Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 24



I awoke the next day, curled up on one of the chairs on my balcony. I rubbed at my eyes and looked around in confusion. How had I gotten here? Flashes of last night came rushing back to me, and at the same time, I became aware of the aching throbbing in my skull. I groaned as I sat up, my stomach turning in discomfort as I did.

By the time I realized I was going to vomit, there was no time to run to the washroom. I bolted to the stone railing of the balcony and hurled over the side, watching the foul substance plummet thought the empty air, toward the ground far, far below.

I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and groaned again. I’d never felt this hung over in my life. Granted, I’d only been drunk a handful of times before, but it was nothing like this. I nearly crawled to the washroom, every little movement seeming to take up every ounce of my strength and energy.

It took me nearly an hour to brush my teeth, bathe and get dressed. I pulled on a black, over sized sweater and some black, cotton pajama shorts. The thick material of the sweater on my skin seemed to suffocate me, my senses heightened from the horrible hang over, so I pulled the sweater back off and pulled on a flowing, black tank top instead. It felt a little better, but I would much rather have just lied in bed naked all day. But that wouldn’t be an option.

Ronan was coming over today. When the thought hit me, I rushed to the mirror and gazed at my horrible looking face. I’d washed off the left over make up from last night, but I had dark circles under my eyes and I looked quite pale. Even my lips were pale. I groaned and began rummaging though the drawers of my vanity in search of cosmetics.

After applying some skin colored cream, setting powder, a few sweeps of blush, a coating of mascara, a bit of coal colored eyeliner, and some pink lip paint, I looked alive again. I sighed in relief, loosely braided my damp hair over my shoulder, and padded into the kitchen.

Again, coffee was waiting for me. I sat down on one of the stools and sipped it cautiously, afraid it might come right back up if I drank it too quickly. A bowl of blueberry oatmeal appeared in front of me and I wrinkled my nose at it. The steam coming off of it wafted toward me and I nearly threw up again. I shoved it away and decided to sit on the balcony while I nursed my coffee. Perhaps the fresh air would help.

As I sat in the warm light of the morning sun, listening to the crackling of the stone fireplace, I tried to remember getting back to my room. I remembered wandering the massive maze of hallways. I couldn’t remember how long I’d stumbled around, but I knew it was a long time.

And then it came rushing back.

“Stalking is frowned upon you know.”

“I miss you.”

“Please... Don’t.”

I sucked in a lungful of air and winced as I recalled the tortured, empty look in his ocean eyes. He’d been following me...

I allowed a small smile to grace my lips. As much as it killed me that I couldn’t be with him... I secretly reveled in knowing that he still wanted me. It seemed to lessen the sting of everything, even if it was only wishful thinking.

I’d always know that he cared for me. I’d always have that, no matter what. I hoped he knew how much I missed him, too.

An idea suddenly came over me. I knew I shouldn’t... But I just couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t allowed to be with him, or ever be near him. But there was something else I could do. Something no one would ever know about. Something I could cherish in secret, one small, precious thing that I could have for myself...

I rushed to the bedroom and grabbed my scrying mirror and then returned to the balcony with it clutched to my heart.

I took a deep breath as I peered into the glass, my mind filling with thoughts and images of Dristan. His pine and flame scent, his cobalt eyes, the way his stubborn, serious face would edge toward a smile when I scowled at him...

And there he was.

He was in a dark room, speaking furiously with Warrick. They seemed to be arguing about something. Dristan was growing, but Warrick still wore a grin on his handsome, dark face. He always seemed to be smiling. I liked that. Feeling a bit guilty, I listened to their hushed conversation.


“I don’t feel comfortable with letting them run freely among our people. They can’t be trusted.” Dristan whispered angrily.

“They’ll have to earn their keep somehow, Dristan. We’ll never know if they can be trusted if we don’t try. You want to build our alliance, don’t you?”

Warrick asked, cocking his head.

“Of course I do. I’m just... I’m worried. What if they harm someone?”

“Then we’ll kill them.” Warrick said with a flash of his teeth.

“Brenya wouldn’t approve of that.” Dristan murmured.

“Even if they’d killed one of ours?”

“She believes that if we kill them, were no better than the king. And she’s right, Rick. Which is why I’m so worried. If they betray us, I don’t know that I’ll be able to keep my dragon from slaughtering them.“Dristan explained, running a hand through his hair.

“You just have to have some faith, friend.” Warrick said, clapping a hand on Dristan’s shoulder.

