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TOPIC | [Lore] Circle of the Sun
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@RoyalSorceress Thank you for the comment! :D I'm about to post the next chapter but I wanted to reply to this first~

Writing the fight scene between Excursio and Shaohui was really fun. Excursio's a bit of a berserker, and she's definitely got a temper. Sometimes it comes in handy, since when she latches onto a goal it's nearly impossible to shake her - like climbing the mesa in the first place. Other times, it really comes back to bite her. If she had torn up Huijin and Shaohui, the clan would have eventually forgiven her for it, but Incursio would have been really upset.

I'm glad Incursio comes off as such a sweetheart. I really need to rewrite his bio; he's gotten a ton of character development from these lore entries. Actually, all three of my narrators need new bios. And yep, Excursio is a bit of a workaholic - these two need a night off. ;) Speaking of which, they're actually sitting on a nest of three right now. After remembering how much lore potential there was in Astrum, the hatchling of theirs that I nearly kept but eventually exalted, I've decided I want an heir from the two of them after all.

I was super happy to hear that you can visualize the lair developing! Other than character development, that was my #1 goal of this lore thread. In a couple of chapters there's going to be some cool stuff happening - there are whole areas of the mesa that haven't even been excavated yet! Thanks for commenting, feedback on any writing brightens my day and I feel especially lucky when people comment on these updates since it's a much smaller readership than my base over on AO3. :3
@RoyalSorceress Thank you for the comment! :D I'm about to post the next chapter but I wanted to reply to this first~

Writing the fight scene between Excursio and Shaohui was really fun. Excursio's a bit of a berserker, and she's definitely got a temper. Sometimes it comes in handy, since when she latches onto a goal it's nearly impossible to shake her - like climbing the mesa in the first place. Other times, it really comes back to bite her. If she had torn up Huijin and Shaohui, the clan would have eventually forgiven her for it, but Incursio would have been really upset.

I'm glad Incursio comes off as such a sweetheart. I really need to rewrite his bio; he's gotten a ton of character development from these lore entries. Actually, all three of my narrators need new bios. And yep, Excursio is a bit of a workaholic - these two need a night off. ;) Speaking of which, they're actually sitting on a nest of three right now. After remembering how much lore potential there was in Astrum, the hatchling of theirs that I nearly kept but eventually exalted, I've decided I want an heir from the two of them after all.

