The Unholy Truth
Zuriena reached back and punched the woman in the stomach. Her fist sinking in deep and crunching against the Dread witch’s spine.
The intruder crumpled. Black hair falling around her face as she gripped her the wound and fumbled backward. Toppling to the floor.
Zuriena felt herself gagging. And threw up the same clumps of dense oil onto the wood floor. Whirling on her knees to sweep up her son. Gasping for air she was heedless of her own body trying to expel what tried to stifle it. She rubbed the fluid from both sides of the infant’s mouth. Using a finger to pull as much from the little one’s mouth as possible. Zuriena coughed. Spitting more hunks of the bleak substance. She was patting the baby’s face tenderly. Stroking its little head as tears dumped down her face. She whimpered hopelessly. Murmuring his name incessantly.
She looked back over her shoulder and saw the woman limply dragging her body over the floor. Oil was reaching in dangling strands to connect. Filling the hole that bore through her. Reaching the fragments of broken spine, it tugged them back into place. Assembling the woman until she could crawl and still worked her way across the floor.
Zuriena spun around shrieking. Turning on the Dread witch. She jumped up and tried to bring a fist down on the other woman, but she rolled out of reach. Waving her hands above her helplessly. Zuriena moved to attack again but felt her body freeze. Immobilized. She pressed against the force and slowly lifted a hand. Getting through the forcefield. As Radix’s boots drug into the doorway. And his gray cloak flowed around him. He offered a hand to the Dread witch on the floor.
“Lorna.” He whispered. Helping her to her feet. His eyes glowed orange as he used his magic to finish patching her body enough she could rise. “Fine work.” He whispered.
“Fine work, murdering a baby!” Zuriena shrieked hatefully. Using her rage to help her power through Radix’s magic.
His eyes flashed red with interest. “Remarkably strong…” He noted. “What…are…you?”
“She’s a Dread.” Lorna remarked. Glaring at her. “Please, Milord. Get me out of here. The wench tried to kill me. I’m in fierce pain.”
“As you wish.” He smiled fondly. Putting her hand on his forearm as he walked her from the cottage.
“You’re weak! You’re both weak!” She shouted after them. By the time she was able to get to the door they were gone.
She returned to her dead child. Falling to her knees next to the crib and scooping him back into her arms. She sat rocking him and sobbing. Tears washing the dark oil from his face as she clutched him to her breast. Hours later found dark descending around her. Her green eyes growing dim as night fell. In the dark cold cottage. The front door still swung wide and the whole cottage feeling impossibly hollow without the slight cooing and crying of the little one.
Her head shot up and her eyes focused on a distant wall. “I didn’t do this…”
Mardichi knew instantly she was thinking over what he would think of her. What she believed I’d think happened.
She thought I would blame her. He was stuck on that thought as he saw the rest of the images. Zuriena forcing herself to rise. Dark hair touched with red swinging around her hips as she rose numbly from the floor. Walking out the door to find the sky darkened with flapping birds. Blocking all light over the meadow surrounding their cottage.
She crossed the meadow and ripped the circlet from her head tossing it in the bushes with a broken sob. A last glance back revealed that birds dotted the meadow, blinking at her from the grass. The thatched roof of the cottage was covered in birds shifting anxiously. Some large some small. All of them cawing so loudly that their cries turned into a din of a noise.
“Why would you ever think I’d blame you?” He blurted. Blinking away the vision.
She blinked wide eyes at him. Drawn back to the present. To the burning field. Staring into the fire reflected in the red eyes of her former lover.
“You would have. You wouldn’t have wanted a woman that failed to-”
“Never.” He cut in, shaking his head, lips tight. “You knew better…”
“I thought I knew you. But you were always keeping secrets from me.”
“You mean turning into a dragon?”
She nodded solemnly.
“I would have told you. I told you all things of me. I just didn’t know how yet. I didn’t want you to fear me.”
“Me?” She arched a brow. “You think I’d fear you? You kept a secret from me.” Her voice turned venomous. “You know well I’ve never feared anything. You didn’t want me to know.”
“Zuriena!” He snapped. “Look at the secrets you’ve kept from me! I’d thought you dead.”
“I am dead.” She said dully.
He grabbed her upper arms and shook her. “I say otherwise! That beautiful little redhead in WaterRose was not raised by a dead mother. I’d thought I’d never again have a chance at raising one with you!”
“Taryn took care of her much of her life. I’ve been hunting…”
“You’ve been running from loving her. Running from me…Your days of running are over.” He warned on a snarl. “You’ll stay with me now if I have to bind you to a bedpost!”