The Second Bonding Ceremony

Unfortunately, the mild weather that had been holding for the meetings hadn't lasted quite until the bonding ceremony, itself. The hard pattering of rain hitting the magic-made dome above their heads was a counterpoint to the conversations below, as candidates and officials alike gathered for the second ceremony. The roar of the west Mamtu had been dampened magically, as well--the river, usually a good ten or twenty minute walk from the west reaches of the complex had reached nearly up to the ceremonial courtyard's walls, and was kept at bay only by a final steep incline. Much further south, both prongs of the river would be allowed to flood into the delta that finally emptied to the Mamtu Isa, but for now, in passing Driolo's doorstep, it was kept firmly in bounds.

The evening was far and away from dark. Staff members had cast globes of illumination to hang above the dining tables, to dot the courtyard's walls, and to center over the stage that would likewise be the center of attention very shortly. In fact... Demulcei cast a grey-eyed gaze over the assembled people, most of which were just finishing the last course of their meals. Smiling gently, she composed herself and rose, taking to the raised platform with the dignity and confidence she'd gained from the previous ceremony's success. "Pardon me," she called, tapping the microphone embedded in the platform to see if it was still on. It gave a brief shriek--certainly enough to catch the gathered peoples attention! "Sorry about that," Demulcei apologized, then, "we've been looking forward to this for quite some time, now, and this is the big night! Like with the first bonding, those of you who bond will, hopefully, be staying with us while your new bond grows out of the aging and maturation spells they've undergone. Classes will continue through the summer as normal. Those of you who don't bond," she cast another look over the candidates--most of which were eating at their own table, or in cases like the dragons Jilameth and Niobhoth, the general area about those tables--and caught some more familiar faces then others. "You will, of course, be allowed to remain within the Candidate apartments without fee, providing you lend a hand around the complex." She smiled, then turned towards the officials that had deemed to brave the pounding rain to come to the ceremony. "I'd like to thank our sponsors, the Ministry of Flights and Hatchings, for the support they've given to us! Without them, we wouldn't be where we are, today!" Harvey, the human at the head of Driolo's branch, and Siche, the felinic head for Star City, both nodded. The latter's remorai made a little growly noise at Demulcei for daring to look at her Minister, but quickly quieted. The crossbreed smiled again and, finally, gestured for the candidates to come up to the stage. When they were ranged across the platform, she called, "and now, let the ceremony begin!"

The kits, those who weren't egg-bound, anyways, pranced or slunk or paraded up to their half of the platform. They'd been in the courtyard as well, but had had to keep to their assigned tables. Some of them had cast glances repeatedly across the tables to the candidates--most simply gobbled their meal and now mulled nervously amongst themselves.

The elder crossbreed, Frada Meredia, had again taken up the position of scroll-basket bearer, and, with wisdom and dignity masking her face, she quietly stepped to the center of the stage. It was quiet for a moment; candidates and dragonets eyed one another speculatively--and then all hell broke loose.

Several shells shattered at once as dragonets, bound for over a year within their tight confines, finally got their first breath of fresh air! At the same time, a number of the other kits were racing for the bonding scrolls, intent on getting to their chosen one first!

First to bond, Maorel breathed a sigh of relief as the sense of another mind washed into hers. ~You've waited long enough,~ the dragonet.... dragonet? Out of the crowd, a phoenix-like creature hopped, its faintly damp fur the shade of heavy soot, its wide-spread, soaking feathers in colours of bright orange and yellow. It, no, she was heading directly for the lynnx. ~And for that, I thank you. I'm Umbra, Umbra Filidesong... and I'm yours.~

Similarly, a bright orange and green kit, his furry wings still clinging with egg-goo, had hatched, and was trundling over to Kielee. ~Hi!~ he called, his high voice jubilant, ~I know we didn't really talk much, but I've been watching you, and I think I like you! I'm Halore, by the way, and I think I might like to stay with you!~
"And I," another voice added this one coming from a red and yellow little fellow, "would like to come with you, Jaeson." He fanned his sunset wings, holding up a bonding scroll at the same time. With a flash (the first of many,) Jaeson found himself suddenly sharing mental space with Xiphary Caelumpictor.

