Alright here, red alarm, red alarm, personal space invasion...though what a sweet invasion... she sighed dreamily ...Oh my god! Oh my god...she is only a few inches from me now... Why? What is she doing? Oh yes! well answer on board right about now...she is touching my lips, I repeat she is touching my lips...what should we do captain? Captain?...oh yes! sorry! I don't know what to do, my legs are trembling, I can't move, I don't want to move...but we have to react here!!...I know, I know, let me think ok!!!...aye-aye m'am... completely immersed in the velvety feeling of the soft fingertip, the redhead lost the control of her own internal babble, that had obviously started right after her capacity of speech had subsided, thanks to the arousing actions of a blond haired goddess. ... Arousing!!!! Wow, did I really thought that...well it is arousing...why so?...because she is the most beautiful and sensual being I've ever been blessed to meet! ... Her brain was aghast, desperately trying to understand her own heart conclusions, she was attracted to this angel, and she couldn't deny it anymore. A life long list of questions ...well ok maybe not so life long but more "years" long... was starting to get answers. Repressed emotions and confused feelings were finally making sense and all of this had happened in that perfect delicate moment. So what do we do now captain? call for retreat?...NO! I mean no! no retreat we stay were we are! Look at those eyes, they're so blue and so deep, I could get lost in them and never find my way back, the point is I think I don't want to find my way back...staying still, check!...well I may move again, once I recover my motor system abilities!
She was in heaven, she had never imagined that such a perfect feeling could exist! At first she had reacted boldly, with her guts, not really caring that it might seem inappropriate or rude. Then when she had raised her hand to reach the redhead's face she had hesitated, only for a second though. But still, she had realized that there was no turning back, that from now on she could never forget about the feel of the other girl's lips on her skin and would stay forever in need of their touch on her own.
And it was exactly the case right now; she was marveling at their softness, at how wonderful it would be to taste them, to map them thoroughly with her tongue ...wow Tara, calm down would you, you're going to jump on that poor girl if you don't get your mind out of the proverbial gutter... flushed by her naughty imagination and the strong beating of her heart, she brought her eyes back to the amazed and sparkling emerald orbs of her 'prey'. What she saw there, caught her breath away! There was surprise of course but also wonder and a hint of amusement; something else was there though and she didn't dare to hope. What she saw was desire, burning in those beautiful eyes. Still she wasn't completely sure, was it Willow's or her own passion that was reflecting in the other girl's orbs? Her head was opting for the second when her heart inclined more for the first. The dilemma was torturous!
None of them was ready to move and the situation was becoming more and more ambiguous by the second. At first it might have appeared like a friendly and somehow funny gesture that the princess had chosen to stop the redhead uninterrupted ramblings. But now, five minutes later, the intimacy of the pose was evident and suggested a level of affection way too high for simple acquaintances.
They both knew it, but it didn't mean they wanted to part!
During her two years' relationship with Oz, Willow had never felt such an intense connection with him. They had kissed, sometimes cuddled and made love, but none of those activities had elicited the pleasure and the peace she was feeling right now with this simple touch.
Tara was stupefied, if the fact of simply grazing the redhead lips with her fingertip was exciting her like that, she didn't dare to imagine what it would be like to touch and kiss her everywhere. ...Bad bad girl, you are definitely the naughtiest girl ever... she smirked internally at her own vivid imagination.
The redhead's mind was a blur and her only thought was directed at the blonde ...I want to feel her lips too, they look so full and sexy, I bet they must feel like the most delicate silk and taste like the sweetest honey... she was transfixed, unconsciously leaning towards the princess and by this action pressing even more fully her lips on the blonde's finger. The tension in the air was palpable and the beating of their hearts echoed through the quiet room forming one harmonious melody.
Looking into each other's eyes, as realization of their new born connection came to life, they smiled knowingly at one another and the princess let her finger fall gently down by her side. An invisible force seemed to bring them irremediably closer, so they complied powerless but consenting, leaving only a wisp of air between their fervent bodies. Unconsciously licking her lips, Willow bent her head slightly to her left as Tara did the same. They were like the last pieces of a puzzle about to mingle and finally click to complete the beautiful scenery. They were only a breath away from completion, it seemed, when a terrible bang resounded outside slightly shaking the furniture in the process. Startled by this explosion, they both sprang apart from one another, sporting 'deer caught in the headlights' expressions, realizing suddenly what had just been on the verge to happen. Blushing furiously the princess looked down at her feet searching for the invisible stain that would save her from embarrassment. As for Willow, her concern took over her undeniable shame and she ran towards the nearest window to assess the nature of the violent outburst. Finally following the worried redhead to her viewpoint the princess acknowledged with a smile the cause of the recent incident. Turning to her left to gaze fully at the other girl she however realized that some explaining would be necessary when she spotted the terrified yet still curious look in the redhead's widening orbs.
