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TOPIC | sleepy scenes by yours truly
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every day before i go to bed i get an urge to write, even when my eyes are falling out of their sockets. my mind just gets into 'the zone'. these are not edited, theyre just short pieces written by me in the moment and then posted whenever.

Desert

Step after step, the lone Wildclaw limped under the harsh desert sun. He had no destination, nor did he have any plans. The dirty sand rubbed his feet raw, his bony tail a ball on a chain. His sight had blurred ages ago, and if he fell he knew he would not get up, yet something forced his legs to move without mistake. Two limbs flapped uselessly by his side, energy spent.

At first, it was a miracle that he had escaped the vile place with savage tooth and claw. Powerful emotions of excitement and terror fueled his attacks and commands, the fluttering butterfly of freedom at his fingertips. He just managed to yank it into his grasp, but in the process the wings tore off. Now, he crawls with bittersweet memories of food and water back home. Water.

A sparkle in the distance. Do his eyes deceive him? Blue, flowing, shining, a tiny puddle in the distance. The Wildclaw's painful gait wobbled dangerously as he barely sped up, but anything to wet his dry lips would make him satisfied.

Closer. Close. Nearly there. Wait. Stop. The glistening puddle slithered down a hidden crevice, taunting him as he tried to keep up, only to see the delicious blue become smaller as it fell down the dune's slope. Everything was black except for the blue. He will reach the blue.

A smooth rock caught his foot. Down the Wildclaw goes, falling. He feels the surprisingly warm pain bite him as he rolled, but he barely lets out a whimper. Curled up, he feels the heat start to suffocate him.


"Hey, Eaz... who's this..? He..."
"I... Get me...
Water."

Quiet, now.


every day before i go to bed i get an urge to write, even when my eyes are falling out of their sockets. my mind just gets into 'the zone'. these are not edited, theyre just short pieces written by me in the moment and then posted whenever.

Desert

Step after step, the lone Wildclaw limped under the harsh desert sun. He had no destination, nor did he have any plans. The dirty sand rubbed his feet raw, his bony tail a ball on a chain. His sight had blurred ages ago, and if he fell he knew he would not get up, yet something forced his legs to move without mistake. Two limbs flapped uselessly by his side, energy spent.

At first, it was a miracle that he had escaped the vile place with savage tooth and claw. Powerful emotions of excitement and terror fueled his attacks and commands, the fluttering butterfly of freedom at his fingertips. He just managed to yank it into his grasp, but in the process the wings tore off. Now, he crawls with bittersweet memories of food and water back home. Water.

A sparkle in the distance. Do his eyes deceive him? Blue, flowing, shining, a tiny puddle in the distance. The Wildclaw's painful gait wobbled dangerously as he barely sped up, but anything to wet his dry lips would make him satisfied.

Closer. Close. Nearly there. Wait. Stop. The glistening puddle slithered down a hidden crevice, taunting him as he tried to keep up, only to see the delicious blue become smaller as it fell down the dune's slope. Everything was black except for the blue. He will reach the blue.

A smooth rock caught his foot. Down the Wildclaw goes, falling. He feels the surprisingly warm pain bite him as he rolled, but he barely lets out a whimper. Curled up, he feels the heat start to suffocate him.


"Hey, Eaz... who's this..? He..."
"I... Get me...
Water."

Quiet, now.




Statement

"Ah, Doc. There you are." Trotting up to the rosy Wildclaw was a squat Skydancer, peering through their glasses down at a well-loved leather journal perched in one hand. Their brow furrowed as their eyes scanned the pages, a disgruntled huff escaping from their mouth.

Rolling his eyes, the Wildclaw swivelled on his chair to face them, leaving the medical book alone and open on the worn desk. "What is it? You know I don't like being disturbed while I'm reading." He sighed. It was clear that the 'do not disturb' sign on his door was not effective.

"Well, you also know that the higher-ups told you to not use your magic to fix our patients." They retorted, flicking their snout up at him. "We've had yet another complaint. This one is from the grey Spiral with the broken snout." They handed the doctor their journal. As they did so, they peeked behind him at the book in curiosity. They only managed to note that it was opened at a chapter titled 'Fantastic Fungi' before it was slammed shut by the Wildclaw, who was reading the journal.

He clicked his tongue in disapproval. "I told her that she needed to avoid using fire while she healed," he closed the journal, "which is why this is just another case of someone not following my instructions.".

"She's a fire dragon. A warrior, at that. She can't be out of commission to use her magic for three weeks as your 'medicine' worked." The Skydancer readjusted the cuffs on their white coat, crest feathers rising.

He scoffed. "Please, my new methods are great. I use them on myself all the time, and I'm fine." He gestured to his right leg. The thigh had been crudely torn by a Harpy, rendering him unable to walk, but now there is just a thin line of sparkling crystal where the gash was. "If she doesn't want to experience her snout 'spontaneously combusting' then she just should have listened.".

The Skydancer snatched their journal from the desk and turned on their heel. "Doc, I'm being forced to tell you this. If you keep up your methods then you are going to be fired. Keep to the book and use what we have." They walked back towards the door, before hesitating for a moment. "I don't want you to be thrown back out there into the battlefield." And they left.

That sentence made him think.




Statement

"Ah, Doc. There you are." Trotting up to the rosy Wildclaw was a squat Skydancer, peering through their glasses down at a well-loved leather journal perched in one hand. Their brow furrowed as their eyes scanned the pages, a disgruntled huff escaping from their mouth.

Rolling his eyes, the Wildclaw swivelled on his chair to face them, leaving the medical book alone and open on the worn desk. "What is it? You know I don't like being disturbed while I'm reading." He sighed. It was clear that the 'do not disturb' sign on his door was not effective.

"Well, you also know that the higher-ups told you to not use your magic to fix our patients." They retorted, flicking their snout up at him. "We've had yet another complaint. This one is from the grey Spiral with the broken snout." They handed the doctor their journal. As they did so, they peeked behind him at the book in curiosity. They only managed to note that it was opened at a chapter titled 'Fantastic Fungi' before it was slammed shut by the Wildclaw, who was reading the journal.

