Authors: Bianca D'Arc
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General, #Dragons
The black dragon was hurting, wounded in more than one place on his thick, ebony hide.
He’d never been in so much pain.
And the bolts kept coming.
Who knew the northern barbarians had rigged a giant crossbow they could move around so agilely? He’d taken one shot in the wing and one near his groin almost before he knew it. The bastards had more than one of the infernal machines and they were all trained on him.
Another bolt hit him in the side, its diamond-bladed tip the only thing sharp enough to slice through dragon scale. He knew he was done for, but he’d take out at least some of these sorry bastards before he fell.
Turning his great head with a roar of flame, the black dragon destroyed one of the machines, frying the slovenly soldiers manning it.
He didn’t have much strength left. Two of the machines remained, but he’d be lucky to attack once more, if that. He turned and swooped, and suddenly, there was a huge silver dragon beneath him, making the attack run for him. It bellowed in rage and let out a stream of fire, cooking the soldiers and the deadly machine. The silver made short work of the third crossbow as well, dodging the bolts with flying skills that would have impressed the black if he hadn’t been so gravely wounded, his wings stretching painfully just to keep him aloft.
The black’s eyes opened wide as he realized the sparkling silver was a fighting dragon. There was a knight on the strange dragon’s back, wrapped in furs against the cold northern wind. The silver took a position underneath him and led the way to what he hoped was safety.
He was too tired to think, too close to unconsciousness to question. It was good, he thought, that another of his kind was there to witness his death. Both the silver dragon and the knight would be there with him, at the end.
Not far now, brother.
Tor spoke to the mind of the black dragon riding the air currents directly above him.
My rider will move forward. I want
you to rest on my back as much as you can. Align your wings with mine.
The black did as he was asked, but was clearly too far gone to answer in words. Luckily, they were close to their lair. It was just over the next mountain ridge. Tor would support the smaller black dragon, and perhaps he and Lana would have a shot at saving the black’s life. Tor was lonely, being the only dragon for miles and miles around. It would be nice to have a companion of his own kind.
The black stretched his smaller wings along Tor’s and his weight settled on Tor’s back. It was an odd sensation, but he was big and strong and able to compensate for the added weight. Within moments, they soared over the craggy mountain ridge that kept them mostly safe from Salomar and his so-called army. Tor made the descent to the cliff-side cave as carefully as possible. It wasn’t an ideal location for a lair, but it was as good as they’d been able to find on all the mountains they’d tried.
They would have to move again soon, now that Salomar knew where they were, but for now, it was home.
The landing was a bit more abrupt than Tor had hoped, but then, he’d never landed with an injured dragon on his back before. The black 14
was still semi-conscious and, once on the ground, slid to his own feet, walked a few steps into the lair, then collapsed.
Instantly, Lana was off Tor’s back and at the fallen black’s side. All would be well. She would help his brother of the skies.
Lana ran to the fallen dragon, her heart in her throat. She’d learned the hard way how to use her healing gift. She’d discovered it quite by accident while Tor was still newly hatched.
When he hurt himself, she was able to heal him. It was a secret she had kept hidden while they were still prisoners of Salomar, but once they escaped, she’d used her gift many times to heal Tor as he learned how to be a dragon in the wild.
He had no grown dragons to teach him, so everything he learned was either instinctive or through trial and error. Some of those errors had been very costly. Like the time he nearly ran himself through, thinking Salomar’s bolts couldn’t pierce dragon scale. He’d almost died that time and would have but for her gift.
Lana had learned a valuable lesson about her abilities that day too.
Any major healing knocked her out completely, and though she’d saved Tor from certain death, she’d lain near death herself for several days. She learned then how she gave of her own life energy when she healed Tor.
He’d watched over her recovery but was unable to do much except keep her warm with his puffing breaths and worry.
Tor made her promise, when she finally roused, to never expend herself so greatly ever again. Through trial and error, she learned how to control the healing energy until she could give just enough to keep herself conscious while still healing him as best she could. Over time, with multiple treatments of this kind, she’d healed serious wounds, www.samhainpublishing.com 15
many inflicted by Salomar’s soldiers in their never-ending quest to get Tor back.
Now the soldiers had a new dragon to chase and Lana knew the threat to them all would triple. This striking black dragon was smaller and perhaps more easily controlled than Tor. Though only five winters old, Tor was huge, and so very strong. Salomar’s soldiers tried to kill him now instead of recapture. They probably knew they had very little chance of controlling him if they did catch him, but still, every once in a while, the witch tried.
Bonded as she was with Tor’s mind, Lana was well aware of Loralie’s attempts to coerce him with her spells as she had his mother. Only their bond had saved him several times now. Lana was able to shake him free of the witch’s spell, grounding his mind to hers in a way that defied the witch’s power. She’d heard Loralie’s shrieks of rage echo through the fading connection the witch had forged with Tor each time they outwitted her.
The muscular black dragon had taken three bolts, each worse than the last. Lana feared he wouldn’t be flying again anytime soon, if he even survived these terrible wounds. Still, there was something very appealing about him. His faint cinnamon and clove scent appealed to her on a level she didn’t quite understand.
Tor, can you remove the arrows? Gently, please.
