The Elders were still. Silence pervaded the usually bustling council room, like a disease. The Elders sat upon their high seats, looking down at the thin girl brought before them, their hooked noses turning up with disgust at her white hair and pale blue eyes.
She was an abnormality, she knew; And a sin smeared across the faces of the purists of her clan - no, she never had belonged to any clan to begin with. She looked back at them calmly, choosing to chase away her fears with the warm feelings she had felt only hours earlier.
'You,' said the oldest of the Elders. He knew not her name, and she was not given one. They would simply call her it or you or that sin.
'As did your parents, you have transgressed the boundaries of our sub-clans,' he spat out with disgust.
'You, who are caste-less and nameless,' he continued, 'have dared to touch a member of the Black dragons. Now,' he leaned forward. 'What say you, in your defence?'
Saying anything was useless. She knew she had been condemned from the day she was born. They would have run her through with spears, but then, Vyr - the prince of the black dragons, the prince of all dragons - had taken to her as how a child took to a new toy, or so everyone assumed. And so they had assumed too, that he would tire of her quickly, and they could properly dispose her for good.
But Vyr had protected her. And never once, had he forgotten about her. But he was gone now, left her still swimming in the warm feelings that he had shrouded her in. He had wanted her to go with him -
'What say you?' the Elder repeated impatiently.
Deirdre looked at him in the eyes and smiled defiantly. The Elder looked perplexed. The next instant, he threw his rod down at her feet. He rose abruptly and shouted.
'She has cursed me with her evil eye!' he announced thunderously. 'Take her away! Take her away! And cast out that seed within her womb!' He cried, and then fell over with ashen face, gasping, 'My heart! My heart! She has cursed me!'
As Deirdre was herded away at spear points - they would never dare touch her - she glanced over her shoulder and saw a crowd gathering at the fallen elder. She had done nothing, of course. It was only his presumption that she had cursed him, as he fell from his over-excitement.
But Deirdre knew that the only one who was cursed, was herself...
* * *
Deirdre was startled out of her own daydreams by the clanging of mugs against table. How many times had she reminisce the past since she saw Vyr on the roof? He had been with Rebecca - Jay's woman. It disturbed her greatly when she saw that he was with the Destroyers - the ones she and Jay had sought out to stop. The ones who were destroying their world.
Jay - he must be thinking of Rebecca even now, as he tossed about in his shallow sleep. Lore stated that vampires never dreamt, but Jay did, Deirdre has seen him wincing in his sleep, and heard him scream in the middle of the afternoon. And perhaps, right about now, he would be brooding at the place where the fox girl, Rihanna, had died, pacing the same spot that Rebecca and Vyr had been watching them from.
'Do you have a moment?' A hooded man, beside her leaned over and touched her wrist. 'Our master wishes to see you.' Deirdre glanced at him sharply as her right hand pushed her sword out of its sheath.
His finger was white, and the colour of the skin underneath his fingernails was bluish.
Deirdre's instinct told her to cut down the vampire where he sat. But he had said 'our' and that meant more vampires.
Deirdre looked around. The tavern was packed with families with children, there were the odd wayfarers too - there were simply too many people to pick out where the vampires were. They had grown smarter - Deirdre thought to herself, grudging slightly.
She glanced upwards, wondering if there were any vampires in the lodgings above them.
'They will be safe if you come with me,' he said, as if sensing her thoughts.
'What if I don't?' she asked.
'You're smart enough to figure out,' he replied, as he stood up and walked away from the bar counter.
Deirdre followed him up the stairs to the rooms. She wondered if there were more hostages. She had not expected the vampires to be in this town - or even to find her.
And the townsfolk had been lax in spite of the vampire attacks in nearby towns and villages. This bothered Deirdre.
'Sword,' a vampire posted outside a closed door held out his hand.
Deirdre ignored him, and opened the door, but the vampire, to Deirdre's surprise, swiftly plucked out her sword from her hand as she pushed the door open.
Deirdre glared at him before stepping into the room. No matter, she could easily defend herself. After all, there would be only one other person in the room.
The door shut in her face.
Deirdre turned from the door and examined the room.
It was unlit, but moonlight flooded through the opened window of the room. Curled up on the bed, not sleeping, merely lying still, was a form that was all too familiar to Deirdre.
If she could turn and run away right at the moment, she would.
But presently, her body quavered, threatening to betray her, and release the emotions she had always kept locked.
The person shifted, then stood in front of her. In the shafts of light, she could make out his unclothed body, with tattoos marking him as the prince of dragons.
He did not take his time when he approached her - in fact, the next moment, Deirdre found herself thrown onto the bed. Her armour prodded into her flesh, making her position extremely uncomfortable.
The prince was over her, his arms at either side of her shoulders. Moonlight reflected off the scales that started from behind his ears and ran down his arms, and part of his chest.
The two said nothing, merely stared at each other's faces.
'Deirdre,' he said, at long last. 'Why are you here? Where is our child?'
'Your child, Prince?' Deirdre returned his question.
'You know what I'm talking about,' he leaned forward, his lips brushed against her ear.
He smelled of the dark waters of...she could almost grasp the name of the place. She had smelled the waters before! Try to remember! It's important! But she could not.
'I am no longer a prince, Deirdre. Do not call me that.' He asked again, 'Where is our child?'
'I'm sorry,' Deirdre whispered.
'No matter,' he replied. 'Call me by name.'
Deirdre remained silent.
'Say my name,' he urged her again. 'Please?'
Deirdre relented, 'Vyr.'
'Again,' he pleaded.
He kissed her cheek, then her lips, and when he pulled away, she asked, 'Why are you with the vampires? They are killing this world.'
'Because this world took me away from you.'
'I'm here,' Deirdre replied, confused by his words. 'Why-'
He hushed her. 'I too, should ask why. Strange, isn't it?' His dark eyes bored into hers. 'The last two dragons, gallivanting with vampires and humans.'