The Mercy of Inhalla

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Original poster
Invitation Status
  1. Not accepting invites at this time
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
  2. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
Online availability depends entirely on what is going on in life. I have a kindergartener, a baby on the way, and I'm the spouse to an officer, meaning without me, the house becomes a fallout warzone. On top of all of that, I write for work as well as for work tends to come first.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Primarily Prefer Female
Fantasy and Sci-Fi are my two major favorites. However, I tend to be quite the picky player. I prefer an RP with a great deal of development...the world, the lore, everything. And for those GMs looking for help with lore, I love to world build!
[fieldbox="Thaydur - 12 Vonas - Year 1 - Age of the Ancients, #C0C0C0, solid, Tahoma"]
The sounds of the waves crashing against the small sandy shore drowned out almost all other sounds as the silver-haired rider stood with her bare feet in the course silt, her hand resting on the shoulder of her beloved dragon. Tonight was the night that her destiny would truly begin. Her destiny to lead an army of young dragon riders across the Mainland in search for a way to end a war that brews on the horizon and save the dragon race. Patience, she has learned, was a virtue. Patience brought understanding to the world that was Kabola. For ten years, she had been searching, hoping to find those that shared her destiny. And finally, tonight, she was going to see them all safely ashore the protected island in the center of Lake Waconiba.

The beats of another dragon's wings sounded overhead, and Aki looked up to see the great Xanras hovering above, his glorious violet eyes looking outwards as the figures of ten dragons came into view from various directions. Like the dragon riders, these dragons have been contacted and told of the destinies of their unhatched children. Guided by the hand of the great Inhalla, Mother of All, these young mothers come to the center of the other half of the Mainland to drop off a precious egg.

The first dragoness to land was the Silver, having flown from the shores near the Phoenix Isles with her precious cargo. She greeted Aki with a dragonly smile and a nudge. ~My, child, how you have both grown since I last saw you. I bring with you one of three, the first of my clutch and by far the strongest. He shall make a fine edition to your Wing of Riders.~

Aki bowed, smiling graciously as she spoke to the mother through the delicate intricacies of mindspeak, spotting the swirling silver egg in the dragon's mouth. ~Good evening, Arykasi, Mother of Arykn. It is always a pleasure to see a familiar face. I am glad that Inhalla has sent you to us this night to grant us a baby Arkyn to raise for ourselves. I will be sure that his rider is just as strong. Please, take him to the first cavern and place him in the sand. Be mindful that there are other dragons coming, and not all of them are kind.~

With a bow of her head, the Silver mother leapt away to head into the familiarity of the old lair. As she left, another landed, greeting Aki in a less informal manner. ~Greetings, young Inxansak. Inhalla has sent me tonight to grant you one of my own for a Chosen much like yourself. This one is the second of my clutch of five, and I am sure she will be as strong as I am.~ The glimmering of the mother's ruby scales gave her away immediately, and like the Silver, this one held a fiery red egg in her maw, her golden eyes glinting down at Aki inquisitively.

Aki smiled and bowed, pointing behind her. ~If you do not mind waiting, great Kyrinh Mother, I would like to lead all of the mothers down at the same time.~

~But I just saw an Arykn head down on her own. Do you say that I cannot also find my own way?~ Her voice turned haughty and defiant, like any younger Ruby would, her still small body shifting from foot to foot as though uneasy. Aki shook her head, accepting the complaint graciously. Any new dragon mother would be worried about the cold air affecting her youngling, but the rider knew that they would not be out for long.

~Arykasi used to live in this very lair, great mother. She already knows where to put her precious egg. I want to be sure that no one gets lost in the many tunnels of the lair, so I wish to guide you all down at the same time. Do not fret. Your child will be fine. Keep her warm, if you wish. There is a clearing with enough space for you to lie in.~ Finally, with a sigh, the Ruby mother agreed and walked towards the clearing to lie down with her precious cargo.

Next to land was the Obsidian mother, her body so hot that both Aki and Xaria had to take a step back. With a grin, the dragoness bowed her head and made her way in the trail of the Ruby. Aki smiled and turned to look at her Mercury. ~Quite the crowd tonight, wouldn't you say, sister?~ The dragon's melodic voice danced through Aki's thoughts as the woman's smile became a laugh. Together, they stood and watched as each dragoness landed, greeted them, and made their way into the clearing. As the last dragon, the Emerald mother, whose breath was rough and ragged from the effort she had put forth, landed on the sandy shore and walked towards the clearing, the Silver came back to the beach and looked over at the pair with a smile.

At this point, Xanras landed so that Mauras could speak. His hood had blown down to show bright blonde hair that brushed his shoulders and stormy gray eyes that portrayed no emotion. "Aki, they're arriving at the shore now. We can't expect them to swim. Mind helping us carry them across?"

~I can swim half of the young humans, if you would like. I am sure between you two, the rest can also be carried back.~ The Silver Dragoness wasted no time entering the water as though she was born for it, quickly followed by Xaria, who looked back at her rider with a smile. ~Go take care of the mothers and the one Mauras actually carried over a few days ago. We'll gather the rest.~

With a sigh, the silver-haired rider turned and made her way towards the other dragon mothers, announcing her presence and giving a gracious smile to each of them. "Thank you all for following the will of Inhalla tonight. I know that your flights were long, and you are weary. But we must place these eggs in their own chambers and get the riders settled. These dragons are the hope for all of us, so we must make sure they are safe and comfortable, but most importantly, we must ensure they are ready to hatch. Please, follow me."

She guided the mothers down into the Silver Dragon Lair, through the great cavern lit with Xaria's silvery flame, and down into the individual caverns where the riders and young dragons would be staying. Though this was only the top portion of the individual caverns, it was massive, the halls alone large enough for two dragon mothers to walk side by side with ease. Each room, already named and marked for the riders and their dragons, was made suitable for the individual needs of the dragons. For most, the sandy pits in the center of the room would suffice. The eggs were placed in a small hole dug in the center by each mother, save the last three whose eggs required special care.

For the Bloodstone, who required warm, swampy waters, and the Ammolite, who required cool - almost cold - water, there were deep pools large enough for an adult to rest within comfortably, a pedestal placed in the center of each so that the egg could be placed halfway into the water.

The Obsidian Mother, however, had to create a special pit of her own. Placing her egg in the center of the sand pit, she used her powers over magma to turn the sand into a bubbling pit of lava, the egg resting comfortably in the center without sinking. Aki prayed silently that the rider could handle such intense heat before she smiled at each dragon mother and bid them farewell and safe journey home.

Grabbing the boy who had been carried by Xanras to the island early, Aki pulled him out of the lair and into the clearing, where the other riders had now been corralled. As Aki motioned lightly for the boy to join the others, Xaria placed herself back at her rider's side, standing tall and proud, blue eyes dancing with excitement.

"Welcome," Aki said lightly, stepping forward and greeting everyone with a firm smile. "You are all obviously here for one thing only, and that is because you were chosen by Kallydrana to be her champions in the war to come. Now, before any of you say anything, I know this sounds rather strange. Just let me explain."

She motioned towards her dragoness before turning to motion at Xanras, who stood on the other side of the group with his rider still on his back. "These are dragons. They carried you to this island, and they have been the only two to know of the troubles ahead for the last twenty years. Now is the moment that they, and I, will share our secrets with you. You are dragon riders, and within your new home are ten eggs, each a chosen dragon to be paired with each of you. For the next two years, you will raise these dragons, feed them, care for them, and teach them. Just as they will teach you. Just as I will teach you. In six months, you will make the Pact with these dragons, granting you unimaginable power and responsibility. You cannot run from this. You cannot hide. You can only accept it."

Her cool demeanor was somewhat harsh and hard to accept, but the truth rang loud and clear for all to hear. She could see on their faces confusion, anger, defiance, and some with no emotion at all. But deep down, she knew they would understand. She understood that the hand of the great Mother of All was on each shoulder, guiding them. "Follow me, now. The suns shall rise soon, and we do not want to risk being out in the day. Let me show you to your new lives below."

Turning, she lead the group through the clearing, walking just beside Xaria. Mauras and Xanras took up the rear, making sure no one was left behind. Despite the fact that it was pitch black, the air around Aki and Xaria danced with beautiful, sparkling light, allowing for everyone to see just fine. It would take a few moments of walking, during which some could ask questions and be answered by either rider. But once they came to the end of the tunnel, Aki pulled aside the pearlescent violet curtain to reveal a massive cavern easily able to hold well over a hundred Silver Dragons. The stone walls were smooth, as was the floor, as though carved by flame or other strange or magical means, and the cavern was oblong in shape. Down the center, every fifty or so feet, was a pit surrounded by thick, heavy stones. In the very center of the cavern was a pit almost three times the size of the others. All pits were dark, though, left only with burning embers as though someone recently put the fires out. The only light in the room was from a massive crystal window, which sat beneath beautifully clear water that magnified what was left of the silvery light of the two moons.

Aki sighed, knowing what was going to happen next.

As the group came to crowd just past the tunnel, a small shower of fireballs rained down on the pits, a few missing their marks, lighting the fires with a whoosh as very, very strange music began to echo through the cavern. Music that no one had ever heard before.


From behind the fires came a flash of feathers as the tiny pseudodragon, Neroth'na, entered the scene making the "rin ding dong" sounds, his slug friend, Talthoros, bobbing his head as he made his way up towards the group. Nero danced around the group, pointing dramatically at random riders as the music continued through the cavern, his tail swooshing back and forth with the beat as he hovered through the air. From the little dragon's neck dangled a tiny lantern, a light glimmering from within.

When the song finally ended, Nero landed gracefully on the head of Tal, grinning brightly as Aki shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger in irritation. "Greetings, mortals! I do hope you are ready for wild time."


"Yes, Tal is right. You are all such a delightful bunch. Thank you for allowing us to entertain you this fine evening. I am Nero, and this is my good friend, Tal. We'll be here through your journey as dragon riders." He gave a proper bow, crossing one of his legs over his belly as the other stretched behind him, standing only on his two back legs. In response, Tal also bowed, which forced his feathered friend to fall to the ground, ending his dramatic display in a simple oof.

"Nero, I thought we talked about this. Business only."

"But that's no fun, Akihanna. And sometimes, fun is what is needed." Nero stood and brushed himself off, smiling as Tal squeaked his apology. "But I am sure they are already beginning to feel the draw of their young dragons. Perhaps the fun will have to wait for later."

Grumbling, Aki walked away, motioning for the group to follow behind her. To the right and down the wall for another three hundred or so feet was another large, pearlescent curtain. Pulling that back, Aki motioned for everyone to enter. Like the previous tunnel, this one was large and carved of simple, smooth stone. The closer the riders got, the easier it was to feel the draw of their dragons.

Around the bend was the first room. Marked in beautiful font in the stone on the right of the opening was the name, Cora, and beneath it was a spot for the name of the dragon, which had yet to gain it. Nero flew towards it and read the name out loud for everyone to hear. "Cora, dear! Your dragon awaits you."

Already, the sounds of cracking and shaking could be heard all down the hall. Not just from this egg, but every egg. One by one, each rider was called out and lead into their room, where the trembling egg sat at the center, ready to hatch and meet their rider.

The rooms were all very simple, the largest portion being the pits that held either sand, dirt, water, or lava. At the back was a simple opening much like the front, containing thick curtains the defining color of the dragon. Within that opening was a separate room, each complete with a simple wooden bed with the bedding of silk and soft feathers gifted by special supporters. To the right in each room was a dresser complete with a small mirror, clay bowl and pitcher, and small bar of soap. To the left was a table with a padded chair, each containing a simple notebook with a quill and bottle of ink. At the foot of each bed was a chest for storage. The rooms were large enough to hold much more, and perhaps later they would. But that was all that was needed, and all that was supplied.

Aki left the young riders to the events at hand, wandering up and down the hall as the sounds of baby dragons began to echo among the stone. As the youngsters began to hatch, Nero marked who had entered the world first and every one after that. Everything about these dragons was important, starting from their first breaths. With each new breath, Xaria delivered a trough filled with bite-sized portions of meat to each room accordingly.

And so, the dragon riders had begun.[/fieldbox]

[fieldbox="Destiny, green, dashed, Andale Mono"]
First came the stories, and now came the proof. It was hard to imagine that just across the waters was an island full of dragons. Or was it full of them? Perhaps he had simply gotten his stories mixed up. Theolyn stood at the edge of the shore, just before the rushing water could touch his feet. His back was hunched in its usual manner, his head low as dark brown eyes stared at the endless expanse of water, the mountains just barely in the distance. His mind wandered for a moment. How long would it take him and Haern to swim that far? A day? A week? He couldn't tell.

It was dark as the moons hid themselves behind the clouds, barely bright enough to light the skies. As his eyes adjusted, he saw the water begin to move in odd directions. Before he knew it, the head of a dragon burst from the water and looked at him inquisitively, her brilliant eyes catching his gaze and shocking him into an unmoving state. At the same time, another landed behind him, making him jump. It was at this point that he had realized Haern was no longer the only one behind him. Instead, it was an entire group of people, drawn to the water - to the island - just like him.

They all stared up at the massive black creature, his sparkling black scales almost resembling an onyx, though slightly duller than expected. His belly was a deep, vivid purple, and his arrow-shaped head lowered from a long, slender neck to speak aloud in an almost booming voice.

"Greetings, humans." His speech was somewhat limited, and "humans" sounded more like "hoonahns," but he seemed kind, despite his massive size. Theolyn looked up towards his back to see a blond man resting just behind the dragon's slender neck, his arms crossed over his chest, his face in a slight smirk.

"You're all Chosen, then? I don't think anyone else stares longingly at our island like that." A flash of purple lit the man's eyes as he snickered to himself in amusement, looking almost directly at the old farmer. "You'll have to rid yourselves of your mounts, unfortunately. We can't carry them over the water. Once you've done that, we'll transport you to the island where your callings originate, and you can start your new lives."

"Good luck."

Theolyn sighed, turning to his precious Tonlyn. The bird was old at this point, and he knew he wouldn't survive for long with or without the man's help. Slowly, he pulled the saddle off and pulled the reigns from the windlark's beak, keeping a hold of them in hopes of at least being able to carry that. Tonlyn gave a sad cry and nudged him, as though understanding that they were going their separate ways. He gave a small smile, hugging the creature before giving it a light smack on the rear and sending it off. Then, turning to the female windlark that he had given Haern, Theolyn did the same, watching the dark red creature follow quickly after Tonlyn.

He looked at Haern, nodding once as two dragons came from the water and crouched, motioning for people to start mounting. "Well, looks like this will be...interesting." He gave a slight smile before turning towards the shimmering female he had already met once and bowing to her respectfully. "Will you be swimming us back?" The creature looked at him with a smile, as though understanding his innate fears, and nodded. "May I ride with you?" Again, she nodded, lowering herself completely so that he could clamber onto her back. He noticed then that the place where a rider should sit was different than the rest of her. Instead of flexible, pointed scales, the one spot had small, rounded scales more tightly placed together to allow for more comfort without getting any fabric caught. Placing himself here, Theolyn gave a smile to himself, feeling both excited and very afraid. A part of him wondered if he would get a dragon...that was what this was all about, right?

Some flew back on Xanras while most rode the two beautiful females, feeling the water lap at their feet as the dragons swam back towards the shore. It took almost an hour to get there, and with each passing moment, Theolyn grew more and more nervous.

When they finally landed, Theolyn thanked the dragoness and carried his things to the clearing, sticking close to Haern and maintaining his typically silent demeanor. This continued even as the silver-haired rider, Aki, spoke of war. Despite his deep hatred of violence, Theolyn felt it was better to remain quiet for now. His determination for this was only solidified by the sudden presence of the little whispering voice inching him through the clearing and into the lair that he knew was somewhere in the mountain just behind the woman speaking.

Small whispers were given back to the voice as it drove him forward, following Aki into the lair as she answered the questions of the others. He felt its need to get him down, and the whispers slowly got louder. Louder and louder and louder until silenced by the odd sounds that echoed through the cavern.

Startled, Theolyn backed up a few paces, eyes wide as the strange sounds continued in a rhythmic pattern. But after a moment, he found the sounds to be almost funny, a smile forming on his lips as he crossed his arms over his chest and watched a strange feathered creature dance in the air. This smile became a deep, almost sultry laugh as the little creature fell to the floor at the mistake of his odd friend. "That is a strange pair," he whispered to himself, glad that the creature was too busy complaining to Aki about fun to hear.

Once more, the whispers returned to him, though, and Theolyn found himself being pulled to the right. After another moment, he watched as Aki lead the entire group towards that part of the giant cavern. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Xanras stomping the flames out with his tail, a grumpy look on his face, Mauras doing the same on another fire that had missed its mark. He held back, waiting for the rest of the group to enter the next hall before taking up the rear. Once more, the usually gentle voice that never spoke words grew louder, stronger, more determined. What was he being pulled to, he wondered.

A name was called, and a female entered the room, the silver curtain closing behind her as the sounds of a hatching egg sounded from within. Excitement kicked in as the man realized he would actually get a dragon. A creature only known to him before as legend - tales told to children to scare them into going to bed. A smile played at his lips, and as more names were called, and they moved farther down the hall, his excitement - and his nervousness - grew. Waving lightly as Haern was finally called behind a shimmering red curtain, Theolyn found that he was one of the last to be called.

After one more name, the farmer found himself before a curtain of his favorite color. The green was a bright shade, as though living on its own like a plant. When the little feathered dragon pulled back the curtain, Theolyn found himself in an entirely different world. Before him was a giant circle of dark sand, as though soil was mixed in. At the center of this circle was a brilliantly green egg glowing and wiggling as though already trying to hatch. He found himself walking towards the melon-sized egg and placing his hands on it gently, feeling the warmth of it. Being used to hatching Windlarks, he felt his own instinct kick in.

"Come on, little one. I am here can do it." He murmured, placing his cheek against the hard, warm shell, feeling the smoothness of it. From within, he could hear a heartbeat. It quickened suddenly, and a knocking started to sound against the shell. In response, he knocked back lightly with one knuckle, searching for a weak point. Upon finding it, he knocked there, speaking again. "Over here, little one. Hatch this way." The knocking persisted, growing faster once the creature inside found its place.
"That's it! You can do it." His voice remained soft, like a whisper, the whole time the baby inside pushed. This continued for quite some time before cracks began to form. The moment a crack formed, the egg began to glow a bright, shimmering green, and all around him, flowers grew and bloomed, bright green blades of grass reached towards the ceiling, and clover laced through the stems. With each crack, the flowers would stretch out farther and farther until finally, with all of the baby's efforts, the shell broke open in the front. With a squeak, the baby fell forward, landing face first into the lap of her new caretaker. By this point, the entire room had been filled with beautiful flowers.

"You did it, little did it."

The baby let out a few long breaths before finally looking up at him with dancing golden eyes. Almost instantly, Theolyn found himself stolen away, his heart taken by the beautiful baby before him. She gave a squeak, as though knowing he was the one for her, and pulled herself onto his lap, goop and all, and promptly fell asleep, happy as could be. Mesmerized by her beautifully green scales, he found himself placing a gentle hand on her slimy back and letting her sleep, sitting silently until she was ready to wake. While doing so, he thought about what he would name her. Did dragons name themselves? Surely it was their mothers who named them. Perhaps, just in case, he should have one ready.

After a few moments of thinking, he decided that, if it was male, he would name the little dragon Tyrel. But if it was female, Nyteria, remembering that dragons had a hard time speaking common tongue. It was a beautiful name for a beautiful dragon. And he just couldn't wait to meet it.​


  1. Silver Lair Main Entrance/Exit
  2. Silver Lair Underwater Entrance
  3. Silver Lair Emergency Exit (Underwater)
  4. Allara's Resting Place

  1. Main Entrance/Exit
  2. Living Quarters
  3. Underwater Entrance/Exit

  1. Cora/Cassius (girlabot)
  2. Khajju/Aster (Glaciercold)
  3. Eile/Remilia (Raiden)
  4. Leatrix/Androga (Azula)
  5. Kuwala/Jinlong (ShiroKyoshi)
  6. Haern/Khali (Soulserenity20)
  7. Nari/Helix (Silver)
  8. Theolyn/Nyteria (Mowkie)
  9. Ihana/Kalli (Ananfal)
  10. Obsidian Rider/Dragon (Hyper Henchman)
  11. Bathing Hall
  12. Dragon Baths
  13. Back to Central Cavern
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Eile Mizer

"This treasure better be worth the trip." Eile muttered as she slowly made her way to the shorelines. The words that the silver woman, Aki, left hinted that there was a weapon on Silver Tail island that can wipe the Torjan army off of the face of the lands for good. It was a troublesome travel to that shore. Eile blamed it partially on her left leg that never healed properly after her escape from Taval.

Regardless, the moon did little to help Eile as she found the shoreline with a person there. Apparently, Aki had loose lips. Eile would have to remedy that herself when she next saw her as the Green Murderer placed a hand on the Crow's Scythe. She saw the person, a man from the looks of the general stature, look behind him. Eile looked behind her to see other people coming up. She only shook her head. This was starting to smell suspicious. Eile didn't have time to put much thought into it as the water rippled before a odd stone rose out of the water. Wait a second. That rock is far too odd shape to be a rock. A rumble shook the ground as Eile pulled her Crow's Scythe off of her back and turned to the source of the rumble before the sight stunned her. A dragon. That rang through Eile's mind as she slowly put her scythe back on her back.

