“Bellum Minima Dominus, the phrase for Little War Lord and the Fire-Spitter Breeds who control other Fire-Spitters and lead them into war,” I explain my new found knowledge to Amadahy and Ethne while they both sit next to my right in the communal hot spring pool, while everyone else; my mates, Kali, Pagan, Sen, Minx, Lex and Jules, all recline in the water or bathe around us on our last day of expected peace and planning before the war, “That is what I believe, Minx is, in her blood.”
"Bellum Minima Dominus,” Jules repeats to my left, literally curled up with her naked knees to her chest on the stone step I share with Amadahy and Ethne, “Almost sounds like a plant I researched in botany class with the old grumpy horticulture teacher, Jarsen. It reminds me of Domina Bane which is Dragon’s Bane. But, the poison is half as affective on Half Bloods, like you and me.”
“Yes, I have heard that is a formal name, Domina Bane, for Dragon’s Bane,” Amadahy answers Jules but ignores my statement about Minx, further avoiding the topic by mentioning, “My Sky Gods... if Thaddeus and Sylvan try to dunk Lex one more time and fail, I will personally dig myself a grave from the shame of having such weakness in two supposedly unstoppable Twin Leading Breeds as cousins. It’s painful to witness such defeat over and over.”
“Lex has grown out recently, it’s probably just the fact that he is trying to seduce Jules,” I point out, only to have Jules lean up off me and blush bright red in the face.
“Absolutely not,” Jules gasps, “He hates me! All Lex has ever done, is try to dominate me like I am a mortal. We are both half-bloods yet I am like a mouse in his eyes -”
“Does he call you mouse?” I ask, confused.
“All the time,” Jules growls, shuffling away from me, while glaring over at Amadahy who has a hand over her mouth as she tries not to laugh, while my own eyes laugh along in amusement.
“Just like Hael,” I say it in unison with Amadahy. Jules turns from sweet and gentle natured from the past hour of bathing, to being consumed in absolute disgust.
“How cute!" Ethne sighs in content, which rubs it in, while Jules just looks more gobsmacked by our taunting.
“I will not hear of this, it isn’t funny, it is absurd... I am not a mouse, like Madeline or, o-or my mother, Summer,” Jules tries to sound defensive but the more she tries to explain herself, the more she sounds unconvinced of her own words.
At that, Lex has seemingly discovered that our conversation is about him from across the enormously sized pool. I watch my twin release Thaddeus and Sylvan’s necks from under the water, a cocky green eyebrow raised as he fully stares at Jules’ blush.
I wink at Lex and he winks at me in return as we share the same thoughts.
Attempt to seduce her by calling her a rat next time, brother,I suggest, clearly mouse is an unfavored term.
I couldn’t agree more, Lex growls back through our twinly connection and he wades for the edge of the pool, pulling up and out just as Jules is also scrambling out of the pool.
She had only come down to join us after her parents, Summer, Dane and Aneurin, forced her to socialise.
As she picks up a towel and turns, we all witness, as does she, the brand on Lex’s butt. The very brand she put there five years ago when he tried to brand her first.
She scowls and turns to run, her long legs taking her away quickly as her long golden locks bounce behind her.
“Where are you going, rat?” Lex calls out after her menacingly as Jules disappears out of the hot spring cave’s entrance, “Running isn’t socialising!”
Lex seems to consider running after her but then he just thinks too hard and jumps back into the water, splashing a napping Sen while Kali and Pagan pretend to do each other’s hair. However, they are really watching my brother’s back muscles clench and unclench as he wades back to join Thaddeus and Sylvan towards the middle of the pool.
“Well, that didn’t work,” Sylvan growls and shoves Lex’s shoulder into Thaddeus, but before they make contact, Lex lunges at Sylvan and pushes him under the water again.
“What didn’t work?” I call out, too curious to find out their plan.
“To seduce a female, you must appear to be the top male, the alpha of all the others,” Lex calls out, grinning happily.
“We agreed to pretend to let him dominate us,” Thaddeus calls out while grabbing Lex around the neck in a head lock to pull him off from half-drowning Sylvan, “To impress the young half-blooded lass.”
