Ten years have gone by since Iohanna came into the village of the sand elves. They had numerous books about her kind and how they used to live. She learned more about herself than she ever learned from Niccolo including the fact that she wasn't actually human. Her ancestors were part of the Nightstorm dragons who lost their ability to skin-walk. Instead they became beacons for magic collectors which caused their numbers to dwindle when word got out about their little secret. They spent hundreds of years in hiding trying to rebuild their numbers only to end up in the middle of a war between the Elvin clans and the Gorgons. They had ended up being the main casualties from the Gorgons as their greed for power consumed them. She also learned her life span was much longer than she anticipated as long as her magic remains above a threshold. If she were to pass on her magic to more than one person, her life gets considerably shortened.
Iohanna found herself properly developing into a woman with the proper nourishment and training. She was filling out in the places that had still made her look like a child giving her a new wave of confidence in herself. These people treated her as if she could solve all the problems of the world and idolized her for her abilities. She was assigned to teachers to properly teach her about the world and true survival as a dragon descendant.
Eva was a teacher of history, she had taught Iohanna everything she would need to know about herself as a carrier of the dragon. Helping her gain more control of things she never knew she could. She also was able to learn about the Paratroxin bloodline realizing things that had been kept secret from her so she wouldn't be as powerful as she could be. She was told humans did that in a way to clip their wings to hold control of them, because they fancied a hierarchy system. The Nightstorm in her gave her wind and water power's far greater than she had first thought, and the Paratroxin in her gave her the ability to control functions that contained an electrical current, much like the organs in one's body.
Morton was her second teacher he trained her how to use her abilities in their full potential. He had admired Iohanna as he knew her grandparents long ago. Her grandfather was a powerful leader whose power surpassed most. Though she wasn't as powerful as her grandfather he knew she had the potential to be just as great. Iohanna was finally received the training she needed to master herself.
Her last teacher was a strange old man that had another one of those names she gave up on trying. Her and Con' would go to his lessons together in alchemy. Con was stuck with another hundred years of classes, so she tagged along at first out of sympathy but found a sense of joy in learning herself. What magic she didn't control naturally she learned to conjure it. It had occupied most of her time until she knew she couldn't wait any longer.
"Do you have to go?" Con felt sad as Iohanna announced that she would be departing soon. He had grown to see her as a little sister and enjoyed the time together as they would learn in class.
"Con' you know how you guys are set out into situations to become men?" Iohanna looked up in the middle of packing her things.
"I do, but what does this have to do with you leaving?" Con' had considerably gotten better at her language over the years.
"For me to be truly free I need to serve my own justice." Iohanna had finished packing her bags and embraced him into a hug.
"Take this." He handed her a calling crystal.
"Thank you Con'. I love you!" Iohanna looped the calling crystal around her neck and said goodbye to the only person who had been a family to her.
"Love you too Anna." His large hand tussled her hair. Con' was the only one she had allowed to call her that, and it gave him a sense of pride.
As Iohanna walked to the gate to exit the town her teachers had stood in her way. Eva embraced her and gave her a book on dragons sending her a good wink. They had talked about her old dragon friend and Eva became interested in their relationship. Morton grasped her forearm in a strong handshake before he bent down placing his forehead to hers. He spoke silently but she knew he was casting a protection spell on her. He handed her a golden hair pin that had been sharpened before getting out of the way for the old man. Iohanna waited for him to embrace her but he flicked her head instead.
"Ouch!" Iohanna rubbed her head.
"Stubborn fool." He looked down at her. "Be smart and don't die." Con watched as he slipped something into her pack without her knowing.
Iohanna waved goodbye to all her new friends and began her journey back into the human realm. She made appoint to swing by her childhood home. When she got there she saw the damage Niccolo's army raked on the village. There was nothing but moss-covered rubble. She couldn't remember where her house would have been, but he remembered as her father would chase her in the rolling hills and her mother would brush out all the grass from her hair before dinner. Iohanna sat on a pillar as it laid on its side. She picked at the grass that was growing out if the cracks as she thought of her parents.
She had come to except that her mother never loved her dad as she was his captive from her true love, Niccolo, but they did have fond memories together as a family. "Sorry mother. You had a rough life." Her hair flowed in the wind as she bowed her head. "I am here to tell you that even in death there will be agony. I will cause you pain." Iohanna took another breath and scanned the decaying city. Standing up she placed a small flower on top of the pillar where she had been sitting. Turning her back she waved at nothing in goodbye and walked away. Iohanna had set her mind to revenge and headed off to the man that her mother had loved, to the man she would personally separate his head from his shoulders. Niccolo had taken everything from her and she was set on doing the same to him right before he would sleep for eternity.
Marc' rubbed his eyes as he woke in the middle of the night. Something in his chest began to tighten. It gave him a rush of excitement as he thought that after the long excruciating ten years the spirits were coming back to him. Instead the alcohol content he had consumed just hours before now poured out of his mouth all over his cave floor. He cursed as his misery caused him to fall backwards. He had lost everything that meant anything to him. The only thing that haunted him now was an eternity of loneliness. The only time he traveled into town and saw people was when he needed to restock on ale or new clothes for the seasons.
