To Protect and Serve Ch. 12byEvil Alpaca©
Proofread by FernieLyn
This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.
The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between these character and events and any real person or events is strictly coincidental . . . and pretty darn impressive seeing as it is a science fiction story. Do not reproduce or copy this story without the consent of the author.
This story is based in an alternative universe, where history took a different course than the one we are used to. In this world, the creatures which we now believe to be legends have walked alongside man for the duration of our existence. Vampires, werewolves, wizards, witches, sorcerers, and a host of other beings share our world.
The following story contains, in one chapter or another, lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual, anal, group, sci-fi/fantasy, non-human, and BDSM sexual activity. There may be some erotic horror in there somewhere as well, but I haven't made up my mind.
Shamira had one clawed foot on the back of one dragon, trying to keep it still while she kept her eyes on the enormous above-ground pool that had been constructed nearby. Periodically, a little head, and by "little" she meant the size of a bowling ball, popped up shyly out of the water, looked around, the dove under the surface again. There were a lot of strange people in the barn, as well as two larger dragons and a large number of Lesser Dragons. Shamira had the sinking feeling that she would never have free time again.
The new addition that had hatched turned out to be another male. He was also a Sea Serpent, which was a type of Moon Dragon. Archimedes had identified it quickly based on some old pictures and they had quickly gotten it to the pond while the pool was being built. The Sea Serpents could breathe above and below the surface and could live in both salt and fresh water. And they could apparently get big. Really big.
According to legends, six hundred feet was not unthinkable, and Archimedes claimed that their heads could easily be the size of a double-decker bus. They had no wings and had only a front pair of arms, but their tails were broad and ideal for swimming. Supposedly some Norsemen had once found the skull of such a creature which had given birth to the legend of the Midgard Serpent, a beast that supposedly encircled the world.
'We're going to need a bigger pool,' Shamira thought tiredly as the newcomer poked his head up again, touched her nose, then went swimming. The other dragon, a Thorn-Tail Sun Dragon, kept trying to see what his new little brother looked like, smelled like, and was doing. Shamira began to wonder how her sister managed to corral both nephews.
'Maybe I should call her,' she pondered. She had not broken the news to her sibling that she was walking again, much less that she had become a dragon. Samantha was in the final stages of a divorce, and Shamira did not want to distract her.
"How's he doing?" Clara whispered from nearby.
*I'm not sure. His mind is a jumble of images and everything. He's confused. I'm not who I'm supposed to be, but he still trusts me. *
"He wants his mommy," Clara said, feeling a twinge of maternal sympathy.
"Or father," Archimedes said as he stepped up. "Like many species of birds, dragons shared nesting duties between males and females."
Shamira glanced down and saw Alessandra talking with two other newcomers at the other end of the pool, both recently arrived members of the Tribunal. One was an elf so amazingly handsome that he made Daniel, the creature that had tortured Shamira, look like a hideous hunchback by comparison. The other man was a lycanthrope, or rather was THE lycanthrope. The bushy-bearded mountain of a man was the most alpha were on the planet, hence his place on the Tribunal. He could reduce other weres to quivering messes just by staring at them, with the present exceptions of Clyde Pritchard and Travis McNeil.
Shmira realized how powerful of a friend the former must be, and how great of a catch as an employee in the latter. Both members of the Tribunal had brought retinues of bodyguards with them which, combined with Alessandra's group as well as Shane's household and security detail, made the farm a very crowded place.
"Sorry we're late," Kira said as she and Arthur hurried over. "Finding a place to park was a beast. I've never seen so many . . . hey, there's the little guy!" she cooed as the baby Sea Serpent poked its head up and made a happy chortling sound. It worshipped Shamira, but these two pink pale things smelled like her and were a tad less intimidating. It did not help that Kira had been feeding it sardines on and off for the last twenty-four hours since its birth. They had just run back down to their apartment to change before coming back.
The young Thorn-Tail started sniffing around Kira, trying to get at some of the fish. Arthur wound up tossing him a few, making the male half of the couple the dragon's new favorite person.
