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Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch

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Chance was quite glad Alteria had chosen to ignore her sarcasm and came up with a plan instead. The hatchie couldn't help but admire Alteria a bit because she was coping with the situation so well. Maybe just maybe she would forgive her for trying to suffocate her earlier.

 

Flamey who had admired Alteria from the start nodded vigorously and squeaked: "That's a brillant plan. If we use our shoulders and wingtips we can steady each other and give Alteria the chance to climb out. I believe her that she will come back for us!"

 

Chance who had smiled at the chance-use of her name nodded solemnly and said: "I believe that too. I just don't believe our combined height will be enough. We may have to ask the remaining trio to help us...or...we could do THAT!" With 'that' she indicated Claw who had listened into the conversation and was now dragging his first kill towards the edge of the pit. As his teeth were sunken into the tail of the dead trio-leader he couldn't explain what he was doing but it was quite obvious anyway. The thick-clawed hatchie had thought about using the bodies of the hatchies he had killed as a corpse-ladder that would increase the height the hatchie on top could reach.

Edited by Isirion

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"Yes, I was planning on asking the remaining trio to help us." She said. She walked over and helped Claw drag the bodies to form a ladder. When she had finished, she walked over to the remaining trio. "Hello. We have come up with a plan, and would like to ask for your assistance. If we combine our height in a ladder, and I stand on top, I can get out and roll rocks down for the rest of you to stand on. I promise that if you help us make a ladder and I get out, I will come back to help you out too." She said.

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The remaining trio was clearly moved by Alterias words, but she couldn't bring herself to believe them. Even if she did there was always the danger that Claw would murder her or the wounded hatchie the moment Alteria looked away to further increase the height of his corpse-ladder. The whole time Alteria was talking the thick-clawed hatchie had eyed the belly-wound of the big hatchie as if he was wishing it would die from it in the next second. The look she saw in Claw's eyes behind Alteria's back betrayed that despite Alteria's objections he had not given up his plan to kill them. From his point of view it was the perfect opportunity - the big hatchie was already wounded and; herself; the remaining trio was already surrounded. Killing them now would fulfill the goal their keeper had set them and would increase their survival chance not to mention the corpse-ladder.

 

Thinking this through the remaining trio swallowed hard as she realized the insidious plan behind the keeper's words and the design of the pit. Her eyes widened she focused on Alteria and squeaked: "Don't you understand Alteria? Only one of us will come out of the pit. The strongest hatchie will stand upon the corpses of the weaker ones. That is why we have to decimate each other until only the half of us is left and-"

 

"And then decimate each other again until the next half is left and the next half until only one remains." Claw finished her sentence and then spoke on: "I realized that too and started to do anything I could to ensure I remain in the surving half. Our keeper wants us all to become strong but as sure as hell he does not care about the weak that die. In giving up and loosing the fight earlier you have already shown weakness. After the big hatchie dies from his wound you are likely to die next. Alteria is offering you a chance to live. She is not aiming to become the strongest hatchie on top instead she is aiming to save everyone even if they are weak or not even her friends."

 

Chance and Flamey nodded vigorously to his words and finally the remaining trio believed them. She straightened herself up and said with as much strength as she could muster in this situation: "I will do whatever lies in my strength to help with that plan. The big hatchie can help too. Even if he is wounded he can steady the ladder from below." The big hatchie who had listened to everything curled up in pain from his belly-wound nodded nonetheless and spoke to Alteria: "Muscles is my name and as Tria said my muscles are at your command."

Edited by Isirion

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Alteria gave a nod of respect and started to form the ladder. She told Muscles to stand on the two dead bodies, and to balance on his wing tips and maintain a flat surface on his back for the next hatchie. Then it was Claw's turn to stand on Muscles, and she told Claw to make a flat surface on his back. The ladder wobbled a bit, due to the hatchies being new to standing on each other. "Muscles, you have to keep steady, otherwise the ladder will fall down." She said before telling the next hatchie, who was Tria, to stand on Claw's back. When she had steadied herself on the wobbly ladder, Alteria told Chance to climb up the ladder. It was making progress, and was pretty safe for the first time hatchies had done this. Flamey was the last one before Alteria, and after everyone adjusted to his wait she climbed up. She had a nervous but excited knot in her stomach as she thought about outside of the pit. Would she be able to rescue the others? She could only hope and be determined. Standing on top of Flamey, she reached up and got out. A wave of excitement and fear ran through her. She was out!

