A New Ally?

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ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017

This will be my first time trying to write an SoD/HtTYD fan-fic. It's meant to be the story of my character and her dragons as she travels through the archipelago away from her homeland on the continent. She comes from a clan of skilled warriors and was trained to be one herself from a very young age. Her clan aren't warriors like the vikings though. More often than not in fact, they tend to be hired as body guards and such. The clan has been nomadic along the continent for many generations, going back so far that no one in the clan is exactly sure how old the clan is. Especially since the clan has been previously known by many different names but has been called the Strider Clan for the past several generations and the leading family ever since that started has been required to take the clan name as their surname. Shamira is the oldest daughter of the clan's current chief (or "alpha male" as they prefer to call it because they have lived alongside wolves for most of their history and have adopted the same level of equality between males and females as wolves; in otherwords Shamira's mother and father have equal standing and power within the clan). She also has two older brothers. (Important detail: the Strider clan are all devoted believers in Christ... just fyi if I don't have many opportunities to bring that up in the story itself. It is a rather important thing to note considering where the story is taking place.)


Shamira's trip to the archipelago began shortly after some dragon hunters came to a market in her homeland (by that I mean the country in which she was born and her clan currently lives) trying to sell some of the things they had brought with them. One of those items was a Monstrous Nightmare dragon egg. Her clan grew suspicious of the hunters and had some of their members investigate the hunters and their ship. According to the local people, though rare it was not the first time the hunters had been there and each time they came they brought illegal goods along with them. The hunters' criminal activities was no secret to merchants who had traveled into the archipelago themselves before. The Strider clan summarily chased out the hunters but not before liberating the cargo with the intention of distroying the illegal goods. Shamira, age 18 at the time, decided to care for the egg herself to see if it really was what they claimed it to be.


The story takes place three years after the hunters came to Shamira's homeland. Having raised Neara, an orange and blue colored Monstrous Nightmare, to maturity, Shamira decided to take down the hunters who had separated her faithful companion from her real family. Since she was currently the only member of her clan who had tamed a dragon, she would be making the trip alone. Our story begins in the midst of this mission - to put a stop to what the hunters are doing and rescue any other dragons she comes across, sabotaging the hunters' operations as she goes.


The chapters will be posted in later posts so that I can edit them later as I need to.


Viking Info:

Name: ShamiraStrider     Age: 23     B-Day: May 22     Ht: 5ft7in/171cm     Wt: 137lbs/62Kg

Hair Color: dark brown with copper highlights only visable when light hits it just right

Eye Color: vivd green with grayish-blue tint to it (basically the same hue as Hiccup's or Eren's from AoT)

Body Type: kind of curvy, somewhat slender; built like a martial artist (more lean muscle than bulk)

Personality: truthfuly is nice but is kind of a "tsundere girl" (seems "prickly" or kind of cold at first)

Weapon of choice: a pair of katana or a bow and she never goes anywhere without a knife

Favorite places: Scuttleclaw Island, Glacier Island, Armorwing Island, Mudracker Island, Icestorm Island

My Dragons:

Note: the ones with a gender symbol are my OC Dragons


Zeke - Titan Sand Wraith

Toirn - Male Thunderdrum

Kettle - Female Scaldron

Ryuko - Female Sliquifier


Ororo - Titan Stormcutter

Katana - Titan Razorwhip

Revai - Titan Razorwhip (Katana's mate)

Frostbite - Female Shivertooth

Scarlette - Female Scuttleclaw


Neara - Titan Monstrous Nightmare (1st Dragon)

Tiger - Male Typhoomerang

Scorch - Singetail

Gwen - Female Flamewhipper

Quicksilver - Male Silver Phantom

» Strike «

Ginrei - Titan Woolly Howl

Scorpio - Triple Stryke

Stella - Triple Stryke (Scorpio's mate)

Lightning - Titan Skrill

Siku - Female Snow Wraith


Moirana - Titan Flightmare

Venus - Female Snaptrapper

Reiner - Male Armorwing

Sirena - Deathsong

Laverne and Shirley - Female Hiddeous Zippleback

Changling - Female Changewing

Bertholt - Male Boneknapper


Greg - Male Gronckle

Koori - Male Groncicle

Denali - Eruptodon

Drago - Male Grapple Grounder

Shinigami - Male Screaming Death

Xaviar - Male Elder Sentinel

Halvarda - Female Sentinel


Aubie - Male Rumblehorn

Raiga - Male Deadly Nadder

Nettles - Female Deadly Nadder


I am more than a conqueror in Him. I am a "Guardian;" I am a "Warrior"

(That's what Shamira and Strider mean in Hebrew and Frisian respectively.)

It's go time, Zeke!


♪Scorpio and Stella, sittin' in a tree♫

(Well, okay they're not ACTUALLY in the tree but still...)

(The teal one (left) is Stella; the red & navy blue one (right) is Scorpio.)

Plying the skies with Ginrei.

"A fox knows a snake when she sees one; those of equal cunning never trust one another." ~Me

Here is a link to my screenshots and my OC dragon profiles ^^.

Also, if we ever get to have our own Night Furies, these will be what mine look like:


ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017
Additional Info (Permanent WIP)

The first post is meant to be a very brief summary and I'm sure more information will need to be added in case people have questions. I will add to this post as needed for that purpose.

Shamira's age - the age I have for her in my sig is her age as it pertains to the game, the bulk of which is occuring after the second movie (obviously since Valka is present). Currently, this story is happening at around the same time as Race to the Edge, about 2 years (I think) prior to the second movie.

For those who have seen my OC dragon profiles on my screenshot thread (see the link @ the bottom of my sig, if it still works) - I am going out of order a little with the order in which the dragons are obtained since at the point of time the story is currently in Valka's existance is still unknown to the canon characters and Shamira is supposed to get Ororo (my Stormcutter) from Valka.

How Shamira dresses - I may add a screenshot of how I have my avatar dressed for reference, but generally speaking she wears black pants and a black, hooded cloak with dark leather lace-up boots. The color of the shirt she wears changes more often than the color of her pants. She dresses the way she does for the purpose of stealth and maneuverability.

A little more info on her appearance - (for starters, I should mention her appearance is a slightly more athletic version of my own; I'm in decent shape but I don't look as athletic as she does) what I mean when I say curvy is that Shamira is busty with a fairly well cinched waistline (not like "Barbie doll" but clearly defined) with kind of broad shoulders (for a woman) and hips almost the same width. Her legs are slightly longer than her torso giving her long strides. She has very long eyelashes and her eyes are kind of narrow and look somewhat lidded (like my avatar actually). Her hair about an inch below her shoulders and naturally wavy when she wears it down.

Hygiene - Shamira is nothing compared to Levi from AoT, but she does pay very close attention to her hygiene. She takes care to make sure her teeth are cleaned with whatever would have passed for toothpaste in that time period (haven't done research so I don't know when that was invented) and she tries to bathe at least once a day, taking special care to make sure her hair is clean and healthy. She also likes to keep things well organized. "A disorganized space is indicative of disorder in one's heart and mind" is one of her personal mottos.

ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017
Chapter 1


Chapter 1 The Journey Begins

Shamira poured some water on the camp fire she had used to cook her dinner after washing her utensils. She put everything away in her travel bags and laid out her blankets as she and her Monstrous Nightmare, Neara, prepared to bed down for the night. It was an especially clear night, so Shamira decided to forgo making a shelter – she preferred to sleep under the stars and moon anyway. Shortly after she had turned 21, Shamira had decided to explore the archipelagos in the sea to the North of her homeland with her dragon companion. She had never been more thankful for being multi-lingual then she was now. Being able to communicate with the people of these lands was a must.

