Nae cannot brain stories, and these three stories aren’t strictly related to each other but they tumbled in together at the same time.
- Before the Vella Crean existed, before even, the times when the green-eyed scientist was friends with am ambitious red-haired Weyrwoman, Jira was a power. She would raise armies of the dead to clear land and decimate civilizations, and in the raw and quiet earth others would follow. Whistle would turn the new barren landscapes into rich gardens of Eden, Imraan would craft beautiful buildings out of metal and stone, and Platos would quietly introduce new creatures into their havens, sometimes literally bringing into live, sentient bringing or often times helping the Scientist splice together genetic samples that did not belong to each other to create new creatures.
- When the Vella Crean was an idea, Jira began to lose interest. She stopped raising armies of the dead but would instead help by reviving the old, the sick, and the dying. Locals started to consider her the Healer, although that was the furthest thing from the truth. She began to stay behind when other Projects razed the lands and obeyed the Scientist, preferring instead of sit in the gardens and listen to the birds.
- When the Vella Crean was young, when the Courts were crafted, Jira stopped being a power. Her name was forgotten until she was called the Breath with no real understanding behind it. The other Projects who remembered left her alone, and while the Scientist would come by, plying her with exquisite jewels and spices, she would simply shrug and turn her head.
- She had no need for jewels, nor for spices. He had no need for her powers.
- When Scientist lost his second home and found himself adrift in space, when the Death Court brought problems to her doorstep, for a moment, Jira was tempted. But there were others ready to fight for the Scientist, and so the Project took a step back and continued to watch.
- Ait’Kara-Taj was one of the more entrepreneurial nomads. She did not travel the Nexus to discover worlds, sample food, trade wares. She travelled the Nexus to discover secrets, to unearth new opportunities and use gold and coin to influencer and build power. “You should have been born a trader” some of her aunts would tell her, laughing. “When you are a power, your name will be Ait’Money-Taj” they would say.
- She did not mind the stories. She loved what she did. Learning of worlds and cultures, figuring out new ways to nurse and grow businesses. Never loudly, never publicly. No, the Matriarches would not approve if she was to build her name and her power in a way that drew attention.
- But slowly, quietly, Ait’Kara-Taj was seeding the Nexus with eyes and ears, and what interesting stories she was hearing.
- Geneticists who created dragons. Wars that spanned different worlds in the Nexus. Ships that travelled into space and traded wares. Refuges built for endangered species. It was an odd and intoxicating era that the Nexus was growing into, and she was not the only one to notice.
- Every so often she would hear of a cousin who had bonded a dragon. Bonding was not a foreign concept to her — some of the Matriarches had bonds. But it had always been a small, petlike thing. Not dragons, not an ‘other half’.
- First there was Ait’Haro-taj, with the Eien dragon who had linked to Wonder. That cousin, Kara knew, would probably live forever. Because the world would always be full of wonder.
- Then there was Ait’Mali-taj, the cousin who had bonded what could only be termed as strong and foolhardy as himself. Kara thought Zilenzo was simply the most adorable new Udraku she had ever seen, and could not wait until he was fully grown.
- It was an odd new trend, one, that made Kara wonder if there was an opportunity to turn into a craft. Searchriders travelled between worlds, looking for the perfect candidate, didn’t there? There was opportunity to make a tidy fortune in this process somewhere, and Ait’Kara-Taj was going to figure it out.
- Bekira Khan continued to travel the Nexus with her five dark riders who never seemed to age and their dragons. Devalis’Salvir, the matriarch kirintor continued to grow, and while both rider and dragon did not tire of their travels and explorations, they were slowly beginning to be touched with just a small trace of boredom.
- Until the Nexus began to reconnect. Tiny worlds at first, reaching out to one another, then the larger ones. Bekira heard distantly of Nidus Ryslen and the newest iteration of the Flurry, and knew that it was only a matter of time before daddy dearest would be back.
- She needed to amass her own power, to demonstrate that the little princess of Arx Atra Mons was a power, and had little time left.
The Devil’s D… Backbone
- The three completely distinct individuals found themselves at Nidus Caeligenus for different reasons.
- Bekira Khan was drawn by the stories of a hydra clutch. What better way to add to her ranks than to sponsor a baby monster? When she learned that the dam was an Arx Atra Mons beast, well, even better. What an interesting idea, this diversification of genetics. The idea of bringing back home to daddy dearest an beast with ties to Tris’Hath and the Hydras, well. That made this trip even more interesting.
- Ait’Kara-taj landed at Nidus Caeligenus entirely by accident. Her research into different dragons and species and the need/ability to bond brought her in contact with a fascinating breed called Yautjadragons. They seemed even stronger and more remarkable than the Udraku, and a new generation that had been created with genetic manipulation? She had a feeling the Matriarchs at home would be fascinated by the idea.
- It is perhaps here, at Nidus Caeligenus that Ait’Kara-taj would hear a little bit more about the different goings on of scientists who tinkered with dragons. Some to help save endangered dragon species, others more for their own ego. If there were some days when her hair glinted a very specific molten shade of gold, well, people would glint and shrug it off as a coincidence.
- It’s not as if someone would be arrogant enough to try to claim a color, right? Right?
- Jira arrived at the Devils Dick because she did not understand the laughter and the sniggering she had heard in her travels. It was named after an appendage yet, and people found it… humorous? This world has remained off-limits for so long, and while Jira does not understand the fascination the Scientist has with the Red Mage, she is not here to cause trouble.
- In fact, as long as Jira doesn’t use her gifts, it is hard to tell that she is a Project. Her eyes remain a bright shade of ebon, and without the molten-gold hue, she could be just any ordinary Nexus traveller with no sense of humour.
Jira and the Fey Dragons
- The local Fey Dragon hive did not take kindly to having a Project in their territory.
- They did not seem intent in attacking her, and Jira decided that it was a good thing. She had still not figured out what was so funny about the name of the location, and there were so many different types of creatures milling around, she wanted to figure out what was causing the excitement.
- Dragon clutches were said to be exciting. Was it doubly so if there were two clutches, triply so if there were three?
- She did not take kindly to being glared at, at having teeny tiny creatures hiss at her arrival, and let out angry chitterings if she decided to stay too long.
- (The small, tiny part of Jira who had reveled in using her powers grumbled a little bit. If they KNEW.)
- Jira wasn’t sure if it had something to do with her scent. Maybe she had tasty blood? She had heard of insects in other worlds, wondered if maybe she emitted a type of scent.
- It was an abruptly worded letter of Ari that helped the Project understand.
- It seems the missive read. The Red Mage has created creatures that scent out and behave with hostile intentions to us and the Scientist.
- They are smart and cunning creatures, Jira. Do not try to aggravate them, especially on the Red Mage’s territory. the missive warned.
- Knowing that they were part of some ongoing drama between the Red Mage and the Scientist had the Project roll her eyes. More drama. More plotting and intrigue.
- Still. Maybe the Fey Dragon could be negotiated with.
- Jira’s idea of negotiation was walking around with tiny treats in her pocket, trying to figure out what the Fey Dragon liked to eat. Honey and sweet things did not seem to entice them. They seemed carnivorous, but Jira was Shy adjacent enough not to want to have creepy crawlies in her pockets. Maybe smocked fish? Cans of pickled herring? It was not common to find the Project testing out odd and unusual snacks to see if she could befriend the Fey Dragons.
All three at Nidus Caeligenus, about to spark off more trouble for the Vella Crean.