Iohanna woke to the morning light piercing through the trees. She considered leaving Marc' and head home by herself, but with the running and no known landmarks she had no idea where she was or which direction she needed to go to get home. Looking at the hot coals and the sleeping idiot she went down to the river. She took out her wine flask and took a long drink before dumping the rest out. Filling it up with water she strolled back and stood above the coals. Normally they would use dirt or sand to extinguish the fires because of the smoke but that was exactly what she was going for, smoke. She unloaded the water all over the coals filling the air full of smoke, however, with her unfortunate luck Marc' just lay there still sleeping while the smoke dissipated.
"Wake up!" Iohanna shouted towards him. She felt annoyed having to wait on him.
Marc' flinched and slowly rolled over to face her biting his bottom lip. It wasn't long with the look on her face before he broke out in laughter.
"How long have you been awake?" She was stuffing her clothes into the backpack when she noticed the freshly cooked fish nearby.
"A while." Marc' had laid across from her to watch her sleep and had only turned around when she started to stir awake.
"Just point in the direction to my home. I will go and you can stay here playing your childish games." Her hands were firmly set on her hips as she stared down at him.
"No can-do princess." Marc' closed his eyes enjoying himself.
"Then get your ass up and let's go." How she wished to get rid of him once and for all, and the quicker they got back the sooner she would be.
"Can't do that either." His mouth curled up in a smile, but he never opened his eyes.
"Why?" Iohanna gritted through her teeth while holding out her hands and pretending to choke the life out of him.
"Your uncle's hawk showed up this morning we are due North at Candroll." Marc' held out a tiny piece of paper.
Iohanna snatched it from his hands. "Your presence is required at Candroll by nightfall where I have a new mission waiting for you, Niccolo. This is addressed to me not you. Point me in the direction and I will be on my way."
Marc' held up a second roll of paper. Iohanna grabbed it and threw it in the still smoking pit. "Don't you have anything better to do?"
"Nope." Marc' sat up and gathered his things. He took a couple pieces of fish for himself and offered some to whining companion.
"Lucky me." Iohanna quirked her head at him before taking the fish from him. Her mind circled on what her next mission could be when she suddenly remembered Pierce, he lived in Candroll. She would finally get to see him. She hadn't seen him in three years, and she wasn't old enough to catch his attention then, and now that she was a woman she could try again. Iohanna's face lit up and she was excited to get moving.
"What are you so happy about?" Marc' looked at her in wonder as her face went from anguish to pure happiness.
"None of your business." Iohanna barked back at him in her usual annoyed tone.
Irritated Marc' stood up and gathered their stuff. How badly he had hoped he was the reason for her change in behavior, but it appeared to be just his wishful thinking. "Let’s go, it’s not far."
"Now? How do I look? Do I smell bad? Maybe we should bathe first." Iohanna started to panic about her appearance.
Marc' felt his heart sink as he heard the ramblings of a love-struck girl and smelled the changes in her hormones. "Why trying to impress someone?" He had hoped it was for an old friend or family member.
"Actually yes, can I ask you for a favor?" Iohanna completely forgot that she despised the man next to her, and only saw him as a man that she could get advice from.
"No." Marc' pushed down a growl that tried to surface.
"Please? It’s just he has never seen me as a woman. I have always been just another girl to him." Iohanna stepped in front of Marc' trying to get his attention. "How can I get him to look at me as a man would look at a woman?"
Marc' looked down at her and struck a raw nerve, "grow a pair of breasts and maybe he will look." He walked around her and was silent for the rest of the way.
Pierce watched the tree line waiting for Iohanna to walk through it. He had been excited when he received the news from Niccolo that she was coming to see him. Pierce was a borne healer the only combative moves he had was what he learned from being a soldier. Since young he had always been paired up with Niccolo, the great warrior, his job was to keep him alive and they became a duo. A part of him had always resented Niccolo's power but they were brothers, though not bonded by blood. When he learned about the Leraphron's secret he told Niccolo's uncle and helped take his bride away from him. He couldn't risk him becoming more powerful than he already was, as luck would have it neither could his uncle. Helena never told Niccolo about her secret before she was captured. Had they rescued her things would have been bad, which is why Pierce killed her when they marched into the city of Augron.
