Written by: Epicstu Wyvernwriter
The large ringing bells sounded, declaring the morning to Cathedral City. Edward got up and sat at the edge of his bed. It was early and time for the Northlandish Fennec tradition of praying before the sun comes up. Missing the quiet, still dark, morning of prayer was dishonorable and Edward Dimir would never allow himself to be called dishonorable if he could help it. After morning prayer every Fennec Fox in the Northlands migrates to the nearest church to worship god. They had no name or gender for God and knew there to be only one god.
At age seven every Northlandish Fennec Foxes would embark on a trial as their first step to becoming a Fennec Fox of the Northlands. Those who had not completed the final trial were called Pup, by those who respected the tradition, instead of their name. The first trial was climbing Conquest, a mountain at the corner of their world rising seventeen thousand miles into the infinite. It was said that at the top of this mountain you would be spoken to by God and then sent back down.
Edward would start his trial by Conquest today. He had been training for this day for four years sleeping outside through the eighty degrees below zero nights. Athletic swimming in even colder ice water and studying survival at the Sabertooth’s Reliquary all so he could begin his journey to Foxhood. Whether he was ready or not Edward was seven years old and that meant his retractable claws had grown to their full six inches and were, for the first time, usable for climbing. He would break a few but he was young and they would grow back stronger.
Edward would not go to worship that day. He was not allowed to until he had conquered Conquest. In the cold dark morning, after his prayer, Edward set out on his first trial. It would take him half the day to reach the base of Conquest and he was forbidden from everything until he reached the top and made it back. As proof, he had to bring back something god had given him. An early start was recommended.
“Edward, wake up” Zesrial was stabbed into the ground a few meters from him. Men wearing uniforms labeled B.M.I. Corp. were trying, one at a time, to lift her out of the ground. No one had succeeded yet. “A little help here?”
Edward had only just opened his eyes. “It’s awake! Grab him!” One of the men shouted. Three men lifted Edward up and held him up, his back against a tree.
“Come on guys, I just got up,” said Edward. “Can’t a Fox get a mug of coffee first.”
“Shut up!” Said one of the men as he hit Edward on the forehead with the butt of his rifle. The butt of his rifle shattered. “What the?”
“Easy there, guy. You wanted me awake right?” Edward smiled.
The men started beating Edward. “That’s enough!” An elderly man’s voice ordered. It was filled with concern, hidden under a cloak of cruel resolve. The old man walked up to and looked at Edward with brown eyes.
“You must be the girl’s father.” Edward talked directly to the old man. “Jain, I think her name was.”
“Where is she?” Jain’s father asked, angrily. “Where is my daughter!”
“I lost track of her,” Edward replied.
“You what?!” The old man snapped
“After I lost a headbutting contest with the thing that’s been turning all your mounts against you,” Edward replied.
The old man stopped to think, then he came back to Edward and held a knife to his chest. “You’re going to help me find her.”
“Alright,” Edward said as he shook off the men holding him and moved the old man’s knife away from his heart. “All you had to do was ask. Gabriel was with her. Don’t worry, she hasn’t turned,” Edward reassured. “Yet.”
Gabriel stopped. It was getting late and she had been running for hours with Jain on her back. Gabriel was not sure where she was anymore, but she could smell something. Something familiar.
Jain dismounted Gabriel. “What is it, girl?” she asked her. Gabriel gestured to a small cave not far away. Jain slowly entered the cave slowly, heading towards a light coming from deeper within.
“Jain?” A voice coughed. “Is that you?”
Jain got to the light source. A fire, and laying next to it was Tirela in armor. “Mom!” Jain shouted as she ran to her long lost mother and embraced her. “I thought I’d never see you again.”
“Easy Jain,” Tirela struggled to speak.
Jain looked her mother over. “You’re hurt bad. We have to get you out of here now,” she insisted.
Tirela tried to get to her feet, but even with her daughter helping her she just couldn’t manage it. “I, I’m not going anywhere Jain,” She grunted as she laid back down. “That thing flew right through me like I wasn’t there.” She explained. “I’m sorry Jain. I never got to say goodbye. I’m so proud of you.”
Jain started to cry. “No!” She screamed loudly, “No! No goodbyes. Stay with me Mom!” She held her mom’s body and cried but when she opened her eyes she saw she was holding a skeleton clad in her mother’s armor. She dropped the bones and became too terrified to make any sound. Had I imagined it? Suddenly the fire rose up and was met with purple lightning as the wyvern emerged before her.
“Jain! Run!” Her mother’s voice called out to her.
“So, old man, do you own Beast Mounts Incorporated or are you just an employee?” Edward questioned Jain’s father as they searched for Jain.
“My name is not Old Man, Fox, and of course I own Beat Mounts Incorporated,” Jain’s father rebutted.
“He’s lying,” said Zesrial to Edward. “He doesn’t even work for B.M.I. according to the archives, he and his pals here are wanted by the law of this world for breaking into and stealing from the B.M.I. armory,” she explained. “That must be where they got all this gear.”
“What’s his name?” Edward asked Zesrial.
“Jonathan,” Zesrial replied.
“No you aren’t Jonathan,” said Edward. “No need to lie to me. You can not and besides, it is not my job to enforce the laws of your realm. Only to save it. Now let’s find your daughter.”
“How did you?” Jonathan stopped.
A voice like a young girl screamed not far from them and was followed by a bellowing roar.
Edward’s ear twitched and he turned his head in the direction of the scream.
“Jain!” Jonathan shouted as he ran towards where the scream came from.
Gabriel stood between Jain and the Wyvern.
“Jain, my daughter! I’m coming!” Jonathan shouted as he fearlessly braved the storm for his daughter. The wyvern swiped Jonathan back with its long tail.
“Father!” Jain shouted as she watched.
“Hold on Jain!” Edward yelled. The wyvern breathed in deep and then roared at Edward. Instead of a cone of elements like dragons breath, wyverns breath a storm of their element. The ground charred and burned with Wyvern Hellfire and the sky cracked and burst with Wyvern Heavenlightning as the wyvern’s roar hit him.