Loving Two Dragons (Awakening Cycle Part 4) (BBW Dragon Shifter Paranormal Romance)

 

 

LOVING TWO DRAGONS

(THE AWAKENING CYCLE PART 4)

By

James D Horton

 

 

Copyright 2015 James D Horton

All rights reserved.

First Edition: May 2015

ISBN: TBD

CHAPTER ONE

Jennifer

"Lou, it's been a month. There has to be something we can do to find them," I say.

Lou stands in front of the small wooden desk I'm working at. I'd had no idea how many little things there would be to deal with when people depended on me. My life used to be just taking care of me. In the past few weeks I've gone from that to being responsible for an entire group of people in exile and being the Queen of many who are still trapped under the reign of an evil bitch.

"My Lady, we're doing everything we can but without Remy..."

I nod. The absence of Remy is almost harder than Archer and Logan being lost. Remy has command of magics that no one else comprehends much less can wield. If he was free then we'd probably not be having this issue.

"I have a meeting with Nephetitia. I'll ask her if she can assist us in freeing Remy from Marathe's spell."

Nephetitia is the Queen of the Black Dragons.

Lou grimaces before nodding. He doesn't trust the Black's. He doesn't trust anyone right now. I don't blame him, how could I? Everyone has turned against us apparently but Black is giving us shelter. An offense in the Council's eyes if they were to be found out. That alone makes us allies and right now I desperately need any ally I can get.

"Yes Ma'am." He turns to leave but stops in the doorway and looks back. "Ma'am? Be careful. Please."

"Of course Lou. Thank you."

Lou's a good man but his heart is broken. I see it every time he reports. The fire's gone. Elise's death tore at him the same as it did me. Now I think he's driven solely by revenge.

There's a soft knock on the door before it opens. Nephetitia walks in, her dark skin almost ebony like her husband’s. Regal is too weak a word for the Black Queen. She walks with an air of control. Her face is somewhat harsh, nose wide and slightly flat, but for all the severity of her appearance there is also beauty. Soft lips that have small lines at the corners showing she smiles often and her eyes are dark but bright and sparkling. I bow at the waist as she enters giving her the respect of her position.

"Pshaw child," she says. "Those formalities are not needed with me."

She holds her arms out and I step around the desk and embrace her. She kisses me once on each cheek. I rest my hands on her shoulders.

"I wish only to show due respect and thankfulness for the kindness you have given to myself and my people."

Her smile broadens. "Truly you are coming into your own as Queen."

"A Queen without a throne unfortunately."

She motions toward two chairs which we take. "A Queen is not her throne."

"No of course not but still nothing requires that you and your Clan take us in."

"Nothing?" she asks staring with a harsh look.

The room fills with the chill of her disapproval and I scramble to catch up to where things have gone off the rails.

"I mean no offense ..." I trail off unsure what to apologize for.

"Offense? You imply that Black's alliance is fickle and prone to the shifting winds."

"Oh, uhm, no. Please, I'm so sorry that's not-"

She cuts me off with a wave of her hand. "It is neither here nor there child, but these are the things you must master and do so at a faster pace than is fair. The other Kings and Queens will twist your words and use what you say to tie you into knots. They have centuries of experience where you have but weeks to master the skills."

I inhale deeply as a chill runs up my spine. Acid fills my stomach leaving me queasy and a sense of vertigo grips my mind. So many traps, so many things to learn. Memories are returning and it's getting easier but most of my past, things I used to know, are covered in fog. I feel them at times but I don't know them.

"I understand."

"Do you? What I really wonder is do you know what it is to be a Queen of the Dragons?"

I hesitate to answer. I want this woman's respect but if I answer to quick then she'll think me thoughtless. If I wait too long then I'm clueless. More, I don't know what it is she's looking for. I cast about for an answer, the right one, but I don't have it.

"I'm only beginning to scratch the surface," I say at last figuring honesty is best.

Her smile rewards me. "A wise answer. As women, we do not have the ability of our men to assume dragon form but that does not mean we are untouched by our lineage. Our lines, yes even yours, trace their roots back to the first shifters created by the Ancients. Genetically we are the same. They created us so that dragon-kind could walk among the humans.