"Greetings, humans."

"He... talks." Eile muttered flatly as she heard another voice ring out.

"You're all Chosen, then? I don't think anyone else stares longingly at our island like that. You'll have to rid yourselves of your mounts, unfortunately. We can't carry them over the water. Once you've done that, we'll transport you to the island where your callings originate, and you can start your new lives."

Looking up toward the source of the noise, Eile saw a blonde haired man on the dragon talking to them.

"Good luck."

Eile watched as the two dragons lowered itself to be mounted. Eile walked up to the shimmering dragon and got on as the rest of the makeshift group made their way onto the dragon. Eile had no emotions to show for the entire trip. After all, how often does a dragon show up and offer you a lift to Silver Tail island. Regardless, Eile followed the group as they made their way until they reached the island and even then, Eile followed the group until they reached a clearing. Eile saw Aki was there as she motioned a boy to join their group.

"Welcome. You are all obviously here for one thing only, and that is because you were chosen by Kallydrana to be her champions in the war to come. Now, before any of you say anything, I know this sounds rather strange. Just let me explain."

Eile then tuned Aki out as the word Kallydrana was mentioned. Kallydrana sounded like a name and an important one at that. But war? Last Eile checked, there was no war. Before she could dive deeper into her thoughts, the group was starting to move as Eile followed. She heard an odd music as Eile saw more dragons and another rider. The rider named himself Nero and that was all Eile would pay attention to as she watched the banter between dragon and dragon rider before feeling something odd. It was something like a compulsion. A need to go a certain way as she caught Nero stating they would feel the pull of their dragon before Aki shooed the group along.

"Odd group." Eile muttered before the group was led to a large room with names carved into a hole. Before she thought about it, her name was called as she was led to the third hole. Eile noticed her name was carved into the stone. Odd, given that she never gave her name to Aki. Interesting as Eile walked into the room.

On the ground in front of her laid a blue egg. Eile realized that her 'treasure' would be to babysit this egg until who knows when.

"This is my treasure?! I'm gonna smash it and get back to what I was doing." Eile snarled before a knocking was heard.

"What?" Eile wondered, abandoning the thought of breaking the egg as the knocking started to grow louder.

The green haired girl walked up to the egg and placed a hand on it. The egg felt warm as Eile swore she felt a heartbeat before Eile saw the egg starting to crack.

"Ok. You need help, I toss you a rope." Eile muttered as she gently knocked on one of the cracks in the egg.

The cracks slowly grew from the effort of the baby dragon inside the egg, desperate to exit the egg until the egg shattered. At that moment, sky blue light shined as Eile shielded her eyes. A sudden bolt of mysterious energy shot past Eile as the blue light died down. Lowering her hands, Eile saw the small blue dragon take a few breaths before looking right at her. A smile unwillingly crept onto her face as Eile sat down on the stone floor next to the remnant of the egg before the blue dragon slide right into her lap. The dragon gave a cute yawn before promptly falling asleep, exhausted but happy.

"Cute. I guess you're all right." Eile whispered as she placed a hand on the dragon.

"Hmm. I guess you need a name instead of dragon. Romulus or Remilia." Eile muttered to herself.
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The sun was already set when Leatrix decided to set her foot on journey to Silver Tail Island, leaving Ebony Guild in the hand of her most trusted men. She looked at the old photo she had, muttered a pray before kissed it gently, and put it back to her pocket. It took about 2 days for her to reach the shore, Leatrix knew precisely that she had arrived since the sound of waves made her flesh creep. Leatrix watched as people started to gather around while she was still hiding not far from the shore, shivering. Leatrix realized that she must faced her phobia soon or later right after she committed herself to go to Silver Tail Island.

Clenching her hands and teeth, Leatrix walked the shore. Sometimes, she would stop to catch her breath, even though she wasn't running, her breath was getting heavier as she approached the sea. Her head was dizzy and her eyes was hazy, but she finally stood among the people. While most of them was excited, Leatrix just looked at the sea blankly, closing her mouth with both of her hands to hold herself from puking. Shortly after her arrival, the sea started to move abnormally. With her hands still on her mouth, Leatrix watched as dragons arose from the sea with someone on each of their neck. The sudden appearance of the two dragons made Leatrix almost slumped on the ground in faint, but she somehow made it to keep herself awake. This was one of the fears she had about the sea, misterious and deadly creatures that lived in the deep blue sea, ready to rip her body.

"Greetings, humans." the dragons spoke, almost sounded like normal human, but with unique pronunciation. Leatrix peeked at the dragons with one eye as another words echoed through her ears.

"You're all Chosen, then? I don't think anyone else stares longingly at our island like that. You'll have to rid yourselves of your mounts, unfortunately. We can't carry them over the water. Once you've done that, we'll transport you to the island where your callings originate, and you can start your newlives," Leatrix didn't really care what next was spoken by those people and their dragons. All she wanted now was went away from the shore as far as she could. Seeing how others started to mount the dragon, Leatrix braced herself to walk toward one of the dragons. Her fear was suddenly mixed with excitement as soon as the dragon flapped his wings and soared into the sky. As the wind touched her face tenderly, Leatrix's fear slowly faded away.

Leatrix breathed in relief when her feet finally set on the dry land, she quickly ran away from the shore, with her unsteady feet, to an area where everyone gathered once again. There, Aki explained about war and dragons. Leatrix was bewildered by the new information she just got. Yesterday she was just another normal knight who lived her life as the leader of guild, today she was the chosen one, chosen by Kallydrana herself. Proud feeling filled up her chest, but she couldn't deny that doubt and fright was also there. Leatrix totally had no idea what awaited her in the future, she could only relied on herself to stay strong.

Aki then leaded them into the end of tunnel with violet curtain that hid massive cavern right behind it. Leatrix gazed in awe as the scenery stole her heart. Suddenly, a strange music came out of nowhere, took her attention away to another couple, another dragon and his... slug? dancing their way in front of the group. Leatrix chuckled seeing how the couple managed to make her loosen up. Unconsciously, Leatrix moved her head following the rhythm. In her heart, Leatrix wished the amusement wouldn't end, but she needed to follow Aki once more to another tunnel.

After hearing her name called, Leatrix slowly approached yellowish-orange curtain and smiled widely as the curtain pulled back. Leatrix felt her feet was numb as thrilling sensation occupied her. An amber egg with several white dots was lying there magnificently, surrounded by amber sand with blue tiny crystal mixed in, what a beautiful sight. Leatrix reached her hand as the egg started to wiggling, it was warm and somehow made Leatrix felt calm. Her heart was throbbing just as fast the heartbeat she felt inside the egg. A crack sound filled the air, followed by another crack which now made a tiny hole on top of the polished egg. Leatrix immediately pulled her hand when sand around the egg started to swirl around, helping it to maintain its balance as something inside trying to crawl out of the egg.

A small head popped out of the hole, looked at Leatrix with his adorable amber eyes. However, he wasn't completely out as it was only his head that managed to come out. Leatrix smiled as she reached her hands to help the baby, giggled a little bit as she watched the baby dragon still trying to get out. She gave a small knock on the front side of the egg, making another opening for the baby to go out. With all of his strength, the baby dragon squeezed his body to fit in the opening, struggling to get out from his comfort zone. Leatrix didn't help the baby anymore for she believed in his capability and also the baby dragon needed to made shift to earn his own freedom.

After he was out, Leatrix let him observed his surrounding. He was so small and fragile, but Leatrix could sense a strong power hiding beneath his darling face. His small head tilted in different ways before he lifted his right leg and stepped on his own tail which made him stumbled and rolled into Leatrix hands that already prepared to catch him. Rested on Leatrix's hands, the baby dragon whimpered, asking for her attention. With a gentle smile, Leatrix moved her thumb and stroked his head lightly, afraid that she would hurt the fragile baby, until finally he fell asleep and snored cutely.

"I shall give you a good name. A name that will calm your friends, while frighten your enemies," she whispered and took a seat with the baby still sleeping soundly in her hands. But then, Leatrix raised her brow, showing confusion on her pretty face, "But, how do I know you are a male or female, my friend?" Leatrix took a closer look, but she didn't get any clue. She shrugged and waited for the baby dragon to wake up, after that she would find a grand name that would suit the baby dragon well.
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[fieldbox="Torn From A World Once Known, red, dotted, 10, tahoma"]
The world continued to be as it had always been: chaotic and unpredictable, and yet in this unpredictability Haern had come to find a comfort, a familiarity in all the disorder and unknowing. Over the last several years, he'd spent enough time roaming Kabola to see many an unusual sight and experience many an unusual event. He had seen things he could not make sense of, met people he could not make sense of, and yet, in all this, he found that he always saw the same things and met the same people. No matter the unexpectedness, no matter the disorder, there was one thing that was certain: life was unpredictable, people were never what they should have been, and the future was always a secret. The thing about a secret, though, is that someone always tells.

Standing on the shores to the south of what he could only assume was Silver Tail Island, Haern couldn't quite believe that the events that had led him here, despite having lived them only a short while prior. He wasn't even sure what led him to come here. It had been a normal day on the road with his travelling companion and dear friend Theolyn when suddenly the pair of them had gotten sick to their stomachs, as if bad ale had hit them from out of the blue. They'd both hopped off their windlarks to stumbled about and catch their footing before realizing that it wasn't the flu, rather some gut instinct, powerful and undeniable, pulling them in the opposite direction of where they were headed.

"But what could possible pull me away from where I'm going, Theo? I'm looking for Khali.. you don't think...?" Part of him wondered if by some means Khali had done this. After exchanging a look with his friend, the pair had eventually decided that perhaps it was best to follow their guts on this one, no matter how unnatural this gut instinct was. Haern had always been one for adventure, always laid back and cool, no matter where his path took him, as long as it was somewhere he hadn't yet looked for his beloved wife. He didn't even stop to wonder why Theolyn had felt it too, rather going off his hope and just assuming that whatever Khali had done to draw him in at last, she had done to his companion as well, perhaps to make sure he was safe on the road. She was always worried about him travelling alone.

It had taken days and days of travel to reach the banks of Lake Waconiba. Why here? He wasn't sure, but when a massive, scaled head poked out of the water before him he realized he had made a terrible decision.

Dragons. What on Partheus was he doing in front of a dragon? Then, two more appeared, one from the skies and another from the waters. He didn't move, didn't flinch, didn't open his jaw in wonder, rather he stared, silent and perceptive, trying to make sense of what was happening. Then, from above, on the back of a great black dragon came the voice of a man, a human man, nonetheless. The chosen? Chosen for what? Dinner?

Had Theolyn not been so comfortable around the beasts and so forward in his actions, Haern may have remained there, staring at the dragons. But when his friend moved forward and actually climbed onto the back of one of the dragons -- the damn woodland dweller and his open trust for beasts -- Haern couldn't do much but follow, trying to hold on to the one thing that was familiar in all this. As he clambered onto the dragon's back in an incredibly unnatural, awkward manner, he quietly mumbled an apology to the dragoness as he struggled to find a place of comfort, feeling completely rude to be sitting on the back of a creature that quite clearly had an intelligent, sentient mind, and a female creature no less.

He didn't say a word throughout the swim towards the shore, rather he noticed a congregation had formed, likely others that had fallen for the same lure he and Theo had felt. What was that lure anyways? By now he had realized that Khali had no part in this, and immediately his guilt began to settle in. It felt, with each passing moment as they swam closer to the island in the center of the lake, that he was one more moment away from his wife. He stared at the shores, sadness in his eyes as he realized he had found himself on a sidetrack, one that would prove incredibly time consuming, no doubt.

As they were led through a light woodland and then through a great clearing. It was there that they were met by a young girl with silver hair. As she spoke, Haern felt his heart drop. Two years? He looked to his friend for some kind of response but Theolyn seemed completely consumed with sheer excitement. He could not run, he could not hide, he could only accept it.

Sighing, Haern let his head drop. It would appear he would suffer this alone.

Eventually they were led to an opening in a great mountain, Haern looked up at the darkened glow of the moon from behind thick clouds. Rubbing his fingers together he lifted them to his lips and blew gently, sending out a small shimmering wave of sparks into the air, watching as they drifted away. Find her, and tell her I love her, please. I'll never stop looking.

He watched as the tiny bits of fire escaped into the subtle breeze, flowing off into the open air. He only hoped the fires of the lands would heed his request this one time.

Entering into the great cavern, he found himself at a loss of words, though this time it was less by choice than it was by awe. The insides of the mountain were immaculate, impossible to fathom from the exterior and the architecture of the carved out dwelling was made with such mastery that Haern couldn't help but wish he could seek out the makers and bow to them. Such skill in any trade was something he could appreciate.

When they entered into a large open hall, the strangest of occurrences happened. Now, it was certain that life was uncertain and nothing in Kabola seemed impossible, but the unusual music that filled the room was almost from another world. He wondered how such sounds could have even been made? And by what creature?

Then, the most unusual duo entered and it was then and there that Haern decided he had best open his mind to anything and everything for in just a few short moments he'd encountered mythical dragons, riders of the beasts, ungodly melodies, and a strange, talking little dragon-like creature accompanied by a purple slug with what would appear to be a sentient personality. Nero, was his name, and apparently he was something of a mentor here because he immediately began ushering the group of people along, like some sort of flock of lost sheep. Everything seemed to rush by as each of the soon-to-be riders were pushed into rooms with colored curtains. It came to a point that only Haern and Theolyn remained and as they came to a room with a shimmering ruby curtain, Haern looked up to see his name already engraved in the stone.

He would have stood and stared a while longer but his curiosity actually edged him forward. Part of him scolded himself for going into the room, but another, more youthful part, was burning with wonder. What was this future he now sat before? How far would it pull him from his true goals? Could he spare the time it would take to find out?

Pushing aside the curtain, he cautiously entered the room. Before him, in a pit of dark sand, he saw a ruby egg sitting, shaking lightly from side to side. The shell of the egg was a dark tone with lighter streaks jutting across it, giving it the look of a polished stone. There was a large crack at the top of the egg and by the sounds coming from within, Haern could only assume that the thing was hatching.

He said nothing, he didn't approach, rather he sat down on the ground and rubbed his fingers together, pulling forth a small flame to fiddle with while he waited for something to happen. There was little commotion from the inside, and from the outside all that could be seen was gently swaying and the persistent chipping away from the inside. Haern was paying it little attention, however, for he was consumed with woe, thinking about what the girl Akihanna had said earlier. Two years. He would miss out on two years of searching, and for what? A dragon? He had no interest in fairy tales or legend. He wanted only one thing: his love returned.

Why had he been brought here? Why him? He didn't want this... he didn't want to be pulled from his own goals and journeys only to be forced into an adventure not his own. And yet, he was here. He felt this same sickening pull within himself that lured him to this very room, to this egg, and it repulsed him. It was not a lure chosen by his heart, no, that lure was the lure of his lost wife. This dragon, that was to hatch, must have some how chosen him.

The egg shook harder, wobbling about. The crack on the top had now turned into a small hole, a pale red not poking out from within, pecking and rubbing until the shell began to give way further and further. Haern looked up to see a larger portion of the egg's top crumble and fall away and then, at last, a small head poked out from the top.

Taking in a breath, the man sat up and got onto his knees, slightly suspicious of the small creature. His golden brown eyes met the purple, swirling, nebula eyes of the young dragon and after a moment of simply staring at each other, the little critter let out a bright "Greeeeeee!" sound. Haern cracked a smile. It was certainly cute, but then, most strays were.

As the young dragon leaned forward to try and lick at Haern's face, he stumbled back and the little dragon's egg tipped forward and rolled, sprawling the hatchling out onto the floor. Covered in a translucent yolk-like substance, the purple eyed dragon slid about, trying to stand but slipping with each try as the goop prevented her from gaining traction. Haern, not seated back on his bottom, stared, unsure of what he was meant to do. The little dragon gave up, momentarily, on standing and instead began to crawl awkwardly across the floor towards Haern, a bright sparkle in her eyes as she went towards the only person in the room. Fondness already began to swell in the little dragon's heart, but as she approached Haern, he would get up and move away.

"Whoa, whoa, easy now. I don't know what to do with you. You'll have to sort this out on your own." Glancing at the exit, wanting desprately to leave the awkward meeting he was going through, Haern began to grow nervous. Was he to care for this thing? Was this his grand mission for the next two years? To raise a young dragon? What a ludicrous idea! He wasn't going to waste precious time rearing a beasts while his beloved Khali was out there, waiting for him to find her. No way was this his fate. He simply wouldn't have it.

After being turned down for affection, the young dragon cocked her head to the side, chirping and chattering at Haern as if to ask "Why won't you stay still? I want to be with you!" The small red dragon snapped its mouth defiantly an began to crawl towards Haern once more. Letting out a sigh, the man kneeled down and placed a finger on the dragon's forehead, pushing it back along a streak of goop that it had left behind it.

"Stop that, I said I can't help you. I'm not your mother and I'm certainly no druid. I don't know what you want from me but I can't give it to you. I shouldn't be wasting my time here. I have important things to be doing." The little dragon flopped down on her rump and chattered angrily at the man then before rolling around on the slightly dusty ground, trying to get rid of some of the lubricant that coated her scales and talons. Then, she attempted to stand once more. This time, it was a little more successful and she manged to get up onto her feet. It wasn't until she tried to take a step that she fell back over.

A determined look on her face, she got up and tried to walk once more, and then again, and then again, until finally she was able to take a few wobbly steps. When she had taken a handful of steps forward, she let out a proud little growl, rearing her head back in delight, but as she did so, she fell off balance and landed back in a pile of goop. This charade went on for quite some time, all the while Haern sat and watched as the little creature took control of its own body. He had found a place a little ways away and sat on the ground, observing from afar while the young drake was distracted with its apparent goal of walking. As he sat, he once again summoned a small flame and began weaving it in and out of his fingers, as he so often did out of habit and boredom.

As he weaved the flame about, the little dragon's attention was caught and directed over to the man's hands. After staring in awe at the small bit of fire for a moment, the drake let out an excited chirp and began to gallop towards him, excited to touch and play with the sparkling orange magic. Haern hastily extinguished the flame and jumped out of the way before the large dog-sized creature barreled into him. As he moved swiftly from the drake's path, the little red creature tripped and rolled forward burping herself on impact, effectively shooting out a small, black orb which flew out and hit the egg she had previously escaped from.

Haern looked at the spot on the egg which had been hit and saw that the black mass had stuck to the egg and was now slowly consuming it. After a few moments, the egg was gone entirely and all that remained was a lingering gash in the air that appeared to have town reality itself. The egg was gone, but from the other side of the gash came a moving mass that appeared to be oozing out of the back of the tear. When it hit the floor, it took on the form of an egg and a short moment later, the gash sealed shut with a black, sizzling puff of smoke. The thing that had poured out the other end and solidified into the shape and color of the ruby egg then began to rock back and forth and before Haern could even realize what was happening, the egg sprouted two black, mangled branch-like arms and then two feet to match. The thing actually stood up and turned around to face the pair of them. What had once been a dark and light ruby coloring had turned into a strange, liquid like flesh that held the shape of the egg. The gash near the top began to move open and closed ever-so slightly before the jagged edges of the hole took on the form of long, razor sharp teeth. The yolk-like substance that had once oozed out now stank of rot and decay and took on a black color.

The thing stood and began to stagger over to where the baby dragon lay on the floor, still surprised at the fall and then at what her little burp had created. It took Haern a moment to sort out what in Kabola was happening but when he did, he decided he couldn't just let the little dragon take a beating from this freak-of-nature egg monster. He stepped forward quickly and scooped the little dragon up, holding her up by the stomach under one of his arms and he snapped his fingers of his free hand and summoned a flame.

Lifted the small flame to his lips, he breathed into it and it began to grow. Curling his fingers around the now fist-sized flame, he sort of waded it up into a ball and then threw it at the egg monster as hard as he could. The impact itself sent the egg staggering back for a moment, but the fire seemed to have absolutely no effect on the thing. It when they that Haern realized he had no actual fighting skills.

"Gods be damned." He let out a sigh and backed up from the advancing creature that was now snapping at Haern's defensively extended hand. The little dragon under his arm flailed about pathetically as she tried to act tough and snap at and scratch at the foe. Flicking the little dragon on the head, Haern glared down at her. "Stop trying to be a hero." Glad the thing couldn't move too fast, Haern, being as nimble as he was, danced around the outer edge of the room and towards the curtain. Throwing it open he stepped out into the hall, ruby dragonling still dangling like a ragdoll from under his arm.

"Uhm, could I get some help here?" He shouted, looking about for some form of assistance. "This dragon child seems to have summoned a monster! I'm not equipped to deal with this!"[/fieldbox]
  • Bucket of Rainbows
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[fieldbox= The Hatching, brown]
Nari had made her way to the banks in the dark. Oddly enough, the wanderer preferred to travel during the day. It was always easier to blend into a crowd when there was a crowd. Only shady folk traveled at night...a small smirk drifted over her lips. Ah, but then she was one of those shady folks, now wasn't she? As the woman finally approached the shores she found that she was not the only person to be there waiting. She came to a standstill, but this didn't last for long as she began fidget some. She'd been even more antsy than normal lately, the pulling in her gut had been getting stronger and stronger ever since she'd met that Mauras fellow, the one who had promised her a safe haven. Soon, the wanderer was again doing just that. Wandering, she couldn't stop herself from beginning to pace. She managed to make three circles from the tree line, back to her starting point, pacing faster as more and more people began to appear. Was this a trap? Was Mauras actually a mole for the Tarajan? Nari's next loop ended with a sharp turn of her heel as she looked over the group before her, she now stood behind the majority of them. Was this an elaborate hoax to catch Noface? A bit of fear pooled into the pit of Nari's stomach and she edged herself a little closer to the tree line.

