excursio nodded slowly. "I understand. As long as it doesn't happen again, neither of you will have anything to fear from us."

Huijin and Shaohui departed with the four black dragons flying around them in formation, and Excursio and Incursio were left alone. "I shouldn't have done that," Excursio said, forcing herself to meet her partner's gaze. "It was the right course of action, but I took things too far. Thank you for stopping me."

The anger faded from Incursio's expression, and was gradually replaced by sadness. "I understand," Incursio said quietly, "and that's the worst part. I don't want to understand, but I do. The clan, the mesa, and all of us - we're your Charge, and of course you have to protect us from threats. But the reverse is just as true for me."

Excursio stared at her partner. "I don't understand."

"I didn't realize it until I saw you charge into the fray without me, but you're my Charge too," Incursio said, and Excursio's jaw dropped. "My Charge is you - not to protect you, thank the ancients, because you can do that just fine on your own, but to make sure you're the best leader you can be, and to stand by your side. But I can't do that if you don't let me."

Excursio nodded slowly. "I think I get it. I'm sorry. I can't promise that it will never happen again," she said, thinking back to how right it had felt to give into rage and drive Shaohui to the desert floor. That wasn't a side of her that would ever go away. The best she could hope for would be to temper her more destructive impulses with compassion and empathy - and, of course, listen to the council of the dragons she trusted. "But if I do strike out ahead, I won't leave you behind, not again."

"That's all I can ask," Incursio said, and to her relief, Excursio saw a glimmer of good humor begin to creep back into her partner's expression. "Now, I think that's enough brawling for today, don't you? The sun's barely up and you're already covered in scratches. Kyril is going to have a field day when he sees you."

Excursio looked down at her scratches, and her brows rose when she saw that they were still bleeding sluggishly. "I didn't notice," she said, feeling embarrassed. "Yes, let's get me seen to. And then we can help our newest arrivals settle in. Who knew that rapid expansion had the potential to be so exciting?"




@Asgeirr @Divinos @RoyalSorceress @TheDeathseer @TheTigersDen @demonslayr62
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@ZenithNadir [quote=8 Paragraphs In] Pulchrior said, panting slightly as he heaved a stone into place atop the growing wall."[/quote] Accidently added a quote at the end of your sentence there. Just thought you'd like to know ( I know I would >.> I have a friend that reads through my lore stuff and helps correct the numerous mistakes I make lol) Awesome chapter as always. The fight scene with Excursio was very well done and easy to follow. Reading about how excite she got over building a Keep was adorable to say the least and brought an instant smile to my face. And whe Pulchior and Kidara and black colored co. went to meet the two imperials, my first thought had been "Night Warrirors for the win bruh". I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how exactly Pulchior comes up with creating the Night Warriors and the beginnings of it too (if you plan on going into a bit of detail that is) Looking forward to your next chapter as always!
@ZenithNadir
8 Paragraphs In wrote:
Pulchrior said, panting slightly as he heaved a stone into place atop the growing wall."

Accidently added a quote at the end of your sentence there. Just thought you'd like to know ( I know I would >.> I have a friend that reads through my lore stuff and helps correct the numerous mistakes I make lol)


Awesome chapter as always. The fight scene with Excursio was very well done and easy to follow. Reading about how excite she got over building a Keep was adorable to say the least and brought an instant smile to my face.

And whe Pulchior and Kidara and black colored co. went to meet the two imperials, my first thought had been "Night Warrirors for the win bruh". I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how exactly Pulchior comes up with creating the Night Warriors and the beginnings of it too (if you plan on going into a bit of detail that is)

Looking forward to your next chapter as always!
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@demonslayr62 Thanks for the typo catch! Misplaced quotation marks are my number-one vice, to be honest XD And yep, I'm really feeling some FR lore today and I'm actually writing the next update now! It's gonna have some stuff about the Night Warriors in it, but in my clan lore they were actually preceded by a different group of all-black lair guards. Gradually the guard got filled by more and more dragons from Pulchrior's family until it became exclusively dominated by them.

I saw your lore thread is up! I need to go read the lore post you added to it and comment :D
@demonslayr62 Thanks for the typo catch! Misplaced quotation marks are my number-one vice, to be honest XD And yep, I'm really feeling some FR lore today and I'm actually writing the next update now! It's gonna have some stuff about the Night Warriors in it, but in my clan lore they were actually preceded by a different group of all-black lair guards. Gradually the guard got filled by more and more dragons from Pulchrior's family until it became exclusively dominated by them.

I saw your lore thread is up! I need to go read the lore post you added to it and comment :D
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@ZenithNadir

Ooohh that was absolutely lovely to read! I was really worried Excursio was going to absolutely maul those Imperials honestly. It would probably have made for some interesting character development but you never know once the bloodlust settled what she, or her clan, would have thought of her after.

Incursio is literally cute as a button though! I love his sheepish admittance to his mate about how he just now discovered his Charge. I really enjoy the take on Charge's not always being a specific dragon so it's nice to see ideals/locations/etc here being shown as Charge's.

Those two deserve some alone time though I'm telling you. They work too hard. q:

The atmosphere is so well written! I really get a feel for how the mesa is coming along and the changes of the lair's appearance and how it grows and expands with its newfound members. Plus all the interactions between clan members is really charming.

Excited to seeing the next chapter!
@ZenithNadir

Ooohh that was absolutely lovely to read! I was really worried Excursio was going to absolutely maul those Imperials honestly. It would probably have made for some interesting character development but you never know once the bloodlust settled what she, or her clan, would have thought of her after.

Incursio is literally cute as a button though! I love his sheepish admittance to his mate about how he just now discovered his Charge. I really enjoy the take on Charge's not always being a specific dragon so it's nice to see ideals/locations/etc here being shown as Charge's.

Those two deserve some alone time though I'm telling you. They work too hard. q:

The atmosphere is so well written! I really get a feel for how the mesa is coming along and the changes of the lair's appearance and how it grows and expands with its newfound members. Plus all the interactions between clan members is really charming.

Excited to seeing the next chapter!
aaXOuEp.png :3- Please call me Royal!:3
:3- she/her pronouns:3
:3- FR +2:3
:3- item shop:3
:3- wishlist:3
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