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Alien Warrior's Wife (Brion Brides 2)

By:Vi Voxley

PROLOGUE


It was a bright and sunny day when they came to tell her.

Urenya always thought later it was incredibly inappropriate. The sky should have been dark and angry, there should have been a hailstorm or something at least. However, it was a perfectly natural, normal day for everyone but her.

For her, a mere girl at the time, the world was coming off its hinges. Piece by piece, word by word from the mouths of people she found herself hard-pressed to name afterward, she fell apart.

Everyone was really sympathetic and understanding, of course. They were Brions, and while it was true they weren’t known in the galaxy as the most caring and nurturing species, some exceptions still existed, the most definite of these when someone lost their fated at a very young age. No life experience, no thick skin to make it easier. Just searing, mind-numbing pain to live with. Her parents were concerned. They thought it would wound her too deeply, make her incomplete somehow and unfit for life.

Urenya found absolutely no comfort in that. All the people coming by to tell her something terrible had happened, but somehow it would still all be okay – it drove her nuts. First of all, of course it would be okay. She wasn’t the type to give up. Yes, it hurt like nothing else, but… Secondly, she didn’t feel what they all assumed she must be feeling.

Eventually, she ran away. Not for real, but long enough to get some rest from the well-wishers with pity in their eyes who all thought they knew how she should be feeling. Urenya thanked the gods that day for friends who knew what she needed.

“It’s an insult,” were the first words out of Diego’s mouth after Urenya showed up at his door and explained what had happened. “You barely knew him.”

Her heart leapt. Finally, at last someone who understood. She smiled for the first time in weeks, and seeing that, Diego invited her to stay with him and his friends for a while.

Only there, safe in the comfort of people who told her the truth, could Urenya finally give the whole matter any consideration.

“So what happened?” Diego asked.

He was one of her oldest friends, they’d known each other since such a young age they barely remembered. The Brions had their fates settled for them in many ways since showing the first signs of what they were to be. Their future careers were obvious to everyone when they were still children, and their fated, the ones meant for them for all their lives – that was determined too. The thought sent a cold shiver down Urenya’s spine.

Saying that Diego was to be a warrior was the understatement of the ages. He’d been a bright, strong boy when Urenya had seen him last, but in the way boys suddenly jumped in growth he’d turned into a young man so formidable she was sure Diego was going to be nothing short of a Brion general. From the look on his face, he knew it too. She was glad for him, even in her mourning.

“He died,” was all she said.

Diego nodded. That was what Urenya so liked about him. Diego never, ever took pity from anyone. He understood her in that – she didn’t need sympathy. She’d find a way to deal with all of it on her own, and then she’d move on.

When she’d been much younger, Urenya had considered the possibility Diego was her fated. In many ways, they matched. But as they grew older, she started to dread it instead of desiring it. There was no denying Diego was as gorgeous a man as any she’d ever seen. All her friends wanted him, some with a passion bordering on obsessive. For her, Diego had become too much like an older brother. Having him be her fated all of a sudden felt wrong. She hoped she’d be spared of that pain at least, and she was. Although Urenya had never imagined in what way.

“How?” Diego simply asked.

No “if you don’t want to talk about that, that’s okay” or anything condescending like that. It was better she get it all out.

“I’m not even entirely sure,” Urenya said, sitting with him at the ringside of Diego’s private arena.

Further away, Diego’s friends were battling the AIs – huge, mechanized monstrosities resembling the known enemies of the Brions who were programmed to attack the fighter. There they trained, all of them. The time to depart for the military academy wasn’t far off, and they wanted to go prepared. Blood flowed, for the mechs didn’t show any mercy unless programmed.

When she’d been much, much younger and visited Diego’s family with her parents, she’d asked why they shut off the safety measures. Diego’s father had laughed then, a huge, towering man, and said that a Brion warrior could never train knowing their opponent would stop and hesitate. The mercy function was for children so young they didn’t have the conception of self-preservation yet. Diego had shut it off at five.#p#分页标题#e#

She wouldn’t see him again for long years, but that was simply the way it was. Her own training would begin at the same time, so she would be busy too.

Urenya sighed, observing the fighters out of the corner of her eye. Back at home, her parents had forbidden all fighting so as not to upset her. That had been the last drop.

“That’s the thing, Diego,” she went on. “They’re not telling me. I suppose it wasn’t pretty. Some territorial dispute with the Fredgen.”

Diego made a face. Not a pitying tut-tut one but of understanding.

“Them,” he simply said. “Not pretty is well put. Would you like to see him? I can arrange that. Eleya’s sister was just made senator, I can ask.”

Urenya smiled despite herself. Diego was doing everything right without knowing he was.

They were Brion. In the galaxy, there was barely a match for them, as much as they were told at least. Their ships hadn’t traveled the stars for all too long, but they’d discovered a while ago they weren’t alone. The Galactic union  , joining all known and civilized species of the galaxy, was taking an interest in them. They were wary, because while the Brions were intelligent and capable, they were also very dangerous. The union   didn’t know if it could tame them. A fire burned in every Brion’s heart, a love of fighting they misinterpreted as a desire for fighting.

That wasn’t necessarily true. The Brions simply believed that everything worth having was supposed to be hard-won. All their lives, they fought for their place, for their opinions, everything. It was the Brion way.

Their Elders, the leaders of all Brions, thought they could benefit from the union  . Maybe they would join it soon. Both of Diego’s parents were Elders now too, spending the rest of their lives in the sleep-stasis, meditating on the ways of the galaxy. Sometimes they emerged, and one such time was approaching, signaling the start of the learning period for both of them.

All in all, the Brions were strong in body and in spirit. It irked Urenya to no end that unlike Diego, her parents had advised her not to see her fated. Diego just asked what she wanted.

“Do you think I should?” she asked.

“Honestly?” Diego said. “No. He’s gone, and seeing what the Fredgen do to bodies is not an image you want to end up with. But if you decide to anyway, I’ll make it happen.”

“I’m going to be a healer,” Urenya said. “They’ll show us images of Fredgen victims in the first week.”

Diego nodded again.

“Of course. But seeing some other body and seeing your gerion are two completely different things.”

“My gerion,” Urenya repeated, falling silent. “I had a gerion.”

Diego said nothing, didn’t interrupt her. The Brions weren’t usually very sensitive about feelings, but fated couples were different. Despite being mad, Urenya understood why her parents tried to shield her. She just thought they’d chosen the wrong tactic. While they did everything in their power to remind her of what had happened, Urenya thought she needed to forget and put it behind her.

Maybe she didn’t fully comprehend. A gesha and a gerion were two parts of a whole, but she’d never truly felt it. There hadn’t been time.

She had only seen him once, after all.

He was called Patren and was honestly everything Urenya had ever dreamed her fated would be. Everything went right, as by tradition.

The Brions were considered a peculiar species by the union   in regards to how they found their partners. The men experienced the recognition, as it was known. A moment of absolute clarity when they were given the knowledge of who their gesha was to be. No one knew why it was only men, but none of them were in possession of means to change that, so they let it be. It was as unexplainable as the whole binding itself.

So it was up to the man, the gerion, to find her. Women spent most of their youth waiting. In truth, men were bound to that same expectation, but for some reason women felt themselves the more passive part of the arrangement. Maybe it was because while the men were given the moment, described as never being so sure of anything else in their lives, women… doubted.

Not doubted for certain, of course. The binding was so sacred to the Brions that it was unthinkable a man would lie to his gesha, pretend, or cheat her in any way. In their whole history, there was a single case where a man had tried to do that – convince a woman she was meant for him when it wasn’t true. It was a fairytale.

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