Just as she was getting ready to bolt a form slipped out from the water. A form that had Nari freezing as her mind raced to catch up. It was a dragon. She was looking at a dragon. As if the sight was a cue, her parent's voices slid through her mind whispering tales of dragons and their godly council. It's. It's not possible.... But surely enough another great dragon came to a landing on the shores of the lake. This one spoke in a rumbling voice as he greeted them, voice booming loudly. Nari couldn't help but note in the back of her mind that he was almost too loud. But astride the dragons back was a familiar blonde haired man. Mauras. Nari narrowed her eyes at him slightly as he spoke. She didn't like surprises. Not at all.

When it came to embark, Nari was moving to turn away when the tug of her gut, the one she'd had since her parents were slaughtered by the Tarajan, almost became a physical tug and Nari found herself stumbling in the direction of the dark dragon as if yanked by an invisible force. She walked up to the great figure slowly, dark eyes darting all over him, as if trying to figure out if she'd been slipped some kind of drug. The woman reached out a hand and brushed gloved fingertips across a single dark scale, feeling the heat emit from it. A shiver raced up her spine before she made up her mind. No longer hesitating, the woman looked for the safest way up before pulling herself to rest somewhere behind Mauras. This was real.

The ride to the island was...elating. Nari never knew she'd love flying so much. How would she? She knew she liked high places, but flying was so much better. And she couldn't quite wipe the big silly grin off of her face when they finally landed on the sandy shores of the island. The brunette felt almost sad when she had to slide down from the Dark dragons back to land on the sand. The ground was so....not flying. She filed along with the group like a sheep as a woman with the prettiest silver hair began to speak, the silverish dragon from earlier at her side. Nari listened to her spiel. The woman wasn't sure if she liked the idea of war. She was a criminal, but she'd never killed anyone before. But something deep inside her almost purred at the thought of being able to really get back at those who'd taken her parents away from her.

As they were led into the caravan, the woman began to look around before the strangest, noise filled the air and her head snapped to find its source, eyes narrowed. What was that racket? Naris hands lifted part way up to her face before she froze watching some creature that she could only describe as a mini dragon started spouting nonsense at them. Fun? What kind of fun was to be had in an apparent upcoming war? The brunette narrowed her eyes a little but made her hands dropped to her sides as her attention was captured and caught by the giant oozing violet slug. A look of disgusted fascination crossed her features and she couldn't make herself look away from it. Nari didn't like normal slugs. This. This creature was like some hellspawn creature from her deepest nightmares.

As the group began to move again, Nari made a point to stay as far away as she could from the purple slime creature. Going so far as to nearly hug the cave walls. She could admit that the little dragon fellow was kind of cute in his own way. When the group came up to the first door, Nari felt something sinking in the pit of her stomach as she looked at the squiggly lines she knew to be writing. A little shame burned inside of her. She'd never learned to read or write. Perk up. It's a one way tunnel, just remember where you're going and you won't need to be able to read! She tried to give herself a mental peptalk. The woman was thankful that the little dragon, she forgot his name in the horror the face of his companion had wrought deep in her heart, was reading off the names to each room.

When her turn came, Nari hesitated, looking over at the large slug before she swallowed the fear and tried to walk as past the pair calmly. Her walk was a little on the quick side as she ducked behind the curtain being held up. Relief hit her as soon as it closed, putting a barrier between her and IT. The woman licked her lips, still staring at the curtain before she turned and took in the space she was at. At the center of the space was a pool of water and at its center stood a pedestal that was submerged enough for an egg to sit halfway into the water. This sight dominated the room, and it was here the Nari's gaze landed and became glued to. She didn't take in the curtain, nor did she notice anything else about the space because of how transfixed the egg had her.

The egg was a curious thing white, with a texture like the clouds in the sky on a sunny day. Nari looked around again. The silver haired woman's words coming back to her. Looking back at the pale colored egg, Nari wondered if this was really a good idea. She was already in trouble with the Tarajan, attaching herself with a dragon would make it all that much worse… Oh, but the trouble I could get into…. A small smirk slid over her features as she began to cross to stand at the pools edge. The pulling in her gut once again pulling her forward. Brown eyes studied the water before the woman reached up and took her cloak off, throwing it onto the ground near her, her bag quickly followed. Soon she was stooping over and yanking off her boots and rolling up her breeches to a point above her knees. The gloves where the next article of clothing to land in the pile as she rolled her sleeves up to her elbow.

Then, before she could change her mind, the woman stepped down into the water. Immediately a hiss slid from her lips. The crystal clear fluid was cold….and not knee deep. A disgruntled look passed over Nari's face as she found herself chest deep in the water. Should've looked before you leaped, foolish girl. She chastised herself before she began to wade towards the pedestal and cloud like egg, holding her hands above her head almost as if she were surrendering. The closer she got to the egg, the more it rattled and shook. When she hit about halfway, the eggs color began to darken as the rattling almost began to sound like a rumble of thunder. What looked like a puffy white cloud colored egg began to take on the shade of a storm cloud. Nari paused but again, the feeling in her gut yanked her closer and she began to move forward again. By now, the woman had gone numb to the feeling of the icy water.

When she finally got about about six feet away, the first crack appeared. The dark cloud color was pierced by a crack that carved a rainbow line down the darkness. She took another step, another crack appeared. A piece of the dark shell fell, just a tiny piece, to reveal that the inside of the shell looked like a shimmering rainbow, almost like a seashells inside in a way. A spark of lightening, just a tiny one, seemed to spear out of the small hole before not one, but two more cracks broke the surface of the shell. This continued until Nari was finally within touching distance. By the time this occurred, the shell was missing a multitude of little pieces, making it seem like swiss cheese almost. However, the membrane under remained intact still. But Nari could just make out a glistening form lurking in the depths of what remained of the egg shell. The woman reached out and brushed her fingertips only to yelp and yank the fingertips back not even seconds later and covering her face as a large, almost explosion like, burst of electricity filled the air, blowing what remained of the egg into pieces around her. The pressure had something barreling into her chest hard enough to lose her breath in a soft whoosh. Instantly, the woman wrapped her arms around the thing before another yelp tore from her throat. The thing was a small dragon, about the size of one of those floppy eared hounds. And it was bloody hot. Her arms loosening, the hatchling tumbled into the water with a startled shriek. A particularly foul oath split the air seconds before Nari wrapped her arms around the still very hot creature and pulled it back so that its head was above the water. Not knowing what else to do, the woman stood there in the water, cradling the dragon to her chest as she dealt with the fading sear of heat in her arms.

The wanderer kept the baby's head above the water, but something told her that the rest of the dragon needed the icy liquid….and her arms needed it. A wry grin turned her lips as she shifted the wriggling goopy mess to turn her forearm up. Sure enough, a long angry welt had already started to raise. After making herself comfortable, or as comfortable as she could be with a writhing mass of goopy dragon baby in her arms standing chest deep in icy water, the woman turned to examine the creature. Looking up at her where eyes that were nearly white. However traces and trails of pastel colors seemed to appear, disappear, and reappear in a shimmering of colors, making the eyes not quite white. Almost like an opal. The woman was transfixed. The feeling in her gut finally seemed to die down and a feeling swelled up in her chest. One that she never thought she'd feel again. It was like the smell of her mother baking or the sound of her father telling stories. It was the feeling of home.

Gently, without a word, Nari began to rub her fingers over the goopy scales beneath the water. The tiny creature was still warm, but not nearly as bad as her first touch. The ooze clinging to it seemed to eb particularly thick and kind of smoke colored. Nari had assumed that the dragon would be dark colored. But when she final had a space large enough to see the hatchling's coloration, she found out she was dead wrong. The woman blinked. The blinked again at the rainbow coloration seemed to jump out at her compared to the rest of the smoky looking creature.

"What?" confusion settled and she found herself scrubbing at the small hatchling a lot less gently, eliciting a small cry from it. Pausing, she gentled her hand back up. But the more ooze she cleared away, the more rainbow appeared. Until finally, there was a fairly large of degooped area. Nari pulled the creature away from her breast and gave it a wry look.

"You're kidding, right?" She asked it. Of course, she knew that the small thing has about as much choice as any other baby about what it was born looking like. But still. Nari was a creature of stealth and camouflage….What the bloody hell was she supposed to do with a bloody rainbow dragon? Was there ever a way to conceal the creature's colors? Well, besides the very misleading goop still covering most of its body. The small hatchling tilted its head at her, chirped and seemed to give her its best version of a grin as it started to wriggle like an excited puppy in her arms. Nari pulled it back up against her chest so as not to drop it with a grumble. Her mind reeled. If the gods had paired them up. The gods must have gotten the wrong message somewhere. Really? A rainbow dragon? Really, really?!

Nari huffed quietly and received a happy chirp, and then a yawn from the hatchling nestled up against her. A damp sticky nose nestled itself against the crook of her neck and the creature finally stilled and a tiny snore like sound fell from its little mouth. With a sigh, the woman continued to clean the creature up. About five minutes later, she had the small thing waking with a yelp. That was how Nari found out the dragon fins where not meant to be moved so soon after hatching. Immediately, she began to make soft crooning noises in the back of her throat as she yanked her hand away and began to pet the dragons head until it calmed. Much more carefully, she returned to her task. She continued without incident until she had the mass of rainbow clean of all its goop. The water around them now having a murky soot colored cloud.
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  • Bucket of Rainbows
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[fieldbox="Solving a Problem, gold, dotted, Verdana"]
After delivering all of the dragon riders to their respective rooms, Nero had called forth a clip board with a self-writing pen and a single piece of parchment to mark who hatched when. With this clip board beside him, the little dragon flew up and down the long hall, leaving Tal at the front to munch on a pile of purple ooze. With each name marked, he called Xaria and Aki to bring a barrel of meat and place it just inside the room. For seven little dragons, this happened rather smoothly and with varying reactions from their riders, generally good ones. However, when it came for the eighth to hatch, Nero was surprised to see its rider walk out with the newly-hatched baby dangling from his arm like an old dog.

Xaria, who had been just behind Nero, let out a roar of anger, storming forward and shoving him back in before snapping at his hand to force him to put the baby down. Nero chuckled, patting the motherly dragoness as he spoke. "You might want to handle your new baby with a bit more care. Now, what's the problem?"

As he entered the room, speaking to Haern with his clip board in tow, Nero was suddenly overcome with an odd weight and very sharp teeth. This creature was heavy enough to drag the little dragon to the ground, tearing at his feathers. "GAH! AWAY, THINE STUPID BEAST!" Spitting out a ball of fire, Nero managed to distract the creature long enough to get back in the air and fly up towards the ceiling, clip board still in tow. "What is that thing?!"

Xaria, now distracted by the odd egg lying on its back and wiggling to get back up, grumbled and stepped on it, effectively crushing the creation into oblivion. Black and purple ooze slithered from beneath her foot before seemingly soaking into the stone and disappearing. She looked up at Nero, seeming to speak with him a moment. Nero nodded, coming down and shaking his head. "Well, this one is certainly special. We'll have to teach her to control that breath of hers, though. No worries, just an accident." He came to hover in front of the baby, patting her head lightly and tickling just beneath her chin. "You are a cutie, that's for sure. Ruby Dragons are always so beautiful, even when just hatching. Even for hatching so late, you are a strong one, indeed. You'll make a wonderful warrior."

The Mercury behind Nero huffed in irritation, sending Haern a glare. "Ah, yes…about how you handled the baby. Try not to do so. When first hatching, baby dragons are rather fragile. And we don't want to make miss surrogate mother angry, do we?" As if to finalize this, Xaria let out a plume of sparkling silver smoke before turning and leaving to grab a barrel of meat, which she sent in with Aki some time later.

Nero sighed and looked at Haern, his blue eyes growing stern with a hint of a golden glow as he hovered in front of the man. "I know that this is hard for you, sir. And though I do not know who or what you are searching for, I want you to know that Inhalla will not guide you away for long. This is only a stepping stone to get where you are going. But you must be willing to accept that the Great Mother always has a plan for her champions. She knows you ache for what you have lost, and she mourns with you. But she also wants to give you hope…that is what this baby is here for. She is your hope. And like fire, you must always be willing to kindle that."

With a bow, Nero swooped out to leave Haern alone with the little dragon, only disturbed by Aki, who placed the large barrel of meat off to the side before slipping out silently. As quickly as the matter was cared for, the little dragon was back on duty watching for the last two hatching dragons.[/fieldbox]
  • Love
Reactions: Soulserenity20
It had been only days since Cora had last seen water, but as she began to hear the gently rocking waves of Lake Waconiba somewhere up ahead, it felt as if she were approaching an old and dear friend. Relief came mixed with uncertainty. Two weeks had passed since she had first met Mauras, the fair-haired enigma who had offered her a role in a much greater scheme, and with each passing step the reality of situation was becoming more tangible. She was sure that few strangers of good intent had ever requested to meet in front of a lake in the dead of night, nonetheless those who spoke seriously of dragons and destiny. 'I must be insane,' the young woman thought for the thousandth time in the past week, restlessly fingering the point of a fishing knife waiting in her knapsack. Regardless, she continued picking through the forest toward the sound of the lake, even if the soft crashing of waves was quietly washing her resolve away.

Ten minutes went by before Cora was able to see the water, an expanse of dark, moving waves spangled with glimmers of moonlight. Breathless, she stepped out of the treeline to get a better look, and after deciding that a 'better look' just wasn't enough, continued walking toward the beckoning darkness. Mixed pebbles and sand clung to the sides of her boots as the fisherwoman neared the water, but the lapping waves cleaned them of the dust they had accumulated during her travels. Cora settled into a crouch when she found a relatively level area on the shore, and reached forward to touch the lovely lake stretching out before her like a moving, dark blanket. Something about water at night had always triggered a deep sense of calm within the woman, and now soothed her frayed nerves almost instantly. The water felt smoother, somehow, the only silk or velvet she had touched in years; despite his suspicious intentions, Mauras had certainly chosen a beautiful spot to meet. Cora retracted her hand from the water, wiping it on her tunic and gazing over the waters thoughtfully. 'I wouldn't even mind being murdered here.'

Perturbed by the thought, the woman stood with a deep sigh, and only then noticed the silent figures that must have collected on the shoreline while she was distracted by the lake. There were at least five people out in the darkness, and potentially more hiding behind the treeline- and she doubted they were all here for a casual midnight stroll. 'Either these are the others Mauras was talking about...' Cora's hand returned to the knife point, her thumb running over it anxiously. 'Or these people are here to ... to ...' Thankfully, her mind was quick to quell any suspicions; after all, it wasn't as if she were threatening enough to warrant a 5+ member assassin squad, and all of the figures seemed as transfixed by the water as she had been not a minute earlier. Cora allowed herself to relax. Until, that is, she spied someone who looked remarkably like Khajju Arjunus standing a little further along the shore.

Any attempts at calming herself down were wiped away as Cora frantically tried to get a better look. Yes, it was him, she was sure of it; Khajju Arjunus, one of the wealthiest and most successful merchants of Salt Haven, was standing at the water's edge, staring out into the abyss. It was possible -yes, she decided- it was possible that he had connections to Florence, or her grandfather- perhaps he was here to take her back, force her to marry him? Re-marry Florence? Or perhaps he was here to kill her for dishonoring the family name. Mauras must have been involved somehow, he had to be- all that fanciful talk of dragons and magic had been a ploy, and she had so foolishly fallen for it; after all, who else would believe such an insane story but a homeless exile with nothing to lose? Who else was stupid enough to fall for such a ruse? Who else-

Everything started to go fuzzy around the edges as Cora's mind was overtaken by panic. When the water before her first began to ripple and part, she believed herself to be hallucinating; then, two elegant, shimmering bodies rose from the black depths, and her entire life changed in an instant.

The fisherwoman staggered backward, astonished, as the silvery dragons climbed gracefully onto the beach, flinging shining droplets everywhere. Wingbeats heralded the arrival of a third dragon from above, carrying none other than the mysterious Mauras on its back. The blond-haired man said a few things that Cora was too overwhelmed to hear, and shortly after he finished speaking the dark figures on the shore began to mount the dragons, some more hesitantly than others. The young woman turned back to the shining dragonesses, and her panicked green eyes met the smooth silvery ones of the beast before her. Something in those calm, reptilian eyes seemed to understand; the great mother bent her head down to Cora's level, and spoke one word in a strange but gentle voice: "Come." A sense of peace washed over the fisherwoman's body, soothing her tense muscles and nearly leaving her in tears of relief. Without further hesitation, Cora climbed onto the silver dragon's back and pressed her hands against its smooth neck, beginning to harbor a great respect and appreciation for Mauras the dragon rider.

Feeling the lake on her feet continued to calm Cora's nerves as the dragoness carried her and the others toward what she knew was Silver Tail Island. Part of her mind had never actually believed Maurus's tale, and was thoroughly astonished; the more hopeful part of her mind, however, was rippling with elation. It was all real. She was going to ride dragons. The excitement Cora felt was somewhat alien to her, but in an entirely good way, filling her with nervous joy that made it difficult to sit still on the silver dragon's back. The hour or so it took to swim to the island passed quickly, and when the dragons finally touched down on solid ground the woman was sad to dismount. She said a nervous "Thank you," to her dragon, sent a silent prayer up to Varon, and joined the rest of the group as they gathered around another stranger.

The woman was very small, with lovely silver hair that reminded Cora of the dragons; and, to be certain, there was a captivating dragon-like quality to her that Cora couldn't quite put her finger on. After giving a short, serious welcome and introduction, the woman led the group down into a tunnel, she and her dragon surrounded by an aura of sparkling, soft light. Dozens of questions ran through the Morgan's mind as she walked: who was Kallydrana, the (assumed) woman who had "chosen" this group? How were they to be paired with their dragons? Would they be allowed to leave the island, or were these the only twelve faces she would be seeing for the next two years? Why weren't they supposed to be out during the day? And what were the details of this mysterious Pact? Cora did not dare to speak aloud, afraid that if she opened her mouth the entire night would crumble away like a stunning dream.

The group passed through a pearly curtain, entering a magnificent cavern with several fire pits and a tall, crystal window looking out across the illuminated water of Lake Waconiba. Cora was marveling at the sight, trying in vain to process the enormous beauty before her, when fireballs began to rain from above, lighting the fire pits with a loud whoosh and scattering embers across the floor. She started, glancing up at the ceiling to find a strange, yellow-feathered creatures zooming across the cavern, spewing fire as it flew. Alien music (if it could be called that) filled the hall, apparently coming from the feathered beast; in a grand display, it landed atop the head of a … of a giant purple slug … and bowed extravagantly. The slug followed suit, causing the little yellow creature to tumble to the floor. In spite of her nerves, Cora couldn't help but smile- she didn't know how else to react. Impossibly, the night was only growing in obscurity.

Nero, as he called himself, led the way through another iridescent curtain and into a long, winding tunnel lined with doors. As the group passed into the new chambers, Cora was suddenly aware of a strong tugging sensation she realized she had been feeling for some time now. It was almost too much to handle while maintaining control, tearing her away from her surroundings and toward a beautiful, shimmering silver curtain up ahead. Cora was not surprised to hear Nero call her up front, and she slipped through the small crowd like a fish, too focused to feel self-conscious in response to the many eyes following her through the curtain and into her future.

Cora felt the temperature drop considerably when she entered the simple but spacious chamber, raising gooseflesh on her arms as her bright green eyes surveyed the room. It was unremarkable save a single object at its center: a large, smooth egg whose surface seemed to ripple with silver. She stared at it, utterly transfixed; different shades of silver seemed to pulse over its curved face, coursing like a sparkling river as she walked cautiously forward. After two or three steps, a loud crack echoed throughout the cavernous space, and a jagged, dark line appeared across the surface of the orb like a scar. Strangely frightened, the woman froze in her tracks and attempted to reconsider her situation, but it was too late: with another mighty crack, a large portion of shell popped off of the egg, and a wet, writhing mass of scales fell onto the ground with a wet plop.

The newborn dragon was about the size of a small dog, with scales as dull and white as milk, and two thin wings still plastered to its back. It didn't look anything like the silver dragon Cora had seen earlier, but it was only after the dragonlet opened its eyes that she understood why: the baby was an albino, with a rosy pink, soft gaze that immediately fixed itself upon her. Eagerly the newborn strained toward its new partner, though its steps were lost in the thick puddle of liquid pooling beneath what remained of its egg. In spite of the delight Cora felt somewhere inside, seeing the dragonlet before her called upon heavy, dark doubts lurking in the back of her mind. 'I don't deserve this,' she thought guiltily, slowly backing away from the advancing newborn. 'I'm just an exile from Salt Haven. This Kallydrana must have made a mistake.' Despite her gradual retreat, the albino dragon was not giving up. It crawled forward as best it could, stamping on its own feet at times and generally making a mess, leaving a crooked ribbon of goo as it advanced. The baby's innocent determination was suddenly too much for Cora, who quietly cried out "No, I need to think," as she held a shaking hand up.

