Dragon Earl

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 Eleven

 

From Chapter Ten: As Duugie began flying home after a wonderful day of practicing his aerobatics so he could impress his friends, he decided to take a slight detour. He veered towards a small stream near the canyon wall that had several nice bathing and fishing pools. As he neared the stream he saw some motion in the cliff wall; increasing his speed, he saw that the motion was a Two Legs sticking his head out of an opening in the wall. Before he could reach the opening, he saw the Two Legs hit his head on a rock and slump, unconscious. Duugie flew as close as he could to the opening before he landed; he then climbed up the canyon wall toward the opening. As he reached the opening, the Two Legs began to stir, and his eyes began to open. The Two Legs looked up at Duugie and reached out his hand for help. Duugie reached out his hand as well. When their fingers touched, there was a jolt of lightning that passed between the two, and a deep velvety blackness immediately overtook them both.

Author's aside: The term 'War Eagle' is used in this chapter and the previous, as that is what they are known as now. However at this time most of the inhabitants of Draconis usually just' called them Eagles. For continuity purposes I will continue to use the term War Eagles when describing Horus and his people.

         Back in the past:

As Jarli began to regain consciousness, he found himself wrapped in what felt like feathers. Jarli couldn't remember bringing anything with feathers on his exploration, so he shook his head trying to restore his memory. His groan of pain, as he shook his head, caused the feathers to move and the arm that was wrapped around him to tighten slightly. As the arm holding him tightened, the warmth increased, and soon Jarli was deep asleep again.

When he awoke again, there was no one holding him, and, although he felt a little better, he wasn't. He soon found that out, when he tried to move his head. A sudden sharp, fiery pain lanced through his head, causing him to cry out in agony. He heard footsteps coming toward him, just as he realized that he was unable to see.

The footsteps reached him, and he felt someone take him by the shoulders and lay him back down. The person who was taking care of him was saying something in a language that he couldn't understand, but the tone seemed friendly and caring. Once he was lying down again with his head resting on something soft, he felt a cool cloth laid across his head and the pain began easing. He opened his mouth to try to say something, but a finger was laid across his lips. He again heard the person say something soothing, and, as whatever liquid was on the cloth did its work, he eased into a pain-free slumber.

Once his patient was asleep again, Duugie began thinking about what to do. He didn't know where the patient lived, and his own village was too far away for him to even think about flying that far carrying another person. Duugie checked his patient, and, once he was sure that he was sleeping soundly, moved away from him. Once he was far enough away, Duugie took flight and headed toward the small cave in his private valley, where he kept a few supplies. He hoped that the hunting harness he had stowed there would do the job. Eating a quick meal, while gathering a few supplies, he was soon ready to return. 'Do I try and fly with him awake, or would it be better to try while he is sleeping?' he mused, while flying back to his patient.

Duugie quickly arrived back where Jarli was still sound asleep. He quickly realized that he needed to get his patient back to his R&R cave quickly, as the sun was going to set very, very soon. He got some of the stream water and put it into the small bowl he had brought with him. He added a few herbs and berries to the water, and then muddled the mixture with his pestle until he had a thick paste. He sincerely hoped that this pain killing and sleeping draught wouldn't cause his patient any harm. Duugie had only had the basic first aid course taught to all Royal Falconeid Messengers and he wasn't a healer; however, he had decided that it would be easier to fly his patient asleep than to fly someone who was awake, and who might be afraid of heights.

Walking softly over to Jarli, Duugie knelt down next to him, taking a bit of the mixture on his left index finger and carefully opening Jarli's mouth with his right hand. Duugie inserted the paste on his finger, and then, scooping up a bit more, added that to his patient's mouth. Then, after wiping his finger on his breeches, he carefully closed Jarli's mouth and waited for the draught to do its magic.

Within a few minutes the powerful draught had done its work, and he could see that the patient's breathing had slowed dramatically. The grounder's body had relaxed even more, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. Duugie first carefully wrapped his now comatose patient in the blanket he had brought, so he wouldn't get chilled on the short flight to the cave. Then he began attaching his hunting harness, being very careful not to jostle his patient too much. Once he had the harness securely attached, he quickly cleaned up the area, rinsing the small bowl in the stream and then putting everything back into his pack and strapping it to his leg.

Taking a short drink of water, he then walked over to Jarli, picked him up and began carrying him up to a little hill that would make take off a lot easier. Reaching the hill, he repositioned The grounder, and attached the harness to the corresponding points on his flight suit. Before he tried to take off, he stretched and flapped his wings, making sure that they were limber and ready for a heavy flight. Although it was only a short flight to his cave, he planned to do it in stages. The first stage was a very short flight to a higher hill, which would then allow him to glide to a thermal. Once he hit the thermal, he would then ride it, until he reached a height that would allow him to mostly glide the rest of the way to his cave.

The flight to his cave went as planned, but Duugie was far more exhausted when he arrived at his cave than he had thought he would be. Unhooking the hunting harness from his flight suit, he carried his patient over to his bed. Working quickly and carefully, before his energy gave out, he removed the harness from his patient. He also very carefully unwrapped the blanket, and, once that was finished, removed his patient's torn and dirty clothing. He did leave the grounder's loin cloth on, though, since he had no idea whether the grounder's people had a nudity taboo. He then cautiously moved his patient closer to the wall, so he would have some room on the bed for himself.

After he had finished hanging the hunting harness on its hook, he began removing his flight suit and hung it on its appropriate hooks. Once that was finished, he did a quick wash up and crawled into bed with his patient, pulling the blanket up over both of them.


Now back to the present:

For the next several days, the Phelps/Avatar combination tried to heal what he could of his crippled physical body. He was able to crawl enough to find bits of food to eat. The only thing he could find to drink was wine, and in his weakened state, didn't realize at first that the wine was drugged. For the first time in all of eternity, the Avatar was faced with something he had never experienced, complete and utter physical inability to control his host's human body. The drugged wine acted so swiftly on Phelps' weakened body that the Avatar was only able to cringe before he, too, had to surrender to darkness in his weakened state.

On the next day, though, the Phelps/Avatar was able to finally crawl out of the wreck of the temple, although very weakly. Once they were outside, they found themselves surrounded by the few men who had been able to escape.

"Food, water," was all that Phelps/Avatar was able to croak out.

