Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 36



(Dristan’s POV)

Frozen. Stuck. Helpless.

I was rendered completely and utterly fucking helpless. I couldn’t even speak.

If I had been able to speak, I would’ve been able to stop her. I would’ve been able to warn her of the danger she was unknowingly putting herself in. Why... Fucking hell, why hadn’t I mentioned this to her before?! But how was I to know? No, I couldn’t have known... No one could’ve known just how powerful she was. It was too much.

Too much magic.

Too much power.

She was going to drain herself.

And I couldn’t even warn her.

Helpless.

No, no, no...
Stop, stop, stop...
Danger, danger, danger...

My dragon begged, inside of my mind, for me to intervene. To do something, anything. But even he knew that we could do nothing. Nothing, besides watch in silent horror, as our mate unknowingly drained herself dry.

All magic had limits. We magical beings had a deep well of it inside of us, a well of magical power, but that well had a bottom. And when you took too much out at once, if you drained that well too quickly... It could potentially kill the user. It was the only other way we could die, aside from silver.

I should’ve fucking told her...

This is all my fault...

I watched, in motionless quietude, as she pulled my sword out of the pack leader’s bloody chest. The sword fell to the ground with a dull thud, at the same moment that she let go of her hold on the power she’d been using to keep everyone motionless.

As the cocoons of earth instantly crumbled away from the frozen wolves, their pained, piercing cries suddenly filled the air. Several of them collapsed to the ground, holding their arms to their chests in agony, as they gasped for air. She’d broken many of their bones, but I did not know how long we would have before they healed. Before they attacked.

I sucked in a lungful of air as I was released from her magic, and I stumbled forward, momentarily stunned by the sudden reanimation of my body.

“Brenya!” I gasped, tripping toward her on unsteady legs, my arms outreached. She moved to face me, but she stumbled, falling to the side, as her strength was sapped.

“Dristan...?” She whispered, her brows furrowing.

And then her body went limp.

I lunged as she fell, catching her in my arms just before her body could collide with the ground. Desperately, I pushed her wild hair out of her face. My breath was erratic, my blood pounding in my veins, as I searched her pale face.

Her mouth was slack, her skin pasty and cold. “No, no, Brenya... Stay with me, baby.” Her eyes rolled back into her head as her body began to convulse within the confines of my arms. “Brenya!” I shouted, knowing she couldn’t hear me. My eyes widened, my horror growing impossibly larger, as blood began to seep out of her nose and ears.

Mate, mate, mate...
Danger, danger, danger...
Dying, dying, dying...

“No, shut up, shut the fuck up! She’s fine, she’s going to be fine...” I argued internally, my panic growing.

Warrick was suddenly there, his arm on my shoulder. He bent down on one knee beside me, staring down at my mate with worry in his onyx eyes. I glanced around, cradling my mate to my chest, as I assessed the potential threats surrounding me.

The majority of the wolves were still on the ground, groaning in pain. Some were on their feet, staring in stunned silence at the body of their former pack leader. I had about a minute, maybe two, before they’d fully recover.

My eyes found Sylvie and Marrok, who were both staring at me from across the clearing, with wide, wary eyes. Sylvie studied Brenya’s limp form in my arms, and her ears drooped as she realized what was happening. Silent tears fell down her cheeks.

Marrok’s pale eyes shifted between me and the moaning wolves on the ground, his expression alert and feral, his ears flat against his skull

Marrok’s pale eyes shifted between me and the moaning wolves on the ground, his expression alert and feral, his ears flat against his skull.

I saw movement in my peripheral vision, and I glanced to the side. I realized instantly that it was Andromeda. She had had shifted back into her natural form. She rushed to Torryn’s side as he stalked toward me. They stopped a few feet in front of me, facing the wolves, both of them now defending my vulnerable position.

I winced as Andi fell forward, bracing her hands on the earth, and began to vomit. Torryn guarded her as she expelled the contents of her stomach. Clotted blood, fur, and bone fragments spewed out of her mouth. She gagged and choked as the large clumps of flesh forced themselves out of her.

