Caution: This Fantasy Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Consensual, Rape, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Shemale, High Fantasy, Science Fiction, Space, Vampires, Were animal, Interracial, Violent, .
Desc: Fantasy Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The continuing saga of the Leonidas family in the Wolves and Dragons of the Blood Universe
COMMAND AND POLITICAL HEADQUARTERS OF THE VAMPIRE HIGH COVEN
POPULATION: SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY BILLION
CAPITAL CITY: DWURI
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AND TEN MONTHS SINCE INITIAL KAVALIAN INVASION
It was darker now it seemed.
Darker than usual anyway at least as far as Yuri Moran was concerned, though not in terms of the weather, for the weather on Usu Ozeib 7 rarely varied. It was always dark in some manner as the sunlight actually only bathed the planet for four hours a day and the rest of the hours were spent in a perpetual gray color. The mood of the people was very different now than she remembered, more open than what her father had allowed, but yet much more subdued as well. She guessed that over twenty-five years of sustained warfare punctuated by short lulls would do that to you. The many purebloods and turned vampires who lived here were a more sullen bunch now as they moved about the surface of the planet, going about the daily chores of their lives. Many of the things they had taken for granted for so long were no longer available to them, and hadn't been for some time. While there was no poverty per say, there was definitely an upper and lower caste. Most of them had never and would never experience the horrors of the war with the Kavalian animals first hand. That was left to the High Coven Officers, the normal and cloned soldiers and the fleets that viciously guarded their planet and the thousands more throughout the Empire. The High Coven was no longer as large as it had once been, but then the Kavalians had never reached this far into High Coven space, though three attempts had been made throughout the over two decades of on-again, off-again sustained combat.
The initial invasion of the Kavalian and Zaleisian forces had taken two hundred and fifty-six High Coven planets in the first five years. The Kavalian Federation Imperium, as they now called themselves, though Yuri knew full well who ruled who in that regard, had poured across the borders of High Coven space in two different locations with just over five thousand ships and nearly twenty million of the savage, biogenic Kavalian ground troops. The first years of the war had been nothing but a scramble to survive as more High Coven planets were attacked at one time than they could possibly hold and defend. The actions of her father and then her mother when she had assumed power, which was rightfully hers anyway, had thrown the High Coven into chaos and disarray. Thousands of their men and hundreds of ships had betrayed them and defected to the Federation within the first few months after seeing what was aligned against them. Many of them were now long dead Yuri thought smugly, either killed by the Kavalians themselves for failing to do what was ordered or butchered horribly by High Coven forces in battle over the years when they were discovered or encountered. Traitors were looked down upon as the lowest kind of scum and they were treated as such.
It had not been until almost three quarters of the way through the third year of the war that the newly chosen High Coven Supreme Military Commander had finally been able to make a stand and throw the KFI forces back by force.
The Battle of Diela Luavor had signaled a new day to the High Coven forces, and soon after that they had begun making the KFI troops pay in blood for every single inch of High Coven territory and planet they claimed. The Supreme Commander had shoved backbone and courage back into his forces, and they began fighting as if their very existence depended on it, which it did. Two additional years of war had seen them lose another seventy-three planets, while only regaining nineteen, but then the KFI reached a point where they could not get past. Constant raids behind the enemy lines by Shrouded High Coven Fleets had ravaged their supply lines and two dozen covert missions by Immortals and Elite Shock Troopers of their Cloned Divisions had put fear into the minds of Kavalian leaders who were outside the control of the main forces. The High Coven's own cloning process had been streamlined and improved and they were able to field new troops almost as fast as the KFI. Troops that were better trained and led in many instances, but the Kavalians had superior numbers. The biogenic created Kavalian troops were utterly ruthless, savage and very hard to kill, though surprisingly it had been a misguided attempt by a rogue KFI leader to attack and hold a Lycavorian Union planet in the third year of the war that showed the Supreme Commander what his course of action should be.
Barely five thousand Union Spartans and fifty of their Mjolnir's Hand, led by that pig Leonidas and his lap dog Daniel Simpson, had turned back over twenty-five thousand Kavalian troops in a matter of weeks. They had butchering them almost to the last man, while Admiral Riall had set about obliterating their space fleet overhead. They had used surprise and superior training and skill to win that battle and the Supreme Military Commander took it to heart. It should have drawn the Lycavorian Union into the war but it hadn't. Many of the VHC officers and her mother had wondered what had held the Union back, and to this day no one knew what the answer to that question was.
The first five years of war were followed by almost five years of random and sporadic combat, but nothing like the initial invasion and subsequent early years. That had changed in the eleventh year when the KFI attacked once more in massive force and numbers. The High Coven fared much better this time because they were prepared, but still they were pushed back and only some reckless, yet brilliant military operations devised by the Supreme Commander saved the High Coven from total defeat after another five years of sustained combat. They had not fought any major engagements since the end of that second five year span, mostly minor but vicious encounters scattered across High Coven space. That was all about to change Yuri knew with the intelligence they had just been able to confirm. The intelligence that was forcing them to do something they had never thought possible.
Her mother was now the High Empress of the Coven, and while she was much more approachable than her father had ever been; her mother was far more vicious and devious when angered. That did not bother Yuri in the least, and she and her much younger sister Narice had no qualms about speaking with their mother in regards to anything. In truth ... they held nothing back from her, much as Yuri had once held nothing back from her father. This also allowed their mother to open up further to them, and they now knew she and Admiral Tesand would never part. Yuri hadn't thought it would last in the beginning ... but she had underestimated what the Admiral had given to her mother. It was something that her father Veldruk had never given her, and while she was still very stern and formal with Tesand in public, at least now she had become comfortable enough to show the man affection in front of family and those that her mother considered loyal. The last years had seen her become so much closer to her mother than ever before, mainly because she was now a mother herself but also because Narice was older and becoming her own woman. Yuri and Narice were close ... but not as close as Yuri would have liked. Her sister was very unique and much more introverted in many respects. She kept mainly to herself, studying endlessly from the data pads and history scrolls aboard the remains of the Mindvoice ship even though much of the ship had long ago lost any kind of power to it, as well as training with her dragon Deneth.
Yuri was a mother now and had given birth to four children total, yet she only truly cared about three of them.
Yuri Moran had given her devoted husband Robert three strong children, two very tough and handsome young men and a stunning daughter who was the youngest. The daughter she bore with the pureblood scum Vavant, who her father Veldruk had chosen for her, was the oldest at twenty-five but Yuri had no love for her and only a grudging respect for the skills she had developed all on her own. In fact Yuri hated her more than anything, mainly because she had taken the cerise colored dragon that had been meant to serve Yuri.
They had discovered the forty-three dragons in The Wilds after a Lycavorian Type I Dragon Transport had been damaged by Unsaur mercenaries out for revenge after that pig Leonidas had destroyed their base of operations within The Wilds for some perceived wrong they had committed. Forty-three of the dragon eggs and very young hatchlings had survived the crash of the ship. A High Coven intelligence operative who had been working on the planet and who had more brains than most had taken it upon himself to insure the eggs and very young hatchlings were spirited back within High Coven space before the Lycavorians could descend upon the planet in an effort to rescue them. The dragon eggs and hatchlings were a combination of breeds and almost immediately the eggs had begun hatching upon being placed in advanced incubators on Nuwaroa. Yuri had chosen the cerise colored male to serve her when it hatched, but those hopes were quickly dashed when the pure Firespitter dragon hatchling had shunned and refused her and then bonded almost immediately with her then eight year old daughter Carisia. It was a bond that no matter how much she tried to interfere with, only grew stronger. Yuri had finally given up and began working with another of the dragons that she favored, while three of the other new hatchlings bonded immediately with her other three children. It was a struggle for Dante at first, but over the years he and his dragon had become better at working together. As young as they were when they hatched, it was easy to control their very limited perceptions and for the most part shape their minds so that they considered themselves superior to any others, unlike the dragons that called the Lycavorian Union home. Yuri was very pleased now with Vollenth and the progress they had made together ... for they were a powerful and cruel pair when together, and Vollenth seemed to feed off of that from within Yuri, for he was very protective of her.
Yuri hated Carisia and that hatred carried over to her actions toward her as well. No matter how much Carisia did to try and win her affection and approval, Yuri put her down and made her feel small and unloved until finally Carisia eventually stopped. She had wanted to abort the pregnancy after the events with her father unfolded, but her mother convinced her to keep the child and secure the loyalty and support of Vavant's family. Once Carisia had been born, Yuri's mother Aikiro had her sent to Nuwaroa to be schooled and trained. When Vavant mysteriously ended up dead in an alley in the capital city only months after her birth, Aikiro had almost immediately dissolved their union and allowed her daughter to marry Robert Moran openly, removing the title of consort from him and giving him the title of husband. It was a day that Yuri relished, and it was also the day their oldest son was conceived.
Her sons Dante and Javier had their father's height while Lucia was slim and shorter like her. Her sons had the build of their father, well muscled and very well defined and they had continued to shape their bodies as they grew and became stronger not only physically but with their Mindvoice powers as well. Lucia trained beside her brothers and was equal in skill and Mindvoice abilities and considered an extremely lethal fighter by her Royal Instructors. All of them carried their father's last name as it was now customary among the younger generations ... those born within the last thousand years ... to take two names as opposed to one. Many took the name of their father as their last name. It was a human trait from Earth that had made its way even here as more and more humans were turned throughout the centuries, and it set them apart from the older generations of vampires. Yuri had been incensed when Robert told her Carisia should carry his name as well after he had killed Vavant, until he had explained it would allow them political capital in the future since many did not know who Carisia was, as hidden away on Nuwaroa as she had been for most of her life.
Yuri had acquiesced finally and now she saw the wisdom of that decision as she and Robert had given Carisia's hand to a much older pureblood. Arranging the Union had been joyous for Yuri as Thast was a swine of a man, vile and foul and one of the ugliest men she had ever seen. He was a cruel and competent officer and commander however and his family was powerful and knowing that Carisia had to endure his foul touch made shivers of delight sweep through Yuri every time she thought about it.
"Yuri?" The male voice spoke from behind her and Yuri smiled an uncharacteristic smile that caused her cold, emotionless demeanor slip away and allow her real, exotic Asian beauty to come through. She turned slowly.
"I truly hate it when you sneak up on me Robert." She spoke gently.
Robert Moran grinned and moved close to her, heedless of the male and female officers and enlisted that crowded the corridors of the High Coven Military Headquarters. He wore the formal uniform that he always detested wearing, yet knew he had to wear in this building. Many rows of High Coven decorations dotted his lean, broad chest now and Yuri felt a warmth stir in her belly as she looked at him. He had come so far since she had turned him over five hundred years ago. He was a genome soldier at the time she met him, a creation of super enhanced DNA making him one of the Super Soldiers the government of that time so desired. She may have been a pureblood vampire, but somehow he had known what she was. He had taken her that first night, taken her roughly, but with a passion she had never tasted before. It was the third night she remembered vividly, and she had been sitting in his lap sweaty and sore after he had practically fucked her senseless. She had stared into his dark blue eyes long and hard and found knowledge within those orbs, cold, calculating knowledge. Robert had returned her gaze without flinching and only nodded his head. When Yuri tasted his blood that night she knew then she would never get enough of him. As more time passed and she lived her false life, she returned many times to see him for she found she craved his attentions to her.
Whatever he had accomplished after returning with her to High Coven space, he had achieved all on his own, to include her undying love and devotion. He had stood beside her through the highs and lows, his love for her never wavering in its intensity or power, and it was that love that had gotten Yuri through the first years of the war. A love she had almost lost by her own actions.
Moran took her hands in his, not going so far as to crush her to him openly, at least not in this setting. If they had been outside this building he would have lifted her into his arms and set her hair on fire with a kiss, as he had done many times before this day. Surprisingly ... the war had brought out many such emotions from the populous within the Empire, and her mother allowed it to occur when before Veldruk had forbid open displays of emotion.
"I don't normally accomplish that unless you are deep in thought." He spoke leaning over to kiss her forehead softly. It was a soft kiss of deep feeling and not the passionate ones he usually gave to her simply because of where they were.
Yuri blushed slightly and looked around. "Robert Moran we are in the corridors of the High Coven Supreme Commander's building. Such open displays of affection by the Princess of the Coven should not be for public eyes."
Moran grinned and did not release her hands from his. "Yes I know ... but the Supreme Military Commander of High Coven forces seems to think it is just fine between you and me."
Yuri couldn't help but smile at his expression. Perhaps it was because he was turned and not raised among the restrictive moral standards here on Usu'Ozeib 7, but Robert Moran was granted much freedom in his actions because of who he was and what he had accomplished over the last twenty-five years.
"I was thinking of everything that has led us up to this point." Yuri spoke finally as she dismissed protocol all together and slid her arms around his waist and allowed him to draw her close to him.
"Are you having second thoughts now? After so long and what we now know?" He asked.
Yuri drew back her head without releasing him. "About us?" She stammered.
Moran chuckled. "I meant about this plan we are about to undertake." He said touching her perfect skin. Her exotic oriental features had always been able to incite passion within him, and she was just as beautiful to him now as that first night.
"What other choice do we have?" She spoke. "Our intelligence is very accurate. Once my mother took a personal interest in the commander of the Intelligence Section, it has never been better."
Moran nodded. "Then we should go inside. The meeting is going to start soon, and your mother, Narice and our children came in ten minutes ago."
Yuri looked at him. "I suppose that wench Carisia is among them?"
"She is your daughter Yuri. And you know how your mother likes her family to at least observe these meetings." Moran spoke.
"Why do you even show her the least amount of sympathy Robert?" Yuri asked. "She is not of your blood. It was you who killed her father. I relish the fact that she must endure that idiot Thast slobbering all over her."
Moran grinned at her. "No ... but she is part of you Yuri. That gives her a step up on most others as far as I'm concerned." He spoke. "I may not like her Yuri ... that doesn't mean I have to let it affect how I treat her. She's a superior fighter, and she can do things with her dragon that our children and you can't, at least not yet. We need to respect that ... at least for now Yuri. When we get what we want from Leonidas and his ilk, we will be in far better shape to make demands."
"You believe he will help us then?" Yuri asked.
Moran nodded. "Like you said before ... it will be in his best interests to help us. If we are defeated by the Kavalians, they will most likely go after the Union."
Yuri met his eyes with a cruel glint. "Then you have made your decision in regards to what we discussed with Carisia as well?"
Moran nodded. "When we get what we want ... I'll take her out myself if that is what you wish to rid yourself of that part of your life." He spoke.
Yuri smiled and pressed her head close to his chest once more. "Thank you Robert." She said softly. "I..."
"Supreme Commander?" The voice broke into their moment.
Moran turned his head quickly annoyance in his eyes, but he kept his arms around Yuri. "What is it Lieutenant?"
"Everyone has arrived Admiral Moran." The young pureblood spoke quickly, his words nervous but clear. No one liked to interrupt Robert Moran for he had a volatile temper when roused.
Moran nodded and looked at Yuri with a smile. "Let's get this over with so I can take you home tonight and fuck your brains out." He spoke softly so only she could hear him.
Yuri grinned and squeezed his waist before releasing him. "I do so like the sound of that Supreme Commander of High Coven forces."
CITY OF PALNO
THIRTY-TWO KILOMETERS WEST OF TUYA
Her jungle green eyes gazed at the rising sun as it filled the balcony doors of her modest sized apartment in Palno City, while her fingers delicately stroked the coral red pendant she had worn for as many years as she could remember.
Sadi loved watching the sun rise over the far horizon, backstopping the majestic Palno Mountain Range only twelve kilometers to the east. She sat on the small cushioned bench just inside the open balcony doors of her small bedroom allowing the morning breeze to caress her flesh. Her apartment wasn't very large, only one of the three hundred and thirty in her building, but it was all hers. It was comfortably furnished with practical yet elegant furniture and several moderately expensive, yet stylish pieces of framed holo art on the walls. Half a dozen framed holo images also sprinkled the walls and surfaces across the apartment, most of them of her father and two older brothers. Sadi received a generous monthly stipend from her father and that she usually put towards purchasing things for her apartment and some rather expensive clothes that she hardly ever wore, if at all. Her father had paid for the apartment, and was now holding the deed for her until she graduated from the Union Fleet Academy.
The apartment and building had been newly built when she had returned to Apo Prime to attend the Union Fleet Academy and she had fallen in love with it almost immediately upon touring it. Unfortunately, when she inquired about purchasing the unit, she had been told all of them were long filled and far outside her range of income as an Academy Cadet to purchase. Disheartened she had begun searching for another place to live, until just a week before she was to enter the Academy, she got a transmission from the building's manager. He had told her the exact apartment she had toured when she had first seen the units had surprisingly become very available. Sadi knew then her father must have purchased it outright, for she had mentioned to him how much she loved it. She had scolded him sternly because of the cost and what he must have done to purchase it, even as well off as they were, but she loved him even more after that day. The small kitchen was fully modern, though her cupboards were only pseudo stocked with food. She spent most of her time transiting from Palno to Tuya, either to the University or the Fleet Academy and there was never time for her to fully sit down and eat a complete meal. The only thing she really kept a large supply of was the type of coffee she drank.
Sadi had discovered this brand of coffee while on the Royal Island Palace all those years ago and she was surprised to rediscover it in a small eatery in the Elven Quarter of Tuya, not far from Fleet Academy headquarters. It was a special blend of four different types of coffee bean found only on Earth that Queen Aricia had made while pregnant with Androcles in Sparta. She had spent days and weeks while pregnant, experimenting and blending certain amounts of each of the four bean blends to extract just the flavor she wanted. No one who had tried it could stop raving about it, and at her mother's suggestion Aricia had begun marketing it in the Merchant Quarters on Apo Prime. Over the past years it had quickly become one of the most sought after items to be found in the many café's on dozens of worlds across the Union. It was now an exclusive item that only one merchant supplier on Apo Prime had, but it succeeded in bringing customers back to her establishments for more. When Sadi inquired of the older Lycavorian woman who surprisingly owned and operated the eatery where she had purchased it, the woman just smiled and told her she would purchase extra each week just for her and only charge her the reduced price she got from her supplier.
Unbeknownst to Sadi, that supplier was Queen Aricia herself, and the eatery was one of three owned by the woman on Apo Prime and two that she owned on Earth, one in Eden City and one in Sparta. Sadi also didn't know that they were the only eating establishments that the members of Mjolnir's Hand and the Durcunusaan came too exclusively, for the owner was the mother of the Earth Sector Commander, Star Colonel Isra. The eateries were always busy when Sadi went to get her coffee or was just stopping in to have lunch with her friends. The patrons were very respectful and polite with many handsome, young male wolves that frequented the particular eatery she went to. Many of them were Durcunusaan soldiers in fact. Her friends were always popular among the men there, and they had made it known they were available, yet no one had ever approached her Sadi now thought to herself. None of those young men had ever tried to get her attention and for the first time she began to wonder why. The smell of the coffee filled her scent glands and drew her thoughts from that as she brought her other hand down from the pendant and held the mug tightly between her two hands only inches from her nose.
Sadi wore only the thin, almost transparent white robe of satin like material, which did little to hide her deeply tanned and svelte frame. She stood five foot seven inches tall, and her hundred and sixteen pounds was lean and muscular. Sadi had curves upon curves, from the full and very firm breasts topped by credit chip sized nipples, to the graceful slope of her hips and petite waist. Sadi had worked hard on her body over the past years, even more so since entering the Lycavorian Fleet Academy six years earlier. She was now a skilled hand to hand fighter, very fast and deceptively strong for her size.
Her golden blond hair was very long and wavy, cascading elegantly down around her face past her shoulders to the middle of her back, just above her impeccably shaped ass. Her hair framed high cheekbones and full, sumptuous lips. Her father had called her wolf nose adorable a few months ago, and she smiled at this description. She was still her father's baby girl even though she was now a hundred and twenty-seven years old and well beyond her Coming of Age, though for all her four attempts at relationships, none had ever lasted more than a few months. Not since those few days at the Island Palace she thought. Sadi was looking for something different in a male wolf ... something that would stir her in ways others could not. Many young Alphas had tried to get her attention, some of them even starting rumors about her when she rebuffed their attempts at drawing her interest. Sadi wanted more than what they had offered and part of her wondered if she would ever find that except in her dreams. When Sadi was in wolf form, she was larger than the average female wolf, a hundred and forty pounds of muscle and teeth. Unlike many of the females she knew, Sadi enjoyed immensely the time she spent in wolf form running through the timber of her father's estate. The King's return so many years ago had brought their people closer to their base instincts and now there were far more men and women both who would freely run about in wolf form rediscovering what their ancestors once cherished. Sadi was one of these people. Perhaps it was because of those nights and what it had done to her, but Sadi cherished it now.
She was a hundred and twenty-seven years old and no doubt the only female on Apo Prime her age to have experienced what she had in her very young life. Sadi did not often think back to that time almost twenty six years ago, but the events of her life then defined her as a woman and a wolf now.
She had been a tender eighty years of age, still very much a baby in Lycavorian terms, when the Vampire High Coven had used her step-mother to forcibly recruit her as a low level intelligence operative. Her step-mother had told her if she refused, information would be released on her father that would show him to be a collaborator with the High Coven. He would have been disgraced and banished or worse, executed as a traitor depending on the directives of the Senate. Sadi adored her father, those feelings only increasing after the death of her real mother in a transport accident. She had sworn to her mother's spirit she would always look after him, and in Sadi's mind she had been protecting him then with her actions. Twenty years of enduring the High Coven and her step-mother's directives, acting as a messenger or courier, or worse still being forced to bed with her depraved and disgusting half brothers. Sadi shuddered slightly, whether from the memories or the cool morning air it did not matter now.
