A/N: Hello friendly readers. This is just a little something I wrote for Halloween, I hope you all enjoy reading it. As for when it's set...I'd say sometime after the war with Malefor ended. If you've read Tears of an Oracle, this occurs after that, however it's not necessary to read that to understand. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little one-shot.
I keep dreaming of a strange place; a place always shrouded in mist and shadow. I dream of tombstones, old and crumbling, rising from the mist, and the moon forever shining a cold light over the earth. I dream of trees without any leaves, like dead things reaching for the clouded sky. It's a cold place, full of sorrow; the bridge between life and death. It seems to call to me, although I don't know why. But this place…it scares me.
A warm light roused him from his slumber as it crept over his body and penetrated his eyelids. Spyro opened his eyes sleepily, only to shut them quickly as the morning sun assaulted them painfully. Several times he had to blink before his eyes became used to the light, and he raised his head off the floor. His chin ached, no doubt from spending all night pressed against the hard floor of his room.
He turned to glare at the large yellow cushions beside him. He'd fallen asleep on those last night, but had somehow ended up on the floor instead. It wasn't the first time, either. Several times he'd rolled off his cushions, disturbed by unusual dreams, and woken up with a sore chin. It was starting to get irritating.
Yawning widely, Spyro pushed himself to his feet and stretched out his body, flaring his wings as he did so. His gaze turned to the sky, visible through the arching doorway that led to his own small balcony. The pale sun glared back at him and he turned his eyes quickly away from it. The morning was only young and many dragons would still be asleep. Nevertheless, the purple dragon strode onto his balcony and observed the streets below him for any dragons that had already risen.
But the streets of Warfang were mostly empty. It seemed like Spyro was the only one awake. Frowning, the purple dragon attempted to remember the dream he'd been having moments before he awoke. It had been the same as always: the graveyard, full of mist and shadows and old rotting tombstones. It had felt as though he had been walking through the graveyard, pulled by some invisible force into the midst of the old tombstones. He had heard whispers, ghostly echoes crying in his head, begging him for something…but what?
A soft snore caught his attention, bringing him out of his thoughts as he turned to see what it was. A small oval cage-like object hung from the ceiling, crafted with strips of metal criss-crossed over each other. There was a large round hole in one side, opening onto a nest of soft fabric upon which a dragonfly lay. This was Sparx's nest, a little creation that the moles had given him, which he slept in every night. At the moment he lay flat amongst pieces of soft fur and fabric, his mouth wide open as he snored loudly.
Spyro smiled fondly at the sleeping form of his brother. He briefly considered waking him up – a little bit of ice breath would do the trick – but decided against it. Instead he let Sparx sleep and quietly tip-toed out of the room. Moments later he found himself in the empty streets of Warfang, heading towards the Main Hall where the moles would probably be preparing breakfast already. As Cyril always said, they were the only ones punctual enough to be up at the crack of dawn.
The kitchen moles knew Spyro quite well. Lately he'd been waking early, sometimes even before the sunrise, and visiting the kitchens for an early breakfast. He did the same this morning, striding past the empty long tables in the hall and pushing open the door at the far end. He was met with the familiar pristine white of the kitchen, and was instantly greeted by a mole with a chef's hat that was far too large for him.
"Early again, Spyro?" the mole chuckled, hoping down off the stool he'd been standing on to reach the bench and brushing his paws on his apron, "Not sleeping well, eh?"
Spyro smiled vaguely, shutting the door behind him with a flick of his tail, "morning, Quin. Sorry to intrude."
Quin chuckled, his voice surprisingly deep for such a small creature, and straightened his hat, "it's no trouble. No trouble. Fruit, Spyro?"
Clambering back onto the stool, the mole chef reached over to a bowl full of orange orb-like fruits and grasped several in his tiny paws. He turned to Spyro and tossed one without warning. But this was a regular game and Spyro was quite ready for it. He caught the fruit between his jaws, puncturing the rind with his teeth and causing juice to dribble down his chin. Chuckling again, Quin hoped down off the stool and sat down beside the purple dragon, dropping three more fruits at his feet and nibbling on one himself.
"You sure you been sleeping ok?" Quin questioned after a moment of silence, "A young dragon like you should be getting more sleep than this, eh?"
Sighing, Spyro gulped the rest of his fruit down and shook his head, "it's nothing, Quin, really. It's just…"
Spyro paused. He had half a mind to tell the friendly mole about the strange and disturbing dreams he'd been having, but on second thought decided that he'd rather keep that information to himself. Instead he reached for another fruit.
