This is the edited version after previous reviews pointed out some flaws. If you want to find the first version of this chapter it is in my "Previous versions I have updated" folder. I hope you enjoy.
Shadow felt a shiver go through all the dragonets when Shear mentioned their parents. They had never been told anything about their origins except for what tribe they belonged to and that they were supposed to save the world according to some prophecy.
They all gathered around Shear and sat down. Their wings tense and tails twitching with excitement and nervousness. Shear took a deep breath and began her story.
“The first thing you all need to know is the prophecy that brought you here.”
Shadow felt a shiver run down his spine. That prophecy seemed pretty scary. He felt bad for the dragonets who got tangled up in all this.
Shear continued, interrupting Shadow’s thoughts.
“And so, the Wings of Protection formed to keep the dragonets of prophecy from becoming corrupted by evil. We sent members to every tribe as soon as we knew the timing of the next double full moons though none of us guardians were sent to retrieve your eggs. The Night Wings refused to let us have their egg. Soon after they were attacked by humans and it was presumed that all of them were wiped out. All we could do was hope that the Night Wing dragonet of prophecy had survived and would find his way to us one day.” She smiled and gave Shadow a meaningful look.
Shadow smiled sadly. He felt bad that she had gotten her hopes up thinking it was him. He couldn’t be the prophecy dragonet. He was raised by a human and was the farthest thing from the heroic, main character he’d read about in stories. Besides, after this the dragonets would go find their families while he returned to dragon valley.
Believing Shadow was just understood her, Shear moved on.
“The messenger we sent to the Flame Wings found an egg that was black with red spots just like a smoldering coal. Unfortunately, the egg belonged to the fiery and ill tempered queen Sear who had recently lost her mate. She wouldn’t let the egg leave the Flame Wing city and even threatened war. Eventually the messenger struck a deal with the queen and the guardian of the flame temple. The guardian would raise the hatchling in the temple so the Flame Wings wouldn’t make him bias towards the other tribes. At least, until the time came when he would join the rest of you. Unfortunately, as you know, that didn’t exactly work out as planned.”
Shear growled slightly while her tail smacked the ground in annoyance. Shadow could see the sneering face of Scorch in her mind before she straitened up to continue.
“Next was the ‘child of storms clothed in lightning’. Our messenger found Tempest on a high pillar of stone that served as a nest for Storm Wings. Her egg was set on a higher platform and was struck by lighting so often there were scorch marks on the stone beneath. Apparently your mother was a great warrior and quite close to the queen. Unfortunately, she died fighting a giant sea monster while defending other Storm Wings. I’m sorry.” Shear briefly placed a comforting talon on Tempest’s shoulder.
“The queen didn’t want to let you go, but agreed so long as we promised a Storm Wing would help raise you.”
“So, we got stuck with Surge because the queen was trying to help me?” Tempest asked incredulously. Shear nodded.
“Urgh. I guess that was nice of her, but I wish the wings of protection had chosen literally anyone else.”
Shear chuckled slightly and nodded before continuing.
“Next was the ‘child of wind cradled by air’. In the sky islands that are the home of most wind wings, caves are cut out of the sides of cliffs to serve as nests for families. Most of them are cut deep into the mountain and are shielded from the wind, but perhaps due to the negligence of your parents, your egg was left too close to the edge of the cliff and when our messenger found you your egg was being tossed around in the wild winds near the cliffs. I’m sorry but I don’t know anything else about your parents Gale.” She apologised.
Gale nodded. He was trying to keep his composure and uncaring attitude, but Shadow could feel in his mind how much it hurt to hear that his parents might not have cared about him.
“Next was the ‘child of cold enclosed in ice’ . Apparently the wings of protection have no Ice Wings or Tree Wings, so a Wind Wing was sent to retrieve your egg Hailstorm. When he arrived at the Ice Wing capital and told the Ice Wings of his goal, he was told to wait. Then, after a few days, they came to him with an egg frozen in a block of ice and gave instructions on how and when to defrost it so it would hatch on the night of the two full moons. They never said anything about who your parents were, but they gave us a condition for allowing them to take you. That condition being that the wings of protection must ensure that you return to the Ice Wing city at some point so they could study you.”
“So, I’m basically an Ice Wing experiment? Do you think they’ll tell me who I am and answer all my questions if I go back there?” Hailstorm asked anxiously.
“I don’t know Hailstorm. I hope that they do but to be honest I know very little about Ice Wings. In fact, the only tribe I know less about is the Tree Wings which is the next tribe I’ll talk about.”
“Aurora, you are the ‘child of earth entwined in vines.’ We sent a Wind Wing into the jungle, but he never returned. Then we sent a Stone Wing, and he returned but had no memory of what he’d found. In desperation we sent a team of three stone wings and this time they came back with your egg. They told us that Tree Wings could control plants and so they grabbed a random egg and entwined it with vines before handing it to our messenger. Other than that, the entire group couldn’t remember much about their encounter with the Tree Wings, which is why they remain a mystery.”
“I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself then.” Aurora said determinedly. Shadow smiled. Out of all the dragonets she hadn’t given up hope in the slightest. It also gave him a bit of hope for the future.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Hailstorm said holding up his talon. “Did you just say the Tree Wings chose a random egg and wrapped it in some vines so that it fulfilled the prophecy? Aren’t prophecies supposed to predict the future? I mean, you can’t just choose any egg you want and make it fit the prophecy. Right? Aurora’s egg had to be special in some way.”
