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Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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#26 2005-12-23 19:33:08

Re: Reconciliations (C) 1997-2005 by J Lynn Danis

Here we go again...

Prologue

    There?s a simple magic in the soul?something that guards the compass of your heart and tells you what is salvation and what is destruction. It is the divine seed of hope, faith, and charity. But the briars of sin and doubt can pierce good seeds that would bear sweet fruit and drain them of their purity. It would be far too easy for a soul to fail and give up hope, letting despair wrap its vine of affliction around it until it choked out all joy and morphed it into lamenting. A soul that stands strong in the thistles of adversity will sing a triumphant ballad that will bring peace not even  the most beautiful lullaby can bring. In these times of peril, men and women shall band together in truth, with valor and virtue as their armor, cutting through the wiles of evil with swords of truth, knowing they shall overcome all that is ill. That is what the people of Slyvanlyre did, for they knew that they were designed to vanquish their enemies and restore peace and freedom for all those who would partake of it.
    The summer season had just began, where the blossoms were rich and the smell thereof was pleasing.  The air was fresh and none too warm. That was when they heard of them-the armies of Torkain.  Long before, perhaps a little longer than the oldest of tomes had documented, Luna Autumnsong was kidnapped and spelled to be wicked.  She began a war against all of the human kind, guarded by beasts of all kinds from the spirit-were to the gryphon and the draygonn. But then the spell was broken and Luna Autumnsong herself helped saved the world and forged great treaties among all the peoples of Slyvanlyre.
    Over time, Torkain was forgotten, as well as the sorrows and horrors that came with it. Tranquility seemed to reign over their peaceful country that was surrounded by the Seas.  People forgot that Torkain even existed, much less had once ruled over them.  Even the government powers became lax, and wasted away like fine wool eaten by the moth.  No one was prepared for war when it came.
    They did not understand it, nor could they comprehend it.  The warriors that left to fight could not tell their children who the enemy was or why their country had been invaded, for the records that had been preserved were long lost in a sense that no one was learned enough to understand the language in which it was written. It was if they had stepped into an adder?s path and then asked the adder why he wanted to bite them.  In the process of luxury and peace, they had forgotten that history repeats itself.  Many of the people had forgotten, in their pride, what it meant to be thankful for what they had. They were always seeking for something more than what they needed. However, most of them were good, humble, and warm-hearted.
    The good people of Arendina had never seen such cruel men.  They committed deeds even the most sinister citizen would not commit, for the Torkainians endeavored in all sorts of secret combinations. They were thieves and liars for the most part, though there was the occasionally rarity of a good one among the bad, but all too often those who were once bright  became dull and lifeless, mere puppets for their masters.  They gave up their will for pleasure and to be noted among their fellow men and woman as their ?comrades.? Yet their works were known as evil even unto those comrades and more importantly, and noted by the Ancients, but that is another story.
    In this time where brother fought against brother, the people fled to Taldour. Ceadurich, the neighboring country across the seas with its dryads, fauns, lynx-centaurs, and Fair Folk could not help save them. They could not protect the people of Arendina, for the island itself was too small and there wasn?t room for any other visitors, especially humans. All they could do was send supplies from their extraordinarily large food stores, for the peoples of Ceadurich were not war-like in any matter but instead, were farmers.  If they had to go to war, they would do it when the Torkainians reached their home soil.
    Time passed and the war raged on. The only relief came from Ceadurich, as the enemy had cut off further supplies from the northern parts of Arendina. The soldiers fought well and valiantly, keeping their main stronghold Varkonna well fortified.  Eventually Taldour was evacuated and any refugees still fleeing towards the West Coast were sent further south to be protected.  There were only a few people that remained ?the royal family and their staff. 
    It seemed, though, that both sides were more concerned about ending the war than conquering each other. 
    That is why one lonely night during the war, the leader of the Torkainian armies, Chadan and his savage followers slipped past Varkonna and onto Taldour to Mayrissa Palace, leaving behind a good portion of the army to wage against Varkonna.
    It was all too soon that the plans set into motion by the Torkainians came to fruition.  They passed through the white, empty streets of Taldour, one black mass in the moonlight.  When they passed through the palace gates with their delicate rose arches, Chadan lifted his left hand, palm up, and looked thoughtfully at the rippling moat that encompassed Mayrissa. His men halted.
    ?Sark, Deri, Farran, come to my aid.?
    Three men shuffled out of the crowd and bowed low before their master, who did not even look at them.  Chadan dropped a small metal ball into Sark?s hand.
