Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 66



I stared at the note in my hands.

I read it eight times, and still, I could not understand what the words were saying to me. I had to be dreaming. Yes, that had to be what was happening. I was asleep. I was going to wake up any moment now, Brenya’s arms and legs draped around me, making me much too warm.

But as the moments passed, the light growing brighter as it streamed through the window in soft, golden rays, I did not wake. I soon realized that I wasn’t dreaming at all.

I read the note again while my hands trembled. The paper crinkled softly while my grip tightened around it’s edges. I thought my teeth might break as my jaw clenched painfully, but I could not convince it to relax.

“Dristan,
Sometimes, we make our own choices... Sometimes, our choices do not belong to us. This is a choice that was never my own to make, nor was it yours. My parents trusted that I alone could find the elemental runes and use them to end the war. I must now trust that their faith in me was not in vain. And you must trust that I will return to you very soon. This is the only way. I love you.
Yours always,
Brenya”

I read it three more times.

Something inside of my chest began to ache, and soon, the sensation was so intense that I had to squeeze my eyes shut just to endure it. A pained breath rushed past my lips. I hadn’t been aware I had been holding my breath.... The pain doubled over. I began to pant heavily, feeling as if there was not enough oxygen in the world that could soothe the panic that was now seizing every molecule of my being.

No... No, this cannot be happening...

The worn parchment ripped into pieces beneath my hands, falling uselessly to the floor, as I pushed off of the bed and stormed toward the bedroom door. The door flung open before I could reach out to open it, as if it were terrified of my hostile touch. I growled and stepped over the threshold, my eyes scanned the vacant living room.

Nothing.

The balcony doors were open. I moved toward them, aware of her scent still hanging in the air. Hope blossomed in my gut, causing me to gasp, and I followed the familiar cactus bloom and vanilla bean scent. But when I stepped outside, she was not there.

‘BRENYA!’ I screamed down the bond, feeling for her desperately with invisible hands.

Silence responded, and my hands were met with a thick wall of black steel.

She had completely shut me out.

The pain returned, and having been kissed by hope for that small moment, the sudden reappearance of agony felt even more intense than I could’ve ever prepared myself for. It brought me to my knees.

I held a fist to my chest, gritting my teeth as my dragon screamed from within.

Find, find, find...
Her, her, her...
NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!
NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!

My hands clamped over my ears, desperate to escape his dreadful, screeching voice. But I could not escape what was part of me. I lifted my head, scanning the balcony for any sign of her. Her scent ended near the railing... And I was suddenly aware that there was another scent entangled with hers. Rain and the sea...

Aella.

My thoughts flashed back to the two of them speaking last night, enclosed in their private bubble. They had planned this... I shook my head, my hands still clamped over my ears.

Well played mate... But I’ve been playing the game much longer than you have.

I chuckled softly through the pain, thinking of the ring upon her finger that she had no idea was the same ring I had faked my proposal to Andromeda with. The ring that had been embedded with a tracking rune.

The ring that would lead me straight to her.

FIND, FIND, FIND...
HER, HER, HER...
NOW! NOW! NOW!

My dragon erupted. He clawed at my consciousness, his fiery rage burning the edges of my insides. I lowered my hands in font of my face and my eyes widened at the smoke that was seeping from my pores. My vision went red, my thoughts fading more and more with each passing moment, replaced with only one instinct.

Find my mate.

I could not contain him any longer. And I didn’t want to.

I stood, huffing through my teeth, and without another thought, I ran toward the railing, dove over the edge...

And set the beast free.


(Brenya’s POV)

“This is as far as I can take you.” Aella said, hovering on the breeze behind me. There was nothing but ocean below us, stretching as far as the eye could see.

I turned, feeling numb, both from the chilly air and the emptiness in my chest. “Just tell me where to go from here.”

She motioned to the right with her long, slim fingers. Her head turned with her motion, and she gazed at a small island far in the distance. “The Isle of Lost Souls is there. You will find what you seek beneath it’s surrounding waters.”

I stared at the island. It looked so small and harmless from such a distance. The sun had risen hours ago, and the dark blue water sparkled beneath it’s light like one million diamonds were strewn across it. My keen eyes could make out lush trees, colorful flowers and green vegetation adorning the island.

It did not look threatening at all. It looked like a secret paradise. The bright colors called to me, promising cool, gentle waters, plump, juicy fruits, and warm sandy beaches to lounge on while I soaked in the rays of sunlight.

“Do not,” Aella’s voice made me jump as it snapped me out of my gazing. “let the island make a fool of you, Elemental Heir.”

I met her eyes, swallowing back my sudden dread. “I won’t.”

