(A. N.: Burn needs more ships, so we gave her more ships. For Luster!)
Mastermind looked at his son, just introduced to him by Morrowseer, admiring how much his intelligence had been replicated in his progeny. It was clear that his genes were very powerful. He thought idly about Farsight. He’d loved her, it was true, but perhaps he should move on. After all, his tribe was in danger of extinction, and if they didn’t want to go a reproductive society similar to what the MudWings had, remarriage would be required. He had to pick a new lover, and soon. It was required for the survival of his tribe.
However, there was a major problem. His affections had always gone to… well, odd dragons. Farsight had been highly eccentric, as her tragic death had shown. His previous lovers had been equally unusual. They had included seers, scholars, and soldiers. And, he reminded himself wryly, a certain princess.
She was a SandWing, and he was just about sure anyone in his tribe would consider him insane, a traitor, or both for being smitten with her. She’d widely been criticized as psychotic, monstrous, and evil, but those accusations always rang hollow with him. Isn’t that what the IceWings call us? Opinions cannot be taken as absolute.
On the other hand, it was quite clear to those who knew Morrowseer well that he was in love with another princess, so perhaps it was not so impossible. No. It is impossible. Blister’s at least our ally. Burn is now our enemy. I would be betraying my tribe if I supported her.
His sly, romantic side shot back, Only if you helped her win the war. You could convince Morrowseer to convince Blister to spare her life—he’s got enough influence with her—under the condition that Blister get the throne.
Mastermind groaned. Why can’t I decide what to do? I’m a brilliant scientist, I should be able to deduce the best course of action!
Burn growled at the cowering soldier before her. “Repeat the message, word for word, exactly as it was given to you. Leave nothing out.”
The soldier whimpered, “Blister told me to say, ‘Dear sister, this war has cost the world enormous resources, treasure, and lives. Please meet with me at the border of the Sand and Sky Kingdoms. Bring no soldiers, save at most four royal guards. I will do the same. Talons of Peace will be there in force to ensure that there is no bloodshed. Send your response with this messenger.’”
Burn snarled, “So my pathetic sister wants peace? Well, I might let her keep her worthless life if she turns over all of her subjects and treasure to me. Tell her that I’ll be at that meeting, and I’ll only bring four guards. Tell her that she’d best come ready to surrender if she plans on keeping her neck attached to her body.”
The soldier nodded weakly, terrified. “I will. Please don’t kill me.”
Burn ordered, “Then get out. You have your message.” The soldier turned and flew, clearly very glad to be able to leave alive.
Burn watched him flee, very pleased. With luck, she’d soon be the undisputed ruler of the SandWings with all of Pyrrhia respecting and fearing her. Her thoughts wandered to the SandWing throne. She would have to have an heir sooner or later, or else the throne would fall to one of her sisters. Blaze would be awful, and Blister… acceptable, but not as good as one of her own dragonets.
Consequently, she needed to pick a king. She’d have no lack of suitors, of course; no queen ever had. She thought about the few lovers she’d had affairs with over the years. All of them were charming, handsome, and loyal. But none of them had the combination of traits that made the sorts of kings which could turn a kingdom into an empire.
She’d need someone to complement her talents, someone whose sheer genius balanced her sheer power to deal with the finer points of government she had no patience for. Perhaps a scientist or scholar, one who was learned in the arcane arts. Of course, he couldn’t just be some learned dragon. He’d have to also be totally loyal, and reasonably attractive. Maybe even a dragon from another tribe. It would definitely help her build up her alliances after the war.
A NightWing, perhaps? I’d gain influence in their tribe, and that would be no small feat. Yes, a NightWing scientist, I think…
Seeing an Auk
(A. N.: This isn't really shipping, more friendshipping. Sorry if it's not shippy enough. For Storm!)
Morrowseer saw the Summer Palace of the Kingdom of the Sea before him. He’d flown long and hard to arrive here from the volcano. It was a couple days after the eruption; his injuries had greatly slowed him down. But that was over. Now he could do something he’d meant to do for a long time.
He landed at the burnt-out ruins. A large, green SeaWing with tiny beady eyes approached him. “What are you doing here, NightWing?” the SeaWing growled. “Intruders will be captured and possibly executed.”
Morrowseer replied, coldly, “I’m here to speak to Queen Coral about her oldest daughter. It’s quite important, and she knows me. I have been here before, and I have not betrayed you.”
The SeaWing growled, “What’s your name? And what happened to you? You look you just went swimming in lava.”
Morrowseer answered, “I’m Morrowseer. That’s not far from the truth. I just survived a volcanic eruption. I’m with Blister. Now, go get her.”
“I am Shark,” the SeaWing said. “I serve on Queen Coral’s council. I will go talk to her. Stay where you are.” Shark turned and dove into the water, leaving Morrowseer to watch from behind silently.
Several minutes later, Shark emerged, a sour look on his face. Behind him, another large, SeaWing, covered in pearls, followed. Coral, Morrowseer thought. Two dragonets were harnessed to the queen.
