"Hey, it's all right, it's not such a bad destiny, Sunny. I'd die to save you and Starflight over and over if I had to."
-- Clay, The Brightest Night (page 280)
Clay is the MudWing Dragonet of Destiny and the main protagonist of The Dragonet Prophecy, the first book in the beginning series. He is resistant to fire, extreme heat (like the heat of Peril's talons), and even lava, because he hatched from an egg the color of dragons' blood. Even so, he cannot withstand it forever. His intended replacement was the false MudWing dragonet, Ochre, though Morrowseer thought Clay would be acceptable. Clay was depicted as brown (the color of flat mud) from the tips of his horns to the tip of his tail when he was under the mountain, but when he stepped into the sunlight, he turned a muddy brown with shimmering amber undertones. The browns in his scales were described having a richer and deeper color when in the sunlight, like mahogany. He is very loyal to his friends, seeing them as his siblings, and always seems hungry or thinking about food.
BiographyAsha, a deceased member of the Talons of Peace, who was also his aunt. Clay was the son of Cattail, who sold him for two or more cows to the Talons of Peace. However, Asha died shortly after bringing him due to the injuries she received when she had been caught in a battle between Blister and Blaze's forces. Clay hatched first out of all the dragonets of destiny, and tried to break them open (the bigwings of a MudWing clutch would be the first hatched and would help the other dragonets in his or her sibling group out of their shells), but with Asha being dead, the rest of the guardians, who weren't MudWings, thought he was trying to kill them, so Clay had been thrown in the river until the rest of the eggs hatched.
Clay grew up with his companions, Tsunami, Glory, Sunny, and Starflight under the mountain in a cave near the Sky Kingdom. They were cared for by Kestrel, Dune, and Webs, members of the Talons of Peace. Clay had trouble in battle training with Kestrel, who periodically attacked him with fire and complained about how he was too gentle, demanding to see more of the 'vicious little monster' he had supposedly been when he hatched. When the dragonets were old enough, they were supposed to leave the cave and fulfill the prophecy. However, they all possessed a desire to escape their confined existence (except Sunny), a desire that turned into a necessity. That day, the deliverer of the prophecy visited the cave. The NightWing Morrowseer decreed that Glory was an unworthy substitute for the deceased SkyWing mentioned in the prophecy and ordered that she be disposed of. Tsunami was chained as part of a plot to kill Glory, as she was the only one who could stop Kestrel. Knowing that Glory would be killed, Clay led the others out in a daring escape. Risking his life, he managed to get a ways down the river, but he was then hit with a substance that started to dissolve his scales. He was rescued from this fate by Tsunami, who succeeded in escaping. The two made their way outside, at which he had to save Tsunami from falling due to a dislocated wing, which he subsequently fixed. He was happy and fascinated by mud and scavengers, surprising Tsunami. The duo then encountered Queen Scarlet of the SkyWings, who insisted they return to her kingdom after answering some questions wrong. They escaped by impaling her tail into the ground. They managed to free their friends shortly afterward, but then were captured by the Queen Scarlet who followed them because the other dragonets sent a smoke-signal so Clay and Tsunami could find them.
Queen Scarlet pitted dragons against each other in gladiatorial style battles, and if they won enough, she would pit them against her champion Peril, who was invulnerable because of having too much fire. Clay made friends with Peril, who was attracted to him because he was resistant to her fire, despite the fact he did not know this. Clay volunteered to stand in for Starflight after learning he was next to fight. He was pitted against Fjord of the IceWings, who managed to pin him down. However, Glory shot corrosive venom that dissolved his face, making Clay victorious. Later on, he decided to hide Peril during the trial of Kestrel in exchange for knowledge of Sunny's location. After the trial, Peril did not talk with him, and he started to get the prisoners to sing with a wire Peril accidentally burned through. He, Starflight, and Tsunami were taken to her room, which Peril helped them escape with. With the help of Peril, Clay and his friends tried to escape, only to be betrayed. During this, he learned that his scales were impervious to fire.
The next day, Scarlet's hatching day, the three were taken to the balcony of the queens, on which Burn was seated on. He helplessly watched as Tsunami was forced to fight a mad SeaWing, who was later revealed to be her father, Gill. After Tsunami killed him, Clay was also forced to watch Starflight and Tsunami fight scavengers and IceWings. After Starflight was rescued by Morrowseer and other NightWings, Clay was pitted against Peril. He surprised her with his ability to fight back, and quickly pinned her, but wouldn't kill her. At that moment, Glory shot black venom from her longest fangs at Scarlet, the same that melted Fjord. They were then able to escape with Peril's help, and succeeded in rescuing Kestrel in the process, whom Clay and Sunny were the only supporters.