    ?I trust that you shall make the Black Serpent known to all who see thee??
    They did not answer but instead, vanished off into the darkness.  Chadan waited for some time before they returned, after having deposited the orb into the moat where it would wind into the water system of Mayrissa and get rid of any particularly pesky guards and palace staff. They came and bowed once more, then melted back into the mass.
    ?Thank-you,? he said in a brusque manner, nodded curtly, and then with a flick of his hand, ordered that they fill the city and gather any provisions that were useful while he did his work but to be back by the time he returned. In an efficient rush and a few puffs of smoke, Chadan vanished just as the sleek body of a freshwater pike shot out of the moat to greet the night air filled with the scent of fresh meat.

    Books, books, books.  Books with bindings of forest green to pearl white or aging yellow, they had once spanned the great library built in Mayrissa for the public. But in war times, the books had been used for other purposes and now the great library was under lock, key, and spell, in darkness, all that knowledge waiting to be used but would not be for quite a long time. Now there were only a few books left outside of the great library.  They were children?s tales and learning books for the royal child, Analora?s Rubie, to read.  She had been named after her Aunt, Analora, and had seemed to been granted her Aunt?s favorite past time-her love for reading books.  She had been sent after supper to the Children?s Library as her parent?s called it, to await a meeting with her father, recently returned home from the war for a small visit, and her mother. Even for such a small child, she was bright with words, but in the wonders and the workings of the world was found lacking, being far too young to understand the natural order of nature and of people?or so her parents thought. She often heard the words ?war? and ?danger? but never questioned about them, knowing her mother?s eagle eyes would bore into her skull if she asked about it, or the Queen would turn her away with a ?you are far too young to know.? Thus her inquisitive mind was stifled but she still was a child, and children are prone to spend time thinking of far-off adventures and daring knights saving princesses from evil wizards.
    Analora had been turning the pages of her most favorite book, The Tale of the Last Faun, rocking back and forth in the handmade wooden rocking horse when she heard an odd buzzing sound.  At first she did not listen, lost in the wonders of her large picture book. But then a sinister hiss echoed in the hallway outside and she closed the book, turning her head.  What an odd sound.  Nurse did not make that sound, nor Charles and Aaron, her guards. It was not a natural sound but a sound she would have imagined while visiting her cousins in Ceadurich.  (After all, there were many unique creations of the Ancients there.) The air seemed thick with dread and cold, far colder than it should have been even with the low-burning embers in the fireplace. The feeling smoothly crept over her and the joy she had found in her book was almost instantly snuffed out. She dropped the book and it fell on the wool tapestry that served as a carpet in the Library with a muffled sound.  The rattling began?a louder sound this time, but more subtle in its meaning, and cautious, as if it was mulling over something.  A slender nose pressed under the door frame.  Its tongue flickered out and then returned and the black scaley nose disappeared. Analora gasped, her eyes alight with curiosity and perhaps a little terror.
    The little girl, dressed in a charming green gauze gown stitched with silver dragons, slipped off the rocking chair, her face askew. She stuck out her chin and stubbornly inched towards the door.  It couldn?t have been a real Dragon, no, nor a Dragon?s smaller cousin-the draygonn. At the very least it had to be lizard like, perhaps another cousin to the draygonn.   If it wasn?t friendly, then why had not Nurse come to save her?  But if it was friendly, then where were Charles and Aaron?
    She touched the doorknob and placed her ear carefully against the wood. She could hear nothing, so whatever it was, it must be gone.
    Analora gingerly opened the door.  The only light in the hall came from the torches that lined it.  The flames were crackling as per usual in their iron-checkered sconces.  She tucked her short penny-gold hair behind her ears and stepped out, her dainty feet hardly wishing to move.  She turned her head, left and right, then left but as she turned right, she froze.  There in the hallway was a black and gray serpent with short, powerful limbs, and three fingers for each foot and very large, blunt claws. It cocked its slender head with its pronounced overbite and short stubby horns that protruded out from its chin, and hissed softly. Three rows of plates extended down from its head to tail but and most serpents, it had no wings.
    The ebon and silver plated serpent opened its mouth and a fine, silvery smoke dribbled out and began to advance towards Analora.  Analora watched in curious horror before her legs found reason to move.  Behind it, a man in a forest colored cowl appeared and snapped his fingers. Analora shot off, lifting her troubling skirts.

