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Vanquished Mate by Ava Sinclair (1)

Chapter 1

Khon

I wish I were down there, running.

I wish I were down there, hunting, my nose filled with the scent of my quarry, the blood coursing through my veins.

For the third season, I’ve observed Claiming Day from the High Rock, cheering on my brother warriors as they claim their mates in this sacred ritual.

While I’m not among them, I can imagine their excitement so vividly that my cock lengthens and strains against the animal hide skirt covering me from waist to knee.

It gets more difficult to bear with each passing year. As chieftain, I have every right to join the hunt, but to keep my warriors loyal, I must keep them happy

Females make them happy, and I have vowed not to take one for myself until all my fellow warriors are bonded.

My father brushes my arm with his hand and nods toward the plains below. A virgin is emerging from between two rocks, crouching low as she enters the clearing. She has painted her face to look fierce. Bones are plaited into her wild mane of hair.

The short dress, made of animal skin, exposes most of her toned legs, and if she were to bend over just a bit, we would all see both her pussy and the inviting cleft of her bottom, and its promise of pleasure for the warrior who defeats her.

My father smiles. Is he remembering his first hunt? Does he remember chasing my mother? He still bears the scar she gave him with the bone knife so like the one carried by the virgin we are watching. The scar on his face is silver, like his hair. How often have I heard him boast of the day he earned it? How often have I seen my mother’s flush and smile as he brags of how she sank her blade into him before he sank his cock into her?

We are a proud race. We are a sexual race. Even the old ones fuck, and boast of fucking.

The female in the clearing is walking stealthily. She is looking to her left and right. She should be looking behind her, for she does not see what I do. My brother, Rothar, is prowling through a patch of underbrush, quiet and catlike. She circles, her eyes scanning the perimeter of the clearing, but she does not see.

He is still as stone now. He must be careful. Men have died on Claiming Days. If a female kills a male, she only has to re-enter the ritual once more. If she kills a second, she is free, and equal to the men of the village.

This female has killed before. She is cunning and dangerous. It does not surprise me that Rothar wants her. A virgin like this, once conquered, will bear strong children. I sense my father’s fear. He has lost three sons in war. He only has two left. He does not want to lose one today, not like this.

Careful, my brother.

I hope he can sense my silent warning. The ritual feeds the fire inside an Ythilian warrior, and Rothar is already a hothead. I grip the arm of my stone chair but do not betray the emotion I feel.

His cry resounds throughout the valley as he leaps from the undergrowth. The virgin turns, swinging her arm in an arc. My father cannot keep his composure; a strangled cry escapes him as blood seeps from the crescent-shaped cut that now runs from Rothar’s right nipple to his left hipbone. But it is not a deep cut, and my brother leaps back, evading what would have been a killing blow had the slice been deeper.

They circle one another; this female will not run now. My brother is faster and stronger. To flee would put her at a disadvantage. She must face him, and she does, bravely. My cock is hard. I want to be there. I want to be in his place. But I am not. My time will come, but this is Rothar’s day.

He is smiling. She is not. Her face is a mask of defiant fury. She tosses the knife up in the air, and catches it in her left hand as she reaches for the second blade housed in a sheath slung across her back. She’s armed with two weapons now. She lunges forward, but Rothar is fast for his size. He drops and rolls. She misses and falls forward, losing her balance. Her blade hits the ground. My brother leaps up and kicks it away. She only has one knife now.

He laughs at her. I know he’s trying to make her angry, to enrage her into a mistake. Her face is unreadable. She’s unbelievably fast as she curls into a ball and rolls between legs he had parted in a battle stance. Rothar jumps away just before she can hamstring him with the blade. And I can see that playtime is over for him. When he faces her, I see uncertainty in her eyes, for my brother is angry now. He’s realized what he’s up against.

She leans down and swings a cupped fistful of dirt in his direction—a clever move had Rothar not anticipated it. Being in battle has him prepared for anything, and when she tilts her upper body to the right to affect her attack, my brother moves in to strike her raised shoulder with the flat of his foot.