The Ancients could create an illusion of being human but not truly assume a human form. They wanted a way to interact with the Children of Seth. Their prophets foresaw that the coming Age would belong to humanity. If they did not withdraw and hide their presence then humans could never achieve their full potential. They would be overshadowed by the magic and longer lives of dragons.

Rather than leave humanity on its own, dragons joined with them. The Ancients bred with human women, establishing the shifter line."

"I had ... no idea ..."

She smiles. "No one talks about it. It is a matter for Queens. Truth is not for the faint of heart or most often for men either."

I laugh and she does too.

"Thank you for sharing this with me."

"Ah but we have not yet discussed the role of a Queen. You see the Ancients quickly found that only their male offspring had the ability to shift into a dragon form. A smaller scale of the Ancients themselves. They studied and worked to find out why the female offspring did not.

At last they discovered that the human shell could not fully contain the might and power of a dragon. Their passion, their emotions, their power and prowess was too much for the frailty of a human body. So their nature split when it was introduced into a human.

The male offspring gained their ability to shift forms, their passion and their physical prowess. The females though, we gained their ability to love, to understand, and to do magic."

"I have no magic."

"Don't you? Are you sure of this? Or perhaps you do not understand your power yet?"

I thought about it. Reflecting back on my life I couldn't see where anything magical had ever happened. Remy did lots of magic. I'd seen Marathe doing magic. But nothing like that has ever happened to me.

"I'm pretty sure," I answer.

She places her hand on top of mine. "Have you not wanted something to happen and somehow it works out no matter the odds against it?"

"Well yeah sometimes but-"

"But nothing. That is the budding of your magic. A Queen envisions the future. Then by her will she creates that future. A Queen is the Heart of the Dragon Clan. Her King is its protection, its Mind. The Queen, she is the heart and love. It falls to us to keep our men grounded. To remind them of why they do all they do, that it is for our people who are in our hearts at all times. It falls to us to care for and to love our entire Clan and then to guide our men to what is best for them."

I lean back in my chair exhaling. My chest feels constricted and the acid in my stomach begins working overtime. The scope is almost more than I can comprehend but there's truth in her words.

"So, the Heart?" I ask.

"Ever so," she says.

I nod taking all this in. "I have to return my King to his throne. That is the future I envision. That is all that matters for now."

The Black Queen smiles and I see approval in her eyes.
Does she know about my fate?
I push thoughts of that aside. I have only weeks to live if my fate remains unchanged and before that happens I have to return Archer to the throne. Not for him alone, but for my people. I cannot leave them to Marathe.

"I have been trying to free Remy for you," she says.

"Any luck?" I lean forward hope blossoming.

"Unfortunately no," she says. "But I have an idea. I did not want to act on it until I spoke with you."

That doesn't sound good. "Okay?"

"We need Queen Dao of the Silver Clan."

My heart races as she says the name. I can't trust any of them. I school my face and do my best to calm my heart. A Queen cannot jump to conclusions.

"Why's that?"

"She is the only one I know whose power with magic compares to Remy's. Her skill and power combined with ours should be able to break the spell keeping him frozen in time."

"Can I trust her? If she reveals to the Council what you have done..." I trail off not needing to spell this out.

"Dao will not betray me," her smile says more than her words. She has something, some kind of a hold that will keep Dao in line.

"Then I accept your wise counsel," I say formally.

Nephetitia nods as she rises from the chair. I rise with her and we take each others' hands kissing one another on the cheeks. I watch her walk to the door then I think of something else I don't understand.

"Queen? May I ask you something?"

She turns towards me with a smile. "Of course, I will answer any questions if I can."

"Remy. If only females have the heart and magic of the Ancients, how does he do magic?"

Her smile is dazzling and mysterious.

"That is something I cannot answer. I have speculation but not ones I am willing to share. Perhaps after we save him, he will be in a frame of mind to tell us both."

Chapter two

Logan

"Archer, we need to move," I say pushing against him with my foot.

He jumps to his feet. "What?"

"We need to move. We can't stay in one place."

"Of course," he says wiping at his eyes.