I was super happy to hear that you can visualize the lair developing! Other than character development, that was my #1 goal of this lore thread. In a couple of chapters there's going to be some cool stuff happening - there are whole areas of the mesa that haven't even been excavated yet! Thanks for commenting, feedback on any writing brightens my day and I feel especially lucky when people comment on these updates since it's a much smaller readership than my base over on AO3. :3
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[center][img]http://i.imgur.com/lQmH4SU.png[/img][/center] [center][size=6][font=century gothic][b]Chapter Eight: The Midnight Crew[/b][/size][/center] While the clan's rapid expansion presented challenges, it also provided a welcome respite from the constant work of construction. With more strong, willing hands, the larger dragons could work in shifts to complete their various projects. Huijin and Shaohui had been welcome additions to the clan, even though they'd had a somewhat rocky start. Huijin had been eager to join a construction team and begin pulling his own weight, and after settling in and feeling more secure, Shaohui also began to open up more and contribute to the building effort. It freed up more time in the day for other things, which Pulchrior was grateful for - he'd become fond of using his evenings to study astronomy from the watchtower atop the Keep, even if the self-appointed watchdragon did flutter anxiously around his feet from time to time. Pulchrior had managed to get the Coatl's name, or at least a semblance of it, after some careful inquiry. "Once my name was Telos," the Coatl had told him. "But now that I'm something else, they call me something else. My name is Ihiyotl." It was a mouthful of a name and Pulchrior still struggled to pronounce it sometimes, but at least he had an answer to the mystery. The rash of downtime had led to a slew of new births in the clan. Shaohui had given birth to a clutch of her own, a bundle of blue-eyed, red-scaled Imperials who tumbled around the makeshift nursery and filled it with happy chatter. Most of the hatchlings went on to serve in Intern positions with the Stormcatcher, as part of the agreement their clan had reached in exchange for increased mechanization and technical support to help with the ongoing construction of the lair, but one of them, a [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4262078]bright-eyed male[/url] with his father's good sense of humor, was sent to a distant Arcane clan for fostering. Eager to engage in diplomatic relations with yet another new flight, Kyril took it upon himself to use the young hatchling's fostership to exchange letters with the leader of the clan until a formal alliance was agreed upon. The Arcane clan was small, but the alliance eventually led to some small trade exchanges, and the magically radioactive minerals they received were eagerly welcomed by Hanyi and the other scientists. The ability to take time off to care for hatchlings was a boon for Pulchrior and Kidara. Neither of them was willing to leave their own children in the care of other dragons, even though they knew perfectly well that Atzintli was a kind and attentive caretaker who doted on other hatchlings as much as he did his and Nepantla's. It wasn't that they had anything against the nursery system, or against dragons who preferred to use it. It was simply that they wanted to take care of their own hatchlings, and enjoy them while they were young, before they got sent to new clans or internships. Pulchrior was relieved that he and Kidara both saw eye-to-eye in this respect, since caring for hatchlings was a time-consuming undertaking. With both of them present, taking care of a nest of boisterous youngsters was a much easier prospect. Their first clutch of hatchlings was a pair of girls, a Ridgeback and a Guardian, both black as night. The eldest of the two, [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4267504]Indra[/url], went onto a fosterage and then a permanent residence with the Evening Marsh Clan, one of their first allies in the Nature flight. The younger, Ebony, went to a second Nature clan located nearby. For Pulchrior, the parting was bittersweet. Being a parent had proven an unexpected joy, and he found that he missed the boisterous excitement of his hatchlings. Fortunately, he didn't have long to grieve; he and Kidara were soon blessed with a second clutch, this time giving rise to a pair of brothers. From the beginning, the two young brothers couldn't have been more different. The eldest of the two males, a Guardian named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4852943]Sublustris[/url], was aloof and distant, and he did not stay long. He left the clan in search of his Charge at an early age and didn't look back, which Pulchrior understood but nonetheless found disappointing. He kept in touch with his son via letters and learned that Sublustris had settled in the same clan as Huijin and Shaohui's son Vulcan. The younger of the brothers was a Ridgeback named [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=4852944]Orion[/url], and from the moment he hatched, he and Pulchrior were practically inseperable. The young black dragon accompanied Pulchrior around the clan, riding between his shoulder spikes and peering curiously at the other dragons they passed. When the time came for Orion to be sent to another clan for fostering, he made a choice that was unprecedented - he decided to stay. "If my dad can't foster me, that's fine, I get it," he said to Excursio when the leader questioned his decision. "There's plenty of other dragons who can train me. Dad isn't the only warrior in the clan. But I want to stay here." While Excursio was startled by Orion's unconventional request, Pulchrior was not. Orion's love of his home came only second to his devotion to his family. When he'd learned that he had older siblings, Orion had immediately set about learning to write so that he could send letters to his older sisters. Ebony never returned his correspondence, but Indra did. The two of them kept in contact even as Orion grew busy with his formal training as a warrior of the clan. He had worthy teachers, of course - Vastatio taught him how to track enemies and rivals across vast swaths of empty desert, and Incursio taught him the finer points of close-quarters combat. But there were some duties that belonged to a father. While Pulchrior understood the necessity of fostering Orion outside the family, there was still something he owed to this child of his, this hatchling who was rapidly growing into his spindly adolescent limbs and who was so like and unlike his father. The symmetry of seeing Orion fight to protect his clan, just as Pulchrior and Kidara did, was pleasing in a way that went beyond simple logic and patriarchal pride. Was it possible that he had found his Charge? Pulchrior wasn't sure, which made him think that there was still something missing. Nevertheless, he was confident that he had at least taken a step in the right direction. His confidence only grew when Orion took his place among the ranks of the clan's warriors, adding a fifth pair of glittering black wings to their already-impressive lineup. "It really is interesting how many black dragons have found their way to the clan in such a short period of time," he said to Kidara that night after their son's graduation ceremony. "And for all of us to specialize in combat is an even unlikelier coincidence. There's a part of me that has been wanting to... formalize it." Kidara nodded thoughtfully. "The idea has merit. As long as we acknowledge the strengths of other warriors, I see no reason why we can't go on record as a team of our own." Pulchrior immediately agreed with Kidara's stipulation. To do otherwise would be to dishonor his leaders, who had been his first comrades-at-arms, and Vastatio, who had grown into a commendable scout and fighter in his own right. There was no reason to assume that bright colors made one inferior, and to assume so would be both disrespectful and demonstrably false. "We would also need to figure out a way to designate noncombatants, should we ever be called on to go into battle as a group," Pulchrior added, as another truth occurred to him - not all black dragons were automatically destined to be fighters, and there would almost certainly be residents in the future who would not desire to be so recognized just because of their scale color. "If we were attacked, enemies might see the five of us working in concert and assume that all black dragons in the clan are warriors, even if they aren't." Kidara winced at the prospect. "Good thinking." When they brought the idea before Excursio and Incursio the following day, along with Orion, Corvid, and Shanoa, neither leader hesitated long before agreeing to the official designation of the five black dragons as an official unit. "Aside from the fact that you make for an intimidating sight in the sky, your colors would come in handy should we ever be attacked by night," Excursio said. "As long as you continue to acknowledge the prowess of other warriors, and make provisions for black noncombatants within the clan, I think the five of you will be a wonderful asset. Have you thought of a name for your unit?" Pulchrior's brows rose. "To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought. Does anyone else have any ideas?" Corvid tilted his head thoughtfully. "Well, all of us [i]are[/i] the color of the sky at midnight. Shanoa is a bit more purple in places than the rest of us - sorry, dear - but the sentiment stands regardless. And we are also all employees of the Stormcatcher, at the end of the day. What about calling ourselves the Midnight Crew?" Shanoa raised a brow at her mate. "The Shadow Strikers would be equally permissible, if we're going by specific scale colors," she said with a smirk. "Plus it has added alliterative appeal. But the dual meaning of Midnight Crew [i]is[/i] an enjoyable play on words, as long as dragons don't have to literally be the color of midnight to join." The other four members all agreed hastily that of course the name shouldn't be taken literally, and that all black dragons were eligible for membership whether they were the color of midnight or not. Satisfied that her point had been made, Shanoa folded her wings and settled comfortably on the stone of the mesa. Excursio called a short break in the workday so that the rest of the clan's residents could attend the official dedication ceremony of the Midnight Crew. She also bestowed a simple wrought-iron belt on them all - "We'll find you a better signifier of rank eventually, but for now this should do the job of distinguishing you lot from our noncombatants," she said with a wink at Corvid that had made the Imperial's ears flick backward in surprise. Shanoa's lips lifted in an amused twitch, but she said nothing. Pulchrior felt a bit sheepish that his nighttime musings had led to an idea that created this much of a stir - he wasn't used to all this attention, especially when he hadn't done anything in particular to deserve it. But Kidara pointed out that the point of the ceremony wasn't just to honor the five of them. "I think Excursio was using us as an opportunity," she explained. "This clan is a lot more egalitarian that a lot of other clans I've visited in the past. It's clear that Excursio is the leader, but she openly shares her command role with Incursio, and she welcomes ideas even from dragons who aren't in leadership positions of their own. She's always done her best to make it clear that everyone's contributions are valued, but this is the first time that anyone in the clan has stepped forward with an idea that was entirely their own. I think she wanted to make sure our clanmates saw how she reacted, in case it encouraged them to come forward with their own projects." It was a sound guess, and it fit with what Pulchrior knew of his leader's character. "As long as it doesn't give anyone the idea that we're better than anyone else, I'm happy with that," he said, satisfied with his mate's answer. "And at least we've ensured that any future hatchlings of ours have a niche carved out for them here, should they choose to stay as Orion did." Kidara looked up at the ceiling of the burrow. "I've never met a male who was quite as fond of hatchlings as you are - especially his own," she said, but her smile was fond. "Don't ever change." Pulchrior thought of his son, and the warm glow of pride he'd felt when Orion took his place among the warriors of the clan just like his parents had done. "Don't worry," he said to Kidara. "I don't think I could if I tried." [right][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/3#post_29790852]Previous Chapter[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/4#post_32335205]Next Chapter[/url][/right]
lQmH4SU.png

