Open Chronicles A Dragon's Plight [Ixchel Wilds]

Stella

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The sun had set over the great expanse of greenery that made the endless forests of the Ixchel Wilds. A heady summer evening settled in over the lands, leaving them humid and hot. In the wake of the waning sunlight the nighttime creatures awoke, leaving the shelter of their shaded homes to prowl, to hunt, to feast, and to wander. Their life shivered across the air, nightsong filling the spaces between trees and roots and branches, echoing upwards through the canopy.

Stella glided in over a waning updraft of warm air, vision growing hazy from blood loss. She was in pain, she was racked by fear, and she was lost. Soon none of those things would matter, however, if she didn't find somewhere to rest and drink.

A gleam of silver to the south marked a massive lake reflecting the light of a newly risen moon. She followed it, cautious in her approach, and gently drew level with the canopy of trees surrounding the waters. A short circle about and she clumsily touched down upon black-sanded shores. Despite the agony of a broken and shredded back leg, the dragon maintained a tenuous silence.

These lands were unfamiliar and she hadn't any thought as to what sort of predators lurked here; be they man or beast. With luck she would be undisturbed, and so with a short survey and moment to listen, Stella approached the lake and curled her long neck down for a drink.


 
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Míriel Fëanorna

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The journey home always stirred a mixture of trepidation and anticipation in Miriel's heart.

She missed the jungles. Alliria was its own beast and she loved it to a certain degree but the Ixchel Wilds were where her heart truly lay. Nobody West of its boarders understood the beauty here. With Órënya not much further the elf had slowed the pace of her horse so that she could once again get reacquainted with the lands surrounding her home for no matter how short a time she left between visits it was always different. Her fingers brushed over a bud in the early stages of bloom as her and Thorlion walked underneath the natural canopy, a ghost of a smile possessing her lips. Her friends back in Alliria would probably find the way these lands worked chaotic. From how the flowers ensnared the barks of trees in their embrace to the haphazard way vines were cast about the floor, it was a far cry from the orderly way Westerners kept their gardens and so called areas of beauty. Nature was an artist best left to her own devices.

Miri was no stranger to the heats here and had travelled for most of the day. As such her skin was slick with sweat which made her skin grow cooler now night began to fall. She could have pressed on to Órënya and used the cooler cover of night to set a faster pace but the peace of the night called to her more than her Mothers harsh tongue and lectures about returning home for good. Despite her love of this part of the world, the young elf had not yet got her fill for the world beyond.

"Why don't we make camp by the lake?" Rest was not on her mind as she made the suggestion, they had both made longer journeys than this in one go. Thorlion gave a snort and as she touched his muscled neck it came away wet too. No, they could both do with a bath. She let him have his head for he knew the way as well as she.

As they approached she slid from his back without much of a glance spared for her surroundings and removed both saddle and bridal then left the stallion to his own desires of rolling in the grass amongst the treeline. Miri herself made her own way to the lake edge. With cupped hands she splashed water against her face then brought another handful to her mouth to sip. However, it was in the reflection of those ripples she caught sight of the creature opposite her and froze.

Slowly she raised her gaze to Stella.
 

Fynaurie

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Aifrin

A shrill cry echoed through the trees. It came from above. Fynaurie hadn't spotted the dragon, neither had Vaxor. Not yet.

A dragon had been spotted in the distance. The Rohk of their colony were ancient enemies of the dragons, but recently they had found some common ground with other riders.

The dragoons had been despatched to look for it. They needed to know if this one was a threat. If it was then they would hunt it down mercilessly in a group.

"I know, it's getting dark. Just be quiet a little longer and we'll circle back," she called out to Vaxor. She had long removed her sky elf goggles. Now it was beyond the point where her eyes could pick out detail in the terrain from this height.
 

Aifrin

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Fynaurie

The other pair had not seen the dragon either, wheeling this way and that trying to get the best vantage for spotting as they pair listened to the cry from the other Rohk.

The dark was beginning to be more of a worry since Aifrin and Birin moved about so much. The goggles had come off earlier, sitting around her neck as she squinted and stood in her saddle slightly to get just a few more inches of vision over the bird.

"Keep up with them Birin, we don't want to leave them out to dry in case of surprise." Aifrin smiled while looking around.
 

Stella

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The elf may not have noticed the dragon but the dragon had certainly noticed the elf. Stella froze, gleaming eyes honing in on the pair as they departed the cover of forest for the shore of the lake not but a few dozen meters away. Her immediate reaction was to pale into nothingness, but the bloodloss from her wound prevented anything more than the pearlescent hue of her scales to fade to a dreary gray.

