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Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch [open]

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"It will tell anyway", Isirion sighed and released the pygmy. "Better make that two full face masks and give the lady the invitation you got", he commanded Pride and then addressed Alzira again: "Your knife skills did improve a bit as did your situational judgement, but seeing as your face betrays almost everything, I suggest we rely on your painting skills instead. If you can paint us more of those invitations enough of Drake's people can strategically place themselves inside the lady's mansion and provide backup. I imagine Pride will have no trouble fabricating some kind of backstory and disguise for them in time. Since you will be busy painting and I have some experience handling dragons, I will train the pygmies until you have finished the forgeries. I believe setting things on fire with a little challenge involved would be perfect for yours. The Nilia has very dexterous paws since he didn't even need a harness to carry messages. They are perfect for lock-picking and grabbing and throwing things. He can fly around freely to get a layout of the mansion, grab things from the tables and toss them to the Dark Myst to set on fire. Two fluttering pygmies and a few flying and burning objects should prove a very effective distraction as well. In that case I can slip away and free the dragons before the lady decides she wants to keep one or both of the pgymies as decorations." Isirion pulled out one of the bandages he had swiped from Pride's place and called the Nilia to him: "Rest time is over. You are already prepared for option A, but option B may also work if you two can combine your strengths." The Nilia pygmy tried out his newly healed wings and flapped over eagerly. Isirion tied one end of the bandage around it's belly and then gestured Sappo to come to him as well: "You enjoy letting loose your flame, strong enough to turn it blue which is hopefully exactly what the blue lady wants to see but if you cannot aim that fire accurately enough you will burn the Nilia's wings. Both of you are in motion and there is also the object you should ignite, if you are not exactly aware of your own position in relation to his he will get hurt a lot more than with option A. To avoid this I will tie both of you together and you must practice to fly at a fixed distance from each other. That distance is the maximum reach of your flame so show me now - preferably without trying to burn off my face."

 

While Isirion talked to the pygmies, Pride rummaged in the belongings he managed to take with him and produced the invitation. It was written in blue ink and bore the blue lady's crest at the end. Two pygmies intertwined with elaborate needles protuding from their wings, backs and feet. Felicia pointed at them and said: "Just like Hassleborough and his vines. They tell the whole world what they are doing, but nobody cares." Her husband gave her a kiss and said: "I care and so do these people." Pride indicated everyone else present, but Golden Myth only snorted and spat pointing at the dragon killer: "If he cares about anyone here, you can turn me into a giant flower for your next performance." Pride looked puzzled and went to deliver the invitation to Alzira, but Felicia started to giggle: "Oh, I'd love to see a golden rose or maybe a mythical pansy. Too bad I can't decide." "What's there to decide?", Mythy asked looking as puzzled as his keeper. Felicia stopped giggling and explained: "Well, you lost that bet already. You said it yourself and I saw it with my own eyes, Death spared your life even though you attacked him. He even complimented you on the fastness of your attack, saying that he hadn't time to draw his blade to stab your heart. But he also didn't gouge out your eye or slash your throat or cut your sinews with the knife he was holding. There is more, however cruel it might seem, he is helping the Nilia despite getting attacked for it. And lastly the painter lady - " "I understand", Mythy growled, "if he didn't care at all he wouldn't have tried preparing her for all eventualities." "If he didn't care at all he would have done what even I know to be the best defense against that knife move - hitting her wrist really hard." Mythy remained silent for a few seconds, then he said: "Alright, you can turn me into a Rose Dragon and I guess I owe the dragon killer another apology." Felicia giggled again and then mockingly imitated Isirion's ice-cold voice: "Don't apologize to me, I only spared her wrist a possible injury because her painting skills are still needed." Golden Myth let out a laugh and smiled brightly finally understanding why his keeper loved this woman so much.

Edited by Isirion

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Sappo listened carefully and liked this new game immediately! Trying to hit something with his flame is one of his all time favourites! It should work like match, shouldn't it? The only drawback, as he soon realized, was that bandage that was being wrapped around him. Was this really necessary? He was good at this! With a little sigh of dissapointment he looked at it, he had agreed to help but maybe smoulder it a bit? Suddenly he felt a jolt through it. That reminded him that he wasn't alone in this game and the limited range they were supposed to work with. Under no circumstances would he hurt the Nilia! The little black concentrated a bit and turned his flame blue, aimed and just as the little blue dragon stood still for a second to aim a piece of wood he'd found at him he spat a little blue cloud. Since he had aimed a little shorter because he new "blue" reached farther than"red" the other pygmy shouldn't suffer any consequences but the missile would be consumed.

 

Alzira saw the dragons fluttering around each other, squeaking and screeching. The blue threw straw, pieces of wood and small stuff it found lying around and the black countered by spitting blue flames, burning them to a crisp. She supposed they were giving each other signs on how to work together. Watching them exchangin missiles, blue fireballs, long ranging flames and escaping them in the last moment looked quite dramatic and almost like a beautiful and deadly dance. The colours and burning vapours mixed and evaporated, it was a stunning sight, at least to her. She thought about capturing such a scene in her next piece of art, but back to work.

 

Alzira still had to finish a few more invitations. She was really lucky she had had the right inks at hand and had just needed three attempts to get the right shade of blue. The paper was a bit trickier, it was a high quality looking but nevertheless of a lower one than she had expected. She still had some similar one left that worked and looked perfectly fine. The crest itself took a while to figure out, but wasn't that much of a challange in the end. While she was forging the invitations she overheard the conversation with Felicia and instantly knew that she had been quite lucky in the little fight and that she once again had misjudged Isirion.

 

Edited by Alzira

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Pride was torn between working on two full face masks, admiring his smart and beautiful wife, keeping an eye on Death and of course watching the little ones play as if nothing was wrong in the world. Both pygmies seemed to have forgotten everything around them and just concentrated on their game. While the Dark Myst was clearly proud of his fire power and aiming skills, the Nilia looked truly happy being able to play with another pygmy totally forgetting the ordeal it had been put through not long ago. Isirion was also watching the pygmies but he looked neither happy nor proud of the apparently successful training instead his face was an inapproachable mask, but Pride being Pride didn't let that stop him. He put down the half-finished dragonfly mask he was working on and approached with a spring in his step: "I knew it. You are not just a dragon killer." "You are right, I kill humans too", Isirion snapped, barely restricting himself from drawing his blade and proving that exact point. He was used to dealing with people and dragons trying to kill him, but the obsession that particular human showed towards him was more than unsettling. It kind of reminded him of Hellfire T who was always seeking his attention whenever he checked on the higher up caves. "Bloody Hellfire", Isirion suddenly cursed as it dawned on him that he hadn't been able to check on the hellfires for days because one bloody mission kept creeping up right after the other. First it had been a searching mission for the missing Gatherer, but that had turned into a rescue mission for Sodger and that had turned into an assassination mission for a city lord and now an infiltration mission for the blue lady's mansion on top of the full scale assault mission on the air-bandits his master had given him. "But", Pride tried to explain himself only to find a bloodstained blade suddenly pressed against his throat. Isirion's killing intent was almost tangible as his temper fueled by anger and frustration finally got the better of him and he hissed while drawing the first drop of blood: "Not one more word."

 

Meanwhile somewhere over the Endless Desert

 

"Please slow down and let us rest for a bit", Ale pleaded as Barrel started to wheeze with every wingbeat. Aseto who was flying without a rider slowed down almost immediately and after a few seconds the Guardian's Grey matched his pace. The Guardian didn't look too happy about it, but he steered towards an overhanging rock formation and landed there. When everyone was hidden as much as possible from prying air-bandit eyes, Ale asked him: "I understand why you left our captain behind and why you want to stop his apprentice from starting a war, but do you really think that that is what he is trying to do?" The Guardian rubbed his temples and said: "You heard Sodger's declaration yourself and it was you who first feared it could lead to another war. You know how badly he wants to cleanse that corrupted city. What better way than to use somebody who managed to turn a simple disagreement with an extortion gang into a war with the whole of the thieves guild. Even backed up by a gigantic Hooktalon they got annihilated almost single-handedly by Sodger's apprentice. I don't want it to be true, but our old captain has found the perfect weapon for his goal and he isn't afraid to use it. I believe that in accordance to Sodger's orders, Isirion plans to make the Nebulas and the air-bandits fight each other by attacking each side and blaming it on the other. We need to find him and stop him before he makes that first kill that would start a retaliation war that could really engulf the whole city." "I know where to find him", Aseto told them. "He will be at Pride's arena because he promised to fight me and even if he breaks that promise I can still find him by his cold and bloodstained scent." The Guardian nodded and said: "It will be difficult for us to enter the city again after we needed a Royal Crimson sized distraction to leave it, but I have an idea. The armor we took from the slain guards at that city lord's mansion in order to make it look like they were still patrolling looks just like the Nebs'. If we -" "You want to use deceit?", Ale interrupted and wondered if their ex-captain was the only one who had changed for the worse after meeting that bloody murderer. The Guardian slammed his fist on the ground and spat: "You know how much I hate liars and dishonesty, but letting the enemy fool themselves is a valid battle tactic." Ale couldn't argue with that, but Aseto immediately growled: "They have to be really big fools if they mistake us for Nebulas." "We will fool them with the honest truth and tell them that you are the one that burned down their underground arena and if doing so gives us the chance to free those other, unjustly imprisoned Royal Blues, even better!", the Guardian proclaimed and Ale added: "I remember that Isirion once planned to set the raging mad dragons loose at the underground arena our captain was held at in order to create enough chaos to free him. That ruthless plan got changed thanks to the greenhaired lady and the female warrior, but-" "But there might be a chance he tries again to unleash dragons in order to fool the Nebs into thinking their air-bandit lackeys betrayed them!", the Guardian concluded looking like a bear who had just found a giant beehive. If only it doesn't turn into a giant hornet's nest...

