He woke several times to the blurred sensations of blood and sex. He knew he had fucked the little avien several times. Shadow’s dreams confirmed it. They were a kaleidoscope of feathered flesh and hot movements. He kept repeating one in his dreams. He didn’t remember doing it, but the dream was highly detailed and repeated often enough to assure him he had. In the dreams, the avien was beneath him clutched securely in his muscled arms. Hawk did not seem to notice his feathers getting ruffled or even bent, as he drove himself into him again and again. The hot, little boy pushed back into him eagerly urging him to do more. Sometimes, he heard the noise of the other boys milling about the room. Shade didn’t know if he liked the idea of being watched, but sometimes…the sound turned him on even worse. He liked the urgent, little noises coming from Hawk; it was hard to believe he had almost let a dragon eat him. Then, he considered Tarkin’ton using his little slut in this very same way and his jealousy burned. The boy did everything he could think of to erase his anger. It must have worked, too. Shadow stopped thinking of Tar entirely, seeing only Hawk and sleeping deeply. He had no idea of how long he slept, but he knew it was a restless sleep filled with noises and waking moments. He woke to the sound of yelling. Hawk soothed him with gentle words as he woke slowly. “It is nothing. Just and angry vampire looking for trouble,” the boy murmured to him. “Your wards are sealing him out. He cannot get in.”
“How long have I been down here,” he asked huskily. Hawk looked reluctant to answer. He saw more than a few bite marks on his delicate body.
“You needed it,” he argued defensively when Shadow narrowed his eyes at him.
“How have you kept me here? Few can make me sleep; fewer still can command me while I slumber.” His fear began to rise making him uneasy.
“Shade,” the boy protested with hurt eyes. “You do feel better, don’t you?”
Yeah, actually, he thought in mild surprise. He felt better than he had in a very long time. The door pounded again drawing his attention. A muffled snarl came from the other side. It made him jerk and the other boys in the room reacted to his movement with shrieks of fright. “Tar can’t get in,” Shade whispered in worry.
“Yes, he can,” Hawk argued, “he is your companion!”
“Not if I am unconscious,” Shadow snarled releasing the warding on the room. Hawk moved away warily offering comfort to the others as he herded them to the back of the room. His eyes alone showed his concern as he steadily met Shade’s gaze without backing down. Pevin seeped into the room as the light returned to its normal gloom.
“Where are the keys?” Pevin didn’t look so sweet and mild this morning. “Why couldn’t I get in? The boys are starving! You have been feeding off of them,” he accused.
“Have I,” Shadow asked in dazed disorientation. “I only remember sleeping… the avien boy…I know I fed on him.” Pevin motioned for Hawk to come to him. There was only one wound on the boy’s neck. Not a trace remained on him. Not even the scent of sex, and it should have lingered on his skin for weeks.
Hawk met Pevin’s suspicious black eyes and agreed. “It is as he says. He fed on me and slept, but I am well. We all agreed not to wake him. As you see, we have fruit we brought in and we ate plenty before that.” He looked down on the last part no longer comfortable with that silver-laced jet boring into him. “No one has starved!”
“How have you been getting outside? It has been a week!”
“I have not needed to go out. I have been here at his side! Haven’t I?” Hawk glanced back at Shadow desperately. Shade created a bowl of fruit and several strips of dried meat. He didn’t even feel drained by it. “See…see…look!”
Pevin studied them both strangely. “Tarkin’ton was worried! He couldn’t reach him either.” As if to add meaning to his comment, the ghostly apparition appeared at his side! Looking scared, Tar reached out to touch him as Shade flinched away from the wispy hand. It dropped away helplessly.
“I was tired. I knew I would sleep,” Shade said sounding thirsty. “Sorry, I didn’t know I would be out for so long,” he tried to explain wondering at the fear in Tar’s expression. “I sealed the room, Tar! I was safe…”
“You sealed it against us! Not everyone,” Tarkin’ton hissed in frustration. “Someone was in here! I felt him enter the house and this room…I felt the intruder, Shade!”
“I must have slept through it. The only disturbance I heard…was the two of you.”
Tar snarled, “The next time you seal me out, seal out everything! Or I will find an assassin to finish this between us forever,” he threatened angrily. Pevin smirked as he blinked out. Then, the boy turned on his heel and followed the ghost thing back upstairs.
Hawk shut the door he left standing open and sighed in relief. “That will be terribly difficult for him to do,” he remarked winsomely, “The only thing you didn’t seal out was light clan. Somehow I cannot see a Holy Temple Guardian becoming bets10 an assassin,” he mused with a small, pleased smile. Neither could Shadow…but then…
“Who was here, Hawk?”