As the pair made eye contact she felt the coiling sting of fear return, moved from her frozen state by the distant sound of a shrill screech.

Panic took her, wings stretching to beat in a hurried attempt to escape. Stella turned into a rolling, limping lope down the shoreline, the broken vestige of her leg still tethered by flesh and tendon and sinew dragging along, spilling iridescent blood across dark sand.

Wings beat once, twice, a third time lifting her from the ground and into the air in an unsteady swoop. She circled above the lake, attempting to gain altitude to clear the trees, but struggled and eventually crumpled into a withered landing back upon the shore with a tired and pained warble. This was it, she was done for.

Míriel Fëanorna Fynaurie Aifrin
 

Míriel Fëanorna

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"No wa-" Miriel drew herself to her feet in a fluid movement with her hands raised to show she held no weapons, quenching her own thirst was forgotten. She hadn't wanted to disturb anyone else seeking refuge by the lakeside especially not one so rare and apparently hurt as the young dragon. With a wince that grew into a grimace she watched as it took flight and for a moment thought that would be the end of the unusual encounter. A story of moonlight fancy to tell her Sisters when she returned home. But the young creature must have been more injured than Miriel had initially thought. As it writhed on the floor she debated her options.

The risks to her own health were paramount in her mind but the elf had a weakness when it came to animals and creatures needing her help. In frustration she ran a hand through her hair and then threw caution to the wind entirely. Having a limb torn off would just add flavour to her tale. She grabbed her saddle bag which contained her first aid supplies, threw it over her shoulder and set off at a slow but determined pace towards the young dragon.

"I don't mean any harm," she kept her voice in the soft tones she reserved for panicked horses in the hopes that if the beast didn't understand her it would at least gather meaning from tone. She came to a stop a little way away. Close enough the dragon would be able to give her a better sniff but far enough Miri hoped it would still feel relatively safe.

"Miriel," she put her hands on her chest to indicate that was who she was before motioning to her bag then the dragons leg. "I might be able to help."
 
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Fynaurie

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The peace that Míriel Fëanorna was trying to make with Stella was potentially shattered by a shrill cry. The eagles had seen her trying to rise from the lake.

"It's wounded," Fynaurie called to Vaxor. She could feel his anxiety. The eagles didn't like crossing paths with a dragon when they didn't have the numbers to attack.

Fynaurie couldn't signal Aifrin it was too dark.

"Vaxor take the lead and land us on the other side of the lake!"

The Eagle let out a sharp protest. When fighting a dragon altitude was everything. Fynaurie was asking him to give up his greatest weapon.

"Take off again if you want, but set us down."

Vaxor obeyed with a softer protest. Fynaurie sat upright, waiving with both hands at Aifrin. The rohk started to descend towards the far shore.
 

Aifrin

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The repeated cries from Vaxor had Aifrin squinting around, finally seeing what had both eagles agitated. Cheeks bubbled a moment as the sky elf let go of a loud sigh. They had met a fair decent group of dragons before, hopefully their luck would be repeated.

A sliver of movement caught her attention back to Fynaurie, leaning into her saddle and squinting harder before finally understanding the intent. She and Birin banked, following behind as she spoke to her friend.

"Don't stay on the ground. Just warn me before you grab me." She snapped, a chattering sound that mimicked laughter coming from Birin.
 

Stella

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Though not known for her size where dragons were concerned, Stella found herself rather trapped by a forest of snug old growth. She couldn't fit through the trees without making a proper mess of things, not where a path didn't present itself, and she wasn't much of a swimmer either. It left her no escape routes that didn't involve flying and her wings just couldn't get the lift she needed.

A low, rattling sound of concern left her maw as she swiveled a long, slender neck to look at the approaching elf. Trust was hard won but ... did she really have any other choice?

"Miriele..." she echoed back to the woman in a low, rich, but gentle tone of her own. Stella recognized the nature of her words, the same as those first few words uttered by Ashieron those many years ago when she needed the help of another. Her sides heaved with heavy breaths still fraught by fear, but she offered Miriele a nod of consent to approach. The elf wouldn't get much closer before the arrival of the giant eagles and their mounts, something that struck the dragon's nerves. Giant eagles and dragons were long since enemies and she'd made an effort to steer far clear of their skies for a long time.

The dragon's scales paled even further, a sickly light yellow as she hunkered low against the ground and raised the quills along her spine in a defensive posture.

"Stay back!" she screeched at them, maw gaping in a show of fangs, "Leave me be!"

Fynaurie Aifrin
 

Míriel Fëanorna

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Miriel breathe out, shoulders lowering a little bit with relief when she was given permission to approach. She perhaps managed one, maybe two steps before the delicate peace she had won was wrecked by the appearance of eagl- were they sky elves? The events of the evening were spiralling from believable and magical story into the territories of pure fancy. Sky elves were not a common sight in the Wilds this far East. Her wonderment was cut short however, for it wasn't just the dragon who had got spooked by the giant birds sudden arrival. Thorlion, who until now had been enjoying a good roll despite the uneasy feeling of being close to a dragon, was pushed fully over the edge with the two other larger predators. The black winged horse was by his companions side in an instant despite the overwhelming fear of the dragon and he reared, wings spreading out and issued his own squeal.

For a moment the elf closed her eyes and rubbed at her temples.

"Alright - everyone stop," she pitched her voice loud so it could be heard over the mix of eagle, dragon and horse. "Stop!" this last bit directed more to her own horse who she shoved away from her with a scowl. Loud noises in the Wilds would simply attract... more creatures. Thorlion at least looked a little ashamed.

"She is hurt," her hands had gone back to being in front of her to now prove to the other elves she had no weapons. "She has accepted my care and in the ways of my people this means she is also under my protection. So, think wisely, and answer please what are your intentions are here?"
 
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Fynaurie

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Fynaurie was down from Vaxor in a flash, her aether-gkaive held in both hands. Vaxor wasted no time in spreading his great wings and lifting off. Thorlion had well founded fears of eagles large enough to lift cattle from the ground.

Fynaurie, however, was just as full of terror. Vaxor wasn't going to stay on the ground if there was a chance of fighting a dragon. That left her on the ground looking one down. A bow wouldn't bother a dragon much. An aether-glaive would, but only closer than Fynaurie wanted to be. At least Aifrin was here.

"She has accepted my care and in the ways of my people this means she is also under my protection. So, think wisely, and answer please what are your intentions are here?"
"Are you her rider?" Fynaurie called off. She was nearly a hundred paces from the dragon, far closer than she wanted to be. They had met dragon riders before. In fact they had convinced several of the rohk to fly alongside their dragons.
 
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Aifrin

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Aifrin and Birin had come in close behind the other sky elf, daggers at the ready even if the effort of getting close to a dragon would likely have seen her off to the next life before even hurting it. The other person in the clearing with the dragon however proclaimed protection of the dragon.

Fynaurie spoke for both of them, as Aifrin remained quiet, pose taking an easier stance than stay completely vigilant.
 
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Míriel Fëanorna

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"No, a friend," Miriel lowered her hands and offered a small smile. "This idiot is mine though," she rolled her eyes and flourished towards the prancing pony who was looking anything but a terrifying stallion in the moment. When it seemed neither of the other elves were going to approach she took a breath and turned her attention back to the dragon at hand.

"My people live near here, Kalrondō elves," whether they had heard of her people or not was another matter entirely. The elves of the wild were a private people even with their neighbours in the Spine. Hoping the dragon didn't bite her hand for approaching whilst she was still on edge she took a breath and hunkered down by the injured leg. "Alright," her voice softened now and she began to rummage through her bag. Most of it was geared towards elf and horse injured but she could cobble something together. "This is going to feel a little odd ok?" she spoke to the dragon now, taking out the paste she began to smear it over the wound. It was a fast acting numbing agent for pain that also helped the blood to clot quicker.
 
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Fynaurie

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Fynaurie turned towards Aifrin and offered a shrug. For all her bravado and willing to charge head first into dangerous situations she was rather stumped by this mess.

"What do we do?" she hissed quietly. "Go and get the others, kill the dragon or help? How the fuck do we even help?"

There were in fact many, many more swear words in elvish than human. Fynaurie took pride in knowing them all.
 

Aifrin

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Fynaurie turned to her, which was a terrible choice really. Eyes wide enough to be seen even in the failing light, Aifrin shrugged.

"I mean, if it doesn't eat her, I don't think it's such a bad thing. Maybe it was going to the ones we met before?" Aifrin grimaced with a vote of confidence in the dragons favor. "I mean, it's a dragon. Wouldn't it just be all, 'rawr, I'll eat you if you touch me', if it weren't friendly?"

It seemed a silly reason, but hey, they rode Rohk's into battle, and there were clock people in the world. Gollums or what have you. That was still a bit of a sore subject for Aifrin at least.
 

Stella

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The dragon observed the exchange between the elves in anxious silence, all manner of muscle bound tightly across her form, at ready to attempt another escape if needs be. But no harsh words sounded, no sudden moves were made. Stella did not relax, but she did drop her guard well enough for the soft-spoken elf named Miriel to approach.