"So please Giles, tell us what you've found !!" pleaded an anxious Jenny as Viviane squeezed her wife's hand to sooth the quivering seer.
"Well I think that my interpretation of the prophecy is a bit different now" he took off his glasses giving them a fast polish before reinstalling them carefully at their initial position. "What I mean is that, at first I didn't know very well how to interpret the possible link between Tara and the stranger from her dream. It seemed intense but not precise enough to qualify it. Then came the prophecy that we found in those ancient manuscripts, it did make a link with Tara's dream, but it was more confusing than before, especially when I heard about 'Will'. Being perfectly aware of Tara's inclination for women, it somehow excluded any romantic implication in their magical 'union'. We all know that most of the time when a prophecy is linking two souls together with such a connection, it has ultimately a purpose of alliance that is generally sealed by a wedding or a hand fasting."
"Well, you're quite alright Giles" confirmed his sister trying to figure out where he was going.
"I am heading there" he reassured grinning, perfectly reading through his sister comment. Viviane chuckled at her brother's perspicacity giving him a nod in encouragement. "This 'soul mate factor' as I like to call it" both women smiled at this denomination, amused by his quirky mind "is nearly an obligatory parameter in any magical bonding serving a high purpose, which is the case here considering all the elements I have collected until now."
"What do you mean Giles, that our daughter has changed her mind about being attracted to men? Or that we are here in presence of the exception that confirms the rule, that this bonding does not involve love!" there was a mixture of incredulity and wonder in the Lady seer's voice.
"No what I mean is the third choice" he smiled knowingly.
"The third choice?" echoed the queens in unison.
"Yes! What if love was the key" Viviane was about to comment when he silenced her with his hand "what if Tara and Will were meant to be? I say this because something rather unexpected was brought to my attention earlier. Ladies our guest's name isn't really Will." Both women looked surprised and tad worried by this new revelation. "In reality Will's full name is Willow! Yes you heard me well, Will is a girl !"
"His name is Gandar" she smiled affectionately "he is one of the descendant from the Great Dragons that fought alongside our troops during the last war."
"Wow" was all the redhead could muster staring at the enormous 'beast'.
"His father, Tydor, was the lead of the night clan, he was four hundred years when he died on the battle field, his son was only 25 at that time, nearly a baby in term of dragon longevity"
"Wow" Willow didn't seem able to say more, she was so shocked, first by this unexpected apparition, then by what it had interrupted ...interrupted? There was nothing interruptible!! Or was there?... she flushed as the image of their potential kiss came back to her ...who am I kidding? There was no kissage on the way... she sighed internally, insecurities were not ready to give her a break yet. Then suddenly realizing what the princess had just said she exclaimed "four hundred years!!!" she looked directly into the patient though amused blue orbs, widening her own in surprise.
"Yes" Tara confirmed giving her trademark lopsided grin which was officially becoming Willow's favorite thing ever "dragons can live very old, some were reported to have reached a thousand year, but I personally never met one of this age, most of the oldest died while fighting" she looked saddened and the redhead instinctively reached for her hand.
"I'm sorry" muttered Willow squeezing the blonde's hand lightly before letting go begrudgingly.
Lifting her shimmering eyes to look into the redhead's ones she smiled tenderly and said "Thank you". Willow could not contain a soft gasp at the intensity of the emotions present in those beautiful azure orbs.
Regaining her composure the princess went on "Dragons don't generally die of old age, they perish through diseases, accidents and more commonly by the hand of men" there was a tinge of regret in her voice. Cruelty wasn't demons' prerogative, men knew their way around it all too well.
"Men can be terrible predators, in fact I would say they're the worst in this world, I meant in my world, I don't know about yours" the redhead trailed off blushing.
"Well in my world they're quite high on the list, and if you consider that in opposition to demons they have the choice to be good because they have a soul, I would say they are right on top of it." Tara was a gentle soul but she despised violence and cruelty, and didn't hide her true feelings about it.
