Written by Andoria Sunok and Stellar StarElven

Written in cooperation with Andoria Sunok.

*****

Sage Vanryl slowly lifted the Star Chaser from the surface of the planet, and 
Bynzar confirmed that their course was set. As he took one last glimpse at 
the surface of what would be his new home in one month's time, he frowned. 
He still sensed something was not quite right, but didn't know what. Well, 
there would be time enough to deal with that question later. For now, he was 
going to enjoy his time at home.
 
The aft view screen revealed Ash's massive draconian form behind him.
Vanryl shook his head. Even at this distance the dragon appeared larger 
than an Andorian battle cruiser. He wondered how Ash would manage re-entry 
into Oryn's turbulent atmosphere, however, he had been reassured by his new 
elven friend that all would go smoothly. He had nonetheless informed Ash 
that if he did find himself in trouble Vanryl could surround him with the 
LaserNet and bring him through. Ash had been thankful for his friend's 
hospitality, however, he seemed unconcerned. Bynzar's voice brought him out 
of his deep
contemplation.
 
"Captain, we are ready to enter the cosmic gulf -stream connecting our two 
zones."
 
The Sage sent a telepathic message to Ash. "We are approaching the cosmic 
gulf- stream I told you about. You will simply need to let yourself glide 
through as it will propel and carry us through to Oryn space. When we enter 
you will feel yourself gain momentum and accelerate. Don't fight it. 
Because of the gravitation field of the walls of the stream you will be kept 
at its center. No harm will come to you. Don't try to navigate through the 
interior, as you will lose control if you do. Understand?"
 
"Perfectly", replied Ash. "I am ready when you are."
 
"Very well. Bynzar, switch the helm to auto navigational control. Engines 
off line. Activating Rune protection systems. The outside of the ship 
shimmered and Rune symbols began to glow on the outside of the hull. Take 
us through."
 
"Yes, sir…comply"
 
Forward momentum ceased, and then a slight shudder could be felt through 
the ship.
 
"He sent out a message loud and clear to Ash. "Here we go my friend. 
Enjoy the ride, and call me if you find yourself in distress."
 
Ash spoke calmly, full of confidence, eager to experience this gulf stream. 
He cocked his head to one side and said "Interesting use of Runes." Vanryl 
smiled. "Yes, we think so."
 
Suddenly they were caught in the stream and for a brief moment a feeling of 
disorientation overtook them, which was soon replaced by a sense of deep 
peace. The colors were beautiful and hypnotic and Vanryl closed his eyes, 
achieving a meditative state. He loved this feeling. It was as though his 
very spirit and soul were a part of the cosmic stream: pure energy of mind 
and spirit.
 
Slipping easily into the stream, Ash did not fight the forces pulling upon 
him yet rather let their gentle touch envelope him as he relaxed into the 
corridor of light and energy. Allowing his great draconian wings to simply 
float out restfully, Ash felt truly at one with himself and the stars 
around him. Ash's great draconian maw split wide in a smile as he studied 
the swirling light effect caused by speed at which they traversed the 
distance between the two empires. All too soon it seemed the effect 
flickered and slowed as the stream emptied out near the edge of Andorian 
space. When he felt the forces release their hold upon him, it almost 
saddened Ash and left him feeling empty for a moment as he once again moved 
of his own power.
 
As they reached their destination, forward momentum slowed, and just as a 
wide, slow moving stream emptied into a vast lake, they were gently 
deposited just outside the atmosphere of Oryn Prime.
 
Vanryl looked down on his homeworld and took it a deep breath. It was 
beautiful. Its two moons shone bright orange, and blue, green, and red 
hues seemed to meld and separate due to the atmosphere. Upon entering the 
atmosphere he quickly opened the forward and aft viewscreens and asked 
"Ash, how are you, my friend. Everything okay? Haven't heard a peep from 
you."
 
"Aye friend. Just captured by the moment I suppose. That trip through the 
gulf stream has a way of putting one in touch with themselves in a way that 
is rather enlightening and humbling. I am perfectly fine and perhaps the 
better for it. No. Not perhaps...I am truly blessed to have been allowed 
such an experience as that. I had not imagined the beauty of your world as 
being such as I see before me. It has me a bit speechless at the moment I 
must admit."
 