They finally managed to escape, and then traveled to the Mud Kingdom to try and find Clay's parents. Clay was disappointed to find that his mother didn't care about him but he found the sib group of his brothers and sisters(though one was killed in a recent battle) that he would have belonged with had he not been taken by the Talons of Peace. Finally at peace with himself, Clay leaves with his friends in the search for Tsunami's parents.
For almost all of The Lost Heir Clay was imprisoned, chained by the ankles to the cave floor. When water levels rose due to a flood, he was willing to keep his friends away from the rising water by letting them sit on his back and stack on top of each other. He was soon freed by Tsunami and they together sat in a dry cave and cooked fish or rather for Tsunami, ate them raw. Clay wasn't seen later on in the book until the Summer Palace Pavilion Attack by the SkyWings. Clay was seen shielding Starflight and Sunny, since his scales were immune to fire.
After the dragonets escape from the Kingdom of Sea, they head to the rainforest where Clay is knocked out with a sleeping dart for the travel to the village. While Glory was being toured around by Jambu, Starflight went right on torturing Clay through his sleep by rolling a melon in front of Clay's nose and waited for Clay's reaction. Clay reacted by sighing a really wistful one and his tongue lolled in and out of his mouth. Later when Glory becomes imprisoned by the NightWings (which happened since she was trying out an experiment), Clay and Deathbringer come to her rescue, and Clay helps fight off the NightWing guards near the tunnel to the rainforest by throwing red-hot coals at them. He, Glory, and a RainWing dragonet named Kinkajou end up escaping successfully, while Deathbringer stays behind with the NightWings. Clay later keeps watch over the portals to the Night Kingdom alongside with Starflight. After Glory becomes queen, he comes running back from the tunnel to tell her that Starflight is gone and presumes that Starflight went to warn the NightWings.
He doesn't appear much in the Dark Secret as Starflight is imprisoned in the Night Kingdom. Starflight did try using a dreamvisitor to visit Clay in his dreams except Clay didn't find Starflight popping into his dreams were disturbing. Clay was seen to be eating or 'feasting' and was extremely pleased his siblings were there with him. However, when Starflight returns, Clay is the second dragonet of destiny to see him, and is extremely pleased that Starflight is back. When Starflight is injured by the lava, Clay shelters him with his wings, protecting him and carrying him through the tunnel.
Clay is first shown when he bursts out of the tunnel, shielding Starflight. He is not mentioned much until Sunny returns to the rainforest. Clay meets Sunny when he came out of the healer's hut and tackles her down, telling her how he knew that she would be alright. When the dragonets are in the stronghold, Burn rips the top off the box Blister sent her and pulled out a dragonbite viper. Burn gets bitten and releases the viper. It heads towards Starflight, Fatespeaker, and Sunny, but Clay knocks them out of the way and gets bitten. Black fang marks soon start spreading out all over his legs. Peril then flies out of nowhere and said that "she would not let Clay die" and burns out the venom and Clay survives, though he will probably be left scarred and limping for the rest of his life.
It seems like Clay serves as a hall monitor for the school, shown how he patrols the halls and stopped at least two fights. He is in charge of the Prey Center at Jade Mountain Academy. He also appears to be a doctor, treating injured dragonets.
Clay, because he is a "bigwings," is very protective and caring towards his group of friends that he was raised with. When another of his group is attacked, he would lash out to protect them. He was not afraid to use his large size and formidable strength to defend his "family" and would protect them at all costs. He also is friendly towards other dragons, a quality of which helped him befriend Peril. He felt clumsy about himself, and didn't think he was worthy of being a dragonet of the prophecy. He was also slow sometimes at planning, a skill he didn't like to think about. He was slightly crushed to learn about MudWings, but ended up making peace with him by talking to his siblings. He seems a bit socially awkward, and could unintentionally offend others. Tsunami said in The Lost Heir Clay was the heart of the group.
"I'll stick with friends who aren't trying to kill me, thanks." -Clay to Peril in the SkyWing arena
"Are you going to eat that whole thing?"
"Can I eat this?"
"Mishish vemmy shmewey." - About a very chewy fruit
"Can I eat them?" -Talking about the dolphins
"Aww. What happened to the hippos?"
"I'd like to be something more than alive. I'd like to be the kind of dragon she doesn't think I am - the kind they write prophecies about. That dragon would rescue her no matter how awful she is."
