Broken. That was the only way to describe her - well, the only way anyone else would describe her. She personally thought that she was perfectly fine, but nobody listened to her.
Ametrine was named perfectly, according to anyone who had ever met her - the gemstone she was named after was exactly like how she was, they said - pretty while you were looking at it, but worthless, forgettable, and overlooked. She was known by everyone as ‘That weird one’ or ‘That one,’ or, as the kids at school called her, ‘Weirdetrine’ or else they did not know her at all, which was more often the case. She tried to keep her head down and not make a fuss - not that that ever worked very well.
When dragons saw her and recognized her, they would roll their eyes or snort or say, “Oh, you’re her.” like she couldn't understand perfectly well what they meant. She never understood everyone - either they had no idea who she was, or they knew her by reputation - she was just the one who was defective because she was missing some of her power. That was it. She wasn’t horribly deformed or mentally ill - just because she did not have one of the normal JewelWing powers, she was treated like some contagious disease or an ugly mutant. Just because she had no immortality, like the rest of her tribe. It was laughable, how stupid it was, except Ametrine never laughed because when it’s you who is getting treated like that, your sense of humor on the subject mysteriously vanishes.
Of course, Ametrine missing her immortality power did not mean that the rest of her power was not top-notch, in fact, it was better than top-notch. (Not that anyone noticed, and she was not going to try and tell anyone that)
They did not notice because, for some incredibly stupid reason, if you were different in one way, then that was the only thing everyone focused on. If you have one difference, everyone acts like you are a completely different species. So, she tried to act normal and pretend to not care when dragons talked about her behind her back. But the truth was, she was weirder than everyone thought. She might have even been the most powerful dragon in the tribe. Her power of vision was stronger than most other dragons in the tribe. She could see the future much clearer than anyone else, even most NightWings who had it. She could see real visions, like pictures of the future playing out, making perfect sense. That did not matter though because it was rarely helpful. And her jewel power… well, that was in a category all by itself. It was outstanding. The secret power of the JewelWings was the Gift of The Jewels. It enabled each JewelWing to have the power of his or her name’s gemstone. Queen Bluediamond, for example, could use her power to call on the blue diamonds, control them, and do anything with them. She could use them as a shield, use them to enchant someone, use them for other reasons so dark or so good that almost nobody understood them- but the most important thing with the Gift of The Jewel was how you used them.
Some could barely use them at all, only have them there for a whisper at a time, the gems so feeble you could barely do a thing with them, and the jewels would flicker out if they lost focus for a second, while others, like Ametrine and Queen Bluediamond, could use her jewels to echo out like a blanket of hope, spreading her power, righting the wrongs, stopping the evil, soothing scarred minds - all with a song.
The JewelWings controlled their gems with their singing. Those who could not sing were the ones who could not use the Gift of The Jewels very well, but the ones who could be able to do amazing things. The better at singing you were, the more you could do. And while they could sing songs of forgiveness and love and faith and happiness and use their music to preserve light - they could also call up the darkness and evil from within their souls, which every JewelWing had, and unleash it with their voices. Only the most talented and the most sick-minded could sing that way- a dark symphony of evil that could corrupt them, so they could never stop singing that horrible song of death. And that kind of song was how the Abyss opened - unleashing something so dark even if every JewelWing who could sing a note went up against it, they would be no match against that level of evil.
Ametrine was out, alone, singing. That was what she usually was doing, actually. She liked to slip away during the afternoon and practice. She never bothered to tell anyone because no one cared, and nobody ever wanted to hear her, but she was used to that. She was used to being ignored. It was nice, really, sometimes, when she could sneak away without having to let her parents know. There was a small clearing, far away from the village, where Ametrine always liked to practice. Ametrine started her song like she always did - by finding a quiet spot and then finding her balance, grounding herself, imagining what she wanted to sing. She visualized the ametrines, she heard the sound of her own voice. She was ready to begin.
