A/N: Ok! Hi Everyone, and welcome to No Rest for the Wicked :) This is my first attempt at fan fiction, so constructive criticism and comments are extremely welcome. A huge thanks to my beta RiverStyxx, without whom this probably wouldn't have happened :3
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Spyro series or any characters or places that originate from it. I do own the OC's in this story, but that is all.
Amidst the fiery carnage of the world's destruction, two young dragons stood upon a large purple crystal, which seemed to be the last piece of solid earth in existence.
"Go where, Cynder?" yelled Spyro, struggling to be heard roar of the cataclysm unfolding around him. "There'll be nothing left! The world is breaking apart, but I think I can stop it."
"I think I'm meant to," he finished with a note of finality.
Cynder stepped forward, resolute despite the fear in her voice. "Then I'm with you."
Tearing his gaze from her, Spyro slowly rose into the air, his body glowing a vibrant purple. In seconds his form had vanished in a haze of purple energy, which rapidly expanded in all directions. It rushed toward Cynder, who was riveted on the floating form above her. If he failed now, she would never grow old; never have a mate, a family, or any of the things she had only dreamed about since she had been freed of the Dark Master's control.
Her life, and the lives of millions, now rested on the shoulders of the dragon in front of her, the one now ready to sacrifice himself to save the world. Words could not express her feelings for him, but it was worth a shot.
"I love you."
The sphere of energy encompassed her in a blinding flash of light, and she knew no more.
Cynder slowly opened her eyes, squinting against the harsh sun. She was lying beside a river bank, somewhere in the valley of Avalar, in the early morning light. She pushed herself up on one paw, feeling the dew dampen her scales, and the familiar sound of rushing water echoed beside her. She gazed in wonder at the two butterflies slowly floating past her snout… She was alive.
"Feeling better?" said a familiar voice behind her.
Cynder snapped her head around. There, lying on the other side of a makeshift campfire, was Spyro. He was sporting several painful-looking injuries, some of them quite severe, but he was smiling like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. Cynder could only gape. "But Spyro…you…Malefor," she stuttered. Spyro padded over and placed a comforting paw on her back, looking deeply into her eyes.
"Cynder, it's OK," he said, his smile widening. "We won! I pulled the world back together. We're safe now."
Cynder frowned, confused. "But how did I get out of the Earth's core?"
Spyro looked down, rubbing the back of his head with a paw, before glancing back up
"I carried you," he answered quietly, the words betraying his strength. Cynder's eyes widened.
"You..." Without warning she leapt at him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Thank you," she whispered, a tear leaking from her eye. Suddenly she backed up, blushing furiously. "Sorry…"
Spyro was also, unsuccessfully, trying to hide the colour spreading across his cheeks.
"I'll uh…breakfast…yep", he stuttered, quickly taking flight. Only when he was sufficiently out of earshot did he speak again. "Smooth, real smooth", he muttered. Far below, he spotted a sheep nibbling by the riverbank. Diving down stealthily, a quick blast of his fire breath turned it into breakfast. His mind was still in overdrive as he winged his way back to camp. He could still feel the blush on his cheeks. It wasn't like it was the first time she'd touched him, and it had only been a hug.
Still, Spyro couldn't keep a smile from his face as he remembered the moment, and he felt a warm glow in his chest. He landed lightly back beside Cynder, dropping the sheep in between them.
"Breakfast," he announced, trying to cover up the awkwardness of several minutes ago. "Eat up; we've got a long flight back to Warfang."
Cynder nodded. "I wonder, do they realise we survived?" she said thoughtfully, chewing on a leg of sheep.
Spyro chuckled, "Yeah, it'd be pretty awkward to arrive at your own funeral." He perked up suddenly before he reached behind him, taking out a small bag, which he handed to Cynder.
"What's in here?" she queried.
"Red gems," Spyro answered. "I kept a few in case you were hurt."
Cynder eyed up the many bruises and cuts still covering Spyro's body. "In case I was hurt?!" she said in amazement. "Have you seen yourself recently? You look like a Golem sat on you!"
"Use them on yourself, Spyro, before I give you a reason to really need them," said Cynder sternly. Spyro gulped and quickly smashed the crystals, unable to hide his relief as the pain was washed from his body. He stretched like a cat, and Cynder turned away quickly to prevent herself from getting too much of a view.
"Let's get going," she said, "we don't want to keep the guardians waiting any longer."
Spyro's face fell suddenly at her words. Tears glistened in his eyes as he bowed his head sadly.
