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 destroy yourself in seven easy steps, stanza and kearia have an unusual day
Stanza a level Teleios from Alluum
stanza ☫
Stanza carefully kneaded at the layers of soup labels she'd spread throughout her little cave. She read the words on them for the hundredth time, cataloging each as she stacked them together. The little bits and bobbles she'd collected over the years were tied up in banners she'd stolen at some point or another. She couldn't leave any of it behind: every book was tied in stacks and placed in banners and soon she would have them all together. It would be a hard haul, but she was determined to make it.

Even now Stanza felt like she was slowly shaking to pieces. The exam week a Evercrest Academy was well underway. There were dragons everywhere, eagerly awaiting their riders or else pretending they just happened to be lounging around. Some were angry, tearing at the spell that held them there, without success.

Stanza had struggled with this reality since she was old enough to fly (hundreds and hundreds of years ago as it was); the anxiety she felt at the notion of being called threatened to overwhelm. She had breakdowns sometimes, imagining that irresistible urge overtaking her, forcing her to leave her precious collections behind. The very thought had her scrabbling at her own scales trying to stop the wiry powerlessness that rose within.

Three or four cycles ago the teleios had begun this ritual of packing up her belongings to be ready when the urge to leave hit. It was time-consuming and nerve-wracking. She procrastinated on it because she was scared to leave and then she fretted to bits because she was afraid she wouldn't be finished–it was a vicious cycle. She'd taken to living as close to the school as she dared in a cave buried deep in the mountains and carved to smoothness by her flames. But that terrible dread never seemed to leave.

This year, this year it was worse. Stanza just knew it was this year. Like someone had passed over the spot where she would eventually fall dead, she had been shivering for days. It was difficult to start a fire in her paper-filled cave. She settled for heating patches of her skin alternatively. It wasn't the temperature, though, that had her shivering.

She just knew.

So this year, she packed with purpose. She would not worry herself to death over the mere possibility that she would be called. This year, she had decided that she would pre-empt any life-ruining calls with her own. If anyone was going to uproot Stanza, it would be she herself. She gathered her things, soothed her nerves as much as she was able, and with a banner-tied sack in each foot began to fly towards the school.

As she flew, she began the calling spell. It was rare, though not unheard of, for a dragon to seek their andzkin on their own. Usually only dragon riders needed to be with their partners, and most dragons didn't see the need in finding a partner that was probably happily living in some city and working some office job. It was useless to abandon their wild way of life when they weren't needed.

Sometimes, however, dragons like Stanza couldn't stand the anticipation anymore. Her call rang out, magic reaching through the air for the soul that complemented her own. She half hoped that it would not reach anything. Perhaps her fears were unfounded and she was safe again for another twelve years, or perhaps her partner would never join her.

Even as she considered these thoughts, the magic pulled taut. A hook yanked somewhere below her heart, drawing her forward.

It was them, Stanza realized. The school was closer and closer. It looked like her partner really had chosen this life. Being right was a small consolation for the sound of her life crashing down around her. Stanza curled in the air, rolling over and over, writhing down toward the towers of Evercrest.

Well, at least the apple had finally fallen from the tree.

Whatever happened now was something she had chosen.

672 words • @Kearia Mallus
Stanza is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
312 years
dragon
genderless [she/her]
??
Kearia Mallus a level Human/Wizard/Necromancer Hybrid from Oudnavi
That's my kind of story
It's no fun 'till someone dies
She had done it. She had accepted a class, even though she had only gotten the one invitation, and now she was being lead through a heavy door toward the hatchery. Kearia’s ordeal was far from over for even after all of the hard work she had put into her display, the time it had taken her to make her way to Xidwin all the way from her tiny hut in Lupuus, her dragon could possibly not be found among the available eggs. By a single beast’s sheer stubborn nature, she could be denied everything she had come here for. From an objective standpoint things did not seem all that bad, she had other prospects in other large cities and sure she would need to build herself back up since she had left the reputation she had carved out for herself in Lupuus, but it was all doable. Internally that ball of emotion roiled harder. This place was all she had left of her mother, this was the path less traveled for one of her ilk and she would be damned if she let an irritating ball of scales ruin it for her. She had beat the wavering odds and with each step closer to the hatchery, the higher the percentages went up in her mind.

