I was furious because my Watchers stand around complaining to one another in whispers of my behaviour. I turn on my heel to see them standing in the door way to the store room. I tear into some jerky, eating with my mouth open, chewing the beef apart while I watch my Watchers. Huh - how ironic.
“...misfortunate...” Sox murmurs.
“...if only we could...” Killaw growls.
“...but Rawk...” Mendrix shrugs.
“...will have our heads, no doubt,” Horn adds while Fronk shrugs, frowning.
“Enough secrets,” the moment I speak, each Watcher jerks to attention and wearily faces me, “What is the matter?” I ask.
“You speak, Lady,” Horn begins, “We did not expect to hear you - you’ve been eating for an hour... ignoring us.”
“I like beef jerky - it calms my natural rage,” I explain, “Tell me your concerns.”
“We wish to teach you about the Horde of Venom - like tour guides,” Killaw speaks with forced joy.
“But Rawk would not allow us to take over your welcome,” Mendrix adds, “Despite how beautiful you are to gaze upon, Minx - you are a deadly little maiden, aren’t you?”
“I slaughter with grace, yes,” I answer, seriously while nodding.
“That is not what he meant,” Horn tries to gently explain to me something while I just gaze at him in confusion.
“Don’t bother,” Killaw scoffs with Sox while Mendrix winks at me and Fronk looks startled. I follow his gaze to the morphing shadow behind him.
“Lord?” Fronk asks, loudly, to warn the others.
“Lord!” the rest all spin in surprise to face a quickly solid Rawk, who towers above them with a comforting smile.
I drop the half eaten beef jerky from my hand and it hits the ground, I lose my appetite... in fact... I rest my palm on my exposed stomach. I had the aches in the gut. A terrible omen for a Fire-Spitter to succumb to such pain. It meant I was losing my mind... I was losing my mellowness.
“Sky Gods bring me patience,” I murmur under my breath as without a word, my Watchers quickly disperse, leaving me alone with Rawk.
Behind me bags of stored food lay open and scattered as I searched through for my jerky. Now, I stand in a mess that I do not care to clean. This was my Horde to play in - I would not care about the consequences. I was free to do as I pleased.
“I see you’ve made yourself quite at home,” Rawk murmurs, his golden gaze striking as he glances over the surroundings behind me, “Perhaps I shall add a stack of straw for you to make a nest out of - to eat, bathe and sleep surrounded by our stocks of food.”
“I feel you are insulting me but if you are not, that sounds like a good idea. I will be here for two weeks and I require much time alone to ponder life’s meaning and my choices in mate,” I raise my chin, feeling proud of myself for taking this seriously and sounding logical.
However, despite my belief that I sound reasonable, Rawk blinks slowly and does not answer. I watch his cruel lips curve downwards into a half hearted frown.
“We need to talk, little beast, but first you will fulfil the bargain my brother gave you,” Rawk’s mouth twitches in annoyance or happiness - I have no idea.
“Uh, what bargain?” I ask, totally confused, “I fixed the door already, what more must I do?”
“You agreed to an apology - I stand before you now, waiting for it,” Rawk answers, taking a step forward to stand in the door way, blocking any thought of my escape.
“Ah, yes, I did agree that I would stay two weeks if you both were around me together. If and only if this happened, I would stay. I did also agree to fix the door and apologise. I apologise now for my violence, the innocent wood did not deserve it, but Bezzle will protest otherwise -”
“Bezzle is not a part of this discussion. She is napping, as a babe should,” Rawk snarls suddenly, “She will not become your partner in crime!”
“I am a Bellum Minima Dominus - I am her leader and her Lady!” I snarl back, while slowly smiling, “And I was not making a fool of you, she will protest that the door was guilty.”
“You do play me for a fool,” Rawk looks me up and down with disgust, “You are my mate?” he seems to ask this to himself.
