The Scepter Twins
Chapter 01 - The Meadow
It was a slightly warm and windy day on the Zephyr meadow, the type of day that held the slightest breath of a long awaited summer right around the corner. Morning dew still clung to the ground making the grass shimmer with small natural diamonds; the tall banyan trees were just starting to bud and blossom giving color back to the once grey frozen earth. The cool wind was causing the trees to sway, and the grass to dance all in time with some un-seen rhythm. Moving changing and ever growing all played to this elusive tune. As things came and thrived, withered and perished, to grow and die to live and learn it was the way of nature and her hidden song moving the evolution of everything from the smallest insects to the tallest birch trees none could escape her grasp...but two would seemingly try.
Small lithe shapes were stalking through the waist high grass; quiet clicks and chirps could be heard, mingling among the rustling of the grass. Multiple sets of glowing eyes peered out from the grass, a rainbow of glowing colours. Small searing orbs scanned the surrounding plain. Stalking through the grass the small shapes were stalking and seemingly hunting other dark shadows. Creeping slowly a larger shadow then jumps from its hiding place and tackles another dark shape; a fight is heard, tumbling out of the grass two creatures plop down in the soft clover.
They were young wyrmlings, pre-impression, and their act of stalking and romping about and mimicking the moves of the older fighters was a sort of training but to them it was fun. Jumping and fluttering their wings trying to imitate flight, they would dance about bounding through grass, joyously feigning slashes and whipping their tails as if they were deep in the grip of a life or death struggle. To them this was fun but unknown to them it was a kind of subliminal training unknowingly preparing them for service to the King of Synesta. Zipping around they were under the protect ever watchful eye of Roin, a war hero of old, his stocky body still holding some resemblance to the iron willed hero he had once been now he was just an aging ranch master.
He was a veteran of Dragons-Tear, the last and most terrible of all the wars between Synesta and Geriliad, causing chaos and discord for years leaving whole towns obliterated off of the map. He had been Captain General of the 1st Order of Airborne Calvary, his division was the Winged Lancers one of the most influential units in the war, Well that was the military title he had once held, he always though it was a bit to long but now it was just Ranch Master for one of the oldest breeding ranches, Plia Myrna. He was a good man, strong and of muscular build he has been called homely but that is usually on account of his scar, running from right above his right eye down his cheek to meet with the right corner of his mouth, received from the Wizard Salot as he struck down of the most powerful, and key figure of the war. Looking west towards the setting sun he is reminded of his wife's cooking (Sia) she is able to bring together the oddest of flavors into a wonderful feast, it should be ready by the time he got back to the ranch, he also shudders reminded of the mile long trek back to the ranch, usually he would ride but Misa (his she-wyrm) cannot fly after she mates in the spring.
He then turns his mind from daydreaming back to his job. One by one he connects with each wyrmling igniting the spark, some call it other things connecting minds telepathy whatever you decide. They must have this spark ignited they are playing and still oblivious to the world after the spark is ignited by one of pure Serjin blood, one of many families able to communicate with dragons (most people of Synesta have this ability, only those from Geriliad have had this trait bred out), they slowly become aware of their surroundings and go through a change usually taking twenty-four clicks of the sun to do this but in some rare cases it has happened almost immediately, actually the only other time in Synesta's history as a dragon breeding world it was the dragon that belonged to Ramos Serjin the greatest dragon warrior and war veteran who ever lived, he single handedly turned the tides against Geriliad he was also the one who came up with the barrier, some say he was wizard but it had never been proven.
The spark must be ignited while they are still 3 months to a year old before there colouring finally settles, usually in the first three months they will change colors depending on mood, emotion and appetite which can all play big part in their development, so what they eat, how much and how you tend to them is very important during their "first year or hatchling stage".
Turning to the task at hand he now observes, he is watching them for different abilities and innate traits, carefully judging them and watching how they play the group he has will most likely yield the most magic using and special interest dragons among all of the other groups, this one important trait magic is usually prominent in blues and reds.
