(over 3 millenea before present time)
Written in cooperation with Franklin Vittoe.
(over 3 millennia before present time)
Varlei rounded yet another corner of the long and twisting stone passage. 
The old elf had come this way only twice before to speak with
Farlaveshkisante'maloricahn, the ancient dragon sage. Varlei called him 
Farl for short, at the dragon's own request, on the few occasions when the 
old elven sage had sought the dragon sage's advice. Presenting the proper 
formalities to the ancient wyrm, the elven sage leaned upon his long staff 
for support as he spoke his reason for coming.
"The war goes poorly. We have not the edge to take the upper-hand and 
neither do they. If something is not done to offset the balance of power, I 
can see no end to the struggle between light and dark. What wisdom can your 
great mind provide old friend?"
(roughly a year later)
"Old friend. I know of the pain and loss your race endures, yet none but we 
two can know of the existence of the Dra'Keshi until they are old enough to 
be used against the dark ones. Patience must be observed for our secret is 
not yet ready to be used to turn the tide of this war." Farl mentally spoke 
to Varlei, taking no chances that the warning might be heard by unwelcome 
ears. The elven sage nodded with understanding as he turned to make the 
long walk
back through the stone caverns to his home.
Varlei's eyes went wide with disbelief and pain as the blade tore upward 
from his gut and impaled his heart. Moving soundlessly in great number, the 
dark elves slipped into the dragon's lair. Even as far as Varlei's home 
city the ancient dragon's roars could be heard
as he battled them, the fight lasted hours and none would ever know how many 
of the dr'owe perished before the great dragon sage gasped it's dying 
(present time)
Neeva glides effortlessly along her assigned patrol route with nothing but 
her own thoughts for company. The beating of her great wings pushing her 
along at impressive speed parallel to the sector edge. Lysia had taken 
Zylen's request very seriously and sent several of her best among the 
SheerWing clan to scout further than they had done before now. Her sister 
Neeva had been overjoyed at being selected and departed without delay. A 
slight tingle on the fringe of her senses caught Neeva's attention and she 
focused upon the cause. She had never smelled the scent before now, yet it 
somehow seemed familiar to her. Her blood raced suddenly and she felt a 
desire for blood that she could not explain. Twisting her long draconic 
form sharply, Neeva slid cautiously through space toward the unknown 
The Spiderships held motionless in the void. There were two Black Widows 
and a Tarantula. Aboard the Tarantula, Priestess Commander Prenia Arachnia 
sat sullenly in the command chair, fuming. She was still sore at being
given command of a survey mission. After all, she was a priestess of House 
Arachnia, the most powerful noble house in all the Theocracy, and she was 
the granddaughter of Phaere Arachnia. Why should she have a survey mission. 
Dull, boring and utterly useless. That was when her science officer spoke 
"Mistress, object about 50000 kilometers away."
"Is it a ship?" she replied.
"Hard to say, mistress, but it appears to be so."
"One moment." The science officer pressed a few buttons and intensified his 
scan. "Mistress, it appears to be draconic. And possibly alive as well. 
It carries its own atmosphere."
"Interesting. Communications, open a standard hailing frequency" Prenia 
"Frequency open, Priestess Commander."
"Unidentified draconic vessel, you are passing near the borders of the 
sovereign space of The Spider Queen Theocracy. State your business and
The hail was sent, and the Theocracy ship awaited the reply. Prenia gave 
another order. "Signal the Black Widows to arm their weapons and raise 
their shields. If this thing attacks, we don't know what to expect. The
Black Widows should keep it busy while we get back to Theocracy territory 
and make our report to our noble matron."
The Black Widow class Spiderships powered up their weapons arrays and their 
shields went up. All the dr'owe could do now was wait.
Twisting her wings, Neeva backbeats until she comes to a halt some distance 
from the three vessels. There were many minds within those shells and one 
of the shells was sending organized signals toward her. Casting a
translation spell, the adult female dragon heard the signals become words 
within her mind.
She did not care for being referred to as a vessel, and there was something 
else unexplainable. The words while non-threatening, stirred her blood
toward a frenzy. It was an illogical reaction, but somehow she felt hatred 
for those minds within the vessels before her.
In the end it was a quiet voice in the back of her draconic mind that 
stilled her desire to attack the ships and feast upon those within.
She could feel the heat as two of the ships moved protectively around the 
third. Sensing the hostile nature of that occurrence, Neeva weaved a force 
shield around herself in response.
'Bring me good news my sister.' The memory of Lysia's parting words to 
Neeva surfaced to the top of her raging emotions. She would bring this news 
to her sister, be it good or not.
Reversing her thoughts through the spell, the magic sent back a bioelectric 
signal that closely matched the pattern of the dr'owe hail.
'We are Dra'Keshi. This is our home. Do not enter here, for only death 
will greet you.'
Unknown to Neeva's mind, two more words were included on the tail of the 
magical sending. A warning of sorts sent by the blood, which flowed through 
her veins. The large female dragon coiled and turned in place, with several
powerful beats of her great wings the Dra'Keshi vanished from sight and 
sensors. The final parting words resounding in the void of her departure.
'We Remember!'


