Dragon's Blood

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Chapter 24

I stumble my way towards Madeline’s bedchamber. I don’t expect to meet her as she exits at the same time that I turn into the cave corridor that leads to her room. She spots me instantly, she is wearing a simple silk green dress, looking exhausted.

She quickly comes back to life, however, when she notices that I am close to tears. I quickly approach her and without words she opens her arms and holds me as I burrow forward into her for a mother’s warmth, letting my tears fall.

“What’s the matter, Luv?” Madeline asks, extreme worry within her tone, “What happened?”

I eventually pull away and wipe my arm over my runny nose while trying to blink away my messy tears.

“I don’t know who I a-am,” I say, hiccupping on the last syllable as her brows furrow in confusion.

“You’re Luvenia,” Madeline teases, “What are you confused about –?”

“Have I been living a lie?” I ask, in a panic, “Did you all lie to me about how I was a Rogue?”

“Who told you, that you’re not a Rogue?” Madeline’s tone changes, now she is angry, “Are you having trouble with your Princes’?”

I nod.

“I don’t know what to do,” I admit, “I need your help. They make me feel so confused. It’s like they’re trying to manipulate a reaction out of me... but I don’t know what they desire to achieve from it. How do I deal with their cruel games and words? They are good with words. Now, I feel like nothing.”

Madeline sighs and sticks her palm up to her head, closing her eyes and counting to three. Eventually she lays down her hand and gives me a caring, kind and empathetic roll of her eyes.

“Did they call you weak? Happen to want to make you their slave? Spoke of their great power? Spoke of how inferior you are –?”

“Yes. Yes. And Yes,” I nod, quickly and Madeline takes my arm at the elbow, pulling me along.

“Let’s go flying,” Madeline smiles at me and I finally feel a little more at ease.

“My fathers?” I ask, confused, “Were they not with you?”

“Scouting, fighting... brawling... with each other,” Madeline explains, dryly yet again, “Let’s get some fresh air.”

“I want to know how you do it –” I beg for more answers and she puts up her hand as we round a bend and head towards an open ledge.

“Save it for when we have privacy... my beautiful and brave, Luvenia,” Madeline is kind with her words as she lets go of my arm and stands back, waiting for me to transform on the open ledge. I give into my mist and once I am solid again, my claw reaches out and hooks through my clothes to bring them with me.

Then, I lower my neck and wing for Madeline to climb aboard.

She does so with eagerness, her eyes alight with excitement.

Hold on, mum, I reassure her with kindness. I’m also a bit nervous in the gut because this is the first time we were going flying together and it was the first personal talk we’d had in years.

I drop forward, swooping down close to the mountain edge, heading for the tree tops, hidden, hopefully, from scouts.

Find us a hill top to overlook the forest, Madeline suggests, while gripping my scales.

I happily oblige, going to my favourite retreat. I steady my wings for a smooth landing and do so gracefully atop my favourite hilltop.

I lower my wing and after Madeline climbs down, she sits and waits for me as I transform and get changed into my clothes. Once I’ve slipped on my leather bottom and top, I sit down next to Madeline.

Not super close, but enough to show I am making an effort.

I turn to look at her as she happily gazes over the tree-tops, her eyes searching while her red hair wisps out behind her with the night wind. She looks so puny, so fragile, so mortal.

Huh... Dragon Slayer...

“How do you do it?” I ask, “How do you... live with them?”

“You sound so scared, Luvenia,” Madeline mentions, glancing over at me, “Why are you scared?”

“Hey. Don’t answer my questions with more questions –!”

“Do you want my help or not, Luv?” Maddie asks, snapping at me just as I’ve snapped at her. I don’t expect this ferocious reply and I lean back on my hands, eyes wide as I nod at her to continue, “Answer me, Luv. You sound scared... and so defensive... but why?”

“I don’t know, that’s just who I am,” I mutter, looking away from her fierce gaze. I can barely comprehend the power in her certain, steady eyes.

Clearly, she had everything together.

I just wanted to know how she stayed so sane.

And why I was falling apart.

“That’s just who you are? You just told me minutes ago you don’t know who you are,” Madeline points out, very obviously. I am about to snap an angry reply, my frustration brewing so quickly. But this once, I bite my tongue and instead, blood rushes to my face, “I was a slave,” Madeline explains, “I was a slave since I was six. Hael kidnapped me. I didn’t meet Lochness until I stumbled upon a treasure cave he was hiding away in like a deranged psychopath. Both of them tested my resolve. I didn’t know I was a Dragon Slayer until Hael’s life was in danger. Until after confrontation and fight after fight, I found my true power. But that whole time – I knew who I was. I was Madeline, stolen, young and passion to boot. And no one could make me back down. Here I sit – the same. Test after test made me who I am.”

“I’m proud of you, mum, but I don’t know... why I don’t know... who –” I plead with her now and she sticks out another palm to silence me.

