The Flight

It was dawn of the day that Demulcei had been planning for for months and months, the day of the biggest event that Driolo had seen since the overthrow of the desert city's tyranny. It was the morning of the day of the frenzy.

The Light-Fire Crossbreed lay on the cold stone of an outcropping on the opposite river-bank of the frenzy-site, having flown up here to get away for just a moment. She was seperated from the tents and magic-shades of the site by spread of the great river that wove its way towards Driolo and then out to the sea . In the hazy morning light, she followed the gentle river south, and could see the huge smoke stacks and high-rising buildings of the city. She could almost imagine seeing the construction of the buildings that would eventually become the frenzy project's housing, hatching and information center. Even though there had been plenty of time between when the Avengaean had decided to arrange this great flight and now, construction was going slowly. Multi-dragon-sized structures couldn't be built in a day, after all!

She turned her attention back to the site, checking over it for anything that hadn't been set up just right. Everything looked perfect. Entertainment and food vendors were setting up for the day, traders from all over the continent had come in with hopes of selling tourist's trinkets and more. Even though she'd announced the flight as being today, participants and onlookers had begun to filter down here quite a while ago. Many of the tents that had been set up were for just those people: a place to stay up until the event.

The dragoness cast one eye northwards, up the beaten earth trail that led to a seperate clump of tents--those for the riders of participating dragons. A tingle went up her spine as she realized that today really was the day... it had begun to feel like all of this work and planning would just go on forever! Movement caught her eye from the rider's tenting... she squinted, and thought she saw a big centaur creature along with a squat, heavily robed human. That would be Tikrish and Frada, no doubt. Frada was an Ampilo, straight from the Avengaean reserves. While the elder cross-breed had originally come out here to convince Demulcei to join her home-planet's Ampilae, or cross-breed organization, the Light-Water dragoness had quickly backed down when the younger dragon would have none of it. Instead, Frada had decided to stay and help Demulcei with the frenzy... bringing her daemonic assistant, Tikrish, to help form many of the magical conveniences that the site now provided. The woman was an expert in most things birth related... she'd come in handy for the next phase of this project. Demulcei wondered what she was doing in the riders' tents, however... the Ampilo was supposed to be setting up her booth back in the general area.

Dem' flicked her tail and got back to her feet. No sense in hanging around up here. There was work to be done.


"So you want to band all of the participants?" Demulcei had caught up with the Ampilo later in the morning, when the elder dragoness had settled down for a quick meal.

"Right, to help prevent mutts and others from participating. You did tell me that this was a flight for Avengaeans only." The dragoness nodded and reached for a fruit on the platter between them. They were both in their human forms for the sake of convenience. While Demulcei looked like she'd been out in the sun for too long--a trait from her father's side of the family--Frada's skin was so pale as to be translucent, though it shimmered in the rising's sun's light with bluish tints. The Ampilo was an older woman, and her human form showed this better then form she was born to.

"Well," Demulcei corrected, "and dragons that aren't so... plain."

"Right," The Ampilo nodded, her coral-pink hair bobbing in a bun at the back of her head. "And by requiring the participants to wear bands, you'll be able to make sure that no one else sneaks in!"

"Well, I don't think that anyone would..."

The elder woman gave a wry smile. "And miss out on a flight like this? Come now." She sliced off a piece of fruit-meat and popped it in her mouth, then continued after a pause, "Really, it won't be a problem, if you're worried about that. Tikrish and I have whipped some up in the city." She smiled warmly at the younger crossbreed, "And the daemon won't mind passing the bands out. No worries, dear, if anything, this will help provide some order in the event!"

Demulcei thought about it for a while. Really, she couldn't see any problem with it. She could inspect for bands before the flight... it would be much easier then weeding a dragon out just because he or she didn't meet the cross-breed's qualifications. She'd actually been dreading that part... having to tell another dragon 'no, you're not allowed.' She could leave that up to Tikrish... "Well, if you've set everything up already, I can't see any problems with it." The coordinator of the frenzy nodded. "Alright. Just set up a stand near the riders' tents... you can direct the participants out to the starting field." And she smiled at the Ampilo. "Really, Frada, I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Neither do I," the elder dragoness replied with a joking grin. "Now get back to work, I'll bet you have a million other things to do before the end of the day!" She chuckled as Demulcei heaved a sigh, then pushed herself back to her feet. No rest for the wicked!


The rest of the day had run by smoothly... all of the participants had finally arrived, most of them had cruised the isles of tents in anticipation of the main event. The midday siesta had passed, and now the sun was nearing the western horizon. Demulcei could all but feel the magic in the air as she settled, briefly, near the riders' tents. Mariette, her human bond, came out from beneath the shade to greet her briefly. "You look like you're about to explode or something," she remarked amiably as she paused a short distance away from the crossbreed. She favored her right leg, like usual, the left of the pair having been replaced with a synthetic limb ages ago. "You're making me nervous!"

"I can't help it!" The Avengaean replied, rubbing her hands together with mild apprehension. "The whole day's gone by perfectly... it's like it's too perfect."

