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Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch

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Already Drake was overwhelmed. Pride's ideas sounded less than optimal, from the name "Lady Death" to the costume change. Not to mention, someone was bound to notice such a dramatic change in her armor. Pride himself seemed overwhelmed by the ideas, as he had forgotten about their agreement. Drake looked to the Royal Blue for a few moments, silently reassuring him that she hadn't forgotten. She looked back to Pride and spoke up. "I respect your ideas, but perhaps they're a bit..." she tried not to say ridiculous, "...Much? I think my armor would be fine with just a simple shining, and blood simply for aesthetic is overrated anyways. As for the name 'Lady Death,' it doesn't really fit me. Something more representative of the type of unique warrior I am would be better. Like..." Drake glanced around frantically, and recent memories rushed back. She quickly blurted out, "Hooktalon! A huge, intimidating dragon." Drake allowed herself to flex her arms (as if to promise matching strength) as she spoke with rising enthusiasm. "With the brawn and brains of two dragons, and the courage of a million. And, if I recall correctly, the females are the most aggressive of the breed. Keeping my armor at the same color and wear would match the dangerously sharp scales of a Hooktalon." Drake paused and relaxed her arms, and her voice became slightly confrontational as she continued. "But I'll only keep going through with this if that Royal Blue you've got captured is released immediately, and I see his safe escape. Otherwise, I'm not cooperating."

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Pride didn't seem offended by Drake's resoluteness because he thought she was already in-character for her arena fight: "Of course, Lady Death. I mean Lady Hooktalon. The grooms will do the painting while I free the Royal Blue." After these words and a bit of fiddling around in his pockets he produced a large iron key and opened the corresponding cage. The Royal Blue stormed out and in passing Drake he said: "I am in your debt." The moment he was outside he took to the air to fly to the underground arena his master had been brought to. On his way he passed over a particular dragon stable that held another, rather nervous Royal Blue that was as eager to be reunited with it's keeper as Aseto was.

 

In the mean-time at Sodger's hut

 

Isirion had finished organizing his thoughts and piecing together the bits of information he had obtained from various sources. After doing so he deemed it the best course of action to share the conclusion he had come to with the Guardian and thus he spoke: "The master of the thieves guild came here to revenge the weaklings that I have slain on my master's orders because they dared to try and extort the Egg Hunter business. Fingers who was part of the thieves guild who already had experienced my skill with the blade firsthand, knew the new weaklings wouldn't stand a chance and fled at the first available opportunity. Due to the female warrior's interference the guild master was also able to escape but not before he spilled the name of the guild's fence to us: Wallet. Through my research in the village I found out that he owns the mansion opposite the Leetle Fish tavern and also acting as the guild's treasurer he is quite the wealthy man. I believe he provided the means for Fingers and the guild master to leave the village. It is likely that Wallet is also the man that hired the female warrior in the first place. They met up, stocked up and fled together under the steam cover the warrior's Royal Blue can so effectively produce. That is the reason why nobody in the village saw anybody or anything except for my master's own Royal Blue that must have 'seen' through the steam cover so to speak. The remaining question is how the fugitive group reacted after they found out they were being followed." The Guardian sighed deeply and replied: "The Royal Blue's would have killed anybody they found spying on them but those thieves might have been content with only constraining him somewhere. If I am wrong everything we have done so far was for naught and we can assume the missing Gatherer dead too." The Guardian sighed again and continued: "Seeing as you almost single-handedly destroyed their local branch I guess those thieves on the loose are headed for the big city to join with the thieves guild there." "Then that is where I am going too.", Isirion said with his ice-cold voice full of deadly determination. The Guardian suppressed a shiver and said: "Meet me at the dragon-for-rent-stables in an hour. If I can get him sober enough in time I will enlist the help of the last Royal Blue who fittingly goes by the nickname Ale and even owns a tavern." Isirion nodded and with ice-cold eyes and an even colder smile watched the Guardian run away with powerful long gaits in the direction of the Sleeping Dragon tavern...

Edited by Isirion

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Drake was glad to see the Royal Blue freed, and thought of her own escort before being dragged back into thoughts about the arena preparations. Her mind stayed reluctant to fight, but her actions showed otherwise as the grooms assisted her.

As Drake prepared for her arena fight, Taellonn himself was preparing as well. Perhaps not for a fight, but an escape. His comfort had faded away after the reality of being alone hit him. Sure, there was a feeling of safety here, but Taellonn needed Drake for support much more than he wanted to admit. It didn't help that Drake didn't admit his clinginess either, and did nothing to counteract it. Taellonn convinced himself that he was trying to escape for Drake's sake rather than his own, and looked to the wall beside him. Taellonn wasn't any larger than the average Royal Blue, and was no stronger either. He weighed the pros and cons of bashing against the walls trapping him. On the upside, there was a possibility that he would break out, or that someone nearby would think there was something wrong with his stable and let him out to investigate. On the downside he could accidentally injure himself, or no one would care about his racket. He began to make small sounds as he fidgeted and contemplated how to escape. He considered slamming into a wall, but instead found himself kicking and scratching at one, like some sort of large scaly cat. Taellonn's small murmurs soon grew into slightly louder calls for help, until he finally decided to just roar out. He startled himself and immediately grew quiet, trying to puff away a small cloud of steam he had accidentally released. His clawing became more furious, however. The bases of his claws began to hurt, and his front leg grew exhausted. His murmurs continued, growing more into a moan of pain and desperation. He hoped that someone would care enough to notice his pleads and free him, or at least be dull enough to release him!