The Avatar immediately began drawing a little power from his rescuers. He had to be very careful; since they weren't in Avatar worship mode, their energy wasn't freely flowing outward. Their rescue did cause a serious problem for the Avatar. Since none of the Puritanians actually saw him arrive, if he just took over another body, they wouldn't believe him right away. Of course, it would be several days before he had enough energy to do that. 'No, I had better just stick with this Phelps creature. These people worship him, and once I have cured him, I will proclaim myself the Avatar and lock the pitiful Phelps' essence away, so he no longer exists.' Once the Avatar had figured out his plan, he was so pleased that the Phelps' body tried to smile.


Back to the far distant past:

For the next several days, Horus stayed very close to 'his' village and the youngling Two Legs. In order to lessen the burden on the female Two Legs, he left several small animals that he had hunted, on her doorstep. Since the view from his nest in the tree didn't let him see the female Two Legs' dwelling very well, Horus took to flying over her house. Several times when the female Two Legs was outside, with the youngling in some kind of container on her back. He would silently land on her roof and just watch.

Whenever Horus landed on the roof and was watching, the youngling always started making cooing and other strange sounds. But what startled Horus the most was the words and images he kept receiving from the youngling. Horus had never in his life experienced anything even remotely like this. The youngling couldn't even speak the Two Legs' language, a language Horus could only understand bits and pieces of, because the Two Legs said the same things over and over again in relation to certain objects. Occasionally he would feel something like a warm feeling from one of 'his' Two Legs, but nothing like what he was receiving from this youngling.

Horus kept receiving what he figured out was 'dada', or at least that was what his brain was telling him. The images he was getting were almost as if he was seeing through the youngling's eyes! Horus was very confused, and finally, after a hunting session lasting nearly all day, he left all of the game he had caught, except for a nice meal for himself, on the female's doorstep. Once he had finished his meal, he headed to visit some friends and convene a War Eagle Conference.

Several hours later, after meeting quite a few War Eagles along the way and passing his message along, Horus arrived at Council Bluffs. War Eagles had been meeting there for nearly as long as any of their histories could tell. Like many cultures with no written language, the War Eagles always had several War Eagles every generation who served as historians, story tellers or history singers. The War Eagle history was passed down this way from generation to generation in a pure form. It was never allowed to be changed unless the King War Eagle and the entire Council agreed; and this had never happened. When new historians were being trained, they learned by rote, and repeated each section of history back, over and over, until perfect. There were always several history singers in every generation, all from different families, in order to keep the history alive.

Over the next few days, War Eagles of all sizes and colors began to arrive, until nearly all the roosting places on Council Bluffs were filled. Horus knew it was time to begin the Council. With a screech that was heard from one end of the bluffs to the other, in concert with a mental call to order, Horus convened his Council.

As King of the War Eagles, Horus automatically commanded a lot of respect. However, it was also his keen insight and his uncanny ability to plan for the future that earned him most of his respect. The fact that he was able to keep the individual tribes from sniping at each other constantly might have also had something to do with that, as well.

As each member of the council, tasked to report, made his report, Horus' mood improved greatly. It seemed that the plans the Council had implemented at their last meeting were bearing fruit. Moving several of the tribes to new areas to live had worked out very well for all of the tribes involved, including the neighboring ones, as well. Since the new areas had never been hunted, game was plentiful, and Horus' strongly worded suggestion about never killing gravid females was proven to be a very good thing. According to the scouts, the transplantation of a few gravid females of the over- hunted species was beginning to show a lot of promise. Areas which had been barren of game were now showing signs of game returning. The numbers were low, but at least there was now game where there had been none.

One of the Council Members, whose tribe had been moved, made a motion to make it a law that all gravid females of all species should be spared, unless the life of a nest depended on the kill. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously; the law became effective immediately.

After all of the old business had been attended to, the Senior History Singer asked to speak. Permission was quickly granted, as this was always an event that had great significance for the War Eagle Nation.

Tabia-Ramla began speaking:

'I have some very sad news and also some good news, very good news in fact. My mentor and the Senior History Singer, Shepsit, has flown away on the wings of Draconis and will be greatly missed. However, she also left us a wonderful surprise, as her trainee had just passed all of her tests and is ready to step into Shepsit's role with her tribe. But that isn't all; her grandson, it seems, did more than just care for Shepsit while she was ill; he was busy learning everything that Shepsit knew and how to sing the histories even better than Shepsit's trainee. I have decided to take Anhur, her grandson, as my assistant and apprentice and train him to take my place in the future, when necessary. The other trainees have also passed all of the tests, so, for the first time in our recent history, all of the tribes have at least two History Singers with more trainees nearly ready as well. That is all I have to report.'

Tabia-Ramla's report was received with thunderous shrieks and wing flapping. Horus waited until the noise had died down, and then bowed to Tabia-Ramla and sent.

'Thank you for your news, and we all grieve for the loss of Shepsit, but we trust in your judgment. We, of course, are anxious to meet this paragon Anhur in the near future.' Horus then bowed to Tabia-Ramla and again began to address the council.

'I have an issue I need to raise with the Council, to see if anyone else has experienced, or heard of, anything similar.'

Horus then began to relate the story of his encounter with Tana, and, when he finished, waited for the replies. When the replies came in, they were as he had expected; a few of the Council had felt a "warm" feeling, but none of them had ever received images or anything close to what Horus had described. However, they all said that they would let him know if anything changed, and that all of them would keep a closer eye on their Two Leg Villages.

By the time King Horus headed home, two days later, he was exhausted and was looking forward to a few days just relaxing. He still couldn't get over all of the nitpicking little stuff he had to deal with, once the rest of the Council had headed for home. At least he was taking home enough food for several days, so he didn't have to hunt, courtesy of his staff. Several days of just floating through the sky on the plentiful thermals near 'his' village was going to be glorious; and he couldn't wait to get home.


Meanwhile, back in 'Horus'' village, things were a little bit crazy; no one knew where 'Tana' came from, and no one really knew what to do with him. Aveena was slowly falling in love with the youngling that basically fell out of the sky, as far as she was concerned. She was also very happy that 'Tana' had no problem nursing, as that helped resolve one of her problems. She was still having trouble getting over the sudden death of her son. She had put him down for a nap and gone outside to hang some laundry, and when she came back inside, just a few minutes later, he was gone. One of the reasons she had come back so soon was that her body was telling her to feed her son, and soon. For some unknown reason, Aveena was producing enough milk for twins, and there were no other newborns in the village. She was very lucky at the time that her son was a glutton, so she didn't have to deal with the pressure too many times a day.

