The pressure that had been building beneath the volcanic isles, in conjunction with the bombs and Chief Atraze's machinations, had been the true cause of the tremors. Many of the dragons that they interviewed were merely misguided. Only a few of them had been loyal to Atraze's way of thinking regarding the Pure Dragons.
The entire group was put to work by the Sentains, Gallants, Solare, and Lunare. They were to help accommodate the Pure Dragons into stable homes of their own. Though, many Pure Dragon families chose to remain in the area of the Astral families that they had befriended during the process.
The Astral radicals that revoked Atraze's manipulation made a magic-bound vow to the Solare to never attack or injure any Pure Dragons with the intent to kill. Astrals that were still loyal to Atraze were sent to the seaside ward, where Atraze himself had been allocated. Busy days became busy weeks, and busy weeks became busy months.
Sindri woke up one morning not feeling rested at all. In fact, he felt like he had been run over by something. For the moment, he simply shrugged it off and hoped that the feeling would wear off as he shook off the last remnants of sleep.
Wait, what time of day was it? It looked too bright outside. 'Gonuret must have let me sleep in,' He thought to himself as he donned a pair of slippers and headed out of the room still in his pajamas. As he walked out into the hall, he came across Ilohir and Madhal.
"Sindri, are you alright? You don't look well..." Ilohir asked with a slight frown on his face.
"I just woke up and haven't fully awakened. I'll be fine," Sindri assured him. "Have either of you seen the Lunare?"
Madhal noted the unusual paleness to Sindri's complexion, but he chose to keep it to himself in case such words came across as insulting. "I think I saw him heading towards the kitchen," he replied.
The Solare nodded. "Thank you," he said as he continued his search. He soon made it to the kitchen and smiled when he caught sight of Gonuret. The blond walked over and hugged him from behind. "Why didn't you wake me when you got up?" He asked just before sniffling a bit. Did he have a slightly runny nose?
Gonuret was just about to reach for a tray when he felt a set of familiar arms around his waist. "Beloved?" He turned around and planted a kiss on Sindri's lips. "I was trying to surprise you with breakfast in bed, but I clearly failed. Would you like to eat here?"
The Solare blushed in response to the kiss and the kind gesture. "It's still a nice surprise," he said as he took in the sight of the food and hugged Gonuret tightly. "Thank you. We can eat wherever you want."
The white-haired Astral gently raked the bangs out of Sindri's face, tucking the strands behind his webbed ear. He was rather content to extend their embrace until his Solare was ready to let go. "Then, let's eat right here," he suggested.
Sindri finally let go when he felt his stomach growling. "I guess I'm hungrier than I thought!" He announced with a laugh, which led to a bit of coughing.
Gonuret's face fell. "Are you alright?"
Sindri waved a hand as if to dismiss the other dragon's worries. "Throat's a bit scratchy. Haven't had anything to drink yet," he insisted.
The Lunare wasted no time in pouring Sindri a glass of water. The two of them than sat down and began to eat. The blond smiled in contentment as he tasted the food.
"Are these heart-shaped strawberries on top of my banana pancake?" Sindri teased with a lift of a brow.
The grey-eyed man squirmed in his seat as he fought down a blush. "They just turned out that way when I sliced them," he confessed.
"I can see that…" Sindri responded with another laugh that led to more coughing.
"Here, drink some water-" Gonuret began before a creme-hued blur burst into the kitchen.
"Bad, Gon, bad!" Ansar huffed as he approached them both. "When Sindri's sick, you have to chain him down to the bed before he works himself to death!"
"Sick?" The Lunare questioned.
"Ansar, I'm not sick," Sindri insisted. He didn't even bother to wonder how it was that his best friend thought he was sick, or where he even came from. But, he didn't hesitate to refute it. "it's just a scratchy throat and runny , how's eating breakfast working myself to death?"
"See?" Ansar hissed as he pressed his hand to Sindri's forehead and the back of his hand to the side of his face and neck. "He's already in denial. After this, it's straight to bed with you." He demanded as he glared at Gonuret. "Right, Lunare?"
Gonuret's eyes widened. "I will be sure that he does not exhaust himself," he responded.
"Stop making such a fuss before I cough on you, Ansar," The Solare grumbled. He had a mountain of work he had to complete. "And stop threatening Gonuret. I think you're actually scaring him."
"Whatever," Ansar huffed before turning his attention back to Gonuret. "You better keep a close eye on him, if you know what's good for you." He muttered before he walked away.
Gonuret watched him leave with a slight frown on his face. "He is right about exhausting yourself...as soon as you feel too out of it, I will take you straight to bed."
"So long as you don't chain me to the bed. Ansar threatened to do so once when we were kids. Literally." Sindri shook his head at the memory. "Besides, we're probably too busy for me to rest and I'd rather you not do all of the work alone."
The Lunare reached out to take one of Sindri's hands firmly in his own. "Just remember that, as the representative of all the tribes, including the added Pure Dragon tribe, you need to take good care of your health."
The Solare frowned and sighed before resting his head on Gonuret's shoulder. "I know. You're right. I just don't like sitting around doing nothing when there's so much to be done."
Gonuret wrapped an arm around Sindri's shoulder and kissed the top of his head. "The sooner you rest and get well, the more you will be able to accomplish."
"Fine," the blond conceded. "But anything you work on today should be small enough to be completed while in our room. Deal?"
"Now, I have to apologize if I get you sick…" Sindri rambled. "How is it that I can heal the wounds and illnesses of others, but I can only heal physical wounds on myself? Why can't I heal myself from a cold?" He then entered a bit of a coughing fit. "...and there goes my throat." He wheezed
"Hang in there," Gonuret responded as he handed Sindri the glass of water. "My only guess would be that you need to be able to perform magic with a clear head and falling ill makes you too feverish and dizzy to concentrate?"