Bynzar came on line. "Autopilot set. Destination, the Beta Resort landing 
docks."
 
"Thank you, Bynzar."
 
Vanryl then sent a message to acting Head of State Quodorious Trefilek, 
asking permission to give Ambassador Ash a short tour prior to a period of 
rest and the evening festivities planned by the Council. His request was 
granted.
 
Following along perfectly in formation behind Van's vessel, Ash marveled at 
the view before him as they continued along the course toward their 
destination. The realization that he was now stepping through the 
threshold into a new life for himself and indeed a new age for all his 
kind.
 
As they flew above the landscape, Andorians and Sages alike stopped in awe 
as the dragon flew overhead. They had been briefed on the Ambassador's 
arrival, and yet, the sight was both amazing and disconcerting.
 
Over mountainous terrain they flew, then past lush green forests with
towering waterfalls and hillsides full of color. Finally, the hillsides 
flowed into rambling grassy plains and sandy soil. A cool breeze gently 
took Ash by surprise, and he turned to see a green foamed sea crashing 
against rocks below. Vanryl brought his ship to the other side of the 
peninsula where the waters were calm, and the breeze mild. Ash could see 
the landing docks below, and as discussed, he moved off toward the beach to 
land. He would then join Vanryl on the deck of the resort overlooking the 
sea.
 
Making a much longer and wider circle than necessary for a landing, Ash 
gazed with amazement upon the expanse of water stretching out before and 
below him. Never before had the Dra'Keshi historian seen such a body of 
water. The Dra'Keshi Empire had its streams and rivers, even a few decent 
sized lakes to be sure. Yet nothing anywhere near the magnitude of view he 
now witnessed. Almost reluctantly the Dra'Keshi sage glided to a landing 
upon the beach. Not transforming right away, he marveled at the feeling of 
the sand between his monstrous claws and even took a few steps out into the
water. With a little hop, and no small amount of splash, the Dra'Keshi 
seemed almost like a child playing in a puddle as he again reluctantly 
returned to the beach and took his elven form.
 
Trefilek Quodorious had been watching Ash from a dune close by. His 
observations and gentle mental brush satisfied the Head of State's 
curiosity concerning his newest Council member. Upon viewing Ash's 
reaction to his new world, sensing the great wonder and joy he was 
experiencing, the elderly Andorian smiled. He wondered, however, what the 
Ambassador's reaction would be to the renegade Dr'owe now given amnesty. He 
was aware, via Captain Nylm and Major Sarek, of the animosity the two 
races held for each other. At the right time he would be told of their 
arrival, and of NightSky.
 
Ash was brushing off sand from his clothes, when he first noticed the robed 
figure approaching him. The Andorian was tall, about 7 feet, and slim. 
His long brownish red hair was tinged with white
and hung loosely under the hood of his robe. His large, penetrating amber 
eyes denoted wisdom and station. He walked slowly, deliberately toward the 
Dra'Keshi. There was an aura about him that if the light hit him just the 
right way, no, couldn't be, must have been his imagination. Nonetheless, Ash 
could have sworn that for just an instant he seemed to radiate a pure white 
light.
 
With a slight nod of his head he offered his hand. "Greetings, Ambassador 
Ash. I am acting Head of State Trefilek Quodorious. Welcome to Oryn Prime 
and the home of the Andorian Dynasty." Ash shook his hand. "It is a 
pleasure and great honor to be here."
 
The Honored Head of State led the way to the promenade deck of the Beta 
Resort. "Come, let us partake of refreshment. Sage Vanryl will join us 
momentarily. I hear you the Dra'Keshi are fond of mulled wine."
 
"Aye, that" replied Ash. "Tho I would nae wish to overly abuse thy
generosity in my consumption of such...Perhaps if it is acceptable I might 
be witness to your methods of preparing such drink. Mayhaps you know things 
that I and my people are not aware...and perhaps in turn I too may have some 
lore that could benefit in turn?" Trefilek nodded and replied "Why, of 
course! A tour of our winery will be arranged."
 
