Demonica: A Tale of the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan
“I Promise; my first-born son will return to take my place within the Clan”
The time has come, and Sir Airemus Dranna, Branno to Lord Brakkon Dratianos, cannot wait any longer. He had to fulfill the promise he made to his Clan years ago when he left them to join Lord Dra’nie Brakkon’s side. Wars and battle between the Realms had pushed the promise from his mind, but now that peace had finally been assured, by his own daughter and her mate no less, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
During routine Court Audiences, the Lady and Lord of the Inner Realms had a very interesting visitor. A representative from the Fire Warrior sect of the Southern Dragon Clans begs for help from the Monarchs. Sensing something very important and dangerous, Lady Adellandra sends her own Dratyr, Airemus and Bratton Anton to investigate the matter.
On their way to the Clan dwelling, the men are accosted and taken prisoner by a group of Fire dragon bandits. Airemus, always acting in his Branno form, stays silent while his son Anton, in his DragonWolf form, remains curious and follows his lead.
They soon meet the leader of the bandits: a lady fire dragon who is quickly named Demonica; if not for her wit, for her spite and the way she handles her clanmates.
What will happen to the Dranna men, and what does the woman named Demonica have to do with the representative’s plea?
Airemus Dranna stood in front of his Clan with a determined frown upon his dragon lips. The gathering was for his Birthing day as well as his Crowning ceremony. He wanted none of it.
He wanted to be a Guard for the Royal Family, their Majesties and their children. He did not want to be the Leader of the Fire Dragon Warrior Clans and their Guardians. What was he going to say to his Clan mates and parents?
“I must be strong in my volitions.” Airemus stood proud, his eyes surveying the crowd of onlookers. Mostly, it was his family – mother, father, cousins, elder parents – but the rest was the Clan. “I come to you today, not just because it is my Birthing day, but because of I am to be Crowned Leader-Prince to the Clan.”
Roaring applause filled the area. He was afraid of that.
Airemus took a deep breath and proudly stated. “I must decline the honor.”
The Applause turned to uproar, with dragons from every acre of the Clandom screaming in protest.
Airemus held up his claw to urge silence. “I am not fit for Leadership; not yet.”
His eyes hit the ember-color of his mother’s and the stern cerulean of his father’s. His mother held her breath as he stepped down to approach them.
Bowing, as he was taught, he lowered his eyes and stated. “My deepest apologies Mutyr and Dratyr. The Lady has called me for service in the Draconian Armies.”
“The Lady,” Mutyr breathed, a hand on her heart.
“Your duty is to the Clan, Kano.” Dratyr announced. “Since it is the Lady Herself, who are we to refuse?”
Airemus felt bad for deserting the Clandom he’d loved so dearly.
“On my honor, Dratyr, Mutyr,” Airemus began. “I Promise; my first-born son will return to take my place within the Clan.”
Dratyr hugged his son close, whispering in his ear. “See that you do, Kano.”
When they pulled back, it was Mutyr that held him to her, tears in her eyes.
Now he felt really bad, but the Lady Empress of the Dragon Nations, the Peacemaker Herself wished his attendance in the Armies.
“La’decorte’comare,” he whispered in his mother’s ear before pulling away. “I will always love you both.”
“Be careful, Kano.” Mutyr wiped a tear away with a claw.
“Come home to us,” Dratyr instructed. “Do not die on some silly battlefield; or worse, in training!”
Nodding and saluting for a final time, he left the Clan in search of his new life.
Stranger On a Mission
Everyone in Mal’estar’s Marketplace saw the rather large and very clumsy burgundy dragon flying directly toward its Castle’s walls. Before it could crash into the barricade, it shifted to an Immortal form of itself; red dragon’s wings, black pearl eyes, scars on various parts of his body, and a very frantic look on his dragon lips.
The twin dragon Guards at the Gates to Mal’estar’s City crossed their spears and growled. “Halt!”
One of the twin Guards noticed a sigil of the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan burned in dark leather attached to the blade-sheath at his back. It was holding his ragged cape around his neck.
“I do not have time for this!” The stranger announced, waving a hand in front of him to clear the guards from his path with a mere gust of steam. He pushed his way inside and headed directly for the Castle itself.
What started as a pair of Guards, quickly turned into the stranger battling his way toward the Castle. Eventually, he was caught by a pair of Dragoncats with canine features.
“Surrender, fiend.” One of the male Dragoncats growled from his left side, holding him in place.
“Or prepare to die.” The other Dragoncat announced calmly from his right side.
Suffice to say, the stranger was confused at the turn of events. He was silenced, staring from one to the other. Like the Guards, they were twins, but they weren’t full dragon. He saw the Royal Insignia of twining dragons, one white, one black, backed by the letter “D” whose tail was shaped into a multihued energy ball. Behind the twining dragons was an “X” of one cross being a sword, the other a mage’s staff. Surrounding the entire thing were fourteen different dazzling jewels, the universal symbol of the Dragon Nations.
Who were these twin Dragoncats with canine features and why did they have the Royal Insignia on their lapels?
