Authors: S. E. Smith
Tags: #fantasy romance, #science fiction romance, #alien romance, #shapeshifter romance, #abduction romance, #dragon romance, #alpha romance
“Creja, we have their symbiots contained. We
need to move them,” Bane called from the other side.
“Get them out of here,” Creja ordered,
unable to look at the anguish tearing his friend apart. He did not
want Bane to witness the death of his other son. “Have your
symbiots return them to the Priestess. Only Lady Morian, or the
Goddess herself, can control them now.”
“You heard him, get them out of here,” Bane
yelled hoarsely. His eyes glancing briefly at his oldest son before
moving to his twin brother. “Goddess, forgive them and take them
into your care.” Shifting, he focused on preventing any more deaths
Creja spared a brief glance at the cluster
of symbiots locked together in an effort to contain the two
symbiots fighting to get back to their Twin Dragons. His eyes
shifted back in time to see Barrack swing out in a deadly arc
toward one of the men trying to hold him down.
Creja surged forward to push the man to the
side. The move saved the other warrior’s life, but Creja’s wounded
cry echoed over the village as the spikes on the dragon’s tail
sliced through the tendons and muscles along his side. He knew that
his symbiot was already weakened from the battle and from being
divided. He had left half of it to protect his mate and sons.
“Creja!” Mata shouted hoarsely.
Creja rolled onto his back and stared up at
the hazy, smoke filled sky. He could feel his life force slowly
draining away as his blood soaked the ground. A low cry echoed
through his mind. Warmth surrounded him as Lyla reached out for
It is too dangerous for you to come to
Cree and Calo…
Need both of us,
Without you, I cannot survive. They would be lost before they
Creja’s head turned so that he was staring
into the dark, crazed eyes of Barrack. Barrack had shifted back
into his two-legged form. His loud cry for his dead twin sent
chills down Creja’s spine.
“This is what you have to look forward to,
Creja,” Barrack yelled as a brief moment of sanity broke through
his grief and madness. “Your sons will end up like Brogan and I.
Have mercy on them, kill them now. Kill Cree and Calo before their
minds are eaten up with the pain, the anguish, the eternal darkness
that sucks the life from their bodies,” Barrack’s voice broke as he
turned his gaze from his dead brother back to where Creja lay.
“Neither our symbiots nor we could control it. The constant ache of
loneliness destroys the soul of the dragon. It needs its mate.
Never has there been a true mate for a set of Twin Dragons. We live
only to fight, and pray to die in battle before the darkness
swallows us. You’ve denied my brother and me that. Do not deny your
sons. If you do, you have cursed them to the same madness. Twin
dragons are destined to die a violent death. Have mercy and spare
them, Creja. Slay Cree and Calo now before you have to do it later.
Do what our father could not do.”
“Put him out of his misery,” Creja ordered
weakly, turning to stare back up at the darkening sky.
Barrack’s loud roar was cut short. Creja
blinked several times to push back the burning in his eyes. He knew
deep down that Barrack was telling him the truth. He knew the
future his own two sons faced. He also knew that one day, he might
have to give the same order to end their lives.
But not yet,
Lyla’s soft voice
whispered as she knelt by his side.
The Goddess might have mercy
on them and gift them with a true mate.
Creja sighed and turned his cheek into the
palm of his beautiful mate’s hand. The symbiot, reunited with its
other half, settled over the devastating wound to his side and leg
and began healing him. He could feel the warmth and energy flowing
through him. He could also feel his mate’s essence wrapped around
his own to hold him to this world until his body healed.
“Cree, Calo?” Creja asked in a husky
“Cleaning the kitchen,” Lyla whispered as
she leaned over her mate and tenderly stroked his brow. “Calo is
learning that cleaning is not women’s work.”
Creja grimaced as a brief chuckle escaped
him. He had once told his mate the same thing, right before she set
him straight on the matter. His eyes softened as he breathed
deeply. Even after their many years together, he still felt the
pull of his true mate. It pained him to think his sons would never
know the feeling of being whole.
