He loved to watch them, His mates. They were beautiful to Him. It did not matter how they dressed or wore their hair; there were no other creatures who could compare. Watching them became His favorite hobby, following them around as they went about their days, and getting to know their habits. They all had their charms as well as faults, but none that could deter Him. He was absolutely besotted.

Especially with Brianna. His Brianna.

She was the only one out of the six who seemed to sense His presence. The only one who pondered His visits and allowed herself to wonder. While the others carried about their days as they always had, she sensed a change and adjusted. While the others tarried with other men (and sometimes women), she stayed hesitant and alone.

Of course though, He did favor her. He visited her often, especially once He realized that she did not believe He was only a dream. That did not mean He didn't love the others, but He was only a fantasy to them, a nightly apparition. They laughed their dreams away and used His memory while they were with their other men.

They would learn soon that He did not share. He let them have their fun while they could. Soon enough, He would be all that they had, and He would have to budget his time between them. For now, they were free, and He was free to enjoy His Brianna.

His marks were upon them, inside of them, but they could not see them. He knew it would take time, and He was infinitely patient. He was a god after all.

And His goddesses would all understand in time.

They were so thin for so long, with no outward sign of the life they carried. However, the children within were not exactly human. Nor were they mortal; demi-gods, the harbingers of His will. Such power took time and energy to grow, more time than nine or even twelve months. Two years perhaps. Two long, laborious years. But two years was barely a moment to a god like Himself.

His legacy had long been absent from this world, driven into nothingness by creatures who could not even perceive His full being. He had underestimated their tenacity and will. They were smarter than He had at first recognized, and had used sheer numbers to overwhelm and extinguish beasts more powerful than themselves.

Yet, He did not hate them. Mankind was full of fear, and this fear had made them strong. It was the way of the world; the strong outlasted those too weak endure. And sometimes, the strong eliminated the weak to make more room for themselves.

It was not to be borne, however. It could not stand. He would not have it, and in a cruel twist of fate, the gods of mankind would not have it. They knew what would happen if man was left on his own. He did not need to see the future to know that they would turn on each other. Chaos and bloodshed would reign, and when that reign was over, there would be nothing.

And so, when He began to plot, They did not interfere. And when He chose His Six, They did not intervene. He knew the boundaries and they would not be crossed, but these Six, His mates, were His alone. His mates would bring His children into the world and prevent its destruction through balance.

He had been hasty in His choice of His alpha mate, but as time crawled past, He knew that He had chosen well. Her wisdom only shone brighter as time crawled past, her plight becoming clearer and clearer as her body started to swell.

Brianna kept silent, except in her prayers to Him. She was afraid, but resolved in her duty, and His appreciation for her deepened. There was a spark of nurturing love beginning to form within her, and He longed to visit her as He had done that first night. Dreams would not content Him for long, not when it came to her. Still, He was a patient god, and there were other mates under His protective wings.

There was calm and tall Lucinda, who carried the shyest and largest of His children. Their love for the sea and their haunting voices were echoed within their mother, who spent most of her time on the sand digging for crabs and diving for clams and oysters by the cliffs. There were times He would sit by her unnoticed as she stared longingly out over the vast open water of the ocean.

Nima was a sassy and athletic girl, a favorite among the sisters of the temple and the community they served. She spent most of her time among men, joining their hunting parties and bringing home game from the forest. Her children would be most at home beneath a dense canopy of trees, and like their mother, would love mankind more than the children of His other mates.

The twins, Sasha and Tera were moody and combative, arguing with anyone and everyone, but never more than with each other. Identical and more alike than they were wont to admit, they spent most of their time apart and in the arms of anyone who would indulge them for a time. He was amused by them the most, for they were such trivial beings. He would have such fun trying to tame them.

The children they carried would vary in size and power, depending on their area of birth and their age, but even these were not guaranteed to predict with any accuracy. They would be wild and untamable, notorious man eaters as they had been in the past. Their ability to breed easily would make them more numerous than His other children and so two mothers were required to watch over them.

Then there was Elsa, stocky and sturdy Elsa who preferred to keep her home and others comfortable. She was His Brianna's closest friend and had been for longer than either one of them could remember. Her temper was not as calm as Lucinda, but her loyalty and practicality were unmatched. Her children would also be more elusive than Lucinda's, but easier to find.

But He had saved the best for His favorite, His alpha, Brianna. The cleverest, rarest, and most beautiful of His children had been given to her. The hardest to find (for they lived in so few places), the most feared, the most sought, and the most revered. No truer sign of His favoritism could be given, but not even she knew it yet.

Time would tell. He was a patient god.

Of all six of His mates, Lucinda was the first to begin her change. Her children could not fully form in her frail, human body, and so she began to reform. A goddess she would become, just like the others, but it could not happen overnight. She was the first to leave their temple, the one which all six of them had served their entire lives, and lived by the sea for a time alone. Then one day, at His silent but unperceived urging, she stepped into the surf and disappeared beneath the waves, never to be seen by human eyes again.