While Aveena was busy adjusting to having a youngling to care for, the village men were trying to figure out where the youngling came from, and what they were going to do with him when he grew up. There was no doubt he was male, because the village head was visiting Aveena to see how she was adjusting to having a youngling dumped on her so soon after losing one of her own. The village head, Jack, was helping Aveena change the youngling's diaper, and, as is the case with most young males, as soon as his diaper was lifted away and the cool air hit his anatomy, a geyser was born. Luckily for Jack, he had already moved out of range.

"Aveena, do you want to keep him and raise him, or do you want us to see if Granny Sadie will raise him?" Jack decided to get the question out of the way as quickly as possible.

Jack took a few steps back because of the look in Aveena's eyes, as she prepared to answer his question.

"Of course, I will keep him and raise him; Granny Sadie can't produce milk for him anymore, anyway. The village goats' milk is needed for the village's cheese; otherwise, we won't have enough for trading this summer. What kind of woman do you think I am?" Aveena replied with fire in her voice.

"And, before you start in with that 'he needs a father' crap, you will be his 'Uncle' and teach him the man stuff he needs to know. Just because my husband was killed in that hunting accident, that doesn't mean I can't raise a child. Before you ask, Granny Sadie already said she would help me, whenever I need her. Besides, you know that either you or Dronald was going to be the father figure for my late son; so what is your problem?"

To say that Jack was stunned and shocked by Aveena's response would be akin to him finding out he was gravid!

"Uhh, okay, I will let everyone else know, and, of course, my youngling will always be available to help, as your youngling grows older. We are going to send out a few search parties over the next few days to see if we can find any clues about your new youngling. I will let you know as soon as we find anything, if we do." Jack bowed and let himself out and headed home to where the senior men in the village were waiting for him.

Aveena was trying to figure out what she was going to do for clothing as she hadn't time to make any new clothes for either Tana or her own dead youngling. She hoped that she would be able to get some appropriately sized clothing from the other villagers. For now, she would just keep him wrapped in blankets and other wraps.


Meanwhile, back in the present time:

When Joth and Duke William arrived back at the Joint Military Encampment, they were slightly surprised at how normal everything looked. Of course, the fact that they arrived on horseback and not dragonback might have had something to do with that. The fact that neither Joth nor William was wearing any indication of his rank or status might also account for the low key acceptance of their arrival. Duke William sent one of his men to find Colonel D'avid, to let him know privately that he had returned. He conveniently forgot to mention that Joth was with him.

From what William and Joth could see, the exercises were going extremely well; and, from what little they were able to overhear, no one had a problem with an Elf being in command. They would later find out that several Elven Archers had gotten rather mouthy around a few Roxian soldiers. That afternoon there were several new bodies helping to muck out the stable area and clean the paddocks, as well. Colonel D'avid was not a happy camper, shall we say, when he found out what had been said.

Later that evening, in the comfort of the Lord Mariscal's tent and temporary residence of Crown Prince Joth, Colonel D'avid was giving his report. The report was fairly bland, until the Colonel reached the part about the Cavalry exercises. It seems that the Elven Light Cavalry thought they were better than their Erehwonese counterparts. It seems that they were wrong, in fact very wrong; of course they didn't realize that the Erehwonese Light Cavalry was made up almost entirely of Captain Neal's and his father's personal guards. Like the Elven Light Cavalry, these men were born in the saddle, and could eat and sleep in the saddle, as well. General Dellus had a very hard time trying to control his laughter, as the Erehwonese consistently outperformed the Elves. While the Elven Cavalry was very good, the Erehwonese were just that little bit better. Individually, there really wasn't a lot of difference, but when it came down to unit exercises the difference was obvious. In one of the exercises each unit was to gallop toward the 'enemy' and then, on command, wheel away as a single unit. The Elven Light Cavalry went first and looked good; in fact, they looked very good; almost every single Elf turned at the appropriate time and the Elves who were in the command party began to gloat. Then came the Erehwonese Light Cavalry's turn; as a unit they raced toward the 'enemy', and then came their moment of glory; as a unit they wheeled and returned back to their lines. Every single Erehwonese turned at exactly the same time, and it was a beautiful sight to see. The Elves should have known better, since they preferred to run into battle instead of riding horses, but their Cavalry had always been the best up till now, in spite of that fact.

The Elven Cavalry did get their time to shine when it came to the mobile archery exercises; for there the Elves showed that they could fire faster and more accurately than either their Erehwonese or Roxian counterparts. Since the Roxians were mainly Honor Guards, their poor performance was expected. However, the Erehwonese were stunned, to say the least. Several of Neal's men did win the respect of the Elven Commanders, but they were the only ones. Colonel D'avid and General Dellus conferred briefly, and the General concurred with the Colonels' plan. Swiftly barking orders, the Colonel soon had the Erehwonese and Elven Calvary integrated into a single group and then split then back into two Regiment-sized commands; Neal's Lieutenant was in charge of one, and the Colonel's Captain in charge of the other. The real work could now begin, and, as the commanding officers had hoped, it worked very well, with each group trying to learn as much from the other as they could.

Once they had gotten all of the military stuff out of the way, the Colonel related to William and Joth how Neal had bested him in the Archery Contest.

"Don't feel bad, Land'o; my mother beat Ambassador B'rad's father in an archery contest as well, so it runs in his veins.," William calmly informed Colonel D'avid, as if that were an everyday occurrence.

After that the conference broke up, and everyone headed to bed, as tomorrow was going to be a very busy day. No one knew that Neal and his Elven guards were racing back to camp at that very moment; both groups trying to set a speed record. In fact, when Neal and his entourage arrived the next afternoon, they were going to set the camp on its collective ear.


Still Present time:

Margè and Andreu passed the remaining time to Palmetto Outpost fairly quickly by reciting recipes and plant properties back and forth at each other. The purpose of the game was to find a recipe or plant property that the other person didn't know, or didn't know all of. They both surprised each other with variations on recipes for herbal tissanes that the other one didn't know.

Halfway through the game Andreu had figured out that it was more a lesson than a game. However, he was having so much fun, he didn't care. What he didn't realize was that, not only was he learning new things, but the game was keeping his mind off the upcoming separation between him and Margè.

