"Are you sure you want to go?"
"Yes, I do." Asranil said.
His mother sighed, she had never loved the idea of her only son travelling of Gineya into the wonders of the dangerous galaxy.
"Don't you love it here?" she tried one last time.
"Of course I do mother, but I want to see all the places you and dad talked about! Not just read about them in books."
"I know I can't stop you, but please think of your dear old mother and be careful."
Asranil hated to leave his mother like this. International mail wasn't deliverd as quick as it was here on Gineya where the dragons took care of that. There had to be some solution for this problem.
"Is there any way I can relay messages faster?" he looked at his mother and added: "Without me having to bond with a dragon, because that would set me back several years."
Asranil knew his mother would love for him to bond a Dragon, a Wicena preferably because they possessed magic. He didn't mind bonding a Dragon, but he didn't know what all the fuss was about with those Wicenas, so they could do some magic, that wouldn't make his life simpler. He didn't like swimming, so Atcydias weren't his thing either and thinking about Svarpians made him shudder. How could people adopt those viscious snakes?
"Maybe a Star Dancer?" his mother tried.
"Those are hardly sentient enough to relay messages to their owner, I don't think they'd get messages to you from light years away." he sighed, maybe he should just wait another few years more. He was only 21.

"Asranil!" his mother shouted the next morning.
"What is it?" he yelled back, the sheets pulled over his head to not see the light that would make him get up.
"I've found the answer."
"What answer?"
"The answer for our message problem."
That woke him up alright. His mother was smart, smarter than him anyway. He liked reading, writing and solving riddles, but she always beat him at games. And he had this restless yearning to see the world. Asranil often wondered how the two of his parents could have made a son like him.
"What is it?"
"It's a Star Dancer."
Asranil shook his head. He wasn't dreaming... But he knew for sure they had already discussed this. Maybe he had misheard her. He went down and saw her standing aside the tall Ela of Morning Fog River. Everyone around Gineya knew Ela, she had gotten quite the reputation after she had hunted down a bonder who had left his Star Dancer to die when it had turned out the little creature just couldn't out of the ordinary.
"Hello." Asranil greated her.
"Hi. I've got just the thing for you." she said back.
The look on his face must have revealed all he was thinking because Ela said:
"Recently we found a pop that wouldn't hatch."
"How can that be?"
"First we thought the Dancer might have died, but when Sorceress listened to her she said the little creature wouldn't come out because she wanted to see the world from Space."
Asranils mother stood smiling broadly, but Asranil wasn't convinced at all. Not now, when he had to leave.
Ela whisteled and Sorceress flew in, carrying the small soft green pop in her claws. The little Midnight Blue creature happily made a noise, much like a real wolf that she somewhat resembeled and dropped the pop in Asranils hands.
Asranil could feel the Dancer inside stir when she hit his hands.
She? How had he known that? A soft flow of images he recognised as a star system reached his mind. How could a creature know all these things without ever seeing them?
"You're feeling it too?" Ela asked.
"I see it." Asranil answered.
"Well, that must mean you are right for her, all we got out of her were feelings of captivity and sadness."
"She doesn't feel at all like that."
Ela nodded, "I suggest you take her into space as soon as possible. She's supposed to be a princess and with her staying in that pop so long she has learned to transmit clear and strong images."

A week later Asranil was ready to board one of the few ships that had Gineya on their list of stops. She wasn't big and she wasn't pretty, but the crew was very sociable and the Captain could tell stories about all the places he had visited.
Asranil looked out the front window, looking down on Gineya from outer space. The planet looked small and blue from above, with a small patch of green where the Isle was.
Suddenly he got a feeling he hadn't had in years. A feeling like he had done something wrong, yet he didn't know what it was. A few moments later the images of the pop came in his mind. The little queen knew exactly what he was thinking. She was no ordinary Dancer indeed.
He took out the pop and held it out facing the front window. He immediatly felt the curiosity of the Dancer inside. Not a second had passed before she started tearing away her protective layers. When she emerged Asranil saw that she was indeed a queen, she looked almost human with her heart-shaped face and long silvery-purple hair.
"Hello little one." he said.
"Good Day." she said back, not once letting her eyes shift from the window.
"Do you have a name?" he asked her.
"No, you have to give me one." she said... "I like Margaery."
His mother's name. Asranil smiled. He suspected his mother to have influenced the little creature. He couldn't forget her if he got this little hypnotised critter with him.
"Can you reach my mother?" he asked.
"No. She can't talk to me."
"How will you be able to send messages then?" he asked.
Asranil wanted to leave, but he just couldn't when he knew his mother would be worried.
"I will send them to Sorceress. Be quiet." she gave him an angry stare before she returned to looking out the window.