Turning his gaze back toward the vast expanse of water, Ash chuckled softly 
and gestured toward it with confusion visible in his eyes and features. 
"How is it that you keep this site from being overrun by people wishing to 
view such a majestic sight?"
 
They stopped momentarily and looked out to sea and then to the resort which 
had purposely been made to look old, like aged driftwood upon the shore, 
blending in with its environment.
 
"Well, this resort was built almost two years ago when we first made contact 
with other worlds, thus enabling us to meet the needs of lodging, food, and 
beverage. We don't have hotels, and for the most part our race has been 
known as separatists from the rest of the galactic world. However, with 
escalating rumors of war close to our borders we found it necessary to make 
first contact. This area gives privacy to those who require or demand it, 
and yet transportation or pathways connect to the cities for those who would 
enjoy tours, plays, hiking, dancing, whatever their desire. This is but a 
small area of beachfront that is closed to the general public, however, 
anyone can come here if they so desire. The empire calling itself New 
Asgard was our first contact, and shortly thereafter the August Empire of 
Archean
enjoyed our accommodations. The Selesthians were also our guests for a short 
period of time."
 
Ash turned suddenly in his direction. "Yes, I have heard of them."
 
Trefilek started to mention the Dr'owe, but something inside told him 
quietly *not yet* so he simply added "You can come here anytime you wish."
 
Upon arriving to the promenade level after a series of boardwalks atop tall 
grasses and sandy dunes Trefilek offered Ash a seat. A waiter brought wine 
and a tray layered with fruits, breads, and meats. Another waiter brought 
out a tray of spicy potato wedges and Ash had to smile. He was not quite 
ready for a large meal and this snack would do for now. He helped himself 
as Vanryl made his way to the table. They had the entire deck to 
themselves.
 
The Sage offered a toast. "To new found friends, health, wisdom, happiness, 
and the dawning of a new age. We are most honored to have a representative 
from the Dra'Keshi Empire on our world. May peace always be in our midst."
 
The Head of State rose and removed his hood. Ash was amazed at the pointed 
ears and facial features of the Andorian. Perhaps their ancestry and 
history was more intertwined than first believed. The Andorian smiled at 
the Dra'Keshi knowingly but only said "By the Will of the Prophets shall ye 
be blessed, always." "Thank you, Honored Head of State" added Ash, making a 
mental note to speak with Vanryl about who exactly were the Prophets and 
their relationship to the Andorians. After the toast Trefilek Quodorious 
rose and took his leave of them. "Ambassador, I leave you in good hands. 
Since nightfall is upon us, the Council has rescheduled a welcome gathering 
until tomorrow evening. As we have been informed that you would prefer to
hunt for your main meal, we will simply have a gathering of the Council, 
along with an assortment of deserts if this is satisfactory."
 
Alone, the Sage became quiet, swirling his wine. Ash followed his gaze out 
to sea. "I think tonight I will enjoy a nice long leisurely flight before I 
retire. In the morning I will take you out to sea to where the best fishing 
can be found, at least for you. There are white fish, twenty to thirty feet 
in length. Shortly after dawn they gather and head for their hunting 
grounds, jumping sometimes thirty to forty feet in the air. You will be 
able to simply swoop down and enjoy a feast, my friend. You will also be 
assisting with the ecosystem of our planet as they are quickly 
over-populating our seas, thus diminishing the small fish that feed our 
world."
 
At this point the sun was just setting, and the Sage arose. He went over to 
a large globe that was sitting on a pedestal. He placed his hands on the 
globe, rubbing his fingertips in a pattern, and uttered a poetic chant. The 
globe began to rise, and satisfied with the results, he slowly let go. It 
hung in mid-air, proving not only light, but heat as well. The Sage 
repeated this two times with two other globes and then sat down. Ash said 
nothing, but was encouraged by a culture that would depended so much on 
technology, and yet still use magic for basic everyday functions. They 
emptied the bottle of wine, and then the Dra'Keshi stretched and for the 
first time, the Sage caught just a glimpse of tiredness.
 
