I play a pet breeding game called Flight Rising. Many folks on the site write wonderful biographies of their dragons, and lore of their clans. Sometimes a group of people will take it in turn to add to a continuing narrative. I'm part of one such group - it's been a blast :) The full narrative is kept on this tumbler. My part of the story is below. The picture shows how the main character was disguised while visiting my clan's lair :)
A white dove dropped a bound scroll at the feet of the UrsaJoy clan leaders. The scroll when opened was short. Greetings from the Dragon Sage clan. The Princess Exaltling is on her way to your clan. Her enemies found her within our territory and she has fled. If you are unable to offer her sanctuary please let us know so we can try to arrange something else.
Reina glanced at the scroll, then offered the dove water, food, and a place to rest. Once this guest was settled, she opened the scroll, passing a claw under each word as she read it. Eleos, sitting on her shoulder, took it in immediately. He pressed his cheek to Reina's, dropped off her shoulder and glided away to make arrangements. They didn't need to discuss what to do; they would take in any dragon desiring shelter. When it was ready, the dove returned carrying this in response:
Greetings from UrsaJoy clan. The wandering Princess has arrived in safety. She will be well supported here for as long as her choice or circumstances allow. May the Gladekeeper favor you and yours. A note at the bottom, written by a different claw read, "Thank you for giving me shelter, and caring for our hatchlings. Please remind them that Sentinel and I love them, and have them always in our hearts."
Reina gave few orders, and didn't give any now. She told each dragon in the clan that she needed volunteers to travel to the borders of each adjoining clan's territory to look for a dragon in trouble. Each group was to move along the border for a full day and night, then return home. If they met any members of the neighboring clan, they were to at least offer greetings and good wishes, and were welcome to spend time in their company so long as they returned after the full day and night had passed. There were far more volunteers than neighboring clans. Parties of at least 2 dragons headed out in all directions. The strongest dragons were scattered among the groups, so that even if spies watched they couldn't pick out one group as being stronger than any other. Reina and Eleos themselves joined the effort, going in separate groups - neither of them going toward DragonSage clan. Only Eleos and Reina knew where the Wandering Princess would be found. They trusted their clanmates, but they and their clanmates knew that the best way to keep information secret was to not disclose it to anyone.
Excelsior enjoyed the journey more than she expected. She enjoyed fighting in the coliseum, and training others was her deepest calling. She hadn't felt particularly called to go anywhere - there was so much to do in UrsaJoy clan, so many eager hatchlings to train! She enjoyed fighting in the coliseum, and training others was her deepest calling. Being on the wing now reminded her just how long it had been since she's travelled more than to and from the Coliseum. She shook herself and put those thoughts aside - this was an important mission! She and Piedra continued on toward DragonSage clan territory, watching carefully for trouble, or the one escaping trouble.
Exaltling's heart ached as she turned away from Sentinel, from the birthplace of her very first hatchlings, and yet another clan who'd sheltered her. Taking a deep breath, she put all her stealth to work as she crossed the border of DragonSage clan territory.
Not far from the border she froze. She heard a crash, then the thump of something large landing, then a voice. "Really Piedra? I thought Lapis was joking when she said you could fall asleep mid-flight."
Frills raised in confusion, she inched toward the voice. Through branches she saw an Imperial lady settling down under a tree. Unlike its fellows, this tree's branches held a tangle of bright orange and purple vines. These thick vines seemed to shift in the wind... unlike the leaves around it. Her heart almost stopped when the tangle of "vines" began to snore. It was actually a sleeping Spiral! The lady Imperial put her head under her wing. Exaltling could just hear her mutter, "There is grace, and there is refinement, and a long, long way away from either, there is Piedra."
Exaltling had barely a moment before being startled again. The Spiral slid out of the tree to pile up on top of the Imperial's covered head, saying, "I'm not far away Excelsior! I'm right here!" He grinned, his green Nature eyes a relief to Exaltling. A muffled sound of counting from 10 to 1 came from under the Imperial's wing; Piedra flew back into the tree before she got to 1, giggling the whole way. The Imperial, Excelsior, smoothed her wing, ignoring the giggles. Could this be the dragons sent to meet her? They couldn't possibly be from her birth clan. Gathering up her courage, she stepped closer, and spoke. "Hello. Are you here to meet me?"
She's barely finished when the Spiral landed in a knot in front of her. "Are you the dragon in trouble! We can lead you to safety! I'm in charge, but Excelsior can be a big helper when she wants to be!"
Piedra took off then, still chattering away, and circled Excelsior. "It's almost time to go home anyway, so you're just in time! C'mon, you're all small like Eleos - you can hide in Excelsior's mane and ride home with us in style! It'll be great!"
Excelsior, clearly larger, older, and more level-headed than Piedra, rolled her eyes - her purple shadow eyes. Exaltling's blood ran cold, and her instincts screamed for her to run. Sensing the change, Piedra stopped talking and began flying around both of them, looking for what had frightened Exaltling. Excelsior met Exaltling's gaze and held it as she spoke to Piedra. "I'm afraid I've frightened our new friend, Piedra." The Spiral swooped low over them, looking from one to the other, and returned to patrolling, just in case.