“My lord,” the boy inquired looking far too innocent for someone he knew was guilty as sin of the accusations leveled at him.
“Tar was petrified! Don’t go all coy and act innocent on me. Who was here,” he demanded. The boy moved across the room fluidly watching his face.
Hawk looked both wary and thoughtful as he drew near. “No harm was done, as you can clearly see, my lord.” He swept out a hand to indicate the room, but the vampire’s eyes never left the boy. “You needed to rest, and I made certain you got it. I am sorry my lord was afraid, but I only did what was best for the two of you. Two, Shade, I said two,” he repeated firmly. “If you are weak, so is he! He cannot afford to leave you in Pevin’s…care,” he said hesitantly. “Yet his trust in his young lover is complete; just as a part of you will always trust in Tarkin’ton despite his punishments!”
“Are you telling me I shouldn’t,” he asked incredulously. “I left here! I only came back to see him dead. If what I hear is true, and the things he whispered in my ears for so long, I cannot allow him life. Even if it means I die with him,” Shadow whispered in total resignation, “I have to kill him.”
Hawk shifted nervously. “Tarkin’ton has been praying to the Gods,” he stated ominously. It fell on deaf ears. The news didn’t seem to even faze Shadow. He huffed a little in irritation, “Not your Gods, Shadow’kin! To the Gods of all thing Good and Light he prays! Like you, Shade,” he urged fiercely. “It is unheard of! You protected yourself from all except the Light!”
“I have my reasons,” the vampire bitched. He turned away from the boy.
“Perhaps Tar sees your reasons too,” he suggested softly.
“Then, I have killed him without a cause!”
“No, Shade,” Hawk stated flatly, “You killed him because it is what he wished of you. It is one of the things he prayed for…his death at your hands.” Shadow felt a stab of pain and cried out at the severity and suddenness of it! The little creature’s words cut deep. “He must seem dead to all who come seeking him. Yet the worst of them will not be fooled by this ruse! Not so long as the boy walks a two-fold path,” he explained.
“What do you mean? Two path…” His voice rasped still laced with pain.
“Pevin,” Hawk urged. “As much as my lord loves him, he is a spy!”
The vampire hissed in a breath in fury. “Meg’rin,” he snarled in disgust.
“Yes,” Hawk agreed emphatically. “He treats his father and uncle as abysmally as she has taught him to treat them!”
“The two twins,” Shadow mumbled thoughtfully. Perhaps the boy really was the reason they feared vampires so badly. “Oh, hell,” he swore in dismay, “the sun dragon! I forgot about him and left him alone!”
Hawk sat at the edge of the bed soothingly. “He will be hungry, but not harmed. You heard him; Pevin could not find the keys.” Hawk moved to a pillow on the bed and drew the clinging, clattering ring out. “You asked me to see to the prisoners. You left them in the kitchen, so I hid them.”
Shade took the keys giving Hawk a look. He was trying to decide how innocent his newfound bed mate really was…and he was coming up with bad odds. Did he work for an angelic guardian? He already knew the most powerful of them could fool other powerful creatures on what their true age and race were. “Thank you. Do we have anything to feed a dragon? Three of them, I should say,” he amended.
The boy shook his head. “No, sir, the others ate it all. I could give them some fruit to hold them over until you could find, or make more meat.”
“I will have to hunt. I cannot make more than a small amount and even then, mostly fruit,” he sighed. “I hate hunting.”
“If you kill it, the kids can clean and cook nicely. They will make certain to store the leftovers properly…hint, hint. It won’t be problem if you get too much.”
“Just too little,” the vampire added with a smile. “Yeah, I get it. Do any of your boys eat meat,” he thought to ask before fading away.
Hawk looked surprised. A tiny smile broke over his face as he answered softly, “some.”
Shade used the keys to lock the boys’ door and went to see how the twins were faring. He wasn’t surprised to see them strung back up separately. This time the men faced the cold stones on opposite sides of the room. “Pevin,” the inevitable whisper came breaking the dank stillness of the room. He was certain it was the same male as before.
“Are you the boy’s father,” Shadow asked dryly. The dragon flinched when he recognized him as the vampire stranger from before. He made no answer. In fact he seemed to be the only one awake this morning, so Shade moved up behind him. The half dragon pulled at his chains trying to look around at the predator he could not see. A stiff collar restricted his head not allowing it.