He clicked his tongue in disapproval. "I told her that she needed to avoid using fire while she healed," he closed the journal, "which is why this is just another case of someone not following my instructions.".

"She's a fire dragon. A warrior, at that. She can't be out of commission to use her magic for three weeks as your 'medicine' worked." The Skydancer readjusted the cuffs on their white coat, crest feathers rising.

He scoffed. "Please, my new methods are great. I use them on myself all the time, and I'm fine." He gestured to his right leg. The thigh had been crudely torn by a Harpy, rendering him unable to walk, but now there is just a thin line of sparkling crystal where the gash was. "If she doesn't want to experience her snout 'spontaneously combusting' then she just should have listened.".

The Skydancer snatched their journal from the desk and turned on their heel. "Doc, I'm being forced to tell you this. If you keep up your methods then you are going to be fired. Keep to the book and use what we have." They walked back towards the door, before hesitating for a moment. "I don't want you to be thrown back out there into the battlefield." And they left.

That sentence made him think.




Chilly

Complete darkness. No sunlight, no starlight, not even candlelight lit the sleeping village within the Shrieking Wilds. Even so, a lone Spiral curls and coils their way between the thick vines and bushy leaves that hid their quaint hovel from any passerby. A silk cloak covered their sapphire scales, staving off the nighttime chill.

Expertly, they clambered their way towards a thick tree in the middle of the village. The gnarled roots wove in and out of the earth like thread, clutching to support the massive weight of the impressive branches that stretched out all the way to the canopy of the jungle. The Spiral felt around the trunk for a few moments, rough bark scratching at their claws as they searched for a hold, before lifting themselves up and towards the sky.

The mild scent of sweet oranges faded away as the snake slithered up, still only navigating through memory, feel and sound. And there it was: a jagged stump of a branch. They felt a pleasant chill run down their spine. Tiptoeing around the very top of the leaves and twigs, they broke to the surface.

Wonderful. They took a large whiff of the frosty air, away from the flowers and the animals and the dirt. It tasted as clear as day, and the sight of stars upon stars upon stars captivated the Arcane-borne. Here, they could see their favourite view, the surroudings, and their own sparkling hands as they delicately crawled to their makeshift nest.

From underneath their cloak, the Spiral slipped out a miniature telescope and map. The cold nipped at their nose and wing tips as they shuffled into their favourite position. Away from the dark and dreary village, away from the artificial residents. Here, they were at their truest delight. The shell of stress cracked away as the minutes ticked by up there, and they were happy.

Sparkling stars, just like their eyes when they were younger.




Chilly

Complete darkness. No sunlight, no starlight, not even candlelight lit the sleeping village within the Shrieking Wilds. Even so, a lone Spiral curls and coils their way between the thick vines and bushy leaves that hid their quaint hovel from any passerby. A silk cloak covered their sapphire scales, staving off the nighttime chill.

Expertly, they clambered their way towards a thick tree in the middle of the village. The gnarled roots wove in and out of the earth like thread, clutching to support the massive weight of the impressive branches that stretched out all the way to the canopy of the jungle. The Spiral felt around the trunk for a few moments, rough bark scratching at their claws as they searched for a hold, before lifting themselves up and towards the sky.

The mild scent of sweet oranges faded away as the snake slithered up, still only navigating through memory, feel and sound. And there it was: a jagged stump of a branch. They felt a pleasant chill run down their spine. Tiptoeing around the very top of the leaves and twigs, they broke to the surface.

Wonderful. They took a large whiff of the frosty air, away from the flowers and the animals and the dirt. It tasted as clear as day, and the sight of stars upon stars upon stars captivated the Arcane-borne. Here, they could see their favourite view, the surroudings, and their own sparkling hands as they delicately crawled to their makeshift nest.

From underneath their cloak, the Spiral slipped out a miniature telescope and map. The cold nipped at their nose and wing tips as they shuffled into their favourite position. Away from the dark and dreary village, away from the artificial residents. Here, they were at their truest delight. The shell of stress cracked away as the minutes ticked by up there, and they were happy.

Sparkling stars, just like their eyes when they were younger.




away

His host would die soon. That, the wraith knew. The dragon smiled, laughed, and chattered with their fellow clanmates in the depths of the Wispwillow Grove, but he could see their wispy soul begin to dim. It was a shame- he thought that the oblivious dragon would see their second century, but they had abused their plague prowess, combined with his magic, too much. Their final feat had been a lone attack on a horde of Crystal Spiders that was endangering their clan's home, the rotten energy mutating eggs and contorting their bodies to grow blistering boils and freakish growths. It was impressive. But, it was too much for the dragon.

That night, or perhaps it was day, when the host was alone within their lavish den, the wraith slipped into view, appearing as a translucent, slender Skydancer. He caught the attention of them almost instantaneously from their nap, but they spoke no words. He needed to leave the host and move on before it was too late, but he would have some fun before that.

"A disease is coming. It will affect your clan, though I do not know when or how." This perked up their ears. "Of course, I will do my best to prevent it.".

Over the next fortnight, the clan slowly deteriorated. It was nothing special, but it did its job. The elderly passed first, then the hatchlings were escorted away, and the warriors weakened. Some hacked up blood, others chafed on the floor and trees to satisfy their ravenous itches, and few went untouched. One of the lucky ones was the host themselves.

They were not happy. Nobody would be, especially the supposed 'controller' of a Wasteland Wraith. They questioned, pressed, intimidated, and screeched at him. He rolled off their pathetic begs like water on his shoulder, and played innocent. They knew that he was lying, but they simply had no effect. They didn't want to accept their fate. Attempts at rescuing infected clan members went awry as the host's and medic's magic fizzled at their fingertips, the wraith lapping up the energy instead.

Once the last of the host's friends passed away, a mould eating at their face and limbs, the host merely collapsed. They weren't dead, nor afflicted, but consumed by their realisation that tossing their plague abilities around to fix issues would catch back to them, especially with the curse that was the Wasteland Wraith at their side.

