Onyx Dreams Ch. 23bykitazkitten©
Chapter 23: Appearances
The landscape quickly began to change as Cyrus rocketed across the ground, a dust cloud rising up behind him. As he neared his destination, he began to slow down to a walk, taking time to catch his breath the last hundred meters or so. Quietly he began walking along the path that led to his father's home, pausing a short distance away as he looked over the bags full of broken items.
~Cyrus?~ Brenna's voice suddenly filled his mind, her worry dominating her tone.
He blinked a moment as he heard the voice of his dragon. It had been many weeks since her voice had filled his mind. She must be drawing near. For the past two months he had been out of range, she must be bringing news of Kennice. ~Brenna? What news do you have?~
~Henry and Bogart miss you as do I~ she announced, neatly bypassing his question. There was much going on but she didn't want her rider angry.
~I have missed you too Brenna, however I have nothing but contempt for that old man, who knows nothing of right and wrong.~ His voice had become cold, taking on an icy, dangerous edge, full of murderous intent.
~You have changed~ Brenna said sadly and with a hint of fear.
~People change Brenna, things happen and eventually they see the truth behind the illusion.~ The icy tone evaporated from his voice, taking on a hint of sadness too. ~But that is off topic. What news is there of Kennice? The two-month time period has passed.~
~I have been training.~
~Then if you are meant to be training, why have you come here? Did you sense Julian here and come to train with him?~
~No, he is a full-fledged partner. He is far older than me. I am still young~ she admitted. ~And I found that I couldn't concentrate because of my worry for you. Please, my rider, come home~ she beseeched him.
He stepped off the path a moment and sat down, relieved to take the strain off his feet. ~I am home Brenna. if Julian is far older than you then perhaps he can give you some tips?~
~I do not understand~ she replied and then she was above him gliding into view, her beautiful onyx hide glowing with health and life.
His eyes flicked up and he smiled as the he watched the sun play across her scales, for a moment, the memory of Kaie attacking the fertility ceremony crossed his mind and he shivered before pushing the memory back down again. ~It's pretty simple, Julian is older and so logically has more experience ad knowledge than you. he seems to be a nice guy so I doubt he would mind helping you train.~
~But that violates teaching protocol. Julian is a ruby dragon. He can only teach other rubies~ she replied wistfully.
He blinked and raised an eyebrow at this absurd rule. ~Well that's pretty stupid, what if he knows something vital? Like don't try to land on a snowy mountainside otherwise you'll be crushed by an avalanche. He's not allowed to tell you that?~
~I don't know! This is still new to me~ she wailed as she landed a few feet away from him and gave him a reproachful look.
He couldn't help but smile at her tone. She was so eager and willing to learn, much like he was when his father sent him to the monastery. ~Well I don't think he would tell anyone he taught you a few tricks, after all it can't hurt to ask about rider - dragon relationships, especially if Bogart won't teach you, can it?"
~I suppose not~ she replied uncertainly just as Julian lumbered into view with Katherine by his side.
"Greetings, Brenna," Katherine called before giving a slight bow.
~Greetings, rider of Julian. I apologize for I do not know your name~ Brenna's scales turned a rosy shade of pink in embarrassment.
Katherine laughed. "It's all right. My name is Katherine." She looked at Cyrus. "So what were you two discussing?"
Cyrus leaned back in his seat as he saw Katherine, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. "Oh this and that. In fact, Brenna has a favor to ask of Julian, and if he doesn't mind, I'd prefer if we kept it hush, hush if you know what I mean."
Katherine gave him a confused look and Julian blew out a breath of hot air. ~What is it you want to ask~ he looked at Cyrus, not Brenna who ducked her head and refused to speak.
Cyrus gave Brenna a look and would have poked her if she had been in arm's reach. instead he sighed and tried to de-fuzz his hair from the hot air. "Brenna is supposed to be training, and since you are older than her and the closest dragon available, I theorized that you would be best suited for the job."
Julian's surprise at the question filled the air as he sat back on his haunches and looked down at Cyrus. ~My color is not allowed to teach an onyx.~ His tone was polite.
Cyrus put on his best persuasive look and spoke with a little haughtiness, "Well if you don't have the skills or experience to teach her...."