"Oh, don't worry. You're just an excellent planner, is all." Mariette grinned and closed the distance between them, giving her bond a warm hug. "You'll be fine."

"And you will be too, right?" Last minute guilt flooded the crossbreed as she released her grip on the human. Mariette hadn't really liked the idea of a flight... liked the idea of what would be going on in those same tents even less. While Demulcei had been adament about setting this whole thing up, she felt bad that she'd be dragging the human girl along through it.

However, Mariette shrugged, then grinned. "Yeah, I've been practicing blocking you, anyways." She stuck her tongue out at her bond, who made a face back at her.

"Hah, don't I feel special? Okay, well... I'm going to run one last check, then I'll be heading out to the starting field. You'll let Tikrish know to start directing everyone out there, right?"

"Of course!" The dark-skinned human laughed and gave Demulcei another hug. "Have fun, okay?"

"I will," the crossbreed returned the hug and set off again, feeling more wired now then ever before.


The field itself rested right on the edge of the river, and was more a patch of sun-baked terrain then anything else. Demulcei alighted on it only a few moments before the other participants arrived, and fidgeted the entire time. She'd been banded, as well, and now she fiddled with the great sheet of waxy paper, feeling the magic trace on it that Frada had added. It would help link her to all of the other banded dragons, so she'd know if anyone got lost, and could sense immediately if someone was participating 'illegally' by their lack of magic 'scent.'

Everyone who'd arrived had, thankfully, shown up with a band of their own, and what a gathering it was! Many other Avengaeans, for which she was thankful, not to mention all kinds of offworlders, kinds of which she'd never seen before! She was nervous and excited all at the same time, could feel her emotions building up alongside what she thought must be her seasonal heat... enough to make her jumpy. It wasn't a surprise, then, when she started at the sound of a familiar voice. "Hey, Dem, I actually made it on time!"

The crossbreed swung around and caught site of Aduri Nerano, a long-time friend of hers from back before they both bonded. The Fire dragoness sauntered over with a grin on her face, another, unfamiliar draconic creature behind her. "Hey, Aduri! I was afraid you wouldn't come..."

"Nah, my bond was waiting on his friends at the Warren... Stake and I took off before they hatched this huge batch of dragons..." She gestured with one fluffy wing at her companion. "We didn't want to miss out on this."

"I'm glad you came!" Demulcei smiled at her friend, nodded at the black-haired creature behind the Fire. "Um, I'm just waiting on the last of the arrivals. We'll be starting soon."

Aduri laughed nodded, then led her orange friend off to mix with the others. Almost immediately afterwards, The Light-Fire recieved a mental nod from Frada. ~That's the last of them, dear. Take it away!~

And then the flight began.


Demulcei, of course, was the first to take to the air. Excitement ripped through her and into her exclaimation, ~Alright, let's do it!~ as she climbed through the air. A moment later, the other flight-bound dragons were up and going in all directions. Those land-bound dragons either took off running, swimming, or eyeing their options as was seen fit.

It was quite a sight, and those who were here without intent to participate shaded their eyes to watch as almost fifty dragons seemed to explode from the earth in a cloud of dusty air. They spread out according to some complex dance of risers and chasers, into and away from the orange rays of the setting sun, rising high and skimming the baked earth according to some instinctual patterns.

There were a few moments filled with nothing but the beating of wings, the heavy inhale-exhale as dragons sorted themselves out into chaser and chasee. And then the first of them began to pair off. Zyllae, inexperienced with flights and eager for suitors, swung towards a one of the Wylds, Votanu Caelumpictor, that was heading after her. Think you're gonna catch me, huh? she called, to which she recieved only a smug grin. She banked away again, exhileration powering silver wingstrokes. Votanu, of course, tailed her, barely missing a beat as she dove and soared, twisted and turned. It's not going to be that easy to lose me, he called after her, and in turn recieved an amused rumble. And then Zyllae disappeared from sight. The Wyld paused for a moment, then realized she'd teleported. And not to far away, either. More entertained with the idea of showing up the half-Air dragon, Zyllae had popped back into existance only a few hundred metres behind him. Ha! she called, and immediately the Air swung about. Realizing her mistake a moment too late, Zyllae swung about as well. But the half-Air was faster, and after all, Zyllae wasn't too intent on escaping... soon enough he'd caught up with her and twined himself about her, and the pair of them fell from the runnings.

Meanwhile, A certain silvery, feathery dragoness scoffed at the pair of participants that trailed her. A Firey Avengaean and, of all things, some ugly, beak-nosed mutant of a gryphon dragon fought with one another for the lead position in order to get closer to her. I don't believe this, she huffed to herself (and by default, to her rider), I'm a perfectly good-looking, extremely charming dragoness, and this is all that I get? What did I do to deserve this? She dove as the Fire made a grab for her, swung left as beak-faced brown-white tried to catch her thereafter. Well, she considered aloud, brushing off another attempt as she crossed paths with another female and caused a brief bout of confusion, I suppose I'll take the lesser of two evils... She huffed again and angled out of the way of the Fire, making a face at him and his outrageously fluffy wings. Tavrin, the half-gryphon that had been following close behind, took that moment to dive quietly to her, catching her shoulderblades beneath his golden talons. You'll do, Dziewedanth murmured to him before she lost any urge to speak.

