The story so far:
Water is such a wonderful element. To the ladies of Anash’s family, today they were going to enjoy a soothing bath and swim in an underground pond deep in the Dragon Lair of Stohyer. They had been invited by Senashea the mate of the Great Dragon Gynyorra. She waited for them upon the ledge at the far end of the pool. The water was warm and fed by a warm spring that created a small water fall on the wall between Senashea and the door made for humans to enter. It was just deep enough for a dragon to lie in and only be half covered.
A red lady led the seven females down a dark corridor cut into the rock. It was at a downward angle and kept having turns to the left.
Right behind the red lady were the two youngest, Kilorra and Merylis, skipping around holding hands. Kilorra’s hair was white, thick and wavy like Marchalla’s and she also had her grandmother’s green eyes. Merylis was just eight months older than Kilorra and her hair was strawberry blonde, thick and wavy.
Behind the two little girls trying to keep them in line was Marchalla their grandmother. Her long thick wavy white hair was almost to the floor. She was the tallest in this group and was wearing white robes.
Gaebrah, the oldest of Anash’s children, walked next to her half sister Andileeda just behind Marchalla. Both, wearing green robes, had dark hair like their father, but Andileeda had the brightest blue eyes. Avris and Monorra swore that she had their father’s eyes.
Bringing up the rear were the sister wives of Anash. One would almost think that they were teens the way they were giggling and poking each other. They wore the blue robes that Anash gave them when they first came to the lair. Avris was the taller with much darker strawberry blonde hair than her sister.
Senashea had invited them so that they would have something to do together while Anash was away on a diplomatic meeting with the Empress of the Dryads. He had only been gone just a few days. While they were to be with Senashea, Anash’s two sons were with Gynyorra in his private bathing pool with Garthlac, Vorent and Largon.
Senashea was only half the age of her mate Gynyorra. They only had one son. She worried secretly about her mate. She was still young enough to bare him more children, but he was not well anymore. People did not know of his illness and only a few dragons in the council knew. Anash and Tonnagell were the only humans that knew.
The red lady walked around the pond lighting the seven sconces set in the walls. The chamber was a room dug out by dragons long ago. One could see in some places the markings of dragon claws where the work had been done. The stone walls and floor were mostly black and were very smooth to touch. All rough and sharp edges had been removed. Once all the sconces were lit, the red lady silently walked back to the entrance to keep watch.
Everyone went over to a shelf carved into the wall except for Avris. She just dropped her robe and stood there naked a moment with a mischievous smile on her face just before she began to run. Kilorra stopped and watched her mother running toward the water and gasped when Avris raised her hand and lept. She thought he mother was diving too soon.
Avris gracefully landed on her hand and flipped on over landing in the water with a splash sending water everywhere. Kilorra giggled when she got some drops of water on her. Avris had been to this pool many times with her sister Monorra when they first came to the lair.
Kilorra and Merylis quickly remove their robes and would have run straight to the pool but Marchalla got hold of them and made sure they put up their robes. Then she walked the two girls to the pool, while Monorra picked up her sisters robe and put it up with the others.
Gaebrah and Andileeda disrobed and went over and tested the water with their toes before getting into the water. Monorra snuck up behind them and goosed her daughter Andileeda, making her fall on into the water. Before anyone could react to this Monorra dived deep into the pool.
Senashea is pleased to see them enjoying their time in her private pool. She swishes her tail in the water as they discussed the upcoming festival. As usual Senashea was going to be doing the cooking. People would come for miles just to watch a dragon cooking the food for the Star Gazing festival. Many people thought it odd that she was the best cook ever, yet she had never eaten any of the game that she cooked.
Everyone in the pool had to keep on their toes because Avris had gotten an old game started, where she swam under the water and would either goose someone or pull them under. Gaebrah and Andileeda had joined her in the fun. Kilorra was the best at catching them before they ever got to her. There was also plenty off splashing and dunking. For some reason, even with all the splashing, Marchalla never seemed to get her hair wet, which she kept bundled and wrapped around her head. Her hair came almost to the floor.
