a collection of tales [[ chronocompass writing ]]

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1 year, 10 months ago
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Chapter 41
Published 2 years, 1 month ago

So I'm in this group that has me write quite a bit about some of my characters, and I figured I could put that stuff as a series on here! These short stories probably won't connect much, if at all.

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Author's Notes

This little story came out of me wishing that the rain would finally arrive where I live and pondering how to write for Basil. He was my first character, and I roleplayed as him a bunch back in the day, but as I've matured, so has he. I'd like to think he can hold serious conversations nowadays, but he doesn't feel right unless he's getting into trouble.

he thrived on the thunder [ basil, teeba]

- - - -

Basil wasn't one to stay all that focused on things. Needless to say, it took him longer than he would have liked to find his way to Salvus, as the Company had suggested. Especially with two still-growing dragons by his side, both filled with a curiosity rivaling his own, it had been hard to make any progress without being sidetracked.

For the past few days, there had been a constant drizzle coming down from the sky. Basil, Friend, and Bougin had splashed around in the formed puddles for the first day, and hid under the protection of trees on the second.  Now, on day three, Basil had to admit that he was very tired of being wet and cold. It was time to reach their destination. The rain was beginning to fall down more heavily, and the sun was setting. Basil could have handled being out in the storm for far longer, if he needed to be - it was his dragons that he feared for.

Friend scampered bravely ahead in the forest they were traveling through. Friend and Basil had a shared mind, so they of course both knew the map that the Company had mentally sent to them. The red panda wasn't all that concerned about Friend getting them lost. 

Bougin was tucked safely under one of Basil's wings. The little dragon had started to shiver in the past hour, and  Basil was doing his best to keep the fellow warm. Being a ghost, however, meant that he wasn't all that warm himself - even before the days of rain. "You're gonna be alright, Bougin," Basil whispered to her. "Adventure's been fun, but we're just about there now."

Bougin's non-existent teeth were chattering. She snuggled closer under Basil's wing and nodded wearily. Yeah, this had definitely gone on a bit too long.

"FRIEND!" Basil called ahead. He bounded over a fallen log and caught sight of his first dragon, still forging the path ahead. "How close are we?"

The acrobatic dragon turned in mid-flight to nod back at his friends through the falling rain. "Not far, I think," he shouted at them. "Pretty sure the town's due west from here. Just keep on moving!"

As the trio continued to make their way through the damp forest, a flash of light lit up the sky, followed by a loud boom. Bougin squeaked and attempted to hide even further underneath Basil's wings. Basil himself ducked under the nearest bush. Rain continued to fall. Friend, from ahead, yelped in sudden shock and hurried back to Basil and Bougin.

"What was that?" Friend asked. He and Bougin were looking through Basil's mind, and saw memories of water falling from the sky and thunder calling out, echoing across the land. Basil realized quite suddenly - though both of his dragons had seen rain before, neither one had experienced a thunderstorm.

He started walking again, this time at more of a jog, and did his best to explain over the clatter of rain and the flashes of sound that sounded out from further away. "It's a storm! The sky goes all dark and crashes with a ton of sound. They're so exciting when they happen! Though with how cold we all are, it's probably better that we hurry inside rather than explore. As much as I hate to say it."

Between the loud sounds and the constant branches that got in their way, it took another twenty minutes to reach the town of Salvus. A mis-matched landscape of metal buildings, trees, and fields revealed itself to them as Basil ducked under a tangle of damp vines and thorns. The thunder still echoed out around them. Basil couldn't see anyone outside.

"...They probably won't mind if we just knock on a door," Basil mused to himself. "Right? Right." He weaved through the taller grass at the edge of the forest and crossed the threshold of the town. The dirt paths that weaved through the village were covered in water. The nearest building was a strong, metal tower, two stories tall, and Basil led his dragons to it and - as he said he would - knocked.

