Dragon Hatching and Bonding Stories, Collected Edition

Sta Turun and Shigan

Size comparison Piece and Knockoff/Pawn

Tattoo mutt, four legs, two wings with feathers and membranes, head has small horns and external ears, pupiled eyes, lots of sparkly floof, paw pads and claw feet, long tail with feathers, orb with magic; requirement of being tattooed (or... temporary tattooed)

Turun namesake will inherit in offspring or be modified by partner's naming convention accordingly

Knockoff stats: 3 average, with one stat at 1 and another at 5, your choice; powers: 5 telepathy, verbal speech, magic sense; 3 paradise creation; otherwise they use only very modest versions of light breath and divination

The very moment the tattoo recepient arrives, or more accurately 'the start of the event' because sometimes later arrivals find themselves jostled through time, is when the tattoo is applied. The Midnight hour itself, during the countdown itself, is when the dragonets 'mature' out of their Paradise - even the temporary tattoo Knockoffs arrive at this time; note well that the development time of their full blooded Tattoo parentage would have been months, not hours, but the nature of this event means that months actually have passed for them, so these 'hatchlings' are the most mature of the entire event on their arrival; by the nature of this process, their bonding stories tend to run much longer than others jus' sayin

** 2023 ** note that since the daddy was a replacement the information found on pickup pages MAY be changed: they may be up to 2 feet taller at the shoulder, and may have other powers in addition or in replacement of those found on the original group (verbal speech plane travel innate spellcasting divination). They WILL have if desired, the new features of "scaled kirin-like skin" "added horns" and "hoofed feet" for descendants. You don't have to take any of those things!

Sta Turun Tardis Generations, Astroma + Ba Telepathy
Verbal Speech
Light Breath Weapon
Paradise Creation (Permanent, Construct)
Shigan (REPLACED ORIGINAL) Gorgeous mutt Telepathy
Verbal Speech
"Backstage" powers - Temporal/Dimension Travel (and/or Vision); Shielding; Item Storage; Self-healing)

Full Pieces

all Family named Turun


Bond: Kevin Greenbottle, Voluntary Bond
Meeting Notes: It wasn't enough that they moved through a weird portal and into a long tunnel on what they were told was another world. The tunnel was fine, it was actually quite interesting with glowing crystals and small plants that provided gentle lights along the way. No, it was that the moment they got to the actual 'ballroom' venue, something... changed. Something weird; he felt the tremendous pressure of the ocean above and around the ballroom, but it wasn't just that. Abruptly, Kevin Greenbottle noticed that his new companions weren't beside him (which... let's face it, was fine for him). There was a different corridor, slightly dim, but enticing, along the left wall. It was quieter, muffled almost, like hearing loud conversations in a tavern from a room on a floor above it. He tried looking around again for the group, and didn't see them, had they already abandoned him to the rest of the... wait, there weren't nearly as many people in the main hallway either. Weird. Wait, where was his draca? Keshpt was nowhere to be found, maybe there was a group of creatures he wanted to join.

He shrugged mainly to himself and grunted and walked down that more dim, more pleasantly appealing corridor. Whether he walked for a moment or an hour, Kevin was not sure. But he did arrive to a single square room, not big, not cramped. Some of it seemed... indistinct? The ceiling fuzzy with a haze, the corners slightly out of focus. There was a barber's chair or something similar to it in the center, looked well used but not shabby. Was he going to get a trim? Did he have too much hair? He'd dressed in his best, but he supposed that his means could only go so ...

Wait, no, he heard something, felt a ghostly presence in the room. The... The room was attending him, as he sat in that chair, it was built for someone much larger than a halfling but he noticed that as he leaned back, it seemed to shrink to his dimensions. There was magic here, plenty of it. This presence bade him to move his sleeve, his left arm exposed. A weird bunch of conflicting sounds came to his pointed ears: whirring, clicking, humming and chants, faint chiming. Together with the odd sensation of hands that couldn't be seen, he realized that he was here to... Get a tattoo?

Huh. Well, by this point there was clearly nothing going to stop this process, so he relaxed to it as much as he could with the sudden sharp pain and the constant pressure of those weird magic hands. On his arm slowly but surely appeared a brilliant white and black design, a steed-head with faint filigree and a glowing orb over its 'ears' (or... were those horns? He'd have to get a better look in a mirror once it was done), in greys and silvers. A chess piece, a Knight. Something to remember the evening, eh?

This took a while, but it wasn't so long that it became too overly painful. After all his arm was half the size of any given Human's, right? With reasonable humor he hopped off the seat when it was done, and was a little giddy from the thrill of it. He'd heard about people getting tattoos being energized, happy - it was just the pain, but this was pretty good pain.

Kevin sensed that it was time to rejoin the party, but how much of it would be left? He'd been there long enough to get a pretty nice ...

He spotted himself and the group, emerging from the stone-hewn corridor and moving away to the brightly lit Ballroom. The strangest sense of vertigo and confusion washed over him, but then in a moment he was simply standing with them again looking at the big black and white tapestries and huge windows showing- the sea beyond... Keshpt nibbled his ear, jolting him. And thought nothing more of it, the last hour or so of his life was suddenly a very dim memory.


Kevin drank and ate like he'd never done either. He did however stay well clear of those vast windows - they framed the Stage so they were a touch hard to avoid, in that regard. This place, the whole place, was under the sea? There was a bit of a nautical theme mixed with pleasantly angular and artistic designs in the smaller Casino where he wound up spending a lot more time than the rest. This was mainly to spare him the terror of looking out at that dim watery grave...

At the very least, the magic at work in this place meant that he didn't get confused for a child nearly as often as he might have among this many Humans. They stretched the boundary of what 'human' might mean, too; it wasn't just elves and fur-kin and whatever, there were just outright weird people here. Enjoying themselves, gambling, standing on the little stage and singing badly to whatever tunes came from the small speakers framing it. This was a far more familiar place than the big ballroom floor. He was nearly trodden on by those rabbit-folk when he went to try and get a dance in, out there!

His winnings were pretty decent, at this card table, at that dice ring. Finally when it was nearing midnight, and the festivities would reach whatever climax (but probably continue on well after that point) he decided to try and find the others in the group. Maybe this event would have them come home with their own dragons, but even though a bunch of them walked the floors every half hour or so, none of the hatchlings had come to him. Okay okay he was stuck in the Casino most of the night but they still came there, if a person was meant to have that dragon or this one, they found a way.

Slightly frustrated, but still a little tipsy from the large mug of ale he hoisted in the air at Midnight, Kevin Greenbottle realized that his left arm was itching fiercely. Wait, wait, wasn't that something that people with tattoos complained about? How was it itchy now? He'd hardly noticed more than a little ache all night?

"It itches because I wanted to leave! I was ready, are you?" A voice spoke, next to him, and he looked more to his arm than to... The bright and curious slightly horse-like face of a dragon! She nosed toward him and bumped his chin, she was small right now, but still reasonably young. Not a bumbling hatchling, not fresh from an egg sized. "I am grown enough, not as big as the others," she nodded toward a couple of similar looking dragons - and their people, who seemed equally surprised to see them. "But I will not be tiny! I wanted to be with you, because I understand what it means to have a place in your heart."

He couldn't really form words. This was his dragon, and she was lovely. "I didn't... have a home for a while, you get too attached and then have to leave it..."

"I will never leave you, you're my home," she stared with those big purple eyes at his arm, "I can build us a home, when I learn how, it'll be just for you and me, our Paradise."


Bond: Ykhaek ahlVahh, Voluntary Bond
Meeting Notes: Where that one Pelatih showed up barely wearing 'good' riding leathers, as a Penjagan and a Peridian and a representitive of the Vahh clan, Ykhaek stood out as the high class man he was. At least that other's outfit was a shade of dark grey... His own was richly black with white feather accents, a robe with daring slits on the sides that had he been willing to swirl around on the dance floor may have put a blush on his partner's face. He left the dancing to Vahh himself - wait, that wasn't his Vahh, it was another, there were several and Ykhaek counted himself lucky he could tell the difference. It was in his blood, after all, so if he didn't know which world that specific example of their other-worldly kin was from, he at least knew that it wasn't his.

They'd arrived from the heat of the Kiran desert and blissful coolness of the Ski'nahket facility, sent by Vahh, to this other one's side in this deep-sea structure. Ykhaek had seen this location before, sensitive to the places where his spliced ancestor had investments even if they weren't the same dimension.

What he hadn't seen was this interesting side corridor. The night was quite young, not all that many dancers on the floor yet, and he wasn't hungry enough to head straight into the buffet. This dimly lit, but brightly powerful hall positively beckoned him. He was well aware that this wasn't exactly part of the whole building, in fact it seemed like it wasn't even in the same dimension. (Then again, that one room down at the bottom of the facility in the desert wasn't attached to their Zekira either!)

Quietly walking on slipper-shod two-toed feet, Ykhaek didn't spend much time walking, he spotted the brighter room at the hall's end and ... was there. Like a dream, or a vision that was fully realized, the room absolutely did not exist when someone wasn't in it. He was sure of this. Again, because it was in his blood. So was it someone's construct? Was it one of his own ancestor's creations? It certainly felt like it, but ... there was more to it than just Vahh energy. It was too black and white, not enough turquoise and teal.

The seat that was in the center of the room had nice enough padding to make up for its rather barbaric looking frame. Well, if one was here it must be for his plush bedecked rump, so there he sat. The dark shoulder of his robe flopped a little, and instead of returning it to its proper spot, he realized...

He pulled his arm free from it, and made sure that the white feathers weren't going to get broken or messy, tucking the wrist hem and shoulder together behind him. With his oddly sensitive mind, he felt more than saw the energies around him now. Almost shaped like hands, not-quite-visible to the normal eye, but there were definitely tools held in those nimble spectral fingers. Very real tools, it seemed, because he shortly felt pressure gripping his upper arm, firmly but not painfully, and then.

Then painfully, oh my yes. But Ykhaek knew pain, both because he'd caused it, and because others were feeling it. He realized with a bit of a start, that tattoos, while quite common in Zekira, didn't tend to last as long as they might on other creatures. Zekiran skin was quick to heal and regrow, he knew a couple tattoo artists in fact, he helped them work on strange limbs - there was that one woman with the bat-like arm wings, for instance. He had to make sure that her hollow bones could take the pressure applied, that the skin would sustain the colors and not rip. And about ten years later, they would make another appointment for when that clever splash of color and design had grown dull and hidden in her skin once more.

So... why did he have the distinct impression that this tattoo was far more permanent? There was more going on than just some kind of psionic energy, in here. After a while, his nose caught whiff of the antiseptic common among tattoo shops, but also a clove-and-citrus smell, incense? And a thrumming, vocal chant that his pointed ears should have detected much earlier. Maybe it was just that he knew the bulk of the energy here was recognizable power? But what was the other stuff? 'Magic'?

