Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 30



“We be finished now, Princess!” The brownie twins chimed in unison as they beamed at me in the reflection of the mirror.

I gave them both a polite smile as I looked over myself. They’d been working on preparing me for the engagement party for two hours, now. They had re-waxed me, scrubbed every inch of me with a painful, gritty substance, and had even done my fingernails and toenails. My hair had been left down, falling in elegant, soft waves over my back. They’d done my makeup to perfection, giving me a warm, natural looking glow.

“Princess Brenya’s dress be on the bed. Go puts in on!” They added, tugging at my hands. I stood up and let them lead me into the bedroom. When my eyes fell upon the dress my jaw dropped. It was extravagant. The material was gold colored and covered in tiny rhinestones.

The brownies helped me into the dress, careful to avoid smudging their masterpiece that was my face. They brought me a pair of shoes, which were black, and made me look much taller than I really was. When they were finished, they stepped away and I gazed into the floor length mirror, my eyes wide.

Every Time I shifted, the light sparkled off of the dress, causing thousands of glittering sparkles to bounce off of the rhinestones. The dress was tight fitting, extenuating every curve and dip of my body. The back was open and cut very, very low.

I looked...

“You be looking like royalty, tonight!” The brownies chimed, finishing my thought for me. I raised my brows briefly and sighed, turning this way and that, as I examined myself.

“I certainly do. Thank you for your help, my friends.” I said, turning to them.

Their eyes grew wide, and their ears perked up as they glanced at each other and then back at me. I raised a brow at them.

Suddenly, they both fell to their knees and bowed at my feet, trembling. Startled, I took a step back.

“Thank you! Thank you, Princess! We not be being worthy of these praises!” They cried with shaky voices, not meeting my eyes.

I blinked several times, horrified.

“Of course you are... I think you two did a wonderful thing, helping me prepare for tonight, and you are perfectly deserving of praise for your work!”

They lifted their heads, their eyes wide and hesitant.

“Truly?” They asked together.

I smiled and nodded. “Now, please... Get up.”

They stood to their feet, both beaming at me. “Thank you, Princess. You be a very nice lady. We is doing a very happy to help you.”

“You’re welcome.” I grinned.


Twenty minutes after the brownies left, there was a soft knock at my front door. I stood, smoothing out my dress, and answered it, trying to keep a pleasant smile on my lips.

Ronan stood on the other side, looking very clean and handsome in his solid black suit and matching tie. His hair was combed back and to the side, his powder blue eyes twinkling down at me as he smiled warmly.

“Good evening, my future queen.” He said smoothly, extending an arm toward me.

“Good evening, Ronan.” I said calmly, hooking my arm through his and shutting the door behind me.

We walked to the grand ballroom, mostly in silence.

As we neared the entrance hallway, the top of the staircase ahead, faint music could be heard drifting down the corridor. It wasn’t the strange, futuristic music like it had been the last time I’d attended a party here. This time, it was classical and slow. It almost sounded mournful, which I found ironic. It matched my mood, perfectly.

Ronan paused and looked down at me, taking both of my hands in his. I hesitantly gazed up at him, the pleasant, fake smile still tucked firmly in place on my lips.

“You look perfect tonight, Princess. You look like a queen.” He said, his eyes trailing over my face.

“Thank you.” I said quietly, focusing on his nose, rather than his intense eyes.

“Are you alright?”

My fake smile widened and I nodded. “Of course. Just nervous...”

He studied me, his eyes falling to my rune necklace. I thanked the gods that he’d given it to me. If he knew how I was really feeling right now, he’d be furious. But I couldn’t help how I felt. His hands on mine, his skin... His ice blue eyes, his fair hair... It was all wrong. None of what he had to offer was what I wanted. He wasn’t who I loved.

“Brenya, I understand your anxiety. But you must act accordingly tonight. You must be the queen that these people need. Push your feelings aside and do what you were born to do.”

My throat bobbed. “Yes.” Was all I could say.

“Good. Our party awaits... Shall we?” He said with a lopsided grin.

He led me down the hallway and the music grew louder. The dreary piano notes and beautiful, soft singing filled my ears with their depressing melody.

We stopped at the top of the grand staircase and I held my breath as the massive crowd below turned, their eyes falling upon us.


