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Chapter One
Invitation -
Milgazia goes Recruiting

     Filia took a deep breath, so much to do.  Trust Lina to take a perfectly good day and completely turn it around.  Hearing baby Val crying, she went to the crib and picked him up; she smiled down at him with a fond smile and shook his rattle at him, getting a happy gurgle in return.  To be innocent once again, without this burden of guilt and responsibility; at least she had Val, part retribution and part reward, he was the only thing that had got her through the dark days after finding out what her kin had done.  So many sins to atone for, the dragon race had truly fallen from what it was supposed to be.  True, they no longer had the dragon gods to guide them but still, so much for moral righteousness.

     Turning at a knock on her door, Filia was surprised to find, instead of the customer she was expecting, a tall, shaggy blond haired man.  Well, not a man, but Milgazia in human form.  As Filia smiled a welcome at him and waved him in, she reflected that they were spending a lot of time in human form lately.  Following Milgazia in was a blond haired elf girl.

     “Good day, Elder Milgazia,” Filia stated respectfully.  “I would also like to welcome your companion to my humble shop.”

     “Hello, Filia, I’d like you to meet my companion, Memphis.  She tends to follow me around when she’s bored, which happens far too often.”

     “She should follow Lina around for a while.” As Filia transferred Val to his bassinet she caught Memphis making faces at him and gave her a grin as Memphis tried to act nonchalant.

     “So, Elder, why are you here today?” Filia asked curiously.  “Is it about the matter with Lina Inverse and Xellos Metallium?”

     Milgazia nodded.  “As you may or may not be aware, Lina and Xellos have left this plane.”

     “Oh no!” Filia felt tears filling her eyes. “Not Lina.”

     “Just a joke. They’re not dead, they’ve just gone world hopping,” Milgazia added with a straight face.

     “Your sense of humour is going to be the death of us, Mil,” Memphis interjected. “You can tell a great joke, but you have to learn timing.”

     Filia glared at Milgazia. Lina had warned her about his sense of humour but she hadn’t quite believed her.  Taking a deep breath, she reminded herself that Milgazia was an elder and she owed him respect, or at least the appearance of it.

     “Elder, not that your presence doesn’t grace my shop, could you please tell what you are here for?” Filia asked with clenched teeth, she was getting a bit better with her temper; being a mother was a learning experience that was standing her in good stead.

     “It is very simple, after our confrontation with the other elders of the golden dragon clan, the clan has found itself lost.  All of our basic tenants are being challenged by the younger dragons, not that they aren’t making some good points, but it is a bit, how can I put it.... not orderly. Young hotheads, not one of them over 400 years old.”  Milgazia shook his head.  “That’s where you come in.”

     “Me?” Filia asked. “I was the youngest of my clan, I have learned that I am not infallible. Val taught me that.”  She looked at her adoptive son fondly.

     “Your stand against our wrong hearted elders gained you more respect than you realize.  My younger brethren quote you frequently.  Also, your place as the last of your clan and as Val’s mother has given you a certain mystique.  While I realize that you are still discovering your inner soul and growing, you would be invaluable as a liaison between the younger dragons and myself.  The most important factor is that you do not have the ties of family and our clan traditions to curb your opinions.”  Milgazia gave Filia a searching look and nodded at what he saw there.  “I need you as part of this Filia, we’ll be receiving representatives from the clans from the new land soon as well.  As you are from the same area, you can help me out with them as well.”

     Filia stood up and began walking around the room, nervously arranging the vases that covered the shelves.  “I don’t know I really don’t know if I’m worthy of the trust that you’ve given me.  I’ve been wrong about so many things and I have committed so many terrible acts in my pride.”  With her back facing Milgazia, she quietly wiped a tear that had started to run down her cheek.  “I have so much to atone for, my sins, the sins of my clan.  The sins stretch beyond redemption but still I must try.  If you want me for this duty, I must agree as I must agree to all duties which will help repair the damage that has been done.”

     “Child, you are not to blame for the sins of your clan.  Your own sins are the sins of youth, which we all have to repay.  Do not judge yourself so harshly.”  Milgazia walked over and laid his hand on her shoulder.

     “Thank you, Elder.  I’ll try to live up to your trust in me.”  Filia smiled shakily.  “I’ll begin my preparations now.  Jiras will want to come along; he’s very attached to baby Val.”

     “One of the changes the young dragons want is more contact with the other races.  Bringing in Jiras is a step in the right direction, his devotion to the child will ease many fears,” Memphis interjected.

     “That is a good point, thank you, Memphis,” Milgazia agreed.

     Filia spent the next two days getting her affairs in order. Jiras was overjoyed at the thought of other children for Val to play with.  Milgazia had assured him that as infrequently as eggs were laid, there were two other babies in the clan lair.

     The trip was long; Filia did not want to entrust her precious vases to flight and to be quite honest the amassed weight of her belongings was considerable.  Filia was sure that there were very few dragons with a comparable hoard.

     Looking forward to the days ahead, she felt a ray of hope.  There would be problems, of that she was sure, but this time she would have a say in how the clan was run.  There would be no more dark secrets, hidden shame.  Maybe, just maybe, there would be love and friendship as well as the unrelenting search for redemption.  As they turned around the bend, she heard a yell from Jiras and hurried to the front of the line of wagons.

     There, stretched in front of her, was the clan’s aerie, her new home.

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