Dragon Earl: Book One ~ The Beginning

Chapter Thirteen A: The Long, Long Awaited Coronation Scene Part One

Author's Notes:

This chapter contains scenes inspired by the Di Catenas Wedding Ceremony in the Darkover Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley. All copyrights remain hers.

Author's Notes Addendum:

If you click on the words in Blue you will get the translation, if you hover over the Elven Speak, a translation will also appear. {Green on AC's Corner Café}

TSL


Turning to look at his love a very nervous Just' began speaking very softly.

"Joth, I am not sure that I want to go through with all of the ceremonies and being in the spotlight. I am only a simple potter from the country, and I am still not used to being around a lot of people. Making another speech to that many people scares me; do we really have to go through with it?"

Taking Just' in his arms Joth hugged him tenderly and began to lovingly caress his soul-mate's hair.

"We don't have to go if you really don't want to; but what would we do instead? You do know that we would be upsetting a lot of our friends and family in the Castle and Kingdom, don't you?"

"Yes cariad, cariad, ("Love, lover, sweetheart") I realize that but I really just want to spend the time with you. I want to get to know you better than I do now. I need for us to bond even stronger than we are now; once we have done that then I can face whatever comes our way." Just' finished his reply by pulling Joth into a deep and heartfelt kiss.

A Shíorghrá, A Shíorghrá, ("My Eternal Love") if that is really what you want to do, then that is what we shall do. So how do you want to handle this?" Joth responded calmly and warmly.

When Joth arrived home, he went straight to their quarters as he was missing Just' an awful lot. 'I don't like being separated from him at all! Thanks to Gus and Just's' and my mind link, my love was never too far away.' Not being so completely besotted that his brain was totally useless Joth sent the first page he saw to let his parents know that he was home.

Joth entered their quarters and after dropping his cloak inside the door headed toward what used to be 'his' but was now 'our' bedchamber.

"Honey, I'm home!"

The voice of his love snapped Just' out of his daydream, just in time before he was pulled off of Rebekah's Chair and swept into a hug and loving kiss.

"Where have you been? Why did you leave me alone? Do you know how much work you caused......" Whatever else Just' was going to say was silenced by another heartfelt kiss.

Before they could say anything else, they were interrupted by a whirlwind rushing into the room.

"Daddy you're home," came flying out of Jonah's mouth as he launched himself at Joth.

Luckily for Joth, Just' didn't desert him in his hour of need and was able to catch him before their son bowled him over. While Just' was busy propping his husband up, John, Stephan, and Corporal Logi came into the room. John and the Corporal immediately broke out laughing and nearly fell to the floor, because of the scene in front of them. Poor Stephan just stood there staring while his jaw was bouncing off, of the floor.

The Day Before:

Jonah upon overhearing Lance and Mistress Anne discussing what sounded like a youngling in distress, quickly took charge grabbed Lance by the hand and began dragging him away.

"Jonah, slow down do you even know where you are going? Why is it so important to you, that you nearly jerked my arm from my body? Lance inquired of the little ball of energy tightly grasping his hand.

Jonah replied without relinquishing grip or reducing his pace,

"We are going to the Fowen Dignities Qwaters, I just know that it is a youngling that needs me, and for some reason, I need him as well. Now hurry he's hungry and lonely."

"I hope you know what you are doing, Jonah, just don't get me in trouble," Lance replied, knowing that was all the answer he was going to get. He then spoke to Jonah again, hoping that his young charge would remember his manners, and protocols.

"Jonah, I think you meant the Foreign Dignitaries Quarters, and remember those are their private quarters and we can't go rushing into them pell-mell, without a by your leave." 'Or can we?' Lance thought as he caught a look of Jonah's face; he wasn't seeing Jonah, he was seeing Joth with what everyone called Joth's Crown Prince Face.

Jonah then opened his mouth, and then Lance knew he was in trouble,

"Yes, we can Dwaconis says so, and I am Prince Jonah, so we can."

Muttering to himself, 'Draconis indeed,' Lance then did the only thing that he could think of, he shouted as loud as he could in his mind, ''Goos', I need help...' before Lance could form his thoughts, a smirking voice rang out in his head;

'Que Sera, Sera.'

Lance did stumble slightly at that wry rejoinder; however, it was what he heard next,

'Don't worry Lance, Jonah is mine and all will be well.'

Lance came to an abrupt and complete stop, his eyes glassed over, and a look of complete and utter astonishment adorned his face.

Jonah took one look at Lance's face and muttered, "Dwaconis," and then commenced giggling.

The two quickly resumed their journey, with Lance shaking his head in wonderment, the whole time. They quickly arrived at the entrance to the Foreign Dignitaries Quarters. By then Lance had his duty face on, and Jonah had a look of determination on his. The guards at the entrance started to question Lance and Jonah, but after taking one look at their faces, quickly waved them through the entrance.

Once they had passed the guards, Jonah picked up the pace and quickly and unerringly headed directly to the Elven Delegations Quarters.

"Hurry Lance, he be hurting, and we need to help him,"

Jonah grabbed Lance's hand and began dragging him as fast as he could. To anyone looking down the corridor they would have seen a hilarious scene, here was this little tyke barely four-foot-tall dragging a six foot plus adult down the hall. Shortly thereafter, they arrived outside the door leading to the quarters of one of Ambassador B'rad's assistants. As they neared the door, Lance was able to hear what seemed to be a youngling sobbing his heart out. Without thinking or hesitation, Jonah reached toward the door to open it. Lance started to tell Jonah to knock, however, after seeing the steely look of determination in Jonah's eyes, decided to err on the side of caution. Jonah opened the door and went inside, quickly followed by Lance, curled up in a ball on an oversized armchair was what looked like a miniature version of J'ame. In a blink of an eye, Jonah was in the chair and before Lance could react, had pulled the Elven youngling into an embrace and was whispering to him while rubbing his back. Lance strained to hear what Jonah was saying, he caught bits and pieces, however, he didn't know what language Jonah was speaking. He could only assume it was Elvish, Draconis only knew how Jonah could understand Elvish let alone speak it.

'Draconis indeed, remember Jonah is mine!'

The laughing draconic voice in his head caused Lance to just stand there glassy-eyed in complete and total amazement. Lance was brought out of his trance by Jonah speaking to him,

"Lance, this is D'rryl, his Daddy went with Uncle B'rad and he hasn't come back. We need to go see Grandpa Rafe so I can ask him for D'rryl to be my page. I asked D'rryl first he said yes, and he said he would be my bodyguard too, so you can just pwotect Daddy Jot now."

Lance stood there looking at the two younglings as his partially frozen brain tried to comprehend what Jonah had just said. 'Did Jonah just tell me that he had found a page and a bodyguard all in one and that we needed to go ask Rafe's permission?' Lance quickly returned to the here and now and heard Jonah explaining who Lance was and who Grandpa Rafe was as well. Of course, Jonah conveniently forgot to mention that Grandpa Rafe was the King, that he Jonah was actually Prince Jonah, and that he was technically second in the line of succession. Lance decided that it was time for him to act before Jonah caused big problems between the Kingdom of Erehwon and the Elven Kingdom,

"D'rryl my name is Lance and I am the bodyguard for Crown Prince Joth and the youngling cuddling you is actually Prince Jonah, the son of Crown Prince Joth and the Crown Prince Consort Just'. Do you really want to be Prince Jonah's Page and Bodyguard? . . ."

Lance had to pause for a minute, so he wouldn't burst out laughing at the look on D'rryl's face as he found out who Jonah really was. His eyes got so big that Lance was afraid they were going to pop off his face. As D'rryl started to pull away, Jonah just pulled him closer; he wasn't having any of D'rryl's awe of his royalty. Lance moved over to the chair and knelt down so that he could look up into D'rryl's eyes instead of towering over him and scaring him, more than he already was.

"Don't worry D'rryl I will be around to protect you from big bad Jonah if needs be."

Lance's off the wall comment brought the first smile that had seen on D'rryl's face.

"D'rryl do you know why your Dad left you here all alone?"

Lance's question stunned D'rryl so much that he responded it Elvish, luckily for Lance, Jonah translated as the anguished words poured out from D'rryl.

"ɯƴ ĐẢĐ ĐḯĐȵ'Ⱦ ⱢȄẢɅȄ ɯȄ ẢⱢⱢ ẢⱢƟȵȄ, ɯƴ ửȵḈⱢȄ ẅẢƧ ƧȾẢƴḯȵǥ ẅḯȾƕ ɯȄ, Ƃử...ƂửȾ ƕȄ ǥƟȾ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƧḯḈǨ ȾƕȄ ĐẢƴ ẢḟȾȄⱹ ɯƴ ĐẢĐ ẢȵĐ ửȵḈⱢȄ Ƃ'ⱹẢĐ ⱢȄḟȾ. ȵƟ ƟȵȄ ḈẢɯȄ ȾƟ ƧȄȄ ɯȄ ẢḟȾȄⱹ ȾƕẢȾ...ẢȵĐ...""ɯƴ ĐẢĐ ĐḯĐȵ'Ⱦ ⱢȄẢɅȄ ɯȄ ẢⱢⱢ ẢⱢƟȵȄ, ɯƴ ửȵḈⱢȄ ẅẢƧ ƧȾẢƴḯȵǥ ẅḯȾƕ ɯȄ, Ƃử...ƂửȾ ƕȄ ǥƟȾ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƧḯḈǨ ȾƕȄ ĐẢƴ ẢḟȾȄⱹ ɯƴ ĐẢĐ ẢȵĐ ửȵḈⱢȄ Ƃ'ⱹẢĐ ⱢȄḟȾ. ȵƟ ƟȵȄ ḈẢɯȄ ȾƟ ƧȄȄ ɯȄ ẢḟȾȄⱹ ȾƕẢȾ...ẢȵĐ..." ("My Dad didn't leave me all alone, my Uncle was staying with me, bu...but he got weally sick the day after my Dad and Uncle B'rad left. No one came to see me after that...and...") While Jonah was translating, he was busy rubbing D'rryl's back to get him to relax. He was also sending as much care and love as he could and gradually D'rryl began relaxing.

"It's okay D'rryl you can come and live in my rooms and Grandpa Rafe will make it okay and I am sure that J'ame will help you too." Jonah stopped talking as he had noticed that D'rryl stiffened slightly at the mention of J'ame. 'I wonder why J'ame's name caused him to do that?' Jonah wondered and looked across at Lance who had a questioning look on his face.

The three now friends talked for a few more minutes and then they figured out that what had happened to D'rryl wasn't anyone's fault actually, it seemed to be a miscommunication issue.

"D'rryl, do you want to be Jonah's Page? It is a lot of work, however, as you will find out you will get to be Jonah's boss sometimes. Also, you will become a member of the Royal Family, and not just a servant. Just ask John or Stephan, they will tell you the truth. As Jonah said you could live in his rooms, yes, I said rooms, and you will have your own room. Jonah will also make sure that you have all of the appropriate uniforms, even if he has to share his own, right Jonah?"

Lance didn't give Jonah a chance to answer, as he just continued speaking to D'rryl,

"Even if you decide not to become Jonah's page, I will arrange it so that you can stay with him until your father returns. So, will either of those work for you?"

D'rryl responded to Lance's question with a bunch of questions flying out of his mouth so fast that Jonah could barely keep up with the translation.

"ḈẢȵ ḯ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƂȄ ɈƟȵẢƕ'Ƨ ƣẢǥȄ ẅƕẢȾ ẢƂƟửȾ ẢɯƂẢƧƧẢĐƟⱹ ƂẅẢĐ ĐƟȵ'Ⱦ ƴƟử ƕẢɅȄ ȾƟ ẢƧǨ ƕḯɯ ḟḯⱹƧȾ, ẅƕẢȾ ḯḟ ɯƴ ḟẢȾƕȄⱹ ƧẢƴƧ ȵƟ, ẅḯⱢⱢ Ǩḯȵǥ ⱹẢḟȄƟⱢƟ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƧẢƴ ƴȄƧ, ḯƧ ɈƟȵẢƕ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ Ả ƣⱹḯȵḈȄ...?""ḈẢȵ ḯ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƂȄ ɈƟȵẢƕ'Ƨ ƣẢǥȄ ẅƕẢȾ ẢƂƟửȾ ẢɯƂẢƧƧẢĐƟⱹ ƂẅẢĐ ĐƟȵ'Ⱦ ƴƟử ƕẢɅȄ ȾƟ ẢƧǨ ƕḯɯ ḟḯⱹƧȾ, ẅƕẢȾ ḯḟ ɯƴ ḟẢȾƕȄⱹ ƧẢƴƧ ȵƟ, ẅḯⱢⱢ Ǩḯȵǥ ⱹẢḟȄƟⱢƟ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ ƧẢƴ ƴȄƧ, ḯƧ ɈƟȵẢƕ ẅȄẢⱢⱢƴ Ả ƣⱹḯȵḈȄ...?" ("Can I weally be Jonah's page what about Ambassador Bwad don't you have to ask him first, what if my father says no, will King Rafeolo weally say yes, is Jonah weally a Prince...?")

