The first time I read this book, I was in love with the idea of Zane and Danica together. But then the fact that they had only one child and the fact that she couldn't have children either kinda pissed me off. But the fact that she was a half breed gave me many ideas. I was just thinking, what if Danica was a half breed and what if she had a child. So let's make this happen. (By the way, Xavier is Danica's older brother in my fic.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Kiesha'ra. Kinda makes me wanna cry. The bold italics are quotes from the book.
Not once in history have two shifters of different breeds have ever married, had offspring, or anything close to those things. Until the Tuuli Thea fell in love with a rouge horse.
The current Tuuli Thea, Nacola Shardae, once had an Alistair, Curtis, and they had a daughter, Mara, and a son, Xavier. But then, because of the war with the serpiente, Curtis died in battle.
Nacola would then grieve for half a decade and her heart closed and the emotion that she used to show around her children vanished into thin air. She would disappear into the silent night and travel to a large clearing far from serpent land. That would be the only place she would show emotion by crying herself to sleep onto the soft dirt ground. Nacola always woke up, just before the sun rose and flew back to the Keep.
Then, one day when she went to the clearing and fell asleep, something had nudged her until she was roused awake. When she woke up, Nacola was staring deep into the cerulean eyes of a tall, dark haired, pale, and handsome man.
At first she thought he was a snake that had come to kill her but, as her eyes cleared, the Tuuli Thea realized that, according to his physique, that he was apart of the equestrian shifter line.
For some reason she was drawn to the man and took a cautious step towards him. Instead of moving away form the hawk, the horse stood there, his eyes drawing her in further.
He had opened his arms to her and, not caring that she barely knew the man, not to mention that she was an avian and avian do not show emotion for whatever reason and do not like to be touched, Nacola's eyes watered and a sob escaped her as she jumped into the unknown man's arms.
Every night after that, Nacola would meet her rouge horse, Adriano, and they would spend more and more time together until they had fallen in love with each other.
However, knowing that to take a new Alistair was to give a man his death sentence so she kept him a secret.
The night they finally consummated their love for each other was to be the last night that they would be happy together. The next night, Nacola arrived to their clearing to find him bleeding to death, barely alive. She held him for the last time that night knowing that it was done by someone that did not like the idea of two different breeds of shifters together. For all she knew it could've been a bird from the Keep that did this.
Her personal guard found her in the early mourning still holding the corpse of her beloved with silent rivulets of tears running down her sorrowful face. They carried her and the body of Adriano back to the Keep to give him a proper goodbye.
Before he was to burn, though, Nacola had drawn and painted him so that she would never forget the look in his eyes whenever he had looked at her. After the burning, she took his ashes and flew back to their clearing for the last time. Nacola buried the ashes in the center of the clearing and cried for the last time, wishing that she had brought him to the Keep when they realized their love, that he had left something behind for her that she could hold close to her.
But she didn't know that he did leave something behind for her.
And she found that out months later when her doctor told her that she was pregnant. She birthed a baby girl with skin as pale as her father's and hair as black as night. The only things that indicated that she was in fact born of hawk descent were the golden eyes she bore and the golden sheen to her hair, no matter how black it was. Her feathers matched her hair perfectly and when she shifted, the girl had feathers and hair as black as night but as the light hit it, any type of light really, it looked to be as if someone had sprinkled golden dust all over her body.
Nacola named her little Pegasus Danica.
Chapter 1: An offer of peace
My last living sibling lay there in the blood soaked ground, his lifeless, golden eyes staring blankly up at the deceitfully bright sky. I fell to my knees and caressed his face. I bent to kiss his forehead and as I picked myself up, I heard a noise coming from behind the tree line.
My guard tensed and raised their weapons, clearly waiting for an attack. But that noise was a groan of pain not a sign of an ambush.
I moved towards the noise but Andreios stooped me with a hand on my shoulder.
"That's not a good idea, Danica." he said.
"Rei, whoever that is over there is in pain and I'm not about to let them suffer alone."
Without waiting for a response, I walked on towards the noise, leaving my guard to follow. Finding who I found surprised me more than I thought it would.
Laying there in a pool of his own blood was Gregory Cobriana, one of the last remaining Cobriana siblings. I went to his side, ignoring the protests of Rei. He looked up at me hatefully as I knelt by his side. But, as I started to cry at the obvious pain that he was in, his hatred turned to confusion to curiosity to understanding.
