He stood at the edge of the cliff, watching the silent passage of the clouds. The dazzling sight of the land beyond stood before him, illuminated by the growing warmth of the rising sun. Nicodemus, his one-eyed saffron dragon whose slender body was coiled underneath the shade of the single twisted tree that grew in the area, gave out a sigh and turned its attentions towards him. The dragon quizzically stared at Vandross and with a single extended talon, drew a line on the ground.
"Yes," Vandross replied, "This is where the line begins. This is where the line ends. This is the border between today and tomorrow. This is the edge of status quo and change."
The clouds continued their chaotic dance, carried by wind currents from far away lands to this very moment. The sunlight cut the thinner layers of cover, slicing through the curtain of every shifting shapes. Nicodemus opened both clawed hands and slowly ran them against the packed earth beneath them. Where its talons touched, tiny saplings and minute flowers began to bloom. The suddenly verdant dwarf of a forest rose and began to take shape as willed by Nicodemus' elemental influence. Vandross stared at the interplay of weed, vine, root and branch and understood his companion's query.
"Absolutely. With all my heart and mind, I can feel it to be true. You know me, Nicodemus. You know how much I have traveled the seventy nine kingdoms in both the realms of day and the cities of night and many times I had thought I had found my Other at last. But in all other cases, I have chosen to overlook some unsightly habit or some unacceptable trait in hopes of making things work. This one is different. Absolutely different. I find myself hard-pressed to find anything I do not like. I find myself struggling to remind myself that no one can be that perfectly my Other."
Nicodemus snatched the blooming orchid into its talons, but then revealed with a twist of its palm that the orchid remained whole.
"Yes," Vandross smiled even more, unaware he had not stopped smiling for weeks, "It feels too perfect. Or at least I think it feels to perfect. Because to be very frank, it doesn't feel wrong at all. It feels right. It feels meant to be..."
Nicodemus glided off the ground and followed the perimeter of the cliff's edge. The dragon's scales shimmered against the warm light of the sun, and split the rays into dazzling hues of color. Thistle, peacock, cerulean and even chartreuse arcs and glows exploded outwards in a dazzling display of hidden potential. The dragon gazed beyond into the distance and flexed its body ever so slightly to manipulate the angle the light hit its serpentine form. Reflected beams crossed and merged and began to form the patterns of words in the air just above the dragon.
"Yes, at first glance all one can see are the rocks and mountains ahead. It is easy to lose faith and to see nothing but the challenges looming ahead," Vandross admitted, but then perhaps as a show of his determination he walked up to Nicodemus and carefully slid himself atop the dragon, his feet danging over the edge of the cliff. Keeping his weight balanced on the dragon's back, he reached up and motioned for Nicodemus to lean closer. The dragon craned its slender neck gracefully towards its master and friend, and allowed him to cup a hand around its angular chin.
"... I have found my Other, Nicodemus. Nothing is every going to be the same again."
The dragon opened its talons. The orchid was then carried off by the winds.
And at that very same moment, Vandross stood upon Nicodemus' back, gazed into the distant horizon and leapt.