'I truly hope that Andreu can teach Arli enough so Arli can be of some help. Otherwise some people will have to wait until Andreu has the size and physical strength to help them.' Margè kept her shields up so Andreu wouldn't be able to hear her thoughts. If she only knew how much in awe of Andreu Arli would be, once they met, she never would have worried.

Suddenly a memorable landmark caught Margè's eye and she slowed her horse down a pace, until Andreu and his pony were now riding level with her.

"We will be at the outpost in just a few more minutes, Andreu, so let's stop and have a drink and then wash some of the dust off of our faces; how does that sound to you?" Margè asked her young charge.

"That sounds fine to me, Teacher Mine, I was getting a bit thirsty trying to play the game with dust in my mouth," Andreu replied with a mischievous grin. He then pulled his pony to a stop at the edge of the trail. He looped the reins of his pony over a branch as if it were a perfectly natural thing to do, which was a strange thing indeed, since this was the first time he had ever ridden a pony or a horse, other than while working with the younglings.

While Andreu was shaking the dust off of his clothes, before he had his drink and cleaned up, Margè took the time to go into a quick Level One Trance to see if she could determine what was going on up ahead. The closer they had gotten to the outpost, the stronger the feeling that something big was happening became. All she got out of the trance was a similar feeling and a feeling of joyous expectations. 'Well, at least I know nothing too terrible awaits us at the outpost.'

Meanwhile, on a ridge above and slightly behind them, a certain feline decided that this was as far as he was going to go. He would wait here for Arli and Andreu to return, and then follow them home or get a ride with Andreu. 'Nap time,' thought Sammy, and was soon sound asleep.

While Andreu was wiping his face with a damp rag a sudden thought hit him.

"Margè, does Arli know about Sammy?"

"I am not sure whether I mentioned him or not, Andreu; if not, we should tell him before I leave," Margè responded with a slight grin.

Since Andreu and Margè were so busy with the game, neither of them paid much attention to majestic views that the trail offered. Coincidentally, neither of them saw the Royal Dragon Guards who over flew the trail or the small flight of War Eagles doing the same thing, either.

Once they were both suitably cleaned up, or at least as well as could be expected under the circumstances, they mounted up and resumed their ride.

If they had only known what awaited them at Palmetto Outpost, they would have either slowed their mounts to a walk or returned home.


Back to the Einhorns in the present:

When Codeus and Antonius awoke the next morning, they realized that their new plans, while they would work, had a major flaw, and that they needed to fix them. The idea of sending out groups instead of individuals was still substantially sound; the problem was that they just didn't have the bodies to do the job correctly.

Antonius and Codeus quickly spread the word that they needed to convene an assembly again. Less than an hour later, everyone was ready, and the assembly was convened. Antonius and Codeus explained what their concerns were, and they were both shocked at the results.

The leader of the group, whose job it was to set the priorities, asked to speak.

"How do we get ourselves out of this dilemma that we have gotten ourselves into? We are very interested in hearing your answer, Denisius." Codeus replied.

"The solution is very simple; we only send out groups to the most damaged areas that need help quickly. We also need to send messengers to the other Clans and let them know of our plans and share information. But mostly, we need to keep as much of the Clan here as possible and work on increasing our numbers. By taking a year or so off from the major rejuvenation plan, we should be able to increase our numbers enough. Additionally we will still keep the part of the plan that had us working outward from here, as that will allow us to easily teach our youngsters what they need to learn, while still being able to be near them." Denisius paused to gauge the emotions of the assembly before continuing.

But before he could continue, Antonius began questioning him.

"Does this mean you want Codeus and me to father children, as well?"

"That would be a big help........." Denisius began to reply before he was cut off by Codeus.

"Although Antonius and I hadn't planned on this yet, and we haven't had time to really discuss this, I think we can help. However, for personal reasons, neither one of us wants to father children by the normal method......." Codeus's response was drowned out by the confused responses of his Clan. They thought he was saying NO!

'Are you sure, love?' Antonius sent to his King and Soul-mate.

'Yes, my love, and Draconis is almost at the zenith, so now is a perfect time. Shall we?' Codeus lovingly replied.

Antonius replied by rearing up on his hind feet until he was nearly vertical and let out an extremely loud neigh that could be heard for miles. Simultaneously, he sent to the whole Clan, 'Silence!!!!!! Your King is speaking.'

Needless to say the Clan became instantly silent. Antonius bowed to Codeus and then moved slightly away from his love until he was parallel with him.

"I didn't say we wouldn't do our duty, I said we wouldn't do it the regular way; because we can't! By the light of Draconis, we will fulfill our duty!" Codeus then turned his head away from his Clan and began staring directly into Antonius' emerald eyes. Within moments a golden glow began to envelop the two, and suddenly the cloud that had been partially obscuring the sun split into two. As the cloud split, a golden ray of sunlight hit the golden glow, and there was a tremendous clap of thunder. Years later, Clan members would swear they heard a draconic paean of joy, as well. The cloud reassembled itself and again partially obscured the sun, and, when the Clan could see again, they noticed they had a new member.

'My name is Teddius'.


Back at the cave in the past:

Jarli stirred slightly in his sleep and started to wake up; however, he was so warm and comfortable wrapped up in Duugie's arms he drifted off into sleep again. In his sleep, he unconsciously moved back even further into the comfort of Duugie's arms.

When Duugie awoke, he was very surprised to find Jarli in his arms, wrapped up in a lover's embrace. He very cautiously and slowly began to slide Jarli out of his embrace, trying not to awaken him. Of course, trying to work slowly when your bladder is signaling urgently is not easy, not an easy thing at all.

Duugie now faced a quandary, a very large quandary; he didn't have enough food for both him and his patient. In fact, he barely had a snack for himself, and the exertion of flying while carrying his grounder patient had made him extremely hungry. He was afraid that, if he left Jarli alone to go and get food, something would happen to him. However, even if he stayed, he had no idea if he could communicate with Jarli.

'What do I do? I can't feed him and me with what I have here, and I am really hungry. But if I leave him alone, and he goes outside, he will probably scare himself to death, and fall off the cliff. There is no way for grounders to get into this cave, without being able to fly. It is a long way down to the ground!' The thoughts kept going round and round in Duugie's head, as he tried to resolve his dilemma.

Suddenly a solution that might just work became available to Duugie.

