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Alien Warrior's Mate (Brion Brides 1)

By:Vi Voxley

CHAPTER ONE

Deliya



The air was thick with emotion.

Deliya was both excited and terrified, which in the heart of battle, was often one and the same. She was a Brion. Treading the line between life and death, living another day and dying right – that was the Brion way. She thrived on it.

The mercilessly cold, eerily beautiful planet Antaris stretched endlessly before her.

Everyone walked the Brion way around Deliya, whether they liked it or not.

Only hours before, she had stood in the largest arena aboard the battleship Triumphant, called so by the simplistic enemies – and allies – of the Brions. It was more amusing than annoying to the Brions, so they let it be. Deliya suspected that their Elders and generals preferred to portray a bit more uncultured image of themselves to make the others keep their distance. The Brions weren’t known for their friendliness.

In secret, she was proud and believed that to be just. After all, the Triumphant was the most feared vessel to navigate the galaxy. Some of their enemies – and once again, some of their allies – had ships programmed to recognize the Triumphant’s signature code or had complicated scanning systems to alert them of a ship roughly the same size and speed. Deliya didn’t revel in dread exactly, but the ship’s reputation was well earned and she liked it. They were the face and image of the Brions, for all that was good and bad.

The arena was the way Brion warriors met before battle. There they’d stood and listened in silence as their commander spoke of Antaris. On other ships, the arena was a place to show strength. All Brion commanders welcomed challenges, it was their way. In an arena, any warrior of rank could argue their case and if need be, fight for their opinion. Technically, the Triumphant should have functioned in the same manner, but to Deliya’s knowledge there wasn’t anyone suicidal enough to even dare think of challenging their commander.

There wasn’t anyone to oppose attacking Antaris anyway.

The ice planet, the Brions felt, should have been their ally. However, the same qualities they searched for in an ally often made for an instant enemy.

Antaris was unforgiving, of which they approved. It was also cold while they burned hot. Initial meetings had eventually resulted in conflict, and neither was the forgiving type. So after a raid to Briolina, the Brions’ home planet, Antaris’ fate had been sealed. Even the Galactic union  , which usually frowned upon the Brions’ quick and swift revenge, hadn’t protested in any way.

Deliya’s fellow officers had joked that with their fierce reputation being what it was, when news of the attack on Briolina had reached the union  , the general reaction had been a collective sigh. Not one of regret, but one of pre-emptive mourning for the Antanaris. The galaxy was getting acquainted with the myriad of species that inhabited it, but there were some that just didn’t want to play together with the others.

As she walked on the gleaming, almost blinding-white surface of Antaris, Deliya was completely aware that was how most of the galaxy viewed the Antanaris. The Brions wouldn’t win any popularity contests either, but they at least made an effort. The Antanaris did not. In fact, the commander had hinted that the union   had been relieved by the attack. At last, they could let the Brions loose on someone they had no obligation to defend. Let them shed blood and maybe cool off for a while.

The fact that the commander had nearly smiled at that false belief brought a smile to Deliya’s lips.

Above, the stars shone on the eternal night of Antaris. The emptiness of the planet loomed all around her. To the naked eye, there was simply nothing to see but vast, endless fields of solid white rock and gentle snow. Of course it was gentle only to the eye, not in the least to the feet slipping on its treacherous surface. The only reason they hadn’t caught the Antanaris yet, Deliya felt, was that they knew the terrain so much better and could move swiftly out of the Brions’ way to the crevices and hideouts.

They literally vanished from sight if they wished to. The Brions, however, were light on their feet too. And in their blood, the battle lust sang.

All Brion warriors were born to fight. They grew bigger and stronger and faster than their brothers and sisters, every sense they had only sharpening with time. As they fought, they gained experience to match their natural ability. All that should have been enough to explain their role in the galaxy as the guard dog of the Galactic union  .