(Dristan’s POV)

Her scent was near. To anyone else, the subtle scent of sweet vanilla and wild cactus bloom in the air probably was not noticeable. But I knew that scent. I could smell it from a mile away. My dragon perked up, his consciousness becoming clearer in the back of my mind.

“Are you listening to me, Dristan?” Torryn said suddenly. I turned my face back toward him, away from the direction of the staircase.

I cleared my throat. “Apologies. What was that?”

His jaw muscles flexed. “I said... We were able to get a hair sample of both the king and the queen, but Andromeda sustained an injury to her left leg while we were inside of the tomb.”

“What happened?”

“There were a few ghouls inside of the tomb, which we were not expecting. I shouldn’t have let my guard down, I apologize for my mistake.” He said, lowering his head.

Ghouls were disgusting, vicious creatures. Easy enough to kill, as long as you dismembered them and burned the pieces, but they were fast and strong. I grimaced as I remembered the few times I’d ever encountered them. Ghouls were dead bodies, animated by wandering, angry spirits. They only had one thing on their minds. Killing.

“That is why we arrived back early. I had to rush her to the infirmary for treatment.”

I’d gone to the landing pad before the party to meet them, but realized they’d already made it back. I’d thought nothing of it and decided to just meet them here, instead. The idea that something had gone wrong never even crossed my mind.

“Strange, that ghouls would be in such a sacred tomb...” I mused, my brows pulling together.

Torryn raised his head. “That’s another thing I was going to talk to you about. Since the Fae lands have been mostly vacant, the tomb has become weak. No one has been there to upkeep it. Some of the walls were crumbling, allowing entrance for whatever comes upon it. I think, out of respect for the Princess, we should look into reconstructing the tomb. I did my best to repair the walls while we were there, but it won’t hold for long.”

I nodded. “I will speak with her about it, later. Any sighting of the king’s armies?”

He shook his head. “We saw none in the Fae lands. It was mostly vacant... Ghostly, really.”

I nodded grimly. “I see. Thank you, Torryn.”

“Of course.” He said. His eyes flicked over my shoulder and toward the stairs.

Silence settled over the crowd, the piano and mournful singers seeming to grow louder. I turned, aware of her presence before my eyes even fell upon her.

Brenya stood at the top of the staircase, her arm hooked through Ronan’s. My dragon snarled at the sight of another man’s hands on her and my own displeasure doubled our discontent. But as my eyes drank her in, the anger faded, replaced by awe.

Her dress was golden, and sparkled in the light with each of her movements. Her hair was a black curtain of night around her back and shoulders. The gown hugged every inch of her frame, making my mouth water with immediate appreciation.

She was stunning.

Her bright, multi colored eyes swept over the crowd as she held her chin high. Her shoulders were pushed back, her face calm and collected. The future queen.

Ronan led her down the stairs. He wore a permanent, arrogant smile on his lips. His egotistical eyes sparkled beneath the light.

His eyes landed on me, and as his smile widened, I could feel the rage, which dwelled in the deepest pits of my being, flare outward, burning stronger than I’d ever felt before. I wanted to drive my fist straight through his chest, pull out his still beating heart, and light it on fire as he watched.

Brenya’s eyes remained on the crowd, her almond shaped eyes vacant, but her expression pleasant.

A facade... I knew she, too, was burning inside.

I schooled my face into an expression of calm boredom as I watched them wade through the crowd. People followed them, many asking questions, several bowing before them. She smiled politely at each of them, her lips moving once in awhile as she spoke to them, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

“Dristan...” A familiar voice said from behind me.

I turned and found Andromeda standing beside Torryn. She held her weight on one leg, while the other peeked out of the side of her sparkling, black gown.

She held her weight on one leg, while the other peeked out of the side of her sparkling, black gown

There was a long, pink line on her leg, stretching from her knee, to her thigh. It was fading, due to the medicine that had been administered to her at the infirmary, but I could tell the wound had been considerable.

“Andi, are you alright?” I said, stepping toward her. Despite her betrayal, I still cared for her on some level. I supposed I always would.

She gazed up at me with a small smile. “I’m perfectly fine. No simple minded ghoul is going to do me in. You should know me well enough to know that.”

I forced a smile.

