I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was to limit myself to only four WIPs when so many more have my attention!
Of course, that means more recs sooner rather than later LOL!
Now, as to my first rec of the day, lemme just say…
I LOVE DRAGONS…CAN’T GET ENOUGH…GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!
The dragon is dying.
They had both been struck by Thor, but only Iza had survived.
There must be a reason.
The caution that had kept her immobile at the top of the ravine disappears, and Iza skids down the mud-slicked slope, landing hard on her hands and knees. She grunts, then freezes when she feels the heavy weight of the dragon’s stare. Iza raises her eyes and stares right back at the shadowed dragon. The fear she expected to feel – the fear she feels each time the bell is rung and the dragons come to steal the village livestock – is nowhere to be found.
All Iza truly feels is a disquieting sense of pity at the pain plain to see in the dragon’s glowing eyes.
The sky rumbles again.
And Iza says, “No creature, not even a dragon, deserves to die alone.”
The dragon closes its eyes and Iza holds herself still, a silent vigil witnessing the slow, belabored death of a dragon – the declared enemy of all that dwell in Forks and the villages beyond. It is quick and, she hopes, painless for the dragon. Iza, unlike others, has never seen glory in senseless death. She feels some sadness for the dragon and wonders if dragons have their own Valhalla, if the dragons who die in battle find treasures in the next world just like Vikings do. Do dragons have Valkyrie?
Such thoughts are strange, she knows. Yet still she has them.
Is that why Thor saw fit to strike her with his lightning? If so, then what had the dragon done to deserve the same – and worse – fate?
Iza frowns and shakes her head, fumbling for the flint tucked into a sachet of supplies in her quiver. She plans to burn the dragon, to send it off to the afterlife and Hel’s realm with as much dignity as it deserves. A dragon is still a being of the Great Tree. To die without fire to protect its soul is – unthinkable.
But as the sparks of her flint cast fleeting bursts of light into the darkness, her eyes catch on something beneath the dragon’s leathery wing. Iza crawls forward and pushes the wing back, squinting into the blackness. Thor must still be watching over her, because lightning flashes just bright enough that Iza can make out the shape beneath the wing as thunder crashes again.
Scarcely believing it, Iza carefully reaches forward, palms slipping against the smooth, stone-like texture of the – miraculous – dragon egg. Her mind blanks free of thought as she holds the egg, its weight dragging on her arms, the falling rain slicking her grip enough that the only thing she can do is hug the egg to her chest to stop from dropping it.
Because surely dropping a dragon egg would be very bad.
“Oh, Thor,” Iza murmurs in dazed prayer. “What do I do? What would you have me do? I can only imagine that you must have a purpose for striking me and leading me to this dragon – but what I am to do with a dragon egg? I cannot bring it back to Forks…”
Yet, what other option does she have? Her conscious would not rest well to know that she had left a vulnerable egg in a forest, unknowing if it would survive alone and without the guidance of its mother. And she cannot help but feel that the dragon had died in peace precisely because it knew that Iza would find – and protect – its egg. Otherwise, wouldn’t the dragon have fought against Iza’s interloping until its dying breath? Instead, the dragon had passed in peace – and entrusted its egg to a wayward shieldmaiden.
Iza steels herself as she sets the dragon alight, staring into the flames as she cradles the egg to her chest. The rain works to dampen the abrupt pyre, sending smoldering smoke into the night sky. Iza hurries away knowing she cannot be caught at a dragon’s funeral, huffing as she climbs one-handed back up the ravine, tripping over her own feet as she hastens back to the village. As she nears the village, she drags the heavily soaked, fur-lined cloak around to her front, both to hide the egg and her destroyed tunic. Her only goal is to reach the highest hill without being seen, for she is in no right mind to answer any queries on her whereabouts during the battle against the dragons. Ever.
Edward, heir to the Viking throne, hasn’t made much of an appearance just yet but I’m anxiously waitin’ to see what he’ll do when he figures out what Iza has been up to!