She stared into me, her hands folded in front of her. Long, dark strands of her thin hair whipped across her face and shoulders while the rest of her remained as still as stone. “You will see things that frighten you. Things that make you feel overjoyed. Things that make you angry. It will all seem very real. You will likely forget what you are doing there, or why you must resist the visions. But you must remember that none of it is real.”

I nodded, turning toward the island again. “I know.”

“Then do what you must.” She said softly. “I will wait for your return.”


My feet touched down onto the sand with a soft thud. It was so warm from baking in the sun that it nearly burned, but only just. The tide came in, rushing over my feet and cooling them instantly. It submerged me to my ankles, and my toes sank a bit further into the sand as the tide pulled back again.

I scanned the treeline that stood fifty feet away. It was still and silent. There should’ve been song birds singing, exotic animals chattering and scratching and scurrying... But when I strained my ears, I didn’t hear any of those sounds.

The silence was eerily unnatural.

Suppressing a shiver, I turned my back on the trees and faced the ocean. What I was seeking did not reside on the island. It resided somewhere below the surrounding waters.

Something caught my eye as I turned to the water. A small movement about twenty feet out, and slightly to my left. My eyes latched onto the choppy blue surface and I gasped.

Someone... Something was peeking out of the water. I caught a glimpse of ruby colored hair and glassy white eyes. I blinked, and it was gone. My wide eyes scanned the water twice more, but I found nothing out of the ordinary.

My scalp prickled, from my forehead to the nape of my neck. I couldn’t see anyone, but I was absolutely certain that there were eyes on me. I could feel them...

I needed to hurry...

I closed my eyes, turning my focus away from what might be watching me from beneath the waves and toward the matter at hand. When I’d been close to the elemental runes before, I’d always been able to sense them... I could feel their presence before I ever laid eyes on them. I just needed to focus long enough and in the right direction...

I inhaled a slow, deep breath, trying to center myself. My mind quieted, and I reached out mentally, feeling the for the energy that I knew was somewhere nearby.

A sudden splashing sound shattered the silence. It was close, only a few feet to my right. I gasped again, my eyes flying open, and I stumbled backward onto the beach. There was nothing there... Only gentle waves, lapping onto the beach, sliding playfully up and over my toes...

“You’re on the wrong side of the island.” A familiar voice said softly from behind me.

I hissed as I spun around, my dagger already snatched from my hip and ready to defend. When my eyes met with Aella’s, I froze. She floated on the beach, two feet off the ground. She stood a few feet away from me, her hands folded in front of her. She cocked her head at me, eyeing my dagger calmly.

“Aella, what-” I began to say, but I stopped.

Aella had told me that she would not approach the island. She was going to wait for me in the skies... I bared my teeth, tightening my grip on the dagger. “You are not Aella.”

The creature that looked like my friend smiled slowly, revealing long, yellow fangs that glistened in the sunlight. “You’re on the wrong side of the island.” It repeated.

To hide my growing fear, I smiled back, revealing my own elongated canines. My nails lengthened, sharpening into points at my fingertips. “Oh, I don’t think I am.”

“You’re on the wrong side of the island.” It repeated, un-tucking it’s hands that had been folded in front of it’s body. They came to rest limply at it’s side. “You’re on the wrong side.” It took a step toward me.

“Island... Wrong...” The voice faded from Aella’s, taking on a tone I did not recognize. It sounded strained, and rough, like sandpaper. “On side wrong... side... Island.” It took another step.

There was something wrong with the movement. It was disjointed, and awkward. “Island.. wrong side...You’re island of on you’re...” The voice grew louder, seeming to echo around me. “Wrong... Island... You’re... side...”

I took a step back, confused and frightened by the strange voice, by the jumbled words and awkward movements. “Stay back...” I whispered.

“Brenya.” A voice said from directly behind me. I could feel the heat of breath on my neck.

I screamed and spun around, coming face to face with Warrick. Only it wasn’t Warrick... It couldn’t be Warrick. I stumbled backward, tripping clumsily over my own feet, but caught myself before I could fall.

“Stay back!” I cried, shoving the point of my blade in his direction.

He lifted his hands, palms facing me, his onyx colored eyes widening. His brows rose toward his hairline. “It’s okay.” He said softly, as if speaking to a wild, wounded animal. “Brenya, it’s okay... Dristan sent me. He has been looking everywhere for you.”

“You’re not fooling anyone, Siren.” I hissed, backing away.

His eyes darkened, and his hands slowly lowered.

