dragon-860683_640-1A Union Forbidden
Book One

“She is so beautiful.”

The couple stood, looking down upon the sleeping newborn. Ly’Van smiled proudly and pulled Ka’Nae closer to him. Arms slinked about her waist as he leaned down, resting his chin atop her shoulder.

“Indeed, she is. She takes after her mother.” His softly murmured words were followed by a loving kiss upon her cheek. With a warm smile upon her lips, Ka’Nae turned her slender frame within his embrace, arms sliding up and about his neck. Rising to her tiptoes, she brushed whispered words against her husband’s lips.

“Come, my love. Let us retire outside so as not to wake her.” Lowering her arms, she laced her fingers with his, a loving smile gracing such soft lips, and led him from the cozy room Ly’Van had built for their child. Chuckling lightly, Ly’Van followed her, his gaze never straying. Her beauty never failed to amaze him, nor her ability to find beauty in all things. Quietly, they made their way through their home, retreating out into the fading light of the day.

The fall equinox had just come to pass; the air warm and crisp. Birds flitted about the branches in the nearby trees of the surrounding forest, bidding the day a farewell with their songs as a cooling breeze whispered its secrets to all it could touch. The trees surrounding the small meadow in which the quaint cottage rested, displayed a beautiful backdrop, with turning leaves of oranges, reds, and yellows. Hand in hand, they walked, taking peace and comfort in the serenity of their surroundings and the company of each other. Though, they were soon to discover that they were not alone.

There, in the middle of the meadow, stood Vaeros’Ikkan; an ancient dragon that Ka’Nae had come to be quite close to over the years. In full splendor, he reached such great heights that he rivaled the towering trees that grew in the mountains. Now he stood in elfin form, an enchantment woven into a tattoo gifted to him centuries prior by one of Ka’Nae’s ancestors, still possessing an impressive height.

His warm smile greeted the happy couple, a respectful bow given to Ly’Van before arms extended in an offered embrace to Ka’Nae. She took the offer enthusiastically, arms grasping about his waist as she hugged him tightly. Releasing his hold on his dear friend, Vaeros stepped back to acknowledge them both. “My apologies for arriving without invitation. I merely wished to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter. You must be very proud.”

Ly’Van moved to stand beside his wife, an arm sliding to rest around the small of her back. “Indeed we are, friend. She is a blessing to us.”

Vaeros nodded in agreement. “Indeed, she must be. I pray that your household flourishes and that your child be as blessed as the two of you. Never has a union such as yours taken place, nor has a child such as she been born in my long existence.”

A troubled expression passed over Ka’Nae’s features, a crease appearing between her brows. “Vaeros….”

“Ka’Nae, do not fret. I know your fears, but I assure you that your child shall always have my protection. She is special, and I foresee incredible things in her future. She will be safe from harm. You need not worry.” Ka’Nae nodded, and though her expression relaxed, she still bore worry. A child such as theirs would always be at risk of harm; borne through a union forbidden and possessing talents none yet knew. “Would you grant me a moment with your child? I wish to give her my blessings. I will not wake her.”

When nod of approval was given, Vaeros gave a slight bow and entered the cottage. It was only when he was out of sight of the couple that he allowed a worrisome expression to appear.

It was not the child he worried for. He had spoken truth when he had given his assurances the child would never come to harm. It was Ly’Van and Ka’Nae he worried for. He had already seen what would come to pass. It was not something that pleased him. Yet he knew should he give forewarning or interfere in any way, it would endanger the destiny of their most precious rarity.

Reaching the child’s room, he stood over her, a solemn expression upon his features. “My condolences, young one. I wish I could spare you the pain and loneliness that you will have, but I cannot. These things must come to pass if you are to fulfill your destiny, though it grieves me to allow such to happen.” Whispered words hung heavily in the air, the weight of his knowledge bearing down upon him and filling him with sorrow.

The fate of the child’s parents was inevitable, and to prevent it from happening would only bring about the destruction of Aldavir and all within. Their future depended on this one child; a child created from a forbidden union between races in accordance to current law. A child many would attempt to kill because of her bloodlines.

Vaeros rested a hand lightly upon the crown of the child’s head, obscuring the red tendrils that covered it, and leaned down to whisper softly into her ear.

“I do give you this blessing, child of Aldavir, savior of all. ‘Child with locks of dancing flame, I bless upon thee a name of Ama’Vain. A day will come of roaming far, when vital trials you must take part. For this world, you must save, offenders reaping what they sow. Only the day you achieve these goals, will fire give way to snow. Go with the blessings of the ancients, new one. For in your future, a great battle must be won.’”

As he chanted, a gentle glow radiated from beneath his palm. A pale, silvery light spread until it had engulfed the sleeping child, wisps of red giving way just briefly to white.