Quin glanced curiously at the young dragon. He could tell there was something on the young dragon's mind, something troubling him, but he wasn't sure what. And if Spyro wanted to keep that information to himself, Quin knew it was none of his business to ask. Shrugging, he continued peeling away the rind of his fruit.
"Whatever you say, Spyro," he replied, balling the rind in his paw as he chewed on the flesh of the fruit, "But remember it's not always good to keep things to yourself."
Spyro didn't reply.
Cynder hated it when Spyro kept secrets from her. She was certain that was exactly what he was doing right now. She'd woken early that morning, earlier than usual anyway, and gone to Spyro's room to wake him up. However, only Sparx had been there, still snoring away. Annoyed, the black dragoness had blown the dragonfly out of his nest with a blast of wind and demanded to know where Spyro had gone. After all, this was not the first time she'd come to look for him only to find he'd already left.
"How should I know where he is?" Sparx grumbled indignantly, irritated at being disturbed from his slumber by the black dragoness, "He probably already went down to the Main Hall."
Cynder heaved a sigh, "I suppose. But he used to wait for me, or even meet me at my room if I slept late. I don't understand why he keeps going off on his own."
"Hey, don't ask me," Sparx was rubbing the sleep from his eyes, "maybe he's got a new girlfriend?"
Glaring, Cynder snorted a gust of wind from her nostrils and sent Sparx tumbling head over heals. By the time he'd recovered from his tumble, Cynder had already left the room.
The instant Spyro left the kitchen, he came face to face with a green-eyed beauty. Cynder had been searching the main hall, which was now full of dragons, but had so far had no luck. So when she saw the purple dragon coming out of the kitchen, she wasted no time in storming over to him. Spyro stumbled back as she planted herself in front of him, almost causing him to crash into her.
"Ah…morning…Cyn-," Spyro stuttered, clearly intimidated by the angry look in her eye.
"Why were you in the kitchen?" she interrupted him almost instantly.
"I…I was just saying 'hi' to Quin," Spyro answered, confused and startled.
Cynder narrowed her eyes, "what happened to us walking together in the mornings? We always used to…"
Spyro suddenly felt guilty. He'd forgotten all about the promise he'd made to Cynder. After he'd admitted his love to her, the two had been spending more and more time together. But lately, due to his strange dreams, Spyro had been forgetting to meet with her during the mornings. Chewing his lip, the purple dragon thought up a reasonable excuse.
"I woke up early," he mumbled, but that didn't seem to help.
Cynder gave him a hurt look, "you could have woken me up. You know I love walking with you in the morning, I won't mind if you wake me a little early."
Spyro averted his eyes, "well…I didn't want to disturb you. I mean, it was pretty early and I figured you'd need your rest…"
"And what about yesterday?" Cynder snapped suddenly, annoyed again, "and the day before that, and the day before that? How often do you wake up so early? Because it seems to me like you're doing this every morning!"
Spyro winced at the anger in her voice, but didn't dare meet her eyes. A silence fell and he heard Cynder's voice again, only this time is was softer and uncertain; full of hurt.
"Are you…avoiding me?" the black dragoness asked, and Spyro looked up to see her eyes glittering with hurt.
"No, no, of course not!" the purple dragon yelped, aghast, "I wouldn't do that! It's just that…I've been waking up really early lately and I didn't want to disturb your rest. I'm sorry if it seemed like…I've been avoiding you."
Spyro tried not to notice that several young dragons had stopped to look and listen to the conversation. Cynder heaved a sigh and stared him in the eye, as though trying to search for answers within the glimmering violet of his irises.
"Why have you been waking so early, then?" she asked softly, anxious now, "Surely you need to sleep too? Is there…something bothering you?"
Spyro averted his eyes again, reluctant to say anything. He didn't want her to worry, and he knew that she would make a fuss if he told her about his nightmares. What made it worse was that his nightmares weren't so often dreams, as they were premonitions. He wasn't sure what she'd think if he told her he'd been dreaming of voices calling him towards a graveyard. But, though Cynder could see he was reluctant to talk, she wasn't about to let this go.
"Spyro, what's wrong?" she pleaded, "There's something you're not telling me, I can tell! Please, Spyro, tell me what's bothering you!"
But Spyro shook his head and brushed passed her, glancing apologetically at her distressed and worried face.
"It's nothing," he said, beginning to walk away, "Really."
Cynder watched him go, her wings drooping in disappointment, slightly hurt by his refusal to talk to her. There was something troubling him; that much was certain. But what; and why wouldn't he tell her? Sooner or later she was determined to get to the bottom of this.