He would have to be very scrupulous in his study of the young he would have to notice subtle changes or small things happening for instance one of the wyrmlings being surrounded by an aura that they were oblivious to, or being able to blow flames, ice or any number of elements and their different combinations (at this age it would be a tiny puff nothing like the older dragons) and mark off the name of the wyrmling and the area they would be sorted into. These particular wyrmlings were about four months old and starting to take on their final colours anything from a mottled gray to a shade of gold that is brighter around the spot where you are looking and any other combination of colours you can imagine.
Roin was watching to the west studying a peculiar wyrmling a little female just sitting off to one side, she was black and red an odd combination for a this group most of the fighter dragons had already been selected these where either most likely the mage dragons or the special interest (control of other elements [ice, earth...etc] and different powers), and most females were either solid white, blue, green and occasionally spots but never such a beautiful gradient that started with red on top and slowly faded to black haunches.
As he watched her he noticed something she wasn't playing with the other pus she was sitting by herself content to watch the sunset. Her scales had an odd shimmer like the haze you would see on a summer day, while looking out on the roads or the desert, it was what first drew his attention along with her solitude. "That little flat nosed one has potential I can just feel it..." he crouches down racking his brain trying to figure her out it wasn't like anything he had ever seen or read in the creature manuals before. He pulls out his notes and checks over them carefully "hmmm I figure special interest but what area telekinesis ...no ...astral projection...no...Maybe illusionist...hmm I don't know just yet I'll have to keep watching" he tucks his notes away. Then using reflexes toned by years in his majesty's service he reacts to hearing a rustle behind him, he ducks and rolls to the right while at the same time he whips out his sword tip whistling and slams it into the ground, behind and to the right of where he was just standing.
A small red and black shape in deep concentration was sitting behind where he was standing, she re-focuses on him and he realizes that it was the same little wyrmling that was sitting off by her-self. She looked at him with a cool complacent grin and amused glowing eyes and she chuckles softly at her own little joke. At that moment he didn't think it was true but realization came over him as he studied her body shape and structure, "She came from Misa's clutch I should have known..." he sheathes his sword while chuckling to himself, and squats down and reaches out to the wyrmling, and in his deep brassy voice says "I know the wyrmling I am going to have to watch out for now and I know exactly where your going to be sorted into..."
Chapter 02 - Pen #28
On his way back to the ranch, he glances behind him to the east and chuckles again, those wyrmlings were all following, as they should be, but were moving as if to stalk him. It was cute seeing them this small, they are still cute and innocent and they won't start actually growing and gaining weight and size until the sixth month after that they just shoot up in size and mass [this is when they are considered 3rd years they aren't actually 3 years old it is just a traditional title they are usually 5 or older] this is where they start to eat burnwort and any other strain of the same plant that is aligned with their specific element (icewort, marshwort...etc) and start to practice there innate ability. As he got back to the Ranch he immediately barks the orders in drakon *get into the nest NOW* (was a rough translation) and slowly they slink into their prospective cages, at this age they cannot be trusted to run free like most of the adolescent and older wyrms .
As he is locking the cages the savory aroma of Nerma and burnwort cooked together, for a bowl of Sia's special stew, wafted by. Nerma were the herd beasts that lived in most of Synesta and especially in the area around the city of Sairon, when Roin's grandfather first commissioned the breeding ranch to be built they were already in abundance so he also commissioned a fence and corral to be built around a certain grazing area so that they could control the Nerma, they are used for everything from feed for the dragons and humans, also the fur is good for keeping warm or cool depending on how you treat the skin it can become either a leather for keeping warm or a cloth for keeping cool.
He was making sure all of the wyrmlings got tucked away in their proper nest when he caught whiff of her stew "Hmmm that smells really good, she hasn't made that stew since before we got married..." in his exaltation of her special stew he forgets to lock the last pen, number 28 the first of many coincidences and chance happenings for the two residents in this particular pen.
"Hmmm its dark again it must be safe to come out........" Syrena crawls out slowly just in case their caretaker came back, her hackles were raised and she felt as if she was about to pounce. The slightest sound caught her ears and her head scanned looking for any sign of the caretaker. "Syrena there wasn't a click...did it lock?" her brother wyrm slinks out of the shadows and slowly nudges up to the door and touches it there is a loud creak and it slowly swings open and the pale lamp light was let in.
