"Money, bags, list ... did I forget something?" Adair mumbled. He just prepared to go to the big town in the south to get some things which were needed from Morituri and some others. This time, he wouldn't fly: he would ride and take a pack horse with him. Equipped with the list he made (and which wasn't quite small ...), he left the academy. Adair would need, even if he would ride fast, some hours, so he would not be back before late afternoon.
Finally arrived at his destination, he brought his horses to the livery stable and went shopping. The new dagger for lady Mertillia and some seed of rare plants for Amaranth which grew only in the 5th domain - Amaranth ordered them a few weeks ago. The books for Morituri, and one book for Angus that Adair found by chance. He knew his friend would love it. Oh, and ammunition and gunpowder for Andres. For his beloved Ana'is he found something special: a little amulet, a orange gem with a phoenix engraved. And for himself: he needed paper, ink and some copybooks.
He just was about to enter a little store to look for some other things when he heard a loud voice behind him, announcing a "great sensation". A man on a fully loaded horse-and-cart waved the people to advance, and soon a crowd gathered round the vehicle.
Later, when he left the store, Adair looked at the cart and heard from afar what the man wanted to sell.
"I tell yau, people, it's real! Nah, it's no fake - this's a real dragon-egg! Oi - how can yau dare to say I'm a liar?! Last week? This was something entir'ly else - I was tricked m'self! - Fools --- skiddoo! I'll sell it somewhere else."
When Adair had brought the last shoppings into the livery stable, he went over to the carriage. So once more a wannabee-dragon-egg-seller ... But the man had other interesting things too, and so Adair looked at his ware. When he took a look at the 'egg' which this guy had praised fully-throated, he saw that it was surprisingly accurate in its shape and its smoothness ... and when he laid his hand at the egg he sensed that it -- it was real!!!
"By the gods", he said quietly. A real dragon egg?
"Oi - don't touch it, lad", the merchant yelled and stroke Adair's hand aside. "Wanna buy? No? Then get lost!"
Adair was shocked, so he didn't react. It was not until the merchant slowly left the town with his cart that he came to his senses. He had everything he needed, so he could leave the town and follow the merchant. No, he wouldn't let this guy escape with the egg. No way. However, he was too far away from the academy to get help. He would have to get the egg himself.
Adair passed the cart of the merchant with his horses, then he hid them and changed his shape. He would scare this guy the sh*t out!
Behind a curve of the road, a black shadow suddenly jumped at the cart of the merchant. "Aaahhh -- what the fu-"
"Get down, you scum!" Adair hissed, grabbed the man and threw him down to earth. Then he leaped at the back of the cart. He found the egg in a basket, wrapped into a leather bag. Without further ado, he took the egg, jumped down and unfolded his wings. The poor horses reared up, and the next moment they dashed away with the cart to escape the black-scaled predator behind them. The merchant didn't think about resisting but headed instantly after his horse-and-cart.
Adair shifted back and returned to his horses. Now he got aware that it could be a bit hard to transport the egg. After all, dragon eggs aren't small. With an effort, he managed to attach the leather bag at the packsaddle of the second horse.
Now - what should he do? Searching for the mother? This could be a little bit difficult for in his fury he forgot to ask the merchant where he "found" the egg. And in case of him finding the mother, and if she was alive, then he would meet a furious female dragon ... whose egg he had ... and who surely wouldn't be in favour of listening what he had to say. The only thing he could do was to return to the academy as fast as possible - most of all because the egg needed warmth. Luckily it wasn't winter ... but anyway, it wouldn't be enough. So he rode back as fast as he could with the fully loaded pack horse, making short stops to enwrap the egg with a warmth spell he once learned from Morituri.
He needed hours. However, even if he would fly he would need much time, and he couldn't carry everything. It was almost evening when he finally reached the little village, and then the barn some miles before the academy. He brought the horses and his wares into the barn to fly instantly with the egg to the academy.
Just when Adair wanted to shift into his real form, a big shadow appeared behind him.
[???] "There's no need to hide behind an elven shape, you thievish shapeshifter-vermin! I don't know how you did it, but you won't bring this egg to your horde!"