'What a shame.' He thought as he stretched off his magical tendrils to their soul, now as noticeable as a whisper to him. It was a shame, for he now needed to wait for his next host to come along before he could move anywhere. He enjoyed watching the fights the dragon fought, and watching them build up their clan, but now there was nothing left for them.

The wraith perched upon a flat rock on the outskirts of the clan's husk of a civilisation, preparing to wait. He certainly did not expect any host of his tastes to come by anytime soon.

But it turned out that the Plaguebringer had other plans for him, as a particularly bright soul turned from around the road bend.




away

His host would die soon. That, the wraith knew. The dragon smiled, laughed, and chattered with their fellow clanmates in the depths of the Wispwillow Grove, but he could see their wispy soul begin to dim. It was a shame- he thought that the oblivious dragon would see their second century, but they had abused their plague prowess, combined with his magic, too much. Their final feat had been a lone attack on a horde of Crystal Spiders that was endangering their clan's home, the rotten energy mutating eggs and contorting their bodies to grow blistering boils and freakish growths. It was impressive. But, it was too much for the dragon.

That night, or perhaps it was day, when the host was alone within their lavish den, the wraith slipped into view, appearing as a translucent, slender Skydancer. He caught the attention of them almost instantaneously from their nap, but they spoke no words. He needed to leave the host and move on before it was too late, but he would have some fun before that.

"A disease is coming. It will affect your clan, though I do not know when or how." This perked up their ears. "Of course, I will do my best to prevent it.".

Over the next fortnight, the clan slowly deteriorated. It was nothing special, but it did its job. The elderly passed first, then the hatchlings were escorted away, and the warriors weakened. Some hacked up blood, others chafed on the floor and trees to satisfy their ravenous itches, and few went untouched. One of the lucky ones was the host themselves.

They were not happy. Nobody would be, especially the supposed 'controller' of a Wasteland Wraith. They questioned, pressed, intimidated, and screeched at him. He rolled off their pathetic begs like water on his shoulder, and played innocent. They knew that he was lying, but they simply had no effect. They didn't want to accept their fate. Attempts at rescuing infected clan members went awry as the host's and medic's magic fizzled at their fingertips, the wraith lapping up the energy instead.

Once the last of the host's friends passed away, a mould eating at their face and limbs, the host merely collapsed. They weren't dead, nor afflicted, but consumed by their realisation that tossing their plague abilities around to fix issues would catch back to them, especially with the curse that was the Wasteland Wraith at their side.

'What a shame.' He thought as he stretched off his magical tendrils to their soul, now as noticeable as a whisper to him. It was a shame, for he now needed to wait for his next host to come along before he could move anywhere. He enjoyed watching the fights the dragon fought, and watching them build up their clan, but now there was nothing left for them.

The wraith perched upon a flat rock on the outskirts of the clan's husk of a civilisation, preparing to wait. He certainly did not expect any host of his tastes to come by anytime soon.

But it turned out that the Plaguebringer had other plans for him, as a particularly bright soul turned from around the road bend.




parent

Warm fire crackled underneath the clear night sky, timber glowing a sweet amber as they were nudged with the clan's dedicated bonfire stick. Everyone was happily chatting while they waited for that night's dinner to be cooked, the smell of roasting beef permeating the air. It was not cold, but the sight of fat dripping into a roaring flame brought a shiver down the dragons' spines as they imagined licking their salted fingers after a filling meal.

A pudgy Spiral clad in curious gadgets and trinkets watched the red soot erupt up into the sky with each prod of the fire, chin resting upon their hands, body stretched out. Eventually, their eyes glazed over as their mind began to wander, a soft blanket wrapped around their brain.

~

"And who is this?" A significantly younger version of the Spiral asked, peering through a small window into a room. Inside slept a plain, grey Wildclaw on a quaint bed, his collar a brilliant blue. There didn't seem to be anything special about him, but the dragon knew better than to assume things around here.

"That's our most recent rescue," grunted an elderly Guardian, lab coat stained with various colours and soot. "He was found after a small pack of Mirrors reported odd sightings of displays of magic within a cave just south of here. He acts perfectly normal, but after some tests it was found that this one can control more than one element." He slid a white keycard through the lockpad, a monotone beep pinging out as an indicator turned green.

They nudged it open, stepping inside the room. The only objects in there was the bed that the rescue rested on and a basic round table in the centre, with a vibrant Tiger Lily taking the spotlight. Fuzzy carpet tickled at their feet, a pleasant sensation after clacking down corridors covered with clean tiles the entire day, especially without having to hear the repetitive tik-tak sound. They found the place bare but pleasant to look at, as they always did with newly occupied rooms.

"That's quite impressive. But, surely that means that he can't use his magic at the level of the average dragon? What about with conflicting elements?" They queried as the Guardian dragged himself over to the rescue, metal feet still making a hefty thud on the floor like a hippo with each step. His fingers ran through his singed beard as he looked down at him like an artist analysing his painting.

"Do you know why I brought you here?"

"Ehm, to show me around the rescues?"

"Yes, but I brought you here specifically. No, don't guess now. As a newly promoted employee, you will now gain your own rescue to research. This one here," a claw pointed at the dragon, still peacefully sleeping like a hatchling, "is your partner.".

~

"Ahem. Bibbi?" An impatient voice repeated.

The Spiral jumped, glasses dangerously sliding down their snout. "Oh, pardon me. Is the food ready?" They stumbled with their words, mind still hazy with memory.

"Yeah. It was about half an hour ago. You still alive or somethin'?" A pink Wildclaw huffed, his foot tapping against the cracked earth.

"I think so." They looked at him, a curious sense of pride filling their chest.

They will never leave him. Never.




parent

Warm fire crackled underneath the clear night sky, timber glowing a sweet amber as they were nudged with the clan's dedicated bonfire stick. Everyone was happily chatting while they waited for that night's dinner to be cooked, the smell of roasting beef permeating the air. It was not cold, but the sight of fat dripping into a roaring flame brought a shiver down the dragons' spines as they imagined licking their salted fingers after a filling meal.

