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Gildraug

Shur'tugalar | Dragon Riders

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{ I n t r o }

 

Five millennia ago, when a naive elven youth hunted down a dragon and slaughtered it like an animal, the wrath of the dragons was something beyond what the elves could've expected even in their worst dreams.

Revenges followed revenges as the two races had no methods of communicating between each other and the cycle of blood started flowing faster, resulting into a full-scale war later called the 'Dovah Kein', or Dragon War. It lasted for five savage years. Great losses were sustained by both sides: the dragons losing many of their elders and eggs, the elves losing most of their brightest minds and most beautiful smiles.

 

However, from the dark storm of blood, a white dragon emerged with a young elf on his back.

 

The young elf was Eragon and the dragon was his companion, Bid'Daum, with whom he had formed an inseparable bond through friendship and love. Together they traveled between the elves and the dragons, working as negotiators between these two races. Their great efforts were not in vain, as soon treaties were signed to bring peace back to the war-torn Alagaësia.

 

Yet the two races could not forget the danger of another devastating war breaking out, should old wounds be re-opened. They had to find a way to work together else they would destroy each other. Working together by using the raw power of the dragons and the sharp minds of elves, the order of the Shur'tugalar was formed to work as ambassadors and peacemakers between each and every race. Eragon became the first Shur'tugal with his partner Bid'Daum. As time went on, the other races were added to this pact, too - humans, dwarves, and urgals - to ensure that there would be an equal representation for every race. The elves commemorate the alliance with the dragons during the centennial 'Sos Vahrot Visk', or the Blood-Oath Celebration.

 

 

The Shur'tugalar built their headquarters, Doru Araeba, on the inactive volcanic island of Vroengard from where they could keep peace in Alagaësia working together with the leaders of each race. So they have done for centuries and so they will continue.

 

Now there have been dark whispers about Ra'zac and Shades. Hushed mutters are uttered on the streets: darkness is creeping over Alagaësia and the light is fading.

 

 

{ P l o t }

 

Drem yol lok, Shur'tugal! Greetings, Dragon Rider!

 

You will have a few options for your character's story line. You may either be...

  • an Prustmun/Apprentice arriving to Doru Araeba to meet your dragon and be trained as a Dragon Rider.
  • a Shur'tugal/Dragon Rider who has already completed their training and does missions according to the Council's wishes.
  • an Zuwuth/Elder, a wise Shur'tugal who teaches the apprentice.
  • a Mahlaan/Fallen - a Shur'tugal who has abandoned the order and lives as an outlaw, shunned on by all races.
There have been dark tidings in Alagaësia, with hushed whispers about Shades and Ra'zac roaming the earth. Restlessness spreads across the land and nothing is considered safe anymore. People have been known to disappear at night and their mangled bodies are found by morning. The duty of the Shur'tugalar is to keep peace and order with a just hand - however, the Mahlaan, often aiding those with darker intentions, are determined to halt the Shur'tugalar from interfering with the amassing forces of shadows.

This RP is centered on Christopher Paolini's fictional world, Alagaësia. You are a Dragon Rider, living mostly in Doru Araeba, going out for missions set by the Elder Council and making sure peace and justice is alive and well. On your free time, you train with your sword and magic, spend time in Doru Araeba's massive library studying, or have fun with your fellow Shur'tugalar and your own dragon partner.

{This is a sandbox RP with a flexible plot on which I am more than willing to hear your suggestions and ideas ^^}

 

Everyone will start their RP in Doru Araeba. From there, depending on your experience level, you will either train or go for missions. If you are a newcomer, you will be introduced to a dragon egg destined to be your partner. After it hatches, you will acquire the 'silon milah', or the silver palm when you touch your partner for the first time. The name silver palm comes from the fact that the mark glows when the Shur'tugal uses magic and often channels magic though the mark.

A more experienced Dragon Rider will be given a mission by the Council which they must fulfill in order to keep peace in Alagaësia - there have been dark tales of Shades and Ra'zac roaming Alagaësia's lands again...

 

Now, not all Shur'tugal are good. Some have found the strict rule of the Council suffocating and oppressive, and have left the order, living as an outlaw, shunned on by all races. These 'Mahlaan Shur'tugalar', or Fallen Dragon Riders, are sought out by the order to be brought forth to the judgement of the Council - a Mahlaan is considered to be a danger to all of Alagaësia as a Dragon Rider holds great power. The Mahlaan often side with the darker forces of the world. Is is possible that they have something to do with the sudden appearance of Shades and Ra'zac?

{If the choice of playing a 'good character' does not appeal you, note in the 'Other' section of the sign-up that your Rider is a Mahlaan. You will start your RP elsewhere than Doru Araeba.}

 

 

{ S e t t i n g }

 

The RP is mostly set on an inactive volcanic island called Vroengard. At the center of the island there resides the Shur'tugalar city Doru Araeba, built to a massive scale that allows even the largest of dragons to fly freely inside (just increase the scaling and you're there). However, the rooms which are given to the Shur'tugal cannot house a mature dragon, forcing them to sleep outside the room in the hallway or outside on the training yard. The city, although mostly dominated by Dragon Riders, also hosts many merchants, scholars, warriors, and farmers alike, making Doru Araeba a bustling city large enough to compete with the capitals of Alagaësia.

 

The island is covered with enormous trees, possibly affected by the strong exposure to magic on the island. Strange creatures also inhabit the island, including creatures such as the Snalglí, direwolves, tree serpents, and black squirrels with red eyes - to name a few. The crater in the middle of the island holds a small lake. West from Doru Araeba rises Mount Erolas, the inactive volcano. Close to it stands The Rock of Kuthian, which leads to the the Vault of Souls, a sacred place where the eggs and Eldunarí are held. There are also other caves near Mount Erolas, where the dragons prefer to go to tend themselves when wounded, the warmth of the caves speeding up their healing process.

 

The land of Alagaësia itself varies from mountains to plains, from desert to sea, depending on where on the map you are. West from the Spine, the land is evergreen thanks to the presence of the sea, and east from there stretches the plains. South from the capital, Urû'baen, the plains give away to gentle forest land, ending to the warmer climate of Surda. North of the plains there are evergreen forests. North-east, the forest of Du Weldenvarden is covered in tall, pillar-like trees, most of them older than all the cities of Alagaësia. The elven towns coexist peacefully with nature. The dwarf capital Tronjheim is beneath the Beor Mountains in the south-eastern corner of Alagaësia, within a hollow volcano the dwarves call Farthen Dûr, Our Father.

 

{ S h u r ' t u g a l }

 

The name Shur'tugal means Dragon Rider, and Shur'tugalar is the plural form of the word. They are often also called Silonhall/Silverhand, thanks to the viintaas milah/shining palm mark on their hand which glows every time the Rider uses magic. The viintaas milah appears when a Dragon Rider touches their dragon for the first time. At contact, the Rider will feel an icy blast shooting up from their arm which will knock them unconscious. Upon waking up, the Rider will have the viintaas milah on their palm and a mental connection to their dragon. A Rider and their dragon are immortals, but can die of a wound, disease, or poison like any other being.

 

The Riders not only were peacekeepers - they were also healers, scholars and the strongest magicians throughout the land besides Shades. They kept peace between and within all races, and worked as neutral diplomats and ambassadors. All Alagaësia's threats and problems were treated with equal attention, no matter the origin of the problem or the race. Dragon Riders also amassed a huge library over the centuries into Doru Araeba, one which outshines all those in Alagaësia.

 

Each year, a few destined dragon eggs are chosen. Words are uttered before these eggs, preventing them from hatching before they meet their Rider, the one with whom their dez, fate, is sealed. When the destined person will touch the egg or be in its presence for a long time, the egg will hatch. After a second touch, the minds of the Rider and the dragon are connected, until death do they apart. It is crucial for the Rider and their dragon to form a strong, healthy relationship. When it is certain that the Rider and the dragon have a good connection, their training may begin. Zuwuthar take one or two students at a time for training, where both the Rider and the dragon are trained vigorously. The dragons are taught aerial maneuvers, stamina building, increasing flight speed and the time of their fire breath, and Ancient Language. The Riders, too, are taught Ancient Language as it is crucial for spellcasting. They also practice swordsmanship, reading, debating, archery, magic, building flexibility and agility, and studying philosophy of many races to understand them better. The Rider and their dragon have to keep their minds open and share their knowledge at all times - the teachers quiz every now and then to see if they have done so. At the end of the training session, the dragon will receive an armor forged by the dwarves, and the Rider shall be given a Rider's blade, forged by the elven master smith Rhunön, who has forged all of the Riders' swords. The sword matches the color of the Rider's dragon, as it is the custom.

 

The Shur'tugalar have an order of five ranks as such:

Apprentices: These are new Riders in training.

Dragon Riders: Young Riders and dragons who have completed their training and carriy out missions for the Elders and the Council.

Elders: The oldest, wisest and most powerful members of the order.

The Council: Made up mostly of the Elders and some of the Dragon Riders - decide together on big issues concerning Alagaësia and the Shur'tugalar.

Head Dragon Rider: This is the title of the overall leader of the Riders. He/she is usually the oldest or most powerful of the riders, but not always the wisest. {I will RP this character to avoid any confusion/problems.}

 

 

{ M a g i c }

 

{Take great care with this section - I know it is a little bit confusing if you haven't read the books, but I've tried my best to make it as clear as possible.}

 

Lu/Magic is the manipulation of energy needed to cast a spell which costs the same amount of energy needed to complete the task by mundane means. Like an arrow or spear, magic's power diminishes over distance and requires more energy. Should the spellcaster use all of their energy, they will die. Casting an extremely powerful spell which drains more energy than what the caster has also kills - you cannot cancel a spell once you start it. This danger can be avoided by formulating spells as processes which can be cancelled at will; no absolute spells. Spells are uttered in the Ancient Language.

{Note: Paolini's Ancient Language would be here. However, since I found formatting complete sentences using only this dictionary (not to even mention grammar fiddling), I decided it would be easier to use the Dragon Language of Skyrim - I found the translator extremely efficient, although you might have to change some words. Paolini's language is based off from Gaelic and Old Norse. Dovahzul not only takes inspiration from Old Norse, but also Old English, Icelandic, and German.}

--> A large force (like your dragon) is falling on you.

First spell that might come in mind is Vuth fus - Stop the force. This is an absolute spell, where there are only two options: the spell will succeed (by stopping the falling dragon entirely), or the spellcaster will die. Instead of the absolute spell, one could say Geson fus - Lessen the force. Note the difference - the other is an either/or spell, whilst the latter is one that the spellcaster can mold by their willpower by increasing or decreasing the amount by which they lessen the force.

 

--> You are dying of thirst, but there's no water in sight.

Wahl lom - Create water is possibly the first spell one might use. However, creating something out of nothing or changing the physical properties of something uses an insane amount of energy and could easily kill. An alternative would be Verilir lom nol gol - Draw water from earth. This time, you are absorbing the natural water from the ground instead of creating some out of thin air.

 

Magic is the art of thinking, where the caster must be focused at all times. A magic user's abilities are limited to the amount of Ancient Language they know - or so the common think. In truth, a spellcaster's abilities are limited only by their inventiveness: the smarter the spellcaster, the more they can accomplish with one word plus what they can do without the structure of the Ancient Language.

 

--> A spellcaster says Lom - Water, but creates a gemstone instead.

The correlation is clear in the spellcaster's mind. They also must have a large Ancient Language vocabulary, which allows them to understand the nature of their spell better and clear any confusion there might appear.

 

Sound itself has no control over magic. One can cast a spell without uttering a word, but it consumes more energy and is much, much more dangerous. To make sure that the spell caster's thoughts will not stray, spells are uttered out loud. A good example of a silent spell is lockpicking a door by fiddling with the mechanics with magic. No word is uttered, but magic is used.

 

--> A spellcaster needs to set the door on fire, but their friend suddenly starts talking, distracting the caster's thoughts from the door to the person, setting them on fire instead. If the caster simply says Yol - Fire, but they are distracted, the object which needs to be set on fire is unclear. More lengthy sentences make sure situations like these never happen; Hel miiraad nau yol - Set the door on fire. As a caster's experience and skills grow, they can more safely say one-word spells, but this still requires excellent focus and thinking.

 

TL;DR: By using the Ancient Language one can create spells they can alternate with willpower - using the language also eliminates the danger of distracted thoughts. Absolute spells are those considered having only two options: success or death.

 

Here are some magic varieties:

  • Energy sense is the general awareness of one's living surroundings. Dragon Riders and elves are naturally gifted with this. Energies appear like stars within one's mind - the greater and brighter the star, the greater the energy. Even if someone's mind is shielded, the energy they give away can betray who they are. Ra'zac give off no energy and thus cannot be sensed by magical means.
  • Scrying is the art of seeing far-away objects. This art requires focus of the mind. It is only possible to scry an object or person that one has already seen before.
  • Element transformation is the art of changing one element into another. Attempting too drastic an element change can result in the death of the person trying to transform the object.
  • Energy transfer is the art of transferring energy from one object to another. Only a few chosen ones outside of Dragon Riders know how to do this, and even the Dragon Riders have strict rules about the energy transfer. Energy can be stored easiest within a gem or a precious stone. This is why Riders' Swords have a stone as their pommel - it works as an emergency magic store from where the Rider can draw more energy for magic, should their own energy level be too low. Energy can be transferred from any living object to the stone, even from plants. However, the smaller the "star" is, the more it is affected if energy is drawn from it - and might end up killing it. The Riders prefer to fill their pommels with their own energy over a long period of time rather than absorbing energy from nature. The order prohibits the Riders from absorbing energy from nature for only the sake of having stored energy - it is to be done only at emergencies.
  • Physical transformation is the art of altering one's physical appearance. This art is only practiced by the elves mostly for their vanity.
  • Teleportation is the art of mentally transferring an object from one location to another instantaneously. The advantage of this is that it will take the same amount of energy, no matter the distance you transport the object.
  • Mental communication allows magic users and those that were trained in this to communicate using thoughts. There is a limit to distance, though with Riders the distance they can mentally communicate with their dragons and other people increases over time.
  • Mind reading allows a magic user to read the minds of most people who can not recognize when someone was in their mind and could not keep them out. The Dragon Riders use this as a last resort and have strict rules and severe punishments for those who violate those rules. The mind is a man's last sanctuary.
  • Mental shielding is the art of shielding one's mind from a mental attack by another magic user, this works by the defender concentrating on one thing in exclusion of all else - like singing a song over and over in your head. As time passes the shield will be easier to keep in place, even while sleeping.
{ R a c e s }

 

Dragons: The dragons of Alagaësia are reptilian creatures with leathery wings, scales, sharp teeth, spikes, claws, and a barbed tongue. They learn to breathe fire as they mature. A dragon's egg's color matches that of the dragon's scales - and its Rider's magic's color. The scales are usually of one color, but may vary with saturation. The scales of the dragon are strong enough to deflect arrows, making their wings the most fragile area of their body. Dragons express their feelings with moving their tails and uttering hums of different volumes. However, they mostly communicate through mental discussion and have no means of talking otherwise. A dragon never stops growing, although the speed decreases over time, and doesn't die of old age - although the older a dragon gets, the more they spend their time asleep, dreaming. At birth the dragon is the size of a kitten, but starts growing rapidly. Dragons eat meat and like to sleep in warm places, much alike to a cat. Dragons choose their own names when they are old enough to understand the concept of names, and it is considered oppressive for a Rider to give a name to their dragon.

Dragons also differ from other races in the sense that they possess an Eldunarí, or heart of hearts. This Eldunarí is a gem-like stone within the dragon. It can summon the Eldunarí once and can never return it back. Once an Eldunarí has been extracted, it assumes the color of the dragon. Not only that, but the Eldunarí is a storage for the dragon's consciousness and allowing it to live forever unless the gem was broken. Holding an Eldunarí is to hold the dragon - you can hear their thoughts, recall their memories, and draw upon their strength (if the Eldunarí doesn't shield its mind before that). The stone grants the dragon immensly buffed mental abilities, a chance to store energy, and act as a method of communication - say, the Rider and the dragon have to be far apart from each other, but if the Rider holds the Eldunarí, it's as if their minds were right next to each other. Some dragons who have disgorged their Eldunarí continue to serve the order even after their Rider and the dragon's own body have died. This, however, is extremely hard for the dragon, since they have to live without their other half. Often it takes many years for the Eldunarí to recover enough before they can communicate with others at all. In grave times, the Head Dragon Rider travels to the Vault of Souls where most of the Eldunarí are located and consults them.

 

Elves: Elves are humanoid in appearance, although they possess angular faces and almond-shaped eyes, with sharp cheekbones and long, pointed ears. They inhabit the large forests of Du Weldenvarden. Most elves have a natural connection to magic and are very smart. Elves can run faster than humans but can become exhausted quite quickly. Elves prefer to "bend like a grass in the wind" while fighting, relying more on their agility rather than on their physical power. Elves are superb with 'mirodah', or singing in the sense of weaving magic with it. Elves are mostly vegan, as their minds are more easily open to all the life around them, and killing something unnecessarily feels horrid to them. Elves are very vain, often shaping their appearance by singing, giving themselves, say, yellow eyes or longer hair - whatever their heart desires. This, however, requires many years and a lot of skill before an elf can start shaping themselves. The lifespan of an elf ranges from a few hundred years to a thousand thanks to being the first ones to make a bond with the dragons.

