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One Hundred Eight
“I have received a letter from my father.”
Iain had been stirring his oatmeal and he paused to look at her as he raised an eyebrow. “Shatris, you don’t have to make it sound like this is some proclamation of doom. I know you have a letter. I brought you that letter yesterday after I visited your father.”
Shatris stuck out her tongue at him. Months of living with him and his clan had made her much less formal in her dealings with everyone. “But you don’t know what’s in the letter.”
“I suspect I’m about to find out,” Iain muttered. Zilvra snickered softly from her seat at the breakfast table.
“Father asked me for a description of you as a dragon so he would know what kind of dragon you are. I can’t give him one since I haven’t seen you as a dragon yet. Are you as impressive as your trophy room suggests you should be?”
Iain frowned. “I don’t keep trophies. That way lies the psychopath, and I don’t want to be one of those. What trophy room are you talking about?”
“I’ve seen it too,” Zilvra said quietly. “The kobolds took me to see it. I think they set it up for you.” She smiled at him. “And I would like to see what you look like as a dragon too, if I could.”
“We’ll do the big reveal after breakfast,” Iain shook his head slowly. “And after that, I’d like to see this trophy room that I don’t know about.”
“Has Laelra seen you as a dragon?”
Iain shrugged. “She’s got a constant true sight ability. It’s how she learned I was a dragon in the first place. But I’m not sure what she actually sees since with it. She’s hasn’t offered to tell me what she sees and I haven’t bothered to ask. But, no, she has not seen me transformed.”
“If you will let me use true sight on you,” Zilvra said, “I will pray for it tonight and describe what I see.”
Iain looked thoughtful for a few seconds before nodding. “I will allow it.”
Zilvra smiled. “Thank you.”
“Eat quickly,” Shatris said. “I want to see him.”
“Stand here,” Iain said to the two elf women. “I’ll go over there and shift. After that you can come over and examine me closely, if you want to.” They were outside and a decent distance from any of the animal pens. They were also downwind of the stable, so Iain didn’t have to be concerned with a feisty silver pegasus colt trying to pick a fight with him.
“How closely can we examine you,” Shatris asked curiously.
“As closely as you want, with the exception that nobody gets to cut me open.” Iain grinned. “If it gets too personal, I’ll suggest we adjourn to my bedroom. My bed is more than big enough for the three of us and I take responsibility for my children.”
Shatris looked uncomprehendingly at him for a second before flushing bright red. “Ah, that probably won’t be necessary,” she muttered.
Zilvra laughed. “Is that how Laelra got you into bed?”
“No. Laelra approached it like many drow females do. She asked if I was interested and I was. In all truth, I don’t like being touched by people I don’t know. I had some bad things happen to me in the past,” he grimaced. “They were so bad that even a priestess of the Spider Queen would have to work very hard to even come close to what happened to me then.”
“Don’t ever say that to one of them. She will take it as a challenge.”
Iain smiled coldly. “I know she will. She might want to also keep in mind that every single person who was involved in those events where bad things were done to me is now dead.” He gave a mental shake. “Anyhoo, you can examine me more closely if you want.” He turned and loped away from them until he had plenty of room and turned before shifting to his full sized form. He stretched and then laid down. “Ladies, you may approach.”
Both of them soon stood in front of him. “I have not heard of any dragon with your colors and size,” Shatris said. “What kind of dragon are you?”
“We call ourselves the People.” Iain chuckled. “Kind of like lots of other sentient beings call themselves.”
“But what does that sound like in your language?”
“The language of the People uses a range of sound that you can’t produce with your vocal cords. And to mangle our name is considered a grievous insult, so I’m not going to try to teach it to you.”
Zilvra walked down to his hips. “I have never seen a dragon before and so I don’t know how you compare to others.” She looked at Shatris. “How does he compare to the other dragons you have examined?”
The moon elf looked slightly embarrassed. “I’ve seen a couple of golds flying overhead, but nothing like this. I have studied them, however, and none of the drawings or paintings we have in Keltormir show a dragon like this one.” She looked up at Iain. “My studies suggest you’re larger than most dragons.”
“I am. Like most dragons, I will never stop growing, but only a few of the oldest golds and reds approach my size. Most of those become pretty clumsy fliers, too.”
“Because of their size?”
Iain nodded. “That and a dragon that big and old usually has a bunch of servants to cater to it so it doesn’t tend to get a lot of exercise except for the occasional turn around its caves to look at its possessions.” Shatris made a motion asking him to lower his head and Iain complied, folding his forehands up and laying his head down on them. “For the golds and other metallics, and for the chromatic dragon mages who get magic allowing them to change into a humanoid form for extended periods, it can be even worse. They don’t get weaker because they’re not in their dragon form, but they get into the mindset of not using their dragon form. That means when they do become a dragon, they’re sometimes not as used to it as they should be, and so they have problems when they shift. Just like for everyone else, skills not used tend to atrophy.”
Zilvra was looked at his hind foot. “Is that likely to happen to you?”
“I’m working to get stronger every day, so no. I tend to spread my time evenly between several forms, including this one.” He chuckled softly. “And the reason you haven’t seen me doing it, along with everyone else here, is because I train somewhere else. It’s not any better than here, but there I don’t have to concern myself with accidentally squashing someone who is clan or a guest while I’m destroying things around me.”
“Is that what you do during your personal time,” Zilvra asked.
“That’s part of what I do then. I also study my magic, research, martial arts and work on various magic projects during that time too. I’m also working on my drawing skills since they’ll help when I’m writing my magical books or adding to my spellbooks.”
Shatris frowned. “The way you say martial arts makes me think you’re talking about something different from the training we all do.”
“It is. I know some forms of unarmed combat and, just like my other martial skills, I practice those regularly. I also work to become stronger physically, so I lift weights and do various other strengthening exercises.” His head lifted and turned to look back at Zilvra. “If either of you are interested in that sort of thing, I do have some free weights here that you can use.”
“I would like to see them,” Zilvra said as she ran her hands over his scales. “In my society, if you don’t get stronger then you soon become a victim.”
“When we’re done here, I’ll show the weight room to you.”
“I thought you wanted to see this trophy room.”
“I do.” Iain shifted to his elf form. “But I’ll have Quick Bite show it to me so I can express my appreciation of what the kobolds have done properly and to the appropriate authorities.”
Shatris’ eyes widened. “Something in your voice just made me shiver.”
Iain smiled amusedly. “That’s because you have a strong survival drive.”
“I’m sure she means well.”
“I’m sure of that too.” Iain took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Let me take you to the weight room and show you how the equipment there works so nobody gets hurt in some freak accident.”
“We were not keeping this from you, master,” Quick Bite said in a defensive tone as they stopped in front of a pair of stone doors. Each was ten feet high and ten feet wide and lines showed where carvings were planned for the surface of the doors.
