Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 35

Dristan had gathered a group of soldiers far more quickly than I had anticipated. In total, there were ten dragon warriors with us, as well as five high Fae males that I’d never met before. All of the strangers emanated raw power. I could sense their magic, smell it, even though they weren’t using it. The rancid, sweet smell of magic that always made me wrinkle my nose, was even worse now that I was in my Fae form.

I sat atop Dristan’s dragon, at the crook of his long neck and spiked shoulders, as he flew through the chilly skies. Each time we passed through a misty cloud, my hair and clothes would dampen, causing me to shiver uncontrollably. I’d wanted to fly lower, to avoid the frigid temperatures, but the dragon’s insisted upon staying above the clouds. We had to stay out of sight.

To my left, Andromeda and Torryn flew in their dragon forms. To my right was Warrick.

Because our destination was the northern forests, which was wolf territory, we decided to bring Sylvie and Marrok along with us. They’d gained enough of Dristan’s trust that he felt confident that they wouldn’t betray us.

Sylvie rode on Warrick’s back, and Marrok rode on Torryn’s. The wolves both looked quite uncomfortable as they clung to the horns, which protruded out of the dragon’s shoulders, but they never complained. Five of the dragon warriors flew in front of us, keeping guard in case there were any threats ahead. The five Fae warriors were perched atop the other five dragon’s, as they trailed behind us to defend our flanks.

If the Fae were uncomfortable, riding on the backs of dragons, they did not show it. They rode dutifully, their faces blank and backs straight. Their eyes scanned the skies around us, their attention’s always on high alert.

I would’ve been in awe of Andi, Warrick and Torryn’s dragon forms, were I not so worried for my father. Still, despite my anxiety, I couldn’t help but glance to my sides now and then to stare at them.

Dristan’s dragon was of solid black, with hints of silver, but he was mostly colorless. I hadn’t seen such colorful dragons before. I knew that their wings had been lovely, but I hadn’t been prepared for the sight of their dragons.

Millions of glittering, purple scales, shimmered like diamonds all over Warrick’s body. The scales themselves were the darkest shade of purple, like the skin of sweet, summer time plums. But when the sunlight hit them in just the right way, I realized that they were packed with every shade of purple that could possibly exist. I’d even catch glimpses of other colors when the sun glinted off of them at the perfect angle. Brief flashes of green, yellow, and orange seemed to appear in a split second with each roll of his muscles, but they’d be instantly replaced with purple again as the light shifted over them. He was absolutely stunning. A graceful, soaring body of living, glimmering amethyst.

Torryn’s dragon reminded me of the forest. He was beautiful, yet someone dark and daunting. His emerald scales gleamed in the buttery sunlight, and as his muscles shifted with the beating of his wings, flashes of rich gold would appear throughout the shades of deep green. He was like a vast field of lush, verdant grass, littered with thousands of bright, golden daises. He was both glorious and wicked, all at once, just like nature itself.

But Andromeda’s dragon was by far the most eye catching. She was covered with vermilion scales, which sparkled like rubies beneath the sunlight. Her crimson skin was startlingly bright against the colors of the other dragon’s. The gorgeous, bright highlights of silver throughout her body made her look even more like a living precious stone, as if she belonged inside of a massive treasure chest, rather than the sky. Her huge, slitted, amber eyes gave her a menacing appearance, despite her impossible beauty. She was like a drop of blood, smeared against an ordinary, black and white painting.

We’d been flying for several hours. Every second that passed seemed like an eternity. Would we get to him in time? I pulled the mirror from between my breasts and checked it again, this time finding him hiding beneath the upturned roots of an overturned tree. I could tell that he was trying to sleep, but the furrow of his brow, and the sweat covering his body, told me that his injuries were causing him too much pain to do so.

I leaned forward, laying my torso against the length of Dristan’s neck. I gently wrapped my arms around the sides of his throat, and rested my palms against his Dragon’s massive jawline. “We have to move faster, Dristan.” I whispered, knowing he could hear me.

I felt his answering grunt rumbling through his body beneath me, reverberating into my bones. He let out a sharp, shrill cry, and as he did, he and the other dragons began moving even faster. I clung to him tightly, my eyes widening, as we shot through the sky.

I turned to the side, locking eyes with Marrok, who looked just as terrified as I was, as his legs clamped tightly to Torryn’s sides. “How much further?!” I shouted out to him. My voice was nearly lost to the roaring of the wind around us.

