Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

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Varethyn
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#361 Unread post by Varethyn » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:46 pm

Day 100
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Chapter 23

“Yes! A clan! All of us, together!” There was an energy behind Ilmatar's bright green eyes that only Vin recognised; one that he had not seen ever since they'd first met. Well. “Met”. Her coiled tail whipped about in excitement as she regarded the gathered dragons expectantly, Meifeng wriggling and squawking in protest all the while.

”A clan.” The phrase was uttered between Anvindr, Noelani and Vunguza as Whisper hummed contemplatively, furry brows raised in surprise.

“It's something I've always wanted.” The Coatl continued, beginning to pace about and examining their distraught surroundings. “I know there's a lot to do to get it to look right, but this place is just perfect and us lot have been travelling together long enough. Why not start up our own colony, our own lair?” As she turned Lani noticed a wave of pain cross the red dragon's face, her movements faltering.

I wonder if she's thinking of Makani. the Wildclaw thought to herself, her own stance slumping as memories of the sweet green Fae played in her mind. And maybe all the others we've lost. Eurus and Sora. And the two I did not meet. To have had those fallen with them would have made this a more grand occasion to be sure. Whisper must have sensed her distress as the Imperial had lowered his head to gently butt her shoulder, his lone eye level with hers.

“I'm okay.” She half-lied as he rumbled a concerned melody at her. The cream dragon smiled, laying a hand on the Imperial's cheek affectionately. In response he pressed lightly into her touch, humming soothingly.

It was Vin who poke out, if feebly. “All of us?” Of course, Lani grimaced, there was a good chance that, given what the Spiral had said earlier, Ilmatar would not be including him. The Wildclaw had insisted that he was not to blame, but that was her. Matar had yet to voice anything concerning the matter, let alone speak to Vin directly.

Indeed, at his words the Coatl's eyes narrowed thoughtfully as she studied the tiny noodle, who slunk down under her gaze. Her tongue flicked out. Once. Twice. Her wings ruffled, her tail swaying. Then she lifted her crested head to take in the expressions of her group. Whisper was unreadable, but then he wouldn't know what the Spiral had done unless Noelani had told him. Lani herself had reason to hold Vin in contempt for the death of her cousin and after witnessing his actions with the serthis that had managed to subdue them. Yet Matar had seen the two conversing without ire. Vunguza, too, had possibly seen the Spiral become unhinged at the chance to repay the snakes, though likewise the Snapper, too, seemed nonplussed.

It had been the serthis all along, too. Vin was not to blame for Ahio's death and her scaly mutation. Matar found herself looking over the hard, shiny plates that lined her flank and legs. At the same time, he'd tried to “help” without invitation and had been dumb enough to leave alchemical supplies unattended. A snort left her nostrils as her lime gaze returned to Vin, who was now, it appeared, attempting to merge with the ground so low he had cowered before her.

Was it time to let it go? He was a crazy idiot for sure... but was he really the murderer she'd labelled him all this time? No one else seemed to think so.

The whole world waited with bated breath as she considered her options.

Matar's attention sunk down to the squirming Ridgeback in her arms, who squeaked in protest again when she saw she was being looked at. The corners of the Coatl's mouth twitched, her long, feathered crests rising and falling as emotions swam through and around her.

“Do you like Vin?” Matar asked the juvenile softly. Meifeng stopped writhing for a moment at her voice even though she did not yet understand the words. “Go to Vin.” Matar placed Meifeng on the floor, nudging her in the direction of the Spiral.

At this unexpected action the mint-coloured dragon stood stock still in confusion. She flicked her eyes up at the big red Coatl, then around at everyone else in childish bemusement. Again Matar pushed her towards the dark Spiral. She took a begrudging step, shooting her adoptive protector a small scowl, then plodded over to Vin and sat next to him. She squeaked again. What now?

“Well.” Ilmatar said at length, a hint of tension present in her tone. “It seems I'm the only one who is still wary of you.” She paused to plan her next words carefully, unsure whether to be sympathetic or put off by the Spiral's attempt to become one with the ground. Another cursory glance around at her potential clanmates-to-be, at Lore as the Guardian took in every action, quill quivering as the Iceborne lorewalker prepared to document this moment. Ilmatar closed her eyes, taking in a long breath and letting it out slowly. As the last of the exhalation left her nostrils her eyes opened again and a small but warm smile spread over her maw. “All of us. Including you.” She held out a paw to the dark-spotted dragon in offering.

Vin could only stare for a few long seconds as he registered the words, the gesture, the smile. Pushing himself up from the packed dirt a massive grin split his face as it all sunk in, hugging the Ridgeback who was still so much larger than he – getting an indignant chirruping in response – then dashed over to accept the Coatl's proffered hand.

Only to faceplant in the dirt as she lifted it away at the last moment.

“But.” Matar said sternly as Vin lifted his scuffed head to regard her, withering again under her burning gaze. “You must be accompanied by another clan member at all times and all your alchemy stuff must be kept somewhere safe. I do not want our group to be infiltrated and sabotaged again through your projects.”

“Yes yes yesyesyesyes I understand I will yes!”

“And do you promise that you won't go chasing after other dragons with gembond in order to 'help' them without express permission from me and them?”

“I promise I promise IpromiseIpromiseIpromise please I really am sorry!”

Her hardened visage slipped away as the small Spiral begged at her feet. It was pathetic, though she could not help but feel sorry for him. Had she ever spoken to him since he first used her and Ahio in his experiment? She snorted in distaste for his grovelling, then let the warm smile return as she reached out to steady him. “Then you can stay.”

