Author's Note: So this is my first Eon: Dragoneye Reborn/Eona: Last Dragoneye fanfic, and to be honest, I didn't really like the way Goodman ended Eona. I can see why it was meant to go that way, but that doesn't mean I like it. And then, randomly, I got this idea. So here I am, throwing all caution to the wind and tossing this story out there for people to read. Read it, let it sink in, and then, if you could take the time, tell me what you think. Is this even a good idea at all? I think this might be the first AU in this category, but I'm not entirely sure. I'd like to know if this story's worth continuing.
Also—I changed up a bunch of the character's ages. Most of them are all relatively the same age now, at least, the halflings and Kygo are—I'd say maybe fourteen? Since we didn't get much character development for the ten other Dragoneyes, I'll be making up a sort of personality for them when we get to them, but this story will mostly focus on the three main characters—namely, Kygo, Ido, and Eona.
EDIT: I realize I forgot this part: Disclaimer—I do not own Eon/Eona, Alison Goodman does. Obviously I'm not her; otherwise I wouldn't be writing fanfiction on this site, I'd be making this a reality. Since I don't want to say this multiple times over in increasingly different ways, this disclaimer will go for the whole story.
Half the Power, Twice the Spirit
Part One: Bound by Dragons in the Sky
He could feel the land dying.
Prince Kygo stepped away from the window, knowing he'd see what he'd seen before—the soil beginning to turn black and crumbling away into dust beneath the fierce winds; the rivers clotting with mud and stones. While mud was good for growing, it was hard to find a seed that would grow. Some plants could still grow—but no one knew how long they would last, and people hoarded what little they had with bitter fierceness.
"Methinks we displeased the spirit beasts."
Kygo whirled at the familiar voice and spied his father walking into the room. "Father." He bowed low, stepping aside as the Emperor moved to the window, staring out across the Empire.
"Yes," the old man murmured, rheumy eyes blinking at the slow death of the land he was supposed to protect, "yes, we have offended the spirits somehow."
Kygo lifted his head to stare up at the ceiling. If he looked hard enough, and was calm enough, sometimes he could catch glimpses of the land's protectors, the twelve great spirit beasts, the Dragons of Good Fortune. He focused, and their blurry images flickered into his sight, each at their compass point.
At the north, the purple Ox Dragon; the north-northeast, the green Tiger Dragon; the east-northeast, the pink Rabbit Dragon; in the east, the red Dragon Dragon or Mirror Dragon, the only female; the east-southeast, the copper Snake Dragon; the south-southeast, the orange Horse Dragon; at the south, the silver Goat Dragon; the south-southwest, the ebony-black Monkey Dragon; the west-southwest, the brown Rooster Dragon; in the west, the ivory-white Dog Dragon; the west-northwest the dove-gray Pig Dragon; and in the north-northwest, the blue Rat Dragon.
The effort of holding them in his mind's eye grew too great and they slipped away. Usually, if he focused on one, he might be able to bring it into focus—but more often than not, he was staring at fuzzy, shifting images that seemed more like blots of paint on parchment than dragons.
Kygo was drawn back to reality when his father murmured, "Perhaps they withhold their life-giving energy because of the mistreatment of their children."
"The halflings?" Kygo blinked once in surprise. Halflings were an odd race—the product of a union between human and spirit beast, one for each dragon. There were only ever twelve at a time, or less, as far as Kygo knew. Each displayed the animalistic traits of the name of the dragon they descended from—for example, a Goat halfling might have a goat's horns and tail, or a Monkey halfling, a monkey's tail and ears. "Why would you say they are mistreated?"
His father laughed dryly, a rumbling chuckle that wheezed at the tail end. "Don't act as if you haven't seen it before. There are few people who truly care for the halflings. Most see them as cursed, or envy them their dragon power. Not many can see the human side a halfling possesses; all see the dragon spirit in them."
"Do you believe them cursed?" Kygo whispered, not daring to meet his father's eyes. The Emperor turned; Kygo could hear the sound of his slippers sliding over the floor, the swish of his robes.
"No, my son," he sighed, "halflings are simply born with a power we do not quite understand." Kygo's father stopped beside him. "Look at me, son."
Kygo lifted his head, meeting the Emperor's dark eyes. "I understand you may have a different opinion of the halflings—but there is something I must ask of you, and, for the good of the Empire, I bid that you do it."