With a reaffirmed breath, Kearia stepped through the door and into the dim, warm room. She paused to take in the sight of hundreds of eggs that rested on tables and stretched far into the back of the room where dark windows revealed the late hour. Everything felt mellow and muted in a way, be it sound or light, as her booted feet whispered over the floor. She followed her attendant, careful to listen as she was taken to a table where the traditional dragons of the Eraser class were set; Archangels. The cloaked girl had little experience with dragons, with little knowledge of the lazy runts the miners used to clear new rock in search for coal or gems and she certainly had no idea what to expect with the various ones she would have at her disposal.

Her slender grey fingers roamed slowly over the soft shells, but each gave off the same reaction. They greeted her with a mild heat but seemed to shrink away as her fingers danced across their marble surfaces; they wanted nothing to do with her. She made a quick circuit of the table before she turned her cloaked head to one of the Wardens, expecting some sort of explanation. Her wordless question was met with sympathetic smiles and reassurances, not everyone had a dragon from the table; It was no problem at all. She was lead off to other tables with similar negative reactions and each time the explanations seemed to turn more into pity than encouragement.

Finally, she was lead to the back of the room, but before she could even reach forward to press her palm against the next egg shell it felt like the ever growing knot of emotions she had squandered down in the pit of her stomach burst. She grunted and tried to step back from the fragile eggs before she doubled over, a sensation like hot liquid burned into the skin of her navel grew. She tuned out the concerned voices around her as an unfamiliar flutter of anxiousness crept into her mind; unwelcome and unwanted. She focused to reform the emotional bundle, pouring the molten liquid back into the lead-lined cup, but with each metaphorical attempt, the hot pain grew.

Kearia breathed heavily as she straightened up, her thin arms wrapped around her torso beneath her cloak, but before she could address the concerns of the egg attendants she was promptly drawn through the window as if I hook dug deep into her navel and the rope was pulled taut. Thoroughly concerned faces appeared in the jagged edges of glass above her as she lay splayed out on the hard packed ground. She gasped for breath as the wind had been knocked from her lungs, suddenly all too familiar with the unpleasant tingling that had crept across her body from the main source of her irritation and pain. Someone had opened their mouth and set some ill gotten magic on her.

She frowned, an unattractive furrow came between her thin brows, as she stood, not bothered enough to beat the dust from her clothes. So began the experiment to see where this alternating wax and wane of a magic string was drawing her to or away from. She leaned, then turned to see what her limits were before the burning began again; her thoughts were logical, but her unbound emotions were wrecking quite the havoc with her mood. Someone was going to get a very unpleasant kick to the throat when she found them.
Kearia Mallus
807 Words
Kearia/Girl/Mutt is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
17 years
Student
Female [She/Her]
Straight/Asexual
Stanza a level Teleios from Alluum
stanza ☫
Despite her fear of open spaces and being seen by anyone, Stanza ventured beyond her little cave often enough to know that she loved flying. She loved it because she was good at it. Flying was an art form as much as anything else and the teleios dragon took it upon herself to indulge in the flexibility offered by her form. With her two sets of wings and her six legs tucked against her body, Stanza could fly in spirals and corkscrews. She enjoyed doing so. The expert control she had over her body in flight was just about the only control she had over anything.

Burdened as she was by her every belonging (though whether the belonged to her when she had pilfered most of them was a philosophical question for another time) Stanza couldn't perform any of the complex maneuvers she loved. She felt stifled by the sacks lain across her back, between her wings, and clenched in every claw. Just another reason to dislike this circumstance.

She had brought it on herself, by calling out for her rider, but it would have happened either way when her rider called for her, too. So it wasn't really her fault at all, even though it was.