Shear shook her head.
“That’s exactly why everyone wants to control you so badly. So long as it fits the prophecy, the Tree Wings wrapping a random egg in vines could have been exactly what was foreseen. In other words, the prophecy doesn’t say HOW something will happen only that it WILL happen.”
The dragonets looked at each other with confused expressions so Shear elaborated.
“If the Tree Wings hadn’t entwined Aurora’s egg in vines, there still would have been an egg entwined in vines somehow. Whether you were chosen by fate, or chance or even the whims of other dragons the fact remains that you were chosen. And no matter what the prophecy says about your future it is still your choice to make. So, make it wisely.”
Shear gave each of them a serious look to make sure her point was understood.
“And lastly there was the ‘child of stone surrounded by gems.’ The stone wing we sent to retrieve you probably had the easiest time searching for you. In the stone wing capital, there is a mine that runs deep below the city. In it there are crystals made of concentrated magic. Our messenger went straight there and found your egg laying in a mine cart full of gems and magic crystals. Apparently your parents were in some dispute about taking treasure that had to be repaid. When our messenger told them of the prophecy, they made a deal for your egg to be taken in exchange for all their debts to be paid.”
Shear’s wings fluttered slightly while she clenched her talons in anger at the way Boulder was treated by his parents.
“Apparently it took a large portion of the Wings of Protection’s treasure to pay off the massive debt. You were then given over to us along with the gems and crystals in the cart. I’m sorry but that is all I was told. They might have had no other choice, or it could have just been for greed. Either way it was a terrible thing and I’m sorry I had to tell you this way,” Shear said empathetically.
Boulder took a moment to think about it, then he smiled.
“I guess I’m quite lucky then. Instead of being stuck with a family that would sell me for money, I was raised alongside a wonderful new family that cares about me.”
Shear smiled adoringly with a talon over her heart. Shadow felt a surge of warmth and affection from her towards the dragonets.
Even after all that’s happened to him. I’m so glad they were raised together. At least they had each other. I wish…
Shear sighed wistfully. She didn’t have time to dwell on it as she realised that she should caution them about the dragon tribes.
“Before you go I should tell you. If you plan on visiting each of the dragon capital cities you should be careful about approaching them. Not only are the magic zones each tribe lives in dangerous in their own way, but the dragons may not be very welcoming. The rulers of the tribes may have agreed to give up their prophecy dragonets, but they might try to keep you for themselves, and I doubt their subjects will be happy about dragons from other tribes visiting. Everyone fears the unknown and since you will decide the fate of all dragons they may very well try to force you into turning the future in their favor.”
There was an awkward pause for a while. Suddenly none of the dragonets wanted to say goodbye. Shear thought for a bit about her parting words then spoke in a gentle but firm voice.
“If I could give you all one last word of advice from all the guardians it would be this. Fulfilling your destiny is not done in one choice that decides the fate of all dragons, but rather is the culmination of all the small choices made for better or worse every day. So don’t fear your destiny nor rely on it to solve your problems. Rather you should live every day in such a way that you can take pride in what you’ve done. Help others when you can but don’t try to bear the world on your shoulders.”
Then she spread her winds over all of them.
“Remember, we are dragons. We were born to soar. So don’t let the weight of regret or the burdens of others keep you from flying free.”
She looked at each of them with a bit of sadness creeping into her voice.
“Follow your heart and listen to your friends. If you should ever loose your way or find yourself giving in to despair, remember these words. True heroes do not wish for an easy life. They wish for the strength to overcome the difficult life they’ve chosen. So, if you’re in such a place because you didn’t take the easy way out, you’re already a hero. Take heart in that fact and push onward like the heroes you are my little dragonets.”
Shear took a shaky breath in as tears formed in her eyes.
“I know that I was not your true parent, but I hope you all know that I am so very proud of every one of you. I never really realised how fond on you I’ve become, but now that you’re leaving there are so many things I wish I’d done with you,” She sniffed rubbing a tear from her eye.
A few of the dragonets had started to tear up as well. Aurora was sniffling, and Boulder had a somber look while Tempest, Gale and Hailstorm all tried to hide the fact that their eyes were brimming with tears. Seeing them all like this Shadow couldn’t help but feel his own eyes begin to burn a bit. Shear leaned forward and wrapped her wings around all the dragonets, squeezing them tight.
“Alright little ones. It’s time to go. I’ll escort you to the base of the Mountains of Rain and Night. You can start your journey from there so that Quake and any other dragons who may look for you will lose your scent. Then I’ll return here and leave you to begin your journey.”
“Will we ever see you again?” Aurora asked sadly. Shear smiled down at her.
“Perhaps. When this is all over I’ll be sure to find you, but I do hope we meet again before then.”
Then Shear released them from her bear hug and got up to lead them out of the cave. The dragonets were all such a loud mess of thoughts, worries and hopes as they followed her up the tunnel that it gave Shadow a headache. He wasn’t sure if he should tell them about his mind reading abilities, but he might have to consider it if they kept thinking so loudly all the time. Then all their thoughts quieted.
Shadow looked up to find them all standing behind Shear as she grasped the handle firmly in one talon. After a moment’s hesitation she swung the door open and stepped into the afternoon sunlight with all the dragonets following close behind.
Finally, they were free.