“We don’t know that,” Lyla whispered.
“You saw…,” Creja started to say before
stopping as Lyla laid her fingers gently against his lips.
“I know deep in my heart that they will find
their true mate,” Lyla insisted.
“I hope you are right.”
Creja relaxed back against the ground and
allowed the warmth of Lyla and his symbiot’s touch to work on
saving his life. He was weak, and if his mate and symbiot had not
arrived when they did, he would have been dead.
His mind drifted to the twin brothers that
lay lifeless just feet from him. They were only a few centuries
old. He had been there with Bane the night they were born. He had
also promised that if it became necessary, he would stand in Bane’s
place should something like this happen.
Bane had made the same promise when his own
twin sons were born. Both of them feared they would not have the
strength to order the death of their own younglings. Now, Barrack’s
words haunted him. Twin Dragons were almost unstoppable in battle.
The destruction the two had wrought against the village warriors
was testament to that. They had been vastly outnumbered. Even so,
it had taken all of the men of fighting age in the village to
finally stop them.
Guilt plagued him. He had known that the
brothers were getting increasingly unstable. The Village Council,
which he led, had discussed the situation. The twins had recently
turned their attention on Mula, one of the young girls in the
Brogan had confronted the girl’s father,
insisting that she was his and Barrack’s true mate even though
their symbiots would have nothing to do with her. The girl and her
parents, frightened for her safety, had asked for protection
against the twins. Creja had confronted the brothers when Brogan
tried to approach Mula and explained that she had requested
protection. Brogan had become agitated. Only Barrack’s intervention
had prevented violence that day. Still, Creja had seen the trace of
madness in Brogan’s eyes.
Today, the thin thread of sanity had snapped
for Brogan. He had attacked Mula. Grief swept through him as he
turned his head to the burnt out remains of the girl’s home. She
and her mother had fled while Mula’s father had held off the
enraged dragon. Barrack had no choice but to protect his brother
when the men of the village came to help.
Several men had been wounded and four had
been killed, including Mula’s father. It would not be long before
her mother passed to the next world to join her mate. A man or
woman may live if their true mate dies, but not the dragon. The
dragon would mourn for his or her lost mate until death stopped the
pain. Only if they were not true mates would Mula’s mother have a
chance of surviving. He seriously doubted that was the case.
He turned to look back at Lyla, who sat
holding his hand. “We must protect the boys,” he forced out.
“Others will want to kill them now.”
Lyla turned defiant eyes to those standing
around looking at them. “Then we will leave,” she whispered. “We
will go where they will be safe.”
Calo leaned back against the side of the
cottage. He looked at Cree who was staring at the remains of the
twin dragons. They had arrived in time to hear what Barrack told
their father. They watched as he was put to death, his head severed
from his shoulders. They heard the murmurs from the other villagers
agreeing with Barrack.
“Do you think…?” Calo whispered, staring at
the smoldering remains of the green and white dragon.
“No,” Cree answered as a grim determination
filled him. “You heard him. We will die in battle, like warriors,
before we let this happen to us. We will do the honorable thing
before we hurt another.”
Calo turned his suddenly older gaze to his
brother. He could see the tightness around Cree’s mouth. He could
feel the quiet sadness that mirrored his own. For as long as he
could remember, their father had told them the legends of a warrior
one day earning the right to be blessed with finding his true mate.
Now, he realized that was all it was… stories.
“We will die in battle,” Calo agreed,
watching as their father’s symbiot healed him. “Or we will take
each other’s life before we hurt another.”
Two Centuries later:
The Asteroid Prison known as Hell
Cree wiped the blood from his face. He nodded
to his brother. The Great War had been going on for too long, but
there was finally hope. He, Calo, Prince Creon Reykill of Valdier,
and the Sarafin King, Vox d’Rojah, were on a mission to rescue the
Curizan Prince, Ha’ven Ha’darra who had been kidnapped in a bid to
prolong the conflict. The traitors hoped to blame the Valdier and
Sarafin for the act. Only this time, it wouldn’t work.
