Scribbling Barn Owl
Group: Young Adult
Member No.: 93
Joined: 2-December 10
((Posting this to have a record of it occurring.))
They were flying together, using the saddle that they had nicked from the lesson. It was the best that they could come up with lately, deciding that they didn't care to try to construct their own failed attempt, nor did they actually have the money to buy a proper one. Knell was constantly trying to get Caldre to go with her to harass a small coastal village into giving them one. By harassing she of course meant death threats and much pillaging, like a proper Taint dragon and rider would be expected to do. She would have been quite proud of herself if she'd managed to get herself a gleaming saddle of great worth just by proving her might as a Taint. Caldre however, hadn’t been so keen on the idea, and so she’d scoffed and paced like an angry animal, wondering what was wrong with him. Usually he didn’t fight her on decisions like this, or at least he hadn’t used to before Nidhogg had been captured, killed, wherever it was that the terrible worm was now. It wasn’t like she cared.
But instead he’d become distant. Quiet. Even cold. None of her coaxing nor cajoling could get him to open up to his typical thoughtful and seemingly snarky self. He had grown into what had appeared to be a proper Taint rider, now he’d suddenly clammed up. She wondered if this was a new development to a soon to be volatile personality. She certainly hoped not, she liked him much better when he actually spoke to her. Besides, going off of what she could feel between their bond was a rough and rather unpracticed means of understanding what was going on in his mind. True enough, they both probably needed the practice, but it frustrated her when she could just as easily talk to him and know how he felt.
But today, he’d gotten around, done things, been more active than she’d seen him in the past few weeks since the last lesson had taken place and since they’d learned to fly together. Things were improving for them! They were now the masters of the skies and able to go anywhere they wished! He had plenty of reason to perk up. When he had asked to fly with her to the mainland, Knell had been ecstatic. He’d appeared grim, and even the iron she felt across her bond indicated that there was going to be something going on that she would love to be a part of. He wouldn’t however, tell her what it was that they were going to do, and had left the silence between them to be filled by the sound of wing beats and the steady hum of the wind that ran through her still growing spires. It was somewhat challenging to carry Caldre over long distances, more problematic than it might have been for some of her larger hatchmates, but she didn’t complain once as they flew, and took the burning strain of her wings and the heavier laboring of her breath as a sign that she clearly needed to work harder, and grow stronger much quicker. One could not afford to be weak in the middle of Taint lands, whether they’d lost the war or not.
So she coasted over the cold winds of the ocean, the waves sending small currents of air up to rise under her wings and give aid to the soft whistle that built up around her, a sort of quiet hum in the back of your hearing range that might set your teeth on edge after a while. But Caldre paid it no heed, and neither did she. As the coast of the main-lands of Sekkai came into view, Caldre called out “Keep flying, aim for the mountains just there.” He lifted his hand to point through the foggy veil of the horizon to the teeth of Loth Angresan beyond. Knell beat her wings and soared higher, tipping her head back to gaze with her bright green eyes at her rider. “Loth Angresan?” she asked. “What is it that we seek out there? Villages are few and far between.” She commented, a curious query in her voice.
“We’re heading for Irazu.” He said. Knell blinked, she had heard little about the town of Irazu except for the fact that it was close by Iyalruek. Iyalruek no longer belonged to the Taints however, it was the lands of the Sekkain now, and they had taken the fortress and placed their own garrison within its walls. She let out a soft snort, what possible use could they have for a town so close to the Sekkain empire and it’s army? She was going to ask, but she felt the veil settle between herself and Caldre again over their bond and gritted her teeth, her jaws tightening as he hid from her yet again. She would tear the curtain between them away if she knew how. She disliked secrets between them. It set her on edge more than his silence lately had. “Mine, what lies in Irazu?” she finally asked, discarding the fact that the veil was supposed to be Caldre’s notice to her that he was done talking again for a time. He was silent, leaving only the wind in her ears, and she thought he wasn’t going to answer her. Then he did speak, but it was just with another cryptic answer. “I’ll tell you when we get there.”
Knell snorted again, more of a huffing noise than anything else that was lost on the wind, and steered back towards the coast, gliding more now than actually using her wings, saving her energy for the strange winds of the mountains. As they passed the shore and rose through the mountain’s twining peaks that seemed to stretch higher than they’d be capable of flying, she followed Caldre’s direction. He seemed to know where he was going better than she did. She had never been far away from the Desolation in her life. She had of course, been born and raised on that island, and had seen little of the main continent. Caldre was her only guide here. As they wove through the mountains, they began to see signs of life, pathways cut through the mountains, looking more like walkways than goat trails. A few people upon horse or mule were located along them. Some looked up at them shielding their eyes, or waved, sometimes they ignored them. Knell wondered if they knew a Taint dragon when they saw one. Then again, she was a Sonic, and appeared for the most part, an odd Sekkain if she wanted to be, she had her rider, and a whole crystal, unless she said anything, they wouldn’t know.