It took a while for Spyro to fall asleep that night. He'd spent the day avoiding Cynder, afraid that she would continue questioning him about his odd behaviour. No matter how hard he tried to forget it, Spyro found his thoughts always returning to his dream. Something wasn't right about the way it seemed to call to him; it felt like more than just a dream. In his anxious state, Spyro avoided everyone for the day, even turning down a challenge from Flame. He never turned down a challenge; Flame was not pleased.
It was nearing midnight by the time Spyro found sleep, but his rest was punctured by those same dreams that caused him to toss and turn in distress. He found himself walking down a dark path, flanked by cold mist on either side, called by a whispering voice towards a clearing lit by pale moonlight. Stepping through the mist he saw dark tombstones rising from the ground, their surfaces obscured with moss and mould. The ground beneath his feet was icy cold and his paws seemed to sink into it. Was it mud? He couldn't be sure, as the mist obscured everything below his ankles.
Spyro stood for a moment in the centre of the graveyard, his purple scales shining dimly in the moonlight. Everything was silent, even the wind had stopped blowing. Gradually, the purple dragon began to notice a sound, like ghostly whisperings all around him. He looked for the source, but saw nothing. The whispers became louder, hissing his name and begging for something he couldn't make out. Panic rose unbidden in his chest, the dry taste of fear in his mouth, as the whispers became louder and louder.
Suddenly, through the white mist, Spyro saw something appear. He stared, frozen with fear, as a pair of poisonous green eyes loomed towards him out the darkness. His heart stopped.
Spyro's eyes snapped open suddenly, his eyes glazed over and his heart pounding. He was back in his room, lying flat on the hard floor once more, but a part of him still felt as though it was back in the dream world. His eyes stared towards the night sky where the celestial moons hung like orbs. He could still hear the whispers, hissing in the back of his mind, beckoning. Spyro wasn't fully aware what he was doing as he stood up and walked out onto the balcony. His wide eyes were filled with the light from the moons and seemed to stare forever into nothingness.
As though guided by some unseen hand, Spyro spread his wings and sprang off the edge of the balcony. He soared over the buildings of Warfang, heading towards the dark horizon. Even he did not know where he was going, or what was leading him there.
It was the cold that woke Sparx up. A chill wind had sprung up and was blowing through the archway into Spyro's room, causing Sparx's little cage-bed to sway slightly. The dragonfly shivered as the cold wind brushed over his body. Grumbling, he attempted to snuggle deeper into his bed of fabric and fur, but could gather no more warmth. Rubbing his eyes, Sparx sat up and hovered out of his nest. He had half a mind to curl up with Spyro to keep warm, but was shocked to see the room empty.
The cushions that Spyro usually lay on were scattered across the floor, and the purple dragon was nowhere to be seen. Gaping, Sparx could only stare at the empty floor. Where could Spyro have gone at this hour, and why? Confused, the dragonfly hovered over to the balcony and stared out at the night sky. His eyes quickly caught sight of a figure in the distance, too small to make out, illuminated by the light of the moons. Sparx was willing to bet anything that it was Spyro. But where was he going? Without a second thought, Sparx turned and headed for Cynder's room.
Cynder had a strange dream. She dreamt she was chasing Spyro, laughing as she pursued him through the lush trees in the valley of Avalar. But no matter how fast she flew, she couldn't seem to catch up with him. She strained her wings to pick up speed, and spotted Spyro ahead of her. Only…he seemed smaller; a lot smaller, as though he had shrunk. Or had she grown? They were no longer in Avalar, either. The fires of Boyzitbig rose around her, accompanied by the clanging of metal on metal. Lava fell from the walls, pooling below her as she chased the small purple dragon upwards. She wasn't laughing any more; instead she felt an odd sense of angry determination as she closed in on the purple dragon.
They soared out into the night sky, lit by the spikes of lava that spat from the mouth of the volcano. She had almost caught him, but felt something collide with her. And then she was falling, falling into oblivion. Cynder found herself lying on hard ground, and staring at the stone feet of a colossal dragon. She didn't have to raise her head to know that she was lying at the feet of the statue at the dragon temple. Her body felt like it wouldn't move, but she didn't feel any exhaustion or pain. She lay still for several moments.
Something was poking her in the ribs. It was rather annoying, but Cynder couldn't move to do anything about it. What was poking her? She shifted her head slightly and caught a flash of purple. Spyro. He continued to nudge her with his tail.
"Get up," he was saying, but his voice sounded odd, "Wake up."
"I am awake," she wanted to say, but couldn't open her mouth to do so.