Neeva touched down upon the large stone balcony and returned to her elven form. Her vision blurring several times on the short walk to her sister Lysia's throne. She was able to recount the encounter and her own personal impressions before the female Drak collapsed unconscious at her sister's feet. Once Neeva was seen safely to her bed, Lysia sat through the night beside her sister as the strange fever which had taken hold on her raged on. Within her tortured dreams, an old elf with only one form spoke to an even older dragon with only one form also. They discussed a way to end some great war and then went on to begin the process. A new being was created using the magic and blood of both dragon and elf. A mate of the opposite sex was also created and the pair were placed upon an empty planet with stars that Neeva recognized. The elf and dragon then used powerful magics upon several normal hares to make them grow to incredible size and left them to multiply upon a planet of endless grasslands. It all grew dark then and Neeva's dreams revealed the face of her enemy. Unknown to the Drak, an ancient magic which had slept dormant within her blood and the blood of all Dra'Keshi since their creation had been awakened by Neeva's contact with the Dr'owe. Coming several millennia to late, Varlei 's answer had finally met the question. Neeva's blood boiled and surged through her system as the carefully placed knowledge was poured into her subconscious mind.

The female Drak sat bolt upright within her bed and screamed. She was coated in sweat from the blood fever that had raged through her system for
3 solid days and nights since her return home. Lysia who had been sleeping within a chair beside the bed woke with a start and moved to comfort her sister.

T'yren led his wing toward the zone where Neeva had encountered the spider ships. They would pay for poisoning the Queen's sister...They would pay with blood and death. Signaling for his wing to halt, the 20 Dra'Keshi in V formation behind T' yren backwinged to a stop and awaited their Wingleader's command. The great dragon's scaled head turning this way and that as he scanned the area where the contact had taken place.

Sending a mental touch to the mind of his Queen, T'yren awaited Lysia's response. When the mind link was accepted, the Dra'Keshi Wingleader began without hesitation. 'We have arrived at the designated location Majesty...'


Preistess~Commander Prenia Arachnia sat in the command chair of the
lead Black Widow. "I don't think I will complain about survey
missions anymore. This is the first excitement I have had in months"
she thought to herself. Just then her musings were interrupted by
her tactical officer.

"Mistress, long-range scans indicate the presence of about 21
Dra'Keshi. Estimated time to contact, 15 minutes."

"Excellent...Signal all ships, arm all weapons and raise all
shields. We are not to fire until fired upon. The ship who does
will have its entire crew executed." Prenia ordered.

"Orders acknowledged" her communications officer said a moment later.

"Now, communications, signal those Stealth Spiders that we have
received their advisement and are enroute."

"Signal acknowledged, mistress." came the reply.

The atmosphere on board the spiderships was one of palpable tension.
Every other alien race the Theocracy had met had wanted diplomatic,
peaceful relations. Hostile action was hardly even thought of. This
was the first time The Spider Queen Theocracy had ever met a new race
where enmity was the first and only real possibility. Of course,
they weren't really a new race, but they might as well have been. No
dr'owe had ever actually met a Dra'Keshi, but if the Council of Eight
was right, this new race had the same faerie elven ancestry as the

"Dra'Keshi in visual range, preistess~Commander" the tactical
officer spoke up.

"On screen" Prenia ordered.


T'yren watched the flickering ships appear and disappear with growing
impatience. They were obviously stalling for some reason and he was
in no mood for games. Long-range fire would be futile against the
quickly moving and vanishing spiders. Just as he was about to order
the wing to break formation and enter close combat, a fleet of large
spider-ships appeared behind the small ones.

