Conintor and Serena rode into Avalon, looking around at the hundreds of creatures running through the forest around them.
"They've been busy." Conintor chuckled in amusement. Most of the creatures were draconian- Raoul seemed to have an affinity for them.
Serena nodded as she looked around with wide eyes. They rode over to the cabin, where Novilo and Vitali stood talking, little Pheona sitting on Novilo's shoulders while he held her legs for support.
"Ah, there you are." Vitali smiled to them in greeting. "Novilo said you'd be arriving soon."
Conintor dismounted Saiga, walking over to Serena to help her down as well. She dropped down as Conintor caught her, faltering a bit as she wobbled on her feet.
"You okay?" He said in concern.
"Yeah." Serena smiled reassuringly and walked over to Vitali and Novilo with Conintor.
Raoul walked out of the cabin, looking to Serena with a smile after looking her over. "Hey sis, what brings you here?"
"I was hoping Vitali would check something for me. I want to be sure before telling anyone." Serena said, ignoring Raoul's confused expression.
"Sure dear, we'll go inside and leave the men to talk." Vitali smiled softly, leading Serena inside. Raoul watched after them and sighed in frustration. "Women." He muttered.
"I know." Novilo smiled in amusement, making Conintor and Raoul laugh.
Pheona reached for her father, leaning over so that Novilo passed the child to him. He tossed her up into the air playfully before settling her on his shoulders.
"So how have you two been doing lately?" Raoul asked.
"Good- though obviously not as busy as you've been." Conintor said, pointing to the finished cabin behind them.
"Yeah… I think I went a little overboard. Oh well, at least visitors will be comfortable, right?" He chuckled.
"Yeah- all 50 of them." Novilo grinned.
Someone yelled from inside the cabin, followed by laughter. Raoul looked to the door with a confused expression, waiting for Vitali and Serena to walk back out.
"I was right." Serena said, beaming happily. "I'm going to have another child."
Conintor smiled in relief as Novilo squealed happily, clapping his hands in excitement.
"I'm glad, sis." Raoul smiled warmly, wrapping an arm around her shoulder affectionately.
Serena looked at her friends happily, glad she was able to share the news with them.
A loud screeching sound cried out overhead, making them all look up in surprise as something catapulted through the air. A large fireball pummeled into the ground of the forest a short distance away, making them all struggle for balance as the ground shook.
"That… was odd." Conintor said uneasily, looking in that direction as Raoul nodded grimly in agreement.
"Vitali dear, take Pheona. I'm going to go check out what that was." Raoul took Pheona off his shoulders as she cried in fright at the loud sound and shaking.
"It's okay, sweetie." VItali said as she walked Raoul, Conintor and Novilo walk into the forest to investigate the crash.
"I smell it, so it must be nearby." Conintor said, moving branches aside as they made their way through the thick forest. He looked up at a fallen tree, freshly snapped from its trunk and followed the direction of the trunk to see a massive pile of red and gold scales, fire licking at the edges of the crater in which the creature had fallen.
"Stay back here for a minute- it looks like a fire drake." Raoul said cautiously, the fire mage moving forward in his red and gold robes, looking as if he matched the creature perfectly as he approached it. The drake let out a low growl and shifted, lifting its head to look at Raoul with bright eyes, the slit-like pupils adjusting to the light as Raoul froze in place anxiously.
Novilo gripped Conintor's sleeve nervously, knowing all too well how hot-headed fire drakes were.
The fire drake let out a puff of smoke from its nostrils and laid its head back down, gasping for breath as its tongue lolled out of its mouth.
"It looks like it's in pain." Raoul said in concern, walking over to the creature. It seemed like a younger drake- it was only as tall as he was, while most were a bit taller than this. He rested his hand against the drake's red scales, feeling the warmth that came from its inner furnace of fire through its skin.
"We should take it back to Avalon- Vitali may be able to heal it." Conintor suggested as he and Novilo walked over once they saw the drake wasn't going to attack.
"That's a good idea. Could you guys help me carry it?" Raoul said, resting his hand against the drake's cheek reassuringly. "It'll be alright big guy, we're going to take care of you, alright?"
Much to Raoul's surprise the drake nodded slightly and let the three men pick it up, trudging back through the forest with the drake toward Avalon.
"What happened? Was that what fell?" Vitali asked, setting Pheona down on the ground as Raoul, Conintor and Novilo set the drake down carefully.
"Yeah- I think he's hurt." Raoul said, rubbing his shoulders from carrying the heavy beast such a distance.
"I'll do my best." Vitali said in concern, making sure Pheona stood back from the drake as he sputtered out a smoky cough against the ground. Vitali rested her slender hands on the dragon's head, noticing the drake look up at her warily with its black slitted eyes. She flowed her magic through the creature, the drake letting out a low hiss of relief as the pain faded.
Vitali stood back and let the drake stand, looking around him at the humans. The fire-wings that flared from his back faded into the spine of flames that went from his head to his tail. He let out a low growl and nodded to them in thanks.
"Seems to be okay now." Conintor glanced over to Vitali, who nodded with relief. The drake tapped its foot impatiently, as if waiting for something.
"Welcome to Avalon." Raoul said with a smile at the drake's personality. "You may stay here if you'd like, or you may leave to go to your destination. The choice is yours, fire drake- though you are welcome to stay here as long as you'd like."
Pheona rushes past her mother, much to Vitali's horror, and grabbed onto the drake's leg in a friendly hug. "Fire thing stay!" She said in protest as the drake looked down at her in surprise.
Raoul watched with curiosity as the drake set its claws gently on the child's head and puffed out a ring of smoke from its nostrils. This drake was… different from most drakes for some reason. It seemed much more calm- much more friendly than usual.
The drake pushed Pheona away gently and leaned down, using his claw to draw something into the dirt. It leaned back up and waited for the humans to look at what it had drawn.
'Asim'. Was clawed into the dirt in messy handwriting- but no one there had ever seen a creature write anything before, so they were all too busy staring at the words in shock to try and realize what it meant.
The drake growled indignantly and pointed to the word, then to himself.
"I think that's his name." Novilo said in realization after the shock wore off. The drake nodded eagerly in agreement, then sat down on the ground, its tail curling around him.
"Interesting…" Raoul said thoughtfully, glancing over at the drake. "Apparently our new addition to the keep seems to be… strange. This will be interesting." He smiled eagerly at the chance to communicate with a draconian creature.