Heart of Ice, Soul of Fire 3:
The First Move

by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Caurver took a deep breath and settled himself, doing one last check that everything was in place, including his contingency escape spells and that he had groomed to perfection before following the information he'd gotten from the unusual magic fields that led him to the NightBlade Lion's hotel room. He pressed down a last bout of nerves before knocking politely on the door.

The solidly buff Lion who answered the door was wearing running shorts and a tight black sleeveless t-shirt. Though only about 5' 6", he didn't seem the least bit taken back by the large dragon-kin standing in the doorway. "Yes, can I help you?" He asked curiously, looking up to meet the Durikan's multi-colored gaze.

"Umm, I ... are you busy?" He stammered, all his well thought out first sentences evaporating in the face of this male that affected him so unusually.

"Not really." The Lion smiled, his curiosity intrigued by the unusual dragon-kin, and more so by the uncertainty he saw, somewhat out of place for such a large male. "You were with the Polar Bear and the Griffin this afternoon weren't you?" He asked, as he placed the reason he thought the dragon-kin was familiar.

"Yes, and you were in uniform." He let out part of a breath. "My name is Caurver."

"I'm Cazimir, but most just call me Cazi. Please come in." He said by way of invitation as he stepped out of the way and opened the door wider.

"Thank you," Caurver smile and fluffed his feather crest a bit before stepping inside. "You have a most unusual magical aura."

"Very perceptive of you." Cazi smiled as he closed the door behind Caurver. The room was fairly large with a large bed, a couple of chairs and an entertainment system occupying one wall. "You must have some magical training yourself." He said casually, as he sat on the bed and gestured to Caurver to sit anywhere.

"I am a senior apprentice at Berentia." He nodded and settled in a padded chair large enough for him. "It is my life's goal."

"Then I was right, you are a newcomer to the Empire." He smiled. "The Griffin usually works with newcomers. You certainly have a number of options as far as training goes, even without leaving the Belt."

"I figured the feathers gave me away." Caurver ducked his head slightly as his crest flared up. "And so I've been told. I haven't gotten to check them out yet. It's quite amazing here."

"Given the number of races I've seen, I couldn't rule out that you were simply from a part of the Empire I haven't been to yet." Cazi smiled. "And yes, it can be quite amazing. Especially to an outsider. So how long have you been here?" He asked curiously.

"Almost a full day and night now." His eyes flushed pinkish before returning to a sapphire blue streaked with small gold highlights.

"Ah, so you haven't seen all that much yet." Cazi nodded and then considered the Durikan curiously. "The color changes in your eyes, is that normal for your kind?"

"Yes," he nodded, flashing pink again as his feathers fluffed, sparkling in the room's light. "They usually display what we're feeling."

"That's a fascinating development in communication." Cazi said thoughtfully. "Are the colors the same for everyone, or are they personalized?"

"They are fairly standard." Caurver nodded and settled into a more solid azure blue. "Some variation, but it's a good baseline. Once you know someone, you can start to see a lot of the subtle shifts in shade and hue that most miss."

"Like scents then." Cazi nodded. "Each species has a fairly standard set, but each individual has subtle differences. What area of magic are you studying?" He asked curiously, as he worked on remembering his lessons on reading magic auras, as opposed to the Dracon auras that he could read instinctively.

"Yes, and developed to help communicate with races that tended to use them, or normal sight." Caurver nodded. "My specialty is what we call Transmutation. It's altering mater to energy and energy to matter. Effects like creating my clothing from air and some power."

"Can you do matter to matter as well?" Cazi asked curiously. "Transmutation of one substance to another?"

"I can do it all, but matter to matter is easier for me to do with a shift to energy in the middle. Alteration ... matter directly to different matter ... I'm acceptable at, but not nearly so good."

"Ah, that's more a line I'm good at." Cazi smiled. "But then I started my magical training as an alchemist so that's not surprising." He chuckled. A glass sitting on the dresser suddenly disappeared from the dresser to appear in his hand, and then shifted from being glass to being smooth silver.

"Power, then Alternation, in my training." He nodded with a curious eye for the effects that were done quite differently than back home. "A very unusual way to use the Power field, I must say."

"Which one, the translocation effect or the transmutation effect?" Cazi asked curiously, having always been intrigued by the different ways other cultures viewed magic.

"Translocation," Caurver nodded, his eyes swirling silver and deep blue. "It's much more common to convert something to energy, move the energy and reform it than to warp the laws of reality to move it as it was."

"Ah, here it's the reverse." Cazi smiled. "We tend to create warps in reality, before we change the nature of the object. Master Belkin, who taught me translocation, could warp entire groups of people between star systems reliably. I've never quite managed that level of power and finesse with translocation." He chuckled. "But then I'm much better at transmutation than he is." He said, as a serious of bright, multicolored but harmless explosions lit the room and sparkled off Caurver's shimmering feathers and faceted eyes. "Okay, I'm not the worlds most serious Mage." He admitted easily.

"Perhaps," Caurver regarded him curiously. "Or you have not found your field yet in traditional magic. You have a tremendous amount of potential."

"Since I'm not a mage by current profession, that's not surprising." Cazi smiled. "I'm actually more of a spy." He grinned. "But the Griffin probably told you that."

"Sort of," he nodded slightly. "Most of what he said didn't translate very well. I don't think we have your profession on Patith."

"It is a fairly technological field." Cazi nodded. "But it's just one of the things I do. Magic, technology, psionics, I do a bit of all of it." He grinned. "And that's when I'm not turning into something else."

"Which explains that jumbled chaos of your aura." He chuckled with a bit of a grin. "I've never seen anything so complex before."

"As my teammates would put it, complex is something of an understatement." He chuckled. "And part of that is intentional. I learned how to play around with my aura some years ago, so I jumble it a bit to keep people guessing about what I'm really capable of."

"You did quite a job on it." Caurver nodded in appreciation. "It sounds like it was quite complex to start with though. At least as complex as you are."

"Oh it was, but I played around with the colors and strength levels a bit." Cazi nodded. "Yours isn't that complicated, but it's quite strong with a lot of potential." He commented as he finally got a good reading on the Durikan's aura.

"So I've been told." He nodded quietly as his eyes tinted pinkish and he ducked his head slightly.

"With the right instructor I'm sure you'll go far." Cazi said confidently, as he got up and walked over to put one hand on the Durikan's shoulder. "That strength and potential is something to be proud of, Caurver." He said with quiet encouragement. "Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise."

"It's ... hard to remember not everyone will judge by my wings first." He murmured, feeling the need to explain that it wasn't his Gift he doubted and knowing he was doing a terrible job of it. "On Patith ... we're feared or hated. Downplaying the magic is just a survival tactic."

"Survival tactics aren't easy to unlearn." Cazi said understandingly. "I spent most of my life overcompensating for what I wasn't. I found it hard to believe that I'd proven myself, even when I had."