“If that’s true,” Iain’s voice was mild, “then I don’t remember when you told me about this during our weekly talks about new, ongoing and completed projects that the kobolds and dwarves are working on. That’s odd, because my memory is usually much better than that.” He turned to face the silver dragonwrought kobold. “If you aren’t keeping this from me, what exactly are you doing?” Quick Bite started to look away and Iain cocked his head. “I’d like an answer, please. While I am not Zartalymere, I am starting to lose patience with you over this and I’d rather not lose my temper too.”
Quick Bite muttered something and Iain smiled slightly. “This started because of him doesn’t mean anything to me. Please explain.”
“Master, this started because of Zartalymere.”
“Please put that into some context so I can understand it, Quick Bite.”
The silver kobold’s wings rustled. “While the tribe served him, we thought he was a good master. Now that we serve you, we know that he was not, and it made us angry that he treated us the way he did.” Her voice rose and a thread of anger entered it. “We are dragon too!” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Eirian found out how angry we are and gave us his skull as a totem. She said we could use it to work through,” she paused and continued carefully, obviously speaking from memory, “our collective antipathy towards our former slave owner and his ongoing abuse and excesses until Master executed him and freed us.”
“Eirian said that? It sounds more like what Aurum might say.”
“Aurum did bring us the skull and said those words, but I thought they were from Eirian,” Quick Bite admitted. “We took the skull and built a room here to house it so we could come and yell at it and hit it with sticks.”
Iain started chuckling. “Is that what I’m going to find?”
“No, master. Viersunuth decided to put Tendram’s skull in here so she could gloat over it and we built a place for it. Then Eirian brought us the rest of the skulls and had us place them here too.”
“Rest of? How many spare dragon skulls do we have kicking around?” Iain steeled himself and opened the door. It was nearly a foot thick but perfectly hung, so once it was moving, it opened easily until it thudded into the stop built into the hinges. The room was huge, even bigger than his bedroom. A quarter of it was filled with dragon skulls laid out in neat rows, all of which were facing the main aisle. Some were on flat white marble stands and placed side by side while others had been mounted on raised white marble stands and tilted so the skulls looked like they were peering down at the observer. The stands had been carved and the carvings had been inlaid with jet and silver. The skulls themselves had been carefully cleaned and preserved and gleamed brightly in the magical lighting that illuminated the room. Iain caught a flash of color and looked more closely at the nearest skull, that of a blue he'd killed. The eye sockets had been fitted with a blue stone that had been cut to look vaguely like eyes. He looked at the next one, that of a red. Its eyes were rubies. Different types of skulls each had its own eye color. He did a quick count of the skulls. “Are all of the skulls of the dragons we killed in here?”
“Yes, master.” Quick Bite drew herself up proudly. “We serve you and here is the proof of just how great a hunter you are.”
“Why do they have colored eyes?”
“Not everyone can tell what dragon each skull came from, master, so we gave them eyes of the color that they are.”
“What is the blue gem?”
“That is lapis lazuli, master. We found a rich vein of it.”
“And the one you used for the white dragons?”
“We used white moonstone for them.”
Iain looked around the room, counting as he did. All of the skulls of the dragons they’d harvested were here. “I understand what you’ve done, but why did you do it?”
“We are proud of you, master. Zartalymere had killed three dragons and he bragged about his kills constantly. This is proof to other dragons that you are a great hunter and the most powerful dragon in all the mountains!”
“I haven’t fought all the dragons in the mountains, so there is no way we can know if I am the most powerful dragon living around here,” Iain said. A thought occurred to him and he turned to look at Quick Bite. “Has Laraxithious seen this?”
“He has been here several times, master. He comes here when he visits to gloat over Zartalymere’s skull and the skull of the black dragon he helped you kill.”
“I guess that makes sense.” Iain looked over the room once more. “Why is there so much empty space here?”
Quick Bite laughed. “Master is not finished hunting dragons. The head of every dragon that you will kill belongs here to prove your superiority. When master fills this room with skulls, we will make another room for the ones after that. This room cannot be expanded without the possibility of cave ins becoming too much of a danger.”
Iain shook his head amusedly. “I suppose I can use this to try and keep my ego in check since it’s a reminder that death comes for everyone eventually and to always be careful.” He turned to face Quick Bite. “I still think you were trying to keep me from finding out about this for some reason and I don’t like that.” The kobold ducked her head and looked at the ground as he continued. “I’m not going to do anything about it,” her head came up to regard him curiously, “this time.”
“You are not upset, master?”
“As we both know, I’m not. I would not have done this for myself, but I can appreciate why you felt you should. I am glad that you and the other kobolds regard me so highly, but it could have caused some problems if I’d decided, thinking that this area hadn’t been dug out, to do some excavating and caused someone to be hurt or killed when I accidentally made the roof collapse. Are you keeping any other secrets like this from me or are you aware of any secrets like this that anyone else is keeping from me?”
“Now, I know I said that I’m not going to punish anyone for this, but there is going to be a price that has to be paid. In three days it will be the waxing half moon. When the next waxing half moon after that is overhead in the sky, you are going to give me a complete set of drawings for all of our tunnels and the portion of the Underdark that they extend into.”
Quick Bite’s mouth dropped. “Master, it will take longer than that to.”
Iain kept speaking over her. “You may get help from others to complete this task. However, complete it you will, and you will complete it in the allotted time or I am not going to be happy with you.”
Quick Bite dropped her head submissively. “Yes, master.”
“When you give me those drawings,” Iain added, “I will go over them with you and add the caverns that I’ve excavated that you don’t know about yet.”
Her head snapped up as her mouth dropped. “Master has been digging?”
“Yes, I have.”
“We dig for master!”
Iain chuckled at the outrage in her voice. “I am a dragon, Quick Bite. I am not going to let people know where I keep my treasure. That would be kind of stupid.”
Quick Bite cocked her head. “But we dug the room where you keep your hoard, master. It is not a secret.”
“No, you dug the room where I keep the public portion of my hoard, Quick Bite.” He waved a hand at the skulls. “Do you think that I didn’t loot everything these dragons had when I defeated them?”
“Master, we thought you had spent most of their treasure before we came into your service.”
“And that is exactly what you and people like Laraxithious are supposed to think.” His teeth showed in his smile. “But it isn’t what I’ve done because I’m still in the phase of accumulating the wealth I’m going to need. The major spending phase won’t be starting for at least another century. Now, I did spend a large amount of it in investments in various enterprises among the elves and humans, but I expect to get back far more than I invested and so it’s still part of the accumulation phase. Besides, I didn’t spend more than a quarter of my private hoard in those investments.”
