“It’s time, brother,” said Gideon, who looked to be a mere shadow of himself. “There is nothing left to do. We’ve lost everything.”
“Then we die fighting,” Seth rejoined. “We go down with our men.”
“No, Seth. We agreed we would do as Elspeth suggested. If we do it your way, they will end up paying the price. Better we retreat and hope that another chance at the bastards comes back around.”
Seth whirled on him. There was no one he respected or trusted more than Gideon. How could he want to admit defeat? To leave their people to the Horde and Stanis? Unfortunately, Gideon was right, however much he didn’t want him to be.
Duncan put his hand on Seth’s shoulder. “Gideon is right. We have to trust that another time will come around. Kellan,” he spat his name, “is already gone.”
Seth shook his head. How could he make Duncan understand? “He didn’t know. There was no way he could have known.”
“Bah!” snarled Duncan. “Kellan should have died with her.” He turned toward Gideon. “Seth is right… better to die fighting.”
Gideon shook his head. “No. we have to go. Elspeth believes if we don’t go, Stanis and his minions will plunge the world into eternal darkness.”
“Eternal darkness?” Seth said sarcastically. “Nothing is forever, Gideon… not even dragons.”
The remaining Elemental Dragons—Gideon, Duncan, and Seth—shifted and flew north to Dunnett Head where the sorceress Elspeth awaited them, shifting back as they landed. Kellan was already sealed in his chamber within the cavern. Seth waited alone in his chamber as she eased Duncan and Gideon into a place where time and space no longer had dominion. Finally, she joined him.
“You’re sure?” he asked bleakly.
She nodded. “There is always hope, but only if you live. Another time, another chance may come but you will need to be alive to do anything; you must be ready.”
“Let the others wait; I would choose to fight and die with my people.”
“That would be far easier for you, I know. But without you the Elemental Dragons are not complete. Who’s to say if they would be strong enough.”
“Strong enough for what? Why must you magical folk speak in metaphors and veiled words? Why can’t you just once say what the fuck you mean?” snarled Seth.
“Perhaps because we don’t always see the whole picture clearly—only glimpses of what may or may not be,” Elspeth said soothingly as she laid her hand on his arm and smiled. “I wonder if the world will ever know who you truly were and are meant to be.”
He grinned. “Let’s not tell them. Far better for them to believe what they will of me. It gives me an advantage… they will never see me coming.”
Seth laid down with his sword clasped between his hands, his battle ax at his side. He could hear Elspeth’s words and incantations fading as he closed his eyes.
Just before darkness overtook him, she whispered, “She will be waiting for you when you wake.”
After the Wakening
Caitlyn watched Kellan, the arrogant Lord of the Sea, remove the other members of the Sanctuary from the mouth of the cave to the beach below. So far, her existence seemed to be unknown to him. She retreated into the darkest corners of the cavern system, the home she had shared with Míorúilt. If she could remain undetected until darkness fell, there was a chance she could get away through their hidden escape door. Once away, she would make her way to Kayleigh to see if there was anything to be done to help them.
“Cait!” Kayleigh exclaimed as she ushered her into the small cottage she was preparing for her life with her fiancé, Donnacha, when his time at Dragon’s Galloglas was over. “Are you all right? Are you the only one to escape?”
Caitlyn nodded. “I fear so. I wasn’t sure where to go… where they might have taken them.”
“They are up at the citadel and Lord Kellan has decreed himself their guardian and protector. Besides, I always thought the idea was that if the Sanctuary was ever defiled, that anyone who managed to escape would do so and live her life for the rest.”
Again, Caitlyn nodded, tears welling behind her eyes. “I know, but I’m finding it difficult to just leave them…”
“There’s nothing to be done for them. And other than having their freedom curtailed, Donnacha says that Lord Kellan will ensure they are not ill-treated. Where do you think you will go? What can I do to help?”
“I suppose I’ll return to Wales. If the dragons are returning, perhaps the Lord of Fire will return to his stronghold, Storm Fire.”
“Why would you return there? Do you fancy yourself mate to a dragon?” she asked incredulously.
