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Shur'tugalar - The Dragon Riders

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"Thati," Tanthanion began. "I request that you suppress your excitement and understand that this assignment is as dangerous as any that could be assigned. You have heard the rumors, surely. Our task is simple but it is fraught with danger. I know of your demeanor and I cannot stress enough that you must take this more seriously than anything else," as he spoke, he mounted Zencoria, his armor gleaming faintly in the waning sunlight.

 

'Your partner of heart seems a might too eager for for this, Däynr. But I suppose it's an excitement borne of ignorance to the purpose of this mission,' Zencoria said. 'We shall rectify that now.'

 

Tanthanion nodded to Zencoria. "Our mission is to investigate and scout out the reports of Shades and Ra'zac. I know where the Ra'zac are, so we merely need to go there. The Shade is the most elusive. However, I have placed some animal scouts to aid us. Our first stop for this trip is Carvahall, your home if I am not mistaken? Come, let us be off. For the good of Alagäesia!"

 

With that, Zencoria launched herself into the wind, spreading her wings to catch it and propel herself high into the darkening sky. She circled until Dänyr became airborne and joined her in formation, just off her left wingtip, before turning to the southeast for Carvahall. 'Do you think we will be able to do all we need to do in a fortnight, Tanthanion?' she asked him.

 

'I see no reason why not,' he replied. 'Three days spent in Gil'ead to investigate this Shade, five days monitoring Helgrind and the cult in Dras-Leona. Two days to fly south.'

'South? How far south, and why? Is it about that strange elven girl?' Zencoria asked, to Tanthanion's affirming hum.

 

'She looks familiar, Zencoria. I am going to the village Lianthorn collected her from and ask the village council about her and who brought her there. Thati will prove instrumental in this with her knack for diplomacy.'

 

'But familiar how? Surely not a girl from Du Weldenvarden, and not your fallen mate-" Zencoria stopped herself as understanding struck her. 'You believe she's your missing child, Ariawynn,' she said, sounding more like a statement than a legitimate question.

 

Tanthanion hummed his affirmation, though tears began to form in his eyes. 'She looks so much like her mother, Zencoria. Like Thessalia. It cannot be mere coincidence that my missing child, borne to two Riders has returned as an apprentice, looking so much like her mother, all except her eyes and skin tone. So long has it been, Zencoria. Here now that it looks like my daughter has come to me after years of sorrow and fruitless searches. I just want there to be proof that this isn't a trick of the Fates. If it indeed is her... my heart is both filled with joy and fear, I have missed so much of her life. Could she possibly forgive me if she believes I had abandoned her?' He didn't realize that in the course of his words, the tears fell freely in streams down his face. 'I must know the truth,' he said after he took several moments to calm himself.

 

After two hours worth of flying, Zencoria landed in the market square of Carvahall. When Dänyr landed, Tanthanion nodded to Thati for her to go and greet her family members if she so wished while he dismounted and stretched his legs. He held up two fingers before he took hold of his waterskin. Twenty minutes before they would continue on.

 

After those twenty minutes, Zencoria launched herself into the night sky. Once Thati and Dänyr joined them in the air, she led the way southeast to Gil'ead. Being alone among the sky and stars with clouds passing every now and again was always his favorite thing. It gave him time to think and to thank whatever god was listening for him to be alive. Zencoria took care to stay clear of the city proper, luckily the clouds became thicker, blotting out the moonlight while they landed just in front of Marna, behind the river that ran from Isenstar. Tanthanion then dismounted and waved Thati over. "We will walk to Gil'ead from here, stay close to me. It shouldn't take us long before we get to a ridge overlooking the town. From there, I will converse with a couple animals I left watching."

 

He led off from there, true to his word, they came to the ridge where it looked like somebody made a camp some time ago in a hole deep enough to lay down and be unseen. "Good, everything is still in place. Even the spyglass." Once they were settled in, he made an owl call and a great horned owl alighted in front of them. "It is so good to see you, my little friend. Show me what you have seen," he asked it before it closed its eyes and he closed his. The owl showed him sight images of everything it has seen in the past few days. After nightfall there seemed to be one figure that was always remaining hidden from everyone else and Tanthanion thought they looked elven with dark colored hair, it was fairly recent as there wasn't much hazing to the picture. The images soon stopped and he nodded his thanks to the owl. "Thank you, please continue watching." The owl gave a hoot before flying away. "It is likely here still. Look for an elf."

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Sundav walks through the woods along the small trampled path out to her herbal garden. A normal evening, biding her time.

 

This is pathetic. I loathe having to restrict my magical powers, but I must keep suspicion low while I formulate my plans and garner my magic... There is much to be done.

