Shadowy fog slowly moved over the land and the night wind cooled the air. Creatures of all kinds, dragons and beasts alike all settled in for the night. One pair in particular settled around their makeshift nest and waited for the eggs to hatch. A large blanket laid out next to the pile of eggs, an ugly yellow in color and torn in places. The fog grew thick as the night paraded on, misting over the eggs filling them with the dark shadow energy of the Shadow Realm.
Not long before the sun started to rise, a small sound was heard from the nest. The fog had long since dissipated, vanishing with the night as the sun threatened to rise. The parents of the eggs, hearing the cracking of the shells, woke and stood fast. It was time, the eggs were hatching. A small tuft of fur poked out of a hole in the egg shell, jolting back and forth as the hatchling inside moved about to get free. Another egg started wobble about, moving around and bumped into is sibling egg. The bump caused enough damage for the hatchling to break free of its protective armor.
A ball of black and silver fur with silver wings attached rolled out from the broken egg shell and unfurled on the ground. Before the little one could even try to stand it was lifted up by the mother dragon, and placed on the blanket. Next was the fae that hatched from the hit and run egg. Once both little dragons were on the blanket, the father of the clutch grabbed all the corners and tied the blanket shut. Once his mate was nestled on his back, he picked up the blanket sack and took to the air.
“Sora, where is this beast located?” The large tundra male shouted out over the wind. The sun’s rays shimmering from the east, cloaking the land in its early morning warmth.
“Head towards Water Flight territory, near the edge of Fire Flight. Just fly south, keep the sun to your left.” The small Fae dragon cranked her long neck up to see over the Tundra’s head. “Just keep going the way you’re going.” She retracted her neck and nestled back into her mates fur. She hated flying so high, always too bright so high up.
Soft cries from the hatchlings echoed through the air as they squirmed around to get comfortable. The young fae kept crawling all over the place, refusing to sit still. At one point, one of the fae’s wing tips stabbed the tundra in the eye causing a small fight. The fight ended soon after it started as the blanket sack they were in bounced causing the young ones to tumble around inside. Each time their father used his wings, the sack would bounce along with the beat of his wings causing the two inside to bounce with it.
For the young hatchlings, what felt like forever finally ended as a hard surface appeared under their small bodies. Unfortunately the tundra was upside down and had landed on top of his brother. Blinded by mid-morning sunlight as the blanket they were in suddenly opened. The tundra tried to wonder away from the blanket, not wanting to go through that kind of ride again only to be herded towards the edge of the ground they were on by his mother.
“Only 2?” A husky voice roused out, disappointed and angry.
“What comes out, come out. We can’t control the amount of eggs that are laid.” Sora, the hatchlings mother snapped.”I’d like to see you try to pop out something that isn’t there. Vio hurry this up, we have another job to do.”
“I know, I know!” he groused before turning to the beast they spoke to. “Look fish, you promised 30,000 treasure per hatchling brought to you as food. 10,000 treasure more if they are freshly hatched. These brats hatched not 20 minutes ago, so I am sure they fall under freshly hatched.” Vio, the hatchlings father spoke in a demanding tone. “Now, if you don’t want them, we’ll take them else where. From where I stand, 2 are better than none, and not many Dragons are willing to sell their brats to Beasts. Take the two, or we leave.”
Sora started to herd the young ones back to the blanket when the Amber Gulper cried out.
“Alright! I’ll take them! 60,000 for both, that little thing won’t fill me up at all. Nothing but an appetizer. ” The two dragons looked at each other before Vio sighed and turned back to the beast and agreed.
The beast left them for a few minutes before returning with a wet sack of coins. Vio tied it to his waste before heading to the children.
“Ready?” He asked the beast. The Amber Gulper nodded and mumbled a ‘Hurry already’ before opening his duckbilled mouth. The older tundra sighed once more before picking up his Fae son. “Sorry kids, but this is the only thing you guys are good for. It’s tough enough to live in this world and we don’t need to have you guys leeching off of us.” The young Fae looked up at his father and tilted his head. He didn’t understand a word the older male had said. Vio went to the edge of the landing and then tossed his hatchling into the gaping mouth of the Amber Gulper.
The small black and silver tundra watched in horror as his small helpless younger brother disappeared into the beasts mouth. Redness oozed out from the fishes duck like bill and the sound of small soft bones being crunched on resounded in his ears. Fear over took him as the older tundra came for him. He wasn’t even old enough to understand what was happening, but he did know, he was terrified and didn’t want to be here.
