Note: This takes place before Lonely Shadows. This is a stand-alone story, which means you can read it without having to read Lonely Shadows to understand what is going on. Thank you, and enjoy. Also, Twistwing, Blackeye and Bloodclaw are simply names I used for this story. Any relation to existing pets of that name is purely coincidental.
Blyzzarr closed her eyes against the biting wind. Normally the freezing air didn’t bother her, but there was something different about this wind. It was far colder than the coldest breezes on Terror Mountain... and far more sinister. Her wings folded more tightly around her body, trying in vain to keep her heat from leaving her scales. She tried to breathe fire into her claws, but the cold snapped out the flames. For the twentieth time that night, she wondered why she had decided to flee into the mountain range between the Lost Desert and Altador. There would be no Snow Faerie here to save her.
She heard a soft whimper from her knapsack, and spoke soothingly to her Petpet. “Kloak, it’s going to be okay. We’ll find shelter soon, I promise.” The Faerie Seti snuggled closer against her back, but she knew that if she didn’t find shelter soon, both she and her little Petpet would freeze.
Her back claw suddenly caught on something and she found herself falling. In slow motion, she tried to catch herself, to flare her wings and regain balance, but the cruel wind would not allow her to. It snapped her wings back, bringing tears of pain to her eyes. She slammed against the ice, knocking her forehead against the ground. Kloak slid out of her knapsack with a startled squeal, but she barely registered this. She felt the little Seti nuzzle against her cheek as she blacked out.
- - -
The cheery crackle of a fire was the first thing she heard as Blyzzarr regained consciousness. She opened her eyes and confirmed that there was indeed a fire blazing. Then she noticed that she wasn’t alone.
Stroking the soft leathery skin of her Petpet was a cat-girl. She looked up and smiled at the Draik.
“Good evening,” she said. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” Blyzzarr replied, sitting up. She looked around and found a Purple Acara tending the flames, her Erisim wrapped around her neck like a scarf. Blyzzarr fastened her gaze back on the cat-girl. “Who are you?”
“My Neopian name is Siennacat13, but everyone just calls me Sienna,” the cat-girl answered. She gestured at her Acara. “This is Siberia1313.”
“But please, call me Si,” Siberia1313 replied, smiling. “We found you out there completely knocked out. Your Seti was frantic, squabbling at you and wailing. I’m just glad we found you when we did.”
“I’m glad too,” Blyzzarr said as her Seti clambered into her lap. “We would have died out there if you hadn’t found us. My name is Blyzzarr, and this is Kloak.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Sienna smiled. “May we ask what you were doing out here all alone?”
“I’d rather you didn’t,” Blyzzarr replied, wrapping the blanket tightly about her shoulders. Si and Sienna were silent for a long pause, where the only sound was the crackling of the fire. Si had finished stoking the flames and had moved to Sienna’s lap, and now the cat-girl was softly stroking the thick violet fur. Finally, Sienna spoke up. “You’re running away, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Blyzzarr answered sadly.
“Why?” Si asked.
“It’s my owner and my brothers,” she replied. They waited patiently for her to continue, and after sighing, she did. “I never liked being the youngest. Twistwing, Blackeye and Bloodclaw always picked on me because of my stats and because I’m female. My owner tends to ignore me a lot, too, and he only shows me off because I’m a Draik. Recently, he started entering me into the Battledome. At first I liked it, but then he started pitting me against harder and harder opponents, until I started getting knocked out without even putting up much of a fight. I thought he would understand me like he does Bloodclaw and Twistwing – they’re the battlers - but he would only yell at me whenever I lost. One night, just as I was going to bed, I heard them talking about me. They think that I’m losing because I’m a girl.” Here she looked up at her companions. They matched her gaze, concern evident in their expressions. She took a deep breath and finished. “They’re going to make me drink a Strange Potion.”
Si drew in a hissing breath, but Sienna calmed her gently.