Meanwhile, Rudolph, the red-nosed dragon, had found himself confronted by the sweet little kit, Misvie Caelumpictor. With a red hide marked by candy-cane white stripes, she seemed to match him colour for colour. She might have been blushing, but her vibrantly red hide hide it. The only indication of how nervous she was came from how she kept ducking behind one of her primary wings. "Um," said she, her voice like a bell, "If you'll accept me, I think I'd like to... to bond you!" She held up the scroll, which wavered visibly. Rudolph, of course, wasn't about to go shunning anyone! He raised a paw and, as contact was made, a warm light shone forth and joined them together.

"Well," a little Earth said, watching the scramble with much amusement. "Well well well." He might have broken out to song then, but someone bumped into him, clumsily making their way for the candidates on the other side. Giving a loud "Hmph!" of disapproval, the seedling headed forward himself. He did not pause at Frada's basket. Instead, he approached Fanny, one of the few sponsors who had deemed to bring an unbonded kit back with them. "Hey there, fancy-robes!" He said, eyeing the potential caretaker with nothing less then a calculating eye. "Think you can handle a wander-lust like me?" He grinned, his baby-wings fanned as he posed. Fanny giggled, nodded. "Well then," Said the seedling, "I'm Vado Filideterra. Means 'child of the earth', because I am, you know!" He continued his rambling even as they passed off of the stage.

A squabble had broken out, nearly identical to the one at the last bonding. Bormaike and Ember were fighting again. "Look, he's mine!" The black and lava-like water-fire dragon called.
"No way, man! I called dibs!" Ember retorted. Bormaike pounced the half-chyrith kit, his webbed paws surprisingly strong. Ember squeeled, more out of anger than hurt, and immediately a tall black figure loomed over them. Both kits froze.
"If you can not choose civilly," Tikrish murmured, his huge, clawed, demonesque feet mere inches from Ember's head, "you will not choose at all." Apparently he remembered the fight from last time.
Both kits gulped. Tikrish didn't say much, but the daemon was notorious for his peculiar appearance alone. While most of the teachers and staff workers had had pranks played on them at one time or another, this assistant of Frada had been left alone. Of course, wild rumors had spread about him: He snuck the corridors at night, sucking the magic of all the bad kits. Worse, he'd eat a kit if they misbehaved! Certainly, when some dragonet had made the connection between the fabled 'Dark Demons' and Tikrish's black, centaur-like bulk, it had been immediately assumed that he ate babies on a regular basis! So, of course, for two half-Avengaean youngsters like this, to be confronted by the massive daemon, it was a terror. Tikrish had his black hands on his black hips, and was staring down at them with black eyes that, to them, looked like pits of doom and destruction. Ember squeeked again while Bormaike cowered.
His voice was quiet, but his words were heard clearly by both. "Choose. Now."
"He'll go!" Both kits said at once, pointing to one another. "No! He'll go!" They retorted. At any other occasion, both would have broken out into a cackling fit, but as it was, they just stared at one another and at Tikrish, fearful.
Finally, Bormaike cleared his throat. "I.... I'll go," he said, his gold eyes wide with fear.
Tikrish nodded and stepped back. Both kits sighed with relief, though Ember seemed at least a little bitter.
Finally, no more coaxing needed, Bormaike flopped from the scroll-basket up to Loori Tokkin, and, presenting the bound piece of paper to the man, said, "I had to go to a lot of trouble to get this, you know!" The flash of light was more then gratifying for the young kit. Hah, he'd won!

This had all occured amongst the furvor of the other bonding kits. Well... maybe not furvor, in some cases. Biddi, standing close to the outcast prince she'd accompanied, watched with wide eyes as Risoven Caelumpictor strode right up to her, his white, wavy hair combed neatly for the ceremony. While he'd been very shy, at first, the half-air kit had warmed to the Arkainaran pilot until now, standing eagerly across from her, he waved the scroll he'd been holding just a little. "I guess maybe there's a fate," he said, just a little embarrased, "if someone like you can stumble in on someone like me!" He laughed even as the bonding light enshrouded them, gleeful like any other kit.

Neurosothic scampered up to Jaynha and Dante, one head held low, the other held high. The Desert Drakpedra held a scroll in one long hand, and, pausing for a moment before the woman, he said only, "Ssso you're interesssting. Interesssting enough to bond, at leassst." He held up the scroll tauntingly, then smacked it against the human before she could accept or decline!

