Betwixt and Between

Part Two: Epilogue


Tavarez was too polite to comment on Yula's change of heart, though his eyes were kind when she admitted it. The flitter crawled into her lap, letting Yula stroke her while she finished the tale.

"I didn't talk to him much, after that, though I did try," she sighed. "A few weeks later, he disappeared. I would've been worried, after how withdrawn he'd been before he left, except Lament went with him. Lament, at least, told me where they went and why."

"Summer," Tavarez nodded sagely.

"Right. He's back on Mythicalae, in the wilds again," Yula agreed. "And... well, I might have put wanting him behind me, but... I still kind of miss him."

"He's your friend," Tavarez said simply. "Of course you miss him."

"At least you came by, so I'm not lonely, now," she teased him, smiling. It felt strained and sad, though, and Tavarez wasn't one to miss something like that.

"You don't have to be lonely, Yula," he said gently. "This is very nearly a city, this Sanctuary of the Sun. Surely there's someone else here you could call a friend."

"No one I've gotten more than passably friendly with," Yula shrugged. "I'm a rural girl; I grew up never seeing more than a hundred people at a time, and that only during planting and harvest. Unless I'm out playing the minstrel in a tavern or on a street corner, or hiding in that bakery I'm working at, this big place is too busy for me. I might get used to it in time, but I haven't, yet."

The Rattai was silent a moment, but from the way his whiskers twitched, Yula knew he was thinking. "You know, there is something you can do about that."

"Oh?" she asked archly. "What, throw myself on the mercy of the crowds and hope it desensitized me, or something?"

"No," he grinned back at her. "You could get yourself a friend in the same way Karthekeyan did."

"You mean bond?" Yula blinked. "But there aren't any clutches at the Sanctuary, just now--"

"Aaaah, but think, my dear: what did I say brought me here to investigate?"

She remembered, then. "That secret thing, with all the rumors about it...." Tavarez smiled at her, and she frowned. "This isn't one of your 'instinct' things, is it?" she asked him suspiciously. She knew all about his so-called "bonding instinct", with which he supposedly could tell when someone would match well with a dragon clutch somewhere.

"It's a suggestion from a friend," he told her seriously, though his eyes were still bright with what could only be mischief and amusement.

"I'll think about it," Yula told him, making sure her tone told him she didn't want any more comments on the matter. However, as he chuckled and changed the subject just slightly, talking now about what all he'd found out so far about this clutch, she found her interest at least a little piqued. The clutch wasn't centered at the Sanctuary or its counterpart, the Citadel of Shadows, though both were definitedly involved somehow, and there was some kind of third party involved. The third party had been glimpsed-- a tall woman who seemed half dragon, with blue scales, blonde hair, and vestigial wings. Even one of the supposed hatchlings had been glimpsed, though only as a silhouette.

Interested persons were to submit to Chalice, the head of the Sanctuary of the Sun, something of theirs to confirm participation, whether it be a belonging or a biological piece of them, like a lock of hair or fur. Yula found herself wondering just what she might send, before scolding herself into thinking about something else.

It was very late when Tavarez finally left. After accepting and returning a fond hug, he had one last question, standing at the door and looking back at her, head tilted curiously. "Why don't you call Karthekeyan by his real name, now that you know it?"

Yula smiled a bit. "Maybe someday I will," she answered. "But I met him as Nightling, just a slightly strange migrant worker, not some important, prophesied being. So I'll keep calling him what he was to me, even if he does turn out to be important." She grinned. "It'll keep him honest, remembering his 'humble' beginnings."

Tavarez laughed, and took his leave, while Yula leaned back against the door, realizing that, somehow, she'd made the decision to at least try the Rattai's suggestion. She found herself thinking again about what she could give to the secret project to represent herself...

... and caught herself humming the last bar of her new song.

Yes. That would do nicely, wouldn't it?


Hatchling Story

Chapter Eight: Finale



Song borrowed from the OST for Hack//Sign, the song "The World"

Draclin'geyar are the Creative Property of Silver Midnight; Fleshshifters are the Creative Property of Drakiera