"Not all of them," he whispered. Cynder looked on sympathetically, the memory of Ignitus' death still fresh in her mind as well.
"It's alright, Spyro," she said softly. "But hey, Sparx will be there, right?"
Spyro noticeably brightened at the mention of his foster brother. "Yeah," he smiled. "C'mon, let's go."
The two took off, Spyro taking the lead with Cynder following behind, also deep in thought. Spyro hadn't made any mention of the final moments down at the earth's core, so it was possible he hadn't heard anything…
She shook her head. She would wait and see. The two of them sped on, quickly making their way towards Warfang, the mighty city of dragons.
Far away, in the crystal land of Concurrent Skies, the Earth had only moments before finished repairing itself. The once mighty fortress of the former Terror of the Skies now lay in ruins, its forbidding walls and towering turrets crumbled beyond repair by the monumental movement of the land. Jagged husks were all that remained of the imposing spires, but far below ground, the network of caves and dungeons had escaped serious damage. It was from these dungeons that creatures started to emerge, enjoying their first taste of freedom in 15 long years.
All throughout the caves were strewn pickaxes, mine-carts, manacles and whips, advertising the nature of the caverns: a gargantuan iron mine that had once fed the ravenous weapon and armour needs of Malefor's army.
The creatures stood upon two legs and had two arms, like cheetahs, though little hair grew on their bodies. Their skin was coarse and light brown in colour. Many of them sported horrific scars, testament to years of abuse at the hands of apes and other creatures of darkness.
Ironic, then, that it was these cousins of apes that should be the ones to walk free, while their captors perished.
Unlike the apes, no fangs protruded from their mouths. Their faces were shorter and their features softer. They emerged hesitantly from their prison; males first with females behind them, some of whom were clutching infants to their breasts. Their eyes darted fearfully about as if waiting for some horrible trap to spring. Many of them wore little more than ragged loincloths, indescribably filthy.
After several minutes of stillness from the earth, one of the leading creatures turned and sprinted back to where a large congregation was waiting in one of the larger, hollowed out caverns. Pushing his way through the crowd, he stopped before a tall figure in the centre.
"Master," he said gutturally, bowing low to the ground, "the Earth has stopped moving, and the barriers of energy have fallen. Does that mean…?"
The figure laughed darkly. "Yes, it would appear Malefor is dead, and we are no longer slaves."
Euphoria erupted instantaneously at the words. Males clasped arms, roaring in triumph. Females clutched their children, crying in relief. All around the caverns, the ecstatic yells of freedom rang out. Yet through it all, the figure in the centre did not move, merely standing still, allowing the raucous celebrations to continue. Finally, he held up his hand.
"My people!" he bellowed, allowing his voice to ring through the caverns. Hundreds of expectant eyes turned to gaze upon him. "For too long have we slaved and rotted under the tyranny of Malefor and his puppet Cynder! Too long have we mined ore, built walls and watched our children die on the whims of dragons!"
He paused and was pleased to see his words having the desired effect. Mutters of dissent and anger swept through the crowd as they recalled the years of slavery, hunger and death. Scattered sobs rang out in remembrance of family worked to the point of death, starved or killed in a fit of sadism by wardens.
The figure continued, "I say it is time we fight fire with fire! If Malefor has indeed met his end, it is now the perfect opportunity to strike out at the black monster which has kept us imprisoned!" The crowd murmured in agreement. "You all know of whom I speak!"
His voice dropped, filled with hatred and spite, "Cynder."
The crowd's murmurs grew in volume and venom as they remembered the circumstances in which they had been imprisoned. Sensing his grip on the crowd strengthen, the figure forged onwards. "That fire-breathing animal will pay for what she has done to us!" he roared.
The crowd roared back in agreement. What had only moments before been a joyous and happy gathering now screamed with bloodlust and hatred, whipped into frenzy by the dark figure's words. All around the caverns and dungeons, shouts of anger, rebellion and death rang out. The figure turned away, a satisfied smile on his face.
"Mankind will have its revenge."
Sweat dripped from Spyro's forehead, stinging his eyes, his wing muscles aching horribly. They had been flying for hours and now, beneath the ruthless midday sun, the strain was beginning to show. Glancing ahead, his eyes found Cynder, her streamlined shape streaking through the sky ahead. She really was made for the air, he mused; nice slender body, long slim tail, beautiful shapely legs…
Spyro shook his head. Hold up there, buddy, that's kind of getting off topic, don't you think?