"It's alright." I told him, caressing his face while trying not to look at the fatal knife wound that was ending his life. It looked as if someone had dragged the knife down after stabbing him. Choking on a sob, I continued. "I'm here. I won't hurt you."
His eyes shown with gratitude along with the pain, sorrow, and fear. "Please," he rasped. "End it."
Without thinking, I withdrew my dagger from my boot and raised it prepared to put Gregory out of his misery.
Rei stopped me, though, and explained to me that while the serpents believed in mercy killing, if it was done by the heir to the Tuuli Thea then it would not be taken too kindly. Sighing, I put the dagger back into my boot and caressed his face once more.
I stayed by the snake's side for hours before his hand slipped out of mine, singing to him, crying for him, and giving him gentle and comforting touches.
Once he was gone, I stood back up and ordered my guard to carry my brother back home. We mounted our horses and, with one last glance at the corpse of Gregory Cobriana, we rode off back to the Keep.
I turned just in time to catch my four year old daughter in my arms, holding on to her like a life line.
My daughter, Ama, was my pride and joy and my secret. No one knew of her except for me, my mother, and a few other selected people of the Keep. I had her when I was 15 after being attacked by a crazed crow. I never resented her for that, no, she was the only good thing that came out of that.
At the moment, we were alone in my rooms. I buried my face in her hair and tried not to cry.
"What happened, mama?" she asked, pulling back to look into my tear filled eyes.
I said nothing as I stoked her cheeks underneath her cerulean eyes. She had my father's eyes but everything else about her was hawk. Looking at her then at me, some people would say that there was no way that she was my daughter. But if you looked long enough into my eyes, you would see specks of blue. I was also told that when my emotions climb sharply then a ring of blue would surround my iris and another around my pupil.
"Mama?" Ama asked again.
"My little bird, something ahs happened to Uncle Xavier." I told her.
An understanding shown in her eyes and tiny tears started to form in her eyes. "Did the war take him away like it did to Aunty Mara?"
A sob almost escaped me as I nodded. Ama laid her head on my neck and I could feel shudders as her small body shook with sobs.
I rubbed her back and lay on my bed still holding her.
The next morning Xavier's body burned to ashes on Mourner's Rock. Everyone hade left except for my mother, Ama, and I by the time that the last ember had flashed out. The Royal Flight was here earlier but they had left to allow us to grieve in privacy.
Throughout the whole burning, my mother stood there, staring without one trace of emotion on her face while Ama and I cried until there were no more tears. But, of course, showing almost little to no emotion was the avian way.
"Danica," she had turned towards me, "you are not to go to the fields anymore. You are to be Tuuli Thea in less than a month."
That was all she said to me before she flew off back to the Keep, her golden form followed by half of the Royal Flight that had stayed hidden in the trees. Not wanting to let go of Ama, I unfurled my wings from my back and flew off into the sky, the other half of the flight behind me.
It was in the middle of the night when I was summoned to the ground floor of the Hawk's Keep. The flight was swarming the halls of the Keep and I was surprised to find that they were stationed this way because of a visitor that came to the Keep.
"Who is the visitor?" I asked Rei. "Zane Cobriana himself?"
Rei had said nothing to my joking question making me wonder if I was right.
Rei waited for me to shift so that only my wings were revealed. Instead, I jumped down the hole that separated the ground floor and the second floor that kept out unwanted guests. Rei sighed, exasperated, while I stood up from my landing crouch.
What met me when we had reached the enclosed courtyard shook me out of my weary state. My mother was standing with her back to us, guards surrounding her almost hiding her away from the rest of the world. The visitor was seated cross-legged on the ground nearby, with her eyes closed as if she was taking a nap. Four guards surrounded her, showing just how afraid we were to have her near our queen.
Even from across the courtyard I could recognize the black hair and fair skin. As I went closer I saw her silky black dress with the white emblem sewn onto the low neckline between her breasts. On her left she wore an onyx signet ring.
Her eyes snapped open as if she sensed us getting closer. Her flaming, crimson eyes met my warm golden gaze and I saw surprise on her face as she saw the infamous Pegasus standing in front of her.
It was an order from my mother that the way I looked would be kept a secret from anyone outside of the Keep. Whenever I left the Keep, I was to wear a long, hooded, black cloak.
This was the first time a non-avian had seen my appearance.
