The Birth Of Fleur The Vengeful
A short story set in the fantasy world of Terra’Yesh.
The carriage made her way to the makeshift hospital, but Flora’s mind focused on the pain. Is this how labor felt? It seemed more painful than what the old mothers had described to her in the previous days, preparing flora for giving her first birth.
She forced herself to look out the window of the carriage while absently playing with her necklace, her only memory of someone who was supposed to be her mother, but she never met. The necklace always felt warm on the side that was touching her skin. The morning light bathed the old market. People were laughing, calling for sales, carrying goods, and praying to the enormous fire in the market square.
Fire. Bah, she thought. If Red Cornelius cared about her, she would not live the life that she did. Reflecting on her past, Flora was instantly taken back to that moment almost a year ago that changed her life.
She had served patrons in The Wretched Pig bar, and one of them wouldn’t leave.
“Sir, we’re closing. You’re the last one.” She told him. He was heavily intoxicated.
“There is one thing I need before I go.” He looked at her with lust. Boar, the guardian of the bar, came to stand behind the patron and.
“Sir, she asked you to leave. You can come back tomorrow.”
“The man stood for a moment and looked at the palm of his left hand. He whispered something inaudible to his hand and quickly gestured with it in the air over Boar’s throat. In an instant, blood sprayed all over Flora’s face. As she blinked, she saw a red body hitting the floor and a bloody hand gripping her throat and lifting her in the air.
She remembered screaming as he had his way with her right there behind the bar, with Boar’s blood giving the bar a copper odor. He sometimes whispered obscenities in her ear as he released himself. She was on the verge of losing her consciousness the entire time as he kept a tight grip on her throat. When he finally satisfied himself, he leaned close to her ear.
“Don’t worry. I’m a powerful sorcerer. My seed may be too powerful for you. If you’re as weak as I think you are, it will release you from this damned world.”
Then he left her there, and she lost the grip on her consciousness.
Now, as she sat in the carriage almost ten months later, that night seemed like a lifetime ago. Flora forced herself to look out and saw some men supporting another pregnant woman to a carriage, kissing her, hugging her. Maybe that was how it feels when people plan pregnancy — a lump formed in Flora’s throat.
“Good luck, Rosie!” she heard one of them say, “May your child be as strong as an egg!” They all laughed, and it seemed particularly strange to Flora that a person would like their child to be as fragile as an egg.
She turned from the window to look at the well-muscled, green-eyed elf, who was her best friend in the world.
“I’m just in pain, Kurras. It will be fine when we get to the hospital. Assuming they let me in.”
“The Dragon Gods may be asses, but they value mortal lives. I’m sure they will let you in. Besides, a hospital that refuses a woman in labor is a humanitarian incident waiting to happen.”
“Not when she is a poor, insignificant woman from the slums like me, Kurras, but I appreciate the thought.” she looked into his dark forest eyes and smiled.
He put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. His hug was as protective as a parent’s embrace. She smiled when he kissed her on the forehead.
“You’ll be fine, my flower, even if I have to birth your child myself. Now try to rest, we will be there soon.”
In his embrace, Flora allowed herself to drift away to light but troubled sleep. She heard Dragon cries in the distance.
“Flora, we’re here.”
She awoke to find herself still in Kurras’s embrace. He smiled down at her. There were a lot of voices outside of the carriage, but it was not moving. People sounded busy and stressed outside. Then, Flora felt the wetness.
“Oh no, dragons take me, I messed up your trousers.” She moved aside to see that his shoes were wet as well. “I’m sorry Kurras” She wanted to scream at herself.
“You’re worried for me? I can wash this wetness away. You have a life inside you waiting to come out! Let’s focus on your health now.
The pain didn’t subside, but up to that moment, she was still suppressing it. Her conscious mind returned to the pain, and she felt dizzy. Kurras helped her out of the carriage and paid the driver some silver scale coins. She didn’t know how he got them, but he did. Had he won some fortune? His clothes were his usual elven attire. His Black hair still tied with the same bow. Maybe Elves were naturally rich? It was a curious question for a different day.
Someone with hospital clothes approached them.
“Yes? How can I help you?”
