Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Varethyn
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:29 am

Day 129
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And another one for the stockpile.

As a heads up, if these aren't used by the time the stories merge I will be using them anyway. Start thinking about who you'd like to see finally have some genes!

Oh and Chapter 31 is finally available! Sorry it took so long, I wanted it to have an impact! I probably failed.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Tårnfalk » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:53 pm

I send some healing potions. Feel sorry that I can't write or draw for reader events. I love your writing a lot :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

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:25 am

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Rolled Anvindr, Vegin and Pavan

...This was difficult to say the least, and the thing that scares me most if I do hardmode rules. Even with my modified rule it's hard to find the sweet spot where I can get decent exp on the lowbies while also keeping them safe. Both Vegin and Pavan were KO'd once in Redrock Cove while I was probing to see what mob groups they could potentially manage there, then as I was dropping down venues Vegin got KO'd again in Bamboo Falls to a crit and then took another in Forgotten Cave.

I hate, hate, HATE getting my highest and lowest dragons rolled into the same fight. I'm sorry we didn't get to see Vegin in all his glory or that, due to RNG, he will no longer be a candidate for the starter group of the next challenge. Assuming anyone's interested in reading it. If anyone wants to adopt him let me know; he'll be available until I finish the next WoC chapter.

On another note I got this yesterday:
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So yet another for the stockpile.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:21 pm

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Chapter 32

For the second time that night Whisper flew out into the darkness, this time accompanied by his mate and kits, carrying the limp, colourless form of their dead hatchling carefully in his claws. Nothing had been said. No emotion shown. No growls or roars or sobs. Only mourning, ignoring everything around them, shouldering past those who stood in their way. Soaring in the opposite direction to where the Imperial had supposedly buried Venilia less than an hour prior the others watched them depart in silence.

Meifeng shivered despite the relative if fading warmth in the air, the sight of Keano's still form devoid of hue fresh in her young mind. He hadn't seemed ill or anything, only a lot less interested in playing than Pavan and Maili, so she thought little of it, passing it off instead as the hatchling feeling tired. They had only been born earlier today after all. Not for the first time the blue-and-purple Ridgeback scanned the immediate area for Ilmatar, the Coatl having not yet returned. The weird and amazing Tundra guy was back, so why wasn't she?

Speaking of the Tundra, Ayaz had also vanished. Literally. After Whisper and Noelani left with the kits he'd poofed into smoke, fading into the murk. She'd wanted to ask him so many questions. What happened? How did he walk in through the wall? Where was Matar? What happened to Keano? Where had the parents flown off to?

Scratching absently in the dirt with her claws Mei once again looked around for the missing dragon, being drawn to the long, dark shape coiled next to the ruby Spiral, Vegin, who had yet to get back up. “Vin? Do you know what's going on?” Anvindr, however, didn't reply. While not knotted at the moment he was rocking back and forth on his long side, grasping his knees with his hands as his veined wings pressed tightly against his body. If his eyes could go any wider than they were they'd fall right out of his head.

Strangely afraid, extremely confused and annoyingly tired Meifeng, stifling a yawn, decided that maybe she should go to bed. After all it was way past home time; she'd been allowed to stay up to play with the kits and then basically forgotten when everything else happened. It'd been great and she'd endeavoured to stay up as long as possible to make the most of it. Now it was clear why a curfew existed. Giving the Spiral pair one last questioning look – and getting no reaction – the young dragon's still-growing spines rattled as she padded towards the rundown hut that was her and Matar's den.

Disgruntled, Mei wriggled her way under the pile of dusty old blankets that was her bed for now, flopping into them with a “humf”. Staring over at the big cushion Matar used to sleep on the little dragon felt a loneliness she wasn't accustomed to. Until now there had always been someone around even if they didn't talk or play. Matar was missing, Ayaz had gone poof, Noelani and Whisper had flown away with the hatchlings, Vegin and Vin were all balled up at the tree hollow and Vunguza was over by the lake. There were the beasts, she supposed, but she didn't feel comfortable talking with them yet. They were weird.

So she tried to focus on sleeping. When that didn't work she rolled around, kicking her legs and waving her wings and tail in effort to tire herself out. Then she got up and ran around the hut a few times. Then it got spooky so she dived under the blankets again, sneezing as the motion kicked up some dust. I wish my nose was longer so I felt like I could actually look after myself if something came after me. Going cross-eyed to do so Meifeng glared once again at her small nose-horn. I wouldn't be scared. Why is my nose so small? Not for the first time she gripped the horn in her front paws, tugging at it until it hurt. Nope, still no longer. Was it because of her age? There weren't any other Ridgebacks around to compare to. All she knew was what she was taught on the way here. Which was good, or bad, as she'd probably thought she was another type of dragon otherwise. Yet she'd grown considerably over the short time they'd been here, rivalling and almost surpassing Matar.

Her tiny nose still bothered her though. And her voice. And being alone. Sighing heavily Meifeng snuggled back into the blankets so she was comfortable. Then yanked them over her head when a sudden gust shook the leaves outside.

Stupid small nose.

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She must have eventually fallen asleep as sunlight roused the little Ridgeback from a slumber she didn't feel like she'd had. Reluctant to get up she instead rolled onto her side to face away from the openings, welcoming the dullness and the warmth of the other dragons around her. Satisfied, she shifted until she was comfy again, beginning to drowse. Then bolted upright in realisation, groaning as the sharp movement gave her a headache.

Other dragons?

Yes! A familiar rusty red shape now occupied the cushion. Ilmatar was back! Covered in dirt and cobwebs and very much as asleep as she wanted to be, but back! Meifeng would have jumped for joy had two sinuous shapes not been coiled around her: Vin and Vegin. Vin must have pulled Vegin in at some point during the night. Maybe they'd met up with Matar and crashed in the hut together. Sinking back into the musty sheets Mei lay her head down more to still the ache than to sleep. Not that she didn't try, she just couldn't.

Except she must have because she was woken again by someone shaking her shoulder, a voice speaking too softly to hear the words. “...feng? M..eng? Ar... ake?”

“Murrr.” Meifeng groaned, pulling the blankets over her head. “Le'm' sleep.” The shaking got harder, the voice sounding cross.

“Meifeng, wake up!” Why with the shouting and the headache? Making unintelligible noises in her throat the Ridgeback lifted her head, reluctantly allowing the covers to slip to the ground, to peer blearily up at whoever disturbed her. Two peridot eyes as tired as her own gazed back, a look of concern on the ruddy, swirl-patterned blunt face they belonged to. “Oh thank Windsinger.” Another, garbled sound left her as Ilmatar wrapped her stubby arms around the spiny dragon's neck. “Meifeng, where are Whisper and Noelani? And the hatchlings? Did you see anything last night? I'm so sorry I was gone so long.” Another hug, squeezing the air from the Ridgeback's throat.

