She was beautiful.
The word simply didn't do his fated justice. Leon stared as Laura's eyes flicked between the two of them, a wide range of emotions parading across her gorgeous features.
There was desire there, immediate and undeniable. A hint of hope, a small joy of some kind that warmed Leon's cold heart in a way nothing had in a very long time. And there, right in front of all the others, was the fear.
The most natural of feelings when people came face-to-face with the Praetorians, the terror of Octava. Even warriors got in line when they approached.
He never wanted to see that on Laura's face again, even if Leon knew he could never be free of the horror he represented.
It wasn't his lot in life to be happy, it seemed. She was the keeper of the young and everything they'd heard about her told Leon she wasn't glad to find out who they were.
He didn't know what to say. For three years, he and Cage had looked for her. Without a name, with barely anything to resemble a description, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. There were so many Terrans on Octava now, to find one with nothing to go on was impossible even for them.
For three years, Leon had lived his life with a tangible hole in it, the absence of his fated grating at his soul.
"I..." Laura began again when they still hadn't said anything. "I think we should talk about this, very soon. There's something I have to tell you. For now, I'm here to pick up my three wards. I think you have them. Two small boys by the name of Harper, and Rush, he's a little older."
Leon looked at Cage. The other Warden answered his gaze with a dark hesitation behind his eyes. That was enough to tell Leon everything about the problem they were going to have. He'd read the file. He knew the culprits.
"I think we should talk about this first," Leon said, seeing the way his deep voice made Laura shiver involuntarily, just the way she had on that night. "We have searched for you for three years. We can't lose you again. Tell us... everything."
For a moment, there was a strange spark in Laura's beautiful eyes as if she was agreeing. As if she felt the fated bond between them as strongly as they did.
"I will," she said quietly. "I'm not going to run away if that's what you fear. There is clearly... a lot to discuss, though. I'd like to get this out of the way or else it will nag at me all that time. The Harper twins are very young. They should be home."
Cage spoke this time. The perpetual grin on his lips was faltering a little as Leon had known it would. That was not how they'd envisioned meeting their fated again.
"Your wards have committed a crime," Cage said. "They will stay here until we've decided what to do with them."
© 2017 Vi Voxley
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Alien Warlords’ Child
Warlords of Octava
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No part of this work may be used, reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means by anyone but the purchaser for their own personal use. This book may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Vi Voxley. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material is prohibited without the express written permission of the author.
Cover © Jack of Covers
"If they sent the Praetorians, we're dead!"
Cold rain was beating down on the old, forsaken city. It had been a long time since someone lived there but it wasn't devoid of life.
The voice of the speaker was shaking, more from terror than the extreme weather. It was such a strong storm it was hard to see farther than two feet.
Another voice answered, firmer, yet still bearing the same note of barely restrained hysteria.
"If Dover gets us, we're dead as well. Much more dead. Did you see what he did to that poor man? I've never seen anyone's guts that far out of their body while they're still alive... Gods, it's sickening just to think about it."
Crouching on a ledge above the heads of the two men speaking, Praetorian Leon listened. He hadn't moved an inch for several minutes, completely hidden in shadows and not making any sound that could carry over the punishing downpour. A block away, Leon saw the quick signal of his fellow Warden and Praetorian and knew Cage was in position as well.
It had been a while since he had concentrated that hard. The man the two Praetorians were hunting wasn't someone they were prepared to let go.
Silent like the grave, Leon listened, never taking his eyes off the last location of Cage. At any second, the other Warden could signal him that he'd sighted Dover. Then there was no other priority than to run and kill on sight.
"I don't care what you say, Forosh," the first voice spoke again. "I'd rather go back to Dover. He'll forgive us if we say we didn't mean to, the Preatorians will execute us on the spot!"
"You've lost your mind, Trinet," the second replied furiously, a note of panic beginning to rise in his voice. "The Wardens would give us a quick, shift death! They don't torture people, even the Praetorians don't! Maybe it wasn't even them we saw landing, maybe it's someone else, another pair of Wardens!
"If we go back to Dover, he'll wear our skins as coats and we might be alive to witness it! I can't believe you would go back to that homicidal maniac!"
High above them, Leon had no mercy for either of them. Their pitiful cries didn't move him when he'd seen the last crime scene Dover left behind.
It took some feat to get every Warden on the planet Octava to chase one man. It had rarely ever happened. The criminals never wanted to be that closely observed by the Wardens. Dover, however, had made commanding that kind of attention look easy.
Gargons weren't a peaceful race, not by far. Wardens, their elite peacekeepers, were a sign of that. Nowhere else in the galaxy did those who judged criminals also deliver the sentence, and so swiftly.
Dover had made every crude, almost cruel technique the Wardens used to chase him look like child's play. Eventually, all Wardens had lines they wouldn't cross.