Preface and dedication: This is a new story in The Dragon Earl Universe that may or may not interact with the other existing stories. This story is a Fantasy it will have Dragons and Elves and sundry other Fantasy Races. It is also being written as a tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey two of my favorite Fantasy Authors. This story is dedicated to August Christopher as a continuation of his legacy.
THIS STORY IS CHARACTERS INCLUDED FROM "Dragon Earl". DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES OR NEWSGROUPS, DISTRIBUTION AS PARTS OR IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD, DVD, OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S WRITTEN CONSENT. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD ONE (1) COPY OF THIS STORY FOR PERSONAL USE; ANY AND ALL COMMERCIAL USE EXCEPTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REQUIRES THE AUTHORS WRITTEN CONSENT. THE AUTHOR MAY BE CONTACTED AT: The Story Lover
From Chapter One: When he got there, he could see that the glint of gold looked like a small figurine of some sort. Since the rocks that made up the ruins had some sharp edges Żorn reached into his pack and pulled out his work gloves and began removing the rocks, which were actually broken building blocks. After about a half hour or so of removing the blocks, Żorn could finally see more of the figurine. It seemed to be vaguely dragon shaped. At last he removed the last of the blocks covering the figurine and it was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a golden dragon with wings outstretched in flight, it had eyes of sapphire and what looked like a breast plate made of emeralds. Taking a deep breath, Żorn reached down and picked up the figurine. Suddenly his head was spinning, and he lost consciousness, crashing to the ground. Luckily for him, he landed on the grass, and not on any of the rocks; he was only unconscious for a few moments. When he awoke, his head was spinning with flying dragons, strange people, and words and runes he could now understand. Stunned, he dropped the figurine, and his world stopped spinning.
Żorn walked over to a large rock that had a fairly flat surface and sat down to think. Before getting totally lost in his thoughts, he took a quick look at the sun to check the time. It was still high enough in the sky that he could take some time thinking things through. As Żorn began thinking about what had just happened, he began to get confused; everything that had happened today and his dreams all began to run together. He couldn't make sense of anything; he quickly jumped to his feet, grabbed his cajado and found a patch of ground that was flat and clear of obstructions. Without another though he began to run through his exercise katas, and soon he was in the zone again. While he began to analyze the dreams and what had happened when he picked up the figurine, his body was smoothly going through all of the familiar katas.
Suddenly everything clicked and it all revolved around the figurine; that was the key to it all. It was the figurine that was causing his dreams and it was what had led him to this place; now, if he only knew what to do. Before Żorn could figure out what to do, he was rudely thrust back into the here and now as his body finished the katas he had assigned it. The sudden cessation of movement, came as a jarring jolt to his thoughts. If only he had started on the Master Class Katas, he would still be thinking. Oh well it was time to head home; there is always tomorrow to figure things out. He quickly gathered all of his belongings and without thinking, he picked up the figurine and quickly put in his pack and then headed home. He didn't forget to rearrange the rocks to hide the trail.
While Żorn was busy rearranging the rocks to hide the trail, Larl was busy getting things ready for his and Żorn's dinner. Żorn had no idea that Larl was going to do this, but Larl had decided that it was time that he made his true feelings known to Żorn. Larl was bound and determined not to let Żorn get away from him, this time. Larl had known that he was in love with Żorn for several years.
Larl was fixing some smoked cervo in a cream sauce with wild Fungo Porcino, lion's mane mushroom and sauvage oignon. He planned on serving it over some of the rice like grain that the village also used to bake bread. He had added a few of the root vegetables that he had found in Żorn's kitchen. He had also started a small fire in Żorn's fireplace and had lit a few candles for atmosphere.
Larl wasn't worried about the candles burning out too soon, as his family made all the candles in the village. He would just take the left over wax and make more candles. His village was very self sufficient and had found uses for almost everything that would normally have been thrown away, in other villages.
For dessert, Larl was going to served some of Żorn's wonderful bread drizzled with warm honey. He knew he wasn't the cook or baker that Żorn was, but thanks to Żorn's patient teaching, he was getting to be pretty good. Larl was desperately hoping that this meal would help him plead his case for Żorn to become his mate for life.