Her companion, the chaos-mage Liorn'Jitu, watched all of this with mild amusement, and then returned his attention back to the kits. He wasn't really here to bond, himself, though he'd come up to the stage with the others, obligated. No one was coming for him... at least, that was what he'd thought. There was no touch of mind to mind, no eager kit with a scroll in hand or mouth. But then, here came a pair of newly hatched dragonets, both of which seemed to ooze around one another as if they were connected at the hip. One, a bright orange, was complimented by the other, a creature of rich crimson and scythe-like claws. Both slithered up to the mage and stopped only centimeters from his feet. ~We meet at last,~ the red fellow said, his bright blue eyes piercing the elf's own. The second said, ~Yes, at last.~
~I am Meinen Indra, Liorn, and this is Dundeas Hound.~
~We won't be bonding you,~ Dundeas, the orange said.
~No, we solved that problem quite readily.~
~We've bonded one another.~
~And now we've decided to come with you. We want to see what you can really do.~
Meinen grinned up, revealing little knife-like teeth. Dundeas echoed the gesture, revealing rather longer teeth. So Liorn'Jitu would not bond, tonight... but he would still come away with two disciples!

And now Enano, lost prince of the Arkainaro, blandly coloured and an outcast as he was, was standing alone. Biddi and her new bond had been instructed to leave the stage, as had everyone who'd bonded or found a sponsor, so now the prince was left to his own devices. He didn't have to wait long! A loud shattering noise blasted from the back of the other end of the stage, and now an earthy, purple-winged dragonet stumbled to the fore. ~Enano!~ he cried, upon spotting the Arkainaro. ~I'm Opuretu, the one in the egg! I knew it, since you touched the egg! You're the one for me!~ He came to a skid, which ended in a flop, at the foot of the prince. A clumsy kit, Opuretu at least displayed proud colourage!

Hyrian watched the proceedings, his tail thumping a perfect rythm upon the certainly imperfect surface of the bonding stage. Eleven dragonets had bonded, and while Eleven was a prime number, it certainly wasn't as nice a number as seven, for instance, and a far cry from his perfect three. Therefore, the Goprin was rather a bit dismayed when a seedling, the same seedling that had been gawking at him the first time around, in fact, meandered over in his direction. "Hyrian does not want to bond yet!" The brightly coloured Goprin exclaimed to himself, "Only the twenty-seventh dragonet can bond Hyrian!" But no. The seedling parked himself at Hyrian's foot, and, a goofy grin on, blinked up at him two times. Only two! Hyrian's dismay grew...
But another dragonet squalled, having just hatched from her shell. Yehenesa Selamputo clamboured from the remains of her egg and, her cream coloured hair still plastered to her head, she shot off to meet the Earth dragonet. ~Hyrian,~ she said, her little tail beating in tandem with his, ~I'd like to bond you... but one to one certainly isn't enough!~
"That's why I'm here," the seedling interjected, grinning with those pearly whites, just as he had three nights ago.
~Wiphyr an' I planned it as soon as we saw you,~ Yehenesa explained, ~Two and one is three, that's you and him and me!~
"Oh!" Hyrian exclaimed, surprised. "Oh!" He blinked three times, and his his dismay washed away. "Oh!" He exclaimed one last time, just to make things complete.

The evening was moving on at a steady pace, and the storm above had done nothing if not grown stronger. While the courtyard was protected from the pelting rain and the strong winds, huge peels of thunder immediately proceeded magnificent arcs of lightning. The kits didn't seem worried, though Demulcei cast a nervous eye upwards, into the echoing sky. She'd returned to her seat nearby Croste, three seats down from Siche, with that blasted Remorai glaring between them. The Avengaean coordinator had been here for several years now, and she hadn't seen quite such bad weather in all this time. "Do you suppose this is a natural storm?" She asked, leaning over to the elder human to make herself heard.
"I reckon," Croste replied, nodding his behatted head. "It gets bad once in a while."
"Hmm," Demulcei said in reply, and then returned her attention back to the stage--and immediately stood, her chair falling backwards behind her. "No," she murmured.

