“Mr Ser, kweh, what are we looking for?” The large bird asked as she followed close behind her feline rider who had his lance out and ears laid back as he looked around. Her long nailed claws clicked on the tiled floor, dirty and worn from the years of neglect given to them.
They had just stepped into the dungeon, the outside world a thick forest full of many noises that Yakitori didn’t recognize but as Servaos seemed at ease she tried to worry not. Her rider was an adventurous sort, always off for the next fun quest that awaited them, but also smart in the ways of the land and areas they had visited before. Only getting ear twitches as she followed him, she did at times wish her mister rider could talk, but she knew he’d share any thoughts if important. He was off to gently touch a wall as his lance lowered, fingers tracing the words as Yakitori tilted her head back and forth as she tried to read the words.
“Here Consuelo died, but not quick enough, kheh… Who’s Consuelo, kweh?” Only getting a shrug from Servaos, the dragon knew she had so much to learn, but also supposed with this being their first time through the dungeon it couldn’t be helped.
Nadie dismounted Starfall, inspecting the cavern ahead of them. The Cells of the Mourning Dragon, they called it—yet, it looked more like a tomb or cave. Well, it wasn’t his business how the dungeon was named. What mattered was that he would find the treasure he was looking for. Starfall huffed and leaned down to stare at him with her glowing eyes. Sorry, old girl. The treasure we are looking for. The dragon seemed content with his reply and her feathers smoothed out.
Luckily, the entrance was big enough to accommodate a dragon of her size. Hopefully the interior was just as spacious. Nadie went in first, clamoring through the darkness until his eyes adjusted to the torchlight of the caves. Starfall followed, her eyes easily piercing through the darkness. Just before them stood the statues of a large wind dragon and what might have been a bestia; The moment the first one made a light ‘kweh,’ they realized they were no statues at all. He narrowed his eyes. Were they also seeking the treasure of the cavern? Had they stumbled here by accident? Perhaps they were guards of the place.
He coughed and Starfall hissed, wanting to catch their attention. Their reaction would decide whether they lived or died.
Trailing his gloved hand along the dimly lit wall, Servaos was checking for more simply set up traps before they continued, ears twisting and turning as they kept alert for anything that may start approaching, Yakitori chatting away as her voice filled the quiet cells and bounced off to head deeper into the dungeon that was just starting to be explored.
“What is inside, kweh?” Getting no answer, she was just doing softer noises when suddenly they had guests that didn’t seem to pay much mind to them, at least until the wind dragon made one of her soft noises and alerted them to the fact they were very much alive and breathing. Heaving what was a sigh without noise, he did miss the old days of being able to stealth, but that was not the issue at hand.
Raising his lance to a more defensive stance as his ears laid against his head, he was taking stepping back as his chocobird fluffed up, his foot applying only the slightest of pressure as he felt the stone start to move under his weight, a wall opening suddenly to a brown mushroom like creature stumble out, head splitting open at a gigantic roar filled the current hall.
“Mr Ser, kweh!” Starting to move to protect her rider, she turned quickly as Ser’s attention was taken away, both deciding that the newly arrived were less of a threat then their new monster that joined them. “Uh oh, kweh.”
Flailing his hands for the other two to join the fray or run, he was rather agile as he sidestepped the first attack and thrusted his lance forward, pulling out as a sickening smell filled the room as smaller mushrooms started emerging from the wound. ‘Well fuck…’ Gasping loudly as such thoughts, Servaos supposed it was time to awaken the sleeping lance once more.
The raising of the lance didn’t do much to change Nadie’s opinion of the duo. However, the two were more distracted by the mushrooms, and Nadie agreed with their priorities. Their newfound guests were fleet on their feet. He joined the fray as soon as Servaos motioned, somewhat glad the person didn’t want to talk during a battle.
With Shadowstar’s eyes watching his back, he doubted the Rider would be able to sneak up on him. Wind dragons were too honorable to do such a thing, but she kept an eye on the dragon anyways as her Rider pulled out his blades. He slashed at the little mushrooms. Most turned into stir-fry ingredients, but some of the slices grew little legs and trudged on. As the noxious spores started to bother him, Shadowstar whipped up a wind that blew them further into the corridors, away from the battle—taking the smallest of the mushrooms with them in the gust.
