The Way Home

Walking the Blade will be a series of novels based on the life and relationships of a dragon who can shift into human form. The stories you see here are snippets and scenes that I wanted to share with you – things we wrote to further develop and fill in the history of our cast of characters. We hope you enjoy and come back for more!

“I’ll take my answer now.”

“Answer?” Eva was confused. 

“Will ya be my mate?” Devon asked again as he reached for her hands after wiping his own off on his pants. They had leterally just handled a rescue mission and put the dead on pyres a few meters away. But such was the life in war. He was thankful this would hopefully be the last battle. He needed a break, as did everyone else here. And for his father to have brought the woman he knew in his soul to be his mate – here? What truer test of her grit and her strength? They’re smaller fingers entwined and he tugged her along to walk away from the destroyed packlands toward the road that would eventually lead them to home.

“But… mate? Is it a vow or is it magical bonding or…I…I don’t know your culture well, Devon. I want to be with you. I want to know you. I want to learn more about you and your people. And I want you to do the same with me – at least the knowing me part? I want to know that I would be accepted as your mate. But some cultures, they have very strict rules for these things.”

“Do they, now?” Devon smirk, his eyes smiling as he looked her way.

“There are things that come with me. I’m not innocent. I’ve had children in the other world. I’ve been hurt. But, we’ve not had a chance to tell each other about ourselves. I came here to help everyone. And now, that means you.” She took his hand fully into her own. “Let’s go back to wherever is your home and let’s learn about each other and then, if I’m accepted, then I would give you my answer.” 

Instead of being upset which she probably expected,  Devon’s smile brightened, “We can court first so we get to know each other, but it won’t change my mind. Six months is usual with our Pack unless ya want longer. I’m willing to wait longer. My mind and soul have already decided. They decided the night we danced.” 

“I don’t know that I need that long, Devon. I just need to talk to you. I need to know you a little more is all. My gut tells me this is right. But…” As they walked she shivered.

“Fair enough, when yer ready we’ll be more.”

“How are you so sure of yourself and of this?”

Devon just smiled. As they continued to walk, he rubbed his calloused thumb over Eva’s knuckles. “Tell me somethin’ about yerself.”

She swallowed and nodded, looking straight ahead. Where to begin?

“Most important thing – I do not abide liars. And I do not abide disloyalty. I do not want more than you, and you should not want more than me. If we are to be mates, those two things must be agreed upon first.”  

“I don’t lie and don’t abide liars myself. So we’re of the same mind there. I don’t need nor want more than you, Eva. I’m faithful because my desire is only for one. I will not stray or play ya false.” Devon shook his head slowly as they walked, “It isn’t in me to do so.”

“Now then,  I will not abide abuse. Either way. I’ve felt it. I do not ever want to feel it again. That is not what love is. But some? They don’t understand this. Do you?” 

“The only ones that feel my fists are my enemies.” Devon paused in their walk and waited for her to turn. He slowly lifted his free hand to cup her cheek. The move wasn’t quick nor rough, it was slow and gentle for one his size. “I would never hurt ya Evalyn. I want to protect ya and as my mate I’ll make sure none ever harm ya again. They’ll have to go through me first and I won’t make it easy.” 

Devon knelt before the beauty that had him so enthralled and looked at her with a smile, “I don’t know what all you’ve been through, but I will tell you this.” His accent was gone as he became sincere with her, “I’m a lycan male and son to the Alpha. One day I will be the leader he is, so I will need a strong mate to be Alpha at my side. Lycan are loyal and take one mate. We don’t treat our mates badly because it is wrong and dishonorable. Our mates are our lives Eva.” He brought her hand to his face and rubbed her palm over his cheek as he rumbled for her from deep in his chest. “You bring life into the world, help us thrive, love us, care for us, raise our young with us and help us teach them. Our mates hold more power over us than most understand.” 

Eva couldn’t take her eyes from him.