Such twisty logic made her head hurt. No matter what angle she approached it from, this situation was bad all around. It really wasn't anyone's fault that dragons had riders, except maybe the gods themselves, but it was cowardly to blame the gods for actions taken in the physical world. She'd read that once, in a book nestled somewhere in her banner-sacks.

She could maybe blame those who created the dragon riding academy in the first place, but there were dragon riders before them, those who sent calls across the land that echoed for miles. Sometimes unfortunate dragons had to travel without rest across half a globe because their humanoid sought them out.

No, it was inherent in the bonds held between souls–they wanted to find someone, to complete the soul they held together. There was no one to blame, there was nothing to be done.

Such impotence was the cause of her unrest. How little control she had over herself, over her life. This one instance where she reached out first was merely a blip in the screen, but she would have to make do. She would have to treasure the little things to make up for everything.

With far less flair than she truly wanted, Stanza angled her wings to carry her down as she neared her destination. The pull of the 'rope', as she had come to think of it, was tighter in this direction. It was somewhat counterintuitive–if she moved of course the rope seemed to go slack and the burning increased, and if she moved closer to her partner it felt taut and tight but the burning lessened. Magic was often strange and incomprehensible, though.

She spotted a humanoid figure, rushing about to and fore as though testing the strain of the calling spell. Their movements synced with the pull of Stanza felt. That had to be them. She felt despair sinking her heart. Reality was settling in.

The dragon alighted on an outcropping, letting her bundles rest so she could better peer down at the person. She couldn't move her head about, she had to move her whole torso to lean forward. Three legs dug into the rock to maintain her balance.

Up here, close enough to speak to the person but far enough away and high enough up that they couldn't touch her, Stanza felt a little safer. It was just another of those things, another button she had under claw. She had to push it, of course, the spell would draw them endlessly closer until they touched and sealed the bond. She had the illusion of control though. She could find out who this person was, what they wanted from her.

"So it's you," Stanza confirmed mournfully. "I'd hoped it wouldn't be true but I can see you there plain as day."

"I hoped maybe my soulmate would just be a mountain goer for a second and I could explain that I didn't want to be around, but no. Whatever made you choose this?" She stretched her wings out as far as they could go, to encompass all of what she meant by "this". The school grounds stretched out around them. "Don't you know how dangerous this is?"

She didn't know what she was doing, whether she stalling the inevitable or maybe trying to argue against fate. There was no way she'd convince this person they'd made the wrong choice, after all, but maybe she could learn a little more about them through their answers.

790 words • @Kearia Mallus
Stanza is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
312 years
dragon
genderless [she/her]
??
Kearia Mallus a level Human/Wizard/Necromancer Hybrid from Oudnavi
That's my kind of story
It's no fun 'till someone dies
Kearia spun around as the rope pulled tighter, dragged minutely in the direction of the voice that suddenly addressed her. From the depths of her hood dark eyes surveyed the thing that clung to the pile of rocks above her. Having been raised far from the influence of normal humanoids and encountering cantankerous old timers more often than the thugs or bullies she handled, Kearia did not have much experience with the finer things available in Allum; Namely dragons. Dark eyes scrutinized the creature, from nose to tail tip, she noticed the lack of neck and extra sets of legs.

"I take it you are the one who has been dragging me around… I do not appreciate being thrown through a window.” she growled, “I might add it might be less dangerous without a dragon pretending to question my motives. We both know that answer."

Beneath the thick folds of her cloak she crossed her arms and waited. This was not her usual ploy to getting answers, but if this creature wanted to play hardball by trying to yank her chain, she would resist with the highest amounts of sass before scaling the rock wall and forcing this facade of an intimidation to end. While intimidation might not have been this dragon’s game, it certainly was Kearia’s and she had no qualms about bullying the six-legged Teleios into submission. Now it should be mentioned that the young mutt had no real idea if she would be able to catch the flexible dragon, but despite her ingrained, second nature tallying of percentages and figures, she stood her ground and stared at the dragon.

