Join Date: May 2005
A week later the great silver dragon was speaking to Jack about the status of Comhaltas. Things had slowly become a little strained with rationing and spacing issues but so far they had managed without too much issue.
"Forge, I had a message from ESA HQ, they said the transports will be delayed for a little bit, they are trying to gather resources for us and its taking longer than expected" Jack said, his tone suggested concern.
"What are our rations like currently? I thought we were running low as of last week?" Asked forge. Finite food sources were not a good thing to deal with amongst so many dragons. They would have to be rationed further so that they could make it through to the next delivery.
"We got enough, we might need to prioritize rationing and prioritize food to younger dragons" Jack suggested.
Forge nodded, "From the brief patrols that have gone out we still haven't found any game to bring in to help unfortunately."
"We can only do what we can do, our staff is trying to find filler but yes Toby is trying to keep the dragons and all of us fed" Jack replied to the silver.
Forge nodded, “That’s all we can do for now then, thank you Jack.”
Having this many dragons confined to one small space for such a long time was a recipe for disaster. Dragons that were used to being top of their rank in their respective territories where now faced with other top tier individuals expecting the same level of respect and privilege that went along with it. For the most part there was only a few squabbles here and there, mostly over little things.
It was Grier that was slowly showing his true colours. While the dragon wasn’t explicitly physical or violent, the male used his size to bully others to get what he wanted, subtly enough to fly under the radar of others, until now.
The Verdine had taken over the pools again; subtle curls of his lip and fierce stare-downs ensuring that the others vacated the pools.
He also seems to always make it to the first in queue whenever meals were announced, the others stepping out of his way meekly when he marched through the canteen. He never seemed to do these things in front of the gaze of Forge, Bronan or any of the staff.
What crossed the line was Grier kicking out a family out of the pools for a fifth time during their allotted half hour. The Cyprites, a much smaller breed than him, submitted meekly, not wanting to face his wrath, hustling out of the way when he moved in. Finally someone was brave enough to fetch Forge as he ate in the canteen, finally taking a quick break from all the tasks he had to complete.
“Sir,” said the hesitant voice of a little yellow dragon.
The silver turned his eyes to her, “Yes?”
“Um, I don’t mean to complain, but Grier…”
The name instantly drew his full attention. “What is it?”
“Grier has taken over the pools again. Says he needs peace and quiet to rest. He snapped at anyone who tried to come in, saying it was his now.”
Forge snorted. This was asinine behavior at it’s finest, “I will deal with it, Lilla.” He said getting up and setting to march off.
“Wait, please don’t tell him I told you,” pleaded the little yellow dragoness.
“You won’t have anything to fear. I will not let him know.”
“Thank you sir.”
Forge trekked down to the lower levels off Comhaltas and descended the stairs that led towards the thermal pools. A number of smaller dragons were huddled outside the entrance whispering amongst another while peering inside fearfully.
“Stars above!” exclaimed one of them, realizing Forge had walked up behind them all.
Without a word to them the silver passed through their group and into the misty, warm room. Grier was in the largest pool, one arm up on the deck with his chin resting upon the crook of it. He opened his green eyes as Forge walked up to the water’s edge.
“Grier, I am giving you this chance to stand down. Stick to your assigned quarters, collect your meals at your allotted times and do not go over the posted limits for the pools and other amenities.”
“What if I do not?” asked the large dragon, getting to his feet and drew himself out of the pool, forcing Forge to step back to allow him out. The moment Forge did this he suppressed a growl, Grier had done that on purpose to make him back away, a subtle display of dominance.
“You will,” said Forge resolutely, “These are the rules of Comhaltas and harbouring everyone between it’s walls. You agreed to them when you came in from the storm and I expect you to follow them, just like everyone else.”
“I don’t like your tone, silver,” sneered Grier.
Forge bristled at this, fighting the urge to bare his teeth, “My tone has nothing to do with it. Comply or leave.”
Grier seemed to ignore the silver and tried to move around him.
Forge blocked his path and the two dragon’s locked eyes. Grier raised his head to bring him more in line with Forge’s taller stature. The silver dragon didn’t take well to this show of defiance. Dragons relied a lot on body language to express themselves and respect for one another and respect was something Grier was sorely lacking. The boldness that the Verdine displayed immediately put Forge’s patience to the test.
“Move,” commanded Grier, testing the silver.
Forge stood statue still, watching the dragon with a burning fire in his gaze.
“I challenge you then,” said the Verdine, not to the silver’s surprise, “You’ve been top dog here for long enough. I think it’s someone else’s turn. “
“Comhaltas is not a territory or land to claim.”
“The resources within its walls are. The world is a frozen wasteland out there. I had it all.”