Anvindr let out a cheerful whoop as he hugged Ilmatar's arm tightly. Murmurs of approval sounded from Noelani and Vunguza while Whisper nodded, humming loudly as his whiskers twitched. And above it all a short applause from Lore, who stopped abruptly when no one else joined in and instead focused on scribbling down some notes.

“If I may ask,” the jade Guardian spoke up, lifting her quill in questioning. “What will you be naming yourselves?”

Of course. If they were to be a clan they'd need a name for it. Matar jolted at that realisation, something that, for reasons not entirely known by herself, caused Noelani to chuckle. “I... don't... know...” Matar stated slowly, eyes flicking to everything within sight for inspiration. “Something that means varied, maybe? Since we're all different species, different colours, different flights...”

A grin wandered across Lore's face briefly in amusement. “It is fine. I will come back another time to see how you are getting on.” She lumbered to her feet, rolling up the parchment and storing it and the quill within her satchel. “If you'll let me, that is.” She added sheepishly as she realised the implications. “It's such a momentous occasion after all, to witness both the fall and rise of this community.”

Ilmatar nodded, then motioned at everyone else for their opinions; to which they all agreed in their own way. Even Meifeng howled happily, swishing her tail around despite having no clue what was happening.

“In that case, I shall leave you to settle.” Lore stated, giving them a low bow. “Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.”

Farewells were given, though Matar had also offered the Guardian the choice to stay for the night as dusk was setting in. The offer was politely declined with the excuse that it was a long journey back home. Best make a start while light yet remained. Parting with this understanding everyone began to explore, seeking out ideal places to claim as their new home.

After they'd all split up to meander around the ruins Noelani slowed her pace, falling in line with Whisper and giving him a playful nudge before winding her way to the base of one of the biggest trees in the plaza. She'd spotted an opening in the roots and, as she'd hoped, found a hollow underneath. Not the most glamorous of places but it was big and sheltered enough to do. The great Imperial slunk in ahead of the Wildclaw, lining the wall with his bulk and motioning for his partner to join him. She did so with pleasure.

“Could do with some cushions,” Lani mumbled as she made herself comfortable against Whisper's scales, “or just some cloth or leaves...” Then a playful grin lined her maw as she craned her head back to stare up at the giant blue dragon around her. “Then again, who needs those when I have you?”

Whisper chuckled, the rumblings vibrating in his chest against her side, and swung his great head around to nuzzle hers before laying on the soil. The smile playing on his muzzle and his twitching whiskers a sign he did not mind the lack of amenities.

With a sigh of contentment the Wildclaw adjusted until she was suitably comfortable, one hand laying on a slightly swollen belly. It wasn't long before the pair of them had fallen asleep, oblivious to the goings-on above ground.

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They are back in the Sunbeam Ruins, laying as they had in the hollow under the tree; he coiled around her as she lay against his side, gently lifting and lowering with his breaths. Ahead of them a group of children of all dragon kinds play together, chasing one another over the sun-kissed grass that glowed golden in the midday light.

The youngsters seem to shift and sway, their colours changing constantly, their forms not entirely solid as they flicked from one breed to another. If she focuses on one it would solidify, colours apparent, only to fade again as she looks away. “I wonder what they'll look like...” she murmurs softly as she shifts in her sleep, keeping a hand on her midsection.

That is when she sees something amiss. A lone cloud drifting lazily across an otherwise unmarked blue sky. Not an altogether out of place occurrence yet one that gives her pause. The small, unobtrusive cloud seems to cross directly above her and Whisper, above the children and now lingers in front of the sun, casting a shadow over the world, dimming it.

She peers up at it, trying to determine its patterns. Somehow the more she looks at it, much like how she looked at the shifting children, it began to take form. The longer she looks the more it looks like the head of a Tundra. The more she imagines the features of the face, the detail of the horns and fur the more lifelike it becomes.

Until an actual Tundra, dark of fur, was staring back at her. The dim world becomes darker still, falling away. She tries to call out, to stir her sleeping partner. But there is nothing. No sound, no light. Only the void. The silhouetted Tundra and shifting shadows. Two bright lavender discs flash where the eyes should be.

“Are you all quite comfortable?”


She awoke with a scream.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#362 Unread post by LupisDarkmoon » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:16 am

Great chapter! Loving the deliberation and development Matar is showing- I've missed her in all her snippy, powerful glory. <3 Whisper is such a sweetheart, I love him a lot too- I'm kind of tempted to vote for him for Beloved!

Also yikes, curious to see what this strange tundra is all about...

You should know that you've completely inspired me to try a Pinkerlocke. :lol: I just need the lair space now!

Tumblr ~ Flight Rising
Signature by Crookfish, thank you so much!

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Varethyn
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#363 Unread post by Varethyn » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:17 am

One of us! One of us! One of us! :lol:

I greatly look forward to reading it if you do start one up! Same with anyone who decides to give it a try. Thank goodness for lair tabs, eh?

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#364 Unread post by Krysteena » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:15 pm

Just finished catching up with this one, too, and what a lovely surprise to see it pop up! :D I love the idea of eventually merging the two clans together, and it's nice to see Matar slowly coming on through~ I wanna throw in my vote for Whisper to be beloved too, he's such an interesting character :)

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#365 Unread post by Varethyn » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:38 pm

Day 101
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Chapter 24

Ilmatar, Vunguza and Anvindr rushed to gather outside the hollow moments after hearing Noelani's cry. Whisper was standing guard, legs splayed, tail lashing, wings and nostrils flared, single eye filled with powerful Light magic. His head weaved from side to side as he scanned their surroundings, snapping ahead as the others, his now potential clanmates, gathered around, voices covering voices as each tried to make sense of what was going on.

“What happened?” Anvindr asked quickly as he smoothed out a knot that was threatening to form in his tail. The Imperial only shook his head, kneading the dirt beneath him with sharp, anxious claws.

