The Elemental Force


1Likes
3Comments
609Views
AA

1. The Naive Fantasy

 

“Will Kaida ever transform into her draki form, Libelle.”

I strain my ears to hear the conversation between my father and my Aunt Libelle, whom since two in the morning, go back and forth about different scenarios in which a child can transform into the form of my ancestors, powerful and intelligent beasts that roam around the island of Rivenstead, searching for any predator and prey. Yet being gentle on the inside, raising young ones and affectionate to their forever and always. A draki form, synonymously known as a dragon form around some other islands, is something that is considered the norm and must be acquired through whatever tactic. (Yet most techniques are considered unethical in practice, all of them using fear or emotional tactics).

“I don’t know, Draco,” Aunt Libelle’s voice seems to drift off. She may be a draki that can heal the sick or wounded and diagnose illnesses or conditions, but her meticulous thoughts cause her to overthink things, providing no actions. It’s her greatest gift and most terrible curse. “First I would have to diagnose her. Even if something was wrong I don’t know whether or not I can fix it. And not everything has to have an explanation, not when there is faith in your daughter’s abilities.”

Eerie silence falls, echoing off of the walls throughout this room. I push all of my weight against the wall of the carpeted stairs. My heart palpitating out of my chest, I curl into a tight ball. I hug my knees, pushing away any thought of the past year, almost two, and how kind people have turned against one who isn’t quite like them. Becoming much more like beasts than human. The urge to go and get some kind of fantasy book or teenage magazine rises through me, to numb the pain that has always been there. It’s almost too much to bear.

Now and again the sound of chewing something very soft and slurping liquid bounce off the walls. Smells of cinnamon and chocolate waft through the air as during any holiday. I’d like to think of it as preparing for the most notable holiday of the year. (I wouldn’t mind if it smelled like this all the time). When the seasons change from the arid midsummer to the brisk wintertide. My breathing joins the audible noises as I wait for someone to speak, and I can’t decide to say eagerly or to my horror. After about two years I have heard the same things over and over again, basically.

Dad finally talks in a low whisper, as though not wanting to be overheard, “You have no idea what it’s like to have a defunct offspring that can’t transform. It’s utterly humiliating. And you know full well that Saphira and I only kept Kaida after her surprising birth was because we thought she would transform like her peers.” I can imagine a scowl plastered on his rounded face as those words escape his full lips, each one becoming more bitter than the last. What’s left of my heart is slowly breaking as is, I don’t even understand why I still hope for my own father to come back and love me. Maybe that’s my own mistake, something I’ve got to learn to suppress. It’s been almost two years since I have seen a calm man that knows how to control his temper and disappointment in the world. Maybe that man had died the same day I didn’t transform. And each night I have mourned the loss of that man, along with my loving family.

“I understand your frustration, truly I do,” I can imagine that a reassuring expression has formed on Aunt Libelle’s face, her large gray eyes filled with kindness. She is trying for a passive voice, hoping to calm the raging beast in my father. A beast that comes out in the form of yelling and roaring whenever the feeling arose, ordinarily at me for not becoming a monster of my own, with either leathery or gossamer wings and a long snout. “Although I can imagine that it must hard on her, after all she is bullied by her peers and their families. I don’t think she needs her own family turning on her as well. Besides she still looks up at you for guidance and affection in her struggle, and you give her no council, only neglect and frightful scoldings.” Aunt Libelle is the only one that has faith in me these days, I can’t even say I have faith in myself. I mean whenever I attempt to transform all there that happens is frustration and kicking up dirt on abandoned land. And in a way I do still hope my father could come back, be the man he was, but that’s nothing more than a childish dream.

“You’ve always had a soft side, Libelle. That does not alleviate the problem at all.”

“Draco, think of what your doing to Kaida. I know your draki parenting genes and skills tell you to neglect her, but she needs you. She cries herself to sleep every night, I’ve seen it, and it’s disheartening.”

Do I cry myself to sleep every night? I don’t even remember anymore, each night becomes a blur.

“I can’t help that. Instincts don’t bend for anything for anyone, not even Kaida. So you have to go and tell her to do things on her own. There is no way I will guide her through all of this, much less have any affection for her.”

Something I expect from him, unwilling to allow any personal exceptions, not even for his daughter. Not when she was six years old just asking for a cookie after it was baked, and certainly not when she’s waiting for her time of death to approach. All of his love for me is gone, through vile draki genetics.

Then watch her be killed, Draco, because that’s what Fafner has planned for her. She always has been a healthy girl, even when she was born out of nowhere. Don’t let your precious little baby die after all that you have done for her, after all those years of bonding with her.” I’ve never heard Aunt Libelle use that stern or angry tone before, not in front of her own kids or anyone in fact. Why does this matter to her more than anything or anyone else?

Apparently Dad has the same feeling and becomes oddly quiet, the words of anger have been silenced. I clutch my legs so hard that my hands become white. To avoid the stinging in my eyes I stare out the rectangular windows framed by cream colored curtains. My vision becomes blurry with hot tears. And for what seems like minutes there is the sound of buzzing hornets around my head, unwilling to leave me allow, but don’t attack.

Suddenly there is voice, not very loud, but I am able to hear it, “Something happened during that day she was supposed to transform. Her chaperon didn’t come back with her, and she was supposed to be at a different location than the boys were, especially if they had transformed. And she oddly was untouched by the monster that would help her transform, though had many big bruises and deep scratches on her body that can only be caused by intentional harm by any human or draki.”

