Chapter 6: Divided Paths by Shadewrecker

Pyren, Emerald, and Sunny gazed upon the scorched town, the dragon since vacating after their escape. The Taldas River was dyed blood red from the slaughtered furs, its crimson waters practically boiled from the blaze. Sunny was sobbing in Emerald’s arms, her tan fur soaked with the salty tears. “W-what am I gonna do… My school… My home… My papa… It’s all gone...” she cried. Pyren couldn’t take his eyes away from the devastated fennec fox. “I can’t believe this. How could anyone do this? Kill all those people.… and leave the survivors like this?” questioned a horrified Pyren. Emerald cuddled Sunny like she would her own child. “Don’t worry, Ark will be back with your papa soon,” she said. Sunny sniffled and tried to wipe her tears. Pyren sat down on the grass and sighed. After several minutes of waiting, he spotted his brother, carrying nothing but a dejected, sorrowful look. The dragon descended and approached a terrified Sunny, still holding tightly onto Emerald. Ark let out a heavy sigh. She had no idea the grief he carried inside of him. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t save him,” he told her. Sunny’s eyes widened. For a brief moment, she looked around for her father. She found nothing. Nothing but the grass and the bleak night sky.

Ark closed his eyes and exhaled out his nostrils. “P-Papa…” she muttered, before falling to her knees. “S-Sunny!” said Emerald, reaching out. No response came from her. The fennec fox’s eyes were empty and soulless. Pyren turned his shocked expression towards Ark. “Her dad…..” he said. “He probably perished when the building collapsed,” responded Ark. Sunny remained in her unresponsive state. She lied there and cried, with Emerald trying to comfort her to no avail. Ark looked back at the smoldering ruin that was Vele. “I’m going to chase after him,” he said. “W-what?” asked Pyren. “That dragon. I’m going to find the one who did this, and I’m going to kill him. I’ll show that bastard just the same amount of mercy he showed the people of Vele.” Pyren was concerned. “We barely held our own against those guards and you want to go fight another dragon?” he exclaimed. “I don’t care whether I can win or not. I… I started this journey to find my father. That’s all I wanted, but... we’ve met so many people along the way… and so many of them have had their lives torn apart! How many more have to end up like Sylvi and Sunny? There’s something bigger happening here. I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” said Ark, more determined he had ever been before. Pyren was speechless. “You two should find her a place to stay. Make sure she’s safe,” said Ark. Pyren started to tear up. “W-we’ve spent all this time apart… and you’re just gonna leave?” he cried. Ark turned away. “Ark?” asked Pyren, worry in his voice. “I'm sorry for dragging you into this,” said the dragon, before pausing. He stopped, took a deep breath, and took off once more.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go….. What’s gonna happen to me…..?” asked Sunny, taking off her tear-covered glasses. Her forlorn eyes gazed up at Emerald. She really looked like the lost little girl she was. “Stop worrying so much! You’re not alone, Sunny. We’re gonna take care of you,” said Emerald. “Okay...” she muttered unenthusiastically. The cat placed her lilac colored paw on her friend’s shoulder. “I'm so glad I met you, Sunny. You, Pyren, and Ark are my best friends in the whole world,” she said. Sunny sniffled and brought a paw up to her face to wipe her tears. “T-thank you, Miss Emerald…” she said. Emerald kneeled down and gave her friend one last hug. “Come on. You need some rest,” she told her. Sunny nodded slowly and let Emerald help her get comfortable on the tall, soft grass.

