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Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch

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Telia just makes a small snorting sound and chuckles, then picks up a mud bomb and again throws it, this time hitting Erastor square in the chest. She then chuckles again but as she does she wonders about this ghost and moves a little closer not making a single sound, then she settles down slightly so she is still covered and grabs a massive, rotten, squishy fruit and throws, hitting Erastor and splattering Jaxon in the face again. She laughs out loud by accident, a beautiful bell like sound ringing off the trees then she realises her mistake grabs the big leaf with the mud balls and fruit and moves further back into the bush,before she gets caught, and watches Erastor, Jaxon and the dragon making sure they can't spot her.

Edited by isabella3

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Being hit with mud bombs was most certainly not the answer Erastor had been looking for, even though in his mind he had been aware that he presented a perfect, unmoving and easy-to-hit target. Feeling his anger rising as fresh mud was dripping down his soiled clothes the exorcist kicked the nearest bush before he screamed at the top of his lungs: "I don't care whatever you are anymore - you shamelessly take advantage of a persons defenselessness and then you laugh at the misfortune you brought about. You are no better than the ghost at the tavern that would take whatever it pleases - even a dragon's life had it not been for the healing powers of a White Dragon!"

 

The boy Jaxon who had gotten himself a faceful of mud again immediately joined into the rant and screamed: "You think throwing mud and squishy stuff at people is funny? It is not! Because of you almost nobody comes to my Mum and Dad's tavern and with the other damned ghost around they are almost out of business. Do you think it is funny if they loose everything they worked so hard for? My mum always goes around with a smile in order not to make me or my sister worry but I know on the inside she is crying! WHY CAN'T YOU DAMNED GHOSTS LEAVE US ALONE!"

Edited by Isirion

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Telia hears these hurtful and saddening words and moves out from behind the tree slinking up to them she drops the mud bombs and fruit at their feet then looks up at Erastor and Jaxon with tears dripping from her face.She writes "i'm sorry i didn't know" in the dirt she then adds " i was only trying to have fun i was just curious to see what peoples reactions would be, please forgive me i didn't know about the tavern or the other ghost"

Edited by isabella3

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Valerian had been annoyed by the mud bombs as well, a couple splashed all over his feet. Once he saw how innocent and apologizing their "ghost" seemed he knew he wouldn't be able to yell at her, but she did torment Jaxon and Erastor it seemed. "Let's all just relax a moment, she didn't want to hurt anyone at least." Valerian walked a little closer to the ochedrake. "There's been a lot going on and his family is having hard times." He motioned back to Jaxon. "They're having trouble because of someone breaking into their tavern, stealing half of their things and it stabbed a dragon...and got away without even a trace." Valerian sighed, the sooner this whole mess with all the "ghosts" was over with the better, he was never the biggest fan of mysteries but he would always help when needed. "My name is Valerian, the two with me and Jaxon and Erastor." He motioned to them respectively. "What is yours?"

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"Magnificent performance", thought the exorcist as the 'ghost' came forward due to the boy Jaxons performance. However something did not quite fit: If it all had been an act inorder to lure out the ghost, why did the boy have real tears in his eyes? Suddenly Erastor felt quite ashamed because he realized that every word the boy had spoken had been true and had come straight from his heart. The exorcist felt even more ashamed as he looked at the Ochredrake that was sitting before them with a tearful face that showed it was clearly sorry for the harm it had done unintentionally. It was not even human but it still showed more compassion then he himself, who was a human being but had only thought about Jaxon's emotions as a tool to trick the 'ghost' into showing itself. Erastor sighed, he had never been good in dealing with emotions maybe that had been the reason he had become an exorcist in the first place.