~That was NOT what I said~ Julian said his tone slightly miffed. ~She is onyx and upper court. I am ruby. We don't deal with the uppers~
Once more Cyrus shrugged, staring at the sky now. "Seems to me like you are just trying to find an excuse so we don't find out that you don't know anything,"
Katherine gasped. "Cyrus! Maybe it's Brenna you should be asking. She knows why Julian can't teach her."
"I can understand if its a power incompatibility, can't teach a fish to ride a bicycle type of thing, but if it's something she CAN learn then why not?"
"Dragon society is ruled by colors. Right now, onyx dragons are in control. Brenna has to be taught by another onyx because they also hold all the knowledge. Julian could try but I bet the things he would teach her she already knows. Bogart is one of their best instructors."
"This may be true, but he's an idiot, unlike Julian here, who is an outstanding dragon if I do say so. I doubt she will know everything; she's pretty young in comparison. I'm sure she would be very appreciative, and would even put in a good word for you, right Brenna?"
~Yes~ but her voice was shaky and a little fearful.
"See? It's the basic, you scratch me back, a'll scratch yours system. So what do you say Julian? We'd like to focus on rider - dragon relationships so it's not exactly something only certain colors can teach now, is it?"
Katherine was giving him a shrewd look. "What is it that you want to know about the rider-dragon bond?"
He shrugged once more and held an arm out towards Brenna, she knows more than me, so you will have to ask her."
"My lady?" Katherine asked.
Brenna peeked around Cyrus. ~I don't have any questions right now. My head is full of things Bogart has been teaching me. If I do have a question I will ask Julian since he does not mind.~
Cyrus groaned and walked over to Brenna, rubbing his hands vigorously up and down her ticklish soft scales. "Tell them about the training, or I'll tickle it out of you, silly sky lizard."
Brenna's rumble of laughter shook the ground and she swatted ineffectively at her rider.
He easily avoided her swats, his hands becoming a blur as he continued to tickle her without mercy, making sure to touch all of her most sensitive areas.
~Stop! Please!~ she pleaded. If she rolled the wrong way she would crush her rider but she couldn't take off either as long as he was tickling her.
"You promise to tell them?" He began focus on the most sensitive of all areas, one that made her shriek the last time he lightly brushed it.
~YES!~ she bellowed.
He finally stopped and looked closely at the area before carefully picking out a tick from beneath a scale. "You need a bath after this."
~I want to know if another dragon can take a dragon's rider from them~ she asked Julian.
Julian didn't speak for a moment but then replied, ~It is unheard of~
Cyrus blinked for a moment and raised an eyebrow looking at Brenna again and whispered in her mind, ~what prompted this question?~
~Nothing. I was curious and no one has ever answered that question~ she told Cyrus.
He took a moment and gently prodded around inside Brenna's mind, looking for a clue while trying to ignore the fantasies she had about her mate, Hayden. He wasn't able to glen anything because Brenna's shields had gotten stronger during their two months apart. He paused and thought for a moment. ~What's with the shields Brenna? What are you hiding from me?~
~I am hiding nothing. You have shields too~ she pointed out.
Julian nudged Katherine who walked over to Cyrus. "What's wrong?"
~True but those are just to keep some disturbing memories away. You however have locked down your entire mind almost. What's the deal?~
~Please, Cyrus, it is nothing.~ Brenna sounded pained.
He continued to prod inside her mind, in a similar fashion to when he was tickling her. ~It must be something if you are so determined to keep me from knowing. Are you pregnant with Hayden's brood or something?~
~NO!~ she said furiously, her scales blushing pink.
His laughter filled the part of her mind that was open to him, ~Then what is it?~
~Please, my rider. Let me be~
He continued to prod, eager now to see what was on the other side, ~Well if you're not pregnant...maybe you are dreaming about it right now?~
~Yes! I wish to have a brood by him but he too is distracted. He and you are alike. You both have left me alone~ she pouted.
His expression became saddened and he moved close to her, gently hugging her large snout, slowly opening his mind to her to prove that he had missed her. ~Aww Brenna, you know that I care for you, besides you knew where I would be, you found me easily enough didn't you?~
She gave him a grieved look and then for a moment a wave of shame washed over him from her before she abruptly stifled it.
He froze a moment and blinked, looking warily up at Brenna, suspecting something was not as it should be here, at this moment. ~Brenna...what's going on?~
Katherine and Julian had been watching the byplay between the two. Suddenly Julian bellowed and he charged Brenna.
