So here I am, the unlikely hero, standing outside the castle. My merry band of misfits both eager and timid to follow me into what may be our doom, each of us intending to gain something different from this adventure; whether it be love, money, fame, or just the adventure itself. All of us armed in some way, in hopes that we're truly ready to slay the dragon who awaits us inside and the damsel locked away in her tower hoping for a brave hero to come to her aid.
We're going to do this, every fairy tale I've ever been told, since I was just hatchling sitting with my brothers and sister, guaranties that we're ready. Mother always said that the underdog always won, that the smallest man could move mountains, that Fate smiles on people like us. It had to… right?
Perhaps I'm starting to fast, quite unlike me, I should start back at the beginning instead.
It was a chilled day in mid-Spring when my siblings and I hatched… what, too far back? This does hold relevance, I promise, you'll simply ask a large deal of questions, like "What do you mean by hatched?", should I start from the beginning of the adventure. Be patent, now, where was I?
Oh yes, it was a chilled day in mid-Spring when my siblings and I hatched. I was slower then the rest. When I first heard the sound of my mothers voice and felt her nuzzle against my outer shell I felt loved and eager to meet her but a high pitched screeching sound, which I now know was my brother hatching, drew her away and I was suddenly frightened. More screeching came all around me as time went by and I became determined to stay in my shell.
In a short time the screeching grow quieter and my shell began to feel smaller and smaller the longer I sat inside. The air felt heavier and I couldn't stand containment any longer. I began to squirm and struggle with the shell around me and soon enough it broke. I was free.
Then I saw Mother. I chirped with joy and love at the sight of her. Her body and head were that of a golden brown hen body, her black wings like a bat's and her long green tail belonged to a serpent but with feathers on the end. But I didn't know that. I didn't know anything at the time other than that she was there, she was warm, and she was Mother. That was enough.
As time passed my siblings and I would change from little balls of yellow fuzz, we would soon become golden brown, our tails would become longer, our wings would became stronger and the males would grow their wattles and combs. We would learn to fly and glide, to hunt and fight and hide. And of course we'd learn to turn people to stone with a touch. Like any good cockatrice.
If only it were so simple for me. I was different from most of my siblings. I was a pyrolisk.
A cockatrice and a pyrolisk are both very similar. Both have the same body, though pyrolisk have red tinge to their feathers and a long red feather on their tail. The big difference though is their powers, a cockatrice can turn a person to stone with a touch but a pyrolisk can cause you to burst into flames with just a look. Supposedly we're more fierce and we also hunt out of boredom. Supposedly.
But how was I a pyrolisk and not all of my siblings you may wonder, well that has to do with our fathers. You see, female cockatrice are extremely rare, in fact a nest with two females was cause for rejoice in my family. A flock of males normally follow around a single female or Mother. Males do everything in their power to keep the female comfortable and happy while they're pregnant and while the eggs are being warmed. They bring the female (and the chicks once their hatched) food, they defend the nest and they keep us groomed, all in exchange for keeping our species alive.
The pyrolisk is different, they're normally solitary and only met to mate. (If the male could catch the female that is.) The female then chase the male off. The female cares for herself and does the work of a whole flock of cockatrice.
How my father became part of the flock I'm unsure, he wasn't the type to talk to us much and wasn't really like the other fathers. He was bigger and harsher and wasn't afraid to threaten any one of us, unless Mother was in ear shoot. I never saw him as my father, he did so little for me other than defend the nest. (Not really a big deal when people normally weren't stupid enough to attack a whole nest of cockatrice.)
Really, he only ever did two things for me. The first was teaching me the stare, with which I could set things a flame. The second thing was giving me my name.