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Alien General's Chosen (Brion Brides 4)

By:Vi Voxley

PROLOGUE

Leiya



It was a dark and stormy night on Terra, but the girl was too young to understand the symbolism.

She was standing by one of the many view screens that looked down on the planet, the home of the human race. She hadn't yet fully realized she was on a space station, but many finer points of her situation escaped her. The girl named Leiya was four years old and the things that interested her the most were the swirling, twirling storm clouds below. It would have been impossible to see it from Terra's artificial companion, the Luna Secunda, but for the nostalgic value some screens showed close-ups of the planet.

Behind Leiya, the space station was bustling with life. All known civilized species in the galaxy were represented there on the station. It served as a gate to and from Terra, a home to many delegates and ambassadors. Anyone else would have been thrilled to see aliens who weren't allowed to step on Terra's soil, but Leiya thought pretty clouds were much more interesting.

Her guardian, a stern woman in Terra's colors, stiffened when they were approached.

There were two reasons for her immediate reaction.

Both could be summarized by saying that the men she was supposed to meet were Brions. Allison Brent was chosen for the task of dealing with the Brion guests because her superiors thought she lacked any emotion. That turned out not to be true, but in all fairness it was a surprise to Allison too.

She tensed up, because the Brion delegation was led by the commander of the ship that had been sent for Leiya. And as a Brion captain, he represented the most feared species in the galaxy. All Brion ships ran on simple rule of force, meaning that the commander of the ship was also the most skilled warrior.

Miss Allison Brent's mouth dropped open when she saw the captain approaching and it took all her will-power not to beg the man to take her with them too. The Brion warrior was almost a head taller than her, square-jawed and strong, with raw power rippling through his body with every movement. The long spear on his back only emphasized his strength. And all the warriors following him were of the same, delicious kind. If slightly less impressive.

Miss Allison felt slightly, but only slightly better when the senators appeared from behind the warriors escorting them. There were two of them, as she'd been told. All Brions were in excellent shape, it was their natural condition and their creed. The senators were young, strong and healthy as well. In any other situation, she would have swooned over them, but compared to the warriors they were a relief. She could maybe actually speak words to these two.

"Miss Brent," said one of the Brion senators. "And this is Leiya?"

"Yes," the guardian said, irrationally proud of being able to talk.

Her body was still tingling from head to toe and despite herself, she kept sneaking glances at the Brion captain.

"Good," the senator said. "I'm Senator Primen, this is Senator Tawren. I trust everything is in order from Terra's side."

It took a moment for Miss Allison to realize she'd been asked a question. By the decree of Terra's unified government, Brions were among the species not allowed on the planet. She was beginning to see why, although the official explanation was something else.

That had been the second reason she'd tensed up. Brions were the newest members of the Galactic union   and their membership was still constantly in question, disputed by many. Mostly those who'd suffered the wrath of their terrible, bloodthirsty generals.

Remembering that sobered Miss Allison a bit. It was a peculiar sensation she felt. She was more turned on than she'd ever been in her life and more afraid than she'd ever been. It would have been perfectly in character for the Brions to just kill everyone on the station and leave before Terra was any wiser.

She looked at the little girl clutching her hand. For the first time, Miss Allison wondered if they were doing the right thing.

"All is fine, senators," she said, hesitating then. "If you don't mind me asking, what will happen to her? I know I will never see her again, but...She's dear to me."

And it was true. She'd been Leiya's guardian ever since her parents died in a train accident more than three years ago. She was also the keeper of the orphanage she lived in. When the government approached her with the idea, she'd recommended Leiya. It wasn't the kind of home she'd had in mind for the bright little child, but it would be a good one, she was assured. It had seemed like a good plan then, but standing there, looking at the Brions, she had her doubts.

It was the second senator who spoke this time. Miss Allison thought he looked kinder than the other, if such a thing could be said about any Brion.#p#分页标题#e#

"Leiya will be treated well, have no fear of that," he said, his tone forceful and calming.

