Crossbreeds Part 1: Chapter 8 My Fault by RedPhantom ()
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Thailyn sat and thought. He was almost too stunned to think. His daughter was alive in the next room. He had been so sure she had died when she disappeared going after Pt’this’s vial. Now, he knew she was dying. There was a good chance that the cure would work, but the spores had multiplied rapidly. He could tell someone had already pulled many out, probably the elf healer at the palace. He was quite strong. But, Ann’s magic was working against her. Or, rather her mate’s magic was. He’d better be her mate the way he was touching her. The boy was an Augmenter. He was strengthening Ann but he was strengthening the spores too.
There was one other option but he hated to even think about using it. It was dangerous. If it didn’t kill her, which it probably would, she’d have to be isolated for years, possibly decades. Her mate was human. He’d be safe with her but no dragons. She would most likely never have children. It wasn’t a decision he would make. It would have to be up to her. Inducing fire death would destroy the spores, but it may destroy her too.
He was glad the baby wasn’t so bad. Pt’this would go mad if he suggested giving the child fire death. The illness had killed Pt’this’s mother and twin brother, Pt’bur. He hoped the razorberry cure would work.
Pt’this came out after a while. He looked better. “How are Sapphire and the baby?” Thailyn asked.
“You know my wife?” Pt’this asked surprised.
“Wife? You married her?”
“She’s human, of course, I did. How do you know her?” He demanded.
“I was Darkham’s partner. She sometimes stayed with him when Kith was out of town.”
“It’s okay. She’s your mate. I’d expect you to be protective.”
They were silent a moment. Then, Thailyn smiled. “I have to ask. What happened to your hair?” When Pt’this had been apprenticed to his father, he’d had the longest hair. It went past his knees, and he had been very proud of it. Now it was just past his shoulders.
Pt’this smiled. “Your daughter thought it made a good handhold when she was learning to walk. I cut it to just past my waist. Then, a couple of years ago I was in Bisfip with a class of young ones. There was a human girl there who was sick and lost her hair. So, three of us got ours cut so they could make a wig for her. I planned on letting it grow back out, but Sapphire likes it this way and I think Bremul is going to take after Ann. He already tries to pull it.”
Thailyn frowned. “Tell me that man in there practically groping my daughter is her mate.”
Pt’this smiled. He resisted the temptation to say he was a total stranger. He’d often played jokes on Thailyn in the past and the dragon was usually gullible enough to believe him but now was not the time. “He’s her husband. They’ve been married for almost two years. The same time Sapphire and I did.”
“Do I have any grandkids yet?”
Pt’this shook his head. “You couldn’t tell?”
“Ann takes after her mother. She’s an unreadable. I only see what I’m looking for. I was so focused on the spores that I’d have to look back in there to tell you she was a female.”
Pt’this laughed. “Andy keeps saying they’re doing their best. I won’t repeat what he said to his mother when she suggested they try harder.”
Thailyn shuddered. “Please don’t. His name is Andy?”
“It’s short for Andrew. He’s not from Menthanla.”
“I could tell that. He has some residuals of some very unusual substances in his body. Where’s he from?”
“That’s a long story. Let’s just say it’s where Ann ended up when she disappeared. I’ve been there. It’s a very strange place,” Pt’this said.
“Sounds like you’re talking about my homeland,” Andy said, coming out of the bedroom.
“We are,” Pt’this said.
“How’s Ann doing?” Thailyn asked.
“Much better, for the moment. Are you the healer we’ve been waiting for?” He asked.
“Andy, meet Thailyn, Ann’s birth father,” Pt’this said.
“You’re Thailyn? Does Ann know? Was that why she was so surprised when she woke earlier?”
“You felt that?” Thailyn asked.
“We’re mated why wouldn’t I?” Andy asked.
“You were asleep.”
“Humans seem to be much more aware of their surroundings when they sleep,” Pt’this explained.
“I hadn’t noticed. Darina and I had only been bonded a short time.”
“You haven’t found anyone else?”
“No, two bonds are enough.”
“I was bonded to my chosen before we left Tricon. Time and distance dissolved the bond, and she eventually took a mate, as did I. I’m not looking for anyone else.”
“Careful, that’s what Nim said.” Pt’this grinned.
“Excuse me a moment,” Andy said and went back into the bedroom.
“Nim? Do you mean Nimitinas? That old goat has a mate?”
“Old goat? Aren’t you ten years older than him? And she’s only his chosen.”
“Twenty years older. It’s just that after all that happened, I’d think all the parents would still be warning their daughters away from him. Is she even of age yet?”