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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With most of the hatchies forming the ladder being alive and helping Alteria because of her strength of conviction rather than being beaten into submission by her bodily strength the ladder worked far better and reached much higher than expected. With a whole-hearted jump Alteria was really able to reach the rim of the pit and pull herself up with her wingtips pressed against the stone.

 

The sight that greated Alteria was not a spectacular one. The stone floor seemed to go on for ages in one direction leading to a kind of cave district. There were quite a lot of caves on the ground level a lesser amount of caves on the intermediary level and very few caves on the highest level. As Alteria strained her eyes she could make out one particular cave that was bigger and higher up than any other cave and had a bright blue torch burning in front of the entrance. This cave could be seen from almost anywhere in the cave and the torch in front shone like a beacon kindling the desires of the ones below to climb higher and higher to one day be able to reach it and stand on top of everything.

 

Seeing that bright blue torch in the distance Alteria felt strange. Her body seemed to try and reach out too. Her shoulder parts and wingtips felt longer and more pronounced and the light blue leathery flight membran certainly hadn't been there before. As Alteria inspected her gendering body she noticed that with the new joints in her growing wings she could use them almost like she had arms and that the wing-claws she felt growing were going to be a fine replacement for the fingers her species lacked. Her legs had gotten longer and stronger too exactly like her tail that was needed to balance her growing gendering body.

 

Alteria knew she wasn't able to fly yet and so she looked around to find a promising place she could reach on foot. Ahead of her not far from the pit she spotted a fenced area in front of a cave that contained quite a few hatchies that were roughly at the same stage of development like herself. The big difference however was that the colour of there bodies and their mood was certainly darker than Alterias. Instead of her almost white light-blue wing colouring the hatchies' wings had darker shades of blue and the hatchies themselves were cowering in a corner as if in despair. To Alteria the fence looked as if it could be climbed or wriggled through with some effort but strangely none of the hatchies seemed to try to escape that place. The bony remains of a few chickens suggested it to be the feeding area and hence unlikely to have any convenient stones lying around.

 

The female hatchie looked around some more but her eyes could not pierce the deep darkness that covered the area across the pit she just had climbed out but in the direction Alteria hadn't inspected so far she saw a big boulder looming in the near distance . Her nose reveiled to her that two female hatchies had walked in that direction maybe a day or less ago. As Alteria was looking for things to throw into the pit to heighten the ladder the boulder looked quite promising because there some loose stones were bound to be around.

Edited by Isirion

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Thinking for a moment, Alteria decided that looking for stones would be the best option. By using stones, no one had to be left behind in the pit. She walked to the boulder and looked for a flat stone, remaining on alert because of the recent scents of other dragons. Finding a big stone, she rolled it over to the pit. She was stronger now after gendering, and a wave of excitement rolled over her at the thought of exploring what she could do now. She shouted a warning to the hatchlings to be on alert for rocks falling, and pushed the rock into the pit. It would take a long time to push enough rocks though. Maybe if she found something the hatchies could grab in their mouths she could let them climb up with it. But the cave showed no signs of anything that could be used for that job. Frowning slightly, she went back to the rock pile and rolled another stone down.

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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In the hidden boneyard inside the big boulder Skull awoke from a sound she associated with the noise her shattering skull should have made after she fell to her death. Startled she crawled out of the ribcage she had slept under again after eating the remains of the starved hatchie. After donning her skull-helmet she looked around for any living thing that could have made this noise. After she found no living thing she looked for any dead thing that could have made this noise but found neither. Still Skull was determined to find the intruder into her realm of death and climbed the inside of the boulder until she could peek over its rim and saw a lively female hatchie rolling a stone away. Skull glared at the female and then shouted at her with a creepy voice: "Creature of the realm of the living what brings you to this island of death? Why is it you take away the bones of the earth when there are so many bones of the dragonkind with me?"