 

While the exorcist was contemplating, Valerian had spoken to the Ochredrake, introducing everybody and explaining the situation to a degree. Now it technically would have been the dragon's turn to introduce itself, but the boy Jaxon couldn't help himself and blurted out: "I am sorry for screaming at you! You seem to be nice enough and I hate to admit it, but some of your pranks were really funny. Collapsing all these tents without the owner's having a single clue to what is happening and of course the sticky vines...I even got caught in them myself once...or twice...And the orange stuff!" Jaxon did not stop talking for a while and with every word he said his tension seemed to loose up and in the end he even managed a smile. His psyche like his young body was really like a springy young tree, able to being pushed quite far without breaking and then easily recovering as if nothing had happened the exorcist thought and smiled himself. Maybe the boy's way was the right way to do things and he said with a warm and friendly voice to the Ochredrake: "I am also sorry for insulting and shouting at you. I would be really honoured if you would tell us your name and even more if you lend us your skill and resourcefulness in order to capture the other ghost, that unlike you seems to be a truly evil spirit!"

Edited by Isirion

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Telia just looked at Jaxon then replied to them all “my name is Telia,Telia Kuran-Kiryu, I would also be honoured to join you” she nods her head just as something catches her eye she perks her head up crouches low and sees a small rabbit. She moves quickly the frightened rabbit not having enough time to get away before her jaws close over it she takes it back and rips it in half eating only the half with the head “I was thinking, maybe we should go to this tavern you mentioned I would love to see it!?!" she tells Jaxon Erastor and Valerian, “Do you want some?” she asks Valerian

Edited by isabella3

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"Why thank you, Telia, I can never sneak up on those things." Valerian said as he took and ate the other part of the rabbit. "Anyway it would be great if you came back with us and it really is a nice tavern. There we could also meet with the others and share what we discovered about the supposed ghost." Valerian motioned for Erastor and Jaxon to hop on his back which they obliged to do. "We can discuss more at the tavern, with all the talk about this dangerous ghost I find myself peeking over my shoulder more than I'll care to admit, follow me." Valerian said as he took to the air and began a gentle flight path back to the tavern.

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Erastor who felt quite safe from any ghost high up in the air, enjoyed the flight while thinking about a battle plan. Facing the ghost alone had been a scary thought, but now they could probably beat it with shear numbers. But in order to beat it, they had to catch it first. The excorcist glanced at Telia who flew gracefully beside them. Before the dragon had caught that small rabbit almost in the blink of an eye. Maybe she was able to land a surprise attack on the ghost, but the risk of being cut or killed with the wicked blade in retaliation was quite high. Erastor sighed, making decisions that involved the life and death of others was clearly not his strong point. It was better to leave the forming of the battle plan against the evil spirit to another and just hope that the role he would be assigned to wouldn't be too dangerous. Having made up his mind like this, the exorcist smiled and waved cheerfully at the rather anxious looking Candy, that had eagerly awaited their return. As Valerian had returned them all safely to the ground again, Erastor noticed that Orion's group had already returned from their designated scouting mission and had gathered near the tavern entrance. They all looked like they had a lot of information to share and as this was also the case with his own group, the exorcist proposed to do the exchange of information in the tavern while sitting on the comfy chairs and eating more of Candy's delicious cooking. Of course everybody agreed and so the humans were soon gathered around a large table to hear each others story, while the dragon's kept watch outside.

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira was chewing on a slice of bread and Sappo was cuddled in her lap, snoring and ignoring the chatter around him. Finally relaxed she started to tell about the events that had happened to their little group. "Well, as you know, we've paid the island a visit. There we met the Guardian hatchling Galandir of the Leetle Shrine and the Guardian himself as well. Unfortunately there were a few misunderstandings but we've worked them out in the end. The Guardian told us about a Leetle leaf thief that seems to act the same way as our thief here, appearing out of thin air, grabbing stuff and leaving instantly afterwards. He told us about the fishermen's village at the shore of the lake and the market there. So we decided to take look and place a request he asked us for at the Egg hunter's pole. When we arrived there a strange raggedy looking man approached us. He seemed an ordinary beggar at first but then he told us what had happened to him. He had taken and sold the egg shells of a golden egg. Back at his home the thief appeared and cut his hand off. He was saved by the information hunter, who went missing recently. Odd thing is that his last requests were all about mysterious thefts that occured at night....Did I forget something important, Orion? " She paused, she glanced around... "Oh, and I told the man to visit us here so we can share some of the details. He should be here anytime soon."