Caurver nodded at that, and smiled a bit at the Lion he was almost eye to eye with now with him sitting and Cazi standing. "It's ... almost too bizarre to think that people respect me here for these wings." He slid a hand down the leading edge of one. "It's just so very strange."

"Don't let it go to your head." Cazi said gently. "Too many of them do. But as a newcomer, the wings will make it easier for you to fit in." He said softly. "Every place has different things that get respect for no real reason. Real respect is earned, not given."

"I saw it." He grumbled. "I don't like it. I guess I just don't see the point of enjoying being left alone." He sighed softly and shook his head. "I miss my friends already. Back at the wyver, no one cared what you looked like. We were all there for the same thing, and we all knew the only way to get there was to support each other."

"There are places like that here." Cazi said reassuringly. "Just give it time. You'll find that people are really more interested in what you can do, than what you look like. And the ones who aren't, aren't really worth worrying about."

"You found that in the NightBlades." He said softly, sure of the guess.

"You are perceptive." Cazi smiled. "Yes, I have. The line of work the NightBlades are in creates very close bonds. We get into a lot of situations were the only thing we have to count on is each other."

"I can imagine." Caurver smiled slightly. "It sounds like it is a very dangerous occupation." He suddenly chuckled softly. "Probably close to teaching senior magic students."

"Some days, yes it is." He chuckled. "Teaching is more fun though."

"Probably more surprises," Caurver cracked a grin. "If they're anything like back home. Never trust a senior apprentice. They will manage the unexpected."

"That's what my teachers always said." Cazi grinned. "My first attempt at transmutation involving organic material was most impressive. I was supposed to be changing the wood staff to metal, and I think my focus was off cause I made the staff sprout leaves and flowers like it was blooming in spring time."

Caurver couldn't help the amused laugh as his eyes glittered to a silver bluish-purple. "Oh, my. That was a good one. I blew a hole in the wyver wall big enough to fly threw." He shook his head and chuckled. "My mistakes still tend to end in explosions."

"I've caused a few explosions in my time." Cazi chuckled. "Notably the time I co-located two coffee mugs. It was a very pointed lesson in the fact that two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time."

"Oh, my." Caurver laughed in true amusement and relaxed. "Mine tend not to be so intentional. Master Sun-Drenched said that everyone with a Gift has a reflexive recovery. Something they instinctively do with the power when their mind realizes something has gone critically wrong. Mine seems to be convert it all to energy and let it loose." He shook his head. "Not a well approved reaction, believe me." He chuckled softly.

"I'm sure it isn't." Cazi laughed easily. "Though the coffee cup incident was an accident ... I translocated a cup into a cabinet without knowing where the other objects inside were." He shook his head. "My reflexive recovery, if you will, seems to be spontaneous transmutation, something nearby becomes something else. Exactly what is highly dependent on my state of mind at the time, however mass is conserved so it can be ... interesting, if the two objects are of greatly different mass."

"I can imagine." Caurver's eyes swirled silver and azure blue to match his grin. "The subconscious mind can do some fascinating leaps of logic in such situations."

"The Felsinor College of Magic is probably still trying to give away the half-ton of neon orange harmonicas I created during my second year." He chuckled.

"I expect so," Caurver shook his head, not sure what any of the descriptive words meant, but easily catching the intent of the statement. "You were already working with magic in your second year?"

"My first year actually." Cazi smiled. "I had picked up a few tricks on my own before enrolling, I have something of a natural talent for fire magic." He said easily, as there was a surge of magic in his one had as a brightly colored object appeared. "Neon orange harmonica." He explained. "It's a fairly simple musical instrument."

Caurver cocked his head and wound a tendril of magic around it, then chuckled softly. "Not simple where I come from. I'm going to guess that you already knew how to read and write before you entered the collage?"

"All kits are taught that in primary school, along mathematics and basic sciences." Cazi nodded. "By the time I entered college, I'd had ten years of schooling in a variety of more mundane subjects."

"Oh," he blinked, doing some quick math and running over what he knew. "That is a lot of schooling." He murmured with aqua and silver eyes.

"Modern education." Cazi chuckled. "Most kits are in school of one sort or another until they're twenty-two, give or take a few years. Those who study magic or medicine are often in school even longer."

"There must be a great deal to learn," he nodded slowly. "How do you deal with the ones that simply aren't capable of it?"

"Who aren't capable of what?" Cazi asked curiously. "Most can manage what's taught in the first ten years. After that, they get separated out by aptitudes and interests."

"They can?" Caurver's feather crest flared as his eyes went bright aqua in surprise. "Either you teach very different things, or have very different standards." He shook his head slightly. "I doubt one in a hundred on Patith could learn even the pre-magic basics."

"We've spent centuries developing teaching methods to teach the fundamentals. It's a necessity in a technological society. Reading, writing, basic math and sciences are all necessary just to function in society." Cazi explained without any hint of criticism. "Plus things like history, literature and basic economics."

Caurver let out a breath and shook his head. "I think I'll be picking up a few remedial classes." He chuckled softly. "Just when I thought I had it all down."

"Well, if somebody shows you how to use the computers you can do a lot of remedial studying in private. Or if you prefer a flesh and blood instructor, I believe Belt University offers a six week intensive course in all the basics you need to function in Imperial Society." Cazi explained easily. "Honestly though, if you can handle learning magic then picking up what you need won't be any problem."

"I've done some," he nodded. "And it's not hard, just a lot to remember." He chuckled softly. "Nothing like my first year at Berentia though. Talk about your crash courses in information. Three languages, writing, reading, math, fundamentals of reality and magic and a new society to fit into in one breath." He grinned wider. "It was a blast."

"Sounds like my first year of Magic studies." Cazi smiled. "Except for the new society part. Of course, I had a fair number of bad habits to unlearn as far as magic was concerned."

"I bet. I've never met a self taught magic-user before." He regarded the Lion curiously. "Why did you want to learn it formally, since you'd already figured things out?"

"'Cause there was a lot I didn't know." Cazi grinned. "I could do a bit with fire, but I was having difficulty expanding to magic in general. And I was enjoying studying."

"Always a good reason," his grin broadened. "The Masters at Berentia liked to describe a senior apprentice as one who knew enough to learn on their own but not enough to realize when they shouldn't yet." He chuckled softly. "If I didn't know others, I'd swear they were trying to make a point to me."

"If I didn't know better, I'd think we had the same teachers." Cazi chuckled.

"It's good to have universal standards." He smirked with a snicker and bright silver blue-purple eyes. "One of the great quests of apprentices was to demonstrate something the teachers hadn't seen yet. Usually it was things the teachers didn't want to know about."

"Most definitely." Cazi chuckled. "Anything the teachers wanted to know about, they'd probably already seen. But apprentices always found something new, especially the senior apprentices."

"Who knew just enough to be dangerous and not enough not to go there." Caurver shook his head and grinned. "Oh, they are just going to love having me around. Not just a senior apprentice, but one from an entirely different way of magic."