“You don’t know who you are, because you’re a princess since birth, doted on... confrontation... arguments... real fights... situations where your life is in danger... you never experienced that, not really. It may sound horrible but the hard stuff, is what shows you, who you really are,” she states this while smacking her hand down into the grass, aggressively making her point, “...because, Luv, no one can ever tell you, who you are. Only you will ever know. You must hold that identity up high and be proud of it and not for even a moment, let a friend, foe or mate – take it away from you.”

“I’m not sure if they were trying to take it from me,” I admit, “I talked to my mates and they told me I was living a lie, because I live with deceptions. They wanted to strip the fakeness away, to expose what was underneath... and I ran... because what I saw terrified me,” I admit, “The things they say don’t scare me, it’s the way I react to it... that’s what scares me... am I making any sense?”

“Sure. But. Regardless, you still haven’t told me, who you are. You’re avoiding it,” Madeline is harsh but she is right, “Tell me who you are.”

“Luvenia,” I answer, biting my tongue after that, “Unsure, scared, no place, no idea –”

“Bullshit,” Madeline cuts me off and now I jump to my feet, my face going red in embarrassment.

“I was just telling you!” I exclaim, throwing my hands up, “You’re meant to help me.”

“So you’re pathetic,” Madeline shrugs, “You want to live your life holding up your identity as pathetic, Luvenia the Afraid –”

“No! I’m not afraid. I’m just... I’m just...” I spin from her when she raises fiery eyes to mine. I look over the forest, my eyes teary once more. I quickly suck them back in and turn back around.

I also suck up my stupid pride.

I shuffle a bit closer and I sit my ass back down on the grass, “I’m sorry.” I hold my knees to my chest and lower my head, feeling guilty for losing my temper quickly once more. I don’t expect to fill a painful flick at my temple. I quickly raise my head, eyes blazing as I see that Madeline has indeed, just flicked me. I narrow my eyes and she pinches my arm next. I shuffle away, hurt. ”What the hell, mum?”

“What are you going to do about it, Luv...?” Madeline asks, “Cry? Whine? Wish you had it easy? You’ve had it easy all your life. Imagine for one second... all of that hangs in the balance... you’re angry now... but you get angry and you run. That’s your first problem.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, facing her now, worried she’ll pinch me again. She just smirks and doesn’t break our locked gazes.

“Tell me who you are,” Madeline asks me, differently this time. I sort of understand what she means now.

“I don’t like company, much. I have a short-temper,” I explain, truthfully... while waiting for her to yell at me again.

“You’re angry?” she asks, “Why are you angry? Were you stolen as a child to be a slave for Sylvan and Thaddeus?”

“No. I’m angry at myself,” I explain, “I want to be myself. I know what it is. I just don’t want it to... I don’t know. This is where I get confused.”

“It becomes more stark in conflict, as I said, Luvenia... you’ve never had many terrible things happen to you... I don’t wish any of it upon you, but you need to stop being scared. A war is coming. It might be too late if that is your moment to choose, to accept who you are,” Madeline whispers this, dead serious.

“These are all big words, coming from a supposed Dragon Slayer,” I smirk, teasing her, “You sang to me as a child. I’ve never heard you sing like a Slayer.”

“You want to hear me sing?” Madeline asks, curious if I’d actually want her to show me.

“Wait, mum. First, tell me why I was always protected as a child,” I add this defensively, “Do my father’s truly believe I am weak? Do you believe I am? Because of my half-blood.”

“Your fathers believe everything is weak compared to them,” Madeline rolls her eyes and then sighs. She looks over the tree tops and doesn’t face me now, looking exasperated, “Don’t you understand yet, Luv? Whether you were born mortal, Dragon or without limbs... your blood, isn’t what matters. It’s your heart. What does your heart tell you?”

“I have passion... something inside me... I don’t want others to see. Lex has White Fire... me...” I trail off as I think of how to phrase my words correctly.

“Can you sing?” she asks me.

“Never tried and I don’t want to,” I shake my head, feeling odd about her suggestion and my reaction.

“Lex can,” Madeline winks at me, “He’s very secretive about it though.”

“So he can sing and he has White Fire...” I mutter, “But that’s my point. I have something, inside me, something more. Something I’m scared to discover because it will be powerful but it will make me vulnerable.”

“That is exactly how I felt before I found my Dragon Slayer magic,” Madeline hints, “Perhaps you are refusing a power you don’t even know you have.”

“Like what?” I ask, “I’m so confused, all the time. Did you know you had power in your voice... in your songs... or only until Hael was in danger?”

“I used to sing to centre myself. The power didn’t come to me until I had a reason to use it and I sang the right words. It was a moment of pure realisation of who I was. Who I could be. If you know it, you will be so. That is my final point, Luvenia. You already know who and what you are, you must simply acknowledge it. Then you must fight to uphold it. The greatest prophet, Zayda, once told me in a prophecy that you will be the most beautiful girl in the realm.”

“I don’t feel beautiful, men never –

“Your father reads minds just like you, Luv, what do you think happened to them?” Madeline sighs, thinking about it, “Nessy takes things too far sometimes.”