"That makes sense, I guess," Sindri replied with a sigh. "Then, let's finish up our breakfast and I promise to stay in bed today."
A little while later, the Lunare poured over permissions and plans on his desk while the drowsy Sindri took a nap. He didn't realize that the blond had awoken until the Solare straddled his lap and rested his head on Gonuret's shoulder. The slate-eyed Astral began to gently run a hand up and down Sindri's back.
"Everything alright?" He asked.
"This is still considered resting," Sindri insisted.
The mountain dragon rather enjoyed the snuggling. "Don't worry, beloved." He whispered as he placed a soft kiss on the crook of his lifemate's neck. "I'm done for today." He then carried them both back to the bed.
Gonuret's scent and presence urged Sindri into a more peaceful state. He could feel his eyes becoming heavy. As he felt the Lunare's hands softly raking his hair and massaging his scalp, his consciousness began to drift even further.
"I love you, Sindri."
"Love you too. Very much," were the last words the Solare managed to mutter before he lost the fight for consciousness.
When important projects and permissions were finally to the point of self-reliance, the Middlemost fortress and all who resided there were finally able to get some much-needed down time. The Sentains took an extended break to visit their home biomes and families to ensure that everything was going well. The Gallants shared meals together again and spent their private time in their respective pairs.
After having breakfast surrounded by their friends, Gonuret suggested a private picnic to Sindri. "We'll pack our favorite food together, though not as much as we did last time," he recommended. "And we'll see if we can find our favorite spot...possibly even check up on our bird buddies. What do you say?"
Sindri couldn't remember the last time he had gotten to sit back and relax like this. Honestly, it probably hadn't happened since he he was chosen as the new Solare.
Hearing his Lunare, he couldn't help but smile. A picnic with just the two of them just like their first date. "I'd like that a lot, actually. When would you like to go?"
"Right now. We can make a day of it," Gonuret replied. "We'll pack for lunch and have a walk...sit under the shade of the tree until we get hungry enough to eat."
"Well then, we better get ready so we have the whole day to ourselves" Sindri grinned as he got up from his seat to follow the other to the kitchen. Once there they got the basket and started to pack their lunch and snacks. Sindri couldn't help but chuckle seeing the basket full of food "So much for not packing a lot of food. Are you ready to go?"
The mountain Astral looked sheepish even as he lifted the basket. "If we're going to be out the whole day, it's better to be prepared to eat twice," he admitted. He then held his elbow out for Sindri to take and they began to head towards the entrance of the gardens.
The gardens changed a bit with the seasons. Some of the plants and flowers bloomed during some seasons while others were there all year round. However, their path was still there, as was their favorite tree. The two of them set down the quilt and walked over to the three that had the bird nest. At first, they only saw the parents feeding three more baby chicks. But, a familiar sound drew their gaze a few trees over, where the young bird they had saved was busily building a nest of his own, as if he were ready to attract a mate.
"Would you look at that," Gonuret pointed out. "He seems to be doing pretty well for himself."
Sindri held onto the other's arm as they walked, relieved to see their favorite spot and tree were still there despite the changes in the garden. It didn't matter what time of year it was, the garden never ceased to fill him with a sense of wonder.
He looked up to the tree Gonuret pointed out, smiling when he finally saw their little feathered friend. "I'd say so. I can't believe how big he's gotten. Let's just hope his little ones don't fall out of the tree as well"
"We'll have to visit more often to make sure it doesn't happen," The Lunare suggested. He took Sindri's hand and led him back to the quilt, where they sat down against the tree. He pressed a kiss to the back of the Solare's hand. "Sindri, do you ever regret your decision to choose me?" He asked in a more serious tone of voice.
The Solare rested his head on his Lunare's shoulder as they got comfortable. Though he was immediately at attention hearing Gonuret's question. "No, of course not. What on earth has you even thinking such a thing?" he asked, eyes full of concern. "Was it something I did or said...?" He couldn't think of anything that could cause the other to think about that, but maybe he said or did something without realizing it?
The white-haired man couldn't help but smile. "If you regret nothing. Then, Sindri," he responded. "Would you like to officially become my partner in a Lifemate Ceremony in front of our friends and family?" As he asked this, he held forth a special set of bracelets that signified a union between couples. They were both in the shape of a solid, golden mountain lily with the stem curling around to fully attach to the wrist.
Sindri raised a brow, hearing Gonuret pause as he pulled out a set of bracelets. His eyes widened hearing his Lunare. "I- Y-yes, of course...!" the blonde beamed as he immediately hugged Gonuret.
Gonuret couldn't help but hug the blond tightly. Somewhere deep in his heart, he wanted some kind of assurance that Sindri truly did care for him in that way, not just as a political partner. For him to agree to the Lifemate Ceremony so readily helped to erase the Lunare's doubts. "I love and adore you, Sindri," he whispered softly into one of the Solare's webbed ears.
"I love with you more than I ever knew was possible, Gonuret. You're my everything." Sindri said as he nuzzled his head into the crook of Gonuret's neck, hugging him close. He could feel his eyes watering up with pure joy, rubbing them away as the other Astral placed the bracelets on them both. "It's the same flower you gave me when we met, isn't it?"
"Yes, it's as strong and beautiful as you are," the Lunare explained. "Able to even survive the winter...which reminds me." He added with a smile as he briefly let go of Sindri in order to lift his gauntlet up towards the sky. Immediately, a light snowfall began to sway down from above.
The Solare blushed upon hearing the comparison, though the smile was still on his face. "I never realized that's why you chose it. Though, I you've always had a way with words" he chuckled. He watched as the power of Gonuret's gauntlet activated, a bright light shining before creating soft snow flurries. Amber eyes widened before looking to Gonuret. "How did- when did you learn this?"
