Interlude I

Interlude I

Satel’s Decision

            I watched as ‘Tia stormed off in her usual angry fashion, but this time I was rewarded with seeing her features contorted in confusion. At least it wasn’t outright rejection. Once she was completely gone from my sight, I already began longing for another glance of her. There was something almost unnatural about her beauty- her soft curvy figure and her delicate looking face were almost too ethereal to belong to a mere human.

 

But she was so very much a lowly human that it was almost disgusting. All her kind was good for was amusement and herding. We falucite had to direct humankind to ensure that they didn’t get out of control or try to overstep their bounds in the Natural Order. Of course, that wasn’t to say that I thought badly of them- I recognized that they could be very powerful creatures if they worked together as one, but the majority of them had little or no ability to really think. A world ruled by humans would be pretty much a world ruled by thrill-seeking half-wits.

 

‘Tia was delightfully different- she knew her place and treated her superiors with respect…at least until she was more familiar with them. She also didn’t blindly follow the trends of her fellow man. She took the time to think and decide for herself what was right and what she wanted to do. Though she did have her rash moments when she wanted to go against me, but that was forgiven since I was deliberately manipulating her.

 

She was indeed one of the rare breeds of human- the very kind that were either considered pedigree pets or worthy mates. She was certainly not meant to be food for the other races. But I suppose it wouldn’t matter to a dragon- usually the more attractive the human, the tastier they were to them.

 

I let out a sigh before I raised the moagho in my hand and examined it. She didn’t eat much of it, but at least it made her open up a little more. I didn’t really know that much about the sea dwelling humans. I only knew pirates since I used to spend most of my adolescent years with sea dragons.

 

Pirates were the only humans sea dragons didn’t eat and they were often used to carry out tasks for the dragons. I’m surprised I hadn’t seen her before- I would think a little girl among the pirate ranks would be noticeable. Then again, I had to remember that she was a young human and she was probably not even born the last time I had visited the dragons of the storm goddess.

 

Of course, there was no guarantee that she came from that area of the world. The continent of Orja, where we lived, was surrounded by the waters of Tiata, Loerati, and Anatil. But the tattoo on her ankle and the fact that she knew what a moagho was proved her origins. The place I had been visiting was very far away from here and it was unusual to see a pirate stray so far from her home waters. I wonder just what happened to her to make her follow my brother so far away?

 

“What do you think, little moagho? Should I continue to pursue her?” I wondered as I pulled out another slice. I never thought I would meet a human as interesting as ‘Tia. There were many other beauties out there that had the same perfect body and gorgeous face, but she was the only one with the seafarer’s ‘flaw’. Most would be driven away by that coarse and often violent language of hers, but it was charming to me since I had been exposed to it before.

 

When I was done eating that slice, I pried out another one and asked before putting it in my mouth, “Or should I let her go and find another?”

 

Ordinarily, if a female didn’t respond to me immediately, I gave up quickly. There was no point in staying with someone who didn’t feel the same attraction as I did, but somehow I couldn’t just let her go. That first kiss was very enjoyable and it felt so right that I couldn’t believe that she didn’t feel the same way. I had to put in a little more effort to get her to respond to me and I felt that most of her resistance was because she wasn’t used to it.

 

I continued to pull off more slices and questioned each one before I ate them.

 

“Pursue?” The more she tried to fight me, the more I wanted her. That had to mean something, right?

 

“Or let go?” I should do that. If she were to be my mate, I could end up fighting with her for the rest of my life. I was having fun, but it wouldn’t be healthy to have falcie with a woman who would rather strangle me.

 

“Pursue?” I should be more practical about it- there was more to it than just appearances. ‘Tia was fun to be around and we seemed to have something in common in our view of humanity. If I could get her to open up to me more, I bet we could get along rather well.

 

“Or let go?” But I didn’t have to settle for her. There may have been something between us, but it didn’t mean she was the one. Was she really worth the trouble of having to try so hard to foster a relationship with her? If she truly was the one, then there should’ve been an instant attraction between us.

 

I finally noticed that I was on my last slice of moagho. I bit down on it and chewed as I finally came to a conclusion. “I guess I should pursue her then.”

 

I wasn’t one to take advice from a fruit, but I wasn’t against it either. It was still too soon for me to decide anything. Maybe she is the one- or maybe not. We’ll just have to wait and see. Besides, she wasn’t exactly resisting me a while ago, so maybe she needed to get used to me first. But maybe I was simply confused- my race was able to find our potential mate based on the scent of the female and her being in heat could’ve made her seem like she was compatible to me. Yes, I’ll wait and see how everything plays out- she won’t be in heat forever and there was still some time before my clan had to play by the whims of the Daedeleth’s.

 

It was at that moment my hat returned to me. I raised my hand to catch it as it tried to zip past my head. Then in a moment of weakness I buried my nose inside and breathed in the scent of her soaps, perfume, and the smell of pheromones that were uniquely hers. In heat or not, I really did love her scent. What a pity that it would fade soon…

 

“You should wipe that idiotic look off your face. You’re quite the embarrassment.”

 

I narrowed my eyes as I quickly slid my hat back on and glanced at the newcomer. My dearest sister was on the top step, looking inward toward the fountain. She was most likely here without the elders’ knowledge and I wished she would stop that. She knew it was dangerous for her to wander alone. Alas, I couldn’t tell anyone about her since they wouldn’t believe me. Because she was older than me by one hundred twenty-four years, they often believed her word over mine.

