• Published 26th Feb 2020
  • 4,711 Views, 542 Comments

Our Little Brother, Spike - Hope Caster



Finding a whelp cold and alone after hatching season, Amber Ironscale brings the poor thing back to her cave and adopts him, giving him the name Heathspike, Spike for short. Her son, Garble, vows to be the best big brother he can be, no matter what.

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Chapter 5: Meet the Relatives

It was apparent to Amber, now more than ever, that she should have told her mother and grandmother about Spike the day after she found him. She could feel the burning glares from her elder’s burn through her scales, and the scales of her mate. She had been foolish, and made a jest at Flare, referring to Spike as their family’s guest. Her mother very nearly went for Flare’s throat, only to stop after hearing her grandchildren giggling and playing with one another. Amber’s brother in-law, Smog, and another, very old dragon named were calm, much to her relief. Finally, there was Topaz, who assured her granddaughter that she was ‘not mad, just disappointed’.

Topaz was a very old dragon, ancient in fact, not that she ever liked being reminded. She was a little over a thousand years old, give or take a few decades, and was one of the few creatures that could remember a time before Celestia’s rule over Equestria and the existence of her sister, Luna. In fact, she could state for a fact that House Platinum was far, far more arrogant than ponies of the current generation believed. She was a deep bronze color; her hide was wrinkled, and her spines had lost some hue over the centuries. Then there were her eyes. A deep yellow color all around. Even today they were beautiful. She wore garments, a robe to be precise, which was rare in the dragon lands, and a sash that signified her status as a shaman, but she preferred the term healer.

Then there was Jasper, Amber’s mother. She was a deep golden color, with pink fins, two horns on the side of her head, and a spear like tip on her tail.

Meanwhile, Smog was quiet, something that Amber praised Bahamut for. However, she knew that he was formulating plans to use her son for nefarious purposes, such as ensnaring an unsuspecting dragoness and taking her out on a date. He wasn’t bad looking, Amber could admit that. Smog was a moderate red, with almost pink spines lining his back. He also had a bad habit of snoring, and spewing smoke as he did so, his main drawback as a mate. Flare's parents had amazing foresight when giving Smog his name.

“Miserable child,” Amber’s mother muttered in a whisper that only Amber and Flare could hear. “Was I to wait until he was running before I got to meet my newest grandchild, or was I to find out about him when he molted? Oh, I know, I was to catch your mate’s brother using him in a bid to attract a hussy!” She looked over the two drakes and snorted fire at them.

“Jasper enough,” Topaz said, putting a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “There’s no sense in getting angry with her. What’s done is done. What matters is that we get to meet him now, despite some questionable choices. Back in my day if there was an abandoned whelp, it went to the first mother to bring it home. No need to have an oaf like Torch get involved.”

“I agree with Topaz, I would have loved to know about my brother’s guest,” He said, leering towards Flare, who shifted uncomfortably. “but we can make up time now. And Jasper, what would be so bad about me taking the children for an occasional stroll?” Smog asked. “I'm remarkable with children. There’s no reason not to let me take them out, let them splash in the lava puddles, maybe take them to the play pit nearest to where the single dragonesses gather, and showcase how good I am with whelps.”

“That won’t work, you snore,” Smolder said the moment she heard her Uncle’s plan. Up until now, she’d been practicing her tail whips on a small stone, ignoring most of the discussion. “No one wants a snorer for a mate.”

“Smolderessence!” Amber cried.

“My mate, she’s not saying anything inaccurate,” Flare said, chuckling.

Smog began to growl as he glared at Flare. “Shouldn’t my little brother be furious when I’m insulted, by my kin no less?”

“In most situations, yes, but not if I have to tell lies, brother.”

Smog huffed. “I might make noise in my sleep-”

“And spew out smoke,” Smolder added. “I don’t know anyone that could stand that.”

“Smolder, please, I do not snore, nor do I spew out smoke if I did so. Those are just rumors, spread by malicious lizards envious of my strength and hoard.”

“But you do,” Smolder said, unwilling to relent. “You’re just lying. You spew out smoke all the time when you spend the night.”