Edited by Isirion

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Finally Alzira had finished the last invitation, complete with crest and all the other adornments. She took them and went to Pride and Isirion to let them be checked one last time. She took a peek at the pygmies who where still engaged in their training, moving up and down, left and right through the room. It looked like a fierce fight and a game at the same time, dangerous none the less. Alzira turned to the men, noticing that the constant controlled angry mood lingering around Isirion had changed to something sharper, more vicious. As she looked closer she noticed the blade at Pride's throat, already tasting his blood. Why had they to act like this just now? As she came nearer she shouted at them, annoyed by their behavior:"Oh stop it, we don't have time for this! Isirion, you are a great asset, but you can't eliminate your problems that way. This limits your options in your future endeavours! And you Pride, you have a great and creative mind but please accept that some people need more private space than others! We have no time to fight amongst ourselves and then lick our wounds! I think it best if we all get back to finalize our work." At least she stopped them for another minute she thought, not realizing that Susurro, drawn to her loud voice, had closed up to her, eying both men intently, ready to act if need be. Even Sappo had found his way to near his keeper. He and the Nilia were still engaged in their exchange of blows, blue flame ready to "misfire".

 

Edited by Alzira

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For a moment it seemed like Isirion was now all the more ready to follow through with the 'eliminate your problems' part, but then he lowered his blade. He looked like he wanted to say something, maybe an insult or even an apology, but a bucket full of water to his face cut his words short. Felicia had decided to take no risks in cooling that murderous temper down with a generous load of water from the stable trough. Pride wasted no time and retreated to the safest spot available - right behind his wife. Together they watched as Isirion's fury dissipated with the same speed as a the water droplets running down his bloodstained cloak. Finally, when he was standing an an almost pink puddle, Isirion sheathed his blade and said visibly calmer: " A pity you didn't use that water on your husband earlier, a lot of unpleasantness could have been avoided." Felicia shook her head and replied just as calm: "Nah, my husband is just like weed, watering him only makes it worse." "I tried cutting him back but you stopped me", Isirion interjected now looking perfectly calm. Pride looked from his wife to Isirion and back again. Something was going on here and whatever it was, it obviously wasn't finished yet. Felicia gave her husband a cheeky smile and elaborated: "He doesn't need to be cut down completely, just a little trimming here and there, like a hedge." And for some reason she burst into laughter and a moment later Isirion joined in with his deathrasp variant. Pride looked very flustered as he finally sat down again to finish the masks. Everyone around him was laughing now - except Drake and even she would probably be at least grinning, if she hadn't already left the stable earlier to check on the left-behind dragons.

 

In the mean-time at the Shadow guild

 

Nightblade sat behind his desk, his eyes wandering around aimlessly, but always coming back to the knife lying just a few inches away. It's matted blade reflected nothing but that was exactly what made it so alluring. Showing nothing, feeling nothing, it was the perfect assassination tool, but it still paled in comparison to what Trueshot's killer was apparently capable off. The shadow guild leader focused and read the reports quietly to himself again. The city lord Hassleborough had been murdered along with his entire staff, property guards and a few guests right in the middle of his mansion, only his daughter who had been asleep at the time of the crime, survived. In total twenty-two bodies had been found inside and outside the mansion, but that had only been the start. Starting with the ones who had blamed Pride and attacked his arena, all across the city Nebs had been found dead, slain with eerie precision. But what really got the rumour mills running was the fact that among the thirty-something dead men, were also five dead dragons. Word on the street was that the mythical Death had returned to finish something he had started all those years ago, but nobody could tell what exactly that 'something' was, only that it was apparently bad news for any kind of Neb. Nightblade's eyes got drawn towards the knife again and he suddenly felt the urge to defend himself: "I really tried my best to avenge you, but that creep is like a ghost. Nightfeather and I even took a perfect shot at him, but it was no use. Not even the Nebulas with their dragons stood a chance and got killed instead. I can't with good conscience endanger any more assassin's lives with this futile mission and so, although it tears my heart apart, I have to accept that 'Death' claimed you and move on towards the next target."

 

At approximately the same time at a certain dragon stable within the big city

 

"What happened?", Loot repeated his question, since he still hadn't gotten anything useful out of Fingers yet. "Telling me you left our masters behind in that creepy mansion because you heard a frightening sound is neither an excuse nor an explanation at all." Fingers tried to wriggle out of the Harvest's inquisitive embrace, but failed. His shoulders slumped and he whispered: "If you had seen what I have seen after hearing that sound at Sodger's hut, you would have run too!" The Harvest and the Red Dragon looked doubtful, but the Sunrise nodded and said with a matter-of-fact-voice: "I was there too, I heard what he heard and I saw what he saw, that's why I let myself be taken away by your shady guild master." Now Fingers nodded too and spoke directly to the Harvest Dragon showing him his stump: "This happened when I first heard that eerie sound, the second time I heard it nearly everyone in my guild got slaughtered. Tell me honestly - if you heard that sound for a third time - wouldn't you run too?" Tightening his grip, so that Fingers wouldn't be able to run away before answering his questions, the Harvest Dragon growled hopefully: "So you didn't actually see them die? My master could still be alive?" Fingers carefully shook his head, but since there was no telling which question he had answered, Loot squeezed even harder and hissed: "There is no way Wallet would die before spending all those coins he made from dealing with that filthy rich fox." Fingers gasped for air and then spat out: "That filthy rich fox was a city lord and he still got killed inside his own disgusting mansion. All his servants and guards got killed too and they hadn't been the only ones. Even now they are still hauling Neb bodies off the streets. I don't know what happened. I don't want to know what happened!" "Yeah, you are a coward, I got that the first time", Loot spat back and finally released his grip. Fingers slid to the ground, visibly shaken only to be instantly caught by the Red Dragon. Sparky handled him much gentler than the Harvest, even giving him a little room to breath before he teased: "So you came for us because we are your only chance to get out of the city alive?" Fingers looked up and replied defiantly: "I came for you because you are the only ones left even though I could have just ditched you all at the first chance like that female bodyguard Wallet hired!"

Edited by Isirion

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Alone again, and with purpose, Drake couldn't have been more content with her small excursion to the dragon stables. With Taellonn still at the Draikenflaeme base, the only remnants of his protests were the moments of hesitance in the directions to the stable he'd described, which now kept repeating in her mind. She was alone, save for an eye in the sky or two watching her back, belonging to ready volunteers who claimed a certain Royal Crimson had greatly praised them and, no, weren't going to prove it. It hadn't been Drake's choice of lookouts anyways, and she could care less about whatever bragging rights the two pinned on themselves. As long as they took their task as seriously as she did, that was fine. Because, either despite everything or because of everything, even a short journey in the city had Drake as on edge as her first lone walk around, but she did find solace and confidence in the fact that she didn't feel paranoid- just prepared. She kept up her typical self-assured stride as she repeated Taellonn's directions again and again to herself, though surely to the point of overdoing it (which was, once again, typical).

She could already hear commotion before going into the proper stable area, with the most (at least, relatively) familiar voice being Fingers'... which, really, she should have suspected. Or, well, considered as a possibility, at least. She didn't know if he was dead or alive, or where he'd run off too back at the mansion; hell, she didn't even really know if she'd cared enough to think about it. Regardless, he was here now, and Drake adjusted her purpose to accommodate his presence as she asked the stable master to let her in. A slight grin was stretched across her face as she entered the stables to the sound of Fingers' defiant voice, an expression that would have clearly conveyed some sort of amusement on behalf of the young woman, if it didn't look so awkward on her typically stern canvas of a face. It even, just as awkwardly, distorted her voice in the way smiles do as she spoke (which, admittedly, almost surprised her as she noticed). "'Ditched' seems like a strong word- last I checked I was exploring the city while some dragons sat in a stable. You can't expect me not to get sidetracked by all this commotion, can you?" 

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Fingers almost jumped back into the dragon's embrace when Drake suddenly spoke from behind him. Sparky snorted and said: "Welcome back Wallet's bodyguard. Can you per chance shed some light on the fate of your employer and his companions?" Loot rolled his eyes at the awkward formal tone the Red Dragon used, but he understood the idea. They had no way of forcing Drake to tell them what she knew, if she knew anything, so all they could do was ask politely. Fingers didn't understand, but he suddenly remembered something important and asked: "Is your Royal Blue alright? The Nebs were hunting them all over the city and he isn't in his stable anymore."

 

In the mean-time at Pride's arena

 

After the bodies of their fallen comrades had been transported away, a fresh group of Nebs had entered the arena to investigate. Their superiors had told them that the arena had been the place from which the assassination of Lord Hassleborough had been planned and that the owner had been the ring leader behind it. They were to look for proof and possible witnesses. So far they had only found one more body right next to the entrance for human challenger that looked like something with claws, maybe a dragon had got to it. But now the group was gathered around another body in the preparation quarters. It was no surprise that it had taken them so long to find it because almost the whole floor was covered with junk. The body was clad in black and bore a single, fatal stab wound to the heart, that by now looked discomfortingly familiar. The leader of the little group rummaged through the pockets to find a clue about the corpse's identity but found absolutely nothing. That was strange but also a perfect opportunity. It wasn't difficult to let it look like the dead guy had been hired by Pride to kill that city lord. Of course it had been too late to save Lord Hassleborough, but their swift and professional investigation had at least avenged his death. All that was left was finding whatever hole Pride was hiding in and silencing him too...Hassleborough's daughter would be so grateful to them, that she might even stop hitting them with Mr. Fluffy Pillow...