“Lani?” Matar called, slipping around behind the alert blue giant to peer inside. If they were to form a clan and she be their leader she had to step up, prove she was capable. And to start with that meant checking in to learn details, get as much information as possible and find ways to calm the situation and make everyone comfortable, at ease. “Lani, are you okay? What-”

“They're coming!” The Wildclaw screeched shrilly, clutching her midsection as a wave of agony washed over her features. Whisper was at her side in an instant, taking up her hands in his own worriedly. “Blessed Lightmother they're coming!”

“Whit ye yammerin' aboot?” Vunguza asked in confusion as he, too, attempted to squeeze past Whisper's bulk. “Who's coming?”

With a series of huffs and an urgent look in his single eye the Imperial stared hard at each of his companions. All of them returned it with their own, bewildered one until Matar sprung back as Noelani let out a tortured shriek. “Oh my Windsinger, is she...? The Coatl cut herself off, darting away without explanation to where they'd left their belongings as questions shouted behind her went unheard.

“Cloth... cloth.. rags will do... something!” Matar muttered to herself as she rummaged through their packs. As they'd travelled they'd sometimes pick up objects of potential use. Sheets discarded in the river dried out and used as bedding or warmth. Pieces of wood and metal and stone with which to build. Leather, partly mouldy or rotten while still being capable of being cleaned and cured for making clothes and bags. There had to be something in someone's... I can't seriously believe we're about to have eggs! We've only just established the clan, sort of, and we're already about to have eggs!

As she searched, tossing useless item after broken trinket to one side or other a dark-furred arm held out a strangely clean linen sheet. As soon as she noticed it the Coatl snatched it up, racing away with a quick, “Thanks!” It wasn't until she was several bounds away that sense caught up with her, making her turn back to see who it was who had helped her.

Except there was no one.

Blinking far too many times without any idea coming to mind Ilmatar remembered what she was doing and raced back toward the tree. “Everybody get back!” She yelled as she got closer, startling the small group into backing off. “Lani needs room! All of you, back!” Barely without time to stop she shot into the hollow and began fussing with the cloth.

After a tense, uncertain amount of time filled with pained screams and calming songs from Whisper the group could only stare blankly at the three green-swirled objects that now lay wrapped in their cloth nest, Lani panting heavily as Whisper took up his place coiled protectively around her.

Eggs.

Silence reigned as the events sank in, no one quite sure what to do or say. “So, uhm...” Vunguza attempted after a few beats, “when did you two-”

“Under the tree away from the river cave before we left it.” Noelani snapped between halting breaths. “If you really must know.”

“Actually,” the Snapper rubbed the side of his face with a broad paw, feeling very awkward, “I were gonnae ask when ye met each other...” His brick-coloured scales did a great job masking the blush that heated his cheeks, though the normally pale Wildclaw had gone a fabulous shade of pink. “Since ye... ye ne'er really said where yer both from an' all... An' he ain't said naething at all since he joined...” The Snapper shoved a flat paw in his mouth to stop himself before the whole he'd dug got much deeper.

“Perhaps we should leave this for another time.” Anvindr squeaked, floating up in front of Vunguza's broad face. “Th-th-they just ha-had eggs together. They need time alone.” Despite the instruction the Spiral couldn't help but cast his large-eyed gaze around the distraught plaza for signs of what had caused Noelani to cry out like that. “I-it was probably just... a bad dream! Not that I've experienced being around pregnant dragons so I wouldn't know for absolute sure but I really really doubt it could be anything super bad! Right Matar?” He flinched at the end of his long sentence, not yet sure how the Coatl would react to him using her nickname just yet. “Il-Ilmatar?”

If she had heard Matar did not respond. Tail flicking apprehensively the red-plumed dragon's gaze was elsewhere, as was her mind. Tapping the Waterborne Snapper on the side of the head and motioning at the female the pair wound their way around to spot where she was staring at. “Ain't that where we dumped our stuff off?” Guz queried, looking between the faint outline of the as yet unpacked bags and satchels piled in the entrance of what they'd assumed to be a storage cave. “Somethin' botherin' ye aboot it?”

But Matar was still in the cave as she sought out the cloth for the nest. The extended arm, the lack of any others around to have done that. Lime-green eyes wandered, unfocused, as she replayed the scene over and over, hoping to make some kind of connection. They'd been smaller than she was, and covered in black fur. Or near-black perhaps. With night setting in proper and no moon to light the way it would have been impossible to say. Either way the only two of the clan smaller than her were Anvindr and Meifeng. The Ridgeback was asleep in the rundown shack she'd chosen for now and the Spiral had been at Noelani and Whisper's hollow with Vunguza. And besides, both of them were too small.

“R-right Ilmatar? W-we should leave them alone?” Vin babbled again.

“I don't think we're alone.” Matar murmured almost without realising she'd spoken, making herself jump and the rest of them pause and stare at her.

“Not alone?” Lani wheezed from inside her rudimentary dwelling, inching closer to the makeshift nest with her eggs. “What do you mean?” The Wildclaw found herself jostled a little as Whisper tensed up, lips pulling back in a growl as his whiskers and nostrils splayed. An arm slid out from under his pale chest to curl around the cloth, drawing it, the eggs and his mate closer defensively.

Sucking in air between her needle-fine teeth the Coatl padded around to face the Lightborne pair, Vunguza retaking his spot across from her as Vin held onto the Snapper's horns. “There was... someone else... while I was grabbing something to help out with the nest.” A haunted expression creased her rounded muzzle. “Someone held out that cloth to me. I took it without thinking because I was too focused on... this,” here she waved a paw at the three ovular objects, which Whisper pulled even tighter at their mention, “but when I looked back, no one was there.”

