Heart sat on the edge of the bar as the last of the patrons filed out for the night. Quietly he had been wishing today would just end, Emerald City had a very strange air to it lately as they sat on baited breath, the rest of the realm on the edge of war.
“It’s not good for you to worry so much my lord,” Anya stated as she moved from behind the bar and began sweeping the floor.
“Do you remember the last time our realm was plunged into war?” Heart replied awkwardly, memories he would sooner forget than relive to be sure.
“We were fortunate enough to avoid it” Anya replied firmly “And we will this time, Lady Aishanis orders were clear we are to remain and protect Emerald City”
“It’s my family out there Anya” Heart replied
“And we will handle it” Kane stated firmly as he strode in through the door, shortly flanked by Aishani and Stacy “Besides I need you to keep Stacy out of the hands of anyone who wants to use her”
Heart let his eyes stray slowly over Stacy with a smile before he slid from the bar to cross to them “Heart” he said extending his hand, Kane eyed him for a moment before he stepped aside clearing the remaining view for Heart to get a long look at Stacy.
“Hands off, you know the rule” Kane stated firmly
“Mmm well Sarantha wasn’t so stuck to the rules” Heart smirked only for Kane to slap him upside the head firmly
“Asshole!” Heart bit back though his tone carried the playful air of a brother
A smirk formed on her lips to the interaction between Kane and Heart while leaving the two at it and moving to Anya. “How is my favourite Drow these days?”
“He worries, it’s not good for him, nor our business” Anya replied continuing to finish her duties “But he has assigned guards to key points in the city, no one will get down here, no harm will come to us milady”
“That is the Heart we need, it’s good to know, so have you or anyone heard of the dragons joining this… There are other creatures involved in Ceremon’s side.” She turned in his direction.
Heart looked back to Aishani with a smile, “It is indeed a trying time, but if anyone knows the status of Ceremons inner forces it will be Ascal, the former leader of the Dragon Mages, though he is somewhat more guarded these days”
Kane watched for a moment “He wont soon forget he almost destroyed the whole realm, but if Ceremon has Dragon Mages we need to know before we bring an army of dragons back into the Everlands”
Heart nodded “Aishani is Queen, he cannot refuse her an audience, nor can he refuse to answer her questions, she also has the power to grant him a pardon from his previous crimes which you would need to honor”
“A small price, to pay order to assure he would be on our side.” Aishani nodded while standing beside Kane. “Show us to him. We have no time to waste.”
Heart looked to Kane with a nod “You know how this works,” he stated firmly
Kane nodded “I’ll stay put,”
Heart looked to Anya then back to Kane before looking to Aishani, alright let’s go. They crossed through the heart of the city and down into a lower area, a market of some description though you had to believe the comings and goings here were less savoury than those of the plaza above.
Finally, they arrived at what would look to be an alchemist, inside dark and smelt of mould and herbs “what brings you here Rayheart,” a voice spoke from the back behind a rather large pile of books and various oddities.
Aishani pulled up the hood of her cloak to conceal her presence though followed Heart closely. Once in the building, it was clear to her by the odor of mould and books which lay beyond. When the voice spoke she looked in the direction with a slight turn of her head. “I brought him here.” Her hands lifted to draw back her cheek sending those luscious raven dreads spilling and her golden eye was fixed on the books. “Step forth for your Queen to lay eyes upon you.”
Ascal coughed abruptly before appearing, his deep red robes did little to hide the frail face he now had, “Milady, such an honour for you to visit my humble home. Though I’m curious as to why that would be?”
A smirk formed on her lips at the sight of the man before her. “I believe you know already why I would seek out a Dragon Mage at this particular time. I apologize but I don’t have time for pleasantries. So I will cut to the chase. Does Ceremon have dragons on his side? I was told you were the individual to come to for those answers.”
Ascal scratched his chin for a moment before looking to her “He does not, there are no dragons in the Everlands,” He replied flatly “You’re husband saw to that,” It was odd the bitter tone in his voice now as he looked from Aishani to Heart then back “However I suspect he will have some of my brothers with him, and they would have the knowledge to bring dragons if that was his plan.”
Heart shifted awkwardly “So he doesn’t but there’s a good chance he will,” it wouldn’t be hard to detect the panic at the thought of dragons in the Everlands again.
“Oh you misheard me Rayheart, I said they had the knowledge, I didn’t say they had the power to do so, that takes a little more,” Ascal stopped before looking dead to Aishani “Your husband ensured those with the power almost all wound up dead, several by his hand, still with Ceremon at their back I’m sure they’ll find the power if they need it. My understanding is they have the better of you at the moment, so the power of dragons isn’t required,” There was a darkness to his voice as he uttered those last words “To bring forth a dragon blood is required, a lot of it, dragons were outlawed in the Everlands centuries ago because they couldn’t be controlled, they were rather fond of young children it seems, purity you see intrigues them, but the blood has to be spilt willingly to bring them forth, we raised our children to believe that was their birth right.”