"Oh, the College will be positively ecstatic." Cazi grinned. "Especially Doctor Marcuson in XenoMagicology."

"Which translates out to?" Caurver regarded him with a blank expression and gray-blue eyes.

"He specializes in the study of how other cultures study and think about magic." Cazi explained.

"He gets to study me, while I study local ideas." He nodded with a soft chuckle. "It will be an interesting trade of ideas at least."

"That's usually what he does." Cazi smiled. "He's also doesn't care what species someone is. The only things he respects are intelligence, ability and the ambition to do something with them."

"That I've never lacked." Caurver smiled back a little shyly, his eyes tinting pink. "Too much for my own good outside the wyver, usually. I ... was curious about you, though." He managed to get out as his eyes shifted further into the pinks. "I never could resist a puzzle." He grinned self-consciously.

"The curiosity was mutual." Cazi smiled encouragingly. "But figuring you were new I didn't want to intimidate by approaching you. Sometimes the stories about the NightBlades scare new arrivals."

"Those who have a fear of black ops already no doubt would," he nodded, both encouraged and abruptly very shy. "I learned to trust my instincts, and that you weren't hate-filled."

"None of the NightBlades are really." He smiled. "What most people don't realize is that off-duty, the NightBlade core group is like a bunch of perpetual teenagers. My instincts said you weren't like a lot of the dragon-kin who come here and let the sudden status go to their heads, that's quite refreshing."

"It seems like a lot of them are used to it, even before they come." Caurver shook his head and regarded one clawed hand. "And I can kind of understand where it comes from with none flyers and those intimidated by size. It just seems so ... unnatural ... to judge on form and not ability. Not very healthy either." He shook his crest out again. "But that's a magic rich world speaking as well. Master Doenee is a Mouse, he can stand in my palm, but he can at least match anyone in the wyver and most outside of it."

"There are only two races of Mice in the Empire that I'm aware of." Cazi chuckled. "And neither could stand in your hand. But your point is well-made, magic does balance things. Though the respect Dragon-kin get is because the Dracons rule the Empire, not because of size or flying ability. Even the Verdan Drakes get respect and they're smaller than me." He smiled. "Especially in their biped form."

"Much like the Unicorns on Patith." He nodded and relaxed back a bit. "They rule all but a handful of empires. It gives the race a great deal of power, even those that are not direct nobility get some respect just by the fact that few can be sure they aren't."

"Exactly, you can't be sure exactly where in the Imperial hierarchy a particular Dracon is, so it pays to be respectful." Cazi smiled. "And given the number of dragon-kin who've turned out to be distant racial cousins, it also pays to treat unknown dragon-kin likewise. But in many fields that becomes overshadowed by ability or accomplishment, once you become known as an individual."

"That's good to know." Caurver chuckled a bit ruefully. "Even if my field is 'student' at the moment. The job I was being groomed for don't really exist here, though I can't say I'm sorry for that."

"Students can still accomplish things." Cazi chuckled. "And do in many fields. What job were you being groomed for, if you don't mind my asking?" The Lion asked curiously.

"I was to be the next leader of Berentia wyver." He sort of grumbled. "I can't deny their assessment that'd I'd be good at it, but it is so not my interest."

"And now you're free to pursue other interests. Assuming you don't find a way home and take it." Cazi said simply. "Those who are happy being scholars and students, rarely have much interest in leading. I know it doesn't interest me, for all it's expected of me."

"Why accept a command position if you won't want it? You must have had plenty of options."

Cazi chuckled softly. "This is a position I inherited, and for all I don't want to run things, it is useful to have the resources at times. And I'm having to run it less these days, as I feel confident about my second in command."

"Oh, one of those." Caurver nodded. "I never did quite understand that system. It rarely seemed to get the best qualified leaders."

"Well, it is a family business." Cazi chuckled. "Really has nothing to do with the NightBlades, except that I use the business resources to support operations occasionally."

"So why did you accept command with the NightBlades?" He asked with shimmering blue eyes.

Cazi chuckled. "I'm really more of a highly placed consultant, despite appearances. Somewhere along the line the rumor got started that I was second in command, when actually Arsham is. I just happen to be the Commander's boyfriend."

Caurver blinked, his eyes flashing a bright aqua-gray for a moment before settling into a pinkish silver-blue. "Boyfriend?" He stammered, shocked, confused and trying to make sense of the easy manner Cazi had about it when he was a family head and ... injuries, Caurver's own, could be ....

"Is guys dating guys not done where you're from?" Cazi asked gently, trying to make sense of Caurver's confused reaction.

"Not if they can get a female." He said softly, more than a bit ashamed on many levels. "With you being a family head and all ... I just ... assumed. I know I shouldn't."

"Things are a little more complex here." Cazi said gently. "Not the least of which is that Felsin traditionally take at least two mates. Commonly one male and one female, but other arrangements are not uncommon or less valued." He explained casually. "And with modern technology, one can sire kits without a female being required. That being said, I do have a female mate, and a son." He grinned, as a picture appeared in one hand. It was an image of a fire red and black Tigress and a teenage male Tiger with a more reddish brown fur between the black stripes. "My mate Nareena, and my son, Nathan."

"Then you are a cat." He said softly, smiling slightly at the picture. "They are very attractively marked."

"Yes, they are." Cazi said proudly. "She's a great healer." He added proudly. "But the best word for me would be complex. But the Felsin side dominates my son's appearance, mostly because his mother is pureblood Felsin, from one of the older noble families."

The phrasing of it caught Caurver slightly off guard, and he was just about to pass it off until a few tidbits of information came back to him. "You are not all Felsin?" He asked cautiously, not wanting to insult but determined to get over what was not a problem here.

"No." Cazi smiled. "I'm half-Felsin, the other half is Dracon." He said softly. "Common rumor is that I'm a Dracon shapeshifter, but aside from Mages who've learned the art of metamorphosis, there is no such thing."

"But there is such a thing as a half Dracon shapeshifter." He said, quite sure he was seeing it right. "That's not magic for you."

"Yes, the inherent magic of Dracon nobility merged with the inherent shapeshift ability of my Felsin heritage. I ended up with a natural shapeshift that's as versatile as a master of metamorphosis's abilities."

"That must be an incredible Gift." Caurver smiled with silvery blue and gold eyes, not sure what to make of his reaction to knowing Cazi was not only a half-breed, but one that had offspring as well. It was almost too strange to contemplate. It was hard to find it sick, when the healthy result was right there in front of him.

"It's certainly fun at times." Cazi grinned. "Of course, it took me almost fifteen years to discover I had it, and the discovery was something of an accident." He chuckled.

"It usually is," Caurver couldn't help the grin now as his eyes shifted towards a purple-blue with silver and gold streaks spiraling in towards the center. "Unless someone tells you beforehand, and it's still something of a surprise when they finally emerge."

"Given that my sire had made a point of saying there was nothing really Dracon about me, I was rather startled when I turned into one." Cazi chuckled remembering the event.

