FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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LUCIEN - Becoming the Fogdragon

Whitwood, Isle of Wight

LUCIEN

Lucien and Meralee continued through the woods until the mist had thickened into a heavy curtain which had to be swept aside to reveal anything directly in-front of them. Lucien drew to a stop. He waved his hand next to me and the heavy fog brushed apart enough he could see Meralee tiring in her heavy, soaked, gown. Dropping to his knees, Lucien ripped the bottom ruffle from her gown.

The two layers overtopping it were displaced in the process. Shortening the skirt substantially and freeing the weight.

She blew a relieved breath.

Despite that she likely feels exposed now.

“I’m surprised you let me do that.” He looked up at her.

“I was considering doing it myself.”

Surely not? But a study of her face revealed she looked sincere. He straightened and took a step back from her.

“You smell like trees and bark.” She remarked giving him a curious look.

“Do I? I suppose there are worse things.”

She blinked at him. Face unreadable.

She smells like lilacs.

Her brown hair framed her face in soft waves highlighted with blonde and mahogany.

Far too rich to call brown.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“What?”

“Predatorially.”

How the Hell do I answer that? He willed her closer.

“I’m going to change, Meralee.”

“Change?”

Into a dragon.

“I’m a shape jumper.” He explained simply. “I won’t hurt you.”

She’s going to be afraid.

“What do you mean?” She edged away nervously.

He gripped her upper arms and held fast. “Trust me.”

“Not even slightly.”

Well, she’s no choice now. He could smell Cimmerii.

Her eyes roved his face. “Why should I trust you anymore now, then a few months ago when I rejected your advances?”

Because you’d no idea who I was before. Now you do…Of a sort.

“Because I pulled you from the path of a surging carriage. Much can happen in very little time.” He cautioned.

She stopped walking and crossed her arms. Cocking her hip as she waited impatiently.

He hadn’t expected her ready concession. Knowing what the people had been telling her.

Jeresine had filled him in on what he’d not already heard.

We’ll see if she can handle the truth of it.

“Don’t fear what you see.” He warned.

Her large, doe eyes made her look impossibly vulnerable as she bit her cheek.

Lucien faced forward, giving her his profile as his back began cracking. Tossing his boots off, he kicked them aside. Rolling his shoulders from his overcoat and loosening the laces of his shirt to expose his chest and rippling abdomen. Dropping it from his shoulders where it caught at his elbows.

Charcoal wings burst from his back, tearing the fabric as though parchment. The shirt fell in tatters to the ground.

Taloned feet formed, dropping over his feet. Gray scales climbed up from his ankles. Rising from the waistband of his breeches to weave over his torso and fold over his shoulders like armor. Twisting his neck made it snap convulsively. His jaw spasmed then lengthened.

She snapped her eyes closed in horror. Opening them to see a massive winged beast standing over her. Head lowered to be level with her face. Huge slitted amber eyes blinked slowly. Squawking as she fell over the log. Crawling through damp leaves.

The creature flapped huge fleshen wings. Cutting the air like ship sails in a breeze.

Recognizing the sound, she sat up. Staring at the huge charcoal dragon. She sucked in a quick breath.

She’s too scared to even run.

“How did you? Did you send me the mist?”

He slowly blinked yellow eyes.

“The mist that came into my chamber and showed me this shape.” She gestured to his length.

No. That was a vision all your own. He shook its head roughly in denial.

“I called you a beast on the ship.”

And what of it? He blinked at her.

“You said ‘somedays’.” She continued. “Is this what you meant? What are you going to do to me?”

She thinks I’m going to eat her. He turned his head to look at her. It was nearly laughable. He nodded his massive snout slowly.

She stared wide eyed in horror.

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