Hurling himself to a sit up position Marc' looked around his empty cave. He made a loud groaning noise knowing it was time to head back into town. He hated going, people always wanted something from him and Niccolo was now gunning for him after he gave up search just three years after her disappearance. He figured she was hiding for a reason and he couldn't blame her with everything that had been going on. He was adamant that he wouldn't add to her pain anymore and stay gone. He no longer called out her name afraid that it would bring back memories. It had gotten to the point to where he avoided people that knew of her name and refused to hear it. He was afraid of hope, hope that she would return one day.
Marc' tied fir around his body and pulled sandals on. It had been a dry year, but the wind wasn't forgiving. Marc traveled for most of the day until he reached Parion. He kept his head down but his physique wasn't normal for the people of the privileged town, so he still stuck out among the crowd. His first stop was renting a cart and driver to help carry his purchases. They made multiple stops along the street vendors loading items until it was packed full. As per ritual Marc walked into the 'Come Inn and Go' inn as the sun set. He preferred their inn to others by their lack of questions and information needed. Marc' tried to enter as quietly as he could but as soon as he ducked through the door most eyes were settled on him.
"Marc!" The inn keeper shouted to him drawing the rest of the eyes at his direction.
Marc' looked annoyed at the happy keeper completely aware that word would get out by morning now. He strode over and placed two coins in the man's hand. "The usual."
"Of course, my good friend." He swatted at Marc's back.
"Not your friend. Room please." Marc sounded irked.
"Sure friend, yet the only place you visit when in town is my humble inn." He had completely misread Marc, but he wasn't interested in correcting him as it would mean he would have to talk more.
Mark tossed his bags in his room and kicked off his worn sandals. He had bought some heavy-duty boots at one of the stalls earlier and was excited to try them on. He decided to do some walking in them to break them in and headed to the small bar that was at the entrance.
"Usual." Marc' placed another coin down at the counter. The young boy nodded and poured a mug of ale and handed it to him. His facial hair got into the way; he had let it grow out of control. After his first sip he saw floating beard hair in his drink and cursed.
"Are there any barbers?" He asked the boy behind the counter.
"Yes sir, just across the street." The boy pointed at a small building dimly lit across the street.
Marc' finished his drink quickly and headed across the street. He had spent an hour with the barber as his matted hair was washed and trimmed, and his beard shaven off. When he had ducked back into the inn, he looked like a civilized being.
"Wow!" A woman got up from the man she had been perusing for the night and followed Marc as he headed back to the small bar.
"Thanks." Marc tossed the boy a small pouch of silver coins for his help.
"Hey handsome, looking for company for the night?" The very average woman asked while reaching up and squeezing his shoulder.
The boy behind the counter shook his head and turned around to dry the freshly washed mugs. Marc looked up and down at the woman and scoffed. "Do I look like someone who needs to be looking for a whore."
The boy tried to contain his laughter but accidentally let out a small chuckle. The woman looked insulted and on the verge of throwing a fit in the middle of the place. Marc' readied for a slap across the face but was pleasantly surprised when she did neither of the two.
"I suppose not." She removed her hand and went back the ugly patron at one of the tables.
"Sorry about that, we can't kick them out as they generate business and all." The boy shrugged his shoulders.
"It's quite alright." Marc' looked back and scanned the room. His eyes settled on a hooded figure sitting in the darkest corner of the inn. For a moment curiosity filled his head as nothing was visible through the hood, but he quickly dismissed it knowing why he came here himself, privacy. Turning his attention back to the boy, "Can you bring a meal to my room. I would like to retire for the night." With a nod from the boy he made his way back to his room.
Iohanna watched as a tall man ducked into the entrance of the inn. Part of her felt instantly annoyed with the amount of people coming in, but another part of her found it soothing as the eyes were no longer settled on her but on this hairy man who stunk up the entire place. The people were rowdy, pulling at women, drinking alcohol, and picking fights with each other.
She had done her best to ignore everyone and enjoy her meal until the man came back in after he had bathed and made himself presentable. She felt tears as they flooded down her cheek the man that was standing just 50 feet away was the man, she had thought she killed years ago. She watched as he rejected a woman and looked around the room. For a moment she thought he had noticed her as he stared at her with interest. Iohanna held her breath not sure what she would do, but his gaze was quickly adverted, and he strutted into his room. He either didn't recognize her or didn't see her. Whatever the reason it made no difference to her. Realizing she was still holding her breath she quickly let out the air she had held for so long.
"Thank you for being alive." She whispered to herself. Iohanna had been happy to see him alive and well, but she couldn't risk her mission for catching up with someone she only knew for a couple days. Iohanna got up from her spot after finishing her steak and made her way outside. Tonight, she would gather intel on Niccolo and his household.