Dragon's End: Grey's Journey Book 1
Somewhere in the vast abyss of space is a galaxy harboring billions of stars and planets. So far, of all those planets only one in the entire Milky Way Galaxy has ever been proven to inhabit intelligent life. This planet is known as Earth. It’s a vast collection of creatures that range from the tiniest Bacteria to the mighty Lion. There’s also the bandit-like Raccoon,the simple Butterfly, and the survival-mastered Rat. But, don’t forget, among thousands of other interesting creatures the current dominate species of the planet, Humans. Although this planet has many stories that have been told throughout its history, there’s also many more to be told. However, this story does not take place on Earth.
No, this story is from a planet called Oudex, a quiet planet that has not yet had the chance to tell its story. Like earth, Oudex has a wide variety of creatures both large and small. It has vast forests and wide oceans, sheltered islands and magnificent waterfalls, mysterious caves and even their own dominate species. These creatures are similar to Earth's humans, intelligent, power hungry and they even walk on two legs. Also like humans, they sometimes don't know when to stop when they are determined about something. The dominate species on Oudex is known as the Drar'ran. They are furry, have long pointy ears and come in a variety of colors and coat patterns. In society, they have not yet advanced as far as humans have, but they are traveling to other uninhabited areas by boat, enjoying going sport hunting with the latest models of rifles and traveling a lot quicker by motorized vehicles instead of riding the flightless Nebetra bird. Now, Drar'ran isn't the only species fighting for dominance over the planet, they are in a survival race with the Dragons. They each have their own territory on the planet but they both hunger for more as they advance in their own technologies. While striving to keep their own race alive, both species have been bumping into each other, causing sparks to start flying between them. As with all debates, everyone has their own opinions on the upcoming war but...what about all those who accidentally end up in the middle or those who have no knowledge of the war? This is their story.
It was the dawn of a new day, the sun was beginning to rise over the edge of the mountains and the night's fog was starting to settle on the grass as the morning's dew. All the nocturnal creatures were snuggling up in their beds for some sleep and the diurnal creatures were just waking up. High in the sky above the rocky mountains and green trees, there was a large figure gliding on the slightly chilly breeze of dawn. This figure was light blue in color with darker blue stripes on her arms, legs and tail. From the tip of her nose, past her two great horns on either side of her head, between her magnificent wings and down to the tip of her tail was an even lighter shade of blue, so light in fact that it almost looked white. This creature was a dragon and her name was NavÃ¦rnie.
Now, it was not uncommon to see a dragon like NavÃ¦rnie on Oudex but, there were two things that made her stand out. To begin with, whenever you see a dragon in the wild, they are never alone. Dragons are always accompanied by others of their kind for protection. Even with their thick hides, large body size and sharp claws, most dragons now-a-days have very little fighting skills. This is because they have unknowingly domesticated themselves in their search for knowledge. This is not their fault of course but it has resulted in some rather unpleasing consequences. At a glance, NavÃ¦rnie looks to be alone. But if one looked a little closer and if they could see through the dim morning light, one would see a small sleepy head looking out of her mother's warm pouch. This is the second strange thing about NavÃ¦rnie. She is a pouched dragon. This is a dying breed of dragon which is the only breed who gives live birth to their young instead of lay eggs. Because there are so few pouched dragons left, you would never see one in the wild. If you were looking for one, you would have to locate a dragon city. And even in a city they are very hard to find.
The young dragon rubbed her sleepy face on the soft fur that lined her bed, trying to warm up the scales that the fog had just made wet only moments ago. Resting her head back on the fur, she softly closed her eyes and started to drift back to sleep. NavÃ¦rnie on the other hand, was scanning the land and sky, searching for someone. They had always been searching for this person whom the child had only met when she was too young to remember. Constantly, she would ask her mother who this person was but the only answer she had ever received was, "A great one who has lost his name and stole my heart."
Upon hearing those words, most would think that this man is some kind of hero or warrior. But, what kind of hero leaves one to become a single mother in such an unforgiving world?
Once again, NavÃ¦rnie looked towards the rising sun in the East as she flew in the direction of their nest in the Northern Mountains. What she did not know was that this would be the last time she would ever see it.