To his horde? The man didn't belong to the academy, and Adair sensed that he was - a bloodbeast. Dragons and bloodbeasts were related to each other, but bloodbeasts hated shapeshifters. And now this stranger thought Adair had stolen the egg.
"Whoever you are, you are mistaken! I didn't steal it", Adair tried do defend.
[???] "Liar! I'll make you to be sorry that you ever touched a dragon-egg!"
To Adair's horror, the man changed into his second shape ... which was more then three times bigger as he was ... and attacked him instantly. He didn't even get the chance to shift into his real shape. Adair was caught up and slammed down violently on earth. Adair made an outcry when a stabbing pain shot through his back. At the next moment, sharp claws ripped his chest and his leg. The ache seemed to cut through his whole body - he wasn't aware that the screams he heard were his own.
Meanwhile, at the academy ...
... it was evening, and Adair still didn't return. It was a long way, that was true ... However, he already should have been back.
"Ya know what, Ricky?", Angus said. "Come on, let's meet him."
They didn't leave the academy yet when they heard a loud screaming and saw a black shadow rushing down to them - Ricky's eagle Lily.
"Lili, my darling ... what's up, my girl? Wanna show us something?", Ricky asked his beloved pet.
Lili instantly got up into the air, circling above them until she made sure that Ricky and Angus followed her. There was something wrong! Angus called Brynjar to follow them with some men, then he ran after Ricky.
They hadn't got far when they heard an outcry and the noise of a fight. When they finally reached the place where it came from, they saw a strange second-form blood-beast towering over a figure that laid in the grass - and that Angus instantly recognized.
"ADAIR!!!" A short horrified look at him, and Angus's rage exploded. A second later, a second-form-dragon with red, black and golden scales, horns and gigantic wings rushed to the stranger and grapped him on his throat.
"Who the hell are ya scum of a blood-beast to smash our friend?!? I'll rip ya in pieces", Angus roared.
[???] "You defend a damned shapeshifter which steals dragon eggs? This critter is a thief - a vermin! Look there" - the stranger pointed to the egg. "He just wanted to escape with it when I sensed him!"
"Ya liar," Adair rumbled. "Adair would never steal a dragon egg! He must have had a good reason to take it!"
Ricky knelt down besides his friend. It didn't take a second for him to see that Adair instantly needed a healer. "Andres - get Amaranth! Hurry!!"
Andres changed into his eagle shape to fly back to the academy, while Ricky went to Angus and the stranger. The man had meanwhile transformed back into his human form. "Don't kill him, Angus - I want answers from him."
Reluctantly, Angus let go of the man. He also changed back into his human form, then he ran over to Adair.
With a frown, Ricky unsheathed one of his Katanas, pointing it on the man's chest. "Who are you? And what the hell are you doing on this island?"
"My name's Jarvis Carvell. And I saw this scum over there with the dragon egg. I've searched it for quite a week. I found out there was an egg stolen from a dragon who lives in the mountains."
"And this shapeshifter looks to you like a dragon hunter, hm? Do you really want to say that a shapeshifter would work with hunters? What do you f*cking idiot have in your damn mind?! You wounded my friend, and you accuse him to be a thief!" Ricky growled dangerously.
Carvell hesitated, but then he said: "You're calling a shapeshifter a friend? What kind of blood-beast are you to do this? You're betraying your own kind!"
He barely finished his sentence when he realized that he made a big mistake. "Betraying my kind?", the man with the eyepatch yelled at him, grabbing him at his collar. "Do you even know who I am? I am RICKY DI LUCIO - and now repeat that you accuse me to betray my kind!"
Carvell's eyes went wide. "R-Ricky di ... the son of the bloodbeast queen?"
"Indeed. - Angus, how is Adair?" he asked without turning.
"He has big deep wounds, and I see one of his arms is broken. This guy must have thrown him hard on the earth. I don't dare to move Adair for I think there could be much more broken than only his arm. And he's in a shock."
With a furious glowing in his eye, and with a dangerously low voice which was more creepy then every wrathful fit of him, he murmured: "Jarvis Carvell, I promise you, if my friend won't survive ... you won't survive either. Bloodbeast or not, if he dies, I will make you pay - and believe me, you can't imagine what I will do with you!"
