Of Wulf and Wynd, Part 1 Sample

Please enjoy a sample from Of Wulf and Wynd, Part 1 from Lexa Luthor.

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Chapter 1

Date: 03 Sunstone 809G – About 17 Years Ago

Tharon Blakesley traded several giggles with her best friend, Roswynd Arrington, as they gave the Wyndfeld guards the slip and disappeared into the surrounding woodland. Hitching her dress higher with her right hand, Tharon tightened her left hand’s grip on Roswynd’s small fingers as they raced between boulders, around trees, and through the brush. The air smelled strong of grass and pine after the recent rainfall. A few rabbits and squirrels scurried away when they burst through the foliage.

Roswynd did her best to keep pace, but one of the boulders was slippery after the morning’s summer storm. She squealed and tumbled forward until Tharon’s sure arms encircled her.

Blowing out a relieved breath, Tharon kept Roswynd’s upper body hooked in her arms and held most of her petite friend’s weight.

With a shy smile, Roswynd scraped and dragged her feet off the boulder, then planted them on the soft grass. “Thank you. It was my silly dress.”

Tharon admired Roswynd’s mismatched eyes that glowed up at her. After years of friendship, she hadn’t decided whether she loved Roswynd’s blue eye or hazel eye more. The blue eye reminded Tharon of an icy day in the breathtaking White Razor Mountains, and the hazel eye had golden flecks like the summer sun.

“Tharon, I am fine.” Roswynd grinned at her blushing friend, who released her steady hold. She laced their hands together and continued their adventure into the woods, familiar with the area. Every summer her family left the capital and spent two or three months at their estate in the Icecrown Forest. For one of those months, Tharon journeyed from the Kingdom of White Sommer, stayed with them, and played with Roswynd day in and day out. It was one of their favorite times together.

“Let us go this way.” Tharon turned at a familiar spot by an old, curly willow tree.

“Where are we going? To the waterfall?”

Tharon nodded, then looked at Roswynd and asked, “Is that acceptable?”

“Of course.” Roswynd had a bright smile and stayed close.

“We have to be back in time for supper.” Tharon searched the canopy of trees, checking for the sun’s location in the sky. The sun wouldn’t set for another three hours. Of the two girls, Tharon was the more responsible one. It was expected of her, as she was two years older than Roswynd.

“We should hurry, then,” Roswynd said with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Tharon narrowed her gaze at her friend. “You are going to lose, Ros.”

Roswynd pouted, then shook their hands free. “On the count of three.” She bent her knees and lifted the lower half of her dress.

Tharon mirrored the ready position and said, “One.”

Roswynd bolted with a cry of excitement. “Three!”

“Cheater!” Tharon expected it from her friend, who was cackling and running at full speed. With a smirk, Tharon gave chase, and her longer legs ate away at the distance between them. If it weren’t for their dresses, they could have run faster. Together, they laughed and carried on all the way to the waterfall’s overlook. Once close enough to the open landscape, Tharon pounced on her prey from behind.

Roswynd yelped, but she was scrappy after years of wrestling with both Tharon and her older brother Selwyn. With legs kicking and fists flying, they rolled and tumbled across the grass until Tharon had Roswynd pinned.

“Tsk, tsk.” Tharon straddled her friend’s waist and held Roswynd’s arms above her head. “Cheaters never win.”

Roswynd growled, but she was outmatched by Tharon’s deeper snarl. As an Omega, Roswynd was supposed to submit to an Alpha like Tharon. But she was a strange Omega, and for the first time managed to toss Tharon to one side.

Tharon yelped and laughed when small hands attacked her sides, tickling her. Thrown off by Roswynd’s newfound strength, she failed to stop the assault. “Ros! Please!”

“Cheaters do win!” Roswynd hooted and pumped her fists in the air.

Chuckling, Tharon sat up on her elbows and shook her head at Roswynd’s celebration. “When did you become so strong?”

Roswynd placed her hands on her hips and replied, “Wrestling with Selwyn all winter.” She climbed off Tharon and held out her hand.

Tharon accepted Roswynd’s help, even though she didn’t need it. “Well, since you are so strong now, we will try something new.” She strolled over to the nearby tree that branched out above the overlook, the waterfall, and the Razor River. Whenever they visited the overlook, they would sit underneath it, talk about their families, each other, and their futures. But often times Roswynd would recant the latest story from a new book that she was reading with her mother. Tharon loved to listen to Roswynd’s retellings.

Roswynd followed and brushed off her hands but paled when Tharon grabbed onto a large knot on the back of the tree trunk. “What are you doing?”

Tharon pressed her foot against the trunk and attempted to haul herself up but frowned at how restrictive her dress was. She hopped off, then turned to Roswynd. “We are going to climb.” At Roswynd’s gaping stare, she chuckled and crossed her arms. “Are you scared now?” Suppressing a grin, Tharon waited for her friend to take the bait.

“I am not scared.” Roswynd shot a glare at Tharon but lost it when she scanned the height of the tree. “But… I am not as tall as you.”

“I will help you.” Tharon grabbed the bottom of her dark blue dress and tore the right side up to her knee. She repeated the same thing on the left side, then tested her new range of motion. It was much better and would make it easier to safely climb. Later she would be scolded for the tears, but rips, dirty smudges, and even blood stains on their dresses were common.

“Wow,” Roswynd whispered, eyes big.