“I had a cough; the air here isn’t good for me, Smolder! It’s a sickness, I’m fuming!” Smog forced a pathetic sounding cough, thinking that it might change Smolder’s attitude. It didn’t.

“You’ve had a cough since you were fifteen,” Flare said. He bent his head down and nudged his daughter who was now giggling as her uncle grew more flustered. “Now, Smolder, stop giving your uncle grief over his habits. Just because he can blot out the sun, doesn’t mean that we should point it out to him.”

“Okay,” Smolder said putting her hands over her mouth to control her giggles. “Can I play with Spike now? It’s unfair that Garble gets to play with him, and I don’t.” Smolder glared at a spot in the cave where an aged dragon stood hunched over her brothers.

The dragon was Spike and Garble’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, Furnace Ironscale, the patriarch of the Ironscale Clan. At around 1700 years old, he had received the title of Wyrm. To dragons such Garble’s parents, Wryms were noble, wise, and knowledgeable drakes that were worthy of respect from even the Dragon Lord himself

To Topaz, and dragons like her who could feel that they themselves already had one foot in the grave, Wyrms were half blind dragons likely missing a lung, who should stay in their cave and be taken care of by a younger dragons who could help them with their rapidly deteriorating bodies. The fact that wyrms could still function was nothing short of a miracle. Furnace Ironscale fit both descriptions to a T, but the second was more apparent.

His wrinkled, leathery skin that had been on top of gold for so long that his hoard had begun to fuse to underbelly. Many of his fangs were missing, and his jagged, chipped, and sickly colored claws had seen better days. Not to mention his joints creaked and snapped with the slightest movement of his body. His arms shook and trembled whenever they were in the air and he was so clumsy that he was about as likely to spear a hatchling by mistake as he was to pick them up.

“They’re not playing, little one, that old wyrm is christening Spike,” Topaz explained.

“And taking time away from me and two of my grandchildren,” Jasper muttered.

“Christening?”

“It’s an old ceremony, used to welcome hatchling into clans.” Topaz said, taking a place before the little dragoness. “Do you know about Bahamut, Smolder?”

“Uh-huh, he’s the dragon we pray to at night, and he makes our eggs and then gives them to our mamas and papas to hatch,” Smolder said, with a wide beaming smile. “When he’s deciding if we’re boys or girls, he gets a bag and pulls something out of it. If he pulls out gold, we’re boys and if he pulls out a colored flower, we’re girls. I got lucky and he pulled out a flower for my egg.”

Topaz nodded her head along with her granddaughter’s explanation. “Indeed,” She said solemnly, going along with the lie about where eggs came from. “During a christening we welcome new hatchlings into our family, and ask that Bahamut bless them, guide them when he can and protect them if possible. Come, perhaps you should watch.” She lowered her claw, grasped Smolder and placed her on her head. She brought them close enough to Furnace as to allow Smolder to see what was happening, but far enough that they could quickly retreat if she got fussy.

Smolder heard unintelligible murmuring, followed by a short pause. She watched as Garble added water to a bowl of gem powder, before coating his fingers in the resulting paste. He then drew a circle on Spike’s forehead with it. Furnace continued muttering his prayer. There came another pause, and Garble turned Spike around and marked the young whelp’s back with ash, depicting a crudely drawn five headed, winged serpent. At this Spike began to squirm and fuss, drawing the attention of Amber. After a final round of muttering, Garble sprinkled some platinum dust atop Spike’s head. With that, Amber came and scooped up Spike in her grasp, and began to clean him, while Furnace took his leave, muttering farewells to the remaining dragons.

“That’s it? What was all that stuff for?” Smolder asked.

“It’s to remind Spike where he comes from, what he should leave behind, and who he should try to be like,” Topaz explained. “The circle represents the father of all dragons, Asgorath, who created the very world on which we walk. He also created the first of our kind. The second represents the wicked goddess Tiamat, who wished to burn the world her father made.”

“But I saw papa doing that because that big dragon with the crown said to.”

“Ah, I see. In some instances, a controlled burn is good for the land, but Tiamat wished for a world of ash. If we were to raze everything without thought, we would lose many treasures that this world has. Which is why we pray and sprinkle platinum dust on Spike, in hopes that he follows a more suitable path for a dragon.”

