The Mercy of Inhalla ~ Dragon Riders of Kabola

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Mowkie, Jan 29, 2016.

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  1. Suthdur, 18 Khurnas
    Year 2 - Age of the Ancients


    0517 - Sunrise

    The silence of morning is always said to be so deep that one could drown in it. Like the silence before a storm. In this instance, the silence was deafening. Not even the footsteps of companions and comrades could seemingly be heard through the thick grasses or hardened, cracked soil of the mountains. As the first of the two suns, Phiadyn, reached out across the Eastern horizon, his rosy fingers coming to rest upon the mountains that stretched as far North and South as the eye could see, night suddenly became day, and all was to be revealed.

    In the distance, the mountain city of Gareth could be seen, stained by the rosy fingers of the smaller sun as if to show its bloodied history. The cool temperatures of the night rose quickly to meet the summer heat. Spring was gone, and with it left the seeming innocence of the world. All of the flowers had since budded and fallen away, and the innocence of birth and new eyes upon the world had come to pass into the season of growing. To the West, stretching beyond sight were the great Thruskior Mountains, who would pass into the smaller range of Mykartha. Like Gareth to the South, these great stone behemoths had come to be plastered with the bloody coloring of Phiadyn’s rising rays. Even as he was pulled forth by the heat of Ova, his gaze turning from red to gold, his much larger and slower brother, Vyneir, soon came to case his own rosy fingers upon the world.

    The end of Khurnas was the end of the Growing season and the beginning of the Dry season. During this month, Vyneir was not as close as his much smaller and cooler brother, still brooding in the background, reserving himself for the heat he was to bring during the season of wildfires and howling, unforgiving winds. The only time of year that was quieter than Khurnas was the depths of Indunas, the harshest winter times, when the North Winds would climb down and stop almost all growth.

    But it was not snowing now, for Phiadyn and Vyneir were rising to witness history become quite real, and as they rose in the distance, all breaths seemed to halt in anticipation for what would come next.

    The Thruskior Mountains were tall, treacherous, and completely impassible. If the steep cliffs and heavy winds did not kill any who dared attempt crossing over, the vicious predators would. By contrast, the Mykartha Mountains were not tall and steep, but thick and close together, filled with even more dangerous wildlife. Their most deadly feature, however, were the Myzra Elves, whose population filled the intricate network of tunnels, dwelling with all manner of cave creatures, including the legendary Shadow Wyverns, whose powers were said to bring an eclipse using the two larger moon sisters against their older brothers. There was only one safe path across the mountains, and it started mere miles from the outer wall of Gareth, around the base of Mount Tarja, the tallest mountain on the Mainland.

    It was this very spot, at the base of this mountain path, that the hearts of the young Varonians and their odd companions had been called to. From above, the gods looked down upon their charges with great urgency in hopes that danger would not come their way. But other than hints resting upon their shoulders and within their hearts, no interference was allowed. Not for the young ones destined to join with dragons. Their story was far too delicate.

    The silence of this morning was what filled the ears of these young creatures, pulled from every expanse of the Plains of Varon. The only thing they could hear was their own heartbeats. Caught in a trance for the last eighteen months that drove them to survive like wild beasts as far away from any road – any civilization – as possible, they have kept themselves, their charges, and even each other safe. Unlike most other Varonians, who think dragons are evil, vile creatures, meant to be killed on sight, these youngsters had a different spark in their hearts. And that spark was all that was needed to start their journeys. It was what gave them a chance to know something other than themselves.

    But their journey, though long it has been, has only just begun. Finally at rest at this tiny opening into the Thruskior Mountains, they lay eyes upon each other for the first time. Some have already found comrades, traveling in pairs. But none knew just how many others there were. And as they laid eyes upon each other, various emotions filled them. Anger. Fear. Relief. Some were wary, others overjoyed that they weren’t alone. Some were simply protective of the now surprisingly large hatchlings they guarded.

    Perhaps some would speak.

    Perhaps they would simply stare.

    For the dragons, reactions were quite the same. They knew there were others out there. They knew their destiny and that of their Chosen. Yet, they did not know each other personally.

    Might the dragonlings speak to each other?

    Or would they be too busy eyeing other Varonians in suspicion?

    The world seemed to breathe a sigh as all young Chosen came together at this spot. The first part of the journey was over for them. Birds began to sing to the morning air as the plains began to wake. The winds lifted into a gentle breeze, playing with the golden grasses like fingers through hair. Vyneir’s rosy fingers slowly shifted into the color of fire as Phiadyn gave light to the last depths of night.

    But this relief was short-lived.

    This close to Gareth, the great Varonian Capital of Kabola, massive patrols were quite often not too far behind the rising suns. The Tarjan Army was known to be immense, powerful, and merciless – especially in regards to dragons. Their patrols sometimes numbered in the hundreds, for that slight chance of encountering a dragon.

    Those who marched out from the South-West, however, only numbered forty. Forty soldiers armed with the finest weapons and armor of steel and even magicks, however, was still quite the challenge of eight young Varonians and their dragonettes – some of whom did not even have skill in the art of fighting.

    Before anyone had the chance to see the soldiers moving around to flank them, having already been given away by the sparkling sheen of dragon scales, the group found itself to be surrounded. With no way of simply escaping, the young ones knew that the only thing they could do was fight their way out and hopefully towards the mouth of the mountains in the West.

    This would be the first test of these young riders. And it certainly would not be the last.
     
    #1 Mowkie, Jan 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  2. Flaxen hair glittered like the tall, fine grasses that swayed on the empty breeze as a crouched body inched its way forward. Deep, shimmering hazel eyes watched for any slightest movement made before them as a wary hand rested in its place upon a sword on the hip. She was so close to Gareth...so close, it took her breath away. But still, she was urged forward by an unseen force. The silence was deafening at this point. Not even the wind seemed to make noise. She could practically hear her own heart beating deep within her breast as she looked towards the dimly glowing scales of her partner on her left, placing her hand on his shoulder. The dragonling huffed, looking down at her with icy eyes. He did not like to be touched. Not even in the mornings, when the suns granted him strength and energy. Shirin knew this of her hatchling. Yet, his deep warmth comforted her as it had many times before. The young Sunstone, to her, was more than a partner, but more of a child - a charge that she had to protect and love at all costs. To a certain degree, this was the truth, but to another, it was not. Of course, the young warrior had yet to learn her true destiny in those icy blue eyes. For now, she relied only on the comfort that they brought to her.

    Pulling her hand free, she turned her gaze to her other travelling companions. The man to her right, a man of dark skin and darker hair, was great contrast to her steely hatchling, his glowing partner much the same. Were it not for the bond of the two hatchlings, she was quite sure she would have separated from the pair shortly after the egg was hatched. Sadly, Byriarti, the young child of the suns, had the strongest attachment to his sister that Shirin had ever seen. Perhaps it was the fact that they had hatched from the same egg. Or, perhaps, it was simply a bond that was forged in their very souls. This was something that the young warrior could not yet comprehend. Instead, she simply watched it continue and begrudgingly obliged to travel with the man that had bonded to the daughter of the moons.

    She gave the man on her left a brief, curt nod before continuing ahead, releasing herself from her crouch as her gaze spotted movement. The sparkle of dragon scales was hard not to notice after seeing it for so long. Various colors began to appear from all angles. There were so many of them...so many young dragons...and each paired to their own Varonian. It was odd seeing more than just the two sparkling jewels that had been placed before her for so long.

    Her hand tightened around the grip of her sword as the faces came into view. Not all of them seemed pleased to see other dragons, and she was not about to put her partner in any kind of danger. Not after so long fighting to the wire to protect him. As she readied herself for a fight, taking in each face, body, and posture, Byriarti let himself fall behind her, spreading his wings so they would catch the light of the rising suns. His scales, which had glowed before, now gleamed with a pure brightness that was only rivaled by the beauty of Phiadyn and Vynier in the East. His wings seemed to, if only slightly, enhance the golden light of the fully risen smaller sun as his thick tail rose to slam the ground in warning, a snarl rising on one side of his face. He was a bulky creature, easily thicker than the other younglings in the area despite being slightly shorter in stature. His icy eyes were a stark contrast to the fire of his beautiful scales, and the light of his body cast a fiery light upon the shimmering armor of his warrior before him.

    Shirin did not yet draw her blade, though. She waited for another to speak, glancing briefly at her comrade and his partner, wondering what their move would be. Her hazel gaze, golden amber and brilliant green, swirled with contemplation as her mind soaked in those around her. But her warrior senses were not finished.

    Movement was spotted around the small troupe, and she whirled to her right, drawing her blade as her voice sparked with a simple command to her dragon. “Byriarti, ready!

    As quickly as she had moved, the Sunstone turned to his right, hissing fiercely as he found himself swarmed with Tarjan soldiers. Despite the gruelling training he had endured with his warrior teacher, he had never met another soldier. His tactics had always been played on his next meal. Slightly confused, he gave a groan before giving yet another hiss in the direction of the strangers. He knew they were dangerous, and his mind instantly fell on the protection of his human and his sister, who was now at her weakest. The day was as much his as the night was hers, and sunlight quite easily penetrated her soft scales. Soon, she would have little choice but to hide herself. Placing himself between her and the sunlight, he gave a growl and waited eagerly for the command of his odd mercenary.

    Chandra, there is no way out. We will have to fight. But I am not sure we can take them all, so be ready to flee towards the mountains. If I am not mistaken, there is a mountain pass just ahead.

    This was said as the leader barked his own orders, sending the men charging for the young dragons. As they came closer, she leapt forward with her blade swiping from the top left down in a diagonal sweep to the bottom right. With a clang of steel, she met the first man of what could be many, who parried her blow swiftly.

    Byriarti, protect!