The fire, in the meantime, gave one final glance to the silvery dragon before descending out of the chase. Most of the other females were too far for him to easily catch up with... but was was this? A pair of earth-bound dragonesses, running for the sheer fun of it (he didn't see any other chasers), kicking up a cloud of dust like nothing else. A green and a red, though their coats were dulled with the dust they were kicking up... sisters, maybe?
You'd better believe that I'm winning! he heard one of them hoot, and then the reply, So not! I'll be sitting on that hill before you have a chance to take ten more steps! That was the red.
No way! You're gonna eat my dust, Siebel, just watch! Chario, the Fire, watched as well as the green pulled ahead, and laughed as she taunted her red sister for it.
Mind if I join in? he asked, swooping low over the pair of them.
Ack! Siebel! The green cried from behind as Chario matched her at a speedy glide.
Hey, this was your idea in the first place, sis, the red, Siebel, laughingly replied. She slowed just a little, looks like I win!
No fair, Ardeshiri replied, then tossed her crest at the fire above her. This'd better be worth it, She made a face up at him and slowed down, for losing me my race!
Chario laughed and beat at the air to slow himself as well, Maybe I'll make it up to you, he replied as he dropped the last metre or two to the earth.

In the mean time, another firey dragon had taken interest in the happenings on the ground. Auhato Selamputo, the only Half-Fire Wyld to have made it to this flight, swept down and towards Siebel, close to the ground with a toothy grin on his face. Tired out, or do you think you could race me? he sent to her.
Ha, could take you on any day, furball! Siebel's jaw gaped in a grin as he passed her and swerved about.
You sure? I'll go slow, make up for that wingless handicap of yours...
handicap? I'll show you handicap! The red mutt taunted, and took off running. The nerve of some dragons! Auhato gleefully took off after her, enjoying every moment of the chase. Eventually she'd tire herself out, but for now it was fun enough just to throw taunts.

While fancy tricks were being pulled in the air and on the earth, Labri Silvacaela had taken to the water, intent on having fun, even if there weren't any other male waters to have joined in. She was having enough fun with sampling the excitement and the magic in the air, and nothing could get her down. She was a little surprised when a shadow fell over her, however, and even more surprised when she looked up and caught sight of four nearly flourescant wings that stretched to either side of a pitch black body. A drak, a Flame drak no less, was chasing her!
Hi! the drak, Marek, said by way of greeting. He seemed as though he weren't quite sure of what he was doing, but Labri simply grinned up at him.
Hey there, she replied, treading water and letting the current take her. Easy-going as she was, she didn't take offense when the drak followed her. He was kind of cute, really, even if he seemed a little lost. You afraid of water? She asked, and flipped some up at him with her tail, playfully.
The flame drak squawked as the water splashed his black belly, then rumbled with laughter. Nope! he replied, and dove in after her. Water fight! Labri cackled, in her element, as the flame drak clumsily sloshed her with gouts of the stuff. She returned the sloshing, of course, with that great finned tail of hers, but moved towards more shallow water. Maybe she wasn't quite content with just sampling the emotions in the air... Coyly, she led the drak out of the river's current, and while at first he was more taken with playing, eventually he caught her meaning...

Novitas, in the mean-time, was up in the air via a magic spell, thwarting those blasted flowering Earth's that might have thought her to be fair game. She grumbled under her breath... of all times to break out flowering, now was possibly the worst! Not only that, most of the other full-blooded Earths to have joined in were flowering, as well! She'd made a point to stay away from them... the last thing she needed was to be walking around with a big egg-sized seed hanging off of her tail...
But in avoiding the Earths on the ground, she'd managed to pick up a pair of flight-capable dragons, instead. Not only that, but they both looked like they were almost the same. Granted, one had wings and the other didn't, one was a little more serpentine then the other... but other then that, they were almost identical. "Great, I get trailed by twins." She rumbled, but the wind whipped away her words.
She didn't like how they flew... both of them bled magical feedback... they were harder to outmaneuver then your regular dragon. She decided she'd try something tricky, that was about the only way she'd shake them.
The Water-Earth crossbreed catapaulted towards another female, a feathery winged mutant sort of black thing that glided idly, having no suitors of her own. When the axe-tailed creature finally noticed Novitas, she could do nothing but dive to get out of the way. Novitas followed her right down, the two serpentine dragons close behind her.
What the hell do you think you're doing? The feather-headed female asked, confused and rather irritated.
What's it look like I'm doing, I'm getting these bozo's off my tail! Novitas replied with a spiteful smile. And you're helping me! And then the ground was pulling up, and the black dragoness--Desene--was trapped beneath the crossbreed. Giving a shriek, she banked to one side and clipped the groun with a few indigo primaries. She nearly ran into one of the Earths that Novitas had been trying so hard to avoid, avoiding him at the last second by dropping a few feet to the ground on one side and skidding along the dusty earth on hands and feet. Novitas, followed by the two eastern dragons, clipped over the Earth and continued on. Damnit, neither of them had given up for the gronded female! The crossbreed cursed under her breath and pulled up into the air again.
Desene, however, was lashing her split tails in major agitation. That bitch! she exclaimed, then glanced over at the Earth she'd avoided.
"Are you alright?" He asked, actually sounding concerned.
Yeah, I'll live, She replied, flexing her scraped hands. She eyed the Avengaean, ridiculous with his body covered in petals. You?
"I'm okay," he nodded and came a few steps closer.
Desene eyed him once more, settling her wings to her back. Despite, or maybe because of all of the adrenaline that coursed through her veins from that 'attack', she thought she felt wave of desire wash through her... and suddenly Purpura, the Earth, found himself face to face with the very peculiar dragoness. Let's get this over with, she said, more annoyed then anything with the fire that had nothing to do with strained muscles that coursed through her body.