Pierce thought about her mother’s death when he saw Iohanna come out of the tree line. He had intended to take her mother before killing her, but time had not been on his side, fortunately time was all he needed with Iohanna. A man quickly rushed to her side from the same direction she had come from, Niccolo had not told him she was with company. The smile had faded as they walked closer noticing the way the man had looked at what was rightfully his. "Iohanna, look at you all grown up." His worry dissipated when he saw Iohanna's eyes light up. He knew she still had eyes only for him.
"Pierce!" Iohanna ran into his arms hugging him tightly.
Marc' glared at the two which gave Pierce a sense of comfort. Iohanna was indeed as beautiful as her mother he knew many men would try to get into his way, which is why he put his plan into motion they day they had met. He couldn't allow her power to be given to anyone else, and he would finally have the chance to be more powerful than Niccolo.
"I have a surprise for you Ioh', wait here." Pierce went to the other side of a building and opened up a gate. He grabbed onto something and led out a beautiful stallion.
"Pierce, it's beautiful." She ran after him to look at the horse.
Marc' couldn't stomach their interaction any longer. He went up to a soldier that appeared to have rank and asked him for the details of their mission and where his quarters would be. Leaving Iohanna he followed the soldier and went to be briefed.
Iohanna watched as Marc' left, she felt a pinch inside her throat as he disappeared into a house down the road, but she quickly dismissed it as Pierce drew her close to him.
"Ioh' I have missed you. I think maybe we should go have a talk back at my place. There is so much for us to catch up on." releasing her out of his grasp Pierce mounted the horse and stretched out his hand to help her up. They rode for a while in the streets eyeing vendors before they made it back to his house.
Marc' sat and listened to the debriefing when he felt something tug at his chest. He kept pushing the thoughts from mind telling himself this is what she wanted, but a little voice crept in as a faint whisper "She is in danger, hurry!" Marc' didn't understand why but he couldn't deny that the dragon spirit in him was connected to Iohanna. When he could hear it's warning the second time, he knew he had to act fast. Climbing out the window he used the ledge to jump up onto the roof. Marc' cursed under his breath when he saw the clear sky above him. He was trapped by the sun and with no possible coverage he couldn't shift into anything. He cursed himself again at how petty he behaved leaving her along with a snake. "Hurry, there's not much time!" His dragon was biting under the surface to the point where Marc' wasn't sure if he could hold on much longer. For reasons he couldn't understand his body no longer waited for him to take action, and in broad daylight a dragon sat on top of a building getting ready to take flight.
Iohanna stood in the corner of Pierce's bedroom pleading for him to leave her alone. Half of her clothes were torn, and fear hitched in her throat as everything she threw at him had no effect on him. Pierce flashed a necklace at her, when she focused on it, she realized it looked like the same ones the men in the forest wore.
"The funny thing about always being the one to clean up your uncles mess is I get to stick around longer to learn more than I should." Pierce lunged at her pinning her against the wall. "You are mine Ioh' and it is time for me to collect what belongs to me." He snaked his hand up her shirt gripping onto her small mounds.
Iohanna had dreamed of the moment that Pierce made her his but when the time came, she panicked and backed off, but Pierce wasn't how he normally was. He kept telling her, her power belonged to him. The bed was in the middle of the room and a small window was at the opposite side of her far out of her reach. She closed her eyes tightly trying to block out what was happening to her. Pierce had slid a hand under her waistband, "Iohanna, fight it. I will be there soon," a still small voice came to her whispering and reminding her of all her previous training. Her eyes shot open, she locked her knees together holding his hand at her entrance and spun around tightly until she heard a popping noise.
"You fucking whore!" Pierce went quickly to his broken wrist and began healing it. Iohanna knew she didn't have a lot of time, she rushed towards the window and leaped out. The room was on ground level allowing her to land and run instantly.
"Turn left" Iohanna listened to the quiet voice as it led her through the streets. Pierce was right on her heals when she made it to a clearing.
