Note: this is a sequel to Innocents set when Inferno is in his teens, much has changed for him over the course of several years - yet some things remain the same: most of the characters involved in this story will of appeared in Innocents, though some new faces will appear..
The scene opens to a young pegacorn, perhaps 12 or so years in age, in a woodland clearing challenging a monstrous dragon, the creature's eyes narrowing as it charged at him - only for the pegacorn to leap in the air and avoid the dragon, landing on the ground nearby.
The dragon swings its powerful tail around, only for the boy to grab the tail and tug on it - the dragon's eyes going wide for a moment before it span around, jaws snapping at the pegacorn as it lifted one of its forepaws and flexed sharp talons.
The dragon proceeded to bring its forepaw down on the boy, who wiggled a little as he laughed: the dragon breaking into a smile as it simply held him in place:
"..okay! okay! you win! let me up already" the boy said, batting at the dragon's forepaw.
<<..you're learning, I'll give you that..>> the dragon responds, releasing the boy - who proceeds to sit up in the grass, dusting himself off.
"oh man.. you've messed my suit up!" the boy complains, trying to remove dirt stains from his white robes - which bear the symbol of Avalon royalty.
<<well in that case..>> the dragon smirks, leaning over and licking at the boy playfully - causing him to fall over onto his back as he bats at the tongue, the dragon soon stopping as it watches.
"..eww! quit it!" the boy exclaims, his wings spreading out as if trying to shield himself.
The dragon smiles a little more then slowly wraps its tail around the boy, lifting him into a sitting position as the smile fades - the dragon's eyes becoming sad as it speaks in a more serious tone:
<<..Inferno, listen to me.. no matter what happens.. remember that I love you.. truth be told you are like a son to me.. I will always be here.. remember..>> the dragon extends a single talon and strokes over the boy's hair, the pegacorn staring and seeming a little confused.
"..Kaosa? what's wrong?" he begins - only to blink a little as that talon lightly taps his mouth in a hushing gesture.
<<..nothing is wrong, Inferno.. I just need you to remember what I say.. okay?>> Kaosa replies.
Inferno still seems confused as he nods a little "..okay, I promise.."
<<good.. now, where were we?>> Kaosa says, her smile suddenly returning as her tail suddenly lifts the young pegacorn in the air - he begins to wiggle and laugh once again as the two resume their play..
Four years later Inferno stood at the side of a grave covered in wildflowers, a large crowd of mourners gathering around a few feet away - he knelt down by the grave and bowed his head: only to feel the hand of an older pegacorn land on his shoulder, looking up he was greeted to the sight of none other than the High-Priest Oberon himself:
"Titania was a good Queen, yet I fear her heart was broken after the death of your father.. Equinox was a hero to Avalon.. to her he was so much more.. I only hope you can understand.. they are with the Watchers now.. in a world without pain..".
Inferno frowned as he stood up, forcibly removing Oberon's grip - the crowds observed this and whispered amongst themselves.
"save your comfort for someone else, old man - I'm done with that.." Inferno states, walking away - the crowds parting around him: the people having learnt to keep their distance from the prince, the days of chasing and tormenting the "foundling" had long passed as the citizens of Avalon began to feel fear as the dark figure made his way back to the royal castle.
Leaping down from the surrounding trees is a familiar golden-scaled dragon, landing silently and gracefully like a cat. He morphs into a more humanoid figue with golden wings which he folds on his back.
"Forgive the intrusion, Prince Inferno, but I hope you won't mind if I walk with you some of the way."
Inferno doesn't even afford the new figure a glance as he continues on his way to the castle, "..do what you will.." he replies, as he moves along the streets the citizens observe him - a few mothers can be seen taking their children indoors and closing their doors quickly behind themselves.
As Inferno continues heading down the street a young pegacorn female suddenly steps forth from the crowds, standing right in front of the approaching prince - she is about sixteen years of age and fairly attractive, though she is dressed in rags: "..Inferno? is that you?".
