Authors: Bianca D'Arc
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General, #Dragons
Is that what I am? Your girl?
Roland stood very still, watching her closely.
I’d like that, Lana, and
more. I’ll make no secret of how I feel. We belong together.
This is all happening so fast.
I know. I’ve had a few days to think about it. You only just found out I
can shift from dragon to man. It’s a lot to take in and I know I’m rushing
things but you can’t deny that we feel right together, can you?
She took a moment before answering him honestly, in a small voice.
No, I can’t deny it.
Then I won’t press you for an answer now, but think about it, Lana. I
Roland led them over the river only a few minutes later, and within moments, a trumpeting call challenged them from above. Two dragons and knights bore down on them, flanking their flight as soon as they saw Roland’s black hide. She guessed the other dragons and their riders must be talking silently with Roland, but none made any attempt to speak with either her or Tor from what she could tell.
Look at them, Lana! They’re such pretty colors.
Tor’s voice was admiring as he looked at the other dragons—the first he had ever seen besides Roland.
Yes, they are pretty, sweetheart, but none are as shiny and sparkly as
She noted the looks Tor’s shining scales garnered from both the dragons and the knights on their backs as they winged toward the Lair Roland had told them about. There was a lovely golden dragon and a shiny, coppery red one, both just a bit smaller than Tor but larger than Roland in size.
Roland’s last words were still ringing through her mind, tingling through her body. He’d said he wanted her and the deep growl in his words stirred her womb to life. She’d tasted her first passion just that morning, under his gentle hands, and she wanted more. Oh, how she wanted more of that sweet pleasure! But she was afraid too. As a slave in Salomar’s house, she’d seen the worst of men and their dishonor. While www.samhainpublishing.com 61
she doubted Roland was anything like any of the swine she’d evaded in Salomar’s realm, he was still male, and therefore a largely unknown quantity to her. He was also—startlingly—a dragon too. She didn’t know what to make of his dual nature. She knew only one dragon, and Tor was just a baby. She remembered vague tales of knights and dragons from her youth, but never had she heard about men who became dragons and vice versa.
The magic swirling around Roland frightened her just a bit. His aggressive passion tantalized her, and the fire in his eyes warmed her very bones. He’d said he wanted her, and Mother help her, she realized she wanted him too. The only question was when—not if. She’d never been more certain of anything in her life. She wanted to know the fullness of Roland’s passion. Where it would lead them, only the Mother of All knew for sure. Lana would do her best to take one step at a time.
For now, she would follow where he led to meet his people and the dragons of the Northern Lair.
When what she assumed was the landing ledge of the Lair was in sight, both the dragons and knights who escorted them veered off, allowing Roland to land first, followed by Tor and Lana. Immediately, the respect of the other dragons and knights in the area was obvious. They made way for Roland, bowing their heads respectfully, though they didn’t lower their eyes. She liked that. She liked how they showed respect but maintained their own dignity, unlike the way Salomar had demanded people bow and scrape before him.
Lana climbed down from Tor’s back and unwrapped the head covering that she used to keep warm at altitude. She heard a few gasps as her long auburn hair was revealed and intercepted a few shocked looks from knights who couldn’t seem to help staring at her and Tor. She kept close to Tor’s side as they followed in Roland’s steps. He seemed to 62
know where he was going, so she let him lead, craning her neck to see all she could of the strange tunnels and caves that had been ornately carved into the living rock.
The Lair was clean and warm, filled with dozens of dragons and their knights. Few women were about, but everyone looked clean and well-kept. The knights were all big men, bulging with muscle, and they had the look of hardened warriors. The dragons were colorful, sleek and strong, though mostly smaller than Tor, but only by a little. Of course, Tor was still a growing boy.
Roland turned in at a large central chamber, announcing himself with a short blast of sound that was sort of a rumbling cough. She followed with Tor and immediately saw two dragons raise their heads out of a deep oval pit filled with sand. One was green and one a sort of blue color that was almost green. They were obviously a mated pair, for a moment later she saw a smaller dragon who was also greenish in hue and looked a lot like her parents.
Roland spoke first, including them all in his thoughts.
Greetings Tilden, Rue and little Rena. I’ve brought some new friends
for you to meet.
The green dragon raised his head to look over at Tor.
Any friend of yours, sire, is welcome in our home.
Thank you, old friend. May I introduce you to Tor? Despite his size,
he’s about the same age as Rena and I thought perhaps they could play
together under your guidance while I seek out your knights and their mate.
The bluish female dragon nodded, looking over at Tor with obvious surprise.
You are big for your age, aren’t you?
Roland thinks I’m an Ice Dragon.
Tor was so sweet and innocent, his guileless words made the older dragons snort with amusement.
No doubt you are, my lad,
the green climbed nimbly out of the pit and walked over to Tor.
I’ve never seen such pure crystal scales on any of my
brethren in this land, though I did once catch sight of an Ice Dragon when I
was just a youngster on a mission to the far north. I’ll never forget the
sight, so sparkling and bright. Just like you.
Tor bowed his head bashfully.
Tor’s never met any other dragons. Besides Roland, I mean.
Lana couldn’t help her protective thoughts from escaping though she hadn’t been properly introduced to the strange dragon who stood so near. Both of the strange dragons turned to watch her in surprise.
Please be kind to
him. He’s still so young and he doesn’t know your ways.
You are bonded to him?
It was the female dragon who spoke, her words thick with incredulity.
The tone raised every protective instinct Lana had. She stepped in front of Tor, facing down the two adult dragons.
We look out for each
The green dragon dipped his head closer to inspect her.
Lana refused to back down or be intimidated. Tor would defend her, she knew, and she would defend him to her dying breath if need be.