Heart squirmed once more before a frustrated growl cut from his throat “Forgive me Aishani but there is only so much I need to hear, I’ll be outside if you need me,” He quickly extracted himself from the shop breathing deep as he tried to gather himself and any measure of control.
“So frail a mind, still he saw the horror a dragon can bring, they would need purity, several of our people and at least one elder among them to even attempt to bring dragons through, though perhaps having Elcarus magic some of that could be circumvented, it’s not like your husband was going to borrow us his power now was it? But then again Elcarus blood had to die to weaken them, and power of the Unicorns and Dires were required to drive them out, so you can see how much is required not only to bring them forth but to force them out, a power best not trifled with.”
“I see. Though this comes puzzling to me. You said the blood of an Elcarus can weaken them. But what if Elcarus blood summoned them. I am keeping things in mind for the future. I understand bad blood is between you and Kane. He had to do what he could to survive and not lose the kingdom. This placed you at odds. But a more powerful force would be to combine and eliminate a threat together. Of course with a chance of pardon…”
“Kane should take his head,” Heart snapped angrily, having now regained his composure he had returned to Aishanis side once more, “We knew it was dark magic that brought the dragons but innocent children? That’s outright wrong,” Heart sighed softly “Forgive me, I may have a reputation for been lose with my morals but, there really are worse. And he is under watch by the Royal Guards, so there is that.”
“Not defending him in the slightest but the children had to have been willing. Unfortunately, some practices by others may be the evil but also the greater evil, while to them it is common. You would not do well in my society. I did not fit well within…due to my differences.” She placed a hand on Heart’s shoulder, offering him a smirk. “It is not quite the question of morals it is a question of humanity.”
“I will return to Kane to impart or information.” She commented walking with Heart though drawing up her good to keep her identity from those in the streets.
Kane was stretched out on the bed in their inn room, his eyes closed as he quietly took in the sounds of the city outside, not a difficult task when that city was built deep in the heart of a mountain, the sounds we automatically more evident. The heart of Emerald City was far anything Kane had ever been a part of, a strange chance for him to not be the one everyone looked to, though he was alongside his wife Aishani.
He heard the steps enter and then one pair lightly move to the stairs and down the hall to stop before the door. One had to listen very closely to catch hearing of such delicate and quiet steps. He knew who it was before the knock announced his wife on the other side.
He smiled softly flicking his glance to the door “It is open my love,” he called.
Aishani entered while removing her cowl then closing the door behind her. Walking with that subtle say if her hips to guide her gently to settle in the edge of the bed. “He spoke of no dragons being on Ceremon’s side. No one having the power of such.”
Kane shifted himself sliding his head into her lap “That’s something, I trust he is none to thrilled to think the information going into my hands, still if I’m to bring dragons into the realm, it’s nice to know we will ultimate control” Kane relaxed as he felt her scent surround him, the outside falling away as he settled into the sense of his lover.
Aishani glanced down to him, caressing his face, with her nails very gently running against his scalp beneath the dark threads. “Ascal did mention that Ceremon may have some of his brothers with him, meaning that if he wished to bring dragons, that they knew how to do such.” She placed a hand on her abdomen, while there were no signs as of yet, but, soon it would be bulging with the presence of the twins growing within her. “They have the knowledge but not the power. You ensured those with the power were eliminated and for that it is a good thing given the current circumstances. My concern is Stacy, being able to uphold the power, even Aerian. Would Virra’s father get a hold of her, then it would be bait for Aerian to come and rest assured that she would? Apparently, the blood of children, purity is needed willingly to bring forth a dragon. I am concerned that Heart’s morals will ultimately push him over the edge.”
“Heart is one of few I trust with my life, when it comes to the wire, he will do what’s right,” Kane smiled his hand now resting on her stomach “Virra’s father is headed to Dentarius as we speak, an unfortunate series of events which we cannot allow to distract us right now, our next move will either turn the tide in our favour or hand victory to Ceremon, Aerian, Virra and Hades can handle Dentarius for now,” There was a tone of uncertainty in his voice as he spoke “Stacy will need to remain here, she cannot fall into their hands, she has the power to bring the realm to its knees let alone bring dragons here, she is quite literally the most powerful thing in the realm aside from the realm itself, a power best in our hands right now”
Kane fell quiet for a time his mind digesting Aishanis words as he thought their path through “She should be under heavy guiard at all times, I have faith in Hearts abilities but as a bodyguard, not so much, besides he is more likely to try bed her and call that his way of protecting her. That’s another whole set of problems we don’t need,” there was a chuckle to his words and yet his words were as serious as their situation “She needs to be protected and I see no safer place than here?”
She looked down to him then upwards with a sigh, stopping the stroking fingers through his hair to lean back. “Truth be told, we need the upper hand. But, bringing dragons would turn us into the Dragon Mages of the last war. It is a thin line, due to the fact of possibly the tides turning with the dragons turning against us. But, it is a chance we have to take. First, we need to speak to the unicorns and dire wolves to give them the option and allow them in on our plan, should they decided to join on our side. Yes, Stacy needs to be protected at all costs, granted it may be a small price to pay to leave her with Heart. But who knows, he deserves someone as well.”