Quick Bite laughed. “Master is very cunning to keep secrets like this.”
“I like to think I am too,” Iain said. “There is one other thing, Quick Bite.” He looked around the room. “This is not an urgent item, but I want you to move the skulls around in here so you can put in pillars and whatever reinforcements that are needed so this room has proper roof support. That way we can keep expanding it to keep all of the skulls I collect in here. I expect I’ll be hunting evil dragons in the area for the foreseeable future.” He smiled. “That way we can definitely impress the people we let see this room, instead of having to take them to more than one trophy room for skulls.”
Quick Bite regarded him shrewdly. “For skulls, master? Does that mean there will be rooms for other trophies?”
“Some dragons like to collect artwork of various types and I have acquired a goodly amount of it from some of the ones we’ve eliminated. I think a gallery where I can show off the best pieces from my collection would be rather appropriate, don’t you? Art is supposed to be appreciated, after all.”
“What about the magical items we’ve collected?”
Iain shook his head. “Not everyone who sees our collections will be clan and I don’t see why I should help visiting thieves pick out the things they want to try to steal by putting my best magic on display for them.”
“We can surround them with traps, master.”
Iain shook his head. “We might do that with some items I won’t miss that much, but not my best magic. But that’s for the future. Right now you have some maps to make and not a whole lot of time to make them in. You do want to finish this on time, so get hot, young lady.”
The beam of white light speared from Marguerite’s horn and shot downrange to hit the boulder she was aiming at a hundred meters from where she stood with Dominique, Zareen, Gomez, Wednesday and Mamma. The boulder exploded with a roar and bits of rock flew everywhere. A few pattered to the ground around the Unicorn and the others.
Gomez clapped his hands together. “Bravo!”
“I didn’t know you knew hyper beam,” Dominique muttered to Marguerite.
Marguerite smiled. “I intended it to be a surprise for one of you on a challenge day.”
Dominique shook her head. “Of course you did.”
They were in a national park not too far from the Addams’ home. After arriving, they’d deliberately worked to find a location well off the traveled trails so they could give demonstrations of some spells and techniques.
“Is this spell one that I could learn to cast,” Wednesday asked curiously.
“It’s not a spell,” Dominique replied. “Pokegirls have innate abilities that vary from breed to breed. It isn’t cast, either. And you can’t learn pokegirl abilities unless you’re a pokegirl.”
“Could I become a pokegirl?”
Dominique shrugged. “You could, but it would make you have all of our weaknesses as well as our strengths. Going feral is one of those weaknesses. And in the process of becoming a pokegirl, your genetics would be changed and you would no longer have the Addams bloodline.”
Marguerite looked at the Archmage. “Could you design a spell that produces a hyper beam?”
Dominique frowned for a moment. “Probably. I’d have to learn the technique first.”
Wednesday eyed her curiously. “You don’t know it?”
“It’s a brute force combat technique and I don’t normally use those because of the problems associated with them.”
Wednesday raised an eyebrow. “What problems are there?”
“It’s too indiscriminate. If you’re too close to the impact site, you can get caught in the blast or in the secondary effects of the blast. In this case the secondary effects would be the shrapnel thrown out by the rock when it exploded.” She grinned. “It’s great if my enemies get caught in the blast, but not me, so I use different spells or techniques to achieve a similar result without putting my fair skin in so much danger.”
“I wouldn’t use it on a target that was that close,” Marguerite said.
“Nobody with a clue would,” Dominique noted. “However, I have seen a hyper beam get intercepted by a pokegirl with enhanced speed accidentally blocking the bream with her body and she was way too close to the user when it happened. The blast engulfed the user and, as a result, she was stunned and out of the fight for nearly a minute, leaving me and the rest of her team to have to handle her targets. It also caught her tamer and he almost died.”
“Was that tamer a Pendragon?”
Dominique nodded. “He was.”
“What is a Pendragon,” Mamma asked.
“It is an order of knighthood that I was a member of for most of my life.”
“How long was that,” Gomez asked.
“I’m somewhere around three hundred years old and I was a pokegirl in the Order of Pendragon up until a few years ago. Iain got me released from it.”
Wednesday cocked her head. “You couldn’t leave?”
“No, I could not. First, understand that we don’t live on the world where I was part of the Order, so things are different now. On that world, for the most part, pokegirls are property. That was also true in the Order. As property, I couldn’t choose my tamer and I couldn’t leave or disobey an order from any knight. Only my tamer, my owner, could countermand an order given to me by another knight.”
“Queen,” Zareen asked.
“Of course Queen Ygerna could countermand an order from one of her knights,” Dominique said.
“I know that name,” Wednesday’s voice was thoughtful. “I can’t remember where from, though.”
“The English version of Ygerna is Igraine, and in Arthurian Legend she is the mother of King Arthur,” Dominique explained.
Wednesday nodded. “But she was a duchess, not a queen.” She frowned. “No, she became a queen after marrying Uther Pendragon.”
Dominique smiled. “In the Arthurian legends, yes. However, the Queen Ygerna that I served was not human. She’s Sidhe and was the last surviving Sidhe on the world we came from. Her knights were humans and pokegirls.”
“That’s very complicated,” Mamma said.
“To make things even more complicated,” Marguerite added, “there are many worlds that are almost identical. On each of them is a Queen Ygerna who is Sidhe. One of those Ygerna analogs traveled to the world where we live now and she is one of Iain’s wives and one of our clan sisters.”
“We have Sidhe blood,” Mamma announced proudly.
“Let me guess,” Marguerite said with a smile, “you’re Unseelie.”
Mamma nodded. “My great great great great grandmother Rhonwen was half Unseelie Sidhe.”
“That could explain a lot,” Dominique mused. “Sidhe blood tends to be dominant and could be the reason your family has such powerful witches.”
Mamma grinned. As old and as frail as she sometimes seemed, her teeth were healthy and strong looking. “The Frumps are known for their witches. Our curses are among the most powerful of any of the Addams lines.”
“Can you show me spells that I can use,” Wednesday asked.
Dominique frowned. “With your permission, I’m going to cast a spell on you, Wednesday. I want you to close your eyes and tell me what you see when I ask you to.”
“What will this do?”
“It will give me a rough estimate of your magical potential so I can consider what spells to show you.”
Mamma gave them a curious look. “You did not use this spell on me before showing me some spells.”
“You’re not being considered for addition to the family,” Dominique replied. “I don’t care where your limits are. Wednesday may become one of my students and so I do care about her potential.”
“If I marry Iain, will Mamma become part of your family,” Wednesday asked.
Dominique regarded Mamma for several seconds. “Normally, no, she would remain an outlander. However, we are aware of just how tightly knit your family is and so it’s likely that your immediate relatives, including Mamma, would be eligible to become outer clan. If that happens, I would consider teaching her what she can learn. If they don’t become clan, then we might still work something out for lessons, but that would depend on my availability. I warn you that I’m usually very busy with clan projects.”
