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[Aermian Feuds 01.0] Siren's Lure, page 1

 part  #1 of  Aermian Feuds Series

 

[Aermian Feuds 01.0] Siren's Lure
 

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[Aermian Feuds 01.0] Siren's Lure


  Siren’s Lure

  An Aermian Novel

  Frost Kay

  Contents

  The Kingdoms

  Prologue

  1. Hayjen

  2. Lilja

  3. Hayjen

  4. Hayjen

  5. Lilja

  6. Hayjen

  7. Hayjen

  8. Lilja

  9. Hayjen

  10. Lilja

  11. Lilja

  12. Lilja

  13. Hayjen

  Epilogue

  About the Author

  Amber Vial

  Copyright © 2018 Renegade Publishing.

  First Edition

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced. Stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any for or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, with written permission of the author.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  For information on reproducing sections of this book or sales of this book go to www.frostkay.net

  Cover by Andreea Vraciu

  Editing by First Read Editorial & Pauline Creeden

  Proofreading by Holmes Edits

  Published by Renegade Publishing

  Created with Vellum

  To my readers: your voices have been heard. Lilja and Hayjen definitely deserved to have their story told. Be fierce. Be strong. Be courageous. Find your inner Sirenidae. ~Frost xoxo

  The Kingdoms

  Prologue

  This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.

  What started as a well worth endeavor, turned out to be a nightmare. One she could not escape. Everyone had their personal demons that plagued them, but at that moment, hers seemed like the worst possible.

  Lilja’s heart raced when her demon leaned closer and smirked, his white teeth flashing. She swallowed hard when he brushed a finger along her collarbone. “You don’t have to do this,” she whispered.

  Something flashed in his deep brown eyes. “I have no choice.”

  A bitter laugh escaped her. Everyone had a choice. Her willful ways and choices had led her to this moment.

  To the end of her.

  One

  Hayjen

  Life was never simple. Months on the cursed ship taught him that.

  Hayjen stared from his floating prison at the death trap surrounding him. The seductive black waves lapped below, beckoning, whispering to him to take the chance, to seize his freedom. Luminescent coral cast soft light below the obsidian waves offering a lie, a hope that one could survive the harsh sea if one stayed in the light, but Hayjen knew better. Just past the comforting glow of the coral, a beast hunted—so deadly that no one chanced the sea at night.

  He shivered as a shiny, midnight fin sliced through the water, before silently disappearing into the inky waves.

  A Leviathan.

  He wouldn’t make it two arms’ lengths before it dragged him below and killed him. His lips lifted into a grim smile. It might not be such a bad way to go compared to what the Scythians had planned for him.

  “Hayjen?” a small voice called.

  Turning his head, he sought the unruly mop of white blond hair. Mer, a little girl who had been captured a couple weeks after he had, peeked at him over the top of a barrel. Her soft lilac eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled at him, revealing a large gap where her tooth used to be. She scuttled from behind the barrel and slipped her small hand into his, their cuffs clinking together.

  “What are you doing?”

  What was he doing?

  Hayjen stared at the tiny pale hand in his rough tan one. He could see her blue veins through her delicate skin. Mer was so fragile. His heart squeezed. This was why he couldn’t escape. His gaze latched on to her sweet face, gazing at him with adoration. He couldn’t leave Mer to the Scythians’ cruelty. For some reason, they delighted in tormenting the little one. If he hadn’t stepped in and given her some of his slop, she would’ve starved a long time ago. He also had his sister to think of. Where was she now? Was she okay?

  “Hayjen?”

  Hayjen blew out a breath and gave Mer his most brilliant smile. “I’m enjoying the view.”

  Her lilac eyes darted to the rolling black waves—they widened with excitement when a fin cut through the water. Mer stabbed a finger at the water, practically bouncing on her toes. “A Leviathan!”

  “Only you would get excited over a Leviathan.”

  “They’re nice. When I get bigger, I want one as a pet.”

  That made him snort. “I doubt that they would want to be kept as a pet.” He tickled her neck. “I think they would probably want to snack on you.”

  Mer giggled. “No, they just like the way I smell. One sniffed me today.”

  Hayjen stiffened. What was she talking about? He knelt and placed his hands on her dainty shoulders. “How did they sniff you?” he questioned, attempting to keep his heart from beating out of his chest.

  A little shrug. “I was hot, so I asked if I could go for a swim, and the mean man threw me in. The Leviathan were happy to have someone to play with.”

  Bile burned the back of his throat. They had thrown a little girl into Leviathan-infested waters? Unconsciously, his hands started to skim over her for injuries. “You swam with the Leviathan?” he croaked, trying to not throw up as he said the words.

  Her innocent smile almost broke his heart. “Yep! We played tag. They darted in and bumped me with their noses before speeding off. I wish I was that fast in the water. When I got tired, one let me hold onto its fin. I got to ride one, Hayjen! Mama always said that one day I would be able to.”

  He sucked in a deep breath and considered Mer’s unique lilac eyes. “You must not swim with the Leviathan again, Mer. It’s dangerous.”