“I do not have time for this!” He struggled from their grasps, but they only gripped him tighter. Right away, he could feel a powerful surge of energy and recognized it. “Ancient Mystics?”
The Dragoncats blinked, both frowning at him.
“Lord Emperor,” one started.
“Will not be pleased,” the other finished.
The stranger took a deep breath and resigned not to fight them any longer.
He was on a mission, and the Lord Emperor was just the man he was after.
Lord Emperor of the Dragon Nations Draconis Dratianos sat in his Throne, his Lady Empress Adellandra at one side of him, and their Monarch’s Own Elspeth on the other. Behind him on his left stood his Branno, his faithful bodyguard and brother Dranus; his right was his Empress’ Lady Branna, Dranus’ twin Alexia. On his Lady Empress’ other side stood her father, Sir Airemus Dranna. The six of them watched in curiosity as a pair of Dragoncats with canine features stood before them with a strange burgundy dragon tied in magical bindings in between them.
“Speak, Stargazers.” Draconis sighed in his Lord Emperor tone. “One at a time.”
“Yes, My Lord.” They chorused.
“This strange drake was attacking innocents in the Marketplace.” The one on the stranger’s left announced calmly.
“Before that, he flew in and attacked our Gate Guards.” The one on the right growled. “Can we destroy him, please?”
“Sir Raulf Stargazer!” The Lady Adellandra stood from her Throne.
Sir Raulf, the twin on the stranger’s right, bowed his head. “My apologies, My Lady.”
Adellandra paused, studying the stranger. “Dratyr.” She called out, walking to the stranger’s level.
Sir Airemus followed.
Lord Draconis watched the scene, confident his beloved Consort knew what she was doing. If she didn’t, one word from either Airemus or Adellandra, and the stranger would die at the Emperor’s hand.
Sir Airemus studied the stranger while they conversed.
“Release him, Stargazers.” Adellandra said softly, keeping an eye on the stranger.
“Gracious lady, I thank you.” The stranger gasped, relieved.
Lady Empress put her hand up. “You will speak only when spoken to.”
The stranger clamped his jaw closed and nodded, bowing his head.
Lady Empress looked to the Dragoncats. “Thank you, gentlemen; you have done well, and may return to duty.”
The twins stood at attention, simultaneously clicking their boot-heels together, each placing a fist to their heart and slightly bowing their head in respect. Turning on their heels, they left.
The Lady spoke after the twins were gone. “What have you learned about this curious stranger, Sir Airemus?”
Rather than answer her, Airemus frowned and directly asked the stranger. “What has the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan come to if they send a mere sentry to disrupt Mal’estar?”
The Lady abruptly turned and stared at her Dratyr with wide-eyes, unable to speak.
“Why attack innocents, sentry?” Airemus pressed the stranger, a growl rumbling in his throat. “Answer me!”
“Sir Airemus.” Draconis warned over the elder dragon’s growls.
Airemus calmed, but kept his frown on the stranger.
After meeting Draconis’ eyes, both Adellandra and Sir Airemus continued the interrogation.
“What is your name?” Adellandra eyed the stranger, a serious gleam in her silver eyes.
The stranger bowed. “I am called Belgard Haden, and as the knight stated, I am indeed a sentry from the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan.”
“What are you doing in Mal’estar, Sentry Haden?” Adellandra asked.
“Why did you attack us?” Airemus blurted.
Adellandra placed a hand on Airemus’ arm, shaking her head. “Dratyr.”
“I am sorry, My Lords and Lady, but I was sent by King Artimis and Queen Amalia.” Belgard Haden announced. Airemus held his breath at the names, keeping silent as he let him continue. “They told me to hurry, and to use any means necessary to meet with your Lordship.”
“Really?” Draconis asked, standing and going to them. Automatically, Dranus followed shortly behind him.
“May I be excused, Majesties?” Airemus’ voice shook.
Adellandra looked to him when she sensed he was in shock. “No. We need you.”
Airemus quickly nodded and continued to listen.
“Now you will answer his question, sentry Haden.” Draconis announced, staring at the sentry with blood-red eyes. “Why attack? Did you think that would gain you favor with us?”
“Nay, M’Lord.” The Sentry was quiet. “I was only told by their Highnesses –“
“To use any means necessary to meet with me.” Draconis sighed. “Yes, I get that part; now, tell me why you were sent here.”
“Their Highnesses believe our new Clan leader is out of control.” The Sentry supplied. “His Highness hopes that someone would help us take care of the matter.”
“Why did he not just send a messenger?” Adellandra asked, eyeing Airemus.
“My Lady, I am both messenger and sentry for the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan.” Haden told her. “Will either of you send someone to help us?”
Adellandra looked to her father, then Draconis, who nodded.
“I will seek a proper punishment for this man.” Draconis announced. “Dranus, take him to the holding cells while the rest of us decide his fate.”
Haden gulped as he saw the rather large dragon Draconis had named Dranus smile.