Chapter Eight: The Midnight Crew


While the clan's rapid expansion presented challenges, it also provided a welcome respite from the constant work of construction. With more strong, willing hands, the larger dragons could work in shifts to complete their various projects. Huijin and Shaohui had been welcome additions to the clan, even though they'd had a somewhat rocky start. Huijin had been eager to join a construction team and begin pulling his own weight, and after settling in and feeling more secure, Shaohui also began to open up more and contribute to the building effort.

It freed up more time in the day for other things, which Pulchrior was grateful for - he'd become fond of using his evenings to study astronomy from the watchtower atop the Keep, even if the self-appointed watchdragon did flutter anxiously around his feet from time to time. Pulchrior had managed to get the Coatl's name, or at least a semblance of it, after some careful inquiry. "Once my name was Telos," the Coatl had told him. "But now that I'm something else, they call me something else. My name is Ihiyotl." It was a mouthful of a name and Pulchrior still struggled to pronounce it sometimes, but at least he had an answer to the mystery.

The rash of downtime had led to a slew of new births in the clan. Shaohui had given birth to a clutch of her own, a bundle of blue-eyed, red-scaled Imperials who tumbled around the makeshift nursery and filled it with happy chatter. Most of the hatchlings went on to serve in Intern positions with the Stormcatcher, as part of the agreement their clan had reached in exchange for increased mechanization and technical support to help with the ongoing construction of the lair, but one of them, a bright-eyed male with his father's good sense of humor, was sent to a distant Arcane clan for fostering. Eager to engage in diplomatic relations with yet another new flight, Kyril took it upon himself to use the young hatchling's fostership to exchange letters with the leader of the clan until a formal alliance was agreed upon. The Arcane clan was small, but the alliance eventually led to some small trade exchanges, and the magically radioactive minerals they received were eagerly welcomed by Hanyi and the other scientists.

The ability to take time off to care for hatchlings was a boon for Pulchrior and Kidara. Neither of them was willing to leave their own children in the care of other dragons, even though they knew perfectly well that Atzintli was a kind and attentive caretaker who doted on other hatchlings as much as he did his and Nepantla's. It wasn't that they had anything against the nursery system, or against dragons who preferred to use it. It was simply that they wanted to take care of their own hatchlings, and enjoy them while they were young, before they got sent to new clans or internships. Pulchrior was relieved that he and Kidara both saw eye-to-eye in this respect, since caring for hatchlings was a time-consuming undertaking. With both of them present, taking care of a nest of boisterous youngsters was a much easier prospect.

Their first clutch of hatchlings was a pair of girls, a Ridgeback and a Guardian, both black as night. The eldest of the two, Indra, went onto a fosterage and then a permanent residence with the Evening Marsh Clan, one of their first allies in the Nature flight. The younger, Ebony, went to a second Nature clan located nearby.

For Pulchrior, the parting was bittersweet. Being a parent had proven an unexpected joy, and he found that he missed the boisterous excitement of his hatchlings. Fortunately, he didn't have long to grieve; he and Kidara were soon blessed with a second clutch, this time giving rise to a pair of brothers.

From the beginning, the two young brothers couldn't have been more different. The eldest of the two males, a Guardian named Sublustris, was aloof and distant, and he did not stay long. He left the clan in search of his Charge at an early age and didn't look back, which Pulchrior understood but nonetheless found disappointing. He kept in touch with his son via letters and learned that Sublustris had settled in the same clan as Huijin and Shaohui's son Vulcan.

The younger of the brothers was a Ridgeback named Orion, and from the moment he hatched, he and Pulchrior were practically inseperable. The young black dragon accompanied Pulchrior around the clan, riding between his shoulder spikes and peering curiously at the other dragons they passed.

When the time came for Orion to be sent to another clan for fostering, he made a choice that was unprecedented - he decided to stay.

"If my dad can't foster me, that's fine, I get it," he said to Excursio when the leader questioned his decision. "There's plenty of other dragons who can train me. Dad isn't the only warrior in the clan. But I want to stay here."

While Excursio was startled by Orion's unconventional request, Pulchrior was not. Orion's love of his home came only second to his devotion to his family. When he'd learned that he had older siblings, Orion had immediately set about learning to write so that he could send letters to his older sisters. Ebony never returned his correspondence, but Indra did. The two of them kept in contact even as Orion grew busy with his formal training as a warrior of the clan. He had worthy teachers, of course - Vastatio taught him how to track enemies and rivals across vast swaths of empty desert, and Incursio taught him the finer points of close-quarters combat.