Kurras answered, “Her water broke. She needs to give birth.”
“What house do you belong to, girl?”
“I live in the Courageous District in the Bathing House.”
“You’re a whore?” He asked and looked at her horrified.
“No, I’m a barmaid at The Wretched Pig.”
“And is he your husband?” the man said, pointing to Kurras.
“No, I’m-” she felt faint.
“She’s as white as milk, can you accept her already?” Kurras insisted.
Flora needed air, and so she rearranged the necklace on her neck and put it out of her shirt instinctively. The man’s gaze shifted immediately to the jewelry, and his eyes grew wide. It seemed like he recognized the symbols on it.
“Of course. Come this way, milady.”
Milady? Why did he call me this way?
Flora almost lost consciousness, but she followed, held by Kurras who now wore a confused look on his face. He is probably wondering the same thing, she thought
“Flora! Tell them to let me in! Flora?” The guard stopped Kurras behind the big door. When they closed the door, it was like they shut her old world away. Flora was in a daze. There were four people around her. One fed her grapes; the other held her hand while walking, another read her a short story about a kid who found himself outside of the empire’s walls. The last one was checking on her physicality, and she suspected he was the actual doctor.
“We shall soon get this over with, my lady.”
Why were they so kind to her, all of a sudden? What changed? She couldn’t find the energy to form the question verbally and focused her energies on trying not to doze off.
They entered a big room with a bed and gently laid her on her back. “Now, mistress, would you like us to remove your protective necklace? It would make the whole process so much easier for you.”
Why did it matter? She didn’t see any reason to remove the necklace. Besides, she wanted it on her. It was a remnant of her family. “No, I want to keep it.”
They frowned and looked at one another. “But, milady, you will experience excruciating pain that way.”
There was something odd about the way they spoke of her necklace. It was just a necklace, why did they care so much for it? Would it choke her as she screamed in pain? She would not allow these strangers to take her only heirloom away. “It stays.”
They looked at each other with expressions of adoration. “fine milady. But if you’re life will be at risk, we’re obligated to act.”
“Thank you.” Flora didn’t have a lot to strive for in life. She didn’t even know how she would raise this child. But, in spite of all the hardship, Flora didn’t want to die. It was strange because if she would have asked herself, why would you want to live, she didn’t have a satisfactory answer. What, to keep living in the slums of the city? To continue being harassed by horny nobles? To know she can never be anything more than a beggar? People in this city were praying to gods who wouldn’t listen. A contradiction, right? Gods were supposed to be there for their subjects. Gods were supposed to care.
The pain stabbed her, and she let out a scream. Flora never knew she had it in her to scream like that. The doctors were around her, guarding while a nurse guided her to push and waited for the newly-born. She screamed again. The pain made her dizzy, and she was losing consciousness fast. And then, in a blink of an eye, she was in a different place — lava all around her.
A High Dragon was perched on a cliff looking down straight at her. No, a Dragoness. Flora somehow knew. Fear crept down her spine, and she started shaking involuntarily.
“Weak. That’s what you are.” The dragon didn’t speak the words out loud, but she heard them in her mind nonetheless. “Weakling. You are about to commit an atrocity. How dare you?”
“What? What are you saying? Who are you?” Flora took hold of her necklace instinctively.
“Weak. And Ignorant.” The Dragon opened its maw, and crackling fire appeared down its throat. In an instant, the heat was upon her. She didn’t even have time to put up her hands up to shield her face from the fire. She felt as though her flash was tearing away from her. Her eyes molting like icecream balls left in the sun, her hair has burned away the instant the fire hit her, like straws on a fire. Flora couldn’t even scream.
But she still knew when it happened. The necklace ripped away from her, molting away as it flew. A burst of magic thundered in the air resembling the sound of a breaking lock.
The Dragoness roared in victory. And somehow, without eyes, Flora could still see the Dragoness spread her wings and launch towards her. It was an impact trajectory.
When the Dragoness hit Flora, she returned to the hospital bed — feeling weird sexual satisfaction. The pain in her private parts disappeared. She felt burning on her throat and saw that the necklace turned to cinders. She brushed it away. When looking up, the doctors and the nurse were kneeling before a substantial white egg that was on a luxurious red fabric inside a golden bowl.