(banner by IpsitaC77)
The dirt path in front of me and the tree trunks that line it are the only shades of brown I can see . . . everything else is green. Emerald, chartreuse, jade, citron, lime, the words tumble around in my head as I gaze at this beautiful place. Ahead, the trail weaves a serpentine path through tall oaks and small shrubs before disappearing from view in the thick woods at the other end of the narrow vale. Thick grass edges the dirt walkway, and the verdant green of new leaves covers every twig, branch, and treetop. Directly in front of us, a majestic, ancient oak tree spreads its gnarled limbs into a woven roof overhead. Halfway up its wide trunk is a white blaze, a two by four inch painted stripe that proudly proclaims to everyone who is privileged to pass by that this is the Appalachian Trail, the famous granddaddy of all the long distance hiking trails.
Early morning fog still lingers in this secluded hollow. The mist captures the sun’s rays, transforming them into an other-worldly luminescence that spreads its glow over every leaf, twig, branch, and blade until the very air seems to pulse with the promise of new life.
It’s quiet. A hushed silence, broken only by an occasional rustle of leaves or chirp of a hidden bird, steals the breath from my lungs as I stare at this gift before me. I can feel No Filter behind me, but he makes no sound as we stand frozen in awe.
A slight movement just behind the old oak catches my eye, and I wonder what could be hiding there. For a moment, I consider fairies, wood nymphs, or unicorns—-anything seems possible in this magical place. My inner scientist rolls its eyes at this ridiculous thought, but for the briefest second, something in me yearns for the mystical to appear. It’s a doe, however, that emerges from behind the trunk. Stepping timidly on her graceful legs, she watches us warily with her curious eyes. She pauses in the middle of the trail and flicks her ears before looking over her shoulder toward the oak behind her where a soft rustling of dry leaves indicates something else is hidden there.
I realize I am holding my breath, anxiously waiting to see what could be following her. It’s six to eight weeks too early for does to start dropping their young, but nature never operates on a strict timetable, and it is indeed a small, spotted fawn that toddles on shaking legs toward its mother. It can’t be more than a few hours old, its legs still tremble, and it can barely keep its balance as it slowly stumbles to its mother’s side. It nudges at her belly, looking for a meal, but she steps away before giving its face a careful grooming with her tongue. Then, pushing it with her head, they amble off into the underbrush. Just before disappearing from view, the two turn to gaze at us one more time. For that brief moment, we are four living things accepting each other without fear or threat, all part of the beauty of nature and the cycle of life. Two more steps and they’re gone, quietly blending into the foliage as though they were never there.
Only after they’ve completely disappeared do I turn to look at No Filter. His face radiates pure joy as he grins down at me before mumbling something. “What?” I ask.
“My favorite John Muir quote,” he explains, nodding toward the wonderland in front of us. “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
His words repeat on a loop in my head as we resume our walk toward Unicoi Gap.
Once again, hikingurl stuns me with the pictures she paints usin’ simple words! If nothin’ else, this story should inspire those of you who are able to spend some time in the great outdoors, even if it’s only for a few hours! Maybe, just maybe, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime!
Many chose to leave and try their luck on the planet Phoenix, where they had established a new colony. People left in droves, even if it meant they would spend four years in stasis to get there. My father was among the first in the embassy to volunteer to lead the interim council on Phoenix. He left my mother and me to sort our affairs and join him in a year’s time. When I stepped onto the transport ship on my twenty-fifth birthday, I was leaving behind sad memories of my lost love and looking ahead to the possibilities of a new life.
Waking and being told that you’d been asleep for seven years was not part of my plan. And neither was finding myself seated across the table from the man I thought I’d never again lay eyes on. Even if it only feels like three years since our last meeting, I can see the mark the past ten have made on him.
“Bella,” Edward whispers, his fingers twitching. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you.”
“I’m not exactly sure if I can say the same yet, Edward. I have no idea what’s going on here.” I’m fidgety under his intense gaze. While I spent the last seven years in suspended animation, he has not. Though I may be chronologically thirty-two, I’m physically still twenty-five, and I can see the years, while not unkind, have aged Edward. He looks every bit his thirty-five years; the round, softness of youth replaced with the sharp edges of maturity.
His smile takes my breath away. “I’m sure you have questions, Bella. I wouldn’t expect any less.”
While I have so many, I first ask what I feel is the most urgent question. “Why was I kept in stasis so long?”
He nods as if he was expecting this. “Because the transport ship you were on wasn’t really going to Phoenix.”
“Not going to . . . Then where the hell was it going?” My head is pounding, the effects of my extended rest still lingering.
