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Thorned Shadow [+18]

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Chapter 2

The dragon had left her the moment he had guided her to a boat. He had bowed his head, and a small smile had appeared on her face, watching the dragon roar like a lion before flapping his large wings and flying up into the air with the others who waited for him. She wondered with a smile on her face if he was from another realm or did this world have dragons.

Cerelia looked around the ocean water, the dark blue water that called out her name, to bathe, to cleanse her body. She had let the boat float, as if the ocean was full of magic itself. It seemed to be guiding her in a way she didn't know.

Pulling her arms out of the coat Delphine had given her, Cerelia bent down a little. She was in the middle of nowhere and no male or female could see her body. She didn't know how to swim or how long she could hold her breath but her body was utterly filthy. She plunged her hand into her water, which was surprisingly warm.

I will not harm you.

She let her arm dangle in the water, watching as the centuries old dirt disappeared from her arm. She wanted to be cleansed, to feel clean and the water, the ocean seemed to speak to her, to call out her name, daring her to push her legs in and let the water consume her soul.

Cerelia lifted her legs, not thinking at all and plunging her whole body into the water. She closed her eyes, her lips were sealed shut as the warm water wrapped itself around her for a few seconds. She felt a push on her feet, pushing her back up to the surface. She gasped, her wet hair covering her eyes. Cerelia pushed the wet hair out of her face with her nails. She had shifted.

Staring in awe at her nails, Cerelia did not question whatever spirit was holding her up in the water. It was not an animal, just a bubble of water with enough strength to hold her up. Her nails were long but the only clean part of her skin.

"May I clean myself?" Her voice was soft as she questioned the magical water. Magic water only made sense. She had never seen it or heard of it but she was floating, as was her boat and the bubble of water under her feet was guiding her.

She had spent a few minutes testing out her voice again and again when she had climbed into the boat.

The water nudged her skin, soft waves seeming to curl up her small breasts in answer. Yes.

Cerelia scrubbed her body, careful of the ragged scars on her arm. She did not wish to bleed in the water. They had been burn marks, from a burning rod that had been held against her skin for so long, it was close to touching her bone. The skin had healed around it again but it was sharp and she knew the scar could easily open again with a slice of a claw.

She cleaned her body, before bending her knees again, letting the water cover her hair. She massaged her scalp under water, before returning to the surface again and breathing in deeply. She pressed her hands on the edge of the boat, and tried to lift her body up. "A little help please?" She turned to look at the water.

A small breathless laugh escaped her as the bubble pushed her legs up. Cerelia climbed into the boat, her body soaking but the sun heated her body instantly. She felt cleaner than she truly was and once her body was dry, she pulled Delphine's coat up her body once again.

"Eridaya." She said softly to the water and the boat turned a little west and moved again.

She had spent ten years in Eridaya. The Vampire Queen had found her as a child for a few days in the mortal lands. Her scent had not been one of a mortal and the Vampire Queen had taken her back to the castle, where Cerelia had lived for ten years, laughing and playing with wolves and vampires. She didn't remember anyone, except the Vampire Queen. Cerelia always knew she was different from them all, that this world was not hers and the queen had never hid the fact from her because Cerelia was not a wolf. She was not a vampire or a Fae.

The boat hit the edge of land and she smiled a little to the water. "Thank you." She climbed out of the boat and onto her shaking legs. No matter how many minutes she had tried to stand in the boat, she had always fallen but she was meeting a queen now, she could not crawl.

Cerelia climbed the hill, pulling herself up and she knew the water could no longer help her. With a silent groan escaping her, she pressed her knees onto the grass on top of the hill, staring with wide eyes.

Hundreds of people.

Thousands of wolves and vampires.

Houses after houses were lined up in her view but her eyes ran over every person she saw that moved. They were laughing and playing. Some were shouting at each other. Others shifted into wolves.

Her breathing deepened, as she pressed a hand against her throat, trying to catch a proper breath. How would she walk through them? They would see her body. Cerelia pulled the coat that was no longer needed in the burning sun, closer to her body, wrapping it around her small figure.

"Can I help you?"

She stumbled backwards, her back pressing into the grass as she looked up at the male. Males. There were five of them. She couldn't breathe as they ran their gaze down her naked body. Cerelia pulled the coat closer, instantly turning her head.

"Hey!" They shouted suddenly and she glanced at them to see they were all soaking wet, except the male who stood in front of them all, his eyes on her face.

"Where did you come from?" He knelt down slowly, his eyes softening as he pressed a hand on the hilt of his sword dangling against his hip. "Are you hurt?" He didn't look down at her body. He spoke the language of Eridaya.

"Zemira." Her voice was a breathless gasp compared to the thick voices they had.

His eyes flashed as he said something she didn't understand. Nobody had spoken to her in that language for centuries. She only understood if someone spoke very slowly. The male held his hand out to her. "I'll take you to the queen."

She didn't hold his hand and he lowered it. "Look the other way assholes." He growled at the males behind him who had their eyes stuck on her body no matter how many times she tried to shield from their gaze. The male in front of her shrugged off the long cloak he wore. "My mate insists I wear a cloak, telling me I look handsome in it." He spoke slowly as he placed the cloak beside her before turning his back to her as well. " My name is Nikos."

She didn't answer him, not as she waited for several extra seconds before grabbing the cloak. Her hands instantly tied it around her neck over the thick coat that made her body look bigger than it was. She stood up slowly, making sure her legs were covered by the cloak that pooled around her feet.

She coughed, the only indication that she was ready. Nikos turned around, his eyes still on her face. The other men disappeared, running so fast down the hill she thought they were a breeze of wind. They spoke to hundreds of people quickly as she watched them.