"What is it you wish of me?"
His father's eyes flashed towards the window. "I know you have felt this land slowly fading away. Perhaps—perhaps if you gathered the halflings together, and guided them in the Spirit Dance—perhaps the dragons would see fit to return the lifeblood to the earth."
Kygo was silent for a moment. "Do you believe this will truly work, Father?"
The Emperor was still, too, for a long second, folding his hands together. "I hope it will," he said at last, letting out a great sigh. "It is all I can think of to convince the dragons."
Kygo bowed low. "Then I will do it, Father."
He could smell it from here. Ido crouched low, hidden behind the vendor's stall, eyeing the tier of thin apples piled on top. He hadn't tasted apples in…a long time. Useless trying to count the months. His ears flattened against his head as he reached out his hand, claws poised to grab—
"Get your dirty paws off those apples, urchin!"
Ido leaped away from the vendor's cry, managing to snag an apple on his leap right over the stall. He hit the ground running, weaving amongst the crowd, blocking out their cries of disgust at his appearance.
He bit into the apple, savoring the taste, even if it wasn't quite like he remembered, the land hadn't been as bad off way back when, so even having it taste something like normal was a pleasant surprise. Dodging into an alley, he took a flying leap and clambered up some rotting boxes, making it to the rooftops in a matter of moments.
He settled back against the solid stone, safe in the knowledge that few could find him here—only the ones who wished to seek him out knew where to find him; and even though he was a fairly good thief, most refused to have anything to do with him, all because of something he couldn't control.
He clenched his fist around the remains of the apple, letting the pieces fall from his fingers, the claws tipping each fingertip not the most unusual part of him—no; he had to say it was the ears and the tail. The slim, oval rat's ears and long hairless rat tail, while indeed good for balance, earned him no allies.
No one wanted to be near a halfling.
Rat. He lifted his head to the sky, squinting, almost like a rat, staring up into the sky until he saw the world shift, the blue sky dotted with dirty gray and white clouds melding into an array of colors, and the bright jeweled colors of the twelve spirit beasts. His gaze unconsciously sought out the north-northwest corner, to the blue dragon whose animal traits he bore, whom he was descended from.
The Rat Dragon.
"Why?" he wanted to yell at the sky, but something told him the dragon would not answer. He jumped when the beast moved; when looking at them in the sky it was almost too easy to forget that the spirit beasts were real, and, occasionally, tangible on the earthly plane.
Ido could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end as the Rat Dragon's depthless eyes settled on him, vibrant blue sapphires more beautiful than any gem found in the land. The blue dragon stretched out his neck, pearl beneath his chin pulsing with life-energy, with Hua.
And then suddenly, as the beast's head pulled away, Ido felt the oddest sensation—as if he were suddenly in two places at once—before he felt something flow through him—a wave of blue Hua and he was flying, soaring high above the earth, his physical body dwindling to little more than a speck in the eyes of a dragon.
What's going on? he yelled out, surprised to find his voice did not come from his mouth as he'd thought, but from his mind.
The Rat Dragon's opal claws stretched out in front of him, and the blue dragon bent his head, studying Ido. His pearl lightly touched the boy's forehead, and through the rush of blue Hua Ido heard the words.
Find the others.
Others? For a moment Ido was floundering for a response. Suddenly it hit him. The other halflings?
The Rat Dragon snorted, sending a plume of vanilla-tinged breath over Ido. The words came again. Find the others. Abruptly Ido's vision swam with a collage of jewel colors—the other twelve dragons! And the biggest point of color, the Mirror Dragon, the only female, the queen, twice as big as the male dragons, her body overflowing with golden Hua.
Ido stared at her, struck speechless, for she had to be the most beautiful thing he had ever encountered. She stretched out her head, bright crimson eyes pinning him in place, not that the Rat Dragon wasn't already holding him there. Now it was the Mirror Dragon's turn to touch him with her pearl; and as she did so it dredged up a long-forgotten memory—the smell of cinnamon. He hadn't smelled it, tasted it, since before he was maybe…three years old?
It was before his ears and tail were extremely noticeable, and he was still able to beg something off of people. Once, someone had given him a cinnamon bun, still warm. Ido had never before (or since then, truly) tasted anything so delicious.
