By The Story Lover
Preface and dedication: This story may seem familiar to you and there are reasons for that. This story is inspired by “Memories” and “A New Day Dawns” as well as the true life story of our favorite nephews THP. I want to personally thank both ACFan and Gunrunner for allowing me to write this story which infringes upon their copyrighted material. I greatly appreciate them for doing this. 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 . 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
Chapter Six - The Edict of Tolerance and Equality & A New Beginning Part One
From Chapter Five:
Joth took one look at the War Eagle mightily winging his way towards them and went into a slight state of shock; and nearly missed the second War Eagle winging his way towards them also. The poor Master Falconer was in such a state he had no idea what to do; here were two of the largest and most powerful War Eagles in the Aerie hurtling towards the Crown Prince and his friends. The two War Eagles were almost identical in coloration the lone exception the second War Eagle's head was white while the first one was gold. Both War Eagles had the same pattern in golden feathers across their wings; they resembled titanic bolts of lightning. As the War Eagles neared the party two very excited shouts echoed through the Aerie.
"Paladinnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Came screaming out of Jonah's mouth as he ran towards his friend.
"Mishaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!" Was the excited call from a very choked up Just'
Before anyone could figure out what was going on Misha hit Just' while back winging knocking Just' to the ground and then proceeding to smother Just with War Eagle kissing and grooming Just's hair with his beak.
While that was happening Paladin had come in for a picture perfect landing inches in front of an ecstatic Jonah; Paladin then encompassed Jonah in his wings and began likewise grooming Jonah's hair with his beak.
The moment Misha hit Just' the Master Falconer hit the floor in a dead faint leaving Joth standing their tongue tied in wonder.
'Joth meet Misha, Misha meet Joth' Sent Gus while laughing in Joth's head. Joth received a further shock when a voice he had never heard rang in his head.
'You are Just's' and he is yours and the little one belongs to both of you. All is well with Draconis now!'
To say that Joth was stunned by the latest turn of events would be a gross understatement. For as long as he had known Paladin, his father's War Eagle had never spoken to him and he certainly had never showed the love he was showing Jonah. Joth now knew how Just' felt the first time he had spoken to Just's' mind with no warning. Even though Just' had told them about Misha being his friend, Joth thought he must have missed the part where Just' said that Misha was a War Eagle and a previously wild one at that. Joth was utterly amazed at the depth of the bond between Misha and Just'. What he was seeing was supposedly impossible; you just didn't train Wild War Eagles without an Aerie and lots of experience. Before Joth could make complete sense of the scene in front of him, he was brought back to his senses by a groan from the Master Falconer. Joth quickly went over to assist the poor man; as his assistants were just recovering from the shocking scene they had just witnessed.
As Joth reached the Master Falconer, the poor man was just attempting to sit up while holding his head at the same time; a very tricky proposition. "Take it easy Master Falconer, everything is okay both Jonah and my 'friend' Just' are fine; those two War Eagles are good friends of theirs it seems."
"Paladin stop; I need my hairs; quit pulling them out they aren't feathers you silly bird!" Giggled Jonah delightfully from under his friend the King's War Eagle.
Jonah's giggle went a long way to restoring the proper color to Master Tron's face.
Joth helped Master Tron sit up and then asked him "Master Tron, are you alright? Did you hit your head on the floor or anything?
"I am fine, your Highness," an obviously still startled Master Falconer answered.
'He obviously isn't fine yet, he calls me your Highness! He has always called me Joth or Prince Joth outside of the Aerie let me see what I can do to help' Joth was thinking as he helped the Master Falconer to his feet.
'Gus, please ask Jonah to apologize for scaring Master Tron half to death and since he can obviously "talk" to Paladin, have Jonah ask Paladin to give the Master Falconer a bow as an apology.'
Tron regained his feet with Joth's help and shook his head slightly to shake the remaining cobwebs from his brain.
If anyone had been inside of Joth's brain at that moment, they would have sworn there was a thunderclap and a bolt of lightening going off in there.1 Joth suddenly got an ear to ear grin on his face and his eyes lighted up with excitement. 'Now I understand everything Just' was trying to tell us about his friend Misha and Misha's woodland friends. Just' was using mind speech and was afraid we wouldn't believe him, even though he told us he was seeing through their eyes. I wonder if Just's gift with animals is as strong as, or stronger than Jonah's? If it is stronger he just might be what the old myths called a "Mestre da besta" and that would be a very interesting thing indeed!'
While Joth was helping the Master Falconer and doing his thinking, there were several loud chirps from the moving bundle of feathers that was Paladin and Jonah. Suddenly the feathers opened up and out stepped a serious looking Jonah, Paladin quickly pulled himself together and moved behind Jonah, now a very regal example of a Royal War Eagle. If Paladin was human, you would say he was wearing a chagrined look. Jonah with Paladin following him with his crablike walking motion headed over towards the Master Falconer.
"Master Tron, I apowogize for me and Paladin scaring you; he was just happy to see me as he din't know I was here visiting Prince Jot. He says he is very sowwy also." Jonah finished his apology with as courtly a bow as he was capable of; and if that wasn't enough to give the Master Falconer another heart attack, Paladin furling his wings and then bowing his head was!
While Jonah was busy apologizing, Just' and Misha were making themselves presentable and then they headed over to apologize also.
