Ghaleon had been defeated. To save the world Alex gave up his power and Althena became Luna again. But this isn't their story. This is the fate of those that were left behind. Those who were forgotten in chaos of Ghaleon's scheme.
Alex had become the Dragonmaster. But can there be a Dragonmaster without dragons? Ghaleon had ripped the souls from the dragon's bodies, a rape of the worst kind. Using Luna's song, she was able to control the dragons, for they are Althena's servants. But they were not dragons, they were shells, what makes one who they are is what is inside, not what is physical.
The dragons knew they could not exist without form for long. They were as good as dead. Even though their bodies still lived, they were inaccessible.
But they are the guardians of Lunar and their lives are not as important as the survival of the world, the survival of their goddess.
To save the world, there had to be a Dragonmaster. For there to be a Dragonmaster, there must be dragons. The power of their bodies cut off to be used by Ghaleon, there was only one way for them to give Alex their assistance.
The armor that was their creation. The armor that tapped into their power and, in fact, their very beings. In this they took refuge so that Alex may have their power and call on them.
Quark alone was unable to find refuge for his spirit. Ghaleon captured him, spiriting him away before removing his soul. Far from the White dragon Wings, far from Alex. Deprived of their source of power, the wings sought another... and found it in Nall. Quark's soul faded from the world, he had a replacement. But the other dragons had no replacements, they still had their sacred duty to perform. They had thought to die, but something happened they hadn't expected: Alex relenquished his power to save the one he loved... and unknowingly, he freed their spirits.
Their bodies no longer slaves to an enslaved goddess, the dragons were pulled towards them, seeking their familiar forms thankfully.
This is the story of those left behind.
Onyx slowly opened his eyes, his head pounding intensly... at least he had a head again. Darkness. The Grindery was powerless, no longer draining the energy contained in the dragon's forms. But still, he hurt all over, he felt weaker than a newborn flying cat and he had to resist the urge to gag from the tubes sticking down his throat. Even without souls, the bodies had to be kept alive to provide power, apparently Ghaleon solved that with force feeding. But despite the unpleasantness, the feelings were welcome because they meant he was alive.
He reached down into himself to see if he could use his magic to assist him and quickly found that impossible. Where once he could lift a mountain with his power, the mobile castle had left him too weak to move a pebble. He would need time to recover, but first he had to get out of the damn place.
Onyx pulled his head back, only to find his curled horns come in contact with metal. Even though he wasn't with his body at the time, they had put him into this prison, so there must be a way out. It was designed to hold a slave, not a dragon seeking his freedom. After a few minutes of manuvering, he managed to fit his horns through the opening in the wall and retract his head, thankfully pulling out the tubes in the process.
He coughed a few times, his mouth and throat dry. But he'd find time for a drink later, he had to get out.. he was worried about the others.
Onyx found his head now in the chamber that housed most of his body and paused to take a census. His wings were spread out and held by something, he couldn't see since they dissapeared into the walls. His paws were set into recesses designed for that purpose, his tail curled around himself uncomfortably. He could feel pricks all over his body of wires connected to him so that his energy could be taken. If this was science, then it should have been left behind with the Blue Star.
With a quiet growl and a gritting of his teeth, he wrenched his left foreleg free, accompanied by the welcome pain of those horrible tubes being pulled loose. The effort left him pausing to catch his breath for a couple of minutes. Dammit! He didn't have time to be weak, the rest of the family was suffering the same as him!
With his free paw, Onyx began removing all the wires that he could reach. Pulling them free left small wounds that marked his black fire with crimson spots. The sight of red reminded him of his only sister and he found a new strength to continue. Bracing his free paw again the wall, he pulled his right leg from the recess that held it. Absently licking at the small bleeding areas on his leg, he tried to figure his next move.
There wasn't enough room in the cramped chamber to free his hind legs or his wings, and he hadn't the strength to force his way through the metal. Again he remembered that there had to be some way for him to have been put here. He scanned the darkened walls and finally found what he was looking for in the wall behind him.
