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Written by SimmertheSkywing. Do not use characters or plot line without permission

Prologue:

It was a chilly, unfriendly night in the Sand Kingdom. Thrust watched her three eggs with excited fear.

Will I know what to do? Will I be a good parent?

Butterflies fluttered in Thrusts stomach as a crack appeared along the first, biggest egg. A tiny Skywing popped it's head out. The first thing it did was scowl at Thrust.

Phew. There's nothing wrong with it. Full Skywing.

Thrust flicked her tail barb back and forth.

Although it will be my fault if they turn out weird, I guess, because I'm the one who married a Skywing instead of another Sandwing.

Annoyingly, Thrust would have to name all the dragonets herself because Firejaw was on some Skywing military thing.

" I'll call you..."

Too bad she sucked at picking names.

"Amadere! Yes, that works."

Another egg began to hatch. There was a bright red dragonet inside. She was pretty much all Skywing, apart from a barbed tail and the natural heat coming from her scales.

And THERE'S the result of my decision.

Thrust thought bitterly.

"I'll call you Simmer. Ah yes, you like that." Thrust said as Simmer looked up at her with dark orange eyes. The final egg burst open. There was a male dragonet inside it. Where Simmer was mostly Skywing, this one appeared to be mostly Sandwing. He was also very small. His only Skywing parts were his giant wings the weird reddish hue to his gold scales.

"I'll call you Turrent"

Thrust took in the sight of her three dragonets.

I won't anything happen to you, ever

Chapter 1

Simmer let out a huge yawn as she woke up to the warm morning rays of sunshine filtering through the doorway of the hidden den. As usual, Amadere was awake already, waiting patiently for her father in the doorway.

"I'm the only PROPER Skywing," Amadere often said, "So Father loves me most"

Well whatever. I don't care what father thinks of me. He hasn't been here for us as we've grown up. So why should I care about him?

Simmer would think.

On the other side of the den, Thrust was scuffling around near a little pool of water they all used to drink from, obviously putting more water in.

To make sure Father thinks she can handle us out here, instead of revealing us to the Skywing Queen.

Finally, Turrent was sleeping still, curled up in a cool, shadowy corner of the den.

Great! Something fun to do.

Simmer stalked up to her sleeping brother. His strange red-tinted golden scales sparkled like sand covered rubies in the dawn light.

Lets begin softly...

Simmer gave Turrent a good thump with the blunt side of her tail barb.

'Ow! Go away Simmer." Turrent moaned, but didn't get up.

'Ugh, Turrent, it's no fun to thump you if you won't actually get up and thump me back!"

Onto phase two of operation Wake Up Lazy Brother

Simmer sat back gracefully, wings folded, in front of Turrent. She flicked her tail barb back and forth, back and forth, smiling in a way she hoped looked friendly.

"Simmer stop grinning like a maniac." Amadere said scathingly from her post in the doorway.

Simmer stopped smiling.

"So," she began " I bet you wouldn't do this whole 'sleeping in' thing in front of Father right?"

"Well of course not. But Father isn't here, so I can sleep in till he gets here." Turrent groaned.

" But he IS here!"

Turrent shot up, sending moss flying in all directions. He looked at the door way. Seeing no sign of Firejaw, he turned his head to glare at Simmer.

"Great. Very funny." Turrent shook off the rest of the moss that was clinging to his scales. "Did someone at least save me a dried lizard?"

Simmer barked out a short laugh. "We haven't eaten yet silly. I've only just woken up! But Amadere has probably been awake for ages, waiting for our precious Father to come." Simmer scoffed, as Turrent growled crossly at the fact that she'd woken him up before breakfast.

Huh. Funny dragon.

That's when a huge, menacing dark shape appeared in the doorway...

Chapter 2

Thrust scrambled to the door, apparently leaving her dignity by the little pool. Just before she reached the doorway, Thrust regained it, and skidded to a stop, finishing in a graceful sitting position.

Firejaw stepped out of the shadows and flared his wings importantly.

Always has to make such an entrance

Simmer snorted loudly. Firejaw's head whipped around to glare at her.

