“Fatima, my own, you must take our child and run.”
“No, I will not leave you here to deal with this on your own.” Fatima turned and looked at her son. “You must run, Blayze,” Fatima told her son.
Six-year-old Blayze Elashor Drakenfire stared at his mother not understanding what was going on. He watched as his parents were running around their little home throwing things into a bag.
“You must run, my little Blayze,” Fatima told her son.
“But, Mama, where are we going?” Blayze asked.
“Fatima, you must go with the boy!” Sergei yelled. “I will rest easy knowing that you and the little ones are safe.”
“I cannot, my love, I refuse to leave you alone. I will fight with you,” Fatima said to her husband.
“We cannot leave the boy alone,” his father, Sergei, argued. “He will need his mother to protect and guide him,” he continued, resting a hand on her stomach. “And this one needs to see life.”
Fatima shook her head and touched one of his cheeks. “I don’t want to leave you, my draco corde.”
“You must, for the sake of our children.” Fatima opened her mouth to argue. “Please, amica mia, don’t argue with me on this.”
She closed her eyes, leaning forward, resting her head on his muscular chest. “Promise me, you will find us.”
Sergei didn’t respond, and Blayze could see that his father was fighting back his emotions, he lifted her head, brushing her long dark tresses behind her pointed ear. “Te amo,” he whispered then kissed her. Blayze did not understand what was going on, but he knew something was wrong. His father said that the bad people were coming to their home, they lived far from the main town in the snow-covered mountains.
“Mama,” Blayze said getting his mother’s attention.
She turned and looked at him, with worry in her clear gray-white eyes, they were the same color as his own. Her lips were trembling, and tears pooled in the corner of her eyes. Fatima knelt in front of him and pulled him to her chest.
“Listen to me, my little one.” Her voice cracked when she spoke. “If anything happens to your father or me, you must grow up to be a good boy just like your papa.” He nodded. “Respect your elders, and whatever you do, do not under any circumstances shift where humans can see you. They will fear you because of what you are. They will not understand and will act differently toward you. More importantly, do not tell anyone who and what you are, my little nymph arum draco. Trust no one, not even if they are your own kind, my son.” She pulled back and held him by the shoulders. “Tell me you understand, Blayze.” He nodded again. “Let me hear you say the words, my child.”
“Yes, Mama, I understand,” he told her. Even though he really didn’t.
His papa had left earlier that morning, and when he got home, he started packing up their things saying that people were coming, and they needed to get away. Blayze didn’t know who the people were; he wasn’t allowed to talk to any of the humans that lived in town which made him sad.
He would sometimes hear the other kids his age running around playing in the snow, and he would hide and watch them play, wishing he could join them. They always looked as if they were having a lot of fun. Blayze looked at his father who was standing at the entrance to the kitchen and living room. Their cottage wasn’t big, but it was just right for the three of them.
“Come to me, my little fire child.” He opened his arms and Blayze ran and jumped into them.
His father caught him easily holding him close and squeezing him tightly, almost taking his breath away. Papa was whispering words in his ear, some he understood and some he didn’t. The older dracomen had been teaching him the native language of dracomens, but there were still words he didn’t understand or pronounce correctly. He raised his head and looked into gray eyes and they looked sad and were not sparkling like they usually did when his father would hold him. Blayze cupped his papa’s red-bearded cheeks.
Blayze had often wondered why they didn’t live in the world with the other dracomens. He’d asked his papa why they lived so far from everyone else, and his father would only smile and gently pat him on the head and suggest they go practice flying, knowing how much he loved seeing his father’s large beast. He would be safely tucked between one of his large claws as they soared through the clouds, forgetting he’d even asked a question in the first place.
“Are we going to meet the other dracomens now, Papa?” Blayze asked.
“No, multi est,” Sergei answered.
“Then where are we going?” he asked.
His papa smiled. “You were always a curious child, even as a whelp. Don’t ever lose that spark.” Blayze smiled. “Promise me that you will be good for your matar. Grow up to be a respectable dracomen and change the world and how others see us. We are not as scary as they believe nor to be used as toys in an army.” His papa kissed him on the forehead before pulling back. “Let them see your strength, my little whelp. Accept love when it is given, fight for what you believe in, and regret nothing,” his father advised him while looking Blayze in his eyes. “You are a Drakenfire don’t forget that, we are a proud circle with noble blood.”
Blayze nodded. “Papa, te amo,” he told his father. As young as he was, Blayze knew that his father was worried about something and he hoped saying that he loved his father would make things better, and they could go back to having fun flying around the snowy mountains again. Blayze was still too young to shift, but his papa was always telling him what he needed to do when the time came.
