“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Rose held Faith’s hand as Jasmine and Khulan watched close by. Faith shook with a nervous anticipation. She watched the rugged male Dragons pay their respects to one another before the fight began. The crowd had gathered from across the region for the annual competitions. Everyone participated in the centuries old tradition of the Mongolian Warrior. The air was full of pheromones flooding Faith’s nostrils and summoning her inner Dragon far too soon.
The girls grew up watching the yearly festivities. Khulan lived it until now. She watched behind Rose and Faith as her desire burned in her cheeks and below her stomach. Her thighs tingled as she grew wet and restless watching the huge males warm up for battle. She was at her peak. It was her season. Her Dragon felt it, wanted it, and urged Khulan to sate her appetite.
Khulan was not fortunate like Jasmine and Rose. Forbidden the touch of a man, Khulan would wait until Chingis chose one for her. In the past, Khulan would know the man assigned to her by age eight. The death of her parents and loss of her nomadic life left her adrift and in the clutches of her Dragon’s desire.
The wild beast that grew stronger in her host fought day and night to burst into the consciousness of the girls. She whispered in their dreams, clawed at their chest, and chuffed hot air from their mouths. She breathed fire in their loins and urged them to mate and to feed her. The woman, girl, and beast held an uneasy alliance. Until one earned the trust of the other, no inner truce would hold.
* * *
Temür was the reigning champion. He chose his time to fight. The warrior always went first to show his bravery and to avoid letting his opponent have the luxury of time to work up to the frenzy of battle. The two men glared at each other. Predatory eyes burned behind stony faces. After the customary announcements and jubilant cheers from the envious crowd, the two men crashed into each other. The sound of hammering muscle and deep grunts of herculean effort resounded in the chest of the onlookers.
The champion’s mastery was evident right away. Temür’s strength and cunning bullied the opponent. The crowd erupted. Shouts of supporters from both sides stirred the air in a cacophony of sound. They called for a fight. They screamed for blood.
Temür’s opponent, bolstered by the crowd, came at his nemesis with everything he had. A foolish mistake was all the brute needed. The assailant flew in the air. The iron grip of Temür’s hands resembled meat hooks digging into flesh and cloth. The hapless male crashed to the earth. His hopes crushed by a demon whose glowing yellow eyes forced every ounce of courage to flee in panic. The fight ended.
Rose watched Temür with fascination. No man held her captive like this warrior did. When she caught a glimpse of his eyes, Rose knew he was the blood of the Dragon like her. Rose burned with a passion she had never felt before. The courtesan’s eyes fell to the ground as she squeezed Faith’s trembling hand. The Dragon scourged her thoughts. She knew she would never know the touch of love only the disregard of those the master sent to her to spill their seed.
The Dragon Master missed nothing. His eyes scanned everything from behind the narrow slits of his fleshy lids. Rose was on his mind. He watched her during the fight. The attraction and resignation didn’t go unnoticed. Chingis barked at Balad, his guard who ran to Naran to fetch her to the Master.
A Master in her own right, Naran failed to hurry to her summons and let Balad run ahead to announce her arrival. When Naran came to the side of her man, he looked at her with eyes that spoke of respect and mischief. Naran blushed for a moment. In earlier times, that look meant he would ride her like a pony in the evening.
“Wife, I want you to tell Rose that she and her daughters with Khulan will move soon. The days of courtesan are over. Dr. Aristov and I agree the treatments can end, and now their training must begin. She will take Temür as her Dragon. He will take Rose as his woman and the three girls as his daughters. He will take them on the path of the Warrior and help them develop trust with the Dragon.”
“Master, you make my heart sing. I will go to them and give the news.”
Naran’s elation didn’t register on her face. It would be a terrible breach of public decorum to hug and kiss her husband. She’d have to save that for the evening. Months of mare’s milk and vodka had bent the steel rod of the Master’s will. She smiled as she departed. Strange, she thought. She hurried much faster with this news than she did to her man’s summons.
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