Wait, they haven't come back yet? “Flew 'way.” Swinging her comparatively longer arms around the Coatl smothering her (had she grown more during the night? Matar felt smaller somehow) Mei returned a brief embrace as she picked her sleep-addled mind for last night's events. Something about Keano? And the black Tundra? “Lemme get a drink.” Clutching at her head and wincing at the hammering inside her skull the minty dragon sluggishly rose to her feet, yawned, stretched and went to duck out of the doorway.

Ducked. Yeah she hadn't needed to do that before. Was that normal? Was being bigger than everyone else normal? Except Whisper. Whisper was way bigger than her still. So was Venilia when she was around.

“Flew away? What? When? Why?” The Coatl looked like she was being haunted, light green eyes darting this way and that as she strove to keep up with the larger (growth spurts sucked) dragon as they made their way to a half-working drinking fountain in the upper plaza, rusted piping exposed and leaking yet still semi useable. It wasn't like her to get spooked.

Careful not to splash the liquid or step in the gathering puddle at its base Meifeng lapped contentedly as the refreshing sensation washed over her tongue, down her throat, helped dull the aching. “Give me a sec.” Now that the fog was lifting she could think better.

“Please Mei, this is important!”

“Din't sleep well.” Meifeng butted in, giving the normally collected Coatl a disapproving glance. “Lemme think.” What happened to Matar to make her this fidgety? Even as she sat to collect her memories the plumed dragon kept throwing wary glances at the side of the cliff, kneading the ground with her claws. What all happened the previous night? So much... jumbled. She'd been playing with the kits. Then the neat Tundra walked through the wall. Then Lani and Whisper got mad. Think, think. It was only last night.

Wait, hadn't Vin and the other guy been in the shack with them this morning or whenever? Where'd they go? Passing the question to her surrogate mother Ilmatar merely blinked, tilting her head in confusion. Apparently she didn't remember that either. So... where'd they go? Why was everyone leav-

Right! Keano had gone all dull and tired and the Tundra guy was upset about it. And Lani and Whisper were upset at him. “Um... Something happened to Keano, the purple boy baby, and that fluffy guy walked in through the wall, picked him up... said something about there being more of something and Keano had... um... Oh! A weak... heart? Yeah. Weak heart. He stopped moving suddenly. I thought he was asleep. But everyone else was so sad for some reason, then they left.”

“Weak...” Sitting on her haunches Matar's paws flew to her mouth in horror. “Why so young...?” No inquiring glances reached as the Coatl began to pace around the plaza, following a cracked and faded mosaic circle that once encompassed a seating area of sorts. “And if Ayaz was there... If what he said about Venilia... If that really is...” None of the broken sentences meant anything to Meifeng, which was just as well as the Ridgeback became distracted by a small figure landing on top of one of the tallest trees. The bird-thing that stood upright on two legs. One of the beasts. It appeared to be looking for something, then took off again on stormy blue wings. It – she? - flew towards the lake, in doing so reminding Meifeng that she hadn't had breakfast yet. Or... lunch, given the height of the sun. How long had she slept?

“Wan' get some brekkie?” she asked, startling Matar out of her incomprehensible one-sided conversation.

For a brief moment the Coatl seemed not to recognise her clan mate, or where they were. A good shake and stopping to also drink from the bedraggled fountain sorted that out. “Food sounds good right now.” Although she fell in stride with the larger dragon she was still distracted, all of Mei's attempts to ask questions falling on deaf ears.

“...can't leave!”

“Can't stay... n't feel safe...”

As they entered the cave temporarily being used to store food in both females became dully aware of an argument going on not far from them. It was hard to hear them as they were moving around a lot, words fading in and out as they got nearer or further away. Exchanging puzzled glances the pair each stuffed a fish cake into their mouths, gathering up a few more as they hopped three-legged to peek around the cliff side to see what was going on.

Oh, that's where the Spirals went.

Vegin was currently winding back and forth with his hands clutching his head, much like how Mei had with her headache, with Vin wheeling alongside, gesturing with his arms and overall looking panicked. Then again Spirals always looked panicked. Too far away to hear anything the girls made the executive decision to poke their noses (why was hers so short?!) in to see what was going on.

“Vin? Vegin?” Matar's call surprised both serpentine dragons clean out of the air, both dropping to the ground to scuttle behind a rock or down a dip. It would have been humorous had it not been for the weight of the situation.

“Mata- Ilmatar! You're okay!” A bolt of black lightning and Anvindr had all but tied himself around the Coatl like some living scarf. “Weweresoworriedwhenyoudidn'tcomebackyouareokayright?Whatdidhewant?Whathappened?Whyiseverythinggoingwrong?Veginwantstoleavetellhimnottoleavehecan'tleaveit'sdangeroustogoalon-Mmmf! Mm! Mffm!” The word vomit was cut short as Matar clamped the Spiral's jaws together, though he still attempted to be heard, gesticulating wildly.

“You want to leave?” All eyes turned to the twitchy red Spiral, half protruding from his hiding spot and now twisting to shoot back into it.

Grasping the rock to peer over the top of it nervously Vegin offered a pathetic grimace of a smile, claws clicking as he drummed his fingers on the stony surface. “A-a-about that.” All pretense fell away as the ruby dragon hefted a sigh, slithering slowly out of hiding to show himself in full. “I-I only really came here because of Venilia. W-when she... she...” Tail looping over itself Vegin shook his head sadly, unable to finish the sentence. “When... that happened I lost my senses. I thought I'd be happy since Vin's here. We go way back. I... uh... I never got the chance to say this Vinny but I... I love you. Always have. B-but I don't think you... swing that way, huh?”

Any chattering still coming from the scaly scarf ended as shock set in. Clearly, whatever Vegin meant by that, Vin hadn't expected it. “A-anyway. With Ven... gone... a-and waking up to find out a... hatchling had also... gone... So suddenly. This place is cursed, I'm sorry. I have to say it. It's cursed and you guys shouldn't stay here either.” With a pleading sheen to his giant optics Gin turned despairingly between the three. “So... I'm going back home. I-I wish you all the best. Maybe I'll visit i-if you stay. I don't know. But I just... can't. I'm sorry. For everything. Vennie was a good girl really. If she'd...” He clammed up, unable to take it any more, ending with another shake of the head.

Nodding respectfully Ilmatar replied, “I... Honestly I understand. It's probably for the best.”

“Wait what?!” Vin squawked in distress. “You're supposed to make him stay, not-” Once again the red paw clamped his mouth shut.

“There are... things...” the Coatl continued, “about this place that I have just learned about. We'll discuss it later. I only hope Noelani and Whisper come back.” Taking a breath she motioned with her tail towards the storage. “I'm sorry to see you go of course. If you need anything for your journey then please take it. We don't have much but if it helps then by all means.”