“She’s thirty, I think,” Pt’this said, trying to keep a straight face. Thailyn was setting this one up himself.
“Thirty? Wait, she’s human isn’t she?”
Pt’this smiled. “She is. She’s from Andy’s homeland.”
“Nim left Baj-tisk long enough to meet a woman?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Sorry about that,” Andy said returning.
“Nightmare?” Pt’this asked.
Thailyn looked concerned. “A nightmare? Does she have them a lot?”
“Not if I’m around,” Andy said.
“But otherwise?” He pressed.
“All the time,” Pt’this said.
“Before she ran away or just after she returned?”
“Since she was born. Why? Do you know anything about this? Do you know what caused it?”
Thailyn shrugged. “She talked about one of her brothers causing abusing her. I’m sure Darina’s death didn’t help. She was so early. But I can’t help wonder if it isn’t my fault. We didn’t find out until after Darina was several months along. She was part immortal.”
“What? You had a baby with an immortal? Ann could have been insane!” Pt’this practically shouted.
Andy shushed him. “She’s fine, except the nightmares.”
“Fine,” Pt’this grunted, but the way he said it made Thailyn wonder. He remembered what she had been like when he’d first met her.
“We weren’t planning on having children until later. I got careless, and she got pregnant. Had we known beforehand, I would’ve taken extra precautions. But we didn’t know. Darina was six months along when her mother mentioned it to us. She didn’t know I was a dragon. We talked about ending the pregnancy, but I couldn’t do it. Darina didn’t want to either. Darina was only one-eighth immortal, so we hoped it would be little enough and that it wouldn’t affect Ann.”
“What’s going on out here? Pt’this feels like all of Lerjao is after him on him,” Sapphire demanded. She turned and saw Thailyn. “You! You nearly got me killed!”
Thailyn stood and backed away. “I told you, I didn’t know who you were. He told me if you needed something stolen to hire Sapphire. He never told me you were an eleven-year-old. I’m sorry.”
“You hired my wife for something dangerous when she was a little girl?” Pt’this growled.
Andy put himself between the two dragons. “We need him. You don’t know what happened.”
“Sapphire, I’m sorry. Had I known you were only a kid, I never would’ve agreed to hire you. I swear.”
“You save my son and my friend and I’ll consider us even,” Sapphire said, her temper cooling some.
“You said we’d be even if I saved Drepal.” He’d thought the matter had been settled.
“Well she still needs your help doesn’t she?”
Thailyn nodded and sighed.
“What’s all the noise out here? Lyni, what are you doing here?” Ann came out of the bedroom carrying Bremul.
“Someone, tell me what’s going on,” Andy insisted.
“I’ll tell you what’s going on,” Sapphire said. “That man hired an eleven-year-old to steal something from Lyra. I got caught and almost killed. Then Shimmer almost got killed trying to save me. All for some worthless statue.”
“It wasn’t worthless,” Thailyn said softly. “Lyra valued it.”
“Only because it belonged to her mother. You were the one who wanted it? Do you know what she would have done if Sapphire had stolen it?” Ann asked. She started getting upset too. She was almost as protective of Sapphire as Pt’this was.
Thailyn nodded. “She would’ve sent Drepal after it, which is what I wanted.”
“What in the shades of night did you want with Drepal?” Ann asked.
“Ann,” Pt’this said softly. “Meet Thailyn.” He took the baby from her.
“Lyni? You? You’re my father? I…” She started, but Andy cut her off by kissing her.
“Calm down or you’ll wake her up,” he said softly.
“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” Thailyn said. “Get back in bed and I’ll try to explain.”
Andy wouldn’t let her argue. He picked her up and put her back in bed, sitting next to her. The rest sat around in chairs.
“When Ann ran away, I learned she was working for Lyra. I learned who she had become. I’d sent I don’t know how many messages to King Emeton trying to get help to free her. They were all ignored. I went to Sen-gan but I couldn’t get an audience with him or with Pt’this. I didn’t know where else to turn. I wasn’t welcome in Baj-tisk. I knew I couldn’t go to Lerjao myself so I figured I’d get Drepal to come to me. I did research and found the item Lyra would most likely send Drepal after, the statue from her mother.
“I was told the best thief for any job was someone named Sapphire. They left out the fact that she was just a kid. Had I known, I never would’ve hired her, I swear. I told the person it would be dangerous, as if the idea that stealing from an immortal wasn’t obvious. But I also offered one thousand gold pieces. I was desperate. She had my daughter.
“Sapphire got caught, and I’m sorry about that, but she still brought me the statue and my daughter. Ann was in terrible shape, but she was alive.