 

Humans: Humans are considered the most balanced and ideal Dragon Riders, as they have none of the flaws the other races possess. Strong in both mind and body, a human can master the use of magic almost as well as an elf and wield a sword almost as strongly as an urgal or a dwarf. Most of Alagaësia's population consists of humans. Their technology is quite primitive, with a monarch ruling over the land and most of the population working on farms. Humans can be, however, quite stubborn, and find both elves and urgals to be quite alien to them - causing some troubles as distrust might emerge.

 

Urgals: Although not inherently violent, the urgal society build on one's strength and willpower, praising those with strong power and excellent weapon skills. Most urgals know how to wield some basic magic, but find it easier to demonstrate their power with their sword. Urgals have two curling horns sprouting from their head, and are tall and muscular on their build. They have a grayish skin, yellow eyes, claws on their hands instead of nails, and can be anywhere from six to nine feet tall, depending whether they have "the Old Blood" or not. Urgals can run faster and further than any dwarf or human and also exceed in physical strength.

 

Dwarves: Possessing a strong love for gems and rocks and a long lifespan, dwarves consider themselves to be the native species of Alagaësia alongside the dragons. They live beneath the large Beor Mountains. The society of dwarves is split into thirteen clans, who then elect a king to rule over the land - with the clans as part of the government. Dwarves share a ferocious family and clan pride, always siding with their own no matter even if they are wrong. Dwarves are headstrong and stubborn, but have a big heart and a warm smile. Dwarves have thick bones, making them very sturdy and strong, with great stamina but little agility. They are quite sharp on their mind and can learn magic more easily than an urgal, but prefer not to use it exceedingly. Dwarves also find it hard to trust an elf and often refuse to work with them.

 

Werecats: Werecats are sentient creatures with shapeshifting abilities, being able to take on the appearance of either a human or a large, shaggy cat. They are said to be incredibly smart and dangerous, possessing the powers to see to the future. Werecats are extremely rare and their words are heeded by kings and commons alike. Seeing one hints towards big events, as werecats seem to always be where something significant is happening. There is a huge cloud of mystery clouding werecats, and one doesn't deliberately fight with one. Werecats have no leader, but when they choose one, it is usually the strongest of them.

 

Shades: A shade is a magic user or a sorcerer possessed by spirits. No matter their origin race (dragons, however, cannot be shades), they acquire superb strength and magic proficiency. Usually, a Shade self-destructs themself simply from the insane amount of magic within their body. However, if the Shade is strong enough and can host the spirits, they become stronger and can control the spirits within themself. After their transformation, the Shade's skin pales and they acquire red eyes and maroon hair. Shades usually have a very lean body, yet ripped with strength that the appearance hides. Shades have no sense of remorse or sorrow, as the spirits that wish to possess a body are evil and bloodthirsty. The appearance of a Shade is extremely, extremely rare and considered as a major threat to all of Alagaësia. Shades have no need for rest and killing them is close to impossible.

 

Ra'zac: Ra'zac feed upon human flesh and can paralyze their opponent with their foul breath. They have beaks and black eyes the size of a fist and have lumps on their back from where their wings will spread as they mature. They are very strong but cannot wield magic and are afraid of sunlight and water. They prefer to use poisons and other assassination methods against their opponent, always stabbing from the back rather than crossing swords with their enemy. A Ra'zacs' mind cannot be touched by magical means and thus has an advantage against spell-casters. Ra'zacs' physical abilities match that of an elf, but their mental abilities are below that of any of the other races. They are very much alike to a predator than anything else, even communicating simply by clicking their beaks. When a Ra'zac matures, it becomes a 'Reldviing', or leatherwing, a gruesome, leathery version of a dragon with a long beak. The Ra'zac ride the Reldviing as a method of quick transportation. The Reldviing can utter a high-pitched screech that immobilizes all living creatures, no matter their race or strength of mind.

 

{ R U L E S }
  • All DC Forum rules apply.
  • No godmodding. I am very serious about this. Your character cannot defeat someone else with one spell or one swing of the sword, nor can your dragon be an almighty beast.
  • For this RP, I'd prefer at least a paragraph or even two for your replies. Decent grammar is always a big plus!
  • Do not harass other players.
  • No character limit, but make it clear to show when another character is speaking.
  • The dialogue between a Rider and their dragon 'Should be implied like this' whilst If a character is thinking, simply italicize.
  • If there's any trouble, do not feel afraid to PM me.
  • Have fun! Really!
{ S i g n - u p }

 

[B]Username:[/B]
[B]Character Name:[/B] (Have something very fantasy-y and try to match your race)
[B]Species:[/B] Elf/Dwarf/Human/Urgal
[B]Age:[/B] (Measured in regular years - have them be at least a teenager if they're a new Rider)
[B]Gender:[/B]
[B]Sexuality[/B]:
[B]Personality:[/B] (I'd really love to see some well-planned characters!)
[B]Appearance:[/B] (Go into detail; a paragraph or two, please - if you include a picture, you still need to describe your character. Clothing is around the middle ages; use wool, leather, cotton, and metal in your clothing.)
[B]Background:[/B] (Tell in detail about your character's life so far. How did they discover they were destined to be a Dragon Rider? {Hint: all those with magical skills have an eye for possible Shur'tugals.} What was their life before becoming a Shur'tugal? Family? Friends? Hobbies?)
[B]Rank[/B]: (Apprentice/Dragon Rider/Elder/Council)
[B]Weapon:[/B] (Newcomers can ignore this. Seasoned Shur'tugal, describe your sword. Give it a name (if it has a meaning, bonus points). Remember that the color matches your dragon)

[B]Dragon's Name[/B]:
[B]Age[/B]: (Less than their partner's by about fifteen to twenty years; mentally are very old, though)
[B]Gender[/B]: (Females are more aggressive and powerful, but males are bigger)
[B]Personality[/B]: (Usually complementary to their partner's)
[B]Appearance[/B]: (Colors, scales, wings, spikes, tail... Don't go /too/ fancy, tho. May use  picture but please describe the dragon with a few lines)
[B]Background[/B]: (How has being a partner to a Shur'tugal been? Training? Missions? Possible friends? Be creative on this one, I'm curious to see what kind of backgrounds you will come up here :D)

[B]Other[/B]: (Anything else? Note: if your Rider is a Mahlaan (Fallen), tell it here)

 

 

- - > Your friend in this RP, the Ancient Tongue Translator™, available here.

- - > God of all name generators

- - > Inheritance Wikia

- - > The anatomy of a Rider's Sword

- - > Yo, dragon size chart

- - > Wanna describe your dragon's scales by a gem? Gotcha.

- - > We have a Chatzy! Password: inheritance

- - > Armor pieces yellheah

Edited by Gildraug

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{ Accepted Characters }

 

Since we got so many awesome character sheets, this post reached its limits and resulting into loading errors for the entire RP. Thus, I have given links to Google Doc Character Sheets. Please read them ^^

 

- Ratha Ariamaya and Aatris

 

- Serbir Verthag and Kaysho

- Reignon Fierymantle and Ninarth

 

- Tanthanion Faerondaerl and Zencoria

 

- Daena Achaspen and Faendir

 

- Mia and Zeditha

 

- Lessa and Myrimael

- Varnius Venarian and Prunsogaal

 

- Faine and Ihiris

 

- Gilrin and Tilrin

 

~~~

 

 

- Larien Sevenfal

 

- Rawen and Aldaen

 

- Ki'lydwn and Slytha

Edited by Gildraug

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{ NPCs }

While these characters are free to play by anyone, please refrain from using them to abuse other players and do not go out of character.

 

Character Name: Jorundr Geadais

Species: Human

Age: 790 years old.

Gender: Male

Sexuality: Straight

Personality: Jorundr is calm to the point one might think he cannot be aggravated ever by anything. He has not always been thus, his personality being quite fiery and passionate until he reached an age of 300. At times this flame might appear in his eyes, yet never quite ignited unless  the ones he holds dear and close to his hear are in danger. Jorundr is an excellent persuader and his skills on the battlefield of words and politics outshines his wife's at times. He has a steady and pleasant voice, and enjoys to teach young ones. He, however, has an extremely hard time in accepting any flaws or mistakes he might make, often resulting into a stubborn state of mind even a Dwarf would be proud of. Jorundr is alike to stone - he is steady and he can always be trusted upon.

Appearance: Jorundr has a light skin which burns very easily in the sunlight. He has slightly darker freckles across his cheeks and nose, and the only way one can see his age is by the faint lines around his eyes and mouth, and the deep sorrow of ages within his storm-gray eyes. His hair is dark brown, slightly graying towards his temples. His beard is kept in a stubble, giving him a handsome, if somewhat rugged appearance. Jorundr prefers to wear dark, long sleeved cotton shirts and pants, accompanied by shining brown boots and a crimson cape he wears at all times.

His armor is more sturdy and heavy than the norm, as Jorundr prefers to keep his movements and attacks slow but heavy, dancing across the battlefield after considering every move and possibility.

Background: Born to a merchant family in Teirm, Jorundr learned to craft of selling and buying from early of his age. He would have inherited his mother's company, but this dream fled his grasp the day a healer entered their house to heal Jorundr from a bad fever. After the blind healer was done with the young boy of seventeen at that time, he claimed that before them stood a possible Shur'tugal. Dismayed by the news, Jorundr's family refused to call for the Order to come and bring their son to the trials, but kept his secret hidden for nigh ten years. After that, however, Jorundr became sick of his parents over-protectiveness and called for the Riders himself, who came to pick him up.

In Doru Araeba, Jorundr was chosen by a ruby-red egg, who hatched for him. After bonding with the red dragon, who named himself Amontien, they set for the vigorous training. Jorundr, him being human, thought the training to be extremely hard and his process slow compared to the more magical beings, such as the elves. However, he did not allow this to hinder his spirit, and soon he found himself being graduated as a Dragon Rider.

Years passed by, with missions and studying enhancing his life. He watched with interest, as Ratha climbed up the ranks, finding himself pleased by both her appearance and spirit. He dared not to approach her, though, before he was sure she would answer the same. However, Ratha was busy with the Council and her missions. Jorundr, too, was allowed into the council at a fairly young age, where he joined the discussions and added his steady, yet sharp thoughts and ideas into the discussions. When there came the time to elect the new Head Dragon Rider, Jorundr called out Ratha would make an excellent successor. To his and her surprise, the Council agreed.

A few years later, Jorundr dared to tell Ratha about his feelings. His words were replied in kind, and after a few years of getting to know each other even better, they became married - or life-mates, as the elves called it, for they did not know the concept of being married. After that, Jorundr has been supporting Ratha at all times, being a great help for her whilst also giving out his own opinions.

Rank: Council

Weapon: Sahqon, or Crimson. A blade of blood-red with a darker tip. The blade's colors ripple when turned, showing many shades and intensities of red.

 

Dragon's Name: Amontien

Age: 765

Gender: Male

Personality: Amontien is ready to battle. At all times, anywhere, against anyone who dares to oppose or doubt his might and power. And who could best him? Him, the greatest crimson dragon who instilled fear and dread into the hearts of his enemies with a single roar? Him, who could flatten ground with a swipe of his tail and incinerate cities with his fiery breath? Amontien's nature is fierce, and wild to the point Jorundr had remarked dryly that the wild dragons must've mixed the wrong egg to be brought to the Vault of Souls. Amontien does not mind his partner's stabs, but simply laughs at him until he falls to the ground, breathless. Nevertheless, he holds a deep love for his partner and calms his nature in his presence.

Appearance: Standing about 65m long, Amontien has grown big and fierce thanks to his frequent hunting and wild heritage. Amontien's scales are red like rubies, hinting to a darker shade of red at his back and the crest of his head. Spikes grow extremely frequently on his spine, and Jorundr has to take care not to impale himself into one while riding Amontien. The dragon's eyes are deep red and glow like coals. He is very vain and takes care that his scales shine brilliantly at all times.

Background: After being bonded with Jorundr, Amontien has had two goals in his mind: to protect his Rider and to become the greatest and the most feared dragon in this age. What the Order asks or tells him to do matters little to him, but with a firm word from Jorundr he will follow the orders he has been given. The training he observed as a challenge, at times being frustrated with his partner's slow speed of progress, but always encouraging him, nevertheless. After graduation, Amontien enjoyed the missions more than anything, but as his partner began to spend his time in the council rooms more and more, the red dragon has spend his time flying, dreaming, and hunting.

 

Other: Jorundr shares the Head Dragon Rider's quarters with Ratha and usually sleeps there with her, but he also has his own room right next to hers.

 

Character Name: Elan Kjär

Species: Human

Age: 70

Gender: Female

Sexuality: Asexual

Personality: Overly energetic and positive, Elan possesses the bright mind of the youth, her thinking quick and her mind witty. She is not that great of a fighter nor a talker, but enjoys rather the company of others and books alike. Elan prefers to spend her time in the library of Doru Araeba, or flying with Faradis. She is rarely sent forth for missions, partly by her own request, but does do frequently fetching missions for possible Shur'tugal. Elan takes a certain feeling of pleasure and accomplishment as she manages to help any newcomers, giving her life a sense of purpose and meaning.

Appearance: Elan possesses dark brown eyes and black hair, with a fairly pale skin that doesn't tan no matter how long she is outside. She is very lean in built, but lacks muscle and strength. She often wears soft tunics, skin-tight pants, and comfortable, soft boots she has worn for years. Elan also wears a silvery necklace at all times. On her hip, she wears her sword on the left side, the sword hastened to a golden belt she acquired as a gift from the Dwarves after her graduation ceremony.

Background: Born to a noble family in Ceunon, Elan was brought up with great discipline and harsh rules. She, however, with her wild spirit, often found herself in trouble of some sort. At the age of thirteen, Elan ventured out from the city with her horse and delved deep into Du Weldenvarden. There, she was stopped by a group of elves, who, although not unfriendly, turned her around. Before she departed, one of the elves noticed something peculiar about her and asked for permission to examine her. Given permission, Elan discovered she had the potential of becoming a Dragon Rider. Her spirit filled with joy and excitement, she begged the elves to contact Doru Araeba. Not even four days had passed, before a Rider and their Dragon appeared in Ceunon, telling their purpose. It was with grim faces and little words that Elan was let go by her family, which troubled her greatly until she made amends with them after her graduation.

In Doru Araeba, a purple egg hatched before her, and she set into training with great vigor and heart. She graduated by the age of twenty-five, slightly later than she had hoped for. Since then, she has refrained from going for aggressive or dangerous missions, preferring to take those of a more boring nature, which she nor her dragon minds.

Rank: Dragon Rider

Weapon: Kriing Dinok, or Chime Death (it translates as Bell). The weapon is pale purple through is whole length and has the look of a rapier more than the hack-and-slash swords most Riders use. She named the sword for the bright sound it makes while it is struck against something. The elven rune for Music is carved on both sides of the blade. Elan usually calls her blade simply Kriing.

 

Dragon's Name: Faradis

Age: 67

Gender: Female

Personality: Faradis, alike to Elan, possess a very bright personality, although she is much calmer than her partner. Faradis prefers to think things thoroughly and holds great respect towards others. One might even describe her to be shy and modest, two attributes rare for a dragon. At times, Faradis has to calm their Rider from doing some stupid stunts or pursue a fancy idea.

Appearance: Faradis is of the lighter shade of purple. Her scales are darker around her claws and spikes, and again towards the tip of her tail. Her eyes are like chips of amethysts, glimmering brightly.

Background: Being the partner to a Rider like Elan is the only thing Faradis knows for certainty she would never change. The hard training and unpleasant missions sometimes wavered her trust towards the Order, as she found them too controlling, but Elan's positive attitude always changed her mind. After a few years of learning more about the world around them, Faradis understood why the Dragon Riders are doing as so, and she found acceptance in her restless heart. After that, the somewhat frail dragon has become calmer and surer of herself.

 

Other: Because of Faradis' chime-like voice, Elan found great amusement to name her blade Kriing Dinok.

Edited by Gildraug

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Thank you so much everyone for your help and contributions! ^^

 

We shall begin the RP shortly, but sign-ups are always more than welcome.

 

 

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Swirling images flashed before Ratha's eyes as she was in the dream-like trance elves had instead of sleeping. Swishing memories whispered silently and absurd images only her subconscious could create appeared like shadows in the mist, only to disappear when she tried to inspect them closer. Yet, Ratha saw through all of these shadows into her room, which was silvery in the moonlight. Loosing her focus on her trance, Ratha blinked a few times and sat up on the circular bed that was carved into the floor with big, soft pillows all around it and blankets which were cool when it was hot and warm when it was cold. The soft stone was cool under her feet as Ratha climbed out of her bed and looked around the quite spacious, circular room of hers that had two levels, one for her studies and official business, one for personal area, the stony, spiraling stairs connecting the two levels. On the upper level, her personal one, there were her bed, a huge wardrobe of ebony with golden and ivory engravings, a table for personal hygiene, and another table with various little trinkets. Her entire room was defined by the two wall-sized windows facing East and West, lighting her room now with the moonlight. Ratha could see her mahogany downstairs reflecting the light, alongside her scrying mirror and various crystals, which fractured the light into tiny rainbows.

 

'Cannot sleep?' Aatris inquired, his voice heavy with dreams he was still seeing, being only half-awake.

'I'm afraid not,' Ratha sighed and picked up her warm robe from the floor, shivering slightly. Walking down the stairs quickly, she walked to the massive fireplace which was behind her desk, threw a few pieces of wood, and pointed at them, quietly saying a spell.

"Yol," Ratha whispered and orange sparks escaped from the tips of her fingers and ignited the dry wood merrily.

'Is there something on your mind?' Aatris asked, now more awake. It was unusual for Ratha to wake up in the middle of the night. Ratha shook her head, even though she knew Aatris could not see her.

'I think I always get a little bit nervous before new students are brought here,' Ratha sighed and sat down behind her desk and pulled out some scrolls which she had abandoned last evening in her exhaustion. She eyed at the runes and sighed again, when the words seemingly escaped her grasp.

'Oh, so you apparently do! Hahaha, don't worry, darling, you will be just fine. Like always!' Aatris said cheerfully and Ratha could feel through their connection he crunched the stones beneath him as he laughed.

'Of course I will be fine, what are you on about, you lump of scales? What I am worried about is the students themselves!' Ratha grumbled as she picked up her eagle feather ink pen, swirling it around in the air and trying to decide whether she should go back to sleep or actually do something. With a small sigh, Ratha pulled the scrolls back to herself, lightened up a few candles, and set back to the tedious paper work.

'The students will also be fine,' Aatris said gently. 'I know you cannot go to sleep anymore, but try not to worry too much, okay?' A sense of warmth and love flowed through their connection and Ratha smiled wryly.

'Go to sleep, you overgrown lizard,' she replied in kind and could hear Aatris chuckling. Setting back to work, Ratha scribbled her way through the paperwork until the candle had started burning low, the fire was out, and the light shining on the white stony walls was golden and orange, just as brilliant as Aatris's scales.

 

