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Thread: Scale and Feather

  1. #1

    Default Scale and Feather

    This is a story I thought up during a discussion in the Suggestions thread, (Two New Race Ideas), as a way that this new race might be introduced into the game, if it were ever to be considered. But I'm not sure if that was the right place for it.

    I'm not even sure if this thread is the right place for it, but I'd still like to tell this story, even though I know it'll not happen any time soon, if at all. If this is the wrong thread, then please feel free to move it. Thank you and I hope you all enjoy it.

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    The Ancient dragon surveyed the landscape that stretched out below him, the only sound the beating of his great wings and the rustle of the wind over his dark red scales. Torchwing was in no hurry. It had been awhile since the old Helian had been out of his lair, and the warm sun felt good on his skin, highlighting the golden stripes that dappled across it.

    Movement caught his eye, and he glanced downward, the rotten stench of decay meeting his nostrils a moment later. His great eyes narrowed as he recognized what they were. There is no mistaking the Whithered Aegis once you see them.

    Flame!” He thought, “The undead are growing bolder by the day...”

    This small group of undead seemed to be attacking something, perhaps some poor Adventurer that had crossed their path. The dragon flew lower, trying to see what it was. When he could only see glimpses of whatever it was, but as it seemed to move on four legs, he might almost have mistaken it for a wolf.

    Almost.

    A piercing cry reached his ears, unlike anything he'd heard before. A flash of white, brown and yellow, a flurry of large, feathered wings-

    That,” He thought, “is no wolf.”

    Immediately, he dove, landing hard enough that the earth trembled with force of it, and let out his mightiest roar! That certainly got the undead's attention. They abandoned their prey to face the newcomer, rushing onward regardless of the powerful foe they now beheld. There were seven in all, but the Ancient soon made quick work of them. After gathering his loot from their remains, he then went over to examine their quarry, which now lay unconscious on the ground.

    “By my scales...” he thought as he gazed at it. “What is this thing?!”

    In all his life and travels, Torchwing had never seen a creature quite like this. In size, it was little bigger then a dragon hatchling, but it looked older then that, perhaps just come into adulthood. In head and chest, the creature resembled a strange giant bird. A snow white head and neck, a large curved beak, with brown feathers down its chest and large feathered wings sprouting from its back. A strange mane of lighter brown fur also ringed the base of its neck, reaching down to mid-chest. It's forelegs were bare from the elbow down, covered in tiny yellow scales and ended with strong talons, each equipped with a deadly black claw.

    But here the resemblance stopped, for the beast's hindquarters were completely different. The brown feathers ended at its midriff, blending smoothly into short, tawny brown fur. The hind legs were like those of the Saris, lean and powerfully muscled. This, Torchwing reasoned, would give the creature ample power needed for lunching itself into flight. They ended in large paws, and long rope-like tail come off the rear, ending with a large tuft of fur.

    “For stabilizing flight, most likely.” thought the dragon.

    It was then that he noticed something twitch on the creature's head. Two white ears stuck up just behind the eyes on it's head. They also, were like those of a Saris, but instead of fur, these were covered in feathers. They twitched again as Torchwing drew nearer.

    “So, still alive, my strange friend?” he asked. As if in answer, one ear swiveled to catch his voice, and the one of the creature's eyes eased open. Torch caught sight of dark blue with a round pupil, but clouded with pain as the creature tried to raise its head to look at him. It blinked once, then the eye closed, and it went limp again.

    It was only now that Torchwing noticed the blood, and silently cursed himself. He'd been so caught up in the beast's appearance that he hadn't checked it for injury. For all he knew it could have bled to death while he was still gawking at it! He quickly found the source of the problem however, a long gash in the creature's side, which was bleeding sluggishly.

    “Hrm... You won't be alive much longer if I don't find a healer.” He said quietly. Fortunately, Torchwing knew of a naka city nearby. He would take the creature there for healing. Perhaps they might know what it was...

    ..................

    Torchwing glanced around as he entered the healers' building. He was in Khutit form, as his normal form was too big to enter through the doors. He soon spotted “his” creature on a bed near the far wall. The human healer tending it gave him a respectful nod as he approached.

    “How is our 'guest'?” he asked softly.