But there were some duties that belonged to a father. While Pulchrior understood the necessity of fostering Orion outside the family, there was still something he owed to this child of his, this hatchling who was rapidly growing into his spindly adolescent limbs and who was so like and unlike his father. The symmetry of seeing Orion fight to protect his clan, just as Pulchrior and Kidara did, was pleasing in a way that went beyond simple logic and patriarchal pride.

Was it possible that he had found his Charge? Pulchrior wasn't sure, which made him think that there was still something missing. Nevertheless, he was confident that he had at least taken a step in the right direction.

His confidence only grew when Orion took his place among the ranks of the clan's warriors, adding a fifth pair of glittering black wings to their already-impressive lineup. "It really is interesting how many black dragons have found their way to the clan in such a short period of time," he said to Kidara that night after their son's graduation ceremony. "And for all of us to specialize in combat is an even unlikelier coincidence. There's a part of me that has been wanting to... formalize it."

Kidara nodded thoughtfully. "The idea has merit. As long as we acknowledge the strengths of other warriors, I see no reason why we can't go on record as a team of our own."

Pulchrior immediately agreed with Kidara's stipulation. To do otherwise would be to dishonor his leaders, who had been his first comrades-at-arms, and Vastatio, who had grown into a commendable scout and fighter in his own right. There was no reason to assume that bright colors made one inferior, and to assume so would be both disrespectful and demonstrably false.

"We would also need to figure out a way to designate noncombatants, should we ever be called on to go into battle as a group," Pulchrior added, as another truth occurred to him - not all black dragons were automatically destined to be fighters, and there would almost certainly be residents in the future who would not desire to be so recognized just because of their scale color. "If we were attacked, enemies might see the five of us working in concert and assume that all black dragons in the clan are warriors, even if they aren't."

Kidara winced at the prospect. "Good thinking."

When they brought the idea before Excursio and Incursio the following day, along with Orion, Corvid, and Shanoa, neither leader hesitated long before agreeing to the official designation of the five black dragons as an official unit. "Aside from the fact that you make for an intimidating sight in the sky, your colors would come in handy should we ever be attacked by night," Excursio said. "As long as you continue to acknowledge the prowess of other warriors, and make provisions for black noncombatants within the clan, I think the five of you will be a wonderful asset. Have you thought of a name for your unit?"

Pulchrior's brows rose. "To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought. Does anyone else have any ideas?"

Corvid tilted his head thoughtfully. "Well, all of us are the color of the sky at midnight. Shanoa is a bit more purple in places than the rest of us - sorry, dear - but the sentiment stands regardless. And we are also all employees of the Stormcatcher, at the end of the day. What about calling ourselves the Midnight Crew?"

Shanoa raised a brow at her mate. "The Shadow Strikers would be equally permissible, if we're going by specific scale colors," she said with a smirk. "Plus it has added alliterative appeal. But the dual meaning of Midnight Crew is an enjoyable play on words, as long as dragons don't have to literally be the color of midnight to join."

The other four members all agreed hastily that of course the name shouldn't be taken literally, and that all black dragons were eligible for membership whether they were the color of midnight or not. Satisfied that her point had been made, Shanoa folded her wings and settled comfortably on the stone of the mesa.

Excursio called a short break in the workday so that the rest of the clan's residents could attend the official dedication ceremony of the Midnight Crew. She also bestowed a simple wrought-iron belt on them all - "We'll find you a better signifier of rank eventually, but for now this should do the job of distinguishing you lot from our noncombatants," she said with a wink at Corvid that had made the Imperial's ears flick backward in surprise. Shanoa's lips lifted in an amused twitch, but she said nothing.

Pulchrior felt a bit sheepish that his nighttime musings had led to an idea that created this much of a stir - he wasn't used to all this attention, especially when he hadn't done anything in particular to deserve it. But Kidara pointed out that the point of the ceremony wasn't just to honor the five of them.

"I think Excursio was using us as an opportunity," she explained. "This clan is a lot more egalitarian that a lot of other clans I've visited in the past. It's clear that Excursio is the leader, but she openly shares her command role with Incursio, and she welcomes ideas even from dragons who aren't in leadership positions of their own. She's always done her best to make it clear that everyone's contributions are valued, but this is the first time that anyone in the clan has stepped forward with an idea that was entirely their own. I think she wanted to make sure our clanmates saw how she reacted, in case it encouraged them to come forward with their own projects."

It was a sound guess, and it fit with what Pulchrior knew of his leader's character. "As long as it doesn't give anyone the idea that we're better than anyone else, I'm happy with that," he said, satisfied with his mate's answer. "And at least we've ensured that any future hatchlings of ours have a niche carved out for them here, should they choose to stay as Orion did."

Kidara looked up at the ceiling of the burrow. "I've never met a male who was quite as fond of hatchlings as you are - especially his own," she said, but her smile was fond. "Don't ever change."

Pulchrior thought of his son, and the warm glow of pride he'd felt when Orion took his place among the warriors of the clan just like his parents had done. "Don't worry," he said to Kidara. "I don't think I could if I tried."


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@ZentihNadir
AHHHHH YEESSSSS I LOVE IT!!! I can feel some great lore inspiration coming from this for my NWs. Since a majority of the them are all descended from Orion this is going to do wonders once they all start showing up in my lore thread. I can see Theseus sitting down with his younger cousins just before bedtime and telling them incredible tales of Night Warrior history :3

Shadow Strikers would have been an equally cool name and I loved how Shanoa used the name to point out how not all black dragons bear the Midnight coloration. That was smooth and very clever of her.

