Saturday, September 7, 2013

WIP - The Royal Shifter's Mate - 9466 word count

Shawel added his own howl to the general cacophony that was his soldiers celebrating yet another victory in the Kragon war, one that was bittersweet since it would be his last campaign with his fellow shifters. For later tonight, Shawel was to travel back to the Cluster Galaxy, his home and return to his father’s planet so that he could ascend to High Alpha—and take a mate. He stood near a wall, surveying the celebration going on in his honor. The high cavern ceiling made the noise amplified, almost painful to the ears. As his eyes wandered across the crowded expanse, he was again struck by the opulence of such a crude habitat. It was nothing more than a large cave, but there were columns of white marble, inlaid with gold, the floor was black, polished stone, the wall hangings ornate tapestries depicting the Lith’s history. Well, Shawel and his shifters had changed that history, conquering the somewhat weak Lith’s and taking another chunk out of the Kargon System.
“Oh, my Prince, but we will miss you!”
Shawel gave a growl and slapped his second on the shoulder—hard. Nearly knocking the inebriated shifter off his feet. “What have I told you Basn about calling me that? You know I don’t stand for ceremony like my father. And he’s not even a king, but a Supreme Alpha, no better, and certainly worse than my uncles.” Shawel gave a dark chuckle at his friend when Bans nodded before slopping more ale down his throat and stumbling off to find more. It was only his second’s drunkenness that kept Shawel from challenging his slip in words. Prince he may be thanks to his mother, but he had explicitly forbidden any of his senior officers to mention that fact. Basn would be taking over Shawel’s Lead Alpha’s position and would carry on the battles. Shawel only hoped his faith in and training of Basn would hold true and was well founded.
It was going to be easy to slip aboard his ship and leave, without the messy emotions of a farewell as he watched his regiment drown their happiness in ale and the whores of Lith, the latest Kragon world to succumb to swift defeat. He was both pleased and saddened to be leaving battle space. The Kragon war and many battles had been his entire world since he was old enough to shift. His father had not hesitated to send Shawel to his most ruthless uncle to be trained and then be sent off to bring pride and triumph to the Cluster Galaxy. Shawel had met and exceeded his entire race’s expectations, most agreeing at a hefty price. There were none in the Archonian Empire that did not fear Shawel, including his own father. All the Archonian shifters viewed Shawel as mighty, yet stoic, cruel and ruthless…almost vicious in his battles, killing without mercy and reveling in the dead and conquered.
Shawel was fine with that. Perhaps that fear would help keep his father from following Archonian law if Shawel failed to find a mate he wanted. No way would Shawel allow himself to be trapped on his father’s planet, or let the weakest of the Supreme Alphas pick a mate for him. Shawel’s distaste and lack of respect for his father was well known among the pack and would most likely affect his decision, but his Ascension would commence, and he would find—someone—to mate with, though his father was not going to be happy at his choice. Didn’t matter, he would chose who best suited him, be it female—or male-lan.
Shawel smiled—a smile that did not reach his eyes, as he moved along the edge of the cavern that housed his shifters. Time to leave. He stalked towards the arched exit, his gaze taking in everything from the condition of his soldiers, to the nakedness of the whores, to the location of every male Lith servant…or slave depending on who you asked. The Kragon’s were a despicable race, with no honor, no morals, and no regard for life. They took what they conquered and left the rest to rot, oppressing every world under their tyranny. Archonians have been battling the race for centuries. And Shawel would have continued to battle them directly, if not for his call home. But, already he had plans in place once he governed his own planet. Just because he was to become High Alpha and eventually Supreme Alpha, did not mean he couldn’t still fight.
Giving one last look around, Shawel swiveled on his heels and strode down the narrow passageway to the outside. Once he cleared the stone entry, he stopped and shifted, uncaring that his clothing remained as shreds on the ground. Shaking out his fur, he stretched, pleasure at being in his wolf form coursing through him. He lifted his nose and gave the air a hard sniff, the many odors assaulting his senses. He didn’t like any of the worlds that made up the Kragon System. They smelled funny and the air was too thick and heavy. Giving a snort of distaste, Shawel loped his way to his ship. His two sentries saluted him as he trotted up the ramp through the hatch and entered the small emissary craft. He would have much preferred to go home in his battle drone, but it would be needed in the war.
He shifted to human and without regard to his nudity, strode to the forward deck. Punching a button, he ordered his sentries inside and to close the hatch as he began preflight diagnostics. Task completed, he and his sentries settled into their harnesses for the re-entry into space. The emissary ship was one of the Archonian’s best achievements of technological advances and the usually rough transition from planet atmosphere into space was as smooth as Dronian marble.

Once free of the atmosphere of Lith and having engaged the gravity drive, Shawel entered the coordinates to take him home. He ordered his sentries into their cryo-chambers and then settled into his own. The computer would wake them up just before entering the Cluster Galaxy’s quadrant and the heart of the Archonian Empire.
Despite Shawel’s hatred of his father and grief over his mother’s death, Shawel was proud to be Archonian, the Empire having been the purveyors of justice and peace for more centuries than could be counted. He was excited to be going home, despite the regret at leaving all he’d known for the last three decades.The Royal Shift3er's Mate 

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