"After what we witnessed with the gauntlet and metal, I had Sentain Yuneza check to see what other affinities I had. Apparently I can work with the cold, as well," Gonuret explained. "And that's when I remembered your wish. You said that if I ever developed powers of ice that you would ask me to make it snow so that you may experience it."
"I...I can't believe you remembered that. I said that in passing and it was such a small request," a soft smile was painted Sindri's face. "You truly are something else, Gonuret, and I can't wait to spend all eternity together."
Madhal and Ilohir had been in the shower washing, drying, and styling one another's hair for the ceremony. They briefly heard the maids bringing in the new ceremonial ensembles, but they didn't emerge until Ilohir's normally spiky hair was swept into a soft coif on top and Madhal's violet hair was straight and loose instead of in its normal fishtail plait. The taller indigo dragon leaned down to give his beloved a kiss in gratitude.
In spite of the care and protection he gave his hair, Emyve seemed to have better genetics in that area. Madhal hadn't realized how much pride he had for his hear until he took a heavy blow from the comparison. Ruthed had never let him live it down since. And, though he did indeed concede that Emyve had healthier and softer hair than his own, he would never stop caring for his own hair. Ilohir also seemed to take enjoyment in helping him with his hair, which was a definite plus.
"Have our ceremony clothes arrived?" Madhal asked his partner as he pulled on a pair of underwear.
"I believe I heard the maids drop them off while we were washing up. I'll go check," Illohir offered as he stepped out of their bathroom, poking his head around to make sure the maids weren't around since they were only half decent. He went over to their beds and, as soon as he saw the clothes, his mouth dropped and his face went pale.
The top half was a navy blue shirt with long, mesh sleeves and a v-neck with a laced string to close it. The solid center of the shirt gave it the illusion of a sleeveless vest. However, that wasn't the part that shook Illohir up. He dreaded the pants. The pants were form fitting and navy blue in hue with five undone buckles on each leg from top to bottom. Freaking buckles.
"W-what the...? Why must all the fancy, ceremonial clothes have so many little intricate pieces that make it so difficult to put on? I just- I don't get the point" he sulked as he slumped over the clothes on the bed.
Madhal walked over, seeing that they both had identical ceremonial outfits in different sizes. The buckles would, indeed, take some time to adjust. "Don't worry, beloved," he comforted. "I would like nothing more than to help you get dressed."
Ilohir couldn't help the small blush and smile, hearing Madhal's words. "That does seem to be something you enjoy...though, I think you like doing it in reverse more," he responded as he laughed nervously."I don't even know where to begin with these...do I just put the pants on first or what?"
The indigo dragon shook his head. "Let's pull on the shirt first. With the easy part out of the way, then we'll work on the pants," He instructed. Madhal helped Ilohir lace up the front of the shirt before he inspected the pants. "Yes, I think you just pull them on like regular pants and then I can help you buckle them."
The blue hair dragon nodded, pulling the shirt on over his head before Madhal helped him lace the front. He then grabbed the pants and pulled them on. He did have some difficulty, given that the pants were more form fitting then what he normally wore. "Why are all the ceremonial clothes so form fitting and intricate? They were this way at the crowning as well"
Madhal tried his best not to chuckle aloud, though a firm smirk remained on his lips. "Ceremonial clothing is supposed to be constricting and intricate," he pointed out as he swiftly and expertly buckled up one of Ilohir's pant legs. "However, I must admit that you look great in them."
"You think so? I honestly think this style suits someone more like yourself." Ilohir blushed as he watched the other work. He honestly wasn't big on fashion or anything like that. He was more about simple and comfortable. Madhal, however, always looked amazing in everything he wore...or didn't wear.
"Ilohir," Madhal replied as he paused halfway up Ilohir's second leg to look up at the other Astral. "In my eyes, no one compares to you. I hope you know that and realize how much you mean to me...enough to one day join with you in a Lifemate Ceremony of our own."
Green eyes widened as a blush spread across Ilohir's face. He smiled as he reached down to hug the other. "Do you even realize just how happy you make me every day, Madhal?" he asked as he nuzzled into the other's neck. "I'm not sure what I did to get someone like you but I'm thankful for it every single day"
"I'm thankful for you, too," he admitted. Madhal basked in the warmth for a few moments longer before clearing his throat. "Now, let's finish buckling you up so that I can tackle my own pair of pants."
"Alright," Ilohir agreed.
Emyve kept perfectly still as Ruthed placed the finishing touches on the intricate braids he weaved into his incredibly long hair. He had tried to dissuade his partner from doing too elaborate of a hairstyle since he didn't want to take attention away from the couple actually uniting. But, the aquamarine Astral pointed out that Sindri and Gonuret had clothes that made them stand out no matter what. In the end, he conceded, as he wanted Ruthed to be happy.
"Finished!" Ruthed beamed as he stood back to admire his work "It's perfect, just like you are" He had played with the other's hair so much it didn't take long to learn all the different styles he could do with it. Seeing Emyve check it out in the mirror he grinned. "See? It even completes the look. And you didn't want to do anything with your hair at first"
Emyve took hold of one of Ruthed's hands and kissed the palm. "I am far from perfect, my mischief," he insisted. "But, your artistic talent is."
"Pfft, yeah right. Clearly I'm the smarter one this time. You're Mr. Tall, dark, and handsome. You're a super genius, you're kind, and so far you're proving to be amazing in bed...Pretty damn sure that makes you the perfect being," Ruthes retaliated with confidence and pride.
The redhead tugged Ruthed right onto his lap as he gave him an appreciative kiss. "You are equally as handsome, intelligent, and sultry," he confessed. "I don't believe I've thanked you enough for choosing me."
"Don't thank me for that. That was probably the easiest choice I've ever made," Ruthed retorted, shaking his head before getting comfortable in the other's lap. "The second we started talking I just knew you were the one for me."