As the glowing light faded, Vaeros quietly exited the sleeping child’s chambers and returned outside to the waiting couple. “I thank you for allowing me to give your daughter my blessings.”

Ly’Van nodded his acknowledgment as Ka’Nae voiced their approval. “Of course, Vaeros. You know you are welcome here always, and we are grateful for your blessings. There is no higher honor.”

Vaeros smiled down upon her, a hint of sadness in his eyes. “I must take my leave, now. You both must be weary and wishing to return to your daughter.” Agreeing, the couple bid their friend farewell.

After he had left, Ka’Nae sighed and leaned into her husband. “He is right. Vaeros would never allow harm to come to our child. I shouldn’t worry so. I do so miss him terribly, though.” Ly’Van gave a reassuring squeeze, fully understanding. After their union, the council of the elder dragons had come to the decision that Ka’Nae would no longer be permitted to be a priestess among them. They disapproved of her union with a Lythari, claiming it would taint the bloodline.

Vaeros had not been present during the ruling. When asked, he merely became subdued, brushing the question aside. Ly’Van hadn’t been happy with the decision and knew how difficult it had been for Ka’Nae to give up the only life she had ever known. He thought himself at fault, but she was adamant that she had chosen correctly and would choose him again and forever. Her love for him surpassed all else, rising against the calling of her bloodlines and ignoring the pleas of the Elders. She was happy. And so, he was too.

They had chosen to live a few day’s journey from Ka’Nae’s native village at Vaeros’ suggestion. They lived there peacefully, bothered by no one, and away from judgement. Vaeros was the only one who came to visit; times which gave Ka’Nae great joy.

The stars were now out, twinkling against the blackened backdrop of the sky. His gaze strayed to raven silk tresses, and Ly’Van gave his beloved a small nudge. “Come, Ka’Nae. Let us retire inside and check on our precious one.” She nodded her agreement, her eyes moving from the night sky to look upon his handsome features. He considered her alluring azure hues for a moment before stepping away from her and giving a tug to her hand, leading her indoors to look in on their sleeping child.

Days passed, and life went about as usual. Days were full of cooing, time spent in the meadow and loving their daughter. Days spent in curiosity, wondering after which of them the child would take; the form of the Lythari, running with the wolves…or the talents of Ka’Nae’s bloodline, communing with the ancient dragons and obtaining all their knowledge.

Vaeros had come to visit twice more, though, neither Ly’Van or Ka’Nae had been aware of his presence. He remained hidden, watching and waiting. He was unsure when his visions were to come to pass, but he knew it would be far too soon for his liking. He needed to ensure that with what was to transpire, no harm would come to the child.

•••••••••

Five weeks had passed since the birth of Ama’Vain when the family’s quiet and peaceful life came crashing down around them. Winter was nearing, and the family had already retired for the night. The moon was high in the sky when Ly’Van and Ka’Nae were awoken by frantic knocking upon their door. Ka’Nae’s eyes went wide with worry, clutching the blanket to her chest. “Ly, who would come calling now?”

Lips set grimly, Ly’Van rose out of the bed and made his way toward the door. “I do not know. Quickly. Go see to the child. I will call to you.” Ka’Nae scrambled from the bed and rushed to their daughter’s room as Ly’Van cautiously approached their front door. A sheathed sword leaned upon the wall near the door, and he quietly drew it from its scabbard. Drawing in breath, he flung the door open and thrust his sword forward in a fluid motion.

Before him stood Vaeros, blade resting at his throat. “Vaeros! Apologies. I had not known it was you.” Ly’Van apologized as he lowered his sword, bringing it to rest at his side as he inquired of the dragon. “What is your purpose here this time of night?”

Vaeros gazed upon the Lythari before him, expression solemn. Pushing past him, Vaeros entered the cottage and glanced about. “Where is Ka’Nae? Call for her.”

Startled, Ly’Van stood in silence for a moment before regaining his head and whirled around to glare at Vaeros. “Tell me why you have come. You offend me with your brazen behavior.”

The dragon turned to Ly’Van, regarding him silently. “Call for her. Have her bring your child.”

Ly’Van took a guarded step forward, raising the sword still within his grasp slightly. “No. Not until you have told me why you are here.”

“Ly? Vaeros? What is going on?”

Startled, both men looked to the far side of the room to see Ka’Nae standing in the doorway, a blanketed bundle held closely within her arms and a concerned expression upon her features.

Sparing a quick glance to Ly’Van, Vaeros stepped toward Ka’Nae, sorrow in his eyes. “Ka’Nae, I beg your forgiveness, but I have come to give you warning.”

Gaze fixed upon the intruding male, Ly’Van moved past and took his place by his wife, speaking before she had a chance to respond. “Warning of what?”