Still, he couldn't prevent himself from admiring her as she cut through the air effortlessly, his eyes riveted on her every move. As if by some sixth sense, she turned to see him staring avidly at her. Spyro blushed and averted his eyes, but Cynder laughed playfully.
"Why so far behind, purple boy?" she called. "You after gaining a little weight recently?"
Spyro grinned. "You are so dead!"
Cynder dove downwards, flaring her wings moments before she hit the ground, stopping and hovering in the middle of a small clearing. Turning, she looked back up at Spyro. "You want me?" she called loftily. "Come and get me!"
More than you know, Cynder.
Nevertheless, Spyro folded his wings and dived downwards, rapidly picking up speed as he hurtled towards Cynder, who remained where she was, hovering a few feet above the ground.
"Gotcha!" yelled Spyro as he closed in on Cynder, only for her to disappear in a wisp of shadow. Before Spyro could register this, he crashed headfirst into a large tree and unceremoniously collapsed on the ground, moaning. Cynder erupted back out of the ground in a murky black cloud, hooting with laughter.
"OOOWWW that's got to hurt!" she exclaimed gleefully.
Chagrined, Spyro quickly bounded back up, breathing a fine mist over Cynder. It quickly hardened to solid ice, and Cynder's laughs were cut short as all but her head was encased. She fell to the ground with a resounding thud.
"Spyro!" she yelled, muffled by the fact she was talking into the ground. "Get me out of here!"
"I don't know, Cynder," said Spyro, sniggering, "midday sun's pretty warm. I'd say you'd melt by yourself in…maybe…3, 4 hours?"
"That's not funny, Spyro!" she said, unamused. "Let me out right now or by the Ancestors I swear I'll…" She rocked back and forth, unsuccessfully trying to break out.
Spyro waltzed over nonchalantly. "Well, since you asked so nicely…" He breathed a stream of warm air, melting the ice in a matter of seconds. Cynder huffed before taking off again. The purple dragon's playfulness evaporated quickly.
"Hey, Cynder, come on! It was just a joke!" Spyro called. He leapt into the air, taking after her. "Cynder, please! I'm sorry!"
Cynder smirked, listening to his increasingly desperate pleas for forgiveness. Suddenly she whirled around, stopping face-to-face with him.
"I'll forgive you," she said slowly, "If I get one favour."
Spyro sighed in relief. "OK, what is it?"
Cynder smiled coyly.
"I don't know yet," she said, brushing the flat side of her tail blade under his chin. "But I'll hold you to it." She whirled away, laughing at his now slack-jawed expression. Spyro shook his head again in an effort to clear it, and then frowned towards the horizon. A muddy-coloured mass had just come into view.
"I think that's Warfang."
As if in answer, a horn suddenly blared in the distance, followed by more and more until a chorus of drones filled the air. Spyro grinned. "Looks like they've spotted us," he glanced out of the corner of his eye at Cynder. "Race you?"
Cynder grinned back. "You're on!"
The two of them sped rapidly towards the looming walls of the dragon city, invigorated by the knowledge their journey was almost at an end.
A lone mole scurried across the marble floor of the newly-built Dragon Temple, a replacement for the one destroyed a week earlier. Hurrying as fast as his stumpy legs could carry him, he approached the door of the guardian's chamber, where voices could be heard arguing furiously. At this time, one in particular spoke up, tinged with sadness and regret.
"Terrador, it is simply too inconceivably fantastical to believe that any of them could have possibly survived the cataclysmic turn of events. I'm afraid since none of them have materialised here this past week, the logical explanation is that they perished along with Malefor."
Another voice cut in, sounding similarly forlorn. "It pains me to say it, but I agree with Volteer. It's been too long, Terrador. Spyro, Cynder, and Ignitus aren't coming back."
"No," said a third voice flatly. "I refuse to give up hope. They will return. They always do."
The mole burst in through the door, stopping before a large table, around which three large dragons were standing. They all turned and looked in amazement as the mole panted, hands on his knees, "Begging your pardon, Masters, but—"
"What is the meaning of this?!" spluttered the nearest dragon, who was yellow with dark grey wings, stomach and horns. "We are holding a meeting of vital importance and you have the audacity, the tenacity, the nerve to interrupt! Why I never—"
"Yes," interjected the dragon beside him, who was a two-tone blue in colour. "Why are you here?"
The mole bowed before turning to address the third dragon, a stocky green dragon with brown wings, horns and underbelly. "Master Terrador, two figures have been spotted on the horizon. We think that it's Spyro and Cynder."