Lance took pity on poor Jonah and cut D'rryl off in midstream,

"D'rryl, slow down Jonah can't translate that fast and I don't speak Elven, the answer to all of your question..." Lance stopped speaking in mid-speech and his eyes glazed over.

"ḯȾ'Ƨ ƟǨẢƴ Đ'ⱹⱹƴⱢ, ĐⱹẢḈƟȵḯƧ ḯƧ ɈửƧȾ ƧƣȄẢǨḯȵǥ ȾƟ ⱢẢȵḈȄ, ƕȄ ẅḯⱢⱢ ƂȄ ƟǨẢƴ ƧƕƟⱹȾⱢƴ, ƧƕȄ ḯƧ ƣẅƟƂⱢƴ ḟḯ𝔛ḯȵǥ ƕḯɯ ƧƟ ƕȄ ḈẢȵ ƧƣȄẢǨ ȄⱢɅȄȵ ⱢḯǨȄ ɯȄ.""ḯȾ'Ƨ ƟǨẢƴ Đ'ⱹⱹƴⱢ, ĐⱹẢḈƟȵḯƧ ḯƧ ɈửƧȾ ƧƣȄẢǨḯȵǥ ȾƟ ⱢẢȵḈȄ, ƕȄ ẅḯⱢⱢ ƂȄ ƟǨẢƴ ƧƕƟⱹȾⱢƴ, ƧƕȄ ḯƧ ƣẅƟƂⱢƴ ḟḯ𝔛ḯȵǥ ƕḯɯ ƧƟ ƕȄ ḈẢȵ ƧƣȄẢǨ ȄⱢɅȄȵ ⱢḯǨȄ ɯȄ." ("It's okay D'rryl, Draconis is just speaking to Lance, he will be okay shortly, She is pwobly fixing him so he can speak Elven like me.")

Rather than calm D'rryl down Jonah's, statement caused D'rryl to go into shock again, Jonah began rubbing his back again, however, before he could explain about Draconis a warm golden glow enveloped the two younglings filling them with love and caring.

'Rest easy young D'rryl, Jonah is one of my chosen along with his two fathers, everything will be alright. I am indeed giving Lance the ability to speak and understand Elven, that will also help him and J'ame protect their charges. As for J'ame, don't worry about him, he still loves you and he will be very happy that you are going to help protect the Royal Family of Erehwon. Don't worry about the Ambassador or as Jonah calls him Uncle Bwad. He will say yes when Jonah's Grandfather the King asks for you to be young Jonah's Page. Cris and 'Goos' say they will help as well so you have no worries. D'rryl, if you ever need help and there is no one around just think at me and I will help. Jonah and his father Just' are very important to me and that makes you important to me as well. Oh, D'rryl, Cris and 'Goos' are Jonah's best friends that just happen to be Dragon's and Avatars of mine. You are among some wonderful friends and you will have a wonderful life with Jonah, Just', Joth, along with Andreu, John and Stephan and yes Matty, and Sammy. It is time for you to return to the here and now. I will always be here for you.'

With that D'rryl and Jonah were back in D'rryl's room, however, Draconis had one more trick up her sleeve.

'D'rryl set Jonah down and then go over to Lance and give him a hug and a kiss, and then tell him 'yes', he will wake up then and be able to speak with you without Jonah's help.' Draconis surprised D'rryl yet this time he didn't nearly jump out of his seat.

Surprisingly D'rryl did as instructed, and Lance did wake up and promptly said thank you in Elven. Lance then stood up and spoke to his two youngling friends,

"It is time to go see Jonah's Grandpa, I believe that he is waiting..."

Lance never got to finish what he was going to say as the whirlwind that was Jonah had grabbed D'rryl's hand and was halfway out the door before Lance could catch up to them. Catch up with them he did, and then he reminded Jonah that in this part of the castle that they needed to be quiet and not go tearing through the hallways as they weren't in their private part of the castle. Jonah being the mischievous imp that he was turned to D'rryl and said,

"It's okay D'rryl just act like me and evything be fine."

With that, Jonah stood up straight, threw his chest out and his shoulders back and tried to look like he was a king. Lance nearly started laughing out loud instead he just slowly started walking back to the exit of the Foreign Dignitaries Quarters and into the castle public areas. As they neared the king's audience chamber, they had another surprise as the guards on duty just bowed and ushered the three in before Lance could even announce them.

The King's Audience Chamber

As the three entered the chamber, the three began to bow as protocol demanded, however, they were interrupted by the King. Grandson, the King went home it is just me Grandpa Rafe, bring your new friend with me and sit on my lap where you belong, your new friend I believe his name is D'rryl, he can sit with J'ame in the chair next to me, as they have a few things to talk about. D'rryl don't worry you aren't in trouble, J'ame just wants to let you know a few things that you need to know about being Jonah's Page."

D'rryl tried resisting Jonah's effort to pull him along, however, Lance chose the path of least resistance and just picked D'rryl up and carried him over to J'ame and plunked D'rryl down into J'ame's lap.

Very soon after Jonah had his page and bodyguard, for it seems that Jonah's two nosy friends had taken things into their own 'hands' and had facilitated communications between the king and Ambassador B'rad, so while Lance and Jonah were trying to help D'rryl, his fate was being taken care of. J'ame was able to put D'rryl at ease and soon they were chatting away like old friends. J'ame and D'rryl both informed Rafe that D'rryl was also a member of the Hand of the Leaf. That news made Rafe extremely happy as now his grandson would be protected very well indeed.

D'rryl received yet another shock when John and Stephan walked into the audience chamber without a by your leave. John took one look at D'rryl's shocked face and turned to Jonah and the King and in a no-nonsense tone of voice told the two of them off.

"Rafe and Jonah, you two obviously didn't inform poor D'rryl here that he is now family and doesn't need to be announced when it is just family in here."

John then stunned the whole room when he turned to J'ame and D'rryl and began speaking in High Elven.

"D'rryl welcome to the family; Jonah and his grandfather should have explained to you that when you became Jonah's page you became Family, I am sure that J'ame can explain what that means to you later, for now, it just means that the King and Queen are Rafe and Angie, Prince Joth and Prince Just' are Joth and Just and Jonah is just plain Jonah except when we are in public. D'rryl, since it looks like no one told you who I am let me introduce myself and my brother, I am John, Joth's page and minder and my brother Stephan is the same for Just'. Please come with me and Stephan and I will show you where you will be working and getting you supplied with the appropriate uniforms and court wear. Don't worry about Rafe and Jonah, Nana is on her way to deal with them."

"It'd okay cousin go with them, I am going to stay here and watch Nana, teach Rafe and Jonah how to behave," J'ame told D'rryl with a hint of laughter in his voice.

As soon as D'rryl had climbed down from J'ame's lap John wrapped his arm around D'rryl's shoulder and led him off to his new life.

As the three pages left, Jonah turned and looked up at his grandfather and said,

"Dwaconis."

Before anything else could be said, in came Nana with a fierce look on her face.

Now back to the day of the Audience:

As everyone headed off to the Royal Dragon Weyr, there were lots of questions being bandied about and no answers, well at least no definite answers. Suddenly at almost the same time Joth and his father began to slow their pace and came to a stop together, while everyone else continued following Dragoneer Jeffords.

"Joth, did Gus say anything to you about an emergency?"

"No father, he didn't. What about Paladin?" Joth asked his father as a light began to go off in his head.

"As a matter of fact, he hasn't said a peep either; as a matter of fact, neither he nor Misha budged an inch when Dragoneer Jeffords made his announcement. You don't think..." Suddenly it dawned on the King what might be going on.

"Yes, I do father and if we are right, we had better hurry."

Father and son then took off running; only instead of following everyone else, they took a slightly different route. Arriving at the Weyr at nearly the same time as the rest, they weren't missed. Shortly after everyone arrived at the entrance to the Weyr, Paladin and Misha swooped gracefully over their heads and flew ahead of them into the Weyr. While everyone’s attention was on the War Eagles, Joth had stopped with his eyes slightly glazed.

'Joth stop everyone from going into the Weyr, the only ones who need to go in are you, your father, Just', Dragoneer Jeffords and J'ame the rest can wait until you tell them they can come in. Tell them now! Draconis says relax.' With that, Gus dropped the connection.

"Everyone, stop where you are and listen!" Joth waited a few moments until he had everyone’s attention.

"Gustavo just spoke to me and he said that the only people who need to go into the Weyr are, the King, Just', Dragoneer Jeffords, J'ame and Me. He also said to tell you that I will let you know when you can come in. I also don't think that there is an emergency, just something out of the ordinary." Joth then turned and took Just' by the hand and headed into the Weyr. They were closely followed by Dragoneer Jeffords who shortly overtook them and began to lead the way into the Weyr. J'ame and the King were following right behind them.

As they headed deeper and deeper into the Weyr, father and son knew that their surmise had to be correct. Both of them began to remember a very important day several years before.

Flashback:

 

One early spring morning while Joth and his father were inspecting the Royal Dragon Dens, Joth heard a noise from a supposedly empty Weyr. Joth went to investigate the noise. The Royal Dragoneer had informed The King and his son that the Weyr was empty.

Joth replied, "Father, I know I heard something, may I go look?"

"Of course, Joth, Dragoneer Jeffords and I have a lot of boring stuff to talk about. Just stay out of the way and please don't get stepped on or your mother would never forgive me", Rafaelo informed his son.

No sooner than the words were out of the king's mouth, Joth took off at a run and soon was deep into the depths of the supposedly empty Weyr.

The King and his Dragoneer had just started discussing the status of the feed flocks when they were interrupted by a loud scream from the direction in which Joth had disappeared.

"Daaaaaaaaaaaad, Daaaaaaaaad come quick, please come quick!"

The two men looked at each other then quickly turned and headed towards the Prince's voice.

"Dad, you won't believe what I found, hurry it is amazi………………"

As the last word was cut off, the King and Dragoneer began sprinting towards Joth's voice. They were only slightly concerned because this was one of the safest places in the kingdom. Who in their right mind would try to sneak into a place full of steam vents and twenty-foot long giant lizards with huge mouths and razor-sharp teeth?

They quickly reached the mouth of the Weyr where Joth had gone. As they entered the Weyr, it took their eyes a few seconds to adjust to the diminished light. Not seeing Joth at first, they continued deeper into the Weyr, and after rounding a bend, they came across a most amazing sight.

While the King and his Dragoneer began their, what was to Joth a boring discussion, he was wondering what had caused the noise. He knew that the Weyr was supposed to be empty because it was the Weyr of The King of the Royal Dragons of Venezel. There had not been a King Dragon in many years. Joth was extremely curious, as any twelve, nearly thirteen-year-old Erehwonese naturally were. As Joth rounded the bend in the Weyr, he came to a stunned and abrupt stop. For in front of him was the source of the sound which had caught his attention. In the corner, looking at him with eyes of the deepest sapphire, sparkling with an inner fire, was a young dragonet. What was even more amazing than finding a dragonet in the supposedly empty Weyr was the fact that the dragonet bore the markings of a King Dragon!

As Joth stood there totally amazed, he took a deep breath and then started forward. Before he had taken three steps, a voice rang out in his head 'My name is Gustavo, are you my Dragonrider?'

When Joth stumbled and had to catch himself from nearly falling over, the voice continued, 'You are My Dragonrider and your name is Joth.'

