Cran couldn't help but feel eyes watching him as he finished off his drink. Even on trash heap like Oana, complete with bar lined streets, dirty disarrayed ports, and a scum population, the elemental knew that he drew attention. He suspected that it was the confidence that he displayed, a sharp contrast to his size, or perhaps it was the fact that he was the only remotely Human looking being for light years. Whatever it was, Cran wished that the rest of the bar room crowd would put it aside, there was nothing he could do about his confidence, afterall he was an immortal, and he was sure that all of them had seen stranger beings than him. Anyhow, he was going to leave in a moment... and if they were up to anything, he hoped that he would be able to avoid it. However, as Cran got up to exit, sliding his payment under an empty mug, one of the strangers who had been eyeing him gathered the courage to confront him.
"You're not from around here, are you?" The creature was tall and bulky, ugly too, but its voice was level and intelligent. Cran thought it might unwise to brush the man aside, and so he answered, if begrudgingly.
"No," he muttered. "Just visiting..."
"Business, I hear," the great man growled, his eyes narrow. Cran managed to consider him again, surprised at the stranger's knowing tone.
"I suppose you could call it that," Cran answered cautiously. "What's it to you?" The man began laughing to the chorus of the rest of the crowd, Cran shifted nervously, wondering what exactly was going on. Whatever it was, it didn't seem good... and all Cran's instincts were telling him to turn the situation.
"Funny work you do, Elemental, killing people you ain't got no business killing," one of the seated men called out, his double gaze interested. Definitely not good...
"Yeah," another piped. "Where you puttin' all that money? Into that junker you got, or you drinkin' it all down like the rest of us?" There was a short lived laughter as several of the crowd saluted each other with their beers. Cran frowned at them all, keeping a look of unconcern on his smooth young face.
"Just doing what I can," he said vaguely.
"No," said the large man who still stood in front of the confused Cran, his gruff voice interrupting the revelry of the others. "This boy's got a family." Now shock was clearly written on the Water Elemental's face. He had slipped before, accidentally giving away the blood on his hands, but how was it possible that these stranger's knew anything so personal about him.
"What did you say?" He broke out.
"You are saving your money for your family, aren't you, boy?" The man asked, crossing his arms over his great chest. Cran shrunk back a little, his mind racing.
"Your girl, Nin'Queesha, was just in here, sweet thing..." The men nodded with their leader.
"My... girl..." Cran's gaze became discreet. It couldn't be... could it? What were the chances that she would be here?
"She seemed to think she was anyway," the man went on, disrupting Cran's thoughts. "But you make me think that you don't agree with her..." The room seemed to close in around Cran as the once curious eyes became suddenly hostile.
"We both knew that it wasn't permanent," Cran scrambled to save himself. "She can't seriously think that I would be...
"Hmm?" The great man took on an expression of angered surprise. "Certainly having a child with a female means something to your kind..."
"There was never a child," Cran snapped.
"Certainly looked like you," one of the men said, glancing at his concurring friends.
"Hain't seen many with hair of that color," said another. "And with such a name... 'Riptide.'" Cran stared blankly at them all... Nin'Queesha had been here, he was sure of that now... that name only got around to people who wanted him to spill blood for them. But could she really have his offspring with her... she wouldn't have...
"When was she here?" Cran said sharply. "What was she doing here?"
"A few weeks ago, perhaps..." said the big man, his gaze intent, questioning. "And she was looking for you actually; looks like she overshot you."
"It isn't hard to follow a hunter who hires out ahead of time..." Cran felt himself flush with embarrassment.
"Do you know where she went?" The crowd became interested again, all the dull eyes of the men on Cran.
"You going to follow her, boy?" Asked the man, and Cran could see that the creature didn't want to answer.
"I don't know what happened here..." Cran glanced around, imagining Nin'Queesha with these men... what had she done to win them over? Something other than what she had done with him most certainly. "But if what you say is trueI have to find her..."
"Maybe you should think of responsibility before you run out on your friends next time." The tall man, looking deflated now that Cran was actually willing to try and fix things, bent to sit down. The Water Elemental could see that he wouldn't be getting much more out of him.
"If you aren't going to help him," said a new voice, Cran turned to face a tall humanoid, dressed like a typical spacer, who was standing in the open doorway. "Why did you tell him about it?" The great man gave the spacer an indifferent expression and went back to his drink, unconcerned. Cran growled and was about to demand an answer from the man when the spacer pulled him out of the bar.
"You wouldn't want to mess with that one, bounty hunter," the spacer said once they were outside. "You should feel lucky that you said the right thing... they were going to pull you apart for that Fire Elemental."