Thanks to the elven female she had once tried to murder, her life had taken a dramatic turn for the better. Sadi had finally been able to slip off the evil and cruel bonds of High Coven servitude, surviving the battle that had raged for six agonizingly long hours on the Royal Island Palace, and earning the gratitude of not only For'mya Leonidas, who was now a Queen herself to the King, but also the King's most beloved Queen Aricia as well. Outside of those few who were members of Mjolnir's Hand and the Durcunusaan, Sadi didn't doubt she was one of only a handful who had fought beside dragons.
She remembered vividly those golden eyes of Elynth, and those incredible azure blue orbs of the boy Prince Androcles. Elynth had told her she was chosen because she could speak easily with the then dragon hatchling at the time. She had discovered some months later what For'mya had told her, that her Mindvoice skills, while only a Tier Two before the events of those few days, had since been elevated to a very strong beginning Tier Six level. No one had been able to explain it, but because of this fact Sadi was drafted to study in the First Oracle's new School of the Mages, in order to help her better learn to control her new level of Mindvoice abilities. An appointment that was, Sadi learned later, made by the First Oracle herself. Sadi had willingly studied there for six years total, throwing herself into her schooling to forget all that had happened, but since she did not want to pursue a life as an Oracle, Sadi had elected to enter into the newly established Annacdorne. An organization created by Queen Dysea to help others and Sadi had spent the next thirteen years devoting her life to people on under developed worlds in The Wilds.
Sadi had returned only seven years earlier, at the recommendation of a senior LU Fleet officer who had seen her piloting skills, to enroll in the Lycavorian Union Fleet Academy. It was there where she could finish her degree and earn a commission to complete the goal she most wanted to achieve. Sadi truly wanted to see new worlds and while she had worked in the Annacdorne, Sadi discovered she had a gift with people and how they looked to her almost naturally as a leader, not to mention that she was a superior pilot and loved to fly. She was now a senior cadet and the best pilot in her class, and she was finishing her last year, after which she would receive her official commission and join the United Lycavorian Union Fleet.
Her father had retired as Governor of the Menkla District but due to powerful influence generated by the Royal family and Admiral Riall himself, he had retained his position and status as head of the Menkla District Manufacturing Company. A company that now had an exclusive contract with the Union military to build all of their Star Fighters. Vorilas was a well known and respected man for his duties and long standing policies as Governor of the Menkla District, and the district had seen great prosperity over the years under his care. Now however, he was known for working closely with the likes of Admiral/General Benjamin O'Connor, the Union Commander of Operations or UNCO. The Admiral was in charge of the tactical aspect of every ongoing operation within the Union Fleet and her father worked closely with him, Admiral Riall and others in designing new fighters and small transports, using his extensive engineering skills. Sadi didn't know for sure as she had never seen it, but it was said her father and Admiral O'Connor worked very closely together and often met for meetings and such several times a week. Her step-mother was no longer an issue, with her and her half brothers all rotting in some prison. She and her father were closer than ever, and her real brothers had both moved back home to Apo Prime to be near the family they had once thought lost.
Sadi was content for the first time in her life.
Perhaps not truly happy, that would only come with a man and children she knew, but she was very content with the life she had chosen to lead. A life and a chance given to her by a dragon with golden eyes and an eight month old infant boy with azure blue eyes that even now Sadi could still see as clearly as if they were in front of her. There were nights when she would see those eyes in her deep dreams, glittering azure blue eyes on the beautifully sculpted body of a faceless man, as if somehow they were reaching out to her. They were almost protecting and watching over her even as they caused her to cry out in rapture. Her dreams were very strange at times, the faceless man with the boy prince's eyes, and then the dark haired female with olive colored skin and stunning light blue eyes. In those torrid dreams they were entwined together the three of them, making each other cry out in bliss. They were dreams that Sadi relished ... but they were dreams she never spoke of with anyone, as there were times when those dreams became quite vivid and very intimate in nature. Sadi had several close friends, but none close enough to share that cherished information with.
Sadi had seen Elynth and Androcles only three times after the battle on the island, all three times from a distance or on the Netnews Channel. The last time was over twelve years earlier during the small celebration thrown by the Royal family at his departure for Sparta to begin his Agoge training. Each time she had seen them they had both grown in stature and size, Androcles nearly as tall as his father though only thirteen years old at the time she had seen them last. Elynth was already larger in many respects than her mother, her body longer and more muscular. While she would never rival her brother Jeth or her father Torma in size, she had grown into one of the largest dragons among those flown by the riders of Mjolnir's Hand. Sadi had caught several glimpses of them on the Netnews during the six year long war with the Evolli Triad, but it had always been very fast and he was never seen without his helmet, those blue eyes like beacons on a dark night.
There had been much talk and ballyhoo of his Shield of Valor decoration, the highest award that the Union could bestow, awarded after the Battle on Alba Tau during the Evolli War. It was said to have been the most hideous and costly battle of the war with the Evolli, claiming the lives of thousands of Spartan Centurions and even thirteen of the twenty-three members of Mjolnir's Hand that had been lost in the entire six year war. He had not returned to Apo Prime since the end of that war except for fast visits, preferring to remain mainly within the city of Sparta, his father's home and what had unofficially become the new base of power within the Union. It was rumored on the Netnews channels that he had taken a mate at one point two years earlier, but that had been proven false quickly, and Sadi did not understand at that time the immense relief that she had felt at that news. Aside from his public Lycavorian Union military record, which was very impressive considering his still very young age, nothing else was known about the young Crown Prince and heir to the throne of the United Lycavorian Union.
Sadi did know that it was after that battle where he was awarded his own LEONIDAS II-Class Strike Cruiser, and his actions played prominently in ending the war beside his father. She had tried over the years, always secretly of course, to inquire of him and what he was doing. She had worked beside Queen Dysea and Queen Isabella at one point shortly after they had both given birth to the King's children, but did not have the courage to ask about him or Elynth. Sadi didn't truly understand the powerful draw this young prince had on her, perhaps it was because her actions all those years ago could have cost him his life. Whatever the reason, he invaded her dreams from time to time and they were always the most exquisite dreams.
Sadi wondered what they looked like now and she remembered Elynth's words to her during her time on the island. She had been chosen Elynth had said; chosen to be able to speak with dragons perhaps? Elynth had never elaborated on that ... only giving her a name that first night, a name that still brought shudders to Sadi whenever she spoke or thought it. A name she still heard in her dreams.
Sadi lifted the small coral red pendant from her skin and looked at it once more. Elynth had given this to her before she had left, one half of a Dragon's Heart pendant. Elynth had told her to wear it always and one day all that Sadi desired would be hers. Elynth said Androcles wanted her to have it because of how he felt about her, how he would always feel about her. Sadi didn't know what to make of her words at the time, as Androcles was only an eight month old infant at the time, but Sadi had worn the pendant without question. Looking back, Sadi realized she had not taken the pendant off since that night and she suddenly wondered if he had done the same.
The decidedly male groan from behind her brought Sadi somewhat angrily out of her secret thoughts and she turned to watch the dark haired male Spartan reach across the bed for the warmth of her body. When his arm found nothing he slowly looked up and found her with bloodshot blue eyes from too much alcohol. His skin was a deep bronze color, and tightly stretched over a muscular and extremely well defined body.
"What ... what are you doing Sadi?" He croaked out the words, his lips smacking together from dryness.
"Watching the sun come up." She answered quickly as she turned and got to her feet. She moved to the side of the bed and looked down at him sipping her coffee. "You need to wake up and leave Malic."
The lean muscular Spartan soldier smiled drunkenly at her as he rolled onto his back on the bed and looked up at her. He reached out to touch the outside of her leg. "Why? I thought we would have another go of it?" He spoke as his hand caressed the outside of her leg through the thin fabric of the robe. When his fingers moved to part the folds of the robe and slip inside to touch her bare skin Sadi dropped her hand and grabbed his wrist firmly, brushing his hand aside as she stepped back quickly.
"I don't think so Malic ... that is not a good idea right now." She stated having no desire to be intimate with him ever again.
They had been introduced by mutual friends three months ago. He was an Enomotarch within the ranks of the 9th Spartan Expeditionary Division. Aside from his incredible good looks Sadi did not know what she had seen in him. After these past three months of having him slobber on her and never once take his time and give her equal pleasure, it had finally taken its toll on her mentally. Malic had an ego that was larger than even his ripped body, and he was exceptionally arrogant, always bragging about his skills as a warrior and how he was going to one day fly on a dragon and command a section of the revered Mjolnir's Hand. He treated others as if they were beneath him most of the time, always looking out for himself. Sadi knew his father was a senior Admiral within the Union military but she didn't know in what capacity. His mother worked as a liaison within the Senate and Sadi had found her to be exceptionally pompous the only time she had met her. She treated Malic like a child by talking down to him in many ways and Sadi realized where he got it from. Sadi knew Malic abhorred the many vampires within the ranks of Spartans, always glaring at them in disgust. Sadi had been lonely at that point in her life and after only a few times out with him and dismissing his obvious faults she had allowed him to take her to bed. Malic was very well endowed, but he was a brute who thought the size of his cock made up for his lack of technique. Last night had been the final straw. They had returned from a gathering of cadets in Sadi's class who were graduating with her soon, and he had had too much to drink. He had been rougher than he usually was, and without any preliminary foreplay he had proceeded to grunt and groan his way to orgasm without a hint of concern for her. He never treated her like an equal, always like a possession whenever he was around others, especially fellow Spartans. As if she was a trophy of some sort. Sadi had made the decision last night watching him snore away that it was over between them.
"You thought it was a good idea last night Sadi." He spoke with a grin. "How was I? Did I make it good enough for you?"
"You are still drunk to think that Malic. And you really need to leave." Sadi spoke deciding that it probably wouldn't be the smartest thing to tell him that having him maul her breasts while trying to pound her guts into the bed was most definitely not pleasurable for her, and it hadn't been for the last three months. "I have to get ready for class and I need to catch the transport to Apo Prime in forty minutes."
"Skip class today. Stay here with me." He said missing the obvious insult to his love making skills.
Sadi's eyes narrowed. "Skip class? Why would I want to do that?" Sadi reached down and pulled the sheet off his body in an effort to get him up. "And this is my apartment Malic, not yours! I need you to leave Malic. Now!"
He rolled from the bed and came to his feet completely naked and annoyed. "What's the rush?" He exclaimed stepping closer to her, his six foot two frame towering above her. "Do I need to prove to you how good I am once more?"
Sadi placed her palm on his chest resisting the urge to laugh at his flaccid cock dangling between his legs. He was most definitely not the man from her dreams; the man's whose touch alone could set her body on fire. He had not even noticed the tattoo that adorned her most private area and made her so sensitive to touch in the entire three months they had been sharing a bed.
In a totally spontaneous and equally alcohol induced action that her friend Teeria had dared from her while they were working with Queen Dysea, Sadi had gone to a very expensive tattoo artist while in The Wilds and had a tattoo of flaming wings over a red star place just above her bare, smooth pussy. Above the wings was the word 'Crazy' in ancient Lycavorian block lettering. The tattoo made that area of her body extremely sensitive, yet neither Malic nor the three men that had shared her bed since getting the tattoo had ever noticed in the least. The only one to have done that was Teeria, the female friend who had encouraged her to get the tattoo. Teeria had explored that area of Sadi's body for hours and she had eagerly returned the action, surprising herself with her actions. It had been the only time she had shared a bed with a woman, but it was also the only time she had gotten any real pleasure as well. Even though they remained very close friends, they had both decided to never share a bed again after that one time, both of them claiming it had to do with the alcohol and nothing else serious.
"What you need to do is get dressed and leave so I can get ready for class Malic." Sadi spoke calmly.
"We've been seeing each other for three months now and you never let me stay Sadi!" He spoke as he reached down to grab his uniform pants. "Why is that?"
"Does it matter?" She spoke softly. "We have given each other pleasure Malic and that is all." Though the pleasure had always been his she didn't say.
"So that's why you don't let me cado forn?" He asked fastening his pants.
Sadi's jungle green eyes looked at him in shocked surprise. "Malic we are not a couple." She spoke in a surprised gasp. "We have never been a couple. We have shared each others warmth and company these last three months. There is nothing more than that. Why would I let you scent me?"
"Don't you want a mate Sadi?" He asked as he pulled on his shirt. "A future?"
"I will have these things Malic." She answered confidently. "I'll meet my Soulmate one day. I just don't want them right now. I want to finish the Academy and be assigned to a ship. Now ... please Malic I want you to leave."
"Soulmate?" Malic gasped with a chuckle. "You're waiting for a Soulmate? Sadi ... I never took you for the type to believe in something like that. That is from the old time ... the old ways."
Sadi glared at him. "Just because you choose to dismiss the ancient rituals and ways of our people does not mean I do!" Sadi snapped angrily.
"You will need to make a decision sooner or later. And I will not wait forever for you to make that decision!" He snapped just as harshly. "I'm leaving for Sparta tomorrow to become a member of the Durcunusaan, the Wolves of the Blood and then I intend to become a member of Mjolnir's Hand. They are still searching for three candidates to fill their ranks. I was hoping you would want to come with me." He spoke.
"As your mate or your possession Malic?" Sadi spoke quickly shaking her head. "I don't think so. And you never took the time to get to really know me Malic ... so of course you would not know that is how I think. There are many things about me you don't know Malic."
"What is my favorite color Malic?" Sadi asked.
"It's blue." Sadi replied. "What is my favorite scent?" Sadi asked quickly.
"Is this a test?" Malic asked harshly.
"Lavender and pines." Sadi answered instantly
Malic looked at her and smiled. "You are testing me."
Sadi shook her head slowly. "It is no test Malic. I'm making a point. All you have ever been concerned with is putting your cock inside me! You don't know what is in my mind. In my thoughts."
"I can't read minds Sadi!" He barked.
"No ... but my Soulmate will know what I want." Sadi spoke softly. "He will be able to read my moods and my body language and my scent. He will know exactly what I want. You might learn that someday Malic, if you meet the female who will teach you. I do not have the desire ... because you are not who I desire. I think we should just call it quits now Malic."
"What?" He snarled.
"Malic ... do I need to spell it out for you completely? It's over Malic ... I don't want to see you again. I'm sure you will have no trouble finding another female to share your bed with. You excel at that." Sadi spoke. "Now ... please leave."
"That's it?" He stammered.
Sadi nodded. "Yes ... that's it." She spoke calmly.
"You will find no one after I am gone." He snapped as he pulled on the fatigue shirt. "No one will..."
"Are you threatening me Malic?" She asked in a low voice as her eyes narrowed.
"Not at all." He answered. "I'm just letting you know that I'm the only option available for you right now." He told her smugly.
"And that I'm sure is because of the rumors you have been spreading? Telling everyone we are a couple when you know we aren't. Very adult of you by the way. And the men you associate yourself with are not the only men in the Union Malic." Sadi answered with a smile at the look on his face. "You don't actually think I'm that stupid do you? Did you think you would force me into becoming your mate?"
"Sadi ... I only..."
"Malic ... I'm sure you will find someone in the years ahead." Said spoke more gently now. "I am not that person however. You are far too insensitive and arrogant to suit my tastes."
"I won't forget this Sadi." He snapped his eyes angry. "And I'll make sure no one else will either!"
"I'm sure you will Malic. I don't have to show you the way out do I?" She snapped back. Sadi shook her head as he spun around and walked out of the bedroom in a huff carrying parts of his uniform, trying to display his muscular back and shoulders and impress her even as he walked out.
It had no effect on Sadi and she chuckled as she settled her firm bottom onto the foot of the bed sipping her coffee. She waited until she heard the door open and then close and then Sadi looked out the balcony door once more and saw the rising sun reflect off the clouds in the upper atmosphere giving off a beautiful reddish glow. The color reminded her of the pendant she wore and she gasped softly when she realized that the sky matched exactly the color of the pendant and the words Elynth had spoken to her that day came rushing back.
You have been chosen Sadi. He wants you to have this to remember him by. Take it. Elynth had told her.
Sadi had stared at the pendant for a long moment. Elynth it's ... it's beautiful. I can't take this. It is...
It is a Dragon's Heart Sadi. Androcles's pendant ... given to him when he was born by his parents. It was cut from their pendants and forged back together by my mother. I have split it once more at his request to give you half. It is a great honor among my kind and taken from one of my kind who has fallen if that is their wish. So that they may live on in others. My grandmother says the process is long and arduous, but once polished like this it never loses its luster. This one has been cut in two and he wishes you to have one half. Elynth spoke to her.
Sadi met her golden colored eyes. Elynth ... he is only eight months old.
Elynth stepped closer to Sadi, her golden eyes bright and clear. Do you truly believe that Sadi? Or has what happened here these last few days not mattered to you at all? You have seen and heard for yourself Sadi.
You know that is not true Elynth. She answered.
Take it Sadi. Elynth told her. If nothing else ... let it remind you of what we have shared here these last days and what he feels for you. What he will always feel for you. He is a child now yes ... but Androcles will be a man one day ... and who knows what the future holds for all of us. One day ... if you truly wish to discover love ... you ... wear this pendant always Sadi. Never take it off and the love you seek may one day just walk into your life without you ever being aware of it.
Sadi had looked at her and then leaned up slightly to kiss her cool snout scales. I will treasure it always. She spoke.
Sadi stared at the pendant now, the last part of their conversation sticking in her head as her fingers caressed the jewel. She did want to discover love and desire and happiness. Sadi wanted a man who would wrap her within his aura and love her so intensely it took her breath away. Perhaps it was time for her to stop denying what she had discovered those nights on the island and just allow her life to travel down the path she was meant for.
If the color of the morning sky was any indication, that path would take her to only one place and Sadi found that no longer frightened her in the least.
CAPITAL OF APO PRIME
APO PRIME UNIVERSITY
UNION HISTORY CLASS LEVEL 19
Lady Gorgo looked out over her class of students as they finished up with the instant quiz she had surprised them with. Her dark hair was as long and as shiny as it had been when she was the Queen of Sparta on Earth over three thousand years ago. Gorgo looked no more than forty-five standard earth years old, her figure just as shapely and curvaceous as it had been then, even after giving birth to eight children. Her mate and husband of nearly twenty five hundred years, First Admiral of the Union Fleet Riall, was always commenting her on how beautiful she was, and Gorgo couldn't help but grin as the memories of their torrid love making session just last night came back to her.
It seemed that ever since her son Martin had returned, ever since he had rescued her from the horrors of that prison so long ago, Riall's usually more sedate nature when making love had changed and he had become different. In the last twenty-five years he had been more intense, more loving and more spontaneous than she had ever known him to be. A small part of it she knew was his lingering guilt that he had slept with a clone of her for fifteen years and never known it, something that Gorgo had never held against him in the least. She had seen first hand the skill of the High Coven cloning process, and in the same position as him, she doubted she would have acted any different. She had thought perhaps after first discovering what he had done that she had lost him. He was despondent and would hardly speak as they traveled to Earth on the City Ship. All he could do as the hours past was slip slowly deeper into a depression that Gorgo didn't know if she could pull him out of. It wasn't until they had arrived at Thermopylae and Gorgo had seen the monument to her former husband that it had changed. Her son had made Riall swear to never stop loving her as he had done for so many years, and before her eyes Gorgo had seen the veil of depression lift from his face. His eyes had been so clear then and he had crushed her to him wrapping her within his powerful Alpha wolf aura as he pulled himself out of the abyss and swore to her son he would do this.
Now ... now Riall took her as if his very life and existence depended on it, making her scream out his name countless times before they collapsed exhausted and he wrapped her tightly within his arms and his aura. Gorgo had never felt more pleasure and love from him as she had in the last twenty-five years and it had only caused her to return it just as much, even going so far as to act like a giggling school girl at times. She had lost her beloved Leonidas so long ago, but that day at Thermopylae, before his tomb, her long dead mate had given back to her not only their son, but the love she had thought lost with Riall. They visited the monument to Leonidas often now, every time they were on Earth, and Riall had been with her every moment. It was not a time of sorrow any longer for her, and both of them relished in the time they spent there with each other. Her son, Martin Leonidas, had given back the instinctive nature to their people with his return that they had lost so long ago. Her son had given back to the Lycavorians their passion for life and the natural direction to follow the instincts that came with that passion. When Gorgo and Riall made love now, it was as if it was all brand new to them, supremely intense and incredibly passionate no matter how often it happened. They had both decided together long ago to not have any more children. The number of grandchildren they had seemed to increase almost every year now and neither of them wanted to take time away from their grandchildren to raise another child of their own.
Gorgo smiled to herself; at least not yet she thought to herself.
Twenty-eight grandchildren they had now. She had six beautiful children with Riall, three boys and three girls and between them they had fourteen of their twenty-eight grandchildren. Her son Martin and his Queens accounted for the remainder. Lisisa was the oldest in terms of years of Martin's children, but as far as Lisisa was concerned her life had only begun when her father had rescued her long ago. The same time that he had discovered his true mother.
Lisisa was half vampire, daughter to the High Coven Princess Yuri, but everyone had learned quickly that they were never to bring that up with her. Her wolf genes and skills were by far the more dominant and powerful and Lisisa considered herself all wolf. Martin's first born son Androcles Leonidas was next, and he was the one that all of them, including Lisisa, looked up to. He was now four months past his twenty-sixth birthday. Eliani Leonidas was her first granddaughter with Anja, born two months after Androcles's first birthday due to the shorter pregnancies common to Hadarians.
Her grandson Resumar came next with Dysea, three weeks after Eliani, followed in quick succession over the next five years by Denali with Aricia, Carina with Isabella, Arrarn with For'mya, Normya with Dysea and finally Zarah with Isabella once more. Gorgo had thought her son and his Queens done. She should have known better given the love they all had for each other. No more children arrived for seven years, and then almost immediately following each other Aricia and Anja gave birth to twins. Aricia a boy and girl, Nara and Deion; and with Anja came another boy and girl, Calyb and Retta; followed quickly by For'mya's second child ... a boy they called Bryon.