Immediately, the dragon stopped in its tracks. Lacking the coordination to sit, it simply collapsed into a pile and stared up at her with those patient, rose-colored eyes, waiting. Cora took a shaky breath, and took a step forward. She may not have been right choice for this honor, but there was a baby dragon in front of her, and it needed someone -at least for now- to take care of it. Having rebuilt her resolve, the young woman sat in front of the calm, white dragonlet and opened her arms, unsurprised when the baby practically jumped into them. She was, however, surprised to find the tiny dragon quivering with cold. "Well, we'll just have to warm you up, won't we?" she crooned softly, wiping the last remnants of goo away before tucking the baby beneath her tunic. "We'll just have to warm you up." The newborn curled itself against her warm skin, raising more gooseflesh along her arms and legs, but Cora didn't mind. As the albino dragonlet fell asleep it began to rumble a contented purr, and that was more than enough for her.
  • Bucket of Rainbows
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Ihana hadn't stepped outside the limits of her mountain town since the... incident. Her breath was a little shaky and her heart was pounding, but she managed to make her way down the small path until the gates were out of sight. Then she sank down to the ground and clutched her knees, letting her eyes close as emotions ran through her. On the one hand, fear made her skin clammy and head dizzy. On the other hand, she couldn't stay in her home town anymore, not when no one could look her in the eyes and not flinch. Not to mention the dreams... She hadn't gotten a good night's sleep since they started, waking her up in the middle of the night with strange images of dragons and an island. Careful questioning led to her finding out that the island was called Silver Tail Island, and somehow she decided to go there.

Sighing softly, Ihana forced all of her emotions back into their bottle before getting up and starting on her journey. It wasn't like she could get a dragon to fly her there or something like that. Impossible.

She arrived at the water sometime during the evening. Others were already gathered, and Ihana hurried towards them. She assumed they were there for the same reason she was, and if they weren't, they might still be persuaded to take her across the water. Before she could question the one nearest to her, something arose out of the water. Two somethings, and one that flew. Her dazed mind tried to process what was going on before her, even as all she could think was, Beautiful.... Finally Ihana managed to snap herself out of her daze, scrambling to board one of the beasts (Dragons, her mind informed her, but she ignored it) before they could leave without her. She somehow knew they were going to the island... just like her and everyone else here. Too scared to make conversation with the others there, she simply sat in silence before disembarking at the island. Relieved to be on solid ground again despite the amazing ride, Ihana only looked up when she heard someone begin to speak.

Dragons... and she was chosen? Despite her scars.. Despite everything else, she was chosen? That was hard to believe. Shrugging away her disbelief for the moment, she once more followed the others into the cavern, trying to make sure she didn't get lost when she had to leave (she was still sure that it was all a mistake and she would be sent away before long) but that wasn't very hard, as there didn't seem to be any other hallway than the main one they were in right now. Doors lined both walls, and people were called and sent into the various rooms. Ihana knew it would be her name soon, and almost dreaded it. Once she was called, she knew they would discover that she didn't really belong here, and she would be asked to leave. This was all too good to be true. She knew it.

This belief was only reinforced the moment she opened the door marked as hers. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the large egg laying on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Was that... Was that her dragon? Still lost in confusion, fear, and wonder, Ihana slowly moved towards the egg, her heart pounding hard enough to almost drown out the sounds of her egg wiggling back and forth. The closer she got, the more she noticed her egg was different than the descriptions she'd always heard. The shell was less of an actual shell, and more of a pulsing web-like membrane, deep red and crisscrossed with veins of a dark purple. Heat was visibly emanating from the egg and Ihana thought she could almost see the shadow of what looked like a small curled up creature inside of it...

The wiggling grew harder, and she worried that the egg might just topple off the pedestal. Finally she decided to help the little dragonet out, and drew her dagger. Slicing vertically, Ihana gasped as a red liquid gushed over her hands. Oh no, she hadn't hurt the baby, had she? A moment of panic washed over her, only to be replaced by relief as a small head popped out of the remnants of the egg. The dragon, glistening wet, looked around until it saw her, then it stared. Ihana stared back, and felt tears begin to sting her eyes. The dragon, it... no, she... she loved her... Hands reached out, she grasped the dragon firmly and lifted her off the pedestal, cradling her to her chest, ignoring the red liquid that stained her shirt and pants. No, all that mattered was the little baby she held in her arms... The little baby that loved her, scars and all.

"I love you too..." She choked out, crying rather loudly now. She could see that the dragon wasn't without her own flaws, and her appearance left much to be desired, but Ihana loved her anyway. How could she not? They were too similar, and her little dragon loved her unconditionally. How could she not reply in kind? "Kalli... My precious." She whispered to the rare creature now slumbering soundly in her arms. "I'll protect you no matter what, my little dragon. I'll keep you safe from all those who wish you harm. I'll show everyone how beautiful you really are, no matter your appearance." And maybe Kalli could show everyone how beautiful Ihana still was.
Kuwala was amazed. He had no words as he stood next Aki when the dragon mothers flew overhead and landed. The Ruby one intrigued him the most, not being able to engage in the conversation Aki and the mothers were having Kuwala could only sit and read body language. The Ruby mother was showing high levels of sass a disagreement with Aki and Kuwala naturally thought it was because of him being on the island. In response to their talking Kuwala stood behind Aki intimidated by the presence of the beasts before him. What is going on?

The sudden appearance of a black dragon with a literal fiery aura forced Aki back and Kuwala mimicked to avoid injury. Confused with the situation Kuwala reached out to Aki and his hand hovered over her shoulder. Thinking about his action he decided against it and mumbled under his breath. "Never mind..." Kuwala kept looking around analyzing the situation as best he could by sudden glares, movements and atmosphere, but even still he found himself confused. He understood they were gathering riders, but the things happening around him were unknown and the unknown is known to be the scariest thing you could encounter. He thought about the possibility of talking through other means besides the mouth, maybe speak through minds, but a sharp pain shot through his head and he jumped in his boots. He rubbed his head coming to the conclusion that this was the answer.

As he rubbed his head the beat of wings ceased and at its source lie the bastard himself, Maurus. I will repay you for that. I promise that! Kuwala's thoughts led him to ball his fist and wear a smirk. He soon realized what he was doing and corrected his posture folding his arms and leaning to the side whistling as he awaited further instruction. Maurus asked for aid in bringing the riders over and Kuwala stopped whistling wondering what the group would look like. As he fantasized the dragons swam across the waters and carried the group back. When he noticed Aki divert with the dragons he looked between her and Maurus deciding on whether to stay put or go with. Rather annoyed by Maurus' sheer presence he went to the caves with Aki only to be taken by the hand soon after to the group of riders now standing before Maurus. He should've stayed. This is that man's fault. No use fretting over it... Kuwala joined the group and listened to Aki's words. ...It would seem that the game is about to begin.

The group was lead into a cavern after the brief orientation greeting. Aki stopped them all at a pit and a feeling fell over her similar to Kuwala's peeves to Maurus. He looked around knowing that something unexpected was going to happen, it always did around him. The fires of the pits lit and music began to echo in the cave and Kuwala smiled, it was a funny tune that alleviated the stress and worries of being here. Soon a feathery one came through the flames dancing around the group pointing at the riders. The music ceased so that the bird could welcome the group and his slug friend Tal. Kuwala almost bowed, but held himself at bay and watched as the bird fell. He let a chuckle escape his lips and it slowly died out as Aki began to complain. Upon hearing the feathery one named Nero's excuse Kuwala said in agreement, "Indeed." and sat back folding his arms. Aki however did not agree and motioned for the group to follow. They all did and were led to rooms where eggs lay. All the eggs began to hatch and the feathered one called out as they did. Kuwala felt the pull of his dragon almost going to the room without the aid of Aki.

Kuwala entered his room to a still egg. He walked over to it examining his room, looking more to the egg than anything. When he reached his egg he bent over and picked it up. "Hello little friend." He whispered as he brought it to eye level. Thinking about it hatching he sat down with it in his lap. It took a minute for the first peck to happen, but when it did Kuwala came to life a large smile being worn on his face. The dragon pecked and pecked a crack finally appearing on the front of the shell. The dragon eventually made a crack large enough to tear the egg shell down and get out. Kuwala set the egg down carefully and moved his legs.

The dragon hopped out of the egg and waddled over tripping itself, but regaining itself even quicker. Kuwala walked in carefully and watched the creature navigate the room in amazement. "You need a name my friend." The dragon soon was able to gain a steady stand and looked up to Kuwala with a curious eye. Kuwala tilted his head and the dragon did so as well. "Well, that proves to be fun." Meat was soon delivered to the room and Kuwala gestured an unrecognized thank you before entering in to see the dragon waddling its way over to Kuwala. Kuwala walked over to the table where pen and ink lie and watched as the dragon followed. He observed every moving muscle and the way to moved, it was watching him as well by keeping Kuwala in his peripheral. "It's smart... and needs a name." The dragon then walked over to Kuwala and stood on his boot biting at the metal latch. "Wait..." Kuwala let his hand down to the dragon and it stared for a while, but soon took the offer. Kuwala lifted it to eye level supporting it with both hands. "No obvious genitals of any kind. I could always go for a more versatile name." The dragon paced around in his hands and Kuwala watched as it got comfortable. When it seemed to be resting he set it down on the table, but when he picked up the pen and ink it shot up looking over its body. Kuwala looked up and jumped in his seat. "You certainly are the curious one." The dragon trampled over the paper and rested against his hand holding the ink.

Kuwala looked at it and smiled. Again thinking it was asleep he moved his hand, the dragon reacted the same way, getting up and waltzing over to his hand laying down. The cycle went on about twice more before the dragon got angered and nipped Kuwala, seeming to know its mistake it backed away, but Kuwala released his stern look when he looked at it. "Truce. I'm tired as well. We have our friend Maurus to thank for that." Kuwala cupped his hands together and sat them on the table. The dragon approached with caution keeping its wings arced downward until it got comfortable. This time Kuwala got up and carried it over to the bed and the dragon shot up again ready to strike, but saw there was no danger of the warm mass leaving and calmed down. It's still has the residue of its birth... in every way. Kuwala then sat criss-cross on his bed leaning against the wall staring down at the dragon who had seemed to find peace. "This journey of yours Aki, I don't expect it to be short in any way." Kuwala looked up and thought about home and suddenly the pain shot through his head again. The dragon appearing to open his eyes before Kuwala did. Kuwala smiled putting it at ease, but then sighed when it moved making the gooey mass it carried around the room more noticeable. That comes up easy... I do hope. I need rest. Kuwala let his head drop back and took a nap. The smell of the baby and thoughts of the adventures they would have raced through his mind.
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[fieldbox="Thaydur - 12 Vonas – 0628 - Sunrise, #C0C0C0, solid, Tahoma"]
As each dragonling hatched, their riders reacting in various ways, the records were written in scrawling ink written by Nero as he roamed the halls, calling to Aki and her beloved dragon to deliver meat to each room. The barrels were three feet tall each and roughly two feet in diameter at their thickest points. Each of them were filled halfway with hand-sized chunks of fresh meat cut from the animals that had been hunted and drained just hours before the dragons had been delivered. For a few hours, everything was quiet, save the gentle snores of newly hatched babies and the squeaking snores one very loud and obnoxious slug. The first and largest of the two suns had begun to rise outside, and its rosy light reached across the skies like fingers reaching for the moons that had already set.

Aki stood just within the entrance to the quarters area, leaning against her snoozing dragoness and waiting patiently for the first hungry cries to sound. It wouldn't be long before she did hear this, and in response she tapped on Xaria's shoulder to let her know the feeding fest was about to begin.

The first to wake was the little Emerald, whose energy lifted the spirits of her rider as she blinked up at him with golden eyes that shimmered with thousands of tiny stars. After a moment of staring at him, the little dragon opened her maw wide and let out a loud chirp, begging for him to feed her. His brow furrowed as he blinked back at her, unsure of what to do. Her skin had absorbed most of the goop that had remained from the egg, and her pale green scales shimmered in the dim light of the silver torches that lined the walls.

Her second chirp was more demanding, and after another moment of her sitting on his lap with her maw open, she snapped at his hand viciously, her already sharp teeth breaking skin and causing him to jump backward with a yelp. "Ouch, what did you do that for?!"

"She needs to be fed." Aki's stern voice entered the room as she leaned against the threshold, her arms crossed, her blue eyes staring him down before looking at the barrel as though to give the man a hint. "We've already given you what you need. You just have to show her. Baby dragon's need tender care, and if they are not fed quickly, they can get a little naughty."

The silver-haired rider pushed off the stone wall and walked forward, leaning down and staring at the little dragon, saying nothing but obviously portraying some sort of message. The baby dragon's eyes widened before she looked at Theolyn in fear and sadness, slinking up to him with her belly in the soft grasses as the roots that had begun to spring from her narrow tail connected themselves to the soil eagerly. Making her way to his hand, she licked the small dots of blood in apology before nuzzling him. Aki straightened and smiled in satisfaction. "She's sorry. She didn't mean to bite you." Looking at him, her face softened. "You raised animals before, right? Nero said the rider of the Emerald was going to have great knowledge in beasts. So you know that some creatures require a specific diet."

Theolyn nodded slowly, looking down at the baby with a gentle smile as he caressed her soft scales. "Yes, I raised Windlarks on my family's plantation. Quite the creatures, but they ate the vegetables I grew in the land. It was easy to care for them."

"Dragons won't be so easy. You will have to hand feed her bits of meat for the first few weeks before she is big enough to eat on her own."

He stopped then, his eyes widening as his heart sank. Looking back up at Aki, he swallowed and spoke slowly. "I have to give her…the flesh of another living creature?"

"Well, it's not really alive now, is it?" Aki smirked, raising a brow. "Pretty sure my arrow sufficed in killing the beast, and if that didn't finish it off, Xaria's work at tearing it to bite-sized bits would be. Don't worry, it's not nasty or anything. Most of the blood has been drained. She won't want much of that until she's a bit older."

Theolyn felt like he was going to vomit. His face paled as a bout of dizziness ran over him, his body going numb even to the tender nudges of the baby dragon at his hand. "I…I can't…feed her meat. I don't even eat meat."

The woman laughed sarcastically, crossing her arms over her chest and cocking her hip to the side. "Well, that seems to be a personal problem, friend. You'll just have to learn. Either that or let your precious baby dragon starve. I'd hate to see that…especially since I don't think I've ever seen a starving dragon before."

She turned then, beginning her short walk to the opening. As she pulled back the curtain, she paused and looked back at him with slightly silver eyes. "If you let her starve, I hope she eats you. That'll be all you deserve." With that, she left Theolyn to his hungry dragon and his troublesome thoughts.

After a moment, he sighed and took a few deep breaths before looking down at those golden eyes. "You…you are worth it, I think. I will…try." Standing, he took a few more breaths, fisting and relaxing his hands a few times. The baby squeaked, nudging his leg enthusiastically as he began making his way forward, quickly followed by the dragon. After a few moments of huffing and trying desperately to gain control over his stomach and clammy skin, to no avail. Another pause, and Theolyn peeked inside to see fresh pieces of hand-sized pink pieces. The smell was horrible, as though Death still remained stagnant in the air around it. Yet the appearance wasn't as terrible as he had thought it would be.

Another sigh sounded from the man's lips as his chocolate gaze fell towards the little dragon, who looked up at him with a cute dragon smile and big, round eyes. She was hungry, and despite his desire – no, his need – to get away from death, he forced himself to reach into the barrel and pull out a piece. Shuddering, he felt himself gag as he pulled the piece from the barrel and held it out for the baby to eat.

With a move so quick, the little dragon snatched the meat from his hand with ferocity and swallowed it whole without even chewing. With an odd sense of fascination, Theolyn watched her throat shift and change as the meat went down, and before it even made its way to her belly, her mouth was open again for another bite.

Though the man had little resolve for the thought of a carnivore, his heart had already swelled with the love he had for the newly hatched dragon and her beautiful golden eyes. Even the whispering voice that didn't speak words to him seemed to encourage him to help her finish. And before he knew it, the barrel was empty, and her little belly was so plump that the skin had stretched beneath her pale green scales. A soft cooing sound emanated from her crest as the baby went back towards the center of her pit, where the pieces of her egg still remained, and laid herself down, falling asleep almost instantly.

It was around this moment that Aki's voice sounded from the hall. "When you have all finished feeding your dragons, and they are sleeping comfortably in their own beds, please make your ways out here. It's time I tell you the reason you are here in greater detail and show you a few of the things you'll be doing over the next few days." It was quite obvious that she had been to other rooms, as her voice was slightly tired, despite its still demanding and angry nature.

With a small smile, Theolyn made his way from the room silently and walked the distance to the first room, where Aki and Xaria stood. Off to the side, Nero hovered with his clip board beside him. It took a few moments for everyone to make their way out, but after a while, the group had assembled, and everyone was led into the main cavern, where a massive curtain had been pulled back to reveal a crystal window to let the light of the suns in. The light was blocked by the water that rested over the window as well as the thickness of the crystal, itself. Still, the light was bright enough to almost cancel out the flickering flames in the pits that lined the center. At the largest pit in the very center of the massive room, Aki stopped the group and looked up at Xanras, who lay across the massive stones easily, his seventy-foot length coiled in a semi-circle. Mauras lie against the black scales of the beast, his hood drawn over his face as he dozed. As if he could sense the gaze of the other rider, his gray eyes opened and looked over at the group before his elbow slammed into the dragon he was resting against.

After a moment, the pair stood and looked at the group. "So, the feeding went okay?"

"No thanks to you." Aki grumbled, shaking her head before clearing her throat and looking out across the new riders. "So, now that your dragons have hatched, slept and fed, and are now sleeping again, we can get down to business. First off, I am Akihanna Lyrial, and I have been a dragon rider for over twenty years. This silvery beauty you see next to me is my beloved dragon sister and Pactmate, Xaria. The two with lazy bones behind us are Mauras and his Pactmate, Xanras. And then, there's Neroth'na and Talthoros." Nero bowed as he hovered, and the slug beneath him did the same. "We are all what you would call the enforcers of Inhalla's will. And Mauras and I are dragon riders, if you haven't already figured that out."

She took a breath and took a step forward, taking a moment to study each individual, her blue eyes stern and calculating. After each person was assessed in her mind, she returned to explanation. "Now, to explain the various bits of confusion on your faces. First off, Inhalla is the dragon word for Mother of All. She is the queen goddess, the ultimate ruler of the gods and the most powerful being in existence. She is the creator of the dragons, and it is by her will that ten humans were chosen to make a special bond with her children as Mauras and I have. Now, many of you know of only one god, right? The almighty, one true god. There are no others. No Kalidyrre, no dragons, no Inhalla. Not in your world. Well, I'm here to burst your little bubbles. Your almighty God is no more than a tyrant in search of a way to take down all of Inhalla's children. And he just might have found a way."

Pursing her lips, the silver-haired rider crossed her arms over her chest. "But in response, Inhalla has found a way to keep him from doing just that. You see, dragon riders can harness the power of her children in ways that a dragon, alone, cannot. You are designed to work as a team and balance each other out, and you are built to fight for a purpose that is beyond you. In return for your service for the great Inhalla and her Council of Ten, also known as the Kalidyrre, you will be granted with unimaginable power, an immortality to the withering of time, and a soulmate that will show you that your previous existence was not much of an existence at all."

Looking to Haern then, she narrowed her eyes. "I know some of you were pulled from a particular search or another. But I guarantee you now that this will not end just because you are side-tracked. Inhalla has promised that what you are searching for can be found, but the path you must take is the one you are on now." Her blue gaze fell across the rest of the group. "Here, you will find only one piece you are searching for, and that piece will help you to find the rest. If you stick it through, you will find what you are searching for, if you have not already."

Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly, and began to walk towards the great crystal window. "Now that we have that little bit settled, I'll let Nero make an announcement and then go over what we will be doing in the next week. Once this has all been settled, I will allow for any and all questions. But do keep in mind that we have a long night ahead of us, so we will all need some sleep soon."

She looked to Nero then, who had followed her over to the window. He turned, letting the light sparkle from his feathers, almost completely cancelling out the blue glow of the lantern around his neck. "Hello, everyone. Now, I'm sure you're all wondering how I've gotten your names already. So, let me explain that first. You see, I am half dragon, thus making me a child of Inhalla. I have lived a very long time, and my closeness to Her has given me very special privileges. I am Her eyes and ears, and I am Her messenger. She guides me where I need to go, and that is often to guide a group on their own journey to help Her beloved world. She is how I got your names and some of your backgrounds. While I do not get to see everything, I get a basic idea, as She has watched over you since you were born. Though She never interfered with you, fearing that your destinies would change, She has always helped guide you to where you need to be." With a smooth smile, he pulled his clip board in front of him and lowered himself to the slug beneath him, sitting on the creature's head. "Now, for the fun part. I have here a list of each dragon as they hatched. I also have genders for those of you who may not have figured it out." Looking up, he laughed heartily. "This seems to be all of you…so, without further ado, here is the list in the order of hatching!