'Funny looking little dragonets should be seen and not heard. Preferably not seen either." Firejaw growled. He turned to look at Amadere, who had managed to smile maniacally and also look dignified.

"Precious Sparrow" Firejaw said to Amadere. He always called her that, even though it wasn't her name. Firejaw didn't like the name Amadere, it seemed like. "How are you being treated in this..." he paused "Rabbit hole."

Thrust flinched.

"Oh it's just AWFUL Father! I haven't been taught to fly yet and as a Skywing it's important! Can't I go back with you?' Amadere fluttered her eyelashes.

Firejaw let out a tiny chuckle. "Afraid not, Sparrow. Maybe when you're older.' he turned to Thrust. "Don't you think these dragonets ought to have flying lessons now?" There was venom in his voice, as if he were daring anyone to object.

'Well," Thrust began, her voice shaky "They're not all ready, you know, and-' She broke off as Firejaw gave her a withering glare.

"Sparrow and the... others, will learn to fly tomorrow, or I take them away to live in the Sky Kingdom, and erase any memory of you. And we wouldn't want that, would we?'

The final question was addressed to all the dragons in the cave at once. Without waiting for a reaction, Firejaw turned and swept out of the cave, winging off into the distance. Amadere scrambled after him, flapping her wings like a headless chicken, as if she was trying to fly after him.

Stupid Amadere. Stupid Father. Stupid Skywings!

Simmer stormed toward the back of the cave where shadows still hid from the light. She sat down crossly with a thump. She flicked the barb on her tail back and forth. Simmer saw a shriveled, dead leaf lying on the ground peacefully.

Lucky leaf. So peaceful.

A wave of anger suddenly shot through her.

How dare it be so peaceful!

Simmer stabbed her tail barb through the leaf so hard it sank into the rock. With a struggle, she yanked it out. She knew it wasn't really the leaf she was mad at. It was Firejaw, Amadere, and Thrust, for acting so helpless.

Simmer instantly felt ashamed.

Shes trying to protect us. If she disagreed, Firejaw would take us away forever...

Chapter 3

Ugh. I can't say I like today's weather. But I AM excited to fly!

It was a hot day, the sun was beating down on the dragons wings, and making Simmer wish she could take off a layer of scales. Next to her Turrent was twitching excitedly, and Amadere had spread her massive wings, ready to lift off at the first chance she was given.

"So,' Thrust began, ' Flying is easy. Just let the wind take your wings, just remember to help it along a bit with some beating of your wings. Lift off with one large beat, like this.' Thrust beat her wings in one strong flap, sending sand blowing around. Thrust now hovered in the air, her wings beat to keep her up.

Simmer had never seen her mother fly. She looked majestic and powerful.

I wonder if I will look that way if I spread my wings out...

Thrust apparently misunderstood her action.

"Right, Simmer, thank you for volunteering to go first. Just copy what I did"

Whoops.. Well, here goes...

Simmer spread her giant wings and set her position. She lifted her wings high, and brought them down with a big 'whoosh'. Simmer closed her eyes. She hoped she'd not just failed and humiliated herself.

'Good job Simmer!'

Opening her eyes, Simmer gasped. She was flying! It was an amazing feeling. Completely free from everything that ever existed. She'd even be free from Firejaw up here! Simmer was tired of waiting for her siblings to hover as well. She turned right, changed her body position, took a deep breath and flapped her wings to head right.

I'm doing it! I am really doing it!

Simmer felt the wind in her scales.

Suddenly, there was no more wind. The ground was rushing up to meet her. Roaring, Simmer beat her wings furiously, but to no avail. She was falling out of the sky, and there was nothing she could do stop it.

Chapter 4

Simmer shrieked as she fell. The sandy ground was getting way too close now.

Will this be the way I die? No battle, just falling during flight training?

Simmer felt rage fire up in her chest like a flame.

I will NOT die like this

She took a deep breath. Simmer spread her wings as far as they could go and settled her tail in a straight line behind her, moving with the wind instead of against it. She closed her eyes, bracing herself to smash into the sand, but nothing came to impact. Opening one eye and then the other, Simmer roared in delight. She was actually flying, and she felt more alive than ever before.