'I know what to do. I will move the table over next to the bed, so he can't get out, and leave what food I have left, on the table, so he can eat it. If I hurry, I can fly to the Royal Falconeid Emergency Cache, eat a little bit, and hopefully make it back here with more food, before he wakes up.'

Duugie quickly put his plan into action, and, in addition to the food, added a small pitcher of water and a drinking vessel to the table. He hoped that his patient would be able to control his bodily needs until he returned. Better yet, he hoped his patient would still be sleeping when he returned.

Jarli woke up dazed and disoriented and missing his comforter. He sat up a little bit too fast and had to lean against the wall until the wave of dizziness passed. Once his head was a little clearer, he saw the small pile of fruits and nuts on the table. Moving very gingerly this time, he took one of the fruits he recognized and began slowly and carefully chewing it. Even chewing the soft fruit caused him considerable pain, but the juice did help assuage some of his thirst. Unfortunately for Jarli and fortunately for Duugie, the effort of chewing brought on sleep again. The last thing Jarli remembered was a movement at the doorway, and then he was out like a light.

Duugie quickly arrived at his destination and filled his backpack with enough supplies for several days. He then dutifully filled in the log book stating what supplies he was taking and his reasons why. He did take a few moments to eat some high protein nuts and bread that was there, to sustain him until he was back at his refuge. He knew that flying as fast as he had was stressful, and he was going to require a lot of food and rest.

As Duugie came through the doorway, he caught the motion on the bed and without thinking dropped what he was carrying and rushed over to the bed. He was worried that something bad had happened to his patient. When he arrived at the bed, Duugie saw that his grounder had at least attempted to eat something, so he relaxed a bit and began to quietly, or so he thought, move the table out of his way.

Something--he wasn't quite sure what--woke Jarli from his dream, and he opened his eyes. What he saw leaning over him was something or someone unlike anything he had ever seen before. It was a bird, his bruised brain told him at first, and then to confuse him even more, his brain said, no, it is a man. With the confusion, all he could do was croak out a very weak, "Ahhhhhg........"

Seeing his patient awake and trying to speak, Duugie asked him in the lingua franca of the region. "How do you feel?"

Jarli, of course, didn't understand anything other than the feel of the words. He knew they were caring and full of concern, but that was all. He then tried to ask a few questions in his own language.

"Where âm Y? Whö ör whât âre yöu? Whât âre yöu göyng tö ðö tö me?"

At first Duugie was dismayed, when his patient's face displayed a completely blank look at his question. That only lasted a few moments, though, when his patient began questioning him in the tongue of the Olde Folke, which just happened to also be the Official Language of the Royal Messengers and the Kingdom. It was usually reserved for Official Communications and Official functions with other kingdoms, etc. Although Duugie could read and speak it, he wasn't very fluent. His high pitched voice might cause a problem, as well, but he had to try.

"My nâme yð Ðuugye, ânð yöu âre yn my höme âwây fröm höme. Y âm â Fâlköneyð ….........." Duugie had to pause for minute at the look of astonishment that was now showing on his patient's face.

"Âll Y âm göyng tö ðö tö yöu yz nurze yöu bâkch tö heâlth ânð then return yöu tö yöur vyllâge. Thât yz, yf yöur heâð ynjury ðyðn't ðeztröy yöur memöry, ânð yöu kân zhöw m where yöu lyve. Ðö yöu remember yöur nâme?" Duugie finished, answering the questions of his patient and then asking one of his own.

At first Jarli didn't know how to respond. Duugie's voice was almost too high for him to understand. Luckily for both of them, Duugie spoke very slowly, since he wasn't very fluent.

"My nâme yz Jârly, ânð höw ðyð Y get here?...ânð thânch yöu."


Now back to the present:

When Margè and Andreu reached the valley floor and Palmetto Crag Outpost a short while later, they were astonished at all of the activity going on. There were dragons taking off and landing all over the place. While they stood there watching all of the activity, someone in some kind of Royal uniform, along with a person in his early twenties, came walking toward Margè and Andreu. As the two got close, Margè finally recognized her nephew, Arli. He had changed a lot, so it took her a few moments.

She and Andreu could tell that he was accompanied by a Captain, as they got closer. She still couldn't quite figure out the uniform. It had the Royal blue and burgundy, but it also had a forest green trim and a crest she had never seen before, either. Finally, the two had gotten close enough for the introductions to begin.

Arli walked over and gave his Aunt a big hug and kissed her on the cheek. He then walked over and did the same thing to Andreu, who was completely gobsmacked. He then stepped back and stood next to the still unknown Captain.

"Aunt Margè and, I presume Andreu, may I introduce you to Captain Ranulf, head of the Crown Prince Consort's Guard, who is responsible for escorting you to Dragonsholme." To say that Margè was caught off guard and a bit taken aback would be a great understatement.

"Mistress Margè, I am honored to meet you and your protégé Andreu, and it will be my pleasure to fly you to your destination. Doktor Bazaar has nothing but good things to say about you, although you aren't as tall or as old as he described you." Ranulf paused for a minute, as a confused look was overtaking Margè's countenance.

"And what was that old reprobate's description of me?" Margè asked the young Captain.

"Well, he said you were about eight feet tall, hunchbacked, and had grey lightning bolts through your hair. He also said that you had an extremely long hooked nose, and it was covered in warts." Ranulf had a very hard time getting through the description without laughing like crazy.

Meanwhile, Andreu was getting more and more upset with every word.

'It's okay Andreu,, it is all a game,' Margè sent with love.

"That old fool! That is his mother he described. He must really be losing his mind. Maybe I should go to Highmont, instead of Dragonsholme; sounds as if they need me more," a grinning Margè replied to the Captain, who finally gave in and almost fell over laughing.

Once Margè and Ranulf had finished their conversation, Margè turned and took a good look at her nephew. There was something completely different with him, and she couldn't quite figure out what was different. She decided to introduce Arli to Andreu, and, while that was happening, she was going to probe her nephew.

"Arli, this is your new mentor and teacher, Andreu. Now, you'd better be nice to him, because I consider him family. Got it?" While Margè was talking to Arli, she was also expanding her awareness, trying to ascertain what was so different about him.

Meanwhile, Andreu and Arli were busy shaking hands, trying to get a feel for each other. As Margè's senses reached Arli, she received a slight shock! Instead of getting Arli's feelings, thoughts or emotions, all she received was the ghostly image of a smiling golden dragon. Without thinking she muttered her thoughts out loud.