It was indeed.

When the ghostly hands finally wiped the design clean and applied a thin layer of healing gel, then a clear plastic bandage over the hand-long image, Ykhaek got a good look at it. Against his darkly copper shaded skin, it looked quite brilliant, a shiny silver with white bits, what looked like an elegant tower design, with a sphere above it in white. The design seemed.... Very oddly familiar.


He learned later, that design was called a 'Chess Rook'. They had a game similar to this 'chess' on Zekira, and he learned how to play it while he was in the casino area. He didn't show this tattoo off much, after all he paid a lot for this robe, he wanted to wear it properly and not slung halfway around his chest like a swaggering fool. It was the theme of the party, too, and more: Rook was the name of his home Zone! Was that a coincidence? Vahh's holdings there were massive, after all, his own included.

How did a room know any of this?

Well - it didn't. It wasn't the room, of course.

As the party went on and he gambled (very successfully, even against that tall four-armed lad who seemed all but enchanted with his dice and card play!) then went out to the buffet to sample all the fish and sweets. They had several kinds of Zpara - and other things, teas and 'coffee - it's not the same, but it does what Zpara does' - which were quite nice too. Never let it be said that any descendant of Vahh would refuse a good cup of Zpara! So sipping said cup (it was a Ruby variety, more mellow than the Red in flavor, quite comparable to that 'hazelnut columbian' roast that they also served here), Ykhaek enjoyed the stage shows after they started really rolling, particularly the one with all the fancy dressed men! They knew how to doll themselves up!

Toward the end of the clock's countdown, however, the Zekiran's senses seemed to be getting a little weird. It wasn't the press of the now-drunken and exhausted crowd, he'd been at and held enough big parties that this wasn't going to tilt his emotional stability. It was more that the place seemed glittery around the edges, his eyes tried to focus but had some difficulty. And that tattoo itched something fierce. As a Peridian he had been trained in many biological subjects, and he knew that this tattoo couldn't have been healing that fast. Itching, according to Vu'du Rl'ish his tattooist friend, was supposed to kick in around five or six days later?

But before the midnight bell, before everyone lost their collective minds yelling and hollering happy new year, Ykhaek moved himself to one of the more private booths on the balcony overlooking that big ballroom. It was slightly quieter, and... There was room for the dragon that materialized near him. So shiny, it looked like moonlight on ice, in fact it looked like it had the same silvery reflections in its feathers, as on that tattoo. When he looked at his own energy, it was being drawn in a line, gently but visibly, from his own aura into this dragon's.

"I hope you don't mind," the dragon spoke with a soft but sure voice, "I chose you for many reasons. You're very strong inside."

Ykhaek blinked a couple times, absently following the energy back and forth until he realized...

"You ... came from this?" The tattoo arm was still covered by the perfect plush and feather robe, but still it was easily visible to both dragon and man.

"I did, and I can return to it, so I do hope you don't mind, but I've made it a little more... permanent. You won't need more ink on your skin unless you ask your odd friend to do it for you..."

They chatted a little; Vilo Turun, the dragon, wasn't fully grown but seemed far bigger and more mature than merely a 'hatchling' like the scores of them that had passed across the dance floor all night. His powers would complement and add to Ykhaek's very nicely. But they were interrupted by the midnight cheer, and joined in eagerly.


Bond: Caetal Peregrin-Valar, Voluntary Bond
Meeting Notes: Oh how magical this place was! They'd arrived as a group, humanoid in appearance, even though two of them were anything but human. Tien almost immediately started working on those interdimensional deals, and that was their cue to do so as well. But they'd hardly gotten ten strides into the venue (enough to see the brilliant gleam of the ballroom beyond the entry) when Caetal felt a strange tingling mental ping. Go to this hall, go ahead, check it out. She nodded gently toward Raren, urging him to continue into the main chamber without her. It was as if a gleaming lure continued to flicker in her mind's eye: take the long hall, enter this chamber.

Why did she simply and blindly obey the urge? Something felt very right about it, perhaps, rather than feeling 'wrong'. It was almost as if lines of power were drawing arrows toward a specific place. But ... also this place? Her senses told her that it didn't really exist, it wasn't as ... solid? Permanent? as the rest of the oddly assembled and equally magical venue. Yet here it was, a space more or less suited to a humanoid's size and configuration, with a sturdy looking chair that was probably the most mundane thing she'd seen so far.

She had to 'turn off' her more magical senses, it became almost overwhelming pretty quickly. So with more physical eyes she saw coalescing matter or energy in the form of slender arm-like extensions from the walls. With physical ears, she heard ... chanting? not song-like, but ritual magic, words that eluded her but the sound was soothing; there were other fainter sounds, echoes of a sort of machine clicking. With her human-like nose, she detected a tang of medical alcohol, but also very strongly scented incense and herbs for healing. All of those things combined to make her aware that as she sat in that chair, long sticks and a pot of ... ink? appeared nearby. She was sitting for a tattoo?

Well wouldn't that be something to see when she wasn't humanoid? Her dress's arm somehow wasn't in the way, but would cover the area when put back down.

She would have to wait a while, there was exquisite but momentary pain as the long bamboo-rod needles pierced skin and then embedded ink. But it was all magical as well, she didn't need to defend from this invasive process. Caetal wondered what it was, what would it look like? On her left arm, a smallish palm-sized image formed. It was a simple shape, an elegant upright cone with a bulb on top, and above it, a sphere. It was more dark than pale, but the white ink somehow managed to show on top of her pale skin. Some slight filigree around it indicated a base, delineated edges.

When it was finalized and wiped clean, refreshing salves put on and a strange plastic bandage over it for healing, she made note: this was a chess Pawn, wasn't it? Well, the Checkerboard Ball certainly was keeping with its theme!


She'd walked back into the ballroom with confidence though favoring her left arm a little. She'd hold a drink in that hand but swapped out, thanks to the ache. But that didn't really stop her from enjoying the night! There were drinks and dining, and so many people to talk to. She caught a glimpse of some of the hosts, noting how the black-haired woman kept having to shoo her tall and dark skinned partner's hand from her rear. Tien happily proclaimed she'd set up appointments for arrivals to discuss their trade agreements, the evening was already proving very profitable.

Time ticked by, somehow - it was as if no time at all had elapsed while she was getting that tattoo, but still passed here in the ballroom with a somewhat regular pace. The dancers on the ballroom floor would part now and then to allow dragonets to walk through and find their friends or companions. One even found Tien, and by the time it was nearly midnight, so had Raren!

More magic pings alerted her to something, strangely familiar magic. Her arm itched like mad, she'd never even felt something like that before. (Plus in her draconic form she could just... y'know. scratch it with her hind foot.) Now though, it was shimmering in her eyes, and the pawn tattoo ... became a dragon. The same shiny grey shade, with brilliant white feathers (huh, familiar!) and sparkling black fur fringe. It almost felt like... like a drained tub, she'd been the tub, or maybe the water.

"You were my power supply!" The dragonet said, chipper and happily as the clock began its countdown. "I chose you for your open heart, and open mind. I think you understand things better because you listen to different opinions. I am Zilan Turun, if you'll have me I would love to come with you." This dragon was still young looking, still 'freshly emerged', but definitely not as tiny and fragile as the hatchlings that surrounded many new bonds. Together they watched the clock strike midnight, and celebrated with their companions!


Bond: Nathaniel, Voluntary Bond
Meeting Notes: His family and their companion arrived to the Ball with style, though not without a bit of introspection on Nathaniel's part. It was easy to see what the others were going to get out of it, connections and perhaps cohorts. But perhaps he too would be able to glean ... something.

It was a massive place, and it didn't take long to get adjusted to how many creatures and people were really here: they didn't know him, he didn't know them, and they all greeted him with a smile or a tray of food, or a glass of wine - all of which he took, returning a more and more genuine smile each time. It had been a long while since he'd felt... at ease.

Sure enough though, something kept nagging at him. Like he kept sensing something at the edge of his vision, hearing whispers to coerse him somewhere. But where? Without pause he followed that instinct, that urge, because it was all he knew how to do these days. Though his family continued into the venue proper and poked around where they would, but he spent the first half hour here wandering into a strange hazy hallway, through a brightly lit arched doorway, and into a room with a barber-chair in the middle of it.

The whispers were loudest here. He wondered: was this what it was like when puppeteers used their powers? Is that what it felt like to be manipulated? He somewhat doubted it; he had legs, he could walk away if he wanted to. Yet he sat in this somewhat-lumpy but clean chair and wondered what was happening. The sounds were pleased. There was thrumming, almost like a heartbeat; percussive sounds of small machines, he knew that sound. So he was here to get a tattoo?

Interesting. His right shoulder was exposed, prepared. Would this tattoo be visible when he had fur? Seemed so, because the place reeked of magic, in addition to the antiseptic and incense. But where was the inker? Who was doing this work?

Turned out: the room was. Ghostly hands with tools could be felt more than seen, were the tools modern? Or were they bamboo pins and hammered out? Didn't matter. The pain was delicious, less intense than it would be on his face where his existing script sat. And also, less colorful: this was white on his fair skin, what would that look like on fur? There were black accents, though not much, and the white seemed to adopt a very shimmery look here and there. Beautiful texture work, on a palm-height piece.

When the room stopped its work, applying soothing gel and strange clear protective wrap, he got a look at it. As the setting was obvious, this was a chess piece. A shimmering white pawn, edged in sparkling black, with what looked like a silver marble over the top of it. There was a strange shadow that seemed to hint at 'king' behind it, so a king's pawn? Interesting... The endorphin rush made him smile, appreciating the pain even more. It made him alive.

He reentered the party proper, and had a broad smile for hours. His arm stung but that was fine. It made things spicy, like the strips of meat and noodles he picked up along the banquet tables.


Nathaniel had danced with quite a few fantastic people, some of them human, some furry, and some defied description - he'd never met a Zeddian before and her four arms proved to be a lot of fun to spin under (yes, under, even at his biggest he'd be under this black-and-white woman's lowest pair of arms... not that he changed his shape, no... not here). He attempted to stay clear of the rabbit kin who were stomping loud and hard near the Stage, but it was actually entertaining to watch from above in the balconies. A well deserved break up there, he listened in on several fascinating business conversations among the leadership of some major dragonries. He'd tuck that information away for later!

It was growing close to midnight, so many dragons had been brought out of their large arched hall passages - his kin had been found not so long ago by their own new friends... What about him?

What about this fiercely itchy tattoo? Others had taken a week or more to heal up and get to this stage, but this one was magical, right? Shortly before the big countdown, as he was down drinking near the bigger bar and watching an amazing 'drag show' on the Stage, he got a bit woozy.

Sorry, sorry, a smooth but chipper voice appeared in his mind. This too was not like a puppeteer's string-pulling: this was an entirely separate voice from his own. Your drinks are strong! But I like them, they add something, I just don't know what to call it...