Edited by Isirion

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Drake's grin faded almost as quickly as it formed, but the change didn't express much of anything,despite the fact that, behind that new look was the tying up of some loose ends and plan adjustments before responding... 

She had to account for Fingers now and, well, she could be leading him straight to the slaughterhouse. It didn't really bother her as much as it just interrupted her initial plan of just taking the dragons back to the base and just... leaving it at that, for the most part. She knew that defiance upon realizing at least the partial reality of her purpose was always a possibility, especially with Wallet locked away, but Fingers added an entirely new factor. Chances were any number of the dragons might not approve of Fingers being led to the sharp end of a blade, so maybe Drake at least had to make an effort to keep him alive. She could do that, and the dragons wouldn't even have to know she was making that effort. 

With her final plans coming together, all that was left was to set it in motion, get everyone to the base. "I can't tell you the full extent of everything that's happened, just because, frankly, I'm getting gaps filled in myself, and I've lost track of most of what I thought was happening." She sighed. "The most I can offer right now is security, which Wallet and my Royal Blue are already enjoying. There's another stable I can bring you all to while everything calms down, it's pretty busy but hasn't had any trouble. An adjacent space has some living quarters, once again busy but the best place to be in the city right now." She paused for a moment, looking like she was searching for anything more to give them. "Anyways, that's why I'm here. Still afraid I can't shine much light on anything, but it's been so chaotic trying to get everything sorted that I haven't had time to ask questions. Hopefully that will change."

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Loot had been won over after Drake mentioned the words security and Wallet in the same sentence. The Red looked a bit doubtful since everything sounded a bit too convenient, but on the other paw, if it was true and the bodyguard had really managed to keep her employer safe, there was a slight chance the others might also still be alive. While he wasn't particulary fond of the stubborn and overly proud thieves guild master, he did miss Wallet's kind servant who had never woken him up for heating duty unless it was absolutely necessary. Now that he thought about it, the sleepiness that had been his almost constant companion in the fisherman's village had entirely gone and been replaced by a restless energy that had first manifested itself by the urge to constantly blew sparks. Sparky wondered briefly if the location change had somehow invigorated him, but there were more pressing matters at paw. The dragon decided to trust Drake and said: "I really can't picture you working with the black-clad murderer Fingers warned us about, so all that's left to say is this - thank you for your kind offer. We'll gladly take it."

 

In the mean-time at the other stable in the city

 

After her intentionally bawdy joke had cleared the tension from the air, Felicia had thought about a way to keep the peace between the most unlikely allies. While Isirion seemed to seethe when Pride as much as breathed in his direction, he didn't seem to mind the Nilia Pygmy now clinging to him like a shadow at all. Pride's favourite wyvern loathed the dragon killer as much as his keeper admired him. The Royal Blue who had already performed splendidly in the arena and should have fake-fighted Death next, looked as nervous as if someone had told it to fight for real instead. The painter lady and her dragons clearly weren't fond of Isirion's methods, but they seemed to acknowledge the helpful intentions behind them. Felicia herself felt like she already knew him for years, because of her husband's obsession. Although the mythical Death turned out to be quite different from the image Pride had, she rather liked the brutal honesty that stood in stark contrast to her husband's elaborate but made-up stories...

Edited by Isirion

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Drake readily accepted the Red's compliance and ushered the lot out, nearly thanking them for coming along before biting her tongue. It felt too much like a pushover move, even if she was genuinely glad she'd gotten them to come along. She instead filled the short trip's conversation with some more informing about the stables: there were dragons both inside and outside, far more than one might expect, but that just meant there was no more room inside. The dragons would have to stay in the outside stables, unfortunately away from the rest, while Fingers could stay inside, where Drake would lead him straight to some sanctuary (or, as she had so glamorously described it for the second time now, "living quarters"). Once everyone was settled, probably by tomorrow, they could all congregate and any questions from anyone for anybody could be answered. The path back was not identical to the way Drake had come, as one new turn set the group in the direction of the stable entrance.

It was hard to see inside of the stables, and anyone could have mistaken it for some huge walled off garden or something, odd as it'd be in this particular location. Pygmies, messengers or not, lined the perimeter, eyes darting towards the arrivals in excitement as they paused their playing, wall-vandalizing (with whatever sharp appendages they saw as being in need of upkeep), or snacking in favor of the strangers. Even then, with all those eyes turned, in some indescribable way, there almost seemed to be too few. The number didn't exactly sit right, but it wasn't anything the Pygmies minded. Drake ignored it as she told the group to wait while she got them in, and made her way to the stable entrance. A quick explanation later she called them over as the doors (inner edges rough from the amount of dragons whose rough bodies had rushed through and scraped past them) opened horizontally, tucking into the walls and stirring a few Pygmies. The place certainly was packed, but that didn't mean it wasn't a nice stable. Worn, definitely, but nice. The two rows of stables were separated by a pathway just as thick as one of them, which dragons out here took advantage of. The dragons in stables all seemed to be resting, some sharing spaces with each other, with some decidedly warm Pygmies, or both. The only stables which stood out seemed to be one big stable amalgamate, and were covered by some form of improvised drapes, through which a dragon- red and gigantic- could be seen, along with what seemed to be a good chunk of the missing population of Pygmies. 

Drake looked to the dragons as the entrance closed. "Crowded, I know, but hopefully somewhere's free if you need it. I'm pretty sure there's water and food in there, but you can probably find someone to ask if not. Now-" She put her hand palm-flat between Fingers' shoulderblades, trying to keep those claws from making contact. "We can take a shortcut through the building." She led him towards the building at the end of the pathway, letting herself inside before bringing her guest in and closing the door, just as the most perplexed Royal Blue in the room looked straight towards the two and stood. He didn't know if he wanted to rush over (well, he did want to, but didn't know if it was smart), so he just decided to inform his own group instead, with an eloquent "...Uh?"

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With the Red in the lead, the Harvest and the Sunrise walked single file towards a cozy looking, almost pygeon free spot within. Loot sniffed out the nearest food supply while Sunny settled down right away. Sparky gave the whole structure a few curious glances, wondering about the pygmy sentries, the huge wall and the improvised drapes. The place oozed security, but in a caring kind of way. There were no cut-off dragon spikes or horns and the only dragon scales he could see were right were they belonged - on living, breathing dragons, that seemed perfectly at ease. The Red helped himself to some water and curled up next the Sunrise who was already snoring away.

 

At approximately the same time at a certain Nebula tower

 

After the third cup of hot chocolate, Amara, the late lord Hassleborough's daughter, had made up her mind. While the Neb captain had been friendly and understanding enough, every new report that came in confirmed that he was unable to handle the situation. Not only had her father along with his servants and guards been brutally murdered, but a whole lot of Nebs as well. All over the city they were finding bodies and while a small part of Amara thought that was a just punishment for failing to protect her father, the girl knew something had to be done. Her whole life she had been groomed to take over the Vine empire and while she had preferred daydreaming about Daydream Dragons over studying, enough of the essential lessons had stuck in her mind. Bad situations, like bad vines had to be weeded out immediately. Nothing saps credibility like not being able to defend or at least avenge one's roots. Amara clutched Mr. Fluffy Pillow as firm as she could and slammed the stuffed hatchling on the table. It landed with an audible, slightly jingly but very heavy sounding thump and the girl announced: "Captain, you will come with me. Hiding here doesn't improve the situation at all. This proliferation of loose murderers needs to be cut down by professionals and I know just where to hire the right gardeners for that."

 

At the same time at the 'living quarters'

 

Taellonn's 'Uh?' turned quite a few heads. One head was hidden under a glittering full-face dragon-fly mask attached to a glittering human with glittering butterfly-like wings. Fingers looked again and now there stood two of them, albeit the new human dragon-fly seemed to be female and only wearing a half-mask. The ex-thief sighed with relief as he understood, that the couple probably just had dressed up for some masquerade party. Suddenly the whole room swam in front of his eyes - there like a pitch-black stain back-dropped by the pristine scales of a White Dragon stood his very own nightmare. Fingers yelped and tried to back out of the room, but he might as well have tried pushing back against a wall.

 

Thinking how wrong Sparky had been, Fingers prepared for death, knowing it would at least be swift, but the dreaded strike never came. Fingers blinked, wondering why he was still alive, when suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. In the blink of an eye, his personal nightmare had crossed the distance and now stood right in front of him, grinning ever so slightly as he said: "My master would be so pleased that I finally caught you, but I honestly can't take any credit for this." Isirion looked the ex-thief up and down, taking in the haunted look, then he told him: "Relax, my orders never were to kill you or I would have done so the first time we met." Oddly enough, that did calm Fingers down. He had already experienced the excrutiating pain of having cut off a part of his body, what else was there left to fear? Fingers slowly breathed in and out, before he asked: "And what were your orders regarding the others?" For a moment it looked like Isirion wouldn't answer, but then he divulged: "Kill everyone, who didn't know the location the Gatherer was held at." At that Fingers let out a hysterical laugh before he coughed: "So, I would have really died at that disgusting mansion, not even knowing it had been my ex-guild who had captured the benefactor I had been looking for ever since his disappearance." Isirion shrugged, he couldn't care less if the thief lived or died and so he informed him coldly: "You might still die, it all depends on the reason Drake brought you here."

