"What if I choose [[wrong]]?"
But the beast stabs out with claws or a sword, and you have no scales to [[protect|fight fire]] you.
You have never seen someone else with your scales or your wings or your fire. \n\nThe people inside the castle carry [[swords and shields]] or quick blades and [[stamping shoes]].
There is [[one person]] who is [[different]].
The next morning, Marius is not in his study. You read the heroic stories in the books, of creatures who won with only their [[scales|testing]], only their [[wings|testing]], only their [[fire|testing]].
You spend days and nights studying the [[old books]]. Or lying in complete stillness, struggling to hear the voice inside you that [[already knows]].
Behind the heavy oak door, you do not find the wild outdoors you had been expecting. Or the starry [[sky]].
The door slams [[shut]] behind you.
And, when the beast corners you, no wings to escape with. \n[[_]]
"Promise me you'll do whatever it takes," he [[says|cruel]].
You do not flinch as he pours the potion that will [[quench|Silence]] your fire.
You do not flinch as he pours the potion that will [[quench|Silence]] your fire.
Just a small room like any other and the beast a robed figure crouching in the [[corner]].
One day you would have to fight the beast that lies just outside the heavy oak door. \nNo one else [[could do it]].
You have never seen the beast. You know the world outside only from the window slit into [[stone walls]]. The distant hill's constant blue dark. The wingless people without scales or [[armour]].
Dragon Child
When the beast knocks at the door, you are [[ready|battle]].
This very morning, a new dragon child was [[born|Dragon Child2]]. You think you glimpse its small red-golden body \nbeing carried in the castle doors. \n<<if $scalesseen eq true>><<if $fireseen eq true>><<if $wingsseen eq true>>([[End]])<<endif>><<endif>><<endif>>
You pretend to yourself you don't know what will [[happen]] there
He gives you clothes to wrap around your [[raw new body|outside]].
Marcus says, the ferocity of the pain that you feel now will be what makes your [[powers grow|powers grow scales]]. \n\n<<set $choice="scales">>\n<<set $scalesseen=true>>
Marius heard your childish sobs. "They act that way because they're [[scared]]," he said.
Your learn to love the scales that keep you warm in winter and shimmer [[gold and red]].
It was like running in dreams where your body just won't move right or fast enough. You found a door you'd not seen before and [[hid]] behind it.
The beast has always been [[there|window]].
Marius says, the ferocity of the pain that you feel now will be what makes your [[powers grow|powers grow wings]]. \n\n<<set $choice="wings">>\n<<set $wingsseen=true>>
<<if $choice eq "fire">> You wake without fire. <<endif>><<if $choice eq "scales">> You wake without scales. <<endif>><<if $choice eq "wings">> You wake without wings. <<endif>>\n\n[[Marius]] is [[watching]].
Your whole life is just a preparation for [[this]].
You [[smile]] at the thought of your fire, your scales, your wings.
Marius lends you books. Tells you that you are [[strong]].
<<if $choice eq "scales">> You test the strength of your scales with a knife. Marius was right. They are [[strong|monster knocks]].<<endif>><<if $choice eq "wings">>You test the strength of your wings by flying up and down the corridor. Marius was right. They are [[strong|monster knocks]].<<endif>><<if $choice eq "fire">> You test the strength of your fire against some sticks. Marius was right. The fire blazes [[strong|monster knocks]].<<endif>>
This is how it goes.\n\nThere is a [[beast]] with sharp claws just outside the [[heavy oak door]]
But you have no fire to [[fight|fight wings]] with.
You learn not to fear the fire that you breathe, to love its strength as it floods each room with [[light]].
[[Scales|Scales choice]]\n[[Wings|Wings choice]]\n[[Fire|Fire choice]]
@@color:black; \ni've been looking through my old diaries recently. tracing the story behind every word. \nfive years ago he said: you must be tested by fire and it's nothing if it doesn't hurt. \nfive years ago i wrote: i am nothing yet but i can see what i could be, what he could make me. \n\ni suppose it could end [[like this]]. \n@@
And, when the beast stabs you with claws or a sword, no scales to protect you.\n[[_]]
Marius stands by a table covered in instruments. \n\n"You can only keep one," he says. "[[Think carefully]]. The right choice could free us all."
Every movement [[chafes|comfort]].
You do not flinch as he raises the blade to [[cut|Silence]] your scales off.
You do not flinch as he lifts the blade to [[slice]] at your wings.