“Get some sleep, Neara. We’ve got a lot to do tomorrow,” Shamira said softly to her companion and was met with a sleepy growl of agreement. Just as Shamira started to drift off, she heard a strange noise overhead and both she and Neara snapped to attention. They trained their sharp eyes on the sky and Shamira noticed a strange shaped void in the stars that was moving. She heard another noise, different from the one she’d heard earlier, that sounded like something between a scream and a roar. As her eyes continued to scan the sky, Shamira noticed a second, identical void. She heard the same strange sound again and the two voids zipped off to places unknown.

“What on God’s green earth was that?!” she exclaimed and looked over at Neara who shook her head slowly. “I’ll ask some local fishermen tomorrow I guess,” Shamira said as she laid back down. “No sense in trying to chase after something that fast… no offense, Neara.” The big wyvern simply snorted in response before letting out a yawn and laying her head down next to her human partner.

The next morning, Shamira fed some herring to Neara before unwrapping a couple of chicken eggs to fry for herself. “Might need to barter for some more of these at a market today,” she said as she set the pan over the fire Neara had made. As soon as her breakfast had settled in her stomach, Shamira did her usual training regimen to make sure her skills as a warrior stayed in good shape. After cleaning up where she had made camp, she and Neara set off for the nearest trade-post island. When she spotted one, Shamira had Neara fly low and land in the forest on the island. “Sorry, girl, but you know the drill,” Shamira said as she patted her Nightmare. After grabbing a few things from the saddle bags on the wyvern’s back, Shamira set off toward where the market had been set up to gather some provisions and, she hoped, some information.

“Must’a been a Night Fury,” one fisherman said with a thick accent after hearing Shamira describe what she had seen and heard the previous night.

“Night Fury?” Shamira said quizzically and was met with several shop-keeps and fishermen wincing in response.

“Those things are devils,” one old shop-keep said bitterly.

“Aye. There one second and the next – BOOM! they’ve blown yer best ship tuh splinters and vanished,” a fisherman added with disgust.

“Yer a lucky lass,” the fisherman Shamira had been speaking to started. “Those beasts could’a snatched ya up an’ taken ya Odin only knows where.”

“’Er else they’d ‘ave eaten ya,” another man chimed in.

Shamira was skeptical that any dragon would actually do such thing without reason. Having had Neara by her side as a companion for the past three years had taught her better. “So, if I may ask, what does a Night Fury look like exactly?”

“Nobody knows,” one fisherman said with a shrug. “Ain’t no one ever seen one up close and lived to tell about it.”

Hmph, more likely no one has seen one up close period just because they’re too fast to catch them,” Shamira thought to herself. She knew it was a mistake to say something like that out loud to such proud people so she kept the thought inside. “Thanks for the information. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out.”

While she was bartering for provisions, something caught Shamira’s attention. A conversation between two rather unsavory looking individuals. She had seen a few others dressed that way and knew exactly who they were – dragon hunters.

“Did you get any decent cargo?”

“You sure you want to know? Might make you jealous,” the second man teased.

“Oh please, just spill it.”

The second hunter glanced around as he and his colleague moved toward one of the side piers. Shamira made sure to keep her presence hidden as she followed them stealthily. “We found a Sand Wraith nest guarded by just one dragon; can you believe that?”

“Ha! Easy target, sounds like.”

“Yeah. Gave the mother enough dragon root to keep her knocked out for days and took the egg with ease.”

“Tsk, lucky yak. Eggs always fetch high prices at auction.”

“Yeah, apparently some types fancy them a ‘legendary delicacy.’ Personally, I don’t see how any kind of food made from dragons could possibly taste good.”

Shamira could feel her blood seethe to a boil with anger. She would have liked nothing more than to liberate the ship of its “cargo” and sink it to the bottom of the ocean, but that would be a waste. If she could follow the ship to its destination, she could do a lot more damage to these hunters’ operations, which was her primary reason for her journeying to the archipelago in the first place. Shamira had been in the archipelago long enough to know that the dragon hunters didn’t always hold auctions on the same islands. They moved around every once in a while.

After she saw which ships the hunters got on, Shamira went back into the forest and whistled for Neara. They followed the ship from a high enough altitude and far enough back to avoid being seen. The tricky part would be getting onto the island without getting caught. Landing close by and swimming wasn’t an option because it was nearly impossible to find swordsmiths that could repair her two katana. The swordsmiths in her clan were some of the few outside of the far Eastern lands that knew how to craft them. They had learned how by studying under master swordsmiths in those lands after seeing a tradesman return from them with some of the exquisite swords. Shamira could handle the basic maintenance, but repairs were beyond her abilities.

After a couple of hours, the ships stopped at an island from which Shamira could hear the angered roars of several dragons. Shamira’s clansmen were known for having extraordinary senses and well-trained warriors and she was no exception. Luckily, the island they were on this time was fairly large. It would be hard to secure the whole thing efficiently and she doubted that all the hunters were there yet, which meant if she was going to go in now was the time. She had Neara land in the forest on the Western side of the island.

“Stay up in the air and out of sight unless call for you, okay?” Shamira said as she pulled a hood close over her head. Neara snarled in response, not at all happy at being told to stay away from the action. “I know you don’t like it but I don’t want to risk you getting caught. Don’t worry, I’ll need your help later but for now I need to stay on the ground.” Neara nodded reluctantly before doing as she was told. Once she could no longer see Neara herself, Shamira took a quick look around her surroundings and popped her neck and joints. “Alright… let’s get this party started.”

Shamira moved across the island with the stealth of a jungle cat. When she approached the cages that the hunters had the dragons trapped in, she had to be all the more careful. If the dragons noticed her, the hunters themselves might spot her too. She saw several species she had come to recognize while traveling in the archipelago, from Nadders and Zipplebacks, to Scauldrons and even some species Shamira hadn’t seen before. In a few boxes close to the dragons, there couldn’t have been more than five or so, were eggs that had been stolen from nests.

“Lousy scum,” Shamira mumbled under her breath bitterly. Before she could set the dragons loose, she had to first incapacitate the hunters that were guarding them and she had to do so carefully. As skilled a warrior as she was, she knew better than to risk having to fight too outnumbered.

Just then, she spotted the two hunters she had seen at the island market and she raced up a nearby tree to avoid being spotted. She saw them unloading more dragons and an egg, presumably the same egg the hunter had mentioned at the market. It was dark brown in color and looked somewhat plain next to some of the other eggs.

“What happened to the dragons you took the egg from,” a large man, possibly the leader of the auction, asked the hunter that brought the egg.

“W-well sir, we only saw one of them and… well once we got the egg, we didn’t want to risk going back so—”

“You idiot cowards!” the larger man shouted. “What if that dragon comes here along with a whole pack while we’re holding the auction?! You’ll ruin our reputation with buyers!” The man then dragged the hunter off as others continued to bring in a few more cages. “Take care of him. The auction is starting in a few minutes and I don’t want any more disturbances.”

As soon as the man skulked off, Shamira took that as her cue to move into action. She soaked a handkerchief in an herbal mixture she kept a small bottle of on her for whenever she sabotaged the hunters’ operations. Breathing in the concoction could knock a full-grown man out in a second and was ideal for avoiding making too much noise so that she could release the dragons without being noticed. Based on what the larger man had said, Shamira felt it safe to assume that the dragons that had eggs next to their cages were one of the parents of that egg, for only the brown egg wasn’t near a cage.

She lighted to the ground as quietly as possible and moved swiftly and with purpose, using the ether soaked handkerchief to knock out the guards as she came to them. She had to move fast, there were more than twenty dragons in cages and once she started releasing them the noise would surely alert more of the hunters. Besides that, it was only a matter of time before the ones who would bring the first dragon to present at the auction came to get it and saw his fellows out cold. Most of the cages were locked so Shamira had to pick them as quickly as she could. Once each of them was unlocked, then she would start undoing the latches to release the dragons. From what she could tell, they had arrows soaked in this “dragon root” stuff the hunters had mentioned stuck in their flesh and she would likely have to remove them so that the dragons could get free.

