Draxton’s Destiny releases next week! Wheee! This novel has been a wild ride from start to finish. Originally written in serial flash format using prompts, Draxton suffered far too many years of attempted revisions until I settled on a full rewrite. It didn’t come easy, but with only one week remaining until it’s out in the world, I can honestly say I’m absolutely thrilled with the end result. This week’s teaser is another deleted scene, the last full interlude I wrote then discarded. I hope you enjoy it, and Draxton’s Destiny.
This interlude chapter was originally placed between chapters fifteen and sixteen and is from Fieryl’s point of view. The Ravyn has landed on Seshinaar along with two of Draxton’s unit and the jag’haar isn’t pleased. This was the first hint I was making the story more complicated than it needed to be. In the end, I kept the Ravyn’s landing in the finished novel, but removed the soldiers for reasons stated last week.
He stared at the door long after it’d closed. So many threads in this ball of yarn, so many tangles he couldn’t see. The pirate’s arrival put a kink in his tail, but nothing he couldn’t handle. The two humans, however… Larimore wouldn’t conduct a thorough investigation of his comrades. He saw them through the lens of comradery and his own guilt. Victims of his actions and worthy of recompense. Fieryl saw them as potential infiltrators.
He growled and stalked back to the comm panel. “Ta’Naii?”
No reply from the tech who soothed his cat’s loneliness and calmed its fury. If she was with that cub again… His claws sliced out, a growl rising in his throat. Mine. He drew in a deep breath, exhaled slowly. Again and again until his animalistic need to claim her calmed enough for him to think, to focus. Right. She was traveling the Obsidian Ravyn’s circuitry while the pirate was touring Tanh’Shinaar. Kenasha, along with Raeyl, a senior tech on Fieryl’s team, watched over her.
He tucked away his worry and longing for the woman who sang to his soul and returned to the problem at hand. On one screen, he placed the Ravyn, Kasseus, and Subject 5691. Larrimore and the humans from his unit went on another screen. The third contained potential enemies: Losha Brixys, Vindarryn Nettarh, Oralix Dounarh, Ceatai Biir, and the human ambassador. He tapped a claw on the side of the control panel and then added the Ravyn.
Who was the prince and who was the noble? They’d tagged Brixys for the former, and it felt right to Fieryl’s hunter instincts. If the monarchy rose with the sun’s rise, unchanged by time and circumstance, the Minshaari’s cousin could assume a princely title without resistance. Familial connection wasn’t enough, but even untrained Brixys’s command of his magic outstripped all but the highest-ranking practitioners. Still, Fieryl would dig deeper into friend and foe alike to be certain.
The noble was a slipperier prey. Every clan chieftain traced their line back to a lesser branch of the royal family or hereditary duchy rewarded for noble acts of combat or diplomacy. He bared his fangs at the images. Noble birth didn’t make a noble heart, and betrayal was cold recompense for past gifts. He knew that better than most, felt the weight of cold aramidium around his wrists and ankles even now.
Something nipped at him from the shadows, something he couldn’t see nor scent, but half remembered. The heartbreak was the key. He tweaked the ongoing scans of the members of the Circle to concentrate on failed partnerships, broken heart bondings, family deaths—anything which might catch the shaitan’s attention. Yes. A purr rose in his chest as the rightness of this pursuit settled his fur. His prey waited down this path.
He was kral’vanar, though he’d turned his back on his birthright and his people. He would stalk and catch this prey, protect the man who’d saved his humanity from the madness of turning feral, and then he’d go on a better hunt.
“Don’t run from me, Ta’Naii,” Fieryl murmured to a holostill of the woman who held his heart. “Cats love to chase.”
Draxton’s Destiny, June 21, 2022. Preorder now available