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Alteria turned around at the voice. It looked like a dragon wearing a skull, but she wasn't sure. It could be some other species. Cautiously looking at it from afar, she asked "What do you mean? I didn't see any dragon bones. And what is this 'island of death'? I was taking the stones to let my friends get out of the pit over there." She pointed at the pit she had climbed out from. The dragon like creature had a odd way of speaking. It was like a riddle that you had to solve to understand. Could the dragon thing mean that she had killed other dragons and kept their bones?

Edited by Silverphoenixx

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Skull fully rose into view and Alteria could see that she possessed a definitely normal, fully gendered body of a female Hellfire Wyvern that looked well-fed and quite far from starving. What had made her a little difficult to identify as a hatchie of the same species was not only the creepy skull she was wearing but also her wings that had been shredded almost into non-existence. The hatchie slid down the outside of the boulder and walked towards Alteria as far as the lighter-coulored hatchie would permit it. Then she pointed with one of her wing-claws at the big boulder she had just left and answered: "From the ocean of stone this big boulder rises like an island of death giving shelter to the bones of the dragons that lost their lives in the sea of blood that is life here. I pity the poor souls that are still bound in the endless circle of killing or being killed and so I, Skull, will help you free them from their suffering."

 

It was not entirely clear if the hatchie had understood that Alteria meant to throw the stones into the pit so the hatchies there could climb out of it alive or if she thought she should end their pitiful lives by crushing them to death with stones from above. Whatever it was, the hatchie went back and like Alteria fetched stones that she rolled towards the pit. In the pit Flamey and the others were getting quite anxious especially after Claw had used the opportunity to free the big defenseless hatchie from the suffering his stomach-wound caused him by tearing his throat less than a minute after Alteria had made her jump to freedom. Now the corpse-ladder had another step and the thick-clawed hatchie balancing on it was busy positioning the stones that fell into the pit from time to time.

 

In the meantime at the 'Sleeping Dragon' tavern

 

Orion the hunter had finished reading and organizing all the request papers. To his dismay the only clues he found were the ones the beggar had already mentioned and the peculiar request he had noticed himself. It was time to make the decision wether to stay here and confront Henna, the herbalist with the thieveries she instigated or fly to the village and meet with the Egg Hunter. If he chose to stay here he could help Telia and Jaxon with the trap, if he chose to fly to the village he could try to gather more information about the missing 'Gatherer' too. Of course there was also the option to fly to the island and prepare a trap there at the Leetle tree. It was not an easy choice to make and Emeraldan choosing this time to gender was not helping either...

Edited by Isirion

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"What should I do...what if I got Alsia and-" Orion cut himself off as he noticed Emeraldan begin to act odd. "Hey, you okay?" Emeraldan stood on the table Orion was using and planted his feet firmly down and he curled his neck back slightly, a pair of wings becoming visible. Orion's eyes widened in surprise as he saw this. Emeraldan was already inspecting his new wings with great fascination, a quick glance revealed that Emeraldan was a male, though Orion had his suspicions he'd become a male there was no way to know for sure until it happened. "Wow, must be great to finally have wings." In response Emeraldan burped a small flame in glee, just enough to light the edge of one of the papers Orion was looking at. "No! Yikes, please don't do that!" Orion put his hand over the tiny flame before it could grow at all, burning him for only a brief second. Emeraldan ignored him and decided to put his wings to the test, he looked at the wide open space around the table and decided to take a jump. He backed up and took a running start, he unfurled his proud new wings and managed to glide for a few wonderful moments before unfortunately smacking into a nearby wall and falling a couple feet, despite feeling pity for the youngster Orion did find it a little comical. Emeraldan fell with a small shriek though his only injury was to his pride, he barely noticed his nose hurt too. Orion got up and walked to Emeraldan who was looking at the ground and making a low whimper to himself. "Hey, come on buddy, you did well for a first time with wings, you'll get better." Orion carefully picked up the crestfallen hatchling and he seemed to perk up right away, smiling as he crawled up Orion's shoulder. He sat on Orion's shoulder and spread his wings proudly, though too nervous at the moment to try flying again immediately. "Fwy, fwy!" the hatchie shouted in glee to Orion's ear. Orion smiled to the tiny dragon on his shoulder. "That you did, I'm proud of you." While he knew he had an important decision to make Emeraldan did deserve to have a few moments, he did finally gender after all. As he thought about what he should pick, an idea came to him and he walked outside to find Valerian and Alsia, to share the news of Emeraldan and get their say on the matter of what to do.

