Against the blinding glow of an early sunrise, a young dragon stretched her ivory wings. She had not yet mastered the art of flying, but she yearned for the sky. Her claws lay on the ground of A'ris, her homeland, a land she had remained at since her hatching. A'ris was home to all manner of winged creatures, from small song sparrows to mighty griffins. It was a sanctuary in the sky where creatures of flight could raise their young in peace, a place high up above the reaches of the ground dwellers.
Mimus?" came a call from the sky above.
Mother.." the young dragon replied, her eyes fixated on the sky, "when will I be able to fly?"
Now Mimus, you know I can't tell you that. Every dragon is different! You'll be able to fly when you are ready."
But I am ready! I've been ready Mother! The birds, they can fly when they are only a few weeks old. I'm already a yearling and I can't fly." She said, eyes now too the ground.
Mimus knew perfectly well that she wasn't a bird, and she knew that dragons usually took much longer to learn how to fly, but still too she was enamored at their abilities.
A'ris existed as a sanctuary to flighted creatures, but it wasn't a haven of equality. It was a hierarchical society, in which dragons held the top tier, and birds help the bottom. Most dragons didn't think twice of a birds abilities as compared to their own. They saw their own size and strength as superior, and most had minimal interaction with birds. The species coexisted in a state of peaceful indifference to one another.
Mimus on the other hand had always felt connected to her tiny feathered counterparts. She saw their beauty and their ski_ll. It wasn't uncommon for Mimus to steal away from her family to watch the birds go by. She had never been bold or foolish enough to speak with one, for doing so would subject both her and her family to scrutiny. One day though, this all would change, and so to would the coarse of Mimus's future
The day began like many before it had, Mimus rose early with the sun. She trotted out of her family's treetop dwelling, making sure to quiet her stride as she passed her parents' room. She was supposed to wait until the sun had reached a high point in the sky before heading off, but this was the morning after hunting day and Mimus knew her parents would be fast asleep for another few hours. Mimus's father was a sk_illed crafstman, and their home was large and masterfully crafted. It curved and fit perfectly around the large branches of sky tree with which it was built upon.
The trees of A'ris were different than the trees found on the ground dwellers lands. Sky trees derived their nutrients and moisture from the air and the rain soaked clouds. They were passed down from generation to generation of dragon families, for the real value of a home in A'ris lie not in its walls but the trees with which it was built upon. Often, the oldest and tallest of trees were home to many generations of dragons, with each new family building on top of the home below it. As the dragon family grew, so too did the tree. Mimus's family had one of the finest trees in A'ris. It was located at a high point on the cloud, and from its branches one could see clear across their entire town. It wasn't by coincidence that her family had this strategically placed tree. Mimus's grandmother Decius was the leader of their town. A'ris itself was too vast to be run by only one leader, so leaders instead were responsible for towns which encompassed a few cloud clusters. The position was more ceremonial than functional. The dragons lived peacefully not for fear of retribution, but out of respect for one another and the honor of their species. This mentality was instilled upon dragons from birth, and as such it was rare to have any kind of devious behavior.
Mimus had been taught this same code of honor, but she didn't follow it as strictly as some of the other young dragons did, as evident by her sneaking out of her home at the cra_ck of dawn. She continued down the winding staircase that led to the tree's base and when she was near twenty feet from the bottom of the stairs, she lept up onto the railing as she did every morning. Back legs flexed and ready to leap, she spread her wings, pushed off the rail, and flapped madly. Crashing tword the ground, she tucked in her wings slightly and began to glide the last few feet of the descent, landing with a thud on the ground. "Tomorrow for sure," she thought to herself, longing of the day she'd fly.