Dragon's Blood

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Chapter 41

Everyone solemnly returns to the Requiem Mountains, where everyone helps to clean the blood bath in the lower halls and Deep Cavern. All the while, Shai’s unconscious form is brought to the middle of Deep Cavern where Summer and Roi are put together to help bring her back.

I stand back watching all this by myself from an isolated pillar, needing a few moments to myself. I lean against the rock, feeling sick inside even after the war was over.

The slaves and Dragons were helping each other heal all around me while many brave people helped clean. Most of the slaves and Dragons that were slaughtered, had their remains burnt together. So there were many people grieving and the whole area was very full.

Storm left his Horde outside to guard his son’s bodies while they were still in stone next to Layla’s form.

Thaddeus and Sylvan stand with Storm, conversing with the Legend, including my uncles Darren, Mason and my aunt Adara.

Darshan, Madeline’s friend, stands by her as they watch over Shai’s body being healed.

Dane and Aneurin guard Althor by the outskirts on the opposite side of the cavern from where I’m standing. Althor was still covered in mud from my suggestion. He was unrecognisable with his amber hair also covered in slick mud.

Everything was in order, but I was yet to tell Thaddeus and Sylvan that Althor had been the one to murder their parents.

I wasn’t sure how to break the news; it was shocking and would wipe the smiles they currently had, right off their young handsome faces.

Now, we were all just simply waiting for Shai to get healed to save everyone she had turned to stone. It was the last step before we could all find proper peace.

“Why so gloomy, sister?” I nearly jump a mile when Lex breathes into my ear. I turn to him and see that he is uninjured but he isn’t alone.

I’m confused when I see two tall figures, who aren’t meant to be alive just yet.

Our fathers.

I grin and I’m about to yell out with joy but Lochness rises a finger to his lips, shaking his head down at me.

“Let me scare the living day lights out of your mother,” Lochness growls.

“She’ll slap you!” I hiss.

“She’ll have to slap both of us then because I want to surprise her as well,” Hael puts a hand on Lochness’s shoulder and nudges him to go forward while Lex stands back, looking cocky as ever with a wide smirk and his hand spread out with White Fire leaking from his pores.

“...you can reverse magic spells with your fire,” I murmur, remembering this now and feeling like an idiot, “Where were you this whole time we were being invaded?”

“Reading,” Lex drops his hand and shrugs, “I had two choices. I could fight uselessly to the death like everyone else, or I could read and find the answer.”

“An answer in ‘The Art of Seduction’?” I ask, I can’t help but tease my twin and he shakes his head, unfazed.

“No, Luvenia, Sky Gods and their magic... and all their beliefs, you know, the Tempest Breeds,” Lex holds out his hand to me again, “Watch this.”

I see him ignite White Fire once more in his palm, but as he concentrates, the White Fire turns black and rises dramatically in a pillar. But only for a couple of seconds and then he shakes his hand out and exhales in a hiss.

“What was that?” I ask, so confused.

“It’s hard and it hurts but -” Lex trails off in his explanation when his eyes widen in disbelief to a figure that slides up swiftly behind me. I turn to see Jules standing just behind my shoulder, smiling with relief and amusement.

One look into her head and I can tell she had been trying to find Lex, to make sure he was alive and she had rushed here after feeling his presence.

“What’s hard and hurts?” Jules asks, bravely and with enough sass to have my brother blushing, “The ass I branded five years ago?”

I never thought in a million years I’d see Lex blush, but Jules is sly in changing it to be about his butt instead of his -

Okay, my thoughts definitely did not want to go there.

“White Fire,” Lex growls, “It’s a -”

“Don’t care, just wanted to see that you were alive,” Jules shrugs and nods at me before walking away, leaving Lex flabbergasted.

“So,” I try to get my brother to explain further, “Your fire, it’s -” I can’t finish either, as there is a sudden brawl happening in the middle of Deep Cavern.

I turn to see Madeline being held back by Lochness with an arm around her waist as she tries to punch Hael, who is trying to come in and kiss her.

“I thought you were dead and you plot to scare me?” Madeline roars, so angry her face is as red as her hair, “I will kill you both!”

“Shhh...” Lochness degradingly pats her gently on the head and everyone around snickers and tries not to laugh out rightly.

