Tournesol touched the necklace over her heart. “We found out how Pureshriek got through your wards. He had… he had Azul’s bloodstone.” It hurt. Her brother had been a thief and a spy and sometimes a horrible person. But to know a paladin had cut him down in Zarash’ak’s wet streets just because he was Caerulus’ son, to get the one key that would open a dragon’s lair…. Why? Gods, why?
A hissing exhalation, without a hint of sparks. “I see,” the dragon growled. “And if the retrievers stopped long enough to spread a plague, there would have been plenty of taint about. He threatened to drop it?”
Tournesol shivered, nodding. Bloodstones were a gift, but also a terrible vulnerability. They were connected to their kin until they shattered. What happened to one, could affect the whole clan.
And her father was many things, but he wasn’t a good dragon. A paladin would kill him. Wouldn’t even hesitate.
“I burned the tainted areas,” Connlan said quietly. “But by then….” Fists clenched, feathered snakes hissing in his hair as he looked away. “We’re youkai, not monsters! He didn’t have to threaten anyone. He could have just asked!”
“Ah. But that would mean giving a soul a chance to turn away from the Flame’s will.” Caerulus snarled. “I’ve seen corrupt priests of the Flame before, but humans never seem to go quite as crazy as the damned coatl-bloods.” He ruffled his wings. “So you thought if he threatened to kill me once, he’d go back on his word with the Eye, eh?”
“He said it had to be destroyed whatever the cost.” Connlan shrugged. “I thought he’d appreciate keeping his word.”