"Master Falconer, my name is Just'. I am friend of Prince Joth and Jonah and I would like to apologize also for myself and Misha scaring you like that. I had no idea that Misha was here. Misha is a friend of mine from Potters Village, and I haven't seen him for quite awhile. Misha says that you know him as Orphan and that you have treated him very well, and for that he says thank you. Misha was just trying to say 'hi' to me and it was not his intention to frighten anyone. So please accept our apologies and Misha says he will behave from now on, if you let him stay...." Before Just' could finish his and Misha's apologies, he was interrupted by the Master Falconer.
"Of course Orp... I mean Misha can stay; he is one of the best unbonded War Eagles in the Aerie. But how did you train him? Asked the curious Master Falconer.
Just' replied "I didn't train him, he and his friends trained me!"
Just's response nearly caused the Tron to faint again, but luckily Joth was still close enough to catch him before he collapsed which stopped Tron from passing out this time.
"Well, that explains why your Misha refused to accept a bonding but went through all of our training so far with no problems. But who are Misha's friends, are there more partially trained War Eagles flying around Potters Village I think you said?"
While Just' was explaining the whole story regarding Misha to Tron, Joth and Jonah were taking Paladin back to his normal perch and trying to reassure all of the terrified assistant Falconers that they were not in danger of having their head lopped off or burnt by dragons. Jonah, of course, was trying to show Joth that he was a big boy and was trying to walk with Paladin perched on his shoulders. That would have been a hard enough thing to do for anyone Jonah's age and size since Paladin was almost as large as Jonah and didn't weigh much less. But Paladin was making it almost impossible because he had resumed grooming Jonah's hair; in between bouts of laughing Joth was holding Jonah up as they headed towards Paladin's perch.
"Well Master Falconer, it is like this.............................."
While Jonah, Joth and Just' were busy terrifying the Royal Aerie, Nana was in Rafe and Angie's private parlor discussing the 'Three Musketeers'" future.
"Angie and Rafe, while my daughter Rose and her husband Denali are in complete agreement with my plan for Jonah's future, they would ordinarily only agree to him being fostered here; however, they understand his future does not entail being a Tea Grower. They were a bit surprised at our choice of adoptive parents, but your letter and the one from Doktor Bazaar tipped the scales. It didn't hurt one bit, that you offered to have them flown here or if that wasn't possible, that you would visit them, had a lot to do with their decision also." Rebekah paused for a moment and when she saw Rafe and Angie smiling she continued.
"Rose and Denali were originally hoping that the two of you would adopt Jonah yourselves, and Joth would then be his older brother. They were hoping that would be the case as they know that Joth is empathic like Jonah and they both have some healing abilities. Rose stated that she had hoped Doktor Bazaar would help train Jonah's healing ability when he was training Joth. One of their main concerns was that where they lived Jonah had no children close to his age to socialize and grow up with. Jonah solved that problem when he told them about all the younger children that lived in the castle and that all of the pages treat him like a brother even the older ones. My daughter and her husband were definitely surprised when Jonah told them how much fun he had at the Page School. Denali made a comment about them teaching the Pages how to walk with their noses in the air and Jonah set them straight about what they were taught and the fact that Prince Joth had to take the same lessons. When Jonah told his parents that the Chamberlain and The Master of Pages had invited him to come back and share more of his stories and legends they were dumbfounded." Rebekah paused and took a breath when she noticed the questioning look on Rafe and Angie's faces.
Angie started asking questions before Rebekah could continue, Okay, you have covered Joth and also Jonah's lessons, but you haven' mentioned Just' is he a problem? What if Joth does ask Just' to be his consort like we think and hope he does...?"
Rafe interrupted with, "If Joth doesn't soon, we may just have to ask Just' for him. Anybody with eyes and half a brain can see those two love each other very deeply. And they both love Jonah almost as much as they love each other."
Rebekah tried to stop herself from laughing out loud but couldn't; "Just' isn't a problem anymore thanks to Jonah."
"Oh???? How did Jonah resolve Just' being a problem?" A now very curious Queen asked, her maternal instincts rising strongly to the surface.
"I apologize for laughing your Majesties, but if you could have seen Jonah stand up to his father you would be laughing also. He told his father off in no uncertain terms after Denali made a disparaging remark about Just's manliness. Denali called Just' a 'Namby Pamby soft handed no good layabout' and he probably would have gone farther before Jonah verbally tore his head off. I can only repeat part of it, because Jonah wants to tell you the rest of his story himself. However, you do need to hear most of what Jonah told his father while glaring at him as fiercely as he could, while trying to hold back his tears.
'Daddy you BE WRONG!!!! Jut be no Namby Pamby.... I can't say the rest. Just' have more of the rough calla thingys on his hands than you do! He also have more muscles in his arms too! Jut be a very impotant person before Prince Jot find him he friend of Duke Willam and he be very smart too.' Don't move I be right back and don't say no more bad things about my friend while I gone.'
While Jonah was yelling at his father, his mother was sitting there totally amazed as she had never seen her baby like this before. Rose told me later that Jonah's defense of Just' took a lot of worry off her shoulders because she was afraid Jonah was too quiet of a child; and that she was afraid people would walk all over him later in life.
When Jonah ran out of the room Denali began to sputter something about a bratty kid and started to get up and go after Jonah. Rose told him to sit down and shut up. He started to say something and she flat out told him he could shut up or sleep with the Tea Plants.
I have always had my doubts about my son-in-law's intelligence, but for once he proved me wrong. He sat down and very calmly said, "We will all discuss this when Jonah finishes his tirade." He had just finished speaking when Jonah came back into the room very carefully carrying The Tea Set that the two of you had given to Rose and Denali on their last anniversary.
After carefully setting the Tea Set down on its own table, Jonah turned and faced his father and began speaking in a slightly calmer voice, still full of hurt and anger.
