“Too slow.” A voice echoed through the sleeping desert, the stars and moon glimmering down on the sands, the skies crystal clear and cold. A puff of breath in the frigid air as Eira dropped swiftly, chortling as Yuki dove after him, the two small wyverns watched over by a larger creature, the shadowy silhouette of a navy gryphon, silver streaks covering his wings and head. Yuki though stuck his tongue out tumbling into Eira and sending his half brother tumbling.. Eira was swift and agile, Yuki was not quite as swift, but he had more stamina. “If you two are done frolicking, i can see your companions.” Meiron commented to both youngsters mentally, though only Yuki was actually bonded with him, Eira’s rider was back at her fort; he’d agreed to keep an eye on Eira when he, like Yuki showed signs of wanting to complete their grand display. Which was how the gryphon was in the middle of a cold, dark desert…. (not that it bothered him that much).
“I see them.” Yuki chirped, slipping into Eira’s wake as the other wyvern darted down to the two dragons waiting patiently for them, both were quite a bit larger than the two storm hybrids. Eira angled his wings to land on a nearby rock, peering up at the larger wyvern, who if he remembered was called Strawberry. “Hello, i’m Eira, Please to meet you.” He bowed. Strawberry narrowed his eyes, the halo spinning slightly as the gryphon landed nearby, folding his wings tight. “Ready?” the female asked, at Eira’s nod she charged, though startled by the suddenness, Eira took off his small frame angling upwards … though it wasn’t long before Strawberry was up in the air after him.
Yuki fluttered around Ginger’s head, smiling at her as she responded in kind, her size didn’t faze him….. “Ummm… shall we?” He asked. At her nod, he glanced back at his rider, settled on the earth nearby. While he was strong, especially when compared to his half sibling, against a dragon of Ginger’s size it wouldn’t be as much a benefit… Diving down he went to fly under Ginger, who sidestepped, her tail slamming into the earth as Yuki rolled out of the way, beating his wings he climbed, pulling on his magic, ice shards forming around him before he launched them at Ginger… who again used her tail to shatter the make shift weapons.
Eira tucked a wing in and dove, narrowly avoiding the larger form of Strawberry as she churned the air, tumbling downwards, he spotted the ice shards Yuki had made; flaring his wings to slow his descent, he looked up to see Strawberry barreling down at him, rather than ice, Eira felt for the still air currents…. and then pushed the air against Strawberry, catching her off guard, as he shot back up into the open air… of course it wasn’t long before she was back after him.
Grinning Yuki dove, avoiding Ginger’s tail to land on her back, gripping her spines and calling on the ice again, spreading it out from himself… though at first it was just steam, as Ginger was of fire descent as well as her earth, and she bucked, trying to dislodge the small wyvern as the ice slowly started to spread…. He felt Ginger’s muscles move… and remembered others in the Cenote doing something similar… and let go, just as she rolled churning the earth around her, clouding the youngsters vision…
Meiron leaned back on his talons, watching both ‘fights’ play out, though he could start to see the youngsters wings drooping as they started to tire, their movements becoming clumsier, but he kept his silence, the older dragons had played this game for longer, they knew when to stop…
“It’s so hot…” Eira whined, the small wyvern focusing on the land below him as opposed to the unrelenting sun above; unlike Yuki, he was more used to the cold winters of the fort… and well… it was cold most of the year; at least Yuki’s den was generally warm….. he glanced over at his half sibling, who like him was finding the terrain a struggle; cracked earth that was bone dry, no sign of any plant life or water, bleached bones tributes to those that had long since succumbed to the volcanic ashlands. A faint rumble had him look up beyond where their two companions easily drifted over the terrain. to the active volcano’s beyond, mouths seeping red and billowing ash. The small wyrm drifted down next to him. “You’re doing great.” Reference said, encouraging the youngster… Eira’s ears pricked slightly, the … sock like dragon was a odd one, but before they’d entered the ashlands had been more happy to accept a cuddle (and had actually started the trek looped around Meiron for that matter)
Yuki panted, not even bothering to answer Eira, the large shadow of Radiance, his companion for this trail passed over him, but there was no shelter, the wyrm’s attitude completely different to that of his compatriot in this trial. in fact, Radiance hadn’t really been that interested in accompanying them … until Meiron had bribed the dragon with a selection of gemstones….. Speaking off, Yuki glanced around spotted the lazy wing beats of the navy gryphon in front of them, and fought the urge to go rest on his riders back. This trial was about proving they could adapt…. hard as it was in a landscape that didn’t sing to his earth element.