Shamira heard the sound of cheering coming from where she presumed they had set up a place for the auction and from the looks of things, dragons weren’t the only items on the docket, but they were her only concern. She started with the dragon closest to the auction area. Shamira unlatched the door to the cage and opened it before she carefully removed the arrowhead. Almost immediately, the dragon, another Nightmare like Neara, sprung to life and fled the cage, letting out a roar as it went.

“Ugh, fantastic!” Shamira grumbled bitterly. As if time wasn’t already short. She went as fast as she could to each cage, unlatching and opening cages. With each dragon that awakened from its induced slumber, more havoc was unleashed and some of the dragons remained to fight back against their captors. As the hunters closed in on her, Shamira made the dragons with eggs next to their cages a priority and started setting each of them free. Each one grabbed its egg in its mouth and looked at her before flying away. Once she had released all of the parent dragons, the hunters, those that weren’t being preoccupied by angry dragons, closed in on her.

“Guess it’s show time now,” Shamira said under her breath as she drew Blizzard, the katana at her hip. The pale-blue hilted sword caught the light as Shamira wielded it in her right hand. Using a combination of swordsmanship and martial arts, Shamira easily dealt with each hunter that came close. Using the larger men’s own momentum against them, she was able to send even the big ones sprawling in the dirt.

As the fighting continued, Shamira could hear anguished cries from dragons that had been struck with more dragon root soaked arrowheads. “No way; I’m not about to let them be captured again!” Shamira thought. She then drew the white hilted katana from her back and began to fight with her full strength. She held off on calling for Neara because she didn’t want to risk her own dragon being hit with one of the arrows. Against her rider’s wishes though, when Neara noticed Shamira was in danger, she charged in, unleashing a stream of fire at several hunters that scattered like roaches.

“What did I tell you?!” Shamira shouted to Neara, who responded with a roar. “Ugh, fine, just don’t let one of those arrows hit you!” Realizing that their auction wasn’t happening under the current circumstances, Shamira could hear several hunters shouting to return to their ships and abandon the auction. Some of the men Shamira had been fighting off retreated while others tried to recollect the downed dragons. “I don’t think so!” Shamira shouted as she charged at the hunters near the dragons. She sheathed Mercy, her white-hilted katana, and used her left hand to pull out the arrows as she fought off the hunters. The once again revived dragons helped her to fight off the hunters and the rest retreated, realizing this was one fight they were not going to win.

“Yeah, you better run, you cowards!” Shamira shouted at the retreating hunters. Once the field was cleared, she sheathed Blizzard and removed the arrows from the rest of the dragons and set the few that were still in cages free. “Go that way!” Shamira shouted as she pointed to the West side of the island where she and Neara had landed earlier. “The hunters will be on the opposite side from there so you should be able to avoid them. And climb as high as you can quickly!” The dragons, sensing her intent to help them, heeded Shamira’s advice. Not wanting to risk that there were still some ships around, Shamira ran up to Neara and prepared to leave when the lone brown egg caught her eye.

“I can’t just leave it here…” she said mostly to herself as she walked up to the box that held the egg. She had heard the men say it came from a Sand Wraith nest. Shamira had heard of them, but had only seen an illustration of one, and a rather poorly executed one at that if she was being honest. The illustration she’d seen was far from being anatomical. “To bad I can’t just grab the hunter that stole it and ask what island he took it from… not that I think he’d answer me honestly anyway.” Shamira picked up the large egg and held it close as she climbed onto Neara’s back. “If possible, I’d like to return this egg to its parents. But in the mean-time, Neara, I’m gonna need you to help keep it warm.” Neara growled in response. “Don’t you sass me!” Shamira said with a light kick to Neara’s side.

Shamira knew that if she was going to find the dragon’s parents she would need to know more about Sand Wraiths, so while there was still daylight, she and Neara searched for an island that might have inhabitants that knew about the species. When she found one with a rather large village on it, she once again had Neara land out of sight and went in on her own. Being an archipelago, the natives were fairly used to seeing new faces once in a while, though that wasn’t to say they weren’t cautious of visitors that they didn’t recognize.

“Those blasted beasts are a darn nuisance!” one farmer said with a huff.

“Aye. Once one blasted me in me backside while I was fishin’!” one of the fishermen added.

Shamira sneakily rolled her eyes at their responses. She had guessed she might her something to this affect, but it didn’t make it any less irritating when they didn’t give her only the kind of information she was looking for. “Gentlemen, please. I have a ways to go before the day is out so if you wouldn’t mind only giving me relevant information I would greatly appreciate it,” Shamira said as gently as she could.

“Sorry about that lass,” the fisherman said with a nod. “Well, the shot to me backside hurt quite a bit but the burn it left didn’t last for long and there was a little ball of flaming sand next to where I’d been sittin’.”

“They can attack you from beneath the sand, the sneaky devils,” the famer chimed in.

“Aye. And they can blend in with it so well ya don’t see ‘em until you’re right on top of ‘em,” a village woman passing by added.

“They have these pointy spikes on their heads and wings, ya see,” the fisherman continued. “Let me think what else… Oh, they have these tips on their tails kind of like and arrowhead. Come to think of it their heads are kind of pointy too,” he added as he rubbed his beard.

“I’ve never seen more than one or two at a time though; thank Thor for that,” the farmer chimed in. “They’re elusive little devils so you probably won’t find one on purpose, lass,” he added.

Shamira took note of the information the villagers gave her. “I see. Well thanks for the details gentlemen. I think I’ll be on my way then.”

“You sure lass?” one of the villagers asked. “You could stay here for a night. Dark will set in soon an’ ya don’t want to be out on that see at night.”

“Aye, some sea dwelling dragon might get ya,” the fisherman added.

“I appreciate the offer, but I’m afraid I must be going,” Shamira answered as she gave them a polite bow. “Enjoy the rest of your evening, gentlemen,” she added as she pulled the hood back on her head and started back toward where Neara was waiting. Once she was far enough from the village, she whistled for Neara who lighted on the ground in front of her with the Sand Wraith egg gently carried in her mouth. Shamira carefully took the egg and climbed onto her faithful companion’s back. “Let’s find ourselves an island to rest on for the night.” The pair took off into the sky as the sun quickly approached the horizon.

Once they found a small, seemingly uninhabited island, Neara landed and kept close to the egg while Shamira surveyed the island. She found a small freshwater lake and checked the water for any visible organisms to make sure it would be safe for Neara to drink and for her to bathe in. She had already encountered Grimora once and once was more than enough. Shamira returned to where she had made camp and, after feeding Neara and eating a quick dinner herself, she carried the egg with her and had Neara follow her to the lake. Shamira then had Neara heat up the water with her breath so that she could take a quick bath before bedding down for the night.

When she and Neara returned to camp, Shamira used the campfire to light a couple torches by the light of which she could do some quick maintenance on her katana and hoped to not need to repair them since that would mean a very long trip back home. Fortunately, the swords were pristine, not even a single crack or nick even after all the fighting. A quick sharpening and polishing and they would be as good as new. After that was finished and her hair was dry, Shamira put out the torches and campfire before laying out her blankets as had become routine, stargazing as she waited for sleepiness to draw her in.

As the first rays of sun turned the dawn sky dark, Shamira awoke with a start as Neara hastily nudged her side. “What is it girl?” Shamira said with an annoyed voice. Mornings were one of her least favorite things. When a scraping noise found its way to her ears, Shamira snapped to attention and rolled over to see the egg moving and its shell cracking. No sooner had the sun peaked over the horizon than the egg burst open to reveal a little, lizard-like dragon with big round eyes and skin the same dark blue color of the sea. Shamira slowly reached her hand out to the little drake, to which it rubbed its nose.

“Well… so much for getting the egg back to its parents…” Shamira said with a soft sigh.


End of Ch. 1

mylifeofdragons's picture
Joined: 08/19/2017
Love it love it love it!!

