Fallen Warriors

Series: Intergalactic Enosis: The Pyxis System

ISBN: 978-0-6489774-0-7

We are warriors. We are shifters. We are Saberians.
We are the greatest…until we fall.

 

When the females of Saber mysteriously die, Prince Arana, the only remaining member of the Royal family, vows to govern the living and avenge the fallen.
 

As if being the new king was not enough, Arana faces a grave challenge. He and Beast, his sabertooth half, need to play nice long enough to accomplish the only thing that will save them: finding compatible females for his people.
 

He needs to lead his warriors by example, else his failure will cost him more than just his life. Will he locate a mate whom Beast will accept in time, or will he lead those he pledged to protect to doom?

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ONE - Who was she?
Arana

You know why she called us here, don’t you? Beast’s grating voice swirled in our head.
   In front of us, the entrance of Serenity Gardens was bursting with vibrant colors. True to its name, tranquility emanated from this sacred place affecting us, the beautiful fragrances providing a feast for our senses.
   The giants lined the well-worn path. Wisteria grew on the millennia-old trees’ enormous trunks. The mutualistic vining plant protected and fed off them. It snaked around the bark and decorated the lower branches with cascades of pink, purple, and blue flowers. The blooms weighing its long vines down.
   We looked up. Past the beautiful blossoms to the dark-green leaves. The tops of the trees mixed with the sparse clouds and appeared to touch the sky; the rays of our suns barely broke through the dense foliage. Such magnificence made me and my troubles feel insignificant in comparison.
   Beast, my vocal and at times annoying sabertooth half, exhaled; our body, ridden with tension, relaxed and sagged. Hollow pops sounded as our muscles unclenched and our breathing evened out. Despite the constant sense of danger subsiding, he kept swishing his tail slowly from side to side in wide arcs.
   Not a good sign.
   Whenever I’d met with Aarthi in the past, he’d remained silent. Not interested, but not murderous either. So hope blossomed that she might be a female he’d accept.
   But if his intent wasn’t made clear by his tail, his annoyed tone told me what I didn’t want to hear.
   This argument again, Beast? I cannot fathom why you’re the only Saberian who doesn’t value family.
   I value family.
He contradicted. Why couldn’t our body be just my own? Life would be so much easier.
   My bitter laugh sounded more like a bark and caused a flock of cashodians nearby to take flight.
   I ignored his hurtful jab. It wasn’t the first time he’d expressed his wishes. Our souls were connected, and we shared a body. That was the way for Saberians. Not ready to give up, I continued—hoping to persuade him.
   She is a good female. A strong one.
   If she tries to make me submit, I will kill her.
   His statement, similar to his other replies regarding females, squashed all hope to smithereens. I pushed him back to the recesses of our mind and took over our body. I shifted to my biped form, picked up one of the palliums stacked near the entrance, and draped it around my waist and over my left shoulder—leaving the other one bare.
   Saberians weren’t averse to nakedness, but I didn’t want to encourage Aarthi further. I didn’t trust Beast not to act on his threat. Heaviness returned with a vengeance. No female would ever accept a mate whose sabertooth was a danger to them.
   A solitary existence was the least appealing option, and not my choice. Nonetheless, I was heading there and it could only end one way. Lethe. Every male Saberian’s dread. According to the Elders, it would be the end for me—and madness for Beast—before another warrior put us down.
   I started along the path. The ends of the longer vines caressed my face, their ambrosial aroma overpowering all others.
   Is Lethe what you want? Because if you keep pushing away every female who takes a liking to us, that is where we’ll end up.
   Silence. Great. Just great.
   The deeper I walked into the garden, the narrower the path became. Deep oranges, vibrant reds and different shades of green replaced the pinks, purples and blues. A citrusy, woody fragrance replaced the blooms’ pleasant scent. The trees were shorter than the giants earlier, and the landscape brighter as the light from the suns touched the ground. Warmth emanated from the soil and I bet if I stepped into the pond on my right, the water would be warm. Colorful fish, as big as my arms, swam unperturbed. Maybe later I would join them.
   Across the small wooden bridge and under a wandalh, Aarthi waited—stroking her thigh in a sensual rhythm. The crown of the tree was full of five-petaled flowers. Their dark-red color, which appeared black from afar, contrasted her naked ivory skin and golden stripes. I shook off my nervous energy and trudged toward her.
   “Aarthi.”
   With a dazzling smile playing on her lips she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tight, pressing her perky breasts against me while rubbing her cheeks on mine.
   I put my palm on her back and squeezed—before disengaging discreetly. She frowned but hid it quickly. She was a few decades younger than me and as far as I knew, inexperienced with males. It was one of the things I found appealing about her. I hoped this way my sabertooth’s quirkiness would go unnoticed.
   “Hello, Arana. Thank you for meeting me here.”
   She looped her arm through mine as if I’d offered her my elbow, and tugged me toward the path around the edges of the lake.
   “I’ve been thinking,” she said while her sabertooth’s purr vibrated in the air.
   Great. Straight to the point. How on Saber am I going to get out of this one? Beast, this is on you!
   A deep growl started in my belly and I coughed loudly to smother the sound.
   Let me out and I’ll do it, no problem.
   He had the nerve to sound nonchalant as if killing a female wasn’t the worst crime for a Saberian.
   She couldn’t have missed the snarl, but she continued as if everything was all right. “I enjoy your company. We’ve been having a great time so far, haven’t we?”
   I didn’t want to lie, but telling the truth would give her the wrong message. My morals won the fight.
   “Yes,” I agreed, hiding my reluctance.
   “And we’ve known each other for a long while…my feelings for you have grown. My sabertooth approves of you and she wants to meet Beast. We’ve never run or hunted together.” 
   A snarl rattled in my throat and she stopped in her tracks. She looked around, sniffed the air, and returned her gaze to me.
   “I don’t detect a threat. Does Beast?”
   We are the threat I wanted to tell her—but at the same time I didn’t want to crush her. She hadn’t shown preference to another male before. I needed to handle the situation with care.
    “Pay him no mind—he is agitated lately. He will calm down.” Not a lie, but not the entire truth either.
I changed direction and pulled her gently toward the exit of Serenity Gardens.
   “Is it the Council meeting tomorrow or the coming battle that has him worried? It’s been over fifty rotations since the last time the females abstained from a fight.”
   I didn’t detect arrogance in her voice, just the statement of truth. She was a worthy female. She would make another male happy.
   Damn you, Beast.
   He pushed to take control of our body, but I was alert. I pushed him back into the recesses of my mind.
   I won’t let you dishonor us and our family. Settle down!
   She trailed her fingers downward and laced them with mine. Claws sprang from my fingertips and sliced the top of her palm. She cried out and let go. Her sabertooth growled menacingly.
   “I’m sorry, Aarthi.”
   Her eyes bulged, and her breath caught. She clutched her hand to her chest. Being a fierce warrior didn’t negate the fact that she was a sensitive female. Trails of blood ran toward her elbow and fell on her taut tummy and thigh.
   Beast, you worthless cur!
   “Why would you think he did anything?”
   “He is…agitated, out of balance, because of the forthcoming battle. Neither of us is looking forward to the upcoming separation.” My poor excuse did nothing to chase away the clouds in her eyes. “Let’s take this up again when we return from Zirgn,” I pressed, trying to salvage the situation.
   I felt like a monster.
   She inclined her head and shifted. Her sabertooth’s fur was a beautiful ivory color with dark-gold stripes and spots—a total contrast to Beast’s gray fur with silver tips and black markings. I watched as she disappeared in the dense foliage.
   Beast, I swear to the Creator if you ever hurt a female again, I will—
   Do what? The shift healed her wound. She is perfectly fine.
   You’re lucky she didn’t shift on the spot and sting you.
   Ha. She could have tried.

