Following the storyline of “Beneath the Silver Moon,” and “The Lost Dragon Empress,” “Branno’s Wish” tells the story of a Draconian Brother-Guard Dranus and the Illunian nursemaid Ichiane.
“The Lost Dragon Empress”:
Dranus Bratea has always been by his brother’s side, wherever he led. When Draconis has dreams and visions of another land neither of them had visited for half a century at least, Dranus gladly goes to keep him company. Once the brothers arrive, they see a line of males leading to the Castle doors and inside. What is going on in the Illunian Realms, and why are there males at the doors, dressed in Royal Attire?
Using some of his influence to speed through the line, Draconis and Dranus find out. The Priestess Lady Hikari Ikioi and Priest-Lord Xavier Cobrianos’ daughter is the next in line for the Throne, and must mate to take it. While Draconis’ eye is on the Lady Silver Moon, Dranus’ is on her Maiden Ichiane. After months of avoiding each other, Dranus finally corners her for a word. From that point on, they are somewhat-inseparable. When Draconis is busy with Silver, they must follow as escorts. Their secret courtship is but a short one, lasting five years, but it would hold in each of their hearts for eons to come.
“Beneath the Silver Moon”:
Years later, Draconis is told what is going on in the Illunae: War and destruction almost devoured the entire House and social upheaval is destroying the Realm. Having not thought about it for at least a century, and being busy with delegations for the peace in the Demon Realm, he is unable to take care of the matter. Draconis sends his beloved and his daughter to the Illunae for answers of their true selves as well as the history of what is going on.
When the ladies learn from the Dweller-kin cousins Daniel and his mate Simone that an Inner Realm creature was found in the Outer Realm, the truth is revealed to Ravena. She is the true daughter of Silver Moon and Draconis, and Silver Moon is the previous incarnation of his beloved Adellandra. The creature turns out to be Ravena’s missing younger brother Andros. Situations get dire in the Illunian Realm, Adellandra calls her beloved to her side. This time, Draconis cannot ignore the call.
Of course, Dranus goes along for the trip. He hopes to find Ichiane and rekindle what love they lost so long ago. Will Dranus and Ichiane mate, or does Ichiane have other plans? And who is the young dragonet woman in Immortal form Ichiane is teaching her craft?
Dranus Bratea, Lord’s Branno
A woman with silver and black locks called to him.
“Dranus.” Her voice was soft, the lilt gentle as she pronounced his name “Dray-noose,” as one borne with the Allunian Tongue would.
“Ichiane,” He called to her, his arms held out.
The woman he named Ichiane slowly stepped toward him, her arms raised to greet his. “Dranus!”
A large shadow engulfed her before they could meet.
“Ichiane!” He yelled, rushing toward the shadow, but it was too late. She was already gone.
Dranus Bratea awoke in his bedchambers, covered in sweat. He heart was racing in his chest. The covers around him were askew from tossing in his sleep. Again.
He held his head, waiting for his heart to slow down. Why, Goddess, why?
Rather than wait for an answer, he stood and went to the bath, where a hot tub and a manservant waited for him.
“Morning, Lord.” The manservant echoed, paying no attention to Dranus, merely acknowledging his presence.
Dranus waved a hand at the man, which silently told him to leave him in peace. There were two things he never did like: being called ‘Lord’ when his station did not call for it, and servants hovering over him as he bathed.
He quickly bathed himself, hoping the hot water and scent of freesia would distract him from the dream. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
Dranus leaned back, stretching his wings around him and closing his eyes to think.
Why are you torturing me, Goddess? By returning the image of my lost beloved, you are teasing me.
He sighed, and sensed a presence above him. “What do you wish, Drake? Can you not see I’m bathing?”
He opened his eyes to see his brother Draconis, Lord Emperor of the Dragon Nations hovered over him. “Dreams of the Illunae again?”
Of course Draconis would know, and worry for him.