    At this order, the young dragon leapt into action, giving a bellow and sweeping his bulky tail in the direction of the men charging him, his wings closing tightly against his sides as he used his mass to pummel multiple targets at the same time. It was quite clear that his protective maneuver kept soldiers more away from his sister than his warrior, but perhaps that was in his training as much as it was in his thoughts.

    As he did this, Shirin danced around her first target, clashing his steel a few more times before her blade found the flesh of his exposed throat, effectively sending him to the ground in a heap. Before she could breathe, she was already clashing with another.

    And another…

    And...another…

    It was quite obvious that this battle would take a great deal of time. But, perhaps...as long as her newfound comrades could hold their own long enough, they would be able to win this one. Perhaps...


    The warmth of Springtime filled the air as silence fell much like it did every morning just before the suns began to rise. For a farmer, this sort of silence was pleasant and welcomed, giving him the focus and invigoration needed as he bent to his early morning work. In the North, it was never this warm. But over the last years that Theolyn had spent travelling the Mainland in search of his purpose before finding his beautiful flower, he had discovered the wonders of Southern warmths. From the heat of the souther shorelines that met Port Syren to the soothing winds that grazed the fine hairs of grain coating much of the seeming wildlands across the Plains of Varon, he had felt it all. Still, his heart ached for the gruelling cold air of home, much as it often did.

    His chocolate eyes swirled lovingly as he met the blue gaze of his most cherished friend. She peeped at him affectionately, her nostrils flaring as her body slid through the air with grace and power. As the first light of day sprinkled a deep rose upon her brilliant emerald scales, she only seemed more beautiful to him. His flower, as he so lovingly called her...his light and his life. Were it not for the little one perched upon his shoulders, the beautiful dragonette would surely be his only friend.

    But Theolyn seemed to have a knack for making strange friends.

    He had his hands held around her ankles for his comfort of knowing she wouldn't fall off, despite her constant reassurances that she wouldn't fall off between the awed mentions of how tall she was up there. It was no surprise, seeing as he towered well over six feet, almost closer to seven. Held in the small female's hand was his walking stick, which he would often whittle at the tip during their mornings around a small fire.

    "Boo, would you like to come down for a bit? The suns are rising, so we'll need to stop soon." He turns his head awkwardly to look up at her questioningly. Through the last year and a half, they had travelled only by night, spending the days sleeping and on watch periodically. This didn't seem to be the best of places, of course, but they would have little choice soon enough.

    The green hatchling looks at her odd partner, snorting. ~Smells funny here. Good or bad?~

    As this is said, the group seems to stumble upon the same place as all the others, finding themselves among sparkling gems and odd gazes. Removing his right hand from the ankle of his shoulder-riding partner to take back the thick, well-worn hickory wood from her hand, he takes in the expressions of those around him. Already, one has shown hostility, her face a mask of contemplation and uncertainty. Others have yet to react.

    In his haste to calm the situation, he gives everyone a warm smile, which is mirrored by the coo of the shimmering Emerald beside him. "Greetings and good morrow, friends. This is certainly a surprise, if I don't say so, myself."

    ~Brothers...sisters...it is a pleasure to meet you all! My rider calls me Nyteria. May I know your names?~

    For the little dragonette, this would be the first time speaking to more than one dragon. Her mind reaches out to them, granting them only a feeling of warmth as she opens herself up to the words of her own kind. For her, this would be a truly exciting moment - one she would only dream of up until this very moment. She dances from foot to foot before looking over at Whoo curiously.

    Sadly, there would be very little time for much more than a name and perhaps a word or two. The female that was so unwary at the beginning suddenly whirled around, and the sound of steel unsheathed from leather echoed through the air as men charged towards the group. In her own reaction, Nyteria turned, her tail rising into its exicted state, cracking through the air like a whip as her wings spread slightly.

    Theolyn turned as well, pulling Boo from his shoulders as quickly and as gently as he could before placing her between him and the men in armor. The farmer, of course, did not have much for armor, himself, save the leather duster resting upon his wiry shoulders. He did not have a weapon but for the thick branch in his sturdy hands. But he would do his best to fend off the strangers that threatened his life and the lives of those around him.

    Before he could, Nyteria gave a screech and leapt at the closest soldier, ferociously tearing apart his throat as her tail sent three more backwards and off their feet. The warrior female had risen from pure instinct, and while the little dragoness did not have the training, she had the raw talent to be a fine warrior in the ranks of the Emeralds.

    Never had Theolyn seen his flower be so violent. And yet, he found himself relieved that such an instinct to protect was there. If anything, he would be better off letting her do most of the work.

    But, it wasn't in it to let his charge protect him. So, stepping forward, he pointed the whittled hickory tip towards the closest soldier and aimed to fight. Sending the point foward in a jab for the weak point at the shoulder, he hit home as the man bellowed in pain. Wincing, the farmer went to pull his trusty stick back out. Instead, he found himself pulling the soldier towards him.

    Perhaps fighting wasn't the best idea, after all. Was there a choice in running? No, wait...that woman said there wasn't. Were they surrounded? Was the end so close to just beginning? Who could know?
     
    #2 Mowkie, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
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  3. Ryyker
    Upon reaching the destination he felt like he was pulled to he was greeted by many people seeming from different walks of life, but it seemed everyone was in the same boat everyone was accompanied by a Dragon. But it also appeared that not one dragon was the same. He notices as one person seemed hostile with her hand on her sword hilt if this came to blows Ryyker was confident in his ability's of swordplay as well as Orthrax's power. Then some guy who looked no more then a average farmer spoke.
    "Well a surprise is right it seems we are all drawn to a common place with a strange coincidence surrounding us all." As Ryyker is saying this he feels something brush his mind he glances at Orthrax expecting the answer.

    Orthrax glances at Ryyker before directing her eyes at the Dragon called Nyteria and reply's. "My name is Orthrax."
    As Orthrax makes her answer a large group of armored men show up and the women who seemed hostile was already jumping into battle.

    Ryyker
    "Seems like we have no choice but to fight ready girl?"
    As Ryyker ask Orthrax is she was ready she was already blasting the closet solider with a acid breath as the solider falls away screaming as the acid eats away at his armor and the skin underneath. Ryyker dodges another soldiers swing with a two handed axe and stabs his blade for the armpit where a small opening was successfully wounding a solider but not killing him.
     
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  4. Calina & Kilyria

    "Kilyria! Get back here, this instant!" Calina whispered harshly. Though she kept her voice quiet, the whisper seemed to echo in the vociferous silence. Good heavens, they were close to Gareth. She didn't realize how close it really was until they were right upon it. Ki came running back, squawking with glee as she nearly knocked her rider over. Cal put her finger to her lips, hushing the young dragon while suppressing a grin. Kilyria cocked her head, as if to ask "Why? No ones near, just more dragons!" but nonetheless, quieted down. Her whole body quivering with excitement was quite a stark contrast to the rigid posture of the young redhead. Calina placed a hand on Ki's shoulder, drawing strength from the touch. Absently running her hand up and down the dragon's hide, Cal readied herself. She looked over at Cora and Cassius, both of whom stayed quiet once they realized what was ahead. Taking a deep breath, she and Ki lead the group out into the midst of the others with a cold, calculating look upon her face as she studied the others. Another woman was there, looking as cold as she was, a farmer, and another man whom she did not know. She noticed another dragonling looking at Ki. Stiffening slightly, she automatically went to put herself between them, but realized then that they could probably communicate to each other. ~~My rider has been known to call me Kilyria.~~ she replied with a bout of excitement.

    Cal suddenly inhaled sharply, sensing the men just as they attacked. "Ki! To me!" she yelled, as she drew the short dagger she carried, despite not knowing how to use it. They were surrounded, and she had no idea how to survive this situation. She balanced her stance, the way Cora had taught her to do, and met an attack head on, barely blocking each blow. Ki was squealing in terror, as two of the men seemed to converge on her and Cal. She tried to look tough and brave, but her inner instinct to flee was strong. She moved close to Cal, trying to seek shelter from her rock, but Cal wasn't in the greatest shape right now, she'd taken a hit on her right hip. Cal was beginning to panic. "Ki, get out of here! GO!" Ki growled. She stuck to Cal like glue, knowing that without her, Cal would completely lose her head, and likely perish in the fight. She flared her wings, and stepped forward towards one of the attackers. She snarled, hoping it sounded fierce, and snapped her maw at him. But the soldier came in quickly, and slashed a deep gash in Ki's front. Roaring with the pain, Ki backpedaled right into her rider. Cal smelled the blood before she saw it. She sensed hatred and anger and triumph in these two men attacking them. They thought they had the upper hand. Dare she ask her dragon for this? She knew it was likely the only thing that would save them both? Cal's opponent took advantage of her distraction and landed another blow in her shoulder, not deep, but enough to hinder her. She gasped at the pain as the dagger slipped out of her hand. She did her best to swallow the pain and rammed her shoulder into the mans gut, knocking the wind out of him before he had a chance to finish her. Taken by suprise, the tackle brought the guy down, the sword clattering away. Using her body weight to keep him down, she punched him as hard as she could, repeatedly, managing to knock the guy out.

    Ki had seen Cal drop her weapon, and that was the last straw. She let out a squeak of a roar and let her weapon come. White hot flame came from her maw and engulfed the man attacking her. Hearing the man scream, she shut her maw, cutting off the stream of fire and ran back to Cal who had knocked the guy out. Cal stood, careful of her wounds, an leaned on her dragon. "To that pass, over there. Find shelter." She whispered softly, knowing Ki wouldn't understand her. But Ki seemed to know she needed to flee. Cal looked at Cora, still fighting for her life, but said nothing. Before they could make there escape, two more men came straight at them. How would they survive? She had grabbed the mans sword earlier, she held it up at the ready, determined to survive this.
     
