Carramba High School, January 2010, RY -5
There was a lot of hooting and hollering down on the beach, but that was hardly uncommon. It was Winter break, people were hanging out at the shore because they could: Crescent City was hardly known for getting all that chilly even in early January. But this time, it wasn’t just a big birthday party or a local DJ throwing an impromptu rave (both of which were actually happening at that very moment not far away), it was what was going on in the sky above the ocean that had attracted attention.
A lot of it. Not undue: dragons were still reasonably rare over Crescent City. They were slightly more common in the larger metropolis to the north, Talon, because after all that was where “reality was broken” on the Alabaster tower’s rooftop, and where dragons were known to circle for hours interrupting airplane flights and terrifying people who didn’t know they existed.
Here in Crescent though, Alabaster had investments in the school system: Carramba High as well as C4, the local Community College. Security and science buildings, as well as legal and entertainment booster clubs, were run by Alabaster’s competent staff.
One of those staff members was a full time instructor at Carramba – well, several of him were instructors at the school, but this one in particular stood on the balcony of his on-campus apartment, and could hear the shouting and chanting on the beach. It wasn’t near, almost half a mile away in fact, but… still was clear as day to any Sanger’s ears.
“Wonder what’s got them all riled up?” He muttered, and took a glance upwards. It was bright, the middle of the day and unseasonably clear and dry. It didn’t take long for his sleep-deprived eyes to locate the dragons flying overhead. ‘Crazy Doc’ Sanger rubbed his eyes and hoped that the coffee brewing was going to be enough to clear them.
Little tiny white with colorful striping and mid-to-large copper fellow zipped around behind it. Ah. He knew these dragons, if tangentially. Magic Studies instructors, well at least the one was. Must be. When Gabriel handed him the tall mug with the banana-mocha coffee drink, he too stood squinting, but with less success at spotting the exact location of the dragons.
“Ajandeykth,” Sanger said, and Gabriel nearly said ‘bless you’ but he knew that would be foolish; he was no longer one of the Angelic Host and it wasn’t a sneeze anyway. “I don’t know the name of the dragon following her, but that little white dragoness is speedy as hell.”
“Wait, that’s… That’s Queen Sean’s dragon?”
“Yeah, white, red and green racing stripes. Why?” Sanger glanced at his blond roommate.
“Wasn’t King Sapadt in town for the holiday?” Gabriel asked.
“I… guess?” Sanger shrugged and sipped at the banana bliss that was his morning lifeblood. “Why?”
“You sound like a toddler in the daycare,” Gabriel muttered with a chuckle. “If he’s in town and his wife’s dragon is scooting around like that, leading a dragon in the air… that’s his, copper Birth.”
It didn’t take but a moment for Sanger to adopt a broad grin, as he turned his eyes back toward the hazy horizon. “Oh ho.” He grinned even more, “royal couple, dragons pairing off, I wonder when we’ll see their next little bunny kid in classes.”
It was a well known fact that Sean and Sapadt simply never stopped having kids, even though they were both perhaps in their several-hundreds, immortal… And it was true that numerous of their children, grandkids, and descendants of many generations all attended one or another of the schools which Sangers taught at. That Gabriel didn’t dissuade Sanger from thinking the dirty thoughts he had about either Sapadt or Sean, said volumes about both of them.
The dragons were definitely having a good time up there. The angel wondered whether the people on the beach knew what they were seeing? Maybe they thought it was a fight? But there was no fire breath or lightning bolts, no claws and blood flashing angry-style. The way Sanger’s gaze followed the barely-visible pair into the high thin clouds, and then plummeted down past the shopping mall’s silhouette between the school and beachfront told them both that it would be a great flight. And probably a great whatever-they-liked-to-call-it between the king and queen.
They did spend a lot of time apart, if Gabriel’s memory served. With Sean instructing a bunch of things on the Magic Studies campus, and Sapadt running their nation of Gelgela, they had precious little time to just sit around or, well, get busy.
Their dragons apparently thought they didn’t get together enough either.
When the school semester started up again in the second week of January, the easiest thing to spot was a dragon hanging out near the track and field bungalow. There were two, and they were mighty familiar to Sanger, spotting them as he was heading to his gym class. They were politely staying off the manicured track area, roosting on the berm just beyond the stands and bleachers. Birth, what an odd name for a dragon no it wasn’t his own dragon’s name was Umpteenth, had a long narrow crest and a long narrow spaded tail that slowly waved like a cat’s. As most of his students had not yet made it to the very same class he intended to teach, and were hanging out by the dragons anyway, Sanger made his way toward them too.
Ajandeykth was not a large dragoness, by any stretch. Birth was considerably larger, the size of what he knew was a ‘brown’, though not a big one; only a touch larger than Umpteenth, actually. Still, he had a royal bearing just like the riders that stood nearby. Those students who had Sean as an instructor knew how to herd the other kids around – she was royalty, treat her that way! But when they spotted Sanger strolling up, some of those same students straightened up in ways that absolutely did not portray respect for royalty. It was more half-terror half-snark because he was certainly the type that demanded some form of respect… just not because of his birth.
However, even Sanger bowed deeply toward both king and queen, and nodded at their lovely dragons beyond with the way that only another rider might. “So it was you I spotted the other day,” he smirked, and the pair of riders gave that private glance to one another with their own grins.
“Yes it was,” Sapadt said while glancing at his beautiful white-furred wife; he didn’t notice how Sanger pulled in a careful breath when he looked at the king: tall, blond, strong, handsome – everything that any Sanger really appreciated in a man. “But that’s the thing…”
“It was a wonderful flight,” Birth said, surprising Sanger – he didn’t know that the copper-colored dragon could speak English. “We were happy to see one another!”
