Dreams True Form
by Jessie Duncan
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"Find her...NOW!" Hadrian screamed at his tracker Nastrel. The man had never in his life seen his master so hell-bent on finding a person before in his entire life. He was obsessed with finding the girl at any cost, he watched as his prince paced the room like a caged panther, seething with rage and a gripping need to find that girl.
"Yes your highness." Was all he said and quickly left the room confused at his lord's bizarre behavior.
Hadrian picked up the ruined dress Kaidence had been wearing just a few short hours ago and held it against his cheek. He could still smell her, on the fabric of the dress, against the sheets her naked body had lain on. He could still feel her, her warm skin scorching his, her lips so soft and inviting, her hands urging him to love her. He could still see her, her eyes sparkling with desire, her mouth parted as she moaned, and the way her body arched under his touch. And he had let her escape. He screamed in rage and threw the torn garment into the fire relishing the way the flames leapt into the air. How could he have let her get away from him? He should have been more alert, but after their bout of lovemaking he had fallen into the most peaceful sleep of his life with her warm and alive in his arms slumbering like an angel in the devils embrace. He had let all of senses down and allowed the walls that he had forged around his person drop for the first time in his existence and because of it he had lost her, his angel. She was driving him mad, he had never felt such rage in all his life. He truly felt as if he were going to burst into a ball of such blistering inferno that it would consume the entire planet, snuffing it out like a candle. He had sent every tracker in his arsenal after her, warning that if harm came to her while in their care, they would suffer pain never before imagined even in hell. He lay down on the bed and inhaled her scent still captured on the silken sheets and dreamed of her. Her soft brown hair spilling across the pillows in silky waves, her body supple, and fiery under his, her full mouth swollen from his kisses, and her sweet moans that nearly sent him over the edge. Even her faint scent on the air made him crazy to be near her, to just see her, touch her, make her as wild for him as he was for her. He had never in his life felt so close to madness before as he did this very instant. He had to find her...and quickly, he didn't know how much longer he could last without her.
He rose off the bed and headed down to the dungeons, torturing some helpless victims would take his mind off her for a while.
Clad in tanned leather pants that tied up the sides with a white cotton shirt that laced up the front and had silver cuffs that slid up the upper arms to bunch up the sleeves and a green vest Kaidence made her way into the dining hall. She had braided her thick hair tying it back with a leather strip dyed green to match her vest and done her best to give herself a quick sponge bath with what little water she had procured from a pitcher. The dining room was full of laughing and chatter as she walked in. Food and alcohol smells saturated the air. Along the walls in iron sconces were torches that illuminated the room giving it a warm glow. Long wooden tables were lined up in rows and almost all of them were full to the brim with food and people crowding in on the benches were ever they could fit. The smell of meat and various other unidentifiable aromas made Kaidence stomach growl loudly with hunger. She quickly spotted Brenna at a table with Lucas and several other people and made her way over to them. Brenna stood up and hugged her and scooted over so she could sit between her and Lucas. Kaidie just stared at her friend in amazement, she looked absolutely stunning, she wore a velvet wine colored dress embroidered in silver thread, the neck line was square showing her creamy skin and the dark color of her dress brought out the golden flecks in her brown eyes, a silver braided belt hung around her hips emphasizing her narrow waist. Her hair was also braided but she had tucked her braid under in elegant chiffon. Kaidence suddenly felt terribly unattractive sitting next to her best friend.
"Brenna...wow, you look absolutely beautiful." She said in shock.
Brenna beamed; it was obvious she had already received this compliment many times that evening before Kaidie had ever gotten out of the room. Kaidence looked in her lap as sudden painful memories of Jason rejecting her and telling her he had found someone hotter then she was came flooding back in maddening rush. She suddenly felt sick and quickly excused herself from the table making her way outside and to the stables. She leaned against the wall breathing the cool night air into her lungs. She immediately felt bad for getting so worked up over Brenna's sudden metamorphosis into the beautiful girl she was now.
