The Dragon Stirs

Free The Dragon Stirs by Lynda Aicher

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Authors: Lynda Aicher
information. A juvenile error. “Do tell us about this day. That is why we are here after all.”
    “What is going on?” His father stepped forward and glanced between Cronus and Louk. “Isn’t it clear that he’s sided with the Shifters?”
    Louk turned to his father. “If that was true why would I bring her here?”
    “It’s a trap to ensnare us all,” his father spit out, anger contorting his face to a mask of hatred. 
    Cronus held up a hand and gave his father a pointed look. “I want to hear of Louk’s day. If my guess is true, it affects us all.” His father backed off at the Elder’s command, but his fists were still held tightly at his sides, his anger barely constrained in the tight clamps.
    Airiana stepped forward and spoke with a grace that Louk was finding hard to maintain. “I am Airiana Draco, great granddaughter of Tubal.” A collective gasp came from the assembled group, and Louk’s gut tightened past the hard ball into a rock-solid lump of cement. They all knew that Tubal was one of the Shifter leaders. But, she showed no reaction and only continued as if her announcement hadn’t just jolted them. 
    “Despite my birth, I am no enemy of yours. You should know that the dragon stirs. The time is coming when Gog will rise again. The Shifters are preparing. The Apocalypse is near, and after that, nothing will ever be the same.”
    Her words hung in the chamber in the silence that followed. Suddenly, his father burst out laughing, a contorted rumble of disbelief. “You really expect us to believe you? Don’t you think we would know if this was happening? Between the five of us—” he shifted his hand around the room to encompass the other House Heads, “—that we would feel it if this was true? We are not fools.”
    “But, it is true,” Louk insisted, feeling like a petulant child demanding that the adults listen. “We saw him. Gog. And he is beginning to awaken.”
    “How?” Cronus demand. “How could you possibly see him? He has been trapped and caged deep within the folds of the earth for a thousand years. How is it possible that you saw him?”
    “Hell if we know. The damn Ancient sent us there.” Louk took a breath and tried to calm himself. The tension in the room was jacked up to the ceiling. “Believe me, it was an experience we would’ve rather skipped.”
    Airiana snorted lightly at the understatement. “Definitely would have skipped.”
    “So you woke up Gog to destroy us?” his father accused.
    “ No .” Louk shook his head in frustration. “Were you listening to anything I just said? We did not choose to go there. Nor did we wake the beast up. He was already stirring before we saw him.”
    “Words,” His father scoffed.
    “Truth,” Louk insisted, before he quickly gave them a brief rundown of their day.
    When he finished, Cronus held up his hand again before his father could pounce, and they all stilled. The silence echoed through the chamber, his father’s harsh breath cut against the sudden quiet like the deep bur of a saw blade. The Elder clasped his hands behind his back and began to pace before them, his brows furrowed and his head down in obvious thought while everyone waited. 
    Finally, after long moments, Cronus stopped and turned back to the group. He stepped forward and reached out to place his hands on the shoulders of Louk and Airiana. 
    The energy assaulted Louk in one strong push of power. He lost his breath in the onslaught, and his eyelids closed as he fought to stay upright. The Elder dug into every nook and cranny of his being. Another Ancient who wielded the power of spirit, an exceedingly rare power, but today they’d faced two. 
    Louk felt Airiana’s energy drifting away, separating from his under the strength of the Ancient’s energy. He started to panic, his breath coming in short intakes of air. Sweat beaded on his skin, and his head began to feel faint. What was Cronus doing? Louk tried to pull away, to jerk his shoulder from

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