The Trials of White Scale. Chapter One.

The two dragons, Kyro and Marobi lay sprawled in the darkened sand. They hold, close, a damaged egg. A vessel for their unborn child. They both speak soft prayers in light of the purple moon. It’s been hours now; the sand brings an unnatural warmth to their bellies, a welcome comfort in the frigid morning air. Marobi has gone with little sleep, Kyro’s wounds still ache. Then something pouring into the valley overcomes the two, a familiar aura pulls at their bones. Dragons from all around returning to the Hatching Ground.

Three dragons reach the landing. The Hatching Ground and its brilliant sand bring comfort to the weary travelers. They recognize Kyro immediately and approach. Thodin, a warrior from the Ethyr clan, serves directly under Kyro. He bows before addressing Kyro. “Grand Azure, I hope I’m not disturbing you.” A moment passes before Kyro grunts under his breath in response, not recognizing one of his own. The proud dragon forces his eyes open and he stands stiff and strong, as if he were uninjured. He turns to face him.

“Young Thodin..” Kyro glances at the two females accompanying his fellow ascender. One a youngling, the other appears to be Thodin’s mate, “Your family? How pleasant, I am Kyro.” He states confidently. Thodin chuckles.

“Sir, you’ve met them before.” Kyro wrinkles his brow and lowers his head as he examines the other dragons. Thodin holds his chest when he notices the scars crawling across Kyros’ body. “Excuse me for asking, Sir. Are you well?” Kyro’s face turns grim. Marobi’s eyes meet with Thodin’s. Thodin and his family notice the egg under her arm. Their faces now painted with concern.

“We were ambushed.” Kyro proceeds to explain. “A large Sargonian in the canyon…” He chokes on his next words. “The egg.. It’s…” Kyro goes silent. “We don’t know what will happen next.”

Laniya and Hothima, Thodin’s mate and daughter, approach Marobi. Laniya uncovers her egg and places it in the warm sand. “We will stay with you, if this is acceptable. “ Thodin waits. Kyro turns to Marobi for approval, she nods.

Kyro to Thodin, “You and yours are welcome company, please.” he gestures to sit with the others. Kyro’s posture loosens as he collapses to the ground. He skootches in the sand and presses his body firmly against Marobi.

Dragon families can be seen as splotches across the skies. Some mated pairs traveling alone while others will bring their children and family. In what seems to be only a few minutes the empty hatching grounds become a collection of various types of dragons from across the surrounding regions. The sounds of the windy valley become obscured by the now constant chatter and rustling of the many dragons meeting here to hatch their eggs. From a distance Kyro and Marobi would hardly be noticed among the crowd. Many expected new mothers plant their eggs in the warm sand. Soon a circular formation of dragon families builds in the shadows of the standing stones. The stone pillars have been carved, here and there, over the years with symbols, prayers and songs. Through the mass of dragons, Kyro’s eyes follow markings along the stone pillar. Most markings on this pillar have something to do with lightning or the hunting of Splinter Cats.

Thodin notices Kyro looking over the markings on the standing stone pillar. Then he looks over the crowd of dragon families. He stretches toward Kyro. “These carvings make it seem as though a Splinter Cat is just a ferocious killer… Wouldn’t be such a worthy cause if that were the case.” Thodin says softly trying to distract Kyro. “…I suppose you couldn’t show their cunning with some scratches in the stone.” Thodin adds with a shrug, waiting for a response.

Kyro gives a slight grin to Thodin. “These dragons only know the stories.” Kyro looks back to Marobi and their egg. “They know nothing of the sacrifice…” Kyro pats Thodin’s shoulder. “Be with your family, young Thodin. They are a blessing.” Thodin nods and returns to his family holding them both, Laniya and Hothima, close.

