It was long ago told, that one day The great dragon would arise, through blood and fire, The dragon would settle upon it’s throne and rule. All which had been destroyed would be rebuilt, those who feared, would find solace, and those who caused suffering would burn in its belly, for the dragons soul desire was to see it’s lands prosperous and happy.
She could hear the crackling of the ice under the hooves of her beloved mare. It didn’t bode well but she urged the animal onward, she had to get across the lake and this was the thickest the ice had been in days. She knew that she couldn’t afford to lag around. The kings’ guard would catch up to her if she did and she knew it would only cause trouble if she fought them again. Her side throbbed reminding her of the still healing wound from their last encounter. It was annoying but healing, thankfully no infection had ravaged the wound, such a thing would have slowed her down.
The female reached forward hand slowly caressing the neck of the horse “My dear, tread carefully. I am strong but not even I can pull you from the icy water below.” She said softly. The animal nodded as if it perfectly understood and continued more carefully. It would take a few days for the guard to catch up with her even if they did manage to cross the lake when they got to it. If luck was on her side then hopefully the ice would subside and trap them forcing them to go around. At that point her trail would have gone cold and she would have lost them, at least for a while. Even if that happened, she knew they would find her again, they always did. Led by that insufferable captain who seemed to have made it his life’s work to capture her and see her strung up like the criminal he thought her to be.
A strong gust of wind blew up from the south pulling forcefully as her cloak and hood, she could feel the fabric hooking on the crown of horns that grew through her hair. Unlike her betrayer of a brother she grew hers proudly and wore them as a symbol of her people, a Drake Na Rah in mind, body, and soul. She looked up sharply hearing a crack like thunder and a shift in Echo’s footing she shifted leaning closer to the animal.
“Run, just run!” Even as she gave the command the ice began to give way under them, the horse cried out loudly before galloping onward. She clung to the animal as it went fearing that the power of its hooves hitting the ice would send them tumbling into dark unfathomable depths. Opening her eyes she could see water nymphs dancing alongside them just below the surface keeping pace as cracks spread and the ice began separating into large island like chunks, the cerulean colored creatures leaping from the water and dancing around them.
“Please help us!” She shouted imploring to the playful creatures. One paused watching curiously before smiling and dancing over others soon joining her pushing together ice chunks and leaping over as if it was some divine game. Echo moved fast over the ice only stopping once they had reached the solid land on the other side. Letting out a long breath The traveler turned and waved her arm “Thank you, dance well!” she said a common and kind thing to say to water nymphs who’s dances where sacred in their culture.
Turning the tired horse she went on, a half a day’s journey found her in the small village of Rotell, not even on the map the little village was mostly self reliant with few traders passing through. She vaguely remembered passing through going the other way, once, years ago. Leading Echo to the stable the woman handed the reins off to one of the hands and paid the man in charge to keep her warm and comfortable. Keeping her hood up she made her way to the inn, it was getting dark and the warm beckoning light felt like a comfort especially compared to cold tree branches. As she stepped inside she was assailed by noise, as evening settled people obviously congregated to the lower open area of the inn to sit and drink at the bar converse and dine in the comfort of one another’s company. She got a few looks, naturally after all strangers weren’t common here and one who kept her hood up wasn’t always a good sign. Stepping towards the bar she reached out dropping money on the smoothly polished surface.
“A room for the night if you have it… I’ll be moving on in the morning.” She said softly, this place was one of the few untouched by that man, it pleased her in a way, knowing his fingers weren’t touching everything; as much as he wanted to he could not rule everyone.
“Lower your hood stranger and have a drink with us!” A drunk and boisterous man cried with a thick smile. She glanced over face hidden a small smile curving her lips “I fear I will be morose company as I have much to think about and need rest.” She assured gently. The disappointment flashed quickly across his face but alcohol induced joy soon returned and he quickly returned to his friends.
The figure made her way silently up the stairs eyes watching her, even covered by the cloak it was clear she moved with a natural fluidity and grace. Shaking his head the inn keeper plucked up one of the coins and almost gagged, the rich gold coin was worth a lot, and she’d given him a handful! Calling for his wife he quickly ordered her to get the finest of the wine and the roast and take it up, if they could get her attention she might give them more coins. After all, only a rich noble could afford to just lay down a handful of these coins without minding.
In her room Adele glanced at the window, the panes of glass rattling even behind the closed shutters built to handle this kind of weather. “A stronger storm then I thought must be coming from that blast along the lake.” She mumbled. She remembered feeling it, how strong and cold it had been, she should have known it promised the onset of a storm. She’d been thinking of getting across the lake and her pursuers… she needed to be careful more and more her senses grew weaker. She needed to return home quickly, deep within the dragon withered. She pressed a hand to her chest seeking the comfort and warmth of inner fire, she could not allow the dragon she cradled inside her to fade! The purpose of her family had been to bear the last remaining dragons of this world, she would not fail in her duty not even at her brothers whim.
She sighed pulling off her hood and dropping the cloak on the bed shaking out her hair, dark ringlets spilled down her back the crown of horns glimmering proudly in the weak lantern light. She turned to glance at the mirror the vanity was a cheap little thing but the mirrors was clean and the wood varnished. Her clothing was comfortable and light, the fabric nice and durable. Undoing the belt around her waist and the two crossed across her chest, all decorated with weapons she sighed ruffling her hair it was so flat from the hood and it irritated her.
There was a knock at the door and she turned scowling “Yes?” she said with a distinctive growl, the door opened and she launched forward forcing it closed hearing a feminine yelp as the door shut forcefully she frowned “What do you want?” Adele demanded through the door, a little gentler to make up for slamming the door in the girls face.