I risked a glance over my shoulder. Aella was gone. When I turned my head forward again, Warrick was gone, too. My head whipped from side to side, and I circled myself, scanning my surroundings. The only sounds were of gentle waves, the pounding of my heart, and my gasping breaths.

Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry....

I turned toward the water, trying to control the growing panic in my chest, and with determined force, I threw a wave of power out of my body and toward the sea. Seconds later, I pulled the force back into myself. It snapped into me, throwing me backward so strongly that my feet left the ground.

My back hit the ground, spraying sand all around me. The grainy substance scraped painfully against my upper back and shoulders as I slid across it, and the impact took my breath away.

But I didn’t care... I didn’t care, because as my power slid back into place, I could feel the glimmer of magic that it had sensed as it had shot out over the water. The rune was here... And I was definitely not on the wrong side of the island.

I scrambled to my feet, spitting sand out of my mouth. I clenched my jaw, feeling the gritty dust sticking to my teeth. It crunch against my molars, coating my tongue. I spit again, coughing and dragging the back of my hand against my lips.

“You’re going to die.” A smooth, male voice drawled from behind me.

I spun around, lifting my dagger, and crouched defensively. My eyes met with his, and I instantly felt all of my breath leave my body.

“They’re going to kill you. Just like you were going to kill me.” Ronan said, his voice sad and quiet.

He sat on the sand a few feet away, his legs bloody and twisted beneath him. He wore tattered pants, and nothing else. He held my gaze, studying me as I struggled to inhale. “It hurts.” He whispered.

Pain stabbed at my heart and my eyes began to burn with the threat of tears. Ronan closed his eyes, groaning in pain as he leaned forward. Blood trickled over his shoulder as his back came into view and I gasped, throwing a hand over my mouth.

His back was a slab of bloody, ruined flesh. Shreds of skin hung from his exposed tendons and muscles, and I could see the glimmer of white bone near his spine. My stomach turned, threatening to send bile up my throat.

“Please...” He groaned. “Help me.”

A tear slipped down my cheek. “This isn’t real.” I whispered.

“What you did to me is real.” He grunted, lifting his sky blue eyes to mine. “What you still want to do to me is real... Don’t you remember what I did?” He cried out in pain, clenching his eyes shut as he shifted forward. Fresh blood oozed from his wounds, staining the sand crimson beneath him.

“Stop.” I whispered.

“I’m going to finish it, you know.” He said, meeting my gaze. “I’m going to kill him, one way or another. And you’ll never see it coming.”

“Shut up!” I screamed, backing away.

"You're pathetic." He said with a cruel smile. "Just like your dragon lord."

Rage boiled the blood within my veins and I hissed, baring my teeth. I wanted to slice off his lips, cut out his tongue so that he could never speak ill of my mate again. My thoughts scattered, clouding across my mind like fog against glass, leaving only anger and animosity behind.

“You didn’t see it coming the first time. You trusted me so easily... It was disappointing, really. Foolish little princess... Would you like to see how I’ll do it?”

My outstretched hand shook with rage and pain, causing my dagger to wobble. Tears blurred my vision. I was somehow distantly aware of my own voice as it whispered, “You gods damned traitor...”

He smiled wickedly. “I’ll show you...” His hand lifted slowly, pointing a long finger behind me. “Look... Look at what I’m going to do.”

Something far away, deep and fading into the depths of my mind, screamed at me not to listen. I heard the warning, vaguely aware that I was supposed to listen to it. But my body disobeyed.

The screaming faded, sinking lower, and lower...

“Look...”

I turned...

I was standing in the washroom of my chambers.

I blinked at the mirror, confused as my reflection stared back at me. My hair was hidden beneath the white towel that was wrapped around my head. I blinked, clutching a matching towel to my chest as it clung to my naked body.

When did I take a shower...?

A sudden crash from the bedroom made me jump and my eyes swung toward the closed door. Something was wrong... So, so wrong. I stared at the door, disoriented.

Another, louder crash sounded.

“Brenya!” Dristan’s muffled voice cried.

I lunged toward the door as panic seized me. I fumbled clumsily with the doorknob until it finally twisted beneath my touch. I yanked the door open and ran into the room, searching the darkness with wide eyes.

There was a dark shape near the bed...

No... Two dark shapes.

One, I realized, was Ronan. He held the hilt of Dristan’s sword in his hands, and he turned his head toward me. Even through the dark room, I could see the way his lips lifted at the corners. He smiled at me before turning his head and staring down at the bed.

My gaze followed his, landing on the shape that lay motionless beneath the blood stained sheets. The sword had him pinned to the mattress. His face was frozen in an agonized expression, his sapphire eyes open wide, with no sparkle of light or life inside of them.

Dristan.



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