Chapter 1: Prologue
The Orb in the Sky had drawn near again.
A large white IceWing glanced up at it again anxiously, and then looked back at the dragons before her. She carried with her a single, large egg, smooth and white and ragged with cracks.
“I don’t like it,” An oddly gold SandWing fretted anxiously. She looked up at the bright object, hanging like a fourth moon in the sky. “It’s not any less scary than last time. And Starflight said it wouldn’t happen for, like, hundreds of years.”
“Well, it’s not like I can always be right, Sunny!” A dark NightWing, Starflight, protested.
“I remember seeing it a long time ago,” a pale, slightly larger SeaWing said, drawing attention away from Sunny and Starflight’s bickering. “I saw it at three or four. It was right before the final faceoff between Blister, Blaze and Burn.” She leaned closer to the other SeaWing, a deep green.
“Back on topic, Anemone,” a royal blue SeaWing said.
“Right,” a dark purple RainWing said. She was quite smaller than the other dragons present but regal all the same. “Why did you bring the egg, Snowfall?” She looked at the large IceWing.
“It contains my grandchild,” Snowfall said, daring the others to question her. It was thin, and would hatch very soon.
“Two grandchildren, by the looks of it,” a bold red SkyWing joked.
A couple dragons snickered, but Snowfall glared at her. “Queen Rubellite, I was informed by a prophet NightWing that this egg was special and important. I mustn’t let it leave my sight.” The egg jumped a little as if in agreement.
“Who traveled to the Ice Kingdom? I gave no permission!” the RainWing demanded, furious.
“Me, Queen Firefly,” a male NightWing raised his talons. “I had an important message for the IceWings.”
“Prophecy might have saved her life and ours,” Snowfall said. She looked at Prophecy, and he breathed deeply, speaking in a grizzled, ancient voice:
“Orb of the Sky, accept your ally. Egg hatched on this night, to ice they’ll bring light.”
“That’s vague and intimidating,” the MudWing queen stated. Snowfall stared daggers and Prophecy shifted uncomfortably.
“Your Majesty-” he began.
Suddenly, the egg twitched violently, rolling out of Snowfall’s talons. It now lay in the center of the gathered dragons, directly in the light of the shining Orb that glimmered like a fourth moon.
The eggshell burst, and the ring of dragons watched, dumbstuck, as two dragonets rolled out of the egg remains. They were tiny creatures, one with silver scales and the other an off-white shade of blue, both with tiny black scales like glimmers of the void. The adult dragons gaped at the two baby IceWings, who gazed with wide eyes at the huge creatures.
“Woah,” the green SeaWing said. “I am not equipped for this.”
“They’re not your dragonets, Turtle,” Tsunami said, rolling her eyes. The pale SeaWing had to hide her giggles as Turtle blushed.
“What shall they be named, North Star?” Snowfall asked, looking to the smaller IceWing next to her.
“Frazil,” she said, pointing to the silvery dragonet, “and Eclipse,” to the off-white one.
The white and black dragonet looked at the full grown princess. She babbled, “Papib? Akpips?” Her talons shimmered in the moonlight in a way her twin’s did not, like frost crisscrossed her scales. Snowfall reached over to pick up the small, ice-white dragonet and coiled back, hissing in pain, her talons clenched.
“What happened?” A male, large MudWing asked worriedly. He limped over to Snowfall, but the female MudWing held him back.
Snowfall hesitated, then revealed her palm to be covered in small frostbitten scales. The other queens and dragons inspected the talon carefully, stretching necks and narrowing eyes to get a better look.
“This reminds me of firescales,” Sunny said suddenly, after a few moments of peering at the wound. “Right, Starflight?”
Starflight pondered for a moment, then said, “It sort of does. An excess of natural dragonbreath. I wonder if that means other tribes can have this ability, like SandWings. Does it only happen with twins?”
“I’ve never seen a SandWing with this condition, even in the palace,” A pale SandWing said. “Anemone, Turtle? How about you?”
Turtle and the pale SeaWing glanced at each other before the latter spoke. “I recently had twins,” Anemone confessed. “Only one survived. Her scales always glow, even if it’s just a little.” The queen glanced at her two siblings then looked back at the other dragons. “So what shall we do?”
“No more protection spells, like Peril once had,” Turtle said dully. “Without animus magic, I mean…”
“We’ll just keep them safe and protected,” the MudWing queen said stiffly. Snowfall frowned at the odd comment. Was there something that the other queens were keeping from her?
“We, Dragonfly?” North Star asked, icy spines beginning to rise.
“How will you survive in the Ice Kingdom?” Snowfall asked frostily, fighting to keep her tail still and eloquent.
Firefly raised her talon. “We found the Gift of Diplomacy in the remains of the Night Kingdom. We can send messengers and make sure these two are safe.”
“Why would you all care?” Snowfall near-growled. What could the other tribes possibly want with a frostbitten dragonet?
“Because of a recent scroll about animus powers,” Starflight said. “Written by Turtle.” The blind NightWing gestured to the green SeaWing imploringly. “Didn’t you see it?”
The IceWing queen snorted. “I have much more important things to do then fawn over some SeaWing’s little fantasies about my tribe.”
Tsunami grumbled. “If you had read it, you would have seen the latest theory about animus powers. Which, by the way, has nothing to do with your tribe.”
North Star glared at the other dragons. “Spit it out, already.”
Sunny looked directly at the two dragonets, then at the ice queen. “The theory,” she said, “is that IceWings originally got animus powers from the Orb in the Sky.”
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
Eclipse bit her tongue as Frazil smiled and whispered in her ear, “this is what we’ve been waiting for. Can’t you see how exciting this is?” Her sister giggled at the serious expression on her face as they soared through Pyrrhia, forests and hills rushing below them. The sky was clear and bright, perfect for a nice, easy flight.
Eclipse muttered, “You’re a royal, Sister, act like it.” Her icy blue scales flashed in the sunlight as she tilted her wings to fly towards the double-peaked mountain below. She saw Frazil do the same, and turned her head around to see Queen Snowfall, Silver, Hiemal and Windigo several wingbeats behind. Eclipse tipped her wings down and swooped onto a ledge near to one of the peaks, wincing as frost immediately started shimmering below my talons. Her heard Frazil land beside her with a thump.
“Look at all those dragons,” she breathed. The entrance was filing in dragons of all kinds. A pair of bejeweled dragonets chased each other inside. Horribly undignified, Eclipse thought. But her thoughts were scattered as a bright yellow-and-black dragonet spotted her and flew over. His scales were unlike any other dragon Eclipse had ever seen, and he had two sets of wings. Did anybody really need that many? His smiled brightly at the pair of IceWings.
“Hello!” He said cheerfully. “My name is Jonquil. What are your two names? Something beautiful to match your scales, I bet,” he added cheekily. He seemed rather unafraid of the rather intimidating royals, Eclipse decided.
“I am Princess Eclipse of the IceWings,” she introduced herself grandly, spreading her wings majestically. She let her black, purple and blue gemstones and silver jewelry glimmer and twinkle before closing her wings again. “This is my twin sister, Princess Frazil.” Her sister dipped her head a little.
The dragonet looked bold as ever yet not at all impressed by their status. Eclipse frowned slightly before returning to her impassive regal face.
Frazil spoke to break the beats of silence. “Where are you from, Jonquil? What tribe?”
“Oh,” he said, “I’m from Pantala, a HiveWing. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories. I came with some others from the tribes there to learn about Pyrrhia,” he explained.
Eclipse heard wingbeats behind her and quickly spoke. “It was a pleasure meeting you, but we should join the rest of our tribe mates.” Frazil nodded a cheerful goodbye to Jonquil and followed Eclipse as she jumped down to where the other IceWings landed.
“Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve been here,” Queen Snowfall let out with a sigh. “Not since Queen Glory still lived.”
Frazil smirked. “Can’t wait to see your cousin, can you?”
Snowfall rolled her eyes at her subject “Winter is complicated, dear.” She glanced around at the other dragons nearby. “This is where I must leave you all. Do be rather kind and try not to break anything, alright?” She particularly looked at Frazil and Windigo, who both smiled sheepishly.
The queen turned around and took off, scattering particles of ice gathering at Eclipse’s talons. Frazil frowned at the glittery stone under her twin’s talons. She rummaged through her travel bag, a wrap of furs with a strong rope, and pulled out a wing bracelet. It was a smooth and simple silver band with three small black stones inlaid into it. The silvery dragonet reached over to clasp the bracelet onto her sister’s wing, but she pulled back with a hiss.
“C’mon, Eclipse,” the princess whined. “This was the agreement Mother made. You wear the bracelet when we get there, and we can go to Jade Mountain Academy.” She once again reached out to fit the bracelet onto the royal’s wing, and Eclipse snatched it from her sister and fastened it onto her wing.
At once, the air dropped temperature slightly and frost stopped spreading on the stones. Eclipse still found it weird whenever this happened, but this was how most dragons felt. She needed to get over herself.
“Ah,” a voice said. Eclipse looked up to see a large pale dragon wearing a moonstone and amber earring. “My little cousins have arrived at last.”
Eclipse fought the urge to bow. “Winter. Pleasure to meet you after all I’ve heard.”
Frazil smiled. “You mean all the fighting Moth and him did before he came here to teach?”
Winter glared at the silver dragonet, but there was no bite to his gaze. He smiled, looking like he wanted to hug the twins, but refrained. As he took them and the other IceWings inside he stayed carefully away Eclipse in a way that was friendly yet cautious. Been told about the frostscales, I presume, she thought. Or rather, warned.
“You’ll each be in a different winglet,” Winter said, breaking Eclipse from her thoughts. “Trust me, you’ll get used to it. Your winglets are who you share classes with, but your clawmates are who you sleep with.” He stopped at an announcements board in a large cave. “This is the Great Hall,” he explained. “And you can look here to see where your sleeping cave is. If you need help finding it, come ask somebody for help, preferably one of the rather large teachers who know what’s going on.”
The IceWings nodded and looked at the board. Eclipse saw that her sister, Frazil, was paired with a SilkWing and a SeaWing. She spotted her own cave, with a NightWing and a SandWing. She pushed her way through the other white dragonets and went to her cave. She saw three beds; a hollow lined with sand, a woven mat of leaves, and pelt of white fur, possibly from a polar bear.