“Thirty minutes!” He answered, cupping his hand around his mouth so his voice would reach me.

I glanced down. All I could see was white mist. “How can you tell?!” I shouted back.

He tapped the end of his nose with his index finger. “I can smell it!” He yelled.

I furrowed my brows. How could he possibly smell the forest from all the way up here? Curious, I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply through my nose. The clean scent of the damp skies filled my senses, along with Dristan’s pine needle and earthy scent. I inhaled again.

This time, I detected something else. It was so faint, so subtle, I hardly noticed it. But somewhere, I could smell trees, and rock, and something else... Fur? Animals, perhaps. As the minutes dragged by, the scent became more noticeable.

I counted to one thousand in my mind, clinging to my mate’s dragon form all the while, as I focused on breathing in and out. Soon. We’d get to him soon...

Finally, we began to descend.

Lower, and lower we glided, until we broke through the mist of the clouds. I huffed out a breath of relief as the ground came into view, and I realized we had indeed finally reached the northern forests. Miles and miles of nothing but trees stretched in every direction below us.

We leveled out, about two hundred feet above the canopies, and drifted smoothly through the air. I inhaled again, letting my lungs fill with as much oxygen as I could manage, trying to pick up the slightest scent of my father. I would know his scent anywhere.

But all I could smell was forest, and fur, and decay.

“Keep going!” I shouted, my eyes searching the vast expanses of green.

Where are you, where are you, where are you....

Ten minutes passed with no changes. He could be anywhere in this forest. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack. How would we ever find him?

Just as I began to lose hope, a new scent intruded my senses. A scent that made my gut turn over, and the hair on my arms stand on end.


My eyes shifted back and fourth between Marrok and Sylvie. Both of their eyes were wide, their mouths set into thin lines.

They could smell it, too.

And then, my unease grew even more unsettling. The scent of crisp cedar, paint, and hickory smoke tickled my nose. My father’s scent. I’d almost missed it. It was nearly undetectable, beneath the thick layers of blood.

“He’s here!” I shouted, pointing down toward the tops of the trees. “He’s hurt! Go, Dristan, go now!”

Dristan barked out a shriek, and I held on tight as he nose dived toward the forest floor below us. I gasped in surprise, my stomach rising into my throat, as the weightlessness lifted my insides. I squeezed my eyes shut as the cries of the other dragons sounded around me.

We broke through the treetops, and shadows danced in front of my closed lids as the sun disappeared. The scents of the forest grew stronger, along with the scent of my father and his blood. And something else... Like a wet dog, but more intense.

Filth, and moisture, and death.

As Dristan landed on the forest floor, the force of the impact traveled through his body, rippling up, through my bones. I nearly fell off of him trying to keep my balance. Loud thudding thundered around us as the other dragons landed.

I lept off of the Dragon Lord’s back without a second thought. I rolled on my shoulder, and then righted myself, before taking off into a full on sprint through the trees. It should’ve hurt, but my new body was strong. My legs should’ve barked at the force I was using to propel myself through the forest, but they carried me effortlessly.

“Brenya, stop!” Dristan’s voice commanded from far behind me. I hadn’t seen him shift back, but it didn’t matter.

My father was out here. Bleeding. Hurt. In danger. I most certainly would not stop. I was going to find him, before something else did.

If it hadn’t, already...

I kept running, ducking beneath branches, leaping over upturned stones and roots, twirling around tree stumps. Every detail of the forest was sharpened through my new eyes. And I was fast. The world was a blur of green and brown around me as I flew through the trees, hyper aware of every obstacle in my path.

My breaths came deep and even. My feet were sure and agile. My legs were strong and swift. I was not afraid of this forest, or anything that hid inside of it. Not anymore. It was me, now, that the forest’s inhabitants should fear.

For I was no longer a flea on it’s back. No... I was a part of it.

Several sets of footsteps sounded behind me as my comrades ran in my wake. I didn’t slow down. “Brenya, wait!” Warrick’s voice echoed.

I pushed harder. I urged my legs on, pumping them faster, pushing my toes deeper into the earth as I propelled myself forward, surging toward the scent of my father like a flying arrow. I wasn’t sure that I was even visible as I breezed through the forest.

“She’s too fast!” I heard Torryn yell.

