“Fiona, ’tis me, Duncan,” he cried as he struggled to stand.
What had come over her? One moment they were caressing beneath the warm furs, and the next she had sprung from his bed, screaming like a banshee.
“I know who you are, MacQuoid. Dragonslayer!” She ended on a shrill sob before covering her face with her hands.
Duncan stood, kicking the furs to the side and reaching for her. “I am a dragonslayer no more, Fiona.”
“Why did you make love to me? You should have killed me like you did the rest of my kind.” She rushed through the flap of his tiny hut into the cool morning air.
Swearing under his breath, Duncan wrapped a fur around his waist and chased after her.
Surely they had both gone mad.
The morning was exceptionally cold, and Fiona wore not a stitch of clothes. A chill wind from the north whipped the heavy branches overhead into a frenzy. Autumn leaves danced around Fiona’s feet as she wept, kneeling beside a fallen oak.
The sharp edge of her suffering pierced the cavity of Duncan’s chest. He still did not understand how her emotions had been tethered to his own, but he did feel her pain, so keen he thought his heart would break from it. “Fiona, you are mistaken. Come inside where ’tis warm,” he pleaded.
She looked up at him through tear-soaked eyes. “You killed my mother!” Her body shook with violent tremors. “You struck her with a spear, and she had never sought to harm mankind. Never!”
Duncan’s head spun and he felt weightless. Mouth agape, he stared at her, hoping his senses would return. And then the words from the she-dragon reverberated through his skull. I have never sought to harm mankind. Never!
“’Twas a dragon I speared, not a human.” But even as he said the words, he knew ’twas a lie. That dragon had been no dumb beast. She was something more.
“She was my mother!” Fiona wailed. “She was kind and good and all I had left in the world.”
“Fiona,” Duncan struggled for words, knowing nothing he could say would ever bring back her mother. “Forgive me.” Stepping forward, he reached out, needing to touch her and soothe her pain.
“Do not touch me! Do not ever touch me!”
What happened next Duncan would not have believed had he not seen the she-dragon transform into a beautiful woman each night in his dreams.
But those were dreams, and the dragon hovering above him now was no fantasy, though just a moment before she had been his beautiful lass.
Panting like a wounded animal, she singed his hair with her fiery breath.
Duncan did not cower. He did not fear. They had shared a connection when he loved her beneath the light of the full moon. She would not harm him now.
He looked up into her amber eyes, which were the same as last night, only larger, sadder.
’Twas then he knew neither of them would come away from this unscathed. For her heart was shattered, and he did not know how he could live without her forgiveness.
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