Tharon did the same thing to Roswynd’s dress before she could protest. “Follow where I go, all right?” She clutched the wooden knot that provided a perfect handhold, then lifted herself and placed a foot on the first low branch. She scooted out on the branch and waited for Roswynd to follow her example.

Roswynd dropped the frayed end of her dress and shifted on her feet, staring at Tharon.

“You can do it.” Tharon squatted down and smiled at her friend. Anytime she gave Roswynd a new challenge it was met with enthusiasm. This time Roswynd was hesitant because of the height, but then the look of determination spread across her freckled features.

Roswynd latched onto the tree knot, raised herself up, and put a foot on the right branch. With Tharon’s help she balanced herself on the thick branch, then continued to follow Tharon up and up with a huge smile on her face. Occasionally she took Tharon’s hand if she was too short to reach the next branch.

“Almost there,” Tharon said. “Last one.” She knelt again, clung to the branch, and kept her other hand at the ready if Roswynd needed help.

Roswynd was forced to jump, but she caught the overhead branch with both hands. She groaned while lifting herself and pressed her left heel into the trunk. Her flat shoe slipped, causing her to jerk down and lose a hand on the branch. “Tharon!”

With panic buzzing in her ears, Tharon shot out a hand and curled her fingers into the bust of Roswynd’s dress. “Grab my arm!” A small hand hooked her wrist, then Tharon hauled her friend up and onto the branch with ease. She pulled Roswynd into her arms and blew out a strangled breath. Roswynd was shaking, but they were safe. “Are you all right, Ros?” A shy nod against her chest eased her racing heart.

Roswynd poked her head out and smiled at Tharon.

“You are a natural climber,” Tharon said. She peered past Roswynd and considered a place for them to rest and enjoy the view. “Can you move closer to the trunk, then go over to that branch for a minute?”

Roswynd glanced at the other branch, which was level with the one they were on. “Yes.” She took two steps closer to the trunk, placed her hands flat against it, and crossed over to the opposite branch.

Tharon went to the crook between the trunk and current branch, which was thick enough for her to sit on. With her back against the trunk, she held out her hand to Roswynd and assisted with her return. She pulled Roswynd’s back into her front, then together they sat, straddling the branch. Roswynd leaned into Tharon, who encircled her friend’s petite waist.

“It is pretty from up here,” Roswynd said with wonderment. “Thank you for sharing this with me.”

Tharon rumbled in agreement and rested her chin on Roswynd’s shoulder. “Thank you for climbing with me.” The view was beautiful, and the waterfall almost seemed louder. The afternoon sun warmed their faces.

Roswynd shrugged and turned her head sidelong. “I would not let you go alone.” They always did everything together when possible. Their friendship was perhaps destined similar their kingdoms, which had forged an unbreakable alliance, joining forces centuries ago. Like Roswynd and Tharon, their fathers had grown up together, and their parents before them. The two Houses went back many generations in a rich history of friendship, family, and love. On occasion an Arrington and Blakesley had even wed each other.

Chuckling, Tharon squeezed her friend and rumbled again.

“The dresses made it difficult, though,” Roswynd muttered. “I despise dresses.” She plucked at her maroon and brown attire, which was a bit muddy and grassy. “Why are we forbidden to wear trousers?”

After a grunt, Tharon ran her fingers through Roswynd’s rich coppery hair and listened to the recurring rant. They were considered the softer sex, even though Tharon was an Alpha. But from birth, she was raised as an Omega, although there were differences between female Alphas and female Omegas. Her appearance might be that of an Omega, but there were distinctions between the two, even at their young ages.

“Our brothers can wear trousers, ride, hunt, and use bows,” Roswynd said with a huff, then folded her arms against her chest. “It is rather silly, because I could do those activities as well as Selwyn.” After a long silence, she turned her head to the side and asked, “Does it bother you?”

Tharon shrugged in response, but she did side with Roswynd. For the past year, she had envied her younger brother, Saxon, for his education and hunting trips. “On occasion,” she whispered.

Roswynd huffed, then leaned back into Tharon, resting her head against her friend’s shoulder. “I would be better than Selwyn,” she muttered.

With a soft laugh, Tharon tightened her arms and thought about her precious time with Roswynd. She had this week and two more weeks, known as Furywice and Seawice, left on the estate before her father returned for her and would take her home. Nuzzling Roswynd, she whispered, “You would be.” She pictured Roswynd’s big smile and felt her own as she breathed in Roswynd’s unique scent. All the Arringtons had a similar scent, but Tharon could distinguish Roswynd’s from the rest of the family. It had become one of her favorite scents over the years.

“I wish you did not have to return home,” Roswynd said, voice at a loss. Her shoulders fell and she let out an improper whine. Like Tharon, she was taught not to whine like a peasant or animal, but it was often a natural response and difficult to resist.

“We still have a fortnight together. Then after that, it will be the Howling Eagle Festival,” Tharon said but cringed when Roswynd snorted and swatted Tharon’s thigh.

“The festival is not until White Wulf, which is mooonths away.” Roswynd shifted on the branch, groused, and folded her arms. “I refuse to wait that long to see you again. I will pester Father every day after you leave.” From the determination in Roswynd’s voice, Tharon was certain that Roswynd’s family would be taking a trip to the Kingdom of White Sommer to visit Tharon and her family long before the festival.

