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  • It was the medallion more than anything else that made them lay down their weapons. They had been accustomed to following the orders of the one wearing the medallion. It had been bred into them from birth. The rhino men simply opened the doors on the cells and released their prisoners to him. He stood before them wearing the medallion as Angel questioned them from afar.

    They were from a city state on the north banks of the great sea. Every year they were sent out to bring home slaves to grow crops and work the sea. This was their first journey to the west and would likely be their last. They described their land as flat and their city was constructed high into the sky on great stone stilts to prevent flooding during the spring tides. The city was walled with the parapets winding ever higher. Each inner wall was higher than the one before it as it rose skyward. Practically a mile across at the base, the top nearly blocked out the suns as it ended near the center. This created a hollowed out inside for protection from the elements and any enemy attack.

    When Angel had extracted all the information from them, he commanded they leave and take the empty wagons with them. He told them that he would one day visit their city and that he would be riding on the back of a great winged beast. He commanded that they should watch for him and prepare a great feast for his visit. As one they saluted him and strapped their weapons back on. The caravan pulled out in single file with all the slave wagons empty. As they slowly moved off into the distance, he turned his attention to the ex-slaves set free.

    Thirty Falian men taken from different areas; some recent captives and some had been there so long they had lost any spirit. They ignored his warriors, as being inferior, and waited for him to command them. He lost his temper with “You have the nerve to consider yourselves superior to my warriors? They have risked their lives so you can go free. Your attitudes are making me begin to regret freeing you. If you do not change them, I am afraid you will not fit into our society. Those of you that can’t change will be given a shuttle to make your way back across the desert to your homes” he turned his back to them and thought to his nearest warriors to see to their immediate needs while they await the shuttles from home.

    “Patience my love” he felt from Angel. “You are expecting to change years of training on a single instance. I see through your eyes that a few are looking at us with a new respect. It may not come for all, but you have fed them food for thought. We will welcome them for a fortnight while they build up their strength and possibly learn a new way of thinking. By then, we will know who will adapt and who will go back. Hurry home. Shia and Kia are missing you too” and she was gone leaving a warm glow behind.

    Six shuttles arrived and the men loaded into them. He and his warriors, his trusted right hands, loaded into their own shuttle. There was such an easy comradeship amongst them. He was included in their banter which pleased him immensely. He knew that these female warriors would give their lives for him. What made the hair on his neck suddenly rise was the realization that he would do the same for any of them.

    Back on Earth, he had been a loner. Oh, he made the occasional acquaintance but the living had grown too easy. Only in times of war were friendships forged based on survival. But, ever since he had landed on Faldo, he had gone from one life and death situation to another. He had never felt so relaxed in the company of others. No longer a loner he had a wife whose beauty was only slightly faded by Shia, their daughter. His best friend, Torr was a dragon and his daughter, Kia was Shia’s best friend. He had the command of several companies of warriors who treated him both as an equal, and as a savior.

    He listened in his head to the laughter and jokes his warriors told and nodded off to sleep with a smile on his face. Angel quietly listened to his thoughts and felt a peace in her soul. He was her man, and these were their people. Closer than any family she had known, they thought and fought as one in crisis situations. They truly cared for each other’s well being.

    The noises echoing in the canyon woke him up as they reached their destination. All the shuttles were parked in higher caves as precaution against the flash floods and the Falian men were soon shown their living quarters. He had decided to have nothing to do with them the first few days to force them to talk to the women. And the women only provided them with the essentials to cook their own meals and wash their own clothes. In his eyes they were the superior ones, not the men.

    After the first week, there was some fraternization between the men and the warriors. Some of the men were coming around to a more liberal view. But there were still holdouts. By the end of the fortnight twelve men were allowed to outfit one of the shuttles and make the journey back to their homelands. Some of them were homesick and some just couldn’t accept a different way of life. There were no hard feelings on his part as they shook hands and left.

    The remaining eighteen men were deeply involved in learning to be warriors. He could see love taking root between several couples and distanced himself from the training. He was no longer needed as the respect between them grew. His time was better spent holding and playing with Shia and Kia. They both wanted him to sing more songs to them and when he did would listen intently. Usually they would be asleep at the end of his songs and he and Angel would have time together…

    No pictures, but at least I am still allowed to post stories.
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