Edited by Drakessis

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Taellonn's attempts to gain somebody's attention worked soon enough. Despite the big city being big on exploiting dragons it also contained people who genuinly cared about them. The stable master was one of them and he anxiously opened the door after the ruckus the Royal Blue made and let him out. He even apologized: "I am really sorry, most dragons prefer the doors closed because of all the unfamiliar smells and dragons around. I had no intention of holding you prisoner." Taellonn barely registered the apology, he was too eager to reunite with Drake - even if it meant he had to search the whole big city for her...

 

A bit later at the Sleeping Dragon tavern

 

After having jogged around the lake as fast as he could the Guardian arrived at the tavern and was shocked to see fresh graves there. Had the thieves attacked here as well? Getting more and more worried he took a deep breath and shouted: "ALE! ANYBODY! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?"

Edited by Isirion

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"... ...right? ...ou alright?"... What a strange dream, she knew that voice, but who...? Alzira stirred in her dream, almost leaving the strange dreamland where someone called annoyingly. Sappo who was watching the vivid dreaming of his keeper literally jumped at his chance or more appropriate her chest. She sat up almost immediately, catching her breath and continued coughing frentically. Then she heard it again, the calling from her dream and this time she recogniced the owner of the voice as well. She jumped out of the bed and into her clothes and hurried downstairs immediately, Sappo next to her as always. Surely Candy was awake and had let the Guardian in already? Had something happened, something more dangerous than yesterday? Almost downstairs she yelled "Guardian? What's wrong?"

Edited by Alzira

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The Guardian stormed through the door of the tavern the second Ale opened it. Even though he was a drunkard almost all the time, Ale would rather die than ignore the call of an old comrade in arms. A few moments later Candy and Alzira arrived too and the Guardian gave a brief account on what had happened: "Sodger went missing too. Wallet, Fingers, the master of the thieves guild and the female warrior who freed him most likely banded together and caught him tailing them while they were fleeing towards the big city. At least that is what Isirion and I think has happened. Will you come with us to pursue them?"

 

Ale nodded, but his wife shook her head and said: "I can't allow that. It is far too dangerous. Those thieves won't fight fair - what if you get hurt or worse?"

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira shuddered, this whole situation was getting worse by the minute. What could she do, she was a mere painter... but nevertheless this called for action. "I will come with you. I'm sure Susurro and Sappo will agree to accompany us as well. I think it's best if Dreena stays back and takes care of Emeraldan in the meantime," she paused. She didn't want to expose the hatchlings to more danger and fighting than they had already seen. Then she continued: "I know I'm no warrior but I might be able to help, asking around and stuff like that and I'd like to point out that Susurro is a great healer " Sappo, already sitting on her shoulder again, blew a little flame approvingly. Although she sounded sure of herself, she was afraid.

Edited by Alzira

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Countless words of protest formed on Candy's tongue but she swallowed them all because however dangerous it was going to be for the green-haired lady, with her White Dragon around, Ale was more likely to survive. In her heart she had known it the moment she had heard the Guardian scream that her husband would follow. Like the other Royal Blues his days in the regiment had etched themselves onto his very soul. Denying him the chance to rescue his former captain was to deny who he was. Candy rubbed away her tears and breathed with the softest voice: "Just be careful."

 

Ale hugged his wife and returned to his room to grab the necessary gear. While he was gone the Guardian checked his own equipment and then asked Candy for food and water supplies. With Candy occupied that way he said to Alzira: "To be honest I am more worried about our other travel companion than those thugs and thieves in the big city. In the Dragon War soldiers sometimes entered a desperate blood-frenzy that enabled them to fight or even win while being outnumbered but Isirion killed all those men in cold-blood. I could see it in his eyes that taking their lives meant nothing more to him than stepping on a bug would mean to us...And it is not only human lives - when I first met him on my island he used the lives of three unborn dragons as a bargaining chip..." The Guardian gently put his hand on Alzira's Sappo-free-shoulder and continued: "I don't have to remind you that he also killed Orion and almost your Pygmy too..."

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira took a deep breath and steadied herself. Isirion creeped her out and at the same time his lack of empathy made her furious. She knew he was a dangerous man and hopefully he wouldn't see her as a liability. Susurro was a healer ergo useful so he wouldn't be in danger in the first place. As for her and Sappo it might be different but contrary to the battle-hardened man they were no threat and possibly ignored. "I know that I'm no match for you fighters, and believe me: I don't want to be a hindrance but this might be an advantage. I can pose as Sodger's daughter, pretend to be looking for an old, maybe senile man who is stuck in his ways, asking around and looking for clues and nobody would be intimitated by my presence. I can even prepare a sketch of him and anything I find ", and with these words she pulled out a sketchbook and pencil and drew with quick strokes hopefully a quite accurate profile of the blind man. "I know it's not much, but I'm a fast sketcher since dragons, especially hatchlings, usually don't keep still in real life."