'Start a mega-bolt.' T'yren mentally ordered his wing as he focused
his mind upon one of the largest near the center of the arriving
Beginning with the two Draks at the ends of the V formation, a
powerful charge of electric energy was generated and sent forward
into the Drak ahead of them. As each Drak felt the electric charge
move toward them, they in turn began to build and send forward. This
having the affect of insulating themselves from the charge and
increasing it in power as the twin bolts moved along the line toward
their Wingleader at the point position.
As the energy reached the third rank back from T'yren it began to arc
visibly between the Draks causing a "Jacob's Ladder" effect.
Maintaining his focus upon the target, T'yren felt the charge
approaching from behind to either side and generated his also. The
visible light show could be called nothing short of spectacular as
the huge bolt of lightning rolled away from the V point toward one of
the Tarantula ships near the center of the dr'owe fleet.

Aboard the Tarantula, the commander, a male, newly appointed saw the
electric discharge and yelled, "Evasive Maneuvers, NOW!"

"TOO LATE!" the helmsman screamed. The charged slammed full force
into the Tarantula, causing the ship to shudder and jolt violently.
Crew and Commander were slung around like so many rag dolls. When
the haze cleared, the commander stood up. "Damage report!" he called.

The tactical officer replied quickly. "Shield down 70%...Bio~Burner
damaged and inoperable...Life Support functioning at 75%
capacity...Fleet Lasers out, Radiance missile targeting
nonfunctional...it will be a few moments before the Tarantula

"Damn...Weapons...when this ship recovers...FIRE AT WILL!"

'Cast Battle-shields and focus breath on the other three large
spiders near the center.' T'yren orders as he begins to spin the
quad layered shield around himself as well. A shimmer of magenta
force, a red aura, a white aura and a distortion effect appeared
momentarily around all the Dra'Keshi.
The shimmer effects vanished from visibility however the shields
remained there unseen to standard vision. Opening his maw, T'yren
released a blast of white-hot solar radiance toward another of the
Tarantula vessels, which lurched violently, but its shields
held...another hit like that though, and their shields would be
gone. His light blast being joined by several from his wing as
others lanced out toward separate targets. It would be difficult to
moderate the battle once it moved into close combat, T'yren could
feel the rage flowing in his own blood and knew it was shared by all
his fellow kin. For now they were holding to his commands despite
the bloodlust that raged within.

With his breath weapon spent for the moment, T'yren cast and sent a
fireball flying toward a cluster of the small vanishing and
reappearing ships. Not expecting it to do much, the Drak was
interested to see what effect it would have anyhow. A Stealth Spider
de~cloaked in the path of the fireball and was barely able to dodge.
Noting a couple other spell effects in the form of two more
fireballs, an ice bolt, and a ball of electricity which T'yren
recognized as chain lightning, drifting toward parts of the
arrayed force as his kin joined in the offensive spell casting.


Preistess~Comander Prenia Arachnia saw the bolt of electricity lance
toward the Tarantula. "Obviously the fools think the Fleet Commander
is aboard one of the larger SpiderShips." she though to herself.

"Communications, signal all ships, Battle Formations and fire at
will. Signal Invidia Dal'sein and her Stealth Spiders to add weapons
to their disappearing acts, and then prepare for close combat."

The group of Black Widows and Tarantulas took up five formations of
four ships each and began loosing volleys of death at their enemies.
Fleet Lasers lit up the space around them as Necro~Phasers seem to
steal that light away. Radiance Missiles streaked toward their
targets with unerring precision.

The Stealth Spiders continued to cloak and de~cloak in random
positions, but now they held each spot a little longer in order to
fire. The crews of the Stealth Spiders did not bother to target
their foes, because the targeting computers were unable to function
under an active cloak, and to target while de~cloaked would add
precious seconds to the time they were vulnerable. Besides, their
job wasn't to hit their targets, just add a little confusion to their
enemies' list of problems. Still a few shots did manage to impact.

The counter-strike was devastating. And their own assault appeared
to have done very little. Only the Mega-shock seemed to have any
notable effect, and could not be reproduced for a full day's time.
T'yren felt the life force of 3 Draks vanish and several others
flickered dangerously as the onslaught poured into them. The
wingmate in first rank to his right froze stunned as a missile
impacted upon his force shield, a second missile passing through the
eliminated shield disintegrated the dragon entirely in a blaze
of light and heat. Two others in the left wing were held motionless
in the dark beams of energy, which slowly drained the life from within
them. Another missile darted in to kill one of them instantly while
several more of the dark beams fixed upon the other and left him a
lifeless husk drifting off into space.

