Cole didn't cry at the funeral. He had not shed one single tear since Tammara died. It was not that there was anything wrong with crying, he just thought that there was no need. He had killed the Saurian slime that murdered her. He ripped him apart with his own hands and served justice as best that he could. The young drake new that he had to be satisfied with that.
Still he missed her terribly. He knew now though, that he hadn't loved her, not as deeply as he once assumed he did. Cole was afraid that he would never be able to fully love a woman.
He sighed deeply, that fear had come from watching his mother cry every night. She had loved his father, Duke, with her whole heart and soul, even more than she loved herself. Duke was a wanted criminal, it hadn't mattered to her. Duke was 7 years younger than her, she didn't care. All she wanted to do was love him, but he had left. Gone in the night, just as he had come to Cole's mother so many years ago.
Duke had told Cole's mother Emma, that there would never be a commitment. He was a criminal and that is what he wanted. Emma didn't care about that, she had loved Duke from the moment she had set eyes on him. The two were only together for a month before Duke left. When Cole was born, he never knew his father, but saw the pain in his mothers eyes and the love in her heart every time she thought of him.
Cole never wanted to end up like that, alone, scared, confused. He was too young, too strong, to end up in love the way his mother was. These thoughts flew through his head as he walked through the gates of the cemetery to his motorcycle.
At least he thought that after Tammara died he could put the past behind him. But even that was couldn't happen because his father was here, with the Blade. Cole growled as he thought of Duke. He had no right to be here or to be breathing.
Cole started the engine of large, black, bike and released the kick stand. He was not going to stand for it! He was going to talk to Oz and demand that Duke be thrown out on his ass or executed at knife point. Cole's anger grew, he truly hated his father.
Cole revved the motor as he drove down the small, leaf covered road heading to New Ducaine Central. Duke would pay for what he did to his mother and that Cole was positively sure of.
The soft light from the tall, thin lamps in the corners of the room reflected off the hard wood flooring and many oval mirrors. Black shapes played across the ebony, silk comforter that was upon her king sized bed causing the bedding to appear almost alive. Upon the high, spacious walls lived abstract paintings by some of PuckWorld's finest artists and ethnic burgundy throw rugs accented the massive floor.
Duke sighed and adjusted his sprawled position upon one of the rooms 2 black leather recliners. He was happy in this room and had been here many times before he and Shaddow had fought. It had been their favorite place to go and relax after training. She had kept it up well.
"So you're back are you?" Shaddow continued sharpening the large sword in her lap as she spoke to the grey male. She was situated in a gray beanbag chair near the fireplace.
Duke smiled, "yeah, you could say that."
She never looked at him, never even acknowledged his presence except to ask him short and impersonal questions. "So, L'Orange, why aren't you at the Brotherhood of the Blade? Did you forget your keys to their headquarters?"
Duke had been expecting a comment like this. He had known the stunning female long enough to anticipate most of the insulting things that could come his way. He was waiting for her tod throw the Brotherhood in his face. "I go where I wanna be, sweetheart."
"A very L'Orange answer," her voice held anger and bitterness.
Duke rose from his spot in the recliner and walked towards shaddow. He knew that the fight that the two had the night he left for earth was hostile but he never thought it would have effected her like this. "Sweetheart," Duke extended his hand and placed it on her shoulder, 'I'm...sorry." the words sounded foreign to him, as though they had never left his beak before.
Shaddow ripped his hand from her shoulder and rose to a standing position. Slowly she turned to face him. "Sorry!?" she spat, "You're sorry!?" She tossed her long honey colored hair over her shoulder and glared at Duke. "Do you have any idea what you said to me before you left, L'Orange?"
Duke took a step back. He had said a lot of things to her that night that he didn't mean, "I..."
"You," seethed Shaddow, "said I was a second rate thief and fighter, Duke." Her fists clenched and unclenched as she venomously spoke, "you also said that training me was a huge mistake!" Her eyes flashed angrily.
Duke was taken aback. He never thought she took those things to heart! It was anger that propelled him to say those words, anger at the fact she would not go with him and Canard. He hadn't really meant them at all!