 

Then, she stopped in her tracks at the edge of the ridge. Something was here. She was being observed. Even aware of this, she tried to look normal and double-checked the potency of her glamour: strong enough to make her look human, but not to the point of suspicion.

 

Who is that? Actually, it doesn't matter. Someone's here watching me- wait, two people. Well, I probably shouldn't be concerned.They might not see through my glamor, and if they can or don't care I can always fight them off.

 

Sundav clutched the dagger on her belt beneath the gray cloak she wore, but kept walking.

 

She could see the garden now; in the crater, partly concealed, was a variety of herbs growing here. Now taking out the knife, she started to cut select flowers and leaves, for grinding up later to be used in remedies. This was how she made her living, after all; Even so, she never let her guard down, intensely aware of her surveillance.

 

Let my observers show themselves, that I might allay their suspicions or punish their ill will!

Edited by Coryn02

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From near the entrance to the cavern, Guin heard his name called by the rough voice of his comrade, Janyr. The dwarf turned to see the man standing close to a willowy, silver-haired elf girl, who appeared no more thrilled to be there amongst the rows of glittering dragon eggs than she had been standing alone in the Hall. He narrowed his eyes beneath thick, wiry peppered eyebrows. Aye, this was the girl that the elf Lianthorn had brought as an apprentice from somewhere in the pits of the South. While most of the whispers he'd heard from the other Riders had been more concerned with Lianthorn-- it was no secret that this was not the first apprentice he'd brought to Doru Araeba, but including her, there weren't many to begin with, nor did many of them show that much promise-- there remained some secrecy regarding the elf girl herself. As she stood there, as still and stiff as the statue outside the cavern, Guin wondered why Lianthorn had bothered to bring her at all.

 

Guin stepped closer to Janyr and peered up at the overly-hairy human rider with mild confusion. "What's the matter, eh?" he ventured, glancing momentarily at the elf. He surveyed her with brief interest as Janyr raised his own bushy brows. Had Janyr not been as tall as an elf, he would have easily passed for a dwarf for as much hair surrounded his head and face. "Seems like she's not interested."

 

"What's that?" Janyr repeated, sounding dumbfounded. "She's a rider, ain't she? She's gotta be interested!" He was not a terribly old Rider, at least compared to the dwarf in front of him, but Janyr had seen many seasons and was not so naive as to think an apprentice could simply just refuse. Maybe he hadn't been present at enough choosing ceremonies... but this sounded, well, absurd.

 

Guin stroked at his braided beard. At some point in the past, the beard had been a glossy black with his youth, but now the roots of it was bleached white and silver in his mounting age, and the majority of the dark hair had been overtaken. He'd only seen a few in his time refuse their calling, and most of them ended up with darker futures, or short ones. He figured this one would be no different. "Who knows?" he said gruffly, grunting as the elf blinked down at him with her cobalt eyes. Unsettling eyes, they were, especially set into a face that looked fleetingly familiar. "Maybe she's just a damn dud, or maybe she just don't plain like followin' directions." At that, he noticed her stare harden. Curious. After a brief moment of consideration, he added in a more nonchalant manner, "Can't see why they'd bring a trouble maker in here, though. Can't stand rule breakers meself."

 

"I am not a trouble maker," came Ariawynn's soft voice, yet there was the slightest edge of conviction to it that Guin did not miss. She still stood demure and reserved, her slightly drooping ears contributing to her fragile demeanor. Yet the alienness of her face, and the strength he could feel in her thin body, coupled with the confidence that flavored her words...well, it was simply just a bizarre mixture.

 

He raised an eyebrow at her. "Don't seem like anything else but that, girl. We've been so gracious as to accept you into our home and into our sacred space, and ya just stand there like yer better than the rest o' us? Can't even indulge our traditions fer yer own ego."

 

Something sparked in her eyes. "That's-- that's not true," she said, faltering slightly.

 

"Aye, it is. Ought to send ya right back to where ya came from and tell yer family you ain't any better at followin' the rules than a wild dog." There-- that struck home. Janyr would have missed it entirely, but Guin saw the twitch in the elf's cheek, and knew that it amounted to a flinch for her. His curiosity darkened into suspicion. She was an odd one, and he was certainly not one to be judging the natural behaviors of elves-- bah at the lot of 'em, he'd used to say-- but that was not the way elven children were supposed to act in the face of looming punishment. Or any children, really. She was more like a whipped dog than a wild one.

