Bloodlines, p.27
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       Bloodlines, p.27

           Trisha Lynn
Chapter Twenty-Six

  As she stood very still and marveled in the beauty of, not only the animal before her, but the area she stood within. The fog had cleared, but hung behind her, like a curtain, at the pond. Leaving the meadow in a fine mist, that seemed almost ethereal. It lacked moisture and just gave everything a misty, cloudy, hazy kind of quality. Like something, entirely, from a dream world.

  Dawn left the world painted in a chromatic cerise pink hue. Dew glistened off each blade of grass, a few leaves swirled in the breeze, branches swayed on the nearby trees, birds chirped and fluttered around them. But everything was out-shined by this majestic creature. He was a dark, glistening golden in color, like fresh honey. Muscles bunched and shifted with each movement, his mane and tail of milky white were incredibly long and seemed to be perfectly brushed. But that of course may be a Fae unicorn thing – perfectly styled hair and glistening, clean body. She had no idea what the rules of the Fae world were.

  The animals' eyes were a light soulful brown, and they were trained upon her, watching her every move. He had such a regal, magnificent air about him. Like an ancient King of the forest. The horn that graced his forelock was ivory in color and had appearance of braided bone; about two feet long and the tip looked sharp as a spear.

  Her mind registered that she should be fearful but her heart pulled at the recognition of her embracing him in her dream. How many palomino unicorns were in the Fae realm, anyway? She supposed she really could have the wrong animal, but something inside her assured her that was just not the case.

  Finally she took a very tentative step closer and decided to extend her hand. Her human parents had strictly prohibited any type of animal other than gold fish in their home, so she'd never had a pet. But she was lucky to have Marissa's family, because they were huge pet people. Currently they had two dogs, three cats, an iguana and two horses, so she was pretty familiar with animals. She'd even been taught to ride by Marissa's mother the first year they'd moved to California. Marissa had never really taken to the riding thing, much to her mother’s disappointment, but it was something that she and Marissa had done together a time or two. Adeila had always secretly wished that she could ride the horses whenever she'd wanted because she had thoroughly enjoyed it.

  Those horses, however, had been very docile, calm and easy going animals. They'd also been trained and used to human contact. This was, at least she assumed, a wild animal.

  She used a calm, even voice when she extended her hand farther, and took a half step closer.

  “Easy boy. Easy.” She extended her hand farther, so close she could feel his warm breath. “I saw you in my dream, you know.” She used a soft, gentle voice.

  “You look much more magnificent in person.” The animal snorted and she had to resist the urge to step back, he didn't seem to do so with aggression, more of a - yeah, you got that right, girly! - kind of way.

  “It's okay, boy.” The horse moved his head and the fine whiskers on his nose tickled her fingers, as his breath caressed her hand. He sniffed at her for a few moments before gliding his velvet nose along her palm to touch the wrist with the bold, oak and spiral tattoo marks on it. The zinging from his touch zapped its way across her arm, lighting along the wrist with the markings on it. She felt a strange burning along the wrist, but ignored it. She was so used to the weird sensations of her magic by now, that she didn't even flinch. It was exhilarating, feeling his presence, and the magic of him calling to her own. Deep within her core she felt at peace and had an overwhelming urge to sink into the horse, to lean along his thick, muscled neck. It would be poor manners to do so, but it didn't lessen the urge.

  She also really wanted to know exactly what it meant and why certain things had such effects on her. She let the horse do his sniffing for a few minutes and then she let her hand glide slowly up his velvety nose to his strong cheek, her fingers gliding along the prominent bone there, before gliding her hand to the silky, white mane that was parted along his forehead for his horn. She didn't dare to touch that quite yet. He seemed content with her stroking his neck and she moved closer.

  A voice had her nearly jumping out of her skin, but the horse didn't even flinch, as if he'd known of the others presence long before now.

  “That is Obysson.”