These words whisper from the back of my mind, ‘Don’t tell them child, or else you will pay dearly.’ I don’t even remember anyone I know saying those words, unless it was… the woman that had been my chaperon that day, when I was supposed to transform.

My body involuntarily shudders while my brain races back through the dark and grimy corners of memory lane. It had been a foggy day cascaded by countless willowy trees decorated with verdant leaves, the grass swaying gingerly in a light breeze. I have always loved that kind of weather, where you could leave your shoes and worries behind you. To have peace with self and the world around me. But clearly that day had been like no other. It acted as a day where a young draki passed from childhood to take on adulthood some day. To struggle to become like my ancestors had before me and like the descendants that will do it after me, a human that can become a monster and a monster that can hide among humans. It doesn’t matter which one, we are considered both in a way, they still set apart from humanity.

By law I had to have an adult chaperon, that are not related to me directly, into the deepest part of the forest. To make sure that children don’t flee at our first chance and to record that we transformed, for boys, and are about to transform, for girls. I must have had the rottenest of luck. Because I had a slender female draki who was five hundred year old, looking to be one hundred, and only wears old fashioned shirt dresses and that smelled like rotting flowers. She appeared as under duress, as she always does, her face set in a permanent scowl, lips set into a straight line.

The female draki I had been paired up with was fickle about time, consistently demanding to be fifteen minutes late or not there at all. But she had to be an hour early that day almost two years ago. Before noon to be exact. She was not a fan of it at all and freely fretting about her irritation to anyone who would listen, especially since she was refused in being her own grandson’s chaperon, who had been labeled as the draki with the least potential in my year when tested. Numbers truly didn’t matter when a child transformed, however.

After about twenty minutes of walking and complaining on the female draki’s part we reached a caved area where a monster hidden by mist lived, growling in the distance. I was told, like a dog, to stay put and wait for further directions. On her own she walked up to the beast and grabbed what I assumed to be a collar and leash, slightly fading into the fog. There the figure froze, it’s looming figure stiff, as though it had been trained that way. The female draki gave me the once over and, or what I had assumed to be the once over, and her black eyes turned cold and calculating. She looked about ready to just let the beast have me then leave, but there was much more. I could tell she wanted to embarrass me in the worst way possible, since I had the highest potential of my year, even before she had done it.

Clearly I remember the woman beginning to yell at me with derogatory names including things like ‘unwanted wretch’ or ‘moronic dipstick’. Crows off in the distance had begun laughing at me, judging me. I couldn’t take it so I yelled back at them and at her that I would tell my own parents. Wickedly she stated that if I did something horrible would happen. Something that I didn’t want to happen. Slowly my memory waivers just before and after she disappears deep into the fog where yelling of other children close by rang through while I just fell to the ground, completely stunned. And after that I can’t quite remember if people had been looking for me for a while or not. All that comes to mind is me being dragged out by someone to the entrance where boys my age wear nothing but towels tied around their waists talking animatedly about their experience in the fog dueling it out with their newfound powers. No other girls had been their, they had been taken somewhere else to complete their transformation. I don’t understand the whole evolutionary process for females to transform into their draki forms, but back then I didn’t have to worry about it.

Suddenly I am brought out of the memory and to the present, a silvery voice that I have heard before rings out. The voice belongs to a boy. He is talking about seeing me, it almost sounds like he’s pleading. “Why can’t I? Kaida has right to go places, it’s not like she’s done anything wrong. I desire to help her transform. So, please, let me see her.”Abruptly I realize that I am wearing nothing but a ragged black nightshirt and a pair of matching shorts

My cheeks burn as I run up the stairs without a sound, for a second I look down from the landing to find a statuesque boy with short black curls wearing a black leather jacket over a garnet t-shirt and crimson jeans. My heart skips a beat as the boy gently takes a seat and crosses his legs on the beat up pastel blue couch, and like a gentleman he looks intently at my black haired father for his answer, ready to listen. I sigh, he is after all Nathair, the crowned prince and future monarch of the pride of draki living on Rivenstead Island. He hadn’t been at the site where all of the other boys had been, but somewhere else. To ensure that he did transform to take the throne some day, his parents even gave him the best teachers and special lessons he’s not even allowed to talk about. Though for some unknown reason for almost two years he hasn’t found his forever and always, or in other words a mate. Even if he is desperate in finding his forever and always, why would he want to help some failure like me?

“I suppose,” Dad replies, stroking his thick beard. (I always hated how he looks with a beard, it’s so stupid). “Though don’t you have an appointment with your parents, Nathair? Something about finding your mate?” Nathair taps the arm of the couch, looking sheepish. His large and endless emerald eyes flicker from my father to Aunt Libelle, his cheeks turn a light rosy color. What could possibly make him embarrassed about?

“That was earlier this morning,” Nathair’s voice is tranquil, which almost covers up how embarrassed he looks. He does this so smoothly, as though practiced over and over again until it comes naturally. I can Imagine the grace he will have when he finds his forever and always, taking their hand like a prince and bowing like a gentleman. I wish to have my hand held softly, to have someone bow down to me as a gesture. But I won’t be the girl for him, of course. “I wasn’t able to find the one through the available free female draki that are my age. It must mean Kaida is the one. The one for me to have at my side and bear royal children of the next generation.”

No, that can’t be. I haven’t even been able to transform, why does he just assume that. There have been times where a forever and always come from another draki pride. He might have better luck looking at a different island than trying to get me to transform at this point.