~~~

 

"We are almost there!" Elan, the Dragon Rider who had come to pick Serbir, called over the wind and the flapping of wings of her purple dragon Faradis. The human rider had forced Serbir to get up at dawn, and they had flown nonstop over the sea for a good while. Although Faradis's scales were warm and Serbir had dressed up warmly, he was freezing from the cold winds and shivered slightly as he held on to the saddle, Elan sitting behind him with a relaxed manner, resting her hand on her sword.

"I-I beg your pardon, but, uh, how far is almost there?" Serbir asked, a shiver running through him.

"If you look into the horizon right there, squint your eyes so that the sunlight won't hurt, you will see Vroengard approaching us," Elan said, brushing off dark auburn hair and pointing Serbir's gaze towards the horizon. Serbir did as told and squinted his eyes, and lo! there was a dark splotch in the horizon approaching them.

'The winds haven't favored us today; we should've been there already,' Faradis said, her chime-like mental voice echoing in Serbir's head - he had opened his mental defenses, as poor as they were, a little bit and allowed Faradis to project her thoughts directly to the urgal.

"Oh, that's, uh, a shame," Serbir replied and watched in silence as the island approached.

 

Soon Faradis started circling downwards and heading to the white stone city of Doru Araeba. Serbir had never been into a town, not to even mention the city. He hadn't even seen the sea before yesterday evening when they made a camp. Tiny colorful specks floated around the city, glimmering in the rising sun like gems. More dragons! Serbir realized and held on to the saddle even tighter, his knuckles white.

"Take it easy, kid," Elan said calmly and patted Serbir's back. Before he had the chance to reply, Faradis dived steeply towards the ground outside of the city. Yelping with fear Serbir closed his eyes and hoped with horror that his breakfast would stay within his stomach. After a jarring landing, Elan helped the shaking urgal down from Faradis's back with a gentle smile and a small laugh.

 

"Oh my, you have to get used to flying soon," she winked to Serbir, who merely nodded with slight horror. He had no idea why he was here in the first place. He was but a cowardly son of an urgal village leader, and now here he was, at the city of the legendary Shur'tugalar! Taking a few shaking breaths, Serbir tried to calm himself down. It might even be so that he wasn't worthy for any of the eggs! He might just have to be sent home. A small flame of joy erupted in his chest at the thought this all was just a misunderstanding. However, the idea of missing the chance of his lifetime made him sad. Faradis leaned towards Serbir and touched his forehead with her snout gently.

'All will be well,' the dragon said and Serbir blinked in response, unsure what to say.

 

"Come now, kiddo," Elan said and tapped Serbir on the shoulder, leading him through the thick gates around Doru Araeba. The gates were easily higher than any trees Serbir had ever seen, and big enough that Faradis was not even a fifth of their height and a tenth of their width. The sheer size and scale of the place made Serbir feel a little sick. Within the city, merchants and farmers were selling their goods and magicians were offering spells and potions. Children ran across the streets chasing a hen and wives were gossiping next to a bakery. The citizens were of all races, from the lithe elves to the stout dwarves, all mixing and mingling. Serbir spotted a few dragons on some streets, their Rider chatting merrily with the people and the children jumping around the dragon, excited. If the Rider didn't have their dragon at present, the only way they could been distinguished from the crowd was their aura of royal authority and the Rider's Sword. People nodded respectfully to Elan and Faradis, and eyed Serbir with a curious eye, wondering whether here was a new candidate.

 

Elan led Serbir down the main road, which stones were smoothed out from the thousands of feet and scratched by the claws of the dragons. They passed a second gate, this one being even higher than the previous one but not as thick, and entered the inner yard. Here, there were no buildings, but a grand garden instead. Trees of every shape and size grew about and the sweet smell of flowers filled Serbir's nostrils. A trickling stream ran next to them on the white cobble stone road they were walking, Faradis's claws clacking on the stones rhythmically. Before them rose a grand castle, with a large spire jutting out like a sword of justice, looking over the entire city and beyond. Serbir thought he saw an orange glimmer at the highest peak of the spire but soon lost it. As they approached the castle, Elan lifted her left hand, the one with the shining mark, and the doors opened without a sound. Serbir stopped and Elan turned around, rising one of her dark eyebrows.

"What is it?" she asked, not unfriendly.

"I, uh, I am not sure... If I should, um, be here," Serbir muttered and turned down his gaze. Eland gave a smile.

"Don't worry. Everything will get a lot more clearer after today, I promise."

 

Entering a grand hall, Serbir had to catch his breath at the sheer massive size of the hall. His entire village could've fit here two, or even three times. Passages and staircases led out from both sides of the hall, but at the end there was a huge 'U' shaped table with tens of seats around it, the open end facing the doors. At the farthest end there was a royal-like seat shaped like a rising dragon, its scales of every color and shade, the whole seat glimmering in the sunlight which shone down from the colored glass windows on the sides of the hall. On the royal-like seat sat a silver-haired elf with piercing light blue eyes, clad in glamorous clothes and a sword like a sunset on her right hip. On her right side sat a large orange dragon, easily thrice the size of Faradir.

Elan bowed deeply and Faradir dipped her head. Together, the dragon and her rider, greeted their leader in the Ancient Tongue. Serbir knew only a scrap of the words they said, but he caught the meaning.

"Aal pruzah faraan rel avok hi," Elan and Faradir said, the first touching her lips with her first and middle finger.

"Aal fil lingraav avok hi," the elf and her dragon replied, the elf also touching her lips.

"Ahrk aal drem lahney ko hin hil," Elan concluded and rose. Serbir assumed this was some sort of a traditional greeting, as they had spoken in the Ancient Tongue. What they had exactly said, had escaped him.

 

The elven lady and her orange dragon turned their gazes towards Serbir.

"Well met. Elan scryed with me before your departure, so I know already your purpose here, Serbir Verthag. I am Ratha Ariamaya, the Head Dragon Rider, and this is my partner, Aatris." Serbir bowed deeply and felt his palms sweating. The Head Dragon Rider herself had greeted him! What should he do? Reply or remain silent? Glancing a panicked look at Elan, the Rider gave an encouraging smile to him and nodded towards Ratha. Drawing a deep and shaky breath, Serbir looked at the Head Dragon Rider.

"I-I am grateful that I, um, may attend the trials. Tests. Uh, event. To see whether I am a Dragon Rider or not. Um, thank you," Serbir said stiffly while twisting his hands as he spoke. The orange dragon made a low, rough sound and Serbir felt his stomach lurch as he thought it was growling. Now he had done it! He had angered the dragon!

'Welcome, young one. Fear not, we shall begin the tests soon, there are still a few possible Shur'tugalar arriving. Relax,' a slow, deep voice filled Serbir's mind. He felt himself calm down at the voice and couldn't stop himself from smiling a little. Bowing again, he allowed Elan to take him into a room left from the table, Faradir staying in the hall. The room was filled with soft chairs, freshening drinks, and excellent food.

 

"H-How did I do?" Serbir asked nervously as he sat on the edge of his chair.

"You did fine! Don't worry," Elan smiled and started munching on one of the breads set out before them. "Now we can just wait for a few more students arrive. For now, make yourself feel like at home. I will be staying here until the tests are over." A feeling of gratitude filled Serbir and he smiled a little. Maybe, just maybe, all would be soon well.

 

((Three hour bus drives ftw :'D))

Edited by Gildraug

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((tentative post because I'm not sure if I will actually be able to post thing due to a storm. But I'm trying anyways....))

 

Larien reigned in a borrowed horse to a stable nearest to Dras-Leona, tipping the smaller stable boy as he ran up to the horse and slowly led it to an empty stable. The horse was stubborn, and refused to move without coaxing from the shade herself. The boy was grateful, though oblivious to the possible danger he was unwillingly put into. "Thanks miss!" He said rather cheerfully as the horse was tied up. It kicked once, unhappily, before snorting and calming down. It accepted its fate of being stuck here.

"Take good care of him. You're allowed to loan him out to others if they so choose." Larien responded kindly back, waving casually before walking off to the gates of the city. The ramshackle city was fairly far along in its construction even though much of the newer houses were still being built. The cathedral looming far in the background of the overall city's picture was most likely one of the first things to be built. Or cared about more at least. She walked casually past some of the unfinished housing arrangements past the towering thick walls encircling the city. At least they took time to create those rather properly.

Inside the gates was noisy and full of bustling people hurrying around. The buildings were cramped together along narrow winding streets in a great conglomerate of mess. Larien ignored the occasionally shouts or whistles of anybody who seemed to take more interest in her. She wasn't here for 'fun' of that sort, rarely interested in such matters. She wasn't here to find housing either, as somebody was trying to sell an empty neighboring part of land nearly cramped off by a few larger houses of the more wealthy. There were few empty plots left and most of the housing, as ramshackle as some of these were, were almost finished believe it or not. Larien certainly couldn't believe it. The city had been standing for a while, and was by far much further along than anybody could really given credit with most of the rough housings. But, the further you went in along the city, the more elaborate and wealthy the housing arrangements became. Especially closer to the second wall encircling the center of the city and the great cathedral itself. The authority of this city lived inside those walls Larien guessed, along with their allies and the ministers of the great church. The black spires towered over the entire city, creating a much welcomed and ominous mood to the place.

To her left was a tavern much better off than a few of the other taverns located closest to the outskirt city walls. She'd been informed that only a few days ago a Rider had shown up to claim a slave. Intrigued by such rumors, the shade had rode here from Uru'baen. She had cut short more lessons from the local healer there to do this, borrowing the best horse the city had available. She didn't expect to catch this Rider, or witness the exchange of the slave they had come to claim. But she did expect to gain more information on the events, already having pieced together a few bits of it from traveling merchants.

 

Larien entered the tavern as some of the patrons quieted and watched her walk in. She was wearing her maroon cloak this time with a much nicer looking darker grey tunic that certainly added to the air of wealth that she wished to possess at this time. This was a higher end tavern closer to the center of the city. She walked calmly up to the tavern-keeper's counter, choosing one of the empty seats as everyone else resumed their talking again. The man behind the counter was busy tending to a few of the other customers arguing over some sort of game at the moment, but he soon waltzed over to her.

"Your room has already been paid for miss. You sent that ahead." He looked her over once.

"I simply wished to be sure it got here and my reservation was secure." She responded back calmly, ignoring a glance she got from a man passing by.

"Aye, it is. Largest room we've got. Haven't had somebody take it if that's what you're worried about miss. I'm good on my word." He seemed slightly offended when Larien had mentioned the room being secure. She ignored this for the most part.

"I'm not worried about you being good on your word. I wouldn't have sent the money forward if I were." She added with a bit of distaste, which changed the mood of the tavern keeper.

"I didn't mean to offend miss." "Nor did I good sir." The shade responded with a slight dip of her head. She nearly stood up when one of the men arguing about a game over-turned a table. The tavern-keeper quickly tended to that, soon throwing the irate man out of the establishment altogether and announcing that no sort of play would be tolerated in this tavern.

Larien smirked very briefly, hardly noticeable and it was wiped away as the man came back. "I do have a question however." She added once he had a moment free. "Alright." He came to stand near her again.

"What news do you have of the Rider that was here none too long ago?"

The entire tavern went silent. The man behind the counter donned a suddenly slightly worried look as others shifted uncomfortably about. She hadn't expected such an odd reaction from such a group of people. Though, realizing that many of these perhaps were involved in the slave trade the Riders have worked so hard to abolish so far, she should have expected this. "I don't mean to cause trouble really. I just wish to be informed. I have heard word one had been here rather recently." She started to stand up. "I just wished to know a little more is all." The tavern-keeper gently grabbed her arm, ushering her to sit back down. "Relax lads! Nobody's being turned in here. She's trustworthy."

Larien nodded to the slightly stern look given by the keeper. It paid to make friends with such people over time, and having been to this area before she didn't expect him to lie for her. Or keep the room she had previous rented out open and exclusively reserved for her for free from her last visit. Then again, she had saved his son's life upon their first meeting after nearly killing him for trying to kill her. This man knew her identity as a whole while many of the citizens here were fairly oblivious to the imminent danger if she so chose. "Follow me miss. We'll talk in private." Larien followed without much hesitation as she was led to a more private area on the first floor.

 

((Hopefully this is alright smile.gif ))

Edited by Dragonhatchling

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Sitting on the floor with his back pressed against Rhaegos's chest, Varro stared at the slowly brigthening sky that expanded indefinetily beyond the window of his room; the boy lost in his own thoughts as his dragon partner continued with his slumber. Varro had been informed the day before about the potential of new riders arriving; the news bringing little reaction from him. Rhaegos however at hinted towards excitement in regards to the news.

 

The cold air of the darkened sky did little to faze Varro, the warmth that radiated from within Rhaegos, more then enough to keep him warm. He raised his hand, placing it down on the underside of his partner; the gentle rise and fall of Rhaegos chest, matching his own. Varro gave a faint smile as he sat there, enjoying the company of his partner.

 

....

 

"Varro..?" came the deep voice of Rhaegos, as he half opened one eye and looked down towards his rider, "... the day is young, get some rest" he continued, releasing a small plume of smoke as he yawned.

"I thought I'd catch sight of the new riders" he replied, turning his head towards the open window once again.

"Don't be a fool, it is far too early... be wise.. conserve your energy for later in the day; once the sun has risen to its peak... for today we graduate from being the newest of the lot... it is our duty to leave an impression.." he chuckled softly. "Now get some rest"

Varro attempted to retort, but failed as a yawn of his own escaped. Resigned to defeat, he edged closer to where Rhaego's head lay. Slumping onto the side of Rhaegos's neck, Varro lowered his head onto his resting arm and slowly closed his eyes; Rhaegos meanwhile shifted his wing to cover his rider until dawn broke.

...

 

The sun shone through the window, its light finding its way onto the pair as they slept. Rhaegos was first to awaken, the stallion sized dragon shifting as he stirred; his wing returning to the side of his body exposing Varro to the world once more. With a yawn, Rhaegos craned his neck over to his side and nudged the sleeping boy, the warm air of his breathing escaping through his nostrils and ruffling Varro's hair. "Wake up" urged the dragon, eliciting a mumbled response from the still half asleep boy. Minutes later, Varro was up on his feet, albeit stumbling from side to side as he made his way to his wardrobe to change.

 

"We must go. The other riders will already be making their way to greet the new ones" spoke Rhaegos, nudging his rider through the door as he struggled to put on his shirt.

Edited by TotallyDrow

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The sun was rising on a new day.

 

Stirring from slumber, Reignon rolled over in his bed, the Dwarf savoring the dwindling moments of slumber. Eventually, he fluttered his gray eyes open and groaned as he rolled out of bed. A presence touched his mind, the familiar roughness encircling his thoughts. 'You're awake at last. I was starting to wonder if you'd sleep the whole day through. Usually, you're up sooner than this.'