"Oh, my. That must have been quite a moment." His eyes flashed aqua for a moment.

"Once I realized it." Cazi chuckled. "I was falling from several miles up when it happened. And Felsin are not know for their ability to fly unaided."

"Oh my," he couldn't help the gasp at the mixed reaction to memories of his own first flight and falling. "What a rush."

"Oh, it was." Cazi grinned broadly. "It was a sudden transition from 'I'm gonna go splat', to 'now how do I land me?'" He chuckled deeply. "I ended up going into a lake."

"Better than hard ground, as long as you're not going too fast." Caurver laughed from hard won knowledge that was amusing in retrospect. "Or at the wrong angle. That can be quite the impact."

"I'd managed to slow down, I just couldn't visualize how to stop when hard ground was involved." He chuckled. "As pilot friends of mine always said, flying is easy but landing is hard."

"Oh, landing is easy," Caurver teased with a grin. "Landing without crashing, now that can be quite a trick."

"And a very important trick too." Cazi smirked back. "Of course, being fifteen and suddenly being able to go where you want, when you want is a serious rush." He chuckled. "Most of my peers were working on getting their driver's licenses, and suddenly I had flight, or gliding at any rate."

"Yeah, it is something else," he smiled nostalgically. "Even when you know it's coming, to finally be able to fly is just intense. The adults just don't plan on doing anything useful with your for half a year after you figure it out. It's kind of a lost cause."

"Not that the adults expected much from me at that point." Cazi shook his head. "I was working on finishing my first college degree, but showed no real sign of actually wanting to do anything but study and play. Prodigies with no real ambition drive adults nuts, even if they are only fifteen."

"Ah, not a problem by family had," Caurver nodded and smiled shyly in remembrance. "I've wanted to know magic even before I knew how to talk."

"I wasn't sure what I wanted." Cazi said quietly. "But college was a haven, a substitute for a lack of family." He added softly, not sure why he admitted that, even as he did.

"Sounds like the wyver," Caurver gently hugged the short, muscular Lion with his feathered dragon-tail. "Related by passion and circumstance instead of blood."

"In a way, though that's a much better description of the NightBlades." He smiled at the touch. "College wasn't nearly as personal, but it served at the time."

"Yes, I imagine so." He glanced at his tail, it's very intimate gesture, the smile Cazi had and decided to leave it there with some hesitation. "But companionship is valuable, whether it's strong or not."

"Yes, it is." Cazi agreed. "Can make all the difference in a difficult situation." He smiled, wondering if the tail was simply friendly or something more. It was always hard to tell with new species.

"I ... would you ... like to fly with me? Maybe a little magic target practice?" Caurver got it out in a rush. Despite his reluctance to say anything about what this mated Lion was doing to his body, he did want to spend time with him. He liked the way it felt around Cazi, beyond the arousal that made his eyes embarrassingly gold.

"Sounds like a fun." Cazi smiled. "There's a new target range on Asteroid N-22. Easy translocation range for me, if you don't mind a little warp travel."

"Not at all." He smiled and stood, surprised by the sudden height difference.

"Okay." Cazi grinned and extended his arms. He focused his mind on the flow and ebb of space and time between the room and the target range on the asteroid. As the symbols for the transit became clear he incanted them slowly and precisely in the ancient Dargothic language. Each symbol appeared in glowing gold script along a circle four meters in diameter, when the ninth symbol was fixed a circle of white light appear in the center. "The warp is stable, just step through and you'll be on N-22." He said, as he drew his mind back to the here and now.

Caurver nodded, his attention focused on the fascinatingly alien way of working the magic fields for a moment before he stepped threw, a light Divination tendril moving with him as he studied the different way of moving.

There was a brief sensation of sliding, accompanied by streaming lights before his eyes, it seemed as though he was passing very quickly through a tunnel. He passed several apparent branches in the tunnel, and in the distance he could see bright lights that seemed like stars in the distance. And then with a rush of wind and the smell of grass he found himself standing in a field of sunlit grass with the circle of symbols and light behind him. A moment later, Cazi was standing next to him and then the circle of light disappeared.

"So what did you think?" The Lion asked curiously.

"Very different, but I can definitely see times when it would be an advantage over energy movement." He grinned at Cazi before looking around. "A very lice looking area."

"With practice and patience, I'm told it's possible to travel both in time and across dimensions." Cazi explained. "Both beyond my level of mastery currently, but across solar systems I can do." He grinned. "So what kind of targets would you like to play with, and what level of difficulty?"

"Dimensions are not particularly difficult, Planes are easy and space and time quite doable if you know what you're doing." Caurver chuckled a bit and regarded the area. "Usually I use my own magic to set it up."

"If you'd like to, go for it." Cazi smiled encouraging. "The difficulty is I have to 'see' the path between where I am and where I'm going, the further the distance the more complex the path."

"While the way I do it, direction can be corrected during transit, if you are paying attention and nothing goes drastically wrong. Drastically wrong would be the category of how I ended up linking into the transporter system here." He shook his head and cleared his mind, bringing up a relatively simple breath weapon scene with ground based but bow equipped opponents.

"I expect there are advantages and disadvantages to both." Cazi nodded. "If we're going to be flying, I'm going to put on a different form." He smiled, and his form fluidly morphed into that of a nine foot tall golden Dracon with copper edged wings and sparkling blue eyes that drew a sharp breath from Caurver as the Durikan's eyes flashed a metallic gold with streaks of silver.

"Yes," Caurver nodded and tried to focus on the scene before them. "It's a very basic air-to-ground scenario designed to test breath weapon accuracy and agility in the air. Getting hit stings, but it's not dangerous."

"Understood. Is there a particular style of breath weapon this exercise is designed to test?" He asked curiously, as he reviewed the magic principles for breath weapon simulation.

"Umm, mine's fire." He glanced out over the field of battle held in suspended animation for them to start. "I'm not sure I've heard of another kind."

"Traditionally, there are four common Dracon weapons; fire, lightning, cold and acid. Fire for the Fire Clans, Lightning for the Air Clans, Cold for the Water Clans, and Acid for the Earth Clans." Cazi explained.

"They should all work," he regarded the gold and copper Dracon next to him with golden eyed fascination. "What clan are you from?"

"Fire Clan, though I've learned the rotes for changing breath type." He smiled. "The flexibility is useful in the field."

"No doubt," he nodded and launched himself into the air, gaining altitude quickly with powerful beats of his large leather wings.

Cazi launched into the air using his powerful legs, and a bit of magic. He then used a bit of fire magic to give himself strong thermals to let him glide easily. It was a maneuver that didn't go unnoticed by his companion, who swung around with the grace of a natural flyer in his element.

"I didn't realize you weren't a flyer." Caurver said apologetically. "Your wings seemed sufficient to me."

