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Authors: Crymsyn Hart

Dragonkin (9 page)

BOOK: Dragonkin
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“So what now? More feeding?”

He swallowed his wine and stared at her. The twinkle in his eye alerted her to his unquenched desire. “I’d love to, but I don’t want to tire you out more. I want to try something, but I don’t want it to scare you.”

Kestrel got up and hugged him. His hard cock poked her thigh. Feeling it stoked her desire again. She stared deep into her mate’s eyes. “I’ll never be afraid of anything you do.”

“I want you to ride with me, Kestrel.”

Her eyes teared up. Dreams of flying had plagued her for centuries. She never thought she would have another dragon that would want to fly with her. “I thought you couldn’t shift anymore. I don’t want to push you. I—”

He placed a finger on her lips. “I want to try. I’ve been locked in my own sorrow for so long. Now my soul is filled with happiness. I have something, someone, to fly for. Will you come with me?”

She sensed his joy and his trepidation on the thought of flying again. “Of course.”

Andrik handed her a towel. She began to clean herself with the water in the basin she found in the corner. On a chair she found one of her dresses and some clean undergarments. Andrik dressed in a black robe that tied around the waist. He led her out of the room. They climbed high into the mountain until a hard wind blew through the tunnel. They reached the outside entrance.

The shelf on the mountain was large enough for a full-sized dragon to land on, over thirty feet long and wide. He took off his robe and hung it on a hook buried into the wall. He was completely naked. She stood in the entryway.

“Stay in the doorway. You will feel an echo of my pain, but it will not distress you. I will be okay.”

She nodded and touched the side of his face. Andrik backed away and stopped in the middle of the ledge. He closed his eyes. She sensed his tension. He prayed it would work. If he could fly again, he could be complete and no longer a burden on his people. He would be a good mate to her and a dragon that could provide for his family. His father wouldn’t have to mourn for him anymore, and he could rule. He clenched his fists and screwed up his face in concentration.

Several minutes passed, and nothing happened. His anger and disappointment strangled her.

Kestrel left the safety of the shelter and walked to him. She took his hand, laid it over her heart, and brought her lips to his in a soft kiss, trying to calm him.

“Feel my heartbeat. Stop trying so hard, my love. I know you can do this.”
She kissed him harder this time and then smiled before heading back to the alcove. The wind whipped around her, pulling her hair from its tie. She sensed his calmness now. He drew in even breaths. He unfurled his fingers. His power echoed around her. Then the changes started to happen. As he said, she felt the echo of his pain. His body stretched, and his vertebrae popped. He fell onto all fours. Sharp, dangerous claws sprouted from his toes and fingers. The skin she loved to touch hardened into armor. He grew into a twenty-five-foot dragon with ebony scales. They were so dark they reflected the rainbows in the sunlight. The spikes along his tail were deadly. He had horns that sprouted from the tip of his head like two giant black antlers. He stretched his wings and stood up. A large roar bellowed from his mouth, and then a tongue of flame. He swung his head over to her. She reached out to him and could hardly believe he was real.

“Kestrel, come fly with me.”

He butted her lightly with his head. She touched his jaw. He was warm still. Andrik breathed a large puff of air into her face that made her giggle. She kissed him on the nose and then walked around to his side. Between his legs and his wings was the perfect place for her to sit. She lifted her dress and climbed up onto him. Andrik shivered when she settled atop him.

“I think this adds a new meaning to having you between my thighs.”

“We can think of other things to do between your thighs later. Hold on.”
He spread his wings, tested them, and then with a giant leap, he flung himself into the air. A peal of laughter left her lips. Kestrel held on to him, but wasn’t afraid. She sensed his uncertainties, but reassured him. He climbed higher into the sky. Soon they were sailing over the mountains. The wind blasted against her face. Out of habit, she cast a shield that diverted the wind around them. From her simple magic, she felt something happen. The link between them deepened. Their combined power tingled along her spine, and her mind was connected with his the way it had been with Castigan.

“What was that?”
Andrik asked.