 

Reignon smirked, throwing on his clothes and straightening out his beard. 'Relax. We'll get to see the wee ones yet. You'll be able to watch new hatchlings emerge, ya big mother hen,' the Dwarf replied, exiting his room. It was small but comfy, sparsely decorated with a few trinkets and gifts he brought from home. Ninarth was too big to fit inside, had been for years now, and so resolved to sleep among the fields. At the first light of each day, the tourmaline-colored dragon rose to greet him outside.

 

Many Riders were waking, beginning their days with whatever rituals they liked to perform and setting upon any missions the Elders and Council saw fit to hand them. However, outside was quieter, seeing many of the regular folk still fast asleep in their little houses. Ninarth strode up to him, towering over the Dwarf so greatly, he may as well have been an ant. Even as the dragon crouched against the ground to allow the stout being to climb up, Reignon still had difficulty. Though, with practiced ease, he was able to sit at the base of Ninarth's neck. No saddle, just bareback.

 

Large wings unfurling, Ninarth beat his pinions and pushed off from the ground. There were still a few more hours before the new apprentices were expected to show. As such, the Dwarf and their companion sought to stretch their bodies and wake themselves. The dragon rose in altitude, wind racing against their scales and whipping Reignon's red-brown hair to-and-fro with each change in direction.

 

Eventually, the pair came to light in a flat clearing away from the town and nestled beside the training fields. Once Ninarth was crouched, Reignon slid off and landed on the grassy ground with a soft thud. He rolled his shoulders, stretching his arms before turning to pat the side of Ninarth's neck. "Want to make a bet that I beat you to that mound?" Reignon jested, jabbing their thumb to indicate the landmark.

 

A rumbling sound rose from the dragon's chest, indicative of a chuckle. 'Right. And I hold the record for being the smallest creature living. Let's walk, Reignon. You've been stressed about our missions lately,' they stated, rising and gently nudging their rider with the tip of their nose.

 

Reignon smiled, patting the dragon on its nose. "Ay. We'll walk. It's a nice day anyways and we've got it off to welcome the new arrivals with miss High Elf." Briefly scratching Ninarth under their chin, the Dwarf started walking, soon having to break into a brisk jog to keep up with his companion. It was either that or Ninarth crept forward at a snail's pace, taking one step for several of Reignon's.

 

---

 

The castle was vast, looming above everything just as Doru Araeba engulfed everything within its walls. However, the imposing size of the city and its buildings had long since ceased to threaten to overwhelm him. Still, his love of the beauty hadn't diminished. As they approached the gate, Reignon revealed his right hand to the massive doors, the viintaas milah on his palm exposed. As expected, the doors swung open soundlessly, easing inward and allowing the pair entry.

 

Shortly after Rider and Dragon stepped inside, Reignon spotted Ratha at the end of the hall, her companion, Aatris, resting behind the extravagant seat she sat upon. Towards the left, two humanoid figures disappeared into a side room while Faradir remained. As tradition and civility demanded, Reignon and Ninarth bowed their heads, repeating the customary greeting before Ratha. Once completed, both stood straighter, Ninarth moving to sit with Faradir, intending to strike up idle conversation. Reignon, on the other hand, approached the 'U'-shaped table and leaned against the top - barely. "So! We've already got one newcomer here, eh? Don't s'pose the headwinds are delaying the others?" he asked conversationally.

 

It was a start. A rivalry deep as blood soaked into the soil rested between Dwarves and Elves but, Reignon was at least able to push arguing aside for the sake of civil interaction this early in the morning. Plus, it just wouldn't do for him to be foul-mouthing the Head Dragon Rider herself.

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The sound of the entire city waking was something Larien was amused by. The gradual bustle of noise and different chatter was a nice change from the near-constant yelling, fighting or general city-noise of Dras Leona. She'd expected this from a city held in such prestige as Doru Araeba even just from the rumors heard on the main land.

 

It didn't take her long to gather her things and get dressed, ready for a new day. Today would be the day more new Riders would come to call this place home. Yet, so far, nobody was the wiser to her personal true identity. Here she was occasionally tutoring a few Riders who had gained permission to have her as a teacher for a few hours. Riders had required special tutoring in the ways of magic from their own kind. Dragon and Rider alike had to work together to accomplish tasks, grow their bonds and learn the Old Ways of their own Order. Larien didn't fit into that. She wasn't a Rider, and wasn't meant to learn those specifics. Instead, she had offered her services as a powerful wizard for more of the basics as new Riders showed up. Very rarely was she actually called upon, but rather more often consulted for solutions to help those who required a slightly different approach to get the same benefits of the other pupils.

 

In her free time, the shade could be found amongst the vast library, finding any book she can on healing or herbs in general. But once those lost her interest for a day or two, she would turn to more books on harder magic. Polishing up her skills even more if nothing else was needed of her.

 

If Larien was not in the library she often was wandering the grounds. Idle chat would be made passing by older Riders, or sometimes more welcoming conversations for those who had gotten to know her better. Most often, however, she tried her best to keep appearances around the grounds. Nothing out of the ordinary from anybody else who was milling around minding their own business.

 

Perhaps the only reason she had not been attacked instantly was her practice with concealing spells. For appearances normally she had already been a slight anamoly for a shade. At least, her hair wasn't quite nearly as maroon and could pass for a red-tinged shade of brown in some cases. Her unusual kindness she exhibited wasn't for show either, that was a rather common and normal thing the spirits using her body chose to keep. But the concealing spells now had changed her appearance back to the way she had been before her change. A deadly blow to anybody living in her long razed city. But she wouldn't have to worry about that- nobody was alive from her home city any more. Not after her anger filled rampage that had fueled her change.

 

Larien wore her maroon cloak with a contrasting grey tunic on along with her usual black leggings and her older worn boots. The tunic had a bit of gold thread worked through it to make it not look nearly as plain. Her hair, instead of the darker shade of maroon, was now a slightly lighter brown with natural blonde and auburn streaks running throughout from the sunlight. Her eyes were their natural startling shade of green again that seemed to shift from a pale blue to green to grey depending on weather, clothing or mood that her mother had passed down to her. Her body and facial features had not changed and her skin hadn't changed terribly significantly either as it had been without the spells. She had tanned though from being outside for long periods of time, and acquired a very slightly darker tone to her otherwise moderately fair skin. The newfound strength, and nearly immortal abilities given to the shade by her change were retained, but she had already become quite adept at hiding such telltale signs.

 

To be honest, walking among other Riders who were nearly oblivious to her immense power surprised and shocked her. Larien had not thought this was going to be so easy. Obviously most of the older graduated Riders knew she was a strong magician at least, and that didn't need to be tamed quite to the extent she had expected. But as far as keeping appearances and not tipping anyone off, she had expected fooling a Rider and their dragon to be much much harder. However, to be more on the safe side, she dared not get complacent for fear of being completely found out. Even a shade would not fair well on Doru Araeba.

 

Currently, the shade wandered aimless around the grounds of the city. She watched newly dragons run and scamper, playing as their new Riders conversed with each other and with their older teachers now. Some were even still flying in, not yet having an egg. Not yet knowing if they would in fact be staying here. But at least those had gotten a glimpse of the wonderful place. Something few could say they would ever get a chance to take.

 

One particular dragon flying overhead reminded Larien of her trip here. The poor dragon was slightly skinnier than she had expected of such a great beast. The Rider himself was rather slim, and the two together seemed somewhat malnourished. She couldn't place why, but the Inn Keeper at Dras Leona had held his word and requested the Rider for her as she had asked that night she had arrived there. Which wasn't exactly what she had wanted. She wanted answers, but instead managed to acquire an escort to their famed island instead.

 

The Rider had explained along the way that he had surpassed the testing for his age, giving some credit to his slighter look. The rest of that explanation was his falling ill of a rare illness that even the older Riders had had trouble preventing. That left him and the dragon slightly frailer than the rest, but he had explained they were working through those challenges together to become even stronger.

 

That same dragon flew overhead now, not carrying anyone on its back from what she could tell. Perhaps it was out for a morning flight with a few of the other early risers who weren't able to completely view the new Riders. Larien didn't concern herself further with the matter however as a roar sounded off behind her.

 

A large brown dragon with a few gold flecks between his scales sneered at her as she stepped out of the way. The Rider belonging with this dragon muttered a slight apology as the dragon stomped past, tail purposefully swinging near her face. "He's extremely put off today that more students are coming." The Rider explained quickly, apologizing again. "He's used to being the best around despite both of us being new." "I'd highly doubt he's the best then." Larien retorted, returning the icy glare back to the dragon. "You're new. Get off your scales and prove you're the best to the older Riders of your Order. Then you can hold the title." This probably wasn't the greatest idea.

 

The Rider seemed squirmy, as if he wasn't able to calm his own dragon's temper. "Watch your tongue wizard. I can burn you here where you stand." A low, threatening growl emanated from the dragon. He was definitely considered a newling, despite having grown a bit larger from his status.

 

A more distinguished Rider flown over, the more massive dragon landing in more of a show as they both knew already what this was about. "Come along." The female said from her dragon's back, where the younger Rider gladly welcomed the excuse to leave the confrontation.

 

The young dragon, however, hesitated and hissed at Larien. She, as answer, held firm with the equally icy gaze but did not say a word. The older dragon answered in a growl, firm but challenging, and the youngling complied reluctantly.

 

Larien walked off the other direction so she wouldn't cause further trouble. Someone will eventually learn he isn't the mightiest dragon of the bunch. Larien thought to herself with a slight headshake. That kind of arrogance and stubbornness was going to get him and his Rider killed. Either by her one day should he cross her, or by any creature stronger than the dragon could ever hope to dream. She could feel he didn't have it in him to be the absolute best he already believed himself to be. The willpower just wasn't there.

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'Rarely have I seen a nervous Urgal,' Aatris remarked to Ratha, his amusement clear to her through their bond. Ratha's lips twitched slightly, but she managed to refrain from smiling. Urgal Dragon Riders were few and rare, as they were the last race to have been included to the ancient pact. Ratha had fought many Urgals, as the war-loving tribes had sought to challenge her, more than any other creatures. She, and many other Riders, shared a slight distrust towards the grey-skinned beings, but knew that their distrust was only that borne from ill experiences and racism.

'He is a curious soul, that Serbir. I wonder what kind of a Shur'tugal he shall make,' she remarked back even as Elan took Serbir to the side room, Faradis remaining behind. The young purple dragon exchange pleasantries with the Head Dragon Rider, but it was obvious she felt slightly awkward to be alone. The soft sound of the gates turning inwards interrupted their conversation and a look of relief spread through the purple dragon's being briefly before she concealed it.

'Ratha, you are way too stiff and formal,' Aatris scolded gently, his golden eyes twinkling.

'Or then you are way too friendly. We mustn't forget our position and what we represent,' Ratha replied with a slight edge to her voice, to which Aatris shuffled his wings, his emotions in a blur.

'We must only remember what we represent while in the presence of others outside our Order,' Aatris finally said. Ratha did not reply, but her emotions - approval and dismay equally - flowing to her partner.

 

Turning her attention to the doors, Ratha and Aatris saw two figures approaching, a Rider and their dragon, whom they recognized to be Reignon and Ninarth approaching down the hallway, the latter's claws clicking against the stone and their scales reflecting copper splotches across the walls, shining just as brilliantly as Aatris' or Faradis' scales, the dragons reflecting their own batch of colors upon the stony walls. After exchanging the traditional greetings, Ninarth walked upon Faradis, and the two dragons begun to have an idle chat, their mental voices open to all of those around them. However, nobody else joined the conversation, allowing the two dragons to talk together.

"So! We've already got one newcomer here, eh? Don't s'pose the headwinds are delaying the others?" Reignon asked, his tone pleasant and friendly. Ratha did not smile, but the slight lines around her eyes wrinkled slightly as her eyes brightened up a bit.

"You are quite right, Reignon-vodhr. The winds have not been very favorable these past few days, I'm afraid," she said and slid her finger across one of the scars which crisscrossed her skin. The Head Dragon Rider was wearing high black leather boots in which she had tucked her loose brown pants. Her belt, which held Shulmah, was decorated with runes of protection and power, and glittered slightly in the sunlight. Ratha was wearing a large, white cotton shirt, which left her collar bones visible and was then bind close to her body with leather strips from her elbow to her wrist. Upon her brow she wore a simple circlet of white gold with a single, yellow gem upon her forehead. A cloak of deep orange was fastened by a citrine gem on her right shoulder.

 

'Ah, before more newcomers arrive, we have a question for you and Ninarth,' Aatris said, projecting his thoughts towards the copper dragon, too.

"We would be more pleased-"

'-if you accepted to take a student-'

"-and teach them until they are ready to-"

'-graduate. You may refuse this proposal-'

"-but it would please us a great deal, should-"

'-you accept it.' Aatris concluded the alternating speech he and Ratha had unconsciously given. Ratha lifted a finger, her look slightly amused.

"You need not give me your answer quite yet, Reignon-vodhr, Ninarth-vodhr. I shall await until sunset to hear thine answers. But now, I must send for Varro and Rhaegos - it is their graduation day. Aatris, would you please contact all the Riders within Doru Araeba to arrive?"

 

Lifting her left hand, Ratha summoned a ball of orange energy. Cupping it with both hands and drawing it close to her mouth, she whispered a line in the Ancient Language.

"Siiv Varro ahrk Rhaegos, ahrk fun Zu'u lost bel niin," she said. With the spell complete, the orb lifted from her hand, circled her head twice, and then sped out from the hall, passing through the closed gates as if it was immaterial. It would seek out the to-be Dragon Rider and their partner and deliver the summon. Meanwhile, Aatris had joined his minds with many dragons, and through them, to others, until he was connected to a network of all the dragons within Doru Araeba.

'Brothers and sisters, come hither to our halls, for today you shall acquire a new member within thine ranks!' Aatris bellowed, his low, rumbling mental voice alike to a shifting mountain.

 

Through Aatris, and through him, all the dragons, Ratha could feel the general mood of joy, excitement, and pride. A slight smile touched her lips and she turned her attention back to the hall again, addressing her words to the three dragons in the hall as well as to Reignon.

"After the graduation of Varro and Rhaegos, I shall take the newcomers to the Vault of Souls and present them to the eggs," she informed. With a soft touch of minds, like a leaf brushing another one while falling in autumn, Ratha contacted Elan and asked her to bring Serbir to the main hall.

 

"Come, let us go back," Elan told Serbir. The Urgal felt his skin pale slightly from the thought. He hadn't eaten or drank anything, and returning back to the hall made him feel nervous. His palms started sweating and he touched the tips of his horns, a tradition Urgals had - it was to ward off bad luck and all of that sort.

Walking back to the hall - and glancing fearfully at the dwarf sitting at the table as well as the bronze dragon - Serbir kept close to Elan and sighed with relief as Faradis was between him and all the other dragons. He was not sure what was to come, but Elan appeared to be non-shaken and relaxed, so he forced himself to think of a chant her mother had taught to clear his mind.

Edited by Gildraug

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The warming rays of the rising sun found Tanthanion already up and about, stretching away the weariness away from his muscles. He has found that the beauty of the Doru Araeba is only heightened as the golden rays gradually light the city of Riders. The realization only makes his handsome face brighten in a smile, however it does not get far. Since the whispers of Shades and Ra'zac first began, he had taken it upon himself to act as a scout so that the Order could not be caught unawares. While he may not have found much in way of Ra'zac, he did however find traces of Shades. The discovery did not please him though the knowledge of Shades is limited, the information available proves that they are dangerous foes indeed and if there are Shades in Alagaësia...

 

'You will grow into an old fool if you continue tormenting yourself so,'comes the half aware voice of Zencoria, still resting her eyes before the day's events.

'An old fool?!' balks Tanthanion, clearly taken aback by the dragoness' words. 'You know as well as I just what a single Shade can mean for Alagaësia.'

'Be that as it may, little one. You can go and report to Ratha Svit-kona when the hour is right.'

 

She's right, as always. Tanthanion realizes and at Zencoria's hum of superiority, he shakes his head. 'Really Zencoria, you must learn when to not peer into my thoughts.'

'Oh sure, I shall also learn how to tunnel as the earthworm. Short of you dying, that's never going to happen.'

 

Tanthanion grumbles in a way that it would make a dwarf proud, at least before Zencoria bumps her snout into his chest, nearly knocking him over in the process. Tanthanion instead wraps his arms around her snout and basks in the warmth of the bond they share. After a moment, the two seperate as the dragon raises herself and walks to the entrance of their little alcove that has been sung from the mighty trees just to the east of the great spire where Ratha resides. While normally Tanthanion would sleep in one of the smaller spires of the central structure, he was simply too tired from a fortnight of reconnaissance when he returned as the moon reached it's zenith.

 

Zencoria shakes as she walks and stretches her great wings as the weariness fades. With a farewell, she takes off to hunt. Tanthanion meanwhile does his rountine stretches and before he knows it, the city begins to wake itself. With a smile once again on his handsome face, he strides from the alcove and walks to the central spire. As he walks, he spots Reignon but doesn't call out to him, his mind again brooding on the Shades. His quarry was in Gilead when he lost track of it as if it had dropped from the face of the world. Just where did the abomination go? The sudden disappearance of the Shade prompted him to return to Doru Araeba before he was possibly discovered, he had to take a detour through the Spine and veered towards Du Weldenvarden to throw off any pursuit before Zencoria dived below the canopy and made with all speed to Doru Araeba.

