Onyx Dreams Ch. 28bykitazkitten©
In the darkness of the night, the quiet swoop of thick leathery wings was all that penetrated the air. The dragons were lining up behind Katherine in formation, she seemed to have a purpose now, heading toward the main village. With a nod Cyrus nudged Kaie with his knees to speed up to them. With a calm, yet dangerous tone he mentally sent a message to the other riders, instructing them to take the villages hostage anyway. He knew Erykia would have some sort of trick up her sleeve. Hostages always made things go smoother, if she tried anything he would incinerate her beloved people and turn this land to a barren wasteland.
As the riders split formation, Kaie appeared beside Julian, her rider's head turning to look at Katherine. "Well, well, it looks like you can do something correctly after all Katherine."
"I am glad I am able to please you in this small matter, my lord," Katherine replied calmly. She was keeping her mind completely empty so as not to give anyone access to her innermost thoughts. This was crucial. She couldn't warn Erykia and so things were just going to have to play out.
"Good, after this we will have a little chat about why you landed in an empty clearing. I somewhat doubt it was to go to the bathroom." Kaie swung to the right as he finished, gliding away from Julian and circling around the village below. Cyrus's eyes glared daggers at the form of his target below: the High Priestess Erykia.
~He knows~ Julian hissed so quietly that their mental link barely registered the comment. Katherine said nothing to reassure her dragon. She had to stay in her role or risk dying. Something she was not in the mood to do.
Below in the village, Erykia felt rather than saw the approaching dragons. Let them come, she thought. She was ready.
A smirk crossed Cyrus's face. He sent a suggestion to Kaie, just audible to be heard by Katherine. ~Let's strike some fear in this old witch. torch the ring of houses around her. a little destruction tends to go a long way.~
Kaie nodded and with a deep breath, let out a long belch of flame, encircling Erykia in its scorching power. After a moment Kaie's great black body landed with a dull thud that shook the ground. With a gleeful cackle, some of the nearest riders began flaming houses, the roar of the attacking dragons mingling with the screams of the fleeing villagers.
Erykia frowned and then looked behind her. "Rhys! Get your butt over here now! We have dragons to discipline," she demanded coolly.
A low chuckle interrupted her as Cyrus and Kaie came toward her. He spoke in a loud menacing, yet playful tone. "Ah Erykia. If your lapdog takes one step all five villages will be turned to ash in seconds. Not even you can save all five. Especially with me in the way." He slowly wandered over to her, as if he did not even see her as a threat. "We have a little business to attend to...witch."
"You always were an arrogant one. So full of yourself. Your arrogance will be your undoing." Erykia stood resolute, eyes on Cyrus.
"So you have said many times, yet here I stand, with you at my mercy. Here is the bargain, witch. You get to play messenger for me to that gullible little child Brenna. If you do, then I just may let you live. If not, then I'll insure that your precious villagers are roasted before your very eyes."
"Your dragon? You want me to play messenger for you, a nobody, who comes from a nobody father? I think not."
"Oh you think to test me? Very well." A truly evil smile crossed his face as he sent out a mental command to the northern village riders. The rider nodded and once again flames began spewing from his dragon, incinerating every building and person that crossed its path. "When you feel like enough have died, feel free to tell me." Cyrus kept his gaze on Erykia.
Erykia stiffened when she felt the ground scream out with the pain of the dying. She was bonded to the land and to the people. She could resist the call to protect only so long before her magic would be sucked out of her to do whatever was necessary. She needed to divert Cyrus but she wasn't about to give him another dragon. The fact that he was actively seeking Brenna was a bad sign. She had the information from Katherine but she had to keep him from using heartbroken Brenna to wreck havoc on the world.
"Still reluctant I see? Very well, more shall die." He smiled wider this time as he sent out a second mental command, this time the village to the south that erupted into flames as its captor unleashed its charring fury.
Erykia began to sweat. She could feel Anthony chanting and power pulsating through the ground as he tried to help her and the people. Rhys, coward that he was, was hiding. She would deal with him later. She knew Elizabeth was trying to locate Brenna and warn her away. Elizabeth was a very sensitive animal empath, able to connect emotionally with any creature, and she was searching for Brenna.