Holding the tiny Fae's eyes with her own, Excelsior put her head right down on the grass to speak to her. "Yes, I was born in the Shadow flight. Now it's my calling to travel from clan to clan in Nature to train any who choose to learn from me. I've been in the UrsaJoy clan for some time, training and learning. They embrace any who choose to stay with them. They do not judge a dragon by the color of their eyes, but by the content of their character."
Exaltling listened and nodded. "I will go with you. Thank you."
From above they heard a shouted, "Woohoo!!" Excelsior rolled her eyes again, but Exaltling could sense the affection the Imperial felt. With remarkable efficiency, the Spiral helped her hide herself comfortably in Excelsior's mane. Exaltling fell into a restful, healing sleep before they reached the UrsaJoy clan lair.
Exaltling, ever alert for danger, woke all at once. She looked around the treesap nest before making a sound. She found herself in the most comfortable part of the nest, various garments laid out nearby, and another Fae dragon curled up at the nest's entrance. She only needed a moment to remember that she had come to the UrsaJoy clan the night before. She allowed herself a moment to miss and to give thanks for the many clans that had sheltered her before this one, then rose from her sleeping place. With more enthusiasm than grace, the Fae before the entrance sprang up, scanned the nest for danger, then lifted her head welcomingly to Exaltling. Soon she understood that this other Fae has given her the place of honor in her own nest, and set herself to guard duty. Exaltling tactfully didn't point that that, had something attached, she would be better able to defend herself than Midnight. The younger Fae didn't yet have the easy grace in combat Exaltling had developed, although the potential was clearly there. The two Fae females got along well, and between them chose an outfit for Exaltling that hid her identity while giving her freedom to move and train.
While training with Midnight and one other young dragon, Exaltling heard about how many of the clan members had gone out in different directions, neither knowing nor caring about the details of the troubled dragon they sought. She was touched that so much effort had gone into finding and helping her. To her surprise, a total of 3 dragons had been brought back that night! Two groups each found an abandoned hatchling. No one questioned her nor the now-growned hatchlings about their past. Instead, each of them was given the support they needed, and encouraged to pursue the work and growth each thought best. The tundra found that night, OConnell, chose to stay in the clan and pursue studies in writing and healing. The other, a Spiral who hadn't taken a name, was still undecided. Exaltling shuddered on hearing the youngster considered training for exaltation, but took comfort in seeing that this was an option[/], not something she was forced into. In face, it being such a big decision, the clan leaders encouraged her to take her time before choosing to exalt herself.
Exaltling trained often, even offering some guidance to Midnight and others as they practiced in the Coliseum. She wondered if, some day, she would have the chance to help train her own hatchlings, or if all of their upbringing would be without her. When not practicing with younger dragons, she worked very hard under Excelsior's tutelage. Exaltling appreciated the Imperial's focus and calm. Excelsior expected excellence from Exaltling, and Exaltling rose to every challenge. One bright afternoon, after Exaltling had worked herself to exhaustion, Excelsior insisted on a break from effort. They took water under a shade tree and stayed in companionable silence for a time.
"Take this," Excelsior said to Exaltling, passing her a stone. It glowed softly. "With this, you can harm your enemy while restoring yourself. With this, you can Sap your enemy's strength and turn it against them." All the rest of that day, Exaltling explored this new ability, learning how to heal her wounds with the power of her opponents.
Of course, she couldn't stay with the UrsaJoy clan for very long. Midnight brought her to see the clan Matriarch, Reina. To her surprise, Reina indicated Midnight should stay. The Excelsior was already there. Exaltling was glad to have these friends with her. A messages were being sent to find her a new place to shelter. Excelsior and Midnight would go with her, to help protect and guide her until she was with members of the next clan to shelter her. Turning to Excelsior, Reina added, "I thank you for all your service to the clan. Know that you are welcome to return whenever you wish." The two dragons, one Guardian and one Imperial, made their goodbyes as fast friends, the latter once teacher to the former.
Sadness mingled with hope in her thoughts. She wondered when (if?) she would see her Sentinel and their hatchlings. She wondered how long she would keep moving from place to place. She also determined that she would learn all she could from the experience, and be ready to do whatever had to be done to protect herself, and the ones she loved.
A peace dove glides in to rest near the Teletraan clan leaders, dropping a scroll at their feet. Opened, it reads, "Greetings from the UrsaJoy clan, may the Gladekeeper every shelter you and yours.
The wandering Princess of Nature, Exaltling, has need of safe haven - forces of Shadow have been sighted too close to the UrsaJoy clan lair. If you have the will and the means, please take her in. We are thankful for having her with up, and sorrowful at parting from her so soon, but that sorrow will be eased by knowing she moves from our loving support to yours.
Wishing you all the best,
Reina and Eleos, tenders of the UrsaJoy clan.