When his vision cleared, as much as it was going to, there was a strangely familiar dragonet standing next to him. Not so much a baby as the rest that had come out of their clutching dens, definitely a teenager or older.

I am not all grown up but I'm no baby, I am Mayr, and you... you gave me my Paradise. I can help you find things! Nathaniel was glad that the conversation was mental and therefore private, when the dragon added, I think you are fine the way you are. There are many who would like all of you too, you just need to find them! I'll help!

.... "Did you just... Are you saying you're going to help me get busy? Because I can do that on my own."

I won't watch, well I mean I will because I have to, you are my power supply and home, but still! A family, not just the one you already have... You have me now too.


Bond: Corby, Voluntary Bond
Meeting Notes: Even if he could have held back earlier in the evening, Corby's friends decided he was in it to the hilt with them. Fine, so be it... He got dragged over to the dance floor (and he danced, of course!) and over to the buffet table, where...

He didn't actually make it to the buffet table. Though his typical behavior would have been to linger near enough to watch out for anything happening, either to his sister Constance or to those he cared for, tonight... well, it was different. Somewhat early in the evening, not even five hours until midnight, after that initial burst of activity, Corby thought he saw something and headed toward it. Uncharacteristically for him, he decided to let others take care of things at their table.

A murky looking hallway, half-hidden by banners of bright checkerboard material? Well didn't that look interesting? His paws made no sound on the marble floor, not even when that flooring seemed to turn to stone, or maybe was it concrete? He couldn't tell, and didn't really feel like staring at the floor because what was ahead was much more intriguing. A doorway, brightly lit but hazy. Not with smoke exactly but it smelled faintly of incense and bactine. The walls in this smallish room seemed to vanish up somewhere twice his height, into a hazy ceiling that simply bled magic power. So, this was a 'room' he thought, like in a dream, entering some place that clearly didn't match with its description but you had to go with it anyway?

Because he was focused on the single barbers-chair in the middle of the room, he didn't notice when the doorway vanished and smoothed over, becoming like the rest of the pale walls. Corby sat into the chair, wiggled his butt around a little because it wasn't particularly designed for someone with a tail. But eventually he got comfortable. Why? Why was he even indulging this? In his wriggling, he noticed that his cloak and jacket had come loose, so he went ahead and pulled them off, piling them onto his lap. Whatever was going to happen next, he could always just get up and leave.


The chair seemed to weight itself and shifted a bit, and from the walls and nebulous ceiling came items, objects, magic. He knew it was magic, just not exactly what. A long set of elegant looking needles seemed to be held aloft, a pair of them - one tipped in dripping white ink, the other in black - approached his right arm. And instead of worrying about this, Corby leaned back his head, against the cushioned head rest, and drew in long breaths.

The needles were paired with a strange sound, a mechanical humming, ticking that almost sounded like crocheting, and a deep distant chant. He didn't look at the needles as they pierced his velvet-covered skin, he didn't need to: they were bright in his vision somehow, again like a dream. Was this what it was like to finally have a grip on magic? He saw it clear as day, in fact clear as night - movement of the needles as well as what might have been 'arms' produced by ... what, the room itself? Maybe?

He was in here getting a tattoo? What would Constance say? What would the others do? Think he was cool (-er than he already was)? or think he was a fool? (He'd seen some bad tattoos, oh yes... but he had the distinct feeling this was not going to be one of those messy, poorly healed things he had seen on sailors or bar patrons.)

On looking at his arm, he saw that even the black was visible against his own dark skin and fur. It looked like... a chess Knight's shape? Mostly black but outlined in brilliant white, with flourishes here and there, and a single brightly white dot over its head. Well, this was the 'Checkerboard ball', maybe everyone would get a tattoo tonight to remember the place and event!

He didn't know how long it took. It felt like an hour or so, but when he became aware of the needles retreating, and the doorway to the murky hall beyond 'open' again (he did see that) it seemed like he had spent hardly any time away from the group. Corby replaced the jacket and cloak, though eventually he would leave the cloak on his chair at their table - it was warm, he had dancing to do even if his arm was a little achy!


Nearly by the midnight's bell, something strange began to pick at Corby's mind and body. His right arm itched, it had done over the course of the evening; a little more so when he did go back on the dance floor to cut it up with a few strangers after Constance brought that gorgeous white dragon back to the table.

There had been magical presences around all night. Demons, angels, wizards and sorcerers - some of whom did spells to make others delighted, over in the casino's smaller stage for close up performances. All of that tore at Corby's resolve: would he ever be able to do even that much magic that he could entertain a bunch of drunks at a party?

Of course you will, a voice echoed in his mind. It was strong, sure, happy. I can help you do it. Or you could tell me what you want, and I can do it for you!

Corby tiredly looked around, and finally took his jacket fully off, putting it over the chair. He had risen, ostensibly for the countdown in a few minutes, and to raise a glass of champagne with everyone else. His arm tingled, it didn't hurt at all but it felt so very strange, like something was trying to poke its way out.

When that thing did poke its way out, it was ... the same shape as the tattoo - a horse-like head, only with elegant horns (wait. Wait, no the tattoo actually did have those horns! Or maybe it did now?) and a generous amount of brightly sparkling rainbow-oil floof around his jaw. There was a dragon, not really big but it looked about as grown as Corby himself, a 'teenager'. Long long tail, brightly tipped white shiny wings? So that tattoo was absolutely connected to this dragon!

"Of course it is, it's me!" The dragon said, with a little difficulty, maybe the shape of his face made it hard to say human words. He went back to mental speech momentarily, as the countdown had started in earnest. I am Cham Turun. You have given me a home, and I can give you a place to learn magic too, once I get the right ideas for what it should look like!

For the moment though, instead of asking for clarification or commenting on how one might 'decorate' a place that could only be reached with this dragon's power, Corby shouted in time with the others, "Three! Two! One!" as Cham lifted his head and opened that mouth to create what looked like a pillar of light just exactly as the bell sounded midnight!


Bond: Wake, Tattoo bond
Meeting Notes: It wasn't so much the interior of this odd otherworldly domain that Wake was paying attention to on arrival. It was more the exterior, and places slightly more distant behind the magical portal leading into what looked like an underwater domed city. There were things out there, both at the seabed around the venue, and in the teeming walls of that city, "Rapture" they called it? Well, it certainly had her attention, but the generations of cockroaches and flies that had come from the surface who knew how long ago weren't why she was here. The pair of her friends were animated and wide-eyed, they made quite the trio as they entered the grand hallway to the ballroom!

She didn't feel quite like a third wheel, but Wake paused a touch at the edge of that sparkling life-filled room. "Give me a moment," she said, "I think I need to freshen up!"

It wasn't true, but then she was a devotee of a death goddess. That and... well, as a tiefling sometimes it was good to get the lay of a location and a sense of how many eyes would be on her and why, before really entering. So the couple let her wander to the side of the hall, and Wake took in a deep breath. It didn't smell fishy or briny here, at least not with the wafting of delicious smelling foods and hot drinks brought by ... dragon waiters? She giggled as one of them scooted by with a tray expertly balanced on its long head.

Still she didn't enter the whole of the place for another few minutes. Minutes which turned, for her, into a strange timeless daze. There was a door, not a restroom or an employee area, but one that she felt quite compelled to open. Beyond it, a dim room, with a single object in it: a chair, one which could be tilted or swiveled. Like a barber's chair! (Or a dentist's but whose mind went there, right?) On impulse she skipped to the chair, plopping down into it and spinning around with a giggle.

The edges of the room became blurry, but not because of the speed she was spinning. It slowly came to a halt, her brain still swishing a little, but her vision didn't clear. There was a strange sound, like the buzzing of cicada wings or chittering, constant but with volume changes here and there. Wake felt gentle 'hands' on her left arm, encouraging her to lean back and remain a while.

When she looked, there were no hands, but there was an unusually dense concentration of tiny wings? She giggled again, they looked like bug wings. They weren't, but they appeared in her vision thus. They stung a little, but who hadn't been stung before? She didn't even wince, this was part and parcel for having insect buddies! It ... it was a lot of little stings, though - which she slowly realized... It was leaving dark markings on her shoulder and upper arm, and she realized just a moment later that her sleeve had been pulled up and gently moved before they'd even started.

Slowly, with the constant buzzing of tiny stabbing wings, moving over her arm like locusts on a field, with the odd smell of rubbing alcohol (or formaldehyde?) and a waft of very slight pain tingling through her muscle and bone (if they were piercing insects they were certainly... aggressive ones!) Wake watched as an image appeared.

When they slowed, spotting small areas with shimmering graphite grey and an amount of midnight-black on her violet skin and the black image, she was released from the chair's 'hold', and examined this new tattoo properly. Well, it was thematic, surely, in the shape of a chess piece. She recognized the overall form as a 'bishop' but she was fairly sure that her own deity's odd symbol wouldn't have appeared on anyone else's arm! Hers, however, showed in a fine lace of freshly-inked dots. The whole thing wasn't more than half the length of her upper arm, from her shoulder to the mid-bicep.

She got up in a little bit of a daze. She wasn't sure how long she'd been there, but when she turned to check the room, it - and its door - were gone! The same wafting smell of that delicious cinnamon pastry was out in the hallway, were they still -... no, that same little dragon was still on its way into the seating to one side of the ballroom floor! How had it... You know what? It didn't matter! She let her sleeve fall back into place, the last half hour or day or week spent in that room seemed like a dream now.


A series of dances, amazing stage shows, eating everything in sight... Even a little gambling and flirting in that casino, the night was drawing toward Midnight. She'd watched as her friends got into their own mini-adventures, and both now had re-gathered with their Gem dragons. They ... would all be a great adventuring party now! There was the tiniest pang of - disappointment? bubble-popping? - but then as the great clock hands above the stage drew toward ringing in the new year (what year WAS it? She wouldn't know what year it was here either way) her arm began itching like mad!

"Oh yeah, that?" Wake muttered as she absently reached to move her sleeve once more, and - oh she wouldn't be either needing nor wanting to scratch at it! (Not only would that be a bad idea for a tattoo anyway, but!) From that elegantly-inflicted tattoo, which remained on her arm visibly and magically, came...

A dragon! Small, but with a long tail and amazing feathered--webbed wings! It was only small because, "ahhh finally! I have wanted to see you with my real eyes!" Those real eyes were brilliantly green against her rich black muzzle. Almost like a horse - but this wasn't a knight piece! This was a bishop, she... was a cleric after all!

"I am pleased to meet you," Wake said, pretend-formal, "I, am Wake!"

The dragonet gave an equally formal-but-only-because-she-knew bow, her paws and nose together, "I am Xilo Turun, you have given me a true home, I cannot wait to see what we will find on our adventures!"