Willow was amazed, for every time she thought she reached a fair definition of the princess personality she realized with admiration that there were many more fascinating facets that she had to discover.
Tearing her eyes away form the beautiful blonde she looked once more at the young dragon, this time wondering the reason of the latest commotion. "Where was this explosion coming from ?" she inquired innocently.
"Gandar is training with the knights" she answered as if it explained everything.
"Ah!" exclaimed the redhead instinctively, but she soon realized that this hadn't cleared anything up "uh...sorry I...don't see how it explains the blast" she was playing with her right foot, wriggling her hands together like a ten years old in front of a quantum physics equation.
"You'll see in a minute" was the enigmatic reply ...anytime I think that she's done or said the most adorable thing in the most adorable way, I'm blown away by how outdated this statement was...she's so cute there's no words for it... she gazed adoringly at the redhead profile while the other girl gave all her attention to the outside's animations.
Suddenly the dragon breathed fire through is snout but lost his balance in the process and the flames went in another direction reaching a small pile of barrels that scurrying men where trying to move out from the field. Seeing the fire going directly their way, they left everything behind and skedaddled out of reach. When the flames came in contact with the casks, a big explosion ensued causing once again a similar shake in the library.
"What was that?" questioned the stunned redhead.
"Well, Gandar is a bit... how to say that ... clumsy" Tara giggled amused "he is still quite young and much inexperienced in term of breathing weapons. Apparently the knights didn't plan on the eventuality of such a wrong shot, they should have though, because I'm pretty sure the barrels there were full of fairy powder" she shook her head at the silliness of the situation.
"Breathing weapons?" she didn't know weapons could be breathed. She let out on the fairy powder comment though knowing very well that she had still much more to learn about this world.
"Well, dragons use their breath to defend themselves against attacks. They are three major breathing weapons, fire, ice and acid. They use them in function of the situation but also depending on their alimentation. I don't know all the mechanisms but I'm sure that uncle Giles would be pleased to explain everything to you in details." the princess didn't know Willow very well yet but one thing seemed to be evident about her, she was curious and in the good sense of the term. She apparently was very similar to her uncle when it came to the thirst of knowledge ...smart girls are hot... she ginned mischievously.
Wow what was that? ... thought the redhead at the impish smile and the near feral look in the other girl's eyes ...I don't know what it was but it's quite arousing! Oh god, how am I supposed to keep my lips to myself "Thank you" Willow sputtered with a flushing face.
Score ... she though victoriously ... I so love to make her blush!... "I'll present you to Gandar later" she proposed amiably.
"What!!" the redhead cried panicked "uh no no, I rather not if you don't mind" at the deflated expression on the blonde's face Willow explained her reticence. "Well, I....I'm afraid of horses you see, and this" pointing at the unsuspecting creature "looks like a giant flying horse, with a 'breathing weapons' bonus" she babbled animatedly trying desperately to make her point.
The princess could not contain a hearty laugh at the cuteness that was the redhead.
"Willow, you're so cute" she answered unconsciously through her giggles. She blushed at her words when she realized she had said them aloud. But seeing the widest smile ever on the redhead's face she felt reassured that her outburst had not caused uneasiness between them. So she went on her fervent explanation "Dragons are really sweet creatures, you don't have to be afraid, except if you intend to hurt them. They are totally peaceful. Plus they are intelligent, they communicate with us on a spiritual level. They don't talk but they found a way to exchange their thoughts and their feelings with mankind. They use something akin to telepathy, it's a bit different though."
Listening to Tara's description opened a new perspective on her beliefs about those fairytales beasts. Willow was curious now and soothed by the words of the princess, she could only agree to her former proposition "alright then, I'll meet him, but only if you're with me" she bushed at this admission.
"Deal" concluded the smirking blonde, extending her hand to the redhead in a sign of agreement.
"Deal" confirmed Willow shaking the other girl 's hand with resolve.
Darkness seemed to be incrusted in the scenery, it was a summer morning but it felt like a cold winter night! The mist was so thick around the black fortress than its walls were hidden behind the grey curtain of smoke that concealed eerily the dark preparations taking place behind it.
Hundreds of steeds mounted by soulless horsemen clad in ebony colored armors were trotting out of the castle gaping mouth. The silent though impressive cortege marched with determination towards Silvery Mountains with only a goal, destruction.
