Cecil of Ark
"Don't argue with me Tobias, please..."
Cecil, I strongly oppose what you are doing.
"I told you, I will not rest until he is dead."
Why did you not take your chance and finish it back in the other world then?
"For the simple reason that I want him to suffer, Tobias. Suffer until he begs to be killed."
Hmph. You could have finished it.
"It would not have meant anything. He has to... like I, he has to see hell and come back."
As you wish, Cecil. But for now, what are we to do?
"Lord Kiraga has ordered me to return to Balian. Are you ready, Tobias?" He turned his dark eyes to his black dragon, and Tobias nodded curtly, lowering his black and blue ridged neck. There is no way to change your mind?
"Death or revenge, that will satisfy me." Cecil shed his silver armor and strapped on a black set, then fingered the black marks under his eyes, then the scar on his right cheek.
Does your side continue to pain you?
"It does. It's the other reason Meteru didn't die on that spot; It spasmed."
I have warned you of overworking yourself. You are a Dark Knight, but you are not invincible.
"I realize that. I will be cautious in the future, don't worry." He tried to probe his dragon's feelings, but Tobias was well guarded against him; it was like running into a brick wall. Cecil did not bother to guard his thoughts from Tobias. His thoughts of hatred and aggression, his anguish and despair were for full view, but Tobias did not probe his feelings too much. The cape went on last, a long dark cape, and here adjusted his dark broadsword on his back, then swung himself up onto the saddle on Tobias' back.
"I'm ready Tobias, let's go."
Roy pranced out of the hall, his new little Dragon at his side, still tripping over its feet and flapping its wings experimentally.Its head craned back and forth to take in its surroundings and its new Rider, and it opened its mouth and yawned.
Roy stopped and looked back. "What? Oh! My name's Roy, what's yours?"
The dragon cocked its head thoughtfully and Serin stopped as well, surveying the baby dragon. Rydia.
Roy clapped. "Good! Then you're a... girl right?" She nodded and Serin raised an eyebrow.
"Funny, black Dragons are usually male..."
You have something against females, buddy? She raised a black claw at him and pouted, her tiny teeth fairly glowing white in her mouth. She flapped her wings a bit and managed a short burst in the air and hovered onto Roy's shoulders. She was a less than half his size, only to knee height, but she was already loveable. Well, to Roy, anyway. Serin held up his hands innocently and turned on his heel, then looked back at Roy.
"She might not be big enough to fly on for a while, you realize? Then again... being in an egg for seventy-five years..."
Cool, is that how long I was in there? Didn't feel like that long, I was having a very nice nap. Rydia stretched and yawned again from on top of Roy's head for emphasis, then laid her head down on his and closed her eyes, drifting off into Snoozeland.
"Heh heh, I think she's funny."
"I think that will change once you realize you're stuck with her for the rest of your life." Elissa shot Serin a look at this point and Serin shook his head and laughed. "Who can't take a joke now, Elissa?" She snorted again, breathing just enough fire at Serin to singe his hair and Serin bared his teeth at her. "Are we going to go to Narim now or next year?"
"I wouldn't mind if it was next year..." Roy said, cuddling Rydia. "Will Rydia get bigger?" Serin thumbed Elissa.
"What do you think, kid? If Elissa is anything to go by... well, you won't be able to cuddle her for much longer." Roy looked downcast at this and Rydia squirmed in her sleep, a claw waving in the air.
A little behind the snout, ahhhh... that's it... She thought at him as Roy scratched her snout. "So when can she breathe fire like Elissa?"
"It all depends on the dragon, though most don't learn for another half a year after hatching. Even then, it's only short bursts; fire-breathing takes practice, and being able to fly requires strengthening Rydia's wing muscles." Rydia's wing twitched in response and she opened her eyes again, then looked up at Roy.
I want to fly. I'm going to practice every day. But where are we going now?
"I think Serin said we're going to Narim, but I don't know where that is."
Somewhere to the south, I think. I'm hungry.
"Serin! What do baby dragons eat?"
"Meat mostly, or something liquid."
"Do you have anything?"
"Not really... Elissa hasn't been a baby for a long while. I have some meat though, if she can stand it unliquified," Serin said, pulling some meat out of Elissa's saddlepack. It was salted, by the looks of it, and dried, but Rydia gobbled it down gratefully and resumed her nap on top of Roy's head.
"So how fast will she grow?"
"Let's see if I can remember properly..." Serin murmured, running his hand through his long silver hair restlessly. "She should double in size the second month and continue to grow about a foot per month after that until she's about two years old or so, maybe three. She should be full grown by then."
"Three whole years?"
"But that's too long!" Roy whined, jogging forward to catch up to Serin. "Are you sure it'll take that long for Rydia to grow?" Serin nodded and mounted Elissa, bending at his waist to straighten Elissa's saddlepack. Elissa used her tail to wrap around Roy's waist and lift him up along with Rydia, who squeaked in fright and clung to Roy's head with her red claws, her red eyes wide and frightened.