I stand, stunned, for a few moments before running down the narrow hallway, leading to my minuscule corner of the entire house. Where bookshelves line most of the most of the chipped walls expect one for my bed and the other for a clouded up freestanding mirror, and there is a closet containing either clothes that are too-loose fighting from my older brothers or my mother or tight-fighting clothes that I’ve way outgrown. My nose picks up a scent of old and fine leather with a hint of fresh mint lingering from the past days of growing mint leaves in my room and from fine auburn leather books resting on the bookshelf. Truly this is my home where I can put the past behind me and escape into worlds beyond my own. I call it ‘home’ and ‘my own’. A small smile forms on my face every time I’m here.

I pull out an ankle-length black dress and matching leggings, the only pieces of clothing that remotely fits well from my closet. I pull on the nice clothes and thrown the old aside, gazing at the mirror to make sure black strands are in place. There I find in the mirror a petite girl with long shaggy black curls that frame a rounded face. Her large and wild hazel eyes shift from coffee brown to forest green, the dark circles under her eyes show those countless sleepless nights from constant waking nightmares. And where her heart should have been there is nothing but an empty void.

Down in the kitchen I hear metallic baking sheets being jerked out of the oven and flung onto the counter with loud clattering, my mother yelling above the noise, “Again. This is the eighth time my baking has been charred and burned. Draco, honey, we need a new oven!” Still in the living room, assuming with Aunt Libelle, Dad grunts about needing time to go and search for a new oven, plus taking time to go and take money out from savings to buy it.

“We can buy another oven after the holiday, Saphira. I don’t feel like being hounded by salesmen today.

“No, we need a new oven before the holidays. We don’t want to look bad when the family comes over for dinner.”

“We’ve already got Kaida, how much more until we ‘look bad’? Besides the food tastes wonderful, regardless.”

My skins smolders, eyes stinging once again. I move towards my bed, falling right onto the stiffened mattress, springs groaning from pressure. More conversation goes on downstairs, but I don’t pay anymore attention. All anyone in this household ever talks about is one thing, me. Not in the way it would have been almost two years ago. Because about two years ago everyone talks about my potential and what times I can go to bed when I have transformed. Mom would say I needed to learn how to be a graceful young lady, Dad was willing to teach me to dance. George, one of my older brothers, gave me advice on what most boys like, and Ladon, George’s twin brother, just played copious amounts of games with me when I was miserable.

On the other side of my bedroom door I hear a couple of delicate knocks, then politely waiting for a response. I almost tell them to go away, but the door squeaks open before I can do so. When I turn to face the door I see Nathair holding the door with a hand gleaming with sweat. Something I can’t have imagined for the life of me. The future monarch being anything but serene and collected. Never.

“Kaida,” his voice is suddenly… brittle and outright panicky. I stare into his eyes which glisten, with tears trailing down his pink cheeks. He won’t look at me, only the pink pastel carpet below his feet. “This is your final chance to transform. My father has designated the day before the changing of seasons for your ‘lethal punishment’. I know for a fact he’s going to have someone give you a lethal injection.” His father has the jurisdiction to do so, controlling all of the island. Besides I should have had this happen about a years ago, I have no reason why, he is no patient man. He’s just like my father, maybe that’s why they get along so well. Because they make plans to get what they want for certain. Yet, I have to wonder. Why would he have it the day before the changing of seasons? I mean it’s the day before my fifteenth birthday, nothing really special to execute a disappointing child over.

As if Nathair reads my mind he sighs and collapses onto the floor without his normal grace, now he’s much like a frustrated boy. His long fingers trace random shapes and figures into the carpet, absentmindedly. “Because of the prophecy stated just before you were born. It states that this year the next elemental draki will be revealed four thousand years after the last one lived and replenish our dwindling resources. So he thinks of you as a parasite at this point, and wants to eliminate you before the new resources come in.” I lay still on my bed, the wasps buzzing around my head again. No one has lived long enough to have seen what the last elemental draki looked or acted like. We’ve only heard famous stories about them and their legacy, and according to those stories I actually descend from the elemental draki, they are my paternal grandmother by eight generations. The oldest draki, taking into account the human to draki years, would be eight hundred years old in human years and four hundred in draki years, she is still going strong. “Why don’t you come over to my place? I bet that you can transform there, being away from the stress here.” His voice has attained hope and a childish quality. I mean I want to but… is there a possibility for me?

“Your parents don’t want me over there, I am what they call a ‘bad influence’ and a ‘defect’, Besides I don’t know if I can transform at this point, it might be a complete waste of your precious time.”

Nathair halts tracing the carpet, having created a dent, and digests my words. Acknowledgment spreads across his face, he stands on his feet and joins me on the bed. (Though he is moving much more mechanically now, as though he senses something). Gently he shifts me to one side so we can lay side by side on this narrow bed, far enough so we’re not touching. The bed squeaks louder under our combined weight, sounding as though ready to give in, like me some days. His eyes studying me, looking for something, muttering, “You must have had some traumatic experience that blocks your ability to transform.” My heart hammers against my weakened rib cage as Nathair leans closer to me. His warmth radiating off of his light olive skin, warming the freezing air and my pallid skin. I can smell his sweet and musky cologne fill the air, unconsciously I give a long sigh. “There has to be some way for you to transform.”