 

While Orion had been witnessing Emeraldan gender into a male Valerian and Alsia had been outside talking to each other about today's events. Valerian had been resting and quietly observing the whole meeting, afterwards he had talked with the fully recovered Lunaspeeria until she took off with Erastor and Alzira. Before they flew to the island Alzira had told them about hay bales that had been falling on her and Susurro back in the stables. Something seemed off about this, but his mind was taken off of it as Alsia decided to tease him a little "Hehe I think that other hellfire was trying to catch your eye, maybe she has a crush on you." Alsia said craning her neck to him. "She was pretty cute and oh was she muscular..." She told him with the biggest grin on her face, fighting the urge to burst out laughing, Valerian just seemed to stare at her, doing his best to look like he wasn't about to laugh himself. "Oh tell me you don't agree." Alsia teased him further. "Well she did seem fairly strong and it's not like she...gah why do you try to mess with me like this, it's unfair." Valerian told her in mock annoyance, he was well used to how Alsia liked to mess with him once in a while. She stuck her tongue out at him in response, "because it's fun to mess with you, and besides we all know you're mine." Alsia smiled gleefully as she wrapped a wing over Valerian in a loving gesture. "You know I'm always yours, don't worry." Alsia chuckled a little. "I know, and I'm yours too.

 

Just as the the pair ran out of things to say Orion walked in with Emeraldan on his shoulder. The first thing they noticed was Emeraldan's new pair of wings and the proud look on his face. "Guess who got his wings today." Orion smiled as Valerian and Alsia looked over Emeraldan, his wings were a healthy size which was a good sign.

"While it is great for Emeraldan, this isn't the only reason I came here, I have an idea, Alsia, would you mind going to the Guardian and helping him set up a trap to protect the Leetle tree while I go talk to the herbalist? I need to see what she knows. And Valerian, if you know a way you could best aid anyone in what they are trying to do please do it, maybe find Jaxon, he seems to have run off, Telia as well." Orion asked his dragons, they were always ready to help, especially when it meant the welfare of others. They nodded and wasted little time in heading towards their destinations.

 

Now Orion walked back into the inn with Emeraldan still sitting proudly on his shoulder, reminding him somewhat of a fire-breathing parrot. He looked for the owners of the tavern to let them know his intentions of confronting Henna.

Edited by Orion97

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Orion quickly found Candy - her sweet voice doting over her husband drifted through the tavern from the kitchen. Ale groped an alcohol bottle like a baby would grope its milk bottle but he definitely had had enough and his wife gently wrestled the bottle from him before she turned her attention to Orion. As she had already been busy nursing her husband during the meeting she did not fully understand why the hunter wanted to talk to her guest, but nevertheless she gave him directions: "That poor dolly always stays cooped up in the Black Dragon room on the first floor. She will dolly love having a visitor like you sweetums. Won't she?"

 

Orion thanked her and climbed up the stairs to the first floor where he found three different rooms. Despite this it was impossible to confuse the Black Dragon room with any of the others because its door was the only one that was pitchblack. The door to the Gray Dragon room was modelled after an adult Gray dragon, still the resemblance it bore to Emeraldan now that the later had wings, was uncanny. The door of the White Dragon room not only showed a White Dragon with gentle blue eyes like Susurro, but also a healer's staff and some bandages. A closer inspection of the door of the Black Dragon room revealed that it was also made after the image of its respective dragon as were the doors to the White Dragon and the Gray Dragon room. Orion knocked on the pitchblack painted part of the carved wood that was the dragons scaly head and waited for a reply. It came immediately, a female voice ranted and shrieked: "I rented this room one month ahead so that I would have my peace and still everybody keeps bothering me. First that trampling elephant tavern woman with her food and then her whining daughter and now you! I don't care who you are or what you want! Go away already - I'm busy!"

