Carpathia III: Epilogue 21 - Strength and Courage
Jaze's House, Rune Lake, New Berengaria
Six Months Later
The neighbors were finally getting used to the unusual comings and goings at the Bond house, but this was completely different indeed. Not only was there the typical parade of diplomats and world leaders showing up in their humble neighborhood, but now there was a yacht-sized blue dragon sitting on their beach. Slow-moving and calm, the blue dragon did not give any overt reasons for the neighbors to be alarmed, but nevertheless, beach plans were cancelled for the day.
For his part, Blue didn't notice anything amiss around him. He was having quite a good time indeed splish-splashing his tail in the water behind him while his eyes remained focused on the scene in front of him. Arranged in neat rows throughout the backyard was a menagerie of characters representing nearly all known sentient species, including Queen Maoh III and Kuro, leader of the dragons.
Immediately in front of Blue's nose was Lynx, who had his back turned from him. On a platform built just for the occasion, Lynx stood, dressed in his finest traditional nekomi clothing, with a black and gold open-front vest and bejeweled sash, holding a book and watching with great joy the two who stood there with him. Lynx had already been speaking for 20 minutes and was finally reaching the end.
Lord Lynx: There is a quote, the origin of which was lost, but which I believe has been proven true. "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." And now, Jaze Serge Bond and Toma Lapin, we come to the part for which I know you've been waiting for a long time. It is my great pleasure that this shall be my final act as Lord. By the powers vested in me by the nations and citizens of the planets of New Carpathia, I now pronounce you married. You may kiss your husband.
Both Jaze and Toma wiped their eyes and leaned in to kiss while the audience applauded. Together, Jaze and Toma both turned and shook Lynx's paw.
Jaze: Thank you so much for doing this today.
Lord Lynx: It was my honor. Both of you and your friends are welcome in my home any time.
Suddenly, Jaze was nearly tackled from behind.
Lynx smiled and patted both on their shoulders.
Lord Lynx: Besides, I think Kagurain sees you as a sort of second father. Considering all you've done for him, that doesn't bother me a bit.
The audience now began to stir audibly they conversed with each other and partake in the catered refreshments now being provided. Others came to greet the newly-wedded couple on the stage, first after Kagurain was Wolfram, together looking very adorable wearing their traditional nekomi formal wear in the same vein as Lynx.
Jaze: Maybe you two will be next!
Wolfram turned red and swished his foot.
Wolfram: I... I'm not ready for that... yet.
Before Jaze could say anything, Kagurain threw his arms around Wolfram and snuggled him tightly.
Kagurain: Of course not! We have to have fun first!
With that, Kagurain dragged Wolfram away toward the food and drink on the tables. As they left, Kaoru took their place along with Quilyon and Reuli, plus one extra. Kaoru hugged Jaze and Toma in turn, while Quilyon watched, carrying the newest member of the Vayhama family.
Jaze: Thanks! Sorry I haven't seen you much over the last few weeks. Lots of last-minute planning.
Toma: I never thought this would be so much work.
Quilyon stepped closer clutching the baby tightly in her arms.
Quilyon: I have to give your mother credit. She somehow managed to plan a wedding and help with the baby all at the same time.
She's got a talent for that. I suppose that's why she runs a library. Anyway, can I see Quenya? I've been so busy I think I've only seen her twice.
Quilyon carefully turned her sleepy little bundle so that Jaze and Toma could get a closer look.
Toma: Dad's skin and Mom's ears.
Jaze: Still looks cute and healthy.
Kaoru: Healthy as far as we know. We're supposed to take her for checkups once a week so that the doctors can learn her physiology. They're quite excited.
Now, the baby was starting to wake up and immediately became fussy, making little noises and brandishing her tiny arms.
Quilyon: Looks like she's hungry again.
In an instant, Kaoru sprang into action.
Kaoru: Oh! Let me find you a chair!
And thus the conversation ended abruptly as Kaoru darted off and Quilyon followed. This was the cue for Adell and Artemis to make their appraoch.
Adell: It's about time. I was afraid you wouldn't get it done before I left.
Jaze: The Exploration Academy. When do you go?
Adell: Two weeks. Azrael is going too. Lord Lynx gave me a tour of the new Shadowdancer class ship that's under construction now. I'm gonna be captain of that someday!