Edited by Isirion

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Sappo and the Nilia were still training, but they didn't need the bandage anymore. Swerving the Pygmies danced around, blue and red flames colouring the space between them. Susurro had fallen asleep a while ago and from time to time his tail twitched sharply, and Alzira? The lady had waved the pygmies toward her. At first she asked the Nilia dragon if he would accept the name "Leal" (meaning loyal) - she had to call the little one somehow. She had taught the dragons, trained them to follow the signals - voice commands so that they knew when to start and end their performance and even a few whistles to get their attention, to hide and to start "accidentally" a few small fires. Furthermore, since she had finished the invitations some time earlier, she had helped Pride with her mask, adding a few more shadows and colour to make it look even more exquisite and realistic. She had picked a Green Fire Gem Dragon because this mask would suit the green dress she already had and the rich tastes of the event as well. She even chose to wear gem and talon adorned, ingeniously crafted long dress gloves (inspired by Drake´s), indeed she could move her fingers independently and even use the Talons as a last means weapon. The dress itself was of a simple but comfortable cut, it had a slit at the side which allowed for mobility if need be and since it was not adorned in any way yet it allowed Pride to use lots of his sparkly stones to deepen the impression of a human shaped dragon even more. She was just trying on her costume to accustom the pygmies to her changed appearance as the visitors busted in. As she turned toward the commotion she recognized Fingers immediately. The shaking figure was standing there, seemingly fearing every next step and his eyes darted around the room nervously, Isirion´s charms didn´t seem to calm him a bit she noticed caustically to herself. She stepped to the poor man and said "Don´t worry, you are not alone here", at the same time she turned to Isirion and since she had heared his last remark pointed out:"It´s obvious, isn´t it? He is good with acquiring things and even manages to open doors, especially closed ones. He has skills which we can hardly deny are of use to us." She winked at Fingers, hoping to have strengthened his position and not he other way round

Edited by Alzira

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That the green-haired lady spoke for him, gave Fingers a lot more courage than he had thought possible. Albeit the hinted prospect of working together with the black-clad murderer still scared him it was way better than working against him. For now, like Drake had promised, he really seemed to be safe. He visible calmed down, far more than before and said: "Although I have quit working as a pickpocket and a thief, I am willing to use my skills for a good cause." Isirion once again looked the ex-thief up and down, this time concentrating on the clothes his former prey was wearing then he mused: "He might be able to pass as a dragon handler. It is not uncommon that those not fast or nimble enough loose a limb or two while feeding their charges, I've seen it happen often enough."

 

As if he too possessed some skill in teleportation, Pride appeared right next to Isirion and asked him excitedly: "You worked as a dragon handler? Was that before or after the underground-arena?" Felicia appeared just as fast and interjected: "Why don't you save the questions for later and start explaining what role our newest companion has to play in your plan." Pride swelled with pride and started right away before his brain even caught up with what he wanted to say: "The blue lady loves blue dragons so much she lets her servants nail them onto her walls so that they can't fly away. Those too big to fit on the walls, she puts into cages, that's were you will go. Not into the cage of course, but we need you to unlock the cages to free the dragons so that they can mount a rebellion under the leadership of Drake's dragon who, because he is also blue, going to be inside. When they are out-" At that point Felicia sealed her husband's mouth with a kiss and then said: "A wonderful explanation my dear. I couldn't have stated the facts better - We need a pickpocket to open those cages during the masquerade party the blue lady hosts tonight." In her mind she added 'an unspooked pickpocket who won't run away because he has foreknowledge that everyone else is going to get slaughtered...' Fingers who of course couldn't read minds, nodded and said: "Sure, those cages usual have standard locks that I could open blindfolded and with a hairpin but won't the blue lady notice a bunch of dragons flying away?" Felicia smiled brightly and passed the figurative torch to Alzira: "That's where she comes in. I am sure she can explain everything you need to know."

 

In the mean-time at Leetle island

 

Diadora sat beside the motionless human and gently brushed her nose against his. She tried patting his head, mewling into his ears, even licking his face but Eyes didn't stirr at all. Galandir watched his adopted baby-sister with a heartbroken look in his eyes. That human had doted on her with all his heart after a single meeting, not caring at all that she was from an entirely different species. From all the Guardian's companions he had been the kindest and now he...and now he...Galandir couldn't bear to finish the thought he would shatter like glass if that human, if Eyes, just like his father, left them, leaving behind only a painful memory. A sad mewl escaped him and his sister looked at him whimpering: "The angry human said he shouldn't pat me, but...I liked it so much...is it my fault he is...?" Just like her brother Diadora couldn't bear to finish the sentence, but the pain and regret in her eyes made everything clear. She was already blaming herself, just like Galandir had blamed himself after Galandors death and there were no words to ease her mind, only time could heal her heart...

 

Suddenly a shadow fell over the Guardian hatchling - Lazarus had approached despite the broad daylight and he came with a gift of hope. While every eye on the island was focused on the victim of Sodger's wrath, he had picked a single leaf from the enshrined Leetle tree and brought it back. He carefully placed it into Galandirs paw and told him: "Before you were born, the Guardian's heart was set in stone, just like his old captain's, but you managed to move him. Together with your new siblings you managed to make him leave the past that was weighing him down were it belongs - the past. This shrine is a memento for all those who had to die for the Dragon War to end, but as you have studied so diligently at your father's side it is above else a beacon of life and rebirth. Nothing truly dies in nature, it only changes form, just like the seasons, just like-" "Just like that leaf!" Galandir exclaimed as he remembered why the Leetle tree was covetted by humans in the first place. Beyond the everchanging colours of the seasons, it's leaves possessed healing powers. The little Guardian quickly chewed the leaf into tiny bits and combined them with his spit. Then he gently opened Eyes mouth and made him swallow the mixture. A minute later the human opened his eyes in wonder. A tiny female Guardian hatchling was filling his whole field of vision, but that was alright, everything was alright now. Eyes stretched out his hand and patted her ever so gently...

Edited by Isirion

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"Well", Alzira hesitated, not sure how much information was save to reveal, :" the Blue Lady has a fancy for all things blue, so we" she pointed at the group," will present her with a Royal Blue and a diverting entertainment in the disguise of these formidable  and very well trained Pygmy Dragons: One a blue Nilia - very nimble and quick to react and this extraordinary Myst Pygmy whose specialty is - attention here - his Blue! flame." She smiled at Fingers and added "Since I pose as their trainer I try to get used to that kind of big talk. But really: They both are a distraction, they´ll be circling around each other and set things on fire to keep the attention of the guests, especially the hostess. They know a few tricks and are capable to think on their feet if need be. When this act starts, your task would be to get to the stables unnoticed and open the aforementioned dragon cages as well as free a flock of Nilia Pygmies. As soon as they are out, havoc should break loose soon and you should get back to our group and we leave the Lady to the unfortunate events she regrettably has to attend to then." Alzira concluded her explanation, clapped her hands and her trainees landed on her shoulders.

 

Edited by Alzira

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While Sappo stayed on Alzira's shoulder and watched the audience intently, Leal soon took off and roosted on Isirion's cloak again. Donning something that was supposed to be a reassuring smile, but turned out to be as cold as his voice, Isirion elaborated a bit more: "The flock of Nilia pygmies we are looking for is this guy's swarm and you will find his family most likely skewered to the walls inside the blue lady's mansion. However the most important part is freeing the caged Royal Blues so they once again roam free over the city showing the Nebs incompetence. While they are distracted with trying to catch them again, they wont bother us at the party until it's too late. Like Felicia and Alzira he omitted everything that might spook Fingers again. There was no point in telling him, that Drake's people would slaughter the distracted Nebs in the air while he and Drake would slaughter the party guests and guards distracted by the pygmies' performance on the ground. Joining the slaughter at the masquerade party would be a few more of Drake's people since Alzira had forged additional invitations and Pride had managed to craft more disguises out of literally anything that hadn't been burned up during the pygmies training. Drake's Royal Blue was supposed to incite a rebellion amongst the freed dragons so that they would provide air support too, but he highly doubted the meek escort would be up to the task. Taellonn hadn't even shown a shred of fighting spirit when he had told him, that he might have killed his parents although it most likely had been the truth. Thinking back about the circumstances, Isirion suddenly cursed and turned towards Pride: "You need to make me a full-face mask too because it is highly possible that the blue lady knows my face and voice."

 

The smile Pride donned because his unwilling idol had spoken to him, went right up to his ears, which failed to register the most important part. His wife however picked up on it immediately and asked: "From your time in the Nebs' arenas? Will you please tell me about it?" Isirion nodded and his gaze shifted briefly towards Drake's Royal Blue: "I had to fight for my life so many times, I only recently remembered this particular nasty business. The Nebs passed me from arena to arena so the new people watching would bet on the dragons as usual and their lost coins would fill the Nebs pockets. Nothing going on in those arenas had anything even remotely to do with justice - it was all about money. Of course those who lost their coins spread the tale or tried to win them back and so the Nebs dressed up other convicts of similar build as mine in black and managed to trick their audience again. Because, just as the Nebs had planned, people would now bet on the human, if he looked like a black-air-bandit. Naturally they lost even more when the dragons ripped them to shreds. To still keep them betting, they occasionally let me fight too, so there were actual winners too, but the ratio was totally skewed in the Nebs favour. Finally after months and months of forced fights to the death, the Nebs had another idea. They lent me to the different city nobles - for a significant amount of coins of course. Usually the city lord or lady would just sit up high in their special seats above the arenas and send specially trained dragons or sometimes aspiring bodyguards eager to prove their worth. Neither the Nebs nor the nobles cared if those they sent lived or died because the coins had already been paid and their entertainment was more important now. They would cheer their dragon or human on in vain, screaming for my blood and finally swearing they would find a stronger dragon or human next. They never did and so they paid the Nebs to weaken me instead. They stopped giving me food, so I started eating from the dragons I killed. Since the nobles found that even more entertaining they let me keep my strength this way but one veiled noble lady in turn commanded the Nebs to take away my blade. The dragon I had to face unarmed was provided by that lady as well. It was an adult male Blue-Banded Dragon. The fight wasn't pretty, the dragon fought as if something worse than death awaited him if he failed to kill me. In the end I managed to break off a few of his teeth and use them like daggers. Oddly enough the veiled lady gratulated me, as if that fight had been a test of some kind. Then she sent in a male and a female Royal Blue along with what looked like their newly-hatched clutch. The lady promised me my freedom if I managed to kill either the parents in front of their hatchlings or the hatchlings in front of their parents in order to teach them a lesson in obedience as she called it. If the veiled lady from back then is indeed the blue lady she must not see my face."

