The Legend of Spyro

Shadow Repentance

Chapter 1

Twilight fleets from the spires of rock that dot the sea. The moon shines upon them, turning their loneliness and isolation into beacons that call forth the dreams of the sea; lost souls in the growing night.

From high above, looking down upon the water, glowing bands twinkle and flicker just beneath the water's tension; Crysafish are nocturnal hunters. Their pattern marks the warm currents, and their light piques the curiosity of the Gullobill, a slightly dimwit bird that feeds off the sparkling algae, which Crysafish so expertly mimic.

The water breaks and a Gullobill falls victim to the waves.

Stars above shower across the sky, and galaxies are lost in an endless dance. Wyverns fly above the clouds, their caws incessant and their chatter grating. They fly toward the sinking sun, a fruitless chase they always lose.

"I wonder what this looked like three days ago."

Upon one of the many spires amid the ocean, an anonymous island identical to the ones surrounding it, a bright fire whispered as it bit the air.

"That doesn't matter anymore."

Two Dragons rested in the firelight, side-by-side. They looked toward the Wyvern's path and watched them shrink into the distance.

The black Dragon rested her head upon the purple Dragon's shoulder, speaking softly as if the island was asleep.

"What matters now is that today it's beautiful—well, tonight really."

"I know, Cynder, and tomorrow it'll look even better." There came a sigh. "I just wish Ignitus could see it…"

"Spyro…" She lifted her head, speaking his name.

He rose, and went to the fire to tamp it out. The air felt cold against their warmed scales, but the shivers did not last very long. More Wyverns cawed from above.

"We'll have to hop the islands again tonight," Spyro said, watching as the sky became infested with them.

"You think they're sore we killed their master?"

He shook his head.

"I dunno what to think," he walked back to Cynder's side. "We have to hurry to Warfang. The war might still be on."

Their eyes locked for a moment, and then they watched the skies.

"There's a break," she said hurriedly.

"Let's go, that island to our left. Stay away from the Crysafish."

They leapt into the air, their wings gently billowing in the winds. They kept to the dark, cautious of the enemies looming overhead. The flight did not last long; in just a few minutes they reached the quiet island. Spyro alighted on the sand while Cynder lost the draft and had to stand against the waves for a few yards to shore.

He met her halfway and helped her through the sand that seemed eager to fall from under their talons. All the while they watched the sky, and the dark bodies of the long creatures snaking across overhead.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," Cynder insisted, before Spyro could even ask. "There's no time to waste—we are going the right way, right?"

"I think so…" He said as he led the way to the other end of the island, a brisk walk for a Dragon's pace.

"I guess I can't argue. The Wyverns have to be going somewhere important."

"And what's more important to them than Warfang?" His gaze darted up. "No choice, far island ahead. We have to split up."

"You take the darker path they won't see me as easily—Spyro the dark…" It was too late; he was already in the air. She took off with a huff. Why do you have to be that way?

The closest island was several minutes away, but Cynder kept her eyes on Spyro and the smog that hovered miles above him. The Crysafish didn't reflect off his scales as brightly as she thought they would, but every second that passed he was a bright purple candle.

She watched as he lost the draft for a moment, dropping like a stone. Her pulse halted, and resumed only when he beat his wings for three or four seconds. She tore her eyes for a moment to look ahead; the island was much closer than she expected. A minute later, she alighted within tall shrubs, and peered out behind her to watch him land only a few yards away.

When they met, she realized she was panting heavily.

"There's…a lot more of them…since last night…" she heaved.

"That makes me…really nervous…"

She was inwardly glad he was heaving too. At least she wasn't lagging behind.

"Come on, we're losing time." He led the way.

"Right," she said as she followed. They skulked through the brush as the Wyverns seemed to thin. "Look, Spyro, they're—" She let out a yell as something bit her side; she rolled away, crashing into him.

"What's the matter?" he moved in front of her as he got up.

"Something bit me," she said with a shaken voice.

He went to the direction she had rolled from, panning the foliage. His gaze paused, and a chuckle rolled into a quiet laugh.

"What's so funny?" She huffed defensively.

He went over to where she had gotten bit, and with his talon he pulled the stem of a plant that had a large, bulbous and face-like body, complete with serrated teeth. "Frogweed," he said. It seemed to writhe in his grasp. He pulled it from the ground and tossed it aside. "That's a good sign."

"The thing bit me," she snapped, "How is that a good sign?"

"It means we're close to home." There was a sort of gleam in his eye she had not seen before.

"We're close to the Dragon City?"

"Different home," he said as a smile crossed his face. He looked up. "The Wyvern's are gone, we can fly freely now." His wings rapped at the air as he lifted himself a few feet off the ground.

"I'll follow your nose," she said, hovering to his side.

They took off quickly, hitting the warm vents to the height of some of the spires that poked out of the islands.

Far in the distance, a very large island was coming up to their left; largest they had seen in a while. It boasted a few mountains; one of them was maybe volcanic. Cynder could see lots of trees a ways inland from the shores and possibly a river but it was hard to tell.

Several more minutes into the flight, Cynder could see something glowing a few miles from the base of one of the island's mountains. It radiated a dim, violet hue immersed behind a shroud of coal-black fog.