Two of the Dra'Keshi near the rear of the right wing were badly
wounded by missile blasts and were not responding to his attempts for
mindspeak. T'yren lost track of them as he barely dodged under a
tracking missile which then spun around and blasted him forward from
behind. The force shield had taken the full impact and been
destroyed, yet the Wingleader floated dazed for a moment afterward.

The only chance would be to close quickly and hope for better result
in close quarters. T'yren groggily ordered his wing to break
formation and close, moving forward rather slower than his kin as his
wings were not yet responding as they should. The two badly wounded
Draks never made close combat as the rain of death from ahead slammed
into them. Another from the left wing also fell under a triple
impact of missile and twin dark beams before most of the Dra'Keshi
reached grappling range.

The first Tarantula that was hit was grateful for the three ships
that joined it to lay down covering fire while it recovered.
Finally, the ship was somewhat functional, and its weapons added
their own bolts of death to the fray.

The dr'owe then saw the draks moving toward them. Aboard her Black
Widow, Prenia Arachnia sent out more orders to her fleet. "All
ships, prepare for close combat." she barked. The Spiderships began
unfolding their legs in order to grapple their opponents and inflict
their deadly bites.

The Dra'Keshi wing slammed into the Dr'owe fleet with savage blood
fury, latching onto a few of the large ships with all four claws and
tearing at them with powerful jaws. While the smaller ships were
caught with one or two claws. In some cases leaving the Drak
suspended between 2 or even 3 of the vessels as it grappled with them.

T'yren seeing that the central Tarantula was recovered and still
fighting, finally arrived in range himself and launched himself fully
onto the damaged spider-ship. The Tarantula's tactical officer, a
novitiate priestess, began mentally directing her ship to bite, but
the Tarantula couldn't get a hold secure enough. It was ripped to
shreds by the great dragon's claws and fangs.

Meanwhile, another of the draks was successfully holding off a
Tarantula's fangs, but he didn't notice the Stealth Spider de~cloak
right above him, until it was too late. The barbs at the end of its
legs ripped through his scales and the spider's fangs bit deeply into
his back, injecting its deadly poison. Within moments the great
dragon was dead, but the Tarantula it was attacking was effectively
out of action, four of its eight legs ripped off, and its weapons
array utterly useless. It moved out of the fight to give itself time
to heal.

Finally, with the injuries sustained by both sides, and Prenia
Arachnia's ship severely damaged, operating on its radiance drive
alone, the fight couldn't continue...neither side could win. Prenia
barked out another order..."Communications, signal what's left of our
fleet to disengage and return home. We can't win here today." All
told, after the carnage, there were seven spiderships left, two Black
Widows, two Tarantulas and three Stealth Spiders. The Stealth
Spiders cloaked and fled, the Tarantulas laid down a covering fire,
not targeting, just keeping the enemy at bay while the Black Widows
retreated, and then the Tarantulas themselves left. One of the
draks fired a last solar flare at the tail end Tarantula, and it
exploded in a volley of bright crimson flame. By this time the rest
of the Spiderships were well out of range.

T'yren ordered the remaining Draks to hold position and somehow they
obeyed. Taking a few moments to look over the battlefield, the
Wingleader had mixed feelings. It could have gone much better he
thought, however it could also have gone much worse. Sending a quick
mental message to Lysia, T'yren informed his queen that they were
returning home. Advising that the patrol net be extended into this
section of space and buffered by wings rather than solo scouts.
Lysia replied that such had already been decided and would be in
effect before they arrived back home.
Turning the remains of his tattered wing back toward Dervish, the
Draks vanished from the zone enroute to their homeworld.

Lysia felt relieved as she paced restlessly within her younger
sister's bedroom. Neeva's fever had reduced somewhat since
the night she woke from her nightmare/memory. Lysia was unsure just
exactly which it had been, perhaps an equal mix of both rolled in one.

The announcement that T'yren was returning from the rather
stalemate skirmish he had overseen, this also eased Lysia's tense
nerves as she had been concerned about loosing T'yren and his
wing due to the blood rage which was currently affecting all of their
decisions. Altering the course of her pacing for a moment to change
the cold compress upon Neeva's forehead and recast the air spell
she had set to blow across her sister's internally heated skin.

Zylen had used his finely honed mental skills to keep tempers fairly
calm on Heartstone so as not to disrupt the proceedings with the
Andorian ambassador. Lysia had been pleased to learn that Ash was to
be sent to live among the Andorians, she could think of none other
more suited to that position.