If only I knew you as well as I’d thought...

“Of course, how inconsiderate of me.” I cleared my throat. “Where are the samples?”

She gestured with her hand across the room. “I already gave them to Ronan.”

I nodded. “Good.”

Her eyes swept over the room and she gasped.

“Gods above, look at her! She looks positively royal! I must go and say hello. Please, excuse me.” She said, touching my hand briefly, before she swept gracefully across the room, toward Brenya. My eyes followed.

“Were there any other issues I should know about pertaining to your trip?” I asked Torryn, my eyes still glued to Andi and Brenya, who were now facing each other on the other side of the ballroom.

I caught glimpses of them through the crowd, and nearly burst out laughing when I saw the distaste on Brenya’s face as Andromeda talked animatedly at her. My lip quirked up at the corner briefly before I tugged it back into place.

Torryn was silent for a moment. Finally, I turned my face toward him. He stared at me with, his face almost hesitant, through his usual mask of indifference. I raised a brow.

“None come to mind...” He said slowly.

I narrowed my eyes. “Alright...”

He turned to leave and I watched him disappear through the crowd, a bit confused. He was acting strangely, tonight. Then again, Torryn had always been a peculiar sort.

I shrugged and turned around, making my way toward the drink table. If I was going to have to endure watching Ronan and Brenya together all night, I’d need a lot of bourbon.

I picked up a glass of amber colored liquid and tipped my head back. The burning liquid slipped down my throat, warming my belly. I picked up another and threw that one back, too. As I picked up a third, I noticed Warrick walking toward me.

Damnit...

He paused in front of me, one of his brows raised, and he frowned at me.

“Still struggling with your dragon?”

I grunted and threw back the third glass of liquor.

“You should come soaring with me. It helps.” He said, picking up his own drink.

I sighed. “Yes, I haven’t let him out since I’ve been back.”

He gave me a quizzical look. “No wonder he’s pissed.”

“I’ve been busy.” I grumbled, my eyes searching the crowd.

I found Brenya again, this time talking quietly with Ronan, who was smiling down at her. His eyes wandered up and down her body as he grinned. She seemed uncomfortable as she noticed his less than subtle eyes devouring her every curve.

Every muscle in my body tensed, and the glass in my hand suddenly shattered noisily.

“Fuck!” Warrick shouted in surprise, shielding his eyes. “Dristan, what the hell?

I brushed the shards of glass off of my hand and picked up another drink before I turned on my heel and stalked away from him. He followed.

“I’m worried for you.” He murmured from behind me.

“Warrick. I’m fine. Drop it.” I growled.

“You’re not fine! There’s something you’re not telling me.” He clapped a hand on my shoulder and pulled, forcing me to turn toward him. I glared at him, my lips a thin line.

“I said drop it.”

“No. Tell me what the fuck is going on.”

I ran a hand through my hair, frustrated. He wouldn’t back down. I leaned toward him and murmured into his ear. “Say one word and I’ll kill you.”

He nodded, bringing his ear closer to me.

“I am proposing to Andromeda tonight.” I said, letting him believe that was the true reason I was so tense. At least it would get him off my back, for now.

He pulled away, his eyes wide. We stared at each other a moment before his face broke out into a wide smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners. I smiled back, faking it as much as possible.

“Well, it’s about damn time.” He said, chuckling.

“Indeed.” I murmured, sipping my drink.

“Congratulations, friend.” He said, clapping me on the arm. “I’m sorry for being so pushy. I’ve just been concerned for you.”

“Yes, you’ve always been quite the sentimental bastard.” I said, my grin growing.

He laughed.

Warrick wandered off eventually, leaving me by the tables, alone. The sultry music grew louder as the female and male singer began a sad duet. Several couples swept onto the dance floor, hand in hand, and began moving elegantly amongst each other.

When I spotted Ronan and Brenya dancing, I bit the inside of my cheek to keep myself from snarling in fury. My dragon growled within the emptiness of my mind.

Kill, Kill, Kill...
Ronan, Ronan, Ronan...

His voice echoed off of the walls of my subconscious.

I did not scold him for the thought. Instead, I smirked and threw back the rest of my drink.

Suddenly, the crowd parted. Several people gasped and murmured softly. My eyes zeroed in on the couple that they were all staring at.