Stonewash colored wings rapidly flapped as the body they held soared through the sky. The deep blood colored body much larger than the wings made it harder to fly. She left her home because they all made fun of her small wings, comparing them to her huge, heavily build body. For weeks now she traveled to many lands, she went from her home land in Viridian Cabyrinth, to visit Dragonhome. After that she traveled through Starfall Isles and Icefield.
She now flew over the land of Ashfall Waste, and obviously the heat there was too much for a Nature dragon to handle so she headed for the Sea of a Thousand Currents. Her throat was parched and her skin drying out from the heat below. Luckily for her she wasn’t far from the water. Her wings, obviously too small for her to really fly long distances, something she learned when flying over to the Icefield.
The Pearlcatcher was so tired, but she refused to land in such a hot area, and her destination was not that far from her. Her wings were exhausted and felt as if they’d break off but she pushed on. The smell of sea water, and the cool breeze coming off the waves gave her the strength to keep flying. The land below her was slowly changing from a scorched red to a purpleish color, and then finally a nice clear blue. The water looked deep and cool so she stopped her wings from flapping like crazy and just dropped. A cannon ball right into the water.
Her dry heated skin instantly absorbed the water, her throat flooded with the cool liquid. Her sore tired wings were soothed by the water’s chill, and she turned her body around to float back to the surface and relax. Like a leaf, she rested on the waters surface, her tail slightly moving to keep her moving slowly farther into the Sea of a Thousand Currents, farther away from the tortuous Ashfall Waste.
With out any warning, a loud cry rang out through the Tsunami Flats. Startled, the Pearlcatcher flailed and ended up sinking into the water, almost dropping her pearl before gaining control of herself to bring herself to the surface of the water. More cries rang out and she swam toward the call for help. From the sound of the cries, it was obviously a hatchling barely a day old.
Upon reaching one of the many pools, the worst sight she had ever seen reached her eyes. One of the pools was tainted with blood, a beast in the middle of that taint with his bloody mouth hanging wide open. A large male tundra and a small female fae stood at the edge of the pool, the male held a wailing infant tundra in his hand. The young one screamed, clawed, bit, and flapped his little wings all in failed efforts to get away. His father struggled with him, constantly losing grip of the terrified hatchling.
“Mm, a fighter eh? He’ll taste better than the last.” The Amber Gulper groaned with pleasure as his mouth watered. Drool and blood leaked from his bill as he awaited his next meal.
Disgusted, the Pearlcatcher jumped out of the water and loose a breath of air so powerful in knocked the infant out of his fathers hands. Angrily she scratched out at the Fae then bashed the Amber Gulper over the head with her tail. The adult male Tundra charged at her but she managed to dodge his attack and shove him into the bloody water. His fur so thick, it absorbed so much water that he had trouble staying afloat.
The Fae flew off, injured and bleeding. She’d rather abandon her mate than die fighting for something she didn’t even want. She didn’t even think of how her mate held all their treasure. The Amber Gulper attacked the little one’s savior, who was trying to fly off with the hatchling. His attack hit her on the left wing and cut into her shoulder.
Instead of Flying she’d have to run. Jumping from one pool ledge to another, she ran from the battle. The small tundra, frozen in fear, shivered in her arms. She ran for what felt like hours until she slipped and fell. She threw the young Tundra up onto the landing before she landed in the water, her tail clinging desperately to her pearl.
Her body was so heavy, she flew a long distance only to rest for a few seconds before rescuing a small infant. All of that, she dies before she could find a home for the hatchling who is now all alone at the edge of the water.
Movement below her resounded through the water. The pearlcatcher was able to breath again. She had blacked out, but how did she get back to the surface? The young tundra was still shivering in fear, huddled in a ball crying to himself. Looking around she noticed a very large and beautiful Imperial Dragon in the water.
“Child, you are injured and that one there is frozen stiff with fear, what has happened?” The Imperial questioned. The two dragons before her were suspicious. An injured female, obviously not the hatchlings mother, way too young. And the Tundra, curled up into a ball of self comfort, trying to ignore the world around it. Was this Pearlcatcher a nest thief?