Finally, the man stopped admitting defeat. “You bets10 giriş must be Shadoc’s brother. You remind me of him,” he hissed fearfully. Shade was speechless. What could he say to that? He threaded his fingers into the man’s hair letting him get used to him slowly. He combed out some of the tangles he found. It was rare for one of their kind to be so unkempt. Seeing a bowl of some size, he created a little water and a small scrap of fabric. Bringing it close, he started sponging the dragon’s neck tenderly. It wasn’t well received. The poor creature struggled trying to get away not knowing what he was about.
“Hold still,” he crooned. “Doesn’t he even bathe you?”
The creature snarled at him. “No,” he hissed in disgust, “but he is not above fucking us!” Shade paused letting the words and the tone tell him much of the man’s bitterness. He was a prisoner, eaten and abused by his own son or nephew. He didn’t even want to imagine the angry confusion in the man’s voice as he had stated the words. “Why are you doing this? Just let us down,” he begged, “I need to see to my twin! He is hurting!”
“Your brother is alive.” Mentally, he sent a shadow minion to fetch Hawk. “I will release you as soon as you are both clean and taken care of properly. You need to eat, but the prisoners I released before have eaten us out of provisions. Can you nibble on some produce until I get back? I will go hunting. You two need to rest, anyway. I can’t unchain you. I have already tried it; they won’t come loose.”
“It is a complex spell made by Meg and Shadoc,” the male admitted unhappily. “You really freed the prisoners?”
“You remain,” Shade explained, “as you can see. The boys won’t leave as they have nowhere to return to and wished to stay. The others have been set loose with the exception of an injured sun dragon. The room of females…all dead,” he reminded him. “I did what I could.”
“Meg killed them! She came to us covered in their blood, drunk on it!”
His words startled the vampire. He hid his expression by turning to Hawk as he entered the room. “Can you and one of your boys clean these two up? I am going to check on the other one. Release them when you are done. The least I can do is try to give them a meager amount of freedom. Tell them to sleep,” he added.
“It will be done as you say, my lord,” Hawk stated with a slight bow. “Borg and Bede will not harm us. We will set them free and allow them to bathe as we brush out their lovely hair for them. They do not mind that.”
“Borg and Bede,” Shade repeated amused. “Which are you?” The dragon male did not answer. He hadn’t really expected him to. “Not that it matters any; I will assume you are Pevin’s uncle. Take care of your brother.” He turned to leave seeing Hawk had already gone to get whatever he needed.
“Thank you.” He paused, but didn’t turn back to the sullen dragon. His dark skin made Shadow wonder if they were all three shadow dragons. That would make Pevin a very powerful and dangerous, little tramp. His markings alone showed he was a stout mage.
It took a minute to coerce the door to the sun dragon’s chambers open. It was rusty and still locked up tight. The dragon was sitting stiffly against the wall on the bed. “Damn, you sure took your time,” he stated in pleasant amusement.
“How are you feeling?”
He shifted wincing, “sore when I wake, but it gets better if I move around some. I am hungry. You did say there was food? I heard what you told the other two,” he stated tensely. “May I help you hunt?”
“Of course,” Shadow agreed happily. “Would you need anything before we go?”
“Pants,” the man drawled carefully. It seemed a friendly vampire confused everyone around here. However, his comment drew that vampire’s gaze downward.
“Of course, but…” How do you explain needing to be intimately familiar with a person to think of the proper fit? The other male stood with a strangely teasing grin. He came up close to Shade. When his head came up to look at him dead on, the shadows hiding his eyes seemed to disappear. They were reflective! There was no coloring in them what-so-ever, and they threw back the light when it hit them. It was eerie. They were clearly eyes of a predator. His skin moved in a lazy wash of magical energy that was highly fascinating. The pink turned orange where the gold overlaid it. Bright, blinding reds where the illusion dramatically darkened the pink.
“I know what you need. You can come closer, vampire…Touch me,” he beckoned using only the mere hint of a compulsion in his voice. He wanted to be certain he would do it. The creature’s eyes flashed as soon as he stepped close. “Good, good…touch,” he encouraged quietly. Pain flared where Shadow’s hand brushed the man’s arm and waist. He whimpered wanting to immediately draw away. He hated being hurt; feared it! “Hush, ignore the pain. You said you wanted to touch me, so take your fill, vampire.” Shadow’s mind automatically tried to fight free of the creature’s mind. “Be calm. Did you expect to touch the light bets10 güvenilir mi and not pay the consequences?” He took Shadow’s hand and used his own to move it over his hips and thighs. “Shh…It is necessary.”