Edited by Alzira

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The Guardian took Alzira's sketch and simply said: "One sketch won't do. We need more of them to hand out." Ale who had finished his preparations just in time to appreciate Alzira's sketch said: "You are a great artist. That stern expression and pose is just like him." Soon after Candy returned with packages stuffed with enough food for the whole Royal Blue regiment. Her husband gently took them from her and distributed them fairly. Then he hugged her and stepped outside to call his dragon with a curiously shaped whistle. It was barrel-shaped as was the Royal Blue that arrived after some time. Ale fed the dragon half of a food package and said: "Barrel, old boy. We are back in action. Our old captain has gone missing and we are going to find him." The dragon roared his approval and tolerated being loaded with a lot of gear half of which was probably unnecessary unless the only way to get Sodger back was to distill alcohol out of rocks...

 

The Guardian eyed the over-weight, over-loaded dragon and sighed: "Some things never change..." Then he turned to Alzira and asked: "Since there is no persuading you to stay here where it is safe - can you give me a ride back to the village? Isirion should be waiting for us at the dragon-for-rent-stables."

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira nodded. Since she was already prepared for traveling, she hadn't much to arrange. She took her art-bag, some provisions and her travelbag, which included some ointments, bandages and her sleeping gear. Then she went to the stables to get Susurro's gear and readied the White Dragon. Sappo was quite happy, he was allowed to travel in his favourite place, Alzira's leather backpack. She turned to the Guardian: "I'm ready, let's go!"

Edited by Alzira

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The Guardian showed his respect to Susurro and then mounted the White Dragon after Alzira. He described the stable that was their destination and the flight began. As they flew over the Leetle island the Guardian peered down at the shrine and rejoiced at seeing Galandir and Lazarus guarding it together. Straining his eyes he thought he could even make out the comfy nest they had build for the three Guardian eggs. A smile crept on his face and it stayed there until they reached their destination. Susurro and Barrel landed next to the dragon stables and the Guardian dismounted at once.

 

As he went inside to rent a dragon to take him to the big city his smile vanished completely. Isirion was already there and he was talking to the stable owner - if you could call demanding 'NOW!' in a voice that would make a volcano freeze over, talking. The owner complied with a speed that suggested his life depended on it and handed over two keys. Isirion threw one of them to the Guardian and said: "The Grey Dragons #2 and #4 are the fastest ones left. Take #2, it is a bit stronger and should be more than able to compensate for your weight without loosing too much flight speed." The Guardian took the key and went to the stables after Isirion. A few glances told him that Isirion's assassment had been correct. #2 had broad shoulders with well-honed flight muscles and it's over-all build suggested it also had the stamina to use them for an extended flight period. #4 was more slender built, bred for speed not for carrying weight. Isirion not even carrying a backpack himself chose a light-weight speed saddle to further compliment the advantages of his mount then he said: "I will use this dragon to scout ahead from time to time and remove any obstacles in our path." The Guardian nodded uncomfortable his mind translating removing obstacles with killing unsuspecting victims. Once both dragons were saddled the men led them outside and joined with Alzira and Ale. Isirion gave the green-haired lady a small recognition nod and then mounted his dragon. The Guardian mounted as well and said: "I intend to fly non-stop to the big city. Isirion will scout ahead. I will take the left flank and Alzira the right. Ale will bring up the rear. Shout if you spot anything!"

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira nodded, what else could she do? This was handled like a military mission and she felt out of place. She knew what she had agreed to so she straightened herself. "While you were in the stables I have finished a few more sketches,' she held 15 pieces of paper in her hand, " these are for you, Ale and Isirion - for showing around while searching", she added. Then she mounted Susurro too. The dragon scratched his saddle girth and nudged her supportingly. He whispered: "We'll have your back, just keep Sappo with you. The pygmy is small but like most small ones he's easily underestimated. And don't worry, I have keen eyes I will notice if something or someone is approaching us." He turned back his head and as soon as his keeper was mounted he took flight and his place in the suggested formation.

Edited by Alzira

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Ale and the Guardian pocketed the sketches Alzira had given them with a thanks and took to the air as well. Isirion on the other hand took his time studying the sketches before he carefully rolled them up and hid them within his cloak. An idea occured to him and he dismounted again. Then he took out a sketch and went back inside to 'persuade' the stable owner to show this particular sketch around and send a Pygmy to the big city if he encountered any information about the missing man. Afterwards he mounted his dragon again and pushed it to top speed. A few dozen wingbeats later the Grey was well ahead the others and Isirion permitted it to slow down a bit. His eyes scanned the horizon but his mind was otherwise occupied. He imagined every thing that could go wrong on their hasty journey and devised counter-measures. However he found none for the one thing that troubled him most: What if they just couldn't find Sodger? The big city was aptly named and filled with thousands of people and dragons. Their search may take days and still yield no result. Isirion's uneasiness rubbed off to his dragon and it picked up speed. The sudden burst of speed ripped Isirion's hood back and exposed not only his close-cropped tangerine hair but also his eyes that seemed ice-blue in the shade and dead purple in the light. Isirion quickly pulled his hood back on and inwardly cursed this method of travelling, but just like the 'Endless Desert' that started to stretch out beneath him there seemed to be no end to it...