Meiron kept his ears pricked for any signs of the distress the two youngsters may show; the brutal terrain the complete opposite of the cold desert from the previous night, a scream to his right pulled the gryphons attention beyond, just in time to see the Barbary falcon dive, talons outstretched as it hunted one of the numerous lizards that seemed to thrive in the area; a few moments later when he didn’t rise, Meiron returned his attention to the 4 dragons behind him.
Eira flapped his wings, shifting onto a thermal that had stirred, though it made the flight easier, it was uncomfortably warm, and he flared the plumes in an effort to cool himself somewhat; oh he couldn’t wait to be back in the cold white snow of the mountain fort. Suddenly he was encompassed in shadows, and he sighed in relief, eyeing the huge rib bones that at least for a moment seemed to be offering some protection….. until he started coughing and flapped haphazardly back out, taking deep breaths of fresh (if a bit warm) air…. halting he turned to look back at the bones, this time spotting the yellow-green tendrils that leaked from the ground below….. “You okay?” A soft voice echoed, and he turned to look at Reference, nodding.. that had been a close call.
Yuki’s ears twitched as he heard the wyrm ask Eira a question, but it was a struggle to focus on anything anymore, he’d resorted to gliding from thermal to thermal, and… it was getting harder to stay alert; for a single moment he closed his eyes… before instinct screamed at him and he darted to one side, panting as the large form of Radiance drifted back up. “You don’t have time to sleep…” The large wyrm said, no give in his voice at all, Yuki nodded, lesson learned, he flapped his wings as Radiance ascended, and beyond he spotted the navy form of his rider descending. The end… they were almost there… water, he could just about smell it, but… he didn’t put on a burst of speed, instead he continued to use the thermals, riding them as best he could, next to him he felt Eira come closer, both youngsters chests heaving from exhaustion.
Above Reference and Radiance continued to glide, keeping watch… if only for a bit longer.
“SNOOOW!” Eira squealed, spotting the first touch of white in the distance, but while everything in him wanted to charge off into the horizon, they still had one more part of their display to do, so instead he dropped back down to land on the gryphons back as Meiron flew over the landscape. Yuki laughed, nuzzling his half brother, but he was just as glad to see the snow, or more apt, glad to not be in the volcanic ashlands. The pair along with Meiron, had remained near the patch of water until they’d recovered, before heading back off, this time slipping into the chronoscape to return to Sherok (Eira having come to Erre for the last few days.) “Any idea on what you’re wanting to do?” The gryphon asked, snorting when all he got was silence from the youngsters; they were still several hours of the fort. “Ummm…. i think there were rumors of a cave somewhere, i remember talk about it when Meeth went into the town.” Eira offered, Yuki nodded, he was fine with it.
As it was it, there was a light scattering of snow covering the ground by the time Yuki ‘felt’ something different in the earth, Meiron landed in a flurry of snow…. which of course sent both Yuki and Eira into a small snowball fight…… their laughs echoing through the area… Eira even launched some at Meiron… though of course the shift was currently in his gryphon form, and he retaliated, burying both under a sweep of snow as he used his tail. “Some time in the next century or so.” He commented as the pair shook off the snow, before fluttering to the dark entrance, a split in the earth itself, and barely large enough for the two wyverns to fit through, Meiron simply shifted to his cat form, plodding after the pair as they slipped through the crack, the cavernous space, at least this part, having never been explored before.
It was hard going, simply because it was less of a cave and more of a series of interlinked cracks in the land itself, Yuki led the way, for though Eira was a dark/storm hybrid, he was earth, and could (though it was more of a niggle than true magic) feel for unstable bits of rock, and… he wasn’t going to to dwell on how easily the cat was making his way after them… with less trouble than either of the dragons. After a few more twists and turns, the makeshift passageway started to expand, Yuki halted as Eira came up next to him, both wyverns silent and awestruck at what lay below, an immense cavern, with a small body of water, once fed by the waterfall, and around them, stunning plants, made all the more ethereal by the fact that the entire area was frozen, the waterfall having created an ice sculpture over the frozen pond.
Eira peered around, his breath white in front of him. “How long do you think it’s been frozen for?” He asked, barely daring to move in case something shattered in the cavern, Yuki shook his head. “Look there, it seems to be thawing.” He pointed towards a droplet of water. The pair watched as it fell of the ceiling, yet, long before it touched the ground it froze…. shattering on impact. “I don’t think it has fully thawed in eons.” Meiron commented, from behind them. “It more than likely will seal back up with the shifting earth. And i wouldn’t advise exploring down there, i’d rather not have to explain to your rider why you’re a living ice sculpture.” Came the dry response.
The prospect appealed to neither dragon, and they had no arguments in returning the way they’d come, but the scene was something neither would forget.