In spite of himself, Kelius grew to downright adore the devious rabbit pets that had come into their care. As he gently petted Kinky Kit, he spoke his thoughts aloud. "You know, I think it's about time some of these little guys get some mates and have families of their own, don't you think?" He asked Ansar.
Needless to say, Ansar was surprised hearing Kelius's statement. "Are you for real? This coming from the guy who couldn't stand them at first!" He snickered as he finished getting dressed. Once he finished he plopped down next to Kelius and Kinky Kit. The rabbit seemed to be enjoying all the attention it was currently getting. "Where's this comin' from all the sudden?"
A wide smirk formed on Kelius's face. "I figure they deserve the chance at a family...same as us," he admitted. "Would you ever want to adopt with me?"
Ansar was completely caught off guard hearing Kelius! "What the-?! Are you serious?" The curly haired dragon asked in shock. Though, as the idea sank in... he started to like it. "It's kinda weird hearing that from you of all people" he added with a snicker.
"Yeah?" Kelius responded with the raise of an eyebrow. "Raising a family with you just feels right, you know? Though, we'll have to go through the Lifemate Ceremony first," He said as he held out his hand. A pair of union bracelets glinted within it. They were golden bangles about an inch thick with swirls embedded within. On the center of each swirl were alternating gems of rubies and yellow opals. "What do you say, Ansar? Would you be my Lifemate?"
Ansar's eyes widened before jumping onto Kelius to hug him, though mindful of where Kit was. "You for real? Like, for real for real?" He asked excitedly.
The auburn-haired Astral set the rabbit aside so that he could hold Ansar close. "Couldn't be more serious," He admitted. "Granted, today's all about Sindri and Gonuret. But, after all this, we can plan for a ceremony of our own. What do you say?"
Ansar nodded with the absolute biggest grin on his face. "Obviously I say 'let's do it'!" He hugged the other Astral once again, his tail swishing side to side happily. "Heh, it's funny. Thinking back to when we first met you'd NEVER think we would've gotten together. We shocked everyone more than the Solare picking the Lunare."
Kelius kept his arms wrapped around the brunet's waist. "Oh?" He teased. "I dunno, the way we kept picking on each other was a sure sign of attraction. I think we were just in denial for too long." He leaned down to gently brush their noses together. "Even though we argued, all I wanted was to kiss you. Like right now."
"You mean like the five year olds we truly are?" Ansar snickered. He could remember as little kids that Sindri was once bullied. He had to throw rocks at the punks to make them stop and they all thought twice before ever bothering either of them again. "But, I guess that's fair enough. I...when Sindri had told me he had narrowed it down to you and Gonuret I was really frustrated. I wanted you all to myself but I also didn't want to stand in the way of his happiness. So...I guess you and I both eventually have to thank that 'pale-ass punk' for sweeping him off his feet."
The slightly taller Astral scowled. "That's part of the reason why I pretended to be Lunare in his stead during our first mission," Kelius pointed out. "If anything had happened to Gonuret, Sindri would have been upset and then you'd have been upset with me for not having done anything about it. Granted, I didn't expect to be kidnapped…"
"I wouldn't have been upset with you alone," Ansar pouted, puffing his cheeks out. He wasn't entirely wrong. If Sindri had been upset in anyway, Ansar would not have been happy. "But, even if that's the case, you still should have been more careful."
"You're right," Kelius conceded. "You're right. And I'm sorry I worried you." He added as he cupped the side of Ansar's face.
"Damn right you're sorry!" Ansar huffed before nuzzling into his hand. "Everyone wanted me to just sit here and wait. I couldn't just sit there and do nothing."
Kelius kissed Ansar on the cheek and then on the lips. "And thank you again for coming after me," he whispered before a smirk tugged at his lips. "There was no bigger testament of love than you sneaking onto Emyve's ship."
"Hey! I did what I had to do!" Ansar retorted, crossing his arms against his chest as he sat in Kelius's lap.
The auburn-haired dragon couldn't help but laugh. "Alright, alright," He stated as he motioned towards the door. "It wouldn't do for us to be late to the ceremony. There's no party without us."
"Yeah! You know I'm not gonna be late for this. Sindri's my best friend" the curly haired dragon grinned as took hold of Kelius's wrist and dragged them both out.
Much like the crowning ceremony, Gonuret and Sindri made sure to look their best. They both wore the same ensemble. Gonuret's was in shades of gray and silver while Sindri's attire was in shades of gold. The outfits consisted of a pair of ankle boots with side buttons and a pair of leggings. Their tops were a long-sleeved shirt laced with string on the sides of the bottom and vests. The shirts had buttons only half-way down.
Sindri's hair had been straightened. Half of it was pulled back into two side braids that were tied close to the nape of his neck. Gonuret's hair had more volume. Though the white-haired Astral also had two side braids, all of his thicker hair was tied back into a mid-height ponytail. The Solare had his circlet carefully placed onto the top of his head. The Lunare donned his gauntlet.
"Ready, love?" Gonuret asked his mate-to-be as he held out an elbow for Sindri to take.
Sindri took a deep breath to calm his nerves, though thankfully he was nowhere near as nervous as he was during the crowning ceremony. When he announced as the new Solare as well as during his crowning, he was anxious. What if he wasn't fit for this position? What if he messed everything up?
But this time, he knew the right choice had been made. He had no fears, worries, or concerns when it came to his decision to have Gonuret as his lifemate.
Upon hearing the other Astral, he smiled and nodded. "I've never been more ready for anything in my life"
The two of them made their way to the side entrance of the throne room. Sentain Vitara had instructed them to line up behind the other Sentains and the Gallants, Ansar included. Sure enough, they saw two straight lines. On the left-hand side were the Gallants, which were dressed in midnight blue to signify the night sky. They would be standing behind the Lunare, who signified the moon. On the right-hand side were the Sentains, which were dressed in sky blue to signify the sky at daytime. They would be standing behind the Solare, who signified the sun.