Sergei's cheeks were wet with tears, and that surprised Blayze. He’d never seen his father cry even when he got hurt. He would say bad words and his mama would wag her finger at him telling him not to teach Blayze those kinds of words so young. His papa would smile and pull her into his arms and kiss her making her giggle. And Blayze knew everything was fine and would leave the room when they started to get all mushy. Looking at his father now, Blayze saw nothing but sadness in the older man's eyes.
Blayze knew that his father was strong and powerful. The larger dracomen would sometimes lift him in the air with just one hand, never breaking a sweat. His father was also caring. Not only with Blayze and his mother, but also with the people who would make their way up the mountains to see him. Sergei was also a doctor or Blayze thought he was.
Sometimes people came to their house and went into the room that Blayze was never allowed in because, to his mother and father, he was too small. There were times his mama would help by giving them the medicine she made in the big pot she always used on the stove. He’d heard people call her a witch.
But Blayze didn’t believe it. Blayze didn’t think his mama was ugly or have a hooked nose and warts on her face. She was beautiful with long jet-black hair that it sometimes looked blue. His mama also didn’t have a wand or fly on a broom, and she didn’t like to fly like him and his papa. Humans were foolish.
“Te amo, multi est,” he whispered and smiled. But again, Blayze noticed the smile was strained, and his eyes didn’t light up like they usually would. He wanted to hear his father’s boisterous laughter, and it would make him giggle for no reason.
“It will be okay, Papa.” Blayze rested his forehead against Sergei’s strong chin like he’d done countless times in the way of comfort.
“Remember my words, my son,” his father whispered. “May the gods of fire and sun protect you from my enemies and theirs.” He set Blayze down on the floor, patting him on the head. “Now go and do your best to protect your mama.” He wanted to tell his papa to come with them, but he knew the older dracomen would say no.
Blayze nodded and walked over to his mother, standing beside her. She knelt in front of him and closed her eyes before opening them again. “I love you, my fire child. Never forget that.”
Fatima bent her head and took off the necklace and put it around his neck. She whispered a few words, and for a few seconds, Blayze was distracted by the bright light that was coming from his mama’s hand and then just like that it was gone.
“Keep this with you, and if we get separated, you only need to think of me and I . . .” She didn’t finish her sentence as tears streamed down her cheeks. Blayze didn’t like what he was feeling in the pit of his stomach or the thought that he wasn’t going to see his mama and papa again. “Keep it close to your heart, my son, and one day the gods will send someone to love and care for you. Someone who will be worthy to be your draco corde.”
Blayze looked down at the green jewel that was the color of his matar’s eyes, surrounded by platinum that always hung around his mother’s neck. He remembered playing with it as a child. The platinum dragon had its wings extended, and its mouth wide open with the green gemstone nestled in its stomach. The dragon looked fierce and ready to attack. He looked at his mother. “How will I know they are my draco corde?”
His mama smiled and touched the right side of his cheek. “You will know, my little fire child,” she said to him. She touched a hand to his heart. “You will know when you feel the urge to kill for them and protect them at the same time. You will know when you would want to sacrifice everything, even your life, for the one who will be your draco corde; your dracomen heart.” She wiped away her tears with her arm then stood. “Come, we must go now.”
Blayze nodded and took her hand as they walked through the kitchen. He was thinking about what his mama had just said, taking her advice to heart and putting it in the back of his mind as she opened the kitchen door. Blayze looked back to see if his father was following them, but he wasn’t. He turned around and looked at his mother, tears were still running down her cheeks, he squeezed her hand, hoping it would make her feel better.
They stopped just before they walked over the threshold, Fatima kneeling in front of him as she rested her hands on his shoulders, squeezing then gripping his chin in one hand. “Be good, my son. Now go, Blayze, run and whatever you do, don’t stop or look back. Remember that we love you always and we did this for you,” she started. “I cannot go with you,” she told him.
“But, Mama . . .”
“I know that you don’t understand, and you will hate me one day. But I must be at your father’s side. He is my life source, without him I am nothing. It is the curse of who I am, of who you are.” Her tears didn’t stop, in fact they started falling more. “You will understand one day, my little fire child, now go,” she told him.
He stood there for a few minutes afraid to move until his mama pushed him again and screamed at him to run. He ran as fast and as far as he could. Stopping only to see if his mama could see him, that he listened to her like a good boy and did what she told him. He knew she told him not to look back, but he also wanted to see if his mama had changed her mind and did what Papa had told her. What he saw shocked him. His mama on her knees and a man standing in front of her with a sword in his hand.
Blayze screamed, but his father’s loud roar drowned out his voice as the man used the sword to chop his mother’s head off. Blayze screamed for his mama and was about to run to her when their house blew up. The force of the backlash threw Blayze back, knocking him out.
* * *
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