 

In the mean-time at the arena in the big city

 

Seemingly endless brushstrokes had transformed Drake's armor into the likeness of a Hooktalon's hide. Real and fake spikes adorned it everywhere it wouldn't hinder her movement - which was in about a tenth of the places Pride had planned. To compensate he had been allowed to hand-pick her cloak. Whatever abomination of taste he would pick - Lady Hooktalon would shed it only after a few steps into the arena. Golden Myth had to endure a complete overhaul too. His scales the grooms had polished into hundreds of little golden mirrors now had a blood-red tinge. Pieces of fake battle-armour covered his flanks and his head was crowned with a fake-blood-dripping crown. Pride who wasn't one to ever let go of an idea happily proclaimed that the Golden Wyvern's battle name would be 'Lord Death' and a moment later waved a cloak so pitch-black, velvety and heavy it could easily pass as a fitting mourning garb for the last remains of Pride's taste. His fake butterfly wings carefully kept away from the cloak lest it should be 'ruined' by even one speck of colour he handed it over to Drake and said: "This is the crowning masterpiece to your battle-guise Lady D....Hooktalon! Our Pygmys carry banners with 'your' likeness all over the city. And our herolds scream 'your' name so loud even the high and mighty Nebs in the sky will hear it! In a few minutes the crowd will go wild and you will be a living legend surpassing even 'Death'. That is if you can win the crowd over and make it want to see you actually defeat Mythy. Use the remaining time to think about your strategy and enter the arena when you hear the crowd roar three times!" With these words Pride flounced away with the horribly named Lord Death at his horrible striped heels...

Edited by Isirion

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Taellonn moved and acted as frightened as a pig that had been set loose in a slaughterhouse. Like said pig, everything seemed dangerous, and his senses were flooded in his desperate search. But instead of seeking an exit, he was seeing Drake. A few pygmies flew around, advertising who-knows-what, and Taellonn thought that there must be something going on. After some listening and investigation, Taellonn learned that there was going to be an arena battle (though he didn't bother to ask very important questions, say, who was actually fighting.) Harm against a dragon! he thought.That must be where Drake is! She would never stand for that! Taellonn rushed off to find the arena, oblivious to the fact that Drake wasn't challenging the system- but rather a dragon himself!

Just as Taellonn was oblivious to Drake's current actions, Drake was oblivious to Taellonn's. Surely he had enough common sense to stay put and wait for her. Drake was too busy thinking about her strategy to worry, anyways. Her main goal was to not wound Golden Myth (or "Lord Death," rather) and certainly not kill him. The fake-blood-dripping crown seemed like a good thing to take advantage of. If any managed to splash off or even smear on the wyvern, there could be an illusion of wounds. Drake practiced moving her claw weapons back to her knuckles/mid fingers as to not slice the dragon (though she probably couldn't do anything too horrible with the claws, considered one set had been dulled from a certain swipe earlier.) She figured her best bet was to try to tire out the dragon or, if that didn't work, resort to bruising his wings or legs to hinder his movement and hopefully knock him down. Ramming into the dragon would probably be the easiest way to do the latter, even though she knew that probably wasn't safe for her. But between her thick armor and sheer strength/brawniness, she could probably manage the risk for the result. Drake donned the cloak carefully over her armor and the attached spikes (which she wasn't fond of in the slightest, but she had to give in at some points.) She put herself in a battle mindset. Her posture adjusted to match, and she let her face turn to a warrior's. It was a somewhat indescribable blank expression that could be intimidating to nearly anyone; perhaps not because of the expression itself, but the character and subconscious energy of the wearer. She didn't usually control using the expression, in the way one doesn't often have to think about laughing. But instead of humorous situations, this expression was fuelled by grudges and anger. But Drake supposed she had to 'put on a show,' so why not show some raw warrior emotions? At this point, Drake was ready to go out into the arena, and simply waited for the summons.