Elsa became restless, staring longingly in the opposite direction as Lucinda, past the forest and to the distant mountains. Her dreams and fantasies were filled with images of the darkest places among the stones, and a deep seeded need began to eat away at her. Stubbornness kept her home and oblivious to the changes in her body, until wise Brianna finally persuaded her to go. After a moment of indecision and panic, Else finally gave into the new instincts His children were driving within her and left, setting off for the nearest mountain range with relief and determination.

The twins permanently parted ways after a violent night, the likes of which surprised even those who knew then well. They both set off in opposite directions, thinking of leaving the other behind in the temple, and went to seek fortune and fame. He knew that neither would find them, only Himself.

Nima and Brianna left the temple almost on the same day. It was in Nima that Brianna finally confided, for she could not bring herself to speak of the changes that were happening until they were too much to bear. By then, Elsa had gone and Nima was genuinely frightened by what was happening. They talked throughout a night, voicing their fears and hopes to one another, and in the morning, Nima left. Out of all of His mates, she traveled the least distance, only just far enough away to be unseen by the eyes men.

Two days after, Brianna finally left herself. It was she that He followed. The others would be protected by His magic and their own growing strength. It was His favorite that He could not bear to leave, and so when she stepped into the unknown area beyond the village she had lived in her whole life, He went with her.

He stayed with her, watching her body change, admiring her bravery as she endured every new inch and new addition. Her body swelled, feminine curves becoming more pronounced. After a time, there was no mistake that she was with child, the curve of her belly too distinctive to be the product of over indulgence.

He began to visit her at night while she was asleep. At first, it was only to watch as she dreamed without him, and to take in her scent as He sat nearby. But after a time, He could not help but reach out to touch. He limited Himself to her belly at first; their children after all belonged to Him as much as her. Beneath the few clothes she still wore, He could feel them growing and developing, taking strength from the near limitless pool of power their mother already possessed and eagerly lent to them. They would often wake when He was near, becoming restless until He laid a reassuring hand on the womb that held them.

Patience, He would tell them. Learn from your mother's patience.

Once they were asleep again, He would turn His attention to their mother. In time, He grew deft enough that she would continue to sleep, allowing Him to dote on her silently throughout the night. He traced her body, His touch feather light, enjoying every curve with His eyes. In time, He grew bold and would stroke her hair, or lean down to take in her scent properly, His nose just barely touching her skin or her dark hair.

He longed to kiss her and have her kiss Him back. He wanted to see her climax beneath His touch. She ached for Him the way all women with child ached for their mates and more, dreaming about Him even when He did not link their minds. Sometimes she woke up reaching, as if she had known He had been sitting beside her, and the bereft look on her face broke His heart more than once.

Months passed, and she continued to walk, the destination only known to herself. Only once did she stop, when the rigor of travel became too much to bear, and she stayed awhile in an abandoned cottage in the middle of a dark forest that no one had passed through in some time. It was there that the most dramatic changes happened, where she was the most frightened by what was happening to her. It was also there that He finally revealed Himself to her again.

He snuck into her bathing room one night, unable to watch any longer. She stood in the old tub, clutching the side in pain, desperately trying to calm her frightened nerves. He couldn't help but drink in the sight of her, despite the pitiful scene she was making.

Her back was to him but he knew every inch of her by heart and every change that her body had endured. Dark, soot colored skin now covered over half her body, leaving only her face and the front of her neck, chest, and torso, which had only darkened to a deep olive complexion. Her hair had become fuller and now sprouted below her neck along her spine. Black glittering scales lined her hairline and ran down the backs of her legs and arms. There would eventually be more of them, He knew, and although her body relatively the same shape as it had been (although much taller), that would change eventually as well, but not so soon.

However, it was the large blisters on her back that gave her pain. There were no mirrors in the cottage, and so she could not see what was happening within them. They had begun as small things, filled with pus, but now they encompassed her whole back. What had started as an occasional itch had progressed to a dull ache to full-fledged pain, a kind that had caused her to stop her journey. Nothing she had done during her short stay had soothed it, and she had begun to suffer for it. She could not sleep on her back or side because of the pain, and could not sleep on her stomach because of the children she carried. It was not long before her appetite began to wane as well.

She had finally been reduced to weeping, clutching the side of the tub as if it would somehow help. Her tears mingled with the bath water, and the babies in her belly stirred restlessly. They called out to him, unsettled by their mother's fear, the strongest she had felt since before they had been conceived.

He ran His hands up her dark arms, admiring the scales for a moment. The females of her kind were not as brilliant as the fiery males, but darkly beautiful like obsidian. She knew it was Him and sobbed harder, as if she was trying not to beg. His head reached down, straining His neck, and bit the skin of the blisters, bursting them instantly, ignoring her cry of agony. Fluids flowed into the bathwater, mostly water and blood, and He licked the wounds clean.