Syrena slowly squeezes her little slim red body out of the cage. The air had the distinct musk of wyrm, the tang of new births, and the stink of dung used for fertilizer. The shallow light thrown of by the Nerma tallow lamps didn’t affect her night vision it added a sort of twilight to the dark barn. "Come on Myron lets go explore…or are you scared?" Syrena’s Brother Myron slinked slowly out of the shadows and cantered in to the circle of light given off by the lamp, the light gleaned off of his bulky body adding a sinister look to his already wicked coloring a blend of yellow, orange and red. "I am not scared I am just...cautious" at the behest of his sister Myron reluctantly follows.
The barn was an old stone building of two stories on the 1st story the adult breeding females resided in separate areas not many breeding farm were as large as Plia Myrna Ranch which resides on the outskirts of Turgosh a small farming village on the edge of the Shadow-speak forest. It roughly resembles a horse ranch except on a gigantic scale the stalls were up to 50 hands high and 80 wide, these were the small stalls. The top floor of the eastern barn was mostly storage and supply, a maze of old crates tack and other dragon training and breeding equipment.
Myron slowly pokes his nose out sniffing the air for any sign of danger he squeezes his bulky body between the crack of the door and cage. "...Jeez what took you so long? There is no one here..." Syrena chuckles softly and moves out with a cautious Myron in tow. They wander around area that the cages were situated, walking from circle to circle of soft light given off by the tallow lamps. As they poked about they could hear the sounds of the other dragon wyrmlings sleeping, wrestling about or speaking in hushed tones. The wyrmlings would talk of the day’s activities. This communication was crucial to the development of the dragons, each paired up with a prospective cage mate, they breeders tried to align polar opposites together, for example a warrior and a mage or fire and ice, their growth was doubled or even tripled by this seemingly odd placement.
The two come to a doorway leading out into a dusty hallway with many other doorways leading to different areas, dusty rooms and silent tombs were they shared thoughts of the pups. Entering the old hallway padding softly on dirty and in some places rotting carpet, dusty tapestries and small inexpensive ornaments placed here and there, almost randomly to try and throw off the drab appearance of the hall. Passing some empty rooms some full of different aged dragons ranging from near hatchling to wyrmlings about to enter impression (Sixth Years). Myron stops after passing a room full of sleeping Sixth years and looks at a very large tapestry. Stopping as well Syrena does a double take at the dusty tapestry, sitting down and staring for what seemed an eternity their gleaming eyes took in the maelstrom of colours and activity depicted in the aging, it had caught them and filled them with a sense of pride and awe. Giant bronze wyrms with seated lancers charged through enemy lines while fire breathers seared the enemy on the ground. Swords clashed and axes fell, as lines of men crashed together while mages set spells and cantrip laying waste to thousands of men.
The two small wyrmlings break away from the impressive aging art piece and stare at each other, Myron decides to speak first "wow...impressive", a grin spreading across her black and purple face she laughs "hah...my thoughts exactly." Hearing the sound of people coming down from the end of the hall they scramble and hide in a room full of old rotting riders tack and other various mending tools, all seemingly covered with what seemed a decades worth of dust. "Syrena I don't think this is a good idea...we might get punished." Myron slinked out slowly from behind an old crate his jaw slightly ajar and panting with anxiety and fear, not of getting caught but the punishment. "Hush Myron nothing is going to happen and if were caught we just tell the truth the cage was left open and we got out." Myron still unsure of the situation he shrugs it off and decides to roll with it, walking next to Syrena his head low to the ground and swinging back and forth, while Syrena strutted proudly forward crimsons eyes scanning the hall in front of them, she was content with the fact that Roin had forgotten to lock their pen.
Reaching a crossway of two gigantic hallways, they used to be a major access way for full-grown dragons and their riders, now it seemed nothing more than an old silent tomb. The path directly in front of them was a way out. Coming slowly up to it Syrena and Myron stand in the massive doorway the orange and yellow twilight of a setting sun coming in threw the doorway, the beautiful orange sun was setting behind the western mountains and large storm clouds were all billowed up ready to come over and pour they load of rain. Turning away from the exit they examine their other options of either two dark corridors. Syrena sniffed the air expecting a trainer to come down a corridor any moment and thrash them but none came so they proceeded down the left corridor until the crossway was out of sight and only the occasional tallow lamp adorned this hall. As they walked on they slowly came to a heavy metal door with many clasps and locks and from within came an odd noise it sounded like murmuring and hissing this piqued their curiosity so they walked up to the door and pressed an ear to it.
