Vulture is an elderly male SandWing and a main antagonist of Darkness of Dragons. He is the founder of the Talons of Power, an organization located in the Scorpion Den. Vulture created the Talons in order to kill Queen Thorn and enthrone Ex-Princess Onyx so that he could indirectly control the power of the SandWing throne through her. After bombing Thorn's Stronghold in Darkness of Dragons, he was lost in a sandstorm summoned by Qibli, and, after his latest appearance in the Lost City of Night, he has not been seen again.
Before his disappearance, Vulture was extremely wealthy, well-respected, and powerful within the Scorpion Den. After Thorn left the Den to fulfill her duties as queen, Vulture became its temporary new ruler.
Vulture has pale yellow scales dotted with numerous dragon skull tattoos, that symbolize the amount of dragons that Vulture has killed. He has a hooked snout (possibly his namesake), black eyes with golden rings like bottomless voids, and gold-leaf dip on his talons and SandWing tail barb. He wears several accessories, including two black-and-golden spider-shaped earrings, a black cloak lined with gold, and gold chains along his wings. He is also described as tall, with a long neck.
According to Darkstalker, Vulture is "a dragon made of paper who has never been happy one day in his life." Along with being cunning, deceitful, and sly, Vulture is selfish, conceited, and egotistical. He does not seem to care about anything other than wealth, infamy, and power, and deceived his own grandson, Qibli, in Darkness of Dragons in a plot to steal the SandWing throne. He is willing to backstab or kill anyone who stands in the way of his plans, and often views dragons as though they equal to inanimate objects.
Near the beginning of the story, Moonwatcher had a vision of Qibli backed against a wall glaring up at three larger dragons, who were later confirmed to be Vulture himself, Sirocco, and Rattlesnake. Into their sneering faces, Qibli curled up his tail and shouted "Where is she?" In the vision, he was referring to Cobra, although in the book he never said those exact words.
When Onyx kidnapped Ostrich and took her back to the Scorpion Den, Qibli, along with Winter, came to rescue her. They were taken back to Vulture's compound by Sirocco and Rattlesnake, where Vulture took Qibli to see his mother's prison. He explained that if Cobra was to be free, then Qibli was to write down all of Thorn's secrets on a blank scroll and give it to Vulture. After Qibli, along with Winter, Ostrich, and Cobra, escaped Vulture's compound, Qibli had his mother arrested for treason - the plan all along had been to bring Cobra into Thorn's stronghold only to kill her via poison.
Later, Vulture bombed Thorn's stronghold, holding the "Eye of Onyx" in his talons - however, Thorn appeared and explained that Vulture was holding a fake, created both to trick thieves and spare their lives. As Vulture was making his grand speech, Onyx snuck up behind the queen, but Thorn was saved by Qibli's warning call. Thorn suggested a royal challenge instead of a covert assassination, since all the past challengers have come this way. Onyx accepted, and both she and Vulture believe she was worthy due to her royal blood. Afraid Onyx would be chosen, Qibli summoned a sandstorm with Princess Anemone's weather bracelets, and in the chaos of the storm, Vulture disappeared from the stronghold completely with no warning or sign.
Throughout the book, Qibli always had a suspicion that Vulture would end up working for Darkstalker and become a juggernaut, taking over the world. That suspicion proved to be true later on, where Vulture is seen in The Lost City of Night, bargaining and talking with Darkstalker about their alliance.
Near the end of the book, when Darkstalker tried to convince Qibli to become an animus and work with him, he used his power to teleport Vulture in front of him. Darkstalker then enchanted Vulture many times, including to make him act like a hatchling, make him feel guilty for everything bad he had done, and make him be the best grandfather for Qibli. Darkstalker then made Vulture disappear. It is unknown what happened to him after that.
"Qibli, [...] Just the dragon I've been waiting for." - To Qibli
"Hold your tongues for a moment, [...] I want to see who wins."
"Eat the loser, [...] And save the winner to try again tomorrow against a different one. I'm curious to see whether they can learn anything."
"What a whimsical friend you've brought for my entertainment." - Vulture to Qibli Darkness of Dragons, page 80
"You're quite wrong. Everyone agrees they're no smarter than mice. If you were right, dragons would already know that, and no one would ever eat scavengers. And yet we eat them all the time, ergo, you must be mistaken."
