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A Family Affair:

The Historian Chronicles

                                Jonathon Pierce

Iffley stared at the void that once held Saturn's great beauty. The planetary giant, seemingly ripped from its moorings, had disappeared. Iffley gazed into the endless sea. No stars shone in the heavens, no other but the sun. Iffley immediately realized what had happened: somehow the entire planet of T'mir had been transported to Ralle.

He searched the heavens, looking for the only planet that existed in this universe. He spied the Rallen Earth, its surface a mere crescent, in the fourth quadrant. He pondered this universe. The Earth, he decided, could not be the only planet in the entire universe, but its severe isolation had cut her off from her distant neighbors. That, and only that reason, would explain the lack of space-flight capability in Ralle.

Iffley guided the shuttle softly planetside. He then teleported Madison and himself to Yorkshire. Upon entrance to the mansion, Jonathon ran quickly to him, "Suralio; Asiel...She's very ill. Please you must help me."

Iffley nodded in acquiescence and followed his friend to the Topaz room. Dr. Batione rapidly assessed the situation for Iffley.

"A small injection of my blood should cure her." Iffley said quietly, as he recognized the symptoms of the Pestilence. He wondered how the disease could have arisen again: The Pestilence was supposedly destroyed by the Book of Incantations.

"And exactly how will a transfusion of your blood help?" The doctor asked, incongruously.

"My blood contains special agents in it. They act as catalysts for the white blood cells."

"But I thought that you could not mix your blood with normal blood." Jonathon said, remembering Iffley's bout with blindness.

"No, Jonathon, I cannot receive normal blood, but I can donate mine to others." The doctor nodded in assent and a small amount of Iffley's blood was injected into Asiel's deforming arm.

Jonathon kissed his wife on the forehead and then turned to Iffley. "Iffley, there is something that you must see." Jonathon led Iffley downstairs into the laboratory. Iffley's gaze fell on the mist flowing from the freezer. "Suralio," Jonathon said, "Adena's body is missing."

*  *  Mission: Impossible  *  *

Iffley wandered through the shipyard, trying to locate the Hydra, the Fleet's newest experiment with the Ravager. The Hydra had a omnidirectional firing arc. The Fleet would never caught again in a surprise rear attack. But, alas, the ship was not completed.

"I'm sorry, Captain Iffley," Commander Duane said, "but the Hydra is not going anywhere. We just finished fitting her engines, they have not even been tested."

"I'll test them for you." Iffley's gaze turned frigid, "You will turn the ship over to me--now! This is the only ship anywhere near completion, and I must have it." He realized that the shuttle would never reach the Earth and frowned at his decision to place the Fleet's base on Dione. The Hydra was his last hope. "Listen, Mister, you shall have the ship ready for me by tomorrow morning or I shall have you court-martialed!"

"But, sir, the wiring isn't even half completed."

"Then you have your work cut out for you." Iffley glared at the Commander and left the yard.

The next morning Iffley check on Asiel, her condition was worsening as the Pestilence wrapped its clammy arms around her heart. Jonathon, too, was showing signs of fatigue. Iffley was not too sure, however, that the fatigue was caused by stress.

He travelled to the shipyard, and the Hydra was waiting as expected.

"Captain Iffley. The bridge, engine room, and the first three decks are functional. I think I had better go along and make sure that everything runs smoothly."

"Agreed." The Enchanter and his skeleton crew boarded the ship, and it sped off into the atmosphere. Iffley did not expect any trouble from the engines--the Fleet did have its standards--and he received none. The Hydra slipped smoothly into orbit and began to scan the planet.

The ship soared over the vast stretch of ocean and approached a small island. "H'mael," Madison, who had insisted on going, said, "I've been here before, remember?"

Iffley sensing a presence landed the ship on H'mael's sandy shore. "Welcome to Dragon Isle," Madison said shortly.

Madison was correct: Dragons roamed the entire island; Iffley even spotted a few winged dragons soaring in the clouds. "Why do the dragons inhabit this island?" Madison's shrug said more than words ever could. Iffley sought out the presence and led the party through the thick copse of trees that lined the shore.

The trees grew more dense, and Iffley began to hum to alleviate some of his fear. The tune he hummed came from his soul. Confidently, he began to hum louder. Suddenly, the forest noises stopped.

Iffley perused his surroundings, scanning for even the slightest movement. The most ferocious dragon descended down onto the party from above. It grabbed Iffley in its scaly red claw and flew off into the twilight.

Madison smiled to himself; the Staff was such a useful instrument. "Funny how that dragon just appeared out of nowhere."

Two little Pre-Historians sitting in the sun;

One got dragon-napped and then there was one.

"We shall finish our quest," Madison said, "In honor of our beloved friend."

