Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 67


(The Dream Within The Dream)


Dristan’s lifeless body is cradled in my arms as I sit awkwardly on the bed. I hold his head to my chest, my face buried in his dark hair. I rock him to and fro. There is a strange, horrible sound filling the room. After an immeasurable amount of time, I realize that the sound is coming from me. Long, pitiful cries escape my trembling lips as I rock my mate, keening softly.

The towel wrapped around my body, once white, is soaked with his blood. It’s warm as it seeps through the material and onto my naked skin beneath.

“You’re okay.” I whisper. “You’re not dead. You’re okay. You’re not dead.” I repeat the mantra over, and over, as if the words will somehow heal him. As if, by repeating the words enough times in a row, his eyes will open and I will feel his arms snake around my waist.

“You’re okay. You’re not dead. You’re okay.”

I hold him until his skin begins to feel cool. I press my cheek to his forehead. My hand trails down to his forearm. A strangled sound escapes me as I feel how cold and stiff his skin is.

The sticky blood covering my body is no longer warm. I shiver, pressing a tender kiss to his pale lips, squeezing my eyes shut and willing him to spring back to life in my arms. But he remains as he is...

Still and cold... Like death.

My body begins to shiver uncontrollably.

It’s so cold... So, so cold....

“It’s all your fault, you know.” A cruel voice says from a dark corner of the room.

I look up, confused, and meet Ronan’s eyes. My brows furrow and pull upward as fear courses through me. How did I forget that he was here? How long have I been sitting here like this? How did I get here...?

“You left him here, all alone and unprotected.” Ronan says, his tone hypnotic.

I gaze at him, feeling my jaw go slack.

He smiles. “Your fault...”

“No...”

“You’re fault. You’re fault.” His voice grows louder, echoing around the room.“Your fault. Your fault. Your fault.”

I shake my head violently and cover my ears. My eyes screw shut. The voice grows louder still, and soon it’s invading the confines of my mind, rattling my brain painfully. “YOUR FAULT! YOUR FAULT! YOUR FAULT!”

“NO!” I scream.

I open my eyes. Ronan is gone.

My nose wrinkles as a sudden, putrid smell fills my nose. It smells like rotting flesh. Dread seizes me and goosebumps run from the crown of my head to the back of my heels. Slowly, I lower my eyes.

Dristan’s body is still in my arms.

My eyes slide to the bedroom floor.

A blood curdling scream leaves my lips.

I am staring at a mountain of decaying bodies. The entire bedroom floor is littered with them. Horrifying guilt paralyzes me as I stare into the milky, lifeless eyes of my father. Then, the pack leader. The soldiers who tried to rape me in the woods. Sylvie’s dead mate, Kale. Countless Bakru, ranging from men, to women to children, their skin charred and bloody. A dozen soldiers, who I’d burned alive in the forest.

I am panting. I am dizzy. I am so, so cold.

My eyes slide back to my father’s.

“Why didn’t you get there sooner?” His corpse suddenly rasps.

I gasp, scrambling backward onto the bed. Dristan’s body rolls to the side. Brand new fear grips me, a panic I have never felt before. I cannot scream. I cannot breathe. His corpse is motionless, his eyes still clouded and dull, but his lips move animatedly.

“You let them take my life away.” He chokes out.

I shake my head, unable to speak. My eyes bulge from their sockets.

“You burned us alive.” The soldiers suddenly all whisper in unison. “You liked it when you hurt us, didn’t you?”

“They would never have found our village if they hadn’t been looking for you.” The Bakru join next, their once wispy voices like sandpaper.

I clamp my bloody hands over my ears as all of the bodies begin to laugh. They do not laugh with joy, or humor. Their laughter is low, monotone and haunting.

“You’re a monster.” Ronan’s voice growls from directly behind me. I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. “A murderer...”

I rock myself, my head against my knees, my hands over my ears. “No...”

“You know it’s true. You know exactly what you are.” He whispers, running an icy finger across my shoulder toward my neck. “You are worthless. You are nothing.”

I sob against my knees as his lips touch the shell of my ear. “Say it...” He breaths.

“I...”

“Say it...”

I am a trembling mass of guilt, despair, and terror. If I was ever anything more than that, I do not know what it was. All I know is that I am a despicable being, a killer, a cruel and terrible monster. I am cold... I do not know who I am, apart from these things. I do not care... I have no name. I have no face. I have no heart.

Everything goes dark.

“I am... Nothing.”


I open my eyes. The simple action hurts.

I am so sleepy... I want to close my eyes and drift...

But before I can, something catches my groggy eyes. It is my arm... I realize I am laying down, my head resting on my inner arm. My forearm is stretched out in front of my face.

My arm looks wrong. I don’t understand why, at first. I blink painfully, straining to see more clearly. My eyes sharpen, and what I see confuses and terrifies me. If I had any energy at all left inside of me, I would be screaming in absolute horror. But I have no energy left to give. I have no voice. I have no recollection of who I am, or where I am, or how I got here.

The skin covering my arm is shriveled, and taught. It looks like I’ve been in the water for far too long. It is discolored, as if it has been decaying for a very long time. My nail beds are pulled backward from my fingertips. My skin is a dull, grey color.

I am a corpse.