Pulchior is such a big sweet heart that it came as a bit of a surprise for me I always pictured him as like the stern old man type that secretly has a soft side but tries very hard to hide it lol. This is so much better. Having Orion riding on Pulchior as a hatchling just put the icing on the cake for me.
@ZentihNadir
AHHHHH YEESSSSS I LOVE IT!!! I can feel some great lore inspiration coming from this for my NWs. Since a majority of the them are all descended from Orion this is going to do wonders once they all start showing up in my lore thread. I can see Theseus sitting down with his younger cousins just before bedtime and telling them incredible tales of Night Warrior history :3

Shadow Strikers would have been an equally cool name and I loved how Shanoa used the name to point out how not all black dragons bear the Midnight coloration. That was smooth and very clever of her.

Pulchior is such a big sweet heart that it came as a bit of a surprise for me I always pictured him as like the stern old man type that secretly has a soft side but tries very hard to hide it lol. This is so much better. Having Orion riding on Pulchior as a hatchling just put the icing on the cake for me.
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@ZenithNadir

Ooh gosh I know the feeling! If I didn't write so much canon/oc stuff for the fandoms I'm a part of I'd probably consider getting an AO3 since I left a previous art site I used to be a part of. I'm sorry you don't get as much recognition here on FR, you definitely deserve it! Your lore is fantastic. (:

Please please please ping me with updates to your progens lore updates if you can, or pm me/comment on my page/whatever! And if you consider selling any offspring from your progens, I'd love to be notified. I love adding lore-dragon offspring into my lair for inspiration.

PULCHIOR you soft handsome sir oh my goodness I'm just over here cooing and gushing! Tiny sweet son Orion hiding among his wings and hide, loving his children, feeling the edge of sorrow as they leave on their own adventures. It's so sweet and I love it!

The various name changes and ideas thrown about is a nice touch. Good to know they didn't simply come up with the 'perfect results' right away for their band of dark warriors.

The ending had to be my favorite part though, the personal interactions between Pulchior and his mate oh my goodness, Kidara I feel you. ;u; Precious.
@ZenithNadir

Ooh gosh I know the feeling! If I didn't write so much canon/oc stuff for the fandoms I'm a part of I'd probably consider getting an AO3 since I left a previous art site I used to be a part of. I'm sorry you don't get as much recognition here on FR, you definitely deserve it! Your lore is fantastic. (:

Please please please ping me with updates to your progens lore updates if you can, or pm me/comment on my page/whatever! And if you consider selling any offspring from your progens, I'd love to be notified. I love adding lore-dragon offspring into my lair for inspiration.

PULCHIOR you soft handsome sir oh my goodness I'm just over here cooing and gushing! Tiny sweet son Orion hiding among his wings and hide, loving his children, feeling the edge of sorrow as they leave on their own adventures. It's so sweet and I love it!

The various name changes and ideas thrown about is a nice touch. Good to know they didn't simply come up with the 'perfect results' right away for their band of dark warriors.

