Chapter 21 The Dragon Slave's Picnic

A/N This epilogue was originally posted as a standalone piece but it looks like everyone missed it. I am attaching it to the original story and deleting the stand alone piece so, yes, you might have read this before.

Leumas was the King and when he said he wanted a family picnic on Elmdorn, everybody packed bags.

He picked the members of his royal family, blood or not, adhering to the old earth rule that blood was family but family need not be blood. Leumas was King and he could pick and choose who a member of his family.

Peridot and his steward, Gervais, arranged the setting. Colorful carpets were laid out beside Manon, the silver lake under the tall fire trees. The day of the Royal party was carefully selected so that the most auspicious aspects blessed the gathering. It was a day when the three moons of Elmdorn appeared together in the daylight sky.

It was a clear, cloudless, soft summer day and the three moons, Baial, white with a greenish tint, Maganon, a pale blue, and Hyperie, a warm orange ball, rode high in heaven's vault. The shadows under the trees were kissed with the delicate pastel s of moonlight.

Appearing also among the shadows of the wood were bubbles of Manon, silver orbs floating gently on the breeze, containing the captured light of Maganon. They reminded Leumas of the earth's fire flies. They didn't contribute much light but they made a pretty picture flickering in and out of sight under the trees.

The setting was lovely; colorful carpets on the blue-green grass, the fire trees with fluttering red leaves, the colorful tinted shadows and the silver bubbles, all went together to provide a setting for the jewels yet to arrive.

Leumas sat on a white throne specially brought from the castle for this day. In front of him were laid out tables full of food. From far away he heard laughing voices and looking up the winding track to the stone towers he could see his family walking towards him.

Out in front were Dean and Annaretta with the children playing around her skirts, ducking and hiding and giggling at each other. Leumas watched David, the oldest, trip and roll downhill, his twin brothers bending over in laughter at seeing their big brother go down the path.

Leumas also snuffled in laughter wondering if he shouldn't transform and go check on his son. He was thinking of David's seventh birthday when the child spontaneously transformed into a little Royal Blue dragon, settling once and for all exactly who his father was. The twins were just as obviously Dean's children. No two little boys had ever taken after their father more.

Behind the Rulers of Rhuddlan came Peridot, her green scales shining in the sunlight with her little daughter, Beyance, as pretty as a flower with her blue feathers and jeweled belly. Peridot's head included toward her husband, a handsome red dragon, who was Gervais' son. The Steward of Elmdorn followed his family, proud of his boy and his two grandsons, little red dragons playing at being soldiers.

Two more Green Dragon Princesses came with Peridot, each a mother of a little Royal Blue dragon boy. Each boy was part of the line of succession and recognized as members of the Royal family.

Delia, the human Mistress of the Cloud Castle was dressed in her best black and red, head held proudly and beaming at the little children flashing around her skirts. With her walked Alric, the Dragon's Inn keeper. Leumas had been pleased to find out that those two had finally become a couple and he invited them to join the family without hesitation.

Last on the path was a Black Dragon family. It included Eldon, the Keeper of the Mountain Pass on Earth and his wife Daily and children, son Ray and daughter Dawn.

The entire group, humans in their finery and feathered dragons in all colors, moved down the path as a vibrant assembly. The children buzzed around the adult humans and dodged great dragon bodies, as quick and fleeting as little bees around the sweetest flowers. Leumas was proud of his family

When everyone was settled on the carpets, skirts spread and dragon bodies at ease, the picture was completed. Off to one side a court artist was committing the gathering to canvas. Leumas thought the human would have to draw fast to capture all the beauty and life in a mere portrait. The children laughed and ran, no one resting, moving from carpet to carpet, snagging sweets from off the tables and running away.

Finally his lover, Dean, rose and came to stand behind the throne. "Aren't you being just a little obvious, my love?" Leumas thought at Dean. Dean answered, "If they don't know by now there is no hope for any of them."

The King's form rippled like clear water and where there had been a Dragon was now Samuel, the man, in his signature blue finery with a silver circlet on his head. Here was the King of Three Worlds, Elmdorn, Earth and the Wild World of Dragons.

Today he would name his successor to those three thrones. He would name his successor, settle the order of succession and bless Elmdorn with a hundred years of peace. There was plenty of work ahead of him and many years left yet to rule but he could finally see the end of the road. Surrounded by family and with his lover, he also could find peace.