“Why didn’t it hurt when I carried you in here?”
“I was nearly dead. I have recovered some of my strength. You want to touch me, Sha’da limn; forget the pain.” Both hands drew the vampire along his skin tracing the contours lightly. Shadow closed his eyes memorizing the imprint along his fingertips. He was right, Shade thought. Despite the pain, he was enjoying the feel of his flesh and the feel of the light energy swatting at his own darkness like a cat testing his boundaries. He let out a little moan of sheer longing when his hands traced that firm, muscled ass. “That is it, feel me, vampire.” The creature sounded greatly amused by his lust. Then, he released his hands to place his own along Shadow’s waistline. He jumped at the sting and made a little sound in protest. He tried to focus his attention to his task and rubbed his hands down extraordinary, muscled calves and flanks. The dragon leaned into it. Shadow’s skin was twitching like an animal being touched by a cattle prod. This man was not a Sun Dragon! His body was screaming what his mind had been too slow to comprehend…He was a Light Bearer! They were a rare warrior breed of the Temple Guardian Clan. Shadow had to kneel to get to his lower calf and ankles. The man above him sighed as Shade memorized every detail of shape and size. The sigh distracted him. The creature’s hands had moved into his hair. It didn’t hurt so much as make him start imagining things he shouldn’t be thinking of. Shadow had to look…His chin came up and it was a mistake! The creature’s eyes were closed enjoying the hands that swept darkness against his skin, his face a mask of pure pleasure. It was evident elsewhere too as the appendage before the vampire’s face began to grow slowly. Tempting fate, he leaned forward and let his tongue trace the curvature of the rounded dome tasting the sweet, swelling of his skin. The male pulled him closer in instinctive reaction. Shadow nipped at it and a harsh sound rumbled in the man’s chest! Then, those bright, blinding eyes flashed open trapping his mind in seconds! “No,” he barked panicked. “No, Shadow’kin! Even the light can be tempted,” he whispered as he pulled him away shakily. He leaned down and kissed him violently.
It got deeper, wilder and hotter until Shadow drew back in pain. The creature burst into light and he hissed scrambling away in terror, his eyes stinging and streaming from it! It practically made the very air around them sizzle. “Maybe you should make me a cloak, too,” the angelic minion suggested, “as I seem to be highly attracted to you.” He sounded husky and startled. “You can’t imagine how strange it feels to admit that. I have never slept with a guy willingly in my life.”
“Light Bearer,” he growled without uncurling from his protective stance. He quickly made a pair of silky, snowy white coverings for him. The material was slinky, but thick! The cloak wouldn’t just cover that gorgeous body; it would cover that infernal blaze of power scalding his tender skin! “Why does ever Light Bearer say it that way: ‘I have never willingly’? What? Has every one of you have been raped?”
The man laughed softly. “You didn’t know? I really must have been weak when you found me, vampire. I thank you for my pitiful life, but I must know this,” he stated thoughtfully while dressing. “Would you have helped me had you known?”
Shadow smiled slowly and it was touched with a hint of devilish mischief. His immediate reaction to that question was not an appropriate one. He didn’t think the man would get offended, so he decided to tell him. “I would have taken advantage of you while I had the chance. When you could not have given me this little display…” The angel laughed delighted by his honesty.
“I am not pure light, despite my calling. Be wary of that mouth, little vampire,” he added sounding like he was thinking of more than those cautiously, worded taunts. “Shall we go hunting, now?” Shadow got up. The man was beautiful, perhaps even more so in the all white luster of the cloak and pants. He made himself a matching outfit using all black leather. It won him a laugh. “It doesn’t match that white hair of yours,” he mused. “Are you really Shadoc’s brother?”
Shadow froze. His entire body seemed to hate the very sound of those words, “Yes.”
“You don’t remind me of the vampire king. He is completely cold and heartless.” Shadow turned into him as the angel touched his shoulder. It didn’t hurt with all of the material between them. “You may be a vampire, Shadow’kin, but you are strange. There is goodness within you.”
“You don’t know me, angel! Do not assume such things,” he hissed angrily.
“I know you attract my angelic blood,” he stated softly. His voice was firm as he explained, “Meaning there is good in you, despite all of your protesting!” They walked outside in stilted silence. “Sha’da limn,” the man called to him tenderly. Everything about the angel was soft and gentle, Shadow realized, not understanding it in the least. The forest called to the animal in him. He missed running alone within the uncomplicated world it offered.