Near wing followed out of the way, long and serpentine neck curled to watch as she produced something from her bag. A forked tongue slithered out from her maw, scenting the air for the curious paste and grimacing in response. The mangled leg, still pooling blood, did not feel pain as such - she'd gone numb to the catastrophe as she fled that nightmarish fiend. But, as she watched the elf's tiny hand smear the odd poultice across the shredded flesh and scales, Stella gave a low rumble of concern.

"I do not think it can be saved."

The bone had been crushed, sinew and muscle torn, the lower portion hung by glistening threads, contorted and useless. Stella was no doctor or healer, but instinct told her the best thing to do was remove it.
 

Míriel Fëanorna

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"No... not by me at least," Miriel grimaced and rocked back on to her haunches as she looked at the wound closer now. Her lips pressed into a thin line. It required someone who had abilities in healing or, as she said, it would need to be cut off and cauterised properly. After a moment or two she decided to leave it up to the dragon.

"My people do not live far from here," she explained, gesturing to the East. "I can send Thorlion," another hand wave this time towards her horse. "To fetch someone who might be able to heal this, with magic. Or I can cut it off for you." Thorlion would find Tané, if anyone could perform this feat it was her.
 

Fynaurie

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Fynaurie kept her fingers wrapped right around the haft of her glaive. A nervous dragon was not something to approach lightly.

"We won't hurt you!" she called out in the common tongue as she approached. The dragon spoke. The last dragons they had met did not. At least not out loud.

The Avelion did not have a particularly friendly relationship with the elves from the jungles. The had chosen a policy of almost complete isolation for a thousand years.

"We could help?"

"Why is it always us Aifrin?" she hissed out of the corner of her mouth in elvish.
 

Aifrin

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Aifrin did little more than examine the moment before the dragon interacted with the elf before them. She had her hands on the daggers, but she did not particularly want to wave around a weapon that could be seen as a threat until it seemed the situation...simmered?

It was less of a mystery now though than it had been with the first dragon meeting that they were at the very least sentient beasts capable of complex feelings. That they could speak common was a bit jarring and made her wonder about the other ones.

When Fynaurie mentioned offering to help, the elf's mouth was agape in silent horror.

"Are you insane!?" Aifrin hissed back to Fynaurie in elvish. "The only help we would be is a ease to hunger."
 
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Stella

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"Please," Stella mewled, the dragon's gaze shifting from Miriel to the two other elves and their bristled exchange in elvish, "no more people."

It was clear she was uncomfortable with just the three here and had tensed further as the two eagle riders approached. Stella trusted them about as much as they trusted her. The great eagles were a familiar enough threat to a dragon, their riders equally so. She was alone, she was injured, and she was exhausted - a prime target for any would-be eagle looking for an easy win.

"Take it off," she said to the dark-haired one, the dull glimmer of her scales shifting to a twinge of bitter yellow.
 

Míriel Fëanorna

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"Alright, no more people," Miriel promised, her voice soft and she gently ran her hand over the dragons scales in what she hoped was a comforting gesture. It was partly habit like when one of her young colts had broken his leg. She glanced to her swords and stood, meaning to go and get them when one of the others spoke up. Miri tensed slightly.

"I think it's best you stay back," her eyes flitted between her and the dragon. She didn't know much about the sky elves and their eagles having had barely any interaction with them before, but Miriel could read the body language of a frightened creature pretty well. Unless the dragon consented she would keep the woman at bay. Deciding it was better to stay where she was in case there was an attack she motioned for the blade she had left by the bank and it flew to her hand with a soft hum.
 
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Fynaurie

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"It'll seal the wound, no bleeding!" she tried again. She still took a few steps back, glancing nervously at the dragon.

If you eat me, Vaxor will claw out your eyes, she thought to herself.
 
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Míriel Fëanorna

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Miriel's lips thinned into a pale line as she watched the other elf then glanced to Stella.

"Who would you prefer to do it?" At the end of the day it was her leg and her decision.
 

Stella

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Stella shifted uneasily, shying away from the hand that sought to comfort her. She was not a horse nor a pet to be touched nor comforted in such a way. It had taken years for her to warm up enough to Ashieron to let him run his hand along her scales and he had saved her from a most certain death. The dragon's wings twitched, tail coiling and spine quills flaring at Fynaurie's outburst. Stella had never sought to harm one of the Lander kind before, but the desire to spit a ball of fire her way was on the rise.

A low, rattling sound issued from her throat, not quite a growl but something closer to agitation. The sound a creature made when it felt cornered and threatened.

"You," she replied to Miriel, a wary gaze kept on Fynaurie and her companion, "I can seal it myself."

Her own fire would do the job just fine. She could have torn the leg off herself too, and she had considered it, but an elf's blade would make a clean cut and, likely, much quicker.