“Hardly,” Caitlyn snorted. “My family has a long and bloody history with dragons. The legend, which is also law, has always been that anyone who breaches the defenses of the fortress, kills the dragonlord, and cuts his heart out becomes lord of the realm. I’ve been preparing for that eventuality all my life. The time has now come. The dragons are waking. I mean to be ready for the Lord of Fire.”
“And if you die in the attempt?”
Caitlyn shrugged. “So be it. Better to live and die as mistress of my own fate than be subject to the will of some man, regardless of whether he is human… or dragon.”
“You can’t mean that…”
“Yes, I can. The man who was wed to my mother never sired sons. When my mother kept having girls, he got desperate. He sacrificed my eldest sister on the dragon altar above Storm Fire to try and get a son. And when my mother’s next child was also a daughter, he flew into a rage and threw them both from the high walls of the keep into the raging seas below.” Caitlyn shuddered. “I vowed then and there to learn to defend myself and never, ever be subject to a man.”
“Is that why you left your home to begin with?”
Caitlyn laughed bitterly. “No, but I learned from an early age to entrust my safety only to myself. When he realized he was growing old and had no sons, the bastard arranged for me to marry Arnall, a commander from the north. It only took one meeting where I was subjected to his inspection and pawing for me to know I’d rather die than submit. That night I escaped the keep, I was discovered and had to fight my way out.”
“What happened?” Kayleigh asked.
“The bastard promised Arnall to one of my younger sisters when she came of age. When the bastard died, Arnall came to rule and forced my sister to his bed. He bred her repeatedly until he finally got her with child. She died in childbirth. I never should have left. I should have killed the bastard myself.”
“No, Cait, you can’t blame yourself…”
“I don’t,” she said quietly. “I blame Arnall who ill-treated my sister and the whole lot of them that allowed it. I’ve hoped and prayed the dragonlord would return. I mean to cut his heart out and rule Storm Fire and make it a sanctuary for women.”
The next morning, Kayleigh helped Caitlyn find passage on a small fishing vessel. When it docked before the sun rose the next morning in a different village far to the south, Caitlyn slipped off and located the public livery. The owner was still asleep, but she found an enormous dapple-gray charger, which she took, leaving more than enough coin to cover the cost of the horse and his gear. Swinging up into the saddle, Caitlyn continued south down the coast.
Several times over the next few days, she heard dragons overhead. She knew they were looking for her. She smiled; apparently the Lords of the Earth and the Sea were none too pleased to have allowed her to slip from their grasp. She rode mostly at night and found sheltered, hidden places to sleep during the day.
Their pursuit of her had broken off after only a few days. Her plan to reach Storm Fire, challenge and defeat whoever ruled there, and then wait for the Lord of Fire seemed to be falling into place. The firelord would find he had awakened only to be sent to his eternal rest after she defeated him and cut his heart from his chest.
“She will be waiting for you when you wake,” whispered Elspeth in his head.
The words echoed in Seth’s mind as consciousness began to invade the peace of his dreams. And such lovely dreams they had been—a seemingly endless supply of beautiful women to pleasure him. He searched the array of women in his dreams and found her. The one who came to him repeatedly. She intrigued him. Her hair was the color of fire—a mixture of vibrant reds mixed with the gold. She was taller than many females and whenever he chose her to serve him, all the others disappeared; when he didn’t she would evaporate like the mists from the seas.
God, I hope Elspeth was right, he thought. Seth could feel his body clawing its way back to life, his muscles stretching and his cock becoming engorged and rising to press against the fly of his breeches. He smiled as he opened his eyes, half expecting to see her. There was nothing quite like the feel of a woman’s pussy spasming along your length as you thrust into her… and then the exquisite sensation as she orgasmed and you pumped your seed into her. And no one had ever pleased him more than her. She’d better be waiting, better not be a virgin, and better be ready to be fucked long and hard… repeatedly.
Sitting up, he knew he was alone before he really came awake. The crush of all they had lost threatened to send him to his knees. Those brave men who had fought and died alongside him. Had they understood why he and his brothers had left them? Had Elspeth been right and that the slaughter would have been longer and even more horrific had they stayed? It was the most difficult thing he’d ever done and everything within him had raged to fight on, but he had listened to Gideon. Gideon, who had been their leader and who always saw things with a clarity he and Kellan often lacked.
Where was she?