She banked her wings at Caldre’s call, and aimed for a small mountain path, the outcropping of stone allowing them both a view of Irazu in the distance, the city was small, and though it’s buildings looked to be dilapidated, dragons soared from the fortress of Iyalruek that overshadowed it, and people moved through the town, visible blips of color and motion that indicated life within this portion of the mountains. But Knell could see that if they were here to wreak havoc, they wouldn’t have been able to do it alone, something else was going on here, and she still didn’t have answers. Kneeling so that her rider could slide from her back after he’d unbound his legs from the straps that secured him to her back, she stood and looked back at him, shaking her neck out.
A brief glance out at Irazu and then back to him, standing beside her and looking grimly out at the city and she spoke. “So…what brings us out here?” she asked looking down at him. Caldre was quiet for a few long moments, and something like ice settled between them. Quielty Caldre said something she wished she hadn’t heard. “I’m leaving, Knell.”
Something like ice dropped down her spine and a lump knotted in her stomach and she stared at him for a moment before letting out a shaky bark of laughter. “Yeah. Right.” She grumbled. “Now really, what are we doing here?” she asked, turning and looking at him. If he was teasing, she wasn’t laughing. It certainly wasn’t funny. Caldre took a heavy breath, his shoulders rising with it and turned as well to face her, his eyes serious. “I told you already, Knell. I’m leaving. I’m going into Irazu and I’m going to find someone who will take me back to Nyushi. I’m going to find my family, and I’m going to stay with them.” He said slowly, enunciating the words he said, so as to make sure she heard every painful syllable.
“Then I’m going with you.” She quipped. “We can go find your family. But you can’t stay there. You stay with me.” Her tone was firm, but edges of confusion were starting to haze their way in. Caldre shook his head slowly. “No Knell, your place isn’t in Nyushi or anywhere near Lihn and the Academy. Your place is back in Desolation with the rest of your hatchmates, with the other dragons who think and act like you.” She snorted and bared her teeth. “You are like me or I wouldn’t have chosen you! Therefore your place is with me!” she barked.
Caldre snapped back a retort. “I am nothing like you. I never wanted anything to do with you or with the dragons or with the Taints. I was there against any say I had. This,” he held his hand up, presenting the crystal bound against his wrist, “is something I never wanted.” His teeth were clenched into a tight line, his words forced out as a muscle in his jaw twitched when he was finished. “I never wanted you.” He reiterated, knowing it was a low blow, but saying it anyway. “So I’m leaving you here…” he finished.
Knell stared at him, not understanding. “You’re going to leave me to Desolation? Alone?” she asked, voice small. “You can take care of yourself, Knell. I’ve seen you hunt, you can fly, and you can fight. You’re prepared to live on your own, and you don’t need me to take care of you anymore.” Caldre’s voice had gone from the sharp retort from earlier to a softer tone. “This isn’t something you can just do, Caldre. Dragons and riders aren’t meant to be separate. This will hurt us both.” She warned, trying desperately to find a means to keep him from walking away. He was supposed to stay with her. He was supposed to be hers forever, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Grimly he stated, “I’ve had worse things happen to me in my life. We’ll get used to it.”
She took a breath and stared at him. This was really happening. He was going to leave her. He was going to walk away from her with only the thin strenuous tether of their bond between them. Oh Celestials…She watched him as he reached forth and put his hand on her muzzle, she didn’t feel the touch. She felt numb. “It was a good run, but we weren’t even meant for each other. I hatched two dragons, who’s to say that you were even the right one, Knell?” he asked, giving a half bitter smile. Of course she’d been the right one! She’d been the one who had chosen him! He’d been worthy of her! Not that Mycotic spawn! Now he was leaving her. He couldn’t do this...He couldn’t…But she couldn’t move, couldn’t think of an argument to stall him as he turned and started down the path, walking away from her. “Take care of yourself Knell.” He said simply, glancing over his shoulder at her. ’Don’t come after me…’ followed the quiet whisper of thought as he disappeared around the bend and started down towards Irazu.
He had left her. “No…” she whispered. “No…”