“Hello, Morrowseer!” Coral said happily. “These are Anemone and Auklet, my two youngest daughters. I heard you had something to tell me about Tsunami. What is it?”
Morrowseer said, coldly, “Your eldest daughter has betrayed Blister and your alliance, and left me to die on an erupting volcano. She is currently in the rainforest, consolidating the RainWing conquest of the NightWings. She was also the one who killed Gill personally.”
Coral’s jaw dropped, and she started shaking. “My… my beautiful Tsunami… a traitor?” she whispered. She looked down at her talons, horrified. “No! It’s not possible! You must be mistaken! She couldn’t have done that! ”
Morrowseer’s gaze didn’t waver. “It’s all true. Do you see the burns I have? They were from a fireball from the volcano she left me on. Tsunami hates Blister. I’ve seen that as plain as night. I can show you the NightWings serving under the RainWings helplessly. And if you won’t believe me about Gill, maybe you’ll believe her. You can ask her yourself.”
Coral’s eyes were wider than Whirlpool’s. She looked at Morrowseer, unable to speak. Her eyes pleaded for help, unable to even ask for it.
Shark muttered, “Doesn’t surprise me in the least. I long suspected she was a traitor, and now I’m proven right. That’s what comes of dragonets. They always think of themselves, and never of what needs to be done.”
Anemone said, “Mother, I can prove if he is lying.” She picked up a rock. “Rock, if he is telling the truth, leap into the air.”
The rock lifted upwards. She cried, “What? No, the spell must be inaccurate! Rock, if he is lying, return to the ground!” The rock stayed in the air, hovering eerily.
Coral fell to her knees. “You’re telling the truth,” she whispered, mortified. “Tsunami killed Gill… Tsunami killed Gill… Tsunami killed Gill… Tsunami killed Gill…” Mumbling to herself, she turned away. Anemone shot a hateful glance at Morrowseer, and patted her mother on the back. Shark, unexpectedly, patted her on the back too.
But Auklet… Auklet looked at him oddly. She actually smiled at him. “Mowwo?” she asked. “Mowwo sad? Sewnawmee mean Mowwo? Bad Sewnawmee!”
Coral moaned, “Yes, Tsunami’s been very bad. I can’t believe it… I just can’t believe it… How could she have done that?”
Auklet asked, “Mowwo fwend Awkwet? Mowwo fwend Awkwet fowr evew?”
Morrowseer shrugged. “Alright, Auklet, I’ll be your friend.”
She ran forward and hugged his leg. “Yay! Mowwo fwend Awkwet! Awkwet fwend for evew and evew! Mowwo niwce, Sewnawmee mean. Sewnawmee not Awkwet fwend. Awkwet make Sewnawmee go away! Not come back!”
Anemone growled, “No, Morrowseer’s the mean one. He had no reason to tell us this. I think he just wanted to cause pain and break our family apart.”
Auklet yelled, “No! Bad Anemownee! Mowwo not mean! Mowwo nice! Mowwo save whole wowld! Mowwo not bweak family, Mowwo be nice to Cowal and Awkwet and Anemownee! Mowwo fiwx family, make Sewnawmee nice! Anemownee no mean Mowwo!”
Morrowseer watched, nonplussed, as Auklet and Anemone continued to argue with each other. It was… confusing, to say the least. First, he had trouble figuring out what Auklet was saying, and secondly, he also didn’t understand why she was so passionate in her defense of him. She barely knew him.
Still, it might be useful. After all, she’s royal, and it’d be good to have a friendly queen on the SeaWing throne…
(A. N.: I did something I've never done before, namely sibling ships. This was a new, hard, and very, very fun experience. Blister and Burn are so perfect together. For Onyx!)
Blister looked out at the battlefield from her perch. She chuckled coldly. Soon, I’ll have the throne all to myself, and there’ll be no one left to stand in my way. They could have saved themselves once, if they’d surrendered. Not now.
Blaze wriggled ineffectively, chained, below her. Blister would kill her quickly and mercifully. It was simply honorable to do so.
But Burn… Burn’s death would be slow for all she’d done. Not just to Blister, but also to her allies and friends. Blister savored the thought.
Blister flew down to where Blaze and Burn lay, reduced from legends who terrified the world to helpless prisoners. She smiled darkly at the two of them. Blaze sobbed, and Burn snarled. “Well, well, well,” Blister hissed. “Look at the feared ‘Queen’ Blaze and ‘Queen’ Burn now. It seems your plans have come crashing down around you. I’ve known both of you for more than thirty years, and it’s rather surprising to think this is going to be the end.”
Burn growled. “Fine. You win. Kill us, but I’d rather die in combat than be executed.”
Blister replied, silkily, “Which is precisely why I ordered you alive. I knew you’d hate it, and I want some revenge for all you’ve done. Don’t worry, I’m not going to just execute you. I’ll be sure to kill you slowly.”
Burn growled again. “Then do it.”
Blister raised a claw, ready to strike. She hesitated, her claw in midair.