Marguerite glanced at Dominique. If they have Sidhe blood, would Ygerna be willing to awaken their power and make them fully Sidhe? That would increase their power substantially.
She might. I know she would like there to be more Sidhe in the clan. We can’t speak for her, though, so don’t suggest it to them right now.
“Now,” Dominique said, “please close your eyes, Wednesday.” She did and Dominique murmured a spell. “Without opening your eyes, tell me what you see.”
“I see a ball that turns into different colors. At first, the colors were changing very quickly but now they are starting to change more slowly. They are still slowing.” Her face went placid as she focused inwards. “Now it’s stopped.”
“What color do you see?”
“I see Addams violet.”
Dominique frowned. “I don’t know that color.”
Mamma chuckled. “We Addams see more colors than you do. Addams purple is the color we can see that birds and insects can see, but not people who are not Addams. It’s a whitish blue or violet.”
Marguerite’s eyes narrowed slightly. Dominique, she said with her twee, according to what I see in Wednesday’s mind, Mamma is right and she can see a wider spectrum than can normal humans. What she is describing as Addams violet is in the high ultraviolet range, but I can’t be more precise since I don’t see in ultraviolet.
I see. Dominique smiled at Mamma. “I had wondered about why your family lost their wizards and I suspect that the real reason that your family lost their wizards is because they didn’t pass on their knowledge to others. And I think that because the test spell I used on Wednesday tells me that she has the potential to be a rather powerful formal mage. She just doesn’t have the training.”
“It isn’t because the blood thinned too much,” Mamma asked
“Don’t be offended, but before I answer that there is a question I need to ask.”
“Ask and be damned,” Gomez yelled.
Mamma shot him an annoyed look. “Ignore him, dearie, and I doubt your questions can offend an Addams. What do you want to know?”
“Iain told me that your family is unusually inbred for this place and time. Is that true?”
Mamma chuckled. “We are not as inbred as the Hapsburgs or the pharaohs were, but many feel we marry too closely to our own blood. Many who are outsiders, that is.”
“Then it is very doubtful that your wizard blood thinned to the point of uselessness. It’s likely that many Addams could become formal mages but just never had the chance to decide if they wanted to learn the necessary skills.”
“Will Wednesday be able to learn to be a wizard,” Gomez asked.
“If she wants to and is willing to put in the study, yes. One of our mages would be more than willing to have her become her student.”
“Not Iain,” Mamma asked.
“As far as I am aware, Iain has never taken a student. He has too many other responsibilities to have ever had the spare time to spend on giving a student a complete education in magic. However, there are several people, including me, who could be available to teach her.”
“That’s only if I join your family, is it not?”
“Yes,” Marguerite spoke before Dominique could. “Addams understand the concept of the outlander and, to us, you are an outlander.”
“That is the only intelligent way to live,” Gomez noted. “Family or, in this case, clan should always come first.”
“Exactly,” Marguerite turned to Wednesday. “You’d originally asked to see things that I could do. I’m not a mage, although I intend to train as one, starting just as soon as we return home.”
“I did.” Wednesday clasped her hands behind her back. “What is Iain like? I’ve seen the hologram you showed me, but what is he like?”
“What would he do if someone killed a member of his family,” Gomez asked.
Zareen glanced at him. “When. Happened.”
Gomez eyed her for a second before nodding. “Ah. What did he do when someone killed a member of his family?”
“Dead,” Zareen’s voice was flat. “Iain killed them or had them killed.”
“No matter what you decide,” Marguerite leaned conspiratorially closer to Wednesday, “you will get to meet Iain before everything is done. Trying to tell you about him is useless because you will look at him through the eyes of an Addams while I am a pokegirl and we both know that means that not everything about him that is important to me will be important to you and vice versa.”
“What about him do you think would be important to me?”
Marguerite regarded her for a moment before speaking. “Are you a virgin?”
“I am. It is a family tradition that I remain pure until I marry.”
“Then I won’t try to tell you about how proficient Iain is sexually since you still don’t have more than a general idea of what you will like or dislike in a sexual relationship.” Marguerite rubbed her nose as she thought. “I understand that your father, among others, is your role model for what a good man would be like. Like your father, Iain is strong and tough. He’s also very smart and he will quickly learn what you do and don’t like and work hard to give you what you need and as much of what you want as he can.”
“My mother wants for nothing,” Wednesday commented. “Why can’t I have that too?”
Marguerite smiled. “Out of all of his family and women, few of us want for anything, but perfect bliss is not going to be always attainable. As Iain says, perfection is a journey, not a destination.” Her smile faded. “Do you even know what you want?”
“I want to be courted,” Wednesday said primly.
“If that is what you want, then if we decide you’re worthy of joining us, I’m sure that Iain will court you.”
Zareen grinned. “Warn her. It’ll make things more fun.”
Marguerite glanced back at her. “I’m not sure that’s supposed to be our goal. After all, Iain will have to be successful and putting her on her guard is going to make that more difficult. We are, after all, supposed to be helping him, not her.”
“Warn her,” the Nightmare insisted. “Dominique.”
“You keep me out of this.” Dominique shook her head. “But Zareen is right. It will enhance our position, if we decide she’s acceptable.” Her eyes sparkled amusedly. “Besides, she wants it, even if she won’t admit it.”
Marguerite looked from one woman to the other before throwing her hands up in acquiescence. “Fine!” She turned back to Wednesday. “We have decided, that if things work out as we hope, that we will entreat Iain to follow an old Addams tradition that your grandmother told us you would like to have as part of joining another family. To that end, we’ll ensure that, when the time is right, Iain will capture and kidnap you.”
Wednesday’s eyes widened and her cheeks turned pink. “He would do that,” she asked breathlessly. “For me?”
“For you, yes. We have our own traditions and so it’s easy for us to understand that tradition is important to you. Because of that, we will try to keep that tradition for you.”
Gomez frowned. “Telling her what you’re planning to do will only warn her and put her on her guard. My daughter is very capable and warning her will make kidnapping her much more difficult.”
Marguerite smiled beatifically. “We believe that warning her is only fair and will make the event much more sporting. It won’t keep Iain from succeeding in kidnapping her, it’ll just make sure she believes he was serious about the attempt.”
Mamma chuckled. “What this is going to do is make the upstairs hallways much more perilous after Wednesday fills them with lethal traps for Iain.”
Marguerite shrugged. “That I have no control over.” She looked at Wednesday. “What else do you want to see?”
“I think I’ve seen enough for today,” Wednesday said absently, her mind obviously elsewhere. “I believe we can return home. I’ve got some things to do there.”