    “Stable.” said the human, an elderly male, “Luckily the wound only looked worse then it was. But he seems under nourished and hard pressed. Perhaps those Withered Aegis you killed had been hunting him for awhile now.”

    “Strange...” mused Torchwing, “Why would they chase him for so long?”

    “Maybe he can tell us when he wakes.” answered the healer, “If his kind speak, at least.”

    A soft groan came from the bed. The two turned to look, and saw the creature lift its head, looking around slowly with wide eyes. It saw them and hissed in alarm, flaring its mighty wings!

    “Peace!” said Torchwing, reaching a claw toward it, palm out, “Peace, my friend! We won't harm you. You're safe now.”

    The creature gave him a strange look, then settled back down. There was a long silence, then-

    “You look familiar.”

    Another silence, as Torchwing and the healer stared in shock. Certainly they had guested that the creature could speak, but hearing and seeing it actually do so still took them by surprise. Its voice held a faint croak and hiss, whether an accent or simply from a dry throat, it was hard to tell. But the voice was definitely male.

    Finally regaining his composure, Torchwing regained his dragon form, though he had to lie down after banging his head on the ceiling. “Do you remember anything of what happened?” he asked.

    The creature started for a moment at the sudden transformation, but then calmed as he seemed to recognize Torchwing. “Aye, I remember you, Magic Wielder.” his said, nodding his head to the impressive dragon. “You saved my life.”

    “Pardon me,” said the healer, speaking to the creature, “I don't mean to be rude, but who are you?”

    He studied the human for a moment, then said, “My name is Talonstrike. I am one of the Gryphire'ryne (Griff-Fire-Rye-In); the Children of Gryphera (Griff-Fear-a), first of our kind.”

    “Griff- Griffire- Griffin?” tried the human.

    Talonstrike looked at him thoughtfully, then said, “If our name is too much for you, then yes. Griffin will do.”

    “My name is Torchwing.” said the dragon, as Talonstrike turned back toward him. “Where do you come from, Talonstrike?” he asked.

    The griffin was silent for a moment, then said slowly, “My home is a steep cliff face, the cliff where we built our eyries for generations. The cliff rings all around a small valley with many trees and rivers. Hunting and fishing are good, and we can gather wood, clay, and weaving grass (flax) to build with. My kind have lived their since before any of us remember, never needing to go into the outside world. We were content, and lived in peace.” He paused then, lowering his head and continued, “We thought those crags and cliffs would protect us from all threats... We thought we were safe...” He looked up, met their eyes-

    “We were wrong.”

    He continued sadly, “They came upon us without warning, and without mercy. They carry the scent of Death, yet they are not dead! These, these walking Death, somehow they made it up the cliffs... There was this- this plant-like thing with them! It tried to take root, twisting and distorting eveything around it. We fought, we fought, but they drove us into the valley... Many of my battle-kin were slain... I was sent to find help. I fled, but those- those-”

    “They are known as the Withered Aegis.” Torchwing said solemnly. “They are undead.”

    “Yes...” said Talonstrike, “Yes, those, those undead, followed me, ambushed me when I chose to rest. I should have known! I would be dead as well, were it not for you.” He raised his head, looking gratefully at the Ancient dragon. “You know of these foul creatures.” he then said seriously, “I can see the truth of it in your eyes.”

    There was another long pause, like the calm before the storm...

    Finally, Talonstrike said, “I was sent to find help. But, it seems that you have found me...”


    .......................

    A few weeks had passed since Talonstrike's rescue from the Whithered Aegis, and Torchwing came to visit him regularly. During these visits, the Ancient dragon told Talonstrike about the lands of Istaria, of the Living Races and their Gift, and of their plight by the hoards of the Withered Aegis.

    The griffin's health was fast improving. Today he was well enough for a short flight outside. Torchwing accompanied him, and afterward, they both rested on the roof of a nearby building.

    As they sat there, looking out at the setting sun, Torchwing looked down at the young griffin. He studied the other for a moment, as if gathering his thoughts, and then said, “I have told you much about our lands these past few weeks. But you have yet to tell me more about your homeland.”

    He paused, wondering if he should continue. He knew that speaking of the griffin's homeland might be painful for Talonstrike, but it was the only way the other Living Races might be able to help free them from the undead armies. Finally, he said, “I would like to know more about where you come from. Perhaps with that knowledge, we might find a way to rid your home of the Whithered Aegis.”

