One day, in the land of Dragon Cave, a young adult Vampire dragon named Nightshade Deathfang was sitting in a very large tree, watching humans come and go from the pile of abandoned eggs in front of the cave. Some humans brought unwanted eggs to the pile, some chose eggs from it. One man brought a whiptail hatchling, but it refused to stay with the eggs and followed him. They both stopped in a place where Nightshade could hear them. The man watched the little hatchling jumping around him for a moment, then spoke.
"Well, I was trying to get rid of you so I'd have room for some of those new Turpentine dragons, but since you seem to like me so much, I guess I can wait until you grow up. C'mon." he picked up the hatchling, and walked past Nightshade's tree. Glancing up, he noticed her and froze. The man backed up slowly, fear clearly showing on his face, then turned and ran. Nightshade stared after him for a moment, then was distracted by something else. Another man, this one wearing a hooded cloak, walked up to the pile and threw a sickly green egg onto it, hurrying away. Nightshade blinked at the odd egg, wondering what it was. She watched for a while, wondering if any humans would pick the egg. After thirty minutes, no one had chosen it. Many humans even seemed repulsed by it. Nightshade looked at the egg again. It had been pushed off to the side, and was being mostly ignored.
"That egg's going to die pretty soon, and no one wants it. Maybe I should rescue it." she said to herself. Flying down, she walked slowly up to the egg, sniffing it. It had kind of an odd smell. "Maybe that's why no one wants it. The turpentines smell way stronger, though. Eh, humans are weird." picking up the egg, Nightshade examined it for a moment. It had one tiny crack, but its cold shell told her it was very close to death. Flapping her huge wings, Nightshade flew off, back to the smaller cave she shared with Nightfang Deathwing, a Hellfire Wyvern.
Nightfang, or Fang, as she liked to be called, turned from a meal of charbroiled deer as Nightshade landed. "Hey, Shadey!" she called. "Whatcha got there?" Nightshade walked up, carrying the egg.
"Some human left this egg in the abandoned pile. I watched for half an hour, and all the humans who saw this egg didn't want it. It was going to die, so I decided to rescue it. Do you know what kind it is?" she held out the egg. Fang only needed to glance at the egg before she replied.
"No wonder none of the humans wanted it! Shadey, what you got there is a Neglected egg. If a human adopts an egg, then ignores it until it's almost dead, then gives it as much care and attention as they possibly can, sometimes it'll turn into a Neglected. Sometimes, however, it doesn't. If it doesn't get enough care, it dies, so not many humans do that. I'll bet you someone told that human what Neglecteds are like. They're really weak, compared to other dragons, so they stay with their human. But they're really mean to their poor owner, biting them at every chance they get, and just generally being horrible. Shadey, if that egg don't die, and it probably will, it'll be the meanest little dragon you ever did see! Frankly, you might not want to save it." Nightshade looked at the egg for a moment, then held it up to her ear.
"I can hear the baby in there. It's alive. Fang, I'm gonna try and save it." Fang nodded. "I figured you'd say that. Well, if it hatches, just keep it away from me, hear?"
Several minutes later, Nightshade was gently stroking the egg, blowing a jet of black fire over it now and then. She had been rewarded with another small crack in the egg, and the baby inside could be heard, wriggling around. Suddenly, a little blue-and-brown streak raced into the cave, skidding to a halt next to Fang.
"Hihihi Fang!" it squeaked. "You 'member me? We met when you came to Everyoung Valley! Well, I had some messages to deliver, so I thought I'd come visit, and EEEEEK VAMPIRE!!!!" the streak, which seemed to be a baby Whiptail dragon, freaked out, ran all the way around the room five times, and was halfway through the sixth when Fang grabbed him, lifting him off the ground.
"Gotcha! Now calm down, Nightshade ain't gonna bite you! She don't bite dragons. Nightshade, this is Bluescale Everyoung, messenger for the Everyoung Valley. Buescale, this is Nightshade Deathfang, resident - ah, what was it you call yourself?" Nightshade grinned, showing her pointed fangs.
