A/N: Hello, Faer here with a story for one of my FAVORITE book series of all time. When I started writing this, I hadn't read Wolfcry, and when I finally found it and picked it up, my dreams of this fic being as I'd originally hoped fell and shattered. When I picked up Wyvernhail a few days ago, I was prepared to stamp the AU label on it and toss it to a crowd who wanted pure Atwater-Rhodes. As I continued, my hopes fell further, even with the changes I made, the alterations that will come up in later chapters.
However, I finished Wyvernhail about five minutes ago (literally) and I am happy to say it will not be as AU as I thought. In fact, it may not even be AU at all - depends on your POV. Well, read, enjoy, and don't forget to review!
The Wyvern Effect
A long time ago, they say, the Wyverns' magic burned them. That their unbalanced fire eventually burned them up, and that any child who showed the signs of having the mixture was pitied, brought up like a queen, then put to death when their magic showed. That stopped long ago with a wyvern child of my bloodline, who, days before the birthday that would mark her death, sought an answer, and found it. None know what she found, this late in time, but we who still live are a testament to that. They tell me that it stopped long ago. That there is no need to fear.
But still, I do fear. I fear the magic, that which I have never known. That which sets me apart even more from those we must pretend to be.
For hundreds of years, we wyverns, along with our avian and serpiente kin, lived undisturbed. The frail humans who were our ancestors left us alone, content to live within their own lands. Then came an age of expansion which has lasted to the present time, and they began to hate and fear us.
The wars lasted for many years, until we had to go into hiding and make them forget.
Once my family ruled, lived like royalty.
Now all we do is govern a secret race pretending to be human.
My name is Krystal Shardae Cobriana, direct descendant of Oliza Shardae Cobriana, the first wyvern. Rightful heir to the throne of once-glorious Wyvern's Court, to two nations that were strong and proud.
Rightful heir to a valley that now only contains rubble, to a dying people pretending to be dead.
I dream, sometimes, of what can only be the Court. The avians wearing their beautiful wings, the serpents dancing in the halls. The market with the design painted on the stone road, an ancient rune combining alistair and ahnleh, all the fascinating people wearing the garb of ancient times. A place that we hope will never be found by humans searching for insights into the past.
Technology has come far since then, the creation of all the things we think so commonplace - cars, television, computers - and yet humans are still the same, so distrusting of others unlike them. They are not ready to remember us, my mother has said.
She is probably right.
"You okay, Krystal?" a voice asked me from the bus seat next to me. "I mean, you look pretty depressed. School today was rough, but Dork-o and Pea-brain've never got you this worked up before."
My human friend Kari snapped me out of my silent reflection on our past. I shook my head, my long brown hair rippling a bit. Most of my kind keep it that way, to hide the feathers that grow on our necks.
I prefer not to think of the ones who go with the other option.
"It's nothing, Kari. Thinking of today's Global Issues lesson makes me depressed."
She nodded. "Yeah. I mean, they've found evidence of whole other species of human ancestors - ancestors that we killed off. Why can't we just get along?"
"Beats me. Maybe there'd be whole other races of humanity, like those elves you like to read about, if we could." Actually, there were whole other races of humanity, but my parents had forbidden me to say anything about them to her. I thought Kari deserved to know, bu they're convinced she's going to tell someone.
"Yeah, that'd be awesome. And we'd unite to fight an evil sorcerer or a despotic emperor or something."
See why I like Kari?
I laughed. "Maybe. Or maybe we'd share learning, come to understanding. Bring everyone together. One of my ancestors was supposed to have been a great queen, you know."
"Oh?" she asked as if she'd never heard this before.
"Family legend says she ended a war by marrying the lord of the opposing people - a lord that she had come to learn to love."
"Soooo romantic," she sighed. "It's your stop," she said. I laughed.
"Our stop today," I reminded her. "We're going to have you playing like a pro."
"Oh, horrors," she said in mock fear. Then, more seriously, "Are you sure I can do this?" she asked. "I mean, it's not like my family has been doing this for hundreds of years."
"Thousands," I corrected with an evil grin, guiding her off the bus. "If you're good, I'll even teach you a few dance steps." This elicited a shocked, then malicious expression.