A pudgy Spiral clad in curious gadgets and trinkets watched the red soot erupt up into the sky with each prod of the fire, chin resting upon their hands, body stretched out. Eventually, their eyes glazed over as their mind began to wander, a soft blanket wrapped around their brain.

~

"And who is this?" A significantly younger version of the Spiral asked, peering through a small window into a room. Inside slept a plain, grey Wildclaw on a quaint bed, his collar a brilliant blue. There didn't seem to be anything special about him, but the dragon knew better than to assume things around here.

"That's our most recent rescue," grunted an elderly Guardian, lab coat stained with various colours and soot. "He was found after a small pack of Mirrors reported odd sightings of displays of magic within a cave just south of here. He acts perfectly normal, but after some tests it was found that this one can control more than one element." He slid a white keycard through the lockpad, a monotone beep pinging out as an indicator turned green.

They nudged it open, stepping inside the room. The only objects in there was the bed that the rescue rested on and a basic round table in the centre, with a vibrant Tiger Lily taking the spotlight. Fuzzy carpet tickled at their feet, a pleasant sensation after clacking down corridors covered with clean tiles the entire day, especially without having to hear the repetitive tik-tak sound. They found the place bare but pleasant to look at, as they always did with newly occupied rooms.

"That's quite impressive. But, surely that means that he can't use his magic at the level of the average dragon? What about with conflicting elements?" They queried as the Guardian dragged himself over to the rescue, metal feet still making a hefty thud on the floor like a hippo with each step. His fingers ran through his singed beard as he looked down at him like an artist analysing his painting.

"Do you know why I brought you here?"

"Ehm, to show me around the rescues?"

"Yes, but I brought you here specifically. No, don't guess now. As a newly promoted employee, you will now gain your own rescue to research. This one here," a claw pointed at the dragon, still peacefully sleeping like a hatchling, "is your partner.".

~

"Ahem. Bibbi?" An impatient voice repeated.

The Spiral jumped, glasses dangerously sliding down their snout. "Oh, pardon me. Is the food ready?" They stumbled with their words, mind still hazy with memory.

"Yeah. It was about half an hour ago. You still alive or somethin'?" A pink Wildclaw huffed, his foot tapping against the cracked earth.

"I think so." They looked at him, a curious sense of pride filling their chest.

They will never leave him. Never.




sludge

Lazing, crawling, belching, the lava continued down the obsidian sand, following its predetermined destiny to the frigid ocean, where it would drip and ooze into creating explosive effects as the temperatures clashed. A Gaoler hatchling, all alone by the familiar river, sat underneath a smooth ledge with his tail tucked underneath his chin, waiting for his mother to return. His eyes trawled along the bank, imagining the mundane lizards that ran along it in fantastical adventures, fighting beasts twice their size to rescue their home town from complete doom.

Suddenly, a jerk of his head to the side, a tickle in his brain triggering the impulsive reaction. Usually, he would hear his mother was relaying him a normal message, their minds well intertwined with their magic bond, yet all he could hear was static. He flopped onto his tickling side, groomed fur getting tainted with the dirt, as the child itched his budding horns on the rough ground like there was a spider on it.

Mewl, and the tickle faded out. The hatchling, now up and on his small paws, looked around, searching. She always returned to him. A rock found its way into his hands as he gripped and coddled it, the feeling of something physical in his grasp soothing. She will return back to him.

Tick, tock. Lava flowed. Tick, tock. Boredom showed. Tick, tock. Time slowed.

Tick. Tock.

And there she was, galloping back for her only child. He hopped up from the floor in ecstasy, goat eyes tracking his ethereal mother. Her charcoal arms wrapped around him, the smell of cold winter air engulfing him. Squealing with delight, the Gaoler dropped the smooth rock from his hands, it falling and getting lost in her wispy body, of which showed no signs of movement.

Her shadowy eyes looked deep into his, and then the tickle happened again. At first, it only bothered the very back of his head, like a gnat wriggling around in his fur, but it stretched. It grew. It encased him. It did not hurt, but it made him wriggle and writhe like a worm attempting to escape the clutches of a robin. His mother spoke as she laid him down on the ground, but no sounds came out from her lips. Static.

Then, his vision also stretched. His vision darkened, and wooziness overtook him. However, just before the child's mind went blank, he snapped back to normality. No more tickling, no more static, and no more darkness. His mother was also nowhere to be found, but he noted a trail of thin, black goop that lead towards him, yet he had no marks on him. He did not feel afraid.

A band of mature Gaolers and a Guardian dashed up to the child, concerned looks plastering their faces. They spoke words, comforted him, offered him a treat, but he didn't care for any of that. There was no need for comforting.

His mother will forever be with him, guiding him through life like she always said she would.




sludge

Lazing, crawling, belching, the lava continued down the obsidian sand, following its predetermined destiny to the frigid ocean, where it would drip and ooze into creating explosive effects as the temperatures clashed. A Gaoler hatchling, all alone by the familiar river, sat underneath a smooth ledge with his tail tucked underneath his chin, waiting for his mother to return. His eyes trawled along the bank, imagining the mundane lizards that ran along it in fantastical adventures, fighting beasts twice their size to rescue their home town from complete doom.

Suddenly, a jerk of his head to the side, a tickle in his brain triggering the impulsive reaction. Usually, he would hear his mother was relaying him a normal message, their minds well intertwined with their magic bond, yet all he could hear was static. He flopped onto his tickling side, groomed fur getting tainted with the dirt, as the child itched his budding horns on the rough ground like there was a spider on it.

Mewl, and the tickle faded out. The hatchling, now up and on his small paws, looked around, searching. She always returned to him. A rock found its way into his hands as he gripped and coddled it, the feeling of something physical in his grasp soothing. She will return back to him.

Tick, tock. Lava flowed. Tick, tock. Boredom showed. Tick, tock. Time slowed.

Tick. Tock.

