Reflections of the way life used to not be......

The Never Ending Quest - Episode 2504

The adventurers see themselves doing things from the past.....that they never did.....or did differently!

One flickering image:

Fred pulled the bottle out and showed it to Tarin. Astra nearly choked when she saw it. Tarin was surprised as well, he had expected Fred to try to grab his sword and attack him with it. He certainly knew very well that Astra had made up the whole thing about a new soft ale concoction. But there it was, held out in Fred's little, hairy hand. But Tarin-Gazin was no horse's ass. He wasn't going to be fooled. The bubbly orange drink was just a ruse to keep him from discovering what the Crystallic really was. Perhaps the drink was even poisoned. He chuckled to himself; these two cursed demi-foxes seemed terribly ignorant of the non-human races. It was almost impossible to poison a dwarf.

Tarin reached out and grabbed the bottle. "All right then, let's see what it tastes like," he smiled and took a long swig.

Fred just grinned weakly and stared at the dwarf, wondering what was going to happen. Astra held her breath. Tarin gulped it down and then wiped his mouth. He waited a moment and then raised the bottle to his face and eyed it appraisingly. "Well my compliments, young foxes," he said with a touch of surprise. "I must say that this drink is most delicious." Fred and Astra stared at him with amazement. Nothing had happened to him!

"Give me that!" Astra growled and rudely grabbed the bottle from the dwarf's hand. In a flash she had downed half its contents. Fred reached out to her in shock. What the hell was she thinking? She slapped his paws away and snarled at him. She was pissed. The Crystallic was her only hope of regaining her humanity. And now what was she stuck with? A lousy bottle of fizzy, orange ale! But it just HAD to be the Crystallic, only in a different guise. But what if it wasn't? Damnit, why was this happening to her? Why couldn't she just be human again?

Fred gazed at her with fear in his eyes. He was positive that the bottle was actually the Crystallic. It's magic must have reacted to their situation and had transformed itself. But what would happen if a person drank it? Sure, Tarin seemed none the worse for wear, but maybe it took a little while for the effects to be felt. If the dwarf did die it would be no great loss, but Fred was loathe to think that Astra, a great warrior and his comrade-in-arms, would meet her death because of magical poison and die in the crude shape of a half-human fox.

Tarin looked upon his two captives with bewilderment. What was this little tantrum all about? Fred acted as if the drink was poison, but if so why did Astra just guzzle it down?

Suddenly Astra gripped her sides. The bottle fell to the ground with a soft tinkle. She groaned and doubled over. Tarin took a step back and gaped. Fred looked on with a growing feeling of awe. And of hope. As they both watched, Astra was transforming from a three foot red furred fox into a six foot one inch tall amazonian marvel. Astra had become herself again.

Tarin continued to gaze on the beautiful and slightly disoriented figure, but Fred had other things on his mind. He lunged for the bottle and quickly drank what was left. In moments, he too had regained his human shape.

Quickly, the two of them pulled out extra clothing from their saddle bags. Luckily not all of it had been magically downsized by Malachi. Once dressed, they turned to each other and began discussing the new turn of events. Tarin the dwarf was completely ignored. And a few feet away, snoring blissfully in the night, his master, Rift, lay peacefully ignorant of all that had happened. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

After a short while Fred and Astra came to certain conclusions and both agreed that they had only two options before them:

One, return to the dragon lair to investigate the mysterious schemes of Minestus and Malachi.

Or two, seek out Synizn and discover his true connection with the two dead dragons.

This fades out to another scene:

As the last glyph against being overheard is raised, Sigin looks over at where Probe stands. The human looking construct's image is blurred....as it should be by all the magic surrounding the dragons.

"So he knows?" the ship captain/mage/dragon asks the assembled party.

"Oh by Tiamat he knows," mutters manbear Synizn. "When I got startled by your apparent....resurrection I pretty much let the cat out of the bag when I saw you. (re: 2239) He apparently talked to other....Alliance members who had nearly killed dragonkind on my world....before I proved to them that we were not allies to the damn Lizards! He put two and two together."

