The Drakthos

By Kammy Gaffney




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"Greetings, Father. Good hunting?"

Rhaegal gave a small, elegant bow in return, and smiled again. "Greetings, my son... and the hunting was very good, indeed." He was very proud of oldest son. He was all that a Drakthos should be. Fierce, swift, arrogant, and strong. Markkastanen was a born dragon lord. Rhaegal looked down, suddenly, when a small hand tugged at his wing.

"What did you see, Father?"

Rhaegal chuckled, and rubbed Davy's already disheveled hair with one hand. "In a moment, my little golden prince - let your father have a moment to rest his weary wings." Markkastanen was his pride, but Adavidarian - Adavidarian was his joy. Joy he thought he had lost forever with his mate's last breath.

Markkastanen drew a chair up to the fire for his father, and stood to one side, obedient and ready to serve his father with honor, as a good son must, and when Rhaegal sat down, Adavidarian attacked his boots and struggled to pull them off, making all manner of grunts and outraged little faces as he did. Rhaegal laughed, when he finally got the first one loose and tumbled backwards. The boy sprang back to his feet, looking indignant.

"Don't laugh! I got it, didn't I?"

"You did indeed. Good for you. But the question still remains; do you have the strength for the other?"

Markkastanen grinned. "Davy, perhaps you should let me help Father with his boots?"

"No, Mark, I can do it!" Adavidarian pouted out his lower lip with determination. He stomped up to Rhaegal's boot-clad right foot, determined to show it who was boss. Once again there was several minutes of struggling, as a very patient Rhaegal held his foot in the air long after it felt like a sack of bricks on the end of his leg, nodding encouragement. He offered to help once, but his youngest son had a lion's share of pride too. "No! I can do it!" And eventually, he did, much to Rhaegalšs relief.

"Very good, Adavidarian," he sighed, leaning back in the chair, wiggling his toes in satisfaction.

"Is there any thing else you desire, Father?" Markkastanen asked.

"No. I have everything I need." Rhaegal eyes met his oldest son's, and he clasped one of the boy's hands in his own. "As long as you both are well, I have everything."

"We are well, Father!" Adavidarian cheerfully flung himself in his father's lap, and curled his arms around his neck. Such a terribly affectionate child. Rhaegal sighed, as he stroked the boy's hair. He was growing so fast. The vampire supposed he indulged the boy for too long, the time had come to start teaching him discipline. This one would need it especially, if he was to survive. The boy gave a little sigh of contentment, and curled up against his broad chest, like a small golden, bat-winged pup. Rhaegal closed his eyes. Perhaps he would start tomorrow... and as smoothly as silk over bare skin, a dream slipped over him.

Greetings, Rhaegal. Alizarin was beautiful. She was always beautiful. She was dressed in a light flowing garment, just sheer enough that he could almost make out teasing hints of her body beneath. Her hair was flaming red and spilled over her bare shoulders like a sheet of living flame. She shone from the dark background of her wings. The dream was so real, he could smell her scent, spicy yet sweet, and exotic as an orchid. How are the children?

They are well, my love, all is well with us.... They were walking in a garden, this time. He'd seen this garden in his dreams before. It was beautiful, what he could see of it, through the silvery, shimmering mist. I miss you, Beloved. I wish I could stay.

I know, Rhaegal. But you must return. The little one is calling you. You will see me again, soon enough... and we will be together, always.

"Father, will you tell us what you saw today?" Adavidarian was asking. Rhaegal blinked.

"I will... but first, tell me of your adventures. What did you do this night while I was gone?"

"Mark took me hunting with him. It was a very good meal."

"Was it?"

"Yes. I got too full, and had to stop, but Mark was very hungry, and the old man died."

"Oh?" Rhaegal turned his piercing gaze to his oldest son. "And how did we dispose of the body?"

"We did not," Mark returned, with a grin. "It looks as though he died quietly, in his bed. By the time anyone finds him, no one will suspect any wrong-doing."

"Well done, Markkas," Rhaegal said. Then he turned back to Davy. "So you had a very good meal today... anything else?"

Mark held his breath. Davy glanced at him, then shook his head. "That's about it. It took us a long time to find him." Mark started breathing again.

"Your turn, now, Father."

"Well, let's see... I went into the town. It is very small, and there are very few humans in it. No fae at all, as far as I could tell. I met a very lovely woman, and not only was she the most delicious meal I've had in a fortnight, but she has agreed to keep watch for us. I believe we might stay for a little while."

"That's good," Adavidarian said, playing with a loose thread from his father's shirt.

"Yes... yes, it is," Rhaegal answered, and he yawned. "Dawn is coming. Time for bed." He rose, and carried Davy into an adjoining room, to tuck him in.

Markkastanen simply stood there for a moment, and smiled - a small, predatory, smile.


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