|Legacy of the Dark Master: Srs1, Bk1: Thunderclap
Author: Buizel Rubeda PM
Peace: The defeat of the Dark Master has ushered in a new era, with Spyro, Malefor's vanquisher, at its helm. But darkness stalks the realm, and an assassin roams the land: A criminal syndicate seeks to extirpate the root of hope and to plunge the world back into lucrative anarchy. Will Spyro succeed in foiling the criminals' plot? Only one thing is certain: Death is in the air.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Romance - Spyro & Cynder - Chapters: 18 - Words: 113,048 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 04-22-13 - Published: 09-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8534412
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
NOTE: What follows is a somewhat ampler summary of the story herein set forth as well as a basic outline thereof and also of the background information necessary to understand the Spyro plot; if you do not wish to read this (although even Spyro fans could do with reading the first and last sections), simply scroll down until you see CHAPTER 1
(Oh, and sorry about some of the formatting: FanFiction's strong points apparently do not yet include the seamless conversion of complex Word text into equally ornate HTML, and my attempts to manually edit the HTML code itself have proven fruitless; so, please accept my apologies, as well as suffer through the awkward presence of the subsequent and rather weighty outline, as I had no other effective means of publicizing it, since FanFiction also does not allow the creation of such summaries as incontingent entities.)
Peace: The Dark Master is dead, and after decades of near constant war, the dragon realms finally collapse into an exhausted state of tranquility. Spyro, the shining savior of the realms, the conqueror of Malefor, the symbol of the dawning era of hope, takes the helm of the Dragon Army, and the Temple has finally been restored to its original splendor and purpose of educating dragons from all over.
But all is not as it appears: Evil, the ever-present contender against good, lurks beneath the surface in the form of the sinister scheme of a vicious criminal organization, a scheme bent upon poisoning the newfound flower of hope. An assassin stalks the land, bringing terror to the calmness of night. The threat is more expansive than Spyro realizes, and it will take a great catastrophe to reveal the profundity of the plot.
Will Spyro succeed in his race against time and discover the identity of the assassin released by the syndicate? How many will die before the killer is stopped? Will the syndicate succeed in immolating the new and vulnerable order, tearing it apart from the inside out?
One thing is certain: Death is in the air.
(What follows is an outline containing background information necessary to understanding the plotline of this book; herein is also set forth a set of disclaimers that necessarily recognize the ownership of the book's elements.)
I. General Information
A Perspective — third-person limited
1. Multiple characters' perspectives will be used2. However, this is not an omniscient perspective, as mystery is highly integral to the plot
B Genre — fantasy fiction, mystery
1. There is a hint of romance, obviously, since much of the book concerns Spyro, Cynder, and their children2. However, the book is not strictly a romance as there is not much of the destiny attribute to it
C FanFiction Rating — M (revised: T)
1. I wasn't exactly sure whether I should classify this book as T or M; I settled on the latter primarily due to violence: After all, one cannot to any satisfactory degree of accuracy describe draconic altercations without incurring a bit of gore possibly unsuited for younger teenagers (although I do not profess to be naïve enough to presume that thirteen-year-olds are not involved in much worse…).2. The M also stands for suggestive themes, as – though there is nothing explicit in the book – there are moments (and there may be more in the future) in which "adult situations" are perhaps inferable.
i. Obviously, these "adult situations" or their precursors involve Spyro and Cynder, so forgive me if there are some perhaps cheesy scenes with these two: It is a necessary characterization element.
3. To these ends, I decided that the M rating was the safest4. (I considered the MA rating, but I thought that that may deter readers and give a rather misleading vibe — the book contains violence and adult situations (not in the sexual sense) and themes, but I do not consider it overly traumatic.)
5. Given that I have recently been informed that the M rating is specifically geared towards explicit and/or overly gory material, I am amending the rating of this book to T; that said, if something strikes you as inappropriate for this rating (either innuendo or gore), please tell me, as this change of rating is under an experimental basis.
D Themes — lying and deception, codes of honor
E Prominent symbols — weather, light contrasted with dark, divergent nature of darkness (literal and figurative)
II. Background Information
1. The events of this book occur twenty years after the events of The Legend of Spyro: The Dawn of the Dragon; the events thereof are assumed to have transpired over a period of about one month; those of The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, over a course of a month, two years after Spyro's birth; and those of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night, over a course of six months. Thus, all in all, Spyro and Cynder (who are presumed to have been born at the same time) are aged about twenty-four years.2. In the eighteen and one half years preceding the events of this book, Spyro and Cynder have had three children: Arial, their firstborn, a daughter now aged about eighteen; Lucas, a son aged about seven; and Rose (named after a dragon pupil of Spyro's who was killed in war), their youngest daughter aged about two. (For details concerning these characters and certain others, refer to section III, "Characters," below.)
1. Only a few months following the end of the War of Malefor (the war in which the Dark Master Malefor was defeated), a second war – known purely as the Dark War – erupted across the realms: The war was waged between the remnants of the Dragon Army (a general name I have given to the forces seen in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon), their newfound allies in a collection of islands to the north of the Dragon Temple and to the west of the three islands encountered in The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, and an insurgent force of mages, a slipshod organization formed from the aggregate remnants of prior forces, such as Gaul's ape army (see section II, subsection C) – those that evaded Malefor's curse – and what monsters remain of Malefor's hordes.2. The Dark War lasted seven years, and it was during the third year of the war that Spyro and Cynder's daughter Arial was born; with the conclusion of the war, the Dragon Army has experienced a period of about thirteen years of peace.3. However, the price of the war is high: After over a decade of constant warfare, the Dragon Army is in tatters and only beginning to heal; the three remaining guardians, Volteer, Cyril, and Terrador, were killed during the final year of the war, and Spyro alone remains; he is currently the leader of the Dragon Army (Commander in Chief).
1. This subsection is devoted to a quick (well, maybe not so quick) overview of the Legend of Spyro trilogy upon which this story is based; events of this trilogy are herein put forth so that those who are not aware may acquaint themselves with them. (It is advisable to do this as there may be allusions in this book to the trilogy.) The subsequent bullets of this subsection will each represent a single installment of the trilogy, and any additions or modifications that I have made will be noted.2. The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
i. This installment recounts the history of Spyro's birth; the game indicates that, for one reason or another, Spyro's egg along with many others was gathered at the Dragon Temple (or perhaps some other secure location — it is unclear). When the Dark Master's armies attack the Temple, Ignitus, the Fire Guardian (one of four, each representing a primary element — Fire, Electricity, Ice, and Earth), sent Spyro's egg down the Silver River (I am not actually sure if that is the name of the river; either way, it is the name that will be used in this book). It is during the same attack that Cynder's egg is stolen by the Dark Armies, implying that the Dark Master is at this point already imprisoned in Convexity (an interdimensional realm in which he was bound and from which only Cynder may free him).
ii. After this, two years (the time period is ambiguous: I have assumed this brief period due to the slightly mature but still childlike nature of Spyro in this game) pass: Spyro was born (hatched, technically — this semi-interchangeability of terms is common) shortly after the narrow escape at the Temple, at the same time as a dragonfly whose parents took Spyro in. This dragonfly – Sparx – is Spyro's "brother." In these two years, Spyro grew up with his brother in the swamps south of the Temple (the direction is arbitrary).
iii. One day in the swamp, during a rough-and-tumble game of hide-and-seek, Sparx is captured by a group of apes, and Spyro, in rage and fear, discovers his ability to breathe fire; this revelation leads his dragonfly "parents" to tell him of his birth (Spyro had heretofore believed himself to be a dragonfly), and the dismayed and confused dragon sets off on a trek to find himself. Sparx joins him.