    Queen Brianne carefully tucked a stray strawberry blond hair underneath the small woven circlet that served as her crown.  She did not see the need for large, obstruct crowns that made you have headaches.  Looking at herself steadily in the mirror, she turned, her purple jacquard gown woven with silver dragons trailing behind her.  Carefully stilling the miniature bells that served as a girdle about her slim waist, she turned from the mirror and proceeded slowly out of the washing room keeping her hands placed elegantly at her sides.
    She had been taught to leave her past life as a child behind.  A Queen would always act with dignity, never rushing, perhaps hastening, even in times of battle. A real Queen, despite her heritage, must be known for her decorum. She had learned that countless times at the Alexandria University, even when wielding a sword.  Perhaps that is why she held herself most prestigiously when she stepped out of the open door and closed it firmly behind her before making sure no one was around to see her. 
    Brianne slid over to the cool metal banister and sat on it.  Without further ado, she slid down it with a most rebellious smile.  She landed very gently, her petite feet carrying her forward with calm repose again.  She swept around the corner and almost bumped into her daughter. Analora squeaked and came to a halt, gasping.
    ?Analora, is this a dire emergency? Why are you running??  Brianne said, raising just one eyebrow. 
    ?A scary man! And a serpent! By the Library! Charles, Aaron, and Nurse are all gone.?
    ?You?ve been reading a little too much, Ana.? She took her daughter?s hand and pushed her ahead, ignoring all of Analora?s pleas.  She held steadily to the child as she tried to get away. ?That?s enough, Analora. If you don?t behave, you will not see your father.?  Analora stomped her foot and turned her scathing gaze to the floor, biting her lip furiously so that she did not scream.  She ripped her hand out of her mother?s and marched forward.  Her mother ignored the tantrum, and briskly walked down the hallway until they reached the large oak doors of the thrown room.  She opened the door, and watched her daughter pass into the room. 
    King Kadian was standing by his throne, dressed in smoky black and white furs and a heavy black tabbard with a little bit of his chain-mail showing through where the material had warn thin.  His eyes were dark and solemn but as soon as Analora appeared, the stress only showed in the wrinkles beneath his eyes.   Analora saw him and rushed forward, nearly tripping on her dress.
    ?Papa!? she cried and was pleased to see her father?s welcoming smile.  Kadian knelt down and grasped the child in a bear hug. Analora threw her arms around him. ?I?ve missed you!?
    ?I?ve missed you as well, little one,? Kadian said, and pulled away from the hug. He tweaked her nose affectionately.  ?Tell me, have you been fighting dragons lately?? he asked, looking at her dress.
    Analora shook her head.  ?No, papa, but I saw a serpent in the hallway and a man.?  She said, looking at with him with mistrusting eyes. 
    Brianne had already made it across the room and carefully pried her away.  ?Ana, did I not tell you to not tell foolish stories to your father??
    ?But I?m not lying!? Analora retorted shrilly.  ?I?m not lying, papa, I?m not!? She began to cry.
    Kadian exchanged looks with Brianne.  ?Bri,? he said sternly, as if to say ?This isn?t the time to do that.  Let the child be a child.?  He took Analora back and said, ?Now, did I say you were??
    ?No,? she said, rubbing her eyes to wipe away the tears of frustration.
    ?Then we?ll talk about it later.   Right now, Ana,? he said, calming the child by giving her another hug, ?we need to worry about your safety.?

    Chadan chuckled as he watched the royal daughter escaping.  He fondly reached and touched the serpent?s nose.  ?Your work here is done, my friend. But we still have a lot of work to do.? He scratched the knobs above the serpent?s cloudy silver eyes and then let his hand slide down its neck.  He jerked his fist and the serpent, without a wail, grew smaller until it was able to leap up on Chadan?s open palm.  He reached into his robes and safely placed the serpent in his pocket, then calmly walked in the eerie light brought by the firelight down the hallway towards the Throne Room.  Shadows danced and flared across the walls, creating images of roaring monsters fighting valiant angels and stories never told, ages old.  He smiled slightly?a brief, amused smile at the thought.
    It was some time before he reached the Throne Room.  He watched thoughtfully as Analora tried to explain about the man and the serpent.  He wondered why it was so unbelievable.  Of course, he would make sure that they knew the truth in just a little bit.  It was sort of fun to watch the family fued.  He watched Brianne launch into a tirade about safety while her daughter made scornful looks in her direction.  Chadan could see why her daughter was just as bold, having a mother who laid down the law and stuck to it like tar to feathers.     
