Tahlmus was not proud of how he had ended up begging for the scraps of food Felazair and the female elf left on their plates. “It’s just going to go to waste,” he said. “They’ll throw it out. Please,” he had whispered. “I haven’t eaten in several days.” That had done the trick. The female elf finally conceded to feeding him. It hadn’t been a lot, but it was enough to curb the hunger pains he’d been feeling. He was content.
After the two had left, he sat there thinking about their motives. The young boy seemed to always be angry, and while he called the female elf mom, Tahlmus could tell they were not related. The young boy mystified him. The boy had an elven body, but it was covered in dragon scales. Tahlmus knew that was a very rare occurrence. The boy also had elven magic, not draconic. Everything he’d read said draconic magic was more dominant than any other form.
The female elf was also a mystery. She seemed sweet and she was gentle. He really liked it when she smiled. It reminded him a lot of Winky. He felt an ache in his chest as an image of Winky flashed through his mind. The King was using the female elf though. He could tell by the way she acted. Tahlmus knew couldn’t trust her, but something in him wanted to trust her. He had felt something spark in him, when she had traced one of his scars. “What does it all mean?” he asked himself in a whisper.
“There is a lot about yourself that you have yet to learn,” Bahamut’s voice came to him. “For now you sleep.” Tahlmus wanted to ask questions, but felt his eyelids start to close. The desire to sleep was overwhelming. It was then he felt a warmth in his chest. Coral was thinking of him. Tahlmus smiled as sleep overtook him.
Karia startled awake, sitting straight up in bed. Taking a look around and seeing the familiar surroundings, Karia found she was able to breathe. It had just been a dream. “But it was so real,” she whispered to herself. “His touch, his pain, it was all so real.” Karia sat there replaying the images she could recall through her mind. He had been fighting someone she couldn’t see. His powers weren’t working as they should have, and he took a lot of hits. She saw the scars, touched them as he laid in a forest unconscious.
“Why was I dreaming about him? He’s a prisoner. An assignment. He’s my way out of here,” she said softly. “Why is he in my dreams?” she asked again. Shaking her head, Karia laid back down, closing her eyes trying to fall asleep. Every time she closed her eyes she saw him. She saw him in the prison. She saw his scars, the smile on his face. The smile he wore despite his dire circumstances. “Why can’t I get him out of my head?” she asked softly after having opened her eyes for the fifth or sixth time. She had lost count.
Getting out of bed Karia walked down to the kitchen, thinking a glass of warm milk would help her sleep. She wasn’t paying attention as she made the warm milk. As she went to pour it into her glass, Karia realized she had enough for two glasses. “Maybe he would like a glass,” she thought as she made her way towards the dungeon cell. “Might get him to open up and start talking to me,” she told herself trying to justify what she was doing.
It had been two days since Laguna had shared her dream with Celestial and Fleur. Two days since she had found out the dream hadn’t actually been a dream. That Tahlmus actually was in trouble. As much as she longed to talk to someone about it, she knew she couldn’t. She couldn’t let anyone else know that Tahlmus was actually alive.
She sighed as she thought about the dream she’d had the night before. Tahlmus had been in it once again. He was in the same cell, but he looked tired. She thought it also looked like he hadn’t been eating. He looked pale and just a slight bit thinner.
Firmil was sleeping peacefully next to her as she sat at the great table in the dining hall finishing up her lunch. She had been looking at him, watching him sleep when she heard a door open and footsteps. Looking up she saw Celestial and Fleur entering the hall with their little ones. They were deep in conversation and oblivious to Laguna’s presence. As they passed the table, Laguna could hear their words.
“I’m worried though. She hasn’t made a fuss about anything, and she’s barely eaten. About all she does is sleep.”
Celestial was nodding. “Junior has been the same way. Maybe they’ve just finally acclimated to being here.”
“Maybe,” Fleur responded as she walked through the door on the other side of the great table.
Laguna looked down at Firmil. He had been really quiet all day, and he had hardly eaten anything when she had tried to feed him. “I wonder if this has something to do with the trouble Tahlmus is in,” she whispered to herself. After a few more minutes of quiet thought, she returned to her room to prepare for the rest of the afternoon.
Urytemil woke up as the sun’s rays graced the tent. He tried to sit up, but found it very painful. He had never awoken in this much pain before. Looking down at himself, he saw the bracelets. What had happened the day before came back to him. “Who knew sleeping on the ground in human form could end so painfully,” he whispered rubbing his back. “Beloved,” he started as he turned to look at Thalixen, only to discover she was not there.
At first Urytemil didn’t feel panicked. His beloved could simply have awoken earlier and stepped outside the tent. So he left the tent, but Thalixen wasn’t there. Urytemil still wasn’t too worried. He knew she had been upset about how things had gone the day before and when she was upset she liked to be in a quiet place with her thoughts. “A little walking might stretch out my back,” Urytemil thought as he started making his way to the first of Thalixen’s quiet spots. She wasn’t there. He walked to the next and the next with the same result.
Urytemil started to panic as he reached the last spot Thalixen would go to get some quiet time, and found she wasn’t there. He thought of using his magic to try to find her. Urytemil cursed when he remembered the bracelets. He took a deep breath to calm his mind. As he breathed in, he realized that even with no magic and being in his human form, his sense of smell was still heightened. He used his sense of smell as he walked back towards camp, trying to find Thalixen’s scent.
He was almost back to the camp area when he picked it up. Urytemil followed it into the trees, moving as quietly as he could. A minute later he could see Thalixen sitting with her back up against a tree, and Ardeszeld was sitting next to her. Thalixen looked upset, while Ardeszeld looked to be deep in thought. He thought of walking up to them, but stopped when he heard his daughter speak.
“Why did the King want the first born?” she asked. “And where did he get the idea that your first born was a son? It was no secret that I was your child when you and dad still ruled the Kingdom… before the curse.”
Urytemil started pondering on Ardeszeld’s words She had a point. They had celebrated with the entire Kingdom after they’d had Ardeszeld. The entire Kingdom knew their first born had been a girl. So then why had the King thought their first born had been a son? He thought back to the night Altair revealed what he wanted; trying to remember the King’s exact words.
“King Altair said he’d read stories about us Gold Dragons. The stories he read told of how we had a son and that because of his oddities at birth we had rejected him, given him up to some elven travelers subsequently causing me to become barren. The stories also depicted us being cursed because your father and I didn’t follow through with our end of the deal after having you.”
The King’s words all rushed back to Urytemil as Thalixen spoke. He remembered how hard it had been to hide his shock. He looked over at Ardeszeld and Thalixen. He wanted to go to them, but he couldn’t get himself to move towards them.
“I don’t understand,” Ardeszeld was saying, her words breaking through Urytemil’s thoughts. “If you had given him away, how did the King expect you to find your supposed first born son? It’s not like our family connection magic is well known.”
Urytemil watched as Thalixen shrugged. He knew neither of them had an answer to that. Not one that made sense anyway. As silence fell between the two women, Urytemil found he could move towards them, which he did. “Are you two ok?” he asked.
“We are fine,” Thalixen replied as she stood.
Urytemil thought she looked like she wasn’t even surprised to see him. “Had she sensed me?” he wondered.
“We should go back to camp and make breakfast. The others will be waking soon,” Thalixen continued to speak as she turned and made her way back towards camp. Ardeszeld and Urytemil both nodded at her back and followed Thalixen back to camp.
In case you haven’t ready the stories that came first:
Then of course if the first Chapter of this story.