Hurray, this get a little more interesting. Thankfully I just had to do a little reformatting to get this to look alright here. Thank goodness. Looking forward to next week.
Thoradin crouched defensively purely from instinct when he heard Cellista shout. Nothing in his vision appeared to be threatening, but he wasn't about to take chances. This second there wasn't anything that he would consider dangerous. He stood slowly as he watched for any sign of movement around him.
Behind one of the large jagged tooth-like rocks, a different shade of gray moved. For a sliver of a second there was the ruby glint of a eye, then it was all gone. Thoradin opened his wings, there was no knowing what lurked behind that rock, but he wanted to take the sky if he had to. Holding his breath he waited for another second.
"Thoradin, it's a boneweaver." He heard Cellista shout at him, "It's a big one, come back."
As he watched the rock he tried to remember just how bad it could be. When he watched the herds, there were times he had to fend off small ones, human shaped sometimes one of the other smaller races. He'd never fought a large one before.
A deafening crack thrashed through the air and rolled over him. It sounded, even felt, like thunder, as it rattled his bones and knocked him backwards. The rock he had been watching exploded into a wave of gravel and the force of the explosion knocked him backwards. As he twisted in the air he caught a glimpse of the cause. It looked like a red-backed dragon, with its skin made of bone. The eyes shone with a bright pinkish light as the feminine form spread its wings and leaped into the air.
He landed as a shower of pebbles scattered all around him. Cellista cried out then, and he saw a purple light flash nearby. Thoradin felt the sting of pain, but it was dull as he twisted himself to stand. Then the thunder hit again, only this time it wasn't as close. The rims of the canyon exploded, and rock filled the sky above him. Boulders, nearly as large as he, tumbled outward and arched their way downward.
Instinct caught him again then, and he pushed off the rock with his legs and beat down with his wings as hard as he could. Cellista chose to shield herself from magical attack, but not from the rocks falling from above. They looked at each other in the brief moment before Thoradin crashed into the boulder aimed to crush Cellista.
Thoradin felt and heard the impact at the same time. Then his wold flashed in strange colors, red and colors that could only be described as pain. Then his head ached as he went lightheaded, then forgot everything completely.
"Oh gods." Cellista muttered over and over as she pushed the rocks away and dug to get Thoradin free. The creature they had seen chose to run. Cellista knew that small fact was the only reason either of them were still alive. Then the chill thought of Thoradin being broken to death by the falling landscape made her redouble her digging.
"Gods Thoradin. Please gods don't let him die."
She uncovered his neck and head, scratches all over him seemed to ooze blood but nothing serious. His horns and face plate were deeply scored by the rocks as well. He looked terrible to her.
"Thoradin," She shouted as she pulled at one of the larger rocks on his chest, "can you hear me? Please say-"
"I'm fine," he moaned as he lifted his head, "well, maybe. I feel broken all over. Are you hurt?"
"Oh gods-" Cellista scratched feverishly at the dirt and gravel that covered him.
"Hey, slowly. Just get that big one on my foot there."
Cellista fell against the rock and it growled as it toppled slowly. Thoradin growled back in pain then started pulling himself out from under rubble.
"Help me with this other one here. It's got my wing Cellista." He pointed with his head to a smaller boulder. As she worked on it, Thoradin shook the stars from his vision. "What was that Cellista? I've never seen anything like this before."
"A Virtue. One of the Thief's Avatars."
"An Avatar? I've never seen one before."
"Neither have I, but I remember feeling one at my Attunement."
"Oh that. Yes I remember hearing about that."
"It felt like there was a place where magic just wanted to pull inside of itself. It felt like that here too. I didn't know that they could affect the physical world like it just did." Cellista lay beside Thoradin and rested her head against his shoulder, "Gods, I am so glad you are alright."
"You didn't answer me before, are you hurt?"
"No, just amazed we're still alive. If that Virtue wanted us dead, there wouldn't be anything we could have done."
"Don't talk like that," Thoradin shook his head, "we would have found a way."
Motungo felt the strain in his shoulders, the aching burning sensation of flying too far and weighted down too much. While he was glad that Hux had agreed to let him work at the mine and even more thankful that he didn't have to work down under the ground. When Motungo agreed to fly the minerals all the way to Firstfeather, he didn't realize just how heavy a load of iron would actually be.
The night cool air felt good over his body as he turned over the mine. The small den that Hux, the foreman, allowed him to keep faced into the mine and was kept far above most of the mine's activities. A small blessing when he came back late, it kept all but the loudest noises from waking him up when he slept far into the day.
Motungo welcomed the relief of landing and began laboring with the simple harness that Hux had made for him. It wasn't the most comfortable thing to sleep in, but he had done it a few times in the past year. The clasps at his front were the easiest, using a paw for each one the front fell away. The last two clasps lay at either side of his tail, which meant awkward twisting about to unlatch them.
"Would you like help with those?"
Motungo froze. The smooth feminine voice crashed through his mind and causing his heart to leap into his mouth.
"Gods! Don't scare me like-"
Motungo turned instinctively to face the voice, and immediately wished he had done anything else. Standing in the mouth of his den was the one creature he hated most, Mercy. Motungo knew that Mercy lead the boneweavers in some capacity, which made her a mortal enemy of all red-backed dragons. She was also the reason he had been banished from his home, lost the love of his life, and had to resort to flying iron for humans just to make a living.
Her body looked like a red-backed dragon, and if she had actually been a red-backed dragon she would have the best figure for dragoness that Motungo had ever seen. Her scales though appeared to be made of a dark gray bone-like material. Her eyes glowed a deep red, with a depth and timelessness that Motungo could never fathom, nor forget.
"Mercy."Motungo hissed her name.
"I missed you too Motungo." She said softly as she stepped out into the moonlight.
He felt the spines on his back stand on end. What does she want with me now? Oh Gods, I hope she just kills me. I can't fight her, or anything right now. Maybe she'll go away. I sound like a frightened animal, Urlack save me.
"You don't have to be so tense. Come, sit down. I just want to talk for a little while."
"Talk? Last time you did that, you ruined my life. You're here to do that again aren't you?"
"No. I'm hurt you would even think that. I know last time we met that our meeting didn't quite go as it probably should have. I blame myself for that, and I would like to apologize."
Motungo heard the words, but they seemed surreal. He blinked and tried to read the alien face. Her eyes were unreadable, but the rest of her face put on the facade of being sincere.
"I can't believe that. An Avatar of the Thief here to apologize to me?"
Mercy nodded, almost imperceptibly.
Mercy made a slashing motion over her chest with one paw, "On all the wisps in my body Motungo."
"You're a boneweaver, you don't have wisps."
"It's a figure of speech-"
"I know what it is," Motungo said quickly, "but it's our figure of speech, not a boneweaver's."
Mercy drew herself up, and Motungo's heart went ice cold. For a split second he thought his ruined life was over. Then Mercy seemed to deflate slightly.
"We really started on the wrong wing." She stared at the ground, then opened one wing in a motion towards his den, "Would you like to talk inside? I'm sure it might be a little more comfortable for you."
"More comfortable?" Motungo looked to the sky, "By all the gods, comfortable?"
Motungo took in a deep breath and sealed himself to his fate. Nothing he could do would make her leave if she wanted to stay. He knew he was at her mercy. What a terrible name for an Avatar, Mercy. She probably enjoys it too.
"Alright, you first."