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|Chapter four. Please tell me when stuff doesn't make sense, thanks.||
The sun was just rising and the horizon was filled with the colors of blues, yellows, and oranges. A soft haze filtered over the fields as birds woke from their beds of fluff and twigs. A wind swooped down from his pillars of clouds to stir the tall grasses with his whispering breath. A silence was settled on the house within the deep valley as Raiku readied himself and his son. A floor board creaked as he walked down the dim hallway with Dante in his arms and a pack of supplies on his back. Going to the round table that was centered within the room at the front of the house, Raiku traced a note in the air above it leaving an explanation in shimmering letter for Carin. Raiku hadn’t planned to leave with out saying goodbye to his wife but last night he had lain awake well past the hours of twilight. He feared discovery by his wife or her sisters and the failure of his plan. He laid there pondering for some time until a blessed solution came to him; he would leave before his wife or her sisters could wake. His dread of detection was replaced with calm as he found his answer to a safe escape and he was able to fall asleep.
Strapping Dante to his back, he stepped outside and closed the door quietly behind him. He would first stop at Rakmae Dreagon’s where his children were to see them and show them their baby brother, but this was hiding the more important reason he needed to stop at Rakmae’s. Rakmae was a dragon trainer and had a few as pets. Raiku didn’t know how long he would be at the Sorceress’s castle but knew he would need fast transportation getting there and back. He would tell his brother-in-law the same story he had told his wife and ask to borrow a dragon. Then he would fly over to the side mountain to begin his journey seeking answer to his future.
Normally Raiku just transported himself with a spell when he wanted to go anywhere but Rakmae lived too far away and to get there Raiku would have needed a time consuming spell. Raiku needed to get to Rakmae’s house by the next afternoon because Rakmae was bringing the children home the day after that. Raiku could borrow a horse or rent one but then he would have to explain what he planned to use it for so he would have to travel by foot. For most mages this would be a terrible and tiring thing but Raiku he had walked quite a few thousand miles in his life time and was used to it.
Raiku had been in the Mage Army when the Demons of Hell had rebelled against Heaven and Hell and begun the Great War. The Angels worked to beat down the rise of defiant Demons but sometimes a few of each race fell from Heaven during battles and the Mage Army’s job was to march around finding them. The angels would have caused no trouble on earth but if the demons had been left there they would have begun to try and destroy the world. When the army found an angel they were sent back to Heaven after the mage physicians had healed them and given them a few days rest. The Demons were very hard to handle though; the only way to kill a Demon is by using pure holy power and the only ones who posses that are angels. So the army was forced to what till it was asleep and then bind it with a spell. A demon is so powerful that it takes fifty mages to combine powers to make a binding spell powerful enough to hold one. After the demon had been bound he was taken to a holding site were a legion of the Angel’s Army would come after every month to destroy these foul creatures. And so the Mage Army acted as an alliance with
Heaven helping them annihilate the rebelling demons until the war was over.
As Raiku began to walk his heart became light knowing his problems would be solved in a few days. The idea that the Sorceress might not be able to help him never even entered his mind and so his journey to his brother-law’s house seemed to pass quickly. Raiku choose to travel through the woods and keep off the road. This was because he preferred the sounds of the babbling brook and crunch of leaves to the clanging of metal and heat of the fire from the marketplace. He also didn’t want anyone to see him giving them a chance to talk to him and ask where he was going. Plus what if someone else recognized his son as a Taint; how would he deal with that or explain it?
No keeping to the woods was safer and much more pleasant.
As Raiku waded through a small stream he daydreamed about the future, of how with the help of the Sorceress he would become great and people all across the mountains would know his name. And as he daydreamed someone watched him through dark almond eyes.
Raiku was making good time; at this rate he would reach Rakmee’s before night fall. As he traveled Raiku had been surprised by Dante’s behavior; unlike most newborns Dante didn’t cry as he was carried through the forest but watched the trees around him with an observing eye and a curiousness. Raiku decided to take a break; Dante needed feeding and Raiku was getting rather sweaty, something he greatly disliked. A creek was running by with a stump nearby creating a perfect temporarily camp site. Sitting down on the stump, Raiku took a bottle from his pack and filled it with water from the creek, then cast a spell that sterilized and created a formula quite similar to a mother’s milk. Unstrapping Dante from his back, Raiku held him in his is arms as he fed him the transformed water. Now that Raiku was on his way to the Sorceress’ castle and was sure she would have a remedy to fix his weakling son the fear he had felt every time he looked at Dante had faded. As he looked at Dante he no longer saw his weakling son causing his down fall, but what his son could become and the glory he could bring his father. Yes, Dante was a taint, but with the help of the Sorceress Dante could become great and no one would ever know.
Having finished feeding Dante, Raiku picked him up and strapped him to his back once more, then started off at a quick pace toward Rakmee’s house.
