Dexter slowly walked over to the
castle. Mi'ihen it was called. Dexter knew. He had visited all the castles
at least once and he had the sketches to prove it. He was quite a good
artist, but he wasn't good enough for people to buy his art. Who would
need it on Icarus anyway? The castles most likely... but they didn't need
pictures of their castles. Those had been done in abundant numbers
Dexter wiped these disappointing thoughts from his mind. Today he had
nothing else to do than sit and sketch. More than enough to fill a fun
day. The sun was warm on his tanned skin and his feet were weary from the
walk over here. Dexter soon found a nicely shaped rock and began drawing
Mi'ihen in all it's summer pride.
People walked by and looked at his drawings. People always did. Dexter had
started drawing draks when he was 12. Now he was 20, 8 years older, 8
years more experienced and 2 years wiser. He grinned. His mom always used
to say that being wise came four times as slow as age. He missed her
sometimes. Maybe he'd stop by after he had stayed a week or two at
Castles always were hospitable...Dexter would soon find out just how
hospitable. He looked up and saw the sun was setting. The light reflected
in a way that made him think an aquarelle would be perfect for this
setting. He'd have to come back tomorrow to this same spot. Now he'd
better get inside before all the rooms were filled.
"Yes?" a woman just outside the gate said.
"Do you know where I'd have to be for a stay?"
"Oh! You've come to stay! Grand! We need some more people in here for
the upcoming event."
"Event? Oh a hatching!" Dexter said and grinned.
Artists were always wanted at hatchings. Dexter liked doing all the happy
faces too, not too mention the draklings.
"My name is Tayli, and this is my drak Kaayri." she said and
"My name is Dexter and I'd love to stay her for a few weeks at
"Oh, you shall, let me ask Kaayri."
How odd to ask a drak if a person could stay. Dexter had never seen
anything like this before.
"She says you'll do nicely. Do you mind some work?"
"No.. I'm used to it."
"Great. Shifts start at 7 tomorrow."
Tayli led him to a small room he shared with another young man. Dexter marvelled
at this treatment. Normally he found himself in a back room, accompanied
by 5 other men or so. He very much liked this room. And his roommate
wasn't all that bad either. Joe was his name and the guy was mostly busy
shining his boots and making like a recruit in an army as he called it.
Shier showing of was what Dexter called it. The man was obsessed! Dexter
had never been tidy..nor organised...nor a silent sleeper. He snored.
Dexter got great pleasure out of seeing his roommate waking up tired in
On one of those mornings Dexter was cleaning up... yeah, he had to at one
day or another... plus he really wanted to go home. His mother would be
glad to see him and he had already stayed 2 weeks at Mi'ihen. He had
cleaned and drawn every part in it twice already.
"What are you doing?" Joe asked. "Oh my God. You are
cleaning... Has the world come to an end?"
"Packing. I'm leaving."
"Aspirants don't leave!"
"But I'm not an aspirant!"
"Then why are you in the aspirant rooms? With another aspirant? Doing
aspirant chores? I ask you: Why?"
"I'm just an artist. They asked me to draw the hatching, but it's
taking too long."
"No, they asked you to stand. Tayli brought you in. I bet you she
asked Kaayri what she thought of you."
"Yeah, so what?"
"That's the Judge! Idiot!"
"Ow... ehm... ok...damn."
"You didn't want this?" insane grin on Joe's face, "You
kept me awake for no reason at all?"
"I'm gonna kill you!"
Dexter ran out as fast as he could, trying to find that rider that had
brought him in here. It seemed to take hours to find her. Finally he found
her on the landing flat.
"Ah Dexter." she said, "How do you like Mi'ihen?"
"Ehm, Am I an aspirant?"
"What a silly question, of course you are."
"Oh... ok then." Dexter didn't dare object. He had been judged.
He better wait this thing out. Maybe he didn't pair at all...