"First is the Amethyst male, hatched to rider, Khajju. Next, the Emerald female, hatched to Theolyn. Third, the Silver male hatched to Cora. Fourth is the Ammolite male, hatched to Nari. Fifth is the surprisingly feminine Amber male, hatched to Leatrix. Sixth is the Pietersite male, hatched to Kuwala. Seventh, the Obsidian female, hatched to Kaveil. Eigth is the Ruby female, hatched to Haern. Ninth is the Turquoise female, hatched to Eile. And finally, the Bloodstone female hatched to Ihana."

With a firm nod, he looked up at the riders with a smile. "Congratulations, new riders. Your dragons have all chosen to let you name them, so you are free to give them whatever name you wish. Good luck."

Aki nodded before clearing her throat. "Right, now that you understand that, it's time for some basics. First, a little information on baby dragons." Her eyes landed on Theolyn, who smiled somewhat sheepishly. "They must be fed roughly every two hours, and their meal must be at least a half barrel of pre-cut meat. Feed them until they are full, and they will sleep most of it off. This will happen for the first week before they are going to start getting active. Your dragons will grow very rapidly, so don't be afraid if you see your dragon grow a few inches over night, and try not to panic when you see a random scale here and there. It's all normal.

"These dragons need tender love and care. You must dedicate yourselves to them, or their growth will not work well. Slacking is strictly prohibited, and if I see you sleeping on the job, you will be reprimanded in any way I or Xaria, our official surrogate mother, see fit. This is your only warning. You will also be expected to bathe your dragons once per week, which we will show you how to do once they start getting very active. The dragon baths are located at the end of the large hallway off the main bath area, where each of you will be able to keep clean. Tonight, I will show you everything around here, but for now, I believe we should all get some sleep. Xaria and I have prepared enough meat for the babies until tonight, which will be placed in your dragons' rooms for your convenience. We will all sleep during the day and be active at night until I believe we are ready to show ourselves at more reasonable hours. Get used to the moonlight, comrades. It is going to be a long time before you will have time to see the sun."

With that, she gave a small smirk. "Now, are there any questions before we go get some shut eye?"

During the explanations, Theolyn found himself listening intently. He was intrigued by all of the new information, and a part of him knew that all of it was right. He was destined for this, born for it. He only wished that the one watching over him had also watched over his family. Nymeria, he thought, would have been a better choice. His gaze fell over to Haern, who looked pained and tired. The old farmer felt sad for his dear friend, knowing that his purpose was not to find a dragon, but his beloved wife. Though Haern was much like Theolyn in the fact that he didn't share every single detail, he did give enough information to let the farmer know where they were going and what they were doing. Would Haern stay? Would he accept his fate and the baby that had connected with him?

A silent sigh fell through the man's lips as he returned his attention to Nero, having followed the crowd towards the great crystal window. His stomach fluttered with excitement. The baby had hatched second in the entire group, and it was a female! Unable to help his smile, he did a little celebration in his mind before returning his focus towards everyone else. For once, he found himself not as afraid of the crowd. Perhaps it was the fact that even now, he remained towards the back to keep from being within the group and still a part of it. Or perhaps it was his sheer excitement, even keeping him from thinking about the horrible thing he had just done, feeding the little dragon a barrel of meat. When Aki asked if there were any questions, he remained silent, hoping he could return to the little dragon and officially name her Nyteria, after his beloved sister. Tonight, he knew, he would be sleeping in the grass and flowers, soothed by the tiny snores of the dragon and the whispers of Life surrounding him.[/fieldbox]
Eile Mizer

Had it been hours, or minutes. Eile wasn't sure as she looked at the wall of her currently location. The baby dragon was still asleep as Eile looked around the room. She noticed another smaller cave that had the basic bedroom necessities as well as a barrel. The dragon stirred in her lap as it crawled out of Eile's lap and started to yip. The Green Murderer got up and stretched a bit as the dragon yipped louder.

"What do you want? Right. As if this baby can speak." Eile muttered looking at the baby dragon.

The baby dragon yipped more as Eile walked over to the barrel she saw earlier. Inside the barrel, Eile found meat as she looked back to the dragon before putting two and two together.

"Well. Looks like I found your meal. I doubt you can eat a full slab of meat in one bite." Eile muttered as the dragon's yip became a bit more excited.

Eile walked right back to the baby dragon and scooped it up as she carried it right over to the barrel. She placed the dragon back down as she grabbed some meat and started to cut the meat into small bits before offering it to the baby dragon. The dragon walked up slowly to Eile's hand as it grabbed the meat quickly before backing up a bit and eating it. Eile shrugged as she continued to grab the meat and cut it down before feeding it to her dragon. The walls echoed of Aki's laugh as Eile groaned. Soon enough, the barrel was empty as the baby dragon before her devoured the last meat that was offered to it before it curled up beside her and promptly fell asleep.

"Easy life you have." Eile muttered as she heard Aki's voice calling for an audience.

Eile pulled out her scythe and used it as a walking cane for her bum leg as she quietly made her way out of her cave and followed the group to the first room, where Aki and the others were.

So, now that your dragons have hatched, slept and fed, and are now sleeping again, we can get down to business. First off, I am Akihanna Lyrial, and I have been a dragon rider for over twenty years. This silvery beauty you see next to me is my beloved dragon sister and Pactmate, Xaria. The two with lazy bones behind us are Mauras and his Pactmate, Xanras. And then, there's Neroth'na and Talthoros.We are all what you would call the enforcers of Inhalla's will. And Mauras and I are dragon riders, if you haven't already figured that out."

Eile only rolled her eyes at that last statement. Even the baby dragon that was asleep in the cave could figure that out.

"Now, to explain the various bits of confusion on your faces. First off, Inhalla is the dragon word for Mother of All. She is the queen goddess, the ultimate ruler of the gods and the most powerful being in existence. She is the creator of the dragons, and it is by her will that ten humans were chosen to make a special bond with her children as Mauras and I have. Now, many of you know of only one god, right? The almighty, one true god. There are no others. No Kalidyrre, no dragons, no Inhalla. Not in your world. Well, I'm here to burst your little bubbles. Your almighty God is no more than a tyrant in search of a way to take down all of Inhalla's children. And he just might have found a way."

Eile took note of the names. Apparently Inhalla was this supposed god that created dragons. Not that Eile cared. She just wanted to know why she was here playing nanny to a newly hatched dragon.

"But in response, Inhalla has found a way to keep him from doing just that. You see, dragon riders can harness the power of her children in ways that a dragon, alone, cannot. You are designed to work as a team and balance each other out, and you are built to fight for a purpose that is beyond you. In return for your service for the great Inhalla and her Council of Ten, also known as the Kalidyrre, you will be granted with unimaginable power, an immortality to the withering of time, and a soulmate that will show you that your previous existence was not much of an existence at all."

So this Council of Ten is the Kalidyrre and wait what? Power, immortality, and what's this soulmate? Eile quickly notated that thought as Aki kept speaking.

"I know some of you were pulled from a particular search or another. But I guarantee you now that this will not end just because you are side-tracked. Inhalla has promised that what you are searching for can be found, but the path you must take is the one you are on now. Here, you will find only one piece you are searching for, and that piece will help you to find the rest. If you stick it through, you will find what you are searching for, if you have not already."

Eile restrained herself from speaking. It was more the obvious that Aki and her crew would roll out the hide carpet had Inhalla and her Council of Ten were here. Eile shifted her gaze over to Nero who took over the talking.

"Hello, everyone. Now, I'm sure you're all wondering how I've gotten your names already. So, let me explain that first. You see, I am half dragon, thus making me a child of Inhalla. I have lived a very long time, and my closeness to Her has given me very special privileges. I am Her eyes and ears, and I am Her messenger. She guides me where I need to go, and that is often to guide a group on their own journey to help Her beloved world. She is how I got your names and some of your backgrounds. While I do not get to see everything, I get a basic idea, as She has watched over you since you were born. Though She never interfered with you, fearing that your destinies would change, She has always helped guide you to where you need to be."

Eile shook her head at that statement. Gods who preached was just as useful as a bag of twigs as Eile listened into what Nero said. Apparently, Eile's dragon, a turquoise female dragon was born ninth. Just infront of one dragon. At least it saved her from guessing genders. Eile barely paid attention to what Aki said. Eile only picked up what she needed, which was to feed her dragon every 2 hours and wash them. Apparently Aki thinks everyone human are just a slave as Aki opened the floor to questions.

"So instead of letting us live out our natural lives, Aki, your Inhalla and Kalidyre decided to curse us to be an immortal lonely weapon of war that has to watch everything we grew up with rot away with time and our soulmate is those baby dragon. I fail to see any humor in that joke. As for you, Mr. eyes ears and voice of Inhalla. If you had a basic idea of our background, why even bring us here? Most, if not, all of us are not fit to be your heroes. Some of us are just farmers, fishermen and such who just wants to make a living while the rest are either guards, mercenaries or murderers. An odd group to even be remotely considered heroes and I am not buying the crap about Inhalla guiding everyone in this room on their lives. If Inhalla has time to guide us ten, why not the rest of the people in the world. I didn't see Inhalla try to stop the Extermination in Taval just like how I didn't see the one almighty god try to stop the Tarjan Army from going on a rampage." Eile jeered looking at both Aki and Nero. Eile's patience was wearing very thin and the idea of playing mother to a dragon was definitely not on her to do list.
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In the few hours that the hatchling slept pressed against her stomach, Cora's mind twitched with restless thoughts, though she tried to focus on the weight of the dragon in her lap instead of the gnawing uncertainties picking away at her head. After what seemed like an eternity, the newborn finally woke and drew the attention of its partner by kneading her stomach with two tiny front paws, accidentally creating thin scratches where its talons dug into her skin. Surprised by the sudden pain, the woman nearly stood and dumped the dragon on the floor, but managed to pull it from under her tunic in one gentle but firm motion. She looked at the hatchling sternly with bright green eyes, holding it in one hand while using the other to tap its milky white beak once or twice. "No, we do not scratch Cora," the woman said in a sharp tone, but one remorseful peep from the baby was enough to melt her heart again.

Cora set the dragon down, walked over to the barrel that had been deposited shortly after the egg had hatched, and peered inside. Red chunks of meat were stacked within, doubtlessly her dragon's first meal; looking to the newborn, she dragged the barrel a little further into the room and grabbed a fist-sized hunk of meat. The rosy pink eyes of the hatchling followed her hand as she waved it around, spreading a thick, game-y odor throughout the room. "You hungry, kid?" the woman asked with a crooked smile, watching the white dragon inch closer and closer. She hadn't even fully extended her arm when the newborn snatched the meat right out of her hand, only narrowly missing her fingers as its jaws snapped shut. Before Cora could blink, the hatchling had swallowed its meal whole and was already staring at her expectantly, jaws open and waiting patiently for more.

Now with a better understanding of a newborn dragon's hunger, the fisherwoman began tossing pieces of meat toward her hatchling to avoid being bitten, careful not to throw too quickly or forcefully at its open mouth. To her delight, the baby caught almost every single piece with one satisfying snap, swallowing piece after piece until the entire barrel was empty. Wiping her sticky hands on the front of her tunic, Cora glanced down at her dragon and nodded absently. "Nice appetite. Now that you're full we'll just have to- hey, HEY, no, no, no," the woman began to scold the newborn as it reached beneath her shirt with a drowsy nose, likely looking for warmth before taking another nap. Cora tapped the inquisitive nose and took a step backward. "Now, we can't be starting bad habits. Go sleep in your ... your pit." After a moment the hatchling turned around and plodded into the sand, not without pausing dramatically to give its partner a morose over-the-shoulder stare before curling up and falling asleep.

Although the silver-haired woman's voice beckoned from the hall, it was a few moments before Cora was able to tear her eyes from the little sleeping dragon. Finally, with a weighted sigh, the green-eyed woman turned, slipped between the silver curtains, and followed the rest of the group back into the main cavern. The woman and her sparkling dragon were already there, waiting beside Mauras and his behemoth for everyone to settle down; once the room was quiet, the woman began speaking, first introducing herself as Akihanna and going on to name her dragon, Xaria, as well as the more familiar Mauras, Xanras, Nero, and Tal. Cora was somewhat surprised to hear that Aki had been riding for over twenty years, considering the silver-haired woman looked to be in her thirties. This must be her entire life, the fisherwoman thought, though she wasn't sure if the realization brought about envy or sadness.

Another mysterious name was mentioned- someone called Inhalla. Cora listened intently as Akihanna went into further detail on this supposed 'Mother Goddess,' but at the forefront of her mind stood a single question: what about Varon? Perhaps he was a faction of this great goddess, a lesser part devoted to ruling mankind? Not ten seconds later, the fisherwoman's innocent beliefs were swiftly squashed beneath Aki's iron words, her entire faith ended in one crass sentence. With such wild claims having been made, Cora found it difficult to concentrate on the next few parts of the silver-haired rider's speech ... Something about immortality, maybe, finding a soulmate, searching for pieces of something greater ...

Varon is a lie?

Confused thoughts were put on hold as the little golden dragon, Nero, explained his own role in their journey, and provided some more background on Inhalla. He went on to give them information on their dragons, and Cora made a mental note of her hatchling's gender for later evaluation. Akihanna then pounded them with even more information, including the teeny little detail that they would not be seeing the sun for weeks, possibly longer. This was all too much.

Trying not to panic, the young woman closed her eyes for a second and tried to process everything that she had learned in the last five minutes. Immortality. That could wait, obviously. Finding a soulmate? Great, she had always wanted one of those but had never been able to afford it. The sun. Cora loved being out in the sun, her skin bronze and freckled after spending days upon days in her boat on the water. Could she live without it? Yes. For a dragon, the answer would almost always be yes.

Faith, however, was an entirely different matter. In Port Syren, the five clans lived on Varon's generosity. The god of justice and revenge, Varon was responsible for both filling a ship's sails and raining hail down on its enemies. Varon smote liars, brought good fortune to honest, hard-working folk, and brought down the hammer of justice when men alone were powerless to do so; he made victory, and he made tragedy. In spite of her best efforts not to show any indication of weakness, Cora shuddered as she stood, awe-struck by the mere thought of the all-mighty deity. That he did not exist as a god was a loaded claim, indeed; she had seen with her own green eyes the massive power of Varon, miracles that only the hand of a supreme being could orchestrate. This fervent belief was ingrained in Cora's bones, as much a part of her culture as the sea. And all Akihanna could say was I'm here to burst your little bubble?

Suddenly the sight of the silver-haired rider was too much for Cora to handle without feeling an enormous sense of betrayal, hurt, and anger. "Nero ... Tal," she said quietly, barely retaining her composure, "I would like to speak with you later, if that's alright." The pseudodragon seemed like he would be able to handle her ... her concerns with more tact than Aki contained in her entire being, and the slug just seemed like it was eternally 'along for the ride.' Regardless of the storm brewing beneath a cool exterior, Cora flinched at the angry complaint of a woman nearby, her abrasive words stinging the air like fire. The green-clothed woman made a few reasonable points, but her tone was entirely too confrontational for the fisherwoman to stomach for long.
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Leatrix watched as the amber baby dragon sleeping on her arms, carefully, she took a step and sat down right beside the nest. Leatrix leaned her head against the wall, her eyes hadn't shifted from the baby dragon. His breath was heavy followed with light snore as he drown in his peaceful dream. Sometimes, the baby dragon would move, stretch his body, find another spot to sleep, "You do move a lot, kid," she said, stroking his soft back scales. 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour was okay, but when it hit 2 hours straight, her thighs was completely numb. The baby dragon, on the other hand, was sleeping comfortably on her lap without moving or showing any sign to wake up. Leatrix touched the baby dragon's nose with her forefinger then stroked it up to his forehead. She did it several times to wake him up, but instead, made him snored more.

"You gotta wake up now, seriously," Leatrix took the baby dragon softly and moved him closer to her face. She tilted her head, giggled, when she looked at her baby dragon's sleeping face. He was totally a heavy sleeper. Still holding him in her hands, the baby dragon finally started to move and yawned. His little eyes blinked several times before he fixed his eyes to Leatrix. He then spoke something which sounded like tiny cute peep to Leatrix, "Are you hungry?" The baby dragon answered by licking Leatrix's nose, leaving slimy liquid to her sharp nose, "Not a good way to answer though, but I will assume it as yes."

Brushing her nose with her hand, Leatrix walked to a big barrel just across her. She peeked inside and found a bunch of meats filled the barrel. The baby dragon jumped happily and shook his butt, making his tail danced back and forth. She picked the biggest hand, "Wow, I can't imagine your little body eats this meat." After the meat was out of the barrel. The baby dragon started to jump more excitedly. He almost reached the meat on Leatrix's hands in one jump. Leatrix tried her best to prevent the baby dragon from eating without manner, "Hey, slow down," she said whilst now she held the meat right above her head. The baby dragon, of course, didn't stop his attempt to snatch the meat.

"Now, cut it off!" Leatrix spoke sternly, pointed out her forefinger right in front of his nose as a warning. The baby dragon finally stopped his excessive act, he tried to bite her finger but Leatrix quickly pulled it away, "If you try to bite me again, I'm gonna eat this whole meats and leave none for you," Leatrix didn't know if he understood her or not. At least, her words could make him sat down now, but his tail still moved around though. She smiled and rubbed his head, "Good! Now you can taste this delicious meat," she gave the meat to the baby dragon and watched in disbelief when he ate it in one gulp.

The baby dragon tilted his head with his mouth opened widely. Leatrix laughed, she never knew hatchling could have big appetite. She brought another meat and with the same way, told the baby dragon to calm down and waited until she gave him the meat. No snatching. Following Leatrix's order, the baby dragon just sat there, still opening his mouth which made his saliva dripped as he imagined the meat went through his mouth then to his belly. Satisfied with the his manner, Leatrix gave him another meat and another again until he stopped opening his mouth. Leatrix rubbed his belly and felt that it was much bigger for he just ate a lot of meat. After receiving food, the baby dragon yawned again. Seeing that the baby dragon yawning, Leatrix put him on his nest, she didn't want to do the same mistake by letting him sleep on her lap for 2 hours straight.

As soon as the baby dragon closed his eyes, Leatrix heard voice right outside the cave. Tiptoeing, she pulled the curtain to heard the voice more clearly. Glancing at the sleeping dragon one more time, Leatrix left the cave to gather with other riders one more time. On her way, Leatrix snapped her fingers as she remembered that she hadn't named the baby dragon yet. She even hadn't found out the baby dragon's gender. However, she couldn't think any name yet for Aki started to speak and she needed to know more information from her.

New yet strange information rushed to her brain as Aki explaining about Inhalla, Kalidyrre, power, and other things she never heard since she was baby. She doubted that this path was the right one since she grew up believing Varon who wasn't mentioned at all. Leatrix would let time revealed the truth as she followed the only path she had now. After Aki's explanation, now it was Nero's turn to make announcement. Leatrix wished that she would hear another music, but it turned out just a normal announcement.

"...Fifth is the surprisingly feminine Amber male, hatched to Leatrix..." Leatrix gasped at this sentence, "So the baby dragon is male, he is surely has feminine face, but yes, his attitude can't hide his identity," A smile formed on her face as the memory of her baby dragon's effort to get meats. One name slid through her brain, "Androga," she whispered to herself and nodded in agreement to let the baby dragon called as Androga.

Another explanation came out from Aki's mouth about the baby dragon. Leatrix bit her lower lip, trying to remember all of the information, making sure she didn't miss a thing for she wanted to raise Androga well. Her head tilted to her right side when she heard question from all-green woman right beside her. She was quiet harsh, but somehow truth hidden in every words she said. Leatrix couldn't help herself nodding in agreement. She did agree with her, she did doubt about this whole thing, she did shock that she was chosen. She always believed herself, but this time she couldn't stop the doubt from entering her mind.

Crossing her arms on her chest, Leatrix waited for Aki or Mauras or anyone in front of her to answer. She tapped her feet impatiently. She might have another questions, one or two, but she wanted to hear this answer first, then considering whether she would ask or not.
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[fieldbox=Answering Complaints, #C0C0C0, solid, Tahoma]At the tiny sound of Cora's voice, Nero looked over with a gentle smile. He understood too well how Aki's sarcastic and blunt attitude could make a gentler creature nervous to speak up. He also knew that Mauras would be little help here. If only Xanras could speak aloud without sounding completely ridiculous. Giving the young woman a nod, he spoke. "Yes, dear! I will gladly speak to you privately after all other questions are asked and answered. When the group leaves, just stay behind, and I will take you to my own private area so that we can speak without these ears on us."

Aki grumbled, glaring at the little dragon momentarily, which he only shrugged off. Of course, this glare couldn't possibly last long as another voice was heard. The attitude greatly matched that of the silver-haired rider, who now turned her gaze to the woman dressed in green. She let the woman pour out her words, dripping heavily with sarcasm and the natural lack of humor that she knew all-too-well. Taking a moment to keep her own anger from boiling over, she gave a smile that oddly lacked in humor. "Tell me, Green Murderer…do you have anything left to watch wither and rot away with time? Were you not already alone? Are you saying that you don't want to destroy the soldiers of the Tarjan Army? The ones who destroyed your entire family?" There was a small sense of hidden pain in those last words as her eyes began to glow a frightening silver, the fur of her clothing dancing with an unseen force. "Last time I checked, you're in the perfect place. Whether you like it or not, that baby dragon in that room back there made you feel something. Something you have never felt before. And you're wanting to throw that away just so you can wander around aimlessly, empty for the rest of your miserable life? Go right ahead. I'd love to see just how much longer your luck will last."

