Clay is a male MudWing, is a dragonet of destiny, and the main protagonist of The Dragonet Prophecy, the first book of the first arc and the beginning of the Wings of Fire series. Clay has dark, mud-brown colored eyes and fire-resistant scales which means he's immune to extreme heats (like the heat of Peril's scales) to a certain point, and even has an extremely high resistance to lava. He discovered his immunity to fire when he pushed Peril down the hall as he tried to hide her from Queen Scarlet. He received this power because he hatched from an egg of the color of dragon blood (although this resistance is only fully developed once the dragon is first exposed to mud, this time because Peril poured mud on him to help him open his wings, so he could hide her). Fire and heat still hurt him, but the burns heal quickly, so it is similar to being immune to fire. Clay was depicted as muddy brown with shimmering amber and gold 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 he always seems to be hungry or thinking about food, and tends to dream about large feasts that typically involve hippos.
Clay was brought as an egg to the hidden cave by the MudWing guardian, Asha, a deceased member of the Talons of Peace, who was also his aunt. Clay is the son of Cattail, who sold him for two cows to the Talons of Peace. Sadly, 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 was the first Dragonet of Destiny to hatch, and tried to break the rest of the dragonets' eggs 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, so he was acting as a Bigwings), 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 forced into the river until the rest of the eggs hatched.
Clay grew up with his companions, Tsunami, Glory, Sunny, and Starflight under a mountain in a cave near the Sky Kingdom. They were cared for, or as the original Dragonets of Destiny would call it "taken prisoner" 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. Kestrel thought that because he apparently 'attacked' the other dragonets while they were still in there eggs. When what really happened was he tried to help them out of their eggs, what any Bigwings does for his or her siblings. 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, Morrowseer, 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'd 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 (probably sulfur or sulfuric acid). 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 then a scavenger came with some treasure. The duo then encountered Queen Scarlet of the SkyWings, who insisted they would 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 were captured by the SkyWing Queen who found 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 acidic venom that dissolved his face, and Clay was victorious. Later on, he decided to hide Peril during Kestrel's trial 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, where Peril helped them escape. 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, it was 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 and the SeaWing king, 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 the 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 venom from her longest fangs at Burn, who shoved Scarlet in the way, and then a part of her face started to melt. They were then able to escape with Peril's help, and succeeded in rescuing Kestrel in the process, the action in which 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 group of his brothers and sisters, Reed, Marsh, Sora, Umber, and Pheasant (though one named Crane 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, showing the willingness to die to save them although MudWings can hold their breath for an hour. He was soon freed by Tsunami and they together sat in a dry cave and cooked fish or in Tsunami's case, 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 are 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 trying to get 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 his nose and watching for Clay's reaction. Clay reacted by sighing in a really wistful way 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 guesses 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 but Clay didn't find Starflight popping into his dreams were disturbing or even abnormal. He seemed to think Starflight was a part of the dream. 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. A second one jumps out and bites Burn, so she releases the first viper. It heads towards Starflight, Fatespeaker, and Sunny, but Clay knocks them out of the way and gets bitten. Black veins soon start spreading out all over his right thigh. Peril then flies out of nowhere, says that "she would not let Clay die", and burns out the venom by placing her talons on the section of his leg that got bitten, and Clay survives, though he is left scarred and limping for the rest of his life.
It seems like Clay serves as a hall monitor for the Jade Mountain Academy, shown how he patrols the halls and stopped at least two fights. He is in charge of the Prey Center at the school. He also appears to be a doctor, treating injured dragonets.
When the Dragonflame Cactus exploded in the History Cave, he runs inside to help get anyone out who may have been trapped. He is unharmed again due to his fire resistance. At the assembly later he talks, but Moon wasn't listening to him in her search for the dragonet causing the explosion.
Clay appears in the first part of the book. He is supposed to retrieve Peril from her cave as soon as Queen Ruby leaves. Peril follows him as he and the others fly out to face Scarlet, and promises to help Queen Ruby. When Peril asks Clay what he wants her to do, he replies that she "should make her own choices". Later in the night, Starflight reveals to him that Peril is in love with him, and will likely kill everyone if she finds out that his feelings aren't mutual.
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 "sibs" 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 how MudWings don't really parent their children, but ended up making peace with himself by talking to his siblings. He seems a bit socially awkward, and could unintentionally offend others. Tsunami said in The Lost Heir that Clay was the heart of the group. He is very conciliatory, and is quick to defuse arguments.