iv. Spyro and Sparx, while on their journey, discover Ignitus hiding in a cave. He recounts to them the story of Cynder's rise to power as the Dark Master's slave; he tells them of her conquest of the dragon-held islands of Dante's Freezer, Tall Plains, and Munitions Forge; he also tells how she has captured the three other Guardians, Volteer (Electricity), Cyril (Ice), and Terrador (Earth), for purposes unknown. Ignitus also apprises Spyro of his destiny as the purple dragon (I have omitted in this book the part of Ignitus's dialogue which indicates the frequency of the purple dragon's birth) and at the same time expresses his despair of ever resolving the conflict with the Dark Master.
v. Spyro, desiring to know more of his past, undertakes the destiny which Ignitus has offered, and the three travel to the Dragon Temple, meeting Cynder's forces en route; throughout the story Spyro is constantly battling the apes under her command.
vi. At the temple, Ignitus trains Spyro to use his Fire abilities and then dispatches him to Dante's Freezer to rescue Volteer…but not before teaching the young dragon to fly.
vii. Spyro makes his way through Dante's Freezer accompanied by Sparx, has his first real sighting of Cynder, and rescues Volteer.
viii. Upon returning, Volteer informs Ignitus of his suspicion that Cynder is using the Guardians as energy sources to open a portal to Convexity and trains Spyro in the Electricity powers that he discovered on Dante's Freezer.
ix. Spyro is then sent to Tall Plains, where he meets Kain the Attlawan (a sort of llama-like, bipedal species who live in the jungle) and discovers his Ice powers. After meeting Kain several times along the way, Spyro finally rescues Cyril and returns him to the Temple. (I have omitted the part where the Attlawans want to worship Spyro and Sparx for their service to them — it is irrelevant, and, personally, I found it a little bit awkward.)
x. Upon returning, Cyril adds his account to Volteer's, and Cynder's plan begins to coalesce; Cyril instructs Spyro in the use of Ice, and Spyro is then dispatched to Munitions Forge to rescue Terrador.
xi. After fighting his way into the forge, racing against time to avoid the eruption of the volcano Boyzitbig, and rescuing the mole-like, strangely French-sounding Manweersmalls from the oppressive hands (or paws) of Cynder's apes, Spyro (and Sparx) confront the leader of the ape contingent, defeat him, and are about to rescue Terrador when Cynder makes a sudden and highly dramatic personal appearance.
xii. Cynder chases Spyro through the depths of the island, and at the climax of her pursuit, Ignitus steps in, and both he and Cynder vanish in the mounting eruption; Terrador takes Spyro and Sparx back to the Temple.
xiii. Back at the Temple, Spyro fights the grief he feels at losing Ignitus (who has grown to be like a father to him); Terrador consoles him and teaches him to harness his newfound Earth powers, and then Spyro sets out for Cynder's palace (the location of which is unknown and irrelevant), determined to rescue Ignitus at all costs.
xiv. After fighting his way through an army of apes, Spyro confronts Cynder; they fight, but Cynder breaks things off quickly, having drained Ignitus's power (the final piece to her puzzle) and opened a portal to Convexity.
xv. As Cynder makes her escape, Ignitus confides in Spyro the secret to her past: She was born at the same time as Spyro, but was abducted as an egg and bewitched to do Malefor's bidding (Malefor's name is not known until Dawn of the Dragon) because Malefor needed a dragon to free him from the prison to which dragons had banished him. Spyro struggles with the ethical crisis of confronting an enemy who has no control of what she is doing, but he does not have much time to fret over this: He pursues Cynder through the portal into Convexity.
xvi. Spyro makes his way to the place where Cynder intends to open the gate to the Dark Master's prison (perhaps a prison within Convexity itself, or possibly beyond Convexity, which is described as an interdimensional void, a world between worlds); the two fight, and Spyro, summoning an immense power from within him, defeats her, breaking the spell that binds her to the Dark Master.
xvii. The interruption of the unsealing process causes a sort of cataclysmic collapse of the portal, and Spyro only barely manages to seize the now child – and unconscious – Cynder (Malefor's spell had turned her into an adult form) and carry her out of Convexity and back to the "real" world. (It is very important to note that Sparx wanted to leave Cynder behind, but Spyro objected, saying that she only tried to kill them because of the Dark Master's hold over her. This sets the stage for the interrelationships of the three in later games.)
xviii. The surge of energy apparently temporarily disabled Spyro's powers (used as the reasoning behind his having to relearn them all in The Eternal Night), and despite the happy, weary reunion, the joyous atmosphere is tinged by a single worry: What of the Dark Master?
xix. It is unclear if the failed attempt to open the portal weakened the bonds holding the Dark Master, or if it had some other effect or no effect at all.
xx. Spyro and Cynder end up together, watching the stars, wondering about Malefor, and expressing that they both have "a bad feeling."
3. The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night
i. The events of The Eternal Night transpire a mere two weeks or so after the events of A New Beginning.
ii. For the purposes of my own story, the events of The Eternal Night are largely irrelevant (they did not advance the plot much anyway), and so the detail of this overview will be minute compared to that of the previous one; also, much detail will be altered.
iii. Prior to the events of the actual game, there is a period in which Spyro and Cynder grow closer as friends. They also meet several other dragons; discover the existence of the Northern Isles, a quadruplet of isles lying to the west of the three islands of A New Beginning; and run into a sect of Gaul's forces, bands of mages which he uses as his secret police.
a. This information is entirely of my own design and is primarily to set the stage for the events of the Dark War.
iv. Months pass, and almost half a year after the events of A New Beginning, the actual game plotline picks up:
v. The Eternal Night begins with Cynder leaving the Dragon Temple, saying that she does not belong and that she must find herself and her home; she departs despite Spyro's attempts to make her stay.
vi. In a dream/vision sort of thing, Spyro meets a mysterious, almost surreal dragon known only as the Chronicler, who teaches him to manipulate time (an ability which is not stated as applying solely to the purple dragon; thus, in my book, it is considered attainable by all dragons) and slowly unlocks the powers buried in him since the end of A New Beginning.
vii. The Dragon Temple is attacked by Gaul's armies. (Gaul being the emergent leader of the ape armies that were left leaderless once Cynder was removed from the Dark Master's spell.) After defending his home, Spyro links up with the Guardians, and he is sent into hiding; the forces at the Temple scatter across the realms, and the war against the Dark Master takes on a guerrilla nature.
viii. Spyro seeks out the Chronicler and ends up captured by pirates on the northeastern shores of the realm (the direction is arbitrary); fighting his way out of the pirates' grasp, he receives a missive from a mysterious "ally" named Hunter the Avalaran, who assures him that he can count upon him as a friend and compatriot against the Dark Master.
ix. With no information on this Hunter character, Spyro continues his journey to seek out the Chronicler, along the way progressing in his powers and gradually piecing together Gaul's plan to resurrect Malefor: A once-sacred but now defiled mountain known as the Well of Souls carries a special enchantment that blurs the lines between the physical and spirit realms, enabling beings to cross from beyond the veil and take on corporeal form. The Well of Souls is only active on a certain night – the Eternal Night – in which a lunar eclipse will cast its rays into a chamber in the center of the mountains fortress, breaking the physical-spiritual boundary.
x. Spyro finally meets the Chronicler, who tests him before finally revealing the truth: Malefor will rise again, for it is only by Spyro's hand that he can be truly defeated. The Chronicler also informs Spyro upon the latter's interrogations that Cynder's destiny is entwined with his now, and that she, too, will play a part in Malefor's destruction; at this, Spyro is determined to seek out Cynder and make sure that she is safe. He declares that he is heading to the Well of Souls, as he fears that Cynder has been captured by Gaul to be subjugated once more to Malefor once he is freed.
xi. The Chronicler attempts to keep Spyro in his safe haven (which appears to be beyond space-time and inaccessible to any but he), saying that he must be kept safe until his destiny calls him out, as he is not yet ready to face Malefor; but Spyro insists, saying that he will make his own path, prophecy or no prophecy…and by so doing, he will fulfill that prophecy.