Shamira looked around and located Katar, asking him to come over. * Are you sure that you and yours don't mind looking after the children for a bit? I'd really rather be human for this meeting. *
* Absolutely, * he replied. * The new young -- *
* That's it. I'm going to come up with names for both of them by tomorrow, * Shamira thought irritably.
* As you wish. As I was attempting to communicate, we can help, though none of us are particularly good swimmers. I might recommend contacting the merfolk though. They can communicate as we can and could help acclimate the Sea Serpent to ocean life. They have a representative on the Tribunal as well. *
* Do you have a representative?
Katar looked away, and for a moment Shamira could sense resentment. * No. We have never been powerful enough. *
Shamira was not sure why, but she thought that unfair. * You will. *
Katar and several of the Lesser Dragons looked up at her. They seemed to have a conversation amongst themselves, then a couple jumped into the pool and started playing with the Sea Serpent. * We have come a great distance to help you. Do not toy with us now. *
Shamira shifted back into human form. "I'm not toying." She let Clara slip a robe over her body as the meeting got underway.
"Well, now that everyone is present and accounted for, we will begin," the mega-lycanthrope began. He was simply referred to as Alpha, which in his case was not actually pretentious. Renata, who was standing at Shane's side, looked almost awestruck. The guy gave off serious pheromones. He had an accent that was hard to place, but he probably came from Eastern Europe.
Alessandra stepped forward. "This is a momentous time in our world. The Unveiling is coming closer, a revolution has been thwarted, and the Greater Dragons have begun their return. Even now, Shadow Wing stands among us."
Everyone looked at Shamira for a moment. She waved somewhat awkwardly at everyone. "Hey."
The Representative smiled. "The Tribunal wants it to be known that Lord Stapleton and Shamira have their full support during this time of transition."
'Huh,' Shamira thought. 'Since when do I rate being at the same level as Shane?' "Has there been any word on Jonas or where that portal leads to?" she asked. "That's kind of the Christmas present I'm hoping for. Him with a nice red bow on."
The elvish member of the Tribunal, known only as the Shepherd, cocked an eyebrow, filling Shamira with envy, as well as wondering if that ability was a criteria for getting on the damn Tribunal.
"Do you still see the one known as Jonas as being a threat?" the elf asked with a strong yet lyrical voice.
"He allowed a member of my House to be tortured and participated in the morning star trade," Shane said. "He betrayed his lord, offended me, offended a member of the Tribunal," he added, pointing towards Alessandra, "and sought to enslave the Greater Dragons at their birth for some nefarious purpose. If we are to go public, then those like Jonas must be eliminated."
"His days are numbered," the Alpha replied. "I will be calling for a Wild Hunt. The weres will run him to ground and finish him."
There was a lull in conversation. The Wild Hunt was a serious matter, meaning that those who committed to it would not rest until the quarry was captured. And it appeared the Alpha would lead it. The Alpha was actually a werewolf, so the desire to hunt was strong in his blood. Several of Shane's weres looked at him, waiting for a sign. When he nodded, all of the weres of Shane's house, with the exception of Travis McNeil and Sebastian, stepped forward.
Renata, Bengaly, Kira, Raul, Monique, Valeska, and Barbara would take up the call. Travis took a position to Shane's left while Sebastian stood at the right. The bear and the spider would guard their lord, along with their vampire brethren. Clyde Pritchard looked like he was aching to step forward along with many of his men, but a lord could not abandon his land.
The Representative looked solemn as she took the floor again. "The Tribunal acknowledges and blesses this Wild Hunt. The life of the traitor Jonas is forfeit in our eyes."
"Once they start, they'll keep picking up more weres as the Hunt goes on," Clara whispered in Shamira's ear. I've heard that the Hunt can be measured in the thousands by the time it's done. It just depends on how long until they catch him."
"Do they even know where to start looking?"
"I'm sure they'll think of something."
"Is Shane going to be in trouble keeping the peace?" Shamira asked worriedly. "I mean he's losing so many --"
"I'll be fine," Shane interjected, approaching while the Hunt gathered up more members from the audience. "The Shepherd and the Representative are both here with their entire contingents of bodyguards. And I'll be creating more vampires soon. Speaking of which, I would like to discuss the matter we were talking about earlier."