Eclipse picked up the skin. Obviously this was the bed made for her. She hated sleeping on the floor, though; it made her feel rough and uncomfortable, whether sleeping on snow, ice or rock. She spotted a hook from the ceiling, presumably for a possible RainWing hammock, and tied the pelt to it. She patted it, satisfied with the room and softness.
She took her sack off her back and set it on the floor, letting the drawstring come loose. A few other pieces of jewelry and precious gemstones glittered inside the bag, but she ignored the gifts her mother had given her. She dug until she felt her claws brush a piece of parchment, and yanked it away from the rest of the clutter.
Eclipse, it read. Take care of your sister. For Snowfall’s sake, wear the wing bracelet. And do be careful. Love, North Star.
She knew her mother could not publicly show her any love or affection, as princess and heir. Eclipse hugged the parchment before stuffing it back into the sack and tossing it into her hammock. She was about to exit her sleeping cave when she almost ran into a dark dragonet right in front of her.
The sleek black dragon was a NightWing ad had a royal look to her. The silver scales under her wings matched the silver bracelets and horn ornaments she wore, which were studded with amethysts and tanzanite. She also had bright silver scales next tot her eyes like teardrops, and a circle of silver scales around her back talons. She had a haughty air to her and held her head high.
“Excuse you,” Eclipse muttered.
The NightWing flared her wings and huffed indignantly. “I should have you know that I’m a princess, so you better treat me like it, IceWing.” She puffed out her chest importantly.
“And I,” Eclipse hissed, “don’t put up with snobbish royalty like you, NightWing. I’ll have you know that anybody who acts out like that purely for high birth status is punished by me. I won’t be afraid to do the same to you.
“And who do you think you are, talking to a princess like that?” The dragonet said haughtily.
“Princess Eclipse of the IceWings,” she said. She smiled as the NightWing flinched a little, now recognising her scattered black scales and important jewelry. “And you are?”
The black dragon regained her composure. “Princess Galaxy of the NightWings. I can’t believe they put me in with an IceWing.”
“I can’t believe I’m stuck with two princesses who apparently already hate each other,” a voice joked from behind them. The two royals turned to see a smiling SandWing at the cave entrance. Eclipse could see a mischievous glint in the dragonet’s eye. “Fennec. Pleasure to meet you too.”
Eclipse looked at the young SandWing, studying her. She had pale scales, even for a SandWing, with a narrow face. She only had one piece of jewelry, a tail ring that lay neatly against her tail stinger. It looked as though it should of had gems but didn’t. Eclipse wondered how the golden ring got there, and how it fit over the venomous sack to begin with. She noted the scruffy look of the dragonet, who probably grew up in a town like the Scorpion Den. How did she get here?
Eclipse was pulled out of her thoughts again as the gong sounded. Galaxy strut ahead, while Fennec fell in beside Eclipse.
“What’s it like?” Fennec asked. Eclipse looked at her, confused, until she added, “being royalty, I mean.”
“Oh,” Eclipse said. “It’s… interesting. In the Ice Kingdom everything is very strict, so it’s not much fun. Unless I challenge the queen, being a royal isn’t much to be cracked up about.”
“It means you have a place in the palace, doesn’t it?” Fennec pointed out.
Fennec shook her head. “IceWings are so different from SandWings.”
The two walked into the Great Hall, and Eclipse immediately disliked how many dragons there were. She squirmed in her scales.
“Hey, over here!” a voice called out above the others. She turned to see a yellow talon waving, and Jonquil’s bright smile greeted her eyes. She shoved her way through the crowd and felt warm scales following her. She sat down, a little relieved, next to Jonquil, and Fennec sat down next to her.
“By the way, these are my clawmates,” Jonquil said. “Bluejay and Quaker.” A cornflower and royal blue RainWing waved shyly and a bouncy, iridescent sunset-colored dragon waved after the first one did.
Eclipse dipped her head in greeting. “Pleasure to meet you two. I’m Eclipse.”
Quaker gasped. “You’re so pretty, Eclipse! How’d you get your scales all black? I thought IceWings were always white!”
Eclipse spread her wing a little, a few sparkling black scales shimmering underneath. “I’ve had them from birth,” she explained.
“They’re beautiful,” Jonquil breathed, almost too softly for Eclipse to hear.
The awing over her scales was interrupted by the gong, banging twice. Everybody slowly quieted down and Clay limped up to a raised ledge, followed by Tsunami, Sunny, Starflight, Fatespeaker, Winter, and Qibli.
“Welcome to Jade Mountain Academy, everybody,” he started. “We’re glad you all chose to come here, and we hope you all go back home with some more knowledge in your minds. Today we will be having one class, a group discussion.” He swept a wing to the announcement board. “You’ll find the cave there and meet your winglet. Classes start in two hours. Until then, feel free to wander around and explore the academy.”
He stepped back off the ledge on the young dragons started bustling around, cramming their way to the announcements board. Eclipse nudged her way through the crowd, finally reaching the board.
Jade Winglet, the board read. Fennec, Nardoo, Lapis Lazuli, Bluejay, Shikra, Galaxyholder, Eclipse, Quaker, Jonquil, Aspen.
Eclipse felt a tingle of relief and anxiety. She knew several of members already, if not well. But she didn’t have a clue who Lapis Lazuli, Nardoo, Shikra or Aspen were.
She shook herself and jumped up, spread her wings, and flew above the crowd. She soared straight out the mountain and spiraled above. Seeing a tunneling hole on the side of the rock face, she tucked her wings in and dived, straight into a cold lake. The chilling water soothed her scales and calmed her mind. She swam to the surface and looked around to see the cavern empty.
She had an idea, and she was alone…
Eclipse unclasped her wing bracelet, watching it curl in ice as the enchantment it cast was undone. The water around her turned even colder than before and the metal on her wrist and neck shimmered with thin layers of frost, and her scales glimmered more brilliantly than before.
A gasp came from the shadows, and Eclipse turned her head to see a SeaWing with her talons over her snout. She lowered them, her stripes glowing dully in slow patterns, before whispering, “you’re a specialscales too?”
And all at once, Eclipse’s world would begin to fall.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
“Excuse me, I’m a what?” Eclipse demanded, flaring her wings.
“Special-scales,” the SeaWing repeated, seeming to have gotten over her initial shock. “The one who freezes everything she touches. Everyone knows that story, but I thought it was just a rumor that you would be coming to Jade Mountain.”
Eclipse huffed. “Well, I’m here, so you better get used to it.” She snatched her bracelet back up, fitting it firmly over her wing. She shook the frozen fractals off her body, showering the water and rock with glittering cold.
Eclipse looked closely at the SeaWing. Her stripes were constantly lit, pulsing and glowing like a lantern underwater. She was a deep, royal blue, reminding her of Tsunami, and her stripes seemed more like a tan or brown than blue, making the lantern-underwater affect even more vivid. She had a rope of golden-brown pearls wrapped around each horn and the same color of pearl bracelets on her wrists, plus a necklace with a pendant of cat’s eye.
“Jeez. I didn’t think it would be true. I mean, dragons like that aren’t usually, well, overly nurtured. Like me.” She paused and looked down at her distracting stripes. “I’m a flashscales, it’s called, but my brother died before he was even a year old.”
Eclipse did her best sympathetic face. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
The SeaWing looked up, grief clouding her gaze, before trying to blink it away. “Lapis Lazuli. Call me Lapis,” she introduced herself, changing the subject.
“Eclipse,” the IceWing named herself in turn.
Lapis finally rose out of the water, peering curiously at Eclipse’s scales. “If you don’t mind me asking,” she began hesitantly, “why do you have those black scales? Are you part NightWing or HiveWing?”
Eclipse looked at the black scales spattered across her body, like freckles. “No, my parents are fully IceWing. No way would an heir to the throne have eggs with anybody but an IceWing. I think it’s a mutation,” she said. “Or maybe,” she mused, “it has something to do with the frostscales. Do you think?”
Lapis walked closer, into the water, and poked one scale thoughtfully. “It’s possible,” she said. “After all, firescales have glowing, coppery scales.” She lit her stripes a little more, bathing the water and Eclipse with warm golden light. “I have these weird yellow stripes as a flashscales.” The stripes fading into the strange pulsing again. Her wings twitched, as if she wanted to light up the swirls on it as well.
That explains her name, Eclipse thought. Lapis Lazuli is a blue stone, if I remember, with gold specks.
“Maybe we could ask Clay’s wife, the security guard?” Eclipse offered. “Peril, right? I’m pretty sure she’s a firescales.”
“Where would she be though?” The SeaWing inquired. “The academy is so crowded right now, how would she get around?”
“How about we try-” the IceWing was interrupted by the gong sounding through the mountain once. The first class warning.
“Perfect timing,” Lapis huffed. “Why don’t we go to class?”
Eclipse remembered the SeaWing in her winglet. Lapis. “Together, why don’t we?”
The deep blue dragon nodded. She shook herself and splashed droplets of water onto Eclipse. The latter growled playfully and ran ahead. “Keep up!” she yelled, grateful to be free from IceWing standards for once, as if she were Frazil or Wendigo. She went up a winding tunnel and slowed down, seeing Lapis catch up to her, hearing her webbed talons smack against the stone floors. The tunnel opened up to a cavern, which looked to be a type of stageroom, like where Queen Snowfall might make announcements, with another opening to the hall leading to the classroom caves.
Eclipse slipped into the crowd like a drop of water joining a stream, and looked at the various classrooms. She turned, remembering the instructions, to the third cave on the right. Three dragons were already in there: Principal Tsunami, presumably the teacher today, a dull orange SkyWing with a surprisingly calm face for her tribe’s reputation, and a light brown MudWing who looked rather bored. Eclipse sat down a bit farther away from them, suddenly crawling in her scales. Three moons, why was she so nervous?
She felt something brush her and turned her head to see Jonquil sit down beside her. He flashed a grin at her and turned to Tsunami. Eclipse saw the rest of the winglet file in and she turned her attention to the royal blue dragon in the middle of the cave.
“Hello, everyone,” she greeted. “You probably already know me, but I’m going to introduce myself anyway. I’m Principal Tsunami. Today we’re just going to be introducing ourselves, and saying something we like, such as a favorite color,” she explained. “Who would like to go first?”