xii. Spyro journeys to the Well of Souls (the location is obscure, but I have situated it just south of the Enchanted Forest – see the subsection for Dawn of the Dragon – buried in a mountain range) and battles his way inside, eventually confronting Gaul, who attempts to turn Cynder against Spyro.
xiii. Initially playing along, Cynder then turns on Gaul but is defeated; Gaul then challenges Spyro himself. The two battle, but they are interrupted by the lunar eclipse — the Eternal Night. As Malefor begins to rise, Spyro absorbs the Dark energy that is emitted by the former's resurrection, turning into Dark Spyro (essentially Spyro but under the influence of Dark magic), using his powers to destroy Gaul.
xiv. Cynder wrenches Spyro free of the sinister beam of energy that has been formed by the lunar eclipse, but before they or Sparx (who is with them) can leave, the roof begins to collapse, and the exit is sealed. As the rocks fall around them, Spyro uses the magic that the Chronicler has taught him to seal the three of them in a magical crystal — a sort of temporal stasis that preserves them until the crystal is broken.
xv. The Well of Souls collapses, all of its ape inhabitants being killed, and Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx remain there, sealed in the crystal.
xvi. The Eternal Night ends with the Chronicler soliloquizing about how Spyro was fated to be sealed in the crystal because he was not ready to face Malefor yet, and how he will emerge when he is ready. The Chronicler laments that Spyro will have to face the Dark Master at the peak of the latter's power (for Malefor is already sweeping his dark armies across the realms), but then consoles himself with the knowledge that Spyro does indeed "have friends."
4. The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
i. Dawn of the Dragon spans a very short period of time (for my purposes, it is about a month, although the game seems to imply a much shorter duration — perhaps only a few days), from the time Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx are freed from their crystal prison to the very end, the aftermath of the Dark Master's death.
ii. The final installment of the trilogy begins with a group of Grublins (strange, amorphous, almost insectile monsters under the command of the Dark Master; it would appear that Grublins were created or summoned by Malefor to replace the apes as a main body of his forces) breaking the crystal that holds Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx in a temporal stasis. (It is unknown how exactly the Grublins discovered the location of said crystal, or why it took them three years to do so; one could imagine that the chaos of the destruction of the Well of Souls and the subsequent havoc wreaked by the newly liberated Dark Master would have postponed a search for the purple dragon and his compatriots.) The Grublins bind the two young dragons together by a magical chain and take all three to some sort of holding area (although in the game it resembles a sort of gladiatorial arena), where they are to be detained, presumably until Malefor arrives to deal with them himself.
iii. Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx fight their way out of this holding area, incurring the assistance of Hunter the Avalaran (see subsection C, class 3, paragraph viii) to deal with a monolithic golem. The three join Hunter after beating back the golem, and the Avalaran informs them that he was dispatched by Ignitus (called "the Elder Dragon," a title that is not used in my book) to locate the three when Spyro did not return from his journey — this transpired three years earlier. (It is unknown how quickly Ignitus discovered that something may have happened to Spyro – presumably within a month or two after his not returning from his journey – or why exactly it took Hunter three years to locate him.) This information shocks Spyro, but upon examining himself (these subsequent details are of my own making) he realizes that he has grown, as have Cynder and Sparx, and that he feels older.
a. Note that the physical differences that are attributed here and by most people to the maturation that would have occurred over three years are actually a side effect of the game being produced by different companies/designers/whatever than the first two.
iv. The party of four begin to make their way out of the strange catacombs which are all that remain of the vast Well of Souls; they are separated momentarily by the golem's reappearance, and when they are reunited, Spyro and Cynder, locating a magical crystal (the details concerning these are left out of my book for rather obvious reasons: They are a game-specific item that has little place in a literary work), commune with the Chronicler (it is unknown why the Chronicler is the steward over their powers and destinies — although he does seem to oversee the ebb and flow of time) and their powers, initially inert, are reawakened.
v. This is fortuitous timing, as they are attacked, and after defeating their assailants, the party continues its trek toward the surface. Throughout this journey, there is an air of maturation to the dragons' attitudes (lamentably not to Sparx's), echoing their new ages (see section II, subsection D). As they are nearing the exit, the golem attacks again, and Spyro and Cynder spot a Dark crystal on its arm that, according to Hunter "radiates Dark magic"; they destroy the crystal, apparently wounding the golem. (In my book, there is no real need to refer to these crystals, but it should be known that I have not copied over their enervative properties.) The party then flees and, after a third escape from the golem, narrowly manages to reach the surface.
vi. (The entire following section is of my own design.) Pausing for a moment, Hunter informs Spyro and Cynder with dispassionate brevity that the war is not going well and that the city of Warfang remains the last bastion of the Dragon Army. Warfang lies to the far south of the Forest of Noire (a name of my own design; the game terms the place "Twilight Falls"), where the party has exited; however, Hunter says that Malefor's armies, which have encircled Warfang in preparation for a final series of assaults, are blocking a direct overland route to the city; thus, the party will have to circle north, through a trial to the Enchanted Forest to the Valley of Avalar, where a secret passage (a remnant of the Dark Master's earlier reign of terror) leads underground all the way to the city.
vii. As the four travelers exit via a waterfall cave passage (Shimmer Falls of the Starry River — yes, the names are not particularly original, but it is unimportant), they descend into the Forest of Noire (a sort of extension of the Enchanted Forest, separated therefrom by rugged mountains), where they fight their way through a small contingent of Grublins and other minions of the Dark Master. After scaling a cliff, the four take a trail that will lead them to the Enchanted Forest.
viii. Resting for a short spell on a second cliff, overlooking the southern edge of the Enchanted Forest, the party discusses the progress of the war: Hunter informs the three that the golem that they so narrowly avoided was no ordinary creature, that it was bewitched by powerful Dark Magic to do Malefor's bidding. He adds that the latter's ascension to power was fearsome and bloody, and many perished in the vicious fighting that erupted all over the realms; Ignitus and the other Guardians fought with all of their strength, but without the purple dragon that everyone somehow knew was fated to defeat the Dark Master, morale continued to sink, and the Dragon Army – despite its most valorous efforts – began to give way. Three years later, the war was primarily a guerrilla struggle, with Warfang and the outlying semiarid territories being the only real battlefield.
ix. As Hunter laments the death and destruction thus far sown, Spyro expresses a great penitence, feeling himself responsible for not having been there to stop Malefor. Cynder reminds him that the past cannot be changed, and that there is no use fretting over it. Hunter agrees solemnly and adds that they are lucky to even be alive. Suddenly, before anyone can say anything else, something (presumably a spell or some kind of gas bomb type of device) incapacitates all four of them.
x. When Spyro awakens the following morning, he finds himself and the others imprisoned in the village of Avalar several miles north of the cliff where they had been. They have been captured by Chieftain Prowlus, the churlish and somewhat brutish leader of the Avalarans. Before, however, they can inquire as to the reason for their detention, wyverns (Malefor's air forces) attack the village, along with several squads of Grublins. Prowlus, at Spyro and Cynder's earnest request and assurance that they can help, releases the two dragons, who quickly neutralize the threat.
xi. Upon taking a survey of the damage, Prowlus learns that Meadow, an Avalaran who apparently went out to collect herbs earlier that morning, is missing; Prowlus, not wanting to expose the rest of the Avalarans to the danger of the forest, opts not to dispatch a search party.
xii. Spyro intervenes, requesting that he, Cynder, Sparx, and Hunter be allowed to search for Meadow; they desire only their freedom in exchange for bringing back the lost Avalaran. Prowlus agrees but stipulates that Hunter, subject to Avalaran law (which apparently he has broken: The game does not specify his infraction, and I have invented it to be consorting with dragons, whom the Avalarans generally fear and avoid), must remain behind. Spyro agrees, and he, Cynder, and Sparx set out into the forest.