“That is the union between spellcaster and dragon. It means I can draw upon your power if we’re ever in a fight. It only strengthens the love I have for you.”

Andrik roared again and flew harder and faster. He spun into a barrel roll, sending her scrambling to hold on. His exaltation ran through her. They were bonded together more so than she ever thought possible. Kestrel had her world back. The gods had given her a reprieve and the greatest gift of all. They had given her a man and a dragon who loved her more than anything. That joy washed away all the sorrow from her soul.

 

Chapter Ten

 

When they returned to the mountain, she slid off of his back and watched in awe while Andrik’s form shrunk back to the man that she knew. It was hard to believe such a powerful beast was contained inside of human flesh. She understood now exactly what dragonkin were. And now she was mated to one. Andrik stood up slowly, rolled his shoulders, and cracked his neck with a loud pop, getting used to being back in his flesh. She bit her lip and watched his naked form, having the heat of their combined power overtake them. It lit the fire inside of her. She took a tentative step toward him, and then he opened his arms to her. She rushed into his arms and hugged him. He kissed her hard on the mouth. She tasted the tang of him and the joy coursing through his limbs. His soul was lighter than it had been that morning. He crushed her to him and tried and make her one with him.

“Thank you, Kes. The gods have heard my prayers and brought you to me.”

“I didn’t do any of this. It was all you.” She couldn’t take the credit for him returning to his natural state.

He kissed her again, running his tongue along her mouth. “No. It was you! Without your love, I never would’ve found the strength to transform again. I thought my dragon skin was lost to me. But you awoke that buried part of me. I owe you for being more than my mate. I don’t know how to describe it. You were with me while we flew. The joy in my limbs. In my wings. To skim the mountaintops with you now and share that even deeper bond with you, it’s beyond words. I love you. I—”

“My lord prince, forgive the intrusion. Your father wishes your presence in the throne room. There is a visitor here for the spellcaster. You have both been summoned urgently.” The servant stared at the floor.

I knew this would happen. They would eventually call me back to the Athenaeum.
“It has to be about me. They can’t just let me go.”

“We’ll go together and see what it is. They can’t pull your strings and expect you to return to the Athenaeum as if nothing happened. We’ll see what he wants.” Andrik crushed her to him and kissed the top of her head.

He donned his robe, and together they walked through the mountain to the throne room. It was lit up more than it had been before, so she could see the throne. It was a large onyx chair intricately carved with dragons. The two were wound together at the back, and the wings were outspread. No one was sitting on the throne. She sensed the king’s presence behind it. Kestrel glanced around the cavern to see if anyone else was there. Andrik bowed and held her tighter.

“You summoned us, Father.”

A large puff of smoke rose from the corner of the room. The king’s large eyes stared at her. “I have had servants scouring the entire mountain for you. We have visitors. Where were you, my son?”

Andrik unwound from her grasp and stepped forward. “I’ve been flying.”

A twist of flame lit the wall. “That is not something to jest about. Has this woman gotten you so wound up that you have lost your senses?”

“It’s true.” He walked over to his father and laid his head against the dragon.

Kestrel felt her mate’s sorrow and then the joy radiating through him. She assumed he was communicating telepathically with the king and showing him what had been going on between the two of them. The king roared. Andrik beckoned her forward. She bit her lip and walked over to the large dragon. His rancid breath came out between yellowed teeth. The king peered at her. She felt a pressure on her mind and sensed a great weight descend on her thoughts. The king was looking into her mind.

“My son has shown me what you have done for him. For that, I thank you. You have given him back his wings, and he has claimed you for a mate. I am happy to call you daughter. You both have my blessing to be mates.”

“Thank you.”

“There is a spellcaster and his dragon waiting for you in the next hall. They asked for you specifically. Please attend to them.”

Kestrel bowed. Andrik took her hand and led her into the other room. There she found Pena drinking out of large basin of water. Dathan sat at a table next to her, eating a plate of food. When he looked up, he gave her a small smile.

“They found you finally.” He stood up, and she noticed that he had his bad arm bandaged, and there was a fresh burn on the other side of his neck.

