Wings of Fire: A Second Chance is a fan fiction by Luckybird7765
A single Nightwing stared over the icy cliffs. No Icewing saw him, and he made sure none would.
It was near the end of a ten year war against the Nightwings and the Icewings, one that he knew would cause a hard hatred between the two tribes to form for years to come.
He had seen the end. It would end when both queens died. He needed to kill Ivory. He had to stop it himself.
The Nightwing didn't dare say this to the Queen Shadowwalker, one of the best ones the tribe had ever had, even better than the first queen Night herself. If she had known, he would have been killed, and the prophecy wouldn't be able to continue.
He lifed his star-dotted wings and flew into the cold, crisp, air. The palace was so close, and he knew that he would succeed. He had to succeed.
The dragon landed in the ice castle, and lifted his head. He walked calmly, confidently, knowing that whatever happened fate would let him live, let him kill Ivory.
He turned a corner, flying up a large tower. From the maps he had found, the queen's chamber was in here.
He emerged in a cold, dark room. The frost was in the air, getting under his claws.
I can't wait to see the volcanos again," he thought.
He walked up to the sleeping figure, holding up a blade the size of a Scavenger's claw. This was all he needed to kill her.
He held it up. The dark knife gleamed menacingly.
The war will be over, right now! He has foretold this, he knows this will happen and the world will be at peace again.
What he didn't know is that fate can lie.
Ivory's eyes flew open, and before the Nightwing could blink he was frozen solid.
The queen's blade-tipped claws sank into his chest, taking his life quickly.
She stood up, staring at the corpse of the dragon who attempted to murder her.
"That was a surprise," she muttered, kicking him away. The dead dragon slid on the slick ice.
Even she knew what he was trying to do.
"This war is not over, Nightwings."
A thin shriek reached my ears, penetrating my dreams.
I groaned, pressing my claws over them. This was a daily thing, since I lived in a war zone. Every day, I see Nightwings die out my front window, witness the murdering of my neighbors and once-friends. I was a soldier myself now, so I can participate in helping my tribe, but I still couldn't get used to the fact tens of lies a week die to my claws.
I got up slowly, rubbing the burn scours on my wing tips. My group leader would be around soon, demanding a reason why I haven't been up last shadow-tick, or hour.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Equinox, due to the reason my hatch-day was exactly on the Fall equinox, the time when the days get darker, colder, and the advantage is with my tribe, the Icewings.
I am nearly eleven years old, and I am a part of the Frost-claws, a unit that protects the land north of the palace and next to the sea. I should be proud, but I don't enjoy the crashing waves, the endless tides, the constant onslaught of the enemy Nightwings.
With their mind-reading powers and fire breath, they make unsightly foes. Not to mention the fact that they can hide their secrets from anyone, making capturing and questioning them unneeded as most of the time it is the other way around, with them finding out all of your answers.
I dragged myself out of my room, emerging into a battlefield. There were a few dead Icewings here and there, but it as much as a normal day. I looked up into the sky, seeing that it was only seven shadow-ticks.
"At least I'm not that late up," I said aloud to no one in particular.
A pale purple Icewing came up to me. Her eyes brightened when they fell onto me.
"Hey Aurora," I said absentmindedly.
"Equinox! You're awake!" She was ridiculously happy sounding, which always annoyed me. Especially since she constantly calls me her friend when I don't want to be her's back. "How are you, friend?"
See what I mean?
"Aurora, not today. I'm supposed to check in with Frigid in half a shadow-tick."
The Icewing's face fell. "Ok, sorry about that.. I just thought you wanted some company.."
I ground my teeth. She always did it. Whenever I pushed her away, she got all sad and dejected, as if I hurt her over dramatic feelings, making me feel bad.
"Fine, you can come along," I muttered, giving in. Maybe tomorrow I can get over her pestering, but today I'm not in the mood.
"Yay!" She perked up again, smiling widely, and bounced along with me.
We reached my post at a new record late time. Frigid gave me a look, but he didn't say anything. He shooed away Aurora, who had accompanied me the entire way there no matter how many detours I took to shake her off my tail, sometimes literally.
For the three moons' sake, she's four. Four-year-olds can't go into battle.
I sat down on my spot, settling myself for a five shadow-tick silence, just staring at the sky. It might not be the most amazing job, but every so often there's a bit of action that makes it worth it.
I stifled a yawn, and shook my wings.
I expected it to be a boring morning, just another one of the many wasted.
I was dead wrong when I spotted black wings in the distance.
I struggled to my claws, calling out a signal.
"Nightwings on the horizon! Nightwings on the horizon!" I shouted, tapping my spiked tail on the ice so that it could be felt if they couldn't hear me.
They were getting closer and closer, I could see the light in their eyes, the twitch in their claws, the snarl on their lips.
They can't wait to kill me, I thought.
Well, there was no dragons coming to my aid. I had two options, to either go back and get help myself, or fight them off myself.
I don't have enough time, I thought. Ill be caught, and they would have breached the border.
At the same time, if I attached them, I would be overwhelmed easily, unless I had incredible strategy and skill.
I felt my claws itch as they came closer.
I need to go back and get the rest! Before I knew it, I was in the air. But I wasn't flying back towards Frigid, instead I was going for the Nightwings.
I reached out my claws, readying my icy breath, called Coldstroke by my tribe but called 'Freezing death breath' by the rest of Pyrrhia.
I brought my tail down on the first one, feeling my spines puncture his skull. The Nightwing dropped, falling into the sea and sinking quickly. I grabbed the next one, slicing my claws at his throat.
I was holding them off for now, but soon they would overcome me.
As soon as I thought that, one of the dragons's talons clasped over my snout, shutting off my Coldstroke and breathing.
I choked for a bit, before I was driven to the ground. The remaining Nightwings, a good seven or so, stood over me. One breathed a jet of blueish fire, melting my hard scales.
I gasped with the heat, then screamed with the pain. It was too much for an arctic-dwelling dragon to handle.
The Nightwings smirked at my struggles, and one of them pressed a claw down on my wing.
No.. Please no.. I thought, not able to speak for fear of melted scale getting into my mouth.
He pushed all his weight down on my right wing, and with an ear chilling snap, it broke.
Blinding, white hot agony streaked through it as my brain registered the fact that I just lost one of my wings. I looked up, my vision cloudy with tears.
"Surprising this wimp took out two of our team," one of them noted. The other dragons nodded in agreement. One of them stood on my tail out of spite, and another one slashed my forearm.
I tried to get to my feet, to escape, to do something, but they shot another lick of flame at me. As I hyperventilated, trying to examine the injuries that had been inflicted on me, they laughed.
It was colder than the air around us, colder than my Coldstroke.
They smiled at my pain, at my weakness. They were evil, coming here just to terrorize a few Icewings.
"Hey little girl, what do you have to say to us?" One of them grinned maliciously, playing with my useless wing with his claws.
"Yeah, what do you want to tell us?" Another one chimed in.
I grimaced as the edges of my wings lit on fire, but I don't say anything.
One had a smallish claw, and held it up. "Tell us what you are doing here, apart from taking out Knifeweilder and Firestriker."
I shook my head, and felt a blade enter my wing.
"Tell us!" A ripping noise met with that.