Ha, one more trick... this one ought to work... Novitas had gained a little altitude, and now she was directly over the river. The two chasers behind her vied for the lead, but she'd managed to keep 'em off of her, for now. Again she dropped, but this time she dived right into the water, just barely pulling up in time before she hit the river's bottom. The two suitors actually followed her in! Damnit! But then something happened that the cross-breed hadn't expected... a Water dragoness swarmed out of nowhere and tackled one of her chasers, lay-waying him before he had a chance to struggle. Aselera giggled, though the sound was lost under the water. She grabbed hold of Gembira and nuzzled him... and he wasn't one to resist! Even if his original quarry had gotten away, now he had someone much more obliging, and much more fun...

That left Novitas with only the one chaser, the little serpentine, winged dragon Sehmei. Don't you give up?! She asked as she broke the water's surface again, propelled by her own magic as she hurtled back up into the air. The blue made no comment, following her out without hesitation. "Great, I'm stuck with a freaky mute." she muttered. So physical evasion wasn't the way to go... "Well if you're so keen on tailing me, why don't you tail this?" The crossbreed said aloud as she worked the sky with a spell. The air was dry, there wasn't much to make clouds out of, but still she felt a crackle as electricity built up... now all she had to do was knock that snake out of the sky and she could be free, go back and flaunt to her bond that she beat this stupid system.
And a lightning bolt formed out of nowhere and singed by her. Buh! She glared over her shoulder at the blue dragon. You did that, didn't you?! He didn't reply, but she got the feeling that those silvered-over eyes were crinkled a little smugly. What a showoff...
Sehmei dodged a bolt that he knew was coming, sent another ahead of Novitas to make her change her course. He wasn't that good at summoning the electrical bursts, but once they were there, he could direct them well enough!

"Ack, hey!" One of the dragoness' that had been leading a merry chase cried, a lightning bolt coming a little too close for comfort. Emeri swerved away from the dueling dragons and cast a look back over her shoulder to make sure her own suitor hadn't been hit by any stray bolts. Kenreth seemd fine, however, and laughed the incident off. You getting tired yet? He asked the Light dragoness.
Oh no, I'm having so much fun! Emeri responded before steadying out again.
Good, the Air replied, using the moment she took to regain her balance to close the distance between the two of them. I'm having fun, too! He descended on her, and the Light squeeked in surprise, a noise which melted into a giggle. Oh, you! She exclaimed, more then happy to give up the chase for this.

While all of this was going on, an unlikely pair of dragons danced and twined in the sky. Most prospective suitors weren't quite sure what to make of it! Tilara and Belareese were taking their time in finding temporary mates... they'd come to this flight solely for the prospect of bringing back children, but that didn't mean that they couldn't have a little fun of their own. The daemoness circled her partner, while the red equine dragoness dipped and wove through the air. I suppose we'd better go find ourselves someone, huh? Bela' finally said, closing in and then backing off from the red.
I don't wanna, Tilara replied, quivering whenever her partner came within touching distance.
Belareese opened her maw in a draconic grin. Only for a while... and I'll be thinking of you the whole time...
You'd better be! the dragoness mock-threataned as her daemoness pulled away from her. Well, if she couldn't have Belareese right now, at least she could find someone like her, right?
The red didn't have far to look! Another daemon had been watching them from the corner of his eye as he circled over the river. He hadn't really been interested in getting his feathers wet... and while he knew that his bond and and the one that belonged to Aselera were in love... he didn't think he had those kinds of feelings for the over affectionate Water that was somewhere below him. He was rather surprised, however, when the red Tilara came arrowing in at him, and urged him up a little higher. We're making this quick, or else! She barked at him. Well... fine by him!

Belareese, in the meantime, searched the thin-spread dragons that remained for another like Tilara... there had to be some male out there who at least resembled her, right? The daemoness circled in a widening gyre... losing hope as she specced out the field. She wasn't seeing anyone that she could pretend was her real partner... Distracted, she didn't at first notice a dragon descend from above her. Pyralis had been watching the dance also... and he was about as eager to mate as the daemoness. However, she would be better then some mindlessly bonded dragon... and she'd make a fine mother to any offspring of his. We're making this quick, or else, he rumbled, unwittingly repeating Tilara.
Or else you're not going to be able to do this again, Belareese snarked back. Well, this had been her idea in the first place... she'd grit her teeth and bear with it.