"But he's not going to attack," the demi-fox Synizn asks, glancing nervously at Probe.

"No," Malachi says through the magic mirror (connected to this meeting through secure magical lines, folks). "He would have acted by now. The Golems may be many things, but slow to action....and violence are things they are NOT!"

"I see," the were-bear Synizn murmurs darkly. "So....let me get this straight. A bunch of otherworldly Golems comes down, and basically kicks our races ass?! How is such a thing possible?" Draconic pride was hurting here.

"By several factors, my friend," the manbear says sadly. "One on one, a Golem and a dragon mage.....we can defeat them with a bit of difficulty...difficult because of their super reflexes and eldritch....science. We got blind sided by a force....we had dismissed as not a threat....science....and that was one thing that lead to this disaster. Another was that we didn't initially take their demands to 'cease and deists with the alliance with the Lizards' seriously. We torched the envoys they sent, and......"

"They took that as a definite 'no' I take it," the demi-fox says, nodding. "Can't really fault them on that, boys and girls! And I bet nobody even bothered to ask just what they were talking about before those fool dragons of the Council torched them, eh? "

The sad looks on the gathered faces tells the tale.

"Another damning thing was that....dragons tend to fight as individuals, not as teams," the manbear says, remembering. "And....our pride demands that we stay and fight even when retreat is called for. Malachi was bright enough to retreat when she got ambushed. I....wasn't. None would run, or change into forms to hide."

"And only through that bootleg scroll was I able to save you by turning you into a manbear," Malachi says. "I remember how....badly you took it when you lost your connection to your Hoard" The other Synizns...even the were-bear shudder at the memory of......soul wrenching loss.....when it had occurred to them with the blossoming of their lycanthropy.

"And they just keep coming!" the manbear says, shivering at the memory. "You strike a dozen down, and they just keep coming with those weapons that burn...or explode! I...." The manbear breaks off, not able to continue. None their want to continue, but tell the dragon captain everything.

"By Tiamat," Sigin finally swears. "I'm amazed that they stopped, but am not going to complain about that! But.....what are we going to do about this Alliance? CAN we do anything about them?!"

"For now and the foreseeable future: no." Malachi says. "Vengeance must wait....maybe forever. We need to rebuild our world. But we must do it right this time. We need to make alliances with the humans so something like this never....happens again. The world has changed into something new and strange. We dragons must adapt to the changes, must gain friends in the humans because together we are stronger than if we stand alone!"

"'Strength through unitity?'" the were-bear asks with a chuckle, quoting the Dragon Circle's motto. "Actually, I think you've got the right idea." This Synizn wasn't sure about the whole deal, but was willing to join in on the "fun."

"Exactly," Malachi says. "You'll see, old friend, if I may call you that. In fact....let's make this official, shall we?"

The dragons nod, and recite the Oath of their Dragon Circle. The offworld Synizns seem a bit surprised....but not too surprised....that their Oath and the other Oath are the same....exactly the same.

A warmth of comradery passes through the group, and then they smile as they get down to the task at hand. It's not a session of how to counter yet another dark ploy by Minestus and his ilk, this is about a simpler....but touchy subject. Malachi, the leader of the Circle....takes matters into her own hands because she knows her Synizn....and has a feeling that the pride of these others would be a MAJOR stumbling block to an a quick resolution. Dragons....even she.....were proud of their names, a direct gift from Tiamat Herself....it was believed. Changing them would NOT be easy.....except through this method.

"Members of the Circle," Malachi intones in a rich, mellow voice (the one she used only under very special occasions). "Ye hath sworn to follow my Creed, and have me as thy Leader?"

"Verily we hath done so with our free will," the members intone solemnly.

"Then ye will accept my judgement in this matter of names?" Malachi asks, looking through her mirror into the eyes of the Synizns, resting on each face before turning towards the next.

"Ye hath the right," they say after a pause.