  “But they’re my friends.”

  “I understand you had a wonderful time today, but they’re not safe.”

  “They didn’t hurt me.”

  “No more, Mer.”

  Her jaw jutted out stubbornly. “I like them.”

  If reason wasn’t going to work, he had to scare her. “They like to eat people.”

  Her eyes bulged. “Eat people?” she squeaked.

  “Yes.” He nodded gravely. “Leviathan eat people, and I love you too much for you to be eaten, so please stay out of the water, for me.” Hayjen watched her emotions flicker across her face until settling into resignation.

  “I guess. I don’t want to be eaten.”

  “Me neither.” He pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. She could have died. Those bastards threw her in the water expecting her to be eaten. Fury boiled through his veins. She was just a little girl. Dropping a kiss onto the crown of her head, Hayjen pulled back and chucked her under the chin. “It’s time for bed, little one.”

  “Awww…” she pouted.

  “None of that. Let’s go.”

  Mer skipped ahead, and bounded down the stairs leaving him behind. He took one last look at the sea, and put his fantasies of freedom behind him. There wouldn’t be any escape for him tonight. Hayjen strode to the stairs and descended into the belly of the ship. He wove around hammocks swaying from the ceiling, filled with sleeping slaves. He was one of the few men captured. Hayjen hadn’t believed the rumors that Scythians were stealing people. He was minding his own business fishing one day when he was stolen. His rigging was tied up, the ship approached and offered him help. They looked like a run of the mill merchant ship, right up until the moment they knocked him out
. When he woke up, he was cuffed to the wall, bleeding with no idea where he was. He was alone at first, that is until Mer was captured a few weeks later. She looked so pitiful, sopping wet and shaking like a leaf. When she wouldn’t stop crying, one of the men cuffed her so hard behind the ear, she flew forward into the mast unconscious. Hayjen made a decision then. He’d protect her.

  She was a peculiar little girl, but she had wormed her way into his heart immediately. Even now, months later, he still didn’t know much about her family. Mer couldn’t remember much. He didn’t know if it was due to the blow to her head, her age, or her mind protecting her from a traumatic event.

  Hayjen spotted Mer swinging in her hammock. Carefully, he caught it, and gave her a stern look. “It’s time for bed.”

  “Okay.” She snuggled down and looked up at him expectantly. “A song?”

  Her angelic face, so full of hope, ensnared him. How could he say no? “One song. Just one.” He knelt down next to her and sang a song his mum used to sing to him as a child. Her eyes hooded as sleep tried to take her. At the end, she slipped her hand into his.

  “Prayer?”

  “Anything for you, baby girl.” He didn’t feel particularly thankful at the moment, but it calmed her. After uttering a few words of thanks, her little eyes closed and stayed closed. Hayjen brushed the blond fuzz from her cheek, admiring the planes of her face. She reminded him of his sister Gwen. After their parents died, he would tuck her into bed and say a prayer with her, even though he was only a handful of years older than she was.

  Mer released a soft sigh and smiled in her sleep. He could have lost her today. Rage bubbled at the thought. They had thrown her into Leviathan-infested waters. How did she survive? Leviathan were known for being extremely aggressive and eating just about anything. It didn’t make sense. He dropped a kiss on her forehead and wove through the swinging hammocks. He needed to have a word with the captain. He most likely would receive a whipping for saying anything. It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last.

  When Hayjen spotted Leth, it was all he could do not to tear his head off. Leth was an extremely tall, widely-built man with cheekbones so sharp you could cut yourself on them. The first mate had a particularly mean streak. He enjoyed causing suffering and pain. Hayjen had received lashes for just looking at the man the wrong way. He blew out a breath—he needed to execute this with care. Steeling himself, he strode toward Leth. The Scythian first mate spotted him and jerked his chin towards Hayjen, pulling the other Scythians’ attention. He clenched his jaw at the slurs thrown his way and halted before the group. “I need to speak with the captain.”

  Leth pushed off his chair and moved to stand in front of him. “The slave demands to see the captain. What does a slave need with the captain?”

  Hayjen tipped his chin up to meet the first mate’s eyes. “One of his slaves almost died today.”

  Leth chuckled, his cronies joining in. “Why would the captain care about that?”

  “Mer was thrown into the sea.”

  Leth’s face screwed up in disgust. “She was unscathed the last time I saw the little brat, unfortunately.”

  Several men crossed themselves. Something about Mer unnerved them and stirred their hate something fierce. “You threw her to the Leviathan.”

  “What concern is it of yours? She’s not your daughter.”

  He wasn’t getting anywhere arguing with this lout. “I think our captain would be very concerned that his first mate threw one of his valuables overboard.”

  The laughter cut off, and Leth’s eyes narrowed, taking on a menacing glint. “Are you threatening me, slave?” His tone took on a dangerous edge.

  “No,” Hayjen replied softly. “I am giving you my oath that if the little girl is harmed, I will make the Leviathan look tame.”