A large stable was just visible from behind the pine trees where Raiku stood. As he stepped from the forest Raiku could hear the sound of children laughing and playing. Walking past the stables a huge log cabin could be seen a field length away where Raiku was sure to find Mrs. Dreagon, his sister-in-law. Between the house and stables a large bonfire had been lit and it was here that Raiku found his eight children along with Rakmee and his own sons Khalnaa. As soon as his girls caught sight of him, they rushed at him asking question.
“Is it a baby boy?”
“Is Mom ok?”
“Did everything go alright?”
Squashed by arms, hands and lips Raiku laughed along with his children. After hugging them all and telling them everything was fine he gave Dante to Belethil for the children to inspect and went over to where Arello was talking to his cousin and his cousin’s dad, Rakmee.
Belethil, or Bethi for short, was a shy child of seven; by contrast, her twin sisters, Nienaite and Salque, older than her by two years, were stuck-up and conceited. Bethi may not be the oldest girl age wise but she knew the most because she was always helping her mother and learning how to do stuff. She had wanted to stay behind and help with the birth but even though she was mature beyond her years, her mother felt that at seven she wasn’t ready for the sight of child bearing.
Fending off the arms of her younger siblings, she examined Dante all over, caressing his soft baby hair and letting him curl his fat little fingers around her own. Getting impatient Nienaite seized Dante from Bethi and Salque moved in closer for a look.
“Hm, well he looks alright,” Nienaite remarked in nonchalant tone.
“But I’ve never seen hair like that, how can it be natural”, Salque asked, pointing to Dante’s head.
“You’ve seen babies with blue hair before, he just has blonde plus a few other colors, no big deal,” Nien said, swishing her long shiny chestnut hair over her shoulder.
“Yeah, but I’ve never seen a kid with three hair colors before,” Salque said, with a wary tone, eyeing her brother suspiciously.
Lisse and Maksa then shoved their way through, “Stop hogging the baby and let us see.”
Having lost interest, Nien dropped the baby back into Bethi’s arms, and dragged Salque off to the stables to look at the dragons.
Bethi kindly showed Dante to five year old twins, Lisse and Maksa.
“I like his eyes, they’re nice and shiny,” Lisse said giving her brother a kiss.
“Yeah, I like the silver in them, it’s cool,” Maksa agreed.
Kuluvai, the youngest of the children, and the chubbiest, was clinging to Bethi’s leg pulling on her skirt.
“Do you want to see too?” Bethi asked with a smile looking down at the two year old.
Kulu’s sister Lòtë was only a year older than her but she was a real trouble maker. Impossible to keep track of and always wanting to do it herself Lòtë was busy toddling off toward the pine trees. Calling to her, Bethi asked her if she wanted to see her brother. Thinking hard for a moment Lòtë decided he might be interesting and waddled back.
With the help of Lisse and Maksa, Bethi detached Kulu from her leg and bent down to let her and Lòtë see Dante.
As Raiku stepped to Rakmae’s side his son and nephew saw him for the first time. Tripping over each other to reach him, a tall, gangly ten year old Arello beat his cousin to his father; landing in the dirt at his father’s feet, Arello looked up through russet hair at his father; though he was covered in grim he still had a smile on his face.
Chuckling Raiku pulled Arello to his feet and helped brush the dust from his hair and clothes. Arello’s best friend and cousin who was also ten gave a quick greeting to his uncle then asked if he and Arello could go play together. Turning them loose, Rakmae and Raiku watched their boys run across the yard, their hair blown back by the wind, their long legs barely touching the ground as they raced each other.
Turning to Raiku, the muscular but tall Rakmae asked stroking his red beard, “So are you here to pick up the kids? I assume everything went well with the child.”
“No, actually I’m here to see if you would be willing to let me borrow a dragon,” Raiku explained.
Picking up a stick from the pile beside him Rakmae said, “Of course you can borrow one! Which one would you like? I know you rode Big Red last time but we all know what happened with him,” he added as he tossed the stick into the fire.
Putting up his hands at the name of Big Red, Raiku replied, “No thanks, I’d like a dragon with a little less flame and a bit more obedience please.”
Still laughing Rakmae pointed to the stables, “Sure, we can set you up on Strong Star; she’s really easy to handle. So where are you going so soon after a birth? No problems were there?”
“Oh no, everything went fine, in fact I brought Dante with me, Bethi has him. Thanks for watching the kids by the way; I hope they weren’t too much trouble. As for my destination, I’m going on a little trip to show off my beautiful boy; you know how folks are, they got to see it to believe it.”
“Yeah, so do you still want me to drop the kids off tomorrow? I’m sure they’d be disappointed if they didn’t get to ride on the dragons like I promised them.”
“Oh, I know they would be. Yeah, if it still works for you, it’d be great if you good bring them back home; Carin’s there with her sisters.”
“Then I’ll definitely have to stop by; I never miss a chance to see those three,” Rakmae chortled as the fire shone on his red mane.
The front door of the log cabin opened shining a light out into the now dark yard; Linta, Rakmae’s cheerful wife, called out that supper was ready and waited for the pile of children that would very soon slam through the door.