“You pretended to submit? Huh!” Lex chuckles as he releases Sylvan, only for Thad to loosen up on the headlock.
Lex uses the moment to slip out into freedom before he wraps his arms around Thad’s neck and locks Sylvan with a leg, only to bring them both down into the water to start a real fight while water splashes and flies in all directions.
"They’re my cookies!” Amadahy, Ethne and I all look to Sen who wakes up in a fright from her deep nap, after being splashed by the three brawling Twin Leading Breeds, “O-oh,” Sen slouches into the water while her sisters laugh and Thaddeus ends up roaring out in pain.
We all then turn to see Sylvan and Thaddeus holding down Lex, while a violent thrashing happens behind Thaddeus.
A moment later a purple head rises above the surface with blood running down the sides of a monster’s curled up mouth.
“Half-tempest scum, becomes yum yum, when I taste you with my tongue,” Minx growls lower and slower with each word, “You’ll scream with pain, no say for you, Blue, none. Just running with blood down my tongue,” Minx giggles hysterically as she spins and dunks back into the water, swimming away to some corner of the pool.
Amadahy promptly face palms herself while Lex and Sylvan eventually stand up to see a white-faced Thaddeus.
“Anti-venom?” Sylvan asks his brother, “Like... now?”
Thaddeus nods, getting paler by the second.
“Now,” Thaddeus dramatically slouches, passing out to the point that Lex has to catch him with the most disgusted scowl.
“Kali, Pagan,” Lex growls at them and they scramble up as they are the closest to the edge. They mist to go get the anti-venom.
“Lie him back on the stones outside the water,” Ethne calls out, “Don’t worry, it happened to me... she must have bit Thad really hard to get him to pass out that quickly.
“You can’t deny she is a little nutty,” I remind Amadahy while Thaddeus is hauled out of the water.
“She is simply growing up,” Amadahy shrugs dismissively.
“But the Little War Lord, thing, that sounds pretty cool,” Ethne pipes in, only for Amadahy to put a hand over Ethne’s mouth as she slowly turns to glare at me.
“Why don’t we address the real elephant in the room?” Amadahy lowers her voice to a menacing vehemence of calculation, “Luvenia is way too happy to be a virgin any longer.”
As Amadahy’s hand now leaves Ethne’s mouth, Ethne gasps loudly and even Thaddeus comes back to consciousness to laugh deliriously from his now conscious state.
“Fucked her real good... bro,” Thaddeus growls out, which makes Sylvan laugh robustly while his light amber eyes sparkle with amusement, turning to face me to take in my blush, “Like a flower opening to -”
“Enough,” Lex is out of the water and stands by Thaddeus. Now he shoves his foot over Thad’s mouth, “Disgusting brutes - that’s my sister you’re talking about. She wouldn’t open her legs to you for another ten years -”
“Should I be offended by that or complimented?” I growl out as I stand up for the first time since misting into the water.
Amadahy points to my right butt cheek as Ethne gasps again. I jerk when I see the water line burst forth to my right with Minx’s head as she also swivels around to see the brand.
She doesn’t gasp, she frowns, looking very irritated and empathetic as her teeth grind together.
“Your pain is mine,” Minx growls low, solemnly to me as she bows her head and then dunks back into the water, disappearing from view again before Amadahy can grab her ear and scold her.
I sit back down quickly, feeling uncomfortable with all the eyes on my butt, and the only gaze I am afraid to meet now, is Lex’s.
As I force myself to look up to my twin brother, he takes his foot off Thaddeus’ mouth and looks taken aback as our green eyes lock.
“Seriously?” Lex asks, in a growl so low, I barely hear it.
“It was inevitable, everyone stop looking at me like I’m a new born fledgling who just learnt how to fly -” I can’t finish as Sylvan grasps on to my choice of words in an instant.
“Is that what it felt like, Princess, soaring for the first time?” Sylvan wriggles his eyebrows and Sen puts up her hand, still looking sleepy.
“Did I miss something, or is this conversation really about the fact that - ” she pauses as her sisters, Kali and Pagan, come running back into the hot spring cavern holding the antidote for Thaddeus, ” - Luvenia lost her virginity last night to her mates - finally?”