“You can’t have it all here,” glowered Forge, asserting his dominance by standing at his full height and looking down at Grier. The tension was palpable as the Verdine wouldn’t back down. The dragons suddenly clashed, rearing up and snarling. The dragons that had been watching from the entrance gasped as one went running to alert the others.
Grier had immediately tried to go for Forge’s throat but the battle-wise silver had been prepared and Griers teeth only met with his ebony horns. Swining his crest, Forge tried to battle the other dragon backwards but Grier jumped to the side, aiming a tail strike at his foe’s side. Forge countered with his out, their weaponized tails recoiling from the impact.
Forge lunged, barging into the other male with his shoulder. Grier snarled and swung his paw, claws striking the silver’s muzzle.
Forge shook his head; blood from his nose went splattering across the polished stone floor. The other dragon took that fraction of a second to lunge at the silver. The older dragon staggered backwards as Grier came at him, trying to shove him off his feet. Being smaller he knew that toppling the silver would likely be his only chance to win and he was determined to. The audience of displaced dragons fueled the fire in his hearts to win out over the silver.
“Hah!” he snarled, swinging his horns at Forge.
Suddenly the silver dragon reached up and grabbed Grier’s left primary, wrenching it back the other way with a great fierceness. Grier let out a snarled yelp, trying to keep his feet while Forge tried to pull his head down to the ground. Tense muscles shifted under the sterling scales as he tried to wrestle the offending dragon to the floor while trying not to slip on the damp surface himself.
In their room, Jack and Ardon had heard word that something was going own down in the pools below. "Hrmm, seems there is trouble, we best go check it out, Forge is there but Vonriir is on his way as well with Robert," Jack said to Ardon getting up. Together they hurried down and as they made their way they realized many of the dragons were crowded in the halls around the pools.
“Come on, out of the way, Guardian coming through,” shouted Ardon to make other’s give them room. He saw Bronan and Vonriir up at the front of the crowd.
"What is all the ruckus going on" Jack asked Bronan, hearing the snarls and seeing the crowd.
"Grier has challenged Forge after he set down the rules." Explained Bronan. “I think anyway.”
“That’s what it looks like anyway,” added Vonriir.
"We have to help? We could end this now," said Ardon but his father shook his head.
"No, Forge is dealing with this on his own,” insisted his father. There were rules to this kind of violent engagement and stepping in now would only make Forge look weak and unable to defend Comhaltas.
"I assume he is going through dragon traditions when challenged, I Just he can handle it" Jack said, concern in his voice as Melina appeared, feeling the anger and feelings through the link.
Ardon quickly gave Jack a look so that he would explain to Melina before she went running in there.
"Melina, Forge involved in a fight, a dragon challenged him, he's following tradition, we cant interfere" Jack said as Melina seemed concerned but knew better than to intervene.
Grier fought valiantly and managed to twist out of Forge’s hold kicking out with his hind legs to ward off another attack as he clumsily scrambled to his feet, snarling. The two of them circled, catching their breath.
“Stand down, Grier, you have nothing to win her,” commanded Forge but Grier was already lost in his rage. The silver kept his eyes on the dragon but he could feel Melina’s presence, perhaps in the crowd beyond that huddled near the entrance to the pools. He hated that he had a crowd gathered while he sorted this out but he made him even more resolute to finish this quickly.
Grier bellowed and swung his tail hard, hitting Forge as he stumbled backwards.
"Oh come on!" Jack said looking up to Bronan as Melina cringed, "Come on Forge, show them," she whispered as she looked at the marking on her palm.
The silver reared up, grabbing the other dragons shoulders and attempting to throw him off his feet but the Verdine had planted him self, setting his center of gravity low as he lowered his head and made to ram Forge.
Stepping backwards the two dragons grappled fiercely, trying to fight for the upper hand. Snarls and growls rang out and echoed throughout the pool hall as the audience watched on, transfixed at the display of might.
Finally Forge decided he had enough of his game. He coiled up, hind legs tense like springe as he lowered his great crest.
Forge shoved him back and Grier slipped on the water around the pool’s edge before tumbling backwards with a tremendous splash. Forge half jumped in after the other dragon and held him by his throat, threatening to push him under the surface if he fought further. The Verdine, upside down and struggling in the water knew that his time was up. He was defeated and in front of much of the facilities inhabitants. There would be no reprieve from this.
“I concede!” he spat, trying not to go under the water. The look in Forge’s eyes now frightened him.
Forge was panting but tried to steady his breathing when he let the other dragon up. Grier crawled miserably out of the pool while Forge watched. Bronan and Vonriir came up quickly.
“To the containment room, now, while we sort out what to do with you,” snorted the copper dragon. Grier knew he was no match for the two of them, plus when they waved over the female spitter he understood there was no further fighting back.
He slunk off with his motley collection of guards as Forge let out a breath.