"Ah, you need time for reverie. Please, let me show you to your 
guest-house. It still needs to be adapted for your needs, but for tonight, 
you will be comfortable. I will join you, say, around eight am for a hunt, 
or is that too early?
 
"The time you speak of shall likely be perfect my friend. I do find myself 
rather weary despite all the questions and comments which stir within my 
mind. I must admit it shall feel quite...'different'...to dwell in a place 
that is not carved into solid natural stone."
 
"Well, perhaps that can be arranged if you do decide to remain here for any 
length of time. In the mountains there are a few rocky cliffs and if you so 
desire, more appropriate accommodations can be created for you."
 
Ash sensed something and didn't mince words. "What has happened that you fear 
will change my mind?"
 
Sage Vanryl looked seriously at this friend and began to pace. "May I 
suggest that we walk along the beach as we talk? The news I bring you
will be difficult to hear I fear, and, please know that I was just informed 
of these developments upon my docking. I could not, in good conscience let 
you retire without knowing the truth, thus giving you time to assimilate and 
seek wisdom concerning the matter. We ourselves are still dealing with the 
fact that......(he stopped momentarily and looked out over the beauty of the 
two moons hanging above the green sea, unable to look at his friend)..a 
renegade Black Widow Spidership entered our space one week ago. They were 
running from stealth spiderships and sought protection within the turbulent 
gaseous anomaly that surrounds what appears to be a dead moon. It is, in 
fact, the NightSky Naval and Research Facility, top secret I might add. We 
immediately confiscated their ship and the crew is being held there until 
the Council decides what to do with them. Now, I have also learned that 
another renegade Dr'owe priestess has escaped and seeks amnesty by our 
people. At the moment, the SQT knows we are involved, but have not been 
able to prove anything as our guests are as of yet undetectable to them.
 
They claim they have lost favor with their Queen, can not return home, and 
that they have committed no crime apart from wanting to separate themselves 
from the SQT and their barbaric ways. Our Sages have been able to confirm 
through telepathy and mind melding that they indeed tell the truth.
 
Ash became extremely quiet and had to fight his instincts in order not to 
react openly to the Sage before him. He was confused, angry, and yet his 
friendship with the Sage and the Andorian's hospitality enabled him to 
remain open, at least for now. "You have given amnesty to the Dr'owe?"
 
Vanryl looked at his friend. "I am so sorry to give you news such as this 
on such a fine evening, but sooner or later...." The Sage was genuinely 
grieved by having to drop this bomb. "Come, let me show you to your rooms. 
Know this, I am unaware of the details as of yet, but given the fact that 
they are truthful, and even honorable, which I realize is tough to fathom, 
that they will be given amnesty, yes."
 
Upon arriving at his rooms, and viewing a most spectacular garden, Ash sat 
down on one of the stone benches. He watched the small fireflies illuminate 
the garden, and then noticed that even the waterfalls and certain flowers 
seemed to glow. As he rose and walked along the path surrounding the garden 
he noticed the Rune Symbols glow under his feet. They looked familiar and as 
he put them all together in his mind he realized it was a prayer *May all 
who walk here find peace within their soul and spirit* This was such a 
beautiful world. Surely the Andorians were using wisdom in their dealings 
with these Dr'owe. He frowned deeply. He would have to know for himself 
what was truly the motive behind this desire for amnesty.
 
With one last glance at the garden he went inside and achieved the state of 
Reverie. Just before he drifted into his meditative state he thought to 
himself *Peace..tranquility* But, for the moment, it eluded him.
 
Ash gained very little rest from his Reverie despite the peace and beauty of
his surroundings that would usually be ideal for obtaining his meditative
state. The awareness that there were Dr'owe present within the Andorian
zone, and that the Andorians themselves were in some way involved with the
spider elves here, prevented him from fully calming his mind.