From down below came a loud thundering sound and in that same split second came a rock that pierced her scaly hide. The giant beast cried out in pain as she looked to where the sound originated from. On the earth was a strange creature made of metal and plastic, growling as it carried its masters quickly along the mountain trail. Its three masters were Drar'ran. They held their sticks to the sky and used their strange magic to command them to roar, which in turn commanded stones to fly up from the soil and strike her. With every shot that hit NavÃ¦rnie, she lost both altitude and blood. Not wanting to meet her attackers face to face, she was determined to keep herself in the air for as long as possible. Awakened by her mother's cries of pain and unusual flying, the child peered over the edge of the pouch, trying to see what was wrong. NavÃ¦rnie looked down to her child and made her choice. Wanting to give her offspring a fighting chance, she tilted her body forward and caused her frail package to plummet towards the thick forest below. Glancing back toward where her child had fallen, she only saw moving trees and a few startled birds. NavÃ¦rnie watched her pursuers for any sign that they took notice of her actions. Much to her relief, they continued to be distracted by her instead.
One final shot whizzed through the air piercing her heart. A gurgled cry of pain came from her maw as her body fell from the sky. Cracking mighty trees and dividing boulders, the giant mass made a deep impression into the land when it crashed. At this moment, Death's cold hand finally stole her last breath. Continuing up the mountain side, NavÃ¦rnie's attackers followed the destruction to claim their trophy.
Chapter 1 Lost Hope
Forests contain many different species of animals both large and small. One of those creatures is called by the name of 'Baithen'. Now obviously, there are no Baithen on Earth so you've never seen one. But a Baithen can be described by using the features of animals from Earth. If you take a grey wolf with shaggy fur, give it stripes like a raccoon and a long arched neck like a hyena, you would have a Baithen. But it would be a malformed Baithen. It would be missing the most important part, its teeth. Of course they would obviously have their k-9-like jaws and fangs but they also have a set of special teeth. Male Baithen have tusks on their bottom jaws like a wild boar. Females have savers on their top jaws like saber-toothed tigers. If you looked really hard, you would never find a male with savers or a female with tusks. However, once in a blue moon, a Baithen is born without those teeth. In the Northern mountains of the Kythnos island is such a Baithen. His name was York.
Awakening to the early light of dawn, York opened his jaws and let out a large yawn. He sleepily got to his feet and shook his head, trying to get himself awake. He sat down and looked to his family. Many bundles of fur spread across the landscape of rock, grass and trees. He had almost ten older siblings and six younger ones. His parents, Lord Crater and Lady Selene, slept atop a rock overlooking the valley and a lot of their territory. Being such a large pack, they claimed over twenty square miles of land as their own. Having so much land at their disposal, they constantly have scouts roaming to make sure no trespassers enter their land.
York got back to his feet and decided that today, he would go scout. He would often be the first of his family to awaken to the morning sun. He did not know the reasoning behind it but it was probably caused by his love of the morning silence and the tranquility it held before the others awoke to ruin it. York quietly avoided stepping on any of his siblings as he made his way to the edge of the sleeping grounds. He gave one last glance back toward his family before trotting into the thick shrubbery.
Walking atop a rock and grass, something about today seemed strange. Being a carnivore, it is normal for York not to see or hear other animals most of the time. But the silence wasn't what bothered him. Maybe it was something in the air that didn't smell right or the uneasy feeling in the forest. Either way, York wanted to know what it was. An older or more experience Baithen would have most likely gone back to his or her pack to get help. York wasn't that experienced. Living in such a large family, the chances of a young adult being alone and running into trouble weren't as high as it would be in a smaller family. Not knowing what to expect, York was very cautious while following the strange scent. He walked lightly, taking time with each step as to not make a sound. He came to a ravine shaded with many trees and a small creed running through it. The scent he followed got stronger the closer he walked. He spotted a few trees that were tore out of the earth and others that were broken in half. His ears went back and he slowed his walking when he spotted a large trench dug into the dirt. By the fresh scent of soil in the air here, it was obvious that this had been recently made. Not being able to ignore the uneasy feeling, York walked over to a bush and lay down beside it, hiding himself from whatever lies at the end of the trench. For a minute, he contemplated whether or not to return home. York never liked fights; the pain received during them had never seemed to peak his interest. But whatever made this crater had. He summoned up his courage, stood up and trotted over to the edge. The trench was long and seemed to taper out to the full size of the object that had made it. York carefully followed the trail of destruction and finally saw the end.