Vegin nodded this time, thankfully. The smile he flashed was one of sadness and regret, though the determined glint said everything. “Thank you for this short stay. I... I wish I could've helped more. I-I'm sure the clan will grow wonderfully!” He turned to Vin. “I, um... meant what I said. Th-that I... love you. I didn't know how you or... anyone else would react to me being...” He coughed, then he turned to Meifeng. “A-and I'm s-s-sure you will grow up to be a l-lovely lady.”

Lady. Why... did that hurt? He may as well have called her something bad. So why...?

“I'm sure she will, too.” Matar agreed with a small, prideful smile.

She. A lump formed in her throat. What was going on? Why... why was that wrong? She... she was female, right? Why... did it hurt so badly? Finding it impossible to say anything without emotions tumbling out of control Meifeng simply nodded in thanks. Vegin nodded in kind, then undulated in the direction of the storeroom.

“Vin, Mei? Could you two fetch Vunguza for me?” Her vision was blurry with unshed, senseless tears as the Ridgeback responded to Matar's request. Nodding again in affirmation she began to make her way down to the lake where the Snapper was no doubt conversing with the fish-person, Anvindr uncoiling to wind ahead of her. “Mei?” She stopped, heart racing for no apparent reason. “Are you okay? You look upset about something.”

She couldn't hold it back any longer. Whatever 'it' was.

Meifeng broke down crying.

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Next Chapter
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I decided against having yet another random death in the new clan grounds, figuring having them simply leave the group permanently would work just as well. I hope you agree.

Also I don't know if this got missed, or just no one's interested, but since a few of you said you loved how Vegin scried I'll leave him up for adoption until the end of the week. Please let me know if you're interested in taking him in!

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Last edited by Varethyn on Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Lupis » Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:22 am

MEI!!! You're pandering to my brand, here, with all this gender exploration. :lol: I really like how you handled Vegin leaving! It made a lot of sense vs. another death, and adds another kind of threat to the new clan- people might just straight up leave with how dangerous it is. Loving it!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Tårnfalk » Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:36 am

I like them being able to permantly leave.. better than death :D Glad Lupis snatched that pretty boy!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:38 am

Hehe! I actually had Meifeng's exploration idea not long after getting her. It just so happens with all the breaks I keep taking that both stories lined up. Thanks for adopting Vegin, he's on his way now and I know you'll take great care of him :hug: ...admittedly I may have kept him in the main lair if no one else spoke up <3

Glad you think so! I'm trying to find new ways to have dragons leave the story without them constantly dying. There's so many other options if they can be pulled off correctly. I mean someone could end up being sucked into a rift in space/time and ending up in a parallel universe.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Tårnfalk » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:48 am

Uhh i like the parallel universe idea!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Falcon » Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:27 pm

I'm also glad that there wasn't another death, especially so soon after both Venilia and Keano. I agree that you handled Gin's reasons for leaving quite well and I hope there will be someone who can explain gender exploration to Meifeng, poor kid.

I admit that I used to despise Vin, what with him inadvertently causing Ahio's death and all, but he ended up growing on me once he started trying to make up for that and everything else. I don't have a clear favorite from this group yet.
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:18 pm

I absolutely want to explore new ideas for send-offs. Reading other 'lockes has given me a few ideas, I just need things to line up in the story for it all to work/make sense.

That's what's great about writing stories with no set character traits. Vin was going to be a villain early on, then something nagged at me that no, he needs to make amends somehow. Noelani, among others, I was struggling to find personality for at all. This one isn't something I had in mind but as long as it's a love-to-hate situation and not bad writing then all good! She really needs a wake up slap of sorts. Something for the next chapter perhaps...

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:11 pm

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It took quite a bit longer than expected to calm the Ridgeback down. Even then she refused to admit what had caused the breakdown, passing it off as “sensitive female time”, although Matar wasn't convinced Mei was old enough to experience that just yet. Or, then, how she knew of it. What she did notice was how much saying that seemed to hurt her, but brushed it off as it, if it were true, was an embarrassing thing to talk about. When Vin returned after noticing Meifeng's absence Matar sent them both off to the lake again, saying that what she wanted to talk about can wait a little longer while the youngest clan member got her bearings back.

Seeing the pair off the Coatl turned around to skulk in her ramshackle hut for a while. So much had happened so quickly. Her head was spinning. The Shade beneath them. Ayaz's secret. Two dragons – one of which was a hatchling for Windsinger's sake – dying within hours of each other. Gin leaving because of it. And now Meifeng's random emotional spurts. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, giving her time to think things over on how to address the situation, the role of this place as a whole. If they were to live there, they all deserved to know.

As she made her way across the plaza Matar stopped short as she caught sight of a figure lurking in the entrance to the Shade vault. Fur puffed out in alarm as panic welling up inside her at the thought of a stranger not only making it inside the clan undetected but also to that specific cave. Starting to run she cursed her deplorable ground speed in her native language, muttered a few words, rode a stream of enchanted winds to close the distance. As she got closer the figure became that of a Tundra, although it was definitely not Ayaz. No, this one had golden-brown fur and chocolatey wings. He turned at her approach, flashing soft, green eyes of the Windborne as he danced anxiously in place. "Uh, can I help you?" Ilmatar inquired dubiously as she studied the stranger.

Emitting a high whine the brown puffball jabbed a finger down into the murky depths of the tunnel. "P-please. My firebird... My familiar, a mock firebird, got away from me and went down there! I-I'm so, so sorry for intruding like this. C-could you p-p-please help me get him back?" He was stammering so hard it was difficult at first to understand his pleas. Somehow the Coatl clicked enough, only to throw him a sceptical look.

"You're sure it went in there?"

"Y-yes! I'm certain!"

Doing her best to smooth out her ruddy fur Ilmatar took a deep breath as she considered her options. No way in heck was she allowing a stranger down into the Shade Vault. Besides, surely Ayaz had noticed something going on. If he fancied actually doing anything about it was another question. "Uh well, okay. You," she pressed her head against the nervy visitor's back, shoving him back towards the entrance, “stay right here and I'll get someone to help. We, uh... we're renovating! A-as you can clearly see!” Feeling as jumpy as he looked the red feathered dragon waved a stubby arm to indicate the rundown clan grounds. “A-and this cave is... off-limits! Because it's dangerous! Yes, could collapse at any-” A paw shot up to her mouth to close it. That wasn't going to help.

Indeed the golden Tundra's eyes went rounder at each word, fear and worry plain on his blunt features for his missing familiar. “Th-th-then we n-need to go get him out right now!”

