Crossbreeds Part 2: Chapter 14 Nim Landing by RedPhantom ()
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Nim let out a puff of flame and the deck cleared. Sailors raced to the buckets in case he caught the ship ablaze. He took advantage of their absence and flew close before taking human form.
King Emeton was frowning as he dropped to the deck. “You’re as bad as Pt’this,” he claimed. “Must you torment them?”
“Unfortunately, yes. Every evening, I come to land and they crowd the deck. I can’t get close enough to avoid twisting an ankle. If they think there will be a fire, they move to buckets and I can change.”
“I’ve seen you with just wings. Why not land like that?”
“I can’t change like that while flying, and it’s easier to do from human form. This will probably be the last time I’ll need to land. We’ll reach the Retamlic Mountains before the end of the day tomorrow.”
“Good. I’m tired of this ship.”
“You’re a human. Try being a dragon stuck on the water. We’re creatures of fire. Do you know what water does to fire?”
“You won’t be extinguished in water. I’ve heard you talk about swimming with Jo.”
Nim blushed, remembering Jo’s tiny bathing suit. “It’s a lot easier for us to drown. If water gets into my lungs, it gets into my belly fire.”
“I know. It’s why I let you fly even though this is the best ship in the kingdom.”
“I know. Thank you, sir. Good night.”
“Good night, Nim.” Nim went below deck.
“W-Welcome aboard,” Bacna sat on the room’s only bunk. His bad leg made it difficult to use a hammock. They wanted him to be able to walk when they arrived.
“Do you need to go anywhere?” Nim offered. Bacna struggled to walk on board the ship. He stayed in his bunk most of the time. Nim helped him get around when he was aboard.
“No, Dad had me up on d-deck for a while.”
“Good.” Nim lay on his hammock. “We should reach the mountains tomorrow. Then, two days and we’ll be on land.”
“Yeah, and f-four days stuffed in a c-coach.”
Nim felt sorry for the prince. He couldn’t ride a horse, either. The boy rarely traveled except to Illia to visit his wife’s family.
“When is J-Jo coming again?” Bacna asked, changing the subject.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t sure when we’d be back, so we didn’t plan anything.”
“What about the shades? She’s n-never seen those, has she?”
“No, the last time the shades came was before even Ann met Andy. That was when Ann and Kith were sick.”
“And I got stuck as a w-war g-guard. So is she coming?”
“I’d like her to, but it will depend on when we get back. This will be your first time with Lillan, won’t it?” Nim rocked his hammock with his foot against the wall.
“With us married, it is. She was in Sen-gan the last time.”
“Did she enjoy it?”
Bacna grinned. “Let’s just say it’s good that I was on duty. I grew up hearing my dad was a dragon brother. I never guessed it meant we’d react the same way to the shades.”
Nim chuckled. “They affect all mages like that. Dragons feel it more because we’re stronger.”
“And naturally horny.”
“How else would we reproduce?”
“H-How do you think Ann will handle them?”
“How has she usually handled them?”
“The l-last t-time, the control brand Lyra gave her while she was a prisoner c-caused her trouble, and they put her down in the prison for protection. That’s the only t-time she’s been home for them since her magic started.”
“Ten years ago, Kith took her away from them, out to the desert.”
“That’s right. She’d d-disguised herself and they met up with Rem and Shun. Rem said K-Kith couldn’t keep his hands off her.”
“The time before that, she was in Lerjao. Lyra, encased, or eta-vie.” Bacna continued. “That’s why they put her in the prison this last time. There’s enough eta-vie down there to block the shades.”
“How does that not interfere with casting in the palace?”
“There’s something embedded into the stone to help. The immortal qu-queen did that. She’s responsible for a g-good part of Sen-gan.”
“And a few other cities,” Nim added, thinking of how Prince Janta had discovered that several cities in Menthanla formed a giant spell of protection.
“D-Do you know who she was?” Bacna asked.
“Sorry. That was before my time. What do the records say?”
“The immortal queen or j-just the queen.”
“Did anyone ever check the marriage records or their children’s birth records?”
“It’s been changed. The m-marriage records say an immortal. The mother’s name is blank on the birth records. Janta even dug out all decrees their son signed as king. It only includes the father’s name. The odd thing is, there’s a space as though there had been a name, and it was removed.”
“There’s a spell that can do that. Pt’this might be strong enough to cast that, or Mishtali.”
“W-What about Ann?”
“Ann is strong enough to cast any spells she wants.”
“That’s scary c-considered w-what happened.”
Nim eyed Bacna. “What do you mean? What happened?”
The prince shrugged. “Her t-time in L-Lerjao.”
“What did she tell you about that?” Nim noticed Bacna’s stuttering was getting worse. That was a sign something upset him.
“N-Nothing. W-We’re n-not that c-close. But sometimes, the l-look she g-gets, that happened in L-Lerjao.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” Nim lied. He was afraid he knew exactly what the prince was talking about. But he didn’t dare ask directly in case he was wrong.
“You’re Ann’s m-mentor. That m-makes you sh-shepol sort of, d-doesn’t it?”
“Not exactly. But I did see Kith as shepol because of his parents and she was bonded to him. She is my shepol.”
“And d-dragons p-protect shepol, r-right?”
