Narika decided that for the next few weeks, he would give complete leadership to Aarock for now. He felt he could fully support without any doubts. Which was definitely a benefit considering that he knew next to nothing about this time period (not to mention his own).
For once it was actually nice to take a break. He got up after feeling completely rested for the first time since he could remember.
It was probably a little past day break as he got up. He wondered where everyone else was. He wanted to go looking for Elera.
He walked down the long corridor from the second floor only to find that he heard two female voices. He walked down the staircase and towards the direction of the voices. From the looks of it the girls had awoken early to make breakfast for the group. He opened the kitchen doors and could see both Elera and Sari rummaging through things in the kitchen.
It seemed Aarock too was a part of the fray- looking through a sort of menu in the back.
“No peeking!” Sari said as she pointed him out.
Elera smiled at Narika as she pushed him out gently with a spoon, “head chef’s orders.”
Narika couldn’t help but smile as he raised his hands up and walked out.
He’d just left the entrance of the kitchen when he suddenly felt a jolt push him off balance.
From behind, Mika’s voice declared himself the culprit, “You’re up!”
Despite being lunged forward, Narika took the aggression without retaliation. Mika was still an adolescent in Narika’s eyes.
“Come on- teach me some warrior stuff!” Mika responded.
Narika sighed as he got pulled away into the open courtyard.
His thoughts on the matter where that – even if he couldn’t see Elera right now- at least everything was at a sort of peace.
He gave his attention to the moment at hand.
Narika currently had a sword- while Mika had a bow.
He looked around the courtyard for some sort of weapon. There were plenty of other swords and such, but he didn’t want Mika to start with that. Instead he found a nice stick.
“A stick?” Mika replied.
“Ehh, it’s probably the best start,” Narice handed him his sword while he picked up the stick. While Mika was contented- the sword was not.
‘You’re not reallly going to-‘ Aariz spoke.
“Alright, let’s begin,” Narice spoke – ignoring the sword.
“Mannn,” Mika replied falling once again to the ground. It had probably been four or five times now.
Narice’s plan was to teach Mika techniques but first he had to understand his limitations.
“See, for now- a sword is going to be too slow to use for you…” Narice replied.
“Are you trying to tell me not to use it?” Mika said setting it down.
“I just wanted you to understand.” Narice handed him the stick.
“Now we can work on your techniques,” Narice spoke as he readied the sword in hand and took a pose.
Narice picked up the sword while Mika picked up the stick this time… understandingly.
Narika ended up showing him some techniques his father first taught him- but decided not to teach too much. Mika had a bunch of enthusiasm which would probably have to be curbed first with simple techniques in rote.
It would be good for the both of them. Narice hadn’t had much opportunity to use the sword in the future time, now that he was in the past he would probably want to remember the techniques a bit as well.
After thirty or so minutes – Mika had mellowed out a bit.
Narika noticed Venu walking down the steps. He seemed to have a little more pep as he came down the stairs peaceably.
After seeing the two of them, he nodded and directed his steps towards the two.
“Hey…” He then took a seat in the courtyard and watched Mika and Narika, “what are you two doing?”
“Just some sword technique stuff.”
“Ah okay. Don’t let me stop you two,” Venu took a seat taking in the techniques.
After probably fifteen minutes or so as an on watcher, “Mind if I join in?” Venu asked.
Narice wasn’t quite sure how to involve Venu but as it turned out, Venu just wanted to copy the two of them.
“Hey that’s pretty good,” Narice spoke as Venu seemed able to keep up with his footwork perfectly. Was Venu actually a novice or had he had experience before?
“No fair…” Mika responded, “Venu always picks things up so quickly!”
It seemed that Mika was familiar with Venu’s learning pace- afterwards – Narice understood what he meant. If Venu could learn swordplay this quickly- then what else could he master? Narice felt that Venu was much more talented than himself when it came to learning.
Even still- after an hour of swordplay- Narice grew a little tired of training the two.
Narice sighed. It wasn’t very long ago when he was similar to Mika in that regard- he picked up his sword again and was about to continue with the lesson when Aarock’s voice called out across the courtyard.