“I need to concentrate,” Summer hisses over her shoulder while her hands are over Shai’s body. Roi rolls his eyes at Madeline who is now crying hysterically.

“Wait, how are your Dragon Lords back? I thought they were stone,” Roi states, turning back to Shai, we all watch as she twitches and slowly opens her eyes. She groans and sits up, while there is a roar from the side lines.

When my eyes glance up, I see the culprit; Althor.

Shai is entranced by Roi’s presence as Althor dramatically pulls away from Dane and Aneurin, breaking his chains in anger and transforming into his amber scaled Dragon amidst everyone else.

Shai jumps to her feet at the threat while she is surrounded by Dragon guards, who make sure she doesn’t try anything funny.

“Uncle, relax,” Thaddeus calls out to Althor, casually and I watch Lochness let go of Madeline and narrow his eyes at Althor’s antics.

Lochness was the only other one in the cavern at present, who knew what Althor did.

And the lying murderous Dragon Lord from the Horde of Fortune doesn’t attack Shai, like I thought he might.

His eyes scan the crowd and he focuses on me hiding behind my pillar with my brother.

You don’t know what I’ve been through and you just stand there, princess, gloating over the victory like it was all your doing, Althor growls to me, even though this isn’t what I’ve been thinking at all, you think you know all the answers but you don’t know half of the story... you think this war is over? I’m not going to stay chained, waiting for your judgement, when you don’t know a thing about Blood Ravens. We’ll all be dead when they come back, in a second strike. I have to act now. Everyone must follow me.

I must be as confused as everyone else as I step out further, facing him and trying to work out what it is I didn’t know.

I see panic in some of the gazes of the people below and I reach out my thoughts, a fair distance outside the mountain to feel for any beings close by in the Requiem Forest.

But there are none besides Minx’s Fire Spitters somewhere close and Amadahy is still with her army.

But Shai’s army has truly retreated.

I glance down to Shai, to catch her thoughts and while she looks defeated and confused with the presence of Roi, her eyes flicker between Althor and myself.

Until she is the one to come up with the answer.

No one knows, Shai answers me, no one knows what he did.

Lochness catches onto the shared thought with me, and he steps away from the others, about to transform... but not before Althor suddenly strikes.

His talon swings through the crowd and knocks Lochness down so hard, he slams into the rock until he is unconscious and his head is bleeding, right before his claw knocks down Summer too; the fastest healer here. Althor makes Summer’s knock down look like an ‘accident’ and Lochness’ knock down seems to be in ‘self defence’ of Althor’s worrying claims of a second strike.

We’re all going to die if you don’t listen to me, Althor calls out to everyone, aiming to create a panic.

He’s going to try and kill you before you can say anything, Shai tells me, don’t let him win again, don’t let him escape justice after all this mess.

I turn to my brother, to see his reaction or his advice.

But he is gone.

And when I turn back to Shai, I watch Lex mist behind her, using his White Fire. He unexpectedly attacks, obviously trying to protect me after hearing her thoughts...

“You’re no longer needed to save those you turned to stone, Blood Raven,” Lex proclaims loudly, “You’ve caused enough harm and if you deserve it... this fire will stop you,” Lex covers her in White Fire as she turns to him, looking panicked.

She doesn’t burn, she falls unconscious again, collapsing naked, while a burst of magic leaves her body and ripples over us.

Roi literally disappears in a pile of ash... like he has been some sort of part of her, created by her.

Althor must see my distraction, because I fail to watch his Dragon mist and fly straight for me.

He transforms behind me as a human, grabbing my shoulders, he swings me around and slams me into the pillar of rock, so my skull is ringing with pain.

I almost collapse to my knees, but I manage to stand, only for Althor to transform back into his Dragon close by and breathe fire towards me. I feel the flicker of it burn me before I mist myself to safety.

I mist around the room, looking for a way to gain the upper hand.

I am the rightful heir to the Horde of Fortune. I was a Twin Leading Breed but my brother died as a child when Thaddeus and Sylvan’s father, Thadeux, accidentally killed my twin; Usurp. I took reign over what was mine. You plan to kill me but you don’t know anything of my pain or my rights. The Horde of Fortune is mine.

You’re just scared your nephews will take that spot from you, even after all that you’ve done -

Althor does not want me to talk, because if I do, I might just blurt out the truth.