“You don’t want to change into a boy?” she asked calmly.
“No! I like being a girl!” Blyzzarr leapt up, angry. She started to say more, but Sienna held up a hand.
“That’s the only answer I need,” she answered.
“Don’t make me go back,” Blyzzarr growled, her silver eyes flashing. “If you do, I’ll... I’ll...”
“I wasn’t planning to,” Sienna answered. “You’re welcome to stay with us until you decide what to do.”
“What?” Blyzzarr blinked. Whatever she had expected, it hadn’t been what Sienna had just said. Even Kloak looked up.
“You. Stay. With. Us.” Sienna made each word a sentence. Her pale blue eyes were amused. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“No,” Blyzzarr shook her head.
“Good.” Sienna stood up, setting Si down gently. She arched her back, her spine cracking audibly. “I’m going to go scout around for a little bit. You two stay here and rest. I’ll be back shortly.”
“Wait,” Blyzzarr said as Sienna started to head outside the cave with nothing but her turtleneck tank top and torn jeans. “Aren’t you going to be cold?”
“No,” Sienna smiled. “You keep that blanket. I’ll be fine.”
“But –” Blyzzarr began, but stopped when Si placed a warm paw on her arm.
“She’ll be fine, I promise,” she said. Sienna nodded once, and then stepped outside into the howling winds.
- - -
Blyzzarr and Si waited for hours. Sienna had left them plenty of blankets, dry wood, clean (though frozen) water and a few pieces of bread, but all that Blyzzarr really wanted was a good book. But since there wasn’t one available, she asked Si questions.
“Why did she go outside without protection?” Blyzzarr asked. “Won’t she freeze?”
“No, she has magic to warm her,” Si smiled. “She has all sorts of abilities, but she doesn’t want me talking about them to just anyone.”
“Okay. Then what is she like as an owner?” Blyzzarr asked again.
“She’s wonderful!” Si laughed. “She takes me out to the shops, game rooms, all over the world and back, I eat excellent food every day, and if I ever need anything for my potions, she’ll buy it for me and - ”
“Wait, you make potions?” Blyzzarr interrupted.
“Yeah! I want to be like Kauvara or Kayla. I love making potions, it’s so much fun!” Si giggled, and Blyzzarr smiled. “Healing Potions are the easiest. What are your hobbies?”
“Well...” Blyzzarr thought for a moment. All she really knew was battling. Any free time she was given, she usually spent sleeping or hiding from her brothers. Then she had it. “I like to practice sword-fighting. I want to be a knight.”
“A knight? Cool!” Si laughed. “Hey, maybe Mom can take you to Meridell and ask Jeran to train you.”
“She knows Jeran?” The Draik’s jaw dropped.
“Yeah, she actually knows a lot of people.” The Acara nodded vigorously. “Let’s see, there’s Jeran, Illusen, Sophie, Taelia, Fyora - ”
“Queen Fyora!” Blyzzarr leapt up and started pacing the cavern. Who was this cat-girl, who could brave the harshest cold like it was a summer day, know the greatest of people, and to apparently have traveled the entire world of Neopia? Certainly there were many Neopian owners who had traveled the world, but how many knew Queen Fyora? Or Sophie for that matter? Wasn’t the Swamp Witch supposed to be hard to find?
“Is something troubling you?” asked Sienna’s voice, and Blyzzarr jumped. The cat-girl was completely untouched by snow or ice. Not even her long hair, pulled back in a ponytail, was windswept.
“Who are you?” Blyzzarr demanded. “You’ve traveled Neopia, know Queen Fyora of all people, and have magic like I’ve never seen.”
“Lots of people have magic, have traveled Neopia and have met Fyora,” Sienna replied calmly, moving to the fire and shoveling snow onto it, quelling the flames. “Why am I any different?”
