The Second Cycle of Time-Chapter Fifteen

From: Cheryl Baumgartner(C Baumgartner, Posted Date: Apr 2nd, 2011

               The building looked out of place in this part of Duha’naur.  The modern style clashed with the ancient atmosphere as many of the buildings went back almost to the days of the Warlord.  Across the valley a hodgepodge of modern buildings were climbing their way skyward.  New Duha’naur had grown around the Visitors center rapidly.  Many of the businesses were defecting to New Duha’naur in hopes of cashing in on the wealth of the visitors.  The plan had been for the Dragon Fighters to be based out of New Duha’naur, but the unit was having none of that.  They wanted to stay in the old city, to remain near the school. 

                The Matriarch Council finally agreed and donated the land.  The capitulation came with a string attached, the eyesore that Kai, Denon and Jute were now staring at.

                “By the Prophet that thing is ugly!” Denon remarked.

                “And getting uglier by the day, imagine how ugly it will be when it is finished.” Jute agreed.

                “You would think that they could have at least made it blend in.  But it’s the price we agreed to pay to stay here in the old city.  They build their library here.  But I suppose it makes sense in a way.” Kai said.”  They wanted it where it could be protected and Aranna says the temple is involved with some special section called Burst of Life.  The location is convenient for the academy and temple.”

                “Let’s talk about a happier subject.” Denon said.  “Have you got your acceptance speech ready?”

                “I’m not going to be chosen, Denon.  Yes my name is up for consideration, but we all know that I’m too young.  My name is just there to satisfy the research team and the agreement made with the school.  They will pick one of the pilots from the AAF.”

                “They may be older but you have the experience.  You’ve been flying that monster for 4 years now.  You are the one who tested it.” Denon countered.

                “And crashed one of them too.  That was an expensive loss.” Kai said.

                “Less expensive than it would have been if one of us had attempted to roll one later.  No one was hurt… much.  A broken arm was a small price to pay, had it happened later someone would have died.  This way the researchers were able to fix the stabilization problem. 

                The fighter is as safe as it can be and that’s because of you.  They will take that into consideration.” Jute told him.

                “They won’t choose me.  No Unit Leader has ever been under 40, they are not going to put a 25 year old in charge of an entire division.  We all know that.” Kai said as he walked off.

               

                Aranna sat in the main room waiting for Kai.  She was worried.  They had agreed not to start their family for at least 15 years and they had been careful during her fertile periods, at least until the last one.  With everything that was going on in their lives they had not paid attention to the calendar and the very thing that they had sought to avoid had happened.  She was pregnant.

                She had no idea how Kai would take the news, and he was already under a lot of stress.  The testing was finished and each warrior had their own fighter.  In 2 weeks they would be flying their first official mission.  They had been flying low level patrols in the upper atmosphere for the last month in preparation.

                Added to that was the fact that he had been put forth as a candidate for First Unit Leader of the program, or Commandant of Dragons which would be the official title.  Aranna knew her mate well enough to know that he had prepared himself to serve under someone else.  He did not believe that he would be chosen because of his age.

                She was shaken out of her thoughts by the sound of the front door closing.  Kai was home.

                “Kai, I have news.” She started.

                “What’s wrong?” He asked alarmed by the worry in her eyes.

                “I don’t know how to say this.  The timing is…, you already have so much to concern you.”

                “Just tell me what it is Aranna.” He said as he took her hand. “You are my mate, we are one remember? Your worries are my worries.”

                “I know we agreed to wait a number of years before we started our family, but I just found out.  I’m pregnant.”

                Kai looked at her for a moment dumbfounded.  “You’re carrying my child?”

                “Yes.”

                Aranna squealed as Kai picked her up and spun her around.  “It is sooner than we planned, but it is still welcome news!  We must tell everyone!” He grabbed her hand pulling her along behind him.

                “Kai, where are we going?”

“To tell our parents and then I am taking you out to dinner.  And then we will come home and celebrate!” He said with an evil grin.

“Kai that’s what resulted in this situation to begin with.” She reminded him.

“Yes and since we are already expecting we don’t have to worry about it.” He countered.

 

 

“Don’t ask me why but Mara told me to get on the comm link with you.” Uri told Dagon.

“Does that mean you don’t know or you won’t tell?” Dagon asked with a laugh as Nira entered the room followed by Kai and Aranna who were looking even happier than they usually looked.

“Good timing.” Nira said.  “Kai and Aranna say they must speak with us.”

“Won’t tell.” Dagon surmised.

“Well what is it you want to speak to us about?” Uri said with a knowing smile.

“We are expecting, Aranna is with child.” Kai said proudly.

“That smile tells us that you already knew.”  Nira said.

“Of course.  Mara told me last night that our son’s family was soon to grow.  Congratulations Kai.  Many blessings to you Aranna, the bringer of life.  Mara also sends her blessings.  She would be here but Zinn’s mate is having a hard time with the end days of her own pregnancy.  Mara has been tending to her.” Uri said.

“Is it serious?  Jute told me yesterday that there were slight complications.” Kai said.

“Her labor tries to start early.  The healers have decreed she remain abed.  Mara foresees that she and the baby will be fine.  There is no need for you to worry.” Uri assured them.  “And Kai, may your your son stand as tall as his father.”