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Orion looked up thinking for a second. "No...that seems to be about it, but it definitly seems that this ghost of ours sure gets around. What we need to know is where he's hiding out and what he's doing with such an amount of material that he steals. When that strange man gets here we could coordinate to figure out where it might be hiding and after we rest, we end whatever it has planned." Emeraldan who had been resting beside Orion was having terrible nightmares. He dreamed a dark figure approached him with his hand held out. "Come here you..." it whispered menacingly. Emeraldan spotted something shine in the figure's other hand, it was a wicked blade, bloodstained from an untold number of unfortunate dragons, streaks of crimson seemed to almost be part of the wicked blade. Then the wicked blade shot forward barely cutting his cheek. A few drops of blood fell as Emeraldan recoiled in fear. "That is your only warning, next time I'll slice you to bits and grind your bones into powder." That's when the being withdrew into the shadows and a terrified Emeraldan awoke with a shriek and shivered beside Orion, running to him for comfort as well. "What's wrong?" Emeraldan didn't respond, he merely cuddled closely to Orion and used his tail to cover himself. Orion looked back to the others. Somethings bothering him, he's never had nightmares before all this ghost buisness, even Valerian and Alsia have had nightmares it seems.

Edited by Orion97

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With perfect timing, arriving just when his presence was asked for, the beggar dismounted the water dragon, that had brought him to the shore of the lake where the tavern was located. With his remaining hand he patted it on the blue scaly head and then bode it to return to the fisherman, that had lend him the water dragon in exchange for two of the coins Orion had given him earlier. Now the beggar walked up to the tavern window from where voices and a mouthwatering smell drifted over to him. Near the window sat the strangest assortment of Dragons the beggar had ever seen: A Hellfire Wyvern, an Ice Dragon, a White Dragon and an Ochredrake all listening intently to the conversation inside. Enthralled by their behaviour the beggar decided to mimic them and when he heard Orion asking 'What's wrong?' he decided it was time to enter the tavern and the conversation. As he had to pass by Candy in order to reach Orion and the others he did not arrive empty handed and so after greeting he sat down next to the hunter with a large bowl of delicious smelling food in his hand. The decision wether to eat first and talk later or the other way round took him only a second, then he started spooning down the food as if there was no tomorrow.

 

While the beggar was eating, Erastor explained what had happened in the forest and how they found out, that the mischievious ghost haunting the forest was in reality a playful female Ochredrake who had now joined their thieving-ghost-hunter-group. With this words the exorcist gestured towards the open window, hoping Telia would use the opportunity and introduce herself to the rest of the group.

Edited by Isirion

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Telia pops her head up at the mention of her name, slips through the window and sits in front of everyone "i am Telia Kuran-Kiryu, i will be helping out with capturing the theiving ghost that has been raiding this tavern and taking lives of other dragons, i will need information on him like how he moves around, and what he has been taking. i'm sure it can help us create a plan to capture him, we could use the forest to our advantage, i know my way around it and can set up traps with ease as many of you know!" Telia smiles shyly and moves her wings before she begins talking again. "Well we should really figure out a plan now we can use the skills we have to lure him here the dragons should be careful while helping so none of us get hurt" at that she looks at Erastor and Valerian then around the circle "any ideas?" she chirps, looking around she glimpses something moving near the window, and spots a very small mysfytt pygmy looking through the window it flaps off and sits a few metres away lazing around without care not knowing whether any danger was nearby.

Edited by isabella3

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"What a beautiful voice!", Alzira thought "this was the terror of the woods", she said to herself, smiling about the cheery character. Pulling herself together she said:"So, let's sum up what we definitely know: We've got a thieving ghost who can appear and disappear at will but he seems to be human nonetheless for we have seen him. He can be quite perilious as well - and not just threatening, actually harming people and dragons alike. The stuff he stole differs immensely: There are blankets, food and bandages and rare ones like the leetle tree leaves, which have no special properties except being rare and showing the seasons...although... I guess you could sell them for a little profit. ... And we've got the the other thefts which happened at the creepy village nearby." Alzira shuddered a the thought of it, feeling watched again, especially at the thought of the Egghunter's pole. Inspired by her recollection she turned to the beggar:" You told us at the village that you had copied the Egg Hunter's notes as well as the Gatherer's. Did you recognise anything odd or something unusual, and don't you find it a tad suspicious that the night you stole the eggshells you got a visit by our ghost? ... ... All this missing stuff is to much for just one man, seems to me he has to feed a lot of hungry mouths..." Alzira was lost in thought, her last sentence was a thoughtful murmur, she hardly realized she said it aloud.