Sometime after, the ground began to quake, a large caravan of dragons can be heard approaching from the North. A distant cloud of dust breaks through the tree line. The soon-to-be parents of the Stone Clan approach on a singular and gigantic stone slab. On either side of this slab several Stone Dragons can be seen with their wings out and their arms planted into the stone as if they are intertwined with the stone and its movement. The giant stone grinds against the sandy ground and it’s entrance into the hatching ground is that of grandeur and spectacle. You would swear you saw fireworks, but the haze and dust kicked up by the stone slab made it so that any dragon watching didn’t know what they were actually seeing. The giant slab of stone comes to a halt. The lingering dust eventually settles. The Stone King can be seen seated at a throne at the very front of the stone slab which carried forty-something dragons. Next to the Stone King, his mate is holding a large dragon egg. His “majesty” is introduced to the crowd as Lord Arathad. Various soon-to-be-mothers from the Stone Clan march into place lined up on either side of the Stone throne and present their eggs to the entirety of the hatching grounds.

To the east of this dust storm of an entrance, five figures emerge from the council’s chamber (A large cave carved from the cliffside.) From the five figures, Marobi recognizes a slender green dragon.

The green dragon, Skovus, appears from the settling dust and approaches the large stone platform on which the Stone Clan rode in on. Her wings posture. “Pardon, Lord Arathad. As exciting as this display of yours is, these are sacred grounds. Here on this ground, you are equal to the rest of us. If your eggs are to hatch they must be set within that sand.” She points to the center of the Hatching Grounds where the sand is dark and warm. “ Unless you know another ground to hatch.” Arathad gives the okay to the various mothers of the Stone Clan. One by one they step from the stone slab and find their place amongst the circle. However, before Arathad and his mate descend from the stone, a young servant dragon places a heavy carpet of moss at the base of the slab and unrolls it carefully. The Stone King then escorts his lovely mate down the path until they reach the circle of Dragon eggs. They place, very carefully, their precious and oversized egg. The two then lay together on their bed of moss. Servants quickly bring water and various fruits. The King leisurely eats as he watches for reactions amongst the crowd. He receives a sea of stares. Some dragon coughing out the dirt in his lungs and somewhere a low throated chuckle.

The air begins to clear up and the dragon families settle down. The Mother Moon is almost at its brightest, lavender colored light fills the hatching ground. Skovus, Speaker for the Council, climbs the platform inside the circle where the eggs were placed. The mothers in the sand place their hands on their eggs. They look to Skovus for guidance. She raises her wings and looks to the mother moon. Skovus whistles out into the morning air.

A calming blanket pushes through the crowd. The deep humming from the soon to be fathers. A Warmth of harmonic voices overwhelms Kyro, he looks to Marobi. He inhales then joins in the harmony. The Mothers begin to recite a hymn of ancient prayer. A song about gratitude for the blessings they already have and a song for the blessings still to come. Marobi sings along under her breath, a soft prayer for her unborn child.

Marobi watches as Skovus addresses the crowd, but she looks to Kyro for comfort. Kyro places his hand with Marobi’s. She can’t stand the anticipation. Her eyes go from mother to mother in the circle, each of them intently listening to Skovus. Marobi thinks to herself “Have they no fear? Have they no worry?” They are too engrossed with the fate of their own eggs to notice the anxious watching and hissing of Marobi. Kyro might even be embarrassed if he weren’t still recovering from his encounter with the Sargonian. All he can do now is comfort her. He pulls himself closer to her.

Skovus speaks to the soon-to-be-parents “…In these two years without a Mother Moon, We ate a great variety of foods so that we might be strong today.” The Crowd repeats back to her in unison ‘So that we might be strong!’ she continues “… and We prayed to the Auroras that we might be blessed on this day!” the crowd chants again ‘So that we might be blessed!’ “On this day we are truly joyous and we are prideful. For twenty-five moons, We uphold our council, our bond to the realm and our families. A promise to the coming generations. We are united on this day for one beautiful purpose. By the light of the Mother Moon let our eggs be broken and out come the children of the White Scale!”suddenly a change in the wind.

Marobi looks across the crowd just when five Dragons leap into the air. They begin to fly in a circular formation over the hatching grounds. Each of them lands on the central platform next to Skovus. The First, an Elder Dragon whose scales shine a deep gold, his belly a pale grey. Skovus introduces him as “Ronin, Sky Father of the Ethyr Clan!” The Second Dragon, an Elder whose scales are of a deep black. His eyes, a fierce white, send shivers down Marobi’s spine. He smiles at her and stares. She uncomfortably deverts her eyes. Skovus introduces this Elder as “Ignitus, Chieftain of the Ashkin!” The Third Dragon, A broad winged Male whose scales are a matte grey with brown freckles. He stands proudly as he is announced as “Gritos, Alder of the Stone Clan!” The Stone King and his mate nod to him with smiles.