“A boy?” Aranna questioned.

“Yes, Mara has seen a healthy baby boy.  Now I must go.  You know our customs Kai, a child belongs to his household and his tribe.  I will make the announcement on your behalf.”

 

 

“So Kai you are looking very pleased with yourself this morning, what has put that smile on your face?” Jute asked as he and Kai walked out toward their fighters.

“You are going to be an uncle, again.” Kai said.

“Yes I know Zinn’s mate will deliver soon.  At least Mara Mother has seen that both mother and child will be fine.”

“No Jute, you are going to be an uncle again and it’s not Zinn’s child I speak of.” Kai said watching Jute and seeing the exact moment understanding dawned.

“You and Aranna?” Jute asked.  “No wonder you’re smiling!  This calls for a celebration!” He turned around and yelled at the rest of the squad “Gerda’s place after patrol.  We are going to help Kai celebrate his impending fatherhood!”

 

 

Two weeks had passed in a blur.  Kai and Aranna were on their way to the special meeting of the Matriarch Council to announce the leader of the Dragon Fighters and finalize the plans for tomorrow’s Dedication Ceremony.

“You are more nervous than I am.  Relax, I have already accepted the fact that I am too young for the post.  We will go to the council meeting, I’ll congratulate whoever is picked and then tomorrow will just be another day.” Kai told Aranna.

“Just another day?  Do you know all they have planned?” Aranna asked.

“Yes, but you forget other than the opening ceremonies, we won’t have to deal with it.  You will be able to go home and rest and Jute, Denon and I will be out on patrol.  The hoopla will be over by the time we get back.  Now let’s get inside so we aren’t late.”

Kai looked around and spotted Jute. 

“I saved seats for you.” Jute said as he scooted over into a seat next to Denon.

The crowd inside quieted as the Council filed out and took their seats at the council table.

“This is a public meeting, the public is free to observe but will remain silent.  Only those recognized by the Council may speak .   We all know why we are here.  

The Council acknowledges the presence of the men who are assigned to the Dragon Fighters.  Tomorrow you will be officially recognized as a Warrior subgroup.  We recognize the greater commitment you have made to this council and the people of Brunnis.  But every subgroup must have a First Unit Leader.

The First Unit Leader bears the responsibility for the entire subgroup, and serves on the Warrior Panel headed by the High Warrior Delegate.  This panel sets policy specific to the Warrior Caste and its needs.  This panel has been in session for the past month and will present their report to us.

We will also present the final agenda for tomorrow’s Dedication Ceremony.  We will hear from the High Warrior Delegate first.” The Head of Council announced turning to floor over to the High Warrior Delgate.

“When the Warlord chose Lynna to speak on his behalf a precedent was set, the precedent of doing what is best for the warriors in her care instead of what the warriors would find popular.  Since that day the High Warrior Delegate has always struggled with balancing the two. And this decision has been no different.

Four names were brought to us and we narrowed it down to two.  The debate was intense. Yesterday we came to a tentative decision to appoint Saman of the AAF as First Unit Leader of the Dragon Fighters, but as I said a tentative decision.

Today I reversed that decision based on what is best for the warriors assigned to the Dragon Fighters.  While Saman does have decades of experience in command, he has no experience in the Dragon Fighter program.  Saman agrees that the Dragon Fighters should be commanded by someone who holds experience in the program.  The only impediment to our coming to this decision in the beginning was the candidate’s age.

Age not withstanding he has displayed leadership to the men in this program from his days as a cadet in the Warrior Guild School.  He worked directly with the researchers after graduation in testing the fighters.  He has experience in a dragon fighter and the First Unit Leader must have practical experience in order to lead the men under his command.

As High Warrior Delegate, I officially name Kai as First Unit Leader and confer on him the rank of Commandant of Dragons.”

Kai sat in mute shock.  Aranna nudged him with her elbow.  It took a few seconds for him to realize that the High Warrior Delegate was patiently standing there waiting.  He stood and made his way to the Council table.

“Kai, You are hereby appointed as Commandant of Dragons.  These men are under your command, you are responsible for representing them and making their needs known to me.  You will also sit on the Warrior Panel to represent the Dragons in the establishment of Warrior Caste Policy.  Congratulations.”  She said as she pinned his new rank insignia to his uniform.

 

 

It was late when Kai and Aranna finally returned home.  Kai’s appointment had merited a celebration.  In fact most of the men were still hard at the celebrating when they made their excuses and left.  Of course Denon could not let them leave without a final “I told you so.” On arriving home they found a message on the comm  link to call Mara and Uri.

Zinn’s mate had delivered a baby girl.  Mother and child were doing well.  Since Kai had an early morning meeting with the High Warrior Delegate, he excused himself and went to bed.  Uri had said he was going to leave the ladies to have a little girl talk.

“So you are mated to the highest ranking Dragon on Brunnis.  Why are you sitting here talking to me? You should be helping him celebrate.” Mara said.

“We just came home from celebrating.” Aranna said.

“Aranna, there’s more than one way to celebrate.  Especially when you are celebrating with a handsome young man.  Besides you won’t see him again for two days.”

“Ohhh, I see what you mean.” Aranna replied with a laugh.  “I’ll call tomorrow after the ceremony is over.”