This was the kind of fun that made them all forget about any problems that ever existed. Senashea could see this and was very pleased with herself. She felt that she needed this. It always helped her to do something that made others happy. She stretched out enjoying her contentment and was suddenly started as she heard Kilorra and Merylis squealing with delight. She looked up to see that over a dozen fairies had entered the chamber and were flittering about her head. Her happy contentment left her and she began to be worried. Fairies usually kept hidden unless they wanted to warn people of some trouble. Gaebrah also became worried when she saw the fairies and Senashea saw this.
“Avris, we haven’t seen fairies since we were little girls,” Monorra moved over to her sister.
Merylis climbed out of the water and sat beside Senashea, “When you see fairies, momma?”
Avris noticed the concern on both Senashea and her daughter, “Gaebrah, why are you bothered by the fairies?” The seriousness in her voice catches everyone’s attention. They all moved closer to her.
Gaebrah looked from her mother to the dragon questioningly. Senashea saw this and nodded. “Mother, fairies always come when something bad or when some danger is about to occur.”
Avris asked, “How do you know this?”
“Father told me, that’s why he had Challick teach him fairy speak.”
At the mention of Challick they all perked up. They had all heard of the duel between him and Anash that occurred years ago. They had heard the tale from their father and from many soldiers. The soldiers told a more interesting story. There were many that said they were there to witness it, but their father and Vorent both said that there were only thirty there that day.
Avris looked at her daughter knowing there was more to be told here, “Why did he tell this?”
“I met Challick once when he came with a report. Father let me stay and sometimes I get called to come when Challick visits,” an interesting smile appeared on her face, that everyone noticed.
“Is he handsome?” Marchalla spoke with a tone that showed she could tell that Gaebrah was a little star struck by Challick.
Gaebrah moved over to the edge of the pool beside her mother and straightened up, but her smile got even bigger as they could see her remembering what Challick looked like, “I would say he is and he is very charming also. He kissed my hand.”
The eyes of Gaebrah’s sisters went wide at this bit of juicy info. Andileeda asked, “Has he taught you fairy speak?”
“Not yet, but father has told me that I should take the time to learn,” then trying to get the attention off of herself, she looked at her mother, “Father has told me that you have an interesting tale about fairies.”
“Yes, Monorra and I were saved by fairies when we were little girls,” then looking down at her younger daughter, “I was ten when it happened.”
“Avris, I have not heard of this tale,” Senashea asked as she slipped into the pool barely causing a ripple and made herself comfortable right behind Marchalla, “Could you tell us what happened? I would love to hear it.”
“Monorra should be the one to tell what happened. She is a very good story teller.”
“I may be a good teller of tales sister, but I was half your age when we were saved from the floods and I barely remember anything from back then.”
With the fairies still flittering about the chamber and having everyone’s attention focused on her, Avris was nervous. Something about being put in the spotlight or in danger or a challenge where she got nervous or felt fear made her feel alive. She loved the excitement this gave her.
“Alright, let me see if I can get this straight. I believe that Anash is the only person that I have taken the time to tell this to. He is a very good listener. So you better listen well. I’m not good at repeating what I say.”
She paused a moment, looked at her sister and then continued. As she talked to them, she was able to see it all again in her mind. Her eyes got a far away look as if she really wasn’t there anymore.
“The day before had been a rainy day and we all had to stay inside. We lived in a small cottage made of stone and wood in a forest far away from here. I wish that I could find my way back there.” She made a tiny sigh and was quiet for a moment.
“That day that we stayed inside, father spent a lot o time working on something at the table. He wouldn’t let us see and kept telling us that it was a gift for us and we had to be good or he wouldn’t give it. I think he was enjoying himself very much that day. The best we could do was climb up to the loft and spy on him from there. I can remember him looking right up at us with those beautiful bright blue eyes of his. They were a blue I never saw again until Andileeda was born.”