"Cyrus, get out of the way! It's a trap!" Katherine cried just as a deeper male bugle was heard and Bogart appeared in the sky along with two other onyx dragons.
~Keep control of him Brenna!~ roared Bogart as he folded his wings and dropped toward Cyrus, his claw open.
Cyrus let out a gasp as he felt his body suddenly stiffen, his muscles tense from the control Brenna had suddenly exerted.
~NO! You will not have him!~ Julian challenged as he crashed into Brenna and the two went rolling, furiously clawing at each other.
As soon as they were rolling Cyrus felt her control fail. he immediately slammed down his mental barriers hard. In a heartbeat, he had moved from his position to another point farther back on the path. The air was humming with power as his bass blade appeared in his hand. "You betray me again Brenna! Well this time you have gone too far! You bastards will not have me, Kaie was right! You are all against me because I know true justice and see that you are corrupt!"
~No, my rider, please! I didn't want it this way but father said I couldn't train without you and that you were hardheaded and would not come back. He said we would have to make you~ Brenna's voice grew choked and a wave of sadness and humiliation came from her. She hadn't liked the idea but her father had insisted.
His eyes were ablaze with righteous fury and betrayal, once more he had been a fool and been betrayed by the ones he had let in close. But no more! "LIAR! You seek only to cloud my mind again like you did before! To keep me from the truth and stop me from finding out the truth! That YOU are the evil ones! Not Kaie!"
~NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!~ Brenna anguished cry rocked the heavens as she finally managed to take the sky and get away from the enraged Julian.
Katherine ran up to Cyrus's side. "C'mon. Get on Julian with me and we can get away from here. He wounded Brenna. Bogart won't chase us while he's checking on his offspring."
Cyrus pushed Katherine away, the bass blade humming dangerously by her throat. "NO! You are just like them! You believe only in their ideals and laws! The only one I can even remotely trust is Kaie!"
In the blink of an eye, he was gone, leaving only dust in his wake. the last echo Brenna heard from his mind was him calling to Kaie.
~Let's go. He is ready~ Julian said smugly as Katherine climbed up and the pair flew off after Cyrus.
Bogart gave an angry bellow but did not give chase. The onyx dragons had landed and were nuzzling the whimpering Brenna who was being checked over by Henry.
Cyrus moved with a speed that should not be known by mere mortals. The air around him screamed as his body ripped through it forcing himself to go faster and faster, to meet up with Kaie as soon as possible. Behind him, the force of the sonic booms, a sure omen of things to come, left a trail of destruction.
"Julian, call the others. We will need their strength to stun him. Mother was right, he is the one."
~You were the only one who doubted~ Julian retorted as his mind linked with other dragons. When he had enough power he used their combined strength to lash out and hit the one part of Cyrus's mind that was still vulnerable---his fraying link to Brenna.
~SLEEP~ was the overpowering command.
With the force of the collective Dragon minds crashing down upon Cyrus, it was easily enough to slam his mind in to the dark void of unconsciousness. His body tumbled and rolled for almost a mile before it came to a halt in a field of corn.
~Grab him and bring him to me~ Kaie ordered Julian.
~Your wish is my command~ he replied humbly as he and Katherine finally caught up with Cyrus. Julian gently scooped Cyrus up in a claw and the pair flew south.
* * * *
After assuring himself and Bogart that Brenna's injuries were not life threatening and that she would be able to fly, Henry headed for Isaac's monastery. He hated to be the bearer of bad news but Isaac needed to know.
Isaac was pacing back and forth through his kitchen, his wife fretting beside him and urging him to sit down. He had felt the psychic waves released when Cyrus had fallen unconscious. He hoped nothing serious had happened.
Henry slowed as he neared the back entrance. He straightened and with determined strides took the last few steps and knocked on the door.
Within a few seconds, the door was wrenched open, Isaac's slightly wild and increasingly worried eyes stared forward as he spoke, "Cyrus! What happened....wait, where is my son?"
"Hello, Isaac. It's been a long time," Henry said calmly.
Isaac's eyes grew cold as he glared at Henry. "Indeed Henry it is, what is it that brings you to my settlement?"