Numb and barely conscious, Adair laid there, unable to move, hearing muffled voices around him. He wondered what may have happened and why he was laying on the ground. He struggled to remember, and little by little the memories returned. An egg ... a stranger - a bloodbeast ... he was thrown and hit and ... now the pain returned, and the angst too. Adair heard a voice, vague and dull, but he recognized it. "R-Ricky ... help me ..." He felt a hand at his arm which quietened him, but the hand didn't stay. "No - don't go away", he wanted to say, but he didn't know if he really spoke. Again Ricky's voice, quieter now and farther away, and the voice of a stranger ... and close to Adair now Angus' voice, calming him and assuring he would stay with him. 'Angus ... don't leave me! Please don't leave me - I don't want to be alone!' Angus' hand and his voice calmed Adair down a little bit. But now he felt his whole body aching as if thousands of tiny daggers flashed through him. Adair didn't realize that he clung with his hand at Angus's.
Angus felt as if he was stabbed into the heart when he saw the fear in the eyes of his friend. "It's alright, boy! I'm here and I won't go away! No, don't move - everything will be alright, but ya may not move right now!"
Then, more voices appeared. Adair recognized Amaranth, shouting, calling his name, and also Morituri ... "Father ..."
When Morituri saw his son, panic seized him. A short sensing with his hands over Adair's body was enough to show him the situation. His spine was not broken, but there were some tiny cracks which would break if they would try to transport him or if he would make a wrong move. Instantly, Morituri's panic was replaced from rage. "Who was ... Ricky? ... Was it him who did this?"
Morituri stood up and advanced to the stranger. "Did he do this, Ricky?"
"This damn shapeshifter stole a dragon-egg and ..."—
Morituri didn't let Carvell finish his sentence. "THIS 'DAMN SHAPESHIFTER' IS MY SON!!!", he yelled with an outburst of fury and hit the man with a tremendous magical blast. Carvell flung back and crashed hard against the wall of the old barn. Inside the barn, the horses whined anxiously. The next second, an invisible hand seized Carvell, pulling him up in the air and throttling him. Carvell gasped for air, unable to catch the hand which clung at his throat, and feeling a heat rising within him. He tried to scream, but he failed. He panicked - this mage was about to burn him alive!
"Morituri, stop! Don't do it!" Ricky yelled, trying to detain him from killing the stranger. Andres came from the other side to help. "If you kill him, all bloodbeasts will be after you! Think of Adair, Morituri! Don't do it!! I promise you he will get a lesson he will think of forever!!" Only a few seconds more, and Carvell would be dead. Morituri's magic was way too strong as that somebody could hinder him by force. Luckily, it was Amaranth who finally managed to hold him back.
"Morituri, I beg you, I can't handle this on my own! We must fix his spine with magic right now, or he will die!", the healer yelled desperately.
Morituri stopped and let the man hang in balance for a moment, then he let him drop down. Carvell gasped for air and moaned with pain. Morituri turned to Ricky, with a dangerous wrath in his eyes. "If I will see this guy once again, I'll send him into the most terrible hells! And then he will beg me on his knees to kill him!!" After that, he hurried over to Amaranth and Adair. Ricky seized the stranger and left with him; Andres followed them. At some distance, Ricky said: "Mind, Jarvis Carvell, I didn't save you cause I wanted to help you - if it was up to me, I would have killed you myself. And now hit the road. You should leave this island right now, Carvell - or you'll meet your death, after all, by me!!!"
It took long time, even for both, Amaranth and Morituri, to heal Adair as far that he could be transported. The others cared for the dragon egg and for the horses. Only Angus stayed with Morituri and the healer, still holding Adair's hand. Finally, they stopped.
"Will he be okay? Could you make it?" Angus asked quietly.
"At least his spine is fixed," Amaranth answered. "But we must take care when we transport him. It was closer than close, Angus. If Ricky and you would have come a bit later, we could have done nothing for him."
"And ... will he be able to walk?"
The healer sighed. "I hope so. He will need some time, and he will need more magical healing the next days."
The evening went by, like so often for Amaranth, with patching up his friend and guarding his sleep. Adair had shifted back into his real form how it always happened when he was unconscious. Later, when Angus came to see his friend, he found Amaranth and Morituri sitting at his bed.