“Breakfast is ready all!” He clapped joyfully.
Venu’s ears perked up to the sound. Mika looked at Narika expectantly-as if to ask if he was allowed. Narika secretly cheered in his heart. Narika set down the weapon and he and Mika followed an uncharacteristically cheery Venu to breakfast.
“Sari, you outdid yourself this time,” Venu spoke with his mouth full.
Aarock looked at Venu with raised eye, but didn’t speak. If fact, Elera spoke the words that everyone was thinking, “You seem pretty cheery today.”
Venu looked around the table while they all looked at him with amazement, “Oh- I do?”
Aarock shrugged and took a bite himself.
“What do you all think?” Sari responded. Initially she had wanted to serve the meal in courses and ate with Elera in the kitchen until the meal had been passed out completely.
“Food fit for a king!” Aarock smiled and lifted up his cup of warm beverage.
Narika laughed at the phrase since Aarock was in fact, king. No one thought anything of Venu’s change in personality besides that it definitely added to the currently lighthearted atmosphere.
“So…” after having settled into the meal, Aarock seemed to bring the “the first step for me will be to go to Endervine village.”
At the mention of it Mika seemed a little withdrawn.
“Uh…” he replied.
“Well…” Sari replied looking to the side in shame, “that’s where we just came from
Aarock replied, “did something happen?”
Mika spoke up first, “They wanted to sacrifice Sari to the dragon for being a half-breed- So Sari and I escaped from Endervines.”
Venu interjected, “After that we met up with Narice and Elera who helped us challenge the dragon.”
Narice finished, “The dragon decided to spare us- after having met Sari.”
Aarock tried to take in all the details and the progression of the story.
“I see…” he replied, “It seems that there are many more problems than my than my court is letting on. When i get back to the court- i’m going to have to make some changes.
“Okay then,” Aarock responded, “I think we’ll skip Endervines for now…”
They all sighed out relief before Aarock continued,
“-Let’s just talk to the dragon.”
At this… the group reacted even more shocked.
Aarock stood boldly at the mouth at the dragon’s chambers.
To get here required that they backtrack- however – with Aarock’s magic- the path back was surprisingly easy. Even though it wasn’t quite as fast as flying- the entire group made great time by running across the skies. Their feet were able to impact the air as if they bounced on it and with ‘weightless’ they were able to go great strides with each step. It had only been a few hours since leaving the castle.
AAROCK – The dragon replied. The entire mountaintop shifted around them allowing the dragon to enter into his own chambers.
Neither of them bowed. Instead it seemed more like two friends or companions meeting each other on equal footing.
“Dragon, can I ask a request of you?”
The dragon looked at the group- but his attitude was that of respect rather than superiority.
“As we have slain the dark wizard- you can go back to eating orcs without too much hassle….”
INSTEAD OF CANJUN? The dragon replied.
“That’s what i would request,” Aarock spoke.
CANJUN MEAT IS SCRAWNY. VERY WELL- AAROCK.
“Thankyou,” Aarock bowed a whole three seconds, “although you are more than welcome to scare them still…” Aarock looked at Mika and Sari while saying this with a wink.
OH? the dragon responded, but didn’t get say more.
“Also… there’s one more thing I wanted to talk about…”
The dragon awaited Aarock’s response.
“Narice and Elera mentioned tome about some orca in the deep south attempting to break the desire for bloodlust.
A CANJUN WITHOUT FEAR AND AN ORC WITHOUT BLOODLUST. THE CURSE MUST BE WEARING OFF.
“Yeah… it could very well be that the new generation will be completely human again.”
THEN IT WILL RETURN TO NATURAL LAW- IF THEY COME TO MY MOUNTAIN THEY ARE WITHIN MY TERRITORY.
“Thank you dragon… and thank you for not eating little Sari here. Is there anything I can do to repay you?”
At this, the dragon turned shyly away.
THERE IS NO NEED TO REPAY- SARI EARNED HER RIGHT TO LIVE- SHE IMPRESSED ME.
Sari once again went up to the dragon, but this time she petted its nose, “Thank you, Arni!”