a. As a simple literary note, the ambiance as the three set off into the Enchanted Forest is one of wistful nostalgia (the game echoes this by playing a slightly touched up and more dramatic version of the melody which introduces The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning).b. There is an air of coming home, of somber remembrance, a gravity that is difficult to put into words and would take paragraphs to accurately describe.
xiii. The three search up and down the valley, eventually finding a cave in which Meadow lies helpless with a broken leg. Spyro and the others are ambushed, and once they have warded off the attackers, they speak with Meadow, who informs them that they may be able to transport him to the village via the Silver River.
xiv. To do this, the three must obtain a raft from the far end of the valley and drift it downriver towards him; however, the raft is locked above water, and the two orbs (of a highly dense substance that the game labels adamantium or something of the like) that release the locking mechanisms are themselves locked in a supply cache tucked in a narrow mountain cleft, the key to which cache belongs to a hermit who used to be among the Avalarans, a hermit who lives in an adjoining sub-valley, the entrance to which is sealed in the wall of a cliff on the southwestern (the direction is arbitrary) end of Avalar.
xv. After Sparx comments on the strange intricacy of this arrangement, Spyro vows to retrieve the raft and bring Meadow home. The three depart and commence with the arduous process of rescuing the stranded Avalaran, harrowed every step of the way by Malefor's minions.
xvi. When the party reaches the hermit's abode, sequestered at the upper edge of an outcropping in a narrow mountain cleft, they are attacked by odd, ghostly, skeletal figures. (The music in the game is the same as that of Tall Plains from A New Beginning, giving the area a wild and feral ambiance.) Once they have defeated the swarm of wraiths, the hermit appears and informs them almost amusedly that those spirits of the darkness are in fact the apes that used to serve Gaul, whose megalomania and lust for power brought Malefor's wrath upon him and upon his followers; while some apes escaped and became marauders in the woods, many were struck with Malefor's ghastly spell, forced to feed upon the energy of others to survive, never satisfied by their parasitism.
xvii. After this chilling dialogue, the hermit then addresses Cynder, claiming that though she possesses a different form (as the child/young adult that she now is), she cannot hide (in her eyes) that she is still the "Terror of the Skies" (the sobriquet which she earned as Malefor's slave). This greatly upsets Cynder, whose only desire is to surmount the burden of her past and to be vindicated. Spyro rises to her defense, dismissing the hermit curtly and expressing to Cynder his concern for her. After Cynder assures him that she is all right, Sparx casually informs them both that he has purloined the key to the supply cache while the hermit was berating Cynder.
xviii. Sparx's comic relief having lightened the atmosphere somewhat, the three return to the valley proper, acquire the orbs from the supply cache, release the raft, and tug it downriver to Meadow (all the while beating back Malefor's forces). Once they deliver Meadow safely to the village, Prowlus not-so-sincerely apologizes for his harsh and suspicious treatment of them; he releases them and Hunter, but, upon the latter's request, refuses to offer his alliance in the struggle against Malefor. The four depart for Warfang.
a. Just as a note: In my representation of these events, the party's sojourn in the Enchanted Forest lasted about two weeks (in the game it is essentially a single day).
xix. (Note: Many of the following details are of my own design; I have greatly altered the account of the Siege of Warfang.) Upon arriving in Warfang (for purposes of my historical account, the journey transpires over a twenty-four hour period), the party is met by the four Guardians plus other friends. The expected greetings and paroxysms are exchanged, and Cynder brings up the chain by which she and Spyro are bound; Ignitus examines it and confesses that he knows of no way to break it…but he adds that it will more than likely dissolve in its own time.
xx. After the reunion fades, the next ten days or so are spent with Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx learning the layout of the vast Dragon City and the progress of the war: They are apprised of the details of the Dragon Army's defeats and retreat to Warfang, and of the siege-and-guerrilla warfare that has become the norm.
xxi. After this brief respite (I inserted said hiatus to give ample time for Malefor to have discovered Spyro and Cynder's whereabouts), the Dark Armies attack the city, and Spyro and Cynder assist in the defense of the walls. Just when it appears that the dragons have reflected the attack, the golem from the catacombs reveals itself and begins a rampage across the city. Spyro and Cynder battle the golem, which defeats all four Guardians in turn, and they eventually manage to destroy it once and for all, effectively ending the battle for the day. After so narrowly beating back the Dark Master's fiendish forces, the Dragon Army relaxes slightly to recover its strength for the following morning, when undoubtedly the entire process will begin anew.
xxii. During the night, Malefor (through some sort of magical communication device, the origin and nature of which is unknown) declares that he has unlocked the secret to the Destroyer, an immense monster created for a single holocaustic purpose: to purge the Earth of all life. The Destroyer begins its immense circle (the Ring of Fire) around its home mountain (which is never named), upon the completion whereof it will destroy the Earth. Ignitus professes that he knows very little about this beast, and he also notes that the monster is moving too quickly to pursue and that to do so anyway would be to leave the city noticeably undefended.
xxiii. It is then that someone (I cannot remember who precisely proposes the idea, and it is irrelevant either way — if anyone knows, feel free to shareJ) suggests using the old tunnels beneath Warfang to intercept the monster near the coast of the Great Sea far to the east (the direction, as usual, is arbitrary, as is the identity of the ocean: I used a general name).
xxiv. The exact nature of these tunnels is quite mysterious: Apparently, the Dragon City was built on top of an older city built by moles (the actual city of Warfang was constructed jointly by both moles and dragons), but this city was abandoned for whatever reason. Strangely, however, it is implied that the dragons also utilized the city to train Malefor (why the underground city was used as a training site is completely unknown).
xxv. Spyro and Cynder, having slipped into the tunnels by a cleft in the wall, must release the locking mechanisms to the door — four statues' magic crystals must be returned to their slots. (Evidently, the tunnels either have been adapted or had been originally built as an escape route out of Warfang, and the doors, once sealed, can only be opened from within. This raises the question of why the doors were sealed in the first place. Again, little is known about the city.)
xxvi. Each crystal is protected by different sets of puzzles and strange, skeletal, lupine creatures (I added this detail myself) — this on top of the complications of cursed apes and Malefor's minions. The tunnels are riddled with catacombs and booby traps to be navigated.
xxvii. After making their arduous way throughout the tunnels, retrieving all four crystals, Spyro and Cynder open the doors, enabling most of what little remains of the Dragon Army to pass through.
xxviii. As the dragons move along the tunnel, Spyro confides in Ignitus that he has noticed many similarities between himself and Malefor (this is almost humorously similar to Harry Potter noting the same thing about himself and Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ); Ignitus replies that there is a fundamental difference between the two at their core: their hearts are very disparate. This does not console Spyro very much, and he is left to wonder whether he is truly any different from the dragon whom he fights.
xxix. The Dragon Army reaches the mouth of the tunnel at daybreak, spotting the Destroyer bearing down upon their location on a cliff in the midst of a vast riverine chasm; again, the dragons wonder how they can stop it.
xxx. Cynder looks upriver and spots a huge dam that apparently was designed to occlude the river below for whatever reason (quite frankly, a dam on an ocean is almost preposterous in and of itself). Cynder suggests flooding the chasm so as to stop the Destroyer. Spyro readily gives his approval, and Ignitus deploys the dragon forces to attack the Destroyer in order to buy the two younger dragons as much time as possible.
xxxi. After a little comic relief from Sparx, the three race to the dam; after fighting off a cloud of wyverns set in to ambush them, Spyro and Cynder manage to open the gate that leads into the interior of the dam (after releasing a few measly floodgates). They fight their way to the top and release two larger floodgates, causing the pressure of the water to rupture the dam. (It seems strange that this is so: Why would the floodgates on the top of the dam be designed to produce this buildup of pressure? It is possible that all four floodgates were never to be opened up at the same time, and that this is what caused the dam to destabilize.)