She opened her mouth and her music started to form. First, it was fragments, little slivers of high and low notes, then it became a long, steady line of a gorgeous song. Her eyes were closed as she sang, her voice dancing in the air. High, curling, twisting, gentle tendrils of unearthly beautiful music were twisting and twining with lower, heavier notes. Her song, though it had no words, was clearly a song of love. If it had had words, they would have been words of forgiveness and laughter and joy like no other thing imaginable. But something familiar and unfamiliar was straining in her throat. She was good at hiding it, so only she knew that a little twinge of something she always felt and always tried to ignore was there at all. Something like power power power kill death darkness cower before me, I am the Queen power power power… But Ametrine managed to hold that part back. She tried to ignore that the thread was getting stronger every time she sang. Eventually, the piece of the dark song faded back completely, letting her focus on what she wanted to sing. And soon, the ametrines came. Her only friends. Squares and circles and teardrop shapes of orange and pink and purple fire were now swirling around her.
Ametrine could see the jewels spiraling under her eyelids as they waltzed, faster and faster, enclosing her in an impossibly bright sphere of magic and beauty. Her voice was now trilling and fierce and indescribably, wildly amazing. The jewels were answering by echoing her song, responding to her as she sang. Music was playing back to her through the ametrines. Whirls of color, like swooshes of a paintbrush, were surrounding her, sparkling and amazing. She could see the notes she sang, like spirals of golden string that were spiking up and down to match her voice. But suddenly, it all disappeared. And then she was falling, falling, falling through the blackness and empty space- the darkness was suffocating her- and then her head exploded with noise- a creeping, shrill, cackling song of death was playing loudly in her ears, and nobody could hear her scream as the visions rolled in, a shadowed new Queen on a throne, a crown of thorns, a dark hole opening up in the ground, dead bodies with blank eyes, the music got louder, cold wind was whistling around her, a flash of lightning, broken fragments of jewels, a twisting black tree, hew own face maliciously laughing- and then, miraculously, everything was silent.
Only a calm black emptiness was with her when a voice whispered in her ear- “I’m coming for you…” Nobody heard Ametrine when she shrieked, nobody cared when she covered her head with her wings and cried, nobody had even noticed that she had been gone at all.
Ametrine did not return to the village until after dark. Everyone was technically supposed to be inside the borders at dusk, but being home on time was not exactly Ametrine's main concern. I bet nobody even noticed I was gone, she thought bitterly. But she knew better than to get angry. Learing to never get mad and to pretend like she didn’t care were skills she learned early on. Her parents had trained her to become a total pushover - they coulden’t have her standing up for herself, certainly not. She glanced around. Sure enough, no one was there. Usually, when someone was late, another dragon was required to wait for them. Apparently, she really WAS forgotten. When she pushed open the door and stepped into her house, she saw that the rooms were dark, and her parents were already fast asleep.
Her mother, Jadeite, was a dragon who obviously tried too hard to be pretty. She had deep green eyes, regal posture, and a permanent judgeful look. She was an advisor to the Queen and obviously believed that everyone was beneath her. She also thought that Ametrine was a useless lump, an embarrassment. Ametrine’s father, Larimar, was a librarian, though he was not at all what you would think of a librarian being. He had cold pale blue eyes, and he never smiled. He never told Ametrine that she was a disappointment, but she could see it in his face that he thought she was a waste of space. Ametrine had not expected them to wait for her, but it still hurt to think that they really didn't care where she was or when she would get home. Or IF I got home. Ametrine thought. Memories of her mother and father yelling, herself crying alone in a corner, her parents threatening to leave her alone in the rainforest. Even more memories of her vision flashed through her mind, and a trickle of ice ran down her spine. Ametrine slipped quietly into her room and shut the door softly. Then she sat down on her thin pile of blankets she slept on. That's when she saw it. A note, written on a slip of paper and laid out on her bed. She picked it up and looked it over. But when she read it, Ametrine’s face went white and her wings trembled. The note read,
Well. If you see this note, it means you came back. How disappointing. We were hoping you got eaten by something or died in a corner somewhere. But I guess if you are still alive, then you ought to know:
We don’t want you here.
Your father and I refuse to waste resources on you anymore, you disgusting cockroach. And if you don’t get your defective butt out of my house by sunrise, I will find you and kill you myself, little maggot. I can’t get far enough away from you when you are living under my roof, so I’m kicking you out. I hope you find someone to take you in. Actually, wait, I don’t. I hope you fall into a hole and die, you hideous monster. I don’t want to see you ever again, and neither does Queen Bluediamond, or your father, or, in fact, anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to have met you. Goodbye, tiny worm.