Maiden Margaery

After an hour of two, when Asranils legs were killing him from standing in the same position for too long, Margaery had enough and let him take her through the ship. She sat in his hand and watched, she looked like a little queen, waiting for praise from her subjects.
"I thought Star Dancers could fly." Asranil remarked.
"I can fly, but I don't want to just yet." she said.

The first stop the space ship took was at a planet twice the size of Gineya, but only populated by 2 or 3 families. Conditions were hard and Asranil didn't leave the city, which had climate control, the whole 7 days they stayed.
Margaery pointed out on numerous occasions that he should go out and see the galaxy like he had wanted. The little creature started to behave more like his mother every day. She was good to have around though, he could always talk to her and she was always ready to make him feel at home.
When the 7 days were gone Asranil left the city with the others to go back to the spaceship. When they passed some tall buildings Margaery sat up straigt and shook her head, sending unhappy vibrations out into the world.
"What is it?" Asranil asked.
"The towers are wrong, they are not like I remember them."
"How can you remember towers? You haven't been here."
She showed him what she claimed she had seen. Though the towers did look somewhat like in the Dancers vision, Asranil could see the landscape was wrong.
"They aren't from here." he told her and left her to her thoughts.

Another 5 dull planets later that were either to cold, to hot or to dangerous Asranil had travelled quite enough. Why had he ever wanted to leave?
"To see all the wonders of the universe." Margaery reminded him.
"So far all I've seen are rocks, cities and people, just like home."
"Dragons are considered a miracle." Margaery said, 'But then, that's only because nobody has seen me yet."
Asranil smiled. The silly creature sure had a high view of herself.
"I am special, no Dancer is the same."
"I know that, I want to see the really special things. Planets with exceptional colours or architecture, people and ways I haven't heard or seen before..." Asranil stopped talking, Margaery had sent him the picture with the black spines again.
"Yeah, that would be weird architecture." he said.
"You should go there, I remember it."
"And what does that mean?"
"I also remembered us going off into space."
"You've got a point, I'll ask the captain."

"Spines you say? Black? I haven't seen such a thing, but there's a wise man on the next planet who is said to have travelled all the planets in the galaxy. Not that I believe that, he probably has read a lot of books." the Captain said.
"When will we arrive at the next planet?"
"If all goes well, 2 days."

Asranil waited, not very patiently, but he managed to get through the days without yelling and pacing circles in his room, which was quite the effort.
The planet looked like any fertile planet, but Asranil knew now that looks could deceive. There were some oceans and there was some land and mountains, more Asranil wouldn't claim to know from this point of view. Margaery however said it would be a good planet.
"I like it." where her exact words, which were quite the compliment coming from her. He had only known her for 2 months, yet she a part of his life that seemed to have been there forever.
When the spaceship was locked in orbit Asranil was first at the gates that held the little crafts that would bring them to the planet.
They landed just outside a big city, swarming with activity. This is the main docking portal of Lao Demia." the Captain said.
"Sounds pretty." Asranil said.
"Oh it is, there's a lot of forsts I believe and elves, though I could be mistaken."
"I've never seen elves." maybe he would finally see something spectaculair on this planet.

