The Return to Yesteryear
By Chad Harger a.k.a. 'Graeystone'
Hell Mel and Dyne stumbled out of the bar drunk as they could get followed by a sober Ghaleon. "You are a disgrace to us Mel. Dyne you of all people should know better," said Ghaleon with a sharp voice.
"Ah, he's just angry because the first and last he got drunk lightening literally flew out of his arse!" said Dyne. "Mel is usually the one who always got us kicked out of bars, but Ghal my man, what you did was a classic!"
"Loosen up Ghal," muttered Mel. "We need the break. We haven't had a real break for, oh, what is it now? Ack! I'm so plastered. I can't think straight."
"Six months?" said Dyne. "Or was it six years. I think I lost track."
Mel laughed and yelled, "At around the tenth beer I believe!"
"You're both a couple fools," said Ghaleon. "Why I stay with you two is beyond me."
"Thanks Ghal!" said Dyne as he slapped Ghaleon on the back. "I have always wanted a cool nickname like Mel's."
Turning to Mel, Dyne stuck out his hand and said, "Hello my name is Damn Dyne. And you are?"
Mel shook his hand and said, "They call me Hell Mel."
Both men sang off-key, "Damn and Hell, Hell and Damn back together again."
A woman's scream ripped through the streets.
"Ghal, I know our singing is bad but ya don't have to scream like a woman," blurted Mel.
Ghaleon gritted his teeth and said, "It wasn't me you drunken sod! Someone is in trouble!"
Dyne shrugged and said, "Duty calls."
After pointing Mel in the right direction, the three of them headed to where the scream originated from. In the alleyway, they discovered a woman surrounded by a group of men.
Dyne pulled out his sword, which almost slipped out of his hand, said, "I am Dragonmeister Dyne. Let the woman go."
Dyne heard Ghaleon groan. Dyne turned to him and whispered, "Oops! Sorry Ghal. I forgot, new name."
Turning back to the thugs, he said, "My mistake. Let us start again. I am Dragonmeister Damn Dyne. Let the woman go."
The thug's leader said, "Get out of here you drunks or you'll be next."
"Now wait a minute!" yelled Mel. "Ghal is not drunk!"
The leader sighed and said, "Get rid of these fools! I'll keep hold of the woman!"
The fight lasted ninety seconds. If Mel and Dyne were sober, the fight would have lasted only forty-five.
Dyne stumbled toward the woman. In a slurred voice he asked, "Are you all right?"
She looked at him and Dyne took a step backwards. She was the most beautiful woman he ever saw. "You're cute," he said just before he passed out.
Dyne woke up in Vane on a couch and wondered why Quark was stepping on his head.
"I see you've decided to join the land of the sober Dyne," said Lemia.
Dyne moaned. "Hello Lemia. What time is it?"
"It's eleven 'o clock," answered Lemia.
Dyne tried to get up and sat right back down as Quark started to jump on his head once more. "Could you please tell Quark to quit jumping on my head?"
Lemia laughed and said, "It's a hangover Dyne and I have just the thing for you."
Lemia handed Dyne a cup with hot, dark liquid. He took a sip and nearly dropped the cup. "What is this? Tastes like something Ghal would drink!"
"It's a new potion one of the wizards came up with. I think he calls it coffee," she answered.
"I don't think it will catch on," answered Dyne. "It's to bitter."
Dyne then tried to remember what happened last night; He, Mel, and Ghal went out to a bar, he and Mel got drunk, they went outside to leave, insulted Ghal some, then a woman screamed.
"That woman Lemia! Is she all right?" said Dyne as he shot up out of the couch.
"She is fine Dyne," answered Lemia. "Her attackers didn't get a chance to cause any harm to her. Ghal brought her to Vane to make sure. She is resting right now."
"I think that was the most embarrassing thing I ever did Lemia," said Dyne. "In a way Ghal was right. My behavior last night was inappropriate. I'm just glad I was incognito."
"We have been through a lot in the past six-months," said Lemia. "We all nearly died at the end fighting the Magic Emperor. No one could blame you for last night. If you messed up and the woman got hurt or worse while you fought off her attackers then you would have something to have guilt over. That didn't happen so you should not worry. If it makes you feel better you should see her and apologize."
"I think I better clean up first," said Dyne.
Lemia agreed and turned to leave, then she stopped, turn, and said, "You know Damn Dyne does have a sinister tone to it."
Dyne raised an eyebrow and retorted, "How would you like to be known as Luscious Lemia?"
Lemia wiggled her hips and replied, "I think it might work."
Dyne walked into the room in which the woman he and the others rescued last night was resting. She was sitting up in the bed reading one of Vane's history books.
"Am I intruding?" asked Dyne.
"No," answered the woman.
Dyne nearly took a step back as he heard her voice. She had the most beautiful voice he ever heard. It was almost had musical tone to it. The rest of her was sheer beauty. Her long bluish hair and light blue eyes as clear as the day itself. To Dyne it was if Althena was truly inspired when she made this woman.
Dyne quickly composed himself and said, "I just came by to check up on you. My name is Dyne by the way."
"I am fine," said the woman. "Thank you for asking, and thank you rescuing me. Yes you are the Dragonmaster aren't you? You can call me Moria."
"Ah yes . . . that. I wanted to apologize for last night," said Dyne. "I wasn't exactly up to standards last night was I? I promise you this much. It will never happen again."
"No it will not Dragonmaster," replied Moria.
Dyne raised an eyebrow at the sudden tone of her voice. There seemed to be a certainty about what she said. It was almost like the times when he and Noah were kids and they were caught making mischief.
Lemia burst into the room and said, "Dyne we have a problem. Lann is under attack. It's those damn things again."
Dyne inhaled sharply. "Those magical machines? The ones that walk like men? Where do these things keep coming from? Every time we destroy a group, another shows up. I thought they would go away when we defeated the Magic Emperor."
Lemia shrugged and said, "It seems like that."
Dyne said to Moria, "Look I am sorry but I have to go. Duty calls. If you are still here maybe we can, I dunno, talk or something?"
Moria smiled at Dyne. Her smile reminded Dyne of the first golden beams of light in the morning. "I would like that Dragonmaster," she said.
"You coming or are you going to stand there with your mouth open?" asked Lemia.
Dyne blinked and felt his face heat up. Moria and Lemia laughed as Dyne closed his mouth.
Using the Dragon Wings the Four Heros teleported to the fishing-town of Lann and right into the middle of chaos and destruction.
Dyne pulled out Althena's Sword and ordered, "There is a group by the town hall. Mel and I will engage them while the villagers can get out of harms way. Ghaleon and Lemia there is some by the water. No one is around so you two can you cut loose with the magic. Above all be careful!"
While Mel liked, no loved, a good fight, this was getting stale real fast. The past six months had caused him to take many things into consideration. The human woman he had fallen in love with. How would she get along without him if he died? And what about children? He and his love had talked about starting a family soon after they were married. What he faced with Dyne and what he had faced as a pirate were two different things. He did not want to put his loved ones at risk.
After he split on of the monsters right up the middle he said, "Dyne we have been taking these things on for the past six months without a clue to where they're coming from!"
Dyne surprisingly found himself thinking about Moria. He was thinking about her hair and eyes. Her seemingly perfectly shaped body. Dyne saw himself and Moria walking at night under a full Blue Planet. She is singing and he plays his lute. They both stop and turn to each other. They smile and-
"Dyne behind you!" yelled Mel.
Dyne crouched and raised his shield and grunted as the machine behind him tried to crush his skull in. Dyne then brought his sword over his head in a backwards thrust. Dyne let go off his sword, got up, grabbed the sword's hilt, and pulled the sword out of the mechanical monstrosity's head. "Thanks Mel!" said Dyne as he engaged another machine.
Ghaleon and Lemia were by the water fighting the mechanical beasts. Ghaleon was unleashing his pent up rage against the machines because he was frankly getting fed up with Mel and Dyne. Mel because he considered him a drunk and a crook who should be in jail or on a trip to the gallows, preferably the latter, as an example to those who cross the Dragonmaster and his companions. He despised Dyne because he was getting soft and weak. Ghaleon always considered a Dragonmaster to be strong and without mercy when dealing with an enemy. A perfect example were those thugs from last night. Ghaleon would normally would have blasted them off the face of Lunar. Yet with Dyne's rule about killing humans and Beast-Men was absolute. No killing Dyne had told them soon after he became Dragonmaster. Let the courts and Althena judge them. Ghaleon had asked him if the Goddess had told him this. Dyne said that it was his own decision. He and the others were to protect not to be judge, jury, and executioner. 'Hah!' thought Ghaleon. 'Someday Dyne, you will make a mistake and fall! Then I will be the one who take his place! Then the world shall know the true power of the Dragonmaster!'. There was only on way to protect the Goddess, and in return protect the planet; through power and force. If anyone gets in your way, then crush them!
