Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(66) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
“That’s not true!” The words were out before Seraphina could stop them.
Every eye in the room turned to her. That would have been bad enough, but when she came under the vicious scrutiny of Savitar’s lavender gaze, she wanted to run screaming for the door. And it didn’t help that Illarion and his brothers picked that moment to show up and garner an even more fierce glare from Max.
But at least Savitar’s features finally softened as if he approved of both occurrences. “The dragonswan speaks.”
“She’s his whore!”
Savitar slung his hand out and caught the Kattalakis dragon who’d insulted her with an unseen force that lifted him up and pinned him to the wall between two of the open windows. “Only I’m allowed to be an insulting asshole in this room. Understood?”
The dragon nodded.
Savitar dropped him straight to the floor, where he landed with a pain-filled groan and in an unceremonious lump, before the ancient returned his attention to Sera. When he spoke, it was in a kind, fatherly tone. “You were saying, dear?”
Yeah, his kindness was even scarier than his nastiness. And it left her terrified. She’d never liked public speaking and this… this was worse than facing a herd of angry dragons out to feast on her entrails.
“It’s okay, Sera,” Max said kindly. “You don’t have to speak up for me.”
Those words gave her the courage she needed. “No, but someone does. I don’t know who released the gallu —”
“That would be us,” Zakar said, raising his hand. “Oops. Sorry about that.”
Savitar rolled his eyes. “Sit your punk ass down and shut up. You and I will talk later.”
Zakar laughed good-naturedly. “Hope you take your Abilify first, old man.”
Savitar started to wag his finger at Zakar, then gave up and waved him away. “Shut up.” He returned his attention to Sera. “You were saying?”
“Just that my mate is innocent. The gallu came after him first. And neither of us have a clue about Apollo. We don’t even know what you’re talking about.” She tucked her marked hand into Max’s.
He winced before he laced his fingers with hers and clutched her hand tightly in his.
Savitar watched that single gesture closely for several heartbeats without comment.
“I demand he pay for his crimes!” Ermon Kattalakis – one of the Arcadian dragons – demanded. “It was the blood of my grandfather he spilled!”
A strange look passed between Savitar and Acheron, then him and Styxx, before he rose to his feet.
Without a word, Savitar closed the distance between him and Max. “It occurs to me, Maxis, that with our historian, Nicolette Peltier, gone, there’s no one here who knows the history of this council. She died before she could pass the origins along to her only daughter.” He turned toward Tanya. “I suppose you should inherit that part of her job as well, no?”
Tanya looked as frightened to be under that fierce scrutiny as Sera had been. “It would be my honor to record it, my lord.”
An odd half smile played at the edges of Savitar’s lips while he continued to stroke his goatee with his thumb. He glanced back to Max. “What do you say, drakomas? Have I your permission to break our pact?”
She saw the indecision in Max’s golden eyes as he debated. He glanced from her to Illarion, then to their children.
It’s time. Illarion inclined his head to him. Tell the truth, brother. Let them decide for themselves.
With an audible gulp, Max nodded. “Although, I would remind you both that when the truth was told last time, it didn’t help. No one cared.”
Ignoring that, Savitar stepped back then so that he could walk a circle around the table. “Some of you have been coming here for centuries. You occupy seats you inherited from your family or won through combat. All of you know what an honor it is to sit here and represent your independent species. Both those who hold human-Apollite hearts and those born with animal hearts. Two halves of a single whole. Both sentient, and forever condemned by the gods to war against each other for no real reason, other than the fact that the gods are assholes. Everyone knows that part of the story. What none of you know is why you answer to me. Why you answer to this council…”
Savitar gestured to Max. “You blame the Dragonbane for the war that divides your two branches of the same species, but he didn’t do this to you. That belongs to the three bitches who cursed your race in the beginning. To Zeus and Apollo and their childish tantrums that made them cry to the Fates to do something because they felt cheated that you were spared the Apollite curse that would have required all of you to die horribly at age twenty-seven over an event you had no part in. But as with all history, that is only one tiny, bit part that you’ve been told, which was colored by those seeking to sway your opinion and make you hate for no real reason. To keep you divided by your inconsequential differences when you should be whole and focused on the real tragedies you have in common. The ones that unite you as a single, sentient species. Follow me, children, and let me show you what you’ve never seen, but what you need to know.”
And with that he threw his hands out. The doors crashed closed and darkness fell into the room so completely that for a moment, Sera felt like they were in Irkalla again.
The sudden, unexpected nothingness was oppressive and terrifying. But for Max’s pressure on her hand and presence by her side, she’d have run for a door.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online