"Surely you don't mean to pursue this matter, Vandross," there was no chance of ignoring the concern in Tajuc's voice. As the Voice of Faith, Tajuc always spoke in a firm yet assertive tone. His role in the temple was to translate into human concepts the words and messages of the Ancestral Dragons. While their faith decreed that all could hear the Ancestral Dragons' words of guidance, only the Voice of Faith could truly unravel the depths of meaning locked within the many layers of the song. Today, however, Vandross could tell Tajuc spoke from a more personal level of concern. "You truly believe you've found it?"
Vandross remained still, quietly deciding that through silence was the better way to answer. He kept his head bowed low and maintained his kneeling position in front of the intricate water fountain that represented the presence of the Ancestral Dragons. He had come to the Voice of Faith as was expected of him, being one of the few who had successfully forged a Onus Bond with a dragon. An Onus Bond was a rare and difficult relationship to forge, and far more difficult to maintain. It would be close but a gross oversimplification to define it as for a human and a dragon to accept that their souls are now tied to each other, sharing life and death, pain and hunger, fear and exhaustion, strength and memories -
"- for as long as we remain as we are, half souls lacking the Other that completes us." The words slipped out from Vandross' lips even before he realized he had said it. But such was the philosophy and faith among their people. The Other was seen as that which completes one's soul, allowing both to achieve the heights of their potential. All who have accomplished the greatest things in the world were done by people who had found their Other.
Tajuc quietly nodded. He knew the Faith well. It was, after all, his to teach. However in his many years of service to the Ancestral Dragons, deep down he wondered if the existence of each one's Other was real. The logical side of his mind was always uncertain of certain elements in the Faith. It was an insecurity he could never share, and upon being appointed as the Voice of Faith, it was a secret forever to be sealed away in silence.
"And you," Tajuc turned his attentions to the golden serpent that was coiled up in one corner of the room, "What do you think about all this? You and Vandross have forged an Onus Bond for quite some time. Does he really believe he had found his Other?" Nicodemus had its one eye closed, having lost its other eye many years back during the tragic events now remembered as the Fang Wars, and was indulging in the sweet scents of the burning incense and the flowery offerings that adorned the area encasing the fountain. Its long flowing mane of hair indulated slowly, giving the impression that the dragon was still underwater. Tajuc, however noticed the rhythm and beat of the movement and instinctively deciphered the Dragon's Song.
His jaw loosened and hung open in shock.
"Nicodemus isn't certain," Vandross added, "But it does sense that there was something far different with him. Something that it had never sensed before in the many others that it had encountered before."
"It is frightened," Tajuc gasped, bringing one sleeved arm to his face to cover his gaping mouth. When an Onus Bond is formed, both man and dragon are forever tied. Their empathetic bond permeates between them, making what one feels the same as what the other feels. Here however...
"Unlike Nicodemus, Tujac, I am not afraid. I never felt more certain of something in my entire life. Please, Tujac. I need your help. Grant me permission to return to the Running Vale. I need to see if he is still there. I need to find him." Vandross looked up now, his eyes meeting Tujac's. He slowly brought both hands up to chest level, cupped them together, and then intoned a soft prayer for the Ancient Dragons to hear. "We request for guidance. We request for permission. What is your Song. Let the Voice of Faith tell us."
Nicodemus bowed its head low as Vandross brought bought hands into the fountain itself. The water sculpture wavered, its delicate form broken by the introduction of the hands, but the water then shifted, finding means and ways around, between or through Vandross' fingers as the sculpture attempted to reassert itself anew. Tujac closed his eyes and focused on the trickling sound of water as the fountain waters danced to resurrect the image of the Ancestral Dragons. From the splish splash tones, Tujac heard the Dragon's Song and translated it into human words.
"Go. Learn more of the Other. But know, there will be pain. There will be loss. But ultimately, there will be truth."
Vandross and Nicodemus bowed in unison, then left.