   Our bickering faded when we picked up Urien’s scent.
   “What did he do?” My best friend asked as he stepped into view on the path.
   “Why would you think he did anything?”
   “She isn’t under you screaming your name now, is she?” He cocked his head sideways. “And you’re dressed.”
   “Touché.”
   “So?” He wouldn’t let it go. Then again, I wouldn’t either if I were in his place.
   The sudden thickness in my throat made speaking harder. I swallowed a few times, but it remained there. 
   “He nicked her hand,” I spat, “while she was holding mine.”
   His eyebrows reached his forehead. Having grown up together, we were brothers in all but blood. He knew how difficult Beast could get, but he didn’t utter a single word. He just approached me and clapped me on the shoulder.
   “Let’s run,” was all he said before he shifted.
   I let Beast take the reins. As we stepped out of the Gardens, a foreboding weight settled on my shoulders again—the sensation unsettling. Was this what my mother experienced before she had a premonition? Each Saberian was born with various gifts, which manifested in different ways. But in all my years, I did not remember having premonitions.
   We were heading toward the edges of the forest when Beast caught a whiff of an elusive scent that stood out because it was so foreign. I trusted him, our senses far superior in this form. I needed to ask if my best friend caught it too, so I initiated the shift.
   “Urien, do you smell anything out of the ordinary?”
   His sabertooth lifted his snout in the air and sniffed. He shook his huge head.
   I gave my body back to Beast and we kept patrolling around the edges of the forest. We took turns with Urien, scrutinizing the area, but I couldn’t pinpoint precisely whose or what it was—and Urien hadn’t caught the scent at all. We proceeded inward in tighter circles until we approached the caves my people called home.
   Time flew by and we agreed with my warrior brother to call it a night, so we parted ways. As we reached the entrance of our den, I took the reins once again, shifting swiftly. Exhaustion weighed my limbs down. The lower temperature within the walls offered some relief. I headed straight to the natural pond deeper in the cavern, the dark-blue liquid inviting. I jumped in and stayed under for a while, enjoying the peace the lack of sound offered. The cold water chased away the ache in my muscles. I surfaced and remained there until my skin turned wrinkly and my eyes threatened to close of their own accord.
   Dragging my feet to the bed, I was asleep before my head hit the furs.