Two sets of sixteen year old twins and Bryon was now thirteen years old, and the loud sounds of teenagers and trumpeting dragon adolescents filled the Island Palace on Apo Prime once more. The Evolli war was now almost three years behind them, and all of them had been spending months on end together on the island since the war ended. And when they weren't on Apo Prime, they were in Sparta. And Gorgo fully expected another burst of grandchildren she thought to herself with some humor. Gorgo leaned back in her chair thinking that perhaps she would have to have a talk with her son and tell him enough was enough. It was well known he adored all his Queens, but the Island Palace was rapidly becoming very crowded. When all of them returned to the Island Palace to be together, which was as often as every other month for all but her older grandchildren, it was near impossible to have a conversation. Gorgo was also amazed at the closeness Martin's children had and maintained, no matter the distance between them. Normya had inherited her mother's devastatingly striking elven beauty with her long platinum blond hair and spectacular emerald green eyes, but she was also as stubborn and bull headed as her father even at only twenty-one years of age. Arrarn had inherited his father's handsome looks, but his elven mother's disposition, but there was no denying the fact that he and Normya were now the premier STRIKER DT Flight crews in the Union, behind only For'mya and Endith. It did help that both Arrarn and Normya had been instructed by For'mya and Endith since age ten, and Normya seemed to have inherited her mother's precognition skill within Mindvoice. Though Arrarn, Carina, Normya and Zarah were not bonded to dragons as their brothers and sisters were, the bonds that their siblings shared with their dragons easily encompassed them as well and made them better individuals.
Normya and Zarah were rarely seen apart, the two sisters born from Dysea and Isabella with only six hours between them, and they called each other twins. They shared an apartment in Gytheio, the Port of Sparta where their brother Androcles and most of their older siblings kept villas as well. Zarah was a touch promiscuous; having inherited her mother Isabella's incredible porcelain like beauty not to mention her incredibly lush figure and she had several young wolves pursuing her. Normya tempered that part of her sister a great deal as she was rather reserved and shy, while Zarah's openness allowed them to attract quite a bit of attention together. Resumar and Denali had grown in stature, almost matching their brother and father in build and skill while Carina was a beautiful black widow everyone called her because of her lethal abilities.
With the exception of Normya and Zarah, who did not fight in the Evolli war, Martin's older children had fought side by side with him through much of the six year long war. All of them had been baptized in combat, and all of them had come out of that better than when they went in, for they all now knew the full value of life and peace.
Aricia, Anja, Dysea, Isabella and For'mya had decided long ago there would be no distinction made between their children. All of them were considered mother by Martin's children regardless of who gave birth to them. What came from one mother came from them all, no matter who gave birth to them. It sometimes made the Netnews people crazy for at times they did not know who one child was talking about when referring to their mother. Gorgo knew they did it on purpose to confuse the Netnews reporters but they would do anything for their siblings and their mothers. Gorgo surmised that a small part of that might be the inbred instinct among Firespitter dragons in protecting their siblings and family. Isheeni and Aricia had been bonded so deeply and for so long, that the instinctive and natural protectiveness of her breed of dragon could very well have filtered down to her children and by virtue all of their children since they were all so close in not only body but spirit as well. Twenty-six years had passed now since the son she had thought lost had returned to his people and saved her own life.
It still amazed her that she could go just halfway across Tuya and be able to gaze into the face and eyes of the very first man she had ever loved. Martin was the image of his father, of Leonidas, the King of Sparta and while she loved Riall now, with all that she was, perhaps even more intensely that her former mate, Leonidas would always have a place in her heart. Having their only surviving son within easy reach kept Gorgo grounded and always aware of the gift of renewed love that she had with Riall. It also served to chase away the memories of the betrayal and hatred she felt at what else they had discovered in those first weeks and months back on Earth.
The utter betrayal of her own flesh and blood.
Gorgo did not often think of that day five months after returning to Earth. When she did it filled her with hatred and anger. That a son of her own blood could betray their people in such a way disgusted her to the extreme. Many knew and had witnessed what occurred that day outside the Senate Acropolis, and even now that colossal battle still brought forth many discussions. Martin had discovered most of how it had come to be with Armetus's help, but he had shared that information with no one but the man he considered his brother, if not by blood then by actions and experiences. Though he loved his half brothers, Martin Leonidas had only one true brother, his Mard Fervon. Daniel Simpson would hold that distinction until death took them all into its embrace.
Gorgo let her eyes wander to the timer as the chime for changing classes drew closer and she brought her thoughts back to the present. She would give them another minute she thought as her dark eyes scanned the huge half empty classroom. There were only two hundred and twelve students in this class, mainly because of the advanced nature of the course and because it was made up mostly of cadets from the Union Fleet Academy. Gorgo had taught this class for nearly nine hundred years and it was only in the last decade that it had become a prerequisite for cadets in the Academy. She had taken a much more active role as an instructor for the Union Fleet Academy at Riall's request; he had said the cadets lacked a proper knowledge of history and he could think of no one better suited than her to teach that. Gorgo also knew it was a way for him to remain close to her during their six month stays on Apo Prime, and they met for lunch as often as their schedules allowed. Gorgo's only demands were that she be allowed to teach at the University and not the Fleet school which was very cramped and no where near as modern and that she would not have to wear her reserve Fleet Uniform.
Her dark eyes settled on the stunning young blond woman in the fourth row of seats, for Gorgo knew exactly who Sadi was.
When Sadi had first appeared in her class, Gorgo had made some discrete inquires as to what she had been doing in the years since that night, and what she found had impressed her. Gorgo had to admit, Sadi was exceptionally intelligent, and unless she stopped coming to class, Sadi would be one of the few that would receive a perfect grade from Gorgo. That action alone would be considered amazing since Lady Gorgo was not known for being an easy grader. In the twelve hundred years she had taught here, only nine students had received a perfect grade in her class, Sadi would make number ten. Sadi was a brilliant student, and from what she had heard from Riall and Benjamin O'Connor, she was going to make a fine officer one day as well as an exceptional pilot. Gorgo also knew Sadi's long and clouded history, and to see how far she had come since then made Gorgo very happy. The only thing that worried her was the alleged fact that Sadi had a rather unsavory reputation as being easy to get into bed. Whether that was true or not remained to be seen for she always seemed the proper young lady in class, reserved, quiet and her uniform in perfect condition. Gorgo was well aware of how young male wolves loved to boast of their conquests, or lack there of, and personally she didn't believe any of what was said in regards to Sadi.
Gorgo took a deep breath. "Very well ... time is up!" She spoke loudly but firmly as she came to her feet. "Please insert your pads into the readers."
Gorgo's keen eyes watched as her students did this. It was force of habit she knew; for it was well known to get caught cheating in Lady Gorgo's class meant immediate and summary expulsion from the Fleet Academy and the University, a black mark that would forever stain their records. "Everyone take a deep breath and release it!" She said with a smile. "It was only a quiz, not the final. That will be exceedingly harder I'm happy to say!" Gorgo heard the gathered students groan together and she smiled.
"Now before you all go and get bevennorn, I will remind all Fleet Academy Cadets that the transport for the trip to Sparta departs at 0700 sharp tomorrow morning. I expect all of you accompanying me to be present in at least some manner of sobriety please." Gorgo spoke as laughter drifted among the students. (Stinking drunk)
"What is the Operational Plan Lady Gorgo?" A young male cadet spoke up obviously trying to impress someone.
Gorgo smiled and waggled her hand in the air. "Cadet Demroni, I am not an active part of the military, and even though I do have a reserve commission I do not recognize that very often, so if you would use normal language with me I would sincerely appreciate it. I do not spend nearly enough time around my son and grandsons to pick up and understand your military use of words and grammar, jargon I believe it is called ... thank the gods. My mate Riall knows to speak normally when in my company. It's terrible the way you have tortured simple language. I would much rather speak with his Queens ... at least them I can understand. And they are so much more pleasant to be around."
That brought more laughter from the students and Gorgo moved around to sit on the front edge of her large desk.
"It is my understanding of the itinerary as it stands right now, that we will depart Apo Prime tomorrow morning and rendezvous with a LEONIDAS II-Class Strike Cruiser and its Strike Wing the following evening near Earth Gate Three Nine." She saw the eyes of many of the cadets get much brighter at this news, as the LEONIDAS II Strike Cruisers were consider the crème de le crème of the fleet's ships, especially if they had the refits over the last five years.
"I do not know exactly which one it will be, so don't ask that question." She said with a smile and raised hand. "I can only assume after talking with my son last week before he left for Earth, that it will either be his ship MJOLNIR'S HAND or my grandson's ship the SCIMITAR. It seems both of them are currently along the border of The Wilds taking part in some rather boring training exercise if I understand correctly, and they will be closest to Gate Three Nine." She spoke smiling. "We will travel the remaining two days on their ship until we arrive on Earth. I know I don't have to remind you that Admiral O'Connor has already explained to you what not to do and where not to go on these particular ships, so please follow his instructions. The Durcunusaan can be quite overprotective at times.
"We will be assigned our own quarters for the duration of our stay in Sparta. There will be several days of classes..." Gorgo smiled once more at the moans. "Then you will have the remainder of the time to go where you wish. I understand that Earth Sector Commander, Star Colonel Isra of Mjolnir's Hand, will be giving you one class of instruction Cadets; Admiral Wallace, the Commander of EDEN Base will be giving a class on tactics for the Cadets and Earth Sector Security Chief General/Colonel Lynwe will be giving a brief demonstration in regards to some of the new weapons systems we have developed over the past few years for the Cadets. Earth is usually the testing ground for these types of things since the population is so widely spread out. It is also my understanding that President Turner and Prime Minister Selene will be covering some brief information for all of you when you first arrive, as well as teaching several lessons on the history of Earth for those of you who are not cadets over the course of our visit. Vice President Aihola and Sparta's Lieutenant Governor Tarifa will also be giving instruction on the history of Sparta and Eden City for all those who are interested. This should be all of you by the way." Gorgo stated matter of factly.
"Lady Gorgo ... is the rumor that we will be able to participate in a training exercise with Mjolnir's Hand true?" Another Cadet asked.
"That I don't know." Gorgo answered quickly. "Colonel Isra will be able to answer that for you when we arrive. It will depend; I'm very sure, on how many members of Mjolnir's Hand are present on Earth at the time. I do know however, that after the graduation ceremony at Thermopylae on our third day, there is a State Dinner that all of you will be expected to attend in full dress uniform. And do please be on your best behavior. The following day the King has already offered to allow those cadets who wish to "take a ride on a dragon" is how he put it, to take part in that. The evening of the sixth day, we will have the unprecedented experience of witnessing the Harmony of Two Hearts Ceremony, the ritual mating ceremony for dragons. I have heard it is quite spectacular and very romantic in a way. The schedule will be very open for adjustments or length of stay depending on what the King decides, but as it stands we will remain on Earth for at least two weeks."
"Will any of the Princes be at the State Dinner Lady Gorgo?" A female Cadet shouted out from further up in her rows.
Gorgo chuckled as all the female cadets laughed and all the males shook their heads. The sons of Martin Leonidas were the most sought after Alpha wolves anywhere in the Union. "My grandsons always attend State Dinners if they are available, and since they usually all travel together, I'm sure Androcles, Resumar, Denali and Arrarn will all be there."
The chime signaling the end of class sounded loudly and Gorgo stood up shouting over the noise of moving students. "I will see all of you in the morning! Don't be late!"
Gorgo stood by her desk smiling and exchanging small greetings with her students as they filed out quickly. As Sadi came up even with her, she reached out and touched her arm. "Cadet Sadi, a moment of your time please if you would?"
Sadi looked puzzled as she stepped to the side and she followed Gorgo back to her desk. Gorgo waited for the mass of students to leave before looking at the puzzled cadet.
"Sadi ... I noticed that your name is not on the list for the trip tomorrow." Gorgo spoke as she sat down.
"No Lady Gorgo. I was going to use the time off from classes to help my father at the plant in our district." Sadi answered.
"When was the last time you spoke to your father child?" Gorgo asked with a smile.
"Yesterday morning. Why?" Sadi answered.
"I happen to know for a fact that your father was invited to attend the dinner in Sparta just this morning, and he will be traveling with Senator L'tian's delegation. He didn't tell you?" Gorgo asked.
Sadi blushed slightly under her tan. "I didn't tell him about the trip Lady Gorgo. And I was running late this morning and haven't talked to him yet as I said."
"This could be an excellent experience for you Sadi." Gorgo said meeting her eyes. "And if I'm not mistaken you have never been to Sparta or Earth before have you?"
"No Milady." She replied.
"May I ask why you don't wish to go? And please don't tell me it's because you choose to work in your father's plant over a trip to Sparta. I can smell a fabrication from ten kilometers away young lady, especially one as weak as that." Gorgo asked.
Sadi shifted on the balls of her feet. "It's rather personal Milady."
"Male trouble I take it?" Gorgo said with a knowing smile as she stood up. "He's going and you are welcome for the break from his constant nagging."
"We've only been seeing each other for three months Lady Gorgo. He is going to Sparta to apply to become a Durcunusaan. He hopes to become a member of Mjolnir's Hand." Sadi spoke softly. "He wants to settle down or at least his version of it and he keeps wanting to scent me ... and ... I ended it this morning. He didn't take it very well."
"You don't wish a relationship at this time." Gorgo said.
"I want a relationship Lady Gorgo. I want a mate ... a Soulmate ... and many children and the happiness that comes with that. Just not with Malic. He is far too pompous and arrogant for my taste." Sadi said quickly, her hand unconsciously going up to where she wore the pendant around her neck and she squeezed it tightly through her uniform jacket. "He's like a bad dream and ... he..."
"Keeps coming back?" Gorgo said with a chuckle.
Sadi laughed as she looked at her. "Yes. Malic isn't bad Lady Gorgo ... he's handsome and all ... but sometimes his ego gets in the way of how he acts. And he is ... he is not the man I want to live the rest of my life with."
Gorgo smiled noticing that she was gripping something under her uniform. "You have no worries Sadi ... and you forget who my granddaughter is." She said with a chuckle. "If there is a slang that originated on Earth that Eliani Leonidas doesn't know ... it doesn't exist. Much like her mother and father I'm afraid. You should hear the two of them go at it." Gorgo took her hand. "You don't wish to settle down with this male then?"
Sadi shook her head quickly. "I believe he wants to scent me because it would look better on his application for the Durcunusaan. He is not who I want to spend my life with as I said."
"Is there someone?" Gorgo asked.
Sadi nodded just as quickly. "Yes ... I ... I haven't met him yet however. At least I don't think I have."
Gorgo looked at her. "You don't think you have?"
Sadi looked at her shyly. Their people were not shy Sadi knew, in particular the females when they set their minds to something. Lady Gorgo was considered a matriarch of sorts to the Lycavorian people because of her status as the King's mother. She was always warm and open and Sadi felt completely comfortable with her. "Lady Gorgo is it crazy to dream about a man you have never met. To see him ... to gaze into his eyes but not see the rest of his face? To almost feel his touch upon you even though you have never been together?"
Gorgo smiled and shook her head. "There is much you will experience that others will not because of whom you are and what you have seen in your life Sadi. I know very well your history and the events of that night Sadi. Your Mindvoice skills will allow you to sense things most would not. Never forget what you have learned child. You have been touched by a dragon ... and that makes you special. In time you will come to see how." Gorgo told her. "As for what you have seen in your dreams ... perhaps you know his eyes but do not know what this man looks like now because you have not seen him in so many years?"
Sadi nodded slowly though she stared intently at Gorgo for a long quiet moment. It was almost as if she knew. "Yes ... perhaps that is it."
"There is still time to apply for the trip. I will reserve a spot for you on the transport just in case you change your mind. You might be surprised what you find in going to Sparta, and it has grown and I doubt very much the chances of seeing this male all the time are great. It is a wondrous city ... with a great deal to do and see. Think about it ... you never know what you might discover." Gorgo spoke.
Sadi smiled brilliantly. "I ... I will. Thank you Lady Gorgo."
ROYAL ISLAND PALACE
3.2 KILOMETERS FROM SHORELINE OF MAIN PALACE ESTATE
He missed Sparta.
The smell of pines in the morning breeze or the sea whispering across his villa on Cranae Island could always put him at ease. The sounds of the great port city of Gytheio rising to the sun every morning was like music to his ears.
The Royal Island Palace of Apo Prime had itself remained the same, though it had been expanded a great deal over the years. The island was still twenty square kilometers of lush forests and streams that came down from the single ten thousand foot peak that dotted the very northern edge of the island, creating cliffs a thousand meters down to the surface of the lake below and forming a natural majestic view. It had once been connected to the main land estate to the east by a hundred meter wide, 3.2 kilometer long bridge. After the events of so long ago and the attacks on the island itself, his father had the bridge removed. The only way to approach the island now was either by dragon or water lifter. If an unannounced Air Lifter came within three kilometers of the island it was immediately given one warning. If it did not respond it was shot down. The only ones who rode dragons were members of the Royal family or members of Mjolnir's Hand, and they were the only ones the Durcunusaan allowed near the island now without question. This was their home when not in Sparta, and his father and his mothers had deemed this their refuge. They spent quite a bit of time at the main land estate working when they were on Apo Prime, but the island was where they went to get away and be with family and friends. He had never once heard any of their people complain of this arrangement, and he had spent much of his younger years before leaving for Sparta within the markets of Tuya listening and observing the thousands that passed through them every day.
Many said he was the mirror image of his father Martin Leonidas, just as he was the image of his own father. He was an inch shorter than his father's six foot two, two hundred and thirty-eight pound frame, and he topped the scales at only two hundred and twenty pounds, but there was no denying they both were the poster children for Spartans as Eliani had once called them. The muscle definition in their bodies was as if they had been sculpted from marble itself in its fine detail. His skin was deeply tanned, his hair was raven black and unlike his father's shoulder length hair, he wore his cut very short. He had a mustache and goatee, while his father now sported a very neatly trimmed beard and mustache. Androcles had to admit, they did look like brothers, but he had his mother's eyes and that is what set him apart. The azure blue orbs could be deep and foreboding or they could twinkle in mischief. They could be void of any emotion, or they could almost glow in certain lights with the volume of wisdom and sentiment of what Androcles had experienced in his young life already.
He stood on the balcony of his private apartment along the inner perimeter of the palace's defensive wall wearing only a pair of loose white pants with crimson trim down the legs. His upper body was bare except for the tattoo on his abdomen and the coral red pendant he wore around his neck. He and his older siblings had similar apartments that they occupied when they were here so as not to have the main palace itself overflowing with people and to give them some privacy. Each apartment was within fifty meters of the main palace, and no matter how many of them were on the island at any given time, they always ate together in the main gathering room in the palace. He could now easily hear the echoes of his nickname already from his younger brothers and sisters as they ran through the main palace looking for him.
Androcles Leonidas had grown up hating that name as a boy, but now he had come to covet it. No one referred to him as Androcles except for his grandmothers and his mothers when they were angry with him. He had been born in Sparta, the city of his grandfather but had spent the first thirteen years of his very active life shuttling between Apo Prime and Sparta, studying almost endlessly with his grandmothers Gorgo and Dasha. He had an appetite for knowledge that only Eliani, Carina and Zarah could match. Androcles had been trained from boyhood by his father and uncles to such an extent that when he departed for Earth and Sparta to enter his Agoge at thirteen, the now thirty-six month long course had been child's play. He had however been treated mercilessly as the King's son and Crown Prince, for he was subjected to far more demanding, unyielding, arduous and sometimes violent training then any of the others in the course, and not once had a complaint spilled from his lips. While not the very ancient and exceptionally brutal Agoge of his grandfather's time; Androcles Leonidas had not come away unscathed from this training. He still bore the small scars from training with the Nehtes and Shi Viskas and he bore them as his father and his grandfather had before him, with honor and pride. He had wanted to follow in his father's actions and adorn his body with the flame tattoos that he wore, but at his father's suggestion, he now sported only the large flaming bird on his chiseled abdomen.
He had been sixteen the first time he saw combat, the same age as his father had been and only three weeks after completing his Agoge. A small border disruption with a band of Kochab mercenaries hunting on a planet within the Union had erupted. That action had lasted only a week, but it was during that week where he and Elynth had fought and killed together for the first time. The night on the island palace had not counted as they were together only in mind and Elynth had fought alongside Sadi and his uncle Andreus. If not for the counseling of his father, Torma and Arzoal through that long period, Androcles was quite sure he would never have lifted a weapon again after his actions during that period as inept as they were. It turned out his actions then was only a prelude to the much larger Evolli War less than two years later. A war that would forever shape him as a man.
The Evolli Triad War had lasted for almost six years, many of the battles taking place on the surface of planets that Androcles had never been to or heard of before. It was here that he and Elynth had their true baptism under fire and they learned what his father and her father Torma had learned long ago.
In order to save life, sometimes you had to take life. And do so quite violently in fact.
The Evolli Consortium politicians were upset about a recent trade contract that his Aunt Deia and his elven mother Dysea had revoked from them, and they had savagely invaded several small planets along the outskirts of Union territory thinking that his father and mothers would allow them this action in some sort of recompense. His father and elven mother had been incensed and almost six years later, with the complete obliteration of their armed forces and fleet, the Evolli learned how wrong they were as they surrendered unconditionally. He had been under the command of General Vengal for the first three years of that war, the elven father of his adopted Aunt Anuk, and one of the most ferocious men, Elves or Lycavorians that Andro had ever met. At the beginning of the fourth year he had been given a small command of his own, and at the tender age of twenty-one Androcles Leonidas had forged a name for himself as someone you did not want to face in combat. Together with Elynth and his sisters Eliani and Lisisa and his two younger brothers Denali and Resumar; they had blazed a path of victories across nine planets, to include a massive space battle a year before the last battle of the war that had earned him the right to have his own LEONIDAS II-Class Strike Cruiser. Many thought it was a reward for his actions on Alba Tau ... but everyone in the Fleet knew otherwise from published reports of what he had done during that space battle.
