Beneath the Silver Moon
Beneath the Silver Moon
A Draconian Heritage Short-Story
Lady Adellandra Dratianos
Lord Emperor of the Dragon Nations, Draconis Dratianos, doesn’t know what to do about his daughter Ravena. She broods in the Wood in her Demon-Wolf form, depressed and sad. He’s tried talking to her, but she’s not responding. He goes to his mate for advice and believes it’s finally time to tell them both the painful truth.
Between her lives of being Lady Adellandra and the Ancient Mystic Ariana, she was reborn as the Moon Goddess and Queen of the Illunae, Silver Moon Cobrianos. Silver was his lover that taught him how to love again, staying with him to produce two children: Ravena and the now-missing Prince of the Illunian Throne, Andros.
Once Draconis tells them the truth, Lady Adellandra starts acting like a detective once again, searching for answers of the Illunae’s History. She takes Ravena with her, not only to learn answers for herself and spend time with the girl, but to see if being with Ravena will trigger memories.
Before long, Andros is found in the Outer Realm by the Apprentice-kin Daniel and his Bondmate, the Ancient Mystic Dweller-kin cousin Simone Martiya. Daniel explains he was pulled to the Forest Region of the Northlands. Sensing an injured Immortal soul, Simone and Daniel both race to find a Dragon-winged panther downed by a storm, unconscious and glowing bright yellow. When Lady Adellandra tries to heal him, the vision of who he is and what happened to him flashes in her mind.
From being a Panther-Drake raised by the surrounding Panther Tribes to the ritual of his own coming-of-age that caused a storm that nearly destroyed him, Andros, named Skethn’rae by his tribe, must regain his sanity and control his wild magic. Feeling the kinship between them, Lady Adellandra enlists the help of Ravena and Draconis to help him, for he must do so before he can ever fully become a true Prince of the Dragon Nations.
Chapter One: The Journey Begins
Chapter Two: A Curious Find
Chapter Three: A Dragon’s Heart
Chapter Four: Castle Illuminata
Chapter Five: Silver’s Reunions
Lord Emperor’s Secret
Lord Draconis Dratianos, Emperor of the Dragon Nations and Guardian of the Mystic Realms watched his younger brother Dranus as he soaked in the freesia-scented bathwater. He sensed his Branno had a disturbing dream the night before, and it was apparent he had to do something about it.
Especially since his early-morning visitor interrupted his own sleep just hours ago.
Dranus growled lowly once he sensed his presence. “What do you wish, Drake? Can you not see I’m bathing?”
Draconis hovered over him, asking in a worried tone. “Dreams of the Illunae again?”
Dranus nodded, raising himself out of the water and grabbing a nearby towel to dry off. “They’re returning, brother.”
Draconis pasted on a smile. “They never left.”
Dranus growled under his breath, leaving to dry and suit up in his best Training Armor. Draconis took a seat on the armchair and waited in silent thought.
“My question is, why are they so intense?” Dranus 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. “Ichiane; only, we couldn’t reach each other. It was like something swallowed her in mist and took her away.”
“That only confirms my fears.” Draconis mumbled, standing. He led them out Dranus’ chamber door and to the Throne room. Their younger sister, Dranus’ twin Alexia, was at her post next to an empty Empress’ Throne.
“What do you fear?” Dranus asked. “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 as he took his place behind Draconis’ Throne. After a moment, Draconis felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Zinc Cobrianos was here and you did not summon me?”
Zinc was the Arch Druid Priest in the Realm of the Illunae, a teacher of their religions and the youngest Prince of the Cobrianos family.
Draconis spoke without turning. “I apologize, Branno. I thought you hated him.” He turned his head to Alexia and cleared his throat. “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. I’ll explain the best I can.”
He stood and headed out and Dranus followed. Once they were outside and walking the trail, he 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.”
Copper was the Priest-Lord leader of the Illunian Realm, oldest Cobrianos son and Zinc’s brother while Ginia was Copper’s Priestess-Consort and mate.
“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 looked down, sighed and continued on the path. After a few steps, he stopped again, and pointed ahead of him. Dranus looked to see his niece Ravena in her Demon-Wolf 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.
“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 Adora, Theo is off brooding somewhere, Andrew and Mark-Antony have their separate lessons, 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, Bratton. He heard Dranus’ voice in his mind. She’s changed since returning to you; you’d do well to remember that.
Only you would be so bold as to tell the Emperor of the Nations what to do. Draconis sent back with a sigh, returning his attention to his daughter’s Demon-Wolf form.
“I give up.” He 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.
“That is one child I am glad is not my own.” Dranus 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, but it changed her.”
Dranus thought for a moment, staring into space. “Maybe she needs her mother?”
“Adellandra tried talking to her, but it does no good.”
Dranus stopped and shook his head. “Bratton, I mean her real mother, Silver Moon.”
“She has 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.
It was later that morning Draconis was able to tell Adellandra the long-kept secret about herself and Ravena. Adellandra was reading over her notes on another Volume of the Chronicles, a series of collected stories and information she prided in gathering from the Inner Realms.
Draconis took a deep breath and supplied. “Darling.”
Her thoughts were only half on him, he could tell. She was reading and writing furiously, shifting through pages and muttering under her breath in Wolf-Speak and Draconian. While he smiled at her determination, he took the papers away from her and received a scowl in return.
“Drake!” She cried, using his Earthbound name as she stood and tried to take them back. She scowled at him, hands on her hips when he made them disappear. “I was working on those!”
“I know, but it’s unimportant right now.”
“How could you say our family histories are unimportant?” Adellandra folded her arms.
“They aren’t, lanta, but I have something to tell you.” Draconis took a deep breath and looked her in the eye, watching her reaction.
“I am listening.” Her voice flattened and her lips pursed.
“Ravena is your daughter.”
“I know she is,” Adellandra said, nodding and uncrossing her arms. “She may be my kanata but she’s still my daughter. Just like my children with Karrath and the Unicorn are yours as well.”
Draconis shook his head. “No, I mean Ravena is your birth daughter.”
“Birth daughter?” Adellandra stared at him, skeptic. “How do you figure? All I know is that I slept for two-hundred years and woke as an Ancient Mystic child. How do you suppose I was to have her while I was sleeping?”
“You didn’t.” Draconis supplied simply.
“I did not what?”
“Sleep for two-hundred years.” Draconis told her.
She was staring at him suspiciously. “Explain.”
“Your soul was reborn not long after the Fall ended. Dranus and I were frantic to find you, so you could bring back the light to my dark soul. On the way, I met with the Lady-Priestess of the Illunae, Silver Moon Cobrianos.”