Inferno stops and looks at the girl for a few moments before he reaches over, taking her shoulder in one hand, he proceeds to shove her aside as he continues towards the castle - "..go back to your family, girl - I'm not in the mood for idle chatter..".
"...He seems to be in a foul mood." Seren said quietly to the girl, whom he recognized as Maria.
Inferno continues towards the castle when suddenly his path is blocked by another youth with glowing skin and armor, the youth taller than Inferno yet seeming to recognize him as he leaps at him, pinning Inferno down on the ground as he growls "..how does it feel, Pendragon!? having everything you loved taken from you just like I did!".
Inferno growls in turn and tosses the figure aside, much to the surprise of said figure - "..who are you?!" he snarls.
The glowing youth looks ready to leap again as he yells out "..don't say you've forgotten me already.. I'm Thor - the son of the family your father slaughtered all those years ago.. while you went back to your castle I was forced into the wilderness.. if it wasn't for the kindness of Credne I'd of been dead!".
"Credne?" Seren asks. "Credne was a fool who cared for nothing but his own gain."
Thor turns to Seren and spits, "..you are the fool, siding with a Pendragon - they will betray you like they do all others.. Credne has plans for you, half-breed!" - he turns back to Inferno.
"Oh, how nice.. a Valkyrie using the term "half-breed".. you like fancy words? then here is one I'm sure you'll know quite well.. flat-blood.." Inferno retorted.
Thor suddenly went deadly silent at this and a few figures in the crowd muttered and chattered amongst themselves, guards finally arriving on the scene as they parted the crowds and moved between the Valkyrie and Inferno.
Maria looks to Inferno and frowns, yet her eyes show sadness - "..Inferno.. you shame yourself.." she says, stepping back as she spreads her wings slightly.
Inferno looks to Maria and frowns right back, "..save your lectures - unless you seek to become the new High-Priest.. as for you, Thor.. go back to your precious Credne and tell him this: the next time he brings one of his lap-dogs into my kingdom I shall have their head delivered to him in a basket..".
Seren regarded Inferno with a strange look before turning away towards Thor.
"One day Pendragon you will watch as your city burns just as mine did.. will you be as proud then?" Thor states as the guards take him away.
Inferno turns and looks at the crowds which have gathered "..does this amuse you? no? then stop staring like a bunch of wild beasts and return to your work.." - with that Inferno heads back to the Royal Palace.
"Darkness festers in his heart," Seren thought to himself. "I am too late..."
Suddenly a young male Pegacorn flies onto the scene, he is probably early teens at best and rather unsteady in flight as he knocks over several people in the crowds as he soars across the street: "..hey! look out! coming through! excuse me! watch your wing!".
Maria frowns after Inferno and turns away, only to be distracted by the other Pegacorn as she rushes over to see what all the rush is about - motioning to Seren "..forget about him.." she whispers, before calling out to the new Pegacorn, "Hey! wait! What's going on? where are you going?".
"Can't stop! have to get going - I'm going to be one of the Royal Guards you know.. some day.. soon.. so I got to prepare myself.. got to go faster.. got to be stronger.. got to fly!" the excited Pegacorn declares as he crashes through several stalls, causing angry merchants to hurl goods at him and curse loudly.
"Crazed child..." Seren mutters after being bumped aside by the Pegacorn.
<<Children are often clueless - you however should have age and wisdom enough not to have returned..>> a dark voice notes and Seren finds an all too familiar slowing of time as a large dragon materializes behind him like a phantom, the area darkening as everything else becomes momentarily like a frozen image.
"Fate chooses our paths, and it has chosen for me to be here," said Seren. "What is it you wish to say to me?"
<<..I am here to warn you to leave this world, I grow tired of your presence - the future is already set.. you will not stand in our way..>> the large dragon states, forming a dark aura around itself as it sits down, smaller dragons of ebony black coloration crawl out of the shadows and climb across the large dragon, who ignores them save for a flick of its tail.