You are a very talented writer, my friend. I can't wait for the next chapter!! I'm sensing a bit of jealousy from Neara.. XD



Welcome to my siggy!



Rip to my beautiful puppy, sugar. I miss you. 2/12/2017 <3


     Ma favorite spoofs/cracks:

Hiccup at the soup store (it's hilarious XD)

Httyd spoof

Anotha one

One more

Okay, last one




Wanna ask a question? Click here




My movie comes out in (unknown for now XD)

My Dragons! (Also, God knows, but soon!)



When I obsess over HTTYD:




ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 A New Comrade

The newly hatched dragon gave a quiet cry and Shamira guessed that it was probably hungry. She grabbed one of the fish she had caught the previous night, a small halibut, and held it out to the hatchling. It sniffed the fish a little and gave her a curious look. “It’s food,” Shamira responded as she reached for one of the larger halibut in the basket to hand to Neara, who happily took it. “See?”

The little dragon sniffed the fish again before grabbing it from Shamira’s hand and chowed down on it. “Alright… well, we’re gonna have to think of a name for you,” Shamira said as she examined the hatchling. She could tell from a quick once over that the hatchling was a healthy male, thankful for the book on dragons that she had swiped from hunters that had details on how to accurately gender a dragon. While he finished eating his breakfast, Shamira sat in careful contemplation; she wasn’t one to just choose a name at random. “How do you think of the name ‘Zeke,’ little guy?”

The dragon looked up at her with what one would call a grin and shook his tail a little, kind of like a dog. “Alrighty then. Your name is Zeke. Pleasure to meet you,” Shamira said as she held her right hand out to the hatchling and he again nudged it with his nose. “This is Neara. Think of her as your big sister and try to get along, okay.”

Neara sniffed the hatchling and blew a breath at it. Zeke shook his head before pouncing onto Neara’s head. She’d not been expecting it and she tossed her head back in an attempt to shake off the little dragon. Zeke instead slid down her neck and back before tumbling to the ground. Neara glared at him over her shoulder and growled causing the frightened little guy to run behind Shamira for cover.

“Now, Neara,” Shamira said firmly. “Zeke is still just a baby. You’re going to have to be patient with him.” Neara turned away in a huff in response to her partner’s warning. “Well, I guess we’re gonna be stuck here for a while… at least until you’re strong enough to fly on your own.” Shamira scratched the back of her head with a sigh. Being stuck on the same little island for a while wasn’t the only issue. There could very well be things that Zeke wouldn’t instinctively know how to do on his own, such as spitting hot balls of sand, which could prove problematic in the long run. A dragon that can’t use his fire to protect himself could be in very serious danger, though for now she was probably a little thankful for it.

That same day, as Shamira was fishing for Neara and Zeke’s food, the little hatchling curled up in a ball next to her. She rubbed his head and he fell into a fast sleep. Not more than a couple of hours later though, Zeke started to squirm and cry out as though he felt pain. “Zeke? What’s the matter, boy?” When she put her hand on his hide, she found the problem – it felt feverish to touch and it seemed to hurt him when she touched it. Without hesitation, she scooped the squirming Sand Wraith up and waded about waist deep into the ocean and dunked him into the water. Shortly thereafter, Zeke stopped writhing and swam around in the water easily

“Phew,” Shamira breathed a relived sigh. “Lesson one about Sand Wraith raising – don’t let them stay in direct sunlight for too long or else their hide starts to burn like human skin.” Thankful that swimming was one thing Zeke knew how to do instinctively, Shamira waded back to the shoreline to continue fishing and Zeke followed. This time though, Zeke burrowed under the sand next to Shamira to keep the sun off his skin.

After a few days on the island, Shamira and Neara found out that there was something else Zeke instinctively knew how to do – use his camouflage ability. One morning, after Shamira had finished breakfast and the rest of her morning routine, she wanted to set about starting Zeke’s training. He would need to learn how to fight at least with his fangs and claws until he could figure out how to use fire. However, she wasn’t able to find him in his usual spot.

“Neara, have you seen Zeke?” she asked her Nightmare, who was drinking water from the lake. Neara looked back and shook her head. “Huh… that’s odd. Where could he be?” Shamira started searching the island, calling Zeke’s name as she went. Neara helped look but had no more luck than Shamira. After she had searched high and low through the immediate area, Shamira began to worry. “Where on Earth could he have gotten to?” After resting a moment, Shamira rode on Neara’s back to the other side of the island to search for Zeke there.

As the sun began to set and there was still no sign of the little hatchling, Shamira grew sick with worry. “Let’s see… I know I saw him at breakfast… then I went to train… when I came back to the camp he was gone.” Just as Shamira began to sit on a nearby rock, she felt something leap onto her back and she immediately somersaulted on the ground to try and shake it off. When her feet hit the ground, Shamira leapt to her feet and looked at the spot where she had rolled, whatever it been was no longer on her back, but she could see movement in the grass where she had rolled.

A moment later, she saw a familiar figure appear on the spot, squirming around trying to roll over onto its feet. “Zeke!?” Shamira exclaimed. She then stormed up to the little dragon who had just flipped over. Seeing the enraged look on Shamira’s face, the hatchling tried to flee but Shamira was too swift. She grabbed Zeke by the back of his neck, like a cat or a dog grabbing its offspring, and held him at her eye level. “I’ve been worried sick about you all day long! Don’t you ever, EVER pull a prank like that on me again! You understand me?” The little dragon nodded and groaned as if to apologize. “Next time I call for you, you come straight to me, is that clear?” Again, the little dragon nodded and Shamira breathed a huff. “Neara, take him to the lake to get washed up.”

Neara nodded and used her nose to nudge the dragon toward the water as Shamira started to set up to cook her dinner. Thankfully, she had caught enough fish the day before to be able to feed the three of them tonight, though she had half a mind to make Zeke go without as punishment for his prank. She decided not to as he seemed to get the picture that he was to never do such a thing again, however his portion would be a little smaller.

“I’m beginning to get tired of the same meals every day,” Shamira said with a sigh. Zeke still couldn’t fly very well and traveling with him was risky. He could swim better than her could fly, but having him swim while Shamira rode on Neara’s back in flight was out of the question. If a hungry Scauldron or some other ocean dwelling dragon decided Zeke was easy prey there would be nothing she or Neara could do to save him. But Shamira had run out of eggs yesterday and fish for breakfast was absolutely out of the question. The only other edible thing on the island was a few fruits and vegetables that grew wild there. With no other options, Shamira decided that she would have to carry Zeke while she rode on Neara and find an island with a market tomorrow. Neara wouldn’t like it but she was just going to have to deal with it.

The lack of provisions wasn’t the only problem. Zeke had tried to spit fire several times over the past few days, but he hadn’t been able to. Shamira guessed that that was something he was going to have to learn from other Sand Wraiths. Problem was, Shamira had walked the entire length of the island’s beach and hadn’t run into one, so obviously there were none here. According to locals, Sand Wraiths are elusive dragons which meant finding one that could teach Zeke how to breath fire would be tricky. Not to mention it might try to either kill Zeke or else try to take him as its own, neither of which was optimal.

“Well, I guess will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” Shamira thought aloud as she grilled her dinner on the fire. “We’re heading out first thing in the morning so you had best get a good rest, Neara,” Shamira said as she patted her partner on the back. After taking a bath, Shamira and her two companions laid down to sleep, Zeke curled up in a ball beside the pack Shamira used as a pillow.

True to her words, as soon as the sun crested the horizon and camp was cleaned up after breakfast, Shamira climbed onto Neara’s back while holding onto an excited Zeke. “Be still, Zeke,” she warned firmly. “I really don’t want to drop you.” As soon as they found an island that seemed to have a fairly prosperous market, Shamira had Neara land out of sight as usual before heading to the market on foot. “Zeke, you stay here with Neara. Do not, I repeat, do NOT try to follow me. Understood?” Zeke nodded repeatedly at Shamira’s especially firm tone.