“Cobrianos?” Adellandra asked. “Was that not Locarra’s maiden name?”
Draconis shook his head. “Mutyr’s maiden name was Ophagus-Hannah. It’s true the two families knew each other, the Ophagus-Hannahs were Priestesses of the Moon Goddess, also named Silver Moon. Silver Moon was the Head-Priestess and the next in line for the Illunian Throne.”
“Supposedly, I am this Silver Moon?” Adellandra asked, curious. He nodded. “Why did you not share those memories with me when we first reunited?”
Draconis shrugged. “They were unimportant at the time, for we were living in peace.”
“Okay, so I am Silver Moon Cobrianos.” Adellandra surmised, believing him. “How did I get back to the Hutch-Cave to be found by Chase Moondancer for Lord O’Dell?”
“Toward the end of our courtship, and your life, you felt a pull to that Hutch-Cave.” Draconis replied. “I knew it was futile to stop you from leaving, so I let you go.”
She was silent for a moment, thinking over his words. One question prevailed in her mind. “Were we happy?”
“Blissfully, but the Visions were racking your brain then as well.” Draconis held her, kissing her lips. “When Ravena was seven summers, your Gramere Serenade of the Wolf Packs came to see you. Now, I don’t know what happened after she left, but you weren’t the same.”
“Sounding awfully familiar.” Adellandra remarked softly.
“It was your destiny, lanta.” Draconis supplied, caressing her cheek. “Just as it was mine to lose you once again.”
Adellandra looked at him and waited. “There is more; I can sense it.”
“Ravena has an older brother named Andros.” Draconis supplied. “He went mad one day before his tenth summer and disappeared. No one has seen him since.”
Adellandra was in shock, staring into space now. She abruptly stood and announced. “I must find out what happened to him, and fill in the blanks of my memory.” She looked at him. “I will take Ravena with me. Maybe being with her will trigger some memories?”
“Maybe.” He supplied. “Do you even know where the Illunian Realm is?”
She shook her head, looking into his eyes and practically begging. “Can you show me what I am looking for and how to get to it?”
She was excited and he smiled at her enthusiasm. Trust his mate to jump at the thought of another adventure to a Realm she never visited before. “Kiss me.”
Adellandra smiled back, kissing him. When the kiss ended, she nodded her head. “Kateea, darling. I will tell Ravena we are to leave in the morning.”
“You can’t let anyone in the Outer Realm know what you’re up to.” Draconis warned. “Mortals can’t handle us, let alone Priestesses of another Realm they know nothing about.”
“No need to worry about me, lover.” Adellandra touched his nose with a claw. “I have been at this for a long time now. I think I know how to handle myself this late in the game.”
Draconis shook his head and chuckled. “Very well. You tell Ravena, and then join me for a hot bath before we have to Crusade.”
Adellandra grinned. “‘Bout time you use that word.” She supplied, teasing him. “Sounds a lot better than Jumping the Realms or Hopping, aye?”
“Since that’s basically what we’re doing when we Rest here and wake up there.” Draconis shrugged. “Based on your definition of it, of course.”
“Of course.” Adellandra quickly kissed him and was on her way.
Don’t tell her the truth yet, dearest. Draconis sent to her mind a few minutes later. Let her find out on her own.
No problem; I will treat it like an investigation. Adellandra said. The way she broods around here, she acts bored out of her skull.
You’ve noticed that as well? Draconis asked with a light chuckle. Sounds like a plan to me, fridishda. Just keep me informed.
As usual, I will. No need to worry about that.
At the last thought, she closed the mental conversation.
Adellandra found her daughter Ravena in the Garden, where she usually was about this time of day.
“Ravena,” She tried getting her attention.
“Aye, Matéré?” She asked. Her voice sounded cross. “Come to give me something to do? Dratyr snapped at me earlier, did you know that?”
Adellandra saw the girl’s usually dark eyes turning indigo and glowing. “No.” She replied, watching those eyes. “I did not come to give you some chore to do.”
“That’s good.” Ravena returned to what she was doing. “Why have you come? Another lecture?”
Adellandra sighed. “No, Ravena. Not a lecture. We will be leaving on a quest tomorrow morning.”
“We?” Ravena asked, “As in?”
“As in you and I.” Adellandra supplied. “We are going to investigate a crisis in the Illunian Realm, or at least its House, Illuminata.”
The girl looked interested, once hearing ‘Illuminata’.
“Why me?” Ravena asked.
Adellandra put a hand on Ravena’s shoulder, silently reminding herself to keep her temper. “I want to spend some quality time with you. I know we have not done a lot of it lately, with me in two Realms. I just thought I could make it up to you by bringing you along.”
“You want me to tag along?” Ravena looked interested, her dark eyes now bright with curiosity.
Adellandra smiled. Ravena was softening. She wanted something to do outside of Mal’estar’s gates, and Adellandra thought this the perfect opportunity.
“Exactly.” She hugged her kanata tight. “Listen sweetheart, get some sleep tonight and pack in the morning. I will come to you when it’s time to go, okay? It’s going to be a long journey to the Illunian Realm.”
Ravena nodded. “I love you, Matéré.”
“I love you, too, Ravena.”
She couldn’t get it out of her mind. Draconis’ revelation stirred her detective’s curiosity. So much, she had to know more about her previous incarnation as Silver Moon Cobrianos before she left in the morning.
It was early afternoon, usually a time for them to act as Monarchs of the Realms and speak to their Peoples. Once seeing she was inattentive, Draconis had excused her to investigate, replacing her with both their Monarch’s Own Elspeth and their kano Kronin.
Three hours of searching the combined Draconian and Ancient Mystic Libraries was a bust. There was nothing about Silver Moon Cobrianos or the Illunae, short of the Illunian Realms’ inception as one of the Thirteen Original Draconian Colonies brought on by Ishanar.
Giving up, she slammed the book shut with a loud sigh and shoved it back in its place on the shelves. After closing the Library door behind her, she tried sensing her mate. His mind was closed to her, which meant he was in conference and needed to concentrate.
Adellandra rushed the long corridor to the Conference Room, meeting her Branno Dranus as he was closing the door behind him.
“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, never really liking the Demon King’s personality. “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 am up against.” She grinned, turning and heading away from the Conference Room.
“Perhaps I can answer your questions, Brattonata?” Dranus suggested, following her back to the living quarters. “After all, I was there with him.”
She stopped in her tracks and hugged him. “Great! I need to know whatever you do before I leave in the morning.”
“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 will soon find out.”
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, frowning after a moment of silence.
She stopped them in her tracks once her Empathy told her he was depressed.
“Dranus,” Adellandra kissed his cheek and placed a hand over the spot. It made him look at her. “Whatever is on your mind, I promise; it will be okay.”