Androcles then helped his father to plan and then brilliantly execute to precision, every portion of the battle that ended the war. It was during the last year of that war that his sister Carina joined them in the fighting making a name for herself with a daring raid and his friend Moneus at her side. Androcles smiled to himself for that night had seen Moneus fall head over heels in love with his sister and she with him. His brother Arrarn had become his STRIKER DT pilot and was now known for his amazing skills at flying as well as fighting. Androcles had not returned to Apo Prime for more than a few days at a time since the end of The Evolli War, preferring the much slower pace of Sparta to the hustle and bustle of Apo Prime and the capital of Tuya.
Androcles wore the bridle of a Shi Viska of silver royalty, the emblazoned inverted 'V' painted in crimson on the face of his shield like his father. Unlike his father, who had come to love and become a master of the Nehtes, Andro preferred two swords. They had been forged and shaped for him from the very unique and special Dragon Armor and honed to lethal razor sharpness with precision laser treatments by the same elven weapons master who the Nehtes was named for in Sparta. It was said that watching him wield those two swords in battle with Elynth beside him was a sight not seen since his father and Torma had waded into battle together on Enurrua to rescue his mother. Together during the final ground battle of the Evolli War, he and Elynth had accounted for over a hundred and eighty-three dead themselves. While his sisters and father had fought beside them, only his father and Torma had come close to that. The swords were lethal extensions of his arms, and they moved with a speed that could not be tracked with the normal eye. Androcles had even named them... Halize Rie Aellseleum and Iphan Rie Aellseleum. The Hammer and Anvil of Justice. Combined with his ever growing abilities to unleashed staggering psychic bolts from his hands, and his unmatched unarmed combat skills, many did not doubt that one day he would surpass his father in skill and recognition.
This was not something Androcles aspired to in any way however, for while everyone knew and saw one side of his father, Androcles and his brothers and sisters saw the other side of his father. They saw the side that nuzzled and caressed and kissed all of their mothers with love and utter devotion, the side that took time to play with all of them as they grew, never favoring one over the other. The side of his father that taught all of them to honor and love one another as siblings. To never let anything come between them as family, no matter what it was. Andro and all of his siblings, they did not distinguish who their birth mothers were. It was obvious on most of them, but as far as they were concerned they had five mothers and one father and they loved them all equally just as he and his brothers and sisters were loved equally. What orders or directions came from one, came from them all, so closely bound together that they were as a family. That was the side of his father that many did not see. The side of compassion and honor and trust.
It was that side of his father, and that side of Torma that had reached out somehow and bound him and Elynth together so tightly even before he had been born. Unknown to almost everyone, Androcles had become fully aware while still within his mother's womb and then fully cognitive of what was going on around him at only two months of age. He was aware of everything, and Elynth had become his projection of sorts of that awareness. Their minds, like their parents minds, had become one, only in a much more developed and deeper connection than their parents shared. It was almost as if there was no difference between them or their thoughts. Elynth was not only his Bonded Dragon sister, but more importantly she was also his most cherished and trusted friend, and in some fashion they were almost lovers with the depth of the connection that they shared.
[Andro ... I am truly touched by such thoughts ... but I don't think you could survive a mating session with me. You should remain with your own kind, for I have heard the noises of rapture some of them make in your arms.] You will have to be content with our bond my brother. Elynth's voice echoed playfully in his head, powerfully shielded as they always were when they wanted privacy.
Androcles couldn't help but laugh at her words. [I may have been over thinking that a bit huh?]
Elynth chuckled within their connection from where she was in the Dragon Mountain on the other side of the palace. [I will treasure the thought behind the words however my brother. And know that I do feel the same as you.]
Androcles sipped the strong brew of his mother's coffee in the mug and turned back to look into his bedroom just as the twin doors flew open and his five younger teenaged brothers and sisters burst in screaming his name in enthusiasm. He smiled as the black haired female in his bed let out her own scream of surprise as she sat up in his bed, clutching the sheet to her naked chest as she watched the three boys and two girls practically tackle their older brother to the ground inside the bedroom, only his strength keeping him from spilling his mug of coffee.
"When did you get home?"
"Why didn't you wake us?"
"Did you fight anyone?"
"Is Elynth with you?"
Androcles laughed at the rapid fire questions. "Whoa ... what's with all the questions?" He asked holding Calyb against one leg and his sister Nara curled around his arm while trying not to spill his coffee.
The younger female of the two sets of twins crossed her arms over her chest and tossed her rust colored hair back over her shoulder as he had seen his mother Anja do so often. "You haven't been home in over eight months Andro." Fifteen year old Retta Leonidas stated formally as if scolding him. "What did you expect?"
"Retta ... we did not get in until very late." Androcles replied smiling at her. "You know that our mother For'mya would have been angry if I woke you then."
"Not late enough it looks like." Retta spoke turning to look at the female in the bed.
Androcles heard the female in his bed snort in indignation at her words and he ignored her as he leaned forward and planted a big kiss on Retta's cheek. "I understand that there is no school today because we are leaving for Sparta. Why don't you guys go wake up Eli, Lisisa and Carina. They are home, as well as Denali and Resumar. Arrarn, Normya and Zarah are getting the Dragon Transport ready for departure and meeting grandmother. They will meet us at the base in three hours. Go wake them up for me and we'll have breakfast together before we head to the SCIMITAR."
Androcles stood back up and looked at the young woman in the bed as they all turned and headed for the door sesning their brother wanted to get rid of the young woman in his bed.
"Do they always burst into your bedroom unannounced?" She asked almost arrogantly. She was the oldest daughter of one of the senior professors at the Apo Prime University, and while very beautiful, she sometimes allowed her arrogance from her schooling to show through as she was doing right now. She had appeared at the Island Palace Water Lifter within an hour of Androcles returning and as his older siblings rolled their eyes and laughed at him, he had allowed her to come to the island.
Androcles lifted his mug and sipped his coffee. "They are my brothers and sisters." He spoke. "I do not hide from them, and they come first in my life Ulana, you should know that by now."
"Even over your privacy?" Ulana asked haughtily.
Androcles chuckled. "Especially over my privacy." He said moving to the edge of the bed, his hand reaching up to stroke the coral red pendant unconsciously as he had since he was a boy.
"I thought you might delay your trip to Sparta and stay here with me." Ulana spoke hopefully. "There is a gathering at the University that I wanted you to attend with me."
Androcles looked at her keenly and finally shook his head. "We come from two different worlds Ulana, and I have no intention of ever changing. I am not a prize that you can parade around to your friends Ulana. I don't even care for many of them to be honest with you. They will never know what true sacrifice is ... and while that is not their fault ... they will never be like me nor I like them. My father and mothers taught me ... blood before all else. You should find someone who will give you what you want Ulana, for I am not that person." He said. "My blood burns for only one ... and I'm sorry ... that is not you."
Ulana looked surprised as she came to her knees holding the sheet over her. "Are you dismissing me Androcles Leonidas? After what we have shared?"
Androcles shook his head once more. "Not at all. I'm simply giving you a graceful way out." He spoke calmly. "And what we have shared is the warmth and pleasures of each other's company, nothing more. We are not compatible outside of this bed Ulana ... and to be honest ... I truly don't want to be. I will find what I seek in the future. I'm sorry."
"You still insist on finding that female your sisters keep talking about!" Ulana barked. "What is her name?"
Andro looked at her. "Her name is Sadi. And yes ... I will have her one day. She is my Anome."
"Your Anome?" Ulana spoke. "Andro ... how many people actually find their Soulmate? You can't believe this woman is her if you have never met her."
Andro looked at her and smiled. "If only you knew Ulana. If only you knew." He spoke. "You must be open minded and have faith Ulana. Something you do not have."
The young woman gathered the sheet tightly around her and pushed off the bed rather quickly. She glared at him with dark eyes. "You know something ... for a Crown Prince ... you are exceptionally strange! You don't even act like royalty!"
Androcles smiled. "I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you." He got to his feet. "I'll make sure Bren sees you safely back to your father's home Ulana."
Ulana glared at him for a long moment before walking out of the room in a huff. It took her only a few moments to dress and gather her few things. She attempted to find him once more to try and make amends but he was already gone. He had that knack, disappearing almost into thin air. Ulana made her way out of the apartment and glanced towards the palace when she heard the adolescent dragons trumpeting. She shook her head and began the walk towards the Lifter docks. As she turned the corner onto the path that would take her there she stopped when she saw the three females.
Eliani, Lisisa and Carina Leonidas still wore their sleeping clothes, which only amounted to simple shirts for Eliani and Lisisa, Carina wearing an almost see through thin robe. Ulana had been stunned at the openness of the Leonidas family the first time she had spent the night here, her arrogant modesty taking several hits that following morning as not only his sisters, but his mothers and father were very open and free.
Eliani Leonidas was the picture of her mother Anja if only a little taller. She was part Hadarian thanks to her mother's genes, but no one doubted where her heart was. Eliani had made frequent trips back to Hadaria over the years after her Ascension, some with her mother Anja, and some on her own as she got older. She loved Hadaria but like her mother she hated the fact her mother's Aunt and Uncle always nagged her to return home and stay. To take a more active part in the Hadarian way of life. They could not seem to understand that Eliani was far more wolf than Hadarian, like her younger brother and sister, and very much like her mother. Some say she was the exact copy of her mother in terms of temperament and the ability to endlessly string the one liner comments together to express her displeasure at things. Eliani, like Androcles and most of her brothers and sisters, preferred Sparta to Apo Prime. The city was beautiful and situated between mountain ranges on three sides. Eliani was a powerful Healer, touched with the same skill as her mother and Aunt Sivana and able to draw on life all around her to aid her power, but she would never be as strong as her mother or Aunt Sivana in that regard.
Eliani liked to fight, she liked the rush of action and the feeling of freedom flying with Tharua gave to her. She had been five years old during one of their six month stays in Sparta, and while visiting the Mindvoice ship and dragon cave there with her mother to heal some sick hatchlings, Eliani had accidentally bumped into the mahogany colored female dragon with copper colored eyes.
Tharua was the second oldest to her sister Syrilth, who had once been bonded to a Lycavorian who had treated her brutally. He had forced her to serve him by threatening the un-hatched eggs that held her brothers and sisters. Eliani's mother Aricia had finally ended the man's dominance over her by rescuing all the eggs that were her siblings and Tharua had then watched along with her older sister Syrilth as the King and his dragon had judged that man. The dragon Elder mother Arzoal had bestowed upon Syrilth a position of honor for her actions, and though Syrilth had taken the lives of others while serving that vile man, those sins had been forgiven as she willingly remained on Earth and established another haven for the dragons of the Union. It was not uncommon now to see dragons flying among the clouds on Earth and with her new found freedom; Tharua had thrown herself with glee into her new role as sister to a Dragon Elder.
Until Eliani came along.
That first touch, accidental though it was, had amazingly activated a true psychic bond between them, and as her mother Anja watched in stunned silence, Eliani and Tharua became one with each other. They had not been apart since. Their temperaments blended so well together that it shocked all who didn't know them.
As for Tharua ... from the moment the bond between her and the then child Eliani had activated ... Tharua discovered true freedom and love and friendship. All she had been denied for the first five years of her life with the exception of her siblings had become hers that day, and Tharua was viciously protective of Eliani, her bonded sister ... and her beloved friend. With a proper psychic bond of love and friendship, Tharua had discovered the true potential of what she could do, and she was now considered one of the strongest pure Firespitters outside of Isheeni, her sister and several others. She had grown into a beautiful female dragon, strong and lean and muscular and was sought after by many males dragons, all of whom she had rebuffed repeatedly. She had her sights set on only one male dragon, and Tharua could only hope the Elder Council of Earth would allow her to mate.
Eliani turned her face towards her sister Lisisa. Her half sister really, for Lisisa also had the blood of a vampire running through her. She was the daughter of her father and the High Coven Princess Yuri, conceived in a time long forgotten. Her father and mother had saved Lisisa long ago, and she had returned to Apo Prime with them and begun a new life. It wasn't easy at first, but the love her father and all her mothers had shown her, and the bond she so cherished with Jeth had given her the strength and determination to go on. Lisisa was over five hundred years old, but as she told everyone now, her life did not begin until their father had saved her, so she considered herself reborn. Her bond with Jeth had grown powerful through the years even as Jeth grew to almost match his father in size. They were now recognized as one of the four or five most powerful Bonded Pairs outside of their father and Andro, who were widely considered the most powerful. She and Eliani were as close as two sisters could be, and were often seen together shopping or flirting with the male wolves together. There were times when they gathered their sisters Carina, Normya and Zarah with them, and then they really shook Tuya with their antics.
To Eliani, Lisisa was the epitome of exotic and sensual beauty with her long black hair, and forest green eyes. They were the same height at five foot three, and had essentially the same luscious curves that attracted the males in droves, though Lisisa breasts were much larger than Eliani's own full breasts. Carina was just down right gorgeous as she had her father's eyes and their mother Isabella's lush, dark brown almost black hair. Her figure was lean and firm with medium sized breasts that, though considerably smaller than her sisters, were just as firm and pronounced. Carina was taller than both of them by three inches and her vampire and wolf genes combined made her an exceptionally deadly young woman. She had only fought in the Evolli War during the last year, but the four missions she had been on were anything but simple and easy. They may have been their father's daughters and sons, and he would bluster and shout about protecting them, but he would not hesitate to send them into battle when they were needed.
The physical relationship that their mothers shared with each other had caused Eliani, Carina, Normya, Zarah and Lisisa to accept that to be as natural as anything. As children, Eliani and her sisters had interrupted their mothers on several occasions in the midst of passionate encounters when their father wasn't present, and they hadn't blinked an eye, ushering them back off to bed before returning to their activities. They had slept in the same bed with them as children when they had been frightened, sometimes all of them there including their father.
Eliani shared that intimacy now with another woman, and it was immensely pleasurable for her and not something she shied away from in the least. She had found real love and caring with her pureblood vampire lover and Nyla Sinthe was a ravishing beauty as far as Eliani was concerned. In the four years they had been together, they had made each other scream out in pleasure quite often. Eliani had had men before Nyla had come into her life, and they had brought men into their bed after they were together, but none of those men had reached that part of her and Nyla wanted them to reach. None of those men had been able to touch her and Nyla emotionally as her father touched her mothers. As with most of her sisters, many were simply attempting to get close to their father the King in some way. Those their brothers did not chase off, especially Andro as he was fiercely protective of all of them, their father took care of quickly. A deep and loving relationship had blossomed quickly between Eliani and Nyla quite out of the blue and neither of them could deny it for long, nor did they want to. Eliani still very much wanted to have children of her own, as did Nyla, but she and Nyla had decided together the man who claimed them had to be unique. They wanted only one man, a strong and proud Spartan who would worship and love them both for they had no intention of ending their love or relationship with each other. He had to be like Eliani's father in that he was not threatened by the love shared between the two of them. They were both content to wait as long as it was necessary to find that one man, for they had each other to explore and play with.
Ulana looked at Androcles three oldest sisters. "Have you come to gloat now that your brother has dismissed me from his life?" She snapped.
Lisisa shook her head slowly. "No Ulana ... not at all." She spoke softly. "We came to wish you the best with Nolar."
Ulana's face showed her surprise and her embarrassment. "Nolar?" She spoke. "What ... what does he have to do with this?"
"Do you actually think Andro didn't know about Nolar?" Carina asked sweetly. "Our brother is not as big a fool as you think him to be Ulana."
Eliani stepped forward. "We came to say goodbye and good luck Ulana." She spoke evenly. "And to give you a warning."
Ulana glared at her now. "You mean a threat?"
"We don't make threats Ulana." Lisisa spoke moving closer to her, Carina following her lead.
"You are an arrogant and pompous upaee Ulana." Eliani spoke bluntly. "We tolerated you because Andro seemed to like your company, though I can't fathom why. Now that he has decided that the two of you are not going to work out, we want to make sure you know that returning to your life and spreading rumors about him would not be wise. We would take it personal if something like that were to occur."
"You will never understand our brother Ulana." Carina said evenly. "There is only one woman who holds that distinction, and she will discover it soon enough."
"He is our brother Ulana ... and we will protect him." Lisisa spoke softly. "We want to make sure you understand that any malicious lies that might pop up suddenly because he has dismissed you as you say will not be tolerated. We know how vindictive you can be. Go back to Nolar and live a good, happy life."
"Do the three of you always do this to the women in his life?" Ulana barked.
Eliani chuckled. "You are lucky it's just us here. Elynth didn't care for you in the least, and she is far more protective of him than we are. Just be lucky she didn't come to send you off."
"I have never had any malicious intentions. Your brother is a hero to our people just as your father is. No one would believe me anyway." Ulana defended herself. "I just ... I just don't understand what he sees in this Sadi female. She ... she can't be like me?"
Lisisa looked at Eliani and rolled her eyes. "No Ulana ... she is not like you." Lisisa said finally. "She is far more than you will ever be, and that is not entirely your fault. Do not take it as such ... she is just very different."
"At least do me the favor of telling me who she is. The three of you must know." Ulana said.
"At the moment she is a cadet in the Fleet Academy." Carina answered. "That will soon change I imagine."
"Then again maybe not." Eliani said with a smile. "She's very strong willed."
"He would choose a cadet in the fleet over me?" Ulana asked not really believing it.
Lisisa smiled and shrugged her shoulders. "Our brother is unique."
"Well ... he can call the three of you off. I have no intention of doing anything nefarious." Ulana spoke.
"That's good." Lisisa spoke. "Make sure it stays that way. Have a nice life Ulana."
Eliani batted her fern green eyes at her and they watched as Ulana politely moved past them to continue to the Lifter dock. She waited until Ulana was out of ear shot. "So ... do you think we did a good enough job?" She asked.
I think it was spectacular. Elynth's voice filled their heads and they turned to see the massive obsidian colored female settle to the ground behind them from where she had been circling above.
Elynth had grown slightly larger than her mother Isheeni, larger than most other dragons her age, but she would not come close to the size of her brother Jeth and her father. Elynth was just a tad over fifteen meters long and four and a half meters tall. She weighed in at four and a half metric tons, her body smoothly muscular and for a female dragon exceptionally beautiful. Elynth took after her mother in looks with her elegantly muscled body, but her coloring she inherited from her father. Almost jet black obsidian scales adorned her body, and though it was a slightly different shade than her father, it was essentially the same. Elynth had her father's stunning golden colored eyes, but her mother's uniquely long and wickedly curved talons.
The three of them laughed and reached out to stroke her cool scales and Elynth's golden eyes closed in appreciation.
"Let's go get some food before we have to head to the airfield. Grandmother will be incensed when she discovers we have been here all night and did not stop to see her. And I'd much rather have her yell at us on a full stomach." Lisisa spoke taking Eliani's hand and squeezing it. She took Carina's hand as well. "When we get to Sparta we are going to hit the beach in Gytheio and try to pick up men."
"Try?" Carina spoke with a laugh. "Lisisa they fall all over you, Nyla and Eliani. I think it has to do with how big your goldur are. Zarah and Normya got our mother's figures so they have no trouble with wolves following them along, their tongues dragging along the ground behind them." Carina spoke cupping her much smaller but no less firm breasts in her hands. She looked at her sisters. "Do you ... do you think Moneus will approve of me?"
Lisisa laughed at her sister's actions. "Moneus is a man and a wolf!" She declared. "And I believe he has more interest in your mida than your goldur! Besides ... he has been head over heels in love you with for years. It won't matter in the least to him."
Eliani laughed as well. "Too bad Nyla and I can't seem to find one who knows what to do with our goldur when presented with them." She spoke. "Do you know how many men we have thrown away because they only have a one track mind?"
Lisisa joined in now as well. "Yes ... well there is always a first time." She said. "Be careful what you wish for arande."
"I wish for a Spartan who can simulate my mind with his brain and not try to stick his cock in me on the first date!" Eliani declared.
Elynth shook her huge head with what could only amount to a dragon smile. And they say Zarah is the promiscuous one among the daughters of King Martin.
TUYA MAIN SPACEPORT
Sadi stood with her friends in the Tuya spaceport as they waited to transfer to the shuttles that would take them to their transport. Sadi had gone straight home after talking with Lady Gorgo and the rest of her classes to see her father. He was packing for the trip and after sharing a small dinner together he had convinced her to go on the trip so they could spend time in Sparta together. Sadi found it very hard to refuse anything her father wanted as much as she loved him and she had agreed in part because of his words, but in part because she felt her life would change if she did this. As she stood waiting with her friends, Sadi found herself looking forward to the trip even though she knew Malic would be on the same transport. The forty odd cadets were gathered in a small waiting area, Gorgo sitting with one of her aides. Lady Gorgo had surprised them all when they arrived, the cadets discovering that she was wearing her own immaculate Reserve Fleet uniform. What stunned those present most of all was that she held the rank of Admiral/Lieutenant.
All of the cadets wore their uniforms; the cadet markings would be removed and replaced with normal fleet markings when they graduated. Sadi was the only one among them that wore flight wings already, mainly because she had grown up flying because of who her father was, and the fact that she had flown with Queen For'mya and Star Colonel Endith while working with Queen Dysea in the Annacdorne.
"So whose ship will we meet?" Her friend asked taking her arm. "There is a bet going that it will be MJOLNIR'S HAND. I say it will be Prince Androcles's ship the SCIMITAR. What do you think Sadi?"
Sadi smiled. "What difference does it make Teeria?" She asked her closest friend and confidant.
"The difference is that the King already has his Queens silly." Palta spoke now. "Prince Androcles is still very much a single male Alpha wolf. And so are Prince Resumar, Prince Arrarn and Prince Denali, and they are known to always travel with him."
Sadi shook her head. "You two are so bad." She spoke with a smile.
"We aren't bad." Teeria spoke. "We are just healthy, single female wolves who happen to be very much open to mating with one of the Princes."
