Chapter 29: Daerius
My head snaps up at the faint booming noise. I search the horizon in the direction it came from and my face falls.
A bright red flame shoots through the sky, on the other side of the Zhyden mountains. Then suddenly a searing white pain shoots through my skull and I collapse onto the forest floor.
My Beta rushes over, shaking my shoulder but I can’t hear a word he is saying. I can only focus on a single coherent thought as everything goes black. Lyza.
I open my eyes to someone calling my name. Angel’s face hovers over me, full of concern. The agony is gone now, replaced by a strange numbness.
“Daerius are you alright?” My sister asks softly.
I sit up, looking around my room in confusion. “What happened? All I remember is a red flare . . .” I trail off, confused and disoriented.
Angel backs away, chewing on her lip like she always does when she is nervous. I growl a little. “Angel what happened?”
Her face twists into a pained grimace. “It’s Lyza, the pack doctor says she is dead, and that you collapsed when the bond broke,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.
“No, that’s not possible. If she was dead then I would be dead,” I say affirmatively. Angel cringes a little, shaking her head.
“I’m sorry Daerius,” she mutters and I stand up with a snarl.
“My mate is not dead!” I yell, storming out of my room and slamming the door.
She can’t be dead, losing a mate kills you. My father died only a few weeks after Angel’s mother died and I remember what happened to him. He basically went insane, and tried to kill himself on several occasions. My mother wasn’t his true mate, but Angel’s mother was.
I find myself walking to my office, where my Beta and Gamma are waiting. They look at me with a mixture of pity and sadness. “I’m so sorry Daerius,” Mykael mutters.
“If Lyza was dead then I would know. Something definitely happened though, and I think that red light in the sky had something to do with it,” I tell my Gamma firmly.
He nods quickly, shaking off his sullen attitude. He points to a map that has been spread across my desk. “We started looking into that after you lost consciousness. We think it came from the dragon’s territory so we wanted to look through that book Lyza found,” he says.
“And? What did you find?” I ask.
They glance sideways at each other. “Well, we—uh, the thing is—well we can’t find it,” Cadyn says.
I raise my eyebrow at them. “You can’t find it? It has been on my desk since we left for the dragon’s territory just a few weeks ago.”
“Actually that was almost a month ago, you were passed out for like four days. Anyway we looked everywhere in here and in the library but we haven’t been able to find it. We think someone took it,” Mykael says.
“Who the hell would take that and why?” I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose as my head starts to hurt.
“I don’t know Daerius, but are you sure you’re okay? You look pretty pale,” Caden says.
“My head feels like it’s about to split in half, but otherwise I’m okay. Actually I can’t feel anything else,” I mutter in confusion.
“We were going to send scouts into the Mountains to see if they can find out what’s going on with the dragons. Meanwhile we can search for whoever took the book here,” Mykael says.
I nod, growling a little. “Whoever took that book is going to die.”
“You seriously expect me to believe that she took the book?” I growl, gesturing to the thin woman.
“I’m sorry Alpha but I did take the book,” she replies.
My eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “You’ve got to be kidding me, why the hell would you want to take the book?” I ask.
“Well you see I wanted to add onto it, I recently learned some new things about dragons that I feel belong in the book,” she shrugs.
“Add to it?” Mykael echoes in confusion.
She turns to him with a grin. “Yes, I wanted to add onto it. I am the author of the book.”
My jaw drops slightly. “You can’t be serious? You would have to be at least a couple hundred years old to have that much information,” I say.
“Alpha I am 437 years old. I was alive when wolves and dragons were allies. I knew the father of your mate,” she smirks.
I stare at her blankly for several moments, not saying anything. “You can’t possibly be that old,” I mutter. She doesn’t have a single wrinkle and her face is brighter than a flower in summer.
“Well I have no mate and no children, those are what make you old,” she chuckles.
“In that case, we need your help with a few things since you know so much about dragons,” I say and she nods.
“Of course, the book and all of my other things are at my house.”
I nod to my guards and motion for Mykael to come with us. We follow the woman out of my house and into the forest. We walk for nearly half an hour before finally coming up to a small cabin.
It is in the middle of a part of the forest that children call the Haunted Forest. They believe there are ghosts and monsters hiding in the trees. Even I used to believe the ridiculous scary stories.
The woman leads Mykael and I inside. The guards wait out in the forest. The cabin is very small, with two rooms. The main room where we are has simply an old futon and table for furniture. The floor is covered in animal skin rugs, and the whole place looks like a witches cottage, the kind I saw in books when I was little. If she didn’t have the scent of a wolf then I would definitely mistake her for a witch.
She walks over to a huge bookshelf that takes up most of the wall. She grabs a thick book that I recognize as the History of Dragons. She tosses it down onto the table and sits on the edge of the futon.
“So I’m guessing you want to know about that bright red flame in the sky?” She says, looking up at me.
“Uh yeah, how did you—”
“Everyone was freaking out about it, I figured you probably were too,” she shrugs.
“Do you know what it was?” I ask and she nods.
“Yes I do, but you aren’t going to like it,” she mutters, opening up the book. “That’s partly what I wanted to add to the book. I didn’t remember until I saw it the other day.”
I watch her flip through pages covered in drawings and diagrams. She pauses at a section in the middle of the book. “The red flame you saw, they call that the Phoenix. It’s the sign of a successful Awakening,” she says, pointing to a page filled with writing.
“What’s an Awakening?” I ask.
“It’s a very, very old war ritual. They used to use it on mortally wounded dragons, it heals them and brings them back physically stronger than before,” she says.
My eyes widen in terror. “So they can basically resurrect them?”
“Yeah. And I thought the technique was long since abandoned but clearly someone knows how to do it. And if they’ve done it successfully then we are screwed. This means they literally can’t die,” she sighs.
“Do you know how it works?” Mykael asks.
She nods. “Yes, I’ve actually seen it happen. Basically, whoever is the leader of the dragons will carry the injured one and drop them into Mors, their most violent volcano. The fire will heal them and force them to shift. If it is successful then the dragon will fly out in the red flame they call the Phoenix. Unfortunately there are awful side effects,” she trails off.
“What side effects?” I ask.
She looks at me with pain in her eyes. “They come back, but they come back damaged.”