“Oh large one, we need your help!” The injured dragon managed to croak out before coughing up some water. “I am Tama of the Viridian Cabyrinth, weeks after I hatched, I had left my home to travel. As I was resting near the Tsunami Pools, I heard a cry and headed towards it. What I saw was terrible! How they could do that to their own babies?! They fed their young to an Amber Gulper back there. I managed to rescue this one, but I don’t know how long it will be before the father of the child or the beast will catch up with us. So much blood. Please.. help us. I need to get to a place where we can hide.” Tama started crying, finally all she had just witnessed washed over her. Who knows how many hatchlings those dragons fed to the beast before she came along.
“I’m sorry, but for me to believe such a story I will need to see for myself where this took place. Too many nest thieves around here, too many young ones have been lost. You will guide me there. Come now, grab the infant and climb onto my back. Guide ol’ Chimaditida to this place with the bloodied water.” Tama started crying even harder as she moved to pick up the infant. As she reached for him, she noticed her pearl was missing.
“My Pearl! I need my pearl!” In a panic she started looking around the pools edge. She was now bawling incoherently, pearlcatchers are nothing with out their pearls. The Imperial Chimaditida huffed before diving down into the water, an action that went unnoticed by the 2 on the ledge. Minutes passed as Tama sat down in a daze. She lost her one and only worldly possession. An item that can never be obtained anywhere else. The pearl made from the eggshell she was born from. She sat there for a long time before Chimaditida emerged from the water once more and dropped a shiny orb in front of her.
Tama stared at the orb, a dreamlike expression washed over her face as she picked up the orb and cuddled it. It was her pearl. She looked up at the larger dragon with a great deal of gratitude shimmering in her eyes. Calming herself down, she got to her feet and managed to pick up the Tundra hatchling in one arm, and carried her precious pearl in the other. Slowly she managed to make her way onto the Imperial’s back. Tama curled up in a way that the tundra would stay safe, her tail wrapping around the little ones body, while she held onto Chimaditida ‘s mane.
Off into the sky the water dragon went, following the directions Tama gave, Chimaditida flew south towards the heated Tsunami Pools. It was there that they witnessed a Black and Violet colored Tundra, sopping wet, and an Amber Gulper who floated inside a pull of pink water. They were arguing about treasure.
“You let that Pearl brat get away with my meal! I want my money back! I demand you give my money back!!” The Gulper shouted. Vio huffed, before stalking away, treasure and all.
“Sorry but once the money came to my hands that kid was YOUR responsibility. If you weren’t so lazy and would just feed yourself this wouldn’t have happened. I need to find my mate, I’m out of here.” With that he flew off. Chimaditida made sure to fly higher so the older Tundra wouldn’t see her. The jerk her body made while climbing in the air cause jolts of pain to run down Tama’s shoulder and back. A groan slipped through her tightly clenched jaw, Tama was started to get light headed from the pain.
“I will land in the water now and swim you to the Tangled Wood. The energy from the Shadowbinder should help sooth that little one. His eyes say he was born and hatched there. Rest for now, you both are safe. It will be nightfall by the time we reach the shores of the Tangled Wood.” Chimaditida soothingly talked to both Tama and the hatchling.
With the sun gone, and the moon out in full glory shining bright in the dark sky. Tama woke to the scene of an eerie fog and light blue glowing things in the distance. Chimaditida swam slowly, making sure not to jolt her passengers. The hatchling, passed out from exhaustion not long after the sun started to set, his sleep fitful and seemingly full of night terrors. Small whimpers can be heard from the tiny body that trembled mercilessly.
“Is that the Tangled Wood?” Tama spoke softly, still groggy but awake to know not to wake the little one. Chimaditida nodded her head and looked toward the sky. Most shadow dragons should be out during this time, so the young ones should be able to find sanctuary with one of the clans. Tama breathed a sigh of relief, they should be safe for now.
The Imperial swam up the river until she reached a nature made dam. She waded further toward the river bank and let Tama off. Tama reached up and gently lifted the baby off Chimaditida’s back. With a slight nod of thanks, the Pearlcatcher walked away before stopping to look around.
A mist hung in the air, so thick it was hard to see ahead of her, looking behind her she could see Chimaditida’s shadow drifting away. There was no way she would be able to wonder through this mist in the dark. She wondered around the area a bit before deciding that the oddly placed stones would be the best place to sleep.
Gently she sat the hatchling down before laying beside him. Using her pearl as a pillow, she pet the young dragon until she fell asleep. Her last thought was a wish that she wouldn’t have any nightmares of what had happened today. And a wish that the little one next to her will be alright some day.