Looking from Ka’Nae to Ly’Van, irritation splayed upon his face as his eyes hardened. “Your people. They are coming for you.”

A heavy silence fell upon the room, broken only when Ka’Nae gasped. “Ly’Van…what will we do? We cannot let them find the child.” Vaeros stood quietly, waiting.

“No. No, they can’t find her. Ka’Nae, go grab what you need and leave with Vaeros. It is me they are after. They do not need to find out about you or her.”

Vaeros sighed, shaking his head as Ka’Nae rushed from the room to gather provisions for the child. “Ly’Van…”

“Vaeros, I need you to take my family from here. Take them to your home, or anywhere they will be safe. I will lead my father’s men away from here,” Ly’Van mumbled, his grip tightening upon his sword. To have been gone so long avoiding his kin, finding a woman he loved and starting a family only to have it all taken from him when he had finally obtained happiness. His instinct told him to stand his ground and fight, taking out as many as he could before he fell. But logic dictated that he flee, leaving a trail for the Lythari to follow just long enough for his family to get to safety.

Vaeros spoke as Ka’Nae reentered the room. “Ly’Van. I’m sorry, but I cannot take them.”

“What!? You cannot, or you will not?”

Sharp gaze fixated upon the Lytharian male, a growl of warning rumbling deep within his throat. “I cannot. I cannot risk starting a war between your kind and mine. Even if I would risk such, I still could not protect your family. Not both.”

Eyes filled with fear, Ka’Nae stepped forward, placing a hand gently on Vaeros’ arm. “Speak, Vaeros. Speak truth.”

With a sigh of resignation, he spoke, his tone sorrowful and full of regret. “Please. Forgive me. But I cannot protect you. I can only protect the child. Those who come know of your existence. They have your scent. You will be hunted even should I take you.”

Ka’Nae weighed his words carefully. After several moments of silence, she nodded. “Very well. Vaeros, I beg of you to take our child from here. Hide her. Protect her well. I shall leave with my husband.”

“Ka’Nae! No….”

Raising her hand, she silenced her husband. “Ly’Van. It is the only way. They know of me. They will track me. She will be safest away from us both. Please, trust in Vaeros to protect her. We can return for her later. Is that not so, Vaeros?”

The dragon stood near, patiently waiting as Ka’Nae reasoned with the agitated Lytharian male.
“It is so, Ka’Nae…” he murmured, though he knew otherwise. He knew it would not be so. The child would never see her parents again. Or at least, not in the future he had foreseen. He regretted speaking an untruth, but he knew if he did not, Ka’Nae would never leave her child and all would be forsaken.

Ly’Van sighed in defeat, shoulders sagging. “Very well. Give her to him.”

At Ka’Nae’s hesitation, Vaeros turned and walked toward the door. “You have time to give your farewells and blessings. It would be best for me to fly her from here, lest we be overtaken should they catch her scent. I will be outside when you are ready.” With that he exited the cottage, the tattoo upon his chest already glowing brightly as his enchantment began to release him from his bonds and return him to his natural form as he left the couple to give finals words to their infant child.

“Ly’Van. How could this happen?”

Sword still in grasp, he wrapped his free arm around the tearful Ka’Nae in a futile attempt to comfort her.

“I do not know, my heart, but it has.” Ka’Nae grasped more tightly to the bundled child, a sob escaping. “’Nae, fret not. As you said, she will be safest with the dragon. We will fetch her later when all is well. Come now. He is waiting and time runs short.” Gently, he led her from the cottage and out to the waiting Vaeros, unknowing that this would be the last time they would ever see him or their home.

“Please. Please take care of her. I plead of you,” a tearful Ka’Nae begged, placing her precious gift within the clawed hand of the large dragon.

His piercing golden gaze regarded her solemnly, scaled head bowing with acknowledgement and promise. Once he had the child secured within his grasp and tucked to his chest, he hesitated no longer, as massive wings spread and thrusted powerfully. Launching into the night sky, he didn’t so much as spare a glance back to the couple staring after him, knowing it would only be moments before they were overtaken by the hunters sent by Ly’Van’s father.

Down below, Ly’Van grasped Ka’Nae by the arm, urgency in his voice. “Ka’Nae! We must go now. There is nothing more for us to do here. Let us leave.” With a final glance to the sky, she spun around and began to run, following her husband from the meadow and into the forest.

They had only made it a few miles from their home before Ly’Van slowed and came to a halt. No words were needed; she already knew. The total and complete silence of the surrounding forest told them that they were not alone. “Ka’Nae. Run. Leave here. I will fend them off for as long as I am able.”

With a saddened smile appearing upon her lips, she took his hand, lacing her fingers with his. “No. If they take us, they will take us together. Our daughter is safe. That is all that matters.”

He couldn’t argue with her. Her determination surpassed even that of the bravest warriors, and it only made him love her more. “Together, then.”