“I don’t know,” Blyzzarr replied, sinking to the floor. Kloak chirped in his sleep, and snuggled closer to Si’s Erisim, Catalyst. “But you are different.”
The room was silent as Sienna finished putting out the fire. When she stood up again, her pale blue eyes glowing in the darkened room, her expression was gentle but stern.
“I saw a small group of travelers during my scout,” she said. “I drew near enough to hear them. They were looking for you, Blyzzarr.”
Blyzzarr hissed, her silver eyes blazing. “Keep them away from me.”
“Why do you think we’re moving?” Sienna snorted, a smirk on her face. “What I heard from their conversation was enough for me to attack them. Unfortunately, the Neopets were stronger than I thought, so I was forced to retreat. I believe he sent his Scorchio after me, but I outdistanced him easily.”
“Twistwing.” Blyzzarr sighed. “Where can we go?”
“These mountains are pocketed with caves,” Sienna replied. “They’ll be hard put to find us until we can get to Altador. Then they’ll lose us entirely.”
“Why would they lose us in Altador?” Blyzzarr asked.
“I have my ways,” Sienna replied, and swept from the cave. Blyzzarr hurried after, Si bringing up the rear with the two Petpets.
Immediately as they left the shelter of the cave, they were buffeted by a frozen wind. Far off, Blyzzarr could just make out the dark form of a flying Neopet. Was it Twistwing?
“This way!” Sienna shouted over the roar. She started to climb up the rock, her clawed hands and feet easily finding or creating hand and footholds. Si followed her owner, and after making sure Kloak was safely inside her knapsack, Blyzzarr followed. Climbing the rocky wall was treacherous, but not as difficult as forcing one’s way through the ceaseless wind. Rather, Blyzzarr wondered why she hadn’t tried this method before. Even the roar of the wind seemed quieter.
They reached a small plateau after a while, and they caught their breath while watching the dark shape move closer. Behind it came three more dark shapes. Blyzzarr shivered. Her owner and brothers.
She looked at her new friends, and realized that she didn’t want them to get hurt.
“I’ll go back to him.” Blyzzarr sighed sadly.
“What?” Si spun around, her violet eyes wide. “Why?”
“Sienna said that they drove her off once. What if she gets hurt this time?” the Draik pointed out.
“I know their level of power now, so I can adjust accordingly.” Sienna placed a warm hand on the Draik’s shoulder. “Do not make an action out of worry. I will be fine.”
“That remains to be judged,” said a new voice. Blyzzarr scrambled away as a Mutant Scorchio landed on the plateau. “Blyzzarr, it’s time to go home.”
“I’m not going back,” Blyzzarr growled. The Scorchio scoffed.
“You don’t have a choice,” he snorted. Rings of smoke from his nostrils were quickly whipped away by the wind. “Come back peacefully. You know I can beat you easily.”
“What about me?” Si demanded. Sienna hissed when the Scorchio looked at the little Acara, interjecting herself between the two Neopets. Her eyes blazed.
“I saw you, but then I lost you in a whirl of snow,” the Scorchio blinked in confusion. “How did you get up here so fast?”
“None of your business,” Sienna growled. “Leave. Now.”
“Very well.” He leapt forward onto Blyzzarr. She snarled and brought up her claws, but she knew her brother’s stats. All of her brothers were easily three times stronger than her. She slammed into the icy rock under his bulk. The back of her head connected with the cold rock, and she groaned as darkness swallowed her. He pulled her into the air, clearly intending to flee, when they were both slammed into the rock. With a screech that threatened to break eardrums, Sienna hurled Twistwing against the wall. He cried out in pain, but stood up, unhurt. “You’ll pay for that!”
But Sienna ignored him, staring into Blyzzarr’s face. She gently swept clawed fingers over the Draik’s scales, and drew in a shuddering breath.
When she fastened her gaze back on the Scorchio, her pupils had narrowed to mere slits.
“Thou shalt compensate for thy misdeed,” she said, her voice much deeper than normal, and edged with rage.
