Dragon Magic(126)

By: Megan Derr

Cemal laughed. "Let me get some more rest and I'll fly somewhere to get us clothes and supplies enough to make it to where we can resupply properly. The real question is: what do we do now? Orhanis is well and truly lost to the empire now. I don't know what we can possibly do to free it, either."

"It's not our problem," Mahzan said, as much as he hated the idea of falling under Petrocia's cold, heartless rule. "We did the best that four men could. We faced a problem nobody else even knew existed. I can't say we won, but that fearmonger is gone and Yavuz is dead. Let the rest of the world-saving fall to someone else. Even if we wanted to continue the fight, we have nothing—no resources, no funds, not even a home. I think after months and months of doing our best to save people, we have earned a right to withdraw. If we really want to save Orhanis, we'll do it another day, when we're in a better position."

"We could head for the Temple of the Sky," Cemal said. "They'd take us in, and we could relay what's happened. Petrocia won't waste any time in destroying the temples first—maybe we can get word to them fast enough that some of the priests and other people can escape before they're subjugated or murdered." Cemal made a face. "Dragon knows this place isn't home anymore. Not for us, not for anyone in Orhanis, though most of them won't have a choice." He sighed.

"No, it's not," Binhadi agreed. "As Mahzan said, we've done our part. I can't say I'll be able to walk away completely, but as we stand now, we'll only accomplish a whole lot of nothing. There is a world in want of exploring; I say we attend to that." He held a hand out to Mahzan—and both men gasped and jerked apart at the hot jolt that shot through them.

Mahzan stared at his skin, heart thud-thudding in his chest. There was scales on his skin…no, more like the scales were under his skin, shimmering in and out of visibility, glowing like moonlight.

He looked at the others, saw they were doing much the same, though the color of the scales differed.

Binhadi reached out and touched him again, but this time all Mahzan felt was a tingle. "Perhaps it will settle with time. I wonder what it is."

"An aftereffect of the dragon magic?" Sule asked as he and Cemal drew closer to them, reaching out to touch in their turn.

Mahzan's powers strengthened, spread, and he could feel it then, the ability to turn into a dragon. Once done, it could be done again more easily. He shuddered and tucked the magic away, far more interested in exchanging soft, reassuring kisses with his lovers. His Oathbound.

Eventually, however, they drew apart. He was hungry, and more importantly, he was still naked, and he wanted both those problems resolved as soon as possible.

"Judging by the sun, we want to head that way," Sule pointed with his thumb over his shoulder, "to have the best chance of avoiding anyone hunting us. There's bound to be a village or a campground somewhere along the way, and once his strength is back, Cemal can get us clothes and food." He started walking, falling into step beside Mahzan while Cemal and Binhadi walked together a few paces behind them.

When Mahzan started singing a bawdy travel song, all three joined in.