Left with just the original beast and its largest spores, Nadie threw a dagger at the origin point. The blade was engraved with the shape of flame and glittered like sands. It was poisoned with every tonic and enchantment he could put on it, but he had no clue if it would work on fungi. He hoped it at least stunned it for a while as the lancer closed in.
Hopping back easily even if in heavily weighted armour, it was a wonder that he was so agile and quick on his feet, but that was the last thing on Servaos’s mind as his perky ears laid back against his head. He could hear Yakitori pecking away at the smaller ones until they were whisked away, then returning to the larger one who was too large to be swift and left bumbling around in circles while the large bird pecked away at the spores for now.
For now they were left with the main creature, but even where the dagger was thrown it only was left ambling around if now slow and it’s beefy hand reached for the weapon lodged uncomfortably in it’s fungi flesh. It was enough of a pause and distraction for him, tapping the end of the beautifully crafted lance that shined for a moment Moving his ears back up to a more attentive position, the dragon suddenly stopped when given the signal to flee from the creature, kwehing as she ran off to the side just in time as the blade of the lance glowed before erupting in flames as the creature was heard screeching and finally collapsing to the floor. A thankfully short battle as the lance turned back with only the glimmering gems on the side of it.
Turning to the other, he was still cautious, hand still wrapped around the lance but he was always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt if they fought alongside him. Moving his hands in what many people thought as nonsense ways, he was communicating a greeting that was easy enough to read, along with a motion of would the other care to join as they traversed the dungeon. He doubted that they too felt the pull to his egg that he felt within the walls of this small maze.
Nadie carefully retrieved his dagger—steering clear of the fiery lance—and placed it back in its sheath. He looked to the next chamber, wondering how deep it went, knowing that somewhere in there a hoard of eggs was lying in wait. At least one of them was calling him. Along with that, a fiercely protective dragon that probably killed off poor Consuelo. Maybe they could skip that part.
He didn’t need to trust someone to work with him, and he had Shadowstar at his back. He nodded as the Rider asked for cooperation in the most efficient manner possible; Perhaps it would be nice working with someone who didn’t mince words. It was his own way of answering—‘Let’s go.’
2715 | ??? For Yakitori and Ser | Hunting for Nadie and Shadowstar
Quiet aside from the footsteps echoing off the stone walls, Ser walked carefully beside the dark skinned ginger. His ears had calmed but were still listening for the noise of the others, unsure if the others he asked to join were peaceful, but didn’t feel put off by them. Even when conversing quietly with the choco-dragon, she seemed to think nothing of them and found them friendly enough. It left lingering thoughts in his mind, but in a more dangerous area he also knew beggers couldn’t be choosers.
Coming to a fork in the way after walking a good 75 feet up the corridor to another, he looked back and forth. One led to a pure darkness, no lights beyond to make out much past what the main area provided (which wasn’t much) while the other led the way to a small area lit by fallen candles. Darkness beyond that of course but he could vaguely make out a small hole that seemed darker in color past the shadows that his slitted eyes couldn’t make. Though promising for someone who could be scared of what lurked in the darkness, it was also a sign that someone could be that way and that proved to not always be the greatest of cases.
Checking the other way, all he could make out was faint demonic looking faces that left his ears tilting back even while his dragon could be heard making her calming ‘kweh’ noises that were just her noises it seemed. The feline male was about to turn to ask the other if they preferred a certain path when a loud roar had him draw and thrust the suddenly red hot lance forward into a smaller mushroom like creature. This one was red, short, and very stubby, not built to take damage as the previous brethren was as it squealed and plopped to the ground as it withered.
That was enough of a startle for Yakitori darted off towards the lights, finding comfort when there was some sort of illumination around. With the monster dealt with in a swift matter, Servaos followed after her to retrieve her without a second thought in his mind. He supposed in a worse case, they would catch up when they met again for monster battles.
Nadie smiled at the flighty dragon; It was like a hatchling running away from such small creatures. The demonic faces carved into the wall were eerie enough to warrant suspicion, but a little mushroom after the one they just faced? The dragon could have just squished it. It might have had a few more tricks up its sleeve—maybe some poisonous spores, or a fungi missile system, or…honestly, who knew. It was dead now, and that’s what mattered. He squinted in the darkness to see if anything else laid in wait. Starshadow made a small squawk—she saw nothing dangerous in the immediate vicinity—and the two followed after the others.