He looks haggard. Doubt gnaws at me watching him. He's moving slow, sleeping hard, and is distracted. I've never seen him like this. As he stretches he smiles at me putting on a front but I see through it.

"Well good thing is you and I came here and not Jennifer. She wouldn't survive this climate."

"True!" I say enthusiastically.

I use my sword to carve through the snow we dug into for shelter overnight. I've lost track of how many days it's been since Marathe attacked but it must be close to a month. Unable to shift forms we've been stuck in the snow and ice of Antarctica.

"I think we're close to the ruins we explored before," Archer says.

"Yeah."

"Maybe there we can find proof of their plans. Then we just have to get home."

Home. The word hangs in the air between us. There's nothing more to say.

Having cleared a way out we emerge into the snow. Ability to shift or not, the dragon half of our makeup keeps us warm but the icy blasts of the wind is still cutting. A storm is brewing and the wind is picking up into very strong gusts. I have to lean into them in order to stay upright. It makes further conversation impossible so we march forward signaling each other with hand gestures. We walk for hours before I spy the crack in the ice that enters the ruins we'd found before.

As we step through the wind dies and warmth rolls over me. I close my eyes and take my first deep breath in days. The cold may not affect my body directly but it does make breathing hard when your lungs freeze with each breath. The interior is dark but that isn't a problem for us either. Archer leads the way through the areas he's explored before. Following the twisting tunnels we jump past the collapsing floor and then at last we're in the room at the bottom.

"Jennifer's crown was here. The one that Marathe stole after that first time," he says pointing to a bookshelf. "Touching it started the return of her memory."

"So you didn't explore beyond this?"

"We were looking for you. We found evidence of their intentions, we found Green, I thought we had all the pieces we needed. Apparently they've abandoned this place since we haven't run into any defenses but maybe there's more left behind."

I look around the room touching the walls. Archer looks through the few books that sit on a case carved into the ice walls.

"You know, only White could make a home out of this hell hole."

Archer snorts. "Yeah."

He holds up a book the pages of which appear to be crumbling at his touch.

"Something?"

"Maybe. It mentions an island off of South America. Something about the last war of the Ancients, one of them caused a cataclysm that almost destroyed the world. This motivated them to withdraw. A portal? Damn it we need Remy!"

I stop my search. "Archer?"

"What!"

"We'll figure it out."

"Will we?" he says laying the book back on the shelf and staring down as his shoulders slump. "You realize what day it is?"

I think about it for a moment then it hits me. Her birthday. "We're close, I get it, but we'll do it. This time it will be different."

"Oh it's different all right. When has Marathe ever succeeded to this degree? She took my throne! Jennifer is alone without either of us to protect her. She could be dead right now! We don't know what happened to her."

"Say it Archer. Say what you're thinking."

He looks at me and I feel his anger seething. Accusations unvoiced. His jaw clenches, his hands tighten into balled fists. I force myself to relax. I can't meet his anger with my own.

"If you hadn't left..."

There. That's what I thought. "If I hadn't gotten captured you mean? What should I have done Archer? Stayed and let her choose you again?"

Acid and adrenaline dump into my system making my stomach feel sick while every muscle quivers with readiness for action. I want to attack but that will get us nowhere. I have to control myself.

"It's fated. She chooses me. We belong together."

"Fated. You belong with her. Then why am I involved every time? And what about us? You're my best friend Archer. My brother in arms."

He storms towards me and I step back.
Calm. Be calm.
I try to keep the fire at bay. Ignore how much his words hurt.

"There is no
us
when it comes to her!" he growls.

His face is inches from mine, eyes boring into me, the vein on the side of his head pounds in time with his heart giving a pulse to his anger.

"That's how you feel? Really?" Acid in my stomach turns sour as my chest constricts and my heart rate increases. The fire inside burns higher. Betrayal hurts as much in words as actions. Watching him kiss her, wedding after wedding, always she chooses him. Always I'm on the outside.

"How I feel? That's how it is. She's mine. We wouldn't be locked into this if you never came into our lives!"

He stumbles back as my fist connects. A bruise blossoms on his face and blood flies from his mouth. He looks at me as pure rage fills his features and eyes then he charges.

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