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  5. It was a short encounter before the entire group was encircled by the patrol of soldiers. Two women in the group reacted quickly and with what looked like experience. Reminding Hana of the guards from back home for a brief moment before Ryyker joined into the fight. The clash of metal reminding the girl that she was now in the centre of events and not just observing from the sidelines.

    Quickly realising the small weapon, she carried was of no use against their armour and shields. Hana found herself dodging blades and spears desperately trying to get away from the fight. Dashing towards what seemed like an opening the trained men quickly closed gap cutting of the escape for what just seemed like a scared young girl, seeing this a brash soldier grasped for her arm, opening for a good stab into his wrist, allowing Myria to knock him to the ground. Though it was a short lived victory, another soldier quickly stepped in and swiped his shield at her knocking the girl of her feet.
    Only the chaos from the dragons kept him from delivering the final blow leaving a thin red line across her ribs as the blade dug into the ground.

    Disoriented she tries to get up as the man disappears from her view by a raging Myra diving onto him with growl finishing him of with her jaws. Guided by Myra the two gets back to the safety of their allies in the fight. It seemed that in this it would be better to stick with these people rather then run.
     
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  6. Boo was pretty excited at the sight of all these Farmers and their dragons. The dragons by themselves are just woooooonderful. Truly. And, she coos at them all from atop her Farmer's shoulders. She is suuuuuuuper tall up here. They should all try it sometime. You know, the dragons, not the other Farmers.

    She mentally speaks with Whoo about the sight, but it all gets interrupted. SHe is highly confused by whatever it is that interrupts it. One moment she is super excited about farmers and dragons, then next she is standing before her Farmer and there are attacking farmers in metal. It's all quickly descending into chaos. Even Whoo leaps in after Nyteria to attack those in the metal.

    Frankly, she doesnt truly understand it all. Not at first. She is old, much older than these farmers. But, she's pretty clueless about this all. She drops and rolls to the right, quickly getting out of the way. Only, she trips one tall farmer in metal, barely escaping him falling on her. She pops back up to her feet between another farmer in metal and her Farmer. Her reswah is already stirring about her fingers, crackling much like electricity.

    It releases into the neck of the metal covered farmer carrying a pointy stick, and is powerful enough to send her shooting backwards....straight into Theolyn's legs. A slight cough bursts from her, a wave of her slightly smoking hand....

    Meanwhile, from the side of the man's neck has burst a tentacle that is slapping at the man's face. Repeatedly.

    Oops. Sorry, farmer.

    This whispered very softly.

    Whoo, however, drives forward to grab that tentacle, dragging the man backwards and away from Theolyn and Boo. The man's screams rather horrible to hear.
     
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  7. Suthdur, 18 Khurnas
    Year 2 - Age of the Ancients


    0534 - Rescue
    Upon the outburst of magic that resulted in a tentacle growing from the neck of the soldier closest to the little pochi, those around Theolyn and Boo gasped and stepped back a few paces. The man in question was screaming in horror, the sound of flesh being smacked repeatedly seeming to keep those around him at bay. He fell to the ground, his helmet rolling off his head and bouncing across the ground.

    This little bit seemingly went unnoticed by the leader of the group, however.

    Make the call! Keep fighting, men!” The bellowing demands of an older man wearing armor of a slightly different tint in the rear of the swarm sounded out as the group pushed with all their might against their newfound enemies. Within seconds, a deafening horn made its call, its own bellow bouncing from the sides of the mountains to echo across the plains. This call lasted at least ten seconds as another wave of shining soldiers charged forward, slashing and cutting away at the men and women of the group in their attempt to get to the young dragons. Another few seconds passed before an echoing call returned from Gareth, signaling that reinforcements were on their way.

    They knew now that there were dragons afoot.

    Everyone would know.

    Perhaps right on time.

    The sounds of wingbeats filled the air, and the winds suddenly picked up dramatically as a loud dragon’s cry blasted from the sky above. As this cry sounded, a brilliant, massive violet flame engulfed the older man as well as those who stood guard around him. Their screams resonated in the vibrating air along with the dragon’s screech, and before the group could fathom what was going on, two dragons – one a massive ninety feet of shining black scales, and the other over twenty feet of shadowy, swirling scales of silver.

    From their backs came two more Varonians, both ready for action. As the dragons tore more and more men from the younglings and their charges, the riders leapt forward, killing those who were deemed too close for the dragons to safely kill without harming those they had appeared for. The female, whose silver hair was surprisingly airy despite never getting in her way, wielded with surprising speed and accuracy, a pair of scimitars – one in each hand, the right alight with a blue flame while the other seemed to shine frighteningly bright. The other figure, who remained hooded despite his quick and agile movement, wielded a single, narrow blade that stretched out nearly as long as he was tall.

    All around the circle of young Varonians did this pair – as well as their large dragons – dance with a deadly grace and accuracy. Those who were not slain by the younglings were torn away and killed without mercy by the odd duo. As for the man with the tentacle, there was a little hesitation, a slight smirk and look of confusion mixed with amusement, before he was pulled away from the angry dragonette, and his suffering was ended as well. Mere moments would pass before all of them lay upon the ground, their blood staining the grass crimson for the world to see.

    As silence fell upon the group, and the pair began to clean their weapons and turn to look towards Gareth, the two dragons hissed before looking upon the younglings with warmth and delight.

    ~Greetings, young ones,~ the silvery one spoke gracefully, bowing her head in acknowledgement, ~I am Xaria, daughter of Allara and partner of Akihanna. You all are exhausted, I am sure, but your journey has only just begun. Be ready to flee, and make sure that your riders know that we are to be trusted. It is good to finally meet each of you, and I look forward to coming to know each of you personally.~

    Her words would send the message of strength and comfort to the young dragonlings, as well as the knowledge that their hard times as defenseless babies has finally come to pass. Now, they must start becoming true dragons and protecting their charges at all costs. For them, it came from the simplicity of the Will of Inhalla, their Mother of All. For them, it was no more than instinct, pure and strong.

    As this message came to pass over the young dragons, the silver-haired female turned towards the group of faces, seeing the shock, the fear, the awe, and the wary looks among them. She gave a slight smirk, nodding her head before speaking loudly enough for everyone to hear.

    Don’t you worry, everyone. I know what just happened may have you a little more than just uptight right now…but we really don’t have time for introductions or answers for any questions. That horn these bastards blew will have hundreds, if not thousands, of Tarjans on our trail looking for the dragon that killed these men. It’s only a matter of time, and you need to get through the mountain pass before you’re even slightly safe.

    She looked over at the hooded figure before stepping over to Xaria and leaping up onto her back as though she had done it more than a thousand times. Once she was up, she spoke again, giving nothing but direction this time. “You all must go through that mountain pass behind you to make it safely through the Thruskior Mountains. I will stay above and guide you, but we must move quickly! Now go!

    Without another word, the silvery dragoness leapt into the skies and began flying towards the mountain pass that had been mentioned. Close behind her, the hooded figure mounted his own black beast and went airborne. However, while she seemed to stay back to await those on foot, he flew on ahead, disappearing into the distance within just a few moments.

    For the young Varonians, this choice would be the choice of either life or death. Each of the dragonlings seemed to not wish to waste their time, but some of their charges would need more coaxing than others. It was only a matter of time before the soldiers would get there, and the choice would have to be made soon.



    The suns were fully risen now, but the red haze that had been cast by them fell away to the splatter of crimson blood, its metallic scent washing over the area as the morning birdsong dissipated with the sound of a horn blowing. Shirin snapped her head towards the leader in the back, grinding her teeth in anger at the man who dared call himself a warrior, too cowardly to bother even letting his own personal guard leave his side. As her blade went through the abdomen of another man, she shoved his body away, blood spewing from his mouth to splatter across her face and neck, her hazel eyes afire with rage. Before her were a stack of at least four or five bodies, if not more. At her side, Byriarti seemed to be racking up an even larger count.

    Yet before she could charge at the man and have her own personal revenge on his yellow-bellied antics, a blast of violet flames rained down on him and the men around him with a hot vengeance that mirrored her own anger. Though she wouldn’t have the satisfaction of killing the man herself, the young warrior found herself too in awe of the mighty beast above her to really care at that point. The battle cry from above sparked a bellow from her fiery partner, who blasted an armored foe with his powerful, frightening breath weapon, stepping back as the last of it melted the man in seconds before proceeding to burn a deep hole in the ground, careful to keep his feet away so that he wouldn’t harm himself.

    Her attention now not 100% on the battle at hand, Shirin found herself watching the two dragons above her land, their mounted riders leaping into the heat of the fight as though they had always belonged there. As her own blade came to slit the throat of yet another foolhardy soldier who cared not for his fallen brethren, she watched as the two dragons began tearing away at those that had yet to get the chance to swarm the group. Mere seconds revealed only a small number of the armored enemies left. And even her targets were swiftly taken down by one of the two mysterious riders before she was given a chance to fight.

    Byriarti gave a confused cry as his own attackers were taken out, his wings spreading in dismay and bewilderment. What was the meaning of this? Taking away his fun! Without realizing it, he quickly found himself tucking in behind his charge, who now stood with the tip of her dripping crimson blade just barely resting above the ground, lax and unsure.

    As the final target was taken down, the two odd figures set their gazes for Gareth, and everyone found themselves shaking away the awe of what had just happened. Shirin leaned against her sunlit companion, whose gaze was now set on the silvery dragoness with a strange fervor. Were they communicating, she wondered. Her gaze settled upon the other faces of the dragons, noticing that almost all of them were looking up at the silver creature, seeming to listen intently, transfixed on whatever their minds were possibly saying.

    Her stance only lasted a few seconds, though, before she set her eyes once again on the two odd figures, deciding it was time to get some answers. So, wiping her blade off with a soft cloth pulled from one of the three pouches on her waist, she stepped forward and went to speak. However, she would not get any words out before the silver-haired woman turned and spoke to the group as a whole.