"How is he?" Angus asked quietly.
"We just put another healing spell on him," Amaranth answered. "Now we can only let him sleep and try to get some sleep too."
"I can't sleep," Morituri mumbled. "But you should, Amaranth."
"Stop it," Angus addressed them. "Both of you will rest a bit, and I'll stay here with him. Nah - don't argue, Morituri; ya will lay down for some hours!"
Morituri sighed ... but then he gave in. "Get me if ..."
"... something changes. I will, Morituri."
"By the way ... what's with the egg?" Morituri asked before he left.
"Miss Lisa cares for it", Angus answered. "It's in best hands with her. And Andres and a few others are searching for it's mother."
When both of them left unwillingly (Amaranth only agreed to lay down for a while in a little separate room of the infirmary), Angus sat silently at the bed of his friend.
Ricky told him that Carvell had gone and that he made sure this guy would never return. Ricky had heared from him once; Carvell was a few years younger than him and too self-confident as it was good for him. So he often got into troubles. Carvell was one of those guys who would strike before they asked questions.
Angus looked at the sleeping shapeshifter. Because Adair didn't have a chance to shift back when Carvell attacked him, his spine had been unprotected and cracked. This was one of the dangers Adair had to deal with while he was in his elven shape. Angus knew his friend loved this shape (Adair was a little bit vain ...), but first of all it was that he didn't want to look creepy for the people of the academy. Angus sighed. Even when they had problems with Santiago, it hadn't been as dangerous for Adair as it had been today. At the early evening, Eliz had been with them for some time. But Amaranth decided that it was enough trouble around Adair and that he needed rest. Now and then, Ricky came by to take a look if there were any news.
It wasn't long before Morituri returned. "I can't find rest while he is here and we not know what will happen to him. - My dear boy ... may the gods help you to get well soon!"
Early at the next morning, Adair slowly woke up. The rising sun sent the first rays of light into the window and painted a bright shining band across his bed. Outside, some birds were greeting the new day with their pleasant melodies.
'Where am I? What happened?'
When Adair looked about, he recognized the infirmary. Besides him his father sat on a chair, fallen asleep during the night watch. For the moment, he didn't remember a thing.
"Adair?", he suddenly heard a low voice at the other side of his bed. It was Amaranth who smiled at him.
"Finally!!" the healer whispered. "You're quite a sleepyhead, you know?!"
"How ... how long ..."
"A whole three days! Oh no, don't shift back! We must examine you before I'll allow you to shift."
Adair looked over to his still sleeping father.
"He sat here the whole time," Amaranth told him. "He didn't want to lay down."
The young shapeshifter sighed. "Father ..." When he reached for him, Morituri woke up with a start.
"Adair? ... Oh gods - my boy!!" He took a deep breath of relief. Adair could see that his father could barely hold back his tears.
[Adair] "... I must confess, at the moment I don't remember what happened ... or why I'm here ..."
"What is the last thing you remember?" Amaranth asked him.
"The last is ... I was in the town shopping ... and there was this travelling merchant ... with a dragon egg—" Adair stopped "The egg?!? What's with ..."
"Hey - lay down, Adair! No, you won't stand up now to look after the egg! It's safe, and as your doctor I give you the order not to stand up unless I'll allow you! Otherwise I'll bind you!"
Adair chuckled. "Aye, doc!" Then, more serious: "I remember now that I brought the horses into the old barn. I wanted to bring the egg as fast as possible to the academy before I would get the rest. It needed warmth, and I didn't want to waste any more time."
"A man stopped you - a strange blood-beast", Morituri told his son. "He claimed you wanted to steal the egg."
Now Adair's memory returned. Yes, there had been this young man who attacked him.
"I didn't!" Adair replied. "A merchant wanted to sell it! First I thought it was another fake from a swindler, but when I touched it I sensed that it was real. I knew it wouldn't survive without the right treatment. So I followed this guy out of the town and scared him a bit to get the egg. Afterwards, he was too busy with catching up his horse and carriage than to trouble himself with fighting against a winged shapeshifter. And then, just when I reached the barn, this blonde guy appeared out of nowhere. He claimed that I had stolen the egg and that I want to bring it to my horde. He grabbed me and lifted me up, and the last thing I know was a blade cutting through my whole body."