The Captain pointed him to where the 'Wise Man' was supposed to live. His house turned out to be a big tavern with lots of drunken men in it. They apparently like drinking and singing, because their was a contest of each going on when Asranil entered.
Asranil made his way to the bar and asked the bartender: "Where can I find Mir?"
The bartender pointed to one of the more sober men in the left corner. The man was busy drinking some ale while reading a book.
"Excuse me sir." he said.
"Yes?"
"Are you Mir? Someone told me you might tell me where I could find a building on some planet."
"There are many buildings. People keep making them."
"This one is quite special, it has lots of towers, spines and it is all black, though some parts glimmer..." As he described the place he had seen through Margaery Mir started to laugh.
"That building is here on Lao Demia. The East, that's all I can tell you without leading you to it, but you might find a Dragon who wants to bring you."
Asranil left...where would he find a dragon?
"I can find you a dragon." Margaery said.
"Where?"
"There is one just around the corner, I can hear him, he's loud."
Asranil raced around the corner, determined to see more of this planet. The dragon he saw was not very big, but oddly striped, he had never seen such a dragon on Gineya.
The dragon turned his way and looked at Margaery, sitting on his shoulder. The little Dancer flew to the dragon and sat down on his nose, tilted her head and apparently talked because the dragon nodded and his rider came around asking: "What did you say?"
Maybe a minute passed, "A candidate?"
The rider tunred toward Asranil.
"Are you the candidate?"
"I wouldn't know, Margaery spoke to your dragon."
"Whose Margaery?" The rider looked around to find some girl stashed away behind some crates, but he couldn't find any.
"Margaery, is the little Dancer sitting on your dragons nose. The rider turned and looked at the little critter. "Effelai is going to want to see this one."
"So she brought you all the way here to be a candidate?"
"I'm starting to suspect it, she's been bugging me about a place with black towers for weeks now. I have never seen dragons quite like these though."
"I can take you there, the name of the city is Moire."
"I'd like to be a candidate, I just want to know one thing: Do these dragons do Magic?"

__________________________________

Asranil looked around nervously. He couldn't stop grinning. Margaery on the ither hand was totally confident, but then he was the one standing...
The eggs started hatching in their usual chaotic manner Asranil had seen as a spectator on Gineya. A sudden flash of homesickness struck him, but he knew he was doing the right thing. Even if that was impressing a dragon, like his mother had wanted him to do on a planet far away.
Suddenly a very small ecru dragoness, about the size of a dog came his way. Was that supposed to become his dragon? Compact and handy to travel, yes, but he couldn't ride her.
~Margaery, will you be my bond too?~ the dragoness asked beffling everyone around.
"I will, what's your name?" Margaery wanted to know.
~Ley'estreya~the dragoness answered and placed herself beside Asranil and Margaery, waiting for him to bond.
While more dragons around him bonded Asranil turned to Margaery and looked at her for a long time. She looked back, her big black eyes swirling with delight.
"I thought I was the candidate!" he said.
"I never told you you were the candidate! I told the dragon he had found a candidate, namely me." she said.
"But then, I won't impress a dragon?"
"Of course you will, the dragon thought you were it and accepted you... the fool. I hope Ley'estreya will be smarter."
~I am.~ the dragoness replied.
"Good." Margaery told her.

At last another dragoness stood waiting. Ley'estreya got the hint and scurried over, followed by Margaery who felt just as comfortable on her dragon as on Asranil's shoulder. She was big and coloured like a desert mountain range: dry red. When she came closer Asranil saw that her eyes were gray.
~I don't know about magic~ she said ~but I could make some meat disappear~
~My name is Zuleika, fully prepared to see the galaxy, but first a meal and a nap sound good.~
At that suggestion Ley'estreya nodded agrreing. She was hungry too. For a moment Asranil wondered what his life would be like with three hungry women from the draconic race around him... one thing was sure, it would be interesting...

Asranil's Chalk-striped double-clouded pomegranate appaloosa Zuleika (f)

Margaery's Tangerine double-striped apricot-dappled winged ecru Ley'estreya(f)


Gineya Isle  |  Lantessama Isle  |  Moire Protectorate