The Howling Eagle Festival was an old tradition between their kingdoms that began several generations ago. Their parents hosted the special winter festival to celebrate their kingdoms’ alliance and their unified families. The festival carried on for two full weeks with a one-week intermission for traveling. The festival’s first week was held in Wulfbite, the capital of White Sommer, and the second week was in Earna, the capital of Wyndfeld. The festival was attended by all in both kingdoms and ended with a formal ball, which was Roswynd’s favorite part and Tharon’s least favorite. Besides strengthening the bonds between the kingdoms, the festival brought merriment, wonderful food, and strong alcohol.

However, the best part about the festival was that Tharon’s and Roswynd’s birthdays fell during the celebrations. Next year Tharon would turn nine on the last day of White Wulf, then the next day was Roswynd’s seventh birthday on the first day of Wyndenn. Celebrating their birthdays over a two-day period was the best.

The Howling Eagle Festival was one of several traditions between their families. Prior to the winter festival, the Arringtons went to Wulfbite and joined the Blakesley family on a hunt to fill the Blakesleys’ cellars with meat to sustain them through the cold months. Similarly, the Blakesley family remained in Earna after the winter festival and hunted with the Arringtons to load their cellars. Like her best friend, Tharon wished to join in the hunt, even if it were only to learn how to skin the animals, as all female breeds were taught among their people.

“One day, we will be able to travel Gyldren together like my grandmother,” Roswynd said without a thread of doubt in her declaration. “I do not care what our silly prince husbands say.” She finished her statement with a firm nod.

Smiling, Tharon canted her head, sneaking a peek at her friend’s profile. In the soft sunlight, Roswynd’s features were resolute, if not smudged with a little dirt. Tharon thought her friend was beautiful. Similar to Roswynd, Tharon wished to tour Gyldren and see other kingdoms, cultures, and people. The sweet fantasy that they would have such a future was perfect, and flawed. If nothing else, she was certain of one thing. “We will always have each other, Ros.”

“Yes. I know.”

* * *

Date: 30 Fire-Eye 826G – Present Day

“By the end of Sunstone, we will take Duskgard Keep.”

A heavy silence settled in the tent after the announcement was made by their lord commander. The lower-ranking officers shifted on their boots and looked among each other while Officer Hywel stared at the map on the tall table in the middle of their circle.

“But, Lord Commander, it will be Sunstone in five days’ time.” Hywel looked up from the map and met his leader’s stern gaze. “It is the beginning of harvest now, and the weather has begun to turn already.”

“That is why we must capture Duskgard Keep before the first snowfall.”

Hywel rubbed the stubble around his chin and asked, “Why not wait until spring? We can rest here in Leeward for the winter, then start our campaign fresh in the spring. Fringe Road will be dangerous enough as it is, much less during the snow and ice.” Several officers rumbled or moved their heads in agreement. “I mean no disrespect.” He held out a hand toward the other officers and high-ranking knights. “You are our lord commander after all, Prince Tharon. And you are the Black Wulf. In the end, we will carry out your orders.”

With a puff of her chest, Tharon Blakesley flashed a toothy smile at her loyal officers, who had followed her ever since she became the lord commander of the White Sommer Army. They were in their tenth year of war with the Kingdom of Wyndfeld and were finally carving a path toward Wyndfeld’s heart. Two days ago they had captured the prosperous town of Leeward, which resided on the west side of the White Razor Mountains. The mountain range ran north and south, separating the west and east side of Wyndfeld. The kingdom’s capital resided on the east side, and so did the House of Arrington. The single major road through the mountain range was Fringe Road, which was heavily guarded by a keep, a fort, and a fortress. But once they secured Fringe Road, they’d be beating down their enemy’s front door.

Tharon could nearly taste the Arringtons’ blood.

Coming closer to Hywel, Tharon indicated the map and asked, “What is different about Duskgard Keep than Fort Snowfalcon or Dawnstar Fortress?” She rested a hand on one of her sword hilts and waited for his response.

“It is located on the west side of the mountains,” a different officer replied.

“Yes, it is on the west side.” Tharon scanned her officers’ hard features and said, “It is close to us, much too close.” She narrowed her eyes and sneered low. “We cannot rest peacefully in Leeward this winter while Duskgard Keep sits over our shoulders.” Even with Leeward under her control, Duskgard Keep was a threat to her army. The Wyndfeld soldiers in Duskgard Keep would watch them and perhaps even attack. “The Arringtons are clever,” Tharon said in a growly tone. “They will use Duskgard Keep against us if we leave it in their hands. We must capture it and truly secure our control over the west side of the mountains. Only then can we rest for the winter.” Rest and then scheme to battle, conquer, and finally capture the House of Arrington.

Hywel gave his agreement first and declared, “Then to Duskgard!”

“To Duskgard!”

Tharon basked in her officers’ cheer to capture the keep. Indeed she could have simply commanded her army to march forward. However, she preferred that they understood the purpose behind their battles. A purpose gave them fire and determination to meet a goal rather than marching forward with blindness. For a few more beats, the chanting continued and charged Tharon. Like her knights, she feasted on the war and hated to keep her blade clean for too long.

At the tent’s entrance, a newcomer slipped inside and stood to the side near the seating area. He hooked his hands in front of his body and caught Tharon’s eye. In his left hand, he signaled the two rolled-up messages but waited in silence.

