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[Orig] Wish 06

ah yeah. today has been surprisingly busy for me. after running around all day on errands i come home to sit and type from the Notebook of All Things Cosmic (because it is March and i am way behind due to January's illness) when suddenly it hits me that it's Wednesday, and for once, i've been doing very well about posting every other as i said i'd try. W00T! for simple accomplishments.

*mumbles* i need a Joss/Jocelyn icon. Short part today, but story-wise we are slowly but surely catching the twins up to where Micah's age leaves off. See! i told you it all meshes. Of course, i need to figure a better way to do that in the final version, i think. Maybe. Suggestions?

06. The Man of Charming Speech

There was only one other creature in the mountain that had been there longer than he, but Jordan didn’t know his name. Jordan Ackermyn had lived in Emelette DragonRock’s Fortress for thirty-three years on the day he looked in the mirror and found a single gray hair amongst his tawny strands. His light lavender eyes had widened in absolute horror for a long minute. Jordan allowed himself that minute of terror. He let the unconditional dread that he always kept at a distance wrap its cold hands around his heart and squeeze. His breathing accelerated, suddenly there wasn’t enough air. He panted raggedly as sweat beaded his brow. But only for a moment. He then shook the fear away and inhaled deeply until his breathing was normal. He held the offending strand between his thumb and forefinger and savagely ripped it out. It wasn’t likely that Emelette would notice, at least not right away, but eventually she would see white where there had once been hair browner than it was blonde.

He smiled more nowadays to hide the fine lines around his mouth. He did more of his little exercises — lifting his weight from the floor with his arms alone, or squats — when no one was around to keep flesh in the same position it had once been in ten years ago. It seemed to be slipping a lot faster than it had back then. He ate only half of his meals, and made sure that when the Dragon looked at him, he was captivated by Jordan’s lavender eyes for they alone had not changed.

Jordan wiped the sweat from his brow with a cool cloth and moved from his toilette basin to sit down on his bed. He arranged the golden Dragon scale robe to fall artfully around his body and pasted a pleasant smile upon his face. A servant would be there soon with his pet in tow.

It was a special day, for Jordan’s pet had lived yet another year in Emelette’s Fortress, and that was no small feat. Eight years ago that day, Emelette had called him to the lair, beckoning Jordan to his side with a smile that had never once looked natural upon his false Nomadian face. At Emelette’s feet had been two baskets. With a disdainful boot he had pushed one toward Jordan. Negligently, the Dragon had flicked his hand and explained, “That is for you. A new pet.”

They had tried pets once before, he’d been seventeen at that time. Emelette had given him a puppy. He’d loved it. Played with it every chance he could. Had gone through a lot of trouble to train it not to leave any trace of itself where Emelette might find it and be displeased. One day the Dragon had been in a foul mood and had stormed in to his room snarling. The puppy had barked at him. Emelette had torn its throat out with his teeth. And that had been the end of pets.

The thing in the basket hadn’t been an animal. It had been a Human baby with coal black curls springing from its little head. Large pale brown eyes rimmed with blue had gazed sightlessly up into his face. He had lifted the infant from its makeshift cradle and held it to his chest, inhaling new-baby smell with a faint smile. He hadn’t seen a baby since he’d been six years old; the age when he’d been brought up the mountain. His mother had born a child that year and it likely would have been the sacrifice if Emelette’s minions hadn’t seen him and cooed that the Dragon would love a boy with eyes of that color.

“They said his name was Joss,” the Dragon continued, “Joss Hackermam . . . Akren-man . . . Ack-ment or something like that. Do you like it?”

“I do. T’is a wonderful gift, Emelette,” Jordan had managed to say as emotionlessly as he could. If he’d seemed too happy the Dragon would have gotten jealous and he didn’t want that. Emelette killed anything that threatened him, no matter how small. Besides, the boy was likely related to him. Ackermyn was his family name, Emelette probably didn’t remember that, nor would he care if he did. Jordan didn’t ask after the other basket, though he later found out that it was his pet’s twin sister.

The object of his thoughts pranced in with a bright smile on his face. “Hi, Jordan.” He opened his arms for the customary hug. Blood dripped from his fingers.

The servant that had accompanied him bowed, fretted and then stuttered out, “He wouldn’t let me see to his hands.”

Jordan inhaled deeply though his smile never faltered. “T’is alright, I’ll handle it.” The servant bowed and left. Jordan jumped from his bed and dragged Joss to the water fountain by the mirror he’d looked into only three minutes before. “Would that you tell me how this happened,” he asked as he rinsed Joss’s hands.

“T’is Jocelyn’s special day too,” the boy replied. “I wanted to give her something.” He’d cocked his head to one side and frowned. “Did I do something wrong?”

“Not exactly,” Jordan answered. He removed Joss’s hands from the water to gauge the damage he’d done. The nails were torn and broken, little cuts and other superficial injuries littered his swollen knuckles. They still bled and Jordan placed them back under the cool water. “Would that you listen to me.”

Joss nodded.

“Remember how I’ve told you to always run to me or the nursery if you see Emelette and I’m not around?” Another nod answered him. “Do you know how old I am?”

“No.”

“Thirty-nine. Do you know why I have lived so long when others have perished?”

“No.”

“T’is because I don’t allow Emelette to see any flaws. Do you understand? Emelette t’isn’t from the Realm of Onoker. She’s from that Realm where only Dragon’s live. She doesn’t understand Humans, nor does she care to. All Dragon’s have hordes of treasure, and we are hers. Should anyone here become less than treasure, she will rid herself of them. I would that you live, Joss. Always remember that Emelette cares not for anyone or anything but herself.”

“But Emelette does care for you,” Joss protested.

Jordan pursed his lips to keep an immediate denial from passing them. Thirty-three years he’d lived with Emelette DragonRock. He knew the Dragon — the true male lizard and false Nomad female form — better than she knew herself, both inside and out. He would say that, yes, as much as Emelette could love anyone, she did love him. But that alone would not save his life.

“Joss, Emelette is incapable of real emotion.”

“But how do you know?”

“I know, because I’ve been here a long time.” He removed Joss’s hands from the water once more and held them within his own. “I swear to tell you everything, but not today because t’is special and I would that it not be ruined. Come, I have a present for you . . .”