Edited by Isirion

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Posted (edited)

Taellonn had made his way beside Drake as Fingers was integrated into the group, and if it weren't for all the conversation he'd have liked to pull her aside. Not to try to calm her down or anything (despite the fact that she seemed to take Fingers' inclusion well), just to get her take on the development, or know her plan for him in the long run before she decided to hastily dump it on the Royal Blue later, expecting perfect compliance. He hoped that wouldn't be the case as he had to now wait, and being caught up in his thoughts meant he almost didn't notice Isirion's glance in his direction- which just about dispelled any long-term planning as Taellonn's mind snapped to the present. Which also meant snapping to notice Drake's rising tension and temper, and then snapping to his feet as he barely deciphered Isirion's story through all his concern. As transfixed as Drake had been on the story (almost in a sick sort of way, considering how much she loathed every facet of it), there was no way she was staying still and shutting up. Or, at least, she hadn't planned on doing so, until Taellonn tried blocking her way. It was at least enough to get Drake to turn her aggression towards him in the moment, but her fit of cussing him out was broken by the interrogator cutting in. 

He'd listened with the same sort of sick curiosity, his face clearly betraying his disgust. He saw no innocent parties in the scenarios, surely just like Drake, but unlike Drake, he could at least feel some sympathy for the black-clad man before him. Drake seemed to hold nothing but contempt for him, and the Golden Wyvern present seemed to share that conviction. As much as the interrogator would have liked to fully trust the two, or at the very least Drake, he only now seemed to be getting any real insight into Isirion, and Drake hadn't exactly proven herself to be anything less that irritable and even immature in this short time. And so, despite all the detriments to the man's character thus far, the interrogator didn't seem to harbor the majority of his ill will towards Isirion. "...Even more reason to despise these city lords," he hesitated in saying. "All of that death for nothing but to fulfill some sadistic bloodlust." Taellonn couldn't do much more to stop Drake, and didn't want to imagine what would happen if he even tried as she raged. "Bloodlust!? You can't say that like you're blaming some rich freaks for everything! Did you not listen to a single thing he said!? I swear to-" The interrogator cut in. "Don't talk like you've never succumb to violence." Drake pushed past Taellonn. "I've never-" Taellonn struggled to find his next move as Drake kept ranting. "-ing ATE someone, are you out of your damn mind? Don't you dare compare me actually fighting for the greater good to being a mindless killer that can't even-" The interrogator was on the verge of losing his own temper now. "That's not what I meant and you know it. But you don't exactly seem keen on letting me explain myself, and you probably won't be unless someone pulls a blade on you!" Now, Drake halted. "Don't talk to me like I don't know what the hell is going on! Just because I firmly know where I stand doesn't mean I'm some fool who's waiting for the next chance to attack someone. And you're acting like I'm lashing out over nothing!" Her attention then turned to Isirion, and she almost said something. But there was nothing to say to him. At all. If she wanted him dead, she couldn't just tell him to leave, and she couldn't just... tell him she wanted him dead. It was so ironic- that only made her madder. It only made her want to tear his throat out more, maybe throw in the gouging out and desecrating of some facial features too. But, even if she didn't care about everyone around her, she couldn't do that because she needed to use his awful slaughtering skills for the "greater good." With a clearer head she could have wondered if she'd done this all to herself. But, she was still absolutely seething with no outlet and nothing ahead of her but complete embarrassment if she continued, so she just looked to the face of a friend instead (even if that blue face was going through every single anxious emotion it could feel), and walked back towards it with the most pained and uncomfortable sigh she could manage. "Common enemy. We've got a common enemy. That's our battle here..." The interrogator just stood there awkwardly and slightly wide-eyed before muttering something under his breath and looking to Isirion. "...I'm glad you can help with a much nobler cause now, at least for some personal revenge if nothing more." He hated to admit the curiosity in the back of his mind about those Royal Blues, but knew it'd be best to leave it and hastily tried to get to his next point instead. "I hope you wouldn't mind me passing some of these details on to a superior, perhaps barring your direct involvement just for the simplicity of this entire operation. This doesn't really seem like something I could leave unknown to those I answer to."

Edited by Drakessis

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Hearing Isirion´s tale about his time with the Nebs explained so much. She noticed the disgusted faces around her, hers one of them , at least for a short time. Alzira shivered just thinking about the conditions this man had to survive, and all the odds that were accumulated against him. Still, killing dragons or even eating a slain one would have never come to her mind but has she ever been in such a dire situation, has any one of their group? At first she was disgusted about what she heard but who was she to judge a man man who's options were kill or be killed, eat what you can get or starve to death? This story popped up so many questions and answered so little. How long ago was that? How old is that Blue Lady and for how long was she doing this? How did Isirion survive this emotionally, what had he lost in doing so and many more questions alike. At least she now knew how he had acquired his mindset Alzira added darkly to herself. On the other hand what was the difference between a man fighting for his survival in such an arena and a captive dragon, both faced death and probable starvation every day. What was the reason this was treated as so much more disgusting as when a dragon had to endure this she wondered.

 

Furthermore this tale showed once more what kind of foe they were facing. The Lady's focus wasn't just centered on blue dragons but all things that influenced her experience of entertainment. Alzira shuddered thinking about what they were about to do, what they needed to do.


After another glance around the group she decided to speak up."You know that's the reason we are doing this, don't you? Nobody, neither dragon nor human should have to endure such a fate. What's more, we now know, yes, we KNOW," she emphasized, " what kind of person, what kind of situation we are facing. So, we keep to our plan as best as we can, this need's to be done! Let's do this!" Alzira didn't know what's gotten into her. She hadn't expected that her speech would be such a determined one.

 

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As if mentally ticking off a list, Isirion turned his attention towards the next person to react. It was Pride who had finally worked up the courage to charge. With tears streaming from beneath his full-face mask the human dragon-fly did everything he could to inflict at least a little bit of pain onto the monster that only stood before them now, because he took the lives of those poor, innocent, helpless, newborn hatchlings. His vast imagination made him almost see his former idol devour the poor hatchies after merciless slaying them and he screamed as such with a wide array of local swear-words mixed into the yet unproven accusations.

 

Isirion easily dodged the fists trying to rain down on him, occasionally lifting Leal out of harm's way. When Pride was finally hitting the floor in frustration, Felicia pulled her husband back only to find Golden Myth on the verge of charging in next. Fearing for the wyvern's life since he had already taxed Isirion's patience more than once, Felicia brought her foot down with the force of a crashing tree and commanded: "SIT". Husband and dragon obeyed immediately, which brought a wide grin to Isirion's face and another tick onto his mental list. As he was still holding Leal at that moment, the Nilia couldn't help himself but stare wide-eyed at the exposed teeth and squeak something that could only be interpreted as 'Please don't eat me'. "Bloody hellfire", Isirion cursed, inadvertently showing even more teeth: "I am not going to eat you." Leal looked as reproachful as he dared at the counter-evidence. Isirion promptly closed his mouth and concentrated on evaluating his mental list until everyone present seemed to have calmed down enough to be confronted with the results:

 

"Pride, you fail again, but luckily you have Felicia at your side who has enough self-control for both of you. She can stop you before you blow our cover at the party by charging our host for telling 'entertaining stories from the pit'. Alzira, you seem to have listened before and mastered your emotions enough to pass scrutiny. The new determination in your voice will also help sell your pygmy trainer story better. Golden Myth - while you did at least hold your contempt for me a little longer in check this time, there is still no way you'll be joining the party. Fingers self-preservation-instinct which currently makes him cower behind the Royal Blue will serve him well at the party. Taellonn, your constant worry might be exactly the expression you want to show towards the blue lady so she doesn't have to employ any number of creative ways to torture any perceived defiance out of you. Once you are accepted and caged however, you should prepare mentally for the fight against the Nebs and their dragons." Isirion turned towards the interrogator and addressed him: "This is also very important for everyone you send into this battle, so I suggest you also convey the following information to your superior. I have fought both the Nebs and their dragons yesterday and in addition to personal experience, noticed a few things that might help you save lives. The Nebulas are trained to obey whoever rides them, to a point to obey a complete stranger into attacking their own kind. Their riders will also have no qualms of firing bolts into attacking dragons, since that is what they do in case of 'scheduled' air-bandit-attacks. The dragons can dim or intensify their wing patterns in order to further an ambush or hold-up and there also exist special patterns to communicate with each other. While I have worked on thinning out their numbers, their roosts are full with replacements with keen eyes. If Taellonn can convince the other imprisoned Royal Blues to steam as large an area as possible, it vastly reduces the Neb's advantages, since they invested too much into training them to loose them to errant bolts. Within the steam, guided by the Royal Blues and any other dragon you have, that can navigate within these condition, you can pick off the riders. Otherwise you will have to kill or disable the Nebulas, becoming what especially Drake condemns me for."