The lance looked like an amazing weapon. If he didn’t already favor the sand-like glitter of the knives he carried, he might ask for a replica. It seemed to draw its power from the jewel embedded in it—ruby, for fire. Was the magic channeled through a fire Rider, or was there something special about the weapon itself? Once he was close enough, he patted Yakitori’s back to try and comfort him. Maybe the dragon was younger than it looked. Not wanting to shatter their enjoyable silence any more than necessary, Nadie pointed forward into the depths. It seemed like as good of a place as ever to go.
Stopping in the lit up area and looking back to see Servaos chasing after her, Yakitori kweh-ed at him in her small apology for running off. Ser didn’t mind though, knowing she was still quite young and learning about the ways of an intense battle started by ambush. Standing there and looking around to the candle lit room, it wasn’t as barren as their walk had proved to be thus far. A small pile of abandoned gear laid in one of the corners, close by that a blazing fire as if a group had come and left already but not long enough ago that their resting spot had fallen cold in the time. Candles laid everywhere, thankfully over rocky floors so there wasn’t a case of spreading fire unless someone spilled form gasoline or oil.
Cracked eggs laid in another, though smelled a bit foul as if they were rotted. It left Ser wondering what exactly came from them, or was forcefully brought to an end before it could even be born. A question for not now as he heard the other pair finally arrive and gave a wave as the not-a-chocobo was continuing to poke at a small pile of ash and candle wax.
“Mr Ser, kweh! I found one of those shiny gems you like, kweh!” Flailing her wings and fluffing up, she pecked at it again but was taught to at least not grab until it could be confirmed that it was safe and what they needed.
Perking up, Ser was very much interested in that much, waving the other two at the piles of things that lined the wall. He could see some glittery things in there, and he saw the motion to descend into the darkness, but first he wanted to see this gem that could be what he wanted and needed for his lance.
Nadie inspected the lit candles and adventuring gear warily. Were the mushrooms responsible for lighting the candles, or was there something stranger at work here? The sight of rotting eggs didn’t quell his suspicion of the place at all. If he didn’t already feel the tug of an egg from within the dungeon, he would have assumed the ‘powerful dragon nest’ rumor was caused by these rotten shells and nothing more.
When Ser was distracted by the prospect of gems rather than the eggs, Nadie calmed down a little bit. A treasure hunter was easier to deal with than an egg poacher in these situations. He didn’t want the man taking his egg when they finally found it. Starshadow also followed their gaze. She looked ahead at the pile of ash, glowered at it, then hissed. “Haunted,” she squawked, with all of her feathers rising up in aggression. “Leave it there, or you’ll be cursed.”(edited)
Leaning down to examine the gem as he reached out a hand, Ser and Yakitori both jumped as the hissing noise that came from one of their current companions. Ser in fairness knew better, about to use a finger to move it gently to see if anything wanted to try and attack him, but getting the confirmation from the other also had him confirm he needed to be more careful. He wished he had the lovely cleric with him, but such was life as they lived their own lives and he was nice enough to give him spells. He gave a thumbs up in the end to the bird like dragon, before taking out a scroll and leaking Yakitori to peck at things.
“Mr Ser collects gems for his lance, kweh!” she explained, picking up a candle and running towards the dark void in one of the walls after, peering around as her feathers ruffled and she darked back off. She didn’t want to traverse deep enough that she’d find more mushroom fellows while alone, but oh was she curious. “This one is meant to be the nectar-pansy one.”
Be stopped and flailed at, Servaos did correct her saying ‘necromancy’ in his flails, but he was still on the fence of would Nadie understand.
Nadie most certainly did not understand. Mostly because he wasn’t paying attention to the flailing. Between the two wyverns, he figured out what the bird meant on his own. Necromancy was a dark art, sure, but…it was also a dark art. As in, something dark dragons did. He had become desensitized a bit to dark dragon magic, though he was wary of someone who sought out something like this. He hadn’t taken his companion for a dark Rider, so what exactly did he want out of the gem? He didn’t want to go into further reaches if Ser was planning something sinister with that stone of his. “What do you plan on using the stone for, if I might ask? Such arts are forbidden for a reason…the last thing we need is for you to raise all of the monsters in this dungeon on accident.” He would suggest destroying it, but that might release a horde of spirits that he had no idea what to do with.