"They will clear the way for us." Nikos said slowly as she watched people walk into homes.

"Thank you." She spoke his language. It was all Nikos needed as he took a step down the hill. Cerelia sat back down on her bottom, before sliding down slowly. She would have fallen if she so much as took the wrong step and Nikos seemed to be a kind male, who would catch her. Making her scream until he released her again.

Her feet landed on the ground and she pushed herself up onto her legs, brushing the back of his cloak before pulling it around her shoulders. Nikos walked and talked so fast but she didn't understand anything other than a few words.

Vampire. You? Wolf. Fae. Katara.

She knew that name. Willa had spoken of not knowing how to communicate with her the first time.

The castle came into view and a small smile tugged on her lips as she walked through the empty gates where no guard stood. Nothing had changed. A massive fountain pouring out water was placed directly in front of the castle, making Nikos walk around the left side of it to the stairs further ahead.

There was not a single male or female as they walked up the stairs. She heard someone panting. Cerelia looked towards the pillar at the end of the castle where a male was bent down, out of breath. He looked up at her, as if feeling her gaze and instantly turned away, as if he was warned not to look at her.

She looked at Nikos who walked ahead of her. He had told his people to move out of her way, to not look at her. It was kindness he had shown but she wondered if she looked like a female who had been tortured males and females.

Her bare feet that were dirty walked on the perfectly clean floor. From her forgotten memories, she barely remembered what the castle had looked like but everything was so bright and beautiful.

Royal blue curtains draped against the large windows and the glass chandeliers were identical to the ones in the castle of Wisteria. "Nikos, why is Eldar telling everyone to stay inside?"

A shuddering sob escaped Cerelia as her legs gave out on her and she fell to the ground, her hands covering her face as she cried. Zemira was as beautiful as she had always been. Her dark hair curled around her shoulders, the black gown fitted tightly around her body and her pale skin complimented her blue eyes. She had not changed, not a single wrinkle had appeared in 500 years.

"Who is she?" Her voice was soft, full of concern as Cerelia cried in her hands.

She had truly escaped. The feeling of freedom rushed inside of her, and she embraced it with open arms. She was free. Cerelia felt a hand on her shoulder, and she flinched backwards, instantly her hands falling from her face as the Zemira knelt in front of her. "What is your name?" She spoke quietly.

Fear that had coursed through veins every single day, every minute and second, when someone touched her disappeared. Zemira would never hurt her, she would never raise her hand on her. Cerelia wanted to hug her, she wanted to reach out her arms and hug her but that feeling was so strange and her arms were so stiff, she didn't know how too.

"Cerelia." Her voice was softer but she heard the small breath of relief escape her parted lips as she whispered the name the queen had given her.

Zemira blinked, collapsing from her knees and onto the ground, in shock or horror, Cerelia didn't know. Nikos immediately called out to her, trying to make sure she was okay as Zemira stared at her. "You're alive?"

Cerelia nodded as Zemira ran her gaze over every inch of whatever skin she could see. She pulled the cloak closer around her, pulling Zemira's face from her body and to her face. Cerelia's body stiffened as Zemira placed both of her hands on her cheeks, looking at her with warmth in her eyes. "How?" She stumbled to say words. "Nikos, call Lovis. Hurry!" She demanded, a laugh following her words. "This requires two parties!" Zemira stood up, lifting Cerelia up who tried to hide the frown at the word party.

She hated them.

"I never touched your room." Zemira blurted out, unable to stop touching her. Cerelia's body was tight as she heard someone running upstairs. Zemira burst out laughing, tears falling from her eyes. "Lovis! She's alive!"

Instantly a pair of arms wrapped around her body before she could blink. Lovis was tall, and much bigger than a few men that had visited her. His arms wrapped around her tightly as his body shook with silent tears. He had cared for her once.

"Stop…" her voice was still low as fear circled in her heart that was beating rapidly. "Please." She pleaded, digging her long nails into her palms as tightly as she closed her eyes tightly.

Immediately Lovis moved away from her. She could scent the confusion, the emotions pouring out of him. "You're bleeding." His voice was as rough as her memories could remember. "Stop doing that." He warned but not in anger, more in worry for her own sake.

Cerelia opened her eyes slowly, staring at her palms and her nails. She had never felt pain, was immune to every sort of torture. Her body always knew it was coming, it would calm her racing heart, clear her mind and let her blood pour onto the ground. She didn't feel the pain in her palms if there was any but blood dripped down her as Zemira gaped at her. "Sorry." Cerelia apologised immediately.

Their floor was clean, spotless until she arrived tainting it with her own filthy blood.

"It's okay." Zemira instantly lifted the edge of her dress, not a care in the world that the male's could see her legs. Nobody cared, not as they stared at Cerelia and Zemira who wiped the blood on her palms which had healed immediately. Zemira looked at her. "Where were you, Cerelia?"

Something tugged in her heart as Cerelia heard her name being said so softly and slowly. She answered the woman who cared for her till this date. "Wisteria. I was in the dungeons." She tried to say in Eridaya as clearly as possible.

"Did they hurt you?" Lovis questioned, his hands curling into fists besides him. Cerelia nodded her head slowly. There was nothing else to say.

"I can not speak Eridayain's language.." She stumbled over her words, looking at the vampire guard who had been watching her silently, in awe or wonder, she didn't know.

Zemira spoke the language of the fae and the witches. "Would you like some food?" Cerelia let out a sigh softly at Zemira's words. "I learnt the language a few centuries ago." Zemira smiled at her.

"Can I speak with you?"

"Of course." Lovis and Zemira said immediately in the ancient language. "Let me get you dressed first and bring you some food?" Zemira offered and Cerelia nodded.

She was not hungry but she was tired of being naked.

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