Edited by Isirion

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Orion wasn't exactly thrilled to be dealing with someone of her mood but he really needed to speak with her. "Ma'am? I'm sorry to bother you but it is important, I will be brief and make it worth your while." Hopefully she'd at least open the door, though no doubt he'd owe her some sort of favor, people this cranky aren't very generous from his experience. While he waited for her to respond Orion saw Emeraldan all but jumping on his shoulder, as active as a child after eating pure sugar, he could only hope Emeraldan would settle down a little otherwise dealing with Henna might be even more difficult.

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After Orion had very politely asked for a moment of her time a sound as if Henna had burst with anger came from inside her room. A moment later something sizzled; another moment and some quick footsteps later the door opened a bit and with it came the most amazing mixture of odours the hunter had ever smelled. It was impossible to distinguish even one particular scent they all blended together like the colours of a rainbow. A middle-aged woman with plenty of brown hair and a rather pointy nose appeared in the crack. She wore a dress that was even more frilly and flowerly than Whinys a blue banded scarf around her shoulders and thick leather gloves that didn't fit the rest of her appearance at all. Henna slammed the door shut behind her, but not fast enough that Orion couldn't get a peek at the room behind: Nearly every visible surface had many small different coloured bowls filled with different herbs on it. Some herbs were cut up, some whole and some were even burning. The smoke rising from a bigger green bowl topped with a sizzling leave of the Leetle tree seemed to be the main source of the amazing over-all odour.

 

Henna leaned herself against the door and looked at Orion. Her furrowed brows smoothed a bit as she saw that her visitor was definitely not a trampling elephant or a whining girl. Calmer but not politer than before she addressed him again: "You have ten seconds counting from now and you owe me a coin for every second you are wasting...no...better make that a chicken...he said he wanted a chicken next time..." With that Henna crossed her arms and started to tap her gloved fingers.

Edited by Isirion

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Orion made sure to try to keep what he needed to say short, sweet and to the point, for starters he didn't even know where to get any chickens around here. "Then I won't waste a second, I would like to know about any requests you made about Leetle tree leaves, it's important, your help could help us catch someone that has been causing a lot of havoc. You seem to like being an herbalist, tell me what I need to know and I will try to get you more herbs and materials you might need." Orion silently hoped he didn't just doom himself right there, if she wanted more Leetle tree leaves that could be an issue...the Guardian would not agree, that much would be certain.

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Orion seemed to have just the right approach because after the ten seconds have passed Henna loosened her stance somewhat and even managed a smile as she replied: "Oh I really love being a herbalist. But some of the herbs and ingredients I need are so difficult to get. Can you imagine that that stupid Leetle tree is guarded by a freekin dragon? There is no harm in taking some leaves of any tree but NO that bear-like brute on the island forbids that even one tiny little Leetle leave is taken. That is why I requested one at the Egg Hunters pole two weeks ago. The request got accepted even if it was not for an egg and was fulfilled on the first day of the next week and it only costed me a dragon cashmere blanket. Do you know how amazing that leaf is? If you treat it right its surface gets covered with some kind of sap that strenghtens the effect of any remedy or poison. And if you heat it it gives off the most amazing smell that makes any rose water stink in comparison. Unluckily I heated it too much yesterday and the leave dried out and didn't produce sap anymore only the amazing odour. That is why I sent Umi to place another request for Leetle leaves yesterday. Now she is still tired or just dizzy from the fumes here so you have to do me the favour of checking if it got accepted. You owe me a favour anyway for disturbing me - and don't forget the chicken!" With that Henna returned to her room and this time Orion could not only see all the herbs and bowls more clearly but also the bed in the corner that was prominently lacking a dragon cashmere blanket.

 

In the meantime at the Leetle shrine

 

Like she had promised to her keeper Orion Alsia flew to the island in order to help the Guardian set up a trap for the leaf-thief. As she landed near the wooden fence that was encircling the Leetle shrine the Ice Dragon suddenly felt a shiver as if something was lurking in the shadows behind it. A moment later a vicious clawed dragon-arm shot forward through the hole in the fence through which she had first seen the little Guardian hatchie Galandir. The attack came as a surprise and if Alsia had landed any closer to the fence she would have gotten hurt. A few seconds after the attack the thundering voice of the Guardian drifted over the fence: "Stop it Lazarus! You are only to attack the leaf-thief if it comes!" A few moments later the Guardian himself came through the entrance of the shrine because he had spotted not only Alsia but the returning Alzira too. After the female Hellfire Wyvern Lunaspeeria she was riding together with the beggar had landed next to the Ice Dragon the Guardian walked up to them and first greeted Alzira who had returned like promised with the beggar: "A warm welcome back to you green-haired Lady who keeps her promises!" After that he turned to Alsia and greeted her too: "Welcome back to my island. It is good that you came without your keeper because after his lies he is no longer welcome here. What can I do for you?"