“Do not insult me, Dragon shit, I am worthy of fear and respect - all that I ask is that you understand me,” I respond, crossing my arms over my leather bra as I raise a brow.
“You twist your words, I do not like it - do not forget that I can see your truth - no matter your speech,” Rawk raises a brow to match mine, “Although I do see that you believe the door to be guilty... which is inexplainable and illogical.”
“How so? I apologise for breaking it, I do not however, apologise for it being in my path,” I explain simply, “Shall we talk further of our two weeks in courtship? I am quite looking forward to it. After eating... I feel... quite content - oh,” I inhale suddenly, hold it, squint my eyes and then let out a large burp, patting my stomach in the process, “I may have over eaten,” I explain while blushing only slightly.
I walk forward and casually duck under Rawk’s arm, aiming to slip through.
I do slip through, but not without consequence.
As I reach the cave corridor lined with torches, Rawk turns with me and his arm slips around my waist... for a moment I believe it is some awkward form of hug.
I am about to mock him for it.
Instead, the arm tightens, pulls me off my feet and then I am hauled into his side. With an arm around my waist, he holds me dangling to the side, my head tilting up to glare at him while I try to knee him in the butt. He just smiles and stalks ahead, holding me without a worry in the world.
“You still apologised,” Rawk growls in approval, “You shall receive your end of the deal... I will tolerate my brother for you to stay an extra week.”
“But I can still walk,” I explain.
“Walk, run, scuttle, thieve, kill, assault, harass, terrify, dance... yes, you can do many things... but can you stay still?” Rawk seems to challenge me as he glances down and my eyes run over that black jagged scar for the thousandth time.
I would ask him about it one day, if I cared enough to find the answer.
“When I sleep I stay still,” I answer, “When I am awake, I tend to move.”
“Oh, really?” Rawk asks in a deep rumble, laughing while he continues on his path, turning into the stair well leading to his bedchamber and the hall of treasure.
“If you are taking me to the cage, I will resort to violence,” I explain, getting straight to the point, “You will not restrict me unless you wish to have scars of my fangs lodged into your fragile Tempest skin... so pale... so ugly."
“Another lie,” Rawk bursts out laughing, “You think me incredibly handsome.”
“I think many Dragons are handsome... Dragons in mortal form however... nope,” I answer honestly here and as we reach the hall of treasure, I get an evil idea, “...although the twenty odd men I’ve slept with will tell you otherwise,” my words work, his arm loosens in shock and I jerk out of his hold, falling to my feet as I squat, pounce back up and lunge away from him with my quick speed, “Ha, ha, ha!” I yell out back to Rawk, “So you are a fool! A funny fool!” I hold up my hands, spinning to grin at him as I turn and sprint my way into his bed chamber, “Zoraul? Your twin is a funny fool! A dally-wag! Ha, ha, ha!” I skid into the room after kicking these doors open, but they are too large to fall off their hinges.
The first thing I see is Bezzle napping on the bed, sprawled out on her back with her wings outstretched while a paw twitches as she dreams.
“Snoot-Snoot!” I whisper in delight as I jump over to greet her - my loyal friend! However, from the shadow of the fire, I run right into a large chest that solidifies from nowhere, ”Opf!” my nose buries into the warm clothed chest and the abdominals, breathing in a comforting... relaxing scent. I close my eyes and almost savour the peace of it... wanting more... until I feel a hand snaking around my wrist and holding me steadfast. I stumble back a step to look up into Zoraul’s loving gaze.
He truely looks happy - but who knew if that was true or not.
“Forever alive with energy,” Zoraul murmurs, “That is pleasing.”
I hear nothing behind me even though I feel his presence... so I turn and glance at Rawk with a raised brow.
“Tolerate him,” I remind Rawk, “Lord.”
While Rawk can only stare at me while thinking with a neutral expression, Zoraul sighs and continues to hold my wrist.
“Minx... how do I put this lightly?” Zoraul asks.
