The city of Estiell glowed with red and silver hues in the light of the triple suns, warming land that nearly froze over at night. The world was waking up again after the short night, ready for a long day and the city woke with it. Ships zoomed through the sky, racing and gliding around the spiraling, crystal towers that reached for the pale purple sky. They expertly avoided the many innumerable walkways that connected thousands of buildings together, suspended hundreds of feet above the ground below. The Tirizan population hardly seemed aware of the danger of falling, crowds of them going about their business, some even walking upside down across the walkways as their biocs and techries allowed. They were the rulers of this world and had been for nearly a hundred years. By sweat and blood they'd conquered this land for their own after fleeing a home world that no longer wanted them and they walked upon this one with confidence. Another race walked partway beside them, but never truly with them; the Nuathal. They were a gentle-natured, compliant, simple-minded race with gray or green colors. They stood about seven feet tall, far above their Tirizan counterparts, and they walked on six, spider-like legs, and had four arms with two fingers and a thumb on each hand. Their skin was leathery to look at and yet smooth like marble and their chests were translucent, showing their internal organs and their heart especially as it lied in the middle of their torso and was quite large. They looked like a fearsome species, but hardly fought and when this world had been taken over, they'd surrendered rather quickly, wanting nothing to do with war. They now behaved as something akin to servants to the Tirizan and they were left in peace so long as they served. Another native race to this world, however, had not complied with the new arrivals a hundred years ago. The Aavan were a shape-shifting species, greatly resembling a species in the Milky Way Galaxy called 'humans' but they also took after another species called a 'dragon'. It was up in the air which species had come around first; the Aavan or the Dragon, but it wasn't important either. The Aavan had fought the Tirizan in a war that lasted nearly twenty-five years, but the native race had lost their freedom...but not their fighting spirit. It was for that reason - and the lack of ways for the two races to communicate as they still didn't or wouldn't speak the other's language - that the Aavan became worse than slaves to the Tirizan. They were a powerful species and not prone to submitting to orders unless trained from a very, very young age; young enough that they didn't know their own culture and nearly forgot their own species. The acceptable age to take an Aavan into training to be a guard or a loyal 'hound' so to speak, stopped at seven. After that, their minds were too hard to break to anyone's will. So it was that most Aavan were kept as exotic, dangerous pets, always caged and there for the entertainment and status symbol of their owners. Others, though, were bought, forced and conditioned to fight in the arenas. Starved and abused to the point of barely remembering their own names, they were pitted against their own kind for the thrill of the masses that watched. Such a life was a horrifying tale for the rebel Aavan who managed to stay in hiding, hunted mercilessly by the Tirizan. It was at the auctions that such fates of Aavan already captured were decided. Outside the city, on a great hover-platform, a place nearly as large as the city itself, a facility was stationed. This was where Aavan went for training and for selling. Kept in great cages made of green electricity charged by powerful techry, with smaller crystals surgically implanted inside their bodies to control their powers, great dragon-like creatures paced or roared, slept or simply stared out at those that passed them by, lifelessness in their eyes. There were hundreds of cages at this particular sale today as it was a holiday - Princess Senzra's birthday - and many were interested in the new stock. A few young Aavan had been captured just the week before and there were a few uncommon specimens here as traders from all over had come to sell. The most common type of Aavan were the reds and golds, good for the arenas. The greens and whites came after them, expensive creatures that usually went as pets and then the oranges, purples and browns followed in the pecking order. They were hard to come by, hard to catch and hard to train. Only those who were truly invested in this business bought them. Blue Aavan were the rarest, but today there were three of them and only the wealthiest bought them. It wasn't the blue Aavan that Tirizan had come to see, though. It wasn't any of those colored species that had drawn the Royal Family themselves out here. No, it was the auction of a black Aavan that had drawn the crowds. Such a creature had never been seen until a few years ago and his power was unlike any other Aavan's. He wasn't kept in a electrified cage because that was his power. No surgical crystal worked on him as his power fried it before it could take affect and so he was kept in a more primitive form of restraint; vibranium chains fused with a sentient lifeform that could change its shape to match that which it had captured. Whether the black Aavan shifted to his dragon-like form or his humanoid one, the chains around his wrists and neck didn't come off. Normally he was kept in a restriction collar, too, to keep him in his smaller form, but today his handlers wanted him to show off. It would bring buyers and they needed it. After seven years and various owners who found they couldn't handle him, they needed the money. The only collar around his neck today was a power inhibitor, an 'ancient' one as far as technology went, but it was working for now as it kept his flares of lightning from jumping off his body and hurting anyone. At the moment the crowds were being kept back from the black creature as he lunged toward them with a bloodcurdling snarl, chains snapping taunt and his tail snapping the air as his violet eyes watched the hundreds gathered before his enclosure with rage. His roar seemed to rumble like thunder itself and Aavan around him, in their cages, answered before being quieted by their own handlers. His didn't bother as his noise only attracted more buyers who'd come to see the rarest Aavan called 'Thunder'.