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What Are Legend...

By Linda Terrell
Page 1 of 4

"They are come again!" She Searches The Clouds called on the run. "The Two Footed Walkers are come. I told you they would return," she finished as she slid to a halt before Dark Of The Moon. Her gold eyes flashed, matching the lining of her nostrils as they flared to fill her lungs.

"You have seen them then, Searcher?" Dark Of The Moon asked calmly. Although agitated by her news, it would not do for him to show it. He scanned the skies idly with sweeps of his great, satin head. There were new scents there this day.

"I have felt them. I feel them even as we speak. Do not tease me now when you know how it is I foretell."

He touched her nose gently, wafting his soft breath over her. "What, then, do you feel?"

"One much like us." She stamped a tiny foot and dared Dark Of The Moon to doubt She who was Guardian. She who searched the clouds and gave warning. She who had kept them safely hidden for over two thousand years. She who was bonded to Dark Of The Moon.

To doubt her instincts was to doubt their existence. And to doubt that was to perish.

His reply was to swivel an inquisitive ear and rustle his feathers. "Like us?" he mused, but mildly. His wisdom, which was even older than two thousand years, told him to wait and listen to her for she knew things before they were.

"One like you, a Leader. One like myself, a Searcher. One who is an Innocent but very devious. One who is Lost. One who speaks the Wisdom of the Oracles. One who is Alone. One who Guides." Her eyes rolled as she sought the right words to describe her feelings.

Dark Of The Moon sighed and shifted his weight. He was uncomfortable when forced to stand still for any length of time. His wing itched. "That is several Ones. Which One is The One?"

"It is all the same One. Although more than one, they who come are One." Her tail flicked for emphasis. "Bound to The One."

'How lovely you are, Searcher. Like the clouds. But your eyes are worried.' "And how many are this One?"

"Seven. But two of them serve the Five."

"Enough of this feeling," he snorted. "We will go to see far ourselves."

Leaping into the air above her, he spread his great wings and hung there briefly. Wheeling, he bugled and flew away.

She followed his path on the ground for a time, speeding across it with tiny thunder. Scattering a herd of white deer, she vanished into a sunbeam, golden prints in the grass the only clue to her passing.

***

Avon was dozing on the Flight Couch.

Avon never dozed. Avon rarely slept and when he did, he certainly didn't do it in front of anyone. Sleeping was vulnerability, loss of control. Avon simply would never let anyone see him that way.

Blake could doze anywhere, anytime. Often taking catnaps on the couch, or even on his feet.

Vila, of course, never dozed. Vila slept.

Cally meditated.

Jenna went on until someone dumped her into her cabin.

But Avon never dozed on the Flight Deck.

Blake's almost frantic search for Star One left no room for luxuries like R&R. They were all in even worse shape than before they had gone to Horizon.

And Avon was dozing on the Flight Couch, next to Blake, who was reading and who had shifted his weight so that Avon was leaning against him.

Ever since the revelations about Anna Grant, Avon's relationship with Blake had changed subtly. It was hard to pin-point just how. They still sniped at each other and Avon as often lost. It was as if there was a new awareness between them, that had started at Exbar.

Gradually, Blake became aware of the silence that enveloped the Flight Deck. Looking up, he saw Vila seated across from him, staring with a quizzical expression. Cally stood behind Vila, arms folded, face blank in thought. Above them, Jenna surveyed the lot.

The overall impression Blake got then was one of wary amusement. He tilted his head, returning the various gazes and yawned, running a hand through his untamed hair. His movements caused Avon to stir but he did not awaken.

"If ever there was proof that we need R&R," Vila said, "that's definitely it. Avon doesn't just fall asleep. Not on the Flight Deck. Not in front of everyone. And not practically in your arms."

"Any ideas?" Blake asked blandly, looking up to Jenna with a hint of a smile tugging at his lips and the crinkles around his eyes.

Her usually haughty features softened at Blake's smile. "Possibly. Zen has located a likely planet not on the usual routes or even listed."