"It's good for little dragons to have older mentors," Serin said, grinning at Rydia as Elissa sat Roy down in front of Serin. Rydia whined at Elissa and Elissa snorted in response, but it wasn't a harsh snort. Roy thought he caught a smile edging into the corners of Elissa's mouth before she turned to look at the sky. Serin put one arm securely around Roy, the other on Elissa's broad shoulderblade."Now Roy... the first thing to learn about riding Dragons is to secure yourself in the saddle. See those straps down there? Near my ankles?" Roy nodded that he did. "Those keep me from sliding off when Elissa flies faster than normal, and if... there is fighting."
"You fight in the air too?" Roy asked in awe, and Serin nodded, gesturing at the broadsword on his back.
"Dragon Riders try to avoid it, but there are some occasions. Back to flying. When your Dragon starts to increase in velocity, the best thing to do is to try to lie flator you might break your back from wind strain. If Rydia gets as big as Elissa though, you won't have to worry too much; she'll block most of the wind strain." Serin fingered his chin thoughtfully, then sighed.
"I might as well instruct you a little in battle flying. It's a bit different that regular flying, because your life is on the line basically, so there's a lot of teamwork involved. As far as the actual technique, I can't teach you until Rydia gets bigger, but I will say this: Do not ever let Rydia die. Ever."
"Why? I mean, I don't want to, but just... why?"
"You'll see as you spend more time with her. The longer you are with your dragon, the stronger the mental connection becomes. You see... in time that connection will become so strong that you cannot live without her, and vice versa."
"Has anyone ever died?"
"Many many Dragon Riders have died that way, including many of Amadacyan's Royal Family. In these more peaceful times, though, it happens much less frequently."
" 'Kay. So... where are we going now?"
"I was planning to go all the way to Narim, but... I don't know if Elissa's up for it right now... it feels like she's not feeling well."
Elissa snorted roughly again. You just leave the flying to me, sword boy.
"I really think we should land somewhere, Elissa, for your own sake if not mine. I don't like the feeling I'm getting over the bond."
Maybe that's just the feeling of me wanting to puke on you.
"Okay okay, look, just land and we'll see what's wrong with you. If I can't figure it out, then you can heave on me," Serin said irritibly, andRydia squirmed happily in her sleep.
Bartimaeus leaned over his castle battlements, watching leaves from the mountain trees whip around in the wind and eyeing the dark storm cloud hovering in the distance. Lightning arced out of the clouds and struck the ground, but he didn't flinch. Here in Figaro, lightning storms were an everyday event, very normal, and it was what gave the kingdom the name 'Kingdom of Mountain Lightning'. He sighed heavily and shifted his position to relieve the aching feeling in his feet, but it didn't help all that much.
He was getting old, true, but he wasn't that old... though sometimes he felt four times his age. What was he doing in this castle? He should be out looking for his sons, that's what he should have been doing. But he had responsibililties, not only for his children, but for his kingdom, and, unfortunately, kingdom came first.
But if he never found his children, then that would mean no heirs, and that might signal the downfall of Figaro... He broke off his thoughts as Angela came to stand next to him, her blue hair loose and almost brushing the ground. She lookedworried.
"What's wrong?" he asked, shifting his position again. This time his feet felt a little better. He should never have tried to run across Mountain Cactii, but he had to save the child... and when weighed against his feet, well... at least the kid was safe now. She shook her headand leaned on the wall next to him.
"I was about to ask you."
"The same thing, as usual. It always is, isn't it?"
"Yes..." She was silent for a while and she looked at him again, wondering if their sons would have looked like him or not. She hoped they did. "Bartimaeus."
He turned his head and shifted his feet again, once more getting uncomfortable. "I... I saw something." She had his full attention now and his pale eyes did not leave hers for a second. She swallowed. "I don't know how reliable it is, but..."
"Reliable or not, we must check."
"I saw..." She bent closer to him and whispered into his ear, and his eyes narrowed and his face seemed to harden.
"Then we cannot waste time. Angela, go rouse my father," he said quickly.
"Well, there's no need for that, Bartimaeus... I'm right here..." Bartimaeus sighed and turned halfway to look at the shorter elderly man. The man sported a spiky white moustache that certainly looked white from aging and wore red robes instead of Figaro's traditional ninja outfit.
"Father... I need you to take care of the castle. Angela and I are leaving first thing in the morning, and I'm counting on you to hold down the fort here." The old man bounced and stroked his moustache.
"Ah, leave it to me! Who was the king before you, eh Bartimaeus?"
"You were, Father..."
"EXACTLY! Now, where you headed to?"
"It's better if you didn't know. At any rate, we're leaving first thing tomorrow."
"Just you and Angela?"
Old man Figaro looked disappointed; he was being left out!"At least tell me why you're going then."
"To find your grandsons, of course. I wouldn't leave the kingdom for anything less that that."