Shamira so very much did not want to discuss attempting to create her own vampires, so she was almost relieved when the Shepherd walked over.
"Might I have a word with Shadow Wing in private?" he directed to Shane.
"Absolutely," Shane replied with a slight bow. "Though I humbly suggest calling her Shamira, otherwise her attention might wander because she forgets you're talking to her."
"Once," Shamira mumbled. "I only did that once."
"Lady Shamira," the Shepherd started, "I feel I owe you an apology of sorts."
"Apology? I didn't know you'd pissed me off, and I usually try to keep track of those things. Usually it's Shane." She noticed that the corners of the Shepherd's mouth quirked just a little.
"We all discussed the matter of your recent incarceration," he replied. "It seems that your sole encounter with my people was not exactly an endearing one."
Shamira felt a little chill in the deepest parts of her mind. "I spend a lot of time trying not to think about it."
"And I am remiss again at bringing it up. My greatest regret, besides what you endured, was that the elf responsible did not face our justice. I assure you that we are not a barbaric race."
"Hey, Jonas and Lacroix were both assholes, but it's not like I hate all vampires." She clapped him on the shoulder. "So no hard . . . what the fuck?!" All of Shepherd's bodyguards had surged forward while Shamira took a step back. "Lay off! I wasn't --"
"No one lays a hand on the Shepherd!" on guard shouted, moving between the two with a gun drawn.
"Shamira!" came a shout from behind her. It was Arthur, and he sounded really nervous. "Baby's awake!"
Shamira's stress had apparently gotten through to the Thorn-Tail, who had awoken scared and angry and prepared to defend his nest. The Lesser Dragons swarmed around it, slowing it down a little but not looking too thrilled about it. One of the guards raised his weapon, and Shamira's protective instincts kicked in.
She didn't even bother removing her robe before she began to shift forms, placing a full sized Moon Dragon right in the middle of the upcoming squabble. All elvish guns were pointed upward, all the dragons looked genuinely pissed off and agitated, the weres were trying to figure out what was going on, and the Shepherd was plastered against Shamira's scaly chest.
"STOP!" the Alpha yelled at the top of his enormous voice, then let out a long, bone-chilling howl. He stepped into the fray, shoving guards and dragons and just about everything else out of his path . . . until he came face-to-snout with Shamira. Neither was about to back down, much to the Alpha's credit, considering he was outweighed by several tons by an opponent who could breathe fire.
"That --"the Shepherd sighed, "-- was not how I pictured that conversation going."
"Shamira, what happened," Shane asked. He left out "this time" and "What did you do?" which Shamira appreciated. She was pretty sure that this was NOT her fault.
"Lady Shamira placed her hand on me without letting me know in advance. My bodyguard reacted."
Shane shook his head, containing a shit-eating grin. Shamira really did not mean to do these things. "Shamira, you never lay your hand on a member of the Tribunal unless you are ALSO on the Tribunal or unless he or she has granted you permission."
* Well hell, how was I supposed to know that? He just walked over and talked to me! *
"Everyone, lower your weapons!" the Alpha growled.
The Shepherd turned around and nodded to his people while Shamira sent a mental command to the dragons. Even the little Sea Serpent was poking its head out of the pool and looking vexed.
The first guard to have pulled its gun was making evil eyes at Katar, probably because he knew he was not going to stare down Shamira. "Lesser Dragons finally grow some backbone now that the big ones are back," he mumbled.
Shamira ducked her head and glared at him. * They are smaller, but not lesser, * she sent, her thoughts as cold as deep snow.
"That will be enough," the Shepherd said, his look letting the guard know that he was in for a world of punishment later.
Shamira gave a mental sigh. * I apologize for the transgression, * she projected. * I meant no offense. As Lord Stapleton can attest to, I am not exactly up on all the rituals and protocols. * She had to pause while Shane covered his mouth and coughed an agreement into his hand.
"I try not to take offense where none is meant, and I would be hard-pressed NOT to call the inheritor of the power of Shadow Wing an equal to any on the Tribunal." He looked straight up at her. "Actually, if you don't mind --" he started, reaching his hands forward. Shamira settled onto the ground and he placed a hand on his scales, and his eyes filled with a wonder she would not have expected. Several of the elves did the same.
