The woman this plea was directed at continued to nonchalantly examine at her nails, calmly removing any spec of dirt she found.
"I will do no such thing."
"But my mate, my drakelings, they have nothing to do with this! They're innocents! You can keep me, just please let them go free."
Not bothering to look up from her nails the woman stated "You're missing the point, dear stone drake. If I let them go, there would be no reason for you to stay loyal. If I don't have you, I don't have an easy way to guide the druid where my master needs her to go."
"Who is your master? What does he want with Kelebek? What does this have to do with me and my family?"
"As I've told you a thousand times over the past several months, you forgetful buffoon, I can tell you none of that information." She finally regarded the drake before her, looking him directly in the eye. "I can tell you this though. Your little ghost is the key. The key cannot be used too soon or all of the master's plans will fall through. Used to late and everything could blow up in the master's face. She trusts you, thus we need you. If you fail to use that trust and if she fails in doing her part, you, your wife, and all of your little drakes will be dead anyways. Why don't you just play along nicely and stop asking so many damn questions? Now say goodbye to the missus and the litt'uns, we have work to do." With a quick turn on the heel the Gilnean exited the dungeon.
Aeornoss lowered his head as if it pained him to keep it upright. The chains strung around his wife's neck and ankles rattled in their metallic way as she slowly shuffled over to his side.
"Why do you worry about this druid so? We are but stone drakes Aeornoss, we outlast time and soil itself. The only thing that breaks us down are the tears from our sorrows. Don't feel guilt about going out to try and protect this fleshling, while our current habitation" she gestured to the dark cell around them with her snout "isn't ideal, the children and I are cared for. We may be prisoners, but they haven't been too unkind.
"You don't make this any easier on me Aexis. I can't bear to see you and the children locked in a cell. We left Deepholm for the open skies...to be buried in rock again, though this time without even an open space to spread our wings in...I can't handle the thought." The stone drake's head drooped down even further.
One of the little drakelings tumbled over to his father, getting tangled up in his chains as he did so. Carefully Aeornoss helped to de-tangle his offspring from the bonds that bound him to the cellar's walls.
"If this druid is as important as this mystery woman makes her out to be, perhaps for now we should go along with the plan. Protect the druid when you can, but if she is indeed some sort of...key...and all of our well beings depend on it, there really isn't any other choice." Aexis once again touched her face to her mate's. "I know your heart aches, but do what must be done. Lead the druid where these fowl fleshlings need her to go, keep her out of harm's way otherwise."
"I just can't turn her over to some unknown, potentially devistating fate."
"We know not of what her fate really is. Her future is unknown to us whether or not you go through with this. Ours is certain if you don't, uncertain at best if you do."
"I know what you say to be true, wife. I still have trouble doing this to that fleshling though, even if it may possibly assure the freedom of you and our offspring."
"The option for you to run is there. You could disobey the Gilnean and her master's wishes, fly away, come back at some other time to try and free us. I fear that would be unwise though. Play their games, observe the situation at large. You do that best, Aeornoss. You observe and always make the right choices when you need to make them. Go, guide your little ghost to safety and her destiny. Once that is done, return to your family so that we may one day fly under the open skies together, peacefully."
Aeornoss let out a low, rattling sigh. "It makes my heart heavy to do so, Aexis, but as you wish." The stone drake nuzzled his wife one last time, bade his children farewell, and finally exited the dark little prison to do what had been asked of him.
The Gilnean was waiting impatiently in the brisk night air. "About bloody time you showed up. All done boohooing with the wife then?"
In response Aeornoss let out a low growl that seemed to resonate from his gut.
A sarcastic smirk passed over her face and she tilted her head a bit to the side. "Charming. By now you know the drill, aye? Go find that mangy animal and explore some unknown corner of the continent. Do whatever it takes to keep her out of the way. No deserts, no Eastern Kingdoms. You keep her in the woods of Kalimdor, you hear me?"
The look that passed over Aeornoss' face was one of defiance and suspicion. "I understand."
"Good, now get your stoney arse off of the sodding lawn, you're leaving craters."
Scorned, the stone drake took flight, wings beating against the frigid air that he could barely feel.
In the cell a shapeshifter regained her nature form as the Gilnean made her way down the stairs. The transformation completed just as she opened the prison's door.
"Bloody hell, I don't know how those damn drakes deal with those long necks all the damn time." Said the woman found there as she rubbed her neck.
"They're used to it, I'm sure." Said the mystery woman. "Did you manage to convince him to stay loyal to our cause?"
"Of course cousin." The woman squinted at the other Gilnean. "You seem to underestimate my abilities in persuasion."
"Was there any sign that he suspected that you were not who you seemed to be?"
"None. The pity wallowing in that drake's heart is almost sickening. Guilty this, should I do that, blah blah blah. He has no clue that his wife and the rest of his children are more than likely bones and dust by now." She picked up the only infant drake that hadn't been an illusion. "Such a shame, they would have made lovely mounts. Ah well, this little one will due someday."
"You almost sound sentimental, dear cousin."
"Hardly." The woman pushed the frizzy brown hair out of her eyes with one long, slender hand, holding the dejected baby drake in the other hand as she did so. "You know me well Carmen. I pity nothing, but I know a waste of a perfectly beautiful mount when I see one." She dropped the drake back onto the floor where he landed with a great thud. It remained in the heap of legs, wings, and tail that it was dropped into, only letting out the smallest of pitiful cries. "Oh well, whatever gets us into the master's plans...or should I say pants in your case...the quickest."
"You're a haughty bitch, Eyl."
Eylwne threw her head back and laughed. "Oh cousin, how right you are. Funny how that runs in the family, isn't it? Just a bunch of heartless killers we are, always with our agendas. At least this time it isn't about power for me, I'm just here out of boredom. You on the other hand, what is your motive in all of this?"
"An old mission left unfinished. It was something that I should have taken care of eons ago, but now it's in the master's hands." Eylwne didn't catch the quick flash of disappointment, failure, and regret that skittered across her cousin's face, for she was too busy sweeping away invisible specks of dust from her old wine red dress.
"Huh, well no matter. It's all fun and games for me after all. Let's get out of this dank cellar already and find some breakfast. I'm starved." Together they left the cell, slamming the wooden door closed and locking it so that the lone drakeling had no escape.
Carmen followed her cousin's long limbed form up the wooden staircase, thinking that Eylwne resembled a tarantula that someone had prettied up. All fuzzy hair, limbs, and vile venom. Her cousin cared not for the bigger picture, only for the prey that may happen to stumble before her.
The perfect tool to aide in the master's mission.