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In the arena Pride fluttered around and weaved a fantastic tale about an evil dragon lord that revelled in blood-shed and death. In order to make his scales the most beautiful shade of red in the world, he had slaughtered and bathed in the blood of thousands. It was told that his arrival was always foreshadowed by a short eclipse because the sun couldn't bear looking at this sinful creature. Right on cue the arena grew dark because of the blood-red and gleaming dragon blotting out the sun. It's imposing presence made the crowd gasp in awe. Pride let them feast their eyes on Mythy's diabolical appearance and then he screamed: "NOOO, Lord Death has picked our peaceful city as his new feeding ground! We are all going to die!" The arena almost shook from the blood-curdling laughter Lord Death let loose. Seemingly at random he pointed a razor-sharp talon at a very small boy with a grubby face and ash-blonde hair. His laughter died away and he growled for everyone to hear: "YOU ARE NEXT!" The boy crawled under his seat and Pride shouted: "Have no fear little boy! There is a MYTH that the death-defying courage of a very small warrior with golden hair can bring forth a miracle. It certainly was a small miracle that the hair of the small boy who resurfaced now reflected the sun like the scales of a Golden Wyvern. The boy sucked in as much air into his lungs as he could and then he screamed: "LORD DEATH - I DEFY YOU!" Lord Death immediately screamed back: "DEFY THIS!", and threatened to impale the boy with his tail. Heroically Pride jumped in at the last second and saved the boy. The crowd was mesmerized - it had expected the MYTHical miracle to be their favourite Golden Myth but a boy with golden hair had appeared instead. Pride who read the crowd's mind like an open book gave them another thing to chew on. He made his voice sound really frightened and shouted: "OH NOOO, it didn't work. I can feel the brave spirit who responded to the boy's courage approaching but it needs more power to show itself. Whatever can we do?" And the boy acting on pure instinct waited just the right amount of time before he screamed: "We must shout together!" Three times he shouted 'I DEFY YOU', three times the crowd amplified the words and Drake knew that her time to shine had finally come...

Edited by Isirion

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Drake sashayed towards the scene, and her cloak swayed along with her shoulders. She remained silent and walked behind 'Lord Death.' The crowd remained just as silent, but Drake didn't hesitate to break the silence after she knew their attention was caught. "Lord Death!" she shouted at the wyvern, who turned to face his opponent. "It appears I have been summoned- thanks to that brave young boy and this devoted crowd- to end your bloodshed... And that is exactly what I shall do! You're not a fair counter to..." she theatrically yanked off her cloak and tossed it away to reveal her spiked armor, warrior's face, and outstretched claws, "...Lady Hooktalon!" Drake really felt ridiculous at this proclamation, and hoped she wasn't showing it. Drake spoke out once again, "I really hope all that blood you're painted in isn't just for meaningless show; the only thing I want to be shown is a real challenge!" She stood her ground at the words "real challenge," but her legs were filled with an energy to lunge forward. 'Lord Death' let out his blood-curdling laughter again and promised that he'd be a real challenge. The two exchanged a low-key, consensual look and rushed at each other. Drake, instead of heading straight on, went to flank the dragon. It gave her enough time to slip her claw weapons to her knuckles, which was her main goal besides any advantage it might give her. The champion wyvern unexpectedly twisted around, forcing Drake to reassess her plan. She slid and grabbed onto the closest thing, which happened to be a wing. Doubting her abilities to do much in this position, considering she was facing a wyvern's wing strength, she let go and rolled under him to the opposite side. She was honestly surprised she had made it under, but was shocked out of it when 'Lord Death' turned to meet her again and hit her torso with his tail. Drake probably would have much been worse off had it not been for her armor, but her breath was gone and she was vulnerable on the ground. She crawled backwards, put her claws back in place, and got back up, glancing at the audience and smiling as if she didn't think her entire front had been bruised. The wyvern was rushing at her once again, and she rushed too. Drake waited longer to go to his side, and slid under his left wing. She was going for his fake armor, and managed to get a considerable slice in. Drake scrambled to get out of tail-range and stood her ground once again. She was slightly slouched, the impact from before starting to become noticeable to her. It was clear she was relying on reflexes now, and she looked at 'Lord Death.' She concealed her pain with a smile again and yelled out, "Seems your armor isn't powerful enough to keep you safe. I'd be scared if I were you!"

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The crowd gasped at every move Drake made and the occasional odd-ball cheered at every move 'Lord Death' made occasionally screaming madly: "I love you Lord Death, devour me!" The champion wyvern laughed every time because he recognized the voices of his so-called devoted fans even if they apparently didn't recognize him. Just like butterflies they had fluttered on to the next attraction. Speaking of butterflies, Pride had vanished completely and that worried the disguised Golden Myth because it usually meant there would be some ridiculous surprise later. On one occasion he had actually hired a group of Undine Dragons to reroute the rain over the big city so that it filled up the arena. Then he had proudly announced that his arena was the first to hold underwater fights...

 

Concentrating on the past instead of the present cost the wyvern a piece of fake armour but he played it cool and growled: "Annoying little insect, I let you hit me once to see if your claws had more bite than your tongue but it seems I wasted my time. Not even a fly would be hurt by that sting." Lord Death would have added more insults but Drake wasn't one to let a golden opportunity pass. After catching her breath during his long-winded taunt she jumped again, rolled under his right wing this time and slashed away a matching piece of fake armour. The dragon roared and reared to his full height stretching his wings out only to furl them up again. He had just remembered in time that using his Glaring Sun move in this disguise was out of the question. So he tried a slower, weaker and above else fake-blood-stained version of his Golden Tail finisher but Drake scrambled out of the way. By now the crowed cheered her on so loudly that it almost drowned out his angry roar as he jumped after her trying to pin her down with his wing claws...