“We’ll need to fly to catch up!” Andi shouted.

“No, the trees are too close together! Just run!” Warrick answered.

“Damnit, Brenya, you don’t know what’s out there! Stop!” Dristan growled, his voice closer than the other’s had been. He was faster than the others, but not faster than me.

My father’s scent grew stronger. And so did the smell of wet fur, and blood, and magic.

I broke through a treeline, leaping over a boulder, and then stopped dead in my tracks. My fists balled at my sides as I beheld the sight before me. I bared my teeth as I realized exactly what I was looking at, and a low, guttural growl escaped my lips.

I was in a large clearing.

My father was on his knees, facing a large, bloodstained tree. His torso was pressed against the rough bark, his body bound to it with thick rope. His arms were stretched above his head, his wrists also bound and tied around the massive tree trunk.

Bright, crimson blood trickled down his ruined back, pooling around his knees, as he sagged against the tree, limp and unconscious.

A large group of wolf Chimera turned to face me, their sharp teeth glistening, their ears flattened against their skulls, as they realized an intruder was amongst them. My eyes darted around, counting them, pinpointing their positions.

There were five males surrounding the tree my father was strapped to. They held sharp, curved knives in their clawed hands, which dripped with his blood.

There were more of them, scattered around the treeline, some hidden behind rocks, or vines. I glanced up and realized that there were several more of them perched among the trees.

Ten, twenty, thirty...

I couldn’t count them all.

We were outnumbered. Badly.

The largest male stepped forward, a cruel smile spreading across his face, as his eyes traveled up and down the length of my body. A trickle of fear went down my spine as I strained my neck back, looking up into his eyes. He was fiercely handsome, and quite possibly the largest male I’d ever seen.

He was pure, tanned muscle. His skin was flecked with silver, crescent shaped scars. Bite marks... There was a long, jagged scar on the left side of his face, which drew in my gaze. It began at the top of his forehead, dragging down through his eye, and ended near his jawline. The eye that the scar marred was completely gray and glazed over.

His other eye was of blackest night, and glittered with violent intent. His wavy, chin length hair, matched the color of his good eye. His lips were full, and a smatter of salt and pepper hair covered his sharp jawline.

“Well, well, well... Who do we have here?” He said darkly.

I hissed, planting a foot behind myself, and crouched forward, ready to lunge for his throat.

His brows rose. “That’s not a very nice greeting, youngling. And certainly no way to greet the leader of a wolf pack.” He grinned, wiping the blood from his blade onto his pants.

I bristled, flashing my teeth again. A wave of deep growling erupted from all around me, warning me to stand down. I would do no such thing.

“Let. Him. Go.” I hissed through clenched teeth.

He chuckled. “First she disrespects me in front of my pack. Now she’s defending a human. It seems that this youngling wishes to die today.”

The treeline behind me rustled, and his eyes widened as they flicked over my shoulder. I felt the warmth of my companion’s bodies as they came to my sides, and didn’t bother to look away from the pack leader’s face.

Dristan moved to stand in front of me, but I grabbed his wrist, keeping him at my side. I wouldn’t let him defend me. I was not weak. I was not a fragile, little human girl. Not anymore.

The wolves stood their ground as I was flanked by Andi, Torryn, and Warrick. I glanced to the side and realized that the other Fae warriors were standing further back, still hidden in the shadows of the treeline. I did not know where the other ten dragons were, but I had a feeling they weren’t far off.

“What the fuck is this?” The pack leader hissed, taking a threatening step forward.

Dristan’s wings flared behind his back as a deep growl crawled up his throat. The pack leader froze, his eyes widening the slightest bit.

“Dragons?” He whispered. A touch of fear flashed across his face, but it was immediately replaced with an easy grin.

“I thought you were all dead.” He murmured, his eyes scanning the five of us slowly. His gaze settled back on me and his eyes narrowed. “And a Fae... Interesting.”

“Let the human go.” Dristan said smoothly, his tone laced with dark promise. He didn’t need to raise his voice to sound authoritative or intimidating.

Laughter erupted from around us. The wolf leader smiled, glaring at my mate from beneath lowered brows.

“I don’t follow orders. I give them.” He growled.

I stepped forward, pulling on a mask of calm, despite my growing fear. “We don’t wish to kill you, or your pack. But we will, if you do not stand aside.” I said, my voice strong and unwavering.

