Oksana has spent her lifetime trying to restore her mother’s legacy, and the fey who stole it happens to be her ideal mate. Well, that is what the seers tell her. She will see for herself, but she isn’t handing over her hand in marriage until she gets her mother’s belongings back.
Hyther thought that a dead dragon meant the artifacts were up for grabs. He has since found out that dragons can hatch from eggs, and they have a long memory.
Liwin wrapped her body around her egg and exhaled light and fire on it as necessary.
When the egg began to crack, she sighed in relief. Having her child in the world was her final wish. Her scales creaked as she shifted into her human form, ready to catch her daughter.
The shell shattered and Liwin stepped back, covering her eyes. When she lowered her arm, Oksana was stepping free of her shell and coming toward her.
They stumbled and collided in an embrace. Liwin pressed her lips to her daughter’s forehead. “I will not be with you long, Oksana.”
Her daughter leaned back, and her mouth opened and closed before she whispered, “I know. I heard you.”
Liwin sniffled and slid her arm under Oksana’s, lifting her to her feet. “Come now. We need to read the sky to see your future. I want to know that things will go well for you.”
“Things will go as they are meant to. I can hardly wait to start reading. The books you shared with me were amazing.”
Oksana had spent time on her feet while in the egg. It was obvious in her balance and the strength of her limbs.
“It was my pleasure to read to you. I am sorry that you were beast-born, but I was caught by surprise at how fast you developed. A few months of preparation and you were too big for me to form my human body around.”
“I understand. Thank you for waiting until I was born to join the soil.”
“I hadn’t taken the time to have a child before. You know what our kind are.”
“We are born pregnant. You could have overrun the world if you wished, but instead, you studied.”
Liwin smiled at her daughter’s observation. “Yes. Just like my mother did before me. You come from a long line of women who saw the world for what it would become. I know you will do us proud.”
They emerged from the cave and stepped out onto the wide ledge that gave them a one hundred eighty degree view over great plains and distant mountains. The sky above was filled with stars.
The roar of the distant ocean waves came through the rush of night air that greeted Oksana. Each of the elements hoped that she would choose them.
Oksana staggered alone to the edge and looked around. She knelt and looked around her. “Mother, how did you choose?”
“I chose the one that came to me and made me feel alive. It made me feel hope for the future, and when the wind and earth touched me, I knew that I would have to choose between them.”
Oksana looked over her shoulder and smiled. “How did you choose?”
Liwin shrugged. “You will know it when you feel it.”
Oksana watched the sky lighten, and just as the rich blue was fading, a streak of light burned across it. The energy in that blazing light sang in her blood.
“Starlight! I pick starlight.”
She turned with excitement to look at her mother and get her opinion. Her mother was slumped against the wall leading to the cavern, her skin grey.
Oksana knelt at her side and stroked the long silver hair that had crowned her mother in all their silent tutorials. Two hundred years of growing inside the egg had left her seeking the light with her mother at her side the entire time. Now, Liwin of the Harvests was passing into the soil.
“You have done well, but don’t go through this life alone. You need to seek out a companion.”
Oksana frowned. “Like a pet?”
Liwin chuckled. “Call it what you will, but you need an immortal or long-lived being to be at your side. I told you about the others of our kind, so meet with one of them and seek a friend.”
“Because I had my mother, and she had hers. I left having you until it was too late. You will be alone, and being alone is not a good thing.” Liwin smiled softly with her eyes closed. “I have taught you most of what I know, and you will learn what you need to know. Knowledge is power.”
Oksana nodded and held her mother as the power that had rippled through Liwin for thousands of years unravelled into the universe once again.
It was a very emotional birth day.