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Drake switched from offense to defense as the wyvern attacked. She tried to stay focused on him, but the cheering was distracting. She was used to noise in battle, but cheering seemed different. What could be found invigorating to one was simply another thing to comprehend to her. It at least told her she was doing well. It was very different from real battles, where Drake relied on silence to tell her if she was successful.

Taellonn himself was distracted by his own search. He listened for a mention of "Drake," or "Taellonn," or even "Roxanne." He soon found himself approaching an arena. Clearly something was happening, because the crowd was roaring. Taellonn swore he could hear a dragon roaring, too! There! That has to be it! That's where Drake is! I've found her, I've got to have found her! he thought, repetitively. He hovered at enough height to see inside the arena. Taellonn first noticed a dragon, a wyvern, dressed up and fighting. He didn't really care what type it was; though, knowing Drake might be nearby, he was relieved it wasn't poisonous like a Fever or on fire like a Falconiform. He also noticed a figure dodging around, seemingly fighting the wyvern. A dark brown-red haired figure, with scale-like armor. Surely this couldn't be Drake. This figure was fighting a dragon, making confident taunts and remarks in the heat of battle, and her armor didn't match up all the way with Drake's. Perhaps she sounded alike, and her movements were certainly similar, and her weapons seemed identical, but- oh, Taellonn couldn't fool himself for this long. That figure was Drake! It had to be! But Taellonn couldn't comprehend what she was doing. She wouldn't fight a dragon for no reason, especially not for entertainment. But there was blood! Lots of it! All over the dragon! Taellonn didn't know what was going on. He was confused and lost. Regardless, he came to a conclusion; either Drake was forced to do this, or she was being really, really dumb in terms of common sense. Knowing Drake, Taellonn figured it was the latter, but he didn't know what could have driven her to this.

He tried to think of what might have happened. She might have been brainwashed... No, she wouldn't let anyone... She rather kill herself than give in to... No, she WOULD kill herself! Is that what she's trying to do? Kill herself!? No... No... She wouldn't leave ME behind like that... She cares too much to just leave me trapped, alone! She's got to have some sort of plan. Taellonn flew back and forth, both to help think and to get a better look at the situation. Anxious, impulsive thoughts told him to jump into the arena. He knew that was a bad idea, and he'd gotten used to controlling impulses (though usually not his own.) But there didn't seem to be much of another option. He started to consider it. He could jump in, grab Drake and fly out. He'd avoid any trouble.

To help Drake and for his plan to be successful, he had to be swift, and smart. Taellonn went above to the rim of the arena, and prepared his steam breath just in case. He swooped down to grab Drake with his front claws. What he didn't anticipate was Drake being so battle-ready and perceptive in this arena (though in hindsight, he thought he really should have), and she jumped out of the way. Taellonn caught himself before smashing his feet into the floor, and flew back up, now hovering above the arena. He looked to Drake, wanting to plead with her, but he was met with a cold glare. Drake had recognized Taellonn's leg markings, and was about ready to scream. But she wasn't going to ruin this show, mostly out of fear that not doing this well would threaten her, the freed Royal Blue, or even Taellonn now. Taellonn's face froze in surprise as Drake spoke out in the confident tone he'd heard before, "Another dragon? I can assure you, if you've come to help, I don't need it. But if you've come to challenge me alongside Lord Death, I suggest you flee now and don't waste your time!" Taellonn was beyond any recordable levels of shock now, and if he were a human he'd certainly be crying in fear. He completely landed, defeated looking from up close. Taellonn contemplating going towards her. Whoever this was, it wasn't Drake to him. But now both were in the midst of an arena fight, and Drake prayed Taellonn wouldn't get himself killed. Taellonn had his steam breath prepared like a drawn bow, and any action would surely cause him to fire.

Edited by Drakessis

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Unlike Drake, Golden Myth had no idea whose side the newcomer dragon was on. It certainly wasn't the Royal Blue from before because it looked younger and smelled different. So he jumped to the conclusion that Pride must have found another Royal Blue and had sent him to assist Drake. The wyvern thought that was a shame because in his battle-trained eyes the female warrior was doing exceptionally fine. The way she switched between offense and defense and kept an eye on her surroundings even in the heat of battle was praise-worthy and went really well with the cheering crowd. Mythy growled and took to the air - the other dragon's steam breath wouldn't hurt him much but his fake-blood disguise would be ruined. Now, should he focus on the dragon or the warrior? Golden Myth couldn't come to a quick decision and decided to scare the crowd again to win back some attention. He swooped down at his 'loyal' fans and ripping off a few hats and caps he screamed: "Next time you cheer for that insect I'll rip off your heads!"