One of the machines grabbed his hand. Ghaleon smiled wickedly. With his free hand he grabbed the arm that held him. "Time to die!" whispered Ghaleon. Ghaleon used magic to freeze the machine's arm. The arm was so brittle that Ghaleon only had to hit once to shatter it.
"That's the last of them," said Lemia.
Like Ghaleon she was getting frustrated with her job but for the different reasons. For ten years now she fought side by side with them. That did not bother her for they were good people in a troubled world. What bothered her was that she was getting older. She did not mind it but she wished she did not have to be alone. Dyne was still young and had many chances, Mel was involved secretly with that aristocrat's daughter, and Ghaleon had, well she was not sure but his prospects were but they were most likely better than hers. Every time she got involved one of two things happened. The men either became intimidated by her status and reputation, or worse, tried to take advantage of her. As much as she did not want to Lemia seriously thought about leaving after this crisis was over. She was becoming afraid that she could not do this anymore if she was always alone.
"I'd think not!" exclaimed Ghaleon snapping Lemia out of her thoughts.
Lemia cursed under her breath. Whenever Ghaleon expressed emotion it usually meant something was about happen. Most times than not it was usually bad.
The water started to bubble and became choppy. Then a gigantic machine slowly came up from the water. It towered at thirty feet and was black as a starless night. There were no features on it's face yet it seemed to know which way to go.
Mel and Dyne ran to the water's edge meeting Ghaleon and Lemia. "What do we do?" asked Ghaleon.
Mel rubbed his beard. Something he did when he was in deep thought. "What was it that the 'ol stinker told us? Something about water."
Lemia said, "You mean Myght? I remember now. Something about electricity and water not being a good mix."
"He also said that lightening is a powerful form of electricity," said Dyne.
"Then stand back," said Ghaleon.
Mel whispered, "Isn't Ghal facing the wrong way?"
Lemia laughed and Dyne elbowed Mel in the ribs. "Not now!" whispered Dyne.
The three watched intently as Ghaleon raised his hands. Magical energy surrounded Ghaleon. He the then thrust his arms outwards. The lightening struck both water and monster. To everyone's horror it did not work.
"Its insulated!" yelled Lemia.
"So what?" said Mel. "It's still magic. It still should have worked."
Ghaleon who was panting said, "There are the laws of nature to take into consideration. Although we can bend those laws when we use our magic we can only do it for so long. Or in this case not at all."
"That leaves us one thing," said Dyne. "The dragons."
Everyone stood back from Dyne to give him room. He started to speak the words that would summon the Red Dragon. Then a musical voice entered his mind and said, 'Wait Dragonmaster!'
"What!?" said Dyne out loud.
"Something wrong?" said Mel.
'I know what you have planned Dragonmaster. It will not work. Just as the construct to protect from lightening, so it is protected from even the fiery furnace of the Red Dragon', said the voice in his head. 'Instead do this and you will not fail.'
"Who are you?" asked Dyne.
'You know in your heart who I am for do you not protect me? We shall meet again Dragonmaster.'
Dyne eyes widened in surprise. "Althena?" he said. Yet her voice sounded oddly like. . . "Oh my gosh!" said Dyne out load.
"What about the goddess?" asked Mel.
"I'll explain later," said Dyne. "But right now stand back!"
When the others were clear, Dyne summoned the Red Dragon. The great creature appeared and looked around.
"Hello Dyne," said the Red Dragon.
The dragon looked around and saw the giant construct. The dragon smiled and asked, "Ah, barbeque, well done, or flame broiled?"
"It's a nice day. Go for a barbeque!" yelled Mel.
The Red Dragon laughed. "I like your style Mel. Barbeque it is!"
Before the Red Dragon could do anything Dyne yelled, "No, don't! Blast the water instead! Make it hot enough to produce steam!"
The Red Dragon turned her great head toward Dyne while everyone looked at him in surprise.
The Red Dragon raised an eyebrow and asked, "Are you sure Dyne? Are you absolutely sure?"
"Yes," answered Dyne.
"So be it!" said the Red Dragon. "But you better know what you are doing Dyne."
"Dyne are you crazy?" asked Ghaleon.
"Trust me, or rather trust Althena!" snapped Dyne.
His words brought up everyone short. The Red Dragon shook her head and said, "So be it! If I am ordered by Althena herself, I cannot disobey!"
The Red Dragon turned her great head toward the water. The dragon took a great breath and exhaled fire that would scorch the walls of Althena's temple itself. So much steam was raised it blocked the giant construct from view.
"Nothings happening Dyne," said Lemia.
"Oh yes it is," said the Red Dragon with a shiver. "It is getting cold."
"She's right," said Ghaleon.
"You can leave if you want to Red," said Dyne.
The dragon shook her mighty head, "I'm curious to see what Althena has in mind."
Althena worked her power and the air became colder. The steam started to shine as the temperature dropped. It eventually became so cold that everyone's breath was visible.
"Wow," was all Mel could say. The giant construct was encased in a thin layer of ice just a few feet from the pier.
"Try again Ghaleon," said Dyne.
"This had better work Dyne," muttered Ghaleon.
Ghaleon fired off some more lightening. The lightening struck the monster's frozen leg and shattered it. The monster tipped and fell in the water and shattered. Everyone ducked as shards of ice flew everywhere.
Lemia said, "That was. . . intense."
"Are the villagers alright?" asked Dyne with more than a hint of urgency in his voice. As much as he wanted to stay and help repair the damages caused by the monestrous constructs, he felt a more urgent need to be elsewhere.
"Only a few minor injuries," answered Lann's elder.
"Good because we have to leave right now," said Dyne.
"Are you sure?" asked Mel.
"Yes!" answered Dyne. "We are leaving now or you can walk back to Vane!"
The three heros were surprised at Dyne's tone of voice and his threat. He never used threats or an angry tone of voice.
"This better be important," muttered Ghaleon as the Dragon Wings started to teleport them.
Dyne's fading voice answered, "This may be the most important thing we have ever witnessed."
As soon as the Dragon Wing effect wore off Dyne ran at top speed toward Vane's healing house. Reaching the entrance of the healing house, Dyne slowed down to a casual walk trying to act as if everything was fine. He heard his three best friends panting behind him.
Lemia's voice was full of shock when she asked, "Don't tell me those things would dare to attack Vane!"
"If I am right Lemia it is a whole lot bigger than that," answered Dyne.
Dyne went to the head nurse and asked where Moria's location. The head nurse point Dyne to the children's section of the healing house.
Dyne found Moria singing to a group of children in the playroom. Listening to the music made the four heros feel lighter in spirit as if their troubles were washed away by a gentle breeze.
Finishing her song Moria said, "Look who is here children. The people who saved me from some bad people the other night."
"Wow!" said a little boy. "It's the Four Heros!"
The children went over to the heros and started to ask questions about their adventures. After a hour of talking and playing a nurse came in and led the children back to their rooms.
In the privacy of the playroom, Dyne asked Moria, "Why are you here?"
"I was entertaining the children. They needed some comfort and companionship in their time of need so I provided it."
Dyne sighed knowing she was going to make it hard unless he asked a more direct question. "Let me rephrase the question. Why are you here on the surface Althena?"
"If this is a joke Dyne then it is in poor taste," said Ghaleon.
"For once I agree with Ghal," said Mel. "What ya saying is very close to blasphemy."
"Am I laughing?" asked Dyne. "I have never been so sure of anything in my whole life." Looking at Moria, Dyne asked, "Are you going to deny it?"
The woman who was rescued by three of the Four Heros replied, "I am the Goddess who is called Althena."
Lemia took a step back in shock and Mel's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.
Ghaleon did not believe the claim. Yelling he said, "This is blasphemy! This woman should die for her words!"
Althena said, "So you do not believe me?"
Althena sang a short song and Ghaleon vanished. He reappeared just a few feet from the border separating the Frontier from the rest of the world. He looked around in panic and vanished once again reappearing in the playroom.
"Do you believe now?" asked Althena.
Ghaleon dropped to his knees and cried, "I do! I do! Please forgive me Althena."
"Arise Ghaleon. I came here under false pretenses and it is I who should beg your forgiveness." replied Althena.
"Why are you here?" said Lemia with awe in her voice.
"To discuss a great deal many things Lemia. Things that will change Lunar for the rest of it's history. Yet these are things that should not be discussed in a playroom where sharp ears can listen in."
In a private meeting room in Vane's magic school the Four Heros sat wondering what could be so important for Althena to come to them.
"There is so much I have to consider before I make a decision that will change Lunar forever," said Althena.
"My godes. . . er. . .well, um Althe. . . I don't know how to address you face to face," said Lemia.
Everyone laughed and Althena said, "Just call me Althena. In public though, please call me Moria. As all of you probably guessed by now I am here in secret. Everything we talk about must be kept amongst ourselves."