“Heart isn’t the settle down type, never has been,” Kane rolled over laying flat on his back to look up at her “I wasn’t going to make a decision without everyone involved, but I don’t see too many other options, with Ceremon in the position he is I don’t see many other choices open to us and that scares the hell out of me.”
She looked down to him with a heavy sigh. “I’m the Queen of Emerald City and this does make you by rights of marriage the King. We need to do whatever needs to be done to keep the realm safe.”
“Me king? We probably shouldn’t point that out, especially to those who seem to blame me for their exile,” Kane chuckled softly “It’s always a balancing act, one move the wrong way tips the balance of power and it all comes tumbling down.”
She looked down to him, a raven brow lofted with that clear golden eye with the milky one fixed on him, groaning and falling with her back against the bed. “As I said we should speak to the unicorns and dire wolves, before bringing in the dragons. They alone are powerful beings that need to be taken into account. This will threaten the realm, especially with Ceremon in power. His experimentation and playing with natural set of things will ultimately cause the realm to tip in an unnatural fix. We have to move and move now. I never asked to be a fucking Queen, but, I take this on. I want my people to resurface in trade and economy to the surface again. But, that will NOT happen with Ceremon. Z’ress will warp and twist the ways to return to the Drowish ways of her people. The Drow here do not need that. But, we need to decide now, what is best for the realm. Dragons or not?”
“Ceremon has the power, and I’m loathed to admit we cannot match it, we need the dragons” Kane sighed softly “Perhaps with Arigaiils help, we will have a little more control, Ceremon has a near unlimited undead army, we do not”
“Who? Arigaiils?” She propped herself up on her elbows looking down to him. “I agree. Dragons. Used to protect instead of destroying. It would grant those on our side pardon for the wrong done during the Dragon Wars.”
Kane looked toward the window his eyes going distant for a while as he dug deep for the words to explain the things he was about to, “To say there are no dragons in the Everlands isn’t entirely true, this you already knew, Arigaiils, she is the dragon responsible for the destruction of Elcarus Mansion and the death of Krys and Haunted” Kane looked to Aishani “She was too weak to withdraw, but I couldn’t leave her to the others either, so I had her withdraw to the Argrian Mountains, she resides there protecting the vortex, and seeing as no one has tried to breach the vortex in over a century, we let legend say trying to get in there would result in your bones been charred and your flesh melted, an old wives tale with a small piece of truth”
Kane sighed softly “She protects the very heart of the Everlands, and I deny she exists to everyone” Kane sighed softly as he closed his eyes “We will need her help either way”
Aishani looked down to Kane after it seemed she to was in deep thought, but, caressed his face and leaned down to press her lips against his. Such expression was urgent and tender all swept into one as her tongue ensued but it was only brief. “The spiders will be on my end. We still need the dire wolves and unicorns, then we can focus on Airgaiils. In a sense, she owes you a favor.” She caressed his face as she licked her lips, perhaps, from the stain of his presence that lingered.
“We will pay them a visit once we conclude things here,” Kane smiled softly “We will need all the strength we can find to even think about trying to retake Elvera, it’s going to be a long few days my love”
She inhaled deeply with a sigh that was just as heavy a hand going to get abdomen with a gentle caress. “We just need to secure all the pieces on our side before we plan anything. Heart doesn’t twist that dragon mage and has eyes on him. I need to think about the next in line for my position on the throne. Heart has done so much and I know he would not like such. But the girl could possibly… What was her name again?”
“Anya?” Kane sounded surprised with her words “Is it safe to hand over the throne, while we cannot be here as much as would be required, you have brought stability, no one can deny you that my love” His turned now sliding to sit beside her “Having a drow with the final say on matters seem to ease their minds”
“Well. I have to be prepared if –” Aishani’s words died in her lips unable to finish while her hand rested on her stomach. “Besides I know Heart had done enough out isn’t a position for him.”
Kane looked to her “Something troubling you my love?” there was a caution in his voice that was oddly unnatural. His hands slid over hers gently “We can handle this, it just requires far more diplomacy than I I like getting us involved in, but together we will do this”
She curled her hand within his while inhaling deeply. It was a reserved expression but her golden hue with the hazy eye on him. “You are right. I’m not used to the politics.” She chuckled in that rolling purr. “Listen to me. A Queen that doesn’t like politics.”
He laughed softly his lips catching hers for a moment “ I spent a generation playing politician, I left to not be one and yet somehow here I am doing the self same thing for a whole set of other reasons” his lips caught her neck for a moment “You never came to Dentarius to play politics and I never intended to have you do so, but you did an we are, we are their last line defence and I for one intend to see the future with our children free from such trivialities” there was an odd calm in his voice now as he spoke, his eyes met hers no longer fraught with their circumstances but deep seated desire for her and their world.
Aishani growled softly as his lips caught the flesh of her neck turning to snap at him with a flash of her teeth playfully. But smirked to him. “Yes. So it seems. Then we have to secure a future for not only the realm but our children.”