Ametrine let the note slip from her claws and flutter to the ground. The slip of paper landed face down, innocently blank on the back. Ametrine trembled slightly. She had known that her mother hated her, but she had been trying to pretend that there was hope - she had been shying away from the fact that she never had a chance for her parents to love her. Her face white, Ametrine slid out of her room, holding her breath, and burst out of the house. Tears streamed down her face, she flew - as fast as she could, as far as she could. She did not care that it was raining, and the sky was dark, and the nighttime silence was pierced only by the soft hooting of owls and chirping crickets. But Ametrine liked it that way. Once, though, She was sure that she heard someone flying after her. But why would they? She asked herself. It’s not like anyone wants me back home. And so, she beat her wings faster and faster, trying to get away from the rainforest. But every time she looked to the dark horizon, she saw only trees. But she kept flying.
Even though she was tired and so upset she could barely move, she kept flying - thinking about what she had to get away from only motivated her to go faster. Her scales were sore. Her breath was caught in her chest. One thought kept rotating through her brain - nobody loves me. Still, though, she kept on. But, eventually, when her heart and her wings could take no more, she landed gently on a branch and curled up, succumbing to the pull of rest. Ametrine looked up at the shining moons above. Each one was curved into a perfect, silvery-blue crescent. Ametrine allowed herself to cry again, tilting her head to the sky so that the rain washed away her teardrops. Her wings were tired, and her chest was burning, and her eyes were heavy and dry, but soon she threw herself back into the air anyway, forcing herself to fly again. She looked ahead and saw the landscape of thick quiet green trees with the night looming overhead. Through the black, she could see the stars, each a little individual pinprick of light, shining in the sky. She saw one star that was shimmering a little brighter than the others. It reminded her of herself. How is it fair that I’m the one who has to be different? She asked the moons in her head. Why is it me? The moons winked back at her, but the night stayed silent. With a sigh, she thought, Why does it feel like everything is my fault? Just because I'm different? But then something that had never gone through her mind struck her like lightning. But… It’s not my fault that I’m different. She realized. It is the fault of whoever decided to MAKE it my fault. Ametrine was surprised at herself for having these thoughts. It is the fault of whoever decided to pick one star from the sky and dim her glow. Ametrine smiled to herself. But too bad for them, that star was a lot stronger and more beautiful than they imagined. Too bad for them that one star was brighter than them all. Even if they don’t see it yet. Ametrine kept that thought in her mind as she flew, and it made her feel so much better every time she thought it. If they are going to blame me for being different, they might as well blame themselves for being the ones who made me different in the first place. After all, I’m only different because they said so. I’m only defective because they taught me that I am. I’m only as different as they made me become. Her heart was feeling better than it ever had. Beauty and worth aren't measured in perfection. They are measured in heart. A heart of gold is worth so much more than a perfect exterior. A heart that tries is worth more than a mind who thinks they don’t even have to try. A heart that loves is a thousand times more important than a heart that hates. And if they can’t see that, then they are the ones who need to change. A glow seemed to radiate around her. Courage and self-love were filling her up, like the sun rising in the east. Nothing could bring her down. For just a few moments- a few glorious, perfect moments - she felt like maybe she deserved something more than the life she lived. But then, out of nowhere, her wings faltered. Her eyes were open, but she could only see blackness. But as she fell from the sky, her mind was at peace, a peace she had never known before. As she slid through the air, she did not even worry about what would happen when she hit the ground.
Ametrine awoke to total darkness. Familiar darkness. Ametrine closed her eyes, praying that this was just a nightmare. But it wasn’t, and somewhere inside she knew it. Still, she wanted to believe that the pitch-black walls and the chasm of fear were just her imagination. But when something, like a tendril of ice creeping out of the blackness whispered, “You can’t hide from me,” She knew that this was as real as the scales on her body. “I will always find you, Ametrine. Always…” The voice trailed off into an evil cackle. Though she was terrified, she defiantly sat down and turned her nose up.
“Tell me more, disembodied voice, about how terrifying you are. It’s so very interesting.” Ametrine staged a yawn to emphasize her point.
“You may scoff, but my reign of darkness will cause you to cower in fear of my power!” The voice said. “For I am Earthshaker, Light Smasher, Empress of Night, Queen of Darkness, Ruler of All! You shall feel my wrath and FEAR ME!” The voice shouted. Ametrine could feel the walls trembling.