The little ticking noise was the gear in Wake's mind, turning with the great chime of the Midnight bell above. "The... the tattoo is you," she exclaimed, "or a conduit, or both!" She clapped her hands excitedly, "let's meet the others, and you're right, Xilo, we will have such adventures!"

- Yakima has an AU unbreedable version


Bond: Aria, Voluntary Bond, Multibond with Sefrasa (RASA) * highly unusual for this breed, actually
Meeting Notes: There is a moment when the venue itself seems to waver and fold. Where is she? Why is she even here? This long pale-walled hallway? It doesn't even look much like the rest of Rapture come to think of it, much taller walls, no ceiling to speak of though light comes from it. Not unlike Aria herself! At the end of this hall is a comfortable square room, this time with what appears to be a ceiling and a padded chair fit for reclining, not quite an office chair, definitely not a dentist's contraption, but bearing similarities to both. She sits in the chair, since it's all that is in the room. Something catches her eye, the walls move? Vanish? Become intangible? Who can say, this feels more like a dream than a real place after all, so it might be all three, and shadows coalesce in the air. They indicate her right arm, which she offers by sliding out of the jacket and shirt - the formalwear for the Ball. Aria remains seated mostly upright, the chair needs no further angle or adjustment for these shadows to manipulate their tools. Whispers come to her ears, or the sound of machinery moving, gentle clicking as if a slow but constant sewing machine, or a methodical scrape of stone on stone as a mortar and pestle. A strong smell, antiseptic and incense, blending in a pleasing if slightly pungent manner, comes to her nose. And pain? Yes, there's pain. Her human form doesn't wince, for some reason she's quite well equipped to deal with this momentary flash of impact and injection. Barely below the surface after all, but far enough to be permanent. Even if she would take another form, this image will remain, because it is formed of magic and light as much as it is ink and blood. It takes just long enough for the endorphins this body creates to wear down, to put the the last filigree around a vertical design. A domed top, gently angled sides, a sturdy base. A Bishop, with the top of its mitre bearing a slightly too large bulb, but that bulb was in a strong black shade, while most of the rest in a speckled pale grey, save for some edging in black and striking white. Once it was finished, the shadowy 'limbs' of this room carefully wiped down the new tattoo with a soothing gel. It didn't really seem to take any time at all to heal, but there were minutes - maybe months - that Aria felt it itching like crazy, and it was all she could do to avoid scratching it. But could it have been months? She stood, a little woozy and quite hungry (did she ever feel hungry like this before? an elemental?), and headed back out to the party to make sure that Shy and Striga or anyone else under their care weren't getting into too much trouble.

She went about her business enjoying the ball, delighting in the dancing, watching antics when she didn't feel like participating in them herself, spotting strange people with their eyes on Shy.


It would be right around midnight when Aria felt a tugging at her arm, not painful, but insistent. She didn't need to remove any of her sleeve, however, as a darkly shining blackness had come from her tattoo - the orb atop that bishop's hat, come to life. The dragon that this tattoo implied? Of course! He was always there, inside her heart, as if he had been part of her magic, her senses, her mind. He had been, in fact, because his entire life had been spent inside that tattoo and the Paradise it provided. Whether his 'entire' life was six or seven hours as everyone else seemed to think, or a decade gestating and collecting magic from his host... that was a question for philosophers, or more accurately: for the Stage and the Den and the Labs to hash out, and she did not feel like asking.

But she did ask, what to do now? He offered insight, when to act or when to watch and wait - and offered more, his Paradise could be made real, or at least real things moved into it, almost like a private oasis created from nothing but magic and imagination. And he asked her to help him decorate it! She didn't need to voice a question, for she already knew the name he carried: Zan Turun, it had been part of her as much as the rest of the magic that created him.

Adovi Bond: Edgar Blankenship, Voluntary bond
Meeting Notes: While he was watching things and trying not to fret about them, he felt a distinctive ping from 'somewhere' that wasn't his timeline. Yet it was: right there in Rapture, sort of? He felt when the Healing Den, The Labs, and The Stage all descended into the place, forming a large ballroom and sending out tendrils searching for people like himself.

At first he wasn't sure whether going there was the right thing to do. After all, The Stage seemed rather needy - he could sense it being affected by him as much as he was drawn to it, and could sense the many disasters that might happen if he just let it absorb him ... or if he somehow let himself take it. But with the Den and the Labs together, the Stage managed to manifest something amazing: a small, quiet, well lit room. Just one room. With a presense in it that seemed both ghostly and monstrous, fleeting and eternal, mechanical and magical at one time. Familiar, because he'd seen this thing in different dimensions. One where it was just a person with a small device and a room similar to this one only with raucous music playing in the background. Another where a set of skilled fingers used sharp tools and hand-ground ink. Another where the Vortessence around actually just imprinted itself on whatever was near.

A tattoo appeared slowly on him, but it was still done by hands (were they humanoid? draconic? probably both), using a device (it hummed and vibrated in time with his own flux, somehow), with magical ink (made from what materials? seemed like the Void and the Outside, a sharp and static light and darkness came from that ink), and a strong sense that this was the start of something much more. When it was done, it was the shape of a chess Rook at a glance, but it was also patterned with a microcosm of fractal dots, each of them perhaps a place that they could visit some day, because they form the basis for the Paradise that Adovi sprang from. How long he was in this room is anyone's guess, even Edgar doesn't really know, but Adovi was with him when he left it. Edgar might have been the only participant at the Ball who could tell just exactly what was happening with this tattoo; others knew they were getting one, considered it might be part of the show... But only he felt the dragon within it begin to form more tangibly.

It might have been hours, days, months, centuries, before the dragon in that magical space known as Edgar Blankenship fully manifested. It was, in effect, "midnight" at the ball, when the dragonet emerged as a youthful looking but not hatchling-aged creature standing on the real floor next to his real bond. That bond was markedly strong, Adovi looked at her power source, her one, with shining white and iridescent graphite coloration just like her tattoo said she would be. She nudged her dished nose against his hand, and he made to scritch the space between her eyes, surprisingly able to do so. It was hard to focus, but this time it was because Edgar's vision swam with happy tears.

And he was very slightly more in focus - he shook his grandfather's hand for the very first time directly after, solidly, present in one spot, happy.

Hethed (open)

Bond: Zena Shadowend, Voluntary bond
Meeting Notes: She'd led the group of five witches for a short time, but they had uphill work: finding a safe place to reside, to set down roots and begin founding their traditions and coven proper. They were tired, still young but definitely not as exuberant as they could be. They would pack up, set down, march around the landscape in endless search for just the right place. It was supposed to call to them, wasn't it? Their place? It had yet to do so, maybe they still needed to wander. To the hills, into the mountains, follow a river, stay clear of that marsh, was that a beach? They'd seen a lot, but nothing was right.

When they were somehow summoned into this place, the wide semi-natural pale rock cavern, they all knew it was magical. But it was more than that. Artistically placed glowing plants, some of them moving slightly and bobbing down into themselves like a snail's eye as they passed, but returning to cast a pale yellow-green light, other plants had speckles of purple, others still glowed softly blue or violet. It was very pretty, it was relaxing, at the same time slightly confusing.

Where exactly were they? It was supposed to be a party, and they'd arrived reasonably early it appeared. There were dragons, a pair of them walked side by side rumbling to one another as if it was nothing, heading into a much brighter corridor. Small dragonets scampered around, dapper little creatures, black and white and chrome with what looked like bow ties, all finding places for humans and dragons alike. There was the coat check, here was the money exchange if you needed one, oh yes there's a casino don't spend it all in one place! Her coven stood wide-eyed and a little bit open-mouthed as they entered the ballroom. The gods certainly had given them a gift, in passing along the invitation to the coven.

More dragons stood on a broad semi-circular stage, one was trilling high while another pounded his tail on the floor and shook the rafters. "I'm going to find us a table," Silvaria proclaimed, and the others followed her beckoning arm.

All but Zena. Something nagged at her, she'd seen something in the corner of her eye and indicated that she would catch up. Was it this casino? Or ... no, it was definitely not a casino. She'd smelled something too, a little sharp, but not entirely unpleasant. At the last left turn she took, a white door stood slightly open. Wooden door, simple but not plain, painted or perhaps just made of white material. Beyond it, a comfortable room. She couldn't see the ceiling, it was either smoky or misty or maybe there wasn't one. All three were true. A comfortable looking chair with foot rests built in, like a barber's chair, was the only furniture in there, and she decided why not - why not. Sitting in it she was suddenly aware that the room was very much alive with magic.

She felt but couldn't see what must have been hands, gentle but determined. Her cloak was moved, it would be too warm to keep wearing it all night anyway but she would have to retrieve it. Her left arm prepared, and ... she heard buzzing distantly, scraping of stone, and a distinct but incomprehensible chant. She was determined not to wince or whine, but there was a needle or a stick or perhaps a claw dipped in ink that was drawing itself over the ball of her shoulder. It hurt but not so much that she needed to cry out. She'd felt worse, by far, that one time she slid down an embankment into a cactus...

Soon enough it was over. Her arm ached a little, she had no idea how long she'd been there, it wasn't a very large tattoo but it was still half way down her upper arm at least. Zena looked it over before it was soothed with gel and gently covered with ... what was this thin clear material? It wasn't cloth... It was a white shape, with some amount of black decorating the sides - broad at the base with a slender mid part, rising to what appeared to be a ... a crown? With a perfectly white circle above it. A chess queen?

Suddenly quite hungry, Zena hung her cloak over her other arm, and went off to find her friends. They would probably ask about it, but she had no idea what to tell them - why would she have just run off and gotten a tattoo?


Midnight was approaching, and the party was absolutely amazing. Her sisters had found dragons, or perhaps the dragons had found them. Something was nagging Zena though, where was hers? Well, maybe she'd failed to find them a home - but...

You have not failed to find me, a voice whispered. And I know where to look for your home. You will always be able to find it. It is right there.

Her arm stung, she remembered the pain of someone smacking her skin when she'd gotten sunburnt - it wasn't unlike that, but it was like something smacked her from the inside out.

It would be the brilliantly shining feather-winged dragon who stood, slightly wobbly, before her. While not fully grown, this dragon proudly stood on paw padded feet, adjusting her wings. Black tipped, black underneath, but everything else about her was just fantastically shiny white. "I can make my paradise in you, your magic sustained me there long enough to grow." Zena's eyes bugged a bit, and her friends followed suit. "Do you see how that stage exists but does not exist?" The dragon nosed toward that big performance area, and they'd all seen how behind the curtains there was... much more than the sea floor that you could actually say was 'there'. "Here but not here, a place without space."

"But it's your... I mean, this tattoo is ... you?"

"And you," the dragon said. "And it can be them too, they have strong enough magic to help sustain a place fit for a coven like that."

So... they had found dragons, and the dragon... had helped them find their new home?