    Right…so no answers yet. Gritting her teeth angrily, the young warrior turned her eyes towards the mountains, knowing that what the woman said was true. With a sigh of resignation, she turned herself towards Chandra, sheathing her blade before checking to make sure he was unharmed as well as his glowing partner. She watched as he lightly covered the little dragoness with a lightweight, dark cloth that would break up the suns’ rays enough to keep her from being harmed. As he did this, Byriarti moved to his sister’s other side and cooed lightly at her, nudging her to give her a little more comfort and confidence.

    Together, the four began moving towards the mountain pass, making their decision quickly as to not waste any time. As they passed the man with the bleeding tentacle twitching over his neck, seemingly in an attempt to slap the dead man's face, they blinked, and Shirin looked around looking for whoever could have done that. Unsure of who it could be, she returned to making her way towards the mountains, and in moments, she and her partners were within the shadows of the mountains. Perhaps discussion would begin soon with the others, and she would find out who they were.

    Only time would tell how well this would go.


    As Theolyn winced, and the soldier stopped his bellows in an attempt break away from the makeshift spear in his chest/shoulder area, Boo had rolled out of the way of another who had charged her, finding herself between the two. Nyteria had quickly taken out the threat by chomping on his arm and throwing him back to knock over a few of his comrades in arms. Theolyn looked down at his short companion, unsure of what to do or how to react. He knew, to a certain extent, that she had magic. That she was different. After all, she seemed to know what the dragons were saying, and every now and then he would find her doing odd things that didn’t make sense to him.

    But how could he possibly know that she had that much magic? Before he knew it, the man on the end of his speak was blasted with a powerful force strong enough to knock its user backwards into his legs, and they were all sent flying. Theolyn, whose legs were knocked backwards, felt his knees crunch beneath the pressure as his face came forward and down into the dirt, effectively breaking his nose. As he felt the crunch of his nose against hard-packed soil, he also felt the snap and crack of his beloved walking stick breaking in half, the other half remaining in the soldier’s shoulder.

    For a moment, everything went black as his head whiplashed against the dirt, and before he knew what was happening, he could feel Boo wriggling from beneath his legs. Rolling to his side, he pulled his hand up to his nose, feeling for the break before snapping it back into place and letting the blood dribble from his face. He saw stars a moment, opening his eyes wide and blinking a few times to gather his focus. He knew he had a concussion, but he also knew he had to get up.

    Nyteria moved herself between as many soldiers as she could and Theolyn, screeching furiously as Whoo dragged the screaming man away by the tentacle in his neck. Theolyn was dangerously close to being knocked out, but the medical practitioner part of him knew not to let himself fall asleep yet. So, with a groan, he forced himself to his feet, his legs screaming in pain from the force of his fall.

    He looked at Boo, confused, before the bellow of a much larger dragon sounded from overhead. Then, his gaze snapped up towards the sky to see a massive black creature blast a group of soldiers with purple flames. Everything was a little hazy, and he couldn’t make out much of the events. So, before he knew what was really going on, he found himself standing in a ring of blood, leaning on his now whining dragonette, and no longer being attacked. There were two more dragons than before, both much larger than the younglings that he had seen. With them came two more charges much like himself and Boo.

    Nyteria had turned her attention towards the silvery one, no longer whining. Instead, she listened intently before cooing in response and turning to look at Boo.

    ~You hear? She wants us to go to the pass. She says it’s safe there. Can we go?~

    She nudged Theolyn then, whimpering slightly before motioning towards the pass. Then, the woman of silver hair spoke, and everyone looked at her. Theolyn tried hard to listen to her words, but could only make out some of them. It would take him a few moments still for his concussion to fall into a headache, and hours before he would be able to focus again. But, what he got of the woman’s message before she took off was that the mountains were safe and the plains were not.

    Boo, are there anyone around here too injured to make a long journey? I can patch them up quick before we leave.” Ignoring his obvious question for the moment, he instead decided to wait to ask his companion about her odd abilities until they were in some moderation of safety.

    ~No! We go now and then patch up!~ Nyteria grew quite pushy, shoving the farmer with her snout before noticing that he had a lot more give than usual. He stumbled forward a few steps before turning and looking at her gently.

    My flower, please don’t push. We will not be in danger, but we must ensure that everyone is okay.” He turned to look at those that had yet to move and spoke loud enough for them to hear him, despite the splitting pain in his head this gave him. “If there is anyone who needs aide and cannot wait, I am a doctor. I can bandage you well enough for us to make it to safety. But we must be quick. Is there anyone who needs help?

    Nyteria, though itching to move ahead, resigned and looked around for anyone who might need help.
     
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  8. Cal & Ki


    Calina was engaging her second opponent, but her two wounds were taking its toll. The fiend had managed to disarm her within two seconds. Cal clambered back, barely dodging the sweeps of his razor sharp blade. Kilyria, unwilling to use her fire again, whirled and clubbed her opponent with her tail knocking him into Cal's attacker and knocking them both to the ground. Cal leaned heavily on her friend, murmuring how she would spoil her rotten if they survived this. Her hand clenched to her side where a blade had gone clean through, she started slightly at the battle cry of the immense, yet glorious beast above. Not even a second later, the world around them erupted in sweltering flames. Cal shielded her eyes, as she looked at the two figures who emerged from their dragons backs. She marveled at the swordsmanship of the woman, how quickly and how cleanly she danced through the survivors of the blaze that their creatures had emitted.

    As the battle finally came to an end, Cal stumbled to her knees in front of her beloved Ki to inspect the gash that the idiot had inflicted upon her. She gasped as a wave of dizziness rolled over her. She had lost a lot of blood, more than she had thought. "Ki...lets go." She whispered to no avail. She desperately wanted the shelter of the mountains, but Ki was not paying her any heed. She looked up only to see Ki facing the massive silver dragon with intense admiration clear upon her face. Cal turned her attention back to Ki's cut, but found it was only a scratch. Cal had leaned her head against her companions chest when the loud voice of the silver headed woman jerked her back to consciousness just as she was fading from it. Something about them making it over the pass to safety...finally someone talking sense.

    Cal struggled to her feet, still leaning on the now quivering Kilyria, who was near to dragging her beloved rider through the mountains herself when she remembered her rider had been hurt. Badly. Ki immediately turned her head to inspect her friend. Blood had seeped through her side, and left a small pool of it at her feet. Not to mention the shoulder wound that nearly caused her death. Narrowing her eyes, Ki nudged her friend, causing a yelp of pain on the red heads part, signalling she was hurting more than she let on. At the handsome farmer's voice exclaiming he was a doctor, Ki looked up. "Ki. No. I'm fine, lets just get out of here. You heard that lady, thousands of men are on their way...we need to get out." Cal took a deep breath and attempted to take a step forward without the aid of her dragon. The pain seared through her body, feeling like she was burning from the inside out, but she stayed upright. Hands clenched tightly to her hip, she trudged onward, only to be stopped by Kilyria planting herself between her and the pass. She huffed, as if to say You're not going anywhere in that condition. She looked towards the dragon that had introduced herself as Nyteria earlier. ~~Nyteria, my rider's been hurt, but she's too stubborn to admit it or ask for help, even if it means she bleeds to death. Can you get your rider's attention turned this way, please?~~ Excited as she was at meeting Xaria and her message, she wanted her rider's health to incline before they headed over the treacherous mountain pass. "Stubborn dragon." Calina muttered ironically as she leaned against her partner once more.
     
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  9. Boo could really only watch it all - in slow motion. She crashes into her Farmer’s legs, he goes over. It’s like a huge tree. Falling. You know that question of whether a tree fallling in the forest, does it make a sound if no one is around? Still unanswered, since she is here. Duh.

    She did roll out of the way, though. Come on, she is tiny, he is huge. It’s simple logic. You don’t stand in the way of falling trees! It’s when she comes to a stop and sees his bloody face that she feels bad. Super bad, actually.

    “Wow, Farmer Theolyn, I am sooooooooo sorry. Are you okay? Do I need to find you a medic? Oh, wait, you’re the medic. Umm. Umm…oh, wow, look! Big dragons! Huge. Fire. Yippeeeeeee!”

    Yup. That didn’t last long. She was quite earnest in the apology. But, its probably a good thing that the big dragons came. She can only watch in horror as the death and destruction came about. The bigger dragon was much better at this than the little ones. She pats Whoo’s head.

    “Yes, I heard, Nyteria. We can go once Theolyn seems to be able to stand up straight.”

    Yup, she just said that. And, with his words, she looks around. Good thing, for she notices the female farmer that is arguing with her dragon. The words of the dragon to Nyteria makes Boo look at Theolyn. She points out the female that has a wound.

    “There you go. Someone that needs your help before we go. You get that done, Nyteria, Whoo and I will go make sure all the dragons aren’t hurt.”

    And, with that, she wanders off to check over the dragons.
     
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  10. The day dawned more quietly than it had in weeks, almost as if Ova was gently passing Partheus to Phiadyn and Vyneir like a newborn child. A curious silence, the kind that normally accompanied snowfall, had settled around the Plains with the dawn of the suns, drawing a feeling of uneasiness from within Chandrakant's chest. The dry season had never occupied a special place in the dark man's heart to begin with, but the thorough quietness of the morning brought a tightness to his nerves that, while rarely experienced, he found to be enormously unpleasant.

    Placing a hand on his silvery partner (almost in sync with the movement of his travel companion), Chandra felt that she, too, was suffering from the stillness, trembling like a leaf in anticipation of whatever event they instinctively knew was about to occur. At his touch, however, the poor dragon's quaking lessened, and she leaned over to nuzzle his cheek with a kind of nervous affection. "What will come to pass will come to pass, Sanyuine, and we can only deal with the changes as gracefully as possible," the man murmured, and though he knew his words were likely intelligible to the young dragoness, she seemed comforted by the sound of his voice.

