The Syzygy The Dance of the Moon Dragons

For Syzygy event threads

Vhagor

Reluctant Soldier Daddy
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Character Biography
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Every breed of dragon has its unique challenges in reproducing. The red dragons are thought to be so violent that their mating is more likely to end in the death of one of the pair than any successful eggs; the Tsonye dragons need to give birth half buried in the earth; and the Ēarendel dragons are known to eat their own eggs. But the Moon Dragons perhaps have the most saddening curse. Not only is the laying, hatching and physical mating dictated by the wanes of the moon, but like many of the draconic breeds in Thanasis the Moon Dragons are believed to mate for life and finding that mate only becomes possible during the Eclipse.
- Exert from, The Natural Theory: A Guide for Breeders, by Scholar Morticia Phalange.

"I heard that when the Moon Dragons take to the skies and dance, it's like watching the stars themselves fall in love," Ingrid sighed aloud to the class who were busy scratching down the last thing Vhagor had said about dragon anatomy and the importance of protecting the vulnerable regions. Several pairs of eyes flicked up to watch for their tutors reaction. All day the Cadets had been begging to be let off their duties so they might go and help with the preparations for the Dance of the Moon Dragons, but the pleas had fallen on deaf ears and so they had carried out their usual chores. Vhagor was being deliberately harsh, he knew. Other High Ascendants had let their classes go early or had cancelled classes altogether, but there was something about this Eclipse that had put the old soldier on edge.

Eclipses unnerved him anyway. That they happened three times a year was an extreme source of discomfort for Vhagor but at least it only lasted a day and most of the dragons managed to keep their heads during it. This Eclipse was different. The scholars had predicted its coming for the past year reading the portents as they normally did. It would last not one but three whole days and bring with it a Great and Terrible Darkness. Was the bloody moon blotting out the bloody sun not a terrible darkness enough? But Vhagor had known the Darkness was some prophetic riddle the moment he had woken up on the first morning. The bright iridescent bond that connected him to Nyxondra had been blurred. For the first time in years they had misunderstood one another and nearly come close to an actual argument. Even flying together had been erratic and uncomfortable.

The the Sea Serpents had fled the sea.

Nothing good had ever come of that omen.

After that, Vhagor had decided to keep his Cadets as close as possible which meant extra classes, training and general misery for those under his tutelage. However, even he could not deny them the chance to attend the actual Dance of the Moon Dragons. Not only was it indeed a spectacle everyone deserved to witness, it was for many a religious and sacred festival and more than two of the Cadets under his care were bonded to a moon dragon who would take to the skies that night in the hope of finding their forever love.

"I think that is enough for today," Vhagor said with a deep, resigned sigh, closing the heavy tome he had been reading from in front of him. The cadets exchanged excited glances. "You are excused," shouts and cheers went up amongst the class quickly followed by the scraping back of chairs and hurried rustle of paper as they gathered up their belongings and fled before Vhagor could change his mind. In the silence of the empty class the High Ascended heaved another sigh and opened the top of his draw. From within he produced a small glass bottle which he unstopped and then took a swig of the golden liquor within. Even through the fuzzy bond he could sense Nyx's disapproval.

"It's going to be a long Dance," he grimaced but put the bottle back before rising to seek out his dragon.

Welcome to the Thanasis Syzygy event! This event in particular is based within the city of Thanasis itself but the wider site Syzygy event has a Malakath section which is going to be off the countries wider coast. You can join in both events if you wish just remember they will be happening at the same time!

Impacts on dragons:
  • All dragons: All magic will be erratic during the Syzygy event right down to dragon fire. It might be uncontrollable at times, hotter than usual, or suddenly stop when you most need it. Wider dragon related magicks will also be on the fritz. It might do the complete opposite of what it normally does, might not work at all, or come in fits and starts.
  • Sea Serpents: The Sea Serpents have been the most negatively affected by the Syzygy event. All of them have fled from the sea and refuse to return to the waters. Some of them have begun to show a horrible sickness and the dragon healer quarters are already quite full with dealing with this suspected new disease.
  • Sun dragons: Without the sun for three consecutive days sun dragons are likely to feel incredibly lethargic and sluggish. Some of the older beasts have gone into a hibernation state completely.
  • Moon dragons: Imbued by the unnatural strength of this Eclipse the moon dragons have been filled with an almost awe-inspiring level of magic. For some of the moon dragons this has sent them to near insanity.
Impacts on the dragon bond:
  • Riders had reported bonds feeling 'fuzzy' or 'diluted'.
  • They might struggle to communicate with their dragons like normal and feel out of sync resulting in nasty mishaps.
  • Some riders have also reported feeling a sickness, headaches and general nausea.
 
Inner City, Main Plaza

“Thanks Danika, I couldn’t have finished this without you.”

Danika Araelor stepped back to inspect their hard work with the critical eye of a creative. She had always enjoyed making things with her hands but the life of a Rider had been her purpose since birth when a Tsonye dragon egg was placed within her cradle. It had taken losing her arm for her to return to that secondary love and several years of healing to re-learn how to do it in her new state. Now, she told herself she wouldn’t have any other life.