"Yes ... I'm sure." Sadi declared with a grin rolling her eyes.
"I've heard they are all built like gods..." Palta spoke. "Muscles everywhere ... and I do mean everywhere."
"Palta!" Sadi exclaimed.
"What? Have you ever seen one of the Queens without a smile on her face? It is said that the King's aura is so powerful they become excited just by being wrapped within it, and there are rumors that he is built like a bull. If his sons are anything like him, gods I would be in blissful heaven." She spoke. "Doesn't Malic do that for you Sadi? Gertia still gushes over him."
Sadi looked at her. "No he doesn't." She replied. "And Malic and I are over."
"Over? What do you mean? You didn't tell us that!" Teeria barked perking up and looking at her dear friend.
Sadi nodded. "Malic has his own path to follow, and I do not wish to be part of that with him."
"So does that mean he's available?" Palta asked with a smirk. "I heard Gertia say he's very well equipped."
Sadi rolled her eyes again and smiled. "Yes ... he's well equipped. But he's arrogant and rude and sometimes I think he is trying to make up for some fault. I ... I want a man who will worship my body and stimulate my mind and not just try and pound my guts out because he has a big cock and he thinks that is all I need." She said.
"Sometimes you ask for too much Sadi." Palta said jokingly.
Sadi smiled and reached up and rubbed the pendant she wore under her uniform, feeling the bump it made against the fabric. "Perhaps." She said softly.
"Quiet!" Teeria hissed. "Lady Gorgo is coming over ... she will..."
"She will hear what you are saying?" Gorgo spoke with a grin as she stepped up to the three females.
The three of them bowed their heads slightly to her. Gorgo was their professor and an officer in the Union Fleet, but she was also King Leonidas's mother, and there was not a person alive within the Lycavorian Union that did not know how much the King adored his mother. It was said in gossip everywhere that when all else failed and you wanted something from King Leonidas, send in his mother, for she would get what you wanted.
"Forgive me Lady Gorgo." Teeria spoke shyly.
"Don't be like that..." Gorgo announced shaking her head quickly. "I was young once." She said.
"Yes ... but you ... you have loved a beloved King and now a First Admiral of the Fleet." Teeria said softly.
Gorgo chuckled. "Yes I have ... just remember that Cadet Sadi is correct. If a man truly loves and desires you, he will worship you like you are a goddess. If he doesn't ... bah ... discard him quickly." Gorgo spoke with a wave of her hand.
The three of them laughed like small children at Gorgo's words as the stern looking man walked up to them. He wore the black and crimson body armor and rank of a full Durcunusaan Commander, the crimson cape gently sweeping across the floor of the terminal as he walked. They were the famed unit of men and women who guarded their King and Queens and all those they deemed important with something akin to fanatic loyalty. Lady Gorgo herself had at least one Durcunusaan bodyguard they were sure, probably one or two more considering how much the King loved his mother, and though they never saw them, Sadi suspected at least one posed as a student in their classes.
Gorgo turned to face this stern looking man as he bowed his head deeply. "Lady Gorgo ... it is an honor." He spoke clearly. "I am Star Commander Bren of the Durcunusaan ... Prince Androcles's Detachment Leader."
Gorgo's face looked puzzled. "Andro?" She asked. "You are a long way from him, are you not Commander?"
The Durcunusaan Commander smiled. "We arrived late last night on the SCIMITAR Lady Gorgo. The King and Prince Androcles decided it would be best to pick you and your cadets up here as opposed to meeting you halfway. We finished with the training exercise early yesterday morning."
"Wait ... Andro ... is here?" Gorgo asked surprised. "On Apo Prime?"
Bren nodded with a knowing smile. "He sent me on ahead to arrange transportation for you and your cadets to Mjolnir's Hand's base. We will be departing from there on a Type II DT and docking with the SCIMITAR in orbit. Prince Arrarn and Princesses Normya and Zarah are already at the airfield prepping the ship. The rest will be leaving the Island Palace shortly with Queen For'mya and their siblings."
"Our transport is..." Gorgo started to speak.
"All of yours and the cadet's belongings were loaded on the MENKLA III and already sent up to the SCIMITAR Lady Gorgo. I have a Lifter Bus standing by outside for your cadets and the personnel heading for Sparta." Bren spoke.
Gorgo nodded with a smile still somewhat surprised. The Durcunusaan were well known for their efficiency however. "Very well Commander. Which direction?"
"The east entrance." He replied motioning with his hand.
Gorgo turned and saw the other military personnel departing with them already heading in that direction. She looked at the cadets who were all facing her. "Cadets ... there is a change in plans it seems. I have been informed that the SCIMITAR is already in orbit, and we will be riding up to her on a Type II Dragon Transport. There is a Lifter Bus outside that will take us to our departure point at the Mjolnir's Hand airfield." She motioned with her hand towards the direction of the east entrance. "Let's start heading towards the east entrance. Commander Bren will lead us."
This news had the cadets buzzing.
Mjolnir's Hand had the only base on the planet that was strictly off limits to the public. It was a huge sprawling base with a massive airfield, and it was where all of Mjolnir's Hand came to train with new tactics and weapons that had been devised over the years. The base was also the permanent home to nearly a hundred dragons and members of the famed unit as they were trying to fill the last three slots in their ranks. Twenty-three of Mjolnir's Hand had fallen during the Evolli War, and it was a long process for a dragon and rider to be selected for the elite three hundred member unit. Those that were not selected for the actual unit held many various and important roles throughout the Union with their dragons at their side. In all there were less than a thousand bonded pairs now, and when called upon they could all be activated to fight.
Gorgo watched carefully as her cadets began to file out, briefly noticing that Sadi was rubbing something she wore under her uniform. She smiled knowingly. Perhaps their carefully crafted plan would come together after all.
The trip to Mjolnir's Hand's base took almost an hour because of the lifter traffic by the spaceport. Gorgo sat next to Bren as they passed through the front gate of the base which was guarded by half a dozen heavily armed Durcunusaan and two fully grown Hybrid dragons, all of whom alertly and intently watched as their Lifter Bus passed by. They could see the massive Type II DT sitting on the airfield as they headed directly for it.
One hundred and fifty meters long and twenty-three meters tall, it was the main transport used by the dragons of the Union now. This ship was the Type II DT, and while still large, it was not the massive three hundred and fifty meter long Type I that could carry four hundred fully grown dragons. This ship had been designed ten years after dragons had come into the lives of the Union, and it could carry forty fully grown dragons comfortably, as well as over a hundred passengers on an upper level deck. Its reduced size made it easier to be taken into the cavernous landing bays of the LEONIDAS II-Class Strike Cruisers. This particular Type II DT was assigned to the SCIMITAR permanently because of the number of dragons that called the SCIMITAR home. When they were all on board, Elynth, Jeth, Tharua, Cemath and Aradace were the dragons bonded to Androcles and his siblings. That did not include the hatchlings and adolescents that had bonded to all of his five younger siblings and often traveled with them as they now would.
As they grew closer, Gorgo couldn't help but smile. Standing near the rear ramp of the ship she could spot her grandson Arrarn and her granddaughters Normya and Zarah easily. Arrarn Leonidas had his father's height, and while he was very muscular, he was not as thickly proportioned as his father or brothers. He was well defined in a lean way, yet his muscles were just as ripped as those of his brothers and father. He was also the most physically handsome of all the Leonidas sons, most likely due to his mother's elven blood. He had dozens of female wolves and even female vampires and elves chasing after him for his attentions. Arrarn was solid and incredibly strong due to his half elf, half wolf blood, which suited him just fine since he had taken after his mother For'mya and become the premier STRIKER DT pilot in the Union at only twenty-three years of age. Normya she could spot easily just by the billowing platinum, white blond hair she inherited from her mother Dysea, and with Normya, Zarah was never far away. Zarah was Isabella's second daughter with her son and already at twenty-one years of age Zarah had male wolves and vampires alike lining up to try and court her. She and Normya had been born only six hours apart, and though they came from different mothers, they referred to each other as twins.
The driver of the Lifter Bus pulled off to the side still quite a distance away and stopped. Gorgo knew this was because when the ship took off it gave off huge blasts of air that could easily knock nearby vehicles over. They could see perhaps two dozen dragons of all shapes and sizes already within the individual pens along the interior of the ship while another half dozen were filing onto the ship. No doubt they were speaking within Mindvoice to her grandchildren for Gorgo could detect the tremors easily. Bren looked at Gorgo quickly.
"Lady Gorgo ... may I?" He asked.
Gorgo looked at him and nodded. "Of course Bren."
The Durcunusaan Commander got to his feet and turned around to face the cadets and personnel heading to Sparta. They became silent as he waited patiently.
"There will be a briefing once we reach the SCIMITAR on what not to do while you are on board our ship." He spoke firmly. "It is my understanding that either Princess Eliani or Princess Lisisa will give this briefing. We will load through the same ramp as you now see the dragons entering the Type II. There are stairs on either side that will take you to the upper deck of the ship. The lower deck belongs to the dragons, and even though it is only a twenty minute ride up to the SCIMITAR, please do not get lost and go down to the lower deck." Bren heard many of those gathered chuckle at his words. "All active military personnel will board from the left and then all cadets from the right. Please form two lines when you exit the lifter. It will be rather loud on board since we will be executing an in-flight recovery of Prince Androcles and his brothers and sisters before we actually head up to the SCIMITAR. For those of you who have never witnessed such an event ... it is certainly a sight to see. I encourage you to watch, but do not get in the way of the action. I will warn you now ... the Bonded Dragons of the Princes and Princess are very closely knit. They are not unfriendly but they are not as open to people they do not know, most especially Elynth, Prince Androcles' dragon sister. Do not approach her or attempt to touch her without permission. Be mindful of your actions and what you say, and do remember they are just as intelligent as you or I, sometimes even more so." He smiled. "Let's head out."
Gorgo was the first to exit the Lifter bus and she turned as she saw her grandchildren running up to her, Normya's hair whipping about her face. Gorgo smiled as Normya was the first to reach her.
"Staania!" She gasped loudly as Gorgo held open her arms and embraced her tightly. (Grandmother)
Gorgo's eyes closed in joy as she held her and inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with Normya's orange clove scent. "Normya ... you rival your mother with your beauty child." She spoke warmly holding out her arm as Zarah approached and stepped into the embrace as well.
"Staania." She spoke more sedately but with equal love and respect.
Gorgo nuzzled Zarah's cheek, once more inhaling the sweet apple and sage scent of Zarah. She squeezed them tightly. "You both have grown so much in only eight months!" She stated holding them at arm's length as she looked at them. "I will have to talk with your brother about coming to see me more often!" Gorgo looked up as Arrarn approached and she smiled. His elven ears were like Normya's in that they were only two inches high as opposed to the four inches of normal elves. That in no way took away from his handsome features or Normya's beauty. It was common among the children of Lycavorian and elf unions and marriages that their children did not have the distinguishable high pointed ears.
Gorgo hugged Arrarn tightly inhaling his peppermint scent and smiling. She realized it had been almost a year since she had seen most of her older grandchildren, and she made a mental note to contact Jora and her other children with Riall and invite them to the villa in Sparta. All but two of them had already moved to the city of their mother's birth. Gorgo would tell anyone that it was their way of telling her to return to the home of her roots on a more permanent basis. She stepped back and took hold of Zarah and Normya's hands and pulled them close. "Why didn't one of you call me when you arrived?" She asked.
"It was very late last night Staania." Zarah replied holding Gorgo's waist tightly and her face beaming. "Androcles didn't want to wake you and we needed to get the ship ready early for your cadets and the others going to Sparta. We will have three days on the SCIMITAR to catch up. Androcles has already planned a dinner for tomorrow night for all of us."
"Where are your brothers and sisters?" Gorgo asked. "Shouldn't they be here as well?"
"They are bringing the little ones." Normya replied with a grin. "You know how mother fawns over them when they fly. She is such a worry wart sometimes."
Gorgo chuckled. "Your mother For'mya knows well the dangers that you older ones laugh in the face of."
Arrarn laughed as well. "Too bad she doesn't take her own advice." He spoke. His keen dark eyes looked out over the expanse of the lake and he nodded. "They are lifting off now!" He turned to where Bren stood directing the cadets and military personnel. "Bren! Inbound!" He shouted.
Bren turned his head from where he was forming the two lines and saw the six dragons lifting off from the island palace far in the distance. He grinned.
"They have their siblings?" He called back.
Arrarn nodded from where he stood. "That they do!"
Bren shook his head as the military personnel and cadets began searching the skies over the lake watching the six dark dots begin to come closer. The stunts the children of the King and Queens pulled were sometimes over the top, but they were like their parents. Every single one of them.
As they grew closer, everyone was able to see the five smaller dots flying along with the six larger dragons, and all of them were moving incredibly fast very near the surface of the water. Firespitters were the fastest of the different breeds of dragons, and with a pure Firespitter mother widely recognized as the fastest among them, and a hybrid father that was the largest and strongest among their kind with only one exception, all the dragons flying at them were moving with near blinding speed. It was only six kilometers across the water to the island from where they stood on the airfield and all of them were silent in awe as the dragons grew closer, barely fifty feet off the surface of the lake.
"Do they have to fly so close to the water?" Gorgo asked exasperated. "I will have words with your brother about this display when he lands!"
Normya laughed. "Staania you shouldn't worry so much." She spoke.
"I am your grandmother!" She exclaimed. "It is my right!"
There was no more time for talk as with trumpeting roars five of the six dragons rocketed over the airfield and executed perfect 360 degree rolls so close to the ground that it bought yelps of surprise from the cadets and military personnel who followed them with their eyes as they split into five different directions. Many had even ducked down instinctively as the dragons passed overhead. They all could hear the screams of joy from the teenaged children echo across the ground as the dragons quickly blasted across the landscape into the distance once more, the smaller dragons, if you wanted to call the adolescents small, splitting separately with the larger ones. Then everyone's heads turned as the sapphire scaled, muscular dragon swooped down elegantly from above and settled to the ground beside the two lines that had formed.
For'mya Leonidas's long, golden blond hair extended out well past the bottom of her helmet, the crested plume shimmering in the sunlight and extending past her shoulders to the middle of her back. She wore the lightweight version of the black and crimson body armor, which conformed to her lithe figure like a glove. She had long legs for her five foot eight height and though the helmet hid most of her facial features Gorgo knew well what she looked like. Gorgo had known her from before the Coven had captured her and found For'mya to be pompous and arrogant then. When Martin had returned with her to Apo Prime and she had discovered this new For'mya and all that had taken place to transform her into the woman she now was, Gorgo became fast friends with her.
With Deia's and Gorgo's own support and backing, as well as the full weight of Martin's four reigning and recognized Queens, they had pushed through a new amendment to the Union constitution that allowed For'mya to officially be recognized as the fifth Queen of the United Lycavorian Union. She was just as loved by Martin and his other Queens, especially Aricia and Anja and with their support and backing; the amendment had passed easily with no dissension in the Senate. It was not something For'mya had requested or even wanted, but she was every bit a Queen as the others and it was their way to show her just how much they all loved her.
Six months after returning to Apo Prime, Gorgo had watched as For'mya was crowned as the fifth Queen to her son in a beautiful ceremony on the plains of Sparta.
For'mya had given him two strong sons, one of whom was now perhaps a better pilot than his mother. She was well known for her calm and nurturing presence and not much existed that could rattle her to anger unless it was danger to her children. She had grown powerful over the years, taking part with Aricia and Isabella as her son's military Queens. She and Aricia were almost never apart it seemed, and with few exceptions she always traveled with them, and since Seanna's death Anja had become a fixture with them as well. Gorgo could only be amazed at the love that they all felt for each other. There was no jealously between the women in her son's life. Aricia was recognized as his Soulmate, the one who would always have a piece of him the others did not, and because of the pureness of her blood she was nearly as powerful as Martin. She was the youngest of his Queens, but she was whom they all deferred to when a question arose. That status might have caused a lesser person to be different, but Aricia was the one who was always trying to arrange for them to be together. Gorgo knew they all shared the same bed when together, and they shared each other's attentions as well as Martin's as often as they could. It was this relationship that was their strength as a family.
For'mya was smiling as Aurith settled to the ground and she slid from the saddle quickly and easily with practiced ease. Gorgo watched as For'mya let her hand slide along those smooth sapphire scales before she kissed Aurith's snout softly, the dragon's large head canting towards her and those golden eyes closing in joy and happiness.
Gorgo stepped up to her and they embraced tightly.
"Gorgo ... it is so very good to see you." For'mya spoke as she stepped back and reached up to remove her helmet. She handed it to the Durcunusaan troop that stepped up quickly and then took Gorgo's hands once more. "You are looking as beautiful as ever."
Gorgo laughed. "You should talk." She spoke. "You came alone?"
For'mya nodded. "I brought a DT back that needed new LSD coils." She answered. "Martin Leonidas was up to his elbows in paperwork with Dysea, Bella and Deia, and Aricia and Anja were returning from Hadaria on the SPIRIT when I left. I had nothing to do."
Gorgo laughed again and squeezed her hands. "You mean they left you to come collect the children when school got out. You are much better with the transfer paperwork than the others."
For'mya's dark brown eyes twinkled. "Well ... I just have more patience for all the red tape." She answered with a grin. "And I wanted to see if..."
Gorgo nodded. "Yes ... she is coming."
For'mya smiled and let out a large breath. "Good. Has he seen her yet?"
Gorgo shook her head. "No not yet. And she shields herself with very advanced skills if I do say so myself. Helen taught her exceedingly well."
For'mya nodded slowly. "Yes she did. She has grown more powerful than many of us first thought she would. Helen was shocked at what she could do when she first arrived at the school. We'll have to make sure Commander Bren knows that when we get to the SCIMITAR. The Durcunusaan insist that all Tier Six Mindvoicers declare themselves when coming onboard, especially with the dragons that accompany us for this trip. I will see to it before we leave Apo Prime."
"I'm surprised he hasn't detected her yet?" Gorgo spoke.
For'mya chuckled. "They are like their fathers. He and Elynth rarely lower their shields far enough to detect anyone not at an advanced Tier Six level. They are so used to their brothers and sisters and those that are close to them that they might not even pick her out until he sees her if she shields so well."
"Well hopefully that will change." Gorgo spoke.
For'mya turned her head as Arrarn, Normya and Zarah came up to them. "Are we all set?" She asked.
Arrarn nodded. "As soon as the cadets and military personnel load, we can take off mother." He answered confidently. "I've already cleared the airspace for the in-flight landing. We'll do it over the island palace just to play it safe and stay out of everyone's hair. Captain Sa'sur has already cleared our berth on the SCIMITAR and we can move right in when we obtain orbit."
"Please tell me they aren't going to do an in-flight landing with the little ones!" Gorgo exclaimed.
"Staania ... do you actually believe I am that insane?" The deep voice spoke from behind them. It was a voice that carried with it a level of confidence and power rarely felt. "My father and mothers would have my head if I attempted such a thing."
Gorgo smiled at For'mya as she turned slowly at the sound of the voice. "Well perhaps if you were more tame in your actions young Androcles, I would not need to worry so much over the safety of my younger grandchildren."
Sadi was gazing at Aurith's elegant long lines and trying to keep herself from busting from the line of cadets to go and greet For'mya. The elven female had been such a rock for her to lean on during that time after she first turned herself in. She had never wavered in her support of Sadi in any way, and Sadi had not been able to thank her for that support.
"I'll be riding one of them someday Sadi." Malic's voice filled her ears and she turned to see him reach out and grasp her arm from the line he stood in to her left. "See what you could have had?"
Sadi pried his fingers from her arm. "No Malic ... I don't see that." She hissed softly. "I see a pompous..."
"Staania ... do you actually believe I am that insane?" The deep voice spoke from behind her, causing Sadi to freeze in her place, her eyes going wide as his scent drifted to her on the slight breeze. "My father and mothers would have my head if I attempted such a thing."
She watched Gorgo smile as she turned slowly at the sound of the voice. "Well perhaps if you were more tame in your actions young Androcles, I would not need to worry so much over the safety of my younger grandchildren." She said.
Sadi saw Malic's eyes go wide as he looked behind her, and then Teeria and Palta were gripping her arms tightly as Sadi turned slowly.
The first thing she saw was Elynth's huge obsidian head not a meter from her, looking out over the two rows of cadets and military personnel at where Gorgo and For'mya stood. Her four and a half meter height allowed her to easily gaze over the tops of the heads of the men and women gathered; ignoring them as she saw and felt Gorgo and For'mya. Sadi followed the line of her long neck back until she saw him in the saddle between her shoulders and she gasped softly to herself.
The helmet he wore was matte black like the others, sharply angled over his cheeks and extending past his jaw line. There was a small lighter colored shape on top of the helmet which looked incredibly like a golden statue of Elynth herself, her front talons gripping one of the front edges of the helmet and her fangs bared. Yet there was no mistaking the golden color of the dragon's eyes on that helmet, nor the raven black plume that flowed along the back of the dragon and down to well past Androcles's shoulders.
There was also no mistaking those azure blue orbs from behind that helmet. They were the eyes she had seen so many times in her dreams.
Sadi watched as Androcles lifted the teenage girl from the saddle in front of him and lowered her to the ground next to Elynth. She also wore a lightweight version of the body armor and a crested and plumed helmet. Her dark green eyes were wide in excitement at the ride she had just had and she raced over to For'mya, the two meter tall brownish dragon adolescent scampering after her flapping its wings madly.
"Mother did you see that?" Retta exclaimed. "Did you see Elynth roll over? It was awesome! Mara and I will do that too!"
For'mya laughed and hugged Retta's teenage body close to her as the dragon adolescent rubbed up against Retta. "I saw Retta. Yes I did. Now say hello to your staania before she breaks into tears at how big you have grown."
Androcles smiled at this show. "Mother ... we are running a little behind. Why don't you and grandmother get everyone on board and we'll meet you in the sky."