The group was entirely astonished. Not only had she just walked up to the dragon on her own accord without any hesitation- she called him the wrong name.
Even Aarock was awaiting the dragon’s response to her actions with reserve to the girl’s boldness.
Rather than take offense however, the dragon gave a snort of glee.
UH, AAROCK? the dragon spoke.
This time the dragon seemed to speak directly to Aarock. The rest of the group couldn’t hear anything between the two’s conversation.
Aarock responded to the dragon’s speaking with head nods. After a few minutes passed.
“You’d have to ask her yourself, Arrowan.”
VERY, WELL. The dragon paused while turning its giant looming head towards the group.
The little elven-canjun girl looked up innocently, “yes?”
IF YOU’D LIKE…WELL… I CAN BE YOUR…UH – DRAGON.
The entire group stood there dumbfounded.
“Really? You want to be my… dragon?” Sari replied, mulling over the idea in her head.
“Yay!” once again the entire group was dumbfounded at this dragon’s response.
Aarock simply smiled at the events transpiring.
The dragon’s lair suddenly glowed as dragon magic was infused into a large circle before Sari – a great magic was working in front of them- after a blinding light- a small jewel appeared and dropped into Sari’s palms.
THIS WILL OPEN UP A PORTAL BETWEEN YOU AND I. I WILL BE INSIDE. CALL ON MY WHENEVER YOU DESIRE
Sari looked at the jewel curiously, “How do i hold onto it?”
The jewel glowed again as the dragon cast another magic- and it was tied together in a beautiful chain.
“Dragon get in!” she said. The dragon was suddenly warped into the necklace while a warm white and brown glow emanated from it.
“Dragon come out!” she said and the dragon left the necklace and once again took up the entirety of the chambers in front of them.
The rest of the group was worried at how she spoke, but the dragon seemed to pay no mind.
FOR NOW I WILL TRAVEL AMONGST YOU, BUT IF YOU NEED ME TO LEAVE, YOU MAY CALL UPON ME WHEN YOU HAVE NEED.
While the rest of the group seemed understanding about the condition, Sari seemed to be upset.
“Why would I want you to leave?” Sari went up and hugged the dragon’s noses. “You’re going to stay with me right?”
Narice wondered what kind of softie the dragon truly was.
Aarock replied, “Well, guys,” He nodded to the dragon and the dragon shifted the mountain entirely, “I guess we’ll be off to Arrowan.”
Sari replied as Aarock started to cast a spell, “Can I ride you then?”
I AM YOUR DRAGON. The dragon responded nodding.
Aarock helped put Sari on top of the dragon’s back. “Be careful…”
I WILL USE GRAVITY MAGIC AROUND HER IN THE AIR.
While Mika tried to join his sister – the dragon looked menacingly at him. He backed up to the rest of the group.
Narice laughed upon noticing and the dragon began to flap its wings with Sari alone on his back. The dragon adjusted himself to her size by making himself perhaps six feet tall instead of six hundred. Even still a great presence seemed to fill the room just with his aura
The group left the cavern and headed towards Ag’naris, dragon with them.
By the time they’d arrived it was already approaching nightfall. Even with magic, it didn’t mean they weren’t exhausted from the walking and the late night. Sari had fallen asleep long ago.
“I don’t recommend us going into town for now,” Aarock replied, “I have a friend near the outskirts that it’d probably be easier to stay with tonight.”
Aarock probably had a friend everywhere, Narice thought.
They approached the edge of Ag’naris and got a good view of the city from the sky. Glowing lights littered the landscape – a coastal city it seemed with a few entrances along a wall. Lush life filled the town that had been a reprieve from the seemingly never ending desert they crossed. Further north of the city- they noticed a sort of swampland and forest covering nearby.
Upon their descent- they happened upon a small hut with a singular light coming from the outside.
Aarock motioned for the rest of the group to stay behind him in the distance as he approached the building singularly.
A man stood outside with a glow coming from an obscure object.
“Who’s there!?” a voice came.
“Hello, Devon,” Aarock spoke.
“A-a-rock?” the man responded surprised and the glow diminished.