A/N Hi everyone! Welcome to my latest attempt at a Wings of Fire fanfiction!

Disclaimer: I have used small portions of Moon Rising in this chapter, but I don't own Wings of Fire. Tui T. Sutherland does.

Prologue: Refuge

Mirage walked slowly across the sand, knowing that if she didn't reach the Scorpion Den soon, all would be lost for her. And, more importantly, all would be lost for her egg.

She touched the leather pouch that hung around her neck, making sure that her egg was safe. Then she took a deep breath, and continued walking.

The sun beat down hotly, burning Mirage's unusually pale scales. Her mouth felt incredibly dry. Each step seemed to take up all her energy, and the wound in her side was still bleeding.

I'm probably not going to survive this.

Mirage swallowed hard. She'd known, when she'd run away from the army, that she probably wasn't going to survive. But she'd done it anyway. She'd risked everything for this egg.

And it'll be worth it, in the end. I just have to make it to the Scorpion Den.

Nearly two hours later, Mirage caught a glimpse of a large town, and, a little beyond the town, she saw the glimmer of blue water.

The thought of drinking something gave her strength, and she spread her wings and launched herself into the air. One short flight later, she landed in front of the pool of water and dunked her head into it, greedily drinking the fresh, clear water.

When she was finally done drinking, she attempted to take a deep breath, only to nearly cry out as the wound her side flared with pain. She coughed weakly, and something black dribbled out of her mouth.

That's not good.

"Hey!" yelled a voice. "Who are you?"

Mirage turned and saw a large SandWing walking toward her. She swallowed hard.

"My name is Mirage," she managed to say before breaking off in a fit of coughing again.

"You're hurt," said the SandWing.

No, really? Mirage thought, but she didn't have the energy to say it out loud.

Then she coughed again, and her knees buckled as darkness swallowed her.

When Mirage came to, she was lying in a white tent on a pile of cushions, with a bandage wrapped around her wound. She felt a momentary flash of panic as she realized her pouch was gone, but then she noticed that the pouch was sitting on a cushion near her.

"Ah, you're awake," said a voice. Mirage looked up and saw an elderly SandWing, smiling down at her. "My name is Caracal."

"I'm Mirage," Mirage said. "Where am I?"

"In the healer's tent," Caracal said.

"I'm dying, aren't I?" Mirage asked.

Caracal winced. "Yes."

"Well, that figures," Mirage said. "You didn't drop my pouch, though, did you?"

"No," Caracal said, looking confused.

Mirage breathed a sigh of relief and pulled the pouch close to her.

It'll happen tonight.

"How long have I got?" Mirage asked.

"I'm not sure," Caracal said. "But probably at least until tonight."

"Oh," Mirage said, hiding her happiness. "Can you leave me alone?"

"All right," Caracal said, still looking very sad.

Once the older SandWing was gone, Mirage tore open her pouch. She smiled widely, more widely than she had in days, at the sight of her beautiful, golden egg.

She carefully inspected every inch of the egg, and, once she was satisfied that it was all right, she tucked it back inside her pouch.

Then she fell back asleep, still holding the pouch.

Mirage awoke several hours later and felt a strange, powerful ache in her bones. She also felt very weak and tired, but that wasn't as important as this ache.

It's hatching! she suddenly realized.

A second later, she realized that she was no longer holding her pouch.

Where did it go?

She was on her feet within seconds, ignoring how weak she felt. She lifted up all the cushions, looked under the table, and even looked under the rug, and then there was nowhere left to look, nowhere -

There it was.

Relief flooded through Mirage as she spotted her pouch, lying against the side of the tent. She walked over to it, scooped it up, and then collapsed back onto the cushions.

She pulled the egg out of the pouch and then tossed the pouch aside, after all, she wouldn't need it anymore. She felt a rush of nervousness. Everything she had done, everything, had been leading up this moment.

And now that it was here, well...she wasn't quite sure what to do.