Edited by Alzira

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The beggar who was still busy stuffing himself and occasionally his endless-seeming pockets with the delicious food, overheard the word 'hungry' but not the context and mistook it for a plea to share the food Candy had forced on him. An instant later, as he was about to push his bowl over to the green-haired lady he realized his error because every face on the table was watching him - definitely not hungry for food but for information instead. Being flustered at so much attention, the beggar cleared his throat to gain some time to order his thoughts, then he started:

 

"I have not been entirely truthful to you in the village, but I will try to be now. As you may or may not have guessed already from certain parts of my story, I was not an honest worker but a thief myself. My targets where the sons and daughters of the wealthy guests, that came here to acquire certain dragon or animal trophies so they could boast having slain them when they where back in their homelands. I thought those that did nothing to deserve their wealth and furthermore used it for such a disgusting purpose, should not have it at all. I used my wits, my tongue and my nimble fingers to relieve them of the burden of being wealthy and soon was quite wealthy myself. I spent my coins on the clothes and trinkets I told you about, but it didn't make me happy. Just buying things left me feeling empty because I missed the thrill of the theft. I had prided myself in being able to steal anything I wanted and so I continued to do so. Nothing was save from me or so I had thought until I tried to steal a leaf of the leetle tree as a trophy. I never came even close because the guardian dragon there kept a peerless watch even though he had a little baby dragon to take care of. He looked so determined and proud of his duty that I felt ashamed at once. Guarding and taking care of something was a noble purpose in life while I had only tried to satisfy my pride with petty crimes. Without realizing it I had become what I despised - a wealthy but worthless person seeking a different kind of trophies to fill an otherwise empty life."

 

The beggar interrupted his speech for another gulp of the delicious food he couldn't resist then he continued: "When I came back from the island I decided to put my talents to a good use and looked for work at the poles. Naturally the butcher's, the tanner's and the trophy hunter's work disgusted me, but being an Egg Hunter stealing eggs so that the dragons within could be raised by humans who wanted them but couldn't get them theirselves sounded perfect for me. I filled out a request paper to be hired as an apprentice and waited. On the second day I checked my request in the morning I found out that it had been read and answered. The Egg Hunter already had an apprentice, but if I could acquire a Gold Dragon egg within a week to prove my skills I would be hired too. Happily I accepted the challenge and rented a Grey Dragon for means of transportation and started to look for a Gold Dragon colony. After two days I found one in the mountain region and approached them carefully. I succeeded in stealing an egg and returned to the village to post my success and request a meeting. The Egg Hunter accepted and ordered me to come at dusk to his hut located at the spur of the mountain towering over the village. I found the place with no difficulty and knocked politely on the wooden door of the hut. The man that bode me come in was a grey haired old soldier with the build of an ox. He had broad shoulders, well muscled legs and arms and a weather-worn face like leather. His voice was used to command and I felt the urge to jump to attention when he stated that his name was Sodger, retired captain of the first Royal Blue dragon regiment. I handed him the gold egg and he inspected it closely moving his fingers all over it for over a minute. I thought he did that in order to discover a possible fake but the truth was, that he had no other choice to evaluate my claim that I had brought him a gold egg because his eyes were blind. He told me that the surface of each dragon egg is different so he could tell I really brought him a gold egg and hence had passed the test. I was free now to take whatever requests interested me as long as I was sure I could fulfill them but if I did anything that would hurt the reputation of the Egg Hunter he would see to it that I would get punished. I smiled then at the thought that a blind man could see to anything and asked about payment. That matter was simple - I could ask whatever was appropriate for the accepted request. It could be food or livestock like he and his first apprentice always ask for or I could demand coins if I prefered them. I was also free to either sell the gold egg or if I didn't need the coins put it on the pole to further advertise the business like the first apprentice had done with the gold egg he had caught. With a last word of warning not to hurt said business or suffer the consequences he sent me back. I left with the feeling that neither he nor his other apprentice could have any sense of business and decided to earn some coins for them by using my old connections. First I sold my gold egg for a fair amount of coins then as I already told you I stole the gold egg shell in the dead of the night and with a superior motive sold it too the next day and went on a shopping spree as I told you but saving half of the coins for the Egg Hunter. As the saying goes 'No good deed goes unpunished' you know what happened that night."