    The two carried on, flanked by their golden companions. Chandra caught a nod from the flaxen-haired warrior and returned it in kind, accepting her stoic silence as always. Even though he had been traveling with Shirin for over a year now, the only thing still tying them together was the inseparable bond of their dragons. It had been weeks since they had entertained a conversation longer than a few words apiece, preferring to keep to themselves and to their dragons instead. Regardless, Chandra could not deny that Shirin was a supremely useful and skillful companion, and that together the pair more than thrived off of the harsh conditions they regularly subjected themselves to.

    It was not long before the event in question had begun to assemble itself; glittering jewels shone on the horizon, growing to reveal themselves as dragons with human escorts. As the group grew closer, Shirin and Byriarti readied themselves for battle while Chandra busied himself calming his once-again trembling partner, who had shrank back in the shadows of her brother's outstretched wing like a baby bird beneath its mother's protective shield. An enormous, dark-haired man spoke first, his voice friendly but not eliciting a particularly enthusiastic response from the crowd. His Emerald dragon's introduction was met with a few more tentative 'hello's through mindspeak, though the awkwardness of the situation still hung in the air between the many pairs like a heavy, tangible thing. Apparently Chandra and Shirin weren't the only two humans with dusty social skills.

    The warrior among them seemed almost relieved when a small squadron materialized in the near distance, making a beeline for the suspicious group with the probable intention of killing their dragons. In spite of the progress he'd made over the past few years, Chandra could not help but shudder at the sight of the rapidly-nearing Tarjan soldiers, reminded of the day that had changed his life forever. Willing himself calm again, the dark man turned and placed a gentle hand on Sanyuine's quivering flank; in a moment, both were covered in the shadow of Byriarti's massive golden wings. At Shirin's words, the nomad nodded and glanced toward the pass in question. "Yue, you should leave this place," he said quietly, but the dragoness was far too terrified to do much else but huddle and shiver next to her more powerful brother.

    Battle erupted almost immediately, and Shirin wasted no time in cutting down soldier after soldier with her dragon following suit. Although he did not approve of needless violence, Chandra was grateful for their fervor, as it seemed to be keeping soldiers away from he and Sanyuine. He was able to disable most other attackers using his bow, carefully shooting arrows into knees and calves instead of taking the killing shot. If living in Badova village had taught him anything, it was that all life was sacred, and that normal men were often persuaded into doing evil things. Killing these men would not save them.

    Still, if a soldier came too close Chandra did not hesitate to put him down; as the battle wore on, Byriarti became more entangled in attackers and the duty of protecting Sanyuine fell more heavily on her partner's shoulders. In the heat of the struggle, one Tarjan soldier broke away from the defensive line Chandra had formed and raised his sword to strike the dark man down. Quick as lightning, Chandra stabbed forward with the butt of his bow and set the soldier off-balance, the downward arc of his sword swinging off and to the side. It clipped the bowman's shoulder before falling to the ground entirely, a small amount of blood staining the grey blade red. Disarmed and hindered by his bulky armor, the soldier was at a distinct disadvantage to his opponent's lightness-of-foot, but before Chandra had even taken a step forward, an ear-splitting scream pierced the air and sent the soldier to the ground in heap. Utterly bewildered, the dark man turned and saw his glowing dragon curled up behind him, still shivering with fear and looking up at him with pleading golden eyes.

    Before Chandra could react, the sound of wingbeats filled the air and a ring of violet flame engulfed the battleground, heralding the descent of two large dragons. From their backs sprung two mysterious figures wielding fearsome weapons, who wasted no time in massacring the entire Tarjan squadron. Despite his throbbing shoulder, Chandra felt growing horror at the careless way the pair cut down the soldiers like animals, covering the ground in a river of blood. Eventually the small group stood in a pile of corpses, including all of the men and women he had been so careful to spare.

    Judging by Yue's sudden transfixed gaze on the older dragons, they must have been in some kind of communication; not a moment later, the silver-haired newcomer urged the group to head toward the mountain pass, as Shirin herself had suggested not ten minutes earlier. Left without much of a choice, Chandra brought a dark cloth out from his knapsack and tossed it over his partner, being careful to cover her sensitive skin as thoroughly as possible. Sanyuine shrank back against the flank of her brother, returning his nudge with a small nuzzle of her own before moving toward the mountain pass. Her rider reluctantly followed. The joy of finding other dragons had been soured by the violent killing of the bodies littered around him, and as he walked Chandra quietly wondered whether these strangers would bring hope or only more death and destruction.

    It had been weeks since Cora Taylor Morgan had seen the sea, and as she waded through the tall grasses, their rippling movement stirred a sharp longing that could only be relieved by the sight and feel of open water. Trying to shake the distracting feeling, the sailor leaned to the side and planted a kiss on her partner, a handsome white dragon whose rosy eyes seemed to shine a little brighter with the show of affection. At one-and-a-half years old, Cassius was much more of a brute than he had been on that first day, when he had fallen out of his egg with a weak, wet plop. In spite of the strange nervousness she was feeling, Cora couldn't help but smile at the memory. Now her Cass was a man, nearly the size of a pony, with a graceful but reptilian build, and a long, thick tail she had grown accustomed to avoiding. His maw was heavily muscled, and filled with rows of sharp teeth, but Cora would not have hesitated to stick her head inside should the situation have demanded it. The trust between dragon and rider was nearly absolute.

    The trust between rider and rider, however, still needed work. As they walked through the grasses, Cora glanced over at her red-headed companion, who was staring forward with stoic determination. Regardless, it was obvious to the sailor that Cal was also feeling a little uneasy. Something is about to happen. Without warning, Kilyria suddenly burst forward from the quartet, though she pulled back at her partner's sharp urging. Curious, Cassius picked his head up and squinted at the horizon, though Cora was able to discern the approaching figures at around the same time as her albino friend. The gemlike, shimmering forms were unmistakably dragons.

    As the band of dragons and riders tightened, the green-eyed woman tensed up, wary of those in the group who were reaching for weapons. Unconsciously she began to finger the hilt of a dagger in her knapsack, but with one gentle nudge from Cassius she reluctantly withdrew her hand from the bag. A massive, curly-haired man spoke up first, though Cora was too distracted by the ... woman ... thing ... perched atop his shoulders to respond (to be fair, she would not have responded in any case). Cassius, much like his friend Kilyria, was instantly charmed by the dragons gathered around him, and spoke after a moment, ~It is so good to meet all of you! I am called Cassius, and my small human is called Cora.~ Despite his friendly tone, the albino seemed a little bashful at having spoken up so eagerly; however, before he had time to wallow in embarrassment, the sound of clanking metal drew the group's collective attention elsewhere.

    Somehow the Tarjan army had managed to surround them quickly, quietly, like mountain cats on unsuspecting prey. One terse command and steel was suddenly everywhere, leaving little time to flee; there was only the fight.

    Within half a second Cora was wielding a dagger in each hand and swaying back and forth in an active position, challenging her first attacker to come nearer. Though the sight of a heavy sword scared her a little, the sailor buckled down and took the force of her attacker's blade bravely, parrying his blow to the side and using her lighter weapons to land small jabs in the creases of his armor. The next strike she caught in her special slotted dagger, and with one clever twist the man was easily disarmed. Lunging forward, Cora sunk her blade into the soldier's exposed neck, then hastily withdrew. Unsurprisingly, he crumpled. I just killed a man.

    With little time to contemplate what she had just done, the sailor continued to hold her attackers back, defending her beautiful Cassius from those who would wish to harm him. To his credit, Cass knocked a few soldiers with the use of his well-muscled tail, but refrained from killing; he did not have the strength for it. Regardless, the pair did fairly well in keeping themselves unharmed.

    A few minutes into the battle, Cora glanced to the side just in time to see a soldier thrust his sword into her travel companion. "CAL!" she screamed, fighting her way toward the younger girl and her silvery, blood-stained dragon. Suddenly, a sword came whistling out of nowhere toward the sailor's freckled face; it was by the grace of Varon that Cora was able to lift her dagger in time to catch the edge of the sword, but she wasn't quick enough to stop it completely. For a moment the small woman struggled with her attacker as his sword cut slowly into her forehead, her dagger in a weak position to deflect the heavier blade. Desperate and in pain, the sailor found that her free hand had somehow lost its dagger and was scrabbling against the sword in a frantic effort to push it aside. Blood ran into green eyes, blinding them and covering the world in a foggy red haze...

    It was not ten seconds before the terrible pressure was removed, leaving Cora blind, bewildered and with a horrible screaming in her ears. Cassius had bitten down on her attacker's torso and was now shaking him viciously, tossing his body aside once the man's neck had snapped. If their lives weren't still hanging in the balance, Cora would have been worried at her peaceful dragon's violent display, but in that moment she needed to reach Calina. The two may not have been close in the traditional sense, but Cal was the nearest thing to a younger sister that Cora had; she was certainly not allowed to die here, so far from home.

    Before the sailor could take another step, however, an ominious shadow passed overhead, and, like lightning, two whirling figures leaped from the backs of two massive dragons and proceeded to rain hell on what remained of the Tarjan squadron. Though her vision was still impaired by the blood coursing into her eyes, Cora was utterly amazed and relieved by the presence of these two mysterious warriors. Within seconds the battlefield was coated in bodies, a terrible but awe-inspiring sight, and the strange pair were left standing in the middle like two twin spectres of death. They urged the survivors to head for the mountain pass, and then left as soon as they had arrived, in a whirlwind of beating wings and shining scales.

