Dark Lord of Kismera (cont’d)


Drace fumed for a moment in silence, thinking. Finally he asked, “What can one man do that would so drastically change the outcome?”

“You will change the Lady, and that will change fate,” Nimbus simply said.

Drace’s anger gave way somewhat to confusion. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Nimbus’s expression was clear: he would not reply, even if he knew the answer.

Well shit! Drace thought. He couldn’t let the Lady get killed even if he didn’t like her all that much. Shit, shit, shit! Drace stood and began to pace. “I have a cat. Who’s taking care of him? And an aunt who’s more like a sister to me. She’s probably called the FBI, CIA, maybe even the SPCA. God knows who.”

Nimbus rose to his feet and began the trip back to the stronghold. Drace hurried after him. “I assure you, your Aunt is well, as is the cat,” Nimbus said. “The time that you spend in this plane will be as only a moment lost in yours. As if you blinked, or as waking from the dream you believe you are having. Unless,” Nimbus stopped and waited for Drace to catch up to him, “You would choose to stay. Then I would make other arrangements, with your permission of course.” He continued to walk with a repositioning of his wings, almost as if shrugging his shoulders.

Drace stood there for a moment, his mind whirling. Why would anyone choose to stay here when they had running water and microwaves at home, not to mention motor vehicles and air conditioning?

The dragon rumbled with laughter as Drace broke into a jog to catch up. “I wish you would quit! It is really rude to do that without asking,” Drace grumbled in irritation.

Nimbus turned to look at him. “And what is that, my Lord?”

“You know what. That reading minds trick. It’s kind of freaking me out. And that’s another thing; what’s with the ‘my Lord’ this and ‘my Lord’ that? I’m simply Drace MacKinnon.”

Nimbus slowed his walk. “You are of aristocracy, my Lord, although it is so many generations ago, that your family has forgotten, and,” he continued, “You are a Knight. Not just a warrior, but also a Knight. That is a man of means in this world, even if he comes with nothing more than a horse and armor.”

Drace waved that comment off and made a noise. “That’s all pretend. I act the part of a knight to entertain tourists. That’s all.”

Nimbus halted once more and gently touched Drace’s chest with a claw. “I can see into your heart, my Lord, and when the time comes, you will prove that you are very much a Knight; in all ways.”

He took the same claw and scratched his head just behind a massive horn. “Now there is something I should warn you about. Lady Ki was angry when I told her she was to instruct a human. She may not have shown this to you, but she has a short rein on her temper sometimes.”

Drace started walking to the castle. “I’m not afraid of her. What could she do?”

Nimbus’s voice came from right behind Drace and he jumped in surprise.

“She would kill you if she wished, but I advised her against it. Mayhap we should both hope she listened.”

Drace stopped dead, face white. “Ya think?”

Read more from Tamara Hartl!

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