Pyren sat alone, gazing off into the distance where his brother had abruptly left just moments before. Emerald approached the folf cautiously. “What is it?” he asked with a scowl on his face. The cat ignored the question and sat down next to him. “I was wondering if you had a blanket Sunny could use,” she said. Pyren reached into the enchanted bag and pulled out a rather basic blue blanket that he had gotten while his brother and he were in Andea. She accepted the soft sheet of cloth gracefully, but was reluctant to leave. “What’s wrong?” asked Emerald. Pyren took a few seconds to answer. “I can’t believe he just left like that! We went through all that trouble to get back together and he just ditches us for some revenge quest!” he exclaimed, fuming. Emerald looked at him sorrowfully. “I know Ark cares about you, Pyren. In all that time I spent with him, I could tell that you meant a lot to him,” she told him. Pyren’s mood didn’t improve. “What are we gonna do? We need some kind of plan, but all you seem to care about now is her!” he yelled, pointing at the sleeping fennec girl. The cat clasped her paws over her mouth in surprise. “Pyren… her home was destroyed! Her father is dead! I just want her to be safe…” she cried. The scornful folf looked away. “You’re the smart and resourceful one, aren’t you?! Come on, where do we go from here? You always know what to do!” he said, voice filled with desperation and frustration. “I don’t know what to do!” yelled Emerald, putting her paws on his shoulders. “I don’t know what to do… All this happened so fast, and I’m just trying to make sure everyone’s okay… I don’t want her to have to grow up like I did, all alone, with nobody to talk to and no one to play with…” she muttered, eyes beginning to fill up. Pyren looked back up at his girlfriend. His sky blue eyes glistened in the moonlight. He sighed and laid back on the grass. Emerald looked longingly at him, like he was a friend that she’d never see again. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I freaked out on you like that. I’m just so… upset. It finally felt like things were looking up. I finally found some power of my own, I could finally compare to my brother, and he just goes and leaves. Right when it seemed like we would all be together again… all this happened,” he muttered, saddened and confused. The folf gave another sigh and closed his eyes. Emerald put the blanket down and laid down next to him. “Just know that whatever happens, whatever we go through, you’ll still be my special somebody,” she told him, leaning in for a nuzzle. Pyren gave a soft smile and nuzzled his friend, before she got up to give Sunny the blanket.

Pyren sat up and rubbed his eyes as he awoke, the surrounding grasslands coming into view as they began to focus. Sitting next to him was Emerald, who was, to his surprise, drawing. Her pencils were strewn about in the grass, as was the small satchel they came from. The folf peeked over the shoulder of the unsuspecting Emerald, only to see that the figure she was drawing was an orange-furred folf, just like him. “O-oh! You’re awake!” she exclaimed, jumping back a little. Pyren closed his eyes and gave a goofy grin. “Whatcha drawing?” he asked, curious. The lavender-furred cat put a paw on her head and blushed. “I was trying to draw you, but it turned out a little strange,” she responded. The figure on the paper had a white underbelly instead of yellow and a different paw shape. “I couldn’t get your paws right, and I didn’t have a very good yellow,” she said. Pyren rubbed a paw-finger under his nose. “Well, other than that, it looks pretty good,” he said, not trying to discourage her. Emerald looked down at her paper, slightly disappointed. “Maybe I’ll give it another try later,” she said, packing up her pencils and sketchbook. Pyren smiled. “Hey, I liked it,” he said, before they tip-toed over to the still sleeping Sunny.