“It was your idea, I just put it together. You should be proud of yourself, Bas,” she patted the young lad on the shoulder causing him to beam for one fleeting moment and then begun to fade. The brief flicker of joy diminished.

“What if mother doesn’t—”

“Fuck what Lady Malennis thinks,” Danika snorted and waved a hand at the burning braziers in each wooden chalet. From their beams hung twinkling lights and inside had been decorated with great care for everyone’s comfort. Soon, families and groups of friends would converge here to partake in the hog roast, eat, drink and be merry whilst watching the dazzling display by the Moon Dragons as they searched for love. The chalets had all been Bastion’s ingenious idea after the last Eclipse had seen everyone stood out in the freezing rain and left full of misery when no new mating pairs were declared. When he had approached Danika for her help in making and assembling them all she’d been glad to help. Especially with the braziers.

Sylvraxis lay sprawled by one of the larger wooden huts occasionally breathing fire into a large metal pipe. The pipe went underground and through small vents shot flames upwards into the braziers sat nestled in each hut. The great tsonye dragon raised her head sensing Dani’s eyes upon her and the pair shared a look of contentment. It was always nice to work outside of the forge where it was easier to be close to one another. After nearly losing her life, and Syl’s, it was hard not to want to keep her dragon in her sights at all times.

“Go on, I’ll hold the fort. You go get ready; it’s your family’s big day after all,” with a wobbly smile, Bastion took off leaving Danika to wander the festive scene in quiet contentment.
 
Outer City; Harbour

It was a little-known fact that the best view of the Dance of the Moon Dragons was in fact the harbour. Sure the main festivities were held in the Main Plaza close to the Inner City so the upper crusts would not have to sully themselves too much by trapsing through the Outer City, but the Moon Dragons held no notion of the petty way the humans had divided up their home. Their dances took them from the tops of the mountains and far out across the harbour. Tuon and her family had always chosen to watch from the shoreline where the glittering dragons could be mirrored on the waters calm surface.

The Stryker family were not the only ones to have that idea. Other families, too poor to take part in the main festivities or those simply preferring a less grand more holy experience had wandered down to the shores. People had created a large bonfire which burned bright in the middle of the sand dunes, illuminating a scene of scattered blankets and families or friends gathered in small groups. Dragons had joined their bonded and a few were even allowing strangers children to approach and touch their scales.

Everyone was pointedly ignoring the bloated corpses the sea occasionally spat out.

Most of the bodies had been cleared earlier that day when the Sea Serpents had fled and refused to return and the strong harbour winds had carried away the worst of the stench. But every now and then the waves seemed to foam and churn before receding, revealing another mutilated corpse. So far they had been mostly fish or creatures from deep below. There had been a few lost human corpses of sailors long thought lost to the seas, and one single dragon, half of its flesh rotted away to reveal bleached bones beneath. Her father thought it might have been from over three hundred years ago given the saddle still secured to its back.

Tuon peeled herself away from the merriment of her family; the Strykers always attracted a big group when they visited the beach. They were an ordinary family who continued to make headway in a gated world and so for many they were role-models. She waded up the sands barefooted to the cook turning a large hunk of spiced lamb over the pit.

“Tuon! So good to see you – and congratulations on the Rising. Not that any of us doubted you of course,” the man bellowed a laugh that seemed to shake his whole frame. It was the type of laugh you couldn’t help but smile at.

“Thanks Szael. Just the usual please,” she motioned to the meat. Nobody made kebabs like Szael. Perhaps it would take off the edge of nausea that had been with her all day.
 
"You would think I was a Moon Dragon myself by the way you are fussing with this dress, Mother." Eira sighed, watching her mother and older sister fit the very expensive, and very delicate chain and chiffon design to her form. It was heavier than any other dress she had worn, but as a Moon Dragon rider, she was to be on display alongside her father.

They were the hosts for this grand spectacle, but it in fact had been her father's younger brother that orchestrated the whole thing. The trust in her family was not of great measure, even her siblings were on the short end of the stick. Moon Dragons were rare, and on such occasions like this they would mate and sire the next clutch of hatchlings. There just was not many of them that would choose a bonded rider. In the time she had learned all about her dragon, Tyafainne, and their bloodline, Eira knew she had expectations she needed to keep up in order to be seen worthy.

This small number of willing moon dragons to bond meant not every Malennis would be a rider. Some made their luck in the Rising, but those without became bitter and angry at those that called themselves a rider. The fact Eira bonded at age eight meant her childhood turned into murder plots and loneliness as even her siblings, the heirs in line to the title before her, were now casted behind her shadow.

She was to be named Chosen Heir tonight, before Thanasis. Eira could not think of anything worse. There was no love for the name Malennis, a name that felt importance due to their breeding of Moon Dragons.

That was a discussion for another day.

"Is this not revealing?" Her hand reached to touch the almost sheer bodice, only to be swatted away by her sister, Sidonie.

"You will be up on a dragon, I hardly think anyone will pay attention to staring. Not that there is much to look at." She smiled, but Eira felt the sting that was intended and brushed it off just as quickly.

"What upsets me more than the dress your sister put together, is that you did not ask for an escort."

Now Eira rolled her eyes. "I fly alone. Once I do my part for the opening ceremony, I am with you lot in the Main Plaza. Be more concerned that Tya should find herself a mate than my own affairs, I beg you. Perhaps she will have a clutch of moon dragons that you can bond with one day, Sid." It was an excuse to keep from herself having to explain her lack of friends, how she rather not participate at all...

Eira wanted to be at the celestial dragons' roost, to study the dragons on such a night.





Aeron Malennis was all smiles as his dragon rested on a nearby rooftop. Eirenthe already had her mate, and did not need to search the Thanasian skies for another. Her scales reflected the eerie night, almost unseen if it were not for the deep breaths she made. Her fire was weak, making her take much larger and deeper breaths to fill her cavernous lungs, but it was the lack of connection with her rider that kept her close to the Main Plaza.


Aeron greeted every guest that walked by, dressed in silver gold --- like his youngest daughter was whenever should she arrive--- but wore the pride of being a Malennis and Moon Dragon Rider. His smile turned proud whenever he heard a young child marvel at the sight of his dragon, and the crowd collectively cheered and awed as a set of bonded Moon Dragons soared on by, dipping out from behind a tall building.

"Welcome! Please, enjoy your evening!" Aeron could be heard repeating to multiple of people.

Basilius Malennis came up beside his brother, curt smile on his thin lips. "Are you not worried this is such a spectacle? Your daughter is only a cadet freshly recruited. Every eye in Thanasis will be watching."

"Why is there worry, Baz? You are the one that put all this together with the council. You entrusted the task to your neice." Aeron scoffed, but his annoyance was not detected as he continued to welcome the city.

"I worry that she would embarass the family name. You heard she was friendly with that Marked One? What if she uses this moment to make a spectacle that we did not agree upon."

"Then why do you not look up and witness it yourself." Aeron could not have hoped for the sight of Tyafainne to appear any sooner.

The long train of the jewelled dress whipped behind Eira as she held fast against her dragon, scales painted here and there to catch the lights of the lit city below; the natural scales shifting in colour as they dove low. Tyafainne beat her wings, creating a cooling breeze to wash over the gasping crowd. The Chosen Heir shouted a command, unable to use her bonded link to the dragon to communicate, and the dragon spiraled upwards, piercing through the dark cloud cover before Eira released the pouches of grounded powder. With the little breath of fire Tyafainne had left, she ignited the falling pouches and creates exploding lights in the sky.

Everyone cheered! Whooping at the display put on for them.

"Let us celebrate, brother. A new age of Moon Dragons is upon us! This may even be the most bountiful moon dragon clutches of eggs in history!" Aeron declared, embracing his brother, who merely watched the Moon Dragon above like a hawk.

"Yes, this may be a fortuitous eclipse."
 
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Today had honestly been a pretty shit day for Butch. An absolutely bullshit event prophesied to pass by about this time called the Syzygy, or so the cadets had been told by some dragon-related teacher, which couldn't mean anything good. As it turned out, not good was THE fucking understatement of the century. He thought that maybe the consequences would affect his dragon, but Tartarus seemed to have been hit pretty bad by the event. In truth, he had too. His physical enhancement and size changing magic were on the fritz and Tartarus's fire looked the size of a campfire compared to normal, like he could put a marshmallow on a stick inside his partner's mouth and comfortably turn it over and over until the treat was a nice golden brown.

"Dammit, I feel bad, but I can't risk Tar' hurting anyone." He'd mutter to himself, preparing for a rageful "greeting" when he got back. Fortunately, not all was bad. Today was in fact a festival to celebrate a new generation of Moon Dragons, and the parties that ensued were said to be amazing. Even if he was feeling a bit shoddy and felt bad for his dragon, who didn't even have the heart to try and bite his hand off, there was no way he wasn't enjoying a break from school. Wandering through the street in a cloak, he'd enjoy all the noise and fun going on all around him as others enjoyed the stands. See, though being in the Thunder was cool, it could feel like a bubble sometimes. Inside the bubble, the world was silent and clinical and everything else would melt away for the sake of Thanasis.

It was a fine attitude, he supposed, but being able to step out and really live was ever more enticing because of it. Instead of going to the inner city where all the snobs he dealt with on a near weekly basis were most likely to reside, he returned to the streets he had grown up on, the places where he had decided he would never end up, just to face them all. It was a good way to wait. Besides, the inner city was far too complex for his sense of direction. Unlike that, however, the outer City had a harbor that had a clear view of the sea. Moon Dragons went every which way in their rituals for searching for mates, so it was as good a place as any to see their dancing.

Besides, ever since the serpents had fled, the sea had become a graveyard, which was super weird but also morbidly interesting to look upon. Fish and Humans and Dragons laid at the shoreline, a dark omen warning those not to go into the sea, because it can even kill the gods of Malakath. Butch laughed at his own dramatizing, waving off such thoughts. Taking off his hood and looking around without the weirdness of blocked peripheral vision, he'd shake out his hair and feel his shoulder length curls unsmush and release from their place once against his neck.

Refocusing, he knew there was only one thing left to do, that being get some food. He did not want to miss the mystical event, so best to get sustenance beforehand. He walked along the path towards the water and saw a bunch of merchants. None of them had what he was really craving...some meat. What he wanted more than anything right now was a meat kebab or something. Luckily, he would not have far to go as his nose picked up the scent he had been searching for the entire time: "Fuck yeah. That's some good stuff over there." He'd suddenly growl in excitement, scaring a family walking nearby.

Not even apologizing, he would amble over to the stand and check through his pockets. Hmm, only a few silver coins from a bet he had made with a teacher. That seems like enough, he'd think to himself, hoping that such a reality would in fact be the case. He made it to the kebab place as another person ordered, their voice weirdly familiar. "Huh. Seems like this is a good spot to watch the fireworks then." he'd say to nobody in particular, mentally noting the busyness of this area as well as the fact that another student of the school chose this place to watch. "Heya, Tuon." He'd say, unsure of how to open up a casual chat between two acquaintances.

Tuon
 
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Outer City

That damned red dragon wouldn’t leave Khaato alone for a second, even when the eclipse seemed to have nearly severed their bond. The dual eclipse was the only way Khaato could escape; he slipped away as the giant hunted. Otherwise, Argoroth always found him, always tracked him through the bond that tethered them together. The rider he talked into flying him to the city raised a brow when he begged for her help, not knowing his predicament with his dragon. Why did he need someone else to assist him if he was a rider, she must have wondered. But Khaato simply twisted the truth lie: that his dragon was out hunting, and he was having trouble reaching him. He figured it best to conceal the truth in case other riders feared his dragon’s wrath for taking his prisoner away from him.

Khaato breathed a sigh of relief as he slipped out of an alleyway. Finally, he had a chance to see his family. Too long had he been trapped in Ōmeyōcān, a place he came to know as a stygian prison since his dragon was too dangerous to roam Thanasis proper… but his dragon never let him leave. He drew a beige scarf more tightly around his head and neck, wincing as the pangs of a headache rang in his head.

It was true that the red dragon was out hunting, at least, and Argoroth was irate. He pawed at a carcass on the shores, yet even when he turned his nose up at corpses too rotted to eat, he jealously guarded them from creatures that would’ve found a feast in the wave of death. Monstrously large crustaceans that crawled along the sands and the bodies found their shells crushed as he scooped them up in his jaws. Argoroth’s sinuous neck stretched upward, and he raised his snout to the sky. His nostrils flared as he took in the putrid scents, but it seemed he was searching for something else as well. The dragon patrolled the sandy beaches, and the crimson behemoth was visible even from a distance, albeit as a hazy, gargantuan shadow. It would’ve taken him some time to reach the observers gathered at the harbor, but the threat of his frustration at his rider boiling over was still too close for comfort.
 
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"I will not wear this."

"You will."

And that - as much as it pained him - was that. His mother was not done.

"It has taken them two days to scrub the stench of the wilds off you and I will not have you putting some...tribal affair back on."

She managed to turn up her nose at the idea, even as one of the house staff held up a gaudy red robe.

Talorgan took a deep breath. He reached out and took the outfit.

"I can dress myself, thank you."

He placated himself by remembering that in just a few days he would be back out of the city. He had never suited this place.

He was a cousin and only a third son to a powerful family. Normally such children were afforded plenty of freedom, but they found him something of an embarrassment.

He only rode a Dreq-wyrm. A flightless creature that could swim, climb and run. He preferred to understand the land around their city, rather than observe it from above.

They also found his obsession with learning the languages of local people to be quite distasteful. He was not, apparently, doing his best to preserve their culture and the status of his fsmily
 
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The Moon Dance was one of the few traditions of Thanasis that Raimond actively enjoyed attending whenever he had the chance. It wasn't all about being a stiff-lip with your nose planted firmly up the backside of the noble families, and it wasn't about competing for bragging rights while those same nobles placed money on your performance, though admittedly he'd never had a complaint about competition.

No, the Dance was a celebration of love and fertility. An eclipse is the only time in which Moon Dragons are capable of mating and procreating. Since those only come around a few times a year, the people of the city decided to start celebrating the occasion by partying along with them, dressing up to the nines, and dancing underneath the dragons as they put on their best display in the hopes of finding a mate.

Usually, Raimond went alone. It was a chance to have a couple of drinks, mingle about with friends, and maybe get into some trouble if the mood was right. Thesius had a lot of good memories from past eclipses, and he never missed one if he could help it. This time, though, things were different. Raimond wouldn't be going alone. In fact, he'd be arriving with somebody already on his arm.

Just a few weeks ago, Raimond had gotten engaged to Melisandre Evreux

Not the kind of engagement in which he'd expertly courted his dream girl, wooed her to the point where she couldn't deny her feelings any longer and dropped to a knee and asked her to stay with him forever. This was an arranged engagement; a deal brokered by the Thesius and Evreux families to join two of their unmarried together in the hopes of producing the next generation and as a show of goodwill between Houses.

How old-school could you get?

So while the woman sat beside Raimond as his carriage rolled towards the site of the festivities was in fact the one he'd been yearning for since he knew for a fact that he was into girls, she wasn't there by choice, and to say that put a damper on the mood was a serious understatement. Raimond did love Melisandre, but they hadn't gotten to the point of saying it yet, and being pushed together was only serving to drive them apart.

"You look really good, Mel..." Raimond asked, shifting awkwardly beside her. He'd done his best to at least look the part as well, tidying and tying his unkempt hair, trimming his stubble, and donning a shimmering white suit with golden buckles running from the neck to the midsection, both the color and the scale-like pattern meant to match his dragon, Ha'Than, currently throwing a tantrum at home. The entire reason they were coming by carriage was because his old friend wasn't acting himself at all tonight. "Is Eryx alright? A lot of the dragons are acting up this evening. Big girl is a lot to handle, I imagine."

The carriage slowed to a stop, and Raimond looked nervously over to his unwitting fiance.

"Alright... How do you want to go about this?"
 
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Tonight was not about festivity, not for Karn. He had a duty to perform, and he was absolutely diligent about it. There was no secret to him or anyone in the Malennis family that treachery would be afoot. The moon dragons had their issues, but the family was way worse. Still, it provided him coin and an escape from other much more trivial things in life.

Aaeron had dispatched him to meet Eira, and so with little fanfair, the rider donned his armor and prepared. He kept himself hidden from the world, armor always on when out and about. No, not a single person could probably identify him without his dragon when he was unmasked. It mattered little to him, and even less to his dragon Calypso.

She was absolutely surly tonight, more than usual, even giving a snap at Karn's heel because he moved to slow for her taste. The younger dragons had better keep their distance, lest they wanted to keep their scales in one piece. He swung himself up expertly into position, flexing as she barely gave him a moment before lifting to the skies. She was a magnificent creature, white scales that gleamed and sparkled, claws and teeth to rip at flesh. Karn was lucky to have bonded with her, even though he'd never tell her outright.

They landed unceremoniously at the pavilion Eira was to land at when she arrived, he was her escort, though not the one her family would have wanted. His job was to keep her from harm, a job he and Calypso both were very keen on doing. He stood easily between Calypso's front limbs as he awaited his charge. It was going to be a very, very long night.
 
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She had enough spark pouches to last for a few minutes, and what fortuitous timing when the last one had glittered amongst the stars and Tya began to grow restless. Yes, I know. You are just dying to find your mate. Eira momentarily forgot their bond was dulled, that the dragon would not hear her.

Their descent soon came, and her eyes fell on the armoured silhouette of Karn. This was not her first time meeting him, as he usually watched over her father. The metal detailing of her dress scratched against the leather of her dragon saddle, but against the shifting colours of the scales, it merely caressed. Her feet found the ground, bare foot as she dropped her styled heels to the ground and slipped her feet into them.

"Bit much on my father's judgement to have his loyal beast look after this Malennis and not himself." She commented by way of greeting. Eira shot him an unimpressed look and headed for the stairs as Tyafainne launched and joined the notably smaller number of Moon Dragons. Of course, many did not linger in the City, choosing to soar the skies and aimlessly so until something tethers them to another moon dragon.

The real dance was watching two dragons fly in perfect harmony, as if they had practiced their flight for hundreds of years and not just this night of an eclipse.

Eira did not wait for Karn to follow her before she made her way into the party.
 
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IMG_8689.jpegDo I ever not look good?

Melisandre inspected a long, sharp nail. Her month of solitude had been interrupted too soon by those who would not forget her. Her father hadn’t shared the news to her, it was the Thesius family, diplomatic as ever, well aware now of her father’s conditions, of her inability to lead House Evreux away from financial ruin, and worst of all, of her temperament.

Melisandre had sulked, marinating in a dark room, ignoring all responsibility. She slept as long or as little as she pleased, she wore fanciful dresses to bed, strutted naked about her room, and relished in how oily her hair had become and daydreamed about the matted mess it would come. She refused to eat more than a once a day, letting meals sit outside her door and choosing whichever was there last. She liked not knowing the time, not knowing the day, and feeling as if she were the last person on Thanasis. Her only respite was her calligraphy, the anecdotes she wrote.

“When I was a child, I thought I’d grow up into a great grown up
Or maybe I should say, I wanted to become a great grown up and save myself,
Time passed and the state I achieved was a self of crumbling mud.”


She had liked that one, if only because she had finished writing it before Nanette had stormed in, using (without permission) the heavy key to unlock the heavy lock. She had an opened letter. Melisandre’s had to accompany her fiancé. It took hours to get her presentable, and many more the next day.

At least she could now fit in a dress that she hadn’t worn since she was twenty-one. The backless dress wasn’t black, which Melisandre insisted upon, but the dark brown would do.

As long as she didn’t match Raimond, that traitor, asking her questions as if nothing was wrong. A long, heavy sigh and Melisandre turned to look at Raimond. She moved her hair over one shoulder. It was shorter than it was before, and cleaner than it had been for weeks. Nanette really deserved a raise and early retirement.

You know what’s a lot to handle, Raimond?” She didn’t wait for him to answer, she didn’t even wait for him to squirm. “Getting engaged out of the blue because my father was clearly taken advantage of. Eryx’s rage pales in comparison to mine, which is unfortunate, I’m much meaner than she is.” Her father didn’t recognize her most days, and even when he did, it was like he was living the same day over and over, before everything started going to shit, unaware of the burdens he left on his youngest’s shoulders. Who would even walk her down the aisle? Her father was delusional, her brothers both dead. Melisandre turned away then, staring out the carriage window.

She may not have wanted to go tonight but she wasn’t going to cry and ruin her make up so she would look like a dirty raccoon. A leg crossed over another, arms following suit to cross over her chest. She played with the thin collar around her neck, golden threads woven throughout the area so she’d have no need of jewelry. She hated that it matched the gold on Raimond. Nanette, that sneaky… ugh.

The carriage stopped. She felt the coachmen get off, heard his heavy thud on the ground. She smiled, the scowl long gone although the remains could be found in the creases of powder between her brows.

We go about it like any engaged couple would. We stand next to one another looking miserable and make passive aggressive comments about each other.” The door opened for Melisandre first and she slid out of the carriage, waiting until Raimond was at her side. “The more others are uncomfortable, the better. How’s your fake laugh? Oh, who cares, mine is grand enough for the both of us.” She didn’t slip her arm through the crook of his elbow and instead sashayed to the center of festivities for her first victim of the night— or perhaps, second, as Raimond was clearly the first. “Walk with me, Thesius, it’s rude to keep a woman waiting!

Raimond Thesius
 
Calypso eyed the girl and her dragon, teeth in a snarl as she snaked her head down low. Karn pushed the large beast by the snout in warning and she eyed him dangerously as well. Karn knew she wouldn't actually hurt him, the others, that he couldn't be certain of.

Eira barely paused as she hopped off her dragon, and the man turned to follow close at her heels. He smirked behind his helm, she certainly was a feisty one. Her father had his hands full with her. "Your father has his reasons, and it isn't my job to object." He responded curtly, his eyes briefly tracing the dragons that soared above. There was more concern than usual tonight, everyone was on edge.

Eira
 
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Something was wrong, or worse yet he’d done something wrong? Were the gods finally realizing their error and stripping him of his dragon? He knew it wasn’t Vex pushing him away as the gold and silver dragon wouldn’t even let him off his back. Communication was difficult but one only had to look to see Vex was irritated.

Back and forth his tail moved warily like a cat being overly bothered. They’d been kept in class overly long and while Quintus in truth didn’t mind it Vex did this time. Quintus had no more then mounted before launching himself into the sky and finding a spot high among the city to perch. To even dream of getting down now was suicide by quite the drop.

It was a holy day, the Dance of the Moon Dragons would occur tonight as the eclipse began, and for a magical moment the moon dragons would pick mates for life. It was a beautiful thing, and acts of grace would be performed in the air one might never get lucky enough to see again. Even Vex seemed impressed by some of the more agile dragons, not that he could communicate it now, but it was a known factor. Those powerful wings could beat for what seemed forever, but Vex was still the proverbial red loose in the city. Graceless and destructive barging through everything. He would be a monster when he was fully grown though, Quintus was sure of it.

“You know if we go down towards the harbor it’s a better view. This is the only time of the year the poor get a better view, you might beast. It’s ok I promise I won’t get off, let’s just go somewhere we can watch the dance with the best vantage point.” Pausing a moment he tried to push through a picture of his aging parents waiting down below. “Come on, I told them we’d make it out to see them. They’re so excited to see such a mighty dragon!”

As always flattery was the best leverage he had, and as usual it worked. He wasn’t sure how this worked with other dragons and riders but he felt like he had to be doing it all wrong. Images flashed at him as they launched into the air, but they were hazy and seemed to slip away before he could attach thought or emotion to them. Something was wrong indeed.

As they swooped down towards the beach he could feel Vex physically shy away from the dragon littered beach. “Don’t worry not with the other dragons, my parents will be over with the rest of the poor on the other side of the beach. Just stay away from that water; it looks putrid.”
 
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~Outer City, Harbour~

Balor was upset with him.
Lately Trask's companion had been more irritable than usual and he would be caught in a lie if he ever denied the same feelings himself.
Even on his break, his yearly week away from The Wall and its worries was he feeling uneasy.
His uniform was discarded, his helm at the Inn. He wore a green tunic and pale tanned cloak with his well worn boots and dark breaches.
A dagger at his wrist and his coins in his boot. Festivals had a way of bringing out the opportunists.
Though he was hoping to ignore the greater part of it.

Night fishing was a fine passtime as he saw it and the particulars of the Lunar Event brought the sea to a shimmering glow he was looking forward to seeing as he brought rod and basket to the shore gate and beheld... throngs of revelers.

How he wished for a bit of solitude.
Making his way through the crowd was not especially difficult but he did not want to be in it any longer than he needed to.

On the other side he made his way to the shore, took off his boots and waded out to his waste with rod and bait in hand.
He was no skilled fishermen and he would ne'r deny it but the act was soothing.
Cast out slow and reel in easy.
Again he did the motion, loosing his thoughts in the repetitive action.
Behind him the odd cheer and yep or song could be heard but he tried to be a part of the stillness of the water. The silence of the sky.

Perhaps if he found peace here then Balor would be in a better mood when he returned to him. The holding outside the City was fine but the Laymen there had given Balor "the look". The one that marked him as an abomination, a thing that needed to die.
At the time Trask promised them they'd choke on their own hands if Balor was harmed.
They seemed suitably cowed and in honesty, Balor was far from defenseless even in a pen.
Yes, things were already feeling better.
The world was calm and good again.
 
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"It's just a bunch of fucking dragons, flying in the sky." Daryon rolled his eyes at his younger siblings that lifted their heads to gaze up to the darkened sky, Moon Dragons soaring in the distance or directly above the city. "There is nothing so spe---"

And there was Eira Malennis, whipping through the sky and showering the dark with sparks.

"There you go, Cress." He nudged his younger sister. The Malennis' were tricky, but only Eira and her immediate family had welcomed Alryssa after tensions were made known between the Nhalaryn and Murizi Houses. "She survived at least. Lucky you! Your friend lives another day!"

He did not think he would be shepherding his siblings like this. Dare looked around, feigning boredom, but really, he was looking for someone or something more interesting.
 
Cress stood close by Daryon, Brevis and the twins around them. Her neck was craned to look up, watching the Moon Dragons as they attempted to find a mate.

"They're beautiful,' she said, keeping her gaze on the dragons above. And they really were- sometimes they were harder to make out in the darkness, but occasionally they would catch the light of the city below and their scales would sparkle and glow like stars.

Brevis made a comment about how Daryon was just jealous and Cress smiled, turning her gaze upon her eldest brother. But then he pointed out Eira and Cress' smile became a grin upon seeing her friend. Bursts of light illuminated her and her dragon and Cress bounced on her toes.

"You don't have to sound so upset about it, Dare," she said, not taking her eyes of Eira. She made a mental note to find her friend later and compliment her on her performance. She was the Chosen Heir of House Malennis now, and she too was no stranger to family tensions.

Daryon Nhalaryn
 
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INNER CITY, MAIN PLAZA

Satia was not sure if she was allowed to be this close to all the nobles and their dragons but here she was anyway. Their eyes were on the sky anyway, and she managed to go unnoticed as she made her way through the crowd.

Lyraxis was perched on some rooftop not too far away- she could see the faint outline of his hulking form from where she was on the ground. Hopefully he was behaving himself. Satia had faith in him, perhaps faith misplaced and undeserved for his attitude, but faith nonetheless. It was known amongst her peers that she was sweet on her brute of a dragon. She had claimed on multiple occasions that he had a soft heart but so far she was the only one who thought so.

Those of the great houses were all finely dressed, their clothes tailored to fit them perfectly. Satia's own clothes were well-made, even if she didn't have endless wealth at her disposal. But it did not take wealth to look drop-dead gorgeous, and Satia knew she was blessed with natural beauty and unbeatable wit, and it was with both that she had gotten her hands on the elegant black cloak she wore tonight. It was shimmery and threaded through with silver, but it was much sturdier than it appeared. A sword could not tear it and kept its wearer warm, which was rather useful when the sun had decided to hide for three days.

Even though her bond with Lyraxis was fuzzy, she still could feel some things on their bond. So when she was suddenly hit with a jolt of energy that was not her own, she turned her gaze to where Lyraxis was. Or, at least, where he was supposed to be.
 
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"You don't have to sound so upset about it, Dare,"

"Just... keep a distance from the Malennis', at least this night." Feet from the Nhalaryn children stood Aeron and Basilius Malennis, who know were engaged in a low, heated discussion. "Keep your conversations with Eira brief... if you can get past her guard dog that is." Daryon spied the Chosen Heir coming to join the festivities, waving to a few people on her way with the armoured silhouette of none other than Karn, loyal to Aeron Malennis.

"Stay here." He scowled at the other siblings.

Dare ducked away, in search for something to drink to make this droll of a night a little more bearable.
 
If words could have killed, the jagged ice from Melisandre's lips would have ripped Raimond into shreds. He shirked away at her rage, pressing himself into the opposite side of the carriage and turning his head away to hide the wince of pain in his face. This isn't what he'd wanted, not for himself and certainly not for Mel. He supposed he couldn't blame her for taking it out on him but... it hurt him so, even still. The door of the carriage opened and his unwilling fiance left his side without a shred of remorse.

Raimond had never thought there would come a day in which he didn't want to follow Melisandre, but as he stared out of the window on his side of the carriage, Thesius truly contemplated running away. He could fly out of the city and never be seen again. Would anybody but his Mother and Father truly bat an eye? Mel loathed him, The Ascended saw him as a bullheaded moron, and Errune no longer even acknowledged his existence. If this was his fate, living with a woman who hated him so...

Well, he'd be better off with the Jarlax, wouldn't he?

It was only the pounding on his door of the coachman, shouting at him to disembark so he could go and pick up his next fare that pulled him from his misery. Raimond slid from his seat, dressed in his finest but looking as if he'd not slept in days. It wasn't particularly far from the truth. Reluctantly he moved to walk alongside Melisandre, all the while continuing to endure the nonstop vitriol that poured from her mouth.

"You act as if this was my idea, as though I could have stopped it." He eventually found the will to attempt a retort, though his words were far more hushed and pleading than they were venomous. Thesius only barely dared look at her from the corner of his vision. "I didn't want this for us. I..." He stopped, and closed his eyes before refocusing himself. "...I would never have gone over your head like that. I found out the same way you did, and the choice was already made. Now I hear you tried to practically starve yourself in protest, that they had to drag you kicking and screaming out of your room..."

As if it would make any difference. He'd tried to reason with Mel through letters, all of which were promptly ignored. She wasn't hearing any argument, nor would she allow him to get through to her. So why was he trying so hard? Obviously, he knew why, but saying it out loud would just piss her off even more. Instead, his lips twisted and he turned to face her completely, leaning in so he wouldn't be overheard by the approaching crowd.

"Look, I understand you hate me for this. I get it. If making me the villain is the easy way to go here, have at it. I'm not going to throw a childish tantrum though, and I'm not going to stand here and insult you all night. So either try and make the best of this until we figure out what to do, or stop treating me like I'm the goddamned problem."

Raimond pulled away and did his best to will the frown off of his face, waving at one of his old friends with a smile and a wink. It was as hollow as it could be, but Raimond acted with the best of them. No, he wasn't going to run away and vanish.

Because at the end of the day, he loved Melisandre.

And whether she liked it or not, he was all that she had right now. He couldn't just... let her be all alone.

Melisandre
 
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Cress looked at Daryon bemusedly. What did he have against the Malennis family? She thought Eira to be pleasant and friendly, but then it seemed the rest of her family didn't particularly care for her.

She watched Daryon walk away. Brevis complained about having to babysit his younger siblings, specifically the twins.

"I'm going to find Eira," Cress said to Brevis, ignoring his muttered complaints as she made her way through the crowd towards the young Malennis.

Daryon Nhalaryn Eira
 
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"Your father has his reasons, and it isn't my job to object."

Eira threw him a look over her shoulder, snorting softly. "I would like to see someone just try and take a stab at me on this very night." But she did not dismiss Karn either.

As she walked, the light metallic chains over her soft and sheer, in some places, dress made soft twinkling sounds, as if they were bells. The petite woman quickly found her father at the main hub of activity in the Plaza, but a small figure came to waylaid her.

"Cress!" Eira put on a sweet smile for the younger girl, taking her hand and spinning the Nhalaryn daughter. "Your dress! Beautiful!"

She remembered when Sidonie had used to do the same to Eira when she was younger, parading her like a doll. Those were simpler times, when the discord in House Malennis had not stretched to include her.

Karn Cress Nhalaryn
 
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The fish were not biting.
Trask did not mind so much.
He merely drew the line in, baited again and cast out.
Up the beach a dragon landed but he did his best to ignore it.
Folk were talking and laughing.
The Moon Dragon Celebration was going well all things considered.
 
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Cress' face lit up when she saw Eira. "Thank you," she replied. "But your dress is much more beautiful than mine. More mature," she added.

Even though it was dark and magic was askew, affecting riders and dragons, those problems felt a little more distant right now. Cheers, shouts, and laughter echoed around the plaza as the Great Houses watched the Moon dragons fly.

Cress looked up at the older woman."You're to be the chosen heir! I would congratulate you but I'm not sure you're excited about it,"

Eira
 
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Satia moved through the crowd towards where her dragon had last been, grumbling to herself about ornery dragons and bothersome eclipses. He was probably fine, causing no trouble, but Satia would not be happy if Lyraxis was causing a problem and got her kicked out of this fine party full of fine people.

She was so focused on her own problems that she did not say the tall, blond boy until she had collided with him. She bit her tongue to keep from snapping at him because there was a very good chance he was well-to-do and when she looked up at him she was glad she had. She knew enough about each of the houses to know that he had the Murizi pale blonde hair. It only took a moment or two of deduction for her to realize she had run into Daryon Nhalaryn, treasured son of Alryssa Murizi and Heir to the House Nhalaryn.

Great.

"Sorry," she said, rather eloquently. Just because he was a Murizi and Nhalaryn and could very well kick her out of the plaza didn't mean she was going to butter his biscuit. She just wouldn't be rude to his face. She looked over his shoulder, scanning for her stubborn dragon. She started a bit when she saw his faint outline on a roof a good distance away- and was that the outline of another dragon. Good gods, Lyraxis was going to start a dragon fight.

Daryon Nhalaryn
 
Karn sighed beneath his helm, this girl was infuriating at best. Still, he was in charge of her safety and he took that to heart. His dragon always thought he was wasting his time, protecting the backs of others. She thought the weak should weed themselves out, let the strong be the ones to survive. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking did not fill his pockets.

He towered behind Eira as she spun the other girl frivolously, he'd much rather have her take her place, but he knew interacting was part of her whole becoming the head of her house bullshit. So, in silence he stood, waiting for Eira to make her next move.

Eira Cress Nhalaryn
 
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