“I cannot tell you what I do not know,” Fallon wheezed through the burning fury inside his belly that knew no end. Oh, for Goddess’ sake! Why would the change not come upon him?
Maghnus swung his sword, slicing through Fallon’s ribs. His flesh split, a ripe melon under the blistering sun. He threw his head back and roared, the noise gaining volume and momentum, bleeding into a bellow that shook the trees ringing the meadow.
His eyes burned as his face elongated. His back arched, cracked. Size tripled, then that quadrupled. He towered above them, half man, half beast as the minute changes reformed his body. At last, it was done.
His snout billowed steam. The Knights fell back, not knowing the secret of his form. Let them think he could blow fire.
“A dragon!” an archer squealed.
The Queen’s secret, for good or bad, had come to light. Fallon startled that the rumors had not yet filled every ear at the Seelie court. For he had been cursed in front of all the nobility. Gossipers and liars, the lot of them.
Garbhan cut the air with his sword, toward Maghnus. He showed not a care. Unlike the others, the Captain knew Fallon kept his wits, even as a dragon. “Have not a fear! This cretin had angered him.”
Fallon hesitated to kill his fellow Knights. They’d grown and trained together, fought for one another. The archers mattered not to him.
“That is a Sidhe no longer!” Maghnus stumbled back, as Fallon rose on his muscled hind legs. “This is what the Queen has done to him?”
“You were there, Maghnus.”
“He did not do this at court!”
Fallon spread his wings across the meadow. His long, thick neck curled over Maghnus, cutting him off from his peers. One crystalline triple iris complete with slit pupil caught the Knight’s.
He didn’t bother to perform a communication charm. His face said it all.
Cut me again, dullard. I shall bite your head clean from your shoulders.
The Knight shuddered, his sword falling to the ground. He’d wet himself, the reek pungent to his oversensitive sense of smell. Inside, Fallon wondered how he’d ever stomached the wretch. His death would be a mercy to his brothers. A true Knight hath no fear of any man or beast.
Blood gushed between them, running down Fallon’s metallic green chest. The shift had ripped open the wound, enlarged the serrated edges. Not the first time he’d been wounded in battle. Not the last either. He’d see this to be true.
Fallon whipped his barbed tail, colliding with Maghnus’ side, tearing through his armor. Maghnus tumbled through the air into three horses, including his own. Fallon uttered a shattering roar, a gust of steam. The warriors scrambled, screaming “fire.”
How little they knew. Not even the Captain understood. Fallon was a water dragon. Ice, to the fire that was Dearg.
He leapt, and damned near fell back to the ground. Perhaps, his wounds surpassed his previous assessment. His limbs deadened, the bone structure of his wings threatened not to keep him airborne for longer than a minute or two. That’s all he needed.
The knights made no move to follow him, as they calmed their steeds.
Arrows flew, tiny sticks to a beast such as him. The beast barely felt them enter his hide.
The man was altogether a different story.