xxxii. Fleeing the deluge of seawater, Spyro and Cynder link up with Ignitus in time to see the Destroyer paralyzed by the floodwaters; however, momentarily, the monster is attempting to drag itself out onto the opposite shore. Ignitus gives the order to attack the beast again while it is down and to find a way to defeat it once and for all.
xxxiii. Spyro and Cynder join the assault, flying all over the beast's body, trying to locate the many Dark crystals that apparently act as focal points — a sort of ligature that holds the Destroyer together. Battling their way meter by meter, the two dragons slowly and painfully ascend the beast's body, destroying crystals as they go; when they finally reach the crown, they discern that they must enter the heart of the Destroyer to defeat it for good. After making sure that the other two accept the risk, Spyro leads the way inside.
xxxiv. Flying through the Destroyer at high speed, Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx find their way to the heart, which is composed of an enormous, tendrilous crystal enveloped in rock (a sort of petrous pericardium J), suspended midair, and surrounded by a vast pool of lava which occasionally geysers upward towards the "heart." The dragons attack the crystal, hewing away its rocky shell and exposing it to their attacks; eventually, they manage to shatter the crystal, causing a violent reaction in the Destroyer: The lava begins to rise and erupt.
xxxv. The dragons race against the deadly deluge of molten rock, weaving through the tunnels that appear to be the Destroyer's equivalent of blood vessels; they somehow escape through the Destroyer's mouth, followed quickly by a fiery explosion. Ignitus congratulates them, but before their weary elation can settle in, the Destroyer suddenly arises once more, dragging itself onto the shore and continuing its lumbering path along the Ring of Fire. Everyone is shocked and dismayed, and Ignitus professes that he can see no remaining recourse.
xxxvi. Spyro declares that there must be a way and suggests taking on Malefor himself, evidently with the hope that defeating him will result in defeating the Destroyer by extension. Ignitus agrees, dispatching Terrador and the Dragon Army back to Warfang to lead everyone into the tunnels of the old city where they may be safe; he also commands Hunter, who is with them, to send a message via falcon to everyone in the outlying regions, telling them to take shelter PDQ. (I forgot to mention – as it really is irrelevant – that the Avalarans joined the Siege of Warfang shortly before the golem's attack on the city.)
xxxvii. When Ignitus, Spyro, and Cynder are about to set off, Sparx attempts to join him, but Ignitus reminds him gently that the lands scarred by the Destroyer's passage (lands which they will have to traverse to reach Malefor in the Dragon Temple) will be too harsh for a dragonfly: He would not survive. Spyro agrees, and Sparx makes Cynder promise to take care of his brother; Cynder, her and Sparx's differences evidently momentarily forgotten, vows to do so. With a sorrowful goodbye, Spyro and Sparx part.
a. Here I must digress for a moment to explain a few incongruities: The geography of these games is quite obscure and somewhat arbitrary (I have already made several notes on the whimsical nature of directions and precise locations); hence, I must explain the route that, for the purposes of my book, Spyro and Cynder (for Ignitus will soon be gone) are about to take:b. The dam and river chasm where the Dragon Army ambushed the Destroyer are located many dozens of miles south of the Temple, which Malefor invaded shortly after returning to power: He usurped the Temple and by a mysterious enchantment suspended it and the terrain within a several mile radius high above the earth; there he has thence been terrorizing the realm and pursuing his genocidal passions. (It is unsure what exactly Malefor seeks to gain by wiping out the Earth.)c. The area that Spyro and Cynder are about to traverse ("the Burned Lands") is the charred remains of the swamps and forests between the Temple and the territories east of Warfang; from this, it could be supposed that the Destroyer began its circle at the Temple, proceeding southward and then looping back west and returning from the north: This would explain the route that Spyro and Cynder must take.d. The great distance between the two dragons and the Temple – as well as the presence of vast hordes of Malefor's most elite warriors – necessitates an extended voyage, and the journey (again, these details are all of my own design) takes about five days to complete. An additional day and night will be spent in the "Floating Isles."xxxviii. Ignitus leads the two young dragons to the wall of flame that marks the boundary between the Burned Lands and those as of yet untouched by the Destroyer's fire. He expands a bubble of energy around them, hoping to shield them from the heat; however, they are only about halfway through when Ignitus begins to falter.
xxxix. Spyro, fearful of his mentor's weakness, suggests turning back and finding another way, but Ignitus asserts that there is no other way; he then apologizes for having failed the both of them in so many ways (note that I have taken some license in altering much of what Ignitus said). Ignitus, ignoring Spyro's repeated and more urgent plea to turn back, instructs them to protect one another, after which he uses the remainder of his strength to propel them through the flames to the other side.
xl. As the fire closes behind them, Spyro is already on his feet (or paws — distinguishing between these two is often arbitrary), wailing in anguish. Cynder tries to draw him back, telling him that there is nothing that he can do. Spyro turns, consumed by darkness (this transition into "Dark Spyro" is something that was never really explained fully), declaring that there is something that he can do. He turns back around, intending to plunge into the flames and drag Ignitus out.
xli. Cynder repeats, while trying to hold him back, that Ignitus is beyond his help and that Spyro cannot save him. Spyro turns and retorts that she cannot stop him; Cynder agrees, saying that Spyro must do that himself. She tells him that Ignitus would want them to continue on, and Spyro yields, dropping his Dark form and confessing that he has never felt more alone. Cynder assures him that despite their losses, he is not alone. The two embrace. (Actually, Cynder simply touches her cheek against his; however, gestures of draconic affection are difficult to define precisely, and so this act is probably akin to a hug, especially given the circumstances, so I have translated it as such.)
xlii. After this sorrowful moment, the two commence their trek towards the Temple. The journey is eerie and solemn, and there is an air of impending finality and resolution about it, for all is about to come to an end. The trek through the Burned Lands is harrowing and tense, transpiring over the course of five days, five days in which Spyro and Cynder both fight the pressure of what is about to happen.
xliii. The two finally come close enough to the Temple that they are able to ascend to the Floating Isles. Henceforth, the journey takes on a surreal nature as the two fight and island-hop their way towards the Temple, suspended a great distance above the ground. After spending a day traveling, the two dragons reach the entrance to the Temple.
xliv. After Spyro and Cynder are both nearly killed by a monolithic troll hurling boulders, they enter the Temple proper to confront Malefor once and for all.
a. This part about the two saving each other's life is a bit of poetic license: Depending on whether the player of Dawn of the Dragonplays as Spyro or Cynder at this particular point, one of them is nearly killed by a thrown boulder. I have taken the liberty of solidifying this detail: Spyro, stepping forward first, was pulled back by Cynder, who thus saved his life; he in turn saved hers by using his Earth powers to deflect the second boulder. Again, this is a bit of poetic license — I thought that the two dragons saving each other from imminent death within the space of a few moments had a sort of romantic resonanceJ; forgive me if it's cheesy.
xlv. Malefor greets the two dragons, attempting to turn them against each other, claiming that the destruction of the world is the destiny of the purple dragon (the actual destiny of the purple dragon is actually quite obscure, and it is, for the purposes of my book, essentially irrelevant) and that Cynder was always working for him. Cynder herself seems unable to figure out whether she is for or against the Dark Master, who then takes control of her momentarily, forcing her to attack Spyro, who vehemently refuses to fight back.
xlvi. When Cynder demands to know why Spyro will not defend himself, he replies that she has left him with nothing to fight for; the implications of his statement (so obvious that I need not point them out) jar her out of the Dark Master's grip. Seeing that he cannot manipulate them, Malefor attacks.