Time came to a standstill, as Joth had to absorb the immensity of what had happened. He and Gustavo stared deeply into each other's eyes communicating on a level that needed no words or thoughts. Joth's last conscious thought was 'I love this dragon.'

This was the scene that greeted King Rafaelo and Dragoneer Jeffords as they rounded the bend. The two men turned and looked at each other and asked "How, What?" at the same time.

Before they could answer each other, there was a loud flapping of wings from the Weyr entrance. As the two men turned to see what was causing this new disturbance, the King's War Eagle Paladin came gliding in, his wings had plenty of room in the large den. Paladin instead of landing on the King's outstretched arms, landed near Joth and the Dragonet. Then with a few short hops reached the young pair, he unfurled his large wings and wrapped the two in their security.

The two men's jaws nearly hit the ground at this truly unexpected occurrence. The King's eyes took on a slightly glassy, faraway look and he began to speak "His name is Gustavo and they are Dragon and Dragonrider. He is the new King Dragon." the words were spoken in a voice, unlike the king's normal one.

With a blink of his eyes and a shake of his head, King Rafaelo regained his composure and in his normal voice told Dragoneer Jeffords, "That was Paladin and he says everything is okay. Gustavo is safe for Joth and then he wouldn't say anything more."

The two men looked at each other wondering what was to come next.

End Flashback

As Joth's brain returned from his trip down memory lane, he realized that they had forgotten someone.

"Lance, please go back and get J'ame's father, I think he needs to be here as well," Joth asked his private bodyguard who had naturally followed since he hadn't been explicitly told not to follow.

When the entourage reached, the den where Dragoneer Jeffords had stopped outside of, Joth spoke up.

"If my father and I are correct Just' is the only person that needs to go inside... Okay, Misha, you can go in too." Joth then turned to Just' and began speaking in a very loving tone of voice.

"Go ahead and go in, Just', everything will be okay, and you will be perfectly fine. If you have any doubts just look at Paladin; if that isn't enough to assure you, just ask Gus." Joth finished by giving Just' a hug and a kiss all the while sending him loving and caring thoughts along their link. Giving his love a push, "Now go, trust me it is a good thing."

Just' hesitantly headed down the tunnel Misha following close behind. Just hadn't gone too far before there was a bend in the tunnel; there were some slight sounds coming from just around the bend. Hearing the sounds Just' picked up his pace a bit. As Just' turned the corner he stopped so quickly that Misha almost bowled him over. Just' stood there and stared in total amazement for there in front of him stood a full-sized Dragon that was 'Goos' yet not 'Goos'! Summoning up his courage Just' decided to question this strange yet not strange dragon. While Just' was summoning his courage, Joth quietly joined him so that he could see the amazed look on his husband's face.


As Just' was figuring out what exactly was going on a thrum from a celestial harp was heard throughout Draconis. Circling far overhead of Castle Highmont was the shape of a large ghostly golden dragon. Throughout Draconis, people felt a warm glow of joy and peace come over them. That is except for those who were still alive in Puritania and the Avatar/Phelps shivered convulsively and groaned as if it/he was dying.

'The coalescing life form wasn't what some people thought; the life form was golden and not black. The battle is truly joined and now maybe this time good will triumph over evil!' Draconis thought to herself as she winged her way to check on her Andreu.

'Andreu it is time for you to meet your new teachers and family, start packing and get ready to go visit Margè for a while.' Draconis sent to Andreu

'But what about Arli is he ready; I can't leave if he isn't as it wouldn't be fair to the villagers?'

'Don't worry about Arli he will have help before he needs it. Now start packing, my son.' And, with that Draconis was gone and Andreu was alone with his thoughts.


"Who are you 'Goos' yet not 'Goos' and what are you doing here?" Just' both asked aloud and automatically sent at the same time.

'I am Cristofero but you can call me Cris and I am your Dragon and you are my rider!' Cris sent lovingly.

The shock of those words ringing in his head, he started to collapse but Joth rushed in and caught him just in time. While Just' was recovering with lots of hugs and kisses from Joth, he suddenly realized how he knew that Cris wasn't 'Goos'. Cris had the exact same markings and colouring as 'Goos' except for one detail and that was an important one. Both dragons were mainly shades of orange and gold and where 'Goos's wing markings were burgundy, Cris's were forest green. Other than those differences, the two dragons were identical. 'Is Cris a King Dragon like 'Goos' or is he a Prince of The Royal Dragons of Venezel?' Thought Just'.

'We are both Kings;' rang in both Just' and Joth's heads.

Joth and Just' turned and looked at each other and said out loud,

"I guess that answers that question.

"Cris this is Joth the love of my life, Joth this Cris my Dragon." Just announced as he pointed first to Joth then to Cris.

'Hello Joth, nice to meet you.' Cris sent to a stunned Joth.

Joth just stood there with his jaw on the ground.

Just' reached over closed his lover's mouth by lifting his jaw up. "There now you won't catch any flies; now you know how I felt the first time Gus spoke to me in my head."

'He's right you know Joth now be nice and say hello back to Cris and you had better behave now as there are two dragons to help Just'.'

'What I can't speak to my rider's lover's mind?' A laughing Cris asked Joth.

'Hello Cris, and it's uh nice to meet you.' A subdued Crown Prince sent.

"Joth please go get J'ame and bring him here so I can introduce him to Cris."

Of course, Joth didn't bother to explain anything to J'ame he just said that Just' needed him.

Since J'ame was chatting with Joth he didn't see Cris, all he saw was Just' so he was astonished when he heard:

"J'ame this is Cris, Cris this is J'ame."

Luckily, for J'ame his military training kicked in and he didn't fall over in shock as he came up close and personal with a huge Dragon.

Just' could see by the look on J'ame's face that he was confused about what he was seeing because the Dragon looked like 'Goos' yet didn't look like 'Goos'.

"Yes J'ame, Cris, is 'Goos's' twin brother with different coloured wing markings and before you ask, yes, he is a King Dragon as well." Just explained to his friend and bodyguard.

'Cris can you meet us at the practice field outside the Weyr, and there will be a lot of people waiting there. I will tell you when we are there so you can join us.' Just' sent.

As Just', Joth, and J'ame came out of the entrance to Cris's Weyr and started to tell everyone what had happened when his Father-In-Law spoke up.

"Save your breath son a little bird already told us." With that Paladin quickly launched himself into the air and began swiftly winging his way away from Just'.

"Paladinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn get back here you silly War Eagle!" Just shouted at his fleeing friend who was soon joined by Misha both making the sounds that stood for War Eagle laughter.

Meanwhile in Puritania:

As the Phelps/Avatar combo rode off to find the very faint life source, Just' was meeting Cris and the resulting paean from Draconis nearly knocked the combo off their horse. Luckily, for them, they managed to hang on.

Back to Castle Highmont:

"Folks as you heard from that blabbermouth Paladin, I now have my own Dragon Cristofero, however, I call him Cris, and yes, he is Gus' mirror twin, and he is also a king of The Dragons of Venezel. As to how that all happened it must have been the will of Draconis. Now I need to go bond with my new Dragon, Joth hun please go find our son Jonah and bring him to meet Cris we will be at the practice field." With that Just' turned and left, leaving Joth and Rafe to deal with all the visitors, well actually Rafe as Joth had disappeared on his errand. Just' had forgotten one important person in his announcement, however, J'ame followed Just' without being asked or told.

J'ame quickly caught up with Just', however, before he could chastise Just' for leaving without him, Just' began to speak,

"J'ame good you are here, you can come and get to know Cris and he can get to know you. Please give me a little time to get used to having you as my bodyguard, I am still adjusting to all of this folderol. Joth says it took him some time to adjust as well, anytime that I forget, you just tap me on the shoulder and remind me not to forget you again. I am looking forward to becoming good friends and learning how to protect myself from you."

"Just' everything will work out as long as you follow my instructions when it comes to your safety..."

'Don't worry J'ame I will help you and we will have him trained in no time.' Cris' mental comment to J'ame caused him to nearly trip, but his training kicked in and he merely stumbled a step or two.

Just' seeing that J'ame wasn't next to him turned around and saw J'ame's glazed eyes and saw him stumble,

"'Cris, leave J'ame alone he isn't used to you or Gus talking to him in his head yet. You are definitely Gus' twin! Now behave.'" Just' said to the air and through his links to both Cris and Gus.

His reply was a smirking 'Que Sera, Sera," that echoed through the halls. Just' then apologized to J'ame.

"Sorry about that J'ame those pesky, nosy dragons of mine and Joth's like to see who they can irritate the most. You should see John tell Gus off it is hilarious. The next time one of them surprises you like that just tell them to knock it off, and if they continue just tell them  you will speak to Draconis, that should make them behave.

Shortly after Just' and J'ame arrived at the practice field Jonah joined them and begged Just' to go flying. It seems that somehow Cris was decked out with Jonah's special flying harness, so now Jonah had two dragons at his beck and call.

'Just', I can fly all three of you, I don't mind and J'ame needs to get used to fly a dragonback, and don't worry, although I am only a few hours old I am as strong as my brother Gus.' Cris informed Just'.

The three did spend the next hour or so flying and getting to know one another, until Joth sent Just' a message that they needed to return for dinner.

Meanwhile:

Nana had decided to remain behind and keep an eye on Jonah but that changed when Private, now Corporal, Logi, dressed in the uniform of the Prince Consort's Guards stuck his head in the door and said,

"Prince Jonah, Captain Kyron said for you to come with me."

"Where do we need to go Corpl Logi and why?"

"We need to go to the Armoury and find you a nice dress dagger to wear to the Coronation Ceremony. Captain Kyron doesn't think that we have a dress sword small enough for you. Even though you are still a youngling you know that protocol requires all the nobility to appear armed. You have to promise that you won't play with the dagger once you get it. We have to give you a sharp one as dull daggers are too dangerous."

"I pwomise Logi; I won't play with my dagger and hurt myself. I will leave it in that scabba thingie like I am supposed. Will you teach me how to use it so I can pwotect Daddy Jut?" Jonah seriously asked Corporal Logi.

"Why do you want to protect just your Daddy Just'? A curios Corporal asked his young charge.

"'Cause Daddy Jot alweady know how to pwotect himself. Grampa William and Unca Neal teach him alweady." Jonah quickly replied.

"I think we should get your Dad Joth or maybe your Uncle Neal or possible your new Uncle J'ame to teach you. We will have to ask your Daddies who they want to teach you.

Logi and Jonah soon arrived at the Armoury and Jonah was like a kid in a Candy Shoppe; he had never seen so many weapons in one place. Jonah turned to Logi and in an amazed tone of voice said;

"I be good Logi I keep my hands in my pockets I no touch anything unless you tell me to."

"Jonah, who told you to do that?" A surprised Corporal asked.

"Dwaconis;" Jonah impishly replied.

"Ahh, okay;" Was the only reply that Logi could make.

While they were looking around a large ghostly orange shape was circling the castle.

Every now and then Jonah would stop and look at an interesting knife or dagger; while Logi was looking elsewhere.

Good to his promise Jonah kept his hands in his pockets until he came to a pile of cloths of different colours. Seeing one of the cloths had the same border as Joth's clothing he reached for that cloth. When Jonah pulled on that cloth it came loose; but not before the rest of the cloths tumbled to the floor. Seeing what the cloths had covered Jonah let out a loud sigh of amazement catching Logi's attention.

Logi turned around and saw Jonah standing perfectly still with a look of shock on his face; as he was staring at a very ornately carved wooden display case.

"What is it, Jonah? What do you see?" Asked a now very curious Corporal.

All Jonah could mutter was "Dragons and Suns" over and over again. The case was carved and decorated with the same Dragons and Suns that covered the olde parchments that he had translated for Baron Ilú and Count Dennis. Not only that but also the carvings and decorations on the case matched exactly the chest that they had found in the vaults.

"Logi why is that case here; shouldn't it be in the vaults? It is from the time of the Dragon Lords; we should take it to Grandpa Rafe before we open it." A still stunned Jonah told his helper and guard.

When they arrived at the King and Queen's Quarters, they found that the King hadn't returned yet, nonetheless, Angie was very intrigued especially considering that Jonah had no idea what the case contained, and he was the most knowledgeable person in the castle on that time period. Angie had Logi set the case down on a table that she had covered with a cloth. Angie noticed that case was locked, and it was a funnily shaped lock, Angie knew that she didn't have the right key, however, she knew who did. She turned to Paladin who had just arrived and was hiding from Just',

"Paladin please tell Gus to send John here with the key to Joth's vault, ask him to hurry please."

