Dragon Keepers – Chapter 6
Foreword: See chapter 1 for disclaimers, blah, blah, blah. If you want to send feedback, address it to Sky at firstname.lastname@example.org. Constructive comments and appreciation welcome, flames are not. If you don’t want to read the spiel at the beginning and want to get straight into the story then skip down to the brackets (***)
Hey there everybody, welcome to another instalment of the Dragon Keepers Saga. First of all, I want to say thank you too all my fans. Wow, the emails have just come pouring in since my last chapter with everybody telling me how much they love the story. Thanks guys, it means so much to me that you care. I also got a few from some of my original fans from the first chapter who were seriously relieved to find that, contrary to popular belief amongst them, I had not fallen off the face of the planet. Heh heh heh, thanks for you faith guys *sarc*.
This chapter is faster getting out because I have been planning it for sometime now, but I was just having a few teething problems with explaining some of the concepts that I had in my head and placing them in story format. There is no old keloi in this story so no need to hunt for translations at the bottom of the chapter.
I have created a group where I intend to house my stories so for those of you who would like to become an active part in my story writing process, or would like to receive them hot off the press then you are more than welcome to join. It can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spectrum_stories. I also invite other budding authors to send in their stories, as my intention is for this group to become like an informal critique group. Sections are being created all the time and stories will be navigable via story type, genre and general mood. All stories will be considered for posting, you only need to send it to my yahoo address, informing me of its content, genre, mood and type. Group members will be encouraged to give frank and constructive advice. Flames will be frowned upon. Due to the nature of most if not all the stories, you must be over 18 years of age to join and not be offended by sometimes explicit content, and it must be legal for you to view in your area.
A few more special thanks and then on with the story.
Mum – You’re the best and I love you!
Ty – Everybody thank Ty, without him I would be posting drivel and thinking it the greatest work of fantasy fiction since Lord of The Rings.
Aunty Ruth (aka Ruthless) – For persevering though my ‘moments’ and slapping sense into me when I needed it most.
Aunty Em – Girlie gives the best pep talks.
This chapter is also dedicated to the memory of my close friend and fellow author, Michael Shane Wright, who passed away on Monday 31st of January 2005 of complications with his epilepsy. I will miss you buddy, more than you can know.
Right, that being all said and done, on to the story…
Olridian watched as Pelath and Tylani stood there, hands clasped and gazes locked, like two statue seemingly frozen in time.
Time passed and neither of them moved, nor were any words exchanged. Their peculiar actions were starting to worry him and a slight frown crossed his face.
He felt a gentle hand settle upon his shoulders and turned to look up into the emerald green depths that were the eyes of his adept, Hadrian. He saw compassion, empathy, and understanding in his gaze and was immediately set at ease.
“Don’t worry. I know what you’re going through. I felt the same way when Ty first went under too. The hardest part is the wait but nothing bad will happen, I promise.” Hadrian whispered quietly into his ear.
Olridian nodded and smiled, very much relieved by Hadrian’s words and his presence. He had felt a little jealous when he first observed Pelath’s reaction to him as they underwent the formal introduction, but on meeting Hadrian himself he could understand why. By the gods, he was beautiful! Not only that though, he was just such a genuinely nice person, who exuded an aura of calm and tranquillity that put anyone at ease.
“I couldn’t help hearing your titles. Are you and Tylani…” Olridian started to ask.
“Mated?” Hadrian finished off for him, “Yeah we are. Like you and Pelath, our destinies were bound together since the beginning of time. I’ll tell you more about that later though. We’re supposed to be quiet during this and I wouldn’t want to be a bad role model.” He replied with a grin and a wink.
Olridian nodded. a grin of his own forming and turned back to watch Pelath and Ty’s silent communion.
The warm tide of oblivion receded and was replaced by the crisp cool rush of clarity and awareness. Pelath found himself in what appeared to be a vast sphere made up of thousands of tiny points of light.
“Where the hell am I?” He wondered.
“We are in what’s know as the draconic nexus.” Ty replied.
It was the first time Pelath had noticed him, but he appeared much the same as the other points of light though the individual threads of convergent energy that made up his awareness was very evident because of his proximity. Pelath glanced down at himself and noticed that he too had no discernable physicality, just interconnected tendrils of energy that made up his perceivable form.
“So what is this nexus thing?” Pelath asked, noticing the question passed form his ‘self’ to Ty’s ‘self’ on an energy impulse that separated itself from his awareness, blending with Ty’s own in the blink of an eye. ‘Trippy.’ He though to himself.