Eclipse saw an orange arm raise. “I’m Shikra,” she said, “Clay’s daughter.”
Eclipse noticed how she didn’t say Peril’s daughter. Proud of her father, or ashamed of her mother? Her calm demeanor wasn’t giving it away.
“My favorite color is scarlet-orange,” Shikra finished.
Lapis raised her talon next. “I’m Lapis Lazuli, call me Lapis. My favorite gem is, ironically, emerald.”
“Oh, you’re Anemone’s daughter!” Tsunami said.
Galaxy stuck her claws in the air. “I,” she said importantly, “am Princess Galaxyholder.”
Eclipse saw a flash of grief across Tsunami’s face, though the teacher was quickly composed again. She must miss Queen Glory, the IceWing thought. Eclipse looked at Galaxy, trying to spot any RainWing traits from her grandmother. She saw a spattering of rainbow scales on the princess’s wing and noticed that her long, elegant snout was odd for a NightWing.
“My favorite metal is platinum,” Galaxy finished.
Jonquil raised his talon. “I’m Jonquil, and my favorite food is starfruit.”
Bluejay went next. “My name is Bluejay, I’m Galaxy’s brother.” His cornflower, white and black scales rippled green for a moment. Eclipse hoped she’d get to learn what those colors meant. “Half-brother. My favorite animal is a kinkajou.”
The MudWing raised his talon. “I’m Nardoo,” he said quietly. “My favorite color is yellow.”
Quaker raised his talon excitedly. “I’m Quaker, and my favorite food is Pyrrhian honeycomb.”
Lastly, a the LeafWing raised his talon. Eclipse hadn’t noticed him until then. “I’m Aspen. My favorite time of day is the evening.”
“Okay,” Tsunami said, clasping her talons together. “Now that that is out of the way, what do you guys want to do today?
“Hunt!” Shikra called out. Her calmness was broken momentarily with excitement.
“I second that!” Jonquil said.
“Not that I’m agreeing with them,” Galaxy sniffed, “but hunting sounds satisfactory.”
“I guess it’s settled,” Tsunami said, grinning. She led the group outside, and Jonquil and Fennec fell back with Eclipse.
“Not that I’m agreeing with you,” Jonquil mimicked, “but I am most definitely agreeing with you.” Fennec snorted a laugh, and Eclipse had to fight one down herself.
“That isn’t very nice, Jonquil,” Eclipse pointed out.
“Then again, it isn’t like she acts very nice,” Fennec said. “Really, I want to know how somebody so rude could end up being siblings with him.” The SandWing pointed to Bluejay, who was quietly talking to Aspen. Bubbles of pink edged his spine and wings.
“Well, they are half-siblings,” Jonquil said, shrugging. “Maybe it was the different fathers.”
“True,” Fennec said, furrowing her brows in deep thought. “It’s kinda weird, though, isn’t it?”
Jonquil asked, “What do you mean?” in an echo of Eclipse’s thoughts.
“Oh,” Fennec said, “Like how there are so many important or special dragons in this winglet. Like how you, Galaxy, and Bluejay are royals,” the pale dragon said. “And Jonquil, you have a stinger on your tail, and two different types of venom, and I- Shikra is an ashscales.”
Eclipse decided to ignore the obvious hidden secret for now.
Although, what really intrigued her was how Fennec knew all of this. While Eclipse subconsciously soaked the information in to store in her mind, she wondered what Fennec had to do to get this kind of information. Blackmail, probably.
Do other tribes use blackmail? She caught herself wondering. She shook her head firmly and marched onward, the voices of Jonquil and Fennec blurring in her ears. She focused on putting her talons in front of her and her tail close by.
She took a deep breath, letting herself hear the other dragonets again.
Jonquil’s voice came first to her ears. “So why did you two come to the academy?” He asked, voice filled with curiosity.
“I came here to learn about the new tribes,” Fennec said cheerfully. “I can’t believe I’ve already made friends with you.”
Eclipse spoke, if forced. “I came to learn about different cultures,” she lied. She held back her guilt for the fib. The HiveWings and SandWings weren’t her concern, after all. “What about you, Jonquil?”
“I came to learn about animus dragons,” he said. “Dragons who can just tell objects to do something and they’ll do it- isn’t that fascinating? And they lose their soul, as well.” He paused for a moment. My, isn’t he misinformed? “What would you guys do if you were animi?”
As Fennec pondered her answer, Eclipse panicked. How could she answer honestly without giving herself away?
Another lie, she told herself firmly.
Fennec responded first. “I would protect my soul. Then I would probably create something like the Eye of Onyx for every tribe, so no tribe could be led by a bad dragon.”
Eclipse said, with a mask of calmness, “I would give my tribe a gift, like the Diamond Trials or Great Ice Wall.”
Or the Gift of Protection.
She thought back to the first time she used her power, on accident.
Eclipse looked at the snake, somehow warm against the cold cave in the tundra. She picked it up, staring at it. It’s eyes were like black diamonds, its scales like titanium and silver. Back then, Eclipse had no reason to question the reptile in the arctic back then.
“Pleathe live forever,” she breathed.
The snake hissed softly in some friendly way. Her small talons curled around it. “I enchant you become immortal, to be forever loyal to me, and alwayth follow my orderth. I want you to curl on my neck, alwayth making me warm when I feel cold, thnake.” The two year old giggled to herself, repeating the silly words that animus dragons had in class.
What surprised her is when the reptile wrapped itself around her neck, hissing contently and freezing against her neck. She touched the creature in wonder. My own pet, she thought happily.
The dragonet waddled out of the cave, seeing her twin sister. “Fwavil!” she called, toddler voice combining with a small lisp.
The sleek silver dragonet turned around, her eyes filling with delight. “Eclipse!” she yelled, bounding over. “You got a shiny metals?”
Eclipse showed it off proudly, then realized she wasn’t supposed to be an animus. “I mades it, but don’t tell Mom, okay?”
The two trampled each other as they ran toward the palace. As soon as they arrived at the gates, North Star looked at them coolly.
“Where have you two been?” she questioned.
“I got uhm, I went to blackthmith,” she said. “And I athked for a thnake, and he thaid thure, tho I got a cool necklathe.”
North Star snorted. “Impressive for your age,” she complimented. “But you need to get rid of that lisp.”
“Mother!” Frazil complained.
“If she is to challenge the queen, that is,” North Star said airily.
No, Eclipse thought. I don’t wanna kill anybody, ever!
The family walked inside, and Eclipse was glad her sister remembered to have the dignity to hold her talons still and head high as they went back to the palace.
Eclipse lifted off from her ledge. She threw her black and white wings out and beat them, rising into the sky. The mountain range unfurled below her, as if set there for her and her only. The closest dragonets to her were Jonquil, a shout away, and Shikra, much farther off. She focused on the ground below, and saw a cow grazing. Foolish, she thought, circling it. She dived down, a streak of white in the sky, and felt something crash into her before she grabbed the cow. Cold scales met her own, and the world was a blur of white and pale blue and sky blue and brown for a few moments before the dragons hit the ground. The dragonet groaned at the heavy weight on top of her aching bones. She shoved the dragon, much bigger than her, off and stood up painfully, feeling frost spread around her back and talons. Her bracelet had been knocked off.
She looked at the dragon and winced. She had scratches flecking her scales, which were already freckled with a dark blue, and her anklet was slightly bent. Eclipse was glad she enchanted the piece of jewelry. While the dragon was downed, she snatched her wing bracelet and clasped it on, then acted as though just seeing her.
“Cousin Lynx?” Eclipse asked skeptically. She knew for sure that Lynx hadn’t come to attend the school.
“Where’s Winter? This is important!” she almost snapped. She looked anxious and slightly panicked.
“Here, I’ll show you,” she said. She spread her wings, shaking the last of her childhood memories from her head. She felt Lynx closely on her tail as they neared the mountain. She saw an entrance and swooped down, folding her wings and landing with a thump on the prey center floor. She felt the blue-speckled dragon behind her do the same and half walked, half ran to the classroom caves. She glanced at each one, and the third showed a pale blue, large dragon talking to the students. Eclipse recognized only two dragonets in the cave, Silver, and a SandWing who had once visited the Ice Kingdom Palace as a messenger for Queen Saguaro.
Winter saw his wife and broke off. “Lynx?” He said, frowning. “What’s wrong?” He hurried over to her, and she looked into his eyes.
She then hissed, “Snowfall is dead. North Star took the throne.”
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
“Dead?” Eclipse echoed, loud enough to be heard by the winglet nearby. She was a little shocked. Had her mother only put her children in the school to keep them away from her murder? Did she do it to get rid of her heirs and threats, or protect them from the possibility of Snowfall’s victory?
“Dead? Who’s dead?” The RainWing in the winglet asked. Her scales were an iridescent blue-green.
“Knat, I hope it’s Tarragon,” the SeaWing said playfully.
“I’m right here, you dolt!” The SandWing, presumably Tarragon, smacked the SeaWing with his wing.
The three IceWings ignored them. Eclipse refused to even glance at the curious dragonets, not the RainWing (Knat, she thought), The SandWing Tarragon, the SeaWing, or even the strange violet dragonet lingering in the back.
“Oh!” Lynx said, looking up. “I almost forgot- I have something here- yes. Here, Eclipse, I think Queen North Star gave you this. And Winter,” she added, looking at her husband. “I brought you something.” She took out a heavy silver pendant, designs carved through it, handing it to Eclipse, and talked in hushed whispers with the old IceWing after shushing Eclipse away.
Eclipse then realized she should be hunting. Oops. She barreled out of the cave and flung herself into the air, wondering desperately if the cow was still there. She glanced down and thank the moons, it was. She dived once more, wrapping the silver pendant in her back talon, and seized the cow. It let out a terrified MOOOOO! as she swept into the air and gave it a killing bite.
With the corpse in her arms, she looked around. Tsunami and Lapis were by a wide river. Eclipse was slightly amused at how similar they looked, the only difference between the two being size and Lapis’ bronze stripes. Their scales were both a deep, cobalt blue, and they sat in a way that hinted they were royalty if you thought hard.
