Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(71) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Not quite sure what he was doing, he closed the distance between Savitar and the king. The moment Linus saw him, he did just as his sister-in-law predicted.
He ordered Max arrested for the murder of his brother, and demanded the return of Helena.
She was right. Linus would never suffer her to live and birth those children. He would kill them and remove them from the line of succession.
“He and his brother slaughtered mine, and I demand their heads for it!”
“Illarion is innocent. I, alone, am responsible.”
Savitar faced him with a stern glower. “Do you understand what you’re doing?”
Hell, no. But it seemed to be the only option.
He met Savitar’s furious stare. “I only understand what will happen if I don’t.”
Sighing in disgust, Savitar pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose as if he had a brain tumor forming. As the guards came to retake Max, Savitar stopped them.
“No! The Arcadians you’ve created are a separate race and shouldn’t be subjected to the laws of man.” Savitar glared at Linus and his father. “They are a sentient group and should make their own laws to govern them. If Maxis is to face judgment, it will be by a jury of his own hybrid peers and not handed down from a scheming brother and grieving father. If travesty is to be done, it should be impartial.”
“’Cause that makes it all so much better,” Max muttered.
Savitar narrowed a threatening glower at him. “Don’t lip me, dragon, or I’ll turn you over to them.”
“And what of this jury?” Lycaon demanded. “Who’s to oversee it?”
“I will personally guarantee it. You have my word.”
Fury, and the promise that this wasn’t over, glared out from the king’s eyes. “Fine. I’ll hold you to it. But I want that dragon’s head mounted to my wall for what he’s done! I will be expecting you to bring it to me when this is over. Otherwise, I’ll be declaring war on this new breed.” And with that, the king led his army away.
Illarion finally approached them. I’m glad that’s settled. Not even a little.
Savitar laughed bitterly. “You’re right. Nothing’s over. This is just the beginning. Wait until Zeus and Apollo hear of it.” He glanced around at the faces and animals…
Apollites, lions, eagles, falcons, hawks, tigers, wolves, bears, panthers, jackals, leopards, snow leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and dragons.
“What the hell was Dagon thinking?”
Max let out his own exhausted breath. “That his wife was grieving for her brother and that he had the magick to make it better.”
“You consider this better?”
Max shrugged at Savitar’s question. “Better than death? Aye. Barely.”
“And you, dragon, are an idiot.”
“I’ve been called worse.” He glanced to Illarion. “And that was just a few hours ago.”
Savitar shook his head as he met the gaze of the princess. “Those are the first of their kind you’re carrying, you know that, right?”
Her face had gone pale. “What?”
“You conceived them after your husband had been transformed. The good news is, they won’t die of the Apollite curse that comes with Eumon’s bloodline. The bad news is, the gods won’t be happy that your prince thwarted said curse.” Savitar growled in aggravation. “There’s only so much mitigating I can do. Knowing the gods and those bitches in particular, I can tell you this isn’t over. They will have something new in store for us all. And it won’t be merciful.”
And he’d been right. In spite of the evidence, and Helena’s testimony over what had happened, Max had been found guilty during that first Omegrion meeting. When Illarion went to testify, Max had kept him out of it, lest he implicate himself and come under fire.
Better one should be marked than both. He’d pressed upon Illarion the necessity of keeping Helena safe and fulfilling their promise to Eumon. Something they couldn’t do if they were both being hunted.
So he’d been marked while Illarion had been left as a Katagari guard for the first Arcadian princes born to a human mother.
But for Max and Illarion, there would have been no Were-Hunters spared the sword.
Only Linus and Eumon.
Lycaon would have gladly slaughtered the rest to spare his two sons from the wrath of the Olympian gods.
One wolf and one dragon.
Seraphina stared in awe of her mate. She’d had no idea of the sacrifices he’d made for their people.
No one had. True to his Arel birth and blood, Max had borne his duties in silence. The only time he’d struck out against them was when his brothers were threatened.
When she and their children were under fire.
The worst irony was that neither he nor his brother even held a seat at the very council that had been started because of them. Rather Helena and another Drakos born from an earlier experiment between an Apollite slave and dragon had taken the first Regis positions. Helena as the Arcadian Regis, until her eldest son, Pharell, had been old enough to inherit it, and Cromus, who ceded his place to Helena’s Katagari son, Portheus, when he’d come of age.
Linus had been left to found the same wolf bloodline that had led to Vane, Fang, and Fury. Ever bitter over being forced into his wolf status, he had gladly waged blood feuds against the Katagaria and other species. And it had been his powerful testimony and leadership that had condemned Max.
His ruthless need to put down all the others and rule them that had forced Savitar to create the limanis so that the Were-Hunters would have some refuge from the gods and others out to slaughter them needlessly.
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