Vila stretched and yawned then too. "Wanna tell him why? Why it isn't listed. Why I don't particularly want to go there?"

They all exchanged anxious looks, then Cally spoke. "It is on the edge of the Outer Darkness, Blake."

As expected, Blake's face darkened considerably.

"But it is a beautiful, earth-type planet," Cally rushed to fill him in. "Sapphire blue, like earth, with earth-type vegetation. It is really quite pastoral."

"And uninhabited?"

"Yes." They all answered.

"And despite its rather precarious location, you are willing to try to visit it? Except Vila," he tossed a small exasperated glare at the thief, tempering it with a tiny knowing nod.

Avon stirred awake and Blake tensed, waiting for the technician to sit up abruptly and set off his verbal land mines.

Instead, Avon pushed himself upright with noticeable reluctance and blinked to focus on Blake, a slightly sleep-stupid smile on his race. Yawning luxuriously, he rested back against the couch, propping his head with his hand and stared at Blake who was only inches away from his face.

They simply looked at each other for long seconds.

"Wakey, wakey, Avon," Blake teased. "Or shall I carry you down?"

"I really wouldn't suggest you try it," Avon purred in a sleep-husky voice, his eyes fighting to remain open, "But if I'm this tired, how are the rest of you faring? If there's a quiet planet nearby, by all means, let us go there. I'd like very much to get off this ship for a time and get away from all of you."

"Thank you, Avon," Blake said brusquely. "We so very much enjoy your sparkling company, too."

"I've hurt your feelings," Avon stated flatly.

Blake fought off an urge to shake Avon until he rattled. "Yes, you've hurt my feelings. Again." Blake rose suddenly and Avon almost fell forward onto the couch. He hadn't yet realized he was still leaning against Blake.

"On second thought," Avon murmured, fitting his length to the couch, "you all go down and go feral and I'll stay up here and keep shop."

Jenna started to say something heated then thought of something better. "Of course, Avon. But you won't mind terribly if we bring Orac with us to work the teleport so we won't have to wake you up?" She smiled her imitation of Blake's most diabolical and "innocent" smile.

"Well now, isn't that why the bracelets are also comm-links? You know Orac doesn't like camping out."

Jenna glided from her post to stand behind Avon and leaned on the couch. "And neither do we, extensively. We'd just rather not have to argue with Orac over the comm-link. It's so much easier when you can thump him in person."

Jenna did the best Blake impression in ten parsecs. Avon gave up. "Of course. Do have a pretty picnic, will you?"

Blake, Cally and Vila watched this verbal pas de deux with delight.

"We intend to," Blake rumbled and reached for Avon. "And I'd never forgive myself for denying it to you. Come along, Avon. We're all going to smell the roses." He pulled Avon to his feet and, turning him in the direction off the teleport, pushed the man ahead off him.

Avon's movements were still sluggish and Blake had to suppress another urge to pick him up.

"You've been planning this all along," Avon accused, vexation beginning to irritate him into full wakefulness.

"Yes," Blake snapped as his own temper was finding its edge.

//Stop being surly, Avon.// Cally warned. //Blake's temper is short enough lately. Do not light his fuse.//

Avon laughed.

Vila brought up a reluctant rear, muttering. "Things have a habit of disappearing out here. Things have a habit of not coming back. What if there are hairy aliens down there?"

"Vila," Blake stopped abruptly and Vila walked into him. "We're hairy aliens and we're not Things."

"Always got an answer, don't you?" Vila sniffled, backing off from Blake and going around him. "Yeah, I know. That's why you lead and I follow. Or so I'm told by various parties." He slung a look of pure vitriol at Avon and pushed on by. "Might as well get it over with." The thief suddenly brightened. "Maybe I'll find some fruits to make some wine with." He picked up his pace.

"You mean whine with, don't you?" Avon quipped.

Blake took that as a good sign. When Avon took the time to banter, he was feeling better. Which made Blake feel better. Although it might not be appreciated by poor Vila.

***


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Linda Terrell

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