Ronan was bent down on one knee, holding a ring, and Brenya was standing before him, her eyes wide and fearful.

No, No, No...

I stood, frozen, and I thought my teeth might break as they ground together tightly. I strained my ears to hear as Ronan’s lips began moving.

“Brenya Avery Alemand, I swear to devote my life to your happiness and to the well being of our kingdom. I will rule at your side until my dying breath. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?” Ronan said, his cold eyes shining.

Brenya stared down at him, her lips parting.

The crowd began to whisper to each other, their wide eyes darting around. Some of the women held their hands over their hearts, some even crying. I felt as if I might vomit.

“Yes.” A single tear rolled down her cheek as she smiled down at him.

To anyone else, the tear would come across as happiness. But I knew she was screaming inside. I knew she was fighting the urge to run away, to throw the ring over the side of the volcano, to escape her binding contract with him. My hands balled at my sides, the sharp nails cutting into my palms.

An eruption of applause broke out across the ballroom as Ronan slid the ridiculously over sized ring onto her slender finger and rose to his feet. He leaned forward to kiss her, but she swiftly turned her head, and his lips landed on her cheek.

Words like, congratulations.. amazing and wonderful.. drifted from the crowd. The words were like lashes from a whip to my ears. I spun around and picked up another drink, throwing it back swiftly.

A hand on my arm made me turn again. Andromeda was smiling up at me.

“Are you alright?” She asked, eyeing the empty glass.

I cleared my throat and straightened my spine. “Of course.”

Her eyes swept across the room to Brenya and Ronan before she turned to me again. “Are you sure?” Her eyes were soft.

It was almost like she knew...

My brows furrowed. “Yes...”

“You’ve been a bit distant tonight...” She whispered, her eyes lowering. “I thought you’d be happy to see me.”

I stared down at her. Two royal proposals in one night would delight the people. And I needed to get this damned ring on her finger as soon as possible. I wanted it to be over with. I didn’t want to wait until we were alone. Now was as good a time as any.

I slid my hand into my pocket, and took her left hand in mine. She raised her eyes to meet mine, her expression surprised at my gesture.

I never touched her. Ever.

My throat bobbed. “Andromeda...”

Her brow creased and she blinked at me in confusion.

I held her eyes as I lowered before her, kneeling on one knee. Her eyes widened in realization as I pulled the box from my pocket.

Silence fell across the room. I didn’t dare look around. I didn’t want to see the look on Brenya’s face as she watched me do this.

I let go of her hand and opened the box as I stared up at her, my face blank. Her lips parted as her eyes fell upon the ring and she took a small step backward.

“Andromeda... You will make a fine wife. I’ve known this for a very long time. Please, marry me...”

The words were like acid on my tongue, but I held my composure. My face remained calm and intense as I stared up at her. Her golden eyes switched from the ring, to my face, and then back again. She gaped a moment, before a small smile spread across her lips.

“Of course I will.” She whispered. There was a subtle sadness to her voice, but I ignored it. I knew it was because she felt guilty for what she’d been doing behind my back. I felt no remorse as I slid the locator rune ring onto her finger and stood to my feet.

A betrayal for a betrayal...

A roar of applause broke out across the crowd once more. People began to cry, shouting out words of praise and congratulations, as Andromeda lurched forward and wrapped her arms around my shoulders.

I stared at the floor behind her as I robotically lifted my own arms and hugged her to me. Her cinnamon and citrus scent was all wrong. I felt my own eyes burning with sorrow as she pulled back and looked at me. She leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on my lips.

My dragon recoiled, hissing, but I kissed her back, playing my part. When she pulled away, I forced a smile at her, and then we turned toward the adoring crowd.

I stared at random faces, not truly seeing any of them. I dared not search for Brenya’s face, knowing it would destroy me to see the pain in her eyes.

Crowds gathered around us, offering words of kindness and wishes of happiness. Andromeda spoke to all of them with enthusiasm, showing off the ring, holding it at different angles. Every time she glanced at me I smiled, but as soon as she’d look away, my face would fall.

This party felt more like a funeral to me. My calm demeanor and fake smile became more and more difficult to maintain, but I managed, somehow.

Two hours dragged by.

