My shoulder twinged again, and I was worried that Kurlog was looking for me. "But not here."
He nodded. "All right. My lair then." I held tight as he teleported us through Between to his home.
It was a spacious cave of obsidian. The mouth overlooked a pool of lava. The mineral-laden breeze was hot, and sweat beaded on my brow. Other than the lava pool, the cave and sky were dark.
The facets of the ceiling caught the magma glow, and sparkled like stars. I was distracted by the strange beauty, ignoring my shoulder for the moment.
"I don't have humanoid comforts," Rhaelgyr said, guiding me to the depression that must have served as his bed. Most of the floor was jagged, littered with broken shards of volcanic glass. He kept me from slipping as he sat on the edge of the oblong bowl. The obsidian here was duller, worn smooth, the rim cracked and gauged.
"I think I'll manage." I sat with my feet dangling. His bed was six feet at its deepest, the slopes steep before reaching the mostly flat bottom. I'd never seen a dragon bed, but it seemed appropriate.
Rhaelgyr sat behind me, his legs outside mine, his chest against my spine as he breathed. "Tell me more about the wound." His hands were warm as he pulled my hair aside.
"It was in the first realm I was in. I found Steven, and we left, and this vampire hit me right as we left. He healed me, but said there was a wound in my soul itself.
"I met Kurlog, he warned me about weird parasites he'd created, then I met you. Right after that, it stopped." Rhaelgyr reached around me for the ties of my shirt. I helped him, and continued speaking. "After Steven and I left, it hurt a little, then started driving me nuts. Kurlog showed up, and he said I had one of his parasites so he could track me. He and Steven started fighting, and I came back."
"You came back to me," he whispered, pausing. His breath was warm on my skin, and I glanced over my shoulder. Rhaelgyr's eyes were bright in the shadows, but I couldn't see his face. "Why me?"
His awestruck question caused me to blush. I'd never guessed my appearance would mean so much to him. Shrugging out of my shirt so I was only in a silk chemise, I smiled. "You're the only one who hasn't had an ulterior motive. You're the closest thing to a friend since I lost my memories."
"You've learned more about them?" He began massaging my shoulder, which caused the pain to increase. I tried to remain still, but I wanted to squirm away.
"I made Steven Immortal."
Rhaelgyr stopped. The pause drug out, and I wondered what he was thinking. Was he judging me? Did he disdain humans enough to disdain me for this?
"That explains why he loves you." The dragon went back to probing my shoulder, digging into soft flesh.
"I can't remember everything." I closed my eyes as the pain intensified. "I don't care about it either. I'll make a new life, and forget the past."
Rhaelgyr ran his hands down my back, and my spine arched. "So why come to me?"
My head fell back as he dug nails into my hips. Nerves raced as he kissed the side of my neck, pouring ki into me. Dragon energy was wild, fierce, painful. I moaned, biting my lip, thoughts scattering. "What are you doing?" I managed.
"Turning you on. Trying to make it hurt less when I rip this out of you." He licked my neck, breath hot in my ear. "Answer me."
I could resist him, couldn't fault his logic. My blood ran hot, and the dragon was doing so little to me. "You've made your own life, and I thought you could help."
The forks of his tongue traced the edge of my ear. "Morgan, I'm an exile." Then he dug claws into my shoulder.