"God, when did I become so damn paranoid?" she muttered under her breath.
"Paranoid about what lass?" she heard a thick Irish accent ask. Kaidie nearly jumped out of her skin.
"Geez you scared the hell out of me!"
"Terribly sorry. I'm Shade." He held out his hand toward her. Kaidence could not believe what she was seeing...he was a centaur. His body was that of a black stallion with a white stocking on one foot. From his torso up he was heavily muscled and bare. His face was strong, with a defined jaw, full lips, and a shapely nose. His black hair was to his shoulders and his eyes were the most golden brown she had ever seen. He was incredibly striking. She gently shook his hand and smiled at him.
"Sorry for yelling, you really did startle me though. It's nice to finally meet you Shade, I've heard a little about you from my friend Brenna."
He smiled a brilliant smile, "Yes I figured as much, she's taking a liking to me I think."
"Oh really? And how do you know this exactly?" Kaidence smiled back unable to help herself, his smile was contagious and she also knew he was probably right. She leaned against the barn wall with her arms folded across her chest.
He laughed slightly and gently pawed the ground with his foot.
"I don't know really, maybe tis' the way she stares at me as if I were a pagan god of some sort." His accent was so thick that all his words seemed to roll out of his mouth she loved it.
"Well you do cut an imposing figure, but then that's Brenna to. She has a tendency to fall for dashing young men." Kaidie smiled enjoying the centaur's company immensely.
He walked up to her laughing.
"Well I thank you for the compliment, but I think its merely the fact that she or you has never seen a centaur before. That is the only fascination I believe."
"Hey don't sell yourself short Shade, you're very handsome, I can understand her crush on you."
"You still have not told me what you felt you were being paranoid about." He said looking down at her.
Kaidie shuffled her feet not wanting to look at him.
"Oh it was nothing, it's just been a long day is all. I seem to be in the habit of jumping to conclusions for some reason tonight. I think it's just because of all I've been through so far. I'm fine though." She forced a smile and looked up at him.
He obviously did not believe a word she said, his look more then screamed it.
" I will not force you to discuss with me what it is that is bothering you, but please know, we centaurs are known for our abilities to keep secrets, and to listen. Should you need someone to talk to, I am always here." He tweaked her braid and she smiled a genuine smile at him.
"Thank you Shade, I really appreciate that, more then you know." She sighed, " Lets go get something to eat." She said smiling.
"You go on in, centaurs do not go indoor, do not worry, I am more then content out here. Good night Kaidence." He swept an elegant bow kneeling on one leg and holding the other out in front of him.
"Good night Shade." She touched his shoulder briefly and then went back inside.
As she slid in between Lucas and Brenna again she looked at her friend and realized she had nothing to be threatened by, although Brenna had changed into this beautiful girl, it was still the same old Brenna.
"Are you ok? Were did you go?" she asked worried.
"I was just feeling a little sick so I went outside to get some air. I'm fine really, lets eat though I'm starving." She gave both Lucas and Brenna a warm look and smiled, they seemed to believe her and the meal was started.
After the much eating and even more laughing, Kaidence and Brenna were beyond tired. Lucas walked the two to their rooms letting Brenna enter but holding Kaidie back.
"I want to apologize for any thing I might have said that caused you to become upset. As much as the two of you have been through the last thing I want to do is cause you anymore problems." Lucas said quietly.
Kaidence sighed, "No don't apologize, it's my fault. You were only to try to make things easier for me and Brenna and I jumped down your throat. I don't know why I was so defensive, I'm the one who needs to apologize, I'm really sorry." Kaidie said pulling him close against her. They held one another like that for a few minutes.
"You had better get to bed, you need your rest for tomorrow, we have a long way to go." He leaned down and kissed her. It was so tender and soft Kaidie felt her heart tremble.
"Good night sweet Kaidence." He murmured against her lips.