"It's perfectly normal to feel like your pet must think the way you do, [...] It's happened to many dragons. The Camels' Rights Movement. Iguanas Are Dragons, Too. Save the Scavengers. World Walrus Fund. All very sweet, and very misguided. Save your energy for dragons, who can appreciate it." - Vulture to Winter Darkness of Dragons, page 81
"Oh, really, Prince Winter? And how exactly do you intend to pay me, when your family thinks you're dead and your royal funds have been cut off?" - Vulture to Winter Darkness of Dragons, page 81
"Take them away, [...] My visitors have ruined my experiment for today anyway. We'll try again tomorrow."
"So, Grandson, [...] I see that like many hundreds of SandWings across the kingdom, you've realized that Thorn is in no way qualified to be queen, and you've come to pledge your loyalty where it truly belongs." - Vulture to Qibli Darkness of Dragons, page 82
"Oh, yes, [...] Her erstwhile popularity, such as it was, is plummeting. Everyone agrees that she's been quite useless so far. Has the kingdom improved in any way? No one's life is any better, except of course for her own Outclaws, who are now rolling in treasure up there in the palace. She pours wealth into the talons of those who bow and scrape to her, and she doesn't care a fig for anyone else." - Vulture to Qibli Darkness of Dragons, pages 82-83
"And these tragic bombings, tsk, [...] Dragons are dying and she hasn't done one thing about it. She has no idea who's responsible. If she even cares. But I do. I have found the culprits! I am the only one who can protect our tribe."
"Of course I do. [...] Summon our informative friend for me, will you?"
"It's really an outrage, [...] I mean, absolutely everyone is talking about how Thorn can't keep us safe. [...] But I can."
"I have formed a private militia of my own, [...] We're the new law and order in this town, and soon in the whole kingdom, [...] I had them looking into these heartbreaking attacks and the dreadful mess Thorn has made of investigating. We discovered who's responsible and we'll bring them to justice. [...] I call them my Talons of Power. [...] I always thought the Talons of Peace was too grand a name for that disorganized group of whiners, [...] I knew I could improve on both the concept and the reality. Ah, here we are." - Vulture to Qibli Darkness of Dragons, pages 83-84
"How is your pavilion, Bog?"
"I was hoping you could share your confession with our dear guests here."
"You see? [...] Unlike Thorn, I investigated. Unlike Thorn, I found out who is trying to hurt us. And unlike Thorn, I can lead us to victory against this enemy, along with my Talons of Power."
"See? [...] Now we know the real truth, all thanks to me. And if we're going to defeat this pervasive MudWing menace, we're going to need a strong leader like me-- not a corrupt, glory-seeking liar like Thorn. You may go, Bog."
"I'm sure you agree with me, since you're here to work for us, right on time."
"First, tell me everything you know about Thorn, her palace, her guards, any weaknesses, everything a good little spy would have absorbed in your time with her. Next, teach my Talons any passwords they need to know to get close to the palace. And finally, return to the palace, and to our false queen, bearing a gift."
"Ostrich... [...] Oh, the general's daughter. She's fine. perfectly happy. She loves it here. Of all the places to be held captive, this is the best, obviously."
"And I want a new queen of the SandWings, [...] A true queen who will set up trade routes that make me richer and turn this town into the thriving metropolis it could be. I'm sure you can imagine how great that will be. All your old friends, your family, happy and wealthy and running the world. We'll kick out everyone who's not a SandWing and crack down on troublemakers. It'll be spectacular."
"No, no, [...] Nobody wants Blaze. Have you really not heard the rumors, little dragons? the whole kingdom has been buzzing for months about a secret heir to the SandWing throne. One that nobody knew about until recently. A granddaughter who escaped the deadly claws of Queen Oasis and has been living in hiding since she hatched. A dragon, unlike Thorn, who has true royal blood in her veins--"
"Well done, [...] I always suspected you were the smartest of Cobra's offspring."
"Now at last you can use that intelligence for a good cause, [...] A righteous cause."
"You think you are, [...] Because she stole you away and brainwashed you. You haven't thought for yourself in years. You do exactly what she tells you to and think whatever she tells you to think. You're not your own dragon, Grandson. Everyone knows her group is basically a cult. It's true; ask anyone. The whole kingdom has figured out that her Outclaws are blind followers. You don't want to be a blind follower, do you, Qibli? Don't you want to think for yourself?"
"So think yourself back into your family, [...] You loved being one of us before Thorn snatched you away. She's fed you a lot of lies about us, hasn't she? Turning you against your own family, tsk. What kind of leader does such a thing? Don't you remember the puzzles we did together-- the family dinners? The way I was grooming you to take over the business once you were older? Those were happy times."