Nero piped in then, placing his paw on her shoulder as he flew up to hover beside her. His presence seemed to calm her enough to look away, placing her hand on the shimmering Mercury beside her. The little feathered creature looked at the woman in green then, stern but kind. "The one Almighty God you humans are used to is the God Killer whose only desire is to wipe the world of the dragons – those who keep the world in balance of power. His influence is strong in the Mainland, and the last time this happened, Inhalla almost inadvertently destroyed her precious world. What do you think will happen if Inhalla interferes directly? A god coming down into the world could potentially ruin the balance that has been created…especially a god that is more powerful than those around them. Even the gods have rules, child. None of us can be free of rules."

He swooped in then, coming close to her, studying her pain a moment. Nothing could be hidden from the inquisitive Nero. Then, speaking again, he lowered his voice, showing the note of seriousness this all held. "I brought you here because it was the will in Inhalla. I have watched you grow up, seen the luck she has granted you. Like when you decapitated three Tarjan Soldiers with one fell swoop of that pretty scythe you hold so dear. Do you honestly think that was all you? If it wasn't for Inhalla, you would be dead alongside the rest of your family." He looked around then, all of his usually carefree nature almost completely gone. "Each of you, whether farmer or fisherman, guard or outlaw…you all are here for a reason. Yes, you will be trained in the art of weaponry. Yes, you will have to hunt for your food or grow it. But each and every one of you is here because you were chosen by the precious soul of a dragon and by the eyes of the Great Mother. If you question her motives, you are welcome to leave…but know that if you do, you will never find what you are searching for. You will never last for more than a few years…and this world will perish completely, no lives left to live upon the surface of Kabola."

Mauras finally moved then, uncrossing his arms and looking over the group with serious, red eyes. Having remained quiet for the entirety of the time here, he finally decided it was his turn to speak. "When I was picked up by Xanras, I had murdered my entire village. I burned it to the ground because I could not control my anger or my connection with Fire. Aki was pulled from the endless Plains of Varon at a young age after watching her family slaughtered by Tarjan Soldiers. Do you not understand that we aren't supposed to be amazing people from the start? It's not about your past. It's not about what you lost before or what you were…it's about the future. It's about what you will find ahead of you. Now, if you don't have anything else to whine about," He looked directly at Eile then, "We have a few things that need doing before bed. So either stop complaining and get back to your dragons or leave the cave now. I'm tired of looking at the lot of you."

Xanras growled at the man's last comment, speaking in his awkward manner aloud. "Apologies for my human's behavior. He does not like to deal with the fears of others. Too many of his own." Mauras his the dragon's shoulder before storming off without another word, leaving the old beast to chuckle and shake his head before following him out. Meanwhile, Aki remained with Nero at her side.

"So, any other questions or concerns?"[/fieldbox]
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Khajju Arjunus
Thaydur - 12 Vonas

Trees passed by as the horse trotted through the forest; with the wilderness all around him, Khajju took in a comforting breath before setting his sights upon the lake. As if it could sense its master's sudden pause, the venerable stallion slowed itself to a crawling walk. Riding on a well-worn but finely built saddle, Khajju reined in his mount and lowered himself to the ground. He could see the faint outline of the lake now, and from this distance, rest of his journey would be continued on foot.

"Go back home, old boy." Khajju gently ordered the horse. Since he had first ridden lord Gishaan's fine mare a decade ago, this prized racer became Khaj's finest companion. With ten years of travelling together, Khajju commanded a sense loyalty stemmed not only from obedience but mutual respect. The stallion snorted and rubbed his nose on Khajju's glove, before turning itself around and destined for its stable.

Now alone and travelling in the thicker parts of the forest, Khajju made haste across the makeshift trails. His eyes scanned the floor, branches and canopies in the way only an experienced hunter would. His hands never strayed far from his bow and quiver. For a certain amount of uncounted time, Khajju was surrounded by nothing but the soft humming of woodland birds. But the water clearing appeared abruptly in view, the trees all but bowed away from the shoreline and avian melodies replaced by the splashing of waves.

Khaj held himself in place for several moments, observing what lies ahead. He could spot the shapes of people standing on shore. But with darkness and the remaining foliage, faint silhouettes were all there was to see. Khajju then stepped onto the beach, having decided that this was indeed the place from his dream and these people felt harmless for the time being. Once he drew near the group, he saw men and women of all kinds. To his immediate left was a lady knight, to whom Khajju gave a curt nod. A short distance forward was a blonde man dressed in the garbs of a fire whisperer, a somewhat familiar face he might have seen before in Lortania. One by one, Khajju silently examined and greeted the would-be dragon riders. Finally, his eyes locked with a young woman in a brief flash. Khajju could swear this woman looked exactly akin to Cora Morgan. He recollected his dealings with Bernard Morgan and Florence Greene, both of whom mentioned the runaway girl. But could it be her right here? Was she here for the same reason as he?

Khajju's thoughts was briskly interrupted by the appearance of fantastical beasts. Like any well-read individual, Khajju heard but dismissed dragons as long dead legends. But here they were, dragons and their riders together, something out of the pages of fairy tales. As if the mere sight of dragons was not unforeseen, their speeches certainly were. Khajju initially responded by reaching for his bow, however, what good could steel tips do against the rugged scales of dragons? The conclusion was quickly reached, Khajju was called here as a guest of the dragons, and that drawing his weapon most certainly equates to a swift demise.

Having partially settled from the shock of seeing and listening to dragons, Khajju shuffled behind the group and pulled himself onto the water-treading dragoness. The journey to the island was surreal, never had he perched himself upon the silvery scales of a mighty dragoness. Honestly? The trip was smoother than he thought, not that they were any comparable experiences before. Khaj found himself calmed in a fascinating manner, if not for years of self-control, he might have picked at the scales beneath him.

Once arriving on the island, Khajju kept his place at the rear. He marched quietly with the rest, silently absorbing this alien environment. The appearance of the island seemed to indicate habitation by large creatures, and from his prior experiences with animal nests, the dragons' made peculiar lairs indeed. While the place was no doubt simple in ways befitting to non-urbanized dragons, it was also elegant in a primal fashion.

When the group finally halted in the fire spewing cavern, Khaj was less astonished by the display then before. Whatever the history was, the island must meant something greater to the dragonkind. Khajju made a mental note to ask about the origin of this isle later, but in the meantime, his group was addressed by a foreign melody and a pair of most peculiar creatures. Somehow, Khajju was expecting the creatures to speak. The accented speech of the feathered reptile and his slug companion felt oddly appropriate for the situation at hand. After all, if they were simply hailed by average human beings; such a mystical journey would lack its unnatural splendor.

Khajju smiled faintly at the creatures' banters, but he missed half of the conversation from staring at the way the slug curled itself. Nevertheless, Khajju did learn about his upcoming tasks. It would explain why he felt a slight tug from the caves. His dragon would be waiting, a creature of legend in one day would be his partner in the other. The thought was a weighty one, after all, how many individuals rode beasts of legend? Khajju was anxious to see the dragon for the first time, but as he followed his guides through the hallway, he couldn't help but contain a sense of solemn responsibility.

Fortunately for Khajju, he was very quick to meet his dragon. His quarters was the second one in the cave network, after Cora's. When he heard of Cora's name being called out, his prior suspicions were confirmed. But there was no time to ponder how the former wife of his business partner found her way in the same destination as he, for Khaj located sound of his name being called out and the corresponding characters etched on the doorway.

The large white egg sat in the centre of the room, its glistening white surface contrasted sharply with the earthly dirt it nested on. Already, the shell was showing signs of crack. Apparently, Khajju thought, his dragon would be quick to hatch, as half of the group were still making their way down the hall. Khaj took careful steps through the room, with cautious glances accompanying each step. By the time he knelt beside the egg, large lines have sprawled all over the egg shell. The tip of miniature claw was visible from the outside, and sound of breaking could be heard when the shell shattered more and more.

In no more than a minute, Khaj already saw purple limbs poking out from the egg. Although tempted to help his dragon break out of its case, Khajju decided that the little creature must prove his strength, as with many other wild reptiles. Khajju's wait would be short, just in another minute, the little dragon's head came crashing through the egg's roof.

To say the dragonling was small can be a bit of misnomer. In fact, the egg itself was already larger than any other Khajju has ever seen. Khajju only applied the term "tiny" in comparison with its adult counterparts. While the behemoth silver dragoness Khaj rode on earlier was several magnitudes greater than the creature in front him, the purple coloured dragonling was no toy in its own right. In fact, it compared with a medium sized dog, the tracking hound Khajju owned for hunting. Perhaps it was the young dragon's size, it attempted to crawl away before he shed himself of his shell. But it was a futile endeavour, its hind legs became snagged with egg protein and shell pieces, leaving the young dragon tumbled on the ground.

Khajju grinned at the young purple lizard in front of him. It was a light amethyst colour, not unlike the shades of the astre flower. He would name the dragon "Astre", if it proved to be a female; but in case of a male dragon, Khajju decided on "Aster", a ever-slightly masculine designation. The way it made its first step reminded Khaj of the pet hound from his youth, he remembered cradling the puppy, feeding it, leading it on walks through Lortania and finally burying its decased body five years ago. Khajju wondered if this very dragon would eventually outlive him, and inheriting the pain of losing a dear companion.

While Khajju absentmindedly cleaned shell pieces and goo off the dragonling's scales, the dragonling was becoming increasingly fatigued. For a newborn dragon, Khajju thought, hatching must be a tremendous exercise. If Astre (or Aster) was born in the presence of its mother, the mature reptile would probably cradle its infant while licking it asleep. With no such resources available, Khajju did his best to simulate a mother dragon by placing the newborn on a soft mount of dirt and delicately swiped off pieces of excess of its back.

Once it was reasonably clean and comfortably asleep, Khajju let off a sigh of relief and found his way into his personal "bedroom". The room was rather nondescript and lacking in decoration, a far-cry from his richly furnished home in Salt Haven. Still, Khajju was no stranger to rustic living, seeing his frequent hunting expeditions meant spending times in tents. Khajju would accept this living condition temporarily, but if he was to live here for an extended period, improved furnishing must added to this room. So after he had examined the basic amenities and stowed his equipment in a secure spot, Khaj swiftly fell onto the bed, not sleeping but pondering everything happened thus far. Was this the greater purpose he desired? His ambitions landed him a dragon rider; what did Khaj get himself into?

It must have been over an hour when his lull was broken by the sound of footsteps and a dull thud outside. Khajju gently patted the amethyst's head and strolled out to find a barrel had been set right beside his doorway. When the barrel content was exposed, it was the stench of raw meat that met Khaj's nose head-on. His hand fanned air in a desperate attempt to breath, but a soft whine from the chamber behind meant someone else was clearly not disturbed, but craved the raw meat. Khajju shook his head in mocking disdain, dragons were obviously no milk drinkers.

At the age of mere two hours, the amethyst already consumed more than Khaj's old dog did in two weeks. When the last piece of meat disappeared between the dragonling's jaws, Khajju noticed it started to doze off. While his mind found his physician's advice on putting several hours between supper and sleep, Khaj was rather glad to have a few moments to his own again. He gazed at the baby dragon, feeling an odd sense of parenthood. Khaj's busy enterprising life meant no time to settle down with a family. Perhaps this was what it felt like, the experience of a father.

Khajju followed the his peers outside to hear their mentors lecture once more. This time, Khaj paid notice to the silver-haired human named Akihanna. She was beautiful in a majestic way, an aura of elegance when paired with her equally striking dragon. Khajju also took note of the pseudodragon's origins. What other sorts hybrids could a dragon breed? While no animal breeder himself, Khaj had no doubt that several of his acquaintances would like to explore the complex life-lore behind dragons.

Speaking of dragon breeds, Khajju smirked when Nero mentioned hatching order. This was a good order, his dragon was eager, a sign for a fast learner. Even though Aki informed them that they will be working alongside one another, Khajju couldn't help but feel a little proud for his dragon's early progress. But just as the silver-haired rider said, they were merely steps into a long journey. If what she said regarding the dragon queen and her divine nemeses were true, then they would definitely need every advantage they could have. Khajju's mind of a merchant and a hunter immediately desired to ask for a plan, but seeing how much information was revealed after travelling for an extended period, Khajju was sure some rest would do better. For the time being, Khajju simply prayed to whatever deities cared to listen for his young dragon, now surely to be named Aster, to not substitute his fingers for veal while he slept.

When Aki, Nero and Tal finished speaking, the "Green Murderer" interrupted straightaway. Why was this Eile woman so impatient? It was obvious they faced a looming crisis; but why all the commotion? Khajju snorted when Mauras responded in force. However lacking in manner the man was, Mauras was a no-nonsense person; Khajju was starting to like him.
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  • Love
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[fieldbox= After the Hatching, amber]

After she had the little dragon cleaned off, Nari began to wade towards the edge of the pool, her body now burning from the cold of it. It took her several minutes to reach the water's edge, but after doing so, she gently set the dog sized creature in the sand. With a grumble, the little rainbow mass wriggled around before opening one eye to peek at her and giving her an annoyed chirp before he closed the opal orbs and snuggled into the grains he laid in. Nari watched an eyebrow quirked at the bit of attitude the creature had just displayed before she set her hands flat on the sand and heaved herself up and out of the icy depths. The air hitting her wet frame made a shiver race up her spine. Not comfortable. The woman shook herself a little. Looking over at her cloak resting in the sand, she thought it over for a minute before scooping it up and throwing it around her shoulders. It helped a little.

After that was saw to, Nari plopped down onto the sand near her rainbow baby and reached fingertips out to caress one of its sides. It didn't feel cold, no, it felt warm. Not hot as her first encounter, just warm. What had started as just a temperature check, soon became a slow pet as the baby snoozed. Nari used her other hand to prop up her head against her knee as she gazed at one of the stone walls.

The two sat there for what must have been a couple hours, the baby sleeping and Nari petting him gently. Nari only looked up to watch the silver haired woman bring in a barrel of something. But there wasn't much conversation between the two, just a nod of the head from both parties.

Sometime later, her tiny rainbow woke. Slow at first, almost grumbling as it tried to reposition itself into a more position. The creature turned this way, then that a few times before it gave up and opal orbs cracked open. For a moment, it seemed to be almost braindead as it just looked around, clueless look on its face. Nari grinned, it would seem the tiny dragon wasn't a morning dragon. A few more seond and blank staring passed before the creature rose to its feet and stretched like a dog. Nari's grin stayed in place.

"Happy waking, sleepyhead." She teased quietly, the small dragon turned and looked at her, it's eyes brightening up before it began to crawl towards her. However a terrible growling noise erupted from its stomach and made it pause in its tracks. Nari's eyebrow rose.

"Are you hungry?" she asked. The little dragons eyes lit upp and she was fairly certain if he knew how, he'd have nodded earnestly, as it were he just chirped as if in agreement. Nari pulled herself to her feet, no longer as cold as she ha djust been previously and walked over to the barrel that had been delivered earlier. The woman grabbed and lifted up the lid to peer down into its depths. She crinkled her nose a little bit from the smell, but even her stomach rumbled at the sight of the meat lurking within. Reaching in she took out a clump and had turned to walk back to the small creature only to find that the rainbow mass had followed her over and was sitting behind her, looking up at her, mouth open and eyes closed. The woman blinked but poked the creature with her toe as she took a good look at its maw.

"Nuuh, eyes open. I don't wanna lose a finger." She said shaking her head and continuing to poke until opals once again were revealed along with an irritated squawk and a tail lash. "Thank you." She handed the clump down to the open mouth willingly, careful to yank her hand back and out of the way as soon as the creature had its mouth clamped around the meat. The chunk disappeared almost instantly and Nari reached in, pulled out another and repeated the process and this continued until she assumed the creature had eaten its fill. She watched as a yawn tore at its throat before it turned around and trudged back to where she had lain it in the sand, tripping every now and then. The woman stood frozen as she watched it curl up and begin to snooze once again.

As if it were timed, the silver haired woman from earlier called out, summoning them from the depths of their rooms. Nari hesitated, not sure if she wanted to leave the mass of rainbow. It wouldn't be able to hide. Foolish woman, what is there to hide from here? she mentally scoffed at herself before she turned on her heel and ducked through the curtain and followed the line of humans to their summoning.

When they were all assembled in a loose group, the silver haired woman, Akihanna introduced those assembled in front of the group. All of their names are too long! She complained in her head, already shortening them to something she'd already heard them being called, or some short version of their names that she could think of. She was not going around saying their full names everytime she spoke to them. Nope.

As soon as the woman began to speak of gods, Nari was half tempted to just tune her words out. She'd been raised knowing the Varon was a lie, but the oh great Inhalla had disappointed her the day the great mother failed to protect her followers. Anger burned in her at the Kalidyyre almost as much as it burned for the soldiers who'd done the killing themselves. Nari worshipped no gods, a decision she clung to with her infamous stubbornness. But she knew better than to say this aloud. There was no point to argue with the faithful. Then why stay? The voice, not quite her own whispered through her mind. Because, this looks like the most efficient way to cause the most havoc. She quipped back at herself. She didn't bring in how she almost couldn't stand the thought of leaving the little hatchling. Even if the creature was a dragon, supposed child of Inhalla, there was something there between them, something that may as well have chained the human to the creature. Besides a baby couldn't choose what it was born as and its race was not its own fault. Besides, if there was to be a war with the Tarajan, she wanted to be on the side opposing them.

After the god talk was over, Nari paid a bit more attention, listening to Nero as he listed off the information about the hatchlings. Her little dragon was a boy….she had to come up with a name….immediately her mind started to reel, almost panic. What name would be good enough for the rainbow creature? It had to be perfect… I'm not good with names! an almost tiny panic attack set into her gut before her attention was again captured as Aki began to list information on how to care for the small creature. Nari focused on her words, using them to push back the reeling the idea of naming had brought on.

When the woman asked for more questions, Nari kept her mouth shut. She couldn't think of any at the moment, but she could always come up with some later. Maybe. Her mind went back to trying to pick out a name for the rainbow creature in her room. What would be good enough? What name was worthy of a dragon, her partner in the war to come? She was pulled from her thoughts as someone from the crowd spoke. Dark eyes bounced over to take in the green…. Well, that's odd…. the green haired woman. The woman's voice was scorching. But she brought up valid points. Points that Nari didn't care for as long as she got to bring as much misfortune to the army, and their leaders, as she could.

Aki, Nero, and even Mauras went to argue the point with the green haired woman. Nari tuned out, she had no interest in listening to them. Gods were irrelevant to her interests at the moment. Part of her just wanted to leave and go back to the rainbow curled up in her room. But she stayed, just in case any information that she wanted would happen to come up. She didn't want to let the baby dragon left in her care down. For that, even she would suffer through talk of the gods.

  • Bucket of Rainbows
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[fieldbox="Refusal, red, dotted, 10, tahoma"]
When the large, rather angry looking dragon stormed up to him and snapped at his hand, Haern's annoyance and frustration with the entire situation began to grow.
"You might want to handle your new baby with a bit more care. Now, what's the problem?"

"Would you rather I have just left the blasted infant in there to get eaten up by the demonic egg? God have mercy I can't seem to win. Go and have a look for yourself!" As Nero entered the room, Haern following with a tiny red drake child at his heel, the pseudo-dragon was surprised by the oddity the ruby drake had created. Nero seemed just as confused about it as Haern had been but it was handled quite quickly when Xaria put her foot down, literally. As the large dragoness turned and left the room, Haern decided it best to avoid eye contact, not wishing to anger the beast further. It wasn't his fault that he didn't know how to care for a young dragon. He hadn't asked for this, let alone prepared himself for it, and the welcoming committee hadn't exactly provided an "all you need to know about your dragon" scroll.

"Ah, yes…about how you handled the baby. Try not to do so. When first hatching, baby dragons are rather fragile. And we don't want to make miss surrogate mother angry, do we?"

Shaking his head, he glared down at the small source of all the trouble he'd gotten into. He wanted to send it away, tell it to go elsewhere and find another man to rear it, but something told him this wasn't a possibility. Letting out a sigh, he stepped back, pressing his back to the wall before sliding down to take a seat. The small dragon stared at him, curious still, but more sensitive to the man's frustration. After a moment of contemplation, the little creature stepped forward and tried to crawl onto Haern's lap to keep him warm, assuming this was a form of comfort, by instinct. But after a few moments of awkwardly clambering onto Haern, the man rolled his eyes, picking the thing up under the arms and plopped it down on the ground. "Enough of that." He said, pointing a stern finger at the dragonling. "I don't need you getting too attached to me. I'm not here to be your master or your mother or your friend. I'm here because I don't have a choice in the matter."

Then, the small dragon-like creature spoke, having been lingering, poking at the ooze which sat where a monster did just moments ago. "I know that this is hard for you, sir. And though I do not know who or what you are searching for, I want you to know that Inhalla will not guide you away for long. This is only a stepping stone to get where you are going. But you must be willing to accept that the Great Mother always has a plan for her champions. She knows you ache for what you have lost, and she mourns with you. But she also wants to give you hope…that is what this baby is here for. She is your hope. And like fire, you must always be willing to kindle that."

