“Sometimes things are hidden
in the most obvious of places,”
Arajuan to Anika
“Get up, get up,” a woman’s voice rang out, “Breakfast is ready.”
Anika dragged herself from the bed. On the foot of her bed was a new dress, a lovely medieval elven styled gown. It was black with red lace trim along the sleeves and hem. The skirt was black except the middle; it was red like the lace. Beside the dress was a small tiara with a bright red gem in the center. She was certain it was a ruby.
She washed again in the washbasin and slipped from her silk nightclothes into the beautiful garment. The sleeves flowed down her arms to the tip of her long middle finger. The skirt just touched the ground around her feet. She placed the tiara on her head. The black corset top squeezed her into an hourglass. She tied a red sash with a money pouch attached around her waist. For the first time in her life, she looked feminine and royal. She slipped on a pair of shoes she found at the foot of the bed. They were black strapped sandals that looked elegant with the dress.
“The eyes are the quickest to deceive a man.
This is why I am glad to be blind.
There are no deceptions.”
Arajuan to Tarnink
Anika lay in her tent and stared at the ceiling. She was restless and found it difficult to get to sleep. She sat there with thoughts of home and Atron Reu. He always had made her laugh, and she missed him. The boy often got himself into trouble with the other elves. He had a habit of escaping the village, which caused her to drag him back. If he were to do that now, without her, Arajuan might find him. She despised having to deal with Arajuan’s cruel way of taunting her mind.
Anika felt uneasy about Atron, that he was unhappy without her. She hoped she was wrong as she already worried enough. Whatever the child did she wanted him to stay safe. The Aldarian Army hunted half-dragons now even more than dragons were. Thinking of dragons
“It was a vast burning field
where no flowers grew
blood covered the embers
where no bodies were strewn
Who could do this to a land
that committed no crime
a place that had peace
In a time before time”
the devastation Arajuan
caused through out
That morning Anika awoke as the sun peeked into her tent. With the darkness gone the sun beamed the brightest she had ever seen. Only a slight trace of sulfur was on the wind much to her relief. She sat up, her stomach had a dull ache, but her legs healed except for scars on the back of them. Her shoulder where Arajuan gripped her had no wound at all. She had fallen asleep in her travel armor, so she did not need to dress. She left her tent, found Tarnink was already up and had prepared a fire.
Tarnink pulled out a pack of food and handed it to her. She tried to eat but her stomach felt numb. The food just sat and rotted. She tossed the food away from her in frustration.
“Arajuan, that vile beast, he is trying to starve me to death,” she exclaimed.
I love when things are complicated.”
Koraki to Anika
Arajuan did not have the luxury to stop. A tight schedule meant he had to push on. He could still smell her blood on him, feel her heartbeat against him. His own heart pounded against his ribcage. He knew this feeling, a roar in his chest from a time before he was Arajuan. She was the lady of shadows; how could he do this to her?
Arajuan had to shake this off, aloof, wicked, heartless. This is war, the price of war is death. He would laugh but it was not funny. The men followed him, orcs were the core group, from the same tribe Tsuke and Tuk hailed. The others were victims of towns he decimated. He relished in their fear when new towns he conquered saw his necromantic arts. It was a delight when they knew they bound their fate to him.
The war drums played as they marched. Socrates landed on his shoulder. He knew his master better than anyone; they were bonded as brothers. Socrates sensed Arajuan’s troubled heart.
“The girl, was she the wyrmling?” Socrates asked
“How many fear the dark only
to find there is little to fear”
-The Bird-Child Socrates
As the shadowy mist faded away, a foreboding man with charred brittle skin appeared. In the cracks, there glowed what appeared to be red-hot lava. His eyes were embers as he glared at them. Anika regained her bearings, Tarnink behind her, sword drawn. A small troop of twisted men circled them.
Anika found herself faced with this monstrosity. His eyes glowed so hot that his stare burned into her. He was blind, yet Anika felt he could sense her that he was looking at her.
The scar he had on his left eye glowed the brightest red and cut deeper than the other cracks of his flesh. Strapped to his right side he carried a sword, and in his right hand a long spear. His long feathery black hair blended in with the darkness of the forest. He wore a battered
By Damien Knight
The dawn of the morning light
Peeks through my window clear.
I dreamt through the night
Vivid dreams of war my dear.
I wake throat sore body shaken
Aniya! If I could cry out
Where are you, am I mistaken?
The bodies strewn about
But I have never been to war
Not this life time anyway.
Yet I awake cold and unsure
If my mind is clear to face day
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“If you fail, I will deliver
the most severe of punishments.
Pain and suffering will be your only friend.”
Gori to Arajuan
The warm sun could not cheer Arajuan’s defeat and losing the twins would cause him even greater pain. He had taken a full troop of men but now he had enough left for one platoon. As they marched towards Lenagard, he halted the men and sniffed the morning air. Mika, she must be taking the hatchling.
“Into cover now, we don’t have the men to fight another dragon!” He ordered.