Dristan turned around, stalking toward the darker end of the stone room. When I spotted a cell in the corner, I realized they were in the dungeon. Warrick followed him and as they approached the cage, Sylvie and Marrok came into view. They looked horrible. Dirty, and thinner than the last time I’d see them. They weren’t frozen anymore, so that was a step forward.

“You’re to start by working in the kitchens with the brownie people. If you can do that to my expectations, we will work our way up from there. But mark my words, if you set one fucking toe out of line, you’ll be wishing for death.” Dristan hissed at them through the metal bars.

“I told you, you can trust us. We are in your debt.” Sylvie said softly. Her silver hair seemed dull and flat, her lips cracked and dry.

“We shall see.” Dristan mumbled. “Marrok, if you care for your sister, you’ll heed my warnings.” He added, glaring at the tall male wolf.

Marrok stepped forward, into the light, and glared at Dristan.

“You have my word.” He said coldly.

“Good. Warrick will escort you to your new chambers where you can clean yourselves up. Kitchen duty starts tomorrow at five a.m... You’ll be escorted by guards everywhere you go, and two will be posted outside your doors every moment of the day until further notice.”

Marrok seemed to scowl a bit, but did not object.

Dristan turned on his heel and left Warrick to deal with the wolves.

I watched as he climbed a set of spiral stairs, his expression as hard as the stone walls surrounding his large body.

After a few minutes of what seemed like endless stairs, he suddenly stopped. His wings flared slightly behind him and his slitted pupils dilated. He whipped his head around, his stance changing into that of a predator’s.

He looked behind, above, below and in front of himself, as if he was looking for an intruder.

He sniffed at the air, confusion crossing his features.

Could he sense me watching him?


I snapped the lid of the pocket mirror shut and let out a shaky breath. It definitely seemed like he knew someone was there. He could feel that he was being watched. I supposed I’d have to be more careful with how long I watched him in the mirror.

But I felt a bit better, after seeing his face. I felt like a drug addict, getting their fix, and shook my head at my own stupidity.

I wondered where he was going. Could he be on his way to see Andromeda? Curiosity got the better of me and I flipped the mirror open again, peering into the vacant, silver surface as I thought of her.

Visions of her annoyingly perfect face flooded my mind. Her tight lipped smile, her amber colored eyes...

I gasped, clamping my hand over my mouth, at the image that appeared in the mirror.

Andromeda was in some sort of small closet, or broom cupboard, pressed flush against the wall. Her dress was bunched up at her waist. A tall, muscular man, who’s pants were pulled down to his knees, was standing between her open legs, holding her against the wall as he fucked her.

She cried out in soft, muffled whimpers as the man thrust into her over, and over again. He grunted with each of his movements as her hands dug into the skin of his back. For a moment, I thought she was being rapped.

But that fear was quickly diminished when she called out. “Yes!”

I couldn’t see the man’s face, as his back was facing me, but I did know that he was dragon. And he was not Dristan. His wings were green. Both of their wings took up nearly the entire space of the small closet. The size of their wings also blocked the back of the man’s head from my view, so I couldn’t even see what color his hair was. But he was definitely dragon.

I slammed the lid of the mirror shut and it clattered to the floor. My hands began to tremble. I stood up and began to pace, my mind racing.

“Oh my gods...” I whispered to myself. “You fucking traitor! How could you do this to him?!”

I ran my hands through my hair, my stomach turning as everything I’d just seen sank into my mind.

Was I a hypocrite? Perhaps a little bit. I’d kissed Dristan, but I’d stopped myself from letting it go further. I’d had at least that much respect for her. And yet she was completely stabbing him in the back, all the while.

To think that I’d befriended this woman... To think that I’d ever had any sort of consideration for her impending union with the man I’d grown to care for... Only to find out that she was fucking someone behind his back!

Disgust bubbled in my bowels. I ran for the balcony and vomited over the side again.

“Damnit...” I grumbled, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.

I ran to the washroom and brushed my teeth again as well as washing my hands. I felt numb, like I’d just been bathing in a tub filled with ice.

Just as I walked back into the living room, a knock sounded at my door.

Perfect...

I growled as I hesitantly walked to the door. How was I supposed to act normal with Ronan after what I’d just witnessed?! My emotions were a tangled mess and I was positive he’d be able to smell that something was wrong.

Damn, damn, damn!

I pulled the door open.