Corporal Logi was stunned that the Queen who had informed him when he arrived that she was Angie, and not Queen Angelina was calmly talking to a War Eagle as if it was an everyday thing.

"Logi, relax Paladin and I are old friends and I know that he is spying for Jonah's friend 'Goos', that nosy dragon of my son's has to know everything that is going on in the castle. It's okay Jonah, Gus helps keep all of us safe, nevertheless, I have to tease him every now and then."

Angie then set about learning more about Corporal Logi as she could see that he was very dedicated to Jonah and the family. It wasn't more than ten minutes or so later that John entered slightly out of breath. As John entered, he gave Angie a slight head bow and then spoke,

"How can I help you, Angie, Gus said you needed me right away with Joth's vault... Ah, I see, and I think it will fit." John then walked over to the case inserted the key and turned it, in this case, the key turned smoothly and the top popped open just a bit. John then stepped away to let Angie open the case.

Angie carefully lifted the lid and was completely amazed at what lay within, laying on a pillow were a very ornate scabbard covered in Dragons and Suns in silver and gold along with precious stones including Dragon Eye's. However, that wasn't what caught her eye, that was a fantastically beautiful blade of perfect proportions along with a very ornate hilt and guard. The hilt was capped off with a perfect Dragon's Eye, and the hilt, guard and blade were engraved with Royal Dragon Gold. The blade was engraved with Olde Folke Runes, the guard was in a split 's' shape with small Dragon's Eyes as end caps. The overall length of the blade was would have been twenty-four inches on the old planet of Terra. Just the perfect length for Jonah to wear at the Coronation, Consorting Ceremony. What no one knew was that a larger version of the same blade was almost finished, {See Potters Village Chapter One}

Angie turned to Corporal Logi,

"Corporal please ensure that my grandson Jonah learns how to wear this dirk properly, also no one but those here in this room are to know what we have found. Do you understand, and you also Jonah, do you understand?"

Logi answered,

"Yes, Ma'am I understand completely."

"Yes, grandma and I already told Corpl Logi that I won't take the dagger out of its scabba thingy until I am supposed to."

Now there was another surprise for the Solstice Celebration nee Consorting Coronation Ceremony.

Back to the present day at Dragonsholme:

Things were proceeding very well and Margè was surprised at how clean and new everything looked. If she hadn't known better, she would have said that the castle had just been finished. She was also very glad of all the energy that the nodes were supplying; no matter how much work she did she was never fatigued. They were almost ready for the Crown Prince Consort to arrive; all of the cooking and bathing facilities were working; the only problem remaining was the lighting. They still hadn't been able to figure out how to turn it all off and on as of yet. But Margè hadn’t given up yet, she now finally had time to read all of the old scrolls and parchments in the Châtelaine's office.

The Dragons' Weyrs were all cleaned and ready for occupation, the War Eagle Aerie was ready as well. It seems everything all over the earldom was ready for the Earl to arrive; now if they only knew who that was.

 Margè started going through the fancier scrolls first, as they looked more important than the others did. However, she soon saw the error behind that thinking. The scrolls were 'more important' but that was only relative. Most of them were just invitations to one thing or another; several of them were menus for some of the banquets held at Dragonsholme, those she put aside. Finally going through some of the older and dustier scrolls, she began to realize that she was on the right track. Well, at least she thought she was. She had come across several mentions of the lord of the castle The Dragon Lord, performing what seemed to be magic with just a wave of his hand. But then there were others that mentioned a ring. Just before she had begun pulling out her hair, a page arrived to tell her that luncheon was being served.

Although luncheon was very plain and simple, what would ordinarily be called a ploughman's lunch, it was very good and very filling. The cook assured her that once the Earl was in residence that the fare would be appropriate. For now, though with all the work everyone was still doing, a good hearty luncheon fit the bill perfectly.

After a very filling meal of sliced meats wonderful cheeses on hearty fresh baked bread, Margè headed back to work. After another eye straining hour or so, she was about to quit when she found another scroll that was a little more ornate than the ones she had been perusing. As she neared the middle of the scroll things began to clear up for her. For in the very middle of the scroll was a painting of the Dragon Earl entering Dragonsholme. Like most of the descriptions, he just waved his hand. However, in this case, there was an orange glow coming from his hand. By straining her eyes and moving a candle a little closer, she saw the 'Ring' and it was magnificent. As she thought about what she had found, her eyes drifted to the face of the Dragon Lord and she was stunned. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. Taking a few calming deep breaths, she then began to reach out to Andreu.

'Andreu love, I need your help.'

'Teacher mine, is that you?'

'Yes, Andreu it is I and I really do need your help. Do you remember that vision dream with the fighting dragons and what looked like a Dragon Lord with a flaming sword?'

'Yes, Teacher dear, why do you want to know?'

'Before I can tell you that I need to know are you safe and can you go into a level three trance?'  Margè asked her student with a very serious mind tone.

'LEVEL THREE? Are you really okay teacher mine? You have always taught me that a level three trance is for emergencies or very serious work only!' Andreu asked with loads of concern in his mind voice.

'I am perfectly fine Andreu, it is just that I need you to see something through my eyes and you know that you need to be in a level three trance to do that.'  Margè answered sending love and assurance through their link.

'Okay teacher mine, I am safe we are in your cottage and Arli is already brewing the restorative tea. He has also fluffed up a pillow for my back and he has gotten a blanket to wrap me up with if I become chilled. I don't think that getting chilled will be a problem though as Sammy is sleeping in my lap, overheating maybe, but not chilling...'

'I will help both of you by keeping the link up and strong so all you two have to do is communicate. But don't take all day I want to nap...'

'SamMMMMMMMMY,' was all Andreu could send before Margè replied.

'Thank you, Sammy and Andreu please give my thanks and love to Arli. Now, are you ready to begin your trance?'  Margè inquired.

'He won't need the trance Margè, as I will be keeping the link so all he has to do is go to a second level link, then he will be able to see through your eyes. Will, that work as well?' Sammy asked Margè.

'Sammy, are you sure that you can handle keeping the link open and helping Andreu at the same time?' A very curious Margè inquired of her student's familiar.

'Oh two-legged teacher, I am not a two legs; I can easily handle both and chase meeses©Hanna Barbera at the same time!' Andreu's Kat sarcastically replied across the three-way link.

'Saaammmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,' was all Andreu could get out in his embarrassment.

'I don't know whether to be outraged or to say thank you. I think I will go with Thank You. Now can we start so Andreu can see what I want him to look at? I still have a lot of work to do here?'  Margè cautiously inquired across the link.

Viewing the document that Margè wanted him to see was actually anticlimactic with Sammy's help. For Andreu, it was as if he was Margè looking at the document and not at home hundreds of miles away.

'Yes, teacher mine that is the same ring that the rider was wearing in the vision. Now, why is it so important?' Andreu inquired across their link.

 Margè sent a smirk across the link before responding, 'That ring seems to control a lot of power in the Castle. I believe that the Dragon Earl uses that ring as proof that the Castle is his; it also may be the key to unlocking, even more, things in this amazing place...'

'But?'

'I have no idea where it is or even if it still exists, does that answer your question, you impertinent scamp?' Margè asked her now chortling student.

Before Andreu could respond Sammy sent, 'Nap Time' and broke the link. It took Andreu a few seconds to re-establish the link as he wasn't used to initiating them.

'Yes, teacher mine, that answers my question but how are we going to find out if the ring still exists after all this time?' Andreu questioned Margè.

Back at Castle Highmont and Joth's return:

Just' was very glad that Joth had returned and his timing couldn't have been better. Now Joth could go with him and greet all of the dignitaries that were arriving very shortly.

"Joth hon, as much as I would love to stay here in your arms forever, we need to be at the main entrance very soon. I will head on down there with J'ame and the rest and as soon as John can get you dressed presentably both of you need to be there." Just' then gave his love a hug and a big kiss.

As he headed out the door he turned and told Joth,

"Don't worry Cris said he will help, and you know Gus will be around soon. Now hurry." With that Just' was out the door.

"J'ame, Cris and I have a huge favour to ask you. If you say yes, it will be a big help to me. Also, if you say yes, I will practice my fencing skills an extra hour a week." Just' asked his bodyguard and friend as soon as they were in the corridor.

"Just' this must be a really big favour if you want to bribe me with more weapons practice. So out with it what is the favour?"

"Cris wants to link with you and me; in order for you to give me all the information you know on the dignitaries, we will be welcoming. In addition, Gus will be passing the info to Paladin and of course, you know I can't help but pass it on to Joth as well. Do you think you can do that for me, I mean for us?" Just' had turned and was looking J'ame directly in his eyes when he asked.

"Thank you Just', you came up with the perfect solution to my/our problem." He paused a moment as his answer had completely dumbfounded Just'.

"You see I was trying to figure out how to do exactly that, without making it obvious I was passing information to you. But how are you going to do that without getting that faraway look in your eyes?" J'ame responded to Just' quizzically.

"So, is that a yes?"

"If you can answer my question to my satisfaction. It wouldn't work at all for you, Joth and Rafe to all have glazed looks in your eyes, now would it?" J'ame turned the question back on his friend.

"That isn't going to be a problem; Cris said he would be nearby. Also, Gus, Misha, and Paladin will be part of the welcoming committee. With everyone so close by communicating mind to mind won't be a problem. Jonah is going to be holding Rafe's hand so that takes care of that problem as well. Does that answer your question sufficiently?" Just' smirkingly asked his bodyguard.

To say that the visiting dignitaries were surprised as they entered the main courtyard of Castle Highmont would be a huge misstatement. That they were absolutely stunned would be more on target. For starters, the Honor Guard that greeted them was a totally integrated Honor Guard. Thanks to Gustavo and many other dragons, all of the necessary soldiers and officers from the War Preparedness Drills had been ferried to the castle. With the help of every seamstress and laundry person in the castle, the Honor Guard was all in their dress uniforms, although some of them may not have been in their countries uniform. Of course, very few of the dignitaries would ever know that little fact. The Honor Guard was commanded on one side by General Dellus of the Roxian Army and on the other side by Colonel D'avid of the Elven Light Calvary. Captain Neal was acting as his father's Aide de Camp slash Bodyguard. In addition to the Honor Guard in the courtyard, The King and Queen along with the complete Privy Council and Court were backed by all King and Queen's Royal Guard along with Joth and Just's' Guards as well.

'We will show the rest of the planet that we aren't as backward as some people may believe.' Rafe thought to himself as he got ready to get the show on the road.

'I wonder how my new son is going handle this Dog and Pony Show, especially since he is in charge and doesn't know it...'

'Or does he?' William was shocked at the voice ringing in his head. He had until now never had anyone speak mind to mind to him. He knew about it of course but actually experiencing it was completely different. He had a sneaky suspicion who was trying to startle him, but there was no way it was going to show on his face. Luckily, he didn't have time to find out who it was because a trumpet flourish began, and the game was on.

With J'ame's help, Just' was able to send Jonah everything that Jonah and Rafe needed to know about each individual as the Seneschal introduced them.      

As each dignitary or entourage came forward, Jonah supplied Rafe the information needed to properly welcome them to Castle Highmont and the Kingdom of Erehwon. This included some personal information regarding their families for those who had them. Several of the delegations were shocked slightly because they didn't know that anyone outside of their delegation knew all of that information.

Once all of the introductions were finished and the appropriate pages and servants had been assigned to the visitors and the majority had been shown to their quarters. It was time for the delegation from the High Kingdom of Draconia to have a private meeting with Angie and Rafe in their quarters. However, it seems that Just' had something different planned.

"Your Majesties, since it is such a beautiful day; instead of meeting in a stuffy old room, I have ordered a light repast for us on the balcony outside of our family dining room. So, if you will follow me please, we can enjoy some wonderful food while we have our discussions." Just' then led the way hand in hand with Joth, followed closely by J'ame and everyone else. Joth was bursting with questions and probably anyone within the castle could 'hear' them.

Before Joth had a chance to 'ask' Just' what was going on; someone else gave him a few answers.

