CHAPTER 55: THE BONDINGS

The Muse of Mischief was surprised by the smell of Dragona. The strong scent of the red salty ocean water wafted up toward her. She was at the end of the walkway that connected the landing platform to the castle of the Great Assembly. She stood on one side with Agent Brzko and Ferocity, Emperor Bartala and Empress Nalau were on the opposite side.

Nguvu’s ship descended through the atmosphere almost silently, landing just as Ferocity’s ship had all those years ago when he was bonded to Agent Brzko. M looked over at her old friend Bartala just as the ship set down. He caught her glance and a grin spanned the entire width of his face. The ramp descended from the rear of the ship – everyone tensed. Nguvu came out first, she paused at the bottom of the ramp waiting for Ezopica Mischievous Wisssdartai, her bond, and soon to be her husband.

Wisssi had grown into a fascinating young man. He was more fond of business than his father, but he was also more mischievous, living up to the reputation of his namesake. Although Wisssi was taking today’s ceremonies seriously, he couldn’t help but dress with his usual flair. The suit he’d had made for this occasion was a brilliant scarlet color, trimmed in black. His hair was styled as his father had worn his many years ago – sticking straight up and forming a crown around the top of his head. He looked even more like Londo the science fiction character from Earth than his father ever did.

Nguvu began to walk past them with Wisssi following. When they exited the castle here today, it would be she who followed Wisssi, and when they complete their marriage ceremony later today, they will forever walk side by side.

The young dragon is also a bit rebellious – because she did not receive a normal upbringing on Dragona, she often struggles with the stringent customs. As she passes Ferocity she steps out of place to reach for his hand. He has recovered from his experience on Justea MJ, but his hands are forever scared from the fire balls. Nguvu never tires of hearing the story of how his Bond saved him. She continues past them without the traditional battle cry of the soon to be bonded Dragon.

As they progressed, the Dragons that had been standing still along the edges of the bridge begin to take flight. M was surprised by the wind they create and relieved that her derby is planted firmly on her head. She wants to ask Agent Brzko if it was like this when he arrived on Dragona to bond with Ferocity, but she doesn’t want to distract him.

The five of them follow behind Wisssi. Empress Nalau wearing a long black elegant gown with a long trail behind her. The fabric makes a wooshing sound as she progresses across the bridge.

At the door Nguvu raises her hands, makes fists and bangs one fist on each door twice. The huge doors open inward. It’s difficult to see inside the castle from outside, it’s dim. Nguvu takes Wisssi’s hand and steps over the threshold. The Muse of Mischief, Agent Brzko, Ferocity, Emperor Bartala, and Empress Nalau follow them in. They position themselves in a loose semicircle behind Nguvu and Wisssi.

Lord Brzko…” Ferocity projected, allowing M to hear his thoughts.

I know Ferocity, there must be three times as many Dragons in here today.

Today the walls were lined with rows of Dragons, they are grouped by the color of the cord that holds their medallions. The Dragons begin ticking, communicating in one of their ancient languages. Again Kwaii stands on a platform at the head of the room with the scepter topped with a glowing red orb. He raises the scepter and silence falls.

“As we have for millennia, Dragons bond to those that are worthy, those that are a positive force. Before us stands Nguvu, she comes to us today to be bonded. Nguvu! Present the Bond.” He raises the scepter and brings it to the floor, making a deep clanking sound.

“My fellow Dragons,” Nguvu said looking around the room, “Today I stand before you with Ezopica Mischievous Wisssdartai of Ploosnar. He lives in service to his people, ever diligent in their empowerment and their protection. He is worthy of a Dragon.” She took a half step to the side and turned to look at Wisssi.  He stepped forward with his head bowed.    

“Ezopica Mischievous Wisssdartai, Nguvu finds you worthy of bonding, you know that only death can break this bond, if you are willing to accept it then step forward and kneel before the Great Assembly, kneel before Dragona!” Kwaii said, again banging the scepter to the ground.

Just as Agent Brzko had done all those years ago, before Wisssi was born, Wisssi steps forward and takes a knee. “My Lord, it is my honor to accept Nguvu as my bonded Dragon.” He says as he bows his head.

She kneels beside him and whispers to him, “This is going to hurt, but it won’t last long.” He knew what to expect.

Kwaii extends the scepter toward them, the bolt of red light jumps from it and encloses Nguvu and Wisssi. In his mind, he’s seeing Nguvu’s life up to now – being a captive on a VReoria specimen ship and then placed in a stasis tube for what seemed to be an eternity. How had she not gone mad he wondered, just reliving it in this way was driving him to the edge. He couldn’t take much more, then the images changed, he was seeing her life after being freed. It finally ended, when the light disappeared his body lurched forward as though he had been leaning on a support that was removed. Nguvu quickly reached out to steady him.

“Stand!” Kwaii commanded. “You are now Ezopica Mischievous Wissdartai and his bonded Dragon Nguvu.”

The Dragons began ticking again. All at once they stopped. But instead of blending in and seeming to disappear, this time they come forward to mingle with the group of outsiders.

Things have changed since we were bonded here.” Brzko projected to Ferocity.

For the better Lord Brzko, for the Better.

The soon to be wed couple was surrounded by the Great Assembly, being congratulated. May of them will attend Wisssi’s ceremony on Ploosnar, but they can’t wait that  long to congratulate them. M makes her way over to the parents of the groom while Ferocity and Brzko are engaged with other Dragons. She has to wait for them to be free, the Dragons have many questions for them – they are all excited that a Dragon will become an official dignitary on Ploosnar later today.

Finally she was able to break in. “How are you two? A bit overwhelmed?”

“Oh no M, we do this all the time.” Bartala teased.

“I am.” Nalau said. “I admit it, this was an unbelievable experience. Being around all of these Dragons, it’s….” She threw up her hands with a beautiful smile upon her face.

“Agreed. It’s…” M said. “And we’re not done.”

They were nowhere near done for the day though.

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