Ronan grinned down at me, dressed in a long sleeved, black shirt, black slacks, and shiny, black boots. His light brown hair looked different than it had last night. It wasn’t combed back today, but instead, was tousled messily on top of his head, and fell across his forehead. He looked much younger, much less High Lord like.

His bright blue eyes narrowed slightly as his nostrils flared. His smile fell.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“Er... This really isn’t a good time...” I said, not opening the door any further.

“We really can’t put this off, princess. It’s important.” He answered, tilting his head to the side. “May I come in?”

I pursed my lips. “Fine...”

I swung the door open and stepped aside so he could enter. I shut the door and turned around to find him gazing around the room.

He whistled as if impressed. “Nice digs.”

“Thanks...” I mumbled, walking past him and toward the patio. I darted outside and scooped up the mirror from the floor, shoving it beneath the cushion of the chair.

“What are you doing?” Ronan asked from directly behind me. I jumped and spun around, my cheeks heating.

“Er... I was cleaning out here, before you showed up. I sort of... Got sick, everywhere. I was making sure there wasn’t any mess left.” I lied. I thought of how I actually had been sick, how awful it had felt, hoping he wouldn’t see through my lie.

He smirked. “I warned you to take it easy on the drinks.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, and I knew what the consequences of my actions would entail. I can drink to excess if I wish to, I am a grown woman.”

“Indeed, you are.” He murmured, sliding his eyes up and down my figure. I was suddenly aware of how little I was wearing. I cursed myself for not changing out of the tank top and shorts when I’d heard him knocking at the door.

“Don’t be a pig.” I scoffed, pushing past him and into the living room. I sat down on one of the couches and pulled a blanket around my shoulders.

He followed behind me, and eventually seated himself next to me on the couch.

“There’s something else that’s bothering you, Princess. I can sense it. There’s a... Sadness... about you. I felt it last night, too.” He said softly.

“Hasn’t anyone ever taught you to mind your own business?” I scowled.

He grinned. “I tend to follow my own set of rules.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed that.” I said. “Anyway... I suppose I should show you the rune?”

“Yes, I’m quite interested to see it. How did you never notice it before?” He asked, turning his body toward me.

“I don’t know... I just thought it was an oddly shaped birthmark.” I shrugged.

I stood up, turning to face him, and dropped the blanket from my shoulders. It billowed onto the floor, pooling at my feet. I lifted my leg and set my foot on top of the coffee table, pulling the leg of my pajama shorts up a bit higher so he could see.

I glanced down at him to find him grinning up at me, his eyebrows raised suggestively. The dimples in his cheeks popped out as his smile widened. I felt my cheeks turning red as the same butterflies from last night erupted in my belly.

“So forward, Princess.” He teased.

I rolled my eyes. “Must you always be so vulgar?”

“If I truly believed that you didn’t like it, I would stop.” He said, his smirk growing. “But you have unusually loud emotional responses. It’s very easy to read you. You like it when I flirt with you.”

I felt my throat bob as my blush deepened. “Just look at the rune.”

“As you wish, Princess.” He said, lowering his eyes from mine. He scooted a bit closer to me and tilted his head as he squinted at the small marking.

“Interesting.” He breathed.

“What?”

“It’s a word rune.”

“Meaning...?”

“There is a rune alphabet, made up of symbols. For each letter, A, B, C, excreta, there is a rune symbol for that letter. Word runes are essentially made when you stack those symbols on top of each other, spelling a word. Most runes are symbolic. Protections spells, or phrases. Word runes aren’t used as often.” He explained, examining the marking.

“Do you know what word it spells?” I asked, staring at the side of his face.

“Not yet. But I brought something that will help.” He said.

He straightened himself. I watched as he stood up and pulled a small leather book from his back pocket. It was bound with a leather strap. He untied the string and opened the book, flipping through it for a few moments, before he laid it out on the table.

“Here we are. The rune alphabet.” He said, sitting back down.

I remained standing with my foot on the table, as he pulled a pen and paper from the back of the book.

“Hold still. I’m going to copy the marking onto this paper.” He said, scooting close to me once again. This time, he reached out and firmly grasped the sensitive skin on my inner thigh. I sucked in a breath of air through my nose at the sensation of his skin on mine.

He paused and gazed up at me, his lips quirking upward. “Everything alright, Princess?” He asked sweetly.

“Fine.” I said through my teeth.

He began drawing the marking onto his slip of paper, taking his time as he did. After several minutes, he finally set down his pen and released my leg.

