I don't own Drakan. Does anything else need to be said? On with the story!

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Light A Candle

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A Drakan fan fiction written by Random One-Shot

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"We're going to fuse together?!"

"No!" Arokh looked annoyed that she was not getting the idea he was trying to pass on. "We've linked our souls together Rynn, there's going to be some bleeding over between us. It's… it's like Surdana's rivers. You have two separate springs that form two separate rivers. The rivers might meet, but the current does not flow back to bring water from one spring to the other. The springs remain as they were; only the rivers intertwine."

"So, I'm not going to start breathing fire, then?" If anything, Rynn sounded vaguely disappointed.

"No, you won't," Arokh confirmed. "We'll just… be much more aware of each other. We've had some of it from our very first night. I always know where you are, just as you always know where I am. Any hurt one of us feels is carried by the other, as well. It is that connection which will deepen."

"All right. By how much?"

"We've already begun hearing each other's thoughts. That will become commonplace, sooner or later. Eventually we will be able to see through each other's eyes, hear through each other's ears, and so on. If you wanted to, you could join me in my own body. I would not recommend it, though."

"Not enough room, is it?" Rynn asked, a gentle tone of mocking in her words.

"No; it's simply very dangerous. Having another mind crowding in on your own tends to slow you down."

"Right then. Anything else?"

Rynn was sitting with her legs curled over Arokh's right foreleg and leaning back against his shoulder. The breeze had picked up since their conversation began and she preferred to warm herself against the scales of the dragon than to be air dried by the cold wind. The water from her impromptu dunking had almost entirely dried up by then and only her hair remained damp. Loosened from its tie, it fell in a long red wave down Rynn's chest, nearly matching the bloody color of Arokh's scales.

Arokh himself was curled nearly into a hoop, with the tip of his tail an inch away from his snout. It was a far cry from the tense position he had adopted at the beginning of the conversation – on all fours and ready to toss Rynn back into the water should she prove unwilling to listen to him.

"Just one more thing," Arokh answered. "Your sense of magic. It only took you a few tries to gather the energy for a spell during your first lesson with Jade, yes? And then only a few tries again to twist it into a suitable form."

"Yes, she was rather surprised by that," Rynn recalled. She remembered being flat out astonished herself. If she had known magic was that easy to learn, she would never have bothered picking up those crystallized spells when she had been chasing Delon.

"It comes from being bonded to me. Humans are creatures of the physical world – mundane at their basic level. Magic is not something you are born feeling. Anyone who wishes to learn it needs time and study to even begin to feel the energy around them. Dragons are different."

Rynn turned to stare at Arokh. He had stayed with his matter-of-fact tone until then, but now his voice was finally falling into the storyteller cadence she was familiar with.

"We are arcane creatures, born able to feel and twist the energy of this universe to our needs. We do it differently than humans, yes; you will not see a dragon hiding himself with invisibility or impaling his enemies with spikes from a distance like you do. What we do instead is use magic to change our essence, to change what we are."

"How do you mean?" Rynn asked.

"My fire breath, Rynn," Arokh said. "I'm a fire drake of the Elder Breed. You use magic to bend the world around you. I am magic and so the world formed me. I hatched near a volcano and from my earliest memories, all I knew was heat. Thus, my magic is fire. Thus I am fire, just as Mezzedril was storm and Werokh was ice."

"So, when you say you're arcane, you mean you are magic?" Rynn asked her partner.

"Yes."

That one word made Rynn's thoughts whirl. Her lessons with Jade were few and far between, but the sorceress had managed to get a few basic concepts through to her. The first was that the use of magic was the manipulation of the world's natural energy. A sorcerer reached out to gather power and never inward. Only necromancy delved in that direction and Rynn knew from personal experience how those people turned out.

The second was that no one had the ability to draw magic into themselves. Again, Rynn had seen the consequences of those who chose to ignore that rule. Navaros was a particularly stunning example. To Jade's knowledge, the one single example of both those rules being bent, if not broken, without immediate dire consequences was the soul magic that formed the bond between Arokh and Rynn, and even that was not without its price.

But Arokh said that he was magic, that it was simply a part of him. It was one thing to see a dragon and know that he was not human; it was quite another to find that he freely broke a standing law of magic that should be ironclad by his very existence.