"Clever and stubborn, [...] I knew you would be. You see, inferior grandchildren, this is why I was so unhappy with your mother when she lost him."
"But perhaps now that he's returned to us-- if he has truly returned to us, [...] perhaps now it is finally time to release your mother from her punishment."
"Let's go see, [...] Leave your scavenger-loving prince here."
"I've always liked that word, [...] Oubliette. Ooooooooubliette. It sounds much friendlier than it is, like you should be able to eat it at parties. Do you know what an oubliette is?" - To Qibli
"Oh, yes, [...] Her and a few crocodiles, a number of snakes, probably a rat or seven if they haven't been eaten yet... I forget what else; we just throw down anything nasty we can find."
"Well, that, my dear grandson, [...] depends entirely on what you do next."
"Because of her own mistake, [...] She knew I wanted heirs to my organization. I told her not to kill off or get rid of any of you. She knew there would be consequences to letting Thorn have you-- of all dragons, that upstart nobody!"
"I'll go get the other one, [...] Give you two a chance to catch up."
"I know you're getting impatient, [...] But successful plans take a little time."
"Great snakes, [...] If he's that intent, let's have a look at him."
"Intriguing, [...] Go on."
"A new... king of the NightWings?"
"But... king? [...] The NightWings agreed to this? Queen Glory just... handed them over? To a king?"
"Oh, but that's not all I want, [...] Remember? You're going to tell me all of Thorn's secrets first. Passwords. Secret stores of treasure. Closest allies. How to kill them all."
"You may get started now, [...] Take your time. Apparently I'm waiting for... instructions."
"Indeed, [...] Let's go discuss exactly how useful."
"Friends! [...] SandWings! Talons of Power! Listen to me! [...] Have we really come to this? [...] SandWings fighting SandWings? So soon after the war that tore our tribe apart? [...] Look how divided we are! Do you know why we fight each other? [...] Because we are ruled by a false queen, [...] one who does not deserve this palace! She doesn't care about anyone but herself! She stole this throne to make herself rich! She's been letting SandWings die all over her kingdom without lifting a talon to save them. A good ruler would find the dragons responsible and protect you all! We need someone who will see the danger clearly! Our tribe is under attack, fellow SandWings!" - Vulture to the SandWings stationed at Thorn's Stronghold Darkness of Dragons, pages 158 - 159
"You see that? My grandson, once a loyal follower of Thorn, agrees with me, [...] He knows I am the one who sees the danger and I am the one who can protect you all."
"Because I have found the threat, [...] I know who is attacking us, my fellow SandWings! It is the MudWings and I have proof! [...] We caught one of the MudWing infiltrators and forced him to confess, [...] Then we took the last of his weapons and came here, knowing my Talons of Power were the only ones who could protect the kingdom."
"My friends, it is time for a new ruler of the SandWings!"
"We don't need to duel, [...] We have the Eye of Onyx! The symbol of royal power!"
"Why should we believe that's the real one?"
"Where am I? [...] What did you do?"
"Urple." -When he was enchanted to have the mind of a new-hatched dragonet by Darkstalker.
"I'm a monster, [...] All those deaths.. the cruelty to my family... how can I ever make up for it all?" -When enchanted by Darkstalker to feel guilt for his actions.
- A vulture is a bird of prey that is known for eating rotting animals.
- In Darkness of Dragons, he says "Great snakes", which is a famous expression the character Tintin uses in his movie.
- Each of Vulture's skull tattoos represents a dragon he has killed. This gruesome display was also taken up by two of his grandchildren, Rattlesnake and Sirocco. It is rumored they have the tattoos for the same purpose and not just for show.
- Vulture is the name of Upper Egypt, as Cobra is the name of Lower Egypt.
- According to Cobra, Vulture has always been interested in a business alliance with the IceWings.
- Vulture shares his name with another villian from Marvel.
Family Tree Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Darkness of Dragons, page 78
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Darkness of Dragons, page 54
- ↑ Darkness of Dragons, page 78
- ↑ Darkness of Dragons, page 100
Addax • Agave • Armadillo • Camel • Capybara • Cobra • Dune • Horizon • Jerboa • Jerboa (DoD) • Kindle • Meerkat • Needle • Ocotillo • Ostrich (Deserter) • Palm • Parch • Prickle • Quicksand • Rattlesnake • Saguaro • Sandstorm • Sirocco • Six-Claws • Tawny • Torch • Viper • Vulture