“Kill them all,” Creon ordered as he stepped
over the body of a Valdier traitor. “Ha’ven should be in one of the
cells. We need to find him before re-enforcements arrive.”
Cree nodded before he froze as his dragon
growled in warning. His eyes darkened and a snarl curled his lip.
Calo felt the threat, as well. More traitors were coming.
“Go, my Prince,” Calo growled under his
breath, glancing in warning at Vox. “Cree and I will make sure that
no traitors live. You and… King d’Rojah find the Curizan and get
him out of here.”
Creon noted Calo’s hesitancy when he
mentioned the Sarafin King. Vox was coated in the blood of the men
they had just fought. He knew it would take time for his people to
learn to trust the Sarafin and Curizan again.
His partnership with their former enemies
was still new to him, but he knew who the true enemy was now. He
had discovered the depth of the deceit and betrayal from his
ex-lover who had sold her soul for power. He had wrung every
betrayal from her before he killed her. Even so, his own soul was
now as black as his dragon. If Ha’ven was dead, it would prove that
there was no saving him from the darkness inside him.
Creon nodded before he called out to Vox.
“There is only one more level. Cree and Calo will make sure no one
else gets through.”
Vox shook for a moment before he shifted
back into his two-legged form. His eyes ran over the two identical
looking men. He had a better appreciation for their skill after
this mission. They had taken out three times as many traitors as
the rest of them put together.
“Make sure they don’t kill any of my men,”
Vox warned. “My warship should arrive at any moment.”
“You’d better order them to stay out of our
way,” Cree grinned, fingering the knife at his waist. “Especially
Viper. I owe him one.”
Vox’s eyes narrowed at the underlying
threat. A low rumble shook his chest as he sensed the danger to his
younger brother. There was no love lost between the three species
after a century of fighting.
“Be careful, dragon,” Vox warned. “I could
use new curtains for my windows. You and your brother are about the
right color in your dragon form.”
Cree began to shift when he felt Calo’s hand
on his arm. A slight shake of Calo’s head and a glance at the door
told him that now was not the time to challenge the young King.
Instead, Calo pulled the knife from his waist and pointed it at Vox
for a moment before he turned and followed his brother out of the
“They should be caged,” Vox comment to Creon
as he watched the twins leave. “They are just shy of being insane.
Especially the one known as Cree.”
Creon glanced from Vox to the empty doorway
before he turned. He had felt the darkness in the brothers as well.
That was why he had them with him. They were the deadliest warriors
When they appeared at the beginning of the
Great War and offered their allegiance to the Royal family, he had
eagerly accepted their services. He knew the legend of the Twin
Dragons. He knew they expected to die in battle. It would not be
against the Sarafin or Curizan now. It would be against those that
sought to divide and conquer the three royal houses through deceit
“I know,” Creon replied as he started down
the stone stairway. “But so are we.”
“So, how long do you think we will be on
babysitting duty?” Calo asked as he rolled his shoulders to relieve
some of the tension, and soreness, from being around Carmen Walker
all day. “Remind me to volunteer for the night shift next
Cree grinned at the look of suffering on his
twin’s face. “What did she do to you today?”
“Besides kick my ass?” Calo ruefully
laughed. “She had me showing her some different moves. Lady Carmen
is a quick study.”
“I know,” Cree said, holding up his knife.
“It took me a week to get this back. You’ve been showing her some
moves that we use. Keep to the ones that others use next time.”
Carmen Walker was an enigma to the two men.
Creon Reykill, the youngest of the five Valdier Princes, had
assigned them as her personal guards. They had been slightly
insulted at first, especially when they first met her. Of course,
they should have considered it an honor to be asked to do something
as important as protecting the Valdier Prince’s true mate, they
just expected her to be… bigger… less fragile looking.
Cree shook his head as he remembered their
first meeting. Both he and Calo had taunted her. They should have
heeded Creon’s warnings, or at least taken them more seriously. He
fingered the strands of slightly shorter hair on the side of his