Tharon recognized both seals on the messages that were in Pòl’s hand. The one seal softened her heart for a beat, but she pushed it aside and focused on her officers. “It is late,” she said to them, causing the din to die. “Tomorrow we will discuss the plans to capture Duskgard. In the meantime, continue to enjoy the fruits of Leeward.” She smirked and said, “I certainly will.” Several of the officers laughed and one clapped her on the back on his way out. One by one, the high-ranking knights filed out of her tent and left her alone with Pòl, who watched the last person exit.

Pòl crossed the distance and held out the two messages. “One is from Wulfbite.”

Tharon rubbed her thumb across the wax seal of one message. She would recognize her family’s crest anywhere and looked forward to reading the words from her younger sisters, but in private. For now she broke the seal on the other message, which was from her second-in-command. After unrolling the message, she skimmed over the important details from Lord Erland and rumbled at the news. “It seems he will capture Goldenmore by the end of the year. He has already torched many of their granaries.”

Nodding, Pòl pursed his lips and said, “That will induce starvation.” He was quiet but canted his head when Tharon started rolling the message. “Duskgard Keep will not be easy, Lord Commander.”

Tharon sighed and walked away from him. “Are you volunteering to lead the charge, then?” She went to the small table near the entrance to her bedding tent. After she placed the messages on her makeshift desk, she looked to him.

Pòl was an excellent knight. Tharon trusted him without question from the first day she met him. Since becoming the lord commander, she attempted numerous times to promote him, but he refused and remained a knight. Pòl never explained his rejection, but Tharon was certain he wished to stay by Tharon’s side rather than leave her and lead soldiers. Somehow Pòl had become her secret guardian despite the clear fact she certainly did not require one. However, she suspected he vowed to himself a long time ago to protect Tharon, whether she liked it or not.

After a grunt, Pòl took a few steps closer to Tharon but kept his distance. “You are relentless, my prince.”

Tharon held back a smile after hearing the endearment that so few were brazen enough to say to her. She allowed Pòl to use it. He was also one of the few Alphas whose scent didn’t challenge her own Alpha. “You could do so much more, Pòl. Why do you resist?” She shifted closer to him, taking in his heavy pheromones and not minding them.

“I am happy with my position in life.”

With a rumble Tharon accepted his vague answer rather than push him. She folded her arms and held his gaze for another moment.

Pòl chuffed low and changed the topic before Tharon made another attempt. “The same two Betas from last night wish to see you again.”

“Oh?” Tharon chuckled and sensed the swell in her trousers. Yesterday evening she had left the encampment and gone into Leeward in search of fun. Many of the locals scurried out of her way, but she heard the whispers among the female Betas. She, Pòl, and a few other knights had settled into a tavern for a meal and drinks. The owner tried to appease them with free food and beer even though Tharon had no malicious intent. By the end of their meal, several female Betas had taken to their group and two of them followed Tharon to her tent. She found it easy to entice female Betas due to her rare nature as a She-Alpha. So many female Betas wanted to see it for themselves.

“Shall I fetch them?” Pòl asked even though he knew the answer.

“Yes.” Tharon considered her plans this evening and canted her head. After she cleaned up, ate, and read her sisters’ letter, she would entertain the Betas. “Bring them here in two hours. I will give them a good fuck then.”

Pòl grunted and eyed Tharon, not speaking his thoughts. But his eyes held his unspoken words that told Tharon about his minor disapproval of her sexual exploits. The House of Blakesley wasn’t known for being sexually deviant, but Tharon and her brother had proven otherwise in recent years. “I hope one day that cock of yours finds a golden cunt.”

Tharon flashed her teeth once at him in silent warning. She didn’t need lectures, even if it was Pòl. Without thought, her pheromones grew thicker, yet she reeled it in before she forced Pòl to heel to her. Despite their occasional differences, she respected him and never forced her Alpha’s superior dominance on him. “Go,” she ordered him and turned away from him before the regret rooted itself in her. Without a word, Pòl departed and left Tharon alone in her tent.

Tharon kept to her plans for the night. She wiped down her body with water and soap, removing the sweat from today’s sword practice. Soon she would need a bath, which she could have if she went to Chesford Manor in Leeward. Perhaps tomorrow she would occupy one of the rooms for a night or two, even though she preferred her tent.

After cleaning up she had supper with her soldiers in the dining tent. The conversations were loud, and everyone was discussing the campaign for Duskgard Keep. Tharon smirked at the soldiers’ renewed hunger for battle despite the grueling effort it took to conquer Leeward. She bid goodnight to several of her officers, signaling her desire to not be disturbed tonight unless it was an emergency.

Upon returning to her tent, Tharon found the two female Betas waiting for her. They were giggling and eyeing Tharon’s crotch without shame compared to last night. Tharon rolled her eyes at their fascination with her dick, but it was normal to her. She allowed them to think she was as keen on them as they were about her.

However, they were all here for one purpose.

After the first hour, one of the female Betas was more spent than the other. Tharon left her alone on the bed and guided the other Beta into her main tent. She shoved the Beta toward the long dining table in the center of the tent. The Beta tumbled forward against the smooth wood, catching herself with her hands.

“Stay down,” Tharon snapped and locked the Beta in place with her hand. She pressed the Beta face first into the table.

“Yes, Lord Commander.”