'He is just doing what you and your family have been training him to do. He has had my, Gus's, Misha, Paladin, your son's and Rafe and Angie's help as well. So, don't be surprised; plus, don't forget he also has J'ame to help him. Since J'ame knows almost everyone who has shown up and what protocol he doesn't know your rug rat does. Don't forget you ran off and left him to deal with all of this! So, chill out and go with the flow!'

Joth was so stunned he had no reply at all and instead he just gave Just' a quick peck on the cheek and sent his love across their link.

Several days earlier at the Castle:

The Master of Pages had just finished explaining what he the Seneschal and Jonah had come up with when Jonah and the Seneschal came walking in. They were followed by two guards carefully carrying the ornate chest. Rebekah's eyes opened wide at the sight; as she had never seen the chest.

"Jonah, do you know what you have there? I don't think that chest has been out of the vaults in decades?" Angie asked her new grandson.

"Yes, Gramma Angie it be 'The Sun and Dragons Chest' and it be weally, weally old. But it be impotant for my daddies cewomony." Jonah paused for a moment to catch his breath as he was a bit winded from his fast trip from the vaults.

"Okay, Baron and Count let's see what is in that chest that has my grandson so excited."

Instead of replying to the Queen, Denis and Ilú opened the chest and reached inside and began pulling a very ornate jewel-encrusted robe and then another just as encrusted. When the two had finished pulling the second robe out of the chest they paused for a moment, before closing the lid carefully.

While Jonah was pointing out what all of the encrusted ornamentations were Baron Ilú walked over to Angie and whispered something into her ear. Angie's smile lit up the room, but Jonah never even noticed.

"So now the little prince will be a little dragon as well," Angie whispered back to Ilú.     

It was decided to carefully place the robes back in the chest until they were needed. As everyone was busy talking; no one noticed that there was a slight golden glow out of a pocket of one of the robes.

On the way to the balcony:

As Just' led the group of family and dignitaries to the balcony, Joth was still trying to wrap his brain around what he had just witnessed.

'My shy rescuee, sure has broken out of his shell; for being a complete neophyte to Royal Protocol and Pageantry he did an awesome job. Definitely better than I could have done; and I have been trained all my to do what he just accomplished. Not only that but he did it without any help from me.' Joth paused briefly in his thoughts as the entourage rounded a corner on their way to their repast.

He smiled inwardly as he caught a glimpse of Thomaso decked out in his new finery. Joth had to take a second glance at Thomaso as there was something that wasn't quite right with his new Page Uniform. Suddenly it clicked, Thomaso was wearing the Forte Family colours but the piping around the borders was the Lennox Family Forest Green. However, the badge on the tunic was definitely the Forte Family Crest.

'I am not sure what your problem is or why you are surprised at how well Just' did? After all, not only did he have my help along with Gus, Misha and Paladin, he also had your parents, Nana, The Duchess and your son as well. If that wasn't enough, he could have had the help of everyone who works and lives in the castle. Now get your head on straight and start acting like a Crown Prince and go help Just'!'

'And I thought only Gus or John had the nerve to talk to talk to me like that. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot Deanna. [See Potters Village Chapter Four] I still can't get over how easily she threw me out of Potters Village and sent me home.' Joth shook his head at his thoughts and then hurried his pace a bit to catch up to his love.

Unbeknown to Joth, Just' was beginning to have doubts about how the rest of the day was going to go. However, then he thought, 'This is my home and if they don't like something, tough.'

Jonah chose that moment to grab Just's' hand and pulled him down so he could whisper something to him.

"It's okay Daddy Just', everybuddy will luv you."

Several of the nearby dignitaries heard the word 'Daddy' and to say the least they were a bit shocked.

Of course, everything couldn't be perfect all day. The trouble occurred because of the small size of the balcony, and the fact that several folks weren't paying attention when Just' extended the invitation. Just' had decided that only the Forte Family, the High King and Queen, the Elven King and Queen and Ambassador B'rad, would have their meal on the balcony. That was fine with almost everyone; J'ame stayed behind to see that everyone else was cared for. The problem started with the Commander of the High King's Royal Guard, who was joined vociferously by the Commander of the Elven Royal Guard. The Commander of the Elven Royal Guard was one of the elves who had absolutely no use for J'ame; and was loudly exclaiming to all, that he didn't have to take orders from a mere bodyguard! The High King's Commander was stating strongly that his duty required him to be at the High King's side at all times. Jonah chose that moment to come back in as he was going to try and cadge some 'Cinmon Crumbles' from Cook.

Luckily for all concerned Ambassador B'rad's sixth sense was tingling and he quickly excused himself and followed Jonah into the Family Dining Room. Jonah was just getting ready to tell off both commanders, for giving his J'ame such a bad time. As he was puffing out his chest and getting ready to open his mouth, he felt the light touch of a friendly hand on his shoulder, and he heard the whispered words of the Ambassador.

"Let me handle this Jonah, they have to listen to me. If they don't, I will let you and Gus at them. Okay?" Ambassador B'rad asked the young prince.

Jonah just nodded his head, never taking his glaring eyes off the two commanders.

"Commander Beignor and Commander Pawl that is enough! Neither you nor anyone else has the right or the need to be on that balcony now. The security precautions that are in place are more than enough to protect everybody; and I do mean everybody that is on the balcony now? Do you honestly think that King Rafaelo would allow his only grandson to be put in danger, let alone his liege?"

After a pause of a few seconds the Ambassador continued;

"I thought not, for your information gentlemen and ladies," The Ambassador was now addressing the entire room.

"There are two full wings of Royal Dragon Guards as well as three flights of armed War Eagles, guarding all of the airspaces around the castle. Each dragon not only has its usual armed rider, but an Elven Archer aboard as well. If that was not enough, every space in the castle that overlooks the balcony has a Royal Archer and a Royal Elven Archer in place. On top of that, there are two-armed War Eagles on the balcony as well. Don't even get me started on the ground forces surrounding the castle. It would take a large army and I do mean a very large army to hurt anyone on the balcony. Do you understand?"

"Yes SIR, of course, Sir," resounded across the room.

While everyone in the room was answering the incensed Ambassador, Jonah was tugging on Uncle B'rad's sleeve to get his attention.

"Yes, little one what is it?"

"Unca Bwad, Daddy Jot, and Jut's Guards be flying too and so is Gwampa William's, only they be flying so high nobody sees em. My fwiends Misha and Paladin be on the balcony."

"My nephew has just informed me that the Crown Prince, the Crown Prince Consort, and the Lord Mariscal's Guards are also flying a very high cover. Now everyone except for Commander Beigner and Commander Pawl please go about your business and enjoy the food in here." The Ambassador announced in a more relaxed tone of voice.

"Commander Pawl you are restricted to your quarters until the High King has time to deal with you. You know perfectly well how far out of line you were. I am sure that Captain Ranulf and a few of his men will gladly escort you to your quarters?"

"At once Ambassador," replied Ranulf who had just entered the dining room. Ranulf and two of his men then escorted the Commander out of the room before he could reply.

"Now Commander Beignor you owe Prince Jonah here an apology. Whether you meant to or not you directly disrespected him and his family. He is the Erehwonese Master of Protocol and the second in line for the throne of Erehwon behind the Crown Prince and the Crown Prince Consort." The Ambassador paused at the Commander's stunned looks.

The Commander's next actions surprised everyone in the room who was still watching. Without hesitating, the Commander knelt down and looking Jonah in the eye began apologizing.

"I accept your apowogy Commander, but you got to apowogize to Jamay as well. I will apowogize for you to Daddy Jut as this be his party." Jonah replied to the Commander staring right into his eyes.

Without rising from his knees, the commander replied;

"I will gladly apologize to J'ame and thank you for your understanding and also for apologizing to your father for me." The Commander replied calmly while putting out his hand for Jonah to shake.

Jonah shook his hand and then grabbing the Ambassador's hand turned and headed back to the balcony; all thoughts of 'Cinmon Crumbles' chased from his head.

The High King's Commander was as good as his word; he went over to J'ame and apologized to him before heading to his quarters for some needed contemplation.

Meanwhile on the balcony:

While the confrontation was going on in the Family Dining Room, everything on the balcony was going smoothly. The High King and Queen were amazed that Just' was so calm and collected. Especially as he wasn't born to this life; the High King ignoring the looks from his wife decided to ask the question.

"Just' how is it that someone from your position in life can act like a prince and be in charge like you are today?" Complete dead silence enveloped the balcony.

Joth had to be refrained by Just' as he was going to jump up and answer the High King and probably cause a royal incident.

As Just' was getting ready to respond, a familiar and no-nonsense voice rang out across the balcony.

"Don't answer that son, I will answer it you go sit by your grandma Mathilda and take Joth with you." Duke William told his newest son and son-in-law as he finished walking onto the balcony.

Bowing to Rafaelo and Angelina, the Duke spoke to them before addressing the High King.

"King Rafaelo and Queen Angelina please forgive me for what I am about to say; but I will not let anyone impugn my son, my family, yourselves or the kingdom."

"No forgiveness is necessary William as We know that you would never do or say anything that We would not do or say Ourselves. So please go ahead." Rafe replied as he was looking directly at King Maximilian Amodio.

"Your Royal Majesty Maximilian, if you had asked that question anywhere else you would be looking at the tip of my sword right now. As long as we have been friends, I have never known you to ask, or do something as insensitive as you just did." William took a deep breath before continuing to allow his mouth to warm up from the ice of his words.

"Before I continue with my response to your question, you need to look at the two War Eagles on the wall over there."

The High King turned and looked and what he saw unnerved him immensely. Both Misha and Paladin had mantled and were glaring directly at the High King. He got a very good look at their razor-sharp metal talons.      

Now that he definitely had the High King's attention William continued;

"For your information your 'Royal Majesty' my son Just' was taught by one of the best teachers ever trained by the Castle Highmont School and Highmont Abbey. She was personally instructed by the Arch Prelate Eduardo and by The Duchess. If that wasn't enough, I have personally verified his knowledge concerning the history of Erehwon. His mother also instructed him in protocol and how to behave in many different situations. He has had many other instructors as well as you will find out over the course of the next few days. He has also served as a teacher at his village school under the guidance of his mother. Under King Rafaelo's leadership, all of the children in Erehwon receive the same instruction as any child of the nobility. As you can now see your question was very misguided and insulting to the whole of Erehwon. Now, will you apologize to my son and the Kingdom of Erehwon."

As the High King started to respond, his wife, Queen Elizabet calmly put her hand over his mouth and began responding herself.

"Your Eminence and Royal Highness's, We do humbly request your forgiveness for Our ill-chosen question. My husband isn't as familiar as I am with the quality and depth of instruction given to the children of Erehwon. What he was trying to ask Prince Just', was it the education he received that allowed him to perform as masterly as he did today. I know he did not intend to insult anyone intentionally; unfortunately, my wonderful husband does occasionally suffer from a case of 'foot in mouth' disease. In this case, he put both feet in his mouth at the same time. Prince Just' will you please forgive my husband for his ill-chosen choice of words?"

Just' turned and looked at his father and then at his father-in-law and they both nodded yes.

"Your Royal Majesties, I do forgive you as I now understand the intent of the question. I am sure that my father William and my father-in-law Rafe forgive you as well. The complete answer to your question is too complex to go into at this time. However, the basic answer is yes; I was able to do a lot of what I have done today thanks to the instruction of my mother and my other teachers including Cleric Tomas." Just' couldn't go on as tears began to fall at the mention of his mother and Tomas.

It took Just' a few moments to calm down and it was Joth taking him off to the side that finally did the trick.

Jonah returns to the balcony, just after the High King found out what a major faux pas he had made.

Jonah then whispered in J'ame's ear what he needed J'ame to bring him. Once J'ame started on his errand, Jonah went over to his grandpa William, and then explained what he needed as well. William gave Jonah a hug and a kiss and then asked Jonah's Uncle Neal to get what Jonah had requested.

Neal and J'ame arrived back on the balcony at approximately the same time. J'ame was accompanied by Thomaso who had somehow connived his way into helping. J'ame was carrying what looked like a place setting of Chima or Ceramic. Thomaso, was carrying mugs of a similar design and material. Neal was carrying something covered up; and was accompanied by Corporal Logi with a similarly sized object, covered as well.