The island Shamira had been on had a small mineral deposit and she had found a few geodes with well-formed crystals inside them. Knowing that jewelry makers would pay a pretty high price for raw crystals, she decided to bring them with her to sell. She asked around the market to see if there was a jeweler on the island and luckily for her there were a couple of them. Since the island was on a good thoroughfare of sorts there were many ships that docked on it to restock, sell wares or simply to let the sailors rest on dry land for a spell. Unfortunately, that also meant many taverns that stayed stocked with intoxicating drink, so petty skirmishes between patrons were also a common daily occurrence.

Shamira made the jeweler her first stop to barter for some money to buy provisions with. She wasn’t at all disappointed with the price the jeweler offered. If she was in the mood to haggle she probably could have gotten more, but that can take enormous amounts of time and she didn’t want to leave Zeke and Neara on their own longer than she had to. Shamira only sold two of the geodes she had found and kept the others for a later time in case she ever found herself in dire straits and needed some quick cash. She used only as much of the money she got from selling the geodes as she needed to and the rest she put away, careful to make sure that she didn’t look as though she was throwing it around. Being followed by unsavory types that thought her an easy score because of her femininity was not something she enjoyed, even if it did give her chance to teach them to not underestimate a woman.

Making sure that she wasn’t being followed, Shamira made her way back to where she had left Neara and Zeke. She heard a rustling in the bushes behind her and jumped back away from it. She had carried her bow and a quiver full of arrows strapped to her waist with her and she notched an arrow into the bow, aiming it at the bush. “Who’s there?” she called out as the bush rustled even more.

Before she could react, Zeke appeared and bounded toward her. Shamira lowered her bow with an exasperated sigh. “Well, you’re getting better at your camouflage, no doubt about that.” She put her bow back around her torso and the arrow back in the quiver and walked back to Neara. “Okay, girl. Time to find an island with some of Zeke’s kinfolk on it,” Shamira said as she urged Neara to take off. Shamira and her old companion scanned the islands they flew over, looking for ones with particularly large beaches. It seemed natural that an island such as that would be an ideal place for Sand Wraith to call home.

Shamira had been using her cloak to keep Zeke covered as they flew under the bright late-morning/early-afternoon sun. It didn’t take very long for them to spot an island with a sizeable beach. There didn’t seem to be too many humans about either so it was as good a spot as any to search for wild Sand Wraiths. Shamira landed Neara and dismounted with caution. “Zeke, stay on Neara. Neara, you stay close to me just to be safe, okay.” Neara nodded and Shamira walked cautiously across the beach.

A moment later, Neara snapped her head around behind and snarled as she used her tail to knock away a ball of flaming sand. “Jackpot,” Shamira muttered under her breath. No sooner did she turn around than did Neara have to deflect another fire ball from the opposite side. Shamira carefully removed her katana from her back and waist before attaching them to Neara’s saddle. She then reached into a basket and took out a couple of halibut, tossing one to each of the spots that the sand balls had come from. She saw the sand shift as an invisible head popped out of the sand to sniff the fish. Before she could stop him, Zeke leapt off of Neara’s back and bounded toward one of the spots.

“Zeke, no!” Shamira yelled as she chased after him. Running on sand was a piece of cake for the little dragon but for a human like Shamira not so much. Zeke reached one of the dragons right after it gobbled up the fish. Just as the surprised dragon was about to fire at Zeke, Shamira threw herself over the little dragon to protect him. Just before the Sand Wraith unleashed a sand ball, the other one, possibly its mate, pushed it to the side to make it miss. Shamira looked up from where she had curled her body over Zeke and the latter tried to fire at the larger dragon to retaliate but of course was unsuccessful.

Both of the adult Sand Wraiths had dropped their camouflage and Shamira could tell that the one about to fire was a dark brown male and the other was a female with almost white colored hide. The female glared at her counterpart and snarled, to which he turned away with a disgruntled huff. The female then “chirped,” so to speak, to call Zeke over to her and began to show him how to make a fire ball using the sand. First, she picked some sand up in her mouth and rolled it into a ball using her tongue, showing it to Zeke once she had it. Then she swallowed it, using a claw to point at part of her throat as if to give Zeke an instruction. A moment later, the female fired a flame covered ball of sand at the hindquarters of her mate who grumbled at her in protest.

The female nudged Zeke a little as if encouraging him to try it for himself. Zeke cocked his head quizzically before glancing back at Shamira. “Go ahead, Zeke.” With her encouragement, Zeke tried to follow the steps the female Sand Wraith had shown him. She seemed to be repeating them as he mimicked what she had done before trying to fire again. Though it didn’t fly very far, Zeke managed to shoot a small ball of sand covered in fire. He bounced around with excitement first around the female, then Shamira, and back in front of the female. Shamira, comfortable that the Sand Wraiths wouldn’t try to kill Zeke, decided to get in some fishing while he played with his ilk since she had used that last of their fish with those halibut she tossed to lure out the Sand Wraiths.

Just as she was starting to pack things up, Shamira sensed something approaching the back of her head and ducked as a ball of flaming sand shot several feet ahead of her into the ocean. She looked over her shoulder with an exasperated glare to find little Zeke shaking his behind like an excited puppy and then bouncing around in circles.

“Well, you’ve gotten pretty good at that I see,” Shamira said as she brushed the sand off. She would have been angry had the hatchling meant any harm, but she knew he was only trying to show her his progress so she let it slide just this once. As thanks for showing Zeke a few things, Shamira gave both the Sand Wraiths a share of the fish she had caught and went further inward on the island to try and find some fresh water. The male Sand Wraith had followed her, having started to trust her a little and showed her where he and his mate got their water. Despite being Tidal class dragons, Sand Wraith prefer to drink fresh water, a detail Shamira had noticed quickly. Confident that the water was safe for both her and her companions to drink and bathe in, Shamira splashed some water on her face to cool off.

After taking a quick bath, Shamira asked if the Sand Wraiths minded her and her two dragons staying the night on the island. Both shook their heads and Shamira bedded down for the night. Taking note that Zeke wasn’t in his usual spot by her pillow, she began to consider a heart-wrenching possibility. “If he’s more comfortable with them,” Shamira thought as she glanced over toward where Zeke was still trying to get his new friends to play. “I may very well need to consider letting him stay here with them.” The thought gave her pause and she decided it was best to sleep on it and decide in the morning.

Morning came quickly and when Shamira awoke, she was treated to the sight of Zeke happily eating an early breakfast with the two adult Sand Wraiths. Shamira felt a wry grin cross her face as she watched them, feeling that she had the answer to her question. She quietly fed Neara and had breakfast herself. Shamira intended to leave quietly to let Zeke live with the two Sand Wraiths. Neara gave Shamira a nudge as she started getting her things ready to leave, Zeke still happily playing with the Sand Wraiths.

“It’s what’s best for him, Neara. He needs to be with his own.” Neara gave Shamira a skeptical look, after all she had been raised by Shamira’s hand. “There’s no guarantee how it worked for you will work for him, Neara. Look at him,” she responded with a nod in Zeke’s direction. “He’ll be happiest with them. Now come on.” Shamira finished securing everything to Neara’s saddle and climbed on her back. They moved a little ways away from the beach before taking off.

Zeke glanced over at the camp and noticed that Shamira and Neara were both gone. He spun around and ran straight to it and began to sniff around. When he heard Neara’s wing beats, Zeke gave chase on the ground, trying to take flight himself. When he started crying out, the female Sand Wraith picked Zeke up and put him on her back before taking flight after Neara and Shamira.