Shadowstar clicked her beak in confirmation. “It’s dangerous to take, but dangerous to leave. Let me hold it for now.” She plucked the gemstone up in her beak before Ser could move the stone around. I can see if some sort of curse begins with my true sight and drop it as necessary, she explained quietly to Nadie. If he has no good reason to have it, then we’ll find someone to destroy it. If anything, it’s a good excuse to practice your fire magic. Uncontrolled explosions would be beneficial for once.
Unraveling the scroll and about to wiggle it under the rock, the rider was surprised as it was taken away rather rudely by a dragon who just had said it was dangerous. Either they had some very different definitions of dangerous, or his temporary companions were just being strange. He didn’t blame them, two adventurers in a dungeon, searching out whatever they were drawn here for, neither knowing what the other’s end goal was, it was not always a fun time at all when it came to suspect times. It was also a gem that gave off dangerous aura, though in fairness many of his gems were bound to do so as they all weren’t pure stones used for only good. Corrupted gems were normal in his day to day life, and it was why he was more on the careful side.
Withdrawing his lance in what could be taken as a threat, it ended up being no so as the blade was pointed away without thought and he finger tapped the holes in the lance. Three already taken, but it had room for many more that Ser planned to collect for the lance that served him will through so many battles. Yakitori had at least returned as Servaos went from his pleased and curious feelings, to one of more distress.
“The lance gains powers from the correct gems being put in the holes, kweh! Bringing the dead to life is dangerous, but no to the extent of raising the dead in all cases, kweh.” Tilting her head as she stared at Ser who just heaved a sigh and gave up, he rolled back up his scroll and seemed to not have any good reasons why, but that was also why he was very careful about what he did. Everything was dangerous, but that was the life of an adventurer. He in the end didn’t care, he was bound to find another if he looked hard enough. Though did pause to quietly stare at the choco-dragon as if talking without words.
“Kweh, he has no good reasons aside from it is what he desires to make the lance stronger and to complete his quest to fill the holes. But he does say be careful, kweh, if it’s the right gem then destroying it in the incorrect way may do more harm than good as the necromany skill wasn’t put into the pretty gem by just a common creature.” Unhappy as Ser moved on, she could feel him displeased, but he didn’t show it as he examined the wears that were left before looking into the hole Yakitori kept examining.
A unique weapon like that was certainly a reason to have the gem, but was it a good one? Nadie scowled at Ser, looking him up and down, trying to find a trace of his past. He was dressed in heavy armor atypical of the Shéar, Erré, or Abrendese. It would make more sense for him to be a part of the Chronoscape. While letting someone waltz off into the mists with a gemstone like that wouldn’t affect him personally, he wasn’t comfortable letting harm come to others if he could help it.
Perhaps we should have a little faith in him, said Shadowstar at length. We shall give him the stone and monitor him—at least until we part ways. Even if he knows how to use the stone, he will be no match for us.
We musn’t be too prideful, Star. He’s been wielding his lance quite well so far. Nonetheless, he motioned Shadowstar to return it. She carefully nudged at the scroll and then placed the gem inside. She turned to the more talkative Yakitori. “Show us your intentions and we’ll trust you once we’re apart. I’m sure you understand that we can’t let it fall into the wrong hands.”
Kwehing happily as the strange wind hybrid started pulling spider webs from the crevice she was so interested in, she felt a draw to take the darker path even if it seemed less safe compared to the more well lit caverns they were in. Ser had also taken an interest, though he could feel the draw all around him, this path was a curious thing he wanted to investigate if it interested his dragon.
Wondering where he should head off to after this, he jumped a bit at the feeling or one of the partners nudging at the scroll until he unwrapped it and let the dragon drop it in before he wrapped the scroll around the gem that started to fizzle like water was added to pop rocks. A reaction Ser didn’t expect as he carefully tied the package up as he investigated it, but it wasn’t a bad reaction. At least, he was pretty sure Zaigon told him this would be a common reaction to the corrupted gems he needed.