“What?” Kali nearly drops the antidote and Pagan gasps like Ethne.
“I’m so proud of our princess!” Ethne beats her fist into the air and scrambles across Amadahy’s lap to embrace me in a very naked hug.
“Give that to me,” Lex grasps the antidote from Kali and opens the vile, dropping the liquid into Thad’s mouth carelessly.
“Get off me!” I push Ethne off me and stand up to wade away to a different stone bench in the natural spring pool, so I have some space from the smiles and chuckles of all my friends.
Minus my irritated brother.
Thaddeus slowly sits back up, his leg quickly healing as he comes back to his senses.
“Don’t you have warriors to be leading into war?” Lex growls down to Thaddeus and Sylvan, “Get your act together. Play time is over.”
“We organised everything this morning while your sister lay in a crumpled heap of exhaustion...” Sylvan drawls this to Lex, to rub it in, while Thaddeus smiles happily.
Before Lex can decide whether to attack them both again, we are all abruptly interrupted by a black thick mist wafting it’s way into the room, encircling myself and my mates and then dipping into the water.
I feel the familiar presence and stiffen as the water abruptly rises a few inches around us.
And then, silence descends upon the cavern. Lex and I share a knowing look as Thaddeus and Sylvan abruptly appear very nervous as a black scaled head slowly rises out of the water near me.
Fantastic news, Lochness drawls through all our heads as he dramatically rises just his head and neck out of the water, his eyes vibrant with magic and joy, while I glance behind him to see the very end of his tail flick up out of the water... and he high-fives my mates with the tip of his tail, one by one.
Thad and Sylvan almost looked as shocked as me as their hands rise to return the happy greeting, while Lochness smiles at me with his fangs, bright shiny and covered in saliva probably because he just finished hunting down some poor innocent fat deers in the forest.
Lochness leans his head down and nudges his snout against my bowed head so my forehead hits just above his nostrils before he pulls back and wades into the middle of the water.
“Fucking typical,” Lex snarls at Lochness, who slits his eyes and fake-glares at Lex.
I think you mean, fucking brilliant, Lochness counters, your sister is mated... but what of you? Can’t catch a half-blooded spirited little wench?
“Ha, ha, ha, soo funny, father,” Lex picks up a towel to dry off before putting on his brown leather pants, “Always one to be humoured so easily.”
Always, silly youngling, Lochness blows fire after Lex and covers him in a burst of loving and warm green tinted magic, you seem to have shrunken in the last week, have you skipped any meals?
I snort at this as everyone else grins from the reverse-humour, as Lex has done nothing but grown since his return.
“Watch it, or I’ll tell mother that you’re being mean again and she won’t open her legs to you for a month,” Lex humours him back and Lochness grins, so wide and true, if you had never seen it before you’d probably piss yourself from fear.
“Alright dad, this is getting uncomfortable again, can you go away now?” I ask of Lochness, “We’re trying to co-ordinate some back up plans, here.”
I just wanted to say congratulations, babygirl, Lochness endears me and reaches down to nudge me again in approval before lifting out of the water and misting on cue.
“Nessy! What have you said to Lex now to upset my baby boy?” just as Lochness is swiftly misting out of the cavern, Madeline comes stomping in with a golden scaled outfit and a sword in hand, while Thea follows her in.
I grin - as my mother was clearly in training - for her Dragon Slayer abilities.
Lochness solidifies before Madeline in his human form, too curious to mist past her out the entrance.
She holds her sword up and dramatically cuts off her leather collar with one tug.
“No collars whilst training, you big meanie,” Madeline hisses, ”Thea said so and you said I should listen to everything she says whilst she trains me.”
“Well, the next one will just have to be metallic and impossible to remove, little rat,” Lochness leans down, clasping her throat to give her an all encasing kiss before leaning back up and walking past her innocently.
As innocently as possible while blowing a blast of green fire over her outfit, to warm up the scales and make her squeak and dance on her feet.
“Chase him, Maddie, with the sword, run,” Thea whacks my mother on the butt and winks at me and then gives me a thumbs up as Madeline roars out while chasing after Lochness.