There was an apparent seam down the middle, it had to be a door. Further examination revealed a wheel near the bottom. It would be large for a human, he assumed it was what controlled the door. But he couldn't turn around to reach it.
His tail flicked in agitation and he had to smirk to himself at the odvious answer. He began pulling his tail back, feeling the pain that accompanies moving a limb that has been in an odd posistion for too long. He moved his tail as much as he could to try and return normal control, but didn't have room his desired to move his tail freely.
Finally, he managed to work the end of his tail into the spokes of the wheel. It was designed for humanoids to turn, but due to his weakness and the odd position of his tail, it took great effort to get it to turn. After pausing a few times to loosen his tail, he was rewarded with a clunk sound and the large doors behind him open slightly. Onyx assumed that there had to be some sort of power to move doors of this size, but with the Grindery powerless, he had to do it the hard way.
Moving back as far as he was able with his hind legs and wings still being constrained, he felt his rear press against the metal. With another push he was releaved to see that there wasn't much resistance, the doors moved open wider, swinging outward. The sight of sunlight taunting him, he moved back until his wings wouldn't let him move further.
'This is going to hurt,' he thought.
He threw himself as hard as he could to the right. He felt something rip in his left wing and it came free somewhat. Gritting his teeth, he repeated the action, with a tearing of skin, his wing came free.
Onyx paused to catch his breath as he looked over his wing. It had had wires attacked to it, as well as being held by something. His efforts had ripped a couple of pieces of skin from the bottom. Folding his stiff and bleeding wing, he sighed and repeated the procedure with his right.
Finally, he pushed more of his rear out the door until he had the room to pull his hind legs free. The actions were thankfully easier and less painful than freeing his wings had been. Finally, a tired and bleeding black dragon fell to the ground, free.
Taking a moment to rest, he lifted his head, gazing up at the massive metal structure before him. The accursed Grindery... it was the first time he had seen it from the outside. A massive tread lay still to his left, to his right a metal wall continued past three large doors, one slightly open, to other tread. Three doors... his family.
He tried to hurry to the open door and collapsed to his face. Cursing his weakened state, he forced his way back up and stumbled the rest of the way, pressing his muzzle against the crack.
"Who's there?" Onyx croaked through a parched through.
After a few moments, his answer came.
"Is that you, Onyx? I really could use some help here, this is not all pleasant you know. Not to say that any of this experience has been pleasant but I would like to get out of here as soon as possible."
Azure, it could only be him, he was the only dragon who could talk so much in this situation.
Onyx sat back, lifting his forelegs and slipping his claws in the crack between the open door. Taking a moment to gather strength he didn't know he had, he slowly pulled the doors open, a blue tail fell out.
Inside, Azure was in a similar position to the one Onyx was in a short time before. The blue dragon was designed more like a wyvern than the black, lacking forelegs. He had managed to free one of his hind legs and get the door open. He had managed to free one of his forelimbs. A bleeding, rainbow wing hang at his side, another still in the wall. His blue hide was bleeding in spots where wires had beed ripped free. A pair of weary eyes gazed at him.
"You looks as bad as I feel," said Onyx weakly.
"As much as I appreciate a bit of humor, would it be too much trouble to help me out of here, first?" Azure asked in as polite a tone as he could manage.
Onyx nodded and assisted Azura in freeing his other foreleg, stepping back a bit.
"You'll have to..." he began.
"I know, I know. I was just delaying it because it rather hurts. Not to mention the damage to my wonderful wings," Azure interrupted.
Onyx got quiet as the blue dragon ripped his other wing free with a grunt of pain. Onyx helped his brother down to the ground, where the blue immediatly collapsed.
"The others?" Azure asked, the shortest thing Onyx had ever heard him say.
Onyx looked on the two remainding doors. There seemed to be no way to open them from the outside. It only made sense, a castle wasn't very secure if you could get in by turning a wheel. He looked back to Azure.
"What power do you have left?"
"I have a little bit, not much to do anything helpful, I'm afraid," Azure replied.