 

It bothered him more than a little, but he had to trust that they were not discovered. He must find Ratha and report to her, they would need to converse in their code but it was necessary so nobody else could understand. He sees a few more apprentices with their dragons, especially the one who whipped his tail close to a human female's face. While normally he would pay it no heed, the reaction the female gave the dragon was strange to say the least. He was about to turn away when the same feeling that was in Gilead when he was tracking the Shade came to him now and it bothered him more than a little. 'Zencoria, do you feel what I feel?'

 

'Yes, we must ware that one.'

 

Tanthanion nodded as he calmed himself, and strode to the castle once again. He comes upon the door, repeating the words to enter and in he strode, without so much a single pause. He smiles when he sees Ratha and he repeats the customary greeting to her after the orb flies by him. He speaks to her telepathically in their code. "Usstan guy'ya de'lu'mir. Usstan orn'la saph ulu telanth xuil dos vel'drav dos inbal natha mayar."

Edited by Epyon

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The pair walked down the corridor, Varro's hand clasped to the side of Rhaegos as they made their way to the large hall where the others; both new and old riders had been gathering since dawn broke. "Nervous?" questioned Rhaegos, glancing down at his rider, their shared link exposing Varro's inner feelings. "A little..." replied Varro, the hand that was clasped around Rhaegos now finding its way across his own chest as he felt his increasing heartbeat. He took a deep breath, exhaling heavily as he lowered the hand and made eye contact with Rhaegos, ".. but I am also excited" he finished, smiling at his

partner.

 

An orb filtered through the large wall, stopping before the Rider and his dragon, seemingly floating infront of them effortlessly as the pair came to a stop. Before either could question its sudden appearance before them, a mental voice spoke; summoning them to where they were already headed. "We must make haste" urged Rhaegos, lowering his body so that Varro could climb upon him; Varro accepting the offer and soon finding himself upon the back of Rhaegos. Seeing the world from atop Rhaegos's back had been an experience. His short stature normally meant that he had to raise his head upwards when speaking to another, however from Rhaegos's back, he was always looking down. "Let's go.." spoke Varro, as he made himself comfortable.

 

It was awhile before they found themselves at the entrance to the large hall, both rider and dragon taking a long deep breath as they stood at the precipice of their futures as Fledged Riger and Dragon. Already several other riders were there, The elven rider Tanthanion and his partner the dragoness Zencoria, The Dwarven Rider; 'Reignon' and his Dragon partner Ninarth, The human rider Elan and her partner the dragoness Faradis and of course the head rider, the one that stood higher then the rest. Ratha and her partner Aatris.

"We are here to answer the summoning" spoke Varro, addressing those that had already gathered. He lowered his gaze subserviently.

 

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Well, it certainly wasn't the first time she'd been hogtied and tossed over the saddle of some steed to be shipped off to a holding facility. But it was definitely the first time she'd ever been slung onto the back of a dragon, launched into the air, and shipped off to Doru Araeba.

 

Daena quickly discovered that she was not afraid of flying. Lying on her stomach, she peered over the haunches of the golden beast whose scales chafed against her skin and down at the sprawling cities and mountains that they soared over. Stringy, thin clouds stretched beneath and around them, and occasionally the dragon dipped through one and Daena found herself covered in cold dew. She wondered what it would feel like to slip off the dragon's back and fall through the clouds below to the open meadow of green grass they were currently gliding over. The free fall almost sounded thrilling; a rush no ordinary human ever got to experience.

 

Alas, the old man who had managed to bind in her magical rope had fastened her securely to the saddle, so the chances of her wiggling free were slim to none. She scowled at him from under the tattered hood that clung to her face. He had introduced himself as Malven, a Shur'tugal Elder from an order of dragon riders that resided in the great city Dora Araeba. Daena knew of this place; her mother had spoken, although rather ill, of it many times throughout her childhood. A place of dragons and beauty, but also of magic-- a force the young woman wanted nothing to do with. She pressed herself tighter into the seat behind Malven and closed her eyes, trying not to think of what kind of spells they might cast on her once they landed beyond the city walls.

 

It was perhaps a day's ride on the back of Malven's dragon Aurdis. They flew through the night, and Daena slept perhaps two hours in total as a result of howling winds and ice crusting on her exposed face and fingertips. By the time the city's white stone walls glittered on the horizon, the sun was beginning its ascent to a new day and haloing the spanse of world around them in yellow. Aurdis's body shone like the sun itself, and Daena found herself fascinated by the reflection of the light on the dragon's golden scales. She could only imagine what other dragons might look light veiled by sunlight, their scales glittering like jewels.

 

"See that there? You're going to love it," Malven hollered back into the wind. Daena ignored him.

In a matter of minutes Aurdis cleared the walls of Doru Araeba and circled the city for a spot to land. The young woman strapped to the saddle gazed inquisitively at the city below, delighting in the array of colors shining from the scales of winged beasts. It wasn't until Aurdis dropped onto an open clearing and Daena felt Malven tugging at her ropes that she remembered how she had come to be in the great city in the first place.

 

"You kidnapped me!" she exclaimed, pulling away from the rider.

 

He stretched his legs and yawned, appearing as though her accusation hadn't even registered. "Kidnapped? Is that what you call it when the authorities drag you off to a holding cell for pick pocketing?" he asked calmly as he retrieved his belongings from Aurdis's saddle. The old man glanced over his shoulder at her and grinned. "I'm doing you a favor, kid. Trust me, you've got a big journey ahead of you. And stealing gold off a surly innkeeper isn't part of it."

 

Daena's jaw clenched. "You have no right--"

 

Malven waved his hand, cutting her off. "Come on, kid. You've got better things to do today. Here--" He yanked her along toward a small building nearby. "Get yourself cleaned up. No funny business; the elves in there are faster than I am. You'll be meeting someone very important today, and I'll not have my chosen look like a rat off the street. Merili!"

 

An elven woman approached at the sound of her name, and they exchanged greetings with the comfort of close friends. She looked over Daena with skepticism; the young woman returned the look with a glare. "This is your chosen?" The elf asked, eyeing the dirty rags that remained of Daena's hooded attire. "She looks like you've plucked a common thief from the gutter."

 

Malven beamed. "I have! Isn't it splendid?"

 

The elf made a strange face, as if deciding between laughter or a grimace, and Daena's fingers curled into tight fists. She's lucky this twit has me cuffed, she thought, her lip twitching. Malven was quick to shuffle Daena off into the hands of the elf, despite the young woman's protests, and in a matter of moments she found herself in a small bathhouse getting scrubbed down by several older women. They supplied her with fresh garments ("A token from Malven the Jolly!") and helped her, with some rough handling, into the clothes as the restraints made it nearly impossible to do on her own. By the time she was finished, her dark hair had been brushed out into soft black waves down her back, and she wore a pair of brown leather riding pants and a soft white tunic. Worn leather boots were pulled onto her feet, and she hated acknowledging that the outfit was far more comfortable than the tattered cloth she'd arrived in.

 

Malven's rosy face stretched into another grin once Daena was led outside again. "Fantastic work, Merili. Not a trace of dirt on 'er." They said their farewells, and Malven departed while pulling Daena along by the rope that bound her wrists. Aurdis followed close behind, her ivory claws clacking gently on the stone.

 

The hall that Malven brought them to was massive beyond what Daena could ever imagine. Though her expression remained blank, she gawked at it with wide eyes, marveling at the intricate structures of the hall and the decor that wound across the marble. Even in her time moving from city to city, Daena had never come across something this grand. Still, the presence of magic dampened her awe. Even with Malven close by, she shied away from anyone who came too close, including curious dragons who tilted their muzzles in her direction.

 

The main hall glittered with the light that twinkled off the colored glass windows. A variety of dragons and their riders were gathered together. She spotted a large copper-colored dragon off to the side, where nearby a short-statured man was sitting (or was he standing? She couldn't tell) at the half-loop table. Another dragon with dark violet scales followed behind a tall elven man while he strode down the corridor. Daena halted immediately upon resting her gaze on the silver-haired elf at the very end of the hall; an orange-scaled dragon lay close by, and a peculiar anxiety rose in her gut. Tension coiled in her core the closer Malven dragged her to the throne, until they stopped before the elf and Daena's shoulders and back were rigid like wood. She stared up at the elf, meeting her eyes squarely, and remained absolutely silent as Malven greeted the woman in the Ancient tongue and touched his lips with two forefingers. Aurdis bowed her crowned head to the orange dragon, and rumbled something of a greeting at them.

 

"I know I wasn't set out to search for potential Shur'tugal, Ratha-elda, but nevertheless I am certain I have found one. By quite the chance, too. She might be a handful--" he paused, glancing over to Daena, whose gaze snapped over to him with unbridled anger, "--but I have confidence she'll pass the trials." Malven was not known for bringing sensible choices of riders; in fact, he was rather...eccentric in his decisions, therefore presenting a petty thief to the Head Dragon Rider was not an unusual circumstance for him. Even Aurdis approved this time around. The golden dragon hummed softly, and said to both Ratha and Aatris respectfully, 'The child shows promise. She has a good heart, but she requires some...direction.'

 

Daena's blue-green eyes flashed. "A rider? You think I'm going to be a rider?" Her harsh voice was thick with incredulity and scorn, and Malven tugged sharply on the rope as a warning. The audacity he had to suggest she could ever be paired with a dragon both astounded and puzzled her equally. She was not a dragon rider-- she was far from anything that incredible. "Malven the Jolly," or whoever he was, definitely had some marbles loose in that thick head of--

Her thought was interrupted as Aurdis and Malven (and thus pulling Daena along with them) moved off from the center of the hall. A young man-- though he appeared human at first, the closer he drew the less sure Daena became-- was approaching the throne with a stark white dragon in his company. The dragon was smaller than most of the others in the hall, and Daena's irritation at Malven took second place to her curiosity of the scene unfolding before her. Summoning? She must have missed something, surely. With guarded eyes, she glanced around the hall, making sure to keep as far from Malven as the line of rope between them would allow. She spotted an interesting creature beside a human girl with a purple dragon. Daena recognized him as an Urgal by the horns and gray tone of his skin, but the ferocity that was trademark of his kind did not quite strike her. She studied him for a moment before scoffing under her breath and looking away. Silently she begged for the day to end quickly, so that they may spare her the embarrassment of defaulting in front of a dragon egg and send her back to the grimy human cities where she belonged.

Edited by Shiny Hazard Sign

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Larien minded her own business as it seemed the gathering of the Riders was apparently becoming more centered on the absolute center of the city. The main castle. A few of the dragons still flew overhead now and again, now doubt bringing in more potential Riders to the already filled Doru Araeba. The thought made her cringe mentally slightly. If she were caught it certainly would be the end of her. No clear way off the island except on dragonback. Persuading a Rider would be nigh on impossible by then.

 

But so far so good right? The realization still surprised her greatly, even though a few of the Riders seemed to be perturbed by her presence. She attributed that to her powerful status, having had to prove herself worthy of staying here to the Head Rider not terribly long ago.

 

That challenge itself had taken her concealing skills to their breaking points. She had been worried of being found out right away, only to find that the so-called Head Rider was awfully young for her title. Larien hardly saw her fitting for the immense responsibility that came with the job. That was, until she had her tests. The Head Rider was there through every one of them, along with many others who were also keeping watch on their leader, but adding their scrutiny to the matter at hand.

 

The news of her passing the tests came as a shock to Larien that they didn't take too much suspicion in the trials. Some of those tests were never brought on to other magicians situated here. But some of the older Riders wished more proof of the wizard she claimed to be so the older, harder tests were brought on. This wasn't to say they had never been passed before. There were a few others here who had passed them, but they were far older than she appeared to be and had far more maturing experience on their hands to preform such tasks.

 

Being as young as she appeared, Larien had not been expected to pass these and was ultimately determined to be exiled from the island for the boasting of her prowess. Except, the exact opposite happened. She had passed. Being the master fabricator that she was, the shade had made it seem extremely difficult to pass such tests, testing her newly set limit of power to not tip off anyone else. But she did pass in the end. Barely. But those tails she had spun held true, and another powerful wizard joined the ranks among the less gifted not to be a Rider themselves.

 

More dragons veered their course toward the main castle, and herself changed course to stay further away from it. The hiding shade didn't want trouble here, even though she wondered curiously if many of them were distracted that she could possibly sneak away on dragonback of perhaps one who chose to defy the Order. Occasionally she had found a few, very few, who had been entertaining the idea to uproot from here. Head off in their own direction. Find fame for themselves at tackling a rumoured shade or Ra'zac sighting and defy their teachings. Some, like the dragon she had recently stood her ground with, believed themselves to already be better than their teachers and saw no need for their lessons.

 

Of course though, those thoughts were quickly dismissed or hidden and rarely ever came up twice from the same Rider or dragon. Saddening to Larien, who had looked forward to musing amongst those thoughts and possible ways out of here should things go south. Sadly enough as well, the shade realized some of those thinkings had never shown even their slightest trace again, making her curiously wonder if those owning the thoughts had been killed. If they had, it would only be a matter of time the others thinking the same plans would probably be done away with too. She doubted the Riders would be so foolish to send those away off the island to find their own. That is what many wanted after all. Freedom to start their own lives out of the tutoring eyes of their teachers. With some of their talent, who knows where that could get them given a year's time.

 

Larien's cloak shifted as a small hatchling ran through it, nearly running into her leg. "Pardon me!" A young woman shouted to the shade, scooping the hatchling up with some effort and running to the castle. Even the small ones were gathering. Her teacher would no doubt not be very far away. They rarely left each other's companies during their trials for the first few months the shade had noticed. Be it a safety issue, a matter of truly seeing if the newly crowned Rider had what it took to be a True Rider- as they put it- or for some other matter, she couldn't rightfully say. Much of these were observations she had noticed throughout her walks and rounds along the Grounds themselves.

 

A few more younger dragons bounded to the castle, skirting past the shade as she walked in the opposite direction. Nobody questioned it. This was a summoning of the Riders, where the older and properly claimed ones would meet first, soon shortly after the newlings would be found gathering nearby as congratulations. Larien didn't need to be there. She wasn't summoned, and besides, many other magicians and wizards alike would already be in the castle finishing up whatever work they had. Let them congratulate the new Riders.

 

Though in her steps she could tell she was being followed. The same angry dragon as before had come back, though he was headed to the castle just as everyone else. But she had looked back in time to catch the angry glimmer of light in his brilliant eye. A silent challenge for her show earlier. Their business was not done unfortunately, and that itself could cause a slight bit of trouble on her end. Then again, she'd insulted a dragon. A mighty beast of Alagaesia itself. Yet, it could also possibly work in her favor. Maybe the dragon would indeed finally learn that it is not truly the mightiest of beasts all the time just because it is a dragon.

 

Larien waited a few moments before turning her course. She was headed to the castle as everyone else and decided upon herself to wait in the mess hall nearby where many of the less gifted without dragons as herself waited to meet the newling Riders after their brotheren met them first. She wouldn't be out of place there, and perhaps could grab a bite to eat as well if anything should seem to be slightly amiss. That was a common thing for anyone to be getting food regardless of the time or goings on.

Edited by Dragonhatchling

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Barely had Aatris' summoning ended, when the doors opened inwards again, two figures stepping into the hall, their silhouettes against the sunlight that shone behind them. As they strode forwards and the light evened out, Ratha and Aatris recognized them as Tanthanion and Zencoria, both highly respected in the Order. There was something in Tanthanion's posture which caught Ratha's sharp eye, but she dared not say anything as they exchanged the traditional greetings. She wasn't, then, surprised as the Rider contacted her mind gently. Lowering her borders, Ratha allowed Tanthanion to speak through the mental connection.

'Usstan guy'ya de'lu'mir. Usstan orn'la saph ulu telanth xuil dos vel'drav dos inbal natha mayar,' he said in the secret language he and she spoke in utmost dangers. Very few knew of this language, and Ratha, Aatris, Tanthanion, and Zencoria had studied it ever since they discovered scrolls concerning it, from times they had just graduated as Dragon Riders. Ratha bit her lower lip. Something was amiss, and gravely, if he dared not tell anything even through a private mental conversation.

'Ves al. Udos zhal telanth p'luin l'hal'l p'los Usstan sevir,' Ratha replied silently and motioned Tanthanion and Zencoria to sit down on one of the seats around the table, as was rightful concerning their position in the Order. She could feel Aatris' worry, for rarely did Tanthanion contact them as directly as he just had. They didn't have much time to brood over the subject, however, before a slow trickle of Riders and their dragons arrived to the hall, alongside some people from the city. However, the common people, although of great importance, stood far away from the table, sitting on benches and talking quietly amongst themselves. This ceremony was not for them and did not concern them, but it was a grand event, even so. Most of the common folk preferred to stay in the city and allow the Shur'tugalar to celebrate by themselves. Even so, Ratha had sent friendly invitations to the ceremony, to which some, although not all, had responded by arriving. Mages, merchants, a farmer or two, many children, and scholars. And continuously Ratha and Aatris replied to the traditional greetings, Ratha noticing she wished for a drink soon, but refrained from allowing herself for the luxury. They would feast afterwards - that was one reason why the people of the city wanted to come.

