Strange how it works out, how
your attitude differs from Alicia 2...who's nation had a similar thing happen
to their numbers....and only the actions of some angered Oriental dragons
caused her attitude to change....."
Fred quietly explains about the still human Alicia 2, present vizier to the Dragon Regent of Ethiopia...and almost unwilling bride to a vampire version of Fred (re: 2234).
"Only the unlikely arrival of the female Golem/AI known as Inquirer saved her," Fred sighs. Alicia 3 shivers at the mere thought of becoming one of the undead, and nods.
"I'd....like to meet these Golems of the Alliance some time," the vixen says. "They sound.....better than the golems of the Sons of Nod!"
Malachi, wife and mate to Dragon Fred, then breaks in to ask something that is bothering her.
"I knew that Carr....my Carradene had sunk to low levels," she begins. "But it surprises me that he'd generate such a group dedicated to his overthrow, Alicia."
"Oh, I believe it though," the dragoness sighs, recalling the recounting her mate had given her of the treatment the bear clan gave him.....(and it also gave a better insight into Alicia 3).
The rivalry between the different clans was put aside as a small group of the were- people made their way to higher ground so that they could spy upon the activities of the bizarre Golem that had invaded their island. When Fred joined in with the group he was curtly told to go away. This was official Tribal business and he was not invited. Fred protested and began to explain who he was, but his exhortations were cut short when two large bears grabbed him by the arms and dragged him away. They threw him to the ground and explained that New Comers who didn't learn to obey would be taught to obey. The past was dead, they said. He was a fox now and had better learn to deal with it.
Alicia came to him and helped him up. "You aren't a Duke's son anymore, Fred," she said. Fred turned to her with anger in his eyes, "I AM who I am, and I'll be damned if I let some cursed were-men take my identity from me!" Alicia frowned at those words. "You are a cursed were-man now, Fred." Fred turned away from her, anger and frustration filling his heart. Alicia reached out and grabbed his arm.
"I understand what you feel, Fred. I was once a princess. Now I'm just another were-fox. I have no authority, no deferments, no special luxuries. Taylor is the leader of our Clan, and when he gives me an order I must obey." She sighed, and Fred looked at her. "I am of royal blood but here I am no better than a serving maid. It took much time for me to adjust. You will adjust too."
Fred set his face and answered, "I will not be ordered about like a stable boy." Alicia shook her head, "You will be no one's stable boy. There are rules here to be sure and there is the chain of authority. You are at the bottom of that chain, have no doubt about that. But you will not be abused or ordered about like a puppet. For the most part we do what we will. Most of the people on this island were commoners before Minestus brought them here. Royal prerogatives and aristocratic decorum do not sit well with them. Remember that and never try to pull rank on them because you have no rank or honor here. If you do, they will either throw you to the bears for a few days of 'readjustment conditioning' or else they will simply banish you to the territory of the Forsaken." Alicia bowed her head and added in a low whisper, "I was lucky, they gave me over to the Bear Clan. It saved my life, but I'll never stop hating them for it."
Fred stared at Alicia and a new respect for her filled his mind. He had thought that she was happy with being a werefox. And in a sense she was. But now he saw that she had struggled over it, and had finally decided that she would do the best she could with what fate had dealt her. A lesser woman would simply have given up. But Alicia had an inner strength that would overcome even the bestial curse of lycanthropy. She was what she was, she could not change that, but she would not let it defeat her.
Malachi shakes her head sadly, knowing what eventually happened.....later in this tale.
"I will remember your words, Lady Alicia," Fred said with chivalric honor. She smiled. "But if I cannot aid the Tribe as they seek to discover the truth of those demonic Golem, perhaps there is something else I can do." Alicia raised a questioning eyebrow. Fred smiled, "Follow me, there is a pirate ship anchored not far from here. I'm more than a little curious to see what they are up to."
"I think the best course of action is to bury the past," Fred says finally. "Let mistakes be learned from....and let's ...go forward in life. Lord knows I've made some terrible mistakes....suffered from prejudices. If I was to hold you at fault for your actions....they I must also hold myself at fault for my misconceptions."
"As well as I," Malachi puts in. "I realized much earlier than my Terran Prime counterpart that mankind was capable of noble things, but I still thought that those dragonslayers like my fred....were the lowest of the low. I seem to have to re-evaluate my preconceptions."
"We don't hold what you tried to do against you....now that we understand why you did it," Fred says as Malachi nods in agreement. "We may not have the same relationship that we could have had....but perhaps......"
"We'd like you as a friend, Alicia 3." Malachi puts in.
For the third time today, Alicia feels her emotions overflow....and herself crying AGAIN! She felt a stone lift off her heart, and thanked the dragons....
The ghostly mayor sits silently in the room that the threesome had exited hours ago.