Tharon stood tall behind the female Beta, who was as nude as Tharon. Pleased by the Beta’s answer, she latched her fingers onto the Beta’s bare hips and guided the head of her cock between the spread thighs.

The Beta gave a greedy whine and rocked her hips, until Tharon’s pheromones wrapped around her. She stilled, other than digging her nails into the wood under her.

“Be still,” Tharon ordered with a snarl. For a second, she tried to recall the Beta’s name, but it was lost on her. With one hand, she stroked her hard shaft, which already throbbed again after fucking minutes ago. Battles always left her untamed and hungry for several days.

“Please,” the Beta murmured.

The soft plea was exquisite and charged Tharon even more. The Beta’s delicate scent continued to linger on Tharon’s tongue. But right now, Tharon wanted to hear the little Beta scream under her until her throat was sore. Without warning she buried herself into the Beta, who cried out and jerked against the table.

“Lord C-Commander,” the Beta said between gasps, “you are—” She was cut off by a pump of Tharon’s hips.

“Be silent or I go back to the other Beta.” Tharon finished her threat with a growl. She tangled her fingers in the Beta’s unruly hair, twisting and tightening until she earned a hiss. “Good.” With one hand still locked around the Beta’s tiny waist, she moved her hips and worked the pliant Beta under her. She gave the Beta a chance to prepare for harder thrusts, even though Tharon preferred to get off as fast as possible.

The Beta hissed each time Tharon went deeper, but the increased speed brought her to shame. She begged for more and lifted her ass higher.

Tharon laughed, then slowed and kicked out the Beta’s legs for better access. The Beta’s arousal was all over the edge of the table, bringing a rumble from deep in Tharon’s chest. She spread her own legs, braced herself, and gripped the Beta’s hips with both hands. Tharon was finished being gentle. The first thrust was harsh but perfect. The Beta’s tight walls hugged the full length of Tharon’s cock. They both wanted more friction, more heat, more of everything.

With vigor, Tharon plunged again and again into the Beta, who squeezed Tharon’s cock with lust. The Beta’s cries urged Tharon on, causing her to pump faster. The table groaned and squeaked under them. Tharon almost lost her hold on the Beta, but her nails tore into flesh, further locking down her prey. They were both so very close, riding the edge of their orgasms.

To the left, the tent flap opened, but it did nothing to deter Tharon. Only one person would even consider entering her tent at this time. For a second, a grunt passed her lips when her younger brother passed her peripheral view. Fucking bastard, she told him with her eyes, but then Tharon ignored him and continued her chase for a much-deserved orgasm.

Saxon took a seat in the far corner and waited for her to finish. He cupped his chin and admired the show in silence.

The Beta withheld her cries now that a witness was here, until Tharon smacked her ass. The Beta yelped, then started to scream again. The new presence in the tent didn’t seem to deter her anymore, not when Tharon was fucking her so well.

“That is it,” Tharon praised and returned to the earlier demanding pace. She could feel the Beta’s cunt tightening around her cock. Like the Beta, she ached to come and release the strain in her body. Then she sensed it, the sudden fall. With the next thrust, the Beta gave a deafening cry that tipped Tharon too. With hips forward and cock buried deep, Tharon howled in pleasure and surrendered to the heated waves. A slight stream of slick broke free from her cockhead, but there was no fear of pregnancy. Tharon needed to be rutting for her slick to be viable.

Tharon bent over the Beta’s prone form and held up her body with both hands flat against the table. She groaned as the Beta’s pussy fluttered around her length. Opening her eyes, Tharon studied the little Beta under her and considered tasting the salty skin. But she’d had enough, and her brother was here. With a huff, she straightened and withdrew from the Beta. As Tharon pulled out, the Beta whimpered but otherwise remained motionless on the table.

“Get up,” Tharon said, her voice rough. She pushed off some of her braided black hair that stuck to the damp skin of her shoulders.

The Beta attempted to lift herself off the table, but her arms trembled, and she collapsed with a huff of air.

Tharon grunted, then caught Saxon’s chuckle; it dug under her skin. With a growl, she snaked an arm under the Beta’s trim waist, lifted her, then tossed her unceremoniously over her right shoulder. The Beta gave a weak squeal, but didn’t fight Tharon, who marched into the smaller attached tent to the right. Once inside, Tharon tossed the Beta onto the bed next to the other female Beta, who had a curious look.

“Get dressed and go,” Tharon told them. She turned her back on them and went to the washbasin. Wetting a cloth, she wiped down her body and listened to the Betas’ movements. The one that Tharon had fucked earlier was moving faster and helped Ffion. That is the girl’s name, Tharon recalled. She still had no clue about the first Beta’s name and didn’t know if she’d ever been told. It mattered not at this point.

Wiping her dick clean a second time, Tharon found herself still a bit hard, but she would handle it later on her own. She collected a pair of fresh drawers from the wooden trunk, stepped into them, and tied them off at her waist. In her early years, she hid her body around her brother, but her time being the lord commander had changed that part of her, along with other aspects of her life. No longer bothering with a breastband, she grabbed the one other necessary item, a sheathed dagger.

The two Betas were halfway dressed but paused and stared as Tharon returned to the main tent. They whispered something to each other as Tharon left.