Cyrus rolled his eyes for a moment before shaking his head. "Tut, tut Erykia, I honestly thought you cared about your people. There are only three villages left, oh make that two..." A third mental command was sent out, the village to the east lighting up the night sky with its fiery power, the screams of the victims shrieking in the air. His riders were making them suffer for as long as possible before death took them. "I'm running out of hostages Erykia. Soon I'll have to barbecue you over a slow flame."
~ERYKIA! Give him what he wants. We have to sacrifice Brenna to save the people. You know what will happen to us and the land if we don't! Do it now! I'll share in the blame.~ Anthony ordered.
Erykia scowled. "She's southwest of here. Hiding in the swamplands. She will not talk to you as long as you ride Kaie. Her pride won't accept it."
"And how am I to know this isn't another trap Erykia? You are known for your deceit. As insurance, I'll be taking your staff with me in case you get an funny ideas." He held his hand out for her staff, not willing to give the command to stand down until she did so. "Tick tock witch."
"Fine, take it." She nonchalantly tossed it to him.
"Thank you." He flicked his hand up a moment, signaling for his men to stop. The flames died down, leaving only charred remains where once homes had stood. "And as a show of faith..." In his hand appeared his bass blade, shimmering in the night air before he handed it to her. "Do take care of it. Bad things will happen if you don't." Nodding to Kaie he spoke along their bond. ~If she moves a muscle, torch everything, leave no one alive.~ With that said, he turned and sped off to the southwest.
Erykia stood there and mused over this turn of events. She could sense the power in the bass blade. She had given him a hollow shell of her true staff. She knew he would not know the difference. She felt the hum of Anthony's power as he readied himself.
With promptness, as soon as Cyrus was out of blast range, knowing it would barely be a scratch to Kaie's scales, he let the energies in his blade mix, causing an almost instantaneous cascade and subsequent explosion of energy. The blast itself left a two feet wide crater, the darkness being temporarily lifted as the explosion had happened. He smirked to himself as he reached the place where he had been told Brenna was waiting.
Inside the center of the blast area stood Erykia with her own energy shield surrounding her and everything behind her. She looked at Kaie and smiled before disappearing leaving behind a glowing shield to protect the village.
Kaie roared in annoyance as she realized Cyrus was playing this by ear instead of planning, how foolish could he have been? She quickly issued the command to the other dragons to level whatever they could of the remaining villages.
Suddenly the earth rumbled and volcanoes began erupting, the hot lava splattering on dragon hide and melting through the scales of the dragons who had torched the villages. ~High Priestess. The remaining villagers have been evacuated. They are safe and the decoys are in place. They can burn everything but lives will be saved.~ Anthony announced.
~Understood. I am on my way to the swamps to try to warn Brenna. I fear she will not listen.~
~I understand. Good luck.~ Anthony closed the link.
The dark dragons shrieked and flapped madly into the air, only Kaie, Katherine and one other managing to escape the molten death that erupted up at them from the ground. ~Curse that witch, Next time she will serve as my dinner!~ Kaie roared her rage as she swooped off, flanked by the other remaining dragons.
As the swamps and trees flew past him, Cyrus began to slow, sensing Brenna somewhere nearby. Quietly he called out to her ~Brenna?~
~Cyrus?~ The tone was faint, disbelieving and hopeful all at once.
~Yes my love. It's me. I've come back to you, escaped the darkness to return to your side.~
~You left Kaie? You've come back to me?~ Brenna's voice was getting stronger.
~Yes darling I have. I was shrouded in deceit and darkness, but now I realize you were right all along...you were the one who was protecting me. Can you forgive a foolish young man?~
~Oh yes! Yes!~ The hum of wind, the swoop of wings and Brenna was there, hovering in the air above him.
A smile crossed his face as he extended his arms upwards. ~Oh my how you've grown Brenna! Look how shiny your scales have gotten. Come here so I can give you a hug, silly sky lizard!~
She landed then, gently bumping her head against his body, purring her happiness. Her rider was home!
Cyrus chuckled softly as he was moved by her strength. ~I'm glad we are together again Brenna...although I must confess something.~
~Yes, my rider?~ she blew a breath of hot air at him, ruffling his hair.