“Wakey wakey,” whispered Emerald, as she rubbed her paw on Sunny’s dress. It was mostly in good shape, but the small scorch marks and scuffs told what she had been through. “H-huh…?” muttered the sleepy fennec fox. Pyren and Emerald were standing over her, staring as she pulled herself out from under the blanket. “Do you feel any better?” asked the cat. Sunny looked up at her, the despair in her eyes lessened from the night before. “A little,” she responded, rolling up the blanket neatly, and handing it to Pyren, who quickly slipped it into his enchanted bag. Emerald handed Sunny her paw and helped her up. The fox yawned and raised her paws skyward, before letting them down and sighing. She gazed over on the smoldering remains of her home, and her mood drooped. “Now that my home is gone… where am I gonna go?” she repeated from the previous night. Emerald tensed up. “Where are we going to go?” she whispered into Pyren’s ear. The folf shrugged and gritted his teeth embarrassedly. “Why do you think I know? That’s what I was freaking out about last night!” he whispered back. Sunny started to sniffle again, and Emerald panicked. She put a paw under her muzzle before Pyren gasped. “Hey! We could go back to Andea and let her stay at your place!” he exclaimed. “Don’t you want to go after Ark?” asked the cat, unconvinced. Pyren slumped. “I do… but after what happened last night… I think I owe it to Sunny to help her out,” he said, nervously. Emerald perked up and turned towards the melancholic fox. “Alright, that settles it. We’re taking you back to Andea,” she told her. Sunny took her glasses off and wiped the tears on her dress. “Is it nice there?” she asked, innocently. Emerald looked up and gave a half frown. “Well… It’s a little less than what you’re used to… but it’s a place to stay nonetheless,” she said. Sunny brightened up a bit and brushed up against the cat like a toddler would to its mother. Wrapping her arm around her friend in the blue dress, they hugged one last time. “H-hey… let me in on the action!” exclaimed Pyren, going in for a group hug. Sunny closed her eyes and smiled. She knew she was in good company.

As Ark flew in through the shadowed plain, he contemplated the events of the previous few days. Why was his father with this “Dragon Army?” Were they just as guilty as the dragon who left Vele and its people as nothing more than a scorch mark? Ark gritted his teeth. “Am I really…. a part of this?” he asked himself. Ark put the questions aside as his wings flapped in the wind. The dragon flew towards the border between fur and dragon territory. Although there were no markers, the drastic change in atmosphere was signal enough. The lush, windy plains became dark as they were overshadowed by the mountains in the distance. Granval Range. His and Pyren’s childhood home. Although, this area was quite a bit different than where they grew up. While flying, Ark opened his spellbook. Looking across the wide variety of spells, so many of which he had yet to try, and sighed. “I’ve been neglecting my studies,” he said, regretfully. He flipped the pages a few more times, coming across nothing but lines and lines of draconic text. He came across the special spell for transmuting fire and ice he had written on a blank page near the back. Reading aloud a spell, he launched a small ice spike into the dark sky, then scaled it up until it became a massive frozen stalactite. “Alright, that should do it,” he whispered to himself, dropping the huge chunk of ice down to the ground. Finally, he reached the back, noticing the page the guard investigating it had been so afraid of. “This hexagram must be some sort of spell as well,” he realized. “What other reason could my father have for putting it in here?” Then it came to him. “Something that spans across the entire continent…. What the hell is this spell? And what is it we’re collecting?” he said, recalling the trinkets he had left with Pyren and Emerald. Ark exhaled out his nose. He shook his head, shut the book, and promptly put it away. He was nearing the mountainsides. “I’ll figure this out. Once I find that dragon…. I can set things right,” he said, clenching his fist.

Now that they knew where they were going, Pyren and Emerald trekked through Galde at a breakneck pace. Sunny closely trailed behind Emerald, never letting the cat out of her spectacled sight. “Are we there yet?” cried Sunny, tugging on Emerald’s shirt, and getting no answer. Galde’s windy grasslands passed by quickly, but they were still nowhere near their destination. While the three stopped to catch their breath, Pyren pulled out the map his brother had neglected to take before he left. “We’re still so far away…” he muttered. Emerald nudged up close to look at the map, and Sunny squeezed herself in between both of them for a peek, as well. “It looks like it’s gonna be a few days before we can find you a home, Sunny,” said Emerald. The fox girl sighed, dispirited. Pyren eyed the map a little closer. “Hey…” he muttered, catching the girls’ attention. “If we go through the Miasma Swamp, we might get there a little faster,” finished the folf. Emerald turned her head towards Sunny, as if beckoning for a response. “S-Swamp? That sounds terrible! Aren’t those sticky and gross?” exclaimed the terrified fennec fox. Emerald frowned. “The faster we get to Andea, the faster you’ll see a nice, warm bed,” she explained in the most motherly voice she could muster. Sunny paused for a moment before sighing. “O-okay… I’ll give it a try...” she muttered with a whimper. Pyren grinned and Emerald placed a paw on Sunny’s shoulder to comfort her. “Alright then. To the swamp!” yelled the enthusiastic folf, paw-finger pointing to the horizon. Emerald rolled her eyes at his campiness and they set off in the direction of Miasma Swamp.