At the same moment, a group of men and demons was debating into the throne chamber of Lord Akattla.
"The legions of the Wetlands are on their way to join us your majesty, they will be here in a few days" announced proudly the leader of the Mongho demons.
"Our troops have arrived my lord" exclaimed a blue haired general.
"Well, well, our army will soon be complete" Akattla smiled dangerously and turned his attention to his closest companion.
"You said earlier that you had news for us count Falkor!"
"Yes your highness, our spy has just reported on his latest discovery, apparently the 'chosen one' would be human. He hasn't had the time to learn more about them though, they are under the Queens' protection already"
"Hmm" the dark lord was lost in his thoughts ...the chosen one is human... he sported a disturbing smile as the implications of the 'dark prophecy' finally made sense to him. ... This is changing my plans considerably... he thought appreciatively while stroking is black and white beard.
"Very well count Falkor, send a missive to your spy, he has to find out more about the chosen one and the reason of their presence in Hemera"
The count bowed his head in understanding and deference "Very well my lord, it will be done"
"Now that this topic is closed, we must establish the troops movements for the final day" everyone in the room nodded their agreement even though it was more an order than a request.
"Hey Xander, be careful would you" warned his cringing friend.
"Sorry" the younger man apologized shamefully.
"That's ok, but remember that those blades are extremely sharp" Jesse frowned at the wide gash in his overcoat, the skin was not injured but it was only out of pure luck.
After a good night sleep, Jesse had hoped against all odds that his best friend would have changed his mind and realized that his place was back home with his family. Unfortunately, the young farmer was more determined than ever, so the royal guard had took upon himself to train him for the knights preparation trials. If he couldn't convince him to change his mind the least he could do was to help him make his dream a reality. The tests were in a week and he wasn't sure that Xander would be ready in time, but he felt like trying his best to help his friend.
That's why they were actually engaged in a sword fight which was, in opposition to the pantomimes the farmer used to play in his backyard, actually including real blades! Xander wasn't that bad at fending off the blows but his beginner's eagerness when attacking was putting him, and Jesse, in danger. He would have to find a balance, a control in his moves or he wouldn't stand a round in the contest, even risking serious injuries or worst in the process.
"Alright, real sharp blade, check!" the goofy boy smiled nervously trying to ease some of his discomfort at the embarrassing situation.
"Don't be ashamed Xan, you're making mistakes and that's normal, it's your first try at a fight and with real swords at that! You're actually defending yourself pretty well" he knew that the younger boy was prompt at self-depreciation, all he needed was some encouragement.
"Thanks" answered the dark haired man with a wide grin.
"All you need is to take your time and evaluate the situation before plunging into action" some advices were needed "The first step in a fight is to assess the setting, of course in the midst of the battle the time you have for that important stage is next to nothing, but with experience and a lot of practice you will improve your reflexes and your skills. You have to find some control, your weak point is attack, you're too quick, too impulsive. Now it's not the end of the world" he added seeing some gloominess pass in the gentle brown eyes of his companion "we just have to concentrate our training on getting you more focused that's all" he smiled encouragingly and patted the farmer on the shoulder.
"Alright, we'll do that" confirmed the grinning boy.
"But for now we'll make a pause. I have to join my section for the festivities, our group will be in charge of maintaining order through the day." Today was devoted to the popular celebration of Princess Tara's 21st birthday.
"Alright then, I'll just hang around a little longer, I want to check out on the Knights trainings."
"Sure thing Xan, have fun" Jesse waved him goodbye and ran to join his troop formation.
The young farmer sat on a nearby wooden coffer and placed his right elbow on his leg bending his forearm to rest his chin in his hand. He would certainly learn a lot by watching the confirmed knights duel with various weapons. So he stayed there, attentive to their every move all the while dreaming he was part of the 'gang'.
Approximately half an hour had passed when a shadow appeared to his left, towering over him. He straightened up from his curled up position to look at the looming figure.
"Hello ...." the other man seemed in search of his name so he supplied politely.
"Xander, my name is Xander" he stood up to face his interlocutor, extending his hand in salutation.
"Yes, yes, of course, I remember" peeved by his own incapacity at finding back the young man's name, Wesley brushed off the presentation diving straight into the motive of his visit.
"I came here to talk to you about the young redhead that arrived here with you the other night"
Xander eyed him suspiciously "what about Will?"
"I was told that this Will was your cousin"
"Can you tell me more about him?"