He took her hand and kissed the top of it in response. “Of course, m’Lady.” He released it, forcing a smile. “Time will tell, now will it not?”
Glad he was feeling a little better, Adellandra winked and ran ahead of him toward the outside courtyard.
The Journey Begins
The next morning, fully rested from the Outer Realm life, Adellandra awoke to find herself still wrapped in her beloved’s arms; only, they had returned to wings.
She smiled, turning to meet his closed eyes. He snuggled her closer, murmuring in a lilt that sounded a lot like a mixture of Draconian and Ancient Wolf-Speak. She tried to translate, but couldn’t; the dialect was too thick, even for his half-asleep tongue.
She looked over his shoulder to her fey-bound mate, Elspeth. The dragon-maiden was smiling at them with sleepy reptilian black eyes.
Adellandra raised her own claws to his face and traced the line of his cheek, purring. “Fridishda…”
At the word, his eyes slowly blinked open. When they met hers, he smiled, kissing her lips. “Mina!” He whispered, snuggling her closer to his body.
“Aye, I am yours.” Adellandra whispered, sharing a smile with Elspeth, who gently traced his earlobe with her forked tongue. It caused Draconis to roll over and grab her. “As much I love playing this game every morning, I must part.”
Draconis’ eyes were wide open now, and he was scowling. She was used to his grouchiness first thing in the mornings. He wrapped the other arm around her and mumbled, “Where do you think you’re going, Adellandra?”
“I will be taking Ravena to the Illunian Realm, dearest.” Adellandra stayed calm. She closed her eyes and turned to mist as a way of escaping his embrace. She solidified beside him, just out of reach.
Draconis’ yawn sounded like a low roar, which always made her smile. “Must you go now?” He asked, reaching for her as he pulled Elspeth close to his body so he could kiss her.
“I promised her, and myself, we would leave first thing in the morning.” Adellandra responded, going to their wardrobe and packing supplies in a rough sack. “Since you told me about another incarnation of mine, I have had an urge to find out the truth.”
“You already know the truth.” Draconis supplied, releasing Elspeth as he sat up and stretched. Elspeth headed to the bathroom and he continued. “I told you yesterday.”
“Aye, I know you did.” Adellandra said.
“You just want another history for the Chronicles.” Draconis teased, pulling the covers from his naked form and going to her.
Adellandra smiled, shrugging. “So be it.”
Elspeth back out to embrace them. “Must you bicker so early in the morning?”
“We’re not bickering, lovey.” Draconis kissed her lips.
“Liar,” Elspeth purred with a grin, kissing Adellandra now. “The bath is ready for you.”
“Morning to you, too, sit’ca,” Adellandra purred, using the Ancient Wolf-Speak word for female lover. “Go see if Ravena is awake, pleska? Once she is ready, both of you will meet me in the Garden. We will leave from there.”
“My pleasure, Lady-love.” Elspeth kissed her before quickly dressing and leaving.
Once their Monarch’s Own was gone, Adellandra stripped and headed to the bath. Draconis followed. When they were clean and dry, she dressed in her Fighter’s Gear and packed her weapons in their places on her belt. She shifted to her Immortal form and threw a black velvet cloak around her shoulders, pinning it on her neck with the Dream Amulet she was given by Lord O’Dell many years ago.
Draconis whistled, standing to wrap his wings around her. “Can’t I have my way with you one more time, mia lanta? Something about that form makes me hard as a rock.”
“You already had your way with me in the bath!” Adellandra purred, turning to give him a kiss. She halfheartedly pushed him away. He didn’t budge. “I really must go, fridishda.”
He rubbed himself against her stomach, pretending to pout.
Feeling the wetness between her legs and heat rising in her body, she knew she couldn’t resist him. “Oh Havens.” She breathed, wrapping her arms around his thick Demi-dragon neck. “I will send word to Ravena that we leave in two hours.”
“I knew you’d see it my way,” he playfully growled, picking her up and placing her on the bed.
Ravena Dratianos had been awake for hours, wondering why her stepmother would need her help.
Sure, an investigation to the Illunian Realm. That, I understand. What I don’t understand is why me? I am nobody special; just Dratyr’s daughter. Until Matéré said the word ‘Illuminata,’ I didn’t even remember who I was. Now I can’t stop thinking about the Illunae; once my home, now my bane.
Ravena sat up in her Immortal form, wrapping her arms around her legs and sighing. I guess we’ll soon find out. It is morning and I have to get ready, or Elspeth will come in here and wake me.
I hate it when she does that; she’s so rough.
Ravena shook her head and climbed out of her nest of blankets, leaving it messy behind her. She shifted to her Demon Wolf form and began to pack her own bag of supplies.
What would we need for such a long journey? Ravena asked herself. I haven’t been there in at least a century, and I’m pretty sure Matéré never has.
There was a knock on the door just as she zipped her bag closed.
Ravena groaned to herself. Great. Lady Elspeth.
“My Lady wishes your attendance, Princess.” Elspeth continued from the other side of the door.
“Yes, Lady Elspeth.” Ravena spoke up. She threw her bag over her shoulder and opened the door. “I am awake and ready to leave.”
Her eyes met those of Elspeth’s own dragon-maiden form; long black hair twisted in a braided bun and held together by a silver coronet that noted her rank of Monarch’s Own. Small dragon’s wings were folded at her back and a whip-like tail moved behind her.
“My Lady wishes you hurry.” Elspeth announced. “There is much to do and not much time in which to do it.”
Ravena rolled her eyes and shoved past her. “Where is she?”
“She awaits you in the Garden.” Elspeth told her. “I have been instructed to escort you there.”
Ravena stopped in her tracks and growled. “I am grown and need no escort.”
“Mind your manners, Princess.” Elspeth stated regally.
“Cut the act, Elspeth.” Ravena spat, frowning. “I’m well aware of your fey-binding Matéré and being their Monarch’s Own. You don’t need to treat me as if I were a child.”
Elspeth’s smile faded and a frown took its place. “Our Binding has nothing to do with you, Ravena. If you wish to be treated like an adult, I suggest you act like one.”
Ravena blinked, wishing to retaliate, but it was too late. With a nod of the head, Elspeth disappeared, taking Ravena along for the ride.
When they reappeared, Ravena opened her eyes to see her Matéré frowning at her in impatience.
“So glad you could join me, Ravena.” The Lady responded. She turned to her fey-bound mate Elspeth. “Will you join me or stay?”
Elspeth grinned, looking from the Lady to Ravena and back. “I believe I will join you. Based on what the Lord has told me of your journey, it should be quite an interesting trip.”