“As our heart and soul, our mates can calm us even at our worst rages.” Drawing Eva closer, Devon moved her hand down to his broad chest and laid it over his pounding heart. “You can also unleash our inner beast faster than even we can draw that out. We wilt and fade without our mates. We become lost. I’m telling you this so that you understand abuse from me in any form isn’t going to happen. Ever.”

Eva wasn’t just taking in his heartbeat, when he offered the connection. She had already been using her gifts all day. Things she had yet to tell him about. And he didn’t seem to care. She watched the sincerity and emotion in this man before her and it more than pleased her. It made her want him all the more. She stayed quiet, listening, watching, and letting herself feel him. 

“You say that you’ve had pups as if that would deter me. I don’t care. If your pups still live, we will get them. They become mine when you are mine. No questions, Eva. And as to the Pack, they will love you. If they don’t, I will handle it so that you feel no ill intentions.” He was still kneeling and smiled for her as he lifted her hand from his chest to turn it over and pressed a kiss to her palm.

She pulled her palm from his grasp and she placed her lips upon his. Her arms went around his neck. Eva did not let go of him for a while. She heard footsteps, but she didn’t give a damn. He was everything she had ever dreamt of and he had found her… his own father had bought her from the slavers…he had told her how this would work if she wanted to stay and if she wanted to go. She was free, either way. And Goddess, she wanted to stay. 

“See,” she whispered to him as she pressed her forehead to his, “I told you we probably wouldn’t need six months.” 

Her taste was still on his lips. Devon rumbled even deeper for her as his arms went around Eva’s waist to keep her nice and close. “Good because I don’t want to wait that long to make you my mate.”

“I just want to learn how to be who I am. Who I am wants to learn with you.”

“As to learning more about us, I think between me and my mama, we can help you with that. My sister, Alexis? She’ll love havin’ you.” Devon was beyond happy! She was staying and they were going to be mates! “We have a few days before the next full moon and that gives you time to prepare, my mama will be more than happy to help you with it as will I.” Devon couldn’t resist at least nuzzling his nose along Eva’s jaw to her ear as he rumble in his delight and happiness.

At his urging rumble, she responded immediately. Her own smaller rumbling sound answered his and she then almost hiccuped from surprise. He wouldn’t know until she told him how wonderful he made her feel in that moment. 

“Why’d you stop yerself?”

“Wasn’t sure it was what I should do.” She looked from his face down and blushed.

“It’s our wolves speaking, Eva. It’s who we are. It was perfect. You’ll learn.”

I can’t wait to learn. I… I was never really taught. Not the right things. Not about what’s inside me. I feel so much more when we’re touching, like this – like at the dance.” She sighed as she took a seat on his knee and let him hold her. Eva exhaled and allowed herself to relax.

One hand moved around her back to hold her. He took in her scent and rumbled more, deeper from his chest. His other hand took hers. “My mate.”

“Is it bad that we feel so happy while all of this sadness is around us?” she whispered in his ear. Right now, it looked as though the warrior was getting helped by his mate through a rough time. And maybe that was partially true.

“Their loved ones have gone to the fields and they know this, so our happiness would not be frowned upon. Matin’s and births are always blessed occasions with lycan. Their hearts ache, but they will still be happy for us. It’s how our people are. Grief is heavy and sometimes, if it is too heavy, pack try to help one another through such times. We’ll be here for the survivors and we’ll help them as we can.”  Devon drew her to him as he stood up, her feet barely touching the ground.

Just with that movement, him picking her up like she was nothing, her immediate response was to rumble and then whine just a bit, her body stretching languidly on him before relaxing again. She shook her head, rubbing her face against him and giggled. 

With a smile Devon held Eva as his head tipped back to howl. He let the Pack know that Eva had accepted and would be his mate. When he looked down at her it was with a smile. 

“I’ll teach ya the old tongue if ya want to learn it. We speak it here a lot cause of the elders.”

“Please? And sorry about the noises. It’s like I can’t help it…” she settled back on the ground but stayed close to him. 

“First lesson I can teach about bein’ lycan is that it’s easy bein’ lycan.” He chuckled, “Don’t fight yer wolf, accept her and she’ll become second nature to ya.” 