It seemed that they all looked at Andileeda at this moment and she blushed brightly.
Avris closed her eyes and continued, “Mother kept giving us little chores to do, like cleaning or bringing her things that she was adding to the soup we were to have that night. It was a day that I remember as being very happy. Just like I see my girls here today.” Opening her eyes she looked at her daughter and then at her sister. She loved them all. She felt very good right now. She had been afraid of telling this story because of how sad it was. She knew they all needed to know and sharing it helped ease a burden in her heard.
“It was pretty much a dark day with all the clouds and the raid and we had a few lamps lit. It was while we sat down to eat before going to bed that father brought out the gift. He placed it on the center of the table so he could look at it while we ate.”
There was a pause until Kilorra spoke up, “What was it? What did he give you? Tell us mother, tell us!”
“It was a little house made of sticks, twigs, leaves and little pebbles. He said it was a fairy house. I remember looking at him strangely when I said that fairies don’t live in houses. He smiled, said that was true, but fairies like to be given things and where fairies gather, so does good magic.”
“Good magic? What kind of good magic?” Everyone was used to Kilorra asking questions. There wasn’t an hour in a day that she didn’t ask someone something.
“I believe that I asked him the same thing.”
“What did he tell you?” the question came quickly.
She smiled at her daughter and paused on purpose, “He told us to keep the fairy house where we could see it, but we couldn’t get too close since fairies are also shy.” She glanced up at the fairies above, “When the fairies come, they will bless the house and that will let other fairies know that we are friendly. He told us to be careful with it and keep it near us all the time. That way fairy good magic would stay with us.” She looked up at the fairies and it was like they were listening also.
Gaebrah saw this, “Father told me that fairies can understand us no matter what language we speak, but they aren’t big enough to speak like us.” She watched the fairies for a silent moment, “I believe they are listening to you mother.”
“Monorra and I slept up in the loft. After we finished eating, we were sent off to bed. Once we climbed up the ladder, father handed us the fairy house and we placed it on a small table so we could watch it. I though I would stay awake all night. I was determined to see a fairy, but in the morning I discovered that I fell asleep sometime during the night. I was disappointed that I did not see a fairy.”
One of the fairies came down and stopped right in front of Avris and chatter at her for a good long time. Her chattering seemed so urgent and also seemed like she was upset about something. Halfway through this Avris suddenly got a concerned worried look on her face.
“What is it mother?” Gaebrah asked.
“I believe that I actually understood one word. She said it over and over.”
“What was it mother?” Kilorra asked.
Avris looked up at the dragon before her, “The word was ‘murder’.”
Senashea felt extremely uneasy, but without someone to translate what the fairies were saying she knew not what could be done.
“I see,” Senashea took a slow deep breath, scratched her ear and seemed to ponder this. She knew something terrible was happening, but not what. She knew of nothing that she could do, but wait. “Continue your story.”
The fairy stayed just a few feet in front of Avris as if waiting or her to do something. It bothered Avris that she did not know what to do for this fairy. So she continued with the story, “The sun was just beginning to come up and its first rays were making little beams through the leaves in the trees. I still love seeing the forest like that. I could hear father outside preparing for the day. He was always up before anyone. I could also smell bread cooking. I can remember that mother made such good bread.” Avris took in a deep sniff as if she could smell that bread right there. She expected Kilorra to ask a question here, but she could see the girl was patiently waiting for more of the story.
“Then father called for us to get up. We had lots of work to do and needed to hurry up and get out to the field. So up we got and ate and soon we were headed down to the field. We were dressed to keep warm; there was still a chill in the air left from winter. Father had us bring the fairy house.”