 

 

Ariawynn didn't know how to process this. The short human that the other rider had called over seemed pleasant enough, but now he was angry-- or so she perceived, given his threats-- and she was caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, all she'd wanted since setting foot in Doru Araeba was to go back home. But then, on the other, facing her family in the knowledge that she'd been disobedient? Would they even take her back, knowing she'd disobeyed orders? Or, then her other choice would be to return home as a dragonless disappointment. A failure. Ariawynn took a deep breath to calm herself. Perhaps that wouldn't be so bad, though. It wasn't as if they were expecting her to become a Rider, after all. Maybe they were waiting for her to return home and resume her duties and forget all of this had ever happened. She hesitated, however; what if they abandoned her anyway, for being as unworthy as she was?

 

A large, wide hand suddenly appeared in front of her face. Ari blinked down at the short, cinderblock-built man that held up his hand to her, beckoning with a slight curl of his meaty fingers. She waited a moment, staring at him, and he said, "If you can prove to me that you truly don't belong here, then I'll take you back home meself and tell yer folks you did yer best." This time his voice was gentler, encouraging almost, and after a moment she slipped her thin hand into his open palm. It was warm and rough, like him. As he offered her a small smile behind his curled beard, she found herself liking this strange little man. She followed after him as he tugged her toward the rows of eggs.

 

Behind them, Janyr stood scratching at his beard and muttering something about absurdity.

 

More than once Ariawynn had to stop among the eggs, and it wasn't to look closer. Her chest felt tight under the pressure of the magic blanketing the entire room. Guin was patient, and waited with her until she gathered her bearings. It longer than he anticipated, but soon she was able to walk between the cushions with a bit of ease, peering down at her reflection as it rippled across the curved surfaces of the gleaming, metallic eggs that they passed. They were beautiful, but she dared not touch them. What if they broke? Guin didn't appear to be bothered by her logic, and instead chuckled, leading her onward. Some of the eggs glistened like precious gemstones, or glittered like hunks of polished crystal, while others yet shimmered with the soft iridescence of a pearl. She gripped his hand the entire time as if her ability to move depended on it.

 

Ariawynn wasn't sure they were ever going to make it through all of the eggs. She watched some of the other apprentices shriek or exclaim their success, until soon it seemed like all of them but her had found their fated egg. Of course, she knew it wouldn't, but there was a certain element of anxiety in the back of her mind at the thought that they would all be waiting on her to finish up. At this, Ariawynn subconsciously pulled forward, walking quicker. Guin kept up with her easily. He, however, was under the impression she was hot on the trail of something, and said, "Why don't you take the lead? I'm right behind ya!"

 

She made it to the end of that row, and nearly bowled into an Urgal boy holding a stunning green egg in his hands that was rocking violently in his grip. Chips of the shell popped off and Ariawynn barely jerked away in a fluid, dance-like motion to keep herself from knocking the egg to the floor. The Urgal boy turned and snapped, "Hey, watch it!" as she stepped back, and then continued to race over to where the Head Rider stood to show her the hatching egg. Guin grunted and commented after him, "Now there's a fool who can't follow directions, eh?"

 

Ari turned, staring at the rows. Which one had she come out of? The anxiety burned at her feet now. Without waiting for Guin, she made for a random row and hurried down it, barely looking at the eggs as she passed. She could hear the chatter of the other apprentices and twisted down another row. Then another. And another. Occasionally she paused to look around and then continued on down a different row. After a while, she realized Guin was nowhere to be found, and came to an abrupt halt in the center of a row.

 

He came down the row a moment later at a brisk walk, chuckling. She frowned at him, and he waved at something behind her. "Now then, what's the matter?" he asked, and she could hear the amusement in his voice, as if he was aware of something she wasn't. Her gaze narrowed slightly.

 

"I- I think I'm a little lost," she said faintly, glancing around at the other rows. It felt like she hadn't made any progress at all.

 

Guin's chuckle increased to a deep laughter. "Aye, maybe. We all are from time to time," he said, winking. He was met with a blank stare again, and added, "I don't think yer lost at all, girl. I think yer right where you wanted to be."

 

There was a twinge of confusion and annoyance in her face. "I don't want to--" she started, but he cut her off by raising his big hand to silence her.

 

"This row here, that we're standing in," he said kindly, "you've gone down it twelve times already. Stopped right where you are every time." Again, there was something in his voice, something he wasn't saying-- something he was implying, but Ariawynn could make neither heads nor tails of what it was supposed to mean.

 

"I'm lost," she repeated, as if it made perfect sense.

 

Guin raised an eyebrow at her. "That so, then?" His gaze flickered to something behind her again. Then, suddenly, he moved toward her, and she immediately stepped back. But instead of earth, her foot hit the soft plush of a pillow. Guin barked, "Don't tip over that egg!"