Her dragon must’ve gotten a few bites out of some of the wolves. I felt sympathy for her as she groaned. I’d been through the same process, and it was not pleasant.

“What the fuck happened?” Warrick whispered to my right. “How did she... Gods above, I’ve never seen anyone immobilize more than three people at a time! How can she hold so much power?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know!” I hissed, wiping at the blood on her face. It began to trickle out of her mouth, and she started to choke on it. I rolled her onto her side, my hands trembling. Her seizing lessened, and she went completely still against me.

She was breathing. The blood stopped flowing from her nose and I sighed in relief. She would live...

“I’ve never seen anything like this...” I whispered.

“Neither have I... Gods, didn’t she know the risk of using that much magic at once?” He asked, glancing around at the wolves.

I didn’t answer as I stared into her vacant, sleeping face. Guilt crashed over me in a dark, suffocating wave.

He huffed. “Dristan... You warned her of the dangers of using her power, didn’t you?.” He asked in disapproval.

“Enough!” I snarled, whipping my face toward him. He winced. “Now is not the time for banter. We need to get her the fuck out of here, before-”

“She killed our leader! She killed Talon!” One of the wolves cried, limping to his feet. Some of the wolves were in their human forms, while others remained in beast form.

Several, mournful howls filled the air as more of the wolves rose to their feet, their eyes falling on the bloody corpse of their leader. More shouting and growling filled the forest as the seconds ticked by. Some even began to weep.

“Murderer!”

“What has she done?!”

“Pack master!”

Torryn growled, raising his sword in warning. “He spilled blood first. He killed her father. We gave you all a chance to retreat!”

Her father was dead? I knew he’d been hurt, but dead? My gaze shifted toward the tree, my eyes zeroing in on his limp, bloody form. He wasn’t moving. I couldn’t even detect the subtle rising and falling of his breath. He was dead... That was why Brenya had lost herself. She’d been overwhelmed with rage and grief...

I turned to Warrick. “You must take her, Warrick. Take her back to the Aviary, keep her safe. Take her to the healer as fast as the wind can carry you.”

His eyes shimmered through the dimness. “What of you? I can’t leave you all behind.”

I bared my teeth. “I must deal with this mess. We will hold our own, but I cannot concentrate on what I need to do when I am worried about keeping her safe.” I murmured in a low tone.

He hesitated, his brows drawing together. He did not want to abandon me.

“You are the only one I trust fully with my mate’s life. We’re out of time. Take her, now. That is an order, Warrick.”

He nodded swiftly. I tried to suppress the growl of instinctual rage as he took her from my arms, but I failed. I snarled fiercely. I managed not to attack him. I was holding on by a thread. Warrick cradled her in his arms as he eyed me with doubt.

“Now, gods damn it. GO!” I roared, standing to my feet.

My body trembled as he backed away. His lips formed a thin line as resolve solidified in his eyes. Now he understood... My dragon was resisting my decision, but Warrick and I both knew it was the smartest move.

I nodded at him again, encouraging him to hurry. I did not know how long I could contain my dragon’s fury as I watched him cradle her in his arms. Watching another male touch her went against every instinct in my body.

No, no, no...
Brenya, Brenya, Brenya...
Mine, mine, mine...

My dragon could not understand what I was doing. I was the rational one, the one who had to make the impossible decisions, while he operated on instinct alone. He couldn’t see that I had to send her away, that I had to separate myself from her in order to keep us both alive.

“I will protect her with my life.” Warrick said sternly. Without another word, he shot into the sky.

Anguish cascaded over me as I felt her presence fading away, along with his shadow. I turned back toward the wolves, growling in anger and frustration, and scooped my sword up from the dirt.

“You’ve not had enough, then, dogs?” I hissed, coming to Torryn’s side.

The wolves barked aggressively as they lifted their eyes from their dead leader and glared at me with hatred. This fight was far from over.

