The first few months in the forest had been rough. Despite having been apart of a wandering clan as an adolescent, Tahlmus had spent most of his life in a city. Kanes, Lillianna, and even Coral seemed to have an easier time adjusting to the new life in the forest. While the magic they all possessed did provide for a certain level of comfort most forest dwellers would not know of, Tahlmus missed what he’d had. He even missed all the tedious paperwork he’d had to do for the school. Learning about a family he’d always had, but never knew about caused some problems for him too, but there were things he enjoyed with the new life. He did enjoy being able to focus on just one wife. Tahlmus also took pleasure in learning more about the magic he possessed. He spent a lot of time with his half sister Ardeszeld, and Kanes. She taught them new more powerful spells, and the two brothers learned how to work together so well, that it was almost as if they were one person.
The more time he spent working with Ardeszeld, not only did he learn a lot more about himself and his power, but he also learned a lot about her. He quickly learned that she preferred her human form, to her dragon one, which he could understand. It was much easier to accomplish certain tasks as a human than it was as a dragon. She also confided in him, that like him, she missed being in a city. She felt like there was nothing quite like being able to help out a local shop, or vendor. Ardeszeld also told him a few stories of how she had, after hearing mothers cry over their missing children, gone into these very forests and in animal form, found the child and guided them home.
Ardeszeld noticed during these times when it was just her and Tahlmus talking, that the talks had an effect on him. She had learned a lot about her more powerful elven brother from her father Urytemil, who had kept watch over the him as a boy. She knew Tahlmus was strong and very capable, but she noticed that the more he learned of his origins and his real family, the less confident he became. She could see all the questions and the doubt that clouded his brain. However, Ardeszeld knew there was nothing she could do to help him. Just like she’d had to come to terms with the path she had been asked to walk, her elven brother would have to come to terms with the path that he was meant to walk.
Tahlmus had been a little nervous at first, but a few weeks into living in the forest, he started to spend evenings after supper with his mother, Thalixen. The very first time they sat down to talk she had been patient with him and answered his questions. They were not answers he had been ready to hear, but he continued to ask anyway. After that night, Thalixen would spend their time together telling Tahlmus of her history, and how her and Urytemil had come to rule one of the local Kingdoms. She spoke to him about the curse that had befallen them, and finally told him the stories that led to her, as an elf, marrying Drevain. Thalixen even explained what had led to their decision to give him to the wandering elves, Urytemil had brought to them. Tahlmus had wanted to question her more the evening she had finally finished her tale, but like it had been hard for him to hear, he could tell that it had been hard for her to relive it, so he had stayed silent.
It had been a week now since he had, had that final conversation with his mother, or even seen her. It hadn’t bothered him too much, as he had been struggling from all the what-if scenarios that plagued him. He had actually left the camp they had, and had made his way up a nearby mountain. He’d noticed a ledge that overlooked the entire forest and thought it was a good place to think. As he sat there, Tahlmus couldn’t help but question the decision his parents had made, despite knowing that the direction his life had taken because of his parents decision to give him away was the best decision they could have made at the time. It also seemed to have been the best way to deal with the curse, though he couldn’t help but wonder what could have happened had they kept him.
“I could have had a family,” he muttered to himself. “I would have had a mother and father. I would have learned more appropriate magic for my power.” Tahlmus sighed. “I could have also been killed by Mystic when he found my parents.” He sat there a little longer as more thoughts came to him. “I never would have met Winky or the Sirens. I wouldn’t have Coral. I wouldn’t be preparing to be a father.” He sighed again putting his head in his hands. Tahlmus then shook his head and attempted to refocus when voices interrupted his thoughts.
“Uncle Tahlmus. Uncle Tahlmus,” the voices got louder as they got closer. “Uncle Tahlmus.”
Tahlmus turned to see Solas and Anders come running towards him. They stopped a few feet from him panting. “Uncle Tahlmus,” they both said at once. “You need to come quick…” Tahlmus opened his mouth to speak, but the boys wouldn’t let him. “Coral’s having the baby.”
“Wait… no, she can’t. It’s too early…” he said as he stood looking at the boys.
“Tell that to the baby,” Anders said.
“And Coral said if you you weren’t there soon, she was going to cut off your manhood and feed it to you,” Solas said in a very serious tone.