He chuckled darkly, rubbing the stubble on his chin. The four male wolves came to his sides, ready to attack on his command. They looked as if they were wishing for it, their eyes crazed with blood lust and carnal instinct.

“Why, pray tell, would I ever want to do that? Do you think we are afraid of you? You are in my forest. You have no power here.” He mused.

More laughter echoed through the trees around us, along with growling and snarling. The hair on my arms stood on end, but I held my mask of calm in it’s place.

“Fire cannot kill wolves... But I wonder, do you think your fur would ever grow back, once it’s been torched to ash?” I asked sweetly, the corner of my lip curling upward.

Torryn, Warrick, and Andi all snarled in unison, their wings flaring and stretching outward. The dark claws at the ends of their fingertips lengthened, eager and ready to sink into soft flesh.

The pack leader’s smile fell a fraction. “Why are you defending this worthless human, anyway? I find it quite... unsettling.”

“It’s none of your concern, dog.” Dristan growled, his hands balling into fists at his sides.

“Oh, I think it is. I think you’d best tell me, right now, or I’ll cut off his gods damned head while you and your friends watch.”

A familiar voice sounded from behind me. “Father, do as they say.” Sylvie said, stepping through the trees. She walked around me, and planted herself in my path. Shielding me from the wolf leader, who was apparently her, and Marrok’s, father.

“Sylvie?! What the fuck-Where the fuck have you been?!” He snarled, taking three, long steps toward her...

Toward me.

Dristan snarled fiercely, grabbing me by the arm and shoving me behind his back. His wings flared, hiding me from view. “Don’t take another fucking step!” He warned. His body shook and glowed with a soft, subtle hue of gold. He was close to losing control, close to shifting and burning this entire pack to charcoal.

I pulled at his grip, annoyed at his over-protectiveness, but he snarled again and shot me an icy glare over his muscled shoulder. I stopped struggling, but scowled back at him. He faced forward again, keeping me shielded, his grip tight on my upper arm.

Marrok appeared next, and the wide eyes of the pack leader followed him, as he walked to Sylvie’s side. “Do as they say.” Marrok said boldly.

“I’ve been searching for you two for weeks... And now here you are... And you’re siding with these lot, instead of your own pack!? What the fuck did these bastards do to you?! Where is Kale?!”

“Kale is dead.” Sylvie said, lifting her chin.

Silence fell across the pack as the leader stared at his daughter.

“Who killed him?” He asked darkly.

Her eyes shifted to the side, settling briefly on Dristan, before she looked back to her father. The pack leaders eyes flicked to Dristan, and then back at her.

“Impossible. How? Fire cannot kill a wolf!”

“All that matters is that he did it. And he can kill all of you, too, if you don’t stand down. Please... Listen to me, father. These people are not our enemies. They have not wronged me, or Marrok. They want to help us.”

Silence followed... And then the wolf leader broke out in sinister laughter. The rest of the pack joined in, some of them dropping down from the trees, and crouching in defense near their leader.

“They’ve turned your brain to dust!”

“No, if you’d just listen-” Marrok tried, but he was interrupted.

“I will not listen to the blabbering of traitorous fools! Move aside, or die along with your new pack!”

“Father, please-” Sylvie said, a sob escaping her throat. Tears began streaming down her cheeks.

“You are no kin of mine.” He answered, his cruel eyes void of emotion.

He turned to Dristan, his grin returning. “I’m going to enjoy peeling the flesh from your bones.” Then his eyes slid to mine. “Then I’m going to bind your bitch and keep her as a pet. It’ll be nice to have something new to play with... Something to beat and fuck, whenever and however I please.”

The forest around me detonated. A furious roar filled my ears and a flash of bright, golden light blinded me.

I flew backward as an unseen force hurled me out of the way. My back slammed into a tree, followed by my head. I heard the crack of my skull bouncing against the hard surface, and I waited for the pain.

It should’ve sent sparks of agony through my body, should’ve knocked the wind out of me... But I might as well have been thrown against a giant pillow. Instinct took over, and I jumped to my feet, blinking hard, as my eyes tried to see past the temporary blindness that the light had caused them.

A split second later, I realized that two of the Fae warriors were at my sides, both facing the scene before us, with lifted swords. Their swords looked similar to Dristan’s, made of iron, with a glowing, purple core.