"By the wings of Draconis!" Her uncharacteristic outburst caused Andreu to turn and look at her with concern.

"Don't worry, Andreu, she is fine. I believe I can explain what she is concerned about. Last night, as I was finishing my packing, I received a visit from, shall I say, certain "individuals", who imparted several messages and instructions to me. When I recovered this morning, I had a splitting headache and a head full of information that I didn't know what to do with." Arli paused for a second and looked directly into his aunt's eyes and saw understanding begin to dawn. He then turned and looked at Andreu, who was beginning to smirk slightly, as he figured out partially what had happened.

Arli turned to Captain Ranulf to ask him to step away from the conversation, but before he could, the Captain began to speak.

"Let me see if I can guess who your "visitors" were; one of them was Draconis, if I had to wager, and knowing the next one the way I do, it had to be Gus, better known as Gustavo, Prince Joth's nosy dragon."

To say that Arli was stunned would be a gigantic understatement; he tried to frame a question but he was only able to babble.

"Don't worry, Arli, I didn't read your mind; it is just that when you have spent as much time as I have around Castle Highmont with Prince Joth and his consort, you hear and see a lot of things. One of the reasons I am here is precisely that fact, as things like that don't bother me. One of the other reasons is that I am one of the few people outside of the Royal Family that Joth's Kat, Matty, trusts. It seems that the people involved in sending me here assumed that Sammy would accompany you, Margè." Ranulf caught his breath and attempted to gauge the effect of his pronouncement.

"Yes, Captain, you are right in your assumption; I was visited by both Draconis and Gustavo, and it was an experience, I tell you. One I hope not to experience again for a long time. I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was to obey Master Andreu without question or hesitation. If I didn't, my life would be extremely miserable. One minute I was packing things, and the next these two imperious voices were talking to me inside my head. I nearly collapsed in fright, but was unable to, as Draconis had taken over control of my body. Just before those two left, after filling my brain full of information, a third voice joined them but it did not introduce itself. Basically, that voice reiterated all of the warnings from Draconis and Gustavo. When it finally released me, I fell onto my bed and passed out. I didn't awake until Captain Ranulf was pounding on my door this morning." Arli glared at Ranulf as he finished speaking.

"Now I know why you looked the way you did, when you opened your door this morning," Ranulf replied, laughing.

"I was still in a state of shock, and starving; luckily, Ranulf took pity on me and told me to go bathe, while one of his men would procure me some breakfast. While I was bathing, his men finished my packing and began to secure my small cottage. The Captain himself brewed me a cup of tea he called "Morning Thunder." He said that it would awaken even a dead man. He also informed me that it was standard Royal Dragon Guard issue, and, believe me, one sip and I was completely awake. We left shortly after that and arrived here just before you." Arli had to stop then, as Captain Ranulf was laughing so hard he could hardly stand up.

"Luckily for Arli, he was strapped on tightly, as just before we landed he tried to fall off my dragon in mid air!" Ranulf barely got out between fits of laughter.

"Andreu, where is your Kat, Sammy? I would like to have a few words with him!"

"He is back at our villa................... Oh, no, please tell me he didn't!" Andreu replied, slightly embarrassed at what he thought had happened.

"Yes, he did! For some reason, he took it upon himself to repeat all of Draconis' instructions to me, and then told me in excruciating detail what would happen to me if I didn't follow them to the letter.

Margè and Ranulf burst out laughing at the look on poor Arli's face, while Andreu turned bright red from his ears to his toes.

"SAMMY!!!!!!!!!" 'SAMMMMMMMMMY!!!' Andreu both yelled and sent, and all he received in reply was,

'Que Sera, Sera!'

"I apologize, Arli; I had no idea that he would do such a thing, and I didn't even know he was capable of doing that.," Andreu apologized, while still trying to reach his Kat.

Margè decide to change the subject, so that she could get on her way to Dragonsholme.

"Captain Ranulf, can you please explain exactly who you are and what you are doing here? I am perfectly capable of flying on one of the Royal Dragon Guards Courier Dragons to Dragonsholme without an escort. Also, how soon can we leave?" She interrogated Ranulf, expecting him cave in and tremble before her intimidating glare.

Ranulf answered her very casually. "Mistress Margè, as to the escort, I am merely following my orders from on high. Several members of the Royal Family, including the Crown Prince Consort, expressed their wishes to me in no uncertain terms. My wing and I were to escort you to Dragonsholme as swiftly and as comfortably as possible. In addition, I was instructed to ensure that you lacked nothing, and I do mean nothing at all. It seems that the Crown Prince Consort and the Crown Prince will be spending their honeymoon at Dragonsholme, and the powers that be have decided that you and the Châtelaine shall have all the supplies you need to have Dragonsholme running perfectly for the honeymoon. As to who I am, well, that is a bit trickier; I am formerly of the Crown Prince's Royal Guard and was appointed to be Captain of his Consort's Guard, as a matter of expediency. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am still the Captain. We can leave immediately, as your luggage has been loaded as we have been talking. A couple more things, Arli and Andreu, you will have an escort of Dragons and War Eagles flying over you on your way home. They are under command of Paladin, the King's War Eagle. Mistress Margè, we will also be accompanied by a flight of War Eagles, under the command of Misha, who is attached to the Crown Prince Consort, Just'."

'What is going on here? Ranulf answered my questions, but he didn't really answer them, and I really don't know anything more than I did before I got here. And who in Draconis' Wings is Just'?' With these thoughts going through her head, she headed over to give Andreu a goodbye hug and kiss.

'All will be made clear in time!' echoed through the heads of Ranulf, Arli, Andreu and Margè.

"Draconis!" was the simultaneously shouted reply from all involved.

While Margè was busy interrogating Ranulf, Andreu was getting acquainted with Arli and was very pleased. 'We will get along just fine, and, since Sammy talks to him, that is one less problem to worry about.'

'Everything will be fine, teacher mine,' sent an amused Andreu, as he hugged and kissed his teacher and best friend, well, two legged best friend, that is.

"One moment, Master Andreu, I have a few things for you from the castle, and for you, as well, Mistress Margè." Ranulf motioned to two of his subordinates as he was speaking.

The young private that came up to Margè presented her with a riding jacket and set of riding leathers in the same colors as the guard uniforms. Another private had brought a complete set of clothing to Andreu, who, like his teacher, was completely stunned. As he held the clothing in his arms, he was amazed at the quality of the material; it was like nothing he had ever seen or felt before.

