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Loq scowled and hefted his mace, Warmonger, glaring at the approaching human army.  Those monsters had a LOT to answer for.  It didn't help that their numbers were so FEW compared to the humans', but no one really seemed to care.  Even Talmar had an air of resolution about him.  The ENTIRE port-side village had been destroyed, with the dead of their race not even given a proper funeral pier.  NONE of the people on Talmar's ship were about to let even just THAT part of the deed go unpunished.

A lone human knight rode forward on his steed, "Surely you see you are outnumbered, BEASTS.  Surrender now, and your deaths will be swift and painle—!"  He was cut off by an arrow piercing his HEAD.  Loq glanced in the direction of the arrow and a grin spread across his face.  Horsemen!  The Royal Knights!

…fourteen mounts.  Fifteen men.  Something must have happened to one of the steeds.  Still, it was an absolute BLESSING to see them.  Eight of the steeds were in the air, easily out of range of the humans, and the other six were galloping toward them at full speed, rushing past the rag-tag sailors in a flash of hooves.  The sight bolstered the sailors, and all of them ran forward, screaming out the fiercest battle cry any could muster.  Perhaps it was born of anger, perhaps the rush of battle was simply driving them all MAD!  Whatever the reason, the same burn boiled Loq's blood, and he rushed right alongside his crew.  He chanced a glance toward Talmar and grinned when he saw his friend caught up in the feeling.  That village must have hit him DEEP…"Captain."

"Loq?"

"We make this fight COUNT, Aye?"

"Aye.  Loq, grant me a boon.  If 'tis possible, keep one of the humans alive.  I've question that need be answered by the scoundrels."

"AYE AYE, Captain!"  He laughed and swung his arm in a downward arc, CRASHING the spiked ball  into the skull of a human.

Talmar lunged forward, plunging his blade through the human's chest to make SURE he was dead.  The two nodded to each other and split apart.

One of the Royal Knights, a razor mounted on a white risso's dragon, pulled to a stop beside Talmar and grabbed his hand, "We will win this battle, Sir Talmar.  Stay atop mine steed, out of danger's cruel path.  We would want our people's savior to yet live, would we not?"  He smiled as Talmar hoisted himself on top of the steed.

Loq gave a loud shout that almost sounded like a roar, and four humans were THOWN out of the way from him.  He was bloody, covered in cuts, and grinning like a madman.

…it was…odd.  At his shout, Talmar noticed movement in the distance.  He cried out as he was thrown from his perch on the steed and CRINGED as a human lifted a blade to END him.  The human was pulled off his feet by a large, growling mouth.  A purple dragon…and ANIMAL, had rushed in and thrown the man ten yards away.  The odd thing about the animal was that it wore some semblance of clothing, and even had a blade strapped to its back.  The animal stood protectively over Talmar until he got his bearings enough to stand up.

Three more animals rushed up to him, similarly clothed and armed.  A second purple dragon in full armor and a battleaxe was one, and another, this one ALSO dressed in full armor…THICKER armor…and carrying a massive club stopped near him.  The last of the three was a red dragon with something of a pike strapped to its back, and a hunting knife as well.  The armor for THIS one was…different.  It was a black substance that had the appearance of a fabric of some sort…but it was completely alien to him.  He glanced at Loq as the four creatures surrounded him.  Loq…was…changing?!  WHAT?  He was becoming the animal version of himself?!  HOW?!  Warmonger was strapped to his side and stayed there as his form shifted.

Loq bounded toward Talmar and grinned, "Ready?"  His voice sounded rougher, deeper…not more feral, per se, but…more fitting to the new size.  He looked to each animal around Talmar, "Protect Talmar.  'Tis vital that he brings news of our homeland to his Queen."

Talmar blinked, "Wait.  Your…WAIT.  Loq, please…what witchery is this that thou appear before me as an ANIMAL?!"

"My form 'tis craft of the land that thou seek.  The island is filled with our kind."

"…such a QUANDRY.  Loq, thou originated FROM the blessed isle we discovered?"

He grinned, "How else would thou have come across such a miraculous find, Captain?  Recall the voyage.  The island was found after I was thrown to the waters.  Such is not mere coincidence, Captain.  I had allies hide on board the ship as we departed the isle.  Allies which now surround thee.  Friends!  To battle!"  He ducked down and hoisted Talmar onto his back as the animalistic dragons jumped into the battle.  The way they fought was INCREDIBLE.

