Authors: Scarlet Hyacinth
Chronicles of the Shifter Directive 2
Black dragon Karein Tersain is the ultimate soldier. He has fought to contain the werewolves and vampires who once nearly destroyed the world, enforcing a Shifter Directive he doesn’t really believe in, all the while struggling with nightmares and plagued by restless guilt.
But as his two hundredth birthday approaches, his time is running out. Without a mate, he risks being killed by his own people. To top things off, his father, the draechen emperor, arranges his marriage with a fae, Sari Norrenddare.
A political match is the last thing Karein needs. Or so he thinks, until he meets Sari. The moment he sets his eyes on the beautiful fae, Karein realizes Sari is his true mate.
But even as the two men fall desperately in love with each other, Karein’s family aims to begin a war with the fae. Can the strength of one mate bond change the destinies of two peoples and save the paranormal world from chaos?
NOTE! You are purchasing Siren's newest imprint, the Siren Epic Romance collection. This is Book 2 of 7 in the Chronicles of the Shifter Directive series. The series shares an overall story arc with many crossover characters playing major roles in each book. These books are not stand-alone and should be read in their numbered order.
Alternative (M/M or F/F), Paranormal, Shape-shifter
Chronicles of the Shifter Directive 2
SIREN EPIC ROMANCE,
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Chronicles of the Shifter Directive 2
Copyright © 2013
Many humans value mythology a great deal, as in it, they see the heart and truth of their nations. Some even tell the old stories to their children, spreading the legends to the next generation. But what these humans don’t know is that behind their legends lies a truth, one the paranormal world has desperately been trying to contain.
The Black Death and the Great Sacrifice left behind a world torn apart by anger, pain, death, and sorrow. The loss of so many humans and of the warriors who bravely gave their own lives for the greater good ushered the supernatural races to gather together and start work on a piece of legislation they hoped would prevent such a thing from happening again.
Deep in the Black Forest citadel of Draechenburg, where the great river Danube bursts out of the bowels of the earth, all of them met in hope for a better future. As the ones who had lost most, the draechen and the fae presided over the proceedings, but there were many others who made their appearance. Even rare shifters like gryphons and hydras came, but also a great deal of magical creatures. Elves, fae, sprites, djinn, and many others formed a gathering intent on coming up with the best solution for themselves, and the world.
The talks lasted for over five decades, and in the early fifteenth century, the Directive of the Shifter Castes—also known as The Shifter Directive—appeared. Some argued that it was too harsh. Others claimed that it didn’t provide enough punishment for those guilty of the atrocities that had brought them all there. In secret, the majority of them felt that, on the whole, the Directive provided the draechen with far too much power. But the Tersain dynasty was not to be denied. The only ones who could have, the Ivenian fae, were no longer the strong force they had been, as their nation was in political turmoil.
After the death of his beloved son, Talrasar, King Amarion Myrthylar had committed suicide, leaving behind no known heirs. With the throne empty, Ivenia fell into chaos. Finally, one of the noble ruling houses of Ivenia, the Norrenddare, came forward and took over the leadership of the country. With the support of the other nobles, they began to rebuild, although, of course, there were those who argued the death of the unfortunate king was never a suicide in the first place. And then, twenty years after the change in dynasties, an heir appeared, the bastard child of the late King Amarion, Nathein. The precarious balance the Norrenddare had managed to build crumbled like a castle of cards as the political system of Ivenia was thrust into chaos for the second time.
The Norrenddare could do nothing but step back and give Nathein his rightful position and hope that they would at least be considered as advisors for the future king. The bloodline of the Myrthylar was too respected for anything different. But fortunately for them, and for Ivenia, Nathein was a well-meaning fae. He was also a peasant, having lived the first years of his life as a simple man. The potential for brilliance glimmered inside him, but he had no wish for political intrigue. And so in spite of suddenly having been thrust in a most advantageous position, Nathein refused becoming a king.
To pacify the voices that claimed the naive Nathein had been deceived and forcibly quieted, the Norrenddare returned Nathein Myrthylar all his previous privileges and acknowledged the value of his heritage. And so, the Myrthylar remained one of the most important families in Ivenia, no longer royal, but forever bound to the throne nonetheless.
But by the time the Norrenddare managed to sort out their internal problems, it was far too late for them to do anything about the Directive of the Shifter Castes. And so, the draechen instituted their regime over the shifters, with the magical creatures hoping that they would not be affected. Alas, they were wrong, and their descendants had to pay for the legacy of their cowardice.
Draechenburg, somewhere in the Black Forest, Germany
“Married? Again? Who in the world have you managed to draw in this time?”
Karein scowled at his mother, clenching his fists in fury. His claws dug in his flesh, drawing blood, but he paid the pain no heed. He could not imagine what kind of arrangement she had managed to come up with. After the failure of his last engagement, he had not expected her to come up with another plan so soon.
Completely immune to his anger, she crossed her legs and arched a brow. “Stop making a spectacle of yourself. You’re not a child. I won’t allow any tantrums.”
Karein fought back a scathing retort. It was clear to him that this meeting was not one between a mother and a son, but between an empress and the commander of her armies. It always was.
He should have known better than to lose his temper, but unfortunately, his dragon had been growing more and more restless as of late. “Of course, Your Majesty,” he said coldly. “I apologize. I am listening.”
Whether she was angry with him or not, she didn’t show it. But that didn’t surprise Karein. Rowenasheb Tersain had always been the epitome of a draechen empress, in all the wrong ways. “Rise and look at me,” she commanded. “We have too many important things to discuss to waste time like this.”
Karein obeyed and got up. He actually expected to be punished for his outburst, but his mother didn’t address his comment again. Instead, she chose to resume the unpleasant conversation from earlier.
“As I was saying before you rudely interrupted, you are well aware that for a while now, your father and I have been actively looking for a mate for you. Given the latest fiasco, it’s proven to be quite difficult, but we’ve finally come up with the perfect solution.”
Karein took a deep breath, trying to hold onto the mask of coldness he was legendary for. He had a feeling he knew exactly what she meant by those words, and he didn’t like it. “Your Majesty, with all due respect—”
“Now, don’t start, Shtamakarein,” she interrupted. “You know very well what I’m talking about, and you realize that it’s partially your fault. Had you not been so foolish as to lose your betrothal to a certain sprite…” She waved her hand in the air, as if trying to dispel an unpleasant thought. “Surely you realize your mistakes in that regard.”
Karein just remained silent. Yes, of course he understood what she meant. For crying out loud, he was the main strategist of their armies and knew all too well the intricacies of the political game. But truth be told, if the only consequence that appeared because of his connection to Caelyn Sutharlainn was a failed engagement, he’d count himself lucky. So far, his parents had remained unaware that he had actually assisted the sprite and his wolf mate into escaping, and were just frustrated because of the original cause of the entire fiasco.