RWBY (c) RoosterTeeth
Winter's teeth gnashed together in a furious snarl, her sword glittering red with blood raised at her so-called 'companion'.
No, he wasn't a companion; he wasn't even a 'he'.
It was a dragon! A blighted wretched dragon! One of the creatures that had rampaged and torn a bloody path through the kingdoms of Remnant for ages.
She should have known! This entire arrangement was far too convenient to be simple happenstance.
Her mission began merely hours ago, when a local village elder had beseeched her to aid their plight. Drakes raided them nightly, and there was precious few defenders left.
As it so happened, another traveler found his - its way into the village, and had made the local tavern quite a hefty profit. Qrow Branwen. A Valen Hunter and a constant source of agitation and frustration to the Schnee woman.
In no time at all, the village elder had spurred them both on the western path, despite Winter's vain protests. Qrow on the other hand was cool and focused, as if compelled forward by an otherworldly determination.
'Otherworldly' was correct.
Slaying the Drakes was difficult. They were vile vicious sadistic monstrosities, which gave Winter the hardest fight she'd ever engaged in her life. Qrow had fought his - its best as well, eventually drawn away into a ruined alcove where Winter could hear the slash of steel and the screams of the fallen.
There was one reason, and one reason only why the Drakes would nest in this rocky area in particular, Winter reasoned. And it was one thing that could not be allowed to escape this battlefield under any circumstance.
A dragon's egg.
After dispatching the last of these disgusting creatures, it was then Winter had realized she'd lost sight of Qrow. The only place he could have gone was the narrow opening in the cliff face. It took less than a moment before she found him.
His sword, the single most precious possession he owned covered in glowing red blood, lay forgotten on the ground. Held tenderly in his hand as if he'd been cradling a sleeping child, was an object so beautiful it took Winter's breath away; a large scaly egg the size of a cat. A rich glossy red that shown shades of gold or pitch black in the right light, akin to an opal revealing its many facets when held to a light source.
It wouldn't have crossed Winter's mind that anything where amiss in any other circumstance. Dragon eggs were as rare as they were beautiful, and would fetch a hefty sum of gold to the right buyer. As an Atlesian operative however, Winter's swore duty was to eliminate such things lest they pose a danger to the rest of the world.
But Qrow was not admiring its beauty, or mentally assessing its potential bounty. He was speaking to it. Not in any form of common of derivation thereof. But in tongues. Had Winter not been educated as she had, she would have simply assumed he was speaking some out-lander language. But Winter was a learned woman, and she knew enough to know that language was not of human origin.
It was draconic.
And now they stood for countless moments. Betrayal bleeding from Winter's tone and her ugly snarl.
"Technically, I've never actually lied to you Winter. I said that I needed to come up with path, and offered to come with you. I never stated my reasons for why I traveled this way." Qrow explained, one hand now tenderly stroking the scaly patterns down the egg's surface.
"You came up here to claim these lands for yourself didn't you?" Winter accused, her sword still raised for an attack.
"No. I just came to rescue this lost little gem." Qrow's wine-colored gaze softened considerably as he gazed at it. For a sickening moment, Winter was reminded of a father watching their newborn baby lovingly.
No. He was not human. It was a monster.
"Her mother misses this little one quite a bit you see." Qrow offered her one of his sadonic smirks, clearly disregarding her as a threat all together. "And well, its my job to keep my queen in a good mood."
"Stop acting as though you are human. You're nothing but a monster." Winter shouted, Qrow was taken aback by the comment as though stuck. He closed his eyes in exasperation and let out a breath of air.
"If I'm a monster, how come I'm the one trying to protect a child while you're threatening me to skewer me with a sword, hmm?" His tone carried a sort of fond indulgence, like parent hearing out a young child's little excuse about why their hand was caught in the cookie jar.
His attention returned to the egg when it seemed to try and jump out of his hand on its own accord. More draconic words whispered from his lips and the egg seemed to grow more steady.
"What are you doing? What are you saying?!" Winter demanded fiercely, taking a step forward. Qrow raised a hand to stop her, as if to demonstrate the enormous gulf of power between them, the limb became talon-like and scaled, not unlike the egg. His wine-red irises narrowed into slits.
"If you must know, I'm comforting her. This little hatchling can hear everything that's going on, and she's freaking terrified." His tone took on an echoed quality. "Now would you kindly put the sword down, I'll put my hand down."
"That's… what?" Winter shook her head, confused. Her sword arm lowered just a touch, and as promised, Qrow's scaled arm dropped and reverted to something more human. "Dragons aren't aware of themselves inside their eggs."
Qrow scoffed, "And who told you that? Some old fart scholar surrounded by dusty tomes, am I right? Well, let me tell ya from personal experience, that's dead wrong."
Winter went to speak but she was cut off.
"Dragons are conscious days after their mother lays her eggs, even if we can't break out of our shells." Qrow explained, breaking to whisper more words to the red egg. "I was; my sister was; my brood… and this little one too. Why do you think most of them hate humanity so much, huh? Our eggs aren't just decorative display pieces for human assholes to hollow out for mantle pieces, they're living dragons."
His angered gaze shifted from Winter into a more sorrowful one. "Sadly, there's not much I can do until I get her back to my Queen. There's something that could be said for a mother's touch."
"Whose your Queen?" Winter demanded coldly, Qrow brushed her off with a laugh.
"Well if I told ya, you'd be compelled by law to hunt her down, now wouldn't you?" He answered, then his expression grew a touch stern. "Believe it or not, Ice Queen. Not all Dragons are assholes like those dickbags. Some of us actually want to make the world a better place, and some of us just want to live quietly through our human guises."
"And you just happen to be one of them?" Winter turned her nose up at the idea. Dragons were just as vile as Drakes. More so since Dragons had the human intelligence and cunning with the ferocious strength and impenetrable armour of a dragon.
"Hey, I'm just doin' what the cool dragons are doin'. Those dicks are cramping our style and ruining it for the rest of us." He nodded to the disintegrating drake corpses.
Slowly Qrow made his way past her, one hand absently moving to retrieve his sword from its resting place while whispering more draconic nonsense to the egg, which seemed remarkably steady now.
"Wait, stop; You know I can't just let you leave!" Winter snapped, her sword raised yet again. Qrow didn't bother to turn this time, but Winter knew he was smirking at this feeble attempt to prevent his departure. Ignoring her threat, Qrow made it outside and turned his head back, offering a genuine smile of gratitude.
"You did the Stark brood a great service today, Winter." Qrow told her. "We don't forget our debts. But hey, if there comes a day that you wanna stop the Dragon Slayer crap and become a Dragon Rider, give me a shout. Oz knows where to find me."
Before Winter's very eyes, Qrow Branwen's frame transformed.
A gush of grey and black feather-like scales swirled around his human guise, too many to possibly count that obscured his human self completely. They joined together like pieces of a giant puzzle and in his place stood a massive black and dark grey dragon; with four limbs and two great leathery wings that shaded from black to red at the tips.
With a flap of the wings, the great Dragon was soaring into the sky, leaving the befuddled Schnee behind.