Adell suddenly recoiled from a hard slap in the chest.
Artemis: Oh, yes. Captain Dumbass. You'll be lucky if they let you fly a waste extractor.
Adell pulled Artemis in and squeezed him tightly.
Adell: He thinks I'm going to run off with some cute academy cadet. He doesn't understand that my grumpy little kitty here is what motivates me to succeed.
Jaze and Toma looked at each other and shrugged.
Toma: I guess if motivation by discouragement is your thing...
Keast: He just appreciate sarcasm!
Keast landed on the stage with a resounding thud and a grin followed closely by Roose.
Keast: Just like me.
Jaze reached out and patted Keast on the shoulder.
Jaze: Glad you could make it. Did you just arrive?
Keast plopped down on the stage and crossed his legs.
Keast: We've been here awhile, watching from up there. Wasn't worth coming down until they started serving food.
Roose: And I like flying!
All giggled at Roose's enthusiasm.
Toma: You do seem to spend more time in the sky than on the ground.
Jaze: If it's food you want, go for it.
Keast darted off first without another word, but Roose stayed just long enough to hug both Jaze and Toma before making off toward the food as well.
Jaze: I suppose Reuli is getting the music ready. I wonder where Ryuu...
Jaze turned and was surprised to find Reuli standing right behind him.
Jaze: Oh, there you are!
Reuli: I just wanted to see if you were going to sing or anything.
Jaze thought for a moment, but considered that he would prefer to have a dance first.
Jaze: Maybe later. Just go ahead and do your...
In answer to the question Jaze was previously unable to finish, Ryuu called out from near the house.
Ryuu: It's happening! It's happening!
Everyone knew there was only one thing that enthusiastic shout could possibly mean. Jaze and Toma exchanged glances and both leaped from the stage and rushed toward Ryuu and, by extension, Ryuu's and Zet's egg.
There was already a crowd developing around the egg and Jaze and Toma slipped in one of the few remaining gaps to get as close as they could. There, they found Ryuu alternately prancing around and stuffing his chin in the dirt while swirling his tail high in the air. Zet, by contrast, just stood where he was, almost catatonic, with his mouth hanging open. Meanwhile, the egg continued to crack.
Toma: Hey, Zet. Are you okay?
Zet slowly began to come to his senses, finally developing the ability to speak once again.
Zet: I never thought this would happen to me at all, least of all like this.
Suddenly, the egg split and in the debris was a teeny creature with dragon-like arms and legs, red and white hair, and a bare chest, yawning and rubbing his eyes.
A very audible "Awwwww" rose up from the crowd.
Right away, Ryuu snatched the baby into his arms and cuddled him.
Tayet snuggled himself into Ryuu's fur and scales and started sniffing his vicinity thoroughly while Zet kneeled beside him.
Jaze: You named him already?
Ryuu: Yup. He is Tayet Arapaesis.
Ryuu shuffled on the ground until he was facing Zet.
Ryuu: Zet, you should hold him too.
Zet recoiled slightly and then froze for several seconds. Shakily and hesitantly, Zet finally started to slowly reach out toward his newborn son. Tayet turned his head away from Ryuu's body and started to sniff Zet's paws. Then, without any warning at all, little Tayet leaped onto Zet's chest and began to burrow himself into Zet's fur.
Zet: He seems to like me well enough, at least.
Ryuu: Dragons can sense their own genetic material. He knows you're related.
Tayet, now throughly embedded in Zet's fur, began to purr. At that time, Tuomas and Aten managed to push their way through the crowd so that they could get a closer look.
Tuomas: Can I see?
Aten: I wanna see too!
Jaze scooted to the side allowing Tuomas and Aten to get closer and watch.
Jaze: Okay, but just look, okay?
For awhile, everyone watched the two happy new parents pet their little nekodragon baby until it finally occurred to Jaze that they would, perhaps, prefer not to be gawked at right now. Jaze stood and addressed the gathered crowd, throwing his arms out wide.
Jaze: Today, we have even more to celebrate!
The crowd took this as their cue to disperse while much to celebrate there was. Home, safe with family and friends, having left behind an entire world better than the way they found it, and in rememberance of those who couldn't be with them, they danced, sang, and ate, remembering all the happy times.
All city pictures from SimCity 4