Placing her paws on his shoulders to prevent him from charging inside Ilmatar gently guided the scared fluff back to the entrance, though he was adamant in remaining inside. “Look, just.. stay here. I have a Ridgeback friend who will help us! She's big enough, she'd be able to hold up any-” Crap, crap, crap! Why did I say that?! Meifeng was still a child, and one who didn't feel comfortable in her own scales right now at that. Matar hissed at herself in annoyance, then slapped her hand back over her maw as the Tundra back-peddled. “Sorry! I wasn't hissing at you I promise!” But she couldn't just bring Mei into this just to satisfy what could end up being a wild goose chase. Granted everyone needed to know about the secret of this place, but like that? “I'll be right back I swear!”

But as she turned to scarper away to find assistance the Coatl skidded to an immediate halt at the sound of chuckling.

And not just any chuckling.

That chuckling.

Great. Just what she needed. Ayaz was doing something after all: Making the situation worse. Wheeling around to chastise the shadow dragon she stopped short. Ayaz wasn't here. Only the goldenrod Tundra. Except he was grinning at her from ear to ear, soft green eyes replaced with lavender orbs suspended in a hollow void. “Gotcha.”

“Nnnnnng-!” Matar bit the inside of her lower lip so hard she could taste blood, her palms stinging as claws dug in from being balled tightly in fury. “Y-you! How? How are you- What- Why-” So flabbergasted as she was the crested dragon found it nigh impossible to form a coherent sentence let alone berate the living shadow for his actions. And abilities. Seriously, he had colour now?

Casually shaking out his mane Ayaz resumed his darkened, overcast tones, almost as if the motion had thrown off some kind of costume. “Well now, I'm afraid to say... You failed.”

Failed?” Matar squawked. Another chuckle, followed by another strained noise.

“I was testing you, to see how you might react to such a circumstance.” Continuing to grin at her Ayaz placed a forepaw on the side of the cave, then the other, then seemed to use the shadows lining the tunnel to pull himself up. Sauntering up the rock he set set himself down on the ceiling, regarding the Coatl upside-down. “You were right to not let me in of course, but to have left me alone? I could've gone off any old place while you weren't watching.”

After a moment of furious spitting and humming curses Matar eventually replied, “And what exactly was I supposed to do then, huh? No one else is around! Meifeng's hanging out with Vunguza and Anvindr at the lake, the beastclans are finding places for themselves around the colony, who know what you would be doing and Noelani and Whisper are nowhere to be seen!” She frowned at that last part. “Where are they anyway? How the hell did you manage to look like another dragon? What the hell happened while I was making my way out of this damnable tunnel?! And get down from the ceiling this is making me feel weird.

Stretching out like none of this mattered Ayaz jumped, did a small twirl to right himself, landed neatly in front of the irate Coatl. “Remember what I told you? About Thayvern?”

“That you are...” Her head hurt. A lot. And there was a buzzing, whining sound in her ear canals like some insect had crawled inside to gnaw at her brain. Too much. Too much to remember. Too much happening around them. A paw went to her aching forehead, pain pounding through it with every rapid heartbeat. “I can't think. Not after all... this.” Arms, wings and tail splayed and stretched to include the entire world. “I don't know right now. Brothers? Whatever, you'll probably tell me anyway.”

For the tiniest of moments a look of pity crossed the Tundra's otherwise smirking face. “First I think you should be more comfortable. If you would assist me, we shall converse wherever you'd prefer.”

“Assist?” Giving Ayaz the once-over Matar frowned. “You seem fine to-” Breaking off sharply the Coatl could only gawk as the Shade-touched Tundra sank into the ground. Specifically, where her shadow cast a darker shape in the cave mouth. With a surprised yelp she leapt back, but Ayaz had already disappeared. Heart thumping erratically in her chest she waited to see what happened next. Although he'd gone she could still feel his eyes on her. A shiver ran down the length of her body, fur and feather unwillingly puffing out once more as if some ill wind was blowing.

“Remember,” Ayaz' voice sounded from nowhere, making Ilmatar yelp again, “I cannot walk in the light. It burns and eats at me. I must remain in the darkness.”

“Wh-where are you?” Her heart had now leapt into her throat, constricting airways. She fought the urge to retch.

“I ride within your shadow. It's quite cosy in here.”

My... shadow? With joints refusing to cooperate properly she, with some effort, angled her head towards the dark reflection of herself cast on the ground. He's... in there...? Then it moved. And she stopped moving. That... it didn't really just do that, did it? Then it looked up at her. And waved.

She screamed. All senses lost the copper-coloured dragon tore mindlessly across the grounds as if doing so would leave behind all this nonsense. This isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real... Careening headlong into her temporary abode Matar scooped up Meifeng's blankets, curling up on the ragged cushion and burying herself in the linens. “It's okay... it's okay! I... just need more rest! That's all! There's... there's no way he did that. He couldn't have. I'm just imagining things!” A soft, fluffy feeling enveloped her paws. It took a moment to realise she'd punctured the fabric of the cushion in gripping it so hard, its contents spilling over her fingers.

“I was hoping you'd take us somewhere more spacious.” Ayaz mock complained above the flimsy fort, making Ilmatar groan squeakily as he adjusted the sheets hanging over the windows to block out more of the sunshine. “And no. This is all very real.” Satisfied with the diminished light levels the amalgamation flopped himself into the darkest corner of the hut. “That's not a very good hiding place by the way. Your tail is sticking out.” A deep crease appeared around the perimeter of the cushion as said tail tightened its grip.

A series of grating humming not unlike a child fiddling with an old record player was heard under the thin covers as Matar reluctantly poked her head out. “All right.” She said tiredly, just about given up with everything. “What's going on?”

“Thayvern and I are one and the same.” Ayaz reminded her, resting his head in a furry paw while waving the other. “That is, I am his shadow, torn from his body and animated by the Shade in order to physically subdue those around me. I kept his memories and fed from his negative thoughts and feelings, giving me full control to fight against my would-be master.” He bared his long canines in a grimace as he recalled that day. “But he and the rest of the clan feared me, having Shadow members bind me to this place as they moved on.”

“That's right.” Lacking the energy to portray much emotion Ilmatar allowed her limbs to hang loosely over the sides of her bed as she listened. “Something like that anyway.”

Ayaz nodded, snorting lightly in amusement. “Seems though I retained more of his essence that first thought. Much like how I can control how corporeal I am, as long as it's dark I can also assume his guise for a time. At the same time it also results in me... slipping. Thay was a very soft, kindly dragon. If times are right his sentimentality, shall we say, shines through, making me do things I normally wouldn't as I am now. Like caring for the lost and wounded." He shrugged. "That said, it's all quite handy when dealing with others who aren't aware.”

“Tricking them too.”

Another snort. “Got you thinking though, didn't it?”

Sure that her lungs were clean from all the sighing she'd done the Coatl let loose another one, dipping her head and closing her eyes. “What am I supposed to do about that? The others don't know yet and even if they did none of us would be fast enough to act. You'd be the best bet, annoying as it is to admit, given that you... You said you could sense things in the dark right? I'm not making that bit up?”