The three approached the misty and tepid bog with little enthusiasm. “C-crap… I didn’t know it’d be this wet...” muttered Pyren. His confidence had waned when he stepped into the water and winced slightly, but he pushed through and carried on for Sunny’s sake. The three furs stepped over fallen trees and waded through the warm, muddy water in hopes of reaching the other end before they got lost, or worse. Sunny’s eyes shifted around her surroundings. Shadows seemed to pass through the dark and dead trees that surrounded them. “Miss Emerald…. I’m scared…” she muttered, huddling close to her friend. “We'll only be here for a little while,” responded Emerald, reassuring her. A rustling in the water behind them caused the young fox to jump and drop her glasses in terror. “You stay here, Sunny,” said Pyren, as she scrambled to dig her glasses out of the mud. The folf gave a worried look when he saw the enormous alligator-like creature that was slowly approaching the three. He groaned and reluctantly drew his sword.

Pyren charged forward and struck the beast clear on the snout, only for his blade to be deflected by the tough hide. He grunted as Emerald threw big chunks of fallen tree wood at the monster, but to no avail. The monster simply kept moving. “Nothing's working!” exclaimed Emerald. Pyren glared at the alligator-like creature and sheathed his sword. Instead, the folf lit his paws alight with a powerful flame. “Try this on for size!” he yelled. The fireballs he sent at the alligator had the same effect as everything else, dissolving in a puff of smoke. The folf gave his girlfriend a nervous look and the two decided to scram. Behind them, lying in the mud was a terrified Sunny, dress further dirtied by the dank swamp. “Come on, Sunny, we gotta go!,” beckoned Pyren. Emerald helped her friend up, and they booked it away from the beast. Sunny slipped, letting go of Emerald's paw and falling back down. The fennec fox cried and squirmed as she tried to escape the pursuing alligator. Before Emerald or Pyren could assist her, the beast was already in front of the crying girl, maw held wide open, ready to swallow her whole. Before she was made into a swift lunch, Sunny put her paws in front of her face in terror. When noticed she wasn't a meter down a giant alligator’s gullet, the fox took her paws away. What she saw was that time had somehow stopped. Splashes of water remained suspended in the air, her friends and foe stood perfectly frozen, and the various ambient sounds of the swamp had ceased. Strangest of all, however, was that standing before her was a tall, white-furred vixen with a presence that towered over her like no other had in Sunny’s entire life.

“W-who are you?” stuttered Sunny through her gaping muzzle. The white presence smiled and kneeled down before her. “That is not important now, my child,” she said, taking Sunny's paw in hers. “Are… are you my mother?” asked the confused little girl. The vixen gave a quiet laugh. “In a way, yes,” she responded, as cryptic as ever. “It is not your time to leave this world. Neither is it for your friends,” said the vixen. Sunny gasped. “Are you here to save me?” she asked, hopeful. “No. I am merely here to show you your true potential. You do not need me to save you,” explained the vixen. She helped Sunny to her footpaws and held her paw out in front of her. “W-what? I...I don't understand…” muttered the fennec fox. “Close your eyes,” demanded the otherworldly woman. Sunny was still bewildered, but complied. Her life depended on it. “Breathe. Your power already resides inside of you.” Sunny took a deep breath and relaxed. The little girl opened her eyes only to see that the vixen had disappeared. She looked down at her paws in confusion before time resumed and the scaled monster was upon her. Sunny panicked and fell backward into the murky water. She cried out and held her paws out in a meager attempt to defend herself. Before Pyren and Emerald could reach her, a massive torrent of flame was expulsed from her paws, completely engulfing the beast.