"Spyro!" She shouted, the wind in her face chilled her tongue.

"What is it?" He replied, his wings beating to stall his momentum.

"Look over there," she said as she approached, pointing at the fog. "I think it's another one."

"Oh no," he said with dread, "It can't be…"

"Come on, we have to check it out."

"Cynder wait for me!"

They shot downward, and Spyro twirled to pass her. The smog approached quickly and as they dove toward it they felt consumed by the thick and still air.

Cynder caught up to Spyro and held on to his extended hand; they followed the ebbing purple light toward the heart of the glow. They alighted at the edge of a shimmering pool of water—or what looked like water.

The surface appeared lucid, but at the same time oily and viscous. Wiggled and pitched, and every moment or so it would skew right before it shimmered.

"This one is different…" Spyro said cautiously.

"Maybe it's just the lighting, I'll bet the crystal is in the water." She stepped forward as she spoke, and Spyro attempted to stop her;

"Cynder wait you don't—"

"It's okay," she said, her talon submerged up to the elbow. "Feels like water to me…except the surface it's kind of weird. It's like—"

There came a gurgle from the water, and the Dragon disappeared into its maw; Spyro called her name as she was pulled in, and stepped to the edge. He was hesitant to trap himself, but the other half of him told him to jump in.

Her head emerged as she treaded the water; she was struggling. She gasped for air, and with bulging eyes she was pulled back in before she could get her lung's capacity.

Spyro leapt in. The water felt far from normal; it threatened to consume him, pulling him downward. He could not see anything, but he did feel her leg kick his arm. He grabbed her ankle and tugged gently three times before he pulled, hoping she would understand that it was him.

He reached farther and grasped the base of her opposing wing. He pulled it gently, and it gave way; his grasp shot from it to her shoulder. He managed to pull her upright, and hooked his arms underneath hers. She seemed to go limp in his hold.

He held onto his own wrist in front of her chest and started kicking upward, trying to use his wings to help. He felt his limbs tingle as he started losing the air in his lungs, and unwisely he thrashed about more vigorously.

He risked losing his encircling hold and reached outward, and found a purchase of the surrounding wall behind him. His claws dug into the earth and he pulled upward with his hand.

Cynder threatened to slip out of his grasp.

He locked his foot into the surface and turned to face it, replacing his hand around her. His other foot also dug into the earth, and with the last of his energy he pushed upward, barely breaching the surface.

With great effort the climbed out of the water, and laid Cynder down on her side. She began to cough, the dark liquid sputtered from her mouth. Like slime it covered her, and seemed to crawl toward her wrists and ankles. He looked himself over—he was completely clean.

"Spy…" she coughed.

"Are you all right?" He asked, looking at her eyes.

"I can't…move…"

The ground began to rumble, and a hiss emanated through the air, causing the fog above them to bellow. Spyro looked to the pool, and several dark shapes broke through the surface, landing on the far side of the bank. They were lemur-like in form, akin to the Shadows—but these were different. Dark skin seemed to cover their boney figure, which could be seen through several tattered holes.

They squealed, and black wing-like appendages unfolded behind them. Even though there were only five, Spyro did not care to stand ground. He took Cynder into his arms, and flew into the smog. It swirled around him, disorienting him as he fled. After a moment he glanced back, and saw the creatures were only a few yards away and gaining.

Cynder's weight made his flight difficult, but compared to the adamantine orbs it was not impossible. He tried to gain height but to no avail; he looked back as he felt one of the creatures grab onto his tail. He turned, and the creature darted forward, only to meet his heel in its forehead. It shot backward, hitting the one immediately behind it. They disappeared as he tried to regain control.

He broke through the edge of the smog and felt the refreshing sea-salted air fill his lungs. It gave him strength.

He headed to the island, into the forest. It was a risk carrying Cynder but if he could weave between the trees he could maybe lose them and hide in the mountains. The world fell to darkness as he disappeared under the canopy.

Sharp turns were hard; he had to use his feet against the trees to change directions often. He did not look behind him now as he maneuvered clumsily through loose the forest, but he could hear the hissing and chattering of the creatures behind him.

He headed toward the mountain, guessing the direction based on what he had seen before he dove into the trees. He crossed a river, and decided to fly upstream a bit to catch his bearings. He looked behind him, and did not see the creatures emerge. He rose, just above the canopy, and spotted where he needed to go, glimpsing a cave a few miles away. He fell back into the canopy and looked behind him once more—nothing.

His instincts flared; the creatures leapt out of the trees to his left. He barreled and knocked three of them over, recovering by slamming his foot into a tree and launched to the direction of the cave. Again he didn't look behind him, and tried to fly even faster as he closed the gap.

He broke through the canopy and veered right to adjust course; just as he entered the petit mouth the creatures leapt up through the treetops behind him. He could see them as he carried Cynder deeper into the cave. He placed her down and then walked several yards back toward the entrance. He could not see the creatures now, and it was impossible to tell if he had lost them.

He went back to where his companion lay, and sat against the wall beside her. His eyes did not blink for hours as he watched both the entrance and the deep recess of darkness, his every nerve ready to strike at anything that moved.