 

Sighing the beggar looked from Orion to Alzira and said: "I am sure now that the nightly visitor that cut off my hand was the other apprentice sent by the Egg Hunter to punish me for the theft but he is also the thieving ghost you mentioned and the mysterious night-time thief the Gatherer was investigating. When I first told you my story I had left out some parts that I have filled now. These parts I have also told the Gatherer and he came to the same conclusion as you: There is some bigger secret behind the thefts and he went to find out what it is but he never came back. The requests I copied for him may contain a clue, but I haven't finished going through all of them yet. One odd thing I found out though is that all the requests the other apprentice had accepted are fulfilled on the first day of the week even though they have been placed at different times. It seems like he lets the requests pile up till the last day of the week and then fulfills them all in one day." Now the beggar pulled out lots of copied paper dragon skin request sheets from the pockets of his coat and spread them on the table. Suddenly he pointed at two sheets with his hand and spat: "Will you look at that and that? I didn't notice as I copied them but, it has to be this tavern!"

 

Request day: almost two weeks ago

Request for: a leaf of the Leetle Tree

Requester: Henna, the Herbalist

Fulfillment date: first day of the last week

Fulfillment time: at dusk

Fulfillment place: entry of the forest

Status: seen, accepted

Offered payment: say price

Accepted payment: a dragon cashmere blanket

Notes: I know it is not a dragon egg, but I really need one of these leaves for my experiments and a professional dragon egg hunter seems the most likely to pass the dragon guarding the tree unnoticed. I am currently staying at the tavern across the lake, meet me at the entry of the forest at dusk for the exchange if you accept and succeed.

 

Request day: yesterday

Request for: more leaves of the Leetle Tree

Requester: Henna, the Herbalist

Fulfillment date: empty

Fulfillment time: empty

Fulfillment place: empty

Status: not seen, not accepted yet

Offered payment: say price

Accepted payment: empty

Notes: I am still staying at the tavern, meet me at the same place and time as last time for the exchange.

Edited by Isirion

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"That's a lot of information," she said "and according to you," Alzira nodded in the beggar's direction, "he fullfills his tasks on the first day of the week. It seems we have an opportunity to catch the thief...although I still have no idea how. But I think we should talk with the guardian of the Leetle shrine and warn him of the oncoming thievery. Maybe we should have a word with that herbalist as well...though this might be risky, she might tell on us..." Alzira paused and looked around, facing all the people and dragons listening, hoping for an idea on how to catch a vanishing person. But all she could think of ended with the thief disappearing. This was getting frustrating and her mind started going in circles.

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Well if he appears there must be a way to stop him, I mean a few invisible nets might work to snag him, especially when made of a certain spider thread which is really strong and quite sticky.If we leave bait in the middle of the net,he would probably go for it. Meaning,we could snag him and maybe he might not escape because the threads would hold him? although... his weapon is dangerous, I might be able to grab it before he can harm anyone?

Edited by isabella3

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Being captivated by the lovely chirping voice of the Ochredrake, the exorcist almost forgot to listen to the words Telia was actually saying. However after a few seconds his brain caught up with his ears and he interrupted: "You might? You might? You might be dead before you know it! You didn't see how quickly that thing drew that wicked blade of his - but I did!"