"Are you sssure Sssiosss?" a sinister voice asks there is shuffling around then another man speaks with a tongue that is to smooth for anyone's good "Yes Sios can you get the two from Pen 28 before feastday? We need to further the studies of the Cult and we need their specific blood, the stars they were hatched under and their lineage hasn't been this good since the Age of Ramos and his Great Wyrm " then this man named "Sios" speaks "Yes I am sure the two pups will be their we have many dragons and two pups will not be missed..." the sinister voice speaks again "Good Sssiosss we expect them before next feastday!." The sound of chairs grating against stone floor and locks coming free set the two wyrmlings on edge, the decoded to start running "Syrena where they speaking of us?" Myron asks in a hurried whisper "Yes they were we are in Pen 28...we have to escape I have heard rumors of this cult and they do terrible things to dragons in order to further their 'studies' and we are leaving now!" The run at full speed towards the open door they saw at the crossway it was their only escape!
Chapter 03 - Escape
First dark had just fallen and two unseen obscure shapes shoot from an insignificant ranch in the middle of the Mysenian plain between the capital of Surosh and the Greater Southern desert. The desert is a vast and unforgiving terrain where one can die within hours of entering it only the nomadic people called the Tierans can survive the scorching sun and freezing nights, they are also they only ones who allow trade routes across it and know the locations of the sparse oasis's. Not much is known about these people other than that they also raise dragons but an entirely different breed that more resembles a large flightless lizard other than the grandiose fighter wyrms of the north. The Tierans also have a strange magic but not very much is known it is an odd and secretive group.
Padding along nails clicking on stones and debris dodging this way and that avoiding roots and underbrush. Chests heaving tongues lolling the two wyrmlings stop at a small spring. "Are we safe Syrena?" Myron golden eyes peering over between drinks "no we will never be safe we have to keep running", a sad look comes upon Myron's face "really I hoped we could run for about a day or two then be safe" breathing heavily Myron looks to Syrena, her crimson eyes peering out she chuckles "hah you have allot to learn! Did you hear what they said! They want us and they will be looking for us we need to travel at night and sleep during the day...well lets keeps going." Bounding along they keep running south along the edge of the Durocher Woods, the sun setting to their right as they ran, knowing the dangers of night time in the Durocher woods having been coached from a young age about it.
Running south they pass in and out of shadows the white light of the double moon casting an eerie glow over the land. The wind was blowing causing the knee high grass the move and sway, the shifting shadows moving over the two lithe shapes weaving in and out of the tall grass. "Hmm when are we gonna get some sleep Syrena?" Myron tired muzzle looking at Syrena "soon ok" stopping Syrena points to a tree looming over all the others on the very edge of the forest "hmm see that tall tree over there" Myron stops suddenly "no no no that is the Durocher Woods they are VERY dangerous....I will take my chances on the open plain" looking back Syrena shakes her head but continues to trot towards the tree "fine....suit yourself but take your chances with the Wylits running around they are bound to get you" chuckling she runs off towards the tree leaving Myron. Sniffing out a spot he lays down in the tall grass watching his twin run off, content that he would probably survive the night but he wasn't so sure about her, laying his head on broad forepaws that betrayed his eventual size, he softly begins to whine, him and Syrena had never been apart and he realized how lonely he was, closing his eyes he falls into a fitful sleep.
A deep wicked howl rang out over the plain jolting Myron awake getting up she pokes her head out of the tall grass her eyes flitting back and forth searching for the source of the sound as another wicked howl rang out followed by the snarling and whining of a group. "Oh damn must be Wylits...why didn’t I go with Syrena she is the braver one." Peering out he notices dark shapes poking around the edge of the grasslands, they were running in and of the woods.
Bristling and snarling the pack of Wylits bickered and fought the smell of dragon strong in their nostrils. The leader of the pack steps into the moon light searching the plain, his sharp angular face peering out, black fur rippling, large tail swishing he catches sight of his prey, small and young an easy kill. Belting out a long evil howl he starts running with the pack snarling and snapping at his heels. Bristling and emaciated having not eaten for a few weeks, madness had begun to take its toll on the pack lack of food, had begun to drive them insane.