 

There was a slight pause from the stream of arriving people, which brought more attention to the next Rider and their dragon who arrived. A slight sigh escaped from Ratha's lips as she straightened herself and prepared to greet the newcomer.

'Look,' Aatris rumbled and with his mind pointed out that instead of two figures - a Rider and their dragon, who were Malven the Jolly and Aurdis - there were three. Another person was with them. As they walked closer, Ratha's and Aatris' curiosity grew as they saw that the other person, a young female, was bound from her wrists by a rope. No ordinary rope was that, Ratha knew, from the faintest golden glow she could barely see. The exchanged the traditional greetings and then Ratha lifted an eyebrow, silently asking Malven about the situation.

 

"I know I wasn't set out to search for potential Shur'tugal, Ratha-elda, but nevertheless I am certain I have found one. By quite the chance, too. She might be a handful--" Malven paused and glanced at the girl next to him, whose eyes were full of rage and hate, "--but I have confidence she'll pass the trials." Ratha said nothing to it, but gave a good look at the girl before her, and tried to make sense of her. She dared not to touch the girl's mind, it would be disrespectful by the least, but allowed her eyes to register as much as possible. The girl's skin was pink, as if it had been rubbed very recently, and the clothes she wore were not her own, of that she was sure. The wild look and manner she possessed hinted of a wild, hurtful past. A pang of sympathy waved from Aatris.

'Give her a chance. You wouldn't turn anyone away, would you?' he pleaded.

'The child shows promise. She has a good heart, but she requires some...direction,' Aurdis added, her mental voice steady and sure. Ratha let out the slightest of sighs and gave a wry smile.

"I shall allow her for the trials. If her dez, fate, is to be a Shur'tugal, it will be proven in the Vault of Souls. Malven-vodhr, this lady shall be your responsibility until it is proven whether or not she is to become a Rider. If she, however, fails the tests, she must be taken back from whence she came from," Ratha said sternly, although not unfriendly, her face gentle and lacking the usual edge she had. Aatris glowed with happiness, glad that his Rider had not denied the chance for the wild hatchling to prove herself.

"A Rider? You think I'm going to be a Rider?" the female exclaimed, her voice alike to chips of stone, harsh and edgy. Maven pulled the rope warningly, yet not harshly as he gave an apologetic glance to Ratha. She waved her hand, motioning the trio to move on. The matter was discussed.

 

Serbir tried to hide his curiosity at the amassing group of Riders and their dragons, but could hear Elan laughing softly at the Urgal's bewildered expression as he witnessed the gathering. The large hall echoed with the soft murmur of voices, a mixture of the harsh sounds of the dragons and the music-like voices of the elves, all in a bittersweet cacophony. At the arrival of Malven, Aurdis, and the girl they had accompanied, Serbir didn't even try to hide his curiosity anymore. She reminded him of a wildcat, fierce and independent. Their gazes met and the girl stared at him for a moment, studying what there was, then scoffed slightly and moved on as the Rider gently pulled her aside. Serbir tugged at his sleeve, feeling somewhat intimidated by the girl.

"E-Elan?" Serbir asked tentatively.

"What's up?"

"Do we, um, have shared classes with, uh, the... The other apprentices? Or, uuh, do we keep to our own teachers, or what...?" he said, glancing at the wild girl as he spoke. Elan followed his gaze and grinned, although it looked more like a grimace to him.

"At times. Usually you study with your own teacher, but every now and then you will have group lessons. Don't worry, there will come more apprentices as the year goes. Not everyone come at the same time, although we try to time it so."

 

At one point, Varros and Rhaegos entered the hall, their steps solemn but their faces betraying great excitement and pride - as was to be expected. They halted before the gathered Riders and bowed their heads.

"We are here to answer the summoning," Varro said.

Ratha nodded in response. "So you have. Today, you, Varro and Rhaegos, shall not leave this Hall of Echoes the same as you were before. For today, you two shall become a Rider and a Dragon truly in blood, soul, and spirit."

'But we must await for the present Shur'tugalar to arrive. Kos prem,' Aatris said and hummed low, his pleasure evident. It was good to see new generations to graduate, knowing that the values and the teachings of the Order would be passed down with honor. When the Hall of Echoes was full of Shur'tugalar - the elder closer to the table than the younger, apprentices staying outside altogether - Ratha stood up from her throne and Aatris did likewise, the entire hall shushing before the Head Rider, eager to hear what she says. Aatris hummed softly, his voice vibrating in the air. Ratha looked across the hall and then motioned Varro and Rhaegos to step forwards, before her throne and within the 'U' shaped table. She then cracked a small smile and spread her arms, addressing all within the hall, her voice empowered with magic, allowing all to hear her without effort.

 

"And so the wheel turns. Ages go by without us noticing, years are like falling leaves, quickly passing before our eyes. Yet, we cannot close our eyes from the growth of our youth. Before me stands a boy and a beast. That they were yesterday. But today, today you shall become a Rider and a Dragon, for you have completed your training. Today, you, Varro, shall receive your Rider's sword and acquire all the responsibilities, rights, and duties of a Rider in full." From one of the side rooms, now from Ratha's right-hand side, there came an elf. She was sturdier than most, and her face had slight lines and her eyes were deep with wisdom. On her arms, like a newborn babe, she cradled a white blade, its sheathe white like fresh fallen snow. The elf was Rhunön, the greatest smith there were, was, and will ever be. Handing over the sword to Varro, the old elf looked sharply into his eyes.

"Take good care of it, you hear me?" she said bluntly before retreating.

"Rider, what shall thou name thine sword?" Ratha asked, her voice steady and had a ceremonial ring to it.

"I name it Vindr Reona," Varro replied, his voice quivering ever so slightly from excitement. Ratha nodded in response and begun to speak in the Ancient Language. Although she was not uttering a spell, the air shimmered with magic as she poured power into the words of old.

 

"Enmindok! Us mii kriist yun Shur'tugal, zahkrii ko ok haal ahrk ok dovah naal ok reid. Varro! Rhaegos! Hi los nu Shur'tugal ahrk Dovah ko sil, zii, ahrk sos. Dreh hi kaat, ko daar tinvok do kruziik, wah aam faal Uth?"

"Mu kaat," Varro and Rhaegos replied in union, their words striking at the ears of the listeners like bell tolls. They had sworn in the Ancient Language, and this vow would hold unless they decided to throw everything away and become a Mahlaan.

"Ahrk dreh hi kaat wah skilaan thun ahrk drem pah yaav Alagaësia, vos hin jormaar drahlun wah gram hin hah?"

"Mu kaat."

"Ruz Zu'u, Ratha Ariamaya, ahrk dii feliig, Aatris, naal dii suleyk ol faal Klov Shur'tugal, enfan voknau hi tet do Shur'tugal. Aal fil lingraav avok hi," Ratha concluded and descended from her throne, walking before Varro and Rhaegos. Aatris craned his long neck over the table. Ratha took Varro's head between her hands and kissed him on his brow, muttering blessings, and then moved on, touching Rhaegos on his snout, again muttering blessings. Aatris touched Varro and Rhaegos with his snout, humming deep from his chest.

 

"Gruz hin yun zeymah!" Ratha declared once she had climbed lithely back on her throne, spreading her arms wide. A loud cheer erupted in the hall, alongside roars and hums of the dragons.

"Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi," was repeated over and over again by both Riders and dragons.

"Congratulations, the ceremony is over," Ratha addressed Varro and Rhaegos, her voice normal again. "Go, and embrace the joy and merriment," she encouraged even as she clapped her hands twice, her face in a rare smile. From the hallways, which split left and right before the throne room, there appeared feasting tables. Most of the food were for the Riders, as all the food for the dragons in the room wouldn't have fit there, but Aatris informed there was game awaiting right outside the city, which the dragons could enjoy afterwards. But now, now was the time for feast and celebration.

 

((I hope you don't mind, Drow, that I controlled your characters a bit? ^^'))

Edited by Gildraug

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Reignon knew Ratha's expressions well enough, having interacted with her for a few good centuries. Though she didn't smile with her lips, the Dwarf registered the brighter glint to the Elf's eyes. Grinning through their mustache and beard, Reignon shook his head in response to her words. "Ay. Been hoping for good, warm, weather and the world sees fit to only yield half of that wish," they remarked with a mock scowl. Before he could say any more, Aatris' mind touched against his own, gently prodding for entrance.

 

Of course, the Dwarf yielded without hesitation, opening his mind to hear what the Dragon had to say. At the same instance, Ninarth's soothing rumble died in the hall as they focused their coppery gaze upon the Head Rider and her Dragon. Then started the alternating speech. Reignon refrained from laughing out of amusement. When Aatris stated the pair had a question for them, the Dwarf should have figured the two would end up doing this, like usual.

 

Amusement at the back-and-forth habit, Reignon's grin widened and a mischievous glint entered his gaze. "Of course! Ninarth and I have taught before but it's been awhile since we took a wee one under our wings! I'm surprised, though, that you'd offer again, knowing my antics!" he laughed, standing a bit taller as if he took pride in his pranks. Which, ultimately, he always did.

 

From the corner of their eye, they noticed Ninarth stepping forward, nudging him with their nose. 'It's because they know I can keep you reigned in. Ratha-elda, Aatris-elda. We would be honored to teach a student and their Dragon once more,' Ninarth stated, dipping their head with gratitude for the opportunity.

 

Once they'd given their answer, Ratha and Aatris set about summoning the rest of the Order. The glowing sphere that the Elven woman conjured and whispered into streaked past Reignon and Ninarth, passing through the doors just as they began to open. Tanthanion and Zencoria made their entrance, walking towards the end of the hall where everyone currently gathered. Ninarth shifted to be more at Reignon's side and out of the arriving pair's way as they began their customary introduction.

 

Now, while Reignon had respect for the Councilman, that didn't prevent Reignon from having some fun with the male. In fact, the two usually got into mild spats and other antics but nothing ever escalated out of control. A lot of the Order tended to expect the child-like exchanges almost anytime the two crossed paths. However, right now wasn't the time. Instead, Reignon turned his attention elsewhere, spying the young Urgal that stood nervously off to the side. 'Don't you dare torment the child, Reignon!' Ninarth scolded privately.

 

The Dwarf snickered, feigning innocence. 'What ever do you mean, Ninarth? You accuse me without evidence!' He laughed again, the mental sound contrasting the warning rumble that had been Ninarth's words. 'Relax. I won't scare him to death. I'll just find out who he is and why he doesn't throb with the aggression typical of his kind.' Before he could step away from the table though, people began to answer the call of Ratha and Aatris' summons. Riders and Dragons filled up the room around the table, Councilmen filling up the seats. One had to shoo the Dwarf out of their temporary seat, looking a tad indignant. The Dwarf snickered at the elderly Elf before hopping down. What could he do? He was too short to see anyone at the table comfortably without getting on of the chairs. They really should consider lowering the table for the Dwarven Riders.

 

As the room filled up, Reignon had lost sight of Elan and the Urgal, causing his original intentions of approaching to be pushed from his mind. Especially as he started to note Ratha's faintly bored expression. So many Riders, too many repetitions of the same old greeting. Reignon didn't envy her, that was for sure. Another arrival made their heads turn yet again towards the entrance but people moved out of their way this time, instead of merely shifting to avoid bumping shoulders.

 

Malven and Aurdis approached, a young Human girl in tow. Bound with magicked rope, she appeared wary of the hall's occupants. Rightly, she should be but it wouldn't do her much good. Any one of the Dragons or Riders was enough to subdue her if she tried anything. And like knew like. Reignon knew she was a troublemaker and the idea made him grin from excitement. It'd been awhile since anyone came in with the natural air of something other than "all encompassing good". That didn't outright make her a bad person, of course. Just someone to watch a little more closely. After all, the Dwarf had given his teacher one hell of a time and he wasn't a bad guy. Just fun loving.

 

In his examination of the girl, Reignon had missed about half of Malven's discussion with Ratha but, fortunately, Ninarth knew him well enough to feed him the missing information. Despite the girl's confusion and apparent state of arrival, Ratha allowed Malven to be humored and the girl to undergo the same tests as anyone else chosen by the Riders in hopes of their becoming part of the Order. With that exchange concluded, Reignon caught sight of the Urgal boy again once Malven and Aurdis stepped aside with the girl. Again, he smirked and started making his way towards Elan. Ninarth returned to Faradis' side, desiring to not overwhelm the nervous child but striving to mentally keep Reignon in check all the same.

 

"Elan! Good to see you finally back!" Reignon started, smiling warmly. Their gray eyes shifted towards the Urgal, a curious expression crossing their face. "Who's the lad? Seems a bit skittish, doesn't he?" they inquired. Jeez. Why was everyone always so tall? It hurt his neck to constantly crane it just so he could make eye contact. Circling around the horned boy, he lightly plucked and prodded the boy's clothes, appearing to inspect him. "Don't suppose he'll have difficulty with the tests and training? Things can get rather... mean. He'll have to toughen up a lot if he has any hope of surviving!" Reignon was teasing, Elan would know. However, the Urgal wouldn't know that Reignon was merely exaggerating.

 

'Hush, you worm! You'll frighten the poor thing!' came Ninarth's motherly scold. Their copper gaze roamed across the hall, examining everyone who had entered for the occasion. Reignon didn't respond to the mental words, everyone's attention diverted towards Varro and Rhaegos as they finally entered. Riders and Dragons moved out of their way, allowing them a clear path to the table where Ratha motioned for them to step within the 'U' shaped object and began the ceremony. Ninarth listened and watched with pride. Though Varro and Rhaegos had not been their student, the Dragon was always proud when the hatchlings became full-fledged Shur'tugalar. Once completed and cheers filled the hall, Ninarth roared with some of the other Dragons, their own cheer echoing through open minds.

 

"Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi. Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi. Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi."

 

Aatris announced that celebrations could commence and people started for the tables that had appeared at Ratha's beckon. Food littered the tops in fantastic display and, while the Dragons were promised their own food outside the city, Ninarth couldn't help but water at their mouth and desire to savor the various foods. Though, they controlled themself. They watched as Reignon stepped away from Elan and the Urgal, fetching himself a drink of hardy ale that Dwarves particularly enjoyed. Their Rider returned to the estranged duo, a spare glass in his hand that he offered to Elan.

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((I'll be on vacation July 10th to July 18th with little or no wifi. I may be leaving July 11th actually, but I will be doing my best with what's given to be on. If needbe, somebody can take control of Larien for the time being if I should be away.

 

Also, due to me only having my phone throughout this trip, my posts may be significantly shorter.... I apologize in advance if that should happen. (or if they suddenly become longer too- that's been known to happen as well).

 

I'll still answer pms and the like as well if anybody contacts me smile.gif ))

 

Larien was able to hear the ceremony start nearby as the Riders were holding their graduation of sorts for one of their own. She made small talk with a few of the other mages in the area, all seeming a little more curious and reserved than she had. They were newer than she to the island, so possibly also unsure about the events. The older mages stayed huddled in their own little chatter, shunning her as she stayed away from them. Despite her power and titles, she didn't belong with them by her younger age. They had all been absolutely baffled she was able to surpass the tests they too had struggled with. At such a young age too. Them alone seemed the most suspicious of her power, though with a little help of the more gullible Riders, those suspicions had been swayed. For now at least. It was only a matter of time before she was found out. She'd make sure to leave before then.

 

Mixed murmurs and mutterings happened all throughout the ceremony going on not too far away. Many of the other mages had now moved closer to be able to see it, sectioned off to their own spots with the famers and families. Larien stayed where she was, casually propped up against one of the pillars as her gaze gently traveled the room. There were tables here too for festivities, slowly being placed and moved about by others who found themselves less busy and able to lend a helping hand. She pushed herself off the pillar, deciding to help out a lonely soul who was struggling with the larger table.

 

"Here. Where you moving this to?" The shade asked kindly, although the sudden asking caused a jolt from the younger man. He shrugged. Of course, she should have expected him to not know. "Where there's room?" He somewhat tried to make a joke, and Larien let him succeed as she showed a slight smile. They waited until a few of the nearby tables were shifted to move this one. It was heavy, but nothing she couldn't handle on her end. The younger man, however, was having a bit of trouble, although he pulled through and managed to move the table to where they'd chosen to set it. "Thanks!" He exclaimed, slightly breathless with a smile. She nodded equally, grabbing a few of the place settings and setting them down onto the tables.

 

Unlike the Riders, who often got many of their tables and preparations done by others while they were busy, the less fortunate to have dragons had to do much of their work themselves. Larien included. Which, nobody really seemed to mind here. In a way it offered independence from the countless teachings going on during the day where some of them gladly needed a break. Getting to do some different work from time to time wasn't all bad. It kept everything running smoothly as the Riders tended to keeping Alagaesia a better place.