T'ylen would be arriving at the garden right about now. Lysia
contemplated as she resumed pacing within Neeva's room. How
desperately the Queen wished to be there waiting when he arrived. To
caress and massage his tired muscles and lie with him in the pool
below the great falls. To hide within the lush plant life there and
make love as they had done from time to time during their childhood.
She could not leave her sister alone in her current state however, so
no such rendezvous would be possible.

Neeva tossed in her fitful slumber and mumbled odd words as her body
continued to fight against the fever, which seemed bent upon
consuming her.

T'yren had indeed arrived at the garden as Lysia had anticipated
and he sent his love and wish that she could be there with him. He
layered the sending with understanding as to why she could not come
to him and expressed his anticipation toward seeing her when he
arrived back in Tazi, the capital city on Dervish.
The large natural garden surrounding a waterfall of impressive
proportions, was a favored relaxation spot for Draks of all 3 clans.
And while visited quite frequently somehow remained a rather private
and solitary site for relaxation. Among the Dra'Keshi the garden
was called the Mist Garden due to the persistent presence of mist
caused by the waterfall.

While it was not uncommon to find the site occupied, T'yren was
rather surprised to find Cindra there when he arrived. Mist Garden
was not Cindra's usual scene, she typically avoided natural
locations in preference for ballrooms and art galleries.
T'yren reverted to elven form and slipped out of his clothing
before diving into the pool. The cool water felt pleasant over the
reddish colored skin across his back and legs where the Dr'owe
missile had singed him. After greeting Cindra politely and swimming
about for a few moments, T'yren moved to float comfortably within
the shallows at one side of the pool. The Dra'Keshi Wingleader
jumped at Cindra's unwelcome touch upon his shoulders. Cindra
knew full well how T'yren felt about Lysia, however that
knowledge had never dissuaded the female from making advances on the
high-ranked Wingleader.
T'yren once again curtly declined Cindra's advances however
unlike the few previous occasions the female Drak would not be so
easily brushed off.

"Do you not find me attractive?" She countered, flaunting
her rather generous attributes in a blatant show for T'yren.

"You are attractive. Which you know full well yourself. Such
being the case you could easily have most any male of your choosing.
You also know full well of my love and loyalty to Lysia. I would
appreciate it if you would respect that knowledge and curtail any
further of these exploits of yours." He responded in return as
he exited the pool and began to dress back into his clothing.

"Fool! You will never know what a poor decision this is which
you have made. I would have been satisfied to gain honor as your
mate, however the prestige I receive from besting you will be even
more delicious. I Cindra challenge you T'yren to solo combat. We
shall battle to the death in the Arena at first light of the
The rejected female Drak spat as she rose and transformed to Dragon
without looking back.

Rubbing the back of his sore and lightly burned neck, T'yren
began to feel he was getting too old for all this drama and took
flight into draconic form, with Tazi being his destination.

When T'yren arrived he found Lysia sleeping in the chair beside
Neeva's bed. Despite her half-hearted refusal, the Wingleader
carried his queen to her own bedroom and kissed her goodnight as she
drifted off to sleep. Returning to Neeva's room, T'yren sat
within the chair to watch over his fiancé's sister. Occasionally
he placed a new compress on her forehead and refreshed the air spell.


Lysia woke to find herself within her own bed and muttered a loving
curse at her fiancé's thoughtfulness. Slipping into a quick bath
and then dressing for the day, the queen walked quietly into
Neeva's room and found T'yren watching dutifully over her.
The handsome elf glanced over and smiled broadly upon Lysia's
arrival. Rising silently from the chair, a more serious look
overtook his features as he gestured toward a couch at the opposite
end of the room.
"Sleep well dear? We have much to talk about and it would be
best discussed with a clear mind...or as clear as possible in the
current circumstance."
Lysia nodded and her pleasant smile faded slightly as she followed
T'yren to the couch. Sitting down beside him, she lightly traced
a finger along the contours of her soon-to-be mate's muscular arm.
"What is it which causes such a serious expression to shackle
your face love?" She spoke softly and waited for him to answer
in his own time, placing no pressure on him to hurry his response.

Finally breathing slowly to try and calm his raging blood, T'yren
begins. "Our recent skirmish with the spiders concerns me.
While there was no obvious victor in that battle it could easily have
gone against us. They are quite powerful and adaptive. It was much
like fighting another Drak... One thing is certain. If a cure for
this rage we all feel is not found soon it could easily spell our
downfall." Fixing his gaze upon Neeva's sleeping form across
the room, T'yren muses. "Do you think she holds the cure
within her? I sense a glimmer of hope when I am near to your sister
which fades from me when I am distant..."

