Meryk woke up. He felt it would be dawn soon. Time to eat and leave. He
turned around, to make sure he didn't wake his sisters. He wanted to be
ready before dawn so he could start at first light. But as he got up he saw
Marnys had had the same idea.
"Up early too?" he asked, more stating the obvious.
"Yep, you bet ya. I'll be the one leaving first today." she said.
There was a short silence, all that could be heard was the soft sizzling of
butter in a pan on the fire.
"Should we wake Myan?" Meryk asked.
"Nah, she didn't tell us too. Besides she has the shortest distance to
"You could have woken me you know." Myan suddenly said.
"Yeah, we would have, at dawn." Meryk said smiling, he would love
to see her rush.
In stead of rushing she just shrugged, got up and walked out the door. This
was unlike his brainy sister who believed in living healthy and eating three
meals a day.
"Don't you need to eat?" Marnys asked.
"I made something for eating on the road." Myan said, returning
Meryks smile. She waved as she walked off into the morning.
"Well what do you know." Meryk said, baffled by his sister's early
Quickly Marnys grabbed her bag and left him sitting at the table.
"I'll check up on you as soon as I get to Lav'intay!" she shouted
and started running.
"This is just great!" Meryk cursed as he hastily turned down the
fire and left in a hurry to keep up with his sisters. He knew he had further
to go, but he had done enough research to know Mi'ihen eggs hatched faster
than others. He smiled. Maybe it had to do with being on an Island. Nah,
that couldn't be, Lav'intay was on an Island too.
Meryk didn't really have a plan on how to get to Mi'ihen. Myan could have
gotten her maps and transports scheduled by now, but Meryk knew he would get
to Mi'ihen in time if he just trusted his instincts and took every chance he
got. That way of living hadn't failed him yet.
And of course he had a secret associate who would get him to the castle. He
grinned as he ran a bit faster. Just outside his home town a young woman
waited for him.
"Meryk!" she shouted as she saw him.
"Renylt" he shouted back and ran towards her.
"Are you sure this is fair?" she asked him.
"Why shouldn't I be able to get help on my way there? We are all going
to get it."
"Yes, but neither of your sisters has a trading wagon going straight to
Mi'ihen with goods reserved for them and an aspirant ready for the next
Meryk smiled, his Renylt was so honest and just, almost like Myan, although
Myan had surprised him.
"They'll be happy for me." he said.
Renylt shrugged and let him carry her to
The next morning
Renylt got up early and let Meryk sleep. She looked at his face and smiled.
He was such a good boy, though he could be quite fiery. She hadn't loved him
from the start, God no, tall, slender and blond he was all her parents had
warned her about. But he wasn't at all like the stories had told her about
tall blond men, and neither was he like one of those maniacal dark
strangers. She grinned.
She herself wasn't all bad either. She was tall, but square, something that
didn't do a girl justice. And on top of that she was a redhead. And she wore
glasses. What had he ever seen in her? She couldn't believe he had just seen
a lass that would be easily persuaded in doing what he wanted to dump her
afterwards. No. He had even said he was going to bring this old oath up
again so he could join her when she left for Mi'ihen. Apparently the thing
about triplets thinking alike hadn't been a lie. They had all brought it up.
She looked back to where Meryk was sleeping on the cloths and pillows. Her
father owned a successful trading line and she had become a partner at 21.
With it came a wagon, a set of horses and a long speech about responsibility
and keeping promises. She would reach Mi'ihen in 5 days, right on schedule.
There she would deliver her goods and stop roaming around and become a
Knight. If all worked out right Meryk would be right there with her.
"I've got a
message from Dun Keiba!" Meryk shouted.
"Which sister went that way?"
"Myan, I told you she had it all arranged. She got there right about
the same time we got here. Now we just have to wait for a clutch to be laid
and for Marnys to reach Lav'intay."
They didn't have to wait long for that message. Three days later she got
there, safely brought by one of their judges.
"I never thought Marnys would be so traditional." Meryk said to
"It's always the ones you least expect it from." she said,
"Maybe she just got lucky like you."
"Is that right? What else have you seen in your crystal ball?"
"Why draks, fortune and fame of course." she replied half joking,
"Great!" he said, "only one problem though."
"What?" was he dumping her now?
"All that fame will make married life hard to live." he got down
on one knee and looked up at her.
"Oh Meryk..." she said, tears in her eyes, knowing she had got
everything she could have ever dreamed of. "It's all I ever
"Good, I almost feared you would turn me down." he said and
embraced her. "You will make me happy."