Saxon stretched out his legs, canted his head, and smiled. Tharon wedged the sheathed blade into her waistband before walking to the firepit at the center of the tent, at the far side of the table. She tossed in two more pieces of wood, then approached her brother, who rested comfortably in a fur covered seat. After adjusting the fur, Tharon sank into the U-shaped armchair to see her brother’s grinning features. “What do you want, Saxon? I won your battle this month.”

Chuckling, Saxon straightened, lifted his hands from the armchair, and cocked his head. “To congratulate you on another successful campaign.”

Tharon grunted. “You never visit to simply congratulate me. You did not come out to this slop without good reason.” The movement over to the right caught her attention.

The two Betas had slipped out from the bedding tent and paused near the fire. They were both somewhat dressed, but their tops were loose and hanging. Their hair was sloppy, and Ffion hung off the other Beta.

“King Saxon,” the unknown Beta said and attempted a curtsy of some type. The Beta’s messy curtsy was more of an insult toward royals than a polite effort.

“Go,” Tharon said in a snappy tone. She disregarded them, unworthy of any more of her time.

“Yes, Lord Commander.” The Beta adjusted her arm around Ffion and hurried out of the tent with a few giggles.

“They are always so enamored with you,” Saxon murmured with a trace of wonder. “Why is that?”

Tharon scowled at him and ignored his constant prodding about why Betas fell to their knees for her. It didn’t matter where the army marched to within their kingdom or the enemy’s territory, there were females ready for her.

“Perhaps it is because you have a cunt too,” Saxon whispered, then his dark eyes focused on Tharon. “Tell me if I am right, sister.”

Tharon responded with a low growl and a show of teeth. She huffed and asked, “What do you want, little brother?” If Saxon weren’t her brother and her king, she would have given him a black eye for his disparaging question. With a deep breath, she controlled her Alpha’s desire to dominate, knowing she was the elder Alpha between them. She was certainly the stronger one, too, having earned her fighting prowess early on as a knight. Saxon could hardly keep from cutting himself with a blade.

“Besides the congratulations for capturing our enemy’s town of Leeward, I have come with exciting news.” Saxon crossed his legs and folded his hands in his lap.

Tharon grunted and asked, “King Garrett is captured and ready to be beaten to death?” Even though she had taken Leeward, which was a huge feat, it still wasn’t enough. The crucial town marked the start of an upward battle into the heart of the enemy kingdom. Before they even arrived at Leeward’s walls, they had fought their way through enemy lines, clever peasants, bogs, and disease. That in itself had taken them ten years. But the Kingdom of White Sommer was determined on forcing its enemy to heel under its boot.

Saxon grunted, then a shitty grin spread across his face. “That is no way to speak of your future father-in-law.”

Tharon blinked and stared at her brother as if he’d grown another head. It had to be a fucking joke, except Saxon had a mischievous glee in his eyes. “What have you done?” she asked, teetering on the edge of rage. Her barrier around her inner Alpha began to crack, especially when her brother chuckled at her. “Saxon!” She was out of the chair, but so was Saxon, who outmatched her height by a hand.

“Easy, Tharon.” Saxon grabbed her bare shoulders. “I have done what is necessary for our kingdom to win this war. Now it is your turn to do what is necessary.” He was stern, finally sounding like a king. He then rested one hand on the sword hilt at his hip. The firelight glinted off the black gem mounted in the pommel, reminding them both of Saxon’s authority as the king. Like all rulers, he wore a crown, but their kingdom’s power was held within the Sword of White Sommer that he carried. “We have been at this war for far too long. Our army’s might has been whittled away little by little.”

Tharon ground her teeth at hearing the harsh truth. No one understood it better than she did, after heading the army for the past three years. But the truth had never smothered her savage desire to defeat the Kingdom of Wyndfeld and destroy the House of Arrington. After a deep breath, she asked, “What horseshit idea have you dreamed up this time?”

Saxon claimed faux hurt, but he chuckled and dropped his arms to his side. “We cannot continue like this, at least not with our army weakened so and our gold mines in enemy hands.” He was serious again, and he rubbed the beard that afforded him a few extra years he hadn’t yet earned. “I contacted King Garrett under the guise of seeking peace. As you can imagine, he was unreceptive at first, but I told him how earnest we are about a truce. I have offered your hand in marriage to one of his daughters.” He continued to speak, but Tharon had lost her mind.

“You what?” Tharon fisted her hands after interrupting her brother’s rambling. “I am to wed a daughter from the House of Arrington?” She was breathing deeper, hoping the extra air cooled the fire in her chest.

“Yes.” Saxon narrowed his eyes and said, “You are not listening, sister.” He grabbed Tharon’s jaw, growled and snapped, causing Tharon to focus on him. “Get your little Alpha under control.” He searched her eyes and waited for her to accept his authority as king. Once she stopped bristling, he ordered, “Now sit and listen to my great plan.”

Bottling her temper for now, Tharon sank into the chair and waited to hear his ridiculous idea.

“As I was saying, you will wed a princess from the House of Arrington. Upon doing so, it will grant you access to the Kingdom of Wyndfeld. We will maintain the fragile alliance through good will, such as returning their lands we have conquered. In addition, you and your new wife will be required to visit both kingdoms on a regular schedule.”

“Return their lands?” Tharon laughed, but there was no humor. “My men have given their blood and their lives for these wretched lands.” She growled at the mere thought of handing them back to the enemy.