When Shamira heard the dragon approaching from behind, she pulled Neara to an abrupt halt and had her turn around. “What are you doing, Zeke?” Before she could think, Zeke leapt from the Sand Wraith’s back, using his wings to propel himself forward, trying to get onto Neara’s back. He fell just shy and started to fall, only to find himself caught in Neara’s talons. “Level out, Neara!” Shamira called quickly and Neara did as she was told. Shamira crawled back and reached down to Zeke, carefully pulling him up onto Neara’s back.

“What were you thinking?!” she scolded the little dragon. “What if Neara hadn’t caught you?!” Zeke climbed up with his front paws on Shamira’s chest and looked at her pleadingly. “Zeke…” She glanced over at the female Sand Wraith, who nodded to her. “Take us back down for a minute, Neara.”

Once back on solid ground, Zeke squawked in protest at Shamira’s attempt to leave him there. “But Zeke, wouldn’t you rather be with your own kind?” The little dragon vigorously shook his head and jumped up to Shamira’s chest, crying out as he did so. Shamira patted Zeke’s head and set him down. There was one other thing she had been doing as she was going through the archipelago – making a map so that she could easily find her way back to her homeland on the continent.

Shamira marked where she had drawn the island they were currently on so that she would remember the two Sand Wraiths that were there and she also decided to give them each a name. The gentle female she nicknamed Diamond and the gruff male she called Geode because of his rough first impression that gave way to a much nicer temperament in time. Zeke still had much to learn and Shamira had every intention of beginning to train him in earnest, but she promised to bring him back to the island from time to time.

The next few months passed like a whirlwind. Zeke continued to grow rapidly and took his training more and more seriously as he did. As he molted his old scales and new ones grew in, his almost completely solid navy-blue color became mottled with lighter and darker blue spots, making his hide look more and more like the ocean with sunlight dancing on it. He was a fighter at heart, cunning, quick, and resilient. Zeke’s strength and abilities developed rapidly as he travelled with Shamira and Neara from island to island. True to her promise, Shamira had brought him back to the Sand Wraith’s island to spend time with Diamond and Geode, along with their springy new hatchling that Shamira nicknamed Adi, which meant jewel or ornament in a language she was familiar with.

The times weren’t all fun and games though. It hadn’t been easy considering most of the locals’ feelings towards dragons, but Shamira had managed to find someone who could make a saddle for Zeke that could be taken off quickly in situations where he needed to use his camouflage. Her mission to save dragons from the hunters had been temporarily put on hold while Zeke was growing up, but now that he was almost fully grown, Shamira decided that the time was just about right for him to join her and Neara on their “party-crashing,” as Shamira called it.

“What say you, Zeke? Think you’re ready?” she asked the young dragon teasingly. Zeke scratched at the dirt with his front claws with a growl in response before shooting a sand ball at the trunk of a small tree, hitting it in a perfect spot to make it break. “Hmph, I’ll take that as a yes.” Zeke let out a roar and Shamira patted him on the head. “Alright then,” she began as she motioned for Neara to come over. “It’s party time you two.” In response to her words, both dragons raised their heads skyward and loosed their flames.

ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Enemy of My Enemy

During her latest trip to a market, Shamira had overheard some hunters’ conversation about their next auction. They also mentioned just how smoothly their last few auctions had been without any interruptions. “Hmph, well then… we’ll just have to change that… won’t we,” Shamira said under her breath with a sly grin. Shamira went back to where Neara and Zeke were hiding out. “Ready for your first party, Zeke?” Zeke jumped up with excitement. “Easy there, boy. Don’t get overexcited. Can’t risk making mistakes.”

Zeke settled down and Shamira climbed onto Neara’s back after removing Zeke’s saddle. “Zeke, you follow their ship from the sea using your camouflage to stay out of sight. Neara and I will be close behind you. Once you find where they’re holding the auction, come find us. Got it?” Zeke nodded and made a beeline for the ocean to follow behind the hunter’s ships, staying out of sight as he’d been told to do. Zeke’s abilities allowed Shamira and Neara to follow at a much safer distance than they used to and meant that he could be closer by if Shamira needed help fast.

As soon as the ship docked, Zeke saw an alarming sight – there were more than twenty ships at this auction. Surely some were buyers not hunters, but nevertheless this job would be exceptionally dangerous. He quickly went back to Shamira and Neara, staying in the water until he was far enough away to not alert any hunters to his presence. When he met up with them, Shamira could tell by the urgent look in Zeke’s eyes that something was up. He led them back to the island around to the North side where there was no safe place to dock a ship because of jagged rocks. As they flew over, Shamira could see what had Zeke panicked.

“Tsk, lousy slime-balls. They’ve gotten cocky and complacent since I’ve been absent.” Zeke lowered his head a little. “Don’t blame yourself for that Zeke. I’m confident that with your help we can more than make up for lost time,” she comforted him with an affectionate pat on the head and he responded with a resolute nod.

“Alright, Neara, you know the drill.” The nightmare nodded and flew down into the trees for cover. Shamira checked her two katana and put them in place on her hip and back before sending Neara off. “Alright, Zeke. I want you to stay close to me but keep out of sight and avoid making any noise as much as you can. Understood?” When she turned to Zeke, she saw his shape disappear as he used his camouflage ability. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Shamira said with a quite chuckle. “Alright then. Time to move.”

It was obvious that there were definitely more hunters as well as more buyers this time. Unfortunately, that also meant more dragons that needed to be set free as well and a surplus of guards to get in Shamira’s way. “This is going to be a pain,” Shamira grumbled under her breath. She could tell by the sounds coming from where an arena of sorts had been set up that the auction could begin at any moment. Time was really not on their side and knocking out all the guards would be significantly harder this time, even with Zeke watching her back. Shamira had to face the reality that she might not be getting all the dragons free this time around.

She looked over the area as she moved, checking the cages and paying special attention to the boxes of eggs and other materials. There were more of those this time around too. This time around, Shamira unlocked the cages as she went instead of going back to do that later, prioritizing the dragons who had eggs next to their cages. She had had to knock out a few guards along the way but thankfully had not alerted any others yet. Once all of their cages were unlocked, she unlatched the first one and prepared to pull out the dragon root soaked arrow that was keeping the parent quiet, knowing full well that all Hades would break loose as soon as the dragon was free.

As she expected, no sooner was the dragon awake and saw its cage door open, than it let out a massive roar, grabbed its egg in its mouth and took to the skies. “Zeke, go to the pier and put holes in as many hunter ships as you can; quickly!” She couldn’t see him with his camouflage, but she knew her new partner would be reluctant to leave her side so she gave him another push. “This isn’t my first rodeo, you know. I can handle this now go!” she told him as she set another dragon free.

He didn’t want to leave her alone, but Zeke also wanted to prove himself to Shamira, as much as he wanted to prove to himself, that his training had paid off. He did as she told him. He kept his camouflage ability working and made for the water so that he could strike the ships from underneath, using his attacks like a torpedo.

This time as Shamira was freeing dragons, the man she had presumed to be one of the hunters’ leaders the last time she crashed one of their auctions wasn’t having her interruption. He ordered several hunters to get the cargo back to their ships while he fought Shamira himself and drew his own sword.

“Ha! You’re gonna regret that life decision, pal,” Shamira said with a snide tone.

“Oh yeah? And why is that?”

No sooner had the words left his mouth than he heard some of the hunters at the boats shouting that their ships were sinking. “Don’t say I didn’t try to warn ya,” Shamira said as she released another dragon while the boss’s attention was on the pier. “Now what’s say you and I have a little dance, shall we?” Shamira taunted with a ‘bring it’ grin on her face as she drew the katana from her hip.