For'mya nodded. "You could forgo the landing Andro." She spoke hoping to convince him so that he discovered Sadi.
Androcles looked hurt. "And miss a training opportunity for my brothers and sisters?" He announced. "Perish the thought. Father would bust me back to Prince of nothing if I did something like that mother."
For'mya laughed and waved her hand at him. "Go on! We'll see you among the clouds my son!"
Androcles chuckled and tapped Elynth's side. Let's go sister.
Elynth snorted loudly and began turning just as the wind shifted and she felt Androcles stiffen in the saddle above her. Her large head turned quickly and she looked at him.
Androcles turned his head towards the row of cadets and military personnel, his azure eyes wide. He had caught the unmistakable scent of sugar plum and spice in the wind, a scent he had smelled before long ago, and a scent he had loved from the first moment it touched his senses. His azure orbs swept the line of men and women keenly as he threw his leg over the saddle and dropped to the tarmac quickly.
Andro my brother? What is wrong? Elynth asked.
Androcles reached up and placed a hand on her thick neck scales. She's here Elynth! I can smell her!
KertaGai! Elynth exclaimed twisting her massive body around to face the rows of cadets and military personnel. We ... are you sure Andro? We should have felt her within Mindvoice!
Not if she is shielding. Andro spoke softly. Remember that Helen told us that she had grown powerful at shielding her presence. She...
Andro's eyes came to rest on the golden blond hair and dazzling jungle green eyes as they stared at him without a hint of surprise. He moved without pause and stepped up to stand in front of Sadi, Elynth directly behind him, even as Teeria and Palta and many others stepped back away from her quickly, partly in fear and partly in surprise at this action by the most well known of the Princes.
For'mya and Gorgo stood together with Normya and Zarah watching intently from where they were. They had plotted and schemed for two years with Aricia and Anja for this moment to take place. All of them knew Androcles had eyes for no one but Sadi, as he never removed the Dragon Heart pendant he wore. Even in the hospital recovering from his wounds during the Evolli War he had threatened to kill the doctor who wanted to remove it from around his neck. Four women had shared his bed since he was old enough, none of them lasting more than a few weeks. Like Ulana ... they could not tolerate the closeness of the Leonidas family, and they were not the one Andro wanted. For'mya and Aricia knew everything that had happened over the course of those few days on the island, and Gorgo had taken a vested interest in these events ever since discovering who Sadi was.
Andro stared down at Sadi, towering over her five feet seven frame, and allowing the sugar plum and spice scent to sweep through him now. She didn't back away and simply stared at him as the pines and lavender scent she had smelled on the island so long ago simply washed over her. Sadi could feel his aura ... so staggering and powerful ... and tightly controlled. She had been blasted by many Alpha wolves in the course of her life in their attempts to entice her, yet the aura she felt radiating from Androcles was three times anything she had ever felt before and that was even heavily shielded. It was wild and powerful and so sweet in its freshness.
This was the boy who was now a man.
Sadi watched him, her heart beating madly, slamming into her chest as he reached up and took the sides of his helmet. Her green eyes grew a little wider as he lifted it off his head and she finally saw the face those eyes from her dreams always were attached to. She lifted her hands, bringing them to her mouth in stunned surprise as Sadi found she was gazing intently on the most incredibly handsome young man she had ever seen. Oh ... had he grown since she last saw him Sadi thought to herself. Even through the lighter Spartan version of the body armor Sadi could tell he was just as physically sculpted as his father. The muscles were exacting in detail, and though he was no where near as heavily muscled as his father, there was no denying the definition and bulk and his scent was driving her mad.
Andro breathed deeply once more, lowering his head slightly closer to her and inhaling her sweet sugar plum and spice scent, feeling it filter to every corner of his mind and body. She was even more beautiful now than he remembered her. He brought his head back and looked at her, staring deeply into her gorgeous green eyes.
Hello KertaGai. He spoke softly within Mindvoice.
Sadi gasped when his voice caressed her mind, the power and warmth unlike anything she had ever experienced except for that single night when she had heard that voice before. And then Elynth's voice joined his, her large obsidian head brushing up against his shoulder as she pushed forward to gaze at her with those golden colored eyes. Andro's arm wrapped underneath Elynth's head affectionately.
You are even more beautiful than we remember KertaGai! Elynth exclaimed.
Elynth ... you ... you have gotten so big! Sadi exclaimed within Mindvoice, and she saw them both close their eyes as her musical voice filled their minds.
You are a cadet! Elynth spoke excitedly as her golden orbs reopened quickly and she gazed at Sadi.
Sadi nodded quickly and her friends that stood around them gasped as they realized she was speaking to the dragon within Mindvoice. Even Malic stared at them stunned at this revelation.
I'm a pilot! I'm going to graduate in six months! Sadi answered. I have asked about you over ... over the years! I ... didn't know if I should try and contact you. I... She looked at Andro as she spoke and saw his eyes open and gaze at her. Those azure blue orbs made her shudder inwardly with desire and something more powerful than she had ever felt from any man. His aura was sweeping around her, showering her in warmth and love, but being very respectful in his actions as well. It was a sensation that made Sadi want more. So much more.
Andro stepped closer to her, Sadi not backing away in the least as his scent and aura engulfed her. There has not been a day that has gone by when you were not in my thoughts KertaGai. Andro said softly.
Sadi stared at him and inspected the strong square face and jaw, reaching up to trace his cheek without care that anyone saw her. Yes ... this was definitely the face from her dreams ... of that she had little doubt. Sadi suddenly realized what Elynth had meant all those years ago when she said she had been chosen. He had chosen her all those years ago, and the relationships she had been in since that night were only leading up to what she was going to enter into with this man. What she wanted to enter into with this man, no matter that he was over a hundred years younger than her. She watched Andro reach up and unfasten the top of the body armor, pulling at something until the leather tie with the coral red pendant on it came free and he held it in his hand tightly.
I have worn this ... I have worn this since that time on the island Sadi. He spoke gently. I am not fool enough to...
Sadi reached up quickly and pulled at the collar of her uniform jacket, reaching under the uniform and quickly pulling the second half of the coral red pendant out dangling from the satin tie. I've never taken mine off either. She said quickly.
Neither of them saw For'mya squeeze Gorgo's hand tightly, a wide smile on her face.
Andro looked at her then, squeezing his pendant tightly in his hand. He smiled and Sadi felt her heart leap into her throat. Andro leaned over close to her and inhaled deeply, his cheek just brushing hers in the ancient Lycavorian custom began by his grandfather of expressing interest in a female.
You will be mine Sadi, daughter of Vorilas. Andro stated confidently. I intend to make you mine and have you scream my name to the moon.
Sadi stared at him as he drew back, the blood in her body on fire at the sensations he was causing to sweep over her. The same sensations that swept over her in her dreams, but this time they were not dream like in nature. This time, the cause of those sensations was standing right in front of her. Sadi couldn't help but smile at his words. She had never had a male state his intentions to her, and to state them with such confidence and authority. His voice was soothing and warm in her head, and her body was becoming excited at the prospect.
Are you ... are you sure you are up to the challenge Prince Androcles? She stammered out. I am ... I'm not an easy catch. Even though all she wanted to do was throw herself into his arms and have him ravage her body and her senses.
Andro smiled almost crazily and lifted his helmet bringing it back down on his head. "That is a challenge I will win." He stated out loud confidently. He looked at the others who were standing around them, watching intently. "It has been very nice to see you again Cadet Sadi." He spoke. "I hope I can have the pleasure of your company when we reach Sparta."
Elynth moved her head within inches of Sadi's and her golden eyes closed when Sadi reached up without fear and stroked the smooth scales on her snout.
[He has never lost a challenge Sadi.] She spoke with some humor knowing Andro would not break into their shielded conversation.
Sadi chuckled in the shielded connection. [Until ... until this very moment I have always wondered what your words to me meant that day Elynth. She spoke. I don't anymore. Not after seeing him, and feeling what I do coursing through me. He won't have to work very hard.
Elynth laughed. [Just don't make it easy on him.] Elynth brushed her snout up against Sadi's cheek gently. [We will see you on the SCIMITAR KertaGai.]
[I look forward to that.] Sadi answered.
Andro continued to stare at her as he backed up slightly and climbed back into the saddle on Elynth's back. He turned and looked over to where For'mya and Gorgo stood side by side with large smiles on their faces. [You knew about this?]
For'mya grinned. [Who us?]
Andro growled in his chest and turned to look at Bren who was gazing at him waiting for orders. "Commander ... I have delayed us enough. As my sister is fond of saying ... let's get this party started!"
Bren grinned. "As you order Milord!"
"Elynth go!" Andro barked. With a deafening trumpet Elynth flexed her powerful legs and propelled them into the sky, rolling over several times with ease as she trumpeted in happiness the entire time.
Sadi watched him intently, her hands grasping the pendant tightly in her fist as Teeria and Palta came back up to her. Teeria grasped her arms tightly turning Sadi to look at her.
"Ok ... you have a lot of explaining to do!" Teeria exclaimed with a brilliant smile.
Sadi laughed and squeezed her hands as the two files began moving for the Type II.
SECTOR TWO FOUR
LYCAVORIAN BORDER OF THE WILDS
"Moneus, tell me again why we are on this nubous insect infested hunk of jungle rock?" General/Colonel Daniel Simpson asked as he lowered the small macrobinoculars from his deep brown eyes.
Daniel Simpson hadn't changed a bit from the young Navy SEAL on Earth before their worlds had changed so such. He looked no older now than when he did twenty six years ago, the only difference in his appearance being the two inch long scar on his left cheek from the blade of an Evolli. Discovering he was a werewolf, a member of a race called Lycavorians, and that his people weren't even from Earth hadn't caused him to bat an eye. His six foot five, two hundred and sixty pound frame was stretched out on the top of the ridge of the rocky hill a thousand meters high above the expanse of green and brown all around him. The vastness of the huge jungle valley below extended as far as the eye could see, hills and mountains much like the one he was currently on present all across the horizon. His wolf eyes could see for several kilometers without the aide of the binos, and even with them all he could see was green and brown with dozens of breaks in the jungle canopy. That did not make him any happier.
"Officially or unofficially?" The male voice spoke with some humor from beside him.
Danny turned and looked into the dark amber eyes.
His mother's delicious eyes.
Like his older brother Anton, Moneus Simpson was almost an exact duplicate of his father except for Anton's lighter skin shade, easily six foot four and two hundred and forty-five pounds of rock solid and ripped muscle. His dark chocolate colored skin and the two inch long elven ears were due to who his mother was, and like the remainder of his siblings, his ears were much shorter than normal elves because his elven mothers were also part Lycavorian now, due to his father's actions. Unlike his older brother Anton, Moneus chose to keep his head shaved like his father and there was nothing but smooth skin showing under the thin fabric that kept the sweat from pouring into his eyes. His dark brown mustache and goatee were trimmed as well, to precise proportions, though no one had yet figured out why his facial hair was different from the hair on his head if he had allowed it to grow. Danny looked into the eyes of his second born son and could only marvel at what the last twenty-six years had produced. He had never, ever pictured himself a father, yet now he had seven healthy and strong children and his Drow Elven/Lycavorian Mistress and mate was about to give birth to his eighth. Moneus was the second oldest at twenty-four years old, born almost exactly two years to the day after his friend and fellow Spartan Androcles. Danny couldn't remember a time when he and Martin had ever really been apart for an extended period of time, and now that bond of brotherhood had passed to their children it seemed. At least to their sons.
He turned slightly when the red hair and lush figure of the female elf settled soundlessly to the ground between him and Moneus. Danny drew in a deep breath of her sweet cinnamon scent and smiled, for this and the scent of sweet apples was the only thing in the galaxy that caused him to bat his eyes. Anuk now was even more beautiful to him than when he had first met her, as was his Drow mate Nayeca. Motherhood agreed with them it seemed, and even after four children for Anuk and almost four for Nayeca, they looked just as delicious now as then.
"Officially this is a training exercise." Anuk spoke formally now as she lifted the binos she held.
"Yes ... and unofficially we are investigating several reports of Kochab and Evolli pirates using this planet as a base of operation." Moneus finished the statement for her. "We know that entire story mother ... I believe father was trying to be sarcastic since Andro left us here."
As with the Leonidas children, Moneus and his brothers and sister drew no distinction between their mothers because of the relationship they shared and continued to share even now.
"When is your father never sarcastic Moneus?" Anuk asked with a small grin.
"I'm not being sarcastic." Danny protested softly. "Marty had me bring my ship all the way out here and he promised me a steak for doing it. Not to mention quality time with this hot, red headed female elf! He didn't say we'd be stuck here after Andro left!"
"He never promised you anything like that." Anuk spoke in a stern but playful voice. "He saved you from the boring task of Fleet exercises my love, not to mention writing your fitness reports, which both of you hate infinitely more than this insect infected hunk of jungle rock. And you volunteered to remain behind so Andro could meet his grandmother if I recall. I told you Moneus ... your father never takes anything serious."
"That's not true." Danny protested once more. "I take you and Nayeca very serious thank you very much."
Anuk lowered her binos and looked at him with a delightful smile and twinkle in her cerulean blue eyes. "Yes you do. Though our Mistress is quite upset with you at the moment."
"Me? What did I do now?"
"We left her on Earth to come on this mission Daniel." Anuk spoke.
"Baby ... she's pregnant." Danny said. "Can you imagine Nayeca trudging through this jungle seven months pregnant? That's scary even though she could probably do it with her eyes closed. She has snarled at the crewmen on SPARTAN'S SOUL so much, they avoid whatever deck she is on. Better that she stays in Sparta and be spoiled by my mother and sisters."
"She is having a slim, beautiful pregnancy, something you should remind her of when we return. I intend to ... just to get back into her good graces." Anuk stated with a smile. "She just didn't plan to have another child so soon after Odara was born."
"Odara is four years old. And that's not what she told me when we..." Danny's words stopped when Anuk leaned over and kissed him. It was a long, slow and lingering kiss, her cinnamon flavored tongue dancing with his and her cinnamon scent filling his head. After a long moment Anuk finished their kiss by tracing her delicious tongue along his upper lip when she leaned back.
"Husband ... we will tell you anything you want to hear when you do that to us. You should know that by now." Anuk stated with a wistful voice.
Danny grinned now. "We do have fun making the little guys huh?"
"Oh yes ... we certainly do." Anuk said kissing him softly once more. "Even when we aren't making the little ones. You will have to take our Mistress and I to that place on the coast that you took us before. You certainly entertained us for the entire five days."
Moneus made a soft gagging sound. "Please ... could you not do that in front of me? I may become scarred by the sight of my parents making out and planning a romantic rendezvous in the jungle on this nubous insect infested hunk of jungle rock."
Anuk didn't turn from staring into her husband's deep brown eyes. Even after twenty-six years of being together, Anuk could not think of a moment when she did not want this man. She could still see those days in that tunnel so many years ago as if they had happened yesterday. She could still remember her first days after Danny had turned her. Nayeca could still remember the day the she and Anuk became lovers in the traditional Drow fashion and what she thought he would do to her. His reaction had surprised her and even to this day Nayeca could not express what she felt for him in words. Nor what Anuk meant to her especially once Danny had turned her and made her his mate in the Elven fashion. It was something she and Nayeca talked of often when they were alone. "He has been hanging around Andro too long." Anuk spoke.
"You noticed that too huh?" Dan said with a smile.
Anuk reached out and took hold of the shoulder section of her son's black body armor. "Keep talking Moneus and I will have a little discussion with Carina about your distaste for showing affection to the one you love." She spoke leaning over to her son now.
Moneus's eyes grew a little wider. "Mother ... you wouldn't dare! Would you?" He said.
Anuk turned to face him completely and her smiling cerulean colored blue eyes settled on him slowly. "I'm your mother Moneus ... of course I would. And don't think for an instant your mother Nayeca will disagree. You should learn from your father how to treat a woman and not just how to kill things efficiently."
She held his wide gaze for a few tortured moments longer and then leaned over to nuzzle her son's half elven ear. The love she shared with Nayeca and Daniel extended easily to all their children. While it was easy to discern who their mother was simply due to their lighter skin tone, their children saw no distinction in the least. Anuk's mother and father spoiled all of them too much as well. Moneus breathed a sigh of relief and couldn't help but smile at the show of affection.
"I will contact Martin and tell him we have nothing to report but his cranky Spartan brother who hates the jungle and his young Spartan nephew who doesn't like to show affection for the female he wishes to one day claim as his own. I'm quite sure the King would be very happy to hear that about his daughter's boyfriend. Especially since we have been here for almost a week and found nothing, and he has been stuck behind his desk doing paperwork for a week. He will certainly be in a most excellent mood." Anuk chuckled softly and squeezed Moneus's leg as she got up and moved soundlessly back down the ridge.
Moneus looked at his father with wide eyes. Were they always like that father? He reached out within Mindvoice.
Danny grinned. Boy ... if it wasn't for your two mothers I wouldn't be the man I am. Is Carina the one for you Moneus?
Moneus nodded quickly. Without question father. I can hardly wait until we return so I make a claim to Uncle Martin for her hand. I haven't seen her in two years ... I guess part of me is worried that she no longer feels the same way as when we last spoke.
Danny nodded slowly. When I discovered your mother, it was the same way. Carina is cut from the same mold Moneus. The same as both your mothers and Isabella. If she feels the same for you son, she'll be waiting for you when you land. And if everything I hear is true ... she does. When you find a woman like that Moneus my boy ... you grab on tight and never let go. You love her with all that you are in and out of your bed. And if she wants to kiss you in public, I don't care who is watching, you lay a lip locker on her that will curl her toes and blister her hair. If she's doing it in public Moneus ... it's because she's telling everyone around her that you belong to her. Do her the honor of doing the same. And remember, Carina is half vampire, which means she takes emotion that much more serious. If you don't, not only will I beat you, Martin will get a shot or two in as well.
Moneus stared at his father for a long moment before nodding with a smile. I believe I will do as you say father.
Danny nodded. That's my boy. Now watch the damn jungle ... my eyes are getting tired.
[Daniel my love?] Anuk's musical voice spoke.
Danny made no show that Anuk was reaching out to him, though Moneus could undoubtedly feel the tremors in Mindvoice. All of his children with Anuk and Nayeca were exceptionally powerful with Mindvoice, Moneus even becoming a ranking member of the Durcunusaan even at such a supremely young age.
[What's up baby?]
[When we get back to Earth my love ... I will have to give you something special for that little bit of advice to our son.]
Danny grinned. [Well now ... what did you have in that beautiful mind of yours gorgeous?
Anuk laughed softly. [I'll surprise you husband ... but you must bathe first. We both smell terrible.]
[I like the sounds of that. We'll bathe together and we'll have to... ]
Danny saw Moneus turn his binos intently and adjust the setting to zoom in. He dropped them quickly as if not believing what he had seen and then brought them back to his eyes. He felt the even surge in his son's body as adrenalin entered his bloodstream. His son had seen combat before on any number of border skirmishes and missions like this, as well as the last few major conflicts of the Evolli Border War beside Androcles to include the slaughterhouse on Alba Tau. That was a day and night that Danny tried his best to forget.
It seemed there were quite a few out there that didn't like what the Lycavorian Union had. Anuk ... hold off on contacting Marty ... I think we may have something here. Danny leaned closer to his son. "Moneus?" He whispered softly.
"Ten o'clock father." Moneus replied just as softly. "I'm ... father ... I want to say I'm looking at a dozen High Coven Immortal troops that are moving through the breaks in the high canopy."
"High Coven Immortals!" Danny gasped bringing his binos to his eyes. "We haven't seen or heard from the High Coven in over a decade." Danny brought his binos up. "Where?"
"Four point three kilometers, bearing two nine three degrees." Moneus replied instantly.
Danny focused and adjusted his sights and then the picture of the twelve Immortals burst into view through the next break in the canopy. They were moving almost casually in single file, their weapons slung over their shoulders, the hilts of their ritual swords sticking above the dark gray uniforms they wore. Three pairs of two were carrying large crates between them.
"Well bite me in the ass and call me stupid! This boring little intelligence mission just got a whole lot more interesting." Danny spoke.
Moneus turned his head sharply to the left when the soft chirping noise reached their wolf sensitive ears, looking back down the ridge. Father! The remote sensors have detected a patrol of Kochab and Evolli moving towards us from the other direction.
Anuk! Danny called out.
I'm on it! She declared. They both watched as she moved like a phantom across the natural bowl in the terrain where their equipment was and settled fearlessly beside the large ground sensor array. Anuk crawled on her belly to the edge and used her own binoculars now. He's right. I count probably fifteen. A mix of Kochab and Evolli. All of them armed and carrying some kind of crates between them.
Moneus turned to his father. "An exchange of some kind?" He asked softly. "It has to be."
"Yeah ... question is ... an exchange of what?" Danny spoke.
"Father their paths will bring them here." Moneus spoke. "If they stay on the direction they are heading ... they'll meet just at the base of this hill. We could..."
Danny nodded and grinned at his son's sense of tactics. The more time he spent around Androcles ... the wiser he became.
"Yes they will ... and yes we can." He spoke. "How bout we plan a welcoming party. I'll call your grandfather." Danny stretched out on his back and tapped the internal COM unit on his body armor. "Eagle One to Elf One. We have company."
"I love it when a plan comes together!" Danny shouted as he toed the corpse of the dead Immortal with his combat boot.
It had come together quite brilliantly in fact.
Danny expected no less when Anuk's father was involved.
General/Colonel Vengal was the second most senior elven officer within the Lycavorian Union now, behind only General/Colonel Tareif of Earth. He was Anuk's father, and over the years had easily come to consider Nayeca just as much a daughter to him as Anuk was. That they were both mated to the one man who held his undying respect and love made it all the better.