Again Dexter was called to the
waiting room outside of the deep cavern. He had often worried about this
moment. What if he didn't pair? What if Joe paired and someone else would
take his place in the shared room? Dexter wasn't overly fond of his
roommate but at least he was predictable.
Finally the mother of the clutch, a forest named Gilvojst, came out and
muttered something at one of the less respectful aspirants. Soon after a
small night crawled from under her protecting posture and found his
When the others saw their brother pairing and -probably- getting food they
scrambled to pair for themselves. A rain was next and she bonded quickly
to the dancer in the group. Two more draklings waited below their mother.
With growing unease Dexter saw the male ore strut for Joe and pairing
Dexter held his breath. Now all his hope lay with the last of the
draklings. He watched as Joe left and just knew he was going to be left
"No, not left again," a
voice scolded from behind him - the last Drakling.
Dexter turned slowly and faced the little Mud, blinking in bemusement. He
had no idea what to say to that. "Did your mother even name you
yet?" he finally asked. "I don't think I heard her."
"That'ss becausse you weren't paying
attention," the Drakling snorted, but Dexter could feel
the laughter in his mind. "I am Xirastos."
"Oh. Okay. You do know that I snore, right? And that I'm notoriously
messy and disorganized? You're probably going to go nuts before we even
finish our training."
A solemn expression could be seen on the Mud's face. "I
ssee. Well, we'll jusst have to work on that, now won't we?"
Dexter could foresee many an argument in his future, but strangely enough,
it didn't matter. He'd get almost as much fun from tormenting this
meticulous little creature as he had with Joe! An equally somber
expression on his face, with the laughter hiding just behind his eyes, he
directed his Drakling towards the cavern entrance, to the food waiting
Trained by Transport Drendari and Forest Kaaowen
A big brown head burst out of the
pile of old canvas. Xirastos, full grown and rather irritated, looked
around at his bond.
"Why on Icarus did you lose it here?"
"Because I was sitting here when I had it and later I didn't any
more. It's the most logical place to look." Dexter answered.
Xirastos looked rather pensive when Dexter told him that and continued
going through the big pile of canvas. How could one lose an important
paper? And why did Dexter let him search for it? He had done the
losing... but he was still his knight.
Finally after what seemed an hour of searching but was in fact 15 minutes,
Xirastos had a good sense of time so he knew that, the drak found the
"I've got it!"
he said, jumping out of the canvas. Xirastos neatly dropped the
piece of paper in front of Dexter and started moving away.
"Don't you want to know what it says?"
"No, not really."
"Not even if it has something to do with you?"
Xirastos asked lifting his brow in a carefull curiosity.
"I just thought you might want to know one of your brothers has
joined the new castle Chindor. You remember the ore right?"
"That's the one. I thought it might be fun to get reaquainted. I
think he would love to see us!"
"I think you are crazy... he hated
"Nah... that was just play. But just to make sure... Let's surprise
Xirastos looked down and sighed. It would be some rough couple of days but
he was rather interested in this new place called Chindor.
Doodling, Dexter couldn't help but
realise that his hands were yet again drawing the lines of a face. So
interesting and crisp, the lines of the face had been haunting him even
in his dreams it seemed. Maybe haunting was too big a word because his
nights weren't sleepless, in fact he hoped he could draw it as perfect
as he did in his dreams.
"Oh, it's that person again."
Xirastos sighed sleepily, "Aren't you getting
bored of drawing like you do with castles and draks?"
"I don't get bored with them!"
Xirastos looked at him with a doubtful expression. After all, his knight
never did stay in the same place for an extended period. A month at most
and then they were off again. Not that Xirastos minded much, but he felt
he might want to stay somewhere a bit longer. Get to know the people and
draks, actually do some work that he could see the end of... maybe sire
Now there was a thought. Maybe it was love he needed. And maybe he
wouldn't need to look far for it.
"Fancy a mating flight?" he asked
Dexter turned red and Xirastos knew he'd guessed right.