I get dressed and the first thing I do is reach out with my extraordinary ability to find my mother’s cousin’s mind; Summer. I find her in a guest room not too far off where Thaddeus and Sylvan are left in a deep slumber. I open the guest room boldly, using a slight magic trick to undo the lock, and I see that Summer is reclining on a couch, reading with Aneurin, her golden haired mate who is passed out on the opposite couch while Dane is sleeping in his freaking Dragon form, squished into the corner of the large guest room... basically taking up 3/4 of the whole room with his huge Dragon body. His Dragon head rests over a whole king sized bed.
Summer glances up through some spectacles and she looks worried by my late night appearance.
I need your help immediately, it may change the course of the impending war, I stress the importance of her help by being bluntly honest.
You have my full attention, does this involve my daughter, Jules? she asked, concerned.
No, you can rest easy that she is safe somewhere with my brother, Lex, looking after her, I promise Summer this and she puts down her book and jumps up to join me. She is wearing a beautiful golden, ruffled dress that she has not taken off yet since dinner hours ago.
I wait for her to come out and join me and then I motion her to follow me. In silence we walk down to the dungeons where she follows me close behind.
Hael, Lochness, I call to my father’s in the mean time, keep a close eye on Madeline, I believe she is a prime target.
She is safe, babycakes, Lochnesss replies to me.
Why are you so awake, dad?
Diligence. Can you feel the uneasiness around us? We have trouble brewing.
I know dad, I can feel it too. I may have news about the war. Important news. I’ll get back to you soon.
Stay safe, babygirl. I am all ears for any news on the Tempest scum. If there are any Dragons I can burn, let me know and I’ll do the damage.
Don’t call me that, Luv.
Don’t call me babycakes, then, Nessy!
Naughty, just like your mother. Get onto that information. I am waiting without much patience.
I’ll relay the information soon, I promise.
“What is down here?” Summer asks me quietly as we descend into the dungeons, which is a huge spiralling stair case that seems to never end.
“The answers we desperately need,” I reply, “I need you to heal a prisoner who may be able to help us. A word of warning; he hates my guts.”
“-who hates your guts, Luv?” I reach the last step and see Lochness down the corridor, leaning against the cage whereby Amadahy is sitting crossed legged, looking highly stressed.
“Dad, why are you here?” I hiss at Lochness, “I have to work out some answers alone! Without... your...uh... scary intimidating serial killer vibe putting off the people I need to question. No offence, dad. You know I love it when you play deadly dad, but this is important.”
Lochness narrows his eyes.
“Luv, if what you say is true and I believe you... Madeline’s life hangs in the balance... so does everyone else who threatens my little rat,” Lochness snarls this and nods at Summer who walks beside me.
“What’s going on?” Amadahy asks me.
“Shh,” Lochness holds up a finger, “Speak when questioned only... by my daughter. Or I will enforce the needed pain.”
“Dad, it’s okay,” I try to reassure him and I motion Summer to go to Roi, “Roi...” he looks up at me through his tattered hair and he smiles with missing teeth.
“What do you... want to... know? There is nothing you can... do... that will make me... tell you anything...” he hisses this and when Lochness approaches the cell bars, threateningly death staring the half dead man, Roi just laughs.
“I’m going to get you healed up, Roi, I’m going to save your life,” I crouch by the bars and wait for Summer to do her thing. Lochness opens the cell door and let’s her in. My dad escorts Summer close behind in case Roi tries something funny.
“You’ll be okay,” Summer reassures Roi as she waves a hand over his body, “Just breathe.”
Roi goes quiet as Summer’s hand hovers above his damaged, bruised and bloody body, a light covering him and sealing up old wounds and clearing up blisters.
"Ah,” Roi gasps in a large breath and sits right up, healed. Lochness grabs Summer by the shoulder and quickly escorts her out, but Lochness stays in the cell.
“Dad, you don’t need to -” I can’t finish.
“You will speak,” Lochness murmurs to Roi anyway, “Or you will die tonight. It’s my mate or your life.”
“Then take my life,” Roi spits on the ground.
“Why are you all talking to my prisoner?” All of us halt at the sound of a new voice - slightly panicked. We all turn to see Althor in leather pants and long amber hair, stalking quickly towards us.
“We need answers,” I explain, “What answers do you need from Roi... exactly?”
“He isn’t yours to question, he is mine,” Althor snarls this and Roi laughs openly.
“Oh, the joy... I could tell you Althor’s wrong doings but it would just, possibly save everyone’s lives here... but if I say nothing, you’ll all get punished, as I was... for years. Tortured to speak. But always unbroken. Always,” Roi is proud of this, and Althor reaches the bars and halts when he sees Lochness standing in the cell with Roi.
“If you want our alliance to stay, I need you all to step away from my problem,” Althor tries to speak respectfully to Lochness, who simply tilts his head.
“A war is about to destroy us if we aren’t prepared... I suggest we completely open up about anything that may help us win this war,” Lochness suggests.
“Speak, either of you,” I turn to Roi and then to an impatient Althor.
“Shall I spill the beans or shall you?” Roi asks Althor, “Do me the honour of surrendering your secrets.”
“I am innocent of all crimes and have nothing to speak for and nothing to say, that could help in the war. I am simply going to fight,” Althor is strained on this and Lochness jumps onto it.