The poking continued, irritating Cynder further. She wanted to make it stop. Why wouldn't he stop? Slowly the image blurred and Cynder returned to reality. Blinking, she realised she was in her room in Warfang, stretched out over three large crimson cushions. It took a moment before she registered the fact that someone was poking her. But it wasn't Spyro.
Cynder raised her head and glared at the offending yellow dragonfly in the darkness, "what's your problem? I'm trying to sleep."
Sparx folded his arms, "Took you awhile. I've been trying to wake you for ages!"
The black dragoness raised an eyebrow and glanced out towards the night sky. The moons were high in the sky, which was almost the same colour as her scales and spotted with tiny spots of light that were stars. It couldn't have been any earlier than midnight. She glared at Sparx.
"What could you possibly want at this hour?" she grumbled, irritated at being woken up.
"It's Spyro," Sparx muttered, ignoring her annoyance, "I woke up and he was gone."
Cynder's eyes snapped open in shock, "What do you mean he's gone?"
Sparx rolled his eyes as though it was the stupidest question he'd ever heard, "I mean he's not in his room. I just woke up and he wasn't where he usually is."
Cynder was on her feet in an instant, looking extremely anxious, "we have to find him! I knew he'd been acting odd lately…"
She made for the door, but Sparx flew in front of her and blocked her way, much to her surprise. She raised a confused eyebrow.
"Hold on," Sparx said, "When I woke up, I looked outside and thought I saw him flying away."
He led her over to her own balcony and pointed out towards the night sky. He was alarmed to notice that he could no longer see Spyro.
"That way," he muttered, "but I can't see him anymore."
Cynder spread her wings, "well, we're going after him, then. Come on, Sparx!"
She leapt off the balcony and Sparx hurried after her yelling, "wait! Shouldn't we tell the guardians?"
The black dragoness snorted, "Don't worry, we can handle this. Let's go, before he gets too far away!"
Cynder soared into the night with Sparx flying close beside her, hoping to find the elusive purple dragon. She couldn't help the worried feeling in her gut. It wasn't like Spyro to go off on his own like this and she couldn't fathom what he could be thinking at the moment. She had to find him.
'What are you doing, Spyro?'
Spyro wasn't so sure himself. He'd only flown for about ten minutes and now found himself in the middle of a forest, in a place he didn't know. There was a faint mist swimming around the trunks of the trees, so thin it was almost transparent. It was nothing like the thick white mist from his dreams. After a moment, Spyro began to walk. He felt like there was something pulling him onwards, towards a certain place.
On he walked, and soon found himself on a gravelly path. The trees on either side of him seemed to have lost their leaves for the winter, and their branches were twisted and gnarled as they reached hopelessly towards the sky. He hoped it was just his imagination that the mist was getting thicker. But the more he walked, the more he recognised this place. He was trying to convince himself it was just coincidence, but that thought was wiped from his head as he saw what he had just walked into.
This was the very scene from his dreams; from the thick mist to the pale moonlight and the crumbling tombstones, everything was the same. He'd just walked into the graveyard from his nightmares. Shivering, Spyro stared around at the place, returning slowly to his senses. It had felt as though something else had been guiding him until now, but now that it was gone he just felt confused and a little scared.
"What am I doing here?" Spyro muttered, taking careful steps through the mist as he took in his surroundings, "I don't even know."
He wished Sparx was here. At least the dragonfly's golden light would have been a little comfort in this dark and misted place. Frowning, and trying to ignore the prickling at the back of his neck, Spyro padded closer to the nearest tombstone. He reached a paw towards it and brushed away the damp moss that had grown over the stone. There were words carved into it, but in the dark Spyro couldn't make them out. He wondered who all these graves had belonged to. Had they been dragons? Or maybe cheetahs or moles, or even some other race he hadn't heard of.
It was a cold and miserable place that their bodies had been laid to final rest. Spyro stared anxiously around him, feeling his paws slowly sinking into the muddy ground. It felt as though something was watching him, but he didn't know what. He didn't like this place. He could hear strange whispers, or maybe it was just the wind blowing through the trees, which cast spooky shadows in the light of the moons. Spyro's legs were trembling. He wanted to run, to get out if this place, but he felt as though his body refused to move. There was something he had to do here; but what?
Shuddering, Spyro tried to block out the ghostly voices in his head. But they seemed to echo all around him, pleading cries that penetrated his very soul. The mist clung to his legs, reaching for him with ghostly fingers eager for the touch of living flesh. A whimper escaped Spyro's lips and he wrenched his paws from the mud, dashing towards the edge of the graveyard. But his forepaw caught on a rock and sent him tumbling into the mud. He struggled upright, panting as mud dripped unpleasantly from his muzzle. His paw ached and he felt cold with the icy mud plastered to his chest and neck. The chill wind did little to help matters. And still the voice continued whispering.