'Daddy, Just' was beaten very badly when Prince Jot found him and we were afraid he was going to die. Prince Jot and I helped heal him and when he could, Just' told us his sad story.'
Jonah told the bare minimum of Just' story as it wasn't his place to tell all of it. That, he said, was up to Just'.
'Daddy, Granpa Rafe and Gramma Angie gave this to you and Mommy as your Anniversary Present and told you it was made by the Master Potter to the Kingdom. I want you to read the name on the bottom of the Tea Pot.' Jonah went over to the table and reverently picked up the Tea Pot and then walked over and handed it to his father.
Denali, carefully holding the lid in place, turned the pot over and then said; 'It says made by Master Potter to the Kingdom of Erehwon Justin Lennox. Okay why is that important?'
As Denali asked the question, the light began to dawn for him and he started to turn pale.
"Daddy, my friend Just' is that Justin Lennox, The Master Potter to the Kingdom so he be a very impotant person without knowing Prince Jot; he no 'bootlicking a&&kissing nobody!' Jonah then ran sobbing from the room.
I started to say something, but Rose beat me to the punch; 'Mom, please go and check on Jonah, Denali and I need to have a long talk.'
I will Rose, but I need to tell Denali something first. Denali, I know that because of your upbringing, that you have problems dealing with people who love their own sex like Prince Joth. You need to know something about Just' that Jonah did not tell you; when Just' found out that he had been sleeping naked with your son during the healing process, he about died; he was almost apoplectic at that and was trying to apologize like crazy. Jonah and Gus both told him that they knew that Jonah was as safe in Just's' arms as he was in mine. It took us a lot of convincing before Just' was calmed down. I will go check on Jonah now.
So there is the meat and potatoes of the conversation, needless to say Denali apologized to Jonah profusely and then agreed that Joth and Just' would make great parents for his son.
Now, how are we going to make this work? Rebekah asked Rafe and Angie as she finished her story.
"Well......................" Rafe began and the plotting was on.
Back at the Royal War Eagle Aerie, Joth had finally restored some semblance of calm by finally getting Paladin and Jonah back to Paladin's Perch. While Jonah stayed with Paladin talking and feeding his old friend. It was very comedic watching Jonah try and act like an Asst. Falconer, trying to train someone the same size as him.
Joth got back to Master Tron just as Just' had finished introducing Misha to the Master Falconer. Joth decided to be a little mischievous so he walked up behind Just' and wrapped his arms around him and then laid his head on Just's' shoulder.
Just', of course, jumped slightly at the unexpected cuddle by Joth which then caused Tron's mouth to drop in surprise. But Joth had forgotten a very important person and soon paid for that mistake with damage to his pride.
When Misha felt Just's' shock and surprise through their link, he took matters into his own beak and nipped Joth a good one on Joth's posterior. Misha then sent to Joth; 'Now behave like a Prince and be nice to my human.'
While Misha was taking care of Joth, Gus was telling Just' to calm down the Master Falconer, who once again was seeing his whole world unwinding before his eyes.
'Just please apologize for that idiotic rider of mine, and friend of yours Misha and Paladin say that Master Tron has had enough shocks for the day.'
Just' casually lifted his arms up and disengaged Joth's arms and then turned and faced the Master Falconer who was beginning to sweat again.
"Master Tron, I humbly apologize for the actions of my friend Joth; sometimes he thinks he is Jonah's age, and you can't do anything with him. I will entrust Misha to your care for now, and take Joth back to his parents and see if they can handle him. Please relax; you have done nothing wrong Paladin, Misha and Gustavo tell me that you are very good at your job and treat and talk to all of the War Eagles as if they were your friends; even though you can't use mind speech with them. Paladin and Misha respect you immensely for that. Paladin has a message for you from the King. 'Rafe says he will take care of his wayward son later unless you think a week or two mucking out the Aerie would work better.' Just' had to stop talking because not only was the Master Falconer overcome by laughter, but so were Gus and Joth.
Joth quickly recovered and began addressing Tron in a more formal tone of voice;
"Master Falconer, I concur with what my Dragon and my Father's War Eagle Paladin have said; you are doing a remarkable job and I apologize heartily for inadvertently almost frightening you to death, and as Gustavo reminds me, my Father would have held me responsible for anything bad that happened here, not you. I hope you will accept my apology as well as those of Paladin and Misha? 'We' would appreciate it if you would allow my friend Just' complete freedom of the Aerie and allow him to visit Misha as much as he wants. Additionally, please move Misha to the Royal Perches near Paladin. I will have my Father put these requests in writing as soon as possible. Ahh here comes your Master Medici with a hungry look on his face I think we had better go feed him. I thank you again for your time." Joth then gave a head bow to the Master Falconer who stood there stunned at Joth's speech.
"Master Twon thank you for taking care of Paladin; he like it here a lot. He want me to come play with him a lot since Granpa Rafe too busy. He also like flying wit and teachin Misha." Jonah then gave Tron an almost perfect Court Bow.
"Master Tron, thank you very much for taking such good care of my friend Misha and he says you can still call him Orphan, he doesn't mind. I would appreciate it greatly if I could visit Misha when I have time, and I would be very grateful if you or someone could teach me what I need to know about handling and training War Eagles." Instead of bowing Just' reached out and shook the Master Falconer's hand.
"Thank you all, now I know why the old saying 'May you live in interesting times' is considered a curse. I can truthfully say this has been one of the most interesting days in my life. I thought for a few minutes my life was over, when I saw Or... Misha hit Prince Just' and I am glad everything worked out alright. Prince Just'......."
