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The Dragon's Love

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Blurb

“You don’t know her as I do,” I said. “She is as fierce as the northern wind. She will not bow. Neither will her people.”

The third person I still could not see, that was hiding behind my brothers, shifted uneasily as we spoke of Laelia. Who was he? I wondered.

“She is but one woman. She will not stand in our way.”

“We will see.”

“Are you scared of some woman?” Sirrush asked mockingly.

“Me? No, but you should be.”

“Really?”

I nodded.

“Laelia is different. She is someone people look up to. She is a force, a belief, maybe even a goddess, in some people’s eyes. She makes people love her without really trying. She makes them hope. Even if you kill me, they will look at her. They will always follow her.”

It was clear even to me, the admiration in my voice. I truly did admire her. I had for the first time she looked at me. She was different. Strong and fierce, but also gentle and kind. She was not touched by darkness like we were but was shining with light and beauty. She was someone people believed in, and that was why my father wanted me to marry her. Now I was more than happy that I had. She made me believe too. She made me see I could be better, that I did not have to walk on a lone path. She would walk it with me.

“You are a fool in love,” Sirrush said. “And you will die as one.”

***

Laelia is tired of just sitting around waiting for Ashes and her brothers to come back. It makes her lose hope for them all, and when Samuel finally comes back half dead, she decides to go find the rest and save them from Blaze and Sirrush.

Ashes has been trapped by his brothers, only the thought of Laelia giving him warmth, but he knows the end has come. When he finally is freed and Laelia asks him to let go of the throne, he cannot. He needs to claim back what he has lost, even if it means risking losing her.

