Stories are some things that many get wrong. Some look for hidden meanings and secret words that no one had the idea of planting in their heads. Others tear apart texts to look at the discrepancies and mistakes as if it was their job to edit the story. Some simply read as they have no other way they'd like to pass the time. Thus I ask that you take no side in the story I am soon to tell you other than one of personal enjoyment. As it was told to me through my father and his father and so forth there is sure to be mistakes from mistellings and faulty memories. If there were symbols or double meanings they have also been sure to have lost value through the jaws of time. As this story is not only our burden but also our history thus do not mistake it for some tale a bard made up for coin. Fate has a funny way of working everything out and through odd coincidence this story may look to have what is not there. I only tell you this as I have no children to pass this legacy on through and now I know I never will. I will not allow something so precious to me to fade as my line does. Without further distraction I will tell a fraction of the tales I have been told and hope that you take them and hold them as close to your heart as my family has to theirs.
How he longed for simpler times back in his egg. The sweet voice of his dame singing of his sire's achievements and how her hatchlings would grow to surpass him in name and fortune. She sang about times after they were to hatch where she would teach them to hunt, fly, live, and breathe. She also sang of dangers of men and elves and perhaps the most dangerous of all, dwarves. Their greed rivaled dragons and it would drive them to sneak, steal, and murder. And that was the first time when he knew something wasn't right in his soul. For the mention of greed, wealth and stolen fortunes did not light the flames of anger in his heart unlike how it had with his dame. And it was no different to his other unhatched nest-mates who writhed with discomfort in their shelled prisons. Yet he did not think much of it for some time later as he now did. His dame cared for them as any other would with fire in her eyes yet a softness in her heart. She did her best to tell them the tales of her line as well as their sire's and give them lessons to the mind and heart. To not let greed consume you nor rage or lust or any other number of unseeable dangers. She taught them the basics of language and fighting and flight until the day came. He knew not how long he had been trapped in a sightless, cramped shell yet it was this day he had had enough. He had grown too big to now rest in a suspended state. His fire inside had sparked so that now the world posed no immediate danger from daggers of the cold air. In fact the world inside his egg had become stale as he slumbered within. So he began tap tap tapping his nose against the edge of his world trying to find a good spot to jam his tooth to let the outside in. There. He wiggled his snout forward to push it against the walls fighting to be free. And his dame sang her brood onwards putting strength into their bones to win their fights with nature. The energy pushed him onwards to force open a small portion of his wall. The work had taken so much out of him that after a seemingly endless struggle to force open this cage, which a small victory spilled a faint light to his eyes and sweet smelling air into his lungs, he couldn't help but close his eyes and rest. Upon waking he heard his nest-mates and nest-mates also stir in their eggs ready to finally wake up in a new world. Again his dame's song drove him forward to fight for his freedom. His rest had invigorated his muscles and combined with his previous victory he forced his snout joined by his claws and tail to bash and scratch against the wall. Bit by bit it gave until he heard a crack that signaled his final victory. Two halves of his shell parted to reveal the comparatively bright world that now greeted him. The pale walls of the stone cave were of little notice for the large form that was perched wiggling in excitement as she watched her offspring fight to live. His dame was a pale green that was of ancient size. Well over twenty times his size and held proud scars across her snout, neck and crest. He could barely see the edges of her great, feathered wings with clawed thumbs at the bend though they looked practically useless compared to her sharp teeth and large talons. Though his dame was indeed a monstrous sight, to the Grey she was safety, comfort, and life. Yet he did not feel quite at ease as the energy from his hatching coursed through his veins. His head turned to see three more shapes rocking and another already broken. His eyes met another and his heart spiked. He gazed at its crest, horns, and tail and concluded it as his nestling. She had been running her tongue through her claws cleaning them of her egg-blood before she noticed her nestling's eyes. She cautiously padded over to her nestling splaying her wet wings slightly in a defensive manner sniffing in his scent. His eyes traced her form taking in every blue scale, ivory claw, and ended on her slightly open mouth tracing each tooth. As she took well to him and began to groom his scales of his own egg-blood he noticed his own scales or rather lack thereof. His pale grey skin matched that of the texture and strength of his nestling's underdeveloped wings. His heart sank at his lack of armour and color that his nestling so brilliantly showed off. He returned the