"As I was saying Althena," continued Lemia. "Twice you said that Lunar would be changed. What do you mean by that?"
"That question has many answers that would take a while to answer. I propose this question though. What is your duties as the Four Heros?"
"That's simple," answered Dyne. "To protect the planet, the people, and you."
"To protect me," said Althena. "All throughout Lunar's history no one has ever asked the obvious question. Why would I need protection?"
The Four Heros tried to answer but could not.
"That is part of the problem," said Althena. "If I asked anyone that question they would not be able to answer. Deep down people know of that question but are afraid that something terrible will happen. For centuries I have awaited for someone with the courage to ask that question. When this world was born I did need protection because creating this world had greatly drained me. The Dragons along with myself created the Dragonmaster to protect me and this world as I rested and regained my strength. When I awoke from that long sleep I helped out wherever I could in protecting the people of this planet. Then a few centuries ago. . ."
Everyone looked at Althena with concern. Her voice suddenly trailed off and her face was full of guilt. "Is there something wrong Althena?" asked Mel.
"We all do something that causes great guilt. We preform an action that we wish we could take back. In my case it is the race people now call the Vile Tribe. You all know the story of how I drove them back into the harsh lands known as the Frontier. What you do not know is that the Magic Emperor was their leader."
"You mean to say that the Magic Emperor has been around for centuries?" asked Ghaleon.
"Not for centuries," answered Althena. "Since before the Blue Planet fell. The Magic Emperor has existed throughout Lunar's history just like the Dragonmaster. Like the title of Dragonmaster, the Magic Emperor's name has been claimed by many people."
"Is there another Emperor that is threatening you?" asked Dyne with more fury than he realized. It took him a few seconds to realize how much passion he put into those words. Calming down he asked, "Is that why you are here?"
Althena smiled at Dyne seeing the passion in what he said. It brought back feelings she had not felt in so long. Feelings she knew where good but she could no longer identify. "No, the four of you stopped this incarnation of the Magic Emperor. This world has nothing to fear from him anymore."
"As I was saying before," said Althena. "When I expelled the Vile Tribe to the Frontier it was not the first time I caused those poor souls grief. That tragic war had drained me once again and I slept until now. When I awoke I discovered the world had changed so much in many ways. As I thought in my tower I came to a conclusion that brought me here."
"How can you pity them?" asked Ghaleon. "The Vile Tribe tried to kill us all."
"Who started the conflict Ghaleon?" replied Althena. "I and those who came with me from the Blue Planet were responsible. This world was their home until we came and pushed the inhabitants back into the wilderness and nearly caused their extinction. What I did was no better than what all of the Magic Emperors have tried to do. If I had the power to turn that barren land into a paradise I would have done it long ago."
"What conclusion did you come to?" asked Lemia tying to get the subject back on track.
Althena closed her eyes took a deep breath and exhaled. "This world has outgrown me and I feel it no longer needs my protection. I am retiring."
Everyone looked at the Goddess in complete shock. After many minutes of silence Dyne said, "I. . .I think we need to time to rest and think."
"There is one more thing," said Althena. "If any of you can find any reason why I should not retire then I will not. This is not a decision that I have made lightly. Yet I have been out of touch with humanity and have forgotten what is like to be human. . .That is the other reason I am here, to learn once again what it is like to be human."
Whenever Hell Mel needed time to do some serious thinking he would return to his pirate's lair which was still home to his old ship. Sitting in a chair in the captain's cabin, Mel looked over his sea-charts. As he was studying the charts someone knocked on the door.
Mel looked up in surprise. No one else knew about the lair except his old crew and none of them would ever betray its location.
Mel picked up his battle-ax and said, "Who is it?"
"It is me," came the reply.
Mel laughed knowing that she would also know about this place. "Come in Althena," he said.
"This is an. . . interesting place Mel," said Althena.
"The ol' lair looked better when it had purpose. Now all it serves as is a reminder of ill deeds," said Mel.
Mel opened a safe that was hidden behind a painting. He took a bottle and two glasses. He filled them both with drink. "Uh, would you like some? It's pretty strong though."
Althena laughed, "I'm sure I can handle it Mel."
Althena took a sip of the drink. "I have heard about your dubious past Mel. I am surprised people have taken well to you as one of the Four Heros."
Mel let out one of his loud laughs. "Ya and me both Althena! Well it shows that life still has many surprises. Some surprises are bigger than most. Isn't that right Althena?"
"Yes it does," answered Althena. Getting right to the point, Althena asked, "Did you consider why I should not retire?"
"Not really," answered Mel. "Cause if I told ya not to quit then I would be a hypocrite."
"Why would you be a hypocrite for talking me out of quitting?" asked the Goddess.
"Ya don't know?" said Mel. "Ya have not looked into our hearts or minds to discover what we are thinking and feeling?"
"I chose not to look into any of your hearts or minds. It would not be fair to put that type pressure on you."
Mel shrugged "Fair enough I suppose. Anyway ya are not the only one considering retirement. As much as I don't want to leave the others fighting without me, I have other responsibilities. There is someone very special waiting for me and I do not want to put her in harms way. After this crisis with those damnable machines is over I'm going to retire before the enemy strikes at my beloved."
"You are willing to give up all of your fame and prestige for one person?" asked Althena.
"Yeah, it's funny ya know. At one point I didn't care about the consequences of my pirating. Then when Dyne came after me and we got into that little tussle I realized I wasn't doing myself nor my people any good. It surprised me more than anyone when Dyne invited me to join him instead of taking me jail. He gave me a second chance Althena and I don't intend to squander it."
Althena hummed a short song that allowed her to have visions of the future. After she finished the tune, she said, "Even though I will not look into your heart and mind I can still see your eyes. I see the question that haunts you Mel. Be at peace my friend, your child will be healthy and will make you proud."
Mel smiled and choked back his tears. One of the biggest concerns he and his fiancee had was that of having children. Nowhere in the history of Lunar have they ever heard of human and Beastman couple successfully having a child. "Thank ya Althena," he said.
Together they drank and talked for many hours. Finally Mel passed out and Althena, who was immune to alcohol, picked up Mel and teleported him to his room.
Lemia was sitting on a bench in Vane grading some students' reports. While not doing her duty with the Four Heros, she taught in Vane's Magic School. In the middle of grading the papers, a voice called to her, "Hello Lemia."
Lemia looked and smiled at the goddess. She looked around to make sure they were alone. "Hello Althena," said Lemia.
Althena sat down on the bench next to Lemia. "Are you busy?" asked Althena.
"When am I not?" said Lemia. "Idle hands and all that."
"I am surprised that saying still exists," said Althena.
"Not as surprising as that bombshell you dropped," replied Lemia. "Mel told us what you and he talked about."
Althena laughed out loud.
"What's so funny?" asked Lemia.
"I was just thinking what Mel tried to do. Didn't he look strange to you?"
"Now that I think about it yes he did. It looked like was suffering from his worst hangover yet. . .Don't tell me he was drunk when the two of you talked."
"Not at first," said Althena. "I think he was trying to see if he could drink me under the table after we talked."
Lemia shot up from the bench. "I am going to kill him!" she yelled.
"Do not worry about it," said Althena. "I am immune to the effects of alcohol." Smiling she then said, "Actually I made the alcohol more potent so his hangover would be worse."
Lemia laughed and said, "Good! That'll teach him a lesson."
"I do not think he will be touching alcohol for a long time," said Althena. "Although it is not because of what I did, but rather of what he plans on doing in the future."
"His potential retirement," said Lemia. "It sort of slipped out while we were discussing what the two of you talked about. We knew he was in love but we did not know he had fallen that hard. When he talked about the woman he loves I am reminded of my own need for someone. In all honesty Althena, I love what I do with the others. Protecting you and the world has always been my life long dream, but without someone to intimately share those times with, both the good and bad it makes some of what I do wonder why I have been doing this in the first place."
"Lemia you have done Lunar and I a lot of good. Never forget that," said Althena. "Someday I am sure you will find the man you will fall in love with. All you have to do is keep that belief of finding someone and it will come to pass."
"Thank you," said Lemia.
Althena smiled and said, "It is what I do."
"You know that you just gave yourself a reason not to retire. People still need your advice to help them through the crisis like I am having," said Lemia.
"If it was only that simple," replied Althena. "I visited the temple yesterday. When people had problems they would pray. They would smile at the statue and thanking me for helping them. They believed I had helped them when in fact the answer was already with them. It was their belief that I had helped them that made them realize the solution within them and not through direct intervention by me. All those centuries of sleep and people believed I was helping them when in fact they were helping themselves. They have thanked me instead of saying, 'The answer was always inside me.' I cannot go on any longer with such deception. People have to look within and to each other for the solutions to their problems."
"How will you do this?" asked Lemia. "I mean you just cannot up and quit can you?"
