Frozen Waves – Chapter 1

A dark night sky blanketed the earth, making it near impossible to see anything. The only light came from that of the three, low hanging moons in the sky. The faint outline of rocks, rivers, and the occasional tree were the only things that dotted the otherwise desolate landscape.

A dark shadow suddenly passed through the sky, obscuring the moons for just a moment before they returned to sight. Anyone viewing from below would have simply thought it to have been a large bird flying by, but that was certainly not the case.

 

Hydro flapped her wings as she soared through the air, tears streaming down her face. The young dragon, no more than six years old, was fleeing. Fleeing from a horrible tragedy that wasn’t her fault, and yet she had to bear the blame. The top of her body glowed a magnificent forest green under the light of the moon, the bottom being shrouded in shadows that hid the deep royal cyan. A silky blue scarf hid the bulging, armor-like plates of scales on her neck, between which hid her gills that allowed for water breathing. The scarf fluttered and waved in the wind as Hydro flew, her eyes beginning to sting from the cold night air. She glanced backwards, her yellow eyes reflecting the light of the glowing, swirling patterns across her face and body as she stared at the distant rainforest behind her. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes and she looked away, wiping them away with a talon before focusing ahead. She flapped her orange wings harder, continuing to propel herself forward and away from her nightmares.

 

Her memories flashed back to the events over the last few days. Swimming, sharp teeth… and then blood. It all blurred together until Hydro’s head began to hurt, and she squeezed her eyes shut. Giving a soft growl, she shook her head to clear the memories and sped up. The distant sun was visible on the horizon, casting a soft yellow glow upon the land. The dry, barren ground was giving way to a rocky landscape with jagged hills, which quickly turned into mountains. Hydro looked up and began to search for a cave to shelter in, her eyelids drooping from tiredness. Her wings ached from flying for so long, and her head was pounding. She finally noticed a small cave wedged between two boulders and smiled, diving down and landing in front of it. She gave a few tentative sniffs, searching for signs of another dragon, and sighed in relief when the only smell was that of stone and moss. She folded her wings tight against her body and squeezed through the gap between the large stones, emerging on the other side into a relatively small cavern. It was just barely big enough for Hydro to spread her wings or stretch, and she sighed.

 

 

“Well, time to fix that.” She said. Opening her mouth, she hissed as a stream of black acid sprayed from her throat, sizzling and smoking on contact with the stones and dissolving them away like they were nothing. She continued with this for almost two hours, then closed her mouth and sighed. The cavern was now noticeably larger, big enough for at least three dragons to fit with their wings spread. Hydro gave a massive yawn and sighed, curling up on the cold stone floor and closing her eyes. She grabbed the bag from her shoulders, which she forgot she had been carrying, and set it beside her. “Maybe this was all a dream…” She thought. “Maybe I’ll wake up at home in the ocean. Current will be scolding me for not waking up earlier, Pike will be rushing me down the hall to class… Maybe…” And she thought no more as the sweet embrace of sleep overtook her.

 

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Hydro was awoken the next day by the sounds of many voices and wings whooshing through the air. She instantly stood up, her wings spread and eyes wide in terror. “They found me!” She thought frantically. “They found me and they’re going to take me back and kill me!” She desperately looked left and right for any avenue of escape, her breathing rapid. Her scales shifted from their normal green, cyan, and blue to the same grey and brown as the stones, allowing her to almost vanish into the walls of the cave. She waited for what felt like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, as the voices slowly died away. Deciding to risk it, Hydro slowly approached the entrance to the cave and peaked out. She looked up and saw a group of dragons flying away towards a huge mountain, Jade Mountain if she remembered her geography correctly. Hydro sighed in relief as she noticed the dragons’ coloration. One was a bright orange, and the other a deep scarlet. Neither were the typical pinks, blues, or greens of a RainWing dragon, instead having the colors of a SkyWing. Hydro pulled her head back and took a deep breath. “So it wasn’t them…” She said to herself. Grabbing her bag, she steeled her courage and exited the cave, spreading her wings and taking flight in the same direction as the SkyWings, towards Jade Mountain.