When Jonah saw the two arrive, he signaled them to follow him. He then made his way over to where the High King and Queen were still seated, along with King Rafaelo and Queen Angelina. Unbeknownst to Jonah, he was being discretely followed by William and Eduardo.

Just before they arrived at their destination, Jonah stopped. took a deep breath and then straightened his clothing. Once he was done, he put on a fairly serious face and headed into the lion's den.

As Jonah was nearing where the Kings and Queens were sitting the movement was noticed by the High Queen Elizabet; well actually her bodyguard/servant standing directly behind her.

"Ah Master Jonah, how nice it is to see you again."

Not replying directly, Jonah did a perfect court bow to the High King, but with a smooth sweep of his arm included all of their Majesties. While Jonah was performing his perfection of a bow, Ambassador B'rad had reappeared on the after finishing the chastisement of the two errant officers. Catching Jonah's bow out of the corner of his eye, the Ambassador decided to head that way as well.

'This looks like it could be interesting;' thought the Ambassador as he made his way toward Jonah. As he headed that way, he was remembering the reports of the dinner where Jonah had verbally destroyed the Trade Minister of Oracelum.Jonah had verbally destroyed the Trade Minister of Oracelum. (" Later that evening at the Formal Welcoming Banquet for the Trade Minister of Oracelum; Baron Il&#250; announced Just' and Jonah.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"His Royal Highness, The Prince Consort Just', Earl of Dragonsholme, Baron of Potters Village, Minister of Tolerance and Diversity, Co-Minister of Education and Justiciar Prelate acting for His Royal Majesty King Rafaelo.\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Unfortunately, for the Mister of Trade of Oracelum, all the introduction he heard was 'Consort' he then saw red!<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"How dare they snub me like that I have full Plenipotentiary powers from our government. We will just have to see how the negotiations go now. I wonder how they would like to go without their precious wine or Lager barrels for a year?\" The Minister mumbled to his wife who, to her credit, tried to explain who Just' actually was but her husband was far too stubborn to listen to a 'mere woman'.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">While the minister was busy mumbling to his wife, the Seneschal finished introducing Jonah and Captain Neal Campbell.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Before either Baron Il&#250; or Just' could make an opening announcement, the Mister from Oracelum spoke up very snidely.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Your Highness, I would like to know why the Kingdom of Erehwon has chosen to so rudely snub the government of Oracelum?\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">A very confused Just' queried; \"And how have we offended your government, Minister?\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Just' calmly reached over lightly touched Jonah's shoulder and whispered;<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Wait until we know what the problem is, Son.\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">The Trade Minister from Oracelum paused for a few minutes to consider his answer, unfortunately for him; he would have been much wiser to think about if for a few days.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"By your presence here instead of the King! Being greeted by a lowly consort is extremely offensive to Me and My Government. My government has one of the earliest treaties in existence with the Kingdom of Erehwon and we deserve better treatment than this.\" The pompous windbag finished his rant at last and then sat there glaring at Just'. The idiot never even noticed Neal sitting across from him as Neal's hand slowly dropped onto the hilt of his very serviceable dagger.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">A sudden and complete silence overcame the room even the pages and servants were frozen in shock. Baron Il&#250; started to respond, as did several other Privy Council Members and Nobles of the Court. Just' silenced them all by pointing to Jonah; Just' then whispered to Jonah.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"He is all yours, Son, I will help you if needed but you can have all of the fun this time. Misha and I will help you with the big words.\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Suddenly a chilling young voice rang out through the chamber dripping with as much sarcasm and condescension as a six-year-old Draconisian could muster.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Minister, your ignorance of Erehwonese Royalty and Customs not to mention Protocol is app... appalling. Did you even bother to read the scroll you were given this morning when you arrived? Did you even read your Official Invitation to this Banquet in you hon...or?\" Jonah had a very hard time getting 'honour' out of his mouth he was so upset that anyone would say such a thing about Just', let alone his father now.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"By your ignorance and your actions, you have nearly precipitated war between our two nations.\" With those words, the Minister tried to stand up and say something, but his wife pulled him back into his seat and then placed the point of her knife on his hand. Everyone at the table could hear her stage whispered words.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Shut up you fool before you get us killed. I tried to explain earlier but you had to prove you are a Big Shot Man!\" Luckily, for him, the Minister actually shut his mouth.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"The 'lowly consort' as you called him just happens to be THE CROWN PRINCE CONSORT! In addition, in Erehwon, he has all of the Power, Standing and Responsibilities of the Crown Prince. If that wasn't enough, he is the Earl of Dragonsholme, Baron of Potters Village, Minister of Tolerance and Diversity, and Co-Minister of Education. He is the highest-ranking member of the Privy Council and son of The Lord Mariscal Duke William Campbell.\" Jonah paused to catch his breath, as he was really getting angry. His voice was cracking a bit, but the most surprising thing was how cold it sounded; Misha and Just' were pouring energy into Jonah's Empathy and projecting utter disdain more suited to a much older person.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jonah continued his rant before the Minister could recover, \"and those are just his Non-Secular Titles! He is also the Justiciar Prelate and as such answers only to the Arch Prelate of Erehwon. He is here representing the King and has all the powers of the King himself! You have insulted not only Crown Prince Just' but the Kingdom of Erehwon and its Clergy as well. Not only that but you have also insulted his family and his brother Captain Neal Campbell who is sitting across from you. And in case you haven't noticed the two War Eagles now glaring at you, let me introduce you to them. The one of the left is named Paladin and he is the King's War Eagle and stayed to support Prince Just' and the other War Eagle is named Misha and is Prince Just's!\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">By now, the idiotic Minister had turned deathly pale and was only a short step away from a heart attack. His wife decided that it was time once and for all to show her husband that he didn't know everything, and it was very dangerous to go on first impressions when dealing with other countries.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">The wife then addressed Jonah only not by name, as she wanted her husband to know beyond a doubt that age was not always a judge of someone's status.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Your Highness, would you please do me the honour of informing my husband the Ex Trade Minister who it was that read him the riot act and so eloquently gave him his protocol lesson?\" The Minister's wife's voice was very different than her husband's as she was very respectful.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jonah looked to his dad to see if he should respond; Just' gave him a slight nod and a warm smile.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"I am Prince Jonah Timoty Campbell-Forte son of Crown Prince Joth and Crown Prince Just', Heir Apparent, grandson of their Majesties King Rafaelo and Queen Angelina of Erehwon, and Master of Protocol for the Kingdom of Erehwon. Does that answer your question, Ma'am?\" Jonah stated his reply very calmly and then leaned over to get a hug from Just'.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Thank you very much, Prince Jonah and your Majesty, I apologize for my husband and my country. If someone could escort my husband to our quarters, with your permission, I would like to finish dinner. I will be taking over control of the negotiations if that pleases you also?\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"How do we know that your government will accept you as Head of your delegation? Will they honour any agreements you sign?\" As Just' was asking his questions, J'ame and a few guards were busy escorting the surprisingly complacent husband out of the chamber.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Your majesty, I can guarantee that will not be a problem for several reasons, First, my Brother is the head of our government. Second, my family and I own Seventy-Five Percent of the forests that the Barrel Staves come from. And finally, yet importantly, I own the foundry where the rings to hold the barrels together are formed. I think we can do business if you will forgive me for my husband; he will be making a formal apology tomorrow before he heads home. If he is lucky, my brother won't throw him in jail he will just annul our marriage.\" The wife bowed her head politely before she continued.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"My husband was only given the position with the proviso that he be guided by me and I would always have the final word. He is actually a very loving man and a very good salesman which is why we are together. Our government realizes that not all governments will accept a woman at face value in spite of what Erehwon and Draconisia have decreed and done. My husband will be in a world of hurt if our marriage is annulled as all of the wealth in our family comes from my side. I believe he will be very apologetic tomorrow, but I am still sending him home. I think we should let the banquet begin before the Chefs get upset.\"<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">\"Your apology is accepted and as my son's stomach just reminded me it is time to eat.\" Just' acknowledged with a slight bow of his head while Jonah tried not to giggle out loud failing miserably of course. Before Just' had finished speaking servants began bringing in loads of mouth-watering repasts.<\/p>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;") 'This could be another one of those times,' was his final thought as he arrived, just as the fireworks began going off.

Jonah's bow, and the words and their tone as they came out of Jonah's mouth were a shock to the High King and Queen. They had only seen the cute and cuddly grandson Jonah, not the righteous defending son, Prince Jonah!

"Your Majesties," were the cool and very polite words that followed Jonah's bow. Before anyone could respond, Jonah continued. Rafe and Angie were ready to respond over Jonah's voice, however, the negatory head shakes from William and Eduardo stopped them.

"You still really don't know who or what my Dad Just' is. You only know the politi... royal things about him. You don't know what a kind caring person he really is." Jonah paused to catch his breath.

'Don't worry Jonah, you are doing fine. Your Grandpa William is tickled pink, and your good friend Eduardo sends Draconis's blessing to you. 'Goos', Misha and Paladin will help you if needed; but we don't think you will need us.' Cris sent to Jonah.

Before Jonah spoke again, he nodded to his Uncle Neal. Neal uncovered the item he was carrying and carefully handed it to High King Maximilian. Corporal Logi followed suit only he handed his item to High Queen Elizabet.

Needless to say, the High King and Queen had absolutely no idea what was happening; or why they were given the objects they were now holding.

"Your Majesties, the item you are now holding are very special and very impotant. They are the epi..t..o.. best examples of pottery on the planet." Jonah had to stop as he was running out of words he could pronounce; even with the mental help, he was receiving.

"Your Majesties, I know what Prince Jonah was trying to say and so I am going to help him out," Eduardo announced as he stepped forward. He then put his hand on Jonah's shoulder and gave him a loving squeeze.

"King Maximilian, the ewer you are holding is the first of its kind and is filled with the Queen Mother's finest vintage Sangiovese. Queen Elizabet, your ewer is a direct descendant of the one your husband is holding. Yes, it is smaller but that is by design; its smaller size in no way diminishes its importance today. Your ewer holds the finest Porto ever produced and is the personal property of Crown Prince Consort Just'. King Maximilian, the ewer you are holding belongs to Duke Campbell and this is the first time in years that it has been seen in public." Eduardo took a moment to make sure that he still had the High King and Queen's undivided attention. Seeing that he did, he continued;

"However, what they contain is only part of why they are so special and so important. King Maximilian, the ewer you are holding is the Artisan Masterwork of The Master Potter of The Kingdom of Erehwon. Queen Elizabet, the ewer you are holding is also the Artisan Masterwork of The Master Potter of The Kingdom of Erehwon."

"King Maximilian, please very carefully turn over your ewer and read out loud the name on the seal on the bottom."

The High King still in shock did as requested; "Master Potter of the Kingdom of Erehwon, James Lennox." Before the High King could say anything else, Eduardo spoke again.

"Queen Elizabet, please do the same thing."

The High Queen, being no fool had already started turning over her ewer and she ringingly announced;

"The Master Potter of The Kingdom of Erehwon, Justin Lennox."

"Yes, Justin Lennox is the son of James Lennox and there is only a few months difference in the age of the ewers. J'ame and Thomaso please place your items on the table in front of their Majesties." J'ame and Thomaso did as requested, and then stepped back.

"Your Royal Majesties what you see before you is the dinnerware commissioned for Prince Joth's 16th Birthday. I would like you to carefully examine each piece without turning them over."

The High King and Queen complied with Eduardo's request in silence and with wide-open eyes. They were completely amazed by the quality and beauty of what they were seeing. They had nothing that came even close back home.

While the High King and Queen were examining the dinnerware; Neal went and retrieved his brother from where he was being groomed by Misha, while he was trying to hold a conversation with Colonel D'avid. They arrived just as Eduardo was finishing speaking.

"What you are examining was designed, created and crafted by a fifteen-year-old Journeyman Potter. Those pieces were his first Masterwork; the ewer was his second and became his Artisan Masterwork in honour of his father." Eduardo squeezed Jonah's shoulder and whispered.

"Your turn now!"

Jonah stepped forward, and repeated his bow and then calmly and clearly announced.