Spyro heart was thudding painfully in his chest, fear rising like bile in his throat. He backed away, but his rump hit an old tombstone and stopped him in his tracks. The mist reached for him, ghostly fingers of spirits still lingering in the mortal world. Whispers filled his head and he screwed his eyes shut.
"Stop it!" he yelled, his voice breaking with fear, "Just stop! Leave me alone!"
But the voices didn't stop; they only seemed to get louder. Spyro kicked up mud as he dashed for the path he'd followed to get here. But he found to his horror that the mist had obscured it, and he could no longer see it. Taking shallow, quick breaths, Spyro backed up into the middle of the graveyard, his eyes darting fearfully from side to side.
"Stop!" he begged, a sob rising in his throat, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do!"
The whispers halted abruptly and for a split second Spyro felt relieved. But then the back of his neck prickled and a chill swept through his body. Something was watching him. He spun around, searching desperately for whoever or whatever it was, his heart hammering fearfully. Poisonous green eyes loomed from the darkness, lacking any form of pupil or iris. Creatures leapt through the mist towards the unfortunate purple dragon, reaching fleshless bony fingers towards his trembling body. Spyro couldn't help it; he screamed.
The skeletal creatures swarmed him, slashing at his scales with sharp claws that tore into his flesh and drew blood. Their green eyes glowed through the mist, striking fear into Spyro's heart. He screamed as blood dribbled from a cut to his shoulder, and bucked as he felt one of the creatures leap onto his back. Its claws scratched and scrabbled on his back, tearing bloody scratches that stung painfully. It fell to the muddy ground and Spyro slammed his tail down on top of it, hoping to crush it. But it merely gripped his tail in its skeletal paws and dug its talons deep into his flesh.
A screech of pain ripped from his throat and he expelled a great torrent of fire towards his attackers, briefly lighting them in an orange glow. Recognition washed over Spyro as he watched the skeletal creatures screech and cower from his flames. He'd seen these beasts before. These were the ghostly spectres that had once been the race known as the apes. Malefor had rewarded their loyalty by stripping them of all life and flesh, leaving them to wander the darkness for all eternity as neither the living nor the dead.
But even though he knew what they were, it didn't quell Spyro's fear. These beasts scared him, and they outnumbered him greatly. He saw several perish, their ghastly bones shattering under the heat of his fire breath. But there were many more, far too many for him to fight alone, and they kept disappearing in and out of the mist. The purple dragon backed away, spitting fire to drive his attackers off as well as illuminate them. He didn't want to lose sight of them.
The spectres swarmed at him, dodging his flames and grabbing at his legs with their spindly, sharp fingers. Yelling, Spyro tried desperately to free his limbs from their grip, but to no avail. Several had leapt on his back, gripping his neck and his horns, and he felt one snatch up his tail. He struggled in terror, trying to free himself, feeling their claws penetrating his flesh and drawing blood.
"Let go!" He roared, and tried desperately to shock them with electricity. But it didn't work.
Then, to Spyro's horror, they began to drag him down. They sank into the earth like body-less wraiths, maintaining their fierce hold on the young purple dragon as they dragged him down with them. He struggled and screamed, flaring his wings and spitting fire in his panic. He felt his back legs and tail sink into the ground, dragged under by the sinking spectres, and panicked further as the rest of his body began to follow.
"No!" he shrieked into the mist, his voice rising an octave or two in his panic, "Let me go! Let me go!"
Spyro had sunk up to his shoulders now, and his wings were beginning to go under. He felt claws grasping at the membranes of his wings, yanking them down into the mud, and clawed desperately to get away. But it was no use. They were dragging him down, and there was nothing he could do to get away from them. Claws gripped at his muzzle, trying to force him down.
"Help!" screamed Spyro, fighting to keep his shoulders and forelegs above ground, "Someone Help!"
But there was no one to hear his cries.
No one except Cynder. The black dragoness had been flying for several minutes and still had caught no sign of Spyro. She and Sparx soared over the dark forest below, not knowing if Spyro had landed or had continued to fly. The moons lit their way, but Spyro was nowhere to be seen. They were beginning to lose hope.
"I don't see him anywhere!" Sparx cried, wringing his hands anxiously, "You don't think something horrible happened to him?"