"In a way yes," answered Althena. "I will make sure that people's worship of me will gradually fade. The process may take centuries, maybe even millennia, for people to finally stop worshiping me."
Althena quietly hummed to herself then stood up and stretched. "I feel like going for a walk. Would you like to join me?"
"Sure," said Lemia. "I have to get back to class anyway."
The two woman just reached the door to the Magic Guild when the door flew open and a man came running out. He slammed into Lemia causing her to drop her students' papers.
"Hey!" yelled Lemia. "What do you think you are doing?!"
The man yelled back, "Me? I'm not the one walking on the wrong side of the path!"
Lemia looked and saw that she was indeed on the wrong side of the path but still that did not excuse this rude man from yelling at her.
"Don't you know who I am?" asked Lemia hoping to at least spook the man a little bit.
"You are Lemia of the Four Heros and that doesn't give you any special treatment around here," replied the man.
Lemia's jaw dropped in surprise. Here was a man who did not turn into a butt kisser, nor was he intimidated in the least at who she was. Lemia tried to fire back one of her classic insults but could not find the words.
The man picked up the fallen papers and shoved them into Lemia's arms. "Be careful next time Lemia," he said as he walked off.
"Of all the nerve," Lemia managed to say.
"Yes that was surprising," said Althena.
"Still he could have had better manners even though it was my fault," replied Lemia.
"Such things happen," said Althena. "He looks like a teacher of some type."
"I think he is a new teacher at the Guild," said Lemia. "I remember hearing about a new teacher taking over one of advanced classes."
Althena smiled and said, "Maybe you two will talk again sometime."
Lemia replied with a growl, "The day that'll happen will be the day that Ghaleon loosens up."
Althena chucked lightly to herself. Lemia did not realize that Althena set up that little accident. Althena knew earlier that both that man and Lemia were both searching for that someone to share their lives with. Giving a slight suggestion for the man to hurry from the building, Althena timed it so Lemia and the man would collide. It was not so much of doing her duties as a goddess but rather doing something special for somebody she considered a friend.
"I don't know about the latter," said Althena. "Yet who can say what tomorrow brings?"
Ghaleon sat on the bench in the small private area behind the Guild Masters office. When no one was there, Ghaleon would play his lutee. He would usually just let his mind wander as he played, but with what was happening with Althena made him distracted.
As he tried to play he heard Althena say, "Good afternoon Ghal."
Ghaleon flinched in his seat and missed a note. It was not so much the goddess suddenly appearing, but that she called him 'Ghal'. He hated that nickname even though he heard it all the time.
Ghaleon forced a smile and said, "Praise be to you Althena."
Althena sat down beside Ghaleon. "Please don't say that. I am not here to be worshiped."
"That is right," said Ghaleon. "You are here to. . .quit just like them are you not?"
Althena did not like Ghaleon's tone of voice but she made no comment on it. "Them meaning Mel and Lemia I suppose. Well even if I were not retiring myself I still would give them my blessing to do so. They have given so much without getting anything in return and it is time they do get something back. Out of the history of the Dragonmasters and their companions you four have had the hardest run yet."
"They can still do their duties that is required of them and still live a normal life," said Ghaleon.
Althena sighed, "Ghaleon you do not understand. Is it right to lead the type of life that you do and to put your loved ones at risk? Is it right to do what you do and be always alone without companionship?"
Ghaleon noticed that Althena was talking mostly to herself. "Are you talking about them or yourself Althena?"
"I suppose it could work both ways. What the use of being immortal and always being alone Ghaleon. Not only that most of the threats that happen on this planet has always been directed toward me. How many time have the planet and my children have nearly been destroyed because of me. The best thing I can do to protect the planet as a whole is to step down."
"What will. . .we do if you are no longer here?" asked Ghaleon.
Althena shook her head. "You still do not understand do you? The children of this planet are grown up. Like any responsible parent I have to let you go to live your live the way you see fit. The only thing I ask is that you all live peacefully and happily, to treat each other with respect, and to treat this world well."
Ghaleon's temper started to rise. To him they were excuses and empty words "No! I won't have it!" he said as he grabbed Althena's arm.
Althena slowly turned her head to look at Ghaleon's hand. In low voice that devoid of any musical quality and was toneless and without resonance, Althena said, "I may have slept the past few centuries away Ghaleon but I am sure that it is still considered very improper to touch a woman without permission."
Ghaleon let go and Althena stood up and started to walk toward the open door to the reception room. She stopped halfway and said, "Your own actions give me a reason not to retire. It seems one of my own children refuses to grow-up yet I cannot do anything about it because you are an adult. I can only be sad that you turned to the way that you have Ghaleon. You have yet to learn what it means to make a sacrifice that would change your life. . .I know that you are an orphan and you have been searching for your heritage. When I first saw you, I knew your heritage right away. Yes you part human yet you are also of mixed heritage. One of your parents is of the race you despise so much."
Her last words caused Ghaleon's world to collapse. The race he hated and fought with the others all these years was none other than the Vile Tribe. He lowered his head and whispered, "No."
He wanted to deny Althena's words to her face but when he looked up she was gone. Ghaleon gripped the lute's strings hard. There was a snapping sound and a grunt from Ghaleon. He set down the lute whose strings were broken. He opened his hand and saw the blood from the cut caused from squeezing the tight strings to hard. For the longest time he just sat staring at the free flowing blood.
Sitting alone on a few miles from Saith on a deserted beach Dyne sat and played his lute. He was playing it fast and furious. Experimenting with a new type of music, Dyne discovered this music had a good fast beat to it. He figured this music would be a hit with children but he was not to sure about the adults.
The only problem now was what to call this new music. He continued to play and think of a name when he heard Althena say, "It is wonderful that many types of music are being rediscovered Dragonmaster. On the Blue Planet we call it rock 'n roll."
Dyne jumped up and turned to her. It was very hard to sneak up on him yet Althena just did that. He smiled and said, "Rock 'n Roll? I wonder if Ghal would take exception to the name considering that's what he call his Earth Magic."
Dyne saw Althena flinch at his mentioning of Ghaleon. "Did something happen to Ghaleon?" he asked.
"No Dragonmaster," answered Althena. "We just disagreed on a couple of things. It is nothing to worry about."
Dyne frowned and said, "Are you sure? You look worried."
"No it's all right. He just did not approve of what I am planning that is all," replied Althena. "Now come Dragonmaster. Play something that I can sing to please."
Dyne's eyes lit up at her offer. "I'd be honored to. This is a dream come true."
Together they played music throughout the day. Sometimes the songs were sad and other times they were joyous. When they finally stopped the sun was starting to set.
"Dragonmaster can I ask you a question?" asked Althena.
"You can ask me anything," answered Dyne.
"During your quest to become Dragonmaster, who did you have in your heart when you played your music to make the Blue Dragon's cave to appear?"
Dyne stiffened and his face went red. Turning away from Althena, he replied, "She. . .was someone I knew of while growing up. I never really paid to much attention to her when I was child. That changed when I got older and started to dream about becoming a Dragonmaster and that was when I first noticed her. . .I was surprised that she replied to my song that day. . ."
"I was surprised that you held me in your heart Dyne," replied Althena. "At first I believed it was just a dream reflecting my own loneliness. When your song woke me up I discovered that it not a dream but reality. It is said when people look at me they will instantly fall in love or that my children love me so much that would die for me. Nearly everyone on the planet holds me in their heart but not as you have Dyne."
Dyne was surprised that Althena called him by his first name. Ever since this whole thing began she just referred to him as Dragonmaster. "I didn't mean to offend you," he said.
Althena smiled and replied, "No Dyne, you have none nothing wrong. It was the condition of the test you had to pass. Why did you not awaken me when you came for my Sword?"
"You looked so peaceful," said Dyne. "I did not want to disturb your rest." It was a full blown lie and Dyne knew it. He was afraid of being rejected by her.
Then Dyne realized something. "The Blue Dragon Trial condition says that the two people must be. . .in love."
Althena reached over and took his hand into hers. "Even I am bound by the rules so I do not play favorites."
"Then that means. . .us?" asked Dyne. "We are the ones who are meant for each other."
Althena nodded yes and moved even closer. She saw his fear in his eyes. Althena knew it was because of who they were. "Do not be afraid Dyne. For now we are not Goddess and Dragonmaster, but just a man and woman who are in love."
Dyne smiled and drew Althena to him and kissed her.
A hand reaching out to a bright light. The light vanishes and. . . Dyne woke up with a start. He recalled last night and what he shared with Althena. He never felt so complete in all of his life. Not even becoming Dragonmaster had made him feel so fulfilled.
He turned over on the blanket that Althena had conjured before they had made love. He reached for her and discovered that she was not there. Looking around he found her sitting near the shore facing away from him.
Getting dressed, Dyne walked over to her. "Good morning," he said.
She turned to Dyne and he took a step back for she was crying. "What wrong? Is there trouble somewhere?"