“Yeah, she wouldn’t explain that to us, but said you’d know what it meant.”
Tahlmus nodded. “Yeah… I know what that means. Come over here,” he said as he closed his eyes and focused on Coral. Then once each boy had taken a hand he transported them outside of Coral’s tent. The boys ran off and Tahlmus walked inside.
“About time you got here,” Coral stated in between breaths as she felt Tahlmus’s hands encompass hers. Tahlmus opened his mouth to speak but before he could Coral let out a scream, her hand squeezing his so hard he thought it would break. Soon he heard crying and Lillianna asking him to prop Coral up a little higher. Tahlmus complied, watching as Lillianna placed a little bundle in Coral’s arms.
“Congratulations,” Lillianna stated. “You have a healthy baby boy.”
Coral smiled as she looked down at the crying little bundle. Tahlmus knelt there in a stated of shock. He’d known this day would come, and he had tried to prepare for it, but realizing he was now a father brought a whole lot of emotions and feelings he hadn’t been prepared for. Tahlmus realized as he listened to Coral talk about possible names, that the main feeling he felt was fear. He began to understand as he tried to focus on Coral, the reason he had so much fear was because he, himself hadn’t really had any parental figures in his life. The Hahren had been a good teacher, but Tahlmus had mostly taken care of himself.
“Congratulations you two,” a voice broke through his thoughts.
“Thank you, Urytemil,” Coral stated with a smile.
Tahlmus looked at the Gold Dragon. He couldn’t find any words to say. “Have you named him yet?” Urytemil asked after changing into his human form.
“Still working on that,” Coral replied. “We had been hoping for a girl so we didn’t have many male names picked out.”
“What about Kavain? It means Dragon Spirit.”
“That doesn’t sound bad. What do you think Tahlmus?”
“I…” Tahlmus wasn’t sure what he thought. “Can I hold him?” he asked. Coral nodded gently handing the bundle to Tahlmus. As he cradled the baby in his arms he could sense the power the baby had. The young one possessed his draconic magic. “I think Kavan would be more appropriate,” Tahlmus said softly as he finally smiled. As he said the name, the baby calmed and curled into him.
“I think he likes it,” Coral stated. “Kavan it is.”
Urytemil smiled. He had seen all the fear Tahlmus had been harboring. While it wasn’t gone, he’d seen the change in Tahlmus when he had taken the baby in his arms. “Tahlmus,” Urytemil started, “Thalixen and I would like to speak to you before suppertime. So when you have a minute, come find us.”
Tahlmus just nodded as he looked from the baby in his arms into Coral’s eyes. At that moment the only regret he had, was that he would not be there for the others.
In the months following the memorial service, Celestial managed, with the help of Fleur and Methuselah, to run the school as headmaster. At first it was difficult. Everything reminded her of Tahlmus. Caring for the children at the school helped fill the void that had been created when she lost Tahlmus. Fleur and Laguna also reminded her that soon there would be three children, all of whom, would have a part of Tahlmus in them. This little fact had helped all of them to continue moving forward, and kept the school working towards the high standards that Tahlmus had set.
The students had helped with that. While none had known the former headmaster very long, they all understood the commitment he’d had for them. They had seen him observing classes and offering aid where needed. They also knew he had died protecting them. So after the memorial service in the student common area the students had decided to do something to honor his memory. The only idea they had, was to work hard at their studies and prove that the former headmasters belief in their abilities had not been misplaced. They worked so hard in fact, that when Celestial, and then Fleur went into labor, Methuselah gave the students two weeks off. Despite not having any classes, the students continued to study and practice what they had been taught.
“It’s a healthy baby boy,” The doctor said as he laid the little bundle in Celestial’s arms.
“He looks just like Tahlmus,” she whispered as the doctor moved over to Fleur’s bedside.
A few minutes later Fleur’s bed was moved near Celestial’s. “I had a baby girl,” Fleur said softly as she held her own little bundle in her arms.
“Have you decided on a name?”
Fleur frowned. “Not yet. I have been doing research on elven and draconic names. I think I have it narrowed down to Amalia, which is elven for beautiful mistress, or Thalvia, which is a mix of draconic and elven which means born of good fortune.”
“They are both very beautiful names.”