"Your Majesties may I present to you Justin Lennox, Master Potter of the Kingdom of Erehwon, better known as my Dad, Crown Prince Consort Just'!"

Meanwhile at Dragonsholme:

Everything was going along swimmingly; Margè was settled in and was just about finished setting up her Herbarium to her satisfaction, when she and the Village Healer's Daughter were interrupted by a page.

"Healer Margè you are needed in the foyer; your assistants are here."

"Okay Sean, we will be right there."

"Vena, do you know anything about any assistants?"

"Sorry Margè, I am in the dark as much as you are."

When Margè and Vena arrived at the castle's foyer, they were surprised to see not one or two healers, but six novices. They were all in their late teens or early twenties. 'What do I need with six assistants when I already have Vena and Andreu?' Was the thought going through Margè's head.

"Healer Margè, my name is Florencia Ruiseñor and I am the Senior Novice of this group. I can see by your expression that you had no idea we were coming. All I can tell you is that a message arrived at Convento Mattias Aoire asking for six of the best novices in all of the disciplines to be sent to Castle Dragonsholme as of yesterday. So here we are the best and brightest novices of the Convento; and before you ask yes, we aren't the oldest, just the best. In fact, as you can probably surmise, I am the youngest of the group. However, I was the only novice at the Convento who can also heal animals. I was told that I would be apprenticed to someone named Andreu when he arrives here. The strange thing is that the message also said I might have to go to Castle Highmont to meet him. So, as you can tell we probably know as much about why we are here as you do." Florencia's explanation didn't do much to answer any of Margè's questions.

"Thank you, Florencia, for that information, and I would like to welcome you all to Castle Dragonsholme the Castle of the Crown Prince Consort of Erehwon. This is my assistant Vena and hopefully, between the two of us, we can find you accommodations. Honestly, though I don't know why I need so many assistants." Margè welcomed the group as the Châtelaine arrived at the foyer.

"Healer Margè, I have their accommodations ready for them. If they will just introduce themselves, I will assign pages to take them to their rooms. Florencia, you will be sharing the suite with Vena that is next to Healer Margè's."

"But Châtelaine, I need to go home and help my mother," Was Vena's response to that statement.

"That may have been the plan this morning but as of now, you are Margè's number one assistant until Andreu arrives. Florencia, you will be Vena's right hand. Vena, your mother has informed me that she is aware of the change in plans and has sent most of your clothing here. In fact, it is being placed in your room as we speak. Margè, you want to know how I knew to have the rooms ready when you didn't even know that you had more assistants arriving. Well, all that I can say is that is the will of Draconis. After lunch, I returned to my office and a roll of parchment that I had placed in my safe days ago was sitting on my desk. That parchment had all the information about your new assistants. One of the reasons that there are so many is according to the parchment you will be spending a lot of your time away from here; Andreu won't be spending much time here either. One of your new assistants will be going to help Arli as Andreu's replacement. He is from the village just above Andreu's. Also, one of your assistants will eventually be assigned to Potters Village. Which one of you is Josiah Minton?" Jane of Dragonsholme inquired of the novices.

The oldest of the three males stepped forward;

"I am ma'am why do you ask?"

"Because once Margè says that you are trained enough to go on your own you are the one who will be assigned to Potters Village. Before you start whining about being assigned to just a village, you need to know something. Potters Village is the home of the last two Master Potters to the Kingdom of Erehwon and if the rumours are correct, the current Master Potter as well. From the records that were listed on the parchment, you were a Journeyman Potter before you were sent to the Convento Mattias Aoire for your Healer Training?" The Châtelaine explained and questioned.

"Yes, I was, but what does that have to do with anything?"

"Everything and nothing!" A now exasperated Châtelaine replied.

"Josiah!!!!!!!!! You numbskull, you are being handed a plum assignment, everything you have ever wanted or dreamed of. You are always moping around and complaining that you still want to create pottery and become a master. But you don't want to give up healing! Isn't that right?" Florencia asked Josiah as she smacked the back of his thick skull. [NCIS Rules]

"So, I could do both. be a Healer and a Potter?" Josiah inquired of the Châtelaine.

"I believe that is the plan, the village is small enough that it doesn't need a full-time Healer. However, the Lennox Family Pottery Shoppe is always in need of competent potters. That way you will be able to learn from the person whom I am assured will be the next Master Potter of Erehwon, Robyn Lennox. In fact, it is her cousin who is the new Earl of Dragonsholme; he is also still The Master Potter to the Kingdom. We may just have two Master Potters to the Kingdom. Just' is also the Crown Prince Consort and Baron of Potters Village, his birthplace. So, you see you are actually being given a great honour." The Châtelaine's response finally got through Josiah's thick skull.

"Healer Margè, I will be your best student and assistant and I will make you proud. I want to learn everything you can teach me as fast as I can, that way I can get to learn more about pottery quicker. Florencia, you are absolutely right all of my dreams just came true." Josiah replied with a smile that could have lit the whole castle.

Back to the Balcony:       

"Prince Jonah do you mean to tell me that Prince Just' made this dinnerware all by himself? I find that surprising; since he was supposed to be teaching at the same time. His father must have helped him a lot." Questioned King Maximilian who obviously still didn't get it.

Before anyone had a chance to answer, there were two loud War Eagle screeches that got everyone's attention.

Rafe decided to put an end to the discussion, for the last time. "Old 'FRIEND' you seem to be under some kind of belief that Just' doesn't deserve to be part of our Family or a ruler of The Kingdom of Erewhon. I will put it to you in words that even you can understand. My son-in-law is one of the most loyal, intelligent, caring and honest people around. My Son Joth was ready to abdicate his position and leave the castle if he couldn't have Just' as his Consort. If you had opened your eyes and paid attention to the men in his Royal Guard, you would have seen that it is made up of all officers and noncoms. In fact, several members of his guard outrank the Captain of his guard. Not only that but he has gone through more physical and mental anguish, than most people three times his age. Not only that, how many people not born to royalty can say that they have trained a War Eagle. How many people are also the rider of a King Dragon of The Royal Dragons of Venezel? I think it is time for Angie and me to go and prepare for tomorrow."

"No Rafe, it is Maximillian and I that are going to leave please stay and enjoy your family. Max and I are going to have a long talk on our way back to our quarters we will see you in the morning." The Queen then turned to Just, "Goodnight Crown Prince Consort Just' you are a truly amazing person. Don't worry about Max he will come around and we will see you for breakfast in the morning as well."

As the High King and Queen left Just' gave the High Queen a quick bow and said, "Thank you, your Majesty, I will see you in the morning. Have a good night."

The Coronation Wear Surprise:

Joth and Just' were very surprised when John and Stephan began helping them into their Coronation Wear. They were expecting to wear the ornate court clothing that they had to suffer through several fittings for. Instead, they were putting on overtunics and breeches of a white material, unlike anything they had ever worn before. The material felt light and airy, yet it had a spongy feel to it as well. They both felt each other's questioning thoughts through their link, 'Goos' and Cris would only reply with 'Goos's' ubiquitous, 'Que Sera, Sera'. Even the thoughts that they were receiving from Jonah through the dragon link were of surprise. The feelings from Jonah were slightly different from their own, Jonah's emotions were more along a change of plans than a shock at the new clothing. Jonah was being helped by D'rryl who was evidently used to the type of clothing they were about to wear. Neither Joth nor Just' were aware of the honour that their son had arranged for them. In fact, Jonah wasn't quite sure about the white clothing either.

Somehow, Mistress Anne the Head Housekeeper and Seamstress with D'rryl's help had found the correct material and with the help of her assistant seamstresses had created the white under clothing. It was quite propitious that D'rryl was exactly the same size as Jonah.

Several days earlier: 

When D'rryl was being fitted he casually asked where the white underclothing was? Mistress Anne and her assistant seamstresses looked at each other in consternation.

"What white underclothing?" Mistress Anne asked D'rryl as there was nothing like that in the trunk with the rest of the coronation clothing.

"It is the special clothing that is worn under the consorting robes. It pwotects the wearer from the robes. It is made from this spongy white stuff," D'rryl told Mistress Anne.

"D'rryl, please tell me as much as you can about the white cloth like how thick it is, what it feels like? Anything that you can tell us will be very helpful." Mistress Anne asked Jonah's young bodyguard, page, and friend.

Several minutes and quite a few questions later Mistress Anne knew as much as she was going to learn from D'rryl. She then sent D'rryl to get a drink while they figured out what they were going to do. They had found out that the material was white, fluffy/spongy, didn't stretch much, and was very light.

D'rryl arrived back with his drink at the same time that Marilyn, one of the youngest seamstresses did, pushing a cart with the ladies' teas and juices.

"I forgot to tell you that the underclothing helps keep you cool under the heavy robes," D'rryl told those in the room.

While the seamstresses were trying to ascertain what material they could use, Marilyn, spoke up,

"What about those rolls of that funny white stuff at the back of our supply closet?"

"Do you mean that stuff we wanted to use as blankets, but we decided that it was too thin? Mistress Anne replied with a question of her own.

At Marilyn's nod of her head Mistress Anne spoke again,

"Don't just stand there Marilyn, go and get me a piece of that material and we will see what young Master D'rryl thinks about it.

Marilyn didn't bother to reply she just picked up her sewing basket and proceeded with her errand.

As D'rryl prepared to be stuck with pins for the umpteenth time, Mistress Anne called a temporary halt.

"We need to wait until Marilyn, returns with her swatch of fabric, as we may need to let the robes out a bit. That depends on how thick the fabric is, and whether Master D'rryl thinks it will work."

Her assistant seamstresses agreed, and they all started working on their embroidery, and knitting. The ladies had just started working on their piecework, when Marilyn, returned. She had her sewing basket in one hand and a fairly large swatch of white fabric. She carefully put her basket down and then with both hands handed the fabric to Mistress Anne. Who then opened up the swath of material that had been folded twice before being rolled up. Which meant it was actually three thickness thick before being unfolded.

D'rryl made his way over to Mistress Anne as she was getting a feel for the fabric.

"That's it, that's the stuff to make the underclothing," D'rryl exclaimed.

"Okay ladies, we have our work cut out for us, we need patterns, Lance and Ranulf for fitting the new underclothing, and then to check the fitting of the robes, and mantles over the underclothing. D'rryl you are done, for now, I will send someone for you when we need you again. Don't worry about Jonah, Cris and 'Goos' will keep him busy." Mistress Anne finished her instructions and then started estimating how much material she would need. D'rryl was completely forgotten.

Meanwhile, D'rryl was just standing there, shocked at the abrupt but polite dismissal. He was still trying to figure out how Mistress Anne could talk to 'Goos' and Cris, when he heard the hour bell chime and realized that he needed to catch up with Jonah, before Jonah got into trouble or came looking for him. D'rryl had begun to understand why John, Stephan and some of the Palace Guards were so happy that he was now Jonah's Keeper. D'rryl had never known such an energetic and mischievous youngling. There wasn't a mean bone in Jonah's body until someone maligned or threatened his family. Everyone that had ever seen Jonah's protective side had come off the worse for it.

D'rryl was just in time because Jonah had just finished his lessons and it was time to head to the Castle Library; so, Jonah could continue his protocol lessons with his Daddy Just' and D'rryl. This was their last 'Official Lesson' before all the guests invaded the castle. Draconis was staying out of things and leaving Just's' lessons in the hands of her young protégé. The second that they held their lessons in the Castle Library had nearly brought the castle down around their ears. Jonah had decided that he needed some help from one of his and Just's' friends. So, Jonah in his naïveté and secure in his position as Master of Protocol in his mind at least, invited Misha to join them in the library. However, there was one small fly in the ointment, Jonah had forgotten to clear it with the Castle Librarian! Now War Eagles in the castle were nothing new because Paladin had, had the run of the castle for years. However, he had never set talon or wing in the Castle Library. The librarian had finally found the reference book that Jonah had requested; she had just entered the small nook where the lessons were being held and caught sight of Misha on the perch that Jonah had brought in. Her appearance was announced by a very loud scream that caused the castle walls to shudder. The next sounds that anyone heard, assuming they could still hear was the thud of the reference book hitting the ground, followed by librarian falling into a nearby chair. Just' quickly went over to assist the stricken librarian. As Just' reached the librarian she began to regain consciousness and began muttering,

"War Eagles in my library!" Over and over. Suddenly she opened her eyes and saw Just' and began imitating a fish.