“I was fortunate to be in town watching Darkham’s clinic. A young man and a girl brought in another girl who was bloody and half dead. She was covered in scars and burns from eta-vie. I healed her the best I could. I healed the scars and restored the blood loss. I tried to remove the brand, but I couldn’t.
“A few days later, I received word that the statue was available. I no longer cared. I recognized the girl that I healed. But I made a promise, so I went to pay for the statue. I was surprised to find it was the same girl who brought Ann for healing. I paid her extra but she was angry with me and she let me know. For over two hours, she let me know.
“A short time later, she comes to me saying a friend was trying to kill herself and she needed my help. Drepal was trying to drink herself to death. She told me if I helped she’d consider us even.
“I agreed. I went and tried to talk to her. I won’t repeat what she told me. Maybe you know, maybe you don’t. I removed as much of the alcohol as I could, nowhere near all. I can’t imagine the hangover she had the next day. That was the tavern she mentioned.
“I kept an eye on her for the next few years. Then I heard she was back at the palace and then in Baj-tisk. I moved to Bisfip so I could still watch out for her, but I think one of the chaperones may have recognized me when they brought the young ones so I moved to Resdelk. That’s where Kith found me.”
Nobody said anything at first when he finished speaking. Ann’s eyes were closed, and he thought she had fallen asleep, to his dismay.
“She’s awake,” Andy said. “Just resting.”
Finally, Ann opened her eyes. “That had to be the most stupid plan ever. Do you know what Drepal would have done to you when she found you?”
“I wasn’t planning on facing you. I thought I’d go to Sen-gan, show your father who you were.”
Ann laughed. “My father saw me up close. He looked directly in my eyes and didn’t even recognize me. He spoke to me every day for several days and didn’t know who I was.
“What would you have done when that didn’t work?”
“I thought that if that didn’t work, Pt’this and I could stop you.”
“Nim and I couldn’t stop her,” Pt’this said. “Nim and I could barely hold your dad and she’s stronger than he is.”
“Wait, my dad? He’s not dead? When did you see him?”
They explained to him how Lyra had attacked and Ann had dropped a wing of Dragon Castle called the Dragon’s Roost on her and then went into a wizard’s trance where Mishtali, being a prisoner of Nor’than, had tried to lure her back to Andy’s homeland along with Nim and a healer but Drepal had suspected a trap and warned them.
They had gone to rescue Mishtali and Nim’s chosen Joanne while Ann fought and killed Nor’than.
Thailyn sat stunned. “How did you kill Nor’than?”
“I had energy stored up in two vials plus everything I could hold. I used the eta-vie in the area to allow me to use the backlash and threw it all at him like a magic blast and that took out his shield. Then I tore his throat out.”
“You tore his throat out?”
Ann nodded “I bit him.”
“You bit him?”
Ann beckoned for him to come close and whispered. “I’m half dragon. We have sharp teeth.” She leaned back with a gleam in her eyes.
“You bit an immortal?” Thailyn asked, still a little stunned.
“I’ve eaten worse.” Ann shrugged.
Thailyn laughed. “Working with the trolls, I bet you have.”
Then he sobered some. “Why didn’t Dad come with?”
“He wanted to but Nor’than tortured and experimented on him for five hundred years. The recovery is taking time.”
“The elf at the palace couldn’t heal him?”
“Shunati? He did, but some things need to heal naturally. Nor’than tried to clip his wings.”
“He what?” Thailyn looked alarmed.
“He did an incomplete job, not wanting to fully paralyze the wings, and Shunati was able to reverse the damage, but his flying is limited until his muscles recover.”
“Thailyn, are you going to tell Ann about her mother, or should I?” Andy asked.
Thailyn sighed. He was kind of avoiding that. “I will. Ann, the reason you have nightmares, probably part of the reason you became Drepal, is because your mother was part immortal. We didn’t know. I checked. We hoped that since I couldn’t detect it, even after I knew it was there, that meant it was a small enough amount that you wouldn’t be affected.”
Ann nodded. “Drepal always says I’m the dragon half and she’s the rest. She never said she was the human half. She said she was made to keep part of me sane. I always thought she was talking about what happened in Lerjao. Maybe not. Maybe she meant she was keeping the two parts separated.”
“She was quite concerned that you were with Kith. She kept saying you couldn’t be involved with him. Can you ask her?” Sapphire asked.
“I’m not waking her up for that. She’s been quiet for a year and a half. I’d like her to stay that way as long as possible. However, we can’t tell anybody about this. If they found out at the palace, I’d be killed.”