 

——
“Easy big kitty,” she purred, “I can free you.”
   Her melodic voice, cajoling, woke up a hunger in me unlike any other. Beast approached her. My sabertooth brought his enormous head to her center and sniffed, then retreated. Her scent reminded me of our forests on a rainy day. Her aroma was rich and alluring.
   Ha! He didn’t attempt to kill her. A good omen.
   I shifted on the spot. Her face was blurry, making discerning any emotion impossible, but she hadn’t run away from us.              Another good sign.
   My thirst for her ignited. I would self-combust if I didn’t have a taste. I knelt in front of her and lifted her top garment. She let me. I got lost in the electric sensation coming from my fingertips touching her smooth, unmarred skin until my eyes locked on her breasts. The two round globes, big enough to fill my hands. The center, along with the protruding nipple, was a few shades darker than the rest of her peachy-beige body.
   I licked my lips and leaned forward, placing a gentle kiss on her right nipple before surrounding it with my lips. I tentatively touched the peak. The velvety-soft texture, in contrast to the rough surface of my tongue, surprised me. Her nipple beaded and hardened. I trailed my lips to her left one. I circled it with my tongue and pulled it into the cavern of my mouth. She gasped. Arched her back. She threaded her fingers through my hair and the action drove me crazy. My arms, two steel bands, trapped her. I pulled her closer and kept sucking and biting her nipple. Softer, then harder. Her squirming and moans egged me on. I needed more. I held her on the edge, not letting her tip over.
   My palms traveled to her waist. I hooked my thumbs in the waistline of her pants and dragged them downward, revealing inch after delicious inch of her skin. When the garment pooled on the floor I pulled back, holding her nipple in between my lips. Her soft cries intensified as it stretched. I let it go, and she moaned and pulled my hair—trying to get me on her breast again.
I had other plans. Looking at her bare pussy, drool pooled in the corner of my mouth.
   I turned her around and applied pressure on her back. Bending her body brought her treasure right to my face. Her pussy was glistening, her juices smeared all over her nether lips and inner thighs. Her alluring scent drove me insane. I didn’t make her wait. Not this time. I needed to taste her.
   She startled when I kissed her vulva reverently. She rose to her toes when I licked from her clit, to her labia, to her entrance—where I tasted her nectar before pulling her toward me and returning to her clit once again. My lips formed a tight seal around her nub and I sucked gently. The action drawing her clit out. I lightly scraped my teeth over it, then used my tongue to lavish it. The quick come-hither move drove her high. She threaded her fingers through my hair. Her breathing turned ragged, and her moans echoed around the walls of my cave. My nose was right at her entrance. Her scent drove me higher. Creator, I needed to feel her sheath surround me. She was shaking. My arm around her waist was the only thing holding her upright. A gush of fresh juices flowed out of her. Letting her clit go, I speared her with my tongue—the way I wanted to do with my cock. Drinking her nectar only made me crave more.
   She screamed and came apart on my face. I did not stop. I made her climb to the top again and fall a second time.
   Her taste was addicting, but I could not hold back any longer. She was slick and ready for me. I stood, not allowing her to move, and brought my cock to her slick sheath. I stroked the puffed-up lips of her pussy, smearing her juices all over my dick, then guided it to her entrance.
   Before I could enter her, the cave walls started dissolving into smoke. I tightened my hold on her waist, but my hands went through thin air.
   What? Where is she?

——

I jolted upright and glanced around, my eyes jumping from one shadow to the other.
   I was in my cave.
   Alone.
   It was merely a dream.
   She felt important, yet I couldn’t remember her face.
   Who was she?
   What species was she?
   As my heartbeats calmed and my breathing settled I looked south. My cock was rock solid. I wrapped my palm around it, closed my eyes, and pumped a few times. But no matter how hard I squeezed, or how fast or slow I went, it did nothing to alleviate my desire. I could not picture her face, and trying to jack off just wasn’t enough.
   I wanted her.
   No.
   I needed her.

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