"I'll stick with friends who aren't trying to kill me, thanks." - Clay to Peril in the SkyWing arena
"Ow. Don't make me laugh. I think my ribs are broken." - To Tsunami in The Dragonet Prophecy
"I'm Clay. I think I'm your son." - to Cattail when he first meets her in The Dragonet Prophecy
"There's no point. I don't have a place here." - to Glory about the MudWing kingdom
"I'm awake. I'm just waiting until Glory and Tsunami stop fighting. I was dreaming about sheep and buffalo and bears. They were all on the table in front of me and I had to decide which to eat first. Oh, and they all smelled like melons. That part was kind of weird." - recovering from being tranquilized
"Are you going to eat that whole thing?" - asking Glory about a mango
"Can I eat this?" - asking Mangrove about a fruit in the rainforest
"Mishish vemmy shmewey." - about a very chewy fruit stuck in his teeth
"Can we eat them?" - talking about the dolphins
"Aww. What happened to the hippos?" - after waking up, wishing for his dream to come back
"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." - about saving Kestrel
"Quit snarling at each other like mini Kestrels." -To Starflight and Tsunami while they were fighting
"We're figuring it out." - To Blaze
"You should go. Fly across the sea as fast as you can. Maybe you'll make it before the volcano really explodes." -To Morrowseer
"Wow. No wonder I've always felt ordinary." - when Morrowseer says the Dragonets are ordinary.
"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." - when Glory was told to sleep, and that if she didn't, she would be sat on
"Sure. I mean I've eaten breakfast. What else do I need to do ? Oooh, maybe some more breakfast. That's a good idea."- To Sunny
"Wow, everything hurts. Uh... Did I miss anything?"
"It'll be over soon, and then I can go have dinner." - Clay's thought when he's fighting Kestrel
"I will not! I'll feel colder! Stop it! Go away! Argh!" - when Tsunami dumped him in the river
"CHICKENS, GIVE UP! WE'RE GOING TO EAT YOU AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! STOP RUNNING AWAY NOW!"- at Jade Mountain Academy, to chickens in the Prey Center
"Well, I know what I want my destiny to be, I want it to be sleeping and being friends with you guys forever. Oh, wait, also feasting! Lots of feasting."
"You said stomping tails was cheating!" in The Dragonet Prophecy, during training with Kestrel
"THINK ABOUT COWS THINK ABOUT COWS THINK ABOUT COWS THINK ABOUT COWS" - when Clay meets Morrowseer
"Peril, I'm not going to be a new Scarlet for you. You get to make your own choices now."-to Peril
"So I guess this means no feast?" When being shoved into a cave at the Summer Palace.
"Maybe Peril is the wings of fire." Clay after Peril burnt the poison out of him.
Starflight is like a brother to Clay. Clay also stated he dreams of Starflight lecturing him. He takes a dragonbite viper bite to save a blind Starflight, and before he was blind, protected him when the NightWing tunnel exploded.
Tsunami is one of Clay's close 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 Queen Glory (Glory and Princess Sunny|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 if he could. Clay is one of the only dragons to actually take Sunny seriously, as shown when Clay paid attention to the "weird crab" Sunny found.
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 asleep 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. Queen Scarlet had only been using her for entertainment. After Clay fights Fjord, Peril brings hot mud to treat his scratches and wounds. 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 but sees the dragonets again in the fifth and sixth books. Peril saves Clay's life in the fifth book by taking out the poison in his flesh after he is bitten by a dragon bite viper. In the sixth book he invites her to the Jade Mountain Academy.
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 back. 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 dreamvisitor, he saw Clay dream about his siblings. Starflight said "More dragons we have to save in this war."
- The substance mud comes in some varieties, such as red, brown, rust, and white.
- Clay dreams about Starflight giving him lectures.
- Clay seems to be skilled in first-aid.
- Clay, Tsunami, and Sunny are the only original Dragonets of Destiny who have, and will ever, meet their mothers.
- Clay often dreams about lots and lots of food.
- Clay once felt like he was about as dangerous as a cauliflower.
- Clay is the fifth dragon to appear in the series, as well as the first MudWing.
- In the annotated version of The Dragonet Prophecy, Tui revealed that she had originally wanted him to have a crush on Glory, but decided that didn't work at all.
- Clay appears to have a liking for more meaty meals; in The Dragonet Prophecy he loves cows and in The Hidden Kingdom Blaze wants to plan a party with the Dragonets of Destiny and offers Clay a camel. Glory assumes that Clay would love to be offered a camel.
- Clay knows of Peril's crush on him, but does not seem to return her feelings. He appears to love her platonically, though.
- Clay never did truly believe in the powers of the NightWings.