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It walked up to him calmly, only shaking slightly.

Its tail was thumping against the hard earth of his territory, feathers groomed carefully free of blood and the like. There was fresh and dried blood on its face, coming from its forehead and dribbling down into it half-closed eye. It groomed its face carefully and he peered closer at the injury - luckily, its eye didn't appear to be injured.

Darktooth slowly sighed in relief. Well, he supposed he knew what the little draak-kin wanted. A bundle of healing herbs for a few shiny things, right? He wasn't sure if it had gotten this badly hurt before - it was shaking a bit too. He looked into its one wide open eye that gleamed wetly. Something was off, but Darktooth would wait for it to speak. Singing a song, he asked what it was here for.

The young draak-kin, surprisingly, sung instead, "O Great One, do you wish to trade?"

Darktooth stilled. For all his wisdom, he was surprised. But no matter, sometimes a young kin must bare its wounds proudly.

"What does the young kin wish to offer?" he sung back, the tip of his tail twitching. He decided on a whim to humor the little thing.

A kin so young wouldn't be likely the Great Darktooth would deem worthy, but it would take a look.

The draak-kin seemed to puff out its chest at the question. It was apparently proud of what it wanted to trade him. Hacking and coughing, it spat out something long, then something round.

They were slightly stained red, but they were delicately clean free of any flesh. Very carefully, he noted as he examined them with narrowed eyes. There was only one way it could have gotten its claws on something like this-

Bones, he thought, staring at the skull.

He recognized that skull.

"...A No-Tail skull?" he sung loudly to hide his discomfort - a memory was bubbling to the surface.

The kin dipped its head lowly, seeming thinking it wasn't adiqueite.

Pushing aside his discomfort, he sung, "The young kin has brought me No-Tail bones? My that brings back a strange memory." He announced it so, and the draak-kin lifted its head and started singing in response.

"O Great One, what you mean?" It glanced down at the bones. "What is the story?"

Ah, yes.

This was cautionary tale to this little thing.

The sight of cleaned bones like that...

"Well,"he began, "if you insist." 

He thumped his tail.

The young Emerald Clan draak-kin nodded and sat down on a nearby patch of grass. It dragged the leg bone with it and rolled the skull, broken and cleaned of the insides, with it. Slowly cleaning its wounds - sharp and clean wounds - it kept its eyes on the elder.

Darktooth sung.

Sung of the No-Tails and draak-kin and war.

He sung of Emerald Flame - this one's mother - began singing of her life.

How she first met the No-Tails.

"No-Tails killed her," it interjected venomously, eyes narrowing. "I want them to BURN."

The word hit his mind like a bullet of fire. Then he winced. He didn't subscribe to Many-Times-Burned's way of thinking.

The word was hot - it did burn.

Darktooth nodded. "But did you know that she liked No-Tails?"

For a moment, it didn't reply.

"That's... stupid..." There was less fire. Hesitation and confusion.

"Ah, you misunderstood me - not that way."

It tilted its head.

"You killed and ate that one, didn't you? What did you think about it?"

It furrowed its brows at that question and thought about it. It glanced down at the No-Tail's bones and groomed its face a bit as it did.

"It was prey," it stated. That was correct, following the laws of the draak-kin. "It tasted a bit good. I might try it again - O Great One, do you know where their hives are?" Then it hacked up ten shiny things to barter with. It meant it - he could see it in their eyes.

A memory of a kin with emerald scales and feathers like a flame floated up.

"Young kin, do not try to Dance with a No-Tail hive,"  he warned, narrowing his eyes.

"Why? They tasted good."

Darktooth sighed. "No-Tails are dangerous. Especially to a young kin."

It was silent.

"May I leave your presence, O Great One?"

He dismissed it.


...It was heading down a dangerous path.