    Cora was skeptical, but she and all of those gathered had heard the warning horn sound across the plains. A larger Tarjan squad was soon to arrive, and when they did, no number of mysterious saviors would help save the day. After a moment's hesitation, the sailor checked her partner for any wounds, and, finding none, she jogged over to her red-headed companion to ascertain the damage this battle had caused. To her horror, Cora found Cal's side soaked in blood, with several gaping wounds in her side and shoulder; remarkably, the fiery girl still seemed to be resisting medical attention. "Cal, you're never going to make it to the pass if you bleed out before we get there," the curly-haired woman spoke, gently looping her companion's good arm over her shoulders despite the strong tone. "Don't make me carry you- you're tougher than that. Let's get these patched up for now." With one bloody hand holding Cal's arm in place and the other gingerly supporting the damaged shoulder, Cora momentarily forgot her own injury until she tried to stare up at this so-called 'doctor' through a curtain of blood. "Can you do that? She's strong, she can make it... she just needs something quick."

    As Cora was able to analyze the man before her, she found herself becoming less and less optimistic for the fate of her companion. It was obvious that this hulk of a man had also sustained some pretty serious injuries, considering he was swaying precariously from side to side like a tree in a hurricane. "Hey, are you okay? Do you need ..." She was about to say 'a doctor,' but given the current situation the offer seemed inappropriate. At a loss, the sailor could only stare at the bleeding people around her, all the while blinking red out of her own eyes. How had this happened, she wondered?

    In a cool second, a tall, dark form had materialized near the doctor's side, hands strong and ready to help. "Doctor, allow me to aid you. I was a medical assistant for several years and may be of some service." It was unlike Chandra to walk away from those who needed his help, and in this case, when they needed to be moving again quickly, two sets of hands were better than one.
     
    #10 girlabot, Mar 13, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
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  11. The comment made by his much smaller comment did not escape the farmer, despite his obvious problems staying in focus. Removing a small, white cloth from one of his three pouches tied to his waist with a simple leather belt, he wiped his face off gingerly before taking a waterskin and pouring a bit onto the cloth to get a better clean. His hands shook somewhat violently, and he was glad that he would not have the time to stitch, despite a part of him being afraid that someone in the area was going to be in need of such attention. Quick bandaging was all anyone would be able to get for now, sadly, for he knew that an army on the way spelled a great deal of trouble, and fast.

    When Boo pointed towards the injured one, he noticed a pair, both looking a little worse for wear. At his side, Nyteria continued to hop from foot to foot anxiously. This time, however, it was more from the blood she was seeing on the two dragons. Of course, she was not short of her own bloodstains and even a few wounds. But hers were minor and easily managed. After all, she was a warrior at heart and could handle a few scrapes and bruises. But that pretty Silver did not seem to like her cuts any whatsoever.

    ~Boo! The Silver needs help. She has deep cuts and needs healing. You heal her, yes? I help.~ Before anything else could be said or done, she trotted towards the Silver, smiling a dragonly smile towards the one named Cassius as she passed him. Behind her, a series of beautiful flowers grew with her excitement. This, of course, did not go unnoticed by her loving farmer.

    It was another thing that Theolyn would need to mention before heading out, which would have to be soon. First, however, he focused his attention on the two women, looking first at the one that was held up by the other. Her red hair looked like the fires of the suns against the blood that lay on the sodden earth around them, and despite the fact that he had a problem standing upright, he knew that her wounds were much worse than the bleeding of the female who held her upright.

    When the other young lady asked him if he was okay, he looked to her and smiled compassionately. “Do not worry, my lady. I am only giving her bandages until we can make it to a safer place. That gives my head some time to rest and heal. It is only a broken nose and concussion.

    When another came to his side and spoke, he looked to the figure. His smile grew into a grin then, and he let himself fall into a small sense of relief. Good. Another with necessary skills. “Yes, please. If you could, help me ready the bandages as I search for the wounds. I have many supplies, so there should be enough to help both of these young ladies.” Turning then, he looked back at them.

    My apologies, I forgot to ask your names. I am Theolyn, from the northern city of Lortania. My lady,” he gestured at the redhead this time, “If you please, sit down a moment, I can see the extent of your wounds and wrap accordingly. It will be a quick job, just enough to slow the bleeding so that we can get you to a safer place and stitch you up properly. It seems my Nyteria and our companions are also going to help your dragon, so you have nothing to worry about. Please, can you tell me where it hurts so that I can better find the wounds and patch them?

    As he looked at the young woman and began studying her through his hazy vision, he pulled out various sized wrapped linens and white strips of bandaging cloth, handing them to the dark-haired man at his side before also handing him a waterskin. “Please, kind sir, wet the cloth so that I can wipe away some of the blood and possible infection. Then, I can wrap her quickly so that we can get to safety.

    He looked to the young lady with blood on her face and smiled gently. “I would also like to treat your head wound. It may not be serious, but it will bleed a lot, and I feel like you will need your eyes for what we are all about to head into.

    At first, it seemed that Chandra and Sanyuine were going to follow their sunlit partners into the pass without trouble, but as the man who had spoken up originally spoke again, calling for any injured so that he could help, the warrior looked back to find that her comrades had already moved back into the bloodstained circle to help as well. She grumbled, which was mirrored with a growl from her scaled partner, whose anger seemed as potent as his steaming hot breath.

    Giving a sigh, Shirin looked at Byriarti and motioned him back. “You know we can’t leave them…besides, it’s not like you would anyway.” When he glared at her with icy eyes, she gave a huff and crossed her arms. “Don’t give me that look! Not my fault you hatched with a softy like her. Seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact that I watched you both come out of that egg, I would never think the two of you are related. As different as night and day.

    A droll stare was given from that comment, which only reciprocated another huff and a throwing of hands as the flaxen-haired woman stomped forward, ring mail jingling with her heavy footsteps. She caught up with Chandra in just a few strides, as it was obvious she wasn’t going very far from him with Byriarti’s protective nature of his sister. Naturally, he moved back to the shivering blanket and used his shining wings as shields against the harsh sunlight, making himself as much a shadow as he possibly could.

    Shirin did not say anything to the group, instead taking the time to look out on the horizon and keep watch. Her face, which had shown the tiniest bit of emotion when speaking to her intelligent ward, was now a blank mask, and while her armor was stained with blood, she was seemingly untouched. Placing her right hand once more upon the grip of her sword, readily waiting any signs of the enemy, she let herself fall into a blank statue while her dragon growled lightly every now and then, aiming his icy glares at Chandra, who was taking up his precious time to get his sister to safety. It was obvious who was the more controlled one of the pair.
     
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  12. Myria's emotions swayed from hopelessness to joy as she noticed the shadows. Although hesitant at first the adult’s actions along with their own companions soon proved her hope true as they dealt with the surrounding humans swiftly. Allowing the group of youngsters to recover themselves and stare in shock or awe at what was a down right slaughter.
    Her companion was not the wiser and seemed bewildered at the turn of events but Myria understood that part of that was most likely from the hit to her head earlier along with the blood rush from the chaos of the fight.
    The two were unable to add much to the battle at all inexperienced and mainly unarmed most effort had gone to stay out of the way of both friend and foe. Luckily some of their current allies seemed capable enough for it matter little on that part.
    Yes, it seemed they had in this misfortune struck some very needed luck and hopefully now things would turn for the better once they got away. But for now other things needed to be taken care of the dragon thought and mentally spoke with the larger ones but also the other young dragons got the message. Hopefully Ryyker and Orthrax would be of some help in what she was about to say. At least those two, Hana had begun to trust enough to let near her.
    ~“Yes I will, also thank you for the help. And If possible for now my companion needs some space, she strongly distrusts humans and can react violently to sudden approach”~

    As for Hana the only thing that kept her from taking a distance was the insuring buffs and nuzzles from her lizard friend that also helped her calm down.
    When it seemed that Ryyker and Orthrax also where alive and that these newcomers who saved them meant well she went on to overlook her own body poking some of the wounds a bit to see how severe the wounds where before simply tightening some of the rags on her body as makeshift bandages ignoring if it left some skin bare. Waving of Myria who gave the girl a long look for the careless treatment of the wounds on her body, some who definitely needed stitching. She then turned to the dragon and looked her over as well. Easily ignoring and avoiding the dragon’s protests. It did not take long as Myria had done well and so only had a few scrapes and bruises.
    While doing it she glanced at the other people as they went over their own wounds and needs of aid few had gone trough unharmed the girl noted but mostly she looked at the one with flaxen hair, who clearly showed strength but also something else. it would be lying to say she wasn’t curious about them but for now observing was enough and they kept to theirs which was good or so she thought until one small thing showed up. Appearing like a small girl yet clearly not. Hana tilted her head looking at it confused on what to think as it took her completely of guard and while she clearly showed distrust it was an uncertain kind. But even kids could be dangerous.
     
    #12 Silvir, Mar 14, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  13. Cal was fighting to stay conscious, yet her body was fighting against it. She had lost a lot of blood, maybe too much. Her body was going into shock. Her breathing was rapid, but shallow as she tried to pull oxygen into her starved lungs. Her skin was clammy with moister but cold to the touch, and she felt weak, weaker than she cared to admit. Ki nudged her rider, determined not to let her fall asleep and huffed as Cora approached, giving her a pleading look to convince her beloved friend to accept the help she so desperately needed. "Cal, you're never going to make it to the pass if you bleed out before we get there," Ki whuffed her agreement, making Cal finally accept she was going nowhere without help. Leaning on Cora heavily, she tried her best not to make it too burdensome on her friend. Protesting when Ki wasn't going to follow, she looked back and noticed a few other dragons and the short young woman attending to her cut. Content to let them help Ki heal, Cal turned her attention back to the large, yet handsome man before them.