I shake my head, saying that he’s just dreaming. And yet in my own mind I hope that somehow I could transform. Be like everyone else again, have nobody on my back anymore. To have my loving family back. But a much smaller, yet stronger part of me, in my conscious mind dictates how likely it would be. “I’d like to hope, Nathair, but clearly there isn’t any left for me. Why don’t you just forget about me and find your forever and always.” Regardless of my thoughts and words Nathair wraps his long arms around me tiny waist from below. He pulls me so close that we touch, my cheeks burn hot. Nathair’s breathing is slow and calm, he must be holding back his urgency for reasons I can’t comprehend. I’d like to think that he is doing it for us, to allow this one moment to be a quiet moment where we can just relax and forget either being without a forever and always and being unable to become a beast. Maybe in this way we are somehow connected. Different from the others by a small margin and being called out for it. Though his is only a minor setback, mine is something completely different and more complex than any medical problem or disease.

A thick haze settles over me as I fight for consciousness, my eye lids flutter open and closed continuously. I feel a palm press against my shoulder with great pressure, pain spreads throughout my shoulder and back. (Like I am constantly having a brick or heavy object forced on my back to carry, weakened enough). I hear these final words before my world is consumed by complete darkness, “There is hope, Kaida. You just have to put faith and belief in yourself. Just know that I have total faith in you.

⁎ ⁎ ⁎

 

Don’t lay a peep, child. Or else I will make sure you never sleep again. I will find my way through your dreams and turn them into nightmares. Your parents will regret bear an unintended child with no twin of their own. I hope your final moments are as painful as the past two years have been. Remember just how much pain you’re in, it will be so much worse when you return to our world, as nothing more than a defective child who lost all of their potential.

I wake with a shiver clawing its way up my spine, laying with my eyes closed against a soft surface. Hairs on my arms are raised and sweat is pooling in the creases of my palms. (It almost feels like the air has gotten colder all of a sudden). A dull buzzing drifts through my ears drums, maybe the angry wasps have come back. My heart is the only audible sound accompanying my rapid breathing.

“Ms. Kaida,” a disembodied voice calls. “Are you awake?”

Peeling my eyes open I find myself laying on a four poster bed encased with heavy boysenberry velvet curtains. My hand pats the spot behind me, the fluffy opaque fleece blankets are cold. Nathair must have left while I was asleep, or helped bring me into this foreign room, wherever it is. I push myself into a sitting position with my elbows, a wave of both lightheadedness and nausea roll over me. I clutch my stomach until the feeling passes, then having to go back when a few more waves come and go. My head throbs as it tries to process what is happening, and my focus is shifting every so often. Why am I feeling so ill all of a sudden? I’ve never felt like this before.

In the distance the same disembodied voice states, “I’m coming in. Whether you’re ready or not.” The sound of creaking echoes through the air, following someone yanks back the curtains, revealing a white marble walls with tiny red specks splattered across its surface behind a redheaded woman wearing a short black maids uniform. Her peach toned face is stuck in an emotionless mask, lips pursed. “Prince Nathair invites you into the dining hall and wants to have a word,” her voice is calm in the restricted way. As though repressing negative judgments. Something I have seen and heard time and time again, all of them having far away expressions in order to hide from me, the defective one. “You will dress into the garments provided. Then meet Prince Nathair in the dining hall, no ifs, ands, or buts. And as a warning please do be on your best behavior.” With that she slams the door shut as she exits. I almost allow myself to yell back at her to knock next time and to leave me to my own devices. Though it wouldn’t help my predicament of suddenly getting the urge to find the largest trench and hide within it, never to be seen again.

I almost fall when I stand up, and clearly naked from head to toe. Now where is the closet that’s labeled ‘elegant and lavish clothes you can never afford’? Stumbling around the room over priceless gemstones lying carelessly on the carpet I find it. The largest closet I have ever seen through gorgeous golden gilded double doors. This closet alone is two to four times bigger than my own bedroom. With dresses ranging in varying contrasting colors and shimmering pure gold and pure silver jewelry boxes resting on little shelves in large jewelry boxes. But there is no note that says, ‘clothes for the defective one, burn afterwards’. So I keep searching through the hideous sequins and fall-away sparkles until I reach the farthest corner. Where wallpaper is starting to peel off from the white walls, chipped parts of the ceiling lying on the carpeted floor. (It’s a high grade carpet by the way, soft to the touch for sensitive skin). There a bare shelf has but a plain cotton knee-length violet sleeveless dress, looks to be my size and shape. Beside it on a dusty shelf lies a singular pure gold bangle, tiny dragon designs etched into it. (Seems like no one has used this corner for quite some time now, maybe for some horrible or obvious reason.). A note lies on top of the dress in a tidy scrawl, ‘KAIDA’S BREAKFAST OUTFIT’. Why would there be a need for multiple outfits during the day? Regardless I take the soft and excellent quality dress and slipping it onto my small build. Also placing the bangle on my wrist, it droops down from being a size or two too big. A bit of the ceiling crumbles down, I jump out of the way, grabbing the dress and ducking. Somehow I feel responsible for a dress that doesn’t even belong to me, something that’s being forcefully given. (Maybe that’s why I hadn’t received anything different than a cotton dress).

In a grand crystalline mirror I see a groomed girl, bit different that I saw in the mirror before, this time her eyes are weary, there’s much more forest green than coffee brown. And where her heart should be there is something there that hadn’t been there before. What has changed? It can’t have been too long since I fell asleep, Right? Though it could be a way of the mirror trying to flatter me.

Turning away I go back into the bedroom, shoving my feet into comfortable magenta flats placed somewhere on the carpet. I exit and travel through the vast but familiar hallway with high ceilings that’s connected to the grand crystal staircase with a dazzling diamond chandelier hanging over it.