Edited by Isirion

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Drake shuffled over to Taellonn, keeping a close watch on Golden Myth as he performed his theatrics. She spoke quietly to Taellonn, "Alright, Taellonn, now that you're here, I need you to-" her face grew pale when she heard a growl rise from the Royal Blue, clearly directed at her. She focused on him completely, noticing a snarl that added more pain to Taellonn's equally silent and betrayed sounding words. "Get back. Whoever you are." Drake stepped back, extremely surprised that this dragon, this clingy Royal Blue with a dependence on her that an ungendered hatchling had for a parent, was pushing her away so aggressively. Her voice became soft in tone as she pleaded, "Taellonn, you're overreacting. Please understand. Look at that 'blood.' Actually, you're a dragon, try to smell it. This is all going to make sense when I explain it later. I don't know what you might be thinking, but it's probably a whole hell of a lot worse than what's actually going on. Now please, are you going to help me, or are you going to risk your scales being ripped off by that wyvern? He clearly doesn't know you're not here to fight... At least, I really hope you're not. And now that you're here, you're gonna have to be my priority. Just help me, please. Your steam- no, YOU could be essential." Taellonn's snarl melted into a weak and concerned frown. "I'll help you, I'm so sorry, I freaked out and I... I was so scared for you and... I assumed the absolute worst..." he sputtered out, trying not to completely lose composure. Drake let out a relieved sigh, and focused back on Golden Myth. The dragon was stuck with two targets now, and Drake didn't want Taellonn to be the one Golden Myth chose to attack. Drake relayed her plan to Taellonn, "I'll get 'Lord Death' to try and tire him out so we can get a good finisher." The Royal Blue looked at her, confused. She explained further, "The wyvern. That's what we're calling him. There's a story and everything. I'm going to target him, and if need be, I'll give you a signal to shoot some steam. Something theatrical and weird sounding, probably. But it'll be clear." Taellonn nodded and crouched down to get further from the opposing wyvern's reach. Drake moved her claw weapons down to her knuckles once again. She promptly used Taellonn as a platform to grab Golden Myth's hind leg and try to pull him back down to the ground. Taellonn fidgeted in place as the slight traces of doubt still in his mind rose slightly at the potentially dangerous move. Drake was trying to get Golden Myth to land at the middle of the arena, to get rid of his airborne advantage but also avoid being left without an escape.

Edited by Drakessis

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Drake's attempted to grab her foe's leg and pull him back to the ground with sheer force and body weight clearly impressed the crowd. Since 'Lady Hooktalon' was a essentially a warrior spirit summoned through their courage the people saw no reason why an armored woman shouldn't be able to pull down a dragon ten-times her weight. Golden Myth saw no reason not to give the crowd what it wanted and subtly changed his flight path into a ground-shaking crash landing. For everybody else it must have looked like the female warrior had just grabbed the wyvern's foot, spun around and slammed him to the ground. A second of total silence passed as every man and woman and child in the crowd drew their breath; then they screamed: "HOOKTALON! HOOKTALON! HOOKTALON!"

 

Mythy scrambled to his feet again with a careful calculated defeated look in his eyes. His 'fall' had caused the rest of his fake body armour to come off and pretending to be utterly defenseless he waited for the finishing blow. There was only one slight problem - the Royal Blue with the power to turn the finale of this incredible fight into the stuff of legends just stood there gaping. Golden Myth played for time and staggered as if he had injured his left hindleg then he screamed: "I THOUGHT YOU THE SPIRIT OF COURAGE NOT CRUELTY. WHY DO YOU DELAY YOUR FINISHING BLOW?"

 

The crowd went silent so it wouldn't miss a single word Lady Hooktalon spoke. The female warrior climbed on her loyal Royal Blue's back and then stood up for maximum effect: "Lord Death! Your reign of terror is over. You will never slay innocents and bathe in their blood anymore for I, Lady Hooktalon, will cleanse your corrupted soul that has driven you to your foul deeds!" Drake stomped her foot on Taellonn's back giving him the signal to unleash all his pent up steam and the arena went pure white. In the hot steam the red pigments of the fake blood on Golden Myth's body began to liquify and drip away. It was a spectacle to behold as the Golden Wyvern rose from Lord Death's 'blood' his gleaming wings reflecting the sun light with a magnificent 'Sun Glare' whilst on the bottom of the arena some of the 'mythical purifying steam' still lingered. In the second everyone was blinded, Golden Myth vanished and the crowd screamed their lungs out once more: "HOOKTALON! HOOKTALON! HOOKTALON!" But Lady Hooktalon wasn't there anymore. She had copied Mythy and had used the steam that hadn't been blown away by the wyvern's aerial exit to make her own. Taellonn had of course followed her close and stood now beside his beloved keeper in the preparation quarters. Outside the crowd was still shouting in delight. Now that it was finally over, everyone agreed that it had been the best fight they had ever seen...