Brianna hissed as she stretched them; wet, dark, bat like wings. Dragon wings. Her hands still clutched the tub, but she was moaning with relief as the worst of the pain ebbed away. He couldn't help but press a kiss in the crook of her neck, letting loose a deep satisfied groan of His own. His wings touched and supported her own, and as He lifted His head, she turned hers to look at Him.

He was held captive for a moment in her blue eyes. They would never have the feral pigment of His own, but the pupils had already narrowed into slits rather than the circles her human eyes once had. She was already so dragon-like, His favorite mate. It was only suitable for the Dragon God He was.

She whimpered softly as He nibbled her bottom lip. His hands supported and stroked her swollen belly, already so heavy with their children. She yielded, but only just. He was a god and the dominant one, but she was the female and a mother of His children. It would not be long before she had Him fully entangled in her feminine web; He was her protector but would always seek to please her. It was a threat he would submit to. Life had always been so, even for the Gods.

Maybe it had already begun. He revered her, adored her, and as she turned to fully face Him, He cradled her in His arms. He kissed and suckled her breasts, and rubbed the swell of their children, who were quiet now that He was here. She put her arms about Him; she could not feel them move yet herself but longed to.

Soon, He whispered to her as he licked her lips. Soon you will.

"Will you leave me again?" she asked aloud, slightly desperate.

Not tonight, but eventually, yes. You are not my only mate, He reminded her. It was His only defense to prevent her from conquering Him completely.

But I will always come if you need me. I will always know. He kissed her deeply then and slid His body into the tub with her.

Eventually, she gave up on the cottage. She was uncomfortable there, and had only stopped because it was too painful to travel. Along with the changes in her body came changes in her temperament, and the wild was more to her liking. She had been the last of His mates to leave her humanity behind—but she was also the first to fly on her own.

He finally left her when she fledged, and went to check on His other mates. Lucinda hunted large fish and whales in the icy waters of the north. The children within her, singing water dragons, were so large He almost feared for her, but she soon proved that her body was keeping up with their growth. She was shocked to see Him, but pleased, and they spent their time together listening to the songs of their children, who could already sing inside her belly.

The twins rebelled of course, but eventually submitted to him in time. It was in their nature and he had no doubt that the air dragons they carried would be just as fierce and independent. He settled them both inside separate canyons, where they could fly free.

Nima, poor Nima picked his brain as soon as He showed Himself, distraught. Although she had become feral and inhuman, she still felt drawn to her former people, unable to stop waiting for them to appear and afraid of what would happen. He soothed her fears and reminded her of the past; flightless forest dragons were once beloved by humans and used as steeds in some places as often as horses. He instructed her to find these places once she gave birth, for they still remembered how to live side by side with dragons and would welcome her.

Elsa had found her mountains and had settled herself deep in their roots. The darkness and seclusion had changed her almost as much the ocean had changed Lucinda. She had guessed the reason for her transformation on her own, later than Brianna, and was not surprised when He finally came to her. However, she had not fully let go of her need for companionship, and wept bitterly when He left. He had no doubt that once her children were born, she would leave again to find Brianna. Her mountain dragon children preferred some of the same places that her friend's did.

And Brianna, His Brianna; He had almost lost her once He had done His duty to the others. She had traveled far more north than He had anticipated, but He had underestimated the hunger she felt. Brianna held His precious fire dragons in her womb, the most magnificent of His children, and they craved heat as a fish craves water.

He passed over suitable fire-mounts and did not find her, much to His confusion. It was only after that He realized that she was flying toward the most northern of them, a place so isolated that she could live in peace for thousands of years. Pride swelled in Him and He hastened to join her.

She had grown. The ram-like horns of a female fire dragon protected her head. They had been only tips when he had last seen her, just barely broken through the skin. Her feet were clawed, and her scales shone even more brilliantly than He remembered, catching the light of the fire within the mountain and reflecting it in colored beams.

He gently placed a kiss above her distended navel, chuckling softly as one of His daughters strained to touch him. Their mother had tripled in size in order to accommodate their growth, but even now, her belly was impressive. She was just over three quarters of the way to the end and already a Goddess, more beautiful than He had hoped she would be.

Their two daughters kicked frantically, excited by His presence and touch. He kissed each bump and bulge as it appeared, crooning softly into His favorite mate's tight skin.

"I can see they will love you more than me," Brianna whispered, almost startling Him. He had not noticed that she had awoken, but He should have guessed. Their son pulled off a particularly strong kick, showing off, and his two sisters soon followed, eager to impress. Their Father chuckled, deep and almost growling, and nibbled on their mother's navel for a moment. He soothed their children, scolded them gently for rousing their mother, and then left them.

I do not think so, He told Brianna, bending His head for a moment to mouth one of her nipples. But if they do, then I will not be sad, for then I would not have to share you.

She lifted her head eagerly to Him, sighing into His mouth as He moved to cover her fully. Brianna relaxed as His weight settled over her, finally content.