xlvii. This marks the beginning of a rather long and somewhat ridiculously repetitive battle, throughout which the Temple (or, at least, a piece of the floor) falls from the sky and descends some kind of tunnel into the depths of the Earth. (The tunnel is presumably created by the passage of the Destroyer, which, about halfway through the fight, completes its deadly circle and begins its apocalyptic purging of the planet.) As fire consumes everything, Spyro and Cynder use what remains of their strength to defeat the Dark Master once and for all.
a. I have omitted the ending in which Malefor is somehow destroyed by what appear to be spirits of dragons long dead ("the Ancestors"); quite honestly, it struck me as an uninventive, cursory, even prosaic and, if I may wax incisive, somewhat dumb way of ending what otherwise was an excellent game. If that offends anyone, sorry, but, again, there is a measure of authorial and poetic license to be expected with this type of writing.
xlviii. After an elegiac dialogue between Cynder and Spyro, Spyro tries to get Cynder to flee (Malefor's death broke the magical chain that had bound them throughout the entire game) while he does whatever he can to save the Earth (apparently his destiny all along was to stop the Destroyer); Cynder refuses, declaring that she will stay with him. Spyro, with no time to argue, releases a pulse of energy that reverses the Destroyer's, well, destruction.
xlix. Just as the pulse fires and everything is consumed in purplish light, Cynder whispers (not too quietly) the words, "I love you" (in all objectivity, a very dramatic momentJ).
l. The Earth is then seen to be restored to its pre-apocalyptic state, and the final "official" scene is that of the Guardians (save for Ignitus), Sparx, and Hunter emerging from underground to observe a poetic sunset and to watch the rising of a constellation in the shape of a young dragon.
a. Actually, one could claim that it was in fact a sunrise— both have poetic implications; however, the lighting and the general time frame indicate that it is in fact a sunset.
li. After the credits have rolled, the Chronicler soliloquizes (well, not quiteJ), stating that the dawn of an era (hence the title, Dawn of the Dragon) is followed by the dawn of a new Chronicler to record its triumphs and downfalls. The Chronicler then turns to Ignitus (who apparently is either not dead or somehow resurrected — assuming the Chronicler is even alive to begin with: He is, after all, outside of time…apparently…), naming him the new Chronicler and transferring his power to him.
lii. Ignitus plies the Chronicler with a question: What has become of Spyro? The Chronicler gives no direct answer, stating instead that the deaths and destinies of all dragons (in the game he says creatures, but I have altered this detail — a book about the deaths of all creatures would be unimaginably thick!) are recorded in a single book…and that, try as he may, he can find no trace of either Spyro or Cynder within its pages.
liii. The Chronicler vanishes forever, and Ignitus opens the book, flicking through its pages, wondering to himself with a smile where Spyro might be.
liv. The story ends with a scene of Spyro and Cynder flying through the air together, carefree and happy.
a. The forest in question is presumed to be the Enchanted Forest, as the trees and clouds are identical; however, for my purposes, the forest is in fact a secluded wood to the west of the Enchanted Forest, beyond several mountain ranges.
1. (The information in this subsection pertains to primarily cultural details that differ from those of humans — after all, this is about dragons.)2. Though Spyro and Cynder do have children and there is little doubt that they are conjugally bound, there will be no time at which I will term them "husband" and "wife": Dragons do not have marriage ceremonies, so there is no use for such terms. (Additionally, it seems odd to call them "husband" and "wife" considering they are so young — but more on that in a moment.)3. You will also not see me use the term "mate." This is a matter of personal preference: I do not like the term because it is applied mainly to animals (and, yes, I know that they are animals) and thus has a depersonalizing connotation which I, quite frankly, abhor.4. On a related subject, I also refuse to use such "affectionate" apocopations as "Spy" and "Cyn" (which I have seen before in other stories) in dialogues between Spyro and Cynder: Firstly, I'm not a fan of such saccharine hypocorisms (or any others for that matter) to begin with; and secondly, I do not think that it fits the characters: Spyro and Cynder never referred to one another in this manner, and I see no precedent for it to have started, so I will not employ it.
i. I also do not use such hypocorisms as "honey" or "dear" (innocuous though they may be) in reference to their children: The one sobriquet that I allow is "kiddo," and that is a term that only Spyro uses and only in reference to Arial.
ii. If this upsets you, sorry — authorial prerogativeJ
5. Another issue to address is that of draconic aging: The games are highly confusing in this matter, and rather than attempt to consolidate a set of uniform criteria for aging, I will simply state that dragons mature more rapidly than do humans (which would explain why, in my timeline, Spyro is two when he first sets off on his journey in A New Beginning).
i. Thus, Spyro and Cynder are about twenty-four in dragon years: approximately thirty or so in human years. Arial, being eighteen in dragon years, is the rough equivalent of twenty-two or so; Lucas is about seven, which translates as about sixteen or seventeen; Rose is two in dragon years, which is about eleven or twelve in human years.
ii. This is not particularly important, but it may be confusing to not know.
6. This has already been mentioned, but I must also note the slight nuance between physical gestures of humans and of dragons; I am not going to go in-depth, but simply be aware that there are minor discrepancies.7. Note also that Spyro and Cynder have taken on the roles of teachers at the Temple, training young dragons to harness their powers. (This was a role implied to have been entrusted to the Guardians, and with theirs deaths this scholastic mantle has been taken up by their successors.)
A (NOTE: This section pertains mostly to characters with whom you may or should be familiar but details concerning whom may be a bit obscure. This section is designed to clarify the mysteries and ambiguities surrounding certain characters and to define a few new ones. Obviously not all of the characters in the book will be listed; just those that will play a more immediate role and for whom I thus do not necessarily have time to completely characterize.)
1. Primary protagonist2. Purple dragon with purple eyes3. Age: approximately 24 years4. Commander in Chief of the Dragon Army; teacher at the Temple5. Father (by Cynder) of Arial, Lucas, and Rose
1. Secondary protagonist2. Black dragoness with green eyes (for some reason people can never get that right…)3. Age: approximately 24 years4. High-ranking officer in the Dragon Army; teacher at the Temple5. Mother (by Spyro) of Arial, Lucas, and Rose
D (Captain) Arial
1. Purple dragoness with green eyes2. Age: approximately 18 years3. Recently trained doctor for the Dragon Army4. Firstborn daughter of Spyro and Cynder
1. Black dragon with sapphire-like eyes (blue — because sapphires can be other colors…)2. Age: approximately 7 years3. Studying to be an officer in the Dragon Army4. Son of Spyro and Cynder
1. Scarlet dragoness with willowy eyes2. Age: approximately 2 years3. Just beginning her training in the Temple4. Daughter (and youngest child) of Spyro and Cynder
G (Lieutenant Colonel Doctor) Ambulo
1. Red dragon with sagacious green eyes ringed with gold scales2. Age: irrelevant (just know that he is older but not ancient)3. One of the foremost doctors at the Temple and chief of a division of the Dragon Army Medical Corps4. Doctor: both physician and psychiatrist5. Close friend of Spyro (due to circumstances during the Dark War that are beyond the scope of this book)
H (Captain) Marius
1. Slender blue dragon with hawkish golden eyes2. Age: irrelevant (he is a full adult, but not particularly old)3. A premiere intelligence officer for the Dragon Army's Division of Military Intelligence4. Close associate of Spyro due to service in the Dark War (at the end of which he was promoted from (first) lieutenant to captain).
I Hunter (the Avalaran)
1. Avalaran warrior2. Age: unknown3. A close friend of Spyro due to connection during the War of Malefor (see above outline of The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon)
1. Spyro's dragonfly "brother"2. Age: two years (this is my own guesstimation, and it is irrelevant either way; maturity-wise, he is approximately fifteen or so or about the age of Spyro's son, Lucas)3. Obviously very close to Spyro, but not very fond of Cynder (and vice versa)
IV. Disclaimers and Related Information
1. Obviously, many of the primary characters of this book (including but not limited to Spyro, Cynder, Sparx, and Hunter) are all copyright/trademark protected and are exclusively owned by their respective companies; I disclaim all rights to said characters, as well as to any other elements so protected by law.2. Again, any and all plot elements and/or characters protected by copyright/trademark by Sierra Company and its contributors in The Legend of Spyrotrilogy are the exclusive property thereof and all rights thereto are heretofore repudiated: I claim no ownership.