The two stared in awe at the young fennec fox that had reduced the monster to a scorched carcass. “S-Sunny, what was that?” exclaimed Emerald, wading into the water to pull her out. “That was insane!” yelled Pyren, following suit. Sunny looked back at her paws, just as bewildered as them. “Did… did I do that?” she muttered as Emerald pulled her out of the water. “Looks like it. What got into you? I've never seen anything like that!” asked the cat. Sunny mumbled something and then took a deep breath. “I really don't know… I almost got eaten, then I saw this weird fox lady, and she told me I have this power inside of me, and then it happened…. It all went by so fast…” she explained. Pyren leaned in on the two. “Did you say a fox lady?” he asked. Sunny sniffled. “Uh-huh,” she responded. “What did she look like?” continued the folf. Sunny put her paw under her muzzle. “Umm… she was tall, and had white fur, and her voice was really soothing…” she explained. “And she had markings all over her body.” The fox gasped. “How did you know?” she exclaimed. “Because, I've seen her before. It was really strange. She just sorta appeared and said some stuff about hidden power or something and left,” he explained. The folf held his paw out and lit a small flame. Sunny held out hers next to his and did the same. She was a little uneasy, but closing her eyes and focusing caused a similar, albeit smaller flame to appear. “You two have the same Sign!” exclaimed Emerald. The two vulpine furs turned their heads in confusion. “It’s not every day you get to see that, you know,” she told them. Sunny gave her a curious look. “What's a Sign?” she asked. “It's your special little power. All of us have something like that inside of us,” said Emerald. The fennec fox paused. “I didn't know I had any kind of power…” she muttered. “Of course you do! You're a really special person,” said Emerald. Sunny smiled and nudged up close to her friend. “Thanks, Miss Emerald…” she said, as Pyren looked at the two awkwardly. “Come on. We're gonna make it out of here,” said the cat, comforting Sunny.

Pyren was leading the two through the swamp, map in paw, before Emerald piped up. “It's not very common that you see two of the same power. Maybe you and Pyren are related!” explained Emerald, as they made their way through the swamp. “W-what?” exclaimed Pyren. The cat grinned. “Sure! I mean, it's more than likely considering you have the same Sign and are both foxes. Where were your parents from?” she asked. Pyren looked off to the side reluctantly. “I never knew my parents,” he stated, nonchalantly. The cat turned to the small fennec fox and asked the same question. “How about you?” Sunny’s face reflected Pyren’s note for not. “Papa said that my mama went away when I was little,” she explained. Emerald shot her and Pyren a ‘Gotcha!’ look. “See, maybe it is possible! You never know…” she finished. Pyren scratched his head. “I guess you're right. It would be a bit weird to have a little sister, though…” he muttered. Looking down at Sunny, the folf panicked. “I-I didn't mean it like that!” he cried, freaking out. Sunny smiled softly. “It's okay. I understand,” she told him. Pyren put his head down in grief and mumbled something before Emerald spoke up. “Hey, uh, don’t you think we should get out of here?” she asked. Pyren lifted his head up and looked around for possible danger. “Y-yeah… we've wasted enough time talking… let's get going,” he quickly said.

As Ark approached the mountainside, a massive city came into view to the east. The map he had unwittingly left with his brother had told him this was Landalsta, the capital of the fur empire. The dragon shook his head and turned, taking his mind away from his brother and his friends’ quest. Without the wind, the continuous flapping of his wings was the only sound to be heard. The bleak night sky had returned and further darkened the area. Ark could only see his way because of some sort of light coming from the mountainside. “That black dragon’s trail led here. I guess he's not going to make this easy for me, is he?” he said to himself. The grey-scaled dragon paused. Giving the mountains a closer inspection, he saw that the mysterious light was coming from lamps. “T-that's right! This is dragon territory, after all. Who would he be going back to report to? I can't believe I didn't consider that!” Ark gasped in astonishment. This was the land of his people! His people that he never got to know. Without thinking, he flew down to see it for himself.