Seeing an opening, Burn pressed on, “I don’t think you have it in you to torture your own sister. Kill her in combat, yes, maybe even execute her in cold blood, but not torture her while she lies at your feet, helpless.”
Blister looked down at Burn, lying still. She couldn’t bring herself to strike downward, for some reason. Is this that stupid “mercy” the dragonets of destiny keep talking about? she wondered. Could I be going soft? I didn’t hesitate with Kestrel or Webs or any of the other dragons I’ve killed, so why can’t I kill Burn, my worst enemy?
Blister opened her mouth to speak, but something held her back. She realized, to her shock, she didn’t want to kill Burn. For some insane, impossible reason, she felt like pardoning Burn of all charges and letting her live. What is wrong with me? Blister asked herself, horrified. Pardon Burn? She’d start a revolution and kill me! I must be losing my mind! Burn has to be killed, even if I don’t torture her to death! She’s, simply, a threat to my rule, and needs to be removed, one way or another!
Blister nodded to her soldiers who were keeping Burn and Blaze down. “Take them back to the palace. We should decide their fate there.” Many of her soldiers gave her funny looks, but she glared them down. I know what I have to do, and I know what I will do. The annoying thing is, they’re different.
Blister looked again at Burn, but she something different in Burn’s pitch-black eyes. Rather than the seeming perpetual fury, she saw… gratitude? Impossible. But that was what it seemed to be. She also saw a tinge of something else, something harder to define. If she hadn’t known better, she would have said it was the look Smolder had gotten whenever he saw his girlfriend.
Preposterous. Who would there be here for her to be attracted to? One of the guards? I’d better double their number, just in case. But if it’s not a soldier, who else could it be? Or is she just thinking of a lover, and the possibility she might survive to see him?
Blister’s soldiers picked up her still-bound sisters, and they flew to the SandWing palace. Blister walked slowly towards the throne. “Finally,” she whispered out loud. “After all these years… I finally am queen of the SandWings.” She glanced backwards at her soldiers, and ordered, “Chain Blaze and Burn to the floor, and then leave us. Oh, and bring Smolder too. I must have a… talk with my siblings.”
Two of them left to find Smolder, and the rest got out more of the excellent fireproof chains she’d duplicated from the SeaWings and SkyWings. Blaze had about ten chains strapped to her, and Burn more than forty. After a few minutes, those two “persuaded” Smolder into the throne room. He stared at the scene before him.
Blister stood before her chained sisters, the throne noticeably unoccupied. She smiled slyly at him. “Hello, Smolder. You’re just in time to see me win totally and utterly. What do you think? Have I not been successful?”
He gulped. “No, you’ve been completely successful. You’ve won the war. But… what are you going to do to them? And to me, for that matter?”
Blister’s smile faltered. She looked at him, and back at Burn and Blaze. After a very long pause, she finally said, “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll do anything to you, Smolder, but these two… well…” The thought of killing Burn made Blister’s stomach churn. It wasn’t the killing part—she’d gotten used to that years ago. No, it was the Burn part, which made no sense at all. But one thing was clear, for whatever insane, stupid chemical process in her brain: she couldn’t kill Burn.
She finally decided, “These two will be spared.” Burn’s, Blaze’s, and Smolder’s jaws all dropped simultaneously. “I’ve thought about it, and I can afford to be merciful now that I’m queen.”
Smolder asked, incredulous, “Well, just because you could didn’t mean you would, so why are you sparing them? I mean, I’m happy, because maybe we’ll actually able to be a family again, but it just goes so much against what I thought I knew about you! What gave you this change of heart?”
Blister averted her eyes. “This will sound very strange, but since I captured Burn and brought her back here, I’ve been feeling… different about her.” She took a deep breath. Say it. “I think… I think I might be attracted to her.”
A shocked silence filled the throne room. Blaze was the first to speak. “Can that even happen?” she asked cheerfully. “I didn’t even know you could fall in love with your sister. Wow!”
Smolder seemed unable to speak. He just opened and closed his mouth rhythmically. But she read in his face what he was no doubt thinking. Blister? In love with Burn? Since when?
And Burn… Burn was completely dumbfounded. She stared at Blister, shock covering her features.
Blister sighed miserably. Now they all see me as not just a ruthless killer, but also as completely insane.
Smolder said quietly, “Well, I didn’t expect that at all. I suspected you might be attracted to females, but I never thought you’d love Burn. You always seemed to hate her…”
Blaze added, “And I thought you were in love with that NightWing you always are talking to. What’s his name? Morrowseer or something?”
Smolder finished, “But it’s not like there’s anything wrong with it! I myself know how strange and unpredictable love can be.”
Burn, after being silent for several minutes, asked, “Blister… is this true? Are you really in love with me?”
Blister thought about it, hard. She thought about the first shadows of war, of her mother’s death. She thought about Burn’s exiling of her and Blaze. She also thought about Burn daring her to torture her. And of how Burn was… pretty?
Blister answered, “Maybe.”