It took Talmar a long moment to get OVER the sight of how these people fought.  They took out double what every other dragon in the land had.  When he came back to himself, he swung his sword down over a human's head, cutting the man down.  He lifted his shield as a volley of arrows came toward them, then panicked and changed the shield to cover Loq's head instead of his own, using Loq as his cover.  The two friends fought hard together, and after a moment, that razor that had tried to help him earlier found them and stayed beside them, keeping them protected as well.

!!!  "LOQ!"  Loq fell from a blow, taking Talmar with him and pinning him under the large mass of flesh.  He pulled out after a bit of struggling, suddenly grateful for the Razor's aid.  He got free and went to Loq's head, "What a fool, Loq.  A blow like that would not have slain thee.  Come.  Rise again and show these humans what vengeance you possess.  They stole away your mount from long ago.  They must yet PAY for that."

Loq grinned, "Talmar…should thou see that mount, save him for me.  He is mine son…"

"W…A Pegasus?"

"Aye.  Not MINE son, but he had no family.  Nor did I.  I took him in.  He s mine son in all but blood."

"…Loq, come with me."

"…I know mine death when it is upon me.  Dost though recall the path to the isle?"

"…y…yes, Loq."

"Then mine time is well spent.  I do not fear death's chill.  Thank you, Talmar…may thou save thy family as I have failed to save mine."  His eyes closed as he lost what strength he had, and he breathed his last.

A victory cheer suddenly went up throughout the dragons.  The humans were retreating!  Some of the men on winged steeds chased after the humans, picking off a few more to make SURE they fled.  Talmar didn't care.  He sat beside his friend's dead body, overcome.  This…this wasn't fair.

…he had to find his family.  If they…if…he couldn't lose THEM, too.  The razor came up to him, without his steed, "Lord Talmar…"

"…Find a port."  Talmar shuddered, "Find a port and ready as many ships as can dock there.  Protect the port with every knight in the land.  We MUST see our people to safety."

The razor helped him to stand, "I will.  Head to the palace and inform her Majesty of the island."

Talmar paused, "…sir knight?  I know not thy name.  Tell me so that I might send up prayers to God for thy safe travel."

He smiled, "I am Sir Keyson.  And I give thee mine gratitude for such an honor.  Mine prayers for thine own safe journey go with thee."  He took to the sky and flew off, following the coast in hopes of coming to another city as soon as possible.

The other four animals came up to Talmar and Loq, eying Loq sadly as they approached.  He watched in rapt wonder as they changed before his eyes, turning into normal dragons dressed for war.  The red dragon—a FEMALE—one of TWO—approached him, "Lord Talmar.  Sir Loq has informed us of thy dire state of being.  We pledge our service to thee in hopes of aiding the dragons of this land safe passage to freedom.  I am Madam Sage."  She motioned behind her to introduce the other three, "Mine companions are Thyme, Basil, and Curry."

Talmar blinked.  Seasonings?  Why…

Thyme, the other female, stepped forward to explain, "We are so named to keep our true names hidden.  When we return home, we will be outcasts among our peoples.  So it was that we sought acceptance among those we would seek to aid."

…okay…hm.  He nodded, "I thank thee for the aid thou didst give in prior battle."

Basil, the other purple dragon, smiled, "We would be thy guardians for the time, Lord Talmar."

"Why?"

"To see thee safe and able to take thy people to the isle."  Curry said, nodding once.



"Tongo…Tongo, come here!"

Babe blinked, looking up.  Tongo?  They didn't actually mean…no…WAY.  That was TONGO!  Talmar's PET!  He looked to see who was calling the animal with wide eyes.  Talmar's DAUGHTER.  And his wife?!  They were—but…how in the…"  He paused and frowned a little.  MAERITH.  It had to be her.  THANKFULLY, he could walk with his armor OFF now, so he just smiled and went up to the pet, reaching out a hand to scratch the dragon's head, "Hey there, Tongo.  I never thought I'd get to meet YOU."  He cried out when Tongo jumped him, sending him to the ground.  He laughed a little as Tongo licked his face up and down, then shoved him off, "…you and James would get along REALLY well."  He went back to scratching the dragon's head and smiled at the girl who came up to grab her pet, "This energetic thing belong to you?"

She giggled, "'Tis mine father's.  I apologize for his playfulness."

"Oh, PLEASE don't.  I like him."

"Catherine?  Catherine, take Tongo back to the house.  And please finish what chores have been NEGLECTED, child!"  She laughed again and raced back, Tongo following with a wagging tongue.  Talmar's wife approached Babe, "I apologize as well, kind sir.  She is but a child, and does not yet understand how to respect a knight of her Majesty's."

A knight of…heh.  Sure.  He smiled, "No problem.  She's adorable.  Whatever guy finds her is going to be a lucky man."