“I can indeed.” That damnable smile.

“Anyway.” Matar huffed. “Point is you're the only one who'd be able to stop anyone who does manage to get in like that. We're too few so short of waiting for a large group to miraculously join us I'd have to station someone there at all times. And that wouldn't be fair on anyone.” Reaching to rub her temples with a frustrated groan she muttered, “If only there were some breed of dragon suited to guarding something like-” Green eyes went round as she shot upwards, front legs supporting her, blankets flying as her wings spread out. “Oh shoot, what if a Guardian claims it as their Charge? What then?!” She got up, pacing around the cramped interior of the hovel. “What happens if a Guardian claims that lump of Shade or the cave it's in or this place entirely? Do I turn Guardians away just in case? But then they'd insist on coming in or sneak in on their own because it's their Charge and- WILL YOU STOP LAUGHING AT ME?!

Over in his corner Ayaz had rolled onto his back, forearms wrapped around his chest as his hind legs and tail kicked and whipped as he roared with laughter. Had he been a real dragon tears would have been streaming down his face. “You're just so cute when you overthink things.” Despite not needing to breathe the Tundra's voice had pitched several octaves higher than normal, possibly mimicking the effects from when he was part of this Thayvern character.

“It's called future-proofing!” Matar reciprocated defensively, pounding the cushion with a balled fist for emphasis.

“It's called,” the dark-furred dragon echoed as he righted himself to hold her gaze, “paranoia.”

“Whatever it is it's a huge problem!” She was pacing again. He watched her going back and forth. “Unless... We could move a boulder in front of it! Then it would be a secret to everybody! ...unless I keep it secret from the others, too. Then I'd have to do it myself because Mei's too young and Whisper is missing...”

“It wouldn't help the Guardian problem anyway.”

You're not helping!” With Ayaz snickering at her predicament Matar continued to mull it over, playing out several scenarios in her mind. Since mentioning it however her thoughts kept turning to the Imperial's whereabouts. Finding herself too distracted by it to focus on how to hide the Shade for now the Coatl surrendered, standing to face the faux dragon in the room with her. “Where are Whisper, Noelani and their hatchlings? I'd been looking forward to meeting them properly.”

Patting the ground next to him with a wry grin Ayaz waited for Ilmatar to join him before parting his jaws to explain the events of the previous night.

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They had been flying all night. They shouldn't have really, but being Light flight Whisper and Noelani could see through the murk a lot better than any other flight. Except Shadow. They didn't talk about Shadow. The rivalry was strong between the two elements, if not as strong as the one between Plague and Nature. That was neither here nor there however as the small family settled down to rest and recuperate.

It had been at Whisper's behest that they land; the kits were mewling out of fear and hunger, the sounds stinging ear and heart as he fought to not cry again, especially as he also bore the still form of their lost son. A third voice missing from the choir that should have been safe in the Wind lair until they were ready.

It had been at Noelani's insistence that they flew as far as they had, the Wildclaw keen to keep moving. This territory was not fit for Keano's burial. No, he had to be taken home, taken somewhere sacred where he could add the light of his soul to the Sun. The sooner he be laid to rest the better, even if it meant exhausting themselves to do so.

Between the piteous whining and the concerned trills and hand motions the creamy one was forced to relent. Already agitated at the need to land, run, hop back into the air again over and over thanks to her body's makeup Lani shrieked her feelings over the darkened ocean as they landed on a cliff edge overlooking the Sea of One Thousand Currents. Sea birds nesting in the rocky faces below took wing in fear, squawking their alarms between each other. Taking a moment to catch her breath it wasn't until the bereft mother turned to see her beloved attempting to summon a Light orb while simultaneously keeping the remaining kits corralled with his tail that she felt the drain of their excursion.

Longing to tuck up against the Imperial's minty hide, sleep and wake up to a full and healthy family in the Library grounds the bipedal dragon made to do just that, only to have her larger mate move out of the way. Sent sprawling on the grass between two very noisy hatchlings she shot a beleaguered glare up at Whisper. “What was that for?” she called as he walked off into the dark, orb in tow. “Where are you going Per-” A loud shushing sound cut her off, the Wildclaw snapping her jaws in protest.

Without further argument and puffing out her cherub-patterned fur she found herself in need of summoning her own orb, feeling two overly curious snouts pressing against her shoulders. At first moving to swat them away Noelani stayed her hand when the keening started again. Feeling warmth trickle down the side of her face she instead looped her arms under their heads, tugging the hatchlings close to her, crooning to them. Whisper must have gone to get food for them. She mustn't forget what she still had.

Waking suddenly from a nap she hadn't intended Noelani found her mate on the return, one arm curled in, hopping along on three legs. Disentangling herself from the two youngsters who had also fallen asleep on top of her the Wildclaw shot to her feet, staggering groggily towards the Imperial. “I'm sorry for snapping at you.” she apologised as she fussed at his lifted arm, seeing that he was indeed carrying something. “Here, let me.” Whisper snorted gruffly above her, reluctant at first, then allowed her to take the meaty offerings he'd managed to find. It wasn't much – an Imperial's handful of rather squashed newts and lizards. Lifting one up Noelani frowned at the broken morsel. The whole lot would barely feed one of the hatchlings let alone all fiv- ...four of them. Somehow this would have to make do until morning when hunting would be easier.

A sharp kick interrupted her as the newt almost made it to her mouth. “What in the- Whisper, what are you doing?” She shot him another glare to which he responded with a gesture of his great, antlered head at Pavan and Maili, the kits staring with wide, hopeful eyes. Right. They should be the first ones to eat. Reluctantly the white dragon knelt down to them, tossing them each a lizard in turn, keeping going until they were both satisfied. At least, that was the intent. Pining squeaks continued to ring out after the last one had been gulped down, leaving none for herself. At least Whisper could eat other food types.

She growled. Her stomach growled. Whisper growled. At her, she realised. “We're all tired.” The Wildclaw announced, throwing herself on the ground at the base of a tree. “Let us sleep. We'll discuss it in the morning.” Making herself comfortable Noelani was startled once more when a great weight was deposited on top of her, another set beside her and the sound of heavy footsteps as a third, far greater one looped around them all. Pavan and Maili had been placed on and next to her as Whisper coiled protectively in a blue loop, his lone eye turned outwards at the landscape. Noelani huffed, shoving the wriggling Maili off of her to get comfortable again, not caring where the hatchling landed. Closing her eyes and feeling the two nuzzle up against her she let out a breath.

Then flung her eyes open again in shocked realisation.

She didn't care.

She cared for Whisper.

She cared about where they were going.

She cared that one of the hatchlings had died and needed to be put to rest properly.

She didn't care about what they were leaving behind.

She didn't care about her living children.

It was like seeing Keano lifeless, seeing that freak of a Tundra handling him, hearing that he had a weak heart, hearing that her own actions had caused the death had all shattered what connection she'd had with them.

