Shiva and Zakhira willed their gargoths forward with the two men sitting behind them. Zakhira gathered that the young man wearing the bandanna on his head was named Owain.
“We’re here.” Owain said pointing enthusiastically to a nearby village.
They moved toward the village on foot, leaving their gagaroths in the middle of a field with other beasts grazing on some grass. “Where are we.” Shiv asked Zakhira.
She shook her head indicating that she didn’t know. “I’ve never been away from the main road before.” She looked at the large fields, tall trees and irrigated lands. “I’ve not seen any place like this my whole life, except.” She looked at Shiv. “Except at your home realm.”
Shiv nodded and recognized the large farms with men in similar attire to the old men wielding different farming tools, one of which he recognized was a hoe. Another person was spraying seeds from a wide brimmed wicker basket.
Owain moved forward with his forked staff guiding the way. “We live a peaceful life as you see.”
“Don’t you have any abilities?” Shiv asked.
“We all have abilities just like Zakhira and her kind.” Owain said poking at the fact that Shiv didn’t display any kind of power.
“Listen, he is skilled in more ways than one.” Zakhira said picking up on Owain’s insult. “At least he has the courage to fight even without abilities.”
“I have abilities.” Shiv whispered to Zakhira. “Nigel said so.”
Zakhira waved Shiv with her hand and focused on Owain. “And what about your kind?”
“We choose not to use our powers, we live in harmony with the earth out of respect for the energies around us.”
“Are you saying that using powers is a disharmony to the earth? How can it be when it is as natural as breathing?”
“It’s not natural for your human friend is it?” Owain chuckled.
“Hmph!” Zakhira stepped back urging Shiv to walk next to her behind the two men.
“Why are we here Zakhira?” Shiv asked looking around at the men and women who were now staring at them. “We have to go and save Anastasia we shouldn’t be here at all!”
“I know Shiv, but there is something odd about these men, they know so much about us and our kingdom.”
“Is that odd? I mean Esen is the queen.”
“Half-bloods are not true royalty, the only people who know about the kingdom are other half-bloods and they all stay inside the kingdom.”
“Then who are these people?”
“That’s what were here to find out.”
Owain led them through a dirt road after passing through a wooden fence and gate. Small huts made out of lumber and padded with leaves as roofs lined the road. An old woman pulled out a bucket from a stoned well and poured the contents to an empty bucket which was then carried out by a young sturdy man to a nearby hut. At the end of the dirt road a hut, the same size and as unassuming as the other huts greeted them. Owain pulled open a wooden door and led his guests in.
“I have been waiting for you.” An old man spoke. His robe hung in mid-air and Zakhira gathered that the man was hovering. He rested his arm covered in triple layered cloths.
“Who are you?” Zakhira asked ahead of Shiv. She glanced at him and gave him a stare that told him not to say a word.
“Is that a way to address your host?” The old man chuckled. “I see Shesha has not taught his daughter any manners.” He paused and then continued. “You have that haughty royal arrogance even after you lost your kingdom to the half-bloods.”
“How dare you mention the kings name?!?”
“You don’t recognize me do you Zakhira?”
“How, how do you know me?”
“Does the name Drayk ring any bells?”
“Drayk?” Zakhira thought and tried to remember the half-bloods in the war, the different generals and ace warriors. She could not think of anyone. “Drayk there are no half-blooo….” Zakhira froze, she looked up at the old man, at his thickly padded arm, it was the same padding that Ryuu had it was the sign of the dragon spirit.
“You can’t be?”
“Oh you do remember me then child.”
“You are the god of dragons, the dragon spirit, ruler of all elements.”
“Oh I wouldn’t go as far as that but you’re close.”
“What is this place?” Shiv interjected and ignored Zakhira’s stunned stare.
“Oh the human speaks.”
“Are you going whack me with a piece of rock?” Drayk and Owain laughed in unison.
“I can fight anybody and match them on the battle field.”
“Hmmmm, you know I believe you.”
“You do?” Shiv asked.
“Why do you look surprised human? I just agreed with you.” He turned to Owain. “This human nature is really odd don’t you think?” Owain nodded and then spoke. “Very much indeed sire.”
“Stop calling me sire! I told you we don’t have kingdom anymore, can’t you get that in your thick skull?”
“Yeah.” Owain shook his head. “The good old days are gone.” He turned and walked through the doorway and said before he disappeared under the flaps. “If we stuck around the war, the half-bloods would be the ones in hiding not us.”
“What is he talking about?” Zakhira asked.
“We are all gods here.” Drayk took a deep breath and continued. “We were tired of the bloodshed and the struggle for power that we took a vow to abstain using our powers and work like the humans do, living in harmony with the earth. We spend our days, taking care of our herd and tilling land at peace away from the outside world.”
“You are all gods?” Zakhira took in Drayk the king of the dragons and the name Owain jogged in her head. “Owain, he is the lightning god isn’t he? And you were all called the ‘Terrible Fate’, the fiercest legion in this realm.”
Drayk chuckled. “I am amazed that you remember us my dear, it was because of that reputation that we had a change of heart.”
“Change of heart? You were the fiercest group in the war.”
“All our power did was bring suffering and we found peace with living in simplicity.”
“And you let your friend get taken by the trapper.”
Drayk chuckled. “That is where you come in my child, you will have to save our friend and yours.”
“Owain said we are not equipped.”
“Oh you are not but we are.”