And there she was, galloping back for her only child. He hopped up from the floor in ecstasy, goat eyes tracking his ethereal mother. Her charcoal arms wrapped around him, the smell of cold winter air engulfing him. Squealing with delight, the Gaoler dropped the smooth rock from his hands, it falling and getting lost in her wispy body, of which showed no signs of movement.

Her shadowy eyes looked deep into his, and then the tickle happened again. At first, it only bothered the very back of his head, like a gnat wriggling around in his fur, but it stretched. It grew. It encased him. It did not hurt, but it made him wriggle and writhe like a worm attempting to escape the clutches of a robin. His mother spoke as she laid him down on the ground, but no sounds came out from her lips. Static.

Then, his vision also stretched. His vision darkened, and wooziness overtook him. However, just before the child's mind went blank, he snapped back to normality. No more tickling, no more static, and no more darkness. His mother was also nowhere to be found, but he noted a trail of thin, black goop that lead towards him, yet he had no marks on him. He did not feel afraid.

A band of mature Gaolers and a Guardian dashed up to the child, concerned looks plastering their faces. They spoke words, comforted him, offered him a treat, but he didn't care for any of that. There was no need for comforting.

His mother will forever be with him, guiding him through life like she always said she would.




sneak

Sharpened talons clacked impatiently on the splintering table as the sound of papers rustling behind the door began to be followed by hushed whispers, one a low rumble, the other a hissing cat. The twitching Spiral rose from her seat, inch by inch, preparing herself for a diplomatic conversation, when the rusted doorknob twisted, dirtied door creaking open. A cool Fae, wearing a tattered ribbon around his neck, emerged, not phased by the hooded face analysing him with hidden intent. There was nothing in his open palms.

He cleared his throat, phlegm shuddering his voice, before plainly stating "We do not 'ave any information on this 'historian'. There ain't nothing underneath the visitations to the Croaking Skunk, or the Watering 'ole, or anything else me an' the others checked.". His fins didn't quiver as the Spiral edged closer to the antique counter, her cowl brushing the dusty planks.

"You did not look hard enough. Try again," she flipped a golden coin in her right hand, light from the oil lanterns catching its majestic shine. Heads. Not this time, she supposed.

The Fae waved her away like she was a pesky moth, chin planted firmly on his knuckle as he leant on the counter. "I 'ave other customers that actually 'ave people that exist. Shoo. Go on." Rolling his eyes, he pulled out a quill and ticked off a box pinned on the wall behind him, not even half way completed.

She knew better than to rattle him. Blankly, her hand snatched out her gold coin out of the air after another flip, shoved it into her coat pocket, and slunk out of the bar, just like the previous customer did.

Drat.

Refreshing air of stale food flushed her senses of the pothole that was the bar, the kitchen's window light illuminating the cobbled streets of the town. Laughter and fiddle music drifted away as her feet took her towards the inn, eyes staring at the ground.

~

The door locked smoothly behind her as she shut her bedroom off from the salescoatls that knocked on each door. Untying the flimsy string that kept her hood on her face, she slid off the olive fabric, shaking her head like a dog as she savoured her free scales. The window curtains were shut, and the room had been lightly scanned for magic.

Ready to flop onto her bed, the fluffy pillow with the matching duvet enticing, she unbuttoned her coat as she turned around, only to freeze, cat eyes focusing, when a clean envelope and pink rose on the pillow caught her offguard.

Wait a bit, button up her coat, wrap her head again, and approach it with a new anger that pulsed through her from the sight.

Dear Sandra,

I left this morning. Didn't you notice the empty room to the left of yours?

You should really be a bit more aware, darling.

- From your loving Father

Drat indeed.




sneak

Sharpened talons clacked impatiently on the splintering table as the sound of papers rustling behind the door began to be followed by hushed whispers, one a low rumble, the other a hissing cat. The twitching Spiral rose from her seat, inch by inch, preparing herself for a diplomatic conversation, when the rusted doorknob twisted, dirtied door creaking open. A cool Fae, wearing a tattered ribbon around his neck, emerged, not phased by the hooded face analysing him with hidden intent. There was nothing in his open palms.

He cleared his throat, phlegm shuddering his voice, before plainly stating "We do not 'ave any information on this 'historian'. There ain't nothing underneath the visitations to the Croaking Skunk, or the Watering 'ole, or anything else me an' the others checked.". His fins didn't quiver as the Spiral edged closer to the antique counter, her cowl brushing the dusty planks.

"You did not look hard enough. Try again," she flipped a golden coin in her right hand, light from the oil lanterns catching its majestic shine. Heads. Not this time, she supposed.

The Fae waved her away like she was a pesky moth, chin planted firmly on his knuckle as he leant on the counter. "I 'ave other customers that actually 'ave people that exist. Shoo. Go on." Rolling his eyes, he pulled out a quill and ticked off a box pinned on the wall behind him, not even half way completed.

She knew better than to rattle him. Blankly, her hand snatched out her gold coin out of the air after another flip, shoved it into her coat pocket, and slunk out of the bar, just like the previous customer did.

Drat.

Refreshing air of stale food flushed her senses of the pothole that was the bar, the kitchen's window light illuminating the cobbled streets of the town. Laughter and fiddle music drifted away as her feet took her towards the inn, eyes staring at the ground.

~

The door locked smoothly behind her as she shut her bedroom off from the salescoatls that knocked on each door. Untying the flimsy string that kept her hood on her face, she slid off the olive fabric, shaking her head like a dog as she savoured her free scales. The window curtains were shut, and the room had been lightly scanned for magic.

Ready to flop onto her bed, the fluffy pillow with the matching duvet enticing, she unbuttoned her coat as she turned around, only to freeze, cat eyes focusing, when a clean envelope and pink rose on the pillow caught her offguard.

Wait a bit, button up her coat, wrap her head again, and approach it with a new anger that pulsed through her from the sight.

Dear Sandra,

I left this morning. Didn't you notice the empty room to the left of yours?

You should really be a bit more aware, darling.

