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  • The courtyard was filled to capacity. Forty of the older dragons were lined to Torr’s left and half a league of the original warriors were in full dress uniform to his right. Rahl’s eight new warrior/dragon teams were in full splendor aligning the path to the altar. Two companies of soldiers were in formation at the gates to the courtyard and the rhino men and their families were interspaced with the new Barsot members of the community. The king’s court hadn’t seen this many in attendance, ever.

    He was at the altar to perform the ceremonies along with Angel and Aral. Torr would only step in when it came time to give Kia away. The rest of the time he would sit on his throne in a kingly manor. He and Torr had talked about it before and they decided it would give more of a royal touch to the ceremonies if he sat and “oversaw” them from his throne. Torr insisted on giving Kia away as his right as a father, so they worked that into the ceremony.

    Kia’s mate was Simas, and his father was one of the dragons lining the courtyard. Barr had chosen a young female named Lani. Simas and Barr took their places with their backs to the altar awaiting their brides. Rahl and Pytl joined them and also faced away from the altar. They didn’t have long to wait. Torr escorted both Kia on one arm and Shia on the other to the altar. As he handed them over to their grooms and went back to his throne, Lani’s father escorted both her and Astrid to their waiting mates. He took his place nearest to Torr in the line of dragons, as was his right. Simas’ father was right beside him. There had been a lot of arguing as to the proper protocol but, as it seemed to flow smoothly, they must have done a fairly good job.

    The multiple ceremony was almost over when Pytl started to get weak in the knees and they had to hold him up for the finish. Too much excitement he plead later, but they razzed him anyway. The celebration went late into the night with much food and drink consumed. Each of the couples silently disappeared at various stages until only the guests were left. Torr and Aral were excellent host and hostess. The newer additions to their kingdom were left feeling as honored guests. All stayed until after the first moon set before they drifted to their homes.

    The Barsot’s had been busy building their settlement since they first arrived. They had a long way to go before it was finished, but it was livable as it was. It had only been a week since they arrived in the kingdom. Many of their new neighbors joined in to help get the roofs on and the walls up. Most of them had just finished working on building the homes for the new married couples. Since they were related, there was a large compound with four separate homes attached to a single large courtyard. It was roughed in, and left for each individual couple to put the finishing touches on. It was a wedding present from the community to be discovered after the honeymoon.

    The Honeymoon was at two separate locations with Rahl, Astrid, Barr and Lani headed to the shore near where Astrid had lived, and Shia, Pytl, Kia and Simas off to the mountains. Because out of the eight of them only Rahl and Shia had the powers to teleport, they had anticipated the need a week before and designed and tested a way of including the extra dragon on their trips. A long leash that was held onto by both Rahl and Lani gave her the contact needed with him to cloak and teleport as one. The first few tries were a little ragged, but by the day’s end they were synched like they had been doing it forever. Shia and Simas hit it dead on the first time. So, by the second moons setting on the morning after the wedding, the couples were off for a week’s relaxation.

    Rahl had given his second in command the location of where both parties would be, but told him not to come for them unless it was an emergency. They were going to be far enough apart for privacy, but still within distance of their thoughts. Once they arrived at the beach, Rahl and Astrid said goodbye to Barr and Lani and went off to find a place they could honeymoon in. Barr and Lani flew uncloaked further along to a rocky outcropping where they found a small cave that suited their needs.

    Meanwhile once they arrived in the wilderness of the mountains, Shia and Pytl found a wonderful cave that provided beautiful views of the sunset and waved Kia and Simas on to another mountain top. They passed the entire week there without anyone bothering them. As much as they loved one another, by the end of the week they were ready to rejoin the world.

    Shia, Pytl, Kia and Simas were the first to arrive back home, but they were quickly followed by Rahl’s group and soon the court was abuzz with all the excitement. Rahl was pulled aside by his troops and after a short bit of teasing was filled in on reports of activity outside their borders. His new warrior/dragon teams flew continuous daily missions to the frontiers. There were reports of towns on the western seashore being found in the same condition as the “city in the sky”; completely leveled and with no survivors.

    Rahl and his men checked the charts for the area and found there seemed to be a pattern of skipping three towns and then working backwards to catch them off guard. Rahl called on a couple of the older rhino men who were survivors of the “city in the sky” razing. They were able to give him a description of a large human like race with long blonde hair. The city was first attacked with laser canons and then the people were hacked with broad swords. They intended to leave no survivors but the city began falling in on itself and became too dangerous for them to stay and complete their pillaging.

    These pirates needed to be stopped. The decision was made. This would be their test in battle. Rahl turned his attention to the timing of their raids and planned to intercept them at a large town called Strint in three days. His teams began training for the encounter…
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