This should have offered him comfort, some kind of condolence to the life he had torn away from him, but instead it only made him more frustrated. Inhalla wouldn't guide him away for long? How could he know she was even guiding him in the first place? Four years, four years he'd been searching for his beloved Khali and with not an ounce of luck. Had she been leading him over those years? Had she led him here? How could he even tell him that Inhalla would not keep him away for long when he had already been told two years were the minimum sentence? Two years to the gods might not be a blink, but to him... to his wife, it was precious time.

"I'm sorry, dragon, but I cannot bring myself to accept a god that would take away my agency. The only one who should plan a man's life is that man himself. I am no champion, nor do I wish to be." As Nero spoke of the ache Haern felt, the fire-whisperer flinched lightly. "How can a baby give me hope? I have hope! A hope that I will meet the end of my quest. This is not hope..." he looked over at the small dragon who had laid itself down, head on the floor, legs tucked under its body, purple eyes staring straight up at him as its tail swished lightly back and forth.

"The difference is, fire is something I want to kindle. Not this... infant beast. This should never have become my responsibility." Mumbling this more to himself than anyone else, Haern fell silent as Nero took his leave. He sat like this for quite some time, knees up, elbows resting upon them and head hanging between. He felt defeated, angry, betrayed, annoyed, frustrated, and trapped. He didn't want this.

The small dragon remained silent for several minutes, waiting for her new beloved to perk up, but to no avail. With each passing minute her tail began to swish a little faster, a little stronger, her boredom setting in. Eventually the little critter began to grow tired and let out a large, squeaky yawn before laying her head down on her paws, staring up at her new beloved. She blinked more and more slowly, her lids becoming heavier with each pass and eventually she fell asleep. Haern took this opportunity to rest his own eyes, closing them and leaning back against the wall, beginning to snooze and dream of an end to his journey, one that didn't leave him stuck on an island with a bunch of strangers and dragons.

A while later, the small dragon awoke to find Haern fiddling with a small flame, weaving it in and out of his fingers as he appeared lost in thought. The little dragon chirped lightly in greeting but got nothing more than a glance from the blonde man. When it seemed Haern was not, in fact, going to comply and offer her any attention, the little dragoness let out a huff, flickering her tail about as she scanned the room. It was then that she caught sight and scent of a barrel placed near the door.

Casting another glance up at Haern, and then to the barrel , and back to Haern, she licked at the air and let out a sad whine. Looking up, Haern assessed what she was whining about and rolled his eyes. "You don't need my permission. Go ahead and eat if you're hungry. You're a dragon, not a baby, you should learn to fend for yourself." The small dragon blinked, cocking its head to the side before getting up slowly, looking between the barrel and the man as she slowly approached the barrel. When she reached it, she tried to leap up and crawl in, but could not get the grip she needed to do so. After several attempts, she began to grow angry and began swiping at the barrel's side, hoping it would succumb to her ferocity, but once more to no avail. Eventually the anger turned to frustration and the frustration to woe and she flopped down on her side and began moaning and groaning with pitiful little cries as she rolled about dramatically in her defeat.

This went on for some time before Haern got fed up with the dramatic display and stood up, walking over to the little dragon and the barrel. He stopped in front of the red drake, looking down at it before scooping it up in his arms and dropping it right into the barrel of meat.

At first, the little dragon was surprised, shocked, even, but this quickly grew into excitement as wonderful, sweet meat surrounded her. She began leaping about in the barrel, chomping down on any pieces she could grab and when she had eaten all the smaller chunks, she began to work at gnawing at the larger pieces. It was nearly 20 minutes before a small burp sounded from the barrel and a tiny, dark gash opened up above the barrel.

Haern's eyes widened in horror at this, but as he watched, the only thing that fell out of the void was a pile of feathers of the most beautiful colors. With a sigh of relief, he slumped back down and relaxed. Inside the barrel the small dragon had grown exhausted, having expended much energy feasting on the flesh inside the barrel. There were still a few larger chunks of meat left, but the tiny dragon was too tired and too full to consume these as well. Instead, she simply curled up among the chunks of meat and snuggled up into her makeshift nest.

When silence had claimed the room for some time, Haern decided it was a good opportunity to go and see if he could find Theolyn. There was to be a meeting soon anyways, and so he got up and made his way across the room towards the entry. As he passed by the barrel and saw the little dragon curled up in the barrel of meat, he actually cracked a light smile. The thing looked happy, full, and comfortable. It was certainly not going to get into any trouble. In fact the barrel would serve as a makeshift pen to keep it generally safe while he was gone. All in all, things seemed to be in a good place for his departure and so, quietly, he slipped out of the room, letting out a sigh as he did.

When the meeting commenced, Haern found himself standing next to his only source of comfort, of normalcy: Theolyn. He listened, though his heart wasn't there for obvious reasons. As the woman named Aki spoke words so clearly directed to him, he met her gaze, his eyes sad but his expression strong. He wanted to shout. He wanted to tell everyone to just stop this whole charade and let him leave but it would have done nothing but separate him further. Everyone else seemed more... suited for this. Theo certainly was, this was his element, caring for beasts.

It was when Aki began explaining "dragon care" that he felt a pit forming in his stomach. He was not cut out for this. How was he supposed to raise a baby animal? He was to give it a name, feed it, bathe it. Not a chance. He wasn't it's mother and he wasn't it's master or even friend for that matter.

She. Some part of his mind corrected himself for calling her an it, a pain of guilt even settled in lightly, but he brushed it off. What did it's gender matter? It was a dragon he had no interest in rearing.

When everything was said and Aki opened the floor for questions, Haern leaned over to Theo, speaking quietly out of respect to the others who were inquiring and chatting. "Theo, you've got to help me. This... this isn't for me. What am I to do with a young dragon? Can't you raise two? You're the most capable person I know. Surely you can play some role in rearing the bloody thing?" He let out a sigh, grabbing Theo by the arm and leading him away, seeing that Aki had said all she needed to say and that those who remained were there to have their questions answered. Since he had no questions, he decided they wouldn't mind if he stole away with his friend.

As the two approached the room with the shimmering ruby curtain, Haern pulled it aside and pushed Theolyn inside, gesturing to the barrel. "I can't do this Theo. Can't the thing-... can't she fend for herself? She's a dragon after all and there are so many others here. Why must I be responsible? I can hardly keep a windlark in good health, let alone a mythical creature like a dragon!"
Eile Mizer

"Tell me, Green Murderer…do you have anything left to watch wither and rot away with time? Were you not already alone? Are you saying that you don't want to destroy the soldiers of the Tarjan Army? The ones who destroyed your entire family?"

"I had plenty of time to cope with the fact that I'm a lone survivor. I'm also more selective on my targets. Soldiers only obey orders. I'm after their higher ups. Though it'll be a nice bonus to take out the entire Tarjan Army." Eile stated as she started to look bored on this conversation. Eile was smart enough to know that someone would throw something about being alone at her.

"Last time I checked, you're in the perfect place. Whether you like it or not, that baby dragon in that room back there made you feel something. Something you have never felt before. And you're wanting to throw that away just so you can wander around aimlessly, empty for the rest of your miserable life? Go right ahead. I'd love to see just how much longer your luck will last."

"Of course I felt something. Anyone would when you practically shove it right in their face. This particular feel is called the seeds of another plan. Not that it mattered much. Had a couple plans to begin with. Besides, I've done pretty well on my luck by itself. I'd love to see you go solo without help of your buddy there." Eile muttered with a smile that was inappropriate to the conversation at hand.

"The one Almighty God you humans are used to is the God Killer whose only desire is to wipe the world of the dragons – those who keep the world in balance of power. His influence is strong in the Mainland, and the last time this happened, Inhalla almost inadvertently destroyed her precious world. What do you think will happen if Inhalla interferes directly? A god coming down into the world could potentially ruin the balance that has been created…especially a god that is more powerful than those around them. Even the gods have rules, child. None of us can be free of rules."

"Yet Inhalla is breaking said rules just to take a God killer down. Bit ironic don't you think." Eile pointed out as the dragon looked at her. She only gave an annoyed look back.

"I brought you here because it was the will in Inhalla. I have watched you grow up, seen the luck she has granted you. Like when you decapitated three Tarjan Soldiers with one fell swoop of that pretty scythe you hold so dear. Do you honestly think that was all you? If it wasn't for Inhalla, you would be dead alongside the rest of your family."

"Oh yeah. It's all me. After all, 'divine providence' gave you your God killer problem after all. Safe to say skill kept me alive." Eile retorted back to the dragon as Nero spoke.

"Each of you, whether farmer or fisherman, guard or outlaw…you all are here for a reason. Yes, you will be trained in the art of weaponry. Yes, you will have to hunt for your food or grow it. But each and every one of you is here because you were chosen by the precious soul of a dragon and by the eyes of the Great Mother. If you question her motives, you are welcome to leave…but know that if you do, you will never find what you are searching for. You will never last for more than a few years…and this world will perish completely, no lives left to live upon the surface of Kabola."

Those words appealed more to Eile's macabre sense alot and it showed on her face.

"So a virtual death zone. Sounds interesting at least. Kinda makes me wanna see it now. Not sure if it's worth it though. We'll see soon enough." Eile muttered as she watched Mauras walk up as he looked at her.

"When I was picked up by Xanras, I had murdered my entire village. I burned it to the ground because I could not control my anger or my connection with Fire. Aki was pulled from the endless Plains of Varon at a young age after watching her family slaughtered by Tarjan Soldiers. Do you not understand that we aren't supposed to be amazing people from the start? It's not about your past. It's not about what you lost before or what you were…it's about the future. It's about what you will find ahead of you. Now, if you don't have anything else to whine about, we have a few things that need doing before bed. So either stop complaining and get back to your dragons or leave the cave now. I'm tired of looking at the lot of you."

"Right. And you expect us to believe your words with your grown dragons beside you. Not much credibility to your words there buddy. Especially when you made us effectively your prisoners." Eile replied sarcastically as the man left while his dragon spoke.

"Apologies for my human's behavior. He does not like to deal with the fears of others. Too many of his own."

Eile smiled at this dragon's speaking. He (or was it she? Eile will have to figure it out quickly.) at least had a measure of manners.

"Hmm. I kinda like how you speak. More ... down to Kabola and more sincere. Oh yeah. I really like how you speak." Eile said as Aki took control of the conversation.

"So, any other questions or concerns?"

"Well. This was a fun attempt on having an intelligent conversation before the god talk started, but I need to get back to Remilia. Just don't expect me to march to Inhalla's tune or kiss the ground that she shows up at." Eile muttered as she left the group, whistling a tune as it echoed in the cave before she made it back to her cell/cave. She saw the Remilia was still asleep where Eile left her as the Green Murderer scoped the baby dragon up and brought her to the bed before taking her scythe and sword off.
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[fieldbox=Arydur - 13 Vonas – 1853 - Sunset, #C0C0C0, solid, Tahoma]Once all of the riders returned to the private quarters area, the two veterans made their way to separate areas to rest when possible. Staying behind, Nero waited for Cora with a small smile so that he could better explain the great change she was going through.

Once the group had left, all questions answered to their begrudging satisfaction, Nero watched as Aki and Xaria made their way to the curtain of the crystal window, closing it and revealing from the folds a makeshift bed of furs. With Tal beneath him, he lowered himself to sit on the slug's head and look at Cora.

"Please, follow us. We'll show you to a place we can speak privately."

At a strangely fast pace for a slug, Tal began making his way towards the third opening of the main cavern, which was devoid of a shimmering curtain that the other two openings had. For a few moments, no one spoke except for the squeaking Tal, who seemed to be humming. Down the hall a few ways, there were various openings that led to other tunnels. Choosing the second opening on the right, they made their way down into a small room with a pedestal in the center. Within this pedestal was a strange black flame that seemed to have a night sky within it. At its base, resting in the bowl of the pedestal, looked to be precious gemstones of all colors, shapes, and large sizes. Behind it was a small bed of soft, velvety pillows and a pit filled with purple goo. Other than this, the room was as simple as all the others, save a strange picture of a purple creature eating another odd, lizard creature with long rear legs, a large head, and tiny arms.


Here, Nero lifted himself back in the air, hovering in front of Cora as Tal went to his obvious bed and began slurping up some of the goo. He put a paw on her shoulder in hopes of comforting her, giving her a small smile.

"Now, what is it that you would wish to ask?"

After the motley crew had disbanded for the day, and even Aki and Xaria had begun to retire, Cora lingered in the main chamber and looked uncertainly to where Nero was perched precariously on Tal's head. The little dragon urged her to follow, then speedily absconded toward an unmarked tunnel on his slimy purple steed, setting a surprisingly brisk pace for her to follow. Trotting to keep up, the fisherwoman kept close on Tal's heels as the slug wound through a series of passageways, eventually coming to a halt within a simple chamber containing a number of curious objects. Cora wasn't sure what to look at first: the gleaming basin of onyx flame that seemed to contain an entire galaxy? The dozens of glittering jewels resting at its core? Or the slightly-concerning pool of anonymous purple goo from which Tal was currently slurping? She was just staring at a strange painting when Nero floated down before her and, to her amusement and slight discomfort, placed a concerned paw upon her shoulder.

Bright green eyes surveyed the golden dragon carefully, and not without some wariness; although Nero wasn't as intimidating as Aki or Mauras, Cora wasn't sure how much she trusted him to answer her questions honestly and without judgement. Eventually she decided that it didn't really matter, and took a moment to think before opening her mouth. "I need to know more about this ... Inhalla," the woman began, tucking a stray curl behind an ear. "Why have I never heard of her before today? And Varon. What's the history there, what's the story?" Cora's eyes stared into the dragon's, searching for answers. "I just don't understand how Varon can be this 'god-killer' when ... when he's looked after my people for centuries." Suddenly filled with a mixture of sadness and anger, the woman looked away. It was true that Varon was a just god, but he wasn't necessarily a kind one; while Inhalla may not have ever paid her any mind, Varon had abandoned her after she had disgraced the Morgan family name. Oh, yes, Cora had heard the whispers that had followed her through the dusty streets of Salt Haven: mutation, misfit, outcast. No one looked kindly upon the homeless in Port Syren, for Varon had marked them as rejects as punishment for having committed some terrible injustice. And although the system hadn't worked out for her, Cora couldn't claim that her alienation was uncalled for or unwarranted. In divorcing Florence, she had deliberately acted against the interests of her clan, and deserved whatever misfortune had come her way.

Attempting to mask the tears that threatened to surface, the woman rubbed her temples and asked tiredly, "And who is Kallydrana, the one Aki mentioned earlier? Is she another dragon rider we haven't met yet?" Cora hoped Nero would be able to bring her some peace, but wasn't counting on it.

Nero listened to the young woman's questions intently, his blue eyes shimmering with compassion as he took in every word and began to formulate his answers carefully. He knew that not everyone would accept their fate so easily, and it was his job to make sure they all did one way or another. This was his duty and his alone, for neither Aki nor Mauras understood the need for tact in such a situation. For them, it was a do it and be done with it kind of situation. Black and white. Go or stay. For Nero, this was a different story. He had lived for hundreds, even thousands of years by now, seeing so many stories around all sorts of worlds. And this experience has led him to see the gray area between.

"Come, sit on the pillows. Make yourself comfortable. This might take a moment." Turning, he waved his paw near the threshold, making a small chair of pillows appear on the stony floor. Upon its armrest, he seated himself, letting his tired wings rest as he pulled the little lantern from his chest. Once she seated herself, he looked at her with a smile. "Inhalla is the dragons' name for Kallydrana, queen of the gods. Because she created the dragons, they see her as their almighty mother. While dragons are raised by those who lay their egg, all souls are granted to young dragons from Inhalla and sent down with a knowledge given to them by her. Dragons are shown compassion and kindness, and they are shown what it means to bring balance. That is why dragons are so intelligent…and so powerful. They were the first beings to walk on the surface of the world."

He looked up towards the flame as the galaxy changed, his wisp glowing a brilliant blue color. An image appeared within the dark flame of a woman with the blackest of hair standing in a brilliant white gown. Streaming down her face was a single tear as she clutched her chest in sorrow, and as it fell to the ground and soaked in, out sprang a beautiful black dragon, full grown. The image began to flicker and disappear as the face of the woman came into full view, showing her brilliant blue eyes and pale, flawless skin. Then, it returned to the galaxy-like appearance.

"You see, Inhalla – or Kallydrana as Aki mentioned her – was the first creation in the endless darkness. She originally had a mate by the name of Partheus. Together, they had ten children, who became the Kalidyrre. But like any good story, there was corruption, and two of the children wanted what their parents had. So they mated and had a son. His name was Varon."

Once again, an image came up in the flame, this time of an angry god with golden hair and angry blue eyes snapping a golden collar on another god of pure white hair and brilliant white eyes. The image changed, showing the god of white hair stabbing himself in the heart and the woman of black hair blasting away thousands before tearing out her own heart. Once again, the image flickered away into nothingness.

"When Kallydrana created the dragons, Varon grew jealous of his grandmother once more. In his anger, he decided to create a race that would compete with the dragons and potentially destroy them. In the beginning, humans were nothing more than vessels for his hatred, and driven by the same, they destroyed countless lives. For one hundred years, dragons were hunted down and slaughtered before the eyes of their Mother. At first, she came down onto the world's surface to stop this, herself. In her haste to end the war, she almost destroyed Kabola and all its inhabitants. Quickly retreating, she began to devise a way to stop this. Slowly, she began to convert the hearts of humans to the light and love of the Kalidyrre. And then, she created the dragon riders, humans born with pure hearts who had the ability to make what we call the Pact with a dragon. It was that one dragon rider almost a thousand years ago that saved not only the dragons, but the world as we know it today."

Again, an image flashed of the same beautiful black beast with a man on her back, blasting enemies with a black flame eerily resembling the flame that showed. As quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.

"Since that time, humans have become mellower, and so has their belief in their great god. That is why today, you see Varon as a god who has looked after your people for centuries. In reality, it has been the Kalidyrre. Emero, especially, has watched over your people. He has put the wind in your sails and kept your boats from sinking. Because he knows that the hearts of humans are not as filled with hatred and anger as Varon, himself. For the fertility of your women, it has been the beautiful Carala. For the fires in your hearths, the warm, wrathful Ova. There are many gods…and they watch over you all."

With each name that was given, a face flashed in the flame. First of a man of white hair and deep blue eyes dressed in a robe of dark waters resembling the sea. Then came a woman greatly resembling the first, her black hair falling in waves against her voluptuous body. Then came a woman of red hair that danced like fire and golden eyes. Finally, there was once more the face of the blonde man, angry and jealous.

"Varon, Cora, was the god responsible for forcing you into that home to be tortured and beaten, raped and humiliated. Varon forced you into a place you could not get out of. And then he shamed you for it. Though the other gods wished to give you mercy, Inhalla knew that your pain would bring you here, where your suffering can end and you can find peace."

His voice was solemn as the black flame returned to normal, no longer dancing or showing images. It simply returned to what it had been before Nero's lengthy explanation, dancing over the stones as though they were the fuel. He gave an encouraging smile before speaking again. "I know that this is a lot to take in, child. It is your first night, and I understand if you cannot believe me right now. But you have a beautiful little dragon that wants the best for you. He will be your salvation, if you trust in him. Everything else will fall into place. Of that, I promise."

Cora was too tired to ogle as Nero conjured a lush chair with one casual wave of the paw, draping himself across the armrest and beckoning for her to sit. She settled into a comfortable position, accepted a warm smile from the pseudodragon at her side, and listened intently as he began to explain his world.

When Nero mentioned that dragons were born after being imparted with knowledge by Inhalla, Cora made a connection and added thoughtfully, "So our dragons already know all about us." She wasn't sure if the news pleased or disturbed her; although it meant that everything was already out in the open, she was worried that the knowledge of her very seriously flawed nature would hinder the growth of a healthy relationship between her and the albino dragon. Wonder took the place of worry as Nero spoke of the beginning of the world, his voice thick with mystery and time. To Cora's amazement, pictures began to materialize within the onyx flames in the basin, depicting the weeping face of a radiant woman with hair like the night sky. A fully-grown dragon sprang from the ground where the woman's tear fell, filling the flames with its glittering black scales. After a moment, the pictures faded, and Nero's voice filled the room once more.

Bright green eyes eagerly followed the dark flames as the pseudodragon continued his tale, and slowly Cora began to piece together the history of the gods. To the utter despair of Kallydrana, Varon, the corrupted son, had somehow forced Partheus into killing himself, and salted the wound by creating humans to slaughter the mother goddess's dragons. 'How could something born of love become so twisted and impure?' After finding herself unable to fix the situation alone, Kallydrana then created dragon riders to restore the balance of the world and redeem the human race. Cora watched, breathless, as a dragon rider appeared with flames emanating from his body, destroying enemies from atop his noble and deadly steed. Is this what I'm supposed to become? The fisherwoman asked herself, oddly uncomfortable with the prospect despite everything she had heard thus far. She certainly didn't want to destroy anything, but if it was the only way to save the world from total annihilation ...

For the second time, troublesome thoughts were put on hold as images flashed across the flames, with Nero narrating details on several lesser gods and goddesses. It was easy for Cora to see how these deities had fit into her life; Emero, a white-haired man that somewhat resembled her grandfather, had kept her ship safe and her waters clear. Cavala had preventing her from carrying a child during her tumultuous two-year marriage. And Ova had dried her damp clothes and bones each night after a long day on the water. Deeply moved, Cora wanted to thank each and every one of them.

