“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ― William Shakespeare
The Destiny of Dragons
Domi tossed on the sleeping mat. Someone unknown inside the estate unsettled her. She reached for Lee. Her presence in the pitch black of night comforted Domi. Lee wasn’t there. Domi’s fear rose in her throat, and reason fled her mind. She got up and felt for her tunic and pants. At the door, she tugged on her slippers and went outside.
Arms crossed tight to her stomach bracing against the chill night. Domi went to the bathroom to find Lee. Empty. She went down the path in the garden. Not there. Not in the training area. Domi saw a light coming from a window in the main building. Curious, she went to check it out.
She saw the outline of a man at the front entrance. The door opened, and someone let him inside. Domi froze. Her hand stifled a gasp. The light from the open door illuminated his face. Eo-Jin. He looked like Eo-Jin.
* * *
Eo-Jin walked down the hall with Faith to her office. He paused. He wasn’t sure what he would say. His confession was harder than the battles he fought for the Dragons. He choked back his emotions. He couldn’t let her see him like this.
“Take your time. I’ll be in the library. Let me know what you decide.” Faith stroked her Dragon Brother’s back to soothe him and left him at the door. He took a few quick breaths before opening the door. He smiled, and his eyes misted when he saw Lee looking up and out of the window at the moon and stars. “You always were captivated by the moonlight,” he whispered to the back of her head. There was a stifled cry as she whipped around.
“Eo-Jin!” She savored the sound of his name piercing her ears, his smile forcing her eyes wide with delight. She buried her face in his chest and inhaled the scent of him. That familiar smell was like silky dreams of her childhood with her big brother always protecting her from the other street urchins that tried to take her bowl of rice or steal her hard-earned coins.
He lifted her up by her waist above his head. Lee looked down into her brother’s face, kissed his forehead, and held his chin in her hands. “Oh, my God, brother. Oh gosh, I’ve missed you forever.” Eo-jin set his little sister down and smothered her with his arms. They had survived a lot together, and these long separations were worse than those harsh summer nights on the streets in Daegu. At least then they were together.
The image of Eo-Jin seared Domi’s mind as she watched through the window from the shadows. He bent down to hug Lee. Tears clouded Domi’s vision as she witnessed the love in Lee’s upturned face. She had never felt so alienated in her life. The guilt she felt for loving Eo-Jin felt like claws crushing her chest and stealing her breath. She couldn’t say it, but she could feel it. She wanted Eo-Jin to love her too, but Domi refused to take Lee’s brother away from her. He was the only family Lee had.
* * *
After a lunch break, Faith came and took Lee with her for a trip to the mainland for supplies. It was considered a reward for excellent marks in training. She would escape the rigors of training for a journey back to civilization. Lee enjoyed the excitement of the restaurants and shopping. The weekend was coming up, and she had leave to go with her brother and Faith to celebrate Eo-Jin’s return.
Domi finished her day and headed to her room after the evening bath. The other girls read her emotions and gave her space. The silence in the room shattered with the ringing in her ears and the sound of her stuttered breath. Sleepiness eased her heartache as the moon rose above the sea and cast a cold blue glow across the courtyard and through the windows.
The figure slipped across the floor blocking the light and enlivening the shadows that danced before Domi’s eyes. Domi felt a hand rubbing her shoulder. She reached up and placed her hand on the fingers thinking Lee had returned and wanted her small space on the sleeping mat. She moved over to make room.
“Domi,” she heard him say. Startled, Domi turned over and stared into Eo-Jin’s face. The high points of his brow, nose, and chin caught the moonlight. His eyes hid in shadows, unfathomable. She could sense them drifting over her.
“Eo-Jin? Is that you. Is it really you?” Domi wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or not.
“Yes, Domi. I came to see little sister and you. I can’t leave without seeing you again.”
“You shouldn’t be here. If Khulan catches you here, it will not go well for us.” Domi hoped he would leave before she lost her will.
“Khulan and Faith know I’m here. They know you, and I must settle this pain we share. I fell in love with you three years ago and being away from you is my private hell,” his whisper was the same as before when he exposed his feelings for her along the nape of her neck.