"He almost broke your spine," Amaranth told him. "It cracked at some spots, and it needed your fathers and my whole healing power to fix it so we could move you without killing you."
For a moment, there was silence. Adair didn't expect that it had been so close ... It was clear to him that his father must have been furious when he saw him. "... Is this guy still alive?"
"... Amaranth needed me to save you, so - yes, he is. But", Morituri added, "he won't be anymore if I will ever see him again!"
"What's with the egg? Is it alright?"
[Morituri] "Angus and Diego found its mother, and yesterday they brought it to her. She lives in the north, high in the mountains, and the last part of the way Angus went alone to her. So, the egg is where it belongs, thanks to you, my boy."
"Enough talking now, the two of you. We must see how you are, Adair. Tell me if you feel this." Amaranth removed Adair's blanket and touched his feet and his legs.
"Yes, I feel it ... eeeh, it's tickling! Let go!"
"So you're ticklish. Very good. Everything seems alright - but you have yet to stay in bed. One week at least, and you won't overstrain yourself in the near future! We fixed your spine with several magical treatments, and you can shift into your elven form if you want, but nothing else - no cat, bird or something like this. We have to be sure it's healing properly. And your wounds will still hurt a bit for a while; they were pretty deep. Your arm will need time to heal as well."
"I will take care of it, Amaranth, don't worry!" Morituri said, determined.
"Finally," Adair said and changed into his elven shape. "Very much better ... I'm so used to this shape by day; not to shift feels weird for me."
"I will go and get new dressing material - have to change bandages. I'll be right back," Amaranth said and left the room.
Adair looked at Morituri. His father never showed his feelings before others, but Adair knew how he felt now. "Father ..." He reached for him to embrace him. Morituri took Adair into his arms and hugged him too.
"Gods ... I really thought you wouldn't get it. It was a nightmare!" Morituri whispered.
"I know ... but as you see, I'm still here! And I don't think this guy will ever return - I'm pretty sure you scared him almost to death."
Morituri's view darkened as they parted. "If he would return, he would be dead - I would love to burn him slowly inside out. And it would be a great pleasure for me to feel how he's roasting like meat on the spit!" Suddenly, his eyes glistened with a dark, dangeorus fire, and his smiling looked creepy.
Adair looked at him, bewildered. 'What was that?' That was not like him! Morituri would never be so cruel to have fun in killing people! "... Father?" he asked, worried. "Are you alright?"
Morituri started up and looked at him. "Adair? ... Nothing ... I'm sorry. I only ..." He paused, then he said: "... it seems I don't know anymore what I'm saying ..."
"Amaranth said you didn't sleep the whole time ... please go and rest. I promise you I won't go anywhere. I'll be right here when you come back!"
Morituri smiled. "Oh boy ... well, maybe you're right." He took his son once more in his arms, then he stood up.
At this moment, Angus and Ricky entered the room. "How is our problem child? So you're better?! Thank the gods! Of course, Morituri, we'll look after him and make sure he's not sneaking out! Just go and rest a bit."
When they entered, Ricky saw their hug, and a strange feeling came to him. He would never admit it - not even to himself - that he was sometimes a bit jealous of their close relationship. He never had a father as caring as Adair had. Of course he didn't envy Adair his father, but ... However, those feelings were gone as fast as they came. Right now Ricky was just glad that his friend was better. After all, Adair was also like a brother for him.
"By the way, you don't have to worry; this guy won't return. My mother and me gave him a a good hiding", Ricky said to him. "And your father scared him pretty much the sh*t out."
"Yes ... he told me ...", Adair murmured thoughtful. For some time past his father was better. Meanwhile, he didn't even need a walking-stick anymore, but now ... what Morituri just said had been scaring. And now Adair also realized that it wasn't the first time he said such strange things.
"Adair, what's up?", Angus suddenly asked him. "Where's this messy head of yours?"
"Oh, sorry ... what did you say?"
"I've said the egg is now where it belongs - and his mother wants to meet ya!", Angus repeated his former sentence.
Adair's eyes went wide. "Me?!? Why me??"