"HEY! Anyone home? We just need a place to stay and wait out the storm, and maybe to talk to someone? I'm really very new to this whole place, I'd like some advice..." Basil said. Although the first part was shouted, the rest of the sentence got slowly quieter until he was just whispering to himself. Bougin offered an encouraging mental nudge, and someone else gave him a physical nudge - in the form of a tapping on the shoulder, behind him.

Basil whirled around, one wing spread out in warning and the other still keeping Bougin warm. Standing before him were two blue and pink dragons, both of whom seemed perfectly at home in the wet, loud weather. "Hold in the name of the River Brigade!" The more prominently blue one commanded, authority present in her stance. 

Basil, who was very used to dramatic adventures and being captures and questioned, wasn't all that concerned. He raised his front paws in surrender and made sure his dragons were safe behind him. Just in case. "Ah, hello there! We come in peace! And all that. The Company sent me, if you know of them? Cool friend. Five heads! Impressive."

The two guard dragons exchanged a glance, then nodded. "We'll get you inside, then, and see if you are who you say you are.”

911 words

- - - -

The sun had mostly faded beneath the sky, and the moon was rising slowly - night had arrived. Still, the rain poured down, perhaps even harder than before. As lightning flashed across the sky, Basil found himself oddly glad to be inside, a blanket around his shoulders, a roaring fire close by, and his dragons eagerly chattering away with the two aquatic dragons that had stopped them. The only way to make this better would be some hot chocolate. A pity, then, that as a ghost he'd never truly experience that last bit again. Still, it was very nice.

Basil focused in on the conversation taking place. "We met five dragons in one!" Bougin was explaining. Ah, the canyon adventure. Now that had been a delightful time. It seemed so long ago, and yet such a short time away. Their adventure had taken so long, after all. At last, though, if only for a time, it was at an end.

"Oh. Oh!" Sprinkles exclaimed at that, delighted. "Do you mean the Company? She sent you here? How brilliant!" The water loving dragon turned to Sparkles. "That's a good recommendation. All there's left to do is check their intentions, you know?"

"But they're metal dragons!" Sparkler argued. "A metal dragon's heart is always pure." Basil sensed a bit of pride in the statement. 

"One can never be sure unless they check," Sprinkles said in response. "It's important to keep our Family safe, you know that."

Sparkler's eyes narrowed. "You're right." As Sprinkles' gaze began to glance over the two visiting dragons and rider, Basil raised a paw in question.

"Hold up. Whatcha doing? Not that I don't want to be proven kind, that sounds super good, but I would quite enjoy knowing what's going on," he said.

"Oh, nothing all that bad," Sparkler reassured, a goofy grin on her face that Basil couldn't help but appreciate. Sprinkles looked deep into Bougin's wide eyes as the explanation began. "Metal dragons have the ability to tell if people are lying or not, and see auras. All very normal. You can probably do it too, if you're not already. With so many metal dragons around here, you'd think we'd be safe, but we've already been infiltrated once. It's just normal these days to do a check. Make sure visitors aren't planning any... violence."

Basil figured that made sense. He wouldn't want any dangerous neighbors in town, either, if he was in charge of a city. "Alright, then! Sounds good to me. My dragons and I can really do that?"

Sprinkles finished staring at Bougin, who averted eye contact, a but overwhelmed by all the recent situations and information. Friend was next, and the little dragon happily twirled up to the larger dragon and looked right back. Basil felt the words of another in his mind - Friend's words!

*I think they're right,* Friend mentally whispered. *I'm looking at this guy, and they're looking back, and I can see them. Like, really see them.*

*We'll have to talk about it later,* Basil said back in his mind. Or, he hoped it went back. While his dragons' abilities came naturally to them, the skills of a rider were incredibly confusing for him, someone not native to this world. Sparkler, unable to hear the mental conversation, answered the earlier question, as well.

"Of course you can! What are you, new around here? It's good that the Company sent you to us, then. You'll learn a bunch right here in town. Er, once the storm blows over." Sparkler glanced out the window. The rain was still pouring down. 