Things never were easy for the outcast. She was born in a marriage that was loveless, she grew in a home where she was ignored and used for experiments, she was cast from that home, but made a new one for herself. She spent nights in hunger and days in mock lethargy, waiting for her prey. She struck out after her new home was no longer viable, peddling and stealing her way to the very summit of this literal mountain all to have to deal with a mouthy dragon that wanted to know if she knew the meaning of danger, especially in the profession that she now occupied. She was an eraser and all she needed was this dragon apparently. This Teleios had no idea what being “in danger” meant in regards to Kearia.

Slowly, despite the almost magnetic pull of the string that grew taut between the pair, Kearia began to reform the ball of emotions that had been unleashed by the unwanted magical intrusion. She was usually able to speak with calm ease, but the words that had spilled from her mouth had been filled with animosity and condensation; she was better than that side of herself, his side. This dragon was the key to the final acceptance into the academy and harsh words were not going to sway the obviously unhappy being, but perhaps sweet words were not going to sway them either.

”I’m sorry… I do not enjoy magic being used on me without my permission. I can only guess that is why you called me instead of the other way around. I was caught off guard and… I really do not like that.” her voice was even and her hands had poked out from the folds of her cloak, raised with grey palms toward the creature in a gesture of peace.
Kearia Mallus
581 Words
Kearia/Girl/Mutt is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
17 years
Student
Female [She/Her]
Straight/Asexual
Stanza a level Teleios from Alluum
stanza ☫
The heat in the woman's voice had Stanza flinching, grip on the wall tightening. Her claws dug into the hard rock face and the crack of stone echoed eerily through the space. Stanza hadn't planned this far ahead, drunk on the possibility of finally taking control of something in her life instead of being pulled this way and that by insane desires she had no ability to fight.

She'd had only the vaguest notion about what the calling spell could do to the person on the other end. What had she hoped to do when she found her andzkin? Perhaps she'd had a plan before, but it was gone now, chased out by the crackling white wall of anxiety.

"Ou-ou-out of a window?" Stanza gasped out. That wasn't good, especially considering the lack of wings on the being who would be her rider.

She pulled herself forward, balancing on her third and fourth legs to get a closer look at the person standing below her. She angled her torso so her head tilted sideways to peer carefully with one bright blue eye. One eyelid opened, even, to allow more light to filter in to slitted pupils. Nervous about being so exposed, she wrapped her tail around the nearest anchored structure (a bit of rock protruding enough for one or two loops around). The cracks were growing it seemed, and the ledge was in danger of crumbling.

She didn't appear to be injured in excess. However, she was drowning in dark fabric that hid most of her body from view. More to the point, Stanza was not particularly well-versed in human anatomy. She didn't know what was a simple cut and what needed medical attention and what was fatal. What she did know about injuries came from books, daring adventure novels typically, and they were all over the spectrum about whether something was dangerous or not.

Her lower wings twitched nervously, folding into her side.

"I'm, I mean, I- I never pretend," Stanza protested weakly. "I'm no good at it."

She knew that the bipedal creatures who called this place home rarely left voluntarily. People dedicated their lives to this institution, often out of duty. Sometimes, it was because they felt they had no other choice.

"I was scared!" the teleios blurted. "You don't know–all the packing and the unpacking and the pacing and shivering and, and, and the other dragons! I was so scared I couldn't breathe and I scratched up my scales. It was like a storm that just wouldn't break! I had to do something!"

She gasped for air. The rock face was crumbling under her grabbing fingers and she had to launch herself into the air to avoid a nasty tumble. Extending her first set of wings and the left lower wing and adjusting with the twisting of her tail, she executed a tight curling loop over her rider. She spiraled down, legs and membranes stretched fully to slow her descent.

If there was one thing Stanza could truly say she loved, it was flying. It came without the guilt of stealing and hoarding literature. It was something she was born to do, quite literally. The teleios scrabbled along the ground, belly rasping on the stone, in a loose arc around the woman. She kept her distance despite the pull of the spell, fear and adrenaline pulling magical compulsion to a standstill.