Rynn slowly ran her fingers through her hair to work out the knots as she likewise worked that thought through her mind. Arokh was something Jade's rules of sorcery said could not exist. But that was not right, was it? Arokh most certainly did exist, had existed for centuries, and if he was not a human, why should a human's laws of magic apply to him? He had taken foreign energy into himself easily enough, she knew. Every dragon he defeated left a part of themselves behind and Arokh absorbed it without so much as a whimper. He turned their power into his own, though it always seemed to fade after a few days.

"What is it that you do with those… energy orbs or whatever they are that appear with every dragon you defeat?" Rynn asked, suddenly curious to know.

"Those are fragments of my enemies, Rynn; just as much a part of them as the bodies they leave behind. If any should ever succeed in slaying me, they would be able to take my power for their own, if only for a time. When a dragon dies, the power in them returns to the world they took it from and sometimes, if their opponent is quick enough, that essence can be devoured and taken. Such was what I did with our enemies."

An ugly thought suddenly occurred to Rynn and she voiced it before thinking of whether or not she wished to truly hear the answer.

"Arokh, you aren't eating their souls?!"

"No!"

Arokh's reply was just short of a roar and his face was right in front of Rynn's before she could blink.

"I take their power; never would I take their minds, their consciousness! That goes to the next world where it belongs! Necromancy is a vile art and one I have never wished to learn!" Arokh snarled.

The sight of dagger-like teeth flashing in front of her face gave Rynn a pause, but no fear. She could feel Arokh now. He was a big knot of rage in the back of her head, but there was none of the intent she somehow knew would be there if he really had meant harm.

"All right, all right, I apologize, I do," Rynn hastily assured him. Still growling, Arokh pulled his head back a pace, far enough to let Rynn see more than just his mouth.

"You said essence and part of them, and I simply thought –"

"You did no thinking at all, or you would have realized I would never resort to such disgusting means," Arokh snapped. He withdrew completely after that and lay his head back down on the grass. His eyes closed. The words that issued from his mouth next were subdued.

"I tire of this conversation. You have the important things now; let us speak of something else."

Rynn snorted. "Hypocrite. You were the one who insisted on it. Threw me into a lake and everything, too."

"And it needed to be done," Arokh retorted.

"Throwing me into a lake?"

"You stank. We've been over this."

There was silence between them for a long moment. Small birds chirped from a lone tree some distance away and Rynn realized she could not remember the last time she had simply stopped to enjoy that sound. It was the same with the valley they lay in. It was vibrant with green life and clear running water, the sort of place that Rynn would have made an afternoon of enjoying, but until that moment she had looked on it only as another potential battlefield.

'What is happening to me,' she wondered.

"Why do you think the dragons haven't arrived yet?" Rynn finally asked.

"I do not know," Arokh said simply. "So many of us died during the Dark Wars, but there were still at least a hundred left by the end. I remember seeing them flying, swimming, walking, here and there before I had enough strength to fly back to my cave. They were struggling to put order back into the chaos that the war's end left. Some were bonded. Some were not. But they were there."

"So, where are they now?" Rynn mused aloud.

"And better yet, why do they not answer the call of Mala-Shae?" Arokh finished.

Words failed them again, but not for long. Rynn knew what she was going to say next before Arokh had finished speaking. There was a long moment where the birds chirped and the water babbled. Rynn closed her eyes and let it flow over her. The sounds of peace, sounds she had not heard for so long, sounds she might never hear again.

"Do you want to go look for them?" Rynn finally asked.

"I begin to think we must," Arokh replied. "It has been weeks and we have had no sign, whether from the spirit dragons or my own brethren. I want to know why, Rynn."

"Hm, another journey then," Rynn said. "I'll have to sharpen Mournbringer."

"And let our allies know," Arokh reminded her. "Consider this a test. Let's see how Myschala and Dehrimon react to our leaving their fair city."

"I think I'd better handle that," Rynn said. "You tend to get a bit… short with people when you get angry."

"And you don't?" Arokh retorted. Rynn felt his muscles flex beneath her and jumped off as his foreleg shifted. Several tons of dragon rose smoothly onto four legs and shook to loosen its joints. Arokh's wings threw a shadow over Rynn briefly as they rose and then folded back to rest neatly at Arokh's side.

"Let's head back and get this trip started," Arokh sighed. "Oh, and Rynn?"

"Yes?"

"You might want to put your clothes back on first."