Chapter 22 - The Pearl Dragon
As soon as the King and Queen returned from their trip to the lake, Draxus was quickly whisked away by Zaar and General Shasharan to perform his duties as King, with strategic planning for the remainder of their trip as a top priority.
Lillian had been escorted back to the royal tent where she quickly changed into a comfortable long white nightgown and climbed into bed, pulling the thick black blanket up over her to cover her shoulders as she rested her head down upon the soft pillows.
Just as she started to fall into a deep sleep, a sudden sharp burning sensation coming from her right wrist caused her to spring up in bed as she hissed in pain, clutching at it desperately. The marking began to illuminate brightly beneath her left hand as she held onto it, attempting to stop the pain she was experiencing.
“Ah... my wrist...” she hissed, “...what’s going on?”
The next thing she knew her eyes began to burn too as they glowed brightly. In a state of panic and fear Lillian was about to cry out for help when she suddenly lost her balance and slipped off the edge of the bed, falling to the floor hard with a ‘thud’.
Her vision faded to black.
What felt like seconds later, Lillian opened her eyes and froze in disbelief at what she was seeing.
It was a giant powerful and majestic creature that appeared to almost glow itself as it began to take shape before her very eyes. It quickly formed into a magnificent dragon with scales the shade of pearl white and several large horns protruding from the top of its head.
Two massive bright blue neon eyes peered back at her, almost as if they were piercing through to her very soul with their intense stare. The beasts’ scales shimmered as it moved to open it’s incredible pair of wings; the shadow cast below them gave her an idea of just how huge this dragon actually was!
It was enormous!
The creature just stood there, staring straight at Lillian as she watched frozen with wonder. Out of instinct and without thinking, she slowly reached out her hand towards it.
It was quite strange; she did not fear this massive creature standing before her. It made her look tiny as it loomed over her, at nearing 25 metres (80 feet) in length from the tip of it’s horned head to the end of it’s long tail! But she did not fear it, not even a little.
As her hand continued to move forward the dragon kept a close eye on the woman standing before it, as if the she and the great beast shared some kind of unseen connection or bond.
Her fingers were mere centimetres away from it’s scales when the great beast suddenly moved, turning to face in the opposite direction where something else had now begun to appear. Lillian could see the dragon was clearly agitated; something had spooked it as she turned to see where it was looking.
She saw it right away.
Off in the distance was a giant black cloud of thick smoke with repeating bolts of glowing red lightning flickering from within.
Lillian gasped with fear at the dreadful mass as it seemed to grow larger and larger, spreading throughout the space around it and coming closer with each passing second. The cloud was somehow causing her to feel terrible sensations such as hatred, anger, dread, betrayal and loss and it was making her feel ill.
“What the hell is that?”
Facing the dragon once more, she locked eyes with the incredible animal only for a moment before it turned and took off, up into the air with a giant flap of it’s shimmering wings.
“Wait!” she shouted after it, but it was too late. "Come back!"
Facing the dark and smokey mass once more, her heart raced with terror as it crept closer and closer towards where she stood; her breathing had now become short and shallow as she watched with her eyes wide open.
As she let out a high-pitched scream of terror and closed her eyes, everything faded back to black nothingness once again. No light, no sound, nothing...
Until she heard the two voices.
“My lord, we found her like this... She must have fallen out of the bed.”
“Fetch the healer immediately! GO!”
Her eyes only opened a crack as they spoke, enough for her to see the blurry vision of several figures crouched down over her, but then exhaustion took over and her eyelids closed.
About an hour or so later Lillian began to wake. Her eyelids were difficult to open at first, as she struggled to find the strength. The dim light coming from the flame torches and fire nearby were too bright for her and she squinted with a painful moan. Her entire body ached.
“Wh...where am I?” she spoke softly, her eyes still squinting at the flame’s apparent brightness.
“You're awake!” Draxus replied.
He had been watching over her since she fell into a state of unconsciousness, deeply concerned that she may not recover from whatever had happened to her.
Standing from the chair he was in, he quickly moved across to sit on the bed beside where she lay.
“How do you feel?” his voice showed his concern as his amber eyes searched hers for answers. There was no sign of the dominating Dragon King, for now at least.
She grunted, frowning and lifting her massively heavy hand to rest on her forehead. Her lips were dry as she opened them slowly and her face much paler than it normally was.
“Everything hurts. Oh, and those lights...” she pointed towards the flame torches nearby. “They’re too bright.”
Draxus stood from the bed and walked across to the nearest torch, smothering the flames, then to the next and doing the same until it was just the fireplace that illuminated the interior of the tent.
“How’s that?” he asked as he walked back over and sat down again.
“Better, thank you.” she replied with a small smile. “What happened?”
Draxus frowned. “What do you remember?”
She closed her eyes and tried to focus on remembering something; anything about what happened. When she replied her voice was soft and frail.
“I remember... I was in bed. I was falling asleep and...” she paused and opened her eyes, lifting her right arm up to glance at her wrist where the marking on her skin showed.
“What happened then?”
“My wrist, it began to burn, and then my eyes and then... I think I fell.” she looked to him for clarification of this.
“Yes, my men reported that they found you on the floor beside the bed when they entered the tent, apparently after hearing a loud thump. I’d assume that would have been you falling.” Draxus explained.
“That would explain the splitting headache I have now.” she announced.
“But, I don't understand. What caused your wrist to burn in the first place?” he asked, taking her gently by the right arm and turning it so he could get a good look at her strange marking. “And why is this happening to you?”
“I don't know...” she lied.
Once again, Lillian was unsure of whether she should share what she had seen from her vision with her husband. She didn't know who to trust anymore. Instead, she sat in silence beside him as he gently brushed his fingertips across the marking on her skin.
In truth, Lillian wanted to trust him. She believed it to be possible, but the small amount of uncertainty weighed heavily upon her as she looked away from him in guilt.
“Well, we can deal with this more in the morning. You need your rest. I’ve made plans for our travels and we should be arriving at the outskirts of Westonia by tomorrow afternoon. I can’t wait to show you the splendor that is Castle Krillian. Your new home...”
Pausing for a moment he placed his hand gently on the side of her face, brushing her cheek with his fingertips.
He gave a genuine smile which she felt warm her heart. She had not seen him smile like that much since they were married and it was a nice change from the serious expression he carried majority of the time.
Returning his affections with her own genuine smile, she was pleased to hear their travels would soon be over. Since leaving her home back in Rykiss she had been through a lot and it would certainly be nice to have a chance to relax and enjoy some time with her new husband.
“I can’t wait.” she said softly.
As Draxus leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips, she closed her eyes and relaxed her head back onto the pillow beneath her.
Lillian was beyond exhausted. It appeared that using her powers had clearly taken a great tole on her, but she didn’t yet understand how to control them well enough to access their full potential.
The visions were only a small portion of what she could actually do and she was about to learn just how powerful she could be...
But would her powers change her?