She'd never seen a hatching before. Her parents had packed her off into Blaze's army the moment she turned seven, and she had no siblings, so she hadn't had much opportunity to see a hatching.

So Mirage had no idea what to do.

She placed the egg carefully on a cushion, and waited.

Several minutes passed, and then a single, starburst-shaped crack appeared on the surface of the smooth golden shell. And then another crack appeared. And another, and another, until there were five.

The light from the setting sun poured through the translucent, white material of the tent, making the egg glow.

I always did want her to hatch at sunset.

Mirage stopped breathing for a second. Her heart seemed to be twisting itself into a knot.

Her. Suddenly she just knew. She was certain. It would be female.

The egg rocked suddenly, and a long crack splintered across the top of it.

Mirage sat up with a groan, feeling light-headed. She shook her head to clear it, crouched, and gently wrapped her talons around the eggshell.

The shell instantly splintered into a thousand pieces, showering the ground with glittering, golden shards.

Sitting in between Mirage's claws, blinking, was a tiny golden dragonet.

"Oh!" Mirage gasped, trying not to fall over.

The dragonet looked up, up, up at her mother's head and wings towering over her. She squeaked once, softly, and then stood up and shook herself, unfurling her own small wings.

Mirage felt a sob start to build in her throat as she stared at her dragonet. She definitely did not look like a normal SandWing. She was very small, her scales were bright gold, and her eyes were clear, bright blue, but to Mirage she was perfect, perfect in every way.

She wished she could share this moment with the dragonet's father, but he was dead. Mirage swallowed back another sob as she realized he would never learn he had a daughter.

Taking a deep breath, Mirage picked her dragonet up, feeling large and unwieldy with something so small and delicate. She cuddled her close to her chest, still holding back tears.

"I-I'm your mother, little one," she whispered. "I'm going to call you Fennec, because you're so tiny." Mirage gave a sort of hiccuping laugh. "The dragons here at the Scorpion Den will take care of you once I'm...gone."

Fennec squeaked again and leaned into her mother's warmth.

Black spots swam in front of Mirage's eyes, and she knew she didn't have much time. She carefully set her dragonet down and reached into her pouch again. She pulled out a piece of parchment and a bottle of ink, dipped her talons into the ink, and wrote a note.

Her name is Fennec. Please take care of her.


Then she tucked the note back inside the pouch and then she hid both Fennec and the pouch underneath some of the cushions.

Later, when Caracal back into the healer's tent, she found Mirage, curled up not far away from the cushions, dead.

She called some of the guards to come and get the body, and then she left.

Several moments passed.

"Awrk?" said a small voice from underneath the cushions.

Nobody answered her.

"Awrk?" she said again, softly.

Less than an hour old, and already she was alone, with no company except the large pouch her mother had left her.

"Awrk?" Fennec tried again.

The sound of wind blowing outside. The splashing noise of dragons drinking from the oasis.

A long pause. And then, barely a whisper:


Two hours later, Caracal returned to her tent to clean up a bit, and she found a tiny, golden dragonet curled up underneath the cushions, sound asleep.

She shrieked and ran to go get help.

The only other dragon in the healer's camp was a young-ish SandWing named Jackal, so she dragged him over to her tent and showed him the sleeping dragonet.

"What do we do?" Caracal whispered.

"Where's her mother?" Jackal asked.

"I don't..wait," Caracal said, picking up the pouch. "This belonged to a badly wounded dragon who was in here a little while ago."

Caracal looked through the pouch and found the note.

"Three moons," Jackal whispered after he read the note.

"What do we do with her?" Caracal asked.

"I'll take her," Jackal said.

"You?" Caracal asked.

"Why not?" Jackal said. "Someone has to."

"That's true," Caracal said. "But someone also has to tell Thorn about this."

"You do that," Jackal said, picking up Fennec, who was still sound asleep. "I'm going to take her home."

"All right," Caracal said. "But I hope you know what you're doing."

"Don't worry," Jackal said. "My wife and I have been wanting a dragonet for forever. We'll be fine."

A/N I hope you liked it, and please review!