Sprinkles finished whatever she was doing by staring at Bougin, and moved over to Basil. The winged red panda blinked a few times and then turned to look into the river dragon's eyes. He wasn't sure what he was expecting. What he felt was odd, but not bad. He could sense that someone else was there, checking up on him and judging him. Fascinating. Basil tried to do what Bougin had done and 'look' back. For a moment he felt a few things - a sense of duty, a brilliance of heart - and then it was gone, and Sprinkles looked away.

"Yeah, they're good. Really good, actually. If you folks ever wanted to move in I'd be glad to put in a good word for you. But that's not why you came here, is it? You want to talk to Teeba, learn more about your abilities as dragons and rider." She looked out the window, through the rain, to a building near the center of town with a tree growing out of the top of it. "Sparkler, you mind going and getting him?"

"Not a problem, Sprinkles." The dragon eased open the door, and though rain poured in, she stepped out and ran towards the building. The splashing of her footsteps echoed back to them.

"Good luck!" Basil cried after her. Bougin and Friend hopped up and closed the door - it took both of them combined to move it. Would they always be small, or would they become huge dragons like the Company? So many things to wonder about.

Another flash of lightning and crackle of thunder. This one was further away, but still stunningly loud. Friend glided over to Basil's side, scales dappled in the rain from the outdoors. "We do have an awful lot of questions. I just hope that you all won't mind answering so many."

Sprinkles grabbed a blanket and sat down next to the fire. She waved her tail in a motion for the others to join her. Basil was never much for sitting still, but he took a seat and let out his excess energy by tapping his paws in a random rhythm on the ground. "It's no issue," Sprinkles reassured. "We get visitors all the time. With questions, too. Teeba's the most experienced out of all of us, is all. Well, him and Otulius."

"Fascinating." Basil closed his eyes and pictured the smartest of smart dragon riders. He imagined a powerful magician, with a flowing cloak, a stack of books in hand, and a long, wise, beard. A man who could explain everything, now that was super cool.

Bougin wobbled close to the fire and stared into the bright flames. It looked so nice, a warm shade contrasted against the dark outside. "I bet this trip will be totally worth it," she said chipperly. She had really warmed up from the chill outside, and seemed back to her usual, positive self. All was well.

Friend nodded, and curled up directly in the fire, much to Basil's horror. He was about to dive in and get his dragon out, but the little guy seemed right at home in the middle of the furnace. "...It's comfortable, is all," Friend shrugged in response to Basil's mental panic. "Doesn't even sting."

More dragon magic? Basil was mighty confused, but accepted it as best he could. Before anyone else could respond to Friend's new spot, the door opened once more, and Sparkler walked in, another person behind her. They didn't look like a wizard, or a wise dragon expert, but they looked kind, and that was all that Basil really needed to see.

1202 words

- - - -

The new fellow threw a blanket over his now damp shoulders and strode confidently over to the fire to join the group. "Basil and friends, are you?" he said. "The Company told me about you, a few weeks ago. I thought you might be coming here eventually. You're new to this land."

Basil nodded eagerly. There was something grand about this lizard man. He sported a metal arm, a scarf around his neck, and a tired, kindly smile. A calm person - far removed from Basil's constant energy. "Yeah! We're here to learn all about the magic-ing and the adventuring!" Another flash of lightning shone outside, to punctuate Basil's words. Nice and dramatic - just how he liked it.

Teeba sat on the ground, in between Sprinkles and Bougin. "Of course. There's a lot confusing about this place when you haven't grown up in it. Fox had the same curiosity at first. Where did you come from, anyway?"

Friend and Bougin knew Basil's previous adventures from their shared mind, but only Basil could recount the tales with (in his opinion) the proper amount of big, cool words and delightful side stories. The red panda explained to Teeba, Sprinkles, and Sparkler what his home world of Silvarum was like - with the three brilliant kingdoms and the constant adventure and the things he'd done to help keep the place safe against dastardly villains. He told of time travel and huge fights and laughing with friends at the end of it all. He chose to leave out the part of the story that was his death, and subsequent turning into a ghost. ...Basil found he didn't enjoy people's worry whenever they heard about that.