Slapping Raiku on the back Rakmae said, “Come on, let’s go eat,” tossing the rest of the sticks into the crackling flames.
Walking toward the house, Raiku saw a large swarm of children running toward the still open door. Poor Linta he thought.
After removing his mud incrusted boots and placing them by the roaring fire to dry Raiku sat down at the table Rakmae had carved with his own two hands. Not only was Rakmee a Dragon Trainer but a blacksmith and a carpenter as well. The table was strong and sturdy and large enough to hold twelve people. Engraved on the corners and the rim of this great pine table were scenes of the Battle of Anusmatwe. Angels with swords of pure light hovered in the wood’s grain battling the demons seared in with them. On the chairs that accompanied the table a battle no longer waged; ingrained deep within the backs were beautiful pictures of angels and men forming an alliance, an alliance promising to protect the angels that would be left on earth to guard it. On the back of the chair placed at the head of the table was a scene showing a family of angels and their protectors.
Rakmae sat down in this chair as the children rushed to their seats after being herded by Linta to clean their faces and hands.
Bringing forth a pot from the hearth Linta placed it in the center of the table and all eyes were fixed upon it. As Linta removed the lid the tantalizing smell of deer meat and potatoes enveloped them.
Bethi who had Dante placed on her knee held the baby as her aunt passed out servings. Giving Bethi her own portion, Linta took Dante to feed as she had just given birth to her second son, Sermo, last year.
Trying to eat the steaming hunks of meat Raiku and Rakmae spent the rest of the evening discussing dragon training, how well sales of them have been, who bought what and so on.
After the children had gone to bed up in the loft of hay and the fire had crumbled in on itself emitting only small glowing embers which struggled to heat the room but could only give up and produce grey ash, Linta showed Raiku to the back bedroom where he would be sleeping. Pulling the quilt embroidered with angels up over his now stubbled chin he fell asleep with dreams of glory in his head.
After a breakfast of bacon, fresh eggs, and milk Raiku thanked Linta for the food and bed, hugged his children telling them he would be home in a few days, and then went with Rakmae to the stables to find a dragon for his journey.
There were two stables on Rakmae’s property; one housed dragons and the other, horses. It is impossible to get a horse to stand next to a dragon or to get a dragon to not eat a horse standing next to him. As Rakmae opened the door to the dragon stables they were greeted not by the smell of horses that one normally gets when entering a stable but the odor of scales and reptiles. The sound of breathing and claws scratching in the dirt was the only response to their entry. Walking behind Rakmae, Raiku looked in the first stall at the dragon within; a tall dark purple one with rather scaly eyelids glared at him snorting a small flame of blue. Next to him was legendary Big Red, a horribly short tempered dragon that was known to throw his riders off into the trees. Distancing himself from that side of the stalls Raiku turned to look at the other side. This one seemed to be female and her scales were pink but her delicate looking wings were a translucent white.
“We keep the females on the left and the males on the right to prevent any unexpected breeding,” Rakmae explained.
Passing a large red female dragon with black wings outlined by ruby-like stones they arrived at the back of the stable. Resting his hand on the half-door of the stall, Rakmae showed Raiku the dragon he would be riding, Strong Star. She was a beautiful dragon with an air of grace and majesty around her she clearly stood out from the rest. The scales that covered her were a dazzling white but when the sun hit them just right, they glinted pink; her wings were the aqua color of the sea surrounding an island and her long black eyelash surrounded eyes were a deep majestic purple that made you trust her right away. The tall horns that stood proudly on her head were pearly white at the base but grew to be a shimmer of gold at the top as they curved slightly inward; a few pink protruding scales formed a crown-like brow across her forehead giving her the appearance of a queen.
“Wow,” Raiku exclaimed,” She’s beautiful, but why do you call her Strong Star? I can see no star anywhere on her.”
“Oh, there is one but you can only see it on her back as she flies. When she spreads her wings for flight a golden star is formed by her back and wings,” Rakmae explained.
Raiku found that this was indeed true as he and Dante soared across the tree tops. After seeing Strong Star, Raiku had bid everyone a fair goodbye and went on his way. He found that Strong Star was a much better flyer and far more obedient than Big Red had been. Strapped to Raiku’s chest, Dante was just as observant as he had been within the woods. Resting his little hands on the golden star on Strong Star’s back, Dante watched the wispy clouds cling to Strong Star’s wings as she flew through them.
The air grew cold as they rose higher into the mountains and the pine trees that lay beneath Raiku’s feet became covered in a light coat of snow. Soon their breath formed clouds in front of their faces and Raiku cast a minor spell of warming around his son and himself. Watching the sun fade beneath the horizon Dante was soon asleep, gently resting in one of his father’s strong arms. As they flew on through the night, someone was watching them.
|An Innocent Kiss||A Fallen Angel|
|Dark Secrets Chapters 5 -11||Ice Queen|
|The Great Prophecy: Chapter 3|