The door was opened and Sentain Vitara's voice could easily be heard over the noise of the crowd.
"Today, we celebrate the union of two Astral dragons that I consider my friends, Solare Sindri and Lunare Gonuret."
The two men who were named looked at one another in surprise when they heard the massive sound of cheering from within the throne room. Just how many people were there to witness their Lifemate Ceremony? The Sentains and Gallants merely chuckled, which meant that they already knew the size of the crowd that awaited them.
"First, we shall call in the Gallants, your representatives, and Visionary Ansar." Sentain Vitara announced. "Join us, Gallants and Ansar."
The Gallants, Ansar included, filed in through the side door and took their places.
"Next, we call in the Sentains, the representatives of the past. Join us, Sentains."
The Sentains, just as the Gallants, filed in through the side door and took their places next to the Gallants.
"Now, we call in our Lunare. Join us, Lunare Gonuret."
Gonuret took a quick moment to press a kiss to the back of Sindri's hand before he, too entered through the door and took his place in front of the Gallants.
"Finally, we call in our Solare. Join us, Solare Sindri."
Sindri took a deep breath before walked through the door. As soon as he spotted his Lunare he smiled. He heard the crowd from a distance but he had eyes only for Gonuret. In that moment, it felt like they were the only ones there.
As soon as he joined the others at the platform, he joined hands with Gonuret, nothing but smile and pure joy on his face.
Sentain Vitara held her hands up to bring silence to the throne room. Over five-hundred Astrals and Pure dragons sat at a distance, including the families of the ceremony party. But, each and every person in attendance hushed up to hear.
"It is my great pleasure to join Solare Sindri and Lunare Gonuret in union as Lifemates," she began as she addressed the two men. "Please face each other and join both hands."
Vitara stepped closer to the couple and placed a hand on each of their shoulders. "Are the two of you ready?" When the two of them nodded, she smiled. "Then, starting with Lunare Gonuret, state your affirmations."
"Sindri, I would like nothing more than to continue to be in your life and to have you in mine. I want to help protect our people with you, to adopt children with you, and to learn more and more about you..." Gonuret said aloud. "I wish to be united with you."
"Gonuret, nothing would make me happier than being by your side for all eternity. My hope is that we can continue to govern our people together and start a family of our own. I love you more and more each and every day," Sindri responded, smiling at the Lunare. "I wish to be united with you and only you."
"Then, with the Gallants, the Sentains, the Visionaries, and myself as witnesses," Sentain Vitara announced as a golden chain of light wrapped around Sindri and Gonuret's joined hands. "I declare that you are Lifemates, henceforth!"
Amongst the cheering of everyone around them, Gonuret leaned down to gently kiss Sindri on the lips. When the chains of light dissipated, he wrapped his arms around the Solare and tugged him closer.
Sindri couldn't stop smiling, even into the kiss. As the light disappeared he wrapped his arms around Gonuret. "I love you so much. You've made me so happy, Gonuret."
"As have you to me," Gonuret confessed. The two of them were then promptly surrounded by the Sentains and Gallants wishing them well. The Lunare then led the blond to their family members, starting with the Solare's mother.
She had blonde hair braided down to her waist, a grey hair or two were on either side of her temples. She had a brown tail and wings, and a warm set of hazel eyes.
Sindri followed the other's lead, though he was more so trailing behind him due to all the crowds. Upon seeing his mother, he tugged at Gonuret to point her out before going over to her. "Mom...!" he called, smiling seeing he got her attention. The two had to navigate the crowds but Gonuret soon let go of Sindri's hand. The second he did he ran over to his mother to hug her. "I've missed you so much!"
The gently aged woman held her son in her arms tightly. "I've missed you too, sweetie," She admitted. "I'm so very, very proud of you."
"Heh," Sindri chuckled before looking to Gonuret, urging him closer before taking his hand again. "Mom, this is Gonuret, the new Lunare and my lifemate. Gonuret, this is my mother, Sandra."
"A true pleasure to meet you," Gonuret began as he held out his hand, but the short woman merely launched herself at the mountain Astral in a big hug that melted his heart.
"So, you're the one that's been taking good care of my boy," she stated as she tugged his face down with her hands to get a better look at him. "So handsome, too."
"I think so as well" Sindri laughed, seeing just how caught off guard Gonuret was in this moment. "He makes me very happy, Mom. I'm very lucky"
"Oh, come now," she huffed as she gently nudged the Solare. "He should also be so lucky to have been chosen by my son."
"She has a point," Gonuret added with a grin. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of his father approaching them.
The aged man had the same silvery-blue eyes as his son, but with dark gray hair. His wings and tail were a pearly white. As he approached, Gonuret pulled him into a hug.
"Sindri, Sandra," The Lunare announced. "This is my father, Gary."
The older mountain Astral bowed and kissed the back of Sindri's hand and then Sandra's. "It's an honor to meet the Solare and his beautiful mother."
"Such a charmer," Sandra teased. "Like father, like son, I presume?"
"Considering Gonuret was late to the Solare's meeting of the Gallants because he had to bring me a flower that reminded him of me... I'd say so" Sindri replied to his mom before looking to Gary. "It's an honor to meet you as well, sir."
So far, it seemed like both he and Gonuret looked more like their mothers but perhaps acted more like their fathers?
"Thank you for raising such an incredible son"
Gary pressed one hand over his heart followed by another as if he had been shot by an arrow. "No, young Solare, thank you for choosing my son," he countered as he clapped one of Gonuret's shoulders. "For a good while, we were worried he'd never end up with anyone."
The Lunare had to do a double take when he saw Gallant Kelius walk behind past them behind Sandra. The auburn-haired Astral seemed to burst out in laughter at what he overheard. Gonuret frowned at him.