"Dracons aren't natural flyers, wingspan to body mass ratio isn't really high enough. But I'm practicing my gliding rotes." He chuckled, and then became as graceful as any natural flyer, as he invoked gravity rotes for true flight. "True flight is much more fun." He grinned broadly.

"If much more energy intensive." Caurver grinned and twisted into a sharp angled dive that both made him a difficult target against the sun and gave him a good line for a flaming strafing run on their ground mound opponents.

Cazi matched his maneuver, and lined up a different set of opponents as he changed his breath to lightning bolt set to line discharge. Fire might be traditional, but lightning was more his element.

The rushing crackle and explosion of it ripping into the ground and targets was enough to startle Caurver nearly out of his recovery, but he grinned as he looked over and realized what was going on. His magical creation took advantage of it to land a heavy arrow squarely between his wings right on the spine. Even knowing exactly what happened, Caurver roared in pain and twisted, trying to get it out and not get hit again.

Cazi's response was reflexive and instant. He moved in close to Caurver, and erected a reverse gravity shell to reflect projectiles. He then focused a small translocation spell around the arrow to remove it without further tissue damage. "Are you alright, Caurver?" He asked as he maintained the defensive barrier around them.

"Yes," the sky blue Durikan muttered as he flexed his upper back and twisted to face his opponent with fiery red eyes. "Just my pride is damaged. The spell won't permit anything more than pain."

"Okay." Cazi nodded, quite relieved as he reminded himself that this was just a training exercise. "Missile screen lowering now." He said as he soared away from the Durikan to force the enemy deal with two targets separated by some distance. He was treated to the full fiery outrage of youth's damaged pride unleashed on the practice target. Caurver's breath weapon augmented to immolation levels by magic's hand.

Cazi smiled and upped the particle charge in his lightning before the crackling discharge turned several opponents to ash, with the exception any metal, which melted and became strongly magnetic. It was a trick he'd developed to deal with more technological opponents, but it had low-tech applications. As he watched, he noted the younger dragon-kin had no fear of the ground of low levels, kicking off the ground and twisting into earth-bound gymnastic maneuvers as much as he was sky-side using magic and fire to deal with his opponents.

Cazi was much more of a high altitude dodge and strafe style, much as if he were strafing the ground with an aerospace fighter. High speed turns and twists kept arrows out of his hide while his lightning crackled through the ranks of opponents. All in all it took them less than ten minutes to finish an exercise that was really designed as a warm-up for Caurver alone.

"Well, that was fun." Cazi grinned, as he hovered above the remains of his last target. "I haven't given the breath weapon a decent workout in years."

"I try to keep up on my skills, not that it looks like it." He let a flicker of flame from his mouth flare to match his pink and red eyes as he came up to hover next to the smaller Dracon.

"You did quite well, for someone who probably hasn't seen much actual combat." Cazi said, guessing that to be the case. "There are just things you don't learn in practice."

"No, no real combat, but I haven't gotten hit on level one in years." He snorted in irritation. "Might teach me to not get distracted yet."

"And when was the last time somebody threw lightning around during level one?" Cazi asked curiously. "I did kind of imply I was going to use fire. But lightning is really more my style."

"I've never run it with company before." Caurver shook his head. "So never would be the answer."

"See, that makes a difference." Cazi nodded. "You're used to solo battles, not team. Though that really wasn't a team battle, it was more like two solo runs on the same group of targets."

"True enough," he nodded, his eyes still slightly pink, then they flushed brightly for a moment. "And here I was trying to look good." He ducked his head a bit.

"And you did." Cazi said approvingly. "You handled yourself very well."

Even though it didn't look possible, Caurver's eyes went even brighter pink, now laced with gold. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Cazi smiled warmly. "I noticed you weren't really using any defensive magic. Is that a combat style choice, or because you haven't developed any defensive combat magic?" He asked curiously, without any hint of criticism.

"Never thought about it," Caurver blinked in surprise, his eyes shifting silvery-pink.

"Not really surprising, since you haven't seen real combat." Cazi said gently. "Defensive magic is quite useful, especially when you end up in combat in an environment that's less than ideal. One were you had to work in two dimensions instead of three, for example." He explained, with the same easy manner he used with new recruits.

Caurver nodded slowly, considering the idea and how to implement it. "You've seen a lot of it."

"I'm a NightBlade. Combat is part of the territory." He said easily. "That missile screen I was using isn't very complicated, assuming you have some understanding of gravity, and how it affects projectiles." He offered easily.

"Increase the gravity as a shield?" He blinked. "Now that's an interesting twist on manipulating it."

"Actually, it's a thin shell of reversed-gravity." Cazi explained. "Gravity is normal on either side of the shell, but an object trying to cross the shell experiences a sudden upward gravity field of about five times normal gravity."

"Significantly more complex, but quite viable." He considered it. "Why not send the missiles down?"

"Same idea, just a different direction of gravity. However, some modern technological projectiles explode on impact so sending them up and away is preferred over having them impact nearby. This is especially true in team exercises." Cazi explained casually. "With things like arrows, down is probably better simply because it's simpler and takes less energy."

"That makes sense." Caurver nodded and wove a light hover spell to take some strain off his wings and the soreness between them.

"If you'll allow me, I know a healing rote to relieve pain." Cazi offered quietly. "Something my mate taught me."

"Umm, sure." He blinked in surprise and reminded himself against that this wasn't the wyver and the rules didn't apply.

"Not allowed where you're from?" Cazi asked curiously as moved around behind Caurver to get a better look at the injury. After a few moments consideration, he invoked the pain relief rote and let the warm soothing magic ease the pain and speed healing the way Nareena had shown him. "Not as skilled as Nareena, but it's better than nothing." He smiled, as he moved back around in front of Caurver.

"It is allowed, it's just frowned on to heal pain-only injuries from practice." He flexed the muscles in question. "Something about learning from it better if it's annoying for a few hours. Thank you. That's a nice rote variant."

"Different training mentality." Cazi nodded. "We figure the pain of the experience itself is sufficient reinforcement. Once the exercise is over it's considered acceptable to relieve the pain, though there are always a few trainees who prefer to tough it out, show how much they can take." He chuckled. "As if we couldn't figure that out on our own."

"Berentia's tend to be show learners when it comes to when to get their noses out of something." Caurver chuckled softly. "It's the primary mark of our wyver. Curiosity in the extreme."

"Sounds like a good description of my son." Cazi chuckled fondly. "He's wanted to know the how and why of everything, since before he could talk."

"How did how ask then?"

"Telepathic images." Cazi chuckled. "And by taking things apart to see how they worked, if we weren't watching very closely."

"Oh my, what a youngster." Caurver laughed with real understanding amusement. "A truly brilliant one too, I'd say."

"Definitely." Cazi nodded. "He starts medical school next month, unless he goes with the Magic Academy on Felsinor instead."

"Can't decide which parent to follow?" He smiled softly. "What a gift to the universe he must be."