    The farmer, who introduced himself as Theolyn, had a strong presence, yet it seemed something was messing with his balance and vision as he fumbled with his pack. "Calina, the stubborn dragon is Kilyria, this is Cora." She fell silent as another bout of dizziness swept over her. When asked where she was hurting, she looked around. It seems the only ones paying attention where Cora and Theolyn. Lifting her shirt to the edge of her bosom, Cal watched their faces as they analyzed the grotesque wound that had hindered her so. The one on her shoulder could wait until they were over the pass and closer to safety. Yes, it had caused her to lose her blade, but that was mainly from surprise that he had missed her throat. She sank to her knees, unable to stand any longer. She leaned back on her hands, and tried not to retch the contents of her stomach.

    She looked at Cora, and finally noticed the gash on her forehead. Frowning, she stared for a bit before realizing it wasn't too serious. But it would hinder sight...Theolyn also noticed and offered his help as well.

    Kilyria had hovered over her charge like a Mama bear protected her cubs. She had been glad when Cora came and half dragged her to see the man who is called Theolyn. She looked at the trio walking towards her. ~~Hello, Nytyria. The wound is just a scratch, I'm sure it could wait until we reach the shelter of the pass.~~ She said to the pretty emerald dragon. She was being honest, not stubborn. The wound had even stopped bleeding, a sign that healing had already begun.
     
    #13 Bitterblue, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
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  14. After the fire seemed to destroy just about every armor clad solider around them, Ryyker begins to look for his partner that he arrived with with Ortharax nearby.

    Ortharax
    "It seems you took a nasty cut to your face you may need to get that stitched up if that's the right word for that or find someone with healing powers." Orthrax begins to shake a little from the spell of blood in the air. "I do wish some of the bodies weren't so charred from fire though.

    Ryyker spotted Hana and walks that way with his hand feeling the large gash on his cheek. "Well seems like this may mess with my good looks hopefully this dosnt spoil my chance with any of the girls. Well maybe you can find a person me or you killed they may be able to provide a small meal to tide you over."

    The Black Dragon looks to Ryyker with no reply and Ryyker knows that Orthrax is ok.

    Ryyker looks to his swords then to the bigger dragons. "Well if these things weren't here to help us we'd probably be dead by now. I will also thank you for your help but please do not expect much of a warmer welcome from me since we seem to be a little injured and irritated me and my companions." He motions his hands to his Dragon as well as Hana and Myria. "We may be a little apprehensive to anyone new since those soldiers didn't welcome us to well."
    Ryyker sits down and puts a rag against his cheek to stop the bleeding. But he also keeps one hand on one of his blades if he needed to defend himself of his companions.
     
  15. While worriedly hovering after his rider, Cassius was momentarily distracted by the Emerald, Nyteria, who left wildflowers in her path as she floated toward Ki. Mystified by such beautiful magic, the albino could not help but stare after the retreating green dragoness with curious, rosy eyes. It came as no surprise that he still had much to learn of dragonkind from this new alliance; the only dragon he had ever known was Ki, and, while not identical by any means, their species shared many similarities. He longed to know more about the dragoness who left gardens in her step, but, catching her gaze, the poor albino started and hurried off after Cora, absolutely mortified.

    The sailor stared up at the giant before her with an incredulous expression: only a broken nose and concussion? I suppose losing a few rocks wouldn't bring down a mountain, she thought, and decided not to comment, dubiously hoping that this tank of a doctor would take care of her friend.

    Cal groaned out an introduction for the both of them, so the sailor remained silent, focusing her energy on keeping the other girl upright. When the redhead lifted her shirt, Cora hissed in surprise and concern- it looked awful, a gaping mess of flesh and blood. As the doctor, Theolyn, fumbled with bandages of various sizes, handing some of them to the darker man at his side, the green-eyed woman struggled to keep blood out of her vision while continuing to support her younger companion. After a moment, Cal's legs gave out and she sunk to the ground in a puddle of blood, leaving Cora no choice but to follow suit. How are we going to get there if she can't even stand? The sailor worried, adjusting her position to better expose her friend's horrible wound.

    The group was, in general, a complete and utter mess.

    Cora was so focused on her friend's labored breathing that she almost missed the doctor's offer to bandage her forehead; instinctively, she recoiled as if insulted. "What? No, it's fine, I'm fine. I can see just ... " A stream of blood trickled down from the corner of one green eye like a crimson tear, and the patient touch of an albino snout persuaded Cora to reconsider. "...Fine," she finished, gently dropping Cal's hand to violently rub the muck from her field of vision. "Okay, yeah. Thanks." Momentarily free of blood, the woman's clear green eyes pierced the man's warm brown ones, wary and a little threatening, but reluctantly trusting him to patch up her friend. "But her first."

    Chandra did just as Theolyn asked, accepting the bandages and dampening them, then handing them back to the doctor. "My name is Chandrakant Rama, though you may call me Chandra," the dark man spoke, his voice deep, quiet, and sounding more like background noise than a formal introduction. Having treated many a refugee fleeing from the Tarjan army, Chandra had seen his share of gore and violence, and his face remained as still as water even as the small redhead lifted her shirt to reveal a nasty-looking wound. He was certain it looked less intimidating beneath the blood and dirt, though a more careful examination would be required after they had made it to the pass.

    As Theolyn attended to his patients, Chandra kept an eye on his dragon and companion to the side, concerned for their safety but already feeling a strange bond to this group that fate had assembled. Cognizant of the fact that Byriarti was likely steaming at having to wait, the freckled man shot his own shimmering dragon a calm smile and willed himself to move a little more quickly. Although neither Shirin nor her partner would be pleased, Chandra silently resolved to carry Calina to the pass if she was unable to walk after bandaging. Theolyn was larger but more unstable at the moment, and the dragons were not yet strong enough to bear a human's weight. Besides, he had carried a woman through a mountain pass before, and then it had been without the support of a squadron of dragons.

    Meanwhile, Sanyuine cowered next to her sun-soaked brother with fear in her golden eyes, finding momentary relief when her rider smiled at her but soon returning to her previous, panicked state. ~B-b-brother, who were those m-m-men?~ she asked the dragon beside her, glancing up into his icy blue eyes with considerable apprehension. Today she had seen a side of her brother that she had never seen before, and while she still loved him with all of her heart and was grateful for his protection, the dragoness was more than a little unnerved. ~I-I-I do not underst-stand. Why were they t-t-trying to hurt us when we had not d-d-done anything wrong?~
     
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  16. The green dragoness gave a huff at her new silvery friend, tossing her head before giving a slightly toothy grin. ~Nonsense! Your rider is in rough shape right now, so we have time to look you over no problem. I am not very good at using my magic yet, but I'll do my best, yes?~

    Still so new to her own magical abilities, little Nyteria wasn’t sure if she could do anything herself. The whispers of Ihkari sounded around her, and she knew that one day, its song may grant her the power to heal those of her own kind. But she did not yet know her own limitations. Would she be able to at least mend the wound enough to close it? There was only one way to find out.

    Turning her attention to the next thing mentioned, her grin spread, and she danced from foot to foot momentarily. ~Oh, right! My name is Nyteria. My chosen is the tall man helping your rider. I call him Theo.~ She paused a moment, looking back at the shy white male with a gentler smile. He was so introverted, and a part of her wondered why this was the case. But soon, her mind wandered back to the questions imposed, and she bounced, her whip-like tail swaying excitedly in the wind, nearly thwapping Whoo across the side. ~Yes, I agree! So long spent running, and now we will have a purpose! And to think, one day we will look as glorious as the great Xaria! Perhaps, at some point, we will meet others of our own breeds and shine amongst them like mighty warriors!~ Of course, it was in the young Emerald’s blood to have such a desire. She was born to be a warrior, and her slender, agile frame only suited such a lifestyle more. Though not a tank, she was quick, and her claws were already sharper than razors. Her bright blue eyes sparkled with thoughts of the future, and once again, she found her mind wandering.

    Of course, the wanderings of the little dragoness's mind did not last long, as she remembered her idea to heal the silvery creature before her. ~Right, let me see about fixing that.~ She turned, pulling a few of the flowers that had grown behind her now-rooted tail from the ground before taking a few steps towards Kilyria. ~I'll use these first. They can help clean the scratch...then I can try using some of my magic. Is that okay?~

    Meanwhile, Theolyn nodded towards Cora before he analyzed the grotesque wound that spread from just beneath Calina’s bosom down to her waist, his brow furrowing slightly. “Well, the good news is this is only a flesh wound. So it looks a lot worse than it is. For now, we can clean it, pack it with linens, and wrap it. Once we get to safety, though, I will need to analyze it further, and it will need to be recleaned and then stitched. Sadly, that means it will hurt. A lot. However, I am quick, and my hands are steady, so as long as you can manage to sit still through the pain, you shouldn’t have any problems.” His smile was apologetic as he crouched down and put his knees in the dirt, which seemed to steady him that much more.

    A pleasure to meet you, Chandra.” This was said as the farmer took the wetted cloths and began dabbing the already drying blood from around the gnarled flesh. “Perhaps at a later time, you and I can put our knowledges together for future use. I get the feeling we will all be spending a lot more time together from now on.

    For a few moments thereafter, silence fell on the blooded face of the man as he worked diligently, dabbing and wiping where he could to reveal more flesh and less blood. It seeped from the wound slowly, which was a good sign. Silently, he only hoped that there would be no internal bleeding, and his cleaning only seemed to confirm that it was no more than a deep cut in her skin, only one or two ribs showing beneath the thick flesh.

    Once he was finished cleaning the wound, he took more fresh linens from one of the side pouches and folded them neatly, placing them delicately against the cut until it was covered, his massive hands able to hold each of the packings against it. Then, finally, he looked to Chandra, who still held the wrap. “I’ll need your help for this part. Could you and Miss Cora wrap this around Miss Calina’s chest and abdomen, please?” Looking back to the pale young woman, he spoke gently. “Miss Calina, I will need you to remove your top. We will need the bandage to go over your opposite shoulder so that it does not slide down while we travel. Can you do that for us?” He knew that what he was asking was hard for a young woman, but Theolyn hoped that she would come to understand that he only did this out of necessity.


