Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(21) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Could Edena have switched from Arcadian to Katagari and been too afraid to tell her about it?
She wasn’t sure what upset her more. The fact it could have happened or that her daughter wouldn’t trust her with the truth. That Edena would be afraid of her own mother judging her for something the child couldn’t help.
As the women drifted away, Fury, who had white-blond hair similar to Blaise, came forward. He shifted Trace in his arms. “Don’t worry. You’ll learn our names quick enough. And I’m easiest to remember as I’m the one most likely to say or do something really stupid or offensive. But don’t be offended. I’m socially awkward and mentally stunted.” He wrinkled his nose in a very wolflike gesture. “Once they learned I wasn’t Arcadian anymore, I was harshly ejected from my Arcadian pack before I got fully mannered up. Lia and Bride keep trying to school me on how humans behave, but I’m learning it’s really hard to teach an old wolf new social skills. So don’t let me hurt your feelings. I don’t mean nothing by it.”
She smiled at him. “Same here. I don’t really understand this time period or… how all of you do things.”
He ran his gaze over her wardrobe. “Fourth century BC? Steppe tribe?”
“Amazon. Not sure what you mean by fourth century BC.”
He stroked the sleeping baby’s back in a very human, fatherly fashion. “What emperor or warlord got on your nerves the most?”
“Philip of Macedon, and his son Alexander.”
He let out a low whistle. “Yeah, you’re ancient. You pro-Rome, or hate their guts?”
“Not my favorite group.”
“Fair warning, then. There are two of them in this city, Roman and Valerius. They’re on our side. Try not to kill them. Especially Val. Once you get past his assholishness, he’s actually a decent enough guy. And his wife’s one of Bride’s best friends. She’d be real put out if you killed him, which would upset Vane and, well… you know, shit rolls downhill.”
Seraphina laughed. Yes, yes, it did. “Thanks for the warning.”
He inclined his head. “Let me go tuck my nephew in with my sons and I’ll be right back.”
Isolated again, she returned to listen to the small group continue to discuss the best way to attempt a rescue for her children and not get eaten by gallu in the process.
For the first time, Seraphina understood how Maxis must have felt when he’d found himself thrust into her tribe after their mating. How completely alienated he’d been, and how foreign the surroundings and customs and faces. Because she’d been born among the Amazons, she’d always known their traditions. Known their language and felt a part of them. How they fought and went to war.
Yes, she’d been orphaned after the attack on her village, but she hadn’t been the only survivor that night. Her aunt’s Amazon tribe had welcomed them in with open arms and great compassion. Each of them had been given adoptive families and treated as natural-born daughters.
From the moment of Maxis’s arrival in her village, they’d received him as an outsider and had never allowed him to forget the fact that he wasn’t one of them, and would never be fully accepted among her race.
When Maxis had first seen the number of Drakaina tents, he’d slowed his horse and worn a look of feral reservation in his eyes.
“Don’t tell me you’re afraid.”
“Not afraid. Only disquieted.” His gaze had gone to the collection of cloaks and shields her tribeswomen displayed outside their tents that were made of the tanned scales and skeletons of past dragon kills they proudly flaunted as war trophies. “What is the penalty for killing an Amazon in combat?”
“None, so long as it’s fair and open. Murder, however, is punished swiftly and severely. I wouldn’t advise doing that. No matter how tempted someone might make you.”
And when they’d neared Nala’s grand tent where a row of dragon skulls were mounted on dragon-spine posts, he’d arched a brow at her. “I think I know that guy.”
She’d laughed, until she realized he wasn’t joking. “Seriously?”
“Aye, but it’s all right. I owed him money.” He’d winked at her.
His sense of humor and extreme intelligence had always caught her off guard. It was what had always charmed her about her mate.
Maxis was never what she expected.
“Are you all right?”
She swallowed hard at Samia’s question that dragged her away from her memories and back to the present. “Thinking about the past.”
Sam nodded with a sympathetic smile. “I heard you were recently awakened from a curse where you were all turned to stone? What’d you do?”
“Fought for the wrong set of gods, and were too successful at it.”
Sam sucked her breath in sharply. “That would do it. So who did you piss off?”
Seraphina didn’t comment on that as her gaze dropped to the low cut of Samia’s shirt where a part of a double-bow brand mark peeked out.
The symbol of a Dark-Hunter – they were immortal warriors who’d sold their souls to the goddess Artemis to fight in her army and protect mankind from the Daimons who preyed on human souls to elongate their lives. Since they hunted the cousin race that had birthed the Were-Hunters, they were normally avoided or considered enemies to her people.
How odd that Samia would end up mated to a Were-Hunter… That had to be the strangest union of all.
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