Cynder snorted, "no way. Spyro's the bravest and strongest dragon I know. He can handle anything. I'm sure we'll catch up to him soon."
She circled above the forest, gazing down at the dark canopy. It was the cold season, and many of the trees had dropped their leaves, so the foliage was sparse. But it still obscured the view of the ground, and Cynder knew that she would be unable to see Spyro from the air if he was down there.
"Maybe he landed," she mumbled, hovering lower and straining to see in the pale light, "I'm sure we would have seen him by now if he was still flying…"
Sparx chuckled nervously, "yeah…because Spyro would really want to wander around in a creepy forest at night!"
Cynder glowered at him and opened her mouth to tell him that it couldn't hurt to look, when a faint scream reached her ears. She froze in mid air, listening with all her might, but everything had fallen silent again. Worry washed over her. That had been a scream of fear; complete terror. Had it been Spyro? Was he in trouble? Determined to find out, Cynder steeled her nerves and dived recklessly towards the trees.
"Wait!" Sparx screeched, zipping after her, "You want to fly towards the scream? Are you nuts?"
"That could have been Spyro!" Cynder yelled back, the wind almost whipping her words away. She folded her wings back along her body and crashed through the spindly branches, landing cat-like on the forest floor.
Sparx hovered down to join her, looking around anxiously. The forest was indeed creepy at night. Cynder glanced at the trees all around her. Every way looked the same, and she had no idea which way to go. The scream had faded and there was nothing to guide her towards its source. She stood still and silent for several moments, listening to the sounds of the forest.
Her sharp hearing quickly picked up the sound of faint yelling. Someone was in trouble and Cynder was almost certain that it was Spyro. She didn't hesitate to dash towards the noises, crashing through the undergrowth as fast as her feet could carry her. Sparx tried in vain to keep up, weaving in and out of the spindly branches that constantly got in his way.
"Help!" a voice was yelling through the trees, a voice that Cynder instantly recognised as Spyro's. She strained to run faster, terrified for his safety, wishing she had more light than just the moons.
"Somebody help!" he sounded desperate, terrified. Cynder had never heard him sound so scared.
"Hold on, Spyro!" she yelled, her lungs bursting as she strained to run faster, hoping her voice would reach him, "I'm coming!"
Her paws skidded in the mud and she slipped sideways, almost slamming into a tree trunk. But she dug her claws into the slippery ground and manoeuvred around the tree, dashing onwards into the thickening mist. It obscured her vision, clinging to her scales and making her cold, but she continued running until Spyro came into sight. She hadn't even noticed the tombstones all around her, but her eyes were instantly drawn to the sight of the purple dragon sinking slowly into the ground. Only his head and forepaws remained visible, the rest of him had sunk into the muddy ooze of the ground.
Cynder's eyes widened in horror as she watched several skeletal beasts drag Spyro further down into the earth. Spyro's eyes swivelled in their sockets until he was staring at her, and she saw that they were filled with utter terror. He was scrabbling frantically with his front paws, clearly trying and failing to pull himself up. The spectres continued to pull him down.
With a howl of rage, Cynder charged at the creatures and rammed into them. Several went flying as they were caught by her horns, and she whipped others away with her lethal tail blade. The skeletal creatures returned, closing in on the furious black dragoness, but they weren't prepared for her next attack. The winds swirled around her, picking up speed and ferocity like a small tornado with Cynder in the centre. Several of the spectres became caught in the whirlwind, screeching as they were tossed by the angry winds, and suddenly Cynder flared her wings out. The tornado seemed to explode outward so quickly that all the spectres, even the ones that hadn't been caught in the whirlwind, were sent flying outwards at every angle. They didn't return, and Cynder took that chance to turn her attention to Spyro.
The purple dragon was still sinking, slower now that the spectres were no longer pulling him down. But he still looked afraid as his eyes stared pleadingly at Cynder.
"Help me," Spyro begged, his wings slowly disappearing into the mud.
Sparx hovered over to his surrogate brother as Cynder tried to think of a way to pull him out. He patted Spyro's horn reassuringly.
"Don't worry, bro, we're gonna get you out," Sparx promised.
Cynder leant over the purple dragon, hooking her paws under his upper forelegs and attempting to pull him out. But the mud clung to him and his body refused to be shifted from his prison. Cynder fell backwards as her paws slipped and she found herself on her backside in cold, sticky mud. She scowled and leant forwards to try again, this time hugging her forelegs around his thick neck and tugging hard.