Lana stood back to let the silver dragon work. She was too small to tug the huge bolts out of tough dragon skin, but to Tor’s great strength, it was simple. She directed him to the one in the dragon’s side first, moving in close to place her hands over the welling blood. It ran like a river the moment the bolt was pulled free, but when she touched his tough black hide, something magical within her stirred to life. This was 16
very different from the usual healing response she often felt in her body and mind. This was something much, much more.
Lana gasped and nearly pulled back, but the black dragon’s thick blood was pulsing dully against her fingers. He needed help and his need redirected her energy from shock to healing. She’d think about the rest later. First, she had to save him—if she could.
Using all her hard-won skill, Lana sent healing heat energy into the wound, staunching the flow of the dragon’s blood and starting just a bit of the repair. She had to pace herself. There were two other wounds to close first, then she could use what remained of her energy to begin the major healing. If she had anything left.
She tried her best to ignore the familiar feeling of him. She’d never seen this dragon before, yet something inside her recognized him.
Something inside her reached out to him, wanting to keep him safe, to keep him near.
Lana shook her head, moving to the bolt sticking out between the dragon’s lower left leg and his body. A groin injury could be fatal, since a major artery flowed there. With great caution, she asked Tor to remove the bolt and was immediately covered in the dragon’s thick blood as it spurted from the nicked artery. Lana leaned into the wound, using all her strength, sending the fire of her energies to the source of the blood flow. She panicked as it resisted her first attempts.
Lana breathed deeply and called on her energies, marshaling them and renewing her efforts. She pressed harder, both physically and with her gift, not letting up until the blood stopped flowing and the wound started to close.
“Thank the Mother,” she mumbled aloud as the wounded artery sealed. The stunning black dragon had lost a lot of blood, but her magic was working. He might just pull through. She stumbled over to the last www.samhainpublishing.com 17
bolt, sticking out of his leathery wing, tears of strain falling unheeded down her cheeks.
“I think this one has to come out the other side. If we pull it back, the barbs will carve a hole in his wing that might never heal.”
Tor positioned himself behind the black wing, supporting the bone and musculature while Lana held the wing taut. With more gentleness than anyone would credit a dragon Tor’s size, he pulled the shaft through, limiting the amount of damage to the wing as much as possible. Again, she used what little remained of her energy to stop the oozing blood and begin healing. While not life-threatening, this was perhaps the worst wound, as it would severely hinder his ability to fly if it didn’t heal well. Her heart nearly broke at the thought of this magnificent dragon unable to soar high where he belonged.
You need to rest.
Tor’s concerned voice sounded through her foggy mind.
I’ll keep him warm and watch over him while you sleep.
He nudged her with his nose and Lana stumbled toward the pile of furs against the far wall. Within moments she was asleep, drained from using her gift on the strange black dragon who stirred something unknown deep in her soul.
The black dragon roused as pain pierced through the layers of unconsciousness. He blinked several times, focusing on the silver dragon who puffed warm air to keep the cave at a tolerable temperature.
Where am I?
Diamond eyes blinked open at him. They reflected every color of the rainbow. They also communicated the huge dragon’s excitement.
Apparently so. Thank you for your assistance. I am Roland.
The silver seemed so young and eager. He didn’t even blink at mention of Roland’s name. That was odd enough, but he also seemed not to know what or who the black dragon was, which was odder still.
Greetings, Sir Tor. Your help was timely indeed.
Sir? What’s that?
Roland was confused.
Aren’t you a fighting dragon? I thought I saw a
knight on your back.
I don’t know what a knight is. You saw Lana.
The one who healed you. Or at least, began your healing. It tires her.
I suppose. She says she’s human, but she feels like dragon to me, even
if she looks different.
Roland filed that information away for later consideration, a sneaking suspicion forming in his mind about his rescuers.
Tor, how old are you?
The huge silver dragon paused.
I think this is my fifth winter. Lana
can tell you for sure.
Sweet Mother of All! You’re just a baby. What you did to help me was
amazing. Again, I thank you.
Roland tried to shift and grimaced in pain.
thought I was surely dead.
You shouldn’t move. Lana won’t like it if you start bleeding again.
I won’t like it either, I assure you.
Roland chuckled with a dragonish snort.
Lana won’t wake up for a few hours yet. Healing tires her. It almost
killed her once before she learned better.
So, Roland thought to himself, an untrained healer and a giant wild dragonet. An odd combination, to be sure. He was intrigued.
Tell me where you were hatched, young Tor. Where is your mother?
The dragonet seemed to grow anxious.
My mommy left when I was in
the shell. Then Lana kept fires burning to keep me warm and she talked to
me. She said she wasn’t my mommy, but I love her. She helped me grow
and kept me warm when Salomar wanted me to eat her! He thought I
would eat Lana!
The dragonet chuckled smokily.
I ate his mean dogs
Roland knew who Salomar was. The despicable warlord thought himself king of this frozen wasteland. As far as Roland was concerned, he was welcome to it, but Salomar had recently allied himself with Skithdron and that was not to be tolerated. Now, hearing what the swine had done to this innocent wild dragonet, the list of his crimes grew.
Roland vowed to make him pay for each and every one.
It was a while before I learned how to fly and breathe fire. After that,
Lana and I made plans, and we finally escaped about two winters ago.
They’ve been trying to get us back ever since.
So those huge crossbows were made for you?
Tor nodded his great head with a grim sadness.
But I learned how to
fly too fast and funny for them to be able to hit me. Lana helped me
practice. It’s a fun game now, but the first time they hit me, I almost died.