Frada was still holding the basket out, but two dragonets were approaching, both of which looked infinitely smug. Both of them had been seen to congregate with the Ampilo much more often then any one kit should, and, more importantly, both of them were crossbreeds, themselves. Demulcei had been watching Frada like a hawk just because of this... she didn't want any of the dragonets to be mindwashed by the Ampilo's cross-breed propaganda--they had the right to decide at a decent age, not when they were as young as this! The Water-Light crossbreed had held up a pair of scrolls for the kits to take, inocuous enough a gesture on its own, Demulcei knew that it was thoroughly on purpose! The kits, an orange earth/fire, and a darkly yellow air/light respectively, took the scrolls in one concerted action--and the blaze of light that shone from center stage was so bright that Demulcei had to look away. She was already taking the steps up the platform, and shielded her eyes while running--and then thudded to a halt as she ran into someone--something.
"Get out of my way!" She hollered, very unprofessional. Many of those assembled stared, wondering at her reaction, or muttering deeply, if they knew what was going on.
Strong hands held her at arms reach, and when her eyes readjusted, she could make out Tikrish's dark face staring down at her, blandly as if nothing had happened. "Get out of my way!" She cried again, outraged.
"Apologies," the daemon replied, his voice soft. Demulcei glared, and as an afterthought, summoned up a magical scalding heat to her arms. It drained out of her before his hands felt even a little of the warmth. Growling her frustration--the crossbreed tried to compose herself, to be civil. "Let me go." She said, her voice decidely cold.
Frada approached with the two kits, then waved her cohort down. Then, and only then, did Tikrish back away. At the ruckus, a number of other staff members had approached, and now they took the daemon, one in either arm, and walked him off the stage.
"Frada, you ought to be ashamed of yourself." Demulcei stood opposite the older woman, the latter of which was flanked by the two young crossbreeds. "You've tricked these children for your own good, how dare you!"
The Ampilo, arms folded serenely in her dark robe, smiled that fake motherly smile of hers. "I didn't 'trick' anybody, my child, I only taught them a different way."
Filled with a burning rage, Demulcei was also acutely aware that they were the center of attention, here on the raised platform. So she ground her teeth and clenched her fists. "We are going to talk about this later, so you had better not run off on me. You're not going to ruin tonight--" she paused before she could say anything obscene, and forced herself back into a surface-calm. "You are not going to ruin tonight," she repeated, her voice dreadfully cold. "even if you've ruined the very last of trust I might have had in you. You'll not be teaching here in the future, and certainly won't be allowed to any further bonding ceremonies."
Frada smiled, that motherly look slipping into something frosty, triumphant. The 'demotion' held no weight with her... she'd already won, after all. With two new trainees at her beck and call--bonded, no less--she'd gotten what she'd come here for... however, there might yet be more to salvage, should she play her hand right. So the Ampilo lowered her head in acquiescence and allowed two more staff members to lead her from the stage, the dragonets trailing behind her both looking extremely smug.

Demulcei stepped to the podium again, aware of all the eyes on her. "Sorry, folks... we've just had a small mixup." Small indeed! "Please, children, resume your choices, everything's fine, now."

Most of the dragonets didn't seem much mollified, but, finally, a little bronze female stepped forth. She snagged a scroll from the basket--which was now set carefully upon the floor, and strode bravely across the floor, up to the powerful mage, Lethe. "I don't know about you, but I think that I'd be far better to have around then a pair of air-heads--no offence meant to my friends, or anything, but you know what I mean?" Wessume Landwerlen grinned widely. "I may not be as much of a mage as you, but I'm willing to learn, at least!"

With that, the bonding began to proceed again, albeit a little more subdued then the unrestrained frenzy of beforehand. A purple dragonet, her wings promising to be an angellic golden colour once they had grown out of their white fuzz, stumbled up to Jilameth at the same time that and earth dragonet approached Niohbhoth. The two dragons, one blue and white, the other a star-marked black, looked at one another for only a second, and then down at the dragonets. Almost as if reconciled, the pair made their bonds. Mana Filidethersalyin, the purple female, giggled as their mental link was complete, while Xiphias Filideterra offered up a scroll to the towering black, and was accpeted.