“You little wench!” the big man yelled as he charged.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Language,” Shamira continued to taunt as she evaded the man’s charge. “Is that anyway to talk to a lady? I think not.” As she evaded the man’s attacks, Shamira continued to release dragons from their cages. No matter how hard the oaf tried, Shamira was just too swift of foot; he couldn’t even get close to landing a strike. Some of his comrades tried to as Shamira evaded the boss, but she just used one of her swords to deflect them without missing a beat. Just the same, Shamira could tell that she was getting more and more outnumbered by the minute, even with some of the freed dragons fighting back. True the hunters wouldn’t be getting away with any of the dragons, but she too was stranded at the moment. Calling either Neara or Zeke in was out of the question with so many of the hunters’ arrows flying. She needed to think of something and quick.

Before she could formulate a plan though, the shadow of a large dragon passed overhead. While the hunters were distracted by it, Shamira returned the katana she carried on her back to its sheath and retreated a ways back to regroup and think up a strategy, releasing dragons as she went. The dragon casting the shadow was one Shamira had never seen before. It had two sets of wings right on top of each other and its head was more square shaped than any other dragon she had seen thus far. Shamira could also just make out the silhouette of a person on the dragon’s back and whoever it was seemed to be in complete control, as though the other dragons were listening to him or her.

Shamira saw her perfect opportunity – while the hunters were busy with this other rider, she could set more dragons loose. As she went, Shamira thought she heard one hunter say something to the effect of “take down that Storm—something or other.” She couldn’t quite make out what they had called it. What the dragon was called wasn’t much her concern at the moment. Right now, her only focus was freeing as many of the dragons as she could. Even with the glaring distraction drawing the hunters’ attention, Shamira was still having to fight off quite a few hunters, using only one sword to do so and using her free hand to liberate the dragons.

Once all the dragons were free, Shamira fell back to the forest and whistled for Neara and Zeke, both of whom came straight to her. As Shamira and the other rider made their escape, Shamira on Neara’s back, she was halted by the other’s dragon. The rider was wearing armor making him or her look somewhat androgynous and the mask over the face didn’t help matters either. The rider’s form seemed rather slender in comparison to most of the men Shamira had seen up to now in the archipelago so she guessed that the rider was most likely a woman. Neither of them said anything; they just stared each other down for a moment. Then the other rider nodded her(?) head to Shamira who reciprocated. The rider then took off with several of the released dragons following.

“Well… that was… weird,” Shamira mused aloud. “Well, whatever. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?” Neara and Zeke both gave a light snarl as if to say they didn’t know either. “Well, at any rate, whoever that was doesn’t seem to want to make an enemy of us so let’s just leave it at that for today and get out of here.” The trio took off toward the East to find an island on which to make camp.

“Hmm… I’m going to be in need of some warmer clothes soon,” Shamira thought as she scanned the map she had made so far. She had traveled fairly far to the North at this point and it was getting late in the year. Spring had long since passed and summer was about to end. “Well, nothing for it,” Shamira said as she rolled the map back up. “We’ll have to head back south for a spell so I can get some better clothes for the coming season. My clan has an outpost island about three days flight from our current location. I say we head that way first thing tomorrow.” Travel plans made, Shamira and her two companions prepared to bed down for the night.

While Shamira laid awake, going through tomorrow’s travel plan in her head, she heard the same strange noise she had heard that night several months ago. “Night Furies!” she whispered with a start and shot up from where she lay to get a better look at the night sky. Zeke and Neara had both awakened now too and they also scanned the skies for what had made the noise. Zeke spotted them first and before Shamira could think to stop him, he took off to try and chase after them.

“Zeke, stop!” Shamira called for him but it was too late. He was already out of earshot. Zeke was competitive and that was partly Shamira’s fault she knew. The stubborn dragon wanted to race anything that could even slightly outpace him.

Zeke was able to keep pace with the pair of Night Furies for a few nauts (nautical miles) before they sensed his presence and picked up speed. The stubborn Sand Wraith lost them soon after. Frustrated, he flew around a bit, firing off sand balls at random objects to vent. In the process, he ended up getting somewhat turned around and tried to find his way back by following stars Shamira had taught him to recognize. But Zeke made a crucial mistake – while his eyes were trained on the sky, he scraped one of his wings on a tree branch, thankfully not tearing it. As he tried to get his bearings though, he slammed into the side of a cliff and couldn’t recover, causing him to crash land onto the island where he found himself covered in a cold, wet, white substance he hadn’t yet experienced – snow.

Zeke had traveled farther north than he realized and now found himself on an unknown, snow covered island. Ill prepared for that sort of weather, he could feel the cold making his limbs stiffening and his wings going numb. He wasn’t going to be able to fly in this condition he knew. Shamira would no doubt be worried sick when he didn’t come back before dawn and he had heard her saying that she wanted to go south tomorrow. Kicking himself for being so rash, Zeke walked through the snow, trying to stay warm by moving but being a dragon, he couldn’t control his body temperature so easily as a warm-blooded creature can.

Just as Zeke began to feel as though he couldn’t keep going, a few pairs of eyes about at the same level that he was could be seen glowing in the brush. Zeke raised his hackles and growled at whoever was there. “Identify yourselves, or else be fired upon,” is what he was communicating with his growl. At the same time, Zeke felt his fatigue beginning to catch up with him and between that and the cold his consciousness began to wane. Just before his body collapsed, he felt something warm and faintly soft against his scales and then he was out.

As dawn broke on the island Shamira and Neara were camped at, Shamira woke from her sleep to find the Zeke was still not back. She had decided against going after him, what with his dark pattern being near impossible to spot at night, figuring he’d come back while she slept. “This does not bode well,” she said thoughtfully. She and Neara ate a quick breakfast and prepared to set out. “It looked like they were headed north, so that’s where we’ll start.” Shamira and Neara took off trying to follow after Zeke’s trail. “Having a Nadder or a Rumblehorn would be nice right about now,” Shamira thought to herself. It wasn’t that Neara had a poor sense of smell, but it wasn’t really good enough for the purpose of tracking.

“Zeke, when I find you, you’re gonna get it,” she grumbled as she pulled her cloak closer around herself, feeling the increasing chill in the air. “You mind flaming up a little, Neara?” She had never been more grateful for the Monstrous Nightmare’s ability to light itself on fire than she was right now.

Elsewhere, on the island where Zeke had crashed, he woke up to find several dragons a little bigger than himself were surrounding him sleeping. Their physique was similar to his own too, but they definitely weren’t Sand Wraith, of that he was certain. They were covered in what felt to him like fur or wool and their fangs were more needle-like than his.

As Zeke started to stir, an uncountable number of bright eyes popped open and looked at him. Before he could react, some of the smaller ones started jumping around him as though they were glad that he had woken up. He could tell just by looking at them that these were strike class dragons, which made him all the more cautious about how he was being treated as strike dragons weren’t usually this friendly to other dragons.

They didn’t appear to have any intention of making a meal out of him, but this wasn’t even Zeke’s biggest concern at the moment. Shamira had no way of knowing which island he had crashed on. He needed to try and head back from where he’d come but that would be tricky. He didn’t need someone to tell him that his wing was pretty badly banged up, Zeke could feel it. Flying in his current condition wasn’t much of an option. He could swim of course but then the odds of he and his companions missing each other grew, especially with the fog rolling off the water. His best option, Zeke figured, was to stay put for the time being and try to make himself as non-threatening as possible.

“Where on Earth is he?” Shamira grumbled as she continued to scan the area for Zeke. Neara suddenly stopped and started to snarl. “What’s the matter girl?” Shamira asked with a voice filled with trepidation. Neara glanced back before casting her eyes down below where Shamira could clearly see a dragon hunter ship. “Oh, perfect! That’s just what we need right now.” Shamira slapped her forehead with her palm with an exasperated sigh. “Well, we can’t very well ignore them. Let’s go, Neara!”

Neara let out a short roar before diving down toward the boat. “Fire!” Shamira shouted and Neara let loose a massive breath of fire, destroying the mast and lighting the boat on fire before quickly ascending out of range of the hunters’ arrows. “Let’s sink that thing to the bottom of the ocean.” Neara growled in agreement.