 

Ultimately, however, Larien knew in the back of her mind that these Riders who so happily sought to save the vast lands had already failed. Normally a shade would be sent right after once found out. Which, truly, never took very long if there happened to be even the slightest rumor of one having showed up. Shades themselves were rare, and rarer still did they survive the ordeals brought to them to create such terrible concoctions of sorcery. She smirked a little very quickly, turning thoughts.

 

Ra'zac were far more a threat, being able to hide from many in their well blended homes within the lands. The shade had met a few of the creatures on her travels before coming here a few months ago. Had it really been a few months since she'd been on this island? She'd lost track, never really being one for keeping time as diligently as others. But the Ra'zac held promises in threatening stature for underestimating Riders. They had just as many tricks, but unfortunately were not nearly as smart as they could have been. Their parents, the fully grown Lethrblaka were much more formidable. They were able to rival many dragons, similar in appearance and abilities as well. From the brief meeting with such creatures, Larien hadn't been able to tell if they had magic within themselves, but their sheer size and temperament wasn't anything to underestimate kindly. She'd left before overstaying her curious welcome, surely only saved by being a shade at the time.

 

An older mage slammed a glass down on a table behind Larien, upset over some matter as a liquid sloshed all over. He muttered something she didn't care enough to hear about as she walked away, realizing now that the ceremony was over. Everyone was starting to celebrate. At least the tables had been set properly now while the group of more powerful mages wandered to get their own drinks. Technically she would go with them, but Larien wasn't much for drinking for celebration. Or in general. She didn't find too much pleasure in the matter and easily found mind-games or a simple game of chess to be far more engaging.

 

More and more people filtered out of the halls, dragons and Riders alike as well as they all tried to find enough space to not only get food but have chatter. Food was outside for many of the dragons, a great place to hold them all instead of cramming in here by Larien's standards. For this place being a castle, and fairly open by castle standards to accommodate the dragons sheer sizes, the shade had expected the openness to be more, well, open. More open wallless spaces. Easy ins and outs for dragon and Rider alike, instead of constant doors and halls and more doors. But that would sacrifice safety should anyone ever dare attack such a famed island. Another small smirk before it instantly disappeared. Her thoughts were always tightly closed, it didn't matter what she thought very often. Only other Riders would dare attack this island, and so far very few of those likely to do so had been found. Those that had were preforming disappearing acts, and likely killed by their fellow brethren.

 

The shade grabbed a drink for appearances, having no intention of actually finishing it. She didn't sit, and instead wandered about casually to blend in with the others who had not yet decided to sit either. She would get out of here eventually. Hopefully sooner than later. Hopefully with no suspicion as to why she had left either, and perhaps with the hopes of returning once again. Feigning a family back home would not hurt. It wasn't often that an entire family could come to the City of the Riders. She could still keep welcomings opened with those here, and have access should she determine she indeed did wish to come back. But she would also be free to roam Alagaesia again as she had before. Hopefully the dangers of here would not be so keen to follow her where they would make such more easy prey to a shade in hiding.

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Ki'lydwn shifted from her position on the dirt floor of the cave they were currently sitting on, to a more comfortable standing pose, leaning against Slytha. In her mind, there was a whirl of words, all mixing together and forming new spells by the minute. Most were discarded, being too long to effectively utilize in the heat of battle. Some, like the one to form a candle’s flame into a different shape, would only be used for amusement. Many were attempts at stopping her fits, but many of those were discarded as well. The drain on her body to cast the spells would upset the balance of the spell itself being cast on her body, so there was no point, unless she wanted to make a spell that constantly used up energy while giving it back. However, the returning amount would be smaller, and there certainly was no point in wasting energy. If she wished to do that, growing a few plants would certainly suffice. ‘Slytha?’

 

‘Yes, little one?’ The black dragon’s thoughts trickled into Ki’lydwn’s mind, as their minds connected.

‘The new recruits should be arriving on Vroengard soon.’

‘Indeed.’

‘Shall we greet them?’

‘There is no need. They would bind us on the spot, and we’d be hard-pressed to keep that many Shur’tugalar off our backs for little over a second.’

‘Point taken.’

 

They went back to their own silent musings, Ki’lydwn coming up with lengthy spells that didn’t work, and Slytha scenting the air for any trace of prey or hunters. The Riders couldn’t have been happy to discover a talented magician like Ki’lydwn abandoning the Shur’tugalar, especially since she brought her dragon with her. Yes, they had never been the most loyal, preferring to keep to themselves even during times where they were nearly required to be social. Greeting the last generation of new Riders, for instance. They hadn’t even shown up; Ki’lydwn had been mending a sundavrblaka’s wing, which had been brutally torn in a fight with its kin.

 

Ki’lydwn shut down their mental connection, leaving only a small stream for her to know if Slytha was in any form of danger. ‘I’ll be testing a few spells outside.’ Slytha hummed, knowing her Rider wouldn’t purposely kill anything besides spiders. The Mahlaan quickly procured a wooden bowl, digging a hole in the ground below her feet and bringing water to the surface, filling the bowl with the water.

 

She first went through the wordings, two, three, four, five times. It wouldn’t do to mess this up; she only had a few chances at getting it right, considering the energy required. “Tul lom, diin riin, genun zey vuuk do dii tolaan. Ket glimrel wah tol fos Zu'u nis koraav, vos lu Zu'u hadroz genun fos Zu'u yah. Rahn tendrok do nil, voned zahraanom. Genun zey gekenlok gein Zu'u hind wah koraav, vos dii rot wundun. Genun zey faal Ra'zac! ” The spell, at first, seemed to do little but smooth out the water’s surface, but then a murky image formed. It was meant to be similar to scrying, but in truth was far more difficult. She was trying to reach that which had no form of magic, and could not normally be detected by magic.

 

Eventually, she began to see the blurry shapes of a hooded figure, cloaked in black, standing alongside a massive dragon-like creature. The first figure hissed slightly, and lifted its head to stare at where Ki’lydwn looked down at them. “What is the meaning of thissss?” It hissed, beady black eyes glaring at her.

“I merely wished to communicate with those I’m creating a magical bond for.”

“You had no reassson to magick a sssseing sspell!”

“Oh yes, I did.”

“Then what ever is the reasssson?”

“The Shur’tugalar don’t recognize it, but I’ve seen the signs of a Shade. On Vroengard. It’s more of a feeling; no normal magician possesses such an air of power and darkness.”

“Ha! A Shade, on the isssless of the Dragon Ridersss? You mock usss!”

“No, I do not.”

“Peh! If you believe yourssself to be correct, then find thissss Shade, and bring it to usss. Then we shall ssssssee.”

“Very well.”

Ki’lydwn cut the connection, letting the water return to its natural, moving state. Discussing anything with the Ra’zac always made her tense; they were the Shur’tugalar’s natural enemies, and becoming Mahlaan changed little. The lethrblaka rivaled the dragons in strength and stature, and despite them not being able to use magic, they were still fearsome creatures.

 

‘If you fear the Ra’zac and lethrblaka so much, then why do you guard their eggs, little one?’

‘Because it would guarantee a life of isolation. No one would so much as attempt to communicate with me, unless to kill or capture me, if I became known as a Ra’zac’s egg keeper. I can’t say I particularly enjoy being constantly hunted, but it provides a worthy challenge. Imagine: the best of the Riders, sent to hunt one of their own who abandoned them. What would that say to the public?’

‘That the Riders failed to keep one of their own happy and controlled.’

‘Indeed. And to be helping their enemy, as well.’

Slytha hummed, content with the answer. Ki’lydwn had only ever been alone, only ever wished to be alone.

 

Ki’lydwn donned a white cloak, letting the fabric drape over her shoulders and hide the runes she had drawn on her skin from the elbow down. A few spells later, she was equipped with enough wards to ensure that no arachnid would come within ten feet of her. It would not do for her to set a part of Vroengard on fire, for she knew no better way to be rid of the horrifying creatures. Her eyes turned from pale lavender to the midnight black of Slytha’s eyes, and her hair slowly faded into black as well. They were not normal illusions, for she had reworked her appearance to physically change. She wouldn’t stand out far too much; many elves lived on the island, and many altered their appearance for their own vanity.

 

“It would seem that I have a Shade to hunt.”

Edited by Fyonra

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((I shall post a short-ish post for today, as I need to have something before disappearing for a few days ^^' As you guys probably have seen in my signature, I shall be inactive 12.7-15.7, due to a yearly sailing trip in the Finnish archipelago biggrin.gif You guys have fun here even if I'm absent!))

 

"Elan! Good to see you finally back!" a stout dwarf approached Elan, Serbir, and Faradis as they were awaiting for Varro and Rhaegos to appear. "It is great to see you two, too, Reignon-elda, Ninarth-elda," Elan smiled and exchanged the traditional greetings with the dwarf Reignon, and their dragon, Ninarth, honoring them by uttering first. Serbir could feel at the back of his head that Faradis had, too, said the traditional words and now exchanged chit-chat with Ninarth. After they were done with the greetings, the dwarf moved their gaze at the Urgal, who shied at the stormy-gray eyes.

"Who's the lad? Seems a bit skittish, doesn't he?" they asked as they started moving around, poking at him as if he were a cow for sale, Serbir thought, uncomfortable, but did not dare to move. The dwarf was barely above his waist, but he was still slightly afraid of them. "Don't suppose he'll have difficulty with the tests and training? Things can get rather... mean. He'll have to toughen up a lot if he has any hope of surviving!"

Serbir swallowed and looked at Elan, terrified. The young Shur'tugal gave a merry laugh and pat him on his shoulder.

"Aww, Reignon-elda, you should know better than to scare little students," Elan giggled and winked to the horrified Urgal.

"A-Are the tests so tough? I, uh, mean... Like, might I accidentally d-die?" Serbir asked, his yellow eyes shining with fear. Elan pat him on his shoulder again and stuck her tounge out at the dwarf, an action which the Urgal thought to be extremely rude.

"Now look at him," Elan moaned, although her tone was still playful. Then she turned her attention back to Serbir. "No, the tests are not tough and only your fate will determine shall you pass. Reignon-elda is just teasing you, worry not." The Urgal gave a shaky laugh but felt better, nevertheless. He lifted his chin to the drawf, a tradition his race had to show respect and trust.

"I-I, uh-"

He didn't have the time to finish his sentence, before Varro and Rhaegos appeared, and his voice was drowned by the wave of voices.

 

At the power of the Head Dragon Rider's ritualistic words, Serbir had hunched his shoulders and looked warily around. So this is what it meant to be a Dragon Rider: to possess the powers of gods. Sure, his mother had shared legendary stories of the early Shur'tugalar, but never had he thought he could witness a display of their power, much less a graduation ceremony. Serbir shifted, feeling out of place and a somewhat abomination to his surroundings. Looking at the crowd, his feeling only strengthened as he could make out only a few horned heads of the Urgal, and a breath of space around them as humans, elves, and dwarves alike avoided them, some consciously and some not.

 

The only thing which brought him some sort of relief was the presence of Elan and Faradis, and the thought that he would most likely be sent home. At least he had a story to tell, Serbir thought smugly, a small spark of amusement lighting his mind. As the feasting tables appeared at Ratha's will, Serbir felt his mouth dropping open. The foods before them were fantastic: fried chicken, freshly harvested potatoes, grilled vegetables, mead which the dwarves had brought and faelnirv by the elves, different salads in all the colors of the rainbow, fishes of all sorts... Serbir could feel drool forming in his mouth, when six dwarves carried a Nagra, a giant boar native to the distant Beor Mountains. How did they even get a boar so big from all across Alagaësia? The meat would've gone bad from the long trip and... Oh yeah, magic. Never mind, then.

 

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((No problem))

 

"And so the wheel turns. Ages go by without us noticing, years are like falling leaves, quickly passing before our eyes. Yet, we cannot close our eyes from the growth of our youth. Before me stands a boy and a beast...."

Rhaegos stood there, his chest held out before him and his head inclined upwards ever so slightly as the ceremony proceedings began. He was truly a majestic creature at that moment; a dragon worthy of awe; despite his smaller stature around present company. Varro on the other hand was rather reserved, showing very little emotion throughout the ceremony. It was a rare moment for him; a moment in which he stood before a large group of people, not as an object to be admired and not touched, but as someone that held worth in the world. Still, the lack of experience in this regard was evident in his inability to conjure up the right expression to go with the occassion. He was indeed excited about the occassion, yet if you were to judge by the blank expression on his face, you would have thought otherwise.

 

"Come now, smile.." urged Rhaegos, ".. this is our moment.. stop standing there like a statue and show a bit of emotion.." he continued, the quiver of excitement in his voice all too obvious.

 

".....That they were yesterday. But today, today you shall become a Rider and a Dragon, for you have completed your training. Today, you, Varro, shall receive your Rider's sword and acquire all the responsibilities, rights, and duties of a Rider in full."

 

As Ratha finished, an elf approached from a side-room on the right, she carried with her a presence like no other, the fabled Rhunon that many riders held in high regard, her hardship and skillmanship in the art of blacksmithing giving birth to many famous swords. Both Varro and Rhaegos gulped as she approached, her hands clasped around her latest masterpiece.

"Take good care of it, you hear me?"

"I will.." replied Varro, his voice low so that only those in present company could hear. Just by touching it, he could already feel that this sword was solely meant for him and that no other sword in existence would suit him more then this would. He was at a lost for words.

"Rider, what shall thou name thine sword?"

"A name... what should I call it?" thought Varro, his thoughts entering Rhaegos's conciousness, "This is something you must decide for yourself.." replied the dragon, "My species is not well known for their ability to give names... had the decision be mine, I would call it Fangbiter... or perhaps SkinSplitter.." the dragon continued to drum up several more names before returning to a serious tone. "... alas, the decision is yours and yours alone... think well before you make the final decision."

Varro studied the sword for several more minutes, grasping its hilt slowly and marvelling at how perfect it felt against his palm. Upon unsheathing the sword, the words of the ancient language rang through his mind, the meaning behind them drawing a small smile from the boy. It was perfect. "I name it Vindr Reona" he spoke, drawing a nod of approval from Rhaegos. In common tongue, that would have translated to Wind Reaper.

"Enmindok! Us mii kriist yun Shur'tugal, zahkrii ko ok haal ahrk ok dovah naal ok reid. Varro! Rhaegos! Hi los nu Shur'tugal ahrk Dovah ko sil, zii, ahrk sos. Dreh hi kaat, ko daar tinvok do kruziik, wah aam faal Uth?"

"Mu kaat," Varro and Rhaegos replied in union, their words striking at the ears of the listeners like bell tolls. They had sworn in the Ancient Language, and this vow would hold unless they decided to throw everything away and become a Mahlaan.

"Ahrk dreh hi kaat wah skilaan thun ahrk drem pah yaav Alagaësia, vos hin jormaar drahlun wah gram hin hah?"

"Mu kaat."

"Ruz Zu'u, Ratha Ariamaya, ahrk dii feliig, Aatris, naal dii suleyk ol faal Klov Shur'tugal, enfan voknau hi tet do Shur'tugal. Aal fil lingraav avok hi,"

 

Varro blushed ever so slighty as he was kissed upon the brow, his sudden show of emotion illicitating a slight chuckle from Rhaegos, he would have to tease his rider about it at a later date. When Aatris approached, both Rider and Dragon could only gawk at the regality the old wise dragon carried with him. Truely a speciman worthy of the title Dragon. The soft exhale from his nostril's as he exhaled washed over the pair, a warm embracing presence carried along within it.

 

As Ratha returned to the throne, a chorus of roars and hums echoled through the large hall, their cheer's reverberating against the walls seemingly increasing the volume even more. Soon the food was revealed and the festivities began. Varro bowed before Ratha as well as the council members before taking the steps down into the main area. Several of the riders placed their hands on Varro, ruffling his hair, patting his back; all of them congratulating him as he joined their ranks. Truthfully, the whole event was quickly becoming overwhelming for the boy. Whilst large crowds and festivities were of the norm for him, his usual role was to be the 'exquisite object' to be admired, rather then to be the focal point of the event itself.

 

Taking a deep breath, he thanked the riders for their congratulatory comments before using his small lithe figure to meander his way into a more open area. Rhaegos on the other hand had left to join several other dragons who were preparing to hunt for game.

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"'zil dos telanth." He nods, bowing once more before he goes to sit at the table, taking the seat to Ratha's left. His mind was full of worry once again, a Shade was likely in Gilead, a Shade seemed to be on Doru Araeba and though he didn't see them, he suspected the Ra'zac are running in Alagaesia. This does not bode well. Not at all. He pushes his thoughts away as the doors open to admit Malvin the Jolly and Aurdis, but the third member of the group caught his eye. The girl was fiery, but he was irritated at the fact that Malvin led the girl bound by the wrists. His eyes narrowed dangerously.

 

Zencoria, sitting behind her Rider, hummed soothingly, 'At a later time, Tanthanion, we still need to discuss with Ratha Svit-kona. We may then have a discussion with Malven concerning his...methods.'

 

Grumbling silently, Tanthanion maintains a neutral face as Malvin approaches Ratha's throne.

 

"I know I wasn't set out to search for potential Shur'tugal, Ratha-elda, but nevertheless I am certain I have found one. By quite the chance, too. She might be a handful--" Malven paused and glanced at the girl next to him, whose eyes were full of rage and hate, "--but I have confidence she'll pass the trials."