“where is my baby? I want to see him, or her?”
“This is your child, your grace.” She was struck speechless. An egg? What is happening?
The doctor who spoke to her before arose and said, “I was worried about your safety and was prepared to rip out your necklace when I saw your vitals deteriorate. But then it burst into cinders, and we were all flung on the wall with a burst of magic. What happened to you?”
“I… I don’t know.”
Yes, you do. A voice said in Flora’s mind. The Dragoness. I am you, Fleur. You are a Dragoness. Not some meek Human. Someone had tried to inhibit this fact in your youth with a necklace that glorifies weakness. It’s time to take back what’s yours.
Fleur? My name is Flora.
Another lie you so religiously believed about yourself. Now, command these people to bring the father of your child. It’s time he pays.
What did you mean a necklace that glorifies weakness?
The Dragon Limiter. It’s a type of necklace that inhibits Dragon traits and makes you a human as long as you wear it. The dragons devised them to understand their subjects better and earn their worship. Now, do what I said.
I don’t have to listen to you.
That’s right. You don’t need to listen to me, but I’m the representation of your power. Without me, you are weak. You need to decide whether you want to embrace me or die. If you embrace me, you will repeat these words to your doctors.” The Dragoness spoke the acidic words in her mind.
Flora swallowed. She felt like walking on ice. But she repeated the horrible words anyway, “I would like to ask the empire’s representative in the hospital to bring me my child’s father. Tell them Dragoness Fleur — ‘The Vengeful’ — demands it.”
They nodded and left. Flora took one last glance at the odd glowing Egg in the room and fell asleep to the hum of draconic satisfaction in her mind.
A knock at the door returned Flora to the present moment. She was conversing with the Dragon and thinking about how her life will change now. She may have royal heritage and can enforce the crown to give her a home. Even if she wasn’t royalty, she was a Dragoness. It was worth something far more significant than Flora ever experienced. She may also transform someday to a full-grown high Dragoness.
As the door opened the Dragoness roared in her ear. She yearned for blood.
A guard came with the wizard. “Your Grace, the Dragon steward sends his best wishes for the health of your unborn child. He wishes to present to you the criminal. The guard presented the sorcerer, who was handcuffed and looked terrified. “My lady. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. please spare me.” She looked into his eyes and saw no power. He maybe was powerful, but against her, he was nothing now.
“I should thank you.” She said and felt her eyes grow hot with fire. “You gave me a child. A life for a life.”
His boots caught fire and started to burn him from below. Flora didn’t know how it happened, but she was pretty sure the Dragoness was doing it. The flame was rising to his ankles and then to his abdomen. He screamed and asked for mercy. She had no sympathy for this person who so powerfully raped her and hoped for her death if she ever gave birth.
The fire engulfed him, and his screams died out. Flora never took her gaze away even when she cringed as she saw his insides turning to ash.
It was over. The sorcerer, the rapist was a pile of ash on the floor. No bones remained. The Dragoness taught her first-hand the difference between a standard fire and Dragonfire.
“We’ll take care of the leftovers, my lady.” A nurse had smiled at her.
“Thank you.” She smiled back. “A friend came with me here, Kurras, could you call for him? I’m sure he is still waiting for me.”
“Wow,” Kurras said. “It’s unreal. So, how does it feel to be a Dragoness?”
“Demanding.” Flora smiled at him. as it should be, the Dragoness said in her mind.
“Well, it sounds like the start of a new adventure.” He smiled at her. It was a unique smile, and she knew he meant it only for her.
“Thanks, Kurras. For being by my side.” She put her hand in his muscular palm, and he took it in both of his.
“Of course. Your child will be born soon. We can enjoy hospitality until then.
The Dragoness had told her she would stop whispering in her ear when she will be ready. The world was a different place now. She had power. She wanted to learn how to use it.
She was ready to explore what it meant to be a Dragoness, with Kurras by her side and her newborn child in her arms.
For now, she would rest. She earned it.
“Oh, Kurras. One more thing.”
“From now on, my name is Fleur. Not Flora.”