“The son of a dragon brother doesn’t know this?”
“I’m j-just m-making sure. C-can you c-cast a spell to p-prevent eavesdropping?”
Nim obliged him. “What did she tell you?”
“I t-told you, nothing. B-but I’ve seen her. N-Nim, you can’t t-tell anyone this.”
“Ann is D-Drepal.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“I found out when Lyra attacked. Drepal was helping.”
Bacna grew pale. “She’s b-back again?”
“Again? What do you mean again? Have you seen Drepal since Ann came home?” Nim stopped the hammock and rolled to look at Bacna.
The prince paused a moment to calm himself. “When Governor Carem t-tried to take over the palace, he had P-Piena, Irkali, and Sapphire hostage. Ann was the one to free them, only I’m sure it wasn’t Ann.
“And what I heard about Ann helping R-Remtani w-when he w-was attacked makes me think that may have been D-Drepal too.
“B-But, N-Nim, you c-can’t t-tell anyone. She’d b-be executed. D-Drepal was a m-monster. She was w-worse than Lyra.”
“Bacna, your dad already knows and so does Remtani. They found out at Dragon Castle. Besides, your dad gave her an unconditional blanket pardon for any crimes she committed while she was a runaway. He already said he wouldn’t do anything.”
“B-But w-what if the n-nobles say s-something?”
“It won’t matter. Treaty laws forbid unconditional pardons from being revoked. Only conditional pardons can be. There’s nothing he can do unless she does something new. I don’t think she will.”
“Even after all she d-did in Lerjao, you think she won’t c-cause trouble?”
“No. Since then, she’s done some things we wouldn’t, but she worked in ways she wouldn’t get in trouble for. Look at what she’s done. She protected her family and friends and the kingdom. She also offered to help Rejenn protect Cesni and her baby from the child’s father and helped rescue Mishtali. She’s trying to help. She just needs to learn right from wrong.”
He talked with Jo a little and that’s what she’d said. It made sense to him. If Ann suddenly became a new person that didn’t have her life experiences and the first thing she saw were the brutal trolls, that would be all she knew. Now that she’s seen compassionate, loving people, she was beginning to drift that way.
“Ann’s always b-been loving, despite how we treated her. If anyone can teach D-Drepal to behave, Ann can.”
Nim laughed. “Are we talking about the same Ann? She’s sneaky, defiant, and manipulative.”
“Y-Yes, she is, but when has she ever d-done that to harm someone. It’s always to protect herself or others and she’ll put others before herself every time.”
Nim had to agree. He was tired after so much flying. He’d lost some of his endurance when he was sick. He yawned. “Do you need anything before I sleep?”
Bacna shook his head so Nim closed his eyes and drifted off.
As he said, that day was the last day Nim was able to fly alongside the ship. Yarbs didn’t like dragons. He was required to stay in human form while in Yarba.
Nim spent much of his time below deck or leaning over the side of the boat. The potion for motion sickness didn’t seem to help him. Miklin scried Jerta, and Emeton scried Shunati for advice. Both healers made a few suggestions that helped. Miklin had wondered why Shunati wasn’t with them. Usually, Emeton traveled with a healer but he learned since his wife had given birth early, and Shunati needed to help the child.
By the time they reached the port in Yarba, Nim was surly and the rest were glad to be on land. Now, it was Bacna’s time to be surly. He was unhappy that he couldn’t ride a horse, but was stuck in a carriage. Nim also wasn’t able to ride. The Yarb horses weren’t used to dragons and could smell he was one. They wouldn’t go near him. The two guards did their best to keep their charges from becoming despondent. Bacna was happy to talk about his wife. Nim not only liked talking about his chosen, but Tohan got him talking about Kith. The dragon loved that. Kith had been like family to the three others. Miklin hadn’t gotten to know him so well.
Nim also drew the whole time. It was his addiction. The rocking and bumping of the carriage caused some problems. At first, Nim started growling. Bacna suggested using a spell to erase the mistakes. Nim was an excellent artist and by the time they reached their destination, there was a large stack of gardens.
“Is this a palace or castle?” Miklin asked as he saw the building.
“It’s Kamlia’s southern manor,” Bacna said. “He has several others throughout the kingdom. And there are is a centralized castle also.”
Nim rolled his eyes. “And I thought you Menthanlan’s were prone to excess,” he muttered.
Miklin was the first out, to watch for danger. He helped Bacna out of the carriage. The prince’s led would stiffen up sitting all day.
Mostly, Miklin followed around his charge. Solvnor was acting as his valet so he was the one to help the prince as needed.
Miklin saw what Tohan meant about the servant women’s clothing. When he had been up the last time, he had only been meeting with the captain of the guards and hadn’t been at any of the manors, or the castle. He had to admit, if he found women enticing at all, they’d be a distraction. The three delegates completely ignored the women. The guards didn’t have that option. They had to watch everyone. They treated the women with as much respect as they would show the queen, even Skwen.
When Miklin said something, he admitted Tohan had told him about his order. And Nim had added he’d roast his manhood. He also said he’d observed how the Yarb men treated them and someone should show some respect, set the example for the Yarbs.
Image Comments (4)
Richardphotos () 9:20PM | Wed, 17 February 2021
better capture it for the value of copper. very interesting render