He froze when he saw what it was. This object was a mighty creature, bloody and battered. It was blue in color, had darker stripes on its arms and legs and an almost white stripe extended the length of its spine. It was a very melancholy day when the mightiest of all creatures is taken down in a battle. It was a dragon that lied in the hole dug into the earth. She was still and silent as the dead always are. Around her were a dozen other creatures. They were not animals of the forest eating the corpse as nature intends but they were Drar'ran. These creatures were the source of the strange scent he had followed. York had never seen a Drar'ran before; he only heard bedtime stories of them when he was a pup. These were not happy stories for sweet dreams that followed but of horror as to keep fear of the two-legged within the pups as they got older so that they would know better than to get close to one.
With that same fear still within him, York tucked his tail beneath him and ran in the opposite direction. He ran past the creek and the ravine, a small clearing of trees and a large meadow, over a couple of hills and through some more shrubbery until he came upon a small plateau. It was here that his running slowed to a stop. He felt he was out of danger's range and the scent of the Drar'ran was quite faint. His ears went back as he let out a sigh of relief. He knew he had to tell Lord Crater of their territory's visitors but he was in no hurry to return home.
The sun was rising higher and higher in the sky as time passed, glistening across York's Golden brown fur and darker brown stripes. His large paws often made him stub his toes and if he ever tripped, his short legs prevented him from falling too far. York hadn't wandered too far from the plateau before he heard a cry. It was loud and had a sorrowful tone to it. He turned back and faced the direction the cry had come from. A few more seconds went by before another call was made. York's ears perked up and he started trotting back toward the plateau. Another cry was made and from the direction of the sound, it seemed to be coming from on top of it. He tilted his head toward the sky and sniffed the air, there seemed to be the same scent as the dead dragon only, without the smell of the dead. Curiosity getting the better of him once again, York found a small slope he was able to climb up to get a better look at the animal. He found a large patch of bushes that he was able to hide behind and he looked out to the clearing.
Close to the edge, there stood a young dragon that stood barely half of York's height. She was a very light shade of gray with a tan stripe from the tip of her nose, down her spine and stopping at her hindquarters. On her forehead was a white diamond-shaped marking and the very tip of her tail was black. The little dragon had her wings tucked in toward her body and she held her right hind leg off of the ground. Her nose was pointed toward the sky as she cried out once again, "Mamma!" Her voice echoed through the tree-filled mountains. This would be a perfect opportunity for a hungry predator to get an easy meal. Luckily for the young animal, Baithen do not dine on dragons. What she did not know was by calling for her mother, she was most likely attracting the other hungry predators in the area. York lay down and crawled forward a few steps, watching the child intently. The dragon hobbled around as she looked toward the sky, searching for her mother. She sat down and licked her swollen leg. "Mother, where are you?" she said with a depressed tone of voice, "You said you'd always come back for me." She looked back to the sky and sighed. Her tail wagged back and forth as she thought to herself. After a minute or two, she decided that she would get up and go look for her mother. With her leg broken, she could not walk too far so she decided she would fly above the trees to see if she could spot her mother.
Now this young dragon was not a very good flyer, in fact, she had only flown twice before, both times staying in the air for no more than two minutes before crashing head first into the ground. She extended her wings, feeling the slight breeze on the yellow membrane that separated each of the four long fingers. She stood up on her three good legs before bending her front legs, her chest just a few inches from the ground. She oddly wiggled her hops before leaping into the air. Being a leap with only one leg, this leap was not coordinated at all. She flapped her wings awkwardly twice before falling to the ground. With the soil being as dry as it was, it had not made for a comfortable landing pad. When she hit the ground, she had landed on her head. For a moment, she stayed in the position she had fallen in and moaned in disappointment and shame. 'What kind of dragon', she thought, 'doesn't know how to fly?' She thought of her mother, NavÃ¦rnie, who was a great flyer and she was her daughter. She stood back up, this time with more determination, and spread her wings. She jumped up once again and flapped them, this time making her muscles work harder to push the air with more force. Instead of falling to the ground, she stayed in the air for a couple of minutes before getting tired and falling again, this time when she fell, she landed on her right leg. She cried out in terrible pain and blinked back the tears forming in her eyes. Not loosing her determination, the young Dragon tried again and again, gaining more height with each try and strengthening her muscles with each push to elevate herself.