Danny's command consisted of the elite troopers and pilots of the Lycavorian Union that were not already assigned to Martin's division. A combination of Durcunusaan and regular Spartan Centurions, as well as Vengal's superior half vampire Drow elf scouts and intelligence units. Behind only Martin's 1st Spartan Attack Division, Danny's 2nd Spartan Expeditionary Division was the largest force in the Union military. Danny drove them, himself included, mercilessly, and the men and women of all species that called the 2nd their home would have it no other way. Like their King, Daniel Simpson could incite almost fanatic loyalty to himself with his style of command, and the 2nd Expeditionary Division was one of the five most sought after postings within the entire Lycavorian military. It was made all the better because the King and their commander were brothers in everything but blood, and no matter what happened, you could rest assured the 2nd SED would be involved.
Vengal had unleashed his Drow vampire scouts on the Immortal column, while a detail of Durcunusaan under his grandson had hit the Evolli and Kochab mercenary column. Their broken and bloody bodies were all that remained. The men and women of the Lycavorian Union did not take prisoners unless ordered to do so, and those orders were very rare indeed.
Moneus squatted down beside one of the singed crates the Evolli had been carrying.
"That is what they were carrying Moneus?" Anuk asked as she came up behind her son.
Moneus nodded and slashed down powerfully with his Nehtes, the angled tip of the near unbreakable spear slicing through the locking mechanism as if it was butter. "Time to find out what it is they were going to exchange."
Moneus used his boot to kick open the cover and his eyes grew a little wider. He heard his mother gasp.
"Father!" He shouted quickly moving to the next container. It was severely burned beyond recognition, but the butts of several of the weapons still visible. He looked up to see other members of his Durcunusaan detachment doing the same as he was, inspecting the bodies and containers. He turned as his father started towards him and retrieved one of the weapons from the crate at his feet.
Danny's eyes grew wider as he approached his son and he caught the weapon when Moneus flipped it to him. "A T19?" He gasped looking at his son.
"Eight of them per crate." Moneus spoke motioning to the remains of the crates the Evolli and Kochab had carried. "Five of the crates have been destroyed ... but this one was only singed." Moneus looked up as his grandfather approached his eyes wide at what Moneus held.
All of them had seen the T19 before.
The Evolli had designed the weapon to fight dragons and their riders. Essentially they were advanced small caliber missile launchers fed from a circular drum. Elynth and Torma had both taken full blasts from one of these weapons, the fragments so close that they managed to penetrate their psychic shielding and cut deeply into their flesh, injuring both Martin and Androcles as well as knocking them from the sky. Jeth had been slightly singed by one carrying a plasma type round as well. The Evolli had managed to kill twenty-three dragons and their riders, all members of Mjolnir's Hand with this type of weapon, and they injured countless others. It had taken almost three years until Benjamin O'Connor and some enterprising engineers had come up with another use for the incredibly pliable Dragon Armor. That use was a set of actual dragon armor sheets that could be layered across every dragon's neck and back and secured with clasps. The only unprotected portion of their bodies was their wings, but unless shredded completely, their wings were also the most resilient part of their bodies and would heal over time. The layered sets of armor had saved countless more dragon lives and earned Ben O'Conner the eternal gratitude of the Elder Mother Arzoal, and every living dragon. To the members of Mjolnir's Hand and the Royal family who fought in the war, Ben and his engineers had become honored members of their small group.
They turned as a Durcunusaan dragged the surviving Evolli warrior by his dreadlocks over to where they all stood. The Evolli cradled his useless right arm; his yellowish blood leaking from the Nehtes would in his shoulder and the two P190A3 burn marks. His eyes were wide as he stared up from the ground at the two men who were well known among the Evolli. Together with Martin and Androcles, the four of them had combined to kill more Evolli than any others during their war.
"Dark skinned and his vile offspring!" The Evolli hissed. "I should have known! Only you and your foul son would be insane enough to attack through the jungle canopy! Not even the scum you call King would do such a thing."
Danny and Moneus looked at each other quickly. There were gasps of stunned surprise as even Anuk staggered back. The others could only watch in awe as Danny's Nehtes extended in the millisecond blink of an eye and Moneus's Nehtes flashed in the sunlight. Then the Evolli was screaming in agony at the Nehtes that now impaled his opposite shoulder, and the Nehtes blade that had driven completely through his already injured shoulder. Only General Vengal stood without an expression on his face, for he had seen the speed his daughter's mate and his grandson could move with, and they had suffered more than any of those present at the hands of the Evolli during the war.
They had almost died that day on Alba Tau, attempting to lead a unit of Durcunusaan through the high mountains and deep timber to reach their King and Prince in that valley of death. They had disobeyed orders to do this without blinking an eye. They had come under a vicious ambush themselves; cutting their unit off from those they were trying to rescue and suffering severe casualties. Vengal had toured the sights of both battles two days later, the blood still inches thick on the ground, the imprints of where the dragons had lain, of where Daniel and Moneus had lain injured. It wasn't until the sun had come up that anyone realized Daniel and Moneus and their unit had made it to within four hundred meters of their dear friends and brothers before being stopped. Vengal knew it was the bloodiest and most savage battle that he had ever heard about or seen the aftermath of and part of him thanked the gods he had not been there to experience it himself.
Danny leaned over twisting his Nehtes in the shoulder of the Evolli, his eyes changing to the yellow/gold of the wolf inside him, Moneus eyes taking on a black outline around his dark amber orbs as he too allowed the wolf in him to come to the surface.
"Why are you selling these weapons to the Immortals?" Danny screamed. "Has the High Coven returned? Tell me!"
"I will ... I will tell you nothing!" The Evolli howled out as Moneus twisted his own blade viciously.
Danny's cruel smile was horrific to look at. "Oh no my Evolli friend ... you will tell me all I want to know!" He wrenched the Nehtes savagely once more before ripping it out of the Evolli's flesh causing him to scream in even more agony, until a hammer like kick from Moneus to his head dropped him into blackness.
Danny turned as Anuk stepped up to him and pressed her lithe, supple frame against his, nuzzling his throat and sending him calming pulses through her aura. Moneus watched his father's reaction to his mother and saw his anger bleed off quickly as he nuzzled her in return his own eyes closing.
Moneus took a deep breath and then closed and opened his eyes and saw his father take a deep breath. Then his normal colored eyes were back and he turned to Vengal.
"Daniel ... you and my grandson here ... you have a serious emotional issue with these Evolli scum." Vengal stated with a straight face. "Maybe the two of you should get counseling or something?"
His words hung out there for a long moment and then Danny was the first one to burst out laughing. It wasn't what Vengal said, it was the way he had said it and the look on his face. Moneus and Anuk were next to burst out laughing and then everyone was laughing as the adrenalin high of combat began to bleed off for all of them.
"What about ugly here?" Anuk finally spoke still chuckling and toeing the unconscious Evolli mercenary with her boot. None too gently either.
"Fix his ass and take him with us." Danny spoke with a smile. "We'll have a nice chat on SPARTAN'S SOUL."
"Just don't expect me to use pain killers." Anuk said pulling her bag off her shoulder. "After what this scum and his friends did to you and our son, he'll be lucky if I don't let Nayeca skin him alive!"
"Mother ... that is not necessary." Moneus spoke quickly.
Danny chuckled. "You're getting cruel in your advanced years baby!"
Anuk snorted at him as she knelt next to the Evolli. "I'll show you advanced years." She snapped. "Old man!"
Moneus moaned and rolled his eyes.
LEONDIAS IIA-CLASS STRIKE CRUISER
COMMAND SHIP FOR PRINCE ANDROCLES
9TH SPARTAN ATTACK DIVISION
The SCIMITAR was four thousand three hundred meters long, shaped like a dual spear head and one of the first of the LEONIDAS IIA-Class Strike Cruisers to come into service. It was several hundred meters longer than the standard ship, with a slightly more advanced engine plant than earlier models, and carrying slightly more firepower but for the most part it was the same ship. Thirty five of this class LEONIDAS IIA now served alongside the forty-three original LEONIDAS II-Class Strike Cruisers. The increase in length was due to the fact that many of the corridors and rooms were now able to accommodate whatever dragons might be on board, and there were two enormous lifts within the hanger bay that allowed the dragons to make their way to all but the top three decks of the ship. It was equipped with one hundred and thirty of the new MK9C Plasma Beam arrays dotting the superstructure, ten forward TH57 Proton torpedo launchers and eight aft launchers. Adding to that firepower were forty-six of the newest Mark 22B Anti-ship missile launchers, twenty-three per side. The SCIMITAR had a Union Fleet standard complement of five squadrons of the T9E TEMPEST-Class Fighter Interceptors and four squadrons of M4B DEVASTATOR-Class Fighter/Bombers, along with three STRIKER DTs and twenty-four STRIKER ATRs, the newest STRIKER class to begin fleet service as of last year.
The SCIMITAR traveled now with only its standard peacetime Strike Wing complement of five NOVA-Class Attack Cruisers, five of the newer ADMIRAL CENEU-Class Fast Attack Heavy Destroyers and five AUTUMN MOON TYPE II-Class Attack Frigates. The other ships and many of the soldiers under Androcles direct command were based on Earth. The 21st Spartan Attack Division, like his father and Uncle's personal commands, was a highly sought after posting. The men and women who served in the 21st almost never opted out of the unit, and many had turned down promotions or advancements to remain with the unit for several more years. Androcles had pushed for his brother Resumar to get his own command like this one, and plans were already in the works for that to happen within the next year. Denali was working to have his own as well, and learning all he could to accomplish this within three more years. They had learned one thing from both their father and their older brother, and that was patience usually paid off in droves, and now they were still in a learning process.
The recovery of Androcles and his brothers and sisters had been an experience that no one would ever forget. The Type II transports were so large they did not need to retract the sides or tops of the ships as the STRIKER DTs did, and as everyone stood around on the metal stairs and walkways leading up into the passenger transport section, they could hear the trumpets of nearly forty dragons as they bellowed their approval as first Jeth, then Cemath, Aradace, Tharua and finally Elynth were brought on board with nary a problem. Arrarn and Normya kept the ship unmoving in the air as For'mya watched proudly from the engineer's station, while Gorgo kept covering and uncovering her eyes as each dragon and rider were brought on board.
Sadi had watched with Teeria and Palta as they all landed with exacting skill on the Type II, but the only one she was really concerned with was Androcles and Elynth. She had squeezed Teeria's hand almost painfully as she watched Elynth glide in close to the rear of the hovering ship, her wingspan enormous as her curved talons settled to the non-skid deck plating of the landing ramp as they had hundreds of times before. Sadi watched as Androcles and his siblings then gathered together quickly in a small huddle with their five dragons as the rear doors of the Type II closed and then Arrarn was taking them into orbit to meet with the SCIMITAR.
Many of them had never been on board a LEONIDAS IIA-Class Strike Cruiser and were glued to the few windows as they entered the cavernous landing bay and saw the ground crews and all manner of fighters and fighter bombers parked neatly.
Gorgo remained on the upper deck with the cadets and military personnel as Andro and his siblings stayed with their dragons. She looked up when the ship lurched slightly and Bren got to his feet.
"Lady Gorgo ... on behalf of the Durcunusaan and Prince Androcles I welcome you to the SCIMITAR." He spoke proudly.
Gorgo smiled and touched the man's shoulder. "Thank you Commander Bren."
"We have arranged for a short briefing and question session in the flight room for your cadets and the arriving personnel by the Princesses as I said on the surface." Bren told her. "Would you prefer to remain with your cadets or be escorted to your quarters?"
"I'll stay with the cadets until they get settled in Bren thank you." Gorgo spoke warmly and squeezing his arm.
Bren nodded. "As you wish Milady. This way." He spoke motioning with his arm.
Gorgo turned to the Cadets as many of them were already eagerly reaching for their bags. "Cadets ... please follow Commander Bren and do not deviate from his direction."
It went quickly and soon everyone was sitting inside a large briefing center connected to the landing bay, dozens of comfortable chairs all facing the large star chart and podium. Most of the chairs had been filled by many of the regular fleet personnel and Spartan Centurions from the upper deck of the transport and the cadets moved along the aisle and around the back wall.
Gorgo turned quickly when she heard Eliani and Lisisa burst into the room without care of protocol or who saw them. They were attired in the standard dark gray fleet uniform now which consisted of black combat boots, fatigue pants and dark t-shirt with fatigue top. They had removed their body armor quickly once onboard since both of them hated to wear it.
There had been a push some fifteen years ago to relax the restrictions of the younger Lycavorian females within the Union. Many of them were reaching their Coming of Age far sooner than had happened in the past, and it was determined that the size of the Union and the constant interaction with others from different races had slowly altered that hormonal balance in Lycavorian females over the centuries. Many were now reaching their Coming of Age in their late teens and early twenties and the push began to have the laws changed to accommodate that fact. Martin and the Queens had supported it from the outset, the medical information presented was just too solid and accurate to ignore. Anja and Eurin were solidly for it, and when all was said and done and everything was presented to the Senate by Dysea and Deia in language and terms they could understand, the vote had been unanimous.
Eliani was being pursued by several males, both on Apo Prime and Sparta, Gorgo knew. She had no interest in the few males from Hadaria who had shown desire in her. They were too laid back in her opinion, and Eliani wanted passion and excitement in her life. As for the others, Gorgo knew that Eliani and Nyla would never allow a man to come between them, they were far too much in love, and of the ones Gorgo knew of, none would even cause Eliani or Nyla to pause before dismissing them. Eliani and Nyla had been together for four years now, and quite surprisingly they balanced each other quite well. Nyla held her title of Durcunusaan Team Leader, but she had become so much more over the past four years that she was now considered a member of their family. While she and Eliani maintained a villa in Gytheio together, their apartment within the villa in Sparta was a combination of both their tastes. It was not at all uncommon to see Nyla with Martin's Durcunusaan detail when he moved about Earth. Martin had never attempted to help Nyla's career along, though he could have on many occasions for he knew Nyla was proud of her accomplishments, as were her parents. Her parents were frequent visitors to the villa in Sparta, and they were among the few vampires that actually took the time to travel to Thermopylae and visit the memorial there for Martin's father. An act which had endeared Nyla to all of Eliani's family. When Nyla and Eliani had become involved and it became serious, all of them couldn't have been happier.
Lisisa was also quite popular and attracted males wherever she went. That she was part vampire never entered the thoughts of any male, for it was discovered soon after she arrived with her father after her rescue that her wolf genes were far more dominant within her. She was a stunning, raven colored female wolf when she shifted, but the vampire genes in her body allowed her to use the skills of a vampire when she was in normal form just as easily. Skills that her mother Isabella had helped her to develop and refine to perfection over the years. There had been no question in Isabella's eyes when she first saw Lisisa, for she saw a younger version of herself, and with Dysea, Anja, For'mya and Aricia helping her, they had given her all the love Lisisa had never had. Surprisingly ... despite her ravishing beauty Gorgo thought, there was not a man in her life.
Malic tore his eyes from where Sadi was standing and ignoring him and watched Eliani and Lisisa enter and his eyes became very interested when they settled on the burgundy haired Princess.
Malic was not a stupid man ... in fact he scored very high on all his physical entrance tests for Durcunusaan enrollment. Physically ... he was a perfect specimen of a Spartan, six foot two and two hundred and twenty-six pounds of ripped muscle, and he had always been better than those around him. His only problem was not seeing that those around him were for the most part young and inexperienced Centurions. He had a large ego and a bad case of arrogance due to this. His father was a General officer within the fleet and his mother worked for the Senate as a Liaison. He sat up straighter in his chair upon seeing Eliani. While both of them were drop dead beautiful, he instantly decided Eliani's numerous curves and her scent stirred his passion even more for some reason. Looking at them now, Princess Lisisa had larger breasts, but there was something in Eliani's fern green eyes that made Malic desire to see more. A certain wildness in them that appealed to him in a way he had never felt, and the sweetness of her willow and peach scent was tickling his nostrils and senses in a way he had never felt before this day. Perhaps he would ... Lady Gorgo stepping into his line of sight caused him to change his thoughts quickly.
Gorgo embraced them both tightly, inhaling deeply once more of her grandchildren. She touched their faces and smiled brilliantly. Eliani and Lisisa had always been very close as Eliani grew, and even more so when they chose to conduct their Agoges together. Even after Eliani had found Nyla, Lisisa was always included in their lives.
"You two grow more beautiful by the day." She spoke softly pulling first Eliani and then Lisisa into her arms once more. She held Eliani's hand and reached up to stroke Lisisa's cheek. "Where is your reckless brother now?"
"He was in the middle of a transmission with grandfather back on Apo Prime. Uncle Daniel contacted grandfather as we were coming up and he wanted him to bring some items to Sparta and had to catch him before he left." Lisisa answered easily, reaching up and squeezing her grandmother's hand. "He'll meet us in the forward lounge for dinner. You are hungry I hope?"
"Starved." Gorgo answered. "Is something wrong?"
Eliani shook her head quickly. "Not at all."
Gorgo looked at her granddaughters and shook her head. "You two have learned how to lie far too well." She spoke with a grin. "I must talk to your parents about this inbred skill that is appearing in all my grandchildren."
Eliani and Lisisa chuckled as Lisisa reached up to pull her long raven colored hair into a tighter pony tail. "I'll give the briefing Eliani. You won the bet." She spoke.
Gorgo looked at them puzzlement in her eyes. "What's this?"
Eliani grinned and squeezed Lisisa's arm. "We bet if she would come or not. I said yes, Lisisa said no. I won. She has to give the briefing now. She's like father and Andro ... she hates this sort of stuff."
Gorgo smiled as Lisisa rolled her eyes and moved for the podium. The Durcunusaan commander saw this and looked out over the mass of cadets and assorted personnel. "Attention all! Princess Lisisa will be giving you your initial briefing!" Bren snapped.
His words echoed through the briefing room and all of them jumped to their feet, and came to rigid positions of attention, the cadets more so than the fleet personnel. Lisisa stepped up to the podium and leaned close to the Durcunusaan commander.
"I hate when you do that Bren." She whispered.
Bren smiled back. "Yes Princess ... I know."
Lisisa shook her head slowly and looked over to her sister. I'll get you for this. She spoke in Mindvoice.
Eliani grinned at her. I'm sure ... but you lost the bet.
I always lose the bets. Lisisa complained.
Lisisa turned back to those in the room and waved her hand for them to return to their seats. Her forest green eyes fell across the men and women until they came to rest on Sadi, standing in the back. She had to admit ... Sadi was a stunning beauty and Lisisa was also very surprised at the fact she was a very strong Tier Six Mindvoicer if the shields she felt were any indication. Shields that Sadi was holding in place without effort.
Since the First Oracle had returned to their people with her father's actions on Ukwav so many years ago, Mindvoice skills had become more commonly practiced among their people, another move that her father ushered in that brought them closer to their natural instincts. The Feravomir had instituted the Tier rating system she had used during her centuries in Sparta, classifying all Mindvoicers on tier levels. Most Lycavorians within the Union never advanced this skill past Tier Four due to the intense training required to be able to use Mindvoice skills properly and safely at higher levels. There were tens of millions who had reached Tier Five due to their duties and training they had received, but there were perhaps only a few million who had progressed to Tier Six status, the majority of them within the military. Members of Mjolnir's Hand and the Durcunusaan were all Tier Six Mindvoicers, allowing them to bond more easily with the dragons they rode, creating a powerful bonded pair. The Durcunusaan, Wolves of the Blood, had been created by General Vengal and General Vistr as the Royal Guard. Part of their training was to conduct combat actions against dragons if called upon, and this facilitated the need for them to be Tier Six Mindvoicers. Every member of the Royal Family was far above even a Tier Six level due to their blood and their ties to her father and his Queens. Even their grandparents, who had at one time only been strong Tier Fives, were now beyond most Tier Six individuals. Eliani, Lisisa herself and their siblings would be regarded as the very top echelon of perhaps two dozen Tier Six Mindvoicers, while her father, her mother Aricia and her brother Andro could not be measured by any known means.
Sadi appeared to be on a level with her and Eliani even though she shielded it very well. Lisisa didn't doubt that every Durcunusaan on the ship had felt her come aboard, as well as their dragons. This was the Sadi that Elynth and Andro talked of so often when they had down time. This was the Sadi that kept her brother from taking a mate. Androcles had had lovers in his life, four of them to be exact, but none of them had been serious relationships because her brother for all intents and purposes had chosen Sadi long ago as the female he wanted above all others. Lisisa had to admit ... she was breathtaking.
Lisisa tore her eyes away quickly from Sadi and took a deep breath. "Well ... first of all, let me welcome you to the SCIMITAR." She began. "This ship is a LEONIDAS IIA-Class Strike Cruiser, officially under the command of my brother Androcles. The senior ULU Fleet Officer is Star Captain Sa'sur. She is likely the most unorthodox female elf officer you will ever meet and she can make the SCIMITAR dance at her words. My first and only suggestion with her is, don't get on her bad side. You will have free reign to go where you wish for the most part while on the SCIMITAR, and I encourage you to explore as much as you want. There are only three places that my brother Androcles has declared strictly off limits to anyone who is not a crew member of the SCIMITAR. The first one is the last three sections of deck nine where our personal quarters are located, as well as several Mindvoice meditation chambers. The second and third places are the dragon pens in the main hanger bay that you saw as you were docking and then the entire aft compartment of deck ten beyond section twenty-six. That part of deck ten is used exclusively for our dragon bond mates and those that are coming to Earth with us and the access is severely limited. The dragon pens in the landing bay only because our bond mates have learned to dodge and weave amongst all the activity there and someone who is not familiar with the ship might be injured. The other places are the usual secure stations you will find on any ship."
"Will they ... will they accidentally eat someone Milady?" A female cadet blurted out the question a look of concern on her face.
