Pennim the Great waited patiently for Taranis and Pryderi to remount. When they were securely seated behind his huge head, he unfurled his great wings. They buffeted the air as the dragon rose high above the castle before turning to the west, flying through the starlit sky towards Sanctuary, the safe haven of all the King's Warriors.
Pryderi wrapped her arms around Taranis' waist and dozed, so very weary yet no longer anxious for her future. Taranis would guard her life with his own. She woke as Pennim was descending into the center of a huge compound. Sleepy dragon cries echoed all around them, sounding the alarm until Herald, the dragon keeper blew on his horn. Immediately silence fell over the dusty yard. Then Taranis dismounted and lifteded Pryderi to the ground.
"My lords and ladies!" he shouted into the waiting hush. "Allow me to present my mate and partner, Pryderi the Precious! We have sworn a vow before the King!"
"Is it so, Pennim?" a huge silver dragon demanded with disbelief. "A Precious is to be a Warrior?"
"It is so. This Precious brought Taranis to his knees and claimed a vow of service, as was her right. But Taranis freely swore the vow of the heart. And this Precious returned it. The King accepted their vows." Pennim turned his head, searching out the eyes of each and every dragon. "Now before you I will swear the vow of the heart. You will serve as a witness that I have bound myself to my humans."
"You are certain, Pennim?" the silver dragon questioned in puzzlement.
"I am certain, Rogoss. This is my destiny."
"Very well. I will serve as witness as will our companions."
Pennim faced Taranis and Pryderi, bowing his head until it touched the ground. "My Beloved Partners I will spend eternity holding you to my heart, protecting you beneath my wings, loving you with all my soul."
Taranis fell to his knees in shock. "Pennim, my friend, what have you done?"
Pryderi smiled though tears trickled down her cheek. "He has bound himself to us for as long as we live." She took Taranis' hand and held it out palm up to Pennim. "We accept your vow."
Pennin squeezed two tears from his golden eyes. They dropped onto Taranis' and Pryderi's palms, sizzling in the silence. Then a single glittering green stone appeared embedded on each palm. "Thus are we bound." He rose, arching his wings above them. "Now, we will rest."
To be continued...
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