The villagers name for their village was Aldeia del Valle D'oro in the old tongue. Which translates roughly to Village of the Valley of Gold. However, the name actually means Village of the Golden Valley. Although there was very little actual gold to be found in the valley, the villagers called it the Golden Valley because it harbored so much of what they need to live, and live fairly well.
Larl wasn't worried about what the rest of the villagers or even his friends would think if he became Żorn's life-mate. His village had no real 'marriage' ceremony; in fact, the word marriage didn't exist in their language. Larl was thinking that he was very glad that he and Żorn lived in the village that they did. 'We are very lucky that the village we live in goes by the code of everybody pitches in and who you mate with is your own business. The only main rule we have is that everyone is responsible for raising the children. Of course the corollary is that at least one member of a couple be available to care for the children during the day. Luckily for us, Żorn loves children; as for me, well let's just say I don't dislike them.'
Larl decided it was time to stir the cream sauce and check on the grain mixture as well. Dinner was almost done and if Żorn didn't get home soon, Larl was going to have to move all of the cooking pots to the side of the fireplace so they would just stay warm. The only thing he was really worried about was the grain dish as cooking it to long would result in a very mushy dish.
As Larl was stirring his cream sauce, he was also thinking about how happy his family would be with the extra space. 'The only reason that Żorn and I would have to notify the village elders that they had pledged to each other was if we needed to move to larger quarters. One other reason would be if we were going to take in any of the village children who had lost their main parents. All the villagers really cared about was that their children be loved and cared for and that no one was forced into a relationship that they didn't want. As far as they were concerned, love was love and that was it!'
Żorn was far more tired than he thought he should be, that was until he remembered his Master's Testing. Add in the fact that he didn't get enough sleep the night before, and he had plenty of reasons to be tired. His stomach started grumbling reminding Żorn that he hadn't planned anything for dinner. 'I think I will just go home clean up quickly, change clothes and see what is available at the village kitchen.' However, his mind changed quickly as he neared his cave and smelled the heavenly aromas that were wafting out through his open window. 'Who is cooking dinner for me, and why?'
The wonderful aromas that were escaping from his window caused Żorn to quicken his pace. As he walked through the doorway, he called out;
"Hello, I am home; who is cooking for me?"
Larl heard Żorn's voice and left the kitchen to say hello and hug his friend.
"I thought I would fix you a small celebratory meal, and then we could spend some quiet time together, and just talk." Larl answered his friend as he gave him a big bear-hug.
"Let go of me you big lug, I smell, and need to clean up, first. How long before your wonderful smelling meal is ready?" Żorn gave his friend a quick peck on the cheek as he slipped out of Larl's encircling arms. The short kiss stunned Larl just enough for Żorn to escape.
By the time Larl could frame an answer, Żorn was halfway to his sleeping chamber.
"You only have about ten minutes, so make it snappy, O' Mighty Armsmaster." Larl finally replied.
Żorn quickly cleaned up and changed into some comfortable lounging clothes, and then headed to the kitchen to see what his friend Larl had fixed for dinner. Arriving in the kitchen area, Żorn was astounded; his friend Larl had outdone himself with dinner. Neither Żorn nor the rest of Larl's friends knew that Larl even knew how to cook!
When Żorn arrived back in the kitchen area he was surprised again. Larl had set the small table that he hardly ever used and it looked very nice indeed. He was beginning to realize that this meal meant quite a bit to Larl and maybe himself as well.
"Anything I can do to help you, Larl?" He asked with a smile for his friend.
"No, just have a seat and I will serve us shortly." Larl took a moment away from his cooking and walked over and gave his friend a hug and a quick peck on the cheek.
Żorn sat there stunned, he wasn't quite sure what was happening, but he liked it so far. Larl was as good as his word and no sooner than Żorn had sat down, Larl was putting a plate of wonderful smelling food in front of him. Sitting there in shock, Żorn was pulled back to the here and now by Larl sitting down across from him.
"Dig in, Żorn, I promise it won't poison you."