Althena got up and threw her arms around Dyne. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry Dyne!," she cried.
Dyne said in a soothing voice, "It's all right Althena. Just calm down and tell me what's wrong."
"When I awoke I decided to see what kind of future we would have together. But what I saw. . .I have to give up my power Dyne," said Althena.
"Yeah I figured as much," said Dyne. A chill then went up his spine and his eyes widened and he yelled, "No! Don't say it will kill you! I won't have it! Neither as Dragonmaster or as the man who loves you!"
"Such passion you have Dyne," whispered Althena. "No it will not kill me. I will change that is all."
"Changed? What do you mean. Please explain to me," pleaded Dyne.
"I will be reborn as a human and I will have no memory of ever being a Goddess. It is the only way for me to let my children go and to rediscover my humanity."
"Will you remember me?" asked Dyne.
Dyne recalled the worst wound he ever received in battle. A magical bolt had hit him square in the heart. The bolt, he was told after he recovered, had almost torn his heart in half. That wound was nothing in comparison to the pain he felt right now.
"I love you," said Dyne. "That is my reason for you not to do this. I never asked for anything in my life. Only to be a Dragonmaster to serve you and the planet. . .and then there is this. The other dream just came true and it has just turned into a nightmare. Tell me. . .please tell me this is all a nightmare and when I wake up we will still be in each others arms."
"I'm sorry!" cried out Althena.
"There has to be another way!" said Dyne choking back his own tears. "The Blue Star were we came from! There has to be other worlds like it before the fall. Just you and me and the hell with this place! We can live with each other in peace."
"And how long could we do that before guilt overwhelms us Dyne?" asked Althena. "Love and duty is a bad combination Dyne. I love my children so much that it is my duty to sacrifice everything including my identity."
"What about me? What will the dragons and I do? What about future Dragonmasters?" asked Dyne grasping at straws.
"I will talk to the dragons about that," answered Althena. "We will come up with a plan in case a Dragonmaster is needed once again. As for you Dyne, I am very sorry to throw this burden onto you. If you wish, you may also retire after I am reborn."
Dyne saw what Althena really wanted of him. She wanted him to take care of her after her rebirth. "I will," he whispered.
Althena pulled away from Dyne but he stopped her. "Wait," he said. "I don't know if you will remember this or not, but." He then kissed her one last time.
Dyne it is time. I have lifted the magical barrier around my tower so you can use the Dragon Wings. Dyne was once again snapped out of his dreams. Six months had passed since that morning on the beach. When he returned to his friends, he said very little of what happened. The only thing he said was that at some point Althena would make a decision.
Quickly changing into his armor he was about to leave his room when he noticed his reflection in a mirror. 'It was one hell of a run that's for sure. . .I just wish it didn't have to end this way. Will I ever be able to love again? Will I ever find anyone like Althena?' Dyne shook his head. 'No, I should not dwell on it. This is the way it has to be. Sacrifice. . .what a word that is. I am. . .a coward and a fool I suppose. I always believed that anyone who sacrifices love for duty is such. And yet. . .and yet I guess everyone in their lives at one point have to give something up for the greater good no matter how much it hurts. I hope Mel and Lemia never have to go through something like this. Oh Noah my old friend, I wish I could see you once more but not even you can know what I have planned.'
Dyne left his room and went downstairs. To his surprise he saw his three friends. "Why are you all up?" asked Dyne.
"We heard Althena's voice," said Lemia.
"I guess it's time then," said Mel.
Ghaleon muttered something under his breath. Out loud he said, "We might as well get this over with."
The three of them got up and started to follow Dyne. "Were are you all going?" asked Dyne.
"With you of course," said Lemia.
"All for one and all that," added Mel.
Dyne smiled and was pleased at his friends loyalty. "Sorry gang this is something that I can only do."
"What if something goes wrong?" asked Lemia.
Dyne thought for a moment. She did have point that something might go seriously wrong. Either he, Althena, or the child could be hurt in the process. "Alright but only one of you can go with me," said Dyne. "Ghaleon will come with me."
Ghaleon stood with a slight smirk on his face. Dyne sense of danger went off at Ghaleon's smile but he chalked it up to nerves.
"Mel. . .Lemia. . .you two take care of yourselves and the people you love," said Dyne. "If everything goes right then I'll see you again. If something happens then you all know what my last wishes are. You two are. . .are the best friends anyone could ask for."
Using the Wings, Dyne and Ghaleon teleported away from Vane. After they left Lemia said to Mel. "I have a feeling we will never see Dyne again," said Lemia.
Mel sat down on a couch and sighed. "Yeah I know."
Just outside the entrance to Althena's throne room, Dyne and Ghaleon stood in silence. After many minutes Dyne said, "Ghaleon it is time. Wait here for me. You know that only a Dragonmaster can pass the barrier."
Dyne started to proceed then stopped. "Ghaleon, I have never ask you for anything since we have known each other. But this one time I want to ask you a favor. If this works tell the others that I have died. I won't be going back."
Ghaleon was taken aback. "Why?"
"Because of what I did not tell you or the others. If this works then Althena will become a whole new person. She will be reborn as a new human baby. It's better this way because I will be able to take care of her in peace without distraction."
"What?!" shouted Ghaleon. "You cannot be serious, you cannot do this!"
Dyne smiled weakly and replied, "I wish I did not have to do this either but it is the choice Althena has made. Good bye my friend."
Dyne passed through the barrier and looked up at the Goddess Althena, the woman he loved. "Are you sure about this?" he asked. He wanted so much for her to say no.
"As much as I do not want to do this I must," she replied. She smiled then said, "Now be of strong heart and courage Dyne. Come to me and catch me when I make the transition into. . .my new self. You must know first that I have discovered that I also need your strength to complete the process. It will strip you of all your powers and may well kill you."
"I figured as much," said Dyne. "I brought someone along just in case something might happen."
As Dyne started to walk up the stairs a pillar of light surrounded Althena.
Outside the throne room, Ghaleon watched the protective barrier shimmer. He ran his hand along the barrier and noticed it was weaker than before. Ghaleon could not, would not scream as the barrier tried to drain him. Stumbling through he collapsed at the bottom of the stairs. Ghaleon tried shout at Dyne but he was to weak from passing through the barrier.
Looking at Dyne and Althena, Ghaleon knew this might be the last time to stop them of this madness. Gathering whatever strength he could Gahleon screamed, "Wait! Dyne! Stop!"
Just before Dyne reached the top of the stairs, Ghaleon tried one last time. Desperate this time he yelled,"Stop before the path you have chosen strips you of the very power that safeguards your soul!"
Dyne did not even flinch as he gave up his power to Althena to help her finish her metamorphic change into a new being.
"Dyne! No!" yelled Ghaleon.
Althena smiled at Dyne one last time. She then closed her eyes as the light combined with both the power of a Dragonmaster and the Goddess exploded. Ghaleon shielded his eyes and demanded of this hateful selfish man what he had just did. "Why have you done this? What is it you can see that I cannot? TELL ME!"
The new born child floated gently into Dyne's hands. Looking at the newborn, Dyne smiled as the child started to cry. This cry was proof to Dyne that the transformation had worked. To Ghaleon he answered, "I see a bright hope for the future that resides in each and every human."
'I see only despair. . .,' thought Ghaleon as he clenched his fist.
Ghaleon wanted to kill Dyne but he could not for he was to weak from the barrier. Barely finding the strength to stand, Ghaleon picked himself up and walked hunched over out the throne room.
Dyne sat at the top of the stairs holding the newborn child. With the supplies that Dyne gathered before he left Vane, he clothed and fed Luna. "What shall we call you huh?" he whispered to the baby. "I think people would catch on if we called you Althena. Let's see, well you helped this world so much, how about. . .Luna? Would you like to be called Luna?"
Luna made a gurgling sound and smiled. Dyne himself smiled and said, "Ok then, Luna it is."
Tired and weakened Dyne carefully carried Luna outside. He was surprised to see the Dragons waiting for him.
"Has anyone seen Ghaleon?" asked Dyne in a tired voice.
"He came out then ran off," answered the Black Dragon. "We thought something went wrong."
"Are you alright Dra, er Dyne?" asked the Red Dragon.
"Just a little drained," replied Dyne. "What are all of you doing here?"
"Well you see Althena explained everything to us," said the Blue Dragon. "Then we all talked about it and we all decided to come to make sure everything went well. Then to our surprise the items we give out to those who pass our tests appeared to us. Kind of reminds me of Dragonmaster Roland's sudden retirement. Now that was a"
"Ahem!" said Quark interrupting Blue. "By the time you are finished talking Blue the child will be an adult."
"Whoops did it again. Why do I always talk so much? Just like. . ." Blue's voice trailed off as he realized he was about to go on another tangent.
"Anyway Dyne," continued Quark. "Althena told us everything. She even gave us a chance to talk her out of it and we failed. Yet I am also happy to see that everything went well."
