The Owned One
Dawn & Twilight
12th February 2008

Summary:
Magic and chaos. Aegis gets a shake-up and is forced to come to terms. Casus learns a little more about who and what he is.
Warnings: History, mythology and magic-work… basically, one major info-dump. Sorry.


The air seemed charged, Aegis noticed absently.

Really, he had been too absorbed in his own thoughts to really be aware of anything else. But if something affected his Element then… well, it was impossible to not notice. There was an unmistakeable current to it now, electricity crackling, thick moisture gathering. The skies were darker and he could hear how the waves roiled far below in the sea. It was a muted tension, a gathering of energy and some… discontentment. But thankfully it did not seem to be the coming of a storm.

Strangely, this restlessness seemed quietly happy, an excitement of happy circumstance. It didn't really make much sense to Aegis for the Air to be so pleased...

Casus

He leapt to his feet and ran for his balcony, tearing off his robe just in time to spare the fine silk before leaping for the edge and Changing, calling up a touch of fog to conceal his presence. He angled his body and folded his wings suddenly, gravity pulling him into a dive for the ridge of rocks at the base of the cliffs. As he neared, he wondered how he could have missed the gathering of power here.

Casus was calling a storm.

It was just the beginnings of one and not quite there yet, electricity crackling with the desire to be unleashed, flashes of it skittering along Casus' pale skin. He could sense the very tension in the Earth as it almost groaned with joy to share such a powerful conduit. And the Air, it seemed almost delighted with Casus, swirling complexly about him and gently tousling his hair. The gathered elements seemed almost... Loving.

With a sharp back wing to brace his weight, Aegis landed and half Changed, scales protecting his exposed human skin and shielding him from the passions of the elements.

"Casus!" He was laughing, the idiot. Aegis shouted at him again, "Casus!"

He is Ours, echoed a multitude of voices in Aegis' head.

Aegis was astounded. The Air had never spoken to him before. He had always been able to sense its movements and something of what he might call its emotions, but never words. Never coherent English words… he had never even thought it possible, had never heard of it being possible.

"What do you want with him?" he asked, trying to speak above the loudly swirling winds.

The Child is Ours.

Desperate, Aegis yelled, "What does that mean?!"

He is not yours.

Irritated and frightened, Aegis snapped, "That makes no sense!"

He is not yet Complete.

The words sent pure panic racing through Aegis. If the Air meant what he thought… he snarled and Changed. He called upon all his magic, sinking his claws into the rocks as he spread his wings, bracing his power and himself in an attempt to disrupt the wind flow and alert Casus to his presence. It seemed to work, Casus turning glazed eyes toward him.

Casus! he cried. Please stop!

Why? came the simple question, the thought speech more than a little bemused.

Too frightened to lie, he replied, They will change you in ways that will destroy your humanity! They want to own you but they will drive you mad! Stop!

But They are so beautiful. They are showing me many things…

In his desperation Aegis cried, Come back to me, Casus! Don't leave me!

The Air gave a wail and even the Earth trembled with disappointment, but Casus' eyes slowly refocused.

The storm disintegrated and Aegis changed back, hands rising to grip Casus' face and when he knew it was coming, opened to catch the exhausted young man when Casus collapsed. He glowered as the air dispersed, the fog he called earlier now fading with the Air's displeasure in him. He lifted Casus up and spread his changeling wings, lifting them both up into the air and heading for the manor.

It took some effort but at the balcony to his rooms, he brought Casus to his bed and laid the young man there. He followed into it, feeling more unsettled than he could recall ever being. He refused to change all the way back to being human for in that form he was most helpless. And right now, he was needed; needed to be strong. Smoothing back Casus' hair, he growled, unable to express his own tension and fright. And when he ran out of breath he took another and continued growling.

But instead of his worries dissipating, he grew even more anxious as the moments passed until to calm himself he had no choice but to Change fully and curl around Casus, wings arced out to either side of the bed and claws possessively braced around the slumbering young man.

The sheets were torn anyway. And he was worried.

That was all.

--

Hughes sent the manor staff home early before coming to Aegis' rooms.

