“It’s time to make you understand at least a part of what was happening to you.”
“Okay,” Cole said, his tone wary. “Tell me.”
“How old were you when you were left on those hospital steps?”
Cole glanced up at him, a little frown creasing his brow. “How did you know about that? Is that in my file?”
“Answer the question, Cole.”
“I don’t know. A few months old, I guess. That’s what they told me, anyway.”
Levi nodded. “Have you ever wondered about your family? Where you came from?”
“Of course,” Cole said, a little irritated shrug lifting up one shoulder. “All orphaned kids do that, I guess. Why are you asking? What’s this all about?”
“I’m trying to tell you.” He let another moment or two pass before he took a deep breath. “I know who your parents were. Your father was King Bathial, the king of the entire Fairy Domain and all its tribes, except for the Sidhe. His tribe was the White Elves and his consort was Lilliane. You are the first and only son of Lilliane, and you were stolen from your cradle when you were six months old, not long after your mother’s death. A changeling was left in your place. It was only a fetch, an enchanted piece of wood that soon appeared to grow sick and die. Your father grieved for you, but he buried what he thought was your body and he tried to go on with his life.”
Cole jumped to his feet, his face drained of color and his emerald eyes flashing fire. “This is crazy! I won’t sit here and listen to this.”
Levi pulled him back down and held onto him, preventing him from running away from it. “It’s true. It was said that your mother never recovered from your birth. That she stopped eating and simply withered away, but I think she was murdered.”
Cole gasped and what little color he had drained from his face. “Murdered?”
“Yes. I can’t prove it, but it seems likely to me in light of what happened next. Your father was heartbroken, but his people demanded an heir. He remarried one of her handmaids, a young woman named Melisande, who was another of his tribe. Within a year Prince Marek was born.”
“But all this is crazy. You actually expect me to believe…”
“You know you’ve always been different from other children. Think about it. You’ve never fit in, have you? Never really belonged.”
Cole firmed his jaw and turned his face away, looking embarrassed. “That doesn’t mean anything.”
Levi kept on relentlessly. “You must have noticed the change in your face and body over the last few months. The one who stole you put a glamour on you to hide you from our realm. It was a powerful spell, but it’s been wearing off. To our eyes in the Vargr realm, you shine now like a beacon in this world. You’re an Immortal Being, Cole. A White Elf and a fairy prince. And it’s time you learned of the heritage that was stolen from you. We’ve been aware of you for some time now. Though your body shines brightly, we only knew you were Vargr. It was only recently that we learned of your true identity.”
“This is insanity! All of this.” Cole shook his head, refusing to look at Levi. He would have jumped from the bed and ran from the room if he could have, but Levi was holding him too tightly.
“It’s true. I think Melisande poisoned your father to put her child on the throne. But her plan backfired. Her son Marek was as twisted and dark as the wicken-trees that fill the Fairy Realm. He used the same poison on his own mother when he was fifteen to end her regency and her life. It was on her death bed that she admitted her crimes. She admitted that it was she who stole you from your cradle and put that changeling in your place. I believe it was she who poisoned your mother, but Melisande died before she could tell anyone.”
Cole continued to shake his head, unwilling or unable to believe what he was hearing. Impatiently, Levi took his shoulders and gently shook him. “Someone sent a message to both the High King and to Marek telling us of your existence in the mortal realm and telling us where to find you. As it was I was only steps ahead of your brother’s agents.”
“They were waiting for you at your home the afternoon I met you, Cole. That’s why you couldn’t go home. Thomas told you that you had a choice, but I would never have allowed you to leave.”
Cole put up both hands and shoved against Levi’s chest as hard as he could, but it was like pushing against a stone wall. “You can have hysterics over all this later, Prince Elvie. Now we have to act quickly.”
Cole lifted his head, his eyes round and shocked. “W-What did you just call me?”