Dyne cursed himself as he realized he never talked to the Dragons about this. "I'm sorry I never talked to you all about this."
"It is alright," said Red. "You have had a lot on your mind."
"Especially what happened to Althena and what happened to you," said Blue. "Considering your feelings for her, I am not surprised you haven't"
"Will you be quiet!" snapped the Black Dragon. "I don't think he needs the reminder."
It was then that Dyne truly understood what he had lost. Staggering he went to his knees. "Oh god no. I. . .lost her," he cried. "How could I have let this happen?"
He looked at the Dragons. His tears were so great that they blurred his vision. Sobbing he asked, "Can you take care of Luna? Just for a bit?"
Quark nodded yes and Dyne carefully placed Luna on the ground. He then walked away to be alone so he could mourn in peace. He leaned against the walls of the tower. 'Why! Why did I allow this to happen! Damn it to hell I loved her and I let her do this.'
Dyne went back to the Dragons and discovered that Blue and Black were gone. "Where did they go?" he asked.
Quark shook his mighty head and blinked. "They are going to hibernate. As you know we sleep when there is no Dragonmaster."
Red looked at Quark with meaningful glance. Quark closed his eyes and nodded. "Dyne there is a favor we would ask of you," said Quark.
"Anything," said Dyne.
Red got up stood up on her hind legs. She placed a hand on her stomach and pressed it. Dyne blinked as she reached into a concealed pouch on her stomach. She pulled something out and placed her hand before Dyne.
"Oh my," whispered Dyne as he looked at the tiny dragon baby in her massive hand. "I did not know you had a child Red," said Dyne.
"The winds of change are upon us. This dragon child, like Luna, is for the future," explained Quark. "Nall is of a new generation of Dragons."
"I am requesting that you take care of him while we sleep," said Red.
Dyne sat down against a tree. He held the sleeping Luna close to him as Red carefully placed Nall in Dyne's lap.
Dyne frowned. "I'd like to Red but I don't know how to raised a dragon. . .I don't even know how raise a human baby."
"That could be a problem for Luna," said Quark. "What will you do now?"
Dyne tried to speak but could not as knowledge of basic parenthood flashed through his mind. It was if someone opened the doors for him. "Althena must have imparted the knowledge to me. It is if I had always known what to do," he said.
"Just be careful," said Red. "You should know that raising a child is not that easy."
"Don't worry I'll be careful," replied Dyne.
"There is just one last thing," said Quark. The dragon then dropped the Dragon Wings beside Dyne.
"What are doing?" snapped Dyne. "I have no need for those. I'm retired now."
"Just take it Dyne," said Quark. "I have not yet sealed the Dragon Wing's power and you may need it in case of an emergency. You are a parent now and you need at least a way to get help in case something happens to either Luna, Nall, or yourself."
Dyne placed Luna in one arm and hesitantly took the Dragon Wings. "All right," he muttered. "I'll take them."
"Now we must leave," said Red. "I do not relish falling asleep on the way back to my home. As for Nall, he prefers fish as his food. Now take care Dyne and may Alth. . .well if there is a Supreme Being may He watch over you and the children."
"Take care Dyne," said Quark. "I hope that someday we will meet again."
Dyne watched as the two dragons flew off. Looking at the sleeping Nall he said, "Well little one what do think of me hmmm?"
Nall opened his eyes and stuck his tongue out at him. Then Luna woke up and started to cry for food. Dyne sighed knowing the impact of his new undertaking. Carefully getting up he somehow managed to take hold of the Dragon Wings. He teleported to a town to stock up on supplies. He knew that the word of his disappearance had not reached everyone yet so he should be safe for now.
What no one knew about Dyne as a Dragonmaster is that he bought a small piece of property a few miles from Saith. He had a small house built so it would be his retreat for when he wanted to be alone.
After quietly observing the details of his 'death', Dyne was pleased that his friends observed his wishes. It was just a simple ceremony in Burg and a monument on the cliff by the old tree he and Noah used to hang around when they were children.
Dyne did feel guilty about not telling Noah about what had happen. Dyne knew that Noah had been devastated by the reports of his 'death'.
Dyne lived in peace with Luna and Nall for a month when everything went to hell in a handbasket. That night as Dyne slept, he had a dream that he was suffocating. Coughing violently he awoke to discover his house was on fire. Hacking and blinking he reached for Althena's Sword which he still kept and the Dragon Wings. In the children's room Dyne's temper became as hot at the fire that was consuming his house. A member of the Vile Tribe was trying to kidnap Luna!
Dyne hissed through his teeth and stabbed the kidnapper from behind. Checking to make sure the children were not harmed Dyne sheathed his sword, picked up the children and took them outside.
Away from the house Dyne finished coughing and saw something that made his very soul become colder than Quark's lair. The criminal of this heinous act was none other than the Magic Emperor.
The Emperor and Dyne locked eyes. Neither of them wavering. Finally the Emperor said, "The human child give her to me now!"
Dyne replied with fury in his voice, "Hell will freeze over before I hand over these children to scum like you."
"Always unwavering and unbending against your enemies," said the Magic Emperor. "That is your strength and your weakness!"
Just as the Magic Emperor fired off a spell, Dyne activated the Dragon Wings and teleported to the safest spot he knew of. A bewildered Myght looked at Dyne. Before Myght could say or do anything, Dyne placed the children in Myght's assistant's hands and said, "Take care of these children until I get back!"
Dyne then teleported back to face the Magic Emperor. "Very inventive," said the Emperor. "You were always creative when it came to battle. I know this very well."
"Don't know and I don't care who you are," said Dyne. "What I do know is that I am going to bury another Magic Emperor."
"You?" laughed the Magic Emperor. "As what?! You are no longer a Dragonmaster and therefore no threat to me! Your magic has been stripped away Dyne. You are just a very little flea. A flea on a dog waiting to be scratched!" The Magic Emperor proved his point as he fired off his magic.
Dyne was fortunate he still wore the Flame Ring he got during his adventures. The ice daggers shattered against the ring's protective barrier. Dyne stood shivering in shock as he remembered one of the things about magic. That each magic users' visual effect are like fingerprints. No two are the same and Dyne knew who this incarnation of the Magic Emperor was. Yet he wanted to be wrong. "Please," pleaded Dyne. "Don't tell me you are Ghaleon."
The red eyes of the Magic Emperor dimmed then became brighter. There was a flash of black light and Ghaleon stood before Dyne. "Yes. . .it. . . is. . .I," he said clipping every word.
"Have you lost your damn senses Ghaleon?!" yelled Dyne.
"My senses!" yelled Ghaleon. "I'm not the one who has doomed us all! You and that woman's selfish act has put us all in jeopardy!"
"What are you talking about?" asked Dyne.
"We still need her to protect Lunar. If she won't do it then I will," said Ghaleon.
"You still don't understand," said Dyne trying to reason with Ghaleon. "It was her decision that we are able to take care of ourselves now. Why can't you see that!"
"She made the wrong decision," said Ghaleon. "Who are you that let her do this? You are a disgrace to the title you bore for so many-
"Enough Ghaleon!" said Dyne interrupting the other. "Who am I you ask? I am just a man who had finally found love for the first time in his life only to have to give it up. It's hurts you rat-bastard. I didn't want her to do this and neither did she! We both knew what was best for Lunar. Even though we loved each other we both knew what had to be done! We both willingly gave up that love for the hopes and future of Lunar. It was a sacrifice Ghaleon. Something I doubt you have ever understood!"
"Sacrifice? Oh I know all about it!" said Ghaleon in a bitter voice. "I know what it is like be sacrificed to the streets because I was different! Being forced to live off the scraps thrown into the streets! To take abuse from those who had more than I! All of my life is one long sacrifice dear friend!"
Dyne stiffened were he stood. He never knew this about Ghaleon. "Why have you never told me this before?"
"It was never any of your concern," said Ghaleon.
"Damn it man, I thought we were friends!" shouted Dyne. "Or was I wrong!"
Ghaleon shrugged, "I guess we were never friends. It make it all easier actually. I will not be losing sleep anytime soon."
Dyne then twisted and brought sword around and stabbed the Vile Tribe member who tried to stab him in the back with a dagger. "You have truly lost it if you think something like would work. You know I cannot be nailed from behind. The only reason it nearly happened in Lann was because for the first time in my life I was distracted.
"How did you do that? You are no longer Dragonmaster!" said Ghaleon.
Dyne had to distract Ghaleon for just a second and he had to perfect thing to say. "It's called skill and experience," said Dyne. "That's your other problem Ghaleon. You always relied mostly on brute strength and power. Even Mel knows that!"
The insult had the desired effect and Ghaleon flinched. Dyne ran toward Ghaleon with his sword raised. Ghaleon's eyes widened in horror as he saw the sword. The sword was none other than Althena's sword. Dyne yelled as he stabbed Ghaleon through the shoulder.
