The Beginning Edit
Two lost souls formed in the nothing of the world, their spirits strong and healthy in their incorporeal forms. The Gladekeeper found these souls, taking them from the nothing and placing them into the something. One, she placed into the body of a guardian. Immense in size, tough, and willing to fight for his charge, this Guardian found the other soul. This one in the body of a fae. Small, flighty, and incredibly adept at magic. The pair made a wonderful couple and the Gladekeeper watched over them with fondness, much as she watched over the many other dragons she had brought back from the nothing, putting the lost souls into the bodies of dragons.
The lost souls had become dragons, both parentless and childless in the lush paradise of the Everbloom Gardens. Eko, the fae, and Valentino, the guardian. Together they began a small clan, though it was less out of any sort of intentions than it was a simple gathering of the dragons. As their clan grew, so too did their love. Eko and Valentino had a nest of three beautiful hatchlings, each destined for something great. Growing up in the tiny Mossreach Clan, they would learn to live off the land and prosper. That dream never became a reality. Soon after hatching, the clan was attacked by a massive serthis force. The beastclan members swarmed into the Mossreach territory, taking many dragons with them. Among the dead were Eko and her three children. The fae had been killed while trying to protect her hatchlings, and while Valentino was attempting to keep the serthis from the heart of their home.
With the death of his charge, Valentino unleashed a fury unlike any that had been seen of him before. The overwhelming forces of the serthis attack fell to his claws and teeth, fled from his wrath like rats from a sinking ship. The battle had been won, but the cost was so great the clan was a broken fragment of what it once had been.
Devastated at the loss of his family, Valentino buried them in the clearing beside the clan's main camp. He stayed beside the grave, sleeping beside it each night to protect it from the dangers of weather and any who might attempt to disturb the peace of those entombed. The wait was long, lasting into the weeks as Valentino wasted away. He ate nothing, drank less, and couldn't bring himself to perform any basic function. The loss of Eko, his charge, had thrown him and he was no longer a dragon as he had once been.
It was nearly two months before Valentino would find his savior in the most unlikely of sources. An affable, friendly snapper from the Lightweaver named Pumpkin. The goodhearted Pumpkin couldn't leave Valentino to waste away and immediately set to caring for the sickly guardian. This arrangement was met with little protest as he could hardly move by this point. As Pumpkin tended to the stubborn guardian, she told him tales of the world beyond his little patch of grass. Gradually, he began to see her point in the living thing when she started to frame it as protecting the grave of his charge. After all, Eko was still here in the physical sense, and they had both been lost souls before this. As long as Valentino kept watch over her grave and remembered her, she wouldn't become a lost soul again.
A miracle happened as Valentino took his first shaky steps towards recovery. Tiny yellow flowers began blossoming across the patch where he had buried his family. They spread like a vine, twisting and curling their tendrils of blossoms all along the ground. Taking this as a sign from the Gladekeeper and from Eko, Valentino felt staying alive was indeed the best option. Pumpkin had convinced him, and he would keep this patch of land safe. His sense of worth would never be the same and he would always believe himself to be less of a dragon, however he felt that he had made a good decision.
With Pumpkin at his side, Valentino stepped forward to reestablish his clan and continue life in Eko's memory. As a tribute to her and the flowers she sent him as a reassurance from beyond the thin veil of death, Valentino declared the Mossreach Clan a dead name and instead would refer to the newly forming clan as the EchoFlower Clan. It was a name, and an emblem, that would stick forever no matter how far they went from the Everbloom Gardens. The EchoFlower Clan had been born.
The Exodus Edit
All was well in the newly formed EchoFlower Clan for some time. There were months of peace as they grew their ranks and became self-sufficient once again. To signify her heightened position in the clan, Pumpkin took to wearing the golden flowers as a crown. Through some magic beyond the knowledge of anyone, the flowers refused to die. They stayed lively and vibrant atop her head, seeming to become more fragrant and lush the longer she wore them. The golden flower became a symbol of the EchoFlower Clan, and it wasn't long before they were flying their own crude banners to proclaim their new lives. Warriors and gatherers appeared to assist in the growing clan. There were many strong warriors who came to train members of the clan as fighters and defenders. One of those defenders was Rush, a mirror with a long line of family in the Gladekeeper's realm. Valentino did not take another mate for what seemed like ages. Only when another lost soul dragon came to the clan did Valentino's firm resolve waver. In the face of the feisty young mirror, Valentino let his guard down. As he and the mirror began their courtship, dark forces were gathering in the distance.