While for some of the dragons here, the flight was an ordeal, for others it was great good fun. Vyly and Aedelian had signed up for this flight only after the Green dragoness had gone and found someone to limit her fertility... there was no bloody way that she'd stand to lay another fourteen little monsters, no way at all! The two children that they were raising were enough as it was... Vyly and Aedel were only here for fun, this time. You're not even trying, the Air laughed as Vyly soared just out of reach. She slowed enough to tap him with her tail-tuft, much like she had the last time they'd flown together.
Neither are you, love, she chided, dipping below him instead of trying to escape. but then, the chase is half the fun! Vyly crooned up at her mate, who simply chuckled, and obliged her.

Similarly, the dance that took place between Usaroflyin and her Avengaean partner, Laudu was gentle and leisurely. This time, they had all the time in the world, and no other chasers seemed likely to interrupt their merry flight. You really are beautiful, The flower-riddled Earth, propelled by magic rather then wings, murmured to his mate.
You're just trying to get some, cheeky git, Usaro' responded laughingly. She dodged an attempt by the Earth to capture her, then lead him along, just a tails-length away.
Laudu laughed, gained some more altitude, and followed her without making another attempt just yet. Is that so bad? he asked.
You'd better believe it. You left me waiting on you during our last flight. This time you're waiting on me! And she took off a little faster, leading him through loops and dives, through maneuvers that the large Earth could never have hoped to mimic without the aid of his magic. Eventually he caught up to her again, and this time she let him twine his translucent green tail with her own and catch her up nicely.

The flight-field had become a battle-field, in the meantime, between Novitas and her snake-slim stalker. Sehmei chased the crossbreed across the darkening sky like a posessed ribbon, shifting sparks of electricity into bolts that clipped close to Novitas, closer every time. The beast, he didn't seem to give up or tire out... then again, the Water-Earth had been propelling herself solely on magic, while Sehmei had been using his wings to glide at ever possible chance. Frustrated, Novitas dipped back over the river, summoning up gouts of water from the rippling surface. Even that didn't stop the eastern blue, for he simply wove between them--slipped through a wall of the stuff that she raised as if it hadn't been there at all! "By zenite, why don't you just get lost, you little creep?" She flung the words at him verbally, even if they were lost in the wind of her passage.
Because, the little dragon replied, to her surprise, You are the most challenging dragoness to grace this field. You're a worthy chase.
"Yeah, and you're the most challenged," she spat, pulling up again. Little beast! Sehmei didn't seem to have heard that, however... or maybe he just ignored it. He was behind her still, at least--but no, suddenly he was pretty well on top of her. "Agh, get off of me, creep!" How'd he do that?
It wasn't any use, however... the dragon had coiled himself around her, somehow managing to avoid crushing the flowers that had sprouted all over her back like many-petaled zits. Novitas thrashed for a few moments... the little bugger was firmly attached however. Resigned, the crossbreed dropped her flight spell. Maybe they were close enough to the ground that she'd crush him when they landed. Ugh.

In the meantime, Lucas had been chasing his bond, Audeo, across the sky. The Fire was more then happy, she was having a better flight then she'd ever thought possible. Though the brown dragon that chased her was much smaller, he was quick and devious, only managing to miss her a number of times beause she'd weaseled the plan out of his mind... now though, she had had enough of the chase... and her bond realized that. They'd been circling out from the starting field, and now they were closer to the riders' tents then anywhere. Audeo gained altitude, and as Lucas approached, rumbled with pleasure. This was fun, she psied, and let the shifter take hold of her. When they broke apart, she knew that her bond would be going to Iris... but she was content. Sighing happily, she briefly watched him land and transform to his human form, then disappear under the tents, before gliding back to the main tents to find somewhere to relax.

Tiring, yet? a green part-wild taunted, back out in the field, as the creamy feather-winged Thersalyin strifed away from his advances.
What's it look like, boy? She replied, amused at his forwardness. She dipped out of reach, then slowed until she was behind him.
Oh, well that's not fair, Sateino teased, using a pair of wings to stall himself, and the other pair to angle him back and around. Tricky girl.
You know you love it, Thersalyin replied, surprising herself with the reply. She was enjoying herself much too much, by this point... slowing for a moment or two, she let her half-Wyld suitor to catch up. Are you tiring?
Sateino chuckled. I could go on all night, he said, cockily, but was surprised to find the dragoness rise up to meet him.
Well I don't think I want to, she said, and that was that.