When The Master Falconer called Just' 'Prince', Just' started two say something but two things happened simultaneously; Jonah tugged at his sleeve and put his finger to his lips and 'Goos' sent.
'Don't say anything, Just', Tron is still rattled and he is trying to make amends and honor you.'
'Okay Gustavo, if you say so,' Just' replied.
'Also Just', you better start getting used to it, because as long as you stick around that lunkhead rider of mine, people are going to call you 'Prince' out of courtesy. Of course, if you start acting like him, people might call you other things.' Gus sent in reply.
"Gustavooo!" Just' accidentally said out loud, which definitely re-caught Tron's attention.
"I knew there was one thing I forgot, Master Falconer, 'We' would appreciate it greatly if neither you nor your staff would mention that Just' can mind speak to Gustavo or that Gustavo can mind speak to him? 'We' will let people know at the appropriate time." Joth, now acting as The Crown Prince, formally asked the Master Falconer.
"Of course your Majesty, I will inform my staff at once." The Master Falconer replied and then gave Joth a rather nice Court Bow to which Joth responded with a Head Bow and a smile.
As Joth and party were leaving the Aerie, Just' turned back to wave a final good bye to Misha and witnessed why Tron was the Master Falconer. Tron bowed to Misha and then as he straightened up, held out his arm with elbow bent. With a grace belying Misha's size Misha leapt into the air with a shove of his mighty legs and a quick beat of his wings and then gracefully landed on Tron's out thrust arm. To Tron's credit, he barely moved an inch; Tron then turned and walked to the Royal Perches, holding a very animated conversation with Misha. 'Strange thought Just' he can't mind speak but I would swear he understands Misha.'
As the three left the Aerie, both Just' and Jonah enveloped Joth in a hug from each side of Joth. Jonah was hugging Joth so tight it looked like Joth was carrying him.
"Thank you very much for bringing me to the Aerie, Joth, I was afraid I had lost Misha for keeps. It was awesome seeing him again, and in such great spirits, he loves it here, he gets waited on wing and talon. When I asked him why he didn't tell me where he was going, his answer was 'I told you what you needed to know, and what you could handle at the time.' He said 'I told you the truth; and here we are the 'way' was up to Draconis.' He was right; of course he always is" Just' paused for a second and gave Joth a kiss on the cheek while whispering "Thank You" in Joth's ear.
Releasing Joth, Just' stepped around him and smacked Jonah lightly on the top of his head and then said; "As for you, Munchkin, if I hadn't been so busy with Misha, that stunt of Paladin and yours would have given me a heart attack like it nearly did Master Tron. But seeing the looks on Joth's and Master Tron's faces was worth it, even if I did get clobbered by Misha as a result." Just' then gave Jonah a hug and then took both their hands and headed off to lunch.
The three joined John, Lance and Ranulf for a fulfilling and pleasant lunch and then walked out onto the balcony to watch a flight of War Eagles go through some exercises. All of them were very surprised when two of the War Eagles broke away from the exercises and flew towards them. As the War Eagles came close enough for their coloration to become visible, Jonah began screaming in glee.
"Paladin, Paladiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnn, Mishaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Mishaaaaaaaaa, Jut, they come say hello. Jut??????????" Jonah stopped his screaming because Just' was standing there with glazed over eyes.
Everyone turned to see why Jonah had stopped his screams of joy and saw him staring at Just'. As everyone was looking at Just' and the answer began to dawn on them Jonah spoke up looking at Joth for confirmation.
"Misha speaking to Just', right Joth?" Asked Jonah very slowly and clearly as there were now a few other guards and servants on the balcony watching the War Eagles flying towards them. Before Joth could answer the two War Eagles let out a piercing screech and then dove directly at the six friends. At the very last second, the speeding War Eagles pulled up into an almost vertical ascent, circled once and then flew back towards the balcony slower and slightly higher than before. This time as they passed overhead, they waggled their wings in salute and them made a simultaneous banking turn and headed back towards the rest of their flight.
When Paladin and Misha had reached their flight, Joth turned to the guards and servants and announced;
"We would appreciate it greatly, if what you all just saw remains on this balcony, as most of you all know, Paladin and Jonah are good friends. The other War Eagle with him is Misha, who used to be known as Orphan. Misha and Just' are good friends and that knowledge is not to be made public. I know I don't really need to ask this of you, but there are some very important reasons for this which will become apparent in the near future. If I have offended anyone by this request, I do apologize but I needed to make sure everyone understands..."
Ranulf quickly looked around and took the measure of everyone on the balcony and then said in a very formal tone;
"Prince Joth, everyone understands perfectly and no one was offended, whatever you or your family asks of us will always be done if at all possible. When we gave our Oath of Allegiance, it was to you and your family not just to the Kingdom. We all appreciate the way you care for all of us from the pages and Kitchen Help to highest ranked officers in your Private Guards. All of your family treats all of us as family which we all appreciate greatly." When Ranulf finished speaking, he gave Joth a short bow to a round of applause from all gathered on the balcony.
While Joth and Ranulf were speaking, Just' was turning a bright shade of red with embarrassment. Jonah quickly sensed Just's' mood and tugged on Just's' sleeve and whispered; "Just relax Just', it is okay they all love you and won't do anyting to hurt you, you be family to them. Plus you treat them nicely like we do and dey apweeciat it."
Just' then leaned down and gave Jonah a hug and then whispered; "I love you too, Munchkin."