Before she could ask Nero, however, the abrasive face of Varon suddenly leered from within the depths of the basin, twisted into something evil and mocking. The pseudodragon said a few things that stung to hear, but Cora thought she saw her situation a little more clearly now, and maybe the sting was worth the understanding. It was a few seconds before the fisherwoman found words, and when she finally tore her gaze from the black fire to look at Nero, she was surprised to find that her cheeks wet with tears. "Thank you. This helped," she said in a steady voice, already having wiped her eyes and regained composure. It was strange to think that only a few minutes of talking with Nero had completely dissolved the set of beliefs she had been raised with, but, as Cora found, it was impossible to watch the weeping face of Inhalla and remain unchanged.

Although she wasn't entirely confident in her situation yet, Cora was exhausted, and recognized that Nero probably needed some rest himself. "Thanks, I'd better get back to my boy. Oh, but one last thing, Nero- can you tell me if there are any baths here that I could use?" Homelessness did not provide many bathing opportunities, and especially after traveling for a week, Cora knew she was probably smelling pretty ripe.

The moment Cora spoke up, stating that the dragon knew about their riders, Nero took a moment from his speech to correct her. "No, your dragon does not know your history. But he knows who you are. He knows that you are a kind young woman whose heart has been hurt. Nothing more. And I assure you that he loves you for it." Again, the little dragon gave her a kind smile before continuing on with his speech.

When it finally ended, he looked at her thoroughly, knowing that showing her this had gotten through to her in a way that he had hoped. It seemed by the tears streaking down her dirty cheeks that his last words weren't really needed. Inhalla's story had touched the girl's heart. And that touch was all that was needed for now, for it would surely grow into the same love and devotion that the dragons had for their Great Mother.

"I am glad I could ease your mind, dear. Do remember that if you ever need anything, you are more than welcome to ask. And if I am, for whatever reason, not around, trust that I will come to you the moment I return." He rose then, offering for her to rise as well before the chair of pillows disappeared into thin air. He listened to her next request before chuckling. "Sure, I can show you the way. Please, this way. Tal, stay here. I'll be back."

With an indignant squeak, the slug showed his disliking for the idea before returning to his slurping. Once Nero was sure he could be left alone, he led Cora out of the room and back to the main cavern, turning back towards the private quarters. "If you would like, you can check to see if he is awake and ready to eat again. If so, you may feed him before we head towards the bath."

Luckily, the speeches and questions had taken no more than an hour, and all of the little dragons would still be sleeping soundly, their bellies still metabolizing all of the meat within. Once Cora was done checking on the little one inside, the pseudodragon continued his way down the hall, passing by ten curtained thresholds before passing normal openings and remaining in a single direction. After about ten minutes of walking time, they finally made it to the end, where the largest of openings stood with a brilliant blue curtain covering it. From within, the sounds of running water could be heard.

"Inside, there is a pond large enough to fit at least three full-grown Silver Dragons. It is filled with the water from the lake, which has travelled down into the surface, heated and cleansed of contaminants, and then brought back up to cool. Keep in mind that this pond is for all riders, male or female." He gave a small smile towards her, then. "But I doubt anyone will be wandering around right now. You shouldn't have much to worry about."

With that, he led her inside, showing her the wall to her immediate right, which had been carved to create three sets of stony shelves, each of which contained oils and soaps to clean, cloths to wash, and towels to dry. "Again, if you need anything, please ask."

The water, itself, sparkled and shimmered with an unseen light from beneath, and atop its surface were what appeared to be lily pads, upon which sat little lanterns much like the one around the little dragon's neck. Within each lantern was a candle that burned a beautiful silver color, the tiny flames shimmering with the same rhythm of a heartbeat. "Do not stay awake too late, okay? Tomorrow starts the training, and we need all riders to be ready."

Nero's reassurances did surprisingly well to comfort Cora, whose trust had gone unsolicited for years; she did not feel at all wary toward the pseudodragon, and found with a quiet satisfaction that she did trust him, or at least more so than the humans she had met in the past few hours. The fisherwoman followed her guide out of the oddly-furnished room, not without wishing Tal a good morning (though the giant slug's attention seemed to be occupied elsewhere), and down the hall back toward the dragon riders' sleeping quarters. It only took a moment to peek inside her room and check on the sleeping hatchling, whose stomach was still round with meat but considerably less distended than it had been earlier. 'I still have to name him,' Cora thought distractedly, backing out of the room and gently closing the silvery curtain. She resolved to choose something later, perhaps in the baths or during the newborn's next feeding.

The pair walked further down the hallway, which was quiet save the snoring of dragons and humans alike. Cora was grateful for the silence, as the events of the night had left her somewhat worn out and in no mood for further conversation. Instead, she read the name inscriptions beside each curtain they passed and tried to commit them to memory, having forgotten most if not all of the other riders' names from Aki's short lecture. The minutes slipped past until she and Nero were standing before a blue curtain, the sound of running water within practically calling her name.

Cora gave a soft gasp as they slipped past the curtain, revealing a wide pool of crystalline water with floating lanterns bobbing up and down across its surface. Off to the side, stony shelves were laden with all kinds of oils and soaps, towels, and washcloths; although simple, it was the most luxurious bathing apartment Cora had ever seen. She turned to Nero with a rare, fleeting smile. "Okay. Thank you, Nero." After the pair had parted ways, the fisherwoman wasted no time in stripping down to her smallclothes, shivering a little as the air raised gooseflesh on her bare skin. She grabbed a few random soaps and a cloth from the stone shelves, and trotted over to the edge of the pool with a spring in her step. It took only a few seconds for her to set her things down and slip into the shimmering pool like a fish, sighing in grateful relief as she dropped down beneath the water's surface.

As Cora sank deeper into the pool, she couldn't help but think back on the events of the night. Having been gifted with the enormous knowledge of dragons, Inhalla, and the history of the world in only the past few hours, there were still dozens of hazy questions floating around in her mind. Thanks to Nero, however, Cora was satisfied to let them go unanswered for the time-being. She allowed herself to enjoy the feeling of cool water on her skin, pleasantly lost in the wonder of her new life.

Every couple of hours, either Aki, Xaria, or Nero would appear to drop off more meat in a freshly cooled barrel in response to wailing hatchlings. The curtains would signal any movement to the little pseudodragon, letting him know if anything was wrong. And at least one pair of eyes was open throughout the day, making sure no one was stupid enough to wander around the endless cave systems that created the Silver Dragon Lair.

When night finally came, and the suns had completely disappeared behind the horizon, the curtain was opened, and the riders were once more awakened by the hungry cries of the baby dragons. After yet another feeding session, everyone was once more called out into the hall to be led back to the main cavern. Tonight was the night that all training would begin.

The silver light of the moons shimmered through the crystal window, casting a beautiful glow on the gleaming scales of Xaria, who stood behind her beloved rider. Beside them was the massive, jet black Xanras and his own rider, smiling down on the new additions to their little group. Some had brought their little dragons with them, while others remained without. It was good to see variety.

Aki still appeared as though fuming from the prior discussions, her eyes sparkling a strange silver color as her arms cross angrily over her chest. Around her, the very air seemed to vibrate with raw power. But between the two older riders was Nero, who sat upon his dear slug friend with a smile. It was he who would greet the group, able to release a bit of the tension better than his awkward comrades.

"Good evening, everyone. Long day? Do not worry, for it will get better as your younglings get older. But unfortunately, the work does not end with feeding. Of course, we will break off every couple of hours to feed the little ones, but during the time that they are sleeping, you will be learning. So, if everyone is ready to get started, we'll start with a quick lesson in dragon anatomy. When the babies start to stir, we'll end the lesson and begin our first and second chores of the day. So, if you'll all get settled, I'll get us started."

At this stage, even the two older riders sat down on the stone floor, both leaning up against their dragons, who had rested their bellies on the ground. Motioning for the group to surround him, Nero looked over at Xanras, who nodded before spitting a small, violet flame into the air. Surprisingly, the little dragon caught the flame in his front paws before expanding it, tossing it into the air so that the flame seemed to surround everyone like a dome. "Do not worry," he said with delight, "This flame will not hurt you. It is only here to teach you."

From the dome came another spurt of flame, which expanded into a seemingly flat surface that suddenly projected what might appear to be a three-dimensional scale representation of the skeleton of a typical dragon. Clearing his throat and putting on his lecture voice, he began to explain. "Dragon bones are hollow, much like a bird's, giving them a much lighter density, which helps enable them to fly. While they grow to be very strong as the dragon ages, these bones are extremely fragile in the early years of a dragon's growth. Due to this, most dragons don't start flying until after a year of growing, and few can carry any weight on their backs until a year and a half."

He waved his hands, and the flame projected a smaller skeleton, obviously of a baby, who had much fewer vertebrae than the older beast. "The biggest reason dragons cannot bear weight is because in the most extreme parts of their growth, primarily in the first two years, the dragon must develop more and more vertebrae." He paused and pulled up the particular bone he was talking about. "That's this. These bones are essential to the length of the dragon as well as the strength of the beast's spine. While the vertebrae get bigger, a dragon must also develop anywhere from two extra to up to five extra vertebrae in the first two years of development, depending on the size of the breed."

He went on to explain wing structure, leg structure, and even various tails and how they differ. Each point lasted anywhere from five minutes to fifteen. When he got to the head, he paused and gave a smile to each of the riders. "This is where things get interesting. You see, the skull of a dragon is the most defining feature of that breed. There's all sorts of dragon skulls, each one unique to that breed."

Beside him, the flame began to show different dragon skulls before showing the dragon with the flesh and scales and eyes and then moving onto the next one. "Horns are individual developments primarily used as decoration and ranking, but also as protection and battle, depending on the type of dragon. Take the Dusthuro, or the Black Dragon, for example. Their horns are typically in a trident shape, spaced far enough away from the head so as to be used not only for marking territory on the trees, but also in fights by swinging the head from side to side."

He waved his paws again, and the flame moved to an open-mouthed skull, the lower jaw hollow like any other jaw bone, with the roof of the mouth focused towards the back. Near the back of the mouth was a hollow indention leading to a hole that would continue just beneath the part of the skull where the brain rested. The next image was a dragon with muscle and organs, the esophagus and another tube running just above it from that same hole in the roof of the mouth highlighted. Pointing back at that hole, Nero continued.

"No matter the unique breath weapon of the dragon, there is always a tube that runs from a carrier sac to the roof of the mouth. The carrier sac, located just above the heart and between the lungs, contains the unique mixture of magic and gasses to create the dragon's breath weapon. Some dragons have more gasses, while others have more magic. It really just depends on the dragon. For those who may have two breath weapons, there is generally a split tube halfway down and two smaller carrier sacs instead of just one.

"The most important thing to remember about this is there is nothing covering that hole, which means the dragon can easily get something caught within if you're not careful. This is the biggest reason mother dragons must raise their young for the first two years. Because if you think a choking dragon is frightening or bad, you've never seen a dragon explode due to a blocked breath weapon. This is also the very reason the chunks of meat your babies have been eating are as big as their mouths. It keeps the meat from blocking the tube that runs down, especially since most baby dragons cannot control their breath weapons."

Taking a moment to look at the group before him, Nero cleared his throat. "Are there any questions so far? For those of you who are nervous on how to handle or care for your dragons, we will be here to guide you. I understand that many of you have never handled a beast or baby in any way, but I am sure with all of us here, we can handle any and all situations together."

After another few moments for questions, the babies who had come with their riders began to stir, and the wails of others echoed from the halls, signaling the first feeding session of the night to begin. Nero clapped his paws together, and the fire dispersed with a happy poof. "Alright, everyone! Since your dragons survived the night, I would say you have a handle on feeding. Just in case, I will come down with you, and so will Aki and Xanras. Xaria, if you would, please stay up here for the time being." The Mercury gave an angry huff before looking away and keeping her position on the floor. Aki and Xanras followed Nero down into the quarters, followed by the riders.

After the babies were all fed, Nero once more called everyone out of their rooms, this time asking for the group to bring their baby dragons with them. Once everyone had gathered around, he gave a smile. "Alright, now that they are plump and sleepy, it's time to stretch their wings. Because baby dragon wings get little to no exercise in the first six months, it's imperative that they are stretched every day after the first feeding so the bones don't lock up during growth." He called the closest rider forward, Nari, and smiled. "Would you mind if I have Aki demonstrate with your little one? You can still practice after they have been stretched thoroughly."[/fieldbox]
When they were dismissed from what would be the first of the nightly gatherings, Nari headed back to the curtain that she remembered being hers, making sure to follow the path that the group had taken their first time in the cavern. As she passed by the other curtains, she glanced over at the squiggly lines, wishing she could read the strange markings. When she finally got to the curtain she was fairly sure was hers, the woman paused and traced a finger over the markings for the briefest of seconds, before she ducked through and let the cloth swish down between her and the cave system.

A small smile tugged at her lips when the woman spotted the rainbow lump sleeping where she had left him. She took a few steps in, adapting her steps to be silent, not that the sound made much noise to begin with. However, this was in vain, as if the dragon could sense her, his head lifted and turned towards her and he cracked one opal orb at her then offered a small chirp as if in greeting before he returned to his slumber. After that, no matter how she stepped, the hatchling slumbered. Noface heeded Aki's words, not doubting the prickly woman's sincerity as she crossed over to the rainbow curtain and lifted it before she ducked inside. She took in the simple surroundings. It was better than some of the inns she had stayed in. It'd work. The woman shed until she only had the breeches and tunic on, everything else laid on the desk. When this was done, she let herself fall into the bed, closing her eyes. Sleep did not come to her immediately and she was still awake a couple hours later when the dragon woke up and cried for her attention.

When she had woke, she'd exited from her curtain to see the little dragon making his way towards the barrel, a set expression on his face that contrasted with his stumbling gait. A slight smirk slid over her face before Nari followed him then walked around him, earning a huff from the small beast as he tried to quicken his pace to keep up with the human. By the time Nari had pulled out the first chunk with a yawn, he was right there behind her. Mutely, the woman began to hand him down bit by bit until his hunger was sated. Nari scooped the rainbow up, and flinched. On her way back to his sandy spot, she stopped and dipped him into the water for a few moments until his temperature cooled enough that it didn't hurt to hold him.

"I hope I don't wind up making you sick." The mutter slid from her lips as she used her tunic to dry the creature off after his impromptu dip before she set him back down in the hatchling shaped spot in the sand. After setting him down, Nari began to make her way towards the curtain that separated the two chambers. However, the woman felt eyes on the back of her head and she paused, turning to look over to her shoulder. An eyebrow rose as she looked down to find the hatchling trailing after her.

"Just what do you think you are doing?" She asked the creature. Looking up, the dragon gave her a stubborn gaze that was broken by a sleepy yawn. Nari took a few more steps, watching the creature. Sure enough, he followed after her, only coming to a stop just out of arms reach. Nari took a few more steps. The process repeated.

"You can't sleep with me." She stated wryly. "You're not a dog, you can't curl up at the foot of the bed." The hatchling answered with a yawn that Nari suspected was supposed to be a chirp. The woman turned around, hands going to her hips. "Go to bed." She ordered before pointing at the sandy spot. This was answered in the baby's best growl. Nari couldn't help the snort of a laugh that slid from her nose. "I think you need practice, dear soul." The infant gave her the most indignant look he could muster before another yawn tore the expression away. The woman's hear melted. Just a little. She sighed and turned to walk back towards her room without looking back again. He could sleep on the floor she guessed.

The woman made a point to ignore the small creature as she laid back into the bed and turned towards the stone wall. However, soon there was the sound of chirping yawns. These yawns started out patient, but soon they were rising in volume, as if going from a reminder to a demand. Soon, there was silence then the sound of scratching as the dragon tried to climb up into the bed himself. Nari managed to ignore this for ten minutes before she turned over and perched herself up on her elbow looking down at the irritated creature, his tail lashing angrily as he looked up at her, giving her a particularly loud chirp.

"I told you no." She pointed out. "Besides, aren't you supposed to be too tired to do anything other than eat and sleep right now?" She pointed out, wry expression in place. The creature tried to jump up towards her, but tripped on his wing and smacked his head into the side of the bed with a yelp. The yelp had Nari jumping up and scooping the creature up, using her finger to tilt his head up to examine the spot he bonked.

"Clumsy creature!" She scolded quietly, worry written over her features as she turned his head tis way and that gently. Just as the woman was concluding the little creature would live, said creature wriggled out of her arms and into her bed before he squirmed his way over to the corner of the bed nearest to the wall as fast as he could and curled up there. Nari blinked and turned to look at him only to meet an almost haughty gaze, as if the hatchling were proclaiming his victory. Then opal eyes closed and a tiny snore came from his small body. The woman blinked again, then her eyes narrowed.

"You sneaky little bastard." She muttered, a little pride finding its way into her stomach. Had the creature staged the entire act? The woman suspected so from that last expression before his eyes closed. Shaking her head, Nari let him have his victory for now as she laid down, being sure to keep her distance. The tiny thing had a habit of overheating and she'd didn't want to add her body heat to that. That train of thought had her hand reaching out, just enough so her hand touched one of this clawed feet. Just in case… Ths way she'd feel if he got too hot during his sleep. However, as the dragon shifted so his chin rested on top of her hand, Nari was filled with a feeling of peace and something inside of her settled down. The woman didn't have a hard time falling asleep this time. Her mind was soon disappearing into the world of dreams; perhaps the fastest it ever had.

The next two hours passed in peaceful slumber, at least until the dragon decided he was hungry and decided the best way to wake the human was to climb up onto her chest and chirp the loudest he could muster. To say that Nari came up swearing would be an understatement, and the little dragon was rewarded with a bop to the nose and a glare from the woman. She'd never been a graceful waker, the dragon's method of choice didn't help. So it with a growling Nari that the baby was carried over to the new barrel and fed quietly. The woman again paused on the way back to sleep to dip the creature into the water for a few moments.

"You better not have a fever and be dying." She grumbled, still huffy from how she'd been woken up. However, this time she didn't need to be tricked, she just dropped the rainbow into her bed and waited for him to curl up in his corner before she got into her side. Once again, she reached for him and he laid his chin on her hand. Again, that soothing calm settled into her gut and she was asleep once more.

Every two hours a similar situation occurred, the dragon finding a different way to wake the human each time his belly demanded sustenance. By the time Nari woke for good, she suspected the tiny creature had been making a game of it. How he had so much energy was beyond her. "Aren't you supposed to too tired for this?" She grumbled as she fed him. The hatchling chirped at her before he gobbled up the chunk of meat she offered him. This time when Nari dipped and carried the creature, she returned him to the sad. At first, he gave an outraged squawk before the woman plopped down in the sand next to him, wriggling her bare toes into the grit of it.

"Hush and go back to sleep, I'm not sleepy anymore." The dragons stared at her then it huffed and made a couple circles before it snuggled down into the sand turned away from her. Nari rolled her eyes but her hand slid over and stroked down the creatures back. I need to find a name for him Nari let herself get lost in her own thoughts. Two hours passed before the dragon woke next. Mutely, the woman rose and fetched his meat for him and fed the little tyrant. Just before the dragon went to sleep, the riders were summoned back to the large chamber. Nari rose to leave, only for the yawning dragonlet to begin trailing her once again. The woman paused and looked at him.

"I'll just be down the hall, you should stay and sleep here." The dragon huffed and took a few more determined steps before a yawn tore at his throat. Nari narrowed her eyes. He was stubborn. Nari stood staring down at him. Part of her didn't want to move from the standoff. No, she wanted to show him just who was more stubborn than who. But the thought of pissing off the two older riders wasn't a pleasant one. Not this early into the game anyways.

"Fine. Come here." She snapped and bent down and scooped the creature up. A happy chirp flew from his throat and he nuzzled his warm nose into her neck as she half stormed out to the chamber.

As the duo entered the chamber, Nai immediately took note of the air around the silver rider. Someone was upset. The Noname tried to fathom why. Was the woman also not a graceful riser? It took a few minutes for Nari to remember the night before, when she did, both brows rose for a few seconds before she dropped the train of thought. Instead, dark eyes narrowed on the far to chipper Nero. But she sat when bid to and listened to his words. When the flame first appeared, her grip had tightened around the rainbow mass, enough to get a sleepy squeak from the creature. Just as she was startled however, soon Nari was entranced as the fire began to form shapes into the air, diagrams of what Nero was explaining. The brunette listened raptly, devouring the information as it was given. It seemed like two hours passed by in minutes.

The hatchlings among them were starting to get fussy, her own let her know with a tug of the braid closest to his mouth. Nari tossed a small glare at him. But when they were dismissed to take care of their scaly bundles, she fed the chirping rainbow without complaint. Again, as she had made a habit of doing, she dipped the creature. She paused however. Maybe she should ask about that. Nari lifted the squirming rainbow so she could lock eyes with him. He didn't seem feverish to her. No, he seemed fine. And you're an expert on dragons since when? Her own inner voice quipped.

Nari once again remerged from their room, her dragon in tow as the two of them went back up to the main chamber and once again to hear Nero speak. The smaller dragon creature spoke of wing stretching then his eyes locked with hers and a prickle shot up her spine. But she walked forward and handed the slumbering rainbow over to the silver haired woman. As the heat left her arms, once again restlessness returned. But she backed up until she was in her original position. Her eyes locked on the rainbow creature, pausing only to glance up at the silver haired rider briefly. Then she waited for the lesson.