All of the fairies that were in the chamber had now come down and were quietly circling in and around everyone as Avris told the tale. “We rode in the cart down to the field, which wasn’t far down the hill. Father had us play under a tree at one end of the field. That way he could watch us while they worked. E was working on plowing the field and mother was planting seeds. It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze.” She looked at her sister and could see a tear in her eye. Monorra did not remember this day at all. Only thing she could remember of their parents was her father’s eyes. Avris knew this was why Monorra had shied from telling about what had happened. “There was a clear place under this tree and we placed the fairy house in the middle of it and we hid behind the tree. We did a lot o giggling while we watched and waited. I’m surprised that we didn’t scare the fairies away.”
She could feel the sadness of this memory filling her as she told her family about that tragic day. She looked up at Senashea and could see she was deeply moved and Avris almost expected a tear to be in her eye.
“It wasn’t long before a fairy did come out of the bushes on the other side of the clearing. She hovered there a moment and then flew to one side to get a better look at our airy house and then suddenly she went back into the bush. We almost squealed. It was the first fairy that we had ever seen. Our day had been made. I was just about to run and tell father when Monorra grabbed me. I turned and looked back and I now I must have gasped because they got startled for a moment. There were now two fairies and they were sitting on top of the little house. They looked right at us and I froze. I was so afraid that I was going to scare them away. Everything was so quiet for at that moment. All I could hear was father fussing at the horse. I looked to see why. The horse was bucking and trying to pull the plow the wrong way across the field. I had to laugh, but I thought of the fairies. I looked back and this time I did gasp. There were now six fairies and they were chattering wildly with each other and the four new ones were pointing up the hill.” Avis had to take a long deep breath. She was now to the part that was going to be very hard to tell. She couldn’t stop now. She had everyone’s attention. Their eyes were glued on her.
“Suddenly the four new fairies flew away so swiftly that they made their own little breeze.” A tear formed in her eye and she wiped it away. It was so quiet in the chamber. She could barely even hear Senashea breathing. Avris hadn’t felt this nervous since Anash had become the Dragon Keeper. She had been surprised that day when they had also brought her up into the ceremony to be named the Dragon Dancer. Until that day she had never been naked in public. Thoughts of that moment crossed her mind, but she brushed them away. She knew that her mind was trying to think on better days. She had to take a deep breath and continue. She felt this was important for their daughters. She looked at Monorra and her sister reached out to her and caressed her face. Monorra looked her deep in her eyes and she knew her sister was telling her to go on. She gained strength from this. She was thankful for her sister. Without her she could not have endured those years of slavery.
“I heard a sound in the distance. It was far away and getting closer. I tried to figure where it was coming from and that is when something grabbed my hand and began to pull me along. I looked and saw one of the fairies pulling me along. Fairies are rather strong. I could not have gotten away if I had tried.”
Avris could feel the fear all over again, “The fairy was pulling me toward a big rock on the other side of the field. Father used to complain about that rock being in the way of working the field. At the rock, the fairy began pulling me up, but I had to help climb. When I was on top of the rock, I heard Monorra yelling. The other fairy was helping her up the rock. I reach down to help her and she was pointing toward where our parents were. I looked as I grabbed her. I wish I had not looked. Father was also yelling as he and mother were running toward us. I heard trees cracking and a loud roar. The fairies made us lie down and hold onto the rock. I had to look again and this time I saw water bursting through the trees. I screamed as it suddenly took my parents away. Then the water hit the rock. I actually thought we would also be taken away. The water hit us and then hit us again. I slipped once and tried to scream again, but my mouth was filled with water and I choked.” She stopped and found herself breathing heavily. It was like she was there again. She realized that she had finally told it. She looked at her daughter saw in their aces some of the fear she had felt that day.
“I must have passed out. I woke up later that day. Monorra was shaking me. We were still on the rock, but now it was surrounded by a river. The trees that had been nearby were gone and mother and father were nowhere to be seen. It was quiet. It was too quiet.”