Seth stood and shook himself taking in the antechamber that had housed him during his long sleep. He could feel it was long, but how long? He looked to the opening and saw that Elspeth had sealed it. Calling upon his inner dragon, he breathed fire upon the rock, disintegrating it and turning it into ash. He heard voices in the main chamber and started toward them. Inhaling, he smiled. There was a woman and she smelled sweet and ripe. Good. He was painfully hard and really wanted nothing more than to have a woman on her back, writhing beneath him.
He brushed away the last vestiges of sleep as he entered the chamber. Damn, Duncan had her. He hoped he’d be quick, but Seth doubted that would happen. He was rather surprised that Duncan was planning to have her. Duncan had been the most honorable of all of them. But then, if anyone was entitled to have his need eased, it was Duncan. After all, he had lost more than anyone. He wondered if his brother knew how much he had envied him his Neeva. A beautiful girl turned drakaina and devoted to her dragonlord.
And now, Duncan had some gorgeous female pinned against the large stone, platform with her skirt lifted up over her back, baring a very fetching bottom. His cock throbbed against his breeches. What the hell was wrong with Duncan? He was spanking her. Had he been so long awake that he’d already fucked her and was getting them both aroused for round two? Hmm, no, the girl was beginning to weep, so the spanking must be for discipline and not arousal. The weeping became sobbing. How could Duncan continue? Seth had been glad to never have committed himself to one woman; he’d never felt the need to discipline any of them. He rather imagined he’d be bad at it. The sight and sound of a woman’s tears had always been his undoing. He’d never been able to resist them, although Duncan had once told him when it came to your mate, disciplining them came easy. He’d also confessed one night when he’d had too much to drink that the coupling that followed was always intense and restorative. Seth had always found it amusing that Duncan never called it fucking… well, at least not after he found his Neeva. From then on, if he referred to the sex act at all, it was either lovemaking or coupling.
Seth could see now why Neeva was, for the most part, a well-behaved drakaina. Duncan was a skilled disciplinarian. His hand was continuing to chastise the girl with a strong and steady rhythm even though she was thrashing around. His hand continued to inflict a level of heat, pain, and, most likely, desire. Seth inhaled again… most definitely desire. She smelled sweet and pungent. His cock was now pounding, reminding him how very long he’d been without. He opened his fly and reached down, meaning to give himself some relief.
Duncan paused and scanned the area. Seth had his sword, battle ax, and a small bundle of clothing in one hand and with the other, Seth was fisting his cock, his hand sweeping down and back from the base of his shaft to its weeping head. It wasn’t a woman’s cunt, but it was better than nothing.
“Don’t stop on my account, brother,” Seth rumbled in his distinctive Welsh accent. “If you’re done with the girl and are planning to be your normally obnoxiously noble self, let me have her. I don’t know about you but I’m horny as hell and could use a warm, wet cunt to ease my need. And from over here she looks and smells ripe for the taking.”
Duncan flipped the girl’s skirt down. Apparently, he wasn’t willing to share. Duncan could be like that.
“Your sense of smell must be failing you, brother.” Duncan’s brogue was as thick as he remembered. “For while her arousal does fill my head with thoughts of seeing her bred this night, you should also be able to smell heather and thistle…”
Seth inhaled and smiled. “As well as a bit of violet… the aroma of the true hearts of the Lords of the Skies. I’ve always found it interesting that those of you who are so much of the skies have mates that smell most of the earth. I don’t suppose you’d let me stick around and watch…”
“Out!” Duncan roared.
“Ach, why did it have to be you that was still here. Gideon and Kellan are gone, by the way.”
“I am aware,” Duncan said, swatting the girl when she tried to wriggle away.
“They left notes as did Elspeth. It seems the sorceress didn’t want us to die.”
“Again, you’re telling me something I already know,” Duncan said.
“Gideon bids us to all meet back here at the summer solstice. Think you’ll be done with her by then? Sooner? Maybe this afternoon? I would really prefer a woman’s pussy to my own hand after all this time.”
“Seth! The lass is still yet a maid; do not be such a crass brute. I’ll thank you to remember she is my true heart.”
“I am not!” she cried. “I meant to kill you both while you still slept.”