B General Copyright
1. This said, I do claim right to the characters and general, unprotected, and novel information herein presented, including but certainly not limited to Spyro and Cynder's children, the officers of the Dragon Army, and all characters not presented in and therefore not protected under the ownership of the trilogy proper.2. All such characters and/or literary elements are herein protected by a general copyright, which is legally recognized as applicable to all original material either published or unpublished.3. (Basically, don't steal my stuff!)
C Just as a side note, plagiarism, while not illegal per se, is frowned upon and against the regulations of this site; therefore, the original and unprotected (by the Sierra Company and related contributors to The Legend of Spyro trilogy) information herein and henceforth presented are in fact protected under this site's regulations. Violation of said blanket protection is punishable by .
"All is Well"
Cynder blinked open her eyes, closing them almost immediately against the bright but watery sunlight. Opening her eyes again, she looked around: The chamber was pervaded by that pacific gray glow that accompanied dawn, and a thick mist outside had splintered the incoming sunlight, spraying little droplets of light all over the place.
Facing the entrance to the little balcony, this splash of brightness had momentarily blinded Cynder. One would have thought that she would have figured out by now not to face this direction: The weather had been quite foggy recently, and every day she had awoken to the misty shimmer.
It was quite common in springtime: Situated on the border of expanses of swamps and forests, the Dragon Temple was characterized by an unusual and somewhat ethereal mixture of temperate and tropical climatic patterns; springtime was foggy, wet, and cold, while the summers were torrid and dry; autumn was crisp and cool, while the winters brought fierce storms and frigid cold. Cynder had never liked cold.
It was cold this morning — auroral spring air was almost always chilly and thick with dew; but Cynder didn't feel the cold: Spyro, who lay next to her, still asleep, had his wing draped over her, keeping her both warm and dry.
Usually Spyro awoke before her, but he was probably tired: Yesterday there had been some kind of meeting at Warfang concerning the repairs to the city that were still underway (why that meeting had demanded the attention of the commander in chief of the Dragon Army, Cynder didn't know…), even now, two decades after the siege. Malefor's armies really did a number on it…
Cynder didn't understand why Spyro didn't just use his powers: They had escalated enormously ever since Malefor's demise, and he was certainly capable of traversing the immense distance between the Temple and Warfang in no time at all, but he insisted on taking the "normal" route. Spyro never did like using that ability — he preferred to fly.
Either way, he had left at dawn the previous day and had returned only just before midnight this morning; even a dragon couldn't fly that many miles without tiring…not even Spyro.
Cynder glanced at him: He was just lying there, chest rising and falling with the slow, deep, rhythmic (almost juvenescent) breaths that characterized his sleep; the sound was so familiar to Cynder that listening to it always brought back memories both recent and old. She smiled and rolled her eyes: No matter how mature he was, there was just something childlike in Spyro. She liked that.
A knock came at the door, situated in the center of the wall to Cynder's left. Cynder turned to see it open slightly; a dragoness poked her head in.
"You guys awake?"
"I am, Arial," replied Cynder, giving her a maternal smile, "but your father's not."
"That's unusual," said Arial, stepping into the room and shutting the door silently.
Arial, had she been a couple of years older, could have passed for Spyro's sister: She resembled him in almost every way, right down to the way she walked — she even had the purple scales. (That had greatly surprised Cynder: She hadn't thought that the purple scale color was genetic since it had always been treated as some sort of prophetic sign or something.) However, she had, as Spyro had been very quick to point out at her birth, inherited Cynder's green eyes.
Arial was their first child, born almost two decades ago, not too long after the War of Malefor had ended; she had been, for all intents and purposes, the perfect daughter: She was respectful and obedient (evidently she didn't inherit her mother's fire, thought Cynder wryly), but she was smart and kind as well. She had not, to both her parents' relief, inherited the talent for battle: She was not a great fighter, and war made her sick.
Arial did, however, have a proclivity for healing, which, along with her compassionate heart – which Cynder was convinced she had inherited from her father, who blushed fiercely every time Cynder mentioned it…which she did occasionally just for that reason – had led to her becoming a doctor in the Dragon Army Medical Corps.
It was no coincidence that Arial had inherited most of her traits from her father: They were closer than Cynder had seen any parent and child (not that she had seen too many — most of the dragons at the Temple until recently had not had families), and Arial was the only one of their three children that Spyro addressed by a sobriquet: kiddo. It was the only hypocorism that she had ever heard him use, and she was fairly certain that it would remain the only one.
During the Dark War, which had erupted shortly after Malefor's demise and had lasted for seven very long and bloody years, Arial had gone missing for a brief period of time, and it had been all Cynder could do to keep Spyro from breaking down: He had been so utterly distraught that Cynder had worried that he had suffered permanent psychological damage. But Arial had been found, and everything had slowly and painfully returned to normal — whatever normal was during a war.
That incident, if anything, had pushed the two closer together, and, though Spyro treated all three of his children the same, it was common knowledge that Arial held a very special place in his heart.
"Yes, it is unusual," Cynder remarked, turning her gaze back on Spyro, who still slumbered beside her. Arial approached him, peering at his closed eyes.
"I just ran into Captain Marius," she said quietly, apparently now worried that she may awaken her father, "He wants to speak with dad about something really important."
Cynder frowned. "It must be pretty serious if he needs to bug Spyro — why doesn't he just report to Cognova?" After all, Lieutenant Colonel Cognova was the head of the Dragon Army's Division of Military Intelligence.
"I don't know," replied Arial with a shake of her head, "That's just what he told me in passing." Captain Marius was one of the most senior intelligence officers in the Dragon Army, and he was fairly close to Spyro due to having worked with him throughout the Dark War. Cynder had learnt to trust his judgment over the years, so she knew that if he was asking for a personal audience with Spyro, he would have a very good reason…and that worried her slightly.
"Strange…" mused Cynder.
"You know," said Arial absently, glancing around the chamber, "this room really is kind of small."
Cynder smiled. It was true: The chamber which had become her and Spyro's dormitory was a sequestered little abode situated on the lowest level of the Temple's obscure northwestern wing; it was barely thirty feet in diameter (small for dragons), with a single door on the southern wall and an opening to a little balcony that sat on the Temple's bottom corner, overlooking the thick, tangled forests that characterized the terrain north of the Temple, as well as the swamps that lay to the south.
There were no windows and no ornamentation of any kind. Cynder wasn't sure, but she suspected that the room had originally been designated as a sort of hangar, an entry point for guests from the north who wanted to pass through unnoticed.
Actually, the chamber had fallen into their possession almost adventitiously: Several years ago, shortly before Arial had been born, Cynder had fallen deathly ill from combat wounds, and Spyro, with the help of Doctor Ambulo – probably the most prodigious doctor in the Dragon Army, head of a division of the Medical Corps, and a close friend of Spyro's – nursed her back to health. This room had been selected as the site for her convalescence because of its privacy and tranquility…the two qualities which had led them to remain there permanently.
"We don't really need a big one," answered Cynder, her smile broadening at the memories. A second knock came at the door, and a dragoness poked her head in as Arial had moments before…in fact, the new arrival was her younger sister, Rose.
Rose had been named for a former pupil of Spyro's, a precocious young dragoness who had been killed during the Dark War, and she possessed the same general form as her namesake: She was thin and small with scales of a sort of serous carmine color; an ingenuous, docile face; and an air of pleasantness about her that reminded one of the flower whose name she bore. She, like Arial, had inherited Cynder's green eyes, although in her they were slightly paler.