Pulling himself over Vunguza's head Anvindr shared a concerned though unconvinced aura as they regarded the rather ruffled Coatl. “Are... you sure...?” The dark Spiral asked carefully, ducking down a bit as the words left his mouth, not wanting to offend Matar and have to start their relationship all over again.

“Aye, I think we just need a good wee kip like, to clear our minds.” Vunguza drawled with a nod to his own suggestion. “Yer seein' spectres an' the like. Makin' ye think mince. Nowt anythin' strange goin' on beyond stress an' excitement if'n ye ask me.”

“Perha-”

Before Matar had the chance to finish the word let alone sentence on her mind Whisper had shot out of the hollow, almost bowling over the trio as he did so, head tilted slightly to angle his lone, very much glowing golden eye at another tree across from theirs. Inside Noelani had grasped the cloth nest and wrapped her cream body around it, teeth bared in a twisted snarl as she, too, glared at the arboreal plant.

“Now whit's gotten into yae two?” demanded Vunguza as he attempted to garner what it was that had gotten the Lightweaver's children so riled up. “I cannae see nowt.”

“Shadow magic.” Noelani ground out, Whisper joining in with a deep rumbling in his great chest. “Powerful Shadow magic.” Her grip on her nest tightened, claws puncturing holes in the thin fabric.

“I don't understand what you mean.” Matar joined in, peering through the darkness at the tree; trunk, branch, leaves, any structure hidden within. The way the limbs wound and lifted and fell and twisted and where clumps of leaves grew together plenty of shapes could be picked out. But none of them seemed draconic to her. At least... wait, that branch looks off.

“There!” Leaping to the air so the Coatl could see him Anvinder jabbed a thin finger towards a low hanging branch that, at first glance, appeared to have a thick weave of vines draping down from it. Then the longest tangle swished, a motion that did not at all have anything to do with the winds that night. It was a light, pleasant breeze that played with hair and feather and fur, stirring but not pushing. Too fair to have caused such a movement.

Besides, it was going the wrong way.

“Who are you?!” Ilmatar yelled, taking a defensive stance alongside the Imperial. Was that a chuckle or the leaves rustling in the light breeze? “We know you're there! We have two Light dragons who can sense you! And your tail is giving you away!”

Again the fur-tipped tail swished lazily as a figure moved on the branch, making them all stiffen. The shape of two impressively long canines appeared as the stranger's maw parted in a deliberate yawn, their body arching and stretching out like a feline before settling back down again to drape along the tree limb. Two lavender discs shone from the shadow-shrouded face.

“I'm warning you!” Matar shouted again, the air around her growing turbulent as she focused her innate magic in preparation to strike. “If you don't show yourself we'll just have to come up and make you come down!”

The figure shifted, though did not comply. “And after I was so gracious as to help you with your predicament.” A deep, almost sing-song voice calmly replied. The pale purple discs narrowed, though the curve of the lower lid suggested they – he? – was smiling. “You're welcome, by the way.” An arm slipped off the bark to hang, silhouetted against the darkened sky. A dark, furry arm.

Ilmatar jolted. “You...?”

Another chuckle. “Me.”

The Windborne Coatl's magic grew stronger, the small gale whipping about the group as they stared down this intruder. Guided by her will it caused the trees to sway, parting the branches and causing the gaps between the leaves to wax and wane. In doing so the branches above the creep lifted, revealing the familiar outline of a Tundra.

Noelani screamed in recognition, Whisper bellowing a challenge in response as a ball of pure Light energy gathered between his jaws. Swinging his neck in a long arc the blue Imperial shot the bright bolt at the figure, an explosion of blinding white and gold sending those not accustomed reeling. With their individual yelps Ilmatar, Vunguza and Anvindr turned away, covering their eyes with hands, paws, wings.

As the light faded and with spots dancing in their vision the gathered dragons returned their attention to the tree, to the low-hanging branch. If the dark-furred Tundra was indeed of the Shadowbinder's realm the bolt would have done more than temporarily blinded them.

But they were gone. The branch was empty of foreign creatures. No signs indicated the attack had struck anything, let alone anyone.

So intent they all were on squinting through the gloom and stars that none of them heard the sound of shuffling behind them. “Now that wasn't very nice.” A voice drawled far too humorously into Ilmatar's ear, causing her to shriek and leap away in surprise. In return he let out a hearty laugh.

At this Whisper whirled around with surprising agility for one of his size, rounding on the annoyance and charging at full speed. Moments before colliding he used his back legs and wings to launch himself at the Tundra, mouth agape with the intent to bite down. But as he did so the Tundra seemed almost to shimmer, exploding in a puff of shadowy smoke as the Imperial passed harmlessly through him.

“Now, now,” the Shadowborne Tundra's voice called from the tree above the hollow, making everyone snap their attention up at him once again sprawled on a low-hanging branch overhead, “I don't mean you any harm. So you can stop attacking me at any time.” He gave them a lopsided grin as he settled his purple-maned head onto his paws.

"Y-you- but-" Noelani sputtered from inside her den, "You were... you were there! In my dream! It was so clear, your face, your voice... how? Why?!"

Had he not had such dark fur or of Shadow element the Tundra would have lit up with pride. "Because," he began in his sing-song way, "I am attuned with the very shadows in which we all stand right now. But I must say, you wound me. Greatly." Despite this claim he did not in any way look hurt or upset. Instead he kept a coy grin as he feigned mistreatment. "I only asked if you were comfortable. I even supplied your new leader a way to help with your... little treasures." Whisper and Noelani let out a joint growl of warning. With a sigh, a smile still playing at his leaden lips, the Tundra stretched once more before hopping down a few paces from the angered clan. “I know it does not seem like it,” he stated, seating himself on the ground nonchalantly and gesturing with a paw as his tail swept from side to side, “but I really do not intend to hurt you. Any of you.” He snickered, “Although your reactions were highly amusing. No, no... I'm simply looking to have a little fun.”