"She comes in peace." my mother seemed to reassure me as if I was afraid of the snake. In truth, I could see something in the woman's eyes that told me that she was here because she was as tired of this senseless war as I was. "Irene, may I introduce my heir and daughter, Danica Shardae? Shardae, this is Irene Cobriana, younger sister to Zane."
"We want peace," Irene said softly, not rising. "We're tired of the fighting, and the killing."
There was a slight pause and she seemed to be willing herself to keep her tears at bay.
"I have lost my father to this war. Two uncles. Three brothers. A few years ago, I lost a sister and a niece at the same time when some avian soldier put a knife into her belly and killed both her and the child she was carrying. My mother is a good woman, but she is only Naga, and the people will not follow someone who is only Cobriana by name. They need their Diente. And Zane is the last true heir to that title."
The sorrow that was evident in her voice made me want to go to her and comfort her but my mother's presence stopped me.
"Excuse me if we don't completely trust you, Irene," my mother said simply. "But your kind has not been known to uphold its word in the past."
"Mother, please. I believe the serpents are not the only ones that have not held their word during this ridiculous war." I said in defense.
"Danica," she said. "When you are Tuuli Thea, you will be able to speak your ideas about this war. Until then, I am the current Tuuli Thea so you will keep quiet."
I seethed at her words and willed myself to keep my mouth shut before I said something stupid. Turning back to Irene, I gave her an apologetic smile and she gave me a grateful one, though I could see the anger bubbling in her eyes at my mother's words.
"Gregory Cobriana died two nights ago." She looked at me as she said the words. "He was only seventeen, and now he is simply dead. I came here, without weapons, with the hope that someone would listen. Zane wanted to come himself, but my mother argued that you would sooner put a knife in his back than listen to anything he had to say. And do you know what he replied? He said, 'Let them. If they do, someone might finally be satisfied that they've won this war, and then maybe it will end.' "
I was surprised at the words that Zane had said. But then, thinking on it, those words told me that he was just as desperate to end this war as anyone who was tired of it was.
"And what exactly is…Zane…proposing?" my mother asked, hesitating almost unnoticeably, as if the name alone would soil the Hawk's Keep.
"A truce," Irene answered instantly. "Zane, my mother, and I would like to meet with you, your heir, and any other you think necessary."
"And where is this meeting to take place?" my mother asked skeptically.
"Before the Mistari Disa," Irene answered softly. She took a breath and then explained, "The serpiente have been fighting for so long, their only reason for continuing now is to avenge the loss of so many of their kin to avian fighters. They don't trust the avians, and I think it would take quite a show of good faith from your people to convince ours that the Tuuli Thea is as honest in her desire to stop the fighting as their Naga and Arami are."
"I take it Zane sent you as a show of faith from your said," my mother said. "What is he asking in return?"
"He only asks that you agree to meet with us on peaceful lands in front of the Mistari Disa."
My mother looked at me. "Shardae?"
"Anything to stop this war." I said suddenly weary.
My mother nodded. "Andreios, your thoughts?"
The leader of the royal guard paused, looking at Irene. "I don't like it, but the Mistari lands are neutral territory. Even a cobra would be mad to ambush us there; the Mistari would tear the serpents apart."
"Very well, then." The Tuuli Thea gestured for Irene to stand and held up a hand to silence the guards' protests. "Irene, please relay the message to your guards to your…prince that we would be willing to meet him."
"Thank you, Nacola," Irene said warmly, informally enough that I saw a guard wince. She looked directly at me as she added, "Zane asked me to convey our willingness to meet any day, any time, as soon as possible. Please speak a date, and I will tell my brother."
Again, my mother conferred briefly with Andreios, and then she answered, "In a fortnight, on the first showing of the moon. It will take that long for us to organize our people."
I knew my mother's and Andreios' trick. While giving us enough time to organize our people, the serpiente were left to scramble to get there on time.
Irene curtsied. She was so relieved that instead of annoyance at my mother's rushed date, her face was practically bathed in relief. "Thank you, Nacola, Danica. My best wishes go with you both until then."
She left with one last grateful smile my way and without telling my mother of the annoyance that I felt at her rushed date, I left both her and Andreios as I turned and stalked off back to my rooms.
They were really starting to anger me.
How was that? Did you like it? I hoped you did. Please review! If you do review than more chapters will come your way.