Off to her right, Fennec and Jonquil were having difficulty carrying a carcass between them that appeared to be a ram or mountain goat. The SandWing’s tail ring flashed in the sunlight, making her tail barb look shiny from the distance. Eclipse wondered if she could find any gems to match the ring. Black and orange, maybe red. As an IceWing, though, she wasn’t likely to have warmer colors that would clash with her scales. I’ll check my bag later, just in case, she caught herself thinking. Which was so very not IceWing. Had she grown so soft already?
Trying to dispel the thoughts, Eclipse carried her dead cow to the prey center, landing with a loud thump. She looked to see Bluejay and Quaker sharing fruit, presumably the entire time, and Galaxy was eating a scorched fish covered in some sort of fruit bits, it looked like.
Eclipse ripped a leg off her cow, deciding to try and be friendly. She walked over to Galaxy and offered her the piece. “Want some?” she asked in what she hoped was a friendly voice.
“From an IceWing?” Galaxy snorted. “I’ll pass. You’re probably just trying to poison me.”
The frostscales rolled her eyes. “I’m more likely to freeze you to death with a single touch.” She offered the leg once more. “Last chance, Princess Smokebreath.”
Galaxy eyed the cow leg warily. She looked back at her seasoned fish and shook her head. “I’ll be fine, Princess Pret- Perfect.”
Eclipse shrugged and dragged the rest of the cow over to the prey pile, which was pitiful today. She grabbed her cow leg and sat down next to the NightWing, preparing to to a bite.
“Wait a minute,” Galaxy said. “You’re going to eat it raw? Without anything else?”
Eclipse frowned and looked at Galaxy. “How else should I eat it? With an oyster or two?”
Galaxy rolled her eyes. “Let me show you.” She made a hissing noise and blasted the meat with flame, perfecting roasting it.
“Yuck,” Eclipse said, scrunching her face. She’d never had cooked meat, and she wasn’t ready to start now.
“Just pay attention,” Galaxy half-grumbled. She picked a mango and a couple other fruits from the pile, and a couple of odd leaves, and mashed them together in a dry clay cup.
“This tastes better on fish, mainly salmon,” Galaxy said, drizzling the sauce onto the leg. “But this is fine too.”
The IceWing looked at the meat and decided it was safe to eat. She ripped off a piece and chewed. It tasted exotic, but familiar, and crunchy, but also flavorful.
“How did you learn to do that?” Eclipse demanded after swallowing the bite. “That’s not normal, being able to make food so- so interesting and strange.”
“You like it?” Galaxy teased, but Eclipse could see a glimmer of hope and anticipation in the NightWing’s eyes. It made her wonder how old the princess was.
“It’s satisfactory,” Eclipse sniffed.
The IceWing saw a smile creep onto black scales before it was suppressed. “Am I too good for you, Princess?”
Eclipse growled. “You’d be better if you weren’t a jerk.”
“I-” Galaxy faltered. “I didn’t want to go to school, okay?” she defended herself. “I wanted to stay with Mother and Moonstone and Hawksight. But noooo, Bluejay dragged me to this stupid school.” A pinch of anger pierced her voice, but she controlled it. “Why did you come to school?” Galaxy inquired, changing the subject.
“If I’m going to be honest,” Eclipse said hesitantly. “I came to learn about animus dragons.”
“Huh,” Galaxy said. “Didn’t they go extinct or something? They stopped working?”
Eclipse shrugged. “Maybe. But you know how animus-touched objects still work. Maybe they’re in hiding.”
“Objects,” Galaxy pondered. “You mean like the Soul Reader in the magic cave? Or the dreamvisitors?”
“Yeah,” Eclipse said. Magic cave? “Things like that.”
The two ate somewhat peacefully while the rest of the winglet filed in. Shikra came first, holding a bloody bird that could have been a chicken. Next Tsunami and Lapis landed inside with several fish, salmon and tuna, cod and trout. Aspen came back shyly, carrying several types of leaves and fruit in a clay bowl.
Odd. Nardoo came in with a drowned bird, and finally Jonquil and Fennec arrived with the ram, scales flashing white and yellow and black.
“Having trouble?” Eclipse smirked as the struggled to bring the goat into the cave.
“Shut up,” Fennec play-growled.
The two dragons dropped the mountain goat and Jonquil peered over at the roasted and seasoned beef. “That looks interesting,” he remarked. “Did you slather a cow in fruit paste before roasting it over a fire?”
“Galaxy poisoned it, I’m accepting delicious death,” Eclipse grinned.
“Delicious?” Galaxy snarked. “That’s not what you said earlier!”
clipse’s cheeks went blue. “Shut up,” she said, flustered. “I’m still dying.”
The small group heard Tsunami snort from the prey tables. “Oh, you’re in so much danger right now. This academy is full of peril and wants you dead,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Lapis snorted. “Like it was so safe when the first year of school happened.”
Lapis got a fish slapped in her face for that.
The rest of the evening went by slowly. By the time class was dismissed, most everybody was ready to either eat or go to bed. Eclipse spotted a dark blue SeaWing chatting with an aqua-green one, while a turquoise one raced ahead. She saw that weird purple dragonet sitting next to a brown-gold LeafWing with lighter splashes and a sunset-colored SilkWing.
Eclipse felt a tap on her back and turned around. Silver waved and motioned to the outside part of the school. Eclipse shrugged and followed her out, looping around the mountain before gilding into one of the many skylight holes to an underground and abandoned lake.
“Princess,” Silver said, bowing. “First things first. Is Queen Snowfall truly dead?”
“Nobel,” Eclipse said, dipping her head. “Yes, as far as I know, Mother has taken the throne.”
Silver went silent, mostly from grief. Then she raised her head again. “I also, uh…” the light gray dragonet’s cheeks went blue. “I think I have a crush on somebody.”
“Hiemal?” Eclipse guessed. He was the only male IceWing at the school, after all.
“Um,” the nobel said. “Not exactly. It’s um, it’s a dragonet named Quentin.”
Eclipse thought for a moment. It didn’t sound like an ordinary name, and it certainly wasn’t IceWing. “I mean, your parents might not approve, but it’s not like it’s taboo. You could be happy with him.”
“Them,” Silver corrected.
“Excuse me?” Eclipse frowned.
“Quentin’s a them.” Silver was blushing furiously now, ashamed in herself.
“So?” Eclipse said. “What’s the problem with that?”
“It’s wrong!” Silver blurted. “Nobody has heard of that! How could I be partners with a dragon who isn’t male? Or even female?”
Eclipse snorted. “Maybe if you’d paid attention during school in the Ice Kingdom you would know about Princess Cavern and Prinx Fractal.”
Silver blushed, this time of embarrassment. “School was boring,” she muttered.
“School was important. That’s why your mother and father sent you here, right?”
“I guess,” the younger dragonet mumbled.
“I say wait, in any case,” Eclipse said, dragging the topic back to Quentin. “See if xe returns the feelings or at least try to become friends with xir.”
“Um,” Silver said. “I guess I can do that.”
As the silver dragonet opened her wings and flew out of the cavern, voices echoed outside the cave entrance. It sounded like Lapis and a few others.
Not wanting to be caught, but also wanting to be free of responsibility, and jewelry, for a moment, she shot upwards, winding around to the sleeping caves, and landed, swooping into her own cave bare and empty. She took a deep breath and carefully placed her jewelry into her fur hammock, aware of the dropping temperature and the absence of dragonets wandering the halls. She carefully peeked out of the cave to make sure it was safe, and ran on her claws to the Great Hall, shooting into the air with joyous freedom.
She closed her eyes as bits of frost crawled over her scales and broke off, leaving a shimmering trail of diamond dust behind her. She let the evening air funnel across her diamond-shaped head easily, wings hovering and majestic.
Suddenly she felt a heat closer to her scales, one unexpected. She opened her eyes to see a copper, smoking body right in front of her. Her instinctively silent approach failed to warn the dragon of her arrival as she faced the other way.
Eclipse couldn’t stop herself from being thrown into Peril, the only dragon known to have firescales. The two special-scales dragons tumbled down to land, winded and shocked enough to stay in a ball of gleaming white, void black and copper orange, smoking and steaming. The wind howling in Eclipse’s ears, and she felt the head of security shove her away, flapping her massive SkyWing wings to steady herself. She was wreathed in steam, feeling numb.
Eclipse fell to the ground, the sudden air pressure change blacking her out. She regained consciousness as a branch slammed into her head, and she flailed around, desperate to claw onto a hold, to no avail. She smashed through another layer of leaves and wood before landing on the grassy ground with a solid thump.
She groaned and stood up, shaking herself. She briefly saw orange scales, felt heat, and then pain. She dragged herself out of the tiny forest, scales trickling with dark blue blood from the nicks the sharp bark and wood had given her.
“Are you okay?!” The copper dragon landed near her, clinging to a bare boulder. Her eyes were wide with shock and anxiety, and with disbelief.
“Fine, just scratched up,” Eclipse replied, inspecting her injuries. “Why?”
Peril judegd her carefully. “Why… why aren’t burned?” she asked slowly.
It dawned on Eclipse that she should have been. The copper dragon was a firescales. But she looked closely, and the only black on her scales were the natural jet-blacks scales and the venomite gleaming with frost on her wings, no burns or scorch marks.
“Well, I think I might have an answer,” Eclipse mused, gears turning in her mind. She reached forward and pressed her talon on the heated scales of the security dragon.
“Hey, don’t do that!” Peril yelped, jumping away. “Why would you…” she trailed off as Eclipse raised her talon, unburnt and shimmering with steaming frost.
“What- why was-” she sputtered, looking skeptically at Eclipse. “Why are you so cold?” she settled on the confused question.
Eclipse snatched a flower from the ground, holding it up so Peril could see the frost from her talons march onto the flower and encase it in an icy prison. After a couple of minutes, the flower inside withered and turned black. “I have a condition called frostscales,” she said, “much like an IceWing version of firescales. My tribe did research on it after my birth, and apparently twins almost always hatch with firescales for SkyWings, and frostscales for IceWings. I confirmed with somebody recently that SeaWings have a similar condition,” she added, thinking back to Lapis and her bronze, pulsing glow.
Peril’s eyes filled with something like delight, then confusion. “How are you allowed at the academy like a normal dragonet?” she demanded.
“I have an animus-touched object, from long ago,” she said, telling a half truth.
“Oh.” Peril frowned. “Where’s my not-cursed-but-actually-helpful firescales remover?” She said it like she was directing that at a person not actively there.
Eclipse shrugged. The sun was hidden by the mountain, and she should have been in bed by now. “Talk later?” she offered.
“Sure!” Peril said happily. Eclipse felt a pang of sympathy for Peril. Only Clay could touch her, and even SkyWings avoided her.
Eclipse was about to take off, when she thought of something. “Hey, Peril?”
“Yeah?” she responded.
“If you could wish for one thing in the world, what would it be?”
Peril looked at Eclipse oddly, thinking for a moment. “To be able to touch my dragonet," she said finally. "Copper.”
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
Eclipse curled up in her hammock. She heard talons in the hallway and huffed a flurry of frost crystals. A pale head with a sail poked into the entrance, followed by a white-gold body with a lethal stinger tipping the tail. Fennec gave Eclipse a friendly wave before curling up in the sand, a soft heat radiating off her scales as a contrast to Eclipse’s cool radiation. Eclipse remembered her thoughts from earlier that day and nabbed her satchel from the floor, ruffling through the loose gemstones and jewelry.
“What are you doing?” Fennec inquired, her eyes following the bag.
“Give me your tail,” Eclipse said in response. Fennec looked confused but trot over, holding her tail near the satchel. Eclipse spotted a ruby, a small one, among the gems in the drawstring and scooped it up with a couple black gemstones. Eclipse dropped the bag to the floor and put the gemstones in her hammock, grabbing the SandWing tail.
“Ow!” Fennec winced. “Be careful, your claws are sharp!”
“Sorry,” Eclipse said, trying to focus. She grabbed the tiny ruby and slotted it into the ring on Fennec’s tail, ignoring her curious and astounded look. She carefully fitted the other three black gemstones into the three small gaps in the ring, then let go of the warm tail
Fennec held her tail up to her snout, gazing at it, entranced. She finally looked up to Eclipse, and in the sincerest voice, said, “Thank you.”
Eclipse shrugged. “No problem. It’s selfish for me not to share. Besides, the gold band by itself looked gaudy.”
Fennec didn’t respond. Instead, she kept staring at the band, as if it were a giant cluster of diamonds that had grown from her tail.
Eclipse was about to duck her head back into her little hanging fort when a royal black dragonet strutted into the cave. She bit back a groan as the dragon shot a semi-hostile look. The IceWing snorted at Galaxy in return and curled up in her fur hammock, her black scales glinting with the venomite inlaid in her wings.
Hours passed. Once she was sure the other two dragons were deep asleep, she whispered to herself.
“Bring me all of the animus-touched items in the academy. If you can’t, show me during lunchtime tomorrow, please.”
The silver snake wrapped around her neck blinked. It slithered to the ground, tongue flicking in and out. The shiny scales slipped out of the cave, and into the sleeping mountain.
~ * ~ * ~
The lake shone with a reflection of the moon poking into the cavern. Several random objects were at Eclipse’s feet as her snake eyed them curiously. An hourglass with white and black sand was one of the bigger items, along with a glowing white tree branch in a glass case. Smaller objects dotted the arrangement, like a star-shaped dreamvisitor, an ordinary twig, a smooth river stone, and a pair of battered wristbands. She also spotted a flat, smooth piece of obsidian, the Lazulite Dragon, a silver necklace, and several amber and gold earrings. Eclipse frowned. What in the world?
She poked through the objects, but only a few seemed worthy of enchantment. The Lazulite Dragon was a mystery to her and probably others, but the telescope-hourglass was definitely the Soul Reader. The earrings might have been a protection or curing spell, she thought, since there were so many of them. Maybe it was about the IceWing Plague?
She shook her head. Nothing seemed useful in this pile. “Return everything to its place,” Eclipse told the snake. It slid over to the pile, grabbing multiple objects, and slithered away, presumably to put them back. What was the point of doing that? She got none of the information she wanted and was left empty-clawed. Near-furiously, the black-specked dragon stomped in a weird, quiet way back to her sleeping cave, where sleep was a long time coming.
~ * ~ * ~
Eclipse grumbled as the skylight in the cave shined warm sunlight over her moon-white scales. What little sleep she had gotten was wracked with nightmares. Galaxy’s glittering smile over Frazil’s dead body. Her own cold scales freezing Jonquil to a pile of diamond dust. Peril burning her scales to a crisp. A large, dark NightWing looming over the palace. Winter and Lynx’s bodies mangled under a bloody but triumphant Frazil, eyes white and lifeless with animus magic.
Eclipse shook her head as Fennec yawned and stretched, waking up. Galaxy grumbled and shut her eyes. The rest of the mountain would wake up shortly, and it was no use to try and sleep now.
“Good morning!” Fennec said bubbly.
“Go back to bed,” Galaxy said, muffled by her blanket.
“Miss Grump is up early today,” Eclipse snorted.
“Do you ever sleep?”
“On occasion. Do you ever wake up?”
Fennec laughed. “I thought we were all supposed to be friends,” she said.
“I thought NightWings were humble after the NightWing Excavation,” Eclipse responded, looking at Galaxy.
“It’s Exodus,” she grumbled. “The NightWing Exodus.”
“Hey, Fennec, do you have any bronze?” Eclipse changed the subject.
“Why me?” Fennec said. “I’m just a regular SandWing. Ask Galaxy.”
“It clashes with my scales,” Galaxy said, bedmat muffling her voice.
“Then I’ll ma- find some,” she said, coming out of her hammock. She threw her jewelry and and walked out of the cave. Fool, she scolded herself. She almost gave her secret away by saying she’d make some bronze instead of finding it. Speaking of which…
She slipped from the sleeping caves to the Great Hall, and outside. She landed on a snow capped peak, feeling faint relief as her talons sunk into fluffy snow. She grabbed a talonful of pebbles.
“Turn into a bronze bracelet that can never burn.”
The pebbles wriggled and melted into a brown, metallic band, simple flame designs carved into it.
“Remove any special scales from the dragon wearing it. Make sure not to let the dragon forget to take you off, and never affect their mind in any way.”
The band gave an extra little shine and stayed still. Hide me, she commanded the snow. It swept over her and crawled over her scales, shimmering into nothingness. When Eclipse looked at her talons, she saw ground below them and nothing else. She slid down the mountain to the Great Hall, grabbing a scroll and quill. She scribbled a message in sloppy handwriting.
“You wanted to touch your dragonet, Peril. I found this.”
She looked at where the guard slept and ran down the hallway, invisible talons clicking against stone. She turned to the prey center. Surely nobody would be there right now, at this time?
Wrong. A NightWing, definitely one of lower status, was munching a half-charred, half-raw chunk of red meat. He had dark purple scales running down between pitch-black ones and a yellow bowtie wrapped around his neck.
Eclipse growled softly and he looked up, swiveling to look around. “Hello?” he called out in a deep voice. “Anybody there? Or was it my imagination?” He snorted a plume of flame. “Or maybe it’s Knat again.”
The NightWing blinked and went back to eating his weird meat in peace. With no more worry about being seen, Eclipse lashed her tail and jumped out the mountain onto a ledge right below the prey center.
“Snow, uncover me.”
The slush dripped off her and she saw her talons once again. She shivered as it slithered off her scales like bees crawling down her spine. She ignored, however, the cold pang inside of her, and jumped back up to the prey center.
You can stop ignoring me now , she thought to the NightWing.
He blinked and looked at Eclipse, then back at his breakfast. He frowned, then shook his head and continued eating, like he had had his fair share of weird, invisible dragons.
She grabbed a fish from the pile of splendor and bit into it. It seemed tasteless compared to the explosion of flavors of the cow leg yesterday. She shook her head, desperately trying to keep up her IceWing mentality. It’s not what I should be thinking about. She growled at herself quietly.
How much of a failure could she be?
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
Life went by slowly at school. Eclipse growled under her breath as the Scorching events were drilled through her head. She feigned stupidity at Tsunami when she taught Self-Defense, like she had never trained a moment in her life. She did everything in her power to send her back to the Ice Kingdom, as her emotions started to grow, finally given the chance to express themselves away from the cold, harsh tundra. All she could manage was a warning letter from Queen North Star and double scolding from Frazil and Winter, as she was a disgrace to the family for being so rude and careless, she should know better and was setting a bad impression, blah, blah, blah.
She was tired of the school, and of the feelings the last moon had brought her. The strange fluttering her heart gave when looking at the weird, purple dragonet irritated her. Even when she tried to understand the emotion, it felt like a baby seal, slipping out of her grasp every single time. She didn’t even know which tribe the dragon was! And then, the dash of fear when glancing at Galaxy, it set her on edge and made her not trust the NightWing. Even though the war was thousands of years ago, she felt like her grandmother had made it very clear that the NightWings were not yet forgiven. A hint of danger when seeing the pale grandson of Sunny the SandWing, whom she had only seen twice. Why in the three moons name was a skinny yellow dragon so weird and edgy? A sense of comfort around Jonquil, which at least made some sort of sense, but also an instinct of uneasiness. Grrr, why were feelings so complicated? And so completely utterly stupid.
A dragon knocked into the IceWing and she growled, perhaps excessively. Her train of thought was knocked off course, and she hated it when that happened. She hated it when she got lost in her thoughts, too. Regardless, she was not in the mood for any kind of rude dragon who didn’t bother to look where they were going. What if she didn’t have her bracelet on? Ooo, that might cheer her up. Freezing a dragon into a husk of ice and then crushing their body beneath her. But no, that wasn’t allowed at school. Besides, it wasn’t exactly gorey, but a little bit too deadly for her current mood.
“Sorry!” The dragonet squeaked. “Sorry, sorry. I’m so sorry.” Eclipse turned around and her heart skipped a beat. The purple dragonet, the dragonet, with the long snout, narrow frame and elegant- no, strangely long tail, with the weird spikes. Her scales seemed to ripple with her apology, or perhaps they were literally rippling- yes, Eclipse could see a flash of green and light blue speckle her tail, and a dash of light pink and brown sweep through her talons, and violet line her eyes. They were obvious compared to the duller indigo and light blue of her scales.
She's like a RainWing, Eclipse caught herself thinking. Light blue, light pink, um, sad and embarrassed. Green and violet, worried and guilty. Brown, stressed? But she doesn’t look like a regular RainWing. She’s taller and lacks a frill. Plus, her horns are all twisted.
“It won’t happen again!” The dragonet squeaked. Eclipse realized she had been silently glaring at the dragonet. She whisked away, white flashing in her scales.
Pain, her brain whispered in betrayal.
Eclipse shook the thought from her head. Maybe the strange dragonet was copying her scales. In any case, it wasn’t her business. She carried on walking, head held high in fake disdain and regality. If she was going to be a disgrace, let it be in her mind.
What. Was. That? Eclipse whipped around, but she was alone in the corridor of stone. Her pale scales scraped against the stone, the only noise bar the echoes of dragonets from far away.
A natural animus. Interesting. What have you done with your powers, little one?
A mind reader, Eclipse thought with a streak of fear. A thrice-moonborn. But I’m- she panicked, seeing that her neck was absent of the silver snake on it. Where did it- Frazil. she growled. “Frazil! Show yourself!”
Oh, little one. I am not your sister, nor an IceWing. Merely a trapped soul. Cursed Darkstalker… The voice trailed off in a tired fury.
“Who are you?” Eclipse demanded, her spine rising. They had mentioned the Darkstalker, the terrifying NightWing of legend. He still sent shivers down the spines of young IceWings, even though he was supposedly killed by the Jade Dragonets, Moonwatcher, Professor Qibli, her cousin Winter, Kinkajou, and the head of security, Peril, who wasn’t really a dragonet exactly.
Merely a trapped soul. The voice stopped. Oh, dear. Are you okay, young one?
“What do you-” Eclipse stopped as a splitting headache broke through her skull. She gasped at the sudden pain and grabbed her head, feeling it start pounding heavily. Her claws scratched the stone underneath as the rattling pain shook her body, then left like dust blown by the wind. “What… the…” Eclipse gasped in shock.
Apologies, dragon of ice. My abilities come with a price. I shall rest now.
“Wait!” Eclipse cried out. “Who are you? What do you mean?” She looked around, but not a soul was found in the tunnel.
Eclipse stiffened. The warning bell, only a minute before the real bell signaling class start. She had a brief moment of indecision, wondering whether to skip class and find her enchanted snake, before turning to sprint to the lesson about SkyWing culture with Clay and Peril, trying to ignore the sinking feeling deep within her scales.
“-the SkyWings have generally had a peaceful and friendly demeanor whenever war wasn’t raging the tribe throughout history,” Clay was saying. “They have also been known to be some of the best jewel collectors, since their land is so vast.”
Eclipse slipped into class quietly, beside Lapis and Aspen.
“Although known for being friendly, SkyWings were always very afraid of powerful dragons,” Peril said. “Any animus or firescales were killed upon birth the discovery of their abilities, which was sometimes a challenge depending on their age. I’m the one grateful exception.” She raised a talon, looking slightly proud as the dragonets marveled as the small smoke coils and warmth radiating from her claws, scales and body. The green SeaWing in the Silver Winglet reached out to touch Peril, apparently fascinated by the security’s unique ability, but the orange dragon pulled back quickly and sharply, as if this had already happened one too many times before. Well, she is, like, sixty, Eclipse thought. She probably killed a few dragonets by accident.
“Don’t touch Peril,” Clay warned, maybe too late. “Her scales are so hot, they’ll burn you if she touches you.” The SeaWing looked disgruntled, but drew her talon back. “We have an animus-touched object in case you do get burned,” Clay continued seriously, “but we’d rather not need to use it.”
A dark green LeafWing raised his talon. “What is it? Can we see it?” Eclipse was glad he asked the question, not her. Would it seem too suspicious if she asked about animus objects too much?
Peril interrupted her thoughts. “Animus dragons and objects are for another lesson. Let’s get back to SkyWing culture.”
I was so close, Eclipse thought mournfully.
“On the subject of injury,” Clay said, “why don’t we talk about the death rituals? The SkyWings have a ceremony…”
~ * ~ * ~
Eclipse lashed her tail as she turned her sack upside down. Jewels, diamonds and gold, precious jewelry and plenty of scrolls, but no snake. She growled.
“You stupid thing, where are you?” she muttered as she sifted through the items again. Despite her pitiful efforts, the snake was not there.
“I command you to come back here, you stupid piece of scales and meat!” she said demanded. Not surprisingly, nothing happened. She groaned dramatically and said, “Go back in the bag,” to the items. They all shot back inside of the bag, and she threw it into her hammock. She stomped out into the hall, breathing a puff of frostbreath, and heard her stomach growl loudly. She had missed lunch to find her snake without reward. She picked up a pebble and said, “turn into a dead fish,” and promptly ate the result.
She was about to go searching the mountain before she remembered that animus powers could do just about anything. She dashed back to her cave and took out a scroll from her bag. “Show me where my snake is,” she breathed. Ink started appearing all over the scroll, making a map of Jade Mountain. A tiny red dot appeared, moving towards her. Right behind her.
“Did you lose something?”
Chapter 7: Chapter 6
The voice of Frazil met her ears.
“You stole it!” Eclipse accused with a snarl, turning around.
Frazil snorted. “More like it stole me, from a nap.” The snake slithered from Frazil’s back to her neck, hissing contently. Eclipse took a step forward, snatching her pet from her sister’s cool scales. It wrapped around her neck and stilled.
“You’re a filthy little sneak, Frazil,” Eclipse snarled, staring angrily at her sister. She most definitely did not believe the reptile went towards Frazil instead of Eclipse. It simply didn’t make sense.
“I’ll be right back,” Eclipse said, pushing her way past Frazil. Frazil made an indignant noise, but her twin was already long gone.
Eclipse ran down one of the many tunnels to the underground lakes, hearing voices bubbling with laughter. She stopped, looking inside one. It was empty right now. She went in, and spotted a group of pebbles of milky whites, common quartz stones. She grabbed one and said, “Enchant this pebble to turn into an hourglass with golden and silver sand on either side.” The pebble obeyed her command and morphed into a black hourglass, one side full of golden dust, the other with a few grains of silver sand, hanging from a small chain with a loop surrounding the object, with on axle to swing from any which way. “Enchant this hourglass to show the amount of good and evil in a dragon’s soul, the gold representing evil and the silver, good. Enchant it to work when a dragon tells you somebody’s name.”
She looked at the device thoughtfully. She then pointed to the rest of the pile. “You all, I enchant you to turn into a library pouch that I can put anything into without it becoming heavier.” The pile shimmied and morphed into a black fabric bag. She swung it around her neck, stuffing the new soul reader into it. But before letting go, she hesitated. Could she read her own soul, instead of Frazil’s?
She slowly pulled it back out, holding it by the chain. “Eclipse the IceWing,” she breathed. She watched it spin, spin, spin, until it stopped. A pile of silver sand lay at the bottom… but so much golden sand sat at the top. What? Did she not enchant it right?
Eclipse shoved it in her bag. She knew the truth. She knew that animus abuse drove dragons insane. How many spells had she done, thirty? The snake, the wing bracelet, the earring, the bronze bracelet, the snow, the map, the new soul reader…
Could she enchant something else to stop herself?
She looked at her jewelry, deciding which to enchant, when her wings caught her eyes. The tanzanites and venomites sparkled brightly. She was about to choose, then hesitated. What if somebody got hurt, or something, and she couldn’t help them? Because of this choice? She looked at her snake, rapidly saying, “Snake, I enchant you to heal whoever I tell you to as much I want you to.” Content with the spell, she chose one of the gems in her wings at random, decided it was perfect. She spoke, “Enchant this jewel to make any dragon who touches it forget that they have animus magic, and nobody else remembers said dragon's magic.”
As soon as she finished speaking, she turned around, shaking herself to forget which gem she had chosen. She stilled, blinking. What... what was going on? She felt like another normal dragon now, barely feeling the air of royalty that she thought she should have. She squirmed in her scales. She couldn’t disappear, yet she didn’t feel outstanding. And... and maybe now, with whatever it was gone, she could make some friends. Real friends.
She trudged away from the pool, flinching slightly every time a dragonet so much as glanced at her. Despite wanting friends, she didn’t know how she could make them. No harm in trying, right?
Chapter 8: Chapter 7
Eclipse was resting peacefully in her fluffy hammock while the SandWing and NightWing outside chatted.
“So you can see into the future?” Fennec asked curiously.
“Yep,” Galaxy said proudly. “I mostly ever get glimpses, and I have to concentrate to see well. I’m much better at mind reading, to be honest.” A moment of silence, and Galaxy laughed. “No, I don’t actively try to read minds. Most mind-readers are given skyfire when they get to school, but we aren’t required to wear them. Mine is in my library bag right now.”
“Have you ever had a prophecy?” Fennec inquired curiously. “Like, in riddles and words and everything?”
“Two,” Galaxy said. “Neither of them have come true, or even make sense. I tried putting them together, but I feel as though I’m missing something.”
“Ooo, can I hear them?” Fennec pleaded.
Eclipse perked up. Magical destinies? She listened carefully. “I don’t see why not, Galaxy concluded. “Here goes:
“Talons of power and kingdom down low,
Search through the tunnels for scales that glow.
The broken wood structures of passing time,
Keep an eye out for lurking in mines.
High in the clouds a kingdom took form,
Determination leads to the eye of the storm.
Fly far away from the land you knew,
Take a close look at the regal statue.”
She finished the first prophecy nervously. Fennec was silent, but then said, “That sounds like a prophecy. Fly far away from the land you knew, do you think that could be Pantala?”
“I thought maybe,” Galaxy said, “until I got the second prophecy.
“For scales of ice look at the night sky,
They shall be born under the orb up high.
For talons of flame meet greater heights,
Something is different about their eyes.
For a stinging aid hunt no more,
The wing of dragons gather for tour.
For glowing stripes tread royal turf,
Dig down below to fight the surf.
For night the imperial hides in shadows,
The giveaway are their scales of snow.”
Eclipse started. They shall be born under the orb up high sounded a lot like her. She stuck her head out of the swath of coolness. “You sure this isn’t just about me? I hatched under the Orb in the Sky,” she joked, almost casually.
“I mean,” Galaxy said slowly, not surprised at Eclipse's wakefulness. “You are an IceWing, and you did hatch under the Orb in the Sky. So that makes sense.”
“A stinging aid… gather for tour. That sounds like a HiveWing.” Fennec frowned. “You’re right, it can’t be Pantala.”
“An imperial with scales of snow is you, Galaxy,” Eclipse pointed out. “You’re the only royal NightWing with moonborn powers.”
Galaxy blinked. “I’m officially stupid,” she declared. “How did I never think of that?”
Glowing stripes in royal turf is either Lapis or Mediterranean, or one of their siblings outside of school.”
“That works out right,” Fennec said thoughtfully.
“The stinging aid is a HiveWing student,” Eclipse continued. “Talons of flame could be a firescales SkyWing, though I doubt there are any except Peril. It could also be a SandWing.”
“Wait, what?” Fennec looked startled, perhaps uncomfortable for some reason.
“Yeah, haven’t you heard of pyrokinetics?” Eclipse’s voice lowered dramatically. “There’s a legend about SandWings that could summon and control flames at hot as the sun. They were said to have killed by all the animi, but nobody knows for sure…”
“Yeah, right.” Galaxy snorted. “That’s stupid.”
But Eclipse turned to look at Fennec. Something is different about their eyes. Was she imagining it, or did those dark brown eyes have pupils like a lynx, slit and narrow? Or was the light playing tricks on her own eyes?
“Let’s play truth or dare!” Fennec said, forcing Eclipse to focus. “Galaxy, truth or dare?”
“Truth,” she said.
Is it true,” Fennec said, “that you are the one who keeps stealing my breakfast squirrels?”
“Not me,” Galaxy said, surprised.
“Guilty,” Eclipse said, raising her talon.
“Eclipse, truth or dare?”
“I dare you to touch Peril in the morning!”
Fennec blinked. “Galaxy, you can’t get her hurt!”
Galaxy shrugged. “She’s frostscales, obviously she can. I just want to see everybody else’s reactions.”
“Alright, I’ll do it,” Eclipse said. “Galaxy, truth or dare?”
“I dare you to flirt at… Jonquil,” she decided.
“Done,” Galaxy said with a smirk. “Fennec, truth or dare?”
“Truth,” Fennec said.
“Do you know if pyrokinetics are real?”
“I do,” the SandWing said.
“One question!” Fennec said. “Eclipse, truth or dare?”
“Truth,” Eclipse decided.
“Are you an animus?”
“What?” Eclipse frowned. Did she hear wrong? Surely Fennec didn’t know?
“Let me rephrase that,” Fennec said. “Why do you want to learn so much about animi?”
“Well, yeah,” Fennec said.
“Pretty sure I didn’t,” she said. “Galaxy, truth or dare?” she questioned.
“Truth,” the NightWing responded.
“Do you plan to split the NightWings and RainWings into two kingdoms again?”
“W-what?” Galaxy sputtered sheepishly. “I have no idea what you’re-”
“You gotta answer, Galaxy,” Fennec said, intrigued.
“U-um,” she said. “Maybe. But only because I want the NightWings and RainWings to be strong again!” She stood up. “There are so many hybrids the two tribes are thinking of merging themselves and calling themselves something like MistWings or MonsoonWings. They considered FallWings and VolleyWings as well. Take a few generations and an agreement on the name, and suddenly they’ll just be the rainforest dragons.” She bowed her head. “If only we could find a place to live, like the old Kingdom of Night. If animi weren’t totally annihilated…”
“Wait a minute,” Eclipse interrupted. “Fennec, if animi are gone, why do you think I’m one?”
“Because,” she stated, “that only affected the current animi, not their bloodlines. Although, you are an IceWing, so you wouldn’t be one, would you? Maybe Lapis or one of her siblings, since Anemone was an animus.”
“How about Sunny’s grandson?” Galaxy offered. “Fever. Since Stonemover was an animus, he could be.”
“Maybe,” Eclipse said. “Speaking of animi, are there any other things we should know about, Fennec?” She glared at the SandWing. “Miss Pyrokinetic?”
“W-what?” Fennec sputtered, her eyes wide in shock. “I-I don’t- there’s not-”
“Don’t lie,” Eclipse warned. “I’m not as daft as you may have been hoping. ‘Something is different about their eyes.’ That ring a bell?”
Galaxy frowned as Fennec gaped, speechless. “You’re saying she can control fire?” Galaxy asked, confused.
“No, I’m saying she can sprout tentacles from her talons,” Eclipse said, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Of course that’s what I’m saying!”
“And it’s preposterous!” Fennec butted in, her shock being replaced by indignation by now.
“You even said it yourself, though. There are so many ‘special’ dragonets in our winglet. Wouldn’t it make sense for there to be another?” Eclipse pointed out.
"So what if it does? Not all of us can be magical death touch princesses,” Fennec shot back.
"Some of us are just clairvoyant, mind reading princesses,” Galaxy joked, and Fennec looked at her warmly.
“And some of us have secrets,” Eclipse accused. “Why don’t we-”
She was interrupted, yet again, by the gongs warning of class. Fennec’s face relaxed in relief, and even Galaxy looked glad to be interrupted, despite her curious face through the accusation. Fennec sat up, bounding out of the cave, flicking tawny sand all over Eclipse. Eclipse scraped a talon over her snout angrily while Galaxy nervously left to go join Fennec.
Eclipse flicked her ear in annoyance. Now that they had gone, it occurred to her that she wasn’t being very friendly about it. In fact, she was almost acting like Fennec was a dangerous weapon. Not very friendly as at.
She shook herself, icicle-like spines rattling at sand flew from her scales. She noticed that she still had her jewelry on and decided it would be better to go a day or two without it. She discarded the band around her bicep and her snake-fashioned necklace into her hammock, before uneasily making her way to the classroom.
Arriving, she sat next to Jonquil, ignoring the wary glances Galaxy and Fennec gave her. She kept ignoring it when Galaxy’s eyes widened and she whispered in Fennec’s ear.
“Hey there, good looking,” Jonquil smirked, turning to Eclipse. She snorted and thwacked the yellow dragon with her tail, and he winced. “That hurts!”
“You deserved it,” Eclipse huffed, but she couldn’t help smiling. He winked at her playfully, to which she rolled her eyes. She was about to say something else as the second gong went off, and Qibli walked into the room. Despite being old, he was relatively small, his freckled scales winking in the torchlight.
“Hello there!” He greeted them. “I’m Qibli, your Society teacher.”
~ * ~ * ~
Eclipse curled up on the ledge, overlooking the river passing between mountains. Right after class had ended, Galaxy and Fennec had hurried out of the classroom, and Eclipse hadn’t wanted to run into them while they were still probably trying to avoid her.
She sighed, flicking a pebble off the ledge to tumble down the mountain. Why do I have to be punished for being right? she thought angrily. They accused me of worse, and they aren’t getting avoided by me like I have venom for scales and shoot fire every time I open my mouth. Unlike some dragons. She swept another pebble off. It just wasn’t fair.
Whatever. I’ll just make different friends.
She peered over the ledge, wondering if any of the dragons she could see might be worth talking to. She could see a silver dragonet under a tree, with a dragonet that was a creamy yellow splashed with a foresty green. An IceWing and RainWing? Doubtful.
She let her gaze go over the other dragonets. Peril was sitting with a bronze-colored dragon and a pale orange one. A cluster of green, blue and yellow stood at the beach, presumably some SeaWings and SandWings. Eclipse stopped when she saw a purple and yellow dragonet by themself. A lone RainWing? It was worth a shot.
She spread her wings, swooping down to the dragonet. As she got closer, she saw him sniffing the ground, frowning. She herself began to frown. This wasn’t a RainWing. He was a royal violet, with lemony accents, and had twisted horns. His snout was strangely hooked, and a tuft of fur, or maybe feathers, poked off his chin. Instead of a spine, a swatch of fur ran down his back. What was most surprising, though, was the feathers that tipped his wings, dark violet edged with golden yellow. For some reason, he looked vaguely familiar. He looked up, resting his elegant gaze on Eclipse. His eyes were a honey amber, and Eclipse found herself locked into his stare, unable to look away.
“Hello,” he said, his voice accented. “I’m looking for a prophet. I was sent from a long ways away. Could you help me?” He tilted his head slightly.
Prophet. He’s looking for a NightWing. Eclipse blinked, and the eternity those moments had contained ended. “I suppose,” she concluded. “If I can trust you, that is.”
“What do you mean? I’m not a lowly MineWing. You can trust me, Miss...?” He tilted his head again as he asked the question.
MineWing? What in the Ice Dragon’s name is that? “Eclipse,” she said regally. “Princess Eclipse of the IceWings. Follow me.”
Thankfully, not many heads turned to the violet dragon, but Eclipse didn’t seem to notice as she soared into the mountain, heading toward the living quarters.
As she expected, she could hear voices as she approached her sleeping cave, but more than just Fennec and Galaxy. When she peered in, the sunset-colored dragon Jonquil had introduced her to- Quaker, the SilkWing in her winglet- was in the cave, as well as Galaxy’s brother, Bluejay. Quaker spotted her and said, “Hi, Eclipse!” He gave her a huge smile, looking very goofy, and wondered if the SilkWing had the first notion of elegance.
“Hey, Quaker,” she said, waving back nervously as the other three dragonets turned to her. Fennec looked uncomfortable, but Bluejay looked calm, and Galaxy was... confident? Weird. “Galaxy,” she said, breaking the silence. “I think I have somebody here to see you.” She looked back, motioning for the dragonet to come forward. He walked into view of the cave, and the dragonets’ eyes widen in surprise.
“Hello,” he greeted. “I am-”
Before he could introduce himself, Galaxy cried out. “Galaxy?!” Eclipse shoved past the strange dragon. “Are you out?”
She clutched her head, and when she looked up, the look in her eyes was bland and staring at something beyond Eclipse that she could not see. She began to speak in a raspy, deep voice.
“Hatred and war brew,
Uprising to bring the new,
Floods taking one here,
Arrival timed by the seer.
To find what’s buried, follow the stars,
Look for the dragon by the name of Scars.”
The group stared at Galaxy, shocked. She coughed, then said, “That’s my third one.” She looked up at the strange dragonet. “Either we need your help, or you need ours. What can I do for you?”
The violet dragonet blinked. “You just- that-” he cleared his throat before continuing. “You’re the dragon I’m looking for. The prophet. You just said part of the prophecy I was given. A prophecy about me.” He dipped his head into a bow to the other shocked dragonets. “Greetings, prophet and her friends. I am Scars, champion of the RegalWings.”
And I have returned! I'm so sorry for the long wait, but I ended up rewriting the previous chapters a tad too, so I hope you'll forgive me. You all are amazing people!
Oh, I do minecraft roleplays, go check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eyjYhFcyYI
Chapter 10: Chapter 9
“RegalWing? What’s that?” Bluejay disrupted the stunned silence, a wave of orange and purple rippling through his dull blue scales.
Scars blinked. “Me, of course.”
“You’re part of a prophecy?” Quaker asked excitedly.
“I’m not the only one. There are others,” Scars started.
“Who?” Fennec interrupted.
“Well, I could give you the whole prophecy-”
“I know it,” Galaxy said, excitement shining in her eyes. “This is the full thing! I’ve figured it out!”
“Talons of power and kingdom down low,
Search through the tunnels for scales that glow.
The broken wood structures of passing time,
Keep an eye out for lurking in mines.
High in the clouds a kingdom took form,
Determination leads to the eye of the storm.
Fly far away from the land you knew,
Take a close look at the regal statue.
“For scales of ice look at the night sky,
They shall be born under the orb up high.
For talons of flame meet greater heights,
Something is different about their eyes.
For a stinging aid hunt no more,
The wing of dragons gather for tour.
For glowing stripes tread royal turf,
Dig down below to fight the surf.
For night the imperial hides in shadows,
The giveaway are their scales of snow.
“Hatred and war brew,
Uprising to bring the new,
Floods taking one here,
Arrival timed by the seer.
To find what’s buried, follow the stars,
Look for the dragon by the name of Scars.”
“Yes- that’s the whole thing,” Scars said, looking a bit irritated, maybe because he couldn’t say it himself.
“But we still don’t know what it means,” Eclipse said, shuffling away from Galaxy now that she was done spouting rhymes.
“It means you must help me and my tribe,” said Scars. “I come from a land far, far away- a place called Pteropo. The prophecy said that I must come here, and it nearly killed me. A tsunami washed me on shore, and a few brown dragons- MudWings, they’re called? They gave me food and shelter, and told me I could find many dragons at this- this Jade Mountain they spoke of.” His voice slowly became more desperate as he went on. “They said I might find my prophet there. And I did.”
“But who’s to go?” Fennec asked.
“And why should we help you?” Eclipse demanded.
“The prophecy tells us who must go,” Scars responded, ignoring Eclipse’s question. “It is obvious.”
“Not really. We went over this.” Eclipse glared at Scars, annoyed at his impatience. “’Born under the orb up high,’ for instance, could be either me or my sister. And ‘a stinging aid’ could be any of the HiveWings at school.” She shook her head. “How do we know who’s who?”
“We choose and leave,” Scars decided. “We must leave for Pteropo soon. Terrible things could happen if we don’t hurry back.”
“Why? Did something go wrong?” Quaker asked.
“Yes!” Scars looked exasperated. “Something very bad will happen!”
“I know who it is,” Galaxy said. “I could see them when I got the last piece- it was me, and Eclipse-” the IceWing smirked “-and Jonquil, and Lapis, and Fennec. But there are others who will come.” Her gaze went blank again. “More are required, but they are ours to decide.”
Eclipse smiled a tad. “We all get plus ones?”
“Plus... one?” Scars frowned. He tilted his head again.
“We all get to choose a person to go with us,” Fennec explained.
“I don’t know anyone but you guys, though,” Scars pointed out.
“I’ll show you around,” Eclipse offered. She got up, leading Scars out of the cave. As they walked out, heading towards the prey center, it occurred to Eclipse that she probably should have taken Scars to the teachers the moment she saw him at the base of the mountain. Shaking her head, she bounded to Tsunami’s office. She peeked into the cave to see Tsunami staring at a few scrolls, huffing boredly.
“Miss Tsunami?” Eclipse said, walking in. The blue glass over the windows stained her scales a frosty blue.
“Just Tsunami-” she looked up at the IceWing, “-Eclipse? What can I help you with?”
Eclipse stopped herself from frowning as she saw the royal blue dragon’s look of concern. She knew she wasn’t in trouble or anything, but the staff always looked at her like she was a ticking time bomb.
“Just- uhm, a dragonet I’d like you to meet. This is Scars.”
“That doesn’t sound like...” Tsunami trailed off as the royal purple dragonet came into view. “Who are you? Please don’t tell me we have another lost continent to go to. Led by a group of dragonets destined to save the world. Again.”
“Well...” Eclipse trailed off.
“Are you kidding?!” Tsunami groaned. “Stupid NightWings. I wish we had left them on that island. You’re not leaving school, are you? I can’t allow that.”
“There must be some rule saying that a prophecy is more important than arts and crafts,” Eclipse said, wondering if she should have brought Scars to Tsunami. “Besides, Scars says his tribe is in trouble, and we have to go. You must understand.”
“Prophecies,” Tsunami grumbled. “I don’t care. You can let the responsible adult dragons take care of it. Scars, was it?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Scars nodded. “But you must understand, these dragonets- and Eclipse here, too- are my destiny. We must go.”
“No. We are not having another prophecy taking away a whole winglet of the school.” Tsunami stood, glowering. “Is that clear? Scars, if you want, you can attend the school. Otherwise, I must ask Eclipse to escort you out of the academy.”
“Yes, Tsunami,” Eclipse jumped in as Scars opened his mouth to object. “I’ll take him to the base of the mountain.” He looked at her, hurt, but Eclipse ignored him, leading him out of the office.
“You have to help me-” he started, but Eclipse shushed him.
“We’ll leave tonight, but don’t tell anybody. Go to where I found you, back at the bottom of Jade Mountain, and I’ll tell the others.”
“What about my plus one?” He asked as Eclipse pushed him to the entrance tunnels.
“I’ll find you one,” she hissed. “Go!”
Chapter 11: Chapter 10
“Of course I’m coming!” Frazil exclaimed, and Eclipse shushed her quickly, glancing over at Clay. “Of course I’m coming. You couldn’t stop me,” she said quietly.
“No, you couldn’t,” Eclipse said instinctively, even though that statement wasn’t true. Frazil frowned in acceptance, as if they argued about this often. Which didn’t make sense, especially considering Frazil was an animus. “But there’s a reason I chose you, silly. Pack your things, because we’re leaving tonight.”
“So soon? Not a word to Mother or the teachers?” She inquired.
“You can if you want,” Eclipse snorted. “Just be there.”
She turned to leave, and saw the air shimmer. She scowled a bit, but hen nothing happened, she flicked her tail, making her way to the caves.
Upon arriving, Fennec jumped up. “Who are you bringing with us?”
“Do we really have to leave tonight?” Galaxy grumbled.
“My sister and yes,” Eclipse answered, poking her head into her hammock. She shoved her possessions into her library bag, thankful for the enchanted object. “Did you guys choose people yet?”
“Well... I chose Fever,” Fennec said tentatively. “He’s a SandWing.”
“Why is that a bad thing?”
“It’s not because of who we chose, but we were wondering how you’d react to some of the other dragons.” Galaxy swished her tail against the ground. “I chose the SkyWing in our winglet, Shikra, who agreed.”
“Aaaaand why’s that so bad?” Eclipse braced herself.
“Well, you know how Bluejay and Quaker heard the prophecy?” Fennec asked, and Eclipse nodded. “Quaker insisted that he and Bluejay get plus ones, since they would tell Tsunami if we left without them, and Bluejay agreed. We don’t uh, know who they’re bringing yet.”
“Only time will tell,” Eclipse said breezily, then stopped. “Speaking of time, it’s just about dusk. We should be meeting up.”
~ * ~ * ~
Frazil brushed Eclipse’s wing. Anxious, the dragonet had put her enchanted bracelet back on, so that she didn’t harm anyone. One moon glowed brightly up above the dragonets, two still at the horizon. Eclipse scanned the dragonets around her.
Fennec’s friend, Fever, was the SandWing that kept giving Eclipse that uneasy feeling. He had lemony scales with brown diamonds on his legs, and he was considerably larger that Fennec. His tail was curled up next to him calmly as he surveyed the group.
Next to the SandWings, Galaxy and Shikra stood, Shikra, fighting to stay awake. Jonquil sat nervously with a MudWing, and Lapis shuffled next to a SeaWing. As promised, Quaker and Bluejay were there, along with Aspen and- Seriously? Of all the dragonets? THAT ONE?
The purple dragonet, slender and tall, stood in the circle of dragonets.
As Eclipse fought the tumble of thoughts in her head, Scars stood forward. “Greetings, brave companions. I am Scars, champion of the RegalWings for the Prophecy of Salvation. Let us all introduce ourselves before our journey.”
“Frazil,” the silvery dragonet announced, then pointed to her sister. “And Eclipse.”
“I’m Galaxy,” Galaxy introduced. “This is Shikra. For the sake of time, the female SandWing is Fennec, the male Fever...”
Leaving so soon?
Ah, my apologies. I remember how exciting adventures were.
Who are you? Eclipse demanded.
That is... less than important. I do, however, have a favor to ask of you, now that you have taken care of your problem.
What problem? Eclipse lashed her tail. What do you want?
A simple request, is all. Would you mind if I shared your consciousness while you travel?
You’re going to possess me?!
No, no! Of course not. I just request that you let me be... say, a voice in your head, so I may share this adventure with you. No possession.
What’s the catch, huh?
Nothing. I offer nothing in return, my dear IceWing, I just wish for... a bird’s eye view, is it called?
Okay. Uhm, I guess? If you don’t possess me. Eclipse paused. What’s your name, anyway?
Oh, my name. I suppose you deserve that, with such a rushed decision. Well, then. Hello, there, Eclipse. I am Haruspex.
Suddenly, the voice faded, and time started again. Eclipse frowned. Time had stopped?
“...the HiveWing is Jonquil, the MudWing is Honeysuckle, the blue SeaWing is Lapis, the sea green one is Mediterranean, the SilkWing is Quaker, the LeafWing is Aspen, the cornflower RainWing is Bluejay, and the purple dragonet is Echo.”
Her name is Echo.
Scars turned towards her for the first time, but Eclipse could see the flash of surprise on his face before it was replaced by his calm determination. “We are the Dragons of Salvation,” he declared. “Let us fly.”