All around him, dragons passed Ark by, going about their business. It was like a mountainside Andea. Shops of all sort, houses, any sort of building you could imagine, all run by dragons. There were red, blue, green, and yellow dragons, tall and short dragons, muscular and chubby dragons, young and old dragons alike, all walking around like their existence was no big deal. Nobody paid Ark any mind. His excitement swelled. All of his troubles seemed to melt away. This was a place where he was normal. No unwarranted arrests, no unwanted fears, no unfounded paranoia. Ark fit in. “I...I don’t believe it… This place… this must be where I belong…” he muttered in his astonishment. The dragon paused for a moment and snapped out of his daze. “W-wait… I almost forgot…. I’ve got to find that black dragon!” he said, remembering his mission. Across the lamplit street was a sign that read ‘Korvale.’ “Guess that’s what this place is called,” he acknowledged. He didn’t remember seeing it on the map, but it must have been, as the map was dragon made. The town was just so far off that he hadn’t even considered its existence until now. Right next to the sign was what looked to be a bar. Ark figured he could get some information and headed on inside.

The bar was moderately populated, with several male dragons scattered between the tables and the counter. A couple of them were accompanied by females, but most sat alone, drinks in claw. Male and female dragons alike were shirtless, just as Ark was. Unlike female furs, the dragon girls had nothing to hide. Ark walked up to the counter nervously before sitting down. “Looks like we've got a new face,” said the bartender, a rather gruff green dragon. “What'll it be?” he asked Ark. “Hmm… I'm not sure. Surprise me,” he responded, trying to keep his cool. He hadn’t expected to get a drink, but he didn't want to look suspicious. When the bartender opened the icebox for a drink, Ark was confused. It didn't have ice in it at all, yet it was still cooled. It, like the light above and the lamp outside, was powered by a glowing crystal. Ark only had few seconds to think about it before the bartender slung the filled glass his way across the stone counter. The young dragon took one sip of the pale spirit before he winced and put it down. “You don't seem like you're from around here, kid,” said the bartender, polishing another glass. “I'm from West Granval,” responded Ark, telling the truth. The bartender raised an eye. “What brings you to Korvale, then?” Ark’s chain holding his tome jingled as he shifted in his seat. “I'm looking for a black-scaled dragon. He seemed pretty bulky and had a ring on his right claw. Seen anyone like that recently?” he asked. The grey and green dragon’s mind then shifted to his father. Perhaps he was here too! The thought intrigued him, but was then pushed to the back of his head. He had a job to do, first. “Pitch-black? A rather large build?” asked the bartender, handing a dark green drink to another dragon. Ark nodded. “Don’t remember his name. I haven't seen him in about a week, either. Why are you looking for him?”, said the bartender. Ark paused. “He… he's an acquaintance of mine,” he stuttered, avoiding the real reason. “Heh… that guy didn't seem like the kind to make acquaintances,” noted the bartender, with a chuckle as Ark stood up. “Well, thanks for the drink,” he said leaving two Lans on the counter and sighing at the lack of information. The green scaled dragon eyed the coins carefully, but shrugged and placed it under the counter. Ark then gave the bartender a farewell and turned towards the door.