“Oh? So… so it’s accepted? I don’t have to always worry with courtly manners and constant control what I feel the urges to do?” she asked. “I mean, I have common sense. I wouldn’t do anything bad or rude, but at the same time – I’m not sure where the line is on the other stuff. When I was with the vampire coven, we weren’t allowed to growl or make a lot of noise that was  – distasteful. And shifting wasn’t allowed unless we were to fight. And as a slave, there were rules…” 

“Yer not a slave anymore, Eva. Yer a free woman. Even if we’re mates, you have yer own mind and heart. Yer gonna find it’s a lot different with us. Though my mama can be a bit on the prim n proper side, so don’t let that scare ya off.” He turned with Eva to follow the others. Devon kept her close and his arm stayed around her, “Noises are welcome as is enjoyin’ life. Now then, tell me what ya do know about bein’ lycan.”

Eva looked down. “Devon, I don’t know much more than violence surrounding it. And pain. I and those like me were not exactly given normal lycan lives. I was kept by the one who took me from my home. He was lycan, but he was with a coven of vampires. They didn’t like me to shift much, because they needed me to be controllable. He wanted me to shift for other reasons…” She looked to the side of the trail. “Not sure I want to speak on that here and now.”  

“Of course Eva, I won’t force ya to speak of things that pain ya. Just know I’ll listen to whatever ya need to tell me.” After a few steps were taken in strained silence Devon cleared his throat, “What of yer pups, wanna tell me about ‘em?”

“They all became sick and died. They weren’t… “ she cleared her throat and stopped walking. She turned to look at Devon and then tugged him away from the others. Once they were far enough that she felt that this was private, she said what she had not said to anyone.  

“I was considered exotic by the standards of the humans and the vampires of our coven. I’ve mixed blood, my skin tone attracted them, my shape, they said I have a pretty voice, too. The lycan who turned me, lost me. I got the attention of vampires in the coven. So, my babies? They were half-breeds. Only three lived beyond birth. But later, they just, they couldn’t make it. They became ill and they were taken to the infirmary and I never saw them again. So, the times when I became… when I let my wolf out; shifted… were either times when I was fighting to keep them from touching me or times when I was fighting to try and get to my babies. So, I guess…I guess I haven’t really liked my wolf because the only times she has ever come forward – until now – were times when I was in pain.” She couldn’t look at him. “Some of the other lycan here on this side, they said I was soiled by the vampires and so they had no use for me. Ser Regis was kind to me. He could have legally gotten rid of me here, but he kept me, clothed me, fed me, and just asked that I help keep the others happy and healthy. And that’s what I did until your father came.” 

Would Devon’s mind now be changed? Surely not… surely what she had seen in his soul was still there? Her eyes looked up to his slowly, tears on her freckled cheeks. She needed to know.  What she had just told him made his eyes light up with fury and his wolf rumble. When it seemed she took his response wrong, Devon reached for Eva’s arm and took her by the elbow gently to stop her retreat.

“Ya aren’t soiled and what they did to ya wasn’t right. If I ever put hands on any of ‘em they will suffer for all of it.” 

“Don’t be angry with that part of yerself, trust me when I say yer gonna love it when ya learn how to control yer wolf. Being lycan isn’t a curse as it seems you’ve been taught so far. Our customs and culture make our people wondrous as does the fact that with our shiftin’ we are closer to nature than even elves can be.” He smiled warmly for her and rubbed his nose against hers, “Let me share my world with ya Eva and show ya just how beautiful it can be for you, too.” Like most lycan he was very affectionate with his mate, but then, Devon was warm natured in many ways. He just never got to show it much – being a commander kept that from being a side he could share with many. But Eva already brought it out in him. He wanted to help heal the wounded soul of the beautiful woman in front of him, and in turn, she was going to help him.

“Show me.” They stood holding one another as so many warriors and pack members passed heading back to their true homes. No one better ever think to step between them. Not now that her heart and soul finally realized he was her mate.

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