Within moments, they were surrounded. Lytharian wolves emerged from the trees, their howls rising in the air. The largest of them stepped forward in his elfin form, clad in the golden armor of the royal house. “Ly’Van. So good to see you again, big brother. Father has been worried.” The young prince’s lips twisted into a cruel sneer, gaze straying to the woman before him, traveling the length of her frame.

Narrowing his eyes, Ly’Van stepped protectively in front of Ka’Nae. “Stay your gaze from her, Filtiarn. Your quarrel is with me. She is of no consequence to you.”

Filtiarn looked to the ground, chuckling as he slowly circled around the couple, the toes of his boots scuffing against the ground. “Oh, my dear brother. She is of consequence. Father requires the presence of you both. Alive…. or however I am able to deliver you to him.” The underlying threat was clear. Looking up once more, Filtiarn moved closer to Ka’Nae. Gloved hand arose to stroke at her raven tresses. “Such a beauty this one. It is too bad she is dragon filth. Perhaps father will see her fit to be my personal chambermaid.”

Ly’Van would hear no more. His brother had touched his woman, insulted her, then insulted not only him but his honor. Without warning, he leapt forward against the restraining hand of Ka’Nae, sword raised and intent clear. The hunters surrounding them leapt forward in the same instant, growls and snarls filling the air.

Filtiarn, cruel smile of triumph displayed, leapt back as he drew his own sword in defense. The abrasive sound of metal clashing against metal echoed throughout the area. “The great and powerful Ly’Van has a weakness after all. How far you have fallen, brother.”

Ly’Van snarled in response, muscles rippling beneath bronzed skin as his wolf fought for freedom. Sharp mental command kept his wolf at bay. He knew he would be of no use to Ka’Nae or her protection should he allow its freedom. He pushed his brother back, sword arm raising to bring his weapon down upon his opponent’s head once more. Filtiarn chuckled as he twirled away from the attack, lowering his sword as he allowed the pack to surge forward before him.

“Coward!” Ly’Van bellowed, sword slashing furiously at the hunters surrounding him.

Chuckling, Filtiarn sheathed his sword. “Now, brother. You insult me with such accusation. You have lost this battle, and in such undignified manner, may I add.” Ly’Van disappeared, overtaken by those who were once his kin. A cry of rage and intangible pain was released before all fell silent.

Ka’Nae, having been ambushed and now held by a Lytharian warrior on either side, stared in frozen horror. Slowly did the wolves back away to reveal Ly’Van, fallen and bloodied. “Tsk. You should have come quietly, brother. Now this is how I must deliver you to father.” Filtiarn sighed. Turning away, he beckoned to those who stood in their humanoid forms. “Bring them.”

Ka’Nae was in shock. Her beloved lay before her, still and broken.
“Ly….Van….” She struggled to break free of her captors as Ly’Van’s body was carelessly picked up and dragged away, the air filling with Ka’Nae’s piercing scream of pain and anguish….
_________________________________

Vaeros flew fast and hard, taking special care not to jostle the infant as they traveled. He ignored the screams that echoed faintly through the night air, knowing that getting the child to safety was far more important than rescuing his friend. Though, it pained him to continue. Elongated neck craned downward as he flew, allowing  him to glance at the precious bundle he carried.

Returning his gaze before him, he let himself become lost in thought. His vision was first and foremost in his mind. Would all that he had seen truly come to pass? Was this infant child as important as the vision foretold? There then came the matter of her safety. Where would he take her? There was no place in Aldavir for her to go where she would be safe.
No. She could not stay in this world.

Banking to the west, he made his way toward the Temple of Ahnvae. Ravaged by time and neglect, the once grandeur temple had become nothing more than a pile of ruins. Under normal circumstances, it would be a suitable place to take refuge in. However, he couldn’t risk discovery by comings and goings to tend to the child’s needs as she grew.

No, he had a different plan in mind. Deep beneath the ground, long forgotten, was a hidden gateway. Aldavir contained only two known gateways that could take those who used them from this world to the mortal world. One was in the Capitol of Amsióhde, about a two-day journey by horseback to the Northwest of the temple. The other, located in the mountains of which he lived, in Lugh Nahn. Both were far too dangerous at this moment, as well as heavily guarded. He would never be able to pass through the gateways undetected.

The sky was just beginning to lighten, streaks of orange appearing in the sky when he reached the temple. A soft green glow overtook his form as he began his descent, shape slowly changing. By the time he touched the ground, the massive form of the dragon was gone and was replaced by that of his elf. Still cradling the child to his chest, he made his way inside the temple ruins and down through its hidden passageways, to the forgotten gateway and the world on the other side where Ama’Vain would begin her new life…

(End)

Copyright 2017 to Gypsy Maylis

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