With great effort, I roll my head to the side, shifting onto my back. I am not alone. I am one corpse among many. We are piled on top of each other in a massive, foul smelling heap on a distantly familiar bedroom floor.

I feel as if I have been here before...

I must be dead. I am in some strange hell. What did I do to deserve this? Oh... Yes, that’s right. I am a killer, a monstrous murderer...

“Brenya...” A beautiful voice says softly.

I turn my head toward the voice. There is a woman standing near the doorway. She looks odd... She is almost transparent. I can see the wall through her body.

Is she a ghost?

She watches me with an expression I can only describe as loving. She looks at me as if she knows me well. She looks at me as if I am not the cruel, heartless killer that I know myself to be. She looks at me as if I am good, as if I am worthy of love.

“Brenya,” She says, her angel’s voice like music. “You must remember.”

I stare at her, confused and entranced. Is she speaking to me? I don’t recognize the name she is using. It cannot be my name. I do not have a name...

I am nothing.

Her eyes are strange. One is the color of emeralds. The other, of the ocean.

“W-who,” I rasp weakly. “Are you?”

“Someone who loves you.” She says, smiling sadly. “You must remember, now.”

"I'm so tired..." I whisper to her. "I want to sleep."

She shakes her head firmly. "It is not your time to sleep, my darling. You have much to do. I need you to remember."

I blink at her, my vision going blurry with fatigue. “Remember what...?”

She tilts her head, eyeing me as she smiles warmly. “Remember who you are, Brenya. Remember why you are here. Remember who is waiting for you to return and what you must finish.” She lifts her slender, wispy hand, extending a long finger. She points behind me, her face suddenly forlorn. “Remember...”

I turn my head to look where she is pointing. My muscles burn with the exertion. My head rolls to the other side, and I am met with the face of another corpse. He is directly beside me, his cold hand tucked into mine.

He has a head of dark, unruly hair. His face, although kissed by death, is lovely. His bloodless, bow shaped lips are curved downward into a frown. His eyes are open, staring vacantly into mine. They are a startling shade of blue, reminding me of the ocean.

Something stirs, deep inside of me. It’s like the strike of a match in a pitch black abyss, and in that brief moment of a spark, I think that I see something. I see an image of a tawny haired man, standing over him as he lays in a bed. I see a sword. It has been plunged through his chest. He killed this man...

I gasp as a rush of pain and sorrow rattles through me. My hand tightens around the dead man’s. I stare into his sapphire eyes. There is something at the tip of my tongue. I am hanging on the edge of a precipice, longing to fall...

There is another flash in the darkness.

I see a woman, holding his bloody body against her chest. She rocks him, crying softly. Her face is strained with despair. She whispers to him, kissing his hair. I can feel her sorrow, like a weight that only grows heavier with each passing moment, as if her grief is my own...

My own....

I gasp.

The woman is me. The man is Dristan.

My mate.

Fresh despondency crashes over me as I gape at Dristan’s pale face. His eyes are dull, with no hint of life inside of them.

He is dead. He is dead. He is dead.

“No...” I whisper.

I cannot move, or even blink, as I gaze into his unblinking eyes.

But then....

I notice something.

The small, silver colored scar that crowns his left eyebrow is missing. My brows pull together in confusion. My eyes dart to his hair. It is dark in color... But why doesn’t it have the slight bursts of lighter brown throughout?

Something isn’t right...

Am I dreaming?

My eyes slide back to his. His eyes are a deep, startling blue.... But there are too dark. Dristan’s eyes are ocean blue, with tiny flecks of sapphire scattered around the irises. The pair of eyes I am currently staring into are not the one’s I know.

“Remember why you are here...” The ghostly woman’s voice repeats, seeming further away.

"Who I am..." I whisper to myself.

Everything rushes into my memory at once, stunning me. I gasp and cry out as the memory of leaving the Aviary with Aella fills my head. I remember flying to the Isle of Lost Souls. I remember the beach.

I remember what I am here to do.

I narrow my eyes at the corpse beside me. It is a well done imitation of my mate. But all of the small details are missing. This is not Dristan.

Dristan is not dead.

My lips curl upward as this realization solidifies in my mind.

I lift my hand, grasping the false dragon lord’s face in my claws. I glare into his eyes, my smile growing.

“Siren.” I hiss.

The deep blue eyes shift into a milky shade of white. I do not loosen my grip as the face of my mate suddenly transforms into another. It is a familiar face... Similar to the one I saw in the pages of the book that led me here.

Green skin replaces the pale skin covering Dristan’s stiff arms. Gills appear. Sharp, needle like teeth extend. And soon, I am staring into the face of a Siren.

I pull back, startled as I realize that I am surrounded by them. But I cannot move... Several of them have hold of me, their mouths attached to my arms, legs, and abdomen. I become aware of the sharp sting of their teeth, which are sunken into my flesh.

They are feeding on me.

I am absolutely freezing... I am numb with the cold.

Why, why am I so cold?!

My eyes dart around wildly as I realize that I am no longer sprawled out on the floor of my bedroom. There are no corpses surrounding me. Dristan is not here. Ronan is not here. My mother is not here...

And soon, I realize where "here" is.

I open my mouth to scream.

Water rushes in.

I am at the bottom of the ocean.



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