“If you want to ask me out formally, just be brave and do it, don’t be shy and do not hesitate,” I smirk and wait for his answer. I knew I was dead on the mark.
“You misread our intentions,” Rawk growls, low.
“My brother is right - why do you think he agreed to reunite with me for two weeks in your presence?” Zoraul asks me, “He wants you exclusively - yet we managed to find an agreement. Do you understand how that agreement came into reality?”
“You agreed upon a bargain or a trade about meat and -” I can not finish.
“You can not look beyond your own desires, it seems,” Rawk cuts me off with a deep quiet drawl. It’s low and it’s not loud - but it’s somehow more powerful than an explosive yell. I go quiet and look between each brother and then my enclosed wrist, trying to decipher the situation.
Rawk and Zoraul meet one another’s gazes relcutantly while Zoraul reaches into a pocket in his black leather coat. I watch in fascination as he pulls out a silver bracelet.
I smile for a split moment because it is pretty - until I realise the other meaning.
A Vitium Sensum; a symbol of ownership.
I didn’t know much about it but it was often used in marriage between Dragons in the Tempest lands. Besides the brand, the bracelet of pure silver was an added mark to claim the more reluctant mate.
"No!" I scream out and try to pull back, “I will not wear it!” I try to jerk out of his hold but Zoraul holds me stead fast.
“Brother,” Rawk murmurs, glancing over my hysterical state with non-interest, “Do what you must - if she cries or screams... perhaps I’ll make a song about it later. The demise of the demoness,” Rawk smirks at me while an uncontrolled tear rolls down my cheek.
“What?” I whisper, “Please,” I calm down and still my struggling as Zoraul lifts up my wrist and my hand, positioning the bracelet before it, “Please - do not.”
“Another fair warning, sweety,” Zoraul murmurs, “Obey and you’ll find reward... disobey and you will find punishment is swift and fast.”
“Why would you punish a mate?” I ask, “It is abuse.”
"It is not,” Rawk holds up a hand in rejection of my statement, while snarling with passion, “It is the opposite - we are teaching you respect. Our punishments will not harm you, you stupid beast... they will teach you otherwise to your own thinking.”
“What is wrong with my thinking?” I ask, “I am a well rounded, educated Lady!”
“You are a child - trying to be a lady, like make believe,” Rawk leans down to mock me on this as Zoraul uses my distracted gaze to slip the spelled silver over my skin.
I gasp as the bracelet falls into place... and it tightens with magic placed into the metal.
I break my furious glare with Rawk to glance down at the mark of ownership... I stumble back a step and look at each mate.
In this moment, I feel vulnerable again.
But again, it is a fleeting feeling... because I did not dare to show them any long lasting vulnerability.
I quickly replace it with full blown rage.
As I glance up, I see both my mates gazing on at me with approval of the device fitted snuggly onto my left wrist... completely immovable... they do not, however, appreciate my sudden need to attack.
As they turn to face me, preparing themselves by tensing their muscles - I pounce quickly.
Snarling, I reach for Rawk first as he upset me the most.
“You bastard!” I claw at his chest while Zoraul lunges in and grabs my elbows. I admit, my attack is not skillful even though I know skill in battle. In this moment of passion I simply wish to attack without logic, “I hate you, Rawk, you Tempest scum! Argh!" I cry out as Zoraul holds my arms back and Rawk snakes out a hand to clasp my chin firmly, to stop my shaking head.
"You will be caged until you calm down!" Rawk snarls.
“No!” I struggle in Zoraul’s arms needlessly as he growls in approval while walking me forward.
Out of no where, he shoves me forward through an invisible door that Rawk seems to hold open.
As I spin on my heel, the magic thins to show golden bars. Rawk slams the door shut and gazes at his brother in shock and disgust.
“She is wild!” Rawk states.
“Yes... she is,” Zoraul approaches the cage with Rawk and they both look down at me, confused, vulnerable and trapped, “Minx, look at me,” Zoraul states, “You do understand the terms my brother and I agreed to?”