"Because it's ya who saved her egg - and she's curious who's the shapeshifter that helped her child."
"W-woah O_O ... that's ... I didn't expect that ... When does she want me to come?"
"I told her you would come when our doctor dismisses you from the infirmary - in a few weeks," Angus answered.
"Oh nooo ..." Adair pouted. "Way too long ..."
"Pal, ya really didn't change much since I saw ya first!" Angus laughed. "I remember well when ya once pouted like this ... we just met the day before ..."
Adair blushed. Of course he remembered what his friend pointed to. "Angus ..."
When Adair wanted to try to hide something, Ricky was of course the more interested in it. "Out with it!", he demanded, tapping with his fingers on the back of a chair.
Angus grinned. "Well, he had a little adventure back then with Lady Mertillia ..." (Adair gnarled and hid his face behind his hands.) "She pranked Morituri, and this little squit was quite upset about it - and ..." - the rest he wispered Ricky into his ear.
"He - WHAT?" Ricky's eyes went wide. "You're sh*tting me!"
"I don't", was Angus's answer. "Go and ask her if ya don't believe it."
Now it was Adair who grinned. It surely would be interesting to watch what happened if Ricky would really ask lady Mertillia about this ... ^^
Ricky looked at Adair, with admiration. "You're some crazy badass, you know ... a 10-year-old rascal with thus much courage ... foolish courage, but still ..."
"Foolish is the right word", Adair answered. "She scared the heck out of me - after this day, I had enough of her for quite some time and stayed out of her way. I tell you, Ricky, you were never so scary for me as she was for me at this day!"
Ricky's face froze. "I'm not scary, huh?? So I was a laughing stock for you?"
[Adair] O_O "Eeeh ... n-no, but ..."
[Ricky] "But what? I was a funny fool, huh?" ò_ó
'Oh no ... what did I do ... now he's upset ...' "Ricky, I - I really did - didn't want ...," Adair stuttered. O~O
Angus rolled his eyes. "Ricky, ya bawbag! - Bro, don't ya see he's kidding you?!"
Ricky grinned all over the face. "Sometimes it's way too easy, you know ..." ^^
"Okay guys! Enough now!" they suddenly heard a determined voice coming from the adjoining room. Amaranth came to change the bandages. "Don't you overstrain my patient, for otherwise I'll make you guys needing a healer too!"
"Alright, doc ... we're already gone. We'll come again later, bro", Angus said as they left.
"And don't worry, we will greet lady Mertillia from you," Ricky added, laughing.
O_O "Eehm ... eeeh .. Ricky? RICKY!! - Ooh, I hate not to know if he's serious," Adair moaned.
"Well, Adair, maybe he is not serious", Amaranth interfered now, angrily, "... but I am: I will bind you if you're not good and rest a bit!"
Adair knew that any contradiction would be useless: for the next time, he could only obey and do what his doctor told him.
Two weeks later:
"Father please ... I'm alright! I finally want to see her; Angus told me she wants to meet me!"
"My dear boy, she's an adult wild dragon! You still need time to fully recover, and she may be dangerous," Morituri said, worried.
"Father," Adair tried it once more, "Angus will come with me! He already knows her, and I will be safe with him."
Morituri thought about it for a moment, looking at Adair and his begging eyes ... finally, he agreed. "Now, good ... but Elias and I will join."
"I don't think she will accept another dragon in her territory," Angus explained. "If you come with us, the two of you should stay behind."
Morituri sighed. "So come on ... Elias is waiting."
About an hour later, they had arrived near the mountains where, as Angus knew, the dragon mother lived. While Morituri and Elias stayed back, Angus and Adair advanced and reached, half an hour later, the mountains. Angus guessed that she already saw that they were coming.
The two of them got half way up the mountain and reached the first caves when a big shadow circled above them. They looked up - and there she volplaned down to them: a big white-scaled dragon, with huge wings, much bigger as Adair's, with spikes on her tail and also, as Adair saw when she came down, on her neck. Gracefully and secure, she circled above the place, then she landed before them, looked at Angus and nodded to him as he greeted her. With a pounding heart, Adair looked up to her. Although she was big and strong, there was elegance in her behaviour and her movements. Her scales were glistening in the sun, and the smooth skin of her wings opalesced beautifully. She was indeed a redoubtable creature!
After a moment of silence, she finally asked: "So you are the shapeshifter who rescued my child?"
"Y-yes", he stuttered, a bit insecure, "I-I'm Adair de'Khell."
(Angus didn't say anything; he wanted to let them speak alone to each other.)
"Would you tell me how it came that you found my egg?" the dragon mother asked.
Adair told her the story and what happened afterwards when the bloodbeast attacked him.
"Why did he attack you?"
Adair shrugged his shoulders. "Because I'm a shapeshifter. Most bloodbeasts hate shapeshifters. And he accused me to have stolen the egg. But I didn't!"
"I know", she said. "Their scent was still at the nest, and so I found the thieves a few days after they stole it - and I killed them. But they didn't have my egg anymore. I didn't think I would ever get it back. I have to thank you, little shapeshifter. By the way, my name is Talyann."
Adair smiled. "A beautiful name", he said. "I'm glad I could help. And I'm glad my friends could find you. How is your baby?"
"Look for yourself." She roared towards the caves. Shortly after, there came something out of the cave: a little moaning dragon-baby, yet a bit lumbering, but nevertheless a dragon, in miniature, like its mother with white scales and red glowing eyes which looked watchfully at Adair.
"Now look at this little guy ... this is the cutest thing I've ever seen!" Adair reached for the dragon-baby - and was "greeted" at the next moment from a hissing and a little flamepush.
"Ouch!" Hastily, Adair drew back his hand. Talyann laughed.
"She's got temper!" Adair said, smiling.
"Of course - after all she's a dragon - and her father was a fire-dragon!"
"What's with her father? Where is he?" Adair asked her.
"Those hunters killed him," Talyann answered, with a sad voice. "I was hunting prey when they came. When I returned, I found him dead and our egg was gone. I searched for them and found them, but, as you already know ..."
Adair looked at her, shocked. "I'm so sorry for your loss. It must have been terrible to return home and finding everything you love was gone."
Talyann nodded. "It was. But she ... Milena ... gave me back hope."
"Milena? Beautiful name! Hello Milena - nice to meet you! I hope you're not intended to roast me?"
The mother laughed. "No, surely not. She knows now that you're a friend."
"Milena is the first dragon baby I ever saw," Adair told her. "... indeed you are only the second dragon I saw up close. My father ... my real father was an elf; he told me much about dragons. The first one I ever saw was Elias, after my adoptive father Morituri found me ..."
"So this is the dragon which is waiting there down at the valley with this human."
"Yes," Adair nodded. "He's my friend, you know."
Talyann looked at him. "One's for sure: I will never be the pet and subordinate of a human like he is - and my daughter will be neither!"
Adair took a quick angry glance at her. "Talyann, I'll respect you as Milena's mother and I'm happy to meet you - but I won't allow you to insult my friend! Elias is neither a pet nor a subordinate, and it is his own choice to live with us! My adoptive father would never force him to stay if he wouldn't want to!"
(Angus' face went pale ... he highly doubted that there was another man who would dare to argue with a dragon ... "Eehm ... Adair ...") But Talyann just laughed.
"You are okay, little shapeshifter", she said to the young shapeshifter, smiling. "I only wanted to see your reaction. I don't have a problem with dragons who live with people - I only want my daughter to be able to choose her life for herself."
Now Adair smiled. "That's way better! Yes, you're right. And, to be honest, I'm glad we found you ... well, we would have cared for her, of course. But to raise a baby fire dragon can't be easy - especially when you're used to live in a house full of flammable things!"
Talyann laughed. "You might be right," she said to him and added: "Listen, Adair de'Khell, you and your friend Angus may come here anytime if you want to visit us. But only the two of you! I will kill everybody else who dares to enter our territory, no matter who it is. Of course I believe you when you say your friends would do us no harm, but anyway. I don't want to have people up here. You and your friend - nobody else, Adair!"
"That's fair," Adair replied. "I promise, nobody from the academy will come up here if you don't want. Oh, and one thing, Talyann: if you ever need help, no matter what kind of, you can come to us with your child anytime."
"... your friends would help me?", she asked him, astonished.
"Of course! No matter if I'm not there by any chance. Just tell them who you are - there is always somebody who understands dragon language - and you'll get help."
Playfully, little Milena jumped at him, snatching at him. Adair shifted his arms back into his real form and played a bit with her. "No, baby, you won't get through those scales! Forget it - no chance to burn me!"
For a while, Adair was quite busy with entertaining this little fire-dragon girl while he told her mother about himself how he got to the academy, what they did, and much more. At last, Angus said to him: "Adair, we should return to your father. He's surely already worried for we are here now for more than two hours."
"True," Adair answered and got up. "Well then - goodbye, Milena," he said and gave the baby a little kiss on its nose. "Goodbye, Talyann. We'll meet again, someday!"
"Goodbye, Adair and Angus! Take care of yourselves!"
When the two of them returned, Morituri took a deep breath of relief. "Thank the gods ... is everything alright? How did it go?"
"It was great", Adair said, eagerly. "She's so beautiful, and her baby is amazing! We talked so much, and she said if we want to we could come back and visit her!"
A little bit irritated, Morituri looked at the scorched sleeve of Adairs shirt. "What ..."
"Oh, this was Milena ... she just wanted to play. Her father was a fire dragon, you know ..." ^^
The whole way back to the academy, Adair didn't stop to talk. When they arrived, his father already knew everything about Talyann and her baby daughter Milena. Morituri smiled. His son looked, excited as he was, just like back then at his first flight on Elias.
"Elias, my friend, I think you would like her!", Adair said impishly to his dragon-friend when he visited him in the evening. "Wouldn't she be a good catch for you, hm? Think about it - a single mama, even with a pretty daughter!"
Elias moaned. "By the gods, Adair! I'm too old for something like this, boy! And I'm surely too old to raise a baby fire dragon!" He stretched (Adair heard a little crack ...) and shifted into another position. "If I think of such a little rascal burning my feathers all the time ..." He sighed. "No, let's better leave them where they are. I've got here at the academy everything I want and need."
Burning ... All of a sudden, Adair remembered Morituri's strange behaviour back then when he woke up, after his long sleep of three days. Despite his eagerness to see the dragon mother, Adair also thought about something else the last weeks. He noticed now and then that this event, what his father said about burning Carvell, wasn't the only one of this kind. Morituri acted weird, said things he was shortly after sorry for, and once he even bawled out a female teacher who was new at the academy. Adair went to her later to say sorry and told her his father wasn't well. Slowly but surely, those things seemed to happen more and more often.
Elias looked at Adair who suddenly seemed a little bit absent-minded. "Adair?"
"What?!? Oh sorry ... yes, you're right, I suppose ..."
"What's up?" Elias asked. "You didn't hear what I said at all."
Adair sighed. "Yes ... no ... it's nothing, really."
Elias looked at him. "Boy, I know you better as to buy this from you ..."
"Elias, I promise I'll tell you ... just give me a bit time. I have to think about something," Adair returned.
"... do I have to worry about you?", Elias asked him. Adair smiled.
"No, not at all, my friend! Just give me a few days - then I will come to you!" With this, Adair got up before Elias would ask more. "Now, good night and sleep well!"
Elias noticed his sudden hurry and his demand to escape a conversation about this theme. "Good night, Adair! May the gods guard your sleep!"
It seemed strange to Elias. Adair's mood changed so abruptly ... he couldn't say what could have been the reason for it. The old dragon hoped that he would, whatever Adair's problem would be, get along with it.
Another question rose within Elias: If Adair had a problem, why didn't he already go to his father? This would normally be the first thing he would do ... Now he got even more worried. A suspicion sneaked up within him. Hopefully not ... by the gods, hopefully the reason wasn't Morituri ...
If you liked this story and want to leave a comment to it, I've made here http://www.dolldivine.com/Anime/Kytheira-3029623 a picture to it where you could write something. Thank you for reading! :)
It's a #TheNightWatcher's fanstory
The Night Watchers, Ricky, Andres, Angus, Headmaster Morituri, Elizabeth, Elias, Lili, Brynjar and Lisa belong to @AvalonTheQuin
Amaranth belongs to PinkRobin
Adair, Jarvis Carvell, Talyann and Milena belong to me :)