A little smile quirked up the corners of Levi’s lips. “Prince Elvie.” He shrugged, trying to hide his smile. “It’s your true name. But you must guard it closely. Fairies can be summoned by using their true names, and if a human learns it, he will have power over you. Most Fairies jealously guard the knowledge from all outsiders. My father found it only with the help of his wizard who contacted your mother’s spirit in the Spirit Realm. We couldn’t summon you from the Vargr Realm, but instead had to come here to find you. Marek doesn’t know it yet, because you hadn’t yet gone through the public naming ceremony of your people when you were taken, or else he would have already come here as well. If he finds out your true name, he can use it to compel you to appear before him.”
“Elvie is my name? Elvie!”
“Elvie is an old and respected Fairy name. It means warrior.”
Cole wrenched his arms away and stood up, pointing an imperious finger down at Levi. “Never call me that name again. Of all the stupid names that ever…Elvie? Really?”
Levi stood up beside him and took his finger in his hand. “I know you’re focusing on the name to avoid thinking about the extraordinary tale I’ve just told you. You’re still partially in shock and trying to wrap your mind around all this. Calm yourself. Get your things together, because we have to go. If Marek’s agents succeed in capturing you, they’ll take you straight to Marek, who won’t hesitate to kill you to secure his place on the throne.”
Cole allowed Levi to push him toward his suitcase and finally he started to move, picking it up and turning to face Levi. “If I ‘shine’ like you say I do, then how can we hide? Why not just face them head on and fight them off like you just did.”
“There are too many of them. It won’t be much longer before the powerful glamour the wizard put on you so long ago will disappear. Already glimpses of your ethereal beauty are shining through the widening cracks in the spell. Soon, you’ll assume your true form, and there’ll be no way to hide it. Though while it’s true you shine, you don’t shine as much as I do. One reason why my father assigned me to guard you. I’m the son of a demon, remember and a full-blooded Sidhe noblewoman. My brilliance in this realm will shield yours. Besides I can easily do a spell that will disguise both of us once we leave here.”
Cole huffed out a breath. “Think pretty highly of yourself, don’t you? You and your spells. Then how in the hell did they find us before?”
Levi shrugged. “I neglected to use the proper shields. I thought we might have more time. Someone must have seen us and reported your presence in our group. It’s hard to say. And irrelevant at this point. Now come with me or I’ll carry you.”
“I’m coming,” Cole said querulously. “But what about the others? Aren’t they coming with us? What if the-the hobgoblins attack again?”
“How do you know that?”
Levi turned back toward him, and with only a slight twitch of his lips, he said, “Because Elvie will have left the building.”
Dragon's lair--Dragon Prophecies 3
“A little magic can take you a long way”
I had always known Dragons existed, of course. Everyone knew that. Those old maps that had "HC SVNT DRACONES,” or “Here be dragons,” printed at the edges of their known world hadn’t been kidding. In those early maps, you might also see images of sea monsters or stylized pictures of Dragons. I guess it was a way for those old map makers to say, “Be careful. There's bad stuff out there."
I had also heard that pure-blooded Dragons were touchy and easily offended, and that they were a surly bunch who were evil-tempered. As a general rule, they didn’t care much for humans, though they certainly liked them well enough for sex. They jealously guarded their treasures, being greedy and covetous creatures, obsessed with increasing their hoards. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Dragons were dangerous and bad to know. They were driven by their love of treasure, were motivated by it, spent their time guarding it and would literally kill to increase it.
Very much like my own father, actually, who was not a Dragon and therefore, had no excuse for his love of money and the crimes it caused him to commit.
The fact that I knew the Solokov Dragons in particular existed was due to my father’s transgressions and mine for allowing myself to be sucked into them. But I’m getting ahead of myself, and my knowledge, or the lack thereof, about Dragons is really not a part of the story. How I came to help save the world is the real story here, and it—like my relationship with the gorgeous Dragon, Alexei Solokov—was, as they say, complicated.