The ending had to be my favorite part though, the personal interactions between Pulchior and his mate oh my goodness, Kidara I feel you. ;u; Precious.
aaXOuEp.png :3- Please call me Royal!:3
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:3- wishlist:3
MKMP7Ba.png TCw0WzC.gif
@Asgeirr @Divinos @RoyalSorceress @TheDeathseer @TheTigersDen @demonslayr62 @Comeneth [center][img]http://imgur.com/RTnS1Sw.png[/img][/center] [center][size=6][font=century gothic][b]Chapter Nine: The Wanderer[/b][/size][/center] Vastatio's relatively late arrival to the clan, especially compared to its other Guardian residents, was something he often thought about when he was alone at night. At times it bothered him - compared to Excursio's leadership, Incursio's unwavering support, and Pulchrior's growing circle of allies, there wasn't all that much he had to contribute. He'd come to the mesa looking to win a heart and find a place to rest his wings, but the longer he lived with the dragons here, the more he wanted to be able to give something back, even if he'd never been asked for anything but to be himself. He had contributed some things, of course. He'd helped with lair construction and taught the residents about the lands surrounding the mesa, and when his offspring had received sizeable dowries he'd been able to contribute monetarily to the clan, something he knew Excursio appreciated even though it hadn't been a sacrifice on Vastatio's part. He was a traveler, and he was used to having nothing but what he could carry. He had no need of gold or gifts, so setting it aside had been as much a blessing to Vastatio as it had been to the clan. On the flip side, the fact that he hadn't been here to witness the clan's humble birth as a cluster of stone huts gave Vastatio something of a unique perspective, as did his extended vacations. When he'd last left the clan to go wandering, the excavation of the tunnel down into the mesa had barely begun. Now, after more than a month on the wing, he was astonished to see the beginnings of a literal [i]castle[/i] rising from the mesa's surface. "What did I miss?" he asked Incursio when he landed and was able to find the red co-leader. Vastatio listened in rapt astonishment as Incursio recounted the long list of new residents, explained the overhaul in lair design, and described the formation of an all-black warrior team, including one of Pulchrior's own sons. The flood of changes was enough to make him feel off-balance and uneasy. Maybe it wasn't his late arrival that would end up making Vastatio feel displaced. Maybe that honor would go to his frequent journeys. But Vastatio's wandering was part of who he was - it was his Charge. He couldn't give it up just because it was inconvenient. Vastatio forced himself to work through some of his misplaced guilt by helping out with the construction of a new series of outbuildings that Hanyi had requested. Now that the Keep was emerging as the central structure on the mesa, developing other structures around it was the logical next step. One of the first structures became the laboratory that Hanyi had apparently been promised when he'd joined the clan, and a second set of long buildings was turned into a set of guesthouses for travelers. Because travelers, evidently, were now a daily feature of life on the mesa. Not all of the dragons who came here intended to become permanent residents; many were just passing through, and Excursio had apparently made it a priority to see to their hospitality. In order to keep dragons from using the guesthouses indefinitely, a small nightly fee was implemented, with the profit going straight into the clan's burgeoning treasury. Some of the travelers were carrying goods with them, many of which started to attract the attention of the clan's residents. Before Vastatio realized what was happening, a small marketplace had sprung up around the base of the Keep. It was a ramshackle affair at best, and the leadership quickly started discussing ways to streamline the rapidly-growing market, since preventing merchants from selling their wares would not only be bad for the clan's growth, it would be demoralizing and frustrating to the clan's residents. "I suspect the best we can do is provide organization and structure to the market," Excursio said with a resigned grimace. "Salesdragons are enterprising - they saw a need, and they filled it. What we need to do as leaders is ensure that there are standards for what can be bought and sold here. Quality controls will be important, especially for dragons selling food." Vastatio nodded in agreement. As a frequent traveler, he'd seen his fair share of markets, some better-managed than others. There were some places that were well known as reputable stops for dragons in search of goods for trade, or meals on the wing. The markets that weren't well managed were also known among travelers - as places to avoid. An outbreak of foodborne illness in the clan would be disastrous for the health of their dragons, but if their new market gained a bad reputation for any reason, the potential negative ramifications for the clan could be massive. Maybe that was why he'd ended up sitting in on a leadership meeting, despite the fact that he'd been absent from the clan for so long. They were brainstorming solutions, and as a traveler who'd seen many markets, he was in a good position to offer them. "I think what we need is some sort of centralized oversight," Vastatio said when it was his turn to speak. "Most of the markets I've visited had at least one dragon who was responsible for curating vendors - deciding who was qualified to sell what, allotting stall space, that sort of thing. It's a big job, but having a pair of eyes on the market to make sure all the vendors were following the rules was definitely one of the things I looked for when I was deciding where to stop on my last trip." Excursio nodded thoughtfully. "We don't have many dragons with those skills," she said, "and definitely not at the level of management we might need within a year or two. We're becoming a large clan, and if other dragons start to hear about us, we could end up as a trade destination whether we want to or not." She looked over at Kyril thoughtfully. "If we returned to the Auction House to find an experienced merchant who could oversee our market, do you think we have enough in our treasury to make us competitive?" Kyril nodded. "Absolutely. If the dragon is also a merchant, they'd be able to sell their wares in order to generate income as well as earning a salary. We're in a good position to grow, and as both a clan and an employer, you have more to offer than when you started. I don't think finding a suitable dragon will be terribly challenging." [center][img]http://i.imgur.com/xkAjTsl.png[/img][/center] "And what exactly do you call this?" barked a voice from behind a ramshackle merchant's stall. Vastatio didn't recognize the speaker, but that was nothing new. There were plenty of dragons he didn't know, especially after having been gone so long. But his brows rose when he stepped out from around the stall and caught sight of the speaker - an [url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=5439425]orange and blue Coatl[/url] whose crest was flared in agitation as she glared down the Pearlcatcher who sat behind the cart. "It's... a gemstone?" the Pearlcatcher said nervously. "Wrong answer." The Coatl flung the object in her paw at the merchant, who yelped in surprise as it bounced off his nose horn. It landed on the stone and rolled to a stop at Vastatio's feet with a musical tinkling noise. "What's going on?" Vastatio said, his alarm growing as the Coatl turned her gaze on him. He could see wind-green eyes behind her thin wireframe spectacles, but any kinship he would have felt with the newcomer was overridden by his own confusion. "Did this dragon do something wrong?" "See for yourself." The Coatl picked the gemstone up and held it aloft for Vastatio to see; he obligingly lowered his head to peer closer. "Do you see how the light refracts through this?" she said. "This supposed [i]merchant[/i] is marketing this stone as a triple-A flawless gold topaz, but it's nothing of the sort! You'd need special lenses to see it, but there are numerous inclusions in the stone - he's applied a thin veneer of oil and used a heat treatment to cover up the majority of its flaws, but that won't protect the stone forever. At best, it's worth a third of its listed price. At worst, selling a mislabeled stone to an unwary customer could lead to any number of accidents if this had been used in any sort of magic ritual. Topazes are popular conduits for sun spells, and any of these inclusions could have caused the stone to shatter under enough magical pressure." The Coatl turned back to the merchant, and Vastatio let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding as he was released from the intensity of her stare. "You have two options," she said to the Pearlcatcher. "Either relabel your products in compliance with the standards set by the Sornieth Incorporated Jeweler's Guild, or take your wares and leave this marketplace. You have three hours to make the necessary changes. I'll be speaking with leadership about this violation, and if you do not comply I won't hesitate to take action." The Pearlcatcher drew himself up to his full height, puffing out his chest. "Who do you think you are, storming in here and accusing me of fraud?" he said. "You're not the boss of me." The Coatl reached into her satchel and pulled out a parchment scroll. "If you're selling in this market, I [i]am[/i] the boss of you." She unfurled the scroll and showed it to the Pearlcatcher, who grew visibly paler. "My name is Devara, and as of today, I am the head merchant of the Suncircle Clan. So consider yourself warned - if you engage in any fraudulent activity in the future, you will answer to me." Devara returned her attention to Vastatio as the Pearlcatcher scrambled to pack up his wares. "I'm sorry you had to see that," she said to him, walking away from the stall. "I'd hoped to introduce myself properly to the residents before I began enforcing oversight, but I'm a jeweler by trade. I wasn't about to let such a blatant violation pass uncontested, protocol be damned." Vastatio followed behind her. He had to take a single step for every four of Devara's, but as his wariness was gradually replaced with fascination, he found he didn't mind the slower pace. He hadn't expected Kyril to find an experienced merchant to oversee the market so quickly, but what he'd seen so far had impressed him. "You've got nothing to apologize for," he said. "I'm glad you were able to spot the stone before the vendor sold it to someone else. And I'm not really much of a resident," he said with a rueful half-shrug. "I spend most of my time traveling and only come back here for pit stops, so I'm not around much." "You must be Vastatio, then," Devara said, and Vastatio somehow managed to winch his hanging jaw shut before the Coatl turned to look up at his face. "Kyril told me about you. He said it was on your advice that the clan leaders started looking for a new hire, so in a way I suppose I should thank you for the job." Her crest flared slightly in what, after a few seconds of frantic cataloguing, Vastatio was able to place as a Coatl's [i]smile.[/i] "So if you want a merchant's advice, don't sell your contributions short." Vastatio drew in a sharp breath. Devara struck him as a candid dragon, but to hear such praise from a stranger... it wasn't what he expected, especially after seeing her outrage at the merchant just a few minutes ago. "If you're a Wind dragon and a merchant, you've probably got some traveling stories of your own," he found himself saying impulsively. "There's still a lot of places I haven't been, so - would you like to swap stories sometime? Over a cup of tea or something? If you even like tea, that is." Luckily, Devara nodded, putting an end to his stammering. "I think I'd quite like that," she said. "Meet me in the square after sundown? There's lots of work to be done, but once I've gone over the market and finished speaking to the leaders I would appreciate a diversion." "Sounds good! I'll see you then," Vastatio said. As the two dragons parted ways, Vastatio couldn't quite manage to contain the silly little grin that spread across his face. It was too early to say for certain... but a cup of tea with an interesting stranger just might be the thing he needed to shake the funk he was in. [right][url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2254667/4#post_29806098]Previous Chapter[/url] Next Chapter[/right]
@Asgeirr @Divinos @RoyalSorceress @TheDeathseer @TheTigersDen @demonslayr62 @Comeneth