Deliya knew the commander and the Elders of the Brions cultivated that image carefully – they were the dog that bit the union  ’s enemies, but kept it aware it had no master. The union   feared them, as they should.#p#分页标题#e#

After all, what a terrible sight they must have been to them. Everywhere she looked, Deliya could see Brion warriors calling out to their death or glory.

It was night, yes, but not entirely dark. Under the stars, another source of light moved, daring anyone to come and extinguish it. Every Brion warrior had the skin of their neck adorned with their valor squares, signs of rank and power, pulsing out light and sound and sometimes scent to attract their prey. Right now, with the Antanaris on this cold, seemingly dead planet, they all but glowed. Somewhere way ahead of her, Deliya saw the distant spark of her commander and his chosen, beaming so brightly she had to avert her eyes.

The chosen were the commander’s elite warriors, hand-picked to stand outside the regular chain of command. They came and went as they pleased most of the time. In battle, they were sent where they were most needed or stayed by his side to make up the spear tip of the attack.

Their call was the strongest, the lines of valor squares – implanted with great pain none of them ever admitted – the most numerous. There had been days when Deliya had fought with them, right by the commander’s side. There had even been days when she had remained by his side long after the battle was done.

The air in battle was always thick with emotion to Brion senses. All the excitement, expectation, the fear and the death, the survival and the eye of storm, fighting at the edge of life, it was nearly indistinguishable from lust. Deliya had to suppress a shudder at the memory of the few times she had been with the commander, catching the edge of that exhilaration in his strong, powerful arms, feeling his length deep and thick inside her, burning as hot and wild as she… The Brions bonded to their fated for life, but they weren’t celibate until that moment. The gesha and the gerion, their sacred two halves of a whole, were actually thought to be better suited if they’d had some practice before.

Today, the commander was too far and too bright. His mind was on battle alone. Deliya didn’t mind that. She had a task as well. The only thing bothering her in that perfect darkness, walking forward with her warriors, to a battle that would undoubtedly be one to remember… well, was him.

Darien was one of the commander’s chosen warriors, just as she might have been had she ever asked for it. It wasn’t rare for the commander, who had faith in her abilities, to entrust extremely important tasks with her. Deliya just usually preferred to have a unit of warriors to lead. While she often got tasked to the other end of the battle field from the commander, Darien could be called, for the lack of a better word, a bodyguard.

In their lighter moments, they’d joked about the commander needing protection. The phrase itself sufficed quite well. So Deliya didn’t see much of Darien, something with which she was entirely fine. Only this time, on Antaris, the commander had sent Darien to her. It was both insulting and annoying. She could do the job herself, with her own men and she didn’t need a babysitter to watch over her.

He undoubtedly knew that.

In the mysterious light of the valor squares, Darien flashed her a teasing smile.

“You don’t like me being here, Deliya?” he asked.

In Brionese, their language, almost nothing ever remained the same. It kept changing according to what the speaker wanted to emphasize. The Brions found much humor in the fact it drove the rest of the galaxy insane.

Darien always said her name like Deliya-the-star, and for the life of her, she couldn’t understand what he meant. Or to be precise, whether he was joking. She knew rationally that she was attractive and men desired her. Even the commander thought so. She had no problem with that, nor was it any of her business what Darien wanted or didn’t want from her. It bothered her that she couldn’t be sure if she was being made fun of or not.

“I think it’s a waste,” she said, easily avoiding a gaping trench in the snow, hastily covered up to lure her into it.

“Of resources?” he continued, with the same maddening smile.

He didn’t fall behind not even for a moment, while some of Deliya’s warriors had to double-check.

That bastard didn’t even look down, she thought bitterly.

Keeping her eyes on the horizon, trusting her senses to guide her step and her instincts to warn her of danger, she tried to focus on her task. The Brions were moving in a rough line, combing the area the Triumphant had deemed most likely to hide the Antanaris. Far ahead, the commander and his chosen twinkled in and out of sight between single higher rock formations, but the shimmer of their valor squares was so bright she didn’t lose track of them once. To her left and right, she searched for her fellow officers. All in place.#p#分页标题#e#

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