"And adults aren't helping any." Cazi chuckled. "His grandfather has been strongly pushing the medical school, mostly because he's the Head of Surgery at the Royal Hospital of Felsinor."

"Which could go for or against that choice." Caurver chuckled softly. "Sometimes you want to get away from such connections. It's easier to stand on your own when you don't have powerful family around."

"Which is why I'm keeping my mouth shut, and just supporting whatever decision he makes." Cazi smiled. "He's got the potential for either, and knowing his curiosity, he'll try to find a way to do both."

"Hopefully he'll have a friend that drags him out into the sunlight now and then." Caurver said softly. "It's so very easy for such to get lost in the knowledge."

"Sounds like something you know from personal experience." Cazi said softly, putting one hand on the Durikan's shoulder and found it wrapped in a gentle spiral of Durikan feather and scale tail. "Someone you're missing, right?" He said with gentle understanding.

"Yes," he admitted to himself as much as Cazi. "I've been at the wyver since I could glide, but I miss Selinia already."

"There's always someone." Cazi said gently. "And though it doesn't change the fact you miss them, the best thing to do is make new friends. " He suggested softly.

"I don't make friends," he shook his head, his crest flattening. "They just happen." He took a deep breath and tried to sake it off. "I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this isn't some kind of weird dream."

"That's normal for the first week or two, I'm told." Cazi said gently. "Sometimes the best way to make friends is just by being yourself." He said encouragingly. "It seems to be working for you, if I read the Griffin and the Polar Bear right." He smiled. "Among others." The golden Dracon added with a slightly shy smile.

"Thanks," he smiled just a shyly, his eyes light pink and gold. "So ... is Nareena a NightBlade?"

"Not really." Cazi smiled. "She patches us up when necessary, but she's a Healer not soldier. So she finds a clinic or hospital to help at somewhere near the team's temporary base and sets up house."

"To the gratitude of the locals, I expect." He smiled a little more. "It sounds as if she is a very gifted healer."

"Some say she's the most gifted of her generation." Cazi smiled proudly. "Not all that surprising as her family has been skilled Healers of mind and body for generations."

"Quite an impressive family." Caurver added shyly.

"I was a bit intimidated at first." Cazi admitted with sheepish grin. "Our first date was arranged by mutual friends, and I thought I was totally out of my league."

"Obviously not." Caurver smiled at him. "But it's usually easiest for others to see us for what we are capable of."

"Yes it is." Cazi nodded. "We tend to be our own worst critics."

"For all sorts of reasons," he chuckled weakly. "That they tend to see as endearing."

"Yes, they found my 'shyness' terribly cute." Cazi shook his head.

"It is." Caurver smiled, then ducked his head and shifted a bit away, his eyes flashing pink for a moment.

"You're rather cute, when you do that." Cazi said with a warm smile that made Caurver's eyes blush even more.

"You're mated." He managed to mumble.

"That's not totally exclusive among my people." Cazi said gently, trying reassure Caurver.

The Durikan's eyes started to swim with colors. Gray, silver, blue, aqua, pink, gold ... a lot of gold. "I ... don't know about this." He managed as his arms came up to cradle his chest and his wings altered their beat to enclose him a little more.

"Know about what, Caurver?" Cazi asked gently. He was beginning to think the Durikan was taking things more seriously than he meant them.

"You ... you're attractive, said I was cute." He worked hard to control his rapid breathing and wondering just what in creation he was thinking. "I like your aura. I ... I've never really had a chance, to ... to be with anyone."

"So you're not really sure of what you're feeling or thinking right now." Cazi said with gentle understanding. "And your body's responding in ways you don't entirely understand. It's okay, really. First thing to do, is to try to relax and breathe naturally."

Caurver nodded and focused on his centering exercises, The Blue Pearl and Still Waters, gradually brought his mind and body back in sync and cooled the control his body was having over his actions.

"Feeling a little better now?" The Golden Dracon asked gently.

Caurver nodded. "If foolish." He said softly, his eyes bright pink.

"Nothing foolish about it." Cazi reassuringly. "It's perfectly normal reaction, especially when it's new." He smiled. "It's also quite flattering."

"Thank you." He murmured, still not quite up to looking Cazi in the eyes but fairly calm. "You are attractive, even as a Lion."

"You're welcome." Cazi smiled gently. "You're rather attractive yourself."

"Thank you." He managed again. The turn of events left him unsure of what to do. Cazi was mated, but available ... somehow. He'd made an utter fool of himself, but the Dracon shifter was still being nice to him. He knew Cazi was a half-breed, and it didn't bother him. And at least as another male, Cazi wouldn't care that he was incomplete as a proper mate.

"Don't feel you have to make any decisions or do anything right this moment." Cazi said, trying to take some pressure off. "It's not like I'm going to disappear in the morning." He added with a warm, reassuring smile.

"How long will you be here?" He asked softly, wanting anything to talk about but what his body was suggesting.

"Several months at least." Cazi smiled. "Ebon and the others are training a new unit for the Lupo government, and I've got a contract to examine the security of the Belt computer system and teleport network. I may not always be available, but I'll be here. After that, we'll see."

Caurver nodded. "Right now, that seems like forever." He managed a small smile.

"Time is one of the most subjective things there is." Cazi smiled. "Some times the minutes seem to fly by, and others take an eternity. And some really good moments seem to last forever."

"Those last ones are the best kind." He managed a smile, unsure what to do now about all the conflicting demands his mind and body were making of him.

"Yes, they are." Cazi nodded. "You're body and mind are still throwing a lot at you, aren't they?" He asked gently.

Caurver nodded sheepishly. "Yeah, it is."

"Is it that none of it makes sense, or that it doesn't make sense when jumbled together?" He asked gently, trying to help Caurver sort things out.

The sky-blue Durikan took a deep breath. "What it wants ... that's not too hard to sort out. Why ... why and what to do about it ... that's the rough part." He tried to explain, responding to Cazi as he would any Master asking a question of him.

"Because it involves things you've never done." Cazi said gently. "Why is always a tough question, because why is a rational question and attraction doesn't always respond to the demands of reason." He smiled softly.

"No, it doesn't." His eyes blushed brightly as a particularly vivid image was supplied to his conscious mind. "Or requests to back off, for that matter."

"Usually requests to back off, just encourage attraction." Cazi smiled knowingly. "It's like a small child, that way." He chuckled.

"Now you warn me." Caurver rolled his eyes, making an attempt at a joke and grateful for the cloth covering his groin that concealed the swelling there.

"It's one of those learning experience life throws at you every so often." Cazi smiled at the joke. "However, it can be a fun one, with the right person." He grinned encouragingly and was treated to another bright pink blush of jewel-like eyes.

"It certainly seems to think so." He chuckled nervously.

"Probably, though it helps to try and accept that the feelings really are you, and not something separate." He suggested encouragingly.

"I'm sure you're right." He admitted quietly, still very embarrassed. "I'm not used to my mind and body being at odds like this. It's not a good thing for a mage to be distracted like this."