They already know, they just want to torture me, I thought.
One of them flicked a claw at her. "She has a point," he muttered.
The one with the knife thought about it for a second, then took it out. He pointed it directly at my face. "Fine then. What do you have to say before you die?"
I took a deep breath, trying to stop hyperventilating.
"I will always hate your kind. One of these days, you and your pitiful tribe will regret what you do today." I could feel a quick jolt of shock come from him, replaced by a mask of calm.
"Oh really?" He picked me up by the shoulders. "I'll like to see that happen," and with that he shoved me against the ice, and I heard my head crack.
As my eyesight faded, replaced by red, I saw him get up.
"Come on, we have better Icewings to make fun of." He nodded, and left.
They left me, laying on the ice, with my life draining out of me. I reached out tentatively, my strength leaving. There was no one to help me but the sun. The heat, the enemy for the cold.
With that, my eyes closed, and I left this world.
Wake up.. A small voice penetrated into my dead ears.
Wake up.. It murmured again. I couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't feel anything, but I could hear that voice.
Wake up! It was more forced this time, and all the sudden my eyes shot open.
A pale grey Icewing stood before me, her scales as cold as snow and her blue eyes stormy.
I was pulled up easily from the snow, and I looked behind me.
I was still there. My dead body, laying there where I was previously.
I looked at my claws, studying them. At first they seemed solid, but when I held them up to the sun they appeared see through, like cloudy ice.
"Am I dead?" I muttered, purely bewildered.
The Icewing nodded. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ice, the first queen of the Icewings."
I wasn't as surprised as I should have been. "Well then, why am I still here?" I asked blatantly.
Ice flicked her tail at her. "I'm just here to take you home, where the Specterwings roam. Come along, little spirit," she wrapped a wing around me, which unlike a normal dragon made me feel even colder, like the life was being sucked out of me.
Oh wait. I'm already dead.
A flicker of light emitted from her wings, and she waved them once. The world warped, and I felt immensely nauseous. Fog collected around me, obscuring my sight.
When it had finally cleared, and everything had fallen back into place, we were somewhere else.
The trees around were pure white, like a freak snowstorm had passed through the area. The plants beneath my claws were similar, and the sky was a beautiful shade of lilac.
Small fruit trees dotted the rolling hills, and in them jewel-like apples and oranges hung heavy. A gentle breeze played across my face, bringing with it the smell that could only be described as happiness.
"Welcome to paradise," Ice nodded.
I was amazed by this. But the only thing I could say was: "Where is everyone else?"
The spirit queen chuckled lightly. "Don't worry, they are in a better place."
I was confused by that statement. "Isn't this the better place?"
"Don't worry, you will see them soon," she laughed. "Why don't I give you a tour?"
"This is the fruits of the earth. They are made of the finest gems and are completely edible. Now over here.."
She had been dragged me around for who knows how long now, pointed out different things. It was slightly irritating, especially since it reminded me of Aurora.
"Don't worry, we are getting to the end of the tour," Ice called out cheerily.
She stopped by a pool, and I looked into it. The water was perfectly still, and I could see everything in it, like a mirror.
That is, except for Ice.
"This is a special place, as if you were to completely jump in it, you would go back to the mortal world. Of course, you would have to be mind wiped first.." She trailed off.
"Mind wiped? What do you mean, mind wiped?" I growled in her face, my rage getting the best of me.
Ice smiled widely at me. Her figure flickered slightly. "We don't want any strays getting out to the world.. No.. They have to be brand new before they can be released back to the mortals.." She flicked her tail. "If you want to go back, you will as well.."
I ventured a question. "What if I jumped right now?"
The Icewing looked back, and flicked her tail. Two shadowy figures appeared over the pool, blocking me from going into the water. "They will let you through once I let you."
I stopped, looking at them. They were gilded with silver armor, and a snarl was on their faces.
"Don't worry, you will have lots of fun here before you decide to leave.. Besides.. I get lonely here. There's one more thing I want to show you! Come on!" Ice flicked me with her tail, stinging my back. I winced slightly, but followed her. I might as well see what she has to offer.
Have you ever thought that life after death was magical, supposed to be amazing, fulfill every wish you ever wanted?
Well, that is dead wrong. I can prove it.
"Take a look at this!" Ice announced. She waved her claws to a gazebo-looking building with tall pillars and a sort of fountain in the middle.
I say sort of, since the fountain seemed to be flowing with fire rather than water. I took a step back from the burning heat, the flames flickering and reaching for my scales.
"Don't worry, it doesn't hurt," Ice murmured sweetly. She ran her claws through it, and pulled it out unscathed.
"I'd advise you to jump in this." She purred quietly in my ear, setting my nerves on edge. Something about this fire-fountain made me nervous, and I definitely didn't want to swim in something like that.
"What does it do?" I asked cautiously. The Icewing queen laughed.
"Takes memories, of course." She smiled at me, as if she just said something funny.
I stepped back, horrified. What was this? This didn't sound like a heaven! "It won't hurt at all, don't worry. In fact.. After this, you won't even know what hurting feels like." Ice wrapped a wing around me. "How about we do it now so that we could get this all over and done with? It only takes a second."
I jumped back, away from her ghostly wings. "No.. Who are you? I grew up knowing that Ice was tough, cruel, and amazing when it came to tactics. You.. Your a fake.."
The Icewing stepped away, a look of shock on her face. Then it was replace with anger, then masked with calm.
"You think.. I'm a fake?" She asked. I gave her a long look, and then her anger broke through.
"Guess what I say? You are absolutely right." All the sudden, a blinding flash came from her, and I couldn't see at all.
What replaced the Icewing was something that could only be described as pure fear. It had red eyes, long, dripping teeth, and black, gaseous scales. The fire in the fountain reared out and attacked me like a snake would.
I, needless to say, screamed like a dragonet and ran.
Come back! I want you! A voice that sounded like a thousand claws against stone hissed, close behind me. My fear rose quickly, and I flew to the only place I could think of. The pool.
I neared it, and the two guards appeared, black as the creature behind me. They snarled at me, but I broke through them like they were nothing but feathers.
I felt the cold, icy feeling on my tail, clawing at me and sending chills up my spine. The pool was so close, but I could feel something trying to drag me back, trying to stop me from entering it. I pushed it aside and crashed into the water.
No! The voice shouted behind me.
It immediately reformed after me, like jelly or something.
The first thing I noticed was the shocks around me, zapping every individual scale. It was mildly uncomfortable, but not as much as what the creature would have done to me.
Speaking of that, it was clawing wildly at the surface, as if it couldn't breach it.
I sank deeper and deeper in the water, it's consistency uneven. At some parts I dropped like a rock, and at others I was suspended in goo.
When I looked up, the light of the surface was all but gone, as was the monster chasing me.
A stronger shock coursed through me, and I cringed. Another one went, and then yet another. I felt myself lose feeling, and when I looked down my claws were turning transparent. My eyesight suddenly spun, and when I blinked again it was all greyscale.
I was all but invisible now, and my decent was slowing. Soon I would reach the bottom of whatever pool this was.
My question was answered when my claws touched air.
I was pushed out, like the water had expelled me. My tail hit the ground first, and I registered pain. I could feel myself on the ground, yet at the same time.. I couldn't.
Then I felt my body shiver, and my vision clouded again.
I tried to blink it out, but I couldn't. For several seconds I was stuck in complete darkness.
When I saw light again, I heard voices in the distance as well.
I shook my head, which throbbed slightly. I blinked once, twice, and tried to hear what those voices were saying.
"Im sorry! I didn't mean to hit you that hard! Are you ok?" It yelled, distraught in it's voice. I looked down at my claws, stretching them and trying to get the dull pain out of them. Then I noticed their color.
They were black.
I looked up sharply, trying to find who was talking to me. It was a Nightwing, a female in fact.
I stumbled over to a nearby water fountain, and studied my reflection.
I was indigo, with a grey underbelly. I had black eyes, and my wings had what looked like stars underneath them.
I was a Nightwing.
A scream erupted from my mouth as I fell away from the water. The other Nightwing came forward to comfort me, but I lashed out at her.
She laid on the ground, looking hurt, and her mouth slightly open like she was contemplating saying something.
I never stuck around to hear what she was going to say. I bolted out of the tunnel that I was in, and emerged in a nightmare.
The sky was dark and the air was filled with soot. I dissolved into a coughing fit, but I pressed on. The rocks were black and somewhat bubbly in texture, and great mountains arched into the air.
Is this the sky kingdom? I thought for a second before lifting into the air.
As I passed over the mountains, I noticed that inside them there was some fiery substance that reminded me too much like the fountain of flames. The mountain rumbled in displeasure and belched rocks and more of the substance, which oozed down the mountainside.
I landed again, running into a tunnel across from the mountain, the ground shaking beneath me.
Or was it my claws shivering?
Tears poured from my eyes, my awful, now Nightwing eyes. I needed to find someway out of this... This wasteland.. And come back to the cold, crisp, fresh reality.
A few Nightwings stared at me curiously as I passed, but none of them tried to stop me. I was glad, as I wasn't in the mood to fight off a hoard.
I stopped in a small room with a pool of water. After checking that everything was clear, I ran in, slammed the door, and huddled in a corner.
My name is Equinox.. I am.. No, was an Icewing... Now I am a Nightwing... Where am I? I ran my claws through my new scales, much softer and smaller than my old ones. It helped me calm down a little until I inhaled another mouthful of ash.
As I looked in the water, I studied how my eyes looked somewhat lighter now.. Like they were trying to make it back to my old color. I curled up on the floor, trying to make some sense of everything that was happening. Nothing came up, so I dissolved into sobs.
I continued crying, my eyes turning red from the tears, not caring that I was acting like a little dragonet until a group of Nightwings entered the room. Then my vision flipped again and was filled with darkness.
My name is Solstice, and I am a Nightwing. I am fourteen, and just gotten my head hijacked by an Icewing.
Well, so much for simple introductions.
I blinked once, trying to get the swirling images of endless plains of ice, fountains of fire, and other Nightwings from my head. I could see what it was seeing, the Icewing I mean, and I didn't like it.
She was making me look like a fool! Running away and hiding in a corner, then crying for at least an hour. Too bad I couldn't say anything.
Then a few older Nightwings came in, and when she attacked them like a rabid animal they knocked her out.
I could feel the pain of her... My.. Face hitting the ground, then her going out like a light.
I could also feel myself, as if I was waking up again. My vision shifted violently, and I opened my eyes again.
A few dragons were standing over me, one of them holding a thick branch or something.
"Are you ok?" One of them asked.
I considered the question. "Yes.. And no. Can you help me out here?"
The one holding the branch shivered slightly, looking down at a long, fresh scratch down his side. "Yeah.."
I tentatively got up, shaking the dust that it didn't bother to get rid of off my scales. I walked up to the other dragons, and they quickly stepped away from me.
The entire way down the tunnel I was surrounded by them, standing a good five feet away from me. I didn't care. I wanted to know what was happening.
A small voice mumbled in my ears, but over the sound of the earth shaking I couldn't hear it well enough. It sounded like it was singing some sort of old song or something.
One of them, one with purple and black cross crossing scales knocked smartly on a door. On the side it had engraved in bronze; Psychology center. I knew I was in the right place.
An old, dark grey Nightwing emerged form the door, looking at each of the dragons in turn. "Yes?" He asked slowly.
The one with the branch pointed to me. I stared up at him as he inspected me.
"Come in," he waved his tail, and disappeared in the room. I hesitated, then ran in. He closed the door after us and the room plunged into darkness.
A lantern lit, and then another one, and soon I was bathed in golden red light. The dragon searched around in a cupboard somewhere, then came back with a scroll.
"Now tell me.. What is wrong?" He asked finally.
The words tumbled from my mouth. "I'm going crazy, I think I have an Icewing in my head, and I don't know what happened to me over the last two hours. I need help with this.." His eye ridge went up, and he scribbled something onto paper.
"What do you mean, Icewing in your head?" He dipped his claw back into the oil well and continued writing.
"Well.. A few hours ago.. I was filled with thoughts. Not my thoughts, but those of endless ice and stormy nights and falling snowflakes. Then I couldn't control myself, and the Icewing ran." I could recall them in an instant, all of it, clearly.
The dragon nodded, and finally put his paper away. "Can you demonstrate? Could there be anyway to trigger it?"
I thought about it for a second. "I was hit in the head twice. Once, I had an Icewing, twice, I was back to normal."
He mused on that. "Could we try it again?" After I nodded, he went on. "Who knows that this is! I can probably say this is a case of multi-personality disorder, but quite a strange one as well. An Icewing you say.."
I grimaced as he produced a small mallet. "This is just for reflexes, but I have a feeling it will work fine enough for what we are trying to achieve." He tapped the side of my head with it.
It did exactly what we wanted. And that's a bad thing.
I gasped like a dying fish, falling to the ground. A strange Nightwing was above me, holding what looked like a small hammer. His eyes lit up, and he said something that I didn't catch. I slowly got up, and he studied me closely. In his claws was a piece of paper, and he unfolded it and wrote more things.
I lunged at him. He looked way too similar to one of the Nightwings who had killed me. He dropped his paper in surprise as my claws met his scales.
One would think that he had never seen battle before! I thought, slashing his dark grey scales again.
He shouted for something that I didn't hear, and with unimaginable strength knocked me to the ground. I struggled to get up, but the dragon held me down.
Is he stronger.. Or am I just weaker now? I thought.
In slow words, enunciated carefully, he said, "Would you tell me why you attacked me?"
I wriggled and thrashed. "You are a Nightwing! Of course I would!" I hissed, throwing as much hate into the word 'Nightwing' as I could.
The dragon was briefly stunned. "Huh. Well isn't that so."
I bit into his ankle, and I tasted blood. He yelped, and I shot out from underneath him.
My legs were running before I even caught my breath. I was flying, faster and faster, down these halls. As soon as I burst out into the open, I noticed a hole off to my right. I banked a turn and shot into it, before any of the dragons guarding it could react.
It went uphill, and I could smell fresh air on the other side.
I flew out of the tunnel, and landed in a mud puddle. It oozed around me, and I spent a long time getting out of it.
Finally, I caught my breath, and I looked around. Trees, taller than anything before, arched around me. I stared at them, confused. This wasnt Pyrrhia. Pyrrhia composed of the claw of clouds, the Sandwing desert, the islands, and the ice kingdom. This was...
"Hello," a voice said abruptly. I looked up sharply, and saw that a pair of greenish yellow eyes were watching me. A goofy smile came from the darkness.
I looked at him, and my hysteria arched again. What was this dragon? It wasn't like one of the six tribes of the known Pyrrhian world!
"I've never seen you before... What's your name?" He melted out of the darkness, and was suddenly a bright pink.
My voice caught in my throat. Equinox, I thought, but something contradicted it. My body screamed Solstice.
Solstice? Who's that?
I eventually broke. "I don't know."
The dragon shrugged. "Suit yourself. My name is Quetzal. Welcome to the rain kingdom!"
I continued staring at him. "But... What tribe are you? I haven't seen someone like you before.."
The dragon laughed. "You, a Nightwing, haven't heard of us? Your head must be more banged than I thought."
Before I could react to the potential insult, he continued. "I'm a Rainwing, the jewels of the rainforest, the brightest of all dragons." He smiled again. "Come on! I'll take you to the village!"
I layed in leaves, hearing the gentle breathing all around me. I twitched a little as some bug bit into my thinner scales, and turned over.
It was many hours later, but sleep finally overtook me.
I opened my eyes to see a Nightwing over me. I screeched something that even I couldn't understand. The dragon's scales stood on edge, and he jumped back.
"Shh!" He hushed me, sticking a claw over my mouth. I looked at myself, noticing I was an Icewing again, rather than a Nightwing. The dragon saw it as well, and flicked his tail.
"Who are you, and why are you here?" He asked, matter-of-factly.
Again, I hesitated, but I decided to say the true answer. "Equinox... And I don't know."
The dragon pushed a claw against his head, and got up again. "You are a ghost, you know that, right?"
I looked down again, and noticed that yes, I had that semi-translucence to my scales again. "Err.. Yeah?"
The dragon stared me down, and even though he was somewhat smaller than me he looked terrifying. "Which means that you possessed me."
"You possessed me," the words escaped my snout, and I saw absolute shock appear on the dragon's face. It was like she didn't even know.
"But.... How?" She asked, staring at her claws again.
I snapped. "You think I know?"
The dragon drew back, scared and confused. "Wha.. What?" She looked at me. "What is your name?"
"Solstice," I answered quickly, not knowing where she was going.
Equinox pressed her claws together. "So that's why.." She got up again.
"If we don't know how.. Will we just have to live together?"
I was, needless to say, positively mortified by that idea. Me, and an Icewing? I could tell that she was thinking the exact same thing, and her snout curled.
"Well then.." Suddenly, my attention was sidetracked. I felt a buzz in my ears, followed by voices of the Rainwings. The Icewing stared at me.
"You are disappearing," she noted. I nodded.
"It appears I might be waking up," I said, not knowing how I knew all this stuff. Too many psychology scrolls, I'd have to guess.
"Why you?" She pressed on, shouting at my fading form. I blinked, and color, light, and smells filled my senses.
The Rainwing was over me, smiling widely. "You were talking in your sleep," he said.
I shook myself. "What did I say?" I asked, shaking the aches from my legs.
The Rainwing shrugged. "It was mostly muttering, but you mentioned an Icewing. Don't you hate each other?"
I nodded slowly, but I knew he was just thinking up stuff. It wasn't so much of a hatred than a rivalry. The last time they truly despised each other was in the war of the Midnight Blizzard, as it is called now.
I got up, stretching my wings. "I must get going," I announced.
The Rainwing cocked his head. "Are you sure? There is plenty of food here, and we always like another dragon."
I sighed. This was a hard decision. I could go back to the Nightwings, and eventually my secret would get out, or I could stay here some more. Hey, I might as well. When would be the next time I freely get to go out into the world without being tortured by some queen for information on my tribe?
"I'll stay for a few more days. Why not?" At this, the dragon literally lit up. He turned a bright and painful lemon yellow.
"Great! I'll show you around!" He waved his thin tail and dashed from the room. I stared around, noting the fresh scent of fruit and the fact that the light spilling into the room was a bright green. I looked up, and realized the roof was made of leaves.
"Hey!" The voice shouted. I looked back, and saw the dragon smiling at me. "Come on!"
I followed along, murmuring to myself on how different this was to the Night kingdom, desolate and full of volcanoes.
The dragon smiled at me as I caught up with me, and uttered a little 'yay!' I stared at him, and saw his tail flick a flower that was dangling above. His scales turned a light purple, and white petals rained down from the branch that he had touched.
All the sudden, my vision clouded up, and I saw a different dragon in front of me. An Icewing, maybe four years old, smiling at me.
A voice murmured in my head. Aurora.... It said forlornly.
I shook my head, looking up. Instead of petals, cold snowflakes hit my face. The sun burned bright and cold in the distance, behind some clouds. The ground beneath me was replaced by ice, and snow was piling beneath my claws.
My ridged claws.
I stared back down at them, and back at 'Aurora'.
She/he/it stared back, a look of concern dancing on her face. Suddenly her scales melted to a lime green, and the surroundings dissolved.
I shook my head. What in three moons was that?
"Pyrrhia to Nightwing. Hello?" He waved a claw in front of my face, and I shook my head again.
The snowflakes were just rain. The clouds were just trees. I was daydreaming.
Or experiencing a different life.. The same voice muttered.
"I'm fine," I shook my tail. The Rainwing smiled once again, and led me along.
What was that? I thought, scared.
"Try this!" A fruit was shoved in my mouth, and I choked slightly on the sickly sweet taste.
The Rainwing beamed at me. "Like it?"
I wiped the taste out of my mouth with my claws. No I don't like it. It's so different to the taste of cooked meat. How can a dragon survive off of this?
The dragon observed me, then shrugged and held up another fruit.
This one was softer, and it exploded as soon as I bit into it.
The Rainwing grinned at me. He seemed absolutely delighted to have a guest, no matter how strange.
"Come on! I'll show you to the others!" He flew off, in that particular way Rainwings fly. It was somewhat like swimming in the air, though they catch onto tree limbs to push them along. I should write this all down, it might be perfect when ambushing the mountainous countries such as the northern Rainwings and Skywings in the area.
I flapped my wings clumsily, and ended up twisting in a vine. Well great. It appears even the plants don't like me. As soon as I pulled my tail out of the vine, the dragon was far ahead.
"What are you doing back there? Waiting for the flowers to bloom?" He laughed at his own, somewhat pathetic joke.
I followed him, this time more cautious. He pointed up, and I saw a group of leaves.
"That's a nest. Very well hidden, huh?" Quetzal whispered. I nodded, for the first time impressed. A green head stuck out, and quickly became raspberry red.
"Hiya!" The dragon shouted down. Quetzal shook a claw back up, and smiled.
"Come on. The village is near by!"
It was late at night. I had decided to leave the stuffy nest I was hanging in, more like a cocoon than a dragon's bed.
I glided up on the warm air, emerging from the forest canopy. The moon was dazzlingly bright, even more so than what we saw back at the Nightwing kingdom.
The stars gleamed like diamonds in the sky, bathing me in the glow.
I felt the cool wind on my face, the first one I had felt in a long time.
I shot back down to the ground, landing lightly in a clearing. It was large, and moderately clear, and I preferred this to the hanging nest.
I curled up in the grass, stretching out and yawned widely.
Soon, after several hours of just enjoying the breeze, I felt a shiver go up my spine.
I looked around, searching to see if it was a dragon nearby. It certainly felt like it.
Then my vision clouded up, either from sleep or other means, and I faded away.
"Hello again," a voice murmured in my ear.
I looked up in the blinding light, taking notice of the indigo black Nightwing.
"Oh.. Hey.." I got up hesitantly, looking at him. His black eyes followed me warily. I held up my claws, a universal sign of peace. He relaxed a bit, but only just.
"Who are you?" He asked suddenly. "You don't even know of a Rainwing when you see one!"
I could tell that this was intended for an insult. "Hey, it isn't as if I wanted to be the supposed smartest tribe of all! You Nightwings... I despise you all.."
This came out a bit harsher than I expected. Solstice shrank back, a look of shame in his pure black eyes.
Then a jet of fire blew from his mouth, and I felt my body seize up. It didn't even touch me, and fire had no meaning in this world, but the very presence of a flame made me remember when I died.
He must have sensed it, so he stopped.
He took a deep breath. "Tell me about when you died."
I hesitated slightly, but I might as well share with the dragon that I was inadvertently trapped with.
"It was Nightwings, sent by Shadowwalker to take over the northern edge of the Icewing land. I couldn't do anything, and I knew that I had doomed my town. There was maybe five of them, and one of me. They tortured me in the worst ways possible.." I stopped to catch my nonexistent breath. The Nightwing had a strange look in his eyes, but he didn't comment.
"I died there... When they cut open my chest and left me on the ice... I'm probably still there.. Rotting in the cold wind." I stopped again, thinking of my last look, the sun. It does not strike me as a good last sight, in fact I would have much preferred anything else. The sun, to burn into my eyes and melt away the ice. The sun, where the rest of the dragon tribes roam in while we conquer the night.
Which is why the two tribes fought.
The Nightwing finally raised a claw. I could see, as the dream world normally causes this, thoughts roaming around him. It was as if I could see the gears turning and an idea forming.
"Did you say... Queen Shadowwalker?"
I nodded slowly.
The dragon looked at his claws, murmuring slightly to himself before turning back to me.
"That means that you lived over two hundred years ago. This is the future. You don't belong here."
Quetzal's lime green eyes were inches from mine.
In a soft voice, he asked me, "Are you serious about that..?"
I nodded slowly. What other choice would I have than to trust him? In the back of my mind, I could sense Equinox screaming at me. She wasn't very happy about this arrangement.
I had decided that Icewings were naturally violent. I should write all of this down.
Quetzal's scales were in a strange shade of blue, which through my few days of observation I thought meant 'worry.'
"So.. You have been possessed by an Icewing that lived a few hundred years ago and I have been talking to both of you over the last week?" He asked.
I briefly thought about how it didn't feel like a week, but that was besides the point. Did common dragons know math? Or was the Nightwing education really that advanced?
At this, the murmuring of voices got even louder in my head.
Shut it, I thought. Saying things outloud towards Equinox would make me look even more insane.
A dreamy look came into Quetzal's eyes. "That's so cool! You have a little friend where you go!"
I grimaced, and I sensed the Icewing do the same. I guess I overestimated the mental capacity of this Rainwing.
"Here's the deal. I need to get back home. I have been out of here for too long," I explained. Quetzel suddenly turned a sad blue. It was a much darker shade than the other one.
"You won't be seeing us anymore?" He asked. I shook my head.
Suddenly, his wings were around me. He hugged me tight, and I felt a shiver go up my spine. This dragon really was strange.
"I'll miss you, Solstice!" He cried, rather dramatically. I shook myself out of his grasp, and got my breath back.
"Don't worry, I'll visit some time.." At this, he went bright pink. I shook out my wings, and flew off. Behind me, Quetzel didn't move to stop me.
Solstice! Equinox hissed. she seemed angry at being silenced earlier.
What..? I muttered back. Might as well let her get her steam out before I rejoin my tribe.
Solstice! This is a really bad idea. She hissed again.
I rolled my eyes. Why exactly?
Have you looked in a mirror lately? My gaze was directed towards a puddle of clean, cool water that reflected the sky above clearly.
I plodded over to it, and almost jumped at the dragon in the reflection.
He looked compleatly different from me. My normally diamond shaped snout had curved into an arrow. The scales around my eyes were turning blue. My eyes... One of them was my normal color, deep black. But the other one.. It was paling.. turning white.
My scales were sharper looking, my horns getting a pointier tip to them.
What.. What am I?
I looked like an Icewing that rolled in ashes. I looked like a weird.. Hybrid.. creature.
It's because of me, Equinox said simply.
I growled something unintelligable. Then I turned towards the tunnel. Though I looked like a freak of nature, home still pulled towards me. What seemed to be described as 'wrong' for other dragons only felt like the feeling of homesickness.
Solstice! Did you not just hear what I said? Equinox shouted. I quickly drowned her out. I wanted peace and quiet and full control over myself when I join my tribe.
I stepped through the tunnel, and the slick mud under my claws gave away with a disgusting squiiiish.
I slid a little before regaining my footing, and continued along the dark tunnel. Light and air turned to smoke and shadows. I smiled.
Then, when I emerged on the other side, a few dragons waited for me. One of them jumped out of his scales, he was so afraid. The others regained their composure, and hefted something heavy.
"Hey guys.." I said amiably. They growled, and the one with the bat swung.
"Wait..-" It hit me hard in the head, and I fell to the ground. My head buzzed, stars flashing before my eyes, and I succumbed to the darkness.
The last think i heard was Equinox, scolding me. Idiot.
You know what?
I just decided that I preferred to be anywhere, in any other body, just about now.
Solstice suddenly fell out of the conscience world, and we both fell slack.
I couldn't control anything as I watched, through narrow half open eyes, us being picked up by the dragons. One of them that was larger than the others swung us over it's back, and I could smell only smoke and dry scales.
Through the rustling of claws and the general rumble of the land, I could pick out a conversation. They may not know it, but I was very much awake.
"...What is this thing?" One of them growled.
Another, on the other side of her, seemed to shrug. "Something that would probably intrigue many dragons on the island. Can't believe it just walked into our talons. This will help us out even more than a silly old Rainwing."
"But.. It looks like one of us.." the first dragon muttered.
The one that was carrying her suddenly stopped, and dumped me down on the ground. It crumbled under my scales, and I forced myself to stay still, when every instinct told me to run.
The dragon poked at her with something sharp, like a spear. I got the feeling that was what hit Solstice. He carefully pointed it around my eyes, then my tail, and finally at my underbelly. "Do those look like a normal Nightwing's?" He growled. The others murmured in agreement, and the dragon slung her over his wing again.
"Should we give her to Mastermind? I heard that he is looking for more dragons to test on.. The Rainwings are revealing nothing at the moment."
"I didn't expect him to find anything, either. They are just lazy space taking fruit eaters. I am surprised that we didn't just move in before. They wouldn't even notice..."
The one that carried me coughed, and began speaking in a deep, rumbling voice. "To answer your question, Pastknower, yes we should give this thing to Mastermind. Why not?"
They all chuckled for some unknown reason, and then they opened their wings. I felt myself lift off the ground, and the dragons were soon high above the dark, dusty ground. As they approached the large mountain, I saw the liquid fire flowing from it, and yet again I was reminded of that.. that thing that had attacked me.
I saw black, purple, and blue dragons on the rocks. The glow from their silver inside scales cast a light that I could see from up here. It reminded me of the stars on the sea, which in the midnight black was an inky darkness that was only broken by the occasional star that shown like a lantern.
Finally, the dragons dove again, and they landed heavily on the stone ground, lurching me forward. I groaned a little bit, and the dragons definitely noticed. They began hurriedly knocking on the door.
A dragon with black scales and a thin face emerged. His eyes were bloodshot and tired, yet his expression had nothing but elation in them. When they landed on me, however, they grew huge like the moons.
"Oh my three moons!" He cried out, and rushed over to the dragon holding me. He unceremoniously dumped me off his back, and I landed on the ground.
Fire burned in the back of my throat, and though I didn't know how to use it I could assume it was like the freezing death breath all Icewings possessed. If I had to, I would use it.
The dragon examined me once thoroughly and wrote down on a scroll that he had plucked from a desk nearby. When I lifted my head, he nodded.
With a flick of his wings, he flew to the back of the room that he came from. Within seconds he returned, this time with a needle of some sorts.
I looked up at this point, and saw him jab the needle into my arm.
Instantly, wooziness overcame me. Tranquilizer! I realized, and before I could lunge at him and slash up his face in retaliation, I collapsed to the ground once again.
He looked over, and shook his head a few times. Then he began dragging me in the door, and I fell into black.
"Wake up, freak." A voice jolted me out of my dreams.
I quickly got to my claws, and was immediately blocked by chains around my ankles.
"Wha.. What?" I managed, my throat as dry as the dust around me.
A dragon, a different one I realized, was standing grumpily in front of me. Not directly in front of me, as we were separated by a few inches of solid steel.
The dragon held up a creature that smelt even worse than it looked. Bones protruded from a ragged piece of fur and flesh, and maggots wormed their way across the matted pelt.
I finally realized that it was for me.
I gagged. "No thanks," I managed. The dragon looked surprised, as it it didn't expect me to make an intelligent sentence. Well, she was about to be surprised.
Words flooded from my mouth then. "I have no idea where I am. Is this what you call comfort? It seems to me that it is a cage. But I assume you already knew that, right?" I noticed for the first time that I still had the accent that most Icewings had, overdoing the vowels and drawing out the 's.' I also heard that the sound of my voice sounded somewhat like mine, even though I am using Solstice's tongue. It was somewhat warped, as if I was suddenly a Nightwing male instead of an Icewing female. Which technically I was.
The dragon recovered, and jabbed the dead animal at me again. "Eat, or starve."
Again, I refused. "I'd rather starve."
The dragon looked at me curiously. "But this is normal Nightwing food... Wouldn't you not mind having this?"
I stared at it. Seriously, this was what Solstice eats on a daily basis?
"No," I finally decided. The dragon shrugged, and left me in silence.
I laid down as much as I could with the chains tugging at my legs and wings. Despite the fear, anxious, and pain coursing through my scales, darkness eventually overtook me once again.
Small snowflakes flickered around me, touching my scales with cool water. I stretched my neck and yawned widely.
Bliss filled me and I smiled. Then I looked down at my claws again. They were white, and partially translucent.
Oh great. Was this a dream?
I couldn't help sighing, and the snowflakes began whirling down faster, like a flurry of sparkles.
The only thing that surprised me was the fact that Solstice was nowhere to be seen. Not that I missed him, in fact I am rather glad that know-it-all Nightwing was out of my scales. But for the last few days, whenever I was the one in charge he would rant constantly about the simplest things that I did. Equinox, stop acting so lazy. Equinox, I don't act like that. Stop it, Equinox.
Do I care about those things?
Now, he goes and traps both of us. What does he do? Tell me to stop shouting.
Nightwings are insufferable. Simple as that.
I held out a claw and watched the snow fly around it in a whirlwind. This weather really was strange. Although I have seen too many blizzards for one dragon's lifetime. But all of those were regular, and usually was made up of heavy snow. This, however, could look like a light shower of rain, and the sunlight reflected too perfectly off of it. On top of that, the fact that I could see the edges, in fact it was only circling me, made me suspicious.
Suspicious of snow? Maybe I really was going crazy.
I began stepping away from it, but it followed me like a bubble.
This is strange.
After this, it was so unbelievable that I had no doubt that it was a dream. Yet, part of me knew that there was some kind of hidden truth to it.
First off, the snow suddenly fell and congealed into one point, which rapidly grew. All of the flakes began piling upon itself, creating a figure that was very much familiar.
"Ice," I muttered. Her cold eyes studied me as if I were a mildly interesting piece of prey.
"Hello again, It has been a while, hasn't it? Nearly three hundred years at the very least," She said sadistically. When I studied her, I saw the individual flakes that were her very being.
Immediately, I felt very wary of her.
"What is it that you want? Wasn't scaring me enough? Turning me into what I am?" I demanded, my anger getting the most of me.
The dragon smiled, a cold, treacherous smile. "I never meant you to become conjoined with the little Nightwing here, in fact I never meant any of this torture to happen. It was all coincidence that you happened to be here."
I glared at her. "How should you have known? You were going to get rid of me!"
Her eyes gleamed. They had a new look in them, as if she wasn't holding back anything.
"Indeed, I only want you gone," she bared her teeth. I stared at her. Somehow, she looked different from what she had looked like. Somehow, the snow had turned to actual, living scales.
"Who are you?" I yelled, my own voice thin in my ears.
The next moment, the dragon was on top of me, her teeth inches from my snout. "Does it matter who I am? You are allowed to know what you know already, and nothing else," she hissed. I could scent horrible things, fear and blood and dragon flesh, on her breath.
Then, just as before, she dissolved before my eyes. Her scales melted into smoke, and her cold eyes burned into nothingness. Her shape shifted and changed, and a moment later I was being held under by a dragon of a tribe that I didn't recognize.
I felt the scales underneath me burn into mine, searing scorch marks that I knew wouldn't heal for as long as I knew.
Her fangs buried into my head, and I hissed with pain. It was like fire was being cut into my skull.
However, even after that I didn't die. I will only have to assume it was because I was already dead.
"Indeed," the dragon hissed, yet her mouth didn't move. "You will only die when I say so, and that time isn't now."
I struggled under the dragon's grip, yet she seemed to catch me wherever I attempted to escape.
Darkness entered my mind, affecting the dreamscape. As soon as I felt a fuzz go over my conscience, tendrils of black vines sprouted from the ground. They tugged at me, trying to wrap me up.
The dragon on top of me hissed, and they backed away.
"Who are you?" I asked again.
The dragon retracted the fangs from my head. "An agent. Nothing more," She smiled.
As she stepped away, I leaped at her. My claws, which were steadily getting fainter, passed through her like she as nothing but an illusion.
Just an illusion.. I thought.
She winked at me. "Remember this fight. I will be back soon. Maybe I will let in on what we plan to do."
I didn't like the way that she said 'we.' It seemed like she thought I was part of her conspiracy or something.
No.. Never.. She was getting fuzzy now, and before I woke again, she solidified into the Icewing again.
"I'll see you soon, Equinox," She muttered.
Three days to be myself. No interruptions from Equinox, nothing.
I felt both scared and immensely thankful.
After the first day the strange dragon that called himself Mastermind entered the room and asked me some questions. Something like "What tribe is the dragon in your head?" IceWing, of course. No other tribe could have that attitude anyways. "How long has the voice been around?" A few weeks at most, but I had lost track of time in the Rainforest Kingdom. Finally, he asked "Was there any side effects?" Apart from being perceived as unstable minded, I don't know. Several things have started becoming strange over the last while. My scales were constantly getting lighter in color, and my rich navy blue was almost greyish. Every so often, steam- the kind you would get if you were in cold weather- would emit from my mouth.
I knew that Equinox was back there, it had become sort of a feeling in me, but she was completely silent, and the pattern stopped.
On the fourth day, I was let out of the room for the first time.
"Other than that problem that hasn't affected you for a while, you seem in perfect mental health," Mindreader stated, holding up a piece of paper with thin, slanted writing on it. "Besides, there is something that the queen had needed for you to help with." He ruffled the paper, and flicked his tail down the doorway that he had come in. I followed uneasily.
Torches blazing with blue flames flickered on the sides of the tunnels, illuminating Mastermind's grim expression. We walked for a few minutes in silence.
Finally, the room opened up to the council room, glowing with gold from the lava below. The Queen's daughter, Greatness, waited for me to enter the room, staring balefully down at me. Several dragons waited in the shadows, eyes gleaming with the orange and yellow light.
"Solstice," She said finally. "Though you have been doubted by many members in the council," she shot a glare over to a dragon that was in the deepest shadows, who looked away, "You have been declared trustworthy enough."
She opened her wings, sprinkled with the telltale star scales that leaped like comets, and landed next to me.
"We have a mission for you." She stared into my eyes, her gaze menacing and piercing. "An IceWing, correct?" I nodded quickly, and she turned away.
"With the IceWing, you can easily convince the IceWing tribe that you are with them. In fact, you even look like one," She added. "We must know if they plan to attack. The portals are a secret to all, but we still might need to make sure."
I nodded again, mind whirling. Suddenly, I heard something in the back of my head. It was Equinox. She was finally back.
"IceWing Kingdom?" She asked expectantly. "We are going north?"
I whispered, "Yes."
A warm feeling spread through me followed by a low buzz, and I realized that for the first time she was happy.
"Ok!" She said cheerfully. "Let's go! Even if we don't find anything, this place is giving me the creeps. I need to get out. Besides, I want to visit my home..."
I shook my head clear of the buzzing and looked back up at Greatness. "Alright, I can do it."
She smiled coldly. "Good. We will escort you to the SandWing portal. Good luck."
I stood up, the warmth still inside me.
"Finally, somewhere where I know," Equinox muttered.
Snow whirled and danced around my eyes, sinking into my scales with a shudder.
Strangely, however, I don't feel that cold. It must be Equinox.
My claws sank ankle deep in the white snow, which crunched and melted slowly. In the distance, I saw the glimmer of sea.
"Just a little farther," Equinox's voice sounded a little more alive, like she was speaking to me from afar rather than staying in my head. I trudged on.
Eventually, the snow died away and was replaced by slippery ice that caused my talons to go in every direction. As I picked myself up, I grumbled a few choice swear words in which Equinox hissed with shock.
"Solstice!" She scolded, but I blocked her out before she could tell me off. I needed peace, and my head was already pounding.
Once I reached the edge of the cliff, I took a deep breath and decided to let Equinox back in.
"... No idea you had such profanity.... Wait... What is that?" She suddenly sounded wistful.
I smiled a little, shuddering at the icy wind and the sudden force that was pushed against my temples. I growled with pain.
"Stop it!" I managed to yelp, before the sea suddenly slid out of focus and I landed on the ice. Everything went dark for a minute.
As soon as everything came back into focus, I realized that I wasn't doing anything, yet I was moving.
Equinox! She forced me!
I resigned to not talk to her for as long as I could because of that. Of course, that promise didn't last that long.
She immediatly launched herself off the ice, falling towards the sea. I gritted my metaphorical teeth. Last second, she pulled out of it, trailing my claws on the sea and laughing in a voice that was somewhat like mine, yet compleatly different.
I never wondered before what would happen if a male and a female shared vocal cords. And now this is happening. I wonder what else I have never thought about.
She spiraled up into the sky again, flapping my star-speckled wings and running through the low-lying snow clouds. Again, she dove down again, twisting this way and that. I dug my nonexistant claws in, biting back a scream. What if she seriously injures me? Or worse gets me killed? What happens then?
Don't worry about her killing you, sweetheart.. Suddenly, a distinctivly femanine voice appeared. I looked around, frightened. Was it just Equinox imitating someone to annoy me?
Nothing made itself apparant, and so I gave up.
Equinox finally settled down, flying softly down to the snow covered plains and rolling in it playfully. She smiled and laughed a lot, it was almost contagious. I smiled as well.
Then something caught my eye. Snow was dislodged from her playful somersalts, and the ice underneath was clear.
I screamed. Equinox stopped.
"What?" She asked. Then her gaze dropped to the ice.
A dragon, shrunken and clearly dead, laid under the ice. It's scales were white as snow and it's eyes were wide open, milky yellow from exposure to the sun.
However, it looked so familiar, that even in this state I recognized it.
It was Equinox's body. Her true one.
Legs giving out, I laid there, inches from my own sun bleached scales and withering eyes. I clawed at the ice, trying to grasp at a memory. So this is what head happened after I died.
In fact, if this was the same spot...
I got to my feet, staring down at myself. "I'll be back," I muttered, and the thought that I was speaking to corpses made me shudder. Hey, I was dead. I'm allowed to do that.
I walked several miles south, stopping every so often to look around me.
Eventually, I came across a small shack, made of pine wood and barely staying up.
One old dragon lived there. I asked what had happened to the area.
"This place?" He repeated in a dusty sounding voice. "I'm living on a memorial! Here was a battle that won the Nightwings the War!" He spread his claws behind him, pointing to the buildings that were licked with ash and frozen completely over. Everything in this place was preserved."
"In fact, I think that no record remained of an Icewing who lived here," the dragon continued, oblivious to my shock. "All of them, killed out of the blue. The queen herself was among the casualties, and after that her daughter surrendered."
I felt a jolt. The queen! The day I went on guard, the queen was supposed to visit. It was all to make sure that the defenses were secure.
Well, I died... And she did as well. She was left out in the open when the group of assassins got past me. I ended the war...?
I clutched my head. "Why did they kill all of those defenseless Icewings?" I asked finally.
He shrugged. "Well, one of them was seriously injured already, and they all were there on orders. However," he leaned in to whisper, "I personally think they are rogues."