- From your loving Father

Drat indeed.




guardian

Everyone knew that the study, filled with ancient scrolls and dusty tomes of the long past, was out of bounds, but not everyone knew the true reason as to why. Some speculated that it was because regular citizens weren't trusted to not damage the irreplaceable artifacts, whereas others believed that it was to deny thieves from selling the knowledge of old for a fortune on the black market. There were also whispers that someone lived within the study to maintain pristine conditions for the scrolls and tomes, but also to ward off any dragon that dared to have entered.

The few that knew the truth know that it was for all of the above reasons, but there was one other reason: the warden of the scrolls was not safe under the public eye.

~

Ancient history was written all over the walls. Bookshelves stuffed with worn tomes written in a forgotten language lined the room. Drawers stacked with dry scrolls that contained historical but powerful spells occupied the centre, with glass displays of runed rocks that, if one listened closely enough, recollected impressive events of war and battles and nature on top. On the ceiling were golden chandeliers that were unlit, for the candles that filled them were created with a magic that gave them unknown properties. The floor was covered in an ornate rug that depicted a scene of the Deities themselves fighting off the Shade: but that was just a gift for the warden to make their living quarters more homey.

She sat at her desk with one of the protected books, deciphering its meanings using a piece of papyrus, with the translation of the runic letters. She wrote in an organised journal, bullet pointing the contents of each chapter and underlining what she deemed important for her to know. Each book took between a month to three to only understand the basics of it, depending on how interested the warden was, to the length of it, to whether it required a new language translated.

Knock, knock. One of her eyes swung around to face a spot on the floor while her head remained stubbornly on the book. Knock, knock. Two more eyes turned. She placed the quill that she was holding with Arcane magic down, her makeshift fingers slipping back into her body after she closed the tome.

The sound of a wooden plank being pulled away truly caught her attention. A clock on her desk chimed 2AM as a pair of claws began sawing out a space for a dragon to enter, most likely a Spiral or Fae. The warden quietly slid out of her chair and onto her four stubs, extinguishing a glowing orb above her head, turning the room to darkness.

A quarter of an hour passed by before a figure slipped into the room from below, along with another. The duo rapidly whispered to each other, much too fast for her to catch, before they set off to work.

Or, at least, they would have if it wasn't for the warden there, always keeping a watchful eye or ten on the artifacts.




guardian

Everyone knew that the study, filled with ancient scrolls and dusty tomes of the long past, was out of bounds, but not everyone knew the true reason as to why. Some speculated that it was because regular citizens weren't trusted to not damage the irreplaceable artifacts, whereas others believed that it was to deny thieves from selling the knowledge of old for a fortune on the black market. There were also whispers that someone lived within the study to maintain pristine conditions for the scrolls and tomes, but also to ward off any dragon that dared to have entered.

The few that knew the truth know that it was for all of the above reasons, but there was one other reason: the warden of the scrolls was not safe under the public eye.

~

Ancient history was written all over the walls. Bookshelves stuffed with worn tomes written in a forgotten language lined the room. Drawers stacked with dry scrolls that contained historical but powerful spells occupied the centre, with glass displays of runed rocks that, if one listened closely enough, recollected impressive events of war and battles and nature on top. On the ceiling were golden chandeliers that were unlit, for the candles that filled them were created with a magic that gave them unknown properties. The floor was covered in an ornate rug that depicted a scene of the Deities themselves fighting off the Shade: but that was just a gift for the warden to make their living quarters more homey.

She sat at her desk with one of the protected books, deciphering its meanings using a piece of papyrus, with the translation of the runic letters. She wrote in an organised journal, bullet pointing the contents of each chapter and underlining what she deemed important for her to know. Each book took between a month to three to only understand the basics of it, depending on how interested the warden was, to the length of it, to whether it required a new language translated.

Knock, knock. One of her eyes swung around to face a spot on the floor while her head remained stubbornly on the book. Knock, knock. Two more eyes turned. She placed the quill that she was holding with Arcane magic down, her makeshift fingers slipping back into her body after she closed the tome.

The sound of a wooden plank being pulled away truly caught her attention. A clock on her desk chimed 2AM as a pair of claws began sawing out a space for a dragon to enter, most likely a Spiral or Fae. The warden quietly slid out of her chair and onto her four stubs, extinguishing a glowing orb above her head, turning the room to darkness.

A quarter of an hour passed by before a figure slipped into the room from below, along with another. The duo rapidly whispered to each other, much too fast for her to catch, before they set off to work.

Or, at least, they would have if it wasn't for the warden there, always keeping a watchful eye or ten on the artifacts.




double
slight warning: plague stuff

The ragged Serthis layed low like rats hiding from the cat, one tending to an infected wound on his forearm with a cloudy green liquid, gritting his teeth as it made contact. Only a small ditch in the ground hid them from the stomping Bogsneak sniffing around, a fungus-eaten root covering their heads. An archer dipped the tip of an arrow into a vial she held in her pocket, nocking it on a longbow. Bit by bit, she dared to poke her upper half out, aiming at the armour clad dragon. Her fellow friends watched her with hideous anticipation as stiffening as a scorpion's sting.

Shoot.

It flew briskly through the air. The twang of the string snatched the dragon's attention, her body twisting to the source. It was just what the archer planned, as the arrow pierced through the gaping, salivating mouth on her neck, rotting teeth snapping shut in reflex. A stumble back, and the rest of the clan dashed out and around their predator, the anticipation flushing into confidence.

The plague-infected Bogsneak fell to her side, claws clutching her neck, as her bulky body making a satisfying thud as it made contact with the germ riddled ground. It was the only uncovered part of her body, yet the archer had hit it spot on. Sounds of sliding metal slid through the air as the Serthis prepared to rescue their home.

"Wait!"

A voice shouted from the top of a hill, catching the serpents' attention. The Bogsneak in the centre made a reach for her cleaver, but the next sentence stopped her.

"Please, lay down your weapons. I mean no harm," and an almost identical copy of the writhing Bogsneak glided down, feet clumsily hitting the ground. No weapons on her could be seen, but the Serthis knew that it could be a front. Some began eyeing the difference between the two dragons, but there was only a difference in colour of the dull filigree lining their wings.