He'd seen this scene of forgiveness, and kept coming back to the way he still hated the Lizard who'd eaten him. He'd grown more and more bitter towards the lizard, but....
These adventurers were far from fools....were not human....but human enough to humble the mayor.
"Good God," He whispers to nobody in particular. "If they can forgive each other after all that bad blood....then who am I to not forgive...Nine?"
That done, we see that Dragon Fred's kits by Alicia 3 will be taken care of....satisfying that demand on honor....
Now not all problems are solved, but we see that they are as good as they're going to get.....and we also see a bit of triumph and tragedy coming up here....
The Mayor of Panaras DID go out and forgive the Enemy ghost known as Nine for what he'd done to his body. It woud have been more special if Nine would have come out of his catatonic state to enjoy it, but.....
The mayor couldn't....however....find it in his heart to forgivethe enitre Race for what had befallen Terra. Actually, there was not one person on Terra who I know of who had done that.
The week leading up to the second wedding of Frederigo D'Honaire the manfox was filled with high and low points. There were moments of hilarity, and rough moments of sadness as the newest members of the Pack adjusted to their new home...and their new family.
Dragon Fred was able to renew his friendship with the rather startled Loam 2, and even introduce the stunned wolfman to his wife.
Loam was the best man (again), but this time the....er...Maid of Honor was none other than Alicia - Fred's first wife- herself! That drew up a few eyebrows, but nothing was said of it. The short raccoon manimal known as Padre Fin performed the ceremony, and the new wife gave her husband a deep and passionate kiss. Their tails intertwined, and then the party was joined by the Maid of Honor. Unusual in the extreme, but somehow....fitting.
Those who hadn't been able to come in person on such short notice applauded from their respective magical mirrors.
Probe and Inquirer recorded the event through their internal recording devices, ready to download it onto optical disk/CD latter.
The Golem/AIs had, upon hearing of the wedding, dropped everything as quickly and safely as they could, loaded themselves and their liege dragon, Dragon Synizn, into the one rocket sled that had been issued to them upon their retirement...and had rocket all the way from Ethiopia to the Manimal Nation at frightening speed.
A rocket sled is not nearly as swift or as comfortable as a shuttlecraft and with minimal luggage space (built for two....or three in a pinch), and Dragon Synizn had been all the more in discomfort as Probe flew through the air just a few meters above the treetops that it had scared the bejeebers out of the proud dragon (not that you'll hear him admit to it).
Amid all this, there was a small but poignant moment as a something was finally done about the human remains found within the stomach of the Lizard man who'd tried to kill Fred the manfox's group so long ago (re: 1330) and ended up a corpse within the Enemy freeze unit.
"That was a great wedding, Father," the weasel headed layman said, pulling out the vestments and incense for what was going to happen next. "Always enjoyed a good wedding....even when the groom is already married to another woman," Padre Fin sighed, waddling over to the alcohol filled jars that contained the mortal remains of some poor soul. "I tell you, sometimes, though I enjoy being a manimal...it leads to some of the most awkward situations, eh?"
"I....guess," the young weaselman says.
"But what I'm wondering is whether or not there is enough of this poor guy's remains here to give a decent funereal to," the layman finishes up making the final adjustments to the incense burners.
"I....think that even this amount should suffice," Padre Fin mutters before beginning.
The ghost of the mayor feels an insistent tugging on his being, and he soon finds himself invisibly standing in front of the cleric.
The ceremony complete, the mayor of Panaras stares in surprise as he looks up and feels a shaft of light reach down....and start to drag him up into the Light!
"Claire...." The mayor whispers in quiet joy as he sees his wife smiling down from Above....
Nine, who is shambling about in a daze....looks up and sees the last human ghost in Panaras rising up....and up....
"...don't go.....please...." the Enemy ghost begs quietly, looking on.
"Ah, that is that," Padre Fin sighs, closing his Bible as the laymen shuffles the last spadeful of dirt into the small grave with the tombstone that said Unknown on it. "I hope that this give this unfortunate soul the rest he deserves."
"I'm sure he got it," the weasel smiles. "But what of that Lizard we still have in that eldritch icebox? Shouldn't we at least BURN it?"
"No, I'm awaiting a final decision on whether or not the monster in that freeze unit has a soul," the greying raccoon cleric says. "I'm not going to arbitrarily decide on such as IT....thoug h I'm of the opinion that such a being who could so casually do what had been done to Terra....to countless human worlds.....doesn't have a spirit! Perhaps it is even a creation of Satan himself! I await to see what the Pope in Ethiopia has to say on the matter.
"And before you ask.....yes, I know of the good the Regent has done...and I believe that a dragon can have a soul. I just have questions about these scaly demons...."
And so Nine wanders the streets of Panaras, unable to be seen by others without specialized....specifically tuned....magical spells....and the wretch waits.....
1/12/2000 4:13:58 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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