“I-I have food and wine, we thought you might be hungry.” The voice said nervously she sighed opening the door but stayed behind it in the dark away from where the lantern light reached
“It’s so dark where the candles not replaced?” the girl asked setting the tray on the vanity the delectable scent of the roast filling the room enticingly.
“No I was just preparing for bed; I’d like to sleep please get out.” Adele Said softly no point in scaring the woman, she didn’t want to deal with a gaggle of angry men who probably worshiped the girl’s steps. This girl was a lot more delicate then the other woman she’d seen downstairs. The girl turned and smiled softly, “Yes. Just leave the tray on the vanity in the morning and I’ll collect it.” She said gently bearing a soft nature she turned and left, shutting the door behind her. Adele sighed softly, she was getting to old for this hiding game. She honestly hoped she could finish this soon she couldn’t hide from the guard much longer, Echo was getting tired the horse was old as well. She should be able to graze peacefully; instead she trekked along with her master without complaint dutifully bearing her mistress to lands far beyond her own and beyond that only to return at the dictate of a seer who had proclaimed that her time was near. Adele knew soon now sooner than ever before she would face her brother in a final battle and once and for all rest the throne from his madness ravaged hands.
The bed was stiff but decidedly better then tree branches and dusty barn stalls where she could work herself in. It was warm and welcoming like very little was now a days, she smiled faintly as she settled down. The door was locked and she’d picked at the roast… she should have dumped a handful of silver on the table, they might have left her alone… oh well, at least it was cooked through. She didn’t have much of an appetite these days, at least not for the food of humans. Cravings for something all together different where growing more and more she couldn’t keep fighting her natural urges, maybe that was what he was counting on, if she gave in to her needs she would garner more hatred. The dragon within had demands of its own and it was not for vegetable and a small roast. It longed to be free to unfurl it’s wings and fly to swim with cool water on its scales and to feast and feast to its heart’s content on any animal foolish enough to wander close.
She burrowed under the covers and her cloak and curled into a tight small ball of woman, scales rippling across her skin and she forced down the dragon inside her aching to burst free. She needed sleep, she knew the nightmares would come, visions of blood, that man in a sea of blood releasing his dragon to slaughter their mother and father beloved lord and lady the king and queen who served justly… she was tired, the day was one of long hard travel and tomorrow would be no better. It was not the travel that made her tired, her heart was heavy her mind exhausted. For now she had only the reassurance that the guard could not cross the lake now the ice had broken, she had bought herself a few days time as they made their way around. That was enough time to cover her trail again.. until again help was needed. Until again unerringly she answered that call for help. Until again they picked up her trail because while the king was content to let his people suffer, she would not.
Far away in a grand palace it’s high white towers bore flags of the nation that billowed in the wind a black dragon on a field of red, a sea of blood. Within the palace deep in the throne room lounged a man of cruel beauty, his skin an almost snowy white he draped himself over mounds of silken pillows white hair tied with a simple thong at the base of his neck, a ring of thick proud horns grew from his head a crown befitting a king. His cloths where all white and very fine and around him draped across pillows in varying states of undress women lounged with him savoring the sweet fruits and the pleasure he offered them in exchange for the pleasures of their flesh.
He looked up as a man walked in, a contrast to the king he bore the colors of the captain of the guard the royal colors of red and black. The king grunted his affirmation and the man strode forward standing at the edge of the pillows keeping his eyes firmly on his sire not once straying to the beautiful women that surrounded him, the king did not share.
“I came as you have summoned your highness.” He said formally watching as one eye turned to him before the king tilted his head just enough to fully face him. His features where harsh always in a slight frown the unhappy king, he found pleasure in nothing. One eye shined like brilliant gold but the other had gone milky and blind scared like his face the deep scar however only seemed to enhance the harsh handsomeness of the kings features.
“I have seen her again, She has crossed our borders. The guard still follows you train your men well.” The king spoke his tones slow easy, the king had no reason to hurry. “She is growing weary, I can see it in her eyes, she has run these many years from me, but as a true Drake Na Rah her dragon craves the light of the dragon star it withers within her and rather than let it die her duty pulls her back, as I knew it always would.” He said with a quirk of his lips
“She is at the base of Mount Rotin in a small town along our boarder on the edge of Lake Kaheel.” He explained gesturing, one of the women shifted and stood walking to a table she spread out a map, while the skirt she wore was long and flowing made of the finest material her upper body was bare and her breasts swung free as she held the map open dangling like her many necklaces and fine earrings. There was no village marked on the map but the was a circle where it was, he didn’t doubt the king knew exactly where to find his sister, the traitorous Adele, the one who had scarred him and stolen away with her own dragon after murdering the king and queen. A righteous rage filled the captain as he turned to his king and nodded.
“My finest knights will be dispatched at once, this traitor will not be permitted to live much longer your highness.” The man assured with a firm conviction. Looking over the king shook his head “No, I want you to go Byorn your skills are invaluable in capturing her. She is a strong fighter, even as her will wavers she is no weaker your men are no match for her. Capture her alive, bring her to me, she will hang for her crime and be a testament to the strength of my kingdom. She may be my sister but we will not abide treachery even from within our own house.” He said darkly. Something in Byorn shivered, the king was a proud man but something in him was dark and cold. As the soldier turned away and strode from the throne room he wondered, not for the first time, how the young princess who had once been so sweet could have turned into the monster her brother claimed? How could have killed her parents and maimed her own brother? That hesitation quickly vanished, only the guilty would run surely!
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