Regardless, he held out a hand to see if the other’s dragon would allow him to pet her, not offended if not as Yakitori tilted her head at the other spoke to her, looking to Ser who wanted to just place the gem into one of the many holes, but he knew he couldn’t as he for now dropped it in one of the side pouches he had so it could do whatever it wanted to do.
“Understood, yes, kweh!” Ser was already off into the hole after he tapped his lance to have it faintly glow, Yakitori close behind as she kwehed softly like a cooing bird. “I think the dragon is this way, let’s go!” She wasn’t sure, but with one intent her rider was about traveling into it, that could very much be the case. “Hopefully there isn’t any more fungi people, they’re so mean…”
Shadowstar was quite pleased with the pets, though contained her excitement and just closed her eyes to enjoy. Not wanting to seem too happy about it, she broke off the pet and returned a small coo to Yakitori. “What do you plan to do with the dragon?”
Kwehing into the darkness that she gently crept into the crevice, she paused as Servaos stopped to think about it, just a bit too excited to go forward in their adventure even if the other rider seemed disinterested in their adventure so far. It left Ser wondering why were they even here, if not enjoying the wonders of exploring the great beyond. Flailing his hands at Yakitori as he motioned for the two to follow along, his lance lit up the area before them and aside from some larger spiders that ran away, it was pretty safe.
“The dragon has eggs, kweh! And one of them calls to Mr Rider! So he just wants the egg that pulls him forward, kewh, and the rest is to fate!” Prancing on forward, his own dragon didn’t seem to care at all where they were going or if it was dangerous, as long as they moved forward to that egg that he wanted. “Come on, kweh! It’ll get dark if we get too far ahead!, kweh!”
1520 | Hunting for Nadie and Shadowstar | ??? for Yakitori and Ser
The cave corridors stayed steady in size; Perhaps this was the work of the nesting dragon carving out a cave. Such an elaborate nest was unusual for an elemental dragon, but you wouldn’t find him complaining about hitting an easy path. Albeit covered in spider webs. The webs were getting thick as they went which made him think there were worse things around than giant mushrooms. Giant spiders…well, fire could deal with them.
You’d burn up all the webs and us if we did that.
Nadie sighed as if he had a toy taken straight from his hands. One day he would get to make things explode. He didn’t know if the pair was telling the truth about the eggs or not, but it would be easy to tell. If the rider went for his egg, then he would have an excuse to kill the two. He was fairly confident he could take down the chatty dragon, though the lance-wielding rider was another story. He hadn’t seen the full potential of that weapon, and once the stone was in place, its power would increase even more.
“I hope we get there soon,” murmured Shadowstar, hoping to break the silence between them. “I want to fly again.”
Feeling along the walls of the caverns, moving at a steady pace as his two toned eyes looked around in the darkness, his slitted pupils bigger as they took in all the light they could from their single light source, for Servaos this was a grand time. Creeping through the lands where disaster could hit at any time, taking them off guard as they merely wished for the end area with their treasure.
“I do too, kweh! It would be nice to get back into the forest, kweh. So much nicer than the caverns.” Putting a finger to his lips as he led the way, Yakitori tilted her head but did quiet down as she tried to nudge forward towards more of the webs, wanting to peck at them and pull them down as they went as they were just so soft and weird.
Thankfully abandoned of the creepy crawler life as he left her to it. He could feel they were getting closer though, hand gripping the lance as they headed forward before looking back to the other two who seemed to just be following along on their antics. He supposed that was just what it was sometimes, and left it as he reached down to look into the bag to the once crackling gem had fallen quiet and still. Peering into it, he seen no bursts of flames that Zaigan said there would be if it wasn’t what he needed. Raising a eyebrow, he left his dragon to pushing forward now, her eyes glowing a bit in the darkness as she led them along as her rider was preoccupied reaching in to grab and examine the dark colored gem that he wondered how would he even figure out how to use that one. He wasn’t too interested in raising anything dead himself, but there had to be more then that.
Shadowstar watched the Rider reach for the gem with interest–was it time for him to use it?–but they were all interrupted by a growl from the darkness. It reverberated around them and shook the floor. Two orbs reflected green light from the darkness, and the glimmer of flames reflected on a huge, scaled creature. It sat atop a veritable hoard of eggs, all sized about the same as an elemental dragon egg.
