“We had best be getting back love. Look.” Upashna points to the darkening sun. “The darkness grows larger. We will have to time the reigniting of the sun when it is almost completely dark on this side to reduce any possible injuries.”
“Any possible injury to whom?” Tao asks.
“To the dragons who are selected to enter from the surface and fly to the sun’s center to reignite the lava core,” replies Upashna.
“Have dragons died during the reigniting process Upashna?”
“Yes. Except for another dragon or wizard, the only other element with the ability to kill a dragon is a fireball from the sun. When the reigniting occurs, the sudden change in temperature can result in fireballs exploding out of the core. If one strikes a dragon, the dragon will most likely die.” Upashna gathers the kettle and cups, returns them to the satchel and hides them from the animals behind a rock. “They will be here if you ever need to come alone. Do not worry, Simone knows the way. Familiars remember everything their wizard does and everyplace their wizard travels.”
“Does the sun need to be reignited often?” Tao asks.
“O’ my philosopher Tao. I know you have many questions and they will all be answered when the Council of Wizards convenes again. Do not fret my love. Everything will be explained. The scientists have been working on this issue for a while now. They will explain the safest and most rapid entrance and escape routes.”
“Please forgive me Upashna for being the inquisitive schoolboy. All this wizard stuff is new to me. A few days ago I was a philosopher living in South Port with my books in the comfort of my small home and today I am a wizard and a Dragon Lord with a familiar who can turn into a dragon, a cat or a human transfiguration. I just need a little time to figure this all out.”
“I understand my love. Do not worry. I see your memory is returning. Are you having any second thoughts about the choices you have made?” Upashna seems concerned.
“No my princess. My Upashna. Nothing else matters in my life except being with you. I trust everything else will work it self out. I trust you Upashna. I love you my princess.”
“That’s The Philosopher I love.” Upashna places her arms around Tao’s neck and they passionately kiss.
“One more thing my love. I noticed on the way here you were holding your staff with one hand and Simone with the other. On Simone’s right wing is a slot pocket next to her third rib for your staff. If she ever has to make a quick change of direction it would be best if your are holding onto her with two hands. Unless you choose to direct her, she will handle all navigational duties. I love you my philosopher Tao.” Upashna strikes her staff three times against the ground and begins her transfiguration.
Tao climbs up Simone’s wing, slides his staff into the slot on her right wing and speaks to Simone. “Okay Simone. Let’s go home.” Simone pushes off with her strong hind legs, open her wings and they are airborne. Upashna joins them in flight.
The two dragons land and transition outside the Great Chamber Hall. It takes a moment for Tao to now see his familiar Simone as a cat having been with her as a dragon for the last few hours but she tells him all is well and he adjusts. Tao and Upashna walk hand in hand into the Great Hall where Baldwin is waiting. “Excuse me Upashna but may I have a moment alone with Tao?”
“Why of course Father.” She turns to Tao, places a soft kiss upon his lips and departs. “I will see you later love. Have Simone bring you to my chambers after you and father talk.”
“This has been an unbelievable day Baldwin.”
“I see Upashna is very taken with you. I hope you feel the same toward her Tao.”
“I do sir. I would like your permission to ask for her hand in marriage.” Tao replies.”
“Upashna has already discussed the possibility with Elza and we both support your union, but we have a more important issue at hand right now. During your flight, you must have seen the darkness of the sun is getting larger. The scientists believe tomorrow’s full moon will offer the best opportunity to reignite the sun. I know this is all a bit overwhelming for someone who has just learned his father’s identity, declared to have wizard’s blood, and also to be a Dragon Lord but the council has asked me to ask if you would lead the mission tomorrow.”
“Me? I am only a wizard in name. I have no training to lead such a mission.”
“But you do Tao. The last time we had to reignite the sun some seventy years or so ago, your father Ged and his familiar Morujiana led the mission. Two more dragons from this realm accompanied them but failed to make it out alive.”
“If Tao is going. I am going father.” Upashna calls from the alcove.