“Wow,” a voice calls from behind. “Nathair still favors you over other girls, even after all that’s happened. Father would have slaughtered you if it weren’t for him pleading against it. He ludicrously dreams of you being in his future, more than would be possible.”

I slightly turn to face Nathair’s much cruder and less elegant younger twin brother, Phineas. He looks a lot like Nathair with black curls and possesses deep emerald eyes. (Though Nathair’s are much more alluring and pleasant to look at). Phineas is different based on his slightly more compact stature and a tiny birth mark that rests on his left cheek. The most notable thing would be his style. He prefers the more fancy tyrian suits with matching shoes and tie. He’s just like every stereotypical prince I’ve ever seen on television from recorded interviews when they visited this island every so often for royal meetings. All haughty and snobbish, always saying to the interviewer that their parents will be getting them lavish gifts at the end of their trip like it’s no big deal. (Not that any of them have ever dealt with money or know how to save money for when they need it).And after a while of watching gossip sections I stopped watching it because honestly it’s just drama waiting to happen, besides what makes their lives so much more interesting than my own? I’ve certainly lived through enough drama, I don’t need anymore.

“And I appreciate his efforts in helping me. That is one of the many markings of a promising future monarch, other than having a backbone. Which is something you appear to lack.”

His contorts with anger, red filling his face. Phineas mumbles something under his breath as we travel down the stairs, me going down two steps at a time. Hoping to leave him in the dust, to no avail, his long legs and strides has him on my tail. The and through wooden oak doors that lead to a dining hall. Below a high ceiling with an emerald chandelier dangling from above by a thick gleaming metallic cord. (Why is it a trend for having more than one chandelier in a royals home?). A long table is set into the middle of the room, matching chairs lines the table. The main surface is hidden beneath massive amounts of multifaceted crystalline plates decorated with opulent foods I can’t even name. (Why the royal family has this much food is a mystery to me, unless they are feeding scraps to their staff). Nathair is at the head of the table, busying himself with glistening glass cups and metallic cutlery that reflect light. His face is at an angle, but I can make out his concentrated look. It’s the same furrowed eyebrows and neutral position of his lips that he uses when he wants something done perfectly. Having for his whole life learning to do the ways things are supposedly ‘done’, perfect and without a single mess. I’ve always wondered how he could do it so smoothly, but it’s something that’s implied.

I stand at the door as Phineas storms past me to Nathair’s side, talking animatedly. Nathair frowns and replies calmly, including but expressive gestures while holding two glass cups. (Nathair, please don’t drop them, for my sanity). Back and fourth they argue, like all of the twins on Rivenstead Island. (Which is the all of the population except me).

Silently I walk over, gently placing a hand on Nathair’s shoulder, and he slightly turns to face me. His lips pull into a patient smile, his white teeth peeking out. “Good morning, little dragon,” Nathair puts down the glass cups onto a silk place mats. There the woman that forced her way into the room I slept in filled the cups with steaming milk with specks of cinnamon sprinkled in. “I hope you had a good amount of rest, you slept a whole day. All you need to do is eat an adequate breakfast.” What does he mean I ‘slept for a whole day’? And what does eating an ‘adequate breakfast’ mean?

Before I can ask I notice that he’s changed into a ruby suit with a matching suit and tie. Without thinking I gently ask, “What does red symbolize, Nathair? Is it some new tradition posted by the Royals Society? Because normally all royalty and wear purple, silver, or gold.”

“Oh this,” Nathair looks down at his suit, his cheeks burning just as red as the clothing. “In the royal culture it is a tradition to wear red, you see. For either boys that can’t find their mates or men that can’t seem to produce children. Call me old fashioned.”

Surprisingly a light laugh that bounces off the pristine high walls and stone floors. An even bigger surprise is that it’s my own laugh, when I haven’t smiled for almost two years. It’s the kind of laugh that where my lungs gasp for breath and leaves them extremely sore afterwards. Through my laughing I hear Phineas give out callous remarks, but I don’t care, his opinions don’t matter to me. It takes me quite a while to calm down, take deep breaths.

Nathair takes my hand and guides me to the third golden gilded arm chair down from the head of the table. Like a gentleman he pulls the chair and allows me to sit down, pushing the chair back. He grabs a plate decorated golden brown disks of what look like flattened cakes and places it in front of me. “What are these? I’ve never seen them before, Nathair.”

“Of course you’ve never heard of these, we got the recipe from a trade with humans. They’re called pancakes, they’re fluffy and delicious. Now eat up, a female draki tends to need more food consumption in order to transform.”

My stomach growls as I pick up a white porcelain bottle filled with dark amber liquid that lightens in shade when the light hits it. Slightly tilting it down the liquid waterfalls onto the three cakes, excess amounts trickling over the sides. I pick up a fork from a fancily folded napkin, my body is yelling at me to eat something.

Both Nathair and Phineas take their seats across from each other, the third second from the head of the table, as though a prearranged seating schedule. Nathair sits at my left, a servant bringing the twins their own pancakes with fried eggs topping it. And together we eat in unison, silence falling among us all. For the pancakes tempt me so, since they are the opposite of dry and are cloyingly sweet in all of the right ways because of the syrup. Besides there is nothing to say at the moment, just contemplate for future discussions.

At the time of my fourth plate of pancakes and a second glass of warm milk with sweetened honey and ground cinnamon, come thee noble monarch, Fafner, and his queen, Pandra. (It feels so nice to be full right now). Together they radiate power and elegance that is ingrained into their nature from the time they were my age. They both wear plum colored clothing, Lord Fafner in an extravagant suit and Lady Pandra in a flowing dress. Today Lady has her hair pulled into a tight bun, Lord Fafner has his sleek black hair combed back.