It was at this time that York decided it was time to go home. He had been out for a few hours now and he had to report his findings to Lord Crater. He stood up and trotted down the slope that lead off of the plateau. Going back the way he came, he passed the shrubbery, the couple of hills, the large meadow and the small clearing of trees. As York walked back toward his family, he did so at a slow pace. He walked slowly because he was not that egger to return. You see, York is not particularly popular among his siblings. In fact, most of them make fun of him for his lack of tusks; they think it is a sign of bad luck for the whole pack even though ever sense the day he was born until today, nothing horribly wrong has ever happened. There is one of his siblings, however, that adores him. It is his younger sister Pernod. From the day she opened her eyes and saw him, she had always followed him with a big silly grin on her face. It was because of his love of his sister that he always returned home.
The sun was at the highest point in the sky when York reached the ravine. The dead Dragonâ��s scent was stronger now and it almost overpowered the scent of the Drarâ��ran. Yorkâ��s ears went back and he shook his head before increasing his pace. As he drew nearer to his family, he noticed that most of his older siblings as well as Lady Selene were missing. This was good news to him as his younger siblings do not make as many remarks as the older ones do. He dropped his ears to his sides and tucked his tail as he neared his father. This Baithen was very old, twenty-nine years to be exact. He was missing his back left foot and sported several holes in his right ear. He had a white face and paws, golden stripes on his back and white ones on his tail. The rest of his fur was a light brown color. He turned to face York. Sunlight bounced off of his broken left tusk as he moved his head and spoke, â��Greetings my son. May I inquire as to where you have been all morning?â�� York looked up to the large Baithen and said, â��I have been scouting Lord Crater and I have something to report.â�� Intrigued, Crater sat down before saying, â��Have you found something?â�� â��Uhâ�¦y-yes, I have,â�� said York nervously, â��we have foreigners on our land. The two-legged from the stories.â��
At this moment, one of his older siblings that had not disappeared with the rest walked over to them rather aggressively. It was Lexor, Yorkâ��s eldest brother and least favorite of all his siblings. This Baithen had a brown coat with a reddish tint to it and his stripes were almost orange in color. He came at York with his tail raised, ears back, fangs barred, and thrusting his tusks in Yorkâ��s direction. This combination of aggressive acts is a sign in Baithen society as a challenge for dominance. And because York was already lower than Lexor on the pack rank, his challenge was unnecessary. But because he liked to pick on his younger brother and beat him up, he did this often.
York quietly backed up a couple of steps and lay down on his back, exposing his belly and tucking his tail between his legs. â��Quit telling lies pup!â�� Lexor barked at him as he towered above him, â��Thereâ��s no such thing as the two-legged.â�� â��Lexor!â�� Crater growled, â��How many times a day must I stop you from attacking York?â�� Lexor glanced at Crater before looking back to York. He growled before lunging at his younger brother with his jaws open. Now normally, Crater would have made Lexor leave the second he showed up because of his aggressive behavior. But due to his aged body, he has been enforcing his laws less and less, usually sleeping most of the day instead. This has not gone unnoticed to the rest of the pack; especially Lexor who has had his eye on the position of Lord for some time now. And with that, he often tests the boundaries Crater is still willing to protect. Picking on York is one of those boundaries that seems to be starting to slipping.