He felt a great deal of trust and friendship toward Van and hoped that it
was mutual on his new friend's part. Knowing that there was likely some
reasonable explanation for the Andorians dealing with the Dr'owe, Ash still
spent most of the time before his appointed meeting to go hunting with
Vanryl in the midst of mental and emotional turmoil. Roughly an hour prior
to the time when Ash would need to rise and go to meet with his friend the
feelings of friendship and trust won over the doubts and Ash achieved a
state of precarious calm and peace which would allow him to discuss the
matter with Vanryl in a reasonable and hospitable manner.

Rising with a long sigh and a weariness of both mind and body, Ash moved
about making preparations to depart in a sluggish manner like unto a large
creature trying to move through a tar pit. One thing was for certain...He
would need to find some resolution and finally get some worthwhile rest soon
else he would soon become quite ill.
 

*****

Ash heard a soft chime and rose to open the door. A somber Sage eyed him

with the care of a guardian. "You are weary, my friend. My news has

interfered with your Reverie. I am sorry. Perhaps some fresh air and a good

hunt will lighten your burden momentarily."

"Perhaps, but then we must talk, my friend. And then, I must rest." Ash

stretched one more time and yawned. The air was cool and a dozen fragrances

met his senses as they departed. Vanryl led the way down a path to a field

flowing with flowers and tall grasses that led to steep rocky cliffs

overlooking the sea. He looked over his shoulder to Ash.

"Whenever you are ready, change form and follow me." As Ash watched, his

friend changed form without missing a step and rose sharply into the sky,

circling the Dra'Keshi and called out to him in high piercing cries.

Ash leapt from the cliffs and changed into draconian form. His powerful

wings beat strong and sure and caught the updraft lifting him high above the

sea. He spotted Vanryl and followed him to an area about five miles out. Ash

couldn't believe his eyes. Fish leapt from the sea to heights of at thirty

to fifty feet, however they were only about a quarter of the size of the

Farbles. This might take a while. However, he assessed that if he planned

the hunt just right, he might be able to scoop up several at a time.

Fortunately the fish, having never being hunted in this manner, didn't know

how to react and his first feast was an easy one, having eaten over fifty

fish in only about an hour's time. The Sage simply enjoyed riding the air

currents while his friend fished, going inland once in a while when he eyed

smaller game near the shore or within the tall grasses. When Ash signaled

that he had his fill, they headed back to shore.

Upon landing and changing form, Vanryl awaited his friend. He sensed that

his mood had lightened a bit, but he could still sense a sadness and deep

concern. He watched as the Drak started to land in the water, thus judging

that due to his size he would be able to stand. What Ash did not know was

that the sand bar dropped immediately downward and even though the current

was slow and rambling at this point on the peninsula, he was in for a shock.

Ash started to send a warning but it was to late. The Drak landed and

immediately went under. Just when Vanryl was getting worried, Ash came up in

similar fashion of a whale, nose first, followed by his massive body and

then his tail. He then went back under. Vanryl was about to panic when he

realized that the dragon was swimming….and having a blast!!! When Ash found

solid ground under his feet he was grinning like a Cheshire cat, wide, with

all teeth showing. When he came in even further he made a sound that Vanryl

could only make out to be a laugh. The Drak began to splash in the water,

rolled over on his back, and slammed the water with his tail. The Sage

couldn't help himself and laughed until he cried. Ash then changed form and

went to his friend's side who was waist deep in the sea. As he went by, he

purposely eyed Vanryl with a mischievous gleam in his eye and with a shove

pushed him in the sea. The Sage came out sputtering and immediately changed

form and rose above the water, landing on dry land and shaking the water

from his feathers. Ash roared. Vanryl feigned anger and said "Land birds do

not care for the sea…or water for that matter. I was as close as I cared to

be. However, I think thou hast obtained great pleasure from the dunking!"

"Aye, that, tremendous fun!" roared the Drak. "My heart is indeed much

lighter now."

The two friends sat on the beach and chuckled for several minutes, reliving

the scene. Then they grew quiet. Ash began. "Ah, I am still weary, but feel

less burdened. However, I wont feel completely at ease until I have

personally interviewed these Dr'owe. The outcome of that meeting will

determine my decision to remain on your world."

Sage Vanryl became serious. "I understand completely. I can assure you that

we will do everything possible to resolve this matter in a manner agreeable

to everyone."