“You need to stay calm, Bella. You just woke up and—”
“Would everyone stop telling me to calm down?” I yell, trying to get to my feet. I regret it the moment I do, my vision blurring, and the room swirling around me. I’m caught in Edward’s arms, his familiar yet different scent overwhelming me.
“Okay, I knew this would be difficult. You always were so damn stubborn,” he says with a huff. I’m soon being carried, though my eyes are closed, and I then feel myself being lowered onto a soft bed, a blanket being pulled over my shoulders. His warm, comforting hands are smoothing over my hair, his fingertips tracing over my cheeks.
“Still so beautiful,” he murmurs. “Bella, I have so much to tell you, but I need to know you aren’t going to work yourself into a frenzy.”
“I’ll try,” I whisper. Opening my eyes, I stare into his; concern shining through jade irises.
“I’ve missed you.”
“I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you, Bella.” His fingers trace a path through my hair, pushing some behind my ear. “I didn’t want to leave you when I did, but I didn’t have any other choice at the time. My father sent for Em and me, and it was the only shot we had to get off Cordia. Bella, there’s so much going on that we had no idea about.” His eyes are pleading for my understanding.
“Will you please tell me what’s going on? Why I was in stasis so long?”
His eyes search mine, likely looking for any hint of my inability to hear what he has to say before telling me what I want . . . need to know. His eyes tell me before his lips do; that I’m about to be disappointed in his answer.
To me, this fic has a Star Wars flavor to it and that ain’t a bad thing, especially imaginin’ Edward as a Han Solo kinda guy LOL! (Without givin’ away any spoilers, there’s a rough road ahead for our hero and I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie!)
I am back outside the Chief’s house a little over an hour later. I tap my steering wheel, having an inner fight with myself about what I am doing. The door of the house opens and running girl-Bella walks out with a large backpack on. She doesn’t even look at my car as she starts to walk down the road. I sigh jumping out.
“Ru—” I quickly cut myself off, but she turns around looking at me. “Bella, sorry I am late.”
She tilts her head. “You were early, you arrived twenty minutes ago.”
I look at her open mouth that she knew that I was out here but didn’t come out.
“I wanted to give you the choice to opt out,” she says with a wave of her hand. “But moving on, were you going to call me running girl?”
I chuckle pulling my hair. “I am bad with names and I tend to link some people with names I can remember. You’re Running Girl, Chief, is clearly your dad. Then there is the Giant.”
“Emmett, the school gym teacher,” she says with a smile and I nod.
“The Elf?” I question.
“Alice? The Drama teacher, and cheerleading coach.”
I again nod at her
She hums and I can see her trying to work it out. “That could be either Jessica, or the math Teacher, Rose.”
“Math teacher,” I say still smiling.
“Then Nurse, and Copy girl.”
“Copy girl is Jessica, and Nurse must be Tia,” she says.
“Mrs. Cope is just Mary. The rest of the teachers are just the class they teach . . . the only other person is The Silent Assassin.”
“Jasper?” she asks. I mean the psychiatrist,” she says with a giggle making me nod at her. “He is scary to start with . . . but I feel safer with him than Alice . . . The Elf.”
I just hum with a frown not understanding why she compared those two together.
Bella looks at me clearly picking up on my confusion.
“You do know that they are married, don’t you?”
“They’re what?” I stutter worriedly since I work with his wife.
I feel Bella touch the hand that is pulling my hair.
“He wouldn’t tell her anything about you or why you see him.”
I just look at her.
“He, Carlisle, and my dad all take their jobs very seriously and would never say anything.”
She stops and swallows.
“They know more about me, than anyone in this town knows, and they’ve never said a word to anyone.”
I tilt my head at her. There is a part of me that wants to snap that she’s a teenage girl and I doubt her secrets are anything great, but there’s something in her voice that makes me keep my mouth shut. I fear that her secrets may be bigger than I want to know.
As you can see, prison has stunted Edward’s ability to make friends but, with Bella’s help, he’ll get there! Over fifty stories and still goin’ strong, you’ll love the latest offerin’ from Nikky (WeeKitty) and Kasi (TeamAllTwilight…TAT)!
What fics have you glued to your screens?
Happy Thursday, y’all!