Edited by Isirion

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Alsia flew away from the terrifying dragon as fast as she could, too surprised to say anything other than a quick shout of fear. "That was certainly unexpected...such a friendly one he is." She said after it with a bit of sarcasm. "We came her to help you and protect the Leetle tree perhaps by setting a trap." Alsia bowed politely. "I'm sorry for the misunderstanding between you and Orion earlier, he's a much better person than you probably see, if he was here he'd apologize profusely. He raised me you know, kept me safe and has protected me, Valerian, and Emeraldan with his life. It's a shame things got off on the wrong foot." Alsia always felt like it was such a shame when two people that could have been friends or allies ended up hating each other. It was unusual for Orion to have done what he did but in his eyes it did look far worse than it really was and overreacted, to him it looked like the guardian dragon was murdered my him and orphaned a small hatchling, though the man in front of her didn't murder that dragon. She could see it from both of their viewpoints and couldn't see either Orion or the Guardian wrong in their perspectives, they were just different perspectives. After explaining to Galandir why they were there Alsia's thoughts drifted back to when the dragon she assumed was Lazarus attacked her, she hadn't been scared that badly since she was a hatchling and got cornered by a bear, though thankfully Orion was able to distract it long enough for her to run away. She made a mental note as well to keep a healthy distance between herself and Lazarus, she hadn't even seen this kind of dragon before and had no idea what else it could be capable of.

 

Edited by Orion97

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Hissing like a pit full of snakes Lazarus detached himself from the shadows of the fence as if he was shunning the sunlight. He was taller than the Guardian but definitely smaller than the average adult dragon. Nevertheless he looked intimidating as if the strength and power of a fullsized dragon were compressed into the oversized vicious claws of his undersized body. In the shadows of the fence his hide had looked as if it had been pure black but the sunlight revealed in reality it was a very dark shade of violet. The Guardian showed his respect to Lazarus then he introduced him formally: "This is the Cavern Lurker Lazarus. You have already seen his lair but not him who was ready to lunge at you from the shadows if your keeper had continued with his folly. He is still itching to lunge at you because that is his nature. He is the trap that I intend to prepare for the leaf-thief but your help is especially welcomed too. If that threat has not been another lie of your keeper you should be able to freeze somebodies feet to the floor. Hide yourself somewhere and aim for the leaf-thief once he appears - but be careful not to hit the Leetle Tree!"

 

As the Guardian finished Lazarus had something to say too. He raked his claws into the earth and growled: "She will not be of use the way she is now. Her hide glittering like ice crystals in the disgusting sunlight will also sparkle in the light of the beautiful moon and give her away. We have to hide it so she can land a surprise attack and does not get stabbed by that wicked blade first. I respect and understand her feelings for her keeper so I don't plan to use her as a sacrifice for my own surprise attack. Enough dragons have died already and I would probably get a stomach-ache if I also ate from the remains of a dragoness poor little Galandir is fond of because she had spoken to him in such a soft and mother-like voice. It felt bad enough to eat from his father's remains but that is the cycle of nature...Speaking of nature; everyone will get one with nature sooner or later so please don't complain if I give you a head-start." True to this words he now threw some of the dark, fertile earth he had dug up with his claws at Alsia in order to help her cover her shining scales.

 

Glad that the lurker had accepted Alsia's presence somehow and at least didn't want to get her killed he now turned his attention to Alzira and the beggar she had brought with her: "I will speak to the source of your information alone. I hope you find something useful to do in the meantime. Maybe you could fly to the village to check if the request for three Guardian eggs got seen and accepted?"