In accordance they sit down, Lord Fafner at the head of head of the table, and Lady Pandra taking the seat next to him. Again the lady that had been in my room has come, this time offering the lord and lady crystalline chalices filled with muddy colored liquid, their like the ones that Nathair and Phineas have, but much more elaborate. With one swift movement Lord Fafner grabs at a plate of pancakes and a cheese omelet. Lady Pandra prefers buttered toast with fried eggs topping them.

I stare at my plate, something drops in my stomach. Their gazes tears straight through me. My hand touches one of my empty plates, I pull it slightly towards me. “Ms. Kaida,” Lord Fafner calls, his voice is very harsh. Accidentally I drop the fork onto the plate, a loud clattering sound echoes through the dining hall. “Have you been trying to transform lately?”

“Not as much as I’d like to, sir,” my voice is shaking heavily. Nathair places a hand over mine, my skin pricking with what feels like a small flame. “I’ve had reoccurring nightmares about a memory when my chaperon left me to help her grandson transform, calling me revolting things as she went. It makes things much more difficult.”

Soft footsteps comes towards me, a shiver clawing each separate vertebrates, one at a time. A calloused hand slaps onto my back, it grabs the gruff of my neck. It pulls upwards, I am forced with it. There Lord Fafner has a calculated look on his face, his rock hard brown eyes stare right back into mine, unblinking.

A moment passes between us, then he lets me go, backing away. Lady Pandra awaits his response, a calm mask plastered on her face and brilliant green eyes. I take a jittery breath, Phineas looking particularly absorbed at the moment.

“You are telling the truth,” he rejoins the table, taking a moment to drink from his goblet. “But that simply doesn’t solve the problem. So I suggest you get working on it. My tolerance is thinning.”

 

 

Nathair and I walk down the glittering stone pathway by a gurgling stream, feeding into a vast lake. Our shoes abandoned many acres ago, along with the problems back at the castle. The air is fresh and revitalizing to each breath I take, something I’ve missed so much, after barricading myself for almost two years. And verdant grass tickles both around and between my toes.

I’ve never felt so alive and harmonized with myself.

Without thinking much I ask, “Why do you changes clothes so often during the day?” I point out the casual clothing consisting of shorts and a t-shirt that Nathair’s wearing. “It’s not like you do any heavy lifting or extraneous things.”

He responds with both his cheeks burning a deep red, and he shakes his head. I don’t press any farther. I don’t want Nathair against me, too. Then I wouldn’t have anyone on this island except an over sympathetic Aunt Libelle to be on my side, to just listen to me. Or to feel safe and just to talk with someone like equals.

As silence falls we reach an aged willow tree that skyrockets to the clouds. It’s long branches shade us from the astringent sun, providing a cooler climate for our sun ravaged skin. Strangely this tree is a little bit separate from the others, as though out of place. Even the other trees are not oaks, but younger apple trees that bear large red fruit once every six weeks.

Together we sit down at the trunk and rest against the roughened and chipped up bark. I can feel the tree’s life force ebbing away. Four hundred years of it. Poor thing.

“What’s wrong Kaida? Your tense.”

I turn to face the tree, surrounding it is a pale green aura, fading light. In a small voice I reply, “In a way you are like me, powerless. I wish I could help you. But I’m virtually useless at this point.”

From behind I feel Nathair’s hand planting itself firmly on my right shoulder blade. He forcibly pushes on it, causing intense pain to shoot up my shoulder and neck. I give a loud yelp as the pain turns into a different feeling. Something more like a torrid flame if anything else. Ripping through my body, causing it to overheat I feel like I’m being stretched out.

“What’s … happening to me,” my voice is wheezy. All of the air in my lungs has turned to concrete, I heave for breath. “It feels as though my bodies is burning out. Soon I’ll be nothing but ash and a burnt up dress.”

“It’s all part of the process,” Nathair stands up and moves ten feet from me. “Soon no one will be able to ridicule you, Kaida. Just please bear with it for now. It won’t hurt for much longer.”

I stare right at his eyes, they are not their usual emerald, but glowing somewhere in between a bright red and gold. I’ve only seen something like this once, when my mom and dad stared at each other with affection. It’s the mark of finding the more animalistic kind of love, a mate. My eyes might be tricking me, but Nathair’s form becomes indistinct, broadening and elongates. What has been skin has now been turned into liquid silver scales that glints in the sunlight. And strong leather wings flap up and down, gaining the wind with ease. Remnants of what used to be his clothes stir on the ground from the air, each fiber stretched out to its max.

Somehow even through the pain I feel like all of my worries evaporate while gazing into the beasts eyes. I mean it’s still Nathair underneath the scales, leather wings, and fangs, right? It’s what I’ve been told since birth, that even though a draki lost their human appearance they don’t loose their personality and humanity. Though it’s a pity if it’s their prejudice or narrow-mindedness, it’s not something lost.

Standing on my feet I stagger towards him, heart thrashing wildly. I feel the transformation clearly, or at least what I think it is. My bones painfully extending, vision becoming more precise, skin roughening into scales, wings growing awfully close to my shoulder blades, and my insides churning wildly. And all the while a female howling guttural voices clearly pronounces the pain I’m currently feeling. I flap silky, yet weakened, gossamer wings that carry the colors of the rainbow. The air easily picks me up far above the trees, they become nothing but pinpricks. Now the pain has spread to my wings, they falter slightly.