“I think Ann should rest some,” Thailyn said. Ann agreed. “Andy, before you lay down with her, can you come into the other room with me? I noticed something strange about your eyes. If you don’t mind, I’d like to check it out.”
Surprised, Andy agreed. When he had first come to Torthoc, his mage sight had started on its own and he hadn’t been able to switch it off since. Anyone who he had talked to said the same thing, if anyone could find out what was wrong, Thailyn could. Now he was with Thailyn and he had forgotten about it. To be honest, he’d gotten used to seeing the glow of magic and would probably continue using his mage sight regularly.
He followed Thailyn out of the room and allowed Thailyn to examine him.
“When did you get hit in the head?” Thailyn asked.
“About two years ago.”
“Before or after your mage sight got stuck?”
“Back home, did you have trouble seeing?”
“What about colors?”
“I can see them. I get them mixed up sometimes, but I’m not color blind.”
“What about when you went back to your home? Did you see magic then?”
“Only the backlash.”
“Did you ever see backlash before coming here?”
“I might have. When I first saw Ann, she seemed to be glowing white, but I thought it was my imagination. No one else saw it. I figured it was just because she was so pale and the room was kind of dark.”
“Well, this is very strange. I’ve heard of it, but never seen it. Andy, I’m afraid to tell you, you have no normal sight. If you weren’t a mage, you’d be blind.”
“It looks like the nerves connecting your eyes to your brain didn’t develop fully. Your magic has created new pathways but normal sight can’t use them.”
“Blind? I’m blind?”
“No, you’re not. You can see. You just lack one sight. You still have plenty to choose from, more than the average human.”
“Glass half full, huh?” Andy asked.
“Um, okay?” Thailyn guessed not understanding.
“See the positive, you still have half your drink, rather than the negative, your drink is half gone,” Andy explained.
Thailyn smiled. “I guess something like that.”
“When Ann, and sometimes others, draws in a lot of energy, she gets very bright. Will that damage my eyesight?”
“No. It may be uncomfortable, you may see spots but there won’t be any permanent damage. If the glow bothers you, switch to heat vision. Magic doesn’t give off heat.”
“I don’t have heat vision.”
“Sure you do. You have magic, heat, and sound. Night vision, only dragons have and the others need normal vision. Pt’this can help you learn to use them, well except the sound. That’s an Augmenter ability. If you can talk Nim into it, he could help you with that one.”
“You’re quite welcome. Now, get some rest too. Your constant strengthening of Ann is taking a toll on you. Your magic is starting to feel brittle.”
“Oh, it always feels that way.” Andy waved him off. “It’s actually is improving. We figured it was all of the eta-vie in my homeland that did it.”
“Really? May I check something else?”
“Okay.” Andy shrugged.
“Interesting. You’re right. It is on the mend. Using it like you have is encouraging the progress. A trance might help but I don’t recommend that.”
“A trance did help, it’s what started the healing, but I’d rather not repeat it.” A wizard’s trance was what happened if a mage used up too much of their magic. They would lose consciousness and get trapped in the worst nightmare of their life. Only a very powerful mage, specially trained, could bring himself out of one. Otherwise, another mage would have to give them an infusion of energy to bring them out. There was also the risk that if the mage was in the trance too long, they wouldn’t be able to be brought out.
“It took a trance to start the healing? Interesting. I can’t imagine what it was like before.”
“It was useless. I couldn’t cast. I couldn’t use it to help strengthen others.”
“Then how did you go into a trance?”
“I could cast a spell shield using magic from others. I tried to do the same with a sleep spell. My own magic got in the way and I went into a trance.”
“Do you know how dangerous that was?” Thailyn asked.
“Yes. I’ve heard about eighty hours of lecture. I didn’t have much choice. It was risk it, or fight a ten-foot troll with only a knife.”
“He had ten feet?” Thailyn frowned.
“Sorry. A foot is also a unit of measurement where I come from. He was about twice Ann’s height.”
“With only a knife?”
“And he was a mage and a healer.”
“You’re right, not much choice. Someone is teaching you magic now though, right?”
Andy nodded. “They are all taking turns. Ann, Nim, Pt’this, even your dad.”
Thailyn sighed. “My dad. I miss him. I’d love to see him again.”
“Come back with us,” Andy suggested. “There are no immortals there now, except your daughter.”
“I can’t. I have other patients. Some, only I can help.” He also didn’t know if he could make it at the pace they’d set.
“We aren’t going to be ready to leave for a while.”
“These people aren’t going to get better that soon. But, perhaps sometime, I can return.”
“Ann would appreciate that,” Andy said.
“I think Ann would appreciate you joining her before you drop. You do need rest.”
Andy nodded and went to bed.