"I could undo the lock if you lend me some."
Azure noded and pushed himself up with his wings, making his way to Onyx with as much grace as he could. Onyx rested a paw on his brother's shoulder and another against the metal wall before him. He concentrated, calling on his earth power and reaching into the metal before him. It took him longer than it should have, but he found the locking mechanism. With a mental push, he unlocked the door.
Azura sat back, looking drained just from the small expenditure of power. Onyx was left on his own to pull the doors open.
Inside was another chamber like this last two, this one occiped by a still, white scaled form. Onyx quietly lifted the white tail, feeling for a pulse.
"He can't be dead," Azura spoke up, "he's the oldest of the dragon tribe, the wisest. He's been through too much to let something like this get him!"
Onyx shoot his head, laying the tail back down.
"You know as well as I do that he was not with the Dragonmaster with us," he said quietly, "his son's power accompanied us."
"But he would have found some way to survive," Azura protested.
"We'll have to find a proper place for his burial when we've recovered," Onyx said, stepping to the final door.
Onyx looked back to see the blue dragon still staring at the unmoving form of Quark.
"I mourn for him too, but our sister still needs us right now!" the black snapped.
"Oh.. of course, you are quite right, forgive him," Azura said as he made his way over to Onyx, his head bowed.
Onyx again drew the energy needed from the blue to open the door, pulling it open. He felt a sense of horror clutch his heart at the sight of the still form inside.
"Blaze!" Onyz cried, "don't take her away too!"
At his cry, the red dragon shifted a little. Onyx quickly began pulling wires from her.
"Blaze, can you hear me?"
"Onyx... I'm so tired," came her quiet voice from where her head was set in the wall.
Onyx worked about setting her free, which was difficult in the confined space, however she appeared too weak to move on her own. With some help from Azura, the two males eventually laid the red dragon on the ground outside the Grindery.
"Thank you," she murmered quietly, laying her catlike head on her forepaws.
"You'll be okay in time, sister," Azure said, trying to sound comforting, "we simply need time to recover from that horrible power drain that was placed on our bodies in that mechanical monstrosity."
"Quark..?" she asked weakly. Onyx shook his head, it was the only answer she needed.
Onyx stroked her head lightly, sending Azure to get some water. Even with most of his power drained, the blue dragon was still able to find water quickly, putting his muzzle to Blaze's and letting her take it from his mouth. After delivering the water to Blaze, he lifted his gaze to Onyx.
"Vane has been... shot down," the blue said sadly, "and the Goddess Tower is gone."
"It's no longer needed, Althena is no more," Onyx said, still stroking Blaze.
"How can you take this so calmly?!" Azure snapped, then lowered his head, "I'm sorry."
"No," Onyx said, shaking his head, "terrible things have happened, but right now I'm only concerned with my family."
Blaze started suddenly, concern coming to her draconic features.
"My child... what if this had hurt my child?!"
Onyx took Blaze's head, cradling it gently, he managed a purr, hoping it would be comforting.
"I'm sure you child is fine," he said as convincingly as he could.
"My child... my child..." she murmered repeatedly.
Onyx held the red dragon, stroking her neck and purring for her until she passed out again. Shaking his head sadly, he looked up to the blue.
"What's wrong with her? She went through the same thing we did, why is it affecting her much more?" Azure asked.
"She was captured before us, she was being drained longer," Onyx said, not taking his eyes off his sister, "and she's pregnant, which is a futher drain on her body."
"Pregnant... could the child have survived with the drain on Blaze? A child requires support from it's mother."
"I don't know, Azure, we can only hope," Onyx said wearily.
"Will the dragon tribe ever recover from this?" Azure asked, seeking comfort.
"We have to, Azure. With Althena gone, we're the last protectors of the Silver Star."
Onyx looked up to the Blue Star above. The Dragon Tribe would recover. But how long would it take? It could take years for them to recover their power. With no goddess and a weakened Dragon Tribe, what lay in store for the world?
Back to the Library of Vane.
Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.