She nuzzled them both back.

She wanted to love them.

She felt nothing.

She wept.

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Next Chapter
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Inventory/Notes: Breed/Gene x8
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Last edited by Varethyn on Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Tårnfalk » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:18 pm

That was awesome. Im still reading the story to Victoria, and at this part
I ride within your shadow. It's quite cosy in here.”

My... shadow? With joints refusing to cooperate properly she, with some effort, angled her head towards the dark reflection of herself cast on the ground. He's... in there...? Then it moved. And she stopped moving. That... it didn't really just do that, did it? Then it looked up at her. And waved.
She crawled under a blanket and was hugging our cat. She loves scary bits in story and told me to tell you that it almost made her pee her pants. Which she said is a good thing

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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)

Unread post by Falcon » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:31 am

Man, Matar is slowly slipping. Ayaz is becoming more and more interesting with each chapter, wow. And I'm glad to finally see Noelani getting some much needed comeuppance. Great chapter!
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Recolored Zandalari crest by Krysteena, Lunaire sig by Jeydis and RimCraft mod Panthara by Varethyn. Thank you, you guys are the best!

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:40 am

Tarn: Hah, that's awesome! I'm flattered to have gotten such a reaction from my writing :D So glad Victoria's enjoying it still, too :hug:

Falcon (I saw that name change!): Yeah she's a wee bit stressed to say the least, what with knowing that the Shade is real and a piece of it lurks beneath the place she's trying to set up her own clan in, Ayaz being Ayaz and generally not fully recovering from Makani. It's okay. She just needs a good, long sleep. Maybe. And yeah you posed a good point with Noelani and felt you weren't the only one to notice. Plus it gives me the chance to attempt to explore another real issue through her.

Fun fact! Ayaz is based on another character of mine, Umbra, who I'm still trying to pin down. Which is difficult when they're made of pure shadow and magic. Ayaz is kind of an experiment for Umbra's personality and antics so it's great to see him getting such positive reception so far :hug:

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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:22 am

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Rolled Maili, Ilmatar (Ugh) and Anvindr (UGH)

...It actually worked out. Matar has Guard (something I really should look into giving more dragons in future) so started in Redrock to see what happened. Matar got beat the hell up between chain attacks and protecting Mai. Mai however grew to lv9 and so got an Ambush stone and from there it was easy sailing until she got KO'd on the final fight.

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Inventory/Notes: Breed/Gene x9
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:07 pm

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I wanted to try and give him a more flattering angle as I can't stand the male Snapper pose. I... can't tell if it worked or not. I also feel like I forgot something. I blame being distracted by ADGQ.

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Inventory/Notes: Breed/Gene x10
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:06 pm

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Chapter 34

This was better. This was what was supposed to happen. No one would doubt her now. She could hold her own, she could fight! Those Beastclans wouldn't be able to lay a hand (or wing or tail) on her friends and family now!

Meifeng paraded proudly between the few dragons that made her clan, holding her long, spear-like nose horn high. It was so long! Longer than the biggest male's horn could hope to reach! She swayed her neck to and fro, relishing in the weight it held.

Oh? Did that serthis have a problem with her? A quick flick and the point of her horn sent it flying. A harpy insulting them from the air? Another flick and it was sent spiralling to the ground. A maren plotting in the lake? Her neck arced back and thrust forward at sudden a speed to skewer it right out of the water.

Yes, this was it! This was her. Not some snub-nosed whelpling incapable of even picking something up that was out of arm's reach.

There! A whole army of Beastclans! So many they formed a black mass writhing on the horizon. Not a problem for her and her mighty nose! She charged forwards, pointing the horn right at the besieging beasts.

Except she suddenly felt weak. No! Why? Why could she no longer hold herself up? The horn was heavy now. So heavy. It pulled her down, no matter how hard she fought to pull it up. No, no, no! The beasts were so close now! The others were there again, unable to move. What happened? Why can't she lift her horn any more?

Then the worst thing possible happened. It broke off, sending the suddenly small Ridgeback rolling backwards head-over-tail. Splayed on the ground she could only watch helplessly over the tiny stub that was her pathetic nose as the Beastclans closed in...

Then it was black. A wall of thick, smoky mist. She covered her face, trying hard not to scream in anger and fear. Something touched her shoulder. She recoiled, flaring her wings and baring her teeth. At least she still had those.

Oh... it was the cool Tundra guy who could walk through walls. He was just sat there, staring at her with those weird eyes. All around them was that fog. No clanmates. No Beastclans. No severed horn.

“I could hear your whimpering from my cave.” His mouth didn't move. She jolted back, yet he seemed to move with her without standing. “I've heard it since you got here. And every time I checked in on you it's the same dream.”

“Wait, this is a dream?” Meifeng cast about, trying to discern anything in the roiling mists. Except it was not mist but solid black. They were in a void. She gasped as the floor fell away from her feet, leaving her suspended in blackness. Yet the Tundra was sat comfortably, like there was some invisible rock beneath him. “If this is a dream, why is it like this?” Strangely she wasn't scared, merely confused.

A flash of creamy white as he peeled his lips back in a toothy grin. Still without his mouth moving he answered, “Because my dear you are talking to me now. While you concentrate your mind cannot project the beauty of your imagination.”

“Is... is that,” Meifeng touched a paw to her blunt face, “is that why this is gone?”

He got up then, sauntering over to her. Wait, wasn't she bigger than him now? Why were they the same size? Part of the dream? But... he said she wasn't dreaming any more. “You mean this?” She yelped as he placed a paw over her small horn and yanked it, pulling it out and out until her glorious spear was back. Only to splinter off at her snout again just as before. “Got your nose.” The Tundra snickered, tossing the spike into the nothingness.

“No!” She tried to grab it, missed, watched sadly as it disappeared.

“Tsk tsk, you realise female Ridgebacks don't grow long horns like that, don't you?” There it was again. That feeling, like that word was a knife that had been stabbed into her chest. Why did it feel wrong? Why did she feel like crying whenever she was called that. “Because, my dear, you are not female.” Did... did he just read her mind?

“What do you mean?”

He only laughed and it was then that she realised his body was missing, his face and patterns floating in the black. “You will discover it soon enough. But you must discover it alone.” He, what was left of him, lifted up, fading into the void.

“No! Wait!” Meifeng tried to run after him, arm outstretched, but he remained out of reach. “What do you mean?”

Then she fell.


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With a startled yelp Meifeng shot upright, slamming her horned head against the rood of the shack she shared with Ilmatar. Grumbling to herself she raised a hand to rub where she'd struck herself, looking sheepishly down at the cushion the Coatl slept on. Except she wasn't there. Huh. Matar must have gotten up early and left before Mei had been shocked awake by the dream. If it had been a dream. The Tundra's face lingered in her mind, his words swimming in her head.

