A Bond of Brothers - R.E. Butler

R.E. Butler - Wiccan-Were-Bear #4 - A Bond of Brothers

A Bond of Brothers (Wiccan-Were-Bear #4)
R.E. Butler


Chapter 1

I woke up from the nightmare with a scream lodged in my throat. My eyes roamed my bedroom wildly, looking for the wraith that had stalked me in my dreams. It wasn't just any wraith, though. The creature from my nightmares was very real - my uncle Tiamet. As my pulse settled and I willed my breathing to return to normal, I laid back on the bed and took a few deep breaths. He wasn't here. I was alone in my cabin in the woods, separated forever from my uncle by my banishment from the fairy realm.

It wasn't so bad being here in the mortal realm. Humans were surprisingly tolerant of supernatural creatures, at least the non-scary ones, and I'd quickly made friends. I'd been grateful to find the cabin nestled away from the small town of Carriage Place in Northwestern Ohio. After growing up in the overcrowded fairy capital city of Rairna, Carriage Place was a sweet change of pace.

My mother died when I was a teenager, followed shortly by her sister, my aunt and only living relative. As part of one of many royal families, I was the last living heir for my family line and that meant when my mother and aunt died, that I was expected to take my rightful place on the Seelie Court. At 15, I had no idea how to be part of the court and really no desire to do anything so boring as that, and my uncle had kindly offered to take my place until I turned 18 and came of-age. When I turned 18, he protested my place in the court. I fought for my family name and my seat on the court, certain that the court would side with me. He was a usurper to my place; they would see the light. I was younger then, naive and foolish to think that a group of esteemed princes, princesses, queens, and kings would side with a child over a man that had already wormed his way into their world.

But while I fought the battle for my seat in front of the court, he went behind the scenes and turned them against me until he had secured the seat for his own and I was removed from the court. My family's name was stricken from the records and I had no political power and no allies. It had taken almost two years for him to turn them all against me, but when he did, his next plan to take everything from me started to progress. Stripped of title and family name, I had only my parent's home and their belongings. Soon, all that was gone, but I'd managed to hide what I could and planned to escape the capital city and start my life over somewhere in the country, far away from his reach. But it wasn't enough for him to take everything from me. He wanted me gone, completely.

The first time he tried to kill me, he sent a few of his guards to do the job and it was unfortunate that the daughter of one of the other council members looked an incredible amount like me and she was killed instead. The council couldn't turn on my uncle who had become too powerful, so they chose instead to banish me from the land of my birth for all eternity.

Even though I had been a princess, I was seen as a commoner now. They let me keep my wings, and the day that they opened a portal to the mortal world, I was warned that if I ever returned, I would be killed. The last thing I'd seen as I stepped through the portal with my belongings was my uncle's smirking face.

It hadn't been so bad, though. Not as bad as I thought it would be. The portal opened in a wooded park and after a few days of wandering, I found people who were willing to help me. But sometimes, in the quiet of the cabin in the woods, my uncle returned to me in my nightmares, reminding me that while he lived, I really wasn't ever going to be safe.

My mind refused to stop thinking about the past ten months that I'd been living in the mortal world, so I got up and took a shower. There wasn't a whole lot that I missed about the fairy world, but I did miss being