Nightbane... And I would’ve bet my life that there was silver inside of them.

My eyes scanned the battle before me, and dread bubbled up inside of my gut as I watched. I thought it was Dristan, who had shifted, but I now realized I’d been wrong.

Andromeda’s blood red dragon was crouched near the treeline we’d come from. The three other Fae warriors stood on her back. Their hands were glowing with bright, multi colored light, which they shot toward random wolves in illuminated spears.

The pack was no longer in their human form. Giant, bi-pedal wolf creatures had taken their place. The wet dog stench of the creatures had grown twice as strong, and I had to cover my nose to ease the sting of it in my nostrils.

Bright beams of light shot out of the Fae warrior’s palms, colliding with wolves in every direction. Upon impact, some of the lights seemed to paralyze the wolves, while others sent them flying. Some of the wolves even dropped to their knees, screaming in agony as they clawed at some kind of invisible pain in their heads.

I gasped in fear as two wolves ran straight for Andromeda’s face. Their clawed paws were aimed at her amber irises, ready to dig her eyes from her skull. But in a flash, the dragon’s head snapped forward, her teeth crunching down through fur, and skin, and bone, as she bit one of the wolves legs clean off.

The wolf howled in torment as the dragon tilted her head back, and swallowed his legs whole. The other wolf backed away, his ears flat against his head.

But she was too quick. She lunged again, taking the second wolf’s head. His body fell to the ground, twitching and convulsing against the earth, which was now damp with his blood. And when his headless body stood again, and began running around blindly, I gagged.

I spotted Warrick next, who was slashing his sword through wolf, after wolf, as they charged toward him. He darted around them, between them, sidestepping each of their attempts to strike him. His dance of death seemed effortless as each of his opponents were struck down with ease.

Next, I found Torryn. He was on the other side of the clearing, defending Sylvie and Marrok, as numerous wolves attacked him. Sylvie was bawling in anguish, her face crumpled with despair, as Marrok held her to his chest. Fighting their own kind would’ve been too much for them... I felt a softness for Torryn as I realized that this was exactly why he was doing it for them.

Protecting them... Not only from the attack, but from the pain of being forced to kill their own kind.

Towards the center of the clearing, I found Dristan, and what I assumed to be the pack leader, circling each other. It had to be him... He was the biggest wolf I’d seen so far.

He towered over my mate, his dagger like teeth dripping with saliva. Other wolves tried to join in, but the leader growled at them, sending them scampering away. He wanted to fight Dristan himself.

I felt an almost overpowering need to run to him, to throw myself in front of him, to protect my mate with my life. But a small voice in the back of my mind told me not to. He was protecting me. He was protecting all of us. The last thing he would want would be for me to get near him while he fought to keep me safe.

And there was someone else I had to think of...

My father.

My eyes found the tree that my father was bound to, and I nearly broke down in tears as I scanned his bloody, unconscious face. There was a clear path from me to the tree. It wouldn’t last long. I took the chance while I could, and bolted.

The two Fae males followed me, one at my side, the other flanking me, guarding my exposed back.

I reached the tree in five seconds flat, and fell to my knees beside my father’s limp form. I was vaguely aware of the clashing of swords and snapping of teeth behind me, but I didn’t care. My attention was zeroed in on my father.

I lifted a shaking hand and reached toward his ruined back, but paused as I realized I probably shouldn’t touch him. His skin was flayed, strips of it hanging loosely down his back. I could see bits of white bone peeking through the ripped muscles and tendons of his mutilated body.

He was so still... So small looking... So...


He wasn’t breathing. I shook my head and reached out my hand, resting the back of my fingers against his cheek. He was cold. His face was void of color, and his lips were white.


Dead. My father was dead.

I was too late. They’d sliced his back apart, like a slab of meat... Like an animal... And they’d watched him bleed out.

He’d been alone. Terrified, and alone.

And I’d been too late.

A trembling sob escaped my lips. I leaned forward and hugged him, not caring that his blood, still warm, was soaking into my clothes. I sobbed against him, and as I finally pulled back. My stomach quivered as I stared wide eyed at what they’d done to him, and the reality of it set in. Tears pricked my eyes and stained my face as they rolled off of my cheeks. I couldn’t breathe.

I threw my head to the side and vomited. The acidic contents of my stomach burned the back of my throat and left a disgusting taste in my mouth. I wiped my lips with the back of my sleeve as I turned back to my father’s corpse, my chest heaving.