I stared at the ice out there, and ruffled my wings. Taking a few breaths of the arctic air, I stepped into the frozen ruin. The IceWing behind me watched me for a second, then shrugged and returned to the hut.
He was a strange dragon, but he was knowledgable. I might be able to ask some more about him.
It is amazing how much ice can preserve. As I walked through the wasteland, I saw the small houses that friends of mine had lived in, the stone crumbling in the walls. I looked between the rows, my claws instinctively fitting into the spots I always walked in, even though these claws are much smaller and weaker.
I finally stopped in front of a broken down house. My home... It is a miracle everything I remembered was in place. My home, my body...
It only seems to be myself that is out of place.
I leaned against the door, which was barely in splinters. It cracked open and dissolved under my weight. Jeez... Add that to the list of things wrong with NightWings. They are heavy.
I hesitated before stepping inside, a deep feeling of excitement and some sort of dread.
It was a three room house, with the biggest one filled with snow. The roof had collapsed above it, and a fresh wave of cold air hit my face.
I walked into my room, stepping gingerly over a frozen blanket. Blue light filtered into the dusty room, but it still faintly smelled like myself. For the first time, I felt a bit of sanity in this world.
And as soon as I did, Solstice decided to speak again. This is... Your home? Wow...
I sat down on the frozen mattress, and opened a cupboard. A few shriveled books fell out. Most of them were untouched, including the one I was looking for.
Holding it in my claws, I felt happy. Everything would be ok... Everything would be fine. Perhaps looking through the notes I had made will help me through this traumatic experience.
I can help you.
I jerked up, looking around. A voice... It seemed to be echoing through the walls, from the permafrost below, and yet inside my head as well.
What's wrong? Solstice asked, genuinely concerned. I shook my head, and mumbled it was nothing.
But now I was shaken. And it was getting dark outside. From my instincts that have been all but dampened by the Nightwings, I knew a blizzard was tonight. I should stay here, where it was safe, quiet, and familiar.
I curled up on the frozen mattress, pausing to get the blanket. I heated it up with a breath of fire. It felt weird, like I was gargling hot water.
The wind whirled around the ruins of the house, yet I slept soundly for the first time in hundreds of years.
Some dreams suck.
Nightmares are horrible.
But this... This is new levels entirely.
I opened my eyes to the light of the horrible garden, with it's unnaturally white grass and leaves, heavy fruit hanging from branches or rolling on the ground, and the fountain of fire in front of me.
The shadow figure was reforming in front of it. I could sense, even here, that it was unimaginably furious, yet at the same time curious.
My claws stuck to the grass, immobilizing me. At the same time, I still pulled hard on them to get away from the thing. Whatever it was, I was instantly scared.
It took a slow step forward.
"Who are you?" I yelled as it reached up a claw and touched one of my horns in the ruff of spines at the nape of my neck. The area began burning fiercely, and I winced.
The thing made no noise, but continued to circle me. It observed my claws, the scales in my chest, and my wings, pulling them out and twisting them in all angles.
"Hmm," it said, it's voice strangely feminine as always and not like it was before. This one was smooth, not hissy and jagged, like an angry snake. "Unimpressive. I expected more."
It swept back around to my head, and with two claws pried my mouth open. Despite my struggles, I was not able to close it again, and where her claws touched my scales it turned warm.
"You really don't know who I am?" It said finally, purring. With one claw it reached up and tapped one of my teeth. It obligingly hissed with steam. It continued to observe my mouth like a dentist, counting each of my icicle teeth.
It pushed my mouth closed again finally and stepped back. "Come on, I want to talk to you."
My legs jerked into motion and I followed her against my will.
As we walked, I saw great cliffs rising up on either side of us. Jagged black rock stuck out at odd angles, and I saw my reflection in them, hopeless and scared.
"Don't mind the despair. It is usually wrong," the creature beside me murmured. We continued on, the rock turning to grass.
The blades shimmered like filaments of blonde fur, and we came up to a slope. Down below, shining water gleamed like it was forever frozen in sunset.
"You don't look like much," she began, the creature staring at me with white eyes. I tore my gaze from the water and stared at her.
"However, I really did underestimate you. I didn't expect you to be able to manifest in some form in the real world again. You dragons are always so indecisive. Stay alive, or stay dead." She tore a piece of white grass out of the ground, and it turned to ash in her claws.
"In fact, I never realized how valuable you were. You could help me, Equinox. Stop fighting me. I know we both want the same thing." Her gaze bored into mine, and in it I saw malevolence, hatred, yet a glimmer of hope.
"Who are you?" I managed to spit out. She tilted her oily black head.
"You, of course. Or at least, part of you." She smiled at this news, reaching up to a tree and picking a golden apple. Wherever her claws touches, a film of frost spread across the fruit. She ate the frozen apple anyway.
I looked at her in a confused way. "What do you mean?" This... thing.... honestly needed to stop messing with her.
"I'm here to fulfill your wish. I'm here because you asked me to be here." She threw the remaining part of the apple into the river, which quickly righted itself, turning crystal clear. Then a picture of a bloody, ragged IceWing appeared.
A voice, speaking in a whispering, dying way, emanated from the frozen river. One I knew all too well.
I will always hate your kind. One of these days, you and your pitiful tribe will regret what you do today.
She spread her claws triumphantly. "I am here to help you. Not hurt you. And about what happened when you died... I said I was indecisive. I can let someone live forever, or die and never come back."
I blinked, staring at the dragon and back down at the river. This was too much to take in...
"I'll be back soon. Then we can start our plan." She smiled creepily, and dissolved into shadows.
I, too, started to disappear. Guess it was time to wake up.
I needed some time to absorb this information. There was more dangers than just two dragons stuck in one body. Much more than that.
I am truly getting scared at this point.
I woke up in the morning at the crack of dawn, and was already stepping out the door before I realized what I was doing.
Upon hearing the crackle of ice under my claws, I froze. It was as if I was following a schedule I have been doing for a long time. Yet this was the first night I have been here.
I bolted back into the tattered remains of the house, freaked out.
Equinox... I thought, groaning. Why does it seem like there is more of her than me?
I decided to peer into the other rooms that Equinox decided not to show. In one of them, there were small ceramic plates and cups. I didn't bother to look at them, though I wondered where they came from.
I walked into another room, which had a small mirror hung on the wall. After so many years, these fragile little things still survived. It was a miracle.
Taking a look into the mirror, I frowned at the sight. Still... Continuing to change. My scales were lighter than usual. My left eye was a brighter blue. My right eye seemed to be unchanged, but everything else looked almost unrecognizable.
I was a freak. A strange... Hybrid thing. I reached up a claw and touched one of my silver horns. Even they felt sharper.
Why was this happening to me? Why couldn't I just be... normal?
I sighed, and stepped out of the door. Early morning air bit at my scales, yet it didn't feel too bad.
Everything was quiet and still. A moon hung in the sky, full and gleaming. Snow crunched under my claws. In the distant horizon, the sun's colors were painting the land. It was beautiful.
Yet it all felt so wrong. I decided to go back inside for a little more. Perhaps I could look for a few things to take with me, if Equinox finds the place so special.
I ducked back into the room that we slept the night, and something occurred to me. I haven't heard Equinox the entire morning. Was she still asleep?