Like she could soar to the moons and back without getting tired. Thrusts frantic cry from below jolted Simmer out of her daydreaming.

"Coming mother!" Simmer called, and spiraled down to her siblings and mother on the dunes.

After Thrust had praised Simmer for getting the hang of flying and having the skill to save herself, and roared at her for flying off, the family went home for dinner.

Sitting next to Turrent, flicking her tail contentedly, Simmer bit into a ripe plum. She had never liked meat, even as a dragonet.

She noticed that her mother looked oddly sad. Firejaw was coming to visit again today, as he always did, but Thrust had never looked this... heartbroken.

Simmer decided then and there that today was the day she would stab Firejaw with her tail barb, set him alight and leave him for the vultures.

"Don't look so gruesome Simmer." Thrust scolded.

Simmer flared her wings in mock indignation. Thrust smiled weakly for a moment, then went back to staring sadly at the dusty den floor.

........................................

"Mother!' Simmer shrieked as Firejaw held her fast in his talons. "Turrent! Don't let him take us!'

Turrent reached for her, but Thrust shoved him down.

"Its for the best. Skywings belong in the Sky Kingdom, not in sandy dens. Lets no be immature about it.' Firejaw mumbled crossly.

A tear slid down Simmers cheek, as Turrent and Thrust got smaller, tiny dots in the distance. Then they were gone forever.

Chapter 5

They dropped in the Sky Kingdom. The minute Firejaw let go of her, Simmer flared open her wings and glared at her father. She swung her tail barb at his heart, meaning to give him a good scratch. But quick as a snake, Firejaw slammed his giant talon down on Simmers tail, holding it to the floor.

Simmer tried to lash her tail free. " Let me go! Leave me alone!"

Firejaw released her tail barb and she tucked it safely behind her. " Why did you bring us here? Take us back, NOW!" Simmer screeched. She assessed her surroundings, wondering if there was any chance of being able to fly quickly away. No such luck.

Guards were posted all around, armed with spears, and there was also her father, a Skywing general, ready to pin her down.

'Besides,' she muttered, ' It doesn't look like Amadere is going to be any help at all."

Simmers sister was gazing around the area, intrigued and awed by the kingdom she had wanted to see her whole life. If Simmer was going to escape, she would be alone.

" Shut up, Simmer. Queen Ruby comes. Before now no one knew you existed. But I recently decided to present you to our Queen. Because although Simmer, you look awful, you will be a great weapon. And Sparrow has always been so strong." Firejaw said in his deep harsh voice.

" And what about Turrent? He is your son too!" Simmer cried.

" Turrent is weak." Firejaw said scathingly. "Plus, he looks like a Sandwing." He added.

" That is not his fault! And it wouldn't BE that way, had you not married Thrust!" As the final words left her mouth, Simmer wondered, what HAD brought the two together? One fiercely loyal Skywing with a shy, forgettable Sandwing? There was something odd about it.

A strikingly beautiful Skywing draped in rubies strode into the courtyard. Her neck was long and graceful, her snout narrow and perfect. She looked both delicate and strong at the same time.

Firejaw ducked his head. " Queen Ruby. I bring to you these dragonets that were found in the desert. One may look odd, but the barb will only make her more powerful."

Still he doesn't want to claim us! Found in the desert. Ha! More like stolen from their mother!

Ruby examined the dragonets, eyes narrow.

"Hmmm. That one is acceptable." she said slowly, gesturing toward Amadere. 'But with that one..." Ruby's eyes continued to narrow until they were slits. "We may have to think again."

"Your Majesty, the odd one is feisty and a good flier. Her poisonous barb will make her a dangerous opponent in battle.' Firejaw objected.

'That could result both well, and badly.' Ruby said. Firejaw opened his mouth, but before he could speak, she said, "But it's worth a shot.' She turned to Simmer and Amadere.

"What are your names dragonets?"

"Sparrow.' said Amadere.

Simmer hissed at her, ' Liar!' she turned to Ruby. "That's actually Amadere, and I'm Simmer."

"Amadere and Simmer... good names.You will train with the other young soldier dragonets... Assuming that I am impressed with your present skills. Fly!" Ruby snapped the last word.