Terrador looked up sharply before glancing over at the other two, whose faces displayed a mixture of shock and joy. He turned quickly back to the mole, shrank slightly beneath the piercing gaze of the earth guardian.
"Are you sure?"
The mole stammered nervously, "A-almost, Master Terrador. They're dragons alright, and I d-don't know who else it c-could be." Terrador nodded.
"You have my thanks. Cyril, Volteer, let's go." He tore out of the chamber, crossing the atrium in earth-shattering leaps.
By the Ancestors, please let it be them. I couldn't take it if it weren't, not at this stage.
Winding down the city streets in minutes, Terrador sprinted up the ramparts and onto the wall, where a small crowd of moles and dragons had already gathered. There were indeed two figures rapidly approaching. As Cyril and Volteer arrived beside him, he squinted towards the figures, who were rapidly gaining focus.
I don't believe it… I think…it's them! I'm sure of it!
Before he could complete another thought, a yellow glow zoomed by his head, on intercept trajectory with the two heroes.
Spyro and Cynder flew side by side towards the imposing defences of the city and were pleased to see a crowd gathering to welcome them home. Moles and dragons alike gazed in wonder as the two adolescent dragons closed in towards them. Cynder's gaze was distracted by a small yellow glow that was coming towards them at high speed. Spyro noticed too and let out a joyous yell.
"Spyro!" The two unlikely brothers met in mid-air, Sparx attaching himself to one of Spyro's front horns. "Man, you really scared me, I thought for a moment you weren't coming back!" he gushed as he clung to Spyro as if for dear life. Spyro raised his eyebrows; never had he seen such a display of emotion from Sparx before.
"Sparx, it's OK, we're safe now," he smiled.
Sparx disengaged himself, rubbing his eyes with the back of one miniature hand. "Sorry, just had a bit of sentimentality stuck in my throat."
Spyro smiled. Where have I heard that before?
Only then did Sparx turn to look at Cynder, who returned his gaze just as coolly.
Spyro looked on anxiously as an uncomfortable silence passed between the two. Sparx rubbed the back of his head. "I'm glad you're back," he said finally. Cynder felt a rush of warmth for the dragonfly.
"Thanks, Sparx," she smiled. "I did say I'd look after him for you, didn't I?" Sparx returned the smile, the ice now broken between them.
"Yeah, who knows where he'd end up without you minding his purple ass," the dragonfly joked. Spyro frowned, looking from one to the other
"When did this become about me?" The other two laughed at his discomfort.
"Come on," said Sparx. "There's some people who kind of want to see you, and by 'some people', I mean three grumpy old dudes in particular."
Spyro didn't have to ask who he meant. He and Cynder flew on and landed on the wall, where they were immediately swarmed by over one hundred moles and dragons vying to offer their eternal friendship and thanks. Then, to the young dragons' relief, the guardians forced their way to the front.
"Spyro! Cynder!" babbled Volteer excitedly. "This is amazing, astounding, confounding! To think you survived the perilous vanquishing of the most dastardly tyrant our world has ever known, why it's truly EXTRAORDINARY…" He paused for breath, at which point Terrador cut in.
"Yes it is, but now is not the time for this tale, and this is not the place. I suggest we return to the temple, where we can talk freely." The small group turned and walked back towards the grand building, the guardians in formation around the two young heroes to protect them from the crowd milling around them. Once inside the temple, Terrador shut the door behind them and heaved a sigh of relief.
Spyro and Cynder's gaze was drawn, though, by a huge statue that dominated the centre of the atrium, so big it equalled the one in the old temple's training room.
The statue was of them.
The two of them had been engraved in what could only be described as a truly epic pose: standing side by side, sternly staring into the distance, as if to defy whatever evil stood in their way. The statues were in very good likeness, although Spyro thought his had been done up in such a way that he was now classically handsome. He didn't remember his muscles being that well-defined either.
Similarly, Cynder had been carved with striking beauty, and her body elongated and curved as if she was a fully grown dragoness. She blushed as she took in her carved self, which was flattering in the extreme. Sparx flew in between the awestruck dragons and whispered, "Aww, you guys even make a good couple as statues!"
Spyro and Cynder blushed and turned away from each other. Luckily, Terrador arrived to break the silence. "Well, young dragons, what do you think?"
"It's amazing," said Cynder gratefully. "It really is, but don't you think they may have overdone it a bit?" Terrador cast a critical eye on the statue and nodded.
"Yes, the moles do like to flatter with statues, but," at this he winked at the two, "give it a few years, and you'll grow into them."