“By all means, let us begin.” Lady Adellandra grinned back.
Ravena shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes. Great. I’m going to be stuck with the fey-birds. Just perfect.
“How do you know where you’re going, Matéré?” Ravena asked aloud an hour into their journey.
“Your Dratyr showed me the way using his memories.” Adellandra replied.
“Would you care to share them with me, just in case we are separated?” Ravena asked. And I just ‘happen’ to ‘wander off’ on my own?
“That will not be necessary, Ravena.” Lady Adellandra caught the thought and its silent hint. “You will not wander on your own, will you?”
Ravena huffed and mumbled. “Nay, Matéré.”
“Be respectful, Kanata.” Elspeth warned her with a frown.
“I am not your Kanata, dragon-maiden.” Ravena scowled. “You will remember your place.”
Lady Adellandra heard the comment and took Ravena’s arm, glaring into her eyes with anger in her own silver-colored eyes. “Her place is by my our side,” meaning herself and Draconis. “You will remember your place as my kanata and keep your mouth still of further comments. Is that understood?”
Ravena gulped but kept the defiance in her eyes. “Aye, Mutyr.”
Lady Adellandra released her. “Very well. Let’s continue.”
A Curious Find
The Apprentice-kin Dweller Daniel, second-man to the Dweller-kin leader Ramon, followed behind his Bondmate, Ramon’s daughter Simone. They were on her first Hunt in the Outer Realm in two decades. Deep in the forests of the European country of Scotland, Simone flew in her favorite shifting form, that of the black falcon. Daniel flew paces behind her.
Simone quickly descended to the ground, shifting back to her Immortal Dweller form when her feet touched the soft grass.
“Something is not right here.” Simone stated, taking a fallen tree branch in her hands and looking it over.
Daniel was at her side in moments. He took it from her hand. “I agree; it looks unnaturally charred.”
“A burn that unnatural can only be made by one source.” Simone eyed him. “Magic. By what magic, though? It does not smell, look, or even feel like that of the Mystics or anything this Realm has seen before.”
“Something must have come through one of the nearby Realm Portals.” Daniel agreed. “Can you sense it from here?”
“The Realm Portal?” Simone asked. Daniel nodded and she stood. Closing her eyes, she reached her sensors outward to search the area. “There is one near Stonehenge, but it has been distorted by the same magic that burned our fallen tree branch.”
She opened her eyes and frowned. “Can you sense anything I cannot?”
Daniel walked around the area, his attentions toward the forest. Once he stopped, she went to his side.
“Do you sense that? In the east?”
Daniel only nodded. “That I do. It is the same strange magic, and the smell is leading somewhere.” He took her hand. “I fear I know nothing of this magic, so say you will stay close, Simone?”
Simone nodded. “Gladly, Beloved.”
Daniel took the chance to kiss her lips. “Let us be on our way.”
Simone nodded, smiled and followed where he led.
The magic trail led them to a hidden area of the forest that was wet, as if attacked from a storm.
“That’s peculiar.” Simone responded. “It would seem the rainfall only effected a circular area.” She turned to her Bondmate. “Certainly an act of magic.”
“Weather Magic?” Daniel asked of her. “Do you think?”
“If that were so, would the entire area be surrounded in the effects of the same storm?” Simone asked. “No, I believe this is from one of the Inner Realms. Of which, I could not tell you.”
Daniel thought for a moment before leading her to what seemed to be the center of the damage. Hidden in wet brush and layers of storm damage was a large, breathing mass.
“Simone.” Daniel supplied as he reached to uncover the mass. She raced to his side to help him.
When they had uncovered it completely, Simone gasped.
It was a large black panther, about the size of an Immortal from the Inner Realms and it had mud-covered golden wings wrapping around his body.
“A dragon cat?” Simone whispered, reaching to touch it.
Daniel smacked her hand away and pulled her from the winged-panther’s reach should it awaken. “Whatever it is, it is out of our league.” He told her. “I will Call one of the Monarchs to investigate.”
Simone closed her eyes and frowned. “The Lord is still in Mal’estar and the Lady is on a journey with her stepdaughter.”
“Where is the Lady?”
“On her way to the Illunian Realm.” Simone told him. “Shall I Call her here, using the link made by the Mystics?”
Daniel looked to the dragon winged panther and sighed. “Aye. Let us hope she answers and arrives soon. I do not know how long it has been here, or what else it destroyed in its wake with whatever magic it used.”
Lady Adellandra was quiet as the three of them walked westward toward the visions of Draconis’ memories.
I mean no intrusion, my Lady Cousin, She heard a voice in her head that gave her the image of Simone Martiya, Dweller-kin Leader Ramon Martiya’s daughter.
The Lady stopped in her tracks.
“What is it?” Elspeth asked, going to her beloved’s side.
The Lady raised a hand that called for silence.
Elspeth turned to Ravena, who had an equal look of “Listening” on her face. Was Ravena hearing whatever her Lady Matéré heard? Who was able to break their delicate mind defenses without Elspeth knowing about it?
Elspeth took her Lady-lover’s hand and closed her eyes, hopefully enabling herself to Hear the mind conversation as well.
Simone? The Lady asked.
Aye. I believe Daniel and I are in need of your services, if you can part from your journey long enough to help us.
Lady Adellandra tilted her head, curiously listening to the air around her. Can you tell me, or do you need my physical form?
Physical would be best, my Lady. Daniel’s voice interrupted. I believe we have a, well, delicate situation on our hands.
Delicate? The Lady thought to herself. That cannot be good. In her mind to Daniel and Simone, she asked. Where are you?
Daniel gave her a picture of the location, leaving out their find.
We shall be there momentarily. Lady Adellandra relayed. She opened her eyes and found Elspeth looking at her with worry.
“What is going on?” Elspeth asked. She turned back to Ravena, who was holding her head and shifting to an Immortal girl with small wings of a peregrine falcon and a curtain of black-as-pitch hair over her eyes.
Lady Adellandra followed her lover’s gaze and went to her stepdaughter.
“Ravena?” She asked, wrapping an arm round her shoulders. “Why are you shifting?”
“I can’t help it, Matéré,” Ravena shook her head and whimpered. Her eyes were turning from demon-wolf black to gold and their shape was shifting to those of a bird. “I can’t control it.”
Adellandra was confused at the change in Ravena.
Please hurry. I believe our situation has drastically changed. Simone’s gentle voice was hesitant yet urgent as it interrupted whatever else Adellandra was thinking. The male we found has shifted form.
Now the Lady was aware.
“Whatever Simone and Daniel found has affected Ravena.” Adellandra whispered, her detective’s instincts awakened by the revelation.