“So, you have been listening my daughter?
“Yes father. Forgive me. Tao is my life. If he put himself in harms way to save humanity, I will be right there by his side doing whatever it is I can do to assist him.”
“I understand Upashna, but it is not me you have to convince. Your mother stands in your path. You must convince her,” says Baldwin. “For now I would like the two of you to go to your chambers with Simone and determine if she can share anything with you which might help with your mission tomorrow. I will speak with Elza on your behalf Upashna.”
“Thank you father.”
Upashna, Tao and Simone walk to Upashna’s chambers where they find Eno patiently waiting. Tao fills the kettle with water while Upashna freshens up and changes her gown. When she is finished Tao does the same. Upashna had already arranged for Eno to bring a change of robe from Tao’s chamber. The familiars, both spawn from the familiar Miranda play together like the two sisters they are.
“That is unusual,” says Upashna. Eno never takes to another familiar in such a manner. Yet she and Simone are enjoying each other completely. Look. Eno and Simone are sleeping in Eno’s bed together.”
“I wish to establish a Bond of Common Knowledge between us and our familiars” says Tao.
“That is a sacred wizard’s vow Tao. How do you know of it?”
“I think the wisdom from my father’s staff is being released to me as I seem to know more things than I knew before. I hope it is in time to be of service to us tomorrow.”
“You father would not permit you to take on such a mission without the necessary preparation. I am certain. We will be prepared. We need to wake Simone to see if she has any information about your father’s last mission. I am sure Sophia must have shared the story with Miranda and Simone is Miranda’s clone except for her green third eye spot.”
“Excellent idea,” says Tao. He walks over to Eno’s bed where the two familiars are sleeping and picks them both up into his arms and take them over to Upashna’s bed while Upashna pours the tea and joins them.
“Unbelievable,” says Upashna. “She has never let anyone but me pick her up before. Even my parents are permitted no more that a pat on her head.”
Tao communicates with Simone telepathically and includes Upashna and Eno in the conversation. “Simone. Is there anything you can tell me about my father’s mission to reignite the sun some seventy years ago.”
“Yes sire. The mission was successful in reigniting the sun’s core but the dragons Flo and Fi lost their lives inside the sun. They did not make it out because they disregarded Ged’s instructions. Although connected telepathically, Ged failed to asks for a Bond of Common Knowledge from the dragons and his navigational instructions were ignored. The other dragons blamed Ged for the death of Flo and Fi believing Ged was headstrong and glory seeking. The dragons also did not understand why they should have to rescue man for his own destruction of the planet. Man’s greed puts out the sun. The sun dies when its rays are not reflected back and returned to the core. Due to man’s pollution of the oceans, the continued use of fossil fuels, the blatant destruction of the earth’s forest and the stripping of the planet’s natural resources the rays are reflected back in reduced numbers and strength. It took many years before Ged was able to regain the dragon’s trust again. But during that time all the dragons left The Other Realm and promised never again to reignite the sun’s core for mankind. For that reason no other Dragon Lord has been appointed until now.”
Simone continues, “A year or so after the deaths of the two dragons, Ged approached the Council of Wizards to ask permission to marry a non-wizard, Anne, your mother. When they rejected his request. Ged left the council and no one has seen him since. Even his closest friends Baldwin and Sophia have not heard from him though they searched most of EarthSea.”
“Is my father still alive,” Tao asks.
“No one knows for sure. I can tell you, because we are all connected, his familiar Morujiana still breaths but I do not know from where.”
“Thank you Simone. Now I know why the information on the Bond of Common Knowledge came to me. I think the four of us should make that bond now,” says Tao.
“My love. My philosopher. It has been a long and eventful day for you. We can make the bond in the morning before our mission.” She reaches around Tao’s shoulders and pulls him gently on top of her. “Besides,” Upashna continues, “I want to make a different kind of lasting bond tonight.” She blows out the candle. The two familiars Simone and Eno make their way to Eno’s bed.