I drank bourbon after bourbon as Andromeda satisfied the crowds. I never spoke to anyone, and when someone would try to approach me, the dull look in my eyes had them scurrying away before they could speak. I didn’t care.

I didn’t look for Brenya or Ronan again for the rest of the night. I kept my eyes glued to the floor, the walls, the ceiling... Anything that I wouldn’t have to interact with.

After another hour, Andromeda approached me.

“I think I will retire for the night. The flight back here was tiresome, with my injury”

I smiled at her. “Very well.”

She hesitated a moment. “Will you be... accompanying me to my chambers, tonight?”

I stilled. “Andi, you know I have a traditional mindset. I want to wait until our wedding night for that.” I said slowly.

She nodded and lowered her eyes. “I understand. I’m... I’m very shocked, Dristan. I thought you’d wait until after we’d won the war to propose to me.”

I swallowed. “Yes, that was my plan. But I felt that, with Ronan and Brenya’s union, our own engagement would serve as a beacon of hope for the people. They need it now more than ever.”

She looked up at me beneath her lashes with a small smile. “Yes, I suppose they do. I am honored to be at your side, Dristan.”

I smiled again, my cheeks feeling sore from the constant strain, and nodded once.

“Goodnight.” I said.

“Goodnight.” She repeated. She turned to walk away and I watched as she disappeared up the stairs. The crowd was beginning to dissipate as other couples left, retiring for the night.

I turned as Warrick and Torryn approached me.

“Congratulations, Dragon Lord.” Warrick said, his smile bright and warm.

I nodded at him as he clapped me on the shoulder.

My gaze fell upon Torryn and he gave me a tight, brief smile. “I am happy for you.”

It was very out of character for him and I raised my brows in surprise. “Thank you...”

“Will I see you tomorrow? We need to stretch those wings.” Warrick said, turning my attention back to him.

“I suppose.” I said un-enthusiastically.

He grinned. “Great. Goodnight, then.”

He and Torryn both disappeared up the stairs, along with another large crowd of people.

I turned around, my eyes searching for Brenya for the first time since I’d proposed to Andi. I couldn’t see her anywhere. And I couldn’t see Ronan either.

Find, Find, Find...
Her, Her, Her...

I strode across the floor, squeezing through the small crowd that was still mingling and dancing. I followed her scent and ended up at the door to the balcony. Anxiety crept up my spine.

Should I leave? No, I should make sure she is okay... I should thank Ronan for the ring and keep up appearances.

At least, that was the excuse I used for my need to be near her. I opened the door quietly and stepped onto the patio.

My dragon roared in fury at what I saw.

Ronan’s back was to me. “If you’d only give me a chance, I could show you how easy I am to love.” I heard him say.

He was standing in front of Brenya, who was pushed up against the balcony, leaning away from him as he leaned in, trying to kiss her.

“Ronan, please...” I heard her whisper as she struggled to push him off of her.

“You are mine now. You must learn to accept that.” He whispered, pulling her to him. She grunted in discomforting, trying to push him away. His grip tightened on her arm.

Reason went out the door.

Logic did not exist.

I had no thoughts in my head. Pure, animalistic instinct was all that remained as I exploded into fury. I shot across the balcony in a blur.

He had no time to react, not even a split second to realize what was happening, as my arm wrapped around his throat from behind.

I pulled him off of her, flying backward toward the far wall, and slammed his face into it with force. He grunted in surprise and pain. His cheek was pressed against the rough stone as I held his arms behind his back, my other arm still wrapped around his throat.

“Dristan!” I heard Brenya’s voice ring out, but I ignored her.

I tightened my grip on his throat and he gagged, his eyes squeezing shut.

“I should kill you right now, you repulsive, insignificant insect.” I growled into his ear, my razor sharp nails digging into his wrists.

He struggled against me, but he was no match for my physical strength. His magic was stronger than mine, but in a battle of pure strength, he was vulnerable. His lips began to turn white, his face draining of color, as he struggled to breathe.

I felt hands at my back. “Dristan, let him go!” Brenya’s panicked voice cried from behind me.

I growled, glancing at her briefly over my shoulder. She gasped and shrank back as she beheld the beast inside of my raging eyes.

