A.N.- Takes place one year after the events of Eona, in which Ido did not die. (When I got to the authors biography at the end, I almost expected it to say, "Sorry about that. Here's the REAL ending,") Sethon has been vanquished, Kygo has been installed as emperor, and Ido and Eona, as the last two Dragoneyes have become very close. They can no longer force a union with their dragons. However, the dragons are grateful to Eona for setting them free, and have agreed to a pact- the exact same deal as before, except without the Imperial Pearl, because without the Dragoneyes to funnel and guide their powers, they can't really do much good. So they are both still Dragoneyes, Eona is still Naiso, and they live in Rat and Mirror Dragoneye Halls, respectively, trying to find men brave enough to become the other ten Dragoneye Lords.
Every morning in the courtyard that connects all the Dragoneye Halls, Lord Ido, Rat Dragoneye, and Lady Eona, Mirror Dragoneye, meet in the murky hour before dawn. They meditate, side by side in the rosy darkness focusing on their flow of Hua, the balance of the universe, and sometimes slipping into the energy world, which Eona has taught Ido to do. Then with the light of the rising sun warming their limbs, together they do the Staminata, which Ido has taught Eona. Afterwards, they practice their swordfighting forms, each on learning something new about the other each time. Then Ido teaches her a new trick about her powers, calling and harnessing, teaching her to change the course of the world.
The atmosphere is playful, a fact that if you had asked Eona if she thought possible two years previously, she would have said, beyond a shadow of a doubt, no. This is because their dynamic if not "student and master"- they are evenly matched, skills to raw power. Neither has the upper hand, and their relationship in these sun-soaked golden hours in the courtyard that Eona is coming to realize is her favorite part of her day, is more like friend and slightly more knowledgeable friend learning things together. After that, Eona has to rush off to advise the Heavenly Master, Kygo the Dragon Emperor, and Ido has made it perfectly plain how he feels about this. He thinks that opening herself to Kygo is a mistake, and it will just make it easier for him to manipulate her, to which Eona usually tartly suggests that he keep his nose in his own business. That doesn't deter him from telling her this every day, sometimes more frequently, and he never adds a last bit, but he screams it inside his head, "it will make it easier for him to break your heart!" Because really, what could you reasonably expect to happen to happen if he married her, made her his empress, and then all the concubines in the harem started bearing him children? A smug voice inside of Ido, maybe somewhere above his heart point, whispers that he would never do that to her, this girl who still sometimes carries herself like a boy, who wears a man's hairstyle and speaks in a man's commanding tones, whose silently sparking eyes see directly into his soul. Ido snarls at this voice to shut up. If the Imperial Majesty decides that he wants to marry his pretty little Naiso, a girl who acts strong and tough, but on the inside just wants someone to protect her, there is nothing he, Ido the Murderous Dragoneye, can do about it.
While she is off with her emperor, a man whose face is still as smooth as a baby's foot, Ido searches through the old pools of candidates to become Dragoneyes from years past. Certain knowledge of swordplay and the energy world are prerequisites for the new Dragoneye Lords- they can't just pick up anyone off the streets. He gets into contact with the ones most likely to be chosen, and none have given him a solid answer yet. He knows that most would leap at the chance to live in the luxurious Dragoneye Halls, bend the energy world, and call themselves some of the most powerful men in the country, but that he himself is the biggest deterrent. The fact that he murdered his brothers is why they are so hesitant, he feels certain. And once he gets the other ten Lords, he must train them (which might be a little easier than actually finding them, as he'll have Eona to help him) and then they all must resume Dragoneye duties. And then of course, there are secret, private things that he has to work on, such as exposing Kygo as the spoiled, selfish brat that he is to Eona, and subsequently winning her trust and respect. (And eventually love?)
While Eona is helping Kygo piece his tattered country back together, Ido drafts letters to the prospective candidates, entreating them to once again consider becoming a Dragoneye Lord. He honestly wished he could have used this time to scheme about how to drive a wedge between Kygo and Eona (and daydream about her) but Eona will be angry if she feels he is not working hard enough, and who knows what she might compel him to do if she was in a rage. He brought to her attention when they made this agreement that writing letters was the work of servants, and he shouldn't have to do it. She said that writing letters in his own hand to these men showed sincerity, humility and that he was a changed man. He said he still wasn't going to do it, and she compelled him to stand outside in the pouring rain for two hours. She comes back later, pattering feet announcing her arrival, white hands lifting her skirts, (her ankles are lovely, silvered and shapely) out of breath like she has been running. The thought that Eona runs to return to him makes him far happier than it should. She looks over what he has written, adds her own words, and then her signature. A courier delivers the messages.
Then Eona has to fly once more, and she leaves the scent of cinnamon and swords and mint behind her. It's a strong scent, not like any other woman, not suffocatingly sweet or overly pliant, and it fits Eona so well. At this time every day, she eats with Kygo, and then they walk in the gardens, or ride horses or something of that nature. It doesn't matter, because they are together, and they hold hands and they laugh and Kygo leans down to kiss her every once in a while. Every loving gesture and glance, every little present, every sweet, silly smile he manages to draw from her makes Ido's heart point swell to bursting, full of envy and hatred of the Heavenly Master and simple knowledge that it should be him monopolizing Eona's attention. He is so glad that he had learned to control his Hua and his actions. This means he can make his heart point look normal sized when Eona peers at his spirit body. When he is with her, his heart wants to race and his limbs urge him to get up and run for miles, to move mountains, to create a monsoon, anything to get rid of the unpredictable, overwhelming surge of energy the sight of her produces. He is glad he can slow his heart and calm his breathing, glad he can keep her from seeing how he feels.
This part of his day, he unashamedly uses to plot. Killing Kygo would undoubtedly be easy- sniveling, weak boy-man that he is- and also a good solution. But that would hurt Eona terribly, and if she ever found out that he did it, he would be history. And then there was also the issue of the fact that the Imperial torturers had taught him quite well that there was absolutely nothing to be gained from making plots on the lives of members of the Imperial family. The way he sees it, he really has two options. The first and safest course of action is to bide his time and wait for their relationship to fray and then unravel. The second option is to give the unraveling process a helping hand. Their relationship isn't all that strong anyway, and all he would have to do would be to pull the right thread. He knew Eona feared that she was not feminine (weak and soft and scared) enough for Kygo, as a result of so many years trying to be a boy, that she was boring him, and that she wasn't good enough. Correspondingly, he knew Kygo worried he was not masculine enough for this girl who was raised in the world of men, that he would never understand her properly, that Ido was meant for her. If he played on that, all he would have to do is be there to catch Eona when she falls.
He feels bad when he sits next to Eona at dinner, (one of the banquets that everyone would be happier if he didn't attend, himself included, but as tradition dictates he must, he does.) as sees the glowing way she looks at Kygo. Who is he to ruin her happiness? But no. With him, she will be happy all the years of her life, instead of for the next two or three. As he lies in his bed and tries to sleep, he realizes that how he fixates on her, notices every move, and spends so much time thinking about her is at once both immensely pathetic and disturbing. What was it he was told when he was still but a candidate, and he and some others went to have their fortunes told? That he was doomed to obsessively love women who would never return the feeling. He dismissed it as obnoxious naysaying just to get a reaction at the time, and also considered it a waste of the three coins he had spent on it, but the lady was turning out to be a little more accurate now than he could have dreamed seven years ago.
He also wonders if it's intensely obvious to everyone around him, how strongly he feels about her. Now is the time when it would be so useful to have an apprentice (someone you could tell your thoughts to and beat them if they told anyone else) a confidant (someone you pay to keep your secrets) or a friend. (Someone you whisperingly confide your thoughts and secrets in and pray they don't tell anyone else) But no one wants to give up their son to be the apprentice of a man who would just as soon kill him as eat duck for dinner, he doesn't think he could find someone he'd want to tell his secrets to, (and besides could probably never pay them enough to keep their mouths shut) and he has exactly one friend- Eona. A very humbling realization, that. He could have talked to Lord Dram, Horse Dragoneye and Keeper of Passion, or Lord Chion, Snake Dragoneye and Keeper of Insight, or Lord Jessam, monkey Dragoneye and Keeper of Resourcefulness, and asked them for some helpful perspicacity- had he not killed them.
Another thing he wonders is if he had known how much trouble killing his fellow Lords would bring upon himself three years ago, would he still have done it? While it is true that he is definitely not the man he once was (be that good or bad) he probably still would have. Had he not, the whole war with Sethon might have played out an entirely different way, and one not so life-friendly for Kygo. If he and Eona had become friends sooner, he probably wouldn't have, knowing the very dim view she takes of murderers.
It's in these moments he feels angry, at Kygo for daring to imagine he deserved her, at Eona for…. Well, being herself, at the world for hating him for actions that were the mistakes of a young, ambition-blinded man, and at himself, for having become little more than a blibbering moron. He usually tries to stifle this particular emotion, because if he doesn't, the Rat Dragon Hall gets some new landscaping. It's not Eona's fault that he is now realizing, when it's close to too late, that she is everything he could have had the nerve to ask for in the perfect woman, and that she is the closest thing to an "other half" as he has ever come to having. (At this stage in his plotting, saying she IS his other half is just asking for Heuris Brannon and Lord Tyron to royally mess things up for him from beyond the grave.)
Ido falls asleep with thoughts of Eona whirling through his head, and his dreams are of her- a mosaic of color and laughter filmed with cobwebs and shadows, enough power to initially draw him, enough mystery to keep him there, stuck on her the way he had been for so many years now. They compliment each other, light and dark, yin and yang. He is the thunder to her lightening, the candle to her flame, the moth drawn closer to her paper lantern knowing it will be the death of him, but unable to care because she is as striking as the sun and twice as unfathomable.
What a fool love makes of us all.