“Fun?!” Matar spat, mimicking the Imperial in setting up another charge attack. A little behind her Vunguza had been murmuring, tapping into underground water reserves; a bubbling puddle forming at his feet. “You call invading dragons' dreams and stalking us 'fun'?!”

The coy grin never once left the Tundra's rounded features as he listened, nor when he replied with a shrug, “Yes actually. I find pleasure in the torment of others and greatly enjoy the reaction to it. But I assure you, mine is purely psychological. I enjoy making people think they're in danger rather than actually endangering them.”

“You sick, twisted little...” The winds around Ilmatar increased in strength, causing loose leaves to detach from their trees, dust to whip around in a miniature tornado. “So you'd rather drive us to kill ourselves than do it yourself?”

For a brief moment all expression left the Tundra's face, rendering him a silhouette once more as his lavender eyes flashed dangerously in the murk. “May I remind you that it was you who attacked me? You seem awfully keen to jump to conclusions.” Long fur wobbled as he shook his head, lowering himself to lay along the ground, grin returning in full. “Ah but of course, I'm a Shadow dragon. Darkness is the reflection of light and light represents all that is pure and good in the world, meaning the darkness and the shadow must be evil. Am I wrong?”

The gale lessened but did not abate as the Coatl pondered this. It is an age-old belief that the night, the darkness were symbols of evil and fear. That thinking negative, dark thoughts would feed your inner demon and all those other hatchlings' stories. She was pretty quick to assume that he'd want to kill them... She turned to Whisper for guidance but the Light Imperial had not changed his posture or expression at any point. “How do we know we can trust you when you're capable of doing things like this?” She demanded, returning her attention to the ineffable Tundra.

“You can't.” he replied simply, spreading his arms. “And that's good. There are many who would quite happily abuse abilities like mine if they had them.” He tucked his arms under his chest again as he fixed Ilmatar with his purple gaze. “Whether you choose to believe it or not, I really do only mean to help you.”

“Can ye blame us fer not wantin' tae?” The puddle had grown to lap over the Snapper's toes fully, a waver in his voice giving away his uncertainty for doing so even while his deep blue eyes held focus as he concentrated on maintaining it. “We ain't exactly had the best track record when it comes tae meetin' strangers in the dark!”

A jolt of pain struck Ilmatar at these words. First it had been Anvindr in his crazed state and ambition to test his potions on herself and Ahio that fateful night. The the serthis ambush in the cave as they'd slept, leading to Eurus' poisoning. And who knows what misadventures her clanmates may have had prior to their meeting. A snort escaped her snout. No, never again.

Vunguza shifted his back legs, lowering his front half to better manipulate the gathering liquid. “Not tae mention the scare ye gave the wee lass. Ye really think we're about tae believe yer wantin' tae help after pullin' that stunt? And whit aboot her wee eggs, eh?”

“Why did you talk to Lani in her dream?” Anvindr piped up at last, having kept low on the Snapper's head, taking every moment of this encounter. “And for that matter, how?”

The Tundra's mouth widened into a mysterious, Cheshire cat-like grin that spread from ear to ear. “I cannot tell you why I was blessed with these powers,” he began, “but whatever Shadowbinder's plan for me is, I am capable of peering into the dreams of those who slumber in darkness. Normally it is by touching the shadow of the one who dreams but in this regard you caught me as I was rousing from my own rest. I find in these waking moments I can reach out to the dreams of others without the need for physical connection. As for why?” Another chuckle. “Well, to see how she'd react of course. And it was glorious.”

Whisper let loose another roar, pawing the ground in anticipation and likely would have attempted another attack had Matar not lay a hand on his shoulder, letting her own magic subside. He shot her a withering glare for stopping him, which she returned with an even stare until he backed down.

“Questionable motives aside,” she spoke out, taking a few steps towards the enigmatic dragon, “what reason do you have for wanting to help us? Why are you here, in a ruined village that seems to have been this way since the Crescendo stopped?”

A forelimb extended out and the Tundra rested his chin in his hand. “Where do I begin...” he spoke in a purposefully drawn out manner, tracing circles in the dirt with his other paw. “Well, first I believe introductions are in order. You may call me Ayaz. And who do I have the pleasure of conversing with?”

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#366 Unread post by Krysteena » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:18 am

I actually love Ayaz so much! May be slightly biased bc 99% of my lair is shadow but still, he's so good! :D

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#367 Unread post by Varethyn » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:12 pm

Day 102
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Chapter 25

As it happened the Shadow Tundra's explanation had to be put on hold. Between Anvindr's Spiral nature to conk out unexpectedly at any time, the Light pair's growing discomfort with having him around and the overall feeling of the adrenaline fuelling this encounter it was decided to wait for a better time. Asking Vunguza to please deposit Vin in whatever abode he had chosen for himself or otherwise keep him with the Snapper for the night Ilmatar turned, after bidding good night to her clan mates – it was still so exciting to call them that! - to retire to the temporary shack Meifeng was currently snoozing in.

As she approached the rundown building the bright red Coatl turned her attention to the cliffs rising above, at the barely noticeable stakes remaining and then around at the discarded, fallen air platforms. Wistfully she found herself imagining herself living amongst the clouds once more, letting out a small sigh that extended into an unbidden yawn as she trundled the rest of the way.

Only to stop at the entrance. Frowning and without even lifting her head to look back she ground out, “Can I help you?” Her long tail flicked as she twisted slowly to regard the dark-furred Tundra who had been tailing her. Remembering too late that he enjoyed discomfort and frustration the red dragon attempted to smooth out her feathers and mask how ruffled she felt. Unless he could sense that, in which case everyone was in trouble.

“Oh no, there's nothing in particular.” Ayaz responded drolly, grin still very much playing across his rounded maw. “It's just been so long since other dragons have been here. I couldn't help but follow and relish in the company for a while.” His eyes, blacker than the deepest void save for those pale purple rings, glinted ominously. “If you'd allow it, that is?”

Nerves and a sleep-addled brain caused her to stiffen at what Ayaz was potentially implying. “I'd rather not.” Ilmatar stated shortly, moving to enter her shack. “We can discuss things in the morning. The rest of us need sleep.”

“I'm afraid I can't do that.”

Rolling her eyes the Coatl turned back to face the Tundra, eye ridge twitching as she tried to keep a level head. “And why not?”

“Because,” Ayaz purred, sidling up beside his new clan leader, “I am nocturnal. I find my powers are at their strongest during the night and so choose to walk the dark to take full advantage of that.” He bared his teeth in a wide grin as he said this, making Matar flinch.

It was as yet unknown why some elements overpowered others. Light magic being strong against Shadow magic made sense. Fire over Nature. Water over Earth.

So why did Shadow magic have the advantage against those of Wind? It didn't matter if it was light or dark, wherever it could reach the wind blew when it wanted to. Perhaps that's what unnerved her so much about him. Not just the way he acted and behaved but the fact that he was elementally superior in this regard. Especially given the current time.

“Are you threatening me?” Matar's voice dropped to a low hiss, giving up any attempt to stay relaxed. As the words were spoken however she found herself assessing the outcome of if they did end up in a fight. Physically she was longer, stronger and heavier despite them standing around the same height no thanks to her species' pitifully stumpy legs. Tooth and claw there was a good chance she would be victorious although that thick fur of his might absorb most of the damage. And that was assuming he didn't pull that trick where he basically evaporated into shadow when Whisper had lunged at him previously.

Magically she wouldn't stand a chance.

Ayaz chuckled again, low, unnerving. She felt her fur stand on end. “Not at all! Not at all... Merely...” he tilted his head down to hold her gaze under hooded eyes, “letting you know where we stand.”

“W-well!” Matar tripped over her words through a mixture of disgust, fear and drowsiness. “You can go be nocturnal elsewhere! We'll discuss things... whenever we are all capable of it. Right now I, being not nocturnal need my rest and to keep an orphaned hatchling safe.”

Why did she say that? The Coatl bit her tongue in annoyance at herself as the Tundra perked up. “A hatchling you say?”

“A hatchling who is also trying to sleep!” Matar snarled in a hushed tone, grating her throat but not wanting to raise her voice too high so to disturb Meifeng. “Surely you were aware of her, too, being able to sense others in the dark? Or when you were apparently able to slip into others' dreams?”

Closing his eyes briefly and spreading his hands in and innocent gesture Ayaz replied, “I was aware of another dragon. I could not tell how old or what gender or even what race. Being so young explains that. And while their dream seemed particularly colourful I was more drawn to the Wildclaw's given her... circumstance.”

The eggs. A small pang of betrayal struck the Coatl in the chest as she realised that Noelani had never mentioned this to her or anyone. Why not? She'd have helped her find somewhere more comfortable. And what if the eggs had come while they were still on the move? With all the complication they'd gone through so far already raising a clutch out in the middle of nowhere with the weather they way it's been would have been rough to say the least.

“You said Meifeng's dream was colourful.” Ilmatar forced herself to say, to rid herself of the creeping doubt she was feeling. A mental note was made to confront the Light mates at a time they were more settled. Ayaz's lavender eyes pierced right through her expectantly, awaiting the rest of whatever it was she was going to say. “And you say you can see into others' dreams.” Why did she mention this? Where was she going with any of it? She wanted rid of the weird Tundra for the night and sleep. Now she was basically inviting him in? Windsinger she needed rest.

“Are you intrigued?” Ayaz followed up for her, padding around to wait by the entrance to the shack. “I can tell you what it is she is dreaming of right now if you like...?”

Ilmatar tried not to bristle. After all she had started this. “Yes. Please.” The feathery dragon held his gaze with her lime one steadily. “You're intent on hanging around anyway so if I let you do this, will it be enough? You'll let us sleep afterwards?”

A thoughtful humming reverberated in Ayaz' throat as he pondered, deliberately drawing it out and watching his companion from the corner of his darkened eye. “I do so very much want to learn more about you and your little group,” the Tundra began, slipping a childlike pleading look over his features as he did so, “however I can tell you are only going to get more grumpy the longer I keep you up. So yes, I will do this one thing and not bother you until tomorrow evening. How does that sound?”

Ilmatar took in a long breath, letting it out slower through her nose. Motioning with a sharp movement of her head the pair headed inside. The blue and purple Ridgeback lay curled up in a corner, wrapped in an old blanket they'd managed to scavenge. It was filthy, full of holes and smelled funny but it would do. Meifeng hadn't complained about it at least. Matar herself had found a discarded if likewise distressed cushion to lay over, a dip in the centre indicating where she had been prior to Noelani's earlier shouting. Ayaz situated himself directly next to the little one without invitation, much to Matar's provocation though she deigned to remain quiet about it.

What she did ask was, “How exactly will this work when it's so dark that there's no shadow to cast?”

