Disclaimer: The only way I would ever own the Magnificent Seven is if I win a rather sizable lottery. I haven't yet, darn it.

Archive: If you want it go ahead, but tell me where please. 

Warnings: unbetaed

Type: July Challenge Answer

Rating: G

Main Characters: Vin, Ezra and a little bit of Chris (Nathan is a bit left out, which is too bad because I wanted to play with his character some.)

Status: complete, but it may be the first in a series, I don't know about that yet.

AU: Dragonlord AU, it's one of my original AU's and it's OPEN.

/.../ means mindspeech (in the last two parts)

This story is dedicated to my sister, whom the list knows as Caro_. Happy Birthday, Caroline.


Dragonlord -Celesta SunStar


Maude was bustling around the room, chattering brightly about how much fun Ezra was going to have at his Uncle Padrik's house. The seven-year-old would have sighed, but knew from bitter experience that his mother wouldn't like it. Uncle Padrik didn't like anyone, least of all his nephew.

Then the door crashed open and two of the three uniformed guards grabbed Maude and held her immobile.

A slim Yerrin man with blue eyes walked in with the last guard staying beside him. Ezra smiled when he saw his friend. Vin smiled back and turned his attention to Maude. "Lord Cassori isn't very happy that you made him look a fool." He told her quietly. He stilled her protests with a mild look. "However, I believe that we can come to a reasonable agreement. Cassori is in the bounds of *his* law to have you killed for this insult. However, I can... suggest that he accept wergild from you, which I will provide, should you give me what I want."

Maude swallowed, she didn't think she had been playing with *that* much fire, and then she recognized the formal attire of a Dragonlord.

Dragonlords were the Judges and the Peacekeepers of the Joined Lands. They were humans born with the soul of a dragon along with their own. When the dragonsoul woke, the humans were able to change into the body of their dragonhalf at will... and become nearly immortal. They always had Markings, something to distinguish them as apart from humankind. Some had enhanced senses; others had birthmarks or physical differences, such as extremes in height or a six-fingered hand.

Their word was law, never disobeyed... and Maude wasn't about to be the first in millennia to discover what would happen to the person who did.

"What is it I can do for you, my Lord?" she whispered.

Vin looked at her downcast head with old eyes. "Ezra." When she jerked in astonishment and met his eyes he held hers levelly. "He deserves a better life than the one you are giving him." She paled slightly but couldn't pull her eyes away. "Oh yes, I know... He will be mine now, and you will have no claim on him, save what he gives you, for the rest of his life." He let her go then, and watched until she closed her eyes and gave a reluctant nod in acceptance of his terms. He motioned to the guards and they released her and left the room.

Vin eased her into a chair, not because he liked her, he felt pity more than anything else, but because he knew his mother would have belted him one for not being polite to a lady, had she still been around.

That done he walked over and knelt in front of where Ezra still sat on the bed, from where he had been watching everything with solemn green eyes. "Well Ez, do you want to come live with me and let me be your father and your friend?"

"Will I ever see Mother again?"

"I don't know, Ezra. That will probably depend on you and her and whatever is happening at the time."

"Will I like it there?"

"If not, I'll try and fix it until you do."

"And you'll never get tired of me and wish you had someone else as a son? You'll never get rid of me?" Vin would have laughed if he hadn't known that Ezra was perfectly serious. Instead his heart was breaking at what the seven-year-old had lived through to have to ask. He didn't need to know what it was; he had lived through similar.

"Once you're mine, you will *always* be mine, Ezra. Even if or when you want to leave and see what kind of person you will be, you will still be mine. Beyond the end of Time, Ezra... if you want to."

Vin waited as Ezra considered his words. He watched as the small boy slipped off the bed and gave his mother a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He held the small hand that was offered to him gently. And he stopped at the door and looked at the woman who waited to shed her tears, "I'll take good care of him. Dragonlord's Word."

And he left.

*** (Four years later) ***

JD staggered into the room and collapsed into an armchair. "Gods, how much energy does that one child have?" he asked the room at large, which consisted of Vin and JD's soultwin, Buck. "If I weren't a Dragonlord, I'd be dead of exhaustion."

Vin smiled at the tiny Dragonlord, ever since Ezra had discovered that JD was a former tumbler, he had pestered the smallest of the Dragonlords to teach him all of his tricks. JD had agreed to teach him, hoping that Ezra would get tired of the unrelenting practice. Unfortunately for him, Ezra loved it and was in the process of running JD ragged. "He's eleven, JD. The only time that eleven-year-olds aren't burnin' a candle at both ends is when they're sleeping." Vin laughed when his only response was a moan.

Buck shook his head fondly and went over to start massaging his soultwin's shoulders. "If you want, I could take the kid, and spend the day with the Llysanyins." Referring to the long-lived horses that only bore their chosen Dragonlord upon their backs. The Llysanyin herd was fond of Ezra, though he was only a truehuman, and would play with him for hours, if not let him ride.

"That would be wonderful, Buck. I could use a day off." JD twisted to bring a particularly sore spot to Buck's attention. "Oh, right there..."