 

In the mean-time at Isirion's hideout

 

Quite peaceful sleep had overtaken the five surviving new-born hatchlings. Having dreamt of food now they opened their eyes and exerted their senses to find out if there was any in the pit. Of course they all had checked before rolling up for sleep but there was not much else they could do. The hatchling that saw herself as number two in strength scanned the ground and sniffed the air but found nothing to ease her hunger. To distract herself she thought about a name for herself and came up with 'Glimmer' maybe because she still had more than a glimmer of hope that more food would come. However this hope didn't fulfill itself in the next minutes and so Glimmer went back to inventing names. The two hatchlings that head-butted into each other she nicknamed 'Head' and 'Butt' not entirely sure from their sleeping position who was who. For the hatchling that commanded those two she picked 'Bossy' as that was exactly the 'quality' that hatchling had displayed before. But what about her own, golden-eyed comrade? Glimmer saw the hatchling stirring next to her and decided to just ask her a few questions that were on her mind: "Say, what should I call you? I named myself Glimmer and the ones over there Bossy, Head and Butt. They look as hungry as I am, but there is no food anywhere in this pit even though we passed a feeding area as that being carried us here. Why didn't it give us food? What do you think we are supposed to do?"

Edited by Isirion

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Golden eyes open once more as Treasure awakes from her slumber. Wondering eyes observe the other hatchlings. Mainly the other three that were supposedly rivals. They weren't nothing she couldn't handle just as long as her only ally is on her side even if they were outnumbered by one. Speaking of her ally, she could tell their eyes had rested upon her and turned to face them. They obviously had some things on their mind for they began to speak. The first thing to come out of the hatchling's mouth was a question asking what they should call her. "Call me... Treasure." she replied. Why the name Treasure? A title like that meant something of value, but what values did she have? She didn't, at least not now anyways. Besides, it also meant something shiny or sparkly and that was a good enough reason on it's own. The ally named themselves Glimmer. A nice name, but Treasure was better. Apparently Glimmer also gave the other three names too. Bossy, Head and Butt. The last one sounded a bit silly, but she wasn't about to say anything about it. To her, it didn't matter what they where called just as long as they didn't cause them any trouble. Glimmer also said something about food and the being that brought them here hadn't given them any. Treasure didn't really have an idea on what they should do in this situation and why did she have to come up with an idea in the first place? This Glimmer better not depend on her to help all the time just because they are on the same team. Treasure thought for a moment. What are they suppose to do? There didn't seem to be a way to escape from the pit and even if they did get out what were they suppose to do then? Did they have to fight the other three? Why would they do that though? It would get them out the way that's why, but now was not the time to start picking fights. She was starting run out of options which was a little frustrating and let out a sigh looking at the ground before turning back to Glimmer. "I honestly don't know. Maybe we should just wait and see what happens and make sure that group over there doesn't try anything funny." Treasure suggested, "And maybe if we wait long enough food will be brought here." Well, she hoped food would be brought. Attacking another of the same species for food didn't seem right even if they were enemies.

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While Treasure spoke Glimmer watched the other hatchlings awaken from their slumber. Bossy glanced over to them with a hungry look in her eyes but as their half of the pit still was as food-less as her own she looked away again quickly. Her eyes now focused on the top of the pit that seemed incredibly far away. Maybe if she stood on the backs of her new underlings? Getting their attention with a tail slam to their noses she urged Head and Butt to comply to her wishes. With some difficulty she crawled up until she stood on Head's shoulders who was balancing on Butt's back. It was no use - she was still not able to reach the top - not even half way. Bossy growled in frustration and then in horror because she had noticed something on the wall before her: At her eye level there were dozens of tiny scratches as if dozens of hatchlings had tried to jump up and gain purchase with their underdeveloped tiny wing claws. Just how many hatchlings had been in this pit before? Glimmer noticed Bossy's facial expression change and whispered to Treasure: "I think Bossy found something over there and it is nothing good. We should check our wall too! You can climb on my back and I will try to steady you."

Edited by Isirion

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Treasure watched as Bossy, Head and Butt woke up. Bossy looked at them with a hungry look. Treasure simply blinked. No way was she going to let them have her as their next meal at least not without a fight first. She watched as the leader of the three ordered the other two to do their bidding by the slap of the tail on their noses. A slight growl rose from Treasure's throat. Why did they allow that? If someone were to do that to her she'd surely put them in their place.

What where they doing anyway? Treasure continued to watch as Head and Butt stacked on top of each other and Bossy climbed to the top. It looked as if they were trying to get out, but at their height and size it wasn't possible. Treasure could see the look of frustration on Bossy's face change to horror. The golden eyed hatchling listened to Glimmer when they whispered to her and as much as she wanted to tell them that there would be no point in doing that if nothing good was to come out of it she was curious to see what the others had seen and nodded at the idea. It was better than doing nothing anyway.

 

With some effort, Treasure managed to climb onto Glimmer's back. She looked up at the wall all the way to it's top or what she could see. Not even all five of them stacked together could reach the top, so escaping was a no-go, but what really caught her eye were tiny scratches on the wall as if someone had tried to climb it. There were so many though. Not to mention the claw marks higher up. Just how many were there? No wonder Bossy looked so horrified! Did they too have to climb the wall too? It didn't seem like there had been much progress made though because the scratches looked as if they were made when the hatchling slid it's way back down. "It is just a bunch of scratches made by some other hatchlings who tried to climb the wall. My guess is that there were many others before us in this pit who made an attempt to escape." Treasure whispered to Glimmer.

Edited by AK-Meow

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