Lisisa and Eliani chuckled loudly at the question and Eliani moved up next to her sister. "No ... they will not eat you Cadet." Eliani replied now with a grin. "If you didn't notice as you were approaching, the SCIMITAR is several hundred meters longer than the typical LEONIDAS II. Almost all of the corridors have been enlarged so that our bond mates can go where they wish. Our quarters on deck nine are directly above the aft section of deck ten so that we can spend as much time with them as possible. Unlike our parent's dragons, Tharua, Jeth and especially our brother's bonded dragon Elynth are rather introverted. They are uncomfortable around people they don't know. Cemath and Aradace are more social, but not by very much. We tell any visitors to the SCIMITAR exactly what we are telling you. Now that we have thirty-two dragons that are accompanying us to Earth, we certainly don't want anyone to get stepped on."
"Of course ... we don't get many visitors either." Lisisa spoke with a smile. "So we are probably just as excited as all of you."
Eliani nodded. "That's the truth."
Their banter brought a soft round of laughter from everyone gathered before Lisisa continued. Lisisa turned back to them. "You will probably notice that most of us do not wear rank insignia on our uniforms. That is something our brother does purposely so that everyone is treated with the same respect. You never know who you might be insulting with your words or actions, so you are respectful to all around you. I hate these types of briefings ... and I'm sorry no ... I won't take any questions. I'll leave that to my sister."
Eliani looked at her quickly and Lisisa grinned as she stepped away. Got you. Lisisa spoke within Mindvoice.
Oh ... that is so not fair! Eliani barked out.
Gorgo turned when she saw and heard Sadi chuckle softly to herself, others turning to look at her strangely. She smiled as Eliani looked at the gathered people.
"Ok ... maybe a couple questions." Eliani spoke watching as several hands shot up, most of them from the group of cadets. Her eyes fell upon and looked at the very handsome Spartan in the fourth row, admiring his looks. He was tall and had deep blue eyes unlike Eliani had ever seen. She let her gaze linger on him for a long moment before she pointed to one young male cadet.
"Have you seen combat Lady Eliani?" He asked.
Eliani sighed softly at the question. She nodded her head slowly. "We have fought with our bond mates and our brothers Androcles, Resumar and Denali in the Evolli War and several border disputes yes." She answered. "Our brother Arrarn and our sister Carina joined us in the last year of the war and have been with us since."
"Is it true the Prince and his dragon killed hundreds of Evolli in that last battle?" Another cadet blurted out.
Eliani maintained her composure easily. "My brother Androcles and Elynth will bear the scars of the Evolli War for the rest of their lives." She spoke evenly. "It is not something we speak of freely so if you have an opportunity to speak with my brother ... it is not a question you should ask him. He harbors a great deal of animosity towards the Evolli for their actions. As do my father and my mother Dysea."
"Will we see the Princes while we are on board Princess Eliani?" Another female cadet asked.
Eliani smiled. "You may. My brothers are very busy as I'm sure you are aware. Though Captain Sa'sur runs this ship, she and my brother are very close and they share the work load for the most part. If you do see him or the others, they will either be with Elynth or their dragons in the pens or in one of the gyms on deck six working out. They are obsessive about working out every day. And no ... before anyone asks, they have not taken mates, nor do they have someone in their lives at the moment. Except for Elynth and their dragons of course. However ... that is going to change rather quickly I'm sure."
"Do you and Princess Lisisa always travel with Prince Androcles?" A female cadet asked this question.
Eliani nodded quickly. "For the most part yes. It is said that Resumar will be getting his own command next year and I imagine Normya and Zarah will transfer with him since Normya flies his DT, and Zarah is not only an exceptional fighter, but a very competent engineer as well. Carina will be heading back to Apo Prime next year to enroll at the Advanced Tactics University. When she finishes that I imagine she will return here. She and Andro are usually the ones who put our training schedules together anyway. Right now she is the Tactical Officer for Andro's section of Mjolnir's Hand."
"She doesn't ride a dragon though?" A voice echoed.
Eliani shook her head. "She hasn't bonded with a dragon ... there is a difference. She is quite capable of taking any of our Bond Mates and riding them. They would be limited in what they could do somewhat ... but she is a fully qualified rider. All of us have been riding dragons since we were old enough to walk. Something which gave our grandmother fits because she feared something terrible would happen." Eliani spoke turning to look at Gorgo.
Gorgo shrugged. "It is my right." She barked.
Eliani and Lisisa laughed. "It is the same for Arrarn, Normya and Zarah. Besides ... when we go into battle, Carina prefers to be on the ground. She is much more lethal on the ground." Eliani said with a smile and twinkle in her eye. That small bit of information was in fact very accurate. "Lisisa, Denali and I will most likely stay with Andro here on the SCIMITAR. We make a good team. Androcles is the best big brother anyone could have."
"Isn't ... isn't Princess Lisisa much older than the Prince though?" The same female asked.
"My life did not truly begin until our father found me and brought me home." Lisisa replied softly stepping back to stand next to Eliani. No one but Gorgo saw their fingers clasped together behind the podium in a show of support and she smiled. "Age wise I may be older, but wisdom and experiences and the depth of his bond with Elynth have made our brother far older than I in many ways. In some ways ... in some ways it is a burden for him. To know that we all look to him as so many others do. He does not think of it as a burden however ... much like our father does not ... and that is why we all cherish him so."
"Princess ... doesn't it ... doesn't it get confusing to have so many you call mother?" A male cadet asked.
Bren stepped forward quickly. "That is not a question that concerns you Cadet!" He barked.
Eliani smiled and placed her hand on his shoulder. "It's ok Bren." She spoke. "It's a fair and honest question." Eliani turned back to the cadet. "I imagine it might be confusing to some who have known only one mother and father in their lifetimes. For me, for Lisisa and Androcles and all of our brothers and sisters, we don't look at it like that. My mother is Queen Anja, Resumar and Normya's mother is Queen Dysea, Denali and Andro are from our mother Aricia, Carina and Zarah from our mother Isabella. Arrarn is from our mother For'mya..." Eliani saw many shake their heads in confusion and she laughed. "Yes I know it can be confusing, especially now with our younger siblings now in their teenage years. As I said we don't look at it like that. All of us, my brothers and sisters are part of a whole. We don't distinguish because to us there is nothing to distinguish from. Our parents made it clear to us when we were very small ... blood before all else. It is what we have known all of our lives, and it is as natural for us as the act of breathing; so to answer your question no it isn't confusing for us. They all speak with the same voice."
Eliani smiled. "Please ... feel free to explore the ship ... once we pass through the Gate it will be a very smooth ride. Commanders Bren and Famus will show you all where you will be staying."
"Do you train in the gym as well Princess?" Malic asked quickly coming to his feet as he gazed at her. The question sounded stupid after he heard himself ask it, but he remained standing and fought down the embarrassed look so that it didn't show.
Eliani looked at the Spartan she had admired before. He was tall and muscled she could see that even in his uniform and she smelled his driftwood and ocean scent filter to her. It was a very enticing scent and Eliani felt a small surge of pleasure in her belly at his scent. She smiled at him brightly. "Sometimes." She replied.
Gorgo stepped forward quickly shaking her head. "Cadets ... my granddaughters are very busy so since there are no more questions let me chase them out of here."
Eliani smiled. "See ... she still chases us around even when we are grown."
Gorgo couldn't help but smile. "We will turn this back over to Commander Bren before my granddaughters find themselves being chased around the ship by their angry grandmother."
The Durcunusaan commander stepped up bowing his head to Eliani and Lisisa as mostly the females and cadets laughed softly now. "Thank you Princess." He turned to the gathered men and women stepping around the podium as Eliani and Lisisa made their way out of the briefing room giggling to each other after both of them squeezed Gorgo's hand.
Bren appeared to be looking for someone and his eyes settled on the cadets in the back. "Cadet Sadi?"
Sadi jerked slightly and turned red even under her tan as dozens of eyes went to where she stood. Being singled out by the Durcunusaan usually did not mean good things. She moved forward awkwardly, her shoulder bag banging against several people who she attempted to apologize to. She could see Malic's eyes on her clearly. "I'm ... I'm Cadet Sadi Commander." She spoke quickly thinking he had somehow gotten her in trouble already.
"You are a registered Tier Six Mindvoicer, are you not Cadet?" He barked.
Sadi saw eyes go wider at this. Very few people knew she was a Tier Six Mindvoicer and it was not something she advertised either. She saw Malic's eyes darken at this information, but not as much as she thought they would. She forced a smile. "Yes ... yes Commander."
Bren held up a small red key like object with a black lanyard attached to it. "You will need this Cadet." He spoke tossing the object towards her. Sadi caught it quickly and looked at it. "It will allow you access to the Mindvoice chambers on deck nine."
Sadi looked at him confused. "I ... I thought deck nine was restricted?" She asked as murmurs swept through the crowd and more of them looked at her.
"Apparently not for you Cadet. There are five Tier Six Mindvoicers on this ship outside of the Princes and Princesses, none more powerful than Prince Androcles and we all use the chambers." Bren replied. He tilted his head slightly and everyone saw him nod as if to some unspoken direction. "You also have a visitor outside the briefing room when we are done here Cadet."
Sadi looked stunned. "A ... a visitor? Commander ... I don't know anyone on this ship." She asked.
"Commander I'm sure Elynth can show Cadet Sadi to her quarters when they have finished saying hello to each other again." Gorgo spoke from the side. "It has been some time since they last saw each other."
Sadi's jungle green eyes grew wide when Gorgo said that, the eyes of most of the cadets and regular military personal going wide as well. None wider than Malic's however. Sadi moved quickly towards the entrance to the briefing room and not even noticing that Bren nodded and heads were turning quickly. Sadi walked quickly out of the briefing room as the armored steel cover over the landing bay view window lowered and exposed the interior of the landing bay for all those in the briefing room. It also exposed the enormous scaled muscular bulk of the soft obsidian black dragon standing in the corridor. Sadi didn't see any of the cadets and centurions watching with stunned expressions as Elynth stepped right up to her.
[Hello again KertaGai.]
[Elynth?] Sadi asked stepping towards her slowly.
Elynth's soft musical voice echoed in her head. [It has been too long, and I wanted to introduce you to the others.]
Sadi's wide eyes took in the huge head and long neck, not to mention the thick muscular body and wickedly curved talons. Elynth was resting fully on the deck, her golden eyes focused squarely on Sadi.
[Elynth ... I don't know if the Commander will allow it?]
Elynth snorted and moved closer to the door, her thick neck extending out and her head passing through the hatchway and into the room. Sadi heard the gasps and grunts from many in the room and she couldn't help but smile as those closest to the door scrambled back. Bren didn't bat an eye at this intrusion and turned to the dragon he had worked beside for the last nine years, for they trusted each other completely.
"Elynth?" He asked.
Commander Bren ... I will escort Sadi to her quarters if that is acceptable to you. Elynth spoke evenly. We know each other well, and I would like to introduce her to the others.
Bren nodded without hesitation. "Very well Elynth. Deck eight, section four. I have her bunked with two others in cabin nineteen."
Thank you Commander. I will make sure she does not get lost.
The gathered cadets and personnel watched as Elynth withdrew her head from the room and turned her massive bulk easily in the corridor. No one except Gorgo had heard Elynth's end of the conversation since Elynth rarely spoke using anything less than Tier Six abilities. She had taken on Androcles trait of being very private. She snatched up Sadi's bags in her tooth filled maw and they began walking down the corridor together. Bren grinned and shook his head.
"Commander Bren?" The male voice asked.
Bren turned and saw the Spartan Enomotarch Malic standing in front of him once again. "Yes?"
"Sir ... I thought we weren't supposed to mingle with the dragons." Malic spoke his voice carrying a note of smugness to it.
Bren nodded. "You aren't supposed to mingle with them Enomotarch Malic." He spoke with humor in his voice. "Unless they consider you a friend, which Elynth apparently does with Cadet Sadi there it seems. And since in the nine years I have served with Elynth and the Prince directly, she has never come to greet visitors ... she must know Cadet Sadi from somewhere else."
Malic turned and watched as Sadi walked beside the huge dragon with no fear and they began to cross the cavernous landing bay. The last thing he saw was Sadi reach up and place her hand on Elynth's scales and laugh softly.
She was the only elven female commander of a LEONIDAS IIA-Class Strike Cruiser in the entire fleet. A fact that Star Captain Sa'sur held with pride and honor. She was nine hundred and six years old and had worked long and hard to get a position like this. She was selected for this command the moment it became known that Prince Androcles would be receiving his own ship. They had worked together before during the Evolli War, and much like Admiral Komirri and the King had a seamless relationship, Sa'sur and Androcles had something much similar. She was tall for a female elf, at nearly six foot, and her dark hair was cut short. It was also streaked with white blond highlights that accented the stunning pale blue of her eyes.
Her husband had been the first to congratulate Sa'sur on her promotion, with a night of fine wine and dinner and then wild passionate sex when they returned home. They saw each other as often as they could, for his duties as a ship Captain of the Seventeenth Lycavorian Fleet Group kept him quite busy, but they talked to each other at least every other day.
Sa'sur sat behind the desk in the ready room off the bridge and watched as Androcles stood in front of the view port. He had made it very clear to her when the SCIMITAR had been given to him that she was in command. Throughout the course of the last five years he had learned far more than Sa'sur could have imagined, and he had kept his word. This was his ship, but she was in charge. He allowed her to run it as she saw fit, but since they thought so much alike in terms of discipline and work ethnic, they rarely ever disagreed on anything. Androcles had a similar sized office connected to her ready room, but they had quickly enlarged the opening and then removed the doors separating the rooms, making it into a very large office with a pseudo divider.
"Are you thinking the High Coven has returned Andro?" Sa'sur asked.
Andro turned from the port holding the mug of his mother's coffee in his hand. Androcles always kept a large supply of her coffee on hand for it was his favorite, and the Senior Chef knew to always keep a pot brewed in the large mess lounge.
"I don't know Sa'sur." He spoke returning to sit in the chair across from her desk. "It's been what ... fourteen years since we have seen or heard anything from them?"
"Almost fifteen." Sa'sur corrected. "That little war the Zaleisians and Kavalians started with the High Coven only days after your father rescued your sister didn't turn out so well." She spoke calmly. "What should have been a relatively easy three month conquest considering what they hit the Coven with, turned into a very costly on again off again twenty-five year war."
Andro nodded. "I agree ... but the Kavalians had assistance the Coven didn't count on in the Zaleisians and the Kavalian biogenic troops." Andro said. "Assistance neither of us saw coming. It probably is still going on, and we just don't know it."
Sa'sur nodded. "And because of it the Kavalians have their empire back, and it's even larger than before." She leaned across the desk. "You know ... these weapons your uncle found. The Evolli designed them to fight you and your dragons. Why buy them from the Evolli? The Coven is more than capable of building something like that. The Kavalians beat them badly ... but they didn't press the issue and took only a few hundred or so of their planets in their attacks total. They haven't fought a major engagement in almost ten years. All of the High Coven production planets were far from ever in danger."
Andro nodded. "Which makes me wonder exactly how badly they were beaten? With those very same production facilities they could have rebuilt their fleet in three years, no more than five, yet we haven't seen a High Coven ship since that war began."
"Well ... we haven't exactly gone looking either." Sa'sur spoke. "Your father did the right thing by pulling our agents out of Coven space."
"Oh I don't question that." Andro said. "Now however, all we have to rely on is the occasional sensor drone. And those are easy enough to defeat if you truly want to."
Sa'sur nodded. "Perhaps Admiral Riall will have more up to date information when he arrives on Sparta."
"I want you to sit in on that briefing with me Sa'sur." He told her. He held up his hand when he saw her about to protest. "I know it is ostensively for senior officers, but you are my senior officer, so indulge me ok?"
"You'll owe me a drink afterwards." She said with a grin. "You know I hate associating with anyone higher in rank than me except my mate."
Andro nodded. "That is a deal. One hour before the State Dinner." He said.
Sa'sur sat back in her chair. "Get out of here and go see your grandmother." She spoke. "Let me do my job and get us to Earth and Sparta."
Andro came to his feet and nodded. "As you order Captain." He spoke with a smile and mock bow. "I'm going to go to the gym before I have dinner with grandmother. I'll be there if you need me."
Sa'sur dismissed him with a playful wave of her hand and Androcles turned and exited the ready room.
Sadi didn't move as Tharua and Jeth lowered their heads very close to her and she could hear them sniffing her. Elynth lowered Sadi's bags to the deck, and turned back to see the deck crews who had seen Sadi walking with her still watching. Elynth chuckled and turned back. Tharua lifted her head and looked at Elynth.
This is the one? She asked.
Elynth nodded. She is.
She is small sister. He will break her. Jeth spoke.
Tharua's tail whipped around and tagged Jeth in his huge mid-section. The blow cracked loudly but Jeth stood there as if nothing had happened. Have you no manners boy? She barked. Go back to the spray machine! You still stink!
I was only speaking the truth my dearest Tharua! Jeth declared.
Elynth chuckled and nudged Sadi with her snout. Ignore my brother KertaGai. She spoke. As Tharua has said more than once, the sun has baked his brains.
More and more each day! I don't know how Lisisa puts up with him. Tharua declared glancing at Jeth quickly, her tail still poised to hit him should he step out of line again, but her copper colored eyes looking at him in another fashion that he did not see. She turned back to Sadi. I am Tharua Sadi. We have heard so much about you.
Sadi looked confused and she turned to look at Elynth quickly before looking back to the mahogany colored dragon's copper colored eyes. You have? She asked.
Elynth leaned forward. I have spoken of you often KertaGai. As has Andro. She said quickly.
You have the distinction of being the only one that... Tharua began.
The only one who is not a member of Mjolnir's Hand or the Durcunusaan who has stood beside dragons in battle. Elynth said quickly.
Tharua looked at her. [She does not know?] Tharua asked.
Sadi looked at Tharua and then back to Elynth who also wore a surprised expression on her snout. Elynth ... what don't I know? Sadi asked surprising Tharua with the strength of her Mindvoice ability.
Tharua stepped forward, even Jeth now quiet, his eyes open in surprise. Elynth ... she heard me even shielded. She spoke. Not even the Durcunusaan can hear us when we shield Elynth. Only our bonded ones.
Elynth looked at her and nodded. Sadi helped us many years ago Tharua. She has grown powerful within Mindvoice.
Is she not the one Androcles always talks about? Tharua asked causing Sadi's eyes to go wide.
What? She gasped out. He ... he talks about me?
Elynth turned her head and looked at Sadi amused. You saw that yourself today KertaGai. And yes Tharua ... this is Sadi. And she does know.
Sadi grinned as she realized what Elynth was saying. The others must have thought she did not know how Androcles felt about her. She opened her mouth to speak but the male voice interrupted her.
Sadi turned quickly and saw the Durcunusaan Commander Famus as he walked up. Forgive me Elynth ... but Captain Sa'sur wanted to speak with all the Cadets before they were shown to their quarters.
I understand Commander. Elynth replied. She looked at Sadi. We will talk again soon KertaGai. We are very busy on the ship but I will make it a point to see you as often as possible.
Elynth's golden eyes twinkled. [You will see Andro Sadi ... do not worry about that.]
Sadi smiled brilliantly feeling the joy Elynth passed to her and something else that was coming from her, but not of her doing. A sensation of warmth and ... love.
[I look forward to it Elynth.] She replied. She bent down and got her bags, quickly moving over to where the Commander waited.
Tharua and Jeth moved up next to Elynth as they watched her walk away. [She knows doesn't she sister?] Jeth asked now, his voice serious and thoughtful as he saw Elynth nod her head.
[She knows. Jeth ... go up to the den and tell the others so that she is not surprised or frightened when Andro brings her there.]
Jeth nodded his massive head. [I'll see to it.]
They watched him move quickly to the elevator lift, maneuvering his massive body with graceful ease. He had grown nearly as large as his father, but like Torma he was exceptionally agile and graceful when he wanted to be. Tharua's eyes lingered on him until he was gone from sight and she turned back to Elynth. [She is even more beautiful in person Elynth. Tharua spoke. And much stronger than you thought.]
[Yes she is.]
[She must be ... she must be very special for Andro to have loved her for so long as he has.] Tharua spoke almost wistfully. [I have always wondered what that feels like.]
Elynth looked at her with golden eyes, a mysterious glint in them. [You will know love one day Tharua.]
Tharua chuckled softly. [Eliani has told me the same thing. Elynth ... I am not so sure.]
[And you are beautiful Tharua, many have said so. I have seen the way some males look upon you. You should present yourself for the Harmony of Two hearts this time.] Elynth spoke.
Tharua shook her head slowly. [There is only one that I want, and fate has not allowed me that. I am older than he and there are far more attractive females for him to choose from. Besides ... the Senior Elder Council would never approve such a pairing because of Syrilth's past. I may do as you suggest and present myself just so that I may have my own hatchlings to raise and love so they do not have to experience what I have had to in my life.]
Elynth smiled a dragon smile. [We shall see.]
[Do you think she feels the same for him Elynth?]
[Oh yes. She has allowed others to share her bed in the past, just like Andro ... but none for very long. None have been what she is searching for.]
[And Androcles is?]
Elynth nodded. [He is ... and she has already realized this. She knew the moment she saw him on the planet below.]
[What of his dreams?]
Elynth turned to look at Tharua. [I don't know what they mean.] She spoke. [Perhaps now that they are together once more he will seek the guidance of the Feravomir in helping him to understand it.]
They turned back to watch Sadi walk with the Commander.
Famus was silent for a long moment as they walked, Sadi on his right side. "You should be honored Cadet Sadi." He finally spoke softly.
Sadi looked at him. "Sir?"
"I have served Prince Androcles as a member of his Durcunusaan detachment since he was only nine years old. Longer than even Commander Bren." Famus spoke softly looking at her. "In all that time you are the only person who is not a member of the Royal Family that Elynth has ever allowed to touch her outside of the Prince's presence. You must be someone of great importance to her and to the Prince for her to consent to such an action."
Sadi was silent as they walked and what he had just said sunk in.