*  *  My Three Sons  *  *

The dragon did not hurt its captive, and Iffley respected that. Had the dragon injured him, Iffley would have retaliated. Instead, however, he simply enjoyed the ride. He was sure that the dragon was taking him to the presence, so he dared not anger his free ticket.

The red dragon deposited its prey in a small clearing some few miles from the beach. Iffley sat down on a convenient stump and began to hum again, the same unknown tune echoing throughout his mind.

Unexpectedly, an old man approached. His tattered clothing and gray hair expressed his age. The man stared at the wizard and then ran to him, "Suralio!" The man cried and embraced him.

Iffley questioned the man: "How do you know my name?"

"That's quite simple....Your mother and I taught you that song on your first birthday. Yes, son--I'm your father."

Iffley then returned the embrace. Several moments of silence passed, then Iffley said, "I thought you were dead. You have a grave next to Mother's."

"After seven years had passed without hearing from me, I guess your mother thought that I had died."

"Yes, I remember that night quite vividly. You and mother were having a terrible fight. It was about me, I know. I cannot remember what the fight was about, but you left because of me."

Naidis shook his head slowly, "No, Suralio, you were not the cause of the fight. I suppose that you have been blaming yourself all of these years. The fight concerned the Iffley birthright. You do have the Crest, do you not?"

Iffley unbuttoned his shirt and showed the Crest to his father. "Then the fight concerned Theodoric and Titus."

"Well, I see that you have finally learned the truth. I am so sorry for all of the pain that I have caused you." Naidis sighed heavily, "Ephryre was barren. We had been married five years, and had had no children. I realized that the Iffley line had to continue...."

"So you sought suitable breeding material elsewhere."

"To put it bluntly, yes. The woman was Suda, an extraordinary creature. She was beautiful and intelligent, an unbeatable combination. One year later, she bore twins. They were named Theodoric Gabriel and Titus Gerrard. Your mother knew of the twins, and she even helped raise them, knowing that the line must continue. However, as time passed she began to hate the children, because she could never have any.

"And yet, a miracle occurred. Ephryre gave birth to you five years later. Your mother knew that you should be the true heir, but I would not accept that fact. Her hatred for the twins grew until I feared for their safety. At the age of seven, I gave them to a couple in the Domain. Your mother and I fought again about the birthright, I refused to accept her decision, so I left."

"And all of these years I blamed myself for your departure!" Iffley frowned at his father and turned his back on him.

"I have always loved you, son."

"Maybe, but you loved your illegitimate children more."

Sensing his son's coldness, he continued with his story, "Eventually I acceded your mother's will, and you became the Iffley hier. I suppose that you have wondered what your name means. Your mother picked it out. Iffley, as you know, means dragon. Suralio: Song; Frith: Beloved. Son, your name translates directly into the Beloved Song of the Dragon. My name means: Dragon's Pride."

"Somehow, I do not think that your name exactly fits."

"Son, I realize that I deserve your wrath, but please, release your anger--let us join forces." He found a stick and etched something into the soil. "Let me show you something. This might explain a few matters for you:"

 CONDRAKE   NAMUR          YORK   LIDA

    _|________|_____         |_____|

   |      |        |            |

  TOUL   ALDERY   BELFO      SESIAN

            |__________________|

               |        |

    SOLIUM   LEIGH    ORFIUS   ISUA    ALARIUS  HEMOSI

       |______|          |______|         |_______|

          |                 |                 |

        YABEO               |               DEVON   NUPER

                            |                 |_______|

                            |                     |

                          NAIDIS   SUDA        EPHRYRE

                           |  |_____|____           |

                           |    |  |    |           |

                           | THEODORIC TITUS AMANDA |

                           |             |_____|    |

                           |                |       |

                           |             TITUS II   |

                           |________________________|

                                        |

                                     SURALIO

"This, Suralio, is our family tree." He indicated to the ground, "For convenience I have stopped it only a few generations ago. Alarius can directly trace his lineage to Ranet. Condrake, Dragon among Dragons, can trace his line to Phumos. I had to concede to your mother's will, because you are a direct descendant from the Wizards."

"But so are the Tafts."

"Yes, but you have two lines, where they only have one." Naidis said, expecting that to clear up all of Iffley's questions.

"One last question: How did you get in Ralle?"

"That is a very complex question. Odina Ludit and I were severe enemies. As you have seen, we Iffley's have ways with dragons. I simply sent a dragon to kill him. Don't act so shocked, Suralio, we all make mistakes sometime."

"But your mistake cost the lives of two people," Iffley protested. The more he heard from his father, the less he liked him.

"Anyway, when I discovered what I had done, I fled to the Hall of Mirrors, its location rumored throughout the generations."

"Well father, once the Iffleys ruled the world, and now, we rule most of the galaxy. I certainly hope that you are pleased."

"He may not be, but I am." Iffley spun around as he heard that familiar voice.

A lump surged into his throat, and all that Iffley could utter was, "Adena."


 © 1985, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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