Another Fire was playing the field with a single suitor. Aduri remembered when she'd first met the Fire Chyrith that was tailing her now... he'd been bizarre, at best, downright creepy at worst. But... well, she'd had a lot of time to think about it, and from the time that Stake and the rest of his pack had come back to Avengaea to bond, to the time that they'd spent on Tris'Hath, she'd changed somewhere. Her own bond had approved of it even before the dragoness had really realized what was going on. Now that it was out in the open, she felt... like something that had been missing before was there. She enjoyed this chase; it was like a nice condensed version of what had happened to them over the past couple of years. Stake had been playing along nicely. He pilfered the very thoughts out of Aduri's mind, followed her like she wanted to be... really, he'd been doing the same thing for a while. Now, however, he sensed a change. The sun was just disappearing over the horizon, from way up here... below the ground was swathed in darkness, up here the light was on the verge of going for good. Come on, Aduri psied, coasting as the Chyrith worked himself up to her level. She watched him pull another shape-shifting act, where before he'd been a relatively tiny chyrith, now he was more her size.
You want me? He asked, tentatively.
Of course, idiot, the Fire replied chidingly. I'd have said something already if I didn't! She grinned as he lowered himself to her, responding to his projected happiness with her own.

In all this time, Demulcei'd been working off the excitement that had tailed her throughout the day. Two chasers followed her, but while one had been nothing if not a gentleman, the other had been bawdy, and definitely not her type. She couldn't shake the blue boor, Darygar, however... so she kept on flying. Shalomji, the Spirit dragon who'd also taken up the chase for her, was doing his best to ignore Darygar's taunts and insults. He wasn't about to start fighting with the Sanrixian dragon, but he wasn't about to give up on the crossbreed, either.
Demulcei started as a technicolour daemoness pulled up beside her. Mm, looks like you've got the pick of the litter, she sent, eyeing the two behind her with a toothy grin. Mind if I take one of 'em off your paws for you?
Go right ahead! the Light-Fire sent back, watching the daemon with a mix of wariness and gratitude. Take the blue, please, I don't think I can stand him any more...
Just who I was thinking, hunny, the daemoness replied, her grin turning nothing if not toothier. Gimme a sec and I'll give him a nice distraction.
Demulcei continued her flight, more then a little curious about what the daemon would do. Suddenly the technicolour beast dropped back, aiming to tangle directly with Darygar.
The Sanrixian squawked, expecting a collision--but the daemoness managed to avoid it with some clever flying. Hey toots, She called at him, making her his field of vision as she flew with her tail in his face. Name's Elaka, and you'd better remember it,
Why's that? Darygar asked, still surprised at the daemoness' stunt, but warming to her already.
Because, Elaka replied, slipping beneath him, I'm going to be having you calling it out in no time flat! That toothy grin of hers was the last that Demulcei saw of the pair as she swerved off. The two of them seemed made for each other.

I think I've had enough, the crossbreed admitted to her suitor as the Spirit dragon coasted behind her. With a simple nod, Shalomji approached, then twined his pale coppery hide with her own.

The smallest creature to show up to this flight, the Fedra, Song, was not having a good time at all... She'd come expecting others of her breed, however, it seemed that all of the other participants were much, much larger. And then Uzscem had found her. She hadn't noticed him at first because he'd been a huge black stain against the sky, but he'd caught sight of her, and done something... shrunk down enough to match her... and then he'd begun to chase her. The little Fedra knew that once he caught her, she'd be in trouble. Now she wished only for some cover, som place to hide until the flight was over. Maybe the Chaotic would be distracted by some other dragoness... he hadn't been, so far. The best that the Weather Fedra could come up with, however, was a bank of clouds along the river. The air itself wasn't moist enough to work up clouds, and someone had already discharged most of the electricity in the air. So she hid herself in a fog-bank that she'd worked up off of the river's moisture.
Do you really think that a little water is going to dissuade me? Uzscem's voice crept up on her out of nowhere. Song started, lost some air, but caught herself before she hit the water. She remained silent. Why bother to hide, little one? I'll find you eventually, you realize this.
Song all but shook with fear, and called up more fog to help conceal her as she flew along the river. Suddenly the damp fog around her darkened, congealed, and Uzscem was there, infront of her. There you are. His voice dripped with something between disgust and desire. Come to me.
Song was petrified! As the shadowy Chaotic advanced on her, she did what she could--she pulled up what spark of electricity she could, and sent a bolt of it at her pursuer. The lightning arced through water-droplets and struck through Uzcem, momentarily shocking the great phoenix-like creature, before he cursed and dissolved into something insubstantial. You're stronger then I thought, little one. You might even make some fine offspring. For that I won't kill you... however...
He materialized again behind her, swept her up in ebony talons and pulled her out of her bank of fog, into the cool, clear night. I'll make you pay for that little trick. And while the Fedra struggled, there was nothing that she could do to escape...