Simmer flapped into the air, conscious of Amadere beside her.

'Good. Strong fliers, Land now.' Queen Ruby was much softer now. "I do believe that our trainers can take care of the rest." she turned to Simmer. ' I trust that you can teach yourself how to use that tail barb, because no Skywing can help you with that.'

Before Simmer could reply, the Queen straightened up, and said, 'Your training will take place here, in the courtyard, don't be late.' And with that, Ruby flapped gracefully out of the courtyard.

Chapter 6

A stocky dragon stood before the new dragonets, and a large group of Skywing dragonets were also in the class. The stocky male Skywing was oddly built, with a strong, muscly chest that showed how hard he had once been forced to work.

I wonder what his story is?

The male Skywings' hindquarters were smaller, less strongly built and looked almost fragile.

'Morning grubs!' his voice was booming and atrociously loud. He tapped simmer's chest with what looked like a sharks tooth on a stick of wood. 'Straighten up! This is Queen Ruby's army training, not a yoga class! For those of you new here..." he eyed Simmer and Amadere before going on, ' I am Sharpledge, a soldier in the army, and your teacher...' as Sharpledge went on, a delicate Skywing leaned over to whisper in Simmer's ear.

'Don't mind old Sharpledge.His tongue is as sharp as that spear but he really does teach us well!" He giggled.

Simmer was about to reply, when Sharpledge came up right in front of them, and yelled,

"Roost, I do not appreciate you teaching our new students to misbehave! Simmer, you'd better not listen to him. Or else."

Simmer expected Roost to flare up and shout that he'd been doing no such thing, but he only sat back in the ranks. looking forward professionally.

"SIMMER!' Sharpledge yelled. It was only then that Simmer realized she had been staring at Roost wistfully, and had ignored Sharpledge's instructions completely.

Embarrassed, Simmer muttered an apology. With a snort, Sharpledge moved on.

Stop staring at Roost! Ignore his jewel red scales, his sunny yellow eyes, and those strong capable wings..... No! I will not fall for a SKYWING! They're all horrible! All of them!

Simmer looked over at Roost again. She met his eyes, and they both looked away, totally humiliated.

Maybe not all...

Chapter 7

Simmer had arrived early that morning to the courtyard, around the time that no other dragon was around. She flicked her tail nervously.

I hope he remembers to come..

Simmer worried.

She and Roost had formed a strong bond over the last moon that seemed to be a little more than friendship. After their last class, Roost had told her to meet him here in secret before dawn, as they would never get a moment alone without Sharpledge butting in.

Finally, Simmer saw Roost hurrying to meet her in the center of the courtyard.

'Roost! I thought you were going to bail on me, you cheeky fluff-brain!" Simmer laughed lightly.

Roost gave a weak smile, and it was then that Simmer noticed how tired he looked.

Her smile vanished. "What's wrong?"

Roost sighed. "Sharpledge pulled me aside yesterday before class... he asked me how the plan was going."

Simmer lifted her tail barb a little behind her. "What plan?"

Roost looked into her eyes. 'The plan to make you fall in love with me. My job was to pretend I had feelings for you, and ask you to do something for the Skywings. Something terrible."

Simmer felt her heart sink. She could almost feel it beginning to chip. She stood, tears welling in her eyes.

'But that's why I asked you here! I wanted to warn you-"

"Why!? You just told me you don't really love me, and so you warn me about some terrible plan!?" Tears were streaming down Simmer's cheeks now. How dare he play with her feelings! All Skywings were traitors! And she would kill the one who betrayed her heart. Simmer raised her barb.

"But I DO love you!" Roost cried. Slightly intrigued, Simmer lowered her tail a little, but remained alert. "While I got to know you I really began to develop a love for you. But Sharpledge can never find out. You must still do the deed, or at least pretend to."

Simmer felt at peace. Roost really did love her. Whatever this task was, she understood that Roost's safety depended on her completing it. She would do anything to keep him safe.

Simmer sat next to Roost and snuggled into him, and together the pair watched the horizon turn pink and purple with the rising of the sun.

***

DISCONTINUED

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