 

Erastor would have said more, but the boy Jaxon interrupted him as the exorcist had interrupted Telia: "Oh I think that is a great idea Telia! You are the fastest dragon I ever saw. You caught that hare in the forest in a split-second - it never stood a chance! I bet you can grab the weapon of the ghost and disappear with it before he even knew you were there. And the spider-webs - Are they even more stickier than the vines? Oh they must be! I can't wait to try it out! I love the idea!"

 

Candy on the other side, who until now had restricted her part to forcing seconds on everyone everytime the ground of their plates had been visible, clearly didn't like the idea at all as she interrupted her son with her body and her voice trembling like a hive of honey-bees: "J-Jaxon, pleeease don't, my dear boy, I can't stand the th-thought of you being cut up like the p-poor dragon in our stables!"

 

Ale's fingers as he laid them reassuringly on the shoulders of his wife were also trembling, but knowing him this was as likely caused by strong alcohol as by strong feelings. Suddenly he gripped Candy's shoulders as firmly as he would have gripped a bottle of his favourite alcohol and spoke with surprising clearness and determination: "The day that I allow my family to get hurt is the day I die! To face the foe and stand proudly true - That is the honour of the Royal Blue!"

 

Whatever clarity had come over Ale vanished almost in an instant as he suddenly grabbed and emptied a bottle of alcohol in one go and afterwards slunked into a corner mumbling: "...the poor dragons...cut up...so much blood...all cut up..."

 

In the meantime at Isirions's hideout

 

Blood showered the floor of Belia's cave everytime the dragoness coughed. In her hunger she had gulped down the whole pot of chicken soup that had miraculously appeared before her in one go and found out she couldn't stomach it at all. The last hour had been one of constant vomiting soup until there was nothing left and she vomitted blood instead. Every cough felt as though it was tearing her belly apart and maybe it did because the bandages Isirion had applied earlier slowly turned from pristine white to crimson red. Now Belia was lying on her side in a growing puddle of her own blood and tried to convice herself that the almost certain death that awaited her was the freedom she so long had sought for. However the thought of dying - even more the thought of dying alone - horrified Belia to the extent that in her desperation she couldn't help but whimper for help and the only human she knew - even if that human was an ice-cold murderer in whose ice-cold eyes she was nothing more than a tool that would be discarded without a second thought if it became useless or broken beyond repair. Knowing all this in her heart and believing herself being such a useless, broken tool now, Belia still couldn't stop whimpering: "Please, don't discard me...help me...Isirion!"

 

Isirion of course couldn't hear her, because he was busy inspecting the hatchies, that hadn't gendered yet. The ungendered ones were kept altogether in a pit until they could be separated into males and females. Of course the hatchies themselves knew what gender they would be or at least they behaved like they knew sometime. Especially one female, that had a slightly lighter colour than the others behaved very mother-like and tried to look out for the other hatchies. From the looks of it she even tried to befriend the whole bunch. Isirion grinned - the hatchies had no idea what was waiting for them, but they would soon as some of them had already little wingtips showing - a clear sign of them growing enough to gender soon. Still grinning Isirion disappeared to fetch a chicken from the live-stock-area of the cave and reappeared with it a moment later at the edge of the pit. After he had made sure the hatchies had noticed his presence, he swiftly broke the neck of the chicken, then ripped off one leg and threw it into the pit right in front of the hatchie that had aroused his interest earlier...

Edited by Isirion

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Alteria was busy trying to make friends with the other hatchlings when she smelled a delicious aroma. The cause of the aroma was a delicious chicken leg. Alteria quickly launched herself at it. Just before she reached it, a hatchling that was bigger than her snatched it away."That was MY chicken leg! Give it back!!!" She said the last part with a roar and charged at the hatchling that snatched the chicken leg. The other hatchling had expected a fight, and was prepared, though the force of the attack made her fall over. Instead of letting go of the hatchling, she dug her claws into the hatchlings side, occasionally moving her claws to cause more pain. Other hatchlings tried to attack but Alteria fended them off with short bursts of flames and occasionally, when they weren't deterred, Alteria let one paw go to attack. Alteria knew that if the hatchling suffered enough pain, they would eventually give in. As much as she wanted the chicken leg, she didn't have the intent to kill for it so she didn't dig her claws too deep. The hatchling finally let go of the chicken leg and retreated. Alteria tried to fend off the attackers, then when there was a space between the attacks, quickly ate the chicken leg. She did get attacked while she was eating, but she ignored the pain and finished the chicken leg.