“Why did you leave me?” She cried. More than a 1000 days of hurt and anger welled up in her throat. She cursed herself for letting him touch her. As much as she didn’t want to hear his explanation, his apology, and his plea for forgiveness, Domi couldn’t turn away.
“You’ve been here long enough to know that our heart is of no consequence to our duty. We live to serve the Dragons, not ourselves and still my duty cannot set aside how I feel about you.” Eo-Jin’s voice drifted across the short space between their lips beckoning for her to kiss him.
“You left me without a word after I gave my heart and soul to you. Do you know how that feels?”
“Yes, Domi. I do know the pain solitude brings when another fills one’s heart. That’s why I’m here now. I haven’t stopped thinking of you since that last night together. If you tell me to leave, I will. If you tell me to stay, my heart will always be yours.”
Domi was mesmerized by his eyes as they pleaded with her. His hand warmed her skin. She felt his fingers drift down her leg, now on her face as he sought to connect with her again. “Damn. Damn. The Dragons be damned,” she heard her voice murmur.
“We’ll hurt Lee. I can’t do that to her. I can’t live with that.” Domi reached up and lifted his fingers from her face and held them in her lap. She stared at his lips and yearned to taste them and feel them tease her body.
“No Domi, she loves you. She loves us both and our happiness is her happiness. She gives her blessing,” his voice melted her resistance.
“Yes. I would not be here without Lee’s approval. I don’t want to hurt her either. What I want is you,” he said as his hands cupped hers.
Arms reached for him. Domi felt his touch on her back. His lips asserted their power over her, pulling her into his grasp again. His hands commanded her will and her body. The cover fell away. He eased her down and reminded her why she loved him before.
Time melted away. Hurt and doubt faded in the growing passion, and there were no doubts that night as Domi opened her heart again and took Eo-Jin as her lover. She surrendered to her desire and her lover’s skilled navigation of her body. He remembered how to make her burn for him.
The Dance of Dragons is a tempest of the wind, water, fire, and sky. Boundless desire blows across pleasured skin, freezes the mind, chokes the air of suffering breath, and the heart bleeds. Oh, how it bleeds in a felicity of touch to body, heart, and soul. What he did to her. “Oh, god,” she exclaimed. She felt a wildness in her spirit drive her to do what she did, what she let him do. She wanted it, loved it, and loved him for doing it. Do it. Do it, oh goddamn you, do it. He did.
The tempest of love faded to a fugue of sated appetites and the Dragons lay spent on the floor. When the dream of pleasure lifted, Domi eased away and filled the basin with water and cleansed herself. She went to her Dragon and wiped their sweat from his body. She took him in her hand and towel. He placed his hand on the back of her head. She eased down to the subtle guide of his fingers entwined in her hair. Her power to command his body blew on the embers of their love and ignited them again. The night wasn’t over yet.
* * *
Domi awoke to the sound of Celadon tinkling and the delicious smell of tea, fruit, sesame rice, and the rich aroma of fresh smoked fish. She absorbed every detail of the handsome lover in her eyes. A soft growl from the back of her throat voiced her approval.
“Good morning, my love,” came the greeting to rouse her to breakfast.
Domi, could only wrap her arms around Eo-Jin and feel his morning stubble against her cheek. His ear was the first course to awaken her palate. Fingers teased her breast as his kiss pulsed Domi’s heart and quickened her breath. Eagerness for him danced in her mind. Such delicious possibilities intrigued her imagination as she returned his favors. How wicked she felt to notice his quick arousal by her want of him.
At that precise moment when Domi sensed the rise of the tempest, her Dragon returned to their breakfast and served her. The suffering of delay heightened her pleasure. He spoke, and she listened as she ate. Domi only saw his eyes, those hands, his chest through his open robe. The words were wind drifting by her ears too quick to catch. Delicious. He was delicious.
When it was time for Eo-jin to depart, he promised to come back. He must attend to his little sister and help her and Faith. He’d work something out so they could be alone. Maybe he could stay a while longer, at least until his work called him away. “I’ll always come back to you,” he promised.
Domi’s gaze into his eyes told her it was the truth. She could live with separation until they reunited after graduation. She gave the last ounce of herself to him. He owned her heart and soul now. He always had, she confessed.