She blushed slightly, "A knight, I pray."

"Ma'am, I can almost guarantee she'll end up with a good man."

Her blush deepened a little and she laughed, "Sir Babe, was it?  Would you sup with us this night?  Unless her Majesty or her advisor wishes otherwise, of course."

Babe thought it over for a moment, then nodded.  He'd LOVE to have food.  That meal with Gregor had been absolute BLISS…and he'd discovered a nice thing about his armor.  He'd put it on to spar with someone, and had found that the food he'd eaten had been changed to energy for the suit.

…no more just eating SUGAR.  Heh.  He sighed, "Ma'am, how long has Talmar been away from home?"

"…a frighteningly long time, good sir."  She sighed as they walked on, her gathering things in the market, "Well beyond a year, at least.  Catherine misses her father most terribly."

…why was she BLUSHING so much?  He shook his head.  Whatever.  She sighed and gave Babe a look, "…Sir Babe…mine daughter is due to leave for the night, with a friend of hers.  I would hope…"

Oh.  OH.  He frowned, "You would do that to Talmar?!"

"I long for mine husband, but fear his death.  You and he share so many similarities…I would…just…just once.  If he yet lives, he need not know.  I fear this dangerous lust will yet consume me into a far worse act if I do not sate it.  Would you?"

Babe thought long and HARD.  He glanced back at Maerith, who was busy talking with the Queen.  Hmph.  She liked playing crazy games, hm?  Well, maybe he could throw her for a spin, and THIS time, he didn't care if he screwed up the timeline.  THIS was something he'd been MISSING…and Talmar's WIFE was OFFERING it.  The temptation was just too great.  He nodded again, but gave her a warning, "This can't mean anything, Ma'am.  Tonight is IT, then we go about as if we've only just met.  I can't do this to you again.  I don't like you being unfaithful to your husband."

"…I need only the night."



… … …Babe grinned at Maerith the next morning, and at the absolute raging SCOWL she had on her face, "How…COULD…YOU?!  YOU KNEW THE COMPLICATIONS!  YOU KNEW NOT TO MESS WITH THE TIMELINE!  I WAS ONLY JUST ABLE TO KEEP THINGS IN CHECK!  Had you done any MORE, I wouldn't have been able to keep her from getting PREGNANT, CLEAVE!  You distasteful, conniving IDIOT!  I should NEVER ha—I…"  She gave him a grin all of the sudden, "I gave you this.  I gave you a gift and you misused it.  And you tried to tamper with the flow of time so GREATLY that even I object to the change.  I kept things from happening, but you, Babe Cleave, no longer have the gift I gave you."

Babe's smile vanished, "Wait.  What?  What're you—HEY!"  He cringed as his back suddenly began EXTREMELY heavy.  He glanced back at his metallic wings, "What…What's haaAAAAAUUUGH!!"  He cried out as PAIN tore through his body.

She bent down to his now prone form, "You, Babe Cleave, no longer have your mortal body.  You are a machine again, and you will STAY one until your true death come upon you THOUSANDS of years into the future.  You will live to see all of your friends die.  You will see their families die.  You will watch, helpless, as the world falls to ruin when humans and dragons make contact once more.  You will, near the end of your days, feel a loneliness that can only be matched to those who live in the deepest pits of Hades.  I will see you SUFFER for this outrage, Babe Cleave."

… … …

… …he groaned as the pain finally died down, and looked himself over.  His armor.  He was stuck in the suit again…

…forever.
And the next chapter to THIS story is finally up! Sorry for the long wait, Poseidon. But I'm back and I DO believe I'm rolling. ^__^

Couple questions for you, though. Send me a note when you read this? Thanks. ^__^

All characters are copyrighted to :iconposeidonsimons:

The story is copyrighted to me. ^__^ Thanks for reading! ^__^
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:iconposeidonsimons:
poseidonsimons Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
hey cool. A gift before sleep heeh thanks
poor babe he just wanted to.. well.. its been so long... :(
I wonder how much he screwed things up
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:icongrathiam:
Grathiam Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
He ALMOST did. Maerith was able to keep things in check, but much more and things would have been BAD. (Why do you think he wanted to see Sarah in the earlier chapter? He'd rather her than anyone else, but...like you said, it's been so LONG.) I needed a good excuse to get Maerith mad enough to revoke his body privileges, and this worked the best. ^__^
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:iconposeidonsimons:
poseidonsimons Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
yeah I understand
poor guy, Ill give him some sugar and a big pat on the head
oh (early?) congrats btw. I read maria's journal
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:icongrathiam:
Grathiam Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
^__^ I know! I'm so excited! ^__^
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