"Resident comic relief, annoying human scarer, and loon! And apparently resident everything-but-Fang scarer. I don't enjoy that last bit." Fang set the little dragon down, and he crept/sped over to Nightshade.
"Whatcha got? Oh, Neglected egg! I met a neglected once, when I was delivering a message for a nice human. He was ME-EAN! The Neglected, not the human. The human was nice. The Neglected, whoo-e! He kept trying to eat me! I didn't like him at all. I think all Neglecteds are like that. I hope this one isn't! Oh, I gotta run deliver more scrolls, but I'll be back later!" he zoomed off. Nightshade blinked after him.
"What does that dragon eat, rockets and gunpowder?" Fang smiled. "He sure acts like it. Crazy thing."
Half an hour later, the Neglected egg had many cracks in it, and a couple patches of skin that was the same sickly green as the eggshell could be seen. Nightshade had stopped blowing fire, as she didn't know if the baby dragon would be fireproof, but continued stroking the egg. Just then, a small, green, flying object swooped in. It was Mintscale Mischiefmaker, a Misfit Pygmy who delighted in causing trouble. Cackling insanely, he swooped around the cave, knocking the egg from Nightshade's claws. It split open as it hit the floor, revealing a little green dragon. Mintscale smacked into Nightshade and tumbled to the floor. He squeaked in alarm.
"EEEEK, VAMPIRE!!" scrambling away from her, he ended up literally nose-to-nose with the hatchling. "EEEEEK, NEGLECTED!!" the baby Neglected hissed, biting at Mintscale and making him leap backward and fly off in a hurry. Nightshade scooped up the hatchling, crooning softly. "Hello, little one-ow!" the hatchling had just bitten her, and although tiny, his teeth were sharp. Fang walked up behind her.
"So it ain't dead. But what did I tell you? First thing it does is start biting." Nightshade ran a claw down its back, very gently. It hissed and snapped at her again. "You're nippy, little one. You want down?" she set the tiny dragon on the floor, backing up slightly. Ignoring them, it just sat there, head and spines drooping sadly.
"Oh, it looks so sad. Are they always like this?" Fang nodded slowly. "They usually are. All Neglecteds just act like tha-uh oh! If I know you...." Nightshade smiled at her.
"You know me! I never could stand to see someone sad! You know, I'll bet Neglecteds always get neglected even more, since they're so snappy. Imma find out what happens if you're really, really, really nice to a Neglected! You know I love finding stuff - ow!" she'd tried to pick up the hatchling, and it had bitten her again. Fang shook her head resignedly. "Oh, I knew it!"
Having managed to pick the very bitey baby dragon up, Nightshade flew out of the cave, landing near a grove of birch trees. "Ow! You're a very nippy little dragon! I need to find some way to carry you. Hmm, these birch trees might help!" setting the baby dragon down, she stripped a section of bark from one of the trees, and began shaping it. Her claws were a bit awkward, but after a little while she'd shaped a rough basket from the bark. Pulling a vine out of another tree, she tied that securely around the basket, then around her neck. Picking up the little dragon again (and getting bitten twice), she placed it in the basket. The baby dragon hissed up at her, but couldn't bite her.
"There we go, now you can't bite me! C'mon, let's get you something to eat." flapping her wings, Nightshade lifted off, flying toward a section of forest that was rich in prey. After a few minutes in the air, Nightshade spotted a deer below them. She began talking to the baby Neglected. "Now, this is how you catch a deer from the air. First, you find a deer, like that one down there. Second, you fly a bit lower, but quietly, so it doesn't hear you. Third, you fold your wings and dive, like this!" she folded her wings as she spoke, diving at the deer. Her claws snagged it by the neck, breaking its back and killing it swiftly. "See, little one? You always grab the prey by the neck and kill it quickly, so it won't suffer. As dragons, we need to kill for food, but that's no excuse to be cruel." Nightshade unfastened the basket from around her neck, setting it on the ground and tearing off a small piece of deer meat. She held a scrap of meat out to the baby dragon. "You want it raw or roasted?" the baby leaped up, snatching the piece of meat and growling, as though it thought Nightshade would steal it. "So that means 'raw', huh?"