The slow Bogsneak flattened her wings and maintained a diplomatic posture. "All I would like is to take my poorly sister back. She was being kept securely as she is known for her bloodthirsty nature, but that is only because of the disease taking over her mind." She gestured to the pathetic dragon, who was glaring daggers straight at her.

"But you have the exact same disease as her, physically." A warrior slithered forwards, pointing their scimitar at her neck, with the precise copy of the slobbering mouth on the dying dragon. "How come you aren't also being affected, beast?".

The calm Bogsneak lifted a hand to her head, tapping on her bone helmet. "Because a willing Harpy has already stopped the progression of it to my brain. I am in debt to her, but she needs to wait for the full moon to stop the disease. It is soon, as you know, and I would do anything to rescue my sister from the plague.".

Some Serthis whispered to each other in their mother tongue, and after some minutes they edged away, their weapons still drawn. The diplomat treaded over to the coughing dragon, knelt down, and plainly ripped out the arrow by placing her arm in her neck. Without skipping a beat, she hoisted her up onto her back, and began rumbling back over the hill, not turning to face the Serthis.

As soon as they crossed over the top, the recovered Bogsneak rolled off her back, staggering to her feet in defiance. Poisons never lasted long in either of their systems.

"You're still pretty darn rusty. Rookie mistake, that was." Eazam teased, plopping down on the ground.

The agitated dragon scoffed. "And you're too much of a coward to fight them like we would have in the past. Talking, really?".

"We can't stay here Iazam, or they'll find us out. Let's go." And the dragon got up, got a running start, and flew off.

The other one grumbled as she, too, flew away.




double
slight warning: plague stuff

The ragged Serthis layed low like rats hiding from the cat, one tending to an infected wound on his forearm with a cloudy green liquid, gritting his teeth as it made contact. Only a small ditch in the ground hid them from the stomping Bogsneak sniffing around, a fungus-eaten root covering their heads. An archer dipped the tip of an arrow into a vial she held in her pocket, nocking it on a longbow. Bit by bit, she dared to poke her upper half out, aiming at the armour clad dragon. Her fellow friends watched her with hideous anticipation as stiffening as a scorpion's sting.

Shoot.

It flew briskly through the air. The twang of the string snatched the dragon's attention, her body twisting to the source. It was just what the archer planned, as the arrow pierced through the gaping, salivating mouth on her neck, rotting teeth snapping shut in reflex. A stumble back, and the rest of the clan dashed out and around their predator, the anticipation flushing into confidence.

The plague-infected Bogsneak fell to her side, claws clutching her neck, as her bulky body making a satisfying thud as it made contact with the germ riddled ground. It was the only uncovered part of her body, yet the archer had hit it spot on. Sounds of sliding metal slid through the air as the Serthis prepared to rescue their home.

"Wait!"

A voice shouted from the top of a hill, catching the serpents' attention. The Bogsneak in the centre made a reach for her cleaver, but the next sentence stopped her.

"Please, lay down your weapons. I mean no harm," and an almost identical copy of the writhing Bogsneak glided down, feet clumsily hitting the ground. No weapons on her could be seen, but the Serthis knew that it could be a front. Some began eyeing the difference between the two dragons, but there was only a difference in colour of the dull filigree lining their wings.

The slow Bogsneak flattened her wings and maintained a diplomatic posture. "All I would like is to take my poorly sister back. She was being kept securely as she is known for her bloodthirsty nature, but that is only because of the disease taking over her mind." She gestured to the pathetic dragon, who was glaring daggers straight at her.

"But you have the exact same disease as her, physically." A warrior slithered forwards, pointing their scimitar at her neck, with the precise copy of the slobbering mouth on the dying dragon. "How come you aren't also being affected, beast?".

The calm Bogsneak lifted a hand to her head, tapping on her bone helmet. "Because a willing Harpy has already stopped the progression of it to my brain. I am in debt to her, but she needs to wait for the full moon to stop the disease. It is soon, as you know, and I would do anything to rescue my sister from the plague.".

Some Serthis whispered to each other in their mother tongue, and after some minutes they edged away, their weapons still drawn. The diplomat treaded over to the coughing dragon, knelt down, and plainly ripped out the arrow by placing her arm in her neck. Without skipping a beat, she hoisted her up onto her back, and began rumbling back over the hill, not turning to face the Serthis.

As soon as they crossed over the top, the recovered Bogsneak rolled off her back, staggering to her feet in defiance. Poisons never lasted long in either of their systems.

"You're still pretty darn rusty. Rookie mistake, that was." Eazam teased, plopping down on the ground.

The agitated dragon scoffed. "And you're too much of a coward to fight them like we would have in the past. Talking, really?".

"We can't stay here Iazam, or they'll find us out. Let's go." And the dragon got up, got a running start, and flew off.

The other one grumbled as she, too, flew away.




bright

Fire. It flickers and dances like a ballerina when it is just the bud on the wick of a candle. Creatures all over Sornieth use a petite flame to banish shadows, bring warmth, and to cook their meals. A quick mistake, however, can turn this gift into a hungry beast, rapidly spreading with only selfish thoughts to grow larger and stronger. To overpower their captors.

~

A Gaoler trekked through the mystical forest that was the Starwood Strand, a wonder where the bioluminescent flowers, that dusted the blue grass with purple and pink, curled open at night. Curious trills and calls of the wildlife kept the trees busy, the flash of silver and gold of a Silkowl dashing in the canopy providing an entertaining game to the hatchlings that explored the woods at night. It was one of the very few places on Sornieth where magical energies manifested into glamorous crystals, as the concentration of Arcane magic there was far beyond average. Many travellers that passed through the Starwood Strand can simply call it a dreamlike place, where they found their minds drifting as the fantastical curiosities of the place tickled at their imaginations.