“Wait!” Marrok suddenly bellowed, stepping forward. Sylvie watched from behind him with shock in her eyes. I ground my teeth as the wolves snarled at him.

“You have no right to speak here! You have sided with our enemies, the ones who have killed our pack master!” One of the larger males growled.

“I have every right to speak! I am the son of the pack master! And with his death, I claim the role of Alpha!”

Silence settled across the group. I waited, my eyes shifting anxiously between Marrok, and the group of livid wolves.

“He’s right.” Sylvie said, stepping forward. “Marrok is the rightful Alpha. By law, he is the new pack master.”

“Traitors will not lead this pack!” The unknown male said again.

Marrok chuckled darkly, crouching forward slightly in an intimidating display. “Then who will challenge me... You?”

A beat of silence.

And then the male crouched forward, matching Marrok’s aggressive stance. The two males began to circle each other, and a wide, ferocious grin spread across Marrok’s face.

The group of wolves began to back away, forming a wide circle around the two males. Whooping, howling and yapping erupted from the crowd. The pack was eager for the match that was about to take place. Such feral creatures, these wolves... Always craving bloodshed.

I took a few steps back as well, my sword still raised. Andi and Torryn followed, as well as the five Fae warriors behind us. The dragons, who’d been perched in the trees, were now nowhere to be seen. They were probably flying above, scouting. Waiting...

Marrok was the tallest among the males here. That was a physical advantage. He was lean, and strong, but the male opposing him was packed with muscle. I wasn’t sure if he’d win.

I’d seen Marrok spar before, but I did not know weather or not he could actually fight when it came down to it. Anxiety grew more evident in my chest as I watched the males circle each other.

If Marrok did not win... If he could not convince the pack to stand down... We were in for one hell of a fight. And with Warrick gone, we were at a disadvantage. We wouldn’t lose, of that I was sure. But there could still be casualties.

The male lunged first, his fist barely missing Marrok’s face as he ducked out of the way. Marrok growled and then faked left. As the male went to defend himself, Marrok switched, and lashed out with his right fist. A direct hit to the male’s jaw.

The wolf stumbled to the side, blood spraying out of his mouth, and Marrok took the momentary distraction as an opportunity to tackle him to the ground. They crashed to the forest floor, both grunting and snarling with agression. Marrok reared back, throwing his fist into the male’s face a second time.

A third.

The sound of crunching bones echoed through the woods.

The wolf struggled beneath him, bucking wildly, kicking his legs, trying to throw Marrok off of him. He struggled to hit back, but Marrok shifted forward, pinning the wolf’s arms beneath his knees. Marrok punched him again. The dull thud reverberated through the trees.

“Get off me you piece of shit!” The male roared as blood poured our of his broken nose. He spat in Marrok’s face, extracting a fearsome snarl from his lips in response.

“You’re pitiful.” Marrok hissed, punching him again. “This pack will never follow someone as weak as you. Submit!”

The male groaned in pain... And then he began to shift. I could hear the bones cracking, rearranging, as his beast form rose to the surface. People began to shout out their disapproval.

“No shifting!”

“Cheater!”

“Fucking coward!”

Marrok jumped off of the male, rolling away from the emerging wolf. His own bones began to snap and reform beneath his skin, and I realized that the fight was not over. The shift did not take long. I blinked twice, and then they were both in full wolf form.

Marrok’s wolf towered over the male, and I could see now why the other’s had been hesitant to challenge him. The dominance of Marrok’s wolf was undeniable. He was the embodiment of what an Alpha should be.

He was at least ten feet tall. His teeth were as thick as my thumbs, his beast’s body rippled with raw muscle. He leaned forward and roared in animalistic fury.

A wave of power pulsed out of Marrok, and even I could feel the effect of his Alpha influence. And as Marrok’s wave of dominance washed over the pack... All of the wolves suddenly fell to the ground, shaking and whining in fear and submission.

The other wolf backed away, his ears flattening against his skull. His tail lowered, tucking slightly between his legs, as he strained his neck back to stare up at his opponent.