 

"I shall allow her for the trials. If her dez, fate, is to be a Shur'tugal, it will be proven in the Vault of Souls. Malven-vodhr, this lady shall be your responsibility until it is proven whether or not she is to become a Rider. If she, however, fails the tests, she must be taken back from whence she came from," Ratha said to Malven, much to Tanthanions' intrigue. The child has spunk, he has to admit. Perhaps she can become a Shur'tugal, but she possesses a rage that can be dangerous in their Order.

 

"A Rider? You think I'm going to be a Rider?" the bound female exclaimed and he inwardly winced. The scorn in her voice was plain to everyone. Indeed if she became a Shur'tugal, she would need to temper her anger. Desperately.

 

The audience chamber was nearly full and the Councilmen have taken their seats at the table, he allowed himself to take a look at the gathering and saw an Urgal standing timidly next to Elan and one of his eyebrows raised up in curiousity. Another Urgal? Is he a potential Rider? Interesting... He does not contain the rage or pride typical of his kind. Tanthanion thinks to himself and Zencoria shares in his curiosity but he smiles regardless, especially when the Urgal becomes a bit more unnerved when Reignon says something, probably concerning the trials. This shall prove most interesting. The doors to the Hall opened and revealed the duo of the hour, Varro and the dragon Rhaegos. While he had no hand in training them, Tanthanion feels a sense of pride to gaze upon the two.

 

"We are here to answer the summoning," Varro said.

Ratha then nodded in response. "So you have. Today, you, Varro and Rhaegos, shall not leave this Hall of Echoes the same as you were before. For today, you two shall become a Rider and a Dragon truly in blood, soul, and spirit." Tanthanion beams at the two and once all Shur'tugalar are present, the ceremony begins with Ratha and Aartis rising and when all is silent, she begins with her speech. At the proper time, Rhunön enters bearing the newest Rider's Sword, which she gives to Varro before she retreats.

 

As the speech ends, the assembled Riders cheer, "Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi. Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi. Mu gruz hi ahrk mu valokein hi." Tanthanion says heartily. As the procession makes their way to the feast, Tanthanion remains seated, preferring to be one of the last to leave.

Edited by Epyon

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The celebration was merry, with food filling the stomach of everyone within the Hall of Echoes - the dragons departing to hunt and eat the game outside of the city but returning before the end of the celebration - and mead flowed like water. Laughter was frequent and the discussions were interesting and their voices loud but happy. Ratha had remained with the Council, eating in peace the food servants brought to the table and the members speaking with lower voices, enjoying the celebrations rather than joining them. This was different for Aatris, who had taken upon him to talk with as many people and dragons as possible, their conversations trickling to Ratha at the back of her mind. She was happy, as was Aatris, and their happiness made the other one even happier. The sun was at its height, almost all of the food had been eaten although there had been plenty, and people were mostly sitting on the brought benches, talking and drinking, when Ratha stood up again, causing a ripple in the hall as others did so, some wobbling on their feet and a few falling altogether, just to be supported with their fellow people and laughing meanwhile.

 

"I hope you have enjoyed your food, mead, and company here. But, alas, our duties now call to us, and this celebration must come to its end. I thank for all of you for arriving here, and may the stars watch over you all," Ratha announced with a fairly happy voice and Aatris hummed deeply after she was done. Most of the guests bowed as a thanks and then in a steady stream, if somewhat unorganized, the guests left, the Shur'tugalar returning to their duties and the merchants, farmers, and important people to theirs. Only a few remained, most of them those Shur'tugalar who had also been first to arrive, and the others talking in groups on the sides of the Hall and a few enjoying in solitude the last sip of mead before the servants took away the tables and food. Ratha descended from her throne, Aatris close behind, and some of her sharp posture relaxed when she was on the same level as everyone else - save for Reignon. They walked closer to the others and nodded to them.

 

"Varro, Rhaegos. We shall give your first mission in a moment, so please don't leave quite yet. Serbir, and... What would be her name, Malven? I doubt she wants to tell it herself."

"Daena, Ratha-elda," Malven said cheerfully and Ratha nodded.

"Serbir and Daena, I shall take you to your tests after I have given Varro and Rhaegos their mission. But for now, please wait for a moment longer," she said and then turned back towards the Councilmen's table, walking briskly to Tanthanion and Zencoria, Aatris remaining behind to talk with those the Head Dragon Rider had left behind. Stopping before Tanthanion and Zencoria, the two of them rose and bowed their head respectfully. Casting a quick spell so that none could eavesdrop their conversation physically nor mentally, Ratha looked at the pair and tilted her head in inquiry.

"Ji, vel'bol zhah nindol klez dos ssinssrinil ulu telanth bauth? Ol z'klaen tlu folbol d'zhennu guthlimia," Ratha said with a steady voice, still using the secret language of theirs - just in case.

 

'I hope you all enjoyed the ceremony,' Aatris said happily, the massive orange dragon's warm breath washing over all before him as he exhaled. He couldn't hear the conversation his partner-of-heart-and-mind was having with Tanthanion and Zencoria due to Ratha's magic, but he wasn't worried, sure that his partner would share everything of importance once they were done. Serbir had eaten barely anything due to his anxiety, but he didn't dare to say anything about it. He was satisfied for now and that was enough. The upcoming tests were now so much closer, so the Urgal was shifting on his feet, hoping he would have something to put his energy and worry into. A Shur'tugal walked closer, with a huge red dragon behind him, although Aatris was bigger still. The Shur'tugal, a male with dark brown hair and gray eyes, bowed his head slightly and repeated the traditional greetings, whilst his dragon did neither of those, merely snorted a little bit smoke.

"The ceremony was wonderful, Aatris," the male said, his voice pleasant and calm. The orange dragon nodded in response, his satisfaction obvious.

'Yeah, it was quite fine, but did you really have to make it so bone-dry? And when I say bone-dry it's like as dry as a bone from which all the marrow has been sucked away and then left into the sun for as long as you are old now, Aatris,' the red dragon said boldly, his tone playful.

'That is great to hear, Jorundr. And Amontien, that is the same greeting you heard when graduating,' Aatris replied and the red dragon, Amontien, made a low laugh.

'Is that so? I didn't even listen half of the ceremony. Jorundr had to nudge me when we gave our promises. Not that I even recall what was it that we promised.'

Jorundr sighed at his dragon's reply and looked around those still gathered around.

"My, nice to see new faces. I hope we will get better acquainted soon," Jorundr said and smiled slightly. "I am Jorundr, and my partner is Amontien."

Edited by Gildraug

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Mia relaxed her grip on the spike in front of her, but only slightly. While she'd expected flying atop a dragon to be awesome, she hadn't factored in quite how high they went. She figured she;d get used to it, though. Taking a breath, she looked up and smiled at the rightful Rider sitting behind her.

"Thank you for bringing me here. I know my dragon is out there - they have to be."

"Oh it's okay darling, I'm sure you'll get a dragon. They're beautiful creatures," Wrekin stroked Kyf's gleaming lilac scales lovingly, "and I'm sure you'll pass the test."

Leaning a little closer to the young girl on her dragon, Wrekin whispered in Mia's ear. "To be completely honest, it's mostly hype. The test isn't hard at all - getting a dragon to hatch is the hard part." She smiled and leaned back. "Anyway, good luck! Kyf lowered a wing and Mia slithered clumsily to the floor. She listened intently to the directions, thanked Wrekin for her kindness in ferrying her to Vroengard, and waved until rider and dragon disappeared.

 

Here she was. Years of waiting, training and journeying were leading up to this. She would pass the Test. She would find her dragon, and her destiny. She would be the best Rider in the history of all Agalaesia!

 

Mia was just the tiniest bit short of breath after running to the Hall of Echoes, and she paused just outside. She could hear voices inside. Suddenly shy, it took a few moments of courage-building to push a crack open in the huge wooden door and step through. There seemed to be a feast on, and nobody really noticed her entrance. Remembering the description Wrekin had given her of Ratha, she made her way over to a woman, composing herself as she walked; head held high, shoulders back, walk with a purpose. She was about to become a Rider.

 

"Excuse me," she said politely. "Are you Ratha? My name is Mia, and I'm here to become a Rider."

Edited by Zeditha

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((I'm oddly enough actually back a day early. Beat the traffic too. But I won't be on as often until Monday sometime due to a bunch of graduation parties i have tomorrow and sunday....

 

Oh and hi Zeditha! Fancy seeing you here lol (but no seriously, hello) ))

 

Larien waited to file out with the other wizards as the festivities were deemed over now. She still had the drink, barely touched, and didn't actually have any plans at the moment. But she knew the drill. The new Rider would get a mission; the other Riders would go about their business and missions as they normally did on any given day. Some would teach too between downtime, as well as the wizards who were worthy enough to teach such prized people of Alagaesia.

 

The shade, however, decided today would be a day off for her. She'd gotten permission from a few of the other Riders for such a day, even though she had nothing planned to do within that time. Perhaps the library or more trials on potions and herbs again. But no, she'd exhausted the experiments for now and needed a few more days for the current ones running to cultivate more. That ruled out experimenting altogether then.

 

Library? She was headed that direction anyways, now out wandering the grounds still holding the glass. First to get rid of the glass then, as she headed back to put this down as if she hadn't realized she had it. There she spotted the Head Rider beginning to speak with the Riders that had stuck by. She didn't intrude, knowing her place, and quietly set the glass down before starting to leave again.

 

An older wizard lingered at the door with a disapproving scowl plastered on his face. Larien ignored him for the moment, walking to the door he was standing in as it was the only proper way out without disturbing the conversing Riders and their dragons. That was when the older man stepped out of the way, letting her past, before following her out. "One particular dragon seems to still be looking for you. He's said something about having met you before." The older man stated as if not really surprised, but more crudely disappointed in Larien herself. She didn't even stop walking. "Brown dragon with gold flecks? He's just sour I can see through his grand facade of being the best dragon there ever was in the land." She responded with a mocking tone still without stopping. "Sour. Challenged you to a fight to prove actually, against his Shur'tugalar's wishes." The wizard responded as he followed her.

 

A fight? He had to be kidding. Larien's abrupt stop nearly ran the wizard into her as she turned around with an amused look. "Reaaally now?" She added, not believing him. Though, he wasn't the sort to lie. The nod seemed to confirm it. They both knew fighting amongst Rider and dragons together was discouraged, but a wizard fighting a dragon was unheard of. "I'll kindly decline. That dragon has nothing to prove to me." The shade started to walk again as the old wizard stopped her. "Avoid the main roads then, as the dragon is looking for you quite feverishly. You have insulted his honor." She was quite aware of that. The dragon needed the wakeup call anyways.

 

The shade didn't respond to the warning, changing her course to a less traveled road for a second. Except she stopped again. Dragons were smart, and the word spreading to avoid the main roads possibly meant the less traveled roads were more a target. She'd chance the main roads then, despite the warning. If that dragon happened to be there, then she would deal with it accordingly. But hopefully word had spread enough to other Riders that she wouldn't need to.

 

((said dragon in question is completely made up. if needbe, feel free to make it do whatever.

 

@Gildraug: My pm system is being wonky. Works and doesn't. I get them, but for some strange reason tonight I can't send this to you. So here it is. I mention having been challenged to a fight by a dragon and knowing that's probably not allowed, i've done nothing. Would such a thing possibly be allowed if deemed worthy enough due to insults and honor and whatnot? I have no idea if you have a rule for this in this establishment and I wish not to overstep boundaries.))

Edited by Dragonhatchling

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Daena's bright eyes surveyed the ceremony with a glimmer of interest. She wanted to ignore everything, to shut her eyes and hold her breath until she could wake up in her dingy cot under the abandoned apothecary and forget any of this ever happened. As if she could ever be a dragon rider-! Not only was that absurd, but completely out of the question. If her mother ever got wind of this, that she was even being considered for the opportunity... Daena's eyes fluttered close for a brief moment, brows drawn together in a small grimace of pain. Heavens forbid she actually became a Shur'tugal.

 

The young rider that presented with his white dragon accepted a beautifully crafted sword, and Daena eyed the masterpiece with curiosity. Her mother had a sword of similar nature, only its blade was a beautiful shimmering turquoise blue with a silvery hilt. Rawen never spoke much of Aeldaer, but seeing now the resemblance between Varros's new blade and his dragon was enough for Daena to draw the conclusion that Aeldaer must have been a brilliant blue color. Part of her attempted to entertain the thought of becoming a Shur'tugal, and what her own dragon might look like... but she could picture nothing, and she cast away the thought bitterly. As the ceremony ended, Daena turned away, fastening her gaze on wherever a dragon was not.

 

When the silver-haired elf began to speak again, Daena glanced over at Malven and immediately glowered. The only way he knew her name was from the curses that accompanied it from the inn keeper that threw her out the first night she had ever met Malven and Aurdis. But she would be damned if she ever let him-- or anyone else-- know of her surname. Not only would that be grounds for immediate expulsion (which, at the moment Daena wouldn't have minded) but she could only imagine what kind of spells they might cast on her in order to locate Rawen's whereabouts. She shuddered lightly at the thought and braced herself when Malven pulled gently on the rope that bound her wrists.

 

"You should eat! I bet you've never had a feast like this in your life before," he said merrily, pulling her forward until her knees almost touched the seats at the large table. He wasn't wrong-- Daena had never seen this much food (some of which appeared foreign entirely) much less tasted anything of the sort. But instead of seating herself and partaking in the festivities, she glared at Malven from the corner of her eyes.

 

"I didn't ask to be here," she hissed at him, straining against the rope when he attempted to cox her closer to the food again. "I didn't ask for any of this!"

 

Malven frowned and opened his mouth to reply, but Aurdis interjected kindly as she craned her golden head closer to the angry young woman, 'I am certain you hadn't asked to be a thief, either. Do you honestly desire that life above that of the Shur'tugalar? This is an opportunity for a new life. Would you tell me truthfully that you had never asked for a fresh start?'

 

Daena scowled. Her old life was nothing to yearn for, that was certain, but it was familiar. It was safe, because it was what she knew and what she drew comfort from. This place was strange, alien even, and full of the magic Daena had promised herself never to touch again. She would be betraying her greatest conviction by participating in such a life... and yet, she still couldn't deny that there was a mysterious allure to the presence of dragons and the elaborate decor around her. She tilted her chin up to look at Aurdis square in the eye. "Fine. I'll try these trials. But the moment I fail, you are to take me home and never contact me again," she demanded, and the gold dragon recoiled slightly from the venom in the thief's voice out of surprise.

 

Aurdis blinked slowly at Daena. After a moment, she said, 'I promise, young one. Now, would you humor me and eat something? At least you could be well fed before returning.'

 

She refrained from rolling her eyes, but the dragon had a point. Slowly, Daena studied the contents of the feast laid out on the stone table before them. A moment's decision led her to pluck a round, glossy green apple from one of the baskets. She bit into it carefully; the burst of crisp sweetness startled her, the juice of it causing her tongue to tingle. She'd never tasted anything of the sort before! All of the apples Daena had ever ate were bruised and likely several days old. Briefly, Daena wondered if magic had anything to do with how incredible it tasted.

 

She nibbled at the apple silently as the folk around them milled about. Malven preoccupied himself by joking around with a young maid that passed by, and Aurdis hummed at the purple dragon Faradis in greeting. Daena's gaze landed, once more, on the Urgal, as well as the new company that surrounded him. A dwarf with a copper-colored dragon was humoring himself with the Urgal's discomfort. Daena watched with sharp eyes, guarded but curious. Like the beautiful elves, she had never set eyes on a dwarf before, only heard of them in passing tales and jests. She was so intrigued by him that she did't realize Malven had started making his way towards the others until she suddenly stumbled forward from the pull on the rope.

 

Irritated, she yanked back on the rope, nearly ripping it out of the old man's hands. "Calm there, girl," he said, the faintest hint of a warning in his voice. She bared her teeth at him in a sneer, but someone new was approaching; a human man and a massive red dragon drew close, the latter bantering lightly with the large orange dragon that had been draped around the throne of the silver haired elf. The red dragon seemed bold and overly confident, whereas his rider Daena noticed, was far more mellow. It was a strange dynamic, and she couldn't help but lift a brow as he introduced himself to the group. Malven ignored Daena for a moment to greet Jorundr and his dragon, but his grip tightened on the rope.

 

Her green-blue eyes shifted back over to the one called Ratha. This woman appeared to be in command, a leader of some sorts-- she must have been the famed Head Rider, a position that Rawen declared should have belonged to herself. Daena wondered if this was the same Head Rider that her mother studied under all those years ago; the one that she cursed and swore about rabidly, as if Rawen had fallen victim to some great conspiracy. A small pang of fear thudded in her chest. If this was the same Head Rider, would she recognize Daena as one of Rawen's blood? She hadn't seen her mother in years, but in her bones she knew there was a great resemblance between herself and the woman that abandoned the Shur'tugalar for greater, more fearsome power. Would they even allow Daena anywhere close to the Vault of Souls if they knew her heritage?

 

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