Duncan flipped her skirt out of the way again and silenced her with three more slaps—one to each of her cheeks and a third one dead center, letting his fingers slip between her legs to make sure that his sense of smell had not been wrong. No, the girl was wet and not just damp, but soaking wet. Duncan slapped her ass twice more in quick succession and covered her back up.
“Bloodthirsty little thing, isn’t she?” said Seth, raising his eyebrow meaningfully. “Have ye checked to ensure the girl is still intact? They don’t generally send virgins to kill dragons. Usually they just want to sacrifice them to us. Have you ever wondered if they know what we do with them?” Seth shook his head. “Well, I can see you’re not willing to offer me the use of her…”
Duncan growled and Seth laughed.
“Yer an annoying bastard, brother.”
“Nay, Duncan, I’m a horny bastard, but I’m going to head to home and figure out what’s what.” Seth seemed to sober. The Lord of Fire had two moods—angry and joyous… well, three if you counted horny. Seth was always at least mildly aroused. “Do you have any idea how long we’ve slept?”
“None. But if ye’ll turn yer back, I’ll bare my mate’s bottom once more and get that information.”
“Are you sure you won’t let me at least watch? It’s not like I haven’t seen a fair maiden’s naked arse before.”
“Not my mate’s you haven’t,” Duncan growled.
Seth waggled his eyebrows at Duncan. Despite Duncan’s annoyance with him, with his mate, and with the entire situation, Duncan chuckled. Seth grinned and approached Duncan carefully, avoiding gazing on the girl’s very fetching backside. Gods, Duncan was an idiot; if Seth had an ass like that at his disposal, he’d damn sure be fucking it or better yet her pussy. Gods, he loved the feel of a woman’s pussy. Seth wondered at Duncan’s proclivity for using his hand to spank a woman to get what he wanted. Seth had always found either a good strap, nettles, or a piece of ginger up their bottom hole could get to the crux of the matter far more quickly.
When Duncan was finally able to get the answers to her name and how many years they’d been asleep, Seth took pity on him and left him to claiming the girl. Virgins, bah! He’d never understood the allure. No, give him a woman who knew what the hell she was doing and wanted to do it.
“I’m for home then. And you’re a fool if you don’t pluck that cherry this night,” Seth said, inhaling deeply and loudly. “Gods, she smells sweet.”
Shaking his head and clucking his tongue at Duncan’s foolishness, Seth called forth his dragon, picked up his things, and turned toward the opening in the cavern, galloping toward it and leaping into the air to spread his wings. He wondered if the wind had ever felt as good beneath his wings. He banked left and made a complete circle, roaring and breathing fire as he did so. If they didn’t know already, Duncan’s people should know the dragons were waking.
He turned south toward home, wondering what might be left of Storm Fire and the people he had once ruled there. Had Duncan’s true heart—he scoffed at that belief—been working alone or had she been sent by someone? Why send a mere girl? If your goal was the death of the dragons, why not send a warrior… or better yet, a whole slew of them?
Seth flew all day and through the night. As the sun began to creep over the eastern horizon, he spotted it. Storm Fire… home. He’d always loved his castle. It clung to the rock, high over the seas, the uppermost turret of the keep only accessible to dragons. The lower portion, which housed the main keep, had housed his other ranking members, as well as his guards and those who served the castle itself. The bailey swept down the remainder of the cliffside onto the land where the village of Tân Draig still sat. The townsfolk were just waking and getting ready to start their day.
He could hear his people shouting and saw them pointing. He looked to the fortress itself and did not see any weapons being brought to bear. He roared in triumphant return and spiraled down close to the town square, where cheers and well wishes greeted him, before flying back up to circle the main keep where he was greeted by the cheers of some of his men while others remained silent. Flapping his great wings, he flew up to the top of the tower and landed, grateful no one had seen him. He tumbled ass over teakettle, his roll being stopped as he hit one of the outer walls. Seth had to catch and throw himself backward in order to keep from falling off the ledge and into the sea. As he looked around, he realized that while the lower keep was in good order, the turret seemed to be crumbling. Granted it had been more than a thousand years and it was difficult to get to unless you knew the way in.