"By that I shall rename you ." Malachi intones. The Synizns swallow nervously, and await. They COULD out and out refuse.....but then they'd no longer be Members of the Circle. And what would have been the point of joining if they wouldn't have followed this....charismatic and far seeing dragonnness who had inspired them to action? No, though they hadn't agreed totally with everything Malachi had told them....agreed with all her reasons....they had joined....and still wanted to belong.

"Thus it is," Malachi says, turning to the manbear. "Ye was born Synizn Draconarysni....but your brothers were also born that. This is not good, for Tiamat herself GAVE ye a singular name to distinguish you from others when it comes time to return to Her."

The manbear resisted the urge to squirm. He had forgotten that a Dragon Circle Leader could look into the Members eyes and draw forth that information.

"And though thee hath changed and been gifted with yet another name," she continues. "A Truename as the Manimals you now belong to....you still bear the mark given to you by Tiamat. It is my given duty and right by Tiamat, to rebalance this issue."

"So," Malachi finishes. "I Rename you. You are no longer Synizn Draconarysni . You are a manbear who calls himself Synizn. You are Manbear Synizn. Thus you shall be called from this day forward when we speak of ye. Ye shall even think of yourself as such from this day forward. It is done."

The manbear shivers as Malachi's proclamation worms it's way into his mind....and soul. He could no longer think of himself as Synizn, or Synizn Draconarysni. He remembered that he had been Named as such....and was still that person, yet he had been Renamed Manbear Synizn. His heart thudded faster in pride at his new Name, and it was good.

"I, Manbear Synizn, thank thee," Manbear Synizn says, bowing to Malachi.

Oh boy, the demi-fox gulps as Malachi turned to him.

The demi-fox straightens, tail absolutely still as his Leader speaks.

"Thus it is," Malachi says for a second time, turning to the manbear. "Ye was also born Synizn Draconarysni....but your brothers were also born that. This is not good, for Tiamat herself GAVE ye a singular name to distinguish you from others when it comes time to return to Her."

"Ye hath changed by cursed lycanthropy into a werebear, and suffered greiviously as it's nature forced you to act and react in a manner the did not wish to." Malachi intones solemnly. "Yet though a Gift given by two blessed Humans, thee was able to alter thy curse into the less malign....more benign form of demi-fox lycanthropy. Ye hath repaid the blessed Humans.....forever will continue to do so since ye owes them for restoring your life to ye.....by swearing eternal allegiance to them and their descendants for as long as thee lives!"

The other dragons stare at he little demi-fox, and then nod. It was his choice, and none could rightfully complain what he chose to do to repay debts.

"This is good and just, yet the still hath a name that was also given to your brothers," sighs Malachi. "Though not ye's fault, this must not be anymore."

"So," Malachi finishes. "I Rename you. You are no longer Synizn Draconarysni . You are a demi-fox who calls himself Synizn. You are Demi-fox Synizn. Thus you shall be called from this day forward when we speak of ye. Ye shall even think of yourself as such from this day forward. It is done."

The demi-fox shivers as Malachi's proclamation worms it's way into his mind....and soul. His fox tail stands on end in shock as it course through his veins, making it look like even bigger than it already was. He could no longer think of himself as Synizn, or Synizn Draconarysni. He remembered that he had been Named as such....and was still that person, yet he had been Renamed Demi-fox Synizn. His heart thudded faster in pride at his new Name, and it was good.

"I, Demi-fox Synizn, thank thee," Manbear Synizn says, bowing to Malachi. His tail wags wildly as he pants in estatic joy at his new Name.

The were-bear Synizn takes a cleansing breath to calm himself as Malachi turns towards him. Even his cursed beast has no hurtful things to say as the dragonness looks upon him with care.

The were-bear blinks in surprise as Malachi breaks out in a grin after studying him for several minutes.

"For this next part, thee all must move outside to do this properly." she informs the party solemnly. Her grin grows even more when she sees through the mirror that there are trees and sky in the background.

  1. The images seems to follow the strange group......

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