RTnS1Sw.png

Chapter Nine: The Wanderer


Vastatio's relatively late arrival to the clan, especially compared to its other Guardian residents, was something he often thought about when he was alone at night. At times it bothered him - compared to Excursio's leadership, Incursio's unwavering support, and Pulchrior's growing circle of allies, there wasn't all that much he had to contribute. He'd come to the mesa looking to win a heart and find a place to rest his wings, but the longer he lived with the dragons here, the more he wanted to be able to give something back, even if he'd never been asked for anything but to be himself.

He had contributed some things, of course. He'd helped with lair construction and taught the residents about the lands surrounding the mesa, and when his offspring had received sizeable dowries he'd been able to contribute monetarily to the clan, something he knew Excursio appreciated even though it hadn't been a sacrifice on Vastatio's part. He was a traveler, and he was used to having nothing but what he could carry. He had no need of gold or gifts, so setting it aside had been as much a blessing to Vastatio as it had been to the clan.

On the flip side, the fact that he hadn't been here to witness the clan's humble birth as a cluster of stone huts gave Vastatio something of a unique perspective, as did his extended vacations. When he'd last left the clan to go wandering, the excavation of the tunnel down into the mesa had barely begun. Now, after more than a month on the wing, he was astonished to see the beginnings of a literal castle rising from the mesa's surface.

"What did I miss?" he asked Incursio when he landed and was able to find the red co-leader.

Vastatio listened in rapt astonishment as Incursio recounted the long list of new residents, explained the overhaul in lair design, and described the formation of an all-black warrior team, including one of Pulchrior's own sons. The flood of changes was enough to make him feel off-balance and uneasy.

Maybe it wasn't his late arrival that would end up making Vastatio feel displaced. Maybe that honor would go to his frequent journeys. But Vastatio's wandering was part of who he was - it was his Charge. He couldn't give it up just because it was inconvenient.

Vastatio forced himself to work through some of his misplaced guilt by helping out with the construction of a new series of outbuildings that Hanyi had requested. Now that the Keep was emerging as the central structure on the mesa, developing other structures around it was the logical next step. One of the first structures became the laboratory that Hanyi had apparently been promised when he'd joined the clan, and a second set of long buildings was turned into a set of guesthouses for travelers.

Because travelers, evidently, were now a daily feature of life on the mesa. Not all of the dragons who came here intended to become permanent residents; many were just passing through, and Excursio had apparently made it a priority to see to their hospitality. In order to keep dragons from using the guesthouses indefinitely, a small nightly fee was implemented, with the profit going straight into the clan's burgeoning treasury. Some of the travelers were carrying goods with them, many of which started to attract the attention of the clan's residents.

Before Vastatio realized what was happening, a small marketplace had sprung up around the base of the Keep. It was a ramshackle affair at best, and the leadership quickly started discussing ways to streamline the rapidly-growing market, since preventing merchants from selling their wares would not only be bad for the clan's growth, it would be demoralizing and frustrating to the clan's residents.

"I suspect the best we can do is provide organization and structure to the market," Excursio said with a resigned grimace. "Salesdragons are enterprising - they saw a need, and they filled it. What we need to do as leaders is ensure that there are standards for what can be bought and sold here. Quality controls will be important, especially for dragons selling food."

Vastatio nodded in agreement. As a frequent traveler, he'd seen his fair share of markets, some better-managed than others. There were some places that were well known as reputable stops for dragons in search of goods for trade, or meals on the wing. The markets that weren't well managed were also known among travelers - as places to avoid. An outbreak of foodborne illness in the clan would be disastrous for the health of their dragons, but if their new market gained a bad reputation for any reason, the potential negative ramifications for the clan could be massive.

Maybe that was why he'd ended up sitting in on a leadership meeting, despite the fact that he'd been absent from the clan for so long. They were brainstorming solutions, and as a traveler who'd seen many markets, he was in a good position to offer them.

"I think what we need is some sort of centralized oversight," Vastatio said when it was his turn to speak. "Most of the markets I've visited had at least one dragon who was responsible for curating vendors - deciding who was qualified to sell what, allotting stall space, that sort of thing. It's a big job, but having a pair of eyes on the market to make sure all the vendors were following the rules was definitely one of the things I looked for when I was deciding where to stop on my last trip."