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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Of course it had been wishful thinking that in the pit where there was hardly enough food for everyone, the other hatchlings wouldn't notice Alteria had just stuffed her stomach. Growling they came closer, but not too close because a thick-clawed and rather muscly hatchie that Alteria had succeeded in befriending came to her side and squeaked: "We are all stuck down here together, we should stick together like she always says and be friends. I don't want anyone else starve to death like the poor hatchie over there!" The hatchie that called himself Claw, pointed at the far edge of the pit, where a pitifully thin hatchie with his ribs showing lay motionless on his side. Claws gesture made Isirion shift his attention from Alteria to the dead hatchie and he walked around the edge of the pit until he stood almost above it. Silently he drew his bloodstained blade and with a lightning fast stab speared the dead thing and lifted it up. He looked at it with his ice-cold eyes and then turned his gaze on the hatchies again. With a sudden flick of his arm he threw the rest of the chicken into the pit, then he spoke with an ice-cold voice: "I want you all to become strong. Strength sometimes lies in numbers, but I wonder what you will do if there is only going to be food for half of you! Will you fight amongst each others until there is only half of you left - or will all of you choose to starve to death!" With this words he vanished without a trace leaving behind a bunch of hatchies that grew more aggressive the more the feeling of hunger in their bellies increased.

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Alteria wasn't as hungry as before, so she had a slight advantage that she had more energy. However, Alteria was injured, so the odds were evened out. She thought about it, and there was no way out, so she said"We have no choice, we have to fight." And with that, she lunged toward the chicken, hoping to get it first by surprise and speed. She did reach it first, and ate as much as she could before the other hatchlings arrived. It was everybody for themselves, and Alteria attacked both friend and foe, but she couldn't keep it up for long. As she fought, she thought of a plan. She let herself get knocked away from the chicken, then pretended to pass out. Sure enough, her plan worked. She secretly watched as the other hatchlings, one by one, tired themselves out trying to eat the chicken, until there was only one hatchling left. She then waited until the hatchling turned away to eat to attack. She had the element of surprise, and managed to rake her claws along the hatchlings back before she was thrown off. The hatchling shot a burst of fire to stun Alteria, then attacked. Alteria tried in frustration to throw him off, but he stayed on her back. Then, she remembered an old trick. She went limp, and the hatchling over confidently went to eat the chicken. She quickly shot a burst of flame and bit his throat, but not hard enogh to kill. The hatchling gasped for oxygen and tried to shake her off, but she held on. After a while, he fainted from oxygen loss.Alteria then quickly ate the rest of the chicken.

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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The rest of the chicken was a meager wing, because nothing more was left of the chicken. Suffocating or nearly suffocating another hatchie takes time - and this time the other hatchies had used to gobble up every bit of the chicken they could reach. Propelled by their powerful hindlegs they had shot forward and bitten out big chunks of the meat while using their tails to slash at their rivals. Some had also used their slightly superior body weight in order to slam aside others in order to get a bite but the worst kind were those, that merciless clawed at everyone in their vicinity to make them back-off. This kind of hatchie had succeeded in getting the greater part of the chicken and it was no surprise to Alteria that they were those hatchies that had refused her offer of friendship frequently. If she was ashamed of having fought like they did, she didn't show it - they certainly weren't. Proudly three of them were sitting in the middle of the pit on a pile of chicken bones and they declared growling like a three-headed guard dog: "We will not starve to death! We will fight anyone! We will win because we are strong!"

 

Claw, who had fought against them and earned even more scratches than Alteria, slammed his tail on the ground and moaned: "And what good is this? We are going to be pitted against each other until only one of us is left. I know it because I saw it in the ice-cold eyes! We have to do something or all of us will end up like that pile of bones some day."