He sighed softly, lightly stroking her snout. ~I do not feel safe here anymore. I have been betrayed and misled by so many in this world. Perhaps...perhaps we could travel to the dragon realm where it is safer? Where we won't be separated?~
~My realm? You wish to come to my home? I don't know. Only the king can allow it. I mean I can get you to the border but he must grant access~ Brenna explained.
~Really Brenna? I was told any royal dragon could do it. surely you don't want to risk me being taken away again? I'm sure he won't mind you bringing me home with you.~ His voice had taken on an almost pouting tone, appealing to her kind nature.
Some instinct was battling with Brenna's better nature but she chose to ignore it. ~It is true I am part of the royal family. But that only allows me to see the portal where it's located, not to open it. If you wish I can take you to it.~
~That would be wonderful Brenna. But how will we open it? There must be some way we can do it without dragging your mate into it, he has so much on his mind already.~
~I could call the seer. He can open it for any dragon that needs access~ she replied happily.
Cyrus sighed softly and lightly stroked her snout once more. ~Do we have to Brenna? You know he will not approve of me coming there after what happened. Can't you do it? You are a royal dragon after all...aren't you?~
~I've never done it before by myself. I've always had help.~ She explained to Cyrus, her rider, not Kaie's. Hers.
He closed his eyes for a moment, resting his head on her. ~Please try Brenna, I know you have the power to do it all by yourself. You are more skilled than you think. Please try for me?~ He ran his hands across her scales once again, the same way he would when he was comforting her when she'd injured herself or when she forgot something important.
She hummed deeply in her chest, her wings fanning the air. ~For you I will try.~ When her rider praised her, she could do anything.
A long smile crossed his face. the plan was going perfectly. Soon they would have a portal to the dragon realm and then his ranks would swell with the newborn dragon kind, fresh and eager to be molded to whatever side got there first. ~Thank you Brenna, you are so good to me.~
~Anything for you, my rider.~ Her eyes glowed with her happiness. Cyrus loved her not Kaie. ~When do you want to try?~
~There's no time like the present darling, the sooner we can leave this place the better.~ He stepped back a bit to give her any room she might need for the ritual. ~Whenever you are ready.~
~You must climb on me. It can only be done in the air.~ Brenna instructed as she swung her leg out so he could climb up.
He nodded and carefully climbed up on to her thick, muscular back, pausing for a moment to make sure he sat as he used to sit upon Brenna. It was moments like now that you had to be extra careful or the entire plan would explode in your face. ~Then let's begin my love.~
With a joyful buck, Brenna launched herself skyward. catching an updraft she pumped her wings twice and glided for several miles before stopping to hover mid-air. ~Here, I can sense the energy. Home!~ she circled once and came back to her original spot.
~That's great my love, how long before we can head home?~ He lightly rubbed her scales again, eager to get this over with already.
His touch felt good on her scales and Brenna purred. ~I must concentrate.~ She grew quiet and soon a faint vibration ran along her body as her scales darkened to midnight black even as they glowed. Brenna opened her mouth and a flame of white fire poured from her jaws and into the air in front of them.
He tensed for a moment as he watched the flames, he hadn't seen this before and was unaware she could breathe such hot flames. He forced himself to relax though, letting her continue with the ritual. The vibration increased and the flame went from white to bright orange and still Brenna continued to let it pour out of her. He watched with fascination once again, he wondered how she could possibly hold so much flame within herself at one time. He was careful not to move in case he disturbed her, otherwise this whole charade would have been for nothing.
Suddenly the flame stopped and Brenna wheezed, the glow of her scales disappeared. ~I can't get it. I'm so tired~ she whispered as she lost some of her altitude.
~Please keep trying Brenna, you were almost there I could feel it I really could. I love you, I know you can do this because you are truly special.~ He was laying it on thick, but he had to if this was going to work.
~You felt it? I thought, but I'm so tired. I cannot do it alone. I must have help~ Brenna fretted to Cyrus. She hated to disappoint her rider but she felt rather weak.
~Please try one more time Brenna. You know you can do it. Please, this could be our only chance to go home. The others will turn me away if you ask them for help...~
Marshalling her strength. Brenna flapped her wings twice to get back into position. She imagined in her mind's eye, the giant cavern and all her dragon family and friends. Once again her scales darkened. She roared and from her jaws white fire poured forth. Mixed in the white were hints of violet and green light.