Zentiel Puchre was the next to make a move to bond. The serpentine-built dragonet was awash with glee, and no sudden change of events could bring him down! He'd even discussed tonight with his friend, Questoji, and the two of them had decided that the blue, gem-guilded kit was better off bonding Lant'ien Ruvuah then the half-Light. "I'll come back and visit," he'd promised his black-haired friend, though both of them knew that it wouldn't be likely, once they were out of classes, to meet again.
At the same time, an earthen female was approaching the young boy--earthen, not an earth. Aside from her colouration, there was little in common between her and the seedlings that ranged the platform. In fact, she was one of the many bipedra that had been raised, here, and while she was usually silent, she'd been as intent on Lant'ien as Zentiel. The two of them reached the grey-skinned boy at the same time. Zentiel, surprised, almost dropped his scroll! ~What are you doing here?~ he asked, startled.
"I came to bond the boy," the Forest bipedra replied, her second head adding a hiss to emphasize her point.
~But I was going to bond him! Questoji even said I could!~
The bipedra stared at him cooly, tapping the scroll she held in one hand. "That makesss no differencsse. I will bond him, whether you do or do not."
Zentiel gave her a huge, watery eyed look, but the bipedra kit only snorted at him. "Make your choicsse, sssnake boy." With that, she twitched the scroll at Lant'ien, completing the bonding without even asking the boys approval. Scrambling to match the bipedra's gesture, Zentiel lunged forward and tapped poor Lant'ien on his other leg, the light from his own bonding mingling with the last of Satasha's. He hadn't really even stopped to think of the consequence, but now... well, he would probably have a lot of time to mull over it.

There was a short pause as the dragonets regrouped, and then Ilece Oranato trotted across the short distance, stopping before Nabethia. "Hey, I remember you," she said, giggling. "You're the one who didn't bond but went off with Ss... sze..." She furrowed her little brow, trying to twist the Moirean name around her tongue.
"Szeretet-sperare," Nabethia helped.
"Yeah, her! Hey, you guys don't mind if I come with you, do you?" Ilece looked up to the Moirean for approval, and was approved. Gleeful, the little half-fire followed her new friends from the platform.

Argon the alien had been very amused, if a little bewildered by the flurry of events. The way that Demulcei had flushed had been fine indeed, and he'd been tempted to try to distract her--though in no way to reduce said flush! But no. There were other fish in the sea, after all, and besides, he'd been blocked by two huge dragons at the time. Now a wingless firey mutt of a dragonet was rocketing over to him, quick as a whip despite having just come out of his shell! ~Hey!~ Ergou Selamputo cried, nearly careening with the spikey exoskeleton of the alien. ~Whoahhh,~ he added, orange eyes wide at the otherworldly sight. ~I didn't know you looked so... cool!~
"Eh?" Argon looked down, and suddenly the kit was clamped around his leg.
~Take me with youu!~ Ergou cried, latched on like a leech.
If the alien could have sweated, a bright bead of the stuff would have been hanging from that great dome of a head of his! Maybe this whole bonding thing wasn't such a good idea as he'd thought... he didn't really have time for a kid...
~But I'm a natural babe magnet!~ Ergou exclaimed, as if plucking the thought from the alien's very mind. ~Look!~ He disengaged and, gaining his balance, sauntered out into the crowd. It was true! Every girl he passed (even the strange, alien-like biomechanically enhanced one who'd been hiding in the back) had to melt and coochy coo him, scratch him behind his damp ears, or exclaim over his adorable features.
Ergou completed his circuit and once again latched himself to Argon's leg. ~So?! Whaddaya think?!~
Argon thought about it. "Well.... just so long as you don't stay attached to my leg like that, sure."
~Woops!~ Ergou said, and literally slid down to the floor. ~Sorry.~

Two female kits had been talking, head to head, both of them casting glances at Maci Farren numerous times. Now they both headed towards the Yhanvi, though only Usandi Eyele snatched a scroll form the unattended basket. They quickly approached the garden dragon, and as Usandi offered up the scroll, Isuan Filidetilara explained, ~I'm'a coming with you guys, even if I'm not the bonding type! I don't want my friend to leave me all alone back here while she's out adventuring, after all!~ And then, as if she'd realized that she might be butting in, she added, ~You don't mind if I come along, do you?~
"Of course not!" Maci replied, her wings bzzing just a little to emphasize her point. Isuan smiled more widely, content for now.

Donald had fallen into one of those eerie fits of silence of his. Often a loud and bawdy fellow, tonight he had taken to keeping quiet, and was rewarded. A black dragonet made a tentative mental contact with him, even as he emerged from the gathering of kits. Helios Filidethersalyin, his mane a sunburst of oranges, his wings an icy white, waited for Donald's acceptance, and then made that life-long bond.