While Joth turned towards Just' to comfort him, Ranulf motioned to the servants to clear the balcony and when he nodded his head towards Just', everyone understood and within in a few seconds only the six friends and a few guards were left.
The rest of the afternoon went fairly quietly. Joth had some business to attend to with Ranulf and Captain Kyron, so Joth and Ranulf headed off to their meeting. John said he needed to go see the Housekeeper, Mistress Anne, regarding a few things that needed addressing. Jonah was trying to wheedle another swimming tip out of Just', who was beginning to tire after all of the excitement of the day so far.
"Jonah, if you will come and take a nap with me, after that I will see if John is free to go with us swimming. Remember, we are just guests here and we shouldn't do things like that without someone with us." Just' told his young friend.
"But Jut......" Jonah stopped in mid wail as his eyes started to glaze like Joth's when Gus was sending to him.
'Jonah, you know better than to push Just'; if he says he is tired, he is tired, let him sleep and a nap won't hurt you either. And not a word about how Just' has complete run of the castle, yet, he is not ready for it. Do you understand me?' A very irritated Dragon sent to his young friend.
"Uhhuh!" Was all that squeaked out of Jonah's mouth before Gus began sending to him again.
'Now behave, and tell Just' that you will gladly take a nap with him before he begins to think something is wrong.' Gus sent to Jonah in a kinder tone.
'Nothing is wrong Just', I was only reminding the munchkin of a few things.' Gus sent to Just' as Jonah began to apologize.
"I sowwy Jut I wasn't thinking of you, c'mon, let's go nap so we can go swimmin later" Jonah said, almost as fast as he could talk while walking over to Just', grabbing his hand and pulling the bewildered Just' towards Joth's Suite.
Later, when Just' was recounting the incident to Joth, he mentioned that he thought he heard Gus laughing in the corridor.
"He probably was laughing, Just', and it just leaked into your head. He loves Jonah as much as anyone does, but sometimes he has to restrain the munchkin also. Gus is one of the few people outside of Nana and my parents here that Jonah will obey without question." Joth's answer only further confused Just' and they began a deeper conversation.
Just' was pleasantly surprised when Jonah led him into his room instead of Joth's. Even more surprising to Just' was the size of Jonah's bed; it was almost as large as Joth's. Jonah of course was paying no attention to the look of surprise on the face of Just', as he was too busy pointing out all of his neat stuff. While Jonah was rambling on, half of Just's' brain was busy taking in the fact that Jonah really was treated as a King, as everything in his room was as nice as what was in Joth's rooms.
"Jonah, who keeps your room so clean? None of the younglings in Potters..........." Just' stopped choked up with emotions and tears as thoughts of Brion invaded his thoughts.
"Jut wat the matter why you crying? It be okay, I still here and I luv you." Jonah cried out to Just' as he quickly grabbed his friend in a warm and caring hug, all the while whispering "luv you Jut, Luv you."
Just' reached down and returned Jonah's hug and patted his young friend on the top of his head.
"I'll be okay, munchkin, I was just thinking of Brion and how much I miss him. I hope he is okay and that he is handling my disappearance alright. I was wondering who was giving him his singing lessons, is all." Just' explained to Jonah.
"I unnerstand Jut, I would miss you too if you disapeerd.... you know wat I mean." Jonah replied to Just' and then stood perfectly still with a look of intense concentration on his young face.
"It be okay Jut, we go see Bwion soon as you all better! 'Goos' fly us, he said so even if Jot can't go. 'Goos' also say Bwion know you alwight."
The words coming out of Jonah's mouth stunned Just' almost into shock, but before he could ask Jonah what he meant words formed in his head.
'Jonah is right, Just', I can't tell you how, but Brion does know you are alive; that is all he knows for now. You will be able to see him and your other friends in your old village, as soon as you can travel on your own. I will always fly you anywhere you need to go, if I am available. We can always take your shadow too, so he thinks he is flying you. Now go to sleep; you are swaying on your feet.' Gustavo sent to Just', allaying his fears.
"Okay Jonah, Gus just explained some things to me, now let's take a nap before I fall asleep standing here."
Jonah just giggled, grabbed Just's ' hand and dragged him over to the bed. The two friends quickly undressed, crawled into bed and were soon in the land of nod.
Meanwhile John was busy with his part of 'Plan A' he was very pleased that he was part of the conspiracy to help his friend Joth and his new friend and Big Brother Just'. To say that John was shocked when he was called into a private meeting with Nana, Rafe and Angie would be a grave understatement. Meeting with them wasn't the shocking part; what was so shocking was the fact that outside of the four of them, there was no one else. No guards, no pages, no Ladies in Waiting no one. When Nana started explaining their plan, John's eyes widened appreciably in amazement, when he looked at Angie and she nodded her head yes with a smile, John quickly replied.
"Of course I would be honored to help any way I can; I love Joth as an older brother and a friend and I have accepted Just' the same way. I haven't told Just' that yet, but soon. You are all right, they are both madly in love with each other but for some reason, they can't or won't tell each other. Why even Jonah knows; I think the only two people in the castle who don't are the two of them." John started chuckling quietly when he had finished.
"We believe the same thing John, which is why we are here this afternoon. We have some plans afoot for when the two of them wake up and smell the cafa and also in case they don't." Rafe replied with a grin.
Nana then took over and began explaining what they would like John to accomplish.
"First, we need you to double check Just's clothing sizes as he has begun to recover the weight he lost while he was sleeping and recovering. Then we need you to get together with Mistress Anne and help her put together Just's new clothing as Prince Consort. You know which of Joth's clothes that Just' likes to wear, so you can help Mistress Anne getting those made first. Mistress Anne is sworn to secrecy also, and volunteered immediately once she found out what we had planned. As she said 'any male that knows how to make a bed right is okay in my book' so she and you will get along very well.
