Chapter 122: Awakening

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In their arrogance, the Eight weren't prepared. They, the perpetual mockers and scorners, were scorned and mocked by the death of the Avaricious. Eironn-an, they were not so shocked by, if you can call the fate that befell her death. But a mere mortal rising up and slaying one of their number? A blasphemous slap in the face to them.


The first thing Laidu felt was pain.

There were many different types of pain, and it seemed like Laidu was experiencing all of them at once. There was the raging pain in his side and shoulder, where he could still feel Kazalibad's claws dig into his flesh. There was the general aches that had sunk deep into his muscles. There were the faint lines of fire that scratched across his scales, a burning pain caused by probable abrasions.

He groaned, strangely aware of the breath as it escaped from his lips. He forced his eyes open, his eyelids seeming to weigh as much as mountains. But he was able to open his eyes. Morning light splashed across wooden rafters greeted his sight. "Ugh. Where am I?" he muttered to himself.

Immediately, there was a weight on his chest, and he felt the cool touch of steel at his neck. He stared up at Thaen, red eyes narrowed and glaring. "Who are you?" Thaen growled.

"Thaen, what are you doing?" Laidu asked.

"Answer me. Who are you?" It took a moment for Laidu to realize what Thaen was doing. Laidu's mind had been so fogged from sleep that he had forgotten about the promise Thaen had made. A promise to end Laidu's life should he give in to the madness.

"Son of a daylight whore, Thaen! Get off! It's me, Laidu!" the Dragonblessed snapped in Ten-Zuani.

Thaen blinked, pulled the knife back. "It's really you?"

"Yes, it's really me," Laidu said. Thaen sighed in relief. That horrid task had escaped him.

"I told you." Laidu turned, an act that took more effort than it should have, to see Karik'ar sitting by a window, paging through a book.

"Yeah," Thaen said, hopping off of Laidu's chest, "but you also said he had the other soul inside him too."

Let me use your tongue, Laidu heard Rhaedra say. Please, let me speak to them. Laidu didn't know how much of that was a good idea, but he agreed.

"There is another soul inside Laidu. That is me." Thaen turned, and was about to draw his knife again. "No need for violence, Vesperati."

"He made me promise to put him down if he was still mad, or if the madness took over."

"And there is no need for that. Laidu Tsung is perfectly sane. And thanks to him, so am I." Laidu, meanwhile, propped himself up.

"And you are?" Thaen asked.

"Rhaedrashah, Dragon King."

"Oh, we're in the presence of royalty, now?" Karik'ar asked, his tone light and teasing.

"Yes, as a matter of fact. Though dragon royalty is different in substance than human or Kai'Draen royalty." It felt strange, to feel the voice and breath of another. "Much less useless and vain pomp and circumstance."

"Ah," Karik'ar said. "So you're not going to need someone to announce whenever you enter a room."

"A herald?" Rhaedra laughed. "Dragon nobles should be able to let a roar loose and have everyone within two miles know of their presence. The day I need a herald or announcer is a sad day indeed."

Thaen frowned. "So... did you take over Laidu?"

"No," Laidu said. "We're... partners, in a way."

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