More Dragon Kin novels from G.A. Aiken Online Page 0,1

it’ll be easier to carry his dead body back to the troops with no armor.”

“Won’t he need his armor for the funeral?” asked another curious human.

Addolgar and Ghleanna looked at Bercelak, waiting to see what their younger brother would come up with next.

“Uh . . . yes. You’re right, of course. Um . . . but we all hated him. So we’re stripping him of any honor at his death.”

“But he’s still alive,” said a horrified woman.

That’s when Addolgar bit the inside of his mouth to prevent the laughter threatening to come out; Ghleanna, always short on patience, had had enough.

“Here,” Ghleanna said to the humans. “Take this.” She held out her hand to Bercelak. He glanced at her open hand and back at her face.

“What?”

Ghleanna tilted her head the tiniest bit, and Addolgar read that move for exactly what it was. A threat.

Growling a bit, Bercelak ripped the coin pouch he had tied to his sword belt off and handed it to Ghleanna. She, in turn, handed it over to the humans. “For your cattle.”

“You’ll take care of the dragon, though, yeah?”

“Our troops are moving on him as we speak. Have no fear. He’ll not be back.”

“Lizards,” the human spit out. “Hate them all.”

With that, the humans turned around and headed back to their homes.

“I should have eaten them,” Bercelak sneered.

“What is wrong with you?” Ghleanna demanded.

“They made me angry.” He paused a moment, then admitted, “And they smell really good. I’m so hungry.”

Addolgar pointed to a nearby meadow. “There’s more cows over there. And I could eat again.”

Ghleanna shook her head and rubbed her fingers against her temples. “You two are such idiots.”

Addolgar laughed. “I was just thinking the same thing about you lot!”

Braith of the Darkness, Daughter of the House of Penarddun, so named by the western city she’d destroyed when they’d sent an army to her cave to hunt her as if she were some common bear in the woods, landed on the side of Devenallt Mountain.

The seat of power for the Dragon Queen of the Southlands, Devenallt Mountain was the one place Braith loathed going. As a royal, there were certain times of the year she was expected to come and spend time among other royals, but she hated it. She had nothing in common with . . . well . . . anyone. She had nothing to say. At least nothing that would interest anyone. So she mostly just stood around, holding a chalice of wine she never drank, and waited until she could sneak out without being noticed.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t here for a specific royal event but because she’d been sent for by her father. Something that frightened her more than she’d ever admit out loud. She wasn’t close to her father. Never had been. Her father had always made it clear that, to him, she was nothing more than “your mother’s daughter,” which was fine with Braith. She didn’t need her father and didn’t want to be around him, and he had always seemed to feel the same. So why he was summoning her to Devenallt Mountain, she had no idea.

Determined to get this over with, she tossed back her blue hair and headed into the mountain stronghold.

Moving out of one cavern and into another, Braith stopped when she saw one of the Queen’s offspring, Princess Rhiannon. Of all the Queen’s offspring, Rhiannon was the only one whom Braith managed to tolerate, which was probably as close to a friendship as either of them had ever had.

“My lady,” Braith said to the royal, dipping her head a bit out of respect.

“Braith of the Darkness. You look well.”

“Thank you, my lady.”

Those who dismissed Rhiannon as another vapid royal truly did not know her, and they didn’t want to know her. And with reason. Queen Addiena, a being to be feared, loathed her daughter more than Braith’s father loathed her. While Braith’s father ignored her, Queen Addiena seemed to take pleasure in making Rhiannon’s life miserable. The current ruler of the Southlands was a cold, heartless, and petty cow who wielded hate and revenge with knifelike precision.

“What brings you here to Happy Mountain?” Rhiannon asked Braith.

“I’ve been summoned by my father.”

The princess cringed in a rather unroyal manner. “Poor you.”

“I know.”

“It could be worse. You could have been summoned by that bi—gods!” the princess suddenly squealed, quickly turning her back to the entrance. “It’s him.”

Braith looked and saw Major Bercelak the Unpleasant—a name, it was rumored, that had been given to him by his