“What did they find?” Elspeth pressed. “Adellandra; stop and tell me, just what is going on?”
“Sorry Elle.” Adellandra apologized, placing a kiss on her forehead. “Simone Martiya and her Bondmate of Daniel found something near the Outer Realm Portal near Stonehenge in Scotland. Whatever it is, it calls for my attention.” She looked to Ravena and saw that the girl was staring at her with wide golden eyes. “Whatever they found also affected her.”
“Our journey to the Illunian Realm is put on hold then?” Elspeth asked.
Adellandra closed her eyes and nodded. “Afraid so. This matter needs my attention, for I am still one of the Portal Guardians.”
Elspeth squeezed her free hand as the Lady’s other arm was still around Ravena’s shoulder.
Adellandra smiled. “Thank you.” She looked around and used her Empathy to search for the nearest Realm Portal that would lead to the Outer Realm’s Portal near Stonehenge. Once she sensed it, she took her arm from around Ravena’s shoulders and pointed. “The nearest Portal is behind that brush. Let’s go.”
Elspeth smiled. “Lead the way.”
When the trio met with Daniel and Simone, the couple led them to their find. They were in Immortal form, as was automatic for anyone passing through the Portal.
Adellandra looked to her stepdaughter. The girl’s wings hadn’t disappeared, which confused her to bits. “Elle.”
Her fey-bound nodded, pointing her palm toward the girl and using her imagery magic to hide the girls’ wings.
“Greetings, Lady Cousin.”
Adellandra turned to meet the eyes of her Dweller-kin Mystic cousin Simone and her mate, Daniel. She quickly introduced Elspeth and Ravena.
“Wish it were a pleasure.” Daniel remarked. “Follow us.”
Adellandra nodded, and the three followed them to the site.
When she first set eyes on him, something in her heart and mind clicked. He was a dragoncat, quite like Tristan but not as majestic. He reminded her of her dear Companion friend Panther Grey.
“Do you know anything about him?” Adellandra asked as she stepped closer to the boy.
“Nothing.” Simone supplied. “We found him as you see him.”
“A few moments ago, he had Peregrine Falcon wings and Immortal body.” Daniel told them. “The moment you passed through the Portal, his body shuddered and returned to how we found him.”
Adellandra stared at the dragoncat. Her heart thumped in her chest as her mind wanted to remember the reason why he was familiar to her. She stepped in for a closer look.
Adellandra only nodded, but kept her eyes on the dragoncat. She dared to reach out and smooth the tattered strands of hair to see his feline-shaped face.
The moment her hand brushed his cheek, she went into a trance.
A silver-eyed, silver-haired woman was in a birthing bed. Cradled in her arms was a baby girl with black hair and golden eyes. A little boy with golden eyes and brown hair looked on.
The woman looked up to the man above her, receiving a kiss from him.
She recognized the man right away – it was Draconis!
Lady Adellandra’s mind whirred with images and memories, thoughts, visions and knowledge she didn’t have before.
Draconis was right: She was Silver Moon, and Ravena was the baby girl in her vision. The boy who looked on was the same boy as this dragoncat.
She shook her head, whispering “No. It cannot be.”
“What is it, Lady?” Daniel asked, sharing a concerned look with both Elspeth and Simone.
“Andros.” She looked to Ravena, who was in shock, staring at the dragoncat. “Ravena.”
Ravena met her eyes. “Mame?” She rushed to hug the Lady with a newfound urgency.
Still shocked, Lady Adellandra hugged her. Her own form changed to that of the woman in her vision – Silver hair, silver eyes, white falcon wings upon her back, Immortal form and pale as a ghost.
Daniel was shocked into silence as his mate and Elspeth gasped in awe.
Ravena pulled back from the hug and smiled, looking up at her.
“Your Dratyr was right, Ravena.” She said softly, kissing the girl’s head. “You are my true-daughter. This boy is proof.”
“Speaking of the boy, what are we going to do with him?” Simone asked. “We cannot leave him here, he will arise suspicion, even from this part of the Realm. He will die.”
“Not on my watch.” Lady Adellandra responded. “Heal him, and we will take him with us.”
“Are you sure that is wise?” Elspeth asked. The Lady nodded. “Very well, but should we not wake him first?”
“I suppose so.” The Lady whispered, reaching out to pet his cheek. “Everyone stand back, just in case he goes into shock.”
Ravena stood next to her, looking into her eyes expectantly.
“I do not want you getting hurt, Ravena.” She told the girl.
“I won’t. Promise.” Ravena only smiled. “I will help.”
Ravena kept her smile as she held up her hands. The Lady gasped, for Ravena’s hands were glowing an opalescent pink Adellandra recognized as the Healer’s Magic.
“Right.” Lady Adellandra told her. “Shall we?”
Ravena nodded and both ladies attempted to wake the dragoncat from his slumber.
Simone, Daniel and Elspeth looked on in amazement; both at the amount of magic they could feel surrounding the trio, and their new shifting forms.
Elspeth knew what to do. “I have a feeling we’ll need my Lord’s assistance with this one as well.” She spoke up quietly, turning to Daniel. “Daniel, take the nearest portal to Mal’estar and tell Lord Draconis what you found.”
Daniel, still in awe of the scene playing in front of him, finally turned to nod. “Yes, Lady Elspeth.” He nudged Simone out of her reverie before leaving.
Elspeth took a deep breath and sighed, returning to the scene. Oh please, my Lord and love. She begged him in her mind, hand to her chest. Make it in time.
A Dragon’s Heart
Daniel and Simone hurried to Mal’estar’s castle as fast as the winds would take their misted forms. They were met not by the Lord Draconis but his brother Dranus, who was sparring with his nephew, Prince Kronin in the courtyard behind the castle.
Dranus sensed them from the corner of his eye and called a halt. Kronin looked on in interest once he sheathed the practice sword.
“What could they want?” Kronin asked quietly.
“Must be urgent,” Dranus surmised, sheathing his practice sword and turning toward the newcomers.
“Where is the Lord?” Daniel demanded once shifting back to physical form. Simone shifted to her physical form and stood beside him.
Dranus studied Daniel’s anxious eyes. “He is busy; is there something either of us can do for you?”
“I’m unsure, cousin.” Simone shook her head. She looked to Daniel, who nodded his approval before telling Dranus what they found.
The Emperor’s Branno was alert. “Fetch your Dratyr, Kronin. He’ll want to know of this.” He turned back to the Dweller-kin couple once Kronin took flight. “Where is the Lady now?”
“She and Ravena are trying to heal the panther-kin.” Daniel answered.
Dranus’ brows narrowed in thought.
As if answering his mental question, Simone told him, “They are all in peregrine form.”