He leads you outside to live with the wingless, scaleless, fireless people. On the way, he tells you that there is still hope, always [[hope]].
You practice flying in the hallways, feel the air [[against your wings]]
<<if $choice eq "scales">> The beast turns and comes for your skin. You fight with all you have. Your scales are the [[toughest]] they have ever seen. <<endif>><<if $choice eq "wings">>The beast turns and comes for your wings. You fight with all you have. Your wings are the [[strongest]] they have ever seen and lift you up.<<endif>><<if $choice eq "fire">> The beast turns and comes for your fire. You fight with all you have. Your fire is the [[fiercest]] they have ever felt and they stumble back.<<endif>>
The strongest person he's [[ever seen]].
Your body feels [[different|odd]] afterwards.
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You are so strong, he [[says]].
In the morning a crumbling blue book is propped against your door, detailing the choice you [[must make]].
and [[into the dark]].
They laughed at you. You [[rarely leave|sage]] your room now.
They surrounded you and [[stabbed]] at your scales and wings.
You avoid his [[eyes|outside]].
contains references to violence, abuse\n\n[[back|Dragon Child]]
[[Dragon Child]]\n\n<<set $scalesseen=false>>\n<<set $wingsseen=false>>\n<<set $fireseen=false>>
You remember another room once, full of shining objects and light and laughter. You woke in the night and [[stumbled|swords and shields]] in there.
@@color:black; Some days I can't stop [[playing]] each possibility over and over in my head.@@
[[Begin|born]]\n\n([[content notes]])
@@color:black; \ni'm not sure how i feel about writing something with no possibility for [[escape]]. \n@@
You do not flinch as he [[lifts|lifts scales]] the blade to slice at your wings.
Heroic tales of winged creatures, of fire-breathing creatures, of scaled creatures. Words and stories blur into each other. You dream of chimeras and creatures [[without heads|nothing]].
The people told you your body is ugly. That you must stay [[out of sight|sage]].
He leads you along a grey [[corridor]]
You do not flinch as he raises the blade to [[cut]] your scales off.
You hear a voice you barely recogonise as your own cry out.\n\nNot this [[last thing]].
Marius says, the ferocity of the pain that you feel now will be what makes your [[powers grow|powers grow fire]]. \n\n<<set $choice="fire">>\n<<set $fireseen=true>>
"Strong enough to understand the [[choice|not be here]] you'll have to make," he says.
"Good," he says. [["I believe in you."|coldness]]
You do not hate your [[body]] any more.
i have a body without scales or fire or wings and they never will grow back but i see colours now in a different way and sometimes in the evenings we sit around in a circle and sing and sometimes i sit silent and alone.
You hear [[nothing]].
Those are the [[good days]].
You would think his voice hard and cruel if you did not know him.\n\n[[-You hesitate.|hesitate]] \n[[-"Yes, of course."|of course]]
You were so young when he [[told you]]
When it corners you, you have no wings to escape with. \n[[_]]
"I thought you were different," he says.\nHe [[turns away|coldness]] from you.
Marius. \nHe does not carry a shield or a sword or a quick blade. He lives in a dusty old room full of [[books|scared]].
<<if $choice eq "scales">> Your scales do not feel any stronger. But their familiar red-gold shimmer soothes you to [[sleep]].<<endif>><<if $choice eq "wings">>Your wings do not feel any stronger. But the comfort in the heft of them against your body soothes you to [[sleep]]. <<endif>><<if $choice eq "fire">> Your fire does not feel any stronger. But you light a candle with your breath and its flame soothes you to [[sleep]].<<endif>>
That night you feel a coldness that no fire could [[shift]].
down a stony [[spiral staircase]]
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But you have no fire to [[fight|fight scales]] with.
How it curls and scratches in the [[dark|window]].
"You know the answer," Marius says. "Deep inside of you. Listen and you'll hear it. Tell me what you hear.\n\n[[Fire, wings, or scales?"|questions]]
One evening there's a knock at your door. \n\n"I have seen the beast readying the way." Marius says. [["It's time."|time]]
One afternoon you were exploring the corridors when you heard [[footsteps]] behind and in front of you.
Then, in the deepest point of winter, Marius [[calls you into his chamber.|calls you]]
"One day soon the beast will knock at the door, and I will not be here to [[help you]]"
Before you go you breathe fire one last time you look down at your scales shimmering gold-red one last time and you silently stretch out your [[wings|Choice 1]].
[[Replay from start|born]]\n[[Replay for clues|questions]]