    The young griffin remained silent, staring out at the horizon. For a moment, Torchwing was afraid that he might have asked the question too soon. But then-

    “My home is an island in the sea.”

    Talonstrike did not look at the dragon as he spoke, but continued to fix his gaze out beyond the setting sun. His eyes had a far away look in them, as if he were once again seeing his beloved home.

    “My home is an island shrouded by a deep fog that not even our keen eyes can pierce. Within this fog are tall pillars of rock and sharp stones that jut from the water. And through that fog are beaches of white sand that ring a clear lagoon. Beyond the lagoon are tall steep cliffs that ring the entire island.

    The eldest of my people say that our home was once a great mountain of the sea that spewed fire from it's depths. The mountain blew itself up, they say, and now all that remains are the great stone cliff-walls and the heart of the mountain at the center of the island. There is still fire inside it, but it no longer spits flames.

    The steep cliffs are were we build out eyries, our nests. And below are lush forests and meadows. It is a good place. Or, at least, it was...”

    Talonstrike faltered then, looking away from the sunset.

    Torchwing waited patiently, not wanting to interrupt. The young griffin said nothing more for a long while. Then he seemed to perk up slightly, as if remembering something. One of the creature's claws went to his chest, and drew out something that had been hidden among the feathers and mane of fur.

    As he held it up, the thing seemed to glow in the warm light of the sun's last rays. Torchwing stared at it in wonder. It was a simple pendant. A smooth round stone hung on a rawhide cord, but the stone was unlike anything that the old dragon had seen before. It was the color of honey, with flecks of what looked like gem powder in it. Strangest of all was the tiny grass beetle that seemed to be encased within it.

    “What is that?” he asked, pointing to it with a claw.

    “A gift from a friend,” Talonstrike said softly, gazing at it as he held it in the light. “We call it 'Amber'. It seeps from certain trees on our island and hardens into stone over time. These are tall, straight trees with needles for leaves. Sometimes we collect the sap from these trees to make it ourselves, but amber is more easily found in hardened clusters at the base of the trees. Sometimes things like this beetle get trapped in the amber before it hardens, and we find them.”

    He finally turned to look at Torchwing, and continued, “My people are not stone cutters. Amber and gems are the hardest things we can cut. Wood, fired clay, leather and sharpened gems are what most use for armor and weapons. But the most experienced crafters can take the amber and melt it, and then cast it into feathers which are tied together with rawhide over leather padding. Gem powder is often mixed with the amber to strengthen it.”

    His eyes seemed to smile then, and he chuckled quietly, saying “I guess it wasn't a very smart idea to leave without getting my armor first...” But then his face grew solemn again. “The undead came from under the water and through the fog. They somehow made it up the steep cliffs... I wasn't the only one who was sent to find help. But the fog that we thought could protect us, now became a death trap. Those of us who didn't crash into the stone were slain by the undead that followed us into it. We never saw them until it was too late... As far as I know, I was the only one who escaped...”

    Talonstrike would say no more after that. Torchwing watched him for a few moments, unsure of what to do. Finally, he said, “I'm truly sorry for your loss. But I will do what I can to help you. And perhaps we can convince the other Living Races to also come to you people's aid, and strike another blow against the Blight and the Whithered Aegis...”

    My first venture into Istaria fanfiction: link and my other fanfics: link and artwork: link

  2. #2

    Default Re: Scale and Feather

    Awesome and inspiring story! So many elements that would be wonderful to incorporate into Istaria, too. Thank you for sharing! :-)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scale and Feather

    yes please ~!!! devs yes please!
    we could have a battle to free the griffin race..
    it would be soo epic!!
    this was a great read

  4. #4
    Member
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    Default Re: Scale and Feather

    Yes! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes!! We so should!!!

    Oh and amazing story, you're an awesome writer. O.o /jealous

  5. #5

    Default Re: Scale and Feather

    lol! wow Thank you I'm glad you guys like it. I've been wondering if I should continue the story a bit, or leave it as is.

    My first venture into Istaria fanfiction: link and my other fanfics: link and artwork: link

  6. #6

    Default Re: Scale and Feather

    (Really nice story If you want to continue it, I'm sure you'll do well.)

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