Aegis could sense them as they left, smell their confusion mingling with the appreciation. And he knew it was Hughes approaching the room now. In his full dragon form, his senses were much more acute. With his heart thumping and tension in him, very close to being primed for battle in this state, he could sense things far more closely. He helplessly growled anyway, claws sinking into the wood edges of the bed, sheets ripping a little more.

If Hughes was disturbed to find his master in full dragon form, wings at poise with fins and hackle scales rattling in warning, he gave no indication. Aegis had to admire his servant, really. The human might have an accelerated heart rate and be about a hair's breadth away from breaking out in cold sweat, but he had more nerve than any of his past Familiars just for not showing a flicker of those emotions on his face. Aegis couldn't convince the rest of himself to relax but he did manage to stop growling.

"The fog was thick, they saw nothing," Hughes said softly, wisely keeping only to the doorway. "I told them I was sending them home in case a storm comes in and they are stranded here." Hughes eyed the sleeping Casus briefly before continuing, "I also took the liberty of giving them next two days off."

Aegis took a deep breath. And then another and another until his blood stopped pounding in his ears, until his senses could accept the presence of another male within his Lair while he held this form. It went against his instincts to allow Hughes to remain…

Thank you, Hughes. I apologise for the trouble.

"Of course, sir," Hughes murmured. He bowed respectfully, right hand over his heart in the old customs before backing out and closing the door behind himself.

Aegis sighed to hear the very quick jogging footfalls down the hall but he was more preoccupied with his… he frowned down at Casus, wondering what to call this young man in his bed. What was Casus to him? He could not say. They barely knew each other, were tied together the instinct to band together and the sense of kinship in sharing a common Natural Element. Aegis knew he had taken advantage of that and brought Casus into his bed, taken the younger dragon as a lover, without considering that Casus might…

Casus might not want him.

They would love each other, for there was no dragon that did not love its own kind. They would be affectionate, affected by their instincts and kinship, drawn together by the scent of longing they had for the other in this era of isolation for their kind. But would Casus really like him? The young man had already voiced displeasure at his arrogance, his unrepentantly lazy habits and theatrical silliness –and they had only just met yesterday afternoon.

Setting aside the worry in his heart, for Aegis had learned nothing over the decades of his life if he hadn't learned patience, he nuzzled at Casus. He was careful not to scratch or mark as he rubbed his horns over his lover, the special scent-secreting glands beneath his jaw working and coating Casus with his scent. In reaction, Casus' skin changed a little, scales rising to the fore and glistening in the morning light.

"Hm?" Casus cooed in his sleep, stirring a little.

Do not wake if you do not feel up to it, Aegis said softly. Rest, and I will guard you as you sleep.

"First nuzzling creatures of war, and now dragon guard dog?" Casus muttered irritably, "The draconic reputation will meet its doom in your care." He opened his eyes, blinking a few times before they focused. "Holy--! What are you doing?! Someone could walk in here and see you!" The pupils of his eyes widened a little as his senses caught on, "Hughes was here. Did he..?"

He knows. Aegis smiled, the fins about his jaw lifting, relieved to find Casus so well after the awakening of his bond to his Natural Elements.

"Huh?" Poor changeling looked more than a little confused.

He is my familiar. His father guarded me before him, and his grandfather before that. Aegis chuffed, blowing something that could be, for this form, his laugh. There are not so many of his kind now, but there have always been Dragon-watchers. Hughes is descended from a family who served the King Arthús when He and his men rode dragons into war.

"Arthur?" Casus' expression looked completely boggled. "As in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Arthur? You're bloody joking."

Aegis Changed as he laughed, curling scaled arms about his lover and drawing Casus close, relishing the feel of his lover in his arms. "The Round Table wasn't a table, though. It was more of a… an altar, I suppose. Carved of stone and marked to designate the jurisdiction of each Knight across the ruled realms."

"Did you see it?" Casus murmured, surprised and hushed. "Were you there?" He curled into Aegis, the two of them almost burrowing under the bed covers, arms and legs tangling naturally.