Seth shifted and walked naked through what had once been his home. It had been stripped bare of anything valuable and the inside, if possible, was in a worse state of disrepair than the outside. His once massive and comfortable bed looked as though it had been hacked apart. He wandered through his quarters, tossing what hadn’t been destroyed or carried off into large piles that he would fire and then have the ashes hauled away. The only thing left was his great hall, where he had met with his men or the other Elemental Dragons. The great throne he had confiscated from an enemy stronghold still sat where it always had… too heavy and strong to be destroyed or moved. Moving aside a hidden door within the large fireplace, he stepped within and smiled… at least no one had known about his private store of arms and spirits.
After locking the only entrance that could be used by mortals, Seth returned to the great hall to sit and wait. Surely the mortal who now resided in the keep knew that his liege lord had returned and would he not come to attend him? Seth meant to inquire as to how they had left his home in such a terrible state. After a sufficient length of time, he decided no one was coming. While upsetting, it was more annoying than anything. It would seem that those who served him needed a reminder of who ruled these lands.
Seth went back up to the balcony outside his bedchamber, which had also served as one of three main landing areas. He grabbed his breeches and his sword before calling forth his dragon and took once more to the skies. He dove down the cliff face, flying past and ignoring the bailey and flew over the village square where many of his people had gathered.
Hovering perpendicular to the ground, he roared, “I am Seth, Lord of Fire and your liege lord.”
They cheered, mollifying him somewhat. “I would speak to your leader.”
“Commander Arnall rules here.”
Seth breathed fire in an arc over his head, ensuring that it did not torch the thatch roofs of any of the homes or buildings nearby.
“Make no mistake,” he growled, “I rule here. Who is the ealdorman?”
An elderly man, whose age was not reflected in the set of his shoulders or almost regal bearing, stepped forward.
“I am Gruffydd, milord. And I, for one, am happy to see you have returned. There have been rumors about the dragonlords waking. I am glad to see they are true. Tell me what you need, and I shall see it done.”
“Women,” said Seth. “I need women. I have been far too long without one.”
There was some frightened whispering and even quieter grumbling amongst the townsfolk.
“It has been a long time, milord. We are not prepared to choose a virgin to see to your needs. If you will give us a few days… or even hours…” Gruffydd stopped as Seth’s laughter cut him off.
“Virgins? What the hell do I want with a couple of girls who don’t know what they’re doing? Please tell me there are still pleasure girls to be had,” chuckled Seth.
There was a startled silence, followed by a visible relaxation as the town folk realized he wasn’t looking to violate their daughters. He needed, at some point, to address that particular, persistent belief. That, however, could wait. His getting laid couldn’t.
Two lovely women—a dark-haired beauty with a voluptuous figure and a leaner blonde—stepped forward.
“We may be what you’re looking for, milord,” said the blonde. “I’m Elin and this is Gwen.” She nodded up toward the main keep. “Them up there may not have been looking forward to the day you would return, but those of us who followed after Alys have carried on in her tradition.”
Had Seth been in human form, they would have seen a wicked grin. Alys had always served him well—in his bed and outside of it. Not only had she seen to his carnal needs, she had been one of the best sources of information he had and been a true friend. Elin’s cunning look told him that not only would he be able to enjoy her and Gwen’s bodies, but their minds as well.
“Ready yourselves,” he said. “I’ll be back shortly to take you up to the tower. Gruffydd, see that I have several comfortable pallets for sleeping and other provisions so that I can prepare a place for my women.”
Gruffydd nodded. “Aye, milord. We’ll begin assembling everything to make you and the ladies comfortable.”
“Good. Spread the word to those who wish to celebrate my return that I will bring casks of ale and wine from my hidden cellars. Tell our people their dragonlord has returned and we will gather on the beaches and celebrate when I have settled a few things.”
Another rousing cheer went up. Seth was pleased when the makings of a large, comfortable bed in which he could enjoy Elin and Gwen appeared with enough left over that they would have a comfortable place to sit and kneel in the great hall. Second to enjoying a woman’s sexual favor, Seth had always been fond of having a naked one, or two, kneel or sit at his feet while he talked with his men and made plans. In addition, his people seemed to be giving freely of their food supplies. He had no intention of taking it all and would replace that which he did.