It was during this time that the EchoFlower Clan began forging alliances with other clans, most notably the plague-born Boneshard Clan. They sent messengers to and from each clan, helping in the small day-to-day tasks. Some dragons from the EchoFlower Clan moved to the Boneshard Clan, and vice versa. The son of the Boneshard Clan's leader was sent to live in the Everbloom Gardens with them, as an attempt to get Zipper as far from his father as possible.
Although life seemed like it was moving along quite well, there was the hint of something darker looming. Several dragons within the clan were on scouting missions of their territory when they came across a band of serthis looking for a fight. There was a great battle and lives were lost on both sides. When the remaining scouts returned to the EchoFlower Clan bloody and deeply wounded, Valentino's fears were realized again. His Clan would suffer at the claws of the Serthis without extensive planning. As soon as the news hit his ears, he sent his messengers to the Boneshard Clan to plead for assistance. In a show of great loyalty at personal risk, they appeared on the eve of the final battle. Argo and his mate Marceline led the procession of plague dragons as they marched into the EchoFlower territory to defend their allies. While the nature clan wasn't overly keen on the idea, they were glad for the support. The Serthis forces were becoming a greater threat each day and the rumors of an imminent attack were keeping everyone on edge.
Armed with only weeks of preparation and few actual warriors, the clan began their defense as the first wave of serthis came crashing down. The battle lasted days as the dragons entrenched themselves and lost ground at each passing moon. It became a bloody war with the serthis refusing to back down and the EchoFlower Clan refusing to let them win. When the last barrier between the serthis and the dragons was besieged, Argo took his clan and left, calling Valentino a fool for staying. In the wake of his father abandoning the battle, Zipper felt all the more need to protect the clan he had come to call home and distance himself from his bloodline.
As the battle raged on, more dragons began to depart. Pumpkin stayed at Valentino's side, urging him to flee while he had the chance. It was a strange and tense few minutes as Valentino tried to justify staying, his claws digging into the dirt as he waited for the final wave of serthis to overtake them. Looking at the golden flowers atop Pumpkin's head finally snapped him out of it and he allowed the others to lead him from his home and the burial of his charge. In the resulting chaos, the clan's record keeper Blink tried to go back into the chaos for her books. Zipper stopped her, pulling her away by her whiskers and snarling threats the whole time. After they had made it a significant way from the devastation of their home, Zipper made what could be called an apology by bringing Blink a tattered book from her library that he had managed to save.
The budding clan was once again uprooted, tossed into a sea of uncertainty by the serthis attacks. Pumpkin led the clan in these dark hours, or what was left of it at least. More than half their members had fled before the end of the battle and those who hadn't fled had been killed by serthis. In such small numbers, there was no way they could survive on their own for long. The dragons continued to move, marching through the Everbloom Gardens for what seemed like ages. They stopped on the edge of a stream, looked back to their home one last time, and said goodbye. Stepping over the stream, the EchoFlower Clan became nomadic and entered the Gladeveins.
The Formation of the Troupe Edit
Displaced and without a place to stay, the clan wandered the Gladeveins. It was safer than the serthis-infested gardens they had left, although the dangers presented within the Gladeveins were slightly more difficult to handle. Thirst was not a problem, but hunger ran through the clan like wildfire. Had they been on their own much longer, there would have been casualties from the sheer starvation alone. Luckily for the clan, they came across a small troupe of dragons. The travelers called themselves nothing in particular and were often referred to as the Traveling Troupe for their habits. Led by a brightly colored guardian named Absennol, the two groups came to an agreement and merged together as one. Between Absennol's street smarts and Pumpkin's excellent leadership, the merger seemed to be almost seamless.
It wasn't long before the previously stable EchoFlower Clan was performing with the Traveling Troupe. Their dragons were incredibly talented and were eager to show others the ropes, quite literally sometimes. Putting up the menagerie tents and setting up for shows was sometimes an all-day ordeal, especially once the troupe got a bit bigger and started adding more and more to the arrangement. Eventually, straw floor shows dominated their circuit. The battered old rings that had been crafted decades before were polished into shiny new versions of themselves. The curtains separating the rubes from the show was done away with altogether and the many mages in the troupe set up a magical barrier to separate paying show-goer from penniless tent-gawker.