Ash smiled. "Spoken like a diplomat. Well, we shall see, my friend, we shall

see. I feel calm enough now to rest now, and could really use some at this

time..." Taking leave of Van with a nod and friendly smile, Ash returned to

the quarters provided for him and settled into his Reverie position and

began breathing in a rhythmic pattern as he relaxed and felt his life and

mental energies beginning to rebuild slowly. Four hours through his Reverie

Ash began to feel a mind seeking him out. Discovering that it was prince

Onshir, Ash happily opened a mental communication with the Dra'Keshi leader.

Listening with growing sadness to the events which had unfolded in his home

system during his absence, Ash grew hopeful as Onshir explained about the

other two primes and sent mental imagery of the most likely locations on

Ember and Dervish where the primes might be hidden.

Thanking Ash for the crucial information, Onshir mentioned that he might

need to 'hide-out' at the Andorian homeworld for a time until he was

prepared to face the evil crystalline entity. Ash displayed pleasure at

having one of his own kin, even more so it being one of the royal family who

was now by all rights King of the Dra'Keshi Empire. Nodding with

understanding at Onshir's decision to remain near the gulf stream until the

info could be passed to Alyndra, the Dra'Keshi sage shared his feelings

regarding the effects of the stream and found that Onshir shared that

impression also. Separating from the communication when they had finished

speaking, Ash slipped into an even more restful state of his Reverie with

the aid of having had someone of his own blood to speak with.

*****

Onshir floated patiently at the outlet of the stream until finally he felt

a presence drawing near and turned to see Alyndra glide out of the gulf

stream. Receiving the expected news that no sign had yet been found, Onshir

relayed the location images to Alyndra. 'I am depending upon you to bring

me news and information regarding the situation in Dra'Keshi space. We must

find the other primes or I feel we have lost already...'

Nodding with understanding and turning about to re-enter the stream, Alyndra

added as she slipped into it and vanished again. 'We shall not fail you

King Onshir'Valik!'

Turning toward the distant planet of Oryn Prime, Onshir began the flight to

where he would be seeking solace during this desperate time.

Rising from his revitalizing Reverie, Ash smiled brightly and stretched his muscles to awaken them from the period of inactivity. He then sent a telepathic message to Van who seemed startled at the intrusion, not realizing who was sending the message. Ash realized that his friend had been sleeping. He advised him of everything Onshir had shared with him and that King Onshir Valik would be arriving in approximately seven hours to Oryn Space via the gulfstream. Van sighed deeply, offered condolences. The mental link was broken and the Sage immediately flew to the castle of the High Council and began preparations for the King's arrival. How he wished Lady Andoria herself could be present.

Stepping outside, Dra'Keshi took dragon form and glided out over the moonlit water with a sigh of pure peace and content that he had not felt since his experience in the gulf-stream. Feeling a little peckish, Ash trained his enhanced sight upon the water below and noted the presence of several large fish swimming deep below the surface. Flicking his wings back to lay flat against his back, the huge creature dropped through the liquid surface and glided like some living torpedo down to depths which could well be crushing to creatures of lesser build. The large fish apparently were not accustomed to being hunted and the second only scattered when the blood of the first could be smelled by its aquatic senses.

Finding the one large fish sufficient to sate his needs for the moment, Ash

pulled his wings forward and used them almost like giant fins to push him

back toward the surface. Gaining a fair amount of speed in his ascent

toward the ocean surface, Ash broke through in a climb that carried him

easily 3 miles above the sea level. Catching the air below his wings the

great dragon glided in a slow spiral that eventually ended with a beach

landing and transformation back to elven shape. Sitting upon the beach and

gazing out over the small waves, which washed toward the shore, Ash chuckled

softly as he watched a section of the surface where droplets of water still

fell from the sky over where he had risen from the depths.

This place...if it will indeed be my new home...is quite a pleasant and

acceptable one to be sure. And perhaps...just perhaps...I might even be

allowed to explore it as completely as I did the worlds of my old home...

Ash mused to himself as he watched a line of moonlight flickering over the

surface of the vast water-field before him.