"He should feel lucky!" Cran spat. "He couldn't have hurt me if I wanted him to, and..."
"Hey," the interruption surprised Cran into silence. "You want to know how to find your kid?" "Do you really have to ask?" The Water Elemental was greatly annoyed now that he was over his initial shock.
"I can help you," said the spacer, "If you will help me first." Cran grimaced, already seeing where this was going...
"What do you have in mind?"
* * *
Cran stared at Star City with an expression of resignation. After two years, this was his last lead on his missing mate and child, and not only was it far from the rest of Nin'Queesha's haunts, but the Water Elemental could hardly see why Queesha would want to stop at the station. Cran sighed and dimly hoped that the "City" had a good bar... he would be needing a drink or two after this...
The landing was uneventful, and control seemed friendly enough, a good sign at any place. Cran locked up his craft and allowed the crowd to wisk him to the commerce level, usually a good place to pick up gossip and the most probable place to discover just why Nin'Queesha would have come to Star City. This tactic worked especially well, for upon arriving at the market, Cran found himself mixed into an exemplary crowd, accented with what he was surprised to identify as dragons. The Elemental asked around about the creatures, and after being chuckled at was sent to the second deck. Apparently, this was what attracted many to the station- the Dragon Bondings. The place was busy enough, with both dragons and smaller creatures shuffling down the halls. Enthralled by the place, Cran found himself forgetting why he had come at all, and when he did recall he was certain that Nin'Queesha would have been here... though how long ago that had been, he wasn't sure. He wanted to find someone to ask about records, where he hoped to look up the Fire Elemental, to see when she had left... and whether she had bonded or not.
However, Cran had a way with miscommunication when he was distracted, and instead of asking about the records, the Elemental found himself looking into bonding for himself... and then telling someone- Yes, I know Rurilusith. He, of course, didn't know Rurilusith, but his immortal confidence seemed to help Cran out a bit and he found himself in one of Star City's famed hatching bays.
~Looking for something?~ The dragon asked before Cran could excuse himself.
"Actually..." The Water Elemental stopped himself. "These are your eggs?"
~Yes,~ The dragon looked the Elemental over, and Cran was conscious of his disheveled appearance and thin build. He made a bit of an effort to shift his image some without alerting the dragon. The father did notice, however, and the male dragon's eyes took on an amused glint as they stared back at Cran. ~Interesting... who are you?~
"My name is Cran Gredelle," the Water Elemental said. "Of the Henne'lel, most respectful of the Telensa, Elementals." Caught up in the apparent intensity of the father dragon, Cran found himself giving the male a curt bow.
~Hmmm...~ The dragon loosed a deep rumble. ~I am Rurilusith.~ Cran found himself desiring to be on more equal ground with the creature, and before he spoke next he had let his Human illusion go and took on his greater natural form. Now able to look the male dragon more in the eyes, Cran settled his long amphibious form onto the hatching bay floor.
~Nice to meet you.~ The Water Elemental replied finally. ~I must ask you, Rurilusith, are your children going to be bonding?~ Cran seemed to have surprised both himself and the black dragon with this question.
~It doesn't seem to me that you came here to bond.~ The dragon said with sudden reserve.
~I am following my mate, actually.~ Cran admitted, seeing that lying to Rurilusith would be self-defeating.
~You lost her?~ The dragon leaned away from the Elemental with a look of distaste on his long face.
~I left her...~ Cran's thought voice was quiet with shame.
~Well, why would you think that you could come here and take one of my children away, when you can't even keep track of your own mate?~ Rurilusith asked seriously. Cran regarded him in silence for a moment and then found his voice.
~Do you plan on staying with your mate when all of this is over?~ He asked carefully, but didn't let the male answer right away. ~As you dragon's mate, so do our people... neither of us thought that we were going to stay together.~
~Why are you bothering to look for her?~ Rurilusith enquired, not to angry as he was a moment before.
~She has my child with her.~ Cran let the desperation that he had been feeling for the past few years accent his words, and he could see that Rurilusith had caught onto the emotions.
~I see...~ The dragon said slowly. ~You must understand my own reservations about you then.~ The two males stared at one another, Cran finding himself liking the much younger creature. The Water Elemental respected the dragon for his devotion to his young.
~I assure you, I do.~ He said with a bit of a toothy smile. ~And to tell you the truth, I don't know what kind of bond I would make any dragon, just as I don't know what kind of father I will be to my child... I do know, however, that I will try my best for both, assuming that I ever find either...~ Cran trailed off, realizing that he had begun rambling.
~Would you like to see the eggs?~ Rurilusith asked as soon as Cran was done.
|Cran Gredelle's Stats Page|
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