"Good night Lucas." She breathed.
She slipped out of his arms and into her room. She quietly undressed and crawled into her warm bed. She listened to the quiet snore of Brenna and with a deep breath let exhaustion sweep over her pulling her into darkness.
He was there waiting for her in the dark recesses of her mind. He sat on an enormous throne that seemed to rise up out of the very rock itself. One leg was draped over an arm and he lounged back like a giant Bre ready to strike. She knew she was dreaming but everything felt so real, the stone beneath her feet, the cool air that caught her thin nightgown and whipped it around her body, the chill that sank into her bones making her shiver.
"What are you doing here?" she asked unafraid.
"Why did you leave me?" his eyes were downcast and his hands lay folded lightly in his lap.
"You didn't really expect me to stay did you? There was no way I was going to stay with you, not after what you did to Lucas, to this world, to Brenna...to me." She finished quietly.
"To you? I did nothing to you! I made love to you, treated you like a princess!" He yelled his eyes snapping up to glare at her.
Kaidence felt her anger boil to the top.
"Only after you beat me almost senseless! Beat my best friend unconscious kidnapped us! You gave Brenna to some lunatic who tried to rape her, you expect me to just want to be with you after all that? And love? You don't know the first thing about love, you didn't make love to me, we had sex, that's it. It was a stupid, careless mistake that I WILL NOT let happen again. The only thing you could ever love is yourself." She spat at him.
He leaped up from his throne to stand almost directly in front of her. The wind picked up plastering her gown to her body, the chill biting her skin.
"And what would you know about love Kaidence? Hmm...how vast is your experience in the field? Who ever loved you?" His words hurt her worse then any physical blow ever could. Because the truth was no one had ever loved her. Jason's love had been fleeting if it was ever even real at all. Not once had she known what if felt like to be truly loved...until her experience that night with Hadrian. What was she thinking? That wasn't love...it was just lust.
Her gaze faltered and she felt tears sting her eyes. How in the hell did he know her so well?
"I thought so. You've never known love from anyone. No one has EVER loved you. You've been alone in your world for all your life haven't you? Believing in shallow illusions, letting yourself be diluted by cheap imitations of love, never tasting the real thing. And for the first time in you're miserable life you've tasted the sweetness of real love and look at you, running like a scared child from it." He walked around her as he spoke keeping his voice even and cutting. Kaidence felt her lip tremble and tears threaten to overwhelm her. She would not cry in front of him, she would not let him see how hurt she was no matter how on the mark he was about her life. She turned on him turning her sobs into shouts of anger and accusations.
"What the hell would you know about real love? No one has ever loved you either. The only thing you've ever known is fear and disgust, and revulsion. Your evil in its purest form, at least I was conceived out of love, you were merely made from hate and loathing. Your right, no one has ever loved me, but that does not mean that I don't know what love is..."she thought a moment, "Lucas loves me, that's real love, an honest love, not something twisted and distorted with hate and cruel intentions." She met his gaze and felt her breath nearly freeze in her lungs from the chilling stare he threw at her, but she would not back down from him.
"You truly do not know the meaning of love if you think that boy loves you, it is but a mere infatuation he feels."
"Isn't that all it is with you? An infatuation, just something to take up the time for a while and then toss away when you get tired of it? I'm not stupid or blind; I know your true feelings and intentions towards me. I am just a pleasant distraction for you, a new plaything that as soon as you get your fill of will discard without a second thought. Did you really expect me to believe all the crap you were spouting out while we were together? I am not some na´ve child who knows no better, your not saying anything to me that hasn't been said before by someone who turned out to be as big a liar as you are." For the first time since Jason had left her she felt the pain it had caused begin to chip away, he was a liar, no were good enough for her. She stood up straighter with her new found strength. She raised her eyes to his and saw he was seething with anger.
"No matter what you may think, or feel, I will find you and when I do, do not expect the same show of mercy as I had on you before, you will suffer for leaving me." He fairly growled out at her.