Black Pawns

Bond: Niteres, Voluntary Tattoo Bond (temporary may be improved with a magically imbued perma of it)
Meeting Notes: (see also Jesastash)

The whole place was deeply under the sea, was it? And with locally-residing dragons already having their own dome to 'fly' around in? Delightful! Niteres gave her rider a running commentary on events as they played out - there were handsome dragons doing sharpshooting with their breath weapons, and a 'dating game' which, while she was tempted, Niteres didn't really feel like putting herself out there to some random group of gents. But when there was an exterior hunt organized? With magic that allowed her to breathe while under all that ocean? Niteres took that up just to prove that she was right all along: her arm-wings, though still useful in the air, were of the best configuration below the surface of water! She didn't really 'hunt' so much as 'enjoy the feeling' of rushing around under the crushing sea without being crushed, breathing from a magically induced bubble that kept up around her head even when she was at full torpedo-speed.

She and the other dragons participating were given strict instructions to avoid crashing into things near the Domes and the city of Rapture itself. The place might look fanciful and functional but it was fragile at best, half of it still under renovation. A few local dragons, Seawings, had sonic attacks that they used to stun prey, and they were the ones who informed others - stay clear of any of those walls, domes, and walkways. Obviously they had to mind which direction they shot their powerful stunning bursts: if they could knock out a giant fish or a school of them with that blast, imagine what damage it would do to the scenery?

But there were still plenty of places that she could 'fly', around rock arches and through weird worm-tube vents spewing warmth out through the chill water. The Hathian mutt did wear out after a short time, because obviously she wasn't used to going full speed through the deepest sea. So eventually she did pick a few medium sized fish off, consuming them while still under the water, and then resurfaced in the air lock. Dripping wet, Niteres was about to shake off, when she noticed one of those little helper dragons zipping around.

That dragon had arm wings, just like her. And they were so small! Quick on their feet, almost too quick to--

Hey! What? Niteres could hardly move, when the dragonet scampered up her leg, chittering madly to itself, and selected a portion of her shoulder armor to smack. It didn't hurt, obviously, because it was armor. But - then the dragon slung a small packet with a handle over her eye-horn, giggling with a strange sonic power, and bolted off. After a minute or two of looking at the thing that it had plastered to her still-wet armor, a little piece of paper fluttered to the floor, blank. But where it had been, there was a dark marking?

Though she had to twist her head around a bit to see it right-side-up, Niteres realized that the image on her shoulder was of a black 'chess pawn'. Thematic, obviously, to the party! Well, that was... festive? She'd dried off enough otherwise to re-enter the party cavern proper, so she did.

Demistash Turun

Bond: Cavespeaker Nightscale, Tattoo Bond
Meeting Notes: Someone early on had called out, "it's a party!" as though that was not patently obvious. The fact that this happened over on the draconic side of the Ball's venue space was... eye-rolling. But they weren't wrong - and their intentions were clear as well. It was time to let loose just a little, have more fun than serious conversation, enjoy a time with all the disparate creatures of the Nexus for just a little while.

Cavespeaker was apt to want to be a little less frivolous, to be seen as a careful person, a diligent dragon, one who would establish confidence and gain trust, and be trustworthy in return.

There were actual dragons dancing drunkenly (on what concoction presented to them from that Nightmourner in the shadows, who even knew) on massive stone slabs at this party. Everyone seemed to think that was incredibly funny, and after a little while... So did Cavespeaker. There was still tension in the air, the presence of the Death Court for instance would certainly be why Baeris and Mystic and some few others were discussing things on that balcony in the biped side as carefully as they were. There was no dancing on that table, certainly.

The fine foods, on the other hand, now that was something that Cavespeaker could eagerly enjoy on either side. She carefully doled herself 'a little here, a little there' in order to appreciate the variety of fresh-hunted meats, and well-crafted culinary delights equally. And she'd found that the magic surrounding the entryways and barriers was quite finely tuned indeed - she could shift herself into a human-like guise and be blocked from reentering the draconic one, while her much-too-large dragon shape experienced a strange tingle when she tried to move into the biped area from that side. So somewhere in between, a larger humanoid with the draconic additions of her wings, crest, horns and tail was how she spent most of the evening.

Appropriate to both sides, though able to slip into each fully and still understand and be accepted by those around. However it was while she was edging herself around the perimeter of the biped side that she noticed a hall, no, more like an alcove area. Perhaps it would lead to the kitchens or a set of restrooms (it did, in both cases, though the kitchen entry for serving was on the other side of the room). But over on the one dark wall rested a series of platforms and cushioned seating under an arch shape. A nook just deep enough for someone to rest. But those shelves, which might have held books or trinkets in any other setting, had sets of ... small bottles? Stacks of little papers, bundled.

She spotted something dangling off one of the little stoppered bottles and peered more closely: it was her name, though it was in a script that danced in different sigils and symbols before deciding on 'something between'; the scratched and intricate draconic script, and the mostly-English lettering, interwoven. Interesting.

It was here for her. But what was it? Surely not to drink, it smelled more like medical alcohol or cleaning fluid just a bit, not like the fine beers and honey ale in the bar or casino. And it did have a dropper with that lid, which she then realized was to allow the paper to be wetted.

They were little tiny temporary tattoos. Bearing a small pawn shape, like that on many of the chess based logos and Ball-related merchandise scattered throughout the whole place. (Dine like kings! said the casino's buffet table, along with a king-shaped silhouette.) She idly picked up a single slip of this odd card-backed transfer paper, and wondered.

Why would it have her name on it? If not to belong to her? And were others so labeled? She could see no sign on any other bottle or packet. (But just because she couldn't see them didn't mean they weren't there...)

"It's a party," she said, chuckling to herself. No dancing on tables for her, but what might this bring? She put one of the papers onto her forearm, and followed the tiny-print instructions on the back - drop liquid and hold snugly until dried, peel off the card backing.

She could hardly even see the image that remained on her semi-slick not-quite-human skin, when she did pull up the paper. The bottle and other stack, bundled into its little velvet bag, she put into her cloak's inner pocket. It was hers, that was fine. But what would she do with so many of these little things? Put them on books?

Well, it was a cute distraction and it gave her time to relax a little in that cushioned seat, but there was more to this party and she intended to see one of the demonstrations on the draconic side. Off she went! Cavespeaker adjusted her shape once more, and even actively participated in the 'Hide and Seek' event! After all, a creature of her skills with shadow and darkness could hardly lose at hiding!


The night wore on though it certainly didn't wear out its welcome. Though tempted, she didn't partake of those narcotics that Lunarwisp or Thicksnow offered. Dancing with either a humanoid partner or circling around in the draconic area would definitely be boosted by their strange magical enhancements, but no - a long drink of chill water at the fountain, or a hot coffee from that one kiosk would do just fine.

Though she didn't actively participate in the combat or the big lightshow at the end, Cavespeaker found herself watching with wide eyes at the colors and fantastic shapes that the magic and breath weapons could produce. Something odd tingled around her wrist. Hmm, maybe the action was starting to wear off that tattoo of hers. She'd spotted a couple of them on people and one or two on dragon shoulders, while moving about. She hadn't thought to check it while she was in her full sized dragon shape, and ... equally forgot to check while she was intangibly shadow or slipping through darkness.

She'd won the hide and seek contest, by the way. Even though there were several others with similar powers, her patience and further magic allowed her to move unseen even in the grassland 'arena'. No one said she couldn't hide as a human-sized person in the urban zone, right? So no one was looking for one! She slipped through the forest and the caves like oil, shadow and darkness alike. She even stood her ground as one dragon aimed magical light right at her - but saw nothing beyond the lingering depths in the glittering cave wall. It was her, she was glittering.

But now there was this itch, a strange sensation indeed, coming from her arm where that tattoo had been put. Did she need to drop more of that liquid on it? Well it was time for the midnight bell, so maybe she'd do that again in a moment. She wanted to duck between the realms to see how either of them saw that half-stage half-aerial performance.

... The moment passed and it wouldn't matter. As the clocks on both sides of the venue struck midnight (far from signalling the end of the party, they probably signaled 'bed time' for some youthful dragons and a good number of younger attendees, though) the itching stopped abruptly. And equally abrupt, resting on her half-draconic shoulder, draped over her wing arm and with a tail wrapped under her humanoid arm, there was a dragon.

Dark as she herself was; with no color to speak of but a smattering of grey, silver, graphite, mist where any added fluff and feathers were. And those checkerboard bits under his wings, echoed in the remnant of the temporary tattoo on her arm... wait, wait.

"What is this?" Cavespeaker was genuinely intrigued. There was magic here, and the dragonet gave a broad toothy little horse-faced smile at it. The tattoo was embedded, not really in the way she'd heard of them, not with needles or psionics, but with the sheer magic of herself.

"You did that, I am proud of you!" the little dragon spoke, hugging her neck with his forepaws. He would not be big, at least not nearly as big as she was in her draconic form. "I loved it when we hid and moved around like that, like shadow and mist and smoke. You made my Paradise part of you, your arm or your... leg?" He tilted his head and looked at that arm that would indeed be a foreleg when it was planted under a dragon's body. "I will not be parted from you. I am Demistash," he looked around at the very few of his kind over on the dragon side of the venue, "maybe Turun, I guess? I want to be your friend, you know how to get around. I know I can't shapeshift like you, but maybe I can learn how to use light better with you. A challenge and all!"

That open mouth went wide and a ... well, a flashlight beam of pale grey came from it. Cavespeaker was... speechless.


Bond: Imizael, info on Retta's pickup page 2


Bond: Mortimer (Adopted by Jkat)

PB5 (adopt)
Gomastash Bonds: Atid and Raqib, voluntary shoulderdragon tattoos

This pair of creatures from another Earth weren't actually aware of each other somehow, though they didn't have more than one direct class in common so it can't be that difficult to imagine. But they did hail from the same not-this-Earth where deities and pantheons were the norm, and afterlives were plentiful enough that a lot of paperwork needed to be done to keep them all straight. As young as they seemed, no one really knew how old the pair of small divine creatures really were, but they were definitely not all that versed in modern human living, so Freshmen they were.

Independently, they were Searched, and independently they were brought to the Ball. Atid by Kale-Baah, and Raqib by Wenona. Winter's True Spirit, Wenona, had sensed that they were in fact part of the same dimension, and conferred with her friend Phoebe, the Oneirocritic - to learn that Atid was doing very well in her logistics course, and that would be important, because multidimensionality was extremely useful where dragons were concerned. Kirabo hinted that they were quite well suited to the caretaking and guidance needed, while mostly geared toward human moods, they would easily become accustomed to dragons, yes?

They didn't have to do much to get ready for the Ball, as both of them, once more independently, considered dressing well and playing the part 'right' was as important as the role in question.

So when they arrived to the Ball's side Stage area, directly from Carramba's campus Admin Torus, both of them oddly made the same bee-line toward a particular hallway offshoot. A black-walled marble nook, a pretty arch set into the wall that allowed a little respite and framed whoever or whatever was there with an artistic shield: this was a spot for quiet reflection, for a moment of respite.