“What the fuck? I’m going for a walk... I need... space... from all this gross stuff happening around me,” Lex just shakes his head in annoyance and storms out of the room while Thaddeus slides under the water with Sylvan as they swim over to us.
“Awww,” Sen, Kali and Pagan watch Lex leave with a sigh while I motion them to come closer.
Eventually everyone stands in the water, opposite me, and I feel special, as even my mates choose to come into my presence.
Now, I feel like a leader.
“You said you had a plan before you convinced most of us to come down here,” Sylvan begins, “So, princess Luvenia, what’s your all mighty plan to stop a war?”
“To use what we were all gifted with through our blood,” I explain, “Our Dragon Blood. Sen, Kali, Pagan - triplets all in tune with each other in flight and communication. Lex, my brother, he has white fire, to reverse magic. Sylvan; Prophets Eye. Thaddeus, Dragon Slayer Slayer. Me, Dragon Lord Slayer. Amadahy, princess of the Tempest Lands. Ethne, Silver Breed. Minx; Bellum Minima Dominus... clearly, since Amadahy keeps avoiding it... and Jule’s knowledge of plants... such as Domina Bane. Dragon’s Bane. Half lethal to half-bloods, so perhaps useful in the hands of mortals and half-bloods like me, Lex, Thad, Sylvan and Jules. Now, we must harness all our skills and work together while the warriors do their roles... and we will all have our individual roles in the war. We will specialise our roles specifically with the very gifts the Sprites gave to us when we were born. We will have roles to play that will save us from slavery or an eternity in stone. We were given these gifts for a reason so we must learn them and use them.”
“So, how do you suggest co-ordination, Queen of Rogues?” Sylvan asks me with a raised brow, mocking me slightly because I was speaking of team work yet I was born for a mostly solitary life.
“First, I want to talk to Minx,” I turn to Amadahy, “Can you get her to come and listen? Where is she now?”
“Swimming,” Amadahy waves her hand dismissively to the water and we all turn to the surface, to see if Minx will rise, “Wait,” Amadahy feels for her and I feel for Minx’s thoughts at the same time, “She isn’t here.”
“Neither can I feel her presence,” I murmur, “Where did she go? Off on another bloody rampage? Where is Zoraul and Rawk?”
“Out scouting,” Amadahy whispers while her eyes gloss over and she tries to connect with Minx, “Oh... no... oh, no... oh, shit.”
“What?” We all ask in unison, as Amadahy comes back to reality, “She’s in the dungeons - she told me she’s talking to Moot-moot and Zarp-zarp. Two amicis.”
“Amicis?” Thaddeus questions.
“It means friends,” Amadahy looks pale.
“I think she means the, uh,” Ethne guesses, I think, correctly, “The two spy Fire-Spitters caught for questioning last night. They must have been crying out for help to their kind... and the only kind near by is Minx. But why did she go alone without telling you, Amadahy?”
“This is Minx,” Amadahy growls, “She does what she likes... and when it comes to her kind; I will have no say.”
“So she is a Bellum Minima Dominus?” I ask, hoping Amadahy will reconfirm.
Amadahy nods and she doesn’t look happy.
“Yes, she is a Little War Lord,” Amadahy murmurs, before glaring at me, “I know what you’re thinking and although it seems ideal in your head, your plan won’t necessarily work. If you want her to rally Fire-Spitters, for you, she will never work for your interests, only herself. She’s smarter than she looks.”
“I’m not sure if violence is a reflection of intelligence,” Thaddeus adds, carefully trying not to provoke Amadahy’s own notorious temper when it came to anything about Minx and defending her beloved pet.
“You want to bet?” Amadahy asks with a raised brow, “As soon as she comes of age, that violence will be used for leadership. If Fire-Spitters were just violent, they would be easier to control. But there is so much more to the reasons behind why they are so feared all across the realm. Even those in other realms will avoid a Fire-Spitter.”
“Because they are so flipping nuts?” Pagan guesses, dramatically.
“They have no concept of fear,” Amadahy explains, “And any fear they show, is simply manipulation. Now excuse me, but I need to find my pet before Moot-Moot and Zarp-Zarp find an early release.”