Giving her a knowing look Ayaz lay a hand next to Meifeng's spiny head. She'd already grown so much since her arrival at the river cave. “There is always shadow even within shadow.” He shifted, making himself comfortable. “You cannot see it but it is there.” With a claw he traced a convincing outline of where the hatchling's shadow would have been to her eyes before laying the hand flat again, closing his eyes and concentrating. “So bright, so vibrant. The joy and energy of one so young.”

Ilmatar sat herself at the Ridgeback's feet, away from the lead furred dragon, long tail flicking irritably as she waited. “What can you see?” It was more of a demand that a question as her patience ebbed in his insistence of taking so long to deliver a suitable answer.

A purple eye cracked open to regard her, his other paw raising to place a finger over his lips in a shushing gesture. “Patience. Have you ever had a single dream last from the moment you fell asleep to the time you awaken? Assuming you can even remember them? It is all shapes and places right now. The childish scrawl of an undeveloped yet very energetic mind.”

With a huff Matar looked away at her cushion as she debated laying on it and sleeping anyway. He wasn't going to give her a straight answer. This was a mistake, a waste of time. But as she was considering getting up Meifeng began to whimper, limbs thrashing. “What's happening? A nightmare?”

For once Ayaz's face had fallen into an expression of concern, his eyes moving beneath their lids as he observed the goings on of the young one's mind. “She is trapped. Something hard encases her as she is taken somewhere she can't see. There is but a sliver of light but it brings death, not comfort. Water I think. She is drowning.”

Matar cast back to when Meifeng first ended up at their makeshift den away from the Serthis camp. It had taken an awful lot of prodding to get Anvindr, Vunguza and... - she winced - Isaura to explain where her egg had come from. Brought downriver in the rapids caused by the storm, getting stuck in a net she herself had tried to set up to fish with. It had been cracked and the hatchling half-dead once they'd freed her.

“She is no longer being carried but remains trapped. She hits it with her nose, expecting something to be there but there isn't. She claws at it, at the gap, but the water rises. It almost fills her prison.” At his feet Meifeng let out a shrill cry. Matar made to comfort her only to strike an invisible barrier. “No, this needs to happen. Waking her now will only hurt her.”

“But she-”

“Shh.”

With a growl Ilmatar sat back hard on her haunches, claws digging into half-rotten wood as she was forced to watch the child writhe in panic. Ever since Makani she'd found within herself a more motherly, caring side that she hadn't expected from herself. A side that cried in anguish for being forbidden from helping. Just a light stroke of the head, a comforting hand on the shoulder.

“Something new is happening. Shapes. Something's moving outside. Something pokes through that gap.” Then just as suddenly as the nightmare had set in Meifeng relaxed again, if curled tighter than previous. Her nose was pressed under one paw which seemed to be grasping for something that wasn't there. “She is free now.” Ayaz continued to commentate, his mouth lifting in a contented smile not at all like his unnerving grin. “Shapes of differing colour surround her as she rests. And again now as she runs and plays in what I assume is meant to be grass, bright green and pointed.”

“The other shapes are dragons, right?” Matar found herself asking with legitimate curiosity. “The different colours being their hide and wings?”

The Shadow dragon nodded slowly, trance-like. “I can just about make out their breeds as well. You've got a diverse group, haven't you?” He chuckled again, not unkindly this time, and began to describe the draconic shapes he could see in Meifeng's dream as the young Ridgeback in question's legs twitched as she ran and played. Matar in turn gave names and brief descriptions to each shape mentioned, finding it particularly humorous that the hatchling had remembered the green and red Guardian, Lore.

She faltered, however, when he asked about the red and blue Guardian.

“Hm?” Ayaz pressed as he ended whatever spell he used to perform this task. “Or was this another wandering dragon like this Lore was?”

Literally crestfallen it took a few moments for Ilmatar to reply, sadness and guilt lining her words. “That is... was... Isaura. She... she died suddenly earlier today. We're not sure why.”

“She died? How unfortunate.” The Tundra mused. The statement wasn't offensive yet the Coatl couldn't help but feel bitter for lack of something more sentimental. 'How unfortunate' isn't the best way to ease the grief, though at least he wasn't laughing. At the same time she felt extremely guilty for forgetting about it in her excitement of finding this place and declaring the group a clan. Still needed a name for- no, not now!

“Right now we're blaming Serthis.” She explained, pulling herself away from her thoughts, the Tundra lifting his head to look at her. “We got attacked by them after settling in a cave. It's possible they sabotaged us even after we drove them away.”

Ayaz nodded, face masked in consideration. “I have sensed a great deal of increased beastclan activity nearby recently. It wouldn't surprise me if that wasn't that case.”

Still resentful for his lack of proper response to the recent death Matar busied herself with another topic before she acted unduly. “You said Meifeng tried to use her nose to break free but something was missing.” She mentioned, fussing with the cloth to tuck the Ridgeback in after her thrashing. “What did you mean by that?”

“Beats me.” Ayaz shrugged with his characteristic grin. All at once Matar felt tired and aggravated all over again. “I was only relaying what I saw and felt in her dream.” He turned to leave, acting on his promise. “But I will say this: much like the shadows not everything is as it immediately appears to be.”

The Coatl lifted her head to argue. “And what do you mean by-”

But he was already gone.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#368 Unread post by Varethyn » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:34 pm

^ The above chapter is now ready!

Day 103
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Aaaaaaaaaart.