grooming his nestling offered and noticed the soft purr of his dame as she moved her giant head closer to inspect her first hatched. For a moment he wished it would have all ended there to forever have the love of his nestling and dame. Yet his nestlings would not wait any longer for the same freedom he now enjoyed. Of the three eggs-a red, green, and gold- the gold one now shattered into a fierce shower of egg shards. Its form writhed for a moment more before righting itself and fear gripped at the Grey's heart upon seeing the Gold's magnificent crest at the base of its head. The Gold's eyes flashed with anger as he flared his wings open at the Grey in challenge. And this pained the Grey for he had feared his nestling yet had not the desire to harm him like unlike the Gold that launched himself towards the Grey. The Blue jumped out of the fray as they met in combat. The Grey had less slick egg-blood clinging to his form yet it helped little as he had yet to clean his claws of the sticky substance. He clashed with the Gold and yelped as he was nearly pushed onto his back at the force of the Gold's charge who had snapped and clawed at the Grey's neck. The Grey tried wrestling the Gold for only a moment before abandoning the endeavor. The Gold was far too slick with egg-blood to grapple and with his lack of scales the Grey knew he was too vulnerable to risk himself to do so. With a shove he lept away to reevaluate the fight. The Grey knew his nestling wouldn't hesitate to kill him if he got the chance and it looked more as if one of them had to die. But the Grey still had hope. The Gold charged again and the Grey remembered a maneuver that his dame had sung to him sometime while he was still in the egg. He sidestepped and struck the Gold with all the might his little tail could muster. The strike was not meant to do the damage it did as it was much faster and had more force than the song had sung about. The Grey looked upon his work satisfied with the results. A nasty mark across the side of the Gold that drew blood when it reached his wings. Furious, the Gold turned to snap at the whip that had struck not only his form but also his pride. The Grey cried out as the sharp pain ran up his tail before he clamped his own jaw and wrenched his tail from his nest-mate's mouth. The Gold fell back through his own strength onto the base of his tail surprised at the sudden lack of resistance. And another final idea came to the Grey. Instinct told him to strike yet with his claws coated in jelly he had nothing to easily slash with, so if his tooth helped him break through the wall of egg that held him for so long, why not dragon scale? He charged forward as the Gold scrambled to his feet and jammed his tooth into the Gold's shoulder. The Gold cried out in pain as he fought to dislodge the Grey with talons and tried to get a hold of the base of his rival's neck. Yet the victory was already assured as the Grey heaved his nestling upwards to his back talons and then further into his back. The Grey pulled his tooth from the Gold and placed his jaws around the golden circumference of his nestling's neck. The Gold struggled for only a moment barking and squirming before the Grey growled and tightened his death hold. The reaction was immediate as the Gold fell limp in his grasp and began giving soft cries of submission. The Grey had won and now the true test began. The Grey didn't leave his position above the Gold but relaxed his grip. The Gold began to squirm and the pressure was reapplied until he relaxed once more. When the Grey released his nestling it scrambled over to his dame's form as she looked at the Grey with curiosity and confusion. It only took her a second before she started to purr once more and began to groom the Gold of his egg-blood. They Grey took to the example of his dame and began grooming himself this time starting with his claws; he would not make the same mistake again. He panicked for a moment as he felt another tongue run down his shoulder before turning to see his nestling, the Blue, as she shared tongues with him. He relaxed at the sight of her and began to return the favor yet kept an eye on the two eggs that still remained unhatched. The red had stopped rocking but the Green had yet to give up as she continued to struggle and cry growing weaker with each passing second. The Grey then felt something he knew his nestlings and dame lacked. It was similar to the fear that he had felt upon seeing the Gold for the first time yet instead of being caused by the Gold itself it was due to the possibility of not having the Green hatch at all. It drove him forward to do something when his other nestlings ignored the Green's pleas for help. He bound forward to the curiosity of the Blue towards the two eggs tucked into the nest and gently tapped on the Green egg. It went still before the Green answered from within mirroring his taps. He growled, slashing the egg with his talons and trying to find purchase on the smooth surface with his teeth. Needless to say, it didn't work. He pulled back and instead tried his egg tooth on the shell. The outside shell was different from the inside as it was designed to protect the hatchling within while it grew and developed. The inside was meant to be broken out of thus this time nature worked against him. Though he had yet a name for it, his anxiety and desperation grew when he pulled back from an unscathed smoothness. Not a crack, scratch or fissure let alone a breathing hole his nestling could use to further