"No one is used to it, when it first hits." Cazi assured him. "And you're right about the distraction, you need to be careful about what magic you use."

"And extra careful about my reaction to loosing it." He smiled sheepishly. "I still haven't quite broken the habit of converting the mass to energy."

"Have you considering a less explosive form of energy?" Cazi asked curiously. "Full spectrum sunlight for example. It'd be kind of showy, but less explosive."

"If I remember, I try to." He nodded. "But if I get that far into the thought, I can usually just filter it back into the environment quietly."

"I was thinking more on the line of trying to create a new reflexive response." Cazi suggested. "Not easy, but it can be done."

"It can't go any worse than the last change turned out." He chuckled a bit, his crest fluffing a bit and his eyes swirling pink and gold. "Which didn't take at all."

"What was the last change?" Cazi asked curiously.

"Converting it into air. Dense material and a few others have been tried too." He shook his head slightly. "I keep falling back to the explosive energy."

"Some habits are very hard to break." Cazi acknowledged. "One of my fellow students at Magic College always converted his mistakes to volumes of 180 proof alcohol. Which wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't a fire mage by training."

"That must have been quite explosive." Caurver's eyes went wide and aqua.

"It was impressive to say the least." Cazi grinned. "Especially on the rare occasions that he didn't ignite it. Cause for some serious partying."

"And some very drunk mages in the morning." He shook his head with an amused chuckle. "It must have made classes painful."

"For everyone." Cazi smirked. "Spellcasting with a hangover is not recommended."

"For much the same reasons as doing it without sleep." He chuckled and shook his head. "Some of the strangest things happen."

"Yeah, when the mage who's good at translocation tells everyone to go away ... they do." Cazi shook his head.

"Better than when one tells folks to drop dead." He shook his head. "You'd be amazed just how many ways there are to make that happen that look totally natural."

"Oh, you'd be surprised the ways I've seen to make dead look like natural causes." He grinned. "But I take your point. Fortunately, folks who wanted folks to drop dead weren't all that common."

"And likely watched very closely by the Masters when they weren't having a good day." Caurver chuckled slightly.

"Usually watched closely regardless of what kind of day they were having." Cazi nodded. "The Masters are careful with those who may develop anti-social behavior."

"I bet," he considered it a bit. "Those types didn't tend to last long in a wyver, or anywhere. An anti-social mage like that is usually quick to be removed."

"Power in the wrong hands is a bad thing." Cazi said softly. "We've seen that too often."

"Yeah, that kind of hell we've known a little too well." Caurver sighed and shook his head as his crest flattened and his eyes grayed. "It cost Patith dearly with the Impergium. We lost two races completely to it."

"We haven't had anything quite that bad, but bad enough." Cazi said gently. "The Dracons usually intervene if genocide threatens."

"I just hope they never find Patith. Not anytime soon at least." He murmured and folded his wings around himself fully for a moment, only his magic holding him in the air. "As bad as it is, the cost of an outside power trying to set it 'right' would be greater than the Impergium itself."

"Why is that, Caurver?" Cazi asked gently. "I take it there's something the Dracons might feel a need to do something about." He said softly.

"That's what Justin thinks, when I told him." He shook his head, then glanced around for a place to land and relax in the shade and grass while they continued. "How much do you know about Patith and the Impergium?"

"Nothing really." Cazi admitted. "But then I don't think anyone from Patith has ever come here before. The database only contains races the Imperium has encountered, and it takes time to update when a new one is encountered."

"I wasn't sure how much was in the system, or if you'd talked to Justin." Caurver nodded and swiveled on one wing to a shady spot on the forested bank of a large stream. "Well, about five thousand years ago, for a world that rarely sees anyone older than three hundred, the Noble races declared war on the Var, the six-limbed races." He began in his best historically detached manner as he settled on the bank, knowing the calmness wasn't going to last.

"Was there a particular reason for this war?" Cazi asked, trying to stay detached from something he was pretty sure was going to piss him off.

"These is, but we do not know what it was. What it still is." He explained quietly. "That war quickly became The Impergium. Within two generations we lost the Gryphons. Within five the Pegasus and Night Dragons were gone and the dozen other Var were on the brink. To save their lives, their race, some were forced to loose their wings, to become four-limbed. All lost their histories, by magic or death."

Cazi's eyes flared a bright red as his aura crackled fiery red like a barely restrained furnace. "You're right. The monsters responsible had better hope the Dracons never find them. Such an abomination would never be allowed to stand." He said before forcing both eyes and aura back to normal. "However, I'd call it a matter of time." He said softly.

"With enough time, it won't matter, unless they believe in punishing the living for the transgressions of the dead." Caurver did his best not to flinch away from the rage that was only just contained. "Things have improved greatly in the past few generations."

"I don't know what they'd do." Cazi said quietly, truly uncertain. "They'd probably change the balance of power for sure. The living would not be allowed to benefit from the evils of their predecessors. But a lot would depend on which of the True Dragons was present. Each has a very different nature." He explained quietly, still sick to his stomach thinking of all the meaningless death and loss.

"How carefully would they look at what happened before passing judgment?" Caurver asked very quietly, more than a little sick to his stomach at the thought of leading any of these creatures to his home.

"Depends on which one of them was involved." He said quietly. "The deliberate genocide, and cultural destruction would outrage most of them, however they are very thorough investigators. They would see what truly happened, not the history written by the victors." Cazi explained precisely. "But whether that happens or not, is not something either of us will have much influence on."

Caurver let out a breath and nodded, his crest limp and his eyes gray. "No, I don't suppose a mortal matters to them." He said softly. "Much less mortal opinions."

"Not that, but it's simply that they're likely to find Patith with or without our help." Cazi clarified. "Of course, even if they do they might do nothing more than offer a chance to relocate to any who wished it. It's just so hard to say, they're like mortals that way ... each one is very individual."

"Forgive me if I don't find that at all reassuring." Caurver muttered softly.

"No really reassuring way to put it." Cazi said quietly. "But the universe often works that way. Do something horrible, and sooner or later it comes back to you. And systematic genocide certainly qualifies." He sighed. "But the odds of them encountering your particular world in the virtually limitless number of worlds in countless dimensions is very, very low. It's not like they're looking for it."

"Fortunately." Caurver let out a softly sound and shook his head, his muzzle dropping down between his crossed arms to stare at the grass. "I may not think what my world is is right, but to destroy everything we've built to punish something generations past ... Not even the Unicorns are so blind for vengeance."

Cazi didn't really think it was vengeance when there was an entire ruling class benefiting from the atrocities in question. But explaining the difference between justice and vengeance wasn't his strong suit. He was far too much a Fire Clan Dracon to be good at explanations where strong emotions were involved. "Having everyone blind to what the reasons and causes of what happened is dangerous, since it could repeat itself because no one knows what to avoid." He said softly. "Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it."

"The leaders know." He shook his head. "Living and spirit, the leaders know. A few of us know more than we should."