Nadie instantly knew that one was his. They were all blended together, so he didn’t know which, but it was in there. The problem was the broody dragon atop the pile. It was curled around them, wings flared in defense, maw gaping to show its fangs and brightly colored throat. It looked like a feral dragon, despite all the elemental eggs it sat on top of. He readied his blade, let his fire magic flow up beneath his skin, and then glanced at the other two. Were they ready for a fight? Because it seemed like that dragon wouldn’t be giving the eggs over nicely.
Stopping suddenly as Yakitori stopped moving and started letting out a low hiss, similar so some of the water foul that traveled the more watery areas, Servaos’s eyes shot up as he stared at the angry mother before them. His eyes shifted to one of the eggs, before back to the mother where he was still with his hands still on the lance. His hand hovered in the spot for a moment as his finger’s pressed the gem into the hole for it. A small click as a mysterious black whirlwind formed around the weapon for a moment before dying back down.
‘Raise them, raise them and appease the mourning mother dragon.’ Looking around for a moment, and still looking rather calm in the face of danger, he looked back and Nadia before realizing it was not them and instead something else. ‘Raise the lance!’ Looking to the lance, he raised it into the air as the soft whispers demanded. A dark glow coming from the blade as he tapped it back down and a small hoard of bodies rose from the ground but were still demi see through. Watching the assumed to be dead children wandering around, he just wanted to grab the eggs and dash, not wanting to murder if it could be avoided. Creeping forward as his blade kept radiating the small children to life, their ghosts pleasing the mother, Ser reached out a hand to touch the mother’s thigh. Both jumping as the dragon growled at him, leaving both surprised as he looked to the eggs and back to the mother.
Shadowstar lowered her head in deference; It looked like a fight wouldn’t be necessary after all, even if she was quite hostile. The hatchlings around them clearly cared for the dragon and were distracting enough that their companion could even touch her. Nadie, put your knife away, she said to her Rider as she bowed. He sighed–clearly sad he couldn’t make things explode–and then sheathed the blade.
The hatchlings ran up to their mother and laid around her chirping and hissing. Their specters looked life-like, even with the translucence. Shadowstar raised her head and looked at the mother. The dragon seemed placated for now, but who knew if it would attack? Nadie carefully slid in among the eggs and found his own. It was a mix of brown and pink, very soft to the touch, even if it was heavy and hard. He happily clutched it closer.
Don’t get too distracted, Nadie. The dragon, the bird, and their Rider all pose a threat. Even if they’re calm for now. She glowered at the lance and its new dark energies. He was very quick to master soul summoning. Perhaps there is more to him than his dragon lets on. Or…knows to let on. Yakitori might not sense anything strange about it, if he was raised that way.
Should we do anything about it? Nadie asked.
No, you still can’t set things on fire.
He sighed, but the egg in his hands kept him from being completely disappointed about their journey. The mother dragon noticed their egg attachment and pinned her eyes, but did nothing to stop them. It seemed the presence of her true brood was enough to make her happy.
Having a silent conversation with the mother dragon, he was given a huffy nod as she returned to her ghostly children, happy to curl around what were only memories of them that would vanish once Ser stopped focusing on the spell. He wished he could make them last forever, but he had no clue how to do so and could only grant temporary happiness that would vanish just as they were going to. They’d fade away once more, and the mother would search about more dragon eggs maybe, to guard until she was brought to her end or the adventurers were.
Shifting his attention only slightly to a dull colored egg that was speckled with a lighter color, he touched the warm egg and picked it up to sit on Yakitori’s back as he watched the mother enjoy her one last moment he was sure would end. Motioning at Yakitori to start moving the other, her soft ‘kweh’s confirmed she understood and started herding Nadia and the other dragon away. Returning his gaze to the dragon, he silently sighed, wishing this was easier but oh how he did feel for the mother.
“Come along, kweh, it’s time to go, kweh.” Yakitori cooed softly, herding them back down the path and which they came from to the entrance where she sent Ser the message that it was safe. As Nadia and Shadowstar edited the caverns, a loud roar of distress erupted, but the bird and rider were missing as the cave in closed up the small entrance for someone else to open again. The cell once again closed, for the mourning mother who only missed her children.