lever open her cage. Her panicked chirps did little to help him think of some solution and nothing came to mind other than his previous plans that had no effect. Thus he had nothing else to do but listen to her slowly suffocate until something came to mind. So he paced around the egg waiting for an epiphany in some form. At first he didn't notice his dame's song that she once again sang. The same as before when he himself was struggling to break his shell and it gave him an idea. Though his dame's songs he learned much in his egg before he even knew her voice. If he could sing too, then maybe he could direct the Green from inside her shell. Maybe she didn't know quite where to press and with direction he could save her. Yet his dame hadn't taught him to sing as it took more than just knowledge to sing. A dragon needed a well-trained mind if they were to sing to anyone else but they're mate or offspring. One needed time and bonds while the later was easy the former was something he could not squander. Thus he had to think of another alternative. He cried to his dame for she was perhaps the one who could help the Green if she couldn't help herself. Yet his dame spoke words that scored his heart worse than the Gold's claws. "No, little gem. I wish I could but it is her fight to win. If she cannot win her first then she is unlikely to win any others. Do not think I could help her as this is simply the way nature works her strange magic." Thus he knew his dame would be of no help. Yet what else could he try? He again jammed his egg-tooth against the shell refusing to give up on his sister. He was surprised to find the gentle touch of his dame as she grabbed his scruff in between her teeth and pulled him upwards and away from the egg. She set him down by the now napping Gold pressed up against his dame's scaly hide. Her song came through to him demanding that he behaved. He thought of disobeying yet before he could come to a conclusion he watched the Blue do something that left him shocked. Her calm, blue eyes met with him and in them she shared his pain. She turned to the verdant egg and gently pressed her snout to it. The confusion had just registered before he felt a vacuum of power within the room so immense he felt his own lifeforce ebb with it. The egg glowed a soft white before disintegrating in a gentle shower of acrid dust. The Blue snorted before taking a step back to observe her work. And, for the first time, the Green sneezed dispersing the settling cloud she was laying in. Now the Grey understood why the Green could not so easily escape from her egg as he noticed the difference in their forms. The Green had a face that was wider than he or his nestling's and would have a hard time properly forcing her egg-tooth home. Moving down, the crest she had was that of a male which took getting used to and did not match the tone of her cries. Furthermore, she had only one set of talons instead of two. Her wings in compensation were far larger with a set of talons around the first bend and resembled a creature his dame had named a "bat" in her songs. Her body was also stockier than the other nestlings as it was balanced for a bipedal locomotion with minimum assistance from her wings. As if it were a final jest of nature, her tail was nothing but a small, wiggling lump at the base of her rump. Perhaps it would grow with time, but the Grey doubted her eventual take to flight. His dame, however, was much more interested (and rightfully so) in the display of power the Blue had performed rather than the deformed hatchling she had just saved. He took the opportunity to pad forward to inspect his nestlings as his dame fawned over the Blue with nuzzling and a soft laud. He took in the Green's scent and concluded nothing abnormal on that front and was surprised by her sudden likeness to him. She clambered forward feeling him, cooing, and playfully nipping at his form. Her lack of caution was… unnerving. Yet her charm was moving and somewhat disarming. In that moment, his heart knew he needed no treasure for it was precious seconds like these he decided he would venture to collect and hoard. His nestling tried to snuggle into him for if he would not entertain her, he would at least help her sleep with his warmth. The Grey separated himself from the Green (as adorable as she was) and turned to inspect the last egg. It hadn't moved since he had last seen it and feared a similar fate had befallen his brethren inside. He took a moment to sniff and search the egg for signs of life. And he indeed found one. A hole just large enough for a reptilian eye to peer out and spy on the events outside. When their gazes met the Grey shuddered and wanted to look away but found he couldn't. The malice locked him in place as it seemed to declare his unending rage at his nestling. This egg did not need his help and the Grey was happy to not provide it as he turned to join the Gold next to his dame. He would come to regret his lack of caution as he pressed himself into the protective presence of his dame's great neck. It wasn't until he found sleep from his dame's quiet singing and loving touch that he was doomed. He looked back in future times wishing he had made some different decision to keep an eye out or not slept at all for he hadn't been truly tired. Yet a cry startled him of his slumber to find a Crimson nestling out of his egg and his teeth ripping out the exposed throat of the Gold that lay beside him. The Crimson paired well with the Green in form yet opposite in demeanor. His