“Alright, now we just need to identify the letters in the symbol.” He said, pulling the book closer to him. I sat down next to him and furrowed my brows as I stared at the book.

I studied the symbols, next to the letters, trying to make sense of it all.

“This looks like part of it.” I said, pointing to the symbol next to the letter ‘H’.

“Yes, it does. Good work, Princess.” He said, giving me a nudge.

I smiled and nudged him back.

After about twenty minutes of studying the symbol, we’d been able to decipher the letters, ‘H’, ‘M’, and ‘A’.

“Why is it so hard to find them?” I said, rubbing at my aching temples in frustration.

“When they’re stacked like this, they kind of blend in with each other. So one letter can be part of another.” He mused, staring at the paper.

“Here! This looks like an ‘N’.” He said, pointing to the center of the symbol.

“Hmm... H,M,A,N... But there has to be more. That makes no sense.” I mumbled.

His eyes widened and he turned his head toward me. “I think I’ve just figured it out.” He said. “As soon as you said the letters out loud, it clicked. The last letter is, ‘U’...”

I stared at him and blinked. “Human.” I whispered.

“Yes.” He said, studying my eyes. “It makes perfect sense. Your parents left this mark on you so that you would appear human. Not only your appearance, but your lack of power as well. Clever. Very clever...”

He grabbed the book and began flipping through the pages as I gaped at him.

“Do you know how to get rid of it?” I asked, pulling the blanket around myself as I suddenly felt a chill creeping across my skin.

He stopped on a specific page and raised the book to his face.

“It’s here. The removal ritual. But I must tell you, Princess... It will be very painful.” He said, turning his face toward me. His eyes burned with sympathy.

“That is why tattooing runes onto people’s bodies is not taken lightly. It is recommended to only get them done if you don’t ever want them removed because of the painful process.”

I grimaced. “H-how painful?”

His lips thinned into a hard line. “More painful than anything you’ve ever felt before, or will ever feel again...”

I gulped as my heart rate increased. “I see... Well, thank you for being honest about it.”

“I told you I wouldn’t lie to you again. I meant it.” He said, his eyes serious.

I gave him a weak smile and nodded once. “So, when will we do this ritual, then?”

“We’ll need to have a meeting with the High Council to discuss it. There are certain things I will need in order to complete the ritual. It will take some time to prepare for it. And we will have to be ready for what will happen when your true form is revealed. No one really knows what could happen. This has never happened before...” He explained.

I nodded slowly, my eyes drifting toward the floor. “Okay. The sooner the better. How soon can we have this meeting?”

“I will set it up right away. We can have it as early as tonight, if you wish.” He said softly.

“Yes, that would be best.” I said. “Besides, I need to meet the High Council, anyway.”

He nodded. “Alright, then.”

“Great. Let me know what time. Thank you for coming.” I said, standing from the couch.

“Wait...” He said, grasping me lightly by the hand. “I wanted to talk to you about something before I leave...” He said. He tugged on my hand and I fell back onto the couch, plopping down gently beside him.

“What is it?” I asked, my brows furrowing.

“I wanted to talk to you about... Us.” He said, his intense stare unwavering.

“.... Us?” I said warily.

“Yes... You are the princess, heir to the Fae throne. But being a princess does not help anyone, not really. These people desperately need a queen. And just as badly as they need a queen, they need a king. They need leadership. And seeing as I am a High Lord, also in line for the throne... I don’t think there is anyone better suited to stand at your side.”

I stared at him. I wasn’t sure I was breathing.

“They have leadership. They have Dristan... and... Andromeda.” I winced at her name, remembering her body moving against the man in the closet. Fucking traitor...

He reached out and took both of my hands in his. I stared down at my lap, at his calloused hands, entwined with mine. His hands felt wrong on my skin. They weren’t the ones I’d come to care for...

My mind buzzed like a swarm of angry bees, and I felt like I might vomit again.

“They are the leaders of their kind. The only reason they are leading ours right now is because you were not here. But you are here, now. I want you to be with me.”

Images of Dristan filled my mind. I thought of being with someone other than him and it felt like someone had punched me right in my stomach. I winced. Pain filled me as I realized that was how it would feel, always. Would I ever be able to be with someone else?

“Ronan...” I whispered, my voice hardly audible.

“Your heart aches for another.” He said softly. “I can sense it. But Brenya, I can heal you, if only you’ll let me try...”