But still, he did not submit.

Marrok lunged forward, his teeth snapping at the male’s neck. He bit down hard, drawing blood, and the male howled in pain. He fell to the ground.

The force of the fall sent vibrations through the forest floor and it ricocheted up my legs. From his position on the ground, the wolf tried to lash out at Marrok’s leg. He was rewarded with a direct kick to the face.

I could hear the bones in his snout cracking beneath the force of the blow, and the wolf yelped in pained torment.

This time, he did not fight back. He rolled onto his back, exposing his belly to Marrok, and let out a long whine of surrender.

Marrok had won.

Andi, Torryn and I watched in tense silence as the battle for dominance ended, and Marrok was accepted as the new pack leader. We did not intervene, or speak at all, while the scene before us unfolded.

We waited... We watched... We observed...

The wolves were hesitant at first, but as no one wanted to challenge Marrok, they had no choice but to fall in line. It was just the way that packs worked.

The weak followed the strong. It didn’t matter if they liked their leader or not. Their loyalty depended on who could keep them alive the longest. Marrok was that wolf. He was the strongest, the fastest, and by birth, the rightful Alpha. None of them could deny him.

As Marrok was now pack master, he gathered the wolves and began to explain our cause. I listened closely as he explained.

He spoke about our plan of action against the human king. He explained the alliance that the dragons had built with the Fae, about the Aviary, and how we were all living together in peace. He explained Brenya, and her rare, powerful magic. He explained how she would help lead us all into a new era of peace and coexistence as we worked to unite the races, and stand against the king and his armies as one.


An hour passed.

Although the wolves were ignorant and defiant at first, as their new Alpha explained further, they finally began to understand why Marrok and Sylvie had sided with us. Eventually, the pack turned to me, and began asking questions of my plans against the human king.

I told them of Brenya’s journey, of her upbringing in the human world. I explained my mission to find her, and use her as a beacon of hope among the people. I explained that Brenya had solidified the alliance between the dragon and the Fae, and how our mate bond was indication that the gods supported our plan to join the races together.

As I spoke, the wolves became more and more interested.

“It’s a good plan. If we unite, we will outnumber the humans!”

“We will overrun his armies, and put his head on a spike!”

“Vengeance will be had!”

As the wolves began to chatter among themselves, excited and enlightened about what was to come, I slowly sheathed my sword. It would seem that we’d avoided battling the pack, and against all odds, they were now on our side. The gods were favoring us, today.

I turned from the wolves and stalked toward the tree, toward the body of Brenya’s human father. Andi and Torryn trailed slowly behind me.

“I wish we could’ve gotten here sooner.” Andromeda whispered from behind me. “Brenya has been through so much... And now, she truly is an orphan.”

My throat bobbed. “It is unfortunate... But she is not alone. She will never be alone. She has me... she has all of us. We are her family, now.”

She sniffled. “Yes... Yes, we are.”

We stopped a few feet away from the tree. The coppery scent of blood filled the air around the tree, and I could already smell the beginning of the body’s decomposition.

“Do you see the book, Dristan?” Torryn asked warily.

My eyes fell on the satchel, still hooked around the man’s body. I stepped forward and crouched down, holding my breath to avoid the overpowering scent of blood, as I reached out and opened the satchel. The book sparkled, even in the dim lighting of the forest.

“It’s here.” I mumbled.

“Good.” He replied. “We will take the body with us... Give him a proper burial.”

“Brenya deserves that much. She never got that closure, not for her biological parents.” Andi added from behind me.

I nodded. I pulled a dagger from my belt and began cutting the ropes which were still binding the man to the tree. I started with his wrists, gently sawing at the thick rope, careful not to cut his flesh.

It was a pity that I would never know this man. He had raised the woman I loved... And I would never be able to meet him. I would never be able to thank him for keeping her safe all of these years, for raising her into the person that she was today. I worked slowly, mourning the life of this stranger, with the image of my mate’s face in my mind.