    Byriarti looked over at his sweet, shivering sister, his icy eyes melting into pools of crystalline blue as his wing stretched over her affectionately. ~I believe those were the enemy, sweet sister. The ones we were sent to fight. Remember what Inhalla told us before we hatched?~

    His head craned around to peek at her from beneath her dark cover, touching his nose to hers gently. ~She told us that we were once the mightiest on the surface of Industrin. She said that we should always be the mightiest…but in order to do that, we had to find a balance in our world. That is where our charges come in. We bond with them, and they will learn about dragon kind. Learn that we are the greatest race on this wondrous planet. In return, they will help us regain balance. This is only the first step. But don’t you worry, sister. I’ll always be here to help you. Just as you guard me in the night, I will protect you in the day. Together, there will be nothing that can stop us!~

    His voice was deep and enticing, and though his words could have either affect on the fearful dragoness at his side, he knew that his very presence would make her feel better. That was why he stayed by the sweet Sanyuine. Just as she was his comfort in the dark hours of the night, he was her stability in the light of day.

    Shirin peeked over at the pair, a slight smile rising on her lips as her arms crossed over her chest. Though she was not an impatient woman, it was quite obvious that she would want to get moving soon. But the whims of her comrade kept her feet planted. She turned back to look at the scene unfolding before her, the gash on the woman’s side reminding her of the many wounds she had seen on the battlefield. It was incredible that this woman was taking it so well, as she didn’t seem like the warrior type. A small tic of approval appeared in the back of her mind as her gaze wandered out into the distance.

    Soon, they would need to move. If all else failed, she would carry the woman into the mountain pass. At least then, they could get going. They wouldn’t survive another attack.
     
    #16 Mowkie, Mar 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  17. Ki grinned in answer to Nyteria's response, then paused, looking towards her rider, she practically whimpered at the state Cal was in. The foolish girl would have bled out trying to continue without aid. She sensed very vaguely the amount of discomfort she was in, it spiked suddenly as Theo asked her something...probably personal. Sighing, she turned her attention back to her new friend. ~I would be grateful for any help you can offer, friend. Let's just be quick about it.~

    Snickering at Cora's typical response, so much similar to her own, Calina pushed her own bangs of fiery red hair out of her face and behind her ears. She was anxious to be done and on her way, although she couldn't deny now that she would never make it without aid. She couldn't even stand up straight... She kept her face neutral as Theolyn started to dab at the ugly wound. Her body, however, betrayed the pain by shuddering away from his touch. She carefully raised her arms so Cora and Chandra could wrap the cloth around without difficulty, careful to avoid jarring her shoulder. However his next words made her hesitate. "Miss Calina, I will need you to remove your top. We will need the bandage to go over your opposite shoulder so that it does not slide down while we travel. Can you do that for us?" Cal met his eyes. Normally, she wasn't too strict when it came to modesty, she had stripped in front of Cora on multiple occasions, when the circumstances called for it. But this was different. Those times it had just been them and their dragons, here....there were so many people...a spike of panic flared through her as her insecurities rose. What if they think she's not strong enough to handle this, she was tiny, after all. What would they think if she did it too willingly? Would they think her a whore? She held the big man's eyes through all of this, her eyes showing nothing to give away the turmoil within.

    Finally, after a few minutes of silence, she nodded. Careful not bump her shoulder, Cal used her good arm to work her shirt up and over her head. She kept her eyes on Theolyn as she revealed the rough, ragged scar that went from her left hip to her right breast. It was a long story how she'd got it...and she didn't feel like explaining. She made sure his eyes didn't wander as most men would have. One wrong move, and she'd slug him so hard he ended up in the next decade. "Let's just get this over with and get on the way. More men will be here within minutes." she said softly, an icy tone in her voice.
     
    #17 Bitterblue, Apr 3, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  18. Suthdur, 18 Khurnas
    Year 2 - Age of the Ancients


    0556 - A Rush to Leave
    The very moment that everyone was well enough to make it out of the open, it was decided to leave. Making their way towards the narrow pathway between two very large mountains, the group disappeared from sight, leaving nothing behind – not even the flowers left by the strange young Emerald.

    The narrow opening was only large enough for them to enter single-file, as the dragonlings were too large to double up. The mountains shielded them from the harshness of the skies above, and there was little that could be seen within the shadows of stone and earth. The ground was smooth, but the sides were somewhat jagged, leaving little room to rest. A tense silence filled the area for the longest time, fear and anxiety brewing heavily in the hearts of some, while anger and other emotion filled others.

    After around an hour of walking down the only path available to them, the narrow pass opened up quite a bit – enough for the dragonlings to double or even triple up on each other, allowing the young Chosen a chance to get a closer look at each other. The suns were high in the skies now, and while one of the two mountains cast a great deal of shadows on the group, there was enough light to see faces.

    One of them spoke – the farmer, pulling from his pouch a few somewhat wilted plants. “I have a little food if anyone is hungry. We’ll be travelling for some time, it seems. Should we not at least grow acquainted with one another?

    The warrior woman beside her glowing dragon of the sun gave a roll of the eyes and a huff, her monotone voice sounding through the stony walkway. “Who is to say that we are going to remain in each other’s’ company for long?

    The pass, I would assume. That mystery woman has not shown up since she appeared and saved our lives. I get the feeling she wants us to walk to the island…and this is a trip that could take us weeks.

    It was obvious that tension could be a problem, but it was up to the young Chosen to learn whether or not coming to know each other was a good idea. Only time would tell if this tension could fall away.

     
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  19. Ryyker listens to the small bicker between the male farmer and the female warrior. "Well it would not be a bad idea to get to know your allies but I'm not to keen on sharing information about myself to someone who may be leafing soon I don't like to be betrayed." The last part of the statement was directed at the female warrior. Orthrax could feel the tension all around and after Ryykers last statement decided to keep her eyes on the Women and her Dragon. "But if we are going to keep on this quest together getting to know each other may help to pass the time. So what was your name again I seem to have forgot it." Ryyker directs the question to the male farmer.
     
  20. At last the group was able to leave the dangers of the open plain behind them, filing into the narrow mountain pass with hushed footsteps and more than a few nervous backwards glances. Sanyuine crept forward on her brother's heels, trying not to feel crushed by the enormous walls of stone surrounding them. Although she knew her human was only a few paces behind, the dragoness ached for his hand on her shoulder, which felt just as she imagined the sun's rays did on normal, more forgiving skin: warm, comforting, and full of life. Her head held low, the shimmering Moonstone continued to follow in her brother's footsteps, praying for a swift and early sunset as she quietly padded forward.

    The dark-haired man was indeed only a few steps behind his shimmering partner, footsteps nimble despite the weight of the woman he carried. Even if Calina were strong enough to walk, her bandages were certainly not, and so Chandra had offered to carry her through the pass. Keeping her wounded side in mind, he had slung her arms around his neck and carried her piggy-back style, and although this was not the easiest way to carry someone for hours, it was probably the most comfortable for her. The minutes ticked by and still the freckled man walked forward, not complaining, not faltering; he had walked further distances with heavier burdens, and would not fail with another's well-being on the line.

    After about an hour the pass widened, allowing the dragons to walk two and even three abreast; immediately Sanyuine leaped forward to her brother's side, with an apprehensive glance backward to make sure that her rider was still following. Chandra gave her a small, tired smile, and nodded. He would remain near Calina's dragon out of respect for the red-headed woman, but he knew Byriarti's presence would calm the skittish silver dragoness. After a few minutes, the farmer pulled a few withered stems from his bag, and offered them to the rest of the party in a gesture of goodwill. The dark-skinned man was silent, not hungry, but knew a kind heart when he saw one and felt appreciation for Theolyn's generosity. Naturally Shirin was quick to question those good intentions, but Chandra knew that sharp words were her first line of defense, and did not blame her for it.

    Another man in the group spoke up, skeptical at first but eventually coming to ask for the farmer's name. Chandra approved. There was little harm in a name, and his was certainly not mean to be kept a secret. After a quiet moment of thought, the archer spoke, "My name is Chandra, and I come from the mountains to the north." Although he had already introduced himself to a few earlier, he now addressed the entire group, and waited patiently for their own inevitable introductions.


    Cora felt completely useless after the tall man with the braided hair had taken Calina on his back, and comforted herself by watching him like a hawk. She kept a casual eye on the doctor as well, though he seemed to have composed himself after a few minutes of walking. Mercifully the group was able to enter the pass in minutes, and from within its rocky walls the sailor felt more safe, more protected. Cassius was somewhat less pleased by the massive walls of stone, but he was a creature of the water, not the earth, and could not be expected to feel the same relief as his rider.

    Both the curly-headed woman and her dragon trailed behind Ki for the next hour, with Cassius wary of their surroundings and Cora wary of their group; between the two of them, they fostered a well-rounded sense of paranoia. The trek was slow-going, especially to the sailor, whose nerves demanded she run, or fight, or swim- not walk calmly forward, and certainly not in the midst of strangers. Regardless, one of those strangers held her friend, and Cora was not about to abandon the only person she had chosen to speak to in the past several years. Eventually the trail opened up a bit, allowing the woman to walk beside her white dragon; she placed a hand on his neck and sighed, letting her fingers fall down his warm scales. No words were needed. Though tired, and certainly a little scared, they were both determined to continue on.

    Theolyn offered the group a few leaves from his bag, and despite her disdain for plants as human food, Cora heard her stomach growl in complaint. She remained quiet, and continued to view the scene playing out before her in watchful silence.
     
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