Sunny, Emerald, and Pyren gazed at the stars as they laid on the grassy hills outside the swamp. Sunny’s mouth hung open in amazement at the night sky. “Wow... They're so pretty! Do you get to see this all the time, Miss Emerald?” she said. Emerald thought about her old, lonely life. “Yeah. When you’re not all shut up in a house all the time, you get to see some pretty incredible things,” she told the fennec fox. “You’ve never seen the stars before?” asked Pyren. “Only through my bedroom window. I’ve never seen them so… big before,” she responded. Emerald grinned. “I’m glad you got the chance to enjoy them. Hopefully, you can see the good side of things now,” she told her friend. “I’m still gonna miss my old life, though,” said a discouraged Sunny. “Sometimes you’ve just gotta move on,” said Pyren, thinking about his own past. “Uh-huh,” she nodded. Sunny turned her head towards Emerald. “I was so scared at first…. But you’ve really helped me get over my fears. You’ve been almost like a big sister to me, Miss Emerald,” muttered Sunny, grateful to her caretaker. Emerald got closer and nuzzled her foxy friend. Pyren smiled and began gathering kindling for the fire.

“I just hope Ark’s okay….” said Pyren as he and Emerald laid awake in the night. “I can’t imagine what he’s going through…. To go from one tragedy to another…” muttered Emerald, wrapping her arm around Pyren’s back and laying her paw on his yellow underbelly. “I know it was his choice… but I almost feel guilty that I let him go…” he responded. Emerald sighed. “I feel your pain. It hurt me a lot when I had to leave my family. Having yours leave you must hurt. Sunny sure felt it too,” she said. “I just hope that he doesn’t do anything rash… Ark’s usually calm and collected, but when he came back without Sunny’s dad…. He seemed so… cold….” said Pyren. “I’m sure he’ll do the right thing. Ark set out on his quest with a goal and he put it aside to help someone else. That’s pretty noble, wouldn’t you think?” said Emerald, giving some insight. Pyren looked down. “I really do hope so…” he muttered, discouraged. Emerald leaned over and nuzzled her boyfriend. “Come on. Sunny’s already asleep. Let’s join her,” she said to the blushing folf. He gave a faint smile and hugged her. They slept beside Sunny, huddling up close as to protect her.

Outside the bar, Ark looked off into the distance and recalled something. That ring on the finger of the black dragon. “Maybe…” he thought, quickly flipping through his spellbook until he got to the hexagram. Just as he suspected, the fifth circle was radiating. Quite fast, too. “It can’t be....” he muttered. The young dragon ran up to the edge of the town, prepared to take off, but stopped short. He turned and looked back on Korvale reluctantly. “Do I really want to go...?” he asked himself. Ark stood there for a good minute before turning back around. “No… I can’t stay. I… I owe it to that girl. Not to mention Pyren and Emerald.” The memory of when they were outside the Rumbling Cave passed by his mind. Ark shook his head. “I have to find that dragon… Maybe then... I can finally redeem myself…” he said.

The ruins of Vele smoldered under the heat of the sun. Scorched wood and stone rubble was all that remained of the once bustling town. The streets were littered with the bodies of previously panicking furs. Men, women, and children had all been slaughtered. Approaching the destroyed town was the 14th Landalstan Platoon, under orders to retrieve a captured dragon. “What the hell happened here?” asked one of the soldiers. The platoon dug their way through fallen beams until they reached the fallen guard tower. “Looks like a dragon attack,” said another soldier. The few survivors they found on the way were heavily injured, famished, or both, and had to be assisted promptly. As the platoon searched for any remaining survivors, they heard a muffled voice coming from under the rubble. Several soldiers rushed to dig out whoever was trapped under the rocks. They pried up the large stones using their spears as levers until they uncovered a bloodied, brown scaled pangolin. “Get this woman medical attention!” demanded the lieutenant, the pangolin being pulled out from under the rocks. The lieutenant looked over his men and gritted his teeth. “We’re heading back to the capital. Sentes needs to be informed that Vele was destroyed,” he finished.

Chapter 6: Divided Paths

Shadewrecker

26 May 2019 at 16:18:35 MDT

Chapter 6 of Chosen of Fir: Mementos From a Distant Father.

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