Zone packed up. The lair wasn’t big enough to support all the space he was trying to claw out for their family. He’d clawed holes through the back wall already. They practically lived in a tunnel rather than a lair.
So they were moving further into Plague territory. Zone had scouted out a suitable place in the Abiding Boneyard. There was far more room there for their growing clan to…well, grow.
No surprise, nobody was very happy about it. Almost all of them had grown up in the Wandering Contagion. They were moving from a decaying rot of a field to a wasteland of bones. Neither place was pleasant but at least the contagion was familiar.
But, one by one, the chilly nights got to them. Eventually, Safe declared a vote. The hatchlings and youngsters of the clans wanted to stay. Safe, Zone, and the older members of the clan–Winse, Lymph, Safe and Zone’s first few nests–voted to move.
The graveyard was the biggest issue. Nobody was willing to leave it behind. Thirty-one members of their clan were buried there. They couldn’t just abandon them. Yet they couldn’t dig them up and move them either. It was a horrid dilemma that most didn’t want to talk about.
The decision was made for them with the hatching of Thrax and Remia’s nest, along with Safe and Zone’s own. Among six hatchlings…only two lived. Two tiny violet Wildclaws from Remia’s nest. Her indigo Imperial daughter, Ryn, did not survive.
The entirety of Safe’s nest lay unmoving. Another nest massacre via plague. The third that Safe had suffered in nearly one hundred days.
Safe’s heart was broken. She couldn’t stay in the contagion anymore. If they moved, maybe things would start anew and they’d have better luck. Maybe the plague would go away. It was a weak, vain hope but Safe clung to it anyway.
It was with this event that Zone declared a move to the Abiding Boneyard. Nobody argued with him. The nest loss was the final straw.
So they gathered up everything in their hoard and moved across the territory to the boneyard. The hatchlings were difficult to handle. Mani and Laria, Remia’s surviving pair, were defiant. Ieremiya, older and more mature, assisted the young mother in keeping her children moving. The whole clan watched out for each other.
It was late that evening that they reached the spot that Zone found. He’d already begun digging before reporting the spot back to the clan. He began digging again, Winse and Losis by his side. The whole clan pitched in, clawing away rock and soil, carrying it away, clearing space. By the time stars began twinkling, the lair was far larger than their old one, perhaps big enough to support fifty dragons.
Safe gathered rib bones, setting up markers outside. They might not longer have the bodies but each name, each face, each death, was etched deep into the Mirror’s memory. She would continue to mourn them. She would not let the clan forget their fallen members.
A blackened rib pierced the ground nearby. Safe looked up to see Betes, her first daughter, placing the bone. She sat there, tail around her paws, and watched the bone with a stony expression.
No words were needed. The mothers just watched, remembering their losses.
Theria crept out to settle by her mother’s side. She watched the blackened bone curiously, trying to figure out what it meant.
No words were spoken. They simply watched and remembered.