They were anything but restful and quiet when both of them reached for the same stack of temporary tattoos on the wall, from a low shelf (low enough that both the diminutive students would easily tell it was 'for them') and tried to use the same bottle of application liquid.

"I was here first," Atid claimed and was definitely telling the truth. "I got the tattoos."

"I have the bottle, what are you going to do, lick it and stick it?" Raqib countered.

"I might," Atid said, sticking his tongue out. But right about that moment they both took a second to remember their teachings, their inherent knowledge, and their goals.

"What good is a shoulder-devil without a shoulder-angel to counter him?" Raqib sighed, with a bit of a smile.

"I'm sure that we'll come to an agreement, seems like fate had something in mind," Atid nodded, offering one of the tattoos in the stack toward the devil, who dabbed the liquid onto it and handed the bottle over to his counterpart. They applied their silvery-grey colored pawn tattoos to opposite arms, Atid's on his right shoulder, and Raqib's on his left.

As quick as that, their stormy meeting was over, and turned into a much-relished companionship. Neither of them was sure whether on their home-world they would have been assigned together, or really even how that all worked. They were still kids, still only in 9th grade and it showed. While they were at this big grand Ball, they realized they were among the younger of the kids present. A few from Carramba had definitely been tapped for performances as well as whatever else was going on here - dragons? Well dragons of some kind were being paraded around the place every half hour it seemed.

Well 'half hour' according to that big clock over the ballroom floor, and they both knew that it was hardly 'hours' that were going by right now. Days maybe. Their magical senses could detect a lot more going on in the background and they knew that it was months, maybe even years for some of those dragons that came from their side of the venue.

"What are they doing?" Raqib whispered, and Atid shrugged.

"No idea, oh - oh wait, they're sniffing at people..." They watched in confusion and awe as one of the young hatchling dragonets was suddenly embraced by the teenager who'd been the subject of such sniffing-over. They left the center of the ballroom floor together and both Atid and Raqib noted that the whole rest of the night, they were together.

This was their introduction to the thought that dragons, like all of the ones at this event, were here to find partners or sponsors, bonds for life or for friendship? Amazing! "I bet this means we'll have a quiz in our mythology class..." Raqib chuckled. He would be correct, too, eventually.

The pair wandered the venue with wide eyes and quick steps, because they were smaller than almost all the other attendees. But they both did have the advantage of being able to fly, so they often were up in the elegant rafters, watching the dancers, getting all but doused with the alchemy demonstration, in awe of the performances. They had already been tugged at by their instructors, many of whom were attending in a more formal manner, that they were not to go to the Casino and try to get in no matter how tempting, and they had best not be sneaking around backStage... Because that was a dangerous area given all the acts in various states of preparation or performance.

They were not about to ignore those warnings. What sort of guidance beings would they be if they couldn't follow orders? Besides there was more than enough fun to be had just in the main ballroom! Though neither of them wanted to go out into the depths beyond this city where the event was being held: there was a 'deep sea tour'? Oh heck no, that didn't suit either of them.

They did spot a couple younger attendees, smaller ones, and knew they were students wherever they were from too. One or more of them would sit up here too, resting her wings or taking a load off his feet. And boy oh boy the feet down there were sure loudly stomping, a bunch of rabbit kin just having all kinds of fun - fun that would have trampled both of them into paste even though they were both immortal!

Somehow they made it to the end of the night without having incidents. They even helped a few rather drunk adults find the restrooms, or at least 'not' find their way back to the bar. It turned out they really did have a great knack for this together. They didn't play good-cop bad-cop, even if one of them was a 'devil' they were both very much 'good'.

Around Midnight proper, when everyone who could be there or be in the other parts of the venue with adequate viewing space was ready, the big clock's hands materialized a third - a second hand counting down oh so rapidly. Where had all the time even gone? They'd spent such hours, chatting and eating the terrific food, watching as people paired off with their new beloved dragons.

They were sitting up in the rafter, but suddenly Atid nudged his friend. "We should go down a bit," he suggested.

"Yeah my arm's itchy too, I saw you scratching yours. Should stop that, it's bad for your skin." Raqib replied, and they both did descend right about the same time the big clock rang out with its many long bells. The clock was absolutely overtaken by the cheers and party sounds.

What was overaking this pair, however, was the presence of a dragon between them when they got to the floor. People were making way for some of these newer arrivals, similar dragons with the feathery wings and adorable looking horse-like faces.

That face looked at one, then the other, and gave off a knickering whinny that sounded so very pleased with itself. "I found you! I found you both! I'm so glad!"

Their arms didn't itch any more, but they both recognized the signs that this dragon had come from the tattoos they'd applied earlier. The ball at the dragon's tail - not that it had to stay there, but that it was currently resting beside - matched the checkerboard pattern which topped the Pawn symbol on their arms. The dragon was currently only their height, and wouldn't get a lot bigger by the look of him, but was absolutely perfect for them.

They knew, they all three knew, that this was how it was to be. An angel on the left - with his tattoo on the right - and a devil on the right with his own marking on his left arm. And this dragon, between them, provided the perfect shoulders indeed. They would become quite the team back at Carramba, and where they went from there would be anyone's guess!


Bond: Ash, Voluntary Bond, with a stack of Temporary Tattoos...
Meeting Notes: They had hardly even gotten into the event's large hall, when something odd happened to Ash. He could easily see that there was plenty of magic all around, but something in particular jumped out at him. It didn't seem that anyone else noticed this effect, either, so he headed toward a half-shadowed alcove along the main entry path while the others in the group continued on.

Though the archway was magical, it didn't actually lead anywhere. Rather it was merely a recess along the marble wall, arm's length deep at best. But there were shelves on this otherwise blank sort-of-grey wall, and on them there were small papers. Well, slips of something like paper, it was clear that whatever they were, they were intensely magical in nature.

Ash tilted his head, trying to figure out what exactly it did, the magic on these things. It was strong, intimate, but like nothing he'd ever encountered. On one shelf near his right hand sat a particularly attractive glowing stack of these papers. And beside them: an elegant bottle with a stopper - one which actually looked quite a bit like the design on that paper.

Like a pawn, with an added glowing dot over the simple 'head' of it. It was all chess-themed here after all! But what was in that bottle? And was it somehow connected to the papers?

They did seem to be, a powerful urge overcame the court mage, and he lifted one of the papers up, examining it, and then opened that bottle's stopper. It smelled of liquid, not quite water, but definitely not something you'd drink. Wait wait - on looking at the back of the paper, it showed an instruction? It looked like you'd douse the paper gently, and then... place it against your skin? Why?

Intrigued and far too curious to back off now, Ash did as the instruction suggested. He put the liquid drop by drop over the paper, which seemed to glow with more of a pulse, now, and then... when it was good and moistened, put the other side of it toward his skin, on his right forearm. He wasn't sure where else to put it, he wanted to be able to see what would happen!

What did happen was definitely magical but hardly visible. Definitely some strong magic here tonight! When he stopped applying pressure as the instructions said to, one side of the paper became blank... transferring the image of that pawn, onto his skin!

Before he put the bottle and the paper back onto its shelf, he realized that they both had his name on them. As if they were for him. So... he took the stack which glowed, and the bottle, placed them carefully into his pouch (a good alchemist was never without one, after all) and headed off to the party proper.

He'd heard there was going to be a potions and magic demonstration and he didn't want to miss that!


That 'Mixology' demonstration was bold and ... well, more than a little messy! But with whatever people and magic on hand to clean up after it, the Stage held numerous other groups and performances throughout the whole evening. Ash knew that his leader was broody, somewhat sullen, but now that they were all here, it seemed he was almost enjoying himself! They had big platters of food brought for the bigger-than-average sized attendees, though the whole group - nor its opposing one - hardly sat down at one of the big balcony tables together.

There were plenty of people here that had magic up their sleeves, and Ash was truly in his element talking to them. It was almost like the times before... before.

Long before.

But not long before the Midnight celebration rang out, he discovered that his forearm, where that little temporary image had been placed, was actually... glowing and a bit itchy! Should he worry!?

"Nope! Don't worry about you, worry about me!" It was a high, somewhat jovial voice. How long had it been since someone had addressed him with such eagerness? Too long. The voice came from a small dragonet, one whose coloration was very similar to that on those little papers in his satchel!

"Did you come from this tattoo?" Ash asked, glancing once more at his arm. "How amazing!"

"It's magic!" The dragon responded. "I'm glad you read the instructions, I'll need those temporary papers if you want me to continue being your dragon..." It looked away, horse-like face glancing here and there until it gave off a strange laugh. "Not that I would ever be anyone else's."


Bond: Sybara, Voluntary Tattoo Bond (multi-sorta)
Meeting Notes: If anyone recognized that Sybara was a dragon, she realized it wouldn't matter. There were dozens and dozens of people here who were also dragons. But she remained in her bipedal form, dressed up carefully in appropriately black and white people-clothes. Moving them to the Ball was the easy part, actually - because they had an invitation. She held it in her hands as the boys got close, and merely needed to concentrate on it a little and boom there they were, standing in a broad stone hall with an arched exit that had brighter lights beyond. The entrance was well used, they weren't the only ones who had just appeared out of nowhere. But they were the best of the bunch, by far; they were clearly superior.

Ostin was nudged toward a slightly different entrance point - even though they all started in the same hall, the spot he went to whisked him away to the opposite end of the venue - the draconic side. Neither Sybara nor Derion muttered anything about that, they just headed straight in. And if they were awed upon entry, they didn't miss a step. While Derion zipped off in his undiagnosed-ay-dee-aych-dee manner, Sybara's attention was caught by something.

She wasn't even sure what. Not five minutes into the event and she was wandering around a weird slightly-dimmer curved hall. If it could be said to be the 'back alley' of the event, that's how she would describe it. Overhead was probably a big staircase, since the ceiling here was slightly angled, and the curve of the hall definitely followed a long-staircase-arc. So what, she was investigating something on a whim in the underbelly of a venue?

Why not. Why. Not.

There were other people around, distantly chatting in the dimmer and farther-under portion of this hall, but the black marble and silver trim and white flooring was actually quite attractive. There were alcoves, nooks in the same art deco arch as was duplicated pretty much everywhere in the venue. Some of the nooks were occupied by people gathering their wits or rubbing already-sore feet, but there was this one. A singular arm's depth nook with a black and white cushioned seat across most of it, and narrower shelves that framed the arch with little collections of stuff on them.

Well no, not 'stuff'. Small books with a 'got it at the ball' binding of black or white; keepsake packs, that kind of thing. And small stacks of what looked like little rectangles of paper, bunched together carefully, next to elegant little bottles that looked like... Chess pawn pieces? Huh, well they certainly did go the whole distance on this ball with the theme, didn't they?