Through the pain I am acutely aware of my surroundings. From the life forces of all of the living things, to living forces that are ebbing away fairly quickly. A wave of green aura radiate off of me, causing those that are ebbing away to gain life force, and the will to live again. Down below I sense the presence of both my parents and Nathair’s parents running towards Nathair, astonished looks molded onto their faces.

The pain eventually starts degenerating, Nathair gracefully flies to my level. He circles around me, his horizontal slit eyes scanning me for something. His eyes are glowing much more pronounced now. With a much deeper growl I can hear him say, “Come back down. We still have one thing left to do.” I take his orders without question, my paws gently touching the soft soil. Nathair, whom followed me down, stands right in front of me. Eyes emitting white circular lights, they are so… tempting to look at. I can’t even move anymore.

Cautiously Nathair steps towards me, mouth opened wide, revealing sharpened teeth. He gently wraps his head around my elongated neck, cold air pouring his large nostrils. I lower my head to his level, deep purring emanates from my throat. My heartbeat becomes much calmer, breathing a steady rhythm. Together we collapse onto the grass, Nathair’s wing closet to me wraps around my entire body. He repeats over and over again, like he’s still taking it in, “You’ve finally transformed, you did. And you are my mate, just as I thought.”

Buzzing all around me are the people that once criticized me for being-unlike them. They all gathered around me as Nathair and I sluggishly inherited our human forms. All that’s left for me is the perpetual fatigue bathing in my veins. I wonder if my dragon form has a different form of blood, or if it’s regular human blood. I’m not thinking too hard, my brain is constantly gaining and losing consciousness.

They all talk in civilized tones, saying things like canceling prearrangement, and making some new ones. I have no idea what they could be talking about. Maybe its some plan for a future conference with the other draki prides that should be coming up soon anyone, just after the changing of seasons. Or maybe it has something to do with a party for Nathair for finally finding his forever and always.

Nathair wraps an arm around my shoulders, pulling me close. His skin is warm and supple, I rest my head on his shoulder. All I care about right now is the life force around me and that I have finally transformed. Nathair states, “See, I told you she would transform. She just needed the proper encouragement, not scoldings.” Before I can even grasp anymore Nathair’s pulse sends me back into the realm of unconsciousness. My thoughts a blur.

 

 

Again I wake up in a white marbled room. Though this time I lay in a colossal corner bathtub filled to the brim with vanilla scented bubbles, at my neck. Underneath is water at the perfect temperature, warm. Right behind me I can hear Mom’s voice talking to someone else, “She’s finally awake, my adorable little dragon.” Her tone sounds like cooing, as though comforting a young child. I simply stare at the blank ceiling, wondering if this is reality. I’m not so sure, I must have hit my head on something and simply fell asleep, that’s it. But how can I feel finger softly massaging white foam shampoo that smells like a fresh floral bouquet? Or how can I feel the water against my skin? And how can I see the ceiling so clearly?

“That’s good,” Lady Pandra’s voice echoes off of the walls. “We need to get her ready. Fafner is already getting considerably irritated.”

Before I even have time to fully grasp that information warm water is poured onto my head, the shampoo leaving in a white trail. This occurs several more times. I am now being grabbed by the wrists and pulled onto my feet. The three of us head into what looks like the exact same room I was in before, down to the same boysenberry curtains. Mom pulls out a couple of towels from the closet while Lady Pandra leaves the room, coming back with an invaluable floor length dark violet princess style dress, four amethyst colored gems set into the waist.

Collectively they dress me like an infant or a creepy baby doll (their eyes are always watching) and pull my hair back into a tight ponytail. Across from me I look into the mirror, and I am utterly astounded. There stands a girl I have never seen before. She exerts the same kind of elegance and calm as does the royal family. Her hazel eyes are tame, mixing and showing a dark gold color. And where her heart should be there is an actual heart. What could have possibly happened?

Mom and Lady Pandra yank me through the castle and into a grand living room with velvet couches covering silk rugs. Another diamond chandelier looms above us all, still held by a thickened cord. Both Dad and Lord Fafner are silently waiting on two separate couches, waiting.

Dad turns from staring at a wall with pieces of fine art to look straight at me, his lips curling into a smile. “Kaida,” he states, his voice tranquil and clear, similar to a free flowing river. “Come here.”

I hesitate, for roughly the past two years every time Dad said that he would yell at me. His voice is much softer, and his gaze lacks any anger, instead having affection. So I carefully make my way to him, my whole body shaking. He holds out his arms, pulling me into them. I am allowed to sit on his lap, resting my head on his chest. I am allowed to act like a small child. Be held by him, and having a hand stroking my back. I feel soft lips brushing against my forehead. Deep within my head I deny any of what’s going on. Dad can’t have changed so rapidly since I was last awake, right?

“Looks like you paternal instincts have returned, Draco,” Lord Fafner states. “I guess you have desired to cherish and a shield a child once again. Most parents that have a situation similar to this it takes them at least a month to be affectionate to the child again.”

“I guess so, Fafner,” Dad pulls me closer to him, his warmth heating up my otherwise chilled body. “Though I didn’t even try to beat the draki genes, which I should have done. I feel regretful for that, since there could have been much better results.

Mom takes a seat next to Dad, being very close to him, her hand softly grazes my cheek. “I wouldn’t say that I ever stopped loving Kaida,” her voice is almost a whisper. “I say I had been more disappointed, maybe even a little angry at myself, for bearing and raising a child that couldn’t transform. Maybe I should have been a much better mother, maybe that would have helped significantly. Every morning for almost two years I remembered why I fell in love with Kaida in the first place.”