Meryk and Renylt stood outside the
Deep cavern along with the 3 other aspirants. The clutch was hatching even
though there were 7 eggs.
"Can't they find more people?" Renylt asked.
"They can't force people..."
"I know... but still..."
"They can survive on their own you know."
"So can people, but would you live alone know you've got me?"
Meryk knew the correct answer, he knew because for once he knew what she
"Not for all the draks in the world." he said.
Finally the doors opened and out came the draklings. Renylt started
"1...2,3..4..5,6... where's 7?"
Both Renylt and Meryk saw the green dragon's sad stare at her children and
her rider's shake of the head. Now even Meryk had to agree this day wasn't
the happy occasion it should be.
The wind stepped out first and bonded. And the pairing had begun. All
draklings edged forward. Two fires came running towards the aspirants. Both
changed ways halfway, nearly knocking each other over. And then Meryk
suddenly realised the one was coming towards him!
Suddenly both draklings banged to the floor. One of them had tripped over
his brother's foot and both were now struggling to get up. Meryk rushed over
and helped his 'special' friend while another aspirant took care of number
two. Meryk was so focused on his own drak that he didn't even notice the
gender of the person standing next to him.
"Quaryet." the drak suddenly hissed and pulled
Meryk's sleeve to get to the food standing so very close...
Although Renylt loved to see her
fiancÚ find his drak, she was really nervous about pairing herself and
wanted him near. Of course she wouldn't let the world know this, so she
stood there waiting, seeing another drakling pair.
Only two remained and Renylt wondered which one, the desert or the earth,
would come her way. At last the desert stepped forward and came her way. He
fell back on his hind quarters and looked up at her, almost like a happy
dog, al that was missing was the leaky tongue.
"And what might your name be?" she asked and chuckled.
"Well Vanryet, let's go find you something to eat and me someone to talk
"Meryk!!!" Renylt shouted
"What about Lav'intay?" Meryk asked, still not worried. He just
suspected Marnys had gotten her drak.
"They are dead" Renylt cried and fell to floor weeping.
"Some illness...They got word from it today after some pairs went to
investigate The high princess' absence at a meeting... They were all dead.
Riders, draks. All of them." Renylt's voice broke as she thought of the
horrors that must have gone on there. Not only for the humans, but also for
the draks who had died alongside their riders, just as susceptible to the disease.
"Marnys?" Meryk asked.
"I haven't heard from her. Alexis, the rider that was here to fly
Valeiski is from Lav'intay. He is searching for survivors. He... he is so devastated,
Meryk. All the people he knew there are dead now. And he is left here,
Meryk knew the boy would be grieving for his mates... But that wouldn't stop
him from finding the guy as soon as he came back to ask about Marnys. Meryk
knew he had known her. He had spoken with her. He had told them she was safe
and sound... What could happen to a Castle, right?"
Meryk slammed his fists in the wall. The waiting nearly killed him. It was
so annoying even Quaryet got scared.
"What'sss happened?" he asked his brother Vanryet.
"He'sss worried." Vanryet said.
"About his sssisster?"
"Yesss. We have never seen her."
"I have felt her clossse to Meryk." Quaryet confided, "Their
bond is sstrong."
"Ssstronger than oursss?"
"No, Life mate."
A silent moment occurred when Quaryet had dropped the words. Sure they were
life mates. They'd be together always, as would Meryk and Renylt. But they
were both males and adults at that. They'd soon need to find females to
chase to spread their genes. But those things were possible on lenient
bases. Young females mostly. None of them would care.
"How do you think our ridersss will react?" Vanryet asked.
"Sssurprisssed." Quaryet said and blinked.
"Xelet is in." Vanryet
remarked as he felt the Earth inside the Castle.
"Where?" Meryk asked.
"Reporting to the High Princess."
Meryk ran out, straight to the office of the high princess. There he had the
sense of mind to stay outside and wait for Alexis to come. But when he came
Meryk was all over him, not letting him breath once.
"Did you find her?"
"Easy, it's been a hard day. I like her too you know."
"Like? As is she's...?"
"Alive and well. She requested to be brought to De Corvo to be an
aspirant. She was pretty shaken up, but allright."
"She stayed at a cottage in a nearby village that was spared by High
Princess Mihani's sacrifice."
A shadow passed over Alexis' face. Meryk noticed and had the tact to leave
the rider with a tap on his shoulder for courage. Meryk couldn't help
feeling relieved. He had had good news today.
Meryk and Renylt paired at