 

“You wouldn’t know the appearance of an idiot unless you are somehow able to see your own reflection in that crystal ball of yours,” I said to her coolly. I respected my elders almost devotedly, but her ideal of ‘respect’ came in the form of mild insults. She was always the eccentric one- and it was only tolerated because she was special.

 

I watched her with a critical eye as she descended the stairs and only breathed a sigh of relief when she safely reached me. I knew she wasn’t helpless, but I couldn’t allow her to lose her balance and fall. She is my only blood sister, after all.

 

“I need not know the appearance of an idiot when I can clearly hear one before me. Were you really speaking to a moagho?” she asked in a sardonic tone as her head tilted some under the hood of her coat.

 

“I was contemplating to myself, Maetira-dear. Sometimes you have to talk out loud to order rampant thoughts,” I responded curtly as I tried not to sound embarrassed that I was caught. My musings were meant to be private.

 

“You are unbearably indecisive. It does not take much to determine if the girl is your mate. If you want her beyond all reason, then take her. Your body will not lie to you.”

 

“…I know, but I feel confused around ‘Tia. She shouldn’t be pushing me away like she is and I don’t think it’s because of me. …Unless… Can you see a future if I do take her?” I wondered, hoping her rare sight could give me an answer.

 

“You know that unknowns have no future,” Maetira replied in a grave tone. “And you are well aware that there will be problems should you mate with her before learning her true name. She whose soul is as cold as ice will not be pleased either way.”

 

Of course I knew ‘Tia was an unknown- I had asked Maetira about her since I first learned her name. The real Dantia had passed away more than fifty years ago and it was obvious Cegil had given it to her. That’s why I gave her that nickname- I couldn’t bear to call her by the name of someone I once knew dearly and I couldn’t fathom how he could say it without thinking about her.

 

I focused instead on the last thing Maetira had said and ended up chuckling at her latest description of Cyirlie. That woman was yet another exceedingly beautiful creature- in both her dragon form and her humanoid one. But she was one cold sea dragon. She was more serious than my elder brothers and had a temper worse than ‘Tia’s. The worst part was that she was passive-aggressive- she waited to strike and she did so with malignant precision.

 

“I don’t think she would care who I mate with- she hates me enough to wish the worst of me. In fact, she would probably be ecstatic if I were to get in real trouble.”

 

“She may not care for you, but she does care about the Fates more than anything. She will destroy you and the unknown without a single thought,” she warned, bringing on a good point. Cyirlie was the dragon priestess of the goddess Elati and the most devout follower of the Fates. She would hunt down ‘Tia if she ever learned of her.

 

“If she’s going to be that way, then she’s not invited to my ceremony. She would only make it even more depressing,” I responded in the most arrogant tone I could muster. It was bad enough the Daedeleth wanted to invoke one and condemn one of the unmated members of our clan- I didn’t need her cold gaze to make it worse.

 

“It is not certain that you will undergo the ceremony. He whose height reaches the sky could still be a candidate- no matter how cruel it would be.” Maetira had something against saying the names of others and loved to describe us all with physical features or personality flaws. I wasn’t sure if that was because of her eccentricity or that she just wanted to insult us.

 

“…Cegil,” I muttered under my breath. He was favored over me just because he was older and had nothing more to lose. It wasn’t as if we would die from it- though it wasn’t likely either one of us would have a happy ending. It would only be more difficult for me to go through with it while I was still searching for a mate. “Don’t bother with him- he wants nothing to do with the elders and I told him that he doesn’t have to participate.”

 

Maetira was silent for a long while as she processed that. I could tell my words angered her greatly even though I wasn’t sure why. She had nothing to do with the elders’ plans- her role was to simply listen to the Fates and inform us of what they were planning. “You overstep your bounds, falcie. You have no right to say that to him.”

 

“Oh don’t patronize me!” I shouted with a snarl. She was the last person I wanted to be scolded by. “You’ve only been an adult for fifty-four years- you are nowhere near as wise as the elders!”

 

Two hundred years was the milestone for us falucite to be viewed as adults. I was only one hundred thirty- in seventy more years I would be considered mature enough to be taken seriously. But even if I was still technically a falcie, that didn’t mean I was ignorant. I have been doing my part for the clan and I knew full well what they wanted against what was right.

 

“It is true that age does not make one mature- but you are far from maturity. How can you understand life when you’ve never been held responsible for anything?” she inquired with scorn.

 

“No one ever gave me the chance,” I replied in distain, earning a scoff from her.

 

“I suppose we shall see then. The ceremony will be your first act of responsibility- but Cegil will still be allowed to participate if he so chooses.” She then walked away from me as if she was going to climb down more steps, but she stopped and held her crystal ball closer to her chest. “By the way- I have a task for you in three days. I am aware you will be busy catching up on the duties you have neglected, but this will not take long. If you do not appear before me in time, the nameless one may be in grave danger.”

 

I realized that she was referring to ‘Tia, but she teleported away before I could ask for more information. Maetira wasn’t quite an Oracle, even though she could hear the voices of the Fates. She could only see as far as the near future for some people, but only if she knew their name. She probably looked into Cegil’s future and foresaw what would become of ‘Tia.

 

I stood up from the bench and stared at the moagho skin that was in my hand. Was ‘Tia worth saving? Should I really care if a human got in trouble? By all rights, she was too problematic to pursue, but… I wanted to chance it. If I didn’t try, then I would never know- just like how the elders and everyone else didn’t know how responsible and mature I could be.

 

Besides, it was nice dating someone younger than me for once.

 

To the next chapter

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