Eo-Jin kept his promise. Her final year was spent in ever increasing academic challenge which she met with the heart of the Dragon that flowed in her veins. She and Lee were indomitable. The gift of love and unity made Lee and Domi fierce, loyal, and happy.
In the winter before their last spring at the school, Lee was called to the office as Domi braided her hair and cooed how she had become a beautiful woman from a skinny girl. Lee left happy from her older Dragon Sister’s constant uplifting approval and encouragement. She never returned, and then Domi was called too. She skipped and twirled her hair and picked flowers on the way. Eo-Jin would be back soon to attend graduation, and then the three of them would depart to live together as a family of Dragons.
Khulan’s bowed head and Faith’s drawn face did not hide their red swollen eyes. Domi knew something was wrong and couldn’t find the strength to follow through with the formalities of greeting her superior sisters. The Dragons did not hold her to any expectation as they gathered around her, hugged her, and told her Eo-Jin was dead.
Before she could gather her wits to process what she heard, the news followed that Jade had died with him. Domi’s sanity and reason departed like a soul aflame. Inconsolable and deprived of anything connecting her to the fierce Dragon she was before, Domi collapsed, and her will to live became a will to die.
Faith had to distance herself from her grief. She and Khulan had to save the two girls that rested at the top of the Emperor’s list of vital Dragons on which the Empire’s fate rested. Faith saw in time that Lee and Domi shared the darkest of emotions from their loss. One fed the other, and it became necessary to separate them. To save them, Faith had to cause more hurt.
Lee departed to California to live with the Black Dragons in the Emperor’s community. She was promised to the Emperor’s grandson, but only a few knew this. Lee was not one of them. It would be 20 years before Lee finally felt the love promised her.
Domi fell into a deep depression. Her Dragon sisters did all they could, and it seemed she was able to carry on, but she never ventured away from her studies. Her life was lived solely with an internal reflection that made no time for others.
Just before her graduation and departure to a microbiology lab owned by the Dragons, Domi went to see Faith. She was ready to talk. Faith listened as Domi poured her soul out on the floor. Her parent’s death, the two men that raped her repeatedly at the orphanage, and then her rescue by Jade and Hector. Her eyes sparkled when she talked about how she and Eo-Jin fell in love, what he meant to her, and how she thought he was her salvation from all the nightmares that filled her nights and quiet moments.
Faith’s telling of this part of Domi’s story to me brought tears to my eyes. Even now, it’s hard to recall. Faith loved her sisters, but she also was responsible for their faultless execution of their duties. She mixed compassion and discipline to help Domi see the need to let go of the past and seek her fate, whatever her fate led her to.
“Sister, why would the Dragon Masters send Eo-Jin into danger? If they cared about us, they wouldn’t do this to those that serve them without question,” Domi rationalized. She wanted to know. She couldn’t serve a heartless taskmaster. She could only serve the benefit of her Dragon Sisters.
“There is evil about, Domi. The Dragons have long had to fight those that fear our power and our way of life. The society lives to free itself from the avarice of despots and governments. Soon, you will wear the Black Dragon Brocade and serve as a Praetorian Guard. We will help to protect those that can’t protect themselves. When we serve with selfless honor, we can make the hardest sacrifices because we believe our sacrifice first helps the lives of our Dragon Brothers and Sisters and in total serves our way of life.
Go to your new job and devote yourself to those things that will prevent the loss of more Dragons. Do those things that give us strength so we can conquer our enemies and live to enjoy life with those we love and prosper as a society. Defend that with your life, Domi. It’s what Eo-Jin and Jade did. They understood that their suffering, your suffering was the wages paid to ensure our survival and the march to humankind’s divinity. They weighed the price and paid it. It’s up to you now, to honor their sacrifice and not let their loss be pointless or wasted.”
The veil lifted from Domi that day. Her entire life seemed to lead to this moment she shared with Faith. She promised that everything she did she would do it for Eo-Jin and Jade’s memory. Her life would be a shrine to those she loved and lost. The last relief came when Faith told her she would see Lee again and the two of them would carry the seed of the Dragon Masters into the future.
As it turns out, Faith was right. Our daughter, Gloria would also fight the last battle to free the way for the Dragon’s and their dreams of the future. Gloria’s fate would tie her to Lee and Domi and their children in ways we could never have imagined.
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