eyes shone with liking and want as the Gold flailed about desperately in his grasp hoping to stall his end as his life spilled onto the cold cave floor. The Gold had done one last favor of waking the nest yet at such needless loss of life. Immediately the Green pressed herself to her dame and gave a loud screeching keen that hurt the Grey's ears and made it hard for him to even stand up. The Crimson turned and struck her with his odd wing-claws not aimed to kill but nonetheless aimed at innocence. The Green ended her cry as she darted as fast as her limbs could carry her away from the Crimson who for a moment looked as if he might pursue. Fury burned in the Grey as he let out a bellow of challenge towards the coward-murderer he had the dishonor of calling his nestling who promptly turned to face his charge. His dame pulled her head upwards giving more room for the battle that was sure to ensue. The Grey thought not of his weakness as he bounded forward to meet his foe. This time, the Grey would not hold back as he knew the Crimson was unwilling to part with anything other than one of their deaths. A whirl of claws and teeth reminded the Grey of his lack of invincibility as he tried to push away to find another solution to this problem. The Crimson seemed to recognize his advantage in this brawl biting and slashing to draw his opponent's blood. If Fate or some other being had decided to not intervene then the Grey would have most definitely had lost his life that day though it was the Blue who tackled the Crimson from the death grip. The Grey felt a moment in which he was betrayed in his duel but faded as he reminded himself of the atrocity the Crimson had caused. A fearsome snarl with splayed wings drew the Crimson away for just enough time for the Grey to wiggle from his captor. The Crimson for a moment struck at the Blue with his talons before turning just in time to receive a tail strike across his snout. The mark burned across his face from his upper lip, through his left eye and to the top of his crest. With a shriek the Crimson tackled the Grey and bit at anything exposed. Even his crest which to a normal dragon would be nigh impenetrable was not spared marks and blood. Though he was not the only one who took scars that day. Wounds were the least of their problems as their struggle took them to the edge of the egg shelf where his dame had hovered above with careful eyes. The Grey was pushed to the ground in his lack of weight with the bloody faced Crimson brooding over him. An eye sure to never heal (which ironically was most likely the same eye he had first seen from the egg) gave him a stare laced with hate beyond measure. "Mine!" The Crimson growled as his head stretched higher for the final strike. "All Mine!" Again the Blue collided with their grapple to help in some way. To end this conflict though she had unknowingly and accidentally done so. By saving the Grey's life she had also damned him for he was thrown from the melee over the edge of the egg shelf. Tumbling downwards trying to find purchase where there was none the Grey thought he saw the guilty face of the Blue watch him fall. He was never told in any sense yet his instincts told him of several dangers. First off was his own dame. Thrown from the shelf, he had been disgraced and disowned for being weak. His dame he knew would show no mercy if she decided he was not to continue living for his folly. Thus he dashed for some crevice or hole he could hide in though the world was not kind enough to give him any repose. The dangers that his instincts informed him of were numerous after his initial rush of fear. There were innumerable amounts of predators out for a snack like him and though he was around the size of a small wolf he could barely defend himself from any real threats. Another was the strong smell of another drake whom he supposed to be his sire entering his nostrils. If his dame was to show no mercy to him then his sire was even less likely to house another lesser in his presence. He fought his lungs in an uphill battle he was sure to lose in his streak towards anywhere safe. The cave was a long trek yet out of the entrance and further into danger in the fading light of the evening sun. The Grey would have loved to stop for a moment to admire his new world with the bright green leaves of great Sycamores and the stoic watch of Evergreens dotted across the lands with shrubs, bushes, and clumps of moss dappled along the ground. Yet he could nit stop for any reason. Birds cried in alarm and small creatures fled from his path as the Grey lost his steam slowing to what would eventually come to a crawl. For in all the adrenaline and emotion the Grey had forgotten his newfound hunger as his dame had not yet graced him with some sustenance. Eve turned to sunset as the Grey left himself exhausted and out of options. He stuck one talon forward at a time before finally giving in to slump down into a heap. He stared at the part of his first sunset he could see and wanted to enjoy at least the sight of it but found the reds, golds, oranges, blues, and purples reminded him of a past life he'd much be willing to forget. And though he felt lifeless in the moment, he felt air rush past and uncomfortable claws push into his side. Ones that made him feel as if they didn't wish to hurt him but didn't entirely care if it was to happen at one point or another. The rhythmic flap of wings lulled him into an uncomfortable sleep as he soared above the canopy further from his former home.