Excursio nodded thoughtfully. "We don't have many dragons with those skills," she said, "and definitely not at the level of management we might need within a year or two. We're becoming a large clan, and if other dragons start to hear about us, we could end up as a trade destination whether we want to or not." She looked over at Kyril thoughtfully. "If we returned to the Auction House to find an experienced merchant who could oversee our market, do you think we have enough in our treasury to make us competitive?"

Kyril nodded. "Absolutely. If the dragon is also a merchant, they'd be able to sell their wares in order to generate income as well as earning a salary. We're in a good position to grow, and as both a clan and an employer, you have more to offer than when you started. I don't think finding a suitable dragon will be terribly challenging."
xkAjTsl.png
"And what exactly do you call this?" barked a voice from behind a ramshackle merchant's stall.

Vastatio didn't recognize the speaker, but that was nothing new. There were plenty of dragons he didn't know, especially after having been gone so long. But his brows rose when he stepped out from around the stall and caught sight of the speaker - an orange and blue Coatl whose crest was flared in agitation as she glared down the Pearlcatcher who sat behind the cart. "It's... a gemstone?" the Pearlcatcher said nervously.

"Wrong answer." The Coatl flung the object in her paw at the merchant, who yelped in surprise as it bounced off his nose horn. It landed on the stone and rolled to a stop at Vastatio's feet with a musical tinkling noise.

"What's going on?" Vastatio said, his alarm growing as the Coatl turned her gaze on him. He could see wind-green eyes behind her thin wireframe spectacles, but any kinship he would have felt with the newcomer was overridden by his own confusion. "Did this dragon do something wrong?"

"See for yourself." The Coatl picked the gemstone up and held it aloft for Vastatio to see; he obligingly lowered his head to peer closer. "Do you see how the light refracts through this?" she said. "This supposed merchant is marketing this stone as a triple-A flawless gold topaz, but it's nothing of the sort! You'd need special lenses to see it, but there are numerous inclusions in the stone - he's applied a thin veneer of oil and used a heat treatment to cover up the majority of its flaws, but that won't protect the stone forever. At best, it's worth a third of its listed price. At worst, selling a mislabeled stone to an unwary customer could lead to any number of accidents if this had been used in any sort of magic ritual. Topazes are popular conduits for sun spells, and any of these inclusions could have caused the stone to shatter under enough magical pressure." The Coatl turned back to the merchant, and Vastatio let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding as he was released from the intensity of her stare. "You have two options," she said to the Pearlcatcher. "Either relabel your products in compliance with the standards set by the Sornieth Incorporated Jeweler's Guild, or take your wares and leave this marketplace. You have three hours to make the necessary changes. I'll be speaking with leadership about this violation, and if you do not comply I won't hesitate to take action."

The Pearlcatcher drew himself up to his full height, puffing out his chest. "Who do you think you are, storming in here and accusing me of fraud?" he said. "You're not the boss of me."

The Coatl reached into her satchel and pulled out a parchment scroll. "If you're selling in this market, I am the boss of you." She unfurled the scroll and showed it to the Pearlcatcher, who grew visibly paler. "My name is Devara, and as of today, I am the head merchant of the Suncircle Clan. So consider yourself warned - if you engage in any fraudulent activity in the future, you will answer to me."

Devara returned her attention to Vastatio as the Pearlcatcher scrambled to pack up his wares. "I'm sorry you had to see that," she said to him, walking away from the stall. "I'd hoped to introduce myself properly to the residents before I began enforcing oversight, but I'm a jeweler by trade. I wasn't about to let such a blatant violation pass uncontested, protocol be damned."

Vastatio followed behind her. He had to take a single step for every four of Devara's, but as his wariness was gradually replaced with fascination, he found he didn't mind the slower pace. He hadn't expected Kyril to find an experienced merchant to oversee the market so quickly, but what he'd seen so far had impressed him. "You've got nothing to apologize for," he said. "I'm glad you were able to spot the stone before the vendor sold it to someone else. And I'm not really much of a resident," he said with a rueful half-shrug. "I spend most of my time traveling and only come back here for pit stops, so I'm not around much."

"You must be Vastatio, then," Devara said, and Vastatio somehow managed to winch his hanging jaw shut before the Coatl turned to look up at his face. "Kyril told me about you. He said it was on your advice that the clan leaders started looking for a new hire, so in a way I suppose I should thank you for the job." Her crest flared slightly in what, after a few seconds of frantic cataloguing, Vastatio was able to place as a Coatl's smile. "So if you want a merchant's advice, don't sell your contributions short."

Vastatio drew in a sharp breath. Devara struck him as a candid dragon, but to hear such praise from a stranger... it wasn't what he expected, especially after seeing her outrage at the merchant just a few minutes ago. "If you're a Wind dragon and a merchant, you've probably got some traveling stories of your own," he found himself saying impulsively. "There's still a lot of places I haven't been, so - would you like to swap stories sometime? Over a cup of tea or something? If you even like tea, that is."

Luckily, Devara nodded, putting an end to his stammering. "I think I'd quite like that," she said. "Meet me in the square after sundown? There's lots of work to be done, but once I've gone over the market and finished speaking to the leaders I would appreciate a diversion."

"Sounds good! I'll see you then," Vastatio said.

As the two dragons parted ways, Vastatio couldn't quite manage to contain the silly little grin that spread across his face. It was too early to say for certain... but a cup of tea with an interesting stranger just might be the thing he needed to shake the funk he was in.


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Please write more soon (if you're not busy) @ZenithNadir! I love your lore. :3
Please write more soon (if you're not busy) @ZenithNadir! I love your lore. :3
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