"I am not scared of you Hadrian, there is nothing you could do to me that would ever make me tremble or shake with fear." She said almost sneering at him with the rush of power she felt. If she didn't want to be afraid she didn't have to, it was as simple as that. His look sent her blood running cold and she felt the bravado of just a moment ago start to wane under his glacier gaze.
"We shall see my angel, we shall see." He whispered threateningly. The wind picked up, howling like a wounded animal around her body. Her hair whipped into her eyes so violently that she had to cover her face with her arms to protect against the stinging strands.
"We shall see." She heard wail around her as the piercing cold of the wind shoved at her body. It heaved at her until she couldn't brace against it anymore and it propelled her onto the floor. Then just as soon as the wind had started it stopped. Kaidence's heard herself panting hard and tried her best to calm her breathing as she slowly lowered her arms from her face. She blinked and looked around in the dim light that strained through a window and saw she lay on the floor of her room at the inn. She looked over to her right and saw Brenna still slumbering peacefully in her bed untroubled by her best friend's nightmare. She couldn't believe it had all been a dream, but there she lay on her own floor with her blankets twined around her legs and her gown twisted and twirled around her body. It had been so real, so vivid, the wind, Hadrian, everything. She lay there letting her lungs fill back up with air and letting her body settle down from the surprise. She gingerly crawled back into her bed, her body aching from the previous day and now also from being thrown out of the bed and onto the stone floor. She pulled the covers back around her and lay there trying to relax enough to fall back asleep.
"It was just a dream, a stupid dream." She mumbled to herself over and over again. She kept on feeling exhaustion take over urging her to let go, and as she did Hadrian's last words echoed dimly in her mind, "We shall see."
The next morning came too quickly in Kaidence's opinion. The sun glared in brightly from outside hitting her right in the face giving her no option but to wake up and get up. No amount of turning or throwing covers over her face was fully blocking the bright shafts of light piercing her closed eyes.
"Uhhhhh...alright, alright I'm up." She moaned loudly. In the opposite bed she heard Brenna making the same guttural noises of annoyance at the sun. The two drug their battered and somewhat bruised bodies out of the bed and began dressing in their previous outfits of last night. Kaidence splashed cold water from the earthenware pitcher on her face and felt better almost immediately from the invigorating rush the cold water gave her. She braided her hair again tying it secure with the green fabric she had been given last night.
"I'm heading out to get something to eat alright?" she said looking at her yawning friend.
She waved and yawned in response.
Out in the dining area she found their entire riding party already up and eating what looked like breakfast, leftovers from the previous night. Lucas looked up and smiled winningly at her as she moved towards him.
"Good morning, how did you sleep last night?" he asked as she sat down.
She mustered up as good a smile as she could at the crack of dawn and lied,
"I slept wonderfully, didn't wake up once."
"Good! Better eat up, we have a lot of ground to cover today, and we're only stopping once for a break. Is Brenna up yet?" he asked biting into a hunk of bread.
"Oh yeah, she just takes a little longer to get ready."
Brenna soon joined them and after they had all eaten and packed leather bags of dried meat, bread, hunks of cheese, and watered down wine the group headed outside to mount up. As the horses were being exited from the barn and saddled Shade accompanied by another centaur approached Kaidence.
"Good morning lass, beautiful day isn't it?" he said smiling.
Kaidence's felt herself grin, his smile was so infectious.
"Good morning Shade, Shade's friend." She said to the other centaur.
"Oh forgive me this is my friend, Aidan." He said sidestepping so she could fully see him; he was just as handsome as Shade. He body was as sculpted but his hair wasn't as long as Shade's, instead his was cut in a fashionable (in her world that was) buzz cut, his eyes were a deep pine green and his mouth was set firm in quiet strength. His body was a deep auburn almost red color, with a light brown almost sandy blonde tail and a white stocking on his right leg; he was just as amazing as Shade was.