After everyone ate the afternoon was filled with conversation and laughter. Samuel summoned the heralds and scribes to gather around the throne. Musicians played the ancient Dragon themes in the background and Samuel stood to make his announcements.

First he named the half human half Dragon child, David, as his formal Prince. At the same time he announced the betrothal of David to the Black Dragon female, Dawn. Dawn had been an amazingly beautiful child; flower bearer at Dean's wedding to Annaretta and had grown even more beautiful with the passing years. Now she was a teenager and in her human form she was the most beautiful of Earth's women. Tall and slim with long smooth black hair; her eyes were as blue as the sky in a reflecting pool and just as deep. Her skin was pale and she moved with inborn grace. Eldon had received many officers of marriage for his daughter but he had known of the King's plans and kept her safe.

Leumas regarded the marriage as the perfect combination. Human, and Royal Dragon, wed to a Black Dragon Princess would satisfy all factions. He only hoped Dawn and David might grow to love each other. That was left to the future. Thinking about the arrangement between Leumas, Samuel, Dean and Annaretta he knew these things could always be arranged.

He also named the line of succession through the other Royal Blue children, including any future husband for little Beyance. The Dragon world would accept these arrangements without question. A clear line of succession and a strong hand on the reins of government would mean collective prosperity for all. A Black Dragon Queen would finish the integration of the Black Dragons into Elmdorn society. Any lingering hatred from the war hopefully would die away over the years.

Earth might be a more difficult scene but Samuel left it up to Dean and Annaretta to explain to the humans that they now had a half human Prince and that King Leumas had actually conquered the earth and taken the throne although not in the violent way the last King's advisors had warned. King Johan had stepped down years ago, leaving the throne to Dean. The former King now spent his days watching earth's birds and drawing their pictures. He had also found peace.

Dean was looking to expand his Earthly kingdom and with the help of his clever wife and the diplomatic magic that Leumas seemed to weave, was well on his way to becoming the ruler of the Northern Kingdom also when King Gondron, who was childless, abdicated. In that long planned strategy the Emissary Castiel played a heavy hand. The Northern Kingdom was, above all else, a trading Kingdom and peace was demanded by all its merchants.

After that was accomplished Dean was going to turn his eye to the south and a desert land was next in line.

Now Samuel declared there was one more item to be observed by the Royal family. It was, in a way, a lesson in governing for both Dean and the Crowned Prince. The Elmdorn dragon who had force bred black dragons to work as slaves in his underground mines had finally been captured, hiding in one of his own mines. This dragon, claiming to be a scientist, had transgressed many of Elmdorn's basic laws. He had ignored Royal warnings to stop his work; he had enslaved dragons for his personal enrichment and had unleased war upon his world. The war had resulted in hundreds of dragon deaths on both sides.

He had his name removed from history. His family lived in disgrace and the fortune he had sacrificed all for was gone. Today would be the day of his final punishment. He was to be executed. Leumas remembered the bitter death of his friend Peumonde, a red Knight, who had died over the silver lake, guarding the retreat of Leumas's harem to the stone towers.

Peumonde had fallen from the sky, his body swallowed by the turgid waves of the silver lake, Manon. His bones lay under the waves, embracing still the six black dragons it took to take him down. Even so he was unburied and now Leumas was going to sacrifice the architect of the war to Peumonde's memory.

This was going to be a harsh end to a family picnic but they all needed , first, to see the dragon punished and , secondly, to remember they were Royals and as such, had responsibilities to the greater world. In spite of their personal feelings they all, adult and child, had a responsibility to obey their world's demands and the world demanded that this dragon be punished for his transgressions. With his destruction his family would once again be free to walk the world without shame and, perhaps, rebuild their own lives free of his taint.

High above they all could see a grey dragon pursued by red Knights. When the Knights caught up there was a brief skirmish and then the grey dragon fell from the sky, plunging beneath the waves of Manon; gone to join the bodies of those he had killed through his greed.

Evening was now falling and the King's family gathered again to walk back to the towers. Dean and Samuel walked in front of the procession, hands entwined. With lighted torches and twinkling stars above to light the way the Royal family moved as a fairy procession, humans and dragons, walking into the history of Elmdorn.