Zareen snickered. “Do you live in a dorm?” Wednesday nodded. “What will you do if he takes you there instead of at your home?”
Wednesday blinked and focused on the Nightmare. “That’s off limits.”
Zareen looked at Mamma. “There are rules about this?”
Mamma shook her head. “The only rule is don’t massacre the family while kidnapping the bride. There are no restrictions on where the kidnapping might take place.”
“Oh,” Wednesday said in a small voice. “Would he try to kidnap me at university?”
“I think he’s smart enough to try for you in a restaurant bathroom,” Dominique said with a grin. “Anywhere you might not be on guard against attack.”
“You’re going to make my daughter paranoid,” Gomez noted. “She’ll become hypervigilant and her health could suffer for it.” He grinned. “Well done!”
“We only want the best for Wednesday,” Marguerite said.
“Thank you,” Wednesday said. Her gaze sharpened on Marguerite. “The negotiations are not yet finished, are they?”
“No. You haven’t told us that we’d be acceptable and I don’t expect you to make a final decision until after you meet Iain.” She rubbed her hands together briskly. “Now, I believe we were going back to the house so you could begin your useless plans with which to avoid capture.”
Iain’s wings flared into a stall as his hind feet touched the ground. He dropped onto his forepaws as he folded his wings against his back. He looked around with both his eyes and perception before shifting to his elf form and heading for the village.
Once at his cottage, he examined it with his perception in case Quendar had decided to leave him some kind of lethal gift. Once he was sure it was clear, only then did he open the door and go inside. After the builder had finished his cottage, Iain had taken a large piece of wood and turned it into a mold for a clay chimney pot with a rain guard. Once done, he’d fired the resulting pot in a fire pit before mounting it on his chimney to keep the rain out of his fireplace when he was gone.
It meant that the firewood he laid in his fireplace before he left was still dry and ready when he checked it. Next to the fireplace was a clay pot filled with slivers of birch bark and pine needles mixed with dried sphagnum moss and Iain used this as tinder to light the fire.
What he’d found amusing was that the builder of his cottage had come by after the first good rain that had passed through once he’d put the chimney pot in place. He’d wanted to see if Iain’s contraption had done any good. Afterwards, they’d reached an agreement in which Iain had given him the mold and shown him how to use it and afterwards how to fire the clay properly to the builder in order to finish paying for the cottage. Now many of the houses in the village sported chimney pots with rain guards too.
He was making sure the fire was drawing properly when the door opened. He looked up to see Laelra. She smiled at him. “I hoped it was you when I saw the smoke from your chimney. You have been gone too long, Iain.”
He stood. “Things have been a bit chaotic. If you can stay, I’ll make you some tea.”
She took his hand and tugged him towards his bedroom. “I am staying and the tea will wait.”
Laelra stretched against him and lifted her head to give Iain a lazy smile. “You should not be gone so long next time.”
He chuckled. “I was gone a month.”
“It felt like it was longer.”
Iain kissed her gently. “I think you’re just amorous because of your pregnancy.”
Her eyes went wide. “How do you know I’m pregnant?”
“Pregnant women have a distinctive smell and you smell like you’re pregnant.”
Laelra laid her head down on his chest. “You seem like a normal elf most of the time so much that I forget sometimes that you’re a dragon. Are you upset with me because I’m pregnant?”
“No. Should I be?”
“I don’t think you should, but sometimes men behave oddly.” She rolled over and sat up to look back over her shoulder at him. Her crimson eyes glittered in the light. “I can’t be certain that I carry your child, but I hope I do.”
Iain sat up too. “I am flattered and a little confused. Did our relationship change and I missed it?”
She shook her head. “No, but the Lady wants me to have a child and I like you.”
Iain remembered his conversation with Eilistraee where she mentioned that Laelra was pregnant along with her reasons for deciding to have a child. “I can understand that. I like you too.”
She leaned back against him, pulling her long silver hair up to drape over him once she was comfortable. “Why were you gone so long?”
“A lot of things are happening right now. I’m dealing with the Keltormir government and getting my people settled in our new home.”
She nodded. “Before she left, Zilvra told me a little about your home. When are the dwarves coming to live here?”
“They’re not. Since they’re not worshippers of the Lady, other arrangements have been made for them.”
“It is probably best that they are not going to live here. We have no dwarves in our community and I was unsure how to make them a place in our society.”
“Well, it won’t become an issue now.”
“Good.” She glanced at him. “There’s another reason I wish you’d returned earlier. You’re the best hunter in the village and I need your help.”
“I don’t live in the village and so I can’t be the village’s best hunter. Quendar is the village’s best hunter.” Laelra’s face tightened. “What is it?”
“Quendar has been missing for the better part of a tenday. His partner is missing too. They both went hunting one morning and never returned. I need you to find them.”
Iain stared at her for a few seconds before shaking his head. “They’ve been gone for too long. I can’t promise you anything and they might easily be dead.” He grimaced. “Do you know where they were going to hunt or anything that might help narrow it down from just telling me that they’re somewhere in the woods which run for over a thousand miles in any direction except towards my mountain?”
“How far away is your mountain?”
“I’ve pointed the mountain range out to you. It’s only three hundred miles away and you’re avoiding the question.”
“I know they went hunting eight days ago. I don’t know where they were going.” Laelra’s voice filled with frustration. “I know they didn’t come back and you’re the only person in the village who might be able to find them!”
“Your other hunters are good enough to keep the village fed,” Iain observed.
“I’m not asking you to find them for the village, Iain. They are mine to protect and you are a priestess of the Lady. They are her worshippers and she would want them found. Will you find them for her and me?”
“I will look for them.” Iain pushed her gently away and slid to his feet.
“I didn’t mean now.”
“If you want them found and you’d prefer them found alive then I can’t wait. Every moment that passes it gets harder to find them. I’ll need access to their house.” Iain began pulling on his clothes. He stopped when she didn’t move. “Laelra, I’m not trying to punish you. I’m serious about the time constraints. It’s likely that I’ll find them already dead, but if not, I need to get on the hunt for them now. That last thing you want me to find is that they are alive now but aren’t when I find them because of you and I spending the night together.”
“You are right.” Laelra reached for her clothing.
Quendar had moved in with Cazna, another hunter. Iain had met her once, but she didn’t like surface elves in general and since she thought he was one she didn’t like him, which Iain was fine with.
Their house was typical of the ones in the village and Laelra pushed on the door and stopped with a noise of surprise when it didn’t move. “It’s locked. I didn’t think anyone had locks. You don’t have locks.” Her eyes widened when Iain produced some lockpicks from inside one of his boots and knelt to examine the lock. “I didn’t know you had this skill.”