“Shista.” Dranus cursed, using the Ancient Wolf-Speak he’d picked up from Adellandra. “What of Elspeth, the Monarch’s Own?”
“She is watching over them, but her form is Immortal, same as always.” Simone explained.
The trio heard flapping of wings above them, looking to see Draconis’ black dragon and his son’s black DragonWolf forms descending to greet them. As soon as they were back in demi-form, Immortal with Dragon’s wings, horns and tails, the Dweller-kin knelt, fists to their hearts in respect.
Draconis eyed them. “Rise and explain yourselves, Simone Martiya and Apprentice-kin Daniel.”
Dranus took his place on his brother’s left side, as Kronin was on his right. They listened as the Dweller-kin explained the reason behind their urgent visit. Once all was said and done, Draconis instructed Kronin to take command while he and Dranus investigated the matter.
With a Draconian salute, the Prince took flight and headed back inside the castle.
“Thank you for coming so soon,” Draconis’ voice was more relaxed once his son disappeared into the clouds. “As I suspect daylight is upon you, I will have to ask you to return to Romania through the portal and Rest.”
“Thank you, my Lord,” they chorused, bowing once more before shifting to the mists and leaving.
Draconis sighed. “Well, bratton,” he addressed Dranus. “Let’s go see what the fuss is about, shall we?”
When they arrived, they looked down from the skies and saw a large silver-glowing mass. Draconis recognized two of the three forms as his mate and daughters’ Illunian forms. Silver Moon Cobrianos and her Dan’aa Ravena were hunched over a third form. The brothers descended and Draconis was greeted by Elspeth’s hug.
“Thank the Havens you came!” Elspeth gasped in his ear. “Ravena passed out as they were healing them, and Sit’ca is near-so. We must get them to Illuminata.”
Draconis nodded. “I agree.” He moved to the glowing trio and touched Silver’s shoulder to get her attention. Draconis could feel the shift happening, and he let it. Instead of his usual Immortal form in the Outer Realm, he was in his Illunian: golden peregrine wings with matching eyes and Immortal body, his skin as gold as the setting sun.
Pull back, lanta, he warned, kissing her ear and watching her face for a reaction, or you’ll wear yourself out.
Silver twitched, and the silvery-glow of the healing magic dissipated. She looked at the still-unconscious form of their son Andros. “He is not yet healed.” She rasped.
“And you both are near-death trying to heal him.” Draconis whispered in her ear, kissing her gently on the lips. “Do you have the strength to fly to Illuminata from here?”
Silver was still in a daze as she stood with his help. “I believe so, aye.” She surveyed her surroundings. “Where am I?”
“You are in the Outer Realm country of Scotland, Brattonata.” Dranus interrupted quietly, sharing a look with his brother.
“Bra tone atta?” Silver was confused.
She might believe herself to be Silver Moon. Draconis sent to Dranus and Elspeth.
Elspeth covered her gasp with a hand, which had Silver’s attention. When the silver-clad form of her beloved caught her eyes, she smiled. “Who are you?”
“Adellandra,” Draconis tried. “That is our Monarch’s Own, your fey-bound mate Elspeth Batony.”
“Adellandra.” Silver echoed, looking to Draconis. “Was that not the name of your lost Empress?”
That confirms it, Bratton. Dranus heaved a sigh.
“All will be explained later.” Draconis wrapped his arms around her and picked her up. “I must carry Ravena to Illuminata, Silver. You’ll have to fly on your own.”
“What of Andros?” Silver whispered, staring down at the still-unconscious form. “We cannot just leave him here.”
“We won’t, my Lady.” Dranus spoke up, sharing a glance with his brother. “I will carry him.”
I hate to leave you, Elle, but fey is taboo in the Illunian Realm. Draconis silently sent to Elspeth, who was still looking on. For now, go home and tell our Family what is going on.
Elspeth nodded in understanding, hugging both Draconis and the strange yet beautiful form of her beloved Adellandra before kissing them. “Fly safe, my Loves.” She whispered. “I will be anxiously waiting for you.”
“We will send word when we know more of what’s going on, Elle.” Draconis kissed her once more. “La’decourte’comare, lanta.”
Elspeth smiled. “La’decourte’comare.”
On that, she walked toward the nearest Realm Portal toward home.
“Do you love her as well, Draconis?” Silver asked timidly, searching his now-golden eyes.
Draconis couldn’t lie. “That I do, Silver, and so do you.” He told her as he bent to pick up Ravena’s still form. “Come, we need to hurry through the Portal to the Illunian Realm.”
Taking a deep breath, Silver nodded.
Draconis looked to his brother, who already had Andros cradled in his massive Dragon-Immortal arms. “Let’s fly, Branno.”
Priest-Lord Xavier Cobrianos paced his study as his youngest son Zinc watched. His cobra’s tail twitched in agitation behind him.
“I thought he would be here by now!” He cried, stopping in mid-stride to stare at Zinc. “Did you tell Lord Emperor what’s going on?”
“Hai, Lord Pada.” Zinc stammered.
“What about Copper’s madness?”
“Hai, Lord Pada.”
“And Ginny? Did you tell him about her as well?”
“Hai, Lord Pada,” Zinc sighed, keeping his cool. “I told him everything. Please, Pada, do relax, or you’ll end up like Copper: mad and incapable of coherant thought.”
Zinc went to a cabinet and pulled out a small vial of tea. Mixing with water in one of Xavier’s favorite mugs, he heated it up in his hands before offering it to him. “Drink this and relax in your chair.”
“You make me feel like an old man, Z.” Xavier smiled as he took a seat.
Zinc patted his father on the back. “Sorry, but one of us men must stay sane in the face of insanity. We cannot have both of you out of commission because of something neither of us can understand or begin to explain.”
Xavier only blinked, sipping the tea. “I’ll be okay for now, son. Go find Dia; see that she’s not too involved, if you know what I mean.”
Zinc smiled. “Hai, Pada, I know. The older that young woman gets, the more inquisitive she becomes.” He sighed, thinking of the cobra-dragon girl he called niece and student. It was becoming harder and harder to keep her safe from herself and perils that came with Royal life. “She’s not stupid, and we can’t keep our affairs from her for much longer.”
Now Xavier sighed. “Technically, she’s one of us, not just another Healer Priestess-Adept under Ichiane’s tutelage.” He shook his head, gathering his thoughts. “In that case, tell her the truth of your visit to the Dragon Nations. With her roots, she may just be able to help.”
Zinc hid a secret smile as he bowed. “Hai, Lord Pada.”
On that, he left to find his niece.