Now... if there was one person who was discontent with this entire event, it was Onessa. The hydra had taken note of several non-bonding dragonets, but it wasn't enough, not at all! So many of the kits had degraded their poor minds by linking them to others, dirtying what could have been a pure, unadulterated mind. It was rather sickening. One of her heads made a vague disgusted noise as yet another kit bonded--granted, it was one that had to, if it need to survive, and then both set to scanning for any who might come her way. It was getting to the point where she was willing to scoop them up and fly off, given how things were going!
That silver kit, the devil's advocate as it were, was heading in her direction. Another debate was not what Onessa had in mind, though she was always ready for one... and who knew, maybe if she argued loudly enough, the other kits would here her and come to her call!
Ganeen Filidechiroptidae, however, did not appear to preparing to debate. In fact... what was that she held in her hand? "Oh no you don't," Onessa said, rearing back as the little dragonet moved forward, waggling the paper menacingly.
"But what if I did?" Ganeen retorted, taking another step closer, scroll extended like a weapon.
"I'd have to stomp you," Onessa replied, her second head hissing sibilantly.
Ganeen harumphed. "You'd still never be the same again."
"You wouldn't."
The silver slowed, then grinned maliciously, "But the thing is, hydra, that I could, and so could anyone else. Bonding should be a happy event, but you can twist it into a weapon, into something dangerous."
"What are you getting at, kit?" Onessa snapped. The first time she'd met her, Ganeen had been against sponsorships, but now she seemed to be arguing one of Onessa's points!
"What I'm getting at is that I'd rather not have power over you like that. So." she dropped the scroll on the ground and gestured for Veretus, always present, to take it away. "I want to come with you. You obviously aren't arguing your point very well if it takes you the whole bloody evening for anyone to approach you--"
"I jussst wasssn't sssure!" A third kit had appeared, bolting from the crowd at the other end of the stage. "Wait for me!" Rahssifain Filidetiyorarel said, skidding to a stop beside Ganeen. Bobbing both heads, she called up to Onessa, "I didn't know if I wanted to come, or not, but I decssided, and yess, I'd like to come, too!"
Ganeen made another harumphing noise, but Onessa smirked widely. So, the wait had been worth it. "That makes two, at least."
"Veretus will be accompanying me, of course," Ganeen corrected. So three. Onessa's smirks turned downright predatory. She hadn't done bad, after all.

And that was the last of the candidates... the dragonets settled, now, and Demulcei (who's anger had been steeping throughout the occasion) made for the podium--but one last egg shattered, a gunshot against the dwindling noise! ~Jaeros!~ a tiny voice called, high and bright and, above all, excited. The dragonet, a sleek, crimson thing, slipped from her shell and headed out to the center of the stage... but no one was there! Looking around wildly, the dragonet called out again, ~Where's Jaeros? He was at the bonding meeting, and I couldn't wait, and I wanted to bond--~ But then she quieted, finding the familiar mind. The tan coloured daemon had stood, hands clutching tightly to his everpresent sketch book, and looked up at the stage. It couldn't be... could it? He wasn't supposed to be a candidate until autumn... it was only by chance that he'd come to the meetings, and only to doodle the dragonets while they were all gathered together! But now a little wingless dragonet was zeroing in on him... and as soon as she'd found him, she was leaping awkwardly from the stage and into the tables, ducking under tables and around legs until she was at his feet. Like a loyal puppy, she pressed one over-sized paw over his furry toes, grinning like an idiot. ~Hi!~ She said, elation in her mind and her voice.
"Hi!" Jaeros said, still too shocked to say anything else.
~Remember me?!~
"You're the curious egg-bound dragonet...?"
~Yes!~ the kit's maw gaped in a grin. ~I'm Zaolta Selamputo, and I'm bonding you!~ She butted his knee--albeit, very gently, and made something surprisingly close to a purring noise. ~You'll take me, won't you?~
He looked from his brothers to his friend, then down at the kit again... how could he not? "Am I allowed?"
~I don't care!~ Zaolta announced defiantley, ~'Cause you're mine, now!~ The last was said with a hint of playfulness.
Surprised--elated might have been a better term, Jaeros leaned down enough to run fingers through his new bond's red and orange hair.

And then... then the bonding had come to a close. Demulcei waited a few seconds longer, just to be certain, then spoke at the podium. Her closing speech was short and uncharacteristically terse... but then, she had other things brewing in the back of her mind. By the time this night was over, even the storm wouldn't be able to match her fury... but she would save that for private.


The First Bonding Ceremony