This scene is intended to be part of a larger work (I’ll talk about it more in Wednesday’s post!), but I was inspired to write it by Kaye Dacus’s April 4th Writing Challenge. The challenge was to write with the prompt ‘The prophecy changed the course of her life,’ which is a giant part of this larger story idea. Thanks, Kaye, for helping me write the first draft of this critical scene!
She lifted her face from the dragon’s claw and pushed the iron talons away. “What would you know about destiny? I’ve been fighting my destiny my entire life, and this is the best way I know to end the damn quest.”
The dragon’s eyes softened, and it pulled its ebony claw from her face. “You think I am unaware? That I cannot see what the priests saw before your birth, that I cannot divine the prophecy that came with your blessing?” It sat back on large haunches and relaxed in the hay.
Eilidh guffawed and stood. Her ripped dress fell from her shoulder, showing the distinct line of mud that ended where her skin had been covered. “It doesn’t matter if you can divine it or not. It matters that I can never fulfill the prophecy, and that I get revenge against my filthy father for selling me to Count Bethermore. They plan to imprison the baby I’m carrying, then get the prince they want from her as soon as they can. It’s better for the both of us if you just eat me now.”
The dragon sighed and pulled back farther into its cave. “It was King Elias that subverted the will of the stars and the earth and the rivers and sky. You believing him is a lesser mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.”
“What would you have me believe? That I will be King? I don’t have the bits for that-”
“Fate does not speak any of the languages of humankind. ‘King’ doesn’t need the strictures you humans put on it, or perhaps your fate doesn’t care for the confines society has put on you. It may not be through the path you expected, but you can still rule over your father’s nation.” It grumbled, flames cooking deep in its breath. “You don’t believe me, do you?”
Eilidh crossed her arms. “I came here to make a deal with you. I let you eat me, and you kill as many people and animals near the capitol as you can. What part of that deal isn’t good for you? What more do you want? Or do I have to chop myself up and crawl in your mouth?”
“My word, they destroyed your sense of self worth, didn’t they?” The dragon rolled its eyes. It strode a couple paces away, grumbling. “Fine. I will take your deal – but on one condition.”
“What?” Eilidh asked. “I don’t trust dragon magic, if that’s where you’re going.”
“I want you to wait until after you give birth to your daughter. After that, you may approach me with the request again.” It plopped on the floor.
Eilidh raised a brow and crept closer to the dragon. “Are you going to curse her? Is that what you want?”
“Lord heavens, no. She’s already ‘cursed,’ if I use the term appropriately.”
“Don’t be surprised. She got it from her father. But she is blessed because of her royal blood, and I suspect the combination of magic will allow her some level of control over the curse. That makes her extremely powerful even before we know her personality.” The dragon showed its teeth, its breath hot as it blew past Eilidh’s face. “Barring everything else, I need that power for myself, especially if I am to kill your father’s knights and horsemen like you desire.”
Eilidh put a finger to her lips. “And you won’t let her fall into Bethermore’s or my father’s hands? You won’t let anything bad happen to her?”
“She will remain safe in my care, and I will protect her from the evils of humankind. I will see her educated, as best I can manage anyway, and she will not live in darkness or need. Her only payment will be to use her powers to make me grow into an adult quickly.” The dragon lazed down, its eyes blinking at Eilidh. “We can push back the date that I eat you, if that would assure you of my intentions.”
Eilidh shook her head. “No. I’ll have a few months to see if you’re a liar or not. Besides – I came here to kill the baby. This can’t be a worse fate for her.”
The dragon’s eyes squinted, its muscles pulling the face into a grim frown. “There are fates worse than death. Even though your daughter’s destiny is great, she would have suffered for it had you not escaped your father’s castle prison.” It harrumphed and rolled over, the beast spreading hay beneath its body. “Fate has a funny way of finding its way around all obstacles.”
Eilidh relaxed her arms, then kicked the dragon in the side. “If you want me to stay, you’re going to need to give me somewhere to sleep. Scoot.”
The dragon chuckled as it scooted, giving Eilidh space on the hay.