 

 

The SkyWings easily outsped her, their larger wings and superior build allowing them to easily fly out of sight, but Hydro didn’t care. She knew where they were heading. “Jade Mountain Academy…” She thought. “I wonder what it’s like…”

Soon, more dragons were seen in the distance as she approached the mountain. All sorts of colors were shown, from the sandy yellows of SandWings to the cold whites of IceWings. Black and purple NightWings flew too and fro, and the gold to crimson SkyWings were gathered off in their own little part of the sky, racing each other through the clouds. Dark brown MudWings settled on the ground, almost blending in with the brown dirt and stones, and the blue and turquoise SeaWings splashed about in a nearby lake, their glowing swirls and scales lighting the water as they swam. The most colorful of the bunch, however, were the Rainwings. Many of them flew about, splashes of light blue, pink, green, purple, and every color of the rainbow represented on their scales. Some of them randomly flew in front of other dragons, their scales shifting as they suddenly changed colors like a chameleon to match the dragon in front of them. Hydro instantly felt nervous about the latter two, deciding to avoid both the RainWings and SeaWings as she landed by the entrance to a large cave. An average sized adult MudWing approached her, tapping her shoulder gently.

 

“Hello!” He smiled brightly. “Are you here to register for the academy?”

 

Hydro looked at the MudWing silently for a moment before nodding. “Uh… Yeah, I guess I am.” She said slowly. After all, if school meant a free room and food, why not attend?

“Perfect! Follow me, I’ll get you signed up.” The MudWing said. “My name’s Barktracer by the way.” He said.

 

“Nice to meet you, Barktracer.” Hydro smiled. “I’m Hydro.”

“Alright, here’s the paperwork Hydro.” Bark said, reaching behind his desk and pulling out a small stack of papers. Hydro grabbed a quill and dipped it in to an ink pot, beginning to write.

Name: Hydro Vortex

Gender: Girl

Sex: Female

Species:

She hesitated for a moment before continuing writing.

Species: RainWing/SeaWing hybrid

Age: Six years

She continued like this for a few minutes until she had finished filling out the paperwork. Blowing a bit on the ink to dry it, she handed it back to Barktracer, who smiled at her. He gave the paperwork a quick look over, then filed it away and turned back to Hydro. “All set! Come on, I’ll show you to your dorm.” He said, leading the way through the halls. Hydro shifted her bag on her shoulders and followed him, weaving between random dragons passing by until they stopped at one of the smaller caves branching off of the main hall.

 

“Here’s the Gold Winglet dorm!” Barktracer announced. “This is where you’ll stay with your wingmates, one from each tribe.” He said. “Go ahead and find an empty bed to claim, orientation is tomorrow at noon.” And with that, the mudwing turned and left, allowing Hydro to enter the room. Several of the beds were already decorated, one with many jewels, one with several maps and a small telescope, and another with a simple small wooden carving of a MudWing. Hydro found one of the empty beds, a bottom bunk, and placed her bag down, unpacking the contents. A large conch shell, a few art supplies, and a very detailed drawing of her and another rainwing smiling together. “Bamboo…” Hydro sighed, placing a talon over the drawing of her and her best friend.

 

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Hydro and Bamboo (Credit to Queenmoonbutterfly on Instagram)

 She placed the photo down and hung up her bag, then turned and searched for some kind of list of names. If she was gonna be in the Gold Winglet, she could at least get to know her wingmates, and that started with names.

“Hmmm… here it is!” Hydro saw the paper hanging by the door and approached it, looking at the names of the dragons from each tribe.

SeaWing: Acrylica

SkyWing:

RainWing:

MudWing: Ratchet

NightWing:  

SandWing:

IceWing: Ice Shard

Hydro quickly grabbed one of her quills and wrote her name in the slot for RainWing, since SeaWing was already taken. She noticed a lot of the slots seemed empty. Maybe not everyone had arrived yet? She looked over the list for a moment longer, hoping to remember the names, until she saw Barktracer returning with a small, white and yellow dragon in tow. The dragon smiled and waved at Hydro, who waved back with a small smile of her own. Bark stopped in front of the Gold Winglet room and waved a talon forward. “Here’s your dorm,” He announced to the SandWing who’d been following him. “And there’s one of your wingmates.” He smiled. “I’ll be back later to check up on you. Remember, orientation at noon tomorrow!”

 

The SandWing waved goodbye to Bark, then turned and entered the dorm. She gave a little smile towards Hydro and extended a talon. “Hi, I-I’m Copperhead.” She said kind of quietly. Hydro took her talon and shook it. “I’m Hydro. Nice to meet you.” She smiled. Copperhead nodded and turned, picking an empty bed which happened to be next to Hydro’s. “So, first year at Jade Mountain huh?” She asked. “It’s kind of exciting, with all the other dragons around. I’ve never seen so many species in one place before!”