“The nexus is like a great oversoul of the draconic species. This is the hub of all our collective knowledge, accumulated over many millennia and many lifetimes. All that has been experienced or learned by dragon or keeper since the first bonding is stored here, never to be forgotten.” Ty replied
“Why am I here then and none of the others, or are they floating around here too somewhere?”
“You are a Lord-Keeper, a queen rider. You are the ultimate authority over all the dragons and keepers in your Keep. In times of peace, you are responsible for the effective governance and overall wellbeing of your people and companions. In times of war, you are supreme commander and strategist, directing your armies of dragon, dragonarls and dragonets instantaneously and with perfect cohesion”
Pelath reached out with his awareness, trying but failing to accomplish anything.
“Okay, how come I can’t ‘do’ anything then?”
“You have yet to bond with your dragon. You were only brought here so the nexus could recognize your energy signature prior to the bonding and so you wouldn’t freak out when it finally does happen, because when you are bonded and you access the nexus the first time you will be flooded with emotions, sensations and memories until the mental safeguards can kick in to prevent your brain from being fried. Even though I tell you this now it’s still a scary experience when it does occur.”
“Okay, coolness. What do we do now then?”
“Well now would probably be a good time to ask any questions you might have or if you’re ready to head back we can do that. Olridian is probably waiting for you to snap out of your trance. I remember the first time I went under. Hadrian was almost beside himself with impatience because I drilled my adept with question after question.”
“Hadrian is your mate?”
“Yep, and I couldn’t be happier.”
“That brings up another question that I have been mulling over since I met Teglita and Pelegra. Are there a lot of gay keepers?”
“Yes, in fact most of them are, only one pairing from each summoning will be hetro. That pairing will be responsible for creating new bloodlines or lines of descent, ensuring the bio-diversity of our species. The drawback of this however is that all children born from the union will mortal, and will have considerably shorter life spans than ours. The bonding makes all of us sterile though until our dragons go into season, which is only once every ten years. Sure, we still have sex for pleasure but the hetro pairing will only produce offspring during their dragons season.”
“Okay, that explains a lot. Just out of curiosity, how did you and Hadrian meet?”
“For people like us it’s never about how we meet. Dragon keepers are unlike normal people. We don’t have the luxury of looking around for partners like most because of our extended life spans. The gods built in genetic safeguards for us that predetermines our life partners. Would it surprise you to learn that you and Olridian were meant to be together since birth?”
“Actually, yes it does, sort of”
“Well its true. Just like myself and Hadrian and all the others.”
“Okay, thinking hypothetically, what would happen if either myself or Olridian had died prior to the summoning?”
“That’s easy. Who ever survived wouldn’t have been summoned, your entire pairing would have been replaced, and the genetic tags either of you bore would have been deactivated, so the survivor would live out a perfectly normal life completely unaware of their potential future as a keeper.”
“Wow. Okay, I’ve heard you make oblique references to us keepers having extended life spans. Just how long do we live for?”
“About ten thousand years in active service, which is while our dragons are still able to go through their normal breeding cycles, and up to five thousand years in retirement.”
“All the holies under the heavens! How come no body knows about all this? I mean everybody knows that keepers ride dragons, about the summonings and that dragons are important for protecting the planet from legion creatures but that’s about it. How come there isn’t more information?”
“When kings and governments swear fealty to us in exchange for our protection, they swear to keep our daily lives and existences secret, by magically enforced pact. This means they are responsible for gagging and suppressing all scholastic and academic works pertaining to us. This prevents the general population from becoming envious of our longer life spans”
“Okay then, last question and then we can head back…”
“I’m 1038 years old”
“Great Denasi! Sorry! You just don’t look your age is all. Okay, lets head back before Olridian chews his fingers off.”
Pelath felt the warm tide of oblivion rise once again and relaxed into it, knowing that soon enough he would be returning to the world he was familiar with…
Once again, oblivion faded away and awareness came flooding back to take its place. Pelath found himself holding Ty’s hand in mid shake and looking deep into his amber coloured eyes. Eye’s that were so much like his own.
They both studied each other for a bit before grinning knowingly and then bursting into laughter, eliciting strange looks from the other new keepers and knowing looks from the Hadrian, Teglita and Pelegra.
Ty moved to take his place at Pelath’s side and as he did the gong sounded again.
‘That’s our signal. Everyone, fall in!” Ty yelled.
Tor Stepped forward a few paces, leading the way, and then turned towards the rear of the great hall, the open doors that drew them forward and that cloisters that waited beyond.