Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters; all rights go to their respective owners.
The giant ball of weeping light continued to shine down onto the lush vegetation of the forest, and encapsulated the camp of Dragons that were of this moment in a clearing, their temporary wooden homes lashed together with strands of vine. Magma laid in her hut that she had erected some time ago, the soft grass providing a comfortable resort for her bruised underbelly.
She had laid there for most of the day, shaking and sniffling; not because she was cold but because she was still distraught over what had happened that morning; the camouflage cohort that had came across her in the clearing had brought her back to the camp with the dead Arboran in tow; a small crowd had congregated when they saw Magma being carried on the back of one of the camouflage Dragons, tearful and sobbing.
The group had placed Magma in her hut, and had swiftly dispersed the crowd, saying that they should leave her alone to rest up despite familiar cries from her friends asking if she was okay. Her abdominal muscles had taken the worst of the Arboran's assault, and although she had stopped crying the rims of her eyes were now even redder than her scales, and every time she moved she felt as if her stomach were on fire.
"Why did I think I could hunt?" she asked herself.
"Because you're a silly girl, that's why," said a voice from behind her.
Magma slowly and painfully craned her neck round as she realised who it was; Her scarlet eyes picked out a Dragon with flowing green and yellow scales around his midriff, and a few shimmering red scales placed around his paws, down his tail and one across his eye.
"If you've just come here to make fun Tuller-"
"I haven't, I haven't," he pleaded as he raised a forepaw, "I just came to check that you were okay."
"I'm fine," Magma snorted.
"Why did you think you could tackle a full size Arboran by yourself?"
"Because I was tired of the Camouflage Dragons saying that the Warfang Dragons couldn't hunt!" she exclaimed.
Tuller slowly padded towards her and lay down beside her; his body heat was a comforting embrace to her aching guts. He placed a forepaw around her body.
"You mustn't let them get to you Mag; they're only trying to make you feel jealous; when each camouflage Dragon turns into a hatchling we get taken out into the wild to hunt; we're a tribe, and we all have to look out for it."
"But I just feel so useless; the other Dragons might feel comfortable with letting the tribe hunt for our food, but I'm not. I want to help hunt, and learn how to hunt properly."
Tuller paused, and moved his jaw in a circular motion, thinking what to do. Then his muddy coloured brown eyes lit up.
"Listen Mag," he whispered softly, "Would you like to go hunting with me sometime?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Won't some of the Camouflage Dragons be angry?"
Tuller slowly looked away from her, and turned his head to the opening of Magma's hut; most of the tribe had begun tearing up the carcass of the Arboran: red liquid continued to poor out more heavily with every crack, snap and crunch of the body. Two of it's six legs had already been ripped off, and the squidgy pink meat was being swiftly torn away to soothe the Camouflage Dragons' hunger.
The Warfang Dragons however were gathering various bits of wood in their maws and putting them in a heap. A Fire Dragon came along and let out a brief burst of flame, the wood igniting in response. The rest of the Warfang Dragons skipped across to the Arboran carcass, and tried to tear chunks of the animal away from the greed of the Camouflage Dragons.
"I don't know Mag," he said as he continued to stare out of her hut. "Even though we have taken your clan under our wing, my tribe don't seem to mingle as much as they should with the other Dragons; most of them see you and your friends as weak and pompous, and not fit to hunt with us."
"That's ridiculous! How dare they say- ahhh!" Magma had tried to get up, but she only managed to rise a few inches before her midriff exploded with pain. She gritted her teeth against it as she slowly connected her stomach with the comforting moist grass.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes," she said hotly.
"Look, I'll go and get you something to eat, that should make you feel better," the young Camouflage Dragon exclaimed.
"Tuller...please don't get me any Arboran meat."
"Sure," he smiled, thinking that she would say that. "Be right back."
She laid her head and got into a position that was quite relaxed, and watched Tuller padding off past the clans of gut-hungry Dragons. Magma had known the Tuller for a long time now; they had first met when they were both hatchlings and the Warfang Dragons had just settled in with the Camouflage Dragons; she and some of the other young Dragons from Warfang were play fighting in the woods when Tuller leapt out from some nearby shrubs, and let out a loud moaning growl. The hatchlings all screamed and ran back to the safety of the camp, except for Magma.
"Who are you?" she squeaked, defensively lowering her haunches and facing Tuller head on, standing her ground against him even though he was bigger.
"My name's Tuller," said the multicoloured scaled Dragon as he studied the fire Dragoness.
"You're brave, not running away; and who taught you to lower your haunches, and face your attacker?"
"My Daddy; he's a very powerful Dragon."
"Is he," said Tuller confidently.
"Yes, he...couldn't come with us," she said sadly, and suddenly she started to cry.
Tuller quickly went over to Magma, and nuzzled the side of her face, comforting her.
"He...he had to stay and...and fight; I couldn't stay because I...I was too young," she said as tears crept out of her young, sparkly eyes.
"That's awful", Tuller whispered.
"And my Mu...Mummy stayed a...and fought as well...I only have...my Aunt and C...Cousin for f...family."
"Oh, I'm sorry," he whispered again as he continued to nuzzle her. "Listen, why don't we play hide and seek?"
He smiled at her as she looked up at him with tears continuing to flood her face. "It'll take your mind off things, and hopefully dry those beautiful eyes of yours," he said as she choked back a laugh.
"Thanks," Magma said gratefully as she wiped tears from her eyes.
"That's better; now what do they call you?"
"Good to meet you Magma; now, you count first and I'll hide?"
A smile swept across her face as she recounted the memory. Playing hide and seek against a Camouflage Dragon, as she found out, was unbelievably difficult; she spent nearly an hour seeking in the forest: flying up to the tops of trees, glancing through lush vegetation, even turning up smaller sized rocks.
Eventually she plonked herself on the ground, sulking and tired after looking for so long.
"It's too hard," she huffed to herself.
"Over here," a voice sniggered.
She glanced over to her left where the voice emanated from: it had come from a few big triangular leaves of green and yellow. Slowly Tuller emerged from the bush, his scales resembling the exact colours of the plants that grew there.
"How did you do that?" she asked, astonished.
A hearty chuckle escaped him. "We Camouflage Dragons can change our scales to fit any environment; the scales that I have now are what I was born with, but I can change every one of them."
From that day on, Magma was careful when any Camouflage Dragon asked to play hide and seek with her; from then on, Tuller had been her closest friend amongst the natives, although he didn't seem to get on as well with any of the other Dragons; Magma seemed the only one he ever really talked to.
With a sigh, she wondered how the war was going; she closed her eyes and thought of her parents the last time she saw them, and pictured them perfectly in her head: two Dragons of great power and eternal love for each other and their daughter. Her Father was slightly bigger than her Mother; bright red scales, faces that were hard but pleasing smiles adorned their lips nonetheless.
Her Mother lent down, kissed her on the cheek and gave her a very strong hug; she told her baby girl how much she loved her, and that she should be good for her Aunt. She promised that she would, and all too soon her Mother let her go. Her hulking Father stepped forward and nuzzled her face against his. He whispered to her to never give up hope, and that she should be strong no matter what happens. Her little frame started to shake with fear and dread and her eyes became very moist as the little red Dragoness promised that she would. Her Father retracted his neck and they both looked down at her; they both winked in her direction, making her giggle.
Let them be alive, she thought to herself.