  She wheeled around to see Loki leaning against a large tree about five feet from her. Shadows caressed his dark clothing, and he looked ever the warrior with his sword sheathed at his hip. She hadn't even heard him approach nor did the horse let her know.

  “Thanks, pal.” She whispered to the animal, who only nudged her arm with his nose in return.

  She slid her eyes towards the Faerie warrior. “What did you say?”

  He peeled away from the tree and walked into the filtering pink and gray dawn sunlight.

  “The golden unicorn. His name is Obysson. He has been around for a few hundred years, but does not allow us to touch him. We keep our distance and he keeps his. He is king of a large band of wild horses; a few regular Fae horses and a few unicorns mixed in. He doesn't usually bother with our stabled horses unless they run away, then they are fair game. He's taken one of your fathers very fine, prized Kesmeldian hunting mares, when she broke her lead line and got away from her handler. I do not think your father was impressed when he saw her a few months later shacking up with this fellow.” He gestured toward the unicorn.

  Adeila turned back to the stallion who was gazing at her innocently. She ran a hand down his face and across his cheekbone and up to his left ear, which was far softer than she ever knew would be possible.

  “What does Kesmeldian mean?”

  Loki gestured to someone behind her. She whirled her head and over her shoulder she could see several Guardians standing behind her. With a nod to Loki they disappeared into the misty morning fog that engulfed the pond. Clearly her gig was up, she was shocked Loki wasn't yelling at her yet.

  Loki moved a foot closer. “It is a village far to the east of us, at the very farthest eastern end of Oakend's governing lines, almost into Ravenswood. It is known for their incredibly fine horses. Higher intelligence, strength and endurance that exceeds most Fae horses. They are very expensive and much sought after.” He paused, his golden eyes blank, and then sighed. “You could have used the front door, you know.”

  She whispered to the horse that she personally was not offended by his actions and continued to rub his neck. She also whispered to him of how much trouble she was likely in.

  Everything about the animal soothed her. A bone deep relaxation, like a deep tissue, message went through her whenever her skin touched his soft coat. And she wanted to talk to him. To tell him things. It was incredibly strange but for now she needed to speak with the imposing Fae male that had found her hidden place.

  “What makes you think I hadn't?” When he just cocked his head at her, she bit her lip and changed the subject. “Why is he letting me touch him?”

  Loki ran a hand through his hair, which looked even darker and untamed than usual today. “I have absolutely no idea, Adeila. You’re special, maybe. Different.”

  She scoffed at him, but he continued. “No really. Your parents are a very special blend of Fae bloodlines and powers, they are also true mates, but I'm seriously beginning to think it's not as much about your bloodlines and birthright as it is you. You as a Fae. You have an affinity for the things around you. Your bloodline has an affinity for Earth, that is known, but you personally... I'm not sure. You still haven't come into your powers fully, who knows what you may possess, what your strengths may be.”

  His voice dipping lower, he grumbled, “but I can think of a few - stubborn, bullheaded, willful -”

  She withdrew her attention from him and back to the gleaming golden neck under her hand. “I don't know about all this, Loki. I feel like I'm drowning. I have this double life, and it scares me. I never wanted to be a Princess, but now I have this whole life that I'm supposed to lead, that I had no idea about until just a few weeks ago. I just don't know if I c
an. I'm not even quite eighteen yet.”

  She wanted to mention the fact that she'd been dreaming about the unicorn prior to this meeting, but she didn't. She wanted to mention the dreams she'd been experiencing in general, to see if he had some insight on them, but she couldn't bring herself to do so.

  He sighed. “You'll discover in time what is best for you. Only you can decide that. As much as your parents want you here with them, if you do not love this land, then being a ruler will only harm this world. It, especially this throne, needs a strong ruler who loves the Fae people and its world. A ruler that seeks progression but does not wish to stray from our old rules and laws that keep us whole, that keep our magic thriving. Oakend is really the heart of Faerie. The center. It is the strongest and most naturally innovative throne. It needs a strong, just ruler, who loves its people and all of the lands.”