Dranus nodded, raising himself out of the water and grabbing a nearby towel to dry off. “They’re returning, brother.”
Draconis smiled. “They never left.”
Dranus growled under his breath, quickly drying and suiting up in his best Training Armor.
“My question is, why are they so intense?” He asked as soon as he was finished.
Draconis was patient. “That is what I want to know. What was the latest?”
Dranus shared his dream, to which Draconis frowned.
“That only confirms my fears.”
“What do you fear?” Dranus asked as the two of them headed out the chamber door toward the Throne Room. He entered, seeing only his twin sister Alexia at her post next to an empty Empress’ Throne. “And where is Adellandra?”
“She had last-minute business in the Mortal Realm, so I let her rest.” Draconis told him. “No; I have it on good word the Illunae are under a social upheaval.”
“Will we be leaving for the Illunae then?”
Draconis sat in his Throne and Dranus took his post to his right.
“There is something else on my mind first.” Draconis stated. “Silver Moon will be needed to help repair the damage there.”
Dranus blinked, unknowing of what to say. He turned and curtly nodded to his sister.
I see Bratton is speaking in riddles again. Alexia sent to his mind. It made him smile.
Makes me wonder who told him about the Illunae.
That would be its Lord of the Arcane, Zinc.
Dranus tapped his brother’s shoulder at that. “Zinc Cobrianos was here and you did not summon me?”
Draconis spoke without turning. “I apologize, Branno. I thought you hated him.” He turned his head to Alexia and cleared his throat. “Alexia, go wake Adellandra, please.”
Alexia was startled, but nodded, “Yes, m’Lord.” She quickly bowed and rushed away.
Draconis looked to the courtyard clock tower just outside of the Throne Room. “We still have time before Court.”
He stood and headed out.
As usual, Dranus followed.
Once they were outside and walking the trail, Draconis spoke up. “Copper has gone mad and Ginia is at her wits’ end, all while being several months pregnant with their third attempt at producing an Heir.”
“You mean, after all this time, the High Priest and Priestess haven’t borne any children to succeed them?” Dranus was shocked.
Draconis shook his head sadly. “Zinc tells me Copper believes the Goddess has deserted them. The Castle is in near-ruins, people are poor and suffering, believing whatever Copper tells them, and Zinc is at a loss for solutions.”
“How is Ginia holding up under the pressure?” Dranus asked.
“She has lost two children to stress and miscarriage.” Draconis explained. “She was the Princess of Valona; she knows nothing about ruling on her own, for she was never taught.”
“Valona itself being a small Kingdom and still new to the Illunae treaty, so she never needed to be,” Dranus added, his brother nodding. “Why did Zinc come to Mal’estar?”
“Hoping to find me,” Draconis smiled, stopping in his tracks. “You see, I made quite an impression on him, so he asked the Goddess to give him a vision of where I was.”
Draconis nodded. “Aye. Zinc was only twelve summers when…” He looked down, sighed and continued on the path.
Dranus was ever-patient, knowing exactly what was on his mind.
Draconis stopped again, and pointed ahead of him. Dranus looked to see his niece Ravena in her DemonWolf form sitting quietly in the Garden. He nodded, knowing his place, and disappeared into the trees to keep watch as his brother spoke to the young woman.
Lord Draconis Dratianos, Emperor of the Dragon Nations and Guardian of the Mystic Realms watched his daughter Ravena in her DemonWolf form.
Dranus made himself comfortable in a nearby tree until he was needed.
“Kana, why do you brood around the Castle grounds?” Draconis asked her, walking up to her in his own Demi-form of Half-dragon, half-Immortal.
“There is naught for me to do, Dratyr.” Ravena supplied, playing with a flower she’d picked from the Garden.
“Did your Matéré not give you duties?” Draconis asked.
“Not much to do when the children are full-grown.” Ravena supplied. “Adrian has disappeared with Harmony, Arianna flits around the Outer Realm with Melody, and the maidens treat me with such respect, they never let me help them!”