"Your Highness, Just' sir. . ."

"It's okay Mistress Teri, my name is Just', not your highness, I am sorry that seeing Misha frightened you. From your reaction, it would seem that my son Jonah didn't let you know or ask permission for Misha to be here? I will make sure that won't happen again and I am sure that he will be apologizing shortly to you. However, someone else would like to apologize to you first if that is alright with you. Can you look at Misha without causing you more distress?"

Mistress Teri could hardly believe her ears, the Crown Prince Consort was asking if someone could apologize to her. She started stammering out a reply and then the librarian in her emerged.

"I. . . uh. . . it wasn't Misha himself that shocked me it was just seeing a War Eagle in my library without a by your leave. Especially, here in the Ancient Records Section. Just because that young scamp of a son of yours has free reign of the library doesn't mean he didn't need to ask my permission."

"Mistress Teri, if he is a scamp as you call him why does he have free reign of such an important room? Just' inquired cutting the librarian off before she could go after Jonah.

"Because he was here with his Nana and he began reading titles out loud that I couldn't translate. I found out later that he not only could read very well, but he could read several languages including some that I couldn't. Ever since then he has helped me whenever I had a book that I couldn't translate. So, I let him go wherever he wanted. While I may call him, a scamp he really is a well-behaved youngling, a bit energetic and rambunctious at times, but usually well behaved. I just can't let him know how special he is."

While Just' and Teri were talking Misha was slowly and carefully making his way over to them. Misha then tried to hide behind Just', he then tried to sneak his head around Just' to sneak a look at Just' but got caught.

"Mish, I am sorry that I screamed and frightened you. It wasn't your fault, I just didn't expect to see a War Eagle in this room. I only expected to see Jonah and maybe Pri... I mean Just'. Will you forgive me?" Teri asked Misha confidently.

Just' then stepped aside so that Teri could see Misha clearly. Misha clucked a few times and then bowed to Teri and clucked again. Misha then looked over to where Jonah was trying to hide behind D'rryl, and gave an imperative screech. Although D'rryl couldn't speak to Misha, he knew that Jonah was in trouble. D'rryl then pulled a recalcitrant Jonah in front of him.

"Mistress Teri, Misha apologizes to you for inadvertently scaring you as well. He says that you aren't at fault. The one that is at fault is the chick of his chick; he also says that he will make sure that the chick of his chick behaves like he should in the future. Misha considers me his chick and Jonah my chick. I will also be reminding him of his manners. If he is lucky, Nana won't find out about his error in judgement and box his ears. However, in Jonah's defense, he was just trying to help me with all of the protocol that I have to learn. Even so, he should have asked your permission first. Right Son?" Just' relayed Misha's thoughts and questioned his son.

D'rryl let everyone know where he stood by shoving Jonah forward slightly and saying,

"Your turn make it right!"

Jonah walked over to where his dad and Misha were standing. He then stood next to Misha and began apologizing,

"Mama Teri, I am sorry that I caused Misha to scare you. I didn't mean for that to happen. Misha stop it!" Jonah started giggling before finishing his apology because Misha had begun preening Jonah's hair.

Teri, had to stifle a laugh at the scene and decided that Jonah had apologized enough. She was sure that he would always ask in the future.

"Prince Jonah, I accept your apology, however, you did break the rules and even though you are young you still have to pay the penalty!"

Everyone in the room was standing perfectly still at Teri's words. Poor Jonah was beginning to shake a bit. Teri looked over at Just' who nodded his head.

"Jonah for the next month, once a week instead of flying with 'Goos' . . ."

Teri had to stop as her words nearly caused Jonah to blurt out something, but a quick nip from Misha and a stern look from his Daddy Just' silenced him immediately.

"As I was saying instead of flying with Gustavo you will come here and read to the younglings. Is that clear Prince?"

Just' was trying very hard not to let Jonah see him smile, because the punishment was also a reward. Jonah loved reading to other people, especially to other younglings.

Jonah's face dropped at first and he almost started to cry, but then he realized that even though he was being punished, that Mama Teri still loved him.

"Yes, Mama Teri, I unnerstand   and I will ask next time..."

Whatever else Jonah was about to say was stopped as Stephan arrived and told them that it was time to get cleaned up for dinner.

Baron Ilú's Coronation/Consorting Preparation

The Seneschal had heard how the High King had demeaned Just' and had decided to do something about it. He had several meetings with his staff, and once they had worked out the details, he went to The Duchess. Ilú knew that Mathilda would do anything for her newest grandson.

When Ilú had finished laying out his plan for the Coronation/Consorting Celebration, Mathilda told one of her Ladies-in-waiting to bring Eduardo to the King and Queens sitting room, now, and not to let the Arch Prelate dilly dally. Mathilda didn't wait for a response she dragged the Baron bodily out of her sitting room to see Rafe and Angie.

When Mathilda and Baron Ilú arrived outside of the King and Queens sitting room the guards on the door, thought for about one second before opening the door and getting out of the way.

Angie and Rafe had just finished discussing the situation of the High King and his treatment of Just'. The problem was that there was absolutely no way to uninvite the High King from the ceremony. As soon as Mathilda and Ilú started explaining what Ilú wanted to do, Angie asked them to wait while she sent for Jonah and Mistress Anne. Angie then continued speaking,

"That will give that lazy Eduardo more time to get here."

Thanks to the intervention of Draconis, all three invitees arrived at nearly the same time. It seems that Draconis had spoken to Eduardo and he had met Mathilda's Lady-in-waiting halfway to the Castle. Cris had spoken to Stephan nearly causing the young page to need a new pair of breeches. Stephan had dutifully escorted Mistress Anne to the meeting and then attempted to leave. Angie told him to stop, she turned to Jonah, whom Cris had also spoken to, she then looked directly into her grandson's eyes and said,

"Jonah please 'speak' to your Daddy Just' and tell him that you and Stephan are spending some quality bonding time with your grandparents."

When Jonah's eyes glazed over for only a few seconds, Angie's suspicions were confirmed; Draconis, Cri, Gus, and probably Misha and Paladin as well were keeping their noses into anything and everything that concerned Just'.

"Grandma Angie, Daddy Just' said okay and to tell you 'thank you'. He didn't say what for, he also said to let him know if I and Stephan were going to eat with you,"

Was Jonah's reply to his grandmother.

"Tell your Daddy thank you as well."

Jonah got the strangest look and his face, and his eyes glazed over quite a bit longer this time, and when he spoke again his voice wasn't quite his,

"Grandma, Daddy Just' heard you, and Grandma, Draconis says 'Thank You' as well." 

When those in the room heard Jonah's pronouncement, they knew that they were doing the right thing. Ilu's plan was simplicity itself, and in no way subtle. What they had planned was going to hit the High King right between the eyes and hit him hard. What they planned on doing was to reverse the colours on all of the decorations. Mistress Anne gulped at the huge amount of work that entailed, nonetheless, she agreed wholeheartedly to the plan. Instead of the Maroon of House Forte being the dominant colour the Forest Green of House Lennox would dominate; and for every crest of House Forte, there would be two of House Lennox. The Kingdom of Erehwon would show the High King in no uncertain terms what they thought of Prince Consort Just'. If the decorations and the place settings weren't enough to convey that message; the clothing that Just' and Joth would change into after the ceremony definitely would. Of course, none of the planners were aware of just how much an impact the Consorting Robes would have. Joth's clothes would be predominantly Forest Green while Just's' would be predominantly Maroon. Mistress Anne and Mathilda excused themselves to go and get all of the necessary clothing altered. Mathilda was lending Mistress Anne all of her seamstresses and embroiderers.  When the two ladies had left, the meeting got down to the nitty-gritty. Jonah suggested that when his two daddies entered the Grand Marquee, that his Daddy Just' be announced first. Baron Ilú got a huge grin on face, Jonah continued speaking,

"Daddy Just' should carry his ma... big stick thingy..."

"What I think Prince Jonah was trying to say was that Just' should carry his Mace of Office as the Justiciar Prelate. I think that it a great idea, his Mace and the Coronation Robes will definitely be sending a message. The Mace that Jonah is referring to is nearly as tall as Just' and is quite thick and ornately entwined with dragons, it is topped with a good-sized fire-breathing dragon with its wings partially spread. That Mace is probably as old as the coronet that Just' will be wearing." Eduardo came to Jonah's rescue.

Baron Ilú began to speak,

I had the same idea about announcing Just' first, however, I didn't want to be guilty of Lèse-majesté. So, with your Royal Permission, I will announce Just with all of his titles not just as Crown Prince Consort Presumptive."

Rafe then spoke up,

"That's a good idea, nevertheless, I think we need to go one step further, Just' and Joth will enter first, followed by Angie and me, then Mathilda and William. Eduardo and Artur when you two enter, head to Just' and recognize him before taking your seats."

As Rafe finished speaking the chime of the celestial harp was heard, followed by a Draconic paean of exultation.

Rafe looked around the room and saw nothing but grins and smiles, and so Operation Just' had begun.

The High King was in for a major shock and his wife would probably be telling him "I Told You So!" over and over.

The Final Coronation Dinner Preparations

The preparations for the two ceremonies and the Celebratory Dinner and Ball were well underway when the orders to change the decorations arrived. There was a bit of grumbling and moaning and groaning. However, the grumblings and groanings quickly were replaced with cheers as what was being changed sunk in. The changes were quickly and happily made, and within a few hours, everything was back on track. Operation Just' was rolling right along.

The celebrations would be held in three large marquees with a large Grand Marquee in the center. The Grand Marquee was several feet wider and several feet taller than the flanking marquees. The long tables in the Grand Marquee were separated by a larger and grander Royal Table. The Royal Table was covered by a very elegant Forest Green tablecloth with a border of the House of Forte Crest. The runner in the center of the table was maroon with the house of Lennox Crest on its border. The Royal Table was set with the Royal Family's Dinnerware Service of twenty-four. The two flanking tables were set with the Castle Highmont's service of ninety-six, that is except for the High King's place setting. The High King's place setting was one of Joth's sixteen birthday place settings, the one created solely by Just'.

As the preparations for the celebration continued throughout the castle, word of the changes being done to the Grand Marquee percolated throughout the castle, belts and sashes of Forest Green began showing up on the pages, the Castle Staff, and all of the Royal Honour Guards.

The High King began to see the more and more Forest Green appearing as he took his walk throughout the castle and its grounds. He tried to find out what was going on, he actually had one of his entourage to ask someone and the answer wasn't very helpful, or enlightening. All his aide was told was,

"For Just'!"

That was it, no explanation, nothing more. The High King turned to his Queen to ask her if she knew anything, his wife's reply was just a smile. As the High King was trying to understand what was happening, he heard,

'Que Sera, Sera.'

"What, who said that?"


Dragon GifAuthor's Note:

Yes, the long, long-awaited Chapter Thirteen is finally here, well most of it.

Have no fear Part Two and the Celebration will be here very shortly. I apologize for the long period in between, however, real life sometimes just doesn't want to cooperate. I thoroughly appreciate all of the loyal readers that have hung in so patiently waiting for more chapters. I will try to get chapters to you in less than ten years from now on.

I would love to hear your thoughts and even criticisms on this long-awaited chapter at The Story Lover

TSL

Dragon GifMidwest Editor's Note:

I have enjoyed this long-awaited chapter immensely, and, yes, I did recognize the surprises left for me. I once totally missed the significance of a certain detective who showed up in one of TSL's stories and he has never let me live it down. Thank you very much, TSL for writing this chapter. I am eagerly waiting for the next part.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Dragon GifFlorida Editor's Note:

The saga continues!! It’s about time, how long did we have to wait for this? All I can say is it was worth it! Now onto the consummation.

Art

Dragon GifEast Coast Editor's Note:

Coming Soon hopefully.

Dragon GifA Note From His Majesty Gustavo Cristofero:

I truly hope that you have enjoyed this long, long-awaited portion of my life story. Although Cris is my brother and the exact same age as I am, I still came first so I am the ELDER.

I love hearing from all of my wonderful followers, I also answer every email unlike that lazy author of mine TSL!

So please send me an email at Gustavo Cristofero Dragon.

'Til we fly again,