Chapter 4 - The Warning
It was mid-morning now and after the foiled kidnapping of the Queen the entire Kingdom of Westoria had been put on high alert, meaning that no one could get in or out of the Kingdom’s border without the King’s own authority.
Countless soldiers marched throughout the corridors of Castle Krillian on watch and prepared for anything while servants had been confined to their stations until called upon for various tasks. No one was to be caught wandering around the castle without an acceptable reason.
Obviously the Dragon King was still on edge.
Dressed in just his clothing now and seated in a large chair beside the bed, Draxus had remained by his wife’s side since their return to the castle earlier on that morning. He would not let her out of his sight and for good reason.
As he sat waiting patiently for Lillian to wake the Dragon King had been using a sharpened dagger to skilfully carve a small row boat out of an old piece of red oak he found outside earlier on in the week.
In truth it wasn’t much of a serious hobby or anything but it helped to pass the time and to keep his mind from wandering. Not to mention the fact that he was surprisingly quite talented. The carving was intricate and really did resemble a tiny row boat as he turned it around between his fingers, gazing upon it and focusing all of his current thoughts and concerns on his work alone.
Lifting the finished piece up closer to his face, he was carefully inspecting it when he heard Lillian begin to stir in the bed beside him. Sheathing the dagger and placing the tiny boat on the table beside him he stood up from his chair and moved to sit down on the bed next to her.
He couldn’t help but smile when her gorgeous green eyes met his warm gaze, causing her to smile in response.
“I thought I was dreaming...” she whispered quietly to him, “...when I saw you standing over me, I thought it was merely a dream. That there was no way it could be real. But here you are… you really came for me.”
Draxus reached down to gently hold the side of her face in a loving manner and Lillian closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath at the warmth she felt radiating from his touch as his intoxicating scent filled her nostrils. His hands were worn and callused but they felt so good.
To Lillian, his mere touch was beyond bliss.
“I’ll never let you out of my sight again.” he spoke softly as his amber eyes watched hers begin to fill with tears.
She couldn’t help it; she started to cry.
“Hey, hey... what is it?” he asked with a concerned expression, “What’s wrong?”
She shook her head slowly as she explained in a whimper.
“I was so scared. I thought...” she paused as a single tear rolled down her cheek, “I thought…”
Seeing her obvious distress Draxus instinctively scooped her up from the mattress and pulled her in for a well-needed hug. Both her arms bent in against his muscular chest as she began to sob uncontrollably into his shirt. He held her tightly, his head resting on top of hers as he spoke.
“Shhh... its ok.” his deep and husky voice soothed her from deep within, “You’re safe, I’ve got you. No one’s going to harm you, I promise.”
As his beautiful and clearly vulnerable wife sobbed in his arms Draxus wanted to be there for her, to comfort her. His heart couldn’t bear to see her like this, in such pain.
“Here, sit up for a second...” he spoke pulling her out of his arms and sliding into the bed and under the covers beside her. He reached out for her again and pulled her in close, “Come here.”
She obliged, immediately snuggling in closer against him and resting her head on his thick arm as Draxus lay down on his side and his head rested on top of the cloud-like pillow. Lillian could feel as his free hand began to gently stroke the top of her head over and over in an effort to calm and sooth her.
It hadn’t taken long for Lillian to fall back into a deep sleep and the mighty Dragon King lay watching as her body would rise and fall slowly with each of her laboured breaths.
He smiled at the sight before him. She was beyond beautiful, even as she slept. He watched as her long black lashes flickered every now and then as she dreamed away peacefully, nestled safely within her husband’s loving embrace.
Shortly after Draxus could feel as his eyes began to close; exhaustion had finally taken over. Moments later the mighty King and his Queen slept peacefully in one another’s arms, safe and comforted from the dangers of such a merciless world.
As Lillian slept her marking suddenly began to glow from beneath the blanket covering her and she frowned in discomfort. It gave her a familiar burning sensation, though it hadn’t been quite painful enough to have caused her to wake up. There was a reason for this; she was in the middle of having a vision in her sleep.