John was with Mistress Anne and a few of the Castle Seamstresses and Tailors, going over the outfits Just' would need for their plan. John had Rolando standing guard with Private Logi outside of Jonah's door; Rolando was to come find John as soon as Jonah and Just' awoke.
The plan was rolling along, and the victims were completely in the dark.
While Just' and Jonah were sleeping, Joth and Ranulf were planning some training exercise for Joth's Honor Guards. Ranulf, who was also privy to the Master Plan, suggested that they also include the Consorts Honor Guard as they hadn't had any exercise in a long time. What Ranulf had conveniently neglected mentioning was that he and Captain Kyron had been rotating the guards in both companies through all of their training exercises. It was Captain Kyron's stated opinion that the Consort's Honor Guard would be ready to assume their duties at a moment's notice and not a second later. Ranulf just smiled inwardly when Joth responded positively to his suggestion. Ranulf had sent Thomaso to fetch Captain Kyron as he and Joth thought it was a good idea to involve the Commander of Joth's Honor Guard in their planning.
Joth had assigned Thomaso to Lance several days ago and had forgotten to tell Thomaso that it was only for that day and Thomaso had stuck to Lance like glue ever since. Since Lance was enjoying the novelty of having his own Personal Page, he hadn't mentioned the oversight to Joth either. Thomaso quickly snapped off what he thought was a jaunty salute and headed off to the barracks to find Captain Kyron.
Ranulf had to work hard to stifle his laughter before Thomaso had gotten out of hearing range. Joth looked over at Lance and before he could ask Lance why Thomaso was still attending him, Gus startled him.
'Here we go again, some King you are going to make! You forgot to tell Thomaso that he was only Lance's page for that afternoon and evening; and Lance is too kind hearted to tell Thomaso the truth. You had better not say anything now either, Thomaso has finally started to feel some self worth and is beginning to break out of his shell. You did more good for him than you knew. So leave it and just inform the Seneschal and Master of Pages. Also, before you forget, you need to find Just' a Page also.' Gus sent to his now astounded friend and rider.
While Joth and Ranulf were busy with their scheduling and planning, Just' and Jonah were deep in the land of nod. Although Just' was deeply asleep, the notes of a song from far away, evidencing love and care eased their way into the edges of his sleep. Rather than waking Just' up, the song eased his thoughts and put a relaxed smile on his face. When Just' relaxed, Jonah subconsciously moved a little bit closer into the warmth and security of Just's' loving arms. In a paternal like move, Just' subconsciously pulled Jonah further into his arms, feeling the love pouring out of his young friend.
Finishing his work with Mistress Anne, John headed towards Jonah's room to see if his friends and charges were awake yet. Thomaso and Private Logi let John know that Just' and Jonah were still sleeping soundly. Carefully pulling the door open without making any noise, John carefully stuck his head inside and saw the two boys peacefully sound asleep. John whispered to Thomaso and Private Logi that he was going to take a short nap also. John slowly pulled the door open a little further, and then stepped inside quietly and soon had joined the two youngsters in a restful sleep.
Thomaso left his post and reported to both Joth and Ranulf that John was taking a nap also, then he returned to his post outside of Jonah's Bedroom.
Later that evening, after a quiet satisfying dinner with just the four friends, Just' and Joth excused themselves to go and watch the glorious sunset from the private balcony. Just' had signaled to John that he wanted John and Jonah to stay inside, eating their dessert while he and Joth had a few private moments alone together.
Out on the balcony, Joth and Just' were standing side by side watching the sky turn many shades of gold, then crimson and eventually deep purple, as the sun slowly set behind the mountains. As the light slowly faded and dusk overtook the balcony Just' leaned into Joth and laid his head gently on his friend's shoulder. Just' then took Joth's hand in his and began whispering softly;
"Thank you, for everything you have done for me Jot, you have made my life complete. I do love you, and I will gladly be your consort." With those words, Just' reached over and pulled Joth's face to his own and gave him a very loving and caring kiss that shocked the Crown Prince into a near faint. Although Just's' action had shocked Joth's conscious brain, his subconscious knew exactly how to respond, and before Joth knew it, he was eagerly returning the kiss with a passion he had never felt with Lance.
While the two lovebirds were engaged in making up for lost time, events which their actions had triggered rolled on. High overhead the Ghostly Golden Image of Draconis circled high over the castle, silently trumpeting a peal of immense happiness. Deep below the planets crust, in the womb of Draconis the Primordial Force had finished its coalescence into a form that while very similar in appearance to something that already existed, was somehow subtly different. Little did Joth or Just' know what their kiss had set in motion; for life as they knew it was about to change dramatically, whether all for the good was up to Draconis or as Gus was known to say,
'Que Sera, Sera'
John and Jonah had finished their desserts, and were in the process of walking out onto the balcony when John caught sight of Joth and Just' entwined in love. John quickly placed his hand over Jonah's mouth, and pulled the Munchkin back inside with his other hand. Once they were safely back inside the Family Dining Room, John told Jonah;
"Quick, we need to tell Nana and King Rafe and Queen Angie that the two lunkheads have finally come to their senses. Jonah took off at a full run, leaving John momentarily alone. John quickly recovered his senses and followed after Jonah at a more sedate pace. John stopped for a few brief seconds to tell Ranulf, who was just entering the Dining Room what was happening; Ranulf nodded his head that he understood and while John continued chasing after Jonah, quickly secured the balcony, giving Joth and Just' privacy.