They plodded on into the meeting room, whereupon the three guardians took up positions at the table opposite Spyro and Cynder. Sparx tapped Spyro on the head.
"Hey man, I'm going back to the room; don't know if I could handle another session with the three old-timers. See you later, yeah?"
"Sure thing, Sparx" answered Spyro, and Sparx quickly buzzed away. Silence descended upon the room. Terrador gazed down at the table, as if trying to figure out what to say. Finally he looked up.
"I take it…Ignitus isn't coming back."
Spyro felt as though he had been punched in the stomach. In the excitement of his return, he had forgotten completely about Ignitus. The closest thing he had ever had to a father, and he had acted as if he had never existed. His eyes glazed over with tears, and Cynder placed a comforting wing over his back as he breathed in and out in an effort to compose himself.
His silence answered the question. The guardians bowed their heads in grief, remembering their fallen brother. Then Cyril spoke.
"He was the bravest of us all."
"His name will live on in glory," said Volteer quietly.
"May the Ancestors watch over his spirit," finished Terrador. "We surmised as much when you arrived alone, but still…it is a bitter pill to swallow."
"I'm sorry," whispered Spyro as a tear dripped down his muzzle. "He died to get us through the Ring of Fire. If we had been able to get through some other way—"
"Spyro, stop it," said Cynder sharply. "It wasn't your fault, it was the only way."
"Cynder is right, Spyro," said Cyril. "Regrettable as it is, Ignitus' death was necessary to save the world. He died a hero." Spyro nodded, taking a deep breath.
Volteer spoke up, "Now, Spyro, care to elucidate on just how exactly you managed to defeat Malefor unscathed?"
Spyro nodded again and began to relay the story of their fight with Malefor, beginning just after Ignitus' death, through their confrontation with Malefor, although Cynder noticed Spyro left out the part where she turned on him, and Malefor's statement of her betrayal. He then proceeded through their epic fight with Malefor, and his reconstruction of the world.
"…and then when Cynder didn't leave, I just…put the world back together, don't ask me how."
Cynder's heart leapt, but she forced her face to remain impassive.
Terrador cocked his head, "And you say these apparitions just pulled him down into the crystal? Strange."
"It would appear that the Ancestors had a hand in this, Terrador," stated Cyril knowingly. "I say we do not question it and instead just be grateful." Volteer nodded his affirmation.
"I also conclude that this event is simply too abnormal to explain through anything other than divine intervention, Terrador. Some things we mortals simply cannot comprehend. "His gaze drifted over to the window and he let out a cry of amazement. "By the Ancestors! Look how dark it is! We must have been talking for hours." Cyril raised an eyebrow.
"All in a day's work for you, eh, Volteer?" he remarked sardonically, while Volteer spluttered in outrage.
"Enough, you two," said Terrador wearily. "Volteer is right, it is extremely late." He fixed his eyes on Spyro and Cynder, whose eyes were slowly drifting shut, "I'm sure you are both exhausted. Come, I will have someone show you to your rooms. They are above the academy. It is where we always housed our adolescents. But be quiet, or you'll wake the others."
Cynder and Spyro shot each other an astonished look before Spyro looked back at Terrador, eyes wide, "Others? You mean there are others our age in the city?" Terrador's eyes twinkled.
"There are indeed, but more on that tomorrow. Off to bed with you both," he turned and put his head outside the door.
"Rolf!" he called. "Take these two to their quarters for some sleep. Goodness knows they've earned it."
A mole hurried in the door, bowing low.
"Of course, Master Terrador," he said, before turning to Spyro and Cynder. "This way, if you please."
Spyro and Cynder took their leave and followed Rolf the short distance to the Academy. Their rooms were on the second floor, down a long corridor with doors on each side. Rolf stopped in between two doors, separated by a short length of corridor. "These are your rooms. I hope they are to your liking."
Spyro nodded tiredly in thanks, before turning to Cynder, who shot him a weak smile.
"See you in the morning," she said, putting a paw on her door.
"Yeah se-OOOWWWWNNN…" the rest of Spyro's sentence was lost in a colossal yawn. Cynder giggled, stepping inside her door and shutting it behind her. Spyro smiled and fell against his own, stumbling inside the room. He caught sight of several cushions on a slightly elevated platform in the corner, and walked groggily over before falling onto them. He was asleep before his head hit the cushion.
And that's Chapter 1! Hope you enjoyed it, and apologies for the numerous POV switches :/ Any reviews are much appreciated. Thanks!