New to the Jade Dragon series? Start here! Go to beginning>>
The self-styled Lord of the Undersea grasped my shoulders and pressed his cheek against mine. There could be no kiss of greeting through the mask that covered his lower face. He stepped back, but did not let go.
“I would never have guessed you would have grown up so pretty,” he said. His grip pinched my arm. “You were quite the awkward child.” He brushed a strand of hair back from my face with his coarse fingers before he released me. A memory flashed: my father, in his dress uniform; my mother in a gown. A handsome older man bending down to kiss my cheek. My ten-year-old heart fluttering with excitement. I stepped back, reaching blindly for Jonath. My skin tingled where the Prophet’s hand had rested on my arm.
He’s just a man, I reminded myself, and a ruined one at that. But when Jonath pulled me close, I let myself lean in, just a little.
“And your mother? Is she well?”
I swallowed. “She died. Six months ago.”
The Prophet shook his head. “Of course. I should have remembered. She was a lovely woman. I knew your parents well, you see, in the Before.”
“Thank you,” I said automatically. The string of pleasantries did nothing to settle my nerves. The phantom of safety retreated with each word.
“You have the Dragon,” said the Prophet to Jonath. It was not a question. “And the crew to fly her?”
Jonath nodded. “The Captain may be a problem. She is… reluctant.” He gestured toward Belyn Morrow. If not for the ropes binding her arms, she could have been standing at attention on the bridge of her ship.
“Is she?” The Prophet regarded her thoughtfully. “Shoot her Second.”
A dark shape streaked across the cavern. A crossbow sang out and a man shrieked. Lieutenant Nioben writhed on the ground, clutching his leg.
“That, my dear,” said the Prophet to the Captain, “was a warning shot. I have medics camped just outside Verdure. I suggest you fly us there.”
This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on. This particular piece is probably less self-contained than most, and for that I apologize! I hope you find it interesting anyway, or that it inspires you to read the whole series.
This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly prompt:
You should write a creative response using the third definition of the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:
1 a : something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence : APPARITION
b : something elusive or visionary
c : an object of continual dread or abhorrence
2 : something existing in appearance only
3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal