THE BONDING

The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko were up well before first light the next morning. The anticipation of Brzko’s trip to Dragona prevented either of them from sleeping well.

“Don’t worry M, I’ll be fine. Zri has given Ferocity’s ship a once over and confirmed its flight worthy. If there is any trouble I can return here.”

“I know, and we often travel alone. But it’s usually to places that we’ve both been, so we could catch up with each other if we needed to. I completely understand why they keep their home secluded, but I don’t like not knowing where Dragona is.”

“But I don’t need to know where it is to leave if I need to. Do you have any sense that Ferocity is not what he seems?”

“Nope, none at all. So you’re right that there’s no reason to worry. Maybe I’m just wishing I could watch this ceremony.”

“I think you can, close your eyes.”

M complied with his request. It was foggy at first but she began to see herself through Brzko’s eyes. He was somehow sharing his image with her. She opened her eyes and the image was gone. She was once again looking at Brzko.

“I knew I could send you the idea of where I am, a single image, but we can actually just watch events unfold through the other’s eyes? I didn’t know we could do that.”

“Neither did I. But remember Ferocity said that we were limiting ourselves with our expectations of ourselves. And we’ve been learning to use telepathy, so I figured we should be able to use visual telepathy too.”

“Huh, I wonder how close we have to be, and I wonder if we can just tap into each other anytime we want to.”

“We shall see my love, we shall see.” Brzko held his beloved Muse of Mischief for a few minutes. “I’ll be in contact when I can M, I love you.”

“Bye Brzko, be careful.”

Brzko left Zri’s ship, arriving near Ferocity’s ship. The doorway in the back was open and the ramp extended. Brzko stopped at the bottom of the ramp and paused, waiting for Ferocity to notice his arrival.

“Welcome Lord Brzko. Enter as you please.” “Thank you Ferocity.”

The inside of Ferocity’s ship is simple yet comfortable. There is a command center in the front, where the controls are located. A small room in the back provides for Ferocity’s living quarters. It is really just a small room that provides him shelter from the elements. Dragons don’t need much more than that.

“Are you ready to go?” Brzko asked, after he’d had a look around.

“Yes, preflight is done. You may sit here.” Ferocity

motioned to a high backed chair, in front of the consoles, facing the front window. Next to it was high stool. Brzko took his seat and looked at the stool.

“I guess wings get in the way with chairs.”

“As does a tail Lord Brzko, are you ready to depart?” “Yes, how long will it take to get to Dragona?”

“Less than an Earth hour.”

Brzko could feel the ship ascend, within seconds they were well beyond the atmosphere, already in space. He reached out to M. “Can you feel me M?”

She responded immediately, “Yes, wow. You’re already beyond the atmosphere, not wasting any time I see.”

Brzko was relieved to know that she was still able to hear him.

“Initiating jump drive.” As Ferocity made this statement a safety belt emerged from the edges of Brzko’s seat and connected in the center of his lap. While he appreciated the safety aspect of the belt, the automation of the action was uncomfortable. He wondered what else was automated on a sentient ship.

“Jump drive? I thought that was only theory, Dragons actually possess the technology?”

“Yes. We must be able to quickly move throughout the Universe. It is the only way we can keep up with our bonds.”

The ship had a slight vibration, the view out the windows was as though they were racing through a star filled tunnel; occasionally the hint of other colors was visible. After only a few minutes the ship seemed to come to almost a dead stop. It hadn’t stopped, it just seemed that way when it slowed down after traveling at jump speed. They had arrived.

Brzko was so taken with what he saw out the window that he didn’t realize the safety belt had automatically withdrawn. He was looking at a huge red and black planet. He reached for M.

“Yes, Brzko, I can see it. Wow!”

“Ferocity, this is beautiful, it’s so vibrant.”

“Yes. Dragona is like no other place. We will maintain our orbit until we are summoned.”

“What do I need to do to prepare for the ceremony Ferocity?”

“No preparation is needed. We will land and be escorted to the great hall, an oath will be read. If you choose to do so, you will affirm the oath. After that I am bonded to you.”

“Ferocity, before I can affirm anything, I need to know that you take this action freely. That it is entirely of your free will that you will be bonded to me.”

To Brzko’s surprise, Ferocity knelt in front of him and bowed his head. “Lord Brzko, it will be an honor to be bonded to you. By my free will I accept this bond.” An inconsistent ticking sound began coming from the main control panel. Ferocity stood and stepped back, “We have been summoned.”

“Is that sound an alert that you have received a message, or is that the actual message.”

“It is the message. Dragons use an ancient language for all off planet communications. If we are overheard it only sounds like space static to other listeners. Please take your seat.”

The both took their seats, the ship began to descend. As they dropped through the atmosphere Brzko got a good look at Dragona. It was likely to be the only time he saw Ferocity’s home. They dropped out of space over what appeared to be a bright red sea. The water on Dragona is amazingly vibrant, as land came into view he could see huge waves crashing against a black rocky coastline.

“M?”

“Speechless, Brzko. Wow.”

The land they flew over was made up of huge black boulders, a few small red streams cut through them, leading to the larger body of water they had first flown over. Up ahead Brzko could see a huge structure. It looked like a big, black castle. There is a large raised platform on what looks like an island, large enough to land the ship. A raised walkway leads over the water from there to the great castle.

Ferocity sat the ship down with the rear entrance facing the castle and opened the door and extended the ramp. “You will follow me into the great hall, when we emerge it is I who will follow you, until the end.” Ferocity headed down the ramp and Brzko fell in step behind him.

The smell was amazing. Dragona has a strong ocean like smell, the smell of saltwater. As they neared the raised walkway Brzko realized the edges, on both sides, were lined with Dragons. They were so still that he first assumed they were part of the stone. Ferocity stopped before entering the walkway, he extended his wings, leaned forward, and roared. It was the battle cry of a Dragon, a narrow stream of bright red fire shot from Ferocity, it only lasted a second. He stood and began walking again.

As they progressed down the walkway each Dragon they passed took flight and began circling above them. Their wings were creating a strong wind from all directions at once. Brzko’s long coat fluttered out behind him. He removed his derby and carried it. By the time they were halfway down the walkway there were well over a hundred dragons in flight. The sky had turned dark because the light was blocked by their vast wings.

“M?”

“Uh-huh, still with you.”

Ferocity stopped at the door, he raised both of his hands, made fists and banged one fist on each door. They opened. He stepped through the doorway and stopped. The doors closed. They were in a huge stone room, the ceiling so high that it couldn’t be seen. The walls were lined with a single file line of Dragons; each wore a medallion on red chord. Above each was a sconce with a bright red flame. The Dragon in front of them was on a stone platform holding a scepter topped with a glowing red orb. Once the doors were closed they walked to the center of the room and stopped.

The Dragons all began ticking, speaking a language that Brzko could not understand. It became very loud. The scepter was raised and gently brought to the floor. There was instant silence.

“As we have for millennia, Dragons bond to those that are worthy, those that are a positive force. Before us stands Ferocity, he comes here to complete his bonding to such a being. Ferocity, present the Bond.” The Dragon again raised the scepter and brought it to the floor.

Ferocity turned toward Agent Brzko, standing to his right, a half step behind him. “I present Agent Brzko, a being of unknown origins. He is a being of light, a representation of that which is good. He is a protector of those that cannot protect themselves. I willingly accept the bond.”

“Agent Brzko, you have been found worthy of a bond, if you are to accept Ferocity as your bonded Dragon for all of time, knowing that only death can break this bond, you will step forward and kneel before the Great Assembly.”

Brzko stepped forward and knelt, lowering his head.

Ferocity knelt beside him. The scepter was extended toward them, a bolt of red light jumped from the scepter. It split and completely enclosed Brzko and Ferocity. Visions began to appear in Brzko’s mind, he was seeing through Ferocity’s eyes, seeing his life up to this point. Just when he thought he could take no more the vision ceased, the light was gone.

“Stand!” The Dragon commanded and they stood. “You are now Agent Brzko and his bonded Dragon Ferocity.”

The Dragons began ticking again then all at once they ceased, and were no longer visible. At first Brzko thought they had disappeared, but then he realized they had probably changed their appearance to blend in. He knew it was time to leave so he began walking toward the door. His Dragon followed.

“M?”

“OK, this time I really am speechless.” Brzko had a huge smile as he opened the doors, placed his derby back on his head, and headed down the walkway. The Dragons were gone. Other than Ferocity, he would probably never to see another.

When they got to the ramp of Ferocity’s ship Brzko turned to him, “Let’s get back to Trella Ferocity. I want to see M.”

“As you wish Lord Brzko.”

The return trip to Trella was just as fast as the trip to Dragona. They traveled in silence most of the way, Brzko had been given a glimpse of Ferocity’s life leading up to the present. He needed time to let it sink in, to absorb it. He wasn’t willing to devalue it by commenting before he was ready.

“When we get there I’d like to land near Zri’s ship. I’d like you to be with me on his ship when we return to Ploosnar; we can transport your ship in one of the cargo holds of the other Gaznzulian ships.”

“As you wish Lord Brzko.”

M was waiting on the ramp of Zri’s ship when they landed. As usual, Brzko didn’t wait for the door to open. He appeared next to M, took her in his arms, leaned her back, and kissed her.

The rest of the group was gathered at the top of the ramp to welcome them back. Empress Nalau turned to Emperor Bartala, “Why don’t you ever kiss me like that?”

Bartala opened his mouth to respond, but couldn’t think of anything to say. Luckily for him Ferocity arrived at the ramp and everyone’s attention turned toward him.

M was of course the first to greet him. After that Zri approached him.

“Ferocity, I have some things for you. I want to make sure that you have a com link to us at all times. I know that one of our usual earcom links will not work for you, so I had this made.” He had a small device, the size of a vitamin capsule, in his outstretched hand. “It’s subcutaneous, similar to the one I wear. If you want to give it a try we can…”

Ferocity exposed his teeth and nodded his head a few times. “This pleases me Zri. I will try your device. Is it ready now?”

“Was that a Dragon smile Ferocity?” Brzko asked.

“Yes Lord Brzko. Zri has made your Dragon smile.” He turned from looking at Brzko back to Zri, “You said things, plural.”

Zri chuckled, “Yes I did. It seems you enjoy technology as much as Brzko. Here, wear this on your arm, I think it’s large enough. It will provide you with the ability to transport to my ship. With your permission we can install a receiver on your ship as well, then you can transport between the two. Follow me, I’ll show you how to use these, and a few other things I have for you. Brzko said you’d be returning to Ploosnar with us, we’ve prepared quarters for you.” He turned and walked back into the cargo hold, Ferocity followed.

As they passed Bartala he called to them, “Hey don’t take too long with your toys. The rest of us are ready for the last picnic on Trella, it’s lunch time!”

Zri called back over his shoulder, “It’s always lunch time for you Emperor!”

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