 

Ariawynn whirled around. The cushion she'd kicked held a large, pearlescent egg that blushed a soft shade of rose, though from the glow of the crystals or the actual hue of the shell, it was nearly impossible to tell. The egg wobbled slightly, and, frightened that she'd break it, Ariawynn's hand shot out to steady it on the pillow. The shell was hot under her touch. Without warning, it toppled forward at her feet. Startled, she jerked her hand away, but to her dismay a hairline crack flitted over the top of the shell from where her fingers had made contact, multiplying until a small piece fell away and landed on the dusty floor.

 

"Guin! I broke it!" she gasped, kneeling beside the cushion.Then, as if she were a young child incapable of witnessing her mistake, she clamped her hands over her eyes and bent low in her shame.

 

After a long moment, Ari felt Guin's hand on her shoulder. It was not the reprimanding touch of a superior, like Brunn's, but gentle and patient. She slowly looked up at him from her hands. He was short enough that he didn't have to crouch beside her to reach her shoulder, but that also meant she could clearly see his face. But where she expected to see a flush of anger, or even a stone cold disappointment, there remained the same, twinkling smile of amusement that he'd been wearing before the egg had crumbled from her clumsiness.

 

"You did great," he said gently. He pushed lightly on her shoulder, and slowly, Ariawynn turned her head to see the broken egg shell. Half of it had crumbled, and the other sat rocking empty on its side. Between the two, a wet-looking creature unfurled itself onto unsteady legs. Its body was covered in tiny, sparkling scales that gleamed from the slick innards of the egg. Two bright, pale gold eyes blinked up at her. An odd twitter of noise rose from it as it tilted its head to the side.

 

Ariawynn stared, and Guin's loud, belly-aching guffaws echoed around them.

Edited by Shiny Hazard Sign

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(Quick post to get things moving again.

 

Please direct any and all messages to me)

 

How long have they been there sitting in a pit waiting for an elven shade to appear? Quite a long time, it feels like. However, Tanthanion kept careful track of the passage of time and this night was one without the moon. Thati tried to be patient, but the restless fire hair soon grew impatient after two days. "I feel like we've been here forever!" she whined quietly. "I don't see any sign of the shade! Just humans! Maybe that owl was wrong."

 

"Now, Thati quiet surveillance is a virtue and it could save your life. You would've learned and known this if you weren't constantly shirking your guard duty," he reprimanded her as he came from behind, getting into their little hole, to the mild surprise of Thati. She was so convinced that she was alone that she forgot that Tanthanion was out patrolling the area around them. The moonless night provided ample camouflage to the two Riders, but he was not able to wholly disagree with Thati's ramblings. However, he soon hatched an idea. He called for the owl again and waited for the bird to arrive. When it did, it alighted on his perch before them and hooted in a way that sounded curious. "My little friend, I need to use your eyes once again. When you find the elf, might you dive on it?" The owl processed the request before giving a hoot and flying away. "Thati, keep an eye on the owl and be prepared to see who he dives at."

 

Thati nods and peers through the telescope using the spell to also see through the dragon's eye, enhancing her night vision. It didn't take long for the owl to find the elf in human guise and it dove down. The owl was able to also snag a rat to alleviate suspicion and shrieked as it flew away. "I have it," Thati said.

 

"Good, commit the face to memory and let us leave. Quickly now!" he said. After a minute or so, Thati returned his spyglass to him and after they both made sure that there wasn't any sign of them left, they sprinted back to their dragons. It didn't take very long thereafter for the two dragons to lift off and they angled south.

 

'I take it you have found our foe?' Zencoria asked him.

 

'Yes, we have, but now we must go to the den of our enemies and see how best to purge them. To Helgrind, Zencoria,' he replied.

 

Zencoria led Dänyr south, to the perch that she and Tanthanion occupied to overlook Dras-Leona and Helgrind. It was here that Tanthanion hoped Thati would prove most useful, and they still had plenty of time to complete their mission. Only three nights have passed from their scouting in Gilead, hopefully their observations here won't take too long. The two dragons soon alighted on the perch and they flew away to look for a better hiding space. One dragon could be disguised as a rock formation, but not two. Perhaps they could, but it's too risky. The people of Dras-Leona would be hostile to them as they viewed the Ra'zac as mythical beings deserving of defending with their very lives. Tanthanion still cannot fathom it, he also doesn't want to imagine just how... broken? Likely not the best word but he'll go with it. How broken those people must be?

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Is it to late to join? I like to be male human with beautiful white female dragon and be bonded to hrr and be her mate due to some unique accident that happened during either egg hatching or when we were on a exploration mission.

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