It’s not a hard kick, but enough of one to throw her backwards. She staggers, desperate to right herself, and fails. As she hits the ground, he is on top of her. I see the flash of a blade. She’s screaming as she tries to cut him, but he catches her wrist and holds it aloft. Their eyes lock as he squeezes. He could easily break her wrist, but I know he doesn’t want to, and I imagine the relief when she drops the blade with a cry.

Rothar clutches her, rolling them both away from her weapon. She is on top, then he is, then her again as they roll. But he is always in control. Her cry of fury rings through the rocks. My brother stands, picks her up, and turns her away from him. He lets her go, and this, too, is by design. She begins to run, but only gets a few paces before he catches her. This catch and release is repeated, each time making her feel more helpless as he emphasizes who is predator and who is prey. Her breasts bounce as she makes each journey of only a few yards. Her confidence is replaced by fear. She has been outmatched. She knows it. Today she will be claimed.

Each time Rothar catches her, he releases her in the direction of a small group of smooth boulders. On his final capture, he leans her over one. She kicks and cries and claws, but when he pulls her skirt up, I can see how her inner thighs glisten. He is the first male to make her wet. The other died before he could honor her with mastery.

My brother grabs his wild virgin’s hair. Her head jerks back as he rips the front of her dress and his fingers find her breasts, hanging there like ripe fruit. He pinches first one nipple, then the other. She grits her teeth and cuts her eyes at him, but does not cry out. She will make him earn her response. My brother slaps her ass. The sound of his hard palm on the springy flesh only increases my longing for a female of my own.

I watch as Rothar kicks her legs apart. Her pussy is spread open, and wet. Despite her defiance, she is trembling with need for him. Her body calls to him, even as her mind seeks freedom. Rothar unsheathes his cock, rubbing the head of it against the deep pink folds of her pussy. He could tease her more, could remind her again and again of his superior strength, but he is merciful. The dangerous dance is nearly over. She will be his.

She whimpers when he enters her. He is not gentle, and she puts up one last fight before falling into sweet surrender. Her earlier cries of anger are replaced by moans of passion tinged with sadness, for she has lost more than just her virginity. This maiden warrior has now lost her freedom, and while she will always be afforded respect for having killed a male, she will be ruled over by my brother for the rest of her life. She will answer to him, and he will have dominion over her body. She will be his to protect, to fuck, and—when necessary—to punish.

It is our way.

“She could have been yours.” My father is watching me watch my brother. I glance at him, then turn my attention back to my fortunate sibling. After coming with a shuddering cry, he’s pulled himself from the spent body of his mate, and is lifting her into his arms.

Yes, she could have been mine, as could any of the other women now forever bonded to the men who tamed them on the fields below. But then again, there are still more warriors in the hunt than there are virgins. I will not be the only one without a mate. Only three warriors remain who have not joined the hunt, and I am among them. Our chance is coming.

“Next time,” I say, clasping my father’s shoulder. But as I stand, I’m already dreading the wait. My cock aches for what my brother enjoys. I’m past time for mating. I need a female. But I also need the loyalty of my warriors. The War of the Seven Stars went on for far too long. The raids were brutal, both on our primary mineral resource of Flame Stones, and on our females, who were unexpectedly abducted by the hundreds while our warriors were on the battlefield. It was the latter that forced our surrender and the treaty. What else could we do? For the first time since our ancestors left Earth to hybridize with the Arthulians, we Ythilians were on the brink. Another setback and the society we had worked for would die out.

We are a proud race. This defeat was hard on my warriors. They would have fought to the end. They did not want the treaty our leaders proposed. But there was no choice. We had to make alliances with both our enemies, and with other planets like Earth, who backed them. Old grudges die hard, and even after centuries, those on the green and blue planet resent our ancestors leaving to start a new race with the Arthulians.

It was difficult, coming home to this village, living the life of a chieftain after so much time on the battlefield. I have turned my attention to other things—to leading, mediating, training for any future battles. To mating. I look forward to that most of all. As battle weary as I am, the only thing I truly long for is to vanquish a strong female on the fields. To feeling her fall beneath me? To sink into her quivering body as she finally submits? It’s a dream that fuels my existence.

On the next Moon Festival, I will mate. I have waited for my fellow warriors to claim their females. I will wait no more. My time is coming.

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