“So I have five brothers and sisters?” Myxe chirped.
“Well…you have more than five…but we’re all that’s here right now, Myxe,” Chemi admitted.
“A lot of us…died,” Betes said.
This was an awkward conversation to have with a hatchling that wasn’t even a day old, yet the scampering Mirror insisted on seeing all of her older siblings. So Betes, Losis, Chemi, Tryp, and Lujo gathered together. Safe and Zone watched from the sidelines, though their attention was divided between their newest daughter and Kemia’s two sons, who zipping about nearby on tiny wings.
“What’s…died?” Myxe asked.
“It means you’re not living. You’re not breathing, eating, or drinking. You’re just dead,” Lujo stated.
“Lujo!” Chemi hissed.
“What? Were you going to give her some sugarcoated lie? Sorry,” Lujo snorted.
“Dead?” Myxe asked, getting confused between the words. “What’s died? And dead?”
“They all fall under the word ‘death’, Myxe,” Tryp explained, casting his younger sister Lujo a harsh glare to silence her. “Death is…when you cease to live. Like Lujo said, you stop breathing and such. You die.”
“I don’t get it. When I sleep, am I dead?” Myxe asked.
“No,” Chemi shook her head. “Death is–“
“You don’t wake up if you’re dead, Myxe. You sleep and you stay asleep. Forever,” Lujo said coldly.
“Lujo!” Chemi hissed viciously.
“I don’t wanna sleep forever,” Myxe whimpered.
“You won’t, Myxe,” Betes reassured. “Not yet. Everyone dies one day…but you survived your hatching.”
“…But my siblings didn’t,” Myxe guessed.
She faintly remembered two forms in the nest with her. One Mirror, one Guardian. Both lay unmoving, silent, cold. Mother and father had been so sad. Father had taken them away. She never saw her siblings again after that.
“That’s right,” Betes confirmed. “…You’re not the only one to lose siblings, Myxe. All of us, except Tryp and Chemi, have lost siblings in our hatching nests. And overall, we’ve lost many siblings. There are so many that some of us will never get to meet until the day we die and pass on.”
“You didn’t lose anyone?” Myxe asked Chemi and Tryp in awe.
“We were hatched together and survived together. There was no third in our nest, unlike so many others,” Chemi nodded.
“Only two of our nests had two eggs in it,” Tryp added, glancing at Lujo. “Her’s was the other. She…didn’t get as lucky as we did.”
“Better off than those nests that all died,” Lujo snorted. “What, there’s like three of them now where no hatchlings at all lived. We’re the lucky ones! Stop moping!”
“I suddenly wish it was Seve that lived,” Tryp muttered.
“What did you say?!” Lujo roared. “Say that to my face, you cowa–“
“That’s enough, Lujo!” Betes snarled, whirling on her younger sibling. “I’ve had it up to here with your attitude! This isn’t about you! This is about Myxe and about our family! If you won’t cooperate then why did you even come?!”
“Oh, you’d know all about family, huh? Miss I-did-not-get-my-dream-nest-so-I-will-ignore-my-family-and-be-depressed-forever!” Lujo snapped.
“KNOCK IT OFF!!”
The collected dragons jumped, all whipping around. Zone stomped toward them, fury in his eyes and smoke curling from his nostrils. Even Lujo cowered under his glare.
“Enough about who lived, who died, and who should’ve done either,” Zone growled lowly. “This is about teaching Myxe our heritage and how this clan was founded.”
“We know, father,” Chemi reassured. “We were ju–“
“And all I hear is you picking fights!” Zone barked, glowering at Lujo. “And you two taking the bait she’s tossing!” He glared at Betes and Tryp.
“Sorry, dad,” Tryp muttered.
Zone sighed. “This isn’t just about you, Lujo. Or you two, Betes, Losis. Or about you two, Chemi, Tryp. This isn’t even about your mother or me.” He reached down to nuzzle Myxe. “This is about her. This is about letting her know how big of a family she has.”
Betes and Tryp looked at each other and nodded. Losis sighed. Chemi smiled softly. Lujo shook her head before looking at her father, meeting his gaze head-on.
“I did this with every one of you. And I will keep doing it,” Zone stated. “I won’t forget the children that your mother and I have lost. Not our failed nests, not Cad, not Seve, not Yersi or Cari. I won’t forget anyone. And I won’t let you forget them either.”
Lujo looked away at last. Bringing up her sister Seve hurt. She had never even known her sister yet imagining her hurt.
Zone moved to nuzzle Lujo. She didn’t pull away like she usually would. Her pride had taken a backseat for the moment.
“I know this always hurts. I know it seems easier to build a wall and try to forget. But if you forget them, you forget your own ancestry, your family, those that came before you,” Zone explained gently. “The point isn’t to bring up the pain. It’s to make coping with it easier. Seve wouldn’t want you to forget her, Lujo.”
“…I know,” Lujo choked. “I just…”
“Myxe deserves to know. So will any children that come after her,” Zone said. “Losis and Betes have their stories as our firstborn survivors. Tryp and Chemi as our second-born survivors. You may have come later than them, but you have your story to tell too. And it’s no less important than their tales. For it to be remembered, it must be passed on to others, Lujo. Ours is through our family.”
Lujo looked at Myxe, peering up at her through four tiny red eyes. They reminded her of Besio, who had died almost instantly upon growing up. It was painful to think about.
“Lujo, will you cooperate? Help your siblings pass on our history to Myxe. Please,” Zone requested.
“…Fine. I will,” Lujo promised.
She reached down to nuzzle Myxe, who snuggled against her older sister’s cheek. A smile tugged onto Lujo’s face. She remembered being this happy once, so long ago.
“I will,” she repeated, rising. “I’ll go first. Let me tell you about my sister, Myxe. Her name…was Seve.”