Draconis took a seat next to her. “What about mentoring the Young ones?”
“What do I know of mentoring, Dratyr?” Ravena gave him a look that said ‘you’re crazy.’ “I’m useless and you know it.”
“I would say not.” Draconis supplied.
I wish you patience, brother. Dranus sent. She has changed since returning to you; remember that.
How can I forget with you reminding me, brother? He sighed. “I give up.” Draconis stood. “Your behavior is unbecoming of a Priestess of the Moon, Ravena Dratianos. Even Tristan found his niche when the Mystic’s Elemental Towers were destroyed. I want you to either find something to do, or I will find a hard task for you myself.”
Ravena looked to her lap, gulping. “Aye, Dratyr.” She stood and flew off.
Dranus jumped down from his perch in the tree.
“That is one child I am glad is not my own.” He responded from the shadows. “There’s always been something different about her; I just haven’t figured out what.”
“I’ve noticed that, too, Branno.” Draconis sighed. “But what am I to do about it? She does nothing but brood around here as if the past will return to destroy her, and she wants to be destroyed. I don’t understand.” The brothers headed back to the castle. “Do I not give her whatever she wishes? Is she not happy here in Mal’estar and the Nations? I don’t know what happened to her between the Fall and her return, but it changed her.”
Dranus thought for a moment, staring into space. “Maybe she needs her mother?”
“Adellandra has tried talking to her, but it does no good.”
Dranus stopped and shook his head. “Bratton, I mean her real mother, Silver Moon.”
“She’s got Silver Moon – in Adellandra.”
“What she sees is Lady Adellandra, the DragonWolf.” Dranus pointed out. “Does either know the truth about themselves? How Silver Moon was another incarnation of Adellandra who bore Ravena and Andros?”
Sadly, Draconis shook his head and sighed. “I think it’s time to tell them. We don’t have much of it left.”
Dranus nodded and agreed.
Ichiane of the Illunae
In her dream, Ichiane saw a shadow. It was the shape of a dragon-man from her past; the very man Lord Emperor of the Dragon Nations brought with him as his escort. He was also the one she fell in love with.
She tried calling out to him.
“Dranus.” Her voice was soft, the lilt gentle as she pronounced his name “Dray-noose,” as one borne with the Allunian Tongue would.
The shadow solidified and she could see him clearly. Her heart raced, but her body wouldn’t move.
“Ichiane,” He called to her, his arms held out.
Ichiane found the momentum and stepped toward him, her arms raised to greet his. “Dranus!”
A large shadow engulfed her before they could meet.
Ichiane opened her eyes to greet a young lady with black as night hair and reptilian scales covering her body. Her small dragonlet wings were folded behind her back and a look of worry was on her face.
“Are you all right?”
Ichiane sat up slowly. “Aye, girl. Just a memory of long ago.”
“It must have been a bad memory, Mame.” The girl stepped back, allowing Ichiane to stand and go about her morning routine.
The girl sat on the bed, watching Ichiane. After the older woman was dressed, the girl stood and followed. “Mame?”
“Who is Dranus?”
Ichiane stopped in her tracks, looked at her and sighed. “Nobody special.”
Somehow, the girl wasn’t appeased. Ichiane could do nothing about it; not right now, she thought.
The girl followed Ichiane to the outside Courtyard. Pacing in front of the gallant waterfall was High Priest of the Silver Moon, Zinc Cobrianos.
“Heyo, Uncle Zinc.” The girl called out to him.
He wasn’t really her Uncle, but since she didn’t know her real father, Zinc and Copper were surrogates.
“Dia!” Zinc stopped pacing to yell. “Not good; definitely not good.”
“Zinc, what’s wrong?” Ichiane asked him.
“It’s Copper; he’s lost his marbles.”
Dia giggled. “What’s going on this time? Anything I can do to help?”