"Ha, ha, very funny. You know my mother would never let me." The traditional dance of my father's people was done in clothes that Kari's very proper parents would most definitely not approve of. The school talent show had only allowed them because I was going to wear the most conservative ones possible… and they were a tradition. I had goaded Kari into learning the traditional flute music that went with the serpent's dancing (mainly because she was very good at the American flute), but her parents would never allow her to dance.
(insert line break)
When I opened the door and yelled we were home, my mother came downstairs and said, "Your father's out at the moment, something urgent came up. Oh, hello Kari." My mother smiled, a beautiful sight. "I'm sorry, but you'll just have to endure one of my meals until Daren comes back."
"No problem, Mrs. Cobren," she replied. (Most humans call us Cobren, because we can't exactly call ourselves the Cobriana and be inconspicuous.) "Your meals are heavenly, and that's no joke." Kari bowed, and my mother bowed politely back. We sat down to eat, and a little while later, my father came back in. A true product of the Cobriana line, his hair was black as ebony, and his eyes red like garnets. The latter he explained as a genetic fluke. My own gold eyes did sometimes glow red, but only in the heat of my anger, or when taking my cobra form.
"Ah, Kari, it's nice to see you. Are you ready to begin your lesson in the flute?" he said, nodding to my friend.
She looked a little nervous, but bravely replied, "Yes, sir!"
"Well, then," I said, "let's get at it!"
We went down to our basement, which was, unbeknownst to Kari, the place where our people gathered for all their meetings. My father was an expert player, and soon Kari was playing the strangely haunting sounds well, urging the foreign music from the depths of the ancient instrument. A few hours later, my mother came downstairs, worried. "Daren, there's someone here to see you. He claims that it's urgent." Following quickly behind her was a man, tall and fair. His hair was a very pale color, white-blonde, and his eyes were a blue just as pale, a color that seemed to pierce the soul of whoever had the misfortune to fall upon their gaze. Kari looked up too.
"Oh," said the man, in a gentle, but deep, voice, "Forgive me. I did not realize you had company, Daren." He was looking in Kari's direction. Sensing somehow that she was not completely welcome, she said, "Thank you for the lesson, sir, but I have to be going." She went up the stairs, bowing respectfully to the man. His coloring meant he could be only one thing: a white viper, a representative of the Obsidian.
He watched Kari go with enigmatic eyes, note quite cold, but resenting.
"Daren, there is much I need to talk with you about, not the lest of which is that girl! I admire that you adhere to the ancient arts of the Dance, but to teach our most sacred instrument to a human girl? Be ashamed, Daren!" It was then that I realized who this man must be.
Although they swear no allegiance to the serpent Diente, most white vipers would have more respect, but this man spoke to my father like an unruly child. That, and the way he carried himself, regal, proud in this broken world of broken dreams, told me he was no lowly viper, but the leader of the Obsidian himself: Var. My father often spoke of him, talking about a time when he was just a cobra child, and had seen a boy playing in the street. Though the Obsidian consists mostly of street people, Var was special – abandoned by a human mother when his true form showed, his father had been a criminal, imprisoned by human justice for acts unspeakable. Left to die, he had been raised among a group of human orphans, welcomed by the Guild but not trusted. Using his wits, he eventually rose to be leader of the Guild, but his friendship with my father has never been lost. I could tell he was hurt by my father's act.
"Please," I spoke up. "Sir, it was my fault. I asked for her to play, to help me with something I am planning. It takes two to make cloth, sir," I said, repeating an old serpiente saying, "one to weave the fabric and another to build the loom." He smiled.
"I am sorry, Lady," he said. Unlike my father, the Obsidian recognizes my ancestor's heritage, and so are obliged to respect me. "If you believe this human ally can help your throne, then so be it. But remember, they are not ready for the truth. They cannot face it; it would only lead to suffering for your people."
"I know, sir. I'm just doing what I feel is right. If I can forge one bond that will allow us to save this broken world, then I am willing to do all I can to do so, and maybe, one day, Wyvern's Court will again exist in more than our ancestors' memories." I saw those eerie blue eyes gain newfound respect for me, and he nodded, turning back to my father. "Daren," he said again. "There is another matter I came here to see you about; one that has an impact for all our peoples." He took a deep breath, as if reluctant to tell what this news was.
"Humans have found the ruins of Wyvern's Court."