Spyro grunted as he felt himself being pulled slowly out of the mud, his face pressed uncomfortably into Cynder's chest. But he didn't complain. He just wanted to get out before those creatures returned to drag him under. Cynder pulled as hard as she could, feeling Spyro slipping out of her grasp. She tried desperately to maintain her grip as his wings slowly came back into view, dripping with mud.
"Just…a little…more," she grunted, digging her back legs into the mud and heaving with all her might.
Suddenly the mud released its hold on Spyro, letting go so fast that he shot out with a tremendous squelching sound and sent Cynder tumbling head over heels. The purple dragon landed on top of his dragoness, dripping with mud and breathing heavily as the fearful hammering of his heart calmed down. Cynder was puffing with exhaustion, and she too was now quite filthy, but she smiled at seeing that Spyro was alright. They grinned at each other, only to be interrupted by rude laughter. Sparx was laughing heartily at the sight of them both covered in mud and lying on the ground, but his laughter was cut short when the spectres returned.
Angry at seeing the purple dragon had been pulled from his prison, the skeletal apes swarmed the two dragons whilst they were vulnerable. Spyro quickly scrambled into a fighting position, allowing Cynder to get back up.
"Why are they attacking us?" Cynder yelled to him, dodging a spectre that had attempted to land on her back.
"More like, what are they?" Sparx added, and screamed when one swiped at him. He dashed away and hid in the hollow of a dead tree off to the side.
"They're the apes!" Spyro answered, whipping two away with his tail, "Remember what Malefor did to them?"
Cynder's emerald eyes widened with realisation, "That's right! Well, then, let's put them out of their misery, shall we?"
Spyro stared incredulously at her, "but how can we kill things that are already dead?"
Cynder frowned, glaring hatefully at one of the spectral apes as he came for her. Her eyes glowed red and she opened her mouth to utter an unearthly shriek that stopped everything in their tracks. Only Spyro seemed unaffected by her Fear. She turned to him, ignoring the creatures that were writhing on the ground with the echoes of her scream still ringing through their heads.
"I don't think they're dead, Spyro," Cynder explained, "Just cursed. I think together…we can burn them away."
Spyro stared at her, his eyes widening as he realised what she meant. Relieved that he no longer had to face them alone, Spyro nodded at her and smiled. Together, the two dragons stood in the centre of the swarm of spectral apes and rose upon their hind legs. They clasped paws, drawing energy from their surroundings, and gathered as much power as they could. It clustered around them, manifesting itself in the form of fire for Spyro and shadow flames for Cynder. Cynder's emerald eyes burned into Spyro's violet ones.
"You realise that when we get back, you've got a lot of explaining to do," she smirked.
"I know," Spyro grinned.
Together, they released their power. Waves of shadow and fire swept over the shrieking spectres, turning them to ash where they stood, burning them into nothing but bad memories. Sparx was glad he was holed up inside the tree, his hands pressed over his eyes as he felt a wave of heat wash over him. But it passed, and the dragonfly remained unharmed. Sighing, the two young dragons dropped back onto all fours and looked around to see what they had accomplished.
There was no sign of the spectres. They were gone; every single one of them. Breathing slow and deep, Spyro stared around him as the mist slowly faded and disappeared entirely, much to his surprise. They were left alone in the light of the moons, surrounded by old tombstones obscured with moss and mould. Sparx came timidly out of hiding.
"Is it over?" he asked, nibbling the end of his fingers nervously.
"Yeah," Spyro replied with a sigh, "They're all gone."
As he looked around the graveyard, he could have sworn he heard a voice whisper, 'Thankyou, Spyro the Dragon.'
Confused though he was, Spyro smiled anyway. Cynder didn't seem to have heard a thing. She turned her gaze accusingly on Spyro, and he shrank away from her fierce emerald eyes.
"You, mister, have got some explaining to do," she growled, though there was a smirk on her face, "But I think it's time we headed back to Warfang before the sun rises. If the guardians find out we're missing…"
Spyro's eyes widened, "right! Come on, Sparx!"
"Finally," grumbled the dragonfly, and he followed the two dragons out of the forest and back towards the sleeping city of Warfang.
They reached the city just as the sun began to peek over the horizon. Spyro was very tried, but Cynder refused to let him sleep until he explained why he had been outside the city at night, in a graveyard no less. Sighing, Spyro resigned himself to telling her about his dreams. He told her about how he had dreamt several times of the strange graveyard and had heard whispered voices begging him to help them with something. That was the reason he hadn't been sleeping well. He told her he'd been guided to the graveyard by these strange voices, and once there had been attacked by the spectral apes.
"I'm still not sure what I was supposed to do, though," Spyro muttered, frowning at his paws, "Was I supposed to get rid of those spectres? Why, though?"