The Fourth Dragon, a slender female, similar in appearance to Marobi, dashes through the air for a swift landing next to Skovus. She is introduced to the crowd as “Ren, Alder of the Kinship Delta!” Her tail whips around rapidly as she joins the other council members. The fifth and final member of the council appears next to Skovus. He has very lanky limbs and a skinny pale snout. His wings are long and arched. His Scales white and somewhat translucent, beneath his scales a faint mineral yellow. His eyes are a fierce orange even in the purple light of the Mother Moon. To some he looks like a ghost. To most his appearance is off putting, but you can tell he is significantly younger than the other council members. This long-legged Dragon is announced by Skovus as “ Titus, The new Alder of The Oracles” Skovus continues her speech while the council members politely raise their wings to the crowd of dragons surrounding them. “You all know me as Skovus, Alder of the Kinship Frith. Please welcome our council. Elder Ronin wishes for us to pray with him while we wait for the Mother Moon to grace us.” Skovus and the other council members bow their heads as Ronin steps to the center of the platform. He stands tall, his voice deep and powerful.

“Thank you, council for joining us today. We pray to the Aurora… I pray for the blessing be given to us. Some of us traveled many months to get here. Some, I’m sure did not make it. I pray, the Aurora Dragon take pity on our souls. All of us here today are with hopes that our lives be blessed with a child. The Roake Tree of Life must continue to grow. That is why we are here. Our gratitude for the children we have been given, to our sons We pray. To our daughters we pray. May our grandchildren be born today.” Ronin spots Kyro. He nods to him before returning his attention to the crowd, he begins to ramble on some more, then a great flash of light washes over the realm. The Mother Moon has begun it’s blessing.

All of the Dragon Eggs in the sand glow a pearly white. Then for a moment each has a unique aura. Marobi and Kyro’s egg lights up and Marobi is entranced by it. She feels something pulling at her. She can feel her son from inside.

The crowd of Dragons uproars with excitement. Eggs begin hatching right away, Most shake for a couple of minutes before hatching. Lord Arathad holds up his big baby dragon before the Stone Clan, his comrades chant with great exaggeration. An uncertain uncle, Daso-Rhys witnesses his nephew emerge from his shell. He holds his nephew close. Nearby, a proud Syzo-Fen pulls his new daughter into the air with his tail and catches her. His mate’s hands under her ready to catch her, ‘just in case’. The section in the crowd representing the Kinship Frith uproars as twins break out of their eggs. Their mother, Lowendi, with great relief holds the twin sisters to her chest.From the Kinship Delta, Orsun and Pali welcome their daughter, next to them Yuritahnan and Valendri welcome their son. Under the columns where the Stone King drinks, the Stone Clan welcomes a few more baby dragons. Fathers chant and mothers sing. Among the Ethyr Clan, young Thodin and his mate Laniya welcome their second daughter into the realm. Other Ethyr Dragons bat their wings with joy as their eggs come to life and their newborns break free of them. Not long after the excitement many of the soon-to-be mothers are discovering that perhaps they are not-to-be mothers afterall. Dozens of unhatched eggs sit among the circle and tears are to be had by many. Marobi’s hands still rest on her egg as she watches the uproar. She can feel the air change as her eyes make contact with others which still hold their eggs.

The crowd eventually calms down, some dragons already returning home after a great disappointment, their eggs left in the sand. Skovus spots Kyro comforting Marobi over their lifeless egg. Marobi turns to her mate “was all of this in vain?” her talons following Kyro’s scars. Kyro pulls Marobi closer to his chest, the powerful thuds of his heart beat comfort her.