Finally, he explained how he found himself in an autumn touched forest, a dragon egg in his paws. "And then I found a second dragon, and we were just wandering around when we heard that super cool five headed dude singing! And they told us to come here!"

Teeba nodded. He'd been nodding encouragingly for most of the tale. Basil was, inwardly, quite stunned. Most people tended to tune out his rambling after the first ten minutes. Sparkler, for her part, was staring off into nothing and looked quite lost. Well, he didn't blame her.

"You're metal and fire, right?" Teeba questioned, glancing at Basil's two dragons - Friend comfortable in the furnace, and Bougin hopping eagerly around.

"I, uh, I think! I don't know any magic myself, besides the time travel thing, but these guys sure do!" He grinned at his dragons.

"You'll learn to work with your dragons to use your magic together in time," Teeba explained. "It's just clear to me what elements suit you when I look at you. No rider that I've ever heard of has more than two, and all their dragons will have at least one of those two elements."

Basil supposed that made sense. "Well, alright. I get that fire magic is probably setting stuff on fire, yeah? That's pretty epic. What about metal, though? Your guards here did a cool reading - a - person thing earlier."

"You can certainly do that, too," Teeba said. "Metal magic allows us to mentally speak with others, manipulate metal - which is great around my forge, by the way - and read others' auras and intentions, like you said."

Basil was no newbie to magic - Silvarum had all sorts of magic abilities - but he was pretty invested in learning this new magic, too! "Super cool!" he said. "Can we try it out on someone? Like, now?" He was not a very patient person.

Teeba shrugged. "Why not? It's good to practice." He shuffled around on his seat on the ground and turned towards Basil. The blanket around his shoulders fell to the ground behind him. "Here, look at me."

"I, uh, I already am?" Basil asked, as he scratched his head with one paw. He squinted. Would squinting help?

Teeba chuckled. "Well, I mean look at me, but... deeper, I suppose. Get your dragon Friend over here, they'll probably be able to help you." Friend clambered out of the fire at that and wriggled past Sparkler and Sprinkles. He alighted on Basil's shoulder.

"I'm not sure how I did it earlier, but you just have to really focus on who he is," Friend explained, best as he could. "I'll help. You try it."

Basil figured it was always worth giving things a go, even if he had no idea what he was supposed to be doing. He squinted at Teeba and tried to figure out who he really was. Slowly, feelings and colors came into his mind. In Teeba he saw speckles of purple and white amidst a calm green aura. Teeba was the color of new life, of a brilliant forest under a bright night sky. It was fascinating to see - so interesting that Basil didn't even feel fidgety like he usually did.

Beyond the colors, Basil saw a man with good intentions and good deeds, with a lot weighing on his heart. He couldn't help but be sympathetic for the town leader. He saw someone truthful, but also someone easily taken advantage of. And then, he blinked, and it was gone. "...That was pretty cool," Basil said, leaning back. He'd unintentionally been leaning forwards during his sudden magic practice section.

"You've got it, then?" Teeba looked filled with pride for the red panda he barely knew. "Perhaps you could stick around town for a while, learn more about the world. There's a lot to know, after all, and I'm sure a lot of dragons around here would love having another new group of friends in town."

Basil beamed at that. "We'd love to hang out for a bit! As long as there's adventure to be had here."

"There always is. We've been preparing for trouble, recently, and having a few helping hands on board is very welcome," Teeba offered. "I'm glad you found us."

"Well, I think I am, too!" Basil beamed. He looked to his dragons, Friend and Bougin, and dreamed of all the future adventures they could have here, now that they'd found what they had sought.

The rain fell down outside, a soothing hum in a passing, peaceful moment. It was nice - but Basil didn't live for the peace.

He thrived on the thunder.

1049 words