As if the weird desire to just jaunt off away from the ballroom floor and the food (smelled great) and dancing and whatever else wasn't enough, Sybara found that she couldn't resist picking up a bottle, and noticed when she did so that a little spare piece of that paper next to it fluttered downward. She caught it deftly, and on turning it around she spotted writing on one side, which described how to 'apply' it. What was this? A ... a temporary tattoo?

On the other, therefore, was ... a pawn? in greys with black and lighter trim aspects, it was the same silhouette as the bottle with its little stopper being the ball atop it. Sybara glanced around. No one was watching, though she saw shadows of other new arrivals that occasionally brushed past the hall. She squinted, reading, and then pulled up the wide lace of her left arm's sleeve. "Why not, huh?" She muttered, choosing a spot on her upper arm. The sleeve would cover it here at the dance, but she still felt a little giddy as she dropped one - single - drop of whatever was in that bottle onto the paper. Held it in place firmly for a few moments. She could feel ... something happening, but absolutely did not know what.

When she took her hand off, the paper fluttered down empty, on both sides (the... the instructions vanished too?) but she did notice that the bottle itself had a tag. With her name on it. Along with the stack of temporary tattoos next to it, also bearing a symbol that was definitely her name. So she tucked those things into the pouch at her waist, if they were labeled for her, no one else got to even see them, right? Then, with a growing hunger and urge to see the sights, she entered the fray at last.


As the ball clock drew closer and closer to Midnight, and Sybara had experienced quite a few fun things - dancing and drinking and eating (so much eating) and gambling... It was the little nudge at the back of her head from her partners Derion and Ostin, time to watch the proverbial ball drop. Ostin wasn't going to be at the same side of things, but he certainly was having fun positioning himself on their part of the Healing Den's big parking lot 'stage', because their last fireworks show would lead up to the end of it all. Sybara kind of wanted to be in on that too, but there was only so much one person could - or should - do here.

Her arm itched, absently she scritched at it first over and then under the lacy sleeve.

Hey hey, "hey! Howarya!" She heard a voice and while she'd never 'heard' it before, it was very familiar. How strange. Glancing around, Sybara realized... There was a dragonet standing on its hind feet with a big (long!) tail helping keep its balance, and bold black to grey feathered wings hiding surprise checkerboard sails under them, wobbling a little until it plopped back down to all fours. A very horse-headed looking dragon, this.

Its fluffy mist-pale mane would come in more fully, but for now, it looked like this dragon was trying so very hard to look... Suave? With that thought, it actively smiled, flat front teeth framed by fangs.

"How are you? I'm great, you've eaten a lot and most of that was for me, did you know that? Now you do." It nodded. It took half a second before Sybara blinked a few times, and the dragonet nodded again. "Yup! That's me!" It pointed with its thick pale claw, at the pouch on her belt, and then did a very catlike roll to its head, neck, finally folding its wings and all but rolling over on his back, before righting himself. It was actually kind of adorable.

With Derion showing up shortly, with another checkerboard-winged creature in tow, this dragon blurted out, "she thinks I'm adorable!" to that other. "Me! Wurostash! Adorable!"

Between the two of these little 'knockoffs', there would be precious little words to get in edgeways from now on...

White Pawns

Bond: Nuraval Orehammer, Voluntary Tattoo Bond
Meeting Notes: It was all his fault wasn't it? He just knew it, they'd been teleported through that weird glowing ring because he'd said the wrong spell again, he botched it - he...

He felt the back of his head, bruised; smelled his arm, singed with the nasty flames from Grilgus Feldak's explosive flasks. His ears still rang with echoing sounds, the clanging of sword and shield, the impact of steps of large beasts, and the explosions of the other Dwarf's spells. Nuraval wasn't sure why he hadn't realized that Feldak was also some kind of mage, when they'd met a while ago, but it was painfully obvious now.

Also obvious was that he - like the others, perhaps scores of others - had been absolutely played by Grilgus in coming to that battlefield. There was no 'defensive position' to take there, against 'an intrusive army'. It was just more suckers with too much heat in their blood and too little sense in their heads to see if for what it really was. A bloodbath, that the Dwarf arranged for his own amusement.

As he breathed carefully, his hearing returned to normal, his senses regained a little composure. He also realized that there was a large lumpy surface he was half on top of, and more lumps on top of himself. Oh - that was the minotaur and possibly that bird? He wasn't familiar with her breed, but it was obvious she'd be needing some help, she'd taken a hit from a stray rock kicked up by one of those big creatures.

That got him thinking about those creatures, he wasn't sure what they were but he knew they had been conjured by the other Dwarf. And that was supposed to be his specialty? Maybe there was a lot more to be learned...

"Can you move? Are you all right?" It was the dark skinned woman, what had she said her name was, Jasmine or something? Jasmal. Nuraval blinked several times and took her hand. She was confident, sure, but tired and covered in ash from the battlefield. Once she gave him a quick examination she moved on - and by that time, others had come.

Strange others to be sure. The way the one man looked at Jasmal was a little more than professional, that's for sure. But it was the one who had four arms that gave Nuraval pause. Where were they, that a person like this existed? The room was perfectly lined, squared, architecturally sound. Filled with medical devices, an infirmary, how had they... How had he managed to create a portal to this place?

He'd continue to wonder as they each were cleared for the 'party'. What party? What was... As he was shooed out of the room and into the black-walled hallway, the dark dwarf realized the depth of his spell's ability. This must be the afterlife. This must be something... different.

Along his walk toward the brighter and much louder area beyond this hall, Nuraval felt compelled to look at a side-area, a recessed spot where a number of narrow shelves had been arranged, along with clumps of items. Was it just decoration? Why did he feel so completely drawn to this location? There was a shelf low enough for people his build and height, there was a vial with a stopper bearing a tag with his name on it. He actually saw it forming, he knew it had to be very powerful magic indeed if it had been blank before now. He reached for it, and discovered that a piece of parchment was also tucked there with that liquid.

He looked it over, and sat on the black-padded seat that was provided in this little nook, because it was a page of instructions for something. And he had his book of spells. Right here, he patted himself down, thankfully he hadn't lost it! He opened the book, ready to pen something, but didn't need to: the instruction page wove itself directly into his book at the first blank area he'd found. It was still slightly less magically-dark than the rest of the book's enchanted pages, but no less magical, that was sure.

The instructions showed an image: a sort of game piece, a chess pawn, fairly simple, but it had specific lines around the sides, and a dot over the 'head' of it that had hash marks denoting... something. Further instructions said that this image was to be redrawn on his skin 'as needed', with a drop of the liquid provided. He was no stranger to tattoos, his mark had developed over time in the center of his shoulders on his upper back. This one... where would he put it? Not on his singed arm. His other, then. It was a good thing his quill and ink were also enchanted, because otherwise he was just throwing ink away. It was meant to be white, he had to concentrate on changing the color of the pigment (which he did frequently, he was still quite the artist!) and then did as the spell told: placed one drop of that sealing liquid on it. He could feel something tingling, but the instructions were vague at best as to what would actually happen next.


Next was quite some time in the making that night. But in that time, oh how amazed was he. There were magic demonstrations and aerial acrobatics, songs and dancing, and a casino that took his coin as easily as anyone from other worlds. He met back up with the others, each of whom was accompanied by a dragonet that had hatched over the course of the evening. He was starting to feel a little left out.

At the Midnight celebration, however, he felt his arm tingling. Not the wounded one at that. Before the end of the ringing bells and crowd cheers, the image he'd drawn on his arm glowed and sparkled, and then ... his dragon. His dragon! Stood slightly unsteadily but eagerly looking around.

"You have a very interesting book!" The dragon spoke in a clear and high voice, "and interesting friends, I hope we can stay together." The dragon was brilliantly white, shiny, like the white marble squares on the floor, like the alabaster pillars holding the vaulted ceiling up. And it had richly black fur fluffs here and there, a mane and beard, wings that were all shades of white and grey and oil... and checkerboards!

"We're ... connected, aren't we? You're not my creation, but we share life." Nuraval stated, nodding. The dragon nodded agreement, and the others chuckled at their similarity.

"I am Herostash, we'll study together when it's quiet." That would be a while, this party was still going strong!


Bond: 'Ink', Voluntary Tattoo Bond (temp until fully inked)
Meeting Notes: How had he managed to get an invite to a party this swank, Ink did not know. And, didn't really care. He knew how to move around people at conventions, how to not accidentally bump into someone in a crowd. After all, the tattoo convention scene featured a lot of people inking on the fly - and one bump would be disasterous for that art!

He arrived behind a few other people who came from 'modern' worlds, it looked like, some of them definitely not human, others looking a touch out of place like himself. But at some point practically before he set foot in the big main hall, there was something that caught his attention.

The corner of his eye, almost like... well, almost like a migraine halo, sparkled and glittered. But this was no headache, this was definitely not a bad thing. A nook along one of the big dark halls that led to places deeper into the venue, arched like the whole theme of the place, with a few shelves holding items, and a nice if simple chrome and white leather seat. He was drawn toward it, for whatever reason. Ink noticed that one of the shelves was higher than his shoulder, another practically near his knees. So... maybe this was a spot where those odd non-human folk could be represented equally. Cool.

He'd inked a lot of different people in his time. Convicts, housewives. Black, white, latina, asian, didn't matter to him. Friendship tats, memorial ink, tramp stamps, full body work. And like most of his peers he was heavily inked, himself... So where, he considered, would he put one of these temporary tattoos he'd found?

There was a packet of them, he spotted his business card's font on the envelope and wondered how? And a bottle with the same thing tied around its neck under the squeeze-toppered lid, looked a lot like one of the ink bottles back at the shop. But this one had a simple logo with a water-drop on it. So, it was definitely for the stack of temporary tattoo papers...

Ink found a spot on his arm that he'd been meaning to fill, it wasn't a big spot but it would do. The image on these things showed a thematic 'Chess Pawn', in a hatch of greyscale with an added small dot over the top. It wasn't fancy-fancy, but it definitely was stylized and not just some clip-art. And it wasn't that he wasn't just curious about it, he knew it was 'right' to apply this thing here and now. There was always a moment when a client's face lit up on seeing the placement of their new work, and... he got that just then. It was just the right place, just the right design.

Now, off to the party!


His biker gear wasn't the weirdest appearance in this party. The tasseled leather off the vest seemed to entertain one of the Casino servers quite a lot, and he got to show off his guns (his muscles! not his guns, because they were safely at home under lock and key) and his own inked skin to those who boldly came up to see. He also wasn't the only 'mature adult with the Look', and though the one super-model-looking hipster dude was very much a rich man with refined tastes, he also had the most amazing mustache and tribal tats that said he either visited Samoa or... no it turned out he was some intergalactic guy and that was his homeworld's clan ink... Wow. They talked shop, traded cards (how would Ink manage to visit a place that was clearly not his Earth?), sloshed thick beer in a toast and whistled at the stage acts.