Much of the success of the Traveling Troupe was in thanks to the EchoFlower Clan and their new blood. Despite having never been traveling dragons in their lives, the clan was quite good at the job. Their ties to a sedentary life crumbled away the more they traveled. Often, they crossed the borders of the Gladekeeper's territory, entering the Shadowbinder's and the Lightweaver's to perform. Never staying in one place long enough to make ties to anything, the clan and the troupe slowly began to merge as bonds and relationships were tightened. Soon enough, it was hard to tell most of the two groups apart from the one entire thing they had become. The merge finally became official when Absennol and Pumpkin agreed to a new name and a new banner. Thus the EchoFlower Troupe was born, and their golden flowers became the new symbol for this union.
Their banner, a field of golden flowers on a deep purple background, became their flag. Everywhere they went, the banner streamed out from their wagons and their performances. The life of a traveling troupe was good to them, and they took it very seriously. New members were heavily screened for their abilities and their loyalty. Where the two groups moving as one had allowed nearly any into their ranks, the new Troupe was selective and precise. The longer they moved as one group, the more closed off they became. When they encountered new dragons along the way, it was no longer with open arms and kind words but with questions and suspicion. The change did not happen overnight and even the Troupe hadn't noticed it right away. While many transients would pass through and receive basic work, they didn't stay long and would soon be off to another clan, another place, another deity. One dragon who came to the Troupe and did not leave was Tasuil, a coatl mage that came along during Valentino's darkest hour.
Fleeing from the Everbloom Gardens did not rest easily on Valentino, who lamented and wasted away. He had very little to do with the proceedings of his clan during this time, having no word on if his clan and Absennol's troupe would merge together. When Tasuil offered the ailing guardian an out from his chargeless suffering, Valentino took it. It was at the change of Valentino from guardian to spiral that the Troupe started to change. Either by the whispered words of Tasuil or the snakeish charms of Deimos, another coatl who came into the clan and asserted himself as Dazzle's mate, the Troupe began closing off.
The long history of war with the serthis beastclans caught up to the Troupe one evening as they skirted the Earthshaker's lands. Camped for the night, the dragons were settling in for what would be their final break before a week-long extravaganza in Dragonhome - their furthest journey yet. As the fires died down and the chatter became whispers into still air, a piercing shriek echoed through the air. Serthis came down into the camp wrecking havoc. While not as devastating as previous attacks, Valentino felt the blow personally. After the battle with the Troupe standing victorious, Valentino declared their show in Dragonhome to be the last. They would no longer be traveling, and would be coming home to the Gladekeeper and settling. While this was certainly a shock to many, it had come as little surprise.
Dragonhome was a wonderful show, drawing crowds larger than the Troupe had ever seen. Their show lasted well into the dark hours of the night, lit by the fires of Dragonhome and encouraged by the cheers of the crowd. Performing six different shows in the week they stayed, the Troupe made a massive name for itself. Dragon clans from all over Sorneith wanted them to come perform. Valentino and Pumpkin politely declined. Instead, the requests were told the Troupe would be settling in the Shrieking Wilds, still playing to any that wanted to see them.
It was this popularity that caused the Troupe to be in such high demand. On the journey home, knowing much of their life's works would be lost, many from the original Troupe parted ways. When Valentino and Pumpkin arrived in the Shrieking Wilds, they found the site of their new home. Nestled carefully within the tangled undergrowth and ancient trees, the land rose gently into a crowned clearing large enough to hold meetings and gatherings. Through many long nights of work and the use of magic, their home was carved out under the massive trees. Beneath the largest, oldest trees to the north of the clearing stood the crowning achievement of magic and sheer strength. No longer would a tent be necessary, or even magical barriers. Using skills from fae and nature dragons, the Troupe carved out a massive space beneath the trees, bending ancient trunks to create the seating, rigging, and walls for their Big Top. If the reputation of the Troupe did not already draw in crowds, the rumor of this mastery of natural engineering surely brought them. The EchoFlower Troupe had taken the final steps towards settling in and calling a place home.
Lore regarding the present-day incarnation of the Troupe
Troupe Members Edit