"You don't think I like it, do you? They, they call us here every twelve years and we wait to see if our lives will change forever," Stanza rasped. "I don't like change! I never have, and I had to sit through that every time wondering if I would have to leave my st-stuff behind." The dragon glanced at the ledge where stacks of bags were visible. "I wanted to be the one in control for once! I'm never in control."

"I'm sorry," Stanza managed after a quiet moment. "I didn't think–I didn't want to hurt you. I'm just so scared."

The last word was little more than a hiss. Blue eyes regarded the small humanoid fearfully. Realistically, the teleios was stronger and faster than her. If she allowed herself to be touched, she could leap away and never be touched again. But there was no room for logic when panic set in. Logic was a hazy recollection at the best of times for a dragon that acted on instinct, whether she wanted to or not, most of the time.

She couldn't move anymore. She lay against the cold stone, legs bent and wings folded, trembling. She would have to allow the woman to touch her if she wanted the pull to end. As long as she didn't move, it would be fine, said her hindbrain. Awkwardly, Stanza shuffled a little closer to the girl. She didn't know whether the compulsions she was fighting were natural or magical anymore, but she had to go one way or the other and this was easiest.

A little wiggle, a little closer.

835 words • @Kearia Mallus
Stanza is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
312 years
dragon
genderless [she/her]
??
Kearia Mallus a level Human/Wizard/Necromancer Hybrid from Oudnavi
That's my kind of story
It's no fun 'till someone dies


Kearia spun easily on her heel, turning the sharp pull of the rope that bound them into an elegant movement, the dragon was strong and agile, all things Kearia could appreciate. Its personality, however, left much to desired. She could imagine some older woman wringing her hands with those droopy coalminer eyes staring back at her, wrinkles like puddles of flesh. Her dragon was a worrywort and she was so very close to being stuck with it.

“Fear will rule if you let it… I left everything behind. I once had fear too, worse than yours. You are no help by the way, fretting about being scared. I can feel it, right here,” she paused to open her cloak and revealed her plain clothes that barely clung to her almost too thin body right where her navel was, “I have nothing else but this and you are in the way of that. You do not want to hurt me? I think you are more scared of getting yourself hurt. Who would want someone selfish like that?”

She was venturing into dangerous territory, accusing this creature of things she had not really been able to investigate, but if she were going to be able to get her slowly unraveling emotions under control enough for the both of them, she would need to cow this blubbering winged bovine. All they really had to do was touch, sort of accept each other's close presence and then they could be on their way.

”I’ll make you a deal, get this over with. The fear is gone, you won’t have to worry about me again. Go back to your nest, we can both stop being scared and I can go back… Listen, I don’t even like being here. I hated coming here, but I had other choices… I didn’t have to come up here, you could have wasted your time. I’m here though… I chose this and to stay here I need you.”

At this point her reasoning was at an end, either this dragon gave in or she was about to jump toward the slippery creature and slap a hand anywhere she could get it. She would play hide and seek with the Teleios if she needed to, as long as her Class Head would allow it that is. She had no idea what kind of timeline she was working with since already this experience had been nothing any of the few people she had come into contact with spoke anything about defiant, worrying dragons that were dragging their six feet with the process. It galled her really to be thrown in with so many variables; her mind hurt trying to calculate the probabilities and her pride hurt as she stood playing at peace with the animal.

It was almost like she were being split, the part she had come to recognize as herself and the unraveling ball of anxiety in her stomach, obviously the extension of the dragon. She was not too sure just how much longer she could stand it; only one other had ever dared lay such aggressive, or oppressive depending on how one viewed her father, feelings onto her. The promises she had made to herself and to his memory, they were all being broken and it galled her even more that she was next to helpless to stop it. She needed to be diplomatic, feign to appease the dragon so the invasion would stop before she broke apart. She would not, no she could not break down at the will of another creature.
Kearia Mallus
599 Words
Kearia/Girl/Mutt is Offline
survival
combat
knowledge
constitution
17 years
Student
Female [She/Her]
Straight/Asexual
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