Lysia turns to look over at Neeva and then back to him. "Zylen
said much the same thing when he brushed her mind. Perhaps she holds
not only the cure to this blood rage but also answers to which we
know not the questions yet."
Nodding in agreement of his betrothed's words, T'yren

"Cindra has challenged me to solo combat... The appointed time
being first light, which is even now but an hour away. I fear that
she may be acting rashly under the effects of the rage, yet how can I
refute her right? To do so would be to defy Zylen himself..."
Lysia nodded sadly and answered. "I know of this. For she, as
challenger, is required to contact me to gain approval to use the
arena. I feel as you do, that she is acting under the influence of
this blood rage. However it was my duty to inform Zylen of the
challenge and his decision was to allow it. Even so, I know that you
can find a way of defeating her without an ending in death..."

T'yren nodded solemnly and patted her hand lovingly. Rising he
bowed formally and set off to prepare himself for the upcoming fight.

The Dra'Keshi Wingleader was present within the arena several
minutes prior to the appointed time. A few of his kin had gathered
about the bowl of the site out of curiosity. Lysia had however kept
this event fairly quiet as she had no wish for it to bring about even
more challenges if the watchers became emotional in witness of the
battle. Still a solo combat could not take place without attracting
some attention, and this one had done so despite Lysia's care in
arranging it.

Cindra arrived as first light brightened the upper lip of the huge,
bowl-shaped crater. The female dragon made no move to revert and bow
in respect as was polite when starting solo combat. T'yren
nevertheless bowed respectfully and took dragon form himself.
No sooner had he changed than Cindra spun about whipping her tail in
a low sweep intending to knock her opponent off-balance. T'yren
leapt over the sweep with a quick flick of his wings and flexing of
his powerful leg muscles.
The spin leaving the female Drak momentarily off balance due to the
missed strike, gave T'yren an opening to deliver a moderate kick
to Cindra's exposed right flank. The blow more damaging to the
female dragon's pride than by any physical measure, caused her
already enraged mindset to slip into an even more berserk state.
Turning to face her foe once again, Cindra opened her maw and
breathed a beam of solar heat directly toward T'yren.
Dra'Keshi being immune to most of the effects of their own
breath, the attack did succeed in momentarily blinding the male
dragon and causing him to slip into a more defensive position to
avoid most of the blast.
Following along in the wake of the breath, T'yren could sense
Cindra casting. He recognized the forming spell and noted that she
was lacking of talent in the magical arts. Thinking that Cindra
might have found her time better spent in visiting the library
instead of going to parties and galas at every opportunity.
The Wingleader quickly worked his own casting and had far more talent
with it than Cindra. An instant before releasing the spell, she
realized her mistake as a mirror-like wall of force shimmered
directly in front of her icy blast. Reflected back upon her, Cindra
took the full force of her own spell. Finding her limbs slow to
react under the effects of the cold, Cindra silently cursed as she
watched helplessly the leaping form of T'yren as he descended in
a deadly maneuver that would snap her spine just behind the first
neck ridge.
Rather than bringing his scaled foot down upon his foe's neck,
however, T'yren landed his hind claws on either side of her neck
and lowered his draconic eyes to look directly into Cindra's own.
He spoke softly, yet the statement magnified by the bowl could be
heard clear to the outer ring.
"Cease this madness, you are beaten. Accept the loss of standing
and perhaps spend more time in study than at parties."
Lysia, who was required to be in attendance for such occasions as
this, nodded in agreement that T'yren was the victor. Her
proclamation of this was as good as if Zylen himself were doing so
and none could dispute the decision.
Hidden within herself, the queen beamed with pride that her betrothed
had chosen to end the fight without killing the challenger, even
though he had every right to do so.
It was not forbidden to use breath in solo combat, however as an
unspoken practice very few Dra'Keshi ever resorted to such a
tactic and those who did were seen as cowardly and dishonorable by
their kin.

Following her declaration of the combat's result, Lysia returned
to her sister's side and was joined a short time later by
T'yren after he had cooled off from the battle.
"I love you..." Lysia began as he entered.
"...For all time" T'yren completed the statement as he
lifted her in his arms and cradled Lysia into his lap upon sitting in
the chair beside Neeva's bed.
The little game being more meaningful than the words alone could be,
the pair sat quietly together and watched over the sleeping, feverish
Drak whom they both cared a great deal for also.

Neeva tossed restlessly in her sleep as dark visions of battles she
had never seen and people she had never met swirled within her
subconscious mind.