He wondered, briefly, if the dragon picked the scent she gave out, to comfort him in some way—but no, a dragon could smell however they liked, he imagined it was just a coincidence. The red dragon's golden pearl brushed against his hair, and for a moment he felt its heavy weight settle on him, bringing with it the faintest Hua and, as with the Rat Dragon, the words of the dragon queen.
Find them, Rat, through the power of your Hua. Be marked, so that you may know them from all others. Before Ido had time to process the weight of her words, golden energy poured through him, sending him spinning through the sky, plunging back towards his body and away from the twelve dragons—
—and before he was opening his eyes to stare up at the blue sky once more, he could have sworn he saw a wide range of eleven glowing lights of Hua, each the color of one of the dragons.
She often got the feeling the sky was watching her.
Well, she amended, not exactly the sky—rather, the dragons in the sky.
Not everyone could see them—in fact, she was the only one in her village that she knew of, who could see them. Of course, everyone knew they were there, and no one dared call her crazy.
Because she was stronger than any other halfling, simply because she was descended from the Mirror Dragon—the queen of the dragons, twice as powerful as the smaller male dragons, and that made her—born with half the Mirror Dragon's power—just as powerful as any one of the male dragons. She could be a thirteenth dragon, she supposed, except that thirteen was not a very auspicious number. Twelve was very auspicious, and she thought she might just leave the dragons to their own—she was not full dragon anyhow.
Eona reached up, knowing exactly what her hand would fall on—a dragon's curled horns. Behind her, a dragon's tail swept out, spraying sand from the dirt path, and—the part of her dragon appearance that she valued the most—the wings.
Too small to fly much yet, but growing, growing fast—soon, she knew, she would be able to soar above the clouds—maybe even fly with the dragons!
Eona turned at the sound of her mother's voice. Her mother—the only one of the village who truly loved her; the others tolerated her only because of her dragon power.
"Mother," she smiled. Lillia's face folded into an identical smile. "Daughter," she murmured, "did you visit the beach today?" Truly, Lillia was not her true mother, but she had cared for Eona since the latter was a baby, and so Eona considered her something of a mother, and Lillia in turn thought of the Dragon halfling as her daughter.
Eona's smile grew. "Oh yes, I found some shells you can sell, if we need the money." She picked up her satchel, pulling out a few of the nicer shells she had discovered in their beach's fine sand.
Technically, the beach wasn't their beach, but as no one else would dare trespass upon it for fear of meeting the Dragon halfling, rumored to be most powerful of all the strange halflings, it had more or less become theirs. And almost every day Eona combed the beach, searching for intricate shells or debris washed onto the beach—some would garner at least a few coins.
"Very nice," her mother praised, selecting a large scalloped shell, pearly edges catching the light and refracting into a spray of rainbow colors.
Something jerked Eona's gaze upwards, and almost instantly the Dragons of Good Fortune filtered into her sight, their great bodies bigger than any building she had ever seen. She took a step forwards, an awed smile crossing her face, before she was running, running up the winding path to the cliff that bordered their beach.
"Eona?" Her mother's voice echoed after her, and she called back, "Trust me!"
And the Dragon halfling was gone again, feet kicking up fine sand, running along the path that led to the top of the cliff, a chunk of stone with a thin layer of sparse grass growing across it. Eona dug her feet into the grass, knowing she might not see it much longer—the sickness that had taken the land into its grip would soon spread here, her dragon senses told her so.
She lifted her head, staring up at the blazing glory of the Circle of Twelve, their bodies glowing with Hua, so different from the dying Empire. Without realizing it she had stretched out her arms to them, wishing they would look to her.
And one did.
The red bulk of the Mirror Dragon turned, ancient eyes finding the lonely halfling standing atop the cliff. The dragon queen's eyes seemed to say to Eona, You are mine.
Eona felt the wings at her back twitch, for the first time displaying an ability to move on their own. They shot open, longer than Eona was tall, the membranes stretched between the spines turned a glowing pink, the red veins between them like drips of blood.
In the red dragon's gaze Eona saw a word:
In her heart she felt something respond to the dragon's call: I will come! Then she was plunging forwards, straight for the edge of the cliff, her wings stretched out behind her; and she was heedless of any danger. All she saw were the Mirror Dragon's eyes, and her call ringing in the halfling's ears.
Her feet found the edge of the cliff—she didn't hesitate.