Before either Andreu or Margè could question their good fortune, Ranulf handed each of them a scroll sealed with the Royal Seal.

"Hopefully, that scroll will answer all your questions when you reach your intended destinations. However, we do need to get moving, as we have a long flight, and Andreu and Arli need to hurry, as well, to arrive home before nightfall."

Margè slipped into her new jacket and turned to help load her luggage but couldn't find it. While the four were busy engaging in conversation, the escorts had their luggage loaded and were already astride their dragons, ready to take off.

"Well, Captain, I guess we should leave, since it seems that we are holding everyone up!" Margè replied to Ranulf with a bit of a smirk.

Ranulf bowed to Margè and replied with a smile, "Your wish is my command, O Royal Healer." Margè never got a chance to respond, as Ranulf began barking out orders, and two wings of dragons and a flight of War Eagles took off, as two of his men assisted Andreu and Arli into their saddles. Ranulf then reached over and, grasping Margè's hand, led her over to his Dragon, Thomaso. Once he had Margè seated in the saddle, he then took his own seat and, with a whispered command, his wing took to the air simultaneously.


Present time back in Puritania:

The Avatar/Phelps' attempt at a smile came across as a grimace of pain, rather than the sadistic smile the Avatar had planned. One of the few remaining Puritanians rushed over with some pieces of fruit and some scrounged bread. The Phelps/Avatar creature inhaled the food without a word of thanks. With a little more energy, thanks to the food, Phelps/Avatar was able to croak out a demand.

"I need more food, juice, and then a bed, and they had better be good!"

The Puritanian's responded as the brainwashed slaves they were and quickly procured the requested items. No one even paid attention to the fact that they now had no food for their own meal. It seems that the soldiers who had freed the slaves had done an extremely efficient job of rendering the village pretty much useless, where food was concerned. As to habitability, there was only one roof left standing, and that just happened to be the one over Phelps' private residence. His was the only habitation that had the luxury of a slate roof; all the rest had thatched roofs, which had been burned by the soldiers.

While the Phelps/Avatar combination was devouring their worshipers' sustenance, one of the more intelligent decided to go check the traps that he had set yesterday. While he was busy hoping to acquire more food for what was left of the village, the village blacksmith was busy trying to cleanup his smithy. The blacksmith had realized how devastatingly thorough the soldiers had been. There was not a weapon of any type left anywhere in the village, that he could find; not only that, there was nothing of metal left anywhere. The only place there might be a slight hope of finding something metal was in the ruins of the temple. Since plumes of smoke and dust were still rising from the temple, he shelved that idea very quickly. They would have to acquire some bar stock soon, or learn to process the raw ore themselves.

As soon as the Phelps/Avatar had finished eating, he signaled for two of the men to help him to his residence. The two under priests quickly had their master ensconced in his bedroom. The Phelps/Avatar, with a strong grip on the younger and stronger under priest, began to siphon as much energy as he could, without killing the man.

With eyes blazing red, and with a voice powered by the energy of the under priest, the Phelps/Avatar began issuing orders.

"I am going into a healing sleep and will not awaken until noon tomorrow. When I awake, I expect to find a repast fit for a king ready for me! And the village had better be repaired, and the repairs started on the Temple. There had also better be slaves prepared to care for my body and all of my needs. If my orders are not carried out, you will not enjoy the rest of your pitifully short lives. Now get out of my sight, and let me sleep!" The Phelps/Avatar then released his grip on the under priest, who barely had enough energy to stagger out the door. His fellow priest was out the door without a backwards glance and was as pale as a troglodyte.


Back to the past in the cave:

"My nâme yz Jârly, ânð höw ðyð Y get here?...ânð thânch yöu."

"Well, Y kârryeð yöu here, pârtyâlly," Duugie answered, while moving the table out of the way. {Further speech between the two characters will be in plain text; unless absolutely necessary, and then that speech will be in Olde Folke.}

"How is your head feeling this morning? You took quite a fall, it seems, and did a good job of trying to kill yourself. If you feel like it, I will get you some more food, and then we need to decide what we are going to do to get you to a proper healer," Duggie told his hopefully new friend.

"My head feels like there is a thunderstorm going on inside it, but it felt better after I ate some of the food you left." Jarli had to stop for a minute to let some of the spinning he was feeling go away.

"That is a very good thing, and I brought you some soft cheese and soft fruits, and some water to drink. The soft cheese shouldn't hurt you to eat, and I will mix some herbs with it to help your headache. Now, as to what I am, well..... I am a Falconeid or in your tongue one of the Bird People." Duugie finally answered Jarli's unanswered question. He was pleased to see that his answer didn't shock Jarli.

"What are the Falconeid, and how many of them are there?" a curious Jarli responded, in between bites of the fruit that Duugie had given him.

Duugie spent the next several hours explaining all about himself and his people, while at the same time feeding Jarli. While Jarli was eating some of the fruit, Duugie softened some of the trail bread he had brought in water and spread some of the sleeping draught on it.

"Jarli, you need to eat this, and then get some more sleep. When you wake up, we can talk more about how we are going to get you healed and home."

Jarli took the bread and dutifully began chewing it. As the piece was small, he finished it quickly. He then began to ask Duugie a question, but only got as far as opening his mouth before sleep began to overtake him. Duugie quickly caught him and slowly lowered him down on the bed.


Present time again:

Margè found the flight to Dragonsholme both interesting and frustrating at the same time. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, and at times they were flying so close to the sides of the mountains that she thought she could reach out and touch them. She tried to have a fruitful conversation with Captain Ranulf, but gave up that idea for several reasons. First, although he answered her questions, he only partially answered them. The second reason was that they were flying at a very rapid rate of speed, and the ensuing wind made conversation very difficult.

'This is very frustrating! He answers all my questions about Just' with the same answer, "He is the Crown Prince Consort," and no more. I have no idea who he is, or where he comes from. Well, that isn't quite accurate; he did also say that Just' is the adopted son of Duke Campbell, and loved by all of the Castle Highmont servants. I also caught bits and pieces of 'healed,' 'healing' and 'healer,' but no context, and who is Jonah? I hope I can get some answers when we arrive at Dragonsholme, and before everyone arrives for the honeymoon. And what did Ranulf mean by "Royal Healer"?' Margè's mind was working rapidly, trying to come up with answers from the little information she had.