He believed the stories of these wanderers. His muscles were achy from the long journey from the Ashfall Waste, which took over two months, but seeing the woods with his very own eyes made it worth it. The dusk air chilled his spine, but it was refreshing from the overbearing heat of the lava, as pleasant as a slug, that dragged him down to the ground every day. His genetics as a Gaoler were finally being put to proper use, which he appreciated. Of course, he enjoyed his heritage.

On his left appeared a tiny dirt path that diverged from the main road, which he had been following. His legs paused, eyes glancing to it. Imagine, a clearing with a perfect view of the clear sky, a flat rock big enough to comfortably drape himself over as he counted out each star all alone. No passing merchants, or hidden highwaymen, nor any random travellers also trying to absorb the beauty of the forest. All alone, with no light except from the flora and the moon. Not even fire.

Turn, and he tread down the path. And what he didn't expect, was that his silly musings about the end of the path turned out to be very close to correct. The smooth limestone in the centre was perfectly angled to face the sky, rose crystals growing in wonderful spirals as they stretched to the sky that was far clearer than any night in the Ashfall Waste. No sounds could be heard either, leaving it perfect for the mind to unwind and relax. There was only one thing that the Gaoler found was not to his tastes: there was not enough light.

Moon? Not in the correct position. Flowers? None had bloomed due to the lack of moonlight. Fireflies? Asleep for the absence of full petals. It was far, far too dark.

The Ancient closed his eyes, pondering. His claws twitched. As his mother had always said, "Use what you know best". He was best at one thing, and he knew that it would bring a sight unseen ever before in this section of the Starwood Strand.

Snap, and a baby flame lit in the palm of his hand. It was just a child, but the Gaoler knew its potential. As gentle as a mother setting her hatchling down to sleep, he let it go on the wavy leaf of a newly sprouted plant.

And again. And another one. Another one for good measure. Perhaps just one more, just because he liked that particular one.

Crackle, snap. He watched as his children took root before beginning to explore into new, unfamiliar territory. They took their first breath, and their first leap, and their first hop. They were naturals at acrobatics. They danced so entrancingly, and he was the cobra to their snake flute.

Rumble, roar. The adults longed to touch the moon now perfectly in the centre of the opening of the trees, fingers outstretched towards it. They could not reach it, and with their limited understanding of the world, they grew angry. Tearing off branches and throwing them down to the ground, they stomped and screeched. They sprang on top of the trees to try and get closer to the moon, but it didn't work. They needed more.

The Gaoler smiled as he watched. It soothed him to see home once more. Yet, he knew better than to play with fire and stick around.

Turn around, and follow the path back. It was time to go.




bright

Fire. It flickers and dances like a ballerina when it is just the bud on the wick of a candle. Creatures all over Sornieth use a petite flame to banish shadows, bring warmth, and to cook their meals. A quick mistake, however, can turn this gift into a hungry beast, rapidly spreading with only selfish thoughts to grow larger and stronger. To overpower their captors.

~

A Gaoler trekked through the mystical forest that was the Starwood Strand, a wonder where the bioluminescent flowers, that dusted the blue grass with purple and pink, curled open at night. Curious trills and calls of the wildlife kept the trees busy, the flash of silver and gold of a Silkowl dashing in the canopy providing an entertaining game to the hatchlings that explored the woods at night. It was one of the very few places on Sornieth where magical energies manifested into glamorous crystals, as the concentration of Arcane magic there was far beyond average. Many travellers that passed through the Starwood Strand can simply call it a dreamlike place, where they found their minds drifting as the fantastical curiosities of the place tickled at their imaginations.

He believed the stories of these wanderers. His muscles were achy from the long journey from the Ashfall Waste, which took over two months, but seeing the woods with his very own eyes made it worth it. The dusk air chilled his spine, but it was refreshing from the overbearing heat of the lava, as pleasant as a slug, that dragged him down to the ground every day. His genetics as a Gaoler were finally being put to proper use, which he appreciated. Of course, he enjoyed his heritage.

On his left appeared a tiny dirt path that diverged from the main road, which he had been following. His legs paused, eyes glancing to it. Imagine, a clearing with a perfect view of the clear sky, a flat rock big enough to comfortably drape himself over as he counted out each star all alone. No passing merchants, or hidden highwaymen, nor any random travellers also trying to absorb the beauty of the forest. All alone, with no light except from the flora and the moon. Not even fire.

Turn, and he tread down the path. And what he didn't expect, was that his silly musings about the end of the path turned out to be very close to correct. The smooth limestone in the centre was perfectly angled to face the sky, rose crystals growing in wonderful spirals as they stretched to the sky that was far clearer than any night in the Ashfall Waste. No sounds could be heard either, leaving it perfect for the mind to unwind and relax. There was only one thing that the Gaoler found was not to his tastes: there was not enough light.

Moon? Not in the correct position. Flowers? None had bloomed due to the lack of moonlight. Fireflies? Asleep for the absence of full petals. It was far, far too dark.

The Ancient closed his eyes, pondering. His claws twitched. As his mother had always said, "Use what you know best". He was best at one thing, and he knew that it would bring a sight unseen ever before in this section of the Starwood Strand.

Snap, and a baby flame lit in the palm of his hand. It was just a child, but the Gaoler knew its potential. As gentle as a mother setting her hatchling down to sleep, he let it go on the wavy leaf of a newly sprouted plant.

And again. And another one. Another one for good measure. Perhaps just one more, just because he liked that particular one.

Crackle, snap. He watched as his children took root before beginning to explore into new, unfamiliar territory. They took their first breath, and their first leap, and their first hop. They were naturals at acrobatics. They danced so entrancingly, and he was the cobra to their snake flute.

Rumble, roar. The adults longed to touch the moon now perfectly in the centre of the opening of the trees, fingers outstretched towards it. They could not reach it, and with their limited understanding of the world, they grew angry. Tearing off branches and throwing them down to the ground, they stomped and screeched. They sprang on top of the trees to try and get closer to the moon, but it didn't work. They needed more.

The Gaoler smiled as he watched. It soothed him to see home once more. Yet, he knew better than to play with fire and stick around.

Turn around, and follow the path back. It was time to go.


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