“So tell me, Ruler of All, whatcha gonna do when I do this?” Ametrine snarked. She opened up her wings and flashed her scales, turning them a blinding shade of gold. The empty blackness was illuminated with a wash of beautiful golden light. Feeling braver than she ever had, she said, “Fear you?” Smirking slightly, Ametrine continued. “How about you fear ME?” The JewelWing flared her wings again and a spiraling trail of ametrines whirled into existence, casting bright rainbows across the never-ending chasm. “I’m the sun, you’re the moon. You may think you won, but I can always, always, always rise again and stamp out the dark with light.” Ametrine strongly stomped one foot down, shaking the black around her. Every negative thing Ametrine had faced suddenly crumbled into a pile of rubble as Ametrine stood up, took to the air, and said, “See ya on the bright side.” And then, as the night-like prison started to dissolve, Ametrine disappeared.
It had been a few weeks since Ametrine left home. But today was different from every other day. She tried something she had never done since that day she left. The sun was shining brightly, and the breeze was toying with her wings, and the birds were chirping a beautiful song as the day began. Ametrine smiled, happy and carefree. She sank her talons into the soft earth and started to sing.
Her voice wobbled slightly from lack of use before steadying itself. Tendrils of gold and rainbow, twisting ribbons were weaving through the sky. One little white strand was also dancing with the other ones. It spiked up and curled around, glowing and showering the sky with colorful, beautiful shards of glittering jewels.
The white ribbon was up much higher than the others, reflecting the sun onto the ground, destroying the shadows. The gold and rainbow threads were weaving together now, creating a long rope that was circling around Ametrine. Her voice was now more gorgeous than it had ever been. Her beautiful voice was like happiness and love rolled into song. It went perfectly with the glowing ribbons that were twisting high above her. Flecks of golden dust were raining down, coating Ametrine’s wings, back, and snout. But a rustling sound behind her caused her to pause. The gems, ribbons, and golden dust disappeared and the song abruptly stopped. Ametrine looked and saw a flash of something that seemed like darkly colored scales. Ametrine shivered and turned around. She was growing hungry, So she took to the air and flew up to a tree overhead that was growing fruit shaped like apples, only they were bright purple. Ametrine plucked one from the tree and ate it before she decided to fly to a different spot. While she was flying, she was positive she heard wingbeats following her.
She landed on ground that was lush and full. The green grass was soft and long, and gorgeous brightly colored flowers were sprouting between the blades of grass.
Ametrine lay down, looking up at the sky. Fluffy clouds drifted by. The refreshing breeze smelled of flowers. Birds chirped. Trees rustled. It was so perfect that Ametrine could've stayed there forever, watching the sky, listening to the sounds of nature. But suddenly, something crashed in the background, like a dragon dropping from the air onto a pile of sticks. Ametrine turned around to see a dragon watching her. The dragon was female, and Ametrine realized that the dragon was a JewelWing.
The unfamiliar dragon had scales that were a pretty shimmering shade of silver, and so when the sunlight hit them at different angles they looked almost black. Her eyes were a dark, dark grey, like a polished stone, and she wore a necklace of black gemstones. Ametrine timidly said, “He...hello?” She hadn’t meant for it to come out like a question.
“Hello, Ametrine.” The JewelWing said. How did she know my name? Ametrine thought. The female dragon’s voice sent something like ice up Ametrine’s spine. She recognized it, but in a way that was cloudy and foggy, like she knew it but couldn't remember where from.
“Who are you?” Ametrine asked.
“I’m Obsidian, dear dragonet.” Ametrine’s mouth went dry.
“Oh.” Ametrine’s vision went a little blurry. Her head hurt.