“My instructor in formal magic had been a thief in his youth and sent me to a master thief to learn the basics of breaking and entering while I was his apprentice.” Iain quickly opened the lock. “She said I’d make an excellent thief and someday I may find another instructor and learn more about the trade.”
The interior was dark and Laelra created faerie fire lights around her as she entered. “What here will help you find them?”
“I need something from one or both of them. Hair, skin, fingernails, something.” He created his own light and anchored it over his shoulder as he looked around. “I could even use what’s in the chamber pot since it has squamous cells from their intestines, but after a week of sitting and fermenting, that’s my absolute last option for locating them.”
The place was neat, but something about it didn’t seem right. Iain had learned long ago to listen to that sense of his when it said something was wrong. It had saved him from being seriously hurt or killed more than once. Like most of the houses in Ilhar Mrimm, and unlike his house, this place was essentially a single room with a small fireplace for cooking and heat. Instead of a bed like Iain’s, there was a place on the floor for bedding, which was either rolled up and put against the wall during the day or left down and used as a surface for sitting.
He frowned. The place was there but the bedding wasn’t. “Laelra, were they supposed to be going on an extended hunt?”
Laelra was examining the fireplace and looked up. “No, Quendar told me it was a normal hunt and that they’d be back before darkness. Why?”
“The bedding is gone.” Laelra turned to look at where he was indicating. “Hunters travel light. I don’t take bedding on a hunt unless I intend to be gone at least four or five days and I’ll be camping in the same spot. Otherwise a good cloak is all I need for sleeping.” A bug bit him on the arm and he absently snatched it from the air as it took off again. “Did they say anything about leaving the village and trying their fortunes somewhere else?”
“They did not.”
Iain opened the cabinet that served as the food pantry and wasn’t surprised to find it empty. “You don’t take all the food on a short hunt either.”
Laelra shot him an exasperated glare. “Iain, they were not leaving the village.”
“Come over here please.”
Laelra joined him. “What is it.” Iain touched her on the forehead with his finger and her eyebrows rose. “Iain?”
“I’m excluding you from my magic. Now please stand and be quiet for a little while.” Iain focused his will. For several seconds nothing happened and then four distinct spots on the floor began to glow a soft amber. Iain went to each one in turn, retrieving three white hairs of two different lengths and a bit of fingernail. “Thank you.”
Laelra examined his findings without touching them. “I’ve never heard of a wizard’s spell like that.”
“I developed it and I’ve never given the spell to anyone else.” Two of the hairs were very short while the third was of middling length. “Did Cazna grow her hair longer recently?”
“She started growing it longer after Quendar became her lover. I think she was doing it to please him.” She watched as Iain pinched the hair between his thumb and forefinger and held it up. He released it and her eyes went wide when it hung in the air. “Iain?”
“Don’t distract me.” Her eyes narrowed at the flatness of his voice. She watched as he took a few steps and levitated another hair, a few steps and levitated the last hair. He then stepped to the other side of the room and did the same thing with the bit of fingernail. They began to emit a glow and a light extended a foot from each of them, pointing to the northwest. The light died and the items floated to Iain’s extended hand where they gently landed in his palm. “You might be happy to know that they’re both together.”
“What was that, Iain?”
“It’s a locator spell. The light pointed at the person the item came from.”
“How far away are they?”
Iain pulled a square of silk from a belt pouch and wrapped the items in it. “I don’t know. I’ll travel a couple of dozen miles tonight and use it again. If’ I’ve traveled past them, it’ll tell me.” The silk and its contents were restowed in the pouch as he spoke.
“Can you tell if they are alive?” Iain shook his head and she put her hand on his arm. “Be careful. You may not live here, but you do hunt for the village when you are here and you are our best hunter when you are here. And it’s your training that helped to make all the village’s hunters better at hunting on the surface. You would be missed, by the village as a whole and,” her hand tightened on his arm briefly, “I would miss you especially.”
Iain smiled. “I have been seriously injured enough to know that I don’t enjoy it in the slightest. I’ll be careful.”
Laelra led him outside. “Can you lock the door?”
Iain produced his lockpicks. “I can.”
Once he was done, Laelra kissed him fiercely. “Come back soon.”
“I will. I have to return Quendar and Cazna, remember? Even if they happen to be dead, I have to bring back their remains for proper consecration and burial. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to my clearing.”
She nodded. “Go with the blessings of the goddess.”
“Thank you.” Iain headed for his clearing at a brisk walk while mentally planning his route. He spared a few moments to make some mental notes about the technique he’d used. Adding a reading for distance shouldn’t be difficult and it would make the technique much more useful in the future.
He shifted to his adult dragon form and took off, climbing almost straight up until he was well above the treetops. He flew in a circle and headed northwest, in the direction that the markers had indicated Cazna and Quendar were. There were few thermals, but Iain had trained for long distance endurance flying and he set a strong pace that few dragons could match.
Twenty miles later Iain spiraled down and flared into a landing. He shifted to elven and pulled out the silk square. A quick check showed that Quendar and Cazna were still in front of him and still close together.
It would be dark soon and Iain had never been in this part of the woods before. Additionally, it was very cloudy and traveling in the pitch black of night, even with night vision, was just asking to be attacked by something, so making camp was definitely called for. Iain ate a cold meal of dried meat and fruit. He shifted to his small dragon form and took off. He found a comfortable spot in the fork of a tree’s branches, high off the ground. There he curled up and rested until dawn. He didn’t sleep, which was becoming more and more the normal situation for him. Instead he observed the night activity around him and made notes for his journal.
After sunrise, he dropped to the ground, shifted back to his full sized form and took off to continue northwest. Three more checks at twenty mile intervals still showed them in front of him. It wasn’t until the fourth check that he discovered he’d overflown them.
After thinking about it, Iain put the samples away and shifted to his small dragon form. He took to the air and headed towards where the samples indicated they were. He flew more slowly, keeping to dense tree cover as he went. The last thing he wanted to do was find out they were prisoners and either draw a shower of arrows in his direction or get them killed by panicky captors.
He slowed when he smelled faint smoke, which is what kept him from breaking into the open when he hit the clearing with the hut in it. Iain landed on a tree branch and cocked his head curiously when he recognized Cazna kneeling in front of the fire and stirring a pot. She looked healthy and she didn’t appear to be someone’s prisoner, so Iain checked to make sure he was downwind of them. Then he climbed higher up the tree to where the leaves and branches were thickest before making himself comfortable to wait and see what was going on. He was careful to keep his eyes moving and not focus on Cazna, lest she sense the weight of his gaze.
He did look the hut over, deciding from the weathering that it had been built sometime in the last six months or so.