At least the flight wasn't going so poorly for other dragons. The half-Air Vabanith Caelumpictor was being tailed by a jingling, happily singing Fyrrieldur, not quite able to make herself try to shake the festive drak. While she didn't usually say much, herself, the red, white and green drak was doing enough talking for them both, and most of it was in making jokes that caused the dragoness to grin, and even giggle. Such a wonderful laugh, the drak sent, I'll bet your voice is just as lovely!
Vabanith grinned wider and continued to fly, not daring to reply.
I'll bet you sing, Fyrrieldur said, then, sing with me!
Vabanith giggled again as the holiday drak broke out into a jingle about holly and trees, of all things, and slowed up. Why that song? She finally asked, more curious then anything.
Because it's dry and hot and boring out here, and would you like to hear a song about dust and rocks?
...No, I guess I wouldn't. Already a little tune was forming in her mind, but she didn't dare say it out loud.
Well, neither would I! Fyrr' replied, and sped up a little. You seem much happier then when I first started chasing you, he noted, the observation cheering him up, as well.
You're very funny, Vabanith admitted, embarrassed to say that much. Then, as if that weren't enough, thank you for chasing me... Oi... what had she said that for? 'Thank you for chasing me'?! She could have slapped her palm to her forehead...
But Fyrr' didn't seem to notice her embarrassement. You're welcome! Does that mean we've come to the end?
I... I suppose it does... the dragoness said, surprising herself. She let the drak descend on her, and her nervousness melted away as he twined with her, just as most of her shyness had when he took up chase with her.

The last of the Earth Avengaeans had been taunting her proposed mate. While all of the other Fires had been flying for their catch, Gravo was grounded, trying to convince Carara that mating wasn't such a bad thing.
"...I don't know..." The Earth said again, then paused as a wave of her bond's sensations washed over her...
Gravo hung his head. "You never know, it could be something new..."
"Yeah, but..." She paused again. Gravo's eye twitched.
"Well, are you enjoying yourself now?" He meant the feelings that Sevenda must have been flooding her with. He knew that he was certainly getting feedback from Drauden, and that was making all of this just a little more insanely difficult to be calm and reasonable with.
"It's good, yeah..."
"Well imagine that, only not an echo, c'mon Carara, I like you, you like me, what's keeping you back?"
The Earth tilted her head, the blossoms lining her forehead like a tiara bobbing gently, "Mm... I dunno." She finally said. Gravo squeezed his eyes tightly shut for a moment and did his best to ignore his bond's emotions.
"If you didn't want to do anything, then why'd you enter the flight?"
"I... guess..." The Earth paused again, each moment that went by an agony. "I did want to... you know." She paused again, then nodded as if she'd finally made up her mind. Gravo all but popped.
"Thank you," he said, though whether it was to Carara or to Asuka, not even he was sure.

A deadly game of cat and mouse had been going on, not some distance away, but between dragons of a vastly different type. Who was playing cat, and who was playing mouse, however, was hard to tell. Rabies Hound was leading Xention on a bit of a chase, snapping at the shadow bunny whenever he got too close. Xention, of course, wasn't stupid enough to let the diseased little dragoness nick him.. he didn't want rabies, after all! Right now they stalked about one another, circling warily, but not making a move, on either side.
The second you come after me, you're dead meat, boy. The dragoness warned.
You wish, Xention scoffed. I'll have you and you won't know what to do about it. He wasn't a bunny for nothing, after all... he knew his business!
I'd like to see you try it, Rabies retorted, though her cynical voice was touched with curiosity, and a dare. If Xention did manage to get within range of her, there was no doubt that she would chomp him a good one... and yet, he didn't seem about to back down.
The bunny-dragon smirked, eyes glowing like little stars in the darkness at ground level. I know you would... He feinted right, then, and Rabies snapped at him. Before she could catch him, however, he leaped, twisted in mid-air, and was upon her. she reared around to strike him, but he used the weight of his landing to press her to the ground. Impressed?
You make me retch the dragoness muttered darkly, even if she let him go about his business.

Canti and Ashane, both, were being trailed by an Air and a Fire, respectively. The Dou Pas dragoness had been trying to shake Ladune the entire evening, but the Air wouldn't let her be rid of him. She didn't want to have fun, she told herself, she didn't want to be caught. Even if she'd entered this flight... she didn't really believe that a dragon could be as jovial as Ladune was. But the Air had been nothing if not perfectly polite--as far as tail-chasing could be called polite--and had said nothing offensive or even mildly off-putting. He'd chased her with what could only be said to be clean intent, humoring her cynical behaviour and proving to her more then once that he really wasn't out to get her in any way except for the obvious. Really, He psied over the whippinng wind behind her, This has been a lot of fun.
Has been? What? Canti responded, confused by the tense.
And Ladune showed her. Suddenly she was envelopped by silver wings, as the Air gently lowered himself on her. "I'll be quick, if that's what you want."
But the teal dragoness realized that that wasn't it... No, she replied, surprising herself. Take your time.