~That's it Brenna, Good girl, keep going, almost there.~
In front of them a slow swirling mist appeared. The hole in the middle of it was big enough for an infant to pass through but clearly seen were mountains and a river snaking along their base. ~Home~ Brenna thought.
~Amazing Darling...how long until it's ready for use to pass through?~ His eyes stared at the opening before them, his goal was so close he could almost taste it.
~I, Hold On!~ Brenna shrieked as a strong wind blasted out of the portal and sent her rolling head over tail. She fought to gain her balance but the wind was relentless. It did not stop until she was over a mile away from the portal.
He clung tightly on to her as she rolled in the air, doing his best not to be thrown from the spinning lizard. ~Brenna! What's wrong?!~
~It burns! It burns!~ she shrieked. She finally managed to right herself and frantically tried to reach her hindquarters which hurt the most. She saw that several scales had been ripped off and she was bleeding.
~What happened Brenna? Why are you hurt?~ His concern was genuine this time, if she died or was unable to perform the ritual again then his only chance to enter the dragon realm would be gone too.
~It is the wind of the guardians. It will not allow me passage without the permission of Hayden or the seer. I am sorry, my rider, truly I am. I have failed you. The pain...I must land~ she whimpered and glided toward a field of wild flowers.
He nodded a moment and gently stroked her skin where it wasn't injured. ~It's all right Brenna. I'll get permission to enter my love. That's the only thing we need yes? It'll stay open until we get permission right?~
It was then, in the midst of her pain that she really listened to his words. He had never called her "my love" before when they had been together. All her happiness at having him back with her evaporated as suspicion set in. ~Tell me again how much I mean to you, my rider.~
~You mean everything to me, Brenna, you are my darling, my one true friend. My true love. The only one who deserves my heart.~ He leaned back a little stretching out his legs, the muscles tightening a little from the forgotten riding position.
The words sounded right but his tone was all wrong. ~My dear rider, may I ask a question.~ She had begun her descent into the field and gingerly landed, the pain once again ripping through her.
He slowly climbed down off her back, looking up at her from the ground. The plan had been a success, now all there was left to do was to end this little charade. ~Yes Brenna?~
~Why did Kaie release you? My sister has never given up anything in her entire life.~ Brenna watched him closely.
A slow, blatantly cruel smile crossed his face as he reached up and lightly tapped her snout. ~My dear Brenna, so naive, so trusting. Who said she had let me go...?~
Confusion flooded their link followed by shock. With a hurt cry, Brenna reared up on her hindquarters, wings flapping the air. ~You...no!~ Once again she wailed her anguish in low rumbling draconic tones as she flapped her wings. Rising slightly from the ground she looked down at her rider, the betrayal complete. He had abandoned her!
He stood there, hand behind his back grinning wider and wider, nodding slowly, almost taunting her. His arrogance had grown significantly since his current victories, plus Brenna was one of his most high ranking causes for his betrayals. ~Yes Brenna, You have been had. your blind trust in me has been your undoing. And now, I can take that portal and go directly to the hatchery and take every - single -last -dragon. I know you won't do anything to stop me because you love me. I also know you won't tell anyone about what you did because you don't want them to exile you for letting in the enemy right to their door step. You will go back and you will say you were attacked by a rogue dragon, not a dark dragon, simply a rogue. This will give the illusion of more than one side to fight to your dear mate Hayden. Are we clear?~
~No! I will not harm my mate! He will forgive me!~ Uncertainty tinged her words. She wasn't so sure. Hayden had been calling her but she had refused his summons.
~Oh really? Do you really think he's going to forgive you for letting the army that almost eradicated his entire species earlier this week into your realm? Grow up Brenna, You have committed treason with this. You have associated and helped a dark dragon rider. I highly doubt that even Hayden could protect you from that punishment.~ Cyrus's words were true and she knew it. Angry at him for tricking her and upset with herself for not sensing his intent she opened her mouth and spewed fire at him before flying higher into the air.
With his usual grace of speed he seemingly easily dodged the spewing flames, however when he stopped, his face wrinkled a moment as he sniffed. Looking down at his left leg he saw that she had managed to somehow singe his boot. That was odd, he was sure he had been far away from the flames to be safe. Strange. ~Remember Brenna, tell Hayden there is a third side and you won't be exiled.~