Draconis, Silver, and Dranus flew across the Realm Portal to the Illunae. As soon as they passed through, they heard Dranus curse behind them. The Portal closed as they landed on the Illunian side of it. They waited while Dranus’ form changed to his own Illunian, never knowing a young woman stood silent, watching them.
His wings changed from the tough leather hide of a dragon to the soft feathers of a Peregrine Falcon. Draconian horns disappeared back into his body as cobra features took their place.
“For the love of…” Dranus was complaining as he watched himself shifting.
Silver and Draconis smiled at one another. “Sorry, Branno. You know the rules.”
“Aye, I know.” Dranus rolled his eyes. “As soon as the two of you were done connecting the Realm Portals, you placed a spell on them. Any who go through must assume the form of the People in that Realm.”
“It was to cease any unwanted attacks from either side.” Draconis explained.
“Who are you?” A female voice chimed, interrupting their banter. “What are you doing here?”
They turned to see a woman with black-as-night hair tied in a bun, reptilian scales covering her body and small dragon’s wings at her back. She was pointing a staff at them, the crescent moon at the top glowed with dark red magic.
“I apologize, madam, but we need to get our charges to a Healer.” Draconis stared into her cobra-shaped golden eyes.
The woman eyed them for a moment, her gaze going from one brother to the other, before finally setting on Silver’s.
“Lady Silver Moon!” The woman collapsed her wand-staff and put it away as she bowed. “You’ve returned!”
“It would seem so, young lady.” Silver’s voice tinkled as she spoke. “May I ask your name?”
“I am Dianus, one of Illuminata’s Healer-Adepts.” She introduced.
“Pleasure to meet you, Dianus. It would seem you know me already,” Silver chuckled, gesturing for the young woman to rise. Once she did, Silver continued. “This is my mate and Lord Emperor, Draconis Dratianos. Behind us is his Bad’ra Dranus, our bodyguard.” She paused. “Can you lead us to the nearest Healer? Our children are in dire need of their help.”
Dianus smiled. “Hai, my Lady.”
Dianus led them to a small cottage just outside the gates of what appeared to be a shrine’s garden.
“Dia! Dia!” They heard a male voice shout from a distance. When Zinc Cobrianos reached the group, he nodded his greetings. “I see you’ve met the cavalry.” Dianus was confused, but Zinc’s attention was on the newcomers. “Welcome back to Illuminata, my Lords and Lady-Sita.”
Silver quickly hugged her youngest brother and explained why they were there.
Zinc eyed Draconis, who just sent telepathically, We’ll explain after we get the children to Healers. Aloud, Draconis asked. “Where is Ichiane?”
“She’s in the Castle, calming Ginny down.” Zinc told him. “If you don’t mind, we’ll set them in the bedchambers of the cottage and Heal them while you take care of business with Lord Pada.”
“I am strong enough to help; even Mame says so.” Dianus spoke up, as if reading their apprehension. “Uncle will be there with me.”
Silver smiled at the girl. “Kateea, Dianus.”
Dianus beamed. “That’s a Draconian word!” She bowed, “Vel’ca’moon, my Lady Silver. Between Uncle and I, we’ll take great care of the Prince and Princess.”
“That’s good to hear.” Draconis supplied. He turned to Silver. “Well, my Love, let’s go find your Pada and announce our arrival.”
Dranus trailed behind, as bewildered at the sight of the young cobra-dragon woman as he was to find himself in a mixed-up shifting form.
By the time the trio arrived in the Throne Room, Lord-Priest Xavier was there to greet them. To his left was his mate and the Priestess-Consort, the Allunian Lady Hikari Ikioi. Xavier barely heard the Guard announce their arrival; he was too busy staring at them.
He watched as the three of them approached the Thrones, bowing just short of the dais. They were each in their Illunian forms.
“I have returned, Lord Xavier.” Silver announced, rising.
Xavier’s heart pounded as he and Hikari both ran to embrace her in tight hugs. “So good of you to come, Dan’aa.” He passed her to Hikari to hug while he addressed Draconis and Dranus. “You as well, Lord Emperor.”
“Zinc did tell us to hurry, Lord Xavier.” Dranus announced, bowing his head in greeting.
“Please, do drop the honorific.” Xavier sighed. “Let’s go to the antechamber and talk; we’ll let Silver catch up with her Mame.”
Draconis grinned. “I was just thinking the same thing, for there is a bit of a problem on our end.”
Xavier gave him a curious look. “Likewise, my Lord.”
They entered the antechamber and sat on three of the long-backed chairs. Draconis explained what they knew of what was going on in the Illunae before telling him of their ‘problem.’
“The Lady Adellandra actually believes herself to be Silver Moon?” Xavier asked in awe. Draconis nodded. “Is she, though?”
Draconis nodded again. “To make a long story as short as possible, when she left, she was drawn to her Draconian parents’ hutch-cave. O’Dell of the Mystic Realms was Lord Guardian before me, and saw her vision in his Sphere. She was then found by an Apprentice-kin Companion soldier of his, Chase Moondancer, and brought to his Realm to be his Successor. She was blooded one of his Mystics, grew up in the Outer Realm as an Immortal named Ariana Moon, and knew nothing of her previous incarnations. It wasn’t until nearly-thirty years later we reunited. I brought the Draconian memories back to her mind, explaining anything that she needed to know. We have been mated since.”
Xavier was in awe. “Amazing story, Draconis. It would seem my Dan’aa was a very busy woman.”
“Indeed.” Draconis agreed. “We might be able to use her partial-amnesia to our advantage.”
“She believes herself Silver Moon, Lady Priestess of the Illunae.” Draconis shrugged. “She still has her skills and knowledge, so let her handle Copper and Ginny. It will prepare her for the bigger problem: your Peoples’ upheaval, which we’ll be working on.”
“In the meantime, on our way here, she and Ravena found Andros.” Dranus spoke up once he saw his brother’s nod.
“Where are they now? Why didn’t they come with you?”
“They are currently being Healed by Zinc and a young cobra-dragon woman named Dianus.” Dranus explained.
“Two of our Dweller-kin cousins found Andros passed out near Stonehenge.” Draconis took over the story. “They notified Adellandra, who was on her way here with Ravena and our Monarch’s Own, Elspeth.”
Before he could say another word, there was a soft knock on the door. In peeked the Allunian Nursemaid Ichiane. “I have calmed the Priestess-Consort and sent her to bed to rest, my Lord.” She acknowledged Xavier, bowing her head and not meeting his eyes. “Was there anything else I could do for you, before heading to my other clients?”
Xavier looked to Draconis when he said. “If your Lord agrees, why don’t you look in on Zinc and his student Dianus? They’re in your cabin, healing Silver’s and my children.”
Ichiane grinned, looking to Xavier, who nodded at her silent request. “Thank you, my Lords.”