Draconis turned on his heel and was followed by Airemus, Adellandra, and soon both Elspeth the Monarch’s Own and the Lady’s Branna, Alexia to the Conference chambers in the adjoining room.
No one bothered sitting in their seats at the elongated table. The group stared at Airemus, appalled at his behavior. Neither had seen him act out of character before, and it shocked them; especially his daughter, Adellandra.
Draconis wanted to know why. “Speak your mind, Dratyrna.”
“I apologize, Kanota, but…” Airemus began, looking out the window and sighing, his mind reeling with thoughts. “Those names brought back so many memories.”
“Who are they to you?” Adellandra asked.
Airemus turned to meet his daughter’s silver eyes. “They are my parents.”
“You never told us you were Royal!” Alexia spoke up before Adellandra could say a word. “We always knew you were Fire Warrior but never once have you told us you were its Prince!”
“That is because I declined my right to succession when I was of-age.” Airemus explained. “Somehow, your Lady Gramere saw me sword-fighting with my brother before the Border War and wished me to join the Armies.”
“Border War?” Adellandra turned to her mate’s eyes when she sensed his sadness. “What was that?”
“The Nations were still being fully established.” Draconis explained. “It was between those you know now as the Mystic Realms, which belonged to the Originators, and the rest of the Nations.”
“Many creatures were destroyed; my brother Tanius among them.” Airemus told them sadly.
“I am sorry to hear that, Dratyr.” Adellandra hugged him.
Draconis cleared his throat.
“It’s not whether we help them or not,” Elspeth looked to Airemus, Adellandra and Draconis, “but who to send?”
Airemus knew he had to go, and who would join him. The time had come, at last. The Clans needed a fierce leader to take care of business, and his son had to know of his Destiny.
“I will go, and take Anton with me.” Airemus announced.
“We need you here, Dratyr.” Adellandra told him. From the corner of her eye, she saw Draconis shake his head. “Why not?”
“We have plenty to take his position for awhile.” Draconis supplied. “My own Dratyr is still on holiday with his mates, somewhere in the Northern Islands, so Airemus is indeed free to go.”
“Are you sure, Draconis?” Airemus asked.
“Positive. In fact,” Draconis smiled, “if you do not go now, I will make it an order.”
Airemus smiled. “What about the sentry?”
“Dranus is keeping a close eye on him at the moment.” Draconis laughed lightly. Adellandra gasped. “Relax darling, He will not hurt him; only, play with him for a bit.”
“Apparently, our definitions of ‘play’ are all too different.” Adellandra quipped.
“What about his punishment?” Alexia spoke up.
“Dranus’ mind games should be punishment enough, since no one was severely hurt and nothing was damaged.” Draconis told her. He cleared his throat. “Now then Airemus, go with Mr. Haden and Anton. Report every few days on your progress and position, understand?”
Airemus bowed. “Certainly, Lord Emperor.”
“You did what?!” A high-pitched shriek could be heard throughout the Clandom. It came from a strong female Fire dragon, and was directed toward the Clan’s King and Queen. “You sent that clumsy oaf to Mal’estar? How could you?”
“It is for your own good, Alanza dear.” Queen Amalia of the Fire Dragon Warrior Clan told her simply.
“Why?” Alanza crossed her arms and puffed smoke from her nostrils.
“Because, you are out of control, and someone has to intervene.” King Artimis was stern. “The entire Clan is supposed to act as one force, not against each other in every way possible!”
“They do act as one force,” Alanza growled. “My Armies have grown strong and fierce against the Northern Ice Drakes.”
“What quarrels have you against them?” Queen Amalia asked. “They have worked alongside this Clan since the dawning of The Dragon Nations.”
Alanza was silent and proud. “IceWind called me a girl.”
The queen placed her claws on Alanza’s cheeks. “You are a girl.”
“He meant it in the mortal way; all frills and no fight.” Alanza pushed herself away. “Tell me, have you ever seen me wear frills and lace? Honestly?”
Both Monarch’s shook their heads, but a small laugh escaped the King’s lips.
“Dratyr!” Alanza growled furiously.
“You wage war over a silly mortal concept?” The King laughed. “Be lucky you are my daughter, Alanza, or you would be in shackles for such delinquency.”
Unknowing of what to say, and infuriated with the both of them, Alanza flew a tiny flame from her nostril and flew away in a huff.
“Oh Art, why do you tease her so?” Amalia wondered with a grin. “That will only fuel her anger.”
“Malia, it is because she is our daughter, and I love her.” Artimis kissed his wife. “Although, I do not approve of how she handles the Clan. One wrong move and I must see to whomever she angers, just to smooth the situation over.”
“She is only a child.” Amalia responded.
“She is of-age soon, dear.” Artimis announced. He sighed. “That does not stop her from waging war against our comrades! IceWind just so happens to be the son of my good friend Gale.”
“I know.” Amalia supplied, kissing and hugging him. “That is why we sent Belgard Haden to Mal’estar. She needs to be stopped before she causes further harm to all the Clans.”
“I could not agree more.” King Artimis sighed, holding her.