“What happened?”

“The Athenaeum was attacked.”

She couldn’t believe the news. She slumped down. Dathan caught her and guided her over to the table. Andrik growled in the background. His jealously came off him in waves.

“Calm down. I’ve known Dathan for a long time. You don’t have to worry about him.”

“He was one of the ones who treated you horribly. I will not have my mate being used for a weapon or a last resort because their precious Athenaeum has come under attack.”

“I have an obligation to them.”

“How was it attacked?”

“Rogue dragons and spellcasters laid siege to the compound. The council is all dead. I didn’t know who else to turn to. The attacks started a week after you left. Please, you have to come. We have gathered at the base of the Northern Mountains. Their faction is larger than ours. We need you to come back and use your gifts so you can free the captive dragons and the other spellcasters. They have many of the apprentices. We need to get them out of there. Some of the dragons are still young. They’re locked in the aerie. You have to help.”

She shook her head. “Why would I go help when the Athenaeum turned its back on me? I have a home here now.”

“You have a responsibility to us. To the others who are there. We need you. You can’t hide your head in the mountains praying that one day you’ll be accepted by the dragons here. You can’t hold on to that hope. We only get one shot with our dragons. That’s the way it’s always been. Come home, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.”

“You have no right to speak to my wife that way.”

Dathan looked between the two of them and laughed. “Wife? Kes, is that true? You come here and snag some hooligan that swept you off your feet?”

She put a hand on her mate’s shoulder. The anger that coursed through him began to trigger his shift. The energy burned inside of her even more so.
“Calm down. I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to know exactly what you are. The other dragons don’t know about the dragonkin, and if they do, then they aren’t sharing.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry for losing my temper, but I will not have anyone insulting you. You’re so important to me. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Dathan, do I hear a hint of jealousy in your voice? Did you not think that I’d eventually find a man to be with? Did you think maybe sometime I would come back to you? And then what, you would comfort me and tell me that being an outcast was okay? That you would be my savior? After all these years of you barely even acknowledging me. Yes, he is my husband. And he’s not a crackpot. He’s a very powerful caster. He happened to be studying here with the dragons. He’s like me, Dathan. He can control dragon fire.”

“Then we can use him.”

“I will not endanger my wife to your quest.”

“I’m not asking you to come along,” Dathan stepped closer to Andrik and snapped.

Andrik raised his hand, and a ball of dragon fire appeared. He drew it back and was about to throw it when Pena roared. He stopped and drew back the fire.

“You will not hurt him.”
She spread her claws and raised her foot, getting ready to strike him down. Kestrel raised her hands and warded the dragon off.

“It’s fine.”
She looked at the dragon and at Andrik. She gave him a look. He nodded and squared his shoulders.
“Pena, you have to give me time to think about this. It’s a lot to ask for. You know how it was for me when Castigan died. I’ll lose my mind again if I lose my husband, too
.

She ran her hand over the short spikes that studded the dragon’s nose.
“My friend, think before you raise your claws again to him. Think about where you are. You’re in the dragon king’s hall.”

Pena’s eyes opened, and Kestrel felt her surprise.
“He’s the prince, isn’t he?”

“Shh . . . don’t tell anyone. Not even Dathan. It’s important.”

“I won’t. But please think about what Dathan has asked. You are the only one strong enough to take on the renegade spellcasters. Once they found you left, they saw their opportunity. Please come back with us. Many of the dragons and the spellcasters that shunned you only did so because they were scared of what would happen to them. They didn’t despise you. Don’t hold it against the young ones.”

“I’ll think about it.”
Kestrel left the dragon and looked between the two men. Dathan had a sneer on his face, but she could tell he was seething. Andrik was on the verge of shifting. Both glared at one another. If she didn’t intervene soon, all hell would break loose.

“Andrik, weren’t you telling me about a healer in the mountain that can help with dragon fire burns? Even old ones? Do you think you can ask her if she has some time to see Dathan tonight?”

BOOK: Dragonkin
6.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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