"Magnificent," the Shepherd murmured, then bowed and walked back to the Alpha and the Representative.
Shamira shifted back. "What the hell was that about?" Shamira asked as Shane handed her another robe. Shane shrugged, but Archimedes had something to say on the matter.
"Many of us have been alive a long time," he explained, walking beside her as she led the Thorn-Tail back to the nest and then went to check on the Sea Serpent. "Once you have lived for a thousand years or so, you begin to run out of things that surprise you. For some of the more long-lived members of the Tribunal, the magic of simply existing has waned. You," he said, placing a friendly hand on her muscular shoulder, "are a wondrous creature."
"I could have told them that," Clara said, kissed her girlfriend on the cheek. She handed Shamira a cell phone. "By the way, your sister called."
An hour later . . .
"Well, looks like I'm getting a visit," Shamira said after finally getting off the phone with her sister Samantha. Apparently being able to walk again and turn into a dragon was kind of a big deal. Who knew? She looked over at Kira and Arthur Blanks. "You guys gonna be available to babysit a while this weekend?"
Kira was tossing bits of beef jerky to the Thorn-Tail while Arthur was sitting on the deck of the pool watching the Sea Serpent swim underneath. "Yeah," he said. "I think we can manage."
"Katar, do you and yours have to be heading back to South America at some point? I hate the idea of just keeping you here indefinitely if you've got things needed doing."
* The entire flock is here, and this is a momentous time. * Katar directed his next thought so that only Shamira could receive it. * We heard what you said to the elf. We will remember you for defending us and speaking of us as being other than a servant race. *
"I've noticed that friends are a lot more likely to bail my ass out of a problem than people who've gotten stepped on. Just a thought."
Shane waved her over to where he, his household, and the members of the Tribunal had gathered again. The elvish bodyguards were noticeably absent.
"Just a few more things to discuss," Shane said, walking in the circle. "First, I have decided what to do about the territory around Savannah. Currently, we are the controlling authority, and are faced with several possibilities for bringing law to the lawless."
"Either I could expand my direct control southward, get Lord Mayla of Jacksonville to expand northward, or the Tribunal has given me permission to install a regional sheriff who will technically be under me but will act with more independence than one of my enforcers. I have decided to enact this third option." He stopped in front of Banshee. "And I have chosen my oldest child to take that post."
Banshee's face shot up and her eyes opened. She was a difficult woman to surprise, but Shane had just done it in spades. "What? My Lord Stapleton, surely --"
"Banshee, I know that you have doubted your leadership ability since what happened to Shamira, but that woman," he said with a smile and a wave in Shamira's direction, "has shown that even the wisest leader can make mistakes in dealing with those under the care. You are less than a decade away from full vampire status anyway, and it is a natural progression of power."
"Lacroix and Jonas were lax in their duties while they pursued their own aims of conquest, leaving their lands in chaos. I want order, and the Tribunal has demanded it. Already word has spread of the vengeance you wrought in the name of this household, though few if any know exactly why. You can keep the peace," he continued lovingly, "better than anyone else I can think of."
"But --" Banshee looked around, clearly embarrassed and confused, "I do not wish to leave. I serve you."
"And I ask you serve me now by taking up this task and relieving me of the burden. You would be granted your own house to build as you see fit. Since the Representative's bodyguard will be at my disposal for a time, I shall lend you some of your brothers and sisters to aid you until you can create fledglings of your own. You will be given a stipend to hire on additional weres or any other races that you feel necessary." He placed a hand on her shoulder, then wiped a single bloody tear from her eye. "Don't look at this as breaking up the house, but rather as building an addition. I would not ask this of you if I did not feel you would do me proud."
Banshee stood as tall as she could. "I will not dishonor you by doing any less than my best."
"I have a request for you. With the recent addition of a Sea Serpent to look after you, I would request that Shamira travel with you and that you accept her as part of your security team." He looked at Shamira again. "I did not mean to spring this on you nor does it indicate any unhappiness. But that new dragon --"