"Oh, good: You're awake," she said perkily, slipping inside.
"What's up, Rose?" asked Cynder, smiling at her daughter's buoyancy. Unlike Arial, who had been a very demure, pacific child, Rose was a boisterous, excitable girl who rarely ran out of energy: Even now she was playing with her father's tail, swatting at it with her paw.
"I'm supposed to have my first lessons today," said Rose, not looking up from her game, in which Spyro was her unwitting partner, "and dad's not up yet." Cynder glanced out the balcony opening at the lightening sky and the matutinal mist.
"It's barely after dawn," she pointed out.
"I know, but — "
"Who's that on my tail?" murmured Spyro suddenly, blinking one eye open and turning it toward his daughter; upon seeing her he opened both eyes and lifted his head slightly, smiling.
"Morning, dad," Rose answered him, still playing with his tail.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you that it isn't fair to play with someone's tail while he's asleep?" joked Spyro, flicking the appendage out of her reach. Rose pounced after it, but she missed by a few inches and landed by her father's flank; he pinned her to his side with his tail. "Gotcha," he growled playfully; Rose laughed gleefully as he tickled her with the very tip of his tail.
Cynder couldn't help but chuckle at him: Spyro had many talents, to be sure, but it seemed that his greatest calling was as a father.
"So," continued Spyro with feigned concern, "why am I being beset upon so early in the morning?"
"You're supposed to give me and the other students our first lessons today," said Rose, as though legitimately worried that he had forgotten.
"In a few hours," Spyro replied. "Hey, kiddo," he added to Arial, whom he apparently had just noticed — unsurprisingly, since she had, at Rose's entrance, retreated a few steps towards the door. Arial smiled in response.
"You're not gonna be late, are you, dad?" asked Rose.
"I suppose not — not with you giving me a wakeup call," Spyro said amusedly. He turned his amethyst gaze on Arial. "I don't have lessons for you, do I?" he joked.
"I'm afraid not," she answered, "I just dropped by to tell you that Captain Marius wants to speak with you privately ASAP." Spyro's smile shrank marginally, a slight shadow coming over his expression.
"That's a strange request," he muttered slowly, almost as though he were talking to himself.
"You can probably catch him before your class," Cynder suggested.
"Speaking of which," interjected Arial, "Come on, Rose, you'd better eat something before you have your first lesson — believe me, you don't want your stomach growling in the middle of a sentence!" Without further ado, Arial swept her sister from the chamber, closing the door (which Rose had left open upon entering) behind her. A cloud must have passed in front of the sun, as the dappled light that had been illumining the room was suddenly replaced by cool shadow.
"I suppose I should go see Marius," mused Spyro, sounding slightly worried. "When's your first lesson supposed to start?" he asked Cynder.
"Not till noon," she replied in a somewhat jaunty tone, teasing him with her more relaxed timetable. Spyro gave her a grin, evidently perceiving the undertone in her voice.
"Well, then, I suppose I won't want to disturb you in your sedulity," he said primly. Cynder laughed.
"No," she said, "I think I'll relax a little: go out on the balcony and enjoy the spring sunlight." Spyro smiled at her.
"Sounds nice," he said with a voice that contained just the slightest hint of wistfulness. He kissed her gently on the cheek and then stood, stretched, and headed for the door. "I'll see you later, Cynder."
"See you…" He left, and Cynder was left alone to bask in the reemergent sunlight.
She smiled to herself. It really was a lovely morning, especially since the rising sun had begun to chase away the cold of the previous night. She took a deep breath of dew-heavy, fragrant air, exhaling slowly and closing her eyes to savor the serenity more fully.
All was well.
— — — — — *** — — — — —
Felador entered the room and looked around: His sanguineous eyes flickered eerily as he crossed the darkened space. He saw nothing, so he hid himself in a shadowy corner near the door whereby he had entered; he settled back to wait.
The room was small and ill lit, with no furnishing other than a simple desk at the rear wall, opposite the door; upon it there was a single candelabrum with three candles, only the middle one of which was lit, casting a dim lambency across the bleak, gray walls, doing little to cleave the thick shadows outside of a two meter radius. There was nothing on the walls or on the desk other than the candelabrum, a few assorted papers, and a pen: Besides these few clerical articles, the space was utterly barren.
Time passed slowly: The shadows – distinguished from the pure darkness by the glow of the candle – danced sinisterly as Felador inhaled and exhaled, his breath sounding like that of a wolf, forming a ragged backbeat to the shadows' capering. In…out…back…forth…in…out —
Someone was coming. Felador's breath froze in his throat, and he sank back into the dark's embrace and there ceased to move; he waited, silent and inert, as the stranger approached.
A dragon entered: a dragon with earthily green scales and dilute blue eyes; his stature and form were reminiscent of trees and boulders: He was tall and broad-shouldered with thick limbs like trunks, resulting in a sort of stocky frame that was not unlike a large rock; the scales of his chest were slightly dirtier in color than those of the rest of his body — a sort of grassy brown.
"Evening, Sortolo," Felador said to the dragon, smiling slyly. The dragon called Sortolo jumped and whirled around.
"Felador!" he said angrily, "I've told you to stop doing that!" Felador gave him a wicked grin.
"Sorry," he said remorselessly. Sortolo scowled.
"Well," he growled, "What do you want?"
"I have a report to make."
"Our little scheme." Sortolo's face grew serious.
"You've figured out how to execute the plan?"
"I think so." Sortolo nodded and gestured inward; Felador obeyed and moved away from the door, which Sortolo promptly closed and sealed. This done, he crossed over to the desk, rifled through the papers jumbled there, shoved them into a drawer, then looked up at Felador.
"What? No foreplay?"
"Cut it, Felador. Get to the point."
"All right, all right: I think I've finally got all the kinks worked out."
"So you've decided on a modus operandi?" Felador's wicked grin returned.
"I thought we'd decided that you didn't want to know that." Sortolo grimaced.
"No, I don't particularly want to know how you intend to carry this thing out, no; however, I do need to be apprised of particular details."
"For starters, what's your general objective? If I remember correctly, our last correspondence – so long ago – had not defined the actual goal of our little clandestine operation — "
"Murder," broke in Felador immediately, his grin now replaced by a far more sinister and ineffably horrible expression: It most closely resembled a snarl. "I want murder." Sortolo returned this declaration with a dispassionate but serious gaze.
"I don't want to know," he said slowly, "why you're so bloodthirsty…do I?"
"No," growled Felador, "You don't." I have my reasons.
"Fair enough — but as I recall, simple assassination was not to be considered sufficient for our ends. Have you prepared ulterior repercussions to your little….bloodbath?"
"Oh, believe me: My plan will work." Felador reached into a satchel that hung off of his left shoulder, extracting a single, folded piece of paper, which he then handed to his superior. Sortolo took the paper and unfolded it.
"Good heavens," he murmured, quickly scanning its contents and then storing it in his desk as though the sight of it sickened him. This done, he returned his gaze to Felador. "You pulling out all stops, aren't you?" Felador gave him a look. "Right, right — I don't want to know."
Sortolo reached back into the drawers, leafing through unseen documents, muttering to himself incomprehensibly; after a few moments, he looked back up, pausing in his endeavor.
"You realize, of course, that this is going to require vast resources?"
"I've already begun planning for that."
"Of course you have," Sortolo remarked grimly; he pulled out a bundle of forms. "You know where to take these." Felador nodded as he took the papers and slid them into his satchel. "If that's all…" Felador nodded a second time, turned, and headed for the door. "Felador." The dragon turned.
Sortolo's face was deathly serious, eerily backlit by the lambent light of the sole candle. "You realize that once you embark on this…there's no turning back."
"Believe me, Sortolo," answered Felador in a cold, diabolical voice, "I'm well aware of the implications." His last words hung in the air like smoke as he promptly left the room, the candle flickering out in his wake.