"I did see part of it." Aegis pressed his nose into the hollow below Casus' throat and continued softly, "I wasn't there around King Arthús's time but I was when the Circle was broken." He hesitated before he spoke again, speech slow and careful and hushed, "When the first Storm Queen herself returned to the water, much had happened. He was her mate but he hungered for her power as all humans had hungered, and the wars had almost destroyed her. She could not remain by his side. But when she went, she took with her a promise that the Circle would be broken, that the bonding spells would all be undone and all those of magical bloodline would be freed."

"And Excalibur?" Casus asked on a reverent whisper.

"Ex calce Liberatus," Aegis murmured. "The words are but Latin for 'liberated from the stone' and are not the weapon's true name."

"Was it even truly a sword?" Casus frowned a little over the query but there lingered awe in his eyes.

"At the time it was called the Caladbolg. An Irish name for an Irish legend."

"Arthur was Welsh!" Casus argued. But he quieted suddenly before asking, "Wasn't he?"

"He pulled the sword from a Stone Dragon who lay by the River Boyne in Knowth, Ireland," Aegis explained gently. "The weapon itself…" Aegis paused before saying, "Well, the details of Arthur and his life really don't matter. The tale itself belongs to the humans and plays no part of who we were or are." As his lover pondered what he had said so far, Aegis patiently waited for his words to sink in. It didn't take too long before,

"Storm Queen!" Casus accused. "You said Arthur's mate… that he was mate to… you did say Storm Queen, didn't you?"

"I did." Aegis smiled faintly. "Arthur's mount was a Storm Queen Water dragon."

"But the Caladbolg was known to be a weapon of Fire…" Casus said, voice trailing off and looking a little confused.

"True," Aegis smiled, impressed with how quickly Casus instinctively caught on to the basics of magic. He lifted a finger and with a simple elemental compulsion, drew a square in the air above them. Casus huddled into him in reaction to the suddenly chilly air. "There are four Primary or Natural Element foundations of magic," he pointed to each corner as he spoke, "Water, Air, Fire and Earth. Those that sit to either side of an element are its Affinities. And those that sit opposite," he drew a cross within the box, from one corner to the other, "are its Oppositions."

"So if a Storm Dragon is of Water but shares majority with its 'neighbours' Air and Earth," Casus' brow cleared as he realised what his senses were telling him, "then Fire is a Storm Dragon's direct opposite."

"That should be true."

Casus smiled wryly, obviously enjoying himself, "But it isn't, is it?"

"No," Aegis grinned back, feeling his worries about Casus slip away seeming completely unfounded after what had happened earlier. "Not quite." He waved the magic away, favouring to turn over and cuddle his lover, wrapping the younger dragon closer in his arms. "The weapon balances the Storm Dragon. It was a circle in itself, the Storm Queen and the Flame Sword. Both tempered by the mate of one even as he was the wielder of the other."

Casus was quiet for a long time.

Aegis sighed, feeling his concern and worry return. He had hoped the tale would be a simple history lesson, that things would remain focused on magic and Casus' development. Instead, he sensed the younger dragon was beginning to understand the ramifications of being a Storm Prince.

Would Casus want to resurrect the old ways?

As soon as he thought that, Aegis pushed the thought away. There was no one powerful enough to summon Caladbolg and really, the weapon would not respond to that name. Its real appellation, the name which Levi had given it over two millennia ago, was long lost. Aegis himself could not imagine how anyone would be able to call upon the primordial tool which had belonged to Aaron; the implement which Aaron himself had wielded until it was stripped from him in Moab, following the incident at Sinai and at the death of Moses…

It was such a weary tale.

"Aegis," Casus whispered. "What it was is what it was. Thank you for telling me about my lineage." Aegis could feel against his skin where Casus smiled. "I'm honoured to know my family played such an important part of history."

"Then you don't--" Aegis cut himself off, cursing himself for an idiot.

"No," came the gentle reply. "Don't worry about all that, isn't this time for us now?" Casus asked, "Wasn't this the time you chose to be your place, where you belong?"

Aegis gave a soft breath of relief, heart warming at the implications, "Yes. Here."

"With me."

"With you."


References and the history of this arc can be found at (mind the spaces): tsubaki-dono.livejournal . com / 30237 . html#cutid1