You are not female.

Unleashing a wide yawn the Ridgeback poised to stretch, said a bad word when her wings clipped the walls long before reaching full span and slunk outside to try again. Now with the space needed to achieve full relief she arched her back, dragging her front arms across the ground, then arced the other way to do the same with her back legs, all the while her tail swung and wings flared. Satisfied Meifeng began to plod towards the lake to see if any fish were biting since the maren moved in.

The image of her skewering a maren with an impressively long nose horn flashed in her vision, pausing her stride. Not the fact that she'd killed it, the one in her dream was different to Guz's new familiar or whatever they called themselves. Same with Vin's serthis and the harpy that kept fluttering about. No, once again it was the lack of a long nose. Weight fell on her like the shack had collapsed as the Tundra's words pounded with every heartbeat.

Not female. Not female. Not female.

“Then what am I?” It felt right somehow. A small revelation, like being told a secret. But only part of it. How could she not be female? Not for the first time she wished her parents were there. Not for the first time she tried to imagine what they'd look like. Especially her father. How impressive his nose horn must have been. She smiled, imagining on her own face. Would they have helped her understand why she felt this way? For a moment the minty Ridgeback sat on one of the lone benches that had survived whatever disaster had struck this place, allowing her imagination to run rampant with ideas of the family she never had. What colour were they? Were they both Ridgebacks? What if her father wasn't one after all? Where were they now? Did they miss her? Did they even know about her?

All she knew was that she'd been washed away in a storm, almost drowned and was raised by a travelling band of dragons looking to set up a new home. Was this going to be her home now? What was her actual home like? If the others knew more they didn't tell her. Matar was the closest thing she had to a mother but wouldn't let her call her one. There was a pain in the Coatl's eyes whenever she'd asked, like the one she felt when being called a girl. So much had happened in the weeks they'd been here that there had never been enough time to try to get anything out of her. So they'd all gotten on with it. Blowing air forcibly out of her nostrils Meifeng got back to her feet to resume her quest for breakfast. Maybe Matar was down by the lake to get her own. Maybe they could talk about it then.

Following the ruined, cracked flagstone that once was a path connecting the lake to the rest of the clan grounds it didn't take long for the Ridgeback, with her increasingly lengthening gait, to reach the large pool of water by which Vunguza had set up his home. Which was more of a scoop, a depression in the clay-rich soil nearby. After all, Snappers didn't sleep. He only went there if he needed to rest his legs. He must not have required a sit down at that moment for the scoop was empty. Not that was the only proof; at the lake's edge stood four figures. Well, two stood while one hovered and the other floated.

Matar, Vin, Guz and the maren, Laika.

“Ah, finally awake are ye?” With a chuckle the rusty Snapper waved a broad paw at her approach, the Coatl and Spiral turning to greet her wearily as Laika dipped below the rippling surface. “Och don't ye be mindin' her. Lass is still getting' used tah been aboot dragons.”

“It's not hard to blame her given how we met.” Anvindr pointed out, more lighthearted than he'd been in previous days. “Who'd want to come say hi to a group of creatures who looked ready to tear you apart just for existing? And... whose species would tear them apart just for existing. Hm. Not the best wording there. Sorry Laika.”

A pair of deep blue eyes peeked out from below the water, her face obscured by sediment kicked up from her sudden movements. “She'll warm up tah ye soon enough” Vunguza chortled again, only for him to clear his throat as his expression turned to more of a serious one. “Grab yerself a bite, missy. We've got somethin' needin' to be discussed like.”

“What do you mean?” Something that needed to be discussed? Did something happen? Apart from Noelani and Whisper not yet returning, unless that was it. Meifeng looked to each of the gathered dragons in turn. Vunguza nodded solemnly, Anvindr wrung his hands nervously and Matar was staring off over the pond. In fact the Coatl had been the only one not to address her yet.

“There's something all of you need to be aware of.” Ilmatar said at length, finally turning to regard her clanmates. There seemed to be a haunted look in her normally sparkling green eyes. Oh, so something did happen? It was quickly made clear that nothing more was going to be said until Meifeng had eaten, so after spending a few minutes gathering up some unfortunate molluscs she settled down next to the other three. As she plopped one into her mouth Ilmatar spoke up again, “There is something you all need to know about this place if we're to live here.”

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She was comfortable pressed into the groove between tree roots, head resting on a particularly large, raised one. Her night, late as it had started, had been a broken one. Every few hours one or other or even both of the hatchlings had woken her, begging for food. Each time she'd ignored them, wanting nothing to do with them. Whisper could sort them out. Each time she had to get up and hunt herself anyway because Whisper had left. Where, she did not know. Why, she did not know. All she knew is he wasn't happy with her. And she wanted nothing to do with the mewling kits that vied for her attention.

Where had it gone? The love? The excitement of being a mother? When Keano died, so did her maternal instincts. She tried to convince herself that they could not fend for themselves without her, that they needed her to feed and protect them. All she wanted was to return to her old clan in the Sunbeam Ruins with Whisper. Just Whisper.

So of course, now that she was comfortable and ready to fall into a proper sleep, another large paw plopped on her chest, a nose pressed into her face and a loud squeaking scraped her ears.

Where had it gone? The bond she'd shared with the handsome Imperial that was her mate? She thought she knew him, knew how to understand his unique way of speaking. Apparently not. Apparently there were many things she was yet to learn. The way he'd treated her last night, the way he abandoned her with the kits. What had she done wrong?

As Noelani reluctantly pried herself from her sleeping spot she yawned, rubbing at her tired eyes. A squeal of excitement sounded next to her as Maili wiggled on the ground next to her. It should have been endearing. Lani sighed. With no choice but to bring the pair with her it took a long time to hunt down enough hares and rats to feed the three of them. The kits were almost as long as she was from nose to tail yet had the appetite of a grown Imperial. Exhausted from the effort and lack of a decent sleep the Wildclaw flopped against a tree to stare longingly over the not too distant Sea of One Thousand Currents. Or rather, what lay on the other side. Only a few hours' flight would see her in the land of her birth.

Letting the two younglings play in the grass as she lounged a frown creased her features as it dawned on her that Keano's body was missing. Giving a small shrug she simply decided Whisper had gone to bury him. Then frowned again since they'd agreed, or she thought they'd agreed, to bury him in Light soil. Why was he acting against her? “Whisper?” It was more of curiosity, to see if he was around. There was no response, no sign her mate was nearby. She tried to ignore the pain in her chest as she settled down again.

The Sunbeam Ruins were within reach. Her children were playing happily behind her. They'd all eaten. Everything was fine. “Whisper?!” Desperation surged through her, forcing the bipedal dragon to her feet as she scanned the skies. “Whisper, where are you?” There was no way she could carry two Imperial hatchlings and there was no way she'd walk with them around the Water domain to get home.