Dyne took a step back and started to shake as he looked at his former friend and the blood drenched sword sticking in his shoulder. "Finish it Dyne," said Ghaleon. "That has been always been the violent cycle between Dragonmaster and Magic Emperor."
No matter how loud the small voice in back in his head screamed at Dyne to finish this nightmare once and or all he could not, would not, do this to his former friend. Dyne pulled the sword out of Ghaleon's shoulder. He turned and prepared to return to Myght's Tower. His final words to Ghaleon were, "If I ever see you again I will not hesitate to kill you."
Dyne returned to Myght's Tower with an empty feeling in his soul. As he reappeared he heard voices yelling followed by the crying of children.
"Get them out of here!" yelled Myght. "They stink worse than I do for Althena's sake!"
"Myght they are just babies," said the assistant.
"What is going on here!" snapped Dyne.
Myght looked Dyne. "You?! Aren't you supposed to be dead?!"
Dyne went over and took Luna in his hands. Luna instantly quieted down in his presence. "I have fed and changed her," said the assistant.
Dyne thanked the assistant. To Myght he said, "Do you remember anything strange happening about a month ago?"
"Nothing much except half of my experiments ended up being ruined!" snapped Myght. "What does that have to with anything?"
"It was Luna's and my fault that happened," said Dyne.
Myght looked at Dyne carefully. "What do you mean Dyne?"
"That child Luna is the Goddess Althena," said Dyne.
The only sound that came from Myght was a fart. Myght walked over to a wall and banged on it and a hidden door opened. "I think that month long bout of constipation is about to come to an end," he said. "I'll be right back."
Fifteen minutes later Myght came back into the lab. "So what happened?" he asked. "You just don't go popping in and out like without a reason Dyne."
Dyne knew he could not tell Myght about Ghaleon. Dyne figured that this recluse would be on top of Ghaleon's hate list. "I can't go into details," said Dyne. "It's just that someone knows about Luna and the truth."
"I guess that is not a good thing," said Myght. "Well of course knowing you it would not have been any other way! So what are you going to do now?"
"If I could change my appearance I would," sighed Dyne. He then smiled, "Of course I could always hang out here."
"I'll stop farting every five minutes!" snapped Myght. "But we both know neither is going to happen anytime soon! There maybe. . .just a way for your other idea to work."
"Oh?" asked Dyne.
"Forget it Dyne! She'll never help you. She's a worse recluse than I am!" said Myght.
"I try anything Myght. Tell me please," said Dyne.
"It's the old hag who lives near Saith," explained Myght. "She's the only one who has the power to do what you have in mind."
"You've got be kidding me," said Dyne. "She's one of the last people I want help from. I had to hack my way through that forest to get those sea-charts back."
Myght shrugged, "Hey I really don't care what you do! Just please get the hell out of here. And take those brats with you! Nyahh!"
"Come on Myght," pleaded Dyne. "Can't they stay for a little bit longer?"
Myght scratched his beard in thought. "Oh all right! The brats can stay till you get back!" snapped Myght. "Now get out of here! Nyah!"
When night came, Dyne teleported to Saith. After he left Myght's assistant asked, "Are you alright sir? You look really worried."
"Considering what Dyne did I'm won't be surprised if the that witch doesn't rip his fool head off. Now take those brats somewhere else! It took me decades to give this place the right aroma and two little upstarts aren't going to ruin it!"
Dyne appeared in Saith and immediately left the town and headed for the old witch's hut. After a hour of fighting off over sized insects, he arrived at his destination.
In front of the witch's hut, Dyne hesitated. For some reason he felt he should not see the witch. His first thought that she worked for Ghaleon, but he knew that was not it. This witch had always been known as a loner. Taking a breath he knocked on the door.
"Come in," said a voice that sent chills up Dyne's back. He hated it when she talked liked that.
He opened the door and went in. Halfway through the door, Dyne ducked and rolled as his attacker tried to hit him from behind. "Nice try!" said Dyne.
Dyne came out of the onto his feet with Althena's Sword drawn. He looked in surprise as the twin sister hags stood ready to attack him.
"I told you Dyne couldn't be taken from behind!" said the one who had tried to jump Dyne from behind.
"Well excuse me sis!" snapped the other one.
"You both are going to regret it!" snapped Dyne. First he would take care of these two fools then he would go after Ghaleon. He had enough of this.
Dyne brought Althena's Sword over his head and then brought it down crashing on the witch's head. Althena's Sword, which could cut any metal and break through any magical barrier, stopped centimeters from his target's head.
The witch smiled and said, "Nice try you idiot!" She grabbed the sword by the blade and yanked it out of Dyne's hand. The other witch cast a spell and Dyne flew from the floor and slammed into a wall.
"What do we do now?" asked the witch holding Althena's Sword.
"I think we should rip his fool head off," replied the other.
"I don't care what you do to me," said Dyne. "You'll never take the child!"
"What do you mean?" said the witch holding the sword.
Dyne could see the confusion on their faces. "You don't know?"
"All we know is that we can't feel Althena's presence anymore," said the other witch. "We have good idea who is responsible though."
Dyne muttered a curse knowing telling them the truth was the only way. "How about if I explain."
"Time for talk is over traitor," said the witch with the sword.
"No let him explain," said the other sister. She broke the spell and Dyne dropped to the floor.
"Before I explain, just who are you two?" asked Dyne. "No one but Althena could do what you did and that is block Althena's Sword."
The witch handed Dyne the sword. Smiling she said, "Think about the only time there was two Dragonmasters at once."
Dyne's body went stiff. He knew of that one time in history. "Alicia and Laticia?!" he said.
The two old women smiled and said at once, "In the flesh Dyne."
Dyne wanted to know the how and why but he did not have time. For the next two hours he talked about what happened and why he was here in the first place.
"You loved her didn't you?" asked Laticia wiping a tear.
"Yeah," said Dyne.
"You always were a softy Laticia," said Alicia.
Laticia stuck her tongue at her sister. Alicia snorted and said, "Very mature sis!"
Dyne rolled his eyes. He had heard stories from Black Rose Street that the two sisters had a falling out of some kind a few years back. "Look can you help me or not?" he asked.
"Yes. What will you do afterwards?" asked Laticia.
Dyne had thought about that on his way through the forest. Once again he discovered he had to something he did not want to do. He had to give up someone he loved. "I know someone who can take care of Luna," said Dyne.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Alicia.
"Yes damnit!" snapped Dyne. "Please can we just get this over with."
"So be it," said Alicia.
"But be warned that you can never go back to your original form," said Laticia.
"As long as Luna will safe I don't care what happens to me," said Dyne.
The sisters smiled and Alicia said, "No wonder you are considered the best of us. Willing to sacrifice all including love for what is best for Lunar and it's people. Now come Dyne, you will to shall become a new person."
The ingredients were prepared and Dyne laid on a the floor. The two sisters then started to chant the spell. Dyne felt himself become tired. Slowly his eyelids became heavier. He heard the chanting become fainter and darkness started take him. He then fell into a dreamless sleep.
And awoke as he heard one of the sister trying to wake him. "Come on. Come on Dyne get up!"
As awareness came to Dyne, he could feel his whole body being racked with pain. "Slowly Dyne," said Laticia.
"What happened to you Dyne?" asked Alicia.
Dyne started to speak then stopped. His voice was so different now. Swallowing he said, "What do you mean?"
"You almost died three times," said Laticia. "That should not have happened."
Even though this body hurt Dyne still shot up off the floor. "What?!"
Laticia tried to hold Dyne down on the floor. "Don't move yet!"
"What is going on?" asked Dyne.
"It put bluntly you have been neutered," answered Alicia.
"Damn it man calm down," said Laticia. "Didn't anyone ever tell you about tact Alicia? Dyne did you give up your powers as a Dragonmaster to help Althena transform into Luna?"
"Yeah why?" said Dyne.
"Well it drained you of more than that," said Alicia. "Contrary to what Vane says everyone has a 'spark' if you will. This spark enables people to tap into magic. Some peoples' sparks are brighter than others. The brighter the spark the more powerful the defense and offense magic a person can cast. Vane exists to fan the spark so to speak to make it brighter."
"Like how Lemia and Ghaleon taught me," said Dyne.
"Exactly," said Laticia. "When you gave up you power as Dragonmaster the sacrifice was so great it literally blew out your spark. I'm sorry Dyne but with the exception of defensive, curative, and support items, you can never use magic again. As of matter of fact even the weakest of attack magic could be fatal to you."
"It doesn't matter anyway," said Dyne. "I'm not going to be getting into any battles soon."
"What about the Magic Emperor?" asked Alicia.
"The Magic Emperor will have to wait. I don't think he will be doing anything foolish soon. Especially when he does not know where Luna is hidden."