“This alliance will allow us to plant spies,” Saxon said in a firm tone. “Those loyal to us who can remain hidden in the Kingdom of Wyndfeld.”

“What then?” Tharon slapped her palms against the armrests. “We drink and dance with our enemy, then slit their throats at night? They will not fall for that like our father did.” For centuries, their two Houses and kingdoms had been unified; they had been one family. As a pup, Tharon had loved the Arringtons, missed them when she was away from Wyndfeld, and looked forward to every visit with them.

Until the Arringtons betrayed Tharon and her family.

Saxon sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He lowered his hand and stared at his fuming sister, then said, “We are losing this war, sister. Do you not see that?” He held out his arms and growled once. “The Kingdom of Wyndfeld has a smaller army than we do, but their terrain is their best weapon. We have pushed through the Shadow Bogs, crossed the open fields, and defeated Loxmoor Citadel, but now we must contend with the White Razor Mountains.”

“We have Leeward now,” Tharon said and clawed the armrests. “I have formulated a plan to take Duskgard Keep before the first snowfall.”

“Yes. But it is merely the beginning of Fringe Road, which is dotted with fortresses and towers.” Saxon shook his head and leaned forward, closer to his sister. “It is the month of Fire-Eye, and by the time we are ready to take on Fringe Road, it will be harvest, then winter again. You know this.”

Tharon turned her head away and stared at the fire. She had done the math earlier when she looked at the map and considered their current forces. Fringe Road was the main route to Earna, the capital of the Kingdom of Wyndfeld, but it wound up into the mountain range and was littered with defenses that benefited the Kingdom of Wyndfeld. The estimated loss of life on Fringe Road could be anywhere from fifty thousand to seventy thousand, maybe more. If they conquered the west side of Fringe Road, their travels through the White Razor Mountains would continue to be treacherous until they approached the east side of Fringe Road. Then the bloody game would restart on the way down Fringe Road to where the enemy’s heart rested in Earna. Tharon was well versed on the Kingdom of Wyndfeld and the journey to Earna, considering she’d spent the better part of her youth traversing the distance.

“Other than spies, what can we gain from this political marriage?” Tharon asked and turned back to her brother.

“Time.” Saxon leaned back into the chair again. “Time to rebuild. Time to plot. Time to kill.”

Tharon rumbled and pushed her fingers through her wild locks. With a clearer mind, she weighed her brother’s plan. The gold mines in northern White Sommer would be returned to them and refill their dwindling treasury. With more gold, they could rebuild their army’s numbers, supplies, and weapons. Even health and finances were a concern at this stage. Several years ago, Wyndfeld took control of White Sommer’s gold mines. Saxon’s plan would indeed give Tharon access to the Kingdom of Wyndfeld, to learn what changes had been made, and what weak points she and her brother could use to their advantage. The House of Arrington would be distrustful at first, but Tharon could charm them.

Saxon chuckled, causing Tharon to glare at him. “I have seen that look before.” He gave a triumphant smile because he knew he was winning her over.

After a chuff, Tharon narrowed her eyes at her brother and asked, “Why do you not wed?”

“For those asking, I am the younger Alpha of us.” Saxon held out his hand to Tharon and said, “I may be king, but you are first in line to wed.”

Tharon snorted. That did not stop you from easily accepting the sword from Father. She withheld her scathing thought after her father’s voice reminded her why she had to pass the Sword of White Sommer on to Saxon. She had given her blessing after all.

“However, the real reason is that you are wedding because you have the militaristic mind between us,” Saxon said. “You will take note of how to bring down Earna. Find its weak spots that we can exploit.” He shrugged and said, “Besides, this may be your one chance to marry and sire a pup.” His smile was devious and caused Tharon’s stomach to churn in response. “At the end of this, if your Arrington wife has an unfortunate accident…” Saxon shrugged and chuckled.

Tharon huffed and shifted in the seat as she considered the next step in Saxon’s plan. She worried over the one detail that could derail everything. “Which princess am I to wed?” All the muscles in her body curled, and she gripped the armrest again.

“Myla Arrington,” Saxon replied.

“Myla,” Tharon whispered, then grunted and chuckled. Myla was the third oldest in the House of Arrington. She was gentle and sweet, if not a bit shy. But Myla was bright, like any Arrington. She was also an unclaimed, pure Omega, who would submit with ease to Tharon. Even though Myla was kind, she was rather different from her sister Roswynd.

However, a marriage to Myla would be a temporary situation allowing her access to Wyndfeld again. Once she and Saxon destroyed the House of Arrington, Tharon could have Roswynd. Just as it should have been ten years ago. But for now, Tharon couldn’t show her hand to anyone, especially Saxon, who had disdained Roswynd since their youth. For the first time, both of Tharon’s vows could be fulfilled in one fell swoop, if she played her hand correctly. Shaking the forbidden name from her mind, Tharon banished the memories of her once best friend.

“You seem pleased with the arrangement now.” Saxon popped out of the wooden armchair. “Then I am pleased.”

Lips thinning into a line, Tharon rose and followed her brother to the tent flap. She opened her mouth to respond, but Saxon spun around and beamed at her.

“Tomorrow morning we will meet with King Garrett to finalize the agreement.” Saxon adjusted the golden cloak around his body and said, “You will be there.”