Quickly Shaddow drew up her broadsword and assumed attack position. Before Duke realized what was going on she delivered a mighty kick to his mid section, sending him sprawling on the hard wood floor. "Was that second rate, Duke?"
"Look," he choked out between breaths, "I didn't mean it!"
Shaddow tossed her sword onto one of the leather recliners. "Oh," she said sarcastically, "you didn't mean it, I see." The sarcasm in her voice was gone when she spoke again, "rule number 3, L'Orange, never say what you don't mean, it could get you killed!" She advanced upon her former teacher, rage seething from her every feature.
Shaddow lunged, this time Duke was ready for her. He caught her waist in mid air and slammed her into the ground. He placed his hand in the middle of her back and in a second he threw his weight over her, held her arms behind her back and had her pinned. "Rule 2, Shaddow," he whispered harshly to her "don't fight in anger, you wont win."
Shaddow roared in indignation and attempted to raise herself from the ground. It was no use, she had been careless and Duke had her pinned. Normally she would have called for their training to be over, but this was no training sequence. "Damn you, Duke!" she yelled. She opened her mouth to call him every dirty name in the book, but instead something else escaped, unbidden from her throat. "I can't believe you left me."
The words were soft, barely above a whisper, but they were all Duke needed to hear. He lifted himself off of Shaddow and lay down beside her on the ground. "I'm sorry, kid."
She continued to lay there, not sure of what to do or say. In a moment she rolled onto her side and looked at Duke through lowered lashes. "About me being second class, did you mean it?"
The drake shook his head, "no kiddo, I didn't." He then wrapped his arms around his student and hugged her tightly. "I'm sorry, Shaddow, so very sorry."
"He CAN'T stay here Oz!!"
Crash and Diamond looked at each other in confusion. Neither had any idea why cole was screaming like a Banshee. Crash for one didn't mind Duke and Diamond knew that Duke was Truth's brother so that put him in Diamond's good book.
"Cole...sit down would you?" Oz rubbed his temples and spoke in a tired voice. Cole had been in here ranting for a half hour and it was starting to wear on his nerves.
"I'm not gonna sit down until I get a little freakin' respect!" Cole was bellowing and nearly jumping around like a kangaroo. He was amazed that Oz wasn't on his side in this.
"Duke has rights, Cole, y'all gotta accept that." Oz was so tired his accent was getting stronger and stronger as he grew all the more weary. After the funeral he had taken a few members of the Blade on a small heist to clear everyone's heads. Before that he had been planning the memorial. Oz had not slept in 36 hours and his patients were at an end.
Diamond spoke up, "Truth and Shaddow both speak for him, Kid, that has gotta say something."
"Yeah," Cole said angrily, "that they both need their heads examined!"
Diamond stood up and crossed his arms over his chest, "pardon?" He was very protective of his wife, Truth and would not tolerate any negativity that had to do with her.
Cole sighed and slumped into a near by chair, "sorry Diamond, thats not what I meant. You know I like Truth."
Diamond smiled and sat back down, "don't worry about it."
"Cole, man, what is it about Duke that bugs you so much?" Crash sat forward in his seat eager to find out the answer.
He wanted to tell them, he really did. Cole hated keeping things from his friends, but he could not tell them this. He was ashamed of Duke being his dad, and the thought of saying it out loud made his feathers crawl. Cole knew that there was no way Duke would be forced out of the Blade if he didn't tell the truth or at least a good lie and right now his mind was running on empty. "I just don't trust him, that's all" muttered Cole.
Crash didn't believe that for a second, he had known Cole for 2 years and he could tell when the drake was lying, but he didn't press the issue. If Cole wanted to tell him he would.
"I'll keep a note of it, but that's not grounds for killing the poor bastard" said Oz wearily. The Blade's leader rose to leave, "if there is nothing else, I'm heading to bed." Not waiting for a response Oz walked out the door and closed it tightly behind him.
Cole fiddled with the zipper to his leather jacket lost in thought when he felt eyes on him. He looked up and noticed the two males in the room looking at him mischievously. "What?" He asked raising an eyebrow.
Crash smiled, "I bet a little robbery will make you feel better dude."
Cole leaned back in his chair, "where?"
"How does a Saurian outpost grab you, kid?" Diamond asked, standing.
Cole grinned, "lets do it."