It was the little greenish dragonet who broke the tense silence.
Kicking up sand with her wings as she struggled out of the deep pit, she moved over to Tor and butted her head against his long neck.
Are you really my age? You’re so big!
Lana says I’m five winters old. How old are you?
The smaller dragon ducked her head shyly.
Only four winters. Will
you play with me though? The others say I’m too little.
Tor gave a smoky chuckle and moved his head under hers, tapping lightly.
Everybody here seems little to me, but you’re nice. I’ll play with
I think we have an accord,
Roland said dryly, chuckling as they all watched the two dragonets with loving indulgence. He turned his attention back to the adults, speaking to them and Lana privately.
would be so kind as to watch them closely. Lana is right. Tor has never
met any other dragons. She’s cared for him since before he hatched and is
the only friend he’s ever known.
You’ve mother-bonded with him!
The female dragon couldn’t seem to hold back her amazement.
I don’t know what that is, but we love each other and have been
together every day since he was born.
Roland tilted his head.
Lana, this is Tilden and Rue. They
and their knights are the elders of this Lair. Tor will be in good hands with
Lana looked back at Tor with uncertain eyes.
We’ll look after him as if he were our own,
the green dragon assured her with a grave bow of his head.
Any request from Roland is one we are
happy to fulfill. Besides, Rena has been lonely. There are no dragonets her
age here and the older ones pick on her a bit more than I like. Having a
big, strong friend might be good for her, if you get my meaning.
The green blinked one of his emerald eyes slyly and Lana had to chuckle at the picture he made.
I understand. Thank you for agreeing to look after him.
She bowed her head, keeping her eyes up as she had seen the others in this strange Lair do and was rewarded with a similar show of respect from Tilden.
Roland called their attention back to more immediate matters.
Now, would you be so kind as to ask your knights and their mate
to meet us here while you take the children out for a bit so we can get
down to business? There is grave news from the north.
As we feared.
Rue ducked her bluish head.
We will listen through our
knights while we watch the littles.
The news is not good, but there is hope yet for all of us, and he’s
standing behind me. If they fly, watch him carefully. He’s got moves even I
can’t match. We’re going to need to learn them if we are to outsmart the
weapons Salomar has been devising.
A gruff male voice sounded from the large doorway. Lana guessed it had to be one of the knights. No doubt the adult dragons had opened a link to their bonded knights the moment Roland requested their presence.
The knight was tall, broad shouldered and brown haired, a warrior through and through. Lana found herself backing away toward Tor and Roland as the strange man was joined by an equally large, blond warrior and long-limbed woman who had kind, but shrewd blue eyes.
Wait ‘til the children are gone, Hal, please.
Roland’s voice seemed amusedly exasperated.
The warrior called Hal walked up to little Rena and stroked her back as he passed, eyeing Tor with confusion. “Don’t tell me he’s not full grown yet.”
Roland included all of them in his thoughts, making the introductions.
Tor, Lana, this is Hal. The blonde knight is Jures and the
lady is their mate, Candis.
Tor dipped his head, and the adults were obviously touched and amused by his candor.
Lana wondered at the introduction but didn’t know how to ask outright about the woman being mate to both knights. If this really was the land of her birth, she didn’t remember three-partnered marriages being the norm, and while Salomar was a pig, a few of the servants she’d 66
known were married and they only had one mate each. Still, it would be worse than rude to question these people who were obviously highly ranked and friends of Roland’s. She made a mental note to ask him later, if she got a chance.
Roland forestalled the conjecture about Tor by shooing the dragonets out with his thick, black wings. The older dragons followed behind with amused glances at the surprised humans they left behind in the doorway. As soon as they were gone, Roland transformed, calling up the black mist, clouding his change from dragon to human form.
“That’s better,” he said when he was human once more, clothed in fine black leathers. Lana drank in the sight of him. He was so handsome, it hurt. “Lana, my dear,” he took her hands. He led her to another room in the suite that had couches and chairs, seating her close at his side on the couch, practically in his lap. The others followed with bemused looks on their faces.
“We expected you days ago, sire. What kept you?” It was the blonde warrior who spoke as he poured out several glasses of wine from a table at the side of the room.
“Salomar has nasty giant crossbows with diamond-bladed bolts. I got hit with three of them before Tor and Lana came to my rescue.” Gasps sounded from all around. Moments later, three pairs of curious eyes settled on Lana, going between her and Roland, eager for answers.
Roland sighed. “It was my own stupid fault. I assumed nothing could pierce my hide. Boy, was I wrong.”
“You were hurt badly?” the woman, Candis, asked with concern.
“I thought I was dead. I would have been too, if not for Tor and Lana.
Tor is amazingly strong and was able to tow me back to their lair. Lana is a dragon healer.”
Stunned silence greeted that statement until finally Hal spoke.
“Lucky is too inadequate a word to describe you, Rol. The Mother was watching your path for certain.” The brown-haired knight shook his head as he raised his glass in silent toast.
“I don’t doubt it, my friend.” Roland squeezed Lana’s hand, which he still held. “I think Lana is one of the twin daughters of Adora of Kent for whom we’ve been searching. I’m leaving with her and Tor tomorrow for the palace. I want one of your messengers to get word to Adora and her daughter, Belora. I want them both to come to the palace as soon as possible. It’s about time we all met, and if I’m right, it will be a joyous reunion.”
“We’ll send a messenger right away,” Hal affirmed with a nod.
“Good. Now to less pleasant matters. Salomar is almost certainly allied with Skithdron and planning attacks across this border with weapons designed to take down dragons. Lana,” he turned to her, “you’ve seen them and fought them. How would you describe the different weapons Salomar brought against you and Tor?”