 

 

At the 'Sleeping Dragon' tavern

 

Gathered around the scorched area, that had been a tree, a sticky-web-net and a very unlucky cave chicken once, stood a most unusual group of mourners. For starters, the only one actually mourning, was a girl wearing a hastily blackened, frilly dress. Next to Winny, also wearing dark colours, stood her brother Jaxon trying desperately not to laugh. Next to him stood Erastor, the exorcist waiting to do his part of sending a poor poultry soul on to the afterlife. His magnificent silvery-white robes looked out of place but not as much as Henna, who, on purpose, wore the most colourful frilly dress, her pet snake Umi and a most inappropriate grin. Winny laid the last flower from her mother's flowerbed that had not ended up decorating any other grave on a small, chicken-shaped pile of ash and said with a trembling voice: "Though you are not my beloved Feathershriek, I will lay you to rest with every honour in her stead. My father has taught me how the Royal Blues say goodbye to fallen comrades - First we have to recount the most honourable deed in Feathershriek's life, then her most honourable death...ahem...She faced the fox and shrieked proudly true, but with flames burning blue the thieving ghost took her too. That was the life and honour of my beloved Chicken Blue!"

 

Getting more impatient by the second, Henna finally snapped: "First of all, I don't understand how you talked me into this...oh wait, you whined so much, I had to or my ears would have fallen off. Secondly - there is no ghost, I met up with the Egg Hunter's apprentice to conduct a perfectly normal trade, but one of you idiots, decided to mess that up with an even more idiotic prank. Thirdly - chickens die all the time since we cook them and eat them. This one has just been done too well, so there is absolutely no point in us standing around like fools. Also - how in the hell do you even intend to bury a frickin pile of ash?"

 

Winny stared at the herbalist with big watery eyes, then she stared some more until she snapped too and kicked the obnoxious woman's shins. Jaxon, who thought Henna totally deserved the treatment, waited a few kicks, then he pulled his sister back and said: "It's symbolic, don't question it. What's more important is that we gathered you here, because you have also seen the burning ghost. Our mum doesn't believe us one bit, she thinks we are just making it up because of the recent forest fire, but I know what I have seen. The exorcist wasn't there, but being an exorcist he of course believes in ghosts. Isn't that right?"

 

The thus addressed exorcist, bowed briefly and confirmed: "Of course I believe in ghosts, especially this evil and blood-thirsty one." "For the last time", Henna interrupted - that was no ghost, but my Leetle leaf supplier. He is perfectly human." "And how many humans that you know, burn with a brilliant blue flame?", Jaxon retorted. Not willing to be backed into a corner by the logic of a fourteen-year old brat, Henna deployed her usual conversational counter-tactic: "Shut up, stupid brat!"

Edited by Isirion

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Hesitating only to ensure no more hell was about to break loose amongst the group, the interrogator set off to find a superior. Luckily (or maybe unluckily, with how much of an embarrassment the disarray was), it didn't take long. The leader had already been walking towards the group, approaching with a furrowed brow and small entourage of human warriors behind him. Among the entourage was a scowling Ezra, who might as well have had hackles raised but, instead, had to settle for gripping his sword hilt. The interrogator disregarded it as he flagged down the superior, quickly promising crucial information about the attack on the Blue Lady (once again, luckily, as this superior had the been the first to hear of the plan in the first place). The leader simply sighed, before saying, "If it really is so crucial, by all means, speak, but understand that I already have questions about the sanctity of this endeavor. I've some crucial information of my own, and between that and that whole lot's commotion, well..." The interrogator felt the blame squarely on his shoulders, but proceeded regardless. "All the stress- it's an odd adjustment for them, that's all, after their run-in with all those Nebs, but I-" He sternly coughed the hesitance out of his voice. "-I have managed to gain a reasonable amount of information regarding this upcoming attack through all of this, though. Specifically from that black-clad man- he's quite acquainted with the subject..."

 

As the interrogator explained every new gruesome detail about the Blue Lady's sadism (though leaving unsaid whether it was originally a first-hand account) and Isirion's further observations about the Nebs, Ezra listened just as well as the rest of the entourage and the superior did. It didn't take long for Ezra to fill in his own blanks on the situation, which told him a few things; Roxanne's 'secondary' target at the mansion had good reason to be a target, this interrogator getting too big for his britches clearly wasn't going to do anything to upset his precious momentary peace, no matter what was actually at stake, and Ezra needed to really know what the hell was going on. Now, suspecting that the whole lot was about to be interrupted by some impromptu questioning, he needed a more long-term plan to get the results he needed. The grand scheme mattered, yes, but he'd come here to help his sister and her goals- which he had to do working beside her. Which, he soon realized, he couldn't do. So, as he slipped away from the group, he headed towards his second best option. The search was shorter than he'd anticipated, with his patchy-bearded solution sulking in a corner. Leon noticed the figure approaching him immediately, but remained stationary, only looking towards Ezra as the man cracked an artificial smile. "Leon, great to see you back here-" He already saw the looming suspicion on the shorter man's face and hurried to his point. "-have you heard about the plans for the next attack?" Arms crossed, and with knives on full display, Leon just apprehensively stared. "It'd be hard not to...? It's all anyone's talking about. Did I miss something?" Ezra's artificial smile morphed into something more genuine, but nervous. "Well, you know, there's room for quite a number of 'guests,' and with your already fairly ornamental weapon-wearing, I really see some potential for you there. Getting into the actual fray seems like it could be a nice fit for you." With that, Leon's suspicions were sanctified. Ezra didn't know him, much less care about any 'potential' of his. At least Drake was genuine in her now likely-broken trust in his abilities; otherwise, she'd have expected for him and Spienz to fail. Ezra just needed something, but, whatever it was, Leon sure couldn't see it. "Look, Ezra, you can cut the niceties. Just tell me whatever you actually mean to." Ezra's smile faded. "Fine. Since I'm likely going to be stuck with Relantia during the whole attack, I need someone else to infiltrate the party to help Roxanne- and Roxanne alone. We both know she's got plans of her own up her sleeve, and I'm not about to let her get shut down by someone who can't boast anything more than her besides a cooler head." Looking more confused than anything, Leon hesitated. "I doubt anyone we trust is actively conspiring against her. And if you're trying to say that she's just being 'shut down' over her temper, then I can't honestly say that's a bad thing. I get that you want to help her as much as you can, but there's better times for that." He paused. "And I doubt Drake would want to hear that you sent me to stick next to her during the whole ordeal. She's not too pleased with me at the moment, if you couldn't tell from me actively avoiding her general location." Ezra's fingers tapped against his hilt. "...Fair points. But, if you won't help me that way, then I have a different plan. You can get stuck with Relantia instead. You and that Fever Wyvern can stay just about as far away from Roxa- uh, Drake, as you like, while I get to infiltrate the mansion. All you need to do is basic things like stay vigilant of her blindspots and serve as a lookout- which you're pretty used to, right?- in any places too small for her to check. And, if she's not called in, then I don't have to waste time doing nothing and you and your dragon can do whatever else you're called for." Ezra seemed content with his plan and eagerly awaited Leon's full compliance. Leon, still apprehensive, sighed. "I'll help you out if I can, but any direct orders I get are coming before that plan of yours. If they contradict each other, so be it, I'll drop your plan. As long as you're willing to accept my help under those exact conditions, then I'll go along with it. Deal?" Leon's outstretched hand was constricted by Ezra's, who smiled and clapped the shorter man's opposing shoulder. "Absolutely! It'll all work out, I swear."

 

The entourage didn't suffer from the lost warrior, especially as the entire group dissipated until only the interrogator remained beside his leader. They'd take and relay orders later; presently, their leader was going to size up those spearheading this takedown. Drake and Taellonn alike straightened their postures and tried to seem composed (after any less stressful ordeal they might have just looked presentable, but the sudden shift might as well have made them into caricatures of stability) as the Draikenflaemes approached, the interrogator right beside his superior. But only the interrogator integrated himself into the group once again, as his superior simply looked on from a slight distance. In moments he identified each member and their perceived role, only stopping to scrutinize the black-clad warrior amongst them. The same one that dragons identified the smell of blood on, that seemed to be at the center of the disarray, and that bore a resemblance to the figure, surrounded by pure carnage, reported to another superior by a Khusa. And the one that had a repertoire of knowledge on the city's nobles and its Nebs, and that the interrogator could only do so much to hide the past of. Knowing what hands the ordeal would be in, the leader went off to convene with the rest of the leaders here, in order to distribute proper orders and precautions to all those in the base. The interrogator just seemed to speak in his place, saying, "He said he'll consider everything. Others are going to be commanding our numbers outside, though; he'll be inside the mansion."

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Returning the scrutinizing gaze of Drake's presumed superior, Isirion immediately added another tick to his mental list. That man seemed level-headed enough to lead the whole mission without falling prey to any wildfire emotions. A few seconds later the interrogator confirmed his assessment and Isirion permitted himself a brief smile, before settling down with his back to the wall. With one of their own in charge, chances were, that even that meek Royal Blue, that a big part of the plan hinged on, would perform to the best of his abilities. That kind of motivation probably worked for everyone of Drake's people too, which suited him just fine. Maybe now he could actually relax a bit before the party started. Leal sensed the change in his mood and, apparently not worrying anymore about ending up as Isirion's dinner, curled himself up on his shoulder to take a nap.


Watching anxiously from a distance, Pride couldn't concentrate at all on making another full-face mask. His mind was still full of unjustly slain hatchlings, alternating between grieving for them and cursing himself for ever believing that 'Death' could be merciful. Felicia wanted to comfort her husband, but what could she say, that would change anything? Pride looked as if he would break any moment. Isirion on the other hand looked perfectly at ease, even surrounded by hostility. The more she watched them both, the more she doubted the conclusion her husband and Golden Myth had come to. Finally she sat down right in front of her husband and said: "I don't think he killed those hatchlings, but if you really want to know, you should just ask - right after you finished that mask he requested. A black dragon mask would suit him perfectly, don't you think?" Being given a clear purpose did help Pride find his lost focus and he started working right away...