But the Casino wasn't the only thing Ink did for the next few hours. The party had plenty of fun things to do and see, and taste - oh man there were kebobs with meat he'd never heard of doused with a hot sauce that made his mouth fiery. And there was a tour of the exterior of this amazing venue, he'd never been that deep under water and would probably never have the opportunity again, and if there was one thing any given inker would know is 'do it when you have the chance'. Life is fleeting. Go for it.

And that Stage - with the capital S - that provided them with some seriously amazing acts? Flying acrobats and flying dragonets, and ... and a space ship that showed off literal space where that one group performed? In space?

If he didn't grab a goodie bag and make sure he had something to remember this event by, and prove that he was there at all, no one would possibly believe him. He'd have stories for decades. He had inspiration aplenty too - the art of the venue, the people, their outfits, all the music and food and...

Finally it drew toward Midnight, and for some strange reason Ink felt that spot on his arm tingling again, it was tingling with the same intensity that the nook he'd found the tattoos at did. Magically. Sparkly. And before he knew it, as his other hand was occupied with another stein of beer (he'd declined the delicate champagne glass) his left arm grew brighter and brighter... Until ...

There was a dragon standing there, well, dangling from his arm with its forepaws. Its horsey-looking face nestled over his arm, and a long, long tail found its way around his bicep somehow. This thing was shiny as heck, with black floof like one of his own leather jackets with fur accents. And feathers? It had those too, on the backs of the wings, and under those wings were brilliant checkerboard patterned webs.

"Wow," Ink said, for once tonight a touch subdued.

"What is that?" The dragonet asked, clearly looking at his beer stein.

"It's nasty, you won't want this, maybe when you're older," Ink stated. "What's your name?"

"You already know it," the dragon gave a strangely horse-like snicker.

"... Vesistash," Ink said, and that little dragon gave a broad grin. "Huh, well you're definitely this tattoo, aren't you?"

"And you're definitely my choice for where my Paradise will be!"

It wouldn't be so hard to figure out how to visit Shaw, or how to prove he'd been invited to this party after all...

PW3 (adopt)
PW4 (adopt)
PW5 (adopt)
Jyrastash Bond: Marek ?, Voluntary permanent (inked) bond
Meeting Notes: on page

Bond: Lehsoa, Voluntary Tattoo Bond (temporary may be improved with a magically imbued perma of it)
Meeting Notes: (see also Idunstash)

The night couldn't have been better, could it? (Well there was that nagging sensation thanks to Niteres who wandered the other side of the venue, that occasionally things were afoot). She had made her way to the casino area and the small stage there, because advertisements on the walls nearby told of singing and 'karaoke' whatever that was, and oh boy was she up for that! Any hint of discomfort about the clothing she wore that matched others among the riders was long gone - she'd had a couple drinks, waited her turn for the stage, and decided to just go for it.

While other performers had a variety of instruments, from a harmonica to what looked like an electric piano grafted to a bass viol, Lehsoa's lute was still able to help her look like the consummate professional she was. She knew plenty of songs, but only had time for a few, and it was to a rousing applause that she finally left the stage. Invigorated, what a rush it always was, she had almost forgotten that at one time she was first in her Harper class...

There was one gentleman more enthusiastic than most, seated at a nearby table, who caught her eye as she was coming off the stage. Something about him just screamed 'fun', even though he was hardly young - she noticed tattoos on his neck, even on his hands, under his very fine looking tailored outfit.

It was about half a minute of introductions and chit-chat before Lehsoa and this stranger (who she did eventually learn his name was Mortimer) were sucking face in the darker corners of the room. It was only when one of the energetic little half-Hathian dragonets with checkerboarded wings came zipping around that they paused. Mostly, because it spilled a whole jug of icewater on them! Rude?!

Oops! The dragon announced to them, but there was something weird about how it then manhandled their outfits (not that... um, not that those outfits weren't actually half-off already?) (they were near the pole-dancing stage with lots of curtains, speaking of how did this dragon even manage to get through to their booth, it was laced shut!?) and equally weird when one after another it abruptly smacked their shoulders (how it found a bare spot on Mortimer's arm who even knew, he was a tattoo artist himself and had extensive inks!) with a small rectangle of paper.

"What in the world?" Lehsoa muttered, because the dragon then bowed deeply, tittering with its strange chiming voice, and sped back out... The jug of water remained on their table, and had refilled itself magically. They were careful not to tip it again. A short time later, while a lovely canine woman was doing a saber dance on the stage, they each noticed that the paper stuck to their wet arm had fallen off, and an image had remained.

On Mort's it was a faintly different shade, but on Lehsoa's it was shiny light grey in tone. A chess pawn? With a dot above it having a checkerboard pattern. Tiny, how had the detail managed to get in there? It wasn't much bigger than the length of her little finger.

Oh well, they got back to it. ... Until a bit later when Thehy could be heard around the dice tables, and Lehsoa wanted to get in on that action.


It was close to midnight, the gang had all been gathered up (with... some incidents reported, including one that Lehsoa missed just as Thehy was leaving the stage herself), for the big chiming of the silver and black clock. The Stage was still filled with that amazing drag show, the ballroom itself was much more packed than it had been even a few hours before.

A good number of full sized dragons had rejoined their partners, for this Midnight celebration, and had been joined by a ridiculous number of new ones, all paired up with their new friends! How wonderful it all was.

Lehsoa felt the warm nudge of her own dragon's mind, and before either of them realized it as they spotted one another near the dance floor, both started to speak mentally.

The weirdest thing happened! It was both of them, and subsequently both gave mental laughs. The dragoness gently giggled, approaching with her head high in order to avoid bumping into too many of the humanoids. There was something dangling from her horn. You go first.

"I met this guy," Lehsoa started to say, and felt that background mental chuckle and a subtle hint of 'I know', "no no- it's not about him, we both got interrupted by this little dragon, like that one there!" She saw another of the small checkerboard attendants, and felt the strangest thing from her dragon.

I did too! Though I don't know if it was that one in particular? They're so hard to tell apart...

"Wait, you met one too?" Lehsoa was now curious. And then she spotted that marking on her dragon's golden shoulder. "Hey... hey, what?"

Before the Midnight bell actually began to ring, both dragon and human felt a strange tingling. Magic? Well, sure, why not? Maybe it was part of the whole show.

It was not part of the whole show, but it wasn't unique here tonight! Because when their respective shoulders started to itch and almost wriggle with magical energy, two small and very pretty dragons simply popped into view. One stood perched on Niteres's shoulder, the other had wrapped itself snugly around Lehsoa's hip and body, clinging like a child might.

But it was no human child, no, it was a dragon with an adorable snoot, and the most incredible grey-scale color scheme! The human looked up at the dragon's new 'friend', and they looked almost entirely opposite in shade, while still being effectively the same build and breed. (Had they looked around, there would be similar ones dotting the area!)

Together the pair of pale grey and very black, and obvious-checkerboarded dragons settled to the ground between the existing pair. The black one, who had been on the dragon's shoulder, spoke, "We are here now! I am Idunstash!"

"I am Jesastash!" The other, grey one, announced. "If you take us with you we can see all the sights and do all the things!"

"All the things?" Lehsoa queried, "are you sure? That's a lot for little dragons..."

"We won't be so little we can't do things," Idunstash stuck its tongue out.

So now the pair were ... a foursome? Somehow? She'd have to read up on their breed, something something tattoo magic, "paradise?" She muttered, while reading the pamphlet later. "I guess we will have to see about getting more--"

You have more, so do I! Niteres faintly waved her head, and that little baggie dangled, reminding Lehsoa to look at her lute: where there was a similar baggie of that same little 'temporary tattoo' design and instructions on how to apply them. As well as instructions to create a more permanent arrangement should they desire it.

"I suppose we'll have to explain you to someone who has more magic than either of us," Lehsoa said to her little greyscale dragonet. "I wonder how they'll deal with your armor..." Her bigger bond shrugged, they'd work it out, for sure.


Bond: Esther, Voluntary choice of Bond using tattoo
Meeting Notes: They'd arrived pretty early in the night, long before most other groups since their connection to the Healing Den was so strong. Even though few other clutches had evidence that they were hatched, a bunch of those sleek arm-winged ones with tuxedo-styled markings were already wandering the floor. Some carried trays around their neck on harnesses, others picked up items in their mouths and led groups using ribbons or flags to guide them. One of them, however, snuck up around the dance troupe and nudged Esther aside. She was concerned: they needed to be together to do their formal dancing!


It was hard to miss the source of that hissing sound. Esther finally stopped trying to reach her friends, and looked at the host dragon. "What is it?"

I was told to give you this, they said, and then... the dragon... licked her shoulder. Sloppy, slobbery! Ew! Esther recoiled slightly but the dragon wasn't done yet. Using its forepaw it slapped that area and held on to her until it seemed satisfied. Then it stuffed a little envelope into her pocket. When it was finally done, the little usher slipped back away into the crowd and pretended like nothing weird had happened at all.

Esther saw what looked like a small image on her shoulder, though she didn't seem very interested or even compelled to touch it - it was still moist. A white pawn, not very bright though. Hm. Well, she'd wonder at this later. Maybe everyone got one. A temporary tattoo might be like a silly headband or ugly glasses to ring in the new year.


It wasn't until nearly midnight, after a long long night of dancing and drinking, socializing with people that sometimes defied description... That something tingled on her arm. That weird little temporary tattoo was glittering in a checkerboard pattern, it must have been magical! But why? She saw a couple of them on other people entirely at random during the evening's activities, some in the casino and a couple at the big banquet tables. But... what did it mean?

"It means I chose you! My Paradise is small and kinda... shabby, so I might stay outside with you while it recharges."

Esther looked at the dark blue eyes staring at her quite closely. Right over her shoulder, the one that itched.

"You - you chose me, you mean..."

"Yup! I'm yours! To keep! Even if that tattoo's gonna need to be reapplied once in a while, otherwise I can't get back into my paradise!" Esther took a look at it - over the course of the evening that lick-and-spit tattoo had sort of peeled around the edges, worn off while dancing or waving her arms around. She then remembered the little envelope, pulling it out she discovered it had quite a few copies of that design, they'd be able to reaffix it with careful planning, for years and years to come it looked like. (Though maybe... there might be some other way to do it... magic? More of it?)

"Perhaps we'll find a better place for it, that won't get so worn off," Esther promised the dragon. "Do you have a name?"

"Celustash!" the dragonet chipperly exclaimed. "I'm not as big as them," it pointed out a much brighter dragon that stood by their bond, edging toward the dance floor, and indeed it was half again bigger than this one.

"That's fine, you'll be able to fit where I go."

As always, images are (c) Lethe / Shard 2022 and are not to be used in any manner, including downloading by right-click, other than by permission, to those who have earned them! No reselling or unauthorized use permitted!