Without further prompting Żorn did exactly that, and did not have much time for conversation after that, as he was too busy eating, to speak.
The food was perfectly cooked and Żorn was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful everything was. Finally he realized that he needed to say something as Larl was staring at him with a forlorn look on his face.
"Relax, Larl, everything is absolutely wonderful, I do have to wonder if you are trying to tell me something? None of us knew that you could cook, let alone cook as well as this. With my baking and your cooking, we would make a great team........ahh so that is what this is really about?" As soon as Żorn had said team, Larl's face lit up like a full moon.
"Well, ahh......ahh, maybe," was all Larl could stammer out. 'This is not the way I wanted to tell him.'
"It's okay, Larl, I feel the same way, too, I never said anything either, as you never gave me any clues that you liked me, that way."
While Larl was sitting there like a goldfish gulping breathes Żorn got up from his seat and walked over and stood next to Larl. Żorn then leaned over and gave his best friend a big hug and a sweet kiss on the lips.
For some strange reason, instead of freezing up or freaking out, Larl instead returned Żorn's kiss with gusto. After several minutes of passionate kissing, Żorn broke the kiss off.
"C'mon, love let's move this to someplace more comfortable and then we can talk." As Żorn said that, he reached down and pulled Larl to his feet and dragged him into the main chamber and over to a pile of furs and pillows. The pillows were stuffed with dried ferns, cats tails and other fluffy plants. All together it was a comfy place to sit in front of a warm and cheery fire.
Once they got comfy, they talked for several hours and really got to know each other. Of course, they could have gotten the talking part out of the way much faster, but they kept stopping to kiss and cuddle and the words just faded away. Finally the fire was only embers and the candles were sputtering there way to an end.
"Larl, c'mon, let's go to bed and get some sleep; we can talk some more tomorrow."
Larl's answer was him jumping up and grabbing Żorn's hand and dragging his new love into the sleeping chamber.
"Żorn, can we just cuddle and sleep, tonight? I don't think I am ready for anything else yet?"
"Of course, love, I was going to ask you the same thing. I also want to take it slow and steady. I want to know everything about you before we do anything else."
Larl's response was to grab his love by the hand throw him onto the bed and then climb in, pulling the covers over himself and Żorn, as he did. Once he was comfortable cuddling up to his new love; he then gave him a kiss on the neck and said.
"Good night, my love, sweet dreams."
A sleepy voice replied as his hand was pulled in tight against his love's chest.
"To you, too, my love."
The two young lovers didn't get a lot of sleep that night, but not for the reasons you might expect. In this case, it was all Żorn's fault or at least his dreams and that of the dragon figurine he wore.
As Żorn drifted off into sleep, his dream overtook him and he stirred slightly. The slight stirring broke into Larl's subconscious, which caused him to pull Żorn just a bit tighter into his chest. As Larl was pulling his love closer, his hand moved and landed directly on top of his love's. Unbeknownst to Larl, that was the hand that Żorn was clasping his dragon figurine with. That act pulled them both into the dream world of the past.
Żorn's eyes opened onto the now familiar scene of the huge Golden Dragon Statue. However, before he could completely get his bearings, he found himself flying on the back of a huge crimson dragon, over territory he had never seen before. There were towns and villages and castles and temples, like nothing he had ever experienced before. As he was looking around, he was shocked by Larl's voice in his head.
'Żorn, isn't this fun?'
Before Żorn could respond, the world began to spin and everything went black. When things became clearer again, he found that not only his eyesight had changed, but his vantage point had, as well. It took him a few more seconds to realize what had happened; somehow, he was now the dragon and his love was now the rider.
Larl's tone of voice in his head had changed dramatically with the switch in positions. Before either one could say anything else, they were back inside the temple looking at the Gold Dragon again...
When they woke up the next morning, they were both running late, as the dream had kept them from falling into a deep sleep, for hours. By the time the dream had released them, it was nearly dawn. Since they both were exhausted, neither of their natural alarm clocks functioned, and they both overslept. With a quick cold wash and a quick peck on the cheek, they dashed out of the sleeping chamber. On their way out of Żorn's cave, they each grabbed a handful of nuts and fruit to eat on their way to class.