"You bitch," Pierce turned Iohanna around and grabbed a hold of her throat. He slowly backed her in into the clearing. "I tried to do this nicely for you, and this is how you repay me?" He crashed his mouth against hers trying to force her mouth open with his tongue.
"Move farther into the clearing," Iohanna took small steps backwards as she calmly took the assault.
Marc' sat on the top of a temple that overlooked them. He waited for them to move closer before he could make his move. He needed to save her, but he couldn't risk too much at the same time otherwise he would die and Iohanna would still be at his mercy.
"Almost there" Iohanna didn't know what was speaking to her but she felt reassurance flow through her when it spoke. "When you see me duck” Iohanna looked around. “How will I know" Iohanna thought to herself. "You'll know."
When they got close enough to his mark, Marc' sauntered off the temple and crept behind Pierce. "Open your eyes love." He waited for her, but Pierce had raised his hand in the air to strike down on her and he couldn't wait any longer. He swung he tail around and knocked the both of them over.
Iohanna quickly rose to her feet when she saw her old friend. The dragon looked at her acknowledging her before it turned its full attention to Pierce.
"No!" Iohanna shouted at the beast. She quickly ran up and stood in the way.
"You see that, deep down you know you are mine." Pierce was rising to his feet as the dragon snarled at him.
"Shut the fuck up. I am only saving you, so your men won’t go after him." Iohanna couldn't fathom the thought of her Uncle killing it.
"Get on!" The dragon lowered its head waiting for Iohanna to climb up.
"Don't you fucking do it. I swear to the gods Iohanna I will find you I will take what is owed and then I will kill you and that thing!" Pierce was reaching his hand out to grab her when Marc' swung his tail once more sending him flying back ten feet.
"My power is mine it is not yours!" She climbed up the beast and nestled in its neck as it rose off the ground.
"I will find you. You bitch." Pierce ran in the direction of a stable and mounted a horse to follow after them.
"Hold on” Marc found the quickest exit into the woods and kept going until he saw the entrance to his old cave. "We will wait here until dark."
"Thank you," When she climbed off the dragons back, she was biting back the tears that were sitting at the surface. Marc' had saw her struggle and nuzzled his head against her shoulder. "it's just I loved him so much, but he.." There was no stopping the tears from coming this time.
Marc' wanted to crush Pierce's bones in between his teeth and chew on him until there was nothing left for him to heal.
Iohanna was starting to gain control of her motions again when she remembers her companion. "Marc,' I have to go back I just left him there. Oh gods, what will Pierce do to him." She turned to the beast. "I'm sorry I got to go back."
Marc' felt a little joy from seeing her worried about him. His dragon shook like a a wet dog flaring its scales out to breath. "He will be fine. You rest."
"How is it that I can hear you?" Iohanna looked curious as the thought suddenly came to her.
"Mmmm, mate." Marc' laid down next to her blocking the entrance of the cave. He couldn't trust that she would try to go back.
"Mate? I am not a dragon; what do you mean I am your mate. Why does everyone want to mate with me." Iohanna was getting irrationally mad as she spoke.
"Mate sleep." Marc' lowered his head and closed his eyes to wait for the shroud of darkness for their escape.
"Bullshit." Iohanna stomped her feet. "I want answers, now."
Marc' ignored her tantrum and huffed out air. Iohanna went completely silent before Marc' peeked through one of his eyes. He saw her looking around remembering she had been there before. She rushed to the wall and brushed the pictures in confirmation. When she turned her head towards him, he quickly shut his eyes again.
"This is you isn’t it? You fell in love with the wolf." Iohanna thought she had figured out the story now. "Where is he? Your, mate." Marc's head jerked toward her in shock that she thought he was a woman.
"You mate." Marc' glared at her for a moment.
"I cannot be. I am a woman." She laughed at the mix up.
"You. Mate." Marc' stood up to make a point.
"Oh, maybe that idiot got the story wrong and it was a woman wolf." Iohanna continued to laugh. "I can't wait to correct his stupid face." Iohanna made a dumb facial expression emphasizing the word stupid.
"Vekah," Marc' laid back down with his back to her.
"What?" Iohanna tilted her head in confusion.
Marc' didn't say another word until it was nightfall and they could sneak off into the shadows.