By the time Joth and Just' returned to the here and now, the celestial dance of the stars had already begun. Silent servants had stealthily lit a few lamps around the balcony, and in the hallways and then they had silently disappeared. Joth realized that it was now quite late, and he was very tired.
"Just' hun, can we go to bed now, and get some sleep and talk about this in the morning. I do love you, but I wanted to ask you to be my consort; I had a very romantic meal all planned and everything....." Before Joth could finish his speech, Just' silenced him with a deep loving kiss, before speaking himself.
"Joth my love, you did already ask me the other night, as you came to bed and tucked me in; you made me feel so safe, secure and loved, that I answered you then and there. You fell asleep before you heard my answer, but subconsciously I'm sure you must have heard it because you kissed the back of my neck in your sleep. You have no idea how much I love you and your family; all of you have erased so many of my pains and qualms. I do willingly offer you myself, now and for the rest of our life together." Just' cut off all answers by again giving Joth a passionate loving kiss that nearly curled his toes.
Joth reluctantly broke off the kiss before things got too far out of control as he knew neither he nor Just' were ready for that quite yet; and this was definitely not the time or the place.
"I think we should go back to my... I mean our suite and talk about this wonderful turn of events. But before we do, I thought you had never been romantically involved? Where in Draconis did you learn to kiss like that? I thought I was 'on the wings of Draconis' it was so very magical." Joth asked the love of his life.
"I have no idea, Love, I just did what felt right and responded to you when you started kissing me back. The most amazing thing was the glow of love that passed from your mind to my mind; I never even imagined anything like that could happen. But it is getting a mite chilly out here; I think I will take you up on your offer and continue this conversation in 'our' suite." Just' gave Joth a loving peck on the lips and then, taking Joth's hand in his, the two of them headed inside for the night.
When John and Jonah arrived back at the balcony, they were slightly surprised to find the balcony empty. One of the guards on his routine patrol told John that Just' had gone in for the night. John and Jonah headed for Joth's suite, and they were not surprised at all to see both Lance an Ranulf standing guard outside the door. John tipped his head in acknowledgment of the situation and headed towards Jonah's room, dragging the shocked Jonah with him.
Jonah started opening his mouth, but before he could even get a word out, Ranulf silenced Jonah by putting his finger across his mouth and shaking his head back and forth strongly. Jonah looked up at John with a lost and forlorn look on his face,
"I will explain soon, Jonah; everything will be okay, it is a good thing that Ranulf and Lance are doing, don't worry." John whispered to his young friend while squeezing his shoulder with love.
Once John and Jonah were in Jonah's room, Jonah put his foot down and refused to budge an inch further.
"Why can't we go see Jot and Jut I wanna see em now!" Jonah stood facing John with both hands on his hips and glaring at his friend.
John started to move over to his young friend, but stopped dead in his tracks as Jonah had taken one hand off of his hip and put his palm up towards him.
"Jonah, we just need to give Joth and Just' some time alone together, to talk things over. They have a lot to talk about and some decisions to make. We need to give them some privacy over the next few days, while they decide what they are going to do. Don't forget Just' has never had a special friend like Joth before; and when you add in the fact that Joth is a prince, well then things can get quite complicated. Do you understand Jonah, and are you going to help Just' learn the ropes around here slowly? I really need your help spreading the word to all of the servants and pages not to call Just' Prince, but only Just', at least until he can adjust to everything involved in becoming Joth's Love." The whole time John had been talking to Jonah, he moved his way to Jonah's bed and had pulled the slightly resisting youngster into his lap and had been cuddling him most of the time.
Jonah looked up into John's eyes, and while nodding his head yes, whispered in a very concerned voice;
"Does this mean Jot and Jut won't have time to play wit me anymore?"
"No Jonah, it just means that they will want to spend some time alone together is all. Remember when Lance was Joth's Special Friend, did either one of them ignore you? Didn't they still play with you when they had time? Didn't Lance come visit at Nana's when Joth was busy being Crown Prince? You know Just' loves you, just like you were his little brother; he won't ever forget you; don't worry." John replied very lovingly to his young friend, while looking directly into Jonah's eyes and ruffling his hair.
While John was busy explaining the 'facts of life' to Jonah, Joth and Just' were trying to make heads and tail of what had just happened between them.
"You have made me the happiest person on Draconis, Just', you don't know how much this means to me." Joth whispered into Just's' ear as he was giving him a very loving hug and occasionally nibbling on his ear.
"I hope you know that I love you for who you are and not what you are! I also want you to know that although I am extremely grateful for all you have done in healing me; that isn't why I love you. I love you because of what is inside you and the fact that you opened your soul to me. I love you because of who you are inside, and the fact that you gave so much of yourself for someone you didn't even know. I also love the fact that although we can be of one mind, we are still two. You have given my everything; a new life, a new family and you have asked for nothing. You have always shown me love and yet never asked anything back from me. I am not completely sure about this consort thing, but I believe that you and the rest of your family will help me with that; and I can always ask Lance for help." Just' paused and gave Joth another toe curling kiss.
Before the stunned Joth could reply Just' began speaking again;
"As you already know, I am very new to all of this, and I have a lot to learn about loving you and living with you. If we could take everything slow, I would appreciate it greatly; I would love it very much if we could just sleep together tonight in each others arms and cuddle each other, lovingly."