"I-I see..." Sindri laughed nervously, especially seeing Gonuret pout. He quickly distracted him by kissing his cheek. "Well, I should count my blessings then. Otherwise, he wouldn't be here with me now"
Gonuret shook his head. "Sindri and I have to continue greeting the other guests, but we'll meet up with both of you at the reception table, ok?" He suggested.
"Keep it light so you can actually have something to eat!" Sandra warned as they walked off. When Gary held out his elbow for her to take, she didn't turn him down.
The young couple greeted everyone. Many Pure Dragons were there in Astral form, including the royal family, Ava, Talden, and Pier. They saw Darifer among their ranks and many Astrals from their respective desert and mountainous home biomes.
They were all then ushered into the dining hall for the reception, where the Gallants and Sentains provided some entertainment in the form of music, dance, and skits. All of them had a few things to say about Gonuret and Sindri and gave them their well wishes. Ansar's stories, in particular, caused a riot of laughter.
But, when Gonuret saw Sindri's shoulders beginning to droop from exhaustion, he decided it was time to bid his parents and everyone goodbye. They were both given one last roundabout cheer as they left the hall and headed to their shared room. Gonuret swept Sindri into his arms as they walked through the door and headed straight for the restroom.
"I think it's time we share another soothing bath together," the silver-haired Lunare said.
"I'd like that a lot" Sindri said as he held onto the Lunare, nuzzling against him. "Though, I'm rather enjoying being in your arms like this" he added with a kiss to Gonuret's cheek.
When he was placed down, he followed Gonuret to the bathroom so they could make the perfect bath to take together.
Gonuret was only slightly less nervous about their sharing a bath than he was the very first time. Though they had seen each other naked, they had always been respectful of one another. He looked forward to getting to know more of his beloved Solare and his body this time around.
Their outfits weren't nearly as complicated as what the Gallants wore, so disrobing was quite easy. Gonuret took the time to carefully wrap Sindri's blond hair up into a knot to keep it from getting wet before doing the same to his own. He stepped into the large tub and held out his hand out to invite the other Astral in.
Sindri couldn't help but notice just how nervous Gonuret was, laughing a little. He took the other Astral's hand before getting settled into the tub between his lover's legs. He reached up to kiss his cheek. "Your ears were almost this red last time. It's cute."
The silver-eyed man carefully placed a hand at the small of Sindri's back. He had caught sight of the different oils lined up on the edge of the tub that the maids must have left for their first night together as lifemates. "I just don't want to hurt you or for you to be disappointed," Gonuret admitted. "Ah! That is, if you even want to go that route. I wouldn't mind the reverse, either."
"That's why you're so nervous?" Sindri blinked before shaking his head. He kissed his nose with a smile "Gonuret, there's nothing to worry about. I, like you, want this for us. Yeah, it might be awkward or even hurt at first but I'll be more than happy just because my first time will be with the one I really love."
A slow smile formed on the Lunare's face as he trailed the back of his knuckles gently along the side of Sindri's face. "Then, what would you prefer this first time, love?" He asked him. "You inside me, or me inside you?"
Sindri grabbed Gonuret's hand, rubbing his thumb against it. "You inside of me," he answered, fully aware that he was the flustered one that time.
Gonuret pressed a kiss to the blond's temple. "Should we do so right here, Sindri?" He asked softly as he pressed a kiss to the Solare's cheek and then a few down his neck and shoulder. "I promise to carry you back to the bed if you're too sore afterward."
"Make love in the tub?" Sindri asked before a mischievous little grin was painted on his face. "I say I'm game. Are you?"
"Yes," Gonuret responded. "Absolutely." The white-haired Astral then pressed a gentle kiss to the Solare's lips as his hands slid up and down Sindri's back, ever so careful with his wings. It wasn't long before he stole his way inside the blond's mouth to get a taste of his tongue.
The Solare returned the gesture in earnest, his hands raking through white locks. They began to generate a gradual heat that almost made the lukewarm water around them feel cold in comparison. Sindri's hands slid down the side of Gonuret's neck and then down his upper spine to trail along the back of the Lunare's wings as he arched against him.
Gonuret wanted to draw everything out for as long as possible. Their hands explored one another in soft caresses. Lips pressed against expanses of skin. His mate began to make sounds he had never heard before. The soft gasps and moans were beautiful.
The Lunare reached over for a flask of special oil that did not dissipate in water. He turned them around so that Sindri's back was against the wall of the tub and carefully settled himself between his legs as his fingers sought the blond's entrance. He couldn't have been more grateful that the apricot dragon had thought to swing his tail aside in time.
"It's...warm," Sindri gasped as the oil made contact with his inner walls. His hands refused to remain idle as they traced and raked along every inch of Gonuret's chest. "But, pleasant."
The Lunare let out a small breath of relief as he began to stretch the flesh. "Be sure to let me know if anything hurts," he insisted. However, his partner had entirely different plans about the use of words. Gonuret was forcefully tugged into a rather heated kiss that made him pause in his movements.
"No, don't stop," the blond insisted between kisses. "I want us to be one, to feel you within me..."
"As do I," Gonuret responded fervently. He leaned back and drew Sindri to him as he carefully began to breach the Solare. When his mate began to eagerly descend onto his length, the Lunare had to quickly take hold of Sindri's hips to hold him steady. "Sindri…" he gasped.
Once again, Sindri's mouth descended onto Gonuret's. He felt the other Astral's tongue tremble against his own moments before the Lunare drove himself all the way inside. They developed a slow and steady rhythm as they adjusted to the sensation. But, they began to move faster as a need rose within...a need to reach the peak.
Unable to withstand the onslaught of building pleasure, Gonuret was the first to succumb to a release that had his entire body trembling in the aftermath, even his wings. His shaky hand took hold of the Solare's hardened shaft and, several strokes later, Sindri also released between them. The raspy moan that fell from the blond's lips caused a pleasant shiver to roll down Gonuret's spine.