I shook my head slowly. “Ronan... I can’t...”

His hands tightened slightly on mine. “I know that we don’t know each other very well. But I promise you, I would treat you with every ounce of respect and love that you deserve. I would treat you like a queen. My queen. Together, we could rebuild the Fae empire. We could take back our lands and restore our people. We could leave this wretched hunk of rock far behind us, get our people away from these treacherous, winged beasts-”

I cut him off, snatching my hands away from him. Anger boiled in my veins and I didn’t try to mask it.

“Treacherous, winged beasts?! The dragons are helping the Fae! They are the only reason that they are safe right now. How can you speak of them in such a way?!”

His eyes darkened. “If this war had never started, they would still be plundering our lands and killing us in cold blood.” He growled.

“That’s not true! Dristan’s father tried to make peace with the Fae before this all started. Dristan continued his father’s vision of peace after the war started, yes, but that wasn’t why he did it. He is trying to bring us all together. Unifying the races is the only way we are ever going to be able to stand against the king. And it’s the only way we will ever evolve as a people.” I said authoritatively, defending my Dragon Lord.

He glared at me, his lips a hard line.

“You are confused, Princess. Dristan seems to have buttered you up quite thoroughly, I’ll give him that. But let me warn you... He, and all of his kind, are not as perfect as you think they are.”

“Do you have a problem with Dristan or something?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.

“Let’s just say that he and I have never quite seen eye to eye.” He said, smirking.

I glared at him as the anger grew stronger in the pits of my being. “Dristan is a good man. They are good people. I am not the one who is confused.”

He inhaled, and let out a long sigh. “Perhaps... Time will tell, I suppose.”

“If you wish to be by my side, you should know that I am for a unified future. I will do everything in my power to bring all of the races together, even after this war ends. I will fight for peace. And if you will not, then you will never be my king.”

He straightened his spine and picked up the book from the table. I watched as he tucked the drawing into the pages and then shoved the book back into his pocket.

“I do not think it’s possible. But if that is your condition, then I am willing to... consider it.”

“You’ll need to be willing to do far more than consider it. It’s everything I believe in, Ronan”

“I can see that...” he sighed. “Please, just think about it. Our people need leaders. And you and I are their best bet for a better future. You know I am right.”

“There are other High Lords besides you, you arrogant ass.” I hissed.

He scoffed. “Among us, there are only two others left. One of them is dumber than a pile of rocks and he prefers men. The other is a cruel bastard who delights in taking a new whore to his bed every night.” He said, standing to his feet.

I clenched my jaw and closed my eyes.

He had a point. The people needed a queen someday. And given my options, Ronan was definitely the best person to fill the role of king. It didn’t matter if I knew I could never love him. It wasn’t even about having a relationship with him... It wasn’t about love...

It was about our people.

I stood and walked slowly with Ronan toward the front door. He gazed silently at the side of my face as we walked and I knew he was feeling out my emotions.

“If I were to consider this...” I said as we paused by the door. “You would give me as much time as I needed to come to a decision?”

He gazed down at me. “Of course I would. There is plenty of room for compromise and consideration, on both our ends.”

I bit my lower lip, my mind and heart at odds with one another.

“Princess... You should know that I do not wish to enter a loveless union. Which brings me to my next question.” He said, lifting my chin to his face with his index finger.

I furrowed my brows at him as he studied my face.

“I would like to court you.” He said gently.

I blinked up at him as my lips parted.

“Court me?” I repeated dumbly.

“Yes. I would like to spend time with you, get to know you. I want to take you to dinner, buy you gifts... I want to learn who you are. I want to show you who I am. I want to build a relationship with you.” He said slowly.

My throat bobbed.

“Ronan... I don’t know if that’s something I am capable of.” I answered hesitantly, my eyes burning with welling tears.

He tilted his head as he studied my watery eyes.

“Who has hurt your heart, Princess?” He whispered.

I stepped away from him, forcing him to let go of my chin.

“Please... Go. I will see you later.” I said, turning away.

He was silent for a long moment.

“Whoever he was, Princess... He’s a gods damned idiot for losing you.”

The door clicked shut, and he was gone.

As soon as I heard his footsteps fade away, I ran to the balcony and fished out the mirror from beneath the cushions. I sat down and stared into it desperately.

I had to find out where Dristan was. I had to go to him and tell him what I’d seen. I had time, before the meeting tonight. Andromeda would not get away with betraying him.

I wouldn’t let her.



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