The cold, hard, shocking weight of my despair began to evolve as I stared at him. Searing, burning, crimson rage began to take its place.

My breath came even more quickly as I clenched my teeth, growling through them in fury. My hands, planted on the ground in front of me, balled into fists, clutching handfuls of mud, and rock, and grass as they did.

The pack leader would pay for this.

I stood slowly, bracing myself on steady legs, as I turned toward the tangle of wolves, dragons and Fae. I realized then that two dragon warriors had joined in. They were perched high in a tree above us. The others circled the skies, watching and waiting for when the were needed.

The yellow colored dragon in the tree opened its enormous mouth, its razor sharp teeth gleaming, and let out a blast of raging fire.

The blaze cut through the center of the clearing, scorching several wolves as it did, burning the fur off of their bodies. They screamed and howled in pain as they fell to the ground, rolling around, trying to put out the flames.

More of them kept pouring through the treeline. More and more and more. How many wolves could possibly reside in this forest? How long could we fight them off?

It didn’t matter. He would still pay for what he’d done. Even if it killed me, he’d pay.

The burning rage inside of me overtook every other thought in my mind as my eyes locked onto the pack leader. His wolf was limping as Dristan stalked toward him. When I noticed the bloody gash in the side of Dristan’s cheek, the rage fully consumed whatever small sliver of rational thought that I had left.

I stalked forward, and as the two Fae warriors behind me tried to stop me, I simply waved a hand at them. They flew backward, both of their bodies pinned against two separate trees. I didn’t know how I’d done it. I didn’t really care.

I moved closer to the dueling leaders, both unaware of my approach, both too caught up in their scuffle.

Three wolves came at me.

I flicked my wrist.

They flew away.

I was only a few feet away from them now.

Dristan slashed at the pack leader with his sword, effectively cutting him across his broad, furry chest. He cried out in pain and I bared my teeth.

No... I wanted to kill him. I wanted to be the one to make him scream. He was mine.

The pack leader stumbled backward, tripping over an upturned root, and as Dristan reared back for the killing blow, I shot out a hand.

A pulse of bright, blue light exploded outward from my body. It shot out in a wave of power, followed by a blast of ice cold wind.

Dristan froze, his sword half lifted.

Everyone else froze, too.

Dristan’s eyes flicked over the wolf’s shoulder, landing on me, and they widened in disbelief. I could see the whites of his eyes. The level of shock and horror that I saw, building inside of his eyes, was unlike anything I’d seen in them before.

He wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at whatever it was that I’d become. And whatever I looked like, whatever he saw of me... It scared him.

I didn’t care.

All I felt was rage.

I turned my head slowly, my eyes scanning the strange scene around me. I looked to the right... to the left... Behind me.. Above me... No one moved a muscle.

Even the massive dragons in the tree were frozen. A line of fire, which had just started to emerge from the yellow dragon’s mouth, slowly went out, like a candle, as I gazed up at his immobile form.

I held out my hands, still clutched into fists, and lowered my eyes to them. I still held the handfuls of mud, grass and stone. Dirt was caked beneath my fingernails.

As I felt the earth between my fingers, a foreign, yet somehow familiar, sensation came over me. It was just like the one I’d felt earlier, when I was running through the trees.

It was a feeling of belonging. A feeling of adherence, of oneness. I wasn’t just holding the earth in my hands. I was the earth in my hands. And the earth was me. We were the same, and we always had been.

I wasn’t standing in the forest right now. I was the forest. Mud, and minerals, and greenery... It ran through my veins, like the streams within the forest. We were both such similar networks of consciousness, both ancient and powerful and sacred.

The earth was a living thing, a breathing entity, and I was it’s spirit. Just as I was a living, breathing thing... And the forest was my soul.

I opened my fists, palms facing up. The earth in my hands crumbled, and with my instincts guiding me, I knew what to do.

We were one.

The earth in my hands, beneath my feet, all around me, was an extension of me. And knowing this, I willed it to do as I wished.

I was an elemental.

I was the earth.

The flames.

The wind.

And the sea.

I lifted my eyes to the pack leader’s back and a small smile spread across my lips.

Mine. He was all mine.

I threw my hands above my head, and the earth beneath my feet rumbled in response. A deafening crack sounded as the ground shook, and split, rearranging itself to bend to my will.