Several hours passed before Cazna’s head came up. A minute later, Quendar walked into camp with the hindquarters of a deer wrapped in hide that was strapped to his shoulders. Iain was too far away to hear their conversation without employing magic, but they were both relaxed and their body language said that neither was upset about anything.
Iain watched for another twenty or so minutes before turning and flying deeper into the woods. He landed and shifted to his elf form, checked his equipment and silently returned to the tree where he’d been watching the camp.
Quendar was cutting up the deer meat while Cazna was building a drying rack over the fire. Iain stepped into the clearing, palms out. “Greetings in the name of the Lady Dancer.” Quendar went still while Cazna grabbed a nearby spear and leveled it at him. “I come in peace,” Iain announced calmly. “Laelra was worried about you since you didn’t tell her you were leaving the village and she asked me to see if I could find you and make sure you were healthy.” Quendar stood, picking up his bow as he did. He knocked an arrow and leveled the bow at Iain. “I said I come in peace,” Iain said. “You and I have never crossed blades, Quendar, but if you shoot that arrow I will kill you and then I will kill Cazna if she tries to avenge your death.”
“Your weapons can’t hurt us anymore,” Quendar said with a malicious smile. “You should have come hunting those lycanthropes with me. He held up his right arm and fur sprouted down its length. It vanished and he returned his grip to his bow. “Maybe this would have happened to you instead. I got bitten and turned into this at the next full moon.”
Iain sniffed the air and his nose tried to wrinkle at the scent he found in it. Wolf. “Maybe so, but you never know what’s going to happen.” He looked at Cazna. “He infected you, didn’t he?”
She bared inhumanly sharp teeth at him. “He did. We like what we are too! We don’t want it taken away.”
Iain shrugged. “You and yours stay away from Ilhar Mrimm and I don’t give a damn what you do out here. I’ll tell Laelra that you left the village and you’re happy where you are. She’ll accept that from me.”
Quendar drew the bow. “We can’t let you live.”
Iain cocked his head. “I don’t give warnings twice, Cazna. I will kill him and there is nothing he can do that will save him or kill me. He will be dead and you will be alone.”
Cazna looked from Iain to her male. “Quendar, do not release that arrow.”
“I hate him! I want him dead!”
“I need you here. What you want now doesn’t matter to me or our child.” She looked at Iain. “I know all about you, Iain. You’re Laelra’s lover. What is to keep you from telling her what happened to us?”
“It’s none of her business,” Iain replied. “And, as I said, as long as you don’t bother the village, I don’t care in the slightest what you do out here. You’re far enough away that your hunting won’t take food from the mouths of the villagers and if you were going to attack them, you’d have already started. Stay away from the village and you’re not my business. Return peaceably to the village and you’re not my business. Start hunting the villagers and you become my business.” He smiled coldly. “You know my skills as a hunter. You know full well that if I intended to kill you, Quendar here would never have had the chance to point a bow at me because you’d have never known I was here until I crippled one of you.”
Cazna gave him a feral grin. “And that would have been a trap for the other one of us.”
“Tell her you didn’t find us,” Quendar demanded.
“She’ll have others look for us then,” Cazna countered. “How did you find us?”
“I’m a mage, a priestess and a better hunter than anyone in the village. It would take another person with my skills to find you the way I did and nobody in the village has those.”
“You’ve hunted with him, Quendar. Is he right?”
Quendar nodded reluctantly. “He finds prey that not even I can find, not then and not now.”
“I’ve heard he doesn’t lie.”
“I’ve heard that too.” Quendar looked at Iain. “Do you lie?”
“Absolutely.” Iain grinned. “I lie better than anyone you’ll ever meet. But I’m not lying now, here to you. You should be free to make your own decisions about how you’ll live your life. Laelra still thinks too much like a city drow and wants more control than I think she should have over the people around her. She’d want to help you, to drag you back to the village and to remove your lycanthropy and she would insist on doing it for you own good and against your will.”
“You don’t think what we’re doing is wrong?”
“I believe that, except in a few very specific instances, you get to decide that. As long as your decision doesn’t impact me or the things I protect, I don’t care what you decide. Right or wrong doesn’t factor into it. It should be your choice and the results are yours to live with. My opinion is that werewolves who are living out here in the wilderness and harming nothing more than the local animals is not something that I need to get involved with. Laelra would insist that I be involved in dragging you back to the village against your will. If she doesn’t know you have something that she would feel needs to be healed or cured, she can’t try giving me orders to bring you back to be healed.”
Cazna eyed him curiously. “What specific instances would be exceptions?”
“Abusing a child is wrong. Rape is wrong. Things done to people against their will, like butchering them out and eating them.”
She nodded. “I understand. Quendar, we are going to let him leave unharmed.”
Quendar lowered his bow. “If you are lying, I will see you dead.”
Iain gave a mental shake of his head at Quendar’s inability to stop issuing threats, but he didn’t want to provoke a fight with him. “Hopefully, I will never see either of you again.” He nodded to Cazna. “I wish you well.” Mindful of Quendar, Iain backed into the woods until there was enough cover that he wasn’t worried about an arrow in the back before turning and vanishing into the forest.
After about a half hour of travel, Iain found a clearing, shifted to full sized dragon form and launched himself into the air for the flight back to Ilhar Mrimm. He’d time his travel to arrive a little after dawn. Laelra would be busy with morning services, which would give him a chance for a bit of food before having to give her news she was likely to find unpalatable.
The shrine was inside a modest cave that had been widened and deepened over the years to allow for the growth of the village. Side passages had been excavated to allow for rooms for the individual priestesses. At one time the shrine had been serviced by a dozen priestesses, so there was sufficient room for expansion.
When he found her, Laelra was speaking with another member of the village and Iain waited patiently as they quietly conversed.
When finished, Iain joined Laelra as the villager headed elsewhere. She kissed him warmly, surprising Iain. While their relationship wasn’t a secret, Laelra had preferred to keep it very low key in any sort of public venue, at least until today. “I don’t see Quendar or Cazna,” she said unhappily. “Were you able to bring back their remains?”
Iain shook his head. “There were no remains to bring back because they’re not dead. I found them and they had decided to leave the village together and forge a new life elsewhere.”
Laelra’s eyes hardened. “They didn’t tell me this. Who did you speak to?”
“I think you’re going to have a hard time believing me, Laelra. Would you like to cast your truth spell before we continue?”
“Are you planning to lie to me?”
“I am not going to lie to you during the conversation about Quendar and Cazna.”
She smiled faintly. “That’s very specific.”
“I deal with fey sometimes and you can be just as tricksey as they can.”
Her smile grew slightly. “I would think we’re past the stage where you need to flatter me.”
“A smart man never stops flattering the women he’s involved with, especially if they’re as fast as you are with a knife or a mace.”
She laughed. “Tell me what happened.”