 

In the meantime at the tavern

 

After Henna had slammed the door into Orion's face after sending him off to the village with an errand the herbalist rubbed her gloved hands. Soon, very soon she would get her hands on more of those miraculous leetle leaves. However there was one thing to acquire first. That hunter seemed nice enough but he couldn't be trusted to really bring her a chicken just for asking. She had to send someone more reliable someone who would never give her away if she was caught thieving - she had to send Umi even if she was tired and dizzy. Having decided on this path of action the herbalist grabbed the blue banded scarf she was wearing and put it on the floor then she whispered: "I'll open the door for you once I made sure that hunter is gone. You have to slip out and bring me a chicken back. A living chicken so don't use too much of your poison only paralyze it. Will you do that for me Umi?"

Edited by Isirion

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Umi moved her head as is awakening and looked at Henna. She hissed a little almost as if she were sighing, and slithered out. Smelling the air, she detected the faint scent of chicken. She followed it, and slid down the stairs. The closer she got, the more strange the scent became. It smelled like chicken, but it had something mixed with it. Sliding up a knob, she made it on to the counter just in time to avoid being stepped on by a rather large woman. From the counter, she could see that the strange chicken smell was moving from a large pot. 'The chicken would be dead if it was in a pot' she thought, and slithered off the counter. Unfortunately, the large woman chose that moment to start walking, and Umi had to avoid being stepped on. Keeping to the side of the building, she decided that she had enough of dodging the woman's feet and went outside. She detected a chicken smell again, and followed it. This time, the chicken smell was just chicken. She could tell that the chicken smell was coming from a shed.

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The shed was made from wood but the smell it gave off was as weird as some of Henna's balms. A closer inspection from the ground level reveiled that an enthusiastic human had stuffed sticky orange stuff into every visible nook and cranny on the outside of the hen house. However there were two places that were free of sticky stuff: First the entrance for the humans when they came to collect the eggs and second the small hatch that allowed the chickens to go outside to take a sunbath or eat some grains and seeds. Umi found the door handle of the first entrance out of her reach but the hatch had a simple sliding mechanism she could force open wide enough to let her slither through with some kind of persistence. The only problem would be to do that as noise-less as possible in order not to wake up the cave chickens inside. The trampling elephant woman had explained the name cave chickens once after she had tried to sweettalk Henna into leaving her room and eating dinner with her. The important part that Umi remembered from that explanation was that the hens disliked the brutal heat and seering light of the midday sun and prefered to spend the time around noon in a cool and dark cave where they dozed off quite frequently and provided an easy catch.

Edited by Isirion

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Umi slithered towards the second entrance, deciding that that was the best entrance. She wanted t get a chicken quickly and be done with it, so as soon as she eased the door open, she located the nearest chicken and grabbed it in her jaws. The other chickens fluttered away from the racket, and were way out of reach. She firmly gripped the chicken in her jaws and slithered out with the squawking bundle. Soon the little poison she injected into the chicken took effect and the chicken fell silent. It was still alive however. Reaching the stairs, she was thankful her return journey was elephant woman free. Going up, she returned to Henna's room with the chicken.

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Henna quickly let Umi into the room and took the chicken from her. After a quick examination that the animal was indeed only paralyzed and not dead she patted Umi on the head and praised her: "Good girl. You did well." After a minute of patting and praising though she switched back to her normal business tone ignoring that her snake might be even more tired from the last errand and asked: "Now go and tail that hunter for me. I want to make sure he doesn't interfere with my leetle-leaf-business. His questions sounded a bit as if he wanted to catch my supplier because he suspects him to be responsible for some havoc. Before that happens bite him and paralyze him but don't kill him because I don't need that kind of trouble. Now off you go I have to experiment some more." And with that words she picked Umi up and quite literally threw her out of the room. A bit hurt by that harsh treatment but quite used to it after her long years as Henna's pet the snake slithered away in order to find the hunter and tail him.