"I have nothing more to say, Will is my cousin that's it" Xander realized that Wesley was not aware of Willow's womanhood yet and it was maybe for the best. This guy was giving him the creeps. He didn't like his attitude, he was being pompous and condescending. Plus Xander didn't like his sudden interest in Willow, didn't Lord Giles told him to let go and that he and princess Tara would take care of Will!
This guy was fishing for information he wasn't concerned about and Xander wasn't the one who would give them to him.
"But you can at least tell me the reason why your cousin came here for, Jesse told me that I had to help a friend. At least I could be informed of the problem" he was miffed by this 'peasant' effrontery.
"This is not necessary anymore, the princess herself is taking care of my cousin's problem, plus this is Will's choice to tell you about this if he wants to, I have no right to interfere." this guy was really pushy and in a totally disturbing way, the young farmer frowned at his impolite attitude.
"I don't appreciate...." the offended chamberlain was about to protest about the boy's uncooperative behavior when a running soldier came to a halt at their level completely out of breath and red like a ripe tomato.
"What do you want soldier" asked an irritated Wesley.
"The....queens.....have...requested your...presence...my lord" taking a deep breath he finished his sentence "the festivities will start ...in a few minutes".
Turning is attention back to Xander, the chamberlain addressed him one more time "our conversation is not yet finished" he declared with authority.
"I'm afraid you're wrong" stated the farmer firmly "my lord" he added before bowing shortly.
Turning briskly on his heels the older man left the courtyard with a huff muttering under his breath some words of anger.
Shaking his head in amazement Xander had not seen a figure approaching from behind.
"Hey" said the voice.
Jumping at the surprise, the young man turned around to face an amused Willow.
"Sorry" she said, slightly picking out her tongue from between her lips. But one thing was sure, she was not sorry, it was clearly showing with the mirth twinkling in her eyes.
"Well then you're forgiven" answered a mock hurt Xander quickly sporting his trademark goofy grin.
"Glad to see you Will" he said giving her a quick hug.
Slightly taken aback by his impulsive gesture she didn't hug him back but she didn't push him away either. Xander was a gentle soul and affectionate so it wasn't hard to accept his warm greetings, but to give them back was still an issue for her. She was like a wounded animal, it would take time to trust again.
"Glad to see you too" she smiled at the young man.
"I thought you were with princess Tara" he was a bit surprised to see her here, but nonetheless really pleased to meet the redhead again.
"We were together earlier, but she had to leave for the celebration, I should stay out of the frontline for the moment so I decided I would come here to spend time with my new friend" she explained with a big smile.
Xander smiled too, happy to see that the redhead wanted to spend time with him. She didn't have to really! She could have totally ignored him after he had brought her to the castle, she didn't need him anymore. But deep inside he knew she wasn't like that and he was happy to have a friend like her.
"Wasn't it this Wesley guy talking with you a minute ago ?" she asked frowning.
"Yes" he answered with a tinge of bitterness "I swear this man is a real weasel"
"Yeah I don't like him either" she stated with some disgust, remembering the other night when he had the impudence to contradict Tara. Thinking about the princess brought a grin to her lips and a dreamy look in her eyes. But soon her curiosity took over again. "What did he want?"
"He wanted me to tell him more about my cousin" he signed quotation marks with his fingers at the word cousin.
"Really!" she sounded concerned.
"Don't worry I didn't tell him anything" he reassured with resolve "I totally brushed him off, he was pissed I can tell" he chuckled as the images of a grumbling chamberlain came back to mind.
"Thank you Xander" she was relieved though to be honest not surprised by her friend discretion. But she was dubious that Wesley would stop here with his investigations, plus there was this Lord Quentin he had mentioned yesterday. This guy seemed very important and also apparently Wesley's mentor. She should learn more about those two men, she didn't trust them at all.
"I think we should keep an eye on him, and on this Lord Quentin too" she proposed to the farmer.
"I'll try to get some information about them, you stay put alright! I don't want you to risk anything, plus it will be easier for me to snoop around without being discovered. I have a bad impression about this Wesley, his intentions are no good." Xander was determined to get the bottom of this and he would protect Willow from their possible conspiracies.
"Thank you Xander, you're a sweetie," she smiled thankfully eliciting a deep blush from the young farmer.
"By the way, did you see that huge dragon!" her eyes were still wide with a mixture of terror and amazement as she started the narrative of the latest event.