"As long as you trust them." Cazi said non-committaly. He personally didn't trust leaders who kept that much of history as their private domain. Truth was that Cazi didn't trust any leader, except Ebon, very far at all.

"Those who don't, usually learn the truth." He sighed as his feathered crest flattened in distress. "We usually regret it."

"Regret it in that it's an unpleasant truth, or regret it in that those in charge make you regret it?" Cazi asked softly.

"Regret ... in knowing ..." he took a slow, deep breath, "in knowing ..." he closed dark gray eyes and shuddered slightly. "That they treated us better in defeat than we had ever treated them."

"Is that the truth, or is that what they tell you the truth is?" Cazi asked softly. "It seems unlikely that one could treat an enemy worse than committing genocide on some, and stripping those not exterminated of their history."

"It is what those who were there, the six-limbed who were there, say." He whispered, not at all sure why he was saying any of this. "Arrogance and power are a sickening combination, Cazi. It can create an entirely new kind of evil."

"Of course they can." Cazi said simply. "But genocide is never an acceptable response." He added softly. "War against non-combatants is wrong."

Caurver tipped his muzzle up, his gray eyes flickering with a bit pale blue. "There is no such thing."

"No such thing as what?" Cazi asked curiously.

"A non-combatant." He shrugged. "Everyone is involved in war and society."

"Of course there are non-combatants." Cazi said firmly. "Soldiers have no business attacking children or the infirm, for example."

Caurver looked at him for a long moment, then slowly shook his head. "I think our worlds are very, very different places." He said in slowly measured words and left his eyes on the golden Dracon. "I think I see your point, but not the logic behind it."

"I'm quite sure they are." Cazi nodded. "And I think it was different a long time ago, before being a soldier was a profession. But professional soldiers only fight other professional soldiers, or at least other armed combatants."

Caurver nodded again, not completely sure about that but not at all interested in arguing about it either. This was Cazi's world and their law after all.

"That's got to be the most intensely philosophical conversation I've ever had with someone I've known less than six hours." Cazi chuckled in amusement.

It earned him an uncertain look as Caurver tried to figure out if a joke was being made or not. "It is?" He asked softly.

"Normally, I don't get into matters of depth and importance immediately on meeting someone." He chuckled. "Not that I mind, it's just unusual."

"I ... didn't realize it was something deep and important." He murmured with a slightly apologetic tone.

"Nothing to apologize for." Cazi smiled reassuringly. "But usually matters involving war, death and potentially angry Dragons are considered fairly deep and important."

"Oh," he nodded slightly. Though he still didn't quite get it, he was now fairly sure he hadn't actually said anything wrong at least. "What are usual topics then?"

"Oh, just about anything else." He smiled encouragingly. "Just about anything that interests you."

"You." He ducked his head slightly, his eyes flashing pink for a moment as thoughts of the golden Dracon's touch wiped out everything else, much to Caurver's encouragement.

"That's definitely not a serious subject." Cazi smirked broadly. "Anything in particular?" He asked encouragingly. "Feel free to ask. If I don't want to, or can't answer I'll tell you. But asking is okay."

Caurver couldn't help but laugh and rolled back to lie stretched out on the ground. "Oh, you have so just opened up a can of worms. A wyver mage is marked by their inability to shut up with the questions."

"I'd hardly be one to criticize." Cazi chuckled, as he dropped to the ground and shifted back to Lion form. "Everyone knows about cats and curiosity."

"Mmm?" Caurver glanced over at him, a little disappointed at the shift. "I can guess the intent, but not the reference."

Cazi shifted back without blinking as he chuckled. "Cats are known for their curiosity and the trouble it gets them into. Dracons often are just as bad, most of them can't resist a puzzle or mystery."

"That last one I can definitely believe." Caurver chuckled softly and let his eyes run over the muscular body and it's fine golden scales. "Foxes are better known for it on Patith."

"Foxes are known for other things in the Imperium." Cazi chuckled. "Though their cleverness is a close second."

"And what is their specialty here?" He grinned slightly and shifted to his side, letting his left wing brace part of his weight.

"Being insatiable in bed." Cazi smirked playfully. "Though honestly, the Ferrin are far more so. Those would be Ferrets by the way."

"I don't think we have those," Caurver drew a sharp breath as the reference reminded his lower brain and body what he was looking at.

"Cute sorts really, if you like small, lean mustelids." He grinned, as he looked over the male next to him, taking in the novelty of feathers and scales on the same person.

"I'm not sure I'll ever get used to that idea." He whispered threw a tight throat and hesitantly let his hand play down Cazi's broad chest. "Dating another race is just so ... odd."

"It's something most around here don't even question." Cazi said gently, as he returned the touch and felt the tension and hunger and uncertainty in Caurver's younger and slightly less toned body. "Try to be nice about it, when you get approached by other races. And it will happen."

"That ... just being approached ... by anyone ... is going to take some serious getting used to." He admitted quietly, not all that sure how much longer he'd be able to think with this handsome male touching him.

"Like most things, it's a matter of time." Cazi said gently, recognizing the excitement in the younger male next to him. It had been a long time since he'd had been with another dragon-kin. In fact he was kind of surprised he was feeling the attraction he was. He smiled warmly and repeat the slow, gentle tracing of his hand down Caurver's finely scaled chest as the larger male all but forgot how to move, his eyes a solid gold and breath sharp.

"Just tell me to stop, if I go too far, or too fast." Cazi said gently, as he leaned forward to claim a gentle kiss and found his advance welcomed and Caurver's clothing suddenly vanished, leaving the Durikan's scales bare to the air and Cazi's hands.

"I will." He whispered, only just able to think that much. He couldn't help but flash back to the Vixen everyone teased him about wanting, or even having, and the reality that he did want her. Her touch did nearly this much to him, he just didn't recognize it then.

That realization was enough to make him shove all thought out of his mind and simply enjoy what Cazi was doing to him.

Taking a slow and easy approach Cazi ran his hands across his inexperienced lover's chest and studied how he moved and responded. Between his own knowledge and what Nareena had taught him, he could usually find the pleasurable places to touch a new lover. There was a great deal shared between the knowledge needed to heal, to kill and to pleasure, and Cazi was well practiced in all three.

It was a level decidedly at odds with Caurver's state, who was awash in new sensations and well past the point he could really think. He didn't even feel shame when his penis slid from its place under his scales and into full view.

Heart of Ice, Soul of Fire 3: The First Move

Het Level is None
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

67 KB, Story is Closed-Unfinished, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written July 20, 2004 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Eternal Draconian Empire, Patith

Primary Races: Dracon, Durikan, Felsin

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M). Admittance Story, All Original Characters, Crossover, Magic, Sci-Fi, Violence

Pairings: Caurver Ser'Onor/Cazimir Sunfire

Blurb: With a deep breath and bolstered by his strange status on this world, Caurver knocks on Cazi's door to see if his interest is returned.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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