“Only a man who would say that so tensely, would be guilty of otherwise,” Lochness drawls, “Now one of you spill these beans or, damnation, I’ll snap both your spines one vertebra at a time and she’s next...” Lochness nods to Amadahy, “If she also needs questioning, Luvenia... I’m here for you, babygirl.”
I turn to Amadahy and she looks guilty as she looks down, but I say nothing in relation to her... for now.
When no one speaks, I turn to Roi instead.
“Come on,” I beg him, “Tell us these secrets... Roi, and I promise... I will kill Althor for you... if what you say is worthy of a death sentence, but you must tell me all the truth and nothing but the truth. I’m sure you want him dead,” I murmur, and I see Lochness smirking at my ruthlessness, especially when Althor gawks.
“Are you insane?” Althor asks, “I may as well join the army of Blood Ravens to kill you all if you wish to kill me -”
“Careful of your words, Dragon Lord,” Lochness raises a finger, “My family is everything to me. This Horde, is also very important to their future. Shut up and don’t run... I don’t trust you... at all, Althor. Which means you aren’t going anywhere and if you even try, we’re going to have a real bloody problem on our hands.”
“I will speak as I believe you will hand out justice... ” Roi licks his lips and watches me a long time, as I look back at him. I nod, hoping I convey my honesty... and then Roi finally speaks all, “Althor killed Thaddeus and Sylvan’s father with poison many years ago. He weakened Zayda with poison so when she gave brith, she would never survive. He took over the Horde of Fortune, hoping to rule in place of his brother with two nephews... like sons... everything he ever wanted. Because his mate, died, long ago.”
“You would say anything to live now,” Althor snarls this at Roi, but Roi just shrugs and doesn’t break his gaze from mine.
“Why would I have a single motive to lie, now?” Roi asks, “I have nothing. My love doesn’t even love me. And I have no family or friends left. Althor took that all away from me.“′
“If he killed the rightful Lord of the Horde of Fortune and Zayda... who is Shai’s sister?” I ask, hoping for this answer at least.
“Zayda,” Roi says, like it’s obvious, “Shai is a very old Blood Raven who simply appears young through spells... but she is at least two thousand years old and Zayda was her younger sister. Shai changed the Dragons of the Horde of Fortune to stone because they had plotted with Althor, to overthrow the rightful Dragon Lord who was mated to her sister. Shai made sure Althor had no one left to rule when he was in charge.”
“So, Shai is avenging her sister and her sister’s mate, aka Thad and Sylvan’s father? Why does she hate all of the West Lands, then? And not just Althor?” I ask.
“You are allies with Althor. His allies... are her enemies. A Blood Raven’s wrath is like no other...” Roi murmurs, “...can you kill him already, Luvenia? It’s the least I deserve.”
“My mates grew up without parents because of him,” I murmur, glancing from Roi, to Lochness and then to Althor, “Thaddeus and Sylvan can have your head, after the war is over... if your head is still on your shoulders.”
Althor is so shocked he has no idea what to say, and he is too scared to move with Lochness’ gaze trained on his every move.
“Please let me out, Luv, I can help you,” Amadahy calls out, desperately, “Please Luv, please let me out, please... you needto let me out... now...!” Amadahy has a hopeless look in her eye but she means well.
I watch Lochness mist and surprise Althor by knocking him out quite suddenly... and throwing him into a magic proofed cell of his own.
Summer, all the while, stands back and enjoys the show.
“Luv, we’ll know the truth when we get rid of the lock around Althor’s memories and his thinking,” Lochness growls to me as he locks the dungeon to Althor’s prison, “I’ve always wanted to pry into his head... lying sneaky bastard.”
“Please, Luv,” Amadahy begs me and I turn to her, conflicted.
“Amadahy has brought another war, apparently,” I speak to Lochness about her, hoping for his opinion, “Warlord Axeus of the Tempest Lands wants his daughter back, Amadahy, or he’ll join Shai in the war against the Requiem mountains. They didn’t know she was alive with us until recently. She was sent here as a trained Shadow Assassin.”
“A Shadow Assassin... that’s interesting... by whom was she sent?” Lochness waltzes closer to Amadahy’s cell and she jumps to her feet.
“Please, you need to let me out... I think I know what their next move will be...” Amadahy whispers, “Please. Believe me.”
“Amadahy, there is no more time for secrets. Tell us everything,” I urge her, “Prove your loyalty... and don’t be scared if you mean well. Lochness and I read minds to the core... we’ll know if you tell the truth.”
Amadahy glances at Minx, in the cell next to her, and she looks scared, afraid and quiet.
“You will never let me live if I tell you,” Amadahy whispers, begging me with her gaze.
“Just speak, please,” I ask her, ”Whatever it is... it’s too late already... so many people are going to die, Amadahy. The war is pretty much upon us now, if not already.”
“You’re right,” Amadahy nods and sucks in a breath, “I- I’m... well... you know how I am Thaddeus and Sylvan’s cousin... that’s because Shai was Zayda’s sister... like I said... because... well... because Shai... she is my mother, I am a half-blooded dragon, half mage... it is why I was sent here to kill you, she is estranged from my father now... but I had connections to both parents, once,” Amadahy murmurs, “But that is not your top concern... believe me, because I feel it in my bones, any moment now... Madeline will be targeted for slaughter. Please, believe me, Luvenia, you need my help. Let me out. I promise to help you both.”