Strength Will Endure the Deception of Pain

Most elders had spare nests in rooms adjacent to their offices; to sleep in if they worked late into the night so they wouldn’t disturb their mates or so they didn’t have to travel far late at night. Elder Seranil was no exception. This night, after Elder Zarentil had finished with him, Seranil lay trembling in his reserve nest.

“You won’t get in my way, will you?” Zarentil whispered as he stood.

“No,” Seranil managed after a moment. “I… see now. I can’t – I can’t fight you.” He bit back a sob and tensed when the other elder loomed close.

“No tears, now,” Zarentil hissed. “Little Kina will wonder what’s got you so upset and we wouldn’t want any… unnecessary explanations. Would we, Seranil?”

“No,” Seranil whispered. He closed his eyes and tried to force himself toward a calm he did not feel. He heard Zarentil dressing in a whisper of fabric. The door to his office opened and closed and he sensed the other dragen leave his den, then the caverns altogether. He was planning on killing Elder Myro.

Though, he trembled at the thought of what Zarentil would do if he learned of the deception, Seranil got up and dressed quickly. Zarentil had mentioned nearly catching Elder Myro on his way home from the meeting. He’d mentioned trying to use the spell that would make him lay eggs – both to feed the ravenous demons and to kill him in a most horrible manner. He wouldn’t have made it far under the backlash of such a spell. Since the youngest elder hadn’t shown up in any of the Brightstone Mountains caverns, chances were good that he’d ended up in one of the Stoneburst Cliffs caverns.

Seranil crept into the communication’s room and set his hands around the summoning stone. Small bits of dust and dirt danced around the bright gem and it flared to life. “Tinkling Caves, Apprentice Maraphil speaking, how can I help you?” a tired looking dam said.

“It’s vitally important for me to speak to Elder Taurin. Can you tell him that Elder Seranil requests an audience, please?” he said, striving to keep the tremor from his voice. He didn’t want to incite a panic. He knew he must remain calm.