“I’ll bet you were,” Sanger chuckled.
“Now we need a place to set those eggs down,” Sean sighed, and with a small hand gesture indicated to the students that they should disperse. This wasn’t just between instructors, this was a royalty-thing. As the kids moved away, some of Sanger’s students caught his ear without shouting, that they’d be in the gym doing their reps, he didn’t have to be there to get them to work out! They also knew that he could hear them from half a field away.
The riders all turned to look at the pair of dragons. Shiny and handsome Birth, and brilliantly white and marked Ajandeykth. “She wants it to be special,” Sean said. “And I have to agree. This is actually… Oddly enough, Birth’s first flight with her!”
“It was his first proper flight,” Sapadt corrected. The smug look on his dragon’s posture was born out in Sapadt’s own face.
“Well, can’t you… I don’t know,” Sanger waggled his fingers, “do some magic and find a place?”
“Being a Magic Studies professor should have reminded me to do that,” Sean muttered. “I suppose that moving through the Nexus won’t really hurt, we do it all the time.” She looked back at the pair of dragons, “though usually we’ve remained on-site after a flight, and laid on whatever local sands. I… Don’t know how that might affect the eggs.”
“Or you?” Sapadt lifted an eyebrow, and quietly spoke, “wasn’t that something we were told to avoid?” His grey eyes flickered to her own furry abdomen, but he said nothing more.
“I’m pretty sure it’s fine this early,” she replied, “anyway. I think I’ll look up some things before deciding… I wish we had a better database for dragons in the Torus.”
“It’s not enough that it keeps track of staff, instructors, students, visitors, class schedules, vacations, weather patterns, holiday events…” Sanger listed off the many things that the school’s administrative wing known as the Torus held in its file structure.
“Maybe some day it’ll have dragons too,” Sean nodded with a grin.
There was an odd green-orange flash somewhere nearby, and though most of those present didn’t pay it much mind, perhaps they should have. But this was Carramba: it was probably just someone practicing a power, or an accident in one of the magic or science classes.
Sanger bid the pair luck on their search for somewhere to plop a bunch of eggs – there would surely be quite a few – and headed into the gym. He passed a man in a black suit who looked like he was moving with purpose, something seemed familiar about him. It was to be a professional relationship, eventually… and likely much more, but neither of them knew it then. For now, he gave a wave and when asked, pointed at that same Torus building.
“Ah, the one standing out bright as day,” Lane muttered mostly to himself. “Should have known… thank you, be seeing you… around.”
Sean performed an incantation on the Magic Studies campus, isolated as it was from the main dimension and safe from prying eyes or power. Birth and Sapadt looked on, and while the dragon wasn’t able to perform magic, Sapadt certainly did, and knew what she was doing. He also knew it would wear her out, so he predictably was ready when she swooned at the end of the spell.
“Ritual magic still takes so much out of me,” Sean sighed, leaning heavily into her husband’s arms.
“What did you find?” He asked, and she answered with a great broad smile.
“Oh they’ll love this,” she replied. “We’re going home, Aja,” she said to the white dragon.
With a quizzical tilt to her head, the dragoness gave off a purring sound, and mentally nudged for more information. That satisfied the dragon when she got an answer, but the actual location they would need to go was both in time as well as dimensions. For it had long been dusty even before Sean began working at either Carramba or House Domina. Istabitha? Well, it was there when they would go!
But that trip would be delayed just a little, first she had some classes to teach, and then they’d need to apply for leave, or at least get their dates right for leaving and re-arrival to the campus. After all, they were able to move through time and space, they could show up after a long weekend, with their own time spent elsewhere.
This was all old-hat to Sean. She’d traveled back and forth through time just to revive her husband… Well, to learn necromancy and revive him, anyway… among other things! So after the week was done, she set about packing for their trip to the location she’d found this wonderful little dragon.
She found Aja in a snow-filled cavern, not on warm sands. It was a holiday there, so why not head to a holiday again? Sapadt packed up his own things, still not as sure in his own ability to move dragons and people through either time or dimensions. He and Birth liked to just… be in one place and time. But the copper was happy that he’d get to see where his beloved mate’s own birthplace was.
With a ritual to set the location and time in her mind firmly, Sean didn’t need to use any further magic to get them there. She implanted the spot in Aja’s mind, who passed it along to Birth’s. Sapadt ‘sat there looking like an idiot’ on his dragon’s back – with all their stuff. They knew it would be a couple months before Aja’s eggs would even drop, but still they both deserved a vacation. The king wanted more time with his wife. What better place or time, than …
“So there’s… there’s already a dragon waiting to use the sands?” Sean whispered, mostly to herself.
“Looks like,” Sapadt muttered. But he spotted a woman who looked important – it was strange how easily ‘royalty’ could identify itself in that manner. “Is that her?”
“Weyrwoman Naeodin!” Sean affected a cheery and casual tone, “how nice it is to see you!”
That Weyrwoman got the strangest look on her face, because this was… Well it wasn’t wrong, but it was odd.
“And you, my dear,” she said with just exactly as carefully-applied cheer and casual tone as the rabbit woman. “What… erm. What brings you here?”
“A very late honeymoon?” Sapadt supplied when his wife was unable to really get more than a few choked breaths out. “Our dragons – and us, truth be told – have had a wonderful flight. We… were perhaps wondering if they could…” he waggled his gloved fingers at the large cavern beyond. “Roost at our sands?” Naeodin was almost over the moons. “Well while this is… unexpected?” She reached out and actively grasped Sean’s furry hands, holding them snugly. “It’s more than welcome. And how appropriate you’d say why,” she glanced at the Usagi’s handsome human husband. “Because it seems that love has been in the air recently.”