“Give him more time, blessed one, the Mother Moon still shines.” They gaze into the sky. The moon is still a bright purple. Marobi feels her son in the egg, but can’t help to have little hope. Skovus calls upon the parents of the crowd. They assemble at the platform with their newborn white scales. Marobi’s eyes water, a deep left behind feeling overwhelms her.

The council members begin to address the parents and their white scales. The first, Arathad and his mate bring forth their large son and present him as “Arathid of Stone Clan, we ask that he is granted protection by the council.” Arathad bows before the council. The Alder, Gritos stands to address him.

“Arathid son of Arathad is welcomed to our council and the promise of it’s treaty and hereby initiated in the Trials of White Scale.” Arathad takes his son and steps aside for the next Stone Clan father to present their child. A young father presents his son as “Siridon of Stone Clan..” The young father asks for protection just as Arathad has done. Gritos grants his protection and so the next father approaches to grant his daughter Vivilin protection. A few more from the Stone Clan are presented before the first of the Kinship Delta approach. The first, Orsun and Pali approach with their daughter “Brita of the Kinship Delta.” She is welcomed and granted protection by Alder Dragon Ren. Next, new parents Yuritahnan and Valendri present their son “Yendri of the Kinship Delta.” They too are warmly welcomed by Ren. The last white scale of the Kinship Delta is presented by mother Nyra and father Hatius their daughter was welcomed as “ Hadiira of the Kinship Delta.” and then Ren seated with the council. The great Elder Ignitus stood tall as the first of the Ember Clan approached. A proud and infamous warrior Syzo-Fen approached with his first child “Monoki-Fen of the Ember Clan.” Ignitus smiled and replied.

“Monoki-Fen daughter of Syzo-Fen is warmly welcomed to our council and the promise of it’s treaty I hereby initiate you in the Trials of White Scale.” The words seem to slither from Ignitus’ tongue and the echo of his voice feels like an attack on Marobi’s bones. The Ember clan presents three more white scales, Wendil-Hoss, Fidel-Rha, and Tredahn-Kal. Then finally a reserved Daso-Rhys approaches Ignitus. He presents his nephew to the council.

“I present my nephew Del-Rhys, son of Del-Rhys and Talia-Rhys, due to the sudden death of my brother and his mate I solely take the responsibilities of being his guardian. I ask that he is granted protection by the council.” Ignitus and the other council members nod in agreement. Ignitus grants protection then Ronin addresses him.

“Daso-Rhys, your brother’s name carries great respect and he will be greatly missed. Before you is a noble responsibility. May the Aurora dragon guide you.” The council members affirm. A father from the Ashkin Clan approaches Ignitus and the council. The only white scale from the Ashkin is presented by his father as “Judon-Slak of the Ashkin” Ignitus, being the Elder of the Ashkin, welcomes the white scale with an over the top exaggeration that is rarely seen from the likes of Ignitus. The father dragon, Garridon-Slak, smiles and nods with a great approval. The mother, Layla-Slak loving the attention as well, takes her child and steps aside.

An older father from the Oracle’s clan steps forward, Didactus and his mate Fellindiir present their first daughter as “Dyadri of the Oracle” The Alder Dragon, Titus steps forward. He looks over the young white scale for a moment, he rubs his chin with great thought and bites his lip thoughtfully. Titus looks around as if to deeply consider whether or not to permit this young one’s protection. He thinks for a minute then very abruptly announces “of course! We permit Dyadri of .. the Oracle’s to our council and the promise of it’s treaty. Yes, we hereby initiate you in the Trials of White Scale… Welcome!” Titus stumbles back to his seat among the council. This Mother Moon only brings the one white scale for the Oracle’s Clan.

The Kinship Frith brings the parents of Galindel and Kollisi two white scales from the Guardian’s Rest, an ancient forest from the North Eastern provinces. The parents of each say very little. Skovus as their Alder grants them protection and on they go. The last clan to present their white scales are those of the Ethyr Clan. Marobi and Kyro watch as each child of their clan is brought to the council.