“Tracking them down took a bit of work but I located them. Apparently they’d been planning to leave for a little bit because they’d built themselves a home or found an abandoned place to take over. Both Cazna and Quendar were there and they both seemed reasonably healthy and sane, although Quendar did once again threaten me with a bow.”
Laelra shook her head. “They should have spoken to me before leaving.”
“Laelra.” She looked up at him. “I will heartily agree that it would have been polite for them to tell you that they were leaving. But unless there are some rules in place here that I’m not aware of, they were under no obligation to do so.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m not going to tell you where they are and I’m not going to either bring them to you or take you to them. They have decided that they are done with Ilhar Mrimm and you should respect that, even if you don’t like how they went about leaving. I will, however, help train the newest hunters for the village and I’ll do some regular deliveries of food to make up any shortfall. Quendar was your best hunter. Cazna,” he shrugged, “she was not terrible, but she only brought back meat a little more than half the time.”
“You could live here while training the hunters,” Laelra said hopefully.
“It’s not a bad idea, but I can’t.” He scowled. “There’s a princess of Keltormir as my guest. I’m not that fond of her, but she is reporting back to her father, the king. I can’t just ignore her presence and I’m not sure that bringing her here so I can romp with you would help anyone. As a woman with strong political instincts, you should agree with me if you’re not thinking with your gonads.”
“Are you romping with her?”
“I am not.”
“What about Zilvra?”
“I told you last time that’s none of your business.”
“You did, but then you answered my question anyway. Are you?”
“We are not lovers or even just fucking.”
“This is the last time I’m answering that question, Laelra. We are not exclusive and, the last time it came up in conversation, we were not a couple.”
“We are not either a couple or exclusive, but you could do far better than a member of House Khaven.”
“What did she do to you that made you dislike her so much?”
Laelra shrugged his hand off her shoulder. “House Khaven controls much of everything in Guallidurth. Even those of us who had no house were subject to their whims.”
Iain managed not to roll his eyes. “The Lady Dancer accepted Zilvra as a convert and accepts her prayers for spells. She is a priestess and she,” he broke off.
“I am not going to disclose private conversations between Zilvra and me in order to try and make you understand that she’s just as adrift as any refugee from Guallidurth. I almost did that.” Iain almost laughed at the image of him as peacemaker. But then he’d done it for the harem and would again as soon as he could, so he guessed he was experienced at it. “You are the head priestess of this shrine and the leader of Ilhar Mrimm. You can’t let your feelings for individuals, especially feelings that aren’t really justified, override your responsibility to them and to Eilistraee to keep them safe. I know you can’t undo what happened to Zilvra, but you can and should work to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next scion of a great house who hears Eilistraee’s call and accepts her into his or her heart and comes here for sanctuary. They need the same succor that the lowest slave does.” He cocked his head. “And even the ones who have raided on the surface will have as little idea of how to live on the surface as anyone else will.” Laelra was looking up at him with wide eyes and he frowned. “What?”
“Is it that the Lady sent you here to remind me that this is not Guallidurth and we are no longer bound by the rules as set forth by the Spider Queen?”
“I came here because I had to find a village of Eilistraee’s worshippers to be around during some of the festivals and also because I hadn’t been laid in too long.”
Laelra laughed. “That was the reason she used to get you here, but I think you were sent here to remind me we are to make our own way and not continue the ways we came here to escape.”
“I wouldn’t know, remember? I didn’t ever live in Guallidurth. I’m clan and I was pointing out clan philosophies on leadership.”
“You’ve never mentioned this clan before.”
“We don’t normally talk politics, Laelra. We tend to have sex, talk about things that won’t irritate you and then we go our separate ways.”
“Are other dragons also clan?”
Iain chuckled. “Not that I know of. I’m the only one of my kind on this world.”
“But you were clan where you came here from?”
She eyed him shrewdly. “Were you in a position of leadership in this clan?”
“Then our Lady sent you to me to advise me on how to be a better leader. That’s why she doesn’t want you living in the village, so I will understand that your advice is not meant to make your life better at the expense of others here.”
Iain closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them. “You know, you don’t look like you’ve been recently hit in the head with a mace, but you sound like you have.”
“You wouldn’t know since the Lady doesn’t tell us her will in these things.”
Iain knew he wasn’t going to win this discussion. “Well, I’ve been gone for longer than I intended to be and I need to get back to my cave.”
“I understand, but I need you to come back more often so we can talk about leadership.” She smiled at him. “That and I always become more amorous as my pregnancy advances.”
“Now that’s a good reason to come back regularly and I will.”
Ninhursag Grey - Elfqueen & maharani
April Grey - Duelist & beta
Dominique Grey - Blessed Archmage
Pandora - Fiendish Archangel
Zareen - Nightmare
Sofia - Ria
Vanessa – Evangelion
Lucifer – Megami Sama
Ganieda – Snugglebunny Splice
Heather - Elfqueen
Marguerite – Unicorn
Scheherazade – Dread Wolf
Irena – Sanctuary Goth
Lynn – Dire Wolf
Rosemary – Mistoffeles
Dianthus – Elfqueen
Golden Cloud – equine unicorn
Arianrhod -Fey Goblin Female
74 male Goblins
89 female Goblins
Queendom / Outer Clan
Dionne - Elfqueen
Adrianna - Elfqueen
Heltu - Wet Queen
14 Wet Elves
Eirian - Silver Dragoness
Aurum - Gold Dragoness
Skye - Blue Dragoness
Emerald - Green Dragoness
Beryl - Red Dragoness
Julia - human
Ling - Cheetit
Matilda - White Tigress
Liadan - Twau
Sorrel - Armsmistress
Natalie - Blazicunt
Maria – Slutton
Rhea Silvia – Chimera
Alabaster – Dragoness (white)
Onyx – Dragoness (black)
Lapis – Dragoness (blue)
Garnet – Dragoness (red)
Iolite – Dragoness (purple)
Malachite – Dragoness (green with white swirls)
Dabria (was Loviatar) – Dark Queen
Omisha (was Hel) – Demoness
Viersunuth great wyrm blue true dragoness
Helesatra Vyshaan half pit fiend (fiend) half sun elf. Princess of the Vyshaantar Empire.
Talyl – drow commoner
Zarza – drow commoner
Sabrae – drow commoner
Sintree – drow commoner
Alyfaen Dinaen – drow, matron of House Dinaen
Phaerxae Dinaen – drow, former matron of House Dinaen, mother of Alyfaen
Selsharra of Evermeet
Myrna (Age 4)
Dorothy: Duelist (Age 3)
Olivia: Megami Sama (Age 6)
Seraphina: Megami Sama
Miram: Angel (Age 5)
Caltha: Nightmare (Age 0)
James: Jamie Harris kid (Age 2)