“My dear Ametrine, you have a beautiful voice.” Obsidian purred. Ametrine’s eye was twitching. Her skull felt like it was vibrating, and all her senses were going haywire. Obsidian's voice made Ametrine feel like tiny needles were stabbing into her eyeballs. “Darling, don’t look so tense!” Ametrine was going crazy. She wanted to scream, and she did not know why. “My darling, there is nothing to be worried about!” Obsidian said. She looked fakely shocked and innocent. Ametrine could not stand to hear this voice. Something about it made her want to shake someone so hard their teeth fell out. Obsidian looked concerned, but mockingly concerned. “Is something the matter, dear?” Ametrine’s claws were twitching. She could almost remember this voice, this slippery sweet voice that was shredding her insides to pieces by just hearing it. “My dear, you can't run from everyone. Use your talent. You know you want to.” Ametrine’s head was splitting open, her brain felt like it had turned to mush. This JewelWing… She had something about her… something wrong. And the way her voice was so chillingly awful… something was strange about this dragon. Something… off. And then she knew. This was the voice that spoke to her when she slipped into that dark prison, with invisible walls and visions that haunted her every night. This icy voice that could cause Ametrine to her claw her own eyes out. “Sing, dear.” Obsidian purred. And then, a little thread of something wound into Ametrine’s brain, clearing away the thoughts that were screaming at her not to, and replaced them with a single command: Do it. And so she did.
She sang, like she always did, with the weaving, dancing ribbons of music twirling over her head, spiking and surrounding her with beautiful, unimaginable perfection. Ametrine sang, anticipating the moment when the ametrines would come and dance too, sparkling and echoing song. But they never came. She kept singing, but they never came. Angry and upset, she lost focus for a second. That was when the dark thread poked itself into her voice. Normally Ametrine would have shoved it aside. But with Obsidian messing with her head, she did something totally unreasonable. Amerine did not try to stop it. Why should she?
Ametrine let it twirl through the air with her other music notes. Something then broke the singing. It was Obsidian, cackling at her. Ametrine was frozen in horror. The silver dragon was growing, her sales were rippling, sliding off, until her body fell to the ground, and a new dragon stood up from the spot where it had fallen. The dragon was a different female JewelWing, who was almost impossibly beautiful. She had black scales that were accented with shimmering silver sparkles, which gave the effect of diamonds dripping down her scales. She had silver eyes, with a black shine to them which gave the illusion of rainbow colors flashing in her eyes. The JewelWing had this aura around her, like ice dripping with poison. Ametrine gasped and stumbled backward. Obsidian looked at Ametrine and said, “Thank you.” before Obsidian disappeared, leaving only a fading cackle and small particles of ash.
Ametrine spent the next four days in the same spot, thinking like mad. She had paced around one area so much that her talonsteps had made a ring of trampled ground imprinted into the grass. Every time she thought about what she had done, she started hyperventilating and had to sit down. She was all alone, with only her guilt for company. Ametrine sighed and flopped down onto the ground. An inchworm burrowed past her nose, but she was too exhausted to eat it. She had not slept since her encounter with Obsidian. Ametrine desperately wanted to find someone and tell them, to get help, to do something, but every time, something held her back. Ametrine got up and walked over to the worn-down ring of dirt and continued her pacing. What else was she to do? Fly away? But where would she go? No, she had to do something, but she didn't know what. “Arg!” Ametrine shouted, sending birds flying out of the trees. She angrily stomped her talons, sending dirt flying up into the air. She had released someone very dangerous and probably very evil, but she couldn't tell anyone, couldn't do anything, couldn't even begin to try!
It made Ametrine’s head hurt to know that she had made such a mistake and not be able to fix it. The JewelWing made her way over to a large fruit tree growing nearby and leaned against it, letting her wings droop at her sides. Her scales faded from their normal orange and purple to a rainy blue-grey. She just wanted some company, some help, just someone to talk to. It was depressing how she was completely alone. Not that she wasn’t used to it, but she still could not help wanting a friend to keep her company. Ametrine sighed for about the millionth time that day and lay down on the dusty ground. That was when it happened.
“Pst! Hey! You!” Said a voice that Ametrine did not recognize. She jumped and turned to see a female RainWing standing there. She had emerald green eyes and extremely sharp talons. A single vine was around her neck, and a carved wooden snake was round around part of the vine. The RainWing’s scales were a dark green with shimmery golden flecks swimming in the dark color. She looked aloof and curious at the same time. Ametrine timidly said,
“He...hello?” Again, the greeting sounded like a question. Ametrine needed to work on that.
“Hi.” The RainWing said. Something in her voice made Ametrine feel like this RainWing was different from most. Ametrine could not figure out why, but it was just… Something. “I’m Anaconda.” She said, “And I have some information that might help you out.”
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