On that, she was gone.
“May I join her, my Lord?” Dranus asked his brother.
“As Xavier and I need to talk more, go ahead.” Draconis nodded, smiling. “Keep an eye on the children, Branno.”
Dranus stood, placed a fist to his heart and tightly nodded his head in salute before leaving.
“It’s good to see you once more, my Dan’aa.” Hikari wrapped an arm through one of Silver’s as she escorted them away. “It has been far too long. What brings you home?”
Silver was nervous. All she remembered was reawakening over her son’s glowing form, the silver-colored healing magic working through his system. She barely remembered anything before that, except her beloved Ta’vo Lord Draconis and their children. “I am unsure, Mame, but I agree. It has been far too long.”
“You’ll want to see your Bad’ras,” Hikari announced.
“I have already seen Zinc.” Silver told her. “He was happy to see me as well; even helping the Healer-Adept Dianus with your grandchildren.”
“You found them?” Hikari was amazed, stopping them where they stood, which was in front of the giant double doors to the Priestess’s room.
Silver nodded. “Hai, though it was strange.”
“Well,” She searched her mind to find the right words. “It was as if I slept from the time I left and woke up Healing Andros. Ravena was beside me, helping me. As I came to, Draconis had his arms wrapped around me and telepathically telling me to pull back.”
“Hmm.” Hikari thought. “That is strange. Where are they now?”
“At Ichiane’s with Dianus and Zinc.” Silver told her, finally noticing they stopped. “Why did we stop here?”
“Don’t you want to greet your best friend?” Hikari teased, but Silver only stared.
“H-hai, I guess.” Silver was bewildered.
Hikari frowned, sending a message to Xavier. Ta’vo, something is wrong with Silver; she’s acting strange.
We know all about it, my love. Xavier responded. Draconis already explained. Don’t worry about it now, we’ll talk about it as soon as you get here.
Will do. Hikari sighed.
“Mame, what is wrong?”
Hikari forced a smile, knocking on the door. “Nothing, Dan’aa. I need to leave you for awhile. You have a nice visit with Ginny and Copper.”
Silver smiled, nodding.
The door opened to a teary-eyed, heavily-pregnant Eugenia. Her light hair was tousled; eyes red and puffy from crying. “Silver, you’re back!” She wiped the tears with a kerchief and hugged her.
“It would seem so, Ginny.” Silver half-laughed, eyes and hand on her friend’s belly.
Ginny led Silver inside before closing the door behind them. Silver helped her walk to the bed and settle in.
“Copper’s and my third try at an heir.” Ginny lowered her head sadly.
“What happened with the other two?”
Ginny stared at her. “Didn’t anyone tell you? I’ve had two miscarriages in the past several years. Copper’s gone mad, thinking the Goddess has deserted us. All he does is brood in our room and mourn.”
“What about your People?” Silver wondered. “Is he even acting as a Lord-Priest?”
Ginny shook her head. “Not anymore. They’ve revolted against us, saying we’re unfit to Rule due to the lack of an heir.”
“So the High-Priest and -Priestess duties still fall on my Parena?” Silver guessed and her friend confirmed.
Ginny hugged her again. “It’s been so terrible without you here, Silver.” She explained, eyes shedding tears once again. “Why did you have to leave?”
Silver was at a loss for words. Instead of answering, she rubbed Ginny’s back and soothed her until the tears subsided. “Rest, my friend.” She whispered in Ginny’s ear. “I have returned; everything will be okay.”
Ginny sniffed, “Promise?”
Silver kissed her forehead and pet her hair. “I promise.”
When she had Ginny tucked into bed and resting, she left, quietly closing the doors behind her.
Now to find Copper and see just how ‘mad’ he is.
Heaving a sigh, she closed her eyes and used her Empathy to sense him. She could almost see him in her mind’s eye, pacing. She felt a tug of magic in her system and she was instantly in front of him. When she opened her eyes, she met his.
“Silver!” He cried, stopping in mid-pace to blink at her in amazement. “I hate it when you do that.” After a moment, he shook his head, holding it. “Wait – you’re back.”
Silver nodded, watching him. Underneath his eyes were black lines, his copper-colored irises had turned light-brown. His copper-colored hair hung down in strings, as if he hadn’t bathed in months, his skin was paler than usual, and body gaunt under all his Royal clothing. She hated to see her Bad’ra brought to such a terrible state, and it saddened her to see him like this.
Copper’s hands were shaking, his voice breaking as he asked. “What are you doing here?”
“I am a bit confused at the moment.” Silver explained truthfully. “I originally woke up in the Outer Realm, Healing Andros with Ravena’s help. Draconis and Dranus are with us, the children in Zinc’s and a Healer-Adept’s care at Ichiane’s.”
“Nato,” Copper shook his head. “I meant, what are you doing in my quarters?”
Silver forced a smile, trying to push back the strong empathic feeling that he was just as confused as she. “I just came from Ginny’s room. She told me a little of what has gone on in my absence.”
“So you know of the revolt?” Copper finally sat in a chair.
“Hai, and I am not impressed, Bad’ra.” Silver shook her head. “How could you have let yourselves go like this? You are supposed to be the second most-powerful man in the entire Realm.”
“You don’t understand, Silver.” Copper sighed. “Things have been rough since you left.”
“So I heard.” She mumbled. “Go on.”
“Do you even remember leaving?” He asked.
Silver shook her head. “I remember nothing from before I awoke in the Outer Realm.” She smiled, “Well, almost nothing. I do remember Draconis and our children, but only because they were with me when I awoke.”
“How could you forget him?” Copper tried to smile. He frowned when he thought of his next words. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s as if they lost hope when we lost you. Draconis left a week after you, Dranus at his side, both men so melancholy they could barely think. The entire House was in mourning, for we lost both of you and Andros. Ravena ran away shortly after, unable to concentrate on her studies. Who knows where she went?”
Silver laid a caring hand on her brother’s shoulders, her mind working its way around his story as her hands massaged. Empathic waves of sadness and despair filled the room, filling her heart. She wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and hugged. “I apologize, Bad’ra. I wish I could remember. Somehow, I feel your agony is my fault.”
Copper stood, holding her in close. “You’re not the only one at fault. I wasn’t ready for the Throne, and neither was Ginny. I’m just sorry I couldn’t handle our problems better.”
Silver pulled away once the empathic waves dissipated, meeting his eyes. “Whatever is going on, we will fix it together.” She took his hands. “I promise, Bad’ra. I will not leave until the Illunae and this House are at peace.”
Copper kissed her forehead. “Thank you, Sita.”
She left him standing there before heading to the Shrine to meditate.