6-18-2001

TITLE: Dreams on Dragon Wings
PART: 1/?
AUTHOR: AJ from NZ
E-MAIL: firemooncatblue@hotmail.com
ARCHIVE: Celestial Chronocles – http://www.celestialchronocles.homestead.com
GENRE: AU Fantasy
RATING: PG
PAIRINGS: none at the moment-eventual 1x2, 3x4, 5x6, 11x13,

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own GundamWing – if I did I’d make sure they’d got out to New Zealand by now. I acknowledge that they belong to some other lucky personages… **sighs** WARNING: OOC for all; yaoi - hopefully lemons will abound if I can get my head around writing them, violence, nasty Relena, fighting queens… **smirks**

AUTHOR’S NOTES: This fic is based ever-so-slightly on the wonderful books of Anne McCaffrey; and also those of Raymond E. Feist. To some extent Terry Pratchett also has something to answer for. Expect weirdness.

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PART ONE

The young man leant against one of the ornate pillars behind the conference table, watching with minimal interest as the meeting whiled away in front of him. His attention was on the tall man currently speaking to the gathered High Council of Citir.

Emperor Brendan was a solidly built man of middle years whose forceful nature and keen insight into their enemies had been vital in steering Citir safely through several bitterly contested confrontations with their nearest neighbours the Neaseans. At the moment the two kingdoms were going through a period of armed observation… neither entirely trusting the other and both determined to be ready and waiting when the approaching war that both could feel drawing near broke out.

Emperor Brendan gestured forcefully at the aristocratic looking man across the council table. “DragonLord Treize, will you and your DragonWarriors be available if the Neaseans next attack? It is noted that two of your Monts are in direct line of the projected invasion routes.”

Raising an eyebrow at the gesticulations Treize nodded briefly. “Yes your Majesty we are prepared – and always have been prepared to defend our own territories. I think you mean to ask us if we are willing to assist you in defending your Empire?”

Brendan didn’t flinch as the DragonLord stressed the independence of the Dragon Monts in one civilly expressed phrase. It had never been the Emperor’s way to acknowledge such things – preferring instead to plough on regardless. “My empire,” he stressed the phrase himself with a slight smile before continuing, “has always accepted the independence of the Dragon Monts. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Neaseans. They dislike leaving any possible risk of attack undefended – just look at what they did to the Messenger Guild in Neasa!”

The youth standing in the shadow of the pillar flinched. He wished that Brendan hadn’t brought that particular topic up – it was too soon.

“The Messenger Guild?” Treize looked confused. “What did the Neaseans do to them, and why? I can hardly see where they’d pose a threat.”

A grim smile quirked Brendan’s lips. “The Guild was independent. That in itself was reason enough for the attack, but it was more than that. You know that the Guild prides itself on its ability to deliver messages no matter what?”

“Certainly, only a fool wouldn’t.” Treize frowned. Where was this leading, and how did it affect his Monts?

“King Saen of the Neaseans decided that the Messenger Guilds ability to relay news within a matter of hours was cause for concern – he accused the Guild of spying on Neasean for Citir. He attacked each and every Guild house within Neasean borders – and slaughtered every Messenger he could lay his hands on.” Brendan watched the DragonLord’s face cloud with disgust. “He had his mages block the Messengers from getting news of the massacre out.”

“Then how do you know?” Treize asked curiously.

“I was there, I escaped over the border into Yhtac and found shelter there before making my way here as fast as I was able.” The shadowy figure stepped forward into the light, the emblems of his rank and status glinting on his battered cloak. “I am Messenger First-Class Duo of Etteneaj – I had been in Yddap delivering a message when the attack occurred.”

“Yddap? That’s the capital of Neasa! How did you get there from here without being apprehended?” Treize questioned the young Messenger. “Did you disguise yourself?”

A thin smile creased the boy’s tired face. “No your Lordship, when a Messenger doesn’t want to be seen we can make sure we aren’t. As soon as the House was attacked the local Messengers, who’d been expecting something of the sort to happen, sent me out through one of their bolt-holes. I observed much of the actions of the Neasa Guard, then travelled here as fast as I could.”

“When did the attack take place?” asked one of the councillors – Duke Clement of Atamet, whose estates were next to the border.

“Two days ago my Lord,” answered Duo, his voice controlled. He desperately wanted to lie down and cry, then sleep for three days straight but there simply wasn’t the time for him to do so. There must be reparation for the Neasean attack.

“Two days!” exclaimed various members of the council in disbelief – it was three days ride by horse to Yddap from the Neasean-Citir border; and another days ride from the border to Ekupaur where they currently were.

Duo shrugged off the sceptical looks he received. “If you wish to test my veracity, I am willing, more than willing, to undergo a truth test. I am a Messenger – we go fast, especially in circumstances like these.”

Brendan looked the lad over, he was clearly exhausted but as he defended himself there was a definite spark in violet eyes. “Enough!”

The clamouring councillors fell silent after the echoes of the Emperor’s command had died away. Their eyes turned from the Emperor’s angry face to the pale countenance of the exhausted Messenger at his side.

Brendan sent a quelling glare around his raucous councillors before continuing, “ If anyone wishes to test the Messenger let them do it now!” he commanded rather than asked, his temper running short. “Any takers?”

“I’ll test him,” Treize spoke up calmly. He didn’t doubt the boy; there was a too evident sense of soul-deep pain about him. “If you will come here?”

Drawing a deep breath Duo approached the DragonLord. He was proud of himself for managing to walk without swaying in exhaustion. “I’m ready.”

Treize held one hand over the slight youth’s head summoning a golden globe of energy around them both. “Any words spoken now will be the truth and only the truth or the curse of the DragonGods will smite you without mercy.”

“Accepted,” Duo intoned solemnly, fighting to control the hysterical laughter that was bubbling up inside him. He never knew why but for some reason invoking Gods when swearing oaths always struck him as rather funny – this had resulted in trouble for himself more times that he could count.

“Please state your name and your place of birth.” Treize started off with something that would establish the boy’s identity.

“Duo of Etteneaj.” Duo responded promptly.

“Where were you two days ago?”

“I was at the Messenger Guild House in Yddap, Neasa.” Duo fervently hoped that he wouldn’t be asked why he was there.

“What happened while you were at the Guild House?” Treize asked quietly, watching for tell-tale changes of colour in the glowing circle.

Duo drew in a shaky breath. “I-I saw the Neasean Guard enter the House premises without permission and… and they started killing people without even giving a reason.” He shuddered at the memory of all the blood, and the shrieks of pain and fear.

“Are you sure that they were killing Guild members?” Duke Clement asked wondering if the boy had somehow exaggerated the entire incident. “Did you actually see them do that?”

“I saw them cut the head off the Guild Master, and then they disembowelled the next two in command. They killed a few more that I saw before the Guild Master Archivist had me shoved down the bolt-hole with some of the younger members… they told me to take them to Yhtac where we’d all be safe.” Duo swayed before he could stop himself, his senses threatening to leave him altogether.

“Are there any further questions?” asked Treize supporting the lad with one hand. “I think our young Messenger is in need of some rest.”

The councillors shook their heads, stunned into silence by Duo’s report. Brendan looked from face to face and then shook his own head. “I’ll have someone escort him to rooms.”

Duo tried to pay attention to what was going on but he couldn’t make his tired eyes focus any more and gave up the fight. The last thing he heard as he felt someone catch him before he hit the floor was the emperor asking Treize if the DragonWarriors would grant their assistance. He never heard the answer.

-tbc-