“To torment me,” I murmur, almost feeling guilty as I think about my own original plans... to torment them.
Oh, Sky Gods - the karma of life was real. I had thought a bad thought and planned bad intentions and now I was being punished.
“Wrong,” Rawk chuckles at my suggestion, “We did not agree to torment you... we agreed to tame you together, silly beast.”
“We discussed one of your fears... being a plaything,” Zoraul adds, “Perhaps in time you could be one with learned obedience... but right now... we fear that you’re nothing but a pet. Don’t get us wrong, little one... we’re proud of you as our mate,” Zoraul adds, “But you will learn.”
“She will,” Rawk agrees firmly with this, “In time...” Rawk seems to consider his options, but he eventually raises a hand and grabs Zoraul’s shoulder in a comforting moment of agreeance, “You speak well, brother.”
Oh, great, they were bonding.
I turn from them and sit on my ass, holding my knees to my chest as I refuse to look at them.
I try to blink away my crazy wild thoughts. I really did feel 13 again.
I had spent the last 4 years learning to be reasonable - but with a few provocations I was reduced to childish actions.
I had to improve, to outsmart them.
I had fallen for the manipulation and landed myself back in the cage.
I had made a fool of myself.
I wanted to improve.
I wanted to show them both that they were wrong.
I was not stupid. I was not a child. I was not just a wild beast. I was a highly intelligent lady - just because I spoke out my first thoughts did not mean I was simple or plain minded.
I was very kind when I needed to be and very responsible. I could also carefully consider my actions, to win in any form of confrontation.
When I was calm, that is.
These meditating thoughts help instil some relaxation into me as I formulate my next plan.
“Keep breathing slow, pet,” Rawk speaks, breaking me out of my brief reprieve, “You will need the strength for later.”
“It is true... if you want to please Rawk and I - you will need to rest often,” Zoraul answers... a little amused.
“I will hunt with you both just fine,” I respond while I refuse to turn and look at them, “I am good at slaughter - you will be pleased, I promise you that,” I answer dryly, “Now please leave me, I wish to think.”
“Think then, pet,” Rawk stalks around the cage, “I have business to attend to... brother... I’ll see you around.”
As Rawk disappears out of the room, Zoraul rounds the cage to tickle Bezzle’s tummy before turning to meet my gaze.
I watch him suspiciously while I think, not intending to speak.
“Goodbye, pet... take time to contemplate your position,” Zoraul murmurs before turning and leaving the room also, following in Rawk’s footsteps.
They leave me with my thoughts.
Oddly - the cage was helping me calm down. Probably because I had always like enclosed spaces. While it scared most others, I found peace in a confined area.
I could think clearly.
And I had decided to change tactic - or at least I would try to.
I was ready to prove them both wrong.
I was going to prove to them that I was a Lady - I was a Lady!
Both Rawk and Zoraul would soon be witness to my calm nature.
It would just be a fine balance. I would keep my calm whilst standing my ground. I would not cry out with threats, insults or violence.
They would see how I had grown.
They would change their ways because of it.
At least, that is what I hoped.
Of course... I could still escape...
I furrow my eyebrows.
I still had plenty more to think about.
And right now - for some odd and strange reason - it was hard to come up with a definite plan.
I had new desires... strange wants... things I did not understand at all, quite frankly.
Hmmm... how could I put it simply?
All I could bloody think about in the back of my mind was... was... that smell.
Zoraul’s smell, up close.
I wanted to smell Rawk too.
Yes, that was my answer.
First I would be a Lady to prove them both wrong, I would smell Rawk in secret - with a specially devised plan - then I would escape their hold.
Yes, that sounded good.
My brief smile turns into a frown and I sigh, confused yet again... why were mates so damn complicated?
No wonder I had been running my whole life from them, they were nothing but trouble!