  Waves crashed against the ship as the air around them filled with tension. “You dare to speak to me this way?” hissed Leth. “You are nothing but a blight on this world. Tonight you will be taught a lesson you will never forget, boy.”

  “So be it. It will change nothing.”

  The first mate seemed to swell in size, towering over Hayjen. “Tie him to the mast.”

  He didn’t fight as they roughly seized him and dragged him to the mast. It didn’t matter if he resisted. In the beginning, he had fought, but quickly he had learned they were all unnaturally stronger than him. Every once in a while, he would land a blow, but the majority of the time it was he that sustained injury. Chain clipped into his metal manacle and bit into the abused flesh around his wrists. His hands were lifted above his head and his shirt cut from his back, exposing his healing lash marks to the cool air. This was going to hurt. He had calmed down for the sake of the girls on the ship to protect them as much as he could. One of the girls, Lera, had refused to sleep with a Scythian and was sentenced to forty lashes for disgracing her betters. He had stepped in and taken the punishment for her. She wouldn’t have survived the lashing.

  “Slave,” Leth’s voice leered. “Your very existence sickens me.”

  A sharp whistle, and then blinding pain. Hayjen choked back a cry as tears stung his eyes. It never got easier. He never became immune to the pain.

  “You think you’re better than us, but you’re not.”

  More pain.

  “You’re worthless.”

  His flesh opened.

  “When the time comes, taking your life will be a pleasure.”

  Another lash. The pain was so intense he couldn’t help the bellow that escaped his lips.

  “When you’re gone, little Mer will be mine,” Leth whispered in his ear.

  Hayjen threw his head back, crashing it into the first mate’s face. A satisfying crunch sounded. No one would hurt the little girl.

  “You’ll regret that,” Leth spat. “And so will the little slave.”

  “I think not,” a feminine voice purred.

  Hayjen froze. He didn’t recognize the voice. Slowly, he turned his neck and stared at the woman perched on the railing. Her shocking magenta eyes met his.

  “Let’s play a game, shall we?”

  Two

  Lilja

  Scanning the deck, Lilja took pleasure in the way the crew of Scythian men gaped at her. She doubted they had ever encountered someone like her and lived to tell the tale. No sign of any of the slaves, other than the one tied to the mast. They had to be below. The tall warrior with the whip drew her attention as he turned towards her. His smile was sensual with a cruel edge. He was dangerous—she could see it in the way his body moved and the intelligent glint in his black eyes. She assumed he was one of the warlord’s older creations, a warrior bred and altered to be perfect. She had to be careful with this one.

  Cocking her head, she shifted so her naked thigh peeked out of her skirt, the moonlight highlighting her pale flesh. Would he take the bait? Most of the warlord’s warriors had so much testosterone running through their bodies that they couldn’t help themselves. The ringleader’s eyes followed her movement and relaxed a fraction, his gaze running over her exposed skin.

  Men. They were so easy to distract sometimes.

  She held back her disgust when he licked his lips. “It’s not safe for you to be wandering around at this time of night.” His cronies laughed around him.

  How unoriginal. Did they have a book that they all memorized? One with cliché lines to use on women? She shook her head, and allowed a smoky chuckle to emerge. Time to get down to business. “No, I assure you I am quite safe. It is your own health you should be worrying about.”

  “I highly doubt that.” The ringleader glanced at his men before meeting her eyes with a challenge. “You are quite alone. I, on the other hand, am surrounded.”

  Surrounded. How appropriate. He was surrounded, he just didn’t know it yet. Her crew was as silent as the night and just as deadly. Little did he know that they lurked in the shadows. There would be blood shed tonight, but it would not be hers. Her eyes sharpened, when he took a step towa
rds her.

  “I feel like I need to remind you that you are trespassing on my ship, Sirenidae whore.” The Scythian leader spat.

  So he knew what she was. Good. She wanted him to know it was a creature he deemed unworthy of life that had bested him. It would make her victory that much sweeter.

  “Do you know what we do with your kind? We use them and then toss them back to the Leviathan where they belong.”

  The threat hardly registered. She’d heard worse over the years from indoctrinated Scythians. Their hate for her kind was legendary. Anything different was condemned. That was part of the reason the Sirenidae disappeared into the sea hundreds of years ago. Scythia was becoming too powerful, too dangerous, too radical. Lilja’s eyes narrowed as he scanned her again, lingering on areas he had no business looking. His beastly nature was showing itself.

  “But I’ll make an exception for you. I like my women a little wild with some fight.”

  She slipped to the deck in a fluid movement and leaned against the rail, fighting to keep her disgust from her face. “When I spoke of games, that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.”

  He shifted and Lilja tensed, knowing what would happen. In the space of a heartbeat he was pressed against her, his arms clasping the rail, caging her in. She wasn’t a short woman, but he made her feel downright delicate. The warrior was uncommonly large. Her jaw tensed when he dipped, his lips by her ear. She hated this part.

  “What kind of games would you like to play?” he hissed.

 
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