“Like what?” Smolder asked.

“Things that you’ll learn when you’re older,” Topaz said.

“I hate when grown-ups say that!” Smolder whined. “I wanna know now!”

“Very well,” Topaz said with a sigh, giving in almost too easily. Smolder grinned wickedly as she crawled onto Topaz’s snout, to look her in the eyes. “Smolder, one of the tenets that Bahamut fostered pertains to that of family, so we should focus on getting you engaged.”

There was a short silence as Smolder’s wide smile fell. “Never mind,” She said, shrinking. “I’ll wait. Forever. Boys are icky.” Though she couldn’t see it, her father smiled at the statement, while her mother rolled her eyes.

“Are you sure? I know this wonderful little whelp. Sure, he can’t read, hates listening to fairytales, and has poor manners and a poor attitude towards girls, but if you feel grown-up, we can start arranging for you two to wed and-”

“No!” Smolder shouted, eyes wide as if she’d seen a Roc. “He sounds like a big jerk! I don’t want to court him or anyone!”

Flare’s smile only grew wider, earning him a hard, unamused nudge from his mate.

“If you’re that against it, I suppose you can wait till your older,” Topaz said with a sigh. “What a shame.” Topaz placed Smolder on the ground near Garble and allowed herself a small smile. Manipulating her great-grandchildren was almost too easy. Almost.

Soon, Spike was cleaned of his markings and placed on the ground before his family, joined by both Garble and Smolder. Spike was wary of nearly all the new faces that crowded around him, Smog’s especially, but with the presence of his siblings, who showed affection to their elders, then towards Spike, he came out of his shell just a bit.

“He’s certainly shier than Garble and Smolder were,” Jasper said, when Spike finally didn’t shrink from her coming close. She and Topaz gave him an affectionate nuzzle, earning them little coos from their newest grandchild. “He certainly seems more warry of those with sharper features.” She glanced towards Smog, who had notably sharp claws and spines, and larger fangs that would frighten anyone that wasn’t a dragon.

“He’s a babe, Jasper,” Topaz said. “We look and smell more like his mother, of course he’s going to warm up to us quicker than he will Smog. Besides, he can’t help it if his breath smells like smoke and scares him away.”

“As funny as that joke is, being shy just gives him a certain charm, I’m sure that he’ll grow out of it soon enough.” Smog looked towards Amber with a growing smile. “When he does, would I be allowed to spend some quality time with my dear youngest nephew?”

“Smog,” Amber said with a not too kind expression. “It is very unlikely that I would hand my children over to you so you can use them to bait a dragoness.”

“Very unlikely,” Smog said, grinning from ear to ear. “So, you’re saying there’s a chance.” Little did anyone know that Spike would later become one of greatest and one of the only wingmen for his uncle.

Author's Note:

I really wanted to show off Spike's new extended family, and then a thought popped into my head, what if I made their family members, the dragon from Dragonshy? Thus Smog was born, and is made fun of for his poor smoking habit. He probably has an official name or a fan name, but I decided on Smog. One can only imagine what Garble, Smolder, and Spike will think once they find out how those horrid ponies chased him out of his home for absolutely no reason.

Also, a small character guide for those interested because there were a few this chapter:

Topaz Goldwing: The Ironscale Siblings’ Great-Grandmother. A resident healer, both patient and intelligent. One of the few dragons that doesn’t mind ponies all that much, but no one can say why.

Jasper Silverchain: The Ironscale Siblings’ Grandmother. Has a small amount of knowledge pertaining to medicine. Has a less than pleasant view of equine.

Smog Ironscale: The Ironscale Siblings’ Uncle. Has a bad habit of spewing smoke as he snores at night. Surely, this won’t cause any trouble for him or anyone else in the future. Doesn’t mind ponies all that much, but that is likely because he’s never actually met one.

Furnace Ironscale: The Ironscale Siblings’ Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. The old Patriarch of the Ironscale Clan. He has lived longer than nearly all creatures in Equestria, save for Discord. Despises ponies.

Yes, there will be a short time skip next chapter.