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It's Ayaz! Not 100% how I intended it to turn out (I also forgot his genes cos I'm lazy) but I really, really wanted to draw this goof. I like to imagine him with dark sclera even though in-game it's not possible since he has those gorgeous unusual eyes and dark sclera would revert them to the default Shadow purple. Which sucks. Anyway, enjoy!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#369 Unread post by Mĭrya Namárië » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:14 pm

LOOOOVE his grin!!! wow amazing art

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HUGE thanks to Makoes, Syleye, FeralClaw, Pingupuff, Karin,Bowno, Varethyn, Ashaine, Kishay, Aki (Täräin13), my friend Marie and some lovely ppl on Fligth Rising for my lovely sig

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#370 Unread post by Varethyn » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:10 am

Okay I admit I'm a little disappointed not much was said this time around. Not helped that I noticed I'd completely forgotten some important story elements on both sides so now I'm severely doubting my story-writing abilities. I legitimately forgot, for instance, that it has been less than a day since Isaura died. This is why I ask for feedback all the time so I can keep things flowing smoothly. So please, if you pick up on things like this do tell me.

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Day 104
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More art apparently.

Well after my revelation I'm not really feeling it today and I'll be out anyway. So I'm going to hand this one over to you guys!

Image Reader Event Image

Same as the writing one previous, this covers both sides of the story. Draw up some fanart!
One or multiple of my characters - living or dead
A scene that's happened in the story
Maybe an idea for their childhoods
Or perhaps you like designing bio templates
They can be humanised, gijinkas, animals - if you have a preferred style then go for it!

And as always, if you want to contribute in some way but feel your creative skills are lacking or have no inspiration then maybe consider a gift! Likewise as always, no one is expected to join in. It's all for fun so there's no need to feel pressured. And if you do want to join in but don't have the time just make a post saying so and come back to it later!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#371 Unread post by Mĭrya Namárië » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:39 am

this took me over half an hour and it look like im 8 years old.. or 6.. ughn :(

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sorry.. i seriously cannot draw.. only got paint and a bad mouse so yeah sorry..if you can tell who it is I be amazed :roll: :oops:

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HUGE thanks to Makoes, Syleye, FeralClaw, Pingupuff, Karin,Bowno, Varethyn, Ashaine, Kishay, Aki (Täräin13), my friend Marie and some lovely ppl on Fligth Rising for my lovely sig

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#372 Unread post by Krysteena » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:28 am

I'm sorry for not popping by sooner, I was out all of yesterday and completely crashed when I got home, but I'm all caught up now! :hug: I loved the latest chapter and your headshot of Ayaz! I do sometimes wish dark sclera only darkened the scleras and didn't necessarily revert the eyes back, bc shadow unusual plus dark sclera looks so good :0 Try not to worry about the occasional writing mistakes, they happen to the best of us. You've got two big projects on your hands, it can be difficult to remember every exact detail that goes on. :)

I will say that I can't draw for the life of me, so if all else fails and what I come up with looks horrific, I'll send a small gift over again instead! And Mirya, I think your art of Matar looks lovely! I love her lil tongue poking out :hug:

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#373 Unread post by Mĭrya Namárië » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:45 am

I think you should draw.. you cannot do worse than me :P

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HUGE thanks to Makoes, Syleye, FeralClaw, Pingupuff, Karin,Bowno, Varethyn, Ashaine, Kishay, Aki (Täräin13), my friend Marie and some lovely ppl on Fligth Rising for my lovely sig

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#374 Unread post by Krysteena » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:20 am

I whipped out the ol' drawing tablet from years back and gave it a go~ :) I ended up having to google how to draw a dragon bc trying to draw a pose without? Oh honey :lol: Ended up doing Meifeng, as she's the most dragon-y minus her birdskull (or his birdskull? The note in the bio is throwing me off, so forgive me if I'm getting it wrong!) and now she looks mean as anything. Also, um, no colour, I'm afraid. I'm the same as Mirya with only Paint at my disposal :')
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Have an alt. maybe-maybe-not-green version here, too, bc I'm indecisive and wasn't sure which looked better.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#375 Unread post by Varethyn » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Ugh I am an absolute moron, I swear. I've had this stupid habit for years and wish I could shake it. But no, I rant out my frustrations while not fully thinking (or awake for that matter) and it's not until an hour or so later while I'm on a train that I see sense. Please don't think I don't appreciate that you all read this; as I said before comments aren't expected but are greatly appreciated and supportive to me. I'm just happy this silly story is being read at all :hug:

Mirya that is adorable and you have more skill than you might think! If that was done in Paint with a mouse I can tell you'd make lovely things with another art program and a tablet :hug: I can see quite easily that it's Ilmata, thank you so much! The beauty of your piece is that you tried at all <3

Can't draw for the life of you huh, Krysteena? :lol: That is really darn amazing! I love the texture the lines give Mei and you put so much detail into it. Both backgrounds work well too! Seriously, well done and thank you!

And um. The gender thing in the bio? I was kind of experimenting with stuff and may have forgotten to remove a few things. So uh. Spoilers? xP

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#376 Unread post by Krysteena » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:47 pm

It's okay to rant, don't worry about it! All gotta let it out sometimes, after all :> I'm so happy you liked Mei, too, it's been a hot few years since I've drawn anything and I still have the 'overcompensate with lines!' thing going on :lol: Thank you, though, I'm super chuffed you like it! :hug:

Sounds like we've got a whole load more exciting stuff in store for future chapters then, too, I canny wait! :D

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

#377 Unread post by Mĭrya Namárië » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:01 pm

Varethyn wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Can't draw for the life of you huh, Krysteena? :lol: That is really darn amazing! I love the texture the lines give Mei and you put so much detail into it. Both backgrounds work well too! Seriously, well done and thank you!

Yeah ppl with skill like yours dont get to say they cannot draw when my stick figure can be done better from a 6 year old :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

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HUGE thanks to Makoes, Syleye, FeralClaw, Pingupuff, Karin,Bowno, Varethyn, Ashaine, Kishay, Aki (Täräin13), my friend Marie and some lovely ppl on Fligth Rising for my lovely sig

Flight Rising Lair


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