Without her mate, she was stuck.

She didn't know how long she'd been pacing when he finally returned, kicking up twigs and leaves as his wingbeats lowered him to the ground. “Oh thank Glittermother you're here!” Cheeks warm and wet with tears Noelani darted over to wrap her arms around Whisper's shoulders, the kits wobbling over to him to babble in their baby talk as they pawed at his legs. While he let her hold him Noelani could tell Whisper was not happy as he stood unmoving in her embrace.

“You... already buried him, didn't you?”

His neck vibrated as he hummed. Her heart sank, though some relief remained. He hadn't buried Keano yet, but had picked a spot to do so. Fearing the worst Lani backed up so the could see each other better.

“Why did you leave me alone to do that? Shouldn't we have found somewhere together?”

He clicked, short and sharp. She flinched. She hadn't been left alone, she had their children with her.

“W-well, yes... but it was so hard caring for them alone.” She glared up at him indignantly, only to wither under his silent scrutiny. “Besides y-you didn't answer the other question!”

Whisper didn't respond for a moment, then uttered a series of growls and chuffing. Noelani frowned.

“What do you mean by that? Of course I meant what I said by agreeing on a spot!”

Another, longer growl punctuated by an almost bark-like sound.

“What do you mean I've been acting self-entitled lately?!”

More chuffing, sadder this time, interspersed with squeaks and chirps.

“It... was my fault? Because I attacked the beast? Because I... ignored the hatchlings...?” Guilt gripped her heart as she replayed the event. Playing with the kits happily. Seeing the Beastclans. Jumping up to stand against them. Turning to see the Shadow freak holding their now dead son. Her jaw worked as she struggled to find an excuse. Was that the first sign that she didn't truly care? By choosing to intimidate the harpy instead of guard the kits? But... there was no way she would stand for that! There was a reason they were called Beastclan! Because they were beasts and nothing more! Clenching and unclenching her hands Noelani stared pitifully up at Whisper, examining the way his whiskers twitched. Although she refused to admit her fault the Imperial's expression softened, lowering his head to nuzzle her. She nuzzled back, using the angle her head was turned to check on the children. Happy. Healthy.

A trilling sound from her mate brought her attention back to him as he pulled away. Regarding her briefly the Imperial turned, motioning for her to climb up. He was going to take them to where he felt Keano should be buried. “And the kits?” He nodded, he'd carry them in his claws.

The flight was spent in silence. Neither of them made attempt at their makeshift conversation. No doubt Pavan and Maili were squealing with delight down below in his hands but between the distance and the wind whipping any sounds away from her ears they may as well not be there. And for that moment it suited her fine. And she hated it. The annoyance and guilt soon fled however when the Wildclaw recognised that they were in Light territory after all. At least they had managed to agree on that even if they'd not done it together.

Whisper angled down, tilting a yellow wing to descend in a lazy spiral to the ground below. Carefully he landed in a clearing in the middle of a forest not far from a grand river flanked by mountains. Noelani took this as her queue to slip off her mate's back, since he would have put down the two hatchlings to walk the rest of the way through the trees to their destination.

Golden eyes widened in wonder at the sight that waited beyond the last line. A vast, sprawling city once flourished here, its now skeletal remains littering the land. Ancient history at its finest. Claws flew up to her mouth as Noelani tried, and failed, to contain her excitement. An ancient civilisation. On the edge of the Light region, a corner neighbouring that of Lightning and Water. “You... chose this as...?” A small squeal left her unbidden as Whisper nodded in confirmation. Such a wonderful place, and he'd chosen it as Keano's final resting place.

With slow, deliberate movement the Imperial guided the Wildclaw and their children to the skeletal remains of one of the outer buildings. In recent years some of it had fallen, creating unfortunate rubble alongside, marring the splendour of their find while the bulk of the structure otherwise remained largely intact. Grass and wildflowers had long since overtaken the area, a tree had grown up a corner, effectively reinforcing the wall with its bulk even as the roots cracked the foundation. In the centre the ground seemed to bulge upwards slightly, but the gradient was so smooth it was difficult to pass it off as more than a gathering of soil and plant matter.

At the base of the tree holding the building up lay the faded form of Keano, the sight still able to bring about guilt and loss within her even if her living children could not summon such feelings. Sitting across from her Whisper watched Noelani expectantly. “Is this the spot?” She asked, something drawing her eye to the small hill to the side. It felt off somehow, like someone was watching them. The Imperial trilled quietly, motioning to the hatchlings with a paw who took it as a signal to go play. As they began to tussle Whisper placed the paw on the ground next to the lost hatchling, teasing the soil with his claws as his gaze once again fell on his mate.

Bobbing her own nod of acknowledgement Noelani began to dig. As she started so too did Whisper join her, scraping out an oval hole until it was deep enough for their liking. Satisfied they, together, lifted the dull body into the hole, curling him up as if he were simply asleep. Bowing their heads in respect and remorse they pushed the dug soil back in, covering the still body. A shiver ran down the cherub-patterned Wildclaw's spine and she stopped, stooped over the disturbed ground. Across from her Whisper also shuddered. They looked at each other questioningly, waiting to see if the other had the answer.

Then they turned. The hatchlings had stopped play-fighting and were staring at the mound in the middle of the ruin. All four of them gawped in shock.

It wasn't unheard of to spread rumours of supernatural happenings occurring in these ruins of Light. Many held stories of monstrous beings, remnants of the first Emperors after being struck down by Lightweaver herself. Shade. Spectres of long dead dragons.

No one had expected to actually witness a ghost.

And yet the crimson red gaze of a charcoal-coloured Pearlcatcher was upon them as she watched from her own grave.

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Inventory/Notes: Breed/Gene x10
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What's this? Coliseum, art and not one but two lore posts in one day?!

I'm as shocked as you are.
Last edited by Varethyn on Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Falcon
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Falcon » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:56 am

And here I thought Ayaz would be the one to help Mei , but, nope, still such a troll. XD

And, omg, the ending, you are KILLING me here, Vare! Also, I realized that the way Noelani had treated Matar shortly after Maki had died had pretty much come back to bite her in the bum. Karma at it's harshest. There's a few more things I want to say, but they're kinda spoilerly for your first 'locke so I'll PM you instead. :)
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Lupis » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:16 pm

oh MAN this is a good chapter- a lot of great insight on Meifeng (love the handling of ridgeback noses being a secondary sexual characteristic!), interesting Ayez interjection and foreshadowing, and Neolani... I'm really increasingly curious about what her development is going to look like, and what happened to her ability to love. AND WHO IS THIS PEARLCATCHER you have me hooked as always, Vare!

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Varethyn
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Re: Winds of Change (Pinkerlocke)

Unread post by Varethyn » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:59 am

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Tiny snoot.

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Inventory/Notes: Breed/Gene x10
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