I mist on the raised platform at the end of Deep Cavern to gain my footing, only for Althor to transform beside me a second later and almost crush me to death between snapping jaws.

One of his fangs, tears across my collar bone, piercing deep just before I mist again.

But he follows me and I start to panic.

How could I win?

If he was one half of a Twin Leading Breed - he was still that breed. So, I had to sing!

But... his mist was chasing mine, he was on my heels. He wanted to kill me straight away, without mercy and without delay. That meant Thaddeus and Sylvan would do anything to protect me; but their life was now in just as much danger as my own.

My brand throbs with the need to protect their lives, so I decide to take this fight somewhere else.

I mist out of Deep Cavern. I had to stay in human form to sing, so I’d need a weapon, but all weapons were taken by everyone in the cavern. I mist my way through the mountains, up to my bedchamber. I mist next to my bed and reach under it to grab the gift from my father, Lochness. Grasping the Warlord’s scale I throw it through the air and transform into my Dragon, clasping the scale midair in my claws as I fly my lithe body out of the caves, and into the open air.

I will be faster than Althor like this and he would be tempted to use his bigger Dragon form to swoop down and slaughter me.

It was my best chance at survival, despite the danger. I swoop low to the tree tops and head towards the hill top that I had first sung with Madeline’s wisdom.

I look over my shoulder and see him in the distance, flying straight for me but now with some space between us.

I will fight you and I will win, I answer him, only to find a wall of rage hit me in return.

Althor was consumed in his own madness.

As I appear human on the hilltop, I grab my own weapons to me; my parent’s gifts.

I clasp the scale out of the grass, holding it to my chest where I am bleeding quite a bit and then I think of Madeline’s song, even as my head still pounds from when Althor thrust me against the rock pillar.

I was trembling because I had never been in a real fight like this before. With all my talk of being a princess warrior, seeing a blood thirsty Dragon Lord sized murderer, who truly wanted to kill me, swooping down for me as fast as he could... I am afraid.

Until I close my eyes.

Despite the threat of his form about to snap me up in his jaws in seconds, even while he laughs through my head.

But, I believe I am gifted to win as I try to grasp my power to me now.

It burns inside of me, and ignites my own gifted knowledge of songs and power.

But words evade me and the music is too slow to start; so I have to open my eyes and I see that Althor is about to clamp down on me.

I raise my hand, as the fear suddenly leaves me and I wait for him to open his jaws in a fast strike.

As his jaws open and he moves so fast towards me, I jump up into him... with my arm still raised and the sharp scale still clasped tightly in the palm of my hand.

His hot jaws fall around me and for a moment my feet land on his teeth and my side lands on a stinky tongue, but my arm is in place.

I swing my arm across, cutting the top of his mouth open; and knowing from past experience of eating for the first time as a Dragon, if you forgot to crush any sharp bones and they hit the roof of your mouth; it hurt like hell and you instantly gagged.

That’s what happens now.

Althor’s jaws open and I tumble out, hitting my side while still clasping the bloody scale. I then slowly roll to my feet and stand up.

“You will not take Thaddeus and Sylvan’s happiness away, by killing me,” I take some steps back and now the right song fills my heart.

It must be how Madeline found her own lyrics.

Althor continues to gag and spit out blood while I stand my ground and let my magic consume me.

[~Youtube this song exactly as the title appears: Andy Moor Ft. Betsie Larkin - Not Afraid (Original Mix)~]

~~

Lyrics:

Why did you try to break me down

Did you think that you could leave a mark

Leave me reaching in the dark

Did you try to get beneath my skin

Just to see if I could hold it in

Nothing you can do or say will touch me

’Cause I am not afraid

And I will climb above

Burn me to the ground

I will rise up

’Cause I am not afraid

Try to push me down

I will find a way

You will find out

’Cause I am not afraid

And I will climb above

Burn me to the ground

I will rise up

’Cause I am not afraid

Try to push me down

I will find a way

You will find out

~~

Althor weakens with every word, his body collapsing with every lyric, until the end, where his flesh and scales turn to ash and I am filled with power.

It’s a new feeling in my bones of being... fast... like a snake!

I had stolen his power.

And Althor was dead at my feet with nothing but bones lying before me.

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