"Quit snarling at each other like mini Kestrels." -To Starflight and Tsunami
"I'd die to save you (Sunny) and Starflight over and over if I had to." -After saving Sunny, Fatespeaker, and Starflight from the dragonbite viper
"I volunteer, I'm a world champion at sitting on my friends."
"Wow, everything hurts. Uh... Did I miss anything?"
"CHICKENS GIVE UP! WE'RE GOING TO EAT YOU AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! STOP RUNNING AWAY NOW!"
Starflight is like a brother to Clay. Clay also stated he dreamed of Starflight lecturing him. He takes a dragonbite viper bite to save a blinded Starflight, and, before he was blinded, protected him when the NightWing Portal exploded.
Tsunami is one of Clay's friends. She found and cured him when Clay got drenched in the white ooze and his scales were burning with pain, while he tried to find an escape route for the dragonets. Tsunami stabbed Queen Scarlet's tail to help her and Clay fly away from the SkyWing. Later, She calls Clay a handsome idiot and gives him a hint that Peril likes him (although it goes right over his head). Throughout the book, Tsunami often interjects when Clay talks about Glory and Sunny in front of Peril, because Tsunami appears to understand that Peril gets jealous. In The Lost Heir, she says she had feelings for Clay and Starflight, but had gotten over her crush when she realized Clay thought of her as a sister. In the second book though she seems to have a growing affection for Riptide, another SeaWing, the son of Webs.
Sunny is like a little sister to Clay, and he treats her like one. When Clay decides to travel down the river, Sunny says "Don't you dare die!". Clay also wanted to go save Sunny when she was trapped in a cage in the Sky Kingdom. When Sunny wants to explain her idea about the darts in the RainWings' attack she turns to Clay because she thinks he will listen. He seems to be the dragonet she confides in the most. Clay takes a poisonous viper bite to save Sunny's life, and says he would do it over and over again.
Glory, also, is one of Clay's friends (he has no crushes on any of them, as he thinks of them as his brothers and sisters). He refers to her as beautiful once in the book, and feels bad about thinking that Glory was actually knocked out when she was displayed as "artwork". When Glory comes into view after Kestrel said she's going to kill her, Clay twines his tail with hers. When Glory goes missing, Clay is very worried about her.
Clay befriended Peril while trapped in the SkyWing Arena by Queen Scarlet. They become good friends, and Peril develops feelings for him because he was the only dragon that liked her the way she was to her. Queen Scarlet had only been using her for entertainment. After Clay fights Fjord, Peril brings hot mud to treat his scratches. He soon finds out that Scarlet ordered Peril not to talk to him, but she does anyway. Peril seemed jealous of the other dragonets, because she wanted Clay to herself. When Peril helps the dragonets escape (but later betrays them) Clay touches her and figures out he's immune to her heat. This helps when he fights Peril against his will in the arena, leaving Peril to admit she wanted to save him after Kestrel and for him to like her more than the other dragonets. She says she does not want to kill him, and Clay says she has to. Clay and Peril's fight ends after Queen Scarlet is sprayed by Glory's venom, and they escape. Glory says Peril might be the missing SkyWing; but that is proved false. Peril leaves, hoping she would meet Clay and the dragonets again. It is possible that Peril will return. It is also possible that Clay could like Peril back. Peril later saves Clay's life by taking out the poison in his poisoned flesh after he is bitten by a viper, and he wants to invite her to the Jade Mountain School
Kestrel was Clay's teacher. She was described to be strict and harsh, but when Kestrel is left in the Sky Kingdom Clay remembered how loyal Kestrel was and the look on her face when she saw Peril, and saves her. When the news gets to Clay that Kestrel was killed, he was seemingly surprises and a little upset.
Reed, Marsh, Crane, Pheasant, Sora, and Umber are Clay's siblings, and he met them when he tried to visit his mother. Glory went with Clay disguised as a MudWing. Crane died before Clay came. If his egg was not taken by the Talons of Peace, Clay would have become the bigwings. So instead, Reed became the bigwings. Clay is shown to appreciate this because he's glad to have Reed protecting his sibs when he can't. When Starflight used his dreamvistor, he saw Clay dream about his siblings. Starflight said "More dragons we have to save in this war."
- Clay is the only known dragonet with an unusual ability for his tribe.
- Clay dreams about Starflight giving him lectures.
- Clay seems to be skilled in first-aid.
- Clay, Tsunami, and Sunny are the only dragonets of destiny who have met their mothers so far, because Glory's mother is unknown and Starflight's mother died before the events of the series.
- Clay often dreams about lots and lots of food.