 

In the mean-time not too far away

 

"SQUEEE!!!" The messenger pygmy currently riding on top of the postal dragon was clearly enjoying himself. While other pygmies had shunned the challenge of flying to the big stinky place to search for 'cold and bloodstained', Piro had been all game. His keeper had been coerced by 'cold and bloodstained' to be informed right away, if there were any news on a certain missing human. That being the case after the missing human had walked right into the rental-dragon-stable to fetch a ride into the big city, Piro had been sent right after him with the obvious message. Of course his keeper had picked Piro, since no other pygmy got along so well with the postal dragons that they would allow him to piggy-back on their head. Being a Misifit pygmy, one would think all he was up too, was making the already hard life of the postal dragons even harder, but that was plain wrong. Piro was true to himself, being mischievious, but only towards the humans that skimped on the dragon's food and provisions. Every time they tried to save some coins by sending out less than well-fed dragons, he personally stole food from the irresponsible keepers' table and distributed it to the deserving dragons. No brain needed to figure out, that those dragons were thankful enough to bear a tiny bit more weight on their journeys. Feeling especially good about this ride, that he had 'purchased' with a marinated boar haunch, Piro squeee'd some more until the stench of their destination hit him. He was quite sure that even the humans had called it big stinky city before just shortening it to big city, since the stinky part was obvious. Thus being not too thrilled about finding 'cold and bloodstained' by smell, Piro decided to glide off the postal dragon at the maximum height to find his client by sight instead, thinking that there couldn't be too many people walking around wearing a dead black dragon. Circling around the most interesting looking landmarks, Piro soon regretted his choice. The people in this city still put dragon parts everywhere, sometimes without detaching them from the dragon first. The most disgusting thing was a mansion covered in scales and spikes with a few dead hatchling lawn ornaments. The Misfit flew lower, hoping to relieve himself right onto the deserving owner, but the whole place looked as dead as those ornaments. Suddenly Piro caught scent of a lot of recently spilled blood and his thoughts immediately wandered towards 'cold and bloodstained'. "Halfway there already", he cheered, "not many people leave a trail of blood either". Finding more than one trail, because of the numerous recently blood-stained places all over the city, Piro finally managed to home-in on a particular stable-like building. It looked almost inviting since it sported living pygmies instead of dead dragon parts. Descending as close as he could without invading their territory, Piro announced his presence with a few articulate squeaks and - for further attention - waved the message...

Edited by Isirion

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Pygmy heads certainly turned, though only the nearest crowd of them seemed interested enough in the newcomer to actually maintain their focus as the rest just went right on chattering or sleeping. Despite staring, they didn't seem too eager to stir, with the most collective effort coming from pygmies which stretched towards the Misfit, their tails and tongues flicking with curiosity as a few even squeaked out "Hello!" or "What?" A few did break off from their crowd, fluttering a bit closer, but seemed the most apprehensive of the bunch. They barely got close enough to even look at the message, instead scrutinizing its carrier with doubtful eyes. If Piro had wanted to be met with a simple response, it was becoming increasingly clear he wouldn't get it. The group wasn't quite organized enough to share any intentions- in fact, it barely even seemed to be one coherent pygmy group at all. They all vaguely smelled like this stable-like area, but a few distinct scent groups could be made out, despite how combined they seemed now. The difference could have been anything: slightly varied diets across species, the humans and dragons entire sections smelled of interacting with more frequently, their primary locations. Regardless of it all, it just meant one thing; this wasn't one big pygmy swarm. It was several groups of them, all converging at one specific location to rest and chatter for whatever reason.

 

An interesting scenario, but, once again, not a useful one if the Misfit wanted a simple or even useful response. He could wave that message however much he pleased, and not a single thing would happen unless he either rushed into that building or a more driven pygmy actually confronted him. And, perhaps, he would have gone for the former if the latter didn't suddenly shoot at his face like a firework. Sparking from the tail and hissing from either her prominent wings or her mouth, a Magelight sprung out from the unsure masses right towards Piro. Her spine curled her body into an awfully menacing crescent shape as wings surrounded Piro on either side and the flaming end of a tail (much more surprising in its sudden brightness than its harmless temperature) was pushed towards his snout. Pygmies that didn't protest the sudden confrontation seemed to shut up quickly, but neither phased the Magelight much. With her beady eyes she just glared at the Misfit, until suddenly snapping and snatching the message from his grasp with a dexterous beak. In a mere moment she was off, darting inside the building with a pleased grin plastered on her face. Nevermind that Misfit pygmy- surely he'd done his job, now it was time for the little wyvern to do hers. Gracefully deliver the message to someone who could so wonderfully inspect it and deliver it to its proper addressee, and then she'd be showered in adoration and treats for undertaking the trip no one else would (and so bravely in the face of some unfamiliar visitor as well!)- she grinned wider, though careful not to damage the message, and flew quicker to whoever's pockets smelled the best...

Edited by Drakessis

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"Squee?", Piro asked his suddenly empty paws. Did that count as message delivered? It certainly was heading towards the right direction, albeit the cold and bloodstained scent had been diluted for some time now. Did cold and bloodstained take a hot bath?, Piro chuckled and settled into a more comfortable position. Since he had nothing better to do, he started grooming himself. His skin felt papery, even though he hadn't done much more than sit on a much larger dragon's head and then glide around a bit. True, the desert had felt a lot hotter than normal, but what was normal for the endless desert? This time the air behind the postal dragon had seemed to burn and while the increased heat had sapped it's stamina faster, the hot air currents had also made it easier to fly. Piro shook his wings to remove any remaining sand and then started licking his wing membranes occasionally glancing around if per chance the Magelight returned.

 

Meanwhile not too far away in the endless desert

 

The rental-dragon had long fallen behind the perfectly muscled Hellfires flying effortlessly through the scorching air. The heat their bodies produced was almost unbearable, even from a distance, but the human riding on it's back didn't even flinch. Sodger could almost picture how the very air around his Hellfire army burned so fiercely it distorted their image to a mere mirage for prying eyes. The air-bandits would never see him coming, while he knew exactly where to strike, thanks to his loyal apprentice, who had marked the place with a Sunstone body. The scouting Hellfire who spotted it, had no trouble interpreting the single stab wound to the heart. It was his keeper's handiwork telling them without a doubt to strike right here at the heart of the Sunstone Bandits. Further scouting revealed that the air-bandits had abandoned their hidden-dune-lair in quite a hurry. There was leftover food strewn around, that smelled already half a day or more old. Every weapon and every thing valuable from a human's point was also gone. Upon receiving this report, Sodger's unseeing eyes darkened even more. "Those worthless cowards fled." The scouting wyvern immediately tried to catch the scent, but the desert winds thwarted his efforts. "I do not think they fled from us, nor my apprentice", Sodger concluded after a while. "The air-bandits had no way of knowing we were coming from them and if my apprentice had already attacked them, he wouldn't have let them escape with their lives. There must be another party hunting air-bandits. It was highly unlikely that the corrupted Nebs had suddenly decided to betray their lackeys after their establish system had worked perfectly for so long. The Nebs protected the city on scheduled occasions, just like a performance and the air-bandits did the real raiding only outside the big city. As he had experienced for himself, they ambushed those who crossed the endless desert with insufficient protection and traded the spoils directly with the Nebs who distributed them with profit among the various city nobles who in turn sponsored them. Sodger cursed as he remembered everything he had to endure because of them, but his vengeance had to wait until he could find them again. He ordered the Hellfire army to use the abandoned lair as a temporary base and search for a water source. After that he called for the undisputed leader of the Hellfires and addressed him: "Hellfire Azmodan Torch, you are the current pride of the Bloodline of Torch. Your mother was handpicked by my apprentice for her exceptional prowess in battle. You have inherited not only her ferocity and strength, but also her unquenchable fighting spirit as your keeper told me. It is this spirit that earned you your position as leader and it is time you prove to me that you truly deserve it. You will take half of the Hellfires and hunt down the Sunstone Bandits for me. Those bandits have trampled the honour of the Royal Blue and for that they must suffer. Spare none of them, not even their dragons!"

Edited by Isirion

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Cooling into more of a paper glider than a firework, the Magelight came to rest on the shoulder of a familiar warrior, a guard checking anyone who wanted to enter the base. A little surprised by the sudden pygmy at first but soon realizing her purpose, he took the message from her with an accompanying beak-scratch. No snack yet, but the Magelight held out hope, watching intently as the guard examined the message. She even offered her tail as a light, which received thanks as the guard took advantage of the flame to examine the message perhaps more carefully than required (he really felt he could take it at face value, but the Magelight just seemed so intent on proper precautions). Finally, he finished checking the message, fished through a pocket for anything to give the pygmy, and handed both items to her. Confused, she took the portion of an odd, curved claw of a candy the guard had provided in her beak and took the message with a back foot. The guard just smiled. "You're all clear to deliver it- good job handing it over first."

 

The Magelight hovered a moment before scolding herself, realizing she'd chosen an awful individual to just hand over the message for her. She could dart inside and find someone else, but a quicker solution came to mind. Flying back to the pygmy swarm, she singled out the Misfit from before and, with the same attempted intimidation, dived towards him before hovering overhead with outstretched wings again. Not-so-subtley moving her candy shard to a more inconspicuous place in her mouth, the Magelight then followed up with something between a few grunts and a growl telling him to get up and... help her. Message still clearly displayed in her grasp, she beckoned for him to follow her into the building and lead her to the message's target as she simply asked, shrill voice as annoyed as the Misfit might have expected, "To who?