     ?She must go somewhere where these once-peaceable wretches,  who have invaded our land, our country, are less likely to find her.?  Queen Brianne said, placed her hands on her hips, an extremely saucy look on her face.   ?And it shall be done, even if it means sending her to Ceadurich where Queen Ka?dena may watch over her. We can?t wait until the end of your next campaign to go somewhere.?
    ?We have been through this time and time again, Bri.  As much as you may howl and screech, I am still the head of this family and the road is too dangerous to travel.? Kadian said, brushing his hand through his graying hair.  ?I still have to lead my troops.  The safest place besides here is Varkonna, in the heart of the terror.  At least I could know you were safe.?
    ?And what happens if they break through your defenses?? Brianne threw out her arms wide, ?I mean, how long can our troops really fight? Most of them are fighting for their freedom but not everyone has the strength to work that work of death upon these Torkainians.?
    ?Bri,? Kadian said, clutching his wife by the shoulders.  ?It will be safe. Perhaps we can go to Ceadurich but we are in the middle of a war.  Even if Ka?dena can place a spell to send her into the future, what good would it do us if this war ends soon?  Are we to send her off, never to see her again? Yes, our daughter needs safety. She is more precious than anything that can be given to us, Bri, but if she does not have parents, then she cannot have the kind of life we want to give her.?
    ?Is this so impossible to do?? Brianne replied, ?Send us with some of your best men and we could go and do as we need to.  I?d rather fill the child with story tales than fill her with images of war.  If you will not go with us then we shall go alone.?    She slipped past him and took Analora by the hand, the bells tinkling softly.
    ?If you are so stubborn, then that is your choice.  You pretend that you know everything about this war and that you are the only one that is at stake.? 
    Brianne whirled on him with a snarl, ?I think more about our daughter than these people I do not know!?  The bells on her waist jarred together loudly.
    ?These people are giving our lives for us and you want to give that away?  If you would listen to some sense, perhaps you could understand.?
    ?I do understand. I?m a mother.?
    Brianne stuck out her chin but the bells around her waist gave off a sorrowful tone.  She sniffed once or twice and gracefully sliding down the dias with her daughter. She stopped and placed a hand against her neck, not daring to look at her daughter. She turned her fizzy red head towards Kadian and then looked away. Why could he not see that they would lose the war anyway?  It was good to fight until one could no longer fight if that?s what you really wanted, but Brianne preferred to be alive than dead as well as her family. 
    ?And mother?s protect their children. I cannot see her slain. I will go to Ceadurich and have Ka?dena watch over her. Then I shall come back for you and hope that you are not dead.?
    ?Bri...? Kadian said, his obviously strained.  He shook his fist and then said slowly, ?Then know I will always love you and be with you. I will send who I can to go with you, seeing as you will do your own will regardless of the reason.?
    Chadan tilted his head, slowly and carefully pulling back his green robes and slipped in through the door.  He came through the door on the side of the room where he was not instantly noticed.  During the conversation he had slowly slipped up to behind the King?s chair.  ?Ceadurich is beautiful this time of year. You really should go with them. You know, make it a last family vacation.?
    Kadian yelped upright, pulling out his lightning shaped sword, gripping the topaz hilt. He stared at the man with the greasy black hair and nonchalant, bleak eyes and he stepped back, his hands reaching for Brianne but Brianne swept passed him, ready to take her fury out on someone else, especially the disgusting looking man with the bent nose.
    ?Who are you, madman??
    ?Madman?? Chadan asked, rubbing his chin, ?well, I suppose that fits me well enough but I?m not mad. At least, not completely.?  He raised his eyebrows at the Queen?s acidic glare.  ?I?m sorry. Was that supposed to be an insult??
    ?Insult!?? The Queen bellowed, swaying her hips, the bells ringing together loudly.  ?I asked you who were. Now answer me.?  She yanked the sword from her husband and struck it out towards him.  ?Tell me. Now.?
    ?Testy, testy, testy, aren?t we?? he held up his hands in an almost innocent gesture. ?Oh, I?m just a visitor, you know...sorry for the late-night calling  but I just couldn?t make it in the daytime, so here I am.?
    ?How did you get past the guards?? Kadian pressed, taking the sword back from his wife. She scowled at him but said nothing.
    ?First you ask who I am and then you demand to know how I got here. Shouldn?t you be asking me if I?d like a nice cup of your country?s famous Cherry Cinnamon Cocoa?? he nodded most elegantly and before the King could react, he swept out his hand and pointed.  ?Sit,? he commanded and King Kadian sat in his chair before he could attempt to resist. Brianne kept her glaring eyes at the man. But now she was sword-less.
    ?We don?t serve to unwanted guests,? Brianne barked at him.  ?Especially greasy, grimy ones like you.? 
    ?You are a very charming woman, Miss Brianne, but you lack a certain flare that I have, so, why don?t you sit down a spell as well?? He asked.
    ?I?d rather stand.?  She replied sweetly.
    ?Then stay. It makes no difference to me,? Chadan said and Brianne tumbled to the floor, her hands and feet stuck to it. ?And for your information, my hair is not greasy. I just waxed it this morning.?
    ?Then your code of dress stinks,? Brianne snapped, struggling desperately to pull free.  Kadian himself was still struggling but was leaving all the talking to his wife.
    Rubie, who had been clutching her mother?s skirts, but small enough to still hide behind her fallen mother peeked around her.  ?I saw you in the hallway!?
    ?Why, yes you did, little one.  Quite observant that child is. And you wouldn?t believe her.  I couldn?t help but overhear that.  I?ll let you know that it is unusual to see a man and a serpent in one?s hallway but I?m sure in times of war, this is far more plausible.? Chadan looked around Brianne.  Analora ducked behind her mother, who had gone silent.  ?For her sake, I?ll tell you who I am.?  He stood. ?I am Chadan, Master of the Armies of Torkain.? He said in a very loud voice, then yawned. ?And frankly, I?m getting rather tired of our little war.  So I decided to hurry up and get it over with.?  He grinned maliciously.
    ?Get out of here before your armies find themselves leaderless!? Kadian said, he face turning red from the strain.  He continued to jerk and pull against the bonds of the spell.
    Chadan laughed mildly at the outburst.  ?Oh, really?  No, no, no.  You?ve got it all wrong!  You see, after our little game, you?ll be the one to leave, and it?s,? he waved his hand in the air, ?about to end, you see.? He looked off behind the thrones, as if watching invisible butterflies float away.
     ?Guards!  Guards!? Kadian yelled bearishly.
    ?Oh dear,? Chadan said in a dreary tone, ?Little Kadian is calling out for his guards.  That?s almost as bad as calling out for mommy.?
    ?Do not call me by my first  name!? Kadian furiously interrupted.
    ?DO NOT INTERRUPT WHEN YOUR ELDERS ARE SPEAKING TO YOU!? Chadan roared, then resumed his composure, sniffing out of his bent nose delicately. ?Now, I shall call you what I will, when I will.  And when I have no use for mere puppets like you, I shall get rid of you, just like your guards. I shall go as far as to say that they are gone, and they won?t come back for a very long time.  In fact, never is more like it.  I don?t think any of them, even with all their foul valor, could get past what I?ve put them up against,? he waved his hand in the air, conjuring up the sign for the Black Serpent.  It disappeared as quickly as it had come. He gave a short, cruel laugh that sent chills rolling madly through their spines.
    ?You?ll pay for this, Chadan!? the King gaped out scathingly.
    ?I could make use of a pun right now but I will not, otherwise the Ancients will be after me with lightning bolts and indigestion.? He scratched his nose.
    ?You?ll be far less popular if you kill us.? Brianne stated.
    ?I am quite popular, Miss Brianne, and I?ll have you know that publicity really doesn?t mean anything to me. But since you?re so inclined to insult my ability to rise above your petty, sarcastic insults, I?ll show you this to remember me by.? 
    Chadan felt around in his pockets and pulled out a very yellow, thick newspaper. There was a painting on the front page of the newspaper of Chadan and a bakery shop.  The headline was ?Local Evil Overlord Chadan Saves Bakery Shop in Burning Village.?  The newspaper was called ?Evil Overlords R Us.?
    Brianne couldn?t help herself. ?Oh dear, I?m being attacked by an Evil Overlord who has a fetish for muffins.  If you?re so well liked in your homeland, just why did you attack us??
    ?Fame and fortune, dear lady, go hand in hand,? Chadan replied, sniffing pompously. ?And your country has a certain...thing that I want.  Yes. Something I?m sure you don?t know about.  You may think she?s just precious to you, but she is far more precious to me.?
    It took a moment for the thoughts to sink in.
    ?You don?t mean you intend to kidnap our daughter, do you?? Brianne asked slowly.
    ?Indeed I do, ma?am.  But she won?t be your daughter anymore. She?ll be mine.?  He tossed the newspaper in front of her.  Chadan slapped his palms together before the conversation could continue.  Stone vines disgorged out from the floor and wrapped themselves about the King and Queen.  Brianne screamed with pain.  Analora shrieked and turned to run, stripped from protection, only to find herself staring at her father who had turned to stone.  She whipped around.  Statues! Her parents were statues! 