“No offense, sweetheart, but if Ginny can’t help her own mate, I doubt you can.” Zinc told her. He turned to Ichiane. “You’d better look in on her, Ichiane. This stage is usually when…” he looked to Dia, then to the ground nervously. “Well, you know.” He cleared his throat. “Why don’t I take Dia for her Day lesson?”
“Too early for lessons, Uncle!” Dia whined. “Mame, talk some sense into him, will you?”
Ichiane smiled at her and chuckled under her breath. “Sorry, love, but I can’t. He will not listen to reason with all his spells and incantations clouding his brain.”
“Stop teasing me.” Zinc frowned. “It wasn’t my fault I was born with Mame Hikari’s magic flowing through my system.”
“I’ll stay, Uncle.” Dia reached and kissed his cheek, smiling at him. “You go, Mame. The Lady-Priestess needs you – I can feel it.”
If Dia said she could feel it; it must be true.
Ichiane sighed. “Very well. Behave.”
“I will, I promise.”
“I’m not worried about you, daughter.” Ichiane smiled, winking at Zinc as she left them.
She headed to the Lady-Priestess Eugenia’s private living quarters. Nursemaids trained by Ichiane herself flitted around the room, cleaning the Priestess’s messes and tending to her every whim, which changed every five seconds.
“Ladies.” Ichiane cleared her throat, which made them scatter.
As soon as the nursemaids left, she took a good look at the woman who was Priestess-Consort of the Illunae.
She was only a few years younger than her beloved Copper, but she looked ages older. It saddened her to see the once-Proud and happy Princess of the nearby Kingdom Valona look like she’d been through hell. In a way, she had; having to take care of Courtly affairs alone when Copper had a nervous breakdown and herself five months pregnant with their first try at a child. The stress destroyed whatever chance that child had of living, which made everything much harder than it should have been.
“Iche,” the Priestess moaned. “I can’t do it anymore.”
“Try to relax, Ginny.” Ichiane started. “Things will work out in the end.”
Ginny turned her head to scowl at her. “Will they? When? Huh? I have yet to see any good tidings in this Realm! It’s all Silver’s fault.”
Silver Moon Cobrianos, Copper’s older sister who was the Voice of the Goddess until she walked away from everything so long ago. Everyone in the Illunae and Allunae loved and missed her dearly.
“That was her choice,” Ichiane tried, but not even she believed her own words.
“I take it back; it was all Draconis’ fault.” Ginny was cross. “I never did trust him, but she absolutely adored him, to no end.”
“Well, she was the incarnation of his lost Empress, Adellandra.” Ichiane tried to explain. “Never you mind that, child. There is a babe that needs you to relax.”
“Why should this one be different from the others?” Ginny asked. “The Goddess herself is torturing me, punishing me for something.”
“Hold your tongue!” Ichiane gasped. “Has Lady Hikari been to see you lately?”
“How can she if she is helping Lord Xavier to clean up the mess Copper made of the Realm?”
“I suppose you’re going to say next that is Silver’s fault as well?”
“Do you not agree?” Ginny asked. “Look at me, Ichiane! I’m bloated, miserable, and disgusting. My ankles are swelled half the size of my belly, I must wear slippers everywhere and my stomach has grown so large, I need help dressing properly for Court!”
Ichiane patiently listened to all the complaints Ginny had to offer, no matter that she’d heard them millions of times before and memorized them all. She was tired of hearing them, but since she was only a Maiden of the House, albeit the Head Maiden, she couldn’t say anything.
After a few minutes of Ginny’s pregnant ranting, Ichiane had heard enough. Raising her head and taking a deep breath, she did something she hadn’t done in years.
She roared “Nai’shna!”
Ginny stopped talking and stared at the elder woman.