Vin watched the interplay with a fond smile, and a touch of sad envy. He was centuries older than both of them and had yet to find his own soultwin. The person that would complete him. Unquestioning acceptance and undying love. He turned away from Buck and JD, looking out into the mountains and valleys that surrounded Dragonskeep. The pairing was always true, even if sex wasn't a part of the bond. He smiled at the brotherly banter that sprang up behind him and knew that if either of them were to die, the other would give himself to his dragonhalf and go to meet his twin on the other side of death.

Vin stretched his senses and smiled when he located the boy he considered his younger brother more than his adopted son. Ezra was in the East wing of the Keep, asking Nathan about Healer's Lore. Ezra wasn't his soultwin, even if they had recognized a kinship between themselves at their first meeting. Ezra didn't fill the empty place in his heart, and Vin wasn't a fool to try to use Ezra as a replacement for the soultwin that had yet to come. But the friendship and love they felt for each other would help keep Vin whole while he continued to search for his soultwin.

*** (One year later) ***

"Do you think that Ezra might be a Dragonlord, Vin?"

"I don't know 'Siah," Vin looked over at the older Dragonlord who had taken it upon himself to further Ezra's education. "It's possible, but I've brought him before the Elders and not even Morlan the Seer could tell if he was Dragonlord or truehuman. A knack for learning and a possible Marking doesn't always signal that the person with both is a Dragonlord."

"Morlan couldn't tell?" Josiah was astonished. "But he's the greatest of the Elder Dragons. And even if the Elders can't always sense when a dragonsoul is born anymore, they can tell when the person is in front of them."

"Don't you think I know that?"

Josiah could detect a faint trace of frustration in the former mercenary's voice, and decided to subtly redirect the conversation. "What possible Marking have you noticed Vin? I haven't seen any."

Vin knew what Josiah was doing and let himself be sidetracked. "It's not exactly like yours, Josiah." He nodded to Josiah's left leg, which was about an inch shorter than the other, which gave him a noticeable limp when he walked. "And not like mine, seeing and hearing better than most people." He thought for a second, trying to order his thoughts. "It's his eyes Josiah, in the right situation, the right light they seem to reflect light the same way a cat's would. And seeing better doesn't help me to see in the dark the way he can."

"Does Ezra know?"

"He knows that there is a chance that he might be a Dragonlord. We talked about it the other day... neither of us really knows how we feel about it. Sometimes he's too grown up for his own good Josiah, he came in earlier, said he'd been thinking about it. Told me that as long as he wasn't a Dragonlord, well he wasn't a Dragonlord; and if he was, we'd know how we felt when the time came." He was quiet for a bit, then chuckled. "Then he hugged me and left to play a practical joke on Buck."

Vin's knowing smile had Josiah roaring with laughter as a familiar enraged bellow echoed around the Keep.

*** (Three years later) ***

"I have to do this Vin. You know I do." The fifteen-year-old spoke without turning around, knowing that his dearest friend and mentor had entered the room.

"I know you do Ezra." Vin echoed. "I just wish you didn't have to leave to do it."

"I wish I didn't have to leave either." The boy turned and sat on the bed. "This has been my home and people here my family for the past six years. I don't want another home or another family, but I can't be here now."

"I just wish you didn't have to go alone. There are always dangers in the Joined Lands. The natural ones as well as those presented by people..."

"Which you have prepared me to handle for the past six years. Vin I'm not helpless. JD and Buck taught me a trade, such as it is. The tumbling, juggling, and conjuring can easily fit with the things Maude taught me before I left. Josiah taught me about languages and history and people. Nathan taught me how to use the natural world. And you taught me how to use all of that to defend myself."

Vin couldn't think of anything to say that would sound right, so he didn't say anything at all.

"And besides the fact that I feel the need to do something with my life, the Elders don't know whether I'm to be a Dragonlord or not. The presence of so many Dragonlords, especially during a Change can provoke an early Change for a Dragonlord who isn't ready for it yet. And the Dragonlords Changed early frequently go mad. Neither of us wants that. I know the warning signs for the initial Change, I'll stay away until I Change, or for long enough to know I won't."

Vin enfolded the young man in a hard hug that was returned instantly. "You be sure to let us know how you're doing."

"Of course," Ezra stepped away and caught up his pack and saddlebags, since one of the Llysanyin herd had insisted on going with him. He turned at the door for a final word of parting. "You've been my father, my brother, and my friend Vin, that will never change."

"Forever, Ezra, till forever and beyond." Their eyes held for a moment and Ezra left.

It was a long time before Vin did the same.

*** (Five years later) ***

/There's a new Dragon coming in!/ The mind call went out to all of the Dragonlords who started to gather to welcome their newest member.

It wasn't Ezra; Vin knew it immediately. The mind was male. The gathered Dragonlords could tell that much, but not much more, he seemed to be a rather guarded individual.

The great black dragon glided in and landed more or less gracefully. Vin nodded to himself, a great deal of a Dragonlord's abilities was more or less instinctual... a couple had to be practiced a little bit. The dragon dissolved into red mist and formed again into a tall, slim blond dressed in black.