Meanwhile Andreu and Arli were having a much different trip than Margè. They were having a very fruitful conversation, as they were riding the trail back to Andreu's village. Andreu found Arli almost as easy going as his teacher, Margè, and quickly realized that Arli really did want to learn and help him. The only fly in the ointment, so far, was Sammy! Arli was slightly afraid of meeting Sammy, after Sammy's 'conversation' with him. Sammy, of course, was totally ignoring Andreu, and Andreu was unable to even determine where he was. 'Oh well, we will just have to deal with that problem later.' Andreu finally gave up trying to reach his Kat and turned his concentration back to Arli.

Andreu had quickly determined that Draconis and Gustavo had imparted a lot of knowledge to Arli during their visitation. Unfortunately, Arli didn't know how to apply most of it yet, or how it all linked together. One benefit of his one-sided conversation with Sammy was the fact that Arli knew and could picture almost everyone in the village and had a very good mental map. 'I need to thank Sammy for that,' Andreu thought quickly, before deciding to play the 'game' with Arli.

Of course, Sammy being a Kat, just as Andreu started to explain the rules of the 'game', his head rang with 'You're welcome,' and then Sammy was gone again without a trace.

Andreu just shook his head in amazement and then began to explain to Arli what he wanted to do. Arli was perfectly willing to play the 'game', and they began, with Arli being a little slow at the beginning. Soon, though, a lot of the information that Draconis and Gustavo had imparted began to link itself together, and soon Arli was answering almost as fast as Andreu. Things were going very well, until the assimilation of all the knowledge began to catch up with Arli, and his head started to throb quite badly.

"Andreu, can we stop for a few minutes? My head is starting to kill me from all of the information that was stuffed into it."

"We can, Arli, but it really isn't necessary, as we will be home in a few minutes, and I can dull most of your pain until then, if you will let me."

"You can do anything you want to, Andreu; otherwise, I think I will fall off this horse," Arli responded, with a hint of pain edging his voice.

Andreu pulled his horse closer to Arli and said, "Pull up for second, Arli, and move over, so I can reach your head." He then reached into his saddlebag and took out a small package, which he put into his pocket.

As soon as Andreu was close enough, Arli leaned over as requested, and Andreu reached up and placed both hands on the sides of his new friend's head. Arli was surprised at first, when Andreu's hands began to feel very cool, and a blissful, cooling sensation quickly spread throughout his brain. He finally realized that he was experiencing the power of Andreu's healing gift.

While Andreu was healing Arli's headache, he was also busy sending messages to the persons who had caused Arli's pain.

'Draconis, I know you can hear me, and Gustavo you had better listen, too! I am so mad at you two that I can barely think. How could you do that to my helper, Arli, without warning him what could happen? I am going to take care of him, but you both better stay clear of me for a few days.' Unknowingly, Andreu was also sending to Margè, who at first couldn't believe that her little Andreu was telling off Draconis and one of the most important Dragons on the planet.

Little did anyone know at the time, but Gustavo was listening and in shock; in fact, he was so in shock that he was liking his dressing down.

Once father and son had figured out what had happened, they both gave Gustavo a piece of their minds.

'Bad 'Goos', you be a bad dragon to be so mean to Arli. I am going to go talk to Misha, and you had better apolog... uh, you know what I mean!' Jonah jumped into Just's' lap for a hug and then ran off to the Aerie.

Just', on the other hand, wasn't as polite.

'Gustavo, you know much better than that, or at least I thought you did. I am ashamed of you for what you did; at your age, you should know better, and for a King that was a rather stupid thing to do! And Draconis, the two of you had better apologize to both Arli and Andreu, and do it soon. I will be personally apologizing after my honeymoon.' Luckily for Draconis and Gus, the thought of Joth and their honeymoon put Just' into a much better frame of mind. He decided he had said enough, and went looking for J'ame, as he felt like doing some arms practice to work out the rest of the anger he felt.

The longer she listened, Margè realized that her prized student was right, and as soon he had finished his rant, she sent him a quick message.

'Student mine, you are right, and they are wrong; you just relax and take care of Arli. I will take care of those two meddling fools, and in a way they will have to listen. I love you, student mine.' When Margè finished her message, she swore that she heard Andreu's sigh of relief from where she was. While she was contemplating how to send her message, she received help from an unexpected source.

'Healer Margè, I believe I can help you with your problem.'

'Who?'

'I am Thomaso, Captain Ranulf's Dragon, and I am kin to Gustavo. We are very close to Dragonsholme, and I can link you to the power that you need there. I can also relay your message to his Eminence, and you are right, he is the perfect person to deal with those two,' Thomas replied to all of Margè's asked and unasked questions.

'Won't that cause you problems? Are you sure that won't get you in trouble, Thomaso?' Margè inquired, sending her concern, as well.

'Healer, my rider, Captain Ranulf, has given me his permission and, in fact, has requested that I help you.' As Thomaso was 'speaking', Ranulf was nodding his head yes.

'Additionally, I also have permission and protection from someone with whom no one can argue.'

'Thomaso, if you are sure?'

'I am sure; now let's begin.'

While Margè and Thomaso were busy talking, Andreu had done enough healing that Arli's headache was beginning to ebb. Removing his hands from Arli's head, he reached into his pocket and removed the small object he had placed there moments before. He quickly unwrapped the object and handed it to Arli.

"Arli, place this in your mouth and suck on it; it is willowzbark soaked in honey, and it will finish getting rid of your headache."

Arli followed Andreu's instructions, and shortly they were on the way to his new home.

Moments later and far away:

'Arch Prelate Eduardo my name is Healer Margè...........'

TBC

Dragon GifAuthor's Notes: Well, I finally finished another chapter and it is a bit longer than the last one. I don't believe that there are any major cliffhangers and I did try and answer some of the unanswered questions.

I do have to admit that I was very surprised that only one reader was able to explain why Horus and Tana were so important to the main story line. I hope I have done a better job explaining that in this chapter. As for the names of the War Eagles, they are from Egyptian history.

I will be working on Chapter Twelve shortly, and another chapter of "A Tale of Mantasia," as well. Hopefully, I will find the time to write more about Żorn, as well. I am also working on two new surprises as well, that is when my back lets up a bit.

Til we fly again,

The Story Lover and 'Goos'

Comments greatly appreciated at The Story Lover

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