Fleur smiled. “I am leaning towards Thalvia. It would kind of honor Tahlmus more, since he was an elf with draconic magic. What about you?”
“He looks so much like Tahlmus, I was thinking of naming him Tahlmus Junior.”
“I think Tahlmus would have liked that.”
Celestial sighed. “I still miss him… a lot.”
“I do too,” Fleur said as she reached over and put her hand on Celestial’s shoulder.
“I think we all miss him,” Laguna’s voice sounded from the doorway. Celstial and Fleur both gave Laguna a sad smile as she walked over to them. “At least a part of him will live on in our children,” she finished softly rubbing her belly. Almost as if on cue the baby gave a couple of kicks which made Laguna smile.
After talking a little while longer, Laguna returned to her room. She ran her fingers lightly over the ring on her finger. She thought about contacting Tahlmus, as she had so many times before. She missed Tahlmus and Coral, but she didn’t want to cause problems. While most had regretted how harsh they had been with Tahlmus, there was still animosity towards Coral. As she mulled over what she wanted to do, she heard tapping at her window.
Looking up, Laguna saw a white owl with blue eyes. She quickly opened the window and Aesop flew in, landing on her desk. “It’s been a while,” Laguna whispered. “Is everything ok?” The Owl seemed to nod before sticking out its’ leg which had a rolled up piece of paper attached to it. Laguna took it and read it.
“Coral had the baby yesterday. It was a boy. She named him Kavan. Hope you are well. We miss you. Love Lillianna.”
Laguna smiled. While she hated that she could not openly communicate with Tahlmus, she was glad that she could communicate with Lillianna without any problems. At least she knew they were all alright. She turned the piece of paper over and wrote a quick note before rolling it up and attaching it back to Aesop’s leg. The owl gave a short hoot before flying off.
As Laguna closed the window she felt the familiar pains of going into labor. “No…” she whispered. “No, no no… it’s too early.” She managed to get over to the bed, touching the ring and thinking of Tahlmus as she did so. She didn’t think she could handle this without him.
Since the news of Tahlmus’s death had spread through the town quickly, the priestess happily married Atargatis and Mystic before they returned to his estate. Mystic had then confronted his father about the past; saying that he would no longer seek out the Black Dragon. Consumed by anger, his father had cast him out, sending word to the King, stating that his son was a traitor to the crown. Mystic didn’t care though. He managed to take enough money from the estate before he and Atargatis fled that they were able to start a new life in a small town far from his father and the Sirens.
The new town was very welcoming and helpful. Mystic soon found work in the mayors office as the magical advisor, while Atargatis found a part-time position at the local school helping children with magic to learn how to use it responsibly. This new life made it easy to keep his promise to Atargatis about no longer pursuing the draconic magic. His desperation for that power had destroyed his previous family. He wasn’t going to let it destroy the chances he had with her to have another one.
After a couple of months he realized not only was he pleased with the life Atargatis and he had created, but he was the happiest he’d ever been. He was even able to easily ease Atargatis’s fears about his feelings on the baby; promising to raise the baby as his own. Mystic also made sure she knew that he was ok with Tahlmus visiting. It also thrilled him to hear Atargatis say that after a couple years she wanted to have his baby.
A few weeks before Atargatis was due to deliver a snowy white owl with blue eyes showed up at their doorstep, as they returned home from work. At first neither were sure what to think, as the owl just hopped inside and up on a table when Mystic had opened the door. It was then that Atargatis noticed the piece of paper attached to the owl’s leg. She untied it and unrolled the paper.
“Dear Atargatis, I hope this note finds you in good health. Coral had a son that we named Kavan a couple of weeks ago, and Lillianna swears she’s ready to go into labor any minute now. Solas and Anders are doing well. They’ve learned to work together quite effectively. Anders has been asking about his father and Ardeszeld has been hesitant in answering. Oh… Lillianna is going into labor and Kanes is freaking out. I hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Tahlmus.”
Atargatis smiled. It made her happy to hear from Tahlmus, and she was glad that Solas was doing so well. As she sat down to write a reply, Mystic gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Could you ask if I might be allowed to speak to Anders? I want to explain everything. I’d like to speak with Solas too, if he’s willing to listen.” Atargatis nodded as she wrote the reply. She then tied the paper onto the owl’s leg and they watched him leave.
“Something else on your mind?” Atargatis asked noticing how glazed over Mystic’s eyes were.
“I’d like to talk with Tahlmus and Kanes. I know I’m the reason for most of their troubles, but … I want to try to set things right.”
Atargatis smiled. “I am sure Tahlmus will listen to what you have to say. Now, let’s make some supper. I’m starving.” Mystic smiled and followed her into the kitchen.
Urytemil had been ecstatic when the curse was broken. He loved having his golden dragon form back, even better was the instincts and vile nature of the black dragon were gone. He was also grateful to finally have his beloved back with him. They had very quickly decided that the best place for them was the forest near their former home. It was familiar and it was safe. It was also going to allow them to gain their positions of power again and help the city get back to a thriving metropolis.
In the first few months Urytemil spent a lot of time in the city, interacting with its’ people. Many knew of the fabled gold dragons that had so benevolently run the city until a vile King had cursed them, leaving the city in chaos. Some of the older generation still held out hope that the gold dragons would one day return and help their city. This pleased Urytemil and gave him hope.
At first Thalixen spent most of her time in the forest. Her days were spent catching up with Kanes, when he wasn’t with Tahlmus learning more magic from Ardeszeld. She also enjoyed getting to know Lillianna and Coral. She believed her sons couldn’t have found better women. When Solas and Anders weren’t in lessons with their mother, or Tahlmus, they would sit with Thalixen and talk for hours. Both of them enjoyed learning about their gold dragon background. The evenings then were usually spent with Urytemil as they slowly started to relearn each other.
It was just after supper a few weeks into them being back in the forest, that Tahlmus approached them. He had been nervous and unable to string a proper sentence together at first, but eventually he got some words out. “Thalixen… uh… mom…” he managed to say. “Why haven’t you asked to spend any time with me?”
She changed into her elven form and wrapped Tahlmus in a hug. “You needed to be the one to come to me. I made a decision that caused you to not know your origin. From what Urytemil told me, you didn’t even really have parents once your lessons started.” Tahlmus nodded sadly. “You had to be the one to decide that you were ready for us to try to develop a relationship.”
“Let’s go talk.” She led him away from the group. They walked until she had found a small private clearing. They sat there for a couple hours as she let Tahlmus ask all his questions. After that night, Tahlmus came to her after supper each night to talk. Thalixen cherished those moments.
It wasn’t too long after that, Urytemil had requested that Thalixen join him in the city. The King had asked to see them. He had not liked the questions Urytemil had been posing to his citizens and was worried of a plot to overthrow him. Urytemil and Thalixen had eased the King’s mind by turning into their gold dragon form, stating they only wished to help. Amazed the King had them come back every day to tell their story, which Urytemil and Thalixen willingly did.
A few months later with their story complete, the King requested that they stay. So they agreed to stay as his guests. The week had passed quickly and many decisions were made. The most important one involved Tahlmus. So Urytemil and Thalixen went back to the forest to speak to him.
Solas didn’t know how he had come to the forest. All he could remember was being upset and feeling alone. He knew he had been crying and that he had been running. Then he was in a strange forest that he didn’t recognize, but yet, somehow, he knew the forest. A boy that looked like him had run up and introduced himself as Anders, his twin brother. He had been skeptical at first, but a gold dragon walked up saying she was his grandmother.
It was at this point that Solas decided to just go with what they were saying. The headmaster had told him that he possessed Draconic magic, and gold dragons were inherently good. This one couldn’t be lying. A few minutes later his mother appeared. She quickly explained the curse and what had happened before she started teaching Solas and Anders about how their magic would work together.
He was excited to have his mom back, and to be learning how his magic worked. Living in a forest was fun too. He liked not being confined to a room, or having to walk endless halls. In the months that followed he enjoyed getting to know his new family, and learn of his families history. Solas also enjoyed running around with Anders playing pranks and getting in trouble. Their goal was to eventually be able to prank their Uncle Tahlmus, but he always seemed to know when they were there.
The day Kavan was born, Solas had woke with a start. He’d been having a dream. It wasn’t a scary dream, just a dream that showed change. He wasn’t sure what the change was or if it would be good for him and Anders, but he did know when he heard Urytemil tell Tahlmus that they needed to talk, that change would soon occur.