Staying seated, Crater viciously growled at his son, â��Lexor! Leave York alone!â�� Lexorâ��s fangs brushed against the soft fur on Yorkâ��s neck. He closed his jaws, put his ears back and angrily stared at his father. â��Leave us! I want you out of earâ��s range so you cannot eaves drop on our conversation, do you understand?â�� Lord Crater barked, â��You should go join your mother and siblings in the hunt.â�� Figuring he could pick on his brother later, Lexor twitched his tail angrily, turned around and said, â��Humph, fine,â�� before trotting away. York rolled over and looked up to his father. â��York,â�� his father said, â��Why do you never defend yourself? Our laws do not prevent you from doing so.â��
Not wanting to talk about his problems with his siblings, he tried to change the subject, â��Uhhâ�¦what about the Drarâ��ran in our territory?â�� â��Ah yes, the Drarâ��ran, tell me what were they doing, they must have had a reason for being here.â�� Crater responded. â��Well,â�� said York, â��They were standing over a Dragonâ��s corpse over by the ravine.â�� â��A Dragon you say? Well, this is very troubling news. Iâ�¦I must consult with Lady Selene when she returns.â�� Crater stood up and began to walk away. From his expression, he seemed to have become lost in thought. â��Uh, w-wait sir! Thereâ��s one more thing, â��York said before Lord Crater had walked too far away, â��I donâ��t think this would be of much importance but I did see another Dragon. It was very small and all alone, most likely the dead oneâ��s offspring.â�� The old Baithen stopped in his tracks for only a moment before saying, â��Thank you York, that will be all.â��
Somewhere in the Northern mountains, by a large meadow was a small plateau-looking hill. Atop of this plateau was bright grass, tall trees and lush green bushes. At the highest point was a small Dragon. This young Dragonâ��s name was Grey and she was lying on the ground with a depressed look on her face. All morning she had been trying to fly and all that practice had made her tired and hungry. Because Dragons who bore the anatomical ability to fly were natural born fliers, Grey was quick to learn how to with the few basics her mother had shown her a few days prior.
The little Dragon sighed as her tummy rumbled. â��Mommy, I want foodâ�¦â�� she complained to a Dragon who was not there. As she lied there on the ground, she thumped her tail on the dirt out of boredom. As she continued to whack the ground, she had unknowingly disturbed a nest of Zanthum bugs. When these bugs feel that their nest is in danger, they will bite and sting any unsuspecting animal who happen to be near their nest. This was unfortunate news to Grey as thousands of angry specs came out from the ground. She felt something bite her tail, and another bite, and another. Next, the small black dots started biting her feet and belly. She quickly got up and tried to bite back at the bugs. This only resulted in the bugs biting at her tongue and mouth. Each time she was bitten, an, â��Ow!â�� escaped her jaws and the appendage that was bitten would twitch in pain. If one were witnessing this and had to describe what it looked like, they would most likely say it almost looked as if Grey were dancing.
Frustrated with the little pests and not giving it much more than a second of thought, she jumped over the side of the plateau. Still being bitten over and over, she had almost forgotten to open her wings. It was at this moment that her legs caught the branch of a tree. Luckily, she was able to straighten out, gain a little bit of altitude and have the last of the little black bugs fall back to where they belonged, the ground. It was difficult for her wings to keep her body weight in the air, they needed a lot more time to get stronger. As she wobbly glided on the air, she was loosing altitude. Lucky for her, the tree height was getting shorter and shorter, this was because Grey was flying down the mountain side. The little Dragon was falling faster and faster, her wings were exhausted and her stomach reminded her that it had been empty all day.
â��Waaah!â�� cried Grey as the trees got closer and closer until finally she hit one face first. She fell down the tree, branches and leaves smacking her at every turn. Finally she landed in a straw-made nest. This nest would have made a great place to stay in as it was just her size. Unfortunately, it was occupied and Grey happened to have landed on its owners. Trying to get her off of them and their eggs, two Blue Ruttle Birds angrily pecked at the Dragonâ��s already bruised under belly. â��Out of our nest!â�� the Birds squawked, â��We wonâ��t let you eat our eggs!â�� Once again Grey cried out in pain, â��Ow! Ow! Iâ��m sorry! I donâ��t want to eat your eggs. Ow!â��
The angry parents got a couple more pecks on the Dragonâ��s tail before she jumped out of the nest and flew away, being beaten twice, the battered baby could go no further. She decided that she would land and find some place to rest and nurse her wounds. But before she got the chance to decrease her altitude, the muscles in her wings started to cramp up, preventing her from flying any further. Luckily for grey, she didnâ��t have far to fall at that point and she was at the foot of the mountain. Unfortunately, however, the location in which she had landed was not particularly wildlife friendly. You see, Grey had landed directly next to a dirt road with fresh tire tracks on it. These tire tracks were made by the Drarâ��ran hunters that shot down her mother and the wildlife game warden that followed this afternoon. So it was not at all a good thing when Grey decided she would take a nap in the same spot of grass she had landed in instead of finding an abandoned nest or den.
Exhausted and out of energy, Grey lay in the soft patch of grass and flowers. Her limp wings outstretched beside her broken leg looked to be even more swollen than it was this morning. The little Dragon slowly closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep where she dreamed sweet dreams of mountains of food and cuddling with her mother.