Ronan wheezed, trying to speak, and I loosed my hold on his neck, snarling into his ear.

“What are you going to do, Dragon Lord?” He rasped, his mouth curling up into a strained grin. Blood stained his teeth. “Fight me in front of everyone? You’ve worked so hard to bring us all together... Will you now destroy the peace you’ve claimed to care so much about?”

I bared my teeth in anger and frustration. He was right. I glanced toward the window. Luckily, no one had noticed the scuffle. They were all still talking, laughing, and dancing...

I uncurled my arm from his throat and gripped the back of his neck, pushing his face further into the jagged wall. I brought my mouth close to his ear.

“If you ever... touch her against her will again... I will peel the flesh from your bones.” I growled menacingly.

I let go of him and pushed away from the wall, panting and shaking with rage.

He pushed off of the wall and turned toward me, spitting blood on the ground. The side of his face was cut, a trail of blood leaking down his cheek. His eyes met mine and he smiled. I wanted to cut that arrogant, smug smile off of his face with my claws.

“You should be thanking me.” He said, stepping toward me. “I delivered the ring for your whore, just as you wanted.”

“Dristan, please...” Brenya whispered from behind me. Her voice calmed me and I felt my rational senses coming back slowly.

“I meant what I said.” I stared into his eyes, my dark promise hanging in the air between us.

He cocked his head as his eyes flicked to her, and then back to me. “I was not harming her. I wouldn’t never do that.” He said, his eyes intense.

I stared at him, my dragon roaring in the back of my mind. My hands shook at my sides, desperate to wrap around his throat and tear his head from his body.

Brenya stepped forward, angled her body between us. “I-I was just telling Ronan that I wanted to wait until our wedding night... That’s all... Everything is fine, he hasn’t mistreated me.” She said, her eyes pleading.

I tore my eyes from the Fae bastard and settled them on her’s. She rose her brows in silent encouragement for me to let it go.

I sighed through my nose. “If you insist, Princess. I apologize for my violent interference.” My eyes slid back to his smug, blue orbs. “And I appreciate your help with the ring.” I added through clenched teeth.

She closed her eyes.

A moment of silence passed and Ronan and I glared at each other. His serious, dark expression finally disappeared, replaced with an easy grin.

“Such drama...” He said, stalking forward and taking Brenya’s hand in his. I suppressed a growl.

“It almost seems as though you care a little bit too much for my future wife.”

I lifted my chin, looking down my nose at him.

“It has been my duty to keep her safe. I suppose old habits die hard.” I said smoothly.

“Indeed...” He said, his eyes narrowing. “And where is your future wife?”

My jaw flexed. “She’s retired for the night.”

He smirked. “Are you certain?”

I stared at him, my lips thinning.

“Should we check?” Brenya said, her head alternating between us. “I brought the mirror...”

I rose my brows as my eyes flicked to hers.

Ronan chuckled. “This should be interesting...”

I nodded at her as she questioned me with her eyes.

She pulled her hand out of Ronan’s and fished the mirror from the cleavage of her dress. She flipped it open in her palm and held it out to me.

I met her eyes as I took it from her and smiled gently. She smiled back, her eyes warm and loving, a silent gesture of affection. It warmed my chilly veins.

I gazed into the mirror, thinking of Andromeda. Her scent, her face, the sound of her voice...

My eyes widened at the image that appeared.

Ronan leaned forward and gazed at the mirror.

“Oh, dear... That was fast. How unfortunate.” He said, his smug smile still in place.

Brenya leaned forward as well, furrowing her brows at the image, and then threw a hand over her mouth.

I stared into the mirror as shock, disbelief and a feeling of pure betrayal coursed through me.

Andromeda was in a large, dark, empty room. She was pressed up against a jagged wall... with a very familiar male between her legs. He was grunting with effort as he drove into her over and over again while she moaned in pleasure.

“Isn’t he one of your little minions?” Ronan said with thinly veiled amusement, pulling away and tucking his hands into his pockets.

I lifted my eyes to meet Brenya’s and found her own eyes swimming with horror and shock. I felt my expression growing darker as she stared at me, her eyes welling with tears.

I lowered my gaze, staring into the mirror once more. My blood turned to ice as the familiar man continued to trust himself into my betrothed.

Torryn...



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