She didn’t stop until she got to the edge of the water barrier. She managed to get her tears under control by then.
Anger and frustration fed into hunger from earlier, and she realized she was ravenous. Several fish swam up to peer at her, gulping as their fins fluttered. She shoved her hands into the water and grabbed one.
One difference between dragon flame and normal fire is the former could burn underwater. After holding it in there a few minutes, flame engulfing her hand, the fish was nicely boiled with the parts that her hands had been in direct contact with where freshly seared. She pulled it out and sat down there, by the edge of the water, picking at the meet and shoving it into her mouth in big chunks.
When Karjon had cooked for her before, she’d always had to wait for the meat to cool down to avoid burning her mouth. Now that she was part dragon herself, it seemed that wasn’t a danger anymore, and it was just pleasantly warm.
“Oh, by the light, do you have to eat like that?”
Tythel glanced over her shoulder to see the last person she wanted to see right now. Haradeth.
“So now I can’t even *eat* right for you?” Tythel snarled, half tempted to toss the fish in his face. “Go to shadow where you belong, I don’t know what is wrong with how I eat, and I don’t care.”
Haradeth winced, and held up a hand. “I…flath. I didn’t come here to push you further.”
“Oh, you didn’t?” If it was possible for one to defiantly take a bite into a half eaten fish, Tythel managed it. “You seem to be terrible at that, then.”
Haradeth looked away as she spoke. “You…really have no concept of how civilized people eat, do you?”
Tythel swallowed the bite she had been chewing. “The first humans I ever met tried to kill me. The second humans I met nursed me back to health, then split the difference on selling me to the Alohym or calling Nicandros. The fourth group of humans I met included *you.* Humanity has me unimpressed so far.” She took another bite, and swallowed it before he could speak. “Although you’re a demigod, so I guess it isn’t fair to hold you against humanity.”
Haradeth frowned. “I’m trying to apologize to you!”
“Oh, is that what you’re doing?” Tythel finished the last bit of meat and tossed the head into the ocean wall for the fish to nibble on. “Because you haven’t actually apologized yet. You’ve only berated me for not eating like a civilized person. I’ve met civilized. So far, I’ve seen little to recommend it.”
“You’re impossible.” Haradeth scowled at her.
“No, you’re just terrible. And the worst part is? I kind of want to accept your apology. I know your mother is hurt, and I know you blame me, although I can’t fathom why-”
“Because we ran for your sake!” Haradeth snapped. “We were going to hold out, but suddenly the lost heir shows up and she wants us to run because you’re useful. Which left her forest undefended, which is *why my mother is dying.* And you, you don’t care. You look at the dying and wounded and it means nothing to you!”
Dragonic magic was a tricky thing. Human spellcasters had to tap into lumspring’s, which involved clearing their minds of all distractions. Dragons, on the other hand, tapped into the power inherent in raw emotions, which was why so much of their power was rooted in flames – but they had to focus the emotions, harness them into a raw power. Up until this exact moment, Tythel had never managed to do more than set her hands aflame and toss the fire like balls.
Haradeth’s accusations, however, caused fire to pour from her hands. If they had been facing him, it might have incinerated him, or at least seared him. As it was, her flame poured out of her hands in a torrent onto the sand beneath her feet. Haradeth leapt back a good dozen feet in a single bound in surprise before falling to his feet, and by the time she had reigned in the stream of flame, she was standing on a small island of cool sand in the middle of a sea of molten glass.
She stepped onto it before it could cool. Her shoes, which were already ragged and needed to be replaced, burned away as she stepped through the yellow liquid, but it felt like a warm bath between her toes.
“Never think I don’t care, Haradeth.” He was staring at her, his eyes wide and round. “Do not *dare* assume that. I wept for the men we could not save, and I was sick for the men we had to hurt worse to spare the Shadow. Their deaths and suffering will haunt me. Just because I don’t show it the way you prefer does not mean I’m above their pain.”
Haradeth glared at her. “What are you?” He hissed through his teeth.
Tythel shrugged. “I’ve told you. A historian, a princess, and above all else,” she leaned down to make sure she was looking directly into his eyes. “I am a godsdamned dragon, you jumped up demigod. Now,” she stood up, “I want to defeat the Alohym. You want to defeat the Alohym. So why don’t you stop being a prick for a couple hours so we can discuss it?”
She didn’t wait for his answer, same as she hadn’t before, and strode back to the meeting area. It was good to deal with Haradeth, but more importantly, she’d managed a piece of draconic magic she’d never managed before, a true stream of fire. It made her feel closer to her father, and for once thinking of what he’d say seeing her manage a stream made her smile, not want to tear up.
Haradeth didn’t like her. Haradeth might never like her, and honestly? He didn’t have to. He just had to work with her.
She could only hope she hadn’t lost that.