Tal’on lay on his belly with Delevy curled up against his chest in the crook of his front leg. She had finally fallen asleep.
After he surrendered in the stadium, the Prime revealed many things from the safety of his perch in the box overhead. He explained that the collars they both wore had tracking devices built into them and if they were to try and remove them, they also had an explosive device in them that would be activated and no doubt decapitate them.
Tal’on did some snarling and growling at this point, but the Prime calmed him by threatening to activate the explosive device in Delevy’s collar if he did not behave. The guards escorted them back down here to his cell. The good thing was he now knew where he was and the way out should he chose to leave. He had no doubt he could knock down the cell door and escape. The question was could he do it with Delevy and not get him or her killed in the process. And, how far did they have to be from the Prime and his detonation device before they were safe? Or was there a safe distance?
Tal’on rolled the Sollen in his free paw, the one not holding Delevy. He might be able to ‘jump’ out, but he was not sure if he could take Delevy with him. Could someone other than his kind accomplish a jump safely, or would she be ripped from him as he had been from Graf’tal? Could he risk it? He didn’t think so.
Delevy frowned and mumbled in her sleep. He gave her a comforting squeeze and puffed his breath into her hair. With a smile, she curled toward his chest and settled down again. The breath of Tillzar seemed to have the same comforting effect on Delevy as it did on the hatchlings at home. Tal’on had thought it demeaning to have hatchling duty, but now he was pleased he had and knew how to sooth his friend.
His friend was now his cellmate and the turn of events which brought her to this point was difficult for her to understand. Her people had turned against her, used her, and then discarded her.
He huffed over her again. She reached up and absently stroked his breastplate.
He nuzzled her hair and chuffed softly. Tal’on’s eyes closed. In his mind he drifted, sailing quietly through the clouds with Delevy on his back. She lay flat over the arch of his neck and laughed as she hugged him tightly in her excitement.
The sound of the head jailer brought Tal’on up out of his revelry. The man had stopped outside the cell door and stood studying them as he absently jiggled his keys on their chain at his belt.
“I’d let you out,” he whispered, “but it wouldn’t do you any good. The Prime would kill you both rather than have you fall into the Sandcor’s hands.” He nodded toward Delevy still sleeping in his paws. “It ain’t right, what he did. She did all he asked of her and he still turned on her.” He shook his head in disgust. “She deserves better.” The man frowned. “I’ll bring you both some dinner soon.”
He turned and left. No need to stay. He couldn’t understand Tal’on anyway. Only Delevy could hear him and make since of what he said.
Tal’on looked down at the woman in his arms. He had to admit it. He loved Delevy. He could not risk losing her.
He stoked his fire glands and breathed a jet of fire onto the Sollen in his paw. It sang. It sang softly, but louder than it had yesterday. He would continue to try. He had to make contact. He needed help before the Valdare Prime could push him into battle with the Sandcor.
“Tal’on was impressionable,” Rudd’ard explained to us. “He was young and very homesick.”
“When Valdare Prime threatened Delevy, Tal’on went to war for them,” Mul’drak added. “He became a death that descended on the Sandcor and could not be stopped.”
Rudd’ard leaned over and refilled our bowls. “His scales protected him from most of the Sandcor’s weapons, but to be sure, the Prime had a suit of armor built for him. The Valdare were experimenting with metals for their space craft. They made Tal’on’s armor from that material. It was light weight and did not impede his flight. He was almost indestructible.
“The Valdare began to make headway against the Sandcor for the first time in the history of many generations. Sandcor people and lands fell before Tal’on and the Valdare troops who followed him into battle.” Rudd’ard shook his wedged head. “He was death on wings, which the Sandcor learned to run from rather than fight.”
“So he did learn to fly?” I asked.
“Flying is like breathing to our kind. He merely needed to have the opportunity and it became so.” Mul’drak said. “In fact, he became an exceptional flier, learning to dodge the weapons of the enemy.”
“And he never tried to ‘jump’ home?” Arr asked.
“He would not leave Delevy,” Rudd’ard sighed. “The bonding they experienced during his stasis was too strong and his love for her too deep.”
“But he kept working on the Sollen,” Jake said.
“Indeed,” Rudd’ard and Mul’drak confirmed almost in unison.
Rudd’ard patted the older dragon’s head and Mul’drak licked his hand affectionately.
“Delevy talked their jailer into bringing her a needle and thread. She tore off a bit of her garment and fashioned a pocket on the underside of Tal’on’s armor for the Sollen to be kept safe next to his heart,” Rudd’ard explained. “Even when he was away on long campaigns he had it with him and he was able to work the stone each night, and each night it grew stronger.
“Until finally one day, in the midst of a battle between Valdare and Sandcor, Graf’tal and five other dragons answered the Sollen’s call.”