Vin knew immediately who it was, and strode forward to meet him even as the Lady drew breath to welcome him to Dragonskeep.

/Soultwin... we have found each other at last./ They gripped forearms for a moment, then Vin drew him closer for a short, hard hug. After a quick request to the Lady, who sighed and agreed that they could do a formal introduction later, Vin steered his soultwin away into the south wing of the Keep. His close friends followed them to his apartments, Nathan detouring to pick up some meat, cheese, bread, and wine for them to eat while they talked.

"So, what's your name?"

He got a smile in response, "Chris Matheson, no..." he corrected himself, "It's Larabee now, right?" Vin smiled in response


Vin and Chris were alone now; it had been a long day and Nathan had nearly shoved the other three Dragonlords out of the room in response to Vin's growing snappishness. They were quiet, letting the bond grow between them. Vin couldn't help but wish that Ezra was there, his adopted son knew how long Vin had waited to find Chris...

"I met him." The quiet words were startling.

"You did? When?"

"Before I Changed, he helped me through it the first time." The newest Dragonlord shuddered and fingered a scar on the inside of his wrist, "I thought I was going crazy. I probably would have killed myself if he hadn't been there. I tried to... but he stopped me, thank the gods. When I met him we were friends. It was just that simple. I knew I could trust him with my life. We traveled together for about a year before I Changed, and he sent me here. It was hard to think of him as five years younger than I."

"An old soul, our Ezra." Vin replied with a fond smile on his face.

"I'll miss him until he comes back here again. He sends his love."

/He'll be back soon./

*** (Four years later) ***

Chris and Vin had escaped to one of the quiet valleys that surrounded Dragonskeep. Sometimes there were just too many people around for the two to be comfortable. It was beautiful and one of the places Ezra particularly loved. Both Vin and Chris missed him desperately. Vin was telling Chris about the first time he had brought Ezra there when a mind voice interrupted the story.

/I take it you both missed me then?/


/Well who else would I be?/

Vin saw him first, and pointed out the small, dark colored dragon to his soultwin. As Ezra winged past them to land in the small clearing, he passed through one of the rays of sunshine piercing the cloudy day. Each of his scales shone with varying hues of sapphire, emerald, and ruby. Very different from Chris' solid, imposing black or Vin's dark, burnished gold.

/That's just like him,/ Vin mused to Chris /he can blend in just about anywhere, but once someone actually sees what he's like, he stands out 'cause of his multifaceted personality./

Chris groaned, shaking his head.

/Vin, even JD would acknowledge that pun as a bad one. But I do thank you for the compliment./ Ezra coalesced out of the red mist and was immediately engulfed in a double hug. /I missed you Vin, I missed you both. I didn't even realize how much until now./

They held on a moment longer, then Vin drew back to get a good look at the man he hadn't seen for more than nine years.

He saw red.

Chris chuckled, "A bard, Ezra?" Ezra blushed a bit and self-consciously adjusted the red cloak until it hung straight.

"Well, it seemed to fit. I rather like being a bard in fact."

Vin ruffled Ezra's hair and grinned approvingly, "It looks good on you, Ez."

"Thank you." Vin felt his soul warm when Ezra gave him one of his mischievous smiles, and blinked in shock when he realized that Ezra was as much a part of his soul as Chris was. Then he felt the echoed shock and amazement as both of them also realized what had happened. Then slowly, there was the acceptance of their triple bond and a ghostly echo link to JD and Buck, and Nathan and Josiah.

/No wonder I didn't feel you as a soultwin, Ez. Chris was missing. And we were both missing you./ Vin told them.

/Now we're complete./ Chris added.

/And we will be forever, beyond the end of time./



The Dragonlords are near immortal, they age very slowly until they tire of life and let their own personality fade away. Their dragonhalf then becomes a truedragon, which I have refered to as the Elders.

After a Dragonlord's first Change, he or she takes their dragonhalf's name as their last name. The name of Vin's dragonhalf would be Tanner.

The Guys, their Markings and their Dragonforms

Nathan - has a white stripe through his hair. His Dragonform is an elegant zebra pattern in burnt orange and orange-red, (I don't know why it's like that, but I think that it would be really pretty.) Nathan is also a Healer, they denote rank by the complexity of the vine tattoos on their arms.

Josiah - his left leg is shorter that the other, giving him a noticable limp. His Dragonform is red, which makes him a very impressive sight.

JD - is about the size of a ten- or twelve-year-old. He is not a midget, he just didn't grow beyond that size. His Dragonform is bronze.

Buck - has a six-fingered hand. His Dragonform is a very bold blue.

Chris - his Marking is his speed, he sometimes has to consciously slow himself down to interact with truehumans. His Dragonform is a soild, impressive black, like onyx.

Vin - has a very sharp sense of sight and hearing, even for Dragonlords. It's gotten him in trouble a couple times. His Dragonform is a dark gold.

Ezra - has eye like a cat's and can see in the dark. His Dragonform is jewel-toned. (Biased? Me? Of course I am.)