Tharon rumbled and stared at her brother, who had already set up much of the wedding arrangements with King Garrett without her knowledge. She curled her hands into fists and asked, “What would you have done if I refused your offer?”

Saxon chuckled after tying the upper part of his cloak. His sword hilt still poked out from the opening. “You would not have refused.” He started out of the tent but paused and gazed back at Tharon. “I am your brother. And your king.” Then he was gone.

For a moment, Tharon stared at the tent flap that settled back into place. “Bastard,” she muttered, even though he was her brother. Deep inside, she loved him despite his antics. They both shared a similar goal, to bring down the Kingdom of Wyndfeld. Saxon’s ultimate plan included killing each and every Arrington until the House was stricken from the lands. Tharon held little care about the fate of the entire House of Arrington once she conquered the kingdom. However, she was certain of two decisions: King Garrett deserved a slow, excruciating death, and Roswynd Arrington would be hers despite Saxon’s desire for her death. If entering a political marriage to topple the enemy kingdom was the best route, then she would follow Saxon’s plans, for now. Too many of her soldiers had already died in the war.

At the small firepit, Tharon used a metal poker to separate the few burning logs. She tossed dirt on the remaining flames, then went to the bedding tent. After she cleaned her hands, she took off her bottoms and went to bed with a dagger. She tucked the weapon next to her head while her sheathed swords remained propped up against the bed.

The bed of furs carried the mild scent of Beta, Alpha, and sex. The smell aroused her again, causing her cock to harden some. Tharon clutched the shaft, under the unsheathed head. With her thumb, she rubbed the tip and smeared a few droplets of clear fluid. Even though her cock swelled in her hand, her mind wandered back to her conversation with Saxon.

Tomorrow Saxon would offer her like a prized Beadu oxen, talking up Tharon’s abilities as an Alpha, even if she was a degenerate one. She seethed at the slur for her perverted nature as a female Alpha. In the past, she had slit a few throats whenever someone used the slur to describe her. She was an Alpha, and not because of the cock in her hand.

After a growl, Tharon returned to playing with the swollen head that was sensitive to the touch. By tomorrow afternoon, she would be promised an Omega, even if it was an Arrington. Myla was pretty, as Tharon recalled. Her hair was a coppery blond similar to all Arringtons. She had hazel eyes, tanned skin, and a lithe figure. As a pup, Myla tried to tell jokes; some were funny. Myla would make an acceptable spouse, albeit a temporary one.

Lowering her hand, Tharon massaged the throbbing length of her cock, enjoying it while she thought more about Myla, who always had a gentle smile. But her smile never compared to how Roswynd’s beautiful lips could curl and light up Tharon’s heart. Roswynd’s eyes were each a different color, always reminding Tharon of the summer sun over the ocean. Roswynd hated her mismatched eyes, but Tharon adored how they glowed whenever Roswynd laughed.

With a groan, Tharon moved her hand faster and dug her fingers into the fur. Somehow Roswynd’s voice had snuck into her head. Tharon fought to force it away and think of Myla or even the two Betas from earlier. But instead, Roswynd reappeared and grinned at her. Tharon growled and pumped her cock through her fist, searching for relief. Roswynd’s young features were so clear in Tharon’s memory, even ten years later. Once, they had shared a delicate kiss. Their lips had been pressed together for a few brief seconds, but Tharon still felt it today.

“Fuuuck.” Tharon cast out thoughts of Roswynd, then lifted her head. She sat up, using her other arm to prop up her body. Her glistening cock appeared bigger than normal, but it didn’t slow Tharon. She growled and worked the shaft faster, needing to climax. More focused on her own pleasure, Tharon was close and the swollen girth in her hand throbbed. Her inner Alpha keened at the idea that she was indeed larger. It was enough to tip her over, eliciting a howl from deep in her chest.

Tharon continued to fist her cock, milking slick from the head. She needed this, or else she wouldn’t sleep tonight. Her body trembled with satisfaction. But Roswynd’s beautiful smile invaded her mind again. She reprimanded herself with the idea that Roswynd was perhaps married now, considering her age. But there has never been any news of a wedding, she reminded herself. Without control Tharon snarled and ground her teeth. The Alpha inside her ignited her again. Driven by her body, Tharon returned to pumping her firm cock, but this time she didn’t deny herself thoughts about Roswynd.

Roswynd should have been hers. For all these years, it should have been Roswynd writhing under her rather than countless unknown Betas. But instead, Tharon had been denied Roswynd and was now being given Roswynd’s little sister like a consolation prize. Tharon could almost spit, but she doubled her efforts and stroked her cock with absolute fervor. Tilting her head back, she closed her eyes and imagined Roswynd’s adult features: her heart-shaped face, freckly cheeks, and mismatched eyes, all framed by coppery hair. It was all Tharon needed to come, releasing the pressure built up in her.

The clear slick pooled out of the tip and ran over Tharon’s hand. She stopped moving her hand and smeared the wetness over the shaft, which had gone soft. She was panting and sweaty from the masturbation, but she felt better, even in the empty darkness of her tent. Leaving the bed, Tharon wet another cloth and wiped herself clean for the night. Once done, she returned to bed, turned off the lamp, and settled under the furs. Tharon needed to have her wits about herself for tomorrow’s meeting with King Garrett and about the terms of the arranged marriage. If nothing else, this stupid marriage might give her a chance to see Roswynd one more time.

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