The dirt, grass, leaves and mud grew into mounds all around me, and they moved like living creatures, toward their targets. As the undulating lumps of earth slithered along the ground, the trees swayed above me, as if they were praising my power and urging me onward.

I mentally directed the mounds of earth, assigning one to each and every wolf in the vicinity. They moved toward their targets, growing in size, stretching in height, as they rose up and around the legs of each wolf.

The mounds grew higher, snaking up to their thighs. Higher, and higher they went, enveloping their chests, their necks... Until only their faces remained uncovered. It looked as though I were surrounded by several, standing sarcophagus’.

I squeezed my fists, and the earth around the wolves bodies tightened, squeezing them harder, and harder, until I heard several bones snapping beneath the pressure.

I knew they wanted to cry out in pain. But they couldn’t. I wouldn’t give them the relief. More bones cracked.

The sickening sounds echoed off of the trees and I smiled as I felt the wicked glee of blood lust growing inside of me. A small part of me resisted, knowing it was horrible and monstrous, but I was too far gone to care.

I strolled forward, walking around the earth bound body of the pack leader, and planted myself in front of him. Dristan stood, still frozen behind me, as I gazed up into the wolf’s wide, frantic eyes.

His eyes shifted back and fourth between my own as I lifted my hand, and summoned a large sphere of suspended dirt into my palm. It rotated slowly, hovering on a phantom wind in my hand, as I glared at him.

“I warned you. I gave you the chance to do the right thing. I told you I didn’t want to kill you, or your people.” I gazed around at the still bodies. “You’ve led these people to a life of senseless violence and hate, just like the human king has done to his own people. You’ve raised your pack to kill humans, and anything else that steps into your path.” I returned my gaze to his face. “You’re evil.”

I bent my fingers, and the sphere of dirt transformed. It wasn’t a sphere anymore. It was a long line of floating earth, snaking around the length of my arm. I twisted my fingers, and the line separated into two. And when I smiled... The two lines shot straight for the wolf’s nose, into his nostrils, and plunged deep into his windpipe.

I unfroze his wolf’s face, wanting to see the expression of discomfort on it as I suffocated him. I wanted to hear his screams of agony as he was smothered.

“You said that this was your forest. But you don’t seem to understand that the earth cannot be owned. You have to bond with it, you see...”

He gagged as his eyes bulged out of his head. he thrashed his head from side to side as he struggled to get away, to escape the unrelenting earth that continued to plunge deep into his lungs.

“Perhaps I could’ve helped you change... I could’ve made you a better leader, a better man... But you made a huge mistake, dog.” I said, tightening the molding of earth around his body. His bones cracked beneath it.

“You butchered my father.”

He screamed and gasped for breath. I added more rubble into his airway, shoving it into his open mouth and down his throat, clogging his windpipe with stones and mud and leaves.

“P-Pl” The wolf gagged and coughed around the dirt, the corners of his mouth and nostrils caked with mud. “Plea-Please! St-stop!”

I tutted my tongue at him. “Tsk, tsk, tsk... Oh, no... You see, Queens do not follow orders. They give them...”

I added more, willing clumps of grass, still attached to their roots, down his throat. Stones the size of my fist battered against his face, trying to force their way into his mouth. They couldn’t fit, so they beat themselves against his teeth, his nose, his eyes, again and again, until blood began to pour down his chin.

I waited until he was about to lose consciousness. Then I pulled the elements away, allowing him to breathe for a short moment. I waited for him to catch his breath. Then I started over again. He would suffer for what he’d done. He would die slowly. Painfully.

I repeated this process for several, long minutes.

And when I was finally satisfied... When his swollen, blackened eyes begged for me to end it... I turned around, and took the sword out of Dristan’s hand.

I didn’t meet his eyes. I didn’t want to see what was swimming inside of them. It would only distract me from the task at hand. I didn’t want him to diffuse my rage. So I didn’t look...

Instead, I turned... And slowly, I sank the blade through the thick layer of earth surrounding the pack leader’s body. I pushed through earth, and then flesh, and then bone, with exaggerated slowness... And only when I felt the blade pierce his heart, did I still.

A tear slipped down my cheek. “I hope you burn in hell for all eternity.”

I stared into his eyes as the light inside of them faded away.

And the pack leader was dead.

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