The boys were razzed slightly as they came into the classroom together; especially when one of their friends noticed that Żorn was wearing Larl's top and vice versa. The two boys started toward their seats when Ecclesiastic Dugg interrupted them.
"Żorn, please come here; I have something different for you to work with, today." Ecclesiastic Dugg then led his charge to a well lit alcove with rolls and rolls of ancient scrolls.
Żorn dutifully followed his teacher, wondering what form of torture awaited him. 'I hope this is something I can do, as I don't want to get kept after class. Larl and I really need to talk about us and definitely about the dream.'
Żorn respectfully took the seat that Ecclesiastic Dugg pointed at and was surprised to see that his favourite quill and inkwell were there, waiting for him.
"This is what I would like you to work on, and don't worry if you have trouble with it. So far, none of the students have been able to reproduce it accurately." Ecclesiastic Dugg then placed a very ancient scroll in front of Żorn.
Immediately, Żorn could see the problem; the writing was in a very archaic form of Southern High Temple Script. Even the modern form of Southern High Temple Script was hard to read and copy, but this form was virtually impossible. All the letters were slanted at a sharp angle and all of the capital letters had curlicues galore that ran into each other. If that wasn't enough, the serifs were miniature z's!
"I will do the best I can, Ecclesiastic Dugg, but this is going to take me awhile to decipher." He earnestly informed his teacher.
Żorn struggled mightily with his assigned task and finally, after about an hour of struggling, things began to speed up. It seemed either his eyes or his brain had finally reached the conclusion that it was faster to just ignore or block out the curlicues and serifs. Once that had happened, the copying went much faster. Just before Żorn's hand cramped up, Ecclesiastic Dugg announced that it was time for a break.
Żorn quickly caught up with Larl and the rest of their friends. Tomm and Sebastian, of course, wanted to know why they were wearing each others clothes. The two friends teased Larl and Żorn unmercifully; they also wanted to know why Żorn didn't run that morning. Luckily for the embarrassed pair, Ecclesiastic Dugg called the clas back in, before things got embarrassingly out of hand.
While all the kids except the toddlers were in class, those villagers whose jobs didn't take them out of the village that day were having a meeting. For it seems that neither Larl nor Żorn were as circumspect as they had thought they were. Most of the villagers that knew the two well, including Weapons Master Azeencha had long come to the conclusion that Żorn and Larl were a couple. If they had asked Tomm and Sebastian their opinions, the answer would have been the same. The villagers now began planning a party to celebrate the two lads finally coming to their senses. One of the first things that was decided was that the lads definitely needed larger living quarters. While one party of villagers went to find and clean the proper quarters, another party took the younger children hunting for flowers and pretty rocks and plants, to decorate the new lovers' new quarters.
The lads quickly regained theirs seats and Żorn headed back to work on the very difficult scroll. Not paying a lot of attention to where he was walking, as his thoughts were on Larl; Żorn dislodged a very, very ancient scroll. The scroll crashed to the floor, startling Żorn out of his daydream. He very promptly leaned down and picked up the scroll. As Żorn was carefully picking up the ancient scroll, he noticed that this scroll was made of some kind of leather, not parchment or papyrus like most of the scrolls that he had worked with.
The dark brown parchment unrolled slightly as Żorn was picking it up. Although the script used seemed unfamiliar to Żorn, something was tickling in the back of his head. His dragon figurine hidden beneath his tunic began to glow and become slightly warm. As the warmth of the figurine began to penetrate Żorn's daze, he suddenly began reading the scroll out loud in a language no one in the class could understand! The more Żorn read, the more he understood, until all of a sudden, there was a flash of light; and Żorn was now looking over the shoulder of a scribe as he was writing the scroll.
Well, here is another tumultuous chapter in the life of Żorn. The question is, now what will happen with Żorn and Larl? Where is the ancient temple? Will the two adopt children? Only the Shadow knows. Tune back sometime in the future for the answer to these and many other questions.
The Story Lover
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