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Authors: Dina von Lowenkraft

Dragon Fire (50 page)

BOOK: Dragon Fire
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The sudden silence of an Elythian shield slipped over Anna and she looked at Liv whose eyes were brilliant orbs of light. It was her shield.

“Why didn’t you say so before?” Liv’s voice echoed in the shield. “We’ve wasted too much time as it is. Your duty would have been to help us.” Liv’s crystal calm voice felt like a cold knife slicing through her flesh. Anna tightened her grip on Rakan.

Lysa answered, apparently unconcerned by Liv’s disapproval. “Because I didn’t know to look for it.” She smiled shyly. “I think that’s my skill. I can’t see in the past or in the future like the Ascended. I see what needs to be found. No matter where or when it is.”

“Where are they?” asked Anna. She dreaded the answer. Wherever it was, her gut knew it was far away.

“On a Fragment. Where part of Paaliaq is… frozen.” Lysa paused, her eyes unfocused. “Interesting. It’s as if she’s neither dead nor alive. Maybe that’s why no one ever found it.”

“Then we’ll start by going there,” said Erling, standing up. He offered June his hand as if they were about to open a ball. “Will you do this with me, June?”

June put her hand on his. “Yes.” She looked at Rakan. “Will you join us?”

Rakan looked around the ring of Elythia and Draak that surrounded them. Liv and Haakon, June and Erling, Red and Ea, Verje, Lysa and Yuli. They weren’t numerous enough to stop the war. Even if Erling and June became the next Ascended, there would still be the problem of the Draak, urged on by the Eld. But maybe if they could free Paaliaq’s kais they could find a way to protect Earth. And Anna. He held her as tightly as he dared.

“Yes,” Rakan said. “I will join you. And no matter what happens, we need to find a way to protect Earth.” His rök resonated in his chest. It was the right thing to do. He no longer belonged to the Draak. “How long will it take to unblock the memories?”

June leaned against Erling. “I don’t know. I think it depends on how much pain I can take.”

Haakon cleared his throat. “How much
we
can take.” He looked at the group. “We’ll all have to do this with her. It’s too dangerous on her own.”

Anna felt a shiver run down her spine. She had felt what Haakon hadn’t said: June was willing to try to see the memories, but what she needed to do was accept them. As hers. And Haakon believed she was in denial of her true self. Anna looked back at June. She didn’t feel in denial to her. And the glimpse of the green dragon they called Paaliaq didn’t feel like June.

“Can I come with you?” she asked. June was going to need a friend who had no stakes in her identity. Haakon and Ea wanted to find their Kairök. Erling his Pair. She caught Lysa’s eye. Maybe Lysa could help.

“No,” Rakan said. “The atmosphere on the Fragments isn’t suited for the human form. That’s why the Draak haven’t been able to breed there. We can only stay human for a few days before we have to morph back to our dragon forms.” He pressed his lips against hers. “But I’ll come back.” He couldn’t live without her. She was his mate. And would always be.

June turned to Erling. “I need to take care of a few things first. I can’t just leave my host family without letting them know I’m going.”

“I can protect you,” said Verje. “Our shields are still in place. But you don’t have much time. Fritjof’s supporters are probably already planning an attack on the Draak.”

Erling turned to the rest of the group. “We’ll join you on the Fragment as soon as we can. But you should go and shield it now.” He turned to Haakon and Liv. “You know what to do.”

Haakon nodded and Liv bowed to Erling. Blue and green light flared, laced with purple, and Erling, June and Verje were gone.

Haakon turned to Red. “Ea needs to be cared for,” he said. “You should stay with her.”

“I wouldn’t have come anyway,” said Red. “Earth is my home. I belong here.”

Haakon bowed. “I know.” He turned to Rakan. “We should go.”

“Yuli will go with you. I’ll join you once I’ve said goodbye.”

Haakon looked around the tundra. “The shield won’t last very long without me. And yours won’t stand up to the skill of the Old Dragons. You’ll both be easy prey.”

“I know,” Rakan said. Normally, the shield would disappear with Haakon, but he was stretching it so that they could say goodbye. Rakan bowed. “Thank you, Haakaramanoth.”

Haakon shifted and Yuli followed.
“Be careful,”
she said.
“Even a High Master can’t keep the shield for very long from that far away.”

“Stop worrying,”
Rakan said.
“I won’t risk anyone’s life.”

“Not on purpose, no. But—”

Rakan shut her out for the moment. He wanted Anna for life. Not just a few more minutes. He wouldn’t take any risks. With her life or with Yuli’s.

Red stood, Ea’s unconscious form in his arms. “Ea needs more help than I can give her here,” he said. “I’ll feel the shield go down, and I’ll protect Anna when it does.” He turned to Anna. “I’ll put a trigger in the shield so that you can call me when you want me to come get you.”

Rakan growled. “I’ll kill you if anything happens to her.”

Red smiled. “And I’ll kill you if you don’t come back.” He nodded briefly and disappeared with Ea in his arms.

“I’d rather come with you,” Anna said.

He stroked her cheek. “Your place is on Earth.”

“My place is with you.”

“Once this is over, our place will be here, together.” Rakan felt Yuli rematerialize on the Fragment. “The shield will fade soon.”

Anna’s arms jerked around Rakan. He brushed her hair back and kissed her gently. But she responded with a savage passion that ignited his own. His rök throbbed in pleasure and he ran his lips down her neck until he felt his mark warm under his teeth. A guttural groan escaped from her throat as she arched her neck for him to bite her. But it wasn’t enough. He needed to take her, to possess every inch of her supple body that molded into his. He gripped her hips and pressed into her. “Will you accept my fire?” he asked, his lips moving against hers.

Anna nodded and he felt her mind slip forward and meld with his. His rök expanded and shimmered. He arched back. His fire gathered within until it could be contained no longer. It exploded out, enveloping them both in his coral-colored blaze. Rakan kissed her as the fire flared around them. He felt a twinge as the shield began to waver. Reluctantly, he pulled back. He reached out and caught a flame, cupping it in his hand. “This is my fire,” he said. He passed his other hand over it, encapsulating the flame in a Maii-a shaped crystal drop. He attached it to her gold chain. “I’ll be able to feel you through it.”

Anna wrapped her hand around the little coral flame that danced within the crystal. “I can feel you,” she said, closing her eyes. The flame was the same color as his Maii-a, the color of his eyes. The color of her stone. “It is you.”

“As long as the flame is alive, you’ll know that I live.” Rakan leaned forward and kissed her as the shield disappeared. “And as long as I’m alive, I’ll always love you.”

Rakan dissolved in her arms and she grabbed at the air, but there was nothing there. She sank to her knees and held the flame that was all she had left of Rakan.

“I love you,” she said. Her words dissipated across the sea of open tundra that stretched to the horizon. The flame pulsed in her hand and she held it to her heart.
Come back to me.

She sat like that until the evening grew cold, watching the tundra that had seemed lifeless until she had felt it through Rakan. She stood and called Red in her mind. She’d make him teach her how to manipulate matter and how to fight. If there was going to be a war, she wasn’t going to stand still and do nothing. She’d find a way to help. It was her world too.

The End

About the author

Born in the US, Dina von Lowenkraft has lived on four continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children and three horses.

Dina loves to create intricate worlds filled with conflict and passion. She builds her own myths while exploring issues of belonging, racism and the search for truth... after all, how can you find true love if you don’t know who you are and what you believe in? Dina’s key to developing characters is to figure out what they would be willing to die for. And then pushing them to that limit.

 

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BOOK: Dragon Fire
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