Edited by Drakessis

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Having barely finished a quarter of his grooming routine when the Magelight returned, Piro ostentatiously proceeded even slower than before. That would teach that annoying dragon not to steal somebody's message and potential reward. When it seemed the Magelight would rather burn the message than wait some more, Piro spread his freshly moistured wings and lead the way to cold and bloodstained. They found him in a relaxed sitting position with his hood down over his eyes with an even more relaxed looking Nilia pygmy resting on his cloak. Both looked up when the fluttering of their pygmy wings betrayed their presence. Leal gave shrill warning shrieks as he recognized the Magelight. While he prided himself on reliably delivering every message, that one just took them for a reward, sometimes without even asking. That must be what had happened this time too, seeing as the accompanying Misfit glanced at the message in her backpaws every two seconds or so. Leal shot the Magelight an especially reproachful glance, hoping his new keeper would once again interpret it correctly. Like he had hoped, it didn't take Isirion long. His hand shot forward like a snake from the grass, catching the message-thief with ease and a plain disregard for the flaming tail. He took the message with his free hand and addressed the Misfit: "You came from the rental dragon stable with the message I asked for, but this Magelight took it from you, possibly to earn your reward. The Nilia's reaction here tells me it's not the first time she has done something like this. Since he especially dislikes tampering with messages and won't shut up otherwise, I'll give you another chance to deliver it properly. With this he handed the message over to the Misfit who looked quite perplexed. Nevertheless it took the message and delivered it right back. Leal changed his hawk-like shriek to a satisfied chirp and settled down again. Isirion released the Magelight and finally read the message. When he was finished he jumped to his feet and cursed: "Bloody hellfire, why the hell can't that stubborn old man stay put and wants to come back here again!"

 

Surprised by Isirion's outrage, Leal flew high into the air and waited till the storm passed, only it didn't. Only a moment later the whole stable-hideout of the Draikenflaemes was bathed in flashing colours from what had to be half the remaining Nebula dragons and riders in the city. They had been led there by their, still quite flat looking, kin who had carefully followed the pristine White Dragon and the shiny Golden Wyvern from the ground after having been sky-tackled by the latter. His rider who had feigned unconciousness, had also followed them, albeit a whole lot slower and especially looking out for the meek Royal Blue. All targets had vanished into the entrance of what, from the outside, appeared to be a normal dragon stable. After reporting their findings back to the nearest tower, a stealth patrol with dimmed wing patterns had been sent out to further assess the situation. Their report had differed a lot from the reports sent by the arena investigators, but in the end the tower commander had decided an unmoving, easy flammable stable that hid at least one of those troublesome Royal Blues was the perfect target to rekindle the reputation of the Nebs - literally!

 

In minutes the whole structure, struck periodically with flaming torches from the air, burned as brightly as the wing patterns of the attacking Nebulas. Their riders, having learned form the disastrous assault on Pride's arena, were armed with crossbows, ready to take everyone out, who tried to escape the conflagration from the visible exits. A second line of dragons, consisting entirely of Undine's was deployed to contain the fire. It was a deadly efficient, but rather cruel plan, which wasn't too surprising if you investigated it's source. Anxious that anything would endanger her long-planned masquerade party, the blue lady had seen to it personally, that the Nebs extinguished every ember of possible disturbance - and the best way to do just that was burning alive the inhabitants of each and every suspicious place within the city. Also not surprising, the other half of the Nebulas was sent to incinerate Pride's arena in a similar way.

 

Inside the stables, Isirion snatched up the forged invitations and hid them inside his dragonskin cloak before the smoke and fire could ruin them. Then he gathered the very few people he actually trusted inside the room, namely Alzira, Felicia and Pride and told them hastily: "This is normal fire, it will not hurt your dragons, but the bolts of the Nebs without a doubt waiting outside will. If you want your dragons to survive, they have to stay put until the very last minute and only escape, when the roof fully collapses and adds an additional layer of smokescreen to shield their departure. Of course the Nebs will shoot at us at first sight too, so we have to make sure they don't. There is only one way to do that - spread the fire to other buildings and walk right through it. I will walk in front and shield you from the worst of it, everything else the White Dragon can heal later as long as nobody screams and gives us away. Will you trust me?"

 

In the mean-time back at the ruins of Isirion's hideout

 

Hell: No other word describes Torch's first impression after awaking to the world outside the collapsed hideout. Still covered in the remains of that hideout, his mind tainted and wary from the ordeals he had to endure, Torch dared to look around. But to his horror, the very first thing his yellowish red eyes saw were the broken bodies of other Hellfire Wyverns. Helpless and defenseless they lay under the debris of the cave that had mercilessly shattered their bodies after enslaving their minds for so long. The sight of dead hatchlings and dragons all around him, mingled with his ever present gruesome memories. Past and present intertwined, Torch could no longer see any difference. From the moment of his birth, death had been around him. It was a neverending circle that would go on as long as he was alive...

 

"You are alive!", a voice suddenly pierced the dark thoughts in his mind. Hellfire Chimera, carefully shielding her belly with her wing-arms, emerged from a nearby pile of debris and then rushed over to give her mate an affectionate nose-rub. Torch couldn't help himself but smile. Suddenly the past and the present didn't seem so important any more now that he could see his future right in front of him. Together with his family he would flee as far away from this hellish place as their wings would carry them. So far away that their keeper would never find them, but before that there was one last thing he had to do. Together with Chimera he gathered all other survivors he could find and bade them listen: "You all know me, I am Hellfire Torch and before any of us can hope to find true freedom, I need tell you the truth about your suffering. The humans have used places like this for training dragons long before our keeper was even born. At first they just wanted to harness our power to gain the strength to protect themselves from wild dragons, but that soon changed. The humans discovered the huge tactical advantage of being able to rain hellfire down on their enemies. And in doing so they made even more enemies who in turn sought to use us in their wars too. More and more training places were created and more and more the human wars became wars between dragons. Hellfires for their overwhelming fire power, Stone Dragons for their defense and sturdiness, Sunstones and Moonstones for their aptitude in close range combat, White Dragons for their healing powers, Royal Blues for their protective instincts, excellent night-vision and steam-screen capabilities, Lurkers for their stealth and swiftness of attack. The list goes on and on, but those were the main trainable species deemed to be the most useful for battle. While every warring city had slightly different training methods they all filled the skies with dragons set on killing each other and if that was not enough on their backs they carried humans also set on killing each other. Thus the Dragon War began and it would not end until one side either gained a significant advantage or the other sides lost their will to fight or were wiped out completely. One dragon regiment in particular sought to end the war after countless of battles that cost countless of lives but ultimately didn't change a thing. It was the captain of the Royal Blues who came up with a monstrous plan in order to finally achieve victory. They used the Lurker's way to sneak into the enemy's training facilities and there destroyed and killed every egg and hatchling they could find. Thus sapping their enemies strength, numbers and will to fight the Royal Blue regiment finally won the battle in the sky once and for all. They were all hailed as heroes and few knew what they had done to bring victory to their city, even fewer cared. The war was finally over, peace returned, but it was never going to be the same. Now that the humans had learned what could be achieved by treating dragons as tools, they used this knowledge in every day life. Using Red Dragons for heating, Electric Dragons for fishing, Paper Dragons for writing, once again the list goes on and on. Most dragons felt it was better than being forced to slaughter each other in the sky and be slaughtered in turn and thus the Dragon War really ended for good. The regiments got disbanded, the dragons released or repurposed. The humans mended the relationship between their cities, promising to never wage war again, but there were those who believed a peace like that couldn't last. That due to human greed and corruption another war would eventually break out and destroy everything they worked so hard to protect. They saw only one solution to prevent this. Secretly breeding and training a dragon army unlike any other. An army of dragons so fierce and strong that they would be able to annihilate any threat to peace before it even arose. Our keeper was charged by his master to turn this idea into reality and thus the Bloodline of Torch was born. As you all have experienced our keeper used every method, however ruthless or cruel and worked tirelessly towards this one goal, weeding out the weak and training only those strong in body and mind. In time the offsprings of pairings meeting his standards created the core of this new Hellfire Army. My blood runs through them because it was me our keeper picked to be the first sire. That is the truth why especially the females among you had to fight and compete for everything. It made your lives a living hell, but this is over now. The Hellfire Army born from every single drop of blood we spilled has finally taken to the skies and left us behind. You are all free to make your own choices now!"

Edited by Isirion

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Still speechless Alzira looked around with big eyes, her main concern - her dragons - were with her. Relieved she noticed Isirion saving the forged invitations in a secure place, for now at least. To be true she didn´t had that set of mind to secure her hard work that fast. Alzira thought about Isirion´s proposition, then she looked at her dragons, Pride and Felicia and then back at Isirion. She said:"I trust you to get us out of this fire. As you have proven several times now you are a survivor and prefer to master the outcome rather than the other way around. I think we are in good hands", for now - she added to herself. Alzira didn´t believe he would use them for his escape, but he had his own agenda and who knew what his strange but efficient mind would choose to do. As long as they were no burden, they would be save. She was quite sure Isirion knew what was going on in her mind since he practically told her she had no pokerface, but that couldn´t be helped. She looked at Susurro and Sappo, nodded at the little misfit and sent him off to intensify the already existing mayhem. Susurro moved closer to Alzira, protecting her with his wings against the oncoming heat. In the mean time Sappo left with a spring in his step, finally he could perform some fine fire magic. He would start at the adjacent buildings, from the inside and quite at the top, right near the roof ridges - providing air for the feast of flames and with enough room to spread fast. This way the sight of the nebs should be well obstructed so they could make their escape.

 

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