Just as she started to dive in for another attack, both Shamira and noticed that they weren’t the only ones attacking the boat. There were several other wild dragons whose bodies looked like they were covered in fur and they were firing balls of their ice breath at the ship. It seemed that most of the arrows fired at them couldn’t get through the thick substance covering their bodies but they seemed to be avoiding exposing their underbellies.

“Judging by how they move and attack, I’m guessing those are what the locals call strike class dragons,” Shamira thought aloud as she watched them. “Well, come on, Neara. Can’t let them have all the fun!” Neara roared with agreement and charged the ship again.  As they neared the ship, one of the wild dragons was stuck in a weak spot with one of the hunters’ arrows and it fell onto the deck.

“Neara! Get me in close!” Neara flew just over the ship and Shamira leapt from her companion’s back onto the ship just as the hunters started trying to chain up the fallen dragon. “Not today, boys!” Shamira shouted as she drew both of her katana from their scabbards. She fought off the hunters as quickly as she could and pulled the arrow out of the dragon’s side, reviving it. “Go, go, go!” she shouted hurriedly to the dragon and it took off, but not before grabbing Shamira’s clothes and taking her with it.

“Hey! What are you doing!?” Shamira shouted. She whistled for Neara and as soon as she was close enough, “Let me go so I can get on my dragon,” she told the dragon firmly. Seeming to have understood her, it let her go and Shamira landed feet-first onto Neara’s back. She sheathed her swords and got back in the saddle.

“Let’s finish this,” Shamira said with a pat on Neara’s neck. Neara spun around as she dove back toward the ship. As soon as she was close enough, she let out her biggest breath of fire yet, weakening the integrity of the ship’s hull. One of the wild dragons took advantage of the weakened spot and fired a ball of ice at it, creating a breach in the hull and causing the ship to start sinking.

The hunters abandoned ship, jumping onto the lifeboats with haste amid the wild dragons’ triumphant cries which sounded like a mix of a roar and a wolf’s howl. Neara joined in and so did Shamira with a hearty, “Yeah!” at the top of her lungs. The wild dragons gathered around Shamira an Neara and each one in turn gave the Nightmare and rider a nudge.

“Don’t mention it,” Shamira said, thinking that perhaps the dragons were thanking her for saving one of their own. “Say, I don’t suppose any of you have seen another dragon friend of mine? He looks kind of like you guys but less robust and he doesn’t have the woolly stuff covering him. His hide is dark blue with lighter and darker spots on his body.”

The wild dragons looked at each other before looking over to the white and tan colored one that appeared to be their leader. He then nodded his head as if to say, “follow me” and then he and the wild dragons flew off toward a nearby island, unaware that one of the hunters was watching them. Once the dragons landed on their island, a number of other dragons came running up to them as if to great them. When they noticed Shamira and Neara, they began to glare and growl until the leader dragon gave a quiet snarl. He seemed to Shamira to be telling them about how she had saved one of the others because as she watched the dragons’ expressions appeared to change.

Shamira thought she heard one of the hunters call the felled dragon a Woolly Howl when he was telling his comrades to secure it. She felt it was a rather fitting name considering their appearance and how their roars sounded similar to a howl in a way. The leader Howl nodded his head toward a nearby cave and Shamira started to walk toward it, the leader walking beside her. When she poked her head into the cave, Shamira was almost immediately tackled backward into the snow with an “umph.”

“Zeke? That you, boy?” Shamira said as she got a look at the dragon that had tackled her. “It is you! Boy, am I glad to have found you,” she said with relief as she hugged the wiggling dragon’s neck. A moment later though, Shamira was on her feet and she popped Zeke on the back of his head. “What were you thinking?! You had me worried sick, do you know that!”

Knowing that this would likely be coming, Zeke bowed his head with resignation and to apologize. “Don’t ever go off on your own like that again unless it’s what I tell you to do. Understood?” Shamira said firmly and Zeke nodded.

Shamira turned to the Woolly dragons, most of whom had stepped back seeing her outburst that resembled that of a worried mother. “Thank you all, for looking after Zeke,” Shamira said with a polite bow. “If I may, would you mind if I stayed the night here?” It had already gotten fairly late in the day by now and Shamira couldn’t help but worry about how close the hunters seemed to be to this island. She had resolved to try and convince them to move on to a different island tomorrow just to be safe. Strike class dragons were known for their intelligence, so she hoped that they would understand her suggestion and go along with it, but strike class dragons could also be rather proud and stubborn.

The lead dragon showed Shamira where there was a nice little hot spring on the island. It was near where they kept their newly hatched offspring. A hatchling Woolly Howl didn’t have the same thickness to their scales as adults did and for the first few weeks they were vulnerable to the cold. Shamira thanked the dragon for showing her the spot so that she could take a nice bath. She set her towel on a rock close by and one of the younger dragons laid on it as if to try and keep it warm, for which Shamira was very thankful.

Unbeknownst to her and the dragons, the hunters whose ship they had sank had gone back to get reinforcements. The Woolly Howls had apparently been throwing a wrench into their plans lately so some of the ships were in the area trying to find the dragons’ nest. Now that they had a rough idea of where the dragons were, the hunters were regrouping their ships and would head straight for the island in the morning. Soon ice flows would be setting in which the hunters knew meant that this could well be their only chance to finish searching the area for whatever it was their boss was supposedly after.

That night after dinner, Shamira had crawled under her blankets in the Woolly Howl’s cave. The cave floor was covered in their shed scales and between that and the dragons’ body heat, the den was rather warm. Despite this, Shamira was having a difficult time getting to sleep. The feeling in her gut that something bad was coming kept her awake. She had learned the hard way once what can happen when she ignored what her instincts were trying to tell her and she wasn’t one to make the same mistakes twice.

“I’m not getting to sleep like this,” Shamira grumbled under her breath with a heavy sigh. She laced up her boots and pulled her blanket tight around herself before getting up and walking out of the cave. The pack of Woolly Howls’ leader woke up as she did and followed her out. Shamira found a rock that wasn’t covered in snow and sat down on it as she gazed up at the clear night sky. Not a moment later, the leader laid down behind her and wrapped himself around the spot.

“Thanks,” Shamira said to the largest of the dragons as she reached a hand out to gently rub his head. “Can you sense it too, big guy?” Shamira asked without taking her eyes off the sky. She saw from the corner of her eye that he looked at her a moment and then nodded. “Then you should move your pack to a new island.”

The dragon narrowed his gold colored eyes at her and snarled as though he felt insulted. “I know you and your pack are strong, but listen to me. Those hunters will probably be coming here with reinforcements. You need to keep your pack safe and the best way to do that is to move to a new island before the hunters come back; at least the younger and weaker ones,” Shamira reasoned with the proud leader calmly. “I can help you fight off the hunters while the pack evacuates, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think even with us helping each other that we’ll be able to ward them off completely. Pack ice will set in before long. You should send out a scout north of here to find an island that has everything you need and isn’t already greatly inhabited.”

With that Shamira stood to her feet and looked back at the den in which most of the Woolly Howls and her own two companions were sleeping. The pack leader looked in the same direction thoughtfully. Shamira’s reasoning was sound and she was right – keeping the pack safe was indeed his primary responsibility. He made his mind up then and called for two of his most trusted pack members. After a few exchanged grunts and growls, the two dragons flew northward to scout out a new island for them to call home, at least temporarily.

“You have my word,” Shamira said resolutely as she and the leader walked back to the den. “I will do everything in my power to help you keep your pack safe from those barbarians.” She looked back into the dragon’s eyes and they nodded to each other before both glanced back at the shore which would likely be a battlefield come morning.

ShamiraStrider's picture
Dragon Master
Joined: 06/23/2017
Busy busy busy

Ugh you know what... heck with it I don't like where I'm taking this... I'm gonna rewrite everything after chapter 2. This is going to take some doing and I'm gonna have to find tome for it in between job hunting...