After giving the baby dragon several more pieces of meat, Nightshade sank her fangs into the deer's throat, draining its blood. The baby dragon watched, still looking sad, but showing mild intrest. Nightshade pulled her fangs loose, speaking to the tiny Neglected. "I'm a vampire dragon, little one. I have to drink blood to live. Some vampires drink dragon's blood. I don't, but many dragons are afraid of me, because they don't know that." Nightshade half-closed her eyes, sadly, as she said this.
"I knew that!" squeaked a voice from above them. It was Filia Speedwing, a Nilia Pygmy, and one of the fastest dragons in the area, also one of the few dragons who was completely unafraid of Nightshade. Filia scampered down the trunk of an oak tree, then bounced onto Nightshade's shoulder, then jumped down next to the baby Neglected. "I visited Nightfang earlier, and she told me about this - eep!" the baby dragon had just tried to bite her, and had almost succeeded. "She was right, it is nippy! Does it have a name?" Nightshade shook her head.
"No, I haven't really thought of anything." Filia dodged another bite. "How about Bramble? I think it fits pretty well." Nightshade lowered her head until she was eye-to-eye with the baby dragon.
"How about it? You like that name?" rrrrrr......snap! Nightshade had just been bitten on the nose. She jerked back slightly, blinking at the baby. "I'll take that as a yes. Bramble it is! Thanks, Filia." Filia scrambled back up the tree.
"I gotta go organize the hatchling and pygmy obstacle course now! Bye!" she zoomed off, a little silvery-blue rocket.
After they'd both eaten their fill, Nightshade put the remains of the deer carcass on a large, flat, bloodstained rock. She put Bramble back in her basket and took off, explaining as she did. "Any dragons who don't want the rest of their kill for whatever reason usually leave it there. Any dragons who want it can take it, and there's a vine dragon who usually comes by at the end of the day to clean it off." looking down at the baby dragon, she didn't notice the large object falling out of the sky until it hit her, making all three dragons land with a splash in a shallow pond. Nightshade shook pondweed off her face, blinking at the other dragon, a Pink. "Fenna! What are you doing falling out of the sky?" the other dragon, who was pretty much tangled up in herself, raised her head, trying to get loose.
"Sorry, Nightshade! I was practicing a new trick, and I sort of got tangled up! I-ow!" she'd managed to partially untangle herself, and Bramble had bitten her on the paw. "Nightshade, is this with you?" Nightshade pried the baby dragon off, putting her back in the basket.
"Yeah. It was in the abandoned pile as an egg, and no humans seemed to want it, so I rescued it. Bramble here is really bitey, as you can tell. I'm not really sure why." Fenna looked a bit nervous, and her eyes kept wandering to Nightshade's fangs.
"Probably all Neglecteds are like that. Well, I have to go practice some more. Bye!" she flew off, scattering waterweed everywhere. Nightshade glanced sadly down at Bramble.
"See, most dragons are like that around me. They can't really help it, I just make them nervous-" she stopped, blinking at the baby Neglected. The basket was full of waterweed, and Bramble was snuggling down into it, nibbling on a bit and actually looking somewhat happy for a change. Nightshade watched it for a moment, tilting her head. "I didn't know Neglecteds like waterweed. Oh, were you a water dragon of some sort before? Maybe a water horse?" Bramble looked up at Nightshade, suprisingly with no malice. The tiny green dragon chirped a couple of times, then looked away, making a sad chirring noise. A second later, it shook its head, hissed at Nightshade, and snuggled back into the waterweed.
Nightshade very gently ran a claw down its back, speaking softly. "Poor thing. You don't like being grumpy all the time, do you?" Bramble snapped at Nightshade, but rather halfheartedly. The white vampire smiled a bit, whispering, "I think we're making some progress here."
If you want to see what the dragons look like, here's my scroll. http://dragcave.net/user/Fishkeeper