Spying the deadly predators Myron crawls out staying low to the ground trying to avoid detection. An entire pack of half starved Wylits would tear him apart. Judging the distance between him and the Yorba tree his sister was near, as well as the distance between her and the pack he decides to take his chances and make a run for it.
Bolting out from the cover he begins to close the distance between himself and his twin, he knew the general area where she was, he could feel it almost like an invisible link between them, he didn’t exactly know how...he just knew. He panted heavily moving his cub legs as fast as he could, while the large pack of snarling Wylits closed menacingly on his left. The leader seeing the small pup bolt out from his hiding place he begins to chase this seemingly easy meal, with his pack close at his heels, he was trying to close the distance between himself and the easy meal before the pack reached her, holding more concern for his own existence driving him towards her.
Chapter 04 - The Dream
Shivering she crouched down under the tall Yorba tree, hiding in the shadow cast by its huge boughs, its greenery was very large and leafy providing plenty of darkness. She had been in and out of sleep for some time; every time she fell asleep the same dream had hit her causing her to wake up shaking and quivering. It always caused her problems because she would never get enough sleep it always made her wake up with a gasp or a scream more often than not, night sweats and cries for help usually accompanied it, but she knew it was important that it held an important special meaning. Her head resting on her forepaws she braves sleep again, the sounds of the forest swirling away to the pitch black of sleep:
Flying over the earth barren and dead, her eyes flickered back and forth scanning the charred mountains and dead plains. There was nothing left alive but her it seemed, any other life that remained were wicked twisted shades, mere fractions of their former selves. Flying west she passes over the wasteland she feels a presence call to her a sensual dark voice rang out in her head, it was calling her like an addiction, The dark valley was breathing with a deep resonate anger expelling an evil mist causing the trees and life to wilt away all around it. All life was being destroyed as a dark and evil presence awoke from its thousand-year slumber. Opening her eyes she knew instantly something was wrong this was not her normal dream usually she just watched but was never actually conscious, "Where am I?" she said her soft voice rumbling out the rhetorical question, peering off to the left and right she looked for recognizable landmarks, there were none except one. The broken and cracked earth was red and dusty all plant life was burnt away nothing was living all was barren rock except one small patch of life, the last bastion of good against this imposing evil.
The Giant Yorda Tree was still standing and only a small section of forest was left around it all other plant life was dead and burnt away by the fire that was this evil, this she remembered the dead life nothing left but this large tree. Looking up at the tree a voice spoke in her mind "Syrena" it was a soft caring voice very silken and smooth full of caring and understanding but also a great grief, "Syrena come to me", turning around she looks to the Yorda tree "Did you speak to me?" Padding tentatively up to the tree looking up at its gnarled wooden trunk and green boughs "Syrena, you know what you must do...” a puzzled look coming across her face "wait...what do you mean?" "You know where the truth lies, you must search out the scepter twins, you and your brother wyrm.....you are our only hope..." backing away slightly the tree was speaking directly into her mind it scared her but it was soothing and gentle, "who are the scepter twins?" A spirit image formed in the air above her head, two children not much older than 17, a young boy and a young girl they both had black hair and brilliant green eyes and the same thin build, you could tell at once they were related it was un-mistakable. "These are the twins Kora and Rannon search them out. One in the Valley of Silence the Other in Karn..." Syrena snorted in understanding, as she gazes up into the magnificent tree.” Oh no I have to go!" a sudden feeling of fear and dread coming over her "Myron is in trouble I must go!" walking around she trys to wake up from this vivid and scary vision, informing her of the things that will come to pass unless her and her bother do something.
A great earthy voice rang in her head “Dost thou wish to leave the waking dream?” Syrenas peers at what seemed to be a face made within the bark of the tree. She yells at the top of her lungs “let me go ancient, my brother is in trouble.”
A bright flash and soundless thunderclap was all she felt. Suddenly her world reeled about, trees and sky combining into a nauseating swirl. Shaking her small head free of the vertigo she could hear the muffled and distant cry of her brother. Her hackles rising as she went charging to the rescue, the courage of a full grown gladiator class dragon.