Hydro laughed a little bit. “Yeah, I’ve mostly only seen RainWings and SeaWings in my life. It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest.” Looking over at Copperhead, Hydro noticed black patterns running down her back and tail, almost like the patterns on a snake. Several bits of golden jewelry hung from Copperhead’s neck and wrists. “Thats pretty jewelry,” Hydro commented. “Where’d you get it?”

Copperhead turned and looked at her, sitting on the edge of the bed she had claimed. “Oh, these?” She asked, holding up an arm and showcasing the bracelets. “My mother gave them to me a few years ago. They’ve been in our family for generations.”

“Well, they’re really pretty,” Hydro smiled. She looked down at her own blue scarf, and the small seashell bracelet around her wrist. “Mine aren’t nearly as impressive. I made this bracelet years ago, and this scarf was given to me by my best friend…” She trailed off as her mind wandered to Bamboo. She sighed and shook out her head as Copperhead looked at her with concern. “Sorry, lost in thought.” She said, shaking herself a bit. She looked out one of the cave windows and saw more dragons approaching, likely to enroll in the school. “I’m gonna go stretch my wings a bit,” She said, exiting the dorm. “You’re welcome to come with me.”

Copperhead shook her head. “Thanks, but I gotta get unpacked. I’ll find you later, okay?” She waved to Hydro as she left, soon leaving view a Hydro turned the corner and vanished into the crowd of dragons.

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Hydro exited the school, spreading her wings and quickly lifting off into the air. She did a few loops through the open sky before hovering for a short time, hoping to find something interesting. She noticed the SeaWings seemed to have cleared out from the lake and smiled, tucking in her wings and diving towards the water. A huge splash erupted into the air as she plunged into the chilly water. She opened her eyes and swam to the bottom of the lake, lighting up her swirling patterns to allow her to see in the darkness of the water. Her webbed talons spread as she moved towards the bottom, propelling her down faster. She came to a stop at the bottom and sat, absentmindedly digging at the mud around her talons.

She looked up as she spotted a light heading towards her. Squinting her eyes, she saw another SeaWing not far from her, seemingly doing the same thing that she was. Relaxing in the water.

image2

Acrylica (Credit to A Flame That Is Amber on the app Art Enhancers Amino)

The other SeaWing seemed to notice her too and swam a bit closer, her patterns flashing in the SeaWing aquatic language. “Hello there,” She said.

Hi,” Hydro replied. “What’s your name?

Acrylica, you?” She replied.

Hydro.” Hydro responded. She stopped for a moment before flashing back “Wait, Acrylica? I think you’re in my winglet.

Acrylica’s eyes widened as she smiled. “Hey, that’s kinda cool!” She said. Hydro nodded. Just then, the faint sound of a bell ringing could be heard from the surface. Shadows of hundreds of dragons passed over the lake, all rushing towards the school. Spreading her wings, Hydro propelled herself out of the water and into the air. Acrylica followed quickly after, but her flight was a little shaky. While Hydro flew through the sky quickly, easily avoiding bumping into the other dragons, Acrylica almost crashed into other dragons many times. Hydro flew over to her, gently tapping her talon with her tail. “Hey, need some help?” She asked.

Acrylica smiled thankfully and gently took hold of Hydro’s tail. Hydro led the way through the crowd and landed safely at the entrance, Acrylica quickly letting go of her tail and walking beside her towards the dorm. “Thanks for the help,” She said. “Sorry I was a bother, I’m…” She sighed. “I’m kind of… blind.”

Hydro looked at Acrylica sadly. “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.” She said, nudging her with a wing. “Don’t worry, you’ll be alright. And if anyone tries to pick on you for it, they’ll have to face me!” She said defensively, spreading her wings a bit. Other dragons grunted and growled at her as her wings took up the hallway and she blushed, quickly tucking the back against her sides. The two of them entered the Gold Winglet dorm together, and Hydro noticed two new dragons in the room. An IceWing sat off to the side, his face plastered with cold indifference, while the other, a MudWing, sat on his bed talking with Copperhead. With a quick glance at the name list, Hydro identified the two of them as Ice Shard and Ratchet. Acrylica quickly rushed to Ratchet, giving him a hug. “Ratchet!” She smiled. “You’re in the same winglet as me!”