 

A moment later at the hidden boneyard:

 

Interesting enough, as if he had heard Claw's words, Isirion appeared at this moment at the top of the dragon bones that were piling up in the hidden boneyard Kitty and Rallis had discovered last night. His ice-cold eyes searched for the lonely dragon he allowed to live here and quickly spotted her beneath a large ribcase. Isirion removed the dead hatchie from his blade and threw it in that direction, then he sheathed his blade and vanished again. The sound of the dead hatchie hitting the ribcase awoke Skull from the slumber she sometimes thought that it must have been eternal. Slowly she raised her head to look around, then much quicker after seeing the fresh carcass, she crawled out from under the ribcase and devoured the flesh of the dead hatchie until nothing was left but another sad little heap of bones.

Edited by Isirion

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"We should explore first. We need to get a good idea of our surroundings before we try anything. We should then talk to some other friendly hatchlings that aren't dead yet. We should also probably figure out a way to get food from the hatchlings on the bone pile. We can't do anything if we starve to death." Alteria said, carefully thinking over every detail. "Exploring is the most important. We should start exploring now, not that we didn't know our surroundings before, but now we need to analyze them so we can use them to our advantage. Exploring is important for everything, whether you want to escape, or if you want to fight."

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Claw licked one of his wounds, then he looked around exploring, as if he would see the pit for the first time. His gaze met the smooth stone that formed the border of the circular pit that was as deep as a human was high. Saw dust and occasional drops of blood and feathers covered the floor except at the one place where a small through was carved out and filled with water. There was nothing else, no wood, no metal, no cord, no hope. Licking another of his wounds, Claw now looked at the other hatchlings. Minus the dead one their keeper had taken away, there were now eight of them left including himself. Three had banded together and were clearly intent on fighting to survive. They would snatch the food and let the other ones starve to death. Claw spat on the ground despising the hatchies and himself, because after listening to Alteria, he had explored himself and had found in him the strength to make the same choice. He would fight and he would be one of the surviving half and then of the next surviving half and the next until there was only himself left. But until it came to this time, he would band together with Alteria as she was the best fighter besides him. She was his friend too, but he had already chosen to put his survival over his conscience so he would not have a problem putting it over friendship too. Claw licked the last of his wounds, then he spoke: "You are right Alteria, exploring is the most important thing and we will start with the hatchie you almost suffocated and hopefully beaten into submission. We have to gather hatchies to our side before they join the Trio and outnumber and kill us! I let you do the talking, because you are way better with words than I am!" The hatchie Claw was talking about chose this moment to open it's eyes and let out a tiny little squeak that contained all it's fear and frustration.

Edited by Isirion

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Alteria nodded."Sounds good." She said. She walked over to the suffocated hatchling and gave him a few pokes."We have something to discuss with you. Would you like to join us in attacking the trio over there?" She said, pointing towards the trio and keeping on alert in case he wanted to surprise attack her. "It would be good because there is strength in numbers. If we collect enough hatchlings, we could overwhelm them and everybody would have a fair chance at food. If we don't get enough quickly, they could start rallying forces too, making our chance at overthrowing them smaller." She continued, outlining the benefits.

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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The hatchie glared at Alteria, then it spoke with a hoarse voice: "You heard what our keeper said - There is only going to be food for half of us. Meaning that the other half is doomed to die. If I help you overwhelm the Trio they starve to death, if not I starve to death. Is that the 'fair' chance you are offering me? You could have killed me earlier, but you didn't. I don't like you but I owe you my life. I will attack the Trio with you but before we do that you should make the last hatchie join us, before it joins the Trio like that one."

 

Indeed, the big hatchie, that Alteria had first fought with for the chicken leg, was now bowing his head to the Trio. The three glanced at the wound at the hatchie's side that it had received from his fight with Alteria, then the most ferocious of them said: "I saw your fight with Alteria. You are certainly not friends with her. We will accept you into our group."

 

The remaining hatchie was sitting a few paces away, watching both sides but unable to make on his own a decision on whom to join. He wanted to be friends with Alteria, because she had been friendly to him, but it looked like she was outnumbered already. If he made the wrong move, he wouldn't have to wait to die from starvation - the Trio and their newest asset would kill him right away.

Edited by Isirion

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