“Now that I have your attention, Lady-Priestess, I will kindly remind you of your station.” Ichiane barked. She’d never had to do this with Silver Moon or Silver’s Mame, Hikari, but it would seem she had to with this pampered princess. “You are the Lady High-Priestess Eugenia Cobrianos, of the Realm of the Illunae. Your people look up to you and Copper for guidance, for they honor and respect you as their rulers, or would if you acted more like rulers and less like spoiled children. I understand that neither you nor Copper wanted the Thrones to begin with, but that can no longer be helped. You will be strong, and get yourself together. Your Lord needs you to be the beacon and shining star in his darkened world.”
She let that sit and bubble in Ginny’s mind for a few moments before lowering her voice and announcing. “Go to him, Eugenia. You are Copper’s only hope. Without you, the Realm will fall asunder to any force that wishes to take it. Now, I will send the ladies back to help you wash up and dress properly for your mate.”
“Yes Lady Ichiane.” Ginny looked at her hands. “I’m sorry.”
“Just speak with that Illunian husband of yours so we can all have our lives back.” Ichiane sighed. “I will return for noonday meal.”
She turned on her heal and left; slowly and quietly closing the door behind her.
A shaky hand to her beating heart, she took a deep breath and went in search of her daughter Dia.
She found Dia back in the Garden behind the Castle, staring at the creek. Dia was sitting on the large boulder, studying her hands.
Ichiane was silent as she watched.
She reminds me so much of Dranus, Ichiane thought to herself. Part dragon, part cobra, all beauty.
“You lied to me, Mame.” Dia said softly. She stood and turned to her. “Zinc told me the truth.”
Zinc! That was not your tale to tell!
Ichiane, I only told her of my trip to the Dragon Nations earlier this week.
She relaxed. My apologies then.
“You told me Zinc was going to the Realm of Dreams to search for the Sparrow’s Paw flower for his Healing Remedy.” Dia shook her head. “Why did he tell me he went to the Dragon Nations?”
“Because times are tough, darling one.” Ichiane dared to wrap an arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Zinc only did what he thought was best for the Realm.”
“Well, it couldn’t get any worse, could it?”
“If your Uncle Copper does not come to his senses, it will get much worse.” Ichiane told her. “As it is, the Realm is open for attack from many different kingdoms outside our borders. There are those that wish to claim the land their own and seize the Illunian Throne. There are those that wish to declare war because Copper does not have an heir, let alone a proper heir, as states in many of our Treaties.”
“Why can’t Zinc take the Throne? Or you?”
“Zinc is a Duke without a mate of his own.” Ichiane tried. “It is a tough situation, so he had to seek our Emperor who lives in Mal’estar, Draconis Dratianos.”
“Dratianos.” Dia whispered. “The Royal Draconian family?” Ichiane nodded. “When did we become part of the Dragon Nations?”
“Do the tutors teach you nothing in school, child, or do you not listen?” Ichiane teased. “I will tell you the story. In the Creation of the Inner Realms, The God-Pillar of Darkness Draconai, Goddess-Pillar of Light A’Isha, God-Pillar of Death and Rebirth Brakkon and Goddess-Pillar of Life Brigid came from the Havens above and decided they needed a fifth Pillar to connect them all.”
Dia sat on the grass in front of her, listening intently to her story.
Ichiane smiled, for her daughter has always loved listening to her stories. She continued. “Using their Ancients Power, they Created Ishanar, the Fifth and Final Pillar, that of Spirit. In the beginning, Fourteen Original Colonies were pulled to Ishanar. Most are no longer around, or have been renamed and split to new Realms.”
“Take the Illunae and Allunae for example.” Ichiane said. “Our two main Empires were once part of the Realm of the Vampire. Disagreements between parties ensued, so they split in two.”
“Going on, the first three to pull themselves to and merge with Ishanar were the Realms of the Vampire, Draconians and Ancient Mystics. For eons since, all Fourteen Colonies have all been under the watchful eye of the Empire of Mal’estar, the very Center of Ishanar’s power in the Dragon Nations.”
“The Royal Dratianos family!”
“Aye,” Ichiane closed her eyes and nodded. “That is why Zinc traveled there; to see the Lord Emperor Draconis and explain the situation.”