*Book Two*

Recommended to first read: The Dragon's Call

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Chapter 1
Note: This is a darker fantasy, not following the "typical" dragon plots. Be aware of described violence, k*dnapping, loss of loved one, and death. -Laelia- Over a week had passed. Nothing. Not even a small message. I knew what that meant. I felt it deep in my bones, but I couldn’t get myself to say it out loud. I barely ate. Barely slept. Liam tried his best to cheer me up, but there was nothing that he could do to get me to smile. I was standing on a balcony, wearing a long white dress that split in two in the front, and wearing white pants underneath. I had only dressed in pants when I was a kid playing orphan, but it was a pleasant change. My hair was braided once again and ran over my shoulder. I looked down at my brother surrounded by Libelle and Kayda, making them laugh. At least they could be cheered up. They tried to help me as well. They still even wanted to help me get dressed, but I told them they were free. I might not be queen anymore. They no longer needed to serve me. They had looked so confused but said nothing. Being a slave was all they really knew, and I understood their confusion. “Do you not wish to go down there?” I turned around as a deep voice spoke to me. There he stood. The elf Prince Rathilion. His long white hair ran down his back, a single braid running in the front, framing his sharp face. His light green eyes watched me carefully, reading me like I was an open book. I turned away, looking down at my brother standing by a small river with the other two. I felt Rathilion’s presence beside me, but I did not turn to look at him. “No, I don’t think I would be good company.” “Your heart is heavy with fear.” “Who says I am afraid?” I asked. We turned to look at one another. “Are you?” he asked. I wasn’t sure. Could you be afraid if you already knew the truth? If you already knew what had happened to your family. No, I was angry, feeling the fire in my veins burn. “I’m angry.” “Yes, I see the fire,” he said. I didn’t comment on that, but just stared at the three down by the river. I wished I could go down there and smile, but I had nothing to smile about. Ashes and the rest of my brothers all disappeared. Running right back into danger. Mayla, Sivanna, Tylon, and Ladon were most likely in the claws of Blaze and Sirrush. Yes, there was a good reason to be angry, but my anger wasn’t just towards the evil brothers. It was towards me. I felt useless just sitting there, waiting. I wanted to be useful. I wanted to help, but I had never fought before. I had wanted to learn, but that was not something a princess did. “Maybe we should put the fire to use,” he said. I turned to look at him, confused. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Come.” He started to walk away and left me there with no answer. I could have stayed where I was, but what good would that do? So, I followed him through the gigantic palace and outside. We walked over snow-white grass. A huge garden spread out before us, where wild animals were coming and going as they pleased. A huge fountain in the middle with a statue of a woman elf. We walked over the white stones, until we left the garden and then continued on to another field, but here the grass turned a darker shade of green, and further out stood targets. Rathilion stopped in front of one of them and then handed me a bow from a table close by where daggers and swords were spread out too, on the dark surface. “Take it,” he said. I looked from the bow to him, not really understanding. No one had ever handed me a weapon willingly before. “You want me to … take it?” He nodded. Nervously, I took it from his hands. It felt oddly right in my hands, and I weighed it back and forth in them. “How does it feel?” he asked. “Good, I think.” He then handed me an arrow, and I placed it against the string of the bow. “Aim,” he said. I turned slightly, looking at the targets further ahead. I swallowed hard, feeling a bit nervous, before I lifted the bow and pulled the string back. It was harder than I had thought it would be, and my arm shook a little. “Steady,” he said, as he walked around me. Rathilion pushed my elbow a little higher, helped me straighten my back some more, softly placed his hands on the side of my neck, making sure I could get a better aim. He made me one with the bow, but I found it hard to concentrate as he moved closer to me. He was so tall, even taller than Ashes, but not as broad as my husband. “The target,” he said with a small smile. I hadn’t noticed I had turned to look at him, as he stood behind me, helping me get a better position. I turned my eyes back to the target, feeling silly I had let my eyes wander. I concentrated on my mission, pulled the arrow back further, and then let it fly. It landed on the far outside, but it had been my first try and it had hit the target. “Good. I knew you would feel good with the bow,” he said. His voice was hard and deep, but sometimes it turned softer, like now, and it was like it was dancing over my skin. Strange, I thought, before I was handed another arrow. “Again.” “Should you really be teaching me such things?” I asked. He looked at me, confused. “Why not?” “Where I come from, women don’t do this. Learning to shoot with bow and arrows,” I told him. “Here we do things differently. Tell me, queen of the dragons and humans, are you in the North?” “No,” I said, confused. “Are you in the South?” “No.” “Where are you?” “I’m … with the elves … in the West,” I said. “And here even the women shoot with arrows and fight with swords, or maybe you do not wish to learn? I thought with the fire burning in you, you would like to use it for something else than using it against yourself, calling yourself useless,” he said. “H-How do you know I call myself that?” He smiled a bit secretively, before he crossed his green leather-covered arms and nodded towards the target. “Again, queen of dragons,” he said. “Stop calling me that. I am no longer queen, or did you forget I lost the crown?” I placed the arrow against the string in the bow and took aim, but then suddenly a warm body moved closer to me. So close, I could feel him up against my back and his breath against the skin on my neck. “A queen does not need a crown to be one. You were born to be one. No one can put out the fire in you. It makes you a ruler and a fighter.” I felt myself shiver before I accidentally let go of the arrow and it flew past the target and into the huge white wall, where it got itself stuck. “Oh,” I said, feeling foolish that I let myself get distracted. “No harm done,” he told me. “Again.” He kept handing me arrows, and kept correcting my stand, until the arrows started to move further and further into the target, and the sun got lower in the sky. When I was finally able to, with a lucky shot, to hit the middle, he let me take a break. “My arm hurts,” I said and rolled my shoulder around. “You will recover,” he simply told me and gave me a small smile. I couldn’t help but smile back at him, and I realized since Ashes had left, it was the first time I had smiled. “How long have you practiced with the bow?” I asked, as we moved back towards the palace. “Since I was able to hold one.” “And the sword?” I asked. I looked towards the white scabbard and sword hanging on the side of his hip. “Since I was able to hold one.” “Do you ever give a clear answer?” He just looked down at me with another secretive look in his eye, and I shook my head, but it was nice not feeling so useless. It was nice being able to use my time on something. If Ashes really was dead, it meant people might come for me. I needed to be able to protect myself.

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