Chapter 30: Tell Me a Story

A pretty little dark haired girl ran up to a young woman who was sitting on a tartan blanket in an open field. Long dark hair hung in waves over the woman's shoulder and the sun shined off of sharp cheek bones. The little girl crawled into the woman's lap. They both laughed and the mother pressed a kiss to her daughter's brow.

"Tell me a story, Mummy! Tell me a story!" The child giggled as her mother tickled her stomach.

"What kind of story would you like to hear?"

The little girl sat thoughtfully for a moment, but before she could speak, a man scooped her up from behind. The girl squealed in delight and the man said, "She wants a story about brave princesses and dashing princes who duel with dragons!"

"No Daddy, I want a scary story!" The man sat down next to his wife, daughter in his arms. A pale little hand touched his pale cheek. "But it can have dragons."

"Why doesn't your father tell you a scary story? He's much better at being scary." At his wife's words, the man made a scary face and growled at the direction of his daughter. He was rewarded with a squeal of delight from the child and light laughter from her mother. "So you want a story about dragons?"

"A scary one," the child reminded her. The dark haired woman knitted her eyebrows in thought. Her husband lounged out on the blanket and her daughter laid her delicate little head on his stomach.

"Once there was a great black dragon-" No sooner were the words out of her mouth, she was interrupted by a little curious voice.

"A Hebridean Black?"

The small question didn't seem to bother her mother, as she continued on with her story, "Of course. She was the largest dragon in all the land. All the dragons respected her and all the people feared her."

"Was she a mean dragon?"

"No, but a scary dragon. Many dragons wanted to be her mate: some small, some large, and others had great hoards of gold they offered to share. Some were green or red or yellow. But the great black dragon-"

"Does she have a name? It has to be a powerful name!"

The man chuckled at his daughter's comments. "How about Athena? A warrior's name."

"Oh, yes, Athena!" The little girl clapped her hands. The mother smiled and added the little bit of information to her story.

"But the great black dragon, Athena, only had eyes for one. There was another great Hebridean dragon. He was a conqueror of mankind, but also a loyal friend. They often flew together- great wings outstretched in the blue sky and reigned fire down on the world below. Athena was worried that this dragon would become so consumed in his battles and gold, that he would not love her anymore. So her mate gave her his soul in order to prove his loyalty and love."

"They were soul mates. Like you and Daddy."

"Yes, my dear. Just like your father and I. So no matter where they flew, he always returned to her and she to him. For many centuries, the two soul mates built their kingdom. However, just as Athena feared, her mate became unsatisfied with what they had and he began to attack a peaceful wizarding kingdom. Athena could see the greed burning through the heart of her soul mate. One by one, wizards came to slay the great Hebridean dragon, but he always defeated them."

"Their magic couldn't save them?"

"He was too strong. And don't forget, little one, dragons have magic of their own, different from our own. After years of horror, a hero emerged from the wizarding kingdom. He had lived through every onslaught. So, like the many heroes before him, he set out to find the dragon and bring peace to his kingdom once more."

"Does the hero die?" asked the child, her dark eyes wide with interest.

"Shhh-let her tell the story," whispered the girl's father.

"But he has to die," she insisted.

"Why?" asked her father.

"Because if he doesn't die, the boy dragon will die and then Athena will lose her soul mates. You can't separate soul mates."

The mother just continued her story, "When the hero found the dragons' lair, only the great Athena was there. Instead of drawing his wand, he dropped to his knees and praised her prowess and asked for her help in defending his kingdom. Stunned by the wizard's humility and bravery and worried for her mate, Athena agreed to help the wizard and his people be rid of the great dragon forever. So the wizard asked what spells or potions he could use to protect his kingdom, just as any man would. But Athena said that her mate was too powerful for simple magic such as his."

"But she said she would help!" The father shushed the wide eyed girl.

"Oh, but she did help. Just not in any manner the wizard would have thought of. Athena knew that her mate was too obsessed with destruction and gold to be convinced to stop by just her love. So she told the wizard the only way to defeat the great black dragon was to slay her."

"WHAT?" The little girl shouted in disbelief. "No! She can't sacrifice herself."

"But she loves him, my darling. And she hated the monster he was becoming. The wizard was just as confused as you are. He thought that if he slayed her, that her mate would become so enraged that he would stop at nothing to avenge her. But Athena told him her secret: the great black dragon had given her his soul all those years before in order to prove his love to her. So, by taking her life, the wizard would kill her beloved as well.

"So the wizard raised his wand and did the unthinkable. He ended the life of Athena, the great black dragon and her mate with just one spell. The wizard felt that Athena should be honored, so he plucked a heartstring from her heart to make into a wand. This way, she would live on forever. He swore in that cave that whomever held that wand would only do good magic in her name."

The little girl's eyes lit up with excitement. "I want a wand with a dragon heartstring core!"

"Maybe one day," laughed her father.

"The story is not finished yet," said the mother. "On his way back to his kingdom, the wizard found the evil dragon that had plagued his people for so long. He brought the dragon's body back as proof of his triumph. All the people in his kingdom celebrated for days. The great wizard was named their leader, and he would bring peace and prosperity to his kingdom for many decades to come.

"Most of his people never knew of the wand he created. Because when he brought back the evil dragon, he chose a heartstring from his chest as well. To the wizard's surprise, he could not make a wand successfully from either dragon's heartstring. Then, late one night, he accidently combined the two heartstrings in a single wand and to the wizard's astonishment it worked. The wand was extremely powerful."

"Of course it was, it was made of soul mates."

The mother kissed her little girl on the head. "That's exactly right. And the wizard feared the wand, so he hid it away until he could find someone worthy. Many years passed and soon the wizard had a little child- a girl. She had a pure heart and an honest mind. He decided that she would be worthy of the powerful wand and he gave it to her on her eleventh birthday."

The little girl jumped up in excitement. "I get my wand when I turn eleven! Maybe I'll get a powerful wand like that. I want a soul mate wand."

Both of her parents laughed and the father reminded her, "The wand chooses the wizard, my little love."

"Well then, I want a dragon." This comment caused her parents to laugh as well. The girl grinned broadly and spread her arms out wide. "No, I want to be a dragon! I want to have wings and fly high in the sky!"

The two soul mates watched as their little dragon ran around the field, arms flapping wildly. The man kissed his wife gently and she smiled at her husband with true love. A perfect love; a perfect family; a perfect life.

A/N: I finished. After all this time, I finished. I may go back and edit some chapters, but I'm really done. I want to thank all of the people who have reviewed, followed, and favorited. Thank you. This has been one of my favorite projects to write, so thank you.

Please, feel free to review or PM me if you have any comments or questions or suggestions. I will only be doing small works from now on, as my life is in a different place than when I started this. But I would love to write drabbles for people who have ideas. It doesn't even have to be based around this story. I'm pretty much up for anything. It could be an entirely different fandom. Just ask, and I shall see what I can do.