"I love you, Sindri," Gonuret whispered into the Solare's webbed ear as he ran a hand up and down his back, basking in their shared warmth.
"And I love you, Gonuret," Sindri responded before pressing a hard kiss to his Lunare's lips. "In spite of how much went on today, I confess that I'm not ready for bed just yet."
A smile formed on the other Astral's face, one that lit up his entire face. "Neither am I," he agreed.
The facility itself was spacious and peaceful. Far beyond a ward, it was nearly a resort. The only true notion of isolation was the fact that it was on an island surrounded by the ocean. Duke Borev and Fringe could have very well planned an escape by merely shifting into their Pure Dragon forms and flying away. However, the two men had chosen to stay. The only one that continuously tried to escape was his father Draze. Darifer came to visit all three of them once, sometimes twice, a week.
His father's improvement had been slow. His wife's death had nearly broken him and he had yet to truly grieve, even after two years. Darifer's continuous presence, however, was helping to finally ground him. The lavender astral vowed to help his father gain some peace, even if it took years.
That day, however, he brought good news to his friends. "Solare Sindri signed for the release of both you and Fringe," Darifer relayed as he sat beside the Duke of the Pure Dragons.
Duke Borev had deep blue hair in his astral form. His yellow eyes were wide for a moment before a frown formed on his face. He shook his head. "No, I belong here. I don't want to hurt anyone again. There's no guarantee I won't come across ancient technology-"
"We've all learned how to safe-proof any old technology we find from now onwards," Darifer interjected. "You will be just fine."
"I...there's nowhere I could go," Borev continued. "Our home is gone…"
Darifer reached out to take hold of one of Borev's hands. "You could come live with me," he offered. "I would like you to. That is, would you like to...?"
The blue dragon's face became unreadable. "I still haven't fully forgiven myself for what I've done to you," he admitted. "And I don't understand how you have…"
"Borev, I care about you. I was there the whole time, remember? That wasn't you," he countered. "Not the real you. I want to share my life with you, even if friendship is the only thing you can offer me."
In spite of his objections, Borev couldn't help the butterflies in his stomach at the very prospect of being able to see Darifer every day instead of just twice a week...of Darifer being his companion. "Then, we can give it a try," he conceded.
"Yes!" Darifer agreed readily.
When the two of them passed on the information to Fringe, his response was immediate.
"I'm staying right here," Fringe insisted. "Now that I'm free to do what I want, I'd like to help out others here as an assistant or volunteer."
"Understood," Darifer responded. "Then, you are welcome to come visit us whenever you wish."
"Maybe I will," Fringe concluded.
Within the span of two years, the Solare, the Lunare, the Gallants, and Ansar played their part in providing housing for the Pure Dragons on the surface of the planet. The Pure Dragons themselves busily began to seal up the crater site and begin the restoration of the woods of the Volcanic Isles. That particular day, Sindri and Gonuret were helping to move furniture into a Pure Dragon family's new home.
The royal twins Cero and Cera were eager to help. They took over in arranging the rooms of the family's children. The Solare and Lunare were quite impressed with just how strong and helpful the young twins were during the process.
Cera meticulously posed a dragon plush on the bed for one of the children. "There," she said as she folded her arms across her chest and stood up proudly. "They'll love it!"
"Being Solare and Lunare is a lot more work than I thought," Cero mused aloud. "We were just born into a royal family. So, how were you chosen, Solare Sindri?"
"The Solare is chosen once every decade," Gonuret explained.
"Every ten years?" Cera questioned.
"Right," Gonuret responded. "In general, a different biome is chosen every decade and the community of that biome helps find that representative."
"How?" Cero questioned.
"It's an ancient magic," Solare explained that time. "The kind that allows you to shift between your Pure forms and your Astral forms. The ancient magic is channeled through the people and helps to guide them to the next Solare."
"So, as long as it's from the next biome, _anyone_ can be chosen?" Cera asked.
"Yes, especially if they are the right age to take on the role...twenty years old," Gonuret answered.
"Does that mean one of _us_ can be a Solare someday?" The twins both asked almost at the same time.
"That could very well be so," Solare responded with a grin. "You both _are_ living in the next Solare representative's biome."
"Allright!" the twins exclaimed as they ran around the room in excitement.
Sindri's term as the Solare had been nearly as hectic as what he imaged the term of the Astral Princess to have been. The desert dragon wasn't the only one that put in so much work. He was infinitely grateful for the friends he made and all of their helping hands. In spite of the work, the blond came to enjoy being Solare.
However, he was also quite grateful whenever he was able to take some time off. The blond made sure to line up his time off along with his lifemate Gonuret's. He enjoyed spending quality time together and the peace that came along with it. The two of them had chosen to take a stroll down the market when Sindri's attention was drawn to one of the many healing centers.
Due to all the tremors of the past, many dragons had been injured, some even killed. His dismal thoughts were interrupted when he felt Gonuret take his hand.
"Shall we pay them a visit?" The Lunare suggested.
"Are you sure? We were going to take a break from our duties today."
"A good cause still counts as a break from our duties," the Lunare insisted.
"Fair enough" Sindri replied as he followed Gonuret inside.
As he had predicted, the patients were thrilled for any visitors. But, when they realized that it was the Solare and Lunare, they were even more thrilled and excited. When they reached the children's section, the questions they received were quite different in nature.
"Do you two kiss a lot?" An older little girl asked before hiding half her face in a pillow.
"Ew, kisses? They're gross no matter who's kissing who," A smaller boy pointed out.
"Can you make it snow indoors?" Another boy asked Gonuret.
"Can you read my mind ? Momma says you can!" Another little girl asked Sindri.
Sindri found himself smiling, his mood brightening up at the sight of the children and their inquiries. "All of you have great questions," he responded a moment before he began to answer those queries. Gonuret did his best to satisfy the curiosity of the little ones, as well.