Brenya...

She would be devastated when she awoke. Her father was gone, and she’d killed a man...

It wasn’t the fact that she’d killed him that I was worried about... It was the way in which she’d done it. She’d been overwhelmed with anger. She wasn’t thinking clearly.

I had killed out of anger before, brutally and viciously, without thinking my actions through, and I had suffered the guilt that had later resulted from my actions. I was older... I’d learned from those mistakes. But she was still so young...

Brenya was such an emotionally driven being. I already knew the guilt she was going to feel. First, that she hadn’t gotten to her father sooner. She’d blame herself for his death, even if it wasn’t her fault. That was how the grieving process always worked... Guilt was the most difficult to overcome.

I’d battled guilt when my father died.

I still suffered from it to this day.

And the guilt of her father’s death, accompanied with the guilt of killing the pack master so brutally... She was going to be an emotional fucking mess. I had to get back to the Aviary as soon as possible. I needed to be there for my mate...

“We’re leaving soon. Get everything ready.” I said, gently laying Brenya’s father down on the ground. I took his satchel and hooked it around my own body.

“Yes, sir.” Torryn said, turning and stalking away. Andi followed him without another word to me. But as I’d glanced at her, I could’ve sworn I saw tears in her eyes. She must’ve known how I felt. She felt sorry for me... For my mate.

Even thought I knew she meant no harm by it, it angered me. I did not want her pity. I pushed the bitterness away, trying to focus on what was still happening around me. I did not have time for emotion right now.

I walked back to the group of wolves, studying them as they began to dig a hole. When I saw that the body of their pack master had been dragged across the clearing, and toward the hole, I realized that they were burying him.

Sylvie sat beside his body, silent tears streaming down her cheeks.

I watched in my peripheral vision as Marrok slowly came to my side. I did not know how he felt about his father’s death. So, I handled the situation in the best way that I knew how.

I turned to him and raised a brow. “Pack master... I didn’t know you had it in you, mutt.”

He smirked. But as he turned and studied the murmuring group of wolves, his smile faded. I studied the side of his face as his eyes grew distant.

“When I watched Brenya kill my father... I immediately felt grief...”

I clenched my jaw. “I am sorry-”

“I also felt relief.”

I blinked at the side of his face, confused. I waited for him to continue.

“I have never wanted to lead this pack... But when she killed him, Dristan... I realized immediately that it was fate. The gods intended for this to happen. It was meant to be. I was meant to be the pack leader. It was the only way that I would ever be able to get the pack to listen. My father had to die. Besides... She was right about him. He was a cruel man. He wasn’t leading this pack in an honorable way. He was my father, but... I was never close to him. ”

I considered his words. “I think that you’re right. The gods work in mysterious ways, and sometimes it can hurt us. I am sorry for your loss... When Brenya wakes up, I can promise you, she is going to feel horrible about what she did.”

He turned to look at me. “Why should she? She did me a favor. She did us all a favor. She doesn’t owe me an apology.”

I sighed. “I know. But you’ll come to learn that she is a bit more emotional than most people are. Be prepared for it.”

He chuckled.

“Marrok... You’ve stayed true to your word. You’ve remained loyal to me, to my mate... Thank you. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to grow the alliance this way. You’ve been a great help, to all of us... I am sorry for being so harsh on you. You’ve earned my respect.”

He turned and gazed at the side of my face with a look of stunned admiration. I tried not to smirk.

“You’re welcome, Dragon Lord.” He replied.

We stood in silence for a few moments.

“How did she do all of that, anyway?” He asked.

I shook my head slowly. “I don’t know. But whatever it was, we need to get a handle on it right away. Her training will start as soon as we return to the Aviary.”

“I will help in any way I can.” He answered, his eyes serious.

“So, you’re coming back then? All of you? Of your own free will?”

He smirked. “Of course. We’ve got a war to prepare for.”

I chuckled as my eyes drifted over the pack of wolves. “Indeed...”



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