Picking up the bedding, he flew back to the tower and made ready for the next few days, including laying in provisions. When he returned to the town at midday, Elin and Gwen awaited eager and ready to service him. He delicately plucked each woman up from the large open area in the center of town and took them to the bailey of his tower, instructing them how to get to the great hall. He could have landed alongside them but knew that seeing him naked and with his enormous cock jutting out from his body ready to be used on them might be a bit intimidating. There was that, and the fact that his landings could still use some work. He flew to the balcony outside his bedchamber, pulled on his breeches and boots, and then made his way to the great hall.
He smiled. It would seem that Alys had schooled her women and left instructions for their descendants as well. Both women were naked and sitting on the floor pillows on either side of his great chair. The throbbing in his breeches increased as his unruly staff recognized it was about to be treated to the attention and skill of two buxom women.
“Ah, ladies,” he purred in a gravelly voice, “you do your ancestress credit.”
“We will see to your need, milord,” said Gwen.
Seth sniffed the air in order to see which of the two was more aroused and would take less time to prepare to be mounted. Alys’ descriptions of how best to please him must have been very detailed and explicit. Both women were ripe.
“Aye, Gwen, that you will. It would seem my dear friend Alys made sure that those of you who followed were well prepared to deal with your dragonlord. On your knees and present yourself to me.”
Gwen turned around and flashed a wicked smile to Elin, who almost managed to conceal her look of disappointment.
“Do not fret, Elin. Gwen may be first, but you will be the longer,” he said seductively as he stroked her hair before kneeling behind Gwen.
She was prepared, completed denuded of hair and legs spread as she kneeled with her forehead on the ground and arms stretched out before her. The complete picture of supplication and submission to his needs. Her swollen labia did little to conceal the silky essence glistening at the mouth of her sex. He knelt behind her and opened his breeches. His engorged cock stood straight and tall.
Seth reached out and was about to finger her sex when she moaned as if he had touched her. He swatted her bottom, once on each cheek before swatting her pussy. She yelped but was well enough trained to stay in position.
“If nothing else, I will have your honest response. My ego is not so fragile that I need false encouragement.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m so used to the town men that I reacted as I would with them. The Lady Alys’ instructions said you had no use for lies or feigned flattery… forgive me.”
Seth grinned and stroked the lips of her sex, savoring the gloriously wet feel of them… so much better than his hand. He directed his cock to her entrance and surged forward, filling her completely and the dragon’s tongue strafing her interior walls. This time, her response was honest as she cried out in unexpected orgasm.
“And did the Lady Alys leave notes that I always ensure my partner’s needs are well seen to?”
Elin giggled. “She did, my lord, as well as the fact that your women were not allowed to touch themselves unless instructed to do so for your entertainment.”
Seth grasped Gwen’s hips and began to thrust in and out of her, but not quickly. As primed as he was, he did not want it to go too fast. She was wet and surprisingly tight. She squirmed and he stroked her affectionately.
“Give it a moment, your cunt will adjust to accommodate me.”
As she relaxed, he began to move, slowly dragging his cock back out until only the pointed tip remained inside her before fucking his way back in as deep as he could go. He took it as slowly and gently as he could until he felt her catch his rhythm as she came a second time. He ground down on her and began to fuck her hard. She came repeatedly, screaming her pleasure as he gave her a final, almost violent thrust and held himself against her as he came with a heavy groan.
He pulled his still relatively rigid cock out and patted Gwen’s rump before rolling up onto his feet and sitting down on his throne. Elin’s eyes were wide as he crooked his finger at her.
“Come, girl, and lick your friend’s honey from my cock as you make me ready again.”
“With pleasure, my lord,” Elin said, crawling on the floor to him before working her way up his calf to his cock. She looked over at Gwen who was spent and incredibly satisfied but had the dragonlord’s cum dripping out of her well-fucked cunt. She looked up to see his eyes, burning with desire, watching her. “And will you fill me as well?”
“Aye, if you serve me as well as Gwen.”
She rose up on her knees and prepared to take his great staff in her mouth. He leaned back, ready to enjoy the attention of her mouth. He detected the scent of sea lavender and wood sage, wildflowers indigenous to the coast of Wales, immediately before there was a disturbance in the air. He covered Elin with his body and rolled her away from where he had been seated, quickly maneuvering both her and Gwen behind the protection of the large chair.
The sounds of retreating footsteps rang out on the stone floor as he rose, saw the arrow lodged in the back of the seat where he had been reclining moments before.