  She gulped. “And I do not love something I do not know.”

  He could only nod. “Your father hopes in time you will learn to love the Fae and this realm.”

  “I know. I am just not sure I will ever be what they want me to be.”

  They stood in companionable silence for several long moments, until the unicorn, clearly having females to attend to, ran his velvet nose down her cheek, whiskers tickling her flesh and then sauntered off.

  Loki stared off, pensively, after the Unicorn, and then tentatively turned to her. “No one wants you to be anyone more than you are, Adeila. In here,” he put his hand over his heart, “is where you need to be true to yourself. Only you can make that choice. Your father and this realm may seem slightly... barbaric and uncivilized to you, but it is just our way.” He lifted a broad shoulder. “Essentially every decision is your own. I just ask that you look at everything with an open-mind. And please remember that you are no prisoner here. The guards and Guardians are for your safety. I hope you understand that, and I beg you to be more careful. If you wish to go anywhere, we will make it happen, just tell someone. Anyone. We hope that you’re completely safe here, but no one understands those attacks almost two decades ago... It ruins your father that he doesn't truly know why. He's gathered so many Fae with unique abilities to track down answers, and they always come up empty. Someone is overlooking something, we're missing something. That fact makes your safety even more of a necessity.”

  She could only nod as they made their way back to the castle. She never really considered herself not safe here, or even in the human realm. Even when strange people had begun popping up, she'd brushed it off as her own paranoia or coincidence.

  “So I take it kids of royalty never get into trouble then? With all the guards around, the heightened Fae senses and all that.”

  He chuckled. “I certainly would not say that.”

  “And what about you?” She blushed, but stamped it down. She deserved to know more about him. It had nothing to do with liking him - at all. He was clearly very important to her father, and an influential part of any kind of life she'd ever wish to lead here in this realm.

  “I was the youngest child of the King and Queen of the North, so I had a bit more free rein then my brothers. Much like your father discussed with you, about himself. I will likely never reign in the North, so I had much more leeway then my elder brothers.”

  “Isn't it really uncommon in the Fae to have three children?”

  He nodded. “Yes, very. But most direct descendants of Taivyl do. No one has a clue as to why. But yes, the Fae have always had issues conceiving children, but in most recent years it has gotten even more difficult. It does not help that the Fae bonding is usually far stronger with their true mates, and many lead a life without ever finding them.”

  Her lips thinned and she allowed the silence to stretch out between them. She did not want him to think that she actually cared overly much about the Fae, but damn it, if she wasn't beginning to be at least fascinated by it all.

  Loki began walking towards the pond and back to the castle. They walked in silence around the pond and towards the garden gate back into castle grounds.

  A memory popped in her head. “What happened to me last night?”

  When he cocked his head at her, she rolled her eyes. “I heard you in my room. What happened?”

  She watched him swallow, and focus on the gate a moment before turning to her. “Your body went through a change, Adeila. Your Fae blood was diluted in the human realm from all of the technology, pollution and toxins in the air, and just from the cloaking of the glamour and what your parents put on you to hide your identity. Your true self. Your magic and body has to go into a kick start when it comes into this realm and is hit by the raw magic and energy. Your blood must take on the change and transform your magic and self into its true Fae form. Most that come in, like Kami, it happens over a time. At least two or three days, sometimes more. You gain more agility, balance, strength, clearer head, intuition. Your magical being expands and becomes more in control. Some more than others, and at different levels depending on their affinity and their strength as a person. It appears that all of it crashed into you last night at once. I feared for your safety but I didn't need to. You recovered incredibly well, I see.”

  She pursed her lips. Well, hell, all of that was how she'd felt that morning leaping from rooftops. She couldn't help but grin at the stoic, clearly annoyed Fae warrior.

  He shook his head and trudged onward to the castle front, but she thought she saw a whisper of a smile on his full lips.

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