Alicia asked, "What about Althena's Sword?"
Dyne took the sword and tried to seal its power until the next Dragonmaster came along. After the revelation about his total lose of magic he was not surprised when it did not work.
Laticia placed a hand on Dyne's shoulder and said, "Here let me." She took Althena's Sword and chanted the sealing spell only known to Dragonmasters. Then she wrapped Althena's Sword in straps of magical cloth to prevent unworthy people from taking the sword.
"What will you do with it?" asked Alicia.
Dyne smiled, "I know a good spot to place it."
Laticia looked out the window. "Dawn is almost here. Dyne you better leave now. We don't want anybody seeing you just yet. Hide out for a day or two and then make your appearance."
Dyne nodded and he started to leave when he noticed himself in a mirror. After a few moments of looking himself over he said, "I look like a bum. I look so horrible I make Mel on a drinking binge look good." Laughing he said, "This is perfect!"
After returning to Myght's Tower and squaring everything with it's owner, Dyne waited for nightfall then he and the children teleported to their final destination.
Dyne muttered a curse as it started to rain. In this unassuming village Dyne walked up the house and knocked on the door. The door opened and the owner said, "What do want? It's the middle of night!"
"Hi Noah," said Dyne.
"Who are you?" asked Noah. Pausing he then said, "If you are a reporter than you better get lost. I said everything I had to say over a month ago and that absolutely was nothing. You people are worse than the monsters Dyne fought."
Dyne laughed which sounded odd to him. His laugh was louder than normal. "Noah you were always a good and loyal friend!"
"Will you keep it down?!" snapped Noah. "Look just make it quick then get out of here will you?"
"Don't you recognize me old friend?" asked Dyne.
"If I recognized you I wouldn't be baring the doorway."
Dyne took a breath and said, "It's me Dyne."
Noah growled and said, "Listen up you bastard, you have till the count of ten to get out of Burg! Cause if you don't I'm going to rip your manhood off and feed them to the dogs!"
Dyne took a step back knowing that Noah could and would follow through with the threat. "What if I could prove who I am?"
Noah's eyes narrowed. "You have one chance to convince me."
Dyne smiled and said, "Who's idea was it to paint the Elder's house bright pink?"
Noah's face went white. No ever knew who did it. The culprits of course were Dyne and himself. "Dyne could have told you that," said Noah in a weak voice.
"We swore never to tell a soul what we did. You always knew that I kept my word no matter what," said Dyne.
Noah's whole body felt weak. "Oh dear Althena," he muttered. From behind him, he heard his wife say, "Noah is something wrong? Who is this man and who are these babies?"
"Babies?" asked Noah. For the first time he noticed Luna and Nall.
"That is why I am here Noah," said Dyne.
"Well we should bring them in," said Noah's wife. "Or else they'll catch a cold."
After making sure the children were fine the three of them sat at the table and talked.
"I don't think I caught your name," said Noah's wife.
Dyne swallowed realizing he forgot to come up with a new name for himself. Fortunately Noah was ahead of him. The one thing Dyne liked about Noah was he could talk his way out of any situation. "Honey this is Laike. He along with Dyne and myself used to go adventuring before Dyne started his quest to become Dragonmaster."
"They never mentioned you," she said.
Dyne laughed and said, "Well I always preferred to be out of the loop. I just adventured for adventures sake that's all."
"What brings you here Laike?" asked Noah.
"The children and one other thing. Luna is the girl and Nall is from someone else who entrusted me with him. I can't go into details right now. All I can do is say that you two are the people I can trust the most with them. I would also like Noah to come with me to Dyne's Memorial."
"Well ok," said Noah's wife. "I'll go prepare Alex's old crib for Luna." She took a closer look at Nall and noticed his small wings. She muttered, "And of course I'll find something for. . .whatever you are."
At Dyne's Memorial, Noah asked, "So what is the one other thing Dyne?"
"This," answered Dyne. He took the wrapped sword and jammed it into the ground beside his memorial.
Dyne raised an eyebrow and said, "Is that sword what I think it is?"
Dyne smiled and answered, "Yeah it is Althena's Sword. I can't use it anymore Noah. It will have to wait for the next Dragonmaster to come along."
Noah shook his head. "What happened to you Dyne? What happened that would have caused you to do all of this? When Lemia and Mel came to me a month ago telling me you had died I was devastated."
"How about if we give each other information. You tell me why you never came with me on the Dragon Trial Quest and I'll tell as much as I can without putting Luna and Nall in danger," said Dyne.
Noah rolled his eyes. "I told you back then I was afraid."
Dyne snorted and said, "Come on Noah this is me you are talking to. If you want my truth then you have to me your truth."
Noah sighed and asked, "Do you remember after we got the Dragon Ring and Quark wanted to talk to me alone?"
"Quark said that not since Laticia and Alicia has there been a time when two people were worthy of becoming Dragonmaster at the same time. That is why I did not go with you. I was afraid. . .afraid that jealousy might ruin our friendship. Back then and even now I value our friendship more than anything."
Dyne leaned against the tree by his memorial. "Why didn't you ever tell me this?"
"Because you would have done what I did," said Noah. "Try to back out and talk me into becoming the next Dragonmaster. I felt it would be easier on both of us if you went ahead and became Dragonmaster. Anyway I have been blessed enough by Althena. I have a loving wife and a healthy son. My best friend is still alive and I now have a daughter. . . and whatever Nall is. Althena has blessed me indeed."
Dyne shifted uncomfortably where he stood at the mentioning of Althena. Noah knew his friend very well and picked up on it. "What did I say?" asked Noah.
"It has to do with my explanation," said Dyne. He then told Noah as much as he could without reveling Luna's true origin. He basically said that Luna's mother was very strong and that Luna herself could change the world.
"And are you Luna's father?" asked Noah.
"In a way I guess. I can't really go into details," said Dyne. That little revelation made Dyne's heart even heavier than before. In a way he just gave up his only child.
As a father, Noah saw what Dyne was just about to give up. "Dyne if you want you can stay in Burg. Here you can raise Luna in peace."
"Thank you Noah," said Dyne. "I cannot just yet. I have discovered that my choices have had vary serious consequences. I need to prepare for whatever challenges are in the future. Part of that will be me becoming traveler and lone adventure."
Noah shook his head in sadness. "If you are going to do that than you can't go without a weapon. I'll be back in a few moments."
Noah came back with a sword. Dyne saw it and said, "I can't take that! I got that for your birthday a few years ago."
Noah held the Master Sword in his hand. "Consider it a loan then. Keep hold of it until you no longer need it."
Dyne sighed knowing that if he did not take the sword, Noah would not back down. "A loan then," said Dyne as he took the sword.
"You can also stay the night," said Noah. "You look like you need some sleep anyway."
"You can say that again," said Dyne. "By the way I won't disappear for good. From time to time I'll pop up."
Noah smiled and said, "That's all I ask. Oh and could you do one other thing?"
"What is it?"
Noah said in his most serious voice, "Shave that damn beard off! You're going to make everyone who has one look bad!"
Both men laughed and returned to Noah's house.
The next morning Dyne awoke with the roosters. After breakfast, he talked to Luna alone for one last time. "I don't know if I'll ever see you again Luna. I don't know if you will ever remember the life you had as Althena. The only thing I do hope you will remember is this. I loved you as a man when you were Althena and I love you as a father as you are now."
Dyne said his goodbyes to Noah and his wife. Walking to the edge of Burg, Dyne turned and looked at the small village he grew up in. He took a deep breath and exhaled. For the man who was once Dyne the Dragonmaster and is now and forever Laike the Adventurer, a new chapter begins.
Alex slept through the night that Dyne appeared at his home. When he awoke he discovered something new in his home. "Who that?" he asked his mother
"That is Luna, Alex. She will be staying with us for quite awhile."
Alex looked closer into the crib and looked at Luna. He stuck his hand in and Luna took hold of his finger. She made a gurgling sound of happiness. When she finally let go of Alex's finger, he turned to his mother and said, "She like me."
His mother gasped in shock at the change in his son. Noah placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "Don't worry dear. It is just that his destiny has been chosen. It is nothing to worry about."
Alex was not sure what his parents were talking about. They were not yelling at him so he knew he did nothing wrong. With a shrug he turned back to Luna. And with eyes that were once brown, and now green, Alex looked at Luna for the longest time.
Author's note: Four things about this story. 1)Long isn't it? 2)It's the first fanfic I've completed that took place before the game. Just had to say that. 3)Laticia and Alicia are mentioned in the game (Vane's Library) as being twins who were Dragonmasters. Wether or not that is who those twin witches are I have no idea. It's just my own take on things. 4)The last part of the transformation of Althena into Luna is taken from the script provided by the strategy guide.
As usual any constructive compliments and complaints are always welcome.
This story is not to be distributed or posted without my permission.
Lunar is copyright 1999 Game Arts/Working Designs