The cool night wind whispers through the trees. Waking to the breeze, you find yourself lying on a dense forest path of pine needles. You stand and look around. Nearby you see a sign nearly covered in wiry vines: "Tread lightly traveler; he is protective of his realm."
You note the odd sign and walk cautiously down the dark road. Soon you hear a rustling in the scrub leaves on your left. You catch a glimpse of something glittering. You lean closer. The brush leans away as you reach your hand out to touch the strange plant.
You freeze as a large shadow falls over you and turn around to notice a large crimson figure blocking your way. His head was lowered to your eye level as he glared into your eyes menacingly.
"Who are you and what are you doing to Rebel?" he questions in a deep, rolling growl. He sidesteps closer to the bush placing a fierce barrier between you and it. You can see his brain working through his defensiveness as he peers into your eyes, clearly unimpressed by what he sees, and visibly relaxes when he gets through the thought process of 'visitor'. He quietly rumbles, "Forgive me for being rude. May I ask who you are?"
His eyes remain tracking your every move as he slides toward the now still bush. A shadow slips from the bush and eyes you curiously. The only thing that tells you it's not part of the night is the shining chain around its neck and the spikes along its tail and hind leg. You notice that it too has gold eyes as it whispers, "Hello," in a muted, melodic voice. Stunned, you stammer a greeting...
The first's rich voice wakes you from your daze, "I'm Wildfire." As you turn your head to face him, a flicker at his hooves catches your eyes; his feathers move and dance around like living flames. He notices your gaze and tilts his hooves for the full effect.
A curious soft nose on the back of your neck breaks you from your mesmerized stare at Wildfire's hooves. Turning you are greeted again by the mischievous Rebel, this time mere inches from you. You recover your senses enough to make a proper greeting, introducing yourself to your two new acquaintances.
You follow Wildfire as he meanders down the path, his hooves making soft thumps on the needles. The night feels eerie around you, no noise from the forest at all. You catch Rebel bringing up the rear by following the soft glow from the chain making no sound, like a true shadow in the dark. Rebel sidles forward until he's walking by your side, you lay a hand on his fuzzy shoulder and feel the taught muscles working underneath. Wildfire starts down the path again keeping an eye on the both of you.
The path feels never-ending in the dark until you notice a sandy bank leading slightly down to a small, slow river joined the walk. The water shines in the weak moonlight reminding you of the stars in the ink black sky above though veiled by wispy clouds tonight. The water's surface is broken by a blue serian standing in the shallows, face turned up to the sky, breathing deeply and peacefully.
Rebel stalks out to the serian, nearly silent over the soft sand. Right before he reached the blue serian, he sprang at Rebel with a large splash and ran from the returning wave caused by Rebel's reptilian tail whipping the water. The two raced along the shore, onto the path in front of Wildfire, and came barreling toward you. You flinched and covered your face though no impact came. You peek through your fingers to find a blue nose almost touching you with a big silly grin. He arched his neck and pranced to the side with the grin seeming to grow. Rebel had stopped long before him and slowly approached with a little grin of his own. He takes his place behind you again and bumps your shoulder with his nose in jest. Wildfire's face was turned down in a disapproving frown as he snorted.
"I gotcha didn't I?" His silver eyes sparkled as he edged closer to you and snuffled your pockets. "Got any candy?" "Stop being rude, Sprite." "But I'm being friendly! You always try to make Vex and Danger be friendly…" Sprite huffed and wandered back to the edge of the path. "And stop sulking. You can come with us." Sprite perked instantly and danced back toward you. "But no candy even if there is any." He deflated again but didn't leave. You chuckle and Sprite nuzzles your hand until you end up scratching behind his ears before you start walking again.
Before long, you smell hot sand on the breeze from the west behind the bushes. Your gaze lands on a ghostly, rippling flame drawing closer. You hear the sagebrush rustling as the flame passes around them and pauses at the edge of the path. You can barely make out the black shape of the serian in front of you save for the flame's markings and the barely shining spines that coat its spine and tail. Sprite pranced up to him and smiled. The new serian snorted a small flame that lit up his face and the skeletal wings he held in the air behind him. "What are you looking at?" He snarled at you. His perma-scowl seemed to make Sprite smile all the harder as he bumped its should with his own, "Danger, be nice. This is our guest!" Sprite giggled and whispered, "And there may or may not be any candy involved…"
Danger turned his glare toward Sprite and harrumphed with a breath of fire but joined the group on the path. His wings folded neatly along his back as the entourage started walking again. You caught him watching you as Sprite chattered on about whatever happened to cross his scattered mind.
Somewhat too soon you come to a lone old-style street lamp, alone in the middle of a clearing at the end of the path. You look further up the clearing and see a portal a few feet away. As you come up beside Wildfire, you turn back to Rebel and smile. He noses your shoulder and you wrap his velvety muzzle in a hug. Taking a step back, you turn to Wildfire as he leans forward and whispers in his deep rumble, "I see that our shy Rebel has really taken to you." His eyes seem to crackle with a brilliant smile, "You should visit again. He doesn't really befriend many people..." You simply nod. His fierce gaze stops you from making any assurances. Danger stood next to Sprite and looked at everything but you. Sprite scuffs the ground like a scolded child, still watching you through the corner of his eye in case you change your mind on the candy. Waving, you step through the blinding, humming portal.