“What the hell? That’s not right, though. I’ve spent years thinking I was ugly – argh, I’ll tell him to stop ‘disposing’ of people who like the way I look. But besides that, I think I’ll understand what you mean about a hidden power... if you sing to me,” I ask, sheepishly adding, “Not just... a song... but actually sing. Show me your raw power that makes you who you are, please, mother.”

Madeline is smiling, about to agree.

Until we hear noise from in the forest.

A dark, low chuckle floats to our ears from the dark innards of the surrounding trees.

“Of course he must interrupt now...” Madeline’s smile drops off her face as Lochness steps out of the tree line, in his human form, pants thankfully on.

“You think I don’t overlook my family?” Lochness asks, slyly, “But go ahead, mouse, sing her a song,” Lochness adds as he smirks and leans on a near by tree, “But you know the rules, Maddie. I wouldn’t dare use that ‘tone’ on me,” and he wasn’t talking about attitude.

“I haven’t truly sung since before your birth,” Madeline murmurs to me, a huge fire now burning in her eyes as she blinks at me and then glances at Lochness, “I will sing to show her my famous tone. Not that ‘tone’. Don’t fret, Lochness,” Madeline winks at my father.

He raises a brow and his hand, gesturing to continue.

“Proceed, mouse,” Lochness loved to address Madeline as such. Or rat, depending on if she was in his bad books or not.

She smiles sweetly and turns to me once more, murmuring under her breath.

“I will show you, how singing helped reinforce my identity, Luv,” Madeline breathes this to me calmly and even as she turns from me, her gaze directing to Lochness – I feel a very real shift in the air.

The grass it self flickers with the invisible power. The air seems to condense. I know something big is about to happen.

This song is for you, Madeline speaks directly with me through our private mental link, if you feel the words come to you, Luvenia... embrace it. I believe that you are strong. Your mind has always been a fortress.

Madeline sings -

Down in the depths

of the hidden shadows

I warm my chilled blood

And I find my self

In the quiet of the night

Somewhere a fire burned

And there my soul learned

I am the princess

Of my own sun and stars

[Luvenia joins in now]

I’m saying all that I hide

I am singing from my mind

Thoughts of darkness and fear

I leave them all behind

My mind fortifies

Fire of the Sprite magic intensifies

Thoughts no longer haunt my soul

I am dancing to the tune

Of the Rogue hearth that burns

Inside my blood and bones

My mind rushes in kind

To find the thing I behold deep down

Thoughts no longer haunt my mind

I am recognising the sight

Of the Rogue Eyes

That hold my head high

My mind is a fortress

My mind is a fortress now

Everything feels euphoric as power vibrates through the air. Lochness slumps against his tree, his eyes flickering shut and his power flooding directly into me. Not completely, but to the point I feel I am sharing his magic.

When I glance at Madeline, she is pursing her lips watching me with a new light of understanding.

I stand up, my father’s magic doubling my own, reinforcing my own... realisations.

With his confidence and lethality mixed in with my blood, I feel raw and real.

Nothing is confusing.

Everything is clear.

I mist my way into the night, slipping through air and slicing it with shocking speed.

I go right through the cave corridors.

Right through to Guest Room 12.

Two tiny seconds have passed.

I slip under the door and solidify before Thaddeus and Sylvan. I am completely naked but this time I am completely confident... and my aim is certainly not to repulse them... as it was that first time.

Now, it is to flaunt who I am.

Luckily, they had just been about to leave so they are standing together for me.

After using my new speed to fly here, I slowly feel Lochness’ power seeping from me, leaking back to his bones and blood in the forest as the song’s power wears off as more silent seconds tick by.

But I don’t need him anymore, or the power of those words.

My identity is now clear.

I am Luvenia.

I am gifted by the Sprites to be a Rogue Dragon Princess Warrior. I can read thoughts so well because I feel souls. I feel angry because people can be so dark. I crave peace because I am Rogue in nature. I am the most beautiful girl in the realm, with two Twin Leading Dragon Breeds as mates. I wish to be pleased with sex by two dominant men who know what to do.

Madeline’s predicament angered me because her collar restricted her raw power.

But I am meant for something far greater than slavery.

“Luvenia?” Sylvan asks me, confused by my sudden appearance and my stern expression.

I raise my hand and slap both of them as hard as I can, leaving pink, stinging marks on their perfect cheeks.

As soon as their jaws gape and they’re dumbfounded by my actions, I smirk.

I let them see that too.

Then I mist out of their room and I head back to my mother. To retrieve the clothes I wore because they were a part of my identity. My favourite set; black leather bra and pants because they were warrior clothes and I wasn’t just a half-blood princess any longer.

A war was coming.

This princess needed to achieve what the Sprites had gifted her with.

Her blood was boiling with potency of a power that didn’t have a label. Something similar to Madeline’s voice, but rather than lethal it was charged with balance. I had only shared Lochness’ magic. Not one part of me had tried to or allowed me to take it all to zero.

Now I knew I was truly gifted.

I was born to be a fighter.

It had been what Madeline had been subtly trying to tell me about my anger.

Yes, I was born to be a fighter.

And she said to never stop fighting when you realise your true worth.

It may have taken awhile but now I knew what Madeline meant.

And my fight had just begun.

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