Lady Pandra’s eye brows furrow, a confused look spread across her sharp features. “Why did you fall in love with Kaida when she was born? She had been born out of nowhere, and she had no twin of her own. I wouldn’t have made the same decision of keeping her, if it were up to me.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t have,” Mom begins, taking a long shaky breath, “if not for the circumstances that she had been in.”

Mom stopped, her eyes staring at the wall across from her, looking for the right words. I find myself fervently awaiting for her to continue. Dad takes Mom’s hand, squeezing it gently, a loving look in his eyes. The corners of Mom’s lips lower into a resting face, her eyes blank, as though she’s in some other dimension than here. I find myself almost asking, but Dad shushes me, telling me to be patient.

“I haven’t told this story before, so bear with me,” her voice is misty, though her eyes are concentrated again. “When Kaida was in her little incubator after being born, the nurse claimed that she hadn’t moved for two hours and was barely breathing. So I asked to see her, I did, and the nurse was telling the truth. Kaida was as still as rock, and her skin was tinted a dark blue. I felt so bad for her, so I picked her up and held her close, then she started moving again and cried after what had been seconds. The rest of it was history, and ever since then I had been crazy about her, even it’s just a little.”

Mom brings her gaze back to me, cupping her hands to my face. Her lips softly touch my head, staying there for a few moments. Then she rests her head on Dad’s shoulder, eyes closing, making her face look almost like a child. Who could have known this is why they didn’t get rid of me, because of some slight chance of something happening to me? And she did love me slightly, always giving me burnt treats, giving the best pieces to my two older brothers.

Lady Pandra finally takes a seat next to Lord Fafner, he wraps an around her shoulders. Nathair runs in a moment later, a sizable box wrapped in pink wrapping paper and a pink lace bow in hand. He walks towards me and drops the box on my lap. I stare at him, he replies with an encouraging look. He wants me to open the box. So I pinch the ribbon and pull all the way put, it all gives out at once, preventing any messes. It reveals two boxes, one is a ring box and the other a golden gilded jewelry box. My fingers brush against the smaller box, then wrapping around it. I open this box and it loudly snaps open, revealing a pure lustrous gold ring, a large ruby set on top. Nathair grabs the ring with one hand and my right hand with the other. With one fluid movement he slides the ring easily onto my finger as though he has practiced hundreds of times before, the cold metal bites my warmer skin. He whispers something like, “Welcome to the Family, Kaida. I will make sure you are treated admirably.”

“You are old fashioned Nathair,” I feel my cheeks filling with emotional fire. What else can I say other than I might squeal like a little girl. Nathair pulls his hand back, obviously embarrassed. A sheepish smirk forms on his face. “Besides you know how to do it like a gentleman. But do you realize how many people would like to steal something like this from me, a what, four carat pure gold ring? I knew quite a few girls that would blithely steal it right in front of me.”

Nathair rolls his eyes and takes the jewelry box and thrusts it at me. More ribbon and wrapping paper, I don’t even deserve any of this, ugh. “The ring is actually eight carats. They would have to go through my father or I to get it. And you have your own means of protecting yourself along with the ring if you so desire.”

Taking a big breath I pull the lid open. There are two different necklaces. One is a string of tolerable size of pearls with a tiny clamp. (I don’t know if I can put it on without Mom’s help). The other is a golden necklace with a heart shaped ruby the size of my fist. (I don’t have small hands either).

For a moment I sit still, stunned and numbed. Thoughts of possible explanations to why all of these things are happening race across my mind. Because this isn’t reality, it’s a dream. It has to be. Seeing as in real life no one would trust me enough to give me invaluable pieces of jewelry. Much less people giving me any attention that isn’t negative.

Somewhere in my brain there is something being said in what appears to be Nathair’s voice. This isn’t a dream, Kaida. I know you want to believe it, and you have all the rights to think it is. But it’s not, this is your new reality.

Internally I fire back with all that I can, which is not much since I’m not so sure what to call all of this. Then prove it Nathair. My life has been miserable for almost two years. Why would it change all of a sudden? It wouldn’t, that’s what.

I look deeply into his eyes, they are pleading for me to understand. Looking around and feeling the couch underneath I finally give in. All of this can’t be a dream. Dreams can’t realize dreams without faltering. Nor does it accurately portray real life without being altered in the slightest. Nathair is right. Before I can talk, Lord Fafner asks, “Draco, when is Kaida’s birthday?”

“Kaida’s birthday is on the changing of the seasons, Fafner.”

“Then we shall prepare a feast meant for true royalty on her birthday,” Lord Fafner begins, “and we shall find a reasonable date where we can determine what kind of draki Kaida is.”

Nathair, through his thoughts, makes snide comments here and there about his father. I almost wonder why he doesn’t say these out loud, or how he even thinks about his own father like this. He’s been taught great manners from the best teachers and his own parents have rules about being polite that have been ingrained in him since birth. Though I guess he’s shrewd enough to understand his father’s faults. Learning from his father’s mistakes, making notes for when he takes over the thrown one day.

I hear his mind buzzing with thoughts that I don’t dare dive into, most of them are insults I’m willing to ignore. Now he has to cancel the ‘lethal punishment’. He would have not made out of this if you weren’t my mate. And I’m pretty sure that you can just call my parents ‘Fafner and Pandra’ since one day you will integrated into my family.

Well, Nathair, I call your parents ‘Lord and Lady’ out of respect for their noble titles. Now please stop making a big deal out of it.”

 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...