Joth gave Just' a warm hug and a light loving kiss on the lips and then replied;
"We have the rest of our lives together, Just', we can take as much time as we or you need. I am not going to do anything that will cause you to change your mind. I know if I did, my parents would throw me out and adopt you. You know I love to cuddle, so let's try to get some sleep and we can talk more in the morning. Oh, and don't worry about Jonah, knowing Lance and John, he will probably sleep with either John or Gus."
Joth's reply was more than Just' expected, and went a long way toward relaxing him and answering some of his many questions. As the two teens began undressing for bed, Just' was a little shocked when Gustavo sent him a message.
'Don't worry Just', Joth meant everything he said; he will take things at your pace. He loves you very deeply and he won't do anything intentionally to cause you pain. And don't worry his parents would never throw him out, although they would adopt you and make life miserable for him. Sleep well, my young friend.'
As the two teens got down to their small clothes, they both realized that they needed to visit the bathing facilities before sleeping. Once they both had taken care of business and returned to the bedroom, Joth paused as he started to remove his small clothes.
Just' caught what was happening out of the corner of his eyes and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Reaching over and quickly pulling Joth's remaining small clothes the rest of the way off of the shocked prince, while telling Joth with a smirk,
"I want to sleep with all of you as we have been doing since I arrived here. I trust you with my heart and soul, and with all of my being. I know with certainty that you will not do anything that will cause us problems, plus I can always tell Gus on you!" Before Joth could reply, Just' jumped into bed and pulled the covers over himself, while laughing like crazy.
Joth stood there for a few minutes shaking his head in amazement, and then joined his lover in bed. Joth quickly nipped Just's' ear and when Just' yelped, whispered;
"Payback is fun, isn't it Love? Sleep well my dearest Love, I will keep you safe and sound through the night. You are also my life and my heart and soul."
The two teens soon drifted off into a wonderful night's sleep. While the two lovebirds were sleeping soundly nestled in each others arms, Captain Kyron and Private Logi quietly relieved Ranulf and Lance from their guard duty. Lance and Ranulf headed off to their quarters, very happy for their two friends; for although they had just met Just', they already considered him a friend .
Brion was having a restless night sleeping and had awakened his older brother Jazon again. Jazon finally took pity on his baby brother and carefully made his way out of the bed he shared with their middle brother Mediaté. When Jazon had made his way over to Brion's pallet he carefully and lovingly put his hand on Brion's shoulder and then whispered;
"Move over little Bro, I am going to sleep with you tonight and cuddle you so hopefully we can both sleep."
Jazon then lifted up the almost threadbare blanket that had been Justin's and slid in next to his surprised younger brother. Jazon then pulled Brion in close to him and wrapped his arm over Brion's chest and snuggled in for the night.
While Jazon was snuggling in with Brion, the Ghostly Golden Dragon appeared over the village trumpeting her unheard song of joy! Unheard except by Brion and Kyle; Brion whispered, "Thank you" and then dropped off to sleep. Jazon, of course, thinking that Brion was thanking him, kissed the back of Brion's head and then fell asleep himself.
Kyle had another small dream just before the Sandman put him under, he dreamed of the Flaming Sword again, only now he saw the jewel that was the major portion of the pommel. As sleep was claiming him, Kyle's last thought was where do I find a jewel like that. For the jewel was a Dragon's Eye and Kyle had never seen or even heard of one that size. 'Hmmm what do I do...'
The next morning came along and as usual, Jonah was the first one awake; Jonah tried to sneak out of bed and go wake up Joth and Just'. However, John was prepared for that, and had wrapped his arm snuggly around Jonah's chest. Jonah tried every trick in the book to get out from under John's arm without waking him. While Jonah was being his normal squirmy self, John had started to wake up and knew exactly what was happening. He gave a slight yawn and pulled Jonah in even closer, and then gave the bewildered youngling a kiss on his neck and said;
"Good Morning Jonah."
"Can we go see Joth and Just' now, please?"
"If you go right now and take a bath, we can go as soon I clean up a bit, after you." Was John's lighthearted reply.
Jonah's answer was his bare behind flying across the room on his way to the bathing chambers. While Jonah was in, supposedly getting clean, John went to the door, opened it and stuck his head outside and saw what he thought he would. Chuckling, John knew Jonah was in for a big surprise, for Captain Kyron and Private Logi were still on guard.
John hadn't even made it back to the middle of the room, before a naked youngling was asking;
"Can we go now John, can we go now, I wanna see Jot and Jut?" Jonah asked, as fast as he could.
"One moment Jonah, you get dressed while I at least use the facilities."
"Okay John; hurry up though." Was Jonah's breathless reply.
Jonah then turned towards the chest where his clothes were kept, as John headed to the bathing chamber. As he expected John wasn't even halfway through the door when he heard Jonah open the door and leave.
A few seconds later, as expected, there was a knock on the open door and a deep voice calling;
"Master Lansing, I believe you lost something."
John then headed back out of the bathing chamber before even getting inside and went to the door into the hallway. As John got closer he saw the sight he expected, for there was Captain Kyron holding a squirming Jonah at arms lengths by his underarms. John tried very hard not to laugh and then said, in as commanding a voice as he could;
"Jonah Timoty Medici ..... I said after you got dressed!"
Well, things have progressed nicely for Just' and Joth at long last, they finally acknowledged what everyone else already knew, and professed their love for each other. But does Just' really know what is in store for him? What have the King and Queen got up their sleeves? Ah well only Draconis knows for sure.
Don't forget to let me know what you think is going to happen and whether you love or hate this chapter.
Until next time,
The Story Lover AKA TSL
1Translation: A light bulb lit up over Joth's head.
Comments greatly appreciated at The Story Lover