In her vision, she stood in a large dark room and surrounding her were hundreds of pairs of what appeared to be glowing purple eyes, all staring intensely at her from the shadows they chose to remain hidden within.
Lillian felt an uneasy sensation as the ground beneath her feet began to crack and crumble, causing her to spin around and see it standing before her; the Great Pearl dragon she had once seen in a vision before. The magnificent creature loomed over her like a mountain as she swallowed nervously, her eyes wide with concern.
It was incredibly enormous!
The beast’s over-sized spherical neon blue eyes peered down at her with an intense gaze, as if the majestic creature was attempting to silently warn her of something; something very important. Before she had the chance to wonder what it was, Lillian could suddenly hear her husband’s voice speaking, calling out for her from some unknown location. Turning around she came face to face with her husband, his hands held out for her to take as he simply stood staring at her with an emotionless expression.
“Draxus? What’s going on?” her voice seemed to echo as she spoke.
But her words immediately ceased as the tip of a long sword was suddenly stabbed right through his chest, protruding out from just below his rib cage with a spray of warm blood. His expression was that of pure shock, as if he had not seen it coming and he looked to her as she cried out for him with an outstretched arm.
He reached out his hands for her as blood ran from his open wound and down the corners of his mouth. She could see that Draxus was struggling to reach her; watching helplessly as the life began to fade from his usually brightened amber eyes ever so slowly.
As she went to reach for him everything suddenly began to fade into darkness once again as she heard his voice calling out frantically to her once more. This time his voice sounded distant, as if he were somewhere else as he called out her name in a panicked tone.
“Lillian, wake up… It’s just a nightmare, you’re alright.”
It was definitely Draxus’ voice, she recognized it straight away.
Opening her eyes Lillian sucked in a sharp breath as she looked up to see her husband leaning over her in… their bed? His amber eyes were filled with concern as he held onto her by both of her shoulders and looked deeply into her wide open eyes.
“Draxus?” her voice was soft and uncertain.
“Yes it’s me, you’re alright.” he comforted her calmly, “You were having a nightmare, you’re safe now. Just breathe…”
She looked around the room, still apparently unsure of what was real and what wasn’t. What she had just witnessed seemed real enough. The smells, the detail, all of it. She had even felt the warmth of Draxus’ fresh blood spray across the side of her face as he was impaled. It felt all too real and it terrified her.
By now her arm’s burning sensation had faded and the glow had disappeared entirely. Her so-called ‘vision’ was apparently over... for now anyway.
“My dream... it felt so real.” she said, looking into his eyes, more alert now, “Draxus, I think it was another vision.”
“Another one?” he asked with a frown, “What did you see?”
She looked down at the bed between them as she tried to remember the details. Everything seemed so vivid in her memory, as if she had just experienced it first-hand.
“I was standing in darkness, with hundreds of strange purple eyes watching over me. They just stood there, watching me...”
"Purple eyes? Are you certain that’s what you saw?” Draxus asked, seeming interested upon hearing this particular fact.
“Yes, why?” she questioned.
He decided to lie, for now, “No reason.”
Then Lillian froze as she remembered the hooded figure who had saved her from one of Rathman’s soldiers back at the clearing. The one who had fired the arrow and killed her attacker. He too had purple eyes. Was this a mere coincidence, or did it mean something more? Something she had yet to learn perhaps?
“Draxus, I’ve seen one of them... a man with purple eyes, I mean. He saved me from one of the soldiers who tried to kidnap me earlier.” she announced, causing him to seem surprised.
“What, here in Westoria?”
“Yes, he ran off when you and the others arrived. I can remember, though some of it’s still a bit hazy… I fainted, I think.”
Draxus sat up, seeming to be deep in thought now as he too stared down at the sheets beneath them.
“What is it?” she asked with caution, “Who is he? Do you know him?”
The Dragon King looked across to his wife as he responded with an uneasy expression on his face. He had no choice but to once again lie to her as he replied with a forced frown.
“Uh sorry, I have no idea who it could be...”