Edited by Isirion

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"Well, that was interesting..." Orion thought to himself. He made sure Emeraldan was comfortably on his shoulders as he proceeded towards the door of the Inn. He made sure he told the owners of his departure and plans to be back soon. As soon as Orion was outside he suddenly realized how far it really was to the village from here on foot. "Fantastic...huh, well let's get goin buddy, I don't want to waste all day" Orion said as he began a fast jog to the village, if he ran he'd probably tire out before he reached the village and take even longer. "Let's try and find the egg-hunter when we get there, follow any leads and when we've found out what we need, head back. Maybe we can get a bite to eat too." Orion said to Emeraldan. "Yeey, me hungery..." Emeraldan managed to say. "Don't worry, we'll get you something to eat, you're getting a lot better at speaking too, nice job." Emeraldan smiled in response while still sitting on Orion's shoulders, trying to stay in place as he jogged.

Edited by Orion97

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While jogging around the lake the hunter had plenty of opportunities to observe the fishermen from the village he was heading to. Almost all of them used caged electric dragons the fishermen lowered into the water to stun the fishes so they could be easily hauled in with nets later. It was the same technique he had seen from Alsia's back as he had been flying to the village earlier. Jogging took far longer of course, but the hunter was in good shape and as the lake was shaped like a sleeping dragon it was broader than it was wide.

 

Finally, as it was past noon and the sun glittered almost painful to the eyes from every dragonscale-adorned roof, Orion reached the village. He remembered that the beggar had told them the hut of the Egg Hunters was located at the spur of the mountain shadowing over the village. Compared to the distance he had just covered it was nothing, but the rumbling in Emeraldan's and his own stomach convinced him to really get some food first. A quick visit to the shops that were associated with the baker's and the butchers pole filled their stomachs and also let Orion catch up on the latest gossip. The number one topics were the disappearance of the Gatherer and the mysterious night-time-thief that not even iron bars and locks could keep away.

 

After the hunter had finished eating he left the village in the direction of the mountain and quickly found the hut the beggar had described. The wooden door stood open and the smell of roasted meat drifted out. Through the open door Orion could see a grey haired old man with the build of an ox. He had broad shoulders, well muscled legs and arms and was just finishing some cooking. As he suddenly turned the hunter could see that he had a weather-worn face like leather and was blind like the beggar had told him. As Orion walked closer the man called out to him with a firm voice used to command: "I can hear your footsteps. If you have friendly business with me be me guest and tell me about it while we share a decent meal but if you are here to make trouble you will learn that this old soldier is far from being helpless."

Edited by Isirion

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Orion replied to the old soldier to erase any suspicion he might of had. "Don't worry, I mean no harm. We're hungry and would love to share a meal with you, we being my young dragon and I" Hopefully Sodger wouldn't mind sparing food for Emeraldan as well, he seemed to be hungrier than Orion himself, at least telling by the spot of drool that just fell on his shoulder. "I understand you are the egg hunter, correct? I would like to discuss some things if you wouldn't mind, any information you can provide would be very appreciated." As Orion spoke he glanced around the hut, it was certainly modest though being blind Sodger probably wouldn't care for luxurious decorations. Despite it's size the place had a certain air of familiar comfort that Orion couldn't quite put his finger on. While he entertained these thoughts he sat down on a seat opposite of the old soldier, Emeraldan was getting restless and with him still learning how to fly Orion didn't want the little dragon to hurt himself...again.

Edited by Orion97

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While Orion made himself and his young dragon comfortable the Egg Hunter had finished the preparations for the meal. With firm steps as if he could still see he crossed the space between the cooking area and the table and set it for two people and a young dragon. Then, with the same ease and certainly helped by his oxlike build he carried over a heavy iron pot full of potatoe soup with bits of meat and placed it on the table. After that followed a casket of wine, two glasses and a cup of water. Now Sodger closed his eyes even if he was blind and spoke with an almost revering voice: "This meal we are going to share could be our last, so we don't eat it too fast, but think deeply about the comrades of our past."

 

The old soldier opened his eyes again and spoke with his normal voice again: "Before I retired and became the Egg Hunter I was the captain of the first Royal Blue dragon regiment. Of course after the Dragon War was won we got disbanded but I still keep the memories and traditions of that time in high regards. Even more so as the number of my old comrades keeps dwindling one by one. But you sure haven't come to listen to this old soldiers tales haven't you? You said you had things to discuss with me. I am eager to hear them so help your young dragon and yourself to some food and tell me about these things."

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