The guardian had been warned about this one too, but she couldn't help it. Brion politicians had a natural way of convincing others. Their voices were trained for years to make everyone believe them easily. Miss Allison knew that, but as much as she was able to tell, the senator wasn't lying.

Instead, he crouched down to be on eye level with Leiya. So far, the girl had been quiet, keeping behind her guardian. But seeing Senator Tawren give her an encouraging smile, a big, happy grin lit up the child's face. When Miss Allison saw the senator smile even wider at that, she felt better. The guardian felt like she'd done her duty to the girl.

The other senator wore a pleased expression as well, but she suspected it had more to do with the project than the bonding happening in front of their eyes.

"Are you sure it will work, senator?" she asked, only realizing a second later it wasn't her place.

The senator didn't seem to mind, however, to her infinite relief. Her eyes flickered to the captain to see if she'd stepped over a line, but the man remained frozen in place.

"No," the senator said, shrugging. "That's what we need to find out. If we introduce her into the Brion society so early, she'll grow up thinking she's a Brion too. The mindset alone might provoke the binding. We don't know. The healers think it's a valid theory, so here we are. Whatever happens, no harm will come to her on Briolina. We promise."

Miss Allison nodded.

Senator Tawren stood, an odd expression on his face. Miss Allison was about to ask if something was wrong, but the man merely smiled and said:

"I will raise her."

Even the other senator looked surprised, but Tawren was certain.

"I think she's taken a liking to me," he added.

Looking at Leiya, Miss Allison saw that the girl was indeed smiling to the older senator.

It was good, she thought, to at least know who Leiya's new family would be. The senator seemed like a decent man to her, at least for a Brion. She trusted him to take care of the girl. She nodded.

"I will let my government know, senator," she said. "I'm sure they'll be glad to hear that her father will be a man as respectable as yourself."

She stayed for a while more, until Leiya allowed her new father to lift her up into his arms. The girl waved to her happily when the Brions left with her. Miss Allison had to fight back both tears of joy and sorrow, watching the first human child to be adopted by a Brion go to meet her adventure.





CHAPTER ONE





Faren




They didn’t need to tell him.

It was fairly obvious to Faren anyway, and he considered it condescending when someone felt like they needed to point it out. So, he was different.

He was a Brion, and in the great galactic whole, that meant being a part of one of the most dangerous and temperamental species that lived under the stars. While he had the first part down, it had taken him a while to figure out why exactly he was failing the second. As much as anything did, it concerned him a bit. Being different wasn’t the Brion way.

Yet even before he became a great Brion general, unique among the warriors for rarely portraying emotion when they did so very freely, he was seen as cold. Long before the rumors, and the wars, and the word “mercy” disappearing from his vocabulary, before duels, and Rhea, and the terrible Brion battle rage threatening to undo their whole species. Long before he helped avert a civil war not from sentiment but out of a clear sense of duty. Maybe from the moment he was born, Faren was cold to the point of unfeeling.

The healers didn’t know what to make of them – him and his twin Gawen. They told his father his sons would either be a blessing or a curse – Faren, who never cried, even as a child, and Gawen, who growled at the world instead of crying.

“This sometimes happens with twins,” the healer told their father. “They should get equal parts everything and be two of a kind almost. But yours – they are opposites. They should balance each other out, but we’ve never seen this be so…”

The healer struggled for words then.

“So absolute,” he went on. “We are Brion, we always walk the line between reason and fury. But your sons, they have no middle. One has all the rage, and the other has all the reason. So they will certainly be something but for good or bad, I can’t say.”
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It was a warning, sounding almost like a prophecy. Their father, a renowned warrior in his day, treated that as he did everything. He grinned.

“I like those odds,” he said. “What matters is they will be great.”

It wasn’t long before it became clear that besides that, there might truly be something wrong with the twins. They simply never diverted from their usual state – Faren with his maddening calm nothing could shake, and Gawen with his uncontrollable fury nothing could quench.

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