“So what is going to happen now?” Dia asked.
“Time will tell what the Emperor will do to help us regain that which we lost a long time ago.” Ichiane was saddened, so she stared into creek that sparkled in the morning sun.
There was nothing either of them could do but keep the peace in the House. That’s all anyone could do.
Dranus stood by his brother’s side during yet another delegation between the Nations and the Demon Realms. Demarian the Demon Lord was up in arms about his new sister, Destria. She was causing havoc with the Demon Knights.
“Was she not told by your Lady to behave herself?” Demarian demanded, glaring at his soul-brother Draconis. “After that last incident with Queen MagDaliah, I would have thought she learned her lesson.”
“What lesson would that be?” Draconis asked. “If is the one about her being a Soul-Seductress, I assure you; she will learn, under your tutelage.”
Dranus sighed and opened his mind to his brother’s. Am I really needed, Branno?
I can handle him; thank you anyway. Draconis sent back with an inner-sigh. My only regret is not being able to join you.
Dranus smiled at that.
“What are you smiling about?” Demarian questioned.
“An old memory.” Dranus looked at Draconis and nodded. “If you need me; I will be within hearing.”
“Acknowledged. You are excused.” Draconis tried not to laugh as he administered the order.
Demarian groaned. “Damn dragons and their mind-speech.” He mumbled. “Why don’t we have that, huh? After all, we are soul-brothers.”
Go, while you still can. Draconis’ voice laughed. Hai’ata’a!
With a final bow, Dranus left the room.
As he closed the door behind him, he saw the corridors of this part of the Castle were deserted but one occupant: the Lady Adellandra herself.
“Where is he?”
“With Demarian.” Dranus told her. “You do not want to go in there right now, my Lady.”
“Ugh.” She stuck out her tongue. “Sorry, but no.”
“What did you need him for?”
“I was hoping he would be able to tell me more of the Illunian Realm’s history, so I know what I’m up against.” The Lady grinned. She headed away from the Battle Room and he followed.
Does she know the real reason you are sending her?
If you are talking about finding more information about Silver Moon for her many Chronicles, then yes.
Dranus’ mind-voice chuckled. Good.
“Perhaps I can answer your questions, Adellandra?” Dranus told her, following her back to the living quarters. “After all, I was there with him.”
The Lady Adellandra stopped in her tracks and hugged him. “Great! I need to know whatever you do before I leave with Ravena.”
“Well, that knowledge would fill more than a library of volumes in your Chronicles.” Dranus said seriously, but smiled.
“Oh, you!” Adellandra lightly punched him, to which he playfully winced and rubbed his arm, pouting. It made her giggle.
“I try.” Dranus kept his grin.
After a few moments of silence, Adellandra asked first. “Who was she?”
Dranus looked at her. “She was a beautiful maiden who was chosen to be the Goddess’ Avatar. Silver hair the maidens always put in numerous luxurious braids down her back, silver matching eyes that twinkled in both the day and night, and a heart of gold that rivals your own.”
Adellandra sighed. “That only tells me what she looks like, Branno.” She said. “I guess I’ll soon find out; won’t I?”
Dranus smiled at her. “Not soon enough, I gather?”
Adellandra smiled again. “Stay out of my head!” She laughed.
“A man could get lost in there.” Dranus kidded back. He hadn’t felt this relaxed with a woman for quite a long time.
Thoughts of his dream flashed through his own mind, and he was quiet, frowning.
“I can tell your occupied with your own, Dranus, so I’ll be on my way.” Adellandra kissed his cheek, tapping it. She smiled, her silver eyes twinkled, reminding him of Silver Moon’s; which, of course, reminded him of Ichiane. “It’ll be okay, whatever it is.”
He took her hand and kissed the top of it in response. “Of course, m’Lady.” He released it. “Time will tell, now will it not?”
Adellandra winked and ran ahead of him toward the outside courtyard.