If Ladune was being the perfect gentleman, Inceme was nothing but a rogue. "All of those wings will get you nowhere, you realize," he called after the half-Wyld Ashane.
She cackled at him, Really? They seem to have gotten me pretty far already!"
"They won't get you any further when you realize you're falling for me!" He replied, heavy wingbeats mimicking her two sets of strokes.
Falling for you? Hah!
"Admit it, you're falling all over yourself for me!"
Hardly! Why are you even bothering, I could outfly you in a second.
"But you aren't!"
You amuse me.
"Come here and I'll amuse you more." Inceme grinned and would have winked if the duo-winged dragoness were watching him.
There was a pause as Ashane lead him on a few dives, then really began to pull away from him... after all this time, she still had enough reserves to power those two sets of wings! And then she slowed down again, enough for him to catch up. Fine then, amuse me, peon, she said, her voice mocking.
"Peon?!" Inceme said, and laughed aloud. "I'm hurt." But he caught her up anyways, and they both of them were grinning the entire time.

Back on the ground Claws Indrah was amused, as well. She was being trailed by a clutchmate... even if they weren't direct siblings, she still found it darkly entertaining that the death Pest was hoping to capture her. She clicked her namesake claws, extended like kitchen blades, and with the same propensity for death and disembowelment, and watched the horned dragon approach her. They had a similiar standoff to Rabies, but this time the threat was much more visible.
You're wasting your efforts, Pest said simply, stepping forward.
And you'll be wasting your life, if you take another step, the dragoness replied, reasonable.
And what, someone else will come for you? He took another step. The blades tcked one against another.
Maybe. Maybe not. Making a meal out of you would be as pleasant as the alternative.
Pest took one more step, Both. He said shortly. Why not both?
Was this dragon insane? Claws rubbed her blades together, considering. Suicidal, for certain... however... Yes, both would be nice, too. I'll gut you afterwards.
Pest snarled at her, but slunk around her elongated claws... he was here, after all, to mate. If Claws was enjoying herself, however, Pest was vigilant. The moment she moved to slice him, the little dragon was off of her and into the air. Claws managed to put a good dent in the spotted dragon's tailfin, but Pest managed to come out of the ordeal with his insides intact. Little beast! the black and red dragoness shouted... though she didn't follow him into the sky. She could wait.

One particularly unique dragoness was having a great time of things, flapping through the night sky like she owned it. Chiroptidae wung below a feathery winged dragon, not particularly caring if he were after her or not. The black and gold dragoness had been chased by a number of dragons, but Daritonliath was the only one who'd stayed on. He followed her at a distance, letting her snap up night bugs and glide, unchallenged, in the dark. And then he came closer... closer...
ABDAJAHBUHGOOGLEH! The sudden voice startled Dari' half out of his wits, and he lost his advantage in the air over her when he lost the air out of his crimson wings.
What. the HELL?!
Hah. Gotcha. That's five now. Chiroptidae snickered darkly to herself, suddenly paying him full attention. Daritonliath realized she'd been watching him the entire time. She'd just been pretending to ignore him!
He recovered quickly enough, and came back to Chiro's level. What was that for?
I scaredja, didn't I?
Well... yes, but... Well then whydja come back? Want more? She waggled her ears as she glided towards him. She looked really rather terrifying with those huge teeth and spikes, that devilish grin...
No... I...
ABDAJAHBUHGOOGLEH! the cat-bat dragon shrieked again, swooping at him.
AGH! Dari' lost his air again, while Chiroptidae cackled behind him.
He recovered his wings, flew back up. You did it again!
Yep. The dragoness swept around him, snapped at a large nightbeetle. I'll do it again, too.
I wouldn't fall for it this ti--
AGH! Dari' squawked for a third time, bowled back in the air as Chiro' turned on her tail and swooped him once more.
Y'aren't a smart one, are yah? Chiroptidae snickered, this time coming up beneath to nudge Dari' back into the air--and then finding the feathery winged dragon latching onto her from above! Hey! That's not fair!
Daritonliath said nothing, instead getting the black and gold dragoness back for scaring the life out of him three times.

There were only two dragonesses left... and they couldn't be more different from one another. While Tiyorarel was a black and gold bipedrak, Everi was a pure-hearted Golden Wyld of Spirit decent. And while there were only two suitors left, there probably couldn't be a better match for each. Kaltase, a grey bipedra, two headed just like the black, was keeping his eye on Tiyorarel. Ciwary Caelumpictor, Wyld himself, was nothing if not harmless. A bit of a show-off, yes, but he was as pure-hearted as Everi could have wanted. The two females led individual chases, but were caught at nearly the same time...
Took you long enough, one of Tiy's heads muttered as the other snapped at Kaltase. The grey bipedra growled, but the managed to restrain himself from snapping back. He'd been able to restrain himself while Tirorarel tired herself out... now he'd get his reward.
Everi, on the other hand, finally welcomed Ciwary to her. She'd all but dragged him through mud, this flight, and the half-Air had nearly given up on a number of counts... but now she was finally finished testing him! I'm sorry, She apologized, I just wanted to make sure you weren't trouble.
As if Ciwary was trouble. Well... when he wasn't around string, at least. He grinned goofily and swept down to her, more then happy to take up her offer.

The last of the participants had paired off... the sky was spread now with many stars, and land below dark save for the lamps and orbs that sprinkled the tents with light. Even if the flight's participants were done for the night, festivities continued, and probably would for the next few days.

Everything had gone according to plan... or at least, that was how it seemed.