Cynder yawned widely, shrugging, "maybe you should ask the guardians. They might have an idea."
Spyro opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by a deep voice from the doorway.
"Ask us what?" Terrador rumbled, and Spyro turned to see the earth guardian, along with Volteer and Cyril, standing in his doorway looking very stern indeed.
Sparx instantly put on his most innocent face, "oh, nothing."
Terrador ignored the dragonfly and instead focused on the two young dragons, "The lookout dragon informed us he saw you flying in only moments ago. Did you spend the whole night outside the city walls? You've got some explaining to do, young dragons."
"I, uh, well…" Spyro stuttered, looking guiltily up at the much larger guardians, "You see…"
"It was Spyro's dream, sir," Cynder cut in, her eyes wide and innocent. The guardians turned to her, surprise written on their faces.
"Dream, you say?" Cyril asked, raising a scaly eyebrow, "What sort of dream?"
Spyro sighed, glanced at Cynder, and realised he would have to tell the whole thing again. So he did, and when he was done the guardians all looked very surprised. Clearly they had not expected such an explanation. Spyro stared hopefully at Terrador.
"Do you know why I was called to the graveyard?" the purple dragon asked, and Terrador frowned.
"I have known of a cemetery near the city walls where our ancestors who once inhabited this city are buried," the earth guardian replied, "they've been dead for centuries, but I believe it was their spirits that called you to their resting place."
"Yes, yes, it is a familiar legend that the spirits of the deceased may rise from their slumber in times when their final resting place is damaged or disrespected," Volteer rattled off, "They must have called the purple dragon for assistance in their distress, and contacted him via his dreams!"
Spyro's brow furrowed in thought, "If their final resting place is damaged or disrespected…hang on, could that have anything to do with the spectres of the apes that we fought there?"
Terrador nodded slowly, "I believe so. Malefor's spectral apes seek places of doom and despair where they can hide and brood in the darkness. A graveyard is the perfect place. However, the ancients must have been disturbed to have such heathens inhabiting the sacred place of their final rest. They called to you to rid the cemetery of the apes. I gather you did that?"
"Yes," Spyro nodded, "and when I did, all the mist disappeared. Why is that?"
Here, Cyril was the one to explain, "It is a common known fact that the spectral mist that rises from a cemetery is a sure sign that the spirits of the dead are displeased. When they are disturbed from their slumber, the spirits manifest themselves in the form of a mist that continues to remain until the spirits are reconciled."
"So when I got rid of the spectral apes…" Spyro muttered.
"The spirits were able to return to their rest," Terrador finished, nodding, "and the mist disappeared."
Spyro smiled vaguely, "I thought I heard them thank me just before the mist disappeared."
The earth guardian looked sternly at the purple dragon, "I am glad that you managed to appease our ancestors, but do try not to run off in the middle of the night again. You were supposed to have training today, but you look far too tired to even walk!"
Spyro smiled sheepishly and Terrador heaved a sigh. He looked from Spyro's tired face to Cynder's and knew he had no choice. Ushering Volteer and Cyril out of the room, the earth guardian gave Spyro the words he wanted to hear.
"You may sleep in today, young dragons," he rumbled, "but do not forget training tomorrow!"
"Yes, Terrador," they chimed together as the door closed behind him.
"Finally!" Sparx sighed, flopping down into his hanging nest, "Now we can at last get some sleep around here!"
Within seconds, his snores had filled the room. Spyro smiled softly, but Cynder couldn't help but notice that he looked worried. She snuggled close to him, beckoning him to lie down on the cushions beside her.
"You're worried you're going to have nightmares again, aren't you?" the black dragoness asked, and Spyro nodded in response.
"Let me sleep beside you," Cynder smiled, spread a wing out invitingly, "I'll scare all those bad dreams away. Promise."
Smiling, Spyro did just that.
The purple dragon awoke warm and comfortable for the first time in about a week. He wasn't lying on the cold hard floor of his room; instead he lay across his golden cushions with Cynder snuggled comfortably against his side. Her wing was draped over his back like a blanket, her head lying across his forepaws. Spyro smiled at her and looked out at the afternoon sky.
He looked back quickly to see Cynder smirking at him with one eye open. She raised her head and nuzzled his cheek lovingly, curling her tail around his.
"No nightmares?" she asked, and Spyro couldn't help but smile at her. He'd never felt more at peace.
"None at all."
A/N: Happy Halloween! I hope you enjoyed reading this! If you want to drop in a review, I'd be most grateful. :) Until next time.