The First is presented as “Thosus of Ethyr Clan, Son of Thiiro and Holli”. The next “Narimith… Daughter to Nakarath and Kadirith..” Thodin looks to Kyro and Marobi before bringing his daughter to the council. His heart feels heavy for them, under his breath he prays for them. The young Thodin presents his second daughter “Herra of Ethyr Clan” Laniya holds her up for the Great Elder Ronin to see her. He is pleased and grants the council’s protection. Just then, a spurt of movement startles Marobi. The egg between her claws rattles back and forth. Her eyes widen greatly. Kyro’s wings extend. A piece of egg shell nearly flies into Marobi’s eye as it rips open from the inside. A fierce attitude is projected from this little dragon’s egg as Marobi and Kyro’s son emerges. His white scales shine a misty white his eyes a bright orange. They seem to thoughtfully take in the hatching ground. Their freshly born son has a look very sleek especially for a young one. The parent’s excitement, delayed, distracts the council still in the middle of their naming ceremony. Ronin can be seen with an ear to ear smile. The presenting of the last few white scales continue. Kyro and Marobi scoop up their bright little blessing as he is trying to wobble around in the sand. They wait behind the other parents, but can’t help staring and pinching at their little one. Kyro takes a moment to look around as if he is waiting to wake up. He looks to the Mother Moon one last time and watches as the purple colors fade. “Thank you” he whispers. Then it was their turn to present their child.

Kyro and Marobi bow before the council seated before them on the stone platform. Ronin slightly forward as the Elder of Ethyr Clan. Marobi holds their baby boy before them. Kyro speaks “ I present to the council Konin of Ethyr Clan, son to Kyro and Marobi we ask that he is granted protection by the council.” Marobi’s eyes water, the two parents overwhelmed with pride. The Elder Ronin at a loss for words appears to be very touched by the struggle of the young parents. The Elder raises his wings.

“Konin son of Kyro..” he looks back to the council and shrugs in a quick little “..and my grandson…” then he turns back to the crowd and announces “…is welcomed to our council and the promise of it’s treaty and hereby initiated in the Trials of White Scale!”

All of the white scales have now been named before the council. The families talk amongst themselves, some white scales already playing together. Some time passes before the council starts dividing the families into groups. Once each council member has brought together their group they head towards the opening of the council chambers. Gritos of the Stone clan takes his group, Ignitus another, Ren goes third followed by Titus. Skovus and Ronin approach Kyro and Marobi. Ronin holds Konin up in the light and looks him over. Konin looks like a healthy young white scale. Skovus sends her blessings, Marobi still adjusting says “Thank you..” her words have a powerful weight to them. Skovus smiles in return.

“Your Konin has been chosen for my dennery. Follow me and we can set up a den for you.” She heads toward the remaining parents in the hatching ground to gather her group. Soon after Ronin does the same. Kyro and Marobi, a little confused, gather their child and follow Skovus into the catacombs beneath the hatching ground. With them, Thodin’s family, Arathad’s family, Daso-Rhys and his nephew, and finally the Kinship Delta Family of Yuritahnan.

These families now share a dennery in the furthest reach of the catacombs. The five dens face each other in a large open cavern. Some natural rock formations serve as dividers between them granting some privacy and distance between each den. Skovus guides the families to their assigned den. First on the Northmost den, which is the smallest, Daso-Rhys and his Nephew Del-Rhys are assigned. Second, Thodin, Laniya, Hothima and white scale herra are assigned the largest den. Arathad complains for some time, eventually his mate Terran calms him down long enough to explain that Thodin’s family needs the extra room. Arathad then exclaims that he is taking the next one. Skovus okayes this for now. Arathad, Terran and white scale Arathid taking residence in the center den. Kyro, Marobi and white scale Konin are assigned to the next den. The final den, then went to Yuritahnan, Valendri and white scale Yendri. The families quickly noticed a warm aura within their dens unlike the air inside the catacombs. Skovus explained the warmth comes from below them from a series of halls known as the phoenix graveyard. The place of rest for the ancient phoenix-kind. An alliance which has become familiar in the history of the trials.

There is still plenty of daylight to be had, but Kyro and Marobi were quick to find a soft spot to lay down. Little Konin’s energy comes in bursts as he tries to run around his parents. White scales are famous for the spirit they exude at birth. Konin eventually tires out and his parents hold him close. The little family of Dragons rests well.

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