    The tears came unbidden.  She reached out and touched her father?s cold hand and turned to stare at Chadan.
    ?You killed them! You..killed them!?
    ?Not really. They?re just statues.  And very life-like ones at that.?  Chadan paused and thoughtfully looked at her.  ?Would you like another look at that serpent??
    ?No!? shouted Analora.  She dashed behind her mother?s statue, then went running towards the door on the other side of the room.  Chadan smirked and waved his hands.  Every door in the room closed and locked.
    ?There?s no need to run, little one.?  Chadan reached into his pocket and pulled out the serpent.  It slithered up his arm and affectionately rub against his neck.  ?I have a present for you.?
    Analora had reached the door and began to pound on it.  Realizing it was useless, she turned, and stood flat against the door. Chadan ignored her. 
    His gnarled hands once again reached into his robe and he pulled out an emerald.  It was somewhat heart-shaped and clear-cut.  A normal stone.  He handed it to the serpent, who curled around it, still managing to stay on Chadan?s narrow shoulders. The Overlord cupped his hands together and the serpent blew the silvery mist into his palms.  Chadan blew on it and small ice like flames began to lick at his hands.  Muttering under his breath he created the spell and then ordered the serpent to jump into his hands.  As soon as the serpent and the emerald touched the flames, they vanished and the serpent, still coiled about the stone, was still.  But now inside the heart of the emerald was a pulsing, dark glow.  And in that dark glow was something mysterious and subtle but most certainly evil.
     Chadan pulled out a silver chain and threaded it through a small gap between the serpent and the emerald. The duo of evil was complete.  He looked towards Analora and beckoned her, ?Come to me.? 
    Analora yelped and her feet began to move of their own will.  She turned and grasped the door handles in an attempt to stop herself, screaming and crying more than she had ever done before.  A wave of nausea swept over her and she was forced to comply before the world went black.  She hardly noticed when Chadan slipped the necklace over her head but the change was instant.
    Analora stopped the blubbering, giving herself a disgusted glare.  She quickly wiped away the tears and mucus and coughed.  Chadan waited until she had finished.
    ?My dear, why are you crying?? he asked softly.
    ?I don?t know,? she said, staring at Chadan curiously.  ?But those people....those people you turned into stone were so awful.  I don?t see why they ever kidnapped me.  I?m glad you came to rescue me.?
    ?Of course,? said Chadan, ?after all, I?m your father.?  He tenderly touched her on the head and then hugged her.
    ?And this dress they put me in, father. Can?t you find something more practical??
    ?Yes, but later, dear.? He motioned to the statues. ?How do you like them? I made them special for you.?   
    ?They?re absolutely perfect that way,? Analora smirked and then reached up to take Chadan?s hand.
    ?Home?? she asked.
    ?Yes.?
    They made their way swiftly out of Mayrissa. Outside then men were waiting, still, and as many as leaves scattered on an autumn?s day.  Most of them were sitting, but ready for action. Chadan walked confidently out of Mayrissa, shouting, ?Men!  Arise, and meet my renewed daughter, future leader and Queen!?
    There was no shouting, no parade, but a sense of deep honor and appreciation that enveloped the air. 
    ?Where?s  Jadesenser?? Analora asked.  ?Didn?t you bring  Jadesenser??
    ?Look up,? Chadan instructed, hiding a testy smile.
    Above them an elder green Dragon with metallic scales circled, her tiny, frilly ears flicking back and forth.  She had large thick claws and a large membranous crest ran from the base of her skull down to the tip of her tail.  Large white spikes protruded out of her neck down her back and to the end of her tail.  She was the Eldest of Chadan?s Dragons and she knew who the child was...though the child did not know who she was.
    She slowly began to sing, a low, music sound, like a faraway horn.  The dark clouds that had been gathering on the horizon seemed to move faster but as they came closer, Analora saw that they were Dragons!  Each and every one was different?a whole flight of Dragons, ready to bear away the Torkainian armies.  They wheeled and soared, then dived and caught their masters in their claws then tossing them onto their backs.
    ?Jadesenser, come to me!? Analora commanded and Jadesenser could not resist.  She dropped down and bowed her head before the child and the child climbed on.  ?Jadesenser, let?s go home.?


Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen
I take you in - Rebirthing Full, Skillet

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