"Your son. We had such high hopes for him and now, well, it looks like we were wrong." Henry sighed and raked his hands through his thinning hair. "Your son has gone dark."
Isaac's glare deepened as he heard these words. "What do you mean 'has gone dark'? Henry, what have you done?"
"Your son has gone to the Forsaken ones. They are dragons and their riders who wish to dominate mankind and make us all slaves. They are looking for their king and your son is the heir apparent."
"And how would you know this Henry? I know for a fact that my son was far from that far gone. A boy does not go dark that quickly without something, or someone giving him good reason to. What happened out there Henry? what did you try to do?"
"We only tried to get him to come back to train with Brenna," Henry said haughtily.
"How? Your usual way? By dragging your charges kicking and screaming and hammering into their heads that nothing they ever do is good enough?"
"I will not apologize again for past actions. Your son is just like you Isaac, stubborn to a fault. He inherited more of your traits than your wife's. Right now he is a danger to all of us. Including you."
"There is no fault in him that could not have been corrected by simply speaking with him like an enlightened being rather than your usual barbaric savagery. did your wife's death teach you nothing Henry?"
Henry's glare was answer enough. "We waste time rehashing the past. We have to worry about the present and the future. YOUR son is corrupted. It will not be long before the Forsaken ones and he rain destruction down on our heads."
"My son is stronger than you think Henry, he would not turn so easily to the darkness. If gods forbid he has then you would have noticed it long before and told the council of by now. To leave it to fester like you have is no one's fault but yours."
Henry gave an angry huff but then his gaze changed as he took on a listening look. "Bogart says we must leave. The king of the dragons is calling in the faithful. I wish you luck if Cyrus does come back." Henry turned and started down the steps.
Isaac watched as Henry slowly walked down the stairs, speaking softly just loud enough for Henry to hear. "If he is to be the one to lead the dark, then I advise you find a big enough rock to crawl under. From what I could sense in my son, he has a very large grudge against you and the Davenport monastery."
Henry turned to look at Isaac. "Do you think he will make the same mistake we both made and kill the woman he loves?" And with those parting words, Henry continued down the trail that led back to his dragon.
Martha came up behind Isaac. "Is what he says true?" Her troubled eyes were on Henry's retreating back.
"It is true that Cyrus has turned dark...I pray that he has the strength to rise to the top. Only then will this world be spared. His anger is like a guided missile, once it hits its target then it becomes harmless to all others."
"But what if you're wrong Isaac? What if it doesn't spare the rest of us once he gets to his target?" She clutched at his arm. "I have a very bad feeling about all of this."
He turned and gently took his wife in his arms. "He has a code my wife, even if it is twisted and dark. It is clear that he will not harm those who have done him no wrong."
"At the moment that excludes everyone he knows. He feels that we've all wronged him Isaac!"
"He does not feel you have, you will be safe Martha. Fear not." He smiled softly as he caressed her cheek. "No doubt the council will come for us for questioning. When they do, I want you to go to our cabin where they will not find you. I know in my heart that Cyrus would do anything to protect those he loves. And how could he not love someone like you? Who cares for him so deeply and has kept him safe almost his entire life?"
"But Isaac, what about you? I will not leave you alone to face him!" She stroked his face, her eyes filling with tears.
"I must Martha, I am his father. If I cannot make him see sense then no one else can. He is my son after all, and he has his mother's determination for justice..."
She hugged him tightly and broke apart from him when one of the apprentices came running through the corridor excitedly shouting Isaac's name.
Isaac composed himself and turned with a bright smile to the apprentice. "Ah Jude, what blessed event brings such joy to your voice?"
"There is a messenger here from the Davenport monastery. He would not give the message to me but said he was to deliver it in person to you, sir."
Isaac paused a moment before nodding and motioning back the way Jude had come. "Then lead the way my apprentice."
Jude hurried back down the hall and stopped in front of the messenger who was a tall lanky teen. "Sir Isaac," he said when he saw them coming down the hall. "This is for you." He held out the ornate envelope and waited.
Gently Isaac took the envelope and slid his hands along the decorations. His fingers slid under the flap, freeing the message and reading it aloud to the group.
Dear Isaac and Martha,
You are cordially invited to celebrate the joining in matrimony of Kennice Davenport and Rhys McClinton two days hence at the Davenport monastery.