The blond then noticed a small child out of the corner of his eye. She seemed to be hiding from the rest of them as she stood behind the long, draping curtains. Every now and then, the little girl would poke her head out to see what was going on. The Solare gently nudged Gonuret to point her out before the two of them walked over to her.
"What's your name, little one?" Sindri asked softly. He received no answer as she tried her best to hide her face behind the curtain.
"That's Estrellita! She doesn't talk a lot" One of the older girls responded in her stead. "The doctors thinks it's cuz she got traumatized from losing her parents? But I dunno…"
"I see…" Sindri frowned a little before reaching in the curtains to pick her up, much to the girl's surprise. "How about you join us?"
Gonuret smiled at the tiny pink dragon as he walked over to gently ruffle the top of her black hair. "Hello, sweet one." He greeted.
Estrellita blushed at the sight of Gonuret before coming out only to hide against Sindri's leg. It took a good little while for her to decide to come out and play with the others.
A few moments later, the Solare and Lunare were tossing kids in the air to one another, teaching them how to glide. Peals of laughter and squealing filled the air. Some of the children were there with minor injuries, but none that affected their wings. Other children were there waiting on their parent's procedures.
"Can I go again?" One boy asked as Sindri caught him.
"Me too, me too!" another girl added.
"Let's make sure everyone gets a turn first" Sindri told them, looking to Estrellita who was watching them. When she caught his gaze, she quickly hid her face in her hands. "Do you want to try, Estrellita?" He asked as he knelt down to the girl's level.
She opened her little fingers up to peek out at Sindri before covering her eyes again and shaking her head no quickly, her little curls going all over the place.
"C'mon, Estrellita, say something to them! That's the Solare and the Lunare!" one of the kids urged her, making her pout.
"I bet she'll join us when she's ready" Sindri smiled. He had a good feeling about it.
Just as he had expected, after about five minutes, the young dragon made her way over to Gonuret and tugged at his pants leg before reaching up for him. "U…Up..!" she chirped, her little tail swishing back and forth in excitement.
The Lunare broke out in a grin as he bent down to pick her up. "Hold on!" He warned as he lifted her over his head and began to run from one side of the room to the other.
Estrellita's eyes lit up with excitement as Gonuret lifted her up higher than she had ever been before in her life. Her tail swished back and forth in the air as the man warned her to hold on. She smiled a little before breaking out into giggles while the Lunare ran around.
Sindhi couldn't help but smile, too, when he heard that precious sound. The sound of laughter in general made him happy. But the fact that it came from little girl just made him even happier. Maybe it was because she had been so distant before that seeing her blossom made it more worthwhile. "Looks like you made a new friend, Gonuret," he teased with a smile. The little girl seemed to be having the time of her life with the Lunare.
Gonuret tossed her high up into the air and caught her again as she began to glide down. "I think we both did." He admitted with a gentle smile.
The little dragon let out peals of laughter as the silver-eyed dragon threw her in the air. She hugged him around his neck when he caught her again. "Lu...Lunare!" she chirped as she patted Gonuret's face with her tiny hands.
Sindri laughed at the sight of the stunned expression on Gonuret's face. "That's right, that's the Lunare. His name's Gonuret."
"Gone…ray," she tried to repeat before smiling and resting against the astral. Estrellita didn't seem to want to be placed back down.
"Estrellita, can I hold you?" Sindri asked as he held his hands out.
The child looked at Sindri, Gonuret, and then back towards the Solare before reaching her hands out. She hugged him him around the neck once she was in his arms before resting against him as she was began to feel drowsy.
The blond smiled as she rested in his arms. "She's a good girl. You said she's been orphaned, right?" He asked the older girl.
"Uh-huh! Momma said she doesn't have any other family around" The girl in question responded.
"We can give her a home," Gonuret suddenly suggested. "If not with us, then certainly any of the other Gallants wouldn't mind raising a little girl."
Sindri's eyes widened. "Are you really alright with that?" They had talked about adopting before, but never exactly when. The blond blinked when he felt the girl adjusting herself in his arms. She certainly seemed to be comfortable with them thus far.
"Definitely," Gonuret affirmed as he reached out to gently pet her black hair. "Either way, we shouldn't leave her here alone."
"Then, let's do it" Sindri smiled down gently at the girl who was starting to fall asleep as Gonuret pet her hair.
"Are you taking Estrellita with you?" One of the boys asked.
"Will you take good care of her for us?" Another girl questioned.
The Solare carefully got down, trying to not move to fast and wake the now sleeping child. "We are. We promise to take very good care of her."
"And you can come visit her whenever you like," Gonuret added. After some digital documentation and a talk with the head of the Healing Center, the three dragons were free to go.
As Sindri stepped out of the Healing Center, he placed a gentle hand on the back of Estrellita's back. He squinted against the sun's bright midday rays before one of Gonuret's larger wings shielded them both. The Solare couldn't help but feel that the Astral Princess herself had given them her blessing. She had fallen from the sky like a shooting star. What bigger sign could there be than to adopt a child whose very name meant "Little Star."
"Shall we head home, love?" Gonuret asked softly.
The Solare smiled at his Lunare. "Yes. Let's bring our Little Star home."
Thirdly: I can't believe that after five long years, Toma and I have finally brought The New Solare to a close. I want to take the time to thank Toma for joining me in this endeavor and for helping design the Astral dragons in illustrations. If any of you would like to see those images, just search for "The New Solare gayauthors gallery" on google and it should be the first link shown. I would also like to thank all of our readers who have patiently waited for this conclusion.
Toma: I also want to thank Thirdly for allowing me to be a part of this story. I love our dragon boys! I had so much fun designing all the dragons. The New Solare has been such a big part of my life and I've enjoyed helping bring this story and world to life. We might also get to see another side of our boys in a future sequel (as they tackle parenting). So, until next time!