Si yelped something, and leapt behind a pile of rocks. The air crackled around Sienna, sparks of blue and white lightning dancing around her. Twistwing froze, instincts warning him that he had angered something far more powerful than he could ever hope to be.
“Dost thou remember my attack on thee and thy family?” Sienna stood straight, her body changing as she moved. Her fur grew longer, but also smoother and flattened against her skin. Her face lengthened into a snout not unlike the Snowager’s, but the fur was a dusty gold color. Leathery wings sprouted from her back as her tail grew and developed a spade. As he watched, Sienna revealed her true form of a dragon. “Thou wert laughing about what thou wouldst do once thou hadst caught up with thy sister. Is family not important to thee? Hath these traits of love and compassion been lost forever?” She towered over him, blue sparks of lightning dancing around her opened jaws. Her eyes, however, remained the same: icy blue, slit pupils, and merciless. “Family is all I have left, and I cherish it more than any weapon the Faeries could create! And yet thou and thy kin would force one of thy own to do something against her will!”
“No! It isn’t like that!” Twistwing scrambled away as that massive head approached him. “We thought she would connect with us better if she was a boy!”
“Did thou even think to ask her?” the dragon asked softly. Hesitantly, Twistwing shook his head. “Then I have one last task for thee. Tell thy owner that Blyzzarr no longer belongs to him. She is no longer of his or thy concern.”
“He won’t give her up,” Twistwing whispered. “I know him.”
“If he bothers her or me ever again, he will not live to see the next day,” she whispered. “And do not think to use Si or any other pet I should adopt against me. I have killed for less.”
“A-anything else I should t-tell him?” The Mutant Scorchio was stammering now.
The dragon thought for a moment, then smiled, revealing pure white fangs as long as his wings. “Yes. Tell him that he should consider himself lucky I do not fry him now. Now fly!”
He yelped as she snapped at him. He flared his wings and fled, those massive jaws right at his heel. But once she had chased him a short distance from the plateau, she turned back and landed, cradling the still unconscious Shadow Draik in her claws. Twistwing decided he would need backup. He glanced behind him once or twice, and saw fierce lightning bolts ran down on the plateau. He knew the storm to be the dragon’s work, and also knew that one hit from that deadly rain would turn him into a Pile of Soot. He met again with his family, told them what happened, and the dragon’s message.
But by the time the four of them returned, the dragon and her two Neopets were gone.
- - -
Blyzzarr sighed in contentment as she sipped from a glass of Aged Tchea Juice. Altador was amazing, once she had awakened to see it. All the citizens were kind, and they all treated her, Si and Sienna with respect. Even King Altador smiled and waved at them when they visited the Hall of Heroes. Now they all sat on the family porch in Sienna’s Neohome. Blyzzarr tasted various drinks, Si tended the flowers nearby, and Sienna lay on the cobblestones, drinking in the sun’s rays. She looked like an Aisha sleeping in a sunny window, without a care in the world.
Blyzzarr didn’t know what had happened after she blacked out, but both Si and Sienna had told her that if she was ever bothered again, then her old owner and brothers would be reported for harassment. Blyzzarr had asked to be adopted, and so Sienna had. But today wasn’t just a day for relaxing. Blyzzarr had the rest of Altador to explore, and then they were going to visit the Games Room.
“Mom! Wake up!” Si shoved hard on Sienna’s arm, but the cat-girl growled in her sleep and simply rolled over. “Mom! I want to go play games!”
Blyzzarr laughed and finished the Tchea Juice. Well, they would have to wait until Sienna woke up first.
But as she lowered her hand, her silver eyes alighted once again upon the new mark on her smooth black scales. A silver snowflake, its center an empty diamond. She had managed to hide it from her new family, but how long until the reason of that mark came into play?
She had escaped the winter of the mountains, but what was this but frost to a new challenge?