“Hey, calm down sis,” Ratchet laughed. “Course I am! You’d be lost without me.”

Acrylica chuckled and pulled away from the hug, then turned towards Hydro. “Hydro, this is my brother Ratchet. Ratchet, this is my new friend Hydro.” Hydro waved, and Ratchet stood, approaching her. He took a sniff of the air and nodded at her. “RainWing SeaWing. Interesting.” He stated. “Nice to meet you, Hydro.” He held out a talon and shook hers. Hydro looked at him, slightly confused. “You could tell my species… by smell?” She asked.

Acrylica nodded. “Ratchet has a really good sense of smell. We use it to play games and see if he can guess what food we’re holding when his eyes are closed. He’s never gotten it wrong before!”

Hydro’s eyes widened. “Never? Thats impressive!” She exclaimed. Ratchet laughed, nudging his sister. “Eh, nothing to it.” He said not-so-humbly.

While Acrylica and Ratchet continued speaking, Hydro approached Copperhead. “Hey, you done unpacking?” She asked. Copperhead gave a little jump and looked at Hydro with wide eyes. “U-Unpacking? O-Oh, right! Um, yeah I’m done.” She said quickly. Hydro looked at Copperhead quizzically for a moment before shrugging. “Alrighty then.” She said. They’d only just met, after all, it wasn’t her place to pry into why Copperhead was acting odd. Hydro began to climb on to her bed to relax when she felt some pain in her wings. Sighing, she stood and began to walk out of the dorm.

“Where are you going?” Copperhead asked her, tilting her head curiously.

“Infirmary, my wings are sore.” Hydro explained. “I flew for a long time to get here.”

Copperhead nodded, waving a talon. “Well, go on then. I hope they feel better!”

“Thanks!” Hydro smiled, waving back as she turned and exited the room. She walked down the hall, glancing at the plaques by each room until she found the infirmary. She walked in and saw a young SandWing, no more than nine or ten, organizing some herbs and medicines.

“Hello?” She asked. The SandWing turned and looked at her, setting down the herbs and approaching.

“Hi!” He said. “I’m Cactus, head doctor. Need anything?” He asked.

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Cactus (Credit to Shadewing on the app Art Enhancers Amino)

“Uh, my wings are kinda sore.” Hydro said, glancing at her wings folded against her sides. Cactus nodded and led her to a small rock ledge where she climbed onto and sat. “I’ll get some comfrey for that,” He said, disappearing into some kind of storage closet and reappearing with a talon full of herbs. He began to grind the herbs together, then rubbed them along Hydro’s wings. Instantly, Hydro felt the tension in her wings fade, as did the pain, She smiled at Cactus. “Thank you, that feels much better.” She smiled. When Cactus had finished, she stood and gave her wings a few test flaps. The pain was all but gone, and she felt a lot more relaxed. “That was comfrey, right? It grows everywhere in the RainWing kingdom, I’ve used a lot of it before.”

“Really?” Cactus asked. “You have experience with herbs?”

“Oh yeah, tons!” Hydro smiled, sitting down. “I used to experiment with herbs all the time. The nurses back home all got so annoyed, and eventually just kinda taught me what each herb did so that I’d stop stealing all of theirs.”

Cactus laughed. “Well, that’s certainly interesting. Say, how would you like to train to be a nurse here?”

Hydro stared at Cactus for a moment. “A nurse? At Jade Mountain? Seriously?” She asked.

“Sure!” Cactus smiled. “I mean, you have experience, I don’t see why not to. I’m only nine and I’m the head nurse, most of the others are ten, eleven, or even twelve. They listen to me, but think I’m childish.” He said. “It’d be awesome to have someone younger than me around.”

Hydro chuckled. “Alright, I’m in.” She smiled. “When do I start?”

“Well, we’ll have to set up your schedule for it. Probably next week, that